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RULE 114 – BAIL the inquest proceedings.[1] Later, at around 8 oclock in the evening, Pantilo was informed by
Perocho that Melgazo had been released from detention.[2]
1. Pantillo III v. Canoy, February 9, 2011
The following day, September 4, 2008, Pantilo went to the Surigao City Police Station
Republic of the Philippines to verify the information. Upon arriving there, Custodial Officer Anecito T. Undangan told him
SUPREME COURT that Melgazo had indeed been released at around 6:30 p.m. on September 3, 2008, as shown in
Manila the Police Logbook of Detention Prisoners and as authorized by Chief of Police Supt. Ramer
Perlito P. Perlas.[3] Further, the logbook showed that Melgazo was temporarily released upon the
FIRST DIVISION order of Judge Canoy after he posted bail in the amount of thirty thousand pesos (PhP 30,000),
as evidenced by O.R. No. 0291794 dated September 3, 2008.[4]

GAUDENCIO B. PANTILO III, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2262 Pantilo proceeded to the Office of the Clerk of Court to request a copy of the
Complainant, [Formerly OCA I.P.I. No. Information, only to find out that none had yet been filed by the Surigao City Prosecutors
08-3056-RTJ] Office.[5] Puzzled, he inquired from the City Prosecutors Office the details surrounding the
release of Melgazo. He learned that no Information had yet been filed in Court that would serve
- versus - Present: as the basis for the approval of the bail. Likewise, he also learned from the City Police Station
that no written Order of Release had been issued but only a verbal order directing the police
CORONA, C.J., Chairperson, officers to release Melgazo from his detention cell. [6] One of the police officers even said that
VELASCO, JR., Judge Canoy assured him that a written Order of Release would be available the following day
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, or on September 4, 2008 after the Information is filed in Court.
JUDGE VICTOR A. CANOY, DEL CASTILLO, and
Respondent. PEREZ, JJ. On September 5, 2008, Melgazo filed a Motion for the Release of his impounded
vehicle as physical evidence pending the trial of the case.[7] The motion was received by the
Promulgated: Office of the Clerk of Court at 8:30 a.m. that day and was subsequently raffled in the afternoon.
In the Notice of Hearing of the said motion, Melgazo prayed that it be heard on September 5,
February 9, 2011 2008 at 8:30 a.m. According to Pantilo, this clearly violated the rules which require that the other
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x party must be served a copy of the motion at least three (3) days before the hearing.

DECISION Nevertheless, Judge Canoy issued an Order dated September 5, 2008, directing
VELASCO, JR., J.: Assistant City Prosecutor Robert Gonzaga (Prosecutor Gonzaga), the prosecutor-in-charge of
the case, to give his comment on the said motion within three (3) days upon receipt of the Order.
This administrative complaint against Judge Victor A. Canoy (Judge Canoy) of the Regional Trial Three (3) days later, Prosecutor Gonzaga submitted his comment. And despite his opposition,
Court (RTC), Branch 29 in Surigao City stems from a complaint filed by Gaudencio Pantilo III Judge Canoy granted Melgazos motion.[8]
(Pantilo), charging Judge Canoy with several counts of gross ignorance of the law and/or
procedures, grave abuse of authority, and appearance of impropriety (Canon 2, Code of Judicial Subsequently, Pantilo filed a motion for inhibition of Judge Canoy which was later
Conduct). Pantilo prays for Judge Canoys disbarment in relation to Criminal Case No. 8072 for denied.
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide entitled People of the Philippines v. Leonardo
Luzon Melgazo. Aggrieved, Pantilo filed a letter-complaint dated November 3, 2008 before the Office of
the Court Administrator charging Judge Canoy with (1) gross ignorance of the law and
The facts of the case, as gathered from the records, are as follows: procedures; (2) grave abuse of authority; and (3) appearance of impropriety (Canon 2, Code of
Judicial Conduct). Pantilo also prays for Judge Canoys disbarment.
The complainant, Pantilo, the brother of the homicide victim in the above-mentioned
criminal case, recounts in his letter-complaint that, on September 3, 2008, at around 5 oclock in On January 5, 2009, the Court Administrator required respondent judge to comment on the
the afternoon, he, along with police officers Ronald C. Perocho (Perocho) and Santiago B. complaint within ten (10) days from receipt.
Lamanilao, Jr. (Lamanilao), acting as escorts of Leonardo Luzon Melgazo (Melgazo), the
accused in Criminal Case No. 8072, went to the City Prosecutors Office, Surigao City, to attend
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Accordingly, on February 5, 2009, Judge Canoy filed his comment, arguing that the On February 9, 2009, Pantilo filed his Reply to the Comment arguing that there is no
facts in this case were exceptional. In his comment, he admitted that the inquest proceedings of such thing as constructive bail under the rules. He adds that, while he does not dispute the
Melgazo before Prosecutor Gonzaga concluded around 5:00 p.m. on September 3, 2008, after accuseds right to post bail, the granting of such should be in harmony with the rules, i.e., an
which, Melgazo, with his counsel, Atty. Cacel Azarcon, went to his office to post bail for application or motion to that effect and a corresponding order from the court granting the motion.
Melgazos provisional liberty.[9] He noted that because of the time, most of the clerks in his office
and the Office of the Clerk of Court had already gone home. Thus, it was no longer possible to On October 18, 2010, Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez issued his evaluation and
process the posting of bail and all the necessary papers needed for the release of Melgazo. recommendation on the case. In his evaluation, the Court Administrator found that respondent
judge failed to comply with the documents required by the rules to discharge an accused on
Bearing in mind the constitutional right of the accused to bail and coupled with the bail. Further, the Court Administrator noted that Judge Canoy also has another pending case
insistence of Melgazos counsel, Judge Canoy summoned Prosecutor Gonzaga and inquired (but filed on a later date, September 3, 2009): OCA-IPI No. 09-3254-RTJ, entitled Cristita
about the result of the inquest proceedings. Thereupon, Prosecutor Gonzaga relayed to him that Conjurado Vda. de Tolibas v. Judge Victor A. Canoy for Gross Ignorance of the Law and
the charge against Melgazo was for Reckless Imprudence with Homicide and the recommended Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service.
bail bond was thirty thousand pesos (PhP 30,000). However, since it was already past 5:00 p.m.,
Prosecutor Gonzaga claimed that he could no longer file the Information and that it would have Consequently, he recommended the following: (1) the instant complaint be re-
to be filed the next day.[10] docketed as a regular administrative matter; and (2) Judge Canoy be fined forty thousand pesos
(PhP 40,000) with a stern warning that a commission of similar acts in the future will be dealt
Despite all this, Judge Canoy informed Prosecutor Gonzaga that he would allow with more severely.
Melgazo to post bail in the amount recommended. He then called Mrs. Ruth O. Suriaga
(Suriaga), Clerk IV, Office of the Clerk of Court, RTC, Surigao City, to accept as deposit for bail The Courts Ruling
the thirty thousand pesos (PhP 30,000) from Melgazo.[11] Likewise, he instructed Suriaga to
earmark an official receipt which would have to be dated the following day or September 4, We find the evaluation and recommendations of the Court Administrator well-founded.
2008.
It is settled that an accused in a criminal case has the constitutional right to bail, [16] more so in
Accordingly, he summoned the escorting police officers, Perocho and Lamanilao, and this case when the charge against Melgazo, Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide, is a
verbally ordered them to release Melgazo from detention. He also said that the written order non-capital offense. However, the letter-complaint focuses on the manner of Melgazos release
would be issued the following day.[12] from detention.

In his defense, Judge Canoy invokes the constitutional right of the accused to bail and
Section 17(c), Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which does not require that Sec. 17, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure allows that any person in custody
a person be charged in court before he or she may apply for bail. [13] To his mind, there was who is not yet charged in court may apply for bail with any court in the province, city or
already a constructive bail given that only the papers were needed to formalize it.[14] It would be municipality where he is held. In the case at bar, Melgazo did not file any application or petition
unreasonable and unjustifiable to further delay the release of the accused. Nevertheless, he for the grant of bail with the Surigao City RTC, Branch 29. Despite the absence of any written
submits that if he would be faulted for such act, he does humbly concede but he merely acted in application, respondent judge verbally granted bail to Melgazo. This is a clear deviation from the
accordance with what he deemed best for the moment x x x. [15] procedure laid down in Sec. 17 of Rule 114.

As to his Order dated September 8, 2008 directing the release of the vehicle subject of In addition to a written application for bail, Rule 114 of the Rules prescribes other requirements
the case, he contends that there was no deliberate intent to disregard rules and procedure. In for the release of the accused:
fact, he points out that the prosecution was given three (3) days within which to file its comment
on the motion of the accused. The grounds raised by both parties were well taken into SEC. 14. Deposit of cash as bail.The accused or any person acting in his
consideration, but he found the grounds raised by Melgazo to be more reasonable and practical behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue or
and, hence, he granted the motion. provincial, city, or municipal treasurer the amount of bail fixed by the court,
or recommended by the prosecutor who investigated or filed the case. Upon
Similarly, he denied the motion for inhibition filed by Pantilo owing to the absence of submission of a proper certificate of deposit and a written undertaking
an express imprimatur of the prosecutor handling the case. showing compliance with the requirements of section 2 of this Rule, the
accused shall be discharged from custody. The money deposited shall be
considered as bail and applied to the payment of fine and costs while the
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excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the Rules in order to obviate arbitrariness, caprice, or whimsicality. [17] In other words, [r]ules of
deposit. procedure are intended to ensure the orderly administration of justice and the protection of
substantive rights in judicial and extrajudicial proceedings.[18] In this case, the reason of Judge
SEC. 2. Conditions of the bail; requirements.All kinds of bail are subject to Canoy is hardly persuasive enough to disregard the Rules.[19]
the following conditions:
From the foregoing, the Court finds Judge Canoy guilty of a less serious charge of violation of
(a) The undertaking shall be effective upon approval, and unless cancelled, Supreme Court rules, directives and circulars under Sec. 9, Rule 140 for which a fine of more
shall remain in form at all stages of the case until promulgation of the than PhP 10,000 but not exceeding PhP 20,000 is the imposable penalty under Sec. 11(b), Rule
judgment of the Regional Trial Court, irrespective of whether the case was 140 of the Rules of Court. A fine of PhP 11,000 would be the appropriate penalty under the
originally filed in or appealed to it; circumstances of the case.

(b) The accused shall appear before the proper court whenever required by WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Victor A. Canoy is found GUILTY of violation of
the court or these Rules; Supreme Court rules, directives, and circulars. He is meted the penalty of a FINE ofeleven
thousand pesos (PhP 11,000). He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of similar or
(c) The failure of the accused to appear at the trial without justification and analogous infractions in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
despite due notice shall be deemed a waiver of his right to be present
thereat. In such case, the trial may proceed in absentia; and SO ORDERED.

(d) The bondsman shall surrender the accused to the court for execution of 2. Leviste v. CA, March 17, 2010
the final execution.

The original papers shall state the full name and address of the accused, THIRD DIVISION
the amount of the undertaking and the conditions required by this
section. Photographs (passport size) taken within the last six (6) months JOSE ANTONIO LEVISTE, G.R. No. 189122
showing the face, left and right profiles of the accused must be attached to Petitioner,
the bail. Present:

In the case at bar, Melgazo or any person acting in his behalf did not deposit the amount of bail CORONA, J., Chairperso
recommended by Prosecutor Gonzaga with the nearest collector of internal revenue or n,
provincial, city or municipal treasurer. In clear departure from Sec. 14 of Rule 114, Judge Canoy VELASCO, JR.,
instead verbally ordered Clerk IV Suriaga of the Surigao City RTC, Office of the Clerk of Court, - v e r s u s - NACHURA,
to accept the cash deposit as bail, to earmark an official receipt for the cash deposit, and to date PERALTA and
it the following day. Worse, respondent judge did not require Melgazo to sign a written MENDOZA, JJ.
undertaking containing the conditions of the bail under Sec. 2, Rule 114 to be complied with by
Melgazo. Immediately upon receipt by Suriaga of the cash deposit of PhP 30,000 from Melgazo, THE COURT OF APPEALS
Judge Canoy ordered the police escorts to release Melgazo without any written order of and PEOPLE OF THE
release. In sum, there was no written application for bail, no certificate of deposit from the BIR PHILIPPINES,
collector or provincial, city or municipal treasurer, no written undertaking signed by Melgazo, and Respondents. Promulgated:
no written release order. March 17, 2010

As regards the insistence of Judge Canoy that such may be considered as constructive bail, x---------------------------------------------------x
there is no such species of bail under the Rules. Despite the noblest of reasons, the Rules of
Court may not be ignored at will and at random to the prejudice of the rights of another.
DECISION
In BPI v. Court of Appeals, We underscored that procedural rules have their own wholesome
rationale in the orderly administration of justice. Justice has to be administered according to the
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CORONA, J.: jurisprudence, it ruled that bail is not a sick pass for an ailing or aged detainee or a prisoner
needing medical care outside the prison facility. It found that petitioner
Bail, the security given by an accused who is in the custody of the law for his release to
guarantee his appearance before any court as may be required,[1] is the answer of the criminal failed to show that he suffers from ailment of such gravity that his continued
justice system to a vexing question: what is to be done with the accused, whose guilt has not yet confinement during trial will permanently impair his health or put his life in
been proven, in the dubious interval, often years long, between arrest and final danger. x x x Notably, the physical condition of [petitioner] does not prevent
adjudication?[2] Bail acts as a reconciling mechanism to accommodate both him from seeking medical attention while confined in prison, though he
the accuseds interest in pretrial liberty and societys interest in assuring the accusedspresence at clearly preferred to be attended by his personal physician.[14]
trial.[3]

Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by For purposes of determining whether petitioners application for bail could be allowed
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the accused who has been sentenced to prison pending appeal, the Court of Appeals also considered the fact of petitioners conviction. It made
must typically begin serving time immediately unless, on application, he is admitted to bail. [4] An a preliminary evaluation of petitioners case and made a prima facie determination that there was
accused not released on bail is incarcerated before an appellate court confirms that his no reason substantial enough to overturn the evidence of petitioners guilt.
conviction is legal and proper. An erroneously convicted accused who is denied bail loses his Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied.[15]
liberty to pay a debt to society he has never owed.[5] Even if the conviction is subsequently
affirmed, however, the accuseds interest in bail pending appeal includes freedom pending Petitioner now questions as grave abuse of discretion the denial of his application for bail,
judicial review, opportunity to efficiently prepare his case and avoidance of potential hardships of considering that none of the conditions justifying denial of bail under the third paragraph of
prison.[6] On the other hand, society has a compelling interest in protecting itself by swiftly Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court was present. Petitioners theory is that, where the
incarcerating an individual who is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a crime serious penalty imposed by the trial court is more than six years but not more than 20 years and the
enough to warrant prison time.[7] Other recognized societal interests in the denial of bail pending circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5 are absent, bail must be granted to
appeal include the prevention of the accuseds flight from court custody, the protection of the an appellant pending appeal.
community from potential danger and the avoidance of delay in punishment.[8] Under what
circumstances an accused may obtain bail pending appeal, then, is a delicate balance between THE ISSUE
the interests of society and those of the accused.[9]
Our rules authorize the proper courts to exercise discretion in the grant of bail pending appeal to
those convicted by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by The question presented to the Court is this: in an application for bail pending appeal
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. In the exercise of that discretion, the proper by an appellant sentenced by the trial court to a penalty of imprisonment for more than six years,
courts are to be guided by the fundamental principle that the allowance of bail pending appeal does the discretionary nature of the grant of bail pending appeal mean that bail should
should be exercised not with laxity but with grave caution and only for strong automatically be granted absent any of the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of
reasons, considering that the accused has been in fact convicted by the trial court. [10] Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court?
THE FACTS
Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides:
Charged with the murder of Rafael de las Alas, petitioner Jose Antonio Leviste was
convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Makati City for the lesser crime of homicide and Sec. 5. Bail, when discretionary. Upon conviction by the
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of six years and one day of prision mayor as Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by
minimum to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal as maximum.[11] death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is
discretionary. The application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the
He appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals. [12] Pending appeal, he filed an urgent trial court despite the filing of a notice of appeal, provided it has not
application for admission to bail pending appeal, citing his advanced age and health condition, transmitted the original record to the appellate court. However, if the
and claiming the absence of any risk or possibility of flight on his part. decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the
offense from non-bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be
The Court of Appeals denied petitioners application for bail.[13] It invoked the bedrock principle in filed with and resolved by the appellate court.
the matter of bail pending appeal, that the discretion to extend bail during the course of appeal
should be exercised with grave caution and only for strong reasons. Citing well-established

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Should the court grant the application, the accused may be proper only where the interlocutory order was rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with
allowed to continue on provisional liberty during the pendency of the appeal grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.[16]
under the same bail subject to the consent of the bondsman.
Other than the sweeping averment that [t]he Court of Appeals committed grave abuse
If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment of discretion in denying petitioners application for bail pending appeal despite the fact that none
exceeding six (6) years, the accused shall be denied bail, or his bail of the conditions to justify the denial thereof under Rule 114, Section 5 [is] present, much less
shall be cancelled upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to proven by the prosecution,[17] however, petitioner actually failed to establish that the Court of
the accused, of the following or other similar circumstances: Appeals indeed acted with grave abuse of discretion. He simply relies on his claim that the Court
of Appeals should have granted bail in view of the absence of any of the circumstances
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual enumerated in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. Furthermore,
delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals committed a grave error and prejudged the appeal
circumstance of reiteration; by denying his application for bail on the ground that the evidence that he committed a capital
offense was strong.
(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, We disagree.
evaded sentence, or violated the conditions of his bail
without a valid justification; It cannot be said that the Court of Appeals issued the assailed resolution without or in excess of
its jurisdiction. One, pending appeal of a conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not
(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is expressly
parole, or conditional pardon; declared to be discretionary. Two, the discretion to allow or disallow bail pending appeal in a
case such as this where the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature
(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the of the offense from non-bailable to bailable is exclusively lodged by the rules with the appellate
probability of flight if released on bail; or court. Thus, the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction to hear and resolve petitioners urgent
application for admission to bail pending appeal.
(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another
crime during the pendency of the appeal. Neither can it be correctly claimed that the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion
when it denied petitioners application for bail pending appeal. Grave abuse of discretion is not
The appellate court may, motu proprio or on motion of any party, simply an error in judgment but it is such a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment
review the resolution of the Regional Trial Court after notice to the adverse which is tantamount to lack of jurisdiction.[18] Ordinary abuse of discretion is insufficient. The
party in either case. (emphasis supplied) abuse of discretion must be grave, that is, the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic
manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. [19] It must be so patent and gross as to
Petitioner claims that, in the absence of any of the circumstances mentioned in the third amount to evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by or to act
paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, an application for bail by an appellant at all in contemplation of the law. In other words, for a petition for certiorari to prosper, there
sentenced by the Regional Trial Court to a penalty of more than six years imprisonment should must be a clear showing of caprice and arbitrariness in the exercise of discretion. [20]
automatically be granted.
Petitioner never alleged that, in denying his application for bail pending appeal, the
Petitioners stance is contrary to fundamental considerations of procedural and Court of Appeals exercised its judgment capriciously and whimsically. No capriciousness or
substantive rules. arbitrariness in the exercise of discretion was ever imputed to the appellate court. Nor could any
such implication or imputation be inferred. As observed earlier, the Court of Appeals
BASIC PROCEDURAL CONCERNS exercised grave caution in the exercise of its discretion. The denial of petitioners application for
FORBID GRANT OF PETITION bail pending appeal was not unreasonable but was the result of a thorough assessment of
petitioners claim of ill health. By making a preliminary appraisal of the merits of the case for the
purpose of granting bail, the court also determined whether the appeal was frivolous or not, or
Petitioner filed this special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to assail whether it raised a substantial question. The appellate court did not exercise its discretion in a
the denial by the Court of Appeals of his urgent application for admission to bail pending appeal. careless manner but followed doctrinal rulings of this Court.
While the said remedy may be resorted to challenge an interlocutory order, such remedy is

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At best, petitioner only points out the Court of Appeals erroneous application and interpretation e. After conviction by the Regional Trial Court wherein a penalty
of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. However, the extraordinary writ of certiorari will of imprisonment exceeding 6 years but not more than 20 years is imposed,
not be issued to cure errors in proceedings or erroneous conclusions of law or fact.[21] In and not one of the circumstances stated in Sec. 5 or any other similar
this connection, Lee v. People[22] is apropos: circumstance is present and proved, bail is a matter of discretion (Sec. 5);

Certiorari may not be availed of where it is not shown that the f. After conviction by the Regional Trial Court imposing a penalty
respondent court lacked or exceeded its jurisdiction over the case, of imprisonment exceeding 6 years but not more than 20 years, and any of
even if its findings are not correct. Its questioned acts would at most the circumstances stated in Sec. 5 or any other similar circumstance is
constitute errors of law and not abuse of discretion correctible by certiorari. present and proved, no bail shall be granted by said court (Sec. 5);
x x x[24] (emphasis supplied)
In other words, certiorari will issue only to correct errors of
jurisdiction and not to correct errors of procedure or mistakes in the courts
findings and conclusions. An interlocutory order may be assailed Retired Court of Appeals Justice Oscar M. Herrera, another authority in remedial law,
by certiorari or prohibition only when it is shown that the court acted without is of the same thinking:
or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. However, this
Court generally frowns upon this remedial measure as regards interlocutory Bail is either a matter of right or of discretion. It is a matter of right
orders. To tolerate the practice of allowing interlocutory orders to be the when the offense charged is not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or
subject of review by certiorari will not only delay the administration of justice life imprisonment. On the other hand, upon conviction by the Regional Trial
but will also unduly burden the courts.[23] (emphasis supplied) Court of an offense not punishable death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, bail becomes a matter of discretion.

Similarly, if the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment


WORDING OF THIRD PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 5, exceeding six (6) years then bail is a matter of discretion, except when
RULE 114 CONTRADICTS PETITIONERS any of the enumerated circumstances under paragraph 3 of Section 5,
INTERPRETATION Rule 114 is present then bail shall be denied.[25] (emphasis supplied)

In the first situation, bail is a matter of sound judicial discretion. This means that, if
The third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 applies to two scenarios where the penalty imposed none of the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 is present,
on the appellant applying for bail is imprisonment exceeding six years. The first scenario deals the appellate court has the discretion to grant or deny bail. An application for bail pending appeal
with the circumstances enumerated in the said paragraph (namely, recidivism, quasi-recidivism, may be denied even if the bail-negating[26] circumstances in the third paragraph of Section 5,
habitual delinquency or commission of the crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration; Rule 114 are absent. In other words, the appellate courts denial of bail pending appeal where
previous escape from legal confinement, evasion of sentence or violation of the conditions of his none of the said circumstances exists does not, by and of itself, constitute abuse of discretion.
bail without a valid justification; commission of the offense while under probation, parole or
conditional pardon; circumstances indicating the probability of flight if released on bail; undue On the other hand, in the second situation, the appellate court exercises a more stringent
risk of committing another crime during the pendency of the appeal; or other similar discretion, that is, to carefully ascertain whether any of the enumerated circumstances in fact
circumstances) not present. The second scenario contemplates the existence of at least one of exists. If it so determines, it has no other option except to deny or revoke bail pending
the said circumstances. appeal. Conversely, if the appellate court grants bail pending appeal, grave abuse of discretion
will thereby be committed.
The implications of this distinction are discussed with erudition and clarity in the commentary of
retired Supreme Court Justice Florenz D. Regalado, an authority in remedial law: Given these two distinct scenarios, therefore, any application for bail pending appeal should be
viewed from the perspective of two stages: (1) the determination of discretion stage, where the
Under the present revised Rule 114, the availability of bail to an appellate court must determine whether any of the circumstances in the third paragraph of
accused may be summarized in the following rules: Section 5, Rule 114 is present; this will establish whether or not the appellate court will exercise
sound discretion or stringent discretion in resolving the application for bail pending appeal and
xxxxxxxxx (2) the exercise of discretion stage where, assuming the appellants case falls within the first
scenario allowing the exercise of sound discretion, the appellate court may consider all relevant
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circumstances, other than those mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114, The judicial discretion granted to the proper court (the Court of Appeals in this case) to rule on
including the demands of equity and justice;[27] on the basis thereof, it may either allow or applications for bail pending appeal must necessarily involve the exercise of judgment on the
disallow bail. part of the court. The court must be allowed reasonable latitude to express its own view of the
case, its appreciation of the facts and its understanding of the applicable law on the matter. [31] In
On the other hand, if the appellants case falls within the second scenario, the view of the grave caution required of it, the court should consider whether or not, under all
appellate courts stringent discretion requires that the exercise thereof be primarily focused on circumstances, the accused will be present to abide by his punishment if his conviction is
the determination of the proof of the presence of any of the circumstances that are prejudicial to affirmed.[32] It should also give due regard to any other pertinent matters beyond the record of
the allowance of bail. This is so because the existence of any of those circumstances is by itself the particular case, such as the record, character and reputation of the applicant,[33] among other
sufficient to deny or revoke bail. Nonetheless, a finding that none of the said circumstances things. More importantly, the discretion to determine allowance or disallowance of bail pending
is present will not automatically result in the grant of bail. Such finding will simply appeal necessarily includes, at the very least, an initial determination that the appeal is not
authorize the court to use the less stringent sound discretion approach. frivolous but raises a substantial question of law or fact which must be determined by the
appellate court.[34] In other words, a threshold requirement for the grant of bail is a showing that
Petitioner disregards the fine yet substantial distinction between the two different situations that the appeal is not pro forma and merely intended for delay but presents a fairly debatable
are governed by the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114. Instead, petitioner insists on a issue.[35] This must be so; otherwise, the appellate courts will be deluged with frivolous and time-
simplistic treatment that unduly dilutes the import of the said provision and trivializes the wasting appeals made for the purpose of taking advantage of a lenient attitude on bail pending
established policy governing the grant of bail pending appeal. appeal. Even more significantly, this comports with the very strong presumption on appeal that
the lower courts exercise of discretionary power was sound,[36]specially since the rules on
In particular, a careful reading of petitioners arguments reveals that it interprets the third criminal procedure require that no judgment shall be reversed or modified by the Court of
paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 to cover all situations where the penalty imposed by the trial Appeals except for substantial error.[37]
court on the appellant is imprisonment exceeding six years. For petitioner, in such a situation,
the grant of bail pending appeal is always subject to limited discretion, that is, one restricted to Moreover, to limit the bail-negating circumstances to the five situations mentioned in the third
the determination of whether any of the five bail-negating circumstances exists. The paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 is wrong. By restricting the bail-negating circumstances to
implication of this position is that, if any such circumstance is present, then bail will be denied. those expressly mentioned, petitioner applies the expressio unius est exclusio alterius[38] rule in
Otherwise, bail will be granted pending appeal. statutory construction. However, the very language of the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114
contradicts the idea that the enumeration of the five situations therein was meant to be
Petitioners theory therefore reduces the appellate court into a mere fact-finding body exclusive. The provision categorically refers to the following or other similar
whose authority is limited to determining whether any of the five circumstances mentioned in the circumstances. Hence, under the rules, similarly relevant situations other than those listed in
third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 exists. This unduly constricts its discretion into merely the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 may be considered in the allowance, denial or
filling out the checklist of circumstances in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 in all revocation of bail pending appeal.
instances where the penalty imposed by the Regional Trial Court on the appellant is
imprisonment exceeding six years. In short, petitioners interpretation severely curbs the Finally, laws and rules should not be interpreted in such a way that leads to unreasonable or
discretion of the appellate court by requiring it to determine a singular factual issue whether any senseless consequences. An absurd situation will result from adopting petitioners interpretation
of the five bail-negating circumstances is present. that, where the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding six years, bail
ought to be granted if none of the listed bail-negating circumstances exists. Allowance of bail
However, judicial discretion has been defined as choice.[28] Choice occurs where, pending appeal in cases where the penalty imposed is more than six years of imprisonment will
between two alternatives or among a possibly infinite number (of options), there is more than be more lenient than in cases where the penalty imposed does not exceed six years. While
one possible outcome, with the selection of the outcome left to the decision maker. [29] On the denial or revocation of bail in cases where the penalty imposed is more than six years
other hand, the establishment of a clearly defined rule of action is the end of discretion. [30] Thus, imprisonment must be made only if any of the five bail-negating conditions is present, bail
by severely clipping the appellate courts discretion and relegating that tribunal to a mere fact- pending appeal in cases where the penalty imposed does not exceed six years imprisonment
finding body in applications for bail pending appeal in all instances where the penalty imposed may be denied even without those conditions.
by the trial court on the appellant is imprisonment exceeding six years, petitioners theory
effectively renders nugatory the provision that upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of Is it reasonable and in conformity with the dictates of justice that bail pending appeal
an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail be more accessible to those convicted of serious offenses, compared to those convicted of less
is discretionary. serious crimes?

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PETITIONERS THEORY DEVIATES FROM HISTORY The basic governing principle on the right of the accused to bail is
AND EVOLUTION OF RULE ON BAIL PENDING APPEAL laid down in Section 3 of Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure,
as amended, which provides:

Petitioners interpretation deviates from, even radically alters, the history and evolution of the Sec. 3. Bail, a matter of right; exception. All
provisions on bail pending appeal. persons in custody, shall before final conviction, be
entitled to bail as a matter of right, except those
The relevant original provisions on bail were provided under Sections 3 to 6, Rule 110 charged with a capital offense or an offense which,
of the 1940 Rules of Criminal Procedure: under the law at the time of its commission and at the
time of the application for bail, is punishable
Sec. 3. Offenses less than capital before conviction by the Court by reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong.
of First Instance. After judgment by a municipal judge and before conviction
by the Court of First Instance, the defendant shall be admitted to bail as of Pursuant to the aforecited provision, an accused who is charged
right. with a capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua, shall
no longer be entitled to bail as a matter of right even if he appeals the case
Sec. 4. Non-capital offenses after conviction by the Court of First to this Court since his conviction clearly imports that the evidence of his guilt
Instance. After conviction by the Court of First Instance, defendant may, of the offense charged is strong.
upon application, be bailed at the discretion of the court.
Hence, for the guidelines of the bench and bar with respect to
Sec. 5. Capital offense defined. A capital offense, as the term is future as well as pending cases before the trial courts, this Court en
used in this rule, is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of its banc lays down the following policies concerning the effectivity of the bail of
commission, and at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be the accused, to wit:
punished by death.
1) When an accused is charged with an offense which under the
Sec. 6. Capital offense not bailable. No person in custody for the law existing at the time of its commission and at the time of the application
commission of a capital offense shall be admitted to bail if the evidence of for bail is punishable by a penalty lower than reclusion perpetua and is out
his guilt is strong. on bail, and after trial is convicted by the trial court of the offense charged or
of a lesser offense than that charged in the complaint or information, he may
be allowed to remain free on his original bail pending the resolution of his
The aforementioned provisions were reproduced as Sections 3 to 6, Rule 114 of the appeal, unless the proper court directs otherwise pursuant to Rule 114, Sec.
1964 Rules of Criminal Procedure and then of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure. They were 2 (a) of the Rules of Court, as amended;
modified in 1988 to read as follows:
Sec. 3. Bail, a matter of right; exception. All persons in custody, 2) When an accused is charged with a capital offense or an
shall before final conviction be entitled to bail as a matter of right, except offense which under the law at the time of its commission and at the
those charged with a capital offense or an offense which, under the law at time of the application for bail is punishable by reclusion perpetua and
the time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail, is is out on bail, and after trial is convicted by the trial court of a lesser
punishable by reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong. offense than that charged in the complaint or information, the same
rule set forth in the preceding paragraph shall be applied;
Sec. 4. Capital offense, defined. A capital offense, as the term is
used in this Rules, is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of 3) When an accused is charged with a capital offense or an
its commission, and at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may offense which under the law at the time of its commission and at the time of
be punished by death. (emphasis supplied) the application for bail is punishable by reclusionperpetua and is out on bail
and after trial is convicted by the trial court of the offense charged, his bond
The significance of the above changes was clarified in Administrative Circular No. 2- shall be cancelled and the accused shall be placed in confinement pending
92 dated January 20, 1992 as follows: resolution of his appeal.

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As to criminal cases covered under the third rule abovecited, (a) That the accused is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or
which are now pending appeal before his Court where the accused is still on habitual delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated
provisional liberty, the following rules are laid down: by the circumstance of reiteration;

1) This Court shall order the bondsman to surrender the accused (b) That the accused is found to have previously escaped
within ten (10) days from notice to the court of origin. The from legal confinement, evaded sentence or has violated the
bondsman thereupon, shall inform this Court of the fact of surrender, after conditions of his bail without valid justification;
which, the cancellation of the bond shall be ordered by this Court;
(c) That the accused committed the offense while on
2) The RTC shall order the transmittal of the accused to the probation, parole, under conditional pardon;
National Bureau of Prisons thru the Philippine National Police as the
accused shall remain under confinement pending resolution of his appeal; (d) That the circumstances of the accused or his case
indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or
3) If the accused-appellant is not surrendered within the aforesaid
period of ten (10) days, his bond shall be forfeited and an order of arrest (e) That there is undue risk that during the pendency of the
shall be issued by this Court. The appeal taken by the accused shall also be appeal, the accused may commit another crime.
dismissed under Section 8, Rule 124 of the Revised Rules of Court as he
shall be deemed to have jumped his bail. (emphasis supplied) The appellate court may review the resolution of the Regional
Trial Court, on motion and with notice to the adverse party. (n)
Amendments were further introduced in Administrative Circular No. 12-94 dated
August 16, 1994 which brought about important changes in the said rules as follows: SECTION 6. Capital offense, defined. A capital offense, as the
term is used in these Rules, is an offense which, under the law existing at
SECTION 4. Bail, a matter of right. All persons in custody shall: the time of its commission and at the time of the application to be admitted
(a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial to bail, maybe punished with death. (4)
Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities and Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and
(b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not SECTION 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, be admitted to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. No person charged
bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or be released on with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
recognizance as prescribed by law of this Rule. (3a) imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail
regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. (emphasis supplied)
SECTION 5. Bail, when discretionary. Upon conviction by the
Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on The above amendments of Administrative Circular No. 12-94 to Rule 114 were
application, may admit the accused to bail. thereafter amended by A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC to read as they do now.
The development over time of these rules reveals an orientation towards a more restrictive
The court, in its discretion, may allow the accused to continue on approach to bail pending appeal. It indicates a faithful adherence to the bedrock principle, that
provisional liberty under the same bail bond during the period of appeal is, bail pending appeal should be allowed not with leniency but with grave caution and only for
subject to the consent of the bondsman. strong reasons.
If the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six
(6) years but not more than twenty (20) years, the accused shall be The earliest rules on the matter made all grants of bail after conviction for a non-
denied bail, or his bail previously granted shall be cancelled, upon a capital offense by the Court of First Instance (predecessor of the Regional Trial Court)
showing by the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the discretionary. The 1988 amendments made applications for bail pending appeal favorable to the
following or other similar circumstances: appellant-applicant. Bail before final conviction in trial courts for non-capital offenses or offenses
not punishable by reclusion perpetua was a matter of right, meaning, admission to bail was a
matter of right at any stage of the action where the charge was not for a capital offense or was
not punished by reclusion perpetua.[39]
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From another point of view it may be properly argued that the probability of
The amendments introduced by Administrative Circular No. 12-94 made bail pending ultimate punishment is so enhanced by the conviction that the accused is
appeal (of a conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by much more likely to attempt to escape if liberated on bail than before
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment) discretionary. Thus, Administrative Circular No. conviction.[44] (emphasis supplied)
12-94 laid down more stringent rules on the matter of post-conviction grant of bail.
As a matter of fact, endorsing the reasoning quoted above and relying thereon, the
A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC modified Administrative Circular No. 12-94 by clearly identifying Court declared in Yap v. Court of Appeals[45] (promulgated in 2001 when the present rules were
which court has authority to act on applications for bail pending appeal under certain conditions already effective), that denial of bail pending appeal is a matter of wise discretion.
and in particular situations. More importantly, it reiterated the tough on bail pending appeal
configuration of Administrative Circular No. 12-94. In particular, it amended Section 3 of the
1988 Rules on Criminal Procedure which entitled the accused to bail as a matter of right before A FINAL WORD
final conviction.[40] Under the present rule, bail is a matter of discretion upon conviction by the
Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life Section 13, Article II of the Constitution provides:
imprisonment. Indeed, pursuant to the tough on bail pending appeal policy, the presence of bail-
negating conditions mandates the denial or revocation of bail pending appeal such that those SEC. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses
circumstances are deemed to be as grave as conviction by the trial court for an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong,
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment where bail is prohibited. shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released
on recognizance as may be provided by law. x x x (emphasis supplied)
Now, what is more in consonance with a stringent standards approach to bail pending appeal?
What is more in conformity with an ex abundante cautelam view of bail pending appeal? Is it a
rule which favors the automatic grant of bail in the absence of any of the circumstances under After conviction by the trial court, the presumption of innocence terminates and,
the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114? Or is it a rule that authorizes the denial of bail after accordingly, the constitutional right to bail ends. [46] From then on, the grant of bail is subject to
due consideration of all relevant circumstances, even if none of the circumstances under the judicial discretion. At the risk of being repetitious, such discretion must be exercised with grave
third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 is present? caution and only for strong reasons. Considering that the accused was in fact convicted by the
trial court, allowance of bail pending appeal should be guided by a stringent-standards
The present inclination of the rules on criminal procedure to frown on bail pending approach. This judicial disposition finds strong support in the history and evolution of the rules
appeal parallels the approach adopted in the United States where our original constitutional and on bail and the language of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. It is likewise consistent
procedural provisions on bail emanated.[41] While this is of course not to be followed blindly, it with the trial courts initial determination that the accused should be in prison. Furthermore,
nonetheless shows that our treatment of bail pending appeal is no different from that in other letting the accused out on bail despite his conviction may destroy the deterrent effect of our
democratic societies. criminal laws. This is especially germane to bail pending appeal because long delays often
In our jurisdiction, the trend towards a strict attitude towards the allowance of bail separate sentencing in the trial court and appellate review. In addition, at the post-conviction
pending appeal is anchored on the principle that judicial discretion particularly with respect to stage, the accused faces a certain prison sentence and thus may be more likely to flee
extending bail should be exercised not with laxity but with caution and only for strong regardless of bail bonds or other release conditions. Finally, permitting bail too freely in spite of
reasons.[42] In fact, it has even been pointed out that grave caution that must attend the exercise conviction invites frivolous and time-wasting appeals which will make a mockery of our criminal
of judicial discretion in granting bail to a convicted accused is best illustrated and exemplified in justice system and court processes.
Administrative Circular No. 12-94 amending Rule 114, Section 5.[43]
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
Furthermore, this Court has been guided by the following:
The Court of Appeals is hereby directed to resolve and decide, on the merits, the
The importance attached to conviction is due to the underlying appeal of petitioner Jose Antonio Leviste docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 32159, with dispatch.
principle that bail should be granted only where it is uncertain whether the
accused is guilty or innocent, and therefore, where that uncertainty is Costs against petitioner.
removed by conviction it would, generally speaking, be absurd to admit to
bail. After a person has been tried and convicted the presumption of
innocence which may be relied upon in prior applications is rebutted, SO ORDERED.
and the burden is upon the accused to show error in the conviction.
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Article III of R.A. No. 7610, allegedly committed on October 29, 2002 and December 16, 2002.
3. Villanueva v. Judge Buaya, November 22, 2010 Judge Noel-Bertulfo allowed Tupa to post bail in the amount of one hundred thousand pesos
(P100,000.00) for each case.

Republic of the Philippines On September 27, 2004, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Prudencio O. Borgueta, Jr. issued a
Supreme Court Joint Resolution on Review,[4] recommending the filing of two separate informations for violation
Manila of Section 5(b) in relation with Section 31,[5] of R.A. No. 7610 against the accused. He likewise
recommended the cancellation of the bail bond of P100,000.00 (per case) posted by Tupa as,
under Section 31, Article XII of R.A. No. 7610, if the offender is a public officer or employee, the
THIRD DIVISION penalty provided in Section 5, Article III of R.A. No. 7610[6] is imposed in the maximum
period, i.e., reclusion perpetua. Thus, bail is not a matter of right. He also added that the
cancellation of the bail bond was all the more appropriate since there was strong evidence of
LORNA M. VILLANUEVA, A.M. No. RTJ-08-2131 guilt against the accused based on Villanuevas affidavit-complaint and her material declarations
Complainant, (Formerly OCA IPI No. 05-2241-RTJ) during the preliminary investigation. The accused did not refute these declarations and, in fact,
even admitted the alleged sexual acts in his counter-affidavit and through his statements during
Present: the clarificatory hearing.

- versus - CARPIO MORALES, J., Chairperson, Based on the above recommendation, the Provincial Prosecutor of Leyte filed two separate
BRION, Informations[7] for violation of Section 5 (b), Article III of R.A. No. 7610, in relation with Section
BERSAMIN, 31, Article XII of the same law, against Tupa before RTC, Branch 17, of Palompon, Leyte. No
VILLARAMA, JR., and bail was recommended in both cases.
JUDGE APOLINARIO M. BUAYA, SERENO, JJ.
Respondent. Judge Eric F. Menchavez, then Presiding Judge of the RTC, Branch 17, of Palompon, Leyte,
Promulgated: issued a warrant for the arrest of Tupa.[8] However, the warrant was not served because Tupa
November 22, 2010 went into hiding and could not be located. Meanwhile, Judge Menchavez was reassigned to the
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x RTC in Cebu City. This led to the designation of Judge Apolinario M. Buaya as Acting Presiding
Judge of the RTC, Branch 17 on December 8, 2004.
DECISION
On the very same day (December 8, 2004), Tupa allegedly surrendered voluntarily to SPO2
Charito Daau of the Ormoc City Police Station and filed with the RTC, Branch 17 an Urgent Ex-
BRION, J.: Parte Motion to Grant Bail (ex-parte motion).[9] Tupa argued that the Prosecutor, in
recommending the denial of bail, erred in considering the special aggravating circumstance
In a verified affidavit-complaint[1] dated March 15, 2005, complainant Lorna M. Villanueva, provided in Section 31, Article XII of R.A. No. 7610 in the computation of the penalty to be used
assisted by her father Pantaleon Villanueva, charged respondent Acting Presiding Judge as basis in determining his right to bail. Citing People of the Philippines v. Intermediate Appellate
Apolinario M. Buaya of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 17, of Palompon, Leyte, with Court,[10] Tupa contended that for purposes of the right to bail, the criterion to determine whether
Gross Ignorance of the Law and Abuse of Authority. the offense charged is a capital offense is the penalty provided by the law, regardless of the
attendant circumstances.
In an affidavit-complaint executed on June 5, 2004,[2] Villanueva accused then Vice-Mayor In an Order[11] issued on the same day the ex-parte motion was filed, without hearing and without
Constantino S. Tupa of Palompon, Leyte, (of the crime of Qualified Seduction. She later filed notice to the prosecution, Judge Buaya granted the ex-parte motion and ordered the release of
another complaint against the same accused for violation of Section 5, paragraph (b), Article III Tupa on bail.
of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7610 (otherwise known as the Special Protection of Children Against
Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act)[3] with the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Palompon, On December 16, 2004, Villanueva moved to reconsider the order granting the ex-parte motion.
Leyte. She argued that an application for bail should be heard and cannot be contained in a mere ex-
parte motion. Judge Buaya noted that Villanuevas motion for reconsideration was submitted by
MTC Judge Delia Noel-Bertulfo forwarded the case to the Office of the Assistant Provincial the private prosecutor without the conformity of the public prosecutor, as required under the
Prosecutor after finding probable cause for two counts of violation of Section 5, paragraph (b), Rules on Criminal Procedure. Without acting on the merits of the said motion, Judge Buaya
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issued an order allowing the accused to submit his comment or opposition within ten days; accused bail to be unjust. She reasoned out that since there was doubt on whether the offense
thereafter, the matter would be submitted for resolution. was bailable, basic considerations of fair play should have compelled Judge Buaya, at the
minimum, to consult with the prosecution and the other judge (who issued the warrant of arrest)
Judge Buayas differing treatment of the ex-parte motion and her motion for reconsideration on the reason for not recommending bail. Court Administrator Elepao, therefore, recommended
apparently irked Villanueva, prompting her to file the present administrative complaint against that the present administrative complaint be re-docketed as a regular administrative case and
the RTC judge. She observed the seeming bias and unfairness of Judge Buayas orders when he that Judge Buaya, for lack of prudence, be reprimanded, with a warning that a repetition of the
granted the ex-parte motion without the required notice and hearing; on the other hand, he did same or similar acts in the future would be dealt with more severely.
not act on her motion for reconsideration because it was not in the proper form, but allowed the By Resolution of July 9, 2008,[19] this Court required the parties to manifest, within ten days from
accused to comment on her motion. notice, whether they were submitting the matter for resolution on the basis of the pleadings filed.

In an Indorsement dated May 4, 2005,[12] then Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. In his Manifestation,[20] Judge Buaya maintained his position that the offense at issue is a
required Judge Buaya to comment on the administrative complaint filed against him. The Court bailable offense, therefore, bail is a matter of right and a hearing is not required. He further
Administrator likewise required the Judge to explain why no disciplinary action should be taken alleged that the investigating prosecutor (who recommended that no bail should be granted to
against him for violation of his professional responsibility as a lawyer, pursuant to the Courts En Tupa) was pressured to reverse the investigating MTC judges recommendation for bail during
Banc Resolution dated September 17, 2002 in A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC.[13] the preliminary investigation stage. The prosecutor allegedly asked for a transfer of assignment
Judge Buaya vehemently denied the charges against him in his Comment. [14] He argued that the from Palompon, Leyte to Tacloban, but his request was denied, prompting him to resign and
crime charged against Tupa was a bailable offense; when bail is a matter of right, no hearing of work in a private bank.
the motion to grant bail is required. Thus, he stood by his order granting the accused temporary
liberty, through bail, without a hearing. His assailed order, reiterated in his comment, held that a As added proof of the lack of merit of the present administrative case filed against him, Judge
hearing would be superfluous and unnecessary given the peculiar and special circumstances Buaya furnished this Court with the Affidavit of Desistance and Declaration Against
attendant to the case. During the preliminary examination, the investigating judge already Interest[21] executed by Villanueva, together with the Transcript of Stenographic Notes[22] of her
passed upon and fixed the amount of bail for the temporary liberty of the accused. In fact, the October 11, 2007 testimony before Presiding Judge Celso L. Mantua of the RTC, Branch 17, of
accused had availed of and exercised his constitutional right to bail by posting the necessary Palompon, Leyte. In both documents, Villanueva retracted her accusations against Tupa and
bond. In his view, the prosecution, in canceling the bail bond in its joint resolution for review, totally denied the occurrence of the alleged acts of lasciviousness committed against her by the
acted to the prejudice of the accuseds paramount right to liberty. Judge Buaya, therefore, asked accused. Judge Buaya alleged that Villanueva was merely used by certain political figures in
for the dismissal of the present administrative complaint for lack of merit. their locality, and was pressured to file the criminal cases against their former vice-mayor and
the present administrative case against him.
Villanueva filed a Reply[15] contending that Judge Buayas assailed order on the ex-parte motion
was contrary to the Rules of Court requirement that a motion to grant bail must be set for
hearing to afford the State and the prosecutor their day in court. She further accused Judge THE COURTS RULING
Buaya of being manifestly partial as evidenced by the two temporary restraining orders (TROs)
he issued in favor of the accused in another case for quo warranto,[16] then pending before the As a preliminary matter, we cannot give any weight to Judge Buayas unsubstantiated allegation
RTC, Branch 17. She observed that the first TRO read more like a decision on the merits even that the prosecutor who had recommended bail was only pressured to make his
though the case had not yet reached the pre-trial stage. The second TRO, on the other hand, recommendation. This allegation, aside from being unsubstantiated, is totally irrelevant to the
was allegedly issued without a hearing and was antedated. case whose issue is the propriety of the action of the judge in granting bail ex-parte, not the
action of the prosecutor in recommending that no bail be granted.
Prior to the Office of the Court Administrators (OCAs) action on the administrative complaint, the
Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. 00449,[17] rendered its decision[18] on the bail issue, The complainants desistance is likewise not legally significant. We reiterate the settled
granting the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by Villanueva, thus annulling and setting rule that administrative actions cannot depend on the will or pleasure of the complainant who
aside Judge Buayas order granting bail to Tupa. Villanueva furnished the OCA with a copy of the may, for reasons of his own, accept and condone what is otherwise detestable. Neither can the
CA decision. Court be bound by the unilateral act of the complainant in a matter relating to its disciplinary
On May 9, 2008, then Court Administrator Zenaida N. Elepao further evaluated the merits of the power. Desistance cannot divest the Court of its jurisdiction to investigate and decide the
case and opined that the issue of whether or not bail was a matter of right in the present case is complaint against the respondent. Where public interest is at stake and the Court can act on the
judicial in nature. She preferred not to resolve the administrative complaint based on the CA propriety and legality of the conduct of judiciary officials and employees, the Court shall act
decision (which found the offense non-bailable) since the decision was not yet final and irrespective of any intervening private arrangements between the parties.[23]
executory at that time. However, she found Judge Buayas precipitate haste in granting the
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On many occasions, we have impressed upon judges that they owe it to the public whether or not the evidence is strong is a matter of judicial discretion which remains with the
and the legal profession to know the very law they are supposed to apply in a given judge. In order for the judge to properly exercise this discretion, he must first conduct a hearing
controversy.[24] They are called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with to determine whether the evidence of guilt is strong.[30] This discretion lies not in the
statutes and procedural rules, to be conversant with the basic law, and to maintain the desired determination of whether or not a hearing should be held, but in the appreciation and evaluation
professional competence.[25] of the weight of the prosecutions evidence of guilt against the accused.

With the numerous cases already decided on the matter of bail, we feel justified to In any event, whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, a hearing for a petition for
expect judges to diligently discharge their duties on the grant or denial of applications for bail is required in order for the court to consider the guidelines set forth in Section 9, Rule 114 of
bail. Basco v. Rapatalo[26] laid down the rules outlining the duties of a judge in case an the Rules of Court in fixing the amount of bail.[31] This Court has repeatedly held in past cases
application for bail is filed: that even if the prosecution fails to adduce evidence in opposition to an application for bail of an
accused, the court may still require the prosecution to answer questions in order to ascertain,
(1) Notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail not only the strength of the State's evidence, but also the adequacy of the amount of bail. [32]
or require him to submit his recommendation x x x;
(2) Conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of One who accepts the exalted position of a judge owes the public and the Court the duty to
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to maintain professional competence at all times.[33] When a judge displays an utter lack of
show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of familiarity with the rules, he erodes the confidence of the public in the courts. A judge owes the
enabling the court to exercise its discretion x x x; public and the Court the duty to be proficient in the law and is expected to keep abreast of laws
(3) Decide whether the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong and prevailing jurisprudence. Ignorance of the law by a judge can easily be the mainspring of
based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution x x x; [and] injustice.[34]
(4) If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused
upon the approval of the [bail bond]. x x x Otherwise, petition WHEREFORE, we find respondent Acting Presiding Judge Apolinario M. Buaya of the Regional
should be denied. Trial Court, Branch 17, of Palompon, Leyte, GUILTY of Gross Ignorance of the Law and Grave
Abuse of Authority, and is hereby FINED Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), with
In the present case, Judge Buaya granted the ex-parte motion to grant bail on the a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall merit a more serious
same day that it was filed by the accused. He did this without the required notice and hearing. penalty.
He justified his action on the ex-parte motion by arguing that the offense charged against the
accused was a bailable offense; a hearing was no longer required since bail was a matter of SO ORDERED.
right. Under the present Rules of Court, however, notice and hearing are required whether bail is
a matter of right or discretion.[27] Likewise, jurisprudence is replete with decisions on the
procedural necessity of a hearing, whether summary or otherwise, relative to the grant of bail, 4. San Miguel v. Judge Maceda, April 4, 2007
especially in cases involving offenses punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, where bail is a matter of discretion.[28]
Republic of the Philippines
Judge Buaya further argued that in granting the ex-parte motion, he was merely Supreme Court
correcting a reversible error. Believing that the offense committed was bailable in nature, he Manila
opined that when the investigating prosecutor revoked the bail already posted by the accused,
the prosecutor gravely violated the accuseds constitutional right to bail. Judge Buaya firmly
relied on the previous order of the investigating MTC judge who, according to him, correctly fixed THIRD DIVISION
the amount of bail. Thus, conducting a bail hearing on the ex-parte motion was no longer
necessary. Even assuming, however, that the previous order of the investigating MTC judge was
correct in granting bail to the accused, reliance on a previous order granting bail does not justify EDUARDO SAN MIGUEL, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1749
the absence of a hearing in a subsequent petition for bail.[29] Complainant, [Formerly OCA IPI-01-1342-RTJ]
Present:
The Court has always stressed the indispensable nature of a bail hearing in petitions YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
for bail. Where bail is a matter of discretion, the grant or the denial of bail hinges on the issue of Chairperson,
whether or not the evidence on the guilt of the accused is strong and the determination of - versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
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CALLEJO, SR.,
CHICO-NAZARIO, and In his Comment[3] dated March 8, 2002, respondent explained that the motion to cancel the
NACHURA, JJ. prosecutor's recommended bail in Crim. Case No. 00-0736 did not need any hearing because
JUDGE BONIFACIO SANZ the court could act upon it without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party. When he canceled
MACEDA, Presiding Judge, the bail, the cancellation referred to the P60,000.00 and not the P120,000.00 bail fixed by
Regional Trial Court, Branch 275, Judge Alumbres. The September 17, 2001 Order canceling the bail does not speak of the
Las Pias City, Promulgated: cancellation of the P120,000.00 bail and the same was reaffirmed in a subsequent Order
Respondent. April 4, 2007 on November 21, 2001. The right of complainant to be heard in the motion to withdraw bail was
x--------------------------------------------------x never violated nor his right to bail impaired. Complainant could have posted
the P120,000.00 bail fixed by Judge Alumbres or could have seasonably moved for the lifting of
RESOLUTION the warrant, but he did not. The Order of cancellation is dated September 17, 2001 while the
Information for murder was filed against complainant on September 14, 2001 or three days
earlier. Thus, the cancellation was in due course because complainant was already detained for
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J. the non-bailable offense of murder three days before the cancellation was ordered.

