Del Castillo vs. People (G.R. No. 185128)

The Open Concavity Tina Siuagan case digest
Image by witwiccan from Pixabay

In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the law’s own starting perspective on the status of the accused – in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt.

 

FACTS

Pursuant to a confidential information that Ruben Del Castillo (petitioner) was engaged in selling shabu, police officers, headed by SPO3 Bienvenido Masnayon, secured a search warrant from the RTC. In the search warrant, the place of Del Castillo’s residence was specifically designated and described.

The same police operatives then went to Gil Tudtud St., Mabolo, Cebu City to serve the search warrant to petitioner. But upon their arrival, someone shouted “raid”, which prompted them to proceed to Del Castillo’s house and cordon/surround it. However, before these police operatives can implement the search warrant, Del Castillo allegedly fled and ran to a nipa hut located 20 meters away from Del Castillo’s residence. SPO3 Masnayon and his men chased Del Castillo but failed to do so because they are not familiar with the entrances and exits of the place. Thereafter, all the police officers went back to said residence and sought the assistance of the barangay tanods.

In the presence of the barangay tanod, Nelson Gonzalado, and the elder sister of petitioner named Dolly del Castillo, Masnayon and his men searched Del Castillo’s house, including the nipa hut where he allegedly ran for cover. The policemen who searched the residence of the petitioner found nothing, but one of the barangay tanods was able to confiscate from the nipa hut several articles, including four (4) plastic packs containing white crystalline substance. Later, these packs were found to be shabu after they were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination.

On the basis of such finding, an Information for Section 16, Article III of R.A. 6425, as amended was filed against Del Castillo. During arraignment, with the assistance of counsel, he pleaded not guilty. Then, trial on the merits ensued. Eventually, the Regional Trial Court found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged.

Del Castillo, aggrieved by the trial court’s decision, appealed his case to the Court of Appeals. However, the appellate court affirmed the court a quo’s decision, opining that Del Castillo had constructive possession of the nipa hut where the crystalline substance were found. Thus, such substance, which turned out to be shabu, are under his dominion and control. Also, it denied Del Castillo’s Motion for Reconsideration.

Undaunted, Del Castillo filed before the Supreme Court a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. He argued that the packs of white crystalline substance found in the nipa hut are inadmissible in evidence against him. This is because the prosecution failed to prove that he is the owner of said hut and that he uses the same as his electric shop.

ISSUE

Can Del Castillo be convicted of the crime charged?

RULING

No. This is because the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the nipa hut, in which the illegal drugs were found, is under Del Castillo’s control and dominion or constructive possession, which is an element of the crime charged.

Among other things, the prosecution must prove the accused’s possession of the prohibited drug. Here, the testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution do not provide proof as to the ownership of the nipa hut where the seized articles (packs of crystalline substances) were found. During their direct testimonies, they just said, without stating their basis, that the same structure was the shop of petitioner. In addition, the RTC, as well as the CA, merely presumed that petitioner used the said structure due to the presence of electrical materials, the petitioner being an electrician by profession.

Thus, the Supreme Court ruled:

“The prosecution must prove that the petitioner had knowledge of the existence and presence of the drugs in the place under his control and dominion, and the character of the drugs. With the prosecution’s failure to prove that the nipa hut was under petitioner’s control and dominion, there casts a reasonable doubt as to his guilt.

In considering a criminal case, it is critical to start with the law’s own starting perspective on the status of the accused – in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Proof beyond reasonable doubt, or that quantum of proof sufficient to produce a moral certainty that would convince and satisfy the conscience of those who act in judgment, is indispensable to overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence.

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 31, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. No. 27819, which affirmed the Decision dated March 14, 2003 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 12, Cebu, in Criminal Case No. CBU-46291 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner Ruben del Castillo is ACQUITTED on reasonable doubt.

SO ORDERED.

Miguel vs. Sandiganbayan (GR. NO. 172035)

The Open Concavity Tina Siuagan case digest
Image by witwiccan from Pixabay

Since a pre-suspension hearing is basically a due process requirement, when an accused public official is given an adequate opportunity to be heard on his possible defenses against the mandatory suspension under R.A. No. 3019, then an accused would have no reason to complain that no actual hearing was conducted. It is well settled that “to be heard” does not only mean oral arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, has been accorded, no denial of procedural due process exists.

