Arrests and the Miranda Rights

You always see it on TV and the movies. The police, after cornering the suspect, bellows out: “Freeze a**hole! You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.” This lump of rights, plus the right to counsel and sans the “freeze”, is called the Miranda rights.

The Miranda rights stem from the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona. 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.

This doctrine is enshrined in Article 3, Section 12 (1) of the Constitution, which 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.

Compared to what is originally laid out in Miranda v. Arizona, Philippine law provides for more stringent standards – where the right to counsel was specifically qualified to mean competent and independent counsel preferably of the suspect’s own choice. Waiver of the right to counsel likewise provided for stricter requirements compared to its American counterpart; it 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], Constitution).

The right to counsel was discussed in the leading cases of People vs. Galit and Morales, Jr. vs. Enrile, which rulings were subsequently incorporated into the present Constitution.

The right against deprivation of liberty is guaranteed by no less than the Constitution, which states that “[n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law xxx” (Article 3, Section 1) and that “[n]o search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” (Art. 3, Sec.2) This right has been characterized by the Supreme Court as “a most basic and fundamental” right that has been “often violated and so deserving of full protection”.

As a rule, no arrest may be made without a warrant of arrest. The exceptions [also referred to as warrantless arrests] under the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure (Rule 113, Sec. 5) are arrests made by a peace officer or a private person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;

(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

Sec. 5 (a) is also referred to as arrests in flagrante delicto, wherein two elements must exist: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. For an extended legal discussion on in flagrante delicto and hot pursuit arrests, click here, here or here.

On the other hand, Section 5 (b) refers to arrests made in hot pursuit, wherein two requisites must exist: (1) an offense has in fact just been committed; and (2) the arresting officer has probable cause based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances indicating that the person to be arrested committed the offense.

Source: People vs. Mojello.

1 Response to “Arrests and the Miranda Rights”


  1. 1 livelaughLAW Feb 25th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    hi, Atty. Fred… I just would like to ask if the right of the accused against self-incrimination is also available to a student under disciplinary proceedings and if there’s already existing jurisprudence.. I will report on this topic.. Thank you and God bless.

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