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Is the Miranda Doctrine applicable in the Philippines?

(The answer is, yes!)

The Miranda Rights Doctrine came from the celebrated decision of the United States
Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona.

It was in that decision where the United States Supreme Court promulgated guidelines for
the rights of the accused, particularly in custodial proceedings. The doctrine requires that:
(1) any person under custodial investigation has the right to remain silent; (2) anything he
says can and will be used against him in a court of law; (3) he has the right to communicate to
an attorney prior being questioned and to have his counsel present when being questioned; and
(4) if he cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided before any questioning if he so desires.

This doctrine is adopted and enshrined in Section 12 (1), Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution,
which provides: Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the
right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent
counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must
be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of
counsel.

In comparing to what was laid out in Miranda v. Arizona, the Philippine Constitution
provides for stricter guidelines, such as, where the right to an attorney was particularly
qualified to mean competent and independent counsel preferably of the accuseds own
choice. Waiver of the right to the same also provides for stringent requirements compared
to its American counterpart, wherein such waiver must be done in writing, and in the
presence of counsel. Any confession or admission obtained in violation of the requirements
under the Miranda rights shall be inadmissible in evidence against the accused.

In People v. Ferrer G.R. No. 148821, 18 July 2003, the essence of the right to counsel was
enunciated: The right to counsel means that the accused is amply accorded legal assistance
extended by a counsel who commits himself to the cause for the defense and acts accordingly.
The right assumes an active involvement by the lawyer in the proceedings, particularly at
the trial of the case, his bearing constantly in mind of the basic rights of the accused, his being
well-versed on the case, and his knowing the fundamental procedures, essential laws and
existing jurisprudence. The right of an accused to counsel finds substance in the
performance by the lawyer of his sworn duty of fidelity to his client. In other words, it
means an efficient and truly decisive legal assistance and not a simple perfunctory
representation.

Without proper safeguards the process of in-custody interrogation of persons accused of


crime contains compelling pressures which work to undermine the individuals will to resist
and to compel him to speak where he would otherwise do so freely.

Therefore, a defendant or accused must be warned of this rights emanated from the Miranda
Doctrine.