People v Nicandro; G.R. No. 59378; 11 Feb 1986; 141 SCRA 289

in Legal Chyme by

After the complaints and reports involving the illegal sale of prohibited drugs were verified, an entrapment operation was organized which yielded to the arrest of accused-appellant. Upon being investigated and after having been duly apprised of her constitutional rights, appellant orally admitted having sold the four (4) sticks of marijuana cigarettes and the ownership of the marijuana flowering tops taken from her pocket, but refused to reduce her confession to writing.

Whether or not accused-appellant was sufficiently informed of her constitutional rights.

NO. When the Constitution requires a person under investigation “to be informed” of his right to remain silent and to counsel, it must be presumed to contemplate the transmission of meaningful information rather than just the ceremonial and perfunctory recitation of an abstract constitutional principle. As a rule, therefore, it would not be sufficient for a police officer just to repeat to the person under investigation the provisions of Section 20, Article IV of the Constitution. He is not only duty-bound to tell the person the rights to which the latter is entitled; he must also explain their effects in practical terms, e.g., what the person under interrogation may or may not do, and in a language the subject fairly understands. In other words, the right of a person under interrogation “to be informed” implies a correlative obligation on the part of the police investigator to explain, and contemplates an effective communication that results in understanding what is conveyed.

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