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REYNOLAN T. SALES, petitioner, vs. th SANDIGANBAYAN (4 Division), OMBUDSMAN, PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THELMA BENEMERITO, respondents.

This Court is tasked to resolve the issue of whether or not the proper procedure was followed and whether petitioners constitutional rights were safeguarded during the preliminary investigation conducted before the filing of an Information for Murder against him and the issuance of a warrant for his arrest by respondent Sandiganbayan. Petitioner asserts that the Information was hastily filed and the warrant for his arrest was improper because of an incomplete preliminary investigation. Respondents say otherwise. The pertinent factual antecedents are matters of record or are otherwise uncontroverted. On August 2, 1999, petitioner, the incumbent town mayor of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, fatally shot the former mayor and his political rival, Atty. Rafael Benemerito, in an alleged shootout in Barangay Caparispisan of said municipality after a heated altercation between them. After the shooting incident, petitioner surrendered and placed himself under the custody of the municipal police then asked that he be brought to the Provincial PNP Headquarters in Laoag City. The next day, August 3, 1999, Police Chief Inspector Crispin Agno and private respondent Thelma Benemerito, wife of the victim, filed a criminal complaint for Murder[1] against petitioner at the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Bangui, Ilocos Norte, Branch 127, presided by Judge Melvin U. Calvan. Judge Calvan then conducted a preliminary examination of the witnesses, in accordance with Section 6 (b), Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, found the existence of probable cause, and thereafter issued an order dated August 3, 1999 for the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of petitioner with no bail recommended.[2] By virtue of the warrant of arrest, petitioner was transferred on August 4, 1999 from the Provincial PNP Headquarters to the Provincial Jail. On August 5, 1999, Judge Calvan, after conducting a preliminary investigation in accordance with Sec. 6 (b) of Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, issued a resolution forwarding the records of the case to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Ilocos Norte for appropriate action.[3] In addition to the records transmitted by Judge Calvan, there was also submitted to the Provincial Prosecutor of Ilocos Norte an NBI Parallel Investigation Report dated August 13, 1999, pursuant to the request for Investigative Assistance made by Dra. Thelma Lasmarias Benemerito, wife of the

victim,[4] with several annexed statements and documents.

affidavits,

sworn

Subsequently, on August 19, 1999, petitioner received a subpoena dated August 18, 1999 from the Provincial Prosecutor of Ilocos Norte directing him to file his counter-affidavit and the affidavits of his witnesses as well as other supporting documents within ten (10) days from receipt thereof.[5] This petitioner did the following day, August 20, 1999. While the foregoing proceedings were ongoing, petitioner filed a petition for habeas corpus with the Court of Appeals docketed as CA-G.R. SP No 54416, alleging that: 1.] the order and warrant of arrest for which petitioner was detained is null and void for being issued by respondent judge who was disqualified by law from acting on the case by reason of his affinity to private respondent Thelma Benemerito; and 2.] the preliminary examination by respondent judge was so illegally and irregularly conducted as to oust the said judge of jurisdiction over the case. In a Decision dated November 18, 1999,[6] the appellate court granted the petition for habeas corpus and ordered the release of petitioner from detention subject to the outcome of the proper preliminary investigation. In granting the petition, the Court of Appeals reasoned, inter alia, that: I It is uncontroverted that respondent Judge is a relative within the third civil degree of affinity of private respondent Thelma Benemerito. Respondent judge is married to Susana Benemerito-Calvan, whose father is a brother of the victim. Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court disqualifies a judge from sitting in a case in which he is related to either party within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity. This disqualification is mandatory, unlike an inhibition which is discretionary. It extends to all proceedings, not just to the trial as erroneously contended by respondent judge. Even Canon 3.12 of the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a judge shall take no part in a proceeding where the judges impartiality might be reasonably questioned, as when he is related by consanguinity or affinity to a party litigant within the sixth degree. Due process likewise requires hearing before an impartial and disinterested tribunal so that no judge shall preside in a case in which he is not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent.[7] II The preliminary examination conducted by respondent Judge does not accord with the prevailing rules. He did

it under the old rules, where the preliminary investigation by the municipal judge has two stages: (1) the preliminary examination stage during which the investigating judge determines whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed and the accused is probably guilty thereof, so that a warrant of arrest may be issued and the accused held for trial; and (2) the preliminary investigation proper where the complaint or information is read to the accused after his arrest and he is informed of the substance of the evidence adduced against him, after which he is allowed to present evidence in his favor if he so desires. Presidential Decree 911 (further amending Sec. 1, R.A. 5180, as amended by P.D. 77) upon which the present rule is based, removed the preliminary examination stage and integrated it into the preliminary investigation proper. Now the proceedings consists of only one stage.[8] Respondent Judge did not conduct the requisite investigation prior to issuance of the arrest warrant. The Rules require an examination in writing under oath in the form of searching questions and answers.[9] The statements of witnesses were not sworn before him but before the Provincial Prosecutor. The purported transcript of stenographic notes do not bear the signature of the stenographer. Moreover, he did not complete the preliminary investigation. He claimed to have examined only the witnesses of the complainant. He issued a Resolution and forwarded the records to the Provincial Prosecutor without giving the accused (petitioner) an opportunity to submit counter-affidavits and supporting documents.[10] While it is true that the usual remedy to an irregular preliminary investigation is to ask for a new preliminary investigation, such normal remedy would not be adequate to free petitioner from the warrant of arrest which stemmed from that irregular investigation. The Provincial Prosecution has no power to recall the warrant of arrest. Meanwhile, after receipt of the records of the case from Judge Calvan as well as petitioner-accuseds counteraffidavits, the Ilocos Norte Provincial Prosecutor, instead of conducting a preliminary investigation of his own, merely forwarded the said records to the Ombudsman for the latter to conduct the same. It appears that petitioner was only apprised of the foregoing inaction on the case by the Provincial Prosecutor when he received on September 10, 1999 a Memorandum dated September 2, 1999,[11] filed by private respondents counsel, requesting that the case, I.S. No. 99-548, be remanded to Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary investigation and, thereafter, for the prosecution of the appropriate indictments before the Sandiganbayan.[12]

On January 27, 2000, petitioner received a notice from the Ombudsman directing him to file his counteraffidavits. Considering that petitioner had already submitted his counter-affidavits to the Ilocos Norte Provincial Prosecutor as far back as August 20, 1999, he found the directive superfluous and did not act on it. On May 25, 2000, Graft Investigation Officer II Cynthia V. Vivar issued a Resolution[13] recommending the filing of an Information for Murder against petitioner and four others[14] before the Sandiganbayan. The recommendation was approved by the Ombudsman on June 16, 2000.[15] It appears that petitioner belatedly received a copy of the foregoing Resolution of the graft investigation officer only on June 21, 2000, and because he was thus effectively prevented from seeking a reconsideration thereof, he then filed a Motion To Defer Issuance Of Warrant Of Arrest pending determination of probable cause dated June 22, 2000[16]. The motion was denied by Sandiganbayans Fourth Division in the challenged Resolution of July 13, 2000.[17] Owing to the urgency of the matter, petitioner opted to directly resort to this recourse eschewing the filing of a motion for reconsideration on the grounds that (A) THE SANDIGANBAYAN DENIED MAYOR SALES HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS WHEN IT RULED HIM TO HAVE NO STANDING TO OBJECT TO THE ISSUANCE OF A WARRANT FOR HIS ARREST SINCE HE HAS NOT SUBMITTED TO ITS CUSTODY. (B) THE SANDIGANBAYAN DENIED MAYOR SALES HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS WHEN IT ISSUED A WARRANT FOR HIS ARREST ON THE BASIS OF AN INCOMPLETE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION. (C) THE OMBUDSMAN DENIED MAYOR SALES HIS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS WHEN IT HURRIEDLY FILED AN INFORMATION FOR MURDER AGAINST HIM WITHOUT SCRUTINIZING, OR EVEN ONLY READING, ALL THE EVIDENCE BEFORE HIM AND WITHOUT CALLING FOR PRODUCTION OF THE CRITICAL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. (D) NOT ONLY DID THE SANDIGANBAYAN GRAVELY ABUSE ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT RELIED ON AN INCOMPLETE PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY THE OMBUDSMAN BUT IT FURTHER AGGRAVATED THIS GRAVE ABUSE WHEN IT OMITTED ALTOGETHER TO CONDUCT ITS OWN INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE OF PROBABLE CAUSE.