Before us is the Complaint-Affidavit[1] dated November 28, 2001 of Eduardo M. San Miguel In the Agenda Report[4] dated September 17, 2002, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA)
(complainant) charging Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda (respondent), Presiding Judge, Regional submitted its evaluation and recommendation, to wit:
Trial Court (RTC), Branch 275, Las Pias City with Gross Ignorance of the Law, Manifest
Partiality, Gross Misconduct, Grave Abuse of Authority, Evident Bad Faith and Gross EVALUATION: The complaint is meritorious.
Inexcusable Negligence, relative to Criminal Case No. 00-0736, entitled People of the
Philippines v. Eduardo M. San Miguel and Socorro B. Osorio, for Violation of Section 15, Article The complainant is correct in saying that the order dated September 17,
III, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425.[2] 2001 of respondent denied him his right to bail. This order was issued upon
motion of the prosecution which motion was quite explicit of what was
Complainant was arrested for illegal sale, dispensation, distribution and delivery of .50 grams sought to be cancelled. The motion in part reads:
of methamphetamine hydrochloride, punishable by prision correccional. He jumped bail. On May
10, 2001, then Judge Florentino Alumbres issued a bench warrant and canceled his bail bond in xxx
the amount of P60,000.00 and fixed a new bail bond in the amount of P120,000.00. Complainant
was arrested on September 8, 2001. On September 12, 2001, the state prosecutor filed a Motion 2. In the said warrant of arrest the Honorable
to Cancel Recommended Bail on the ground of reasonable belief and indications pointing to the Court recommended bail in the amount
probability that accused is seriously considering flight from prosecution. The Motion was set for of P120,000.00 to secure the provisional
hearing on September 19, 2001.On September 17, 2001, complainant filed an Opposition to the release of the accused. Undersigned most
Motion. On the same day, or two (2) days before the scheduled hearing, respondent issued an respectfully moves for the cancellation of this
Order granting the Motion. During the hearing of September 19, 2001, respondent opted to recommended bail amount due to the
consider complainants Opposition as a motion for reconsideration and merely ordered the actuations of both accused towards the
prosecutor to file a reply thereto. On November 21, 2001, respondent issued an Order clarifying authority of this Honorable Court.
his Order of September 17, 2001.
xxx
Complainant comes to this Court alleging that his right to procedural due process was gravely PRAYER
violated when respondent issued the September 17, 2001 Order without giving him the
opportunity to comment on the same. The issuance of the September 17, 2001 Order shows WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most
respondent's gross ignorance of the law as the offense charged is neither a capital offense respectfully prayed that the allowance for bail granted to
nor punishable by reclusion perpetua. His right to bail is not a mere privilege but a the accused to secure their provisional liberty provided
constitutionally guaranteed right that cannot be defeated by any order. Clearly, the intendment of in the Warrant of Arrest dated May 10, 2001 be
the September 17, 2001 Order was to deny him of his constitutional right to bail. The issuance of CANCELLED as there is reasonable ground to believe
the November 21, 2001 Order that only the bail recommended by the prosecutor was considered and all indication, point to the probability, that both
withdrawn did not relieve the respondent of any liability.
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accused are seriously considering flight from the Finally, on September 18, 2006, respondent manifested his willingness to submit the case for
prosecution of the instant case. x x x resolution based on the pleadings.

It is thus clear that what the prosecution prayed for was the cancellation of In its undated Letter-Reply,[6] the Postmaster of Las Pias informed the Court that the letter
the bail of P120,000.00 set by Judge Alumbres in his Warrant of Arrest addressed to complainant under Registry No. 59265 dated June 23, 2005 was
dated May 10, 2001. This necessarily meant that the prosecution wanted returned unserved with the notation RTS-Deceased.
complainant to remain in jail without bail. Hence, when respondent granted
the motion in his order dated September 17, 2001, he in effect denied Thus, in the Resolution of January 29, 2007, the Court deemed the case submitted for
complainant his right to bail. It can not be denied that since complainant was resolution.
charged with an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua and
life imprisonment and since he has not yet been convicted, bail in his case The Court agrees with the findings and recommendations of the OCA.
is still a matter of right. (Section 4, Rule 114, Rules of Court) This is true
notwithstanding the fact that he previously jumped bail. In such a case, Section 13, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides:
respondent should have increased the amount of bail or set certain
conditions to ensure complainant's presence during the trial, but he can not All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable
deny altogether complainant's right to bail. by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before
conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance
xxx as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even
when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail
In order to prove his point that he never intended to deny respondent his shall not be required.
right to bail, respondent used as example Socorro Osorio, the other co-
accused, who was able to gain her provisional liberty by posting a bail Section 4, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that before conviction
of P120,000.00. This is untenable. Ms. Osorio was able to post bail only by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusionperpetua, or life
on November 26, 2001 (Rollo, p. 5) or five (5) days after respondent issued imprisonment, all persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right.
his clarificatoryorder of November 21, 2001. It is important to recall that the
first order of respondent, that dated September 17, 2001, gave the clear Records show that complainant was charged with violation of Section 15, Article III of R.A. No.
impression that bail has been cancelled and from that date up to the time he 6425 which is punishable by prision correccional. Following the provisions of the Constitution
issued the order dated November 21, 2001 clarifying his position, or a and the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, complainant is entitled to bail as a matter of right.
period of two (2) months, complainant stayed in jail because he has lost his
right to bail as a result of the patently erroneous and illegal order of Records show that the prosecutor's Motion to Cancel Recommended Bail was very precise in its
respondent Judge. Hence, respondent is liable for gross ignorance of the prayer, i.e., that the allowance for bail granted to the accused to secure his provisional
law for having denied complainant's right to bail in a case where bail was a liberty provided in the Warrant of Arrest dated May 10, 2001 be canceled as there is
matter of right. Besides, the prosecution's motion was granted two (2) days reasonable ground to believe and all indications point to the probability that accused is seriously
before the scheduled date of hearing thereby depriving the accused of his considering flight from the prosecution of the case.
right to due process.
Two days before the scheduled date of hearing of the prosecutors Motion, respondent issued
RECOMMENDATION: Respectfully submitted for the consideration of the the Order dated September 17, 2001, to wit:
Honorable Court our recommendations that the instant complaint be RE-
DOCKETED as a regular administrative matter and respondent be FINED in ORDER
the amount of P5,000.00 with a WARNING that commission of a similar
offense in the future shall be dealt with more severely.[5] Considering the allegations in the Motion to Cancel Recommended Bail filed
by the State Prosecutor that both accused are considering flight, especially
accused San Miguel who is facing a number of grave criminal charges, and
In the Resolution of November 27, 2002, the Court required the parties to manifest if they were the probability of the accused jumping bail is very high to warrant the
willing to submit the case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings. Difficulties were cancellation of the recommended bail, and it appearing that the accused
encountered in notifying the parties.
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x x xjumped bail on May 10, 2001, the x x x motion is GRANTED. The bail his constitutional right to bail when it was issued two days before the scheduled hearing
recommended xxx is considered withdrawn. on September 19, 2001.

SO ORDERED.[7] The OCA was right in observing that it was a mere afterthought on the part of respondent in
issuing the clarificatory Order, for how can the latter cancel the P60,000.00 bail when the same
However, respondent continued with the hearing on September 19, 2001. He considered the was already forfeited as a consequence of complainant's jumping bail?
Opposition to the Motion as a motion for reconsideration of the assailed Order granting the And even granting for the sake of argument that complainant was also charged with the crime of
withdrawal by the prosecution of the recommended bail. [8] This may have rectified the mistake murder on September 14, 2001, or three days before the Order of cancellation was issued,
committed by respondent as the latter took into consideration that the accused has a right to due respondent failed to consider that what was being prayed for by the prosecutor was the
process as much as the State;[9] but then, no evidence was adduced to prove that complainant cancellation of the recommended bail for violation of R.A. No. 6425 and not that of the crime of
was seriously considering flight from prosecution, which was very critical to the granting or denial murder.
of the motion of the prosecution to cancel bail.
In his Order dated November 21, 2001, to wit: Respondent's asseveration that the cancellation of the bail without due hearing was justified
considering that complainant was already detained for the non-bailable offense of murder three
ORDER days before the cancellation was ordered, is misplaced.

The question is whether or not the increased bail of P120,000.00 fixed by As we opined in Andres v. Beltran,[12] it is a misconception that when an accused is charged with
x x x Hon. Florentino M. Alumbres, in the Warrant of Arrest he issued the crime of murder, he is not entitled to bail at all or that the crime of murder is non-
on May 10, 2001 x x x was also withdrawn by the Order dated September bailable. The grant of bail to an accused charged with an offense that carries with it the penalty
17, 2001 granting the prosecution's withdrawal of its recommended bail. of reclusion perpetua x x x is discretionary on the part of the trial court. In other words, accused
is still entitled to bail but no longer "as a matter of right." Instead, it is discretionary and calls for a
The answer is in the negative. judicial determination that the evidence of guilt is not strong in order to grant bail. The
prosecution is accorded ample opportunity to present evidence because by the very nature of
On September 19, 2001 Atty. Sebrio xxx manifested that x x x the bail fixed deciding applications for bail, it is on the basis of such evidence that judicial discretion is
by Judge Alumbres was not affected by the withdrawal of the prosecution's weighed in determining whether the guilt of the accused is strong. [13]
recommended bail. That is correct. Any of the accused, therefore, could
have applied for bail thereunder. They could have even moved for the lifting As we held in Sy Guan v. Amparo,[14] where bail is a matter of right and prior absconding and
of the warrant dated May 10. But, they did not. forfeiture is not excepted from such right, bail must be allowed irrespective of such
circumstance. The existence of a high degree of probability that the defendant will abscond
It is clear from the [September] 17 Order that only the bail recommended by confers upon the court no greater discretion than to increase the bond to such an amount
the prosecutor was considered withdrawn. Such Order does not speak of as would reasonably tend to assure the presence of the defendant when it is wanted, such
cancellation of the P120,000.00 bail fixed by the former Presiding Judge amount to be subject, of course, to the other provision that excessive bail shall not be
x x x. required.[15]

SO ORDERED.[10] Upon review of the TSN of the September 19, 2001 hearing, we find that the prosecutor failed to
adduce evidence that there exists a high probability of accused's jumping bail that would warrant
respondent clarified that the bail fixed by Judge Alumbres was not affected by the withdrawal of the cancellation of the recommended bail bond. Following then the above ratiocination,
the prosecution's recommended bail; only the bail recommended by the prosecutor in the respondent's only recourse is to fix a higher amount of bail and not cancel the P120,000.00 bail
amount of P60,000.00 was considered withdrawn in the Order of September 17, 2001. This fixed by Judge Alumbres.
belated order cannot exonerate respondent from liability. The bail in the amount
of P60,000.00 was already forfeited as a consequence of complainant's jumping bail. [11] How Well-entrenched is the rule that a partys remedy, if prejudiced by the orders of a judge given in
then can respondent claim that he merely canceled the recommended bail of P60,000.00 when the course of a trial, is the proper reviewing court, and not with the OCA by means of an
the same had already been forfeited? The only recommended bail that remains subject of the administrative complaint.[16] As a matter of policy, in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or
Motion of the prosecutor is the increased bail in the amount of P120,000.00. Thus, there remains corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even
no other conclusion except that respondent canceled the recommended bail in the increased though such acts are erroneous.[17] A judge may not be disciplined for error of judgment unless
amount of P120,000.00. The Order of September 17, 2001 effectively deprived complainant of there is proof that the error is made with a conscious and deliberate intent to commit an
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injustice. Thus, as a matter of public policy, not every error or mistake of a judge in the 5. David v. Agbay, March 18, 2015
performance of his official duties makes him liable therefor.[18] The Court has to be shown acts or
conduct of the judge clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice before the latter can be
branded the stigma of being biased and partial.To hold otherwise would be to render judicial THIRD DIVISION
office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of
administering justice can be infallible in his judgment.[19]
March 18, 2015
For liability to attach for ignorance of the law, the assailed order of a judge must not only be
erroneous; more important, it must be motivated by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred or some other G.R. No. 199113
similar motive.[20] Complainant, having failed to present positive evidence to show that
respondent judge was so motivated in granting the Motion without hearing, can not be held guilty RENATO M. DAVID, Petitioner,
of gross ignorance of the law. vs.
EDITHA A. AGBAY and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
Anent the allegation that complainant was deprived of his right to due process, we find the same
meritorious.
DECISION
Sec. 1, Article III of the Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law. VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Respondent's issuance of the September 17, 2001 Order two days prior to the scheduled This is a petition for review under Rule 45 seeking to reverse the Order1 dated October 8, 2011
hearing without considering complainant's Opposition to the Motion, effectively deprived the of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro, which denied the petition
latter of his constitutional right to due process. As above stated, during the September 19, 2001 for certiorari filed by Renato(petitioner)M. David. Petitioner assailed the Order2 dated March 22,
hearing, respondent considered the Opposition to the Motion as a motion for reconsideration of 2011 of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Socorro, Oriental Mindoro denying his motion for
the assailed Order, albeit, the prosecutor was merely ordered to file its reply thereto without redetermination of probable cause.
adducing evidence to prove the high probability that complainant will jump bail.

The factual antecedents:


Respondent's issuance of the assailed Order before the scheduled hearing is premature and is
tantamount to misconduct. Thus, we find respondent guilty of simple misconduct.Misconduct is
defined as any unlawful conduct on the part of a person concerned in the administration of In 1974, petitioner migrated to Canada where he became a Canadian citizen by naturalization.
justice prejudicial to the rights of parties or to the right determination of the cause.[21] It generally Upon their retirement, petitioner and his wife returned to the Philippines. Sometime in 2000, they
means wrongful, improper or unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate or purchased a 600-square meter lot along the beach in Tambong, Gloria, Oriental Mindoro where
intentional purpose. Respondent may not be held guilty of gross misconduct because the term they constructed a residential house. However, in the year 2004, they came to know that the
gross connotes something out of all measure; beyond allowance; not to be excused; flagrant; portion where they built their house is public land and part of the salvage zone.
shameful.[22] In this case, complainant was not able to post bail because there is no other way
for a lay man to interpret the assailed Order except that it effectively canceled the bail bond fixed On April 12, 2007, petitioner filed a Miscellaneous Lease Application3 (MLA) over the subject
by Judge Alumbres, thereby depriving him of his right to temporary liberty as a result of land with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at the Community
respondent's erroneous Order. Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Socorro. In the said application,
petitioner indicated that he is a Filipino citizen.
WHEREFORE, Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, RTC, Branch 275, Las Pias City is
found GUILTY of simple misconduct and FINED in the amount of P5,000.00 with
Private respondent Editha A. Agbay opposed the application on the ground that petitioner, a
a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more
Canadian citizen, is disqualified to own land. She also filed a criminal complaint for falsification
severely.
of public documents under Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) (I.S. No. 08-6463)
against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

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Meanwhile, petitioner re-acquired his Filipino citizenship under the provisions of Republic Act In his motion for reconsideration,13 petitioner questioned the foregoing order denying him relief
No. 9225,4 (R.A. 9225) as evidenced by Identification Certificate No. 266-10-075 issued by the on the ground of lack of jurisdiction and insisted that the issue raised is purely legal. He argued
Consulate General of the Philippines (Toronto) on October 11, 2007. that since his application had yet to receive final evaluation and action by the DENR Region IV-B
office in Manila, it is academic to ask the citizenship of the applicant (petitioner) who had re-
In his defense, petitioner averred that at the time he filed his application, he had intended to re- acquired Philippine citizenship six months after he applied for lease of public land. The MTC
acquire Philippine citizenship and that he had been assured by a CENRO officer that he could denied the motion for reconsideration.14
declare himself as a Filipino. He further alleged that he bought the property from the Agbays
who misrepresented to him that the subject property was titled land and they have the right and Dissatisfied, petitioner elevated the case to the RTC via a petition15 for certiorari under Rule 65,
authority to convey the same. The dispute had in fact led to the institution of civil and criminal alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the MTC. He asserted that first, jurisdiction over
suits between him and private respondent’s family. the person of an accused cannot be a pre-condition for the re-determination of probable cause
by the court that issues a warrant of arrest; and second, the March 22, 2011 Order disregarded
On January 8, 2008,6 the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor issued its Resolution7 finding the legal fiction that once a natural-born Filipino citizen who had been naturalized in another
probable cause to indict petitioner for violation of Article 172 of the RPC and recommending the country re-acquires his citizenship under R.A. 9225, his Filipino citizenship is thus deemed not to
filing of the corresponding information in court. Petitioner challenged the said resolution in a have been lost on account of said naturalization.
petition for review he filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
In his Comment and Opposition,16 the prosecutor emphasized that the act of falsification was
On June 3, 2008, the CENRO issued an order rejecting petitioner’s MLA. It ruled that petitioner’s already consummated as petitioner has not yet re-acquired his Philippine citizenship, and his
subsequent re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship did not cure the defect in his MLA which was subsequent oath to re-acquire Philippine citizenship will only affect his citizenship status and not
void ab initio.8 his criminal act which was long consummated prior to said oath of allegiance.

In the meantime, on July 26, 2010, the petition for review filed by petitioner was denied by the On October 8, 2011, the RTC issued the assailed Order denying the petition for certiorari after
DOJ which held that the presence of the elements of the crime of falsification of public document finding no grave abuse of discretion committed by the lower court, thus:
suffices to warrant indictment of the petitioner notwithstanding the absence of any proof that he
gained or intended to injure a third person in committing the act of falsification. 9 Consequently, ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby DENIED. At any rate petitioner is not left without any
an information for Falsification of Public Document was filed before the MTC (Criminal Case No. remedy or recourse because he can proceed to trial where he can make use of his claim to be a
2012) and a warrant of arrest was issued against the petitioner. Filipino citizen as his defense to be adjudicated in a full blown trial, and in case of conviction, to
appeal such conviction.
On February 11, 2011, after the filing of the Information and before his arrest, petitioner filed an
Urgent Motion for Re-Determination of Probable Cause10 in the MTC. Interpreting the provisions SO ORDERED.17
of the law relied upon by petitioner, the said court denied the motion, holding that R.A. 9225
makes a distinction between those who became foreign citizens during its effectivity, and those Petitioner is now before us arguing that –
who lost their Philippine citizenship before its enactment when the governing law was
Commonwealth Act No. 6311 (CA 63). Since the crime for which petitioner was charged was
alleged and admitted to have been committed on April 12, 2007 before he had re- acquired his A. By supporting the prosecution of the petitioner for falsification, the lower court has
Philippine citizenship, the MTC concluded that petitioner was at that time still a Canadian citizen. disregarded the undisputed fact that petitioner is a natural-born Filipino citizen, and
Thus, the MTC ordered: that by re-acquiring the same status under R.A. No. 9225 he was by legal fiction
"deemed not to have lost" it at the time of his naturalization in Canada and through the
time when he was said to have falsely claimed Philippine citizenship.
WHEREFORE, for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused, and for lack of merit, the
motion is DENIED.
B. By compelling petitioner to first return from his legal residence in Canada and to
surrender or allow himself to be arrested under a warrant for his alleged false claim to
SO ORDERED.12 Philippine citizenship, the lower court has pre-empted the right of petitioner through
his wife and counsel to question the validity of the said warrant of arrest against him
before the same is implemented, which is tantamount to a denial of due process. 18

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In his Comment, the Solicitor General contends that petitioner’s argument regarding the accept the supreme authority of the Philippines and will maintain true faith and allegiance
retroactivity of R.A. 9225 is without merit.1âwphi1 It is contended that this Court’s rulings thereto; and that I impose this obligation upon myself voluntarily without mental reservation or
in Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections19 and Altarejos v. Commission on Elections20 on the purpose of evasion."
retroactivity of one’s re- acquisition of Philippine citizenship to the date of filing his application
therefor cannot be applied to the case of herein petitioner. Even assuming for the sake of Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of
argument that such doctrine applies in the present situation, it will still not work for petitioner’s a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid
cause for the simple reason that he had not alleged, much less proved, that he had already oath. (Emphasis supplied)
applied for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship before he made the declaration in the Public
Land Application that he is a Filipino. Moreover, it is stressed that in falsification of public
document, it is not necessary that the idea of gain or intent to injure a third person be present. While Section 2 declares the general policy that Filipinos who have become citizens of another
As to petitioner’s defense of good faith, such remains to be a defense which may be properly country shall be deemed "not to have lost their Philippine citizenship," such is qualified by the
raised and proved in a full- blown trial. phrase "under the conditions of this Act." Section 3 lays down such conditions for two categories
of natural-born Filipinos referred to in the first and second paragraphs. Under the first paragraph
are those natural-born Filipinos who have lost their citizenship by naturalization in a foreign
On the issue of jurisdiction over the person of accused (petitioner), the Solicitor General opines country who shall re-acquire their Philippine citizenship upon taking the oath of allegiance to the
that in seeking an affirmative relief from the MTC when he filed his Urgent Motion for Re- Republic of the Philippines. The second paragraph covers those natural-born Filipinos who
determination of Probable Cause, petitioner is deemed to have submitted his person to the said became foreign citizens after R.A. 9225 took effect, who shall retain their Philippine citizenship
court’s jurisdiction by his voluntary appearance. Nonetheless, the RTC correctly ruled that the upon taking the same oath. The taking of oath of allegiance is required for both categories of
lower court committed no grave abuse of discretion in denying the petitioner’s motion after a natural-born Filipino citizens who became citizens of a foreign country, but the terminology used
judicious, thorough and personal evaluation of the parties’ arguments contained in their is different, "re-acquired" for the first group, and "retain" for the second group.
respective pleadings, and the evidence submitted before the court.

The law thus makes a distinction between those natural-born Filipinos who became foreign
In sum, the Court is asked to resolve whether (1) petitioner may be indicted for falsification for citizens before and after the effectivity of R.A. 9225. Although the heading of Section 3 is
representing himself as a Filipino in his Public Land Application despite his subsequent re- "Retention of Philippine Citizenship", the authors of the law intentionally employed the terms "re-
acquisition of Philippine citizenship under the provisions of R.A. 9225; and (2) the MTC properly acquire" and "retain" to describe the legal effect of taking the oath of allegiance to the Republic
denied petitioner’s motion for re-determination of probable cause on the ground of lack of of the Philippines. This is also evident from the title of the law using both re-acquisition and
jurisdiction over the person of the accused (petitioner). retention.

R.A. 9225, otherwise known as the "Citizenship Retention and Re- acquisition Act of 2003," was In fine, for those who were naturalized in a foreign country, they shall be deemed to have re-
signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on August 29, 2003. Sections 2 and 3 of acquired their Philippine citizenship which was lost pursuant to CA 63, under which
said law read: naturalization in a foreign country is one of the ways by which Philippine citizenship may be lost.
As its title declares, R.A. 9225 amends CA 63 by doing away with the provision in the old law
SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy.–It is hereby declared the policy of the State that all Philippine which takes away Philippine citizenship from natural-born Filipinos who become naturalized
citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their citizens of other countries and allowing dual citizenship, 21 and also provides for the procedure for
Philippine citizenship under the conditions of this Act. re-acquiring and retaining Philippine citizenship. In the case of those who became foreign
citizens after R.A. 9225 took effect, they shall retain Philippine citizenship despite having
SEC. 3. Retention of Philippine Citizenship.–Any provision of law to the contrary acquired foreign citizenship provided they took the oath of allegiance under the new law.
notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the Philippines who have lost their Philippine citizenship
by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to Petitioner insists we should not distinguish between re-acquisition and retention in R.A. 9225. He
have reacquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance to the asserts that in criminal cases, that interpretation of the law which favors the accused is preferred
Republic: because it is consistent with the constitutional presumption of innocence, and in this case it
becomes more relevant when a seemingly difficult question of law is expected to have been
"I ______________________, solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the understood by the accused, who is a non-lawyer, at the time of the commission of the alleged
Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and obey the laws and legal orders promulgated offense. He further cites the letter-reply dated January 31, 201122 of the Bureau of Immigration
by the duly constituted authorities of the Philippines; and I hereby declare that I recognize and
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(BI) to his query, stating that his status as a natural-born Filipino will be governed by Section 2 of REP. JAVIER. Well, I’m just asking this question because we are here making distinctions
R.A. 9225. between natural-born citizens. Because this is very important for certain government positions,
‘no, because natural-born citizens are only qualified for a specific…
These contentions have no merit.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). That is correct.
That the law distinguishes between re-acquisition and retention of Philippine citizenship was
made clear in the discussion of the Bicameral Conference Committee on the Disagreeing REP. JAVIER. ...positions under the Constitution and under the law.
Provisions of House Bill No. 4720 and Senate Bill No. 2130 held on August 18, 2003, where
Senator Franklin Drilon was responding to the query of Representative Exequiel Javier: THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). Yes. We can get to that later on. It’s one of the provisions,
yes. But just for purposes of the explanation, Congressman Javier, that is our
REP. JAVIER. I have some questions in Section 3. Here, under Section 3 of the Senate version, conceptualization. Reacquired for those who previously lost [Filipino citizenship] by
"Any provision of law on the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizens of the Philippines virtue of Commonwealth Act 63, and retention for those in the future. (Emphasis supplied)
who, after the effectivity of this Act, shall… and so forth, ano, shall retain their Philippine
citizenship. Considering that petitioner was naturalized as a Canadian citizen prior to the effectivity of R.A.
9225, he belongs to the first category of natural- born Filipinos under the first paragraph of
Now in the second paragraph, natural-born citizens who have lost their citizenship by reason of Section 3 who lost Philippine citizenship by naturalization in a foreign country. As the new law
their naturalization after the effectivity of this Act are deemed to have reacquired… allows dual citizenship, he was able to re-acquire his Philippine citizenship by taking the required
oath of allegiance.
THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). Prior to the effectivity.
For the purpose of determining the citizenship of petitioner at the time of filing his MLA, it is not
REP. JAVIER. Well, you have two kinds of natural-born citizens here. Natural-born citizens who necessary to discuss the rulings in Frivaldo and Altarejos on the retroactivity of such
acquired foreign citizenship after the effectivity of this act are considered to have retained their reacquisition because R.A. 9225 itself treats those of his category as having already lost
citizenship. But natural-born citizens who lost their Filipino citizenship before the effectivity of this Philippine citizenship, in contradistinction to those natural-born Filipinos who became foreign
act are considered to have reacquired. May I know the distinction? Do you mean to say that citizens after R.A. 9225 came into force. In other words, Section 2 declaring the policy that
natural-born citizens who became, let’s say, American citizens after the effectivity of this act are considers Filipinos who became foreign citizens as not to have lost their Philippine citizenship,
considered natural-born? should be read together with Section 3, the second paragraph of which clarifies that such policy
governs all cases after the new law’s effectivity.

Now in the second paragraph are the natural-born citizens who lost their citizenship before the
effectivity of this act are no longer natural born citizens because they have just reacquired their As to the letter-reply of BI, it simply quoted Section 2 of R.A. 9225 without any reference to
citizenship. I just want to know this distinction, Mr. Chairman. Section 3 on the particular application of reacquisition and retention to Filipinos who became
foreign citizens before and after the effectivity of R.A. 9225.

THE CHAIRMAN (SEN. DRILON). The title of the Senate version is precisely retention and
reacquisition. The reacquisition will apply to those who lost their Philippine citizenship by Petitioner’s plea to adopt the interpretation most favorable to the accused is likewise misplaced.
virtue of Commonwealth Act 63.Upon the effectivity -- assuming that we can agree on this, Courts adopt an interpretation more favorable to the accused following the time-honored
upon the effectivity of this new measure amending Commonwealth Act 63, the Filipinos who lost principle that penal statutes are construed strictly against the State and liberally in favor of the
their citizenship is deemed to have reacquired their Philippine citizenship upon the effectivity of accused.23 R.A. 9225, however, is not a penal law.
the act.
Falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 17224 in relation to Article 17125 of the RPC
The second aspect is the retention of Philippine citizenship applying to future refers to falsification by a private individual, or a public officer or employee who did not take
instances. So that’s the distinction. advantage of his official position, of public, private, or commercial documents. The elements of
falsification of documents under paragraph 1, Article 172 of the RPC are:

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(1)that the offender is a private individual or a public officer or employee who did not surrender, while jurisdiction over the person of the accused is acquired upon his arrest or
take advantage of his official position; voluntary appearance. One can be under the custody of the law but not yet subject to the
jurisdiction of the court over his person, such as when a person arrested by virtue of a warrant
(2)that he committed any of the acts of falsification enumerated in Article 171 of the files a motion before arraignment to quash the warrant. On the other hand, one can be subject to
RPC; and the jurisdiction of the court over his person, and yet not be in the custody of the law, such as
when an accused escapes custody after his trial has commenced. Being in the custody of the
law signifies restraint on the person, who is thereby deprived of his own will and liberty, binding
(3)that the falsification was committed in a public, official or commercial document. 26 him to become obedient to the will of the law. Custody of the law is literally custody over the
body of the accused. It includes, but is not limited to, detention.
Petitioner made the untruthful statement in the MLA, a public document, that he is a Filipino
citizen at the time of the filing of said application, when in fact he was then still a Canadian xxxx
citizen. Under CA 63, the governing law at the time he was naturalized as Canadian citizen,
naturalization in a foreign country was among those ways by which a natural-born citizen loses
his Philippine citizenship. While he re-acquired Philippine citizenship under R.A. 9225 six While we stand by our above pronouncement in Pico insofar as it concerns bail, we clarify
months later, the falsification was already a consummated act, the said law having no retroactive that, as a general rule, one who seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to
effect insofar as his dual citizenship status is concerned. The MTC therefore did not err in finding the jurisdiction of the court. As we held in the aforecited case of Santiago, seeking an
probable cause for falsification of public document under Article 172, paragraph 1. affirmative relief in court, whether in civil or criminal proceedings, constitutes voluntary
appearance.

The MTC further cited lack of jurisdiction over the person of petitioner accused as ground for
denying petitioner’s motion for re- determination of probable cause, as the motion was filed prior xxxx
to his arrest. However, custody of the law is not required for the adjudication of reliefs other than
an application for bail.27 In Miranda v. Tuliao,28 which involved a motion to quash warrant of To recapitulate what we have discussed so far, in criminal cases, jurisdiction over the
arrest, this Court discussed the distinction between custody of the law and jurisdiction over the person of the accused is deemed waived by the accused when he files any pleading
person, and held that jurisdiction over the person of the accused is deemed waived when he seeking an affirmative relief, except in cases when he invokes the special jurisdiction of
files any pleading seeking an affirmative relief, except in cases when he invokes the special the court by impugning such jurisdiction over his person.Therefore, in narrow cases
jurisdiction of the court by impugning such jurisdiction over his person. Thus: involving special appearances, an accused can invoke the processes of the court even though
there is neither jurisdiction over the person nor custody of the law. However, if a person invoking
In arguing, on the other hand, that jurisdiction over their person was already acquired by their the special jurisdiction of the court applies for bail, he must first submit himself to the custody of
filing of the above Urgent Motion, petitioners invoke our pronouncement, through Justice Florenz the law.29 (Emphasis supplied)
D. Regalado, in Santiago v. Vasquez:
Considering that petitioner sought affirmative relief in filing his motion for re-determination of
The voluntary appearance of the accused, whereby the court acquires jurisdiction over his probable cause, the MTC clearly erred in stating that it lacked jurisdiction over his person.
person, is accomplished either by his pleading to the merits (such as by filing a motion to quash Notwithstanding such erroneous ground stated in the MTC's order, the RTC correctly ruled that
or other pleadings requiring the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction thereover, appearing for no grave abuse of discretion was committed by the MTC in denying the said motion for lack of
arraignment, entering trial) or by filing bail. On the matter of bail, since the same is intended to merit.
obtain the provisional liberty of the accused, as a rule the same cannot be posted before custody
of the accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities either by his arrest or voluntary WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Order dated October 8, 2011 of the Regional Trial
surrender. Court of Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro in Civil Case No. SCA-07-11 (Criminal Case No. 2012)
is hereby AFFIRMED and UPHELD.
Our pronouncement in Santiago shows a distinction between custody of the law and jurisdiction
over the person. Custody of the law is required before the court can act upon the application for With costs against the petitioner.
bail, but is not required for the adjudication of other reliefs sought by the defendant where the
mere application therefor constitutes a waiver of the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the SO ORDERED.
person of the accused. Custody of the law is accomplished either by arrest or voluntary

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6. Serapio v. Sandiganbayan, 3965 443 donation and turned over the said amount to the Foundations treasurer who later deposited it in
the Foundations account with the Equitable PCI Bank.

In the latter part of the year 2000, Gov. Singson publicly accused then President Joseph
EN BANC E. Estrada and his cohorts of engaging in several illegal activities, including its operation on the
illegal numbers game known as jueteng. This triggered the filing with the Office of the
Ombudsman of several criminal complaints against Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada and
petitioner, together with other persons. Among such complaints were: Volunteers Against Crime
and Corruption, versus Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Edward Serapio, et al., docketed as OMB Crim.
[G.R. No. 148468. January 28, 2003]
Case No. 0-00-1754; Graft Free Philippines Foundation, Inc., versus Joseph Ejercito Estrada,
ATTY. EDWARD SERAPIO, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), PEOPLE Edward Serapio, et al., docketed as OMB Crim. Case No. 0-00-1755; and Leonardo De Vera,
OF THE PHILIPPINES, and PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE DIRECTOR- Romeo T. Capulong and Dennis B. Funa, versus Joseph Estrada, Yolanda Ricaforte, Edward
GENERAL LEANDRO MENDOZA, respondents. Serapio, Raul De Guzman, Danilo Reyes and Mila Reforma, docketed as OMB Crim. Case No.
0-00-1757.

Subsequently, petitioner filed his Counter-Affidavit dated February 21, 2001. The other
respondents likewise filed their respective counter-affidavits.The Office of the Ombudsman
[G.R. No. 148769. January 28, 2003] conducted a preliminary investigation of the complaints and on April 4, 2001, issued a joint
resolution recommending, inter alia, that Joseph Estrada, petitioner and several others be
EDWARD S. SERAPIO, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF
charged with the criminal offense of plunder.
THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
On April 4, 2001, the Ombudsman filed with the Sandiganbayan several Informations
against former President Estrada, who earlier had resigned from his post as President of the
Republic of the Philippines. One of these Informations, docketed as Criminal Case No. 26558,
[G.R. No. 149116. January 28, 2003] charged Joseph Estrada with plunder. On April 18, 2001, the Ombudsman filed an amended
Information in said case charging Estrada and several co-accused, including petitioner, with said
EDWARD S. SERAPIO, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION) crime. No bail was recommended for the provisional release of all the accused, including
and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. petitioner. The case was raffled to a special division which was subsequently created by the
Supreme Court. The amended Information reads:
DECISION
That during the period from June, 1998 to January, 2001, in the Philippines, and within the
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A PUBLIC
Before the Court are two petitions for certiorari filed by petitioner Edward Serapio, OFFICER, BEING THEN THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by
assailing the resolutions of the Third Division of the Sandiganbayan denying his petition for bail, himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACYwith his co-accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS
motion for a reinvestigation and motion to quash, and a petition for habeas corpus, all in relation OF HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS ASSOCIATES,
to Criminal Case No. 26558 for plunder wherein petitioner is one of the accused together with SUBORDINATES AND/OR OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE ADVANTAGE OF HIS
former President Joseph E. Estrada, Jose Jinggoy P. Estrada and several others. OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP, CONNECTION OR INFLUENCE, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally amass, accumulate and acquire BY HIMSELF,
The records show that petitioner was a member of the Board of Trustees and the Legal DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount OR TOTAL
Counsel of the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation, a non-stock, non-profit foundation established in VALUE of FOUR BILLION NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND
February 2000 ostensibly for the purpose of providing educational opportunities for the poor and ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN
underprivileged but deserving Muslim youth and students, and support to research and advance CENTAVOS [P4,097,804,173.17], more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF
studies of young Muslim educators and scientists. OR THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE
AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR A combination OR A series of
Sometime in April 2000, petitioner, as trustee of the Foundation, received on its behalf a overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS, described as follows:
donation in the amount of Two Hundred Million Pesos (P200 Million) from Ilocos Sur Governor
Luis Chavit Singson through the latters assistant Mrs. Yolanda Ricaforte. Petitioner received the
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(a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES, SAME UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME JOSE VELARDE AT THE EQUITABLE-
MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE PCI BANK.
MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL
GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]
ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connivance
with co-accused CHARLIE ATONG ANG, Jose Jinggoy Estrada, Yolanda T. On April 5, 2001, petitioner obtained a copy of the Ombudsmans Joint Resolution finding
Ricaforte, Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in probable cause against him for plunder. The next day, April 6, 2001, he filed with the Office of
consideration OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING; the Ombudsman a Motion for Reconsideration and/or Reinvestigation.[2] Petitioner likewise filed
on said date, this time with the Sandiganbayan, an Urgent Omnibus Motion: (a) To Hold in
(b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, converting OR misusing Abeyance the Issuance of Warrant of Arrest and Further Proceedings; (b) To Conduct a
DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONAL gain and benefit Determination of Probable Cause; (c) For Leave to File Accuseds Motion for Reconsideration
public fund in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION PESOS and/or Reinvestigation; and (d) To Direct the Ombudsman to Conduct a Reinvestigation of the
(P130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a portion of the TWO HUNDRED Charges against accused Edward Serapio.[3]
MILLION PESOS [P200,000,000.00]) tobacco excise tax share allocated for the
Province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in On April 10, 2001, the Ombudsman issued an order denying petitioners motion for
CONNIVANCE with co-accused Charlie Atong Ang, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE reconsideration and/or reinvestigation on the ground of lack of jurisdiction since the amended
a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, and Jane Doe a.k.a. Information charging petitioner with plunder had already been filed with the Sandiganbayan. [4]
Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES;
In a parallel development, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution on April 25, 2001 in
(c) by directing, ordering and compelling FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND Criminal Case No. 26558 finding probable cause to justify the issuance of warrants of arrest for
BENEFIT, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE, the accused, including petitioner. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan issued an Order on the same
351,878,000 SHARES OF STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the Social Security date for the arrest of petitioner.[5] When apprised of said order, petitioner voluntarily surrendered
System (SSS), 329,855,000 SHARES OF STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE at 9:45 p.m. on the same day to Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Leandro
BELLE CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION Mendoza. Petitioner has since been detained at Camp Crame for said charge.
ONE HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE THOUSAND
SIX HUNDERED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS [P1,102,965,607.50] The Sandiganbayan set the arraignment of the accused, including petitioner, in Criminal
AND MORE OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX Case No. 26558 on June 27, 2001. In the meantime, on April 27, 2001, petitioner filed with the
HUNDRED TWELVE THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS Sandiganbayan an Urgent Petition for Bail which was set for hearing on May 4, 2001. [6] For his
[P744,612,450.00], RESPECTIVELY, OR A TOTAL OR MORE OR LESS ONE part, petitioners co-accused Jose Jinggoy Estrada filed on April 20, 2001 a Very Urgent
BILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED Omnibus Motion alleging that he was entitled to bail as a matter of right.
SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY During the hearing on May 4, 2001 on petitioners Urgent Petition for Bail, the prosecution
CENTAVOS [P1,847,578,057.50]; AND BY COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, moved for the resetting of the arraignment of the accused earlier than the June 27, 2001
DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF AND/OR IN CONNIVANCE WITH schedule. However, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion of the prosecution and issued an
JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES OF order declaring that the petition for bail can and should be heard before petitioners arraignment
SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE on June 27, 2001 and even before the other accused in Criminal Case No. 26558 filed their
MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS [189,700,000.00] MORE OR respective petitions for bail. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan set the hearing for the reception of
LESS, FROM THE BELLE CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF THE evidence on petitioners petition for bail on May 21 to 25, 2001.
DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME
JOSE VELARDE; On May 17, 2001, four days before the hearing on petitioners petition for bail, the
Ombudsman filed an urgent motion for early arraignment of Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada
(d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES, and petitioner and a motion for joint bail hearings of Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada and
PERCENTAGES, KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFITS, petitioner. The following day, petitioner filed a manifestation questioning the propriety of
IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, the amount of MORE including Joseph Estrada and Jinggoy Estrada in the hearing on his (petitioners) petition for bail.
OR LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THREE MILLION ONE
HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS The Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution on May 18, 2001 resetting the hearings on
AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS [P3,233,104,173.17] AND DEPOSITING THE petitioners petition for bail to June 18 to 28, 2001 to enable the court to resolve the prosecutions

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pending motions as well as petitioners motion that his petition for bail be heard as early as Meanwhile, on June 28, 2001, Jose Jinggoy Estrada filed with the Sandiganbayan a
possible, which motion the prosecution opposed. motion praying that said court resolve his motion to fix his bail.

On May 31, 2001, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioners April 6, On July 9, 2001, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution denying petitioners motion to
2001 Urgent Omnibus Motion. The court ruled that the issues posed by petitioner had already quash the amended Information. Petitioner, through counsel, received on said date a copy of
been resolved in its April 25, 2001 Resolution finding probable cause to hold petitioner and his said resolution.[12] The motion to fix bail filed by Jose Jinggoy Estrada was also resolved by the
co-accused for trial.[7] Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the said May 31, 2001 Sandiganbayan.
Resolution.
On July 10, 2001, just before his arraignment in Criminal Case No. 26558, petitioner
On June 1, 2001, the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution requiring the attendance of manifested to the Sandiganbayan that he was going to file a motion for reconsideration of the
petitioner as well as all the other accused in Criminal Case No. 26558 during the hearings on the July 9, 2001 Resolution denying his motion to quash and for the deferment of his
petitions for bail under pain of waiver of cross-examination. The Sandiganbayan, citing its arraignment. The Sandiganbayan, however, declared that there was no provision in the Rules of
inherent powers to proceed with the trial of the case in the manner it determines best conducive Court or in the Sandiganbayans rules granting the right to petitioner to file a motion for the
to orderly proceedings and speedy termination of the case, directed the other accused to reconsideration of an interlocutory order issued by it and ordered petitioner to orally argue his
participate in the said bail hearing considering that under Section 8, Rule 114 of the Revised motion for reconsideration. When petitioner refused, the Sandiganbayan proceeded with his
Rules of Court, whatever evidence is adduced during the bail hearing shall be considered arraignment. Petitioner refused to plead, impelling the court to enter a plea of not guilty for him.
automatically reproduced at the trial.[8]
On July 20, 2001, petitioner filed with the Court a Petition for Certiorari, docketed as G.R.
However, instead of proceeding with the bail hearing set by it on June 18, 2001, the No. 148769, alleging that the Sandiganbayan acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with
Sandiganbayan issued an Order on June 15, 2001 canceling the said bail hearing due to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing its July 9, 2001
pending incidents yet to be resolved and reset anew the hearing to June 26, 2001. [9] Resolution denying his motion to quash, notwithstanding the fact that material inculpatory
allegations of the amended Information against him do not constitute the crime of plunder; and
On the eve of said hearing, the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution denying petitioners that he is charged, under the said amended Information, for more than one offense. Jose
motion for reconsideration of its May 31, 2001 Resolution. The bail hearing on June 26, 2001 did Jinggoy Estrada likewise filed petition for certiorari with the Court docketed as G.R. No. 148965
not again proceed because on said date petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan a motion to for the nullification of a resolution of the Sandiganbayan denying his motion to fix bail.
quash the amended Information on the grounds that as against him, the amended Information
does not allege a combination or series of overt or criminal acts constitutive of plunder; as On August 9, 2001, petitioner filed with the Court another Petition for Certiorari, docketed
against him, the amended Information does not allege a pattern of criminal acts indicative of an as G.R. No. 149116, assailing the Sandiganbayans Resolution dated 31 May 2001 which denied
overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy; the money alleged in paragraph (a) of the amended his April 6, 2001 Urgent Omnibus Motion and its June 25, 2001 Resolution denying his motion
Information to have been illegally received or collected does not constitute ill-gotten wealth as for reconsideration of its May 31, 2001 Resolution.
defined in Section 1(d) of Republic Act No. 7080; and the amended Information charges him of
bribery and illegal gambling.[10] By way of riposte, the prosecution objected to the holding of bail
hearing until petitioner agreed to withdraw his motion to quash. The prosecution contended that
petitioners motion to quash the amended Information was antithetical to his petition for bail. Re: G.R. No. 148769

The Sandiganbayan reset the arraignment of accused and the hearing on the petition for Petitioner avers that:
bail of petitioner in Criminal Case No. 26558 for July 10, 2001 to enable it to resolve the pending
THE SANDIGANBAYAN ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF
incidents and the motion to quash of petitioner. However, even before the Sandiganbayan could
JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
resolve the pending motions of petitioner and the prosecution, petitioner filed with this Court on
LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION, IN DENYING PETITIONER
June 29, 2001 a Petition for Habeas Corpus and Certiorari, docketed as G.R. No. 148468,
SERAPIOS MOTION TO QUASH NOTWITHSTANDING THAT
praying that the Court declare void the questioned orders, resolutions and actions of the
Sandiganbayan on his claim that he was thereby effectively denied of his right to due I
process. Petitioner likewise prayed for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus; that the People
be declared to have waived their right to present evidence in opposition to his petition for bail; THE FACTS ALLEGED IN THE AMENDED INFORMATION AS AGAINST
and, premised on the failure of the People to adduce strong evidence of petitioners guilt of PETITIONER SERAPIO DO NOT CONSTITUTE THE CRIME OF PLUNDER.
plunder, that he be granted provisional liberty on bail after due proceedings. [11]
A. The Amended Information, as against petitioner Serapio, does not allege a
combination or series of overt or criminal acts constitutive of plunder.
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B. The Amended Information, as against petitioner Serapio, does not allege a When the offense was committed by more than one person, all of them shall be included
pattern of criminal acts indicative of an overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. in the complaint or information.[15]

C. The money described in paragraph (a) of the Amended Information and alleged The acts or omissions complained or must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to
to have been illegally received or collected does not constitute ill-gotten wealth enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged and
as defined in Section 1(d), Republic Act No. 7080, as amended. enable the court to know the proper judgment. The Information must allege clearly and
accurately the elements of the crime charged. What facts and circumstances are necessary to
II be included therein must be determined by reference to the definition and elements of the
THE AMENDED INFORMATION CHARGES MORE THAN ONE OFFENSE.[13] specific crimes. The purpose of the requirement of alleging all the elements of the crime in the
Information is to inform an accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable
Petitioner asserts that, on the face of the amended Information, he is charged with plunder him to suitably prepare for his defense.[16] Another purpose is to enable accused, if found guilty,
only in paragraph (a) which reads: to plead his conviction in a subsequent prosecution for the same offense.[17] The use of
derivatives or synonyms or allegations of basic facts constituting the offense charged is
(a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES, sufficient.[18]
MONEY IN THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED
FORTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, In this case, the amended Information specifically alleges that all the accused, including
FROM ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT, SHARE, petitioner, connived and conspired with former President Joseph E. Estrada to commit plunder
PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY through any or a combination or a series of overt or criminal acts or similar schemes or
BENEFIT, BY HIMSELF AND/OR in connivance with co-accused means. And in paragraph (a) of the amended Information, petitioner and his co-accused are
CHARLIE ATONG ANG, Jose Jinggoy Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, charged with receiving or collecting, directly or indirectly, on several instances money in the
Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in consideration aggregate amount of P545,000,000.00. In Jose Jinggoy Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan (Third
OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING;[14] Division), et al.,[19] we held that the word series is synonymous with the clause on several
instances; it refers to a repetition of the same predicate act in any of the items in Section 1(d) of
Petitioner asserts that there is no allegation in paragraph (a) of the amended Information the law. We further held that the word combination contemplates the commission of at least any
of a combination or series of overt or criminal acts constituting plunder as described in Section two different predicate acts in any of the said items. We ruled that plainly, subparagraph (a) of
1(d) of R.A. 7080 as amended. Neither does the amended Information allege a pattern of the amended information charges accused therein, including petitioner, with plunder committed
criminal acts. He avers that his single act of toleration or protection of illegal gambling impelled by a series of the same predicate act under Section 1(d)(2) of the law and that:
by a single criminal resolution does not constitute the requisite combination or series of acts for
plunder. He further claims that the consideration consisting of gifts, percentages or kickbacks in
x x x Sub-paragraph (a) alleged the predicate act of receiving, on several instances, money from
furtherance of said resolution turned over to and received by former President Joseph E.
illegal gambling, in consideration of toleration or protection of illegal gambling, and expressly
Estrada on several occasions does not cure the defect in the amended information. Petitioner
names petitioner as one of those who conspired with former President Estrada in committing the
insists that on the face of the amended Information he is charged only with bribery or illegal
offense. This predicate act corresponds with the offense described in item [2] of the enumeration
gambling and not of plunder.
in Section 1(d) of R.A. No. 7080. x x x.[20]
Petitioner argues that the P540 million which forms part of the P4,097,804,173.17
It is not necessary to allege in the amended Information a pattern of overt or criminal acts
amassed by former President Joseph E. Estrada in confabulation with his co-accused is not ill-
indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy because as Section 3 of R.A. 7080
gotten wealth as defined in Section 1(d) of R.A. 7080.
specifically provides, the same is evidentiary and the general rule is that matters of evidence
We do not agree with petitioner. Section 6, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal need not be alleged in the Information.[21]
Procedure provides that:
The Court also ruled in Jose Jinggoy Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan[22] that the aggregate
amount of P4,097,804,173.17 inclusive of the P545 million alleged in paragraph (a) of the
Sec. 6. Sufficiency of complaint or information. A complaint or information is sufficient if it states amended information is ill-gotten wealth as contemplated in Section 1, paragraph 1(d) of
the name of the accused, the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or Republic Act 7080, as amended, and that all the accused in paragraph (a) to (d) of the amended
omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party; the information conspired and confederated with former President Estrada to enable the latter to
approximate date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense was amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount of P4,097,804,173.17.
committed.

