Arrest

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1
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 157331
April 12, 2006
ARNOLD ALVA, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, Respondent.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of
the Rules of Court, as amended, assailing the twin Resolutions
of the Court of Appeals (CA), dated 18 October 20021 and 19
February 2003,2 respectively, in CA-G.R. CR No. 24077,
entitled People of the Philippines v. Arnold Alva.
The CA, in the assailed resolutions, dismissed petitioner’s
appeal of the trial court’s judgment of conviction for failing to
post a new bail bond to secure his provisional liberty on
appeal.
The Facts
The present petition stemmed from an Information3 charging
petitioner with having committed the crime of estafa defined
under Article 315, Paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code,
alleging as follows:
The undersigned accuses ARNOLD ALVA of the crime of
ESTAFA, committed as follows:
That in or about and during the period covered between
October 18, 1993 up to December 18, 1993, inclusive, in the
City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, did then and
there willfully (sic), unlawfully and feloniously defraud YUMI
VERANGA y HERVERA in the following manner, to wit: the said
accused, by means of false manifestation and fraudulent
representation which he made to said YUMI VERANGA y
HERVERA to the effect that he could process the latter’s
application for U.S. Visa provided she would give the amount
of P120,000.00, and by means of other similar deceit, induced
and succeeded in inducing said YUMI VERANGA y HERVERA to
give and deliver, as in fact she gave and delivered to said
accused the amount of P120,000.00 on the strength of said
manifestation and representation said accused well knowing
that the same were false and untrue for the reason that the
U.S. Visa is not genuine and were made solely to obtain, as in
fact he did obtain the amount ofP120,000.00 which amount
once in his possession with intent to defraud, he wilfully (sic),
unlawfully and feloniously misappropriated, misapplied and
converted the said amount to his own personal use and
benefit, to the damage and prejudice of the said YUMI
VERANGA y HERVERA in the aforesaid amount of P120,000.00,
Philippine Currency.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
The resultant criminal case was filed and docketed as Criminal
Case No. 95-143803 and raffled to the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Manila, Branch 54, presided by Judge Manuel T. Muro.
On 5 September 1995, the RTC issued a Recall Order4 of the
Warrant of Arrest issued on 18 July 1995 against petitioner in
view of the approval of his bail bond by Hon. William Bayhon,
then Executive Judge of the RTC of Manila.
Upon arraignment on 7 December 1995, petitioner, duly
assisted by counsel,5 pleaded not guilty to the crime charged.
After the trial on the merits, in an Order6 dated 6 April 1998,
the RTC considered the case submitted for decision.
On 4 May 1999, petitioner’s counsel filed an Urgent Motion to
Cancel Promulgation7 praying for the resetting of the 5 May
1999 schedule of promulgation of the RTC’s decision to 17
June 1999 in view of the fact that said counsel already had a
prior commitment on subject date. The RTC granted the
motion. The promulgation, however, was deferred only until
19 May 1999.
A day before the rescheduled date of promulgation, or on 18
May 1999, petitioner’s counsel again moved for the deferment
of the promulgation, due to prior "undertakings of similar
importance."8

On 19 May 1999, petitioner and counsel both failed to appear
in court despite due notice. In his stead, claiming to be
petitioner’s representative, a certain Joey Perez personally
delivered to the RTC a hand written medical
certificate9 expressing petitioner’s inability to attend the day’s
hearing due to hypertension.
In response to the aforestated acts of petitioner and counsel,
the RTC issued an Order10 directing the promulgation of its
decision in absentia and the issuance of a bench warrant of
arrest against petitioner for his failure to appear before it
despite due notice.
In its decision dated 25 March 1999,11 the RTC found
petitioner guilty of the crime of estafa under Article 315,
paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, the decretal part of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: finding the
accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of estafa
under Article 315, No. 2(a) of the RPC and sentences him to
an indeterminate term of imprisonment of nine (9) years and
one (1) day as minimum of prision mayor to seventeen (17)
years as maximum of reclusion temporal in accordance with
the provisions of Article 315, first, and the Indeterminate
Sentence Law, and further for the accused to return
the P120,000.00 to the complainant with an interest at the
rate of twelve percent (12%) compounded annually from
January 1, 1994 (the amount has been given to the accused in
October and December 1993).
Meanwhile, as appearing in the records of the RTC,
immediately following an original duplicate copy of the
aforequoted decision, a document entitled Personal Bail
Bond12 dated 21 May 1999 issued by Mega Pacific Insurance
Corporation, seemed to have been filed before and approved
by the RTC as evidenced by the signature of Judge Muro on
the face of said bail bond.13 For such reason, petitioner
appeared to have been admitted to bail anew after his
conviction.
Incongruous to the above inference, however, in an
Order14 dated 25 May 1999, judgment was rendered against
Eastern Insurance and Surety Corporation, the bonding
company that issued petitioner’s original bail bond, in the
amount of P17,000.00, for failure to produce the person of
petitioner within the 10 day period earlier provided and to
explain why the amount of its undertaking should not be
forfeited.
In the interregnum, Police Superintendent Ramon Flores De
Jesus, Chief of Warrant and Subpoena Section,15manifested to
the RTC the return of the unexecuted Warrant of Arrest issued
on 19 May 1999 "for the reason that the address of the
accused (petitioner) is not within our area of responsibility. x x
x" Nevertheless, De Jesus reassured the RTC that "the name of
the accused will be included in our list of wanted persons for
our future reference." Examination of the records of the case
revealed that petitioner already moved out of his address on
record without informing the RTC.
On 15 July 1999, hand delivered by a certain Remedios
Caneda, petitioner wrote16 the RTC requesting for a certified
photocopy of his exhibits submitted to it during trial.
On 21 July 1999, a Termination of Legal Services was filed by
petitioner before the RTC informing it of his decision to
terminate the services of his counsel and that he was
currently in the process of hiring a new one.
On 26 July 1999,17 petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration before the RTC.
In an Order18 dated 30 August 1999, the RTC declined to give
due course to said motion for failure to set it for hearing; thus,
treating it as a mere scrap of paper.
On 2 September 1999, petitioner received the above Order.
The next day, or on 3 September 1999, petitioner filed a
Notice of Appeal19 before the RTC.
In an Order20 dated 20 September 1999, the RTC again
declined to give due course to the Notice of Appeal,
ratiocinating thus:

2
The "Notice of Appeal" filed by accused cannot be given due
course as it was filed out of time. Although accused filed a
"Motion for Reconsideration" dated 23 July 1999, the Court
considered it as a mere scrap of paper and was not acted
upon as the same was not set for hearing, hence, it did not
stop the reglementary period to file appeal.
On 25 November 1999, petitioner filed anew a motion praying
for the RTC’s categorical resolution of his 23 July 1999 Motion
for Reconsideration.
In an Order dated 7 December 1999, the RTC granted the
abovestated motion, the full text of which states:
The Motion to Resolve the Motion for Reconsideration of the
accused, dated November 20, 1999 is granted in the interest
of justice, considering that the one who prepared the Motion
for Reconsideration appears to be the accused himself, who
may not appear to be a lawyer and may not be conversant
with the rules, among others, governing motions.
Acting on the said Motion for Reconsideration itself, same is
denied for lack of merit. The Decision has examined and
discussed the evidence presented and the merits of the case.
Because of the pendency of the Motion for Reconsideration,
the appeal is deemed filed on time, and the appeal is given
due course.
Let the records of the case, together with three (3) copies of
the transcripts of stenographic notes be transmitted to the
Hon. Court of Appeals.
On appeal before the Court of Appeals, in a
Resolution21 dated 16 October 2001, the appellate court
required petitioner to show cause why his appeal should not
be dismissed it appearing that no new bail bond for his
provisional liberty on appeal had been posted, to wit:
Considering the arrest warrant issued by the trial court
against the accused who failed to appear at the promulgation
of the judgment, and it appearing from the record that no new
bond for his provisional liberty on appeal has been posted,
appellant is ORDERED to SHOW CAUSE within ten (10) days
from notice why his appeal should not be dismissed outright.
On 29 October 2001, petitioner, through new counsel, filed a
Compliance22 essentially stating therein that:
xxxx
3. Upon learning of the course of action taken by the presiding
judge, and for purposes of appealing the decision subject of
the instant case, on May 21, 1999, accused immediately
posted a new bond for his provisional liberty. The presiding
judge of the lower court, which issued the questioned
decision, duly approved the new bond.1avvphil.netCertified true
copy of the bond is hereto attached as Annex "3" and made
an integral part hereof;
x x x x.
In a Resolution23 dated 18 October 2002, the Court of
Appeals, nonetheless dismissed the appeal filed by petitioner
for "appellant’s failure to post a new bond for his provisional
liberty on appeal despite our directive as contained in our
Resolution dated October 16, 2001, and in view of the fact
that his personal bail bond posted in the lower court had
already expired, x x x."
Undaunted, petitioner filed a Motion for
Reconsideration24 thereto seeking its reversal. According to
petitioner’s counsel, he was of the understanding that the
"Show Cause" Resolution of 16 October 2001 merely sought
an explanation vis-à-vis the absence of a bail bond
guaranteeing petitioner’s provisional liberty while his
conviction was on appeal. All the same, petitioner’s counsel
manifested that Mega Pacific Insurance Corporation, had
already extended the period covered by its 21 May 1999 bail
bond. Attached to said motion was a Bond
Endorsement25 extending the coverage of the bail bond from
21 May 1999 to 21 May 2003.
Asked to comment on the Motion for Reconsideration,
respondent People of the Philippines (People), through the
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), interposed objections. In
its Comment,26 respondent People raised two arguments: 1)

that "an application for bail can only be availed of by a person
who is in the custody of the law or otherwise deprived of his
liberty;" and 2) that "bail on appeal is a matter of discretion
when the penalty imposed by the trial court is imprisonment
exceeding six (6) years."
On 19 February 2003, the Court of Appeals issued the second
assailed Resolution,27 disposing of petitioner’s motion as
follows:
Finding no merit in appellant’s motion for reconsideration
(citation omitted) filed on November 12, 2002, the same is
hereby DENIED. We agree with the appellee that
appellant has failed to submit himself under the
jurisdiction of the court or under the custody of the
law since his conviction in 1999 and that there was no
valid bail bond in place when appellant took his appeal.
WHEREFORE, appellant’s motion for reconsideration is
DENIED. [Emphasis supplied.]
Hence, this petition.
The Issues
Petitioner now comes to this Court via a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court alleging the
following errors:28
I.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED
QUESTIONS OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH
LAW OR WITH APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE
SUPREME COURT;
II.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ACTED WITH GRAVE
ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OR EXCESS OF
JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISMISSED THE PETITION DOCKETED
AS CA G.R. CR NO. 24077 ON THE GROUND OF ALLEGED
FAILURE TO POST A NEW BOND FOR PETITIONER’S
PROVISIONAL LIBERTY AND THAT THE PERSONAL BAIL BOND
POSTED IN THE LOWER COURT HAD ALLEGEDLY ALREADY
EXPIRED;
III.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR
ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT DID NOT
CONSIDER AS SUBSTANTIAL, THE COMPLAINCE FILED BY THE
PETITIONER WHICH SHOWED THE FACT THAT INDEED THERE
WAS A BAIL BOND FILED FOR THE PROVISIONAL LIBERTY OF
THE ACCUSED DURING THE PENDENCY OF THE APPEAL;
IV.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR
ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT
IGNORED THE RECENT BAIL BOND EXTENSION ATTACHED TO
THE MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION FILED BY THE
PETITIONER;
V.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR
ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED
THAT THE PETITIONER FAILED TO SUBMIT TO THE
JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OR TO THE CUSTODY OF LAW
DESPITE THE BAIL BOND POSTED ON MAY 21, 1999; and
VI.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED OR
ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT RULED
THAT THERE WAS NO VALID BAIL BOND IN PLACE WHEN THE
PETITIONER TOOK HIS APPEAL.
The bombardment of errors notwithstanding, only two issues
are raised in this petition: 1) with the exception of the fifth
assignment of error, all six can be encapsulated in one solitary
question, that is, whether or not the Court of Appeals
committed reversible error in dismissing the appeal in view of
petitioner’s alleged failure to post a valid bail bond to secure
his provisional liberty on appeal; and 2) whether or not
petitioner failed to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the
court or to the custody of the law despite the posting of the
subject bail bond.
The Court’s Ruling