The primordial question to be resolved in this controversy is whether or not the Ombudsman followed the proper procedure in conducting a preliminary investigation and, corollarily, whether or not petitioner was afforded an opportunity to be heard and to submit controverting evidence. As this Court pointed out in Duterte v. Sandiganbayan,[18] [t]he purpose of a preliminary investigation or a previous inquiry of some kind, before an accused person is placed on trial, is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution and to protect him from an open and public accusation of a crime, from the trouble, expenses and anxiety of a public trial.[19] It is also intended to protect the state from having to conduct useless and expensive trials.[20] While the right is statutory rather than constitutional in its fundament, it is a component part of due process in criminal justice. The right to have a preliminary investigation conducted before being bound over to trial for a criminal offense and hence formally at risk of incarceration or some other penalty, is not a mere formal or technical right; it is a substantive right. To deny the accuseds claim to a preliminary investigation would be to deprive him of the full measure of his right to due process.[21] Although a preliminary investigation is not a trial and is not intended to usurp the function of the trial court, it is not a casual affair. The officer conducting the same investigates or inquires into the facts concerning the commission of the crime with the end in view of determining whether or not an information may be prepared against the accused. Indeed, preliminary investigation is in effect a realistic judicial appraisal of the merits of the case. Sufficient proof of the guilt of the accused must be adduced so that when the case is tried, the trial court may not be bound as a matter of law to order an acquittal. A preliminary investigation has been called a judicial inquiry. It is a judicial proceeding. An act becomes a judicial proceeding when there is an opportunity to be heard and for the production of and weighing of evidence, and a decision is rendered thereon.[22] The authority of a prosecutor or investigating officer duly empowered to preside or to conduct a preliminary investigation is no less than a municipal judge or even a regional trial court judge. While the investigating officer, strictly speaking, is not a judge by the nature of his functions, he is and must be considered to be a quasijudicial officer because a preliminary investigation is considered a judicial proceeding.[23] A preliminary investigation should therefore be scrupulously conducted so that the constitutional right to liberty of a potential accused can be protected from any material damage.[24]

Indeed, since a preliminary investigation is designed to screen cases for trial, only evidence may be considered. While even raw information may justify the initiation of an investigation, the stage of preliminary investigation can be held only after sufficient evidence has been gathered and evaluated warranting the eventual prosecution of the case in court.[25] In other words . . . it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it is a part of the guarantee of freedom and fair play which are the birthrights of all who live in our country. It is therefore imperative upon the fiscal or the judge, as the case may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reason.[26] Measured vis--vis the foregoing legal yardsticks, we hold that the proper procedure in the conduct of the preliminary investigation was not followed, for the following reasons: First, the records show that the supposed preliminary investigation was conducted in installments by at least three (3) different investigating officers, none of whom completed the preliminary investigation. There was not one continuous proceeding but rather a case of passing the buck, so to speak, the last one being the Ombudsman hurriedly throwing the buck to the Sandiganbayan. This practice of passing the buck by the Ombudsman to the Sandiganbayan was met with disapproval in Venus v. Desierto[27] where this Court speaking through then Associate Justice, now Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr., trenchantly said that: Upon a subsequent re-assessment of the evidence as a consequence of petitioners motion for reconsideration, another Special Prosecution Officer xxx found that petitioner had not violated Sec. 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended, he thus, recommended dismissal of the case for want of probable cause and the filing of the corresponding manifestation to inform the Sandiganbayan of the result of the motion for reconsideration. In this instance the Special Prosecutor himself concurred with the finding. However, the Ombudsman disapproved the recommendation as he

found that probable cause existed but opted to allow the court to find absence of bad faith. This marginal note of the Ombudsman simply meant that he believed that petitioner was in bad faith. However, good faith is always presumed and the Chapter on Human Relations of the Civil Code directs every person, inter alia, to observe good faith which, according to the Commission, springs from the foundation of good conscience. Therefore, he who charges another with bad faith must prove it. In this sense, the Ombudsman should have first determined the facts indicative of bad faith. On the basis alone of the finding and conclusion of Special Prosecution Officer III Victor Pascual, with which the Special Prosecutor concurred, there was no showing of bad faith on the part of petitioner. It was, therefore, error for the Ombudsman to pass the buck, so to speak, to the Sandiganbayan to find absence of bad faith. Second, the charge against herein petitioner is Murder, a non-bailable offense. The gravity of the offense alone, not to mention the fact that the principal accused is an incumbent mayor whose imprisonment during the pendency of the case would deprive his constituents of their duly-elected municipal executive, should have merited a deeper and more thorough preliminary investigation. The Ombudsman, however, did nothing of the sort and instead swallowed hook, line and sinker the resolution and recommendation of Graft Investigation Officer II Cynthia V. Vivar, among them the finding that, aside from the averment of respondent that the victim fired at him and he was only forced to fire back, no other evidence was adduced to indicate that such was what happened.[29] There are, however, four affidavits on record[30] which state in categorical terms that it was the victim who first fired at petitioner with his Armalite rifle and that petitioner merely returned fire. An Armalite rifle and empty shells were recovered from the scene of the incident by the PNP and impounded by it. According to the Physical Science Report No. C-147A-99,[31] some of the shells correspond to the Armalite rifle, thereby indicating that the firearm was fired. The Ombudsman, however, neither called for the production of the firearm and the empty shells, nor did he ask for the production of the ballistic and laboratory examinations of the bloodstains on the Armalite rifle despite the statement by the Provincial Fiscal of Ilocos Norte that these pieces of evidence were all available.[32] There are, furthermore, other dubious circumstances which should have prompted the Ombudsman to take a second, deeper look instead of adopting in toto the recommendation of GIO II Vivar. Among these is the matter of the two (2) different autopsies on the cadaver of the victim, one indicating that the victim sustained two (2) wounds only and the other showing that the victim

had three (3) wounds. The significance of this fact was not appreciated by the Ombudsman who likewise glossed over the adamant refusal of the private respondent to subject the cadaver of the victim to a paraffin test, despite the claims of the accuseds witnesses that the victim fired the Armalite rifle. Given the foregoing circumstances, the Ombudsman for all practical purposes did an even worse job than Judge Calvan for, by adopting in its entirety the findings of the investigating officer despite its obvious flaws, he actually did nothing at all and, in effect, threw everything to the Sandiganbayan for evaluation. This practice, as earlier stated, was not condoned in Venus v. Desierto, supra. Nor will it be in this case. Prosecutors are endowed with ample powers in order that they may properly fulfill their assigned role in the administration of justice. It should be realized, however, that when a man is haled to court on a criminal charge, it brings in its wake problems not only for the accused but for his family as well. Therefore, it behooves a prosecutor to weigh the evidence carefully and to deliberate thereon to determine the existence of a prima facie case before filing the information in court. Anything less would be a dereliction of duty.[33] Third, a person under preliminary investigation by the Ombudsman is entitled to file a motion for reconsideration of the adverse resolution. This right is provided for in the very Rules of Procedure of the Ombudsman,[34] which states: SEC. 7. Motion for Reconsideration. a) Only one motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation of an approved order or resolution shall be allowed, the same to be filed within fifteen (15) days from notice thereof with the Office of the Ombudsman or the Deputy Ombudsman as the case may be. b) No motion for reconsideration or reinvestigation shall be entertained after the information shall have been filed in court, except upon order of the court wherein the case was filed. (Emphasis supplied). The filing of a motion for reconsideration is an integral part of the preliminary investigation proper. There is no dispute that the Information was filed without first affording petitioner-accused his right to file a motion for reconsideration. The denial thereof is tantamount to a denial of the right itself to a preliminary investigation. This fact alone already renders preliminary investigation conducted in this case incomplete. The inevitable conclusion is that the petitioner was not only effectively denied the opportunity to file a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsmans final resolution but also deprived of his right to a full preliminary

investigation preparatory to information against him.[35]

the

filing

of

the

As stated earlier, it appears that petitioner belatedly received a copy of the May 25, 2000 Resolution of Graft Investigation Officer II Cynthia V. Vivar only on June 21, 2000. Because he was thus effectively precluded from seeking a reconsideration thereof, he then filed a Motion To Defer Issuance Of Warrant Of Arrest pending determination of probable cause.[36] The Sandiganbayan denied the motion in its challenged Resolution of July 13, 2000,[37] and forthwith ordered the issuance of the warrant of arrest against petitioner. Suffice it to state in this regard that such a deprivation of the right to a full preliminary investigation preparatory to the filing of the information warrants the remand of the case to the Ombudsman for the completion thereof.[38] Fourth, it was patent error for the Sandiganbayan to have relied purely on the Ombudsmans certification of probable cause given the prevailing facts of this case much more so in the face of the latters flawed report and one-sided factual findings. In the order of procedure for criminal cases, the task of determining probable cause for purposes of issuing a warrant of arrest is a responsibility which is exclusively reserved by the Constitution to judges.[39] People v. Inting[40] clearly delineated the features of this constitutional mandate, viz: 1.] The determination of probable cause is a function of the judge; it is not for the provincial fiscal or prosecutor to ascertain. Only the judge and the judge alone makes this determination; 2.] The preliminary inquiry made by a prosecutor does not bind the judge. It merely assists him in making the determination of probable cause. It is the report, the affidavits, the transcripts of stenographic notes, if any, and all other supporting documents behind the prosecutors certification which are material in assisting the judge in his determination of probable cause; and 3.] Judges and prosecutors alike should distinguish the preliminary inquiry which determines probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest from the preliminary investigation proper which ascertains whether the offender should be held for trial or be released. Even if the two inquiries be made in one and the same proceeding, there should be no confusion about their objectives. The determination of probable cause for purposes of issuing the warrant of arrest is made by the judge. The preliminary investigation proper whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that the accused is guilty of the offense charged and, therefore, whether or not he should be subjected to the expense, rigors and embarrassment of trial is the function of the prosecutor. Stated differently, while the task of conducting a preliminary investigation is assigned either to an inferior court magistrate or to a prosecutor,[41] only a judge may issue a warrant of arrest. When the preliminary

investigation is conducted by an investigating prosecutor, in this case the Ombudsman,[42] the determination of probable cause by the investigating prosecutor cannot serve as the sole basis for the issuance by the court of a warrant of arrest. This is because the court with whom the information is filed is tasked to make its own independent determination of probable cause for the issuance of the warrant of arrest. Indeed . . . the Judge cannot ignore the clear words of the 1987 Constitution which requires . . . probable cause to be personally determined by the judge . . . not by any other officer or person. The extent of the Judges personal examination of the report and its annexes depends on the circumstances of each case. We cannot determine beforehand how cursory or exhaustive the Judges examination should be. The Judge has to exercise sound discretion for, after all, the personal determination is vested in the Judge by the Constitution. It can be brief or as detailed as the circumstances of each case may require. To be sure, the Judge must go beyond the Prosecutors certification and investigation report whenever necessary. He should call for the complainant and witnesses themselves to answer the courts probing questions when the circumstances so require. We reiterate that in making the required personal determination, a Judge is not precluded from relying on the evidence earlier gathered by responsible officers. The extent of the reliance depends on the circumstances of each case and is subject to the Judges sound discretion. However, the Judge abuses that discretion when having no evidence before him, he issues a warrant of arrest. Indubitably, the respondent Judge committed a grave error when he relied solely on the Prosecutors certification and issued the questioned Order dated July 5, 1990 without having before him any other basis for his personal determination of the existence of probable cause.[43] All told, the Court cannot accept the Sandiganbayans assertions of having found probable cause on its own, considering the Ombudsmans defective report and findings, which merely relied on the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution and disregarded the evidence for the defense.[44] In Roberts v. CA,[45] the trial judge was chastised by the Court for issuing a warrant of arrest without even reviewing the records of the preliminary investigation which were then still with the Department of Justice. In the case at bar, it cannot be said that the Sandiganbayan reviewed all the records forwarded to it by the Ombudsman considering the fact that the preliminary investigation which was incomplete escaped its notice.

