Flores v Ruiz; G.R. No. L-35707; 31 May 1979; 90 SCRA 428

in Legal Chyme by

Petitioner and his father were the defendants and losing party in a civil case where a piece of their land was levied upon and sold on execution to satisfy the award of damages in favor of the plaintiff. They failed to redeem the property sold to plaintiff’s heirs. For his failure to vacate the land in favor of said heirs, contempt proceedings were instituted against him without the assistance of his counsel who was unable to attend the hearing.

Whether or not petitioner was denied due process.

YES. The right of the accused to counsel in criminal proceedings has never been considered subject to waiver. Petitioner does not appear to have been duly notified of the contempt charge, nor was properly “arraigned,” since he was not assisted by counsel during the hearing. Petitioner could not have willingly submitted to go to trial when his counsel failed to appear.

Petition is GRANTED, setting aside the order of respondent judge finding petitioner guilty of indirect contempt.

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