3
Petitioner faults the appellate court for expressing "x x x in its
questioned resolutions that herein petitioner did not submit to
the jurisdiction of the court or custody of the law, or that there
was no valid bail bond when the appeal was taken when the
records of the case would readily prove the contrary."29 In
issuing said resolution, petitioner concludes that the Court of
Appeals made "x x x no careful examination of the records x x
x." Petitioner rationalizes his deduction in the following
manner:
x x x [T]he records of the case readily reveals (sic) that
several pleadings were filed by the petitioner before the lower
court even after the promulgation of judgment was made.
Right after the promulgation of the decision in the lower court,
herein petitioner went to the court and posted a bail bond. If
the posting of the bond which was approved by the same
Regional Trial Court who rendered the decision subject of
appeal is not yet a submission to the jurisdiction of the court,
then the respondent Hon. Court of Appeals must have been
thinking of another matter beyond the comprehension of the
petitioner and obviously outside the matters being
contemplated by law and the Rules of Court.
Equally, petitioner further posits that:
x x x Although it is respectfully submitted that an accused
shall be denied bail or his bail shall be cancelled if sentenced
to an imprisonment exceeding six (6) years as provided in
Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, just the same, there
must be a showing by the prosecution with notice to the
accused of the fact that, the accused is a recidivist, has
previously escaped from confinement, evaded sentence, has
committed an offense while under probation, there are
circumstances indicating the probability of flight if released on
bail, etc. But there was none of the said instances that may be
attributable to herein petitioner.30
Respondent People, in contrast, counters that "x x x
[a]lthough a personal bail bond dated May 21, 1999 was
executed in favor of petitioner by Mega Pacific Insurance
Corporation two days after the promulgation of the Decision,
there is nothing on record which shows that petitioner
had surrendered, was arrested or otherwise deprived of his
liberty after the promulgation of the judgment of his
conviction in his absence. x x x." To illustrate its point,
respondent People cites the following facts: 1) the return of
the Warrant of Arrest issued on May 19, 1999 signed by
P/Superintendent Ramon Flores De Jesus, Chief of Warrant and
Subpoena Section, which states in full:
Respectfully returned this unexecuted Warrant of Arrest for
the reason that the address of the accused is not within our
area of responsibility. Further request that the warrant of
Arrest be forwarded to the Police Station which has Jurisdiction
over the address of the accused.
However, the name of the accused will be included in our list
of wanted persons for our future reference.
2) the fact that six days after the decision of the RTC was
promulgated, or on 25 May 1999, said court rendered
judgment against the bail bond issued by Eastern Assurance
and Surety Corporation executed to secure petitioner’s
provisional liberty during the trial, for the bondsman’s failure
to produce petitioner before the court, to wit:
In view of the failure of Eastern Insurance & Surety
Corporation, bondsman of herein accused, to produce the
herein accused within the period granted it by this Court,
judgment is hereby rendered against said bond in the amount
of Seventeen Thousand (P17,000.00) Pesos.31
Respondent People explains that the first two facts make it
improbable to conclude that there existed a valid bail bond
securing petitioner’s provisional liberty even after conviction.
Stated in another way, petitioner’s admission to bail presumes
that the latter surrendered, was arrested or he had otherwise
submitted himself under the custody of the law.
And, 3) "that petitioner belatedly attached a bond
endorsement to his motion for reconsideration dated
November 7, 2002 submitted before the Court of Appeals,

purportedly to extend the expired personal bond dated May
21, 1999 x x x, did not automatically confer on petitioner the
benefits of an effective bail bond,"32 as petitioner made no
extension of the previous personal bond before the same
expired.
We disagree in petitioner’s assertions; hence, the petition
must fail.
A definitive disposition of the issue relating to the existence
and validity of petitioner’s bail bond on appeal presupposes
that the latter was allowed by law to post bail notwithstanding
the RTC’s judgment of conviction and the imposition of the
penalty of imprisonment for an indeterminate period of nine
(9) years and one (1) day as minimum of prision mayor to
seventeen (17) years as maximum of reclusion temporal.
Section 5 of Rule 114 of the 1994 Rules of Court, as amended,
intrinsically addresses the foregoing prefatory matter viz:
SEC. 5. Bail, when discretionary. – Upon conviction by the
Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death,
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on
application, may admit the accused to bail.
The court, in its discretion, may allow the accused to continue
on provisional liberty under the same bail bond during the
period to appeal subject to the consent of the bondsman.
If the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six
(6) years, but not more than twenty (20) years, the accused
shall be denied bail, or his bail previously granted shall be
cancelled, upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to
the accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:
(a) That the accused is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual
delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the
circumstances of reiteration;
(b) That the accused is found to have previously escaped from
legal confinement, evaded sentence, or has violated the
conditions of his bail without valid justification;
(c) That the accused committed the offense while on
probation, parole, or under conditional pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of the accused or his case indicate
the probability of flight if released on bail; or
(e) That there is undue risk that during the pendency of the
appeal, the accused may commit another crime.
The appellate court may review the resolution of the Regional
Trial Court, on motion and with notice to the adverse party.
[Emphasis supplied.]
From the preceding quoted provision, the RTC is given the
discretion to admit to bail an accused even after the latter has
been convicted to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for a
term of more than six (6) years but less than twenty (20)
years. However, the same also provides for the cancellation of
bail bonds already granted or the denial of a bail bond
application upon the concurrence of two points: 1) if the
judgment of the Regional Trial Court exceeds six (6) years but
not more than twenty (20) years; and 2) upon a showing by
the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the presence of
any of the five circumstances therein enumerated or other
similar circumstances.
In the case at bar, petitioner was convicted by the RTC to
suffer the penalty of imprisonment for an indeterminate term
of nine (9) years and one (1) day as minimum of prision
mayor to seventeen (17) years as maximum ofreclusion
temporal. Quite clearly, the approval of petitioner’s
application for bail was discretionary upon the RTC.
It is incongruous, to say the least, that the posting of a bail
presupposes that the accused and/ or accused-appellant is
detained or in the custody of the law.33 In the case at bar, the
bench warrant issued by the RTC on 19 May 1999 still remains
unserved. Nothing in the records of the case, neither in the
RTC nor the Court of Appeals, demonstrates that petitioner
was ever arrested, as there has been no related Order of
Release issued by any court, or that he voluntarily
surrendered or at the very least placed himself under the
custody of the law.

4
Basic is the principle that that the right to bail can only be
availed of by a person who is in custody of the law or
otherwise deprived of his liberty and it would be premature, x
x x, to file a petition for bail for someone whose freedom has
yet to be curtailed.34
All told, no bail should have been granted petitioner. It is
beyond dispute that the subject bail bond issued by Mega
Pacific Insurance Corporation was irregularly approved. Worth
noting is the fact that nowhere in the records of the case is it
shown that petitioner applied for bail through a motion duly
filed for such purpose nor is there showing that the RTC issued
an Order of Approval or any other court process
acknowledging such document. Be that as it may, even
granting for the sake of argument that it was indeed approved
by Judge Muro, such approval did not render the subject bail
bond valid and binding for it has been established that
petitioner was not entitled to bail on appeal.
That the prosecution appears not to have been given the
chance to object, as evidently required under the quoted rule,
to the application or approval of the subject bail bond (with
notice to the accused), fortifies the declaration as to its
invalidity. Nowhere in the original records of the RTC does it
even show that the prosecution was informed of petitioner’s
application for bail, much less the approval of such
application.
Noting that the raison d'être for such requirement is the
discretionary nature of the admission to bail of an accused
after conviction, though discretionary, such assessment must
be exercised in accordance with applicable legal principles. As
when there is a concurrence of the enumerated circumstances
and the range of penalty imposed, the prosecution must first
be accorded an opportunity to object and present evidence, if
necessary, with notice to the accused. It is on this basis that
judicial discretion is balanced in determining whether or not
an accused-appellant should be admitted to bail pending
appeal of his conviction vis-à-vis the increased possibility or
likelihood of flight.
Approval of an application for bail on appeal, absent the
knowledge of the prosecution of such application or, at the
very least, failing to allow it to object, is not the product of
sound judicial discretion but of impulse and arbitrariness, not
to mention violative of respondent People’s right of procedural
due process.
This is especially true in this case as a close scrutiny of the
original records of the case at bar reveals that petitioner
violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification –
his failure to appear before the RTC, despite due notice, on
the day of the promulgation of the latter’s judgment, absent
any justifiable reason. His absence was a clear contravention
of the conditions of his bail bond to say the least. As
evidenced by the undertaking printed on the face of the bond
issued by Eastern Insurance and Surety Corporation and
likewise required under Section 635 of Rule 120 of the Rules of
Court, petitioner must present himself before the court for the
reading of the judgment of the RTC in order to render himself
to the execution thereof.
While, indeed, a medical certificate was hand delivered and
filed by a certain Joey Perez, allegedly a representative of
petitioner, stating therein the reason for the latter’s absence,
the RTC found insubstantial the explanation proffered.
Appropriately, it ordered the promulgation of its judgment in
absentia. It also issued a bench warrant of arrest against
petitioner.
Upon examination, the subject medical certificate36 merely
states that petitioner was diagnosed to be suffering from
hypertension. It failed to elucidate further any concomitant
conditions necessitating petitioner’s physical incapability to
present himself before the court even for an hour or two; thus,
it considered the absence of petitioner unjustified. What's
more, though notarized, the subject document failed to
indicate evidence of affiant’s37 identity making its due
execution doubtful.

