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Jojo Pastor Bravo

----vs--Hon. Melecio Borja


Capital Offense
FACTS:
1. Detained after his arrest (for murder), Petitioner filed a motion for bail based on the
following grounds:
a. Evidence of guilt is not strong because the prosecution witness Del Rosario
retracted his testimony identifying Petitioner as the assailant
b. That he is a minor entitled to a mitigating circumstance which would make the
murder charge non-capital.
2. At the hearing, retracting witness Del Rosario made another turnabout
3. Respondent Judge denied motion for bail, evidence of guilt is strong and minority is not
proven
4. Petitioner filed MR, saying that the birth certificate proved his age, as was attached in his
previous motion
5. Respondent Judge denied MR
6. Petitioner then filed a motion to be placed in the custody and care of the DSWD for
youth offenders on trial. Denied by Respondent Judge for lack of merit.
a. The law cited by Petitioner in moving for the DSWD custody only applies where
the minor is charged with a bailable offense.
7. Meanwhile, the NBI submitted a report that it was actually prosecution witness Del
Rosario who killed the deceased, and not Petitioner.
a. From this, Petitioner moved to have the case reinvestigated.
b. Respondent Judge denied this, saying that it was dilatory. No reinvestigation has
taken place ever since.
8. Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: W/N Petitioner is entitled to bail
HELD: Yes. But SC has a different reason.
RATIO:
Under the constitution, bail is a matter of right before conviction unless the accused is charged
with a capital offense. In this case, the charge against Petitioner is Murder qualified by
Treachery attended by two aggravating circumstance: Evident Premeditation and Nocturnity.
Punichable by reclusion temporal to death, the crime is therefore a capital offense.
Petitioner argues that his minority entitles him to a mitigating circumstance which would lower
the penalty by one degree, making his charge not a capital offense. In sum, Petitioner argues
that the test to determine if it is a capital offense is w/n it is the one to be actually imposed on
him.

SC disagrees.
The test on determining whether an offense is a capital offense or not is not on what would
actually be imposed upon the accused, as what Petitioner argues. Under R114 S5, Capital
punishment 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.
It is clear from this provision that the capital nature of an offense is determined by what the law
prescribes, with reference to a strong evidence of guilt. To allow bail on the basis of the penalty
actually imposed would require evidence not only of the commission of the crime but also of the
aggravating and mitigating circumstances. There would then be a complete trial because all of
the evidence needs to be appreciated, and by then the judge would be ready to render a
decision. Such procedure would defeat the purpose of bail.
However, SC disagrees with Respondent Judge that Petitioner has not proven his minority.
Respondent Judge refused to take cognizance of the attached birth certificate in the motion
because he said that the same was not offered in evidence. SC said that this is erroneous, the
evidence of Petitioners minority is already part of the records. The birth certificate was properly
filed in support of a motion, which is allowed under R133 S7.
WHEREFORE, Bail granted, fixed at 15k