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De Lima vs.

Guerrero TC lacks jurisdiction over the offense charged


against petitioner; the DOJ Panel lacks authority
FACTS: The facts are undisputed. The Senate to file the Information; the Information charges
and the House of Representatives conducted more than one offense; the allegations and the
several inquiries on the proliferation of recitals of facts do not allege the corpus delicti
dangerous drugs syndicated at the New Bilibid of the charge; the Information is based on
Prison (NBP), inviting inmates who executed testimonies of witnesses who are not qualified
affidavits in support of their testimonies. to be discharged as state witnesses; and the
testimonies of these witnesses are hearsay
The DOJ Panel conducted a preliminary hearing
on December 2, 2016,7 wherein the petitioner, On February 23, 2017, respondent judge issued
through her counsel, filed an Omnibus Motion the presently assailed Orde?2 finding probable
to Immediately Endorse the Cases to the Office cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest
of the Ombudsman and for the Inhibition of against De Lima and her co-accused.
the Panel of Prosecutors and the Secretary of
Justice ("Omnibus Motion").8 In the main, the ISSUE: W/N RTC has jurisdiction over the
petitioner argued that the Office of the case
Ombudsman has the exclusive authority and
jurisdiction to hear the four complaints against RULING: YES, RTC has jurisdiction
her.
Petitioner argues that, based on the allegations
During the hearing conducted on December 21, of the Information in Criminal Case No. 17-165,
2016, petit10ner manifested that she has decided the Sandiganbayan has the jurisdiction to try and
not to submit her counter-affidavit citing the hear the case against her. She posits that the
pendency of her two motions. I2 The DOJ Information charges her not with violation of
Panel, however, ruled that it will not entertain RA 9165 but with Direct Bribery-a felony within
belatedly filed counter-affidavits, and declared the exclusive jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan
all pending incidents and the cases as submitted given her rank as the former Secretary of Justice
for resolution. Petitioner moved for but was with Salary Grade 31. For the petitioner, even
denied reconsideration by the DOJ Panel. assuming that the crime described in the
Information is a violation of RA 9165, the
Meanwhile, in the absence of a restraining order Sandiganbayan still has the exclusive jurisdiction
issued by the Court of Appeals, the DOJ Panel to try the case considering that the acts
proceeded with the conduct of the preliminary described in the Information were intimately
investigation16 and, in its Joint Resolution dated related to her position as the Secretary of
February 14, 2017,17 recommended the filing of Justice. Some justices of this Court would even
Informations against petitioner De Lima. adopt the petitioner's view, declaring that the
Accordingly, on February 17, 2017, three Information charged against the petitioner is
Informations were filed against petitioner De Direct Bribery. The respondents, on the other
Lima and several co-accused before the RTC hand, maintain that the R TC has exclusive
ofMuntinlupa City. One of the Infonnations was jurisdiction to try violations of RA 9165,
docketed as Criminal Case No. 17-16518 and including the acts described in the Information
raffled off to Branch 204, presided by against the petitioner. The Sandiganbayan, so
respondent judge. This Information charging the respondents contend, was specifically
petitioner for violation of Section 5 in relation created as an anti-graft court. It was never
to Section Uj), Section 26(b), and Section 28 of conferred with the power to try drug-related
Republic Act No. (RA) 9165 cases even those committed by public officials.
In fact, respondents point out that the history of
On February 20, 2017, petitioner filed a Motion the laws enabling and governing the
to Quash,20 mainly raising the following: the R Sandiganbayan will reveal that its jurisdiction
was streamlined to address specific cases of graft of the offense as appearing in the Information.
and corruption, plunder, and acquisition of The designation of the offense is a critical
illgotten wealth. element required under Sec. 6, Rule 110 of the
Rules of Court for it assists in apprising the
That within the period from November 2012 to accused of the offense being charged. Its
March 2013, in the City of Muntinlupa, inclusion in the Information is imperative to
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this avoid surprise on the accused and to afford him
Honorable Court, accused Leila M. De Lima, of the opportunity to prepare his defense
being then the Secretary of the Department of accordingly. Its import is underscored in this
Justice, and accused Rafael Marcos Z. Ragos, case where the preamble states that the crime
being then the Officer-in-Charge of the Bureau charged is of "Acts of Lasciviousness in relation
of Corrections, by taking advantage of their to Section 5(b) of R.A. No~ 7610."
public office, conspiring and confederating with
accused Ronnie P. Dayan, being then the While it may be argued that some facts may be
employee of the Department of Justice detailed taken as constitutive of some elements of Direct
to De Lima, all of them having moral Bribery under the Revised Penal Code (RPC),
ascendancy or influence over inmates in the these facts taken together with the other
New Bilibid Prison, did then and there commit allegations in the Information portray a much
illegal drug trading, in the following manner: De bigger picture, Illegal Drug Trading. The latter
Lima and Ragos, with the use of their power, crime, described by the United Nations Office
position, and authority demand, solicit and on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as "a global
extort money from the high profile inmates in illicit trade involving the cultivation,
the New Bilibid Prison to support the Senatorial manufacture, distribution and sale of
bid of De Lima in the May 2016 election; by substances,"79 necessarily involves various
reason of which, the inmates, not being lawfully component crimes, not the least of which is the
authorized by law and through the use of mobile bribery and corruption of government officials.
phones and other electronic devices, did then An example would be reports of recent vintage
and there willfully and unlawfully trade and regarding billions of pesos' worth of illegal drugs
traffic dangerous drugs, and thereafter give and allowed to enter Philippine ports without the
deliver to De Lima, through Ragos and Dayan, scrutiny of Customs officials. Any money and
the proceeds of illegal drug trading bribery that may have changed hands to allow
the importation of the confiscated drugs are
Notably, the designation, the prefatory certainly but trivial contributions in the
statements and the accusatory portions of the furtherance of the transnational illegal drug
Information repeatedly provide that the trading - the offense for which the persons
petitioner is charged with "Violation of the involved should be penalized.