What the Sandiganbayan should have done, faced with such a slew of conflicting evidence from the contending parties, was to take careful note of the contradictions in the testimonies of the complainants witnesses as well as the improbabilities in the prosecution evidence.[46] Certainly . . . probable cause may not be established simply by showing that a trial judge subjectively believes that he has good grounds for his action. Good faith is not enough. If subjective good faith alone were the test, the constitutional protection would be demeaned and the people would be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects only in the fallible discretion of the judge.[47] On the contrary, the probable cause test is an objective one, for in order that there be probable cause the facts and circumstances must be such as would warrant a belief by a reasonably discreet and prudent man that the accused is guilty of the crime which has just been committed.[48] This, as we said is the standard. xxx The sovereign power has the inherent right to protect itself and its people from the vicious acts which endanger the proper administration of justice; hence the State has every right to prosecute and punish violators of the law. This is essential for its self-preservation, nay its very existence. But this does not confer a license for pointless assaults on its citizens. The right of the State to prosecute is not a carte blanche for government agents to defy and disregard the rights of its citizens under the Constitution. Confinement, regardless of duration, is too a high a price to pay for reckless and impulsive prosecution. x x x The purpose of the Bill of Rights is to protect the people against arbitrary and discriminatory use of political power. This bundle of rights guarantees the preservation of our natural rights which include personal liberty and security against invasion by the government or any of its branches or instrumentalities. Certainly, in the hierarchy of rights, the Bill of Rights takes precedence over the right of the State to prosecute, and when weighed against each other, the scales of justice tilt towards the former. Thus, relief may be availed of to stop the purported enforcement of criminal law where it is necessary to provide for an orderly administration of justice, to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive manner, and to afford adequate protection to constitutional rights.[49] In this case, the undue haste in filing of the information against petitioner cannot be ignored. From the gathering of evidence until the termination of the preliminary investigation, it appears that the state prosecutors were overly-eager to file the case and to secure a warrant of arrest of petitioner without bail and his consequent detention. There can be no gainsaying the fact that the task of ridding society of criminals and misfits and

sending them to jail in the hope that they will in the future reform and be productive members of the community rests both on the judiciousness of judges and the prudence of the prosecutors. There is however, a standard in the determination of the existence of probable cause. The determination has not measured up to that standard this case. WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered: 1.] SETTING ASIDE the Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan dated July 13, 2000 and the Resolution of Graft Investigation Officer II Cynthia V. Vivar dated May 25, 2000 in Criminal Case No. 26115; 2.] Ordering the Sandiganbayan to QUASH the warrant of arrest it issued against petitioner; 3.] REMANDING the case to the Ombudsman for completion of the preliminary investigation.

JOVITO R. SALONGA, petitioner, vs. HON. ERNANI CRUZ PAO, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal Branch XVIII (Quezon City), HON. JUDGE RODOLFO ORTIZ, Presiding Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXI (Quezon City) CITY FISCAL SERGIO APOSTOL of Quezon City; COL. BALBINO DIEGO and COL. ROMAN MADELLA, respondents. The petitioner invokes the constitutionally protected right to life and liberty guaranteed by the due process clause, alleging that no prima facie case has been established to warrant the filing of an information for subversion against him. Petitioner asks this Court to prohibit and prevent the respondents from using the iron arm of the law to harass, oppress, and persecute him, a member of the democratic opposition in the Philippines. The background of this case is a matter of public knowledge. A rash of bombings occurred in the Metro Manila area in the months of August, September and October of 1980. On September 6, 1980, one Victor Burns Lovely, Jr., a Philippine-born American citizen from Los Angeles, California, almost killed himself and injured his younger brother, Romeo, as a result of the explosion of a small bomb inside his room at the YMCA building in Manila. Found in Lovely's possession by police and military authorities were several pictures taken sometime in May, 1980 at the birthday party of former Congressman Raul Daza held at the latter's residence in a Los Angeles suburb. Petitioner Jovito R. Salonga and his wife were

among those whose likenesses appeared in the group pictures together with other guests, including Lovely. As a result of the serious injuries he suffered, Lovely was brought by military and police authorities to the AFP Medical Center (V. Luna Hospital) where he was placed in the custody and detention of Col. Roman P. Madella, under the over-all direction of General Fabian Ver, head of the National Intelligence and Security Authority (NISA). Shortly afterwards, Mr. Lovely and his two brothers, Romeo and Baltazar Lovely were charged with subversion, illegal possession of explosives, and damage to property. On September 12, 1980, bombs once again exploded in Metro Manila including one which resulted in the death of an American lady who was shopping at Rustan's Supermarket in Makati and others which caused injuries to a number of persons. On September 20, 1980, the President's anniversary television radio press conference was broadcast. The younger brother of Victor Lovely, Romeo, was presented during the conference. In his interview, Romeo stated that he had driven his elder brother, Victor, to the petitioner's house in Greenhills on two occasions. The first time was on August 20, 1980. Romeo stated that Victor did not bring any bag with him on that day when he went to the petitioner's residence and did not carry a bag when he left. The second time was in the afternoon of August 31, 1980 when he brought Victor only to the gate of the petitioner's house. Romeo did not enter the petitioner's residence. Neither did he return that day to pick up his brother. The next day, newspapers came out with almost Identical headlines stating in effect that petitioner had been linked to the various bombings in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, on September 25, 1980, Lovely was taken out of the hospital's intensive care unit and transferred to the office of Col. Madella where he was held incommunicado for some time. On the night of October 4, 1980, more bombs were reported to have exploded at three big hotels in Metro Manila, namely: Philippine Plaza, Century Park Sheraton and Manila Peninsula. The bombs injured nine people. A meeting of the General Military Council was called for October 6, 1980. On October 19, 1980, minutes after the President had finished delivering his speech before the International Conference of the American Society of Travel Agents at the Philippine International Convention Center, a small bomb exploded. Within the next twenty-four hours, arrest, search, and seizure orders (ASSOs) were issued against persons who were apparently implicated by

Victor Lovely in the series of bombings in Metro Manila. One of them was herein petitioner. Victor Lovely offered himself to be a "state witness" and in his letter to the President, he stated that he will reveal everything he knows about the bombings. On October 21, 1980, elements of the military went to the hospital room of the petitioner at the Manila Medical Center where he was confined due to his recurrent and chronic ailment of bronchial asthma and placed him under arrest. The arresting officer showed the petitioner the ASSO form which however did not specify the charge or charges against him. For some time, the petitioner's lawyers were not permitted to visit him in his hospital room until this Court in the case of Ordoez v. Gen. Fabian Ver, et al., (G.R. No. 55345, October 28, 1980) issued an order directing that the petitioner's right to be visited by counsel be respected. On November 2, 1980, the petitioner was transferred against his objections from his hospital arrest to an isolation room without windows in an army prison camp at Fort Bonifacio, Makati. The petitioner states that he was not informed why he was transferred and detained, nor was he ever investigated or questioned by any military or civil authority. Subsequently, on November 27, 1980, the petitioner was released for humanitarian reasons from military custody and placed "under house arrest in the custody of Mrs. Lydia Salonga" still without the benefit of any investigation or charges. On December 10, 1980, the Judge Advocate General sent the petitioner a "Notice of Preliminary Investigation" in People v. Benigno Aquino, Jr., et al. (which included petitioner as a co-accused), stating that "the preliminary investigation of the above-entitled case has been set at 2:30 o'clock p.m. on December 12, 1980" and that petitioner was given ten (10) days from receipt of the charge sheet and the supporting evidence within which to file his counter-evidence. The petitioner states that up to the time martial law was lifted on January 17, 1981, and despite assurance to the contrary, he has not received any copies of the charges against him nor any copies of the so-called supporting evidence. On February 9, 1981, the records of the case were turned over by the Judge Advocate General's Office to the Ministry of Justice. On February 24, 1981, the respondent City Fiscal filed a complaint accusing petitioner, among others of having violated Republic Act No. 1700, as amended by P.D. 885 and Batas Pambansa Blg. 31 in relation to Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code. The inquest court set the preliminary investigation for March 17, 1981.

