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Bail hearing is mandatory - A.M. No. RTJ- 04-1845 4.

4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the approval
A.M. No. RTJ- 04-1845 of the bail bond (Section 19, id); otherwise, the petition should be denied.
[emphasis supplied]
I II
Bail hearing was mandatory Judge Infante disregarded rules and guidelines
in Criminal Case No. 1138-03 in Criminal Case No. 1138-03
Judge Infante would excuse himself from blame and responsibility by insisting that Ostensibly, Judge Infante disregarded basic but well-known rules and guidelines
the hearing was no longer necessary considering that the accused had not filed a on the matter of bail.
petition for bail; that inasmuch as no application for bail had been filed by the 1.
accused, his twin orders of April 23, 2003 were not orders granting an application In case no application for bail is filed,
for bail, but were instead his approval of the bail bond posted; and that Atty. bail hearing was not dispensable
Gacal’s very urgent motion and other motions and written submissions lacked the Judge Infante contends that a bail hearing in Criminal Case No. 1138-03 was not
requisite written conformity of the public prosecutor, rendering them null and necessary because the accused did not file an application for bail; and because the
void. public prosecutor had recommended bail.
We cannot relieve Judge Infante from blame and responsibility. Judge Infante’s contention is unwarranted.
The willingness of Judge Infante to rely on the mere representation of the public Even where there is no petition for bail in a case like Criminal Case No. 1138-03, a
prosecutor that his grant of bail upon the public prosecutor’s recommendation hearing should still be held. This hearing is separate and distinct from the initial
had been proper, and that his (public prosecutor) recommendation of bail had in hearing to determine the existence of probable cause, in which the trial judge
effect waived the need for a bail hearing perplexes the Court. He thereby betrayed ascertains whether or not there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded
an uncommon readiness to trust more in the public prosecutor’s judgment than belief that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty of
in his own judicious discretion as a trial judge. He should not do so. the crime. The Prosecution must be given a chance to show the strength of its
Judge Infante made the situation worse by brushing aside the valid remonstrations evidence; otherwise, a violation of due process occurs.[19]
expressed in Atty. Gacal’s very urgent motion thusly: The fact that the public prosecutor recommended bail for Ancheta did not warrant
This Court is not unaware that the charge of murder being a capital offense is not dispensing with the hearing. The public prosecutor’s recommendation of bail was
bailable xxx not material in deciding whether to conduct the mandatory hearing or not. For
xxxx one, the public prosecutor’s recommendation, albeit persuasive, did not
The phrase “xxx application for admission to bail xxx” is not an irrelevant but a necessarily bind the trial judge,[20] in whom alone the discretion to determine
significant infusion in the cited rule (section 8), the plain import of which is that whether to grant bail or not was vested. Whatever the public prosecutor
bail hearing is preceded by a motion/petition for admission to bail filed by a recommended, including the amount of bail, was non-binding. Nor did such
detained accused himself or thru counsel. recommendation constitute a showing that the evidence of guilt was not strong.
The peculiar feature of the instant case, however, is the absence of a If it was otherwise, the trial judge could become unavoidably controlled by the
petition/motion for admission to bail filed by the herein accused. On the contrary, Prosecution.
it is the consistent position of the fiscal to recommend bail since the prosecution Being the trial judge, Judge Infante had to be aware of the precedents laid down
evidence being merely circumstantial, is not strong for the purpose of granting by the Supreme Court regarding the bail hearing being mandatory and
bail. xxx. This court believes that bail hearing, albeit necessary in the grant of bail indispensable. He ought to have remembered, then, that it was only through such
involving capital offense, is not at all times and in all instances essential to afford hearing that he could be put in a position to determine whether the evidence for
the party the right to due process especially so, when the fiscal in this case was the Prosecution was weak or strong.[21] Hence, his dispensing with the hearing
given reasonable opportunity to explain his side, and yet he maintained the manifested a gross ignorance of the law and the rules.
propriety of grant of bail without need of hearing since the prosecution evidence 2.
is not strong for the purpose of granting bail. Public prosecutor’s failure to oppose
Further, while it is preponderant of judicial experience to adopt the fiscal’s application for bail or to adduce evidence
recommendation in bail fixing, this court, however, had in addition and in accord did not dispense with hearing
with Section 6(a) of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, evaluated the record That the Prosecution did not oppose the grant of bail to Ancheta, as in fact it
of the case, and only upon being convinced and satisfied that the prosecution recommended bail, and that the Prosecution did not want to adduce evidence
evidence as contained in the affidavits of all the prosecution witnesses, no one were irrelevant, and did not dispense with the bail hearing. The gravity of the
being an eye-witness are merely circumstantial evidence, that this court in the charge in Criminal Case No. 1138-03 made it still mandatory for Judge Infante to
exercise of sound discretion allowed the accused to post bail. conduct a bail hearing in which he could have made on his own searching and
xxxx clarificatory questions from which to infer the strength or weakness of the
The convergence of the foregoing factors - absence of motion for admission to bail evidence of guilt. He should not have readily and easily gone along with the public
filed by the accused, the recommendation of the fiscal to grant bail, the pro forma prosecutor’s opinion that the evidence of guilt, being circumstantial, was not
motion of the private prosecutor for lack of prior approval from the fiscal and this strong enough to deny bail; else, he might be regarded as having abdicated from
court’s evaluation of the records – sufficiently warrants the grant of bail to herein a responsibility that was his alone as the trial judge.
accused.[14] Judge Infante’s holding that circumstantial evidence of guilt was of a lesser weight
Judge Infante specifically cited judicial experience as sanctioning his adoption and than direct evidence in the establishment of guilt was also surprising. His training
approval of the public prosecutor’s recommendation on the fixing of bail. Yet, it and experience should have cautioned him enough on the point that the lack or
was not concealed from him that the public prosecutor’s recommendation had absence of direct evidence did not necessarily mean that the guilt of the accused
been mainly based on the documentary evidence adduced,[15] and on the public could not anymore be proved, because circumstantial evidence, if sufficient, could
prosecutor’s misguided position that the evidence of guilt was weak because only supplant the absence of direct evidence.[22] In short, evidence of guilt was not
circumstantial evidence had been presented. As such, Judge Infante’s necessarily weak because it was circumstantial.
unquestioning echoing of the public prosecutor’s conclusion about the evidence Instead, Judge Infante should have assiduously determined why the Prosecution
of guilt not being sufficient to deny bail did not justify his dispensing with the bail refused to satisfy its burden of proof in the admission of the accused to bail.
hearing. Should he have found that the public prosecutor’s refusal was not justified, he
Judge Infante apparently acted as if the requirement for the bail hearing was a could have then himself inquired on the nature and extent of the evidence of guilt
merely minor rule to be dispensed with. Although, in theory, the only function of for the purpose of enabling himself to ascertain whether or not such evidence was
bail is to ensure the appearance of the accused at the time set for the arraignment strong. He could not have ignored the possibility that the public prosecutor might
and trial; and, in practice, bail serves the further purpose of preventing the release have erred in assessing the evidence of guilt as weak.[23] At any rate, if he found
of an accused who may be dangerous to society or whom the judge may not want the Prosecution to be uncooperative, he could still have endeavored to determine
to release,[16] a hearing upon notice ismandatory before the grant of bail, on his own the existence of such evidence,[24] with the assistance of the private
whether bail is a matter of right or discretion.[17] With more reason is this true in prosecutor.
