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FLORESTA V. JUDGE UBADIAS, arbitrariness.

(Italics in the original; underscoring


supplied)
A.M. NO. RTJ-03-1774
True, a hearing of the petition for bail was conducted in
27 MAY 2004. Crim. Case No. 271-99 on January 4, 2000 at 8:30 a.m.
Third Division Given the filing of the petition only the day before, at
close to noontime, it cannot be said that the prosecution
[CARPIO-MORALES, J.] was afforded reasonable notice and opportunity to present
evidence after it received a copy of the petition minutes
before it was filed in court. It bears stressing that the
FACTS: prosecution should be afforded reasonable opportunity to
comment on the application for bail by showing that
By a Sworn Complaint, then Provincial Prosecutor, now
evidence of guilt is strong.
Regional Trial Court Judge Dorentino Z. Floresta
(complainant) administratively charged Judge Eliodoro While in Section 18 of Rule 114 on applications for bail,
G. Ubiadas of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court no period is provided as it merely requires the court to
(RTC) with “gross ignorance of [the] law, grave abuse of give a “reasonable notice” of the hearing to the prosecutor
authority and violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” or require him to submit his recommendation, and the
Among other grounds, complainant faults respondent for general rule on the requirement of a three-day notice for
granting, “without giving notice to the prosecution,” the hearing of motions under Section 4 of Rule 15 allows a
petition for bail of Jose Mangohig, Jr. who was arrested court for good cause to set the hearing on shorter notice,
by virtue of a warrant issued by the Municipal Trial Court there is, in the case of Mangohig, no showing of good
of Subic, Zambales which found probable cause against cause to call for hearing his petition for bail on shorter
him for violation of Section 5(b), Art. III of Republic Act notice. Reasonable notice depends of course upon the
No. 7610 (“Special Protection of Children Against Child circumstances of each particular case, taking into account,
Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”). inter alia, the offense committed and the imposable
Respondent avers that in Crim. Case No. 271-99, upon penalties, and the evidence of guilt in the hands of the
motion filed close to noon time of January 3, 2000, the prosecution. In Crim. Case No. 271-99, Mangohig was
prosecutor was furnished a copy of the petition for bail by arrested for violation of Sec. 5(b), Art. III of R.A. 7610
Mangohig, who was then under preliminary investigation. which is punishable by reclusion temporal to reclusion
During the hearing set on the following day, or on January perpetua, and subsequently indicted for statutory rape
4, 2000 at 8:30 a.m, there was no appearance from the qualified by relationship which is punishable by death.
Prosecutor’s Office. Since the offense for which Under the circumstances, by respondent’s assailed grant
Mangohig was charged is ordinarily a bailable offense, of bail, the prosecution was deprived of due process for
respondent granted him bail. 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 Rules of Court.
ISSUE: Is the Judge correct in granting the petition for
bail even without the participation of the Prosecution
during the bail hearing? ZUÑO V. JUDGE CABEBE,
A.M. OCA NO. 03-1800-RTJ
HELD: NO, the Judge is not correct. 26 NOVEMBER 2004.
Whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, and even if Third Division
no charge has yet been filed in court against a respondent-
suspect-detainee, reasonable notice of hearing is required [SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.]
to be given to the prosecutor, or at least his
recommendation must be sought. So Fortuna v. Penaco-
Sitaca instructs: FACTS:

[A]dmission to bail as a matter of discretion presupposes The instant administrative case stemmed from the sworn
the exercise thereof in accordance with law and guided by complaint of Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuño of
the applicable legal principles. The prosecution must first the Department of Justice, against Judge Alejandrino C.
be accorded an opportunity to present evidence because Cabebe, then Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court,
by the very nature of deciding applications for bail, it is Batac, Ilocos Norte. The charges are knowingly rendering
on the basis of such evidence that judicial discretion is an unjust judgment, gross ignorance of the law and
weighed against in determining whether the guilt of the partiality in a case where: The accused filed a motion to
accused is strong. In other words, discretion must be dismiss invoking as ground the right of the accused to a
exercised regularly, legally and within the confines of speedy trial; Respondent judge motu propio issued an
procedural due process, that is, after the evaluation of the Order granting bail to the accused; Respondent judge
evidence submitted by the prosecution. Any order issued issued the Order without the accused’s application or
in the absence thereof is not a product of sound judicial motion for bail. The prosecution then filed a motion for
discretion but of whim and caprice and outright reconsideration. Instead of acting thereon, respondent
judge issued an order inhibiting himself from further due process for both the prosecution and the defense; its
proceeding with the case, realizing that what he did was absence will invalidate the grant or denial of bail
patently irregular. Complainant thus prays that respondent
judge be dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all
benefits and be disbarred from the practice of law. In his ISSUE#2: Is the contention of the Respondent Judge, in
comment, respondent denied the charges. While granting bail on the ground that the accused were entitled
admitting that he issued the Order granting bail to the to their right to a speedy trial, meritorious?