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,
Section 5, in relation to Section 3(jj), Section Read as a whole, and not picked apart with each
26(b), and Section 28, Republic Act No. 9165." word or phrase construed separately, the
From the very designation of the crime in the Information against De Lima goes beyond an
Information itself, it should be plain that the indictment for Direct Bribery under Article 210
crime with which the petitioner is charged is a of the RPC
violation of RA 9165. As this Court clarified in
Quimvel v. People, 77 the designation of the The averments on how petitioner asked for and
offense in the Information is a critical element received money from the NBP inmates simply
required under Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules complete the links of conspiracy between her,
of Court in apprising the accused of the offense Ragos, Dayan and the NBP inmates in willfully
being charged, viz.: The offense charged can and unlawfully trading dangerous drugs through
also be elucidated by consulting the designation the use of mobile phones and other electronic
devices under Section 5, in relation to Section
3(jj), Section 26(b), and Section 28, of RA 9165. and consideration, in Illegal Trade) would be
On this score, that it has not been alleged that impractical.
petitioner actually participated in the actual
trafficking of dangerous drugs and had simply In some cases, this Court even acknowledged
allowed the NBP inmates to do so is non persons as brokers even "where they actually
sequitur given that the allegation of conspiracy took no part in the negotiations, never saw the
makes her liable for the acts of her co- customer."85 For the Court, the primary
conspirators. As this Court elucidated, it is not occupation of a broker is simply bringing "the
indispensable for a co-conspirator to take a buyer and the seller together, even if no sale is
direct part in every act of the crime. A eventually made. " 86 Hence, in indictments for
conspirator need not even know of all the parts Illegal Trading, it is illogical to require the
which the others have to perform, 81 as elements of Illegal Sale of drugs, such as the
conspiracy is the common design to commit a identities of the buyer and the seller, the object
felony; it is not participation in all the details of and consideration. 87 For the prosecution of
the execution of the crime. 82 As long as the Illegal Trading of drugs to prosper, proof that
accused, in one way or another, helped and the accused "act[ed] as a broker" or brought
cooperated in the consummation of a felony, together the buyer and seller of illegal drugs
she is liable as a co-principal. 83 As the "using electronic devices such as, but not limited
Information provides, De Lima's participation to, text messages, e-mail, mobile or landlines,
and cooperation was instrumental in the trading two-way radios, internet, instant messengers and
of dangerous drugs by the NBP inmates. The chat rooms" is sufficient.
minute details of this participation and
After all, the prosecution is vested with a wide
cooperation are matters of evidence that need
range of discretion-including the discretion of
not be specified in the Information but
whether, what, and whom to charge.88 The
presented and threshed out during trial.
exercise of this discretion depends on a
With the complexity of the operations involved smorgasboard of factors, which are best
in Illegal Trading of drugs, as recognized and appreciated by the prosecutors. 89 As such, with
defined in RA 9165, it will be quite myopic and the designation of the offense, the recital of
restrictive to require the elements of Illegal Sale- facts in the Information, there can be no other
a mere component act-in the prosecution for conclusion than that petitioner is being charged
Illegal Trading. More so, that which qualifies the not with Direct Bribery but with violation of RA
crime of Illegal Trafficking to Illegal Trading 9165.
may make it impossible to provide the details of
Granting without conceding that the
the elements of Illegal Sale. By "using electronic
information contains averments which
devices such as, but not limited to, text
constitute the elements of Direct Bribery or that
messages, email, mobile or landlines, two-way
more than one offence is charged or as ill this
radios, internet, instant messengers and chat
case, possibly bribery and violation of RA 9165,
rooms," the Illegal Trading can be remotely
still the prosecution has the authority to amend
perpetrated away from where the drugs are
the information at any time before arraignment.
actually being sold; away from the subject of the
Since petitioner has not yet been arraigned, then
illegal sale. With the proliferation of digital
the information subject of Criminal Case No.
technology coupled with ride sharing and
17-165 can still be amended pursuant to Section
delivery services, Illegal Trading under RA 9165
14, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court
can be committed without getting one's hand on
the substances or knowing and meeting the It is basic that jurisdiction over the subject
seller or buyer. To require the elements of Illegal matter in a criminal case is given only by law in
Sale (the identities of the buyer, seller, the object the manner and fonn prescribed by law. 90 It is
determined by the statute in force at the time of
the commencement of the action. 91 Indeed, all, the change introduced by the new
Congress has the plenary power to define, phraseology of Section 90, RA 9165 is not the
prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of deprivation of the RTCs' "exclusive original
various courts. jurisdiction" but the further restriction of this
"exclusive original jurisdiction" to select RTCs
The pertinent special law governing drug-related of each judicial region.
cases is RA 9165, which updated the rules
provided in RA 6425, otherwise known as the Per the "Records of the Bilateral Conference
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. A plain reading Committee on the Disagreeing Provisions of
of RA 9165, as of RA 6425, will reveal that Senate Bill No. 1858 and House Bill No. 4433,"
jurisdiction over drug-related cases is exclusively the term "designation" of R TCs that will
vested with the Regional Trial Court and no exclusively handle drug-related offenses was
other. The designation of the R TC as the court used to skirt the budgetary requirements that
with the exclusive jurisdiction over drug-related might accrue by the "creation" of exclusive
cases is apparent in the following provisions drugs courts. It was never intended to divest the
where it was expressly mentioned and R TCs of their exclusive original jurisdiction
recognized as the only court with the authority over drug-related cases.
to hear drug-related cases:
The exclusive original jurisdiction over
Section 90. Jurisdiction. - The Supreme Court violations of RA 9165 is not transferred to the
shall designate special courts from among the Sandiganbayan whenever the accused occupies a
existing Regional Trial Courts in each judicial position classified as Grade 27 or higher,
region to exclusively try and hear cases involving regardless of whether the violation is alleged as
violations of this Act. The number of courts committed in relation to office. The power of
designated in each judicial region shall be based the Sandiganbayan to sit in judgment of high-
on the population and the number of cases ranking government officials is not omnipotent.
pending in their respective jurisdiction. The The Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction is
DOJ shall designate special prosecutors to circumscribed by law and its limits are currently
exclusively handle cases involving violations of defined and prescribed by RA 10660,97 which
this Act. amended Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1606.

Notably, no other trial court was mentioned in The foregoing immediately betrays that the
RA 9165 as having the authority to take Sandiganbayan primarily sits as a special anti-
cognizance of drug-related cases. graft court pursuant to a specific injunction in
the 1973 Constitution. 99 Its characterization
Section 20 of B.P. Blg. 129 providing for the and continuation as such was expressly given a
jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts in criminal constitutional fiat under Section 4, Article XI of
cases, but also to other laws which specifically the 1987 Constitution, which states: SECTION
lodge in Regional Trial Courts exclusive 4. The present anti-graft court known as the
jurisdiction over specific criminal cases, Sandiganbayan shall continue to function and
exercise its jurisdiction as now or hereafter may
As thoroughly discussed by Justice Peralta in his
be provided by law. It should occasion no
Concurring Opinion, such deduction is
surprise, therefore, that the Sandiganbayan is
unwarranted given the clear intent of the
without jurisdiction to hear drug-related cases.
legislature not only to retain the "exclusive
Even Section 4(b) of PD 1606, as amended by
original jurisdiction" of the R TCs over
RA 10660, touted by the petitioner and the
violations of the drugs law but to segregate from
dissents as a catchall provision, does not operate
among the several R TCs of each judicial region
to strip the R TCs of its exclusive original
some RTCs that will "exclusively try and hear
jurisdiction over violations of RA 9165. As
cases involving violations of [RA 9165)." If at
pointed out by Justices Tijam and Martires, a
perusal of the drugs law will reveal that public repealing clause of RA 10660 will show that
officials were never considered excluded from there is no express repeal of Section 90 of RA
its scope. Hence, Section 27 of RA 9165 9165 and wellentrenched is the rule that an
punishes government officials found to have implied repeal is disfavored. It is only accepted
benefited from the trafficking of dangerous upon the clearest proof of inconsistency so
drugs, while Section 28 of the law imposes the repugnant that the two laws cannot be enforced.
maximum penalty on such government officials 106 The presumption against implied repeal is
and employees. stronger when of two laws involved one is
special and the other general. 107 The
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction. - The Sandiganbayan shall mentioned rule in statutory construction that a
exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all cases special law prevails over a general law applies
involving: a. Violations of Republic Act No. regardless of the laws' respective dates of
3019, as amended, otherwise known as the Anti- passage.
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act
No. 1379, and Chapter II, Section 2, Title VII, To reiterate for emphasis, Section 4(b) of PD
Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one 1606, as amended by RA 10660, is the general
or more of the accused are officials occupying law on jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over
the following positions in the government, crimes and offenses committed by high-ranking
whether in a permanent, acting or interim public officers in relation to their office; Section
capacity, at the time of the commission of the 90, RA 9165 is the special law excluding from
offense the Sandiganbayan's jurisdiction violations of
RA 9165 committed by such public officers.
b. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or
complexed with other crimes committed by the The exceptional rule provided under Section 90,
public officials and employees mentioned in RA 9165 relegating original exclusive jurisdiction
subsection a. of this section in relation to their to RTCs specially designated by the Supreme
office. Court logically follows given the technical aspect
of drug-related cases. With the proliferation of
Certainly, jurisdiction over offenses and felonies cases involving violation of RA 9165, it is easy
committed by public officers is not detennined to dismiss them as common and untechnical.
solely by the pay scale or by the fact that they However, narcotic substances possess unique
were committed "in relation to their office." In characteristics that render them not readily
determining the forum vested with the identifiable. 109 In fact, they must first be
jurisdiction to try and decide criminal actions, subjected to scientific analysis by forensic
the laws governing the subject matter of the chemists to determine their composition and
criminal prosecution must likewise be nature. 110 Thus, judges presiding over
considered. designated drugs courts are specially trained by
the Philippine Judicial Academy (PhilJa) and
In this case, RA 9165 specifies the RTC as the
given scientific instructions to equip them with
court with the jurisdiction to "exclusively try and
the proper tools to appreciate pharmacological
hear cases involving violations of [RA 9165)."
evidence and give analytical insight upon this
This is an exception, couched in the special law
esoteric subject. After all, the primary
on dangerous drugs, to the general rule under
consideration of RA 9165 is the fact that the
Section 4(b) of PD 1606, as amended by RA
substances involved are, in fact, dangerous
10660. It is a canon of statutory construction
drugs, their plant sources, or their controlled
that a special law prevails over a general law and
precursors and essential chemicals. Without a
the latter is to be considered as an exception to
doubt, not one of the Sandiganbayan justices
the general. 105 Parenthetically, it has been
were provided with knowledge and technical
advanced that RA 10660 has repealed Section 90
of RA 9165. However, a closer look at the
expertise on matters relating to prohibited of Court, the trial court can simply order that
substances. another complaint or information be filed
without discharging the accused from custody.
