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Case No: 21

Subtopic: Giving urine samples under the Fruit of the Poisonous Tree

GUTANG v. PEOPLE
335 SCRA 479 (2000)

Doctrine: The right to counsel begins from the time a person is taken into custody and placed under
investigation for the commission of crime. Such right is guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be
waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

However, what the Constitution prohibits is the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort
communication from the accused, but not an inclusion of his body in evidence, when it may be material to
ascertain physical attributes determinable by simple observation and not to unearth undisclosed facts.

An accused may validly be compelled 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 without going against
the proscription against testimonial compulsion.

FACTS: David Gutang, together with Noel Regala, Alex Jimenez and Oscar de Venecia, Jr. was arrested
by policemen in connection with the enforcement of a search warrant in his residence at Greenhills, San
Juan. Several drug paraphernalia, which later tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine
hydrochloride, were seized along with a small quantity of marijuana fruiting tops.

The four were brought to Camp Crame and were subjected to a drug-dependency test and were asked to
give a sample of their urine to which they complied. Their urine samples all tested positive for shabu.

De Venecia, Jr. voluntarily submitted himself for treatment, rehabilitation and confinement. Gutang,
Regala and Jimenez pleaded not guilty. They were found guilty of possession and use of prohibited drugs.

Gutang argued that the urine sample is inadmissible in evidence because he had no counsel during the
custodial investigation when it was taken. In effect, it is an uncounselled extra-judicial confession and a
violation of the Constitution.

ISSUE: Whether or not the urine samples taken were admissible in evidence.

RULING: Yes. The Court ruled that it was admissible. The right to counsel begins from the time a person
is taken into custody and placed under investigation for the commission of crime. Such right is
guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.

However, what the Constitution prohibits is the use of physical or moral compulsion to extort
communication from the accused, but not an inclusion of his body in evidence, when it may be material to
ascertain physical attributes determinable by simple observation and not to unearth undisclosed facts.

An accused may validly be compelled 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 without going against
the proscription against testimonial compulsion.