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FLORESTA V.

JUDGE UBADIAS, Whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, and


even if no charge has yet been filed in court
A.M. NO. RTJ-03-1774
against a respondent-suspect-detainee,
27 MAY 2004. reasonable notice of hearing is required to be
given to the prosecutor, or at least his
Third Division recommendation must be sought. So Fortuna v.
[CARPIO-MORALES, J.] Penaco-Sitaca instructs:
[A]dmission to bail as a matter of discretion
presupposes the exercise thereof in accordance
FACTS: with law and guided by the applicable legal
principles. The prosecution must first be accorded
By a Sworn Complaint, then Provincial
an opportunity to present evidence because by the
Prosecutor, now Regional Trial Court Judge
very nature of deciding applications for bail, it is
Dorentino Z. Floresta (complainant)
on the basis of such evidence that judicial
administratively charged Judge Eliodoro G.
discretion is weighed against in determining
Ubiadas of the Olongapo City Regional Trial
whether the guilt of the accused is strong. In other
Court (RTC) with “gross ignorance of [the] law,
words, discretion must be exercised regularly,
grave abuse of authority and violations of the
legally and within the confines of procedural due
Code of Judicial Conduct.” Among other
process, that is, after the evaluation of the
grounds, complainant faults respondent for
evidence submitted by the prosecution. Any order
granting, “without giving notice to the
issued in the absence thereof is not a product of
prosecution,” the petition for bail of Jose
sound judicial discretion but of whim and caprice
Mangohig, Jr. who was arrested by virtue of a
and outright arbitrariness. (Italics in the original;
warrant issued by the Municipal Trial Court of
underscoring supplied)
Subic, Zambales which found probable cause
against him for violation of Section 5(b), Art. III True, a hearing of the petition for bail was
of Republic Act No. 7610 (“Special Protection of conducted in Crim. Case No. 271-99 on January
Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and 4, 2000 at 8:30 a.m. Given the filing of the
Discrimination Act”). Respondent avers that in petition only the day before, at close to noontime,
Crim. Case No. 271-99, upon motion filed close it cannot be said that the prosecution was afforded
to noon time of January 3, 2000, the prosecutor reasonable notice and opportunity to present
was furnished a copy of the petition for bail by evidence after it received a copy of the petition
Mangohig, who was then under preliminary minutes before it was filed in court. It bears
investigation. During the hearing set on the stressing that the prosecution should be afforded
following day, or on January 4, 2000 at 8:30 a.m, reasonable opportunity to comment on the
there was no appearance from the Prosecutor’s application for bail by showing that evidence of
Office. Since the offense for which Mangohig guilt is strong.
was charged is ordinarily a bailable offense,
respondent granted him bail. While in Section 18 of Rule 114 on applications
for bail, no period is provided as it merely
requires the court to give a “reasonable notice” of
the hearing to the prosecutor or require him to
ISSUE: Is the Judge correct in granting the
submit his recommendation, and the general rule
petition for bail even without the participation of
on the requirement of a three-day notice for
the Prosecution during the bail hearing?
hearing of motions under Section 4 of Rule 15
allows a court for good cause to set the hearing on
shorter notice, there is, in the case of Mangohig,
HELD: NO, the Judge is not correct.
no showing of good cause to call for hearing his inhibiting himself from further proceeding with
petition for bail on shorter notice. Reasonable the case, realizing that what he did was patently
notice depends of course upon the circumstances irregular. Complainant thus prays that respondent
of each particular case, taking into account, inter judge be dismissed from the service with
alia, the offense committed and the imposable forfeiture of all benefits and be disbarred from the
penalties, and the evidence of guilt in the hands practice of law. In his comment, respondent
of the prosecution. In Crim. Case No. 271-99, denied the charges. While admitting that he
Mangohig was arrested for violation of Sec. 5(b), issued the Order granting bail to the accused
Art. III of R.A. 7610 which is punishable by without any hearing, “the same was premised on
reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, and the constitutional right of the accused to a speedy
subsequently indicted for statutory rape qualified trial.” There was delay in the proceedings due to
by relationship which is punishable by death. complainant’s frequent absences and failure of
Under the circumstances, by respondent’s the witnesses for the prosecution to appear in
assailed grant of bail, the prosecution was court, resulting in the cancellation of the hearings.
deprived of due process for which he is liable for
gross ignorance of the law or procedure which is
a serious charge under Sec. 8 of Rule 140 of the ISSUE#1: Is the Judge correct in granting bail
Rules of Court. sans the application or motion for bail and
without conducting a hearing?