RTCs over violations of RA 9165. As previously
stated, as of June 30, 2017, there are 232,557 Section 6, Rule 117, adverted to in the foregoing
drugs cases pending before the RTCs. On the provision, prevents the re-filing of an
other hand, not even a single case filed before information on only two grounds: that the
the Sandiganbayan from February 1979 to June criminal action or liability has already been
30, 2017 dealt with violations of the drugs law. extinguished, and that of double jeopardy.
Instead, true to its designation as an anti-graft Neither was invoked in petitioner's Motion to
court, the bulk of the cases filed before the Quash filed before the court a quo. The third
Sandiganbayan involve violations of RA 3019, option available to the trial court is the denial of
entitled the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices the motion to quash. Even granting, for the
Act" and malversation. 111 With these, it would nonce, the petitioner's position that the trial
not only be unwise but reckless to allow the court's issuance of the warrant for her arrest is
tribunal uninstructed and inexperienced with the an implied denial of her Motion to Quash, the
intricacies of drugs cases to hear and decide proper remedy against this court action is to
violations of RA 9165 solely on account of the proceed to trial, not to file the present petition
pay scale of the accused. for certiorari.

Even granting arguendo that the Court declares As a rule, the denial of a motion to quash is an
the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the interlocutory order and is not appealable; an
information subject of Criminal Case No. 17- appeal from an interlocutory order is not
165, still it will not automatically result in the allowed under Section 1 (b), Rule 41 of the
release from detention and restore the liberty Rules of Court. Neither can it be a proper
and freedom of petitioner. The R TC has several subject of a petition for certiorari which can be
options if it dismisses the criminal case based on used only in the absence of an appeal or any
the grounds raised by petitioner in her Motion other adequate, plain and speedy remedy. The
to Quash. Under Rule 117 of the Rules of plain and speedy remedy upon denial of an
Court, the trial court has three (3) possible interlocutory order is to proceed to trial
alternative actions when confronted with a
Motion to Quash: 1. Order the amendment of In the present case, the respondent judge had no
the Infonnation; 2. Sustain the Motion to positive duty to first resolve the Motion to
Quash; or 3. Deny the Motion to Quash. The Quash before issuing a warrant of arrest. There
first two options are available to the trial court is no rule of procedure, statute, or jurisprudence
where the motion to quash is meritorious. to support the petitioner's claim.
Specifically, as to the first option, this court had
It is not far-fetched to conclude, therefore, that
held that should the Information be deficient or
had the respondent judge waited longer and first
lacking in any material allegation, the trial court
attended to the petitioner's Motion to Quash,
can order the amendment of the Information
she would have exposed herself to a possible
under Section 4, Rule 117 of the Rules of Court
administrative liability for failure to observe Sec.
Nevertheless, should the trial court sustain the 5(a), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court. Her
motion by actually ordering the quashal of the exercise of discretion was sound and in
Infonnation, the prosecution is not precluded conformity with the provisions of the Rules of
from filing another information. An order Court considering that a Motion to Quash may
sustaining the motion to quash the information be filed and, thus resolved by a trial court judge,
would neither bar another prosecution 113 or at any time before the accused petitioner enters
require the release of the accused from custody. her plea. 118 What is more, it is in accord with
Instead, under Section 5, Rule 117 of the Rules this Court's ruling in Marcos v. Cabrera-
Faller119 that "[a]s the presiding judge, it was so, he need not conduct a de novo hearing. He
her task, upon the filing of the Information, to simply personally reviews the prosecutor's initial
first and foremost determine the existence or determination finding probable cause to see if it
non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of is supported by substantial evidence."
the accused."
We do not intend to unduly burden trial courts
Sec.5(a), Rule 112 of the Rules of Court117 by obliging them to examine the complete
required the respondent judge to evaluate the records of every case all the time simply for the
prosecutor's resolution and its supporting purpose of ordering the arrest of an accused.
evidence within a limited period of only ten (10) What is required, rather, is that the judge must
days have sufficient supporting documents (such as
the complaint, affidavits, counter-affidavits,
Undoubtedly, contrary to petitioner's sworn statements of witnesses or transcript of
postulation, there is no rule or basic principle stenographic notes, if any) upon which to make
requiring a trial judge to first resolve a motion to his independent judgment or, at the very least,
quash, whether grounded on lack of jurisdiction upon which to verify the findings of the
or not, before issuing a warrant of arrest. As prosecutor as to the existence of probable cause.
such, respondent judge committed no grave
abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed Notably, for purposes of determining the
February 23, 2017 Order even before resolving propriety of the issuance of a warrant of arrest,
petitioner's Motion to Quash. There is certainly the judge is tasked to merely determine the
no indication that respondent judge deviated probability, not the certainty, of the guilt of the
from the usual procedure in finding probable accused. 129 She is given wide latitude of
cause to issue the petitioner's arrest. discretion in the determination of probable
cause for the issuance of warrants of arrest. 130
As the prosecutor's report/resolution precisely A finding of probable cause to order the
finds support from the evidence presented accused's arrest does not require an inquiry into
during the preliminary investigation, this Court whether there is sufficient evidence to procure a
cannot consider the respondent judge to have conviction. 131 It is enough that it is believed
evaded her duty or refused to perform her that the act or omission complained of
obligation to satisfy herself that substantial basis constitutes the offense charged. 132 Again, per
exists for the petitioner's arrest. "All the the February 23, 2017 Order, respondent judge
evidence presented during the preliminary evaluated all the evidence presented during the
investigation" encompasses a broader category preliminary investigation and on the basis
than the "supporting evidence" required to be thereof found probable cause to issue the
evaluated in Soliven. warrant of arrest against the petitioner. This is
not surprising given that the only evidence
Hence, the judge, before issuing a warrant of
available on record are those provided by the
arrest, 'must satisfy himself that based on the
complainants and the petitioner, in fact, did not
evidence submitted, there is sufficient proof that
present any counter-affidavit or evidence to
a crime has been committed and that the person
controvert this.
