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PEOPLE vs Arnel Alicando

Rule 116 Effect of Denial


FACTS:
1. Respondent Alicando was charged in an Information with the crime of rape with
homicide of a 4-yo minor.
2. [FOR READING PLEASURE] The victim was seen by a neighbor in the house of the
accused. The neighbor tried chatting with the girl but the accused closed the door. The
curious neighbor then peeked, and saw that the accused was raping and strangling the
girl. The neighbor initially did not tell anyone as she was shocked, but eventually told
the victims parents and the police of what she saw, and the police then arrested the
accused.
3. After being arrested, he verbally confessed to the crime without counsel, and on the
basis of such confession, interrogations and investigations were conducted and
evidences were recovered from the accuseds house, including the victims clothing.
4. The autopsy revealed that the proximate cause of death was strangulation, consistent
with the accuseds confession
5. During arraignment, he pleaded guilty with the assistance of a PAO lawyer
6. The trial court found the accused GUILTY and sentenced him to death
7. This petition is an instant appeal is on automatic review considering that death penalty
is imposed.
8. A new counsel for the accused replaced the old one, and the decision of the trial court is
now assailed.
ISSUE: W/N the accused was properly arraigned (NO)
RATIO:
ARRAIGNMENT WAS IMPROPER
The arraignment is null and void. S1(a) R116 provides that the arraignment must be read to the
accused in a language or dialect known to him. The importance of reading the complaint or
information to the accused in the language or dialect known to him cannot be understated,
considering that the Philippines is a nation of diverse languages and dialects that many people
often do not know Tagalog or English, the primary languages of the country. Corollary to the
accuseds right to be informed, he must be able to understand it in a language that is known to
him. It is necessary for the right to be informed to be considered.
In this case, the records do not reveal that the information was read to the accused in a language
or dialect known to him. The Information was written in English, and it cannot be shown that
the accused knows or understands English.
While there is a presumption that the arraignment is regularly conducted, the court cannot rely
on such presumption. The scanty transcript did not show that the information was read in the

language known to the accused. Given the gravity of the penalty of death, the court cannot rely
on such presumption.
PLEA OF GUILT NULL AND VOID
S3 R116 provides that when the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense, the court shall
conduct a searching inquiry to the voluntariness and full comprehension of the consequences of
his plea.
SC said that the searching inquiry must be focused on;
1. Voluntariness of the plea
2. Full comprehension of the consequences of the plea
In this case, the transcript provides that while the court warned him that the imposable penalty
is mandatory death, he would also face some effects on his civil rights. The trial court must explain
to the accused the elements of the crime alleged and the full consequences thereof. There was
even no records that the trial court even tried to know the personality profile of the accused
such as his age, socio-economic status, and education. The trial court merely warned him that
he might be sentenced to death with some effects on his civil rights.
(Other issued involve evidence)
WHEREFORE, the case is REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings.