2018 jurisprudence on the Bill of Rights

The following are important Supreme Court decisions on the Bill of Rights. All cases cited below were promulgated in 2018.

EQUAL PROTECTION

Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed; it does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different; neither is it necessary that the classification be made with mathematical nicety. (H. Villarica Pawnshop, Inc. vs. Social Security Commission, G.R. No. 228087, Jan. 24, 2018)

Guarantees that no person or class of persons shall be deprived of the same protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in the same place and in like circumstances; however, the concept of equal protection does not require a universal application of the laws to all persons or things without distinction; what it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid classification. (H. Villarica Pawnshop, Inc. vs. Social Security Commission, G.R. No. 228087, Jan. 24, 2018)

PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE

The constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty can only be overthrown by proof beyond reasonable doubt, that is, that degree of proof that produces conviction in an unprejudiced mind; hence, where the court entertains a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, it is not only the right of the accused to be freed; the Court is convinced that petitioner’s conviction must be set aside.  (Gonzalez vs. People, G.R. No. 225709, Feb. 14, 2018)

RIGHT AGAINST DOUBLE JEOPARDY

For there to be double jeopardy, a first jeopardy must have attached prior to the second; the first jeopardy has been validly terminated; and a second jeopardy is for the same offense as that in the first; first jeopardy has attached if: first, there was a valid indictment; second, this indictment was made before a competent court; third, after the accused’s arraignment; fourth, when a valid plea has been entered; and lastly, when the accused was acquitted or convicted, or the case was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. (People vs. Udang, Sr., G.R. No. 210161, Jan. 10, 2018)The right against double jeopardy serves as a protection: first, against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal; second, against a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction; and, finally, against multiple punishments for the same offense. (People vs. Udang, Sr., G.R. No. 210161, Jan. 10, 2018)

RIGHT AGAINST UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES

The Bill of Rights requires that a search and seizure must be carried out with a judicial warrant; otherwise, any evidence obtained from such warrantless search is inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding; this proscription admits of exceptions, namely: 1) Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest; 2) Search of evidence in plain view; 3) Search of a moving vehicle; 4) Consented warrantless search; 5) Customs search; 6) Stop and Frisk; and 7) Exigent and emergency circumstances. (People vs. Comprado, G.R. No. 213225, April 04, 2018)

The constitutional guarantee is not a blanket prohibition; rather, it operates against “unreasonable” searches and seizures only; conversely, when a search is “reasonable,” Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution does not apply; the prohibition of unreasonable search and seizure ultimately stems from a person’s right to privacy; People v. Johnson, Dela Cruz v. People, and People v. Breis, cited. (Saluday vs. People, G.R. No. 215305, April 03, 2018)

The constitutional immunity against unreasonable searches and seizures is a personal right, which may be waived; to be valid, the consent must be voluntary such that it is unequivocal, specific, and intelligently given, uncontaminated by any duress or coercion; relevant to this determination of voluntariness are the following characteristics of the person giving consent and the environment in which consent is given: (a) the age of the consenting party; (b) whether he or she was in a public or secluded location; (c) whether he or she objected to the search or passively looked on; (d) his or her education and intelligence; (e) the presence of coercive police procedures; (f) the belief that no incriminating evidence will be found; (g) the nature of the police questioning; (h) the environment in which the questioning took place; and (i) the possibly vulnerable subjective state of the person consenting. (Saluday vs. People, G.R. No. 215305, April 03, 2018)

RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS

Petitionerwas not impleaded and has no participation in the Customs case; as such, it would be unfair that it be bound by the RTC’s proceedings and findings of fact in the Customs case without giving it the chance to hear its side; to rule otherwise would deprive it of due process; the essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard, logically preconditioned on prior notice, before judgment is rendered; indeed, “no man shall be affected by any proceeding to which he is a stranger.” (Asian Terminals, Inc. vs. Padoson Stainless Steel Corp., G.R. No. 211876, June 25, 2018)

RIGHT TO SPEEDY DISPOSITION OF CASES

Enshrined in Sec. 16, Art. III of the 1987 Constitution; the right to speedy disposition of a case, like the right to speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceeding is attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured, or when without cause or justifiable motive, a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried; the doctrinal rule is that in the determination of whether that right has been violated, the factors that may be considered and balanced are as follows: (1) the length of delay; (2) the reason/s for the delay; (3) the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused; and (4) the prejudice caused by the delay. (People vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 232197-98, April 16, 2018)

RIGHT TO 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. (Magno vs. People, G.R. No. 230657, March 14, 2018)

Should be understood as a relative or flexible concept such that a mere mathematical reckoning of the time involved would not be sufficient; this right is deemed violated only when the proceedings are attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays; or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for and secured; or even without justifiable motive, a long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party having his case tried. (Magno vs. People, G.R. No. 230657, March 14, 2018)

The determination of whether the defendant has been denied such right, the following factors may be considered and balanced: (a) the length of delay; (b) the reasons for the delay; (c) the assertion or failure to assert such right by the accused; and (d) the prejudice caused by the delay. (Magno vs. People, G.R. No. 230657, March 14, 2018)

The prejudice to the accused arising from incarceration or anxiety from criminal prosecution should be weighed against the due process right of the State which is its right to prosecute the case and prove the criminal liability of the accused for the crime charged; for the State to sustain its right to prosecute despite the existence of a delay, the following must be present: (a) that the accused suffered no serious prejudice beyond that which ensued from the ordinary and inevitable delay; and (b) that there was no more delay than is reasonably attributable to the ordinary processes of justice. (People vs. Domingo, G.R. No. 204895, March 21, 2018)

The right to speedy trial as any other constitutionally or statutory conferred right, except when otherwise expressly so provided by law, may be waived; it must be asserted; the assertion of such right is entitled to strong evidentiary weight in determining whether the accused is being deprived thereof such that the failure to claim the right will make it difficult to prove that there was a denial of a speedy trial. (People vs. Macasaet, G.R. No. 196094, March 05, 2018)

The right to speedy trial is not merely hinged towards the objective of spurring dispatch in the administration of justice but also to prevent the oppression of the citizen by holding a criminal prosecution suspended over him for an indefinite time; the salutary objective of this right is to assure that an innocent person may be free from the anxiety and expense of 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. (Magno vs. People, G.R. No. 230657, March 14, 2018)

To determine whether accused-appellant’s right to speedy trial was violated, four factors must be considered: (a) length of delay; (b) the reason for the delay; (c) the defendant’s assertion of his right; and (d) prejudice to the defendant; in determining the right of an accused to speedy trial, courts should do more than a mathematical computation of the number of postponements of the scheduled hearings of the case; what offends the right of the accused to speedy trial are unjustified postponements which prolong trial for an unreasonable length of time. (People vs. Domingo, G.R. No. 204895, March 21, 2018)

RIGHT TO TRAVEL

One of the limitations on the right to travel is DOJ Circular No. 41, which was issued pursuant to the rule-making powers of the DOJ in order to keep individuals under preliminary investigation within the jurisdiction of the Philippine criminal justice system; this Circular is not a law but a mere administrative issuance apparently designed to carry out the provisions of an enabling law which the former DOJ Secretary believed to be E.O. No. 292, otherwise known as the “Administrative Code of 1987”. (Genuino vs. Hon. De Lima, G.R. No. 197930, April 17, 2018) ––      The right to travel is part of the “liberty” of which a citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law; there are constitutional, statutory and inherent limitations regulating the right to travel; Section 6 itself provides that the right to travel may be impaired only in the interest of national security, public safety or public health, as may be provided by law; as a further requirement, there must be an explicit provision of statutory law or the Rules of Court providing for the impairment. (Genuino vs. Hon. De Lima, G.R. No. 197930, April 17, 2018)

Popular Posts