to be arrested is probably guilty thereof' At this
stage of the criminal proceeding, the judge is not Petitioner would later confine herself to the
yet tasked to review in detail the evidence contention that the prosecution's evidence is
submitted during the preliminary investigation. inadmissible, provided as they were by
It is sufficient that he personally evaluates such petitioner's co-accused who are convicted felons
evidence in determining probable cause. In and whose testimonies are but hearsay evidence.
Webb v. De Leon we stressed that the judge
merely determines the probability, not the Nowhere in Ramos v. Sandiganbayan 137 - the
certainty, of guilt of the accused and, in doing case relied upon by petitioner - did this Court
rule that testimonies given by a co-accused are ground.[5] She cried and shouted for help, at the
of no value. The Court simply held that said same time, resisting Alexs advances. However,
testimonies should be received with great when Alex boxed Rosaldiza on her thighs and
caution, but not that they would not be on her abdomen, she lost consciousness. When
considered. The testimony of Ramos' co- she regained consciousness, Rosaldiza noticed
accused was, in fact, admitted in the cited case. that she was completely naked. She felt weak
Furthermore, this Court explicitly ruled in and tired. Her private parts and body ached all
Estrada v. Office of the Ombudsman138 that over. She noticed semen in her vagina.[6]
hearsay evidence is admissible during Fearing for her life and completely devastated,
preliminary investigation. The Court held thusly: she cried bitterly. Alex dressed up and warned
Thus, probable cause can be established with her not to tell her parents, brothers and sisters
hearsay evidence, as long as there is substantial of the incident, otherwise, he would kill them
basis for crediting the hearsay. Hearsay evidence all. Rosaldiza put on her clothes and ran home.
is admissible in determining probable cause in a By then, Liliosa was already in the house.
preliminary investigation because such Rosaldiza related to her mother what had
investigation is merely preliminary, and does not happened to her.
finally adjudicate rights and obligations of
parties. 139 (Emphasis supplied.) Verily, the No bail was recommended for the provisional
admissibility of evidence, 140 their evidentiary liberty of Alex. He filed, on May 8, 1992, a
weight, probative value, and the credibility of motion for bail with no specific date and time
the witness are matters that are best left to be for the hearing thereof.[12] Upon the filing of
resolved in a full-blown trial, 141 not during a said motion, the Executive Judge issued an
preliminary investigation where the technical order granting the motion and fixing his bail
rules of evidence are not applied 142 nor at the bond at P50,000.00.[13] On the same day, Alex
stage of the determination of probable cause for posted a property bond which was immediately
the issuance of a warrant of arrest. Thus, the approved by the court.[14] Alex was forthwith
better alternative is to proceed to the conduct of released from detention.
trial on the merits for the petitioner and the
At his arraignment on June 17, 1992, Alex, duly
prosecution to present their respective evidence
assisted by counsel de oficio, pleaded not guilty.
in support of their allegations.
Trial was set on June 18, 1992.[15] The
BAIL prosecution prayed the trial court to cancel the
bond of Alex considering that his petition for
Nature bail was granted without due hearing. However,
the trial court held in abeyance resolution of the
People vs Manallo motion until after the prosecutor shall have
presented its witnesses on June 18, 1992. The
FACTS: After washing her clothes, Rosaldiza
trial court stated that the evidence to be adduced
took a quick bath.[4] At around 11:00 a.m.
by the prosecution would be its evidence in
Rosaldiza , who was drenched all over, left the
Alexs petition for bail and trial on the
reservoir and trekked the same route in going
merits. On June 18, 1992, the trial court issued
home. On her way, Alex suddenly appeared
an order that Alex would remain free on his
from the bushes and grabbed Rosaldiza from
bond until June 22, 1992, the date set for the
behind. Alex was completely naked. He covered
hearing on his petition for bail. However, Alex
her mouth and poked a knife on her neck.
failed to attend the trial on said date. The trial
Rosaldiza dropped the basin and the pail she
court issued and order for his arrest. However,
was carrying and fought with Alex to extricate
Alex could no longer be found at his address. It
herself from his clutches. However, he was too
was only six years thereafter, or on January 22,
strong for her. Alex dragged her to a grassy
1998, that he was arrested.
portion, pulled her down and pinned her to the
When Alex testified, he denied having sexually a chance to be heard thereon and adduce its
assaulted Rosaldiza on March 30, 1992. He evidence in opposition thereto, the trial court
claimed that they had been lovers engaging in held in abeyance resolution thereof and even
sexual intimacies for over a year even before allowed the appellant to remain free on his bond
March 30, 1992. in the amount of only P50,000.00. Patently, the
prosecution was deprived of its right to due
Found guilty process. In Go vs. Judge Bongolan, et. al.,[45]
this Court emphasized that:
ISSUE: W/N judge erred in granting the bail
A bail application does not only involve the
RULING: YES, judge erred
right of the accused to temporary liberty, but
The trial court as mandated, in resolving a likewise the right of the State to protect the
motion or petition for bail, to do the following: people and the peace of the community from
dangerous elements. These two rights must be
1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or balanced by a magistrate in the scale of justice,
discretion, notify the prosecutor of the hearing hence, the necessity for hearing to guide his
of the application for bail or require him to exercise of jurisdiction.[46]
submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule
114 of the Rules of Court, as amended); The presiding judge of the trial court thus
exposed his gross ignorance of the law. As a
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a consequence, the appellant jumped bail and
hearing of the application for bail regardless of managed to elude arrest for six years, to the
whether or not the prosecution refuses to prejudice of the administration of justice.
