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2/13/2018 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 647

ANNOTATION
THE RIGHT TO BAIL
By
ALICIA GONZALEZ-DECANO*
___________________

§ 1. Preliminary Statement, p. 613


§ 2. Forms of Bail, p. 615
§ 3. Purposes of Bail, p. 616
§ 4. Provisions of the Constitution on Bail, p. 616
§ 5. Right to bail before the filing of charges, 617
§ 6. Conditions of the bail: Requirements, p. 617
§ 7. Relevant Cases, p. 620
___________________
§ 1. Preliminary Statement
Patrick Henry boldly said: “Give me death or give me liberty!”
Liberty is priceless right of an individual without which one is
deemed doomed in a dungeon with not even a ray of light.
Accused persons are granted the right to bail before conviction
by the Constitution except if charged with offenses punishable by
reclusion perpetua when the evidence of guilt is strong. Such a right
flaws from the presumption of innocence

_______________

* Retired Judge, Professorial Lecturer IV and Consultant (Law and Political


Science Cluster, UST Graduate School) and Dean, College of Law & Law Professor,
Pan Pacific University North Philippines (PUNP), Urdaneta City.

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in favor of every accused who should not be subjected to the loss of


freedom as thereafter he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his
guilt be proved beyond reasonable doubt, thereby a regime of liberty
is honored in the observance and not in the breach. It is not beyond
the realm of probability however, that a person charged with a crime,
especially so where his defense is weak, would just simply make
himself scarce and thus frustrate the hearing of his case. A bail is
intended as a guarantee that such an intent would be thwarted. (De

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la Camara vs. Erage, 41 SCRA 3, 19 cited by Pamaran, Criminal


Procedure, 1985, 2001 edition, Central, p. 212.)
Before delving into an exhaustive analysis of the right to bail, the
writer deemed it imperative to give a definition of Bail.
Bail defined. Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure
as amended defines bail in this wise:

“Bail is the security given for the release of a person in custody of the
law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before
any court as required under the conditions hereinafter specified. Bail may be
given in the form of corporate surety, property bond, cash deposit or
recognizance.”

Bail is the surety himself. This is the original sense of the term
bail. In ancient law, if the accused absconded, the bail might suffer
in his place, since he was in effect a hostage. (Sibal, Philippine
Legal Encyclopedia, 1986, Central, p. 74)
Where a case is carried from a lower to a higher jurisdiction in
appeal of writ of error, bail for costs must be given, and not
infrequently it must be given to secure also the debt or damage
recovered in the lower jurisdiction in case the judgment there should
be sustained.
The defendant is usually entitled to be set at liberty in giving bail
unless charged with committing an offense punishable by death and
in some places and under some circumstances even in such cases,
the amount of bail is fixed by the judge having jurisdiction.

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Bail. Is the guaranty that a person arrested on a criminal charge


will appear for trial or examination when duly required, if he is
temporarily released. The guaranty may take the form of an
undertaking of a personal surety that he will either produce the
accused or forfeit a fixed sum of money. Or it may take the form of a
deposit of money to be returned on the appearance of the bailed
person.
The accused is assumed to be under the direct custody of the
bailer who might arrest and surrender him if there is a danger of
failing to appear. (Sibal, supra)
§ 2. Forms of Bail
Bail may be given in the form of corporate surety, property bond,
cash deposit or recognizance. (Section 1, Rule 114, Criminal
Procedure, supra)
Cash bond is a sum of money, in the amount designated in an
order fixing bail, posted by a defendant or another person in his

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behalf, with a court or other authorized public officer upon condition


that money be forfeited if the defendant does not comply with the
order of the court requiring his attendance. (Black’s Law Dictionary,
5th edition)
Recognizance is a contract between the sureties and the state for
the production of the principal at the required time. It is an
obligation of record, entered into before some courts or magistrates
duly authorized to take it, with the condition in criminal cases being
the appearance of the accused for trial. (People vs. Abner, 87 Phil.
566)
Corporate surety bond is one issued by a professional
bondsman, that is one who is habitually engaged in the business of
furnishing bonds in civil actions or for persons arrested or detained
for prosecution.
Property bond is an undertaking constituted as a lien on the real
property given as a security for the amount of the bail. (Section 8,
Rule 114)

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§ 3. Purposes of Bail
Bail is never required by way of punishment or denied for the
purpose of punishing a person accused of crimes; nor is it the
functions of bail to prevent or license the commission of crime. (8
CJ 558) Admission to bail gives full fealty to the basic principles of
freedom, interest in our system, that an accused is presumed to be
innocent until his guilt is established by evidence beyond reasonable
doubt; it reconciles sound administration of justice with the right of
the accused to be free from harassment and confinement,
unhampered in the preparation of his defense and not subject to
punishment prior to conviction. (Dudley vs. United States, 242 F. 2d
565 cited by Pamaran, supra)
§ 4. Provisions of the Constitution on Bail
Under the 1987 Constitution, Article III, Section 3 reads:

“All persons shall, except those charged with offenses punishable by


reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong shall before conviction
be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be
provided by law.”