Further, it should be recalled as well, that as early as 4 May
1999, petitioner and counsel had already been notified of the
19 May 1999 schedule of promulgation. The first having been
postponed in view of the Urgent Motion to Cancel
Promulgation (on 5 May 1999) filed by petitioner’s counsel.
Another telling evidence of the violation of petitioner’s original
bail bond is revealed by the Process Server’s
Return,38 indicated at the dorsal portion of the RTC’s Produce
Order, indicating petitioner’s change of address without prior
notice to the RTC, it states:
PROCESS SERVER’S RETURN
This certifies that on the 17th day of May, (sic) 1999,
undersigned return (sic) again to Fersal Apartelle located at
130 Kalayaan Ave. (sic) Diliman, Quezon City for confirmation
and indeed the addressee, Arnold Alva, had no (sic) longer
been residing nor holding office at the aforementioned
address.
By failing to inform the RTC of his change of address,
petitioner failed to hold himself amenable to the orders and
processes of the RTC. It was an unmistakable arrant breach of
the conditions of his bail bond.
Prescinding from the above discussion, the conviction of
petitioner to a period beyond six (6) years but less than
twenty (20) years in tandem with attendant circumstances
effectively violating his bail without valid justification should
have effectively precluded him from being admitted to bail on
appeal.
The issue of the validity of petitioner’s bail bond on appeal
having been laid to rest by Section 5 of Rule 114 of the 1994
Rules of Court, as amended, petitioner’s alleged failure to post
a bail bond on appeal is, therefore, inconsequential as, under
the circumstances, he is disallowed by law to be admitted to
bail on appeal. Thus, for all legal intents and purposes, there
can be no other conclusion than that at the time petitioner
filed his notice of appeal and during the pendency of his
appeal – even until now – he remains at large, placing himself
beyond the pale, and protection of the law.
Inexorably, having jumped bail and eluded arrest until the
present, the issue of whether or not petitioner has lost his
right to appeal his conviction now ensues.
The manner of review of petitioner’s conviction is governed by
the Rules of Court. Appropriately, Rule 124 of the Rules of
Court presents the procedural requirements regarding appeals
taken to the Court of Appeals. Section 8 of said Rule finds
application to the case at bar, viz:
SEC. 8. Dismissal of appeal for abandonment or failure to
prosecute. – The appellate court may, upon motion of the
appellee or its own motion and notice to the appellant,
dismiss the appeal if the appellant fails to file his brief within
the time prescribed by this Rule, except in case the appellant
is represented by a counsel de oficio.
The court may also, upon motion of the appellee or on its own
motion, dismiss the appeal if the appellant escapes from
prison or confinement or jumps bail or flees to a foreign
country during the pendency of the appeal. [Emphasis
supplied.]
By virtue of the second paragraph of the abovequoted
provision, the act of jumping bail, among otherthings, will
result in the outright dismissal of petitioner’s appeal. As
pointed out by the Court in the case of People v.
Mapalao,39 the reason for said rule is that:
[O]nce an accused escapes from prison or confinement or
jumps bail or flees to a foreign country, he losses his standing
in court and unless he surrenders or submits to the
jurisdiction of the court he is deemed to have waived any
right to seek relief from the court.
Thus, the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in
dismissing petitioner’s appeal. Within the meaning of the
principles governing the prevailing criminal procedure,
petitioner impliedly withdrew his appeal by jumping bail and
thereby made the judgment of the RTC final and executory.40

5
By putting himself beyond the reach and application of the
legal processes of the land, petitioner revealed his contempt
of the law and placed himself in a position to speculate at his
pleasure his chances for a reversal. This, we cannot condone.
Once more, by jumping bail, petitioner has waived his right to
appeal. In the case of People v. Ang Gioc,41 we enunciated
that:
There are certain fundamental rights which cannot be waived
even by the accused himself, but the right of appeal is not
one of them. This right is granted solely for the benefit of the
accused. He may avail of it or not, as he pleases. He may
waive it either expressly or by implication. When the accused
flees after the case has been submitted to the court for
decision, he will be deemed to have waived his right to appeal
from the judgment rendered against him x x x.
Coming now to the second issue of whether or not petitioner
failed to submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court or to
the custody of the law, despite the posting of the subject bail
bond, petitioner argues that his act of filing several pleadings
after the promulgation of the RTC’s judgment plus his filing of
the application for his admission to bail should be considered
a submission to the court’s jurisdiction. He rationalizes that:
[T]he records of the case readily reveals that several
pleadings were filed by the petitioner before the lower court
even after the promulgation of judgment was made. Right
after the promulgation of the decision in the lower court,
herein petitioner went to the court and posted a bail bond. If
the posting of the bond which was approved by the same
Regional Trial Court who rendered the decision subject of
appeal is not yet a submission to the jurisdiction of the court,
then the respondent Hon. Court of Appeals must have been
thinking of another matter beyond the comprehension of the
petitioner and obviously outside the matters being
contemplated by law and the Rules of Court.
For the resolution of the second issue, it should have been
sufficient to state that for reasons stated in the foregoing
discussion, the question posed has now become academic.
However, to diminish the confusion brought about by
ostensibly equating the term "jurisdiction of the court (over
the person of the accused)" with that of "custody of the law",
it is fundamental to differentiate the two. The term:
Custody of the law is accomplished either by arrest or
voluntary surrender (citation omitted); while (the term)
jurisdiction over the person of the accused is acquired upon
his arrest or voluntary appearance (citation omitted). One can
be under the custody of the law but not yet subject to the
jurisdiction of the court over his person, such as when a
person arrested by virtue of a warrant files a motion before
arraignment to quash the warrant. On the other hand, one can
be subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, and
yet not be in the custody of the law, such as when an accused
escapes custody after his trial has commenced (citation
omitted).42
Moreover, jurisdiction, once acquired, is not lost at the
instance of parties, as when an accused escapes from the
custody of the law, but continues until the case
is terminated.43 Evidently, petitioner is correct in that there is
no doubt that the RTC already acquired jurisdiction over the
person of the accused petitioner – when he appeared at the
arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the crime charged –
notwithstanding the fact that he jumped bail and is now
considered a fugitive.
As to whether or not petitioner has placed himself under the
custody of the CA, alas, we cannot say the same for "[b]eing
in the custody of the law signifies restraint on the person, who
is thereby deprived of his own will and liberty, binding him to
become obedient to the will of the law (citation omitted).
Custody of the law is literally custody over the body of the
accused. It includes, but is not limited to, detention."44 In the
case at bar, petitioner, being a fugitive, until and unless he
submits himself to the custody of the law, in the manner of

being under the jurisdiction of the courts, he cannot be
granted any relief by the CA.
Parenthetically, we cannot end this ponencia without calling
attention to a very disturbing fact – that petitioner admits of
being the author of a falsified public document was treated
nonchalantly by authorities.
In fine, the petitioner has remained at large even as he hopes
that his appeal, and consequently, this petition, will succeed
and he can then appear before the Court to claim his victory.
He hopes in vain.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for lack of merit.
The assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R.
CR No. 24077, which dismissed petitioner’s appeal, are hereby
AFFIRMED. In this connection, Judge Manuel Muro is DIRECTED
to issue forthwith a warrant of arrest for the apprehension of
Petitioner Arnold Alva and for proper disposition of the case in
line with the foregoing discussion.
Costs against the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 149723
October 27, 2006
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
VICTOR KEITH FITZGERALD, respondent.

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Assailed by way of Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court is the August 31, 2001 Resolution1 of
the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 20431 which
granted the Motion for Bail2 of accused-appellant, herein
respondent Victor Keith Fitzgerald, (Fitzgerald).
The facts are of record.
An Information filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch
75, Olongapo City and docketed as Criminal Case No. 422-94,
charged Fitzgerald, an Australian citizen, with Violation of Art.
III, Section 5, paragraph (a), subparagraph (5) of Republic Act
(R.A.) No. 7610,3 allegedly committed as follows:
That sometime in the month of September 1993, in the City of
Olongapo, Zambales, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of
this Honorable Court, said accused VICTOR KEITH
FITZGERALD, actuated by lust, and by the use of laced drugs
("vitamins") willfully, unlawfully and feloniously induced
complainant "AAA,"4 a minor, 13 years of age, to engage in
prostitution by then and there showering said "AAA" with gifts,
clothes and food and thereafter having carnal knowledge of
her in violation of the aforesaid law and to her damage and
prejudice.5
After trial and hearing, the RTC rendered a Decision dated May
7, 1996, the decretal portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, finding the accused Victor Keith Fitzgerald
GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Violation of
Section 5, Paragraph (a) sub-paragraph 5 of Republic Act No.
7610, he is hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate
prison term of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor
as minimum, to seventeen (17) years, four (4) months and
one (1) day of reclusion temporal as maximum, with all the
accessory penalties attached therewith; and to indemnify the
private complainant "AAA" the amounts ofP30,000.00 as
moral damages and P20,000.00 as exemplary damages.
The Lingap Center of the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) in Olongapo City shall hold in trust the
said awards and dispose the same solely for the rehabilitation
and education of "AAA", to the exclusion of her mother and
her other relatives.

6
The accused under Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code shall
be credited in full of his preventive imprisonment if he has
agreed voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary
rules imposed upon convicted prisoners, otherwise to only 4/5
thereof.
Upon completion of the service of his sentence, the accused
shall be deported immediately and forever barred from entry
to the Philippines.
In Criminal Case No. 419-94 for Rape, the accused is
acquitted.
SO ORDERED.6
Fitzgerald applied for bail which the RTC denied in an Order
dated August 1, 1996, which reads:
xxxx
In fine, on the basis of the evidence adduced by the
Prosecution during the hearing on the bail petition, the Court
is of the considered view that the circumstances of the
accused indicate probability of flight and that there is undue
risk that the accused may commit a similar offense, if
released on bail pending appeal.
WHEREFORE, and viewed from the foregoing considerations,
the Petition for Bail pending appeal is DENIED.
SO ORDERED.7
Fitzgerald appealed to the CA which, in a Decision8 dated
September 27, 1999, affirmed the RTC Decision, thus:
IN VIEW WHEREOF, with the modification that the penalty
imposed on the accused-appellant is imprisonment of
Fourteen (14) years, Eight (8) months and One (1) day of
Reclusion Temporal to Twenty (20) years and One (1) day of
Reclusion Perpetua, the decision of the court a quo is hereby
AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.9
Fitzgerald filed a Motion for New Trial10 and a Supplemental
to Accused's Motion for New Trial11 on the ground that new
and material evidence not previously available had surfaced.
The CA granted the Motion for New Trial in a Resolution dated
August 25, 2000, to wit:
WHEREFORE, the appellant's Motion for New Trial dated
October 14, 1999 is GRANTED. The original records of this
case is hereby REMANDED to the Presiding Judge of
the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City Branch 75
who is DIRECTED to receive the new evidence material
to appellant's defense within sixty days from receipt
and thereafter to submit to this Court the said
evidence together with the transcript of stenographic
notes together with the records of the case within ten
(10) days after the reception of evidence. The Motion to
Transfer appellant to the National Penitentiary is
DENIED.12 (Emphasis ours)
The People (petitioner) filed a Motion for
Reconsideration13 from the August 25, 2000 CA Resolution
while Fitzgerald filed a Motion to Fix Bail with
Manifestation.14 Both Motions were denied by the CA in its
November 13, 2000 Resolution.15 In denying Fitzgerald's bail
application, the CA held:
[T]his Court hereby RESOLVES to:
xxxx
2. DENY accused-appellant's Motion to Fix Bail with
Manifestation, pursuant to the provisions of Section 7, Rule
114 of the Rules of Court which 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 when
evidence of guilt is strong shall be admitted to bail regardless
of the stage of the criminal procecution."
In the case at bar, the maximum imposable penalty in
accordance with Republic Act 7610 otherwise known as the
Special Protection of Children against Child Abuse,
Exploitation and Discrimination Act is reclusion perpetua. As
it is, the evidence of guilt is strong, hence, We hold
that his motion for bail cannot be granted at this point.

