Unlawful arrest may result in ZERO evidence against accused

While it starts with a claim that the trial court failed to consider the non-observance by the police of the constitutional safeguards during the investigation of the accused, it quoted the trial court's statement precisely expressing its dismay over the questionable method used by the police in such investigation and considered it a mockery of the Constitution which the police had sworn to honor and revere. We quote what the trial court said: The Court, however, must express its dismay over the questionable means employed by the police in investigating the accused. The police officers concerned mocked the Constitution, which they themselves have sworn to honor and revere, when they did not remind the accused of their right to remain silent and to be assisted by counsel. They must be instructed by their superiors in no uncertain terms to respect the Constitution at all times in the performance of their duties. Be that as it may, this unconstitutional act may not benefit the cause of the accused. After all, nothing in the evidence for the prosecution was taken from the police investigation in question - no fruit, as it were, from the "poisoned tree." However, while the trial court found a mockery of the Constitution and in fact declared that "nothing in the evidence for the prosecution was taken from the police investigation in question - no fruit, as it were, from the 'poisoned tree,'" we do find incongruous the following statement of the trial court: Undisputed is the fact of police recovery of "partitions" of the loot (cash) not from one of the three of them in separate "hiding" places. What was "recovered" from accused Melvida was P9,000.00 which, he admitted, was his share of the loot. As to the differeance between P22,526.00 and P9,000.00, no evidence was adduced how and from whom it was recovered. Police officer Mariano Remulta merely declared that the P26,526.00 was entrusted to him by the station commander who told him that the amount was "recovered in connection with the highway robbery casse." Since the "recovery" of P9,000.00 from Melvida was due to his "admission" in the course of the custodial interrogation made in vioaltion of paragraph (1) of Section 12, Article III of the Constitution and therefore, inadmissible in evidence pursuant to paragraph (3) of the said section then the P9,000.00 cannot also be admitted in evidence as a "fruit of the poisonous tree." The rule is settled that once the primary source (the "tree") is shown to have been unlawfully obtained - as the admission of Melvida in this case - any secondary or derivative evidence (the "fruit") derived from it - the P9,000.00 obtained from Melvida as a consequence of his "admission" - is also inadmissible. The above statement of the trial court may, however, be considered mere surplusage since, in the final analysis, it did not take into account against the accused whatever admission they made during police interrogation. We need to elaborate, however, why such admissions are inadmissible in evidence. [G.R. No. 117397. November 13, 1996]