Withdrawal Of Improvident Plea Of Guilty
Sec. 5. Withdrawal of improvident plea of guilty.– At any time before the judgment of conviction becomes final, the court may permit an improvident plea of guilty to be withdrawn and be substituted by a plea of not guilty.
NOTE: The tenor of above provision is clear. There should be a categorical declaration from the accused that he is withdrawing his plea of guilty and substituting it with a plea of not guilty.
CAN AN IMPROVIDENT PLEA OF GUILTY BE WITHDRAWN AS A MATTER OF RIGHT?
> No, the withdrawal of the plea of guilty is not a matter of strict right to the accused but is within the discretion of the court.
> The reason behind this is that trial has already commenced and will put all of the past proceedings to waste. Therefore, the plea may only be withdrawn with permission of the court.
> Moreover, there is presumption that the plea was made voluntarily. The court must decide whether the consent of the accused was in fact vitiated when he entered his plea.
X IS CHARGED WITH HOMICIDE. HE PLEADS GUILTY, BUT TELLS THE JUDGE HINDI NIYA SINASADYA. IS HIS PLEA VALID?
> No. In order to be valid, the plea of guilty must be unconditional.
> In this case, X said hindi niya sinasadya. This is not a valid plea of guilty. A plea of not guilty should be entered instead.
MAY AN ACCUSED BE ALLOWED TO CHANGE HIS PLEA OF NOT GUILTY EVEN AFTER THE PROSECUTION HAD RESTED ITS CASE?
> The trial court may allow the accused to plead guilty to a lesser offense