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MARCOS vs RUIZ

G.R. NO. 707466 , Sept. 1, 1992

FACTS:

After conducting a preliminary investigation, Asst, Fiscal of Tagbilaran City filed to RTC
Bohol 2 information against Marcos for violation of BP 22.

Marcos appeared during the scheduled arraignment but asked for resetting because his
lawyer has just withdrawn from the case. The court granted his request.

Later, Marcos was able to settle his obligation with the complainants and the latter
executed an Affidavit of Desistance. Because of that, Asst. City Fiscal filed a Motion to
Dismiss the case because without the testimony of the complainants who withdrew, he
cannot successfully prosecute the case.

During the arraignment, Marcos pleaded not guilty. When the case was called for
hearing, Marcos and his lawyer already left. The prosecution proceeded in the
presentation of its evidence and rested its case.

Because Marcos did not attend the trial, the court forfeited his bail bond. Counsel
explained that he was unable to attend the trial because he had attended urgent matter
which needed his personal attention. He also explained that Marcos left in belief that
there would no presentation of evidence since an Affidavit of Desistance was already
filed before the court.

Essentially, the 2nd information was the same as the 1st so the counsel of the accused
offered that reading of information is waived and plea of not guilty be directly entered.

ISSUE:
WON the court erred in in forfeiting the petitioners bail bond for his non-appearance
during trial. Stated otherwise, what are the instances where the presence of the accused
during trial is indispensable? May a counsel enter a plea in behalf of the accused?

RULING:

The forfeiture of the bail bond was inappropriate. A bail bond may be forfeited only in
instances where the presence of the accused is specifically required by the court of the
Rules of Court and, despite due notice to the bondsmen to produce him before the court
on a given date, the accused fails to appear in person as so required.
Under the Rules of Court, the accused has to be present:

1. At the arraignment pursuant to par. (b), Section 1, Rule 116;


2. At the promulgation of judgment, except when conviction is for a light offense, in which
case the judgment may be pronounced in the presence of his counsel or representative
pursuant to Section 6 of Rule 120, or unless promulgation in absentia is allowed under
3rd par of said Section; and
3. When the prosecution intends to present witnesses who will identify the accused.

Thus, the petitioners appearance was not required at the subject trial. It is true that he has
the right to be present at every stage of the proceeding (from arraignment to
promulgation), but he can waive his presence. The failure of the accused to appear at the
trial despite due notice and without justification is deemed an express waiver of his right
to be present. As such, the trial may proceed in absentia.

With regard to the 2nd information, the court made no ruling on the manifestation and
offer by petitioners counsel that the reading of the information is waived and a plea of
not guilty is entered. The petitioner was neither made to confirm the manifestation nor
directed to personally make the plea. There was no valid arraignment as it is required that
the accused would personally enter his plea.