accused without any hearing, “the same was premised on
the constitutional right of the accused to a speedy trial.”
There was delay in the proceedings due to complainant’s HELD#2: NO. Respondent’s contention is bereft of
frequent absences and failure of the witnesses for the merit.
prosecution to appear in court, resulting in the
cancellation of the hearings. There is no indication in the records of the criminal case
that the prosecution has intentionally delayed the trial of
the case. Even assuming there was delay, this does not
ISSUE#1: Is the Judge correct in granting bail sans the justify the grant of bail without a hearing. This is utter
application or motion for bail and without conducting a disregard of the Rules. The requirement of a bail hearing
hearing? has been incessantly stressed by this Court. In the same
vein, the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to be
conversant with the law and the Rules and maintain
professional competence; and by the very nature of his
HELD#2: NO, the Judge is not correct.
office, should be circumspect in the performance of his
duties. He must render justice without resorting to
shortcuts clearly uncalled for. Obviously, respondent
In Docena-Caspe vs. Judge Arnulfo O. Bugtas, we held
failed to live up to these standards.
that jurisprudence is replete with decisions on the
procedural necessity of a hearing, whether summary or
otherwise, relative to the grant of bail, especially in cases
involving offenses punishable by death, reclusion GOVERNMENT OF HONG KONG SPECIAL
perpetua, or life imprisonment, where bail is a matter of ADMINISTRATIVE REGION V. JUDGE OLALIA
AND MUÑOZ
discretion. Under the present Rules, a hearing is
mandatory in granting bail whether it is a matter of right G.R. NO. 153675, 29 APRIL 2007.
or discretion. It must be stressed that the grant or the
denial of bail in cases where bail is a matter of discretion, En Banc
hinges on the issue of whether or not the evidence of guilt [SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.]
of the accused is strong, and the determination of whether
or not the evidence is strong is a matter of judicial
discretion which remains with the judge. In order for the
FACTS:
latter to properly exercise his discretion, he must first
conduct a hearing to determine whether the evidence of Private respondent Muñoz was charged before the Hong
guilt is strong. In fact, even in cases where there is no Kong Court with three (3) counts of the offense of
petition for bail, a hearing should still be held. “accepting an advantage as agent,” in violation of Section
9 (1) (a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, Cap. 201
of Hong Kong. Petitioner Hong Kong Special
There is no question that respondent judge granted bail to Administrative Region filed with the RTC of Manila a
the accused without conducting a hearing, in violation of petition for the extradition of private respondent. After
Sections 8 and 18, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of hearing, Judge Bernardo, Jr. issued an Order denying the
Criminal Procedure xxx. petition for bail, holding that there is no Philippine law
granting bail in extradition cases and that private
[T]he court’s order granting or refusing bail must contain respondent is a high “flight risk.” Judge Bernardo, Jr.
a summary of the evidence of the prosecution and based inhibited himself from further hearing and the case was
thereon, the judge should formulate his own conclusion as raffled off to another judge. Private respondent filed a
to whether the evidence so presented is strong enough to motion for reconsideration of the Order denying his
indicate the guilt of the accused. Respondent judge did not application for bail. This was granted by respondent
follow the above Rules and procedure enumerated in judge. Petitioner filed an urgent motion to vacate the
Cortes. He did not conduct a hearing before he granted above Order, but it was denied. Hence, the instant
bail to the accused, thus depriving the prosecution of an petition.
opportunity to interpose objections to the grant of bail.
Irrespective of his opinion on the strength or weakness of
evidence to prove the guilt of the accused, he should have
ISSUE: Is the contention of the Petitioner, that the
conducted a hearing and thereafter made a summary of the
potential extraditee has a right to bail under the
evidence of the prosecution. The importance of a bail
Constitution or statutory law, the right being limited
hearing and a summary of evidence cannot be
solely to criminal proceedings, tenable?
downplayed, these are considered aspects of procedural
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES V.