criminal prosecutions of a capital offense, or of an offense punishable by reclusion 3.
perpetua or life imprisonment. Rule 114, Section 7 of the Rules of Court, as Judge Infante’s granting of bail without a hearing was
amended, states that: “No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense censurable for gross ignorance of the law and the rules
punishable byreclusion perpetua or life imprisonment when the evidence of guilt Every judge should be faithful to the law and should maintain professional
is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of criminal action.” competence.[25] His role in the administration of justice requires a continuous
In Cortes v. Catral,[18] therefore, the Court has outlined the following duties of study of the law and jurisprudence, lest public confidence in the Judiciary be
the judge once an application for bail is filed, to wit: eroded by incompetence and irresponsible conduct.[26]
1. In all cases whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, notify the prosecutor In that light, the failure of Judge Infante to conduct a hearing prior to the grant of
of the hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his bail in capital offenses was inexcusable and reflected gross ignorance of the law
recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court, as and the rules as well as a cavalier disregard of its requirement.[27] He well knew
amended); that the determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong was a
2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail matter of judicial discretion,[28] and that the discretion lay not in the
regardless or whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show determination of whether or not a hearing should be held, but in the appreciation
that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to and evaluation of the weight of the Prosecution’s evidence of guilt against the
exercise its sound discretion (Sections 7 and 8, id); accused.[29] His fault was made worse by his granting bail despite the absence of
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of a petition for bail from the accused.[30]Consequently, any order he issued in the
evidence of the prosecution; 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 claims that in decreeing such position he merely exercised his discretion, bail being
We next determine the penalty imposable on Judge Infante for his gross ignorance discretionary in the subject cases, and that if ever he erred in his ruling it is merely
of the law and the rules. an error of judgment.
The Court imposed a fine of P20,000.00 on the respondent judge inDocena-Caspe
v. Bugtas.[32] In that case, the respondent judge granted bail to the two accused The Constitution guarantees to every person under legal custody the right to bail,
who had been charged with murder without first conducting a hearing. Likewise, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when
in Loyola v. Gabo,[33] the Court fined the respondent judge in the similar amount evidence of guilt is strong. The rules likewise mandate that before ruling on an
of P20,000.00 for granting bail to the accused in a murder case without the application for bail, a hearing should first be conducted to determine the existence
requisite bail hearing. To accord with such precedents, the Court prescribes a fine of a strong evidence against the accused.
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 A hearing for bail is summary in nature or otherwise in the discretion of the court.
with. Summary hearing means such brief and speedy method of receiving and
WHEREFORE, we FIND AND DECLARE Judge Jaime I. Infante guilty of gross considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the purpose
ignorance of the law and the rules; and, accordingly, FINEhim in the amount of of the hearing which is merely to determine the weight of the evidence for
P20,000.00, with a stern warning that a repetition of the offense or the purposes of bail. The course of the inquiry may be left to the discretion of the
commission of another serious offense will be more severely dealt with. court which may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to
Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Court Administrator substantial matters avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examination and
for proper dissemination to all trial judges. cross-examination of witnesses and reducing to a reasonable minimum the
SO ORDERED." amount of corroboration particularly on details that are not essential to the
purpose of the hearing.

PETITION FOR BAIL and NON BAILABLE CRIMES. It is true that the weight of the evidence adduced is addressed to the sound
I have been reading a lot of legal and not so legal commentaries about the recent discretion of the court. However, such discretion may be exercised only after the
bail granted to accused Cedric et al. Some are obviously well thought of, some hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of
bordering craziness and absurdity. So what does Bail really mean in our legal determining whether or not he should be granted provisional liberty. At the
system? hearing, the court should assure that the prosecution is afforded the opportunity
Under RULE 114 of our Rules of Court- to adduce evidence relevant to the factual issue, with the applicant having the
Section 1. Bail defined. – Bail is the security given for the release of a person in right of cross-examination and to introduce his own evidence in rebuttal. Both the
custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance prosecution and the defense must be given reasonable opportunity to prove, in
before any court as required under the conditions hereinafter specified. Bail may the case of the prosecution, that evidence of guilt of the applicant is strong; and,
be given in the form of corporate surety, property bond, cash deposit, or in the case of the defense, that such evidence of guilt is not strong. The accused
recognizance. has the right to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the prosecution and to
Purposes of Bail: introduce his evidence in rebuttal to establish his right to bail.
1. To give premium to the constitutional presumption of innocence until his guilt is
proven beyond reasonable doubt. In fine, the hearing is for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise sound
2. To relieve an accused from the rigors of imprisonment until his conviction and discretion as to whether or not under the Constitution and laws in force the
yet secure his appearance at trial. (Almeda v Villaluz G.R. L-31665, August 6, accused is entitled to provisional release on bail. At the hearing, the petitioner can
1975) rightfully cross examine the witnesses presented by the prosecution and introduce
3. To enable him to prepare his defense without being subject to incarceration prior his own evidence in rebuttal.
to conviction.
Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. – At the hearing of an application for bail In the instant case, respondent cut short the hearing after the prosecution
filed by a person who is in custody for the commission of an offense punishable presented its evidence and dispensed altogether with the defense's turn to
by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, the prosecution has the burden adduce evidence in rebuttal. Said denial of the request to present evidence shows
of showing that evidence of guilt is strong. deficiency in prudence, discretion and judgment on the part of respondent Judge.
Sec. 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life The deficiency is magnified by respondent's outright denial of complainants'
imprisonment, not bailable. – No person charged with a capital offense, or an request to make a tender of proof, which is allowed under the Rules. It is not
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted accurate to contend that hearing the prosecution overcome its burden of proof
to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the state of the criminal would suffice. Dictates of fair play should have at least reminded respondent to
prosecution. inquire first the nature of the evidence proposed to be presented, determine
Burden Of Proof In Bail Application whether or not they will be essential for the purpose of ascertaining entitlement
Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. – At the hearing of an application to bail, before discarding any evidence outright. This is in keeping with procedural
for bail filed by a person who is in custody for the commission of an offense due process, given established rules and jurisprudence on bail.
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, the prosecution
has the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong. The evidence It is a pressing responsibility of judges to endeavor at all times to avoid such
presented during the bail hearing shall be considered automatically reproduced actions as would impress upon litigants the disregard of due process. On this,
at the trial but, upon motion of either party, the court may recall any witness respondent had been remiss.
for additional examination unless the latter is dead, outside the Philippines, or
otherwise unable to testify. True, as a matter of public policy, a judge may not be disciplined for error of
judgment absent proof that such error was made with a conscious and deliberate
The grant or denial of bail in capital offense hinges on the strength of the evidence intent to cause injustice. This does not mean, however, that a judge need not
of guilt. This requires that the trial court to conduct bail hearings wherein both observe propriety, discreetness and due care in the performance of his official
the prosecution and the defense are afforded sufficient opportunity to present functions. In every case, a judge shall endeavor diligently to ascertain the facts and
their respective evidence. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution to show the applicable law unswayed by partisan interests, public opinion or fear of
the evidence of guilt is strong. But the determination of whether the evidence of criticism.
guilt is strong is a matter of judicial discretion. Though not absolute nor beyond
control, the discretion of the trial court must be sound and exercised within The records, however, fail to establish bad faith, corruption, dishonesty or fraud
reasonable grounds. on the part of respondent, thereby meriting for him a tempered penalty. In fact, a
finding of good faith is consistent with the fact that respondent still granted both
MUST THE DEFENSE PRESENT ANY EVIDENCE DURING THE HEARING ON THE parties opportunity to submit their respective memorandum after he disallowed
APPLICATION FOR BAIL? the defense to present evidence.
