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People vs. Hon. Cabral, G.R. No. 131909, February 18, 1999

ssue pertains to the orders of the lower court granting accused-respondents

application for bail which it justified through its summary of the evidence presented
during the hearin
In this case, accused-respondent was being charged with rape qualified by the use
of a deadly weapon punishable by reclusion perpetua to death.[5] As such, bail is
discretionary and not a matter of right. The grant or denial of an application for bail
is, therefore, dependent on whether the evidence of guilt is strong which the lower
court should determine in a hearing called for the purpose. The determination of
whether the evidence of guilt is strong, in this regard, is a matter of judicial
discretion. While the lower court would never be deprived of its mandated
prerogative to exercise judicial discretion, this Court would unhesitatingly reverse
the trial courts findings if found to be laced with grave abuse of discretion.

By judicial discretion, the law mandates the determination of whether proof is

evident or the presumption of guilt is strong.[6] Proof evident or Evident proof in
this connection has been held to mean clear, strong evidence which leads a wellguarded dispassionate judgment to the conclusion that the offense has been
committed as charged, that accused is the guilty agent, and that he will probably be
punished capitally if the law is administered.[7] Presumption great exists when the
circumstances testified to are such that the inference of guilt naturally to be drawn
therefrom is strong, clear, and convincing to an unbiased judgment and excludes all
reasonable probability of any other conclusion.[8] Even though there is a reasonable
doubt as to the guilt of accused, if on an examination of the entire record the
presumption is great that accused is guilty of a capital offense, bail should be
The present Constitution, as previously adverted to, provides that in crimes
punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, bail is not a
matter of right. This Court has reiterated this mandate in Section 7, Rule 14 of the
Rules of Court. Recently, this Court laid down the following rules in Basco v. Judge
Rapatalo[17]which outlined the duties of a judge in case an application for bail is

(1) Notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require him to
submit his recommendation;

(2) 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 discretion;

(3) Decide whether the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong based on the
summary of evidence of the prosecution; (Italics supplied)

(4) If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval
of the bailbond. Otherwise, petition should be denied.

Based on the above-cited procedure and requirements, after the hearing, the courts
order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the evidence for the
prosecution.[18] A summary is defined as a comprehensive and usually brief
abstract or digest of a text or statement.[19]

Atty. Gacal vs. Judge Infante, A.M. No. RTJ- 04-1845, October 5, 2011

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 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 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 case no application for bail is filed,
bail hearing was not dispensable
Public prosecutors failure to oppose
application for bail or to adduce evidence
did not dispense with hearing

Judge Infantes granting of bail without a hearing was

censurable for gross ignorance of the law and the rules

People vs. Gambao, G.R. No. 172707, October 1, 2003

the accused-appellants
withdrew their plea of not guilty and were re-arraigned. They
subsequently entered pleas of guilty to the crime of kidnapping for
ransom, a capital offense. This Court, in People v. Oden,
37 laid down the
duties of the trial court when the accused pleads guilty to a capital offense.
The trial court is mandated:
(1) to conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full
comprehension of the consequences of the plea of guilt,
(2) to require the prosecution to still prove the guilt of the accused and
the precise degree of his culpability, and
(3) to inquire whether or not the accused wishes to present evidence in
his behalf and allow him to do so if he desires.38
The rationale behind the rule is that the courts must proceed with
more care where the possible punishment is in its severest form, namely
death, for the reason that the execution of such a sentence is irreversible.
The primordial purpose is to avoid improvident pleas of guilt on the part of
an accused where grave crimes are involved since he might be admitting his
guilt before the court and thus forfeiting his life and liberty without having
fully understood the meaning, significance and consequence of his plea.39
Moreover, the requirement of taking further evidence would aid this Court
on appellate review in determining the propriety or impropriety of the plea.40
Anent the first requisite, the searching inquiry determines whether the
plea of guilt was based on a free and informed judgement. The inquiry must
focus on the voluntariness of the plea and the full comprehension of the
consequences of the plea. This Court finds no cogent reason for deviating

from the guidelines provided by jurisprudence41

As a general rule, convictions based on an improvident plea of guilt
are set aside and the cases are remanded for further proceedings if such plea
is the sole basis of judgement. If the trial court, however, relied on sufficient
and credible evidence to convict the accused, as it did in this case, the
conviction must be sustained, because then it is predicated not merely on the
guilty plea but on evidence proving the commission of the offense charged.45
The manner by which the plea of guilty is made, whether improvidently or

43 Id. at 2.
44 Id.
45 People v. Pastor, supra note 40 at 997.
Decision 11 G.R. No. 172707
not, loses legal significance where the conviction can be based on
independent evidence proving the commission of the crime by the accused.46
Contrary to accused-appellants assertions, they were convicted by the
trial court, not on the basis of their plea of guilty, but on the strength of the
evidence adduced by the prosecution, which was properly appreciated by the
trial court.47 The prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the accusedappellants
and their degrees of culpability beyond reasonable doubt.