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OCENAR VS MABUTIN

FACTS:
In a verified complaint filed before the OCA, Antonio Ocenar charges Judge Odelon S. Mabutin , MTC
of Catbalogan with grave misconduct and gross ignorance of the law.
Ocenar narrates: On Nov. 5 2002, Raymond Masanto was arrestes by the police officers of
Catbalogan in a buy- bust operation. Confiscated from him were shabu paraphernalias, money and
3.8 grams of shabu. A violation of Sec. 5 of the Dangerous Drugs Act was filed against him.
Respondent judge conducted the p. investigation which was terminated on Jan. 07, 2003. Even
before the conclusion of the P.I., respondent judge approved the motion for bail of Monsanto in the
amount of P150,000 on Dec. 26, 2002.
Complainant insisted that Monsanto is not entitled to bail because the penalty is life imprisonment
to death. He further claims that the respondent judge gave undue favor to Monsanto because the
latter was the grandson of Executive Judge Monsanto. He compared such case to another wherein
accused Felix Bantugan caught in possession of 0.06 grams of shabu was denied his bail by the
respondent.
Respondent judge in his comment, states that the instant admin. Complaint is not the 1st time the
complainant dragged the respondent to an unnecessary suit. Complainant filed a case of partiality
against respondent but was dismissed for lack of merit. Mabutin states that the case was heard on
12, 17, 19 and 20 of Dec. 2002. He admits that initially there was no notice given to the OPP of sama,
there was no irregularity as clarificatory hearings are heard w/o the appearance of the prosec.
Respondent states Section 4 and 17(b) of Rule 114 in his authority to grant bail.
On the charge of partiality and the denial of bail to Bantugan, the reason proferred by the judge is
simply because no bail was applied for by Bantugan. He also states that he had not dealt with Judge
Monsanto personally.
After referral to the OCA, the case is recommended to be dismissed for lack of merit.
ISSUE 1: WON respondent has the authority to grant bail.
ISSUE 2: WON respondent has sufficiently complied with the requirements of the law before his
approval of the bail application.
HELD 1: YES. The long settled rule is that a municipal judge conducting a preliminary invest. Of a
person in custody and charged with a capital offense has the authority to grant bail. Section 17 of
Rule 114 states that:
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.
HELD 2: YES. Respondent has more than sufficiently complied with the requirements of the law
before his approval of the bail application of Monsanto. The prosecutor assigned to the court to
appear in behalf of the people was notified of the hearing on the application of bail and directed to
make a recommendation. The bail application was heard on different occasions before it was
granted. The order allowing the accused to be released on bail on the ground that the evidence of
guilt is not strong was based on and contained a summary of the evidence of the prosecution as
required by law.