People v Lucero; G.R. No. 97936; 29 May 1995; 244 SCRA 425

FACTS:
Appellant was among those charged with the crime of robbery with homicide. Atty. Diosdado Peralta, acting as his counsel during the investigation, conferred with the appellant and apprised the latter of his constitutional rights. When the investigator started asking the preliminary questions, Atty. Peralta left to attend the wake of his friend, Capt. Emilio Dacanay, at Fort Bonifacio. He gave word that in case of need, he could be reached at his residence. The resulting extrajudicial statement, already signed by the appellant, was later presented to Atty. Peralta who examined the same and explained to Lucero its legal implications. After confirming with appellant that the statements were given voluntarily, the counsel signed the document.

ISSUE(S):
Whether or not petitioner was denied the right to counsel.

RULING:
YES. When the Constitution requires the right to counsel, it did not mean any kind of counsel but effective and vigilant counsel. Appellant received no effective counseling from Atty. Peralta. At the crucial point when the interrogation was just starting, Atty. Peralta left appellant to attend the wake of a friend. At that critical stage, appellant gave his uncounselled extrajudicial confession.

Conviction is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

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Category: Legal Chyme

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