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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

PER CURIAM:
Complainant Pete M. Pico is the brother of Narciso M. Pico, a minister of the Iglesia Filipina
Independiente, who was brutally shot to death on 10 January 1991 in his Parish, Diocese of Negros
Occidental at Pontevedra, Negros Occidental. According to a report of an investigation conducted by the
Commission on Human Rights, rebel "returnees" or "surrenderees" identified with the "Brotherhood of
Organized Returness" in Negros Occidental were responsible for the slaying.
The Office of the Provincial Fiscal of Negros Occidental filed, on 3 July 1991, an information charging one
Eddie Villegas with the murder of Father Narciso M. Pico. The Provincial Fiscal recommended that no bail
be granted. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 667 in the Regional Trial Court of La Carlota
City, presided over by respondent Judge.
On 17 July 1991, respondent Judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the accused Eddie Villegas; in this
warrant, the words "no bail recommended" were typed in on the appropriate space. The warrant of arrest
was forwarded to the Superintendent of the Philippine National Police ("PNP"), Negros Occidental, for
service. A return of the warrant was submitted by the 332nd PNP District Command, located in Hinigaran,
Negros Occidental, on 5 September 1991, about three (3) towns away from La Carlota City.
On 6 August 1991, complainant Pico went to the Regional Trial Court of La Carlota and discovered, to his
surprise, that accused Villegas had been granted bail on 2 August 1991 and, upon posting a P50,000.00
bond, had been released.
In the present administrative case filed on 24 August 1991, complainant charges respondent Judge with
serious misconduct and grave abuse of discretion for having granted bail to the accused, who had been
charged with an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua, without notice and hearing and even before
the accused had been arrested or detained. Complainant alleges that respondent Judge granted the
motion for bail on the same day that the motion was filed, i.e., on 2 August 1991, without setting the
motion for bail for hearing and without giving the prosecution the opportunity to challenge the application
for provisional liberty. A copy of the motion for bail, according to complaint, was received by the
prosecution only on 7 August 1991, and the prosecution moved for a hearing on the application for bail on
9 August 1991. Complainant also directs the attention of this Court to an order of respondent Judge dated
14 August 1991, rescheduling the arraignment of accused Villegas due to lack of proof of the arrest or
detention of the accused.
Respondent Judge, in his comment dated 3 August 1991 on the complaint, denied that he had granted
the application for bail even prior to the arrest or detention of the accused. He, however, admits having
failed to hold a hearing on the application for bail. Respondent Judge contends that on the day the motion
for bail was filed, he as Judge had jurisdiction over the same, even if the accused had not personally
surrendered to the court and even if the return of the warrant of arrest had not yet been filed in court. He
claims that his failure to require defense counsel to show proof that the accused had been taken into
custody by the police authorities, was due to oversight on his part, and that he had not been motivated by
any illegal or immoral consideration when he granted bail and ordered the release of accused Villegas.
He had deliberarely omitted holding a hearing because he had been fully convinced that the possibility of
the accused jumping bail "was practically nil."
1

We cannot countenance respondent Judge's actions.
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A person applying for admission to bail must be in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of his
liberty.
2
A person who has not submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court has no right to invoke the
processes of that court. Respondent Judge should have diligently ascertained the whereabouts of the
applicant and that he indeed had jurisdiction over the body of the accused before considering the
application for bail.
It is well-settled that an application for bail from a person charged with a capital offense (now an offense
punishable by reclusion perpetua) must be set for hearing at which both the prosecution and the defense
must be given a reasonable opportunity to prove (in the case of the prosecution) that evidence of guilt of
the applicant is strong, or (in the case of the defense) that such evidence of guilt was not strong.
3
In the
instant case, where the offense charged is murder and punishable by reclusion perpetua or death,
respondent Judge's deliberate failure to set the application for bail hearing effectively deprived the People
of its right to due process. Granting the application for bail and fixing the amount thereof, absent any
taking of evidence as to whether or not the guilt of the accused was strong, constitutes arbitrary,
capricious and whimsical action.
4
Such inexcusable conduct reflects either gross ignorance of the law or
a cavalier disregard of its requirements. Respondent Judge's alleged impression that the probability of
flight on the part of the accused was "practically nil," was obviously not based on evidence of record; he
had no right to act on the basis of such merely personal impression. He himself had issued the warrant of
arrest stating that no bail was recommended and then, inexplicably, without any evidence being
presented to support the application for bail, released the accused on bail of P50,000.00.
The above circumstances make clear that respondent Judge's acts were inconsistent with the Code of
Judicial Conduct. That Code requires judges to act with competence, integrity and independence and so
to behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
5

Respondent Judge manifested to this Court that accused Villegas whom he had released on bail, was
shot dead on 22 February 1992 at Barangay Cambaong, Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. If true, this
circumstance renders review and setting aside of respondent Judge's order fixing bail academic and
unnecessary; otherwise, recall of the order of release of accused Eddie Villegas and (if necessary) his
arrest, and the setting for immediate hearing of the application for provisional liberty would be necessary.
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Alfonso V. Combong is hereby found guilty of serious misconduct in
office and is hereby FINED Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00). In addition, the Court Resolved to
CENSURE and WARN the respondent Judge to exercise much greater care and diligence in the
performance of his duties as a judge and that the same or similar offense in the future will be dealt with
more severely. Respondent Judge is also hereby REQUIRED to furnish the Court a certified true copy of
the Death Certificate of the accused Eddie Villegas, plus reasonable proof that the deceased Eddie
Villegas is the Eddie Villegas who was charged with murder in Criminal Case No. 667, Regional Trial
Court of La Carlota City.
A copy of this Resolution shall be spread on the personal record of respondent Judge in the Office of the
Court Administrator.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 148571 September 24, 2002

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GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Represented by the Philippine Department of Justice, petitioner,
vs.
HON. GUILLERMO PURGANAN, Presiding Judge Regional Trial Court of Manila and
MARC JIMENEZ a.k.a. MARCIO BATACAN CRESPO, respondent
Davide Jr., CJ, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-
Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona, Morales and Callejo, Sr.
D E C I S I O N
PANGANIBAN, J .:
In extradition proceedings, are prospective extraditees entitled to notice and hearing before warrants for
their arrest can be issued? Equally important, are they entitled to the right to bail and provisional liberty
while the extradition proceedings are pending? In general, the answer to these two novel questions is
"No." The explanation of and the reasons for, as well as the exceptions to, this rule are laid out in this
Decision.

The Case
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, seeking to void and set aside the
Orders dated May 23, 2001
1
and July 3, 2001
2
issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila,
Branch 42.
3
The first assailed Order set for hearing petitioners application for the issuance of a warrant
for the arrest of Respondent Mark B. Jimenez.
The second challenged Order, on the other hand, directed the issuance of a warrant, but at the same time
granted bail to Jimenez. The dispositive portion of the Order reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the [Court] finds probable cause against respondent
Mark Jimenez. Accordingly let a Warrant for the arrest of the respondent be issued. Consequently
and taking into consideration Section 9, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
this Court fixes the reasonable amount of bail for respondents temporary liberty at ONE MILLION
PESOS (Php 1,000,000.00), the same to be paid in cash.
Furthermore respondent is directed to immediately surrender to this Court his passport and the
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation is likewise directed to include the name of the respondent
in its Hold Departure List."
4

Essentially, the Petition prays for the lifting of the bail Order, the cancellation of the bond, and the taking
of Jimenez into legal custody.
The Facts
This Petition is really a sequel to GR No. 139465 entitled Secretary of Justice v. Ralph C. Lantion.
5

Pursuant to the existing RP-US Extradition Treaty,
6
the United States Government, through diplomatic
channels, sent to the Philippine Government Note Verbale No. 0522 dated June 16, 1999, supplemented
by Note Nos. 0597, 0720 and 0809 and accompanied by duly authenticated documents requesting the
extradition of Mark B. Jimenez, also known as Mario Batacan Crespo. Upon receipt of the Notes and
documents, the secretary of foreign affairs (SFA) transmitted them to the secretary of justice (SOJ) for
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appropriate action, pursuant to Section 5 of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1069, also known as the
Extradition Law.
Upon learning of the request for his extradition, Jimenez sought and was granted a Temporary
Restraining Order (TRO) by the RTC of Manila, Branch 25.
7
The TRO prohibited the Department of
Justice (DOJ) from filing with the RTC a petition for his extradition. The validity of the TRO was, however,
assailed by the SOJ in a Petition before this Court in the said GR No. 139465. Initially, the Court -- by a
vote of 9-6 -- dismissed the Petition. The SOJ was ordered to furnish private respondent copies of the
extradition request and its supporting papers and to grant the latter a reasonable period within which to
file a comment and supporting evidence.
8

Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the SOJ, this Court issued its October 17, 2000
Resolution.
9
By an identical vote of 9-6 -- after three justices changed their votes -- it reconsidered and
reversed its earlier Decision. It held that private respondent was bereft of the right to notice and hearing
during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. This Resolution has become final and executory.
Finding no more legal obstacle, the Government of the United States of America, represented by the
Philippine DOJ, filed with the RTC on May 18, 2001, the appropriate Petition for Extradition which was
docketed as Extradition Case No. 01192061. The Petition alleged, inter alia, that Jimenez was the subject
of an arrest warrant issued by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on April
15, 1999. The warrant had been issued in connection with the following charges in Indictment No. 99-
00281 CR-SEITZ: (1) conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit certain offenses in violation
of Title 18 US Code Section 371; (2) tax evasion, in violation of Title 26 US Code Section 7201; (3) wire
fraud, in violation of Title 18 US Code Sections 1343 and 2; (4) false statements, in violation of Title 18
US Code Sections 1001 and 2; and (5) illegal campaign contributions, in violation of Title 2 US Code
Sections 441b, 441f and 437g(d) and Title 18 US Code Section 2. In order to prevent the flight of
Jimenez, the Petition prayed for the issuance of an order for his "immediate arrest" pursuant to Section 6
of PD No. 1069.
Before the RTC could act on the Petition, Respondent Jimenez filed before it an "Urgent
Manifestation/Ex-Parte Motion,"
10
which prayed that petitioners application for an arrest warrant be set
for hearing.
In its assailed May 23, 2001 Order, the RTC granted the Motion of Jimenez and set the case for hearing
on June 5, 2001. In that hearing, petitioner manifested its reservations on the procedure adopted by the
trial court allowing the accused in an extradition case to be heard prior to the issuance of a warrant of
arrest.
After the hearing, the court a quo required the parties to submit their respective memoranda. In his
Memorandum, Jimenez sought an alternative prayer: that in case a warrant should issue, he be allowed
to post bail in the amount of P100,000.
The alternative prayer of Jimenez was also set for hearing on June 15, 2001. Thereafter, the court below
issued its questioned July 3, 2001 Order, directing the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and fixing bail
for his temporary liberty at one million pesos in cash.
11
After he had surrendered his passport and posted
the required cash bond, Jimenez was granted provisional liberty via the challenged Order dated July 4,
2001.
12

Hence, this Petition.
13

Issues
Petitioner presents the following issues for the consideration of this Court:
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I.
The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in adopting a procedure of first hearing a potential
extraditee before issuing an arrest warrant under Section 6 of PD No. 1069.
II.
The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in granting the prayer for bail and in allowing Jimenez
to go on provisional liberty because:
1. An extradition court has no power to authorize bail, in the absence of any law that
provides for such power.
2. Section 13, Article III (right to bail clause) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and
Section 4, Rule 114 (Bail) of the Rules of Court, as amended, which [were] relied upon,
cannot be used as bases for allowing bail in extradition proceedings.
3. The presumption is against bail in extradition proceedings or proceedings leading to
extradition.
4. On the assumption that bail is available in extradition proceedings or proceedings
leading to extradition, bail is not a matter of right but only of discretion upon clear
showing by the applicant of the existence of special circumstances.
5. Assuming that bail is a matter of discretion in extradition proceedings, the public
respondent received no evidence of special circumstances which may justify release on
bail.
6. The risk that Jimenez will flee is high, and no special circumstance exists that will
engender a well-founded belief that he will not flee.
7. The conditions attached to the grant of bail are ineffectual and do not ensure
compliance by the Philippines with its obligations under the RP-US Extradition Treaty.
8. The Court of Appeals Resolution promulgated on May 10, 2001 in the case entitled
Eduardo T. Rodriguez et al. vs. The Hon. Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 17, Manila, CA-
G.R. SP No. 64589, relied upon by the public respondent in granting bail, had been
recalled before the issuance of the subject bail orders."
14

In sum, the substantive questions that this Court will address are: (1) whether Jimenez is entitled to notice
and hearing before a warrant for his arrest can be issued, and (2) whether he is entitled to bail and to
provisional liberty while the extradition proceedings are pending. Preliminarily, we shall take up the
alleged prematurity of the Petition for Certiorari arising from petitioners failure to file a Motion for
Reconsideration in the RTC and to seek relief in the Court of Appeals (CA), instead of in this Court.
15
We
shall also preliminarily discuss five extradition postulates that will guide us in disposing of the substantive
issues.
The Courts Ruling
The Petition is meritorious.
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Preliminary Matters
Alleged Prematurity of Present Petition
Petitioner submits the following justifications for not filing a Motion for Reconsideration in the Extradition
Court: "(1) the issues were fully considered by such court after requiring the parties to submit their
respective memoranda and position papers on the matter and thus, the filing of a reconsideration motion
would serve no useful purpose; (2) the assailed orders are a patent nullity, absent factual and legal basis
therefor; and (3) the need for relief is extremely urgent, as the passage of sufficient time would give
Jimenez ample opportunity to escape and avoid extradition; and (4) the issues raised are purely of law."
16

For resorting directly to this Court instead of the CA, petitioner submits the following reasons: "(1) even if
the petition is lodged with the Court of Appeals and such appellate court takes cognizance of the issues
and decides them, the parties would still bring the matter to this Honorable Court to have the issues
resolved once and for all [and] to have a binding precedent that all lower courts ought to follow; (2) the
Honorable Court of Appeals had in one case
17
ruled on the issue by disallowing bail but the court below
refused to recognize the decision as a judicial guide and all other courts might likewise adopt the same
attitude of refusal; and (3) there are pending issues on bail both in the extradition courts and the Court of
Appeals, which, unless guided by the decision that this Honorable Court will render in this case, would
resolve to grant bail in favor of the potential extraditees and would give them opportunity to flee and thus,
cause adverse effect on the ability of the Philippines to comply with its obligations under existing
extradition treaties."
18

As a general rule, a petition for certiorari before a higher court will not prosper unless the inferior court
has been given, through a motion for reconsideration, a chance to correct the errors imputed to it. This
rule, though, has certain exceptions: (1) when the issue raised is purely of law, (2) when public interest is
involved, or (3) in case of urgency.
19
As a fourth exception, the Court has also ruled that the filing of a
motion for reconsideration before availment of the remedy of certiorari is not a sine qua non, when the
questions raised are the same as those that have already been squarely argued and exhaustively passed
upon by the lower court.
20
Aside from being of this nature, the issues in the present case also involve
pure questions of law that are of public interest. Hence, a motion for reconsideration may be dispensed
with.
Likewise, this Court has allowed a direct invocation of its original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari
when there are special and important reasons therefor.
21
In Fortich v. Corona
22
we stated:
[T]he Supreme Court has the full discretionary power to take cognizance of the petition filed
directly [before] it if compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues raised,
warrant. This has been the judicial policy to be observed and which has been reiterated in
subsequent cases, namely: Uy vs. Contreras, et. al., Torres vs. Arranz, Bercero vs. De Guzman,
and, Advincula vs. Legaspi, et. al. As we have further stated in Cuaresma:
x x x. A direct invocation of the Supreme Courts original jurisdiction to issue these writs
should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly
and specifically set out in the petition. This is established policy. x x x.
Pursuant to said judicial policy, we resolve to take primary jurisdiction over the present petition in
the interest of speedy justice and to avoid future litigations so as to promptly put an end to the
present controversy which, as correctly observed by petitioners, has sparked national interest
because of the magnitude of the problem created by the issuance of the assailed resolution.
Moreover, x x x requiring the petitioners to file their petition first with the Court of Appeals would
only result in a waste of time and money.
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That the Court has the power to set aside its own rules in the higher interests of justice is well-entrenched
in our jurisprudence. We reiterate what we said in Piczon vs. Court of Appeals:
23

Be it remembered that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment
of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which would result in technicalities that tend to
frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, must always be avoided. Time and again, this
Court has suspended its own rules and excepted a particular case from their operation whenever
the higher interests of justice so require. In the instant petition, we forego a lengthy disquisition of
the proper procedure that should have been taken by the parties involved and proceed directly to
the merits of the case.
In a number of other exceptional cases,
24
we held as follows:
This Court has original jurisdiction, concurrent with that of Regional Trial Courts and the Court of
Appeals, over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus,
and we entertain direct resort to us in cases where special and important reasons or exceptional
and compelling circumstances justify the same."
In the interest of justice and to settle once and for all the important issue of bail in extradition proceedings,
we deem it best to take cognizance of the present case. Such proceedings constitute a matter of first
impression over which there is, as yet, no local jurisprudence to guide lower courts.
Five Postulates of Extradition
The substantive issues raised in this case require an interpretation or construction of the treaty and the
law on extradition. A cardinal rule in the interpretation of a treaty or a law is to ascertain and give effect to
its intent.
25
Since PD 1069 is intended as a guide for the implementation of extradition treaties to which
the Philippines is a signatory,
26
understanding certain postulates of extradition will aid us in properly
deciding the issues raised here.
1. Extradition Is a Major Instrument for the Suppression of Crime.
First, extradition treaties are entered into for the purpose of suppressing crime
27
by facilitating the
arrest and the custodial transfer
28
of a fugitive
29
from one state to the other.
With the advent of easier and faster means of international travel, the flight of affluent criminals
from one country to another for the purpose of committing crime and evading prosecution has
become more frequent. Accordingly, governments are adjusting their methods of dealing with
criminals and crimes that transcend international boundaries.
Today, "a majority of nations in the world community have come to look upon extradition as the
major effective instrument of international co-operation in the suppression of crime."
30
It is the
only regular system that has been devised to return fugitives to the jurisdiction of a court
competent to try them in accordance with municipal and international law.
31

An important practical effect x x x of the recognition of the principle that criminals should
be restored to a jurisdiction competent to try and punish them is that the number of
criminals seeking refuge abroad will be reduced. For to the extent that efficient means of
detection and the threat of punishment play a significant role in the deterrence of crime
within the territorial limits of a State, so the existence of effective extradition
arrangements and the consequent certainty of return to the locus delicti commissi play a
corresponding role in the deterrence of flight abroad in order to escape the consequence
of crime. x x x. From an absence of extradition arrangements flight abroad by the
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ingenious criminal receives direct encouragement and thus indirectly does the
commission of crime itself."
32

In Secretary v. Lantion
33
we explained:
The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and one way to do it is
to facilitate the extradition of persons covered by treaties duly entered [into] by our government.
More and more, crimes are becoming the concern of one world. Laws involving crimes and crime
prevention are undergoing universalization. One manifest purpose of this trend towards
globalization is to deny easy refuge to a criminal whose activities threaten the peace and
progress of civilized countries. It is to the great interest of the Philippines to be part of this
irreversible movement in light of its vulnerability to crimes, especially transnational crimes."
Indeed, in this era of globalization, easier and faster international travel, and an expanding ring of
international crimes and criminals, we cannot afford to be an isolationist state. We need to cooperate with
other states in order to improve our chances of suppressing crime in our own country.
2. The Requesting State Will Accord Due Process to the Accused
Second, an extradition treaty presupposes that both parties thereto have examined, and that both accept
and trust, each others legal system and judicial process.
34
More pointedly, our duly authorized
representatives signature on an extradition treaty signifies our confidence in the capacity and the
willingness of the other state to protect the basic rights of the person sought to be extradited.
35
That
signature signifies our full faith that the accused will be given, upon extradition to the requesting state, all
relevant and basic rights in the criminal proceedings that will take place therein; otherwise, the treaty
would not have been signed, or would have been directly attacked for its unconstitutionality.
3. The Proceedings Are Sui Generis
Third, as pointed out in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion,
36
extradition proceedings are not criminal in
nature. In criminal proceedings, the constitutional rights of the accused are at fore; in extradition which is
sui generis -- in a class by itself -- they are not.
An extradition [proceeding] is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into
operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. To begin with, the
process of extradition does not involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused.
His guilt or innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited.
Hence, as a rule, constitutional rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or innocence of
an accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee x x x.
x x x x x x x x x
There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal proceeding. An
extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial.
In contradistinction to a criminal proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding
allow admission of evidence under less stringent standards. In terms of the quantum of evidence
to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond reasonable doubt for conviction while a
fugitive may be ordered extradited upon showing of the existence of a prima facie case. Finally,
unlike in a criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final, in an
extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has
the final discretion to extradite him. The United States adheres to a similar practice whereby the
Secretary of State exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the
demands of the nations foreign relations before making the ultimate decision to extradite."
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Given the foregoing, it is evident that the extradition court is not called upon to ascertain the guilt or the
innocence of the person sought to be extradited.
37
Such determination during the extradition proceedings
will only result in needless duplication and delay. Extradition is merely a measure of international judicial
assistance through which a person charged with or convicted of a crime is restored to a jurisdiction with
the best claim to try that person. It is not part of the function of the assisting authorities to enter into
questions that are the prerogative of that jurisdiction.
38
The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings in
court is only to determine whether the extradition request complies with the Extradition Treaty, and
whether the person sought is extraditable.
39

4. Compliance Shall Be in Good Faith.
Fourth, our executive branch of government voluntarily entered into the Extradition Treaty, and our
legislative branch ratified it. Hence, the Treaty carries the presumption that its implementation will serve
the national interest.
Fulfilling our obligations under the Extradition Treaty promotes comity
40
with the requesting state. On the
other hand, failure to fulfill our obligations thereunder paints a bad image of our country before the world
community. Such failure would discourage other states from entering into treaties with us, particularly an
extradition treaty that hinges on reciprocity.
41

Verily, we are bound by pacta sunt servanda to comply in good faith with our obligations under the Treaty.

42
This principle requires that we deliver the accused to the requesting country if the conditions precedent
to extradition, as set forth in the Treaty, are satisfied. In other words, "[t]he demanding government, when
it has done all that the treaty and the law require it to do, is entitled to the delivery of the accused on the
issue of the proper warrant, and the other government is under obligation to make the surrender."
43
Accordingly, the Philippines must be ready and in a position to deliver the accused, should it be found
proper.
5. There Is an Underlying Risk of Flight
Fifth, persons to be extradited are presumed to be flight risks. This prima facie presumption finds
reinforcement in the experience
44
of the executive branch: nothing short of confinement can ensure that
the accused will not flee the jurisdiction of the requested state in order to thwart their extradition to the
requesting state.
The present extradition case further validates the premise that persons sought to be extradited have a
propensity to flee. Indeed,
extradition hearings would not even begin, if only the accused were willing to submit to trial in the
requesting country.
45
Prior acts of herein respondent -- (1) leaving the requesting state right before the
conclusion of his indictment proceedings there; and (2) remaining in the requested state despite learning
that the requesting state is seeking his return and that the crimes he is charged with are bailable --
eloquently speak of his aversion to the processes in the requesting state, as well as his predisposition to
avoid them at all cost. These circumstances point to an ever-present, underlying high risk of flight. He has
demonstrated that he has the capacity and the will to flee. Having fled once, what is there to stop him,
given sufficient opportunity, from fleeing a second time?
First Substantive Issue:
Is Respondent Entitled to Notice and Hearing
Before the Issuance of a Warrant of Arrest?
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Petitioner contends that the procedure adopted by the RTC --informing the accused, a fugitive from
justice, that an Extradition Petition has been filed against him, and that petitioner is seeking his arrest --
gives him notice to escape and to avoid extradition. Moreover, petitioner pleads that such procedure may
set a dangerous precedent, in that those sought to be extradited -- including terrorists, mass murderers
and war criminals -- may invoke it in future extradition cases.
On the other hand, Respondent Jimenez argues that he should not be hurriedly and arbitrarily deprived of
his constitutional right to liberty without due process. He further asserts that there is as yet no specific law
or rule setting forth the procedure prior to the issuance of a warrant of arrest, after the petition for
extradition has been filed in court; ergo, the formulation of that procedure is within the discretion of the
presiding judge.
Both parties cite Section 6 of PD 1069 in support of their arguments. It states:
SEC. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices.- (1) Immediately
upon receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court shall, as soon as practicable,
summon the accused to appear and to answer the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order.
[H]e may issue a warrant for the immediate arrest of the accused which may be served any
where within the Philippines if it appears to the presiding judge that the immediate arrest and
temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of justice. Upon receipt of the
answer, or should the accused after having received the summons fail to answer within the time
fixed, the presiding judge shall hear the case or set another date for the hearing thereof.
(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued, shall be promptly
served each upon the accused and the attorney having charge of the case." (Emphasis ours)
Does this provision sanction RTC Judge Purganans act of immediately setting for hearing the issuance of
a warrant of arrest? We rule in the negative.
1. On the Basis of the Extradition Law
It is significant to note that Section 6 of PD 1069, our Extradition Law, uses the word "immediate" to
qualify the arrest of the accused. This qualification would be rendered nugatory by setting for hearing the
issuance of the arrest warrant. Hearing entails sending notices to the opposing parties,
46
receiving facts
and arguments
47
from them,
48
and giving them time to prepare and present such facts and arguments.
Arrest subsequent to a hearing can no longer be considered "immediate." The law could not have
intended the word as a mere superfluity but, on the whole, as a means of imparting a sense of urgency
and swiftness in the determination of whether a warrant of arrest should be issued.
By using the phrase "if it appears," the law further conveys that accuracy is not as important as speed at
such early stage. The trial court is not expected to make an exhaustive determination to ferret out the true
and actual situation, immediately upon the filing of the petition. From the knowledge and the material then
available to it, the court is expected merely to get a good first impression -- a prima facie finding --
sufficient to make a speedy initial determination as regards the arrest and detention of the accused.
Attached to the Petition for Extradition, with a Certificate of Authentication among others, were the
following: (1) Annex H, the Affidavit executed on May 26, 1999 by Mr. Michael E. Savage -- trial attorney
in the Campaign Financing Task Force of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice; (2)
Annexes H to G, evidentiary Appendices of various exhibits that constituted evidence of the crimes
charged in the Indictment, with Exhibits 1 to 120 (duly authenticated exhibits that constituted evidence of
the crimes charged in the Indictment); (3) Annex BB, the Exhibit I "Appendix of Witness [excerpts]
Statements Referenced in the Affidavit of Angela Byers" and enclosed Statements in two volumes; (4)
Annex GG, the Exhibit J "Table of Contents for Supplemental Evidentiary Appendix" with enclosed
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Exhibits 121 to 132; and (5) Annex MM, the Exhibit L "Appendix of Witness [excerpts] Statements
Referenced in the Affidavit of Betty Steward" and enclosed Statements in two volumes.
49

