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ENRILE vs.

SANDIGANBAYAN
Doctrines:
Primary objective of bail The strength of the Prosecution's case, albeit a good
measure of the accused's propensity for flight or for causing harm to the public, is
subsidiary to the primary objective of bail, which is to ensure that the accused
appears at trial.

Bail is a right and a matter of discretion Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III
of the 1987 Constitution and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal
Procedure to wit: No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense
punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail
when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal
prosecution.

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.

ISSUES:
1) Whether or not bail may be granted as a matter of right unless the crime
charged is punishable byreclusion perpetua where the evidence of guilt is strong.
a. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that if ever petitioner would be
convicted, he will be punishable by reclusion perpetua.
b. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that petitioner's guilt is strong.

2. Whether or not petitioner is bailable because he is not a flight risk.

HELD:
1. YASS.

Bail as a matter of right due process and presumption of innocence.


Article III, Sec. 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution provides that in all criminal
prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved.
This right is safeguarded by the constitutional right to be released on bail.

The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at trial and so
the amount of bail should be high enough to assure the presence of the accused
when so required, but no higher than what may be reasonably calculated to fulfill
this purpose.

Bail as a matter of discretion


Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987 Constitution and repeted in
Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to wit:

Capital offense of an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not


bailable. No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong,
regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.

The general rule: Any person, before conviction of any criminal offense, shall be
bailable.

Exception: Unless he is charged with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua


[or life imprisonment] and the evidence of his guilt is strong.
Thus, denial of bail should only follow once it has been established that the
evidence of guilt is strong.Where evidence of guilt is not strong, bail may be
granted according to the discretion of the court.

Thus, Sec. 5 of Rule 114 also provides:

Bail, when discretionary. Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not
punishable by death,reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is
discretionary. The application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite
the filing of a notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the original record to the
appellate court. However, if the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed
the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be
filed with and resolved by the appellate court.

Should the court grant the application, the accused may be allowed to continue on
provisional liberty during the pendency of the appeal under the same bail subject to the
consent of the bondsman.

If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, the
accused shall be denied bail, or his bail shall be cancelled upon a showing by the
prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:

(a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has committed the


crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration;

(b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated
the conditions of his bail without valid justification;

(c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon;

(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or

(e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during the pendency of the
appeal.
The appellate court may, motu proprio or on motion of any party, review the resolution of
the Regional Trial Court after notice to the adverse party in either case.

Thus, admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life imprisonment,


or reclusion perpetuasubject to judicial discretion. In Concerned Citizens vs. Elma,
the court held: [S]uch discretion may be exercised only after the hearing called to
ascertain the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of whether or not he
should be granted provisional liberty. Bail hearing with notice is indispensable
(Aguirre vs. Belmonte). The hearing should primarily determine whether the
evidence of guilt against the accused is strong.

The procedure for discretionary bail is described in Cortes vs. Catral:

1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of 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 Rules of Court as amended);

2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail
regardless of whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the
guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound
discretion; (Section 7 and 8, supra)

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, supra) Otherwise petition should be denied.

2. YASSS.

Petitioner's poor health justifies his admission to bail


The Supreme Court took note of the Philippine's responsibility to the international
community arising from its commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. We therefore have the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right
of every person to liberty and due process and for detainees to avail of such
remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. Quoting
fromGovernment of Hong Kong SAR vs. Olalia, the SC emphasized:

x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth and dignity of every
person. This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our Constitution which
provides: The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect
for human rights. The Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility of protecting
and promoting the right of every person to liberty and due process, ensuring that
those detained or arrested can participate in the proceedings before a court, to
enable it to decide without delay on the legality of the detention and order their
release if justified. In other words, the Philippine authorities are under obligation
to make available to every person under detention such remedies which safeguard
their fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be admitted
to bail. (emphasis in decision)

Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion


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 Petitioner. As such the Sandiganbayan gravely
abused its discretion in denying the Motion to Fix Bail.It acted whimsically and
capriciously and was so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive
duty [to allow petitioner to post bail].

LEONEN DISSENT

Justice Leonen criticized the decision for having a very weak legal basis the grant
of bail over mere humanitarian grounds. He also claims that the court has no
authority to use humanitarian grounds. Leonen argues that [Petitioner's] release
for medical or humanitarian reasons was not the basis for his prayer in his Motion
to Fix Bail before the Sandiganbayan, nor were these grounds raised in the petition
in the Supreme Court.

Bail for humanitarian considerations is neither presently provided in our Rules of


Court nor found in any statute or provision of the Constitution.
Leonen theorized that the Supreme Court only granted bail as a special
accomodation for the petitioner and he goes on to criticize the decision to wit:

[This decision] will usher in an era of truly selective justice not based on their legal
provisions, but one that is unpredictable, partial and solely grounded on the presence or
absence of human compassion.

xxx

Worse, it puts pressure on all trial courts and the Sandiganbayan that will predictably be
deluged with motions to fix bail on the basis of humanitarian considerations. The lower
courts will have to decide, without guidance, whether bail should be granted because of
advanced age, hypertension, pneumonia, or dreaded diseases. They will have to decide
whether this is applicable only to Senators and former Presidents charged with plunder and
not to those accused of drug trafficking, multiple incestuous rape, and other crimes
punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment...
Pecho v People 262 SCRA 518 (1996)
Facts: The decision of the Supreme Court for convicting the accused for the complex crime of
attempted estafa thru falsification of official and commercial document was assailed with the
contention of the defense that the accused may not be convicted of the crime for double jeopardy. The
charge against the accused was on violation of RA 3019 of which he was acquitted because it only
penalizes consummated crime. In the absence of evidence that shows that the crime was consummated
the accused was acquitted but the court held judgment of prosecuting his conviction for
attempted estafa thru falsification of official and commercial document which is necessarily included in
the crime charged. Accused invokes the defense of double jeopardy since his acquittal from the charge
involving RA 3019 is a bar for prosecution on the crime of attempted estafa thru falsification of official
and commercial document and that the accused was not informed of this charge against him in the filing
of the information.

Issue: Whether or not the accused was informed of the nature and cause of the crime to which he is
convicted

Held: The court presented the objectives of the right of the accused to be informed of the nature and
cause of the crime he is charged with as follows:

To furnish the accused with such a description of the charge against him as will enable him to make his
defense;

To avail himself of his conviction or acquittal for protection against a further prosecution for the same
cause;

To inform the court of the facts alleged, so that it may decide whether they are sufficient in law to
support a conviction, if one should be had.

In order that this requirement may be satisfied facts must be stated: not conclusions of law. The
complaint must contain a specific allegation of every fact and circumstance necessary to constitute the
crime. What determines the real nature and cause of accusation against an accused is the actual recital
of facts stated in the information or complaint and not the caption or preamble of the information or
complaint nor the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated, they being
conclusions of law. It follows then that an accused may be convicted of a crime which although not the
one charged, is necessarily included in the latter. It has been shown that the information filed in court is
considered as charging for two offenses which the counsel of the accused failed to object therefore he
can be convicted for both or either of the charges.
However by reviewing the case at bar the SC finds lack of sufficient evidence that would establish the
guilt of the accused as conspirator to the crime of estafa beyond reasonable doubt, the prior decision of
the SC was deemed to be based merely on circumstantial evidence, thus the accused was acquitted.