On March 6, 1981, the petitioner was allowed to leave the country to attend a series of church conferences and undergo comprehensive medical examinations of the heart, stomach, liver, eye and ear including a possible removal of his left eye to save his right eye. Petitioner Salonga almost died as one of the principal victims of the dastardly bombing of a Liberal Party rally at Plaza Miranda on August 20, 1971. Since then, he has suffered serious disabilities. The petitioner was riddled with shrapnel and pieces still remain in various parts of his body. He has an AV fistula caused by a piece of shrapnel lodged one millimeter from his aorta. The petitioner has limited use of his one remaining hand and arms, is completely blind and physical in the left eye, and has scar like formations in the remaining right eye. He is totally deaf in the right ear and partially deaf in the left ear. The petitioner's physical ailments led him to seek treatment abroad. On or around March 26, 1981, the counsel for petitioner was furnished a copy of an amended complaint signed by Gen. Prospero Olivas, dated March 12, 1981, charging the petitioner, along with 39 other accused with the violation of R.A. 1700, as amended by P.D. 885, Batas Pambansa Blg. 31 and P.D. 1736. Hearings for preliminary investigation were conducted. The prosecution presented as its witnesses Ambassador Armando Fernandez, the Consul General of the Philippines in Los Angeles, California, Col. Balbino Diego, PSC/NISA Chief, Investigation and Legal Panel of the Presidential Security Command and Victor Lovely himself. On October 15, 1981, the counsel for petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the charges against petitioner for failure of the prosecution to establish a prima facie case against him. On December 2, 1981, the respondent judge denied the motion. On January 4, 1982, he issued a resolution ordering the filing of an information for violation of the Revised Anti-Subversion Act, as amended, against forty (40) people, including herein petitioner. The resolutions of the respondent judge dated December 2, 1981 and January 4, 1982 are now the subject of the petition. It is the contention of the petitioner that no prima facie case has been established by the prosecution to justify the filing of an information against him. He states that to sanction his further prosecution despite the lack of evidence against him would be to admit that no rule of law exists in the Philippines today. After a painstaking review of the records, this Court finds the evidence offered by the prosecution utterly insufficient to establish a prima facie case against the petitioner. We grant the petition.

However, before going into the merits of the case, we shall pass upon a procedural issue raised by the respondents. The respondents call for adherence to the consistent rule that the denial of a motion to quash or to dismiss, being interlocutory in character, cannot be questioned by certiorari; that since the question of dismissal will again be considered by the court when it decides the case, the movant has a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law; and that public interest dictates that criminal prosecutions should not be enjoined. The general rule is correctly stated. However, the respondents fail to appreciate or take into account certain exceptions when a petition for certiorari is clearly warranted. The case at bar is one such exception. In the case of Mead v. Angel (115 SCRA 256) the same contentions were advanced by the respondents to wit: ... Respondents advert to the rule that when a motion to quash filed by an accused in a criminal case shall be denied, the remedy of the accused-movant is not to file a petition for certiorari or mandamus or prohibition, the proper recourse being to go to trial, without prejudice to his right to reiterate the grounds invoked in his motion to quash if an adverse judgment is rendered against him, in the appeal that he may take therefrom in the manner authorized by law. (Mill v. People, et al., 101 Phil. 599; Echarol v. Purisima, et al., 13 SCRA 309.) On this argument, we ruled: There is no disputing the validity and wisdom of the rule invoked by the respondents. However, it is also recognized that, under certain situations, recourse to the extraordinary legal remedies of certiorari, prohibition or mandamus to question the denial of a motion to quash is considered proper in the interest of "more enlightened and substantial justice", as was so declared in "Yap v. Lutero, G.R. No. L-12669, April 30, 1969." Infinitely more important than conventional adherence to general rules of criminal procedure is respect for the citizen's right to be free not only from arbitrary arrest and punishment but also from unwarranted and vexatious prosecution. The integrity of a democratic society is corrupted if a person is carelessly included in the trial of around forty persons when on the very face of the record no evidence linking him to the alleged conspiracy exists. Ex-Senator Jovito Salonga, himself a victim of the still unresolved and heinous Plaza Miranda bombings, was arrested at the Manila Medical Center while hospitalized for bronchial asthma. When arrested, he was not informed of the nature of the charges against him. Neither was counsel allowed to talk to him until this Court intervened through the issuance of an order

directing that his lawyers be permitted to visit him (Ordonez v. Gen. Fabian Ver, et al., G.R. No. 55345, October 28, 1980). Only after four months of detention was the petitioner informed for the first time of the nature of the charges against him. After the preliminary investigation, the petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint but the same was denied. Subsequently, the respondent judge issued a resolution ordering the filing of an information after finding that a prima facie case had been established against an of the forty persons accused. In the light of the failure to show prima facie that the petitioner was probably guilty of conspiring to commit the crime, the initial disregard of petitioner's constitutional rights together with the massive and damaging publicity made against him, justifies the favorable consideration of this petition by this Court. With former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. now deceased, there are at least 38 other coaccused to be tried with the petitioner. The prosecution must present proof beyond reasonable doubt against each and every one of the 39 accused, most of whom have varying participations in the charge for subversion. The prosecution's star witness Victor Lovely and the only source of information with regard to the alleged link between the petitioner and the series of terrorist bombings is now in the United States. There is reason to believe the petitioner's citation of international news dispatches * that the prosecution may find it difficult if not infeasible to bring him back to the Philippines to testify against the petitioner. If Lovely refused to testify before an American federal grand jury how could he possibly be made to testify when the charges against the respondent come up in the course of the trial against the 39 accused. Considering the foregoing, we find it in the interest of justice to resolve at this stage the issue of whether or not the respondent judge gravely abused his discretion in issuing the questioned resolutions. The respondents contend that the prosecution will introduce additional evidence during the trial and if the evidence, by then, is not sufficient to prove the petitioner's guilt, he would anyway be acquitted. Yes, but under the circumstances of this case, at what cost not only to the petitioner but to the basic fabric of our criminal justice system? The term "prima facie evidence" denotes evidence which, if unexplained or uncontradicted, is sufficient to sustain the proposition it supports or to establish the facts, or to counter-balance the presumption of innocence to warrant a conviction. The question raised before us now is: Were the evidences against the petitioner uncontradicted and if they were unexplained or uncontradicted, would they, standing alone, sufficiently overcome the presumption of innocence and warrant his conviction? We do not think so.

The records reveal that in finding a case against the petitioner, the respondent judge relied only on the testimonies of Col. Balbino Diego and Victor Lovely. Ambassador Armando Fernandez, when called upon to testify on subversive organizations in the United States nowhere mentioned the petitioner as an organizer, officer or member of the Movement for Free Philippines (MFP), or any of the organizations mentioned in the complaint. Col. Diego, on the other hand, when asked what evidence he was able to gather against the petitioner depended only on the statement of Lovely "that it was the residence of ex-Senator Salonga where they met together with Renato Taada, one of the brains of the bombing conspiracy ... and the fact that Sen. Salonga has been meeting with several subversive personnel based in the U.S.A. was also revealed to me by Victor Burns Lovely; 11 and on the group pictures taken at former Congressman Raul Daza's birthday party. In concluding that a conspiracy exists to overthrow by violent means the government of the Philippines in the United States, his only bases were "documentary as well as physical and sworn statements that were referred to me or taken by me personally," which of course negate personal knowledge on his part. When asked by the court how he would categorize petitioner in any of the subversive organizations, whether petitioner was an organizer, officer or a member, the witness replied: A. To categorize former Senator Salonga if he were an organizer, he is an officer or he is a member, your Honor, please, we have to consider the surrounding circumstances and on his involvement: first, Senator Salonga wanted always to travel to the United States at least once a year or more often under the pretext of to undergo some sort of operation and participate in some sort of seminar. (t.s.n., April 21, 1981, pp- 14-15) Such testimony, being based on affidavits of other persons and purely hearsay, can hardly qualify as prima facie evidence of subversion. It should not have been given credence by the court in the first place. Hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, -has no probative value as the affiant could not have been cross-examined on the facts stated therein. (See People v. Labinia, 115 SCRA 223; People v. Valero, 112 SCRA 661). Moreover, as Victor Lovely, himself, was personally examined by the court, there was no need for the testimony of Col. Diego. Thus, the inquest judge should have confined his investigation to Victor Burns Lovely, the sole witness whose testimony had apparently implicated petitioner in the bombings which eventually led to the filing of the information. Lovely's account of the petitioner's involvement with the former's bombing mission is found in his sworn statement made before Col. Diego and Lt. Col. Madella and taken on October 17, 1980 at the AFP Medical Center. Lovely was not presented as a prosecution or state witness but only as a defense witness for his two

younger brothers, Romeo and Baltazar, who were both included in the complaint but who were later dropped from the information. Victor Lovely was examined by his counsel and cross-examined by the fiscal. In the process, he Identified the statement which he made before Col. Diego and Lt. Col. Madella. After Lovely's testimony, the prosecution made a manifestation before the court that it was adopting Lovely as a prosecution witness. However, in his interview with Mr. Ronnie Nathanielz which was aired on Channel 4 on November 8, 1980 and which was also offered as evidence by the accused, Lovely gave a different story which negates the above testimony insofar as the petitioner's participation was concerned: During the cross-examination, counsel for petitioner asked Lovely about the so-called destabilization plan which the latter mentioned in his sworn statement: Counsel for petitioner also asked Lovely whether in view of the latter's awareness of the physical condition of petitioner, he really implicated petitioner in any of the bombings that occurred in Metro Manila. The fiscal objected without stating any ground. Apparently, the respondent judge wanted to put things in proper perspective by limiting the petitioner's alleged "participation" in the bombing mission only to the fact that petitioner's house was used as a "contact point" between Lovely and Taada, which was all that Lovely really stated in his testimony. However, in the questioned resolution dated December 2, 1981, the respondent judge suddenly included the "activities" of petitioner in the United States as his basis for denying the motion to dismiss: The jump from the "contact point" theory to the conclusion of involvement in subversive activities in the United States is not only inexplicable but without foundation. The respondents admit that no evidence was presented directly linking petitioner Salonga to actual acts of violence or terrorism. There is no proof of his direct participation in any overt acts of subversion. However, he is tagged as a leader of subversive organizations for two reasons(1) Because his house was used as a "contactpoint"; and (2) Because "he mentioned some kind of violent struggle in the Philippines being most likely should reforms be not instituted by President Marcos immediately."

