People v Serzo; G.R. No. 118435; 20 Jun 1997; 274 SCRA 553

FACTS:
As early as his arraignment for murder, accused-appellant refused to be assisted by a counsel de oficio, insisting that he be assisted by a counsel of his own choice. He also refused to secure the services of a counsel de parte and to present evidence in his defense despite ample opportunity accorded to him. Due to the delays and postponement which dragged the case for years, the trial court was forced to render a decision convicting him of murder.

ISSUE(S):
Whether or not appellant had been denied effective legal representation.

RULING:
NO. Appellant had been given ample time to secure the services of a counsel de parte, but his subsequent appearances in court without such counsel and his act of allowing this situation to continue until the presentation of his evidence betrays his lack of intention to do so. It even appears that he was merely delaying his own presentation of evidence on purpose to the prejudice of the offended party, the trial court and the orderly administration of justice. Furthermore, appellant did not demonstrate in what way the services of his counsels de oficio were unsatisfactory. He was afforded a chance to be heard by counsel of his own choice, but by his own neglect or mischief, he effectively waived such right.

Assailed decision is AFFIRMED.

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Category: Legal Chyme

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