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ANNOTATION

EXTRAJUDICIAL CONFESSION

By

ALICIA GONZALEZ-DECANO*

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1.Preliminary Statement, p. 689

2.Kinds of Confession, p. 690

3.Distinctions between Confession and Admission, p. 691

4.Forms of Confession, p. 691

5.Test for Validity of Confession, 691

6.How to Determine Voluntariness, p. 692

7.Rationale for the Admissibility of Confession, p. 692

8.Relevant Jurisprudence, p. 693

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1.Preliminary Statement

In a scholarly survey of the worlds legal systems, one authority states that it is
everywhere regarded as improper and usually criminal to use violence, threats or
varying forms of psychological coercion in order to force the accused to confess.
Third degree practicesthat is the inflicting of pain, physical or mental, to extract
confessions or statements, including

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* Retired Judge, Professorial Lecturer IV and Consultant (Law and Political Science
Cluster, UST Graduate School) and Dean, College of Law & Law Professor, Pan
Pacific University North Philippines (PUNP), Urdaneta City.

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physical brutality, protracted questioning, threats, and intimidation, constitute a


betrayal and mockery of those principles of respect for the dignity and worth of the
individual responsibility upon which our religious ideas, our constitution, and our
philosophy of government rest. Human experience offers abundant evidence that
many innocent persons confess to critics, as a result of fear, psychological disorder,
or the gradual wearing away of resistance. Most legal systems, therefore view
confessions induced threats or promises with great suspicion not only out of
concern for the accused but because an erroneous confession and conviction also
result in the escape of the guilty. In England and Scotland, very rigid limitations are
placed upon the police in questioning the accused, once placed in custody.

(McCormick 229, cited by Decano, Exclusionary Rule, Central Professional Books,


Q.C., 2004, p. 114)

2.Kinds of Confession

There are two kinds of Confession: Judicial and Extrajudicial. This article will deal
only on extrajudicial confession. Before an exhaustive analysis of the subject under
discussion, a definition of the two terms is imperative.

Judicial confession defined.Judicial confession is one made before a committing


magistrate or in open court to an indictment or an information when the accused is
arraigned for trial. Some courts limit the term Judicial confession to the plea of
guilty made by the accused. (20 Am Jur., p. 478)

Extrajudicial confession is one made elsewhere than before a magistrate or in court.


(20 Am Jur., p. 479) Extra-judicial confession of the accused in a criminal case, if
satisfactorily shown to have been voluntary, and without improper inducements
made in the presence of counsel, are admissible in evidence against him.691

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3.Distinctions between Confession and Admission

Both admission and confession may be given in evidence against the person
admitting or confessing. Rule 130, Section 26 of the Rules of Court defines an
admission as an act, declaration or omission of a party as to a relevant fact. A
Confession on the other hand, under Section 33 of the same rule is the declaration
of an accused acknowledging his guilt of the offense charged, or of any offense
necessarily included therein. Both may be given in evidence against the person
admitting or confessing. On the whole, a confession, as distinguished from an
admission, is a declaration made at any time by a person, voluntarily and without

compulsion or inducement, stating or acknowledging that he had committed or


participated in the commission of a crime. (People vs. Satorre, G.R. No. 133858,
August 12, 2003, 408 SCRA 642)

4.Forms of Confession

To be sure, a confession is not required to be in a particular form. It may be oral or


written, formal or informal in character. It may be recorded on video tape, sound
motion pictures or tape. However, while not required to be in writing to be
admissible in evidence, it is advisable if not otherwise recorded by video tape or
other means, to reduce the confession to writing. This adds weight to the evidence,
helps convince the court that it was freely and voluntarily made. If possible, the
confession after being reduced to writing, should be read to the defendant, have it
read by the defendant, have him sign it, and have it attested by witnesses. (People
vs. Satorre, supra)

5.Test for Validity of Confession

Accordingly, the basic test for the validity of a confession iswas it voluntarily and
freely made. The term voluntary means that the accused speaks of his free will and
accord, without inducement of any kind, and with a full and complete

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knowledge of the nature and consequences of the confession and when the
speaking is so free from influences affecting the will of the accused, at the time the
confession was made, that it renders it admissible in evidence against him. Plainly,
the admissibility of a confession in evidence hinges on its voluntariness. (People vs.
Satorre, supra)

6.How to Determine Voluntariness

The voluntariness of a confession may be inferred from its language such that if,
upon its face, the confession exhibits no suspicious circumstances tending to cast
doubt upon its integrity, it being replete with detailswhich could only be supplied
by the accusedreflecting spontaneity and coherence, it may be considered
voluntary. The problem with appraising voluntariness occurs when the confession is
an oral extra-judicial confession because the proof of voluntariness cannot be
inferred from the testimony of a witness who allegedly heard the confessant since
there is no written proof that such confession was voluntarily made. Neither can the
confessant be appraised by the court since, precisely, it was made outside the
judicial proceeding. The problem poised therefore by an oral extrajudicial confession
is not only the admissibility of the testimony asserting or certifying that such
confession was indeed made, but more significantly whether it was made
voluntarily. (People vs. Satorre, supra)

