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Rule 112, Section 6

Topic: Determination of probable cause


Beanca L. Diloy

G.R. No. 150185 May 27, 2004

TERESITA TANGHAL OKABE, petitioner, vs. HON. PEDRO DE LEON GUTIERREZ, in his capacity as Presiding
Judge of RTC, Pasay City, Branch 119; PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES; and CECILIA MARUYAMA, respondents.

Facts:

Charged for Estafa, Petitioner filed a verified motion for judicial determination of probable cause and to defer
proceedings/arraignment, alleging that the only documents appended to the Information submitted by the investigating
prosecutor were respondent Maruyamas affidavit-complaint for estafa and the resolution of the investigating
prosecutor; the affidavits of the witnesses of the complainant, the respondents counter-affidavit and the other evidence
adduced by the parties were not attached thereto. The petitioner further alleged that the documents submitted by the
investigating prosecutor were not enough on which the trial court could base a finding of probable cause for estafa
against her.

The court denied the petitioners motions on the following grounds:


(a) Based on its personal examination and consideration of the Information, the affidavit-complaint of respondent
Maruyama and the resolution of the investigating prosecutor duly approved by the city prosecutor, the court found
probable cause for the petitioners arrest. Since the petitioners motion for a determination of probable cause was made
after the court had already found probable cause and issued a warrant for the petitioners arrest, and after the latter filed
a personal bail bond for her provisional liberty, such motion was a mere surplusage.

In denying her motion for a determination of probable cause, she posits that the respondent judge acted with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to excess or lack of jurisdiction.

Issue:

Whether or not the RTC judge may rely on investigating prosecutor’s resolution in the determination of probable
cause for the arrest of the accused.

HELD:

NO. In determining the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused, the judge should
not rely solely on the said report. The duty to make such determination is personal and exclusive to the issuing judge.
He cannot abdicate his duty and rely on the certification of the investigating prosecutor that he had conducted a
preliminary investigation in accordance with law and the Rules of Court, as amended, and found probable cause for
the filing of the Information.

The task of the presiding judge when the Information is filed with the court is first to determine the existence or non-
existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused. The purpose of the mandate is to insulate from the very start
those falsely charged of crimes from the tribulations, expenses and anxiety of a public trial. Under Section 6, Rule
112 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, the judge must make a personal
determination of the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.

If the investigating prosecutor finds probable cause for the filing of the Information against the respondent, he executes
a certification at the bottom of the Information that from the evidence presented, there is a reasonable ground to believe
that the offense charged has been committed and that the accused is probably guilty thereof. Such certification of the
investigating prosecutor is, by itself, ineffective. It is not binding on the RTC nor rely on the said certification as basis
for a finding of the existence of probable cause for the arrest of the accused.
Rule 114, Section 5
Topic: Discretionary nature of grant of bail
Beanca L. Diloy

G.R. No. 189122 March 17, 2010

JOSE ANTONIO LEVISTE, Petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondents.

Facts:

Charged with the murder of Rafael de las Alas, petitioner Jose Antonio Leviste was convicted by the Regional Trial
Court of Makati City for the lesser crime of homicide and sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of six years
and one day of prision mayor as minimum to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal as maximum. He appealed
his conviction to the Court of Appeals. Pending appeal, he filed an urgent application for admission to bail pending
appeal, citing his advanced age and health condition, and claiming the absence of any risk or possibility of flight on
his part. The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s application for bail. It invoked the bedrock principle in the matter
of bail pending appeal, that the discretion to extend bail during the course of appeal should be exercised “with grave
caution and only for strong reasons.” Petitioner now questions as grave abuse of discretion the denial of his application
for bail, considering that none of the conditions justifying denial of bail under the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule
114 of the Rules of Court was present. Petitioner’s theory is that, where the penalty imposed by the trial court is more
than six years but not more than 20 years and the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5 are
absent, bail must be granted to an appellant pending appeal.

Issue:

Whether or not the discretionary nature of the grant of bail pending appeal mean that bail should automatically be
granted absent any of the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court.

Held:

NO, the discretionary nature of bail mentioned in Section 5 of Rule 114 does not mean automatic grant of bail in case
of appeal. After conviction by the trial court, the presumption of innocence terminates and, accordingly, the
constitutional right to bail ends. From then on, the grant of bail is subject to judicial discretion. At the risk of being
repetitious, such discretion must be exercised with grave caution and only for strong reasons. Considering that the
accused was in fact convicted by the trial court, allowance of bail pending appeal should be guided by a stringent-
standards approach. This judicial disposition finds strong support in the history and evolution of the rules on bail and
the language of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. It is likewise consistent with the trial court’s initial
determination that the accused should be in prison. Furthermore, letting the accused out on bail despite his conviction
may destroy the deterrent effect of our criminal laws. This is especially germane to bail pending appeal because long
delays often separate sentencing in the trial court and appellate review. In addition, at the post-conviction stage, the
accused faces a certain prison sentence and thus may be more likely to flee regardless of bail bonds or other release
conditions. Finally, permitting bail too freely in spite of conviction invites frivolous and time-wasting appeals which
will make a mockery of our criminal justice system and court processes.
Rule 114, Section 7
Topic: Grant of bail
Beanca L. Diloy

G.R. No. 213847 August 18, 2015

JUAN PONCE ENRILE, Petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), AND PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Respondents.

Facts:

On June 5, 2014, Petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile was charged with plunder in the Sandiganbayan on the basis of his
purported involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) Scam. Initially, Enrile in an Omnibus
Motion requested to post bail, which the Sandiganbayan denied. On July 3, 2014, a warrant for Enrile's arrest was
issued, leading to Petitioner's voluntary surrender.

Petitioner again asked the Sandiganbayan in a Motion to Fix Bail which was heard by the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner
argued that: (a) Prosecution had not yet established that the evidence of his guilt was strong; (b) that, because of his
advanced age and voluntary surrender, the penalty would only be reclusion temporal, thus allowing for bail and; (c)
he is not a flight risk due to his age and physical condition. Sandiganbayan denied this in its assailed resolution. Motion
for Reconsideration was likewise denied.

Issue:

Whether or not bail should be granted.

Held:

YES. The purpose of the bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at the trial. The general rule is that any
person, before being convicted of any criminal offense, shall be bailable, unless he is charged with a capital offense,
or with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Once it has been
established that the evidence of guilt is strong, no right to bail shall be recognized.

For purposes of admission to bail, the determination of whether or not evidence of guilt is strong in criminal cases
involving capital offenses lies within the discretion of the trial court. But, as the Court has held such discretion may
be exercised only after hearing to ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused.

In granting Enrile’s petition, the Court is guided by the earlier mentioned principal purpose of bail. The Court is further
mindful of the Philippines’ responsibility in the international community arising from the national commitment under
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as
well as value the worth and dignity of every person has authorized the grant of bail not only to those charged in
criminal proceedings but also to extraditees upon a clear and convincing showing: (1 ) that the detainee will not be a
flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2 ) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances.

With his solid reputation in both his public and his private lives, his long years of public service, and history’s
judgment of him being at stake, he should be granted bail. The currently fragile state of Enrile’s health presents another
compelling justification for his admission to bail, but which the Sandiganbayan did not recognize.

Accordingly, SC concludes that the Sandiganbayan arbitrarily ignored the objective of bail to ensure the appearance
of the accused during the trial; and unwarrantedly disregarded the clear showing of the fragile health and advanced
age of Enrile. As such, the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in denying Enrile’s Motion To Fix Bail.