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Marcelo v. Sandiganbayan G.R. No. 109242, January 26, 1999 Facts: On ebruary 10, 19!

9, Jacin"o Mere"e, a le""er carrier in "#e Ma$a"i %en"ral &o'" O((ice, di'clo'ed "o #i' c#ie(, &ro)ec"o *u+agan, "#e e,i'"ence o( a grou- re'-on'ible (or "#e -il(erage o( +ail +a""er in "#e -o'" o((ice. .+ong "#o'e +en"ioned by Mere"e /ere .rnold &a'icolan, an e+ergency laborer a''igned a' a bag o-ener in "#e &rin"ed Ma""er' Sec"ion, and Reden"or .guinaldo, a +ail 'or"er o( "#e Ma$a"i &o'" O((ice. or "#i' rea'on, *u+agan 'oug#" "#e aid o( "#e Na"ional 0ureau o( 1nve'"iga"ion in a--re#ending "#e grou- re'-on'ible (or +ail -il(erage in "#e Ma$a"i &o'" O((ice. On ebruary 12, 19!9, N01 3irec"or Salvador Ranin di'-a"c#ed N01 agen"' "o 4ega'-i 5illage (ollo/ing a re-or" "#a" "#e grou- /ould '"age a "#e(" o( +ail +a""er on "#a" day. *u+agan acco+-anied a "ea+ o( N01 agen"' co+-o'ed o( Senior .gen" .rle' 5ela and "/o o"#er agen"' in a -riva"e car. ." 2:00 -.+., a -o'"al delivery )ee-, driven by one 6enry Orindai, /a' -ar$ed in (ron" o( "#e 7'guerra 0uilding on .delan"ado S"ree". &a'icolan alig#"ed (ro+ "#e )ee- bringing /i"# #i+ a +ail bag. 8-on reac#ing .+or'olo S"., &a'icolan gave "#e +ail bag "o "/o -er'on', /#o /ere la"er iden"i(ied a' Ronnie Ro+ero and -e"i"ioner 4i"o Marcelo. *#e la""er "ran'(erred "#e con"en"' o( "#e +ail bag "o a "ravelling bag. Mean/#ile, "#e N01 "ea+ led by agen" 5ela, u-on 'eeing &a'icolan going "o/ard' .+or'olo S"., +oved "#eir car and '"ar"ed "o/ard' .+or'olo S". *#ey /ere )u'" in "i+e "o 'ee &a'icolan #anding over "#e +ail bag "o Marcelo and Ro+ero. ." "#a" -oin", .""y. Sacaguing and .rle' 5ela arre'"ed "#e "/o accu'ed. *#e N01 agen"' (ollo/ed "#e -o'"al delivery )ee-, over"oo$ i", and arre'"ed &a'icolan. *#e N01 agen"' broug#" &a'icolan, Marcelo, and Ro+ero "o "#eir #ead9uar"er'. Romero, Marcelo, and Pasicolan were asked to affix their signatures on the envelopes of the letters . *#ey did 'o in "#e -re'ence o( "#e +e+ber' o( "#e N01 .d+ini'"ra"ive and 1nve'"iga"ive S"a(( and "#e -eo-le "ran'ac"ing bu'ine'' /i"# "#e N01 a" "#a" "i+e. .ccording "o 3irec"or Ranin, "#ey re9uired "#e accu'ed "o do "#i' in order "o iden"i(y "#e le""er' a' "#e very 'a+e le""er' con(i'ca"ed (ro+ "#e+. . ca'e (or qualified theft /a' (iled be(ore "#e Sandiganbayan /#erein "#e accu'ed /ere declared guilty. ssue!s": :#e"#er or no" "#e le""er' 'igned by "#e -e"i"ioner /ere inad+i''ible a' evidence. #eld: *#e Supreme $ourt held that the letters were valid evidence . 1" i' $no/n "#a" during cu'"odial inve'"iga"ion, a -er'on #a' "#e rig#" "o re+ain 'ilen" and "#e rig#" "o an a""orney. .ny ad+i''ion or con(e''ion +ade in "#e ab'ence o( coun'el i' inad+i''ible a' evidence. ur"#er+ore, no -er'on '#all be co+-elled "o be a /i"ne'' again'" #i+'el(. 1n "#e in'"an" ca'e, even "#oug# "#e -e"i"ioner /a' a'$ed "o 'ign "#e le""er', the letters are still

admissible as evidence because the accused was convicted not only by means of these letters but also by testimonies made by the %& agents. Moreover, "#e Su-re+e %our" #eld "#a" the letters were validly sei'ed as an incident of a valid arrest and therefore can stand on their own. *#e decision of the Sandiganbayan is affirmed.