ZUÑO V. JUDGE CABEBE,


HELD#2: NO, the Judge is not correct.
A.M. OCA NO. 03-1800-RTJ
26 NOVEMBER 2004.
In Docena-Caspe vs. Judge Arnulfo O. Bugtas,
Third Division
we held that jurisprudence is replete with
[SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.] decisions on the procedural necessity of a
hearing, whether summary or otherwise, relative
to the grant of bail, especially in cases involving
FACTS: offenses punishable by death, reclusion perpetua,
or life imprisonment, where bail is a matter of
The instant administrative case stemmed from the discretion. Under the present Rules, a hearing is
sworn complaint of Chief State Prosecutor mandatory in granting bail whether it is a matter
Jovencito R. Zuño of the Department of Justice, of right or discretion. It must be stressed that the
against Judge Alejandrino C. Cabebe, then grant or the denial of bail in cases where bail is a
Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Batac, matter of discretion, hinges on the issue of
Ilocos Norte. The charges are knowingly whether or not the evidence of guilt of the
rendering an unjust judgment, gross ignorance of accused is strong, and the determination of
the law and partiality in a case where: The whether or not the evidence is strong is a matter
accused filed a motion to dismiss invoking as of judicial discretion which remains with the
ground the right of the accused to a speedy trial; judge. In order for the latter to properly exercise
Respondent judge motu propio issued an Order his discretion, he must first conduct a hearing to
granting bail to the accused; Respondent judge determine whether the evidence of guilt is strong.
issued the Order without the accused’s In fact, even in cases where there is no petition
application or motion for bail. The prosecution for bail, a hearing should still be held.
then filed a motion for reconsideration. Instead of
acting thereon, respondent judge issued an order
There is no question that respondent judge competence; and by the very nature of his office,
granted bail to the accused without conducting a should be circumspect in the performance of his
hearing, in violation of Sections 8 and 18, Rule duties. He must render justice without resorting
114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure to shortcuts clearly uncalled for. Obviously,
xxx. respondent failed to live up to these standards.
[T]he court’s order granting or refusing bail must
contain a summary of the evidence of the
prosecution and based thereon, the judge should GOVERNMENT OF HONG KONG
formulate his own conclusion as to whether the SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION V.
evidence so presented is strong enough to indicate JUDGE OLALIA AND MUÑOZ
the guilt of the accused. Respondent judge did not G.R. NO. 153675, 29 APRIL 2007.
follow the above Rules and procedure
enumerated in Cortes. He did not conduct a En Banc
hearing before he granted bail to the accused, thus [SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.]
depriving the prosecution of an opportunity to
interpose objections to the grant of bail.
Irrespective of his opinion on the strength or
FACTS:
weakness of evidence to prove the guilt of the
accused, he should have conducted a hearing and Private respondent Muñoz was charged before
thereafter made a summary of the evidence of the the Hong Kong Court with three (3) counts of the
prosecution. The importance of a bail hearing and offense of “accepting an advantage as agent,” in
a summary of evidence cannot be downplayed, violation of Section 9 (1) (a) of the Prevention of
these are considered aspects of procedural due Bribery Ordinance, Cap. 201 of Hong Kong.
