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GAUDENCIO B. PANTILO III v.

JUDGE VICTOR CANOY


A.M. No. RTJ-11-2262; 9 February 2011; Velasco Jr., J.
SUMMARY:
Pantilo filed an administrative complaint against Judge Canoy of RTC Surigao for several counts of
ignorance of the law and/or procedures, grave abuse of authority, and appearance of impropriety
(Canon 2, Code of Judicial Conduct). He is praying for Judge Canoys disbarment in relation to a
criminal case for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide (People v. Melgazo). Petitioner Pantilo was
the brother of the homicide-victim. Melgazo, the accused, was released from detention upon the order
of Judge Canoy after he posted bail (P30,000). Pantilo found out from the office of the clerk of court
that no Information had been filed in Court that would serve as the basis for the approval of bail.
Likewise, he also learned from the City Police Station that no written Order of Release had been issued,
but only a verbal order directing the police officers to release Melgazo from his detention cell. One of
the police officers even said that Judge Canoy assured him that a written Order of Release would be
available the following day or on September 4, 2008 after the Information is filed in Court. Judge Canoy
filed his comment, arguing that the facts in this case were exceptional. Hadmitted that the inquest
proceedings of Melgazo before Prosecutor Gonzaga concluded around 5:00 p.m. on September 3,
2008, after which, Melgazo, with his counsel, Atty. Azarcon, went to his office to post bail for Melgazos
provisional liberty. He noted that because of the time, most of the clerks in his office and the Office of
the Clerk of Court had already gone home. Thus, it was no longer possible to process the posting of
bail and all the necessary papers needed for the release of Melgazo.
The SC ruled that Sec. 17, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure allows that any person
in custody who is not yet charged in court may apply for bail with any court in the province, city or
municipality where he is held. In the case at bar, Melgazo did not file any application or petition for the
grant of bail with the Surigao City RTC, Branch 29. Despite the absence of any written application,
respondent judge verbally granted bail to Melgazo. This is a clear deviation from the procedure laid
down in Sec. 17 of Rule 114. Melgazo or any person acting in his behalf did not deposit the amount of
bail recommended by Prosecutor Gonzaga with the nearest collector of internal revenue or provincial,
city or municipal treasurer. In clear departure from Sec. 14 of Rule 114, Judge Canoy instead verbally
ordered Clerk IV Suriaga of the Surigao City RTC, Office of the Clerk of Court, to accept the cash
deposit as bail, to earmark an official receipt for the cash deposit, and to date it the following day.
Worse, respondent judge did not require Melgazo to sign a written undertaking containing the
conditions of the bail under Sec. 2, Rule 114 to be complied with by Melgazo. Immediately upon receipt
by Suriaga of the cash deposit of PhP 30,000 from Melgazo, Judge Canoy ordered the police escorts to
release Melgazo without any written order of release. In sum, there was no written application for bail,
no certificate of deposit from the BIR collector or provincial, city or municipal treasurer, no written
undertaking signed by Melgazo, and no written release order.
DOCTRINE:

SEC. 14. Deposit of cash as bail.The accused or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in
cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue or provincial, city, or municipal treasurer the
amount of bail fixed by the court, or recommended by the prosecutor who investigated or filed
the case. Upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and a written undertaking showing
compliance with the requirements of section 2 of this Rule, the accused shall be discharged
from custody. The money deposited shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of
fine and costs while the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made
the deposit.

SEC. 2. Conditions of the bail; requirements. All kinds of bail are subject to the following
conditions:
(a) The undertaking shall be effective upon approval, and unless cancelled, shall remain in
form at all stages of the case until promulgation of the judgment of the Regional Trial Court,
irrespective of whether the case was originally filed in or appealed to it;
(b) The accused shall appear before the proper court whenever required by the court or these
Rules;

(c) The failure of the accused to appear at the trial without justification and despite due notice
shall be deemed a waiver of his right to be present thereat. In such case, the trial may proceed
in absentia; and
(d) The bondsman shall surrender the accused to the court for execution of the final execution.
The original papers shall state the full name and address of the accused, the amount of the
undertaking and the conditions required by this section. Photographs (passport size) taken
within the last six (6) months showing the face, left and right profiles of the accused must be
attached to the bail.