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RULE 114 – BAIL 97, respondent points out that said motion was filed after the

accused were already released from detention. He further points out


[A.M. No. RTJ-03-1774. May 27, 2004] that during the pendency of said motion, representatives of the
PROV. PROSECUTOR DORENTINO Z. FLORESTA, complainant, vs. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informed him that said office
Judge ELIODORO G. UBIADAS, Regional Trial Court, Olongapo City, was not interested in setting aside the order of dismissal but that it
Branch 72respondent. was suggesting an amendment of the order. [7] Respondent explains
though that since the accused had already been released from
DECISION detention and had left the Philippines, and the interest of the DFA
CARPIO MORALES, J.: was merely for the amendment of the order of dismissal, the motion
By a Sworn Complaint[1] dated January 24, 2000, then Provincial had already become academic.
Prosecutor, now Regional Trial Court Judge Dorentino Z. Floresta As to the second charge, respondent informs that the petition for
(complainant) administratively charged Judge Eliodoro G. Ubiadas of bail of Mangohig who was then under preliminary investigation,
the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 72 with gross which motion was filed on January 3, 2000 on which same date a
ignorance of [the] law, grave abuse of authority and violations of the copy of said petition was furnished the public prosecutor, was as set
Code of Judicial Conduct. by Mangohig heard on the morning of January 4, 2000 during which
Complainant faults respondent for dismissing for lack of jurisdiction, there was no appearance from the Prosecutors Office; and that as
on motion of the accused, by Order[2] of July 9, 1997, Crim. Case No. the offense for which Mangohig was charged is ordinarily a bailable
212-97, People of the Philippines v. Chia Say Chaw, et al., for illegal offense, respondent granted him bail.
entry. As for his order disqualifying complainant in Crim. Case No. 634-99,
Complainant alleges that by dismissing Crim. Case No. 219-97 respondent explains that he had already reconsidered the same
[d]espite . . . the provision of P.D. 1599 which established the through his February 10, 2000 Order, [8] he having earlier failed to see
Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines and [the apprehension of petitioners designation by the Ombudsman.
the accused] within the 200 nautical miles of the . . . Zone, In its August 16, 2002 Report, [9] the Office of the Court Administrator
respondent virtually surrender[ed] our sovereignty and criminal (OCA) found, as to the first charge, that it was not shown that
jurisdiction to the Chinese government. [3] respondent acted with malice, oppression or bad faith sufficient to
Complainant likewise faults respondent for failure to resolve, as he find him guilty of gross ignorance of the law, it having appeared that
has yet to resolve, the Motion for Reconsideration and/or respondent based his dismissal order on his interpretation of a
Clarification of the abovesaid Order of July 9, 1997, despite the lapse provision of law. The OCA thus concluded that as respondents
of more than two years since the filing of the motion. By such failure, conclusions in his assailed order are not without logic or reason, and
complainant charges respondent with violation of Canon 3, Rule 3.05 unattended by fraud, dishonesty, corruption or bad faith,[10] he could
of the Code of Judicial Conduct which enjoins judges to dispose of not be faulted for gross ignorance of the law. The OCA hastened to
the courts business promptly and decide cases within the required add, however, that respondent is nonetheless required to act on the
periods, and of SC Circular No. 13 (July 1, 1987) which requires lower motion for reconsideration.
courts to resolve cases or matters before them within three months As to the second charge, the OCA stressed that the Rules of Court
or ninety days from date of submission. requires a movant to serve notice of his motion on all parties
Complainant furthermore faults respondent for granting, without concerned at least three days before the hearing thereof,
giving notice to the prosecution, the petition for bail of Jose hence, respondent erred in granting the petition for bail without
Mangohig, Jr. who was arrested by virtue of a warrant issued by the hearing the prosecutions side.
Municipal Trial Court of Subic, Zambales which found probable cause Finally, on the third charge, the OCA found that respondents
against him for violation of Section 5(b), Art. III of Republic Act No. explanations were fraught with inconsistencies since his allegation
7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, that he failed to see complainants designation as Ombudsman-
Exploitation and Discrimination Act). [4] Prosecutor in Crim. Case No. 634-99 is belied by his December 17,
Finally, complainant faults respondent for disqualifying him 2000 Order[11] wherein he noted that complainant was deputized by
(complainant) from appearing in Crim Case No. 634-99, People v. the Office of the Ombudsman to prosecute said case. The OCA in fact
Esmane-Diaz, despite his (complainants) designation to handle the noted that respondents subsequent February 10, 2001 Order
prosecution of the case by the Ombudsman. reconsidering his December 17, 2000 Order was issued only after the
By Second Indorsement-Comment of March 20, 2000,[5] respondent latter order had attained finality and the instant case was filed.
contends that petitioner has no personality to initiate the complaint The OCA accordingly recommended that respondent be FINED in the
against him as he is not a party to the cases subject thereof. amount of Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos.
On the merits of the charges, respondent counters that territorial By Resolution of February 26, 2003,[12] this Court noted the OCA
jurisdiction over the area where the accused in Crim. Case No. 212- Report and required the parties to MANIFEST within twenty (20)
97 were arrested within the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal has not yet days from notice, whether they are submitting the case on the basis
been established by controlling jurisprudence, given the conflicting of the pleadings/records already filed and submitted.
claims thereover by the Philippines and China and the absence of an By Manifestation dated April 1, 2003,[13] complainant proffered
inter-country agreement determining the common boundaries of the additional charges against respondent and submitted in support
Exclusive Economic Zone.[6] thereof, among other things an administrative complaint filed by one
As to his failure to resolve the Motion for Reconsideration of his July Dr. Reino Rosete against respondent and photocopies of orders
9, 1997 Order dismissing, for lack of jurisdiction, Crim. Case No. 212- issued by respondent. Dr. Rosetes complaint, which was addressed
to then Court Administrator Alfredo Benipayo, is both undated and
1
unsigned, however. In the same Manifestation, complainant did not relieve respondent from resolving it as in fact he even issued
submitted the case for decision. an order stating that it was submitted for resolution.
On May 9, 2003, the Docket and Clearance Division of this Court Article VIII, Section 15(1) of the 1987 Constitution and Canon 3, Rule
received an undated manifestation [14] of respondent stating that he 3.05 of the Code of Judicial Conduct direct judges to dispose of their
was submitting the case on the basis of the pleadings/records cases promptly and within the prescribed periods, failing which they
already filed in the case. are liable for gross inefficiency.[21]
This Courts Findings To thus ensure that the mandates on the prompt disposition of
I. On the dismissal of Crim. Case No. 212-97 judicial business are complied with, this Court laid down guidelines
On innumerable occasions this Court has impressed upon judges in SC Administrative Circular No. 13[22] which provides, inter alia,
that, as mandated by the Code of Judicial Conduct, they owe it to the that:
public and the legal profession to know the very law they are Judges shall observe scrupulously the periods prescribed by Article
supposed to apply to a given controversy. [15] They are called upon to VIII, Section 15, of the Constitution for the adjudication and
exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and resolution of all cases or matters submitted in their courts. Thus, all
procedural rules, to be conversant with the basic law, and to cases or matters must be decided or resolved within twelve months
maintain the desired professional competence. [16] from date of submission by all lower collegiate courts while all other
The propriety of the dismissal, on motion of the accused, of Crim. lower courts are given a period of three months to do so.
Case No. 212-97 on jurisdictional grounds is, however, a matter for (Underscoring supplied)
judicial adjudication and the proper recourse of a party aggrieved by This injunction is reiterated in SC Administrative Circular No. 3-
the decision of a judge is to appeal to the proper court, not file an 99[23] which requires all judges to scrupulously observe the periods
administrative complaint.[17] prescribed in the Constitution for deciding cases, failure to observe
For, as a matter of public policy, in the absence of fraud, dishonesty which is a serious violation of the constitutional right of the parties
or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are generally to speedy disposition of their cases. [24]
not subject to disciplinary action, even though such acts are Having failed to resolve the Motion for Reconsideration, respondent
erroneous. [18] Only in cases where the error is gross or patent, is liable for undue delay in rendering a decision or order which is a
deliberate and malicious, or incurred with evident bad faith may less serious charge under Section 9 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court
administrative sanctions be imposed.[19] There is no showing that this and which carries the penalty of suspension from office without
was the case here. salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) nor more than
With respect to the non-resolution of the prosecutions Motion for three (3) months or a fine of more thanP10,000 but not
Reconsideration of the order of dismissal of Crim. Case No. 212- exceeding P20,000.