> No, the burden of proof is upon the prosecution to show that the evidence of
guilt of accused is strong Finally, the rest of the charges against respondent lack merit. Specifically, the
charge of bias and partiality was not substantiated. Moreover, that the decision
WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF THE TRIAL JUDGE IN CASE AN APPLICATION FOR BAIL was based on a one-sentence conclusion that the evidence of guilt is strong is
IS FILED? inaccurate. The conclusion to that effect was actually preceded by a thorough
1. Notify the prosecutor of the hearing or require him to submit a summary of the evidence. The fact that there was no categorical discussion on
recommendation how the conclusion was reached does not make it less a reasonable conclusion.
2. Conduct a hearing Obviously, respondent accorded the evidence probative weight, which he deemed
3. Decide whether the evidence of guilt is strong based on the summary of to be adequate for his inference. At any rate, the inadequacy of expression of the
evidence of the prosecution questioned Order is outweighed by its substantial compliance with the
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the requirements for an Order granting or denying bail.
approval of the bail bond. If evidence of guilt is strong, the petition should be
denied. [A.M. No. RTJ-96-1335. March 5, 1997]
INOCENCIO BASCO, complainant, vs. JUDGE LEO H. RAPATALO, Regional Trial
EVALUATION: Court, Branch 32, Agoo, La Union, respondent.
Respondent Judge insists that, for purposes of bail hearing, only the prosecution RESOLUTION
is required to present evidence since it is not yet a trial of the main case and the ROMERO, J.:
court is only preliminarily tasked to determine if the evidence of guilt is strong. He
In a sworn letter-complaint dated August 14, 1995, complainant Inocencio Basco law. It must be governed by rule, not by humour; it must not be arbitrary, vague
charged respondent Judge Leo M. Rapatalo of RTC, Branch 32, Agoo, La Union with and fanciful; but legal and regular."[9]
gross ignorance or willful disregard of established rule of law for granting bail to
an accused in a murder case (Criminal Case No. 2927) without receiving evidence Consequently, in the application for bail of a person charged with a capital offense
and conducting a hearing. cpunishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, a hearing, whether
summary or otherwise in the discretion of the court, must actually be conducted
Complainant, who is the father of the victim, alleged that an information for to determine whether or not the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong.
murder was filed against a certain Roger Morente, one of three accused. The "A summary hearing means such brief and speedy method of receiving and
accused Morente filed a petition for bail. The hearing for said petition was set for considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the purpose
May 31, 1995 by petitioner but was not heard since the respondent Judge was of hearing which is merely to determine the weight of evidence for the purposes
then on leave. It was reset to June 8, 1995 but on said date, respondent Judge of bail. On such hearing, the court does not sit to try the merits or to enter into
reset it to June 22, 1995. The hearing for June 22, 1995, however, did not any nice inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or
materialize. Instead, the accused was arraigned and trial was set. Again, the against the accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what
petition for bail was not heard on said date as the prosecution's witnesses in further evidence may be therein offered and admitted. The course of inquiry may
connection with said petition were not notified. Another attempt was made to be left to the discretion of the court which may confine itself to receiving such
reset the hearing to July 17, 1995. evidence as has reference to substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary
thoroughness in the examination and cross examination."[10] If a party is denied
In the meantime, complainant allegedly saw the accused in Rosario, La Union on the opportunity to be heard, there would be a violation of procedural due process.
July 3, 1995. He later learned that the accused was out on bail despite the fact that
the petition had not been heard at all. Upon investigation, complainant discovered That it is mandatory for the judge to require a hearing in a petition for bail is
that bail had been granted and a release order dated June 29, 1995[1] was issued emphasized in the following cases:
on the basis of a marginal note[2] dated June 22, 1995, at the bottom of the bail
petition by Assistant Prosecutor Manuel Oliva which stated: "No objection: (1) People v. Sola decided in 1981.[11] In this case seven separate information for
P80,000.00," signed and approved by the assistant prosecutor and eventually by murder were filed against the accused Sola and 18 other persons. After
respondent Judge. Note that there was already a release order dated June 29, preliminary investigation, the municipal trial court issued warrants for their arrest.
1995 on the basis of the marginal note of the Assistant Prosecutor dated June 22, However without giving the prosecution the opportunity to prove that the
1995 (when the hearing of the petition for bail was aborted and instead evidence of guilt against the accused is strong. the court granted them the right
arraignment took place) when another hearing was scheduled for July 17, 1995. to post bail for their temporary release. Citing People v. San Diego,[12] we held:
"We are of the considered opinion that whether the motion for bail of a defendant
In his comment dated October 16, 1995, respondent Judge alleged that he granted who is in custody for a capital offense be resolved in a summary proceeding or in
the petition based on the prosecutor's option not to oppose the petition as well the course of a regular trial, the prosecution must be given an opportunity to
as the latter's recommendation setting the bailbond in the amount of P80,000.00. present, within a reasonable time, all the evidence that it may desire to introduce
He averred that when the prosecution chose not to oppose the petition for bail, before the court should resolve the motion for bail. If, as in the criminal case
he had the discretion on whether to approve it or not. He further declared that involved in the instant special civil action, the prosecution should be denied such
when he approved the petition, he had a right to presume that the prosecutor an opportunity, there would be a violation of procedural due process, and the
knew what he was doing since he was more familiar with the case, having order of the court granting bail should be considered void on that ground."
conducted the preliminary investigation. Furthermore, the private prosecutor was
not around at the time the public prosecutor recommended bail. (2) People v. Dacudao decided in 1989.[13] In this case, an information was filed
against the accused for murder, a non-bailable offense. The judge, without
Respondent Judge stated that in any case, the bailbond posted by accused was conducting any hearing, granted bail on the ground that there was not enough
cancelled and a warrant for his arrest was issued on account of complainant's evidence to warrant a case for murder because only affidavits of the prosecution
motion for reconsideration. The Assistant Provincial Prosecutor apparently witnesses who were allegedly not eyewitnesses to the crime were filed. We held:
conformed to and approved the motion for reconsideration.[3] To date, accused "Whatever the court possessed at the time it issued the questioned ruling was
is confined at the La Union Provincial Jail. intended only for prima facie determining whether or not there is sufficient
ground to engender a well founded belief that the crime was committed and
A better understanding of bail as an aspect of criminal procedure entails pinpointing the persons who probably committed it. Whether or not the evidence
appreciating its nature and purposes. "Bail" is the security required by the court of guilt is strong for each individual accused still has to established unless the
and given by the accused to ensure that the accused appears before the proper prosecution submits the issue on whatever it has already presented. To appreciate
court at the scheduled time and place to answer the charges brought against him the strength or weakness of the evidence of guilt, the prosecution must be
or her. In theory, the only function of bail is to ensure the appearance of the consulted or held. It is equally entitled to due process."