SANDIGANBAYAN AND JINGGOY ESTRADA,
HELD: NO, the contention is untenable.
G.R. NO. 158754, 10 AUGUST 2007.
En Banc
The modern trend in public international law is the
primacy placed on the worth of the individual person and [GARCIA, J.]
the sanctity of human rights. Slowly, the recognition that
the individual person may properly be a subject of
international law is now taking root. The vulnerable FACTS:
doctrine that the subjects of international law are limited
only to states was dramatically eroded towards the second This petition seeks to reverse and set aside the Resolution
half of the past century. For one, the Nuremberg and of herein respondent Sandiganbayan (Special Division)
Tokyo trials after World War II resulted in the issued on March 6, 2003 in Criminal Case No. 26558,
unprecedented spectacle of individual defendants for acts granting bail to private respondent Senator Jose Jinggoy
characterized as violations of the laws of war, crimes Estrada (hereafter Jinggoy for brevity). Jinggoy was
against peace, and crimes against humanity. Recently, among the respondents in the crime of Plunder filed by
under the Nuremberg principle, Serbian leaders have been the Office of the Ombudsman. Jinggoy filed with the
persecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity Court an Urgent Motion praying for early resolution of his
committed in the former Yugoslavia. These significant Petition for Bail on Medical/Humanitarian
events show that the individual person is now a valid Considerations. He reiterated his earlier plea for bail filed
subject of international law. with the Sandiganbayan. Jinggoy filed before the
Sandiganbayan an Omnibus Application for Bail against
On a more positive note, also after World War II, both which the prosecution filed its comment and opposition.
international organizations and states gave recognition Bail hearings were then conducted, followed by the
and importance to human rights. Thus, on December 10, submission by the parties of their respective memoranda.
1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Petitioner suggests that Jinggoy is harboring a plan to
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which the right escape, thus a flight risk. But in a Resolution, the
to life, liberty and all the other fundamental rights of every Sandiganbayan granted Jinggoy’s Omnibus Application
person were proclaimed. While not a treaty, the principles for Bail. Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but
contained in the said Declaration are now recognized as was denied.
customarily binding upon the members of the
international community. Thus, in Mejoff v. Director of
Prisons, this Court, in granting bail to a prospective ISSUE: Is the grant of bail in favor of Jinggoy proper on
deportee, held that under the Constitution, the principles the ground that he is no longer considered a flight risk?
set forth in that Declaration are part of the law of the land.
In 1966, the UN General Assembly also adopted the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
HELD: YES, the grant of bail is proper.
which the Philippines signed and ratified. Fundamental
among the rights enshrined therein are the rights of every
person to life, liberty, and due process.
To begin with, Section 13 of Article III (Bill of Rights) of
If bail can be granted in deportation cases, we see no the Constitution mandates:
justification why it should not also be allowed in
extradition cases. Likewise, considering that the Section 13. All persons, except those charged with
Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence
deportation cases, there is no reason why it cannot be of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by
invoked in extradition cases. After all, both are sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may
administrative proceedings where the innocence or guilt be provided by law. xxx.
of the person detained is not in issue. Clearly, the right of Even if the capital offense charged is bailable owing to
a prospective extraditee to apply for bail in this the weakness of the evidence of guilt, the right to bail may
jurisdiction must be viewed in the light of the various justifiably still be denied if the probability of escape is
treaty obligations of the Philippines concerning respect great. Here, ever since the promulgation of the assailed
for the promotion and protection of human rights. Under Resolutions a little more than four (4) years ago, Jinggoy
these treaties, the presumption lies in favor of human does not, as determined by Sandiganbayan, seem to be a
liberty. Thus, the Philippines should see to it that the right flight risk. We quote with approval what the graft court
to liberty of every individual is not impaired. wrote in this regard:
It is not open to serious doubt that the movant [Jinggoy]
has, in general, been consistently respectful of the Court
and its processes. He has not ominously shown, by word
or by deed, that he is of such a flight risk that would
necessitate his continued incarceration. Bearing in mind
his conduct, social standing and his other personal
circumstances, the possibility of his escape in this case ISSUE: Is the application for or filing of bail bond a
seems remote if not nil. waiver of one’s right to assail the warrant issued for his
arrest?