It is evident that respondent judge could have already gotten an impression from these records adequate
for him to make an initial determination of whether the accused was someone who should immediately be
arrested in order to "best serve the ends of justice." He could have determined whether such facts and
circumstances existed as would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent person to believe that the
extradition request was prima facie meritorious. In point of fact, he actually concluded from these
supporting documents that "probable cause" did exist. In the second questioned Order, he stated:
In the instant petition, the documents sent by the US Government in support of [its] request for
extradition of herein respondent are enough to convince the Court of the existence of probable
cause to proceed with the hearing against the extraditee."
50


We stress that the prima facie existence of probable cause for hearing the petition and, a priori, for
issuing an arrest warrant was already evident from the Petition itself and its supporting documents.
Hence, after having already determined therefrom that a prima facie finding did exist, respondent judge
gravely abused his discretion when he set the matter for hearing upon motion of Jimenez.
51

Moreover, the law specifies that the court sets a hearing upon receipt of the answer or upon failure of the
accused to answer after receiving the summons. In connection with the matter of immediate arrest,
however, the word "hearing" is notably absent from the provision. Evidently, had the holding of a hearing
at that stage been intended, the law could have easily so provided. It also bears emphasizing at this point
that extradition proceedings are summary
52
in nature. Hence, the silence of the Law and the Treaty leans
to the more reasonable interpretation that there is no intention to punctuate with a hearing every little step
in the entire proceedings.
It is taken for granted that the contracting parties intend something reasonable and something not
inconsistent with generally recognized principles of International Law, nor with previous treaty
obligations towards third States. If, therefore, the meaning of a treaty is ambiguous, the
reasonable meaning is to be preferred to the unreasonable, the more reasonable to the less
reasonable x x x ."
53

Verily, as argued by petitioner, sending to persons sought to be extradited a notice of the request for their
arrest and setting it for hearing at some future date would give them ample opportunity to prepare and
execute an escape. Neither the Treaty nor the Law could have
intended that consequence, for the very purpose of both would have been defeated by the escape of the
accused from the requested state.
2. On the Basis of the Constitution
Even Section 2 of Article III of our Constitution, which is invoked by Jimenez, does not require a notice or
a hearing before the issuance of a warrant of arrest. It provides:
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against
unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable,
and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant
and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
persons or things to be seized."
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To determine probable cause for the issuance of arrest warrants, the Constitution itself requires only the
examination -- under oath or affirmation -- of complainants and the witnesses they may produce. There is
no requirement to notify and hear the accused before the issuance of warrants of arrest.
In Ho v. People
54
and in all the cases cited therein, never was a judge required to go to the extent of
conducting a hearing just for the purpose of personally determining probable cause for the issuance of a
warrant of arrest. All we required was that the "judge must have sufficient supporting documents upon
which to make his independent judgment, or at the very least, upon which to verify the findings of the
prosecutor as to the existence of probable cause."
55

In Webb v. De Leon,
56
the Court categorically stated that a judge was not supposed to conduct a hearing
before issuing a warrant of arrest:
Again, we stress that before issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely determine personally the
probability, not the certainty of guilt of an accused. In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo
hearing to determine the existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial
determination of the prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is supported by substantial
evidence."
At most, in cases of clear insufficiency of evidence on record, judges merely further examine
complainants and their witnesses.
57
In the present case, validating the act of respondent judge and
instituting the practice of hearing the accused and his witnesses at this early stage would be discordant
with the rationale for the entire system. If the accused were allowed to be heard and necessarily to
present evidence during the prima facie determination for the issuance of a warrant of arrest,
what would stop him from presenting his entire plethora of defenses at this stage -- if he so desires -- in
his effort to negate a prima facie finding? Such a procedure could convert the determination of a prima
facie case into a full-blown trial of the entire proceedings and possibly make trial of the main case
superfluous. This scenario is also anathema to the summary nature of extraditions.
That the case under consideration is an extradition and not a criminal action is not sufficient to justify the
adoption of a set of procedures more protective of the accused. If a different procedure were called for at
all, a more restrictive one -- not the opposite -- would be justified in view of respondents demonstrated
predisposition to flee.
Since this is a matter of first impression, we deem it wise to restate the proper procedure:
Upon receipt of a petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the judge must study them and
make, as soon as possible, a prima facie finding whether (a) they are sufficient in form and substance, (b)
they show compliance with the Extradition Treaty and Law, and (c) the person sought is extraditable. At
his discretion, the judge may
require the submission of further documentation or may personally examine the affiants and witnesses of
the petitioner. If, in spite of this study and examination, no prima facie finding
58
is possible, the petition
may be dismissed at the discretion of the judge.
On the other hand, if the presence of a prima facie case is determined, then the magistrate must
immediately issue a warrant for the arrest of the extraditee, who is at the same time summoned to answer
the petition and to appear at scheduled summary hearings. Prior to the issuance of the warrant, the judge
must not inform or notify the potential extraditee of the pendency of the petition, lest the latter be given
the opportunity to escape and frustrate the proceedings. In our opinion, the foregoing procedure will "best
serve the ends of justice" in extradition cases.
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Second Substantive Issue:

Is Respondent Entitled to Bail?
Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution, is worded as follows:
Art. III, Sec. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient
sureties, or be released on recognizance 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 shall
not be required."
Respondent Mark B. Jimenez maintains that this constitutional provision secures the right to bail of all
persons, including those sought to be extradited. Supposedly, the only exceptions are the ones charged
with offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong. He also alleges the
relevance to the present case of Section 4
59
of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court which, insofar as
practicable and consistent with the summary nature of extradition proceedings, shall also apply according
to Section 9 of PD 1069.
On the other hand, petitioner claims that there is no provision in the Philippine Constitution granting the
right to bail to a person who is the subject of an extradition request and arrest warrant.
Extradition Different from Ordinary Criminal Proceedings
We agree with petitioner. As suggested by the use of the word "conviction," the constitutional provision on
bail quoted above, as well as Section 4 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, applies only when a person has
been arrested and detained for violation of Philippine criminal laws. It does not apply to extradition
proceedings, because extradition courts do not render judgments of conviction or acquittal.
Moreover, the constitutional right to bail "flows from the presumption of innocence in favor of every
accused who should not be subjected to the loss of freedom as thereafter he would be entitled to
acquittal, unless his guilt be proved beyond reasonable doubt."
60
It follows that the constitutional provision
on bail will not apply to a case like extradition, where the presumption of innocence is not at issue.
The provision in the Constitution stating that the "right to bail shall not be impaired even when the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended" does not detract from the rule that the constitutional
right to bail is available only in criminal proceedings. It must be noted that the suspension of the privilege
of the writ of habeas corpus finds application "only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses
inherent in or directly connected with invasion."
61
Hence, the second sentence in the constitutional
provision on bail merely emphasizes the right to bail in criminal proceedings for the aforementioned
offenses. It cannot be taken to mean that the right is available even in extradition proceedings that are not
criminal in nature.
That the offenses for which Jimenez is sought to be extradited are bailable in the United States is not an
argument to grant him one in the present case. To stress, extradition proceedings are separate and
distinct from the trial for the offenses for which he is charged. He should apply for bail before the courts
trying the criminal cases against him, not before the extradition court.
No Violation of Due Process
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Respondent Jimenez cites the foreign case Paretti
62
in arguing that, constitutionally, "[n]o one shall be
deprived of x x x liberty x x x without due process of law."
Contrary to his contention, his detention prior to the conclusion of the extradition proceedings does not
amount to a violation of his right to due process. We iterate the familiar doctrine that the essence of due
process is the opportunity to be heard
63
but, at the same time, point out that the doctrine does not always
call for a prior opportunity to be heard.
64
Where the circumstances -- such as those present in an
extradition case -- call for it, a subsequent opportunity to be heard is enough.
65
In the present case,
respondent will be given full opportunity to be heard subsequently, when the extradition court hears the
Petition for Extradition. Hence, there is no violation of his right to due process and fundamental fairness.
Contrary to the contention of Jimenez, we find no arbitrariness, either, in the immediate deprivation of his
liberty prior to his being heard. That his arrest and detention will not be arbitrary is sufficiently ensured by
(1) the DOJs filing in court the Petition with its supporting documents after a determination that the
extradition request meets the requirements of the law and the relevant treaty; (2) the extradition judges
independent prima facie determination that his arrest will best serve the ends of justice before the
issuance of a warrant for his arrest; and (3) his opportunity, once he is under the courts custody, to apply
for bail as an exception to the no-initial-bail rule.
It is also worth noting that before the US government requested the extradition of respondent,
proceedings had already been conducted in that country. But because he left the jurisdiction of the
requesting state before those proceedings could be completed, it was hindered from continuing with the
due processes prescribed under its laws. His invocation of due process now has thus become hollow. He
already had that opportunity in the requesting state; yet, instead of taking it, he ran away.
In this light, would it be proper and just for the government to increase the risk of violating its treaty
obligations in order to accord Respondent Jimenez his personal liberty in the span of time that it takes to
resolve the Petition for Extradition? His supposed immediate deprivation of liberty without the due
process that he had previously shunned pales against the governments interest in fulfilling its Extradition
Treaty obligations and in cooperating with the world community in the suppression of crime. Indeed,
"[c]onstitutional liberties do not exist in a vacuum; the due process rights accorded to individuals must be
carefully balanced against exigent and palpable government interests."
66

Too, we cannot allow our country to be a haven for fugitives, cowards and weaklings who, instead of
facing the consequences of their actions, choose to run and hide. Hence, it would not be good policy to
increase the risk of violating our treaty obligations if, through overprotection or excessively liberal
treatment, persons sought to be extradited are able to evade arrest or escape from our custody. In the
absence of any provision -- in the Constitution, the law or the treaty -- expressly guaranteeing the right to
bail in extradition proceedings, adopting the practice of not granting them bail, as a general rule, would be
a step towards deterring fugitives from coming to the Philippines to hide from or evade their
prosecutors.1wphi1.nt
The denial of bail as a matter of course in extradition cases falls into place with and gives life to Article 14

67
of the Treaty, since this practice would encourage the accused to voluntarily surrender to the requesting
state to cut short their detention here. Likewise, their detention pending the resolution of extradition
proceedings would fall into place with the emphasis of the Extradition Law on the summary nature of
extradition cases and the need for their speedy disposition.
Exceptions to the No Bail Rule
The rule, we repeat, is that bail is not a matter of right in extradition cases. However, the judiciary has the
constitutional duty to curb grave abuse of discretion
68
and tyranny, as well as the power to promulgate
rules to protect and enforce constitutional rights.
69
Furthermore, we believe that the right to due process
is broad enough to include the grant of basic fairness to extraditees. Indeed, the right to due process
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extends to the "life, liberty or property" of every person. It is "dynamic and resilient, adaptable to every
situation calling for its application."
70

Accordingly and to best serve the ends of justice, we believe and so hold that, after a potential extraditee
has been arrested or placed under the custody of the law, bail may be applied for and granted as an
exception, only upon a clear and convincing showing (1) that, once granted bail, the applicant will not be
a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling
circumstances
71
including, as a matter of reciprocity, those cited by the highest court in the requesting
state when it grants provisional liberty in extradition cases therein.
Since this exception has no express or specific statutory basis, and since it is derived essentially from
general principles of justice and fairness, the applicant bears the burden of proving the above two-tiered
requirement with clarity, precision and emphatic forcefulness. The Court realizes that extradition is
basically an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising from the presidential power to conduct foreign
relations. In its barest concept, it partakes of the nature of police assistance amongst states, which is not
normally a judicial prerogative. Hence, any intrusion by the courts into the exercise of this power should
be characterized by caution, so that the vital international and bilateral interests of our country will not be
unreasonably impeded or compromised. In short, while this Court is ever protective of "the sporting idea
of fair play," it also recognizes the limits of its own prerogatives and the need to fulfill international
obligations.
Along this line, Jimenez contends that there are special circumstances that are compelling enough for the
Court to grant his request for provisional release on bail. We have carefully examined these
circumstances and shall now discuss them.
1. Alleged Disenfranchisement
While his extradition was pending, Respondent Jimenez was elected as a member of the House of
Representatives. On that basis, he claims that his detention will disenfranchise his Manila district of
600,000 residents. We are not persuaded. In People v. Jalosjos,
72
the Court has already debunked the
disenfranchisement argument when it ruled thus:
When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress, they did so with full
awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action. They did so with the knowledge that he
could achieve only such legislative results which he could accomplish within the confines of
prison. To give a more drastic illustration, if voters elect a person with full knowledge that he is
suffering from a terminal illness, they do so knowing that at any time, he may no longer serve his
full term in office.
In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of constitutional equal
protection.
The Constitution guarantees: x x x nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws.
This simply means that all persons similarly situated shall be treated alike both in rights enjoyed
and responsibilities imposed. The organs of government may not show any undue favoritism or
hostility to any person. Neither partiality nor prejudice shall be displayed.
Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that allows different treatment? Is
being a Congressman a substantial differentiation which removes the accused-appellant as a
prisoner from the same class as all persons validly confined under law?
The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has never been an
excuse to free a person validly [from] prison. The duties imposed by the mandate of the people
are multifarious. The accused-appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the
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hierarchy of government. The accused-appellant is only one of 250 members of the House of
Representatives, not to mention the 24 members of the Senate, charged with the duties of
legislation. Congress continues to function well in the physical absence of one or a few of its
members. Depending on the exigency of Government that has to be addressed, the President or
the Supreme Court can also be deemed the highest for that particular duty. The importance of a
function depends on the need for its exercise. The duty of a mother to nurse her infant is most
compelling under the law of nature. A doctor with unique skills has the duty to save the lives of
those with a particular affliction. An elective governor has to serve provincial constituents. A
police officer must maintain peace and order. Never has the call of a particular duty lifted a
prisoner into a different classification from those others who are validly restrained by law.
A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest[,] wittingly or otherwise, insidious discriminations
are made in favor of or against groups or types of individuals.
The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by public welfare may
justify exercise of government authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly
assert that their interests are disregarded.
We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is not a reasonable classification
in criminal law enforcement. The functions and duties of the office are not substantial distinctions
which lift him from the class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of
movement. Lawful arrest and confinement are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to
all those belonging to the same class."
73

It must be noted that even before private respondent ran for and won a congressional seat in Manila, it
was already of public knowledge that the United States was requesting his extradition. Hence, his
constituents were or should have been prepared for the consequences of the extradition case against
their representative, including his detention pending the final resolution of the case. Premises considered
and in line with Jalosjos, we are constrained to rule against his claim that his election to public office is by
itself a compelling reason to grant him bail.
2. Anticipated Delay
Respondent Jimenez further contends that because the extradition proceedings are lengthy, it would be
unfair to confine him during the pendency of the case. Again we are not convinced. We must emphasize
that extradition cases are summary in nature. They are resorted to merely to determine whether the
extradition petition and its annexes conform to the Extradition Treaty, not to determine guilt or innocence.
Neither is it, as a rule, intended to address issues relevant to the constitutional rights available to the
accused in a criminal action.
We are not overruling the possibility that petitioner may, in bad faith, unduly delay the proceedings. This
is quite another matter that is not at issue here. Thus, any further discussion of this point would be merely
anticipatory and academic.
However, if the delay is due to maneuverings of respondent, with all the more reason would the grant of
bail not be justified. Giving premium to delay by considering it as a special circumstance for the grant of
bail would be tantamount to giving him the power to grant bail to himself. It would also encourage him to
stretch out and unreasonably delay the extradition proceedings even more. This we cannot allow.
3. Not a Flight Risk?
Jimenez further claims that he is not a flight risk. To support this claim, he stresses that he learned of the
extradition request in June 1999; yet, he has not fled the country. True, he has not actually fled during the
preliminary stages of the request for his extradition. Yet, this fact cannot be taken to mean that he will not
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flee as the process moves forward to its conclusion, as he hears the footsteps of the requesting
government inching closer and closer. That he has not yet fled from the Philippines cannot be taken to
mean that he will stand his ground and still be within reach of our government if and when it matters; that
is, upon the resolution of the Petition for Extradition.
In any event, it is settled that bail may be applied for and granted by the trial court at anytime after the
applicant has been taken into custody and prior to judgment, even after bail has been previously denied.
In the present case, the extradition court may continue hearing evidence on the application for bail, which
may be granted in accordance with the guidelines in this Decision.
Brief Refutation of Dissents
The proposal to remand this case to the extradition court, we believe, is totally unnecessary; in fact, it is a
cop-out. The parties -- in particular, Respondent Jimenez -- have been given more than sufficient
opportunity both by the trial court and this Court to discuss fully and exhaustively private respondents
claim to bail. As already stated, the RTC set for hearing not only petitioners application for an arrest
warrant, but also private respondents prayer for temporary liberty. Thereafter required by the RTC were
memoranda on the arrest, then position papers on the application for bail, both of which were separately
filed by the parties.
This Court has meticulously pored over the Petition, the Comment, the Reply, the lengthy Memoranda
and the Position Papers of both parties. Additionally, it has patiently heard them in Oral Arguments, a
procedure not normally observed in the great majority of cases in this Tribunal. Moreover, after the
Memos had been submitted, the parties -- particularly the potential extraditee -- have bombarded this
Court with additional pleadings -- entitled "Manifestations" by both parties and "Counter-Manifestation" by
private respondent -- in which the main topic was Mr. Jimenezs plea for bail.
A remand would mean that this long, tedious process would be repeated in its entirety. The trial court
would again hear factual and evidentiary matters. Be it noted, however, that, in all his voluminous
pleadings and verbal propositions, private respondent has not asked for a remand. Evidently, even he
realizes that there is absolutely no need to rehear factual matters. Indeed, the inadequacy lies not in the
factual presentation of Mr. Jimenez. Rather, it lies in his legal arguments. Remanding the case will not
solve this utter lack of persuasion and strength in his legal reasoning.
In short, this Court -- as shown by this Decision and the spirited Concurring, Separate and Dissenting
Opinions written by the learned justices themselves -- has exhaustively deliberated and carefully passed
upon all relevant questions in this case. Thus, a remand will not serve any useful purpose; it will only
further delay these already very delayed proceedings,
74
which our Extradition Law requires to be
summary in character. What we need now is prudent and deliberate speed, not unnecessary and
convoluted delay. What is needed is a firm decision on the merits, not a circuitous cop-out.
Then, there is also the suggestion that this Court is allegedly "disregarding basic freedoms when a case
is one of extradition." We believe that this charge is not only baseless, but also unfair. Suffice it to say
that, in its length and breath, this Decision has taken special cognizance of the rights to due process and
fundamental fairness of potential extraditees.
Summation
As we draw to a close, it is now time to summarize and stress these ten points:
1. The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings is to determine whether the request expressed
in the petition, supported by its annexes and the evidence that may be adduced during the
hearing of the petition, complies with the Extradition Treaty and Law; and whether the person
sought is extraditable. The proceedings are intended merely to assist the requesting state in
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bringing the accused -- or the fugitive who has illegally escaped -- back to its territory, so that the
criminal process may proceed therein.
2. By entering into an extradition treaty, the Philippines is deemed to have reposed its trust in the
reliability or soundness of the legal and judicial system of its treaty partner, as well as in the ability
and the willingness of the latter to grant basic rights to the accused in the pending criminal case
therein.
3. By nature then, extradition proceedings are not equivalent to a criminal case in which guilt or
innocence is determined. Consequently, an extradition case is not one in which the constitutional
rights of the accused are necessarily available. It is more akin, if at all, to a courts request to
police authorities for the arrest of the accused who is at large or has escaped detention or jumped
bail. Having once escaped the jurisdiction of the requesting state, the reasonable prima facie
presumption is that the person would escape again if given the opportunity.
4. Immediately upon receipt of the petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the judge
shall make a prima facie finding whether the petition is sufficient in form and substance, whether
it complies with the Extradition Treaty and Law, and whether the person sought is extraditable.
The magistrate has discretion to require the petitioner to submit further documentation, or to
personally examine the affiants or witnesses. If convinced that a prima facie case exists, the
judge immediately issues a warrant for the arrest of the potential extraditee and summons him or
her to answer and to appear at scheduled hearings on the petition.
5. After being taken into custody, potential extraditees may apply for bail. Since the applicants
have a history of absconding, they have the burden of showing that (a) there is no flight risk and
no danger to the community; and (b) there exist special, humanitarian or compelling
circumstances. The grounds used by the highest court in the requesting state for the grant of bail
therein may be considered, under the principle of reciprocity as a special circumstance. In
extradition cases, bail is not a matter of right; it is subject to judicial discretion in the context of the
peculiar facts of each case.
6. Potential extraditees are entitled to the rights to due process and to fundamental fairness. Due
process does not always call for a prior opportunity to be heard. A subsequent opportunity is
sufficient due to the flight risk involved. Indeed, available during the hearings on the petition and
the answer is the full chance to be heard and to enjoy fundamental fairness that is compatible
with the summary nature of extradition.
7. This Court will always remain a protector of human rights, a bastion of liberty, a bulwark of
democracy and the conscience of society. But it is also well aware of the limitations of its
authority and of the need for respect for the prerogatives of the other co-equal and co-
independent organs of government.
8. We realize that extradition is essentially an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising out of
the presidential power to conduct foreign relations and to implement treaties. Thus, the Executive
Department of government has broad discretion in its duty and power of implementation.
9. On the other hand, courts merely perform oversight functions and exercise review authority to
prevent or excise grave abuse and tyranny. They should not allow contortions, delays and "over-
due process" every little step of the way, lest these summary extradition proceedings become not
only inutile but also sources of international embarrassment due to our inability to comply in good
faith with a treaty partners simple request to return a fugitive. Worse, our country should not be
converted into a dubious haven where fugitives and escapees can unreasonably delay, mummify,
mock, frustrate, checkmate and defeat the quest for bilateral justice and international cooperation.
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10. At bottom, extradition proceedings should be conducted with all deliberate speed to determine
compliance with the Extradition Treaty and Law; and, while safeguarding basic individual rights,
to avoid the legalistic contortions, delays and technicalities that may negate that purpose.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed RTC Order dated May 23, 2001 is hereby
declared NULL and VOID, while the challenged Order dated July 3, 2001 is SET ASIDE insofar as it
granted bail to Respondent Mark Jimenez. The bail bond posted by private respondent is CANCELLED.
The Regional Trial Court of Manila is directed to conduct the extradition proceedings before it, with all
deliberate speed pursuant to the spirit and the letter of our Extradition Treaty with the United States as
well as our Extradition Law. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
A.M. OCA No. 03-1800-RTJ November 26, 2004
CHIEF STATE PROSECUTOR JOVENCITO R. ZUO, complainant,
vs.
JUDGE ALEJADRINO C. CABEBE, Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Batac, Ilocos Norte,
respondent.

