Rights of the accused, Bill of Rights

1. Concept

No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. (Section 14[1], Article III, 1987 Constitution)

A day in court is the touchstone of the right to due process in criminal justice. It is an aspect of the duty of the government to follow a fair process of decision-making when it acts to deprive a person of his liberty. But just as an accused is accorded this constitutional protection, so is the State entitled to due process in criminal prosecutions. It must similarly be given the chance to present its evidence in support of a charge. (People v. Verra, G.R. No. 134732, 29 May 2002)

a. Consequences of no due process

1) Void judgment

A judgment rendered without due process is null and void, could never become final, and could be attacked in any appropriate proceeding. (Ibid.)

2) No jurisdiction

A violation of the State’s right to due process ousts courts of their jurisdiction and warrants a remand of the case to the trial court for further proceeding and reception of evidence. (Ibid.)

In those two cases, however, it is clear that the aggrieved parties were denied their day in court. In Villa, petitioner was not informed of the complaint against her; the administrative inquiry involving her was conducted in the most informal manner by means only of communication requiring submission of certain documents; and the documents she submitted were never given consideration on the pretense of lack of compliance. Similar...


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