United States vs Mariano Anastasio

G.R. No. 2821 – 6 Phil. 413 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Bill of Rights – Rights of the Accused – Right to Confront Witnesses; Right may be waivedIn the 1900s, Mariano Anastasio was charged with Attempted Rape. Trial ensued however, after the prosecution presented its evidence, the trial judge dismissed the case on the ground that the proper charge should be Indecent Abuse and not Attempted Rape. Thereafter, an Information for Indecent Abuse was filed against Anastasio. During trial for the Indecent Abuse case, the defense and the prosecution agreed to adopt the record of the Attempted Rape case and submit the case for decision based on the evidence used in the previous case. This agreement was approved by the court. When the court promulgated its decision, it found Anastacio guilty. Anastasio is now questioning the validity of his conviction. One of the arguments he raised was that he was not given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses of the prosecution in the Indecent Abuse case.

ISSUE: Whether or not Anastasio’s conviction must be reversed.

HELD: No. In the first place, Anastasio agreed to submit the second case for decision based on the record of the first case. He essentially waived his right to cross-examine the witnesses in the second case. The second trial and the first trial were heard before the same judge and were based on the same facts and the accused and his counsel were present when the evidence of record in the first trial was taken, and exercised the right to cross-examine the witnesses for the prosecution and to present his own witnesses for the defense. It thus appears that both the primary and secondary purposes of confrontation were attained and, while there can be no doubt that the accused had the right to demand that the witnesses be called again to testify if they could be produced, there does not appear to be any reason based on the circumstances of the second case which would prohibit him from waiving this right, nor does it appear that he was in any wise prejudiced thereby.

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