With regard to his alleged physical condition, let it be
stressed that accused-appellant is not precluded from
seeking medical attention if the need arises provided
the necessary representations with the proper
authorities are made.
SO ORDERED.16 (Emphasis ours)
The People filed with this Court a Petition for Review
on Certiorari17 docketed as G.R. No. 146008 questioning the
August 25, 2000 and November 13, 2000 CA Resolutions. The
petition was dismissed in a Resolution18 dated January 15,
2001, which became final and executory on May 2, 2001.19
Meanwhile, on December 3, 2000, Fitzgerald filed with the CA
a Motion for Early Transmittal of the Records and for the ReExamination of the Penalty Imposed, and a Motion for
Bail.20 The People filed its Comment21 to both Motions.
On August 31, 2001, the CA issued the herein assailed
Resolution22 granting Fitzgerald's bail application, thus:
xxxx
Be that as it may, while We maintain that, as it is, the
evidence of guilt is strong, We have taken a second look at
appellant's plea for temporary liberty considering primarily
the fact that appellant is already of old age23 and is not in the
best of health. Thus, it is this Court's view that appellant be
GRANTED temporary liberty premised not on the
grounds stated in his Motion for Bail but in the higher
interest of substantial justice and considering the new trial
granted in this case. Accordingly, appellant is hereby
DIRECTED to post a bail bond in the amount of P100,000.00
for his temporary liberty provided he will appear in any court
and submit himself to the orders and processes thereof if and
when required to do so. The appellant is likewise refrained
from leaving the country now or in the future until this case is
terminated. Accordingly, the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation is ORDERED to include appellant in its hold
departure list xxx.
xxxx
SO ORDERED.24 (Emphasis ours)
Thereafter, the RTC ordered Fitzgerald's temporary release on
September 4, 2001 upon his filing a cash bond in the amount
of P100,000.00.25
Hence, the People filed this Petition to have the August 31,
2001 CA Resolution annulled and set aside. Petitioner argues
that the CA erred in granting respondent Fitzgerald's Motion
for Bail despite the fact that the latter was charged with a
crime punishable by reclusion perpetua and the evidence of
his guilt is strong.26 It also questions the jurisdiction of the CA
to act on said Motion, considering that the case had been
remanded to the RTC for new trial.27
In his Comment and Memorandum, respondent counters that
the grant of new trial negated the previous findings of the
existence of strong evidence of his guilt;28 and justifies his
provisional release on humanitarian grounds, citing as an
extraordinary circumstance his advanced age and
deteriorating health.29
The petition is meritorious.
We resolve first the preliminary question of whether the CA,
after issuing its August 25, 2000 Resolution granting a new
trial, still had jurisdiction to act on respondent's Motion to Post
Bail. Our ruling on this matter, however, shall be limitted to
the effect of the August 25, 2000 CA Resolution on the latter's
jurisdiction; it shall have no bearing on the merits of said
Resolution as this has been decided with finality in G.R. No.
146008.
According to petitioner, considering that the August 25, 2000
CA Resolution, referring the case to the RTC for new trial, had
become final and executory on May 2, 2001 when this Court
denied its petition for review in G.R. No. 146008, then, when
the CA issued the August 31, 2001 Resolution granting
respondent bail, it had been stripped of jurisdiction over the
case.30
Petitioner is mistaken.

7
When this Court grants a new trial, it vacates both the
judgment of the trial court convicting the accused31 and the
judgment of the CA affirming it,32 and remands the case to
the trial court for reception of newly-discovered evidence and
promulgation of a new judgment,33 at times with instruction
to the trial court to promptly report the outcome.34 The Court
itself does not conduct the new trial for it is no trier of facts.35
However, when the CA grants a new trial, its disposition of the
case may differ, notwithstanding Sec. 1,36 Rule 125 of the
2000 Rules on Criminal Procedure which provides for
uniformity in appellate criminal procedure between this Court
and the CA. Unlike this Court, the CA may decide questions of
fact and mixed questions of fact and law.37 Thus, when it
grants a new trial under Sec. 14, Rule 124, it may either (a)
directly receive the purported newly-discovered evidence
under Sec. 12,38 or (b) refer the case to the court of origin for
reception of such evidence under Sec. 15.39 In either case, it
does not relinquish to the trial court jurisdiction over the case;
it retains sufficient authority to resolve incidents in the case
and decide its merits.
Now then, the CA, in its August 25, 2000 Resolution, ordered:
first, the remand of the original records of the case to the RTC;
second, that the RTC receive the new evidence material to
appellant's defense within 60 days from receipt of the original
records; and third, that the RTC submit to it the said evidence
together with the transcript of the case within 10 days after
reception of evidence.40 From the foregoing dispostion, it is
evident that the CA retained appellate jurisdiction over the
case, even as it delegated to the RTC the function of receiving
the respondent's newly-discovered evidence. The CA therefore
retained its authority to act on respondent's bail application.
Moreso that the the original records of the case had yet to be
transmitted to the RTC when respondent filed his bail
application and the CA acted on it.
With that procedural matter out of the way, we now focus on
the substantive issue of whether the CA erred when it allowed
respondent to bail.
The right to bail emenates from of the right to be presumed
innocent. It is accorded to a person in the custody of the law
who may, by reason of the presumption of innocence he
enjoys,41 be allowed provisional liberty upon filing of a
security to guarantee his appearance before any court, as
required under specified conditions.42
Implementing Sec. 13,43 Article III of the 1987 Constitution,
Sections 444 and 5, Rule 114 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal
Procedure set forth substantive and procedural rules on the
disposition of bail applications. Sec. 4 provides that bail is a
matter of right to an accused person in custody for an offense
not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment,45 but a matter of discretion on the part of the
court, concerning one facing an accusation for an offense
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment
when the evidence of his guilt is strong.46 As for an accused
already convicted and sentenced to imprisonment term
exceeding six years, bail may be denied or revoked based on
prosecution evidence as to the existence of any of the
circumstances under Sec. 5, paragraphs (a) to (e), to wit:
Sec. 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.

If the penalty imposed by the trial court is
imprisonment exceeding six (6) years, the accused shall
be denied bail, or his bail shall be cancelled upon a showing
by the prosecution, with notice to the accused, of the
following or other similar circumstances: (a) That he is a
recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has
committed the crime aggravated by the circumstance of
reiteration; (b) That he has previously escaped from legal
confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the conditions of
his bail without valid justification; (c) That he committed the
offense while under probation, parole, or conditional pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of his case indicate the probability
of flight if released on bail; or (e) That there is undue risk that
he may commit another crime during the pendency of the
appeal.
The appellate court may, motu proprio or on motion of any
party, review the resolution of the Regional Trial Court after
notice to the adverse party in either case. (Emphasis
supplied)
It will be recalled that herein respondent was charged with
violation of Section 5, par. (a), sub-paragraph (5), Article III of
R.A. No. 7610, a crime which carries the maximum penalty
of reclusion perpetua. He was later convicted by the RTC for a
lesser crime which carried a sentence of imprisonment for an
indeterminate term of eight (8) years and one (1) day
of prision mayor as minimum, to seventeen (17) years, four
(4) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal as
maximum.
These circumstances are not altered when the CA granted a
new trial.47 As already discussed, the CA
retainedappellate jurisdiction over the case even as it
ordered the remand of the original records thereof to the RTC
for reception of evidence. In retaining appellate jurisdiction, it
set aside only its own September 27, 1999 Decision but left
unaltered the May 7, 1996 RTC Decision. In fact, in its August
31, 2001 Resolution, the CA emphasized:
As we have pointed out earlier, the propriety of appellant's
conviction of the offense charged as well as the penalty
imposed thereto should be resolved during the appreciation of
the new trial after considering the new evidence which
appellant insist would prove his innocence.48
The May 7, 1996 RTC Decision, therefore, remained operative.
And under said Decision, respondent stood sentenced to an
imprisonment term exceeding six years.
Moreover, both the RTC and CA were unanimous in their
findings of the existence of strong evidence of the guilt of
respondent.49 These findings were not overturned when the
CA granted a new trial. Under Section 6 (b), Rule 121, the
grant of a new trial allows for reception of newly-discovered
evidence but maintains evidence already presented or on
record. And if there has been a finding that evidence is strong
and sufficient to bar bail, that too subsists unless, upon
another motion and hearing, the prosecution fails to prove
that the evidence against the accused has remained
strong.50 In the present case, no new evidence had since
been introduced, nor hearing conducted as would diminish the
earlier findings of the RTC and CA on the existence of strong
evidenc against respondent.
In sum, the circumstances of the case are such, that for
respondent, bail was not a matter of right but a mere privilege
subject to the discretion of the CA to be exercised in
accordance with the stringent requirements of Sec. 5, Rule
114. And Sec. 5 directs the denial or revocation of bail upon
evidence of the existence of any of the circumstances
enumerated therein 51 such as those indicating probability of
flight if released on bail or undue risk that the accused may
commit another crime during the pendency of the appeal.
As it is, however, the CA, in its August 31, 2001 Resolution,
admitted respondent to bail based, "xxx not on the grounds
stated in his Motion for Bail xxx," but "xxx primarily [on] the
fact that [he] is already of old age and is not in the best of
health xxx," and notwithstanding its finding that "xxx as it is,