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Under the amended Information, all the accused, including petitioner, are charged of Petitioner assails the May 31, 2001 Joint Resolution of the Sandiganbayan denying his
having conspired and confabulated together in committing plunder. When two or more persons April 4, 2001 Urgent Omnibus Motion contending that:
conspire to commit a crime, each is responsible for all the acts of others. In contemplation of
law, the act of the conspirator is the act of each of them. [23] Conspirators are one man, they GROUNDS FOR THE PETITION
breathe one breath, they speak one voice, they wield one arm and the law says that the acts,
words and declarations of each, while in the pursuit of the common design, are the acts, words THE SANDIGANBAYAN ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF
and declarations of all.[24] JURISDICTION OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION IN SUMMARILY DENYING
Petitioner asserts that he is charged under the amended Information of bribery and illegal PETITIONER SERAPIOS URGENT OMNIBUS MOTION AND MOTION FOR
gambling and others. The Sandiganbayan, for its part, held that petitioner is not charged with the RECONSIDERATION (RE: RESOLUTION DATED 31 MAY
predicate acts of bribery and illegal gambling but is charged only with one crime that of plunder: 2001), NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE OMBUDSMAN HAD TOTALLY
DISREGARDED EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE AND COMMITTED GRAVE AND
THE ISSUE OF WHETHER OR NOT THE INFORMATION MANIFEST ERRORS OF LAW SERIOUSLY PREJUDICIAL TO THE RIGHTS
AND INTERESTS OF PETITIONER SERAPIO, AND THERE IS NO
CHARGES MORE THAN ONE OFFENSE PROBABLE CAUSE TO SUPPORT AN INDICTMENT FOR PLUNDER AS
AGAINST PETITIONER SERAPIO.[26]

According to the accused Estradas and Edward Serapio the information charges more than one Petitioner claims that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in denying
offense, namely, bribery (Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code), malversation of public funds or his omnibus motion to hold in abeyance the issuance of a warrant for his arrest as well as the
property (Article 217, Revised Penal Code) and violations of Sec. 3(e) of Republic Act (RA No. proceedings in Criminal Case No. 26558; to conduct a determination of probable cause; and to
3019) and Section 7(d) of RA 6713. direct the Ombudsman to conduct a reinvestigation of the charges him. Petitioner asseverates
that the Ombudsman had totally disregarded exculpatory evidence and committed grave abuse
This contention is patently unmeritorious. The acts alleged in the information are not charged as of discretion in charging him with plunder. He further argues that there exists no probable cause
separate offenses but as predicate acts of the crime of plunder. to support an indictment for plunder as against him.[27]

Petitioner points out that the joint resolution of the Ombudsman does not even mention
It should be stressed that the Anti-Plunder law specifically Section 1(d) thereof does not make him in relation to the collection and receipt of jueteng money which started in 1998[28] and that
any express reference to any specific provision of laws, other than R.A. No. 7080, as amended, the Ombudsman inexplicably arrived at the conclusion that the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation
which coincidentally may penalize as a separate crime any of the overt or criminal acts was a money laundering front organization put up by Joseph Estrada, assisted by petitioner,
enumerated therein. The said acts which form part of the combination or series of act are even though the latter presented evidence that said Foundation is a bona fide and legitimate
described in their generic sense. Thus, aside from malversation of public funds, the law also private foundation.[29] More importantly, he claims, said joint resolution does not indicate that he
uses the generic terms misappropriation, conversion or misuse of said fund. The fact that the knew that the P200 million he received for the Foundation came from jueteng.[30]
acts involved may likewise be penalized under other laws is incidental. The said acts are
mentioned only as predicate acts of the crime of plunder and the allegations relative thereto are Petitioner insists that he cannot be charged with plunder since: (1) the P200 million he
not to be taken or to be understood as allegations charging separate criminal offenses punished received does not constitute ill-gotten wealth as defined in Section 1(d) of R.A. No. 7080;[31] (2)
under the Revised Penal Code, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Code of Conduct there is no evidence linking him to the collection and receipt of jueteng money;[32] (3) there was
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.[25] no showing that petitioner participated in a pattern of criminal acts indicative of an overall
unlawful scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, or that his act
This Court agrees with the Sandiganbayan. It is clear on the face of the amended of receiving the P200 million constitutes an overt criminal act of plunder.[33]
Information that petitioner and his co-accused are charged only with one crime of plunder and
not with the predicate acts or crimes of plunder. It bears stressing that the predicate acts merely Petitioner argues further that his motion for reinvestigation is premised on the absolute
constitute acts of plunder and are not crimes separate and independent of the crime of lack of evidence to support a finding of probable cause for plunder as against him, [34] and hence
plunder.Resultantly then, the petition is dismissed. he should be spared from the inconvenience, burden and expense of a public trial.[35]

Petitioner also avers that the discretion of government prosecutors is not beyond judicial
scrutiny. He asserts that while this Court does not ordinarily look into the existence of probable
Re: G.R. No. 149116 cause to charge a person for an offense in a given case, it may do so in exceptional

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circumstances, which are present in this case: (1) to afford adequate protection to the Furthermore, the Ombudsmans findings are essentially factual in nature. Accordingly, in
constitutional rights of the accused; (2) for the orderly administration of justice or to avoid assailing said findings on the contention that the Ombudsman committed a grave abuse of
oppression; (3) when the acts of the officer are without or in excess of authority; and (4) where discretion in holding that petitioner is liable for estafa through falsification of public documents,
the charges are manifestly false and motivated by the lust for vengeance. [36] Petitioner claims petitioner is clearly raising questions of fact here.His arguments are anchored on the propriety or
that he raised proper grounds for a reinvestigation by asserting that in issuing the questioned error in the Ombudsmans appreciation of facts. Petitioner cannot be unaware that the Supreme
joint resolution, the Ombudsman disregarded evidence exculpating petitioner from the charge of Court is not a trier of facts, more so in the consideration of the extraordinary writ of certiorari
plunder and committed errors of law or irregularities which have been prejudicial to his where neither question of fact nor even of law are entertained, but only questions of lack or
interest.[37] He also states that during the joint preliminary investigations for the various charges excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion. Insofar as the third issue is concerned, we
against Joseph Estrada and his associates, of which the plunder charge was only one of the find that no grave abuse of discretion has been committed by respondents which would warrant
eight charges against Estrada et al., he was not furnished with copies of the other complaints the granting of the writ of certiorari.
nor given the opportunity to refute the evidence presented in relation to the other seven cases,
even though the evidence presented therein were also used against him, although he was only Petitioner is burdened to allege and establish that the Sandiganbayan and the
charged in the plunder case.[38] Ombudsman for that matter committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing their resolution and
joint resolution, respectively. Petitioner failed to discharge his burden. Indeed, the Court finds no
The People maintain that the Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of discretion in grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan and the Ombudsman in finding
denying petitioners omnibus motion. They assert that since the Ombudsman found probable probable cause against petitioner for plunder. Neither did the Sandiganbayan abuse its
cause to charge petitioner with the crime of plunder, the Sandiganbayan is bound to assume discretion in denying petitioners motion for reinvestigation of the charges against him in the
jurisdiction over the case and to proceed to try the same. They further argue that a finding of amendedInformation. In its Resolution of April 25, 2001, the Sandiganbayan affirmed the finding
probable cause is merely preliminary and prefatory of the eventual determination of guilt or of the Ombudsman that probable cause exists against petitioner and his co-accused for the
innocence of the accused, and that petitioner still has the chance to interpose his defenses in a crime of plunder, thus:
full blown trial where his guilt or innocence may finally be determined. [39]

The People also point out that the Sandiganbayan did not commit grave abuse of In the light of the foregoing and considering the allegations of the Amended Information dated 18
discretion in denying petitioners omnibus motion asking for, among others, a reinvestigation by April 2001 charging the accused with the offense of PLUNDER and examining carefully the
the Ombudsman, because his motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsmans joint resolution did evidence submitted in support thereof consisting of the affidavits and sworn statements and
not raise the grounds of either newly discovered evidence, or errors of law or irregularities, which testimonies of prosecution witnesses and several other pieces of documentary evidence, as well
under Republic Act No. 6770 are the only grounds upon which a motion for reconsideration may as the respective counter-affidavits of accused former President Joseph Estrada dated March
be filed.[40] 20, 2001, Jose Jinggoy Pimentel Estrada dated February 20, 2001, Yolanda T. Ricaforte dated
January 21, 2001 and Edward S. Serapio dated February 21, 2001, the Court finds and so holds
The People likewise insist that there exists probable cause to charge petitioner with that probable cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify issuance of warrants of arrest
plunder as a co-conspirator of Joseph Estrada.[41] of accused former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Mayor Jose Jinggoy Estrada, Charlie
Atong Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro, John Doe. a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan
This Court does not agree with petitioner. or Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, and Jane Doe a.k.a Delia Rajas.[44]
Case law has it that the Court does not interfere with the Ombudsmans discretion in the Likewise, in its Resolution dated May 31, 2001 of petitioners omnibus motion, the
conduct of preliminary investigations. Thus, in Raro vs. Sandiganbayan[42], the Court ruled: Sandiganbayan noted that a preliminary investigation was fully conducted in accordance with
Rule II, Administrative Order No. 7 of the Office of the Ombudsman, pursuant to Sections 18, 23
x x x. In the performance of his task to determine probable cause, the Ombudsmans discretion is and 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (The Ombudsman Act of 1989); and that all the basic
paramount. Thus, in Camanag vs. Guerrero, this Court said: complaints and evidence in support thereof were served upon all the accused. [45] It was in light of
such findings that the Sandiganbayan held that there was no basis for the allegation that
x x x. (S)uffice it to state that this Court has adopted a policy of non-interference in the conduct accused therein (including petitioner) were deprived of the right to seek a reconsideration of the
of preliminary investigations, and leaves to the investigating prosecutor sufficient latitude of Ombudsmans Resolution dated April 4, 2001 finding probable cause to charge them with
discretion in the exercise of determination of what constitutes sufficient evidence as will establish plunder after the conduct of preliminary investigation in connection therewith. In addition, the
probable cause for filing of information against the supposed offender. Sandiganbayan pointed out that petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the Ombudsmans
resolution, but failed to show in his motion that there were newly discovered evidence, or that
In Cruz, Jr. vs. People,[43] the Court ruled thus: the preliminary investigation was tainted by errors of law or irregularities, which are the only
grounds for which a reconsideration of the Ombudsmans resolution may be granted.[46]

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It bears stressing that the right to a preliminary investigation is not a constitutional right, As synthesized by the Court from the petition and the pleadings of the parties, the issues
but is merely a right conferred by statute.[47] The absence of a preliminary investigation does not for resolution are: (1) Whether or not petitioner should first be arraigned before hearings of his
impair the validity of the Information or otherwise render the same defective and neither does it petition for bail may be conducted; (2) Whether petitioner may file a motion to quash the
affect the jurisdiction of the court over the case or constitute a ground for quashing the amended Information during the pendency of his petition for bail; (3) Whether a joint hearing of
Information.[48] If the lack of a preliminary investigation does not render the Information invalid the petition for bail of petitioner and those of the other accused in Criminal Case No. 26558 is
nor affect the jurisdiction of the court over the case, with more reason can it be said that the mandatory; (4) Whether the People waived their right to adduce evidence in opposition to the
denial of a motion for reinvestigation cannot invalidate the Information or oust the court of its petition for bail of petitioner and failed to adduce strong evidence of guilt of petitioner for the
jurisdiction over the case. Neither can it be said that petitioner had been deprived of due crime charged; and (5) Whether petitioner was deprived of his right to due process in Criminal
process. He was afforded the opportunity to refute the charges against him during the Case No. 26558 and should thus be released from detention via a writ of habeas corpus.
preliminary investigation.
On the first issue, petitioner contends that the Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of
The purpose of a preliminary investigation is merely to determine whether a crime has its discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction when it deferred the hearing of his
been committed and whether there is probable cause to believe that the person accused of the petition for bail to July 10, 2001, arraigned him on said date and entered a plea of not guilty for
crime is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial.[49] As the Court held in Webb vs. De him when he refused to be arraigned. He insists that the Rules on Criminal Procedure, as
Leon, [a] finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than amended, does not require that he be arraigned first prior to the conduct of bail hearings since
not a crime has been committed and was committed by the suspect. Probable cause need not the latter can stand alone and must, of necessity, be heard immediately. [55] Petitioner maintains
be based on clear and convincing evidence of guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt that his arraignment before the bail hearings are set is not necessary since he would not plead
beyond reasonable doubt and definitely, not on evidence establishing absolute certainty of guilty to the offense charged, as is evident in his earlier statements insisting on his innocence
guilt.[50] during the Senate investigation of the jueteng scandal and the preliminary investigation before
the Ombudsman.[56] Neither would the prosecution be prejudiced even if it would present all its
Absent any showing of arbitrariness on the part of the prosecutor or any other officer evidence before his arraignment because, under the Revised Penal Code, a voluntary
authorized to conduct preliminary investigation, courts as a rule must defer to said officers confession of guilt is mitigating only if made prior to the presentation of evidence for the
finding and determination of probable cause, since the determination of the existence of prosecution,[57] and petitioner admitted that he cannot repudiate the evidence or proceedings
probable cause is the function of the prosecutor. [51] The Court agrees with the Sandiganbayan taken during the bail hearings because Rule 114, Section 8 of the Revised Rules of Court
that petitioner failed to establish that the preliminary investigation conducted by the Ombudsman expressly provides that evidence present during bail hearings are automatically reproduced
was tainted with irregularity or that its findings stated in the joint resolution dated April 4, 2001 during the trial.[58] Petitioner likewise assures the prosecution that he is willing to be arraigned
are not supported by the facts, and that a reinvestigation was necessary. prior to the posting of a bail bond should he be granted bail.[59]
Certiorari will not lie to invalidate the Sandiganbayans resolution denying petitioners The People insist that arraignment is necessary before bail hearings may be commenced,
motion for reinvestigation since there is nothing to substantiate petitioners claim that it gravely because it is only upon arraignment that the issues are joined. The People stress that it is only
abused its discretion in ruling that there was no need to conduct a reinvestigation of the case. [52] when an accused pleads not guilty may he file a petition for bail and if he pleads guilty to the
The ruling in Rolito Go vs. Court of Appeals[53] that an accused shall not be deemed to charge, there would be no more need for him to file said petition. Moreover, since it is during
have waived his right to ask for a preliminary investigation after he had been arraigned over his arraignment that the accused is first informed of the precise charge against him, he must be
objection and despite his insistence on the conduct of said investigation prior to trial on the arraigned prior to the bail hearings to prevent him from later assailing the validity of the bail
merits does not apply in the instant case because petitioner merely prayed for hearings on the ground that he was not properly informed of the charge against him, especially
a reinvestigationon the ground of a newly-discovered evidence. Irrefragably, a preliminary considering that, under Section 8, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court, evidence presented
investigation had been conducted by the Ombudsman prior to the filing of the amended during such proceedings are considered automatically reproduced at the trial.[60] Likewise, the
Information, and that petitioner had participated therein by filing his counter- arraignment of accused prior to bail hearings diminishes the possibility of an accuseds flight from
affidavit. Furthermore, the Sandiganbayan had already denied his motion for reinvestigation as the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan because trial in absentia may be had only if an accused
well as his motion for reconsideration thereon prior to his arraignment. [54] In sum then, the escapes after he has been arraigned.[61] The People also contend that the conduct of bail
petition is dismissed. hearings prior to arraignment would extend to an accused the undeserved privilege of being
appraised of the prosecutions evidence before he pleads guilty for purposes of penalty
reduction.[62]

Although petitioner had already been arraigned on July 10, 2001 and a plea of not guilty
Re: G.R. No. 148468
had been entered by the Sandiganbayan on his behalf, thereby rendering the issue as to
whether an arraignment is necessary before the conduct of bail hearings in petitioners case
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moot, the Court takes this opportunity to discuss the controlling precepts thereon pursuant to its bail moot and academic, he opines that such is not always the case; hence, an accused in
symbolic function of educating the bench and bar.[63] detention cannot be forced to speculate on the outcome of a motion to quash and decide
whether or not to file a petition for bail or to withdraw one that has been filed. [69] He also insists
The contention of petitioner is well-taken. The arraignment of an accused is not a that the grant of a motion to quash does not automatically result in the discharge of an accused
prerequisite to the conduct of hearings on his petition for bail. A person is allowed to petition for from detention nor render moot an application for bail under Rule 117, Section 5 of the Revised
bail as soon as he is deprived of his liberty by virtue of his arrest or voluntary surrender. [64] An Rules of Court.[70]
accused need not wait for his arraignment before filing a petition for bail.
The Court finds that no such inconsistency exists between an application of an accused
In Lavides vs. Court of Appeals, [65] this Court ruled on the issue of whether an accused for bail and his filing of a motion to quash. Bail is the security given for the release of a person in
must first be arraigned before he may be granted bail. Lavides involved an accused charged the custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before
with violation of Section 5(b) Republic Act No. 7610 (The Special Protection of Children Against any court as required under the conditions set forth under the Rules of Court. [71] Its purpose is to
Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act), an offense punishable by reclusion temporal in its obtain the provisional liberty of a person charged with an offense until his conviction while at the
medium period to reclusion perpetua. The accused therein assailed, inter alia, the trial courts same time securing his appearance at the trial. [72] As stated earlier, a person may apply for bail
imposition of the condition that he should first be arraigned before he is allowed to post bail.We from the moment that he is deprived of his liberty by virtue of his arrest or voluntary surrender. [73]
held therein that in cases where it is authorized, bail should be granted before arraignment,
otherwise the accused may be precluded from filing a motion to quash. [66] On the other hand, a motion to quash an Information is the mode by which an accused
assails the validity of a criminal complaint or Information filed against him for insufficiency on its
However, the foregoing pronouncement should not be taken to mean that the hearing on a face in point of law, or for defects which are apparent in the face of the Information. [74] An
petition for bail should at all times precede arraignment, because the rule is that a person accused may file a motion to quash the Information, as a general rule, before arraignment.[75]
deprived of his liberty by virtue of his arrest or voluntary surrender may apply for bail as soon as
he is deprived of his liberty, even before a complaint or information is filed against him. [67]The These two reliefs have objectives which are not necessarily antithetical to each
Courts pronouncement in Lavides should be understood in light of the fact that the accused in other. Certainly, the right of an accused right to seek provisional liberty when charged with an
said case filed a petition for bail as well as a motion to quash the informations filed against offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, or when charged with
him. Hence, we explained therein that to condition the grant of bail to an accused on his an offense punishable by such penalties but after due hearing, evidence of his guilt is found not
arraignment would be to place him in a position where he has to choose between (1) filing a to be strong, does not preclude his right to assail the validity of the Information charging him with
motion to quash and thus delay his release on bail because until his motion to quash can be such offense. It must be conceded, however, that if a motion to quash a criminal complaint or
resolved, his arraignment cannot be held, and (2) foregoing the filing of a motion to quash so Information on the ground that the same does not charge any offense is granted and the case is
that he can be arraigned at once and thereafter be released on bail. This would undermine his dismissed and the accused is ordered released, the petition for bail of an accused may become
constitutional right not to be put on trial except upon a valid complaint or Information sufficient to moot and academic.
charge him with a crime and his right to bail.[68]
We now resolve the issue of whether or not it is mandatory that the hearings on the
It is therefore not necessary that an accused be first arraigned before the conduct of petitions for bail of petitioner and accused Jose Jinggoy Estrada in Criminal Case No. 26558 and
hearings on his application for bail. For when bail is a matter of right, an accused may apply for the trial of the said case as against former President Joseph E. Estrada be heard jointly.
and be granted bail even prior to arraignment. The ruling in Lavides also implies that an
application for bail in a case involving an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua to death may Petitioner argues that the conduct of joint bail hearings would negate his right to have his
also be heard even before an accused is arraigned. Further, if the court finds in such case that petition for bail resolved in a summary proceeding since said hearings might be converted into a
the accused is entitled to bail because the evidence against him is not strong, he may be full blown trial on the merits by the prosecution.[76]
granted provisional liberty even prior to arraignment; for in such a situation, bail would be For their part, the People claim that joint bail hearings will save the court from having to
authorized under the circumstances. In fine, the Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of its hear the same witnesses and the parties from presenting the same evidence where it would
discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction in ordering the arraignment of petitioner before allow separate bail hearings for the accused who are charged as co-conspirators in the crime of
proceeding with the hearing of his petition for bail. plunder.[77]
With respect to the second issue of whether petitioner may file a motion to quash during In issuing its June 1, 2001 Order directing all accused in Criminal Case No. 26558 to
the pendency of his petition for bail, petitioner maintains that a motion to quash and a petition for participate in the bail hearings, the Sandiganbayan explained that the directive was made was in
bail are not inconsistent, and may proceed independently of each other. While he agrees with the interest of the speedy disposition of the case. It stated:
the prosecution that a motion to quash may in some instances result in the termination of the
criminal proceedings and in the release of the accused therein, thus rendering the petition for

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x x x The obvious fact is, if the rest of the accused other than the accused Serapio were to be different matter. For, with the participation of the former president in the hearing of petitioners
excused from participating in the hearing on the motion for bail of accused Serapio, under the petition for bail, the proceeding assumes a completely different dimension. The proceedings will
pretext that the same does not concern them and that they will participate in any hearing where no longer be summary. As against former President Joseph E. Estrada, the proceedings will be
evidence is presented by the prosecution only if and when they will already have filed their a full-blown trial which is antithetical to the nature of a bail hearing. Moreover, following our
petitions for bail, or should they decide not to file any, that they will participate only during the ruling in Jose Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan, supra where we stated that Jose Jinggoy Estrada can
trial proper itself, then everybody will be faced with the daunting prospects of having to go only be charged with conspiracy to commit the acts alleged in sub-paragraph (a) of the amended
through the process of introducing the same witness and pieces of evidence two times, three Information since it is not clear from the latter if the accused in sub-paragraphs (a) to (d) thereof
times or four times, as many times as there are petitions for bail filed. Obviously, such procedure conspired with each other to assist Joseph Estrada to amass ill-gotten wealth, we hold that
is not conducive to the speedy termination of a case. Neither can such procedure be petitioner can only be charged with having conspired with the other co-accused named in sub-
characterized as an orderly proceeding.[78] paragraph (a) by receiving or collecting, directly or indirectly, on several instances, money x x x
from illegal gambling, x x x in consideration of toleration or protection of illegal
There is no provision in the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure or the Rules of gambling.[81] Thus, with respect to petitioner, all that the prosecution needs to adduce to prove
Procedure of the Sandiganbayan governing the hearings of two or more petitions for bail filed by that the evidence against him for the charge of plunder is strong are those related to the alleged
different accused or that a petition for bail of an accused be heard simultaneously with the trial of receipt or collection of money from illegal gambling as described in sub-paragraph (a) of the
the case against the other accused. The matter of whether or not to conduct a joint hearing of amended Information. With the joinder of the hearing of petitioners petition for bail and the trial of
two or more petitions for bail filed by two different accused or to conduct a hearing of said the former President, the latter will have the right to cross-examine intensively and extensively
petition jointly with the trial against another accused is addressed to the sound discretion of the the witnesses for the prosecution in opposition to the petition for bail of petitioner. If petitioner will
trial court. Unless grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction is shown, adduce evidence in support of his petition after the prosecution shall have concluded its
the Court will not interfere with the exercise by the Sandiganbayan of its discretion. evidence, the former President may insist on cross-examining petitioner and his witnesses. The
It may be underscored that in the exercise of its discretion, the Sandiganbayan must take joinder of the hearing of petitioners bail petition with the trial of former President Joseph E.
into account not only the convenience of the State, including the prosecution, but also that of the Estrada will be prejudicial to petitioner as it will unduly delay the determination of the issue of the
accused and the witnesses of both the prosecution and the accused and the right of accused to right of petitioner to obtain provisional liberty and seek relief from this Court if his petition is
a speedy trial. The Sandiganbayan must also consider the complexities of the cases and of the denied by the respondent court. The indispensability of the speedy resolution of an application
factual and legal issues involving petitioner and the other accused. After all, if this Court may for bail was succinctly explained by Cooley in his treatise Constitutional Limitations, thus:
echo the observation of the United States Supreme Court, the State has a stake, with every
citizen, in his being afforded our historic individual protections, including those surrounding For, if there were any mode short of confinement which would with reasonable certainty insure
criminal prosecutions. About them, this Court dares not become careless or complacent when the attendance of the accused to answer the accusation, it would not be justifiable to inflict upon
that fashion has become rampant over the earth.[79] him that indignity, when the effect is to subject him in a greater or lesser degree, to the
punishment of a guilty person, while as yet it is not determined that he has not committed any
It must be borne in mind that in Ocampo vs. Bernabe,[80] this Court held that in a petition crime.[82]
for bail hearing, the court is to conduct only a summary hearing, meaning such brief and speedy
method of receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with While the Sandiganbayan, as the court trying Criminal Case No. 26558, is empowered to
the purpose of the hearing which is merely to determine the weight of evidence for purposes of proceed with the trial of the case in the manner it determines best conducive to orderly
bail. The court does not try the merits or enter into any inquiry as to the weight that ought to be proceedings and speedy termination of the case,[83] the Court finds that it gravely abused its
given to the evidence against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on discretion in ordering that the petition for bail of petitioner and the trial of former President
what further evidence may be offered therein. It may confine itself to receiving such evidence as Joseph E. Estrada be held jointly. It bears stressing that the Sandiganbayan itself acknowledged
has reference to substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examination in its May 4, 2001 Order the pre-eminent position and superiority of the rights of [petitioner] to
and cross-examination of witnesses, and reducing to a reasonable minimum the amount of have the matter of his provisional liberty resolved without unnecessary delay, [84] only to make
corroboration particularly on details that are not essential to the purpose of the hearing. a volte face and declare that after all the hearing of petition for bail of petitioner and Jose
Jinggoy Estrada and the trial as against former President Joseph E. Estrada should be held
A joint hearing of two separate petitions for bail by two accused will of course avoid simultaneously. In ordering that petitioners petition for bail to be heard jointly with the trial of the
duplication of time and effort of both the prosecution and the courts and minimizes the prejudice case against his co-accused former President Joseph E. Estrada, the Sandiganbayan in effect
to the accused, especially so if both movants for bail are charged of having conspired in the allowed further and unnecessary delay in the resolution thereof to the prejudice of petitioner.In
commission of the same crime and the prosecution adduces essentially the same evident fine then, the Sandiganbayan committed a grave abuse of its discretion in ordering a
against them. However, in the cases at bar, the joinder of the hearings of the petition for bail of simultaneous hearing of petitioners petition for bail with the trial of the case against former
petitioner with the trial of the case against former President Joseph E. Estrada is an entirely President Joseph E. Estrada on its merits.
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With respect to petitioners allegations that the prosecution tried to delay the bail hearings conducted, where the prosecution must be accorded an opportunity to discharge its burden of
by filing dilatory motions, the People aver that it is petitioner and his co-accused who caused the proving that the evidence of guilt against an accused is strong. [92] The prosecution shall be
delay in the trial of Criminal Case No. 26558 by their filing of numerous manifestations and accorded the opportunity to present all the evidence it may deems necessary for this
pleadings with the Sandiganbayan.[85] They assert that they filed the motion for joint bail hearing purpose.[93]When it is satisfactorily demonstrated that the evidence of guilt is strong, it is the
and motion for earlier arraignment around the original schedule for the bail hearings which was courts duty to deny the application for bail. However, when the evidence of guilt is not strong,
on May 21-25, 2001.[86] bail becomes a matter of right.[94]

They argue further that bail is not a matter of right in capital offenses. [87] In support thereof, In this case, petitioner is not entitled to bail as a matter of right at this stage of the
they cite Article III, Sec 13 of the Constitution, which states that proceedings. Petitioners claim that the prosecution had refused to present evidence to prove his
guilt for purposes of his bail application and that the Sandiganbayan has refused to grant a
All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when hearing thereon is not borne by the records. The prosecution did not waive, expressly or even
evidence of guilt is strong, shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be impliedly, its right to adduce evidence in opposition to the petition for bail of petitioner. It must be
released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired noted that the Sandiganbayan had already scheduled the hearing dates for petitioners
even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be application for bail but the same were reset due to pending incidents raised in several motions
required.[88] filed by the parties, which incidents had to be resolved by the court prior to the bail hearings.The
bail hearing was eventually scheduled by the Sandiganbayan on July 10, 2001 but the hearing
The People also cited Rule 114, Secs. 7 and 4 of the Revised Rules of Court which did not push through due to the filing of this petition on June 29, 2001.
provide:
The delay in the conduct of hearings on petitioners application for bail is therefore not
imputable solely to the Sandiganbayan or to the prosecution. Petitioner is also partly to blame
Sec. 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not therefor, as is evident from the following list of motions filed by him and by the prosecution:
bailable.No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonement, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, Motions filed by petitioner:
regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. Urgent Omnibus Motion, dated April 6, 2001, for (1) leave to file motion for
reconsideration/reinvestigation and to direct ombudsman to conduct
Sec. 4. Bail, a matter of right, exception.All persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a reinvestigation; (2) conduct a determination of probable cause as would suggest
matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this the issuance of house arrest; (3) hold in abeyance the issuance of warrant of
Rule x x x (b) and before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by arrest and other proceedings pending determination of probable cause;
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.[89]
Motion for Early Resolution, dated May 24, 2001;
Irrefragably, a person charged with a capital offense is not absolutely denied the
opportunity to obtain provisional liberty on bail pending the judgment of his case. However, as to
such person, bail is not a matter of right but is discretionary upon the court. [90] Had the rule been Urgent Motion to Hold in Abeyance Implementation or Service of Warrant of
otherwise, the Rules would not have provided for an application for bail by a person charged Arrest for Immediate Grant of bail or For Release on Recognizance, dated April
with a capital offense under Rule 114, Section 8 which states: 25, 2001;

Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. At the hearing of an application for bail filed by a Urgent Motion to allow Accused Serapio to Vote at Obando, Bulacan, dated
person who is in custody for the commission of an offense punishable by death, reclusion May 11, 2001;
perpetua, or life imprisonment, the prosecution has the burden of showing that the evidence of
guilt is strong. The evidence presented during the bail hearing shall be considered automatically Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, dated May 22, 2001, praying for Resolution
reproduced at the trial but, upon motion of either party, the court may recall any witness for of May 18, 2001 be set aside and bail hearings be set at the earliest possible
additional examination unless the latter is dead, outside the Philippines, or otherwise unable to time;
testify.[91]

Under the foregoing provision, there must be a showing that the evidence of guilt against a Urgent Motion for Immediate Release on Bail or Recognizance, dated May 27,
person charged with a capital offense is not strong for the court to grant him bail. Thus, upon an 2001;
application for bail by the person charged with a capital offense, a hearing thereon must be
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Motion for Reconsideration of denial of Urgent Omnibus Motion, dated June 13, Omnibus Motion, dated May 7, 2001, filed by Joseph Estrada, praying by
2001, praying that he be allowed to file a Motion for Reinvestigation; and reinvestigation of the case by the Ombudsman or the outright dismissal of the
case;
Motion to Quash, dated June 26, 2001.[95]
Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for Extension, dated May 2, 2001, filed by Jinggoy
Motions filed by the prosecution: Estrada, requesting for five (5) within which to respond to the Opposition to
Motion to Quash in view of the holidays and election-related distractions;

Motion for Earlier Arraignment, dated May 8, 2001;[96]


Opposition to Urgent Motion for Earlier Arraignment, dated May 10, 2001, filed
by Joseph Estrada;
Motion for Joint Bail Hearings of Accused Joseph Estrada, Jose Jinggoy
Estrada and Edward Serapio, dated May 8, 2001;[97]
Omnibus Manifestation on voting and custodial arrangement, dated May 11,
2001, filed by Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada, praying that they be placed on
Opposition to the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Omnibus Motion to house arrest;
Adjust Earlier Arraignment, dated May 25, 2001;[98] and

Manifestation regarding house arrest, dated May 6, 2001, filed by Joseph and
Omnibus Motion for Examination, Testimony and Transcription in Filipino, dated Jinggoy Estrada;
June 19, 2001.[99]

Summation regarding house arrest, dated May 23, 2001, filed by Joseph and
The other accused in Criminal Case No. 26558 also contributed to the aforesaid delay by Jinggoy Estrada;
their filing of the following motions:

Urgent Manifestation & Motion, dated May 6, 2001 filed by Jinggoy Estrada;
Motion to Quash or Suspend, dated April 24, 2001, filed by Jinggoy Estrada,
assailing the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7080 and praying that the Amended
Information be quashed; Manifestation, dated May 28, 2001, filed by Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada,
praying that they be allowed to be confined in Tanay;

Very Urgent Omnibus Motion, dated April 30, 2001, filed by Jinggoy Estrada,
praying that he be (1) excluded from the Amended Information for lack of Motion to charge as Accused Luis Chavit Singson, filed by Joseph Estrada;
probable cause; (2) released from custody; or in the alternative, (3) be allowed
to post bail; Omnibus Motion, dated June 11, 2001, filed by Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada,
seeking reconsideration of denial of requests for house arrest, for detention in
Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Place on House Arrest, dated April 25, 2001, filed by Tanay or Camp Crame; motion for inhibition of Justice Badoy;
Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada, praying that they be placed on house arrest during
the pendency of the case; Urgent Motion to Allow Accused to Clear His Desk as Mayor of San Juan, Metro
Manila, dated June 28, 2001, filed by Jinggoy Estrada;
Position Paper [re: House Arrest], dated May 2, 2001, filed by Joseph and
Jinggoy Estrada; Motion for Reconsideration, dated June 9, 2001, filed by Joseph and Jinggoy
Estrada, praying that the resolution compelling them to be present at petitioner
Supplemental Position Paper [re: House Arrest], dated May 2, 2001, filed by Serapios hearing for bail be reconsidered;
Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada;
Motion to Quash, dated June 7, 2001, filed by Joseph Estrada;

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Still Another Manifestation, dated June 14, 2001, filed by Joseph and Jinggoy prosecutions refusal to present evidence and by the Sandiganbayans refusal to grant a bail
Estrada stating that Bishop Teodoro Bacani favors their house arrest; hearing, has failed to discharge its burden of proving that as against him, evidence of guilt for
the capital offense of plunder is strong. Petitioner contends that the prosecution launched a
Manifestation, dated June 15, 2001, filed by Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada, seemingly endless barrage of obstructive and dilatory moves to prevent the conduct of bail
waiving their right to be present at the June 18 and 21, 2001 bail hearings and hearings. Specifically, the prosecution moved for petitioners arraignment before the
reserving their right to trial with assessors; commencement of bail hearings and insisted on joint bail hearings for petitioner, Joseph Estrada
and Jinggoy Estrada despite the fact that it was only petitioner who asked for a bail hearing;
manifested that it would present its evidence as if it is the presentation of the evidence in chief,
Omnibus Motion for Instructions: 30-Day House Arrest; Production, Inspection meaning that the bail hearings would be concluded only after the prosecution presented its
and Copying of Documents; and Possible Trial with Assessors, dated June 19, entire case upon the accused; and argued that petitioners motion to quash and his petition for
2001, filed by Joseph and Jinggoy Estrada; bail are inconsistent, and therefore, petitioner should choose to pursue only one of these two
remedies.[104] He further claims that the Sandiganbayan, through its questioned orders and
Urgent Motion for Additional Time to Wind Up Affairs, dated June 20, 2001, filed resolutions postponing the bail hearings effectively denied him of his right to bail and to due
by Jinggoy Estrada; process of law.[105]

Petitioner also maintains that the issuance by the Sandiganbayan of new orders canceling
Manifestation, dated June 22, 2001, filed by Jinggoy Estrada, asking for free
the bail hearings which it had earlier set did not render moot and academic the petition for
dates for parties, claiming that denial of bail is cruel and inhuman, reiterating
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, since said orders have resulted in a continuing deprivation
request for gag order of prosecution witnesses, availing of production, inspection
of petitioners right to bail.[106] He argues further that the fact that he was arrested and is detained
and copying of documents, requesting for status of alias case; and
pursuant to valid process does not by itself negate the efficacy of the remedy of habeas
corpus. In support of his contention, petitioner cites Moncupa vs. Enrile,[107] where the Court held
Compliance, dated June 25, 2001, filed by Jinggoy Estrada, requesting for that habeas corpus extends to instances where the detention, while valid from its inception, has
permission to attend some municipal affairs in San Juan, Metro Manila. [100] later become arbitrary.[108]

Furthermore, the Court has previously ruled that even in cases where the prosecution However, the People insist that habeas corpus is not proper because petitioner was
refuses to adduce evidence in opposition to an application for bail by an accused charged with a arrested pursuant to the amended information which was earlier filed in court,[109] the warrant of
capital offense, the trial court is still under duty to conduct a hearing on said application. [101] The arrest issuant pursuant thereto was valid, and petitioner voluntarily surrendered to the
rationale for such requirement was explained in Narciso vs. Sta. Romana-Cruz (supra), authorities.[110]
citing Basco vs. Rapatalo:[102]
As a general rule, the writ of habeas corpus will not issue where the person alleged to be
restrained of his liberty in custody of an officer under a process issued by the court which
When the grant of bail is discretionary, the prosecution has the burden of showing that the
jurisdiction to do so.[111] In exceptional circumstances, habeas corpus may be granted by the
evidence of guilt against the accused is strong. However, the determination of whether or not the
courts even when the person concerned is detained pursuant to a valid arrest or his voluntary
evidence of guilt is strong, being a matter of judicial discretion, remains with the judge. This
surrender, for this writ of liberty is recognized as the fundamental instrument for safeguarding
discretion by the very nature of things, may rightly be exercised only after the evidence is
individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action due to its ability to cut through
submitted to the court at the hearing. Since the discretion is directed to the weight of the
barriers of form and procedural mazes.[112] Thus, in previous cases, we issued the writ where the
evidence and since evidence cannot properly be weighed if not duly exhibited or produced
deprivation of liberty, while initially valid under the law, had later become invalid,[113] andeven
before the court, it is obvious that a proper exercise of judicial discretion requires that the
though the persons praying for its issuance were not completely deprived of their liberty.[114]
evidence of guilt be submitted to the court, the petitioner having the right of cross-examination
and to introduce his own evidence in rebuttal.[103] The Court finds no basis for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus in favor of
petitioner. The general rule that habeas corpus does not lie where the person alleged to be
Accordingly, petitioner cannot be released from detention until the Sandiganbayan
restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court which had
conducts a hearing of his application for bail and resolve the same in his favor. Even then, there
jurisdiction to issue the same[115] applies, because petitioner is under detention pursuant to the
must first be a finding that the evidence against petitioner is not strong before he may be granted
order of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan on April 25, 2001 after the filing by the
bail.
Ombudsman of the amended information for plunder against petitioner and his co-accused.
Anent the issue of the propriety of the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus for petitioner, Petitioner had in fact voluntarily surrendered himself to the authorities on April 25, 2001 upon
he contends that he is entitled to the issuance of said writ because the State, through the learning that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

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The ruling in Moncupa vs. Enrile[116] that habeas corpus will lie where the deprivation of DECISION
liberty which was initially valid has become arbitrary in view of subsequent developments finds
no application in the present case because the hearing on petitioners application for bail has yet SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
to commence. As stated earlier, the delay in the hearing of petitioners petition for bail cannot be
pinned solely on the Sandiganbayan or on the prosecution for that matter. Petitioner himself is
partly to be blamed. Moreover, a petition for habeas corpus is not the appropriate remedy for For our resolution is a Petition for Certiorari1 assailing the Resolutions dated September 20,
asserting ones right to bail.[117] It cannot be availed of where accused is entitled to bail not as a 19992 and November 16, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 53340.
matter of right but on the discretion of the court and the latter has not abused such discretion in
refusing to grant bail,[118] or has not even exercised said discretion. The proper recourse is to file In 1989, Rufina Chua, petitioner, met Wilfred Chiok, respondent, who represented himself as a
an application for bail with the court where the criminal case is pending and to allow hearings licensed stockbroker and an expert in the stock market. He encouraged petitioner to invest her
thereon to proceed. money in stocks, requesting her to designate him as her stockbroker. On respondent’s prodding,
she agreed.
The issuance of a writ of habeas corpus would not only be unjustified but would also
preempt the Sandiganbayans resolution of the pending application for bail of petitioner. The
For several years, respondent acted as petitioner’s stockbroker. She made profits out of their
recourse of petitioner is to forthwith proceed with the hearing on his application for bail.
transactions, prompting her to trust respondent in handling her stock investments.
IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
In 1995, respondent encouraged petitioner to purchase shares in bulk as this will increase her
1. In G.R. No. 148769 and G.R. No. 149116, the petitions are DISMISSED. The
earnings. Hence, in June 1995, she entrusted to him the amount of ₱9,563,900.00 for the
resolutions of respondent Sandiganbayan subject of said petitions are AFFIRMED; and
purpose of buying shares of stocks in bulk. Petitioner deposited ₱7,100,000.00 in respondent’s
2. In G.R. No. 148468, the petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The resolution of account and personally gave him the remaining ₱2,463,900.00. Thereupon, he told petitioner to
respondent Sandiganbayan, Annex L of the petition, ordering a joint hearing of petitioners wait for one week. A week elapsed and respondent advised her to wait for another week. Then,
petition for bail and the trial of Criminal Case No. 26558 as against former President Joseph E. there was no more news from respondent. Finally, when petitioner was able to contact him,
Estrada is SET ASIDE; the arraignment of petitioner on July 10, 2001 is also SET ASIDE. respondent admitted that he spent the money. At any rate, he issued two checks as payment but
when petitioner deposited them in the drawee bank, the checks were dishonored for insufficient
No costs. funds.
SO ORDERED.
In a letter dated October 25, 1995, petitioner demanded payment from respondent, but this
remained unheeded.
7. Chua v. CA, 520 SCRA 729
Petitioner then came to know that respondent was not a licensed stockbroker but only a
telephone clerk at Bernard Securities, Inc. Immediately, she caused the filing of an information
for estafa against him with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 165, Pasig City, docketed as
Republic of the Philippines Criminal Case No. 109927.
SUPREME COURT
Manila During the arraignment, respondent, assisted by his counsel de parte, pleaded not guilty. Trial
ensued.
FIRST DIVISION
Respondent denied the charge against him. He testified that he was not an employee of Bernard
G.R. No. 140842 April 12, 2007 Securities, Inc.; that he buys and sells U.S. dollars and that petitioner used to buy dollars from
him; that what actually existed between them was an unregistered partnership; and that he
received the amount of ₱9,563,900.00 as her investment in their partnership.
RUFINA CHUA, Petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and WILFRED N. CHIOK, Respondents.

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After the prosecution and the defense had presented their respective evidence, the trial court set On September 20, 1999, after hearing respondent’s application for injunction, the appellate court
the promulgation of judgment on January 26, 1999. However, respondent and his counsel failed issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the arrest of respondent, holding that the latter
to appear on said date despite notice. The trial court reset the promulgation of judgment on should not be deprived of his liberty pending resolution of his appeal as the offense for which he
February 1, 1999, with notice to respondent. Again, respondent failed to appear. The trial court was convicted is a non-capital offense; and that the probability that he will flee during the
then promulgated its Decision convicting respondent of estafa and sentencing him to suffer pendency of his appeal is merely conjectural.
twelve (12) years of prision mayor, as minimum, to twenty (20) years of reclusion temporal, as
maximum. Respondent was likewise ordered to pay herein petitioner the amount of Petitioner then filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied by the Court of Appeals in its
₱9,563,900.00 with interest at the legal rate computed from October 25, 1995, the date of Resolution dated November 16, 1999.
demand, until fully paid.

Hence, the instant petition for certiorari.1a\^/phi1.net


On the same day, February 1, 1999, the prosecution filed a motion for cancellation of bail on the
ground that respondent might flee or commit another crime.
Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or in excess of jurisdiction in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the arrest of
On February 13, 199, respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the judgment of respondent.
conviction.

Private respondent counters that the petition should be dismissed for lack of merit.
Meanwhile, or on February 15, 1999, the motion for cancellation of bail was set for hearing. The
prosecution presented a Record Check Routing Form issued by the Bureau of Immigration
showing that respondent has an Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) and Immigrant Certificate The petition is meritorious.
of Residence (ICR). During that hearing, respondent admitted using the names "Mark Tan" and
Tong Wai Fat" as aliases. Firstly, the petition for certiorari with prayer for a TRO and a writ of preliminary injunction (CA-
G.R. SP No. 53340) is not the proper recourse in assailing the trial court’s May 28, 1999
Consequently, on May 28, 1999, the trial court issued an Omnibus Order (a) denying Omnibus Order canceling his bail. Section 5, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
respondent’s motion for reconsideration of the judgment of conviction; (b) canceling his bail; and Procedure3 provides:
(c) giving him five (5) days from notice within which to appear before the trial court, otherwise he
would be arrested. SEC. 5. Bail, when discretionary. – Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary.
On June 18, 1999, respondent interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals from the trial court’s The application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of a notice
judgment of conviction and from the Omnibus Order insofar as it denied his motion for of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the original record to the appellate court. However, if
reconsideration of said judgment. The appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 23309. the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the offense from non-
bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be filed with and resolved by the appellate
court,
The following day, or on June 19, 1999, respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for
certiorari with application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and a writ preliminary
injunction assailing the trial court’s Omnibus Order canceling his bail. The petition was docketed Should the court grant the application, the accused may be allowed to continue on provisional
as CA-G.R. SP No. 53340. liberty during the pendency of the appeal under the same bail subject to the consent of the
bondsman.

On June 25, 1999, the trial court issued a warrant of arrest against respondent for his failure to
appear despite the lapse of the 5-day period provided in the May 28, 1999 Omnibus Order. The If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, the accused
warrant was returned unserved because he could not be found at his given address. shall be denied bail, or his bail shall be cancelled upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice
to the accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:

However, the Court of Appeals, in a Resolution dated July 27, 1999 issued a TRO enjoining the
trial court from implementing its Omnibus Order of May 28, 1999. (a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the
crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;

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(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or At this point, we stress that when respondent did not appear during the promulgation of
violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification; judgment on January 26, 1999 despite notice, and without offering any justification therefor, the
trial court should have immediately promulgated its Decision. The promulgation of judgment in
(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional absentia is mandatory pursuant to Section 6, Rule 120 of the same Rules, the relevant portions
pardon; of which read:

(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on SEC. 6. Promulgation of judgment. – The judgment is promulgated by reading it in the
bail; or presence of the accusedand any judge of the court in which it was rendered. However, if the
conviction is for a light offense, the judgment may be pronounced in the presence of his counsel
or representative. When the judge is absent or outside the province or city, the judgment may be
(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of promulgated by the clerk of court.
the appeal.1awphi1.nét

xxx
The appellate court may, motu proprio or ON MOTION OF ANY PARTY, review the resolution of
the Regional Trial Court after notice to the adverse party in either case. 4 (Underscoring supplied)
The proper clerk of court shall give notice to the accused personally or through his bondsman or
warden and counsel, requiring him to be present at the promulgation of the decision. x x x.
It is clear from the last paragraph of the above provision that private respondent’s appropriate
remedy against the trial court’s May 28, 1999 Omnibus Order canceling his bail is by filing with
the Court of Appeals a motion to review the said order in the same regular appeal proceedings In case the accused fails to appear at the scheduled date of promulgation of judgment despite
in CA-G.R. CR No. 23309 he himself initiated. Such motion is an incident in his appeal. 5 The notice, THE PROMULGATION SHALL BE MADE BY RECORDING THE JUDGMENT IN THE
filing of a separate petition via a special civil action or special proceeding questioning such CRIMINAL DOCKET and serving him a copy thereof at his last known address or thru his
adverse order before the appellate court is proscribed.6 Such independent special civil action counsel.
obviously contravenes the rule against multiplicity of suits and constitutes forum shopping.
Hence, the Court of Appeals erred in not dismissing outright respondent’s petition for certiorari in If the judgment is for conviction and the failure of the accused to appear was without
CA-G.R. SP No. 53340. The basic rule is that such petition may only be availed of when "there justifiable cause, he shall lose the remedies available in these Rules against the judgment
is no appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law." 7 and the court shall order his arrest.Within fifteen (15) days from promulgation of judgment,
however, the accused may surrender and file a motion for leave of court to avail of these
Secondly, the assailed September 20, 1999 Resolution of the Court of Appeals granting remedies. He shall state the reasons for his absence at the scheduled promulgation, and if he
respondent’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the implementation of the proves that his absence was for a justifiable cause, he shall be allowed to avail of said remedies
trial court’s Omnibus Order canceling his bail, is bereft of any factual or legal basis. To be within fifteen (15) days from notice.10 (Underscoring supplied)
entitled to an injunctive writ, the applicant must show that (1) he has a clear existing right to be
protected; and (2) the acts against which the injunction is to be directed are in violation of such It bears stressing that the rule authorizing the promulgation of judgment in absentia is intended
right.8 to obviate the situation in the past where the judicial process could be subverted by the accused
jumping bail to frustrate the promulgation of judgment.11 As mentioned earlier, the trial court
The first requisite is absent. Respondent has no right to be freed on bail pending his appeal from should have promulgated the judgment in absentia on January 26, 1999. The resetting the
the trial court’s judgment. His conviction carries a penalty of imprisonment exceeding 6 years (to promulgation on February 1, 1999 is tantamount to condoning respondent’s act of making a
be exact, 12 years of prision mayor, as minimum, to 20 years of reclusion temporal, as mockery of our judicial process, thereby defeating the avowed purpose of the Rule.
maximum) which justifies the cancellation of his bail pursuant to the third paragraph of Section 5
(b), (d) and (e) of Rule 114, quoted above. Moreover, he failed to appear despite notice during Since respondent has not shown any right to be protected, the second requisite for the issuance
the promulgation of judgment on January 26, 1999. His inexcusable non-appearance not only of a writ of preliminary injunction is obviously absent. As such, the Court of Appeals clearly acted
violated the condition of his bail that he "shall appear" before the court "whenever required" by with grave abuse of discretion in issuing its assailed Resolution of September 20, 1999 granting
the latter or the Rules,9 but also showed the probability that he might flee or commit another the writ of preliminary injunction. We held that the grant of the writ of preliminary injunction
crime while released on bail. despite the absence of a clear legal right on the part of the applicant constitutes grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.12

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WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The assailed Resolutions dated September 20, 1999 Before this Court are Consolidated Complaints dated March 29, 20111 and March 25, 20112 filed
and November 16, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 53340 are SET ASIDE. by Prosecutor Leo C. Tabao, Office of the City Prosecutor, Tacloban City and Ma. Liza M. Jorda,
Respondent Wilfred N. Chiok’s petition for certiorari in CA-G.R. SP No. 53340 Associate City Prosecutor, Tacloban City, respectively, against respondent Judge Crisologo S.
is DISMISSED. The Omnibus Order dated May 28, 1999 issued by the Regional Trial Court, Bitas (respondent judge), Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 7, Tacloban City,
Branch 165, Pasig City in Criminal Case No. 109927 canceling respondent’s bail is AFFIRMED. for Grave Abuse of Authority, Irregularity in the Performance of Official Duties, Bias and
Partiality, relative to Criminal Case Nos. 2009-11-537,3 2009-11-538, 2009-11-539 entitled
Costs against respondent. People v. Danilo Miralles, et al.

SO ORDERED. The antecedent facts of the case, as culled from the records, are as follows:

A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3645-RTJ


8. Jorda v. Bitas, March 5, 2014 City Prosecutor Leo C. Tabao,
Tacloban City v. Judge Crisologo S.
Bitas, RTC, Branch 7, Tacloban City

Republic of the Philippines The complaint stemmed from Criminal Case Nos. 2009-11-537; 2009-11-538 and 2009-11-
SUPREME COURT 5394 for Qualified Trafficking and Violation of Article VI, Section 10 of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
Manila 7610, which were filed against Danilo Miralles (Miralles), et al. before the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 7, Tacloban City where respondent Judge Bitas presides.
THIRD DIVISION
Complainant alleged that on January 15, 2010, accused Miralles, through counsel, filed a Motion
A.M. No. RTJ-14-2376 March 5, 2014 for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause with Motion to Hold in Abeyance the Issuance of a
[Formerly OCA LP.I. No. 11-3625-RTJ] Warrant of Arrest. On the same day, respondent Judge issued an order taking cognizance of the
same and directed Prosecutor Anthea G. Macalalag to file her comment on the motion. The
prosecution then filed its comment/opposition and moved for the issuance of the required
MA. LIZA M. JORDA, City Prosecutor's Office, Tacloban City, Complainant, warrant for the arrest of Miralles. No warrant of arrest was issued against Miralles.
vs.
JUDGE CRISOLOGO S. BITAS, Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City, Respondent.
On February 2, 2011, respondent judge issued an Order which states:

x-----------------------x
After the prosecution presented their witnesses, the Court finds that there is probable cause to
hold the accused for trial for Violation of 4 (a & e) of R.A. 9208 and, therefore, the court orders
A.M. No. RTJ-14-2377 Lynna Brito y Obligar to file a bail bond of Forty Thousand Pesos (Php₱40,000.00) for her
[Formerly OCA LP.I. No. 11-3645-RTJ] temporary liberty. Danilo Miralles is, likewise, ordered to put up a bail bond of Forty Thousand
Pesos (₱40,000.00) for each of the three (3) cases.
PROSECUTOR LEO C. TABAO, Complainant,
vs. Subsequently, on February 4, 2011, Sheriff Jose Cabcabin of the Office of the RTC Clerk of
JUDGE CRISOLOGO S. BITAS, Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City, Respondent. Court issued a certification that Miralles surrendered to him to avail of his right to bail. The cash
bail bond in the amount of ₱120,000.00 was approved by respondent judge on the same day.
DECISION
Complainant lamented that respondent judge disregarded his duties and violated mandatory
PERALTA, J.: provisions of the Rules of Court when he did not issue a warrant of arrest against the accused
Miralles, who was charged with two (2) non-bailable criminal offenses. As early as November 19,
2009, criminal complaints against Miralles for Qualified Trafficking were already filed, yet

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respondent judge never issued a warrant of arrest for Miralles despite accused's presence This complaint, borne from the same criminal cases, has substantially the same facts involving
during the court hearings. accused Danilo Miralles referred to in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3645-RTJ.

Moreover, respondent judge granted a reduced bail of ₱40,000.00 for accused Miralles even Complainant, Prosecutor Liza M. Jorda, Associate City Prosecutor, alleged that during the
without any petition for the fixing of bail. In fact, complainant reiterated that even after hearing on the Petition for Involuntary Commitment of the minor victim Margie Baldoza, to the
respondent judge found probable cause to hold accused Miralles for trial, he did not order the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), respondent judge propounded a
arrest of the accused. Instead, respondent judge summarily granted a reduced bail in the series of questions which appeared to mitigate Miralles' role in the crime charged. The pertinent
absence of a motion to fix bail and the prosecution was not given the opportunity to interpose its portion of which is quoted as follows:
objections. Complainant claimed that such acts of respondent judge were evident of his bias
towards accused Miralles. Q. Did you see Danny shouting at you and get angry as what you have stated in the record of
the court?
In his Answer, respondent judge reasoned that it was wrong to arrest Miralles, because the court
was still in the process of determining whether there is sufficient evidence to hold the accused A. No.
for trial. He explained that Miralles had always made himself available during the hearings for
the determination of probable cause; thus, the court already acquired jurisdiction over the person
of the accused. xxxx

After the hearing for the determination of probable cause, the court ruled that there is no strong Q. In other words, you are only for a presumption that it is Danny who is getting angry where in
evidence presented by the prosecution. On February 4, 2011, accused Danilo Miralles fact you have seen him at anytime?
surrendered to Sheriff Jose Cabcabin and posted ₱40,000.00 bail for each of the three (3)
cases, or a total of ₱120,000.00. A. It was Lynna whom he was [scolding] because the women under her are stubborn.

Respondent judge claimed that there was no more need for a petition for bail, because in the Q. You have seen him scolding to (sic) your nanay Lynna?
judicial determination of probable cause the court found that the evidence against accused was
weak.5 A. She would be called to the room in the Office and there she would be scolded.

Respondent judge further averred that complainant did not know the facts of the case and Q. You have not seen nanay Lynna and Danny Miralles in the office, you have not seen them?
whether the evidence for the prosecution is strong, yet he was faulted for granting bail and for
not issuing a warrant of arrest. He stressed that when the court has acquired jurisdiction over the
A. No.
person of the accused, there is no more need to issue a warrant of arrest. Respondent judge
pointed out that Miralles always made himself available, hence, he believed that the ends of
justice had not been frustrated. He insisted that there is no anomaly in the procedure because a Q. Never have you (sic) seen them?
warrant of arrest will be issued only upon the finding of probable cause. In this case, however,
he was able to post his bail bond before a warrant of arrest can be issued against him. Thus, the A. No.
warrant of arrest had become fait accompli.

Q. So did you come to the conclusion that she [was] being scolded by Danny Miralles?
A.M. OCA IPI No. 11-3625-RTJ
Ma. Liza M. Jorda, Associate City
A. Yes.6
Prosecutor, Tacloban City v. Judge
Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7,
Tacloban City Complainant pointed out that respondent judge's line of questions went beyond judicial authority
and discretion. Upon investigation, complainant claimed to have discovered that the family
members of respondent judge are close associates of Miralles.

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Prompted by said events, complainant filed a motion for inhibition on December 14, 2009 baseless assumptions. He claimed that complainant was incompetent as showed by the lack of
against respondent judge. Respondent judge denied the motion. During the hearing on evidence against Miralles.
December 15, 2009, complainant alleged that respondent judge publicly humiliated her and
exhibited his anger and animosity towards her for filing the motion for inhibition. 7 Respondent Respondent judge further averred that, contrary to complainant's allegation that it was her option
judge was quoted saying, among others things, that: to transfer to another court, it was he who caused her transfer. He accused complainant of
lacking in knowledge of the law and that she appeared for politicians and not for the Republic of
"I don’t want to see your face! Why did you file the motion for inhibition when it should have been the Philippines.
Attorney Sionne Gaspay who should have filed the same[?]"
Regarding complainant's accusation that he was close to the Miralleses, respondent judge
"You better transfer to another court! You are being influenced by politicians. I am not a close explained that it was his sister who was a classmate of one Nora Miralles. He claimed that he is
family friend of the Miralles(es), it is my sister who is now in the United States who was close to unaware of any personal relation between Nora Miralles and the accused Danilo Miralles. He
the Miralles(es)." insisted that complainant merely assumed things even if she has no evidence that he knew
Danilo Miralles.
"So you are questioning the integrity of this court, you better transfer to another court."
Respondent judge also admitted that he indeed stopped complainant from conducting a cross-
"I don’t want to see your face."8 examination on the witness during the hearing for involuntary commitment, because the lawyer
for petitioner DSWD should be the one actively participating in the case, and not the
prosecutors. He, however, added that the court had already ordered that minor Margie Baldoza
Complainant added that when she was supposed to conduct the cross-examination, respondent be committed to the DSWD Home for Girls pending resolution of the criminal cases.
judge stated off-the-record: "I don’t want you to participate anymore," and refused to allow her to
do the cross-examination.
As to the other allegations in the Complaint, respondent judge commented that these were mere
rehash of the complaint filed in A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3645-RTJ and reiterated that the
In support of her allegation, complainant presented the Joint Affidavit9 of Carmela D. Bastes and evidence found against accused Miralles during the judicial determination of the existence of
Marilou S. Nacilla, social workers who were present during the December 15, 2009 hearing of probable cause in the trafficking case was weak. Therefore, he ordered the posting of
the subject case, and corroborated that indeed respondent judge uttered the abovementioned ₱40,000.00 bail by the accused. Respondent judge claimed that he merely acted upon the
statements to complainant in open court in the presence of court personnel and the lawyers of evidence presented and made a resolution on what was right for the case.
the parties.

In her Reply13 dated May 21, 2011, complainant refuted respondent judge's allegation of
Due to the continued hostility of respondent judge towards complainant during the subsequent incompetence against her and insisted on respondent's apparent bias in favor of Miralles. She
hearings of the case, complainant opted to transfer to another court, pursuant to an office order argued that respondent judge granted bail to the accused even when there was no motion to fix
issued by City Prosecutor Ruperto Golong. bail and no hearing was conducted thereon. Despite the finding of probable cause, respondent
judge did not issue a warrant of arrest against the accused. Complainant also reiterated the
In a Supplemental Complaint-Affidavit10 dated April 8, 2011, complainant raised the possibility of controversy surrounding the appearance of an Order dated February 2, 2011, when in fact no
"misrepresentation." She alleged that it was made to appear that a hearing on the subject case hearing transpired that day.
was conducted on February 2, 2011, when in fact there was none. She claimed that the Order
dated February 2, 2011 appeared to have been inserted in the records of the case, when in fact In his 2nd Indorsement14 dated June 14, 2011, respondent judge denied that he falsified any
no hearing transpired that day. document. He explained that his stenographer made a mistake in placing the date as February
2, 2011 instead of February 3, 2011, the date when the hearing was conducted. He attached the
On April 7, 2011, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) directed respondent judge to affidavits15 of his court stenographer and court interpreter in support of his explanation.
comment on the complaint against him.11
On May 11, 2001, the OCA directed Judge Bitas to file his Comment on the instant complaint.
In his Answer and Comment12 dated May 10, 2011, respondent judge denied the allegations in
the complaint and contended that complainant was piqued when he blamed her for making

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In a Resolution16 dated September 12, 2011, upon the recommendation of the OCA, the Court justification that he granted bail, because he found the evidence of the prosecution weak, cannot
referred A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3625-RTJ to an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, Cebu be sustained because the records show that no such hearing for that purpose transpired. What
City, for investigation, report and recommendation. the records show is a hearing to determine the existence of probable cause, not a hearing for a
petition for bail. The hearing for bail is different from the determination of the existence of
On October 12, 2011, the Court, in a Resolution,17 resolved to consolidate A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. probable cause. The latter takes place prior to all proceedings, so that if the court is not satisfied
11-3645-RTJ (Prosecutor Leo C. Tabao v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7, Tacloban with the existence of a probable cause, it may either dismiss the case or deny the issuance of
City) with A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3625-RTJ (Ma. Liza M. Jorda v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, the warrant of arrest or conduct a hearing to satisfy itself of the existence of probable cause. If
Regional Trial Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City). the court finds the existence of probable cause, the court is mandated to issue a warrant of
arrest or commitment order if the accused is already under custody, as when he was validly
arrested without a warrant. It is only after this proceeding that the court can entertain a petition
In its Report and Recommendation18 dated February 14, 2013, Associate Justice Carmelita for bail where a subsequent hearing is conducted to determine if the evidence of guilt is weak or
Salandanan-Manahan, Court of Appeals, Cebu City, found respondent judge guilty of grave not. Hence, in granting bail and fixing it at ₱20,000.00 motu proprio, without allowing the
abuse of authority and gross ignorance of the law, and recommended that respondent judge be prosecution to present its evidence, respondent judge denied the prosecution of due process.
fined in the amount of ₱20,000.00 for A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3645-RTJ and fined anew in the This Court had said so in many cases and had imposed sanctions on judges who granted
amount of ₱20,000.00 for A.M. OCA I.P.I. No. 11-3625-RTJ. applications for bail in capital offenses and in offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua, or life
imprisonment, without giving the prosecution the opportunity to prove that the evidence of guilt is
RULING strong.21

We adopt the findings of the Investigating Justice, except as to the recommended penalty. Clearly, in the instant case, respondent judge's act of fixing the accused's bail and reducing the
same motu proprio is not mere deficiency in prudence, discretion and judgment on the part of
As a matter of public policy, not every error or mistake of a judge in the performance of his respondent judge, but a patent disregard of well-known rules. When an error is so gross and
official duties renders him liable. In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a patent, such error produces an inference of bad faith, making the judge liable for gross
judge in his official capacity do not always constitute misconduct although the same acts may be ignorance of the law.22
erroneous. True, a judge may not be disciplined for error of judgment, absent proof that such
error was made with a conscious and deliberate intent to cause an injustice. This does not Likewise, we are convinced that respondent judge’s actuations in the court premises during the
mean, however, that a judge need not observe propriety, discreetness and due care in the hearing of the petition for commitment to the DSWD constitute abuse of authority and manifest
performance of his official functions. partiality to the accused. Indeed, respondent judge’s utterance of: "I don’t want to see your
face!";
In the instant case, Miralles was charged with Qualified Trafficking, which under Section 10 (C)
of R.A. No. 9208 is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of not less than Two Million Pesos "You better transfer to another court!; You are being influenced by politicians" was improper and
(₱2,000,000.00) but not more than Five Million Pesos (₱5,000,000.00). Thus, by reason of the does not speak well his stature as an officer of the Court. We note the improper language of
penalty prescribed by law, the grant of bail is a matter of discretion which can be exercised only respondent judge directed towards complainants in his Answers and Comments where he
by respondent judge after the evidence is submitted in a hearing. The hearing of the application criticized them for their incompetence in handling the subject case. Respondent Bitas' use of
for bail in capital offenses is absolutely indispensable before a judge can properly determine abusive and insulting words, tending to project complainant’s ignorance of the laws and
whether the prosecution’s evidence is weak or strong.19 procedure, prompted by his belief that the latter mishandled the cause of his client is obviously
and clearly insensitive, distasteful, and inexcusable. Complainants, likewise, cannot be blamed
As correctly found by the Investigating Justice, with life imprisonment as one of the penalties for being suspicious of respondent’s bias to the accused considering that the former can be
prescribed for the offense charged against Miralles, he cannot be admitted to bail when associated with the accused following his admission that his sister was a classmate of one Nora
evidence of guilt is strong, in accordance with Section 7, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Miralles. Considering the apprehension and reservation of the complainants, prudence dictates
Criminal Procedure.20 that respondent should have inhibited himself from hearing the case. Such abuse of power and
authority could only invite disrespect from counsels and from the public. 23

Here, what is appalling is not only did respondent judge deviate from the requirement of a
hearing where there is an application for bail, respondent judge granted bail to Miralles without In pending or prospective litigations before them, judges should be scrupulously careful to avoid
neither conducting a hearing nor a motion for application for bail. Respondent judge's anything that may tend to awaken the suspicion that their personal, social or sundry relations

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could influence their objectivity. Not only must judges possess proficiency in law, they must also The provisions of the Revised Penal Code on bail are so clear and unmistakable that there can
act and behave in such manner that would assure litigants and their counsel of the judges’ be no room for doubt or even interpretation. There can, therefore, be no excuse for respondent
competence, integrity and independence.24 Even on the face of boorish behavior from those he judge's error of law. It hardly speaks well of the legal background of respondent judge,
deals with, he ought to conduct himself in a manner befitting a gentleman and a high officer of considering his length of service when he failed to observe procedural requirements before
the court.25 granting bail. To top it all, the actuations of respondent judge towards the complainants, as
shown by his use of abusive and insulting words against complainants in open court, and his
The use of intemperate language is included in the proscription provided by Section 1, Canon 4 correspondence with the Court, are evident of his partiality to the accused. All these taken into
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, thus: "Judges shall avoid impropriety and the appearance consideration, respondent judge deserves a penalty of suspension of three (3) months and one
of impropriety in all the activities of a judge." It bears stressing that as a dispenser of justice, (1) day for the two (2) cases, instead of ₱20,000.00 fine for each of the cases, as recommended
respondent should exercise judicial temperament at all times, avoiding vulgar and insulting by the Investigating Justice.
language. He must maintain composure and equanimity.
WHEREFORE, respondent JUDGE CRISOLOGO BITAS, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial
This Court has long held that court officials and employees are placed with a heavy burden and Court, Branch 7, Tacloban City, is hereby SUSPENDED from the service for a period of THREE
responsibility of keeping the faith of the public. Any impression of impropriety, misdeed or (3) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY without pay, and WARNED that a repetition of the same or
negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided. This Court shall not similar offense will warrant the imposition of a more severe penalty.
countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all those involved in the administration
of justice which would violate the norm of public accountability and diminish the faith of the SO ORDERED.
people in the Judiciary.

We come to the imposable penalty. 9. Domingo v. Pagayatan, June 10, 2003

Under Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC, gross
ignorance of the law or procedure is classified as a serious charge. Under Section 11 (A) of the SECOND DIVISION
same Rule, as amended, if respondent judge is found guilty of a serious charge, any of the
following sanctions may be imposed:

1. Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may [A.M. No. RTJ-03-1751. June 10, 2003]
determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office,
including government-owned or controlled corporations; Provided, however, that the COMMISSIONER ANDREA D. DOMINGO, complainant, vs. EXECUTIVE JUDGE ERNESTO
forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave credits; P. PAGAYATAN, RTC, Branch 46, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, respondent.

2. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but RESOLUTION
not exceeding six (6) months; or
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

3. A fine of more than ₱20,000.00 but not exceeding ₱40,000.00. In a letter-complaint dated December 7, 2001 filed with the Office of the Court
Administrator, Commissioner Andrea D. Domingo of the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) charged
Executive Judge Ernesto P. Pagayatan of the Regional Trial Court of San Jose, Occidental
This is not the first time that respondent judge was found guilty of the offense charged. In the
Mindoro (Branch 46) with Gross Ignorance of the Law relative to Criminal Case No. R-5075 for
case of Valmores-Salinas v. Judge Crisologo Bitas,26 the Court had previously imposed a fine of
Estafa, entitled People of the Philippines vs. Ernesto M. Peaflorida.
₱10,000.00 on respondent judge for disregarding the basic procedural requirements in instituting
an indirect contempt charge, with a stem warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall Complainant alleged: On September 14, 2001, the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) Board of
be dealt with more severely. Commissioners (BOC) issued Summary Deportation Order (SDO) No. ADD-2001-057 against
Ernesto M. Peaflorida, a U.S. citizen, after finding that he is an overstaying and undocumented
alien, in violation of Section 37(a)(7) of Commonwealth Act No. 613, otherwise known as the
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Philippine Immigration Act of 1940. Peaflorida is also a fugitive from justice since he stands guilt of the accused was strong but should have endeavored to determine the existence of such
indicted in the United States for health care fraud which resulted in more than $1,376,000.00 evidence.
losses to the U.S. Federal Government. No appeal was filed with the Office of the President. The
SDO became final and executory on October 15, 2001. On the same date, respondent issued a Under the present rules, a hearing is required before granting bail whether it is a matter of right
Notice of Arraignment requiring the production of Peaflorida on November 19 and 20, 2001. On or discretion. The prosecution must always be given an opportunity to present within a
the scheduled hearing of November 19, 2001, respondent denied the P40,000.00 bail reasonable time, all the evidence that it may desire to introduce before the Court may resolve
recommended by the Provincial Prosecutor for the provisional release of the accused on the the motion for bail. If the prosecution refuses to adduce evidence or fails to interpose an
ground that the crime Peaflorida was charged with involved large scale estafa, a non-bailable objection to the motion for bail, it is still mandatory for the court to conduct a hearing or ask
offense. Respondent ordered the commitment of Peaflorida to the Provincial Jail in Magbay, San searching and clarificatory questions.
Jose, Occidental Mindoro. However, later on that same day, the BOI received information that
respondent had allowed the release from detention of Peaflorida, who is an alien federal fugitive,
without the interdepartmental courtesy of affording prior notice to the BOI of such action. She is Moreover, since the accused was accompanied by the personnel of the Bureau of Immigration
appalled not only by the respondents employment of legal subterfuges in ordering the release of when brought to the RTC, Branch 46, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro, for his arraignment in
Peaflorida whose Summary Deportation Order had already become final and executory, but also Criminal Case No. R-5075 respondent Judge could have easily verified from his escort if the
by the respondents bad faith in deceiving them into surrendering the custody of an undesirable former was being detained for other crimes aside from the one where he was being arraigned in
alien federal fugitive to the Provincial Jail at Magbay, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. [1] respondents sala. Had he done so, respondent could have been informed outright by the B.I.
personnel escort that the accused had already been the subject of a Summary Deportation
In his Comment, dated March 22, 2002, respondent explained: On November 20, 2001, Order and, thus, he could have deferred action on the latters (accused) Motion to Fix Bail and
Peaflorida filed an urgent motion to fix bail. When the prosecution and the defense jointly afforded the Bureau of Immigration the chance and opportunity to interpose their objection to the
manifested that it would be fair and just if the court would fix the bail bond for the provisional grant thereof.[6] (Citations omitted).
release of the accused Peaflorida at P250,000.00, he granted the motion to fix bail on November
21, 2001; and, at the time he issued the Order fixing the bail bond of the accused at The Court agrees with the findings and recommendation of the OCA.
P250,000.00, he was not aware that a deportation order had already been issued by the BOI Under the rules on bail, a hearing is mandatory in granting bail whether it is a matter of
against the latter.[2] right or discretion.[7] A hearing is indispensable for the court to ask searching questions from
In a Resolution dated January 15, 2003, the Court re-docketed the administrative which it may infer the strength of the evidence of guilt, or the lack of it, against the accused, in
complaint as a regular administrative matter and required the parties to manifest within ten days cases where the offense is punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.[8]After
from notice if they are willing to submit the case for decision based on the pleadings filed by the hearing, the courts order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the evidence for
parties.[3] the prosecution and based thereon, the judge should then formulate his own conclusion as to
whether the evidence so presented is strong enough as to indicate the guilt of the
In compliance, the complainant and the respondent manifested their willingness to submit accused.[9] Otherwise, the order granting or denying the application for bail may be invalidated
the case on the basis of the pleadings.[4] In addition to his manifestation, however, respondent because the summary of evidence for the prosecution which contains the judges evaluation of
averred: Upon learning that an order of deportation was issued against Peaflorida, he ordered the evidence may be considered as an aspect of procedural due process for both the
the cancellation of the bail bond posted by Peaflorida and issued a warrant for the latters arrest prosecution and the defense.[10]
on April 26, 2002; and that Peaflorida voluntarily surrendered himself on October 24, 2002 and is
presently detained at the Provincial Jail of Occidental Mindoro. [5] The herein respondent granted bail to the accused Peaflorida without conducting a
hearing despite his earlier pronouncement in the Order dated November 19, 2001 denying bail
In its Evaluation Report, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) recommends to the as he considered the crime the accused Peaflorida was charged with to be a non-bailable
Court that respondent be fined P5,000.00 for Gross Ignorance of the Law, reasoning that: offense. The manifestation of the prosecutor that he is not ready to present any witness to prove
that the prosecutions evidence against the accused is strong, is never a basis for the outright
After going over the records of the case, it is very evident that respondent Judge acted with grant of bail without a preliminary hearing on the matter.[11] A hearing is required even when the
undue haste in issuing the order granting bail considering the fact that in his earlier Order dated prosecution refuses to adduce evidence or fails to interpose an objection to the motion for bail. [12]
November 19, 2001, he did not grant a bail of P40,000.00 which the Provincial Prosecutor had The joint manifestation of the prosecution and the defense that it would be fair and just if
previously recommended for the provisional release of the accused. His denial was based on the the court would fix the bail bond for the provisional release of the accused at P250,000.00 does
ground that the case filed against the accused could be considered large-scale Estafa, an not justify the granting of bail without a hearing in a case involving a non-bailable offense. A
unbailable offense. Respondent Judge should not have granted bail simply on the lack of
readiness on the part of the prosecution to present any witness to prove that the evidence of
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hearing is necessary for the court to take into consideration the guidelines in fixing the amount of respondent cannot escape administrative liability by invoking unawareness of the deportation
bail[13] set forth in Section 9, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, which reads: order. Absent evidence of malice, respondents lack of knowledge of the deportation order will
only free him from administrative liability for gross misconduct but not for gross ignorance of the
SEC. 9. Amount of bail; guidelines. - The judge who issued the warrant or granted the law for disregarding the rules on bail.
application shall fix a reasonable amount of bail considering primarily, but not limited to the The Court has held that a judge cannot be held administratively liable for an erroneous
following factors: ruling on first impression, and malice cannot be inferred from his having rendered a decision
(a) Financial liability of the accused to give bail; rectifying an earlier impression without proof beyond doubt of a conscious and deliberate intent
on his part to commit an injustice by such acts. 20 Nonetheless, so basic and fundamental is it to
(b) Nature and circumstance of the offense; conduct a hearing in connection with the grant of bail that it would amount to judicial apostasy for
any member of the judiciary to disclaim knowledge or awareness thereof.21 Having accepted the
(c) Penalty for the offense charged; exalted position of a judge, respondent owes the public and the court the duty to be proficient in
(d) Character and reputation of the accused; the law. When a judge displays utter lack of familiarity with the basic rules of law, he erodes the
publics confidence in the competence of our courts. 22 Ignorance of the law excuses no one -
(e) Age and health of the accused; certainly not a judge.23

(f) Weight of the evidence against the accused; Respondents explanations that he ordered the cancellation of the bail bend posted by the
accused Peaflorida and issued a warrant for the latters arrest on April 26, 2002 upon learning
(g) Probability of the accused appearing at the trial; that an order of deportation was issued against the latter; 24 that accused Peaflorida voluntarily
surrendered himself on October 24, 2002 and that he is presently detained at the Provincial Jail
(h) Forfeiture of other bail;
of Occidental Mindoro,25 cannot serve to exonerate him or even mitigate the penalty due him.
(i) The fact that the accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested; and Significantly, the order of revocation was made only on April 26, 2002, or five months after the
issuance of the erroneous Order of November 21, 2001 which was sought to be corrected. It is
(j) Pendency of other cases where the accused is on bail. Excessive bail shall not unfathomable that respondent realized his fallacious granting of bail only after he filed his
be required. Comment herein dated March 22, 2002. The Order of April 26, 2002 is but a futile attempt to
evade respondents administrative liability which had already attached five months before when
Needless to stress, judicial discretion is the domain of the judge and the duty to exercise
he granted bail without the required hearing. Fundamental knowledge of the law and a
discretion cannot be reposed upon the will or whim of the prosecution or the defense.
reasonable understanding of recent jurisprudence ought to have guarded respondent against
Respondent should have ascertained personally whether the evidence of guilt is strong and
the precipitate and unjustified granting of bail or should have at least prompted him to invalidate
endeavored to determine the propriety of the amount of bail recommended. To do away with the
the same immediately thereafter,26 not five months later after a complaint against him had been
requisite bail hearing is to dispense with this time-tested safeguard against arbitrariness.[14] It
filed by BOl Commissioner Domingo.
must always be remembered that imperative justice requires the proper observance of
indispensable technicalities precisely designed to ensure its proper dispensation.[15] As to the recommended penalty by the OCA, the amount of P5,000.00 appears to be
commensurate with respondents infraction which amounts to gross ignorance of law. Under
There is no evidence of malice or bad faith on the part of respondent when he granted bail
Section 8 of A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC amending Rule 140 of the Rules of Court on the Discipline of
to Peaflorida. Complainant failed to prove that respondent had prior knowledge of the existence
Justices and Judges, which took effect on October 1, 2001, gross ignorance of the law is
of a deportation order or that the latter was informed by the BOl of the deportation order dated
classified as a serious charge which carries with it a penalty of either dismissal from service,
September 14, 2001. The deportation order became final only on October 15, 2001. Prior
suspension or a fine of more then P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00. However,
thereto, respondent issued on September 18, 2001 a hold-departure order against Peaflorida.
considering that malice or bad faith on the part of respondent has not been established by the
Respondent directed the BOI not to allow Peaflorida from leaving the country since a warrant for
complainant, and, in the absence of a showing that respondent had earlier been found to have
his arrest was already issued by the court.[16] On October 15, 2001, the Notice of Arraignment in
committed an administrative offense,27 the Court deems it just and reasonable to impose upon
Criminal Case No. R-5075 was served to Peaflorida through the BOI.[17] In the hearing of
respondent a fine of P5,000.00.
November 19, 2001, the personnel of the BOI escorted Peaflorida by reason of the warrant of
arrest and hold departure order issued by the court.18 WHEREFORE, respondent Executive Judge Ernesto P. Pagayatan of the Regional Trial
Court of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro (Branch 46) is found guilty of Gross Ignorance of the Law
From these facts, we cannot simply conclude that respondent had prior knowledge of the
and is hereby FINED the amount of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). He is further STERNLY
deportation order and maliciously thwarted its effect by granting bail to Peaflorida. However,

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WARNED that the commission of similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely by
this Court. While out on bail and during the pendency of the four criminal cases, Gerardo was
again charged with another crime for which he was arrested and detained.
SO ORDERED.
Fed up with Gerardos actuation, petitioner refused to post another bail.[2] Instead, on
June 18, 1998, she filed with the trial court an application for the cancellation of the cash bonds
10. Esteban v. Hon. Alhambra, September 7, 2004 she posted in the four criminal cases.[3] She alleged therein that she is terminating the cash bail
T H I R D D I V I S I O N by surrendering the accused who is now in jail as certified to by the City Jail Warden.[4]

In an Order dated July 9, 1998,[5] respondent judge denied petitioners application,


ANITA ESTEBAN, G.R. No. 135012 thus:
Petitioner, xxx

In these cases, accused was allowed enjoyment of his provisional


Present: liberty after money was deposited with the Clerk of Court as cash
bail. Applicant-movant (now petitioner) did not voluntarily surrender the
- versus - accused. Instead, the accused was subsequently charged with another
PANGANIBAN, J., Chairman, crime for which he was arrested and detained. His arrest and detention for
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, another criminal case does not affect the character of the cash bail posted
CORONA, and by applicant-movant in Criminal Cases Nos. SJC-88(95), SLC-27(97), SJC-
*
CARPIO MORALES, JJ. 30(97) and SJC-31(97) as deposited pending the trial of these
HON. REYNALDO A. ALHAMBRA, in his cases. Money deposited as bail even though made by a third person is
capacity as Presiding Judge, Regional considered as the accuseds deposit where there is no relationship of
Trial Court, Branch 39, San Jose City, principal and surety (State vs. Wilson, 65 Ohio L-Abs, 422, 115 NE 2d
and GERARDO ESTEBAN, Promulgated: 193). Hence, the money so deposited takes the nature of property
Respondents. in custodia legis and is to be applied for payment of fine and costs. And
such application will be made regardless of the fact that the money was
September 7, 2004 deposited by a third person.
x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the application for
cancellation of bail bonds is hereby DENIED.
D E C I S I O N
SO ORDERED.

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration[6] but was denied in an Order dated August
20, 1998.[7]

In this present petition for certiorari,[1] Anita Esteban seeks to annul the Orders dated Hence, the instant petition assailing the twin Orders as having been issued with grave
July 9, 1998 and August 20, 1998 issued by Judge Reynaldo A. Alhambra, presiding judge of abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 39, San Jose City, in Criminal Cases Nos. SJC-88(95), SJC-
27(97), SJC-30(97) and SJC-31(97). The Orders denied petitioners application for cancellation Petitioner states that she is constrained to bring this matter directly to this Court as the
of the cash bail posted in each case. issue is one of first impression.[8]

Gerardo Esteban is the accused in these criminal cases. His sister-in-law, Anita
Esteban, petitioner herein, posted cash bail of P20,000.00 in each case for his temporary liberty.

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Petitioner submits that by surrendering the accused who is now in jail, her application ruling of this Court as early as 1928 in Esler vs. Ledesma.[9] Therein we declared that when a
for cancellation of bail in the four criminal cases is allowed under Section 19, now Section cash bail is allowed, the two parties to the transaction are the State and the defendant. Unlike
22, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended, which provides: other bail

Sec. 22. Cancellation of bail. Upon application of the bondsmen,


with due notice to the prosecutor, the bail may be cancelled upon surrender bonds, the money may then be used in the payment of that in which the State is concerned the
of the accused or proof of his death. fine and costs. The right of the government is in the nature of a lien on the money deposited. We
further held in the same case that:
The bail shall be deemed automatically cancelled upon acquittal
of the accused, dismissal of the case, or execution of the judgment of x x x. Similar cases have frequently gained the attention of the
conviction. courts in the United States in jurisdictions where statutes permit a deposit of
money to be made in lieu of bail in criminal cases. The decisions are
In all instances, the cancellation shall be without prejudice to any unanimous in holding that a fine imposed on the accused may be satisfied
liability on the bail. (Underscoring supplied) from the cash deposit; and this is true although the money has been
furnished by a third person. This is so because the law contemplates that
Petitioners submission is misplaced. the deposit shall be made by the defendant. The money, x x x, must
accordingly be treated as the property of the accused. As a result, the
The first paragraph of Section 22 contemplates of a situation where, among others, money could be applied in payment of any fine imposed and of the costs
the surety or bondsman surrenders the accused to the court that ordered the latters (People vs. Laidlaw [1886], Ct. of App. Of New York, 7 N. E., 910, a case
arrest. Thereafter, the court, upon application by the surety or bondsman, cancels the bail bond. frequently cited approvingly in other jurisdictions; State of Iowa vs.
Owens [1900], 112 Iowa, 403; Mundell vs. Wells, supra.). But while as
We hold that the cash bail cannot be cancelled. Petitioner did not surrender the between the State and the accused the money deposited by a third person
accused, charged in the four criminal cases, to the trial court. The accused was arrested and for the release of the accused is regarded as the money of the accused, it is
detained because he was charged in a subsequent criminal case. not so regarded for any other purpose. As between the accused and a third
person, the residue of the cash bail is not subject to the claim of a creditor of
Moreover, the bail bond posted for the accused was in the form of cash deposit which, property obtain (Wright & Taylor vs. Dougherty [1908], 138 Iowa,
as mandated by Section 14 (formerly Section 11) of the same Rule 114, shall be applied to the 195; People vs. Gould [1902], 78 N. Y. Sup., 279; Mundell vs.
payment of fine and costs, and the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to any Wells, supra.).[10]
person who made the deposit. Section 14 provides:

Section 14. Deposit of cash as bail. The accused or any person In fine, we fail to discern any taint of grave abuse of discretion on the part of
acting in his behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal respondent judge in denying petitioners application for cancellation of the accuseds cash bail.
revenue or provincial, city or municipal treasurer the amount of bail fixed by
the court, or recommended by the prosecutor who investigated or filed the WHEREFORE, the present petition is DISMISSED.
case. Upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and a written
undertaking showing compliance with the requirements of Section 2 of this SO ORDERED.
Rule, the accused shall be discharged from custody. The money deposited
shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of fine and costs,
while the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever
made the deposit.(Underscoring supplied) 11. Adalim White v. Judge Bugtas, November 17, 2005

The Rule thus treats a cash bail differently from other bail bonds. A cash bond may be EN BANC
posted either by the accused or by any person in his behalf. However, as far as the State is
concerned, the money deposited is regarded as the money of the accused. Consequently, it can
be applied in payment of any fine and costs that may be imposed by the court. This was the
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ATTY. JULIANA ADALIM-WHITE, A.M. No. RTJ-02-1738 Mr. Manuel Bagaporo, Jr., a convict of frustrated murder before terminating
Complainant, (formerly OCA IPI No. 01-1325-RTJ) service of the minimum penalty, and pending the approval of the prisoners
Members: application for parole.

DAVIDE, JR., C.J., Thank you.[1]


PUNO,
PANGANIBAN,
QUISUMBING, In an Indorsement dated August 28, 2001, the Office of the Court Administrator
YNARES-SANTIAGO, directed respondent to file his comment to the complaint.[2]
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
- versus - CARPIO, On October 29, 2001, respondent filed his Comment admitting that he issued an order
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, allowing Manuel Bagaporo, Jr. (Bagaporo) to be released upon recognizance of the Provincial
CORONA, Jail Warden of Eastern Samar, Alexandrino R. Apelado, Sr. Respondent avers that: Bagaporo
CARPIO-MORALES, was convicted by the trial court of the crime of frustrated murder and meted the penalty of
CALLEJO, SR., imprisonment ranging from four years and two months to eight years and one day; Bagaporo
AZCUNA, served sentence; subsequently, he filed an application for release on recognizance; in support of
TINGA, his application, Provincial Jail Warden Apelado issued a certification to the effect that Bagaporo
CHICO-NAZARIO, and has been confined at the Provincial Jail since February 9, 1996 and is already entitled to parole;
HON. JUDGE ARNULFO O. BUGTAS, GARCIA, JJ. another certification was issued by Supervising Probation and Parole Officer Eulalia R.
Presiding Judge, RTC, Columbretis showing that Bagaporo had applied for parole in line with the Department of
Branch 2, Borongan, Eastern Samar, Justices Maagang Paglaya Program. Respondent contends that on the basis of these
Promulgated:, certifications and on the rule that bail being discretionary upon conviction by the RTC of an
Respondent. offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court granted
November 17, 2005 Bagaporos application for bail upon recognizance of Apelado. [3]

x-----------------------------------------------------------x In our Resolution of November 25, 2002, we directed the parties to manifest to this
Court if they are willing to submit this case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings filed. [4]

In his Manifestation dated January 27, 2003, respondent requested that a formal
RESOLUTION investigation be conducted to enable him to face his accuser. [5] On the other hand, despite due
notice, complainant failed to comply with the November 25, 2002 Resolution of this Court.

On November 16, 2004, respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: evidence and that complainant is not interested in prosecuting her complaint.[6]

In our Resolution of February 7, 2005, we referred the instant case to Justice Lucas P.
Before us is a verified letter-complaint dated August 10, 2001, filed by Atty. Juliana Adalim-White Bersamin of the Court of Appeals (CA) for investigation, report and recommendation on grounds
against Judge Arnulfo O. Bugtas, Presiding Judge, Branch 2, Regional Trial Court (RTC) of that desistance of a complainant is not a basis for dismissing an administrative case and
Borongan, Eastern Samar, for ignorance of the law relative to Criminal Case No. 10772 because there is a need to establish certain facts surrounding the complained acts allegedly
entitled People of the Philippines vs. Manuel Bagaporo, Jr. committed by respondent.[7] Thereafter, the Investigating Justice set the case for hearing on
various dates.
The full text of the letter-complaint is as follows:
On April 15, 2005, respondent again filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that
I bring to the attention of your Honors the act of Honorable Judge complainant failed to appear during the hearings set by the
Arnulfo O. Bugtas, Presiding Judge, Branches I and II, Regional Trial Court, Investigating Justice on March 30 and 31, 2005.[8]
Borongan, Eastern Samar for ordering the Release on Recognizance [of]
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On April 29, 2005, the Investigating Justice issued a Resolution denying respondents Bagaporo, Jr. could not be released even upon the recognizance of the
Motion to Dismiss and resetting the hearing for the last time on May 31, 2005, with warning that Provincial Jail Warden.
the case shall be deemed submitted for study, report and recommendation should the parties fail
to appear at the date set for hearing.[9] 3. Judge Bugtas act of prematurely releasing the convict in effect
altered the final sentence of Bagaporo, Jr. The undersigned Investigating
In a Manifestation dated May 13, 2005, complainant indicated her desire to submit the Justice submits that Judge Bugtas thereby violated Art. 86, Revised Penal
case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings and annexes filed. [10] On the other hand, Code which provides:
respondent sent a telegraphic communication dated May 31, 2005 manifesting that the CA may
consider the case submitted for resolution; and praying that he be allowed to submit a Art. 86. Reclusion perpetua, reclusion temporal, prision
memorandum.[11] The Investigating Justice granted respondents motion.[12] On June 30, 2005, mayor, prision correcional and arresto mayor. The
respondent filed his Memorandum through registered mail.[13] penalties of reclusion perpetua, reclusion
temporal, prision mayor, prision
On August 18, 2005, the Investigating Justice submitted his Report and correccional and arresto mayor shall be executed and
Recommendation to this Court with the following findings: served in the places and penal establishments provided
by the Administrative Code in force or which may be
The undersigned Investigating Justice concludes that Judge provided by law in the future.
Bugtas was guilty of gross ignorance of the law and gross neglect of duty for
committing the following acts and omissions in relation to the case of convict Judge Bugtas could give no acceptable explanation for his act. A
Bagaporo, Jr., to wit: convicts release from prison before he serves the full term of his sentence is
due either to good conduct allowances or to the approval of his application
1. Due to the penalty imposed on him, Bagaporo, Jr. should have for parole. The former is granted to him by the Director of Prisons (now
been committed to the National Penitentiary upon his conviction (whether or Director of the Bureau of Corrections), pursuant to Art. 99, Revised Penal
not he appealed). The failure of Judge Bugtas, if he was the trial judge, to Code; the latter, by the Board of Pardons and Parole that was created and
issue forthwith the mittimus to commit Bagaporo, Jr. as a national prisoner constituted pursuant to Act No. 4103, as amended. Obviously, the grant is
under Presidential Decree No. 29 to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa not a judicial prerogative.
City was a serious disobedience to Circular No. 4-93-A dated April 20, 1992.
Consequently, Judge Bugtas arrogated unto himself authority that
2. In acting on Bagaporo, Jr.s application for release, Judge pertained under the law to an administrative official or agency.
Bugtas supposedly relied on the recognizance of Provincial Jail Warden
Apelado, Sr. and on the other documents submitted in support of the 4. Judge Bugtas contends that his order of release on
convicts application for release on recognizance. Judge Bugtas contends recognizance was correct considering that the convict had already been in
that his act did not constitute a violation since bail was discretionary upon custody for a period equal to the minimum imprisonment meted out by the
conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by trial court. To support his contention, he cites Sec. 16, Rule 114, 2000 Rules
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. of Criminal Procedure, to wit:

The undersigned Investigating Justice does not accept Judge Sec. 16. Bail, when not required; reduced bail
Bugtas good faith because Judge Bugtas was apparently lacking in or recognizance. No bail shall be required when the law
sincerity. He was not unaware that Bagaporo, Jr. was serving final sentence or these Rules so provide.
for which his indeterminate penalty had a minimum of 4 years and 2
months. When Judge Bugtas ordered the release, Bagaporo, Jr. had not yet When a person has been in custody for a
served even the minimum of the indeterminate sentence, a fact that Judge period equal to or more than the possible maximum
Bugtas should have known through a simple process of computation. Even imprisonment prescribed for the offense charged, he
if he was informed of Bagaporo, Jr.s pending application for parole, Judge shall be released immediately, without prejudice to the
Bugtas had no legal basis to anticipate the approval of the application and continuation of the trial or the proceedings on appeal. If
to cause the convicts premature release. He was thus fully aware that the maximum penalty to which the accused may be

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sentenced is destierro, he shall be released after thirty We agree with the Investigating Justice that respondent is guilty of gross ignorance of
(30) days of preventive imprisonment. the law but not as to the recommended penalty.

A person in custody for a period equal to or Respondent is being charged with ignorance of the law for having ordered the release
more than the minimum of the principal penalty of Bagaporo pending approval of the latters application for parole and before his completion of
prescribed for the offense charged, without application the minimum period of the sentence imposed upon him.
of the Indeterminate Sentence Law or any modifying
circumstance, shall be released on a reduced bail or on Respondent contends that his order allowing the release on recognizance of
his own recognizance, at the discretion of the court. Bagaporo is in consonance with the provisions of Section 16, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court
which provides as follows:
The undersigned Investigating Justice opines that Judge Bugtas
contention compounds his already dire situation. He seems to believe that Sec. 16. Bail when not required; reduced bail or recognizance. No
the quoted rule applies to a convict like Bagaporo, Jr. He has no realization bail shall be required when the law or these Rules so provide.
at all (or, if he has, he conceals it) that the rule applies only to an accused
undergoing preventive imprisonment during trial or on appeal; and that the When a person has been in custody for a period equal to or more
rule has absolutely no application to one already serving final sentence. than the possible maximum imprisonment of the offense charged to which
Such ignorance, whether pretended or not, is terrifying to see in a judicial he may be sentenced, he shall be released immediately, without prejudice
officer like Judge Bugtas, a presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court. to the continuation of the trial thereof or the proceedings on appeal. In case
the maximum penalty to which the accused may be sentenced is destierro,
5. Judge Bugtas labors under a mistaken notion about the he shall be released after thirty (30) days of preventive imprisonment.
Indeterminate Sentence Law, that once the convict has been in custody for
the duration of the minimum of the indeterminate sentence, he may be A person in custody for a period equal to or more than the
released even if his application for parole is still pending. He thereby ignores minimum of the principal penalty prescribed for the offense charged, without
that the benefit under the Indeterminate Sentence Law is accorded to the application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law or any modifying
convict only after the Board of Pardon and Parole has determined his circumstance, shall be released on a reduced bail or on his own
application favorably after considering all the cogent circumstances. recognizance, at the discretion of the court.[16]

It is crucial that Judge Bugtas be reminded that the convict must Based on the above-quoted Rule, respondent argues that since Bagaporo had already been in
remain in prison pending the consideration of the convicts application for prison for a period which is equal to the minimum of his sentence, his release on recognizance is
parole by the Board of Pardons and Parole, for there is no assurance of the in order. Respondent also contends that he simply exercised his discretion in allowing Bagaporo
grant of his application. to be released on bail on the strength of the provisions of the first paragraph of Section 5, Rule
114 of the Rules of Court which provides that upon conviction by the RTC of an offense not
6. In any case, Judge Bugtas should have outrightly denied the punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on application, may
application of the convict for release on recognizance not only because the admit the accused to bail.[17]
convict had yet to complete even the minimum of the indeterminate
sentence but also because the convict must serve his sentence even We are not persuaded.
beyond the minimum unless in the meantime the Director of the Bureau of
Corrections granted him the allowances for good conduct that offset the At the outset, it must be noted that Bagaporo was sentenced to suffer the penalty of
unserved portion pursuant to Art. 97 and Art. 99, Revised Penal Code; or imprisonment ranging from four years and two months to eight years and one day. It is not
unless the Board of Pardons and Parole approved the convicts application disputed that he began to serve sentence on February 9, 1996. Counting four years and two
for parole.[14] months from said date the minimum period of Bagaporos sentence should have been completed
on April 9, 2000. Hence, we agree with the observation of the Investigating Justice that it is
Accordingly, the Investigating Justice recommended that respondent be fined in the amount wrong for respondent to claim that Bagaporo had already served the minimum of his sentence at
of P25,000.00.[15] the time that he was granted bail on recognizance, that is, on February 16, 2000. [18]

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Furthermore, it is patently erroneous for respondent to release a convict on We have held time and again that a judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a
recognizance. cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules. [22] It is imperative that he be conversant
with basic legal principles and be aware of well-settled authoritative doctrines.[23] He should
Section 24, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court is plain and clear in prohibiting the grant of strive for excellence exceeded only by his passion for truth, to the end that he be the
bail after conviction by final judgment and after the convict has started to serve sentence. It personification of justice and the rule of law.[24] When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it
provides: to his office to simply apply it; anything less than that would be gross ignorance of the law. [25] In
the present case, we find respondents ignorance or utter disregard of the import of the
provisions of Sections 5, 16 and 24, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court as tantamount to gross
SEC. 24. No bail after final judgment; exception. An accused ignorance of the law and procedure.
shall not be allowed bail after the judgment has become final, unless he has
applied for probation before commencing to serve sentence, the penalty and As to the imposable penalty, Section 8(9), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as
the offense being within the purview of the Probation Law. In case the amended, classifies gross ignorance of the law or procedure as a serious charge. Under Section
accused has applied for probation, he may be allowed temporary liberty 11(A) of the same Rule, the imposable penalty, in case the respondent is found culpable of a
under his bail, but if no bail was filed or the accused is incapable of filing serious charge, ranges from a fine of not less than P20,000.00 but not more than P40,000.00 to
one, the court may allow his release on recognizance to the custody of a dismissal from the service.
responsible member of the community. In no case shall bail be allowed after
the accused has commenced to serve sentence.[19] This is not the first time that respondent judge was found guilty of gross ignorance of
the law and procedure. In Docena-Caspe vs. Bugtas,[26] respondent was fined P20,000.00 for
The only exception to the above-cited provision of the Rules of Court is when the having granted bail to an accused in a murder case without conducting hearing for the purpose
convict has applied for probation before he commences to serve sentence, provided the penalty of determining whether the evidence of guilt is strong. He was warned that a repetition of the
and the offense are within the purview of the Probation Law. same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. Hence, we deem it proper to impose the
penalty of P40,000.00.
In the instant case, there is no showing that Bagaporo applied for probation. In fact at
the time of his application for release on recognizance, he was already serving sentence. When WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Arnulfo O. Bugtas is found guilty of gross ignorance
he was about to complete service of the minimum of his sentence, he filed an application for of the law. He is ordered to pay a FINE in the amount of Forty Thousand Pesos (P40,000.00)
parole. However, there is no evidence to show that the Board of Pardons and Parole approved and is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more
his application. We agree with the Investigating Justice in holding that a convicts release from severely.
prison before he serves the full term of his sentence is either due to good conduct allowances,
as provided under Act No. 1533[20] and Article 97 of the Revised Penal Code, or through the SO ORDERED.
approval of the convicts application for parole. A good conduct allowance under Act No. 1533
and Article 97 of the Revised Penal Code may be granted by the Director of Prisons (now
Director of the Bureau of Corrections), while the approval of an application for parole is
sanctioned by the Board of Pardons and Parole. In addition, a convict may be released from 12. De Leon v. Judge Corpuz, September 14, 2005
prison in cases where he is granted pardon by the President pursuant to the latters pardoning
power under Section 19, Article VII of the Constitution.[21] In the present case, aside from the fact
that there is no evidence to prove that Bagaporos application for parole was approved by the EN BANC
Board of Pardons and Parole, there is neither any showing that he was extended good conduct
allowances by the Director of Prisons, nor was he granted pardon by the President. Hence, there
is no basis for respondent in allowing Bagaporo to be released on recognizance.
[A.M. No. RTJ-03-1780. September 14, 2005]
Moreover, respondent should know that the provisions of Sections 5 and 16, Rule 114
of the Rules of Court apply only to an accused undergoing preventive imprisonment during trial AMADO L. DE LEON, complainant, vs. JUDGE PATROCINIO R. CORPUZ, Regional Trial
or on appeal. They do not apply to a person convicted by final judgment and already serving Court, Branch 44, San Fernando City, Pampanga, respondent.
sentence.
DECISION

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SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: 1. The instant complaint against Judge Patrocinio Corpuz, RTC, Branch 44, San
Fernando City, Pampanga be RE-DOCKETED as a regular administrative
In a complaint[1] dated April 12, 2002, one Amado L. De Leon charged Judge Patrocinio matter; and
Corpuz of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 44, San Fernando City (Pampanga), with
grave abuse of authority. 2. Judge Corpuz be FOUND GUILTY of Grave Abuse of Authority for fixing and
approving bail bonds in Criminal Case Nos. 18143 to 18170 despite the
The complaint alleges that on April 10, 2002, respondent judge approved the application presence of the judge before whom the said cases are pending, in clear
for bail of Noe dela Fuente, accused of fourteen (14) counts of swindling (estafa) and fourteen abuse of Section 17, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court and that he be FINED in
(14) violations of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22[2] before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), Branch 2, the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) with a STERN WARNING
Guagua, Pampanga, docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 18143 to 18170. At the time respondent that a repetition of the same or similar offense in the future shall be dealt with
approved the bail posted for the accused, Judge Jesusa Mylene C. Suba-Isip, Presiding Judge more severely.[3]
of the MTC of Guagua, Branch 2, where the cases were filed, was in her court the whole day.
Hence, she should have been the one to act on the accuseds application for bail, not respondent In our Resolution dated April 7, 2003, we required the parties to manifest, within twenty
judge. (20) days from notice, whether they are submitting the case for decision on the basis of the
pleadings/records submitted.
On April 18, 2002, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) referred the complaint to
Executive Judge Isagani M. Palad of the RTC of Guagua, Pampanga for discreet investigation Only respondent submitted the required manifestation. On April 18, 2004, he retired
and report. compulsorily.

