People v. Plana G.R. No. 128285, November 27, 2001

Fact: At around 10:30 in the morning, Felix Lagud was walking on Feeder road. He just came from his farm and was on his way home. A movement at about fifty meters to his left side caught his attention. He saw the accused who seemed to be wrestling. He came nearer so he would be able to see them more clearly. From about a distance of twenty (20) meters, he saw the three men holding a girl while another man was on top of her. The girl was being raped and she was later stabbed. Frightened that the assailants would see him, Lagud ran away. At about 11:00, certain members of the RSAF came to the house of accused-appellant Plana. Accused-appellant Perayra was still there because he slept over at said house. The RSAF questioned them if they saw a girl named Helen Perote. They answered no. Accused-appellants Plana and Perayra then accompanied the law enforcers to see a certain “Lando.” The authorities inquired from Lando if there was a woman who boarded his “bering” transportation. Lando answered in the negative. Accused-appellants Plana and Perayra were then instructed by the police to go to the police detachment. Since it was already late, accused-appellants Plana and Perayra asked if they could just go there in the morning of the following day. The following day, in the morning, accused-appellant Perayra reported to the police detachment after he learned that the authorities wanted to ask him questions. At the detachment, he was surprised to learn that he was one of the suspects in the rape-slaying of Helen. Accused-appellants were all brought to the municipal hall in Dumarao, Capiz where they were detained.

Issue: Whether trial court erred in not censuring the actuation of the police authorities in detaining appellants without benefit of Court filed neither information nor judicial order of detention as well as the violation of their constitutional rights of the accused during their so-called custodial invitation and interrogation.

Held: No, it is a fact that the accused were detained without judicial order and prior to the filing of the information, suffice it to say, that they already waived their right to question the irregularity, if any, in their arrest. Accused-appellants respectively entered a plea of “not guilty” at their arraignment. By so pleading, they submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court, thereby curing any defect in their arrest, for the legality of an arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over their persons.

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