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People v.

Nicolas - 204 SCRA 191


FACTS:
Gil Tapong, in two separate informations, was charged with the
crimes of robbery with homicide and arson allegedly committed
with two other co-accused Dilao and Rodolfo Nicolas. It was
alleged that they conspired to steal the cash contents of a steel
vault of Ong Tai and by reason or in the occasion thereof, they
killed Ong Tai and set his house on fire.
At the arraignment, they entered separate pleas of "not guilty" in
both cases.
The RTC rendered a decision thereby convicting Gil Tapos for the
crime of robbery with Homicide. Dilao and Nicolas were then
acquitted for failure of prosecution to prove their guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. Meanwhile, all three accused were acquitted
for the crime of arson.
Dissatisfied with the trial Court's finding of guilt beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery with homicide in based
on the prosecution evidence, accused-appellant Gil Tapong sought
for the courts review, above all issues, (meaning yung
constitutional issue lang) on the fact that the trial court erred in
taking into consideration the extrajudicial confession of the
accused without taking into account the rest of the statements
contained therein.
ISSUE: Whether or not admissions made by aaccused-appellant
during custodial investigation be admissible as evidence given the
fact that he rejected having a lawyer to assist him during such.
HELD:
No.
The admissions made by the accused-appellant during custodial
investigation as reflected in his sworn statement cannot be

admissible in evidence for his statement before was given in


gross violation of his constitutional rights as guaranteed under
Article IV, Section 20 of the 1973 Constitution (now Article III,
Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution).
In the case at bar, the accused-appellant gave an uncounselled
confession before the investigating officer who simply asked as
one of the preliminary questions before the accused-appellant
made his declarations relating to the crime of robbery with
homicide.
Inasmuch as the records are bereft of any proof that the accusedappellant knowingly rejected having a lawyer assist him during
the taking of the extrajudicial confession in question, whenever a
protection given by the Constitution is waived by the person
entitled to that protection the presumption is always against the
waiver. Consequently, the prosecution must prove with strongly
convincing evidence to the satisfaction of this Court that indeed
the accused willingly and voluntarily submitted his confession and
knowingly and deliberately manifested that he was not interested
in having a lawyer assist him during the taking of that confession.
That proof is missing in this case." After 1987 regardless of
whether or not the confession of the accused is true, as long as it
was given without the assistance of counsel, it becomes
inadmissible in evidence although it was a product of the
accused's own free will and volition in view of the current policy
with respect to extrajudicial confessions based on the Bill of
Rights.
The decision of the RTC is REVERSED and the accused-appellant is
hereby ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt.