Quizzers in Constitutional law
Part one: Bill of rights
DUE PROCESS CLAUSE:
1.In a case before the Bureau of Lands, Mendoza was not made a party. Since the decision adversely affected him, he appealed to the Office of the President which eventualy decided the case against him. He now contends that he was denied due process because he was not given notice when the case was still before the Bureau of Lands.Decide.
Answer: The fact that he had a chance to be heard in the appeal before the Office of the President makes up for whatever may have been wanting earlier. There is no violation of due process. (Asst. Executive Secretary v. CA, G.R. No. 76761, Jan. 8, 1989).
2.Pursuant to P.D. No. 101 ordering the fixing of just reasonable standards, classification, regulation, practices, measurements, or service to be furnished, imposed, observed and followed by operators of public utility motor vehicles, the BOT and BLT promulgated a regulation to the effect that no car beyond six years shall be operated as a taxi. Petitioners contend that procedural due process was violated because position papers were not asked of them and because there was no public hearing prior to the issuance of the regulation. Decide.
ANSWER: The Board has a wide range of choices for gathering information or data and is not bound to make use of all of them. Moreover, previous notice and hearing is required in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings but not in the promulgation of general rules.(Taxicab Operators v. BOT, G.R. No. 59234 Sept. 30, 1982, p. 37 Bernas).
3.Petitioner avers that to require him to satisfy his civil liability in order to continue to avail of the benefits of probation is to violate the constitutional proscription against unequal protection of the law. He says only moneyed probationers will be able to benefit from probation if satisfaction of civil liability is made a condition. Decide.
ANSWER: Payment of the civil liability is not made a condition precedent to probation. If it were, then perhaps there might be some basis to petitioner’s assertion that only moneyed convicts may avail of the benefits of probation. In this case however, petitioner’s application for probation had already been granted. Satisfaction of his civil liability was not made a requirement before he could avail of probation, but was a condition for his continued enjoyment of the same. It is a consequence of petitioner’s having been convicted of crime and petitioner is bound to satisfy this obligation regardless of whether or not he is placed under probation. (Soriano v. CA. G.R. No. 123936, March 4, 1999).
4.Are there any forms of speech, which are not protected by the Constitution?
ANSWER: These are libel and obscenity… such utterances are not essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interests in order and morality [(Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 572 (1942), Bernas p. 95]
5.Petitioner seeks access to the voting slips accomplished by the individual members of the Censorship Board.It is on basis of the voting slips that films are banned, cut or classified accordingly. Chairman Morato, however, claims that the voting slips partake of the “nature of conscience votes “ and as such, are purely and completely private and personal. It is the submission of the respondent that the individual voting slip is the exclusive property of the member concerned and anybody who wants access thereto must first secure his (member’s) consent.Decide.
ANSWER: The action taken by the Chairman violates the right to information on matters of public concern. Decisions made in an official capacity are public and not private matters. (Aquino-Sarmiento v. Morato, G.R. No. 92541, Nov. 13, 1991).
6.Respondent Judge allowed access to docket books but only under certain conditions and subject to his control and supervision. Was he guilty of abuse of authority?
ANSWER: No. The right to information on matters of public concern is subject to the limitations imposed by law. Moreover it is subject to reasonable regulations for the convenience of and order in the office that has custody of the documents (Baldoza v. Judge Dimaano, A.M. 1120 MTJ, May 5, 1976).
7.A land buyer buys a lot with an annotated lien that the lot owner becomes an automatic member of the homeowner’s association. Does such annotation violate the right freely to join or not to join associations?
ANSWER: No.The fact that the obligation is annotated in the title does notmake it a government act forcing one to join an association. Rather the buyer freely buys the lot knowing that the purchase will entail an obligation [(Bel-air v. Dionisio, 174 SCRA 589 (1989)].
RIGHT TO Counsel:
8.Is the right to have counsel present during investigation intended to stop the accused from saying anything that may incriminate him?
