Right to speedy trial and speedy disposition of cases, Bill of Rights

1. Concept

All persons shall have the right to a speedy disposition of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative bodies. (Section 16, Article III, 1987 Constitution)

This right to a speedy trial may be defined as one free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays, its “salutary objective” being to assure that an innocent person may be free from the anxiety and expense of a court litigation or, if otherwise, of having his guilt determined within the shortest possible time compatible with the presentation and consideration of whatsoever legitimate defense he may interpose. (Tan v. People, G.R. No. 173637, 21 April 2009)

Intimating historical perspective on the evolution of the right to speedy trial, the old legal maxim, “justice delayed is justice denied.” This oft-repeated adage requires the expeditious resolution of disputes, much more so in criminal cases where an accused is constitutionally guaranteed the right to a speedy trial. (Ibid.)

a. Purpose

The right of the accused to a speedy trial and to a speedy disposition of the case against him was designed to prevent the oppression of the citizen by holding criminal prosecution suspended over him for an indefinite time, and to prevent delays in the administration of justice by mandating the courts to proceed with reasonable dispatch in the trial of criminal cases. Such right to a speedy trial and a speedy disposition of a case is violated only when the proceeding is attended by ...


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