In his Report dated April 30, 2002, Executive Judge Palad stated: Sec. 17, Rule 114 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

That on April 10, 2002, the arrest of accused Noe dela Fuente was effected by SPO2 Enrico SEC.17. Bail, where filed. (a) Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case
Nonato, Warrant Server, PNP Guagua Police Station. Certification is hereto attached as Annex is pending, or in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with any regional trial judge,
D; metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge in the province, city,
or municipality, If the accused is arrested in a province, city, or municipality other than where the
That likewise on even date April 10, 2002, the accused filed his personal bail bonds, provided by case is pending, bail may also be filed with any Regional Trial Court of said place, or if no judge
Summit Guaranty & Insurance Company, Inc., which were approved by Judge Patrocinio R. thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit
Corpuz, RTC, Branch 44, City of San Fernando, Pampanga; on said date Judge Jesusa trial judge.
Mylene C. Suba-Isip reported for duty and very much available for the purpose of In Cruz v. Yaneza,[4] we held:
approving said question subject bail bond of the accused. Copies of the Order, the
Certification and Court Calendar are hereto attached as Annexes E, F, G, H, & I, respectively.
The foregoing provision anticipates two (2) situations. First, the accused is arrested in the same
province, city, or municipality where his case is pending. Second, the accused is arrested in
x x x (Underscoring ours) the province, city, or municipality other than where his case is pending. In the first situation,
In his comment on the complaint, respondent denied the charge or any irregularity in the accused may file bail in the court where his case is pending or, in the absence or
approving the 14 bailbonds of accused Noe dela Fuente. Respondent explained that the unavailability of judge thereof, with another branch of the same court within the province
accused, accompanied by SPO2 Nonato Enrico, appeared before him in his court at about the or city. In the second situation, the accused has two (2) options. First, he may file bail in the
close of office hours on April 10, 2002. They told him that there were no more judges in the court where his case is pending or second, he may file bail with any regional trial court in the
courts of Guagua and that he was the only judge present in the courts of San Fernando City. province, city, or municipality where he was arrested. When no regional trial court judge is
The accused then presented his bail furnished by the Summit Guaranty & Insurance Co., Inc. available, he may file bail with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal
After finding that the bail is in order, he (respondent) issued an Order approving the same. circuit trial judge therein.

Eventually, Deputy Court Administrator Jose P. Perez submitted his Report with the In the instant case, accused Noe dela Fuente was arrested by virtue of the warrants of
following recommendation: arrest[5] all dated April 9, 2002 issued by Judge Isip of the MTC of Guagua, Pampanga, Branch
2, where the cases were then pending. The accused was arrested in the same municipality.
Following the above Rule and our ruling in Cruz, the application for bail should have been filed
with the MTC of Guagua, Branch 2. Significantly, respondent does not dispute that Presiding
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Judge Isip was then present the whole day. If she was absent or unavailable, then the accused Angeles City, Pampanga, Branch 1, on April 19, 2002; (2) Criminal Case No. 56084-89, MTCC
should have filed his application for bail with another branch of the same court within the of Pasig City, Branch 71, on April 23, 2002; (3) Criminal Case No. 12408, RTC of San Fernando
Province of Pampanga or San Fernando City. City, Branch 42, on April 27, 2002; (4) Criminal Case No. 02-088-90, MCTC of Mabalacat-
Magalang, Pampanga, on May 2, 2002; (5) Criminal Cases Nos. 6067-68, MTC of Floridablanca,
Here, we cannot understand why respondent approved the accuseds application without Pampanga, on May 2, 2002; (6) Criminal Case No. 02-3108-9, RTC of Macabebe, Pampanga,
first determining whether MTC Judge Isip is absent or unavailable, and if so, whether there are on May 3, 2002; (7) Criminal Case No. 12439, RTC of San Fernando City, Branch 42, on May
other MTC or MTCC Judges within the province of Pampanga or San Fernando City. 10, 2002; (8) Criminal Case No, 12437, RTC of San Fernando City, Branch 48, on May 10,
Considering his long service in the judiciary, he must have known he has no authority to act on 2002; (9) Criminal Case No. 02-186, RTC of Angeles City, on May 10, 2002; (10) Criminal Case
the accuseds application for bail. No. G-5823, RTC of Guagua, Pampanga, on May 13, 2002; and (11) Criminal Case No. 02-108,
In his Report, DCA Perez stated in his Evaluation that: MCTC of Mabalacat-Magalang, Pampanga, on May 21, 2002. The bailbonds in these cases
were furnished by the First Quezon City Insurance Co., Inc. and Summit Guaranty & Insurance
Co., Inc.
The undersigned believes that the issue here is whether on the basis of the previous approval of
bailbonds by Judge Patrocinio Corpuz, Section 17, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court was abused In granting bail, it is imperative that a judge be conversant with the procedures provided by
by the said judge. the Rules and basic legal principles. A judge presiding over a court of law must not only apply
the law but must also live by it.[6] The exacting standards of conduct demanded from judges are
After a careful evaluation of the record of this case, the undersigned is of the opinion that there designed to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. [7] When
are good grounds to believe that the aforementioned section of the Rules of Court was indeed the judge himself becomes a transgressor of the law which he is sworn to apply, he places his
abused by Judge Corpuz. Section 17, Rule 114 provides that: office in disrepute, encourages disrespect for the law and impairs public confidence in the
integrity of the judiciary itself.[8]

SEC.17. Bail, where filed. (a) Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case Sad to say, respondent failed to live by the above standards when he approved accused
is pending, or in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with any regional trial judge, dela Fuentes bailbonds and issued release orders without authority and in breach of the Rules.
metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge in the province, city,
or municipality. x x x Section 8, Rule 140 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, provides:

Under the afore-cited section, it is very clear that Judge Corpuz can only act on applications for SEC. 8. Serious charges. - Serious charges include:
bailbond in the absence or unavailability of the judge of the court where the cases are pending.
xxx
The latter is primarily responsible for approving/disapproving such applications for bail due to the
pendency of the said cases in his/her court. Judge Corpuz can only act secondarily. Also, it must
be shown that the judge of the Court where the cases are pending is indeed absent or 3. Gross misconduct constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct;
unavailable before another judge can act on applications for bail lodged before him. The
xxx
undersigned believes that Judge Corpuz failed in this aspect. He should have called first
the presiding judge of MTC, Branch 2, Guagua, Pampanga (Judge Jesusa Mylene C. Respondent judge committed gross misconduct by blatantly disregarding the Rules and
Suba-Isip) and inquired whether the latter is absent or unavailable before he acted on the settled jurisprudence. Such offense has been defined as the transgression of some established
application for bailbonds in Criminal Cases Nos. 18143 to 18170. As shown by the Report or definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence.[9] In Spouses
dated 30 April 2002 submitted by Executive Judge Isagani M. Palad, RTC, Guagua, Adriano and Hilda Monterola v. Judge Jose F. Caoibes, Jr.,[10] we ruled: The observance of the
Pampanga, bailbonds for Criminal Cases Nos. 18143 to 18170 (28 counts) entitled People law, which respondent judge ought to know, is required of every judge. When the law is
of the Philippines vs. Noe dela Fuente for Violation of B.P. 22, were indeed approved by sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it; x x x failure to consider a
Judge Corpuz despite the fact that Judge Jesusa Mylene C. Suba-Isip, the judge who basic and elementary rule, a law or principle in the discharge of his duties, a judge is
issued the warrant of arrest, was very much available for the purpose of approving said either too incompetent and undeserving of the position and the title he holds or is too
bailbond. (Underscoring ours) viscious that the oversight or omission was deliberately done in bad faith and in grave
abuse of judicial authority.
We find respondents protestation of good faith and eagerness to uphold the constitutional
right of an accused to bail bereft of merit. Records show that he likewise granted bail to all the Canon 1 (Rule 1.01) of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that a judge should be the
accused in the following cases: (1) Criminal Case No. 00-33639, pending before the MTCC of embodiment of competence, integrity and independence. Canon 3 states that A judge should

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perform his official duties honestly and with impartiality and diligence. By his actuations, LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and
respondent judge has shown his lack of integrity and diligence, thereby blemishing the image of BRION, JJ.
the judiciary.
JUDGE CESAR M. DUMLAO,
Under Section 8, Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court, gross misconduct is classified Municipal Trial Court, Promulgated:
as a serious charge. As to the penalty to be imposed, Section 11, A (3) of the same Rule San Mateo, Isabela,
provides: Respondent. June 19, 2008
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
SEC. 11. Sanctions. A. If the respondent is guilty of a serious charge, any of the following
sanctions may be imposed: DECISION

xxx PER CURIAM:

3. A fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00. This is a complaint for gross ignorance of the law filed by Ester F. Barbero (Barbero) against
Judge Cesar M. Dumlao (Judge Dumlao), Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court, San
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Patrocinio R. Corpuz, now retired, is found GUILTY of Mateo, Isabela.
gross misconduct and is hereby FINED in the amount of Forty Thousand Pesos (P40,000.00) to Barbero filed a criminal case[1] for estafa against a certain Herman A. Medina (Medina). The
be deducted from his retirement benefits. case was raffled to Judge Anastacio D. Anghad (Judge Anghad), Presiding Judge of the
SO ORDERED. Regional Trial Court (RTC), Judicial Region II, Branch 36, Santiago City, Isabela. On 19
February 2003, Judge Anghad issued a warrant of arrest[2] commanding the proper officer to
arrest Medina.
13. Barbero v. Judge Dumlao, June 19, 2008
Medina was arrested by virtue of the warrant of arrest. However,
Judge Dumlao approved Medinas bail and, on 9 May 2003, issued an order[3] commanding the
E N B AN C Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Philippine National Police to
release Medina. Barbero alleged that Judge Dumlaos approval of Medinas bail and his order to
release Medinawere unlawful.
ESTER F. BARBERO, A.M. No. MTJ-07-1682
On 15 July 2003, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) received an affidavit-
Complainant,
complaint[4] from Barbero charging Judge Dumlao with gross ignorance of the law. In its
1stIndorsement[5] dated 7 August 2003, the OCA directed Judge Dumlao to comment on the
Present:
affidavit-complaint. Judge Dumlao ignored the 1st Indorsement. In its 1st Tracer[6]dated 11
November 2003, the OCA directed Judge Dumlao to comment on the affidavit-
PUNO, C.J.,
complaint. Judge Dumlao ignored the 1st Tracer. In its 2nd Tracer[7] dated 10 March 2004, the
QUISUMBING,
OCA directed Judge Dumlao to comment on the affidavit-complaint. Judge Dumlao ignored the
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
2nd Tracer. In a Resolution[8] dated 6 April 2005, the Court directed Judge Dumlao to comment
CARPIO,
on the affidavit-complaint and to show cause why he should not be administratively dealt with for
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
ignoring the OCAs directives. Judge Dumlaoignored the 6 April 2005 Resolution.
CORONA,
CARPIO MORALES,
In a Resolution[9] dated 17 August 2005, the Court reiterated its 6 April
- versus - AZCUNA,
2005 Resolution. Judge Dumlao ignored the 17 August 2005 Resolution. In a Resolution dated 6
TINGA,
February 2006, the Court fined Judge Dumlao P500 for ignoring its directives and directed
CHICO-NAZARIO,
Judge Dumlao to comply with the 17 August 2005 Resolution. Judge Dumlao ignored the 6
VELASCO, JR.,
February 2006 Resolution. In Resolutions dated 18 September 2006 and 19 February 2007, the
NACHURA,
Court considered Judge Dumlao to have waived his right to comment on the affidavit-complaint
REYES,
and resolved to proceed with the administrative case based on the pleadings already filed.
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filed with another branch of the RTC in Santiago City or with the RTC of San Mateo,
The Court finds Judge Dumlao liable for gross ignorance of the law and for violation of Court respectively.[11]
directives.
Since the criminal case was pending before the RTC of Santiago City and there was no showing
Section 17(a), Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides: that Judge Anghad of the RTC was absent or unavailable, Judge Dumlao lacked authority to
approve the bail and order Medinas release.
SEC. 17. Bail, where filed. (a) Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the
court where the case is pending, or in the absence or unavailability of the Barbero alleged that Judge Dumlaos acts of approving Medinas bail and ordering Medinas
judge thereof, with any regional trial judge, metropolitan trial judge, release were not in accordance with law:
municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge in the province, city, or
municipality. If the accused is arrested in a province, city, or municipality [N]apag-alaman ko x x x na [si Medina] ay basta na lang pinakawalan ni x x
other than where the case is pending, bail may also be filed with any x Judge Cesar M. Dumlao ng Municipal Trial Court ng San Mateo, Isabela x
regional trial court of said place, or if no judge thereof is available, with any x x;
metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge
therein. [A]ng ginawa ni Judge Cesar M. Dumlao ay hindi naaayon sa batas
sapagkat wala siyang kapangyarihang pakawalan x x x [si Medina];

[N]apag-alaman ko rin na ang pagrerelease na ginawa ni Judge Dumlao ay


In Cruz v. Judge Yaneza,[10] the Court held that: base sa [bail] na ipinakita sa kanya;

There are prerequisites to be complied with. First, the application for bail [S]a akin pong pagkakaalam, lahat po ng [bail] sa criminal
must be filed in the court where the case is pending. In the absence or cases ay dapat aksyunan at aprubahan ng hukom o judge na siyang may h
unavailability of the judge thereof, the application for bail must be filed awak ng asunto;
with another branch of the same court within the province or
city. Second, if the accused is arrested in a province, city or municipality xxxx
other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed with any regional
trial court of the place. (Emphasis ours) [K]ung maaari po sana, dahil sa kawalang respeto [ni Judge] Cesar
The criminal case Barbero filed against Medina was pending before M. Dumlao sa ating batas x x x, ipinakikiusap [ko] na sana ay imbestigahan
the RTC of Santiago City. Judge Anghad of the RTC issued the warrant of arrest, ang nasabing pagmamalabis at kawalan ngrespeto[.]
and Medina was arrested by virtue of that warrant.

Section 3, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides that no person under detention by legal
process shall be released except when he is admitted to bail. Section 19 provides that the The Court directed Judge Dumlao several times to comment
accused must be discharged upon approval of the bail by the judge with whom it was filed in on Barberos allegations. Judge Dumlao opted to ignore all of the Courts directives. By his
accordance with Section 17. Section 17 provides that the bail may be filed with the court where silence, Judge Dumlaoadmitted the truth of the allegations. In Palon, Jr. v. Vallarta,[12] the Court
the case is pending, unless (1) the judge in that court is absent or unavailable, or (2) the held that silence is admission of the truth of the charges:
accused is arrested in a province, city, or municipality other than where the case is pending. If
the judge is absent or unavailable, the bail should be filed with another branch of the same Respondent judge failed to comment on the complaint or file any responsive
court. If the accused is arrested in a province, city, or municipality other than where the case is pleading or manifestation despite receipt of notice to do so. x x x The natural
pending, the bail should be filed with any RTC of the place. instinct of man impels him to resist an unfounded claim or imputation and
defend himself. It is against human nature to just remain reticent and say
In the present case, there was no showing that Judge Anghad was absent or unavailable or nothing in the face of false accusations. Hence, silence x x x is an
that Medina was arrested outside Santiago City. Thus, Medinas bail should have been filed with admission of the truth of the charges. Respondent judge is deemed to
Judge Anghad. Even if Judge Anghad were absent or unavailable or even if Medina were have admitted the charges against him. (Emphasis ours)
arrested in San Mateo, Judge Dumlao would still be liable because the bail should have been

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any public office, including government-owned or controlled corporations; (2) suspension from
office without salary and other benefits for more than three but not exceeding six months; or (3)
This is the second time Judge Dumlao unlawfully approved the bail and ordered the release a fine of more than P20,000 but not exceeding P40,000.[17]
of Medina. The instant case has exactly the same set of facts as Lim v. Dumlao.[13] In that case
(1) complainant filed two criminal cases for carnapping and theft against Medina; (2) the criminal Aside from Lim, the Court also found Judge Dumlao grossly ignorant of the law in Pascual v.
cases were filed with the RTC, Judicial Region II, Branch 35, Santiago City, Isabela; (3) Judge Judge Dumlao.[18] In that case, Judge Dumlao (1) hastily ordered the issuance of a temporary
Fe Albano Madrid of the RTC issued a warrant of arrest against Medina; (4) Medina was restraining order (TRO) without notice and hearing; (2) ordered the issuance of the TRO even
arrested by virtue of the warrant of arrest; (5) Judge Dumlao approved the bail of Medina; and though there was no showing of any grave or irreparable injury; (3) hastily granted a motion to
(6) Judge Dumlao ordered the release of Medina. deposit harvest without notice and hearing; and (4) failed to order the sheriff to render an
accounting of the harvest.
In Lim,[14] the Court held that:
Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary provides that
It is not disputed that the criminal cases filed by complainant against competence is a prerequisite to the due performance of judicial office. Judge Dumlaolacks this
Herman Medina were pending before prerequisite.
the Regional Trial Court of Santiago City, Isabela, Branch 35. In fact, the
warrant of arrest was issued by Judge Fe Albano Madrid, presiding judge of Judge Dumlao disrespected the Court by repeatedly refusing to comment on the affidavit-
the said court. The order of release therefore, on account of the posting of complaint. In its 1st Indorsement dated 7 August 2003, 1st Tracer dated 11 November 2003, and
the bail, should have been issued by that court, or in the absence or 2nd Tracer dated 10 March 2004, the OCA directed Judge Dumlao to comment on the affidavit-
unavailability of Judge Madrid, by another branch of complaint. In its Resolutions dated 6 April 2005, 17 August 2005, and 6 February 2006, the
an RTC in Santiago City. In this case, however, there is no proof that Judge Court fined Judge Dumlao P500, directed him to comment on the affidavit-complaint, and
Madrid was absent or unavailable at the time of the posting of the bail directed him to show cause why he should not be administratively dealt with for refusing to
bond. In fact, complainant Lim avers that on the day [Judge Dumlao] comment. Judge Dumlao unjustifiably ignored all six directives.
ordered the release of Medina, Judge Madrid and all the judges of
the RTC of Santiago City, Isabelawere at their respective posts. Court resolutions directing judges to comment on administrative complaints are not mere
requests. Judges are duty-bound to obey them fully and promptly.[19] In refusing to comment on
It is elementary that a municipal trial court judge has no authority to the affidavit-complaint for almost five years and despite several directives from the Court,
grant bail to an accused arrested outside of his territorial Judge Dumlao blatantly demonstrated gross misconduct, outright disrespect, indifference, and a
jurisdiction. The requirements of Section 17(a), Rule 114 x x x must be recalcitrant streak in his character.[20]
complied with before a judge may grant bail. The Court recognizes that
not every judicial error bespeaks ignorance of the law and that, if This is the third time Judge Dumlao disrespected the Court. In Office of the Court Administrator
committed in good faith, does not warrant administrative sanction, but v. Dumlao,[21] the Court found him liable for ignoring its directives. In that case, the Court held
only in cases within the parameters of tolerable that:
misjudgment. Where x x x the law is straightforward and the facts so
evident, not to know it or to act as if one does not know it constitutes It appears that Judge Dumlao ignored and continued to ignore this
gross ignorance of the law. Courts directive requiring him to file his comment on
complainant Sinaon, Jr.s administrative complaint. He had been afforded
[Judge Dumlao] undeniably erred in approving the bail and issuing the more than ample time within which to file the required
order of release. He is expected to know that certain requirements pleading. x x x [S]everal Resolutions had been issued by the OCA and this
ought to be complied with before he can approve Medinas bail and Court requiring Judge Dumlao to comment on the complaint against
issue an order for his release. The law involved is rudimentary that it him. The first Resolution was issued as early as 2 August 2002 and the last
leaves little room for error. (Emphasis ours) was issued almost three years later, or 5 July 2005, by which time, the
Court already deemed waived Judge Dumlaos right to file his comment and
The acts of approving bail and ordering the release of accused whose cases are pending before considered the case submitted for decision based on the pleadings
other courts constitute gross ignorance of the law.[15] Gross ignorance of the law is a serious filed. Subsequently, Judge Dumlao again failed to comply with the order of
offense[16] punishable by (1) dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of the benefits, this Court to file his manifestation in the re-docketed administrative
except accrued leave credits, and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to complaint (concerning his non-filing of the comment) despite due notice.
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judiciary and brings it to public contempt, dishonor or disrespect and must


Judge Dumlao had been given more than ample time to abide with the then be administratively dealt with and punished accordingly.
orders of this Court, yet he persistently failed to do
so. Judge Dumlao neither offered any reason nor raised any defense
for his failure to comply with the mandates of this Court. Nothing was
heard from Judge Dumlao as to what had prevented him from Judge Dumlao has amply demonstrated his incorrigibility and unfitness to be a judge. He is
complying with the Courts directives. Such insolence should not go undeterred by the several penalties and stern warnings the Court has given him. The Court will
unpunished. (Emphasis ours) not hesitate to impose the ultimate penalty for it cannot tolerate any conduct that diminishes the
faith of the people in the judicial system.[26]

In Lim,[22] the Court also found Judge Dumlao liable for ignoring its directives. In that case, the WHEREFORE, the Court finds Judge Cesar M. Dumlao, Municipal Trial Court, San
Court held that, We agree with the OCA that [Judge Dumlao] must be held administratively liable Mateo, Isabela, GUILTY of GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW and VIOLATION OF
for his unjustified failure to comment on an administrative complaint. This constitutes gross SUPREME COURT DIRECTIVES. Accordingly, the Court DISMISSES him from the service,
misconduct and insubordination. with forfeiture of all benefits except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to reinstatement or
appointment to any public office including government-owned or controlled corporations.
Violation of Supreme Court directives is a less serious offense [23] punishable by (1) suspension
from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one nor more than three months, or SO ORDERED.
(2) a fine of more than P10,000 but not exceeding P20,000.[24]
Aside from Lim, Pascual, and Office of the Court Administrator, Judge Dumlao has another
administrative case decided against him. In Morales, Sr. v. Judge Dumlao,[25] the Court found
him liable for violating SC Administrative Circular No. 1-90. In that case, the Court held that: 14. Cruz v. Yaneza, March 9, 1999

[Judge Dumlaos] claim that he did not know how he inadvertently signed the
notarized revocation of power of attorney in this case betrays a deficiency of
that degree of circumspection demanded of all those who don the judicial EN BANC
robe. It is, in fact, an open admission of his negligence and lack of care in
attending to the incidents brought before him for adjudication. This kind of
judicial carelessness runs contrary to Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, which states that: [A.M. No. MTJ-99-1175. March 9, 1999]

A judge should perform official duties honestly, and with VICTORINO CRUZ, complainant, vs. JUDGE REYNOLD Q. YANEZA, MeTC, Branch 54,
impartiality and diligence. [(Emphasis ours)] Navotas, Metro Manila, respondent.

While we do not expect judges to have an encyclopedic recollection of DECISION


applicable laws, jurisprudence or administrative circulars we issue
periodically in the discharge of their responsibilities, they nevertheless have PER CURIAM:
the bounden duty to keep abreast with the law and the changes therein as
RAFFY TULFO of Radio DZXL furnished the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) with
well as the decisions of this Court. As a trial judge, [Judge Dumlao] is the
a copy of the unsworn letter-complaint of a certain Victorino Cruz, complainant herein, dated 13
visible representation of law and justice. Under Canon 1.01 of the Code of
March 1998 against respondent JUDGE REYNOLD Q. YANEZA of MeTC-Br. 54, Navotas,
Judicial Conduct he is expected to be the embodiment of competence,
Metro Manila. Cruz complained of the alleged irregular approval of bail bonds and issuance of
integrity and independence to maintain public confidence in the legal
release orders by Judge Yaneza in violation of Sec. 17, Rule 114, of the Rules on Criminal
system.
Procedure.

Inefficient judges are equally impermissible in the judiciary as the


incompetent and dishonest ones. Any of them tarnishes the image of the
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On 17 June 1998 the OCA referred the letter-complaint to Executive Judge Benjamin M. Br. 107, Quezon City, and issued a release order although the accused was detained at
Aquino Jr. of RTC-Br. 72, Malabon, Metro Manila, with instructions to conduct a discreet the PNP-CPDO, Camp Karingal, Quezon City. The release order was issued at 7:40 p.m.
investigation.
11. On 3 July 1998 Judge Yaneza approved the bail bond of Librada Natividad who
In a Report dated 27 July 1998 Judge Aquino confirmed that Judge Yaneza had been was accused in Crim. Case nos. (30)50301-20 pending before MeTC-Br. 39, Quezon City,
improperly approving bail bonds and irregularly issuing release orders for accused whose cases and correspondingly issued a release order therefor although accused was detained at the
were pending outside of his jurisdiction, to wit: DILG-BJMP, NCR, Valenzuela Municipal Jail. The release order was issued at 7:15 p.m.

1. At 5:25 p.m. on 25 August 1997 Judge Yaneza issued a release order for Dario 12. At 7:25 p.m. on 3 July 1998 Judge Yaneza approved two (2) bail bonds and
Daquilog y Mabalacad who was detained at the DILG-PARAC Detention Center in issued the release order of Carlito Baydo y Cabiong who was detained at the Baler Police
connection with Crim. Case No. Q-97-72204 pending before RTC-Br. 218, Quezon City. Station, Quezon City in connection with Crim. Cases Nos. Q-98-77603-04 pending before
RTC-Br. 80, Quezon City.
2. On 11 February 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a consolidated order in Crim. Cases
Nos. 7992-AF, 7994-AF, 7995-AF of RTC-Brs. 26, 24, 28 and 86, Cabanatuan City, 13. At 5:45 p.m. on 15 July 1998 Judge Yaneza approved the bail and issued the
commanding the release of the accused Consolacion F. de la Cruz, detained at the PNP- release order of Elenita Bacares y Lambino in connection with Crim. Cases Nos. 2072-
CIG Detention Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City. In Crim. Case No. 7995-AF no bail 2087 pending before RTC-Br. 34, Gapan, Nueva Ecija. The accused was detained at the
was recommended for the provisional liberty of de la Cruz. Also, the bail bonds were PNP-CPD CID, Camp Karingal, Sikatuna, Quezon City.
presented to respondent Judge in his office at 7:00 p.m.
14. On 17 July 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a release order for Adriano
3. At 1:30 p.m. on 28 February 1998, a Saturday, Judge Yaneza issued a release Dizon y Santos who was detained at the PNP-CPDO, Quezon City in connection with
order relative to Crim. Cases Nos. 28102-22 pending before MeTC-Br. 34, Quezon Crim. Cases No. 98-90795 pending before MeTC-Br. 41, Quezon City.
City. The accused was detained at PNP-BDO, Camp Karingal, Sikatuna, Quezon City.
15. On 17 July 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a release order for Adonis Malacora who
4. On 21 March 1998, a Saturday, Judge Yaneza issued a release order for Henry was detained at the PNP-NPDO, Malabon Police Station, Malabon, Metro Manila, in
Lasay who was detained at the PNP-WPD, U.N. Avenue, Manila, in connection with Crim. connection with Crim. Case No. 89005 pending before MeTC-Br. 41, Quezon City.
Case Nos. 14111-14116 pending before RTC-Br. 48, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
16. On 17 July 1998 Judge Yaneza approved the bail bond of Manuel E.
5. On 5 April 1998, a Saturday, Judge Yaneza issued a release order relative to Fabros y Deliquiado, then detained at the Central Police District Police Station No. 7,
Crim. Case No. 2618 pending before RTC-Br. 34, Balaoan, La Union. Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City, in connection with Crim. Case No. 98-90729
pending before MeTC-Br. 41, Quezon City.
6. On 8 April 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a release order relative to Crim. Case Nos.
080-98 to 099-98 pending before MTC-Balagtas, Bulacan. 17. On 19 July 1998, a Sunday, Judge Yaneza issued a release order to Teresita
Agayatin y Ayuntan who was detained at the PNP-WPD Warrant Section, U.N. Avenue,
7. On 16 June 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a release order relative to Crim. Case Manila, in connection with Crim. Case No. 98-0714 pending before RTC-Br. 118, Pasay
No. 41-98 pending before RTC-Br. 5, Lemery, Batangas while the corresponding JDF fees City.
were not paid. The accused was detained at PNP-WPD, U.N. Avenue, Manila.
18. On 21 July 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a release order for Maria Luz
8. On 23 June 1998 Judge Yaneza also approved the bail bond for Julieta Sta. Catindig y Gamboa, then detained at the PNP-CIDG, NCR, Camp Crame, Quezon City, in
Maria y Moya who is charged in Crim. Case No. 90381 pending before MeTC-Br. 41, connection with Crim. Case No. 98-086 pending before RTC-Pasay City.
Quezon City, while the accused was detained at the Quezon City Jail-Station 7, Araneta
Center, Cubao, Quezon City. 19. On 21 July 1998, at 6:05 p.m. Judge Yaneza issued a release order for Jerry
Chan y Victoriano who was detained at the PNP-NPD, Malabon Police Station, Malabon,
9. On 23 June 1998 Judge Yaneza approved the bail bond of Melissa Laurente Metro Manila, in connection with Crim. Case No. 7656-98 pending before MeTC-Br. 56,
Manlangit who was charged with Crim. Case No. Q-98-77419 before the RTC-Br. 87, Malabon.
Quezon City. Laurente at that time was detained at the Quezon City Jail-Araneta Police
Station, Cubao, Quezon City. 20. On 25 August 1998 Judge Yaneza approved the bail bond relative to Crim. Case
No. RC-0135-Cr. Pending before his sala despite non-payment of JDF fees.
10. On 2 July 1998 Judge Yaneza approved the bail bond of Hassan
Hussin y Sabdani who was accused in Crim. Case No. Q-98-77567 pending before RTC-

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21. On 23 September 1998 a release order was issued relative to Crim. Case No. 1. Crim. Cases Nos. 7-835 to 7-837-98 for BP 22 pending before the MTC of Sta.
98-0045-CR pending before the sala of Judge Yaneza despite non-payment of JDF fees. Maria, Bulacan;

22. At 6:05 p.m. on 7 October 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a release order relative to 2. Crim. Cases Nos. 7-838 to 7-843-98 for BP 22 also pending before the MTC of
Crim. Case No. 9947 pending before the RTC of Malabon while the corresponding JDF Sta. Maria, Bulacan; and
fees were not paid.
3. Crim. Case No. 7528 for falsification of public documents pending before the
The accused had already been convicted in Crim. Cases Nos. 18045-46 pending MCTC, Nabua, Camarines Sur.
before Executive Judge Aquino but because of the bail bond approved and the order
issued by Judge Yaneza, the accused was released. Perhaps due to the brewing antagonism which further strained the relationship between
respondent Judge and his branch clerk of court, the former issued Office Order No. 04-98
23. On 18 October 1998 Judge Yaneza issued a release order relative to Crim. authorizing four (4) of his court personnel, aside from the clerk of court and cash clerk, to receive
Case No. 20933 pending before the RTC of Malabon while the corresponding JDF fees payments and issue official receipts relative to docket and other fees paid by litigants. Because
were not paid. the personnel thus designated by respondent Judge were not bonded, hence not authorized by
law to receive payments, the OCA on 31 August 1998 directed respondent Judge to desist and
24. On 19 October 1998 and relative to Crim. Cases Nos. 189164-66 pending refrain from implementing his Office Order No. 04-98.
before MeTC-Br. 50, Caloocan City, Judge Yaneza issued a release order while the
corresponding JDF fees were not paid. Thereafter, on 15 September 1998, respondent Judges Clerk of Court Roman M. Gatbalite
submitted copies of bail bonds approved and release orders issued by respondent Judge for
25. On 9 November 1998 at 6:10 p.m. Judge Yaneza issued a release order relative cases pending incourts outside his jurisdiction
to Crim. Cases Nos. 7751-98 pending before MeTC-Br. 55, Malabon.
1. Crim. Case No. 90-591 pending before MTC-Br. II, Angeles City;
In his answer dated 13 August 1998 Judge Yaneza admits having approved bail bonds
posted by the accused who were detained outside of Navotas and whose cases were pending in 2. Crim. Case No. 98-2419 pending before RTC-Br. 273, Marikina City; and
courts outside of his jurisdiction. Nevertheless, according to him, he approved the bail bonds and
issued corresponding release orders in good faith and not for any pecuniary consideration. He 3. Crim. Cases Nos. 14111-14116 pending before RTC-Br. 48, Puerto Princesa,
maintains that there is nothing irregular in his conduct as it did not in any way prejudice the Palawan.
rights of the other litigants. Furthermore, he claims that he only approved the bail bonds and Notably, in addition to the instant case, respondent Judge Yaneza along with his Staff
issued release orders for personal fulfillment and spiritual satisfaction in extending expeditious Clerk Bethsaida Miranda is confronted with another administrative complaint docketed as OCA
assistance to the hapless and pitiful detention prisoners. He condemns the filing of the instant IPI No. 98-586 filed by spouses Rogelio and Elvira Conje for extorting money from complainant-
letter-complaint, with complainant hiding behind the anonymity of a fictitious name and intended spouses in consideration of the approval of their application for bail in Crim. Cases Nos. RC-
merely to embarrass and malign respondents integrity. 0058-71 pending before his sala. The complaint has yet to be resolved.
Moreover, Judge Yaneza alleges that he is constrained to work overtime, sometimes even After a thorough evaluation, together with the independent investigation and report of
Saturdays and Sundays, because he has lost trust and confidence in his clerk of court who is Executive Judge Aquino, the OCA found
allegedly incompetent and lacks dedication to his work. He avers that it is during his overtime
work that requests for action on bail bonds are normally presented. In the questioned bail bonds
he issued, he was almost overwhelmed with pity as the accused were usually poor, oppressed The records of the instant administrative case sufficiently provide a conclusive basis for
and beleaguered, hence, he approved their bail bonds. respondent judges administrative liability. His unlawful act of approving the bail bond and
ordering the release of an accused charged with an explicitly non-bailable offense pending in
Notwithstanding the letter-complaint of Victorino Cruz, and in stubborn defiance of this another court far away from his station is an anomaly so glaring on a matter so basic that to
Court's directive for him to explain his anomalous approval of bail bonds and consequent suggest that the act was done in gross ignorance is to insult even the most nave. To offer as an
issuance of release orders, Judge Yaneza continued with his misconduct and wrongdoing. On excuse to this Court that he did so, not out of ignorance, but in good faith is to administer a
27 August 1998 Executive Judge Benjamin M. Aquino, Jr. reported that Judge Yaneza approved double insult to common sense x x x x
the bail bonds and issued release orders in the following cases in various courts outside his
jurisdiction, to wit: Clearly, respondent judge cannot justify his actions of approving bail bonds and issuing release
orders of accused persons detained outside of his territorial jurisdiction and who have pending
cases in other courts on the pretext of a feigned authority under the rules. For the rule is clear
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and does not permit the liberal interpretation that respondent judge claims he is entitled to apply (1) Crim. Cases Nos. 7992-AF, 7994-AF, 7995-AF are pending in RTC-Brs. 24, 26,
to the rules. The unjustified and unlawful acts of respondent judge in the premises constitute 28 and 86 of Cabanatuan City while the accused was detained at the PNP-CIG Detention
grave misconduct amounting to corruption. The acts complained of were in persistent and patent Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City.Significantly, no bail was recommended in these
disregard of the well-known legal rules that compassion and pity which purportedly motivated cases.
him to approve the bail bonds and to release the accused in illegal circumstances will not serve
to exonerate him from administrative liability. Respondent judges actions were corrupt and were (2) Crim. Cases Nos. 28102-22 are pending before MeTC-Br. 34 of Quezon City
indeed motivated by an intention to violate the law. The issuance of the questioned release while the accused was detained at PNP-BDO, Camp Karingal, Quezon City.
orders after office hours, during Saturdays or Sundays and at the residence of respondent judge (3) Crim. Cases Nos. 14111-14116 are pending before RTC-Br. 48, Puerto Princesa
is indisputably irregular, unlawful and anomalous and is totally inconsistent with any claim of City, Palawan while the accused was detained at WPD, U.N. Avenue, Manila.
good faith in the performance of his judicial functions.
(4) Crim. Case no. 41-98 is pending before RTC-Br. 5, Lemery, Batangas while the
Despite the filing of this administrative complaint and even after his attention was called to the accused was detained at PNP-WPD, U.N. Avenue, Manila.
matter, respondent judge has continued approving bail bonds and issuing release orders for
(5) Crim. Case No. 90381 is pending before MeTC-Br. 41, Quezon City while
cases outside of his jurisdiction. These willful transgressions of the law are absolutely
accused was detained at the Quezon City Jail, Station 7, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon
reprehensible and definitely inexcusable x x x
City.
The OCA then recommended that an investigation on the bonding companies that usually
(6) Crim. Case No. Q-98-77419 is pending before RTC-Br. 87, Quezon City while
flocked the sala of respondent Judge be conducted and Judge Yaneza be immediately
accused was detained at the Quezon City Jail, Araneta Police Station, Cubao, Quezon
dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all leave and retirement benefits and privileges with
City.
prejudice to reinstatement or re-employment in any branch, agency or instrumentality of the
government, including government-owned and controlled corporations. (7) Crim. Case No. Q-98-77567 is pending before RTC-Br. 107, Quezon City while
accused was detained at PNP-CPDO, Camp Karingal, Quezon City.
Section 17, par. (a), of Rule 114, as amended by Administrative Circular No. 12-94,
provides: (8) Crim. Cases Nos. (30)50301-20 are pending before MeTC-Br. 39, Quezon City
while accused was detained at DILG-BJMP, NCR, Valenzuela Municipal Jail.
(a) Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case is pending,
or, in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with another branch of the same (9) Crim. Cases Nos. Q-98-77603-04 are pending before RTC-Br. 80, Quezon City
court within the province or city. If the accused is arrested in a province, city or while accused was detained at Baler Police Station, Quezon City.
municipality other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed also with any regional
trial court of said place, or, if no judge thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial (10) Crim. Cases Nos. 2072-2087 are pending before RTC-Br. 34, Gapan, Nueva
judge, municipal trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein. Ecija, while accused was detained at the PNP-CPD CID, Camp Karingal, Sikatuna,
Quezon City.
The foregoing provision anticipates two (2) situations. First, the accused is arrested in the
same province, city or municipality where his case is pending. Second, the accused is arrested (11) Crim. Case No. 98-90795 is pending before MeTC-Br. 41, Quezon City while
in the province, city or municipality other than where his case is pending. In the first situation, the accused was detained at the PNP-CPDO, Quezon City.
accused may file bail in the court where his case is pending or, in the absence or unavailability
(12) Crim. Case No. 89005 is pending before MeTC-Br. 41, Quezon City while
of the judge thereof, with another branch of the same court within the province or city. In the
accused was detained at the PNP-NPDO, Malabon Police Station, Malabon.
second situation, the accused has two (2) options. First, he may file bail in the court where his
case is pending or, second, he may file bail with any regional trial court in the province, city or (13) Crim. Case No. 98-90729 is pending before MeTC-Br. 41, Quezon City while
muncipality where he was arrested. When no regional trial court judge is available, he may file accused was detained at the CPD, Station 7, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.
bail with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein.
(14) Crim. Case No. 98-0714 is pending before RTC-Br. 118 of Pasay City while
Interestingly, almost all the cases wherein respondent Judge approved bail bonds and accused was detained at the PNP-WPD Warrant Section, U.N. Avenue, Manila.
issued release orders were not pending before his sala. To complicate matters, the accused
were neither arrested nor detained within the territorial jurisdiction of respondent Judges court (15) Crim. Case No. 98-086 is pending before RTC-Pasay City while accused was
detained at the PNP-CIDG, NCR, Camp Crame, Quezon City.

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(16) Crim. Case No. 7656-98 is pending before MeTC-Br. 56 in Malabon while appellate jurisdiction. The power herein granted shall be exercised with a view to making the
accused was detained at the PNP-NPD, Malabon Police Station, Malabon. courts readily accessible to the people of the different parts of the region and making the
attendance of litigants and witnesses as inexpensive as possible (emphasis supplied).
There were also cases pending before the courts in La Union, Bulacan and
Caloocan. Unfortunately, it cannot be determined from available records whether the accused in Such prerogative was exercised by this Court when it issued Administrative Order No. 3 defining
the aforementioned cases were arrested in a place within respondent Judges territorial the territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts in the National Capital Region[2] thus
jurisdiction.
1. Branches I to LXXXII, inclusive, with seats at Manila over the City of Manila only.
In any case, respondent Judge claims in his Supplemental Explanation that he approved
the bail bonds mainly in good faith interpretation and application of Section 17 in relation to 2. Branches LXXXIII to CVII, inclusive, with seats Quezon City over Quezon City
Section 19, Rule114 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, and that it was never his intention to only.
disregard the right accorded to the State and the private complainant to be given the opportunity 3. Branches CVIII to CXIX, inclusive, with seats at Pasay City over Pasay City only.
to oppose the grant of bail to the accused in some instances. On the same note, he attempts to
impress upon this Court that, in all instances that (he) was asked to approve bail x x x (he) 4. Branches CXX to CXXXI, inclusive, with seats at Caloocan City over Caloocan
conscientiously and carefully examined the documents thus presented xxx for xxx evaluation to City only.
ascertain compliance with the said Rule (114).
5. Branches CXXXII to CL, inclusive, with seats at Makati over the Municipalities of
We believe otherwise. Judge Yaneza cannot shield himself from the consequences of his Las Pias, Makati, Muntinlupa, and Paraaque.
persistent deviant activities by the simple invocation of good faith and the supplication that he
was only moved by pity for the poor and forsaken accused. The numerous cases and series of 6. Branches CLI to CLXVIII, inclusive, with seats at Pasig comprising the
events previously adverted to manifest without any modicum of doubt the gravity of his municipalities of Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, and Taguig.
incompetence and arbitrariness. As a judge, respondent must have the basic rules at the palm of
7. Branches CLXIX to CLXX, inclusive, with seats at Malabon over the municipalities
his hands as he is expected to maintain professional competence at all times. [1] Since Judge
of Malabon and Navotas.
Yaneza presides over MeTC-Br. 54 in Navotas, Metro Manila, his territorial jurisdiction is
confined therein. Therefore, to approve bail applications and issue corresponding release orders 8. Branches CLXXI to CLXXII, inclusive, with seats at Valenzuela over the
in cases pending in courts outside his territorial jurisdiction, some even in courts as far as Nueva municipality of Valenzuela over the municipality of Valenzuela only (emphasis supplied).
Ecija and Palawan, particularly so where the accused are detained thereat and not in his
jurisdiction and therefore cannot personally appear before him as required, constitute ignorance The Regional Trial Courts with seats in Malabon exercise appellate jurisdiction over cases
of the law so gross as to amount to incompetence and even corruption. decided by the Metropolitan Trial Courts located in Malabon and Navotas. It is thus clear that the
territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts stationed in Malabon is limited to the
Respondent Judge argues in his Supplemental Explanation that it is his honest belief and municipalities of Malabon and Navotas. By necessity, the Metropolitan Trial Courts with seats in
interpretation that his single-sala MeTC in Navotas, being part of the Metropolitan Trial Court Malabon and Navotas have, likewise, limited jurisdiction therein.
salas spread out in Metro Manila, has the lawful authority to act on bail bonds posted by
accused in criminal cases lodged in other courts salas, within Metro Manila or otherwise Judge Yaneza cannot seek refuge in Sec. 35 of BP Blg. 129 which grants authority to any
detained within Metro Manila which (he) honestly deems a contiguous area, in situations or Metropolitan Trial Judge, Municipal Trial Judge and Municipal Circuit Trial Judge to hear and
occasions that the handling trial court judge is absent or not available. decide applications for bail in criminal cases in the province or city where the absent Regional
Trial Judge sits. Neither can he take shelter under the provisions of Sec. 19 of Rule 114. [3]
We remain unconvinced. The above commentary is not only tiresome; it is futile. This
Court has the duty and prerogative to define the territorial jurisdiction of each branch of Section 35 of BP Blg. 129 and Secs. 17 and 19 of Rule 114 are to be construed and
court. Thus, in Sec. 18 of BP Blg. 129 it is stated applied in conjunction with each other. The abovecited rules do not give the Metropolitan Trial
Judge blanket authority to grant applications for bail. There are prerequisites to be complied
with. First, the application for bail must be filed in the court where the case is pending. In the
Sec. 18. Authority to define territory appurtenant to each branch. The Supreme Court shall
absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, the application for bail may be filed with another
define the territory over which a branch of the Regional Trial Court shall exercise its
branch of the same court within the province or city. Second, if the accused is arrested in a
authority. The territory thus defined shall be deemed to be the territorial area of the branch
province, city or municipality other than where the case is pending, bail may be filed with any
concerned for purposes of determining the venue of all suits, proceedings or actions, whether
regional trial court of the place. If no judge thereof is available, then with any metropolitan trial
civil or criminal, as well as determining the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial
judge, municipal trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein.
Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts over which the said branch may exercise

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The documents presented before this Court in the instant administrative case are manifest consonance with the rules duly promulgated by this Court. We reiterate what we have said
testimonies of the glaring errors committed by respondent Judge. He approved bail applications in Paz v. Tiong
for cases not pending before his sala. The accused were not arrested in places within his
territorial jurisdiction. Neither did he attempt to show the unavailability of the other regional trial Respondent had absolutely no authority to approve the bailbond and issue the orders of
court judges who have the priority in terms of hearing the bail applications. Sadly, respondent release. He totally ignored and disregarded Section 14 of Rule 114 x x x x As afore-stated,
judge did not only commit this error once or twice or thrice, but several times. Considering the Criminal Case No. 2859-A was pending before Branch 54 of the Regional Trial Court stationed
frequency by which he committed this egregious error, we are perplexed and at the same time in Alaminos, Pangasinan, and only said Regional Trial Court may approve the bailbond and
alarmed, that this has become a pernicious habit on his part. We therefore seriously doubt his issue the release order. The record is devoid of any showing that no RTC judge was
protestations that he approved bail bonds and issued release orders for the poor, helpless and available to act on the bail bond.Neither does the record show that the accused was
beleaguered accused out of pity and not for any monetary consideration. We simply cannot arrested in another province, city, or municipality. Respondent judge, therefore, had no
accept his justification that he was never impelled by any bad motive or malevolent intent, bad reason or authority to act as he did (emphasis supplied).[5]
faith, fraud, dishonesty, corruption and immorality.
In Adapon v. Domagtoy[6] we also stated -
Neither are we moved by respondent Judges asseverations that in all instances that (he)
was asked to approve bail xxx (he) conscientiously and carefully examined the documents thus
presented xxx for prior evaluation to ascertain compliance with Rule 114. If this were true, he But even assuming that bail could be granted in this case, it was not within the jurisdiction of the
would not have succumbed to his apparent predilection to approve bail bonds and issue release respondent judge to grant the same. Bail may be granted by the court in which it is properly filed
orders considering that a mere passing glance by a seasoned and conscientious judge of the xxxx
documents thus presented before him would reveal his lack of authority to act on them. He
would have been basically guided by the wordings of a warrant of arrest The criminal cases are pending before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dapa, Surigao del
Norte. The order of release should have been issued if at all, by that court, or in the absence or
To Any Officer of the Law: unavailability of Judge Jose Comon who hears the cases in the MCTC of Dapa, Surigao del
Norte, then by another branch of an MCTC within Surigao del Norte. However, there is no proof
that Judge Comon was absent or unavailable on 5 May 1995 to grant the bail x x x x If judge
GREETING: Comon was indeed absent or unavailable, there is no evidence on record that respondent judge
tried to ascertain or confirms this fact.
You are hereby commanded to arrest _________________________ who is said to be at
_________________________ and who is charged before me with the crime of Furthermore, there is no evidence presented that the accused Bondoc was arrested in the
_________________________ and to bring him before me as soon as possible to be dealt with municipality of Sta. Monica, Burgos, to clothe respondent judge with authority to grant the bail
according to law. and issue the order of release in the absence of any RTC judge. Respondent judge avers that
accused was arrested in the house of Arsenio Mindaa in Dapa, which statement makes his order
The bail for his temporary liberty is hereby fixed at P________ each, which may be furnished by of release all the more untenable because the arrest was allegedly made in Dapa while the order
him either (a) by depositing the amount of the bond in the office of the municipal/city treasurer of of release issued by respondent judge in his capacity as presiding judge of the 11th MCTC of
the municipality/city where the accused is arrested, and the receipt therefor forwarded to this Santa Monica-Burgos. Respondent judge, therefore, granted bail and issued the order of release
Court, or (b) by purchasing the proper money order made payable to the order of this Court and without jurisdiction.
sent to the same Court, or (c) by personal bail bond for double the amount therein fixed
executed by two or more solvent bondsmen who are either freeholders or householders and In another case,[7] Judge Yaneza acknowledged receipt of P160,000.00 cash bond in
residents in the Philippines to be determined either by the Judge of the Regional Trial Court of violation of Sec. 14, Rule 114 which provides:
the Judicial Region or by the Judge of MeTC/MuTC/MCTC of the municipality/city where the
accused may be arrested, who are hereby authorized to approve either one of said bonds, and Sec. 14. Deposit of cash as bail. The accuse or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in
to order the provisional liberty of the accused, immediately thereafter, and who shall forward to cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue, or provincial, city or municipal treasurer the
this Court all the papers of the proceedings (emphasis supplied) amount fixed by the court or recommended by the fiscal who investigated or filed the case, and
upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and of a written undertaking showing
It is futile for respondent Judge to cite Paz v. Tiong[4] as it only confirms his practice of compliance with the requirements of Section 2 hereof, the accused shall be discharged from
approving bail bonds in cases pending outside of his territorial jurisdiction and where the custody. Money thus deposited shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of any
accused were arrested likewise in places outside of his territorial jurisdiction, which is not in

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fine and costs and the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the agent Jocelyn S. Florido that the accuseds motion to post bail has been heard and granted by
deposit (emphasis supplied). the handling court sala as of 10 February 1988 upon recommendation of the trial court
prosecutor. Had he verified the facts for himself before eagerly granting bail he would have
This rule is uniformly embodied in every warrant of arrest which respondent, as a trial discovered that the motion to set bail had only been submitted for resolution before the handling
judge, should be familiar with. Unfortunately, he blatantly disregarded this basic and elementary court sala and there was as yet no positive action on the matter.
rule.
We are not the least impressed with the haste with which respondent Judge would
Respondent Judge aggravated his improperties and misconduct when he summarily approve bail bonds and applications for bail. On the contrary, we are appalled. Utmost diligence
granted bail on 11 February 1998 to accused Consolacion F. dela Cruz charged with illegal is required of trial judges in granting bail, especially in cases where bail is not a matter of
recruitment in large scale punishable with life imprisonment and a fine of P100,000.00. In such right. Certain procedures must be followed in order to be assured that the accused would be
case, bail is not a matter of right and the grant of bails falls within the sound discretion of the present during trial. As a responsible judge respondent must not be swayed by the mere
judge. And in order for the judge to properly exercise his discretion, he must first conduct a representations of the parties; instead, he should look into the real and hard facts of the
hearing to determine whether the evidence of guilt is strong. As decreed in Almeron v. case. He must be impartial not only in appearance but also in fact.
Sardido[8] -
Respondent Judge avers that requests or applications for bail were usually made during
In exercising such judicial discretion, however, a judge is required to conduct a hearing wherein his overtime work as he was constrained to work beyond regular office hours because he no
both the prosecution and the defense present evidence that would point to the strength or longer trusted his hostile, unwieldy, uncooperative and charlatan clerk of court who refuses to
weakness of the evidence of guilt. The discretion of the judge lies solely in the appreciation and work. This argument is so tenuous that it should not even be considered at all. Being the judge,
evaluation of the weight of the evidence presented during the hearing and not in the he exercises administrative authority over his court personnel, including his clerk of court. As
determination of whether or not the hearing and itself should be held for such a hearing is part of his professional competence, respondent Judge is expected to possess management
considered mandatory and absolutely indispensable before a judge can aptly be said to be in a skills which he must put to good use for the efficient functioning of his sala.
position to determine whether the evidence for the prosecution is weak or strong. While complaints against judges should be sworn to, we did not hesitate to take cognizance of
the instant unsworn letter-complaint for the following reasons: First, the allegations against
Thus, when a judge grants bail to a person charged with a capital offense, or an offense respondent Judge were supported by documents which could be readily
punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment without conducting the required hearing, verified. Second, Executive Judge Aquino confirmed the infractions committed by respondent
he is considered guilty of ignorance or incompetence the gravity of which cannot be excused by Judge. Third, the Office of the Court Administrator found the allegations to be true. Fourth,
a claim of good faith or excusable negligence. respondent Judge practically admitted all pertinent allegations. As we stated in Macalintal v.
Teh[11] -
Further, in Basco v. Rapatalo[9] we said