present evidence to show that the guilt of the
accused is strong for the purpose of enabling Paderanga vs. CA
the court to exercise its sound discretion;
FACTS: On January 28, 1990, petitioner was
(Section 7 and 8, supra)
belatedly charged in an amended information as
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is a co-conspirator in the crime of multiple murder
strong based on the summary of evidence of the in Criminal Case No. 86-39 of the Regional Trial
prosecution; Court, Branch 18 of Cagayan de Oro City for
the killing of members of the Bucag family
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, sometime in 1984 in Gingoog City of which
discharge the accused upon the approval of the petitioner was the mayor at the time.
bail bond (Section 19, supra). Otherwise, the
petition should be denied.[44] Pursuant to a resolution of the new prosecutor
dated September 6, 1989, petitioner was finally
In this case, the appellant filed his motion for charged as a co-conspirator in said criminal case
bail on May 8, 1992. There was no specific date in a second amended information dated
and time for the hearing of said motion. And October 6, 1992. Petitioner assailed his inclusion
yet, on the same day that the motion was filed, therein as a co-accused all the way to this Court
the trial court granted the said motion and fixed in G.R. No. 96080 entitled "Atty. Miguel P.
the bail bond for the provisional liberty of the Paderanga vs. Hon. Franklin M. Drilon, Hon.
appellant in the amount of P50,000.00 without Silvestre H. Bello III, Atty. Henrick F.
any factual basis therefore stated in the order. Gingoyon, Helen B. Canoy and Rebecca B.
Even when the public prosecutor prayed the Tan." In an en banc decision promulgated on
court on June 17, 1992, for the cancellation of April 19, 1991, the Court sustained the filing of
the property bond of the appellant on the the second amended information against him
ground that the trial court granted his motion
for bail without even affording the prosecution
Prosecutor Abejo, on the other hand, informed October 1, 1993, or more than six (6) months
the trial court that in accordance with the later, Prosecutor Gingoyon elevated the matter
directive of the chief of their office, Regional to respondent Court of Appeals through a
State prosecutor Jesus Zozobrado, the special civil action for certiorari. Thus were the
prosecution was neither supporting nor resolution and the order of the trial court
opposing the application for bail and that they granting bail to petitioner annulled on
were submitting the same to the sound November 24, 1993, in the decision now under
discretion of the trail judge. review, on the ground that they were tainted
with grave abuse of discretion.
October 28, 1992 a motion for admission to
bail with the trial court which set the same for CA Ruled in favour of petitioner
hearing on November 5, 1992. Petitioner duly
furnished copies of the motion to State In the case of herein petitioner, it may be
Prosecutor Henrick F. Gingoyon, the Regional conceded that he had indeed filed his motion
State Prosecutor's Office, and the private for admission to bail before he was actually and
prosecutor, Atty. Benjamin Guimong. On physically placed under arrest. He may, however,
November 5, 1992, the trial court proceeded to at that point and in the factual ambience
hear the application for bail. therefore, be considered as being constructively
and legally under custody. Thus in the likewise
As petitioner was then confined at the Cagayan peculiar circumstance which attended the filing
Capitol College General Hospital due to "acute of his bail application with the trail court, for
costochondritis," his counsel manifested that purposes of the hearing thereof he should be
they were submitting custody over the person of deemed to have voluntarily submitted his person
their client to the local chapter president of the to the custody of the law and, necessarily, to the
integrated Bar of the Philippines and that, for jurisdiction of the trial court which thereafter
purposes of said hearing of his bail application, granted bail as prayed for. In fact, an arrest is
he considered being in the custody of the law. made either by actual restraint of the arrestee or
merely by his submission to the custody of the person
Upon further inquiries from the trial court, making the arrest.19 The latter mode may be
Prosecutor Abejo announced that he was exemplified by the so-called "house arrest" or, in
waiving any further presentation of evidence. case of military offenders, by being "confined to
On that note and in a resolution dated quarters" or restricted to the military camp area.
November 5, 1992, the trial court admitted
petitioner to bail in the amount of P200,000.00. It should be stressed herein that petitioner,
The following day, November 6, 1992, through his counsel, emphatically made it
petitioner, apparently still weak but well enough known to the prosecution and to the trail court
to travel by then, managed to personally appear during the hearing for bail that he could not
before the clerk of court of the trial court and personally appear as he was then confined at the
posted bail in the amount thus fixed. He was nearby Cagayan Capitol College General
thereafter arraigned and in the trial that ensued, Hospital for acute costochondritis, and could
he also personally appeared and attended all the not then obtain medical clearance to leave the
scheduled court hearings of the case. hospital.

The subsequent motion for reconsideration of The undeniable fact is that petitioner was by
said resolution filed twenty (20) days later on then in the constructive custody of the law.