Source of right to bail is a constitutional right, its denial to an


accused is allowed only in rare cases.
If there were any mode of confinement which would with
reasonable certainty ensure the attendance of the accused to answer
the accusation, it would not be justifiable to inflict upon him that

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indignity, when the effect is to subject him in a greater or lesser


degree, to the punishment of a guilty person, while as yet it is not
determined that he has committed any crime. (Cooley,
Constitutional Limitations, 643-644, cited by Pamaran, supra)
Limitations on the Right to Bail.—The constitutional mandate
cited above is subject to the limitations that the person applying for
bail should be in custody of the law, or otherwise deprived of his
liberty. (Mendoza vs. CFI of Dagu-

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pan City, 515 SCRA 369; Pico vs. Combong, Jr., 215 SCRA 421)
Moreover, the right to bail only accrues when a person is arrested or
deprived of his liberty.
§ 5. Right to bail before the filing of charges
A person taken into custody of the law is entitled to bail even
before the complaint or information is filed against him. Indeed, if
the right to bail protects those already charged under a formal
complaint or information, there seems to be no legal reason for
denying its benefits to one as against whom the proper authorities
may not even yet conclude that there exists sufficient evidence of
guilt. (Herras Teehankee vs. Rovira, 75 Phil. 634)
§ 6. Conditions of the bail: Requirements
Section 2 of Rule 114 of 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure
provides: “All kinds of bail are subject to the following conditions:
a. The undertaking shall be effective upon approval, and
unless cancelled, shall remain in full force at all stages
of the case until promulgation of the judgment of the
Regional Trial Court, irrespective of whether the case
was originally filed in or appealed to it;
b. The accused shall appear before the proper court
whenever required by the court or these Rules;
c. The failure of the accused to appear at the trial without
justification and despite due notice shall be deemed a
waiver of his right to be present thereat. In such case,
the trial may proceed in absentia; and
d. The bondsman shall surrender the accused to the court
for execution of the final judgment.
The original papers shall state the full name and address of the
accused, the amount of the undertaking and the condi-
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The Right to Bail

tions required by this section. Photographs (passport size) taken


within the last six (6) months showing the face left and right profiles
of the accused must be attached to the bail.”
Conditions set out in the Rules, Exclusive.—The conditions
provided for in Section 2, Rule 114, apply ex proprio vigore in all
kinds of bail whether or not the same were expressly stipulated in
the undertaking. Conversely, additional obligations other than those
set out in the law cannot be imposed. To permit the imposition of
obligations upon the defendant in criminal actions and upon his
bondsman, for the purpose of securing his liberty under bail, other
than those provided for by law, might result in the imposition of
conditions which would absolutely prevent and render it impossible
for the defendant to secure his liberty during the trial,
notwithstanding the fact that he is entitled to his liberty as a matter
of right. (Bandoy vs. Judge, the Court of First Instance, 14 Phil. 620,
cited by Pamaran, supra)
Bail as a matter of right; exception.—Section 4 of Rule 114 of
the 1985 Criminal Procedure as amended provides: “All persons in
custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right with sufficient
sureties, or released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this
rule (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal
Circuit Trial Court and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial
Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or
life imprisonment.”
Bail is a matter of right when the offense charged is not
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.
Bail is a matter of discretion on the following instances: (a) upon
conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable
by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment; and (b) if the
decision of the Regional Trial Court convicting the accused change
the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable, that is, being
originally charged before

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the trial court with the crime of murder, the court convicted him for
homicide. (Pamaran, supra)
When bail may be denied or cancelled. Bail may be denied:
a. If the penalty imposed by the trial court exceeds six (6) years
of imprisonment; and
b. When upon showing by the prosecution with notice to the
accused of the following and other similar reasons:
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(1) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist or habitual


delinquent or has committed the crime aggravated by
the circumstances of reiteration;
(2) That he has previously escaped from legal
confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the
conditions of his bail with valid justification;
(3) That he committed the offense while under probation,
parole or conditional pardon;
(4) That the circumstances of his case indicate the
probability of flight if released on bail; or
(5) There is undue risk that he may commit another crime
during the pendency of the appeal.
(Sec. 5, Rule 114, 1995 Criminal Procedure as amended)
Amount of Bail: guidelines.—Section 9 of Rule 114 of the 1985
Criminal Procedure as amended enumerates the guidelines in the
granting of Bail in this manner: “the judge who issued the warrant or
granted the application shall fix a reasonable amount of bail
considering primarily, but not limited to, the following facts:
a. Financial ability of the accused to give bail;
b. Nature and circumstances of the offense;
c. Penalty for the offense charged;
d. Character and reputation of the accused;
e. Age and health of the accused;