Under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, the Court may impose its authority upon erring judges
Since the determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt of the accused is a matter of whose actuations, on their face, would show gross incompetence, ignorance of the law or
judicial discretion, the judge is mandated to conduct a hearing even in cases where the misconduct.
prosecution chooses to just file a comment or leave the application for bail to the discretion of
the court.
When the inefficiency springs from a failure to consider so basic and elemental a rule, a law or a
Judge Yaneza, in granting bail to accused dela Cruz without any hearing, deprived the principle in the discharge of his duties, a judge is either too incompetent and undeserving of the
prosecution of the opportunity to contest her application for bail, thus denying the People due position and title he holds or he is too vicious that the oversight or omission was deliberately
process.[10] Worse, the case was pending not in respondents sala in Navotas but in RTC-Br. 86, done in bad faith and in grave abuse of judicial authority. In both instances, the judges dismissal
Cabanatuan City. Neither was dela Cruz detained in Navotas which is the limit of respondent is in order. After all, faith in the administration of justice exists only if every party-litigant is
judges territorial jurisdiction but at the PNP-CIG Detention Center, Camp Crame, Quezon assured that occupants of the bench cannot justly be accused of deficiency in their grasp of legal
City. We cannot therefore concede to respondents argument that he had not injured anybody, principles.
neither the handling trial court judge, the government, the private complainant nor the accused.
While the practice of granting bail (initial) not strictly in conformity with Rule 114 has been
Likewise, we cannot accept respondent Judges ratiocination that he only approved the bail tolerated to a certain extent for the sake of securing the prompt release of the detained accused
application of dela Cruz upon being unduly swayed by the personal representations and formal charged with bailable offenses, the regularity with which Judge Yaneza has resorted to
sworn asseverations of her (the accuseds) nephewHenry G. Fernandez and servicing bonding this modus operandi and the zeal with which he has applied himself to the task is nothing short

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of remarkable. On the banal pretext that the bonding company lacked material time to catch up
with the handling judge or the latter was no longer available since it was past office hours,
respondent Judge would issue release orders without due regard for the rules.
15. Naui v. Mauricio, October 23, 2003
Indeed, we cannot help perceiving a pattern here where the judge, in connivance with
certain bonding firms, attempts to corner the very lucrative business of granting bail by ensuring
that he is always accessible, even on Sundays, in his office or at home and regardless of the
time. And there is that serious concern that in all these, respondent Judge has acted not out of SECOND DIVISION
feigned ignorance or a heightened sense of compassion for the hapless accused but out of a
desire to materially benefit from his endeavors. In other words, with respondent Judge we are no
longer speaking of ignorance of the law for that would be too simplistic but of corruption which if
left unchecked will further erode public confidence in the judiciary. If judges wantonly misuse the
[A.M. No. MTJ-01-1368. October 23, 2003]
powers vested in them by law, there will not only be confusion in the administration of justice but
even oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of due process.[12] JUDGE JOSE GODOFREDO M. NAUI, RTC, Branch 37, Bambang, Nueva
Viscaya, complainant, vs. JUDGE MARCIANO C. MAURICIO, SR., MTCC, Branch
Respondent Judge cites a litany of cases to justify his mistakes and to mitigate whatever
1, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, respondent.
penalty may be imposed on him. He stresses that, if ever, this would be his first offense and that,
upon receipt of the memorandum from the OCA, he has contritely stopped absolutely from
acting on bail bonds in criminal cases lodged in other court salas. He likewise claims a DECISION
considerably long and exemplary service in the judiciary, with an above-average rate of
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
disposition, and adding for good measure that generally no real party in interest has been
materially injured nor prejudiced by the acts complained of. On March 24, 1998, Presiding Judge Godofredo M. Naui, Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 37, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, issued a warrant for the arrest of Pedro de Guzman,
In vain. As found by the OCA, a clearer case than this for the imperative application of the
the accused in Criminal Case No. 1053-37, for Estafa, raffled to the said branch. The court
doctrine of res ipsa loquitor can hardly be found. Respondent Judges flagrant flaunting of
fixed the amount of P30,000.00 as bail bond for the provisional release of the accused.
fundamental rules and his persistent and deliberate heedlessness thereof is palpable. Having
been a judge for some time, as he claims, respondent should know that no position in the Early in the morning of April 1, 1998, police officers of the Criminal Investigation Service
government service exacts a greater demand on honesty and integrity of the individual than a (CIS) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Cabanatuan City, served the warrant on de
seat in the judiciary. Guzman, who was then in the poblacion of General Natividad, Nueva Ecija and placed him
under arrest. Instead of surrendering De Guzman and delivering him to judge who issued the
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent JUDGE REYNOLD Q. YANEZA of MeTC-Br.
warrant, the arresting officers brought him to Barangay Mag-asawang Sampaloc, General
54, Navotas, Metro Manila, to have grossly abused his authority in irregularly approving bail
Natividad, Nueva Ecija. The police officers proceeded to the house of Judge Marciano C.
bonds and issuing release orders. Consequently, he is ordered DISMISSED from the service
Mauricio, Sr., Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. De Guzman
effective immediately with forfeiture of his retirement benefits and with prejudice to re-
offered to deposit to Judge Mauricio, Sr. the cash amount of P30,000.00 as cash bond to secure
employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or
his provisional liberty. The Judge agreed, and thereafter prepared and signed a Release Order
controlled corporations. He is further ordered to IMMEDIATELY CEASE AND DESIST from
dated April 1, 1998 directing the arresting officers to release De Guzman, and ordering the clerk
discharging the functions of the office from which he is removed.
of court, MTCC, Palayan City to forward all the pertinent papers, documents, fingerprints,
The Office of the Court Administrator is DIRECTED to look into the involvement of FIRST pictures, etc., of De Guzman, relative to the bond posted by him to Judge Mauricio, Sr.
QUEZON CITY INSURANCE CO., INC., MEGA PACIFIC INSURANCE CORPORATION and
On the same day, Police Inspector Serafin Valdez of the PNP-CIS informed Judge
ZENITH INSURANCE CORPORATION, the bonding companies which reportedly provided most
Naui, via a 1st Indorsement, of the service of the warrant of arrest on De Guzman and the latters
of the bail bonds approved by respondent Judge, to determine their culpability, if any, in
subsequent release after depositing the amount of P30,000.00 as bail bond. A copy of the
connection therewith. In this regard, the Office of the Court Administrator is directed to enlist, if
release order issued by Judge Mauricio, Sr. was attached thereto.
need be, the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation to ensure the success of the
investigation and to submit its report and recommendation within ninety (90) days from receipt On April 2, 1998, De Guzman returned to the house of Judge Mauricio, Sr., and requested
hereof. that he be allowed to retrieve the P30,000.00 he had earlier deposited with the Judge. He
explained that needed the amount to pay the services of his counsel, and offered to post a
SO ORDERED.
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surety bond as a substitute to secure his provisional liberty. The Judge agreed and returned the The RTC set the trial on August 5, 1999. On said date, de Guzman and his counsel failed
amount to De Guzman. De Guzman prepared and signed a handwritten Pagpapatunay where to appear, prompting the court to re-issue a warrant of arrest against de Guzman. De Guzman
he acknowledged receipt of the said amount from Judge Mauricio, Sr. De Guzman, however, remained at large.
failed to post the surety bond as promised, and thus remained free without bail.
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) thereafter received a Letter-Complaint
On June 15, 1998, Officer-in-Charge Rosalie Dallong-Galicinao of the RTC, Branch 37, dated August 5, 1999, from Judge Naui, charging Judge Marciano Mauricio, Sr. with gross
sent a letter to the clerk of court of the MTCC, Palayan City, requesting that the original copy of negligence. The matter was docketed as A.M. OCA No. 99-804-MTJ. In a 1st Indorsement
the release order issued by Judge Mauricio, Sr., the original copy of the receipt therefor, and the dated November 12, 1999, the OCA requested Judge Mauricio, Sr. to file his Comment. The
addendum to the cash bond of de Guzman be immediately forwarded to the Judge Nauis sala. respondent judge complied with the directive and filed his Comment on January 24, 2000.
The said clerk of court did not respond. Another Letter dated September 18, 1998 reiterating this
same request was sent to the MTCC, Palayan City, this time demanding compliance within five In the meantime, due to his weakening condition, the respondent judge applied for
days from receipt thereof; otherwise, De Guzmans cash bond would be cancelled and a new disability retirement, under Republic Act No. 910, as amended. In a Resolution dated March 28,
warrant of arrest against him would be issued. There was, likewise, no response. A third Letter 2000, this Court granted the respondent judges application, effective November 16, 1999.
dated October 26, 1998 was sent to the same court, where the request for the immediate In a Resolution dated August 22, 2001, the Court adopted the recommendation of Deputy
transmittal of the requisite documents and papers was reiterated. Court Administrator Jose P. Perez, directing the parties to manifest their willingness to submit
In a Letter dated November 23, 1998, Clerk of Court Rosita L. Bagan of the the case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings submitted.
MTCC, Palayan City replied to the series of requests directed at her office. She explained that In the interim, Judge Mauricio, Sr. filed with this Court Urgent Motions for the Release of
when she received the first letter-request, Judge Mauricio, Sr. had not been to office as he was Retirement Benefits, manifesting that he is on the verge of the end of his earthly journey, and in
suffering from diabetes and intermittent memory loss and was undergoing treatment for his view of his present state of health which has been steadily deteriorating, he was in dire need of
ailment. When Judge Mauricio, Sr. reported for work, she showed the first letter to the Judge, finances to safe-keep his life. He likewise averred that should he be found guilty of the offense
but the latter Judge told her that he could not recall having issued such a release order. The charged against him, the penalty that may be imposed may not be so extreme as to warrant the
Judge assured her that he would look into the matter. She further declared that she showed the forfeiture of his entire retirement benefits. The respondent appealed to the Court to grant such
second and third letters to Judge Mauricio, Sr., but that the latter had suffered a mild stroke and release, and expressed willingness to withhold therefrom a considerable amount to answer for
sustained a fracture from a nasty fall. She explained, thus: whatever liability may be imposed upon him by reason of the instant administrative complaint.

This is now my dilemma, I could not send you the requested documents because the Honorable In a Report dated July 21, 2001, the DCA Perez found Judge Mauricio, Sr. guilty of simple
Judge Mauricio has not yet located the same and he (Judge Mauricio) could not remember misconduct and recommended that, considering the judges state of health, he be ordered to pay
where he placed said documents. a fine in the amount of P5,000.00, which amount was to be deducted from the latters retirement
benefits. According to DCA Perez:

Considering that the letter is now the third request for said purpose I have decided to frankly
inform you of my situation. Under the situation, all that I could do is to gently remind our Judge to We take exception to the manner by which the respondent Judge allowed the posting of the
try to remember and locate the said documents which at the inception were in his possession cash bond and the withdrawal of the same by the accused and his family.
and has never reached my desk.[1]
The evidence on record disclosed that respondent judge allowed the accused to post his cash
In the meantime, the arraignment of De Guzman in Criminal Case No. 1053-37 was set bond right in the confines of his (respondents) residence at 6:25 a.m.of April 1, 1998 (Release
twice, and the accused failed to appear. On December 7, 1998, the RTC issued an Order of Order dated April 1, 1998). Respondent even admitted in his comment that he personally
Arrest for de Guzmans apprehension, for his failure to appear before the Court, and for Judge prepared the Release Order.
Mauricio, Sr.s failure to forward the documents/papers relative to the bail bond of the said
accused.
The following day (April 2, 1998), the accused returned to respondents residence and the latter
On motion of de Guzman, the RTC set aside its December 7, 1998 Order. De Guzman allowed the accused to withdraw the cash bond, on the pretext that the accused would secure a
was arraigned on January 18, 1999, and entered a plea of not guilty. The prosecution forthwith surety bond in lieu of the cash bond.
complained that the MTCC clerk of court had not yet forwarded to the documents relative to the
bond of the accused with the RTC. De Guzmans counsel prayed that he be afforded more time As the accused did not post the surety bond he promised, he in effect enjoyed temporary liberty
to make the appropriate inquiries from the MTCC clerk of court. without the required bond. This eventuality was facilitated by the erroneous practice of

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respondent judge of conducting official function/s is in his residence. This should not be Sec. 14. Deposit of cash as bail.The accused or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in
countenanced. cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue, city or provincial, city or municipal treasurer
the amount fixed by the court or recommended by the fiscal who investigated or filed the case,
We find this practice improper if not anomalous as the residence of a judge is not an extension and upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and of a written undertaking showing
of his office or vice-versa. Such act constitutes misconduct in office for which respondent judge compliance with the requirements of Section 2 hereof, the accused shall be discharged from
should be sanctioned.[2] custody. Money thus deposited shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of any
fine and costs and the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the
We are not in full accord with the recommendations of the Deputy Court Administrator. deposit.[6]

It bears stressing that respondent judge was not authorized to entertain, much less Irrefragably, only the collector of internal revenue, city or provincial, city or municipal
accept, the bail bond of De Guzman. Section 17, paragraph (a), Rule 114 of the Rules of treasurer is authorized to receive bail in cash. A judge is not one of those authorized to receive a
Criminal Procedure provides: deposit of cash bail; nor should such cash be kept in the judges office, much less in his own
residence.[7]
Sec. 17. Bail, where filed.(a) bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case The respondent judge committed another procedural lapsus when he failed to forward the
is pending, or in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with any regional trial judge, receipt of the cash bail, release order and supporting papers to the RTC of Nueva Ecija where
metropolitan trial judge, municipal judge, or municipal circuit trial judge in the province, city, or the criminal case filed against De Guzman was pending. He was bound to do so under Section
municipality. If the accused is arrested in a province, city, or municipality other than where the 19 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, which provides:
case is pending, bail may also be filed with any Regional Trial Court of said place, or if no judge
thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit
trial judge therein.[3] SEC. 19. Release on bail.The accused must be discharged upon the approval of the bail by the
judge with whom it was filed in accordance with Section 17 hereof.
De Guzman was arrested in Gen. M. Natividad, Nueva Ecija, a place other than where the
criminal case filed against him was pending. Pursuant to the above rule, De Guzman had two Whenever bail is filed with a court other than where the case is pending, the judge accepting the
options: to post bail in the court where his case was pending, or to post bail with any regional bail shall forward the bail, the order of release and other supporting papers to the court where
trial court in the province, city or municipality where he was arrested. In the absence of a the case is pending, which may, for good reason, require a different one to be filed (idem,
regional trial court judge, he could file his bail bond with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal supra).
trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein.[4]
The respondent judge should forwarded the records pertaining to the bail bond
In this case, De Guzman did not file his bail bond with the RTC, Branch 37 where his case immediately after he received the bail same. Instead of depositing the cash bond with the
was pending; neither did he post bail with the court where he was arrested. Instead, he opted to nearest collector of internal revenue or treasurer, the respondent received the cash amount
post his cash bond with the respondent, the Presiding Judge of Branch 1 of the MTCC of P30,000.00 and released the said amount to De Guzman the next day. Inexplicably, the
in Palayan City. Paragraph (a) of Section 17, paragraph (a) of Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal respondent judge allowed De Guzman to go scot-free, instead of having him ordered re-arrested
Procedure provides that any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge or municipal circuit trial for failure to substitute the cash bond with a surety bond.
judge in the place where the arrest was made may entertain and accept a bail bond only when
no regional trial court judge is available. There is no showing that there was no regional trial In fine, we find the respondent, guilty of gross ignorance of the law and gross negligence.
court judge in Nueva Ecija available when De Guzman went to the respondent to deposit his
cash bond. In Atty. Daniel O. Osumo vs. Judge Rodolfo M. Serrano,[8] the Court said:

What is more nettlesome is that De Guzman deposited his cash bond in the residence of As we pointed out in Caas v. Castigador observance of the law which he is bound to know and
respondent. As aptly put by DCA Perez, the residence of a judge is not an extension of his swore to uphold is required of every judge. When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to
office.[5] The respondent judge should have instructed De Guzman on the proper procedure: to his office to simply apply it; anything less than that would be constitutive of gross ignorance of
post bail in the court where his case was pending, or with the regional trial court where he was law. In short, when the law is so elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance of
arrested. Worse, the respondent himself received the amount of P30,000.00 posted by De law.
Guzman as his bail and prepared the release order right in the confines of his own home.
According to Section 14, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure:
A judge is called upon to exhibit more than a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural
rules. It is imperative that he be conversant with basic legal principles. Canon 4 of the Canon of

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Judicial Ethics requires that a judge must be studious of the principles of law, and Canon 18 MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO, petitioner,
mandates that he should administer his office with due regard to the integrity of the system of vs.
the law itself, remembering that he is not a depositary of arbitrary power, but a judge under the CONRADO M. VASQUEZ, Ombudsman; GUALBERTO J. DE LA LLANA, Special
sanction of law. Prosecutor; SANDIGANBAYAN and REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, respondents.

The Code of Judicial Conduct also enjoins judges to be faithful to the law and maintain Marciano P. Defensor for petitioner.
professional competence. Indeed, respondent judge owes it to the public and the legal
profession to know the law he is supposed to apply to a given controversy. In order to render Nestor P. Ifurong for Maria S. Tatoy.
substantial justice and to maintain public confidence in the legal system, judges are expected to
keep abreast of all laws and prevailing jurisprudence, consistent with the standard that
magistrates must be the embodiment of competence, integrity and independence. Thus, it has Danilo C. Cunanan for respondents.
been held that when the judges inefficiency springs from a failure to consider so basic and
elemental a rule, a law or a principle in the discharge of his duties, a judge is either too RESOLUTION
incompetent and undeserving of the position and title he holds or he is too vicious that the
oversight or omission was deliberately done in bad faith and in grave abuse of judicial
authority.[9] REGALADO, J.:
In recommending a fine of P5,000.00, DCA Perez took into consideration the respondents
state of health, as well as the fact that the Court approved the latters application for disability Filed directly with the Court, ostensibly as an incident in the present special civil action, is
retirement. We are in accord with the said recommendation. In the similar case of Julius N. petitioner's so-called "Motion to Restrain the Sandiganbayan from Enforcing its Hold Departure
Raboca, vs. Judge Alejandro Velez,[10] the Court also took into account the therein respondents Order with Prayer for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary
failing health and the fact of his compulsory retirement, and considered a P5,000.00 fine Injunction, with Motion to Set Pending Incident for Hearing." Despite the impropriety of the mode
reasonable under the circumstances. [11] adopted in elevating the issue to us, as will hereinafter be discussed, we will disregard the
procedural gaffe in the interest of an early resolution hereof.
WHEREFORE, the Respondent Judge is fined the amount of Five Thousand Pesos
(P5,000.00) to be deducted from his retirement benefits.
The chronology of events preceding the instant motion is best summarized to readily provide a
SO ORDERED. clear understanding and perspective of our disposition of this matter, thus:

1. On May 13, 1991, an information dated May 9, 1991 and docketed as Criminal Case No.
16698 was filed against petitioner with the Sandiganbayan for alleged violation of Section 3(e),
16. Santiago v. Vasquez (constructive custody) Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

2. On May 14, 1991, an order of arrest was issued in said case against herein petitioner by
Presiding Justice Francis E. Garchitorena of the Sandiganbayan, with bail for the release of the
Republic of the Philippines accused fixed at P15,000.00. 1
SUPREME COURT
Manila
3. On even date, petitioner filed an "Urgent Ex-parte Motion for Acceptance of Cash Bail Bond
for and in Behalf of Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago," 2 which pertinently states in part:
EN BANC

xxx xxx xxx

3. As a result of the vehicular collision, she suffered extensive physical


G.R. Nos. 99289-90 January 27, 1993 injuries which required surgical intervention. As of this time, her injuries,
specifically in the jaw or gum area of the mouth, prevents her to speak (sic)
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because of extreme pain. Further, she cannot for an extended period be on 7. In a motion dated May 22, 1991, petitioner asked that her cash bond be cancelled and that
her feet because she is still in physical pain. . . . . she be allowed provisional liberty upon a recognizance. She contended that for her to continue
remaining under bail bond may imply to other people that she has intentions of fleeing, an
4. On the other hand, the accused Miriam Defensor Santiago seeks leave of intention she would like to prove as baseless.7
this Honorable Court that she be considered as having placed herself under
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, for purposes of the required trial and 8. Likewise on May 24, 1991, petitioner filed with this Court a petition for certiorari and
other proceedings and further seeks leave of this Honorable Court that the prohibition with preliminary injunction, and a subsequent addendum thereto, seeking to enjoin
recommended bail bond of P15,000.00 that she is posting in cash be the Sandiganbayan and the Regional Trial Court of Manila from proceeding with Criminal Cases
accepted. Nos. 12298 (for violation of Section 3[e] of Republic Act No. 3019), 91-94555 (violation of
Presidential Decree No. 46), and 91-94897 (for libel), respectively. Consequently, a temporary
xxx xxx xxx restraining order was issued by this Court on May 24, 1991, enjoining the Sandiganbayan and
the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 3, from proceeding with the criminal cases pending
before them. This Court, in issuing said order, took into consideration the fact that according to
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that the bail petitioner, her arraignment, originally set for June 5, 1991, was inexplicably advanced to May 27,
bond she is posting in the amount of P15,000.00 be duly accepted, and that 1991, hence the advisability of conserving and affording her the opportunity to avail herself of
by this motion, she be considered as having placed herself under the any remedial right to meet said contingency.
custody of this Honorable Court and dispensing of her personal appearance
for now until such time she will (sic) have recovered sufficiently from her
recent near fatal accident. 9. On May 27, 1991, the Sandiganbayan issued an order deferring: (a) the arraignment of
petitioner until further advice from the Supreme Court; and (b) the consideration of herein
petitioner's motion to cancel her cash bond until further initiative from her through counsel. 8
Further, on the above basis, it is also respectfully prayed that the warrant for
her arrest be immediately recalled.
10. On January 18, 1992, this Court rendered a decision dismissing the petition for certiorari and
lifting and setting aside the temporary restraining order previously issued. 9 The motion for
xxx xxx xxx reconsideration filed by petitioner was eventually denied with finality in this Court's resolution
dated September 10, 1992.
4. Also on the same day, the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution3 authorizing petitioner to post a
cash bond for her provisional liberty without need for her physical appearance until June 5, 1991 11. Meanwhile, in a resolution adopted on July 6, 1992, the Sandiganbayan issued a hold
at the latest, unless by that time her condition does not yet permit her physical appearance departure order against petitioner which reads as follows:
before said court. On May 15, 1991, petitioner filed a cash bond in the amount of P15,000.00,
aside from the other legal fees.4
Considering the information in media to the effect that accused Santiago
intends to leave the country soon for an extended stay abroad for study
5. On May 21, 1991, respondent Ombudsman Conrado M. Vasquez filed with the purposes, considering the recent decision of the Supreme Court dismissing
Sandiganbayan a manifestation "that accused Miriam Defensor-Santiago appeared in his office her petition promulgated on January 13, 1992, although the same is still
in the second floor of the Old NAWASA Building located in Arroceros Street, Ermita, Manila at subject of a Motion for Reconsideration from the accused, considering that
around 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon of May 20, 1991. She was accompanied by a brother who the accused has not yet been arraigned, nor that she has not (sic) even
represented himself to be Atty. Arthur Defensor and a lady who is said to be a physician. She posted bail the same having been by reason of her earlier claim of being
came and left unaided, after staying for about fifteen minutes. 5 seriously indisposed, all of which were overtaken by a restraining order
issued by the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 99289 and No. 99290 dated May
6. Acting on said manifestation, the Sandiganbayan issued a resolution also on May 21, 1991, 24, 1991, the accused is ordered not to leave the country and the
setting the arraignment of the accused for May 27, 1991, and setting aside the court's resolution Commission on Immigration and Deportation is ordered not to allow the
of May 14, 1991 which ordered her appearance before the deputy clerk of the First Division of departure of the accused unless authorized from (sic) this Court. 10
said court on or before June 5, 1991.6
The hold departure order was issued by reason of the announcement made by petitioner, which
was widely publicized in both print and broadcast media, that she would be leaving for the
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United States to accept a fellowship supposedly offered by the John F. Kennedy School of custody of the accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities either by his arrest or
Government at Harvard University. Petitioner likewise disclosed that she would be addressing voluntary surrender.13
Filipino communities in the United States in line with her crusade against election fraud and
other aspects of graft and corruption. In the case at bar, it becomes essential, therefore, to determine whether respondent court
acquired jurisdiction over the person of herein petitioner and, correlatively, whether there was a
In the instant motion submitted for our resolution, petitioner argues that: valid posting of bail bond.

1. The Sandiganbayan acted without or in excess of jurisdiction and with We find and so hold that petitioner is deemed to have voluntarily submitted herself to the
grave abuse of discretion in issuing the hold departure order considering jurisdiction of respondent court upon the filing of her aforequoted "Urgent Ex-parte Motion for
that it had not acquired jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. Acceptance of Cash Bail Bond for and in behalf of Dr. Miriam Defensor-Santiago" wherein she
expressly sought leave "that she be considered as having placed herself under the jurisdiction of
2. The Sandiganbayan blatantly disregarded basic principles of judicial (the Sandiganbayan) for purposes of the required trial and other proceedings," and categorically
comity and due deference owing to a superior tribunal when it issued the prayed "that the bail bond she is posting in the amount of P15,000.00 be duly accepted" and that
hold departure order despite the pendency of petitioner's motion for by said motion "she be considered as having placed herself under the custody" of said court.
reconsideration with this Honorable Court. Petitioner cannot now be heard to claim otherwise for, by her own representations, she is
effectively estopped from asserting the contrary after she had earlier recognized the jurisdiction
of the court and caused it to exercise that jurisdiction over the aforestated pleadings she filed
3. The right to due process of law, the right to travel and the right to freedom therein.
of speech are preferred, pre-eminent rights enshrined not only in the
Constitution but also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which
can be validly impaired only under stringent criteria which do not obtain in It cannot be denied that petitioner has posted a cash bail bond of P15,000.00 for her provisional
the instant case. release as evidenced by Official Receipt No. 4292925 dated May 15, 1991 and which is even
attached as Annex C-2 to her own motion now under consideration. This is further buttressed by
the fact that petitioner thereafter also filed a motion for the cancellation of said cash bond and for
4. The hold departure order in the instant case was issued under disturbing the court to allow her provisional liberty upon the security of a recognizance. With the filing of the
circumstances which suggest political harassment and persecution. foregoing motions, petitioner should accordingly and necessarily admit her acquiescence to and
acknowledgment of the propriety of the cash bond she posted, instead of adopting a stance
5. On the basis of petitioner's creditable career in the bench and bar and her which ignores the injunction for candor and sincerity in dealing with the courts of justice.
characteristic transparency and candor, there is no reasonable ground to
fear that petitioner will surreptitiously flee the country to evade judicial Petitioner would also like to make capital of the fact that she did not personally appear before
processes.11 respondent court to file her cash bond, thereby rendering the same ineffectual. Suffice it to say
that in this case, it was petitioner herself, in her motion for the acceptance of the cash bond, who
I. Petitioner initially postulates that respondent court never acquired jurisdiction over her person requested respondent court to dispense with her personal appearance until she shall have
considering that she has neither been arrested nor has she voluntarily surrendered, aside from recovered sufficiently from her vehicular accident. It is distressing that petitioner should now turn
the fact that she has not validly posted bail since she never personally appeared before said around and fault respondent court for taking a compassionate stand on the matter and
court. We reject her thesis for being factually and legally untenable. accommodating her own request for acceptance of the cash bond posted in her absence.

It has been held that where after the filing of the complaint or information a warrant for the arrest II. Petitioner argues that the Sandiganbayan disregarded the rule of judicial comity when it
of the accused is issued by the trial court and the accused either voluntarily submitted himself to issued the hold departure order despite the pendency of her motion for reconsideration of the
the court or was duly arrested, the court thereby acquires jurisdiction over the person of the decision of this Court which dismissed her petition. She claims that if the principle of judicial
accused.12 The voluntary appearance of the accused, whereby the court acquires jurisdiction comity applies to prevent a court from interfering with the proceedings undertaken by a
over his person, is accomplished either by his pleading to the merits (such as by filing a motion coordinate court, with more reason should it operate to prevent an inferior court, such as the
to quash or other pleadings requiring the exercise of the court's jurisdiction thereover, appearing Sandiganbayan, from interfering with the instant case where a motion for reconsideration was
for arraignment, entering trial) or by filing bail. On the matter of bail, since the same is intended still pending before this Court. She contends further that the hold departure order contravenes
to obtain the provisional liberty of the accused, as a rule the same cannot be posted before

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the temporary restraining order previously issued by this court enjoining the Sandiganbayan This ruling has remained undisturbed over the decades and was reiterated in a case squarely in
from proceeding with the criminal case pending before it. point and of more recent vintage:

It will be remembered that the Court rendered a decision in the present case on January 18, The SEC's orders dated June 27, 1989 and July 21, 1989 (directing the
1992 dismissing the petition for certiorari filed in this case and lifting and setting aside the secretary of UDMC to call a stockholders' meeting, etc.) are not premature,
temporary restraining order it previously issued. It is petitioner's submission that the filing of her despite the petitioners then pending motion for reconsideration of the
motion for reconsideration stayed the lifting of the temporary restraining order, hence respondent decision of the Court of Appeals. The lifting by the Court of Appeals of its
court continued to be enjoined from acting on and proceeding with the case during the pendency writ of preliminary injunction in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 17435 cleared the way for
of the motion for reconsideration. We likewise reject this contention which is bereft of merit. the implementation by the SEC's en banc resolution in SEC EB Case No.
191. The SEC need not wait for the Court of Appeals to resolve the
Section 4, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that, unless otherwise ordered by the court, a petitioner's motion for reconsideration for a judgment decreeing the
judgment in an action for injunction shall not be stayed after its rendition and before an appeal is dissolution of a preliminary injunction is immediately executory. It shall not
taken or during the pendency of an appeal. And, the rule is that the execution of a judgment be stayed after its rendition and before an appeal is taken or during the
decreeing the dissolution of a writ of preliminary injunction shall not be stayed before an appeal pendency of an appeal. . . . .22
is taken or during the pendency of an appeal,14 and we see no reason why the foregoing
considerations should not apply to a temporary restraining order. The rationale therefor is that On the bases of the foregoing pronouncements, there is no question that with the dismissal of
even in cases where an appeal is taken from a judgment dismissing an action on the merits, the the petition for certiorari and the lifting of the restraining order, nothing stood to hinder the
appeal does not suspend the judgment, hence the general rule applies that a temporary Sandiganbayan from acting on and proceeding with the criminal cases filed against herein
injunction terminates automatically on the dismissal of the action. 15 petitioner. At any rate, as we have earlier mentioned, the motion for reconsideration filed by
petitioner was denied with finality in our resolution dated September 10, 1992.
It has similarly been held that an order of dissolution of an injunction may be immediately
effective, even though it is not final.16 A dismissal, discontinuance, or non-suit of an action in Petitioner further posits, however, that the filing of the instant special civil action
which a restraining order or temporary injunction has been granted operates as a dissolution of for certiorari divested the Sandiganbayan of its jurisdiction over the case therein. Whether
the restraining order or temporary injunction17 and no formal order of dissolution is necessary to generated by misconception or design, we shall address this proposition which, in the first place,
effect such dissolution.18 Consequently, a special order of the court is necessary for the had no reason for being and should not hereafter be advanced under like or similar procedural
reinstatement of an injunction.19 There must be a new exercise of .judicial power.20 scenarios.

The reason advanced in support of the general rule has long since been duly explained, to wit: The original and special civil action filed with this Court is, for all intents and purposes, an
invocation for the exercise of its supervisory powers over the lower courts. It does not have the
. . . The court of this State, relying upon the last of the two clauses quoted, effect of divesting the inferior courts of jurisdiction validly acquired over the case pending before
held that an appeal from an order dissolving an injunction continued the them. It is elementary that the mere pendency of a special civil action for certiorari, commenced
injunction in force. The evils which would result from such a holding are in relation to a case pending before a lower court, does not even interrupt the course of the latter
forcibly pointed out by Judge Mitchell in a dissenting opinion. He said: when there is no writ of injunction restraining it.23 The inevitable conclusion is that for as long as
"Although a plaintiff's papers are so insufficient on their face or so false in no writ of injunction or restraining order is issued in the special civil action for certiorari, no
their allegations that if he should apply on notice for an injunction, any court impediment exists and there is nothing to prevent the lower court from exercising its jurisdiction
would, on a hearing, promptly refuse to grant one, yet, if he can find and proceeding with the case pending before it. And, even if such injunctive writ or order is
anywhere in the State a judge or court commissioner who will improvidently issued, the lower court nevertheless continues to retain its jurisdiction over the principal action.
grant one ex parte, which the court on the first and only hearing ever had
dissolves, he can, by appealing and filing a bond, make the ex III. It is further submitted by petitioner that the hold departure order violates her right to due
parte injunction impervious to all judicial interference until the appeal is process, right to travel and freedom of speech.
determined in this court." . . . Such a result is so unjust and so utterly
inconsistent with all known rules of equity practice that no court should First, it is averred that the hold departure order was issued without notice and hearing. Much is
adopt such a construction unless absolutely shut up to it by the clear and made by petitioner of the fact that there was no showing that a motion to issue a hold departure
unequivocal language of the statute. . . . .21

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order was filed by the prosecution and, instead, the same was issued ex mero motu by the circumstances and grounds hereinbefore enunciated and which warrant a relaxation of the
Sandiganbayan. Petitioner is in error. aforecited doctrine in Feliciano. Perforce, since under the obligations assumed by petitioner in
her bail bond she holds herself amenable at all times to the orders and processes of the court,
Courts possess certain inherent powers which may be said to be implied from a general grant of she may legally be prohibited from leaving the country during the pendency of the case. This
jurisdiction, in addition to those expressly conferred on them. 24 These inherent powers are such was the ruling we handed down in Manotoc, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, et al.,32 to the effect that:
powers as are necessary for the ordinary and efficient exercise of jurisdiction; 25 or essential to
the existence, dignity and functions of the courts,26 as well as to the due administration of A court has the power to prohibit a person admitted to bail from leaving the
justice;27 or are directly appropriate, convenient and suitable to the execution of their granted Philippines. This is a necessary consequence of the nature and function of a
powers;28 and include the power to maintain the court's jurisdiction and render it effective in bail bond.
behalf of the litigants.29
Rule 114, Section 1 of the Rules of Court defines bail as the security
Therefore, while a court may be expressly granted the incidental powers necessary to effectuate required and given for the release of a person who is in custody of the law,
its jurisdiction, a grant of jurisdiction, in the absence of prohibitive legislation, implies the that he will appear before any court in which his appearance may be
necessary and usual incidental powers essential to effectuate it, and, subject to existing laws required as stipulated in the bail bond or recognizance.
and constitutional provisions, every regularly constituted court has the power to do all things that
are reasonably necessary for the administration of justice within the scope of its jurisdiction. Its object is to relieve the accused of imprisonment and the state of the
Hence, demands, matters, or questions ancillary or incidental to, or growing out of, the main burden of keeping him, pending the trial, and at the same time, to put the
action, and coming within the above principles, may be taken cognizance of by the court and accused as much under the power of the court as if he were in custody of
determined, since such jurisdiction is in aid of its authority over the principal matter, even though the proper officer, and to secure the appearance of the accused so as to
the court may thus be called on to consider and decide matters which, as original causes of answer the call of the court and do what the law may require of him.
action, would not be within its cognizance.

The condition imposed upon petitioner to make himself available at all times
Furthermore, a court has the inherent power to make interlocutory orders necessary to protect whenever the court requires his presence operates as a valid restriction on
its jurisdiction.30 Such being the case, with more reason may a party litigant be subjected to his right to travel. As we have held in People vs. Uy Tuising, 61 Phil. 404
proper coercive measures where he disobeys a proper order, or commits a fraud on the court or (1935):
the opposing party, the result of which is that the jurisdiction of the court would be ineffectual.
What ought to be done depends upon the particular circumstances. 31
. . . the result of the obligation assumed by appellee
(surety) to hold the accused amenable at all times to
Turning now to the case at bar, petitioner does not deny and, as a matter of fact, even made a the orders and processes of the lower court, was to
public statement that she had every intention of leaving the country allegedly to pursue higher prohibit said accused from leaving the jurisdiction of the
studies abroad. We uphold the course of action adopted by the Sandiganbayan in taking judicial Philippines, because, otherwise, said orders and
notice of such fact of petitioner's plan to go abroad and in thereafter issuing sua sponte the hold processes will be nugatory, and inasmuch as the
departure order, in justified consonance with our preceding disquisition. To reiterate, the hold jurisdiction of the courts from which they issued does
departure order is but an exercise of respondent court's inherent power to preserve and to not extend beyond that of the Philippines they would
maintain the effectiveness of its jurisdiction over the case and the person of the accused. have no binding force outside of said jurisdiction.

Second, petitioner asseverates that considering that she is leaving for abroad to pursue further Indeed, if the accused were allowed to leave the Philippines without
studies, there is no sufficient justification for the impairment of her constitutional right to travel; sufficient reason, he may be placed beyond the reach of the courts.
and that under Section 6, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the right to travel may be impaired
only when so required in the interest of national security, public safety or public health, as may
be provided by law. This was reiterated in a more recent case where we held:

It will be recalled that petitioner has posted bail which we have declared legally valid and
complete despite the absence of petitioner at the time of filing thereof, by reason of the peculiar
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Petitioner thus theorizes that under the 1987 Constitution, Courts can impair in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or referred to the lower court as
the right to travel only on the grounds of "national security, public safety, or the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped to resolve the issues since
public health." this Court is not a trier of facts. We, therefore, reiterate the judicial policy that this Court will not
entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate
The submission is not well taken. courts or where exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a remedy within
and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction.

Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should be interpreted to mean


that while the liberty of travel may be impaired even without Court Order, the For the guidance of the bench and the bar, we elucidate that such policy includes the matter of
appropriate executive officers or administrative authorities are not armed petitions or motions involving hold departure orders of the trial or lower courts. Parties with
with arbitrary discretion to impose limitations. They can impose limits only pending cases therein should apply for permission to leave the country from the very same
on the basis of "national security, public safety, or public health" and "as courts which, in the first instance, are in the best position to pass upon such applications and to
may be provided by law," a limitive phrase which did not appear in the 1973 impose the appropriate conditions therefor since they are conversant with the facts of the cases
text (The Constitution, Bernas, Joaquin, G., S.J., Vol. I, First Edition, 197, p. and the ramifications or implications thereof. Where, as in the present case, a hold departure
263). Apparently, the phraseology in the 1987 Constitution was a reaction to order has been issued ex parte or motu propio by said court, the party concerned must first
the ban on international travel imposed under the previous regime when exhaust the appropriate remedies therein, through a motion for reconsideration or other proper
there was a Travel Processing Center, which issued certificates of eligibility submissions, or by the filing of the requisite application for travel abroad. Only where all the
to travel upon application of an interested party (See Salonga v. Hermoso & conditions and requirements for the issuance of the extraordinary writs of certiorari, prohibition or
Travel Processing Center, No. 53622, 25 April 1980, 97 SCRA 121). mandamus indubitably obtain against a disposition of the lower courts may our power of
supervision over said tribunals be invoked through the appropriate petition assailing on
jurisdictional or clearly valid grounds their actuations therein.
Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should by no means be
construed as delimiting the inherent power of the Courts to use all means
necessary to carry their orders into effect in criminal cases pending before WHEREFORE, with respect to and acting on the motion now before us for resolution, the same
them. When by law jurisdiction is conferred on a Court or judicial officer, all is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.
auxiliary writs, processes and other means necessary to carry it into effect
may be employed by such Court or officer (Rule 135, Section 6, Rules of SO ORDERED.
Court).

xxx xxx xxx 17. Paderanga v. CA (constructive custody)

. . . Holding an accused in a criminal case within the reach of the Courts by


preventing his departure from the Philippines must be considered as a valid
restriction on his right to travel so that he may be dealt with in accordance Republic of the Philippines
with law. The offended party in any criminal proceeding is the People of the SUPREME COURT
Philippines. It is to their best interest that criminal prosecutions should run Manila
their course and proceed to finality without undue delay, with an accused
holding himself amenable at all times to Court Orders and processes.33 SECOND DIVISION

One final observation. We discern in the proceedings in this case a propensity on the part of
petitioner, and, for that matter, the same may be said of a number of litigants who initiate
recourses before us, to disregard the hierarchy of courts in our judicial system by seeking relief G.R. No. 115407 August 28, 1995
directly from this Court despite the fact that the same is available in the lower courts in the
exercise of their original or concurrent jurisdiction, or is even mandated bylaw to be sought
therein. This practice must be stopped, not only because of the imposition upon the precious
time of this Court but also because of the inevitable and resultant delay, intended or otherwise,
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MIGUEL P. PADERANGA, petitioner, on April 19, 1991, the Court sustained the filing of the second amended information
vs. against him.4
COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
Under this backdrop, the trial of the base was all set to start with the issuance of an
arrest warrant for petitioner's apprehension but, before it could be served on him,
REGALADO, J.: petitioner through counsel, filed on October 28, 1992 a motion for admission to bail
with the trial court which set the same for hearing on November 5, 1992. Petitioner
The adverse decision in this case promulgated by respondent Court of Appeals in CA- duly furnished copies of the motion to State Prosecutor Henrick F. Gingoyon, the
G.R. SP No. 32233 on November 24, 1993, as well as its resolution of April 26, 1994 Regional State Prosecutor's Office, and the private prosecutor, Atty. Benjamin
denying the motion for reconsideration thereof, are challenged by petitioner Miguel P. Guimong. On November 5, 1992, the trial court proceeded to hear the application for
Paderanga in this appeal by certiorari through a petition which raises issues centering bail. Four of petitioner's counsel appeared in court but only Assistant Prosecutor
mainly on said petitioner's right to be admitted to bail. Erlindo Abejo of the Regional State Prosecution's Office appeared for the
prosecution.5

On January 28, 1990, petitioner was belatedly charged in an amended information as


a co-conspirator in the crime of multiple murder in Criminal Case No. 86-39 of the As petitioner was then confined at the Cagayan Capitol College General Hospital due
Regional Trial Court, Branch 18 of Cagayan de Oro City for the killing of members of to "acute costochondritis," his counsel manifested that they were submitting custody
the Bucag family sometime in 1984 in Gingoog City of which petitioner was the mayor over the person of their client to the local chapter president of the integrated Bar of the
at the time. The original information, filed on October 6, 1986 with the Regional Trial Philippines and that, for purposes of said hearing of his bail application, he considered
Court of Gingoog City,1 had initially indicted for multiple murder eight accused being in the custody of the law. Prosecutor Abejo, on the other hand, informed the trial
suspect, namely, Felipe Galarion, Manuel Sabit, Cesar Sabit, Julito Ampo, Eddie court that in accordance with the directive of the chief of their office, Regional State
Torion, John Doe, Peter Doe And Richard Doe as the alleged conspirators in the prosecutor Jesus Zozobrado, the prosecution was neither supporting nor opposing the
indiscriminate slaying of the spouses Romeo and Juliet Bucag and their son, Romeo, application for bail and that they were submitting the same to the sound discretion of
Jr. However, only one of the accused, Felipe Galarion, was apprehended, tried and the trail judge.6
eventually convicted. Galarion later escaped from prison. The others have remained at
large up to the present. 2 Upon further inquiries from the trial court, Prosecutor Abejo announced that he was
waiving any further presentation of evidence. On that note and in a resolution dated
In a bizarre twist of events, one Felizardo ("Ely") Roxas was implicated in the crime. In November 5, 1992, the trial court admitted petitioner to bail in the amount of
an amended information dated October 6, 1988, he was charged as a co-accused P200,000.00. The following day, November 6, 1992, petitioner, apparently still weak
therein. As herein petitioner was his former employer and thus knew him well, Roxas but well enough to travel by then, managed to personally appear before the clerk of
engaged the former's services as counsel in said case. Ironically, in the course of the court of the trial court and posted bail in the amount thus fixed. He was thereafter
preliminary investigation therein, said accused, in a signed affidavit dated March 30, arraigned and in the trial that ensued, he also personally appeared and attended all
1989 but which he later retracted on June 20, 1990, implicated petitioner as the the scheduled court hearings of the case.7
supposed mastermind behind the massacre of the Bucag family. 3
The subsequent motion for reconsideration of said resolution filed twenty (20) days later on
Then, upon the inhibition of the City Prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro City from the case November 26, 1992 by Prosecutor Gingoyon who allegedly received his copy of the petition for
per his resolution of July 7, 1989, the Department of Justice, at the instance of said admission to bail on the day after the hearing, was denied by the trial court in its omnibus order
prosecutor, designated a replacement, State Prosecutor Henrick F. Gingoyon, for dated March 29, 1993. On October 1, 1993, or more than six (6) months later, Prosecutor
purposes of both the preliminary investigation and prosecution of Criminal Case No. Gingoyon elevated the matter to respondent Court of Appeals through a special civil action
86-39. Pursuant to a resolution of the new prosecutor dated September 6, 1989, for certiorari. Thus were the resolution and the order of the trial court granting bail to petitioner
petitioner was finally charged as a co-conspirator in said criminal case in a second annulled on November 24, 1993, in the decision now under review, on the ground that they were
amended information dated October 6, 1992. Petitioner assailed his inclusion therein tainted with grave abuse of discretion.8
as a co-accused all the way to this Court in G.R. No. 96080 entitled "Atty. Miguel P.
Paderanga vs. Hon. Franklin M. Drilon, Hon. Silvestre H. Bello III, Atty. Henrick F. Respondent court observed in its decision that at the time of petitioner's application for
Gingoyon, Helen B. Canoy and Rebecca B. Tan." In an en banc decision promulgated bail, he was not yet "in the custody of the law," apparently because he filed his motion

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for admission to bail before he was actually arrested or had voluntarily surrendered. It release pending trial, the Supreme Court categorically pronounced that said petitioner
further noted that apart from the circumstance that petitioner was charged with a crime was not eligible for admission to bail.
punishable by reclusion perpetua, the evidence of guilt was strong as borne out by the
fact that no bail was recommended by the prosecution, for which reasons it held that As a paramount requisite then, only those persons who have either been arrested,
the grant of bail was doubly improvident. Lastly, the prosecution, according to detained, or other wise deprived of their freedom will ever have occasion to seek the
respondent court, was not afforded an opportunity to oppose petitioner's application protective mantle extended by the right to bail. The person seeking his provisional
for bail contrary to the requirements of due process. Hence, this appeal. release under the auspices of bail need not even wait for a formal complaint or
information to be filed against him as it is available to "all persons" 15 where the offense
Petitioner argues that, in accordance with the ruling of this Court in Santiago is bailable. The rule is, of course, subject to the condition or limitation that the
vs. Vasquez etc., et al.,9 his filing of the aforesaid application for bail with the trial court applicant is in the custody of the law.16
effectively conferred on the latter jurisdiction over his person. In short, for all intents
and purposes, he was in the custody of the law. In petitioner's words, the "invocation On the other hand, a person is considered to be in the custody of the law (a) when he
by the accused of the court's jurisdiction by filing a pleading in court is sufficient to is arrested either by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued pursuant to Section 6, Rule
vest the court with jurisdiction over the person of the accused and bring him within the 112, or by warrantless arrest under Section 5, Rule 113 in relation to Section 7, Rule
custody of the law." 112 of the revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, or (b) when he has voluntarily
submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court by surrendering to the proper
Petitioner goes on to contend that the evidence on record negates the existence of authorities.17 in this light, the ruling, vis-a-vis the facts in Santiago vs. Vasquez, etc., et
such strong evidence as would bar his provisional release on bail. Furthermore, the al.,18 should be explained.
prosecution, by reason of the waiver by Prosecutor Abejo of any further presentation
of evidence to oppose the application for bail and whose representation in court in In said case, the petitioner who was charged before the Sandiganbayan for violation of
behalf of the prosecution bound the latter, cannot legally assert any claim to a denial the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, filed through counsel what purported to be an
of procedural due process. Finally, petitioner points out that the special civil action "Urgent Ex-parte Motion for Acceptance of Cash Bail Bond." Said petitioner was at the
for certiorari was filed in respondent court after an unjustifiable length of time. time confined in a hospital recuperating from serious physical injuries which she
sustained in a major vehicular mishap. Consequently, she expressly sought leave
On the undisputed facts , the legal principles applicable and the equities involved in "that she be considered as having placed herself under the jurisdiction of (the
this case, the Court finds for petitioner. Sandiganbayan) for purposes of the required trial and other proceedings." On the
basis of said ex-parte motion and the peculiar circumstances obtaining in that incident,
1. Section 1 of Rule 114, as amended, defines bail as the security given for the the Sandiganbayan authorized petitioner to post a cash bail bond for her provisional
release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, liberty without need of her personal appearance in view of her physical incapacity and
conditioned upon his appearing before any court as required under the conditions as a matter of humane consideration.
specified in said Rule. Its main purpose, then, is to relieve an accused from the rigors
of imprisonment until his conviction and yet secure his appearance at the trial. 10 As When the Sandiganbayan later issued a hold departure order against her, she
bail is intended to obtain or secure one's provisional liberty, the same cannot be question the jurisdiction of that court over her person in a recourse before this Court,
posted before custody over him has been acquired by the judicial authorities, either by on the ground that "she neither been arrested nor has she voluntarily surrendered,
his lawful arrest or voluntary surrender.11 As this Court has put it in a case "it would be aside from the fact that she has not validly posted bail since she never personally
incongruous to grant bail to one who is free."12 appeared before said court" In rejecting her arguments, the Court held that she was
clearly estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan for by her own
The rationale behind the rule is that it discourages and prevents resort to the former representations in the urgent ex parte motion for bail she had earlier recognized such
pernicious practice whereby an accused could just send another in his stead to post jurisdiction. Furthermore, by actually posting a cash bail was accepted by the court,
his bail, without recognizing the jurisdiction of the court by his personal appearance she had effectively submitted to its jurisdiction over her person. Nonetheless, on the
therein and compliance with the requirements therefor. 13 Thus, in Feliciano matter of bail, the Court took pains to reiterate that the same cannot be posted before
vs. Pasicolan, etc., et al.,14 where the petitioner who had been charged with custody of the accused has been acquired by the judicial authorities either by his
kidnapping with murder went into hiding without surrendering himself, and shortly arrest or voluntary surrender.
thereafter filed a motion asking the court to fix the amount of the bail bond for his

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In the case of herein petitioner, it may be conceded that he had indeed filed his motion obtain bail in absentia and thereby be able to avoid arrest should the application
for admission to bail before he was actually and physically placed under arrest. He therefore be denied.
may, however, at that point and in the factual ambience therefore, be considered as
being constructively and legally under custody. Thus in the likewise peculiar 2. Section 13, Article III of the Constitution lays down the rule that before conviction, all indictees
circumstance which attended the filing of his bail application with the trail court, for shall be allowed bail, except only those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
purposes of the hearing thereof he should be deemed to have voluntarily submitted perpetua when the evidence of guilt is strong. In pursuance thereof, Section 4 of Rule 114, as
his person to the custody of the law and, necessarily, to the jurisdiction of the trial amended, now provides that all persons in custody shall, before conviction by a regional trial
court which thereafter granted bail as prayed for. In fact, an arrest is made either by court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, be admitted
actual restraint of the arrestee or merely by his submission to the custody of the to bail as a matter of right. The right to bail, which may be waived considering its personal
person making the arrest.19 The latter mode may be exemplified by the so-called nature21 and which, to repeat, arises from the time one is placed in the custody of the law,
"house arrest" or, in case of military offenders, by being "confined to quarters" or springs from the presumption of innocence accorded every accused upon whom should not be
restricted to the military camp area. inflicted incarceration at the outset since after trial he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his
guilt be established beyond reasonable doubt.22
It should be stressed herein that petitioner, through his counsel, emphatically made it
known to the prosecution and to the trail court during the hearing for bail that he could Thus, the general rule is that prior to conviction by the regional trial court of a criminal offense,
not personally appear as he was then confined at the nearby Cagayan Capitol College an accused is entitled to be released on bail as a matter of right, the present exceptions thereto
General Hospital for acute costochondritis, and could not then obtain medical being the instances where the accused is charged with a capital offense or an offense
clearance to leave the hospital. The prosecution and the trial court, notwithstanding punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment23 and the evidence of guilt is strong.
their explicit knowledge of the specific whereabouts of petitioner, never lifted a finger Under said general rule, upon proper application for admission to bail, the court having custody
to have the arrest warrant duly served upon him. Certainly, it would have taken but the of the accused should, as a matter of course, grant the same after a hearing conducted to
slightest effort to place petitioner in the physical custody of the authorities, since he specifically determine the conditions of the bail in accordance with Section 6 (now, Section 2) of
was then incapacitated and under medication in a hospital bed just over a kilometer Rule 114. On the other hand, as the grant of bail becomes a matter of judicial discretion on the
away, by simply ordering his confinement or placing him under guard. part of the court under the exceptions to the rule, a hearing, mandatory in nature and which
should be summary or otherwise in the discretion of the court, 24 is required with the participation
The undeniable fact is that petitioner was by then in the constructive custody of the of both the defense and a duly notified representative of the prosecution, this time to ascertain
law. Apparently, both the trial court and the prosecutors agreed on that point since whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong for the provisional liberty of the applicant.25 Of
they never attempted to have him physically restrained. Through his lawyers, he course, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show that the evidence meets the required
expressly submitted to physical and legal control over his person, firstly, by filing the quantum.26
application for bail with the trail court; secondly, by furnishing true information of his
actual whereabouts; and, more importantly, by unequivocally recognizing the Where such a hearing is set upon proper motion or petition, the prosecution must be give an
jurisdiction of the said court. Moreover, when it came to his knowledge that a warrant opportunity to present, within a reasonable time, all the evidence that it may want to introduce
for his arrest had been issued, petitioner never made any attempt or evinced any before the court may resolve the application, since it is equally entitled as the accused to due
intent to evade the clutches of the law or concealed his whereabouts from the process.27 If the prosecution is denied this opportunity, there would be a denial of procedural due
authorities since the day he was charged in court, up to the submission application for process, as a consequence of which the court's order in respect of the motion or petition is
bail, and until the day of the hearing thereof. void.28 At the hearing, the petitioner can rightfully cross-examine the witnesses presented by the
prosecution and introduce his own evidence in rebuttal. 29 When, eventually, the court issues an
At the hearing, his counsel offered proof of his actual confinement at the hospital on order either granting or refusing bail, the same should contain a summary of the evidence for the
account of an acute ailment, which facts were not at all contested as they were easily prosecution, followed by its conclusion as to whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong. 30 The
verifiable. And, as a manifestation of his good faith and of his actual recognition of the court, though, cannot rely on mere affidavits or recitals of their contents, if timely objected to, for
authority of trial court, petitioner's counsel readily informed the court that they were these represent only hearsay evidence, and thus are insufficient to establish the quantum of
surrendering custody of petitioner to the president of the Integrated Bar of the evidence that the law requires.31
Philippines, Misamis Oriental Chapter.20 In other words, the motion for admission to
bail was filed not for the purpose or in the manner of the former practice which the law In this appeal, the prosecution assails what it considers to be a violation of procedural due
proscribes for the being derogatory of the authority and jurisdiction of the courts, as process when the court below allowed Assistant Prosecutor Erlindo Abejo of the Regional State
what had happened in Feliciano. There was here no intent or strategy employed to
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Prosecutor's Office to appear in behalf of the prosecution, instead of State Prosecutor Henrick P. Where is your Chief of Office? Your office received a
Gingoyon who is claimed to be the sole government prosecutor expressly authorized to handle copy of the motion as early as October 28. There is an
the case and who received his copy of the motion only on the day after the hearing had been element of urgency here.
conducted. Accordingly, the prosecution now insists that Prosecutor Abejo had no authority at all
to waive the presentation of any further evidence in opposition to the application for bail and to PROSECUTOR ABEJO:
submit the matter to the sound discretion of the trial court. In addition, they argue that the
prosecution was not afforded "reasonable time" to oppose that application for bail.
I am not aware of that, Your Honor, I was only informed
just now. The one assigned here is State Prosecutor
We disagree. Firstly, it is undisputed that the Office of the Regional State Prosecutor acted as Perseverando Arena, Jr. who unfortunately is in the
the collaborating counsel, with State Prosecutor Henrick Gingoyon, in Criminal Case No. 86-39 hospital attending to his sick son. I do not know about
on the basis of an authority from then Chief State Prosecutor Fernando de Leon which was sent this but before I came I received an instruction from our
through radio message on July 10, 1992 and duly received by the Office of the Regional State Chief to relay to this court the stand of the office
Prosecutor on the same date. This authorization, which was to be continuing until and unless it regarding the motion to admit bail. That office is neither
was expressly withdrawn, was later confirmed and then withdrawn only on July 12, 1993 by then supporting nor opposing it and we are submitting to the
Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon. This was done after one Rebecca Bucag-tan questioned sound discretion of the Honorable Court.
the authority of Regional State Prosecutor Jesus Zozobrado and State Prosecutor II Erlindo
Abejo to enter their appearance as collaborating government prosecutors in said criminal
case.32 It was in fact by virtue of this arrangement that the same Prosecutor Zozobrado and COURT:
Prosecutor Perseverando Arana entered their appearance as collaborating prosecutor in the
previous hearing in said case.33 Hence, on the strength of said authority and of its receipt of the Place that manifestation on record. For the record,
notice of the hearing for bail, the Regional State Prosecutor's Office, through Prosecutor Abejo, Fiscal Abejo, would you like to formally enter your
could validly represent the prosecution in the hearing held on November 5, 1992. appearance in this matter?