process for both the prosecution and the defense; Petitioner Hong Kong Special Administrative
its absence will invalidate the grant or denial of Region filed with the RTC of Manila a petition
bail for the extradition of private respondent. After
hearing, Judge Bernardo, Jr. issued an Order
denying the petition for bail, holding that there is
ISSUE#2: Is the contention of the Respondent no Philippine law granting bail in extradition
Judge, in granting bail on the ground that the cases and that private respondent is a high “flight
accused were entitled to their right to a speedy risk.” Judge Bernardo, Jr. inhibited himself from
trial, meritorious? further hearing and the case was raffled off to
another judge. Private respondent filed a motion
for reconsideration of the Order denying his
HELD#2: NO. Respondent’s contention is bereft application for bail. This was granted by
of merit. respondent judge. Petitioner filed an urgent
motion to vacate the above Order, but it was
There is no indication in the records of the denied. Hence, the instant petition.
criminal case that the prosecution has
intentionally delayed the trial of the case. Even
assuming there was delay, this does not justify the ISSUE: Is the contention of the Petitioner, that
grant of bail without a hearing. This is utter the potential extraditee has a right to bail under
disregard of the Rules. The requirement of a bail the Constitution or statutory law, the right being
hearing has been incessantly stressed by this limited solely to criminal proceedings, tenable?
Court. In the same vein, the Code of Judicial
Conduct enjoins judges to be conversant with the
law and the Rules and maintain professional
HELD: NO, the contention is untenable. If bail can be granted in deportation cases, we see
no justification why it should not also be allowed
in extradition cases. Likewise, considering that
The modern trend in public international law is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
the primacy placed on the worth of the individual applies to deportation cases, there is no reason
person and the sanctity of human rights. Slowly, why it cannot be invoked in extradition cases.
the recognition that the individual person may After all, both are administrative proceedings
properly be a subject of international law is now where the innocence or guilt of the person
taking root. The vulnerable doctrine that the detained is not in issue. Clearly, the right of a
subjects of international law are limited only to prospective extraditee to apply for bail in this
states was dramatically eroded towards the jurisdiction must be viewed in the light of the
second half of the past century. For one, the various treaty obligations of the Philippines
Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II concerning respect for the promotion and
resulted in the unprecedented spectacle of protection of human rights. Under these treaties,
individual defendants for acts characterized as the presumption lies in favor of human liberty.
violations of the laws of war, crimes against Thus, the Philippines should see to it that the right
peace, and crimes against humanity. Recently, to liberty of every individual is not impaired.
under the Nuremberg principle, Serbian leaders
have been persecuted for war crimes and crimes
against humanity committed in the former PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V.
Yugoslavia. These significant events show that SANDIGANBAYAN AND JINGGOY
the individual person is now a valid subject of ESTRADA,
international law.
G.R. NO. 158754, 10 AUGUST 2007.
On a more positive note, also after World War II,
En Banc
both international organizations and states gave
recognition and importance to human rights. [GARCIA, J.]
Thus, on December 10, 1948, the United Nations
General Assembly adopted the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights in which the right FACTS:
to life, liberty and all the other fundamental rights
of every person were proclaimed. While not a This petition seeks to reverse and set aside the
treaty, the principles contained in the said Resolution of herein respondent Sandiganbayan
Declaration are now recognized as customarily (Special Division) issued on March 6, 2003 in
binding upon the members of the international Criminal Case No. 26558, granting bail to private
community. Thus, in Mejoff v. Director of respondent Senator Jose Jinggoy Estrada
Prisons, this Court, in granting bail to a (hereafter Jinggoy for brevity). Jinggoy was
prospective deportee, held that under the among the respondents in the crime of Plunder
Constitution, the principles set forth in that filed by the Office of the Ombudsman. Jinggoy
Declaration are part of the law of the land. In filed with the Court an Urgent Motion praying for
1966, the UN General Assembly also adopted the early resolution of his Petition for Bail on
International Covenant on Civil and Political Medical/Humanitarian Considerations. He
Rights which the Philippines signed and ratified. reiterated his earlier plea for bail filed with the
Fundamental among the rights enshrined therein Sandiganbayan. Jinggoy filed before the
are the rights of every person to life, liberty, and Sandiganbayan an Omnibus Application for Bail
due process. against which the prosecution filed its comment
and opposition. Bail hearings were then
conducted, followed by the submission by the The likelihood of escape on the part individual
parties of their respective memoranda. Petitioner respondent is now almost nil, given his election
suggests that Jinggoy is harboring a plan to on May 10, 2004, as Senator of the Republic of
escape, thus a flight risk. But in a Resolution, the the Philippines. The Court takes stock of the fact
Sandiganbayan granted Jinggoy’s Omnibus that those who usually jump bail are shadowy
Application for Bail. Petitioner filed a Motion for characters mindless of their reputation in the eyes
Reconsideration but was denied. of the people for as long as they can flee from the
retribution of justice. On the other hand, those
with a reputation and a respectable name to
ISSUE: Is the grant of bail in favor of Jinggoy protect and preserve are very unlikely to jump
proper on the ground that he is no longer bail. The Court, to be sure, cannot accept any
considered a flight risk? suggestion that someone who has a popular
mandate to serve as Senator is harboring any plan
to give up his Senate seat in exchange for
HELD: YES, the grant of bail is proper. becoming a fugitive from justice.