In the present case, the petitioner (i) filed his Vigorous Opposition (to the OSP’s Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente Lite), and after receiving an adverse ruling from the Sandiganbayan, (ii) moved for reconsideration of the suspension order issued against him, and (iii) filed a Reply to the OSP’s Opposition to his plea for reconsideration.

FACTS

The Ombudsman filed an Information against Petitioner Fernando Miguel, former Municipal Mayor of Koronadal City, South Cotabato for the violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 and paragraph 4, Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (Falsification of Public Document). This is connection with the consultancy services for the architectural aspect, engineering design, and the construction, supervision, and management of the proposed Koronadal City public market.

The Information reads, to wit:

That on 10 January 1995 or sometime prior or subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of Koronadal, South Cotabato, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the [petitioner], a high ranking public officer in his capacity as former Municipal Mayor of Koronadal, South Cotabato, and as such while in the performance of his official functions, committing the offense in relation to his office, taking advantage of his official position, conspiring and confederating with the private [individuals] xxx acting with evident bad faith and manifest partiality, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally give unwarranted benefits and advantages to said [accused], by inviting them to participate in the prequalification of consultants to provide the Detailed Architectural & Engineering Design and Construction Supervision and Management of the proposed Koronadal Public Market, without causing the publication of said invitation in a newspaper of general circulation, thereby excluding other consultants from participating in said prequalification.

Accordingly, Miguel filed a Motion to Quash said information and Reinvestigation of the criminal cases against him, which the Sandiganbayan denied. Eventually, he, together with his other co-accused, was arraigned by the Sandiganbayan, during which he pleaded not guilty in both criminal cases filed against him.

Later, the Office of the Special Prosecutor filed a Motion to Suspend Pendente Lite the petitioner To this, Miguel filed his Vigorous Opposition based on the “obvious” and “fatal” defect of the Information against him. Petitioner Miguel maintains that the Information failed to allege that the “giving of unwarranted benefits and advantages” was done through “manifest partiality, evident bad faith, and or gross excusable negligence. However, the Sandiganbayan proceeded with suspending him pendente lite.

Thereafter, Miguel moved for reconsideration of his suspension order and demanded a pre-suspension hearing. However, the Sandiganbayan likewise denied said motion. This prompted Miguel to file the present petition for certiorari, assailing the validity of his suspension order.

The petitioner bewails the lack of hearing before the issuance of his suspension order. Citing Luciano, et al. v. Hon. Mariano, etc., et al.,he claims that “[n]owhere in the records of the [case] can [one] see any order or resolution requiring the [p]etitioner to show cause at a specific date of hearing why he should not be ordered suspended.”For the petitioner, the requirement of a pre-suspension hearing can only be satisfied if the Sandiganbayan ordered an actual hearing to settle the “defect” in the information.

ISSUE

Was Miguel’s suspension order valid?

RULING

Yes. This is because, NOTWITHSTANDING the absence a show cause order and pre-suspension hearing prior to the issuance of his suspension order, Miguel was actually given the ample opportunity to assail the validity of the information filed against him, including the criminal proceedings conducted pursuant thereto, and to be heard on his possible defenses through the Motion to Quash, Vigorous Opposition (against the prosecution’s Motion to Suspend [him] Pendente Lite), and Motion for Reconsideration of his suspension order filed before the Sandiganbayan.

Hence, the Supreme Court ruled:

While the suspension of a public officer under [Section 13 of Republic Act 3019] is mandatory, the suspension requires a prior hearing to determine “the validity of the information” filed against him, “taking into account the serious and far reaching consequences of a suspension of an elective public official even before his conviction.” The accused public official’s right to challenge the validity of the information before a suspension order may be issued includes the right to challenge the (i) validity of the criminal proceeding leading to the filing of an information against him, and (ii) propriety of his prosecution on the ground that the acts charged do not constitute a violation of R.A. No. 3019 or of the provisions on bribery of the Revised Penal Code.

