People v. Luvendino G.R. No. L-69971 July 3, 1992 211 SCRA 36 (1992)

Facts: On the morning of 17 January 1983, 18-year old Rowena Capcap left her home at Deva Village, Tambak, Taguig, Metro Manila to attend classes at the University of Manila where she was a sophomore commerce student. She would usually be home by 7:30 to 8:00 on school evenings, 1 but on that tragic day, she would not reach home alive. On that particular evening, her father Panfilo Capcap arriving home from work at around 7:30 p.m., noted her absence and was told by his wife and other children that Rowena was not yet home from school. Later, a younger brother of Rowena, sent on an errand, arrived home carrying Rowena’s bag which he had found dropped in the middle of a street in the village. Panfilo Capcap lost no time in seeking the help. The search ended in a grassy vacant lot within the Deva Village Subdivision, only about 70 to 80 meters from the Capcap residence, where lay the apparently lifeless body of Rowena, that the presence of spermatozoa showed that the victim had sexual intercourse prior to death; and that death was due to asphyxia by mutual strangulation. By 5 March 1984, an information had been filed in the trial court charging Ernesto C. Luvendino, Cesar Borca alias “Cesar Putol” and Ricardo de Guzman alias “Ric” with the crime of rape with murder. The trial court rendered a decision finding Luvendino guilty, sentencing him to death, requiring him to indemnify the heirs of the victim Rowena in the amount of P50,000.00 for the damages suffered as a result of her death. Appellant Luvendino contends that the trial court committed grievous error.

Issue: Whether the re-enactment of the accused of a  crime he was charged of without the presence of an independent and competent counsel can be admitted as evidience in the court.

Held: No, Clearly, the trial court took into account the testimony given by Panfilo Capcap on what had occurred during the re-enactment of the crime by Luvendino. We note that the re-enactment was apparently staged promptly upon apprehension of Luvendino and even prior to his formal investigation at the police station. The decision of the trial court found that the accused was informed of his constitutional rights “before he was investigated by Sgt. Galang in the police headquarters” and cited the “Salaysay” of appellant Luvendino.  The decision itself, however, states that the re-enactment took place before Luvendino was brought to the police station. Thus, it is not clear from the record that before the re-enactment was staged by Luvendino, he had been informed of his constitutional rights including, specifically, his right to counsel and that he had waived such right before proceeding with the demonstration. Under these circumstances, we must decline to uphold the admissibility of evidence relating to that re-enactment. That the “demonstration” or re-enactment and the accused extrajudicial confession were effected and secured in the absence of a valid waiver by him of his constitutional rights and that the re-enactment and the confession should be held inadmissible in evidence because they had been involuntarily made.

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