The "contact point" theory or what the petitioner calls the guilt by visit or guilt by association" theory is too tenuous a basis to conclude that Senator Salonga was a leader or mastermind of the bombing incidents. To indict a person simply because some plotters, masquerading as visitors, have somehow met in his house or office would be to establish a dangerous precedent. The right of citizens to be secure against abuse of governmental processes in criminal prosecutions would be seriously undermined. The testimony of Victor Lovely against petitioner Salonga is full of inconsistencies. Senator Salonga and Atty. Renato Taada could not have whispered to one another because the petitioner is almost totally deaf. Lovely could not have met Senator Salonga at a Manglapus party in Washington, D.C. in 1977 because the petitioner left for the United States only on November, 1978. Senator Salonga denies having known Mr. Lovely in the United States or in the Philippines. He states that he has hundred of visitors from week to week in his residence but cannot recall any Victor Lovely. The presence of Lovely in a group picture taken at Mr. Raul Daza's birthday party in Los Angeles where Senator Salonga was a guest is not proof of conspiracy. As stated by the petitioner, in his many years in the turbulent world of politics, he has posed with all kinds of people in various groups and various places and could not possibly vouch for their conduct. Commenting on the matter, newspaper columnist Teodoro Valencia stated that Filipinos love to pose with important visitors and the picture proves nothing. It is likewise probable that a national figure and former politician of Senator Salonga's stature can expect guests and visitors of all kinds to be visiting his home or office. If a rebel or subversive happens to pose with the petitioner for a group picture at a birthday party abroad, or even visit him with others in his home, the petitioner does not thereby become a rebel or subversive, much less a leader of a subversive group. More credible and stronger evidence is necessary for an indictment. Nonetheless, even if we discount the flaws in Lovely's testimony and dismiss the refutations and arguments of the petitioner, the prosecution evidence is still inadequate to establish a prima facie finding. The prosecution has not come up with even a single iota of evidence which could positively link the petitioner to any proscribed activities of the Movement for Free Philippines or any subversive organization mentioned in the complaint. Lovely had already testified that during the party of former Congressman Raul Daza which was alleged to have been attended by a number of members of the MFP, no political action was taken but only political discussion. Furthermore, the alleged opinion of the petitioner about the likelihood of a violent struggle here in the Philippines if reforms are not instituted,

assuming that he really stated the same, is nothing but a legitimate exercise of freedom of thought and expression. No man deserves punishment for his thoughts. Cogitationis poenam memo meretur. And as the late Justice Oliver W. Holmes stated in the case of U.S. v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644, " ... if there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate." We have adopted the concept that freedom of expression is a "preferred" right and, therefore, stands on a higher level than substantive economic or other liberties. The primacy, the high estate accorded freedom of expression is a fundamental postulate of our constitutional system. (Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 29 SCRA 835). As explained by Justice Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut (302 U.S. 319) this must be so because the lessons of history, both political and legal, illustrate that freedom of thought and speech is the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom. Protection is especially mandated for political discussions. This Court is particularly concerned when allegations are made that restraints have been imposed upon mere criticisms of government and public officials. Political discussion is essential to the ascertainment of political truth. It cannot be the basis of criminal indictments. The United States Supreme Court in Noto v. United States (367 U.S. 290) distinguished between the abstract teaching of the moral propriety or even moral necessity for a resort to force and violence and speech which would prepare a group for violent action and steel it to such action. In Watts v. United States (394 U.S. 705), the American court distinguished between criminal threats and constitutionally protected speech. In the case before us, there is no teaching of the moral propriety of a resort to violence, much less an advocacy of force or a conspiracy to organize the use of force against the duly constituted authorities. The alleged remark about the likelihood of violent struggle unless reforms are instituted is not a threat against the government. Nor is it even the uninhibited, robust, caustic, or unpleasantly sharp attack which is protected by the guarantee of free speech. Parenthetically, the American case of Brandenburg v. Ohio (395 U.S. 444) states that the constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit a State to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. The words which petitioner allegedly used according to the best recollections of Mr. Lovely are light years away from such type of proscribed advocacy.

Political discussion even among those opposed to the present administration is within the protective clause of freedom of speech and expression. The same cannot be construed as subversive activities per se or as evidence of membership in a subversive organization. Under Presidential Decree No. 885, Section 3, paragraph 6, political discussion will only constitute prima facie evidence of membership in a subversive organization if such discussion amounts to: (6) Conferring with officers or other members of such association or organization in furtherance of any plan or enterprise thereof. As stated earlier, the prosecution has failed to produce evidence that would establish any link between petitioner and any subversive organization. Even if we lend credence to Lovely's testimony that a political discussion took place at Daza's birthday party, no proof whatsoever was adduced that such discussion was in furtherance of any plan to overthrow the government through illegal means. The alleged opinion that violent struggle is likely unless reforms are instituted by no means shows either advocacy of or incitement to violence or furtherance of the objectives of a subversive organization. Lovely also declared that he had nothing to do with the bombing on August 22, 1980, which was the only bombing incident that occurred after his arrival in Manila on August 20, and before the YMCA explosion on September 6, 1980. Such a statement wholly negates any politically motivated or subversive assignment which Lovely was supposed to have been commissioned to perform upon the orders of his co- accused and which was the very reason why they answer charged in the first place. The respondent judge also asked Lovely about the possible relation between Cabarrus and petitioner: It should be noted that after Lovely's testimony, the prosecution manifested to the court that it was adopting him as a prosecution witness. Therefore, the prosecution became irreversively bound by Lovely's disclaimers on the witness stand, that it was not his intention "to do some kind of bombing against the government" and that he "did not try to implicate Salonga", especially since Lovely is the sole witness adopted by the prosecution who could supposedly establish the link between the petitioner and the bombing incidents. The respondent court should have taken these factors into consideration before concluding that a prima facie case exists against the petitioner. Evidence must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible in itself such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. (People v. Dayad, 56

SCRA 439). In the case at bar, the prosecution cannot even present a credible version of the petitioner's role in the bombings even if it ignores the subsequent disclaimers of Lovely and without relying on mere affidavits including those made by Lovely during his detention. The resolution dated January 4, 1982 suffers from the same defect. In this resolution, Lovely's previous declarations about the bombings as part of the alleged destabilization plan and the people behind the same were accorded such credibility by the respondent judge as if they had already been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to secure the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect him from an open and public accusation of crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public trial, and also to protect the state from useless and expensive trials. (Trocio v. Manta, 118 SCRA 241; citing Hashim v. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216). The right to a preliminary investigation is a statutory grant, and to withhold it would be to transgress constitutional due process. (See People v. Oandasa, 25 SCRA 277) However, in order to satisfy the due process clause it is not enough that the preliminary investigation is conducted in the sense of making sure that a transgressor shall not escape with impunity. A preliminary investigation serves not only the purposes of the State. More important, it is a part of the guarantees of freedom and fair play which are birthrights of all who live in our country. It is, therefore, imperative upon the fiscal or the judge as the case may be, to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused. Although there is no general formula or fixed rule for the determination of probable cause since the same must be decided in the light of the conditions obtaining in given situations and its existence depends to a large degree upon the finding or opinion of the judge conducting the examination, such a finding should not disregard the facts before the judge nor run counter to the clear dictates of reasons (See La Chemise Lacoste, S.A. v. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 391). The judge or fiscal, therefore, should not go on with the prosecution in the hope that some credible evidence might later turn up during trial for this would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold. It bears repeating that the judiciary lives up to its mission by vitalizing and not denigrating constitutional rights. So it has been before. It should continue to be so. Mercado v. Court of First Instance of Rizal, 116 SCRA 93). The Court had already deliberated on this case, a consensus on the Court's judgment had been arrived at, and a draft ponencia was circulating for concurrences

and separate opinions, if any, when on January 18, 1985, respondent Judge Rodolfo Ortiz granted the motion of respondent City Fiscal Sergio Apostol to drop the subversion case against the petitioner. Pursuant to instructions of the Minister of Justice, the prosecution restudied its evidence and decided to seek the exclusion of petitioner Jovito Salonga as one of the accused in the information filed under the questioned resolution. We were constrained by this action of the prosecution and the respondent Judge to withdraw the draft ponencia from circulating for concurrences and signatures and to place it once again in the Court's crowded agenda for further deliberations. Insofar as the absence of a prima facie case to warrant the filing of subversion charges is concerned, this decision has been rendered moot and academic by the action of the prosecution. Respondent Fiscal Sergio Apostol correctly points out, however, that he is not precluded from filing new charges for the same acts because the petitioner has not been arraigned and double jeopardy does not apply. in that sense, the case is not completely academic. Recent developments in this case serve to focus attention on a not too well known aspect of the Supreme Court's functions. The setting aside or declaring void, in proper cases, of intrusions of State authority into areas reserved by the Bill of Rights for the individual as constitutionally protected spheres where even the awesome powers of Government may not enter at will is not the totality of the Court's functions. The Court also has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional principles, precepts, doctrines, or rules. It has the symbolic function of educating bench and bar on the extent of protection given by constitutional guarantees. In dela Camara v. Enage (41 SCRA 1), the petitioner who questioned a P1,195,200.00 bail bond as excessive and, therefore, constitutionally void, escaped from the provincial jail while his petition was pending. The petition became moot because of his escape but we nonetheless rendered a decision and stated: The fact that the case is moot and academic should not preclude this Tribunal from setting forth in language clear and unmistakable, the obligation of fidelity on the part of lower court judges to the unequivocal command of the Constitution that excessive bail shall not be required.

