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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 172707

October 1, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,


vs.
HALIL GAMBAO Y ESMAIL, EDDIE KARIM Y USO, EDWIN DUKILMAN Y SUBOH, TONY ABAO Y SULA, RAUL UDAL Y KAGUI, THENG
DILANGALEN Y NANDING, JAMAN MACALINBOL Y KATOL, MONETTE RONAS Y AMPIL, NORA EVAD Y MULOK, THIAN PERPENIAN Y RAFON
A.K.A LARINA PERPENIAN AND JOHN DOES, ACCUSED-APPELLANTS.
DECISION
PEREZ, J.:
Before this Court for Automatic Review is the Decision1 dated 28 June 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 00863, which affirmed
with modification the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, Branch 109 dated 16 October 1998, finding accused-appellants Halil
Gambao y Esmail, Eddie Karim y Uso, Edwin Dukilman y Suboh, Tony Abao y Sula, Raul Udal y Kagui, Teng Mandao y Haron, Theng Dilangalen y
Nanding, Jaman Macalinbol y Katol, Monette Ronas y Ampil, Nora Evad y Mulok and Thian Perpenian y Rafon guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
kidnapping for ransom as defined and penalized under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7659.
The accused-appellants, along with an unidentified person, were charged under the criminal information 3 which reads:
Criminal Case No. 98-0928
For Kidnapping for Ransom as amended by RA 7659
That on August 12, 1998 at around 7:30 oclock in the evening at No. 118 FB Harrison Pasay City and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above named-accused conspiring, confederating and mutually helping one another and grouping themselves together, did then and there by force and
intimidation, and the use of high powered firearms, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously take, carry away and deprive Lucia Chan y Lee of her liberty
against her will for the purpose of extorting ransom as in fact a demand for ransom was made as a condition for her release amounting to FOUR
HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P400,000.00) to the damage and prejudice of Lucia L. Chan in the said amount and such other amounts as may be
awarded to her under the provisions of the Civil Code.
The antecedent facts were culled from the records of the case:4
Lucia Chan (Chan) was a fish dealer based in Manila. She usually expected fish deliveries, which were shipped by her suppliers from the provinces.
Sometime in the afternoon of 11 August 1998, two persons, one of whom was identified as Theng Dilangalen (Dilangalen), went to Chans residence at
FB Harrison St., Pasay City to inquire about a certain passport alleged to have been mistakenly placed inside a box of fish to be delivered to her. Unable
to locate said passport, the two left. The next morning, Dilangalen, together with another companion identified as Tony Abao (Abao), returned looking for
Chan but were told that she was out. When the two returned in the afternoon, Chan informed them that the fish delivery had yet to arrive. Chan offered
instead to accompany them to the airport to retrieve the box of fish allegedly containing the passport. Dilangalen and Abao declined and told Chan that
they would be back later that evening.5
Dilangalen, accompanied by an unidentified person who remains at large, returned to Chans residence that evening. Chans houseboy ushered them in
and Chan met them by the stairs.6 Thereat, the unidentified companion of Dilangalen pointed his gun at Chans son, Levy Chan (Levy), and the house
companions.7 As the unidentified man forcibly dragged Chan, her son Levy tried to stop the man by grabbing his mothers feet. Seeing this, Dilangalen
pointed his gun at Levys head forcing the latter to release his grip on Chans feet. 8 Levy thereafter proceeded to the Pasay Police Headquarters to report
the incident.9
Chan was forced to board a "Tamaraw FX" van.10 After travelling for about two hours, the group stopped at a certain house. Accused-appellant Edwin
Dukilman (Dukilman) warned Chan not to shout as he had his gun pointed at her mouth. Chan was ordered to go with two women, 11 later identified in
court by Chan as appellants Monette Ronas (Ronas) and Nora Evad (Evad).12 Chan was brought inside a house and was made to lie down on a bed,
guarded by Ronas, Evad, Dukilman and Jaman Macalinbol (Macalinbol).13 Ronas and Evad threatened Chan that she would be killed unless she paid 20
Million Pesos.14
On 13 August 1998, Chan was awakened by Evad and was asked to board the "Tamaraw FX" van. After travelling for about ten minutes, the van
stopped and the group alighted. Chan was brought to a room on the second floor of the house. Inside the room were three persons whom Chan
identified in court as Macalinbol, Raul Udal (Udal) and Halil Gambao (Gambao).15 Another woman, later identified as Thian Perpenian (Perpenian),
arrived.16 At about 9:00 oclock in the evening, a man who was later identified as Teng Mandao (Mandao), entered the room with a handgun and asked
Chan "Bakit kayo nagsumbong sa pulis?"17 Another man, whom Chan identified in court as Eddie Karim (Karim), ordered Mandao out of the room. Karim
informed Chan that he was sent by their boss to ask her how much money she has.18 Chan was instructed to talk to her son through a cell phone and
she gave instructions to her son to get the P75, 000.00 she kept in her cabinet.19 The group then talked to Chans son and negotiated the ransom