In Luciano v. Mariano that the petitioner relied upon, the Court required, “by way of broad guidelines for the lower courts in the exercise of the power of suspension,” that –

(c) …upon the filing of such information, the trial court should issue an order with proper notice requiring the accused officer to show cause at a specific date of hearing why he should not be ordered suspended from office pursuant to the cited mandatory provisions of the Act.

Where either the prosecution seasonably files a motion for an order of suspension or the accused in turn files a motion to quash the information or challenges the validity thereof, such show-cause order of the trial court would no longer be necessary. What is indispensable is that the trial court duly hear the parties at a hearing held for determining the validity of the information, and thereafter hand down its ruling, issuing the corresponding order of suspension should it uphold the validity of the information or withholding such suspension in the contrary case.

(d) No specific rules need be laid down for such pre-suspension hearing. Suffice it to state that the accused should be given a fair and adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the criminal proceedings against him, e.g. that he has not been afforded the right of due preliminary investigation; that the acts for which he stands charged do not constitute a violation of the provisions of Republic Act No. 3019 or of the bribery provisions of the Revised Penal Code which would warrant his mandatory suspension from office under section 13 of the Act; or he may present a motion to quash the information on any of the grounds provided in Rule 117 of the Rules of Court.

The petitioner questions the absence of any show cause order issued by the Sandiganbayan before his suspension in office was ordered. As clear as the day, however, Luciano considered it unnecessary for the trial court to issue a show cause order when the motion, seeking the suspension of the accused pendente lite, has been submitted by the prosecution, as in the present case.

The purpose of the law in requiring a pre-suspension hearing is to determine the validity of the information so that the trial court can have a basis to either suspend the accused and proceed with the trial on the merits of the case, withhold the suspension and dismiss the case, or correct any part of the proceedings that impairs its validity. That hearing is similar to a challenge to the validity of the information by way of a motion to quash. While a pre-suspension hearing is aimed at securing for the accused fair and adequate opportunity to challenge the validity of the information or the regularity of the proceedings against him, Luciano likewise emphasizes that no hard and fast rule exists in regulating its conduct. With the purpose of a pre-suspension hearing in mind, the absence of an actual hearing alone cannot be determinative of the validity of a suspension order.

In Bedruz v. Sandiganbayan, the Court considered the opposition of the accused (to the prosecution’s motion to suspend pendente lite) as sufficient to dispense with the need to actually set the prosecution’s motion for hearing.

The same conclusion was reached in Juan v. People,where the Court ruled:

In the case at bar, while there was no pre-suspension hearing held to determine the validity of the Informations that had been filed against petitioners, we believe that the numerous pleadings filed for and against them have achieved the goal of this procedure. The right to due process is satisfied nor just by an oral hearing but by the filing and the consideration by the court of the parties’ pleadings, memoranda and other position papers.

Since a pre-suspension hearing is basically a due process requirement, when an accused public official is given an adequate opportunity to be heard on his possible defenses against the mandatory suspension under R.A. No. 3019, then an accused would have no reason to complain that no actual hearing was conducted.

It is well settled that “to be heard” does not only mean oral arguments in court; one may be heard also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, has been accorded, no denial of procedural due process exists.

In the present case, the petitioner (i) filed his Vigorous Opposition (to the OSP’s Motion to Suspend Accused Pendente Lite), and after receiving an adverse ruling from the Sandiganbayan, (ii) moved for reconsideration of the suspension order issued against him, and (iii) filed a Reply to the OSP’s Opposition to his plea for reconsideration.

Given this opportunity, we find that the petitioner’s continued demand for the conduct of an actual pre-suspension hearing – based on the same alleged “defect in the information,”which we have found wanting – has legally nothing to anchor itself on.

WHEREFORE, we hereby DISMISS the petition for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Villareal vs. People (GR. No. 151258)

The Open Concavity Tina Siuagan case digest
Image by witwiccan from Pixabay

In light of the finding of violation of the right of Escalona et al. to speedy trial, the CA’s dismissal of the criminal case against them amounted to an acquittal, and that any appeal or reconsideration thereof would result in a violation of their right against double jeopardy. Though we have recognized that the acquittal of the accused may be challenged where there has been a grave abuse of discretion, certiorari would lie if it is convincingly established that the CA’s Decision dismissing the case was attended by a whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. It must be shown that the assailed judgment constitutes “a patent and gross abuse of discretion amounting to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty imposed by law or to act in contemplation of law; an exercise of power in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility; or a blatant abuse of authority to a point so grave and so severe as to deprive the court of its very power to dispense justice.

