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The unconstitutionality of the presumption of regularity in criminal cases

The presumption of innocence is constitutionally granted to the accused under Section 14 (2) of the Constitution

No person shall be convicted of a crime except upon his confession, or unless his guilt is established by
proof beyond reasonable doubt which is more than just a preponderance of evidence sufficient to win in a
civil case.

The burden of proof in a criminal proceeding is upon the prosecution. Its evidence must be strong enough
to overturn the presumption of innocence of the accused. In case, there is a reasonable doubt of his guilt,
the accused is entitled to an acquittal.

The presumption of regularity is provided for by the rules of court. While he rules of court hav the force and effect of
law, but it is not even statutory Article 8, Section 5(5) provides promulgate rules concerning the protection and
enforcement procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of law,

Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, in her separate concurring opinion on the
Vizconde massacre, wrote, “In pronouncing the presumption of innocence of the accused and
their right to due process, the Constitution declares that the risk of letting the guilty walk free
would be error on the side of justice. This outcome is infinitely better than imprisoning an
innocent person.”

I. Introduction
II. History of Presumption of Innocence
a. The presumption of innocence is rooted on the belief that because he who denies a fact cannot produce
any proof
III. History of Presumption of Regularity

In the determination of criminal, civil and/or administrative liability, the judicial or quasi-judicial
tribunal takes into account certain legal presumptions that the prosecution must overcome to
establish its case against the accused. Oftentimes, they are automatically if not indiscriminately
invoked by the defense and liberally applied by the courts. Presumptions relieve a party with the
duty of complying with the burden of proof. But these may not substitute for evidence.


People v. Santos G.R. No. 175593 October 17, 2007

Santos was charged with illegal sale and possession of shabu in violation of Section 5 and 11, Article II of Republic
Act No. 9165

People v. Reano G.R. No. 183700, October 13, 2014

In affirming the RTC's conviction of the accused, the CA observed that the defense of frame-up put up by the
accused was discredited by the absence of proof of "any intent on the paii of the police authorities to falsely impute
such crime against the accused, the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty stands."18 Such
outright rejection by the lower courts of Andaya's defense of frame-up is not outrightly binding. For sure, the frame-up
defense has been commonly used in prosecutions based on buy-bust operations that have led to the an-est of the
suspects.19 Its use might be seen as excessive, but the failure of the accused to impute any ill motives to falsely
incriminate them should not deter us from scrutinizing the circumstances of the cases brought to us for review. We
should remind ourselves that we cannot presume that the accused committed the crimes they have been charged
with. The State must fully establish that for us. If the imputation of ill motive to the lawmen is the only means of
impeaching them, then that would be the end of our dutiful vigilance to protect our citizenry from false arrests and
wrongful incriminations. We are aware that there have been in the past many cases of false arrests and wrongful
incriminations, and that should heighten our resolve to strengthen the ramparts of judicial scrutiny.

Nor should we shirk from our responsibility of protecting the liberties of our citizenry just because the lawmen are
shielded by the presumption of the regularity of their performance of duty. The presumed regularity is nothing but a
purely evidentiary tool intended to avoid the impossible and time-consuming task of establishing every detail of the
performance by officials and functionaries of the Government. Conversion by no means defeat the much stronger and
much firmer presumption of innocence in favor of every person whose life, property and liberty comes under the risk
of forfeiture on the strength of a false accusation of committing some crime.20 The criminal accusation against a
person must be substantiated by proof beyond reasonable doubt. The Court should steadfastly safeguard his right to
be presumed innocent. Although his innocence could be doubted, for his reputation in his community might not be
lily-white or lustrous, he should not fear a conviction for any crime, least of all one as grave as drug pushing, unless
the evidence against him was clear, competent and beyond reasonable doubt. Otherwise, the presumption of
innocence in his favor would be rendered empty.