defendant at the time set for trial. The sole purpose of confining the accused in
jail before conviction, it has been observed, is to assure his presence at the trial.[4] (3) People v. Calo decided in 1990.[14] In this case, the prosecution was scheduled
In other words, if the denial of bail is authorized in capital offenses, it is only in to present nine witnesses at the hearings held to determine whether the evidence
theory that the proof being strong, the defendant would flee, if he has the against the private respondents was strong. After hearing the fifth witness, the
opportunity, rather than face the verdict of the court. Hence the exception to the respondent judge insisted on terminating the proceedings. We held: "The
fundamental right to be bailed should be applied in direct ratio to the extent of prosecution in the instant case was not given adequate opportunity to prove that
probability of evasion of the prosecution.[5] In practice, bail has also been used to there is strong evidence of guilt and to present within a reasonable time all the
prevent the release of an accused who might otherwise be dangerous to society evidence it desired to present."
or whom the judges might not want to release."[6]
(4) Libarios v. Dabalo decided in 1991[15] which involved an administrative
It is in view of the abovementioned practical function of bail that it is not a matter complaint against the respondent judge for ignorance of the law and grave abuse
of right in cases where the person is charged with a capital offense punishable by of discretion. In this case, the respondent judge, without conducting any prior
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Article 114, section 7 of the Rules hearing, directed the issuance of a warrant of arrest against the accused charged
of Court, as amended, states, "No person charged with a capital offense, or an with murder, fixing at the same time the bail at P50,000.00 each on the ground
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment when the evidence that the evidence against them was merely circumstantial. We held: "Where a
of guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the stage of the criminal person is accused of a capital offense, the trial court must conduct a hearing in a
action." summary proceeding to allow the prosecution to present, within a reasonable
time, all evidence it may desire to produce to prove that the evidence of guilt
When the grant of bail is discretionary, the prosecution has the burden of showing against the accused is strong before resolving the issue of bail for the temporary
that the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong. However, the release of the accused. Failure to conduct a hearing before fixing bail in the instant
determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong, being a matter of case amounted to a violation of due process." The respondent judge was ordered
judicial discretion, remains with the judge. "This discretion by the very nature of to pay a fine of P20,000.00 and warned to exercise more care in the performance
things, may rightly be exercised only after the evidence is submitted to the court of his duties.
at the hearing. Since the discretion is directed to the weight of the evidence and
since evidence cannot properly be weighed if not duly exhibited or produced (5) People v. Nano decided in 1992.[16] In this case. the judge issued an order
before the court,[7] it is obvious that a proper exercise of judicial discretion admitting the accused in a kidnapping and murder case to bail without any
requires that the evidence of guilt be submitted to the court, the petitioner having hearing. We held: "The prosecution must first be given an opportunity to present
the right of cross examination and to introduce his own evidence in rebuttal."[8] evidence because by the very nature of deciding applications for bail, it is on the
basis of such evidence that judicial discretion is weighed against in determining
To be sure, the discretion of the trial court, "is not absolute nor beyond control. It whether the guilt of the accused is strong."
must be sound, and exercised within reasonable bounds. Judicial discretion, by its
very nature involves the exercise of the judge's individual opinion and the law has (6) Pico v. Combong, Jr. decided in 1992.[17] In this administrative case, the
wisely provided that its exercise be guided by well-known rules which, while respondent judge granted bail to an accused charged with an offense punishable
allowing the judge rational latitude for the operation of his own individual views, by reclusion perpetua, without notice and hearing and even before the accused
prevent them from getting out of control. An uncontrolled or uncontrollable had been arrested or detained. We held: "It is well settled that an application for
discretion on the part of a judge is a misnomer. It is a fallacy. Lord Mansfield, bail from a person charged with a capital offense (now an offense punishable by
speaking of the discretion to be exercised in granting or denying bail said: "But reclusion perpetua) must be set for hearing at which both the defense and the
discretion when applied to a court of justice, means sound discretion guided by prosecution must be given reasonable opportunity to prove (in case of the
prosecution) that the evidence of guilt of the applicant is strong, or (in the case of reclusion perpetua, such as rape, bail may be granted only after a motion for that
the defense) that such evidence of guilt was not strong." The respondent judge purpose has been filed by the accused and a hearing thereon conducted by a judge
was ordered to pay a fine of P20,000.00 and warned to exercise greater care and to determine whether or not the prosecution's evidence of guilt is strong." The
diligence in the performance of his duties. respondent judge was ordered to pay a fine of P20,000.00 with a warning that a
repetition of similar or the same offense will be dealt with more severely.
(7) De Guia v. Maglalang decided in 1993,[18] the respondent judge issued a
warrant of arrest and also fixed the bail of an accused charged with the non (13) Guillermo v. Reyes decided in 1995[25] involving an administrative complaint
bailable offense of statutory rape without allowing the prosecution an opportunity against the respondent judge for granting bail to the two accused charged with
to show that the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong. Respondent judge serious illegal detention. When the two accused first filed a joint application for
alleged that the only evidence on record the sworn statements of the complaining bail, the petition for bail was duly heard and the evidence offered by the accused
witness and her guardian were not sufficient to justify the denial of bail. We held: and the prosecution in opposition thereto were properly taken into account.
"It is an established principle that in cases where a person is accused of a capital However, the respondent judge denied the application for bail on the ground that
offense, the trial court must conduct a hearing in a summary proceeding, to allow it was premature since the accused were not yet in custody of the law. In a
the prosecution an opportunity to present, within a reasonable time, all evidence subsequent order, the respondent judge, without conducting any hearing on the
it may desire to produce to prove that the evidence of guilt against the accused is aforestated application and thereby denying the prosecution an opportunity to
strong, before resolving the issue of bail for the temporary release of the accused. oppose the same, granted said petition upon the voluntary appearance in court of
Failure to conduct a hearing before fixing bail amounts to a violation of due the two accused. Respondent judge insisted that there was a hearing but the
process." It was noted that the warrant of arrest was returned unserved and that proceeding he adverted to was that which was conducted when the motion for
after the case was re-raffled to the complainant judge's sala, the warrant was set bail was first considered and then denied for being premature. We held: "The error
aside and cancelled. There was no evidence on record showing whether the of the respondent judge lies in the fact that in his subsequent consideration of the
approved bail was revoked by the complainant judge, whether the accused was application for bail, he acted affirmatively thereon without conducting another
apprehended or whether the accused filed an application for bail. Hence, the hearing and what is worse, his order concededly lacked the requisite summary or
respondent judge was ordered to pay a fine of P5,000.00 instead of the usual resume of the evidence presented by the parties and necessary to support the
P20,000.00 that the court imposes on judges who grant the application of bail grant of bail." The respondent judge was reprimanded because despite the
without notice and hearing. irregularity in the procedure adopted in the proceeding, the prosecution was
undeniably afforded the benefit of notice and hearing. No erroneous appreciation
(8) Borinaga v. Tamin decided in 1993.[19] In this case, a complaint for murder of the evidence was alleged nor did the prosecution indicate its desire to introduce
was filed against five persons. While the preliminary investigation was pending in additional evidence in an appropriate challenge to the aforestated grant of bail by
the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, a petition for bail was filed by one of the accused the respondent.
before the respondent judge in the Regional Trial Court. The respondent judge
ordered the prosecutor to appear at the hearing to present evidence that the guilt (14) Santos v. Ofilada decided in 1995.[26] In this case, an administrative
of the accused is strong. At the scheduled hearing, the public prosecutor failed to complaint was filed against the respondent judge, who, without notice and
appear prompting the respondent to grant the application for bail. We held: hearing to the prosecution, granted bail to an accused charged with murder and
"Whether the motion for bail of an accused who is in custody for a capital offense illegal possession of firearm. We held: "Where admission to bail is a matter of
be resolved in a summary proceeding or in the course of a regular trial, the discretion, a hearing is mandatory before an accused can be granted bail. At the
prosecution must be given an opportunity to present within a reasonable time all hearing, both the prosecution and the defense must be given reasonable
evidence it may desire to introduce before the court may resolve the motion for opportunity to prove, in case of the prosecution, that the evidence of guilt of the
bail." The respondent judge was fined P20,000.00 and was warned that the applicant is strong, and in the case of the defense, that evidence of such guilt is
commission of a similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely. not strong." The respondent judge was ordered to pay a fine of P20,000.00 with a
warning that a repetition of similar acts will warrant a more severe sanction.