D E C I S I O N

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J .:
The instant administrative case stemmed from the sworn complaint
1
dated January 15, 2003 of Chief
State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuo of the Department of Justice, against Judge Alejandrino C. Cabebe,
2

then Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Batac, Ilocos Norte. The charges are knowingly
rendering an unjust judgment, gross ignorance of the law and partiality.
In his complaint, Chief State Prosecutor Zuo alleged that Criminal Case No. 3950-18 for illegal
possession of prohibited or regulated drugs was filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Batac,
Ilocos Norte against Rey Daquep Arcangel, Victorino Gamet Malabed, William Roxas Villanueva, all
police officers, Jocelyn Malabed Manuel and Pelagio Valencia Manuel. Upon arraignment, all the
accused, assisted by their counsel de parte, pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. On March 14, 2001,
the prosecution filed with this Court a petition for change of venue but was denied in a Resolution dated
August 13, 2001.
3
On October 8, 2001, the accused filed a motion for reconsideration.
4
In the meantime,
the proceedings before respondent's court were suspended.
On May 6, 2002, the accused filed a motion to dismiss invoking as ground the right of the accused to a
speedy trial. On November 5, 2002, respondent judge motu propio issued an Order
5
granting bail to the
accused, fixing the bail for each at P70,000.00 in cash or property bond at P120,000.00, except for
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accused Evelyn Manuel whose bail was fixed at P20,000.00 in cash. Respondent judge issued the Order
without the accused's application or motion for bail.
The prosecution then filed a motion for reconsideration.
6
Instead of acting thereon, respondent judge
issued an order inhibiting himself from further proceeding with the case, realizing that what he did was
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 comment,
7
respondent denied the charges. While admitting that he issued the Order dated
November 5, 2002 granting bail to the 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 frequent absences and failure of the witnesses for the prosecution to appear in court,
resulting in the cancellation of the hearings. The prosecution did not object to the grant of bail to the
accused.
8
He added that the administrative complaint filed against him is purely harassment. It is not the
appropriate remedy to question his alleged erroneous Order. Accordingly, and considering his forty (40)
years of government service, he prays that the administrative complaint be dismissed.
On March 26, 2003, respondent judge compulsorily retired.
In his Report dated July 7, 2003, Deputy Court Administrator Jose P. Perez found respondent judge liable
for gross ignorance of the law and recommended that a fine of P20,000.00 be imposed upon him, with a
stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
In our Resolution
9
dated August 25, 2003, we directed that the complaint be re-docketed as a regular
administrative matter and required the parties to manifest whether they are submitting the case for
resolution on the basis of the pleadings filed. Both parties submitted the required manifestations that they
are submitting the case for decision on the basis of the records.
In Docena-Caspe vs. Judge Arnulfo O. Bugtas,
10
we held 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 perpetua, or life imprisonment,
where bail is a matter of discretion. Under the present Rules, a hearing is mandatory in granting bail
whether it is a matter of right or discretion.
11
It must be stressed that the grant or the denial of bail in
cases where bail is a matter of discretion, hinges on the issue of whether or not the evidence of guilt 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 latter to properly exercise his discretion,
he must first conduct a hearing to determine whether the evidence of guilt is strong.
12
In fact, even in
cases where there is no petition for bail, a hearing should still be held.
13

There is no question that respondent judge granted bail to the accused without conducting a hearing, in
violation of Sections 8 and 18, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, quoted as follows:
"Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. At the hearing of an application for bail filed by a
person who is in custody for the commission of an offense punishable by death, reclusion
perpetua, or life imprisonment, the prosecution has the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is
strong. The evidence presented during the bail hearing shall be considered automatically
reproduced at the trial but, upon motion of either party, the court may recall any witness for
additional examination unless the latter is dead, outside the Philippines, or otherwise unable to
testify."
"Sec. 18. Notice of application to prosecutor. In the application for bail under section 8 of this
Rule, the court must give reasonable notice of the hearing to the prosecutor or require him to
submit his recommendation. (18a)"
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In Cortes vs. Catral,
14
we laid down the following rules outlining the duties of the judge in case an
application for bail is filed:
1. In all cases whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, notify the prosecutor of the
hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation (Section
18, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure);
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail
regardless of whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the
guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound
discretion (Section 7 and 8, id.);
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence
of the prosecution;
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the
bail bond (Section 19, id.); otherwise the petition should be denied.
Based on the above-cited procedure, after the hearing, the court's order granting or refusing bail must
contain a summary of the evidence of the prosecution and based thereon, the judge should formulate his
own conclusion as to whether the evidence so presented is strong enough to indicate the guilt of the
accused.
15

Respondent judge did not follow the above Rules and procedure enumerated in Cortes.
16
He did not
conduct a hearing before he granted bail to the accused, thus depriving the prosecution of an 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 conducted a hearing and thereafter made a
summary of the evidence of the prosecution. The importance of a bail hearing and a summary of
evidence cannot be downplayed, these are considered aspects of procedural due process for both the
prosecution and the defense; its absence will invalidate the grant or denial of bail.
17

Neither did respondent require the prosecution to submit its recommendation on whether or not bail
should be granted.
He maintains that the prosecution did not object to the grant of bail to the accused, hence, he cannot be
held administratively liable for not conducting a hearing.
In Santos vs. Ofilada,
18
we held that the failure to raise or the absence of an objection on the part of the
prosecution in an application for bail does not dispense with the requirement of a bail hearing. Thus
"Even the alleged failure of the prosecution to interpose an objection to the granting of bail to the
accused will not justify such grant without hearing. This Court has uniformly ruled that even if the
prosecution refuses to adduce evidence or fails to interpose any objection to the motion for bail, it
is still mandatory for the court to conduct a hearing or ask searching and clarificatory questions
from which it may infer the strength of the evidence of guilt, or lack of it, against the accused.
Where the prosecutor refuses to adduce evidence in opposition to the application to grant and fix
bail, the court may ask the prosecution such questions as would ascertain the strength of the
State's evidence or judge the adequacy of the amount of bail. Irrespective of respondent judge's
opinion that the evidence of guilt against the accused is not strong, the law and settled
jurisprudence demand that a hearing be conducted before bail may be fixed for the temporary
release of the accused, if bail is at all justified.
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Thus, although the provincial prosecutor had interposed no objection to the grant of bail to the
accused, the respondent judge therein should nevertheless have set the petition for bail for
hearing and diligently ascertain from the prosecution whether the latter was not in fact contesting
the bail application. In addition, a hearing was also necessary for the court to take into
consideration the guidelines set forth in the then Section, 6, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules of
Criminal Procedure for the fixing of the amount of the bail, Only after respondent judge had
satisfied himself that these requirements have been met could he then proceed to rule on
whether or not to grant bail."
Clearly, therefore, respondent judge cannot seek refuge on the alleged absence of objection on the part
of the prosecution to the grant of bail to the accused.
Respondent judge contends that the accused were entitled to their right to a speedy trial, hence, he
granted bail without a hearing. He blames the prosecution for the delay.
Respondent's contention is bereft of merit. 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 justify the grant of bail without a hearing. This is utter disregard of the Rules. The requirement of a bail
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 office, should be circumspect in the performance of his duties. He must render
justice without resorting to shortcuts clearly uncalled for. Obviously, respondent failed to live up to these
standards.
It bears reiterating that respondent is being charged with knowingly rendering unjust judgment, gross
ignorance of the law and partiality. We ruled that in order to be held liable for knowingly rendering an
unjust judgment or order, respondent judge must have acted in bad faith, with malice or in willful
disregard of the right of a litigant.
19
A perusal of the records, specifically the assailed Order, hardly shows
that any of these incidents has been proven.
On the charge of gross ignorance of the law, suffice it to say that to constitute such infraction, it is not
enough that the subject decision, order or actuation of the judge in the performance of his official duties is
contrary to existing law and jurisprudence but, most importantly, he must be moved by bad faith, fraud,
dishonesty or corruption.
20
In Guillermo vs. Judge Reyes, Jr.
21
we categorically held that "good faith and
absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper considerations are sufficient defenses in which a judge
charged with ignorance of the law can find refuge." In Villanueva-Fabella vs. Lee,
22
we ruled that "a judge
may not be held administratively accountable for every erroneous order he renders. 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 similar motive." Complainant, having failed to
present positive evidence to show that respondent judge was so motivated in granting bail without
hearing, can not be held guilty of gross ignorance of the law.
As to the charge of partiality, we find no evidence to sustain the same. It is merely based on
complainant's speculation. Mere suspicion that a judge is partial is not enough. There should be clear and
convincing evidence to prove this charge. The only exception to the rule is when the error is so gross and
patent as to produce an ineluctable inference of bad faith and malice,
23
which are not present here.
We thus find respondent judge guilty of violation of Supreme Court Rules, specifically Rule 114 of the
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure on the grant of bail. This administrative offense is considered a less
serious charge, punishable under Section 9(4) and Section 11(B-2), Rule 140 of the same Rules, thus:
"Sec. 9. Less Serious Charges. Less serious charges include:
x x x
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"4. Violation of Supreme Court Rules, directives, and circulars;
x x x
"Sec. 11. Sanctions. x x x
"B. If the respondent is guilty of a less serious charge, any of the following sanctions shall be
imposed:
1. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) nor more
than three (3) months; or
2. A fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00."
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Alejandrino C. Cabebe, now retired, is found guilty of violation of
Supreme Court Rules and is hereby fined in the sum of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), the same
to be deducted from his retirement benefits.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 189122 March 17, 2010
JOSE ANTONIO LEVISTE, Petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
CORONA, J .:
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 justice system to a vexing
question: what is to be done with the accused, whose guilt has not yet been proven, in the "dubious
interval," often years long, between arrest and final adjudication?
2
Bail acts as a reconciling mechanism to
accommodate both the accuseds interest in pretrial liberty and societys interest in assuring the
accuseds presence at trial.
3

Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or
life imprisonment, the accused who has been sentenced to prison must typically begin serving time
immediately unless, on application, he is admitted to bail.
4
An accused not released on bail is
incarcerated before an appellate court confirms that his conviction is legal and proper. An erroneously
convicted accused who is denied bail loses his 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 judicial review, opportunity to efficiently prepare his case and avoidance of potential
hardships of prison.
6
On the other hand, society has a compelling interest in protecting itself by swiftly
incarcerating an individual who is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a crime serious enough to
warrant prison time.
7
Other recognized societal interests in the denial of bail pending appeal include the
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prevention of the accuseds flight from court custody, the protection of the 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 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 death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment. In the exercise of that discretion, the proper courts are to be guided by the fundamental
principle that the allowance of bail pending appeal should be exercised not with laxity but with grave
caution and only for strong reasons, considering that the accused has been in fact convicted by the trial
court.
10

The Facts
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 sentenced to suffer an
indeterminate penalty of six years and one day of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and one day of
reclusion temporal as maximum.
11

He appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals.
12
Pending appeal, he 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 petitioners application for bail.
13
It invoked the bedrock principle in 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 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
failed to show that he suffers from ailment of such gravity that his continued confinement during trial
will permanently impair his health or put his life in danger. x x x Notably, the physical condition of
[petitioner] does not prevent him from seeking medical attention while confined in prison, though he
clearly preferred to be attended by his personal physician.
14

For purposes of determining whether petitioners application for bail could be allowed pending appeal, the
Court of Appeals also considered the fact of petitioners conviction. It made a preliminary evaluation of
petitioners case and made a prima facie determination that there was no reason substantial enough to
overturn the evidence of petitioners guilt.
Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied.
15

Petitioner now questions as grave abuse of discretion the denial of his 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 was present. Petitioners theory is that, where the penalty imposed by the trial court is
more than six years but not more than 20 years and the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph
of Section 5 are absent, bail must be granted to an appellant pending appeal.
The Issue
The question presented to the Court is this: 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?
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Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides:
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. The
application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of a notice of appeal,
provided it has not transmitted the original record to the appellate court. However, if 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.
Should the court grant the application, the accused may be allowed to continue on provisional liberty
during the pendency of the appeal under the same bail subject to the consent of the bondsman.
If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment 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 or other similar circumstances:
(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the
crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;
(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated
the conditions of his bail without a valid justification;
(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail;
or
(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of the
appeal.
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. (emphasis supplied)
Petitioner claims that, in the absence of any of the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of
Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, an application for bail by an appellant sentenced by the
Regional Trial Court to a penalty of more than six years imprisonment should automatically be granted.
Petitioners stance is contrary to fundamental considerations of procedural and substantive rules.
Basic Procedural Concerns Forbid Grant of Petition
Petitioner filed this special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to assail the denial
by the Court of Appeals of his urgent application for admission to bail pending appeal. While the said
remedy may be resorted to challenge an interlocutory order, such remedy is proper only where the
interlocutory order was rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
16

Other than the sweeping averment that "[t]he Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion in
denying petitioners application for bail pending appeal despite the fact that none of the conditions to
justify the denial thereof under Rule 114, Section 5 [is] present, much less proven by the prosecution,"
17

however, petitioner actually failed to establish that the Court of 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 enumerated in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the
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Rules of Court. Furthermore, petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals committed a grave error and
prejudged the appeal by denying his application for bail on the ground that the evidence that he
committed a capital offense was strong.
We disagree.
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 punishable
by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is expressly 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 of the offense from non-bailable
to bailable is exclusively lodged by the rules with the appellate court. Thus, the Court of Appeals had
jurisdiction to hear and resolve petitioners urgent application for admission to bail pending 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 simply an
error in judgment but it is such a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment which is tantamount to
lack of jurisdiction.
18
Ordinary abuse of discretion is insufficient. The 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 amount to evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in contemplation of the law. In other words, for a petition for
certiorari to prosper, there must be a clear showing of caprice and arbitrariness in the exercise of
discretion.
20

Petitioner never alleged that, in denying his application for bail pending appeal, the Court of Appeals
exercised its judgment capriciously and whimsically. No capriciousness or 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 exercised grave caution in the exercise of its
discretion. The denial of petitioners application for 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 whether it raised a substantial question. The appellate court did not exercise its
discretion in a careless manner but followed doctrinal rulings of this Court.
At best, petitioner only points out the Court of Appeals erroneous application and interpretation of Section
5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. However, the extraordinary writ of certiorari will not be issued to cure
errors in proceedings or erroneous conclusions of law or fact.
21
In this connection, Lee v. People
22
is
apropos:
Certiorari may not be availed of where it is not shown that the respondent court lacked or exceeded its
jurisdiction over the case, even if its findings are not correct. Its questioned acts would at most constitute
errors of law and not abuse of discretion correctible by certiorari.
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 by
certiorari or prohibition only when it is shown that the court acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or
with grave abuse of discretion. However, this Court generally frowns upon this remedial measure as
regards interlocutory orders. To tolerate the practice of allowing interlocutory orders to be the subject of
review by certiorari will not only delay the administration of justice but will also unduly burden the courts.
23

(emphasis supplied)
Wording of Third Paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 Contradicts Petitioners Interpretation
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The third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 applies to two scenarios where the penalty imposed on the
appellant applying for bail is imprisonment exceeding six years. The first scenario deals with the
circumstances enumerated in the said paragraph (namely, recidivism, quasi-recidivism, habitual
delinquency or commission of the crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration; previous escape
from legal confinement, evasion of sentence or violation of the conditions of his 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 risk of committing another
crime during the pendency of the appeal; or other similar circumstances) not present. The second
scenario contemplates the existence of at least one of the said circumstances.
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:
Under the present revised Rule 114, the availability of bail to an accused may be summarized in the
following rules:
x x x x x x x x x
e. After conviction by the Regional Trial Court wherein a penalty of imprisonment exceeding 6
years but not more than 20 years is imposed, and not one of the circumstances stated in Sec. 5
or any other similar circumstance is present and proved, bail is a matter of discretion (Sec. 5);
f. After conviction by the Regional Trial Court imposing a penalty of imprisonment exceeding 6
years but not more than 20 years, and any of the circumstances stated in Sec. 5 or any other
similar circumstance is present and proved, no bail shall be granted by said court (Sec. 5); x x
x
24
(emphasis supplied)
Retired Court of Appeals Justice Oscar M. Herrera, another authority in remedial law, is of the same
thinking:
Bail is either a matter of right or of discretion. It is a matter of right when the offense charged is not
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. On the other hand, upon conviction by the
Regional Trial 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 exceeding six (6) years then bail is a
matter of discretion, except when any of the enumerated circumstances under paragraph 3 of
Section 5, 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 none of the
circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 is present, the appellate court has
the discretion to grant or deny bail. An application for bail pending appeal may be denied even if the bail-
negating
26
circumstances in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 are absent. In other words, the
appellate courts denial of bail pending appeal where none of the said circumstances exists does not, by
and of itself, constitute abuse of discretion.
On the other hand, in the second situation, the appellate court exercises a more stringent discretion, that
is, to carefully ascertain whether any of the enumerated circumstances in fact exists. If it so determines, it
has no other option except to deny or revoke bail pending appeal. Conversely, if the appellate court
grants bail pending appeal, grave abuse of discretion will thereby be committed.
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 appellate court
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must determine whether any of the circumstances in the third paragraph of 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 (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 circumstances, other than those mentioned in the
third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114, including the demands of equity and justice;
27
on the basis
thereof, it may either allow or disallow bail.
On the other hand, if the appellants case falls within the second scenario, the appellate courts stringent
discretion requires that the exercise thereof be primarily focused on the determination of the proof of the
presence of any of the circumstances that are prejudicial to the allowance of bail. This is so because the
existence of any of those circumstances is by itself sufficient to deny or revoke bail. Nonetheless, a
finding that none of the said circumstances is present will not automatically result in the grant of
bail. Such finding will simply authorize the court to use the less stringent sound discretion
approach.
Petitioner disregards the fine yet substantial distinction between the two different situations that are
governed by the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114. Instead, petitioner insists on a simplistic
treatment that unduly dilutes the import of the said provision and trivializes the established policy
governing the grant of bail pending appeal.
In particular, a careful reading of petitioners arguments reveals that it interprets the third paragraph of
Section 5, Rule 114 to cover all situations where the penalty imposed by the trial 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 the determination of whether any of the
five bail-negating circumstances exists. The implication of this position is that, if any such
circumstance is present, then bail will be denied. Otherwise, bail will be granted pending appeal.
Petitioners theory therefore reduces the appellate court into a mere fact-finding body whose authority is
limited to determining whether any of the five circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section
5, Rule 114 exists. This unduly constricts its "discretion" into merely filling out the checklist of
circumstances in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 in all 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 discretion of the appellate court by requiring it to determine a singular
factual issue whether any of the five bail-negating circumstances is present.
However, judicial discretion has been defined as "choice."
28
Choice occurs where, between "two
alternatives or among a possibly infinite number (of options)," there is "more than one possible outcome,
with the selection of the outcome left to the decision maker."
29
On the other hand, the establishment of a
clearly defined rule of action is the end of discretion.
30
Thus, by severely clipping the appellate courts
discretion and relegating that tribunal to a mere fact-finding body in applications for bail pending appeal in
all instances where the penalty imposed 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 an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment,
admission to bail is discretionary."
The judicial discretion granted to the proper court (the Court of Appeals in this case) to rule on
applications for bail pending appeal must necessarily involve the exercise of judgment on the 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 view of the grave caution
required of it, the court should consider whether or not, under all circumstances, the accused will be
present to abide by his punishment if his conviction is affirmed.
32
It should also give due regard to any
other pertinent matters beyond the record of the particular case, such as the record, character and
reputation of the applicant,
33
among other things. More importantly, the discretion to determine allowance
or disallowance of bail pending appeal necessarily includes, at the very least, an initial determination that
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the appeal is not 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 the
appeal is not pro forma and merely intended for delay but presents a fairly debatable issue.
35
This must
be so; otherwise, the appellate courts will be deluged with frivolous and time-wasting appeals made for
the purpose of taking advantage of a lenient attitude on bail pending 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 criminal procedure require that no judgment shall be
reversed or modified by the Court of Appeals except for substantial error.
37

Moreover, to limit the bail-negating circumstances to the five situations mentioned in the third paragraph
of Section 5, Rule 114 is wrong. By restricting the bail-negating circumstances to those expressly
mentioned, petitioner applies the expressio unius est exclusio alterius
38
rule in 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 exclusive. The provision categorically refers to
"the following or other similar circumstances." Hence, under the rules, similarly relevant situations
other than those listed in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 may be considered in the allowance,
denial or revocation of bail pending appeal.
Finally, laws and rules should not be interpreted in such a way that leads to unreasonable or senseless
consequences. An absurd situation will result from adopting petitioners interpretation 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 pending appeal in cases where the
penalty imposed is more than six years of imprisonment will be more lenient than in cases where the
penalty imposed does not exceed six years. While denial or revocation of bail in cases where the penalty
imposed is more than six years imprisonment must be made only if any of the five bail-negating
conditions is present, bail pending appeal in cases where the penalty imposed does not exceed six years
imprisonment may be denied even without those conditions.
Is it reasonable and in conformity with the dictates of justice that bail pending appeal be more accessible
to those convicted of serious offenses, compared to those convicted of less serious crimes?
Petitioners Theory Deviates from History And Evolution of Rule on Bail Pending Appeal
Petitioners interpretation deviates from, even radically alters, the history and evolution of the provisions
on bail pending appeal.
The relevant original provisions on bail were provided under Sections 3 to 6, Rule 110 of the 1940 Rules
of Criminal Procedure:
Sec. 3. Offenses less than capital before conviction by the Court 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 right.
Sec. 4. Non-capital offenses after conviction by the Court of First Instance. After conviction by
the Court of First Instance, defendant may, upon application, be bailed at the discretion of the
court.
Sec. 5. Capital offense defined. A capital offense, as the term is used in this rule, is an offense
which, under the law existing at the time of its commission, and at the time of the application to be
admitted to bail, may be punished by death.
Sec. 6. Capital offense not bailable. No person in custody for the commission of a capital
offense shall be admitted to bail if the evidence of his guilt is strong.
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The aforementioned provisions were reproduced as Sections 3 to 6, Rule 114 of the 1964 Rules of
Criminal Procedure and then of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure. They were modified in 1988 to
read as follows:
Sec. 3. Bail, a matter of right; exception. All persons in custody, shall before final conviction
be entitled to bail as a matter of right, except those charged with a capital offense or an offense
which, under the law at the time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail, is
punishable by reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong.
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 its commission, and at the time of the
application to be admitted to bail, may be punished by death. (emphasis supplied)
The significance of the above changes was clarified in Administrative Circular No. 2-92 dated January 20,
1992 as follows:
The basic governing principle on the right of the accused to bail is laid down in Section 3 of Rule 114 of
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, which provides:
Sec. 3. Bail, a matter of right; exception. All persons in custody, shall before final conviction, be entitled
to bail as a matter of right, except those charged with a capital offense or an offense which, under the law
at the time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail, is punishable by reclusion
perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong.
Pursuant to the aforecited provision, an accused who is charged 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 to this Court since his conviction clearly imports that the evidence of his guilt of the offense
charged is strong.
Hence, for the guidelines of the bench and bar with respect to future as well as pending cases before the
trial courts, this Court en banc lays down the following policies concerning the effectivity of the bail of the
accused, to wit:
1) When an accused is charged with an offense which under the law existing at the time of its
commission and at the time of the application for bail is punishable by a penalty lower than
reclusion perpetua and is out 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 appeal, unless the proper
court directs otherwise pursuant to Rule 114, Sec. 2 (a) of the Rules of Court, as amended;
2) When an accused is charged with a capital offense or an offense which under the law at the
time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail is punishable by reclusion
perpetua and is out on bail, and after trial is convicted by the trial court of a lesser offense than
that charged in the complaint or information, the same rule set forth in the preceding paragraph
shall be applied;
3) When an accused is charged with a capital offense or an offense which under the law at the
time of its commission and at the time of the application for bail is punishable by reclusion
perpetua and is out on bail and after trial is convicted by the trial court of the offense charged, his
bond shall be cancelled and the accused shall be placed in confinement pending resolution of his
appeal.
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As to criminal cases covered under the third rule abovecited, which are now pending appeal before his
Court where the accused is still on provisional liberty, the following rules are laid down:
1) This Court shall order the bondsman to surrender the accused within ten (10) days from notice
to the court of origin. The bondsman thereupon, shall inform this Court of the fact of surrender,
after which, the cancellation of the bond shall be ordered by this Court;
2) The RTC shall order the transmittal of the accused to the National Bureau of Prisons thru the
Philippine National Police as the accused shall remain under confinement pending resolution of
his appeal;
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 shall be issued by this Court. The appeal taken by
the accused shall also be dismissed under Section 8, Rule 124 of the Revised Rules of Court as
he shall be deemed to have jumped his bail. (emphasis supplied)
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 4. Bail, a matter of right. All persons in custody shall: (a) before or after conviction by the
Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities and Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death,
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or
be released on recognizance as prescribed by law of this Rule. (3a)
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 application, may admit the
accused to bail.
The court, in its discretion, may allow the accused to continue on provisional liberty under the same bail
bond during the period of appeal subject to the consent of the bondsman.
If the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six (6) years but not more than twenty (20)
years, the accused shall be denied bail, or his bail previously granted shall be cancelled, upon a showing
by the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:
(a) That the accused is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the
crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;
(b) That the accused is found to have previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded
sentence or has violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification;
(c) That the accused committed the offense while on probation, parole, under conditional pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of the accused or his case indicate the probability of flight if released
on bail; or
(e) That there is undue risk that during the pendency of the appeal, the accused may commit
another crime.
The appellate court may review the resolution of the Regional Trial Court, on motion and with notice to
the adverse party. (n)
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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 the time of its commission and at the time of the application to be
admitted to bail, maybe punished with death. (4)
SECTION 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not
bailable. No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or
life imprisonment, when evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of the
criminal prosecution. (emphasis supplied)
The above amendments of Administrative Circular No. 12-94 to Rule 114 were 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 approach to
bail pending appeal. It indicates a faithful adherence to the bedrock principle, that is, bail pending appeal
should be allowed not with leniency but with grave caution and only for strong reasons.
The earliest rules on the matter made all grants of bail after conviction for a non-capital offense by the
Court of First Instance (predecessor of the Regional Trial Court) discretionary. The 1988 amendments
made applications for bail pending appeal favorable to the 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

The amendments introduced by Administrative Circular No. 12-94 made bail pending appeal (of a
conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment) discretionary. Thus, Administrative Circular No. 12-94 laid down more stringent rules on
the matter of post-conviction grant of bail.
A.M. No. 00-5-03-SC modified Administrative Circular No. 12-94 by clearly identifying which court has
authority to act on applications for bail pending appeal under certain conditions 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 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 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 circumstances are deemed to be as grave as conviction by the trial court
for an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment where bail is prohibited.
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 the third paragraph of
Section 5, Rule 114? Or is it a rule that authorizes the denial of bail after due consideration of all relevant
circumstances, even if none of the circumstances under the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 is
present?
The present inclination of the rules on criminal procedure to frown on bail pending appeal parallels the
approach adopted in the United States where our original constitutional and procedural provisions on bail
emanated.
41
While this is of course not to be followed blindly, it nonetheless shows that our treatment of
bail pending appeal is no different from that in other democratic societies.
In our jurisdiction, the trend towards a strict attitude towards the allowance of bail pending appeal is
anchored on the principle that judicial discretion particularly with respect to extending bail should be
exercised not with laxity but with caution and only for strong reasons.
42
In fact, it has even been pointed
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out that "grave caution that must attend the exercise of judicial discretion in granting bail to a convicted
accused is best illustrated and exemplified in Administrative Circular No. 12-94 amending Rule 114,
Section 5."
43

Furthermore, this Court has been guided by the following:
The importance attached to conviction is due to the underlying principle that bail should be granted only
where it is uncertain whether the accused is guilty or innocent, and therefore, where that uncertainty is
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, and the burden is upon the accused to show error in the conviction. From another point of view
it may be properly argued that the probability of ultimate punishment is so enhanced by the conviction
that the accused is much more likely to attempt to escape if liberated on bail than before conviction.
44

(emphasis supplied)
As a matter of fact, endorsing the reasoning quoted above and relying thereon, the Court declared in Yap
v. Court of Appeals
45
(promulgated in 2001 when the present rules were already effective), that denial of
bail pending appeal is "a matter of wise discretion."
A Final Word
Section 13, Article II of the Constitution provides:
SEC. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when
evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on
recognizance as may be provided by law. x x x (emphasis supplied)1avvphi1
After conviction by the trial court, the presumption of innocence terminates and, accordingly, the
constitutional right to bail ends.
46
From then on, the grant of bail is subject to judicial discretion. At the risk
of being repetitious, such discretion must be exercised with grave 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 approach. This judicial disposition finds strong support in the
history and evolution of the rules on bail and the language of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. It
is likewise consistent with the trial courts 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 laws. This is especially germane to bail pending appeal because long delays often separate
sentencing in the trial court and appellate review. In addition, at the post-conviction stage, the accused
faces a certain prison 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 time-
wasting appeals which will make a mockery of our criminal justice system and court processes.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
The Court of Appeals is hereby directed to resolve and decide, on the merits, the appeal of petitioner
Jose Antonio Leviste docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 32159, with dispatch.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Baguio City
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EN BANC
A.M. MTJ-04-1558 April 7, 2010
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 04-1594-MTJ)
Re: ANONYMOUS LETTER-COMPLAINT AGAINST HON. MARILOU RUNES-TAMANG, PRESIDING
JUDGE, MeTC PATEROS, METRO MANILA AND PRESIDING JUDGE, MeTC SAN JUAN, METRO
MANILA,
D E C I S I O N
PER CURIAM:
The administration of justice is circumscribed with a heavy burden of responsibility. It requires that
everyone involved in its dispensation from the presiding judge to the lowliest clerk live up to the
strictest standards of competence, honesty, and integrity in the public service.
1
Any impression of
impropriety, misdeed, or negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided. The Court
shall not countenance any conduct, act, or omission on the part of those involved in the administration of
justice that violates the norm of public accountability and diminishes the faith of the people in the
Judiciary.
2
Indeed, public confidence in our courts is vital to the effective functioning of the Judiciary.
3

