Constitutional Law, Remedial Law

Canada vs. Judge Suerte A.M. No. RTJ-04-1875 Nov. 9, 2005



In a verified letter-complaint dated November 8, 2003, Silas Y. Cañada administratively charged respondent Judge Ildefonso B. Suerte of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 60, Barili, Cebu, of arbitrary detention punished under Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code and the provisions of Republic Act No. 3019 entitled “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act” as well as the Canons of Judicial Ethics for having issued an order citing complainant in direct contempt of court and for having ordered his arrest and subsequent detention without affording him the opportunity to post bail.



If the arrest warrant in a contempt proceedings specify “no bail”, can the arrest be stayed if respondent challenge the warrant in the appellate court?



As to respondent’s denial of complainant’s right to post bail, the court agreed with the Office of the Court Administrator that under Section 2 of the same Rule, the execution of a judgment finding a person in direct contempt of court may be suspended if such person avails of the remedies of certiorari or prohibition, provided he files a bond fixed by the court which rendered the judgment and conditioned that he will abide by and perform the judgment should the petition be decided against him.  In the present case, respondent effectively prevented complainant from resorting to his right to post a bond as provided for under the above-cited provision of the Rules of Court by indicating in the arrest warrant he issued that complainant is not entitled to bail.  In doing so, respondent unduly deprived the latter of his prized and fundamental right to liberty, a right which is protected and guaranteed by our Constitution.


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