In Gonzales v. Marcos (65 SCRA 624) whether or not the Cultural Center of the Philippines could validly be created through an executive order was mooted by Presidential Decree No. 15, the Center's new charter pursuant to the President's legislative powers under martial law. Stan, this Court discussed the constitutional mandate on the preservation and development of Filipino culture for national Identity. (Article XV, Section 9, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution). In the habeas corpus case of Aquino, Jr., v. Enrile, 59 SCRA 183), during the pendency of the case, 26 petitioners were released from custody and one withdrew his petition. The sole remaining petitioner was facing charges of murder, subversion, and illegal possession of firearms. The fact that the petition was moot and academic did not prevent this Court in the exercise of its symbolic function from promulgating one of the most voluminous decisions ever printed in the Reports. In this case, the respondents agree with our earlier finding that the prosecution evidence miserably fails to establish a prima facie case against the petitioner, either as a co-conspirator of a destabilization plan to overthrow the government or as an officer or leader of any subversive organization. They have taken the initiative of dropping the charges against the petitioner. We reiterate the rule, however, that this Court will not validate the filing of information based on the kind of evidence against the petitioner found in the records. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for having become moot and academic.

forward his appeal to this Court for the reason that he was raising purely questions of law. The indictment in the court below the third amended information upon which the judgment of conviction herein challenged was rendered, was for qualified theft of a motor vehicle, one (1) Thunderbird car, Motor No. H9YH-143003, with Plate No. H-16648 Pasay City '62 together with its accessories worth P22,200.00. Accused were the following: Petitioner herein, Roger Chavez, Ricardo Sumilang alias "Romeo Vasquez", Edgardo P. Pascual alias "Ging" Pascual, Pedro Rebullo alias "Pita", Luis Asistio alias "Baby" Asistio, Lorenzo Meneses alias "Lory" Meneses, Peter Doe, Charlie Doe and Paul Doe.2 Averred in the aforesaid information was that on or about the 14th day of November, 1962, in Quezon City, the accused conspired, with intent of gain, abuse of confidence and without the consent of the owner thereof, Dy Sun Hiok y Lim, in asporting the motor vehicle above-described. Upon arraignment, all the accused, except the three Does who have not been identified nor apprehended, pleaded not guilty.1wph1.t On July 23, 1963, trial commenced before the judge presiding Branch IX of the Court of First Instance of Rizal in Quezon City. Came the judgment of February 1, 1965. The version of the prosecution as found by the court below may be briefly narrated as follows: A few days before November 12, 1962, Roger Chavez saw Johnson Lee, a Chinese, driving a Thunderbird car. With Ricardo Sumilang (movie actor Romeo Vasquez) in mind, whom he knew was in the market for such a car, Chavez asked Lee whether his car was for sale. Lee answered affirmatively and left his address with Chavez. Then, on November 12, Chavez met Sumilang at a barbershop informed him about the Thunderbird. But Sumilang said that he had changed his mind about buying a new car. Instead, he told Chavez that he wanted to mortgage his Buick car for P10,000.00 to cover an indebtedness in Pasay City. Upon the suggestion of Chavez, they went to see Luis Asistio,

ROGER CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and THE WARDEN OF THE CITY JAIL OF MANILA, respondents. The thrust of petitioner's case presented in his original and supplementary petitions invoking jurisdiction of this Court is that he is entitled, on habeas corpus, to be freed from imprisonment upon the ground that in the trial which resulted in his conviction1 he was denied his constitutional right not to be compelled to testify against himself. There is his prayer, too, that, should he fail in this, he be granted the alternative remedies of certiorari to strike down the two resolutions of the Court of Appeals dismissing his appeal for failure to file brief, and of mandamus to direct the said court to

who he knew was lending money on car mortgages and who, on one occasion, already lent Romeo Vasquez P3,000.00 on the same Buick car. Asistio however told the two that he had a better idea on how to raise the money. His plan was to capitalize on Romeo Vasquez' reputation as a wealthy movie star, introduce him as a buyer to someone who was selling a car and, after the deed of sale is signed, by trickery to run away with the car. Asistio would then register it, sell it to a third person for a profit. Chavez known to be a car agent was included in the plan. He furnished the name of Johnson Lee who was selling his Thunderbird. 1wph1.t In the morning of November 14, Chavez telephoned Johnson Lee and arranged for an appointment. Sometime in the afternoon. Chavez and Sumilang met Lee in his Thunderbird on Highway 54. Sumilang was introduced as the interested buyer. Sumilang's driver inspected the car, took the wheel for a while. After Sumilang and Lee agreed on the purchase price (P21.000.00), they went to Binondo to Johnson Lee's cousin, Dy Sun Hiok, in whose name the car was registered. Thereafter, they went to see a lawyer notary public in Quezon City, known to Chavez for the drafting of the deed of sale. After the deed of sale was drawn up, it was signed by Sumilang as the vendee, Dy Sun Hiok the vendor, and Sumilang's driver and Johnson Lee the witnesses thereto. As payment was to be made at Eugene's restaurant in Quezon City, all of them then drove in the Thunderbird car to that place. The deed of sale and other papers remained in the pockets of Johnson Lee. At Eugene's, a man approached Sumilang with a note which stated that the money was ready at the Dalisay Theater. Sumilang then wrote on the same note that the money should be brought to the restaurant. At the same time he requested Lee to exhibit the deed of sale of the car to the note bearer.4 Then, the two Chinese were left alone in the restaurant. For Sumilang, who had left the table to pose for pictures with some fans and come back, again left never to return. So did Chavez, who disappeared after he left on the pretext of buying

cigarettes. The two Chinese could not locate Sumilang and Chavez. They went out to the place where the Thunderbird was parked, found that it was gone. They then immediately reported its loss to the police. Much later, the NBI recovered the already repainted car and impounded it. Right after the meeting at Eugene's, Chavez, Sumilang and Asistio converged that same day at Barrio Fiesta, a restaurant at Highway 54 near the Balintawak monument in Caloocan. There, Asistio handed to Sumilang P1,000.00 cash and a golf set worth P800.00 as the latter's share in the transaction. On the 14th of November, the registration of the car was transferred in the name of Sumilang in Cavite City, and three days later, in the name of Asistio in Caloocan. From the court's decision, Ricardo Sumilang's version, corroborated in part by Asistio, may be condensed as follows: In the last week of September, 1962, Sumilang saw Roger Chavez at a gas station. The latter informed him that there was a Thunderbird from Clark Field for sale for a price between P20,000.00 and P22,000.00. Chavez said that it could be held for him with a down payment of P10,000.00. To raise this sum, Sumilang and Chavez, on October 1, went to the house of a certain Nena Hernaez de los Reyes who wrote out a check for P5,000.00 as a loan to Sumilang. That check was exhibited in court. Sumilang and Chavez then went to Pasay City to see a certain Mario Baltazar, an agent of the Pasay City Mayor, and Narsing Cailles, Chief of the Fire Department. Sumilang asked the two for a P10,000-loan backed up by the P5,000.00check aforesaid on condition that it should not be cashed immediately as there were not enough funds therefor. Baltazar and Cailles agreed to give the money the nextday as long as the check would be left with them and Sumilang would sign a promissory note for P10,000.00. Baltazar later informed Sumilang that Chavez picked up the money the next day. Four or five days afterwards, Chavez returned P4,000.00 to Sumilang because P6,000.00 was enough for the deposit. And so, Sumilang gave back the P4,000.00 to Baltazar.

About the end of October or at the beginning of November, Chavez asked Sumilang for another P3,000.00. Sumilang sent Chavez to Baltazar and Cailles, with a note requesting that they accommodate him once more. He also sent a check, again without funds. Baltazar gave the money after verifying the authenticity of the note. On November 14, Chavez appeared at Sumilang's house with the news that the car was ready if Sumilang was ready with the rest of the money. So Sumilang got P9,000.00 from his mother and another P4,000.00 from his aparador. He immediately gave P6,000.00 to Chavez, intending to pay out the balance upon the car's delivery. It was then that Chavez told Sumilang that the car was already bought by a Chinese who would be the vendor. The purchase price finally agreed upon between Sumilang and Johnson Lee was P21,000.00, plus P500.00 agents commission at the expense of the buyer. Sumilang told Lee that he already paid part of the price to Chavez. At Eugene's, Chavez asked Sumilang for the balance. Sumilang accommodated. There, Sumilang, also saw a friend, "Ging" Pascual. In the course of their conversation at the bar, Sumilang mentioned the proposed transaction thru Chavez. Pascual warned that Chavez was a "smart" agent and advised that Sumilang should have a receipt for his money. A certain Bimbo, a friend of Pascual, offered to make out a receipt for Chavez to sign. After Sumilang returned from posing for some photographs with some of his fans, Bimbo showed him the receipt already signed by Chavez. Sumilang requested Pascual and Bimbo to sign the receipt as witnesses. And they did. This receipt was offered as an exhibit by the prosecution and by Sumilang. When Sumilang was ready to leave Eugene's, Johnson Lee turned over to him the deed of sale, the registration papers and the keys to the car. After shaking hands with Lee, Sumilang drove away in the car with his driver at the wheel. Two or three days afterwards, Sumilang dropped by the Barrio Fiesta on his way to a film shooting at

