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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; RIGHT TO COUNSEL. - The 1987 Constitution was crafted and ordained at a historic time when our nation was reeling from ghastly memories of atrocities, excesses and outright violations of our people's rights to life, liberty and property. Hence, our bill of rights was worded to emphasize the sanctity of human liberty and specifically to protect persons undergoing custodial investigation from ignorant, overzealous and/or incompetent peace officers. The Constitution so dearly values freedom and voluntariness that, inter alia, it unequivocally guarantees a person undergoing investigation for the commission of an offense not only the services of counsel, but a lawyer who is not merely (a) "competent" but also (b) "independent" and (c) "preferably of his own choice" as well. In the case before us, the main evidence relied upon for the conviction of appellants was their own extrajudicial confessions which admittedly were extracted and signed in the presence and with the assistance of a lawyer who was applying for work in the NBI. Such counsel cannot in any wise be considered "independent" because he cannot be expected to work against the interest of a police agency he was hoping to join, as a few months later he in fact was admitted into its work force. For this violation of their constitutional right to independent counsel, appellants deserve acquittal. After the exclusion of their tainted confessions, no sufficient and credible evidence remains in the Court's records to overturn another constitutional right: the right to be presumed innocent of any crime until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt. (People of the Philippines versus Rene Januario y Roldan, et al., G.R. No. 98252, February 7, 1997.)

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; BILL OF RIGHTS; REMEDIAL LAW; CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. - Right to counsel; exclusionary rule under the Bill of Rights applicable only to admissions in criminal investigation. The right to counsel under Section 12 of the Bill of Rights is meant to protect a suspect in a criminal case under custodial investigation. Custodial investigation is the stage where the police investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime but has begun to focus on a particular suspect who had been taken into custody by the police to carry out a process of interrogation that lends itself to elicit incriminating statements. It is when questions are initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. The right to counsel attaches only upon the start of such investigation. Therefore, the exclusionary rule under paragraph (3) Section 12 of the Bill of Rights applies only to admissions made in a criminal investigation but not to those made in an administrative investigation. (Justice Puno, Manuel vs. N.C. Construction Supply, G.R. No. 127553, Nov. 28, 1997; Digested by: R.B. Vera, Published Philippine Daily Inquirer page 17, June 14, 1998.)