FACTS:

Leonardo “Lenny” Villa was among the seven (7) Ateneo de Manila University School of Law students and neophytes of the Aquila Legis Juris Fraternity (Aquila Fraternity). He and his other fellow neophytes joined Aquila Fraternity’s three-day initiation rites. However, on his second day of initiation, Lenny received several strong paddle blows in addition to the previous ones he and his fellow neophytes received that same day. During the night, after just an hour of sleep, Lenny roused the other neophytes with his shivering and incoherent mumbling. When his condition worsened, the Aquilans brought him to the hospital. Unfortunately, Lenny was pronounced dead on arrival.

These turn of events prompted the filing of a criminal case for homicide against thirty five (35) Aquilans. The RTC convicted twenty six (26) of them of the crime charged. Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals acquitted nineteen (19) of these accused, sentenced four (4) of them of only slight physical injuries, convicted two of them (Artemio and Dizon) of the crime of homicide, and dismissed the case as to Concepcion, Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano, on the basis of the violation of the latter’s right to speedy trial. (No clear-cut mention as to other three was made in the case. Meanwhile, one of the accused, De Leon, died during the pendency of the criminal case.)

Unsatisfied with the February 1, 2012 decision of the Supreme Court, Petitioner Gerarda Villa filed the present Motion for Reconsideration asserting that the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed the case as to Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano. Villa opined that their right to speedy trial was not violated since they had failed to assert it within a reasonable period of time. She stresses that, unlike their co-accused Reynaldo Concepcion, respondents Escalona et al. did not timely invoke their right to speedy trial during the time that the original records and pieces of evidence were unavailable. She again emphasizes that the prosecution cannot be faulted entirely for the lapse of 12 years from the arraignment until the initial trial, as there were a number of incidents attributable to the accused themselves that caused the delay of the proceedings.

ISSUE:

Did the CA committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it dismissed the case against Escalona, Ramos, Saruca, and Adriano for violation of their right to speedy trial?

RULING:

No. After taking a second look on the records of the case, the CA’s decision and the petitioners’ arguments, the Supreme Court found no basis to rule that the appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion in concluding that the aforesaid accused’s right to speedy trial was violated. Its findings were sufficiently supported by the records of the case and grounded in law.

The Supreme Court emphasized that in light of the finding of violation of the right of Escalona et al. to speedy trial, the CA’s dismissal of the criminal case against them amounted to an acquittal, and that any appeal or reconsideration thereof would result in a violation of their right against double jeopardy.

Though we have recognized that the acquittal of the accused may be challenged where there has been a grave abuse of discretion, certiorari would lie if it is convincingly established that the CA’s Decision dismissing the case was attended by a whimsical or capricious exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. It must be shown that the assailed judgment constitutes “a patent and gross abuse of discretion amounting to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty imposed by law or to act in contemplation of law; an exercise of power in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility; or a blatant abuse of authority to a point so grave and so severe as to deprive the court of its very power to dispense justice.” Thus, grave abuse of discretion cannot be attributed to a court simply because it allegedly misappreciated the facts and the evidence.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Motion for Partial Reconsideration of petitioner Gerarda H. Villa in connection with G.R. Nos. 178057 & 178080 is hereby DENIED. The Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Office of the Solicitor General concerning G.R. Nos. 155101 and 154954 is also DENIED.

People vs. Lara (G.R. No. 199877)

The Open Concavity Tina Siuagan case digest
Image by witwiccan from Pixabay

The right to be assisted by counsel attaches only during custodial investigation and cannot be claimed by the accused during identification in a police line-up because it is not part of the custodial investigation process. This is because during a police line-up, the process has not yet shifted from investigatory to accusatory and it is usually the witness or the complainant who is interrogated and who gives a statement in the course of the line-up.