November 26, 1992 by Prosecutor Gingoyon Apparently, both the trial court and the
who allegedly received his copy of the petition prosecutors agreed on that point since they
for admission to bail on the day after the never attempted to have him physically
hearing, was denied by the trial court in its restrained. Through his lawyers, he expressly
omnibus order dated March 29, 1993. On submitted to physical and legal control over his
person, firstly, by filing the application for bail Secondly, although it is now claimed that
with the trail court; secondly, by furnishing true Prosecutor Abejo was allegedly not familiar with
information of his actual whereabouts; and, the case, he nonetheless was explicitly instructed
more importantly, by unequivocally recognizing about the position of the Regional State
the jurisdiction of the said court. Moreover, Prosecutor's Office on the matter. Prosecutor
when it came to his knowledge that a warrant Zozobrado, whose office received its copy of
for his arrest had been issued, petitioner never the motion on the very day when it was sent,
made any attempt or evinced any intent to evade that is, October 28, 1992, duly instructed
the clutches of the law or concealed his Prosecutor Abejo to manifest to the court that
whereabouts from the authorities since the day the prosecution was neither supporting nor
he was charged in court, up to the submission opposing the application for bail and that they
application for bail, and until the day of the were submitting the matter to its sound
hearing thereof. discretion. Obviously, what this meant was that
the prosecution, at that particular posture of the
ISSUE: W/N prosecution was denied of due case, was waiving the presentation of any
process when Assistant Prosecutor Erlindo countervailing evidence. When the court a
Abejo of the Regional State Prosecutor's Office quo sought to ascertain whether or not that was
to appear in behalf of the prosecution, instead the real import of the submission by Prosecutor
of State Prosecutor Henrick P. Gingoyon who is Abejo, the latter readily answered in the
claimed to be the sole government prosecutor affirmative.
expressly authorized to handle the case and who
received his copy of the motion only on the day where the prosecutor interposes no objection to
after the hearing had been conducted. the motion of the accused, the trial court should
nevertheless set the application for hearing and
RULING: NO, there was no denial of due from there diligently ascertain from the
process prosecution whether the latter is really not
contesting the bail application.
Firstly, it is undisputed that the Office of the
Regional State Prosecutor acted as the No irregularity, in the context of procedural due
collaborating counsel, with State Prosecutor process, could therefore be attributed to the trial
Henrick Gingoyon, in Criminal Case No. 86-39 court here as regards its order granting bail to
on the basis of an authority from then Chief petitioner. A review of the transcript of the
State Prosecutor Fernando de Leon which was stenographic notes pertinent to its resolution of
sent through radio message on July 10, 1992 and November 5, 1992 and the omnibus order of
duly received by the Office of the Regional State March 29, 1993 abundantly reveals scrupulous
Prosecutor on the same date. This authorization, adherence to procedural rules. As summarized
which was to be continuing until and unless it in its aforementioned order, the lower court
was expressly withdrawn, was later confirmed exhausted all means to convince itself of the
and then withdrawn only on July 12, 1993 by propriety of the waiver of evidence on the part
then Secretary of Justice Franklin M. Drilon. of the prosecution. Moreover, the omnibus
order contained the requisite summary of the
It was in fact by virtue of this arrangement that
evidence of both the prosecution and the
the same Prosecutor Zozobrado and Prosecutor
defense, and only after sifting through them did
Perseverando Arana entered their appearance as
the court conclude that petitioner could be
collaborating prosecutor in the previous hearing
provisionally released on bail. Parenthetically,
in said case.33 Hence, on the strength of said
there is no showing that, since then and up to
authority and of its receipt of the notice of the
the present, petitioner has ever committed any
hearing for bail, the Regional State Prosecutor's
violation of the conditions of his bail.
Office, through Prosecutor Abejo, could validly
represent the prosecution in the hearing held
As to the contention that the prosecutor was motion for reconsideration praying that he be
not given the opportunity to present its evidence allowed to post bail on the grounds that (1) he is
within a reasonable period of time, we hold entitled to bail as a matter of right because he is
otherwise. The records indicate that the charged with murder allegedly committed at the
Regional State Prosecutor's Office duly received time when the imposition of the death penalty
its copy of the application for bail on the very was suspended by the Constitution; and that (2)
same day that the it was filed with the trial court both the investigating Judge and the First
on October 28, 1992. Counted from said date Assistant Prosecutor recommended P60,000.00
up to the day of the hearing on November 5, bail for his temporary liberty.
1992, the prosecution had more than one (1)
week to muster such evidence as it would have On August 11, 2000, the respondent Judge
wanted to adduce in that hearing in opposition denied said motion.[4] He explained that
to the motion. Certainly, under the notwithstanding the suspension of the
circumstances, that period was more than imposition of the death penalty at the time the
reasonable. The fact that Prosecutor Gingoyon accused committed the offense, bail for the
received his copy of the application only on crime of murder remains to be a matter of
November 6, 1992 is beside the point for, as discretion. He cited Section 13, Article III, of
already established, the Office of the Regional the Constitution which explicitly provides that
State Prosecutor was authorized to appear for (a)ll persons, except those charged with offenses
the People. punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of
guilt is strong, shall before conviction, be
Applicant must be in custody bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on
recognizance as may be provided by law. The
Docena-Caspe vs. Bagtas respondent Judge added that contrary to the
accuseds claim, there is nothing in the records
FACTS: The instant administrative case for
which show that bail was recommended for his
gross ignorance of the law and incompetence
temporary liberty.