(9) Aurillo v. Francisco decided in 1994.[20] In this administrative case, the
respondent judge issued two separate warrants of arrest against two persons (15) Sule v. Biteng decided in 1995.[27] In this administrative case, the respondent
charged with murder and parricide, but fixed the amount of bail for each accused judge, without affording the prosecution the opportunity to be heard, granted
without notifying the prosecution of any motion to fix bail nor of any order with indecent haste the petition for bail filed by the accused charged with murder
granting the same. Citing People v. Dacudao,[21] we held: "A hearing is absolutely because the accused "x x x voluntarily surrendered to the authorities as soon as
indispensable before a judge can properly determine whether the prosecution's he was informed that he was one of the suspect (sic) x x x" We held: "With his
evidence is weak or strong. Hence, a denial of the prosecution's request to adduce open admission that he granted bail to the accused without giving the prosecution
evidence, deprives it of procedural due process, a right to which it is equally any opportunity to be heard, the respondent deliberately disregarded decisions of
entitled as the defense. A hearing is required to afford the judge a basis for this court holding that such act amounts to a denial of due process, and made
determining the existence of those factors set forth under Rule 114, Sec 6." The himself administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law for which appropriate
respondent judge was ordered to pay a fine of P20,000 with a warning that the sanctions may be imposed." The respondent judge was ordered to pay a fine of
commission of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more P20,000.00 and warned that commission of the same or similar acts in the future
severely. will be dealt with more severely.

(10) Estoya v. Abraham-Singson decided in 1994[22] In this case, an administrative (16) Reymualdo Buzon, Jr. v. Judge Tirso Velasco decided in 1996.[28] In this
complaint was filed against the respondent judge, alleging, among others, that she administrative case, the respondent judge, without hearing nor comment from
granted an application for bail filed by the accused charged with murder. The grant the prosecution, granted bail to an accused charged with murder. Notably, no bail
was made over the objection of the prosecution which insisted that the evidence was recommended in the warrant of arrest. We held: "When bail is a matter of
of guilt was strong and without allowing the prosecution to present evidence in discretion, the judge is required to conduct a hearing and to give notice of such
this regard. We held: "In immediately granting bail and fixing it at only P20,000.00 hearing to the fiscal or require him to submit his recommendation. x x x Truly, a
for each of the accused without allowing the prosecution to present its evidence, judge would not be in a position to determine whether the prosecution's evidence
the respondent denied the prosecution due process. This Court had said so in is weak or strong unless a hearing is first conducted." A fine of P20,000.00 was
many cases and had imposed sanctions on judges who granted applications for imposed on the respondent judge with the stern warning that a repetition of the
bail in capital offenses and in offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua without same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely.
giving the prosecution the opportunity to prove that the evidence of guilt is
strong." The respondent judge was dismissed from service because the erroneous The aforecited cases are all to the effect that when bail is discretionary, a hearing,
granting of bail was just one of the offenses found to have been committed by her whether summary or otherwise in the discretion of the court, should first be
in the aforesaid complaint. conducted to determine the existence of strong evidence, or lack of it, against the
accused to enable the judge to make an intelligent assessment of the evidence
(11) Aguirre v. Belmonte decided in 1994.[23] In this administrative case the presented by the parties.
respondent judge issued warrants of arrest and, at the same time and on his own
motion. authorized the provisional release on bail of the accused in two criminal Since the determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt against the
cases for murder. The accused were still at large at the time the order granting accused is strong is a matter of judicial discretion, the judge is mandated to
bail was issued. We held: "A hearing is mandatory before bail can be granted to conduct a hearing even in cases where the prosecution chooses to just file a
an accused who is charged with a capital offense." The judge was ordered to pay comment or leave the application for bail to the discretion of the court. Hence:
a fine of P25,000.00 with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in
the future will be dealt with more severely. He was meted a fine in a higher (1) In the case of Gimeno v. Arcueno, Sr.,[29] an administrative complaint was filed
amount than the usual P20,000.00 because it involved two criminal cases wherein against the respondent judge for granting bail to one of the accused in a robbery
the respondent judge, "was not only the grantor of bail but likewise the applicant with homicide case without affording the prosecution a chance to be heard. The
therefor." respondent judge explained that he issued an order for the motion to fix bail but
the public prosecutor filed a comment instead which respondent judge thought
(12) Lardizabal v. Reyes decided in 1994.[24] In this administrative case, the was adequate compliance with law. Respondent added that the evidence of guilt
respondent judge issued an order directing the arrest of the accused charged with of the accused, as disclosed by the records, was not so strong as to deny the
rape and, motu proprio, fixed the bail of the accused in the amount of P80,000.00 application for bail. In fact, the accused who filed for bail, together with three
without application on the part of the accused to be admitted to bail. When the others, were later dropped by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor from the
accused filed a motion to reduce bailbond, the respondent judge again, without information for failure of the witnesses to positively identify them. We held: "The
any prior notice and hearing, reduced the bail to P40,000.00. We held: "The rule grant of bail is a matter of right except in cases involving capital offenses when the
is explicit that when an accused is charged with a serious offense punishable by matter is left to the sound discretion of the court. That discretion lies, not in the
determination whether or not a hearing should be held but in the appreciation strong enough as to indicate the guilt of the accused. Otherwise, the order
and evaluation of the prosecution's evidence of guilt against the accused. x x x A granting or denying the application for bail may be invalidated because the
hearing is plainly indispensable before a judge can aptly be said to be in a position summary of evidence for the prosecution which contains the judge's evaluation of
to determine whether the evidence for the prosecution is weak or strong." the evidence may be considered as an aspect of procedural due process for both
Although the respondent judge's explanation was not enough to completely the prosecution and the defense.
exculpate him, the circumstances, coupled with his sincere belief in the propriety
of his order warranted a mitigation of the usual sanction the Court imposes in This court in the case of Carpio v. Maglalang[37] invalidated the order of
cases of this nature. The respondent judge was ordered to pay a fine of P5,000.00 respondent judge granting bail to the accused because "Without summarizing the
and warned that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt factual basis of its order granting bail, the court merely stated the number of
with more severely. prosecution witnesses but not their respective testimonies, and concluded that
the evidence presented by the prosecution was not "sufficiently strong" to deny
(2) In the case of Concerned Citizens v. Elma,[30] an administrative complaint was bail to Escano."
filed against the respondent judge for granting bail to a person charged with illegal
recruitment in large scale and estafa in five separate information. The accused With the mounting precedents, this Court sees no reason why it has to repeatedly
filed a motion to fix bail and the respondent judge instead of setting the remind trial court judges to perform their mandatory duty of conducting the
application for hearing, directed the prosecution to file its comment or opposition. required hearing in bail applications where the accused stands charged with a
The prosecution submitted its comment leaving the application for bail to the capital offense.
