Law Dictionary

Question A.4, Political Law, 2019 Bar Exam

Notice: The following suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide as an answer to a bar exam question. Thus, specific citations (i.e., republic acts, articles/sections, jurisprudence, etc.) are not provided because it is not required in the bar exam. For purposes other than answering the bar exam, please be reminded that proper referencing or legal citation is required.

Question A.4, Political Law, 2019 Bar Exam

Mrs. W supplies the Philippine National Police (PNP) with uniforms every year. Last month, he and two (2) other officers of the PNP conspired to execute a “ghost purchase”, covered by five (5) checks amounting to ₱200,000.00 each, or a total of ₱1,000,000.00. An investigating committee within the PNP, which was constituted to look into it, invited Mrs. W, among others, for an inquiry regarding the anomalous transaction. Mrs. W accepted the invitation but during the committee hearing, she stated that she will not answer any question unless she be provided with the assistance of a counsel. The PNP officials denied her request; hence, she no longer participated in the investigation.

(a) What is a custodial investigation? Under the 1987 Constitution, what are the rights of a person during custodial investigation? (3%)

(b) Was the PNP’s denial of Mrs. W’s request violative of her right to counsel in the proceedings conducted before the PNP? Explain.(2%)

Suggested Answer:

(a) Under jurisprudence, custodial investigation involves any questioning initiated by law enforcement authorities after a person is taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant manner. Custodial investigation also refers to the critical pre-trial stage when the investigation ceases to be a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular person as a suspect.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the following are the rights of a person during custodial investigation:

1) Right to be ready their Miranda rights;

2) Right to remain silent;

3) Right to be assisted by competent and independent counsel, preferably of his own choice;

4) Right against torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means to vitiate the free will shall be used against him;

5)  Right against secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention;

6) Right against void extrajudicial confessions.

(b) No. Answer

Under the 1987 Constitution and jurisprudence, the right to counsel is mandatory in cases involving custodial investigation. Rule

In the case at bar, Mrs. W was not placed under custodial investigation. Rather, she was the subject of an administrative investigation which is not a covered or within the definition of a custodial investigation. Apply

Thus, the PNP’s denial of Mrs. W’s request is not violative of her right to counsel in the proceedings conducted before the PNP. Conclusion

Disclaimer: All information is for educational and general information only. These should not be taken as professional legal advice or opinion. Please consult a competent lawyer to address your specific concerns. Any statements or opinions of the author are solely his own and do not reflect that of any organization he may be connected.

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