Bearing these tenets in mind, the Court proceeds to determine the ultimate liabilities of a presiding judge,
her branch clerk of court, and her process server in connection with an anomaly involving the approval of
bail bonds in criminal cases.
An anonymous "Concerned Filipino Citizen" sent to then Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. a letter dated
October 22, 2003 requesting the investigation of Judge Marilou D. Runes-Tamang, Presiding Judge of
the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) in Pateros and Acting Presiding Judge of the MeTC in San Juan,
Metro Manila.
4
The letter-sender complained that Judge Tamang, through the connivance of the arresting
officer and court employees of MeTC at San Juan, had been indiscriminately approving fake bonds for a
fee of P1,000.00 "per count ng kaso." The letter-sender also requested the investigation of Judge
Tamangs husband, a sheriff of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Pasig and an alleged drug addict.
The letter prompted the Court to treat it as an administrative complaint. On November 4, 2003,
5
Chief
Justice Davide, Jr. referred the letter to then Deputy Court Administrator Christopher O. Lock (DCA Lock)
for appropriate action.lawph!l
Initial Investigation and Report
by the Office of the Court Administrator
The office of DCA Lock conducted a discreet investigation on the reported impropriety. The investigation
revealed that Judge Tamang had approved bail bonds issued by Covenant Assurance Company, Inc
(Covenant), despite Covenant having been blacklisted since December 20, 2002 in the RTC in Pasig
City.
It appears that the RTC, Branch 153, in Pasig City furnished to the OCA a copy of its order dated October
22, 2003
6
revoking the "unethical Orders of Release" issued by Judge Tamang in various criminal cases
assigned to that branch. The order stated that Judge Tamang had approved the bail bonds issued by a
blacklisted company without any showing of the unavailability of all the RTC Judges in Pasig, considering
that the accused persons posting the bail bonds were charged in criminal cases pending before the RTC
in Pasig and were detained in the Pasig City Jail.
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In his memorandum dated May 12, 2004, DCA Lock recommended that the Assistant Court Administrator
in charge of the area where Judge Tamang was stationed be directed to conduct further investigation of
the irregularities.
7

On May 18, 2004, the Court approved the recommendation, and endorsed the matter to then Assistant
Court Administrator Antonio H. Dujua (ACA Dujua), who immediately directed the conduct of the
investigation.
ACA Dujua submitted his memoranda dated June 3, 2004
8
and June 25, 2004.
9
In turn, the Office of the
Court Administrator (OCA) presented to the Chief Justice its memorandum dated June 29, 2004,
10

detailing the anomalous transactions on bail bonds committed in the sala of Judge Tamang.
The OCA memorandum reported thus:
We have limited our inquiry to the bail bonds acted upon during the period from January 2003 to June
2004, considering that the Covenant Assurance Company, Inc. (Covenant for brevity) the apparent
favored bonding company of Judge Tamang was blacklisted on 20 December 2002 only.
As previously mentioned in our first Memorandum, as of the date of our investigation, we found no
criminal cases in the RTC in Mandaluyong City wherein the bail bonds were secured from Covenant.
However, there are three cases- Criminal Cases Nos. MC03-6841, MC03-7058, and MC03-7156
wherein the bail bonds were secured in San Juan and approved by Judge Tamang, notwithstanding the
presence and availability of the Judges in the RTC of Mandaluyong City before whose courts the cases
are pending. Such approval was made in contravention of the provisions of Section 17(a), Rule 114,
Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. x x x
x x x
In the RTC of Pasig City, the records in a considerable number of criminal cases hereinafter enumerated
show Judge Tamang's blatant disregard for the provisions of the Rules. These records show how she has
been indiscriminately approving bonds in violation of such provisions. Of significance, more than a
majority of the bonds she had approved had been secured from the Covenant Assurance Company, Inc.,
notwithstanding the fact that such bonding company is among those blacklisted by the Supreme Court.
x x x
There are rare cases when Judge Tamang approved bail bonds secured from legitimate surety
companies. However, even in such cases, approval was made without compliance with the provisions of
Rule 114 . x x x In Criminal Cases Nos. 125724, 125802, 12612-D, 12648-D and 125723, where the bail
bonds were secured from legitimate surety firms (either Commonwealth or Summit Guaranty), the
accused were all detained in Pasig City where their cases were pending.
11

Acting on the OCAs recommendation, the Court en banc issued a resolution dated July 27, 2004,
12
to wit:
(a) TREAT OCAs Memorandum dated 29 June 2004 as an administrative complaint against
Judge Marilou D. Runes-Tamang to be docketed as A.M. No. MTJ-04-1558 (Office of the Court
Administrator vs. Judge Marilou D. Runes-Tamang, Presiding Judge, Metropolitan Trial Court,
Pateros, Metro Manila and Acting Presiding Judge, Metropolitan Trial Court San Juan, Metro
Manila) and automatically converted into administrative disciplinary proceedings against Judge
Runes-Tamang as both judge and member of the Philippine Bar.
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275

(b) REQUIRE Judge Runes-Tamang to ANSWER the charges against her and explain why she
should not be disciplined as a member of the Philippine Bar, within a period of ten (10) days from
notice hereof;
(c) DECLARE all the bail bonds secured from the Covenant Assurance Company, Inc. after 20
December 2002 as NULL AND VOID; and
(d) DIRECT the concerned judges of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City and Mandaluyong City
to REQUIRE all the accused who secured the above bail bonds from the Covenant Assurance
Company, Inc. to secure NEW bail bonds from accredited and legitimate bonding companies or
face immediate arrest.
Comment/Answer of Judge Tamang
Maintaining her innocence of the charges, Judge Tamang submitted her answer/comment dated
September 30, 2003,
13
in which she related the circumstances surrounding the approval of the bail bonds.
Sometime in August of 2003, an RTC Judge of Pasig City called her attention to an irregular order of
release she had signed as the Acting Judge of the MeTC in San Juan, Metro Manila, involving a criminal
case pending in Pasig City. Allegedly, the order of release was signed without the necessary supporting
documents.
The discovery of the irregular order of release prompted Judge Tamang to conduct an investigation in the
MeTC of San Juan. After her initial investigation, she issued Office Memorandum No. 001-03 dated
September 17, 2003,
14
addressed to Ellen Sorio, the Branch Clerk of Court of the MeTC in San Juan,
directing her to shed light on the anomaly. Office Memorandum No. 001-03 included a directive that no
bails bonds would be approved until after the controversy was resolved.
In her response to Office Memorandum No. 001-03, Sorio explained that as standard office procedure,
she checked all orders and documents, including bail bonds, before Judge Tamang signed them. Sorio
added that to her recollection, all the bail bonds passing through her for presentation to Judge Tamang
had been in order, although on many occasions, Ronnie Medrano, the MeTCs Process Server, retained
possession of some of the documents accompanying the orders of release.
15

Sorios explanation prompted Judge Tamang to issue Office Memorandum No. 002-03 dated September
21, 2003,
16
requiring Medrano to submit his comment vis--vis Sorio's allegations.
Through his Tugon/Salaysay dated September 26, 2003,
17
Medrano "admitted" his guilt, and begged
Judge Tamang for forgiveness.
Thereafter, Judge Tamang issued Office Memorandum No. 003-03 dated September 27, 2003,
18
directing
Sorio and Medrano to immediately release all the bail bonds still in their possession, and to request the
clerks-in-charge of the various courts concerned to remind their respective judges to immediately cause
the cancellation of the bail bonds, if warranted.
Conceding that she might have been remiss in her duties with respect to the orders of release based on
bail bonds issued by Covenant, Judge Tamang insisted that she had been "too trusting" of some
personnel of MeTC in San Juan. In substantiation, she cited the following circumstances:
(1) Even the previous Judge of the MeTC in San Juan had been subjected to the modus
operandi, because there were ten orders of release that said Judge had issued involving criminal
cases pending in the RTC and MeTC in Pasig City, Quezon City, and Mandaluyong City, and
even one criminal case pending in Angeles City;
19

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(2) Fourteen orders of release were issued at around 6 p.m. on Fridays, when there were no
available Judges in the other courts; and the orders of release were served from around 7 p.m. to
8 p.m. of the same day;
20

(3) Some orders of release involved accused who were detained in San Juan, although the
criminal cases were pending in the Pasig City RTC, while other orders of release involving
criminal cases in Mandaluyong City were based on bail bonds issued by legitimate bonding
companies;
21

(4) She was not able to receive copies of the orders dated August 25, 2003 and October 22, 2003
issued by Judge Ygaa of RTC Pasig City, declaring her orders of release as null and void,
22

which reflected a manifest cover-up on the part of some court personnel of the MeTC in San
Juan;
(5) The issuance of the orders of release based on Covenants bail bonds happened only in the
MeTC in San Juan, not in the MeTC in Pateros where she was the Presiding Judge;
23

(6) She stayed late in her office to sign orders, to resolve pending motions, and to pen decisions.
She believed that all orders of release involving legitimate bonding companies were signed by her
beyond office hours, when there were no available judges in other courts;
24
and
(7) That she already rectified her mistakes as early as September 2003 by issuing Memoranda
No. 001-03 and No. 003-03.
Insisting that the court personnel had taken advantage of her leniency and kindness, Judge Tamang
declared that she "has never transgressed the Code of Judicial Conduct with malicious intention and
orchestrated plans of compromising the integrity of the judiciary."
In her supplemental answer/comment dated October 8, 2004,
25
Judge Tamang bewailed the failure to
accord her due process, contending that she should have been required to file her answer/comment upon
receipt of the anonymous letter-complaint; and that she should have been given opportunity to explain
with particularity each and every document that became the basis of the recommendation.
Inclusion of Additional Respondents
In the resolution dated November 9, 2004,
26
the Court noted Judge Tamangs answer and supplemental
answer/comment, and referred the matter to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation.
The OCA submitted its memorandum dated January 26, 2005,
27
recommending as follows:
(1) That Ms. Eleanor A. Sorio and Mr. Ronnie Medrano, Clerk of Court III and Process Server,
respectively, of the Metropolitan Trial Court (Branch 57) at San Juan, Metro Manila, be
INCLUDED as respondents together with Judge Marilou D. Runes-Tamang in the instant
administrative case;
(2) That both Ms. Sorio and Mr. Medrano be required to submit their respective COMMENTS
regarding their participation in the processing/approval of the bonds irregularly issued and
secured from Covenant Assurance Company, Inc., subject of the OCA Memorandum dated 12
May 2004 and 29 June 2004; and
(3) That the instant administrative matter be REFERRED to the Executive Judge of the Regional
Trial Court of Pasig City for investigation of (a) all the circumstances attendant to the irregular bail
bond transactions; and (b) the specific liability of Judge Tamang, Ms. Sorio, Mr. Medrano and
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other court personnel who may be involved, report and recommendation within sixty (60) days
from the receipt by the investigating judge of the comments of Ms. Sorio and Mr. Medrano.
Acting on the OCAs recommendations, the Court resolved on March 1, 2005 to: (1) include Eleanor Sorio
and Ronnie Medrano as respondents in the administrative case; (2) direct Sorio and Medrano to
comment on the complaint; and (3) refer the matter to the Executive Judge of the RTC in Pasig City for
investigation, report and recommendation.
28

Notwithstanding their receipt of the pertinent documents and the additional time allowed to them under
the resolution dated January 24, 2006,
29
Sorio and Medrano failed to file their comment/answer.
In the meantime, Judge Tamang filed a motion for earlier resolution
30
and an omnibus motion to request
that the matter be already submitted for resolution.
31

Subsequently, Medrano manifested that he was waiving his right to file a comment, and that he was
submitting the administrative case for decision.
32
Due to the prior referral to the OCA, the Court resolved
to refer the manifestation of Medrano to the OCA.
Upon recommendation of the OCA,
33
the Court en banc issued its resolution dated August 28, 2007,
34
to
wit:
(a) REFER Administrative Matter No. MTJ-04-1558 (formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 04-1594) to the
Office of the incumbent Executive Judge of RTC Pasig City, Judge Amelia C. Manalastas, for
investigation, report and recommendation within sixty (60) days from receipt of the records;
(b) DIRECT the Office of the Clerk of Court-Supreme Court to REMAND the complete and
original records of the instant administrative matter to the OCA for their proper transmittal to the
Office of Executive Judge Manalastas;
(c) DIRECT Executive Judge Manalastas to (1) FURNISH respondents Eleanor A. Sorio and
Ronnie Medrano, Clerk of Court III and Process Server, respectively, of the MeTC, Branch 57,
San Juan, with copies of the October 22, 2003 Anonymous Complaint and the September 30,
2004 Answer and October 8, 2004 Supplemental Answer filed by Judge Tamang relative to the
case and (2) REQUIRE said respondents to submit their comment thereon within a non-
extendible period of ten (10) days from receipt of the corresponding order from the investigating
judge; and
(d) DIRECT Judge Edwin A. Villasor, Presiding Judge, RTC Branch 265, Pasig City to explain,
within fifteen (15) days from receipt of this notice, his failure to act on Administrative Matter No.
MTJ-04-1558 (formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 04-1594) despite having received copies of Court
resolutions and documents relative to the case.
Investigation, Report and Recommendation of the Executive Judge
Upon receiving the Courts resolution dated August 28, 2007, Executive Judge Amelia C. Manalastas
35
of
the RTC in Pasig City directed Sorio and Medrano to file their respective comments, and set the hearing
of the administrative case. Judge Manalastas conducted hearings on October 8 and 16, 2007.
36

In her compliance dated November 29, 2007,
37
Judge Manalastas stated that she had found no evidence
to support a finding against Judge Tamang of bad faith, dishonesty, or deliberate intent to do injustice; but
recommended that Judge Tamang be found guilty of gross negligence for violating Canon 6 of the Code
of Judicial Conduct and that her co-respondents be found guilty of grave misconduct, viz:
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PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Office respectfully submits the following RECOMMENDATION for
consideration by the Honorable Court:
1. That Respondent Judge Marilou D. Runes-Tamang be admonished for her gross negligence in
the performance of her functions.
2. That respondents Eleonor Sorio and Ronnie Medrano be suspended for their grave
misconduct.
Final Report of the OCA
In its final report dated June 30, 2008,
38
the OCA adopted the findings of the Investigating Judge, but
concluded that the penalties for Judge Tamang were not commensurate with the offenses committed.
Thus, the OCA submitted as follows:
(a) That Respondent Judge Marilou Runes-Tamang be found GUILTY of simple misconduct and
be ordered to pay a FINE in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) with a STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar offense in the future shall be dealt with more
severely.
(b) That Respondent Eleanor A. Sorio, Clerk of Court III, MeTC, Branch 57, San Juan, Metro
Manila, be found GUILTY of Gross Neglect of Duty and ordered SUSPENDED for SIX (6) months
without pay with the STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar offense in the
future shall be dealt with more severely; and
(c) That Respondent Ronnie Medrano, Process Server, MeTC, Branch 57, San Juan, Metro
Manila be found GUILTY of Grave Misconduct and ordered DISMISSED from the service with
forfeiture of retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to re-
employment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including government owned or
controlled corporations.
Ruling
I
Liability of Judge Tamang
Judge Tamang admittedly approved not only the bail bonds issued by Covenant, a blacklisted bonding
company, but also the bail bonds in some instances for accused persons charged in criminal cases
pending outside her territorial jurisdiction. Yet, she insisted that she did not thereby transgress the Code
of Judicial Conduct, because she had relied on the representation of her duly authorized personnel that
the bail bonds were in order. She claimed that she approved the bail bonds for the criminal cases pending
outside her territorial jurisdiction because the accused were detained in San Juan and Pateros, where
she was the Presiding Judge.
Judge Tamangs explanations could not completely exonerate her.
The New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary requires that a magistrate be the
embodiment of judicial competence.
39
According to Webster,
40
competence means "the quality or state of
being functionally adequate or having sufficient knowledge, judgment, skill, or strength." Webster also
defines a competent person to be one "possessed of or characterized by marked or sufficient aptitude,
skill, strength, or knowledge."
Did Judge Tamang competently act in approving the questioned bail bonds?
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Par. 1.3.1.5 (d.1), Section E, Chapter VI of the 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court, outlines the
requirements for the approval of bail bonds posted in the courts, to wit:
In accepting surety bond, the Clerk of Court should see to it that the following requisites are complied
with, otherwise, the bond should be rejected:
(1) Photographs of accused
It shall be obligatory on the part of surety and bonding companies issuing such bond to attach
photographs (face, left and right profiles), passport size, recently taken of the accused on all
copies of the corresponding personal bail bond to be issued or posted.
(2) Affidavit of justification
The bond shall be accompanied by an affidavit of justification to include a statement to the effect
that that the company has no pending obligation demandable and outstanding in any amount to
the Government or any of its agencies as of the last day of the month preceding the date the
bond is issued or posted.
(3) Clearance from the Supreme Court
Every bond shall be accompanied by a clearance from the Supreme Court showing that the
company concerned is qualified to transact business which is valid only for thirty (30) days from
the date of its issuance.
(4) Certificate of compliance with the Circular from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner
The bond shall be accompanied by a verified certification to the effect that the bond form used
has been duly registered with the Insurance Commission; that the same has been entered and
recorded in the Bond Registry Book of the company concerned in compliance with OIC Circular
No. 66 dated September 19, 1966, and that the said bond has not been cancelled.
(5) Authority of agent
In case the bond is issued through a branch office or through an agent, a copy of the authority or
power of attorney shall be submitted to the Clerk of Court for filing, together with the schedule of
limits of its authority.
(6) Current certificate of authority
The bond shall be accompanied by a current certificate of authority issued by the Insurance
Commission with the financial statement (OIC Form No. 1) showing the maximum underwriting
capacity of the company.
(7) Procedure
All applications for bail/judicial bonds, before their approval by the Judge concerned, shall be
coursed thru the Clerk of Court or his duly authorized personnel who shall see to it that the bond
is in order and the signature of the bonding officer authentic before affixing his signature thereto.
He shall also indicate therein the outstanding liability of the bonding company, if any, for the
information and guidance of the Court. For this particular purpose, the Clerk of Court shall keep a
file of specimen signature of authorized bonding officers, to prevent the submission of "fake bail
bonds."
41

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Judge Tamang approved bail bonds issued by Covenant although they manifestly lacked the required
clearance from the Supreme Court indicating that Covenant was qualified to transact business with the
courts. As earlier stated, Covenant was a blacklisted company at the time of issuance of the bail bonds.
She was thereby guilty of a neglect of duty, for, according to Judicial Audit and Physical Inventory of
Confiscated Cash, Surety and Property Bonds at RTC, Tarlac City, Brs. 63, 64 & 65,
42
the judge is still
bound to review the supporting documents before approving the bail bonds, even if it is the Clerk of Court
who has the duty to ascertain that the bail bonds are in order, and that all requisites for approval have
been complied with. The Court concurred with the OCAs following observation submitted in said case, to
wit:
Although the duty to ensure compliance with the requisites of the bail bond application rests mainly with
the Clerk of Court or his duly authorized personnel and the task of the Judge is only to approve the same,
said task has an accompanying responsibility on the part of the approving Judge to review or determine
its validity. Understandably, he should be employing the minimum standard the rules require the clerks of
court to observe. Considering the seriousness of the purpose in the posting of bail bond, approval thereof
should pass through strict scrutiny and with utmost caution on the part of both the Clerk of Court (or his
duly authorized personnel) and the approving Judge.
43

Indeed, in Re: Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, Dolores,
Eastern Samar
44
and Padilla v. Silerio,
45
the Court expressly enjoins a judge to carefully pore over all
documents before signing the documents and giving them official imprimatur. The judges signing of
orders must not be taken lightly, or be regarded as the usual paper work that passes through the judges
hands for signature.
46
Also, according to Suroza v. Honrado,
47
a judge is inexcusably negligent if he fails
to observe in the performance of his duties that diligence, prudence and circumspection that the law
requires in the rendition of any public service.
Judge Tamangs excuse of simply relying on the representation of the court personnel who unfortunately
took advantage of her leniency and kindness betrayed a deficiency in that requisite degree of
circumspection demanded of all those who don the judicial robe. She cannot now thereby exculpate
herself, or take refuge behind that excuse, for, in fact, such reliance was actually her admission of being
neglectful and of lacking the diligent care in paying attention to the judicial matters brought to her for
signature. A carelessness of that kind and degree ran contrary to the competence expected of her as a
dispenser of justice and as a visible representation of the law.
Section 17 (a), Rule 114 of the Rules of Court governs the approval of bail bonds for criminal cases
pending outside the judges territorial jurisdiction, viz:
Section 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 judge thereof, with any regional trial judge, 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 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.
xxx
Under the provision, the bail bond may be filed either with the court where the case is pending, or with
any RTC of the place of arrest, or if no RTC Judge is available, with any MeTC or MTC of the place of
arrest.
The list of approved bail bonds contained in the OCA memorandum dated June 29, 2004
48
shows 34
involved accused detained in Pasig City,
49
seven in Taguig City,
50
six in San Juan,
51
and one in Pateros.
52

The remaining three cases involved accused who voluntarily surrendered to Judge Tamang in the San
Juan MeTC.
53
However, all of the criminal cases were pending in the Pasig RTC.
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Judge Tamang contends that under Section 17(a), Rule 114, supra, the accused who were detained and
who voluntarily surrendered in San Juan could file their applications for bail in San Juan; that the accused
detained in Pateros could do the same; and that the bail applications of those detained in Taguig City
were legally approved, because she was then the Pairing Judge of the MeTC in Taguig City (Branch
74).
54

As a judge then on detail in San Juan, Judge Tamang was correct in approving the applications for bail of
the accused who had voluntarily surrendered and been detained in San Juan, Pateros, and Taguig City,
because Section 7(a), Rule 114, supra, granted her the authority to approve applications for bail of
accused detained within her territorial jurisdiction, in the event of the unavailability of any RTC Judge in
the area. It is worth noting that at the time of the subject bail applications, there was still no RTC Judge
stationed in San Juan and Pateros.
55

However, Judge Tamang did not substantiate her explanation that she had approved the bail applications
of the accused detained in Pasig City and had issued the corresponding release orders after office hours
on Fridays because no RTC Judges had been available in Pasig City. Aside from the affidavits attesting
that she had stayed and worked in her office until 9 p.m. and that the orders of release had been
immediately served on the jail warden concerned, she offered no proof to justify her approval of the
questioned bonds. Thus, her explanation did not exculpate her, for, truly, her approvals of the bail bonds
constituted an irregularity arising from her lack of the authority to do so.
The OCA classified Judge Tamangs acts as simple misconduct, and recommended a fine of P10,000.00
to be imposed on her.
Although her approval of the bail bonds and her issuance of the orders of release manifested a degree of
incompetence on her part, we should not find Judge Tamang guilty of simple misconduct, a less serious
charge under Section 9, Rule 140, Rules of Court. Instead, we find her guilty of simple neglect of duty, a
light charge under Section 10, Rule 140, Rules of Court, for we are all too aware of the pitfalls that a
judge like her frequently stumbles into when detailed in another station. She became an unwitting victim
of the continuing illegal activities of Medrano, who took advantage of her being too busy with her judicial
and administrative duties and tasks to have noticed and prevented his illegal activities.
Nonetheless, several circumstances properly mitigated her administrative liability.
56

First: Medrano admitted his liability and totally exonerated Judge Tamang of any participation in or
knowledge of the anomalous scheme of submitting blacklisted bonds for approval. In his
Tugon/Salaysay,
57
he confessed:
Tungkol po sa bond na inyong napirmahan, akin pong inaamin na marami dito ang ipinadaan sa akin.
Ngunit nananangan po ako na ang karamihan dito ay ligal at walang problema nang ito ay dinadala sa
inyo para sa inyong aprubal. Ngunit inaamin ko rin na nitong nakaraang mga buwan ay may mga bonds
na hindi ko pinadala kay Ate Ellen. Ito yung mga pagkakataong may mga taong lumalapit sa akin at
nakiusap at dahil na rin sa hindi ko matanggihan bunsod ng pakikisama. Ang mga bonds na sinsabi ko ay
isinasabay ko na lamang sa mga papeles na dinadala sa inyong lamesa para mapirmahan kapag kayo ay
dumarating na galing sa inyong Korte sa Pateros.
Medrano stated that some of the bail applications had incomplete supporting papers; that he had
requested the staff to tell Judge Tamang, should she ask, that the bail applications were complete; and
that he had thereby taken advantage of the judges voluminous workload. He also declared:
Inaamin ko din po na ang iba dito ay kulang sa papeles at kung pagkaminsan ay kumpleto nga ngunit
mga xerox copies lamang ang mga dokumento naka attach. Sa ganitong mga pagkakataong ay
pinasasabi ko na lamang sa mga staff na sabihin sa inyo kapag kayo ay nagtatanong na kumpleto ang
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lahat at walang prublema at ikakabit ko na lamang sa bond kinabukasan o kapag ito ay dadalhin na sa
korte.
Maari pong sabihin na akin nga pong naabuso at nasamantala ang kabaitan at pagtitiwala ninyo sa amin,
dahil naipalusot ko ang mga nasabing bonds, nang hindi ko sinsabi sa inyo ang katotohanan. Maari ding
sabihing sinamantala ko ang sobrang dami ng inyong ginagawa na pagkaminsan ay tinityempo ko ang
pagpasok ng mga bonds kasama ng napakaraming papeles na inyong pipirmahan kapag kayo ay
nagmamadali nang umalis pauwi. xxx
Undoubtedly, Medrano unconditionally assumed sole responsibility for the anomalous bail bonds, even if
he admitted having committed the anomaly at the behest of several unnamed persons, viz:
Kung mayroon man dapat managot sa lahat ng gusot na ito ay AKO lamang po at wala nang iba pa. xxx
Hindi ko po talaga alam na aabot sa ganito ang lahat. Gusto ko lamang pong malaman ninyo na ako ay
biktima lamang ng mga taong nakiusap sa akin na dahil sa tiwala at kumpyansa sa kanila, kapag sinabi
nila sa akin na ayos ang lahat ng papeles at ang mga nasabing bonds at alam na ng kinauukulang
husgado, akin po itong tinatanggap at pinadadala sa inyong lamesa para mapirmahan.
Second: It is undisputed that upon learning about the anomaly in August 2003 Judge Tamang
immediately took steps to frontally deal with it by conducting an investigation, and directing Sorio at first
and Medrano later to explain their participations in the uncovered anomaly.
58
Her measures were
sincerely taken a few months before the Court received the denunciatory anonymous letter in November
2003. The taking of such measures were probably what convinced Executive Judge Manalastas as
Investigating Judge to observe in her report on the investigation that there appeared "no evidence to
support a finding of bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or deliberate intent to do injustice."
59

Third: The offense is Judge Tamangs first administrative charge as a judge. According to Concerned
Boholanos for Law and Order v. Calibo, Jr.,
60
the fact that a judge is being charged administratively for
the first time is a mitigating circumstance.
Such mitigating circumstances, coupled with Judge Tamangs good performance record,
61
rendered it is
just and warranted to impose the penalty of reprimand pursuant to Section 11, C, Rule 140, Rules of
Court, viz
Section 11. Sanctions. xxx
xxx
C. If the respondent is guilty of a light charge, any of the following sanctions shall be imposed:
1. A fine of not less than P1,000.00 but not exceeding P10,000.00 and/or
2. Censure;
3. Reprimand;
4. Admonition with warning.
II
Liability of Ellen Sorio
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The OCA recommended that Sorio be found guilty of gross negligence, which Subsection A(2), Section
52, Rule IV of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service punishes with
dismissal from the service.
The 2002 Revised Manual for Clerks of Court requires that all applications for bail and judicial bonds shall
be coursed, before their approval by the Judge concerned, through the Clerk of Court or his duly
authorized personnel, who shall see to it that the bonds are in order. In accepting surety bonds, the Clerk
of Court should see to it that all the requisites are complied with; otherwise, the bonds should be rejected.
Every bond shall be accompanied by a clearance from the Supreme Court showing that the issuing
company is qualified to transact business, which clearance is valid only for 30 days from the date of its
issuance.
In response to Judge Tamangs Memorandum Order No 001-03, Sorio categorically averred that she had
personally scrutinized the documents before these were brought to the judges table for her signature.
62

Insisting that there was no single defective or anomalous bond from among the documents that had
passed through her, Sorio stated:
Its true that all orders and other documents including bail bonds pass through the undersigned before
they are presented to you for signature. The idea was for me to check whether the documents to be
signed by you are in order. To my recollection, all bail bonds which passed through undersigned for
scrutiny/examination were all in order before they were presented to you for your signature. After your
signature on bail bonds, corresponding endorsement letters were made to the court where the accused
may have pending case and we have these transmittal on record.
63

Sorios insistence notwithstanding, there were still spurious bail bonds that had reached the hands of
Judge Tamang, and that the latter ultimately signed. Thus, although Sorio denied any knowledge of or
participation in such anomalous bail bonds, we find her liable.
As the Branch Clerk of Court of the MeTC in San Juan, Sorio was the administrative officer of the branch
who had the control and supervision of all court records, exhibits, documents, properties and supplies.
With her responsibilities as such, Sorio should have ensured that all bail bonds and their supporting
documents were in order before endorsing them to Judge Tamang for approval. Sorio should have
rejected the bail bonds of Covenant due to the latters blacklisting and its lack of clearance from the
Supreme Court to issue such bail bonds. She cannot now simply feign ignorance and escape liability
upon the implausible pretext that some bail bonds did not pass through her.
Likewise, Sorio did not explain the non-transmittal of some approved bail bonds and their supporting
documents to the courts, before which the criminal cases of the accused concerned had been filed and
pending. Based on the record, Judge Tamang had given instructions to Sorio and Medrano to
immediately release the bail bonds upon her approval of them. However, during the hearing before the
Investigating Judge, Sorio admitted her failure to see to their immediate release, although such was her
primary responsibility as the Branch Clerk of Court, to wit:
COURT: No, first explain to me why these documents were not transmitted (interrupted)
MS. SORIO: Upon approval yon ni Judge Tamang, after approval I gave everything to the one in-
charge in transmitting the bonds.
COURT: Who is the one in-charge?
MS. SORIO: The interpreter, Your Honor, then I presumed that everything will be transmitted by
her.
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284

COURT: You have administrative responsibility over the personnel of the Court.
MS. SORIO: Yes, Your Honor, alam ko po yon kaya naman po pag nagpa ano na ho sya hindi ko
na po alam kung alin-alin po yong kanyang mga pinadala at hindi niya pinadala. And then
ngayon, silang dalawa (2) nalang ho ni Ronnie and nag-uusap ho kung ano pa pong kulang.
COURT: Eh pano yan di command responsibility din sayo yan because these documents were
never transmitted by your subordinate.
MS. SORIO: Basta binigyan ko po sila ng instruction lagi talaga na itransmit nyo kaagad yan.
COURT: But they were never transmitted, the fact is, they were never transmitted.
MS. SORIO: I dont know (interrupted)
COURT: So who should be responsible?
MS. SORIO: Hindi ko po talaga alam kung natransmit ho nila lahat yon maam.
xxx
COURT: So why they were not transmitted and why did you not find out until this investigation?
MS. SORIO: I do believe, Your Honor, that they will follow my instructions.
COURT: And you never follow it up? You never ask them?
MS. SORIO: I am always following up, Your Honor, the instruction to them.
COURT: Thats not enough apparently, youre the clerk of court eh kasi lalo na yon its a vacant
Court walang judge you should be responsible. Ano bang ginagawa ninyo pag walang judge
dyan? You know command responsibility youre the highest official in that Court.
MS. SORIO: Yes, Your Honor, Im doing my best, Your Honor, lahat po iniuutos ko sa kanila,
lahat ng dapat nilang gawin pinagagawa ko but unfortunately (interrupted)
COURT: Oo it is not enough na iuutos mo tapos hindi naman gagawin di ba
MS. SORIO: Tsinetsek ko naman po sa kanila eh.
64

Sorios passing on the blame to her subordinates, as the foregoing excerpt of her testimony
indicates, did not justify her failure to ensure that the approved bail bonds be forthwith transmitted
to the courts concerned. Her obligation did not end with the initial verification and signing of the
documents, but extended until the bail bonds and their supporting documents were transmitted to
the courts concerned for appropriate action.
Thus, we cannot exonerate Sorio. As the Branch Clerk of Court, she was an essential and ranking officer
of the judicial system who performed delicate administrative functions vital to the prompt and proper
administration of justice.
65
Her responsibility went beyond a perfunctory and superficial supervision of her
subordinates. As the Court pointed out in Office of the Court Administrator v. Saa:
66

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xxx Clerks of Court are required to be persons of competence, honesty, and probity since they are
specifically imbued with the mandate of safeguarding the integrity of the court and its proceedings, to
earn and preserve respect therefor, to maintain loyalty thereto and to the judge as a superior officer, to
maintain the authenticity and correctness of court records and to uphold the confidence of the public in
the administration of justice. xxx
The degree of diligence expected of Sorio as the Branch Clerk was high. According to Escobar Vda. de
Lopez v. Luna,
67
the Clerks of Court:
xxx [a]re the hubs of adjudicative and administrative orders, processes and like concerns. Their
responsibilities are vital to the prompt and sound administration of justice. They cannot be allowed to
slacken on their work. They should be officers of competence; they should safeguard the integrity of the
court and its proceedings; they should uphold the confidence of the public in the administration of justice;
and they should help ensure that the cause of justice is done without delay.
Sorio was remiss in the performance of her duties. Aside from taking her responsibilities as the Branch
Clerk of Court for granted, she also fell short of the task of effective supervision of the court staff. The
recommendation of the OCA that Sorio be administratively sanctioned for gross negligence of duty was,
therefore, proper, considering that, as the OCA aptly put it:
Respondent Sorio was grossly negligent in her duties as clerk of court as shown by her insistence, during
the hearing conducted by the investigating judge that she knew nothing of what was happening in the
Court. Being the Branch Clerk of Court, she cannot just feign ignorance, considering that she is the
administrative assistant of the presiding judge with the duty to assist in the management of all matters not
involving the exercise of discretion or judgment of the judge.
68

The OCA observed, however, that it found no evidence of bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or deliberate intent
to do injustice on the part of Sorio. Although her participation in the anomaly was sufficiently established,
we give due consideration to the fact that this offense was her first administrative liability in the 35 years
she worked in the Judiciary by appreciating this fact as a mitigating circumstance in her favor.
69
We
impose suspension from the service for two months without pay.
III
Liability of Ronnie Medrano
We cannot be as compassionate towards Medrano, who categorically admitted his offense, giving the
simple explanation of having thereby accommodated ill-intentioned people. His anomalies for a
consideration appeared to be not isolated, but repeated many times. He thereby converted his
employment in the court into an income-generating activity.
We find him guilty of grave misconduct,
70
because he fell short of his accountability to the people as a
public employee. The Court explains in Imperial v. Santiago, Jr.,
71
viz:
Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful
behavior or gross negligence by the public officer. To warrant dismissal from the service, the
misconduct must be grave, serious, important, weighty, momentous and not trifling. The
misconduct must imply wrongful intention and not a mere error of judgment. The misconduct must
also have a direct relation to and be connected with the performance of his official duties amounting
either to maladministration or willful, intentional neglect or failure to discharge the duties of the office.
There must also be reliable evidence showing that the judicial acts complained of were corrupt or inspired
by an intention to violate the law.
In grave misconduct, as distinguished from simple misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to
violate the law, or flagrant disregard of established rule must be manifest.
72
Corruption as an element of
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grave misconduct consists in the act of an official or employee who unlawfully or wrongfully uses his
station or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another, contrary to the rights of others.
73

Medrano knowingly and corruptly submitted spurious or irregular bail bonds for the approval of the judge.
His grave misconduct was, therefore, a grave offense that deserved the penalty of dismissal for the first
offense pursuant to Sec. 52-A of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service.
74

Accordingly, he is meted the ultimate penalty of dismissal.
WHEREFORE, the Court declares and finds:
1. JUDGE MARILOU D. RUNES-TAMANG of the Metropolitan Trial Court in Pateros, Metro
Manila guilty of simple neglect of duty, with mitigating circumstances as stated in this decision,
and, accordingly, she is reprimanded, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same offense,
or the commission of a similar offense, shall be dealt with more severely;
2. ELEANOR A. SORIO, Clerk of Court III, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 57, in San Juan,
Metro Manila guilty of gross neglect of duty, with a mitigating circumstance as stated in this
decision, and, accordingly, she is suspended from the service for two months without pay, with a
stern warning that a repetition of the same offense, or the commission of a similar offense, shall
be dealt with more severely; and
3. RONNIE MEDRANO, Process Server, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 57, in San Juan, Metro
Manila guilty of grave misconduct, and, accordingly, he is dismissed from the service with
forfeiture of retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits, and with prejudice to his re-
employment in any branch or instrumentality of the Government, including government-owned
and government-controlled corporations.
Let a copy of this decision be attached to the personnel records of the respondents in the Office of the
Court Administrator.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 172716 November 17, 2010
JASON IVLER y AGUILAR, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. MARIA ROWENA MODESTO-SAN PEDRO, Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 71,
Pasig City, and EVANGELINE PONCE, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
CARPIO, J .:
The Case
The petition seeks the review
1
of the Orders
2
of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City affirming sub-
silencio a lower courts ruling finding inapplicable the Double Jeopardy Clause to bar a second
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prosecution for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property. This, despite the
accuseds previous conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries arising from
the same incident grounding the second prosecution.
The Facts
Following a vehicular collision in August 2004, petitioner Jason Ivler (petitioner) was charged before the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 71 (MeTC), with two separate offenses: (1) Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries (Criminal Case No. 82367) for injuries sustained by
respondent Evangeline L. Ponce (respondent Ponce); and (2) Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
Homicide and Damage to Property (Criminal Case No. 82366) for the death of respondent Ponces
husband Nestor C. Ponce and damage to the spouses Ponces vehicle. Petitioner posted bail for his
temporary release in both cases.
On 7 September 2004, petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge in Criminal Case No. 82367 and was meted
out the penalty of public censure. Invoking this conviction, petitioner moved to quash the Information in
Criminal Case No. 82366 for placing him in jeopardy of second punishment for the same offense of
reckless imprudence.
The MeTC refused quashal, finding no identity of offenses in the two cases.
3

After unsuccessfully seeking reconsideration, petitioner elevated the matter to the Regional Trial Court of
Pasig City, Branch 157 (RTC), in a petition for certiorari (S.C.A. No. 2803). Meanwhile, petitioner sought
from the MeTC the suspension of proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366, including the arraignment on
17 May 2005, invoking S.C.A. No. 2803 as a prejudicial question. Without acting on petitioners motion,
the MeTC proceeded with the arraignment and, because of petitioners absence, cancelled his bail and
ordered his arrest.
4
Seven days later, the MeTC issued a resolution denying petitioners motion to
suspend proceedings and postponing his arraignment until after his arrest.
5
Petitioner sought
reconsideration but as of the filing of this petition, the motion remained unresolved.
Relying on the arrest order against petitioner, respondent Ponce sought in the RTC the dismissal of
S.C.A. No. 2803 for petitioners loss of standing to maintain the suit. Petitioner contested the motion.
The Ruling of the Trial Court
In an Order dated 2 February 2006, the RTC dismissed S.C.A. No. 2803, narrowly grounding its ruling on
petitioners forfeiture of standing to maintain S.C.A. No. 2803 arising from the MeTCs order to arrest
petitioner for his non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366. Thus, without reaching
the merits of S.C.A. No. 2803, the RTC effectively affirmed the MeTC. Petitioner sought reconsideration
but this proved unavailing.
6

Hence, this petition.
Petitioner denies absconding. He explains that his petition in S.C.A. No. 2803 constrained him to forego
participation in the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner distinguishes his case from the
line of jurisprudence sanctioning dismissal of appeals for absconding appellants because his appeal
before the RTC was a special civil action seeking a pre-trial relief, not a post-trial appeal of a judgment of
conviction.
7

Petitioner laments the RTCs failure to reach the merits of his petition in S.C.A. 2803. Invoking
jurisprudence, petitioner argues that his constitutional right not to be placed twice in jeopardy of
punishment for the same offense bars his prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366, having been
previously convicted in Criminal Case No. 82367 for the same offense of reckless imprudence charged in
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Criminal Case No. 82366. Petitioner submits that the multiple consequences of such crime are material
only to determine his penalty.
Respondent Ponce finds no reason for the Court to disturb the RTCs decision forfeiting petitioners
standing to maintain his petition in S.C.A. 2803. On the merits, respondent Ponce calls the Courts
attention to jurisprudence holding that light offenses (e.g. slight physical injuries) cannot be complexed
under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code with grave or less grave felonies (e.g. homicide). Hence, the
prosecution was obliged to separate the charge in Criminal Case No. 82366 for the slight physical injuries
from Criminal Case No. 82367 for the homicide and damage to property.
In the Resolution of 6 June 2007, we granted the Office of the Solicitor Generals motion not to file a
comment to the petition as the public respondent judge is merely a nominal party and private respondent
is represented by counsel.
The Issues
Two questions are presented for resolution: (1) whether petitioner forfeited his standing to seek relief in
S.C.A. 2803 when the MeTC ordered his arrest following his non-appearance at the arraignment in
Criminal Case No. 82366; and (2) if in the negative, whether petitioners constitutional right under the
Double Jeopardy Clause bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366.
The Ruling of the Court
We hold that (1) petitioners non-appearance at the arraignment in Criminal Case No. 82366 did not
divest him of personality to maintain the petition in S.C.A. 2803; and (2) the protection afforded by the
Constitution shielding petitioner from prosecutions placing him in jeopardy of second punishment for the
same offense bars further proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366.
Petitioners Non-appearance at the Arraignment in
Criminal Case No. 82366 did not Divest him of Standing
to Maintain the Petition in S.C.A. 2803
Dismissals of appeals grounded on the appellants escape from custody or violation of the terms of his
bail bond are governed by the second paragraph of Section 8, Rule 124,
8
in relation to Section 1, Rule
125, of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure authorizing this Court or the Court of Appeals to "also,
upon motion of the appellee or motu proprio, dismiss the appeal if the appellant escapes from prison or
confinement, jumps bail or flees to a foreign country during the pendency of the appeal." The "appeal"
contemplated in Section 8 of Rule 124 is a suit to review judgments of convictions.
The RTCs dismissal of petitioners special civil action for certiorari to review a pre-arraignment ancillary
question on the applicability of the Due Process Clause to bar proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366
finds no basis under procedural rules and jurisprudence. The RTCs reliance on People v. Esparas
9

undercuts the cogency of its ruling because Esparas stands for a proposition contrary to the RTCs ruling.
There, the Court granted review to an appeal by an accused who was sentenced to death for importing
prohibited drugs even though she jumped bail pending trial and was thus tried and convicted in absentia.
The Court in Esparas treated the mandatory review of death sentences under Republic Act No. 7659 as
an exception to Section 8 of Rule 124.
10

The mischief in the RTCs treatment of petitioners non-appearance at his arraignment in Criminal Case
No. 82366 as proof of his loss of standing becomes more evident when one considers the Rules of
Courts treatment of a defendant who absents himself from post-arraignment hearings. Under Section 21,
Rule 114
11
of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defendants absence merely renders his
bondsman potentially liable on its bond (subject to cancellation should the bondsman fail to produce the
accused within 30 days); the defendant retains his standing and, should he fail to surrender, will be tried
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in absentia and could be convicted or acquitted. Indeed, the 30-day period granted to the bondsman to
produce the accused underscores the fact that mere non-appearance does not ipso facto convert the
accuseds status to that of a fugitive without standing.
Further, the RTCs observation that petitioner provided "no explanation why he failed to attend the
scheduled proceeding"
12
at the MeTC is belied by the records. Days before the arraignment, petitioner
sought the suspension of the MeTCs proceedings in Criminal Case No. 82366 in light of his petition with
the RTC in S.C.A. No. 2803. Following the MeTCs refusal to defer arraignment (the order for which was
released days after the MeTC ordered petitioners arrest), petitioner sought reconsideration. His motion
remained unresolved as of the filing of this petition.
Petitioners Conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367
Bars his Prosecution in Criminal Case No. 82366
The accuseds negative constitutional right not to be "twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same
offense"
13
protects him from, among others, post-conviction prosecution for the same offense, with the
prior verdict rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction upon a valid information.
14
It is not disputed that
petitioners conviction in Criminal Case No. 82367 was rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction upon
a valid charge. Thus, the case turns on the question whether Criminal Case No. 82366 and Criminal Case
No. 82367 involve the "same offense." Petitioner adopts the affirmative view, submitting that the two
cases concern the same offense of reckless imprudence. The MeTC ruled otherwise, finding that
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Slight Physical Injuries is an entirely separate offense from Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Homicide and Damage to Property "as the [latter] requires proof of an additional
fact which the other does not."
15

We find for petitioner.
Reckless Imprudence is a Single Crime,
its Consequences on Persons and
Property are Material Only to Determine
the Penalty
The two charges against petitioner, arising from the same facts, were prosecuted under the same
provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-
offenses. The text of the provision reads:
Imprudence and negligence. Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act which,
had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its
maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a less grave
felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have
constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed.
Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would otherwise
constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods; if
it would have constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be
imposed.
When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the property of
another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said
damages to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than twenty-five pesos.
A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any person who, by simple
imprudence or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done maliciously, would have constituted a
light felony.
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In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the
rules prescribed in Article sixty-four.
The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable:
1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower than those provided in the first
two paragraphs of this article, in which case the court shall impose the penalty next lower in
degree than that which should be imposed in the period which they may deem proper to apply.
2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the Automobile Law, to death of a
person shall be caused, in which case the defendant shall be punished by prision correccional in
its medium and maximum periods.
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or failing to do an act from which
material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing
or failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of
intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.
Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in which the damage
impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest.
The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this article shall be imposed upon the offender
who fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in this hand to give.
Structurally, these nine paragraphs are collapsible into four sub-groupings relating to (1) the penalties
attached to the quasi-offenses of "imprudence" and "negligence" (paragraphs 1-2); (2) a modified penalty
scheme for either or both quasi-offenses (paragraphs 3-4, 6 and 9); (3) a generic rule for trial courts in
imposing penalties (paragraph 5); and (4) the definition of "reckless imprudence" and "simple
imprudence" (paragraphs 7-8). Conceptually, quasi-offenses penalize "the mental attitude or condition
behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia punible,"
16
unlike
willful offenses which punish the intentional criminal act. These structural and conceptual features of
quasi-offenses set them apart from the mass of intentional crimes under the first 13 Titles of Book II of the
Revised Penal Code, as amended.
Indeed, the notion that quasi-offenses, whether reckless or simple, are distinct species of crime,
separately defined and penalized under the framework of our penal laws, is nothing new. As early as the
middle of the last century, we already sought to bring clarity to this field by rejecting in Quizon v. Justice
of the Peace of Pampanga the proposition that "reckless imprudence is not a crime in itself but simply a
way of committing it x x x"
17
on three points of analysis: (1) the object of punishment in quasi-crimes (as
opposed to intentional crimes); (2) the legislative intent to treat quasi-crimes as distinct offenses (as
opposed to subsuming them under the mitigating circumstance of minimal intent) and; (3) the different
penalty structures for quasi-crimes and intentional crimes:
The proposition (inferred from Art. 3 of the Revised Penal Code) that "reckless imprudence" is not a crime
in itself but simply a way of committing it and merely determines a lower degree of criminal liability is too
broad to deserve unqualified assent. There are crimes that by their structure cannot be committed
through imprudence: murder, treason, robbery, malicious mischief, etc. In truth, criminal negligence in our
Revised Penal Code is treated as a mere quasi offense, and dealt with separately from willful offenses. It
is not a mere question of classification or terminology. In intentional crimes, the act itself is punished; in
negligence or imprudence, what is principally penalized is the mental attitude or condition behind the act,
the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight, the imprudencia punible. x x x x
Were criminal negligence but a modality in the commission of felonies, operating only to reduce the
penalty therefor, then it would be absorbed in the mitigating circumstances of Art. 13, specially the lack of
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intent to commit so grave a wrong as the one actually committed. Furthermore, the theory would require
that the corresponding penalty should be fixed in proportion to the penalty prescribed for each crime
when committed willfully. For each penalty for the willful offense, there would then be a corresponding
penalty for the negligent variety. But instead, our Revised Penal Code (Art. 365) fixes the penalty for
reckless imprudence at arresto mayor maximum, to prision correccional [medium], if the willful act would
constitute a grave felony, notwithstanding that the penalty for the latter could range all the way from
prision mayor to death, according to the case. It can be seen that the actual penalty for criminal
negligence bears no relation to the individual willful crime, but is set in relation to a whole class, or series,
of crimes.
18
(Emphasis supplied)
This explains why the technically correct way to allege quasi-crimes is to state that their commission
results in damage, either to person or property.
19

Accordingly, we found the Justice of the Peace in Quizon without jurisdiction to hear a case for "Damage
to Property through Reckless Imprudence," its jurisdiction being limited to trying charges for Malicious
Mischief, an intentional crime conceptually incompatible with the element of imprudence obtaining in
quasi-crimes.
Quizon, rooted in Spanish law
20
(the normative ancestry of our present day penal code) and since
repeatedly reiterated,
21
stands on solid conceptual foundation. The contrary doctrinal pronouncement in
People v. Faller
22
that "[r]eckless impudence is not a crime in itself x x x [but] simply a way of committing
it x x x,"
23
has long been abandoned when the Court en banc promulgated Quizon in 1955 nearly two
decades after the Court decided Faller in 1939. Quizon rejected Fallers conceptualization of quasi-crimes
by holding that quasi-crimes under Article 365 are distinct species of crimes and not merely methods of
committing crimes. Faller found expression in post-Quizon jurisprudence
24
only by dint of lingering
doctrinal confusion arising from an indiscriminate fusion of criminal law rules defining Article 365 crimes
and the complexing of intentional crimes under Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code which, as will be
shown shortly, rests on erroneous conception of quasi-crimes. Indeed, the Quizonian conception of quasi-
crimes undergirded a related branch of jurisprudence applying the Double Jeopardy Clause to quasi-
offenses, barring second prosecutions for a quasi-offense alleging one resulting act after a prior
conviction or acquittal of a quasi-offense alleging another resulting act but arising from the same reckless
act or omission upon which the second prosecution was based.
Prior Conviction or Acquittal of
Reckless Imprudence Bars
Subsequent Prosecution for the Same
Quasi-Offense
The doctrine that reckless imprudence under Article 365 is a single quasi-offense by itself and not merely
a means to commit other crimes such that conviction or acquittal of such quasi-offense bars subsequent
prosecution for the same quasi-offense, regardless of its various resulting acts, undergirded this Courts
unbroken chain of jurisprudence on double jeopardy as applied to Article 365 starting with People v.
Diaz,
25
decided in 1954. There, a full Court, speaking through Mr. Justice Montemayor, ordered the
dismissal of a case for "damage to property thru reckless imprudence" because a prior case against the
same accused for "reckless driving," arising from the same act upon which the first prosecution was
based, had been dismissed earlier. Since then, whenever the same legal question was brought before the
Court, that is, whether prior conviction or acquittal of reckless imprudence bars subsequent prosecution
for the same quasi-offense, regardless of the consequences alleged for both charges, the Court
unfailingly and consistently answered in the affirmative in People v. Belga
26
(promulgated in 1957 by the
Court en banc, per Reyes, J.), Yap v. Lutero
27
(promulgated in 1959, unreported, per Concepcion, J.),
People v. Narvas
28
(promulgated in 1960 by the Court en banc, per Bengzon J.), People v. Silva
29

(promulgated in 1962 by the Court en banc, per Paredes, J.), People v. Macabuhay
30
(promulgated in
1966 by the Court en banc, per Makalintal, J.), People v. Buan
31
(promulgated in 1968 by the Court en
banc, per Reyes, J.B.L., acting C. J.), Buerano v. Court of Appeals
32
(promulgated in 1982 by the Court
en banc, per Relova, J.), and People v. City Court of Manila
33
(promulgated in 1983 by the First Division,
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per Relova, J.). These cases uniformly barred the second prosecutions as constitutionally impermissible
under the Double Jeopardy Clause.
The reason for this consistent stance of extending the constitutional protection under the Double
Jeopardy Clause to quasi-offenses was best articulated by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes in Buan, where, in
barring a subsequent prosecution for "serious physical injuries and damage to property thru reckless
imprudence" because of the accuseds prior acquittal of "slight physical injuries thru reckless
imprudence," with both charges grounded on the same act, the Court explained:
34

Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a specific act of reckless
imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for that same act. For the essence of the quasi
offense of criminal negligence under article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an
imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes
thus the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into
account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the substance of the offense. And, as the careless
act is single, whether the injurious result should affect one person or several persons, the offense
(criminal negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split into different crimes and
prosecutions.
35
x x x (Emphasis supplied)
Evidently, the Diaz line of jurisprudence on double jeopardy merely extended to its logical conclusion the
reasoning of Quizon.
There is in our jurisprudence only one ruling going against this unbroken line of authority. Preceding Diaz
by more than a decade, El Pueblo de Filipinas v. Estipona,
36
decided by the pre-war colonial Court in
November 1940, allowed the subsequent prosecution of an accused for reckless imprudence resulting in
damage to property despite his previous conviction for multiple physical injuries arising from the same
reckless operation of a motor vehicle upon which the second prosecution was based. Estiponas
inconsistency with the post-war Diaz chain of jurisprudence suffices to impliedly overrule it. At any rate, all
doubts on this matter were laid to rest in 1982 in Buerano.
37
There, we reviewed the Court of Appeals
conviction of an accused for "damage to property for reckless imprudence" despite his prior conviction for
"slight and less serious physical injuries thru reckless imprudence," arising from the same act upon which
the second charge was based. The Court of Appeals had relied on Estipona. We reversed on the strength
of Buan:
38

Th[e] view of the Court of Appeals was inspired by the ruling of this Court in the pre-war case of People
vs. Estipona decided on November 14, 1940. However, in the case of People vs. Buan, 22 SCRA 1383
(March 29, 1968), this Court, speaking thru Justice J. B. L. Reyes, held that
Reason and precedent both coincide in that once convicted or acquitted of a specific act of reckless
imprudence, the accused may not be prosecuted again for that same act. For the essence of the quasi
offense of criminal negligence under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code lies in the execution of an
imprudent or negligent act that, if intentionally done, would be punishable as a felony. The law penalizes
thus the negligent or careless act, not the result thereof. The gravity of the consequence is only taken into
account to determine the penalty, it does not qualify the substance of the offense. And, as the careless
act is single, whether the injurious result should affect one person or several persons, the offense
(criminal negligence) remains one and the same, and can not be split into different crimes and
prosecutions.
x x x x
. . . the exoneration of this appellant, Jose Buan, by the Justice of the Peace (now Municipal) Court of
Guiguinto, Bulacan, of the charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, prevents his
being prosecuted for serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance
of the province, where both charges are derived from the consequences of one and the same vehicular
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accident, because the second accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy for the same offense.
39

(Emphasis supplied)
Thus, for all intents and purposes, Buerano had effectively overruled Estipona.
It is noteworthy that the Solicitor General in Buerano, in a reversal of his earlier stance in Silva, joined
causes with the accused, a fact which did not escape the Courts attention:
Then Solicitor General, now Justice Felix V. Makasiar, in his MANIFESTATION dated December 12, 1969
(page 82 of the Rollo) admits that the Court of Appeals erred in not sustaining petitioners plea of double
jeopardy and submits that "its affirmatory decision dated January 28, 1969, in Criminal Case No. 05123-
CR finding petitioner guilty of damage to property through reckless imprudence should be set aside,
without costs." He stressed that "if double jeopardy exists where the reckless act resulted into homicide
and physical injuries. then the same consequence must perforce follow where the same reckless act
caused merely damage to property-not death-and physical injuries. Verily, the value of a human life lost
as a result of a vehicular collision cannot be equated with any amount of damages caused to a motors
vehicle arising from the same mishap."
40
(Emphasis supplied)
Hence, we find merit in petitioners submission that the lower courts erred in refusing to extend in his
favor the mantle of protection afforded by the Double Jeopardy Clause. A more fitting jurisprudence could
not be tailored to petitioners case than People v. Silva,
41
a Diaz progeny. There, the accused, who was
also involved in a vehicular collision, was charged in two separate Informations with "Slight Physical
Injuries thru Reckless Imprudence" and "Homicide with Serious Physical Injuries thru Reckless
Imprudence." Following his acquittal of the former, the accused sought the quashal of the latter, invoking
the Double Jeopardy Clause. The trial court initially denied relief, but, on reconsideration, found merit in
the accuseds claim and dismissed the second case. In affirming the trial court, we quoted with approval
its analysis of the issue following Diaz and its progeny People v. Belga:
42

On June 26, 1959, the lower court reconsidered its Order of May 2, 1959 and dismissed the case,
holding:
[T]he Court believes that the case falls squarely within the doctrine of double jeopardy enunciated in
People v. Belga, x x x In the case cited, Ciriaco Belga and Jose Belga were charged in the Justice of the
Peace Court of Malilipot, Albay, with the crime of physical injuries through reckless imprudence arising
from a collision between the two automobiles driven by them (Crim. Case No. 88). Without the aforesaid
complaint having been dismissed or otherwise disposed of, two other criminal complaints were filed in the
same justice of the peace court, in connection with the same collision one for damage to property through
reckless imprudence (Crim. Case No. 95) signed by the owner of one of the vehicles involved in the
collision, and another for multiple physical injuries through reckless imprudence (Crim. Case No. 96)
signed by the passengers injured in the accident. Both of these two complaints were filed against Jose
Belga only. After trial, both defendants were acquitted of the charge against them in Crim. Case No. 88.
Following his acquittal, Jose Belga moved to quash the complaint for multiple physical injuries through
reckless imprudence filed against him by the injured passengers, contending that the case was just a
duplication of the one filed by the Chief of Police wherein he had just been acquitted. The motion to
quash was denied and after trial Jose Belga was convicted, whereupon he appealed to the Court of First
Instance of Albay. In the meantime, the case for damage to property through reckless imprudence filed by
one of the owners of the vehicles involved in the collision had been remanded to the Court of First
Instance of Albay after Jose Belga had waived the second stage of the preliminary investigation. After
such remand, the Provincial Fiscal filed in the Court of First Instance two informations against Jose Belga,
one for physical injuries through reckless imprudence, and another for damage to property through
reckless imprudence. Both cases were dismissed by the Court of First Instance, upon motion of the
defendant Jose Belga who alleged double jeopardy in a motion to quash. On appeal by the Prov. Fiscal,
the order of dismissal was affirmed by the Supreme Court in the following language: .
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294

The question for determination is whether the acquittal of Jose Belga in the case filed by the chief of
police constitutes a bar to his subsequent prosecution for multiple physical injuries and damage to
property through reckless imprudence.
In the case of Peo[ple] v. F. Diaz, G. R. No. L-6518, prom. March 30, 1954, the accused was charged in
the municipal court of Pasay City with reckless driving under sec. 52 of the Revised Motor Vehicle Law,
for having driven an automobile in a fast and reckless manner ... thereby causing an accident. After the
accused had pleaded not guilty the case was dismissed in that court for failure of the Government to
prosecute. But some time thereafter the city attorney filed an information in the Court of First Instance of
Rizal, charging the same accused with damage to property thru reckless imprudence. The amount of the
damage was alleged to be P249.50. Pleading double jeopardy, the accused filed a motion, and on appeal
by the Government we affirmed the ruling. Among other things we there said through Mr. Justice
Montemayor
The next question to determine is the relation between the first offense of violation of the Motor Vehicle
Law prosecuted before the Pasay City Municipal Court and the offense of damage to property thru
reckless imprudence charged in the Rizal Court of First Instance. One of the tests of double jeopardy is
whether or not the second offense charged necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense
charged in the former complaint or information (Rule 113, Sec. 9). Another test is whether the evidence
which proves one would prove the other that is to say whether the facts alleged in the first charge if
proven, would have been sufficient to support the second charge and vice versa; or whether one crime is
an ingredient of the other. x x x
x x x x
The foregoing language of the Supreme Court also disposes of the contention of the prosecuting attorney
that the charge for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence could not have been joined with
the charge for homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence in this case, in view of
the provisions of Art. 48 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended. The prosecutions contention might be
true. But neither was the prosecution obliged to first prosecute the accused for slight physical injuries
through reckless imprudence before pressing the more serious charge of homicide with serious physical
injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first prosecuted the defendant for the lesser offense in the
Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which acquitted the defendant, the prosecuting
attorney is not now in a position to press in this case the more serious charge of homicide with serious
physical injuries through reckless imprudence which arose out of the same alleged reckless imprudence
of which the defendant have been previously cleared by the inferior court.
43

Significantly, the Solicitor General had urged us in Silva to reexamine Belga (and hence, Diaz) "for the
purpose of delimiting or clarifying its application."
44
We declined the invitation, thus:
The State in its appeal claims that the lower court erred in dismissing the case, on the ground of double
jeopardy, upon the basis of the acquittal of the accused in the JP court for Slight Physical Injuries, thru
Reckless Imprudence. In the same breath said State, thru the Solicitor General, admits that the facts of
the case at bar, fall squarely on the ruling of the Belga case x x x, upon which the order of dismissal of
the lower court was anchored. The Solicitor General, however, urges a re-examination of said ruling,
upon certain considerations for the purpose of delimiting or clarifying its application. We find,
nevertheless, that further elucidation or disquisition on the ruling in the Belga case, the facts of which are
analogous or similar to those in the present case, will yield no practical advantage to the government. On
one hand, there is nothing which would warrant a delimitation or clarification of the applicability of the
Belga case. It was clear. On the other, this Court has reiterated the views expressed in the Belga case, in
the identical case of Yap v. Hon. Lutero, etc., L-12669, April 30, 1959.
45
(Emphasis supplied)
Article 48 Does not Apply to Acts Penalized
Under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code
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The confusion bedeviling the question posed in this petition, to which the MeTC succumbed, stems from
persistent but awkward attempts to harmonize conceptually incompatible substantive and procedural
rules in criminal law, namely, Article 365 defining and penalizing quasi-offenses and Article 48 on
complexing of crimes, both under the Revised Penal Code. Article 48 is a procedural device allowing
single prosecution of multiple felonies falling under either of two categories: (1) when a single act
constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies (thus excluding from its operation light felonies
46
);
and (2) when an offense is a necessary means for committing the other. The legislature crafted this
procedural tool to benefit the accused who, in lieu of serving multiple penalties, will only serve the
maximum of the penalty for the most serious crime.
In contrast, Article 365 is a substantive rule penalizing not an act defined as a felony but "the mental
attitude x x x behind the act, the dangerous recklessness, lack of care or foresight x x x,"
47
a single
mental attitude regardless of the resulting consequences. Thus, Article 365 was crafted as one quasi-
crime resulting in one or more consequences.
Ordinarily, these two provisions will operate smoothly. Article 48 works to combine in a single prosecution
multiple intentional crimes falling under Titles 1-13, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, when proper;
Article 365 governs the prosecution of imprudent acts and their consequences. However, the complexities
of human interaction can produce a hybrid quasi-offense not falling under either models that of a single
criminal negligence resulting in multiple non-crime damages to persons and property with varying
penalties corresponding to light, less grave or grave offenses. The ensuing prosecutorial dilemma is
obvious: how should such a quasi-crime be prosecuted? Should Article 48s framework apply to
"complex" the single quasi-offense with its multiple (non-criminal) consequences (excluding those
amounting to light offenses which will be tried separately)? Or should the prosecution proceed under a
single charge, collectively alleging all the consequences of the single quasi-crime, to be penalized
separately following the scheme of penalties under Article 365?
Jurisprudence adopts both approaches. Thus, one line of rulings (none of which involved the issue of
double jeopardy) applied Article 48 by "complexing" one quasi-crime with its multiple consequences
48

unless one consequence amounts to a light felony, in which case charges were split by grouping, on the
one hand, resulting acts amounting to grave or less grave felonies and filing the charge with the second
level courts and, on the other hand, resulting acts amounting to light felonies and filing the charge with the
first level courts.
49
Expectedly, this is the approach the MeTC impliedly sanctioned (and respondent
Ponce invokes), even though under Republic Act No. 7691,
50
the MeTC has now exclusive original
jurisdiction to impose the most serious penalty under Article 365 which is prision correccional in its
medium period.
Under this approach, the issue of double jeopardy will not arise if the "complexing" of acts penalized
under Article 365 involves only resulting acts penalized as grave or less grave felonies because there will
be a single prosecution of all the resulting acts. The issue of double jeopardy arises if one of the resulting
acts is penalized as a light offense and the other acts are penalized as grave or less grave offenses, in
which case Article 48 is not deemed to apply and the act penalized as a light offense is tried separately
from the resulting acts penalized as grave or less grave offenses.
The second jurisprudential path nixes Article 48 and sanctions a single prosecution of all the effects of the
quasi-crime collectively alleged in one charge, regardless of their number or severity,
51
penalizing each
consequence separately. Thus, in Angeles v. Jose,
52
we interpreted paragraph three of Article 365, in
relation to a charge alleging "reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property and less serious
physical injuries," as follows:
[T]he third paragraph of said article, x x x reads as follows:
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When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the property of
another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said
damage to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than 25 pesos.
The above-quoted provision simply means that if there is only damage to property the amount fixed
therein shall be imposed, but if there are also physical injuries there should be an additional penalty for
the latter. The information cannot be split into two; one for the physical injuries, and another for the
damage to property, x x x.
53
(Emphasis supplied)
By "additional penalty," the Court meant, logically, the penalty scheme under Article 365.
Evidently, these approaches, while parallel, are irreconcilable. Coherence in this field demands choosing
one framework over the other. Either (1) we allow the "complexing" of a single quasi-crime by breaking its
resulting acts into separate offenses (except for light felonies), thus re-conceptualize a quasi-crime,
abandon its present framing under Article 365, discard its conception under the Quizon and Diaz lines of
cases, and treat the multiple consequences of a quasi-crime as separate intentional felonies defined
under Titles 1-13, Book II under the penal code; or (2) we forbid the application of Article 48 in the
prosecution and sentencing of quasi-crimes, require single prosecution of all the resulting acts regardless
of their number and severity, separately penalize each as provided in Article 365, and thus maintain the
distinct concept of quasi-crimes as crafted under Article 365, articulated in Quizon and applied to double
jeopardy adjudication in the Diaz line of cases.1avvphi1
A becoming regard of this Courts place in our scheme of government denying it the power to make laws
constrains us to keep inviolate the conceptual distinction between quasi-crimes and intentional felonies
under our penal code. Article 48 is incongruent to the notion of quasi-crimes under Article 365. It is
conceptually impossible for a quasi-offense to stand for (1) a single act constituting two or more grave or
less grave felonies; or (2) an offense which is a necessary means for committing another. This is why,
way back in 1968 in Buan, we rejected the Solicitor Generals argument that double jeopardy does not
bar a second prosecution for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence allegedly because the
charge for that offense could not be joined with the other charge for serious physical injuries through
reckless imprudence following Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code:
The Solicitor General stresses in his brief that the charge for slight physical injuries through reckless
imprudence could not be joined with the accusation for serious physical injuries through reckless
imprudence, because Article 48 of the Revised Penal Code allows only the complexing of grave or less
grave felonies. This same argument was considered and rejected by this Court in the case of People vs.
[Silva] x x x:
[T]he prosecutions contention might be true. But neither was the prosecution obliged to first prosecute
the accused for slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence before pressing the more serious
charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence. Having first prosecuted
the defendant for the lesser offense in the Justice of the Peace Court of Meycauayan, Bulacan, which
acquitted the defendant, the prosecuting attorney is not now in a position to press in this case the more
serious charge of homicide with serious physical injuries through reckless imprudence which arose out of
the same alleged reckless imprudence of which the defendant has been previously cleared by the inferior
court.
[W]e must perforce rule that the exoneration of this appellant x x x by the Justice of the Peace x x x of the
charge of slight physical injuries through reckless imprudence, prevents his being prosecuted for serious
physical injuries through reckless imprudence in the Court of First Instance of the province, where both
charges are derived from the consequences of one and the same vehicular accident, because the second
accusation places the appellant in second jeopardy for the same offense.
54
(Emphasis supplied)
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Indeed, this is a constitutionally compelled choice. By prohibiting the splitting of charges under Article
365, irrespective of the number and severity of the resulting acts, rampant occasions of constitutionally
impermissible second prosecutions are avoided, not to mention that scarce state resources are
conserved and diverted to proper use.
Hence, we hold that prosecutions under Article 365 should proceed from a single charge regardless of
the number or severity of the consequences. In imposing penalties, the judge will do no more than apply
the penalties under Article 365 for each consequence alleged and proven. In short, there shall be no
splitting of charges under Article 365, and only one information shall be filed in the same first level court.
55

Our ruling today secures for the accused facing an Article 365 charge a stronger and simpler protection of
their constitutional right under the Double Jeopardy Clause. True, they are thereby denied the beneficent
effect of the favorable sentencing formula under Article 48, but any disadvantage thus caused is more
than compensated by the certainty of non-prosecution for quasi-crime effects qualifying as "light offenses"
(or, as here, for the more serious consequence prosecuted belatedly). If it is so minded, Congress can re-
craft Article 365 by extending to quasi-crimes the sentencing formula of Article 48 so that only the most
severe penalty shall be imposed under a single prosecution of all resulting acts, whether penalized as
grave, less grave or light offenses. This will still keep intact the distinct concept of quasi-offenses.
Meanwhile, the lenient schedule of penalties under Article 365, befitting crimes occupying a lower rung of
culpability, should cushion the effect of this ruling.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. We REVERSE the Orders dated 2 February 2006 and 2 May
2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 157. We DISMISS the Information in Criminal Case
No. 82366 against petitioner Jason Ivler y Aguilar pending with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City,
Branch 71 on the ground of double jeopardy.
Let a copy of this ruling be served on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of
Representatives.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
A.M. No. RTJ- 04-1845 October 5, 2011
[Formerly A.M. No. IPI No. 03-1831-RTJ]
ATTY. FRANKLIN G. GACAL, Complainant,
vs.
JUDGE JAIME I. INFANTE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 38, IN ALABEL, SARANGANI,
Respondent.
D E C I S I O N
BERSAMIN, J .:
It is axiomatic that bail cannot be allowed to a person charged with a capital offense, or an offense
punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, without a hearing upon notice to the Prosecution.
Any judge who so allows bail is guilty of gross ignorance of the law and the rules, and is subject to
appropriate administrative sanctions.
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Atty. Franklin Gacal, the private prosecutor in Criminal Case No. 1136-03 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) in Alabel, Sarangani entitled People v. Faustino Ancheta, a prosecution for murder arising from the
killing of Felomino O. Occasion, charges Judge Jaime I. Infante, Presiding Judge of Branch 38 of the
RTC to whose Branch Criminal Case No. 1136-03 was raffled for arraignment and trial, with gross
ignorance of the law, gross incompetence, and evident partiality, for the latters failure to set a hearing
before granting bail to the accused and for releasing him immediately after allowing bail.
Antecedents
On March 18, 2003, Judge Gregorio R. Balanag, Jr. of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Kiamba-
Maitum, Sarangani issued a warrant for the arrest of Faustino Ancheta in connection with a murder case.
Judge Balanag did not recommend bail. Ancheta, who had meanwhile gone into hiding, was not arrested.
Upon review, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, acting through Assistant Provincial Prosecutor
Alfredo Barcelona, Jr., affirmed the findings and recommendation of Judge Balanag on the offense to be
charged, and accordingly filed in the RTC an information for murder on April 21, 2003 (Criminal Case No.
1136-03), but with a recommendation for bail in the amount of P400,000.00. Criminal Case No. 1136-03
was raffled to Judge Infantes Branch.
On April 23, 2003, Judge Infante issued twin orders, one granting bail to Ancheta, and another releasing
Ancheta from custody.
On April 25, 2003, Atty. Gacal, upon learning of the twin orders issued by Judge Infante, filed a so-called
Very Urgent Motion For Reconsideration And/Or To Cancel Bailbond With Prayer To Enforce Warrant Of
Arrest Or Issue Warrant Of Arrest Anew Or In The Alternative Very Urgent Motion For This Court To Motu
Prop[r]io Correct An Apparent And Patent Error (very urgent motion).
In the hearing of the very urgent motion on April 29, 2003, only Atty. Gacal and his collaborating counsel
appeared in court. Judge Infante directed the public prosecutor to comment on the very urgent motion
within five days from notice, after which the motion would be submitted for resolution with or without the
comment. Ancheta, through counsel, opposed, stating that the motion did not bear the conformity of the
public prosecutor.
At the arraignment of Ancheta set on May 15, 2003, the parties and their counsel appeared, but Assistant
Provincial Prosecutor Barcelona, Jr., the assigned public prosecutor, did not appear because he was then
following up his regular appointment as the Provincial Prosecutor of Sarangani Province. Accordingly, the
arraignment was reset to May 29, 2003.
On May 21, 2003, Judge Infante denied Atty. Gacals very urgent motion on the ground that the motion
was pro forma for not bearing the conformity of the public prosecutor, and on the further ground that the
private prosecutor had not been authorized to act as such pursuant to Section 5, Rule 110, of the Rules
of Court. Judge Infante directed that the consideration of the bail issue be held in abeyance until after the
public prosecutor had submitted a comment, because he wanted to know the position of the public
prosecutor on Atty. Gacals very urgent motion having been filed without the approval of the public
prosecutor.
1

On May 29, 2003, the public prosecutor appeared, but did not file any comment. Thereupon, Atty. Gacal
sought authority to appear as a private prosecutor. The public prosecutor did not oppose Atty. Gacals
request. With that, Atty. Gacal moved for the reconsideration of the grant of bail to Ancheta. In response,
Judge Infante required the public prosecutor to file his comment on Atty. Gacals motion for
reconsideration, and again reset the arraignment of the accused to June 20, 2003.
2

On June 4, 2003, the public prosecutor filed a comment, stating that he had recommended bail as a
matter of course; that the orders dated April 23, 2003 approving bail upon his recommendation and
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releasing the accused were proper; and that his recommendation of bail was in effect a waiver of the
public prosecutors right to a bail hearing.
By June 20, 2003, when no order regarding the matter of bail was issued, Atty. Gacal sought the
inhibition of Judge Infante on the ground of his gross incompetence manifested by his failure to exercise
judicial power to resolve the issue of bail.
In his motion for inhibition,
3
Atty. Gacal insisted that the issue of bail urgently required a resolution that
involved a judicial determination and was, for that reason, a judicial function; that Judge Infante failed to
resolve the issue of bail, although he should have acted upon it with dispatch, because it was unusual
that several persons charged with murder were being detained while Ancheta was let free on bail even
without his filing a petition for bail; that such event also put the integrity of Judge Infantes court in peril;
and that although his motion for reconsideration included the alternative relief for Judge Infante to motu
proprio correct his apparent error, his refusal to resolve the matter in due time constituted gross
ignorance of law.
Atty. Gacal contended that Judge Infante was not worthy of his position as a judge either because he
unjustifiably failed to exercise his judicial power or because he did not at all know how to exercise his
judicial power; that his lack of judicial will rendered him utterly incompetent to perform the functions of a
judge; that at one time, he ordered the bail issue to be submitted for resolution, with or without the
comment of the public prosecutor, but at another time, he directed that the bail issue be submitted for
resolution, with his later order denoting that he would resolve the issue only after receiving the comment
from the public prosecutor; that he should not be too dependent on the public prosecutors comment
considering that the resolution of the matter of bail was entirely within his discretion as the judge;
4
and
that the granting of bail without a petition for bail being filed by the accused or a hearing being held for
that purpose constituted gross ignorance of the law and the rules.
5

Finally, Atty. Gacal stated that Judge Infante and the public prosecutor were both guilty of violating the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
6
for giving undue advantage to Ancheta by allowing him bail without
his filing a petition for bail and without a hearing being first conducted.
7

On July 9, 2003, Judge Infante definitively denied Atty. Gacals very urgent motion.
On August 5, 2003, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCAd) received from the Office of the
Ombudsman the indorsement of the administrative complaint Atty. Gacal had filed against Judge Infante
(CPL-M-03-0581 entitled Gacal v. Infante, et al.), forwarding the records of the administrative case for
appropriate action to the Supreme Court as the exclusive administrative authority over all courts, their
judges and their personnel.
8

On August 21, 2003, then Court Administrator Prebitero J. Velasco, Jr. (now a Member of the Court)
required Judge Infante to comment on the administrative complaint against him, and to show cause within
10 days from receipt why he should not be suspended, disbarred, or otherwise disciplinarily sanctioned
as a member of the Bar for violation of Canon 10, Rule 10.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
pursuant to the resolution of the Court En Banc in A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC dated September 17, 2002.
9