A: No. The right to counsel is intended to preclude the slightest coercion as would lead the accused to admit something false. The lawyer, however, should never prevent an accused from freely and voluntarily telling the truth (Pp. v. Layuso, G.R. No. 69210, Jul 5, 1989).
9. Accused was made to undergo a paraffin test of his hands to determine whether he had recently fired a gun. Accused claims violation of his constitutional right, as it was not conducted in the presence of his lawyer. Decide.
A: This constitutional right extends only to testimonial compulsion and not when the body of the accused is proposed to be examined as in the case (PP. v. Gamboa, G.R. No. 91374, Feb. 25, 1991).
10. Police Officer John invited Tulio in connection with the death of Sander and two other robbery cases reported in Lucena City.During their conversation Tulio explicitly recounted what had transpired regarding Sander’s death. Is the narration of Tulio admissible as evidence against him?
A: The narration is inadmissible. The prohibition is reinforced in R.A. 7438 whichprotects the rights of persons under custodial investigation … as including the practice of issuing an invitation to a person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed (PP. V. Tan G.R. No. 117321, Feb. 11, 1998).
11.While in police custody, the accused verbally and spontaneously admitted his guilt and pointed out the mastermind of the robbery. Is his statement admissible as evidence?
ANSWER: Yes, because constitutional procedures on custodial investigation do not apply to a spontaneous statement, not elicited through questioning by the authorities, but given in an ordinary manner whereby the accused orally admitted having committed the crime—as in the case at bar. (Pp. v. Cabiles, G.R. No. 112035, Jan. 16, 1995).
12.While in the custody for violation of Dangerous DrugsAct, the accused, unassisted by counsel, wrote his name on the rolled marijuana cigarettes that had been seized from him. Are the marked cigarettes admissible in evidence?
ANSWER: No. Accused’s act of writing his name on the cigarettes amounted to an admission of his culpability without the assistance of counsel. The cigarettes are inadmissible. (Pp. v. Enrique Jr. GR. No. 90738, Dec. 8, 1991).
13.Convicted of robbery with homicide by the RTC, Manuel argues that the victim’s wallet should be inadmissible as evidence because the investigating policeman did not inform him of his constitutional rights during the custodial investigation wherein he pointed out to them the place where he hid the wallet. Decide.
A: Infractions of the Miranda rights render inadmissible only the extrsajudicial confession or admission made during the custodial investigation. The admissibility of other evidence, provided, they are relevant to the issue is not otherwise excluded by the law or ruels is not affected even if obtained or taken in the course of custodial investigation.(Pp. v. Malimit, G.R. No. 109775, Nov. 14, 1996).
14.May a judge who replaces another judge validly render a decision although he has only partly heard the testimony of witnesses?
A: Yes. It is based on practical consideration. It is sufficient that in such circumstances the judge, in deciding the case, must base it completely on the cold record before him, in the same manner as appellate courts do when they review the evidence of the case raised before to them on appeal (Pp. v. Narajos 149 SCRA 99; Villanueva v. Estenzo, 64 scra 407).
15.What are the requisites of a valid trial in absentia?
A: The accused has already been arraigned; he has been duly notified of the trial andhis failure to appear is unjustifiable.[(Parada v. Veneracion, AM. RTJ-96-1353, March 11, 1997; Pp. v. Salas, 143 SCRA 163 (1896)]
16.After an inordinate number of postponements on motion of the accused because of the absence of his counsel, counsel once more for no justifiable reason absents himself. Thejudge denies further postponement. Accused now claims that the judge should at least have appointed a counsel de oficio. Decide.
A: The duty of the courtt to appoint a cousel de oficio when the accused has no counsel of choice and desire to employ the services of one is mandatory at the time of arraigment. This is no longer so where the accused has proceeded with the arraignment and the trial with a counssel of his choice but when the time for the defense has arrived, he appears by himself alone and the absence of his counsel was inexcusable. [(Sayson v. People, 166 SCRA 680(1988)]
17.May a government officer whose office is under investigation refuse to testify when cited as witness in connection with a fact-finding investigation of anomalies in the city government with the object of filing corresponding charges?