To begin with, Section 13 of Article III (Bill of OKABE V. JUDGE GUTIERREZ AND
Rights) of the Constitution mandates: MARUYAMA,

Section 13. All persons, except those charged G.R. NO. 150185, 27 MAY 2004.
with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua Second Division
when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before
conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or [CALLEJO, SR., J.]
be released on recognizance as may be provided
by law. xxx.
FACTS:
Even if the capital offense charged is bailable
owing to the weakness of the evidence of guilt, Maruyama charged Okabe of Estafa. After the
the right to bail may justifiably still be denied if preliminary investigation, an Information was
the probability of escape is great. Here, ever since filed and a warrant of arrest was issued.
the promulgation of the assailed Resolutions a Petitioner posted a personal bail bond in the said
little more than four (4) years ago, Jinggoy does amount, duly approved by Judge Demetrio B.
not, as determined by Sandiganbayan, seem to be Macapagal, the Presiding Judge of Branch 79 of
a flight risk. We quote with approval what the the RTC of Quezon City, who forthwith recalled
graft court wrote in this regard: the said warrant. The approved personal bail bond
of the petitioner was transmitted to the RTC of
It is not open to serious doubt that the movant
Pasig City on June 21, 2000. Upon her request,
[Jinggoy] has, in general, been consistently
the petitioner was furnished with a certified copy
respectful of the Court and its processes. He has
of the Information, the resolution and the criminal
not ominously shown, by word or by deed, that he
complaint which formed part of the records of the
is of such a flight risk that would necessitate his
said case. Petitioner twice left the Philippines but
continued incarceration. Bearing in mind his
returned. The prosecution moved for the issuance
conduct, social standing and his other personal
of a hold departure order to hold and prevent any
circumstances, the possibility of his escape in this
attempt on the part of the petitioner to depart from
case seems remote if not nil.
the Philippines. Petitioner filed a Very Urgent
Motion To Lift/Recall Hold Departure Order
and/or allow her to regularly travel to Japan. Criminal Procedure was already in effect. It
Petitioner filed a motion for the postponement of behooved the appellate court to have applied the
her arraignment alleging that, in case the trial same in resolving the petitioner’s petition for
court ruled adversely thereon, she would refuse to certiorari and her motion for partial
enter a plea and seek relief from the appellate reconsideration.
court. The court denied the petitioner’s motions
on the ground that when the petitioner posted a
personal bail bond for her provisional liberty, she Moreover, considering the conduct of the
thereby waived her right to question the court’s petitioner after posting her personal bail bond, it
finding of the existence of probable cause for her cannot be argued that she waived her right to
arrest and submitted herself to the jurisdiction of question the finding of probable cause and to
the court, more so when she filed the motion for assail the warrant of arrest issued against her by
the lifting of the hold departure order the court the respondent judge. There must be clear and
issued, and the motion to defer the proceedings convincing proof that the petitioner had an actual
and her arraignment. intention to relinquish her right to question the
existence of probable cause. When the only proof
of intention rests on what a party does, his act
ISSUE: Is the application for or filing of bail should be so manifestly consistent with, and
bond a waiver of one’s right to assail the warrant indicative of, an intent to voluntarily and
issued for his arrest? unequivocally relinquish the particular right that
no other explanation of his conduct is possible. In
this case, the records show that a warrant was
HELD: NO, there is no waiver in application for issued by the respondent judge in Pasay City for
or filing of a bail. the arrest of the petitioner, a resident of
Guiguinto, Bulacan. When the petitioner learned
of the issuance of the said warrant, she posted a
It bears stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the personal bail bond to avert her arrest and secure
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure is a new her provisional liberty. Judge Demetrio B.