On October 6, 2003, the OCAd received Judge Infantes comment dated September 22, 2003, by which
he denied any transgression in the granting of bail to Ancheta, stating the following:
2. At the outset, as a clarificatory note, accused Faustino Ancheta is out on bail, not because he
applied for bail duly granted by the court but because he posted the required bail since in the first
place the Fiscal recommended bail, duly approved by the Undersigned, in the amount of
P400,000.00. Underscoring is made to stress the fact that accused Ancheta had actually never
filed an application for bail. Perforce, the court had nothing to hear, grant or deny an
application/motion/petition for bail since none was filed by the accused.
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3. Thus, the twin Orders dated April 23, 2003 are exactly meant as an approval of the bailbond
(property) posted by accused Ancheta, it being found to be complete and sufficient. They are not
orders granting an application for bail, as misconstrued by private prosecutor. (Certified true
machine copy of the twin Orders dated April 23 marked as Annex-2 and 2-a are hereto attached)
4. On April 25, 2003, private complainant in the cited criminal case, thru counsel (the Gacal,
Gacal and Gacal Law Office), filed a "Very Urgent Motion for Reconsideration or in the alternative
Very Urgent Motion for this Court to Moto Propio Correct an Apparent Error", praying that the twin
Orders dated April 23, 2003 be reconsidered. (Certified machine copy of the said urgent motion
marked as Annex 3 is hereto attached)
5. On April 29, 2003, during the hearing on motion, the private complainant and his counsel
(private prosecutor) appeared. The Fiscal was not present. The court nonetheless ordered the
Fiscal to file his comment/s on the said motion. The accused thru private counsel in an open court
hearing opposed the subject motion inasmuch as the same bears no conformity of the Fiscal. In
that hearing, the court advised the private prosecutor to coordinate and secure the conformity of
the Fiscal in filing his motion. (Certified machine copy of the Order dated April 29, 2003, marked
as Annex 4 is hereto attached.)
6. On May 15, 2003, the scheduled date for the arraignment of accused Ancheta, the parties and
private prosecutor appeared. Again, the 1st Asst. Provincial Fiscal, Alfredo Barcelona, Jr., failed
to appear who, being the next highest in rank in their Office, was processing his application for
regular appointment as Provincial Fiscal of Sarangani Province. He was then the Acting
Provincial Fiscal Designate in view of the appointment of former Provincial Fiscal Laureano T.
Alzate as RTC Judge in Koronadal City. Due to the absence of the Fiscal and the motion for
reconsideration then pending for resolution, the scheduled arraignment was reset to May 29,
2003, per Order dated May 15, 2003, (certified machine copy of which marked as Annex 5 is
hereto attached).
7. On May 21, 2003, the Undersigned resolved to deny for being pro forma the pending motion
for reconsideration. As held in the Order of denial, it was found that the private prosecutor was
not duly authorized in writing by the provincial prosecutor to prosecute the said criminal case, nor
was he judicially approved to act as such in violation of Section 5, Rule 110 of the Revised Rules
on Criminal Procedure. The bail issue, however, was held in abeyance until submission of the
comment thereon by the Fiscal as this Presiding Judge would like then to know the position of the
Fiscal anent to the cited motion without his approval. The arraignment was reset to June 20,
2003. Again, the private prosecutor was orally advised to coordinate and secure the approval of
the Fiscal in filing his motions/pleadings. (Certified machine copy of the Order dated May 21,
2003 marked as Annex 6 hereto attached)
8. On June 4, 2003, the Fiscal finally filed his "Comment on the Very Urgent Motion for
Reconsideration filed by private complainant thru counsel (private prosecutor). Consistently, the
Fiscal in his comment recommended bail as a matter of course and that he claimed that Orders
dated April 23, 2003 approving bail upon his recommendation are proper, waiving in effect his
right for a bail hearing. (Certified true machine copy of the Fiscals comment marked as Annex-7
is hereto attached).
10

Under date of February 16, 2004, the OCAd recommended after investigation that the case be re-
docketed as a regular administrative matter, and that Judge Infante be fined in the amount of
P20,000.00,
11
viz:
EVALUATION: The 1987 Constitution provides that, all persons, except those charged with offenses
punishable by reclusion perpetua when the evidence of guilt is strong, shall before conviction, be bailable
by sufficient sureties or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law (Sec. 13, Art. III).
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The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that, no person charged with a capital offense or
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment shall be admitted to bail when the evidence
is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution (Sec. 7, Rule 114).
With the aforequoted provisions of the Constitution and the Rules of Criminal Procedure as a backdrop,
the question is: Can respondent judge in granting bail to the accused dispense with the hearing of
Application for Bail?
The preliminary investigation of Criminal Case No. 03-61, entitled Benito M. Occasion vs. Faustino
Ancheta for Murder was conducted by Judge Gregorio R. Balanag, Jr., of MCTC, Kiamba-Maitum,
Sarangani. Finding the existence of probable cause that an offense of Murder was committed and the
accused is probably guilty thereof, he transmitted his resolution to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor,
together with the records of the case, with No Bail Recommended. Upon review of the resolution of the
investigating judge by the OIC of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Sarangani, he filed the
information for Murder against accused Faustino Ancheta but a bail of P400,000.00 for the provisional
liberty of the latter was recommended. Relying on the recommendation of the Fiscal, respondent judge
granted the Application for Bail of the accused.
The offense of Murder is punishable by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death (Art. 248,
RPC). By reason of the penalty prescribed by law, Murder is considered a capital offense and, grant of
bail is a matter of discretion which can be exercised only by respondent judge after the evidence is
submitted in a hearing. Hearing of the application for bail is absolutely indispensable before a judge can
properly determine whether the prosecutions evidence is weak or strong (People vs. Dacudao, 170
SCRA 489). It becomes, therefore, a ministerial duty of a judge to conduct hearing the moment an
application for bail is filed if the accused is charged with capital offense or an offense punishable by
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. If doubt can be entertained, it follows that the evidence of guilt is
weak and bail shall be recommended. On the other hand, if the evidence is clear and strong, no bail shall
be granted.
Verily, respondent judge erred when he issued an order granting the application for bail filed by the
accused (Annex "C") based merely on the order issued by the Fiscal (Annex "A") recommending bail of
P400,000.00 for the provisional liberty of the accused without even bothering to read the affidavits of the
witnesses for the prosecution. Respondent judge cannot abdicate his right and authority to determine
whether the evidence against the accused who is charged with capital offense is strong or not.
After the respondent judge has approved the property bond posted by the accused, the complainant, as
private prosecutor filed a Motion for Reconsideration and/or Cancel Bailbond or in the alternative, Very
Urgent Motion to Moto Proprio correct an Apparent Error. On the hearing of the Motion on 29 April 2003,
the Fiscal was absent but he (the Fiscal) was given five (5) days from receipt of the order within which to
file his comment and, with or without comment the incident is deemed submitted for resolution and,
hearing of the Motion was reset to May 15, 2003. But the Fiscal again failed to appear on said date and,
the arraignment of the accused was set on 29 May 2003. On 21 May 2003, respondent judge resolved to
deny the Motion on the ground that the private prosecutor was not authorized in writing by the Chief of the
Prosecutions Office or the Regional State Prosecutor to prosecute the case, subject to the approval of
the court, pursuant to Sect. 5, Rule 110 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The need for an authority in writing from the Chief of the Prosecutions Office or Regional State
Prosecutor to the Private Prosecutor to prosecute the case, subject to the approval of the court,
contemplates of a situation wherein there is no regular prosecutor assigned the court, or the prosecutor
assigned, due to heavy work schedule, cannot attend to the prosecution of pending criminal cases to
expedite disposition of the case. This provision of the Rules of Criminal Procedure does not prevent the
offended party who did not reserve, waive nor institute separate civil action, from intervening in the case
through a private prosecutor.
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Intervention of the offended party in Criminal Action Where the civil action for recovery of civil liability is
instituted in the criminal action pursuant to Rule 11, the offended party may intervene by counsel in the
prosecution of the offense (Sec. 16, Rule 110 [Supra]).
When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives civil action,
reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action (Sec. 1
(a), Rule 111 [Supra]).
The offended party in Criminal Case No. 1136-03 did not reserve his right to institute separate civil action,
he did not waive such right and did not file civil action prior to the criminal action, so the offended party
may under the law intervene as a matter of right.
The authority to intervene includes actual conduct of trial under the control of the Fiscal which includes
the right to file pleadings. According to respondent judge, he advised the private prosecutor to coordinate
with the fiscal and secure his approval in accord with the mandate of Section, 5, Rule 110 of the Revised
Rule of Criminal Procedure: On this point, respondent judge again erred. The right of the offended party
to intervene is conferred by law and the approval of the Fiscal or even the court is not all necessary (Sec.
1 (a), Rule 111, [Supra]). Respondent Judge, however, is correct when he stated that the motions filed by
the private prosecutor should be with the conformity of the Fiscal.
Respondent judges errors are basic such that his acts constitutes gross ignorance of the law.
RECOMMENDATION: Respectfully recommended for the consideration of the Honorable Court is the
recommendation that the instant I.P.I. be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter and respondent
Judge be held ordered to pay a fine of P20,000.00.
On March 31, 2004,
12
the Court directed that the administrative case be docketed as a regular
administrative matter.
On December 01, 2004,
13
the Court denied Atty. Gacals ancillary prayer to disqualify Judge Infante from
trying Criminal Case No. 1138-03 pending resolution of this administrative matter.
Ruling
We approve and adopt the findings and recommendation of the OCAd, considering that they are well
substantiated by the records. We note that Judge Infante did not deny that he granted bail for the
provisional release of Ancheta in Criminal Case No. 1138-03 without conducting the requisite bail
hearing.
I
Bail hearing was mandatory
in Criminal Case No. 1138-03
Judge Infante would excuse himself from blame and responsibility by insisting that the hearing was no
longer necessary considering that the accused had not filed a petition for bail; that inasmuch as no
application for bail had been filed by the accused, his twin orders of April 23, 2003 were not orders
granting an application for bail, but were instead his approval of the bail bond posted; and that Atty.
Gacals very urgent motion and other motions and written submissions lacked the requisite written
conformity of the public prosecutor, rendering them null and void.
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We cannot relieve Judge Infante from blame and responsibility.
The willingness of Judge Infante to rely on the mere representation of the public prosecutor that his grant
of bail upon the public prosecutors recommendation had been proper, and that his (public prosecutor)
recommendation of bail had in effect waived the need for a bail hearing perplexes the Court. He thereby
betrayed an uncommon readiness to trust more in the public prosecutors judgment than in his own
judicious discretion as a trial judge. He should not do so.
Judge Infante made the situation worse by brushing aside the valid remonstrations expressed in Atty.
Gacals very urgent motion thusly:
This Court is not unaware that the charge of murder being a capital offense is not bailable xxx
xxxx
The phrase "xxx application for admission to bail xxx" is not an irrelevant but a significant infusion in the
cited rule (section 8), the plain import of which is that bail hearing is preceded by a motion/petition for
admission to bail filed by a detained accused himself or thru counsel.
The peculiar feature of the instant case, however, is the absence of a petition/motion for admission to bail
filed by the herein accused. On the contrary, it is the consistent position of the fiscal to recommend bail
since the prosecution evidence being merely circumstantial, is not strong for the purpose of granting bail.
xxx. This court believes that bail hearing, albeit necessary in the grant of bail involving capital offense, is
not at all times and in all instances essential to afford the party the right to due process especially so,
when the fiscal in this case was given reasonable opportunity to explain his side, and yet he maintained
the propriety of grant of bail without need of hearing since the prosecution evidence is not strong for the
purpose of granting bail.
Further, while it is preponderant of judicial experience to adopt the fiscals recommendation in bail fixing,
this court, however, had in addition and in accord with Section 6(a) of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure, evaluated the record of the case, and only upon being convinced and satisfied that the
prosecution evidence as contained in the affidavits of all the prosecution witnesses, no one being an eye-
witness are merely circumstantial evidence, that this court in the exercise of sound discretion allowed the
accused to post bail.
xxxx
The convergence of the foregoing factors - absence of motion for admission to bail filed by the accused,
the recommendation of the fiscal to grant bail, the pro forma motion of the private prosecutor for lack of
prior approval from the fiscal and this courts evaluation of the records sufficiently warrants the grant of
bail to herein accused.
14

Judge Infante specifically cited judicial experience as sanctioning his adoption and approval of the public
prosecutors recommendation on the fixing of bail. Yet, it was not concealed from him that the public
prosecutors recommendation had been mainly based on the documentary evidence adduced,
15
and on
the public prosecutors misguided position that the evidence of guilt was weak because only
circumstantial evidence had been presented. As such, Judge Infantes unquestioning echoing of the
public prosecutors conclusion about the evidence of guilt not being sufficient to deny bail did not justify
his dispensing with the bail hearing.
Judge Infante apparently acted as if the requirement for the bail hearing was a merely minor rule to be
dispensed with. Although, in theory, the only function of bail is to ensure the appearance of the accused
at the time set for the arraignment and trial; and, in practice, bail serves the further purpose of preventing
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304

the release of an accused who may be dangerous to society or whom the judge may not want to
release,
16
a hearing upon notice is mandatory before the grant of bail, whether bail is a matter of right or
discretion.
17
With more reason is this true in criminal prosecutions of a capital offense, or of an offense
punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Rule 114, Section 7 of the Rules of Court, as
amended, states that: "No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment when the evidence of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of
the stage of criminal action."
In Cortes v. Catral,
18
therefore, the Court has outlined the following duties of the judge once an
application for bail is filed, to wit:
1. In all cases whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing of
the application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the
Revised Rules of Court, as amended);
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless or
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused
is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion (Sections 7 and 8,
id);
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the
prosecution;
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval of the bail
bond (Section 19, id); otherwise, the petition should be denied. [emphasis supplied]
II
Judge Infante disregarded rules and guidelines
in Criminal Case No. 1138-03
Ostensibly, Judge Infante disregarded basic but well-known rules and guidelines on the matter of bail.
1.
In case no application for bail is filed, bail hearing was not dispensable
Judge Infante contends that a bail hearing in Criminal Case No. 1138-03 was not necessary because the
accused did not file an application for bail; and because the public prosecutor had recommended bail.
Judge Infantes contention is unwarranted.
Even where there is no petition for bail in a case like Criminal Case No. 1138-03, a hearing should still be
held. This hearing is separate and distinct from the initial hearing to determine the existence of probable
cause, in which the trial judge ascertains whether or not there is sufficient ground to engender a well-
founded belief that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty of the crime. The
Prosecution must be given a chance to show the strength of its evidence; otherwise, a violation of due
process occurs.
19

The fact that the public prosecutor recommended bail for Ancheta did not warrant dispensing with the
hearing. The public prosecutors recommendation of bail was not material in deciding whether to conduct
the mandatory hearing or not. For one, the public prosecutors recommendation, albeit persuasive, did not
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305

necessarily bind the trial judge,
20
in whom alone the discretion to determine whether to grant bail or not
was vested. Whatever the public prosecutor recommended, including the amount of bail, was non-
binding. Nor did such recommendation constitute a showing that the evidence of guilt was not strong. If it
was otherwise, the trial judge could become unavoidably controlled by the Prosecution.1avvphi1
Being the trial judge, Judge Infante had to be aware of the precedents laid down by the Supreme Court
regarding the bail hearing being mandatory and indispensable. He ought to have remembered, then, that
it was only through such hearing that he could be put in a position to determine whether the evidence for
the Prosecution was weak or strong.
21
Hence, his dispensing with the hearing manifested a gross
ignorance of the law and the rules.
2.
Public prosecutors failure to oppose
application for bail or to adduce evidence
did not dispense with hearing
That the Prosecution did not oppose the grant of bail to Ancheta, as in fact it recommended bail, and that
the Prosecution did not want to adduce evidence were irrelevant, and did not dispense with the bail
hearing. The gravity of the charge in Criminal Case No. 1138-03 made it still mandatory for Judge Infante
to conduct a bail hearing in which he could have made on his own searching and clarificatory questions
from which to infer the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt. He should not have readil y and
easily gone along with the public prosecutors opinion that the evidence of guilt, being circumstantial, was
not strong enough to deny bail; else, he might be regarded as having abdicated from a responsibility that
was his alone as the trial judge.lawphi1
Judge Infantes holding that circumstantial evidence of guilt was of a lesser weight than direct evidence in
the establishment of guilt was also surprising. His training and experience should have cautioned him
enough on the point that the lack or absence of direct evidence did not necessarily mean that the guilt of
the accused could not anymore be proved, because circumstantial evidence, if sufficient, could supplant
the absence of direct evidence.
22
In short, evidence of guilt was not necessarily weak because it was
circumstantial.
Instead, Judge Infante should have assiduously determined why the Prosecution refused to satisfy its
burden of proof in the admission of the accused to bail. Should he have found that the public prosecutors
refusal was not justified, he could have then himself inquired on the nature and extent of the evidence of
guilt for the purpose of enabling himself to ascertain whether or not such evidence was strong. He could
not have ignored the possibility that the public prosecutor might have erred in assessing the evidence of
guilt as weak.
23
At any rate, if he found the Prosecution to be uncooperative, he could still have
endeavored to determine on his own the existence of such evidence,
24
with the assistance of the private
prosecutor.
3.
Judge Infantes granting of bail without a hearing was
censurable for gross ignorance of the law and the rules
Every judge should be faithful to the law and should maintain professional competence.
25
His role in the
administration of justice requires a continuous study of the law and jurisprudence, lest public confidence
in the Judiciary be eroded by incompetence and irresponsible conduct.
26

In that light, the failure of Judge Infante to conduct a hearing prior to the grant of bail in capital offenses
was inexcusable and reflected gross ignorance of the law and the rules as well as a cavalier disregard of
its requirement.
27
He well knew that the determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong
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was a matter of judicial discretion,
28
and that the discretion lay not in the determination of whether or not a
hearing should be held, but in the appreciation and evaluation of the weight of the Prosecutions evidence
of guilt against the accused.
29
His fault was made worse by his granting bail despite the absence of a
petition for bail from the accused.
30
Consequently, any order he issued in the absence of the requisite
evidence was not a product of sound judicial discretion but of whim and caprice and outright
arbitrariness.
31

III
Imposable Penalty
We next determine the penalty imposable on Judge Infante for his gross ignorance of the law and the
rules.
The Court imposed a fine of P20,000.00 on the respondent judge in Docena-Caspe v. Bugtas.
32
In that
case, the respondent judge granted bail to the two accused who had been charged with murder without
first conducting a hearing. Likewise, in Loyola v. Gabo,
33
the Court fined the respondent judge in the
similar amount of P20,000.00 for granting bail to the accused in a murder case without the requisite bail
hearing. To accord with such precedents, the Court prescribes a fine of P20,000.00 on Judge Infante,
with a stern warning that a repetition of the offense or the commission of another serious offense will be
more severely dealt with.
WHEREFORE, we FIND AND DECLARE Judge Jaime I. Infante guilty of gross ignorance of the law and
the rules; and, accordingly, FINE him in the amount of P20,000.00, with a stern warning that a repetition
of the offense or the commission of another serious offense will be more severely dealt with.
Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Court Administrator for proper dissemination
to all trial judges.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 150185 May 27, 2004
TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE, petitioner,
vs.
HON. PEDRO DE LEON GUTIERREZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of RTC, Pasay City,
Branch 119; PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; and CECILIA MARUYAMA, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J .:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari, under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, as amended, that part
of the Decision
1
of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 60732 dismissing her petition for certiorari
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, as amended, for the nullification of the August 25 and 28, 2000
Orders of the respondent judge in Criminal Case No. 00-0749.
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The Antecedents
Cecilia Maruyama executed a fifteen-page affidavit-complaint
2
and filed the same with the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Pasay City, on December 29, 1999, charging Lorna Tanghal and petitioner Teresita
Tanghal Okabe, a.k.a. Shiela Okabe, with estafa. In her affidavit, Maruyama alleged, inter alia, that on
December 11, 1998, she entrusted Y11,410,000 with the peso equivalent of P3,993,500 to the petitioner,
who was engaged in the business of "door-to-door delivery" from Japan to the Philippines. It was alleged
that the petitioner failed to deliver the money as agreed upon, and, at first, denied receiving the said
amount but later returned only US$1,000 through Lorna Tanghal.
During the preliminary investigation, the complainant, respondent Maruyama, submitted the affidavit of
her witnesses, namely, Hermogena Santiago, Wilma Setsu and Marilette G. Izumiya and other
documentary evidence. In her affidavit, Setsu alleged that the money which was entrusted to the
petitioner for delivery to the Philippines belonged to her and her sister Annie Hashimoto, and their mother
Hermogena Sanchez-Quicho, who joined respondent Maruyama in her complaint against petitioner
Okabe and Tanghal. Respondent Maruyama, likewise, submitted a reply
3
to the petitioners counter-
affidavit. After the requisite preliminary investigation, 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor Joselito J. Vibandor
came out with a resolution dated March 30, 2000, finding probable cause for estafa against the
petitioner.
4
Attached to the resolution, which was submitted to the city prosecutor for approval, was the
Information
5
against the petitioner and Maruyamas affidavit-complaint. The city prosecutor approved the
resolution and the Information dated March 30, 2000 attached thereto.
6

On May 15, 2000, an Information against the petitioner was filed in the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City,
docketed as Criminal Case No. 00-0749. The case was raffled to Branch 119 of the court presided by
Judge Pedro de Leon Gutierrez.
7
The accusatory portion of the Information reads:
That on or about December 12, 1998 in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused defrauded Cecilia Maruyama and
Conchita Quicho, complainant herein, in the following manner, to wit: said accused received in
trust from Cecilia Maruyama the amount of Japanese Yen 1141 (sic) with peso equivalent to
P3,839,465.00 under obligation to deliver the money to Conchita Quicho at the NAIA International
Airport, Pasay City, immediately upon accused arrival from Japan, but herein accused once in
possession of the same, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate
and convert to her own personal benefit the said amount, and despite demands accused failed
and refused to do so, to the damage and prejudice of the complainants in the aforesaid amount.
Contrary to law.
8

Appended to the Information was the affidavit-complaint of respondent Maruyama and the resolution of
Investigating Prosecutor Vibandor. On May 19, 2000, the trial court issued a warrant for the arrest of the
petitioner with a recommended bond of P40,000. On June 15, 2000, the petitioner posted a personal 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 said warrant. The approved personal bail bond
of the petitioner was transmitted to the RTC of Pasig City on June 21, 2000. Upon her request, the
petitioner was furnished with a certified copy of the Information, the resolution and the criminal complaint
which formed part of the records of the said case. The petitioner left the Philippines for Japan on June 17,
2000 without the trial courts permission, and returned to the Philippines on June 28, 2000. She left the
Philippines anew on July 1, 2000, and returned on July 12, 2000.
On July 14, 2000, the trial court issued an Order setting the petitioners arraignment and pre-trial at 2:00
p.m. of July 16, 2000. On the same day, the private prosecutor filed an urgent ex parte motion for the
issuance of the hold departure order, alleging as follows:
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3. It has come to the knowledge of private complainant that there is an impending marriage within
the Philippines of either the son or daughter of the above-named accused and that the above-
named accusedwho has businesses in Japan, and is presently in Japanwill soon exit Japan
and enter the Philippines to precisely attend said wedding;
4. Given [a] the bail was fixed at merely P40,000.00 and [b] the considerable financial capability
of the accused, it is a foregone conclusion that the above-named accused will, upon arrest,
readily and immediately post bond, and leave for Japanthereby frustrating and rendering inutile
the administration of criminal justice in our country. The speed with which accused Teresita
Sheila Tanghal Okabe can post bond and leave for Japaneffectively evading arraignment and
pleathus necessitates the immediate issuance of a Hold Departure Order even before her
arrival here in the Philippines;
9

The trial court issued an order on the same day, granting the motion of the private prosecutor for the
issuance of a hold departure order and ordering the Commission on Immigration and Deportation (CID) to
hold and prevent any attempt on the part of the petitioner to depart from the Philippines.
10
For her part,
the petitioner filed on July 17, 2000 a verified motion for judicial determination of probable cause and to
defer proceedings/arraignment, alleging that the only documents appended to the Information submitted
by the investigating prosecutor were respondent Maruyamas affidavit-complaint for estafa and the
resolution of the investigating prosecutor; the affidavits of the witnesses of the complainant, the
respondents counter-affidavit and the other evidence adduced by the parties were not attached thereto.
The petitioner further alleged that the documents submitted by the investigating prosecutor were not
enough on which the trial court could base a finding of probable cause for estafa against her. She further
averred that conformably to the rulings of this Court in Lim v. Felix
11
and Roberts, Jr. v. Court of
Appeals,
12
it behooved the investigating prosecutor to submit the following to the trial court to enable it to
determine the presence or absence of probable cause: (a) copies of the affidavits of the witnesses of the
complainant; (b) the counter-affidavit of Okabe and those of her witnesses; (c) the transcripts of
stenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation; and, (d) other documents presented during
the said investigation.
On July 19, 2000, the petitioner filed a Very Urgent Motion To Lift/Recall Hold Departure Order dated July
17, 2000 and/or allow her to regularly travel to Japan alleging, thus:
3. Accused is (sic) widow and the legitimate mother of three (3) children, two (2) of whom are still
minors, namely:
3.1. Okabe, Jeffrey-18 years old born on 13 August 1981.
3.2. Okabe, Masatoshi-14 years old and born on 16 October 1985, 3rd year High School
student at Hoshikuki, Chiba City, Matsugaoka, High School, residing at Chiba City, Chuo-
Ku, Yahagi-cho, 205, Telephone No. 043-224-5804.
3.3. Okabe, Tomoki-13 years old and born on 13 March 1986, 2nd year High School
student at Hoshikuki, Chiba City, Matsugaoka, High School, residing at Chiba City, Chuo-
Ku, Yahagi-cho, 205, Telephone No. 043-224-5804.
3.4. The accused has to attend the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) at the Hoshikuki
High School where her two (2) minor sons aforesaid are presently enrolled and studying
because Okabe, Masatoshis graduation will take place on 26 July 2000.
3.5. The two (2) minor children of the accused absolutely depend their support (basic
necessities) for foods, clothings, medicines, rentals, schooling and all other expenses for
their survival to their legitimate mother who is the accused herein.
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3.6. The issuance of the hold departure order (HDO) will impair the inherent custodial
rights of the accused as the legitimate mother over these two (2) minor children which is
repugnant to law.
3.7. The issuance of the hold departure order (HDO) will unduly restrict the accused to
her custodial rights and visitation over her aforesaid minor children who are permanently
living in Japan.
3.8. The issuance of the hold departure order (HDO) will unduly deprived (sic) these
minor children to their right to obtain education and survival.
4. Accuseds only source of income and livelihood is door-to-door delivery from Japan to the
Philippines and vice versa which has been taking place for a very long period of time and in the
process she has been constantly departing from the Philippines on a weekly basis and arriving in
Japan on the same frequency, as evidenced by xerox copies of the pages of her Philippine
Passports which are hereto attached as Annexes "A," "A-1," "A-2" up to "A-30," respectively. To
deprive her of this only source of her livelihood to which the aforesaid two (2) minor children are
deriving their very survival in a foreign land will (sic) tantamount to oppression rather than
prosecution and depriving the said minor sons of their right to live even before trial on the merits
of this case that will (sic) tantamount to the destruction of the future of these minor children.
13

