On arraignment and plea: What happens when the accused refuses to enter a plea?

A person accused of a crime or offense also has rights. Among these is the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

In criminal proceedings, one of the stages where this right is carried out is at the time of the arraignment of the accused.

The arraignment is made in open court by the judge or clerk by furnishing the accused with a copy of the complaint or information, reading the same in a language or dialect known to him, and asking him whether he pleads “guilty” or “not guilty.”

But if the accused refuses to enter a plea, the court cannot compel him to enter any. And this is because of his right to remain silent.

Instead, the court, in order to prevent a mockery of the criminal justice system, will enter a plea of “not guilty” for him, which is mandatory.

But in no case can the court enter a plea of “guilty” for him. And this is because of his right to be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

[References: Section 14, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Rule 115 (Rights of the Accused) of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, Rule 116 (Arraignment and Plea) of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, Pages 385-400 (Rule 115 – Rights of Accused), Remedial Law Compendium (Volume II – Ninth Revised Edition) by Florenz D. Regalado, Pages 257-291 (Rule 115-Rights of the Accused), The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure (2003 Edition) by Dean Ernesto L. Pineda, Pages 292-330 (Rule 116-Arraignment and Plea), The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure (2003 Edition) by Dean Ernesto L. Pineda, Pages 401-412 (Rule 116 – Arraignment and Plea), Remedial Law Compendium (Volume II – Ninth Revised Edition) by Florenz D. Regalado, and Pages 86-92 (Chapter 10 – Arraignment and Plea), Basic Criminal Procedure (2003 Edition) by Antonio R. Bautista]

 

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