Section 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. Right Against Self-Incrimination When is a question incriminating? - A question tends to incriminate when the answer of the accused or the witness would establish a fact which would be a necessary link in a chain of evidence to prove the commission of a crime by the accused or the witness. Distinction between an accused and an ordinary witness. - An accused can refuse to take the witness stand altogether by invoking the right against selfincrimination. - An ordinary witness cannot refuse to take the stand. He can only refuse to answer specific questions which would incriminate him in the commission of an offense. Scope of right - What is PROHIBITED is the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communication from the witness or to otherwise elicit evidence which would not exist were it not for the actions compelled from the witness. The right does NOT PROHIBIT the examination of the body of the accused or the use of findings with respect to his body as physical evidence. Hence, the fingerprinting of an accused would not violate the right against self- incrimination. However, obtaining a sample of the handwriting of the accused would violate this right if he is charged for falsification. The accused cannot be compelled to produce a private document in his possession which might tend to incriminate him. However, a third person in custody of the document may be compelled to produce it. When the right can be invoked: 1. In criminal cases 2. in all other government proceedings, including civil actions and administrative or legislative investigations. The defendants, Baldomero Navarro, Marcelo de Leon, and Fidel Feliciano are convicted of the crime of illegal detention under Article 481 and of 483 of the Penal Code. Article 481 of the Penal Code provides that a private person who shall lock up or detain another, or in any way deprive him of his liberty shall be punished with the penalty of prision mayor. The second paragraph of article 483 provides that one who illegally detains another and fails to give information concerning his whereabouts, or does not prove that he set him at liberty, shall be punished with cadena temporal in its maximum degree to life imprisonment. On appeal, counsel for the defendants argued that the provisions of the law has the effect of forcing a defendant to become a witness in his own behalf or to take a much severer punishment. The burden is put upon him of giving evidence if he desires to lessen the penalty, or, in other words, of incriminating himself, for the very statement of the whereabouts of the victim or the proof that the defendant set him at liberty amounts to a confession that the defendant unlawfully detained the person. Whether or not the defendants' rights against self-incrimination were violated Answer : Yes. The right against self-incrimination was established on the grounds of public policy and humanity - of policy, because if the party were required to testify, it
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- Fall '16
- criminal law, Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Trial court, Tan Teng