Rights of a Person under Custodial Investigation

If ever you’re arrested, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

   Enshrined under Section 12, Article III of the 1987 Constitution are the following rights:

“Section 12. (1) Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

(2) No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.

(3) Any confession or admission obtained in violation of this or Section 17 hereof shall be inadmissible in evidence against him.

(4) The law shall provide for penal and civil sanctions for violations of this section as well as compensation to and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices, and their families.”

   In the case of  Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, et al., the Supreme Court laid down the procedure to be followed in custodial investigations, to wit:

“At the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform him of the reason for the arrest and he must be shown the warrant of arrest, if any. He shall be informed of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement he might make could be used against him. The person arrested shall have the right to communicate with his lawyer, a relative, or anyone he chooses by the most expedient means _ by telephone if possible _ or by letter or messenger. It shall be the duty of the arresting officer to see to it that this is accomplished. No custodial investigation shall be conducted unless it be in the presence of counsel engaged by the person arrested, by any person on his behalf, or appointed by the court upon petition either of the detainee himself or by anyone on his behalf. The right to counsel may be waived but the waiver shall not be valid unless made with the assistance of counsel. Any statement obtained in violation of the procedure herein laid down, whether exculpatory or inculpatory, in whole or in part, shall be inadmissible in evidence.”

   In addition, in the case of People vs Marra, et.al., the Supreme Court defined the meaning of custodial investigation, It held that:

“Custodial investigation involves any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. It is only after the investigation ceases to be a general inquiry into an unsolved crime and begins to focus on a particular suspect, the suspect is taken into custody, and the police carries out a process of interrogations that lends itself to eliciting incriminating statements that the rule begins to operate.” 

   Also, in People vs Camat, et.al., the Court held further that:

“As interpreted in the jurisdiction of their origin, these rights begin to be available where the investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has began to focus on a particular suspect, the suspect has been taken into police custody, and the police carry out a process of interrogation that lends itself to eliciting incriminating statements.”