Evidently both the trial court and counsel for the accused led the accused to

Evidently both the trial court and counsel for the

This preview shows page 16 - 18 out of 68 pages.

Evidently, both the trial court and counsel for the accused led the accused to believe that his plea of guilt would be a mitigating circumstance in his favor. This was clearly misleading because (1) a plea of guilty may only be considered as mitigating when seasonably
Image of page 16
interjected, that is, before the prosecution presents its evidence; and (2) the penalty of death is indivisible and is not affected by either aggravating or mitigating circumstances. Clearly, too, the accused was not categorically advised that his plea of guilt would not under any circumstance affect or reduce his sentence, making his re-arraignment flawed. People vs. Nunez. Fernando Ramilla was charged a raping 10 year old Crisanda Cabugza Calderon. The trial court found him guilty of rape and sentenced him to death. Crisanda Cabugza Calderon was entrusted by her parents Francisco Calderon and Emy Cabugza to the custody of their long time friends, the spouses Fernando and Jocelyn Ramilla. Fernando now argues that such circumstance made her vulnerable to manipulation and external pressure from those who exercised authority over her, such that the possibility that her testimony was misguided is great. He also remonstrates that the order of the trial court submitting the case for decision after he failed to present evidence was premature due to the absence of an express waiver on his part thus resulting in denial of due process. The records fail to show that he ever assailed the propriety of the order of the trial court submitting the case for decision. Consequently, he cannot now argue against his conviction. However, in view of the gravity of the offense and the circumstance that automatic review by this Court of a death sentence is intended primarily for the protection of the accused, specifically to ensure its correctness, the court shall nonetheless consider his arguments. Was the accused deprived of due process? Answer: No. The rationale behind this ruling is the very nature of the offense where, oftentimes, the only evidence that can be adduced to establish the guilt of the accused is the offended party's testimony. In other words, if the court disallows the testimony of Crisanda on account of her tender age, we will in effect be foreclosing her right to seek justice. The offense was perpetrated with no persons present other than the offender and the victim. Recently, we reiterated that in rape cases we seldom find any disinterested person who was actually present when the offense was committed, and rape is essentially an offense of secrecy, not generally attempted except in dark or deserted and secluded places away from prying eyes, and a prosecution for the crime usually commences solely upon the word of the offended woman herself, and conviction invariably turns upon her credibility as the People's single witness of the actual occurrence. To enlighten accused even more, we have sustained convictions for the same crime based on the credible testimonies of victims much younger than Crisanda, some at five years of age[10] or even less. Needless to
Image of page 17
Image of page 18

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 68 pages?

  • Fall '16
  • Ulysses, Appellate court, Legal burden of proof, Trial court, Rights of the accused

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture