Remedial Law

Recent Rulings on BAIL

People v. Tanes April 3, 2019 G.R. No. 240596

The right to bail is recognized in the Bill of Rights, as stated in Section 13, Article III of the Constitution:

SEC. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall not be required.

In this regard, Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure provides:

SEC. 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. – No person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution.

Thus, before conviction, bail is a matter of right when the offense charged is punishable by any penalty lower than reclusion perpetua. Bail becomes a matter of discretion if the offense charged is punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment that is, bail will be denied if the evidence of guilt is strong.

Procedure when bail is discretionary

To determine whether evidence of guilt of the accused is strong, the conduct of bail hearings is required where the prosecution has the burden of proof, subject to the right of the defense to cross-examine witnesses and introduce evidence in rebuttal. The court is to conduct only a summary hearing, consistent with the purpose of merely determining the weight of evidence for purposes of bail.

The court’s grant or denial of the bail application must contain a summary of the prosecution’s evidence. On this basis, the judge formulates his or her own conclusion on whether such evidence is strong enough to indicate the guilt of the accused.

Padua v. People G.R. No. 220913, February 04, 2019

The general rule, therefore, is that any person, before being convicted of any criminal offense, shall be bailable, unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Thus, from the moment an accused is placed under arrest, or is detained or restrained by the officers of the law, he can claim the guarantee of his provisional liberty under the Bill of Rights, and he retains his right to bail unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is strong.

In Miranda, et al. v. Tuliao, the Court pronounced that “custody of the law is required before the court can act upon the application for bail, but is not required for the adjudication of other reliefs sought by the defendant where the mere application therefor constitutes a waiver of the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person of the accused.”

Indeed, a person applying for admission to bail must be in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of his liberty. A person who has not submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court has no right to invoke the processes of that court.

Usares v. People G.R. No. 209047, January 07, 2019

Under Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, when the RTC, after the conviction of the accused, grants the latter’s application for bail based on its discretion, the accused-appellant may be allowed to continue on provisional liberty during the pendency of the appeal under the same bail subject to the consent of the bondsman, viz.:

Section 5. Bail, when discretionary. – Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary. The application for bail may be filed and acted upon by the trial court despite the filing of a notice of appeal, provided it has not transmitted the original record to the appellate court. However, if the decision of the trial court convicting the accused changed the nature of the offense from non-bailable to bailable, the application for bail can only be filed with and resolved by the appellate court.

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

Filing of –– Sec. 17 (a) of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as amended by Administrative Circular No. 12-94 which governs the approval of bail bonds for criminal cases pending outside the judge’s territorial jurisdiction anticipates two (2) situations: first, the accused is arrested in the same province, city or municipality where his case is pending; second, the accused is arrested in the province, city or municipality other than where his case is pending; where to file, explained. (Altobano-Ruiz vs. Hon. Pichay, A.M. No. MTJ-17-1893, Feb. 19, 2018)

Petition for bail –– The trial court is required to conduct a hearing on the petition for bail whenever the accused is charged with a capital offense; while mandatory, the hearing may be summary and the trial court may deny the bail application on the basis of evidence less than that necessary to establish the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt; application. (Napoles vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 224162, Feb. 06, 2018)

BAIL

Application of — Bail, as defined in Rule 114, Sec. 1 of the Rules of Court, is thesecurity given for the release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him, or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before any court; the accused must be in custody of the law or otherwise deprived of his or her liberty to be able to post bail. (Prosecutor Tejano vs. Presiding Judge Marigomen, A.M. No. RTJ-17-2492, Sept. 26, 2017)

—      Generally, bail is filed before the court where the case is pending; however, if bail cannot be filed before the court where the case is pending, as when the judge handling the case is absent or unavailable, or if the accused is arrested in a province, city, or municipality other than where the case is pending, Rule 114, Sec. 17(a) of the Rules of Court shows that there is an order of preference with respect to where bail may be filed; in the absence or unavailability of the judge where the case is pending, the accused must first go to a judge in the province, city, or municipality where the case is pending;furthermore, a judge of another province, city, or municipality may grant bail only if the accused has been arrested in a province, city, or municipality other than where the case is pending. (Prosecutor Tejano vs. Presiding Judge Marigomen, A.M. No. RTJ-17-2492, Sept. 26, 2017)

As a matter of right — An accused may file a second petition for bail, particularly if there are sudden developments or a new matter or fact which warrants a different view. (People vs. Escobar, G.R. No. 214300, July 26, 2017)

—      The accused has the right to bail if the offense charged is not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment before conviction by the Regional Trial Court; however, if the accused is charged with an offense the penalty of which is death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution and when evidence of one’s guilt is not strong, then the accused’s prayer for bail is subject to the discretion of the trial court. (People vs. Escobar, G.R. No. 214300, July 26, 2017)

—      While bail may generally be granted as a matter of right prior to the conviction of the accused, those charged with a capital offense is granted bail only when the evidence of guilt is not strong. (Lim Napoles vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Div.), G.R. No. 224162, Nov. 07, 2017)

Cancellation of — Bail shall be deemed automatically cancelled in three (3) instances: (1) the acquittal of the accused; (2) the dismissal of the case; or (3) the execution of the judgment of conviction; the Rules of Court do not limit the cancellation of bail only upon the acquittal of the accused. (Cruz vs. People, G.R. No. 224974, July 03, 2017)

—      The automatic cancellation of bail does not always result in the immediate release of the bail bond to the accused; cash bond, unlike a corporate surety or a property bond, may be applied to fines and other costs determined by the court; the excess shall be returned to the accused or to the person who deposited the money on the accused’s behalf. (Cruz vs. People, G.R. No. 224974, July 03, 2017)

—      When bail is deemed automatically cancelled is when the case is dismissed; since cancellation of bail is automatic upon the dismissal of the case, no notice or hearing is even necessary; the release of the amount posted as bail is a separate matter; when the cash bond is made to answer for any fines or costs, the automatic cancellation is not succeeded by the immediate release of the cash bond. (Personal Collection Direct Selling, Inc. vs. Carandang, G.R. No. 206958, Nov. 08, 2017)

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