97 no resolution of which has been issued, complainant, in his Reply II. On the grant of bail to the accused in Crim. Case No. 271-99
to the Comment of respondent, refutes respondents explanation in Whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, and even if no charge
this wise: has yet been filed in court against a respondent-suspect-detainee,
When the said motion was filed in Court on July 11, 1997, the reasonable notice of hearing is required to be given to the
Chinese fishermen were not yet released from detention. It was prosecutor, or at least his recommendation must be sought.
[25]
during the pendency of the motion that the Chinese fishermen were So Fortuna v. Penaco-Sitaca[26] instructs:
allowed to leave by the Chief of Police of Subic, Zambales despite our [A]dmission to bail as a matter of discretion presupposes
representation that they should not be released from jail as another the exercise thereof in accordance with law and guided by the
case for illegal fishing was still pending investigation. . . . The applicable legal principles. The prosecution must first be accorded an
representatives from the Foreign Affairs merely wanted to convey to opportunity to present evidence because by the very nature of
Judge Ubiadas the serious implications of his Order of dismissal on deciding applications for bail, it is on the basis of such evidence that
the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the territorial integrity and judicial discretion is weighed against in determining whether the
national security of our country. In fact, Foreign Secretary Domingo guilt of the accused is strong. In other words, discretion must be
Siazon publicly denounced the Order of dismissal issued by Judge exercised regularly, legally and within the confines of procedural due
Ubiadas as evidenced of an article which appeared in the July 13, process, that is, after the evaluation of the evidence submitted by
1997 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Copy of said article is the prosecution. Any order issued in the absence thereof is not a
hereto attached as Annex A and made integral part hereof. product of sound judicial discretion but of whim and caprice and
There is no truth that they told Judge Ubiadas that they are no outright arbitrariness. (Italics in the original; underscoring supplied)
[27]
longer interested in the setting aside of his Order of dismissal. In
fact, the Motion for Reconsideration of the said Order of dismissal True, a hearing of the petition for bail was conducted in Crim. Case
was already filed in his Court and he even issued an Order dated 18 No. 271-99 on January 4, 2000 at 8:30 a.m.[28] Given the filing of the
July 1997 submitting the said Motion for resolution. Copy of said petition only the day before, at close to noontime, it cannot be said
Order dated 18 July 1997 is hereto attached as Annex B and made that the prosecution was afforded reasonable
integral part hereof. Since the said Motion for Reconsideration of his notice and opportunity to present evidence after it received a copy
Order of dismissal was already considered by him as submitted for of the petition minutes before it was filed in court. It bears stressing
resolution as of 18 July 1997, Judge Ubiadas should have resolved that the prosecution should be afforded reasonable opportunity to
one way or the other, the said motion. [20] (Underscoring supplied) comment on the application for bail by showing that evidence of
Whether the accused in Crim. Case No. 212-97 were already guilt is strong.[29]
released at the time of the filing of the motion for reconsideration While in Section 18 of Rule 114 on applications for bail, no period is
provided as it merely requires the court to give a reasonable notice
2
of the hearing to the prosecutor or require him to submit his been deputized by the Office of the Ombudsman to prosecute this
recommendation, and the general rule on the requirement of a case, no special reason was given for such authority. Instead, it
three-day notice for hearing of motions under Section 4 of Rule 15 appears that such designation was merely based on the premise that
allows a court for good cause to set the hearing on shorter notice, the offense charged was committed in Subic municipality as
there is, in the case of Mangohig, no showing of good cause to call erroneously indicated in the original Information filed with this
for hearing his petition for bail on shorter notice. Court.
Reasonable notice depends of course upon the circumstances of Inasmuch as the Information as amended, upon the initiative of
each particular case, taking into account, inter alia, the offense Prosecutor Floresta himself, shows that the place of the commission
committed and the imposable penalties, and the evidence of guilt in of the offense charged is in Olongapo City, the Office of the
the hands of the prosecution. Provincial Prosecutor does not have the authority to continue
In Crim. Case No. 271-99, Mangohig was arrested for violation of Sec. prosecuting this case for the People of the Philippines (Section 2,
5(b), Art. III of R.A. 7610,[30] which is punishable by reclusion Rule 117, 1997 Rules of Criminal Procedure). For this reason, the
temporal to reclusion perpetua, and subsequently indicted for Office of the City Prosecutor should take his place inasmuch as the
statutory rape[31] qualified by relationship which is punishable by Office of the City Prosecutor of Olongapo has territorial jurisdiction
death. over the offense charged.[40] (Underscoring supplied),
Under the circumstances, by respondents assailed grant of bail, the shows that he was not only aware of complainants designation,
prosecution was deprived of due process for which he is liable for hence, belying his explanation that he must have overlooked the
gross ignorance of the law or procedure [32] which is a serious charge same. It also shows his ignorance of the above-cited provision of the
under Sec. 8 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court. The charge carries the Ombudsman Act which does not require the presence of a special
penalty of dismissal from the service with forfeiture of all or part of reason for the designation or deputization by the Ombudsman of
the benefits or suspension from office without salary and other any prosecutor or government lawyer to assist him.
benefits for more than 3 but not exceeding 6 months or a fine of It would appear though from respondents above-quoted December
more than P20,000 but not exceeding P40,000.[33] 17, 1999 Order that he was of the belief that it was the City
This Court takes this occasion to reiterate the injunction that a judge Prosecutor, rather than the Provincial Prosecutor, who had territorial
is called upon to balance the interests of the accused who is entitled jurisdiction over the offense. It is in this light that he is given the
to the presumption of innocence until his guilt is proven beyond benefit of the doubt, absent any showing that he was motivated by
reasonable doubt, and to enable him to prepare his defense without malice or bad faith.
being subject to punishment prior to conviction, [34] against the right With respect to the charges raised against respondent in
of the State to protect the people and the peace of the community complainants April 1, 2003 Manifestation, by which complainant
from dangerous elements.[35] submitted an unsigned and undated complaint by a certain Dr. Reino
III. On the failure to recognize complainants special designation from Rosete and copies of respondents other assailed decisions: While
the Ombudsman in Crim. Case No. 634-99 Section 1 of Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended, allows the
The brushing aside by the OCA of respondents explanation on the institution of administrative proceedings upon an anonymous
matter is well taken. complaint, the veracity of Rosetes complaint is doubtful as it does
In the exercise of his power to investigate and prosecute on its own not bear his signature. It is clearly not intended to be an anonymous
or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public complaint.
officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission Finally, on the rest of the charges against respondent, this Court is
appears to be illegal, unjust, improper or inefficient, [36] the unable to pass upon them as complainant merely submitted
Ombudsman is authorized to call on prosecutors or lawyers in the photocopies of respondents assailed orders without stating clearly
government service for assistance.[37] Section 31 of the Ombudsman and concisely the alleged acts and omissions constituting violations
Act of 1989 provides: of standards of conduct prescribed for judges by law, the Rules of
Designation of Investigators and Prosecutors The Ombudsman may Court or the Code of Judicial Conduct.
utilize the personnel of his office and/or designate or deputize any WHEREFORE, respondent, Judge Eliodoro G. Ubiadas, Presiding
fiscal, state prosecutor or lawyer in the government service to act as Judge of RTC Branch 72, Olongapo City, is found GUILTY of undue
special investigator or prosecutor to assist in the investigation and delay in resolving a motion and of gross ignorance of the law or
prosecution of certain cases. Those designated or deputized to assist procedure in granting an application for bail without affording the
him as herein provided shall be under his supervision and control. prosecution due process. He is accordingly FINED in the amount of
It is on the basis of the above-quoted provision of law that Deputy TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00), with WARNING that
Ombudsman for Luzon Jesus Guerrero endorsed Case No. OMB-1-98- repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more
2418 (Chan v. Esmane-Diaz) to complainant with the instruction to severely.
file the Information and to prosecute the case.[38] The indorsement SO ORDERED.
included an order to submit a monthly report to the Office of the Vitug, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Corona, JJ., concur.
Ombudsman of any actions taken in relation to the case. ________________________________________________
Respondents December 17, 1999 Order[39] which states, inter alia, as
follows: [A.M. OCA No. 03-1800-RTJ. November 26, 2004]
The Officer-in-Charge of the City Prosecutors Office is hereby Chief State Prosecutor JOVENCITO R. ZUO, complainant, vs. Judge
directed to designate any of the Assistant Prosecutors of the City ALEJADRINO C. CABEBE, Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Batac,
Prosecutors Office to take the place of Provincial Prosecutor Ilocos Norte,respondent.
