Gamboa v Cruz; G.R. No. L-56291; 27 Jun 1988; 162 SCRA 642

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Petitioner was arrested without warrant, booked and detained for vagrancy and was later arraigned for robbery. After prosecution offered its evidence and rested its case, petitioner filed a Motion to Acquit instead of presenting his defense. The motion was denied.

Whether or not petitioner was denied his rights to counsel and to due process.

NO. The right to counsel attaches upon the start of an investigation, i.e. when the investigating officer starts to ask questions to elicit information and/or confessions or admissions from the respondent/accused. At such point or stage, the person being interrogated must be assisted by counsel to avoid the pernicious practice of extorting false or coerced admissions or confessions from the lips of the person undergoing interrogation, for the commission of an offense. The police lineup in the case at bar was not part of the custodial inquest; hence, petitioner was not yet entitled, at such stage, to counsel. Petitioner was not, in any way, deprived of due process, as he was duly represented by a member of the Bar. He was accorded all the opportunities to be heard and to present evidence to substantiate his defense; only that he chose not to, and instead opted to file a Motion to Acquit after the prosecution had rested its case.

Petition is DISMISSED.

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