8
the evidence of guilt is strong xxx."52The Resolution
disregarded substantive and procedural requirements on bail.
It is bad enough that the CA granted bail on grounds other
than those stated in the Motion filed by respondent; it is worse
that it granted bail on the mere claim of the latter's illness.
Bail is not a sick pass for an ailing or aged detainee or
prisoner needing medical care outside the prison facility. A
mere claim of illness is not a ground for bail.53 It may be that
the trend now is for courts to permit bail for prisoners who are
seriously sick.54 There may also be an existing proposition for
the "selective decarceration of older prisoners" based on
findings that recidivism rates decrease as age
increases.55 But, in this particular case, the CA made no
specific finding that respondent suffers from an ailment of
such gravity that his continued confinement during trial will
permanently impair his health or put his life in danger. It
merely declared respondent not in the best of health even
when the only evidence on record as to the latter's state of
health is an unverified medical certificate stating that, as of
August 30, 2000, respondent's condition required him to "xxx
be confined in a more sterile area xxx."56 That medical
recommendation was even rebuffed by the CA itself when, in
its November 13, 2000 Resolution, it held that the physical
condition of respondent does not prevent him from seeking
medical attention while confined in prison.57
Moreover, there is a finding of record on the potential risk of
respondent committing a similar offense. In its August 1, 1996
Order, the RTC noted that the circumstances of respondent
indicate an undue risk that he would commit a similar offense,
if released on bail pending appeal.58 The RTC explained its
findings thus:
Dr. Aida Muncada, a highly competent Psychiatrist, testified
that phedophilia is a state of sexual disorder and sexual
dysfunction. It is intense and recurrent. The possibility of the
commission of a similar offense for which the accused was
convicted is great if the accused will be exposed to "stress"
and if an opportunity to commit it lurks.59
The foregoing finding was not traversed or overturned by the
CA in its questioned Resolution. Such finding, therefore,
remains controlling. It warranted the outright denial of
respondent's bail application. The CA, therefore, erred when it
granted respondent's Motion for Bail.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the August 31,
2001 CA Resolution ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The bail
bond posted by respondent is CANCELLED. Let an ORDER
OF ARREST ISSUE against the person of the accused, Victor
Keith Fitzgerald.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 158763
March 31, 2006
JOSE C. MIRANDA, ALBERTO P. DALMACIO, and ROMEO
B. OCON, Petitioners,
vs.
VIRGILIO M. TULIAO, Respondent.
DECISION
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, assailing the 18 December 2002 Decision 1 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 67770 and its 12 June
2003 Resolution denying petitioners’ Motion for
Reconsideration. The dispositive portion of the assailed
decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, finding public respondent Judge Anastacio D.
Anghad to have acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the
assailed Orders, the instant petition for certiorari, mandamus
and prohibition is hereby GRANTED and GIVEN DUE COURSE,
and it is hereby ordered:

1. The assailed Joint Order dated August 17, 2001, Order
dated September 21, 2001, Joint Order dated October 16,
2001 and Joint Order dated November 14, 2001 dismissing the
two (2) Informations for Murder, all issued by public
respondent Judge Anastacio D. Anghad in Criminal Cases Nos.
36-3523 and 36-3524 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE
for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and another
entered UPHOLDING, AFFIRMING[,] and REINSTATING the
Order dated June 25, 2001 and Joint Order dated July 6, 2001
issued by the then acting Presiding Judge Wilfredo Tumaliuan;
2. Criminal Cases Nos. 36-3523 and 36-3524 are hereby
ordered REINSTATED in the docket of active criminal cases of
Branch 36 of the Regional Trial Court of Santiago City, Isabela;
and
3. Public respondent Judge Anastacio D. Anghad is DIRECTED
to ISSUE forthwith Warrants of Arrest for the apprehension of
private respondents Jose "Pempe" Miranda, SPO3 Alberto P.
Dalmacio, PO3 Romeo B. Ocon and accused Rodel T. Maderal
in said Criminal Cases Nos. 36-3523 and 36-3524. 2
The factual and procedural antecedents of the case are as
follows:
On 8 March 1996, two burnt cadavers were discovered in
Purok Nibulan, Ramon, Isabela, which were later identified as
the dead bodies of Vicente Bauzon and Elizer Tuliao, son of
private respondent Virgilio Tuliao who is now under the
witness protection program.
Two informations for murder were filed against SPO1 Wilfredo
Leaño, SPO1 Ferdinand Marzan, SPO1 Ruben B. Agustin, SPO2
Alexander Micu, SPO2 Rodel Maderal, and SPO4 Emilio
Ramirez in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Santiago City.
The venue was later transferred to Manila. On 22 April 1999,
the RTC of Manila convicted all of the accused and sentenced
them to two counts of reclusion perpetua except SPO2
Maderal who was yet to be arraigned at that time, being at
large. The case was appealed to this Court on automatic
review where we, on 9 October 2001, acquitted the accused
therein on the ground of reasonable doubt.
Sometime in September 1999, SPO2 Maderal was arrested. On
27 April 2001, he executed a sworn confession and identified
petitioners Jose C. Miranda, PO3 Romeo B. Ocon, and SPO3
Alberto P. Dalmacio, a certain Boyet dela Cruz and Amado
Doe, as the persons responsible for the deaths of Vicente
Bauzon and Elizer Tuliao.
Respondent Tuliao filed a criminal complaint for murder
against petitioners, Boyet dela Cruz, and Amado Doe, and
submitted the sworn confession of SPO2 Maderal. On 25 June
2001, Acting Presiding Judge Wilfredo Tumaliuan issued
warrants of arrest against petitioners and SPO2 Maderal.
On 29 June 2001, petitioners filed an urgent motion to
complete preliminary investigation, to reinvestigate, and to
recall and/or quash the warrants of arrest.
In the hearing of the urgent motion on 6 July 2001, Judge
Tumaliuan noted the absence of petitioners and issued a Joint
Order denying said urgent motion on the ground that, since
the court did not acquire jurisdiction over their persons, the
motion cannot be properly heard by the court. In the
meantime, petitioners appealed the resolution of State
Prosecutor Leo T. Reyes to the Department of Justice.
On 17 August 2001, the new Presiding Judge Anastacio D.
Anghad took over the case and issued a Joint Order reversing
the Joint Order of Judge Tumaliuan. Consequently, he ordered
the cancellation of the warrant of arrest issued against
petitioner Miranda. He likewise applied this Order to
petitioners Ocon and Dalmacio in an Order dated 21
September 2001. State Prosecutor Leo S. Reyes and
respondent Tuliao moved for the reconsideration of the said
Joint Order and prayed for the inhibition of Judge Anghad, but
the motion for reconsideration was denied in a Joint Order
dated 16 October 2001 and the prayer for inhibition was
denied in a Joint Order dated 22 October 2001.

9
On 25 October 2001, respondent Tuliao filed a petition for
certiorari, mandamus and prohibition with this Court, with
prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order, seeking to enjoin
Judge Anghad from further proceeding with the case, and
seeking to nullify the Orders and Joint Orders of Judge Anghad
dated 17 August 2001, 21 September 2001, 16 October 2001,
and 22 October 2001.
On 12 November 2001, this Court issued a Resolution
resolving to grant the prayer for a temporary restraining order
against Judge Anghad from further proceeding with the
criminal cases. Shortly after the aforesaid resolution, Judge
Anghad issued a Joint Order dated 14 November 2001
dismissing the two Informations for murder against
petitioners. On 19 November 2001, this Court took note of
respondent’s cash bond evidenced by O.R. No. 15924532
dated 15 November 2001, and issued the temporary
restraining order while referring the petition to the Court of
Appeals for adjudication on the merits.
Respondent Tuliao filed with this Court a Motion to Cite Public
Respondent in Contempt, alleging that Judge Anghad
"deliberately and willfully committed contempt of court when
he issued on 15 November 2001 the Order dated 14
November 2001 dismissing the informations for murder." On
21 November 2001, we referred said motion to the Court of
Appeals in view of the previous referral to it of respondent’s
petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus.
On 18 December 2002, the Court of Appeals rendered the
assailed decision granting the petition and ordering the
reinstatement of the criminal cases in the RTC of Santiago
City, as well as the issuance of warrants of arrest against
petitioners and SPO2 Maderal. Petitioners moved for a
reconsideration of this Decision, but the same was denied in a
Resolution dated 12 June 2003.
Hence, this petition.
The facts of the case being undisputed, petitioners bring forth
to this Court the following assignments of error:
FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
With all due respect, the Honorable Court of Appeals gravely
erred in reversing and setting aside the Joint Order of Judge
Anastacio D. Anghad dated August 17, 2001, September 21,
2001, October 16, 2001 and November 14, 2001 issued in
criminal cases numbered 36-3523 and 36-3524; and, erred in
upholding, affirming and reinstating the Order dated July 6,
2001 issued by then Acting Presiding Judge Wilfredo
Tumaliuan, on the alleged rule that an accused cannot seek
any judicial relief if he does not submit his person to the
jurisdiction of the court.
SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
With all due respect, the Honorable Court of Appeals gravely
erred in directing the reinstatement of Criminal Cases No. 363523 and 36-3524 in the docket of Active Criminal Cases of
Branch 36 of the Regional Trial Court of Santiago City,
Philippines, and in ordering the public respondent to re-issue
the warrants of arrest against herein petitioners.
THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR
Wit all due respect, the Honorable Court of Appeals committed
a reversible error in ordering the reinstatement of Criminal
Cases No. 36-3523 and No. 36-3524 in the docket of active
criminal cases of Branch 36 of the regional trial court of
Santiago City, Philippines, and in ordering the public
respondent to issue warrants of arrest against herein
petitioners, the order of dismissal issued therein having
become final and executory.
Adjudication of a motion to quash a warrant of arrest requires
neither jurisdiction over the person of the accused, nor
custody of law over the body of the accused.
The first assignment of error brought forth by the petitioner
deals with the Court of Appeals’ ruling that:
[A]n accused cannot seek any judicial relief if he does not
submit his person to the jurisdiction of the court. Jurisdiction
over the person of the accused may be acquired either
through compulsory process, such as warrant of arrest, or

through his voluntary appearance, such as when he
surrenders to the police or to the court. It is only when the
court has already acquired jurisdiction over his person that an
accused may invoke the processes of the court (Pete M. Pico
vs. Alfonso V. Combing, Jr., A.M. No. RTJ-91-764, November 6,
1992). Thus, an accused must first be placed in the custody of
the law before the court may validly act on his petition for
judicial reliefs.3
Proceeding from this premise, the Court of Appeals ruled that
petitioners Miranda, Ocon and Dalmacio cannot seek any
judicial relief since they were not yet arrested or otherwise
deprived of their liberty at the time they filed their "Urgent
Motion to complete preliminary investigation; to reinvestigate;
to recall and/or quash warrants of arrest."4
Petitioners counter the finding of the Court of Appeals by
arguing that jurisdiction over the person of the accused is
required only in applications for bail. Furthermore, petitioners
argue, assuming that such jurisdiction over their person is
required before the court can act on their motion to quash the
warrant for their arrest, such jurisdiction over their person was
already acquired by the court by their filing of the above
Urgent Motion.
In arguing that jurisdiction over the person is required only in
the adjudication of applications for bail, petitioners quote
Retired Court of Appeals Justice Oscar Herrera:
Except in applications for bail, it is not necessary for the court
to first acquire jurisdiction over the person of the accused to
dismiss the case or grant other relief. The outright dismissal of
the case even before the court acquires jurisdiction over the
person of the accused is authorized under Section 6(a), Rule
112 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and the
Revised Rules on Summary Procedure (Sec. 12a). In Allado vs.
Diokno (232 SCRA 192), the case was dismissed on motion of
the accused for lack of probable cause without the accused
having been arrested. In Paul Roberts vs. Court of Appeals
(254 SCRA 307), the Court was ordered to hold the issuance of
a warrant of arrest in abeyance pending review by the
Secretary of Justice. And in Lacson vs. Executive Secretary
(301 SCRA 1025), the Court ordered the case transferred from
the Sandiganbayan to the RTC which eventually ordered the
dismissal of the case for lack of probable cause.6
In arguing, on the other hand, that jurisdiction over their
person was already acquired by their filing of the above
Urgent Motion, petitioners invoke our pronouncement, through
Justice Florenz D. Regalado, in Santiago v. Vasquez7:
The voluntary appearance of the accused, whereby the court
acquires jurisdiction over his person, is accomplished either
by his pleading to the merits (such as by filing a motion to
quash or other pleadings requiring the exercise of the court’s
jurisdiction thereover, appearing for arraignment, entering
trial) or by filing bail. On the matter of bail, since the same is
intended to obtain the provisional liberty of the accused, as a
rule the same cannot be posted before custody of the accused
has been acquired by the judicial authorities either by his
arrest or voluntary surrender.
Our pronouncement in Santiago shows a distinction between
custody of the law and jurisdiction over the person. 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.8 Custody of the
law is accomplished either by arrest or voluntary
surrender,9 while jurisdiction over the person of the accused is
acquired upon his arrest or voluntary appearance. 10 One can
be under the custody of the law but not yet subject to the
jurisdiction of the court over his person, such as when a
person arrested by virtue of a warrant files a motion before
arraignment to quash the warrant. On the other hand, one can
be subject to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, and
yet not be in the custody of the law, such as when an accused
escapes custody after his trial has commenced. 11Being in the

10
custody of the law signifies restraint on the person, who is
thereby deprived of his own will and liberty, binding him to
become obedient to the will of the law. 12 Custody of the law
is literally custody over the body of the accused. It includes,
but is not limited to, detention.
The statement in Pico v. Judge Combong, Jr., 13 cited by the
Court of Appeals should not have been separated from the
issue in that case, which is the application for admission to
bail of someone not yet in the custody of the law. The entire
paragraph of our pronouncement in Pico reads:
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. Respondent
Judge should have diligently ascertained the whereabouts of
the applicant and that he indeed had jurisdiction over the
body of the accused before considering the application for
bail. 13
While we stand by our above pronouncement in Pico insofar
as it concerns bail, we clarify that, as a general rule, one who
seeks an affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to the
jurisdiction of the court. 15 As we held in the aforecited case
of Santiago, seeking an affirmative relief in court, whether in
civil or criminal proceedings, constitutes voluntary
appearance.
Pico deals with an application for bail, where there is the
special requirement of the applicant being in the custody of
the law. In Feliciano v. Pasicolan, 16 we held that "[t]he
purpose of bail is to secure one’s release and it would be
incongruous to grant bail to one who is free. Thus, ‘bail is the
security required and given for the release of a person who is
in the custody of law.’" The rationale behind this special rule
on bail is that it discourages and prevents resort to the former
pernicious practice wherein the accused could just send
another in his stead to post his bail, without recognizing the
jurisdiction of the court by his personal appearance therein
and compliance with the requirements therefor. 17
There is, however, an exception to the rule that filing
pleadings seeking affirmative relief constitutes voluntary
appearance, and the consequent submission of one’s person
to the jurisdiction of the court. This is in the case of pleadings
whose prayer is precisely for the avoidance of the jurisdiction
of the court, which only leads to a special appearance. These
pleadings are: (1) in civil cases, motions to dismiss on the
ground of lack of jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant, whether or not other grounds for dismissal are
included; 18 (2) in criminal cases, motions to quash a
complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the person
of the accused; and (3) motions to quash a warrant of arrest.
The first two are consequences of the fact that failure to file
them would constitute a waiver of the defense of lack of
jurisdiction over the person. The third is a consequence of the
fact that it is the very legality of the court process forcing the
submission of the person of the accused that is the very issue
in a motion to quash a warrant of arrest.
To recapitulate what we have discussed so far, in criminal
cases, jurisdiction over the person of the accused is deemed
waived by the accused when he files any pleading seeking an
affirmative relief, except in cases when he invokes the special
jurisdiction of the court by impugning such jurisdiction over
his person. Therefore, in narrow cases involving special
appearances, an accused can invoke the processes of the
court even though there is neither jurisdiction over the person
nor custody of the law. However, if a person invoking the
special jurisdiction of the court applies for bail, he must first
submit himself to the custody of the law.
In cases not involving the so-called special appearance, the
general rule applies, i.e., the accused is deemed to have
submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court upon seeking
affirmative relief. Notwithstanding this, there is no
requirement for him to be in the custody of the law. The
following cases best illustrate this point, where we granted

various reliefs to accused who were not in the custody of the
law, but were deemed to have placed their persons under the
jurisdiction of the court. Note that none of these cases involve
the application for bail, nor a motion to quash an information
due to lack of jurisdiction over the person, nor a motion to
quash a warrant of arrest:
1. In Allado v. Diokno, 19 on the prayer of the accused in a
petition for certiorari on the ground of lack of probable cause,
we issued a temporary restraining order enjoining PACC from
enforcing the warrant of arrest and the respondent judge
therein from further proceeding with the case and, instead, to
elevate the records to us.
2. In Roberts, Jr. v. Court of Appeals,20 upon the accused’s
Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Hold in Abeyance
Issuance of Warrants of Arrest on the ground that they filed a
Petition for Review with the Department of Justice, we directed
respondent judge therein to cease and desist from further
proceeding with the criminal case and to defer the issuance of
warrants of arrests against the accused.
3. In Lacson v. Executive Secretary,21 on the prayer of the
accused in a petition for certiorari on the ground of lack of
jurisdiction on the part of the Sandiganbayan, we directed the
Sandiganbayan to transfer the criminal cases to the Regional
Trial Court even before the issuance of the warrants of arrest.
We hold that the circumstances forcing us to require custody
of the law in applications for bail are not present in motions to
quash the warrant of arrest. If we allow the granting of bail to
persons not in the custody of the law, it is foreseeable that
many persons who can afford the bail will remain at large, and
could elude being held to answer for the commission of the
offense if ever he is proven guilty. On the other hand, if we
allow the quashal of warrants of arrest to persons not in the
custody of the law, it would be very rare that a person not
genuinely entitled to liberty would remain scot-free. This is
because it is the same judge who issued the warrant of arrest
who will decide whether or not he followed the Constitution in
his determination of probable cause, and he can easily deny
the motion to quash if he really did find probable cause after
personally examining the records of the case.
Moreover, pursuant to the presumption of regularity of official
functions, the warrant continues in force and effect until it is
quashed and therefore can still be enforced on any day and at
any time of the day and night.22Furthermore, the continued
absence of the accused can be taken against him in the
determination of probable cause, since flight is indicative of
guilt.
In fine, as much as it is incongruous to grant bail to one who is
free, it is likewise incongruous to require one to surrender his
freedom before asserting it. Human rights enjoy a higher
preference in the hierarchy of rights than property
rights,23 demanding that due process in the deprivation of
liberty must come before its taking and not after.
Quashing a warrant of arrest based on a subsequently filed
petition for review with the Secretary of Justice and based on
doubts engendered by the political climate constitutes grave
abuse of discretion.
We nevertheless find grave abuse of discretion in the assailed
actions of Judge Anghad. Judge Anghad seemed a little too
eager of dismissing the criminal cases against the petitioners.
First, he quashed the standing warrant of arrest issued by his
predecessor because of a subsequently filed appeal to the
Secretary of Justice, and because of his doubts on the
existence of probable cause due to the political climate in the
city. Second, after the Secretary of Justice affirmed the
prosecutor’s resolution, he dismissed the criminal cases on
the basis of a decision of this Court in another case with
different accused, doing so two days after this Court resolved
to issue a temporary restraining order against further
proceeding with the case.
After Judge Tumaliuan issued warrants for the arrest of
petitioners, petitioner Miranda appealed the assistant
prosecutor’s resolution before the Secretary of Justice. Judge

11
Anghad, shortly after assuming office, quashed the warrant of
arrest on the basis of said appeal. According to Judge Anghad,
"x x x prudence dictates (that) and because of comity, a
deferment of the proceedings is but proper."24
Quashal on this basis is grave abuse of discretion. It is
inconceivable to charge Judge Tumaliuan as lacking in
prudence and oblivious to comity when he issued the warrants
of arrest against petitioners just because the petitioners
might, in the future, appeal the assistant prosecutor’s
resolution to the Secretary of Justice. But even if the petition
for review was filed before the issuance of the warrants of
arrest, the fact remains that the pendency of a petition for the
review of the prosecutor’s resolution is not a ground to quash
the warrants of arrest.
In Webb v. de Leon,25 we held that the petitioners therein
cannot assail as premature the filing of the information in
court against them on the ground that they still have the right
to appeal the adverse resolution of the DOJ Panel to the
Secretary of Justice. Similarly, the issuance of warrants of
arrest against petitioners herein should not have been
quashed as premature on the same ground.
The other ground invoked by Judge Anghad for the quashal of
the warrant of arrest is in order if true: violation of the
Constitution. Hence, Judge Anghad asked and resolved the
question:
In these double murder cases, did this Court comply or adhere
to the above-quoted constitutional proscription, which is Sec.
2, Article III Bill of Rights; to Sec. 6(a), Rule 112, Rules of
Criminal Procedure and to the above-cited decisional cases?
To this query or issue, after a deep perusal of the arguments
raised, this Court, through [its] regular Presiding Judge, finds
merit in the contention of herein accused-movant, Jose
"Pempe" Miranda.26
Judge Anghad is referring to the following provision of the
Constitution as having been violated by Judge Tumaliuan:
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches
and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall
issue except upon probable cause to be determined
personally by the judge after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched
and the persons or things to be seized.27
However, after a careful scrutiny of the records of the case,
including the supporting evidence to the resolution of the
prosecutor in his determination of probable cause, we find
that Judge Anghad gravely abused his discretion.
According to petitioners:
In this case, the nullity of the order of Judge Tumaliuan, for the
arrest of the petitioners is apparent from the face of the order
itself, which clearly stated that the determination of probable
cause was based on the certification, under oath, of the fiscal
and not on a separate determination personally made by the
Judge. No presumption of regularity could be drawn from the
order since it expressly and clearly showed that it was based
only on the fiscal’s certification.28
Petitioners’ claim is untrue. Judge Tumaliuan’s Joint Order
contains no such indication that he relied solely on the
prosecutor’s certification. The Joint Order even indicated the
contrary:
Upon receipt of the information and resolution of the
prosecutor, the Court proceeded to determine the existence of
a probable cause by personally evaluating the records x x x.
[29]
The records of the case show that the prosecutor’s
certification was accompanied by supporting documents,
following the requirement under Lim, Sr. v. Felix30 and People
v. Inting.31 The supporting documents are the following:
1. Resolution dated 21 June 2001 of State Prosecutor Leo S.
Reyes;
2. Affidavit dated 22 May 2001 of Modesto Gutierrez;

3. Affidavit dated 19 May 2001 of Romeo B. Ocon;
4. Joint Counter Affidavit dated 23 May 2001 of Mayor Jose C.
Miranda and Reynaldo de la Cruz;
5. Affidavit dated 19 May 2001 of Alberto Dalmacio;
6. Decision dated 22 April 1999 of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 41 in Criminal Case No. 97-160355;
7. Sworn statement dated 27 April 2001 of Rodel Maderal;
8. Information dated 22 June 2001;
9. Affidavit-complaint of Virgilio Tuliao; and
10. Medico-legal Reports of the cadavers of Elezer Tuliao and
Vicente Buazon.
Hence, procedurally, we can conclude that there was no
violation on the part of Judge Tumaliuan of Article III, Section
2, of the Constitution. Judge Anghad, however, focused on the
substantive part of said section, i.e., the existence of probable
cause. In failing to find probable cause, Judge Anghad ruled
that the confession of SPO2 Maderal is incredible for the
following reasons: (1) it was given after almost two years in
the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation; (2) it was
given by someone who rendered himself untrustworthy for
being a fugitive for five years; (3) it was given in exchange for
an obvious reward of discharge from the information; and (4)
it was given during the election period amidst a "politically
charged scenario where "Santiago City voters were pitted
against each other along the lines of the Miranda camp on
one side and former City Mayor Amelita S. Navarro, and
allegedly that of DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez on the
other."32
We painstakingly went through the records of the case and
found no reason to disturb the findings of probable cause of
Judge Tumaliuan.
It is important to note that an exhaustive debate on the
credibility of a witness is not within the province of the
determination of probable cause. As we held in Webb33:
A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence
showing that more likely than not a crime has been
committed and was committed by the suspects. Probable
cause need not be based on clear and convincing evidence of
guilt, neither on evidence establishing guilt beyond
reasonable doubt and definitely, not on evidence establishing
absolute certainty of guilt. As well put in Brinegar v. United
States, while probable cause demands more than "bare
suspicion," it requires "less than evidence which would justify
x x x conviction." A finding of probable cause merely binds
over the suspect to stand trial. It is not a pronouncement of
guilt.
x x x Probable cause merely implies probability of guilt and
should be determined in a summary manner. Preliminary
investigation is not a part of trial x x x.
Dismissing a criminal case on the basis of a decision of this
Court in another case with different accused constitutes grave
abuse of discretion.
Judge Anghad had quashed the warrant of arrest on the
ground, among other things, that there was a petition for
review of the assistant prosecutor’s resolution before the
Secretary of Justice. However, after the Secretary of Justice
affirmed the prosecutor’s resolution, Judge Anghad summarily
dismissed the two criminal cases against the petitioners on
the basis of the following explanation:
Rodel Maderal was one of the accused in People vs. Wilfredo
Leano, et al., RTC, Branch 41, Manila, and based from his
sworn statements, he pinpointed to Mr. Miranda – the
mastermind and with him and the other police officers as the
direct perpetrators, the October 9, 2001 Decision of the
Supreme Court absolving the five cops of murder, certainly
makes his sworn Statements a "narration of falsehood and
lies" and that because of the decision acquitting said officers
"who were likewise falsely linked by said Rodel Maderal in his
April 27, 2001 statements, it is now beyond doubt that Rodel
Maderal made untruthful, fabricated and perjured statements
and therefore the same is without probable value." This Court
agrees with the defense’s views. Indeed, of what use is

12
Maderal’s statements when the Supreme Court rejected the
prosecution’s evidence presented and adduced in Criminal
Case No. 97-160355. Rodel Maderal is supposed to turn state
witness in these two (2) cases but with the Supreme Court
decision adverted to, the probative value of his statements is
practically nil.
xxxx
This Court finds merit to the manifestation of the accused
Miranda dated October 18, 2001, praying for the summary
dismissal of the two (2) murder charges in view of the latest
decision of the Supreme Court in People of the Philippines vs.
Wilfredo Leaño, et al., G.R. No. 13886, acquitting the accused
therein and in effect disregarding all the evidence presented
by the prosecution in that case. Accordingly, the two (2)
informations [for] murder filed against Jose Miranda are
ordered dismissed.34
This is a clear case of abuse of discretion. Judge Anghad had
no right to twist our decision and interpret it to the discredit of
SPO2 Maderal, who was still at large when the evidence of the
prosecution in the Leaño case was presented. A decision, even
of this Court, acquitting the accused therein of a crime cannot
be the basis of the dismissal of criminal case against different
accused for the same crime. The blunder of Judge Anghad is
even more pronounced by the fact that our decision in Leaño
was based on reasonable doubt. We never ruled in Leaño that
the crime did not happen; we just found that there was
reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused therein, since
the prosecution in that case relied on circumstantial evidence,
which interestingly is not even the situation in the criminal
cases of the petitioners in the case at bar as there is here an
eyewitness: Rodel Maderal. The accused in Leaño furthermore
had no motive to kill respondent Tuliao’s son, whereas
petitioners herein had been implicated in the testimony of
respondent Tuliao before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
It is preposterous to conclude that because of our finding of
reasonable doubt in Leaño, "it is now beyond doubt that Rodel
Maderal made untruthful, fabricated and perjured statements
and therefore the same is without probable value."35 On the
contrary, if we are to permit the use of our decision in Leaño,
an acquittal on the ground of reasonable doubt actually points
to the probability of the prosecution’s version of the facts
therein. Such probability of guilt certainly meets the criteria of
probable cause.
We cannot let unnoticed, too, Judge Anghad’s dismissal of the
informations two days after we resolved to issue, upon the
filing of a bond, a temporary restraining order prohibiting him
from further proceeding with the case. The bond was filed the
day after the informations were dismissed. While the dismissal
of the case was able to beat the effectivity date of the
temporary restraining order, such abrupt dismissal of the
informations (days after this Court’s resolve to issue a TRO
against Judge Anghad) creates wild suspicions about the
motives of Judge Anghad.
Nullification of a proceeding necessarily carries with it the
reinstatement of the orders set aside by the nullified
proceeding.
In their second assignment of error, petitioners claim that the
Court of Appeals did not recall or reinstate the warrants of
arrest issued by Judge Tumaliuan, but instead directed Judge
Anghad to issue apparently new warrants of
arrest.36 According to the petitioners, it was an error for the
Court of Appeals to have done so, without a personal
determination of probable cause.
We disagree. Whether the Court of Appeals ordered the
issuance of new warrants of arrest or merely ordered the
reinstatement of the warrants of arrest issued by Judge
Tumaliuan is merely a matter of scrupulous semantics, the
slight inaccuracy whereof should not be allowed to affect the
dispositions on the merits, especially in this case where the
other dispositions of the Court of Appeals point to the other
direction. Firstly, the Court of Appeals had reinstated the 25
June 2001 Order of Judge Tumaliuan,37 which issued the

warrants of arrest. Secondly, the Court of Appeals likewise
declared the proceedings conducted by Judge Anghad void.
Certainly, the declaration of nullity of proceedings should be
deemed to carry with it the reinstatement of the orders set
aside by the nullified proceedings. Judge Anghad’s order
quashing the warrants of arrest had been nullified; therefore
those warrants of arrest are henceforth deemed unquashed.
Even if, however, the Court of Appeals had directed the
issuance of new warrants of arrest based on a determination
of probable cause, it would have been legally permissible for
them to do so. The records of the preliminary investigation
had been available to the Court of Appeals, and are also
available to this Court, allowing both the Court of Appeals and
this Court to personally examine the records of the case and
not merely rely on the certification of the prosecutor. As we
have ruled in Allado v. Diokno and Roberts v. Court of Appeals,
the determination of probable cause does not rest on a
subjective criteria. As we had resolved in those cases to
overrule the finding of probable cause of the judges therein on
the ground of grave abuse of discretion, in the same vein, we
can also overrule the decision of a judge reversing a finding of
probable cause, also on the ground of grave abuse of
discretion.
There is no double jeopardy in the reinstatement of a criminal
case dismissed before arraignment
In their third assignment of error, petitioners claim that the
Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in ordering the
reinstatement of Criminal Cases No. 36-3523 and No. 363524, alleging that the order of dismissal issued therein had
become final and executory. According to petitioners:
It is also worthy to point out at this juncture that the Joint
Order of Judge Anghad dated November 14, 2001 is NOT ONE
of those Orders which were assailed in the private respondent
Tuliao’s Petition for Certiorari, Mandamus and Prohibition filed
by the private respondent before the Court of Appeals. As
carefully enumerated in the first page of the assailed
Decision, only the following Orders issued by Judge Anghad
were questioned by private respondent, to wit:
1.) Joint Order dated August 17, 2001;
2.) Order dated September 21, 2001;
3.) Joint Order dated October 16, 2001; and
4.) Joint Order dated October 22, 2001.
Obviously, the Joint Order dated November 14, 2001 of Judge
Anghad, which ultimately dismissed Criminal Cases Nos. 363523 AND 36-3524 is NOT included in the list of the assailed
Order/Joint Orders. Hence, the Court of Appeals should not
have passed upon the validity or nullity of the Joint Order of
November 14, 2001.38
Petitioners must have forgotten that respondent Tuliao’s
Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus was filed not
with the Court of Appeals, but with this Court. The Court of
Appeals decided the case because we referred the same to
them in our 19 November 2001 Resolution. Such petition was
filed on 25 October 2001, around three weeks before the 14
November 2001 Order. Upon receipt of the 14 November 2001
Order, however, respondent Tuliao lost no time in filing with
this Court a Motion to Cite Public Respondent in Contempt,
alleging that Judge Anghad "deliberately and willfully
committed contempt of court when he issued on 15
November 2001 the Order dated 14 November 2001
dismissing the informations for murder." On 21 November
2001, we referred said motion to the Court of Appeals, in view
of the previous referral of respondent Tuliao’s petition for
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus.
Our referral to the Court of Appeals of the Motion to Cite
Public Repondent in Contempt places the 14 November 2001
Order within the issues of the case decided by the Court of
Appeals. In claiming that Judge Anghad committed contempt
of this Court in issuing the 14 November 2001 Order,
respondent Tuliao had ascribed to Judge Anghad an act much
more serious than grave abuse of discretion.