discretion of the court. The respondent judge, in granting the bail of the accused
rationalized that in ordering the prosecution to comment on the accused's motion An evaluation of the records in the case at bar reveals that respondent Judge
to fix bail, he has substantially complied with the requirement of a formal hearing. granted bail to the accused without first conducting a hearing to prove that the
He further claimed that he required the prosecution to adduce evidence but the guilt of the accused is strong despite his knowledge that the offense charged is a
latter refused and left the determination of the motion to his discretion. This Court capital offense in disregard of the procedure laid down in Section 8, Rule 114 of
held, "It is true that the weight of the evidence adduced is addressed to the sound the Rules of Court as amended by Administrative Circular No. 12-94.
discretion of the court. However, such discretion may only be exercised after the
hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of Respondent judge admittedly granted the petition for bail based on the
determining whether or not he should be granted liberty. x x x In the case at bar, prosecution's declaration not to oppose the petition. Respondent's assertion,
however, no formal hearing was conducted by the respondent judge. He could not however, that he has a right to presume that the prosecutor knows what he is
have assessed the weight of evidence against the accused Gatus before granting doing on account of the latter's familiarity with the case due to his having
the latter's application for bail." The respondent judge was dismissed from service conducted the preliminary investigation is faulty. Said reasoning is tantamount to
because he was previously fined for a similar offense and was sternly warned that ceding to the prosecutor the duty of exercising judicial discretion to determine
a repetition of the same or similar offense would be dealt with more severely. whether the guilt of the accused is strong. Judicial discretion is the domain of the
judge before whom the petition for provisional liberty will be decided. The
(3) In the case of Baylon v. Sison,[31] an administrative complaint was filed against mandated duty to exercise discretion has never been reposed upon the
the respondent judge for granting bail to several accused in a double murder case. prosecutor.
The respondent judge claimed that he granted the application for bail because the
assistant prosecutor who was present at the hearing did not interpose an In the case of Montalbo v. Santamaria,[38] this Court held that the respondent
objection thereto and that the prosecution never requested that it be allowed to judge is duty bound to exercise judicial discretion conferred upon him by law to
show that the evidence of guilt is strong but instead, submitted the incident for determine whether in the case at bar, the proof is evident or the presumption of
resolution. The respondent judge further claimed that the motion for guilt is strong against the defendant and to grant or deny the petition for
reconsideration of the order granting bail was denied only after due consideration provisional liberty. It also held that a writ of mandamus will lie in order to compel
of the pertinent affidavits. We held: "The discretion of the court, in cases involving the respondent judge to perform a duty imposed upon him by law.
capital offenses may be exercised only after there has been a hearing called to
ascertain the weight of the evidence against the accused. Peremptorily, the The absence of objection from the prosecution is never a basis for granting bail to
discretion lies, not in determining whether or not there will be a hearing, but in the accused. It is the court's determination after a hearing that the guilt of the
appreciating and evaluating the weight of the evidence of guilt against the accused is not strong that forms the basis for granting bail. Respondent Judge
accused." The respondent judge was ordered to pay a fine of P20,000.00 with a should not have relied solely on the recommendation made by the prosecutor but
stern warning that the commission of the same or similar offense in the future should have ascertained personally whether the evidence of guilt is strong. After
would be dealt with more severely. all, the judge is not bound by the prosecutor's recommendation. Moreover, there
will be a violation of due process if the respondent Judge grants the application
A hearing is likewise required if the prosecution refuses to adduce evidence in for bail without hearing since Section 8 of Rule 114 provides that whatever
opposition to the application to grant and fix bail. "The importance of a hearing evidence presented for or against the accused's provisional release will be
has been emphasized in not a few cases wherein the court ruled that even if the determined at the hearing.
prosecution refuses to adduce evidence or fails to interpose an objection to the
motion for bail, it is still mandatory for the court to conduct a hearing or ask The practice by trial court judges of granting bail to the accused when the
searching questions from which it may infer the strength of the evidence of guilt, prosecutor refuses or fails to present evidence to prove that the evidence of guilt
or the lack of it, against the accused."[32] of the accused is strong can be traced to the case of Herras Teehankee v. Director
of Prisons[39] where this Court gave the following "instructions" to the People's
In the recent case of Tucay v. Domagas,[33] an administrative complaint was filed Court,[40] thus:
against the respondent judge for granting bail to an accused charged with murder.
The application for bail contained the annotation "No objection" of the provincial "1) In capital cases like the present when the prosecutor does not oppose the
prosecutor and the respondent judge, without holding a hearing to determine petition for release on bail, the court should, as a general rule, in the proper
whether the evidence of the prosecution was strong, granted bail and ordered the exercise of its discretion, grant the release after the approval of the bail which it
release of the accused from detention with instructions to the bondsman to should fix for the purpose;
register the bond with the Register of Deeds within ten days. It was later found
out that the assessed value of the property given was short of the amount fixed 2) But if the court has reasons to believe that the special prosecutor's attitude is
for the release of the accused. We held: "Although the provincial prosecutor had not justified, it may ask him questions to ascertain the strength of the state's
interposed no objection to the grant of bail to the accused, respondent judge evidence or to judge the adequacy of the amount of bail;
should have nevertheless have set the petition for bail for hearing and diligently
ascertained from the prosecution whether the latter was not really contesting the 3) When, however, the special prosecutor refuses to answer any particular
bail application. x x x Only after satisfying himself that the prosecution did not wish question on the ground that the answer may involve a disclosure imperiling the
to oppose the petition for bail for justifiable cause (e.g., for tactical reasons) and success of the prosecution or jeopardizing the public interest, the court may not
taking into account the factors enumerated in Rule 114, Sec. 6 for fixing bail should compel him to do so, if and when he exhibits a statement to that effect of the
respondent judge have ordered the petition for bail and ordered the release of Solicitor General, who, as head of the Office of Special Prosecutors, is vested with
the accused." Respondent judge herein was ordered to pay a fine of P20,000.00 the direction and control of the prosecution, and may not, even at the trial, be
and was given a stern warning that the commission of a similar offense in the ordered by the court to present evidence which he does not want to introduce
future would be dealt with more severely. provided, of course, that such refusal shall not prejudice the rights of the
defendant or detainee."[41]
Corollarily, another reason why hearing of a petition for bail is required, as can be
gleaned from the abovecited case, is for the court to take into consideration the The rationale for the first instruction was stated by this Court, as follows:
guidelines set forth in Section 6, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court in fixing the amount
of bail.[34] This Court, in a number of cases[35] held that even if the prosecution "If, for any reason, any party should abstain from introducing evidence in the case
fails to adduce evidence in opposition to an application for bail of an accused, the for any definite purpose, no law nor rule exists by which he may be so compelled
court may still require that it answer questions in order to ascertain not only the and the court before which the case is pending has to act without that evidence
strength of the state's evidence but also the adequacy of the amount of bail. and, in so doing, it clearly would not be failing in its duties. If the Constitution or
the law plots a certain course of action to be taken by the court when certain
After hearing, the court's order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary evidence is found by it to exist, and the opposite course if that evidence is wanting,
of the evidence for the prosecution.[36] On the basis thereof, the judge should and said evidence is not voluntarily adduced by the proper party, the court's clear
then formulate his own conclusion as to whether the evidence so presented is duty would be to adopt that course which has been provided for in case of absence
of such evidence. Applying the principle to the case at bar, it was no more within hearing in the application for bail necessarily means presentation of evidence, and
the power nor discretion of the court to coerce the prosecution into presenting the filing of a comment or a written opposition to the bail application by the
its evidence than to force the prisoner into adducing hers. And when both elected prosecution will not suffice.