The presumption of regularity holds that the official acts of government officials are
presumed legal and regularly performed. As explained in People v. Nubla, the Supreme
Court stated that: The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty
cannot be used as basis for affirming accused-appellant’s conviction because, first, the
presumption is precisely just that — a mere presumption. Once challenged by evidence,
as in this case, . . . [it] cannot be regarded as binding truth. Second, the presumption of
regularity in the performance of official functions cannot preponderate over the
presumption of innocence that prevails if not overthrown by proof beyond reasonable
doubt.” This presumption is enjoyed by public officials in all genre of cases where the
public official is being made to answer for administrative, civil or criminal liability.

Of course, the presumption of innocence, which is exclusively used in criminal

prosecutions, is the strongest form of presumption; that it requires the highest standard
of proof to overcome is not only because it is itself enshrined by the constitution but
because what is at stake is the life and liberty of the criminal itself. Needless to say,
Constitutional is given more weight over statutory presumptions. Another case, People
vs. Baro, this time in 2002, stresses that where two probabilities arise from the
evidence, the one compatible with the presumption of innocence will be adopted. Mere
suspicion is not enough to take away one’s liberty and destroy one’s reputation. Guilt
must be proven by proof as clear as daylight, evidence so airtight that nothing is left for
any reasonable doubt.
The favorites are the constitutional presumption of innocence, good faith, and regularity. Of
course, the law considers these presumptions as disputable, that is, they are deemed
satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence. As
explained in Surtida v. Rural Bank of Malinao (Albay), Inc., a 2006 decision by the Supreme
Court, these presumptions operate against an adversary who has not introduced proof to rebut
them. They create the necessity of presenting evidence to rebut the prima facie case they
created, and which, if no proof to the contrary is presented and offered, will prevail. The burden
of proof remains where it is but, by the presumption, the one who has that burden is relieved for
the time being from introducing evidence in support of the averment, because the presumption
stands in the place of evidence unless rebutted.

People vs. Miranda, G.R. 174773, October 2, 2007



We have usually presumed the regularity of performance of their official duties in favor of the
members of buy-bust teams enforcing our laws against the illegal sale of dangerous drugs. Such
presumption is based on three fundamental reasons, namely: first, innocence, and not wrong-doing,
is to be presumed; second, an official oath will not be violated; and, third, a republican form of
government cannot survive long unless a limit is placed upon controversies and certain trust and
confidence reposed in each governmental department or agent by every other such department or
agent, at least to the extent of such presumption.27 But the presumption is rebuttable by affirmative
evidence of irregularity or of any failure to perform a duty.28 Judicial reliance on the presumption
despite any hint of irregularity in the procedures undertaken by the agents of the law will thus be
fundamentally unsound because such hint is itself affirmative proof of irregularity.

People v. Mendoza 192432 June 23, 2014

The presumption of regularity of performance of official duty stands only when no reason exists in
the records by which to doubt the regularity of the performance of official duty. And even in that
instance the presumption of regularity will not be stronger than the presumption of innocence in favor
of the accused. Otherwise, a mere rule of evidence will defeat the constitutionally enshrined right to
be presumed innocent. Trial courts are instructed to apply this differentiation, and to always bear in
mind the following reminder issued in People v. Catalan:29
x x x We remind the lower courts that the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty could
not prevail over the stronger presumption of innocence favoring the accused. Otherwise, the
constitutional guarantee of the accused being presumed innocent would be held sut ordinate to a
mere rule of evidence allocating the burden of evidence. Where, like here, the proof adduced against
the accused has not even overcome the presumption of innocence, the presumption of regularity in
the performance of duty could not be a factor to adjudge the accused guilty of the crime charged.

Basis of property sold when acquire by donation

PDR – circumvention of national something ownershop

Labor only contraction


Decompilation, which is understood here to be the reproduction of the code and translation of the
forms of the computer program to achieve the inter-operability of an independently created computer
program with other programs may also constitute fair use.

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