Friday, November 13, 2009

The Right to Remain Silent: Taking It Too Far

The right to remain silent in the Philippine criminal justice system is derived from a United States Supreme Court in the case of Miranda vs. Arizona, thus the term "Miranda Rights".

The Miranda Doctrine requires that:

(a) any person under custodial investigation has the right to remain silent;

(b) anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law;

(c) he has the right to talk to an attorney before being questioned and to have his counsel present when being questioned; and

(d) if he cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided before any questioning if he so desires.

Article 3, Section 12 (1) of the Philippine Constitution provides, "Any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel."

Philippine law has expounded the Miranda Doctrine by providing for more stringent standards: the accused's right to counsel specifies a competent and independent counsel preferably of the suspect’s own choice. Waiver of the right to counsel must be done in writing, and in the presence of counsel. Any confession or admission obtained in violation of the requirements under the Miranda Rights shall be inadmissible in evidence against the accused (Art. 3, Sec. 12 [3], of the Philippine Constitution).

However, keeping one's mouth completely shut in all stages of reconciliation efforts, tacitly invoking the right to remain silent, is taking it too far.

Running away is flight, a sign of guilt.

Not giving your exact address in your Personal Information Sheet, is making a mockery of the justice system you were once a part of.

Paying for surety bond premium (30% of the PhP24,000.00 bail bond for Violation of R.A. 9262), is like throwing your money away when all the while you never gave your child any support.

All because, you'd rather lie. You'd rather keep your stupid right to remain silent.

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