not to do so, as they had a perfect right to elect, the only thing remaining for the
court to do was to grant the application for bail." The prosecution under the revised provision is duty bound to present evidence in
the bail hearing to prove whether the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong
As for the second instruction, this Court stated that: and not merely to oppose the grant of bail to the accused. "This also prevents the
practice in the past wherein a petition for bail was used as a means to force the
"The prosecutor might not oppose the application for bail and might refuse to prosecution into a premature revelation of its evidence and, if it refused to do so,
satisfy his burden of proof, but where the court has reasons to believe that the the accused would claim the grant of bail on the ground that the evidence of guilt
prosecutor's attitude is not justified, as when he is evidently committing a gross was not strong."[42]
error or a dereliction of duty, the court must possess a reasonable degree of
control over him in the paramount interest of justice. Under such circumstance, It should be stressed at this point, however, that the nature of the hearing in an
the court is authorized by our second instruction to inquire from the prosecutor application for bail must be equated with its purpose i.e., to determine the
as to the nature of his evidence to determine whether or not it is strong, it being bailability of the accused. If the prosecution were permitted to conduct a hearing
possible for the prosecutor to have erred in considering it weak and, therefore, for bail as if it were a full-dress trial on the merits, the purpose of the proceeding,
recommending bail." which is to secure provisional liberty of the accused to enable him to prepare for
his defense, could be defeated. At any rate, in case of a summary hearing, the
As for the third instruction, this Court declared: prosecution witnesses could always be recalled at the trial on the merits.[43]

"It must be observed that the court is made to rely upon the official statement of In the light of the applicable rules on bail and the jurisprudential principles just
the Solicitor General on the question of whether or not the revelation of evidence enunciated, this Court reiterates the duties of the trial judge in case an application
may endanger the success of the prosecution and jeopardize the public interest. for bail is filed:
This is so, for there is no way for the court to determine that question without
having the evidence disclosed in the presence of the applicant, disclosure which is (1) Notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require him
sought to be avoided to protect the interests of the prosecution before the trial." to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court as
amended);
It is to be recalled that Herras Teehankee was decided fully half a century ago
under a completely different factual milieu. Haydee Herras Teehankee was (2) Conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of whether or not the
indicted under a law dealing with treason cases and collaboration with the enemy. prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is
The said "instructions" given in the said case under the 1940 Rules of Court no strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion
longer apply due to the amendments introduced in the 1985 Rules of Court. (Sections 7 and 8, supra);

In the 1940 Rules of Court of the Philippines, the applicable provisions on "Bail" (3) Decide whether the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong based on the
provides, as follows: summary of evidence of the prosecution (Baylon v. Sison, supra);

"Sec. 5. Capital offenses defined. A capital offense, as the term is used in this rule, (4) If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused upon the
is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commission, and at approval of the bailbond. (Section 19, supra). Otherwise, petition should be
the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be punished by death. denied.

Sec. 6. Capital offenses not bailable. No person in custody for the commission of a The above-enumerated procedure should now leave no room for doubt as to the
capital offense shall be admitted to bail if the evidence of his guilt is strong. duties of the trial judge in cases of bail applications. So basic and fundamental is it
to conduct a hearing in connection with the grant of bail in the proper cases that
Sec. 7. Capital offense Burden of proof . On the hearing of an application for it would amount to judicial apostasy for any member of the judiciary to disclaim
admission to bail made by any person who is in custody for the commission of a knowledge or awareness thereof.[44] A judge owes it to the public and the
capital offense, the burden of showing that the evidence of guilt is strong is on the administration of justice to know the law he is supposed to apply to a given
prosecution. controversy. He is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance
with the statutes and procedural rules. There will be faith in the administration of
The above-cited provisions have not been adopted in toto in the 1985 Rules of justice only if there be a belief on the part of litigants that the occupants of the
Court, as amended by Administrative Circular No. 12-94, since some phrases and bench cannot justly be accused of a deficiency in their grasp of legal principles.[45]
lines have been intercalated, as shown by the underscored phrases and
statements below: Respondent judge herein insists that he could exercise his discretion in granting
bail to the accused since the Assistant Prosecutor signified in writing that he had
"Sec. 6. Capital offense, defined. A capital offense, as the term is used in these no objection to the grant of bail and recommended, instead, the bailbond in the
rules, is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commission and sum of P80,000.00. It is to be emphasized that although the court may have the
at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be punished with death. discretion to grant the application for bail, in cases of capital offenses, the
determination as to whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong can only be
Sec. 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life reached after due hearing which, in this particular instance has not been
imprisonment, not bailable. No person charged with a capital offense, of an substantially complied with by the respondent Judge.
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 While it may be true that the respondent judge set the application for bail for
prosecution. hearing three times, thus showing lack of malice or bad faith in granting bail to the
accused, nonetheless, this does not completely exculpate him because the fact
Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. At the hearing of an application for remains that a hearing has not actually been conducted in violation of his duty to
admission to bail filed by any person who is in custody for the commission of an determine whether or not the evidence against the accused is strong for purposes
offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the of bail. Normally, the Court imposes a penalty of P20,000.00 fine in cases where
prosecution has the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong. The the judge grants the application for bail without notice and hearing. In view
evidence presented during the bail hearings shall be considered automatically however of the circumstances of this case, a reprimand instead of the P20,000.00
reproduced at the trial, but upon motion of either party, the court may recall any would suffice.
witness for additional examination unless the witness is dead, outside of the
Philippines or otherwise unable to testify." WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Judge Leo M. Rapatalo, RTC,
Branch 32, Agoo, La Union, is hereby REPRIMANDED with the WARNING that a
It should be noted that there has been added in Section 8 a crucial sentence not repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely.
found in the counterpart provision, Section 7, Rule 110 of the 1940 Rules of Court.
The above-underscored sentence in Section 8, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules of Court, SO ORDERED.
as amended, was added to address a situation where in case the prosecution does
not choose to present evidence to oppose the application for bail, the judge may Regalado, (Chairman), Puno, Mendoza, and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
feel duty-bound to grant the bail application. In such a case, the judge may well
lose control of the proceedings. In a sense, this undermines the authority of a Filing of a petition for bail is standard for defense lawyers
judge since all that the prosecution has to do to "force" the judge to grant the bail The defense lawyers filed the petition for bail claiming that the evidence of guilt is
application is to refrain from presenting evidence opposing the same. In effect, weak. For the millions of Filipinos who are following the developments of this case
this situation makes Sections 6 and 7 of the 1940 Rules of Court on "Bail" on television and the Internet, this claim seems highly incredible since the evidence
meaningless since whether or not the evidence of guilt of a person charged with of guilt appears to be stronger than the steel on a back hoe. But the filing of a
a capital offense is strong cannot be determined if the prosecution chooses not to petition for bail is a standard tactic of defense lawyers. Let me explain.
present evidence or oppose the bail application in a hearing precisely to be This kind of petition is allowed under the Rules on Criminal Procedure and is in
conducted by the trial judge for that purpose, as called for in the two sections. In keeping with the Constitutional presumption of innocence. Once such a petition
the event that the prosecution fails or refuses to adduce evidence in the scheduled has been filed, the prosecution is required to prove that indeed evidence of guilt
hearing, then a hearing as in a regular trial should be scheduled. In this regard, a is strong. After the hearings, the judge can deny or grant the petition for bail.
