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violation of their right, when they maintain the ProvincialProsecutor as their counsel. Furthermore the accusedwas convicted of statutory rape, there being noimpediment of the complainant’s right to counsel. In factan examination of related provisions in the constitutionconcerning the right to counsel, will show that the“preference in the choice of counsel” pertains more aptlyand specifically to a person under investigation ratherthat one who is the accused in a criminal prosecution.People vs. Onabia.In convicting an accused, it is not enough thatproof beyond reasonable doubt has beenadduced; it is also essential that the accusedhas been duly afforded his fundamental rights.Rufino Mirandilla Bermas pleaded not guilty tothe crime of rape, complainant Manuela Bermas,15 years old, was raped by her own father,appellant Rufino Bermas, while she was lyingdown on a wooden bed inside their house. Thedefense proffered the testimony of the accused,who denied the charge, and that of his marrieddaughter, Luzviminda Mendez, who attributedthe accusation made by her younger sister to amere resentment by the latter. The defendantaverred that the accused was denied hisconstitutional right to effective and vigilantcounsel. Was the accused denied the right tocounsel?Answer: Yes. This Court finds and must hold, mostregrettably, that accused-appellant has not properly andeffectively been accorded the right to counsel. Soimportant is the right to counsel that it has beenenshrined in our fundamental law and its precursor laws.Indeed, even prior to the advent of the 1935Constitution, the right to counsel of an accused hasalready been recognized under General Order No. 58,dated 23 April 1900, stating that a defendant in allcriminal prosecutions is entitled to counsel at everystage of the proceedings, and that if he is unable toemploy counsel, the court must assign one to defendhim.The constitutional mandate is reflected in the 1985Rules of Criminal Procedures which declares in Section1, Rule 115, thereof, that it is a right of the accused atthe trial to be present in person and by counsel at everystage of the proceedings from the arraignment to thepromulgation of the judgment. The presence andparticipation of counsel in the defense of an accused incriminal proceedings should never be taken lightly.People vs. Bermas.Antonio Pedres was accused of the crime ofrape. The undersigned Assistant ProvincialProsecutor of Albay, upon written complaint ofMaribel Pedres, offended party, assisted by heraunt, Julita M. Garcia, hereby accuses AntonioPedres of the crime of rape, the above-namedaccused, with lewd design and in grave violationof his moral ascendancy and thru force andintimidation, did then and there wilfully,unlawfully and feloniously had sexualintercourse with his own daughter, the hereinoffended party, Maribel M. Pedres, against herwill and consent, to her damage and prejudice.