amount in exchange for his mothers release. It was agreed upon that Levy was to deliver P400,000.00 at the "Chowking" Restaurant at Buendia
Avenue.20
Inspectors Narciso Ouano, Jr. (Inspector Ouano) and Cesar Mancao (Inspector Mancao), who were assigned at the Pasay City area to conduct the
investigation regarding the kidnapping, were informed that the abductors called and demanded for ransom in exchange for Chans release. 21 During their
surveillance the following day, Inspectors Ouano and Mancao observed a Red Transport taxicab entering the route which led to the victims residence.
The inspectors observed that the occupants of the taxicab kept on looking at the second floor of the house. The inspectors and their team tailed the
taxicab until Pansol, Calamba, Laguna, where it entered the Elizabeth Resort and stopped in front of Cottage 1. Convinced that the woman the team
saw in the cottage was the victim, they sought clearance from Philippine Anti Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) to conduct a rescue operation. 22
On 14 August 1998, P/Insp. Vicente Arnado (Inspector Arnado) received information that the abductors acceded to a P400,000.00 ransom money to be
delivered at "Chowking" Restaurant at Buendia Avenue at around 2:00 am. Upon learning of the information, the team immediately and strategically
positioned themselves around the vicinity of the restaurant. At about 2:00 am, a light blue "Tamaraw FX" van with 4 people on board arrived. The four
took the ransom money and headed towards the South Luzon Expressway. The surveillance team successfully intercepted the van and arrested the 4
men, later identified in court as Karim, Abao, Gambao and Dukilman. The team was also able to recover the P400,000.00 ransom.23
At about 5:00 oclock in the morning of the same day, the police team assaulted Cottage No. 1, resulting in the safe rescue of Chan and the
apprehension of seven of her abductors, later identified in court as Dilangalen, Udal, Macalinbol, Mandao, Perpenian, Evad and Ronas. 24
During the 7 October 1998 hearing, after the victim and her son testified, Karim manifested his desire to change his earlier plea of "not guilty" to "guilty."
The presiding judge then explained the consequences of a change of plea, stating: "It would mean the moment you withdraw your previous pleas of not
guilty and enter a plea of guilty, the court of course, after receiving evidence, as in fact it has received the testimonies of [the] two witnesses, will
[outrightly] sentence you to the penalty provided by law after the prosecution shall have finished the presentation of its evidence. Now that I have
explained to you the consequences of your entering a plea of guilty, are you still desirous of entering a plea of guilty?" Eddie Karim answered,
"Yes."25 On hearing this clarification, the other appellants likewise manifested, through their counsel who had earlier conferred with them and explained to
each of them the consequences of a change of plea, their desire to change the pleas they entered. The trial court separately asked each of the
appellants namely: Gambao, Abao, Udal, Mandao, Dilangalen, Macalinbol, Ronas and Evad if they understood the consequence of changing their pleas.
All of them answered in the affirmative.26Similarly, Dukilman manifested his desire to change his plea and assured the trial court that he understood the
consequences of such change of plea.27 Thereupon, the trial court ordered their re-arraignment. After they pleaded guilty,28 the trial court directed the
prosecution to present evidence, which it did.
On 16 October 1998, the RTC rendered a decision convicting Gambao, Karim, Dukilman, Abao, Udal, Mandao, Dilangalen, Macalinbol, Ronas, Evad
and Perpenian of Kidnapping for Ransom. Hence, they appealed to the CA.
In a Decision dated 28 June 2005, the appellate court affirmed with modifications the decision of the trial court. The dispositive portion of the CA decision
reads:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the court a quo finding accused-appellants HALIL GAMBAO y ESMAIL, EDDIE KARIM y USO, EDWIN DUKILMAN y
SUBOH, TONY ABAO y SULA, RAUL UDAL y KAGUI, TENG MANDAO y HARON, THENG DILANGALEN y NANDING, JAMAN MACALINBOL y
KATOL, MONETTE RONAS y AMPIL and NORA EVAD y MULOK guilty beyond reasonable doubt of kidnapping for ransom defined and penalized under
Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659 and imposing upon each of them the supreme penalty of death is AFFIRMED WITH
MODIFICATION that each of them is ordered to pay jointly and severally the victim in the amount of P50,000.00 by way of moral damages.
It appearing that accused-appellant THIAN PERPENIAN y RAFON was only 17 years old at the time of the commission of the crime, she is hereby
sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.29
Pursuant to Section 13, Rule 124 as amended by Administrative Matter No. 00-5-03-SC, the appellate court certified the case to this Court and
accordingly ordered the elevation of the records.
In a Resolution30 dated 20 June 2006, we required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs. The issues raised by the accused-appellants in
their respective briefs, supplemental briefs and manifestations will be discussed collectively.
Insufficiency of Evidence
Accused-appellants Dukilman, Ronas, Evad would have this Court believe that the witness, Chan, was not able to positively identify them because of her
failing eyesight due to old age.
This argument is bereft of merit. We note that both the trial court and the CA found Chans testimony credible and straightforward. During her testimony,
she positively identified the accused-appellants. If she had not met them before, she could not have positively identified them in open court. In fact, the
participation of these accused-appellants was further established through the testimonies of the other prosecution witnesses.
Time and again, this Court has maintained that the question of credibility of witnesses is primarily for the trial court to determine. For this reason, its
observations and conclusions are accorded great respect on appeal. They are conclusive and binding unless shown to be tainted with arbitrariness or
unless, through oversight, some fact or circumstance of weight and influence has not been considered. 31 In People v. Taedo,32 this Court had occasion
to reiterate the ruling that findings of fact of the trial court pertaining to the credibility of witnesses command great respect since it had the opportunity to
observe their demeanor while they testified in court.33 It can be observed that the briefs submitted by the accused-appellants are replete with generalities

and wanting in relevant particulars. It is for this reason that we are giving full credence to the findings of the trial court regarding the credibility of witness
Chan.
Perpenian likewise argued that the evidence for her conviction is insufficient. We also find her argument bereft of merit.
The testimony of Inspector Ouano, establishing Perpenian as one of the seven people apprehended when they conducted the rescue operation at
around 5:00 oclock in the morning of 14 August 1998,34 and the positive identification of Perpenian by Chan constituted adequate evidence working
against her defense of denial.
Further, it should be noted that the only defense the accused-appellants proffered was denial. It is established jurisprudence that denial cannot prevail
over the witnesses positive identification of the accused-appellants, more so where the defense did not present convincing evidence that it was
physically impossible for them to have been present at the crime scene at the time of the commission of the crime. 35
The foregoing considered, the positive identification by Chan, the relevant testimonies of witnesses and the absence of evidence other than mere denial
proffered by the defense lead this Court to give due weight to the findings of the lower courts.
Improvident Plea
As provided for by Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 7659, the penalty for kidnapping for ransom is death. A review of the
records36 shows that on 7 October 1998, 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 and thus, adopts the same:
Although there is no definite and concrete rule as to how a trial judge must conduct a "searching inquiry," we have held that the following guidelines
should be observed:
Ascertain from the accused himself
(a) how he was brought into the custody of the law;
(b) whether he had the assistance of a competent counsel during the custodial and preliminary investigations; and
(c) under what conditions he was detained and interrogated during the investigations. This is intended to rule out the possibility that the
accused has been coerced or placed under a state of duress either by actual threats of physical harm coming from malevolent quarters or
simply because of the judges intimidating robes.
Ask the defense counsel a series of questions as to whether he had conferred with, and completely explained to, the accused the meaning and
consequences of a plea of guilty.
Elicit information about the personality profile of the accused, such as his age, socio-economic status, and educational background, which may serve as
a trustworthy index of his capacity to give a free and informed plea of guilty.