The likelihood of escape on the part individual respondent
is now almost nil, given his election on May 10, 2004, as
Senator of the Republic of the Philippines. The Court
HELD: NO, there is no waiver in application for or filing
takes stock of the fact that those who usually jump bail
of a bail.
are shadowy characters mindless of their reputation in the
eyes 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 protect and preserve It bears stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised
are very unlikely to jump bail. The Court, to be sure, Rules on Criminal Procedure is a new one, intended to
cannot accept any suggestion that someone who has a modify previous rulings of this Court that an application
popular mandate to serve as Senator is harboring any plan for bail or the admission to bail by the accused shall be
to give up his Senate seat in exchange for becoming a considered as a waiver of his right to assail the warrant
fugitive from justice. issued for his arrest on the legalities or irregularities
thereon. The new rule has reverted to the ruling of this
Court in People v. Red. The new rule is curative in nature
because precisely, it was designed to supply defects and
OKABE V. JUDGE GUTIERREZ AND
curb evils in procedural rules. Hence, the rules governing
MARUYAMA,
curative statutes are applicable. Curative statutes are by
G.R. NO. 150185, 27 MAY 2004. their essence retroactive in application. Besides,
procedural rules as a general rule operate retroactively,
Second Division
even without express provisions to that effect, to cases
[CALLEJO, SR., J.] 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
FACTS: January 31, 2001, the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure was already in effect. It behooved the appellate
Maruyama charged Okabe of Estafa. After the court to have applied the same in resolving the petitioner’s
preliminary investigation, an Information was filed and a petition for certiorari and her motion for partial
warrant of arrest was issued. Petitioner posted a personal reconsideration.
bail bond in the said amount, duly approved by Judge
Demetrio B. Macapagal, the Presiding Judge of Branch 79
of the RTC of Quezon City, who forthwith recalled the Moreover, considering the conduct of the petitioner after
said warrant. The approved personal bail bond of the posting her personal bail bond, it cannot be argued that
petitioner was transmitted to the RTC of Pasig City on she waived her right to question the finding of probable
June 21, 2000. Upon her request, the petitioner was cause and to assail the warrant of arrest issued against her
furnished with a certified copy of the Information, the by the respondent judge. There must be clear and
resolution and the criminal complaint which formed part convincing proof that the petitioner had an actual
of the records of the said case. Petitioner twice left the intention to relinquish her right to question the existence
Philippines but returned. The prosecution moved for the of probable cause. When the only proof of intention rests
issuance of a hold departure order to hold and prevent any on what a party does, his act should be so manifestly
attempt on the part of the petitioner to depart from the consistent with, and indicative of, an intent to voluntarily
Philippines. Petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion To and unequivocally relinquish the particular right that no
Lift/Recall Hold Departure Order and/or allow her to other explanation of his conduct is possible. In this case,
regularly travel to Japan. Petitioner filed a motion for the the records show that a warrant was issued by the
postponement of her arraignment alleging that, in case the respondent judge in Pasay City for the arrest of the
trial court ruled adversely thereon, she would refuse to petitioner, a resident of Guiguinto, Bulacan. When the
enter a plea and seek relief from the appellate court. The petitioner learned of the issuance of the said warrant, she
court denied the petitioner’s motions on the ground that posted a personal bail bond to avert her arrest and secure
when the petitioner posted a personal bail bond for her her provisional liberty. Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal of
provisional liberty, she thereby waived her right to the RTC of Quezon City approved the bond and issued an
question the court’s finding of the existence of probable order recalling the warrant of arrest against the petitioner.
cause for her arrest and submitted herself to the Thus, the posting of a personal bail bond was a matter of
jurisdiction of the court, more so when she filed the imperative necessity to avert her incarceration; it should
motion for the lifting of the hold departure order the court not be deemed as a waiver of her right to assail her arrest.
issued, and the motion to defer the proceedings and her
arraignment.
LEVISTE V. COURT OF APPEALS, G.R. NO. laws. This is especially germane to bail pending appeal
189122, 17 MARCH 2010. because long delays often separate sentencing in the trial
court and appellate review. In addition, at the post-
Third Division
conviction stage, the accused faces a certain prison
[CORONA, J.] sentence and thus may be more likely to flee regardless of
bail bonds or other release conditions. Finally, permitting
bail too freely in spite of conviction invites frivolous and
FACTS: time-wasting appeals which will make a mockery of our
criminal justice system and court processes.