What happens if the petition for bail is granted? What to do if someone borrows money from you to post the bail
If you remember the kidnapping case involving actor/congressman Dennis Roldan, [8] If an accused approaches you for help in paying his bail and you want to make
the judge ruled that the evidence of guilt was weak. He was allowed to post bail. sure that the money is returned to you eventually, ask that your name be indicated
If the petition for bail is granted, the case will then proceed as in the normal in the official receipt as the payor of the bail.
procedure: Bail is cancelled if accused is absent during the hearings; motion to lift the warrant
• The prosecution will present evidence to prove the guilt of the accused. of arrest and to reinstate bail
All the testimonies and evidences presented during the hearings of the [9] If the accused who has posted bail fails to appear at a hearing, then the court
petition for bail will become part of the hearing on the main issues. may order that his bail be forfeited. The court also issues what is called a “bench
The witnesses who testified during the hearings for the petition for bail warrant” for the arrest of the accused. If the accused has a valid reason for his
will not be required to appear and testify again during the hearings on absence (like sickness or he was not informed of the hearing), he may file a
the main issues of the case.However, since the petition for bail has been “motion to lift the warrant of arrest and to reinstate bail”.
granted, the prosecution is put on notice that it should review its case But if the accused does not have any valid reason for being absent during the
and strengthen its evidence. hearings, he will be forced to post bail again.
Posted below are the complete provisions of “The Revised Rules of Criminal
• After the prosecution has presented its evidence, the accused may then Procedure” on bail.
present evidence of his innocence. (Before presenting his evidence, he
Rule 114 – Bail
can with the leave or consent of the court, submit what is called a
Section 1. Bail defined. – Bail is the security given for the release of a person in
demurrer to evidence. This is essentially a motion to dismiss the case.
custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance
If the court grants the demurrer, the case is dismissed and the accused
before any court as required under the conditions hereinafter specified. Bail may
is set free. If the court denies the demurrer, then the accused has to
be given in the form of corporate surety, property bond, cash deposit, or
present his evidence.)
recognizance.
For the accused and his lawyers therefore, filing a petition for bail is advantageous
Sec. 6. Capital offense defined. – A capital offense is an offense which, under the
for at least two reasons:
law existing at the time of its commission and of the application for admission to
• If the petition is granted, he can be released from custody and enjoy bail, may be punished with death.
his liberty while the case is going on; and Sec. 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life
• He can know whether in the mind of the judge the evidence of his guilt imprisonment, not bailable. – No person charged with a capital offense, or an
is strong or not. If the judge denies his petition, he has the time to offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted
strengthen his defense. He may even consider a plea bargain. to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the state of the criminal
Let’s discuss some practical matters about bail: prosecution.
[1] “Bail” is the security given for the release of a person in custody of the law, Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. – At the hearing of an application for bail
furnished by him or a filed by a person who is in custody for the commission of an offense punishable
bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before any court as required under the by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, the prosecution has the
conditions hereinafter specified. burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong. The evidence presented during
[2] The information filed by the fiscal contains at the lower portion a notation on the bail hearing shall be considered automatically reproduced at the trial but,
the bail recommended. The bail may be given in the form of corporate surety, upon motion of either party, the court may recall any witness for additional
property bond, cash deposit, or recognizance. The legal term is “to post bail” examination unless the latter is dead, outside the Philippines, or otherwise unable
but “to pay the bail” is the layman’s expression. to testify.
No bail necessary for cases under the Rules on Summary Procedure (for example, Update as of June 30, 2014
BP 22) A.M. No. 12-11-2-SC (March 18, 2014) “Guidelines for Decongesting Holding Jails
For cases falling under the Rules on Summary Procedure, the court does not issue by Enforcing the Rights of Accused Persons to Bail and Speedy Trial”
a warrant of arrest. Thus the posting of bail is not necessary (even if the
information states a recommended bail). For example, persons accused of The order fixing the amount of bail cannot be appealed. (Sec. 4)
violation of BP 22 (bouncing checks) do not have to post bail. However, the court Bail in offenses punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment (Sec.
may issue a warrant of arrest and require the posting of bail if the accused fails to 6):
appear during the hearings. Hearing is summary in nature; the prosecution must show that the evidence of
Release on recognizance guilt is strong.
[3] “ROR” (Release on recognizance) means that the accused will not post the bail The accused may submit affidavits of witnesses. The prosecution may (1) examine
in money or security; instead, the accused will be released to the custody of a its witnesses on direct or (2) adopt the affidavits they executed during the
government official like barangay officials or previously, in the case of minors, of preliminary investigation as their direct testimonies.
parents. The person to whom custody is entrusted will guarantee that the accused The court must examine the witnesses on their direct testimonies or affidavits to
will be present during the hearings. ascertain if the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong. The court’s questions
Motion to reduce bail need not follow any particular order and may shift from one witness to another.
[4] Sometimes, the accused and/or his family cannot afford to post the The court must then allow counsels from both sides to examine the witnesses as
recommended bail. The usual procedure is to file what is called “Motion to reduce well. The court must hear afterwards the oral arguments of the parties.
bail”. For example, if the recommended bail is sixty thousand pesos, the accused Within 48 hours after the hearing, the court must issue an order containing a brief
may ask the court to reduce the bail to around twenty five thousand pesos. The summary of the evidence presented before it, followed by its conclusion of
court may grant the motion to reduce bail but then it requires that the bail be paid whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong.
in cash. This conclusion must not be regarded as a pre-judgment on the merits of the case,
Seeking the help of bail bondsman or “pyansador” which will be determined only after a full-blown trial.
[5] If you know someone who has been arrested but who cannot afford to pay the
bail, you can ask the clerks and security guards at fiscal’s offices and/or the Hall of
Justice as to who the bail bondsmen (“pyansador”) are. These are men and women
who make a living out of helping persons accused of a crime to avail of the services
of surety companies. These companies will pay the recommended bail and the
accused has to pay only the premium. The “pyansador” will work on all the papers.
(Sometimes, the court staff or the police officers serving the warrant have
contacts with the “psyansador”. Once the accused has been arrested, the court
staff or the police officers will tell him that they can help work on their release.
Needless to say, these practices of court staff and police officers are against Civil
Service rules.)
Pictures needed
[6] The accused, in working on his bail, has to provide pictures of himself (front,
left and right profiles) which will be attached to the documents. There are
photographers who hang around fiscal’s offices and Halls of Justice, waiting for
clients. The “pyansador” also has contacts with photographers.
If the accused has not yet been arrested and is working on the posting of his bail,
he can go to a photo studio and ask that his pictures be taken. If he tells the photo
studio that he needs the pictures for posting bail, the studio already knows what
kind of pictures to take.
Posting bail to avoid being arrested; how to prevent being harassed
[7] To avoid being arrested on the basis of a warrant of arrest, the accused posts
the recommended bail through his lawyer or relatives. In the meantime, the
accused hides or makes himself scarce. Once the bail has been posted, the
accused should always bring with him proof of payment of bail. This way, he can
avoid being harassed by the police. For the same reason, if the accused has been
arrested and then posts bail, he should carry with him a copy of the release order.