Secondly, although it is now claimed that Prosecutor Abejo was allegedly not familiar PROSECUTOR ABEJO:
with the case, he nonetheless was explicitly instructed about the position of the
Regional State Prosecutor's Office on the matter. Prosecutor Zozobrado, whose office Yes, Your Honor. For the government, the Regional
received its copy of the motion on the very day when it was sent, that is, October 28, State Prosecutor's Office represented by State
1992, duly instructed Prosecutor Abejo to manifest to the court that the prosecution Prosecutor Erlindo Abejo.
was neither supporting nor opposing the application for bail and that they were
submitting the matter to its sound discretion. Obviously, what this meant was that the
COURT:
prosecution, at that particular posture of the case, was waiving the presentation of any
countervailing evidence. When the court a quo sought to ascertain whether or not that
was the real import of the submission by Prosecutor Abejo, the latter readily answered By that manifestation do you want the Court to
in the affirmative. understand that in effect, at least, the prosecution is
dispensing with the presentation of evidence to show
The following exchanges bear this out: that the guilt of the accused is strong, the denial . . .

PROSECUTOR ABEJO:
PROSECUTOR ERLINDO ABEJO:

I am amenable to that manifestation, Your Honor.


I was informed to appear in this case just now Your
Honor.
COURT:
COURT:

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Final inquiry. Is the Prosecution willing to submit the procedural rules. As summarized in its aforementioned order, the lower court
incident covered by this particular motion for resolution exhausted all means to convince itself of the propriety of the waiver of evidence on the
by this court? part of the prosecution. Moreover, the omnibus order contained the requisite summary
of the evidence of both the prosecution and the defense, and only after sifting through
PROSECUTOR ABEJO: them did the court conclude that petitioner could be provisionally released on bail.
Parenthetically, there is no showing that, since then and up to the present, petitioner
has ever committed any violation of the conditions of his bail.
Yes, Your Honor.

As to the contention that the prosecutor was not given the opportunity to present its
COURT: evidence within a reasonable period of time, we hold otherwise. The records indicate
that the Regional State Prosecutor's Office duly received its copy of the application for
Without presenting any further evidence? bail on the very same day that the it was filed with the trial court on October 28, 1992.
Counted from said date up to the day of the hearing on November 5, 1992, the
PROSECUTOR ABEJO: prosecution had more than one (1) week to muster such evidence as it would have
wanted to adduce in that hearing in opposition to the motion. Certainly, under the
circumstances, that period was more than reasonable. The fact that Prosecutor
Yes, Your Honor.34
Gingoyon received his copy of the application only on November 6, 1992 is beside the
point for, as already established, the Office of the Regional State Prosecutor was
It is further evident from the foregoing that the prosecution, on the instructions of authorized to appear for the People.
Regional State prosecutor Zozobrado, had no intention at all to oppose the motion for
bail and this should be so notwithstanding the statement that they were "neither 4. What finally militates against the cause of the prosecutor is the indubitably
supporting nor opposing" the motion. What is of significance is the manifestation that
unreasonable period of time that elapsed before it questioned before the respondent
the prosecution was "submitting (the motion) to the sound discretion of the Honorable court the resolution and the omnibus order of the trial court through a special civil
Court." By that, it could not be any clearer. The prosecution was dispensing with the action for certiorari. The Solicitor General submits that the delay of more than six (6)
introduction of evidence en contra and this it did at the proper forum and stage of the
months, or one hundred eighty-four (184) days to be exact, was reasonable due to the
proceedings, that is, during the mandatory hearing for bail and after the trial court had
attendant difficulties which characterized the prosecution of the criminal case against
fully satisfied itself that such was the position of the prosecution.
petitioner. But then, the certiorariproceeding was initiated before the respondent court
long after trial on the merits of the case had ensued in the court below with the active
3. In Herras Teehankee vs. Director of Prisons,35 it was stressed that where the trial participation of prosecution lawyers, including Prosecutor Gingoyon. At any rate, the
court has reasons to believe that the prosecutor's attitude of not opposing the definitive rule now in that the special civil action for certiorari should not be instituted
application for bail is not justified, as when he is evidently committing a gross error or beyond a period of the three months,38 the same to be reckoned by taking into
a dereliction of duty, the court, in the interest of Justice, must inquire from the account the duration of time that had expired from the commission of the acts
prosecutor concerned as the nature of his evidence to determine whether or not it is complained to annul the same.39
strong. And, in the very recent administrative matter Re: First Indorsement Dated July
21, 1992 of Hon. Fernando de Leon,Chief State Prosecutor, Department of ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 32233,
Justice; Alicia A. Baylon, City Prosecutor of Dagupan City vs. Judge Deodoro
promulgated on November 24, 1993, annulling the resolution dated November 5, 1992 and the
Sison, 36 the Court, citing Tucay vs. Domagas, etc., 37 held that where the prosecutor
omnibus order dated March 29, 1993 of the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City, as well
interposes no objection to the motion of the accused, the trial court should
as said respondent court's resolution of April 26, 1994 denying the motion for reconsideration of
nevertheless set the application for hearing and from there diligently ascertain from said judgment, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The aforesaid resolution and omnibus
the prosecution whether the latter is really not contesting the bail application.
order of the Regional Trail Court granting bail to petitioner Miguel P. Paderanga are hereby
REINSTATED.
No irregularity, in the context of procedural due process, could therefore be attributed
to the trial court here as regards its order granting bail to petitioner. A review of the SO ORDERED.
transcript of the stenographic notes pertinent to its resolution of November 5, 1992
and the omnibus order of March 29, 1993 abundantly reveals scrupulous adherence to
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June 16, 2014, Enrile respectively filed his Omnibus Motion5 and Supplemental
18. Enrile v. Sandiganbayan (based on humanitarian and health reason; read Opposition,6 praying, among others, that he be allowed to post bail should probable cause be
dissenting opinion) found against him. The motions were heard by the Sandiganbayan after the Prosecution filed its
Consolidated Opposition.7

On July 3, 2014, the Sandiganbaya n issued its resolution denying Enrile’s motion, particularly
Republic of the Philippines on the matter of bail, on the ground of its prematurity considering that Enrile had not yet then
SUPREME COURT voluntarily surrendered or been placed under the custody of the law. 8 Accordingly, the
Manila Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Enrile.9

EN BANC On the same day that the warrant for his arrest was issued, Enrile voluntarily surrendered to
Director Benjamin Magalong of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp
G.R. No. 213847 August 18, 2015 Crame, Quezon City, and was later on confined at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General
Hospital following his medical examination.10

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, Petitioner,


vs. Thereafter, Enrile filed his Motion for Detention at the PNP General Hospital , 11 and his Motion to
SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents. Fix Bail ,12 both dated July 7, 2014, which were heard by the Sandiganbayan on July 8,
2014.13 In support of the motions, Enrile argued that he should be allowed to post bail because:
(a) the Prosecution had not yet established that the evidence of his guilt was strong; (b) although
DECISION he was charged with plunder, the penalty as to him would only be reclusion temporal , not
reclusion perpetua ; and (c) he was not a flight risk, and his age and physical condition must
BERSAMIN, J.: further be seriously considered.

The decision whether to detain or release an accused before and during trial is ultimately an On July 14, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued its first assailed resolution denying Enrile’s Motion
incident of the judicial power to hear and determine his criminal case. The strength of the to Fix Bail, disposing thusly:
Prosecution's case, albeit a good measure of the accused’s propensity for flight or for causing
harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary objective of bail, which is to ensure that the x x x [I]t is only after the prosecution shall have presented its evidence and the Court shall have
accused appears at trial.1 made a determination that the evidence of guilt is not strong against accused Enrile can he
demand bail as a matter of right. Then and only then will the Court be duty-bound to fix the
The Case amount of his bail.

Before the Court is the petition for certiorari filed by Senator Juan Ponce Enrile to assail and To be sure, no such determination has been made by the Court. In fact, accused Enrile has not
annul the resolutions dated July 14, 20142 and August 8, 20143 issued by the Sandiganbayan filed an application for bail. Necessarily, no bail hearing can even commence. It is thus
(Third Division) in Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238, where he has been charged with plunder along exceedingly premature for accused Enrile to ask the Court to fix his bail.
with several others. Enrile insists that the resolutions, which respectively denied his Motion To
Fix Bail and his Motion For Reconsideration, were issued with grave abuse of discretion Accused Enrile next argues that the Court should grant him bail because while he is charged
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. with plunder, "the maximum penalty that may be possibly imposed on him is reclusion temporal,
not reclusion perpetua." He anchors this claim on Section 2 of R.A. No. 7080, as amended, and
Antecedents on the allegation that he is over seventy (70) years old and that he voluntarily surrendered.
"Accordingly, it may be said that the crime charged against Enrile is not punishable by reclusion
On June 5, 2014, the Office of the Ombudsman charged Enrile and several others with plunder perpetua, and thus bailable."
in the Sandiganbayan on the basis of their purported involvement in the diversion and misuse of
appropriations under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). 4 On June 10, 2014 and The argument has no merit.

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x x x [F]or purposes of bail, the presence of mitigating circumstance/s is not taken into surrender; that the Prosecution has not come forward with proof showing that his guilt for the
consideration. These circumstances will only be appreciated in the imposition of the proper crime of plunder is strong; and that he should not be considered a flight risk taking into account
penalty after trial should the accused be found guilty of the offense charged. x x x that he is already over the age of 90, his medical condition, and his social standing.

Lastly, accused Enrile asserts that the Court should already fix his bail because he is not a flight In its Comment ,17 the Ombudsman contends that Enrile’s right to bail is discretionary as he is
risk and his physical condition must also be seriously considered by the Court. charged with a capital offense; that to be granted bail, it is mandatory that a bail hearing be
conducted to determine whether there is strong evidence of his guilt, or the lack of it; and that
Admittedly, the accused’s age, physical condition and his being a flight risk are among the entitlement to bail considers the imposable penalty, regardless of the attendant circumstances.
factors that are considered in fixing a reasonable amount of bail. However, as explained above,
it is premature for the Court to fix the amount of bail without an anterior showing that the Ruling of the Court
evidence of guilt against accused Enrile is not strong.
The petition for certiorari is meritorious.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, accused Juan Ponce Enrile’s Motion to Fix Bail dated July
7, 2014 is DENIED for lack of merit. 1.
Bail protects the right of the accused to
SO ORDERED.14 due process and to be presumed innocent

On August 8, 2014, the Sandiganbayan issued it s second assailed resolution to deny Enrile’s In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is
motion for reconsideration filed vis-à-vis the July 14, 2014 resolution.15 proved.18 The presumption of innocence is rooted in the guarantee of due process, and is
safeguarded by the constitutional right to be released on bail, 19 and further binds the court to
Enrile raises the following grounds in support of his petition for certiorari , namely: wait until after trial to impose any punishment on the accused.20

A. Before judgment of the Sandiganbayan, Enrile is bailable as a matter of right. It is worthy to note that bail is not granted to prevent the accused from committing additional
Enrile may be deemed to fall within the exception only upon concurrence of two crimes.[[21] The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial, or
(2) circumstances: (i) where the offense is punishable by reclusion perpetua, whenever so required by the trial court. The amount of bail should be high enough to assure the
and (ii) when evidence of guilt is strong. presence of the accused when so required, but it should be no higher than is reasonably
calculated to fulfill this purpose.22 Thus, bail acts as a reconciling mechanism to accommodate
both the accused’s interest in his provisional liberty before or during the trial, and the society’s
B. The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile, if ever he interest in assuring the accused’s presence at trial.23
would be convicted, is punishable by reclusion perpetua; hence, Enrile is
entitled to bail as a matter of right.
2.
Bail may be granted as a
C. The prosecution failed to show clearly and conclusively that evidence of matter of right or of discretion
Enrile’s guilt (if ever) is strong; hence, Enrile is entitled to bail as a matter of
right.
The right to bail is expressly afforded by Section 13, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the Constitution,
16
viz.:
D. At any rate, Enrile may be bailable as he is not a flight risk.

x x x All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when
Enrile claims that before judgment of conviction, an accused is entitled to bail as matter of right; evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be
th at it is the duty and burden of the Prosecution to show clearly and conclusively that Enrile released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired
comes under the exception and cannot be excluded from enjoying the right to bail; that the even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be
Prosecution has failed to establish that Enrile, if convicted of plunder, is punishable by reclusion required.
perpetua considering the presence of two mitigating circumstances – his age and his voluntary

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This constitutional provision is repeated in Section 7, Rule 11424 of the Rules of Court , as (d) That the circumstances of hi s case indicate the probability of flight if released on
follows: bail; or

Section 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, (e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of
not bailable. — No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion the appeal.
perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong,
regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. 3.
Admission to bail in offenses punished
A capital offense in the context of the rule refers to an offense that, under the law existing at the by death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion
time of its commission and the application for admission to bail, may be punished with death. 25 perpetua is subject to judicial discretion

The general rule is, therefore, that any person, before being convicted of any criminal offense, For purposes of admission to bail, the determination of whether or not evidence of guilt is strong
shall be bailable, unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with in criminal cases involving capital offenses, or offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua or life
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Hence, from the imprisonment lies within the discretion of the trial court. But, as the Court has held in Concerned
moment he is placed under arrest, or is detained or restrained by the officers of the law, he can Citizens v. Elma ,30 "such discretion may be exercised only after the hearing called to ascertain
claim the guarantee of his provisional liberty under the Bill of Rights, and he retains his right to the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of whether or not he should be granted
bail unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with reclusion provisional liberty." It is axiomatic, therefore, that bail cannot be allowed when its grant is a
perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong.26 Once it has been matter of discretion on the part of the trial court unless there has been a hearing with notice to
established that the evidence of guilt is strong, no right to bail shall be recognized.27 the Prosecution.31The indispensability of the hearing with notice has been aptly explained in
Aguirre v. Belmonte, viz. :32
As a result, all criminal cases within the competence of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal
Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court are bailable as matter x x x Even before its pronouncement in the Lim case, this Court already ruled in People vs.
of right because these courts have no jurisdiction to try capital offenses, or offenses punishable Dacudao, etc., et al. that a hearing is mandatory before bail can be granted to an accused who
with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Likewise, bail is a matter of right prior to conviction is charged with a capital offense, in this wise:
by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for any offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua ,
or life imprisonment, or even prior to conviction for an offense punishable by death, reclusion The respondent court acted irregularly in granting bail in a murder case without any hearing on
perpetua , or life imprisonment when evidence of guilt is not strong.28 the motion asking for it, without bothering to ask the prosecution for its conformity or comment,
as it turned out later, over its strong objections. The court granted bail on the sole basis of the
On the other hand, the granting of bail is discretionary: (1) upon conviction by the RTC of an complaint and the affidavits of three policemen, not one of whom apparently witnessed the
offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment;29 or (2) if the RTC has killing. Whatever the court possessed at the time it issued the questioned ruling was intended
imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six years, provided none of the circumstances only for prima facie determining whether or not there is sufficient ground to engender a well-
enumerated under paragraph 3 of Section 5, Rule 114 is present, as follows: founded belief that the crime was committed and pinpointing the persons who probably
committed it. Whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong for each individual accused still has
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the to be established unless the prosecution submits the issue on whatever it has already
crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration; presented. To appreciate the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt, the prosecution must
be consulted or heard. It is equally entitled as the accused to due process.

(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or
violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification; Certain guidelines in the fixing of a bailbond call for the presentation of evidence and reasonable
opportunity for the prosecution to refute it. Among them are the nature and circumstances of the
crime, character and reputation of the accused, the weight of the evidence against him, the
(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional probability of the accused appearing at the trial, whether or not the accused is a fugitive from
pardon; justice, and whether or not the accused is under bond in other cases. (Section 6, Rule 114,
Rules of Court) It is highly doubtful if the trial court can appreciate these guidelines in an ex-
parte determination where the Fiscal is neither present nor heard.
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The hearing, which may be either summary or otherwise, in the discretion of the court, should 8. As regards the assertion that the maximum possible penalty that might be imposed upon
primarily determine whether or not the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong. For this Enrile is only reclusion temporal due to the presence of two mitigating circumstances, suffice it to
purpose, a summary hearing means: state that the presence or absence of mitigating circumstances is also not consideration that the
Constitution deemed worthy. The relevant clause in Section 13 is "charged with an offense
x x x such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is punishable by." It is, therefore, the maximum penalty provided by the offense that has bearing
practicable and consistent with the purpose of hearing which is merely to determine the weight and not the possibility of mitigating circumstances being appreciated in the accused’s favor. 36
of evidence for purposes of bail. On such hearing, the court does not sit to try the merits or to
enter into any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against Yet, we do not determine now the question of whether or not Enrile’s averment on the presence
the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence may be of the two mitigating circumstances could entitle him to bail despite the crime alleged against
therein offered or admitted. The course of inquiry may be left to the discretion of the court which him being punishable with reclusion perpetua ,37 simply because the determination, being
may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to substantial matters, avoiding primarily factual in context, is ideally to be made by the trial court.
unnecessary thoroughness in the examination and cross examination. 33
Nonetheless, in now granting Enrile’s petition for certiorari, the Court is guided by the earlier
In resolving bail applications of the accused who is charged with a capital offense, or an offense mentioned principal purpose of bail, which is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the
punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the trial judge is expected to comply with trial, or whenever so required by the court. The Court is further mindful of the Philippines’
the guidelines outlined in Cortes v. Catral,34 to wit: responsibility in the international community arising from the national commitment under the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights to:
1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify the prosecutor of
the hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every
(Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as amended); person. This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides:
"The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail rights." The Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of
regardless of whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can participate
the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the
sound discretion; (Section 7 and 8, supra) detention and order their release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under
obligation to make available to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard
their fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted to bail. 38
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of
evidence of the prosecution;
This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth
and dignity of every person has authorized the grant of bail not only to those charged in criminal
4. If the guilt of the accused is no t strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of proceedings but also to extraditees upon a clear and convincing showing: (1 ) that the detainee
the bailbond (Section 19, supra) Otherwise petition should be denied. will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2 ) that there exist special,
humanitarian and compelling circumstances.39
3.
Enrile’s poor health justifies his admission to bail In our view, his social and political standing and his having immediately surrendered to the
authorities upon his being charged in court indicate that the risk of his flight or escape from this
We first note that Enrile has averred in his Motion to Fix Bail the presence of two mitigating jurisdiction is highly unlikely. His personal disposition from the onset of his indictment for
circumstances that should be appreciated in his favor, namely: that he was already over 70 plunder, formal or otherwise, has demonstrated his utter respect for the legal processes of this
years at the time of the alleged commission of the offense, and that he voluntarily surrendered. 35 country. We also do not ignore that at an earlier time many years ago when he had been
charged with rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder, he already evinced a similar
Enrile’s averment has been mainly uncontested by the Prosecution, whose Opposition to the personal disposition of respect for the legal processes, and was granted bail during the
Motion to Fix Bail has only argued that – pendency of his trial because he was not seen as a flight risk. 40 With his solid reputation in both
his public and his private lives, his long years of public service, and history’s judgment of him
being at stake, he should be granted bail.

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The currently fragile state of Enrile’s health presents another compelling justification for his d. Gait/balance disorder;
admission to bail, but which the Sandiganbayan did not recognize.
e. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding (etiology uncertain) in 2014;
In his testimony in the Sandiganbayan,41 Dr. Jose C. Gonzales, the Director of the Philippine
General Hospital (PGH), classified Enrile as a geriatric patient who was found during the medical f. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (with documented enlarged prostate on
examinations conducted at the UP-PGH to be suffering from the following conditions: recent ultrasound).42

(1) Chronic Hypertension with fluctuating blood pressure levels on multiple drug Dr. Gonzales attested that the following medical conditions, singly or collectively, could pose
therapy; (Annexes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3); significant risk s to the life of Enrile, to wit: (1) uncontrolled hypertension, because it could lead
to brain or heart complications, including recurrence of stroke; (2) arrhythmia, because it could
(2) Diffuse atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease composed of the following : lead to fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular events, especially under stressful conditions; (3)
coronary calcifications associated with coronary artery disease, because they could indicate a
a. Previous history of cerebrovascular disease with carotid and vertebral future risk for heart attack under stressful conditions; and (4) exacerbations of ACOS, because
artery disease ; (Annexes 1.4, 4.1) they could be triggered by certain circumstances (like excessive heat, humidity, dust or allergen
exposure) which could cause a deterioration in patients with asthma or COPD. 43

b. Heavy coronary artery calcifications; (Annex 1.5)


Based on foregoing, there is no question at all that Enrile’s advanced age and ill health required
special medical attention. His confinement at the PNP General Hospital, albeit at his own
c. Ankle Brachial Index suggestive of arterial calcifications. (Annex 1.6) instance,44 was not even recommended by the officer-in-charge (O IC) and the internist doctor of
that medical facility because of the limitations in the medical support at that hospital. Their
(3) Atrial and Ventricular Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) documented by Holter testimonies ran as follows:
monitoring ; (Annexes 1.7.1, 1.7.2)
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
(4) Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrom (ACOS) and postnasal drip syndrome; (Annexes
2.1, 2.2) The question is, do you feel comfortable with the continued confinement of Senator Enrile at the
Philippine National Police Hospital?
(5) Ophthalmology:
DR. SERVILLANO:
a. Age-related mascular degeneration, neovascular s/p laser of the Retina,
s/p Lucentis intra-ocular injections; (Annexes 3.0, 3.1, 3.2) No, Your Honor.

b. S/p Cataract surgery with posterior chamber intraocular lens. (Annexes JUSTICE MARTIRES:
3.1, 3.2)

Director, doctor, do you feel comfortable with the continued confinement of Senator Enrile at the
(6) Historical diagnoses of the following: PNP Hospital ?

a. High blood sugar/diabetes on medications; PSUPT. JOCSON:

b. High cholesterol levels/dyslipidemia; No, Your Honor.

c. Alpha thalassemia; JUSTICE MARTIRES:

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Why? xxx

PSUPT. JOCSON: Considering the report of the Medical Director of the Quezon Institute to the effect that the
petitioner "is actually suffering from minimal, early, unstable type of pulmonary tuberculosis, and
Because during emergency cases, Your Honor, we cannot give him the best. chronic, granular pharyngitis," and that in said institute they "have seen similar cases, later
progressing into advance stages when the treatment and medicine are no longer of any avail;"
taking into consideration that the petitioner’s previous petition for bail was denied by the
JUSTICE MARTIRES: People’s Court on the ground that the petitioner was suffering from quiescent and not active
tuberculosis, and the implied purpose of the People’s Court in sending the petitioner to the
At present, since you are the attending physician of the accused, Senator Enrile, are you happy Quezon Institute for clinical examination and diagnosis of the actual condition of his lungs, was
or have any fear in your heart of the present condition of the accused vis a vis the facilities of the evidently to verify whether the petitioner is suffering from active tuberculosis, in order to act
hospital? accordingly in deciding his petition for bail; and considering further that the said People’s Court
has adopted and applied the well-established doctrine cited in our above-quoted resolution, in
DR. SERVILLANO: several cases, among them, the cases against Pio Duran (case No. 3324) and Benigno Aquino
(case No. 3527), in which the said defendants were released on bail on the ground that they
were ill and their continued confinement in New Bilibid Prison would be injurious to their health
Yes, Your Honor. I have a fear.
or endanger their life; it is evident and we consequently hold that the People’s Court acted with
grave abuse of discretion in refusing to re lease the petitioner on bail. 48
JUSTICE MARTIRES:
It is relevant to observe that granting provisional liberty to Enrile will then enable him to have his
That you will not be able to address in an emergency situation? medical condition be properly addressed and better attended to by competent physicians in the
hospitals of his choice. This will not only aid in his adequate preparation of his defense but, more
DR. SERVILLANO: importantly , will guarantee his appearance in court for the trial.

Your Honor, in case of emergency situation we can handle it but probably if the condition of the On the other hand, to mark time in order to wait for the trial to finish before a meaningful
patient worsen, we have no facilities to do those things, Your Honor.45 consideration of the application for bail can be had is to defeat the objective of bail, which is to
entitle the accused to provisional liberty pending the trial. There may be circumstances decisive
of the issue of bail – whose existence is either admitted by the Prosecution, or is properly the
Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime charged, should be allowed
subject of judicial notice – that the courts can already consider in resolving the application for
independently of the merits of the charge, provided his continued incarceration is clearly shown
bail without awaiting the trial to finish.49 The Court thus balances the scales of justice by
to be injurious to his health or to endanger his life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling
protecting the interest of the People through ensuring his personal appearance at the trial, and
his health and life would not serve the true objective of preventive incarceration during the trial.
at the same time realizing for him the guarantees of due process as well as to be presumed
innocent until proven guilty.
Granting bail to Enrile on the foregoing reasons is not unprecedented. The Court has already
held in Dela Rama v. The People’s Court:46
Accordingly, we conclude that the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to
ensure the appearance of the accused during the trial; and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear
x x x This court, in disposing of the first petition for certiorari, held the following: showing of the fragile health and advanced age of Enrile. As such, the Sandiganbayan gravely
abused its discretion in denying Enrile’s Motion To Fix Bail. Grave abuse of discretion, as the
x x x [ U]nless allowance of bail is forbidden by law in the particular case, the illness of the ground for the issuance of the writ of certiorari , connotes whimsical and capricious exercise of
prisoner, judgment as is equivalent to excess, or lack of jurisdiction.50 The abuse must be so patent and
gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform a duty
enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law as where the power is exercised in an
independently of the merits of the case, is a circumstance, and the humanity of the law makes it
arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility.51 WHEREFORE, the Court
a consideration which should, regardless of the charge and the stage of the proceeding,
GRANTS the petition for certiorari ; ISSUES the writ of certiorari ANNULING and SETTING
influence the court to exercise its discretion to admit the prisoner to bail ; 47
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ASIDE the Resolutions issued by the Sandiganbayan (Third Division) in Case No. SB-14 CRM- The movement from Mill's individual liberalism to unsystematic collectivism wrought
0238 on July 14, 2014 and August 8, 2014; ORDERS the PROVISIONAL RELEASE of petitioner changes in the social order, carrying with it a new formulation of fundamental rights and duties
Juan Ponce Enrile in Case No. SB-14-CRM-0238 upon posting of a cash bond of ₱1,000,000.00 more attuned to the imperatives of contemporary socio-political ideologies. In the process, the
in the Sandiganbayan; and DIRECTS the immediate release of petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile web of rights and State impositions became tangled and obscured, enmeshed in threads of
from custody unless he is being detained for some other lawful cause. multiple shades and colors, the skein irregular and broken. Antagonism, often outright collision,
between the law as the expression of the will of the State, and the zealous attempts by its
No pronouncement on costs of suit. members to preserve their individuality and dignity, inevitably followed. It is when individual
rights are pitted against State authority that judicial conscience is put to its severest test.

SO ORDERED. Petitioner Joseph Ejercito Estrada, the highest-ranking official to be prosecuted under RA
7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder),[1] as amended by RA
7659,[2] wishes to impress upon us that the assailed law is so defectively fashioned that it
19. Estrada v. Sandiganbayan (flight-risk) crosses that thin but distinct line which divides the valid from the constitutionally infirm. He
therefore makes a stringent call for this Court to subject the Plunder Law to the crucible of
constitutionality mainly because, according to him, (a) it suffers from the vice of vagueness; (b) it
dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal prosecutions; and, (c) it abolishes the
EN BANC element of mens rea in crimes already punishable under The Revised Penal Code, all of which
are purportedly clear violations of the fundamental rights of the accused to due process and to
be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him.

[G.R. No. 148560. November 19, 2001] Specifically, the provisions of the Plunder Law claimed by petitioner to have transgressed
constitutional boundaries are Secs. 1, par. (d), 2 and 4 which are reproduced hereunder:
JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA, petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (Third Division) and
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property, business, enterprise or
material possession of any person within the purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired by him
DECISION directly or indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or business
associates by any combination or series of the following means or similar schemes:
BELLOSILLO, J.:

JOHN STUART MILL, in his essay On Liberty, unleashes the full fury of his pen in defense (1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on
of the rights of the individual from the vast powers of the State and the inroads of societal the public treasury;
pressure. But even as he draws a sacrosanct line demarcating the limits on individuality beyond
which the State cannot tread - asserting that "individual spontaneity" must be allowed to flourish (2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickbacks or any
with very little regard to social interference - he veritably acknowledges that the exercise of rights other form of pecuniary benefit from any person and/or entity in connection with any government
and liberties is imbued with a civic obligation, which society is justified in enforcing at all cost, contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public office concerned;
against those who would endeavor to withhold fulfillment. Thus he says -
(3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National
The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, or government owned or
liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. The only purpose for which power can controlled corporations and their subsidiaries;
be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent
harm to others.
(4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of stock, equity or any
Parallel to individual liberty is the natural and illimitable right of the State to self- other form of interest or participation including the promise of future employment in any business
preservation. With the end of maintaining the integrity and cohesiveness of the body politic, it enterprise or undertaking;
behooves the State to formulate a system of laws that would compel obeisance to its collective
wisdom and inflict punishment for non-observance.

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(5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies or other combinations vagueness of the law under which they are charged were never raised in that Omnibus
and/or implementation of decrees and orders intended to benefit particular persons or special Motion thus indicating the explicitness and comprehensibility of the Plunder Law.
interests; or
On 25 April 2001 the Sandiganbayan, Third Division, issued a Resolution in Crim. Case
No. 26558 finding that "a probable cause for the offense of PLUNDER exists to justify the
(6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to issuance of warrants for the arrest of the accused." On 25 June 2001 petitioner's motion for
unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the reconsideration was denied by the Sandiganbayan.
Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.
On 14 June 2001 petitioner moved to quash the Information in Crim. Case No. 26558 on
Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public officer who, by himself or in the ground that the facts alleged therein did not constitute an indictable offense since the law on
connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business which it was based was unconstitutional for vagueness, and that the Amended Information for
associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth Plunder charged more than one (1) offense. On 21 June 2001 the Government filed
through a combination or series of overt or criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) its Opposition to the Motion to Quash, and five (5) days later or on 26 June 2001 petitioner
hereof, in the aggregate amount or total value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) submitted his Reply to the Opposition. On 9 July 2001 the Sandiganbayan denied
shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any petitioner's Motion to Quash.
person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing
As concisely delineated by this Court during the oral arguments on 18 September 2001,
to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties,
the issues for resolution in the instant petition for certiorari are: (a) The Plunder Law is
the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances as
unconstitutional for being vague; (b) The Plunder Law requires less evidence for proving the
provided by the Revised Penal Code shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare
predicate crimes of plunder and therefore violates the rights of the accused to due process; and,
any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the
(c) Whether Plunder as defined in RA 7080 is a malum prohibitum, and if so, whether it is within
properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor
the power of Congress to so classify it.
of the State (underscoring supplied).
Preliminarily, the whole gamut of legal concepts pertaining to the validity of legislation is
Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be predicated on the basic principle that a legislative measure is presumed to be in harmony with
necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the the Constitution.[3] Courts invariably train their sights on this fundamental rule whenever a
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being legislative act is under a constitutional attack, for it is the postulate of constitutional
sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts adjudication. This strong predilection for constitutionality takes its bearings on the idea that it is
indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy (underscoring supplied). forbidden for one branch of the government to encroach upon the duties and powers of
another. Thus it has been said that the presumption is based on the deference the judicial
On 4 April 2001 the Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan eight (8) branch accords to its coordinate branch - the legislature.
separate Informations, docketed as: (a) Crim. Case No. 26558, for violation of RA 7080, as
amended by RA 7659; (b) Crim. Cases Nos. 26559 to 26562, inclusive, for violation of Secs. 3, If there is any reasonable basis upon which the legislation may firmly rest, the courts must
par. (a), 3, par. (a), 3, par. (e) and 3, par. (e), of RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders and edges of its plenary powers,
Act), respectively; (c) Crim. Case No. 26563, for violation of Sec. 7, par. (d), of RA 6713 and has passed the law with full knowledge of the facts and for the purpose of promoting what is
(The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees); (d) Crim. Case right and advancing the welfare of the majority. Hence in determining whether the acts of the
No. 26564, for Perjury (Art. 183 of The Revised Penal Code); and, (e) Crim. Case No. 26565, for legislature are in tune with the fundamental law, courts should proceed with judicial restraint and
Illegal Use Of An Alias (CA No. 142, as amended by RA 6085). act with caution and forbearance. Every intendment of the law must be adjudged by the courts in
favor of its constitutionality, invalidity being a measure of last resort. In construing therefore the
On 11 April 2001 petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for the remand of the case to the provisions of a statute, courts must first ascertain whether an interpretation is fairly possible to
Ombudsman for preliminary investigation with respect to specification "d" of the charges in the sidestep the question of constitutionality.
Information in Crim. Case No. 26558; and, for reconsideration/reinvestigation of the offenses
under specifications "a," "b," and "c" to give the accused an opportunity to file counter-affidavits In La Union Credit Cooperative, Inc. v. Yaranon[4] we held that as
and other documents necessary to prove lack of probable cause. Noticeably, the grounds raised long as there is some basis for the decision of the court, the constitutionality of the challenged
were only lack of preliminary investigation, reconsideration/reinvestigation of offenses, and law will not be touched and the case will be decided on other available grounds. Yet the force of
opportunity to prove lack of probable cause. The purported ambiguity of the charges and the the presumption is not sufficient to catapult a fundamentally deficient law into the safe environs
of constitutionality. Of course, where the law clearly and palpably transgresses the hallowed

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domain of the organic law, it must be struck down on sight lest the positive commands of the In fact, the amended Information itself closely tracks the language of the law, indicating
fundamental law be unduly eroded. with reasonable certainty the various elements of the offense which petitioner is alleged to have
committed:
Verily, the onerous task of rebutting the presumption weighs heavily on the party
challenging the validity of the statute. He must demonstrate beyond any tinge of doubt that there
is indeed an infringement of the constitution, for absent such a showing, there can be no finding "The undersigned Ombudsman, Prosecutor and OIC-Director, EPIB, Office of the Ombudsman,
of unconstitutionality. A doubt, even if well-founded, will hardly suffice. As tersely put by Justice hereby accuses former PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Joseph
Malcolm, "To doubt is to sustain."[5] And petitioner has miserably failed in the instant case to Ejercito Estrada, a.k.a. 'ASIONG SALONGA' and a.k.a. 'JOSE VELARDE,' together with Jose
discharge his burden and overcome the presumption of constitutionality of the Plunder Law. 'Jinggoy' Estrada, Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Edward Serapio, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Alma Alfaro,
JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Tan OR Eleuterio Ramos Tan or Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia
As it is written, the Plunder Law contains ascertainable standards and well-defined Rajas, and John DOES & Jane Does, of the crime of Plunder, defined and penalized under R.A.
parameters which would enable the accused to determine the nature of his violation. Section 2 is No. 7080, as amended by Sec. 12 of R.A. No. 7659, committed as follows:
sufficiently explicit inits description of the acts, conduct and conditions required or forbidden, and
prescribes the elements of the crime with reasonable certainty and particularity. Thus - That during the period from June, 1998 to January 2001, in the Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, accused Joseph Ejercito Estrada, THEN A PRESIDENT OF
1. That the offender is a public officer who acts by himself or in connivance with members of his THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, by
family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons; himself AND/OR in CONNIVANCE/CONSPIRACY with his co-accused, WHO ARE MEMBERS
OF HIS FAMILY, RELATIVES BY AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY, BUSINESS
2. That he amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series ASSOCIATES, SUBORDINATES AND/OR OTHER PERSONS, BY TAKING UNDUE
of the following overt or criminal acts: (a) through misappropriation, ADVANTAGE OF HIS OFFICIAL POSITION, AUTHORITY, RELATIONSHIP, CONNECTION,
conversion, misuse, or malversation of public funds or raids on the public treasury; (b) by OR INFLUENCE, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass, accumulate and
receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share, percentage, kickback or any other acquire BY HIMSELF, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount
form of pecuniary benefits from any person and/or entity in connection with any government or TOTAL VALUE of FOUR BILLION NINETY SEVEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FOUR
contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the public officer; (c) by the illegal or THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN
fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets belonging to the National Government or any of CENTAVOS(P4,097,804,173.17), more or less, THEREBY UNJUSTLY ENRICHING HIMSELF
its subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities of Government owned or controlled corporations OR THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE AND TO THE DAMAGE OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE
or their subsidiaries; (d) by obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any shares of AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, through ANY OR A combination OR A series of
stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation including the promise of future overt OR criminal acts, OR SIMILAR SCHEMES OR MEANS, described as follows:
employment in any business enterprise or undertaking; (e) by establishing agricultural, industrial
or commercial monopolies or other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and orders (a) by receiving OR collecting, directly or indirectly, on SEVERAL INSTANCES, MONEY IN THE
intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or (f) by taking advantage of official AGGREGATE AMOUNT OF FIVE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE MILLION PESOS
position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves (P545,000,000.00), MORE OR LESS, FROM ILLEGAL GAMBLING IN THE FORM OF GIFT,
at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the SHARE, PERCENTAGE, KICKBACK OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFIT, BY
Philippines; and, HIMSELF AND/OR in connection with co-accused CHARLIE 'ATONG' ANG, Jose 'Jinggoy'
Estrada, Yolanda T. Ricaforte, Edward Serapio, AND JOHN DOES AND JANE DOES, in
3. That the aggregate amount or total value of the ill-gotten wealth amassed, accumulated or consideration OF TOLERATION OR PROTECTION OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING;
acquired is at least P50,000,000.00.
(b) by DIVERTING, RECEIVING, misappropriating, converting OR misusing DIRECTLY OR
As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule that would inform those INDIRECTLY, for HIS OR THEIR PERSONAL gain and benefit, public funds in the amount of
who are subject to it what conduct would render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be ONE HUNDRED THIRTY MILLION PESOS (P130,000,000.00), more or less, representing a
sustained. It must sufficiently guide the judge in its application; the counsel, in defending one portion of the TWO HUNDRED MILLION PESOS (P200,000,000.00) tobacco excise tax share
charged with its violation; and more importantly, the accused, in identifying the realm of the allocated for the province of Ilocos Sur under R.A. No. 7171, by himself and/or in connivance
proscribed conduct. Indeed, it can be understood with little difficulty that what the assailed with co-accused Charlie 'Atong' Ang, Alma Alfaro, JOHN DOE a.k.a. Eleuterio Ramos Tan or
statute punishes is the act of a public officer in amassing or accumulating ill-gotten wealth of at Mr. Uy, Jane Doe a.k.a. Delia Rajas, AND OTHER JOHN DOES & JANE DOES; (italic
least P50,000,000.00 through a series or combination of acts enumerated in Sec. 1, par. (d), of supplied).
the Plunder Law.
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(c) by directing, ordering and compelling, FOR HIS PERSONAL GAIN AND BENEFIT, the vagueness or ambiguity of the law so long as the legislative will is clear, or at least, can be
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) TO PURCHASE 351,878,000 SHARES OF gathered from the whole act, which is distinctly expressed in the Plunder Law.
STOCKS, MORE OR LESS, and the Social Security System (SSS), 329,855,000 SHARES OF
STOCK, MORE OR LESS, OF THE BELLE CORPORATION IN THE AMOUNT OF MORE OR Moreover, it is a well-settled principle of legal hermeneutics that words of a statute will be
LESS ONE BILLION ONE HUNDRED TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE interpreted in their natural, plain and ordinary acceptation and signification,[7] unless it is evident
THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY CENTAVOS (P1,102,965,607.50) that the legislature intended a technical or special legal meaning to those words. [8] The intention
AND MORE OR LESS SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY FOUR MILLION SIX HUNDRED TWELVE of the lawmakers - who are, ordinarily, untrained philologists and lexicographers - to
THOUSAND AND FOUR HUNDRED FIFTY PESOS (P744,612,450.00), RESPECTIVELY, OR use statutory phraseology in such a manner is always presumed. Thus, Webster's New
A TOTAL OF MORE OR LESS ONE BILLION EIGHT HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN MILLION Collegiate Dictionary contains the following commonly accepted definition of the words
FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT THOUSAND FIFTY SEVEN PESOS AND FIFTY "combination" and "series:"
CENTAVOS (P1,847,578,057.50); AND BY COLLECTING OR RECEIVING, DIRECTLY OR
INDIRECTLY, BY HIMSELF AND/OR IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN DOES AND JANE Combination - the result or product of combining; the act or process of combining. To combine is
DOES, COMMISSIONS OR PERCENTAGES BY REASON OF SAID PURCHASES OF to bring into such close relationship as to obscure individual characters.
SHARES OF STOCK IN THE AMOUNT OF ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINE MILLION SEVEN
HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P189,700,000.00) MORE OR LESS, FROM THE BELLE Series - a number of things or events of the same class coming one after another in spatial and
CORPORATION WHICH BECAME PART OF THE DEPOSIT IN THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK temporal succession.
UNDER THE ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE;'
That Congress intended the words "combination" and "series" to be understood in their
(d) by unjustly enriching himself FROM COMMISSIONS, GIFTS, SHARES, PERCENTAGES, popular meanings is pristinely evident from the legislative deliberations on the bill which
KICKBACKS, OR ANY FORM OF PECUNIARY BENEFITS, IN CONNIVANCE WITH JOHN eventually became RA 7080 or the Plunder Law:
DOES AND JANE DOES, in the amount of MORE OR LESS THREE BILLION TWO HUNDRED
THIRTY THREE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY DELIBERATIONS OF THE BICAMERAL COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE, 7 May 1991
THREE PESOS AND SEVENTEEN CENTAVOS (P3,233,104,173.17) AND DEPOSITING THE
SAME UNDER HIS ACCOUNT NAME 'JOSE VELARDE' AT THE EQUITABLE-PCI BANK." REP. ISIDRO: I am just intrigued again by our definition of plunder. We say THROUGH A
We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous - as there is obviously COMBINATION OR SERIES OF OVERT OR CRIMINAL ACTS AS MENTIONED IN SECTION
none - that will confuse petitioner in his defense. Although subject to proof, these factual ONE HEREOF. Now when we say combination, we actually mean to say, if there are two or
assertions clearly show that the elements of the crime are easily understood and provide more means, we mean to say that number one and two or number one and something else are
adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. Upon such unequivocal included, how about a series of the same act? For example, through misappropriation,
assertions, petitioner is completely informed of the accusations against him as to enable him to conversion, misuse, will these be included also?
prepare for an intelligent defense. REP. GARCIA: Yeah, because we say a series.
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the statutory definition of REP. ISIDRO: Series.
the terms "combination" and "series" in the key phrase "a combination or series of overt or
criminal acts" found in Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2, and the word "pattern" in Sec. REP. GARCIA: Yeah, we include series.
4. These omissions, according to petitioner, render the Plunder Law unconstitutional for being
impermissibly vague and overbroad and deny him the right to be informed of the nature and REP. ISIDRO: But we say we begin with a combination.
cause of the accusation against him, hence, violative of his fundamental right to due process. REP. GARCIA: Yes.
The rationalization seems to us to be pure sophistry. A statute is not rendered uncertain REP. ISIDRO: When we say combination, it seems that -
and void merely because general terms are used therein, or because of the employment of
terms without defining them;[6] much less do we have to define every word we use. Besides, REP. GARCIA: Two.
there is no positive constitutional or statutory command requiring the legislature to define each
and every word in an enactment. Congress is not restricted in the form of expression of its will, REP. ISIDRO: Not only two but we seem to mean that two of the enumerated means not
and its inability to so define the words employed in a statute will not necessarily result in the twice of one enumeration.

REP. GARCIA: No, no, not twice.


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REP. ISIDRO: Not twice? SENATOR TANADA: That would mean a combination of two or more of the acts mentioned
in this.
REP. GARCIA: Yes. Combination is not twice - but combination, two acts.
THE PRESIDENT: Probably two or more would be....
REP. ISIDRO: So in other words, thats it. When we say combination, we mean, two different
acts. It cannot be a repetition of the same act. SENATOR MACEDA: Yes, because a series implies several or many; two or more.

REP. GARCIA: That be referred to series, yeah. SENATOR TANADA: Accepted, Mr. President x x x x

REP. ISIDRO: No, no. Supposing one act is repeated, so there are two. THE PRESIDENT: If there is only one, then he has to be prosecuted under the particular
crime. But when we say acts of plunder there should be, at least, two or more.
REP. GARCIA: A series.
SENATOR ROMULO: In other words, that is already covered by existing laws, Mr.
REP. ISIDRO: Thats not series. Its a combination. Because when we say combination or President.
series, we seem to say that two or more, di ba?
Thus when the Plunder Law speaks of "combination," it is referring to at least two (2) acts
REP. GARCIA: Yes, this distinguishes it really from ordinary crimes. That is why, I said, that falling under different categories of enumeration provided in Sec. 1, par. (d), e.g., raids on the
is a very good suggestion because if it is only one act, it may fall under ordinary crime public treasury in Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (1), and fraudulent conveyance of assets belonging to
but we have here a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. So x x x x the National Government under Sec. 1, par. (d), subpar. (3).
REP. GARCIA: Series. One after the other eh di.... On the other hand, to constitute a series" there must be two (2) or more overt or criminal
SEN. TANADA: So that would fall under the term series? acts falling under the same category of enumeration found in Sec. 1, par. (d), say,
misappropriation, malversation and raids on the public treasury, all of which fall under Sec. 1,
REP. GARCIA: Series, oo. par. (d), subpar. (1). Verily, had the legislature intended a technical or distinctive meaning for
"combination" and "series," it would have taken greater pains in specifically providing for it in the
REP. ISIDRO: Now, if it is a combination, ano, two misappropriations.... law.
REP. GARCIA: Its not... Two misappropriations will not be combination. Series. As for "pattern," we agree with the observations of the Sandiganbayan[9] that this term is
sufficiently defined in Sec. 4, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and Sec. 2 -
REP. ISIDRO: So, it is not a combination?