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 ENRILE vs. SANDIGANBAYAN: DIGEST AND
sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of six years COMMENTS
and one day of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and
one day of reclusion temporal as maximum. He appealed G.R. No. 213847; August 18, 2015
his conviction to the Court of Appeals. Pending appeal, he
Ponente: Bersamin
filed an urgent application for admission to bail pending
appeal, citing his advanced age and health condition, and
claiming the absence of any risk or possibility of flight on
his part. The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s Doctrines:
application for bail. It invoked the bedrock principle in the Primary objective of bail – The strength of the
matter of bail pending appeal, that the discretion to extend Prosecution's case, albeit a good measure of the accused's
bail during the course of appeal should be exercised “with propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is
grave caution and only for strong reasons.” Petitioner now subsidiary to the primary objective of bail, which is to
questions as grave abuse of discretion the denial of his ensure that the accused appears at trial.
application for bail, considering that none of the
conditions justifying denial of bail under the third
paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court Bail is a right and a matter of discretion – Right to bail is
was present. Petitioner’s theory is that, where the penalty afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987 Constitution and
imposed by the trial court is more than six years but not repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal
more than 20 years and the circumstances mentioned in Procedure to wit: “No person charged with a capital
the third paragraph of Section 5 are absent, bail must be offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or
granted to an appellant pending appeal. life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when
evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the
criminal prosecution.”
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 FACTS:
discretionary nature of the grant of bail pending appeal
mean that bail should automatically be granted absent any On June 5, 2014, Petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile was
of the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of charged with plunder in the Sandiganbayan on the basis
Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court? of his purported involvement in the Priority Development
Assistance Fund (PDAF) Scam. Initially, Enrile in an
HELD: NO, discretionary nature of bail mentioned in Omnibus Motion requested to post bail, which the
Section 5 of Rule 114 does not mean automatic grant of Sandiganbayan denied. On July 3, 2014, a warrant for
bail in case of appeal. Enrile's arrest was issued, leading to Petitioner's voluntary
surrender.

After conviction by the trial court, the presumption of Petitioner again asked the Sandiganbayan in a Motion to
innocence terminates and, accordingly, the constitutional Fix Bail which was heard by the Sandiganbayan.
right to bail ends. From then on, the grant of bail is subject Petitioner argued that: (a) Prosecution had not yet
to judicial discretion. At the risk of being repetitious, such established that the evidence of his guilt was strong; (b)
discretion must be exercised with grave caution and only that, because of his advanced age and voluntary surrender,
for strong reasons. Considering that the accused was in the penalty would only be reclusion temporal, thus
fact convicted by the trial court, allowance of bail pending allowing for bail and; (c) he is not a flight risk due to his
appeal should be guided by a stringent-standards age and physical condition. Sandiganbayan denied this in
approach. This judicial disposition finds strong support in its assailed resolution. Motion for Reconsideration was
the history and evolution of the rules on bail and the likewise denied.
language of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. It
is likewise consistent with the trial court’s initial
determination that the accused should be in prison.
Furthermore, letting the accused out on bail despite his
conviction may destroy the deterrent effect of our criminal
ISSUES: to bail is discretionary. The application for bail may be
filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of
1) Whether or not bail may be granted as a matter of right
a notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the
unless the crime charged is punishable by reclusion
original record to the appellate court. However, if the
perpetua where the evidence of guilt is strong.
decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed
a. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that if ever the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable, the
petitioner would be convicted, he will be punishable by application for bail can only be filed with and resolved by
reclusion perpetua. the appellate court.

b. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that Should the court grant the application, the accused may
petitioner's guilt is strong. be allowed to continue on provisional liberty during the
pendency of the appeal under the same bail subject to the
consent of the bondsman.
2. Whether or not petitioner is bailable because he is not If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment
a flight risk. exceeding six (6) years, the accused shall be denied bail,
or his bail shall be cancelled upon a showing by the
prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the following
HELD: or other similar circumstances:
1. YES.
Bail as a matter of right – due process and presumption of (a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual
innocence. delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the
circumstance of reiteration;
Article III, Sec. 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution provides
that in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be (b) That he has previously escaped from legal
presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. This right confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the conditions
is safeguarded by the constitutional right to be released on of his bail without valid justification;
bail.
