The essence of the right against self-incrimination is testimonial compulsion, that is, the giving of evidence against himself through a testimonial act.

On another constitutional issue, appellant alleges that his right against self-incrimination was violated when he was subjected to ultra-violet powder test without the presence of a lawyer. We disagree. In People vs. Gallarde,[32] we held that:

The constitutional right of an accused against self-incrimination proscribes the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communications from the accused and not the inclusion of his body in evidence when it may be material.  Purely mechanical acts are not included in the prohibition as the accused does not thereby speak his guilt, hence the assistance and guiding hand of counsel is not required. (People vs. Olvis, et al., 154 SCRA 513 [1987]) The essence of the right against self-incrimination is testimonial compulsion, that is, the giving of evidence against himself through a testimonial act. (People vs. Casinillo, 213 SCRA 777 [1992]; People vs. Tranca, 235 SCRA 455 [1994]; People vs. Rondero, 320 SCRA 383 [1999]) Hence, it has been held that a woman charged with adultery may be compelled to submit to physical examination to determine her pregnancy; (Villaflor vs. Summers, 41 Phil. 62 [1920]) and an accused may be compelled to submit to physical examination and to have a substance taken from his body for medical determination as to whether he was suffering from gonorrhea which was contracted by his victim;(U.S. vs. Tan Teng, 23 Phil. 145 [1912]) to expel morphine from his mouth; (U.S. vs. Ong Siu Hong, 36 Phil. 735 [1917]) to have the outline of his foot traced to determine its identity with bloody footprints;(U.S. vs. Salas, 25 Phil. 337 [1913]; U.S. vs. Zara, 42 Phil. 308 [1921]) and to be photographed or measured, or his garments or shoes removed or replaced, or to move his body to enable the foregoing things to be done.(People vs. Otadora, et al., 86 Phil. 244 [1950])

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2004/jun2004/124346.htm

 

Section 17, Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution provides that “no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.”  Petitioner asserts that obtaining samples from him for DNA testing violates his right against self-incrimination.  Petitioner ignores our earlier pronouncements that the privilege is applicable only to testimonial evidence.  Again, we quote relevant portions of the trial court’s 3 February 2000 Order with approval:

Obtaining DNA samples from an accused in a criminal case or from the respondent in a paternity case, contrary to the belief of respondent in this action, will not violate the right against self-incrimination.  This privilege applies only to evidence that is “communicative” in essence taken under duress (People vs. Olvis, 154 SCRA 513, 1987).  The Supreme Court has ruled that the right against self-incrimination is just a prohibition on the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort communication (testimonial evidence) from a defendant, not an exclusion of evidence taken from his body when it may be material.  As such, a defendant can be required to submit to a test to extract virus from his body (as cited in People vs. Olvis, Supra); the substance emitting from the body of the accused was received as evidence for acts of lasciviousness (US vs. Tan Teng, 23 Phil. 145); morphine forced out of the mouth was received as proof (US vs. Ong Siu Hong, 36 Phil. 735); an order by the judge for the witness to put on pair of pants for size was allowed (People vs. Otadora, 86 Phil. 244); and the court can compel a woman accused of adultery to submit for pregnancy test (Villaflor vs. Summers, 41 Phil. 62), since the gist of the privilege is the restriction on “testimonial compulsion.”[56]

The policy of the Family Code to liberalize the rule on the investigation of the paternity and filiation of children, especially of illegitimate children, is without prejudice to the right of the putative parent to claim his or her own defenses.[57]  Where the evidence to aid this investigation is obtainable through the facilities of modern science and technology, such evidence should be considered subject to the limits established by the law, rules, and jurisprudence.

http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2005/jun2005/148220.htm

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About Erineus

Ernesto O. Bendita. Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Constitutional Law, Constitutional Rights, Criminal Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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