against respondent judge stemmed from a
murder case filed against accused Celso Docil On January 15, 2001, the respondent Judge
and Juan Docil for the death of Lucio issued a Resolution granting the said motion for
Docena. In her sworn complaint, complainant reconsideration on the basis of a previous order
alleged that on September 3, 1993, Judge granting bail to the accused.[5] He ratiocinated
Gorgonio T. Alvarez of the Municipal Trial that on page 49 of the records, there indeed
Court of Taft, Eastern Samar, conducted a appears a final and executory order dated July
preliminary investigation on the said murder 22, 1994 issued by his predecessor, Judge
case, and thereafter issued the corresponding Paterno T. Alvarez granting bail of P60,000.00
warrants of arrest. No bail was recommended to the accused, hence, the inevitable recourse is
for the two (2) accused who were at large since to grant bail to accused Celso Docil.
the commission of the offense on August 29,
1993. On August 16, 2001, the complainant filed the
instant administrative case against the
Subsequently, Provincial Prosecutor Vicente respondent Judge for granting bail to accused
Catudio filed before the Regional Trial Court of Celso Docil without conducting a bail hearing.
Borongan, Eastern Samar, Branch II, now
presided by respondent Judge Arnulfo O. ISSUE: W/N hearing is necessary in granting
Bugtas, a motion praying that an alias warrant of bail especially in cases where bail is a matter of
arrest be issued for the other accused, Juan discretion
Docil; and that both accused be denied bail. Said
motion was granted by the respondent RULING: YES, hearing is necessary
Judge.Thereafter, accused Celso Docil filed a
It must be stressed that the grant or the denial by a person who is in custody of the law or
of bail in cases where bail is a matter of otherwise deprived of his liberty and it would be
discretion hinges on the issue of whether or not premature, not to say incongruous, to file a
the evidence on the guilt of the accused is petition for bail for someone whose freedom
strong, and the determination of whether or not has yet to be curtailed.[
the evidence is strong is a matter of judicial
discretion which remains with the judge. In Based on the above-cited procedure and
order for the latter to properly exercise his requirements, after the hearing, the courts order
discretion, he must first conduct a hearing to granting or refusing bail must contain a
determine whether the evidence of guilt is summary of the evidence for the
strong prosecution.[17] A summary is defined as a
comprehensive and usually brief abstract or
Even the alleged failure of the prosecution to digest of a text or statement. Based on the
interpose an objection to the granting of bail to summary of evidence, the judge formulates his
the accused will not justify such grant without own conclusion on whether such evidence is
hearing. This Court has uniformly ruled that strong enough to indicate the guilt of the
even if the prosecution refuses to adduce accused.[18]
evidence or fails to interpose any objection to
the motion for bail, it is still mandatory for the In the instant case, it appears that when the
court to conduct a hearing or ask searching and respondent judge initially granted the
clarificatory questions from which it may infer prosecutions motion praying that the accused be
the strength of the evidence of guilt, or lack of denied bail, no hearing was
it, against the accused. Where the prosecutor conducted. Irrespective of his opinion on the
refuses to adduce evidence in opposition to the strength or weakness of evidence of the
application to grant and fix bail, the court may accuseds guilt, he should have conducted a
ask the prosecution such questions as would hearing and thereafter made a summary of the
ascertain the strength of the States evidence or evidence for the prosecution. The importance of
judge the adequacy of the amount of the bail. a bail hearing and a summary of evidence cannot
Irrespective of respondent judges opinion that be downplayed, these are considered aspects of
the evidence of guilt against the accused is not procedural due process for both the prosecution
strong, the law and settled jurisprudence and the defense; its absence will invalidate the
demand that a hearing be conducted before bail grant or denial of bail.[19]
may be fixed for the temporary release of the
The indispensable nature of a bail hearing in
accused, if bail is at all justified.
petitions for bail has always been ardently and
It is certainly erroneous for the respondent to indefatigably stressed by the Court. The Code of
rely on the order of Judge Paterno T. Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to be faithful to
Alvarez. As a responsible judge, he should have the law and maintain professional
looked into the real and hard facts of the case competence. A judge is called upon to exhibit
before him and ascertained personally whether more than just a cursory acquaintance with
the evidence of guilt is strong.[14] To make things statutes and procedural rules; it is imperative
worse, respondent Judge relied on the said July that he be conversant with basic legal principles
22, 1994 order despite the fact that the same and be aware of well-settled authoritative
appears to have been issued by his predecessor doctrines. He should strive for excellence
Judge also without a hearing and while the exceeded only by his passion for truth, to the
accused was at large. In addition to the end that he be the personification of justice and
requirement of a mandatory bail hearing, the Rule of Law.[
respondent judge should have known the basic
Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan
rule that the right to bail can only be availed of
FACTS: The records show that petitioner was a
member of the Board of Trustees and the Legal
Counsel of the Erap Muslim Youth Foundation,
a non-stock, non-profit foundation established
in February 2000 ostensibly for the purpose of
providing educational opportunities for the poor
and underprivileged but deserving Muslim youth
and students, and support to research and
advance studies of young Muslim educators and
scientists.

Sometime in April 2000, petitioner, as trustee of


the Foundation, received on its behalf a
donation in the amount of Two Hundred
Million Pesos (P200 Million) from Ilocos Sur
Governor Luis Chavit Singson through the
latters assistant Mrs. Yolanda
Ricaforte. Petitioner received the donation and
turned over the said amount to the Foundations
treasurer who later deposited it in the
Foundations account with the Equitable PCI
Bank.

In the latter part of the year 2000, Gov. Singson


publicly accused then President Joseph E.
Estrada and his cohorts of engaging in several
illegal activities, including its operation on the
illegal numbers game known as jueteng. This
triggered the filing with the Office of the
Ombudsman of several criminal complaints
against Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada and
petitioner, together with other persons.