People v. Rondero G.R. No. 125687, December 9, 1999

Facts: On the evening of March 25, 1994, Mardy Doria came home late from a barrio fiesta. When he noticed that his nine year old sister, Mylene, was not around, he woke up his parents to inquire about his sisters whereabouts. Realizing that Mylene was missing, their father, Maximo Doria, sought the help of a neighbor. Maximo, who was then carrying a flashlight, saw herein accused-appellant Delfin Rondero pumping the artesian well about one (1) meter away. Accused-appellant had an ice pick clenched in his mouth and was washing his bloodied hands. After some time, a restless Maximo began to search anew for her daughter. He again sought the help of Andong and the barangay secretary. The group returned to Pugaro Elementary School where they found Mylenes lifeless body lying on a cemented pavement near the canteen. She was naked from the waist down and had several contusions and abrasions on different parts of her body. Tightly gripped in her right hand were some hair strands. Half an hour later, five (5) policemen arrived at the scene and conducted a spot investigation. Maximo led the policemen to the artesian well where he had seen accused-appellant earlier washing his hands. The policemen found that the artesian well was spattered with blood. Meanwhile, on March 30, 1994, accused-appellant was formally charged with the special complex crime of rape with homicide. The NBI sent a fax message to the Dagupan City Police Station saying that it could not conduct an examination on the hair strands because the proper comparative specimens were not given. The NBI suggested that hair strands be pulled, not cut, from the suspect and from the victim on the four regions of their heads so that all parts of the hair strands, from root to tip, may be presented. The trial court rendered judgment convicting accused-appellant of the crime of murder and sentencing him to death. Hence this appeal.

 

Issue: Whether the taking of some hair strands from the accused without his consent and submitted to the NBI for investigation, in violation of his right against self incrimination.

 

Held: No, right against self incrimination actually proscribed is the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communication from the accused-appellant and not the inclusion of his body in evidence when it may be material. For instance, substance emitted from the body of the accused may be received as evidence in prosecution for acts of lasciviousness and morphine forced out of the mouth of the accused may also be used as evidence against him. Consequently, although accused-appellant insists that hair samples were forcibly taken from him and submitted to the NBI for forensic examination, the hair samples may be admitted in evidence against him, for what is proscribed is the use of testimonial compulsion or any evidence communicative in nature acquired from the accused under duress.

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