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f. Weight of the evidence against the accused;


g. Forfeiture of other bail;
h. The fact that the accused was a fugitive from justice
when arrested; and
i. Pendency of other cases where the accused is on bail.
Excessive bail shall not be required.”
§ 7. Relevant Cases
1. In the case of People vs. Tuppal, G.R. Nos. 137982-85,
January 13, 2003, 395 SCRA 72, the Supreme Court held:

“x x x It is settled that the assessment of the prosecution evidence


presented during bail hearings in capital offenses is preliminary and
intended only for the purpose of granting or denying applications for the
provisional release of the accused.”

2. In another case of Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No.


148468, G.R. No. 148769, and G.R. No. 149116, all dated January
28, 2003, 396 SCRA 443 The Supreme Court ruled:

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“x x x Thus, upon an application for bail by the person charged with a


capital offense, a hearing thereon must be conducted, where the prosecution
must be accorded an opportunity to discharge its burden of proving that the
evidence of guilt against an accused is strong. The prosecution shall be
accorded the opportunity to present all the evidence it may deem necessary
for this purpose. When it is satisfactorily demonstrated that the evidence of
guilt is strong, it is the court’s duty to deny the application for bail.
However, when the evidence of guilt is not strong, it becomes a matter of
right. x x x”

3. Still in another case, Magsucang vs. Judge Balgos, A.M. No.


MTJ 02-1427, February 27, 2003, 398 SCRA 159, the Highest
Tribunal mandated:

“x x x The amount of bail should be reasonable at all times. Excessive


bail shall not be required. In implementing this mandate, regard should be
taken of the prisoner’s pecuniary circumstances. That which is reasonable to
a man of wealth may be unreasonable to

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a poor man charged with a like offense. Where the right to bail exists, it
should not be rendered nugatory by requiring a sum that is excessive. The
amount should be high enough to assure the presence of defendant when
required but not higher than is reasonably calculated to fulfill this purpose. x
x x”

4. The case of Rosalia Docena-Caspe vs. Judge Arnulfo


Bugtas, A.M. No. RTJ 03-1767, March 28, 2003, 440 SCRA 37
showed that:

“x x x Jurisprudence is replete with decisions on the procedural necessity


of a hearing whether summary or otherwise, relative to the grant of bail
especially in cases involving offenses punishable by death, reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment, where bail is a matter of discretion. Under
the present rules, a hearing is required in granting bail whether it is matter of
right or discretion. It must be stressed that the grant or the denial of bail in
cases where bail is a matter of discretion hinges on the issue of whether or
not the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong is a matter of judicial
discretion which remains with the judge. In order for the latter to properly
exercise his discretion, he must first conduct a hearing to determine whether
the evidence of guilt is strong. x x x”

5. The case of Yap vs. Inopiquez, A.M. No. MTJ-02-1431, May


3, 2003, 403 SCRA 141 likewise reiterated the provisions of Section
14, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure as
amended which provides that if the accused is arrested in a province,
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city or municipality other than where the case is pending, bail may
be filed with any RTC of said place, or if no judge thereof is
available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge or
municipal circuit trial judge or municipal circuit trial judge therein.
Criminal Case No. 9458 against Antonio Laurente, Jr. was filed with
the MTCC of Ormoc City but he was arrested in MATAG-OB,
Leyte. Since there was no RTC in Matag-Ob, respondent judge, as
Presiding judge of MCTC, Kamanga-Matag-Ob, was then
authorized under Rule 114 to approve the bail of Antonio Laurente,
Jr and order his release. x x x

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6. In Taborete vs. Sollesta, A.M No. MTJ 021388, Aug.13,


2003, 408 SCRA 602, the Supreme Court reiterated the doctrine laid
down in Cortes vs. Catral, A.M No. RTJ 97-138, Sept. 10, 1997,
279 SCRA 1, which reads:

“x x x The following are the rules outlining the duties of a judge in case
of application for bail is filed:

1. In all cases whether bail is a matter of right or discretion,


notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail
or require him to submit his recommendation. (Section 18,
Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Court, as amended);
2. When bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the
application for bail regardless of whether or not the
prosecution refuses to prevent evidence to show that the guilt
of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court
to exercise its sound discretion. (Sections 7 & 8, Rule 114)
3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on
the summary of evidence of the prosecution;
4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused
upon the approval of the bailbond. (Section 19, Rule 114,
otherwise the petition should be denied.)
——o0o——

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