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Tucay v.

Domagas
A.M. No. RTJ-95-1286, March 2, 1995

FACTS:
Tucay is the wife of the victim of murder. Accused is the judge handling the case of murder. The
charge against the judge is ignorance of the law, serious misconduct and grave abuse of discretion. The
judge apparently granted the bail [indicating only an amount of P50,000] to the accused of the murder
case without holding a hearing to determine whether the evidence of the prosecution was strong. This
is in disregard of the provision of Sec. 5, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, requiring
hearing before an accused charged with a capital offense can be granted bail. Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA), to which the letter-complainant was sent, finds the respondent judge grossly
ignorant of the law in granting bail without a hearing in a criminal case involving a capital offense and
recommends that he be fined and given a stern warning.

ISSUE:


RULING:
YES.
The court's discretion to grant bail in capital offense must be exercised in the light of a summary
of the evidence presented by the prosecution, otherwise, it could be uncontrolled and might be
capricious or whimsical. Hence, the court's order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of
the evidence for the prosecution followed by its conclusion whether or not the evidence of guilt is
strong.
Although the Provincial Prosecutor had interposed no objection to the grant of bail to the
accused, respondent judge should nevertheless have set the petition for bail for hearing and diligently
ascertained from the prosecution whether the latter was not really contesting the bail application.
He should have called a hearing for the additional reason of taking into account the guidelines in
Rule 114, sec. 6 of 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, in fixing the amount of the bail. As it
is, the respondent judge simply fixed the amount of bail at P50,000.00 and ordered the release of the
accused. It turned out that the property given as security for the bond had a market value of only
P42,940.00.
Only after satisfying himself that the prosecution did not wish to oppose the petition for bail for
justifiable cause (e.g., for tactical reasons) and taking into account the factors enumerated in Rule 114,
sec. 6 for fixing bail should respondent judge have granted the petition for bail and ordered the release
of the accused.