Inform the accused the exact length of imprisonment or nature of the penalty under the law and the certainty that he will serve such sentence. For not
infrequently, an accused pleads guilty in the hope of a lenient treatment or upon bad advice or because of promises of the authorities or parties of a
lighter penalty should he admit guilt or express remorse. It is the duty of the judge to ensure that the accused does not labor under these mistaken
impressions because a plea of guilty carries with it not only the admission of authorship of the crime proper but also of the aggravating circumstances
attending it, that increase punishment.
Inquire if the accused knows the crime with which he is charged and fully explain to him the elements of the crime which is the basis of his indictment.
Failure of the court to do so would constitute a violation of his fundamental right to be informed of the precise nature of the accusation against him and a
denial of his right to due process.
All questions posed to the accused should be in a language known and understood by the latter.
The trial judge must satisfy himself that the accused, in pleading guilty, is truly guilty. The accused must be required to narrate the tragedy or reenact the
crime or furnish its missing details.
It is evident from the records42 that the aforesaid rules have not been fully complied with. The questions propounded by the trial court judge failed to
ensure that accused-appellants fully understood the consequences of their plea. In fact, it is readily apparent from the records 43 that Karim had the
mistaken assumption that his plea of guilt would mitigate the imposable penalty and that both the judge and his counsel failed to explain to him that such
plea of guilt will not mitigate the penalty pursuant to Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code. Karim was not warned by the trial court judge that in cases
where the penalty is single and indivisible, like death, the penalty is not affected by either aggravating or mitigating circumstances. The trial court judges
seemingly annoyed statement that a conditional plea is not allowed, as provided below, is inadequate:
Atty. Ferrer:
Your Honor please, may we be allowed to say something before the trial. For accused Eddie Karim we manifest and petition this court that he be allowed
to be re-arraigned Your Honor please, considering that he will plead guilty as charged but the imposable penalty is lowered, Your Honor.
Court:
You cannot make a conditional plea of guilty, that is what the law says. You plead guilty, no condition attached. Conditional plea is not allowed.
Atty. Ferrer:
Considering, Your Honor, accused Eddie Karim is already repenting
Court:
Nevertheless. Read the law. If you entered a plea of guilty there should be no condition attached. We cannot make that condition and dictate to the court
the penalty. 44
Although the pleas rendered, save for Perpenians, were improvidently made, this Court will still not set aside the condemnatory judgment. Despite the
trial court judges shortcomings, we still agree with his ruling on accused-appellants culpability.
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 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.
Degree of Culpability
Accused-appellants Dukilman, Ronas and Evad argue in their respective briefs that conspiracy, insofar as they were concerned, was not convincingly
established. Dukilman hinges his argument on the fact that he was not one of those arrested during the rescue operation based on the testimony of
Inspector Ouano.48 On the other hand, Ronas and Evad base their argument on the fact that they had no participation whatsoever in the negotiation for
the ransom money.
We hold otherwise. Although Dukilman was not one of those apprehended at the cottage during the rescue operation, the testimony of Police Inspector
Arnado sufficiently established that he was one of the four people apprehended when the police intercepted the "Tamaraw FX" at the Nichols
Tollgate.49 Likewise, the testimony of Police Inspector Ouano sufficiently established that Ronas and Evad were two of those who were arrested during
the rescue operation.50 This Court has held before that to be a conspirator, one need not participate in every detail of the execution; he need not even
take part in every act or need not even know the exact part to be performed by the others in the execution of the conspiracy.51 Once conspiracy is shown,

the act of one is the act of all the conspirators. The precise extent or modality of participation of each of them becomes secondary, since all the
conspirators are principals.52 Moreover, Chan positively identified the accused-appellants and placed all of them at the crime scenes.
Under Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, there is conspiracy when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning a felony and decide to
commit it. It has been a long standing opinion of this Court that proof of the conspiracy need not rest on direct evidence, as the same may be inferred
from the collective conduct of the parties before, during or after the commission of the crime indicating a common understanding among them with
respect to the commission of the offense.53 The testimonies, when taken together, reveal the common purpose of the accused-appellants and how they
were all united in its execution from beginning to end. There were testimonies proving that (1) before the incident, two of the accused-appellants kept
coming back to the victims house; (2) during the kidnapping, accused-appellants changed shifts in guarding the victim; and (3) the accused appellants
were those present when the ransom money was recovered and when the rescue operation was conducted.
Seeing that conspiracy among Gambao, Karim, Dukilman, Abao, Udal, Mandao, Dilangalen, Macalinbol, Ronas and Evad was established beyond
reasonable doubt based on the proffered evidence of the prosecution, the act of one is the act of all the conspirators.
In Perpenians Supplemental Brief,54 she directs this Courts attention to the manifestation made by the prosecution regarding their disinterest in
prosecuting, insofar as she was concerned.55 However, pursuant to the ruling of this Court in Crespo v. Judge Mogul,56 once the information is filed, any
disposition of the case or dismissal or acquittal or conviction of the accused rests within the exclusive jurisdiction, competence and discretion of the
courts; more so in this case, where no Motion to Dismiss was filed by the prosecution.
The trial court took note of the fact that Perpenian gave inconsistent answers and lied several times under oath during the trial. 57 Perpenian lied about
substantial details such as her real name, age, address and the fact that she saw Chan at the Elizabeth Resort. When asked why she lied several times,
Perpenian claimed she was scared to be included or identified with the other accused-appellants. The lying and the fear of being identified with people
whom she knew had done wrong are indicative of discernment. She knew, therefore, that there was an ongoing crime being committed at the resort
while she was there. It is apparent that she was fully aware of the consequences of the unlawful act.
As reflected in the records,58 the prosecution was not able to proffer sufficient evidence to hold her responsible as a principal. Seeing that the only
evidence the prosecution had was the testimony59 of Chan to the effect that on 13 August 1998 Perpenian entered the room where the victim was
detained and conversed with Evad and Ronas regarding stories unrelated to the kidnapping, this Court opines that Perpenian should not be held liable
as a co-principal, but rather only as an accomplice to the crime.
Jurisprudence60 is instructive of the elements required, in accordance with Article 18 of the Revised Penal Code, in order that a person may be
considered an accomplice, namely, (1) that there be community of design; that is knowing the criminal design of the principal by direct participation, he
concurs with the latter in his purpose; (2) that he cooperates in the execution by previous or simultaneous act, with the intention of supplying material or
moral aid in the execution of the crime in an efficacious way; and (3) that there be a relation between the acts done by the principal and those attributed
to the person charged as accomplice.
The defenses raised by Perpenian are not sufficient to exonerate her criminal liability. Assuming arguendo that she just came to the resort thinking it
was a swimming party, it was inevitable that she acquired knowledge of the criminal design of the principals when she saw Chan being guarded in the
room. A rational person would have suspected something was wrong and would have reported such incident to the police. Perpenian, however, chose to
keep quiet; and to add to that, she even spent the night at the cottage. It has been held before that being present and giving moral support when a crime
is being committed will make a person responsible as an accomplice in the crime committed. 61 It should be noted that the accused-appellants presence
and company were not indispensable and essential to the perpetration of the kidnapping for ransom; hence, she is only liable as an
accomplice.62 Moreover, this Court is guided by the ruling in People v. Clemente, et al.,63 where it was stressed that in case of doubt, the participation of
the offender will be considered as that of an accomplice rather than that of a principal.
1wphi1

Having admitted their involvement in the crime of kidnapping for ransom and considering the evidence presented by the prosecution, linking accusedappellants participation in the crime, no doubt can be entertained as to their guilt. The CA convicted the accused-appellants of kidnapping for ransom
and imposed upon them the supreme penalty of death, applying the provisions of Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code. Likewise, this Court finds
accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt as principals to the crime of kidnapping for ransom. However, pursuant to R.A. No. 9346, 64 we
modify the penalty imposed by the trial court and reduce the penalty to Reclusion Perpetua, without eligibility for parole.
Modification should also be made as to the criminal liability of Perpenian. Pursuant to the passing of R.A. No. 9344, 65 a determination of whether she
acted with or without discernment is necessary. Considering that Perpenian acted with discernment when she was 17 years old at the time of the
commission of the offense, her minority should be appreciated not as an exempting circumstance, but as a privileged mitigating circumstance pursuant
to Article 68 of the Revised Penal Code.
Under Section 38 of R.A. No. 9344,66 the suspension of sentence of a child in conflict with the law shall still be applied even if he/she is already eighteen
(18) years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt.
Unfortunately, at the present age of 31, Perpenian can no longer benefit from the aforesaid provision, because under Article 40 of R.A. No. 9344, 67 the
suspension of sentence can be availed of only until the child in conflict with the law reaches the maximum age of twenty-one (21) years. This leaves the
Court with no choice but to pronounce judgement. Perpenian is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as an accomplice in the crime of kidnapping for
ransom. Since this Court has ruled that death as utilized in Article 71 of the Revised Penal Code shall no longer form part of the equation in the
graduation of penalties pursuant to R.A. No. 9346,68 the penalty imposed by law on accomplices in the commission of consummated kidnapping for
ransom is Reclusion Temporal, the penalty one degree lower than what the principals would bear (Reclusion Perpetua). 69 Applying Article 68 of the
Revised Penal Code, the imposable penalty should then be adjusted to the penalty next lower than that prescribed by law for accomplices. This Court,
therefore, holds that as to Perpenian, the penalty of Prision Mayor, the penalty lower than that prescribed by law (Reclusion Temporal), should be
imposed. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the minimum penalty, which is one degree lower than the maximum imposable penalty, shall be

within the range of Prision Correccional; and the maximum penalty shall be within the minimum period of Prision Mayor, absent any aggravating
circumstance and there being one mitigating circumstance. Hence, the Court imposes the indeterminate sentence of six (6) months and one (1) day of
Prision Correccional, as minimum, to six (6) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor, as maximum.
As regards Perpenians possible confinement in an agricultural camp or other training facility in accordance with Section 51 of R.A. 9344, this Court held
in People v. Jacinto70 that the age of the child in conflict with the law at the time of the promulgation of the judgment is not material. What matters is that
the offender committed the offense when he/she was still of tender age. This Court, however, finds such arrangement no longer necessary in view of the
fact that Perpenians actual served term has already exceeded the imposable penalty for her offense. For such reason, she may be immediately
released from detention.
We note that in the Order71 dated 9 October 1998, the trial court admitted the documentary evidence offered by the counsel for the defense proving that
the real name of Thian Perpenian is Larina Perpenian.
In view of the death of Mandao during the pendency of this case, he is relieved of all personal and pecuniary penalties attendant to the crime, his
death72 having occurred before rendition of final judgement.73
There is prevailing jurisprudence,74 on civil liabilities arising from the commission of kidnapping for the purpose of extorting ransom from the victim or any
other person under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code. The persons convicted were held liable for P75,000.00 as civil indemnity; P75,000.00 as
moral damages; and P30,000.00 as exemplary damages.
We take this opportunity to increase the amounts of indemnity and damages, where, as in this case, the penalty for the crime committed is death which,
however, cannot be imposed because of the provisions of R.A. No. 9346:75
1. P100,000.00 as civil indemnity;
2. P100,000.00 as moral damages which the victim is assumed to have suffered and thus needs no proof; and
3. P100,000.00 as exemplary damages to set an example for the public good.
These amounts shall be the minimum indemnity and damages where death is the penalty warranted by the facts but is not imposable under present law.
The ruling of this Court in People v. Montesclaros76 is instructive on the apportionment of civil liabilities among all the accused-appellants. The entire
amount of the civil liabilities should be apportioned among all those who cooperated in the commission of the crime according to the degrees of their
liability, respective responsibilities and actual participation. Hence, each principal accused-appellant should shoulder a greater share in the total amount
of indemnity and damages than Perpenian who was adjudged as only an accomplice.
Taking into account the difference in the degrees of their participation, all of them shall be liable for the total amount of P300,000.00 divided among the
principals who shall be liable for P288,000.00 (or P32,000.00 each) and Perpenian who shall be liable for P12,000.00. This is broken down
into P10,666.67 civil indemnity,P10,666.67 moral damages and P10,666.67 exemplary damages for each principal; and P4,000.00 civil
indemnity, P4,000.00 moral damages and P4,000.00 exemplary damages for the lone accomplice.
WHEREFORE, the 28 June 2005 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CRH.C. No. 00863 is hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATIONS.
Accused-appellants HALIL GAMBAO y ESMAIL, EDDIE KARIM y USO, EDWIN DUKILMAN y SUBOH, TONY ABAO y SULA, RAUL UDAL y KAGUI,
THENG DILANGALEN y NANDING, JAMAN MACALINBOL y KATOL, MONETTE RONAS y AMPIL and NORA EVAD y MULOK are found guilty beyond
reasonable doubt as principals in the crime of kidnapping for ransom and sentenced to suffer the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua, without eligibility of
parole. Accused-appellant THIAN PERPENIAN y RAFON A.K.A. LARINA PERPENIAN is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as accomplice in the
crime of kidnapping for ransom and sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months and one (1) day of Prision Correccional, as minimum,
to six (6) years and one (1) day of Prision Mayor, as maximum. Accused-appellants are ordered to indemnify the victim in the amounts of P100,000.00
as civil indemnity, P100,000.00 as moral damages andP100,000.00 as exemplary damages apportioned in the following manner: the principals to the
crime shall jointly and severally pay the victim the total amount of P288,000.00 while the accomplice shall pay the victimP12,000.00, subject to Article
110 of the Revised Penal Code on several and subsidiary liability.
The Court orders the Correctional Institute for Women to immediately release THIAN PERPENIAN A.K.A. LARINA PERPENIAN due to her having fully
served the penalty imposed on her, unless her further detention is warranted for any other lawful causes.
Let a copy of this decision be furnished for immediate implementation to the Director of the Correctional Institute for Women by personal service. The
Director of the Correctional Institute for Women shall submit to this Court, within five (5) days from receipt of a copy of the decision, the action he has
taken thereon.
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.
DECISION
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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 redocketed 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.
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 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
ismandatory 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 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 readily 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 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
THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 131909 February 18, 1999


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. ALFREDO CABRAL, Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 30, Camarines Sur and RODERICK ODIAMAR,respondents.

ROMERO, J.:
Assailed before this Court is the August 1, 1997 decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA GR. No. 42318 which affirmed the March 24, 1995 and June 14, 1996
orders 2 of the lower court granting accused-respondent's Motion for Bail and denying petitioner People's Motions "to Recall and Invalidate Order of March 24, 1995" and "to
Recall and/or Reconsider the Order of May 5, 1995" confirming the hospitalization of accused-respondent.

Accused-respondent Roderick Odiamar was charged with rape upon the complaint of Cecille Buenafe. In a bid to secure temporary liberty, accusedrespondent filed a motion praying that he be released on bail which petitioner by presenting real, documentary and testimonial evidence. The lower
court, however, granted the motion for bail in an order, the dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the evidence not being strong at the (sic) stage of the trial, this court is constrained to grant bail for the provisional
liberty of the accused Roderick Odiamar in the amount of P30,000.00. (Emphasis supplied)
Believing that accused-respondent was not entitled to bail as the evidence against him was strong, the prosecution filed the two abovementioned
motions which the lower court disposed of, thus:
WHEREFORE, the motions dated 10 May 1995 and 15 May 1995 both filed by Atty. Romulo Tolentino, State Prosecutor, are hereby
denied, for lack of merit.
The above-cited orders prompted petitioner to file a petition before the Court of Appeals with prayer for temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction. The Court of Appeals denied the petition reasoning thus:
We have examined in close and painstaking detail the records of this case, and find that the claim of the People that the respondent
judge had over-stepped the exercise of his jurisdiction in issuing the questioned orders, is unimpressed with merit. We are not
inclined to declare that there was grave abuse in respondent court's exercise of its discretion in allowing accused to obtain bail.
There is grave abuse of discretion where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice,
or personal hostility amounting to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in
contemplation of law. We do not find this to be so in this case. Our ruling is based not only on the respect to be accorded the
findings of facts of the trial court, which had the advantage (not available to Us) of having observed first-hand the quality of the
autoptic preference and the documentary exhibits of the parties, as well as the demeanor of the witnesses on the stand, but is
grounded on the liberal slant given by the law in favor of the accused. Differently stated, in the absence of clear, potent and
compelling reasons, We are not prepared to supplant the exercise of the respondent court's discretion with that of Our own.
Still convinced by the merit of its case, petitioner filed the instant petition submitting the following sole issue:
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE ASSAILED DECISION AND RESOLUTION DESPITE A SHOWING BY THE PROSECUTION THAT THERE IS
STRONG EVIDENCE PROVING RESPONDENT'S GUILT FOR THE CRIME CHARGED.
The above-submitted issue pertains to the orders of the lower court granting used-respondent's application for bail which it justified through its summary
of the evidence presented during the hearing. Said order states, thus:
Now going over the evidence adduced in conjunction with the petition for bail filed by the accused through counsel, the court
believes that the evidence so far presented by the prosecution is not strong. This is so because the crime of rape is not to be
presumed; consent and not physical force is the common origin of acts between man and woman. Strong evidence and indication of
great weight alone support such presumption. It is the teaching of applicable doctrines that form the defense in rape prosecution. In
the final analysis, it is entitled to prevail, not necessarily because the untarnished truth is on its side but merely because it can raise
reasonable, not fanciful doubts. It has the right to require the complainant (sic) strong evidence and an indication of great weight
(People v. Godoy, G.R. No. L-31177, July 15, 1976), and in the instant case, the reasonable doubt is on the evidence of the
prosecution, more so, because the intrinsic nature of the crime, the conviction or the acquittal of the accused depends almost

entirely on the credibility of the complainant (People v. Oliquino, G.R. No. 94703, May 31, 1993). Rightly so, because in the
commission of the offense of rape the facts and circumstances occuring either prior, during and subsequent thereto may provide
conclusion whether they may negate the commission thereof by the accused (People v. Flores, L-6065, October 26, 1986). If they
negate, they do presuppose that the evidence for the prosecution is not strong. More so, because in the instant case, the facts and
circumstances showing that they do seem to negate the commission thereof were mostly brought out during the cross-examination.
As such, they deserve full faith and credence because the purpose thereof is to test accuracy and truthfulness and freedom from
interest and bias or the reverse (Rule 132, Sec. 6, Revised Rules of Evidence). The facts and circumstances brought up are as
follow, to wit:
a) That, when the offended party Cecille Buenafe rode in the jeepney then driven by the accused Roderick
Odiamar in that evening of July 20, 1994 at about 8:00 o'clock from the Poblacion, Lagonoy, Camarines Sur the
former knew that it was for a joy ride. In fact, she did not even offer any protest when the said jeepney
proceeded to the Pilapil Beach resort at Telegrafo, San Jose, Camarines Sur instead of Sabang, same
municipality, where she and Stephen Florece intended to go. And when the said jeepney was already inside that
resort, Cecille even followed the accused in going down from the jeepney also without protest on her part, a fact
which shows voluntariness on the part of the offended party and, therefore, to the mind of the court her claim of
rape should not be received with precipitate credulity. On the contrary, an insight into the human nature is
necessary (People v. Barbo, 56 SCRA 495). And it is only when the testimony is impeccable and rings true
throughout where it shall be believed (People v. Tapao, G.R. No. L-41704, October 23, 1981). Rightly so,
because the aphorism that evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness
but it must be credible in itself in conformity with the common experience and observation of mankind is
nowhere of moral relevance than in cases involving prosecution of rape (People v. Macatangay, 107 Phil. 188);
b) That, in that resort, when the accused Roderick Odiamar and companions allegedly forced the offended party
Cecille Buenafe to drink gin, the latter, at first, refused and even did not swallow it but later on voluntarily took
four (4) shots there shows that there (was) no force. And as regards the claim that the accused Roderick
Odiamar and companions allegedly forced the said offended party to inhale smoke, out of a small cigarette,
presumably a marijuana, it becomes doubtful because the prosecution, however, failed to present any portion of
that so-called small cigarette much less did it present an expert witness to show that inhaling of smoke from the
said cigarette would cause dizziness. Rightly so, because administration of narcotics is covered by Art. 335, par.
2 Revised Penal Code (People v. Giduces C.A. 38 O.C. 1434 cited in the Revised Penal Code, Aquino, Vol.III,
pp. 392). As such, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution but it failed to do so;
c) That, in that cottage where the accused, Roderick Odiamar allegedly brought the offended party, Cecille
Buenafe, the former was able to consummate the alleged offense of rape by removing the two (2) hands of the
offended party, placed them on her knee, separating them thereby freeing the said hand and consequently
pushed the head of the accused but the latter was able to insert his penis when the said offended party was no
longer moving and the latter became tired. Neither evidence has been presented to show that the offended
party suffered an injury much less any part of her pants or blouse was torn nor evidence to show that there was
an overpowering and overbearing moral influence of the accused towards the offended party (People v.
Mabunga, G.R. No. 96441d, March 13, 1992) more so, because force and violence in the offense of rape are
relative terms, depending on the age, size and strength of the parties and their relation to each other (People v.
Erogo, 102077 January 4, 1994);
d) That, after the alleged commission of rape at about 3:00 o'clock in the early morning of July 21, 1994, the
offended party, Cecille, Stephen Florece and the latter's companions all boarded the same jeepney going back
to the Poblacion of Lagonoy, without the said offended party, protesting, crying or in any way showing sign of
grief regarding the alleged commission of the offense of rape until the jeepney reached the house of Roderick
Odiamar where the latter parked it. As in other cases, the testimony of the offended party shall not be accepted
unless her sincerity and candor are free from suspicion, because the nature of the offense of rape is an
accusation easy to be made, hard to be proved but harder to be defended by the party accused though
innocent (People v. Francisco G.R. No. L-43789, July 15, 1981). It becomes necessary, therefore, for the courts
to exercise the most painstaking care in scrutinizing the testimony of the witnesses for the prosecution (People
v. Dayag, L-30619, March 29, 1974);
e) That the offended party, Cecille Buenafe had herself physically examined by Dr. Josephine Decena for
medical certificate dated July 27, 1994 and it states, among others, that there was a healed laceration on the
hymen, her laceration might have been sustained by the said offended party, a month, six (6) months, and even
a year, prior to the said examination and that the said laceration might have been caused by repeated
penetration of a male sex organ probably showing that the offended party might have experienced sexual
intercourse. This piece of testimony coming from an expert, such finding is binding to court (Rules of Court,
Moran, op.cit,vol 5, 1963, ed. pp. 413).
f) That the offended party, Cecille Buenafe accompanied by the Station Commander of Lagonoy, Camarines
Sur, proceeded to Naga City and upon the suggestion of Gov. Bulaong, the said offended party submitted for
medical treatment before the same physician per medical certificate dated August 1, 1994 but according to the
said physician the lesions near the umbilicus were due to skin diseases but the said offended party claim they
were made by the accused after the sexual acts. As such, there were contradictions on material points, it
becomes of doubtful veracity (People v. Palicte 83 Phil.) and it also destroys the testimony (People v. Garcia,

G.R. No. 13086, March 27, 1961). As to the fact that the said lesion was made by the accused subsequent to
the commission of the act, it is immaterial. As such, it has no probative value.
The lower court concluded that the evidence of guilt was not strong.
The office of the Solicitor General disagreed with the lower court. It opined that aside from failing to include some pieces of evidence in the summary, the
trial also misapplied some well-established doctrines of criminal law. The Office of the Solicitor General pointed out the following circumstances duly
presented in the hearing for bail:
First. There was no ill motive on the part of Cecille to impute the heinous crime of rape against respondent (People v. Paragsa, 83
SCRA 105 [1978]; People v. Delovino, 247 SCRA 637 [1995]).
Second. Dr. Belmonte, the psychiatrist who attended to Cecille testified that based on her psychiatric examination of the latter,
Cecille manifested psychotic signs and symptoms such as unusual fear, sleeplessness, suicidal thoughts, psychomotor retardation,
poverty of thought content as well as depressive signs and symptoms. These abnormal psychological manifestations, according to
Dr. Belmonte, are traceable to the rape incident (Pages 5-7, TSN, November 22, 1994.)
Third. The unrebutted offer of compromise by respondent is an implied admission of guilt (People v. Flore, 239 SCRA 83 [1994]).
Fourth. Cecille was threatened by a deadly weapon and rendered unconscious by intoxication and inhalation of marijuana smoke.
Fifth. The fact that after the conduct of two (2) preliminary investigations, "no bail was recommended in the information" constitutes
"clear and strong evidence of the guilt of (all) the accused" (Baylon v. Sison, 243 SCRA 284 [1995].
Sixth. Cecille categorically testified on re-cross examination (pages 5-7, Order) that respondent succeeded in forcibly deflowering
her because she was already weak and dizzy due to the effect of the smoke and the gin. Her declarations remain unrebutted.
Seventh. Cecille categorically testified that she performed acts manifesting her lament, torment and suffering due to the rape. She
went to Stephen Florece, cried and complained about the incident. Instead of helping her, Florece threatened to harm her and her
family. (Pages 9-13, November 17, 1994). The statements of Cecille are positive statements which, under existing jurisprudence,
are stronger than the denials put forth by respondent (Batiquin v. Court of Appeals, 258 SCRA 334 [1996]).
Eight. The reliance by trial court on the testimony of Dr. Decena to the effect that the lacerations suffered by Cecille "might have
been sustained by the latter a month, six (6) months or even a year prior to the examination" (Page 12 (e), Order, March 24, 1995)
thus implying that respondent could not have committed the crime is highly misplaced.
Dr. Decena herself testified that she cannot tell "how old is an old hymenal laceration" because she cannot indicate when an old
laceration was inflicted and that from the size of the vagina she "could not point the exact cause" (Pages 7-10, TSN, December 9,
1994). Nevertheless, proof of hymenal laceration is not indispensable in indictments for rape as a broken hymen is not an essential
element of the crime (People v. Echegaray, 257 SCRA 561 [1996]). Further, in crimes against chastity, the medical examination of
the victim's genitalia is not an indispensable element for the successful prosecution of the crime. The examination is
merely corroborative in nature. (People v. Arce, 227 SCRA 406 [1993]).
Ninth. With respect to the cigarette wounds, Dr, Decena positively testified that the wounds could have been '"aused by cigarette
butts as alleged by the victim" (Page 6, TSN, December 9, 1994) which confirms Cecile's testimony (quoted in the Order at page 9)
that respondent burned her "right side of the stomach" thrice.
The above points are well taken and have impressed upon this Court the merits of the instant petition.
The 1987 Constitution in Article III, Section 13 of the Bill of Rights provides:
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. (Emphasis
supplied)
In view of the above exception to the constitutional guarantee on bail and in accordance with its rule-making powers, 3 the Supreme Court, in promulgating
the Rules of Court, adopted the following provision:

Sec. 7. 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. 4 (Emphasis suppplied)
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 discreationary and not a matter of right. The grant or denial of an application for is, therefore, dependent on whether the evidence of guilt is strong which the lower
should determine in a hearing called for the purpose. The determination of 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 court's 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 well-guarded disspositionate 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 convinsing to an unbiased judgment and excludes all reasonable probability
of any other conlusion. 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 refused. 9 (Emphasis and supplied)

In other words, the test is not whether the evidence establishes guilt beyond reasonable doubt but rather whether it shows evident guilt or a great
presumption of guilt. As such, the court is ministerially bound to decide which circumstances and factors are present which would show evident guilt or
presumption of guilt as defined above.10
This Court has observed that the lower court's order failed to mention and include some significant factors and circumstances which, to the mind of this
Court are strong, clear and convincing. First, it excluded the testimony of Dr. Belmonte about her psychiatric examination of the victim as well as her
findings that the latter manifested "psychotic signs and symptoms such as unusual fear, sleeplessness, suicidal thoughts, psychomotor retardation,
poverty of thought content as well as depressive signs and symptom." 11 This particular testimony should have been considered and included in the summary as it
was given by an expert witness. Second, the unrebutted offer of compromise by accused-respondent is an implied admission of guilt which should have been noted as an
offer of a compromise is generally considered as admissible evidence against the party making it. 12

Aside from failing to mention those important pieces of evidence and testimonies, this Court has likewise observed that the lower court misappplied
some doctrines in criminal law. First, the lower court, in its order, intoned the following doctrine that "evidence to be believed must not only proceed from
the mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible in itself in conformity with common experience and observation of mankind."
According to the lower court, the credibility of the complainant is suspect because she willingly went with accused-respondent to the resort where she
was allegedly raped. In the scene of the crime, complainant allegedly voluntarily drank four shots of gin. The complainant, likewise, never protested nor
cried while they on their way to accused-respondent's house. Because of those findings, the court doubted the credibility of complainant and stated that
the crime of rape is not to be presumed and that sexual acts between a man and a woman are presumed to be consensual. In overcoming such
presumption, much depends on the credibility of the complainant.
This Court cannot agree. First, there was no finding of any ill-motive on the part of complainant in filing the rape charge against accused-respondent.
This should have been taken into consideration. The following rebuttal of petitioner to the findings of the lower court is more credible:
It must also be stressed that Cecille testified that she was forced by respondent to drink gin with the help of his friends by holding
her hair and putting the glass on her mouth (Pages 5-7, TSN, November 17, 1994). More, respondent and his friends blew smoke
into her face forcing her to inhale the intoxicating smoke. Whenever she attempted to leave the place, she was forced to sit down by
Odiamar and his friends (Pages 6-7, TSN, November 17, 1994).
Similarly, Cecille categorically declared that she was threatened by Florece with a gun (Page 17, TSN, November 17, 1994).
The requirement of force and intimidation in the crime of rape are relative and must be viewed in light of the victim's perspective and
the offender's physical condition (People v. Plaza, 242 SCRA 724 [1995]). Further, physical resistance need not be established in
rape when intimidation is exercised upon the victim and the latter submits herself against her will because of fear for life and
personal safety. (People v. Ramos, 245 SCRA 405 [19951)
In this case, Cecille was only fifteen (l5) years old at the time of the incident in question. At her age, it is reasonable to assume that a
shot of gin rendered her tipsy. Thus, four (4) shots of gin must have rendered her dizzy, intoxicated and deprived of will or reason.
The resulting weakness and dizziness which deprived Cecille of reason, will and freedom must be viewed in light of her perception
and judgment at the time of the commission of the crime, and not by any hard and fast rule because in "rape cases, submission
does not necessarily imply volition." (Querido, 229 SCRA 745 [1994])
It must likewise be taken into consideration that when Cecille went with the group of accused-respondent, she was of the impression that it was just for a
joy ride. The conclusion made by the trial court that Cecille must have consented to the sexual act because she acquiesced to go with them in the first
place is, therefore, bereft of any legal or factual support, if not non sequitur. That she agreed to accompany them for a joy ride does not mean that she
also agreed to the bestial acts later committed against her person.
Second, the lower court stated that "force and violence in the offense of rape relative terms, depending on the age, size and strength of the parties and
their relation to each other." The lower court enunciated this doctrine in finding that the alleged rape was actually a consensual act since the prosecution
was unable to show the complainant suffered any injury nor show any evidence that her pants or blouse was torn. Neither was there any evidence that
accused-respondent exerted overpowering and overbearing moral influence over the offended party.
This Court is of the impression that when the lower court invoked the above doctrine, it readily concluded that complainant agreed to the sexual act
disregarding testimonies lending credence to complainant's allegation that she was threatened and intimidated as well as rendered weak and dizzy, not
only by the smoke of the marijuana cigarette but also by intoxication, thereby facilitating the commission of the crime. It was not imperative for the
prosecution, in order to prove the elements of force or intimidation to show that Cecille had broken limbs or that her blouse or pants were torn. Her
testimony to that effect would have sufficed. Nevertheless, the prosecution still exerted efforts to corroborate Cecille's claim by presenting the physician

who testified that Cecille suffered hymenal lacerations and lesions near the umbilicus area. Unfortunately, however, the lower court chose to ignore
these telling pieces of evidence.
In addition, the lower court doubted complainant's allegation that she was to smoke a small cigarette, presumably marijuana, due to the fact that "the
prosecution failed to present any portion of that so-called small cigarette much less did it present an expert witness to show that inhaling of smoke from
the said cigarette would cause the said offended party to suffer weakness and dizziness." Said ratiocination is trifling and unpersuasive. In fact, it is even
misleading as complainant categorically asserted that what made her weak and dizzy were the smoke of the cigarette and the intoxicating effect of four
shots of gin, not the inhalation of the smoke alone. In any case, complainant could not be expected to produce that "portion of that so-called small
cigarette." Moreover, one does not need an expert witness to testify on what is common knowledge - that four shots of gin have a "weakening and
dizzying" effect on the drinker, especially one as young as the fifteen-year old complainant.
More disturbing than the above misapplication of criminal law doctrines is the lower court's misinterpretation of the medical findings and deliberate
withholding of some testimonies which would have shown a very strong likelihood that complainant could indeed have been raped. The following pieces
of evidence cited in the summary of the assailed order are indications of misleading findings:
First, the lower court did not lend any credence to the medical certificate issued after complainant's physical examination. On the contrary, it interpreted
it to mean that the offended party is already experienced in sexual intercourse, after the examining physician had testified that the hymenal lacerations
might have been sustained a month, six months or even a year prior to the examination. Interestingly, the lower court failed to mention that Dr. Decena
also testified that she cannot tell "how old is an hymenal laceration" because she cannot indicate when an old laceration was inflicted and that from the
size of the vagina she "could not point the exact cause."
This Court views this apparent lapse on the part of the lower court with and agrees with petitioner, in accordance with well established jurisprudence,
that proof of hymenal laceration is not indispensable in indictments for rape as a broken hymen is not an essential element of the crime. Further, in
against chastity, the medical examination of the victim's genitalia is not an indispensable element for the successful prosecution of the crime. The
examination is merely corroborative in nature. 13 And contrary to the theory espoused by the lower court, a hymenal laceration is not conclusive proof that one is
experienced in sexual intercourse.

Second, the lower court highlighted the testimony of Dr. Decena to the effect the cigarette burns indicated that the lesions near complainant's umbilicus
were due to skin diseases. Notably, however, the lower court again failed to mention that Dr. Decena likewise positively testified that the wounds could
have been "caused by cigarette butts as alleged by the victim" which corroborates Cecille's testimony that respondent burned her "right side of the
stomach" thrice.
It is thus indicative from the above observations that the lower court abuse its discretion and showed manifest bias in favor of accused-respondent in
determining which circumstances are to be considered in supporting its decision as to the guilt of accused-respondent. In this regard, it must be
remembered that the discretion to be exercised in granting or denying bail, according to Basco v. Rapatalo 14 "is not absolute nor beyond control. It must be
sound, and exercised reasonable bounds. Judicial discretion, by its very nature, involves the exercise of the judge's individual opinion. It is because of its very nature that the
law has wisely provided that its exercise be guided by well-know rules which, while allowing the judge rational latitude for the operation of his own individual views, prevent
them from getting out of control. An uncontrolled or uncontrollable discretion on the part of a judge is a misnomer. It is a fallacy. Lord Mansfield, of the discretion to be
exercised in granting or denying bail said: "But discretion when applied to a court of justice, means sound discretion guided by law. It must be governed by rule, not by
humour; it must not be arbitrary, vague and; but legal and regular."

The fact that vital prosecution evidence and testimonies have been irregularly disregarded indicate that they have not been considered at all in arriving
at the decision to grant bail. This irregularity is even more pronounced with the misapplication of the two criminal law doctrines cited to support the grant
of the bail application. This Court cannot help but observe that the lower court exerted painstaking efforts to show that the evidence of guilt of accusedrespondent is not strong by its non sequitur justifications, misleading or unsupported conclusions, irregular disregard of vital prosecution evidence and
strained interpretation, if not misinterpretation, of criminal law doctrines.
It is the view of this Court that: (1) the testimony of Dr. Decena confirming complainant's allegation that accused-respondent burned the right side of her
stomach with cigarette butts, (2) the testimony of Dr. Belmonte stating that complainant exhibited psychological manifestations which are "traceable to
the rape incident'', and (3) the unrebutted offer of compromise, are indications of the strength of the evidence of guilt of accused-respondent.
Lending credence to petitioner's case is the fact that after the conduct of two (2) preliminary investigations, "no bail" was recommended in the
information. According to Baylon v. Sison, 15 such recommendation constitutes clear and strong evidence of guilt of the accused.
Aside from the apparent abuse of discretion in determining which circumstances and pieces of evidence are to be considered, the lower court also did
not strictly comply with jurisprudential guidelines in the exercise of discretion. As reiterated in Carpio v. Maglalng, 16 discretion is guided by: first, the applicable
provisions of the Constitution and the statutes; second, by the rules which this Court may promulgate; and third, by those principles of equity and justice that are deemed to be
part of the laws of the land.

The present Constitution, as previously adverted to, provides that in crimes punishable by reclusion perpetuawhen evidence of guilt is strong, bail is not
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 17which outlined the duties of a judge in case an application for bail is filed:
(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; (Emphasis
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 court's order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the
evidence for prosecutions. 18 A summary is defined as "a comprehensive and usually brief abstract or digest of a text or statement." 19
There are two corollary reasons for the summary: First, the summary of the evidence in the order is an extension of the hearing proper, thus, a part of
procedural due process wherein the evidence presented during the prior hearing is formally recognized as having been presented and most importantly,
considered. The failure to include every piece of evidence in the summary presented by the prosecution in their favor during the prior hearing would be
tantamount to not giving them the opportunity to be heard in said hearing, for the inference would be that they were not considered at all in weighing the
evidence of guilt. Such would be a denial of due process, for due process means not only giving every contending party the opportunity to be heard but
also for the Court to consider every piece of evidence presented in their favor. 20 Second, the summary of the evidence in the order is the for the basis for the
judge's exercising his judicial discretion. Only after weighing the pieces of evidence as contained in the summary will the judge formulate his own conclusion as to whether the
evidence of guilt against the accused is strong based on his discretion. 21 (Emphasis supplied)

Based on the above-stated reasons, the summary should necessarily be a complete compilation or restatement of all the pieces of evidence presented
during the hearing proper. The lower court cannot exercise judicial discretion as to what pieces of evidence should be included in the summary. While
conceding that some prosecution evidence were enumerated, said enumeration was incomplete. An incomplete enumeration or selective inclusion of
pieces of evidence for the prosecution in the order cannot be considered a summary, for a summary is necessarily a reasonable recital of any evidence
presented by the prosecution. A "summary" that is incomplete is not a summary at all. According to Borinaga v. Tamin, 22 the absence of a summary in the
order would make said order defective in form and substance. Corollarily, an order containing an incomplete "summary" would likewise be defective in form and substance
which cannot be sustained or be a semblance of validity. In Carpio v. Maglalang, 23said order was considered defective and voidable. As such, the order granting or denying
the application for bail may be invalidated. 24

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the decision dated August 1, 1997 and the resolution dated December 22, 1997 in CA G.R. No. 42318 are
REVERSED and the order dated March 24, 1995 in Criminal Case No. T-1417 is declared void for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion. The
court a quo shall immediately issue a warrant for the rearrest of Roderick Odiamar if his bail bond has been approved and thereafter, proceed with
dispatch in the disposition of said case. This resolution is immediately executory.
SO ORDERED.