FACTS:

Arturo Lara was arrested and, later, charged with Robbery with Homicide for stealing San Sebastian Inc.’s money, in the amount more or less Php 230,000.00, and for the death of one Joselito Bautista in the occasion thereof. When police operatives seized Lara, the latter was placed in a police line-up whereby Enrique Sumulong, Jeff Atie, and Virgilio Manacob identified him as the perpetrator of the crime.

Consequently, the Pasig RTC convicted Lara of the crime charged. Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed this decision.

Lara’s case reached the Supreme Court via an automatic appeal from the Court of Appeals. At this juncture, he argues, among others, that he was not assisted by counsel when the police placed him in a line-up to be identified by the witnesses for the prosecution in violation of Section 12, Article III of the Constitution. He maintains that the police line-up is part of custodial investigation and his right to counsel had already attached.

ISSUE:

Was the absence of counsel during the police line up violated his right to counsel?

RULING:

NO. This is because a police-line up is not part of custodial investigation.

Contrary to Lara’s claim, that he was not provided with counsel when he was placed in a police line-up did not invalidate the proceedings leading to his conviction. That he stood at the police line-up without the assistance of counsel did not render Sumulong’s identification of Lara inadmissible. The right to counsel is deemed to have arisen at the precise moment custodial investigation begins and being made to stand in a police line-up is not the starting point or a part of custodial investigation. As this Court previously ruled in People v. Amestuzo:

The contention is not meritorious. The guarantees of Sec. 12 (1), Art. III of the 1987 Constitution, or the so-called Miranda rights, may be invoked only by a person while he is under custodial investigation. Custodial investigation starts when the police investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular suspect taken into custody by the police who starts the interrogation and propounds questions to the person to elicit incriminating statements. Police line-up is not part of the custodial investigation; hence, the right to counsel guaranteed by the Constitution cannot yet be invoked at this stage. This was settled in the case of People vs. Lamsing and in the more recent case of People vs. Salvatierra. The right to be assisted by counsel attaches only during custodial investigation and cannot be claimed by the accused during identification in a police line-up because it is not part of the custodial investigation process. This is because during a police line-up, the process has not yet shifted from the investigatory to the accusatory and it is usually the witness or the complainant who is interrogated and who gives a statement in the course of the line-up.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated July 28, 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 03685 is hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

People vs. Ayson (G.R. No. 85215)

The Open Concavity Tina Siuagan case digest
Image by witwiccan from Pixabay

In fine, a person suspected of having committed a crime and subsequently charged with its commission in court, has the following rights in the matter of his testifying or producing evidence, to wit:

1) BEFORE THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT (or with the public prosecutor, for preliminary investigation), but after having been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his liberty in some significant way, and on being interrogated by the police: the continuing right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed thereof, not to be subjected to force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiates the free will; and to have evidence obtained in violation of these rights rejected; and

2) AFTER THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT — 37

a) to refuse to be a witness;

b) not to have any prejudice whatsoever result to him by such refusal;

c) to testify in his own behalf, subject to cross-examination by the prosecution;

d) WHILE TESTIFYING, to refuse to answer a specific question which tends to incriminate him for some crime other than that for which he is then prosecuted.

 

FACTS:

Felipe Ramos (Ramos) was a ticket freight clerk of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), assigned at its Baguio City station. PAL notified him of an upcoming investigation on irregularities in its ticket sales, to which he is allegedly involved. A day prior to such investigation, Ramos gave a handwritten note that states his willingness to settle the irregularities charged against him, involving an amount of Php 76,000.00.

During the investigation, Ramos stated, to the effect, that: 1) he had not indeed made disclosure of the tickets mentioned in the Audit Team’s findings; 2) that the proceeds had been “misused” by him; 3) that although he had planned on paying back the money, he had been prevented from doing so, “perhaps (by) shame”; 4) that he was still willing to settle his obligation, and proferred a “compromise x x to pay on staggered basis (the amount would be known in the next investigation”; 5) that he desired the next investigation to be at the same place, “Baguio CTO,” and 6) that he should be represented therein by “Shop stewardees ITR Nieves Blanco;” and that he was willing to sign his statement (as he in fact afterwards did). These were all reduced to writing.