one, intended to modify previous rulings of this Macapagal of the RTC of Quezon City approved
Court that an application for bail or the admission the bond and issued an order recalling the warrant
to bail by the accused shall be considered as a of arrest against the petitioner. Thus, the posting
waiver of his right to assail the warrant issued for of a personal bail bond was a matter of imperative
his arrest on the legalities or irregularities necessity to avert her incarceration; it should not
thereon. The new rule has reverted to the ruling be deemed as a waiver of her right to assail her
of this Court in People v. Red. The new rule is arrest.
curative in nature because precisely, it was
designed to supply defects and curb evils in
procedural rules. Hence, the rules governing
curative statutes are applicable. Curative statutes
are by their essence retroactive in application.
Besides, procedural rules as a general rule operate
retroactively, even without express provisions to
that effect, to cases pending at the time of their
effectivity, in other words to actions yet
undetermined at the time of their effectivity.
Before the appellate court rendered its decision
on January 31, 2001, the Revised Rules on
LEVISTE V. COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. HELD: NO, discretionary nature of bail
NO. 189122, 17 MARCH 2010. mentioned in Section 5 of Rule 114 does not
mean automatic grant of bail in case of appeal.
Third Division
[CORONA, J.]
After conviction by the trial court, the
presumption of innocence terminates and,
FACTS: accordingly, the constitutional right to bail ends.
From then on, the grant of bail is subject to
Charged with the murder of Rafael de las Alas, judicial discretion. At the risk of being
petitioner Jose Antonio Leviste was convicted by repetitious, such discretion must be exercised
the Regional Trial Court of Makati City for the with grave caution and only for strong reasons.
lesser crime of homicide and sentenced to suffer Considering that the accused was in fact
an indeterminate penalty of six years and one day convicted by the trial court, allowance of bail
of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and one pending appeal should be guided by a stringent-
day of reclusion temporal as maximum. He standards approach. This judicial disposition
appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals. finds strong support in the history and evolution
Pending appeal, he filed an urgent application for of the rules on bail and the language of Section 5,
admission to bail pending appeal, citing his Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. It is likewise
advanced age and health condition, and claiming consistent with the trial court’s initial
the absence of any risk or possibility of flight on determination that the accused should be in
his part. The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s prison. Furthermore, letting the accused out on
application for bail. It invoked the bedrock bail despite his conviction may destroy the
principle in the matter of bail pending appeal, that deterrent effect of our criminal laws. This is
the discretion to extend bail during the course of especially germane to bail pending appeal
appeal should be exercised “with grave caution because long delays often separate sentencing in
and only for strong reasons.” Petitioner now the trial court and appellate review. In addition, at
questions as grave abuse of discretion the denial the post-conviction stage, the accused faces a
of his application for bail, considering that none certain prison sentence and thus may be more
of the conditions justifying denial of bail under likely to flee regardless of bail bonds or other
the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the release conditions. Finally, permitting bail too
Rules of Court was present. Petitioner’s theory is freely in spite of conviction invites frivolous and
that, where the penalty imposed by the trial court time-wasting appeals which will make a mockery
is more than six years but not more than 20 years of our criminal justice system and court
and the circumstances mentioned in the third processes.
paragraph of Section 5 are absent, bail must be
granted to an appellant pending appeal.

ISSUE: In an application for bail pending appeal


by an appellant sentenced by the trial court to a
penalty of imprisonment for more than six years,
does the discretionary nature of the grant of bail
pending appeal mean that bail should
automatically be granted absent any of the
circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph
of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court?
ENRILE vs. SANDIGANBAYAN: DIGEST to his age and physical condition. Sandiganbayan
AND COMMENTS denied this in its assailed resolution. Motion for
Reconsideration was likewise denied.
G.R. No. 213847; August 18, 2015
Ponente: Bersamin
ISSUES:
1) Whether or not bail may be granted as a matter
Doctrines:
of right unless the crime charged is punishable by
Primary objective of bail – The strength of the reclusion perpetua where the evidence of guilt is
Prosecution's case, albeit a good measure of the strong.
accused's propensity for flight or for causing
a. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that
harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary
if ever petitioner would be convicted, he will be
objective of bail, which is to ensure that the
punishable by reclusion perpetua.
accused appears at trial.
b. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that
petitioner's guilt is strong.
Bail is a right and a matter of discretion – Right
to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987
Constitution and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of 2. Whether or not petitioner is bailable because he
the Rules of Criminal Procedure to wit: “No is not a flight risk.
person charged with a capital offense, or an
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when HELD:
evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage
of the criminal prosecution.” 1. YES.
Bail as a matter of right – due process and
presumption of innocence.
FACTS:
Article III, Sec. 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution
On June 5, 2014, Petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile provides that in all criminal prosecutions, the
was charged with plunder in the Sandiganbayan accused shall be presumed innocent until the
on the basis of his purported involvement in the contrary is proved. This right is safeguarded by
Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) the constitutional right to be released on bail.
Scam. Initially, Enrile in an Omnibus Motion
requested to post bail, which the Sandiganbayan The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance
denied. On July 3, 2014, a warrant for Enrile's of the accused at trial and so the amount of bail
arrest was issued, leading to Petitioner's voluntary should be high enough to assure the presence of
surrender. the accused when so required, but no higher than
what may be reasonably calculated to fulfill this
Petitioner again asked the Sandiganbayan in a purpose.
Motion to Fix Bail which was heard by the
Sandiganbayan. Petitioner argued that: (a) Bail as a matter of discretion
Prosecution had not yet established that the Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the
evidence of his guilt was strong; (b) that, because 1987 Constitution and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114
of his advanced age and voluntary surrender, the of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to wit:
penalty would only be reclusion temporal, thus
allowing for bail and; (c) he is not a flight risk due
Capital offense of an offense punishable by
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or
bailable. — No person charged with a capital
habitual delinquent, or has committed the crime
offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;
perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted
to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless (b) That he has previously escaped from legal
of the stage of the criminal prosecution. confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the
conditions of his bail without valid justification;
The general rule: Any person, before conviction
of any criminal offense, shall be bailable. (c) That he committed the offense while under
probation, parole, or conditional pardon;
Exception: Unless he is charged with an offense
punishable with reclusion perpetua [or life (d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the
imprisonment] and the evidence of his guilt is probability of flight if released on bail; or
strong.
(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit
Thus, denial of bail should only follow once it has another crime during the pendency of the appeal.
been established that the evidence of guilt is
strong. Where evidence of guilt is not strong, bail
may be granted according to the discretion of the The appellate court may, motu proprio or on
court. motion of any party, review the resolution of the
Thus, Sec. 5 of Rule 114 also provides: Regional Trial Court after notice to the adverse
party in either case.
Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by
the Regional Trial Court of an offense not Thus, admission to bail in offenses punished by
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life death, or life imprisonment, or reclusion perpetua
imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary. subject to judicial discretion. In Concerned
The application for bail may be filed and acted Citizens vs. Elma, the court held: “[S]uch
upon by the trial court despite the filing of a discretion may be exercised only after the hearing
notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the
the original record to the appellate court. accused for the purpose of whether or not he
However, if the decision of the trial court should be granted provisional liberty.” Bail
convicting the accused changed the nature of the hearing with notice is indispensable (Aguirre vs.
offense from non-bailable to bailable, the Belmonte). The hearing should primarily
application for bail can only be filed with and determine whether the evidence of guilt against
resolved by the appellate court. the accused is strong.

Should the court grant the application, the


accused may be allowed to continue on The procedure for discretionary bail is described
provisional liberty during the pendency of the in Cortes vs. Catral:
appeal under the same bail subject to the consent
of the bondsman. 1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or
of discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing
If the penalty imposed by the trial court is of the application for bail or require him to submit
imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, the his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the
accused shall be denied bail, or his bail shall be Rules of Court as amended);
cancelled upon a showing by the prosecution,
with notice to the accused, of the following or
other similar circumstances:
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a person under detention such remedies which
hearing of the application for bail regardless of safeguard their fundamental right to liberty.
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present These remedies include the right to be admitted
evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is to bail. (emphasis in decision)
strong for the purpose of enabling the court to
exercise its sound discretion; (Section 7 and 8,
supra) Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of
discretion
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is
strong based on the summary of evidence of the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective
prosecution; of bail to ensure the appearance of the accused
during the trial and unwarrantedly disregarded
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong,
the clear showing of the fragile health and
discharge the accused upon the approval of the
advanced age of Petitioner. As such the
bailbond (Section 19, supra) Otherwise petition
Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in
should be denied.
denying the Motion to Fix Bail. It acted
whimsically and capriciously and was so patent
and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive
2. YES.
duty [to allow petitioner to post bail].
Petitioner's poor health justifies his admission to
-------------------------
bail.
Justice Leonen criticized the decision for having
The Supreme Court took note of the Philippine's
a very weak legal basis – the grant of bail over
responsibility to the international community
mere humanitarian grounds. He also claims that
arising from its commitment to the Universal
the court has no authority to use humanitarian
Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore have
grounds. Leonen argues that “[Petitioner's]
the responsibility of protecting and promoting the
release for medical or humanitarian reasons was
right of every person to liberty and due process
not the basis for his prayer in his Motion to Fix
and for detainees to avail of such remedies which
Bail before the Sandiganbayan,” nor were these
safeguard their fundamental right to liberty.
grounds raised in the petition in the Supreme
Quoting from Government of Hong Kong SAR
Court.
vs. Olalia, the SC emphasized:
“Bail for humanitarian considerations is neither
x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as
presently provided in our Rules of Court nor
well as value the worth and dignity of every
found in any statute or provision of the
person. This commitment is enshrined in Section
Constitution.”
II, Article II of our Constitution which provides:
“The State values the dignity of every human Leonen theorized that the Supreme Court only
person and guarantees full respect for human granted bail as a special accomodation for the
rights.” The Philippines, therefore, has the petitioner and he goes on to criticize the decision
responsibility of protecting and promoting the to wit:
right of every person to liberty and due process,
[This decision] will usher in an era of truly
ensuring that those detained or arrested can
selective justice not based on their legal
participate in the proceedings before a court, to
provisions, but one that is unpredictable, partial
enable it to decide without delay on the legality
and solely grounded on the presence or absence
of the detention and order their release if justified.
of human compassion.
In other words, the Philippine authorities are
under obligation to make available to every
xxx exercise its sound discretion; (Section 7 and 8,
supra)
Worse, it puts pressure on all trial courts and the
Sandiganbayan that will predictably be deluged 3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is
with motions to fix bail on the basis of strong based on the summary of evidence of the
humanitarian considerations. The lower courts prosecution;
will have to decide, without guidance, whether
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong,
bail should be granted because of advanced age,
discharge the accused upon the approval of the
hypertension, pneumonia, or dreaded diseases.
bailbond (Section 19, supra) Otherwise petition
They will have to decide whether this is
should be denied.
applicable only to Senators and former Presidents
charged with plunder and not to those accused of
drug trafficking, multiple incestuous rape, … and
other crimes punishable by reclusion perpetua or With such succinct but clear rules now
life imprisonment... incorporated in the Rules of Court, trial judges are
enjoined to study them as well and be guided
accordingly. Admittedly, judges cannot be held to
account for an erroneous decision rendered in
Procedure for granting bail
good faith, but this defense is much too frequently
Leonen's dissent also examines the procedure cited even if not applicable. A number of cases on
outlined for the lower courts in bail cases in order bail having already been decided, this Court
to demonstrate that the Sandiganbayan did not err justifiably expects judges to discharge their duties
in denying Petitioner's Motion to Fix Bail. In assiduously. For judge is called upon to exhibit
Cortes vs. Catral the Supreme Court held: more than just a cursory acquaintance with
statutes and procedural rules; it is imperative that
It is indeed surprising, not to say, alarming, that
he be conversant with basic legal principles. Faith
the Court should be besieged with a number of
in the administration of justice can only be
administrative cases filed against erring judges
engendered if litigants are convinced that the
involving bail. After all, there is no dearth of
members of the Bench cannot justly be charge
jurisprudence on the basic principles involving
with a deficiency in their grasp of legal principles.