(c) That he committed the offense while under probation,
The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the parole, or conditional pardon;
accused at trial and so the amount of bail should be high
enough to assure the presence of the accused when so (d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the
required, but no higher than what may be reasonably probability of flight if released on bail; or
calculated to fulfill this purpose. (e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another
Bail as a matter of discretion crime during the pendency of the appeal.

Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987


Constitution and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules The appellate court may, motu proprio or on motion of
of Criminal Procedure to wit: any party, review the resolution of the Regional Trial
Court after notice to the adverse party in either case.

Capital offense of an offense punishable by reclusion Thus, admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or
perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. — No person life imprisonment, or reclusion perpetua subject to
charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable judicial discretion. In Concerned Citizens vs. Elma, the
by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be court held: “[S]uch discretion may be exercised only after
admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, the hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the
regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. accused for the purpose of whether or not he should be
granted provisional liberty.” Bail hearing with notice is
The general rule: Any person, before conviction of any indispensable (Aguirre vs. Belmonte). The hearing should
criminal offense, shall be bailable. primarily determine whether the evidence of guilt against
the accused is strong.
Exception: Unless he is charged with an offense
punishable with reclusion perpetua [or life imprisonment]
and the evidence of his guilt is strong.
The procedure for discretionary bail is described in Cortes
Thus, denial of bail should only follow once it has been vs. Catral:
established that the evidence of guilt is strong. Where
evidence of guilt is not strong, bail may be granted 1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of
according to the discretion of the court. discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the
application for bail or require him to submit his
Thus, Sec. 5 of Rule 114 also provides: recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of
Court as amended);
Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by the
Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing reasons was not the basis for his prayer in his Motion to
of the application for bail regardless of whether or not the Fix Bail before the Sandiganbayan,” nor were these
prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the grounds raised in the petition in the Supreme Court.
guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling
“Bail for humanitarian considerations is neither presently
the court to exercise its sound discretion; (Section 7 and
provided in our Rules of Court nor found in any statute or
8, supra)
provision of the Constitution.”
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based
Leonen theorized that the Supreme Court only granted
on the summary of evidence of the prosecution;
bail as a special accomodation for the petitioner and he
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the goes on to criticize the decision to wit:
accused upon the approval of the bailbond (Section 19,
[This decision] will usher in an era of truly selective
supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.
justice not based on their legal provisions, but one that is
unpredictable, partial and solely grounded on the presence
or absence of human compassion.
2. YES.
Petitioner's poor health justifies his admission to bail.
xxx
The Supreme Court took note of the Philippine's
responsibility to the international community arising from Worse, it puts pressure on all trial courts and the
its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Sandiganbayan that will predictably be deluged with
Rights. We therefore have the responsibility of protecting motions to fix bail on the basis of humanitarian
and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due considerations. The lower courts will have to decide,
process and for detainees to avail of such remedies which without guidance, whether bail should be granted because
safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. Quoting from of advanced age, hypertension, pneumonia, or dreaded
Government of Hong Kong SAR vs. Olalia, the SC diseases. They will have to decide whether this is
emphasized: applicable only to Senators and former Presidents charged
with plunder and not to those accused of drug trafficking,
x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as
multiple incestuous rape, … and other crimes punishable
value the worth and dignity of every person. This
by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment...
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
Procedure for granting bail
for human rights.” The Philippines, therefore, has the
responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of Leonen's dissent also examines the procedure outlined for
every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that the lower courts in bail cases in order to demonstrate that
those detained or arrested can participate in the the Sandiganbayan did not err in denying Petitioner's
proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide without Motion to Fix Bail. In Cortes vs. Catral the Supreme Court
delay on the legality of the detention and order their held:
release if justified. In other words, the Philippine
authorities are under obligation to make available to every It is indeed surprising, not to say, alarming, that the Court
person under detention such remedies which safeguard should be besieged with a number of administrative cases
their fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include filed against erring judges involving bail. After all, there
the right to be admitted to bail. (emphasis in decision) is no dearth of jurisprudence on the basic principles
involving bail. As a matter of fact, the Court itself,
through its Philippine Judicial Academy, has been
including lectures on the subject in the regular seminars
Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion
conducted for judges. Be that as it may, we reiterate the
Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to following duties of the trial judge in case an application
ensure the appearance of the accused during the trial and for bail is filed:
unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the
1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of
fragile health and advanced age of Petitioner. As such the
discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the
Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in denying
application for bail or require him to submit his
the Motion to Fix Bail. It acted whimsically and
recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of
capriciously and was so patent and gross as to amount to
Court as amended);
an evasion of a positive duty [to allow petitioner to post
bail]. 2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing
of the application for bail regardless of whether or not the
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prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the
Justice Leonen criticized the decision for having a very guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling
weak legal basis – the grant of bail over mere the court to exercise its sound discretion; (Section 7 and
humanitarian grounds. He also claims that the court has 8, supra)
no authority to use humanitarian grounds. Leonen argues
that “[Petitioner's] release for medical or humanitarian
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based
on the summary of evidence of the prosecution;
Version of the decision submitted by Ponente was not the
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the version deliberated upon
accused upon the approval of the bailbond (Section 19,
This section of the dissent reveals that the Justices voted
supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.