Dorentino Z. Floresta. While Prosecutor Floresta appears to have
3
DECISION of a hearing, whether summary or otherwise, relative to the grant of
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: bail, especially in cases involving offenses punishable by
The instant administrative case stemmed from the sworn death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, where bail is a
complaint[1] dated January 15, 2003 of Chief State Prosecutor matter of discretion. Under the present Rules, a hearing is
Jovencito R. Zuo of the Department of Justice, against Judge mandatory in granting bail whether it is a matter of right or
Alejandrino C. Cabebe,[2] then Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, discretion.[11] It must be stressed that the grant or the denial of bail
Branch 18, Batac, Ilocos Norte. The charges are knowingly rendering in cases where bail is a matter of discretion, hinges on the issue of
an unjust judgment, gross ignorance of the law and partiality. whether or not the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong, and
In his complaint, Chief State Prosecutor Zuo alleged that Criminal the determination of whether or not the evidence is strong is a
Case No. 3950-18 for illegal possession of prohibited or regulated matter of judicial discretion which remains with the judge. In order
drugs was filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Batac, Ilocos for the latter to properly exercise his discretion, he must first
Norte against Rey Daquep Arcangel, Victorino Gamet Malabed, conduct a hearing to determine whether the evidence of guilt is
William Roxas Villanueva, all police officers, Jocelyn Malabed Manuel strong.[12] In fact, even in cases where there is no petition for bail, a
and Pelagio Valencia Manuel. Upon arraignment, all the accused, hearing should still be held.[13]
assisted by their counsel de parte, pleaded not guilty to the crime There is no question that respondent judge granted bail to the
charged. On March 14, 2001, the prosecution filed with this Court a accused without conducting a hearing, in violation of Sections 8 and
petition for change of venue but was denied in a Resolution dated 18, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, quoted as
August 13, 2001.[3] On October 8, 2001, the accused filed a motion follows:
for reconsideration.[4] In the meantime, the proceedings before Sec. 8. Burden of proof in bail application. At the hearing of an
respondents court were suspended. application for bail filed by a person who is in custody for the
On May 6, 2002, the accused filed a motion to dismiss invoking as commission of an offense punishable by death, reclusion
ground the right of the accused to a speedy trial. On November 5, perpetua, or life imprisonment, the prosecution has the burden of
2002, respondent judge motu propio issued an Order[5] granting bail showing that evidence of guilt is strong. The evidence presented
to the accused, fixing the bail for each at P70,000.00 in cash or during the bail hearing shall be considered automatically reproduced
property bond at P120,000.00, except for accused Evelyn Manuel at the trial but, upon motion of either party, the court may recall any
whose bail was fixed at P20,000.00 in cash. Respondent judge issued witness for additional examination unless the latter is dead, outside
the Order without the accuseds application or motion for bail. the Philippines, or otherwise unable to testify.
The prosecution then filed a motion for reconsideration. [6] Instead of Sec. 18. Notice of application to prosecutor. In the application for bail
acting thereon, respondent judge issued an order inhibiting himself under section 8 of this Rule, the court must give reasonable notice of
from further proceeding with the case, realizing that what he did the hearing to the prosecutor or require him to submit his
was patently irregular. Complainant thus prays that respondent judge recommendation. (18a)
be dismissed from the service with forfeiture of all benefits and be In Cortes vs. Catral,[14] we laid down the following rules outlining the
disbarred from the practice of law. duties of the judge in case an application for bail is filed:
In his comment,[7] respondent denied the charges. While admitting 1. In all cases whether bail is a matter of right or discretion, notify
that he issued the Order dated November 5, 2002 granting bail to the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require
the accused without any hearing, the same was premised on the him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the
constitutional right of the accused to a speedy trial. There was delay Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure);
in the proceedings due to complainants frequent absences and 2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the
failure of the witnesses for the prosecution to appear in court, application for bail regardless of whether or not the prosecution
resulting in the cancellation of the hearings. The prosecution did not refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is
object to the grant of bail to the accused. [8] He added that the strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound
administrative complaint filed against him is purely harassment. It is discretion (Section 7 and 8, id.);
not the appropriate remedy to question his alleged erroneous Order. 3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the
Accordingly, and considering his forty (40) years of government summary of evidence of the prosecution;
service, he prays that the administrative complaint be dismissed. 4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused
On March 26, 2003, respondent judge compulsorily retired. upon the approval of the bail bond (Section 19, id.); otherwise the
In his Report dated July 7, 2003, Deputy Court Administrator Jose P. petition should be denied.
Perez found respondent judge liable for gross ignorance of the law Based on the above-cited procedure, after the hearing, the courts
and recommended that a fine of P20,000.00 be imposed upon him, order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the
with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense evidence of the prosecution and based thereon, the judge should
will be dealt with more severely. formulate his own conclusion as to whether the evidence so
In our Resolution[9] dated August 25, 2003, we directed that the presented is strong enough to indicate the guilt of the accused. [15]
complaint be re-docketed as a regular administrative matter and Respondent judge did not follow the above Rules and procedure
required the parties to manifest whether they are submitting the enumerated in Cortes.[16] He did not conduct a hearing before he
case for resolution on the basis of the pleadings filed. Both parties granted bail to the accused, thus depriving the prosecution of an
submitted the required manifestations that they are submitting the opportunity to interpose objections to the grant of bail. Irrespective
case for decision on the basis of the records. of his opinion on the strength or weakness of evidence to prove the
In Docena-Caspe vs. Judge Arnulfo O. Bugtas,[10] we held that guilt of the accused, he should have conducted a hearing and
jurisprudence is replete with decisions on the procedural necessity thereafter made a summary of the evidence of the prosecution. The
4
importance of a bail hearing and a summary of evidence cannot be It bears reiterating that respondent is being charged with knowingly
downplayed, these are considered aspects of procedural due process rendering unjust judgment, gross ignorance of the law and partiality.
for both the prosecution and the defense; its absence will invalidate We ruled that in order to be held liable for knowingly rendering an
the grant or denial of bail.[17] unjust judgment or order, respondent judge must have acted in bad
Neither did respondent require the prosecution to submit its faith, with malice or in willful disregard of the right of a litigant. [19] A
recommendation on whether or not bail should be granted. perusal of the records, specifically the assailed Order, hardly shows
He maintains that the prosecution did not object to the grant of bail that any of these incidents has been proven.
to the accused, hence, he cannot be held administratively liable for On the charge of gross ignorance of the law, suffice it to say that to
not conducting a hearing. constitute such infraction, it is not enough that the subject decision,
In Santos vs. Ofilada,[18] we held that the failure to raise or the order or actuation of the judge in the performance of his official
absence of an objection on the part of the prosecution in an duties is contrary to existing law and jurisprudence but, most
application for bail does not dispense with the requirement of a bail importantly, he must be moved by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or
hearing. Thus corruption. [20] In Guillermo vs. Judge Reyes, Jr.[21] we categorically
Even the alleged failure of the prosecution to interpose an objection held that good faith and absence of malice, corrupt motives or
to the granting of bail to the accused will not justify such grant improper considerations are sufficient defenses in which a judge
without hearing. This Court has uniformly ruled that even if the charged with ignorance of the law can find refuge. In Villanueva-
prosecution refuses to adduce evidence or fails to interpose any Fabella vs. Lee,[22] we ruled that a judge may not be held
objection to the motion for bail, it is still mandatory for the court to administratively accountable for every erroneous order he renders.
conduct a hearing or ask searching and clarificatory questions from For liability to attach for ignorance of the law, the assailed order of a
which it may infer the strength of the evidence of guilt, or lack of it, judge must not only be erroneous; more important, it must be
against the accused. Where the prosecutor refuses to adduce motivated by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred or some other similar
evidence in opposition to the application to grant and fix bail, the motive. Complainant, having failed to present positive evidence to
court may ask the prosecution such questions as would ascertain the show that respondent judge was so motivated in granting bail
strength of the States evidence or judge the adequacy of the amount without hearing, can not be held guilty of gross ignorance of the law.
of bail. Irrespective of respondent judges opinion that the evidence As to the charge of partiality, we find no evidence to sustain the
of guilt against the accused is not strong, the law and settled same. It is merely based on complainants speculation. Mere
jurisprudence demand that a hearing be conducted before bail may suspicion that a judge is partial is not enough. There should be clear
be fixed for the temporary release of the accused, if bail is at all and convincing evidence to prove this charge. The only exception to
justified. the rule is when the error is so gross and patent as to produce an
Thus, although the provincial prosecutor had interposed no ineluctable inference of bad faith and malice, [23] which are not
objection to the grant of bail to the accused, the respondent judge present here.
therein should nevertheless have set the petition for bail for hearing We thus find respondent judge guilty of violation of Supreme Court
and diligently ascertain from the prosecution whether the latter was Rules, specifically Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal
not in fact contesting the bail application. In addition, a hearing was Procedure on the grant of bail. This administrative offense is
also necessary for the court to take into consideration the guidelines considered a less serious charge, punishable under Section 9(4) and
set forth in the then Section, 6, Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules of Section 11(B-2), Rule 140 of the same Rules, thus:
Criminal Procedure for the fixing of the amount of the bail, Only Sec. 9. Less Serious Charges. Less serious charges include:
after respondent judge had satisfied himself that these requirements xxx
have been met could he then proceed to rule on whether or not to 4. Violation of Supreme Court Rules, directives, and circulars;
grant bail. xxx
Clearly, therefore, respondent judge cannot seek refuge on the Sec. 11. Sanctions. x x x
alleged absence of objection on the part of the prosecution to the B. If the respondent is guilty of a less serious charge, any of the
grant of bail to the accused. following sanctions shall be imposed:
Respondent judge contends that the accused were entitled to their 1. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not
right to a speedy trial, hence, he granted bail without a hearing. He less than one (1) nor more than three (3) months; or
blames the prosecution for the delay. 2. A fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.