7.Rationale for the Admissibility of Confession

The rationale for the admissibility of a confession is that if it is made freely and
voluntarily, a confession constitutes evidence of a high order since it is supported
by the strong presumption that no sane person of normal mind will deliberately and
knowingly confess himself to be the perpetrator of a crime, unless prompted by
truth and conscience. (People vs. Satorre, supra)693

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Having taken all the preliminaries on the subject under study, the writer will now
present exhaustive relevant rulings on the matter.

8.Relevant Jurisprudence

The following cases will give the reader a full grasp of the doctrine laid by the
Supreme Court:

1.People vs. Taboga, G.R. Nos. 144086-87, February 6, 2002, 376 SCRA 500,
dwells on Extrajudicial Confessions.

Said the Supreme Court:

x x x There is nothing in the record to show that the radio announcer colluded with
the police authorities to elicit inculpatory evidence against accused-appellant.
Neither is there anything on record which even remotely suggests that the radio
announcer was instructed by the police to extract information from him on the
details of the crimes. Indeed, the reporter even asked permission from the officer-incharge to interview accused-appellant. Nor was the information obtained under
duress. In fact, accused appellant was very much aware of what was going on. He
was informed at the outset by the radio announcer that he was a reporter who will
be interviewing him to get his side of the incident. x x x

The Supreme Court continued:

x x x The defense maintained that the confessions were obtained through


compulsion. Accused-appellant claimed that the policemen maltreated him by
hitting him four (4) times on the head with a chair and force him to admit the
crimes. However, accused-appellant failed to present convincing evidence to
substantiate his claim, other than his bare self-serving assertion. Apropos in our
ruling on People vs. Pia, where we said that: where the defendants did not present
evidence of compulsion or duress or violence on their person; where they failed to
complain to the officers who administered the oaths; where they did not institute
any criminal or administrative action against their alleged intimidators for
maltreatment; where there appeared to be no marks of violence on their bodies and

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where they did not have themselves examined by a reputable physician to buttress
their claim, all these should be considered as factors indicating the volutariness of
the confession.

The Supreme Court further ruled:

x x x The court a quo did not err in admitting in evidence accused-appellants


taped confession. Such confession did not form part of the custodial investigation. It
was not given to police officers but to a media man in an apparent attempt to elicit
sympathy. The record even discloses that the accused-appellant admitted to the
Barangay Captain that he clubbed and stabbed the victim even before the police
started investigation him at the police station. Besides, if he had indeed been forced
into confessing, he could have easily asked help from the newsmen. In People vs.
Indino, et al., we held: We do not suggest that videotaped confessions given before
media man by an accused with the knowledge of and in the presence of police
officers are impermissible. Indeed, the line between proper and invalid police
techniques and conduct is a difficult one to draw, particularly in cases such as this
where it is essential to make sharp judgments in determining whether a confession
was given under coercive physical or psychological atmosphere. x x x

2.People vs. Porio, G.R. No. 117209,


February 13, 2002, 376 SCRA 596, stressed
the definition and/or for admissibility for
extra-judicial confession.

The Supreme Court expounded:

x x x A confession is an acknowledgment in express words, by the accused in a


criminal case, of the truth of the main fact charged, or some essential parts thereof.
Owing to its very definition, there is no such thing as an implied confession. It is
always a direct and positive acknowledgment of guilt. Considering that appellant is
charged with the complex crime of rape with homicide, his statements that he

inserted penis in the victims vagina and that he strangled her to death are express
confessions or acknowledgment of guilt. x x x

The Supreme Court continued:695

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x x x A confession is presumed to be voluntary until the contrary is proved and the


declarant bears the burden of proving that his confession is involuntary and untrue.
Appellant was unable to discharge this burden. He failed to present evidence that
he was intimidated or practically forced to execute or sign his Sinumpaang
Salaysay.

In fine, we hold that appellants Sinumpaang Salaysay adequately satisfies the


constitutional requirements on pre-interrogation advisories. Appellant can no longer
extricate himself from its necessary consequences. While the passage of time could
easily bring a change of mind to a retracting confessant, courts, on the strength of
settled principles, cannot undo for the confessant what he had deliberately done in
the name of truth. We cannot overlook the fact that appellants Sinumpaang
Salaysay is replete with details which only a perpetrator of the crime could have
supplied and which could not have been concocted by someone who did not take
part in its commission. Appellants statement that he raped the victim and then
strangled her to death cannot be taken lightly as it concurs with the findings of Dr.
Patilano that the cause of death is strangulation and that the victims genitalia
shows sexual intercourse with a man . . . with violence. This clearly signifies that
appellants Sinumpaang Salaysay is corroborated by the corpus delicti.

