Admissible confession
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - May 29, 2019 - 12:00am

This is another case of a confession made outside the court and not during a judicial proceeding, which is known as an extra-judicial confession. The main issue here is whether such confession is admissible even if the accused is not cautioned that he need not talk and that if he talks, what he says will be used against him. Also resolved in this case is the effect of failure to object to an extrajudicial confession offered in evidence. Will it be presumed as voluntarily given?

This is the case of Aldo, 27 years old and married to Brenda, who has a younger sister Linda with whom Aldo is illicitly infatuated. Linda insinuated to Aldo that if her sister Brenda was out of the way, it would be possible for her and Aldo to live together. So, after Aldo had sexual intercourse with Linda, he yielded to her blandishments and planned the death of Brenda. Aldo found the opportunity when Brenda and another sister Amy had left on an errand. He got a bolo and waited for them at night in an isolated spot near the seashore. Then he invited them to join him there for a moment and suddenly attacked Brenda, hitting her on the head and killing her. Amy tried to flee to the seashore but Aldo caught up with her and killed her also with the same bolo. Then he went back to their house and the following day he and Linda started co-habiting together.

Three days later however and apparently stricken by his conscience, Aldo executed an extra-judicial confession in the police station. This was subscribed and sworn to before the Justice of Peace of their province in the presence of the chief and the sergeant of police. In said confession he declared that he executed it “of his own free will, without force, intimidation or threat or promise of any kind of reward whatsoever.”

When charged with the crime of parricide, said extra-judicial confession was introduced in evidence as Exhibit “A” without objection on the part of his attorney. So after trial, the lower court found Aldo guilty as charged and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of death.

By reason of the death penalty imposed, the case was automatically reviewed by the Supreme Court (SC) which found said confession admissible in evidence even if the accused was not cautioned that he need not talk and that if he does, what he says will be used against him. According to the SC such failure to caution the accused does not render the confession inadmissible because it was not made in a judicial proceeding before a magistrate. The SC also said that the Justice of Peace read and explained the confession to AA and asked the latter if he conformed to his testimony therein before he signed it. Besides, the SC said that there are numerous corroborating circumstances which bear out to the last detail, the story told in the confession, particularly: the suspicious and evasive attitude of the accused when first questioned by the police, the place of the crime and the disposition of the bodies together with the number of wounds made by a cutting instrument like a bolo as found by the physician, all of which tally exactly with the statement of the accused. Furthermore, he did not and cannot deny that blood stains were found on his bolo and on his clothes.

The penalty should be death because the crime was committed with evident premeditation, treachery, at night time and in an uninhabited place. The mitigating circumstance of lack of education cannot be given to the accused because he does not appear to be ignorant, his behavior and manners being those of a man with certain amount of culture especially because he even understands Spanish. So Aldo is really guilty of the crime of parricide and should be sentenced to death (US vs Agatea, G.R.L-15177, December 15, 1919).

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