Respondents contention is bereft of merit. There is no indication in WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Alejandrino C. Cabebe, now retired,
the records of the criminal case that the prosecution has is found guilty of violation of Supreme Court Rules and is hereby
intentionally delayed the trial of the case. Even assuming there was fined in the sum of Twenty Thousand Pesos (P20,000.00), the same
delay, this does not justify the grant of bail without a hearing. This is to be deducted from his retirement benefits.
utter disregard of the Rules. The requirement of a bail hearing has SO ORDERED.
been incessantly stressed by this Court. In the same vein, the Code Panganiban, (Chairman), Carpio-Morales, and Garcia, JJ., concur.
of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to be conversant with the law and Corona, J., on leave.
the Rules and maintain professional competence; and by the very ________________________________________________
nature of his office, should be circumspect in the performance of his
duties. He must render justice without resorting to shortcuts clearly Government of Hongkong v. Olalia, 521 SCRA 470 (2007)
uncalled for. Obviously, respondent failed to live up to these posted in CONLAW2 cases
standards.
Facts
5
Private respondent Muñoz was charged before Hong Kong Court. (2) the higher value now being given to human rights;
Warrants of arrest were issued and by virtue of a final decree the (3) the corresponding duty of countries to observe these universal
validity of the Order of Arrest was upheld. The petitioner Hong Kong human rights in fulfilling their treaty obligations; and
Administrative Region filed a petition for the extradition of the (4) the duty of this Court to balance the rights of the individual
private respondent. In the same case, a petition for bail was filed by under our fundamental law, on one hand, and the law on extradition,
the private respondent. on the other.
In light of the recent developments in international law, where
The petition for bail was denied by reason that there was no emphasis is given to the worth of the individual and the sanctity of
Philippine law granting the same in extradition cases and that the human rights, the Court departed from the ruling in Purganan, and
respondent was a high “flight risk”. Private respondent filed a motion held that an extraditee may be allowed to post bail.
for reconsideration and was granted by the respondent judge subject
to the following conditions: [G.R. Nos. 115439-41. July 16, 1997]
1. Bail is set at Php750,000.00 in cash with the condition that PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HONORABLE
accused hereby undertakes that he will appear and answer the SANDIGANBAYAN, MANSUETO V. HONRADA, CEFERINO S. PAREDES,
issues raised in these proceedings and will at all times hold himself JR. and GENEROSO S. SANSAET, respondents.
amenable to orders and processes of this Court, will further appear DECISION
for judgment. If accused fails in this undertaking, the cash bond will REGALADO, J.:
be forfeited in favor of the government; Through the special civil action for certiorari at bar, petitioner seeks
2. Accused must surrender his valid passport to this Court; the annulment of the resolution of respondent Sandiganbayan,
3. The Department of Justice is given immediate notice and promulgated on December 22, 1993, which denied petitioners
discretion of filing its own motion for hold departure order before motion for the discharge of respondent Generoso S. Sansaet to be
this Court even in extradition proceeding; and utilized as a state witness, and its resolution of March 7, 1994
4. Accused is required to report to the government prosecutors denying the motion for reconsideration of its preceding disposition. [1]
handling this case or if they so desire to the nearest office, at any The records show that during the dates material to this case,
time and day of the week; and if they further desire, manifest before respondent Honrada was the Clerk of Court and Acting Stenographer
this Court to require that all the assets of accused, real and personal, of the First Municipal Circuit Trial Court, San Francisco-Bunawan-
be filed with this Court soonest, with the condition that if the Rosario in Agusan del Sur. Respondent Paredes was successively the
accused flees from his undertaking, said assets be forfeited in favor Provincial Attorney of Agusan del Sur, then Governor of the same
of the government and that the corresponding lien/annotation be province, and is at present a Congressman. Respondent Sansaet was
noted therein accordingly. a practicing attorney who served as counsel for Paredes in several
Petitioner filed a motion to vacate the said order but was denied by instances pertinent to the criminal charges involved in the present
the respondent judge. Hence, this instant petition. recourse.
The same records also represent that sometime in 1976, respondent
Issue Paredes applied for a free patent over Lot No. 3097-A, Pls-67 of the
WON a potential extraditee is entitled to post bail Rosario Public Land Subdivision Survey. His application was approved
and, pursuant to a free patent granted to him, an original certificate
Ruling of title was issued in his favor for that lot which is situated in
A potential extraditee is entitled to bail. the poblacion of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.
However, in 1985, the Director of Lands filed an action [2] for the
Ratio Decidendi cancellation of respondent Paredes patent and certificate of title
Petitioner alleged that the trial court committed grave abuse of since the land had been designated and reserved as a school site in
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in admitting the aforementioned subdivision survey. The trial court rendered
private respondent to bail; that there is nothing in the Constitution judgment[3] nullifying said patent and title after finding that
or statutory law providing that a potential extraditee has a right to respondent Paredes had obtained the same through fraudulent
bail, the right being limited solely to criminal proceedings. misrepresentations in his application. Pertinently, respondent
Sansaet served as counsel of Paredes in that civil case.[4]
On the other hand, private respondent maintained that the right to Consequent to the foregoing judgment of the trial court, upon the
bail guaranteed under the Bill of Rights extends to a prospective subsequent complaint of the Sangguniang Bayan and the preliminary
extraditee; and that extradition is a harsh process resulting in a investigation conducted thereon, an information for perjury [5] was
prolonged deprivation of one’s liberty. filed against respondent Paredes in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court.
In this case, the Court reviewed what was held in Government of [6]
On November 27, 1985, the Provincial Fiscal was, however,
United States of America v. Hon. Guillermo G. Purganan, Presiding directed by the Deputy Minister of Justice to move for the dismissal
Judge, RTC of Manila, Branch 42, and Mark B. Jimenez, a.k.a. Mario of the case on the ground inter alia of prescription, hence the
Batacan Crespo GR No. 153675 April 2007, that the constitutional proceedings were terminated.[7] In this criminal case, respondent
provision on bail does not apply to extradition proceedings, the Paredes was likewise represented by respondent Sansaet as counsel.
same being available only in criminal proceedings. The Court took Nonetheless, respondent * Paredes was thereafter haled before the
cognizance of the following trends in international law: Tanodbayan for preliminary investigation on the charge that, by
(1) the growing importance of the individual person in public using his former position as Provincial Attorney to influence and
international;
6
induce the Bureau of Lands officials to favorably act on his cases, as in fact a motion therefor was filed by the prosecution
application for free patent, he had violated Section 3(a) of Republic pursuant to their agreement.
Act No. 3019, as amended. For the third time, respondent Sansaet Withal, in a resolution[16] dated February 24, 1992, the Ombudsman
was Paredes counsel of record therein. approved the filing of falsification charges against all the herein
On August 29, 1988, the Tanodbayan, issued a private respondents. The proposal for the discharge of respondent
resolution[8] recommending the criminal prosecution of respondent Sansaet as a state witness was rejected by the Ombudsman on this
Paredes. Atty. Sansaet, as counsel for his aforenamed co-respondent, evaluative legal position:
moved for reconsideration and, because of its legal significance in x x x Taking his explanation, it is difficult to believe that a lawyer of
this case, we quote some of his allegations in that motion: his stature, in the absence of deliberate intent to conspire, would be
x x x respondent had been charged already by the complainants unwittingly induced by another to commit a crime. As counsel for
before the Municipal Circuit Court of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, the accused in those criminal cases, Atty. Sansaet had control over
went to jail on detention in 1984 under the same set of facts and the the case theory and the evidence which the defense was going to
same evidence x x x but said case after arraignment, was ordered present. Moreover, the testimony or confession of Atty. Sansaet falls
dismissed by the court upon recommendation of the Department of under the mantle of privileged communication between the lawyer
Justice. Copy of the dismissal order, certificate of arraignment and and his client which may be objected to, if presented in the trial.