13
Respondent Tuliao claims that Judge Anghad issued the 14
November 2001 Order on 15 November 2001, antedating it so
as to avoid the effects of our 12 November 2001 Resolution. In
said 12 November 2001 Resolution, we resolved to issue a
temporary restraining order enjoining Judge Anghad from
further proceeding with the criminal cases upon the
respondent Tuliao’s filing of a bond in the amount
of P20,000.00. Respondent Tuliao had filed the bond on 15
November 2005.
While we cannot immediately pronounce Judge Anghad in
contempt, seeing as disobedience to lawful orders of a court
and abuse of court processes are cases of indirect contempt
which require the granting of opportunity to be heard on the
part of respondent,39 the prayer to cite public respondent in
contempt and for other reliefs just and equitable under the
premises should be construed to include a prayer for the
nullification of said 14 November 2001 Order.
In any case, the reinstatement of a criminal case dismissed
before arraignment does not constitute double jeopardy.
Double jeopardy cannot be invoked where the accused has
not been arraigned and it was upon his express motion that
the case was dismissed.40
As to respondent Tuliao’s prayer (in both the original petition
for certiorari as well as in his motion to cite for contempt) to
disqualify Judge Anghad from further proceeding with the
case, we hold that the number of instances of abuse of
discretion in this case are enough to convince us of an
apparent bias on the part of Judge Anghad. We further resolve
to follow the case of People v. SPO1 Leaño,41 by transferring
the venue of Criminal Cases No. 36-3523 and No. 36-3524 to
the City of Manila, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 4, of the
Constitution.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated 18
December 2002 and the Resolution dated 12 June 2003 of the
Court of Appeals are hereby AFFIRMED, with the modification
that Criminal Cases No. 36-3523 and No. 36-3524 be
transferred to and raffled in the Regional Trial Court of the City
of Manila. In this connection,
1) Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Executive Judge
of the RTC of the City of Santiago, Isabela, who is directed to
effect the transfer of the cases within ten (10) days after
receipt hereof;
2) The Executive Judge of the RTC of the City of Santiago,
Isabela, is likewise directed to report to this Court compliance
hereto within ten (10) days from transfer of these cases;
3) The Executive Judge of the City of Manila shall proceed to
raffle the criminal cases within ten (10) days from the
transfer;
4) The Executive Judge of the City of Manila is likewise
directed to report to this Court compliance with the order to
raffle within ten (10) days from said compliance; and
5) The RTC Judge to whom the criminal cases are raffled is
directed to act on said cases with reasonable dispatch.
6) Finally, Judge Anastacio D. Anghad is directed to issue
forthwith warrants of arrest for the apprehension of
petitioners Jose C. Miranda, Alberto P. Dalmacio, Romeo B.
Ocon, and accused Rodel T. Maderal, conformably with the
decision of the Court of Appeals dated 18 December 2002.
The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court dated 4
August 2003 is hereby LIFTED. Costs against Petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
EN BANC
JUDGE NAPOLEON E. INOTURAN, A.M. No. MTJ-01-1362
Regional Trial Court, Branch 133, (formerly A.M. No. 01-2-49-RTC)
Makati City,
Present:
CORONA, C.J.,
CARPIO,
*CARPIO MORALES,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,

- versus - **LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
BRION,
PERALTA,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILLO,
ABAD,
VILLARAMA, JR.,
PEREZ,
MENDOZA, and
SERENO, JJ.
JUDGE MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR.,
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Valladolid, Promulgated:
San Enrique-Pulupandan, Negros Occidental,
Respondent. February 22, 2011
x--------------------------------------------------x
SANCHO E. GUINANAO, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1785
Complainant, (formerly A.M. OCA IPI No. 07-1945-MTJ)
- versus JUDGE MANUEL Q. LIMSIACO, JR.,
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, Valladolid,
San Enrique-Pulupandan, Negros
Occidental,
Respondent.
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
Before us are two (2) consolidated cases filed against Judge Manuel Q.
Limsiaco, Jr. as the Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court
(MCTC) of Valladolid, San Enrique-Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. The first
case involves the failure of Judge Limsiaco to comply with the directives of
the Court. The second case involves the failure of Judge Limsiaco to decide a
case within the 90-day reglementary period.
A.M. No. MTJ-01-1362
On September 25, 1998, a complaint was filed against Judge Limsiaco for his
issuance of a Release Order in favor of an accused in a criminal case before
him.[1] After considering the evidence, we then found Judge Limsiaco guilty
of ignorance of the law and procedure and of violating the Code of Judicial
Conduct. In the decretal portion of ourMay 6, 2005 Decision, we ruled:
WHEREFORE, Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr. is found GUILTY of
ignorance of the law and procedure and violations of the Code of Judicial
Conduct. He is hereby ordered to pay a FINEin the amount of Forty Thousand
pesos (P40,000.00) upon notice, and is STERNLY WARNED that a
repetition of the same or similar infractions will be dealt with more severely.
Respondent Judge is DIRECTED to explain, within ten (10) days from
notice, why he should not be administratively charged for approving the
applications for bail of the accused and ordering their release in the following
Criminal Cases filed with other courts: Criminal Cases Nos.
1331,1342,1362,1366 and 1368 filed with the RTC, Branch 59, San Carlos
City; 67322, 69055-69058 filed with the MTCC, Branch 3, Bacolod City;
67192-67193 filed with the MTCC, Branch 4, Bacolod City; 72866 filed with
the MTCC, Branch 5, Bacolod City; 70249, 82897 to 82903, 831542, 83260
to 83268 filed with the MTCC, Branch 6, Bacolod City; and 95-17340 filed
with the RTC, Branch 50, Bacolod City, as reported by Executive Judge
Edgardo G. Garvilles.
SO ORDERED.
Judge Limsiaco twice moved for an extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration of the above decision and to comply with the Courts directive
requiring him to submit an explanation. Despite the extension of time given
however, Judge Limsiaco failed to file his motion for reconsideration and
the required explanation.

14
In the Resolution dated January 24, 2006, we issued a show cause resolution
for contempt and required Judge Limsiaco to explain his failure to comply
with the Decision datedMay 6, 2005. In the Resolution dated December 12,
2006, after noting the failure of Judge Limsiaco to comply with the Resolution
dated January 24, 2006, we resolved to impose a fine in the amount
of P1,000.00 against Judge Limsiaco and to reiterate our earlier directive for
him to file an explanation to the show cause resolution.
On February 1, 2007, Judge Limsiaco filed a Manifestation and Urgent
Motion for Extension of Time to File Explanation wherein he apologized to
the Court and paid theP1,000.00 fine. He cited poor health as the reason for
his failure to comply with the Resolution dated January 24,
2006. On February 6, 2007, we resolved to grant the motion for extension
filed by Judge Limsiaco and gave him ten (10) days from January 15,
2007 within which to file his explanation.
Despite the grant of the extension of time, no explanation for the show
cause resolution was ever filed. Per Resolution dated December 15, 2009,
we again required Judge Limsiaco to comply with the show cause resolution
within ten (10) days from receipt under pain of imposing a stiffer penalty.
Verification made from the postmaster showed that a copy of the December
15, 2009 Resolution was received by Judge Limsiaco on February 1, 2010.
In addition, a Report (as of August 31, 2010) from the Documentation
Division, Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) showed that the directives
in our Decision dated May 6, 2005 have not been complied with by Judge
Limsiaco.
A.M. No. MTJ-11-1785
On September 24, 2007, Judge Limsiaco was charged with Delay in the
Disposition of a Case by complainant Sancho E. Guinanao, a plaintiff in an
ejectment case pending before Judge Limsiaco. Guinanao claimed that Judge
Limsiaco failed to seasonably decide the subject ejectment case which had
been submitted for resolution as early as April 25, 2005. The OCA referred
the matter to us when Judge Limsiaco failed to file his comment to the
administrative complaint. Under the pain of a show cause order for contempt
for failure to heed the OCA directives to file a comment, Judge Limsiaco
informed us that he had already decided the case on February 4, 2008.
Subsequently, we resolved[2] to declare Judge Limsiaco in contempt and to
impose a fine of P1,000.00 for his continued failure to file the required
comment to the administrative complaint. The records show that Judge
Limsiaco paid the P1,000.00 fine but did not submit the required
comment.
Per Resolution dated November 23, 2010, we ordered the consolidation of the
above cases, together with A.M. No. MTJ-09-1734, entitled Florenda V.
Tobias v. Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr., which case was separately decided
on January 19, 2011.

and should be complied with promptly and completely. Such failure to comply
accordingly betrays not only a recalcitrant streak in character, but has likewise
been considered as an utter lack of interest to remain with, if not contempt of
the judicial system.
We also cited in that case our ruling in Josephine C. Martinez v. Judge Cesar
N. Zoleta[5] and emphasized that obedience to our lawful orders and
directives should not be merely selective obedience, but must be full:
[A] resolution of the Supreme Court requiring comment on an administrative
complaint against officials and employees of the judiciary should not be
construed as a mere request from the Court. Nor should it be complied with
partially, inadequately or selectively.
Respondents in administrative complaints should comment on all accusations
or allegations against them in the administrative complaints because it is their
duty to preserve the integrity of the judiciary. Moreover, the Court should not
and will not tolerate future indifference of respondents to administrative
complaints and to resolutions requiring comment on such administrative
complaints.
As demonstrated by his present acts, we find it clear that Judge Limsiaco
failed to heed the above pronouncements. We observe that in A.M. No. MTJ01-1362, Judge Limsiaco did not fully obey our directives. Judge Limsiaco
failed to file the required comment to our show cause resolution despite
several opportunities given to him by the Court. His disobedience was
aggravated by his insincere representations in his motions for extension of
time that he would file the required comments.
The records also show Judge Limsiacos failure to comply with our decision
and orders. In A.M. No. MTJ-01-1362, Judge Limsiaco failed to file his
comment/answer to the charge of irregularity pertaining to his approval of
applications for bail in several criminal cases before him. He also failed to pay
the P40,000.00 fine which we imposed by way of administrative penalty for
his gross ignorance of the law and procedure and violations of the Code of
Judicial Conduct. Incidentally, in A.M. No. MTJ-11-1785, Judge Limsiaco
failed to file his comment on the verified complaint despite several orders
issued by the Court.
We cannot overemphasize that compliance with the rules, directives and
circulars issued by the Court is one of the foremost duties that a judge accepts
upon assumption to office. This duty is verbalized in Canon 1 of the New
Code of Judicial Conduct:
SECTION 7. Judges shall encourage and uphold safeguards for the
discharge of judicial duties in order to maintain and enhance the
institutional and operational independence of the Judiciary.
SECTION 8. Judges shall exhibit and promote high standards of judicial
conduct in order to reinforce public confidence in the Judiciary, which is
fundamental to the maintenance