Prior to the filing of an information, accused-appellant had already executed two statements – one ante-mortem – admitting his involvement in the same kidnapping case. After the information was filed, he executed a supplementary statement, despite having been apprised of his constitutional rights, relating in more detail his participation in the crime.
Whether or not accused-appellant’s right to counsel was violated.
NO. It is already beyond dispute that he was actively assisted by a lawyer in the person of Atty. Jocom. The latter’s presence adequately fulfilled the constitutional requirement. It must be reiterated at this point that 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. Verily, whether it is an extrajudicial statement or testimony in open court, the purpose is always the ascertainment of truth.
Accused-appellant is CONVICTED of the separate crimes of kidnapping for ransom and murder.