According to the Textbook on the Philippine Constitution,the fourth classification of constitutional rights, the rights of theaccused, “are the (civil) rights intended for the protection of aperson accused of any crime.” 1 Some examples are: right tofree access to the courts, quasi-judicial bodies, and legal assistance; 2right against inhumane punishment;3 right to be informed of thenature and cause of the accusation against him;4 right againstself-incrimination;5 etc. The rest are defined on Article III,Sections 11 to 22, of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
6 Therights of the accused is a significant classification in the Bill of Rightsof the 1987 Philippine Constitution because it affirms the design of theconstitution to protect all mankind, and the lack thereof can cause numerousproblems. A constitution is composed of “the basic principles andlaws of a nation.”7 The constitution has the “highestlevel in the hierarchy of laws”8making it the backbone of the law;9 it establishes the role of thegovernment and the limitations of its power; and its purpose is to secure thesafety and the welfare of all mankind by giving them rights. Because the term”all mankind” has no exceptions, this includes those criminallycharged.
To promote the well-being of the people, the constitution is”designed to protect a person’s rights and privileges against violationsby the government, or by an individual or groups of individuals.”10Thus, the Bill of Rights, or the “Charter of Liberty,” exists toguide the government and its people by recognizing and specifying these rights,such as “liberties for the individual and a limitation upon the power ofthe State.”10 There are three kinds of rights: naturalrights granted to every human being,11 constitutional rightsprotected and provided by the Constitution,12 and statutoryrights that may be revised or abolished by the law-making bodies that madethem.12 These rights are be classified as: political,civil, social and economic, and the rights of the accused.13 Without these rights, the well-being of the accused individualwill be compromised. Problems, such as the conviction of an innocent person orthe inhumane treatment of a prisoner, may arise. Decisions, concerning these criminallycharged individuals, may be based on emotion or current events/influencesinstead of lawful and logical standards.
In a way, this promotes injustice andcorruption because taking away their rights means that anyone can be accusedand convicted unjustly, so it doesn’t really matter whether you are innocent orotherwise because you would then have no right to a fair trial. Recognizing the”rights of the accused,” stated in the Bill of Rights of the 1987Philippine Constitution, is integral to maintaining the integrity of theconstitution that promotes the well-being of all individuals.