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
With such succinct but clear rules now incorporated in the
dissent explains that the Justices voted 8-4 solely on the
Rules of Court, trial judges are enjoined to study them as
issue of whether or not bail is a matter of right and reveals
well and be guided accordingly. Admittedly, judges
that the copy offered for signature was substantially
cannot be held to account for an erroneous decision
similar to an earlier draft which used humanitarian
rendered in good faith, but this defense is much too
considerations as the basis for the granting of bail. The
frequently cited even if not applicable. A number of cases
dissent makes it clear that this was an irregularity.
on bail having already been decided, this Court justifiably
expects judges to discharge their duties assiduously. For
judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory
The majority opinion offers no “guidance”
acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules; it is
imperative that he be conversant with basic legal The dissent argues that the main opinion is unclear
principles. Faith in the administration of justice can only whether the privilege (humanitarian considerations, right
be engendered if litigants are convinced that the members to bail, etc.) will apply to those who have similar
of the Bench cannot justly be charge with a deficiency in conditions. Whether or not this privilege will only apply
their grasp of legal principles. to those undergoing trial for plunder or whether or not this
privilege can be granted to those of advanced age only.
Petitioner in this case, insisted that the Sandiganbayan
“The majority has perilously set an unstated if not
grant his bail without any hearing for the purpose of
ambiguous standard for the special grant of bail on the
determining whether the evidence of guilt is strong. At the
ground of medical conditions.”
Motion to Fix Bail, the prosecution had no opportunity to
present any evidence because of the prematurity of There is also no guidance to the Sandiganbayan as to if,
Petitioner's Motion [to Fix Bail]. Thus, the dissent asserts when and how bail can then be canceled.
that the Sandiganbayan was correct in denying the Motion
based on prematurity. Reliance on HK vs Olalia misplaced
The reliance of the majority on the case of Government of
Hong Kong SAR vs. Olalia is misplaced because this case
Medical or humanitarian grounds inappropriate referred to extradition cases, hence its increased emphasis
on international law. As applied to crimes charged under
Petitioner did not ask for bail to be granted based on
Philippine law, the remedies under the Universal
humanitarian reasons at the Sandiganbayan. Neither
Declaration of Human Rights must be qualified by the
petitioner nor the prosecution were able to develop their
Constitution's rules regarding bail.
arguments as to this point to establish legal and factual
basis for this kind of bail. Furthermore, in the above case, the SC disposed of it by
remanding the case back to the lower court for factual
The dissent argues that it was inappropriate for the court
determination of whether or not the accused was a flight
to grant bail merely on the basis of the certification of the
risk.
attending physician, Dr. Gonzales, stating that the
Petitioner was suffering from numerous debilitating
conditions. The dissent states that:
Nowhere in the rules of procedure do we allow the grant
of bail based on judicial notice of a doctor's certification.
In doing so, we effectively suspend our rules on evidence
by doing away with cross-examination and authentication
of Dr. Gonzales' findings on petitioner's health in a
hearing whose main purpose is to determine whether no
kind of alternative detention is possible.
xxx
The better part of prudence is that we follow strictly our
well-entrenched, long-standing, and canonical procedures
for bail. Doctrinally, the matter to determine is whether
the evidence of guilt is strong. This is to be examined
when a hearing is granted as a mandatory manner after
petition for bail is filed by accused. The medical condition
of the accused, if any, should be pleaded and heard.