bail. As a matter of fact, the Court itself, through
its Philippine Judicial Academy, has been Petitioner in this case, insisted that the
including lectures on the subject in the regular Sandiganbayan grant his bail without any hearing
seminars conducted for judges. Be that as it may, for the purpose of determining whether the
we reiterate the following duties of the trial judge evidence of guilt is strong. At the Motion to Fix
in case an application for bail is filed: Bail, the prosecution had no opportunity to
present any evidence because of the prematurity
1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or
of Petitioner's Motion [to Fix Bail]. Thus, the
of discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing
dissent asserts that the Sandiganbayan was
of the application for bail or require him to submit
correct in denying the Motion based on
his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the
prematurity.
Rules of Court as amended);
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a
hearing of the application for bail regardless of Medical or humanitarian grounds inappropriate
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present
Petitioner did not ask for bail to be granted based
evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is
on humanitarian reasons at the Sandiganbayan.
strong for the purpose of enabling the court to
Neither petitioner nor the prosecution were able
to develop their arguments as to this point to
establish legal and factual basis for this kind of
The majority opinion offers no “guidance”
bail.
The dissent argues that the main opinion is
The dissent argues that it was inappropriate for
unclear whether the privilege (humanitarian
the court to grant bail merely on the basis of the
considerations, right to bail, etc.) will apply to
certification of the attending physician, Dr.
those who have similar conditions. Whether or
Gonzales, stating that the Petitioner was suffering
not this privilege will only apply to those
from numerous debilitating conditions. The
undergoing trial for plunder or whether or not this
dissent states that:
privilege can be granted to those of advanced age
Nowhere in the rules of procedure do we allow only. “The majority has perilously set an unstated
the grant of bail based on judicial notice of a if not ambiguous standard for the special grant of
doctor's certification. In doing so, we effectively bail on the ground of medical conditions.”
suspend our rules on evidence by doing away
There is also no guidance to the Sandiganbayan
with cross-examination and authentication of Dr.
as to if, when and how bail can then be canceled.
Gonzales' findings on petitioner's health in a
hearing whose main purpose is to determine Reliance on HK vs Olalia misplaced
whether no kind of alternative detention is
possible. The reliance of the majority on the case of
Government of Hong Kong SAR vs. Olalia is
xxx misplaced because this case referred to
extradition cases, hence its increased emphasis on
The better part of prudence is that we follow
international law. As applied to crimes charged
strictly our well-entrenched, long-standing, and
under Philippine law, the remedies under the
canonical procedures for bail. Doctrinally, the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights must be
matter to determine is whether the evidence of
qualified by the Constitution's rules regarding
guilt is strong. This is to be examined when a
bail.
hearing is granted as a mandatory manner after
petition for bail is filed by accused. The medical Furthermore, in the above case, the SC disposed
condition of the accused, if any, should be of it by remanding the case back to the lower
pleaded and heard. court for factual determination of whether or not
the accused was a flight risk.

Version of the decision submitted by Ponente was


not the version deliberated upon
This section of the dissent reveals that the Justices
voted to grant bail based on a substantially
different version of the opinion, one which did
not use humanitarian considerations as a ground
for the granting of bail. The dissent explains that
the Justices voted 8-4 solely on the issue of
whether or not bail is a matter of right and reveals
that the copy offered for signature was
substantially similar to an earlier draft which used
humanitarian considerations as the basis for the
granting of bail. The dissent makes it clear that
this was an irregularity.