The private prosecutor opposed the petitioners motions during the hearing on July 21, 2000 which was
also the date set for her arraignment. The hearing of the motions as well as the arraignment was reset to
2:00 p.m. of July 26, 2000. On the said date, the petitioner filed a manifestation objecting to her
arraignment prior to the resolution of her pending motions. She alleged that her arraignment for the crime
charged should not be made a condition for the granting of her motion to recall the hold departure order
issued against her. The arraignment of the petitioner was again reset to 2:00 p.m. of August 28, 2000,
pending the resolution of her two motions. On August 25, 2000, the petitioner filed a motion for the
postponement of her arraignment alleging that, in case the trial court ruled adversely thereon, she would
refuse to enter a plea and seek relief from the appellate court. The court denied the petitioners motions
on the following grounds:
(a) Based on its personal examination and consideration of the Information, the affidavit-
complaint of respondent Maruyama and the resolution of the investigating prosecutor duly
approved by the city prosecutor, the court found probable cause for the petitioners arrest. Since
the petitioners motion for a determination of probable cause was made after the court had
already found probable cause and issued a warrant for the petitioners arrest, and after the latter
filed a personal bail bond for her provisional liberty, such motion was a mere surplusage;
(b) When the petitioner posted a personal bail bond for her provisional liberty, she thereby waived
her right to question the courts finding of the existence of probable cause for her arrest and
submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the court, more so when she filed the motion for the lifting
of the hold departure order the court issued, and the motion to defer the proceedings and her
arraignment; and
(c) The hold departure order issued by the trial court was in accord with Supreme Court Circular
No. 39-97 dated June 19, 1997, as well as the ruling of this Court in Manotoc, Jr. v. Court of
Appeals.
14

When the case was called for the petitioners arraignment at 2:00 p.m., on August 28, 2000, she refused
to plead.
15
Her counsel advised her, in open court, not to enter a plea and, with leave of court, left the
courtroom. The court then entered a not guilty plea for the petitioner.
16
It also issued an order, on the said
date, setting the pre-trial and initial presentation of the evidence of the prosecution at 8:30 a.m. of
September 20, 2000.
17

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The petitioner then filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court with a plea for a writ of preliminary injunction. The case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 60732.
The petitioner ascribed the following errors to the trial court:
I
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT ISSUED WARRANT OF ARREST
DESPITE OF (SIC) LACK OF PROBABLE CAUSE
II
RESPONDENT COURT HAS VIOLATED THE RIGHT OF THE PETITIONER TO DUE
PROCESS
III
RESPONDENT COURT HAS ALREADY PRE-JUDGED THE CONVICTION OF THE
PETITIONER FOR ESTAFA
IV
RESPONDENT COURT HAS EXHIBITED ITS APPARENT PARTIALITY TOWARDS THE
PROSECUTION AND AGAINST THE PETITIONER
V
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT DENIES (SIC) THE MOTION FOR
JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF PROBABLE CAUSE PURSUANT TO THE DOCTRINE OF
ROBERTS, JR.
VI
RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT DENIES (SIC) THE LIFTING/RECALL OF
THE HDO AND/OR ALLOWING THE PETITIONER TO TRAVEL TO JAPAN REGULARLY FOR
HUMANITARIAN CONSIDERATION
VII
RESPONDENT COURT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO
LACK OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT ISSUED THE QUESTIONED ORDERS
18

On January 31, 2001, the CA rendered a Decision
19
partially granting the petition in that the assailed
order of the trial court denying the petitioners motion to lift/recall the hold departure order was set aside.
However, the petitioners motion for reconsideration of the trial courts decision was denied and her
petition for the nullification of the August 25, 2000 Order of the respondent judge was dismissed. The CA
ruled that by posting bail and praying for reliefs from the trial court, the petitioner waived her right to assail
the respondent judges finding of the existence of probable cause. The appellate court cited the ruling of
this Court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan.
20
Thus, the appellate court affirmed the assailed order of
the RTC, based on the respondent judges personal examination of respondent Maruyamas affidavit-
complaint, the resolution of the investigating prosecutor and the Information approved by the city
prosecutor, a finding of probable cause was in order. However, the appellate court allowed the petitioner
to travel to Japan under the following conditions:
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(1) That petitioner post a bond double the amount of her alleged monetary liability under the
Information filed against her, as recommended by the Office of the Solicitor General;
(2) That petitioner inform respondent Court of each and all of her travel itinerary prior to leaving
the country;
(3) That petitioner make periodic reports with respondent Court;
(4) That petitioner furnish respondent Court with all the addresses of her possible place of
residence, both here and in Japan; and
(5) Such other reasonable conditions which respondent Court may deem appropriate under the
circumstances.
21

The appellate court did not resolve the issue of whether the trial court had prejudged the case and was
partial to the prosecution. The decretal portion of the decision of the CA reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant special civil action for certiorari is hereby
PARTIALLY GRANTED insofar as the denial of petitioners Motion to Lift/Recall Hold Departure
Order dated 14 July, 2000 and/or Allow the accused to Regularly Travel to Japan is concerned. In
all other respect, the same is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
22

On March 6, 2001, the petitioner filed a motion for a partial reconsideration of the decision of the CA
contending that the appellate court erred in applying the ruling of this court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of
Appeals
23
instead of Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. The petitioner
posited that the said rule, which took effect on December 1, 2000, before the court rendered its decision,
had superseded the ruling of this Court in the Cojuangco case. However, the appellate court held that
Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure cannot be applied retroactively,
because the petitioner had posted bail on June 15, 2000 before the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure
took effect.
Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari for the reversal of the decision and resolution of the CA
and praying that after due proceedings, judgment be rendered in her favor, thus:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Supreme Court that after due
proceedings judgment be rendered in favor of the petitioner and against the respondents as
follows:
(a) GIVING DUE COURSE to the instant petition;
(b) ORDERING the REVERSAL and PARTIALLY SETTING ASIDE of the Decision
promulgated on 31 January 2001 (Annex "A" hereof) of the Honorable Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 60732 as well as its Resolution promulgated on 27 September 2001
(Annex "B" hereof);
(c) ORDERING the DISMISSAL of Crim. Case No. 00-0749 for lack of probable cause;
(d) DECLARING the entire proceedings in Crim. Case No. 00-0749 as null and void;
(e) ORDERING the private respondents to pay the petitioners the following amount:
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(i) at least P1,000,000.00 as moral damages;
(ii) at least P1,000,000.00 as exemplary damages;
(iii) at least P500,000.00 as attorneys fees and for other expenses of litigation.
(f) ORDERING the private respondent to pay the costs of this suit.
(g) Petitioner further prays for such other reliefs just and equitable under the premises.
24

The petitioner asserts that the CA committed the following reversible errors:
I
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT
COMPLETELY DISREGARDED THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 26, RULE 114 OF THE
REVISED RULES ON CRIMINAL PROCEDURE WHICH TOOK EFFECT ON 01 DECEMBER
2000 WHICH IS FAVORABLE TO THE PETITIONER/ACCUSED.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT
"WHATEVER INFIRMITY THERE WAS IN THE ISSUANCE OF THE WARRANT OF ARREST,
THE SAME WAS CURED WHEN PETITIONER VOLUNTARILY SUBMITTED TO THE
RESPONDENT COURTS JURISDICTION WHEN SHE POSTED BAIL AND FILED MOTIONS
SEEKING AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF SUCH AS MOTION TO LIFT/RECALL HOLD DEPARTURE
ORDER AND TO ALLOW PETITIONER TO TRAVEL REGULARLY TO JAPAN (Last paragraph,
Page 9 DECISION dated 31 January 2001)."
III
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT RELIED
UPON THE RULING IN THE CASE OF COJUANGCO, JR. VS. SANDIGANBAYAN, [300 SCRA
367 (1998)] WHEN IN FACT SAID RULING IS NOW OBSOLETE AND NO LONGER
APPLICABLE.
IV
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN RULING THAT
RESPONDENT COURT COMPLIED WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS ON THE
ISSUANCE OF WARRANT OF ARREST WITHOUT PROBABLE CAUSE, WHEN THE
RESPONDENT COURT MERELY RELIED ON [THE] (i) COMPLAINT-AFFIDAVIT OF CECILIA
MARUYAMA; (ii) RESOLUTION OF THE INVESTIGATING PROSECUTOR; AND (iii) CRIMINAL
INFORMATION.
V
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MADE A REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT FAILED
TO RULE ON THE PARTIALITY OF THE RESPONDENT JUDGE IN HANDLING THE CASE
BELOW WHICH IS VIOLATIVE OF THE PETITIONERS RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.
VI
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THE FILING OF CRIM. CASE NO. 4297 (MTC, ANGAT, BULACAN) FOR ESTAFA ENTITLED
"PEOPLE VS. SHEILA OKABE"; CIVIL CASE NO. 331-M-98 (RTC, MALOLOS, BULACAN) FOR
SUM OF MONEY WITH PRELIMINARY ATTACHMENT ENTITLED "CONCHITA SANCHEZ-
QUICHO VS. SHEILA TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE"; AND CRIM. CASE NO. 00-07-19 (RTC,
PASAY CITY, BRANCH 119) ENTITLED "PEOPLE VS. TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE"
CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF THE RULE ON NON-FORUM SHOPPING.
25

By way of comment, the Office of the Solicitor General refuted the petitioners assigned errors,
contending as follows:
I
The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in not applying Section 26, Rule 114 of the
Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.
II
The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in ruling that the infirmity, if any, in the
issuance by the respondent Judge of the warrant of arrest against petitioner was cured when
petitioner voluntarily submitted to the trial courts jurisdiction when she posted bail and filed
motions seeking for affirmative reliefs from the trial court, such as the motion to lift/recall Hold
Departure Order (HDO) and to allow petitioner to travel regularly to Japan.
III
The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in applying the ruling in the Cojuangco
case.
IV
The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error in finding that respondent Judge complied
with the constitutional requirements on the issuance of a warrant of arrest.
V
The Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error when it did not rule on the partiality of the
respondent Judge in handling Criminal Case No. 00-0749.
VI
The Honorable Court of Appeals did not commit a reversible error when it did not rule on
petitioners claim of forum shopping.
26

The Court shall resolve the assigned errors simultaneously as they are interrelated.
The petitioner asserts that the respondent judge could not have determined the existence of probable
cause for her arrest solely on the resolution of the investigating prosecutor and the undated affidavit-
complaint of respondent Maruyama. She posits that the respondent judge should have ordered the
investigating prosecutor to submit the affidavits of the witnesses of respondent Maruyama and the latters
documentary evidence, as well as the counter-affidavit of the petitioner and the transcripts of the
stenographic notes, if any, taken during the preliminary investigation. The petitioner adds that the
respondent judge should have personally reviewed the said documents, conformably to the rulings of this
Court in Lim v. Felix,
27
Roberts, Jr. v. Court of Appeals
28
and Ho v. People,
29
before determining the
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314

presence or absence of probable cause. She posits that the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in denying her motion for a determination of
probable cause, and the alternative motion for a dismissal of the case against her for lack of probable
cause.
The petitioner further asserts that the appellate court erred in affirming the ruling of the respondent judge
that, by posting a personal bail bond for her provisional liability and by filing several motions for relief, she
thereby voluntarily submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the trial court and waived her right to assail the
infirmities that infected the trial courts issuance of the warrant for her arrest. She avers that the appellate
courts reliance on the ruling of this Court in Cojuangco, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan
30
is misplaced, and submits
that the appellate court should have applied Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court
retroactively, as it rendered the ruling of this Court in the Cojuangco, Jr. case obsolete.
The Office of the Solicitor General, on the other hand, asserts that the respondent judge did not commit
any grave abuse of discretion when he found probable cause against the petitioner for estafa, and
thereafter issued a warrant for her arrest. It argues that the respondent judge personally determined the
existence of probable cause independently of the certification of the investigating prosecutor, and only
after examining the Information, the resolution of the investigating prosecutor, as well as the affidavit-
complaint of the private complainant. It asserts that such documents are sufficient on which to anchor a
finding of probable cause. It insists that the appellate court correctly applied the ruling of this Court in the
Cojuangco, Jr. v. Court of Appeals case, and that the respondent judge complied with both the
requirements of the constitution and those set forth in the Rules of Court before issuing the said
warrant.
31

We agree with the contention of the petitioner that the appellate court erred in not applying Section 26,
Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, viz:
SEC. 26. Bail not a bar to objections on illegal arrest, lack of or irregular preliminary investigation.
An application for or admission to bail shall not bar the accused from challenging the validity of
his arrest or the legality of the warrant issued therefor, or from assailing the regularity or
questioning the absence of a preliminary investigation of the charge against him, provided that he
raises them before entering his plea. The court shall resolve the matter as early as practicable but
not later than the start of the trial of the case.
It bears stressing that Section 26, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure is a new one,
intended to modify previous rulings of this Court that an application for bail or the admission to bail by the
accused shall be considered as a waiver of his right to assail the warrant issued for his arrest on the
legalities or irregularities thereon.
32
The new rule has reverted to the ruling of this Court in People v.
Red.
33
The new rule is 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.
34
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.
35
Before the appellate
court rendered its decision on January 31, 2001, the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure was already in
effect. It behooved the appellate court to have applied the same in resolving the petitioners petition for
certiorari and her motion for partial reconsideration.
Moreover, considering the conduct of the petitioner after posting her personal bail bond, it cannot be
argued that she waived her right to question the finding of probable cause and to assail the warrant of
arrest issued against her by the respondent judge. There must be clear and convincing proof that the
petitioner had an actual intention to relinquish her right to question the existence of probable cause.
36

When the only proof of intention rests on what a party does, his act should be so manifestly consistent
with, and indicative of, an intent to voluntarily and unequivocally relinquish the particular right that no
other explanation of his conduct is possible.
37
In this case, the records show that a warrant was issued by
the respondent judge in Pasay City for the arrest of the petitioner, a resident of Guiguinto, Bulacan. When
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the petitioner learned of the issuance of the said warrant, she posted a personal bail bond to avert her
arrest and secure her provisional liberty. Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal of the RTC of Quezon City
approved the bond and issued an order recalling the warrant of arrest against the petitioner. Thus, the
posting of a personal bail bond was a matter of imperative necessity to avert her incarceration; it should
not be deemed as a waiver of her right to assail her arrest. So this Court ruled in People v. Red:
38

The present defendants were arrested towards the end of January, 1929, on the Island and
Province of Marinduque by order of the judge of the Court of First Instance of Lucena, Tayabas,
at a time when there were no court sessions being held in Marinduque. In view of these
circumstances and the number of the accused, it may properly be held that the furnishing of the
bond was prompted by the sheer necessity of not remaining in detention, and in no way implied
their waiver of any right, such as the summary examination of the case before their detention.
That they had no intention of waiving this right is clear from their motion of January 23, 1929, the
same day on which they furnished a bond, and the fact that they renewed this petition on
February 23, 1929, praying for the stay of their arrest for lack of the summary examination; the
first motion being denied by the court on January 24, 1929 (G.R. No. 33708, page 8), and the
second remaining undecided, but with an order to have it presented in Boac, Marinduque.
Therefore, the defendants herein cannot be said to have waived the right granted to them by
section 13, General Order No. 58, as amended by Act No. 3042.
39

Moreover, the next day, or on June 16, 2000, the petitioner, through counsel, received certified true
copies of the Information, the resolution of the investigating prosecutor, the affidavit-complaint of the
private complainant, respondent Maruyama, and a certification from the branch clerk of court that only the
Information, resolution and affidavit-complaint formed part of the entire records of the case. The next day,
June 17, 2000, the petitioner, through counsel, filed a verified motion for judicial determination of probable
cause and to defer the proceedings and her arraignment. All the foregoing are inconsistent with a waiver
of her right to assail the validity of her arrest and to question the respondent judges determination of the
existence of probable cause for her arrest.
Neither can the petitioners filing of a motion for the lifting of the hold departure order and for leave to go
to Japan be considered a waiver of her right to assail the validity of the arrest warrant issued by the
respondent judge. It bears stressing that when the petitioner filed the motion to lift the hold departure
order issued against her by the respondent judge, her motion for a determination of probable cause was
still unresolved. She sought a lifting of the hold departure order on July 14, 2000 and filed a motion for
leave to go to Japan, to give the respondent judge an opportunity to reconsider the said order,
preparatory to assailing the same in the appellate court in case her motion was denied.
The issue that now comes to fore is whether or not the respondent judge committed a grave abuse of his
discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in issuing his August 25, 2000 Order. By grave
abuse of discretion is meant such patent and gross abuse of discretion as to amount to an evasion of
positive duty or 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 arbitrary and despotic manner by reasons of passion or personal
hostility.
40
Hence, when the court has jurisdiction over the case, its questioned acts, even if its findings
are not correct, would at most constitute errors of law and not abuse of discretion correctible by the
extraordinary remedy of certiorari.
41

We agree with the petitioner that before the RTC judge issues a warrant of arrest under Section 6, Rule
112 of the Rules of Court
42
in relation to Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the judge must
make a personal determination of the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the
accused. The duty to make such determination is personal and exclusive to the issuing judge. He cannot
abdicate his duty and rely on the certification of the investigating prosecutor that he had conducted a
preliminary investigation in accordance with law and the Rules of Court, as amended, and found probable
cause for the filing of the Information.
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316

Under Section 1, Rule 112 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the investigating prosecutor, in
conducting a preliminary investigation of a case cognizable by the RTC, is tasked to determine whether
there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the
respondent therein is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial. A preliminary investigation is for
the purpose of securing the innocent against hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution, and to protect
him from an open and public accusation of a crime, from the trouble, expense and anxiety of a public
trial.
43

If the investigating prosecutor finds probable cause for the filing of the Information against the
respondent, he executes a certification at the bottom of the Information that from the evidence presented,
there is a reasonable ground to believe that the offense charged has been committed and that the
accused is probably guilty thereof. Such certification of the investigating prosecutor is, by itself,
ineffective. It is not binding on the trial court. Nor may the RTC rely on the said certification as basis for a
finding of the existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.
44

In contrast, the task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the court is first and foremost
to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused. Probable
cause is meant such set of facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent
man to believe that the offense charged in the Information or any offense included therein has been
committed by the person sought to be arrested.
45
In determining probable cause, the average man
weighs facts and circumstances without resorting to the calibrations of the rules of evidence of which he
has no technical knowledge. He relies on common sense.
46
A finding of probable cause needs only to
rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed and that it was committed
by the accused. Probable cause demands more than bare suspicion, it requires less than evidence which
would justify conviction.
47

The purpose of the mandate of the judge to first determine probable cause for the arrest of the accused is
to insulate from the very start those falsely charged of crimes from the tribulations, expenses and anxiety
of a public trial:
It must be stressed, however, that in these exceptional cases, the Court took the extraordinary
step of annulling findings of probable cause either to prevent the misuse of the strong arm of the
law or to protect the orderly administration of justice. The constitutional duty of this Court in
criminal litigations is not only to acquit the innocent after trial but to insulate, from the start, the
innocent from unfounded charges. For the Court is aware of the strains of a criminal accusation
and the stresses of litigation which should not be suffered by the clearly innocent. The filing of an
unfounded criminal information in court exposes the innocent to severe distress especially when
the crime is not bailable. Even an acquittal of the innocent will not fully bleach the dark and deep
stains left by a baseless accusation for reputation once tarnished remains tarnished for a long
length of time. The expense to establish innocence may also be prohibitive and can be more
punishing especially to the poor and the powerless. Innocence ought to be enough and the
business of this Court is to shield the innocent from senseless suits right from the start.
48

In determining the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused, the RTC
judge may rely on the findings and conclusions in the resolution of the investigating prosecutor finding
probable cause for the filing of the Information. After all, as the Court held in Webb v. De Leon,
49
the
judge just personally reviews the initial determination of the investigating prosecutor finding a probable
cause to see if it is supported by substantial evidence.
50
However, in determining the existence or non-
existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused, the judge should not rely solely on the said
report.
51
The judge should consider not only the report of the investigating prosecutor but also the
affidavit/affidavits and the documentary evidence of the parties, the counter-affidavit of the accused and
his witnesses, as well as the transcript of stenographic notes taken during the preliminary investigation, if
any, submitted to the court by the investigating prosecutor upon the filing of the Information.
52
Indeed, in
Ho v. People,
53
this Court held that:
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Lastly, it is not required that the complete or entire records of the case during the preliminary
investigation be submitted to and examined by the judge. We do not intend to unduly burden trial
courts by obliging them to examine the complete records of every case all the time simply for the
purpose of ordering the arrest of an accused. What is required, rather, is that the judge must have
sufficient supporting documents (such as the complaint, affidavits, counter-affidavits, sworn
statements of witnesses or transcripts of stenographic notes, if any) upon which to make his
independent judgment or, at the very least, upon which to verify the findings of the prosecutor as
to the existence of probable cause. The point is: he cannot rely solely and entirely on the
prosecutors recommendation, as Respondent Court did in this case. Although the prosecutor
enjoys the legal presumption of regularity in the performance of his official duties and functions,
which in turn gives his report the presumption of accuracy, the Constitution, we repeat,
commands the judge to personally determine probable cause in the issuance of warrants of
arrest. This Court has consistently held that a judge fails in his bounden duty if he relies merely
on the certification or the report of the investigating officer.
54

The rulings of this Court are now embedded in Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
Procedure which provides that an Information or complaint filed in court shall be supported by the
affidavits and counter-affidavits of the parties and their witnesses, together with the other supporting
evidence of the resolution:
SEC. 8. Records. (a) Records supporting the information or complaint. An information or
complaint filed in court shall be supported by the affidavits and counter-affidavits of the parties
and their witnesses, together with the other supporting evidence and the resolution on the case.
If the judge is able to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause on the basis of the
records submitted by the investigating prosecutor, there would no longer be a need to order the elevation
of the rest of the records of the case. However, if the judge finds the records and/or evidence submitted
by the investigating prosecutor to be insufficient, he may order the dismissal of the case, or direct the
investigating prosecutor either to submit more evidence or to submit the entire records of the preliminary
investigation, to enable him to discharge his duty.
55
The judge may even call the complainant and his
witness to themselves answer the courts probing questions to determine the existence of probable
cause.
56
The rulings of this Court in Soliven v. Makasiar
57
and Lim v. Felix
58
are now embodied in Section
6, Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, with modifications, viz:
SEC. 6. When warrant of arrest may issue. (a) By the Regional Trial Court. Within ten (10)
days from the filing of the complaint or information, the judge shall personally evaluate the
resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. He may immediately dismiss the case if
the evidence on record clearly fails to establish probable cause. If he finds probable cause, he
shall issue a warrant of arrest, or a commitment order if the accused has already been arrested
pursuant to a warrant issued by the judge who conducted the preliminary investigation or when
the complaint or information was filed pursuant to section 7 of this Rule. In case of doubt on the
existence of probable cause, the judge may order the prosecutor to present additional evidence
within five (5) days from notice and the issue must be resolved by the court within thirty (30) days
from the filing of the complaint of information.
In this case, the investigating prosecutor submitted to the respondent judge only his resolution after his
preliminary investigation of the case and the affidavit-complaint of the private complainant, and failed to
include the affidavits of the witnesses of the private complainant, and the latters reply affidavit, the
counter-affidavit of the petitioner, as well as the evidence adduced by the private complainant as required
by case law, and now by Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. The
aforecited affidavits, more specifically the fax message of Lorna Tanghal and the document signed by her
covering the amount of US$1,000, are of vital importance, as they would enable the respondent judge to
properly determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause.
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First. When respondent Maruyama handed the money to the petitioner, she did not require the latter to
sign a document acknowledging receipt of the amount. The petitioner avers that it is incredible that
Maruyama would entrust P3,993,500 in Japanese Yen to her without even requiring her to sign a receipt
therefor, especially since respondent Maruyama was not even the owner of the money;
Second. The affidavit of Hermogena Santiago, a witness of the respondent, is unreliable, because it is
based on information relayed to her by Lorna Tanghal that she (Tanghal) saw the petitioner carrying a
Louis Vuitton bag while on board a Mitsubishi L300 van with the petitioner. It appears that Tanghal failed
to submit any counter-affidavit to the investigating prosecutor;
Third. The affidavit of Marilette G. Izumiya, another witness of the respondent, is also unreliable, as it was
based on information relayed to her by Thelma Barbiran, who used to work for the petitioner as a
housemaid, that she (Barbiran) had in her possession a fax message from Lorna Tanghal, implicating the
petitioner in the crime charged. Barbiran did not execute any affidavit;
Fourth. There is no indication in the resolution of the investigating prosecutor that the petitioner received
the fax message of Lorna Tanghal;
Fifth. The private complainant claims that the petitioner tried to reimburse the P3,993,500 by remitting
US$1,000 to her. However, the latter admitted in her affidavit-complaint that the document evidencing the
remittance was signed by Lorna Tanghal, not by the petitioner. The petitioner claimed that Lorna Tanghal
had to remit US$1,000 to respondent Maruyama because the latter made it appear to Tanghal that the
police authorities were about to arrest the petitioner, and Tanghal was impelled to give the amount to
respondent Maruyama to avert her arrest and incarceration;
Sixth. In her counter-affidavit, the petitioner alleged that respondent Maruyama had no case against her
because the crime charged in the latters affidavit-complaint was the same as that filed against her in the
Metropolitan Trial Court of Bulacan, which was withdrawn by the complainant herself;
Seventh. The investigating prosecutor stated in his resolution that the private complainant established the
element of deceit. However, the crime charged against the petitioner as alleged in the Information is
estafa with abuse of confidence.
In sum, then, we find and so declare that the respondent judge committed a grave abuse of his discretion
amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction in finding probable cause for the petitioners arrest in the
absence of copies of the affidavits of the witnesses of the private complainant and her reply affidavit, the
counter-affidavit of the petitioner, and the evidence adduced during the preliminary investigation before
the investigating prosecutor.
In view of the foregoing disquisitions, there is no more need to resolve the other issues raised by the
petitioner.
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed decision of the Court of
Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The assailed Orders dated August 25 and 28, 2000 and the
Warrant of Arrest issued by the respondent judge in Criminal Case No. 00-0749 are SET ASIDE. The
records are REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 119. The respondent judge is
hereby DIRECTED to determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the
petitioner based on the complete records, as required under Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules
on Criminal Procedure.
SO ORDERED.