Bulacan. He saw Asistio with many companions. Asistio liked his Thunderbird parked outside. Asistio offered to buy it from him for P22,500.00. As the offer was good, and knowing Asistio's and his friends' reputation for always getting what they wanted, Sumilang consented to the sale. Asistio tendered a down payment of P1,000.00; the balance he promised to pay the next day after negotiating with some financing company. Before said balance could be paid, the car was impounded.
The trial court gave evidence to Sumilang's averment, strengthened by Baltazar's and Cailles' corroborations, that he paid good money for the car. Sumilang was thus cleared. So was Asistio whom the trial court believed to be a mere buyer of the car. And so, the prosecution's theory of conspiracy was discounted. As to the other accused, the court found no case against Pedro Rebullo alias "Pita" and Lorenzo Meneses alias "Lory". The accused "Ging" Pascual was also acquitted for in the first place he was not identified by Johnson Lee in court. As to Roger Chavez, however, the court had this to say: "Roger Chavez does not offer any defense. As a matter of fact, his testimony as witness for the prosecution 5 establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt." The trial 6 court branded him "a self-confessed culprit". The court further continued: It is not improbable that true to the saying that misery loves company Roger Chavez tried to drag his co-accused down with him by coloring his story with fabrications which he expected would easily stick together what with the newspaper notoriety of one and the sensationalism caused by the other. But Roger Chavez' accusations of Asistio's participation is utterly uncorroborated. And coming, as it does, from a man who has had at least two convictions for acts not very different from those charged in this information, the Court would be too gullible if it were to give full credence to his words even if they concerned a man no less notorious than himself.7 The trial court then came to the conclusion that if Johnson Lee was not paid for his car, he had no one but Roger Chavez to blame. The sum of all these is that the trial court freed all the accused except Roger Chavez who was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of qualified theft. He was accordingly sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of not less than ten (10) years, one (1) day, as

minimum and not more than fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day as maximum, to indemnify Dy Sun Hiok and/or Johnson Lee in the sum of P21,000.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, to undergo the accessory penalties prescribed by law, and to pay the costs. The Thunderbird car then in the custody of the NBI was ordered to be turned over to Ricardo Sumilang, who was directed to return to Asistio the sum of P1,000.00 unless the latter chose to pay P21,500.00, representing the balance of the contract price for the car. The foregoing sentence was promulgated on March 8, 1965. Roger Chavez appealed to the Court of Appeals. On April 18, 1968, the Court of Appeals required Atty. Natividad Marquez, counsel for Roger Chavez, to show cause within ten days from notice why Chavez' appeal should not be considered abandoned and dismissed. Reason for this is that said lawyer received notice to file brief on December 28, 1967 and the period for the filing thereof lapsed on January 27, 1968 without any brief having been filed. On May 13, 1968, Atty. Marquez registered a detailed written explanation. She also stated that if she were allowed to file appellant's brief she would go along with the factual findings of the court below but will show 8 however that its conclusion is erroneous. On May 14, 1968, the Court of Appeals, despite the foregoing explanation, resolved to dismiss the appeal. A move to reconsider was unavailing. For, on June 21, 1968, the Court of Appeals, through a per curiam resolution, disposed to maintain its May 14 resolution dismissing the appeal, directed the City Warden of Manila where Chavez is confined by virtue of the warrant of arrest issued by the Court of Appeals, to turn him over to Muntinlupa Bilibid Prisons pending execution of the judgment below, and ordered remand of the case to the Quezon City court for execution of judgment. It was at this stage that the present proceedings were commenced in this Court. Upon the petitions, the return, and the reply, and after hearing on oral arguments, we now come to grips with the main problem presented. We concentrate attention on that phase of the issues which relates petitioner's assertion that he was compelled to testify against himself. For indeed if this one question is resolved in the affirmative, we need not reach the others; in which case, these should not be pursued here. 1. Petitioner's plea on this score rests upon his averment, with proof, of violation of his right

constitutionally entrenched against self-incrimination. He asks that the hand of this Court be made to bear down upon his conviction; that he be relieved of the effects thereof. He asks us to consider the constitutional injunction that "No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself,"9 fully echoed in Section 1, Rule 115, Rules of Court where, in all criminal prosecutions, the defendant shall be entitled: "(e) To be exempt from being a witness against himself." . It has been said that forcing a man to be a witness against himself is at war with "the fundamentals of a republican government"; 10 that [i]t may suit the purposes of despotic power but it can not abide the pure 11 atmosphere of political liberty and personal freedom." Mr. Justice Abad Santos recounts the historical background of this constitutional inhibition, thus: " "The maxim Nemo tenetur seipsum accusare had its origin in a protest against the inquisitorial and manifestly unjust methods of interrogating accused persons, which has long obtained in the continental system, and, until the expulsion of the Stuarts from the British throne in 1688, and the erection of additional barriers for the protection of the people against the exercise of arbitrary power, was not uncommon even in England. While the admissions of confessions of the prisoner, when voluntarily and freely made, have always ranked high in the scale of incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his apparent connection with a crime under investigation, the ease with which the questions put to him may assume an inquisitorial character, the temptation to press, the witness unduly, to browbeat him if he be timid or reluctant, to push him into a corner, and to entrap him into fatal contradictions, which is so painfully evident in many of the earlier state trials, notably in those of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, and Udal, the Puritan minister, made the system so odious as to give rise to a demand for its total abolition. The change in the English criminal procedure in that particular seems to be founded upon no statute and no judicial opinion, but upon a general and silent acquiescence of the courts in a popular demand. But, however adopted, it has become firmly embedded in English, as well as in American jurisprudence. So deeply did the iniquities of the ancient system impress themselves upon the minds of the American colonists that the states, with one accord, made a denial of the right to question an accused person a part of their fundamental law, so that a maxim which in England was a mere rule of evidence, became clothed in this country with the impregnability of a constitutional enactment." (Brown vs. Walker, 161 12 U.S., 591, 597; 40 Law. ed., 819, 821)." Mr. Justice Malcolm, in expressive language, tells us that this maxim was recognized in England in the early days "in a revolt against the thumbscrew and the rack." 13 An old 14 Philippine case [1904] speaks of this constitutional injunction as "older than the Government of the United States"; as having "its origin in a protest against the inquisitorial methods of interrogating the accused person"; and as having been adopted in the Philippines

"to wipe out such practices as formerly prevailed in these Islands of requiring accused persons to submit to judicial examinations, and to give testimony regarding the offenses with which they were charged." So it is then that this right is "not merely a formal technical rule the enforcement of which is left to the discretion of the court"; it is mandatory; it secures to a 15 defendant a valuable and substantive right; it is fundamental to our scheme of justice. Just a few months ago, the Supreme Court of the United States (January 29, 1968), speaking thru Mr. Justice Harlan warned that "[t]he constitutional privilege was intended to shield the guilty and imprudent as well as the innocent and foresighted." 16 It is in this context that we say that the constitutional guarantee may not be treated with unconcern. To repeat, it is mandatory; it secures to every defendant a valuable and substantive right. Taada and Fernando (Constitution of the Philippines, 4th ed., vol. I, pp. 583584) take note of U.S. vs. Navarro, supra, which reaffirms the rule that the constitutional proscription was established on broad grounds of public policy and humanity; of policy because it would place the witness against the strongest temptation to commit perjury, and of humanity because it would be to extort a confession of truth by a kind of duress every species and degree of which the law abhors. 17 Therefore, the court may not extract from a defendant's own lips and against his will an admission of his guilt. Nor may a court as much as resort to compulsory disclosure, directly or indirectly, of facts usable against him as a confession of the crime or the tendency of which is to prove the commission of a crime. Because, it is his right to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he chooses to take the witness stand with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his own free, genuine will. Compulsion as it is understood here does not necessarily connote the use of violence; it may be the product of unintentional statements. Pressure which operates to overbear his will, disable him from making a free and rational choice, or impair his capacity for rational judgment would in our opinion be sufficient. So is moral coercion "tending to force testimony from the unwilling lips of the defendant." 18 2. With the foregoing as guideposts, we now turn to the facts. Petitioner is a defendant in a criminal case. He was called by the prosecution as the first witness in that case to testify for the People during the first day of trial thereof. Petitioner objected and invoked the privilege of self-incrimination. This he broadened by the clear cut statement that he will not testify. But petitioner's protestations were met with the judge's emphatic statement that it "is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witness stand including

the accused," and that defense counsel "could not object to have the accused called on the witness stand." The cumulative impact of all these is that accused-petitioner had to take the stand. He was thus peremptorily asked to create evidence against himself. The foregoing situation molds a solid case for petitioner, backed by the Constitution, the law, and jurisprudence. Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary witness. Whereas an ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness stand and claim the privilege as each question requiring an incriminating answer is shot at him, 19 and accused may altogether refuse to take the witness stand and 20 refuse to answer any and all questions. For, in reality, the purpose of calling an accused as a witness for the People would be to incriminate him. 21 The rule positively intends to avoid and prohibit the certainly inhuman procedure of compelling a person "to furnish the missing 22 evidence necessary for his conviction." This rule may apply even to a co-defendant in a joint trial.23 And the guide in the interpretation of the constitutional precept that the accused shall not be compelled to furnish evidence against himself "is not the probability of 24 the evidence but it is the capability of abuse." Thus it is, that it was undoubtedly erroneous for the trial judge to placate petitioner with these words:. What he will testify to does not necessarily incriminate him, counsel. And there is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witness-stand including the accused. If there should be any question that is incriminating then that is the time for counsel to interpose his objection and the court will sustain him if and when the court feels that the answer of this witness to the question would incriminate him. Counsel has all the assurance that the court will not require the witness to answer questions which would incriminate him. But surely, counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witness stand. Paraphrasing Chief Justice Marshall in Aaron Burr's Trial, Robertsons Rep. I, 208, 244, quoted in VIII Wigmore, p. 355, 25 While a defendant's knowledge of the facts remains concealed within his bosom, he is safe; but draw it from thence, and he is exposed" to conviction.