therecommendation of the Department of Justice are hereto The Ombudsman refused to reconsider that resolution [17] and,
attached for ready reference; thus the filing of this case will be a case ostensibly to forestall any further controversy, he decided to file
of double jeopardy for respondent herein x x x.[9] (Italics supplied.) separate informations for falsification of public documents against
A criminal case was subsequently filed with the each of the herein respondents. Thus, three criminal cases,[18] each
Sandiganbayan[10] charging respondent Paredes with a violation of of which named one of the three private respondents here as the
Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended. However, a accused therein, were filed in the graft court.However, the same
motion to quash filed by the defense was later granted in were consolidated for joint trial in the Second Division of the
respondent courts resolution of August 1, 1991[11] and the case was Sandiganbayan.
dismissed on the ground of prescription. As stated at the outset, a motion was filed by the People on July 27,
On January 23, 1990, one Teofilo Gelacio, a taxpayer who had 1993 for the discharge of respondent Sansaet as a state witness. It
initiated the perjury and graft charges against respondent Paredes, was submitted that all the requisites therefor, as provided in Section
sent a letter to the Ombudsman seeking the investigation of the 9, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court, were satisfied insofar as
three respondents herein for falsification of public documents. [12] He respondent Sansaet was concerned. The basic postulate was that,
claimed that respondent Honrada, in conspiracy with his herein co- except for the eyewitness testimony of respondent Sansaet, there
respondents, simulated and certified as true copies certain was no other direct evidence to prove the confabulated falsification
documents purporting to be a notice of arraignment, dated July 1, of documents by respondents Honrada and Paredes.
1985, and transcripts of stenographic notes supposedly taken during Unfortunately for the prosecution, respondent Sandiganbayan,
the arraignment of Paredes on the perjury charge. [13] These falsified hewing to the theory of the attorney-client privilege adverted to by
documents were annexed to respondent Paredes motion for the Ombudsman and invoked by the two other private respondents
reconsideration of the Tanodbayan resolution for the filing of a graft in their opposition to the prosecutions motion, resolved to deny the
charge against him, in order to support his contention that the same desired discharge on this ratiocination:
would constitute double jeopardy. From the evidence adduced, the opposition was able to establish
In support of his claim, Gelacio attached to his letter a certification that client and lawyer relationship existed between Atty. Sansaet and
that no notice of arraignment was ever received by the Office of the Ceferino Paredes, Jr., before, during and after the period alleged in
Provincial Fiscal of Agusan del Sur in connection with that perjury the information. In view of such relationship, the facts surrounding
case; and a certification of Presiding Judge Ciriaco Ario that said the case, and other confidential matter must have been disclosed by
perjury case in his court did not reach the arraignment stage since accused Paredes, as client, to accused Sansaet, as his lawyer in his
action thereon was suspended pending the review of the case by the professional capacity. Therefore, the testimony of Atty. Sansaet on
Department of Justice.[14] the facts surrounding the offense charged in the information is
Respondents filed their respective counter-affidavits, but Sansaet privileged.[19]
subsequently discarded and repudiated the submissions he had Reconsideration of said resolution having been likewise denied,
[20]
made in his counter-affidavit. In a so-called Affidavit of Explanations the controversy was elevated to this Court by the prosecution in
and Rectifications,[15] respondent Sansaet revealed that Paredes an original action for the issuance of the extraordinary writ
contrived to have the graft case under preliminary investigation of certiorari against respondent Sandiganbayan.
dismissed on the ground of double jeopardy by making it that the The principal issues on which the resolution of the petition at bar
perjury case had been dismissed by the trial court after he had been actually turns are therefore (1) whether or not the projected
arraigned therein. testimony of respondent Sansaet, as proposed state witness, is
For that purpose, the documents which were later filed by barred by the attorney-client privilege; and (2) whether or not, as a
respondent Sansaet in the preliminary investigation were prepared consequence thereof, he is eligible for discharge to testify as
and falsified by his co-respondents in this case in the house of a particeps criminis.
respondent Paredes. To evade responsibility for his own participation I
in the scheme, he claimed that he did so upon the instigation and As already stated, respondent Sandiganbayan ruled that due to the
inducement of respondent Paredes. This was intended to pave the lawyer-client relationship which existed between herein respondents
way for his discharge as a government witness in the consolidated Paredes and Sansaet during the relevant periods, the facts
7
surrounding the case and other confidential matters must have been committed in the past or with respect to a crime intended to be
disclosed by respondent Paredes, as client, to respondent Sansaet, committed in the future. In other words, if the client seeks his
as his lawyer. Accordingly, it found no reason to discuss it further lawyers advice with respect to a crime that the former has
since Atty. Sansaet cannot be presented as a witness against accused theretofore committed, he is given the protection of a virtual
Ceferino S. Paredes, Jr. without the latters consent. [21] confessional seal which the attorney-client privilege declares cannot
The Court is of a contrary persuasion. The attorney-client privilege be broken by the attorney without the clients consent. The same
cannot apply in these cases, as the facts thereof and the actuations privileged confidentiality, however, does not attach with regard to a
of both respondents therein constitute an exception to the rule. For crime which a client intends to commit thereafter or in the future
a clearer understanding of that evidential rule, we will first sweep and for purposes of which he seeks the lawyers advice.
aside some distracting mental cobwebs in these cases. Statements and communications regarding the commission of a
1. It may correctly be assumed that there was a confidential crime already committed, made by a party who committed it, to an
communication made by Paredes to Sansaet in connection with attorney, consulted as such,
Criminal Cases Nos. 17791-93 for falsification before respondent are privilegedcommunications. Contrarily, the unbroken stream of
court, and this may reasonably be expected since Paredes was the judicial dicta is to the effect that communications between attorney
accused and Sansaet his counsel therein. Indeed, the fact that and client having to do with the clients contemplated criminal acts,
Sansaet was called to witness the preparation of the falsified or in aid or furtherance thereof, are not covered by the cloak of
documents by Paredes and Honrada was as eloquent a privileges ordinarily existing in reference to communications
communication, if not more, than verbal statements being made to between attorney and client.[25] (Emphases supplied.)
him by Paredes as to the fact and purpose of such falsification. It is 3. In the present cases, the testimony sought to be elicited from
significant that the evidentiary rule on this point has always referred Sansaet as state witness are the communications made to him by
to any communication, without distinction or qualification. [22] physical acts and/or accompanying words of Paredes at the time he
In the American jurisdiction from which our present evidential rule and Honrada, either with the active or passive participation of
was taken, there is no particular mode by which a confidential Sansaet, were about to falsify, or in the process of falsifying, the
communication shall be made by a client to his attorney.The privilege documents which were later filed in the Tanodbayan by Sansaet and
is not confined to verbal or written communications made by the culminated in the criminal charges now pending in respondent
client to his attorney but extends as well to information Sandiganbayan. Clearly, therefore, the confidential communications
communicated by the client to the attorney by other means. [23] thus made by Paredes to Sansaet were for purposes of and in
Nor can it be pretended that during the entire process, considering reference to the crime of falsification which had not yet been
their past and existing relations as counsel and client and, further, in committed in the past by Paredes but which he, in confederacy with
view of the purpose for which such falsified documents were his present co-respondents, later committed. Having been made for
prepared, no word at all passed between Paredes and Sansaet on purposes of a future offense, those communications are outside the
the subject matter of that criminal act. The clincher for this pale of the attorney-client privilege.
conclusion is the undisputed fact that said documents were 4. Furthermore, Sansaet was himself a conspirator in the commission
thereafter filed by Sansaet in behalf of Paredes as annexes to the of that crime of falsification which he, Paredes and Honrada
motion for reconsideration in the preliminary investigation of the concocted and foisted upon the authorities. It is well settled that in
graft case before the Tanodbayan.[24]Also, the acts and words of the order that a communication between a lawyer and his client may be
parties during the period when the documents were being falsified privileged, it must be for a lawful purpose or in furtherance of a
were necessarily confidential since Paredes would not have invited lawful end. The existence of an unlawful purpose prevents the
Sansaet to his house and allowed him to witness the same except privilege from attaching. [26] In fact, it has also been pointed out to the
under conditions of secrecy and confidence. Court that the prosecution of the honorable relation of attorney and
2. It is postulated that despite such complicity of Sansaet at the client will not be permitted under the guise of privilege, and every
instance of Paredes in the criminal act for which the latter stands communication made to an attorney by a client for a criminal
charged, a distinction must be made between confidential purpose is a conspiracy or attempt at a conspiracy which is not only
communications relating to past crimes already committed, and lawful to divulge, but which the attorney under certain
future crimes intended to be committed, by the client. Corollarily, it circumstances may be bound to disclose at once in the interest of
is admitted that the announced intention of a client to commit a justice.[27]
crime is not included within the confidences which his attorney is It is evident, therefore, that it was error for respondent
bound to respect. Respondent court appears, however, to believe Sandiganbayan to insist that such unlawful communications intended
that in the instant case it is dealing with a past crime, and that for an illegal purpose contrived by conspirators are nonetheless
respondent Sansaet is set to testify on alleged criminal acts of covered by the so-called mantle of privilege. To prevent a conniving
respondents Paredes and Honrada that have already been counsel from revealing the genesis of a crime which was later
committed and consummated. committed pursuant to a conspiracy, because of the objection
The Court reprobates the last assumption which is flawed by a thereto of his conspiring client, would be one of the worst travesties
somewhat inaccurate basis. It is true that by now, insofar as the in the rules of evidence and practice in the noble profession of law.