A: No, because the officer is not yet facing any administrative charge (Evangelista v Jarencio, 68 SCRA 99), Nov. 29, 1975).
18. Upon arraignment, the accused pleaded not guilty and immediately moved to quash the complaint on the ground that it charged no offense. The motion was granted. Subsequently, an amended complaint was filed. Is there double jeopardy?
A: No, because the defective complaint did not place the accused in first jeopardy. (Pp. v. Judge Consulta, L-41251, March 31, 1976).
19.The accused was charged in the Municipal Trial Court for an offense, which is cognizable, by the Regional Trial Court.He moved for the dismissal of the case, which was granted. The same case later was filed before the proper RTC.He then moves for the dismissal of the same case, on the ground of double jeopardy. Decide.
A: The defense is not proper. Since the first court had no jurisdiction, the accused was not in first jeopardy before the MTC.
20.Andoy Pordoy is accused before the Municipal Trial Court. After plea, the prosecution asks for dismissal on the ground that the muncipal trial court has no jurisdiction. Accused opposed the motion but the judge dismissed the case for want of jurisdiction. It turned out, however, that the municipal court has jurisdiction. The case was refiled with the MTC and the accused pleaded double jeopardy. Decide.
A: The defense is not proper because the dismissal was without the express consent of the accused.
21.Charged with inflicting physical injuries that would require 5 to 9 days of medical attendance, the accused was convicted. Subsequently, when the victim developed a permanent scar and deformity on the face, a more serious charge was filed. Is there double jeopardy?
A: No. The scar and deformity were supervening facts not in existence at the time of the first charge and could not have been foreseen (Pp. v. Adil, L-41863, April 25, 1977).
22. After trial on the merits, the accused was acquitted for insufficiency of evidence against him in the cases for murder and frustrated murder and on the finding, in the illegal carrying of firearms, that the act charged did no constitute a violation of law. The State through a petition for certiorari would want his acquittal reversed. Is certiorari proper?
A: Certiorari is improper. Errors of judgment cannot be corrected by certiorari which is proper only on “grave abuse of discretion” or lack of jurisdiction. No error, however flagrant, committed by the court against the state, can be reversed by it. (Bernas Primer, p. 230).
23.Pursuant to R.A. No. 7975, the Sandiganbayan transferred the KuratongBaleleng case to the RTC for lack of jurisdiction.R.A. No. 8249 amended R.A. No. 7975 in further defining the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Pursuant to the new Act, the Sandiganbayan took cognizance of the case. Petitioner and intervenors argue that the statute’s retroactive application to the Kuratong Baleleng case constitutes an ex post facto law for it deprives them of their right to procedural due process as they can no longer avail of the two-tiered appeal which they had allegedly acquired under R.A. 7975.Decide.
A: In general, ex post facto law prohibits restrospectivity of penal laws.R.A. No. 8249 is not a penal law, but a substantial law on jurisdiction, which is not penal in character. The contention that the law diluted their right to a two-tiered appeal is incorrect because the right to appeal is not a natural right but statutory in nature that can be regulated by law. The mode of procedure provided for in the statutory right of appeal is not included in the prohibition against ex post facto law.R.A. No. 8249 pertains only to matters of procedure, and being merely an amendatory statute it does not partake the nature of an ex post facto law.(Lacson v. Executive Secretary, G.R. No. 128096, Jan. 20, 1999).
24.On June 6, 1997, R.A. No. 8294 amended P.D. No. 1866, which codified the laws on illegal possessin of firearms. Among its amendments was that if homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed firearm, such use should be considered as a special aggravating circumstance. The amendment meant: first, that the use of the unlicensed firearm in the commission of homicide or murder shall not be treated as a separate offense, but as a special aggravating circumstance; second, that since a single crime is committed (i.e. homicide or murder with aggravating circumstnace of illegal possesion of firearm), only one penalty shall be imposed on the accused. Accused was charged with crimes committed in 1995.Will R.A. No. 8294 be applicable to him?
A: Yes, because it is favorable to him. (Pp. v. Casingal, G.R. No. 132214, Aug. 1, 2000).