The judge's words heretofore quoted "But surely counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witness stand" wielded authority. By those words, petitioner was enveloped by a coercive force; they deprived him of his will to resist; they foreclosed choice; the realities of human nature tell us that as he took his oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, no genuine consent underlay submission to take the witness stand. Constitutionally sound consent was absent. 3. Prejudice to the accused for having been compelled over his objections to be a witness for the People is at once apparent. The record discloses that by leading questions Chavez, the accused, was made to affirm his statement given to the NBI agents on July 17, 1963 at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon. 26 And this statement detailed the plan and execution thereof by Sumilang (Vasquez), Asistio and himself to deprive the Chinese of his Thunderbird car. And he himself proceeded to narrate the same anew in open court. He identified the Thunderbird car involved in the case. 27 The decision convicting Roger Chavez was clearly of the view that the case for the People was built primarily around the admissions of Chavez himself. The trial court described Chavez as the "star witness for the prosecution". Indeed, the damaging facts forged in the decision were drawn directly from the lips of Chavez as a prosecution witness and of course Ricardo Sumilang for the defense. There are the unequivocal statements in the decision that "even accused Chavez" identified "the very same Thunderbird that Johnson Lee had offered for sale"; that Chavez "testimony as witness for the prosecution establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and that Chavez is "a self-confessed culprit". 1wph1.t 4. With all these, we have no hesitancy in saying that petitioner was forced to testify to incriminate himself, in full breach of his constitutional right to remain silent. It cannot be said now that he has waived his right. He did not volunteer to take the stand and in his own defense; he did not offer himself as a witness; on the contrary, he claimed the right upon being called to testify. If petitioner nevertheless answered the questions inspite of his fear of being accused of perjury or being put under contempt, this circumstance cannot be counted against him. His testimony is not of his own choice. To him it was a case of compelled submission. He was a cowed participant in proceedings before a judge who possessed the power to put him under contempt had he chosen to remain silent. Nor could he escape testifying. The court made it abundantly clear that his testimony at least on direct examination would be taken right then and thereon the first day of the trial. It matters not that, after all efforts to stave off petitioner's taking the stand became fruitless, no objections to

questions propounded to him were made. Here involve is not a mere question of self-incrimination. It is a defendant's constitutional immunity from being called to testify against himself. And the objection made at the beginning is a continuing one. 1wph1.t There is therefore no waiver of the privilege. "To be effective, a waiver must be certain and unequivocal, and intelligently, understandably, and willingly made; such waiver following only where liberty of choice has been fully accorded. After a claim a witness cannot properly be held to have waived his privilege on vague and uncertain evidence." 28 The teaching in Johnson vs. Zerbst 29 is this: "It has been pointed out that "courts indulge every reasonable presumption against waiver" of fundamental constitutional rights and that we "do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights." A waiver is ordinarily an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege." Renuntiatio non praesumitur. The foregoing guidelines, juxtaposed with the circumstances of the case heretofore adverted to, make waiver a shaky defense. It cannot stand. If, by his own admission, defendant proved his guilt, still, his original claim remains valid. For the privilege, we say again, is a rampart that gives protection - even to the guilty. 30 5. The course which petitioner takes is correct. Habeas 31 corpus is a high prerogative writ. It is traditionally considered as an exceptional remedy to release a person whose liberty is illegally restrained such as when 32 the accused's constitutional rights are disregarded. Such defect results in the absence or loss of jurisdiction 33 and therefore invalidates the trial and the consequent conviction of the accused whose fundamental right was 34 violated. That void judgment of conviction may be challenged by collateral attack, which precisely is the function of habeas corpus. 35 This writ may issue even if another remedy which is less effective may be availed of by the defendant. 36 Thus, failure by the accused to perfect his appeal before the Court of Appeals does not 37 preclude a recourse to the writ. The writ may be granted upon a judgment already final. 38 For, as 39 explained in Johnson vs. Zerbst, the writ of habeas corpus as an extraordinary remedy must be liberally given effect 40 so as to protect well a person whose liberty is at stake. The propriety of the writ was given the nod in that case, involving a violation of another constitutional right, in this wise: Since the Sixth Amendment constitutionally entitles one charged with crime to the assistance of Counsel, compliance with this constitutional mandate is an essential jurisdictional prerequisite to a Federal Court's authority. When this right is properly waived, the assistance of Counsel is no longer a necessary element of the Court's jurisdiction to proceed to conviction and sentence. If the accused, however, is not represented by

Counsel and has not competently and intelligently waived his constitutional right, the Sixth Amendment stands as a jurisdictional bar to a valid conviction and sentence depriving him of his liberty. A court's jurisdiction at the beginning of trial may be lost "in the course of the proceedings" due to failure to complete the court as the Sixth Amendment requires by providing Counsel for an accused who is unable to obtain Counsel, who has not intelligently waived this constitutional guaranty, and whose life or liberty is at stake. If this requirement of the Sixth Amendment is not complied with, the court no longer has jurisdiction to proceed. The judgment of conviction pronounced by a court without jurisdiction is void, and one imprisoned thereunder may obtain release of habeas corpus. 41 Under our own Rules of Court, to grant the remedy to the accused Roger Chavez whose case presents a clear picture of disregard of a constitutional right is absolutely proper. Section 1 of Rule 102 extends the writ, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, "to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. Just as we are about to write finis to our task, we are prompted to restate that: "A void judgment is in legal effect no judgment. By it no rights are divested. From it no rights can be obtained. Being worthless in itself, all proceedings founded upon it are equally worthless. It neither binds nor bars any one. All acts performed under it and all claims flowing out of it are void. The parties attempting to enforce it may be responsible as trespassers. ... " 42 6. Respondents' return 43 shows that petitioner is still serving under a final and valid judgment of conviction for another offense. We should guard against the improvident issuance of an order discharging a petitioner from confinement. The position we take here is that petitioner herein is entitled to liberty thru habeas corpus only with respect to Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, under which he was prosecuted and convicted. Upon the view we take of this case, judgment is hereby rendered directing the respondent Warden of the City Jail of Manila or the Director of Prisons or any other officer or person in custody of petitioner Roger Chavez by reason of the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in Criminal Case Q-5311, entitled "People of the Philippines, plaintiff, vs. Ricardo Sumilang, et al., accused," to discharge said Roger Chavez from custody, unless he is held, kept in custody or detained for any cause or reason other than the said judgment in said Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in which event the discharge herein directed shall be effected

when such other cause or reason ceases to exist. No costs. So ordered.

Miranda v. Arizona
Facts of the Case The Court was called upon to consider the constitutionality of a number of instances, ruled on jointly, in which defendants were questioned "while in custody or otherwise deprived of [their] freedom in any significant way." In Vignera v. New York, the petitioner was questioned by police, made oral admissions, and signed an inculpatory statement all without being notified of his right to counsel. Similarly, in Westover v. United States, the petitioner was arrested by the FBI, interrogated, and made to sign statements without being notified of his right to counsel. Lastly, in California v. Stewart, local police held and interrogated the defendant for five days without notification of his right to counsel. In all these cases, suspects were questioned by police officers, detectives, or prosecuting attorneys in rooms that cut them off from the outside world. In none of the cases were suspects given warnings of their rights at the outset of their interrogation. Facts. The Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court) consolidated four separate cases with issues regarding the admissibility of evidence obtained during police interrogations. The first Defendant, Ernesto Miranda (Mr. Miranda), was arrested for kidnapping and rape. Mr. Miranda was an immigrant, and although the officers did not notify Mr. Miranda of his rights, he signed a confession after two hours of investigation. The signed statement included a statement that Mr. Miranda was aware of his rights. The second Defendant, Michael Vignera (Mr. Vignera), was arrested for robbery. Mr. Vignera orally admitted to the robbery to the first officer after the arrest, and he was held in detention for eight hours before he made an admission to an assistant district attorney. There was no evidence that he was notified of his Fifth Amendment constitutional rights.

The third Defendant, Carl Calvin Westover (Mr. Westover), was arrested for two robberies. Mr. Westover was questioned over fourteen hours by local police, and then was handed to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, who were able to get signed confessions from Mr. Westover. The authorities did not notify Mr. Westover of his Fifth Amendment constitutional rights. The fourth Defendant, Roy Allen Stewart (Mr. Stewart), was arrested, along with members of his family (although there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by his family) for a series of purse snatches. There was no evidence that Mr. Stewart was notified of his rights. After nine interrogations, Mr. Stewart admitted to the crimes. Issue: Does the police practice of interrogating individuals without notifying them of their right to counsel and their protection against selfincrimination violate the Fifth Amendment? Whether the government is required to notify the arrested defendants of their Fifth Amendment constitutional rights against self-incrimination before they interrogate the defendants? Held: The government needs to notify arrested individuals of their Fifth Amendment constitutional rights, specifically: their right to remain silent; an explanation that anything they say could be used against them in court; their right to counsel; and their right to have counsel appointed to represent them if necessary. Without this notification, anything admitted by an arrestee in an interrogation will not be admissible in court.
The Court held that prosecutors could not use statements stemming from custodial interrogation of defendants unless they demonstrated the use of procedural safeguards "effective to secure the privilege against self- incrimination." The Court noted that "the modern practice of in-custody interrogation is psychologically rather than physically oriented" and that "the blood of the accused is not the only hallmark of an unconstitutional inquisition." The Court specifically outlined the necessary aspects of police warnings to suspects, including warnings of the right to remain silent and the right to have counsel present during interrogations.