The Highest Tribunal further stressed:

x x x This court, with its constant tryst with retracting confessants, has drawn the
cardinal requirements for an extrajudicial confession to be admissible, to wit: (1) the
confession must be voluntary; (2) the confession must be made with the assistance

of a competent and independent counsel preferably of the confessants choice; (3)


the confession must be express; and (4) the confession must be in writing.
Measured against this yardstick, we are convinced that appellants Sinumpaang
Salaysay is admissible. x x x

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3.People vs. Ospig, G.R. No. 141766, November


18, 2003, 416 SCRA 32, speaks of voluntary
confession of guilt. The Supreme Court ruled:

x x x Appellant contends that his explanation about what really transpired during
the incident in his letter to the mother of private complainant should be credited as
a mitigating circumstance of voluntary confession of guilt before the court prior to
the presentation of evidence for the prosecution. Appellant pointed out that the
prosecution had not rested its case when said letter was presented in court, and it
was marked as evidence by both the prosecution and the defense. The contention is
without merit. We can not consider in appellants favor the mitigating circumstance
of voluntary confession of guilt before the court prior to the presentation of
evidence for the prosecution since the said letter was a denial of the rape charge,
appellant entered a plea of not guilty, and the letter was presented by the
prosecution, not the defense, after two prosecution witnesses had testified before
the court. x x x

4.People vs. Alvarez, Jr., G.R. No. 152221,


August 25, 2003, 409 SCRA 562, dwells on
the presumption of voluntary extrajudicial
confession. The Supreme Court decreed:

x x x The failure of the appellant to present evidence on his person, to complain to


the officers who administered the oath; to institute any criminal or administrative
actions against his alleged intimidators for maltreatment; to show marks of violence
of his body; or to prove that he underwent examination by a reputable physician,
are factors indicating the voluntariness of the confession. Besides, extrajudicial
confessions are presumed voluntary, and, in the absence of conclusive evidence
showing the declarants consent in executing the same has been vitiated, such
confession will be sustained. x x x

The Supreme Court continued by saying:

x x x Significantly, appellants confession is replete with details which he alone


could have known and supplied, thus indicating the voluntariness of its execution. It
was appellant himself who informed the police authorities of their modus operandi
in holding up

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their passengers. He even described in detail the manner on how they killed and
robbed their victim. Lastly, he was the one who disclosed where the victims ring
and watch could be found which eventually led to their recovery. If not for his
testimony, the police would not have known where to find the victims personal
effects.
x x x

The Highest Tribunal further ruled:

x x x The voluntariness of a confession may be inferred from its being replete with
details which could possibly be supplied only by the appellant, reflecting
spontaneity and coherence which cannot be said of a mind on which violence and
torture have been applied. When the details narrated in an extrajudicial confession
are such that they could not have been concocted by one who did not take part on
the acts narrated, where the claim of maltreatment in the extraction of the
confession is unsubstantiated and when abundant evidence exists showing that the
statement was voluntarily executed, the confession is admissible against the
declarant. There is greater reason for finding a confession to be voluntary where it
is corroborated by evidence which dovetails with the essential facts contained in
such confession. x x x

5.People vs. Lozada, G.R. No. 141121, July 17,


2003, 406 SCRA 494, treats on searches and
seizures, warrantless arrest, hot pursuits, and
personal knowledge of the peace officer.

The Highest Court of the Land expounded:

x x x The applicable rule at the time of the arrest of appellants is Section 5 (b),
Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides that a peace
officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person; x x x (b) when
an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts
indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it. Personal knowledge,
the court has explained, should be based on probable cause which means an
actual belief or reasonable grounds of suspicion. The grounds of suspicion are
reasonable when the suspicion on the probable guilt of the person to be arrested is
based on facts or circum-

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stances sufficiently strong in themselves to create a probable cause of guilt of the


person to be arrested. x x x

The Supreme Court continued:

x x x Appellants entered their plea of not guilty to the crime of robbery with
homicide and thereafter participated in the trial without questioning the legality of
their arrest. The search conducted on appellant Lozada, being an incident to the
arrest, should also be upheld. Belleza, on the other hand, waived his right against a
warrantless search when he himself voluntarily disclosed where he hid the keys and
the bag of Rosita Sy and where, true enough, the items were recovered. x x x

It was likewise ruled:

x x x The extrajudicial confession made by appellants Lozada and Belleza,


however, are inadmissible in evidence. The supposed confessions have already
been recounted on the witness stand by the investigating officers. Republic Act
7438 requires an extrajudicial confession made by the person arrested, detained or
under custodial investigation to be in writing and signed by such person, otherwise,
it shall be inadmissible in evidence. x x x

o0o [Extrajudicial Confession, 649 SCRA 689(2011)]