Preliminary evaluation, right to be informed, and right to speedy trial connections

Paraphrasing Hashim vs. Boncan, 71 Phil. 216; Trocio vs. Manta, 118 SCRA 241 (1941); and Salonga vs. Hon. Paño, 134 SCRA 438 (1985), the purpose of a preliminary evaluation is to secure an innocent person against hasty, faulty and, therefore, oppressive proceedings; to protect him from an open and extensively publicized accusation of crimes; to spare him the trouble, expense, and anxiety of a public trial; and also to protect the state from useless and expensive trials. Even if the purpose is only to determine whether or not the respondent is a proper subject for extradition, he is nonetheless entitled to the guarantees of fairness and freedom accorded to those charged with ordinary crimes in the Philippines.

The third reason given by petitioner is the avoidance of delay. Petitioner views the request to be informed as part of undesirable delaying tactics. This is most unfortunate. Any request for extradition must be viewed objectively and impartially without any predisposition to granting it and, therefore, hastening the extradition process.

In the first place, any assistance which the evaluating official may get from the participation of respondent may well point out deficiencies and insufficiencies in the extradition documents. It would incur greater delays if these are discovered only during court trial. On the other hand, if, from respondent’s participation, the evaluating official discovers a case of mistaken identity, insufficient pleadings, inadequate complaints, or any ruinous shortcoming, there would be no delays during trial. An unnecessary trial with all its complications would be avoided. ScÓ jj

The right to be informed is related to the constitutional right to a speedy trial. The constitutional guarantee extends to the speedy disposition of cases before all quasi-judicial and administrative bodies (Constitution, Art. III, Sec. 16). Speedy disposition, however, does not mean the deliberate exclusion of the defendant or respondent from the proceedings. As this Court ruled in Acebedo vs. Sarmiento, 36 SCRA 247 (1970), “the right to a speedy trial, means one free from vexatious, capricious and oppressive delays, its salutary objective being to assure that an innocent person may be free from the anxiety and expense of a court litigation or, if otherwise, of having his guilt (in this case, his being extradited) determined within the shortest possible time compatible with the presentation and consideration of whatsoever legitimate defense he may interpose.”

The right to be informed and the right to a preliminary hearing are not merely for respondent. They also serve the interests of the State.


About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
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