falsifications to be testified to in respondent court are concerned, II
those crimes were necessarily committed in the past. But for the On the foregoing premises, we now proceed to the consequential
application of the attorney-client privilege, however, the period to be inquiry as to whether respondent Sansaet qualifies, as a particeps
considered is the date when the privileged communication was criminis, for discharge from the criminal prosecution in order to
made by the client to the attorney in relation to either a crime testify for the State. Parenthetically, respondent court, having arrived
8
at a contrary conclusion on the preceding issue, did not pass upon the accused should always be indicted in one and the same
this second aspect and the relief sought by the prosecution which information, the Rules could have said so with facility, but it did not
are now submitted for our resolution in the petition at bar. We shall, so require in consideration of the circumstances obtaining in the
however, first dispose likewise of some ancillary questions requiring present case and the problems that may arise from amending the
preludial clarification. information. After all, the purpose of the Rule can be achieved by
1. The fact that respondent Sandiganbayan did not fully pass upon consolidation of the cases as an alternative mode.
the query as to whether or not respondent Sansaet was qualified to 2. We have earlier held that Sansaet was a conspirator in the crime
be a state witness need not prevent this Court from resolving that of falsification, and the rule is that since in a conspiracy the act of
issue as prayed for by petitioner. Where the determinative facts and one is the act of all, the same penalty shall be imposed on all
evidence have been submitted to this Court such that it is in a members of the conspiracy. Now, one of the requirements for a state
position to finally resolve the dispute, it will be in the pursuance of witness is that he does not appear to be the most guilty. [31] not that
the ends of justice and the expeditious administration thereof to he must be the least guilty[32] as is so often erroneously framed or
resolve the case on the merits, instead of remanding it to the trial submitted. The query would then be whether an accused who was
court.[28] held guilty by reason of membership in a conspiracy is eligible to be
2. A reservation is raised over the fact that the three private a state witness.
respondents here stand charged in three separate informations. It To be sure, in People vs. Ramirez, et al.[33] we find this obiter:
will be recalled that in its resolution of February 24, 1992, the It appears that Apolonio Bagispas was the real mastermind. It is
Ombudsman recommended the filing of criminal charges for believable that he persuaded the others to rob Paterno, not to kill
falsification of public documents against all the respondents him for a promised fee. Although he did not actually commit any of
herein. That resolution was affirmed but, reportedly in order to the stabbings, it was a mistake to discharge Bagispas as a state
obviate further controversy, one information was filed against each witness. All the perpetrators of the offense, including him, were
of the three respondents here, resulting in three informations for the bound in a conspiracy that made them equally guilty.
same acts of falsification. However, prior thereto, in People vs. Roxas, et al.,[34] two conspirators
This technicality was, however, sufficiently explained away during the charged with five others in three separate informations for multiple
deliberations in this case by the following discussion thereof by Mr. murder were discharged and used as state witnesses against their
Justice Davide, to wit: confederates. Subsequent thereto, in Lugtu, et al. vs. Court of
Assuming no substantive impediment exists to block Sansaets Appeals, et al.,[35] one of the co-conspirators was discharged from the
discharge as state witness, he can, nevertheless, be discharged even information charging him and two others with the crime of
if indicted under a separate information. I suppose the three cases estafa. The trial court found that he was not the most guilty as, being
were consolidated for joint trial since they were all raffled to the a poor and ignorant man, he was easily convinced by his two co-
Second Division of the Sandiganbayan. Section 2, Rule XV of the accused to open the account with the bank and which led to the
Revised Rules of the Sandiganbayan allows consolidation in only one commission of the crime.
Division of cases arising from the same incident or series of On appeal, this Court held that the finding of respondent appellate
incidents, or involving common questions of law and court that Lugtu was just as guilty as his co-accused, and should not
fact. Accordingly, for all legal intents and purposes, Sansaet stood as be discharged as he did not appear to be not the most guilty, is
co-accused and he could be discharged as state witness. It is of no untenable. In other words, the Court took into account the gravity or
moment that he was charged separately from his co-accused. While nature of the acts committed by the accused to be discharged
Section 9 of Rule 119 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure uses compared to those of his co-accused, and not merely the fact that in
the word jointly, which was absent in the old provision, the law the same or equal penalty is imposable on all of them.
consolidated and joint trial has the effect of making the three Eventually, what was just somehow assumed but not explicitly
accused co-accused or joint defendants, especially considering that articulated found expression in People vs. Ocimar, et al.,[36] which we
they are charged for the same offense. In criminal law, persons quote in extenso:
indicted for the same offense and tried together are called joint Ocimar contends that in the case at bar Bermudez does not satisfy
defendants. the conditions for the discharge of a co-accused to become a state
As likewise submitted therefor by Mr. Justice Francisco along the witness. He argues that no accused in a conspiracy can lawfully be
same vein, there having been a consolidation of the three cases, the discharged and utilized as a state witness, for not one of them could
several actions lost their separate identities and became a single satisfy the requisite of appearing not to be the most guilty. Appellant
action in which a single judgment is rendered, the same as if the asserts that since accused Bermudez was part of the conspiracy, he is
different causes of action involved had originally been joined in a equally guilty as the others.
single action.[29] We do not agree. First, there is absolute necessity for the testimony
Indeed, the former provision of the Rules referring to the situation of Bermudez. For, despite the presentation of four (4) other
(w)hen two or more persons are charged with the commission of a witnesses, none of them could positively identify the accused except
certain offense was too broad and indefinite; hence the word joint Bermudez who was one of those who pulled the highway heist which
was added to indicate the identity of the charge and the fact that the resulted not only in the loss of cash, jewelry and other valuables, but
accused are all together charged therewith substantially in the same even the life of Capt. Caeba, Jr. It was in fact the testimony of
manner in point of commission and time. The word joint means Bermudez that clinched the case for the prosecution. Second,
common to two or more, as involving the united activity of two or without his testimony, no other direct evidence was available for the
more, or done or produced by two or more working together, or prosecution to prove the elements of the crime. Third, his testimony
shared by or affecting two or more.[30] Had it been intended that all could be, as indeed it was, substantially corroborated in its material
9
points as indicated by the trial court in its well-reasoned of his projected testimony in his Affidavit of Explanations and
decision. Fourth, he does not appear to be the most guilty. As the Rectifications.
evidence reveals, he was only invited to a drinking party without His testimony can be substantially corroborated on its material
having any prior knowledge of the plot to stage a highway points by reputable witnesses, identified in the basic petition with a
robbery. But even assuming that he later became part of the digest of their prospective testimonies, as follows: Judge Ciriaco C.
conspiracy, he does not appear to be the most guilty. What the law Ario, Municipal Circuit Trial Court in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur;
prohibits is that the most guilty will be set free while his co-accused Provincial Prosecutor and Deputized Ombudsman Prosecutor
who are less guilty will be sent to jail. And by most guilty we mean Claudio A. Nistal; Teofilo Gelacio, private complainant who initiated
the highest degree of culpability in terms of participation in the the criminal cases through his letter-complaint; Alberto Juvilan of the
commission of the offense and not necessarily the severity of the Sangguniang Bayan of San Fernando, Agusan del Sur, who
penalty imposed. While all the accused may be given the same participated in the resolution asking their Provincial Governor to file
penalty by reason of conspiracy, yet one may be considered least the appropriate case against respondent Paredes, and Francisco
guilty if We take into account his degree of participation in the Macalit, who obtained the certification of non-arraignment from
perpetration of the offense. Fifth, there is no evidence that he has at Judge Ario.
any time been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude. On the final requirement of the Rules, it does not appear that
xxx respondent Sansaet has at any time been convicted of any offense
Thus, We agree with the observations of the Solicitor General that involving moral turpitude. Thus, with the confluence of all the
the rule on the discharge of an accused to be utilized as state witness requirements for the discharge of this respondent, both the Special
clearly looks at his actual and individual participation in the Prosecutor and the Solicitor General strongly urge and propose that
commission of the crime, which may or may not have been he be allowed to testify as a state witness.