REP. GARCIA: Yes. x x x x under Sec. 1 (d) of the law, a 'pattern' consists of at least a combination or series of overt
or criminal acts enumerated in subsections (1) to (6) of Sec. 1 (d). Secondly, pursuant to Sec. 2
REP. ISIDRO: When you say combination, two different?
of the law, the pattern of overt or criminal acts is directed towards a common purpose or goal
REP. GARCIA: Yes. which is to enable the public officer to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. And
thirdly, there must either be an 'overall unlawful scheme' or 'conspiracy' to achieve said common
SEN. TANADA: Two different. goal. As commonly understood, the term 'overall unlawful scheme' indicates a 'general plan of
action or method' which the principal accused and public officer and others conniving with him
REP. ISIDRO: Two different acts.
follow to achieve the aforesaid common goal. In the alternative, if there is no such overall
REP. GARCIA: For example, ha... scheme or where the schemes or methods used by multiple accused vary, the overt or criminal
acts must form part of a conspiracy to attain a common goal.
REP. ISIDRO: Now a series, meaning, repetition...
Hence, it cannot plausibly be contended that the law does not give a fair warning and
DELIBERATIONS ON SENATE BILL NO. 733, 6 June 1989 sufficient notice of what it seeks to penalize. Under the circumstances, petitioner's reliance on
the "void-for-vagueness" doctrine is manifestly misplaced. The doctrine has been formulated in
SENATOR MACEDA: In line with our interpellations that sometimes one or maybe even two
various ways, but is most commonly stated to the effect that a statute establishing a criminal
acts may already result in such a big amount, on line 25, would the Sponsor consider
offense must define the offense with sufficient definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence
deleting the words a series of overt or, to read, therefore: or conspiracy COMMITTED
can understand what conduct is prohibited by the statute. It can only be invoked against that
by criminal acts such as. Remove the idea of necessitating a series. Anyway, the
criminal acts are in the plural.
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specie of legislation that is utterly vague on its face, i.e., that which cannot be clarified either by possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to
a saving clause or by construction. fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad statutes.

A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of
common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in terrorem effect
such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2) respects - it violates due resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what State may well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the area of
conduct to avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions criminal law, the law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.
and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.[10] But the doctrine does not apply
as against legislations that are merely couched in imprecise language but which nonetheless The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special application only to free speech
specify a standard though defectively phrased; or to those that are apparently ambiguous yet cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it,
fairly applicable to certain types of activities. The first may be "saved" by proper construction, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine
while no challenge may be mounted as against the second whenever directed against such outside the limited context of the First Amendment."[16] In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,[17] the Court
activities.[11] With more reason, the doctrine cannot be invoked where the assailed statute is ruled that "claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes which,
clear and free from ambiguity, as in this case. by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that "overbreadth claims, if
entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are
The test in determining whether a criminal statute is void for uncertainty is whether the sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this reason, it has been held that "a facial
language conveys a sufficiently definite warning as to the proscribed conduct when measured by challenge to a legislative act is the most difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the
common understanding and practice.[12] It must be stressed, however, that the "vagueness" challenger must establish that no set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be
doctrine merely requires a reasonable degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld - not valid."[18] As for the vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its
absolute precision or mathematical exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather face only if it is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct
than meticulous specificity, is permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the conduct
clearly delineated. An act will not be held invalid merely because it might have been more of others."[19]
explicit in its wordings or detailed in its provisions, especially where, because of the nature of the
act, it would be impossible to provide all the details in advance as in all other statutes.
In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness are analytical tools
Moreover, we agree with, hence we adopt, the observations of Mr. Justice Vicente V. developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as they are called in
Mendoza during the deliberations of the Court that the allegations that the Plunder Law is vague American law, First Amendment cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is
and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity - involved is a criminal statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to
whom application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the
ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or other situations in
The void-for-vagueness doctrine states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the doing
which its application might be unconstitutional."[20] As has been pointed out, "vagueness
of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its
challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth challenges typically produce facial
meaning and differ as to its application, violates the first essential of due process of law."[13] The
invalidation, while statutes found vague as a matter of due process typically are invalidated
overbreadth doctrine, on the other hand, decrees that "a governmental purpose may not be
[only] 'as applied' to a particular defendant."[21] Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's
achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of
claim that this Court review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety.
protected freedoms."[14]

Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down entirely on the ground
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad
that they might be applied to parties not before the Court whose activities are constitutionally
because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The theory is that "[w]hen statutes
protected.[22] It constitutes a departure from the case and controversy requirement of the
regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent construction suggests itself as a vehicle for
Constitution and permits decisions to be made without concrete factual settings and in sterile
rehabilitating the statutes in a single prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of
abstract contexts.[23] But, as the U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris[24]
constitutionally protected expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad
statutes with no requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own
conduct could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity." [15] The possible harm [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring correction
to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the of these deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for
the judiciary. The combination of the relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the

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legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of The word 'unwarranted' is not uncertain. It seems lacking adequate or official support;
the required line-by-line analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of case that unjustified; unauthorized (Webster, Third International Dictionary, p. 2514); or without
is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be justification or adequate reason (Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. US Dept. of Justice, C.D. Pa.,
decided. 405 F. Supp. 8, 12, cited in Words and Phrases, Permanent Edition, Vol. 43-A 1978, Cumulative
Annual Pocket Part, p. 19).
For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been described as "manifestly strong
medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a last resort,"[25] and is generally The assailed provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act consider a corrupt practice
disfavored.[26] In determining the constitutionality of a statute, therefore, its provisions which are and make unlawful the act of the public officer in:
alleged to have been violated in a case must be examined in the light of the conduct with which
the defendant is charged.[27] x x x or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the
In light of the foregoing disquisition, it is evident that the purported ambiguity of the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident
Plunder Law, so tenaciously claimed and argued at length by petitioner, is more imagined than bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence, x x x (Section 3 [e], Rep. Act 3019, as amended).
real. Ambiguity, where none exists, cannot be created by dissecting parts and words in the
statute to furnish support to critics who cavil at the want of scientific precision in the law. Every It is not at all difficult to comprehend that what the aforequoted penal provisions penalize is the
provision of the law should be construed in relation and with reference to every other part. To be act of a public officer, in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions, in giving
sure, it will take more than nitpicking to overturn the well-entrenched presumption of any private party benefits, advantage or preference which is unjustified, unauthorized or without
constitutionality and validity of the Plunder Law. A fortiori, petitioner cannot feign ignorance of justification or adequate reason, through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
what the Plunder Law is all about. Being one of the Senators who voted for its passage, inexcusable negligence.
petitioner must be aware that the law was extensively deliberated upon by the Senate and its
appropriate committees by reason of which he even registered his affirmative vote with full In other words, this Court found that there was nothing vague or ambiguous in the use of
knowledge of its legal implications and sound constitutional anchorage. the term "unwarranted" in Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, which
was understood in its primary and general acceptation. Consequently, in that case, petitioners'
The parallel case of Gallego v. Sandiganbayan[28] must be mentioned if only to illustrate objection thereto was held inadequate to declare the section unconstitutional.
and emphasize the point that courts are loathed to declare a statute void for uncertainty unless
the law itself is so imperfect and deficient in its details, and is susceptible of no reasonable On the second issue, petitioner advances the highly stretched theory that Sec. 4 of the
construction that will support and give it effect. In that case, Plunder Law circumvents the immutable obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond
petitioners Gallego and Agoncillo challenged the constitutionality of Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti- reasonable doubt the predicate acts constituting the crime of plunder when it requires only proof
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act for being vague. Petitioners posited, among others, that the term of a pattern of overt or criminal acts showing unlawful scheme or conspiracy -
"unwarranted" is highly imprecise and elastic with no common law meaning or settled definition
by prior judicial or administrative precedents; that, for its vagueness, Sec. 3, par. (e), violates SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder, it shall not be
due process in that it does not give fair warning or sufficient notice of what it seeks to necessary to prove each and every criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the
penalize.Petitioners further argued that the Information charged them with three (3) distinct scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it being sufficient to
offenses, to wit: (a) giving of "unwarranted" benefits through manifest partiality; (b) giving of establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall
"unwarranted" benefits through evident bad faith; and, (c) giving of "unwarranted" benefits unlawful scheme or conspiracy.
through gross inexcusable negligence while in the discharge of their official function and that
their right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against them was violated The running fault in this reasoning is obvious even to the simplistic mind. In a criminal
because they were left to guess which of the three (3) offenses, if not all, they were being prosecution for plunder, as in all other crimes, the accused always has in his favor the
charged and prosecuted. presumption of innocence which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and unless the State
succeeds in demonstrating by proof beyond reasonable doubt that culpability lies, the accused is
In dismissing the petition, this Court held that Sec. 3, par. (e), of The Anti-Graft and entitled to an acquittal.[29] The use of the"reasonable doubt" standard is indispensable to
Corrupt Practices Act does not suffer from the constitutional defect of vagueness. The phrases command the respect and confidence of the community in the application of criminal law. It is
"manifest partiality," "evident bad faith," and "gross and inexcusable negligence" merely describe critical that the moral force of criminal law be not diluted by a standard of proof that leaves
the different modes by which the offense penalized in Sec. 3, par. (e), of the statute may be people in doubt whether innocent men are being condemned. It is also important in our free
committed, and the use of all these phrases in the same Information does not mean that the society that every individual going about his ordinary affairs has confidence that his government
indictment charges three (3) distinct offenses. cannot adjudge him guilty of a criminal offense without convincing a proper factfinder of his guilt

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with utmost certainty. This "reasonable doubt" standard has acquired such exalted stature in the The thesis that Sec. 4 does away with proof of each and every component of the crime
realm of constitutional law as it gives life to the Due Process Clause which protects the accused suffers from a dismal misconception of the import of that provision. What the prosecution needs
against conviction except upon proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to to prove beyond reasonable doubt is only a number of acts sufficient to form a combination or
constitute the crime with which he is charged.[30] The following exchanges between Rep. Rodolfo series which would constitute a pattern and involving an amount of at
Albano and Rep. Pablo Garcia on this score during the deliberations in the floor of the House of least P50,000,000.00. There is no need to prove each and every other act alleged in the
Representatives are elucidating - Information to have been committed by the accused in furtherance of the overall unlawful
scheme or conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth. To illustrate, supposing
DELIBERATIONS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON RA 7080, 9 October 1990 that the accused is charged in an Information for plunder with having committed fifty (50) raids
on the public treasury. The prosecution need not prove all these fifty (50) raids, it being sufficient
MR. ALBANO: Now, Mr. Speaker, it is also elementary in our criminal law that what is to prove by pattern at least two (2) of the raids beyond reasonable doubt provided only that they
alleged in the information must be proven beyond reasonable doubt. If we will prove amounted to at least P50,000,000.00.[31]
only one act and find him guilty of the other acts enumerated in the information, does
that not work against the right of the accused especially so if the amount committed, A reading of Sec. 2 in conjunction with Sec. 4, brings us to the logical conclusion
say, by falsification is less than P100 million, but the totality of the crime committed that "pattern of overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy"
is P100 million since there is malversation, bribery, falsification of public document, inheres in the very acts of accumulating, acquiring or amassing hidden wealth. Stated otherwise,
coercion, theft? such pattern arises where the prosecution is able to prove beyond reasonable doubt the
predicate acts as defined in Sec. 1, par. (d). Pattern is merely a by-product of the proof of the
MR. GARCIA: Mr. Speaker, not everything alleged in the information needs to be proved predicate acts. This conclusion is consistent with reason and common sense. There would be no
beyond reasonable doubt. What is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is other explanation for a combination or series of
every element of the crime charged. For example, Mr. Speaker, there is
an enumeration of the things taken by the robber in the information three pairs of overt or criminal acts to stash P50,000,000.00 or more, than "a scheme or conspiracy to amass,
pants, pieces of jewelry. These need not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, but accumulate or acquire ill gotten wealth." The prosecution is therefore not required to make a
these will not prevent the conviction of a crime for which he was charged just because, deliberate and conscious effort to prove pattern as it necessarily follows with the establishment
say, instead of 3 pairs of diamond earrings the prosecution proved two. Now, what is of a series or combination of the predicate acts.
required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt is the element of the offense. Relative to petitioner's contentions on the purported defect of Sec. 4 is his submission that
MR. ALBANO: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but considering that in the crime of plunder "pattern" is "a very important element of the crime of plunder;" and that Sec. 4 is "two pronged,
the totality of the amount is very important, I feel that such a series of overt criminal (as) it contains a rule of evidence and a substantive element of the crime," such that without it
acts has to be taken singly. For instance, in the act of bribery, he was able to the accused cannot be convicted of plunder -
accumulate only P50,000 and in the crime of extortion, he was only able to JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, cannot an accused be convicted under the Plunder
accumulate P1 million. Now, when we add the totality of the other acts as required Law without applying Section 4 on the Rule of Evidence if there is proof beyond
under this bill through the interpretation on the rule of evidence, it is just one single reasonable doubt of the commission of the acts complained of?
act, so how can we now convict him?
ATTY. AGABIN: In that case he can be convicted of individual crimes enumerated in the
MR. GARCIA: With due respect, Mr. Speaker, for purposes of proving an essential element Revised Penal Code, but not plunder.
of the crime, there is a need to prove that element beyond reasonable doubt. For
example, one essential element of the crime is that the amount involved is P100 JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: In other words, if all the elements of the crime are proved beyond
million. Now, in a series of defalcations and other acts of corruption in the enumeration reasonable doubt without applying Section 4, can you not have a conviction under the
the total amount would be P110 or P120 million, but there are certain acts that could Plunder Law?
not be proved, so, we will sum up the amounts involved in those transactions which
were proved. Now, if the amount involved in these transactions, proved beyond ATTY. AGABIN: Not a conviction for plunder, your Honor.
reasonable doubt, is P100 million, then there is a crime of plunder(underscoring
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: Can you not disregard the application of Sec. 4 in convicting an
supplied).
accused charged for violation of the Plunder Law?
It is thus plain from the foregoing that the legislature did not in any manner refashion the
ATTY. AGABIN: Well, your Honor, in the first place Section 4 lays down a substantive
standard quantum of proof in the crime of plunder. The burden still remains with the prosecution
element of the law x x x x
to prove beyond any iota of doubt every fact or element necessary to constitute the crime.
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JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: What I said is - do we have to avail of Section 4 when there is proof the crime of plunder was committed "willfully, unlawfully and criminally." It thus alleges guilty
beyond reasonable doubt on the acts charged constituting plunder? knowledge on the part of petitioner.

ATTY. AGABIN: Yes, your Honor, because Section 4 is two pronged, it contains a rule of
evidence and it contains a substantive element of the crime of plunder. So, there is no In support of his contention that the statute eliminates the requirement of mens rea and that is
way by which we can avoid Section 4. the reason he claims the statute is void, petitioner cites the following remarks of Senator Taada
made during the deliberation on S.B. No. 733:
JUSTICE BELLOSILLO: But there is proof beyond reasonable doubt insofar as the predicate
crimes charged are concerned that you do not have to go that far by applying Section SENATOR TAADA . . . And the evidence that will be required to convict him would not be
4? evidence for each and every individual criminal act but only evidence sufficient to establish the
conspiracy or scheme to commit this crime of plunder.[33]
ATTY. AGABIN: Your Honor, our thinking is that Section 4 contains a very important
element of the crime of plunder and that cannot be avoided by the prosecution.[32]
However, Senator Taada was discussing 4 as shown by the succeeding portion of the transcript
We do not subscribe to petitioner's stand. Primarily, all the essential elements of plunder quoted by petitioner:
can be culled and understood from its definition in Sec. 2, in relation to Sec. 1, par. (d), and
"pattern" is not one of them. Moreover, the epigraph and opening clause of Sec. 4 is clear and
SENATOR ROMULO: And, Mr. President, the Gentleman feels that it is contained in Section 4,
unequivocal:
Rule of Evidence, which, in the Gentleman's view, would provide for a speedier and faster
SEC. 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime of plunder x x x x process of attending to this kind of cases?

It purports to do no more than prescribe a rule of procedure for the prosecution of a


SENATOR TAADA: Yes, Mr. President . . .[34]
criminal case for plunder. Being a purely procedural measure, Sec. 4 does not define or
establish any substantive right in favor of the accused but only operates in furtherance of a
remedy. It is only a means to an end, an aid to substantive law. Indubitably, even without Senator Taada was only saying that where the charge is conspiracy to commit plunder, the
invoking Sec. 4, a conviction for plunder may be had, for what is crucial for the prosecution is to prosecution need not prove each and every criminal act done to further the scheme or
present sufficient evidence to engender that moral certitude exacted by the fundamental law to conspiracy, it being enough if it proves beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of overt or ciminal
prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, even granting for the sake of acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or conspiracy. As far as the acts constituting the
argument that Sec. 4 is flawed and vitiated for the reasons advanced by petitioner, it may simply pattern are concerned, however, the elements of the crime must be proved and the
be severed from the rest of the provisions without necessarily resulting in the demise of the law; requisite mens rea must be shown.
after all, the existing rules on evidence can supplant Sec. 4 more than enough. Besides, Sec. 7
of RA 7080 provides for a separability clause - Indeed, 2 provides that -

Sec. 7. Separability of Provisions. - If any provisions of this Act or the application thereof to any Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense
person or circumstance is held invalid, the remaining provisions ofthis Act and the application of contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition
such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby. of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating
circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court.
Implicit in the foregoing section is that to avoid the whole act from being declared invalid
as a result of the nullity of some of its provisions, assuming that to be the case although it is not
really so, all the provisions thereof should accordingly be treated independently of each other, The application of mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the Revised Penal Code to
especially if by doing so, the objectives of the statute can best be achieved. prosecutions under the Anti-Plunder Law indicates quite clearly that mens rea is an element of
plunder since the degree of responsibility of the offender is determined by his criminal intent. It is
As regards the third issue, again we agree with Justice Mendoza that plunder is a malum true that 2 refers to "any person who participates with the said public officer in the commission of
in se which requires proof of criminal intent. Thus, he says, in his Concurring Opinion - an offense contributing to the crime of plunder." There is no reason to believe, however, that it
does not apply as well to the public officer as principal in the crime. As Justice Holmes said: "We
x x x Precisely because the constitutive crimes are mala in se the element of mens rea must be agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws with what they omit, but there is no
proven in a prosecution for plunder. It is noteworthy that the amended information alleges that canon against using common sense in construing laws as saying what they obviously mean."[35]

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Finally, any doubt as to whether the crime of plunder is a malum in se must be deemed to have to resurrect thislong dead issue, the same having been eternally consigned by People v.
been resolved in the affirmative by the decision of Congress in 1993 to include it among the Echegaray[38] to the archives of jurisprudential history. The declaration of this Court therein that
heinous crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua to death. Other heinous crimes are punished RA 7659 is constitutionally valid stands as a declaration of the State, and becomes, by
with death as a straight penalty in R.A. No. 7659. Referring to these groups of heinous crimes, necessary effect, assimilated in the Constitution now as an integral part of it.
this Court held in People v. Echegaray:[36]
Our nation has been racked by scandals of corruption and obscene profligacy of officials
in high places which have shaken its very foundation. The anatomy of graft and corruption has
The evil of a crime may take various forms. There are crimes that are, by their very nature, become more elaborate in the corridors of time as unscrupulous people relentlessly contrive
despicable, either because life was callously taken or the victim is treated like an animal and more and more ingenious ways to bilk the coffers of the government. Drastic and radical
utterly dehumanized as to completely disrupt the normal course of his or her growth as a human measures are imperative to fight the increasingly sophisticated, extraordinarily methodical and
being . . . . Seen in this light, the capital crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for economically catastrophic looting of the national treasury. Such is the Plunder Law, especially
ransom resulting in the death of the victim or the victim is raped, tortured, or subjected to designed to disentangle those ghastly tissues of grand-scale corruption which, if left unchecked,
dehumanizing acts; destructive arson resulting in death; and drug offenses involving minors or will spread like a malignant tumor and ultimately consume the moral and institutional fiber of our
resulting in the death of the victim in the case of other crimes; as well as murder, rape, nation. The Plunder Law, indeed, is a living testament to the will of the legislature to ultimately
parricide, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, where the victim is detained for eradicate this scourge and thus secure society against the avarice and other venalities in public
more than three days or serious physical injuries were inflicted on the victim or threats to kill him office.
were made or the victim is a minor, robbery with homicide, rape or intentional mutilation,
destructive arson, and carnapping where the owner, driver or occupant of the carnapped vehicle These are times that try men's souls. In the checkered history of this nation, few issues of
is killed or raped, which are penalized by reclusion perpetua to death, are clearly heinous by national importance can equal the amount of interest and passion generated by petitioner's
their very nature. ignominious fall from the highest office, and his eventual prosecution and trial under a virginal
statute. This continuing saga has driven a wedge of dissension among our people that may
There are crimes, however, in which the abomination lies in the significance and implications of linger for a long time. Only by responding to the clarion call for patriotism, to rise above
the subject criminal acts in the scheme of the larger socio-political and economic context in factionalism and prejudices, shall we emerge triumphant in the midst of ferment.
which the state finds itself to be struggling to develop and provide for its poor and
PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Court holds that RA 7080 otherwise known as the
underprivileged masses. Reeling from decades of corrupt tyrannical rule that bankrupted the
Plunder Law, as amended by RA 7659, is CONSTITUTIONAL. Consequently, the petition to
government and impoverished the population, the Philippine Government must muster the
declare the law unconstitutional is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
political will to dismantle the culture of corruption, dishonesty, greed and syndicated criminality
that so deeply entrenched itself in the structures of society and the psyche of the populace.[With SO ORDERED.
the government] terribly lacking the money to provide even the most basic services to its people,
any form of misappropriation or misapplication of government funds translates to an actual threat
to the very existence of government, and in turn, the very survival of the people it governs 20. Comendador v. Villa
over. Viewed in this context, no less heinous are the effects and repercussions of crimes like
qualified bribery, destructive arson resulting in death, and drug offenses involving government
officials, employees or officers, that their perpetrators must not be allowed to cause further
Republic of the Philippines
destruction and damage to society.
SUPREME COURT
Manila
The legislative declaration in R.A. No. 7659 that plunder is a heinous offense implies that it is
a malum in se. For when the acts punished are inherently immoral or inherently wrong, they
EN BANC
are mala in se[37] and it does not matter that such acts are punished in a special law, especially
since in the case of plunder the predicate crimes are mainly mala in se. Indeed, it would be
absurd to treat prosecutions for plunder as though they are mere prosecutions for violations of G.R. No. 93177 August 2, 1991
the Bouncing Check Law (B.P. Blg. 22) or of an ordinance against jaywalking, without regard to
the inherent wrongness of the acts. B/GEN. JOSE COMENDADOR, B/GEN, MARIELO BLANDO, CAPT. DANILO PIZARRO,
CAPT. MANUEL ISON, COL. LUISITO SANCHEZ, LTC. ROMELINO GOJO, LTC. ARSENIO
To clinch, petitioner likewise assails the validity of RA 7659, the amendatory law of RA TECSON, LTC. RAFAEL GALVEZ, LTC. TIBURCIO FUSILLERO, LTC. ERICSON AURELIO,
7080, on constitutional grounds. Suffice it to say however that it is now too late in the day for him LTC. JACINTO LIGOT LTC. FRANKLIN BRAWNER, MAJ. ALFREDO OLIVEROS, MAJ.
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CESAR DE LA PERA, MAJ. LEUVINO VALENCIA, CAPT. FLORENCIO FLORES, CAPT. WILFREDO JIMENEZ PAF 1 LT. ATANACIO T. MACALAN JR PMM 2LT ELISEO T. RASCO
JAIME JUNIO, CAPT. DANILO LIM, CAPT. ELMER AMON, CAPT. VERGEL NACINO, and PC, 2LT JONAS CALLEJA PC, 2LT JAIRUS JS GELVEZON III PMM 2LT JOSELITO
LT. JOEY SARROZA, petitioners, CABREROS PMM 2LT MEMEL ROJAS PN(M) and 2LT HERMINIO L. CANTACO
vs. PC, respondents.
GEN. RENATO S. DE VILLA, CHIEF OF STAFF, AFP, THE PTI INVESTIGATING PANEL
COMPOSED OF: COL. MANUEL S. MENDIOLA, COL. VIRTUD NORBERTO L. DAGZA MAJ. Armando M. Marcelo and Rainier L. Madrid for petitioners Luisito Sanchez, Tiburcio Fusillero,
FELIX V. BALDONADO and MAJ. ESTELITO L. PORNEA and GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL Ericson Aurelio, Levino Valencia, Danilo Arnon Vergel Nacino, Florencio Flores, Benigno Junio
NO. 14 COMPOSED OF: B/GEN. DEMETRIO CAMUA COL. HERMINIO A. MENDOZA, COL. and Joey Sarroza.
ERNESTO B. YU, COL. ROMEO ODI, COL. WILLY FLORENDO, COL. DIONY A. VENTURA Manuel Q. Malvar for Rafael Galvez and Danny Lim.
and CAPT. FRANCISCO T. MALLILLIN, respondents. Manuel E. Valenzuela for Arsenio Tecson
Mariano R. Santiago for Alfredo Oliveros.
No. 95020 August 2, 1991 Ricardo J.M. Rivera for Manuel Ison.
Castillo, Laman, Tan and Pantaleon for Danilo Pizarro.
B/GEN. DEMETRIO CAMUA, COL. HERMIMO A. MENDOZA, COL. ERNESTO B. YU, COL. Alfredo Lazaro for Romelino Gojo.
ROMEO ODI, COL. WILLY FLORENDO, COL. DIONY A. VENTURA, and CAPT. FRANCISCO Manuel A. Barcelona, Jr. for Jose Comendador.
T. MALLILLIN, petitioners, Jonathan B.S. Rebong and Efren C. Carag for Marcelo Blando.
vs. Pablito V. Sanidad for Franklin Brawner and Ericson Aurelio.
HON. MIANO C. ASUNCION, Presiding Judge, Branch 104, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, Efren C. Moncupa for All Tecson.
Q.C., LTC. JACINTO LIGOT PA., respondents. M.M. Lazaro & Associates for respondents Ligot and Ison .
Baldomero S.P. Gatbonton, Jr. for Jacinto Ligot.
Salvador B. Britanico for Cesar de la Pena.
No. 96948 August 2, 1991 Gilbert R.T. Reyes for Danilo Pizarro.
Ponce Enrile, Cayetano, Reyes & Manalastas for petitioners in G.R. No. 93177.
B/GEN. JOSE COMENDADOR, B/GEN. MARCELO BLANDO, CAPT. DANILO PIZARRO PN, The Solicitor General for respondents.
CAPT. MANUEL ISON PN, LTC. ROMELINO GOJO PN (M), LTC. ARSENIO TECSON PA,
LTC. RAFAEL GALVEZ PA, LTC. TIBURCIO FUSILLERO PA, LTC. ERICSON AURELIO PA,
LTC. JACINTO LIGOT PA, LTC. FRANKLIN BRAWNER PA, MAJ. ALFREDO OLIVEROS PA,
MAJ. CESAR DE LA PENA PN (M): MAJ. LEUVINO VALENCIA PA, CAPT. FLORENCIO CRUZ, J.:
FLORES PA, CAPT. JAIME JUNIO PA, CAPT. DANILO LIM PA, CAPT. ELMER AMON PAF
CAPT. VERGEL NACINO, and LT. JOEY SARROZA, petitioners,
vs. These four cases have been consolidated because they involve practically the same parties and
B/GEN. DEMETRIO CAMUA COL. HERMINIO A. MENDOZA, COL. ERNESTO B. YU, COL. related issues arising from the same incident.
ROMEO ODI COL. WILLY FLORENDO, COL. DIONY A. VENTURA, and CAPT. FRANCISCO
T. MALLILLIN PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL NO. The petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948 and the private respondents in G.R. Nos. 95020
14, respondents. and 97454 are officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines facing prosecution for their alleged
participation in the failed coup d' etat that took place on December 1 to 9, 1989.
No. 97454 August 2, 1991
The charges against them are violation of Articles of War (AW) 67 (Mutiny), AW 96 (Conduct
AFP CHIEF OF STAFF LT. GEN. RODOLFO BIAZON, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF MAJOR Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman) and AW 94 (Various Crimes) in relation to Article 248
GEN. ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, PNP DIRECTOR GENERAL MAJOR GEN. CESAR of the Revised Penal Code (Murder).
NAZARENO and LT. COL. ALBERTO OLARIO, Commanding Officer of the PNP/INP
Detention Center/Jail, petitioners, In G.R. No. 93177, which is a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, they are
vs. questioning the conduct of the Pre-Trial Investigation PTI Panel constituted to investigate the
HON. ANTONIO P. SOLANO, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch charges against them and the creation of the General Court Martial GCM convened to try them.
86, CAPTAIN REYNALDO S. RAFAEL, 1 LT SERVANDO A. BAOANAN PN(M), 1 LT.
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In G.R. No. 96948, the petitioners, besides challenging the legality of GCM No. 14, The petitioners now claim that there was no pre-trial investigation of the charges as mandated
seek certiorari against its ruling denying them the right to peremptory challenge as granted by by Article of War 71, which provides:
Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408.
Art. 71. Charges Action upon. — Charges and specifications must be signed by a
In G.R. No. 95020, the orders of the respondent judge of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City person subject to military law, and under the oath either that he has personal
are assailed on certiorari on the ground that he has no jurisdiction over GCM No. 14 and no knowledge of, or has investigated, the matters set forth therein and that the same are
authority either to set aside its ruling denying bail to the private respondents. true in fact, to the best of his knowledge and belief.

In G.R. No. 97454, certiorari is also sought against the decision of the Regional Trial Court of No charge will be referred to a general court-martial for trial until after a thorough and
Quezon City in a petition for habeas corpus directing the release of the private respondents. impartial investigation thereof shall have been made. This investigation will include
Jurisdictional objections are likewise raised as in G.R. No. 95020. inquiries as to the truth of the matter set forth in said charges, form of charges, and
what disposition of the case should be made in the interest of justice and discipline. At
I such investigation full opportunity shall be given to the accused to cross-examine
witnesses against him if they are available and to present anything he may desire in
his own behalf, either in defense or mitigation, and the investigating officer shall
Before the charges were referred to GCM No. 14, a Pre-Trial Investigation PTI Panel had been examine available witnesses requested by the accused. If the charges are forwarded
constituted pursuant to Office Order No. 16 dated January 14, 1990, to investigate the after such investigation, they shall be accompanied by a statement of the substance of
petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948. The PTI Panel issued a uniform subpoena dated the testimony taken on both sides. (Emphasis supplied.)
January 30, 1990, individually addressed to the petitioners, to wit:

They also allege that the initial hearing of the charges consisted merely of a roll call and that no
You are hereby directed to appear in person before the undersigned Pre-Trial prosecution witnesses were presented to reaffirm their affidavits. while the motion for summary
Investigating Officers on 12 Feb 90 9:00 a.m. at Kiangan Hall, Camp Crame Quezon dismissal was denied, the motion for reconsideration remains unresolved to date and they have
City, then and there to submit your counter-affidavit and the affidavits of your not been able to submit their counter-affidavits.
witnesses, if any, in the pre-trial investigation of the charge/charges against you for
violence of AWs _______________. DO NOT SUBMIT A MOTION TO DISMISS.
At the hearing of May 15, 1990, the petitioners in G.R. No. 96948 manifested that they were
exercising their right to raise peremptory challenges against the president and members of GCM
Failure to submit the aforementioned counter-affidavits on the date above specified No.14. They invoked Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408 for this purpose. GCM No. 14 ruled,
shall be deemed a waiver of your right to submit controverting evidence. however, that peremptory challenges had been discontinued under P.D. No. 39.

On the same date, the petitioners acknowledged receipt of a copy of the charge sheet, sworn In G.R. No. 95020, Ltc Jacinto Ligot applied for bail on June 5, 1990, but the application was
statements of witnesses, and death and medical certificates of victims of the rebellion. denied by GCM No.14. He thereupon filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a petition
for certiorari and mandamus with prayer for provisional liberty and a writ of preliminary
At the first scheduled hearing, the petitioners challenged the proceedings on various grounds, injunction. After considering the petition and the answer thereto filed by the president and
prompting the PTI Panel to grant them 10 days within which to file their objections in writing This members of GCM No.14, Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion issued an order granting provisional
was done through a Motion for Summary Dismissal dated February 21, 1990. liberty to Ligot.

In a resolution dated February 27,1990, the PTI Panel denied the motion and gave the On July 28, 1990, Ligot filed an urgent omnibus motion to enforce the order for his release and
petitioners 5 days from notice to submit their respective counter-affidavits and the affidavits of to declare in contempt the commanding officer of the PC/INP Jail for disobey 'ng the said order.
their witnesses. He later also complained that Generals De Villa and Aguirre had refused to release him
"pending final resolution of the appeal to be taken" to this Court.
On March 7, 1990, the petitioners verbally moved for reconsideration of the foregoing denial and
the PTI Panel gave them 7 days within which to reduce their motion to writing. This was done on
March 14,1990.

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After hearing, the trial court reiterated its order for the provisional liberty of Ligot, as well as of (their) right to submit controverting evidence." They chose not to heed the warning. As their
intervenors Ltc Franklin Brawner, Lt/Col. Arsenio Tecson and Maj. Alfredo Oliveros, and later of motions appeared to be dilatory, the PTI Panel was justified in referring the charges to GCM No.
additional intervenors Ltc Romelino Gojo and Capt. Manuel Ison. 14 without waiting for the petitioners to submit their defense.

On August 22, 1990, the trial court rendered judgment inter alia: Due process is satisfied as long as the party is accorded an opportunity to be heard.1âwphi1 If it
is not availed of, it is deemed waived or forfeited without violation of the Bill of Rights.
(a) Declaring, that Section 13, Article III of the Constitution granting the right to bail to
all persons with the defined exception is applicable and covers all military men facing There was in our view substantial compliance with Article of War 71 by the PTI Panel. Moreover,
court-martial proceedings. Accordingly, the assailed orders of General Court- Martial it is now settled that "even a failure to conduct a pre-trial investigation does not deprive a
No. 14 denying bail to petitioner and intervenors on the mistaken assumption that bail general court- martial of jurisdiction." We so held in Arula v. Espino,1 thus:
does not apply to military men facing court-martial proceedings on the ground that
there is no precedent, are hereby set aside and declared null and void. Respondent xxx xxx xxx
General Court-Martial No. 14 is hereby directed to conduct proceedings on the
applications of bail of the petitioner, intervenors and which may as well include other
persons facing charges before General Court-Martial No. 14. But even a failure to conduct a pre-trial investigation does not deprive a general court-
martial of jurisdiction.

Pending the proceedings on the applications for bail before General Court-Martial No.
14, this Court reiterates its orders of release on the provisional liberty of petitioner The better accepted concept of pre-trial investigation is that it is directory, not
Jacinto Ligot as well as intervenors Franklin Brawner and Arsenio Tecson. mandatory, and in no way affects the jurisdiction of a court-martial. In Humphrey v.
Smith, 336 U.S. 695, 93 L ed 986 (1949), the Court said:

On February 18, 1991, the private respondents in G.R. No. 97454 filed with this Court a petition
for habeas corpuson the ground that they were being detained in Camp Crame without charges. We do not think that the pre-trial investigation procedure by Article 70 (The
The petition was referred to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, where it was raffled to Philippine counter-part is article of war 71, Commonwealth Act 408) can
respondent Judge Antonio P. Solano. Finding after hearing that no formal charges had been properly be construed as an indispensable pre-requisite to the exercise of
filed against the petitioners after more than a year after their arrest, the trial court ordered their the Army General court martial jurisdiction.. The Article does serve
release. important functions in the administration of court-martial procedures and
does provide safeguards to an accused. Its language is clearly such that a
defendant could object to trial in the absence of the required investigation.
II In that event the court-martial could itself postpone trial pending the
investigation. And the military reviewing authorities could consider the same
The Court has examined the records of this case and rules as follows. contention, reversing a court- martial conviction where failure to comply with
Article 70 has substantially injured an accused. But we are not persuaded
It appears that the petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948 were given several opportunities to that Congress intended to make otherwise valid court-martial judgments
present their side at the pre-trial investigation, first at the scheduled hearing of February 12, wholly void because pre-trial investigations fall short of the standards
1990, and then again after the denial of their motion of February 21, 1990, when they were given prescribed by Article 70. That Congress has not required analogous pre-trial
until March 7, 1990, to submit their counter-affidavits. On that date, they filed instead a verbal procedure for Navy court-martial is an indication that the investigatory plan
motion for reconsideration which they were again asked to submit in writing. This they did on was not intended to be exalted to the jurisdictional level.
March 13, 1990. The motion was in effect denied when the PTI Panel resolved to recommend
that the charges be referred to the General Court Martial for trial. xxx xxx xxx

The said petitioners cannot now claim they have been denied due process because the Shortly after enactment of Article 70 in 1920 the Judge Advocate General of
investigation was resolved against them owing to their own failure to submit their counter- the Army did hold that where there had been no pre-trial investigation, court-
affidavits. They had been expressly warned In the subpoena sent them that "failure to submit the martial proceedings were void ab initio. But this holding has been expressly
aforementioned counter-affidavits on the date above specified shall be deemed a waiver of repudiated in later holdings of the Judge Advocate General. This later

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interpretation has been that the pre-trial requirements of Article 70 are Article of War No. 8 reads:
directory, not mandatory, and in no way effect the jurisdiction of a court-
martial. The War Department's interpretation was pointedly called to the Art. 8. General Courts-Martial. — The President of the Philippines, the Chief of Staff of
attention of Congress in 1947 after which Congress amended Article 70 but the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Chief of Constabulary and, when empowered
left unchanged the language here under consideration. compensable pre- by the President, the commanding officer of a major command or task force, the
requisite to the exercise of Army general court-martial jurisdiction commanding officer of a division, the commanding officer of a military area, the
superintendent of the Military Academy, the commanding officer of a separate brigade
A trial before a general court-martial convened without any pretrial investigation under or body of troops may appoint general courts-martial; but when any such commander
article of war 71 would of course be altogether irregular but the court-martial might is the accuser or the prosecutor of the person or persons to be tried, the court shall be
nevertheless have jurisdiction. Significantly, this rule is similar to the one obtaining in appointed by superior competent authority. ...
criminal procedure in the civil courts to the effect that absence of preliminary
investigation does not go into the jurisdiction of the court but merely to the regularity of While it is true that General Order No. M-6 was not signed by Gen. De Villa, there is no doubt
the proceedings. that he authorized it because the order itself said it was issued "By Command of General De
Villa" and it has not been shown to be spurious. As observed by the Solicitor General, the
As to what law should govern the conduct of the preliminary investigation, that issue was Summary Disposition Form showed that Gen. De Villa, as Chief of Staff, AFP, actually
resolved more than two years ago in Kapunan v. De Villa,2 where we declared: constituted GCM No. 14 and appointed its president and members. It is significant that General
De Villa has not disauthorized or revoked or in any way disowned the said order, as he would
The Court finds that, contrary to the contention of petitioners, there was substantial certainly have done if his authority had been improperly invoked. On the contrary, as the
compliance with the requirements of law as provided in the Articles of War and P.D. principal respondent in G.R. No. 93177, he sustained General Order No. M 6 in the Comment
No. 77, as amended by P.D. No. 911. The amended charge sheets, charging filed for him and the other respondents by the Solicitor General.
petitioners and their co-respondents with mutiny and conduct unbecoming an officer,
were signed by Maj. Antonio Ruiz, a person subject to military law, after he had Coming now to the right to peremptory challenge, we note that this was originally provided for
investigated the matter through an evaluation of the pertinent records, including the under Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408 (Articles of War), as amended by Rep. Act No. 242, on
reports of respondent AFP Board of Officers, and was convinced of the truth of the June 12, 1948, to wit:
testimonies on record. The charge sheets were sworn to by Maj. Ruiz, the "accuser,"
in accordance with and in the manner provided under Art. 71 of the Articles of War. Art. 18. Challenges. — Members of general or special courts-martial may be
Considering that P.D. No. 77, as amended by P.D. No. 911, is only of suppletory challenged by the accused or the trial judge advocate for cause stated to the court.
application, the fact that the charge sheets were not certified in the manner provided The court shall determine the relevancy and validity thereof, and shall not receive a
under said decrees, i.e., that the officer administering the oath has personally challenge to more than one member at a time. Challenges by the trial judge advocate
examined the affiant and that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and shall ordinarily be presented and decided before those by the accused are offered.
understood its affidavit, does not invalidate said charge sheets. Thereafter, a "pretrial Each side shall be entitled to the peremptory challenge, but the law member of the
investigation" was conducted by respondent Maj. Baldonado, wherein, pursuant to court shall not be challenged except for cause.
P.D. No. 77, as amended by P.D. No. 911, petitioners were subpoenaed and required
to file their counter-affidavit. However, instead of doing so, they filed an untitled
pleading seeking the dismissal of the charges against them. That petitioners were not The history of peremptory challenge was traced in Martelino v. Alejandro,3 thus:
able to confront the witnesses against them was their own doing, for they never even
asked Maj. Baldonado to subpoena said witnesses so that they may be made to In the early formative years of the infant Philippine Army, after the passage in 1935 of
answer clarificatory questions in accordance with P. D, No. 77, as amended by P.D. Commonwealth Act No. 1 (otherwise known as the National Defense Act), except for a
No. 911. handful of Philippine Scout officers and graduates of the United States military and
naval academies who were on duty with the Philippine Army, there was a complete
The petitioners also allege that GCM No. 14 has not been constitute in accordance with Article 8 dearth of officers learned in military law, its aside from the fact that the officer corps of
of the Articles of War because General Order No. M-6, which supposedly convened the body, the developing army was numerically made equate for the demands of the strictly
was not signed by Gen. Renato de Villa as Chief of Staff. military aspects of the national defense program. Because of these considerations it
was then felt that peremptory challenges should not in the meanwhile be permitted
and that only challenges for cause, in any number, would be allowed. Thus Article 18
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of the Articles of War (Commonwealth Act No. 408), as worded on September 14, It is a basic canon of statutory construction that when the reason of the law ceases, the law itself
1938, the date of the approval of the Act, made no mention or reference to any ceases. Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex. This principle is also expressed in the
peremptory challenge by either the trial judge advocate of a court- martial or by the maxim ratio legis est anima: the reason of law is its soul.
accused. After December 17,1958, when the Manual for Courts-Martial of the
Philippine Army became effective, the Judge Advocate General's Service of the Applying these rules, we hold that the withdrawal of the right to peremptory challenge in L P.D.
Philippine Army conducted a continuing and intensive program of training and No. 39 became ineffective when the apparatus of martial law was dismantled with the issuance
education in military law, encompassing the length and breadth of the Philippines. This of Proclamation No. 2045, As a result, the old rule embodied in Article 18 of Com. Act No. 408
program was pursued until the outbreak of World War 11 in the Pacific on December was automatically revived and now again allows the right to peremptory challenge.
7, 1941. After the formal surrender of Japan to the allies in 1945, the officer corps of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines had expanded to a very large number, and a
great many of the officers had been indoctrinated in military law. It was in these We do not agree with the respondents in G.R. No. 96948 that the right to peremptory challenge
environmental circumstances that Article of War 18 was amended on June 12,1948 to remains withdrawn under P.D. No. 39. To repeat for emphasis, this decree was itself withdrawn
entitle "each side" to one peremptory challenge, with the sole proviso that "the law when martial law was lifted on January 17, 1981. Indeed, even if not so withdrawn, it could still
member of court shall not be challenged except for cause. be considered no longer operative, having been cast out under the new dispensation as, in the
words of the Freedom Constitution, one of the "iniquitous vestiges of the previous regime.

On September 27,1972, President Marcos issued General Order No. 8, empowering the Chief of
Staff of the Armed Forces to create military tribunals "to try and decide cases of military The military tribunal was one of the most oppressive instruments of martial law. It is curious that
personnel and such other cases as may be referred to them. the present government should invoke the rules of that discredited body to justify its action
against the accused officers.

On November 7,1972, he promulgated P.D. No. 39 (Governing the Creation, Composition,


Jurisdiction, Procedure, and other matters relevant to military Tribunals). This decree disallowed The Court realizes that the recognition of the right to peremptory challenge may be exploited by
the peremptory challenge, thus: a respondent in a court-martial trial to delay the proceedings and defer his deserved
Punishment. It is hoped that the accused officers in the cases at bar will not be so motivated. At
any rate, the wisdom of Com. Act No. 408, in the light of present circumstances, is a matter
No peremptory challenge shall be allowed. Challenges for cause may be entertained addressed to the law-makers and not to this Court. The judiciary can only interpret and apply the
to insure impartiality and good faith. Challenges shall immediately be heard and laws without regard to its own misgivings on their adverse effects. This is a problem only the
determined by a majority of the members excluding the challenged member. A tie vote political departments can resolve.
does not disqualify the challenged member. A successfully challenged member shall
be immediately replaced.
The petitioners in G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454 question the propriety of the petition for certiorari
and mandamus and the petition for habeas corpus filed by the private respondents with the
On June 11, 1978, President Marcos promulgated P.D. No. 1498, or the National Security Code, Regional Trial Courts of Quezon City. It is argued that since the private respondents are officers
which was a compilation and codification of decrees, general orders, LOI and policies intended of the Armed Forces accused of violations of the Articles of War, the respondent courts have no
"to meet the continuing threats to the existence, security and stability of the State." The modified authority to order their release and otherwise interfere with the court-martial proceedings.
rule on challenges under P.D. No. 39 was embodied in this decree.

The petitioners further contend that under Sec. 9(3) of BP 1 29, the Court of Appeals is vested
On January 17,1981, President Marcos issued Proc. No. 2045 proclaiming the termination of the with "exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, orders, or
state of martial law throughout the Philippines. The proclamation revoked General Order No. 8 awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, boards or
and declared the dissolution of the military tribunals created pursuant thereto upon final commissions." Rather irrelevantly, the petitioners also cite the case of Yang v. Court of
determination of the cases pending therein. Appeals4 where this Court held that "appeals from the Professional Regulation Commission are
now exclusively cognizable by the Court of Appeals.
P.D. No. 39 was issued to implement General Order No. 8 and the other general orders
mentioned therein. With the termination of martial law and the dissolution of the military tribunals It should be noted that the aforecited provision and the case cited refer to ordinary appeals and
created thereunder, the reason for the existence of P.D. No. 39 ceased automatically. not to the remedies employed by the accused officers before the respondent courts.

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In Martelino, we observed as follows: constituted authorities, including this Honorable Court, and replace the same with a
system consonant with their own concept of government and justice.
It is true that civil courts as a rule exercise no supervision or correcting power over the
proceedings of courts-martial, and that mere errors in their proceedings are not open The argument that denial from the military of the right to bail would violate the equal protection
to consideration. The single inquiry, the test, is jurisdiction. But it is equally true that in clause is not acceptable. This guaranty requires equal treatment only of persons or things
the exercise of their undoubted discretion, courts-martial may commit such an abuse similarly situated and does not apply where the subject of the treatment is substantially different
of discretion — what in the language of Rule 65 is referred to as "grave abuse of from others. The accused officers can complain if they are denied bail and other members of the
discretion" — as to give rise to a defect in their jurisdiction. This is precisely the point military are not. But they cannot say they have been discriminated against because they are not
at issue in this action suggested by its nature as one for certiorari and prohibition ... . allowed the same right that is extended to civilians.

The Regional Trial Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals and the Supreme On the contention of the private respondents in G.R. No. 97454 that they had not been charged
Court over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against inferior courts and other after more than one year from their arrest, our finding is that there was substantial compliance
bodies and on petitions for habeas corpusand quo warranto.5 In the absence of a law providing with the requirements of due process and the right to a speedy trial.
that the decisions, orders and ruling of a court-martial or the Office of the Chief of Staff can be
questioned only before the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, we hold that the Regional The petition for habeas corpus was directly filed with this Court on February 18, 1991, and was
Trial Court can exercise similar jurisdiction. referred to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for raffle, hearing and decision. It was heard
on February 26, 1991, by the respondent court, where the petitioners submitted the charge
We find that the right to bail invoked by the private respondents in G.R. Nos. 95020 has memorandum and specifications against the private respondents dated January 30, 1991. On
traditionally not been recognized and is not available in the military, as an exception to the February 12, 1991, pursuant to Office Order No. 31-91, the PTI panel was created and initial
general rule embodied in the Bill of Rights. This much was suggested in Arula, where we investigation was scheduled on March 12, 1991 at 2:00 p.m. On March 20, 1991, the private
observed that "the right to a speedy trial is given more emphasis in the military where the right to respondents received the copies of the charges, charge sheets and specifications and were
bail does not exist. required to submit their counter-affidavits on or before April 11, 1991. There was indeed a delay
of more than one year in the investigation and preparation of the charges against the private
The justification for this exception was well explained by the Solicitor General as follows: respondents. However, this was explained by the Solicitor General thus:

The unique structure of the military should be enough reason to exempt military men ... The AFP Special Investigating Committee was able to complete it pre-charge
from the constitutional coverage on the right to bail. investigation only after one (1) year because hundreds of officers and thousands of
enlisted men were involved in the failed coup. All of them, as well as other witnesses,
had to be interviewed or investigated, and these inevitably took months to finish. The
Aside from structural peculiarity, it is vital to note that mutinous soldiers operate within pre-charge investigation was rendered doubly difficult by the fact that those involved
the framework of democratic system, are allowed the fiduciary use of firearms by the were dispersed and scattered throughout the Philippines. In some cases, command
government for the discharge of their duties and responsibilities and are paid out of units, such as the Scout Rangers, have already been disbanded. After the charges
revenues collected from the people. All other insurgent elements carry out their were completed, the same still had to pass review and approval by the AFP Chief of
activities outside of and against the existing political system. Staff.

xxx xxx xxx While accepting this explanation, the Court nevertheless must reiterate the following admonition:

National security considerations should also impress upon this Honorable Court that This Court as protector of the rights of the people, must stress the point that if the
release on bail of respondents constitutes a damaging precedent. Imagine a scenario participation of petitioner in several coup attempts for which he is confined on orders
of say 1,000 putschists roaming the streets of the Metropolis on bail, or if the assailed of Adjutant General Jorge Agcaoili cannot be established and no charges can be filed
July 25,1990 Order were sustained, on "provisional" bail. The sheer number alone is against him or the existence of a prima facie case warranting trial before a military
already discomforting. But, the truly disquieting thought is that they could freely commission is wanting, it behooves respondent then Major General Rodolfo Biazon
resume their heinous activity which could very well result in the overthrow of duly (now General) to release petitioner. Respondents must also be reminded that even if a
military officer is arrested pursuant to Article 70 of then Articles of War, indefinite
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confinement is not sanctioned, as Article 71 thereof mandates that immediate steps


must be taken to try the person accused or to dissmiss the charge and release him.
Any officer who is responsible for unnecessary delay in investigating or carrying the
case to a final conclusion may even be punished as a court martial may direct. 6

It should be noted, finally, that after the decision was rendered by Judge Solano on February 26,
1991, the government filed a notice of appeal ad cautelam and a motion for reconsideration, the
latter was ultimately denied, after hearing, on March 4, 1991. The 48- hour period for appeal
under Rule 41, Section 18, of the Rules of Court did not run until after notice of such denial was
received by the petitioners on March 12, 1991. Contrary to the private respondents' contention,
therefore, the decision had not yet become final and executory when the special civil action in
G.R. No. 97454 was filed with this Court on March 12, 1991.

III

Regarding the propriety of the petitions at bar, it is well to reiterate the following observations of
the Court in Arula:

The referral of charges to a court-martial involves the exercise of judgment and


discretion (AW 71). A petition for certiorari, in order to prosper, must be based on
jurisdictional grounds because, as long as the respondent acted with jurisdiction, any
error committed by him or it in the exercise thereof will amount to nothing more than
an error of judgment which may be reviewed or corrected only by appeal. Even an
abuse of discretion is not sufficient by itself to justify the issuance of a writ of certiorari.

As in that case, we find that the respondents in G.R. No. 93177 have not acted with grave abuse
of discretion or without or in excess of jurisdiction to justify the intervention of the Court and the
reversal of the acts complained of by the petitioners. Such action is indicated, however, in G.R.
No. 96948, where we find that the right to peremptory challenge should not have been denied,
and in G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454, where the private respondents should not have been
ordered released.

ACCORDINGLY, in G.R. No. 93177, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. In G.R. No.
96948, the petition is GRANTED, and the respondents are DIRECTED to allow the petitioners to
exercise the right of peremptory challenge under Article 18 of the Articles of War. In G.R. Nos.
95020 and 97454, the petitions are also GRANTED, and the orders of the respondent courts for
the release of the private respondents are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

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