Two (2) months later, PAL filed a criminal case for Estafa against Ramos. Here, the private prosecutor offered as evidence the abovementioned written statements and Ramos’ handwritten notes, marked as Exhibit A and Exhibit K, respectively. However, Judge Ayson rejected said documents and considered them inadmissible as they were violative of Ramos’ right to remain silent and right to have counsel in custodial investigations, pursuant to Sec. 20 of Article III of the 1973 Philippine Constitution. Accordingly, he declared that Exhibit A was taken even though it does not appear on records that PAL reminded Ramos of his constitutional rights to remain silent and to have counsel. Likewise, he found Ramos’ handwritten note inadmissible on the ground that the same was made without the assistance of a counsel.

The prosecution filed a Motion for Reconsideration against Judge Ayson’s order. However, the latter denied said motion. Hence, the private prosecutors filed the present petition for certiorari in the name of the People of the Philippines.

ISSUE:

Was there a violation of Ramos’ right to remain silent and right to counsel that would render the inadmissibility of Exhibits A and K?

RULING:

None. This is because the proceeding in which Ramos’ statement’s (Exhibit A) and handwritten note (Exhibit K) were taken is not a custodial investigation that would warrant the application of Sec. 20, Article III of the 1973 Constitution. Therefore, they should have been admitted by Judge Ayson as in evidence.

The Supreme Court ruled, thus:

In fine, a person suspected of having committed a crime and subsequently charged with its commission in court, has the following rights in the matter of his testifying or producing evidence, to wit:

1) BEFORE THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT (or with the public prosecutor, for preliminary investigation), but after having been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his liberty in some significant way, and on being interrogated by the police: the continuing right to remain silent and to counsel, and to be informed thereof, not to be subjected to force, violence, threat, intimidation or any other means which vitiates the free will; and to have evidence obtained in violation of these rights rejected; and

2) AFTER THE CASE IS FILED IN COURT — 37

a) to refuse to be a witness;

b) not to have any prejudice whatsoever result to him by such refusal;

c) to testify in his own behalf, subject to cross-examination by the prosecution;

d) WHILE TESTIFYING, to refuse to answer a specific question which tends to incriminate him for some crime other than that for which he is then prosecuted.

It should by now be abundantly apparent that respondent Judge has misapprehended the nature and import of the disparate rights set forth in Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution. He has taken them as applying to the same juridical situation, equating one with the other. In so doing, he has grossly erred. To be sure, His Honor sought to substantiate his thesis by arguments he took to be cogent and logical. The thesis was however so far divorced from the actual and correct state of the constitutional and legal principles involved as to make application of said thesis to the case before him tantamount to totally unfounded, whimsical or capricious exercise of power. His Orders were thus rendered with grave abuse of discretion. They should be as they are hereby, annulled and set aside.

It is clear from the undisputed facts of this case that Felipe Ramos was not in any sense under custodial interrogation, as the term should be properly understood, prior to and during the administrative inquiry into the discovered irregularities in ticket sales in which he appeared to have had a hand. The constitutional rights of a person under custodial interrogation under Section 20, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution did not therefore come into play, were of no relevance to the inquiry. It is also clear, too, that Ramos had voluntarily answered questions posed to him on the first day of the administrative investigation, February 9, 1986 and agreed that the proceedings should be recorded, the record having thereafter been marked during the trial of the criminal action subsequently filed against him as Exhibit A, just as it is obvious that the note (later marked as Exhibit K) that he sent to his superiors on February 8,1986, the day before the investigation, offering to compromise his liability in the alleged irregularities, was a free and even spontaneous act on his part. They may not be excluded on the ground that the so-called “Miranda rights” had not been accorded to Ramos.

WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted annulling and setting aside the Orders of the respondent Judge in Criminal Case No. 3488-R, dated August 9, 1988 and September 14, 1988, and he is hereby ordered to admit in evidence Exhibits “A” and “K” of the prosecution in said Criminal Case No. 3488-R, and thereafter proceed with the trial and adjudgment thereof. The temporary restraining order of October 26, 1988 having become functus officio, is now declared of no further force and effect.