perpetrated in conspiracy with the other accused. Since Bermudez This Court is not unaware of the doctrinal rule that, on this
was not individually responsible for the killing committed on the procedural aspect, the prosecution may propose but it is for the trial
occasion of the robbery except by reason of conspiracy, it cannot be court, in the exercise of its sound discretion, to determine the merits
said then that Bermudez appears to be the most guilty. Hence, his of the proposal and make the corresponding disposition. It must be
discharge to be a witness for the government is clearly warranted. emphasized, however, that such discretion should have been
(Italics ours.) exercised, and the disposition taken on a holistic view of all the facts
The rule of equality in the penalty to be imposed upon conspirators and issues herein discussed, and not merely on the sole issue of the
found guilty of a criminal offense is based on the concurrence of applicability of the attorney-client privilege.
criminal intent in their minds and translated into concerted physical This change of heart and direction respondent Sandiganbayan
action although of varying acts or degrees of depravity. Since the eventually assumed, after the retirement of two members of its
Revised Penal Code is based on the classical school of thought, it is Second Division [37]and the reconstitution thereof. In an inversely
the identity of the mens rea which is considered the predominant anticlimactic Manifestation and Comment [38] dated June 14, 1995, as
consideration and, therefore, warrants the imposition of the same required by this Court in its resolution on December 5, 1994, the
penalty on the consequential theory that the act of one is thereby chairman and new members thereof [39]declared:
the act of all. 4) That the questioned Resolutions of December 22, 1993 and March
Also, this is an affair of substantive law which should not be equated 7, 1994 upon which the Petition for Certiorari filed by the
with the procedural rule on the discharge of particeps criminis. This prosecution are based, was penned by Associate Justice Narciso T.
adjective device is based on other considerations, such as the need Atienza and concurred in by the undersigned and Associate Justice
for giving immunity to one of them in order that not all shall escape, Augusto M. Amores;
and the judicial experience that the candid admission of an accused 5) That while the legal issues involved had been already discussed
regarding his participation is a guaranty that he will testify and passed upon by the Second Division in the aforesaid Resolution,
truthfully. For those reasons, the Rules provide for certain qualifying however, after going over the arguments submitted by the Solicitor-
criteria which, again, are based on judicial experience distilled into a General and re-assessing Our position on the matter, We respectfully
judgmental policy. beg leave of the Honorable Supreme Court to manifest that We are
III amenable to setting aside the questioned Resolutions and to grant
The Court is reasonably convinced, and so holds, that the other the prosecutions motion to discharge accused Generoso Sansaet as
requisites for the discharge of respondent Sansaet as a state witness state witness, upon authority of the Honorable Supreme Court for
are present and should have been favorably appreciated by the the issuance of the proper Resolution to that effect within fifteen
Sandiganbayan. (15) days from notice thereof.
Respondent Sansaet is the only cooperative eyewitness to the actual WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari prayed for is hereby granted
commission of the falsification charged in the criminal cases pending SETTING ASIDE the impugned resolutions and ORDERING that the
before respondent court, and the prosecution is faced with the present reliefs sought in these cases by petitioner be allowed and
formidable task of establishing the guilt of the two other co- given due course by respondent Sandiganbayan.
respondents who steadfastly deny the charge and stoutly protest SO ORDERED.
their innocence. There is thus no other direct evidence available for Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno,
the prosecution of the case, hence there is absolute necessity for the Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Francisco and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
testimony of Sansaet whose discharge is sought precisely for that Hermosisima, Jr. and Torres, Jr., JJ., on leave.
purpose. Said respondent has indicated his conformity thereto and ________________________________________________
has, for the purposes required by the Rules, detailed the substance
10
OKABE VS GUTIERREZ resolution on the case. The respondent judge is hereby DIRECTED to
determine the existence or non-existence of probable cause for the
FACTS: arrest of the petitioner based on the complete records, as required
Cecilia Maruyama filed a complaint charging Lorna Tanghal and under Section 8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal
petitioner Teresita Tanghal Okabe, a.k.a. Shiela Okabe, with estafa. Procedure.
Maruyama alleged, that on December 11, 1998, she entrusted
Y11,410,000 with the peso equivalent of P3,993,500 to the G.R. NO. 189122, March 17, 2010
petitioner, who was engaged in the business of "door-to-door Leviste v. CA, et al. Digest Corono, J.:
delivery" from Japan to the Philippines. It was alleged that the
petitioner failed to deliver the money as agreed upon, and, at first, FACTS:
denied receiving the said amount but later returned only US$1,000 Charged with the murder of Rafael de las Alas, petitioner Jose
through Lorna Tanghal. Antonio Leviste was convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Makati
During the preliminary investigation, the complainant submitted the City for the lesser crime of homicide and sentenced to suffer an
affidavit of her witnesses and other documentary evidence. After the indeterminate penalty of six years and one day of prision mayor as
requisite preliminary investigation, 2nd Assistant City Prosecutor minimum to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal as
Joselito J. Vibandor came out with a resolution, finding probable maximum.
cause for estafa against the petitioner w/c was subsequently He appealed his conviction to the Court of Appeals. Pending
approved by the city prosecutor. The trial court then issued a appeal, he filed an urgent application for admission to bail pending
warrant of arrest with a recommended bond of P40,000. Petitioner appeal, citing his advanced age and health condition, and claiming
posted a personal bail bond in the said amount. The petitioner left the absence of any risk or possibility of flight on his part.
the Philippines for Japan on June 17, 2000 without the trial court’s The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s application for bail. It
permission, and returned to the Philippines on June 28, 2000. She invoked the bedrock principle in the matter of bail pending appeal,
left the Philippines anew on July 1, 2000, and returned on July 12, that the discretion to extend bail during the course of appeal should
2000. On July 14, 2000, the private prosecutor filed an urgent ex be exercised “with grave caution and only for strong reasons.”
parte motion for the issuance of the hold departure order. Trial court Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was denied.
approved the same. Meanwhile, the petitioner filed a verified Petitioner quotes Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court was
motion for judicial determination of probable cause and to defer present. Petitioner’s theory is that, where the penalty imposed by
proceedings/arraignment, alleging that the only documents the trial court is more than six years but not more than 20 years and
appended to the Information submitted by the investigating the circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5 are
prosecutor were respondent Maruyama’s affidavit-complaint for absent, bail must be granted to an appellant pending appeal.
estafa and the resolution of the investigating prosecutor;
the affidavits of the witnesses of the complainant, the respondent’s ISSUE:
counter-affidavit and the other evidence adduced by the Whether the discretionary nature of the grant of bail pending appeal
parties were not attached thereto. On July 19, 2000, the petitioner mean that bail should automatically be granted absent any of the
also filed a Very Urgent Motion To Lift/Recall Hold Departure Order circumstances mentioned in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule
dated July 17, 2000 and/or allow her to regularly travel to Japan for 114 of the Rules of Court?
the reason that she have 3 minor children residing there relying on
her for support. Petitioner also questioned the irregularity of the HELD:
determination of probable cause during the preliminary investigation Petitioner’s stance is contrary to fundamental considerations of
however the respondent judge ruled that the posting of bail and the procedural and substantive rules.
filing motions for relief estopped the petitioner from questioning the Petitioner actually failed to establish that the Court of Appeals
same. Upon arraignment, petitioner refused to enter a plea and w/ indeed acted with grave abuse of discretion. He simply relies on his
leave of court left the court room. Petitioner filed w/ CA a petition claim that the Court of Appeals should have granted bail in view of
for Certiorari. CA set aside the hold departure order however all the the absence of any of the circumstances enumerated in the third
other motions were denied, hence this case. paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court.
We disagree.
ISSUE: Whether the respondent judge committed a reversible error Pending appeal of a conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an
in determining existence of probable cause despite lack of affidavits offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life
of the witnesses of respondent Maruyama and the latter’s imprisonment, admission to bail is expressly declared to
documentary evidence, as well as the counter-affidavit of the be discretionary.
petitioner. Retired Court of Appeals Justice Oscar M. Herrera, another authority
HELD: Yes, the rulings of this Court are now embedded in Section in remedial law, is of the same thinking:
8(a), Rule 112 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure which Bail is either a matter of right or of discretion. It is a matter of
provides that: right when the offense charged is not punishable by
SEC. 8. Records. – (a) Records supporting the information or death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. On the other hand,
complaint. An information or complaint filed in court shall be upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not
supported by the affidavits and counter-affidavits of the parties and punishable death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, bail
their witnesses, together with the other supporting evidence and the becomes a matter of discretion.

