People v Barasina; G.R. No. 109993; 21 Jan 1994; 229 SCRA 450

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Appellant was charged with murder. Having stated his desire to have a lawyer before giving his statement, Atty. Abelardo Torres was fetched to act as counsel of the accused during the investigation. Said counsel was present when appellant made and signed his written statement.

Whether or not appellant’s statement may not be admitted in evidence for having been made without the presence of a counsel of his own choice.

NO. Art. III, Sec. 12[1] of the 1987 Constitution does not convey the message that the choice of a lawyer by a person under investigation is exclusive as to preclude other equally competent and independent attorneys from handling his defense. If the rule were otherwise, then, the tempo of a custodial investigation will be solely in the hands of the accused who can impede, nay, obstruct the progress of the interrogation by simply selecting lawyer who for one reason or another, is not available to protect his interest.

Petition is DISMISSED.

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