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Similarly, if the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment 2) When an accused is charged with a capital offense or an offense
exceeding six (6) years then bail is a matter of discretion, except which under the law at the time of its commission and at the time of
when any of the enumerated circumstances under paragraph 3 of the application for bail is punishable by reclusion perpetua and is out
Section 5, Rule 114 is present then bail shall be on bail, and after trial is convicted by the trial court of a lesser
denied. (emphasis supplied) offense than that charged in the complaint or information, the same
In the first situation, bail is a matter of sound judicial rule set forth in the preceding paragraph shall be applied;
discretion. This means that, if none of the circumstances mentioned Amendments were further introduced in Administrative
in the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 is present, the appellate Circular No. 12-94 dated August 16, 1994 which brought about
court has the discretion to grant or deny bail. important changes in the said rules as follows:
On the other hand, in the second situation, the appellate court SECTION 5. Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by
exercises a more stringent discretion, that is, to carefully ascertain the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by
whether any of the enumerated circumstances in fact exists. If it so death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on
determines, it has no other option except to deny or revoke bail application, may admit the accused to bail.
pending appeal. Denial of bail pending appeal is “a matter of wise discretion.”
Given these two distinct scenarios, therefore, any application Section 13, Article II of the Constitution provides:
for bail pending appeal should be viewed from the perspective of SEC. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses
two stages: (1) the determination of discretion stage, where the punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong,
appellate court must determine whether any of the circumstances in shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be
the third paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114 is present; this will released on recognizance as may be provided by law. x x x (emphasis
establish whether or not the appellate court will exercise sound supplied)
discretion or stringent discretion in resolving the application for bail After conviction by the trial court, the presumption of
pending appeal and (2) the exercise of discretion stage where, innocence terminates and, accordingly, the constitutional right to
assuming the appellant’s case falls within the first scenario allowing bail ends. From then on, the grant of bail is subject to judicial
the exercise of sound discretion, the appellate court may consider all discretion. At the risk of being repetitious, such discretion must be
relevant circumstances, other than those mentioned in the third exercised with grave caution and only for strong reasons.
paragraph of Section 5, Rule 114, including the demands of equity WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
and justice; on the basis thereof, it may either allow or disallow bail.
A finding that none of the said circumstances is present will not
automatically result in the grant of bail. Such finding will simply
authorize the court to use the less stringent sound discretion
approach.
However, judicial discretion has been defined as ENRILE vs. SANDIGANBAYAN
“choice.” Choice occurs where, between “two alternatives or among G.R. No. 213847; August 18, 2015
a possibly infinite number (of options),” there is “more than one Ponente: Bersamin
possible outcome, with the selection of the outcome left to the Doctrines:
decision maker.” On the other hand, the establishment of a clearly Primary objective of bail – The strength of the Prosecution's case,
defined rule of action is the end of discretion. Thus, by severely albeit a good measure of the accused's propensity for flight or for
clipping the appellate court’s discretion and relegating that tribunal causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary objective of
to a mere fact-finding body in applications for bail pending appeal in bail, which is to ensure that the accused appears at trial.
all instances where the penalty imposed by the trial court on the Bail is a right and a matter of discretion – Right to bail is afforded in
appellant is imprisonment exceeding six years, petitioner’s theory Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987 Constitution and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule
effectively renders nugatory the provision that “upon conviction by 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to wit: “No person charged
the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion
death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when
is discretionary.” evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal
The aforementioned provisions were reproduced as Sections 3 to prosecution.”
6, Rule 114 of the 1964 Rules of Criminal Procedure and then of the FACTS:
1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure. They were modified in 1988 to On June 5, 2014, Petitioner Juan Ponce Enrile was charged with
read as follows: plunder in the Sandiganbayan on the basis of his purported
Sec. 3. Bail, a matter of right; exception. — All persons in custody, involvement in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)
shall before final conviction be entitled to bail as a matter of right, Scam. Initially, Enrile in an Omnibus Motion requested to post bail,
except those charged with a capital offense or an offense which, which the Sandiganbayan denied. On July 3, 2014, a warrant for
under the law at the time of its commission and at the time of the Enrile's arrest was issued, leading to Petitioner's voluntary surrender.
application for bail, is punishable by reclusion perpetua, when Petitioner again asked the Sandiganbayan in a Motion to Fix
evidence of guilt is strong. Bail which was heard by the Sandiganbayan. Petitioner argued that:
Hence, for the guidelines of the bench and bar with respect to (a) Prosecution had not yet established that the evidence of his guilt
future as well as pending cases before the trial courts, this Court en was strong; (b) that, because of his advanced age and voluntary
banc lays down the following policies concerning theeffectivity of the surrender, the penalty would only be reclusion temporal, thus
bail of the accused, to wit:
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allowing for bail and; (c) he is not a flight risk due to his age and cancelled upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to the
physical condition. Sandiganbayan denied this in its assailed accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:
resolution. Motion for Reconsideration was likewise denied. (a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or
ISSUES: has committed the crime aggravated by the circumstance of
1) Whether or not bail may be granted as a matter of right unless the reiteration;
crime charged is punishable byreclusion perpetua where the (b) That he has previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded
evidence of guilt is strong. sentence, or violated the conditions of his bail without valid
a. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that if ever petitioner justification;
would be convicted, he will be punishable by reclusion perpetua. (c) That he committed the offense while under probation, parole, or
b. Whether or not prosecution failed to show that petitioner's guilt is conditional pardon;
strong. (d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of
2. Whether or not petitioner is bailable because he is not a flight risk. flight if released on bail; or
HELD: (e) That there is undue risk that he may commit another crime
1. YES. during the pendency of the appeal.
Bail as a matter of right – due process and presumption of The appellate court may, motu proprio or on motion of any party,
innocence. review the resolution of the Regional Trial Court after notice to the
Article III, Sec. 14 (2) of the 1987 Constitution provides that in all adverse party in either case.
criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until Thus, admission to bail in offenses punished by death, or life
the contrary is proved. This right is safeguarded by the constitutional imprisonment, or reclusion perpetuasubject to judicial discretion.
right to be released on bail. In Concerned Citizens vs. Elma, the court held: “[S]uch discretion
The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at may be exercised only after the hearing called to ascertain the
trial and so the amount of bail should be high enough to assure the degree of guilt of the accused for the purpose of whether or not he
presence of the accused when so required, but no higher than what should be granted provisional liberty.” Bail hearing with notice is
may be reasonably calculated to fulfill this purpose. indispensable (Aguirre vs. Belmonte). The hearing should primarily
Bail as a matter of discretion determine whether the evidence of guilt against the accused is
Right to bail is afforded in Sec. 13, Art III of the 1987 Constitution strong.
and repeted in Sec. 7, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to The procedure for discretionary bail is described in Cortes vs. Catral:
wit: 1. In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify
Capital offense of an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require
imprisonment, not bailable. — No person charged with a capital him to submit his recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the
offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life Rules of Court as amended);
imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is 2. Where bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the
strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution. application for bail regardless of whether or not the prosecution
The general rule: Any person, before conviction of any criminal refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is
offense, shall be bailable. strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound
Exception: Unless he is charged with an offense punishable with discretion; (Section 7 and 8, supra)
reclusion perpetua [or life imprisonment] and the evidence of his 3. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the
guilt is strong. summary of evidence of the prosecution;
Thus, denial of bail should only follow once it has been established 4. If the guilt of the accused is not strong, discharge the accused
that the evidence of guilt is strong.Where evidence of guilt is not upon the approval of the bailbond (Section 19, supra) Otherwise
strong, bail may be granted according to the discretion of the court. petition should be denied.
Thus, Sec. 5 of Rule 114 also provides: 2. YES.
Bail, when discretionary. — Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Petitioner's poor health justifies his admission to bail
Court of an offense not punishable by death,reclusion perpetua, or The Supreme Court took note of the Philippine's responsibility to the
life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary. The application international community arising from its commitment to
for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We therefore have the
filing of a notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of every person
original record to the appellate court. However, if the decision of the to liberty and due process and for detainees to avail of such
trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the offense remedies which safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. Quoting
from non-bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be fromGovernment of Hong Kong SAR vs. Olalia, the SC emphasized:
filed with and resolved by the appellate court. x x x uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the
worth and dignity of every person. This commitment is enshrined in
Should the court grant the application, the accused may be allowed Section II, Article II of our Constitution which provides: “The State
to continue on provisional liberty during the pendency of the appeal values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect
under the same bail subject to the consent of the bondsman. for human rights.” The Philippines, therefore, has the responsibility
of protecting and promoting the right of every person to liberty
If the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment exceeding and due process, ensuring that those detained or arrested can
six (6) years, the accused shall be denied bail, or his bail shall be participate in the proceedings before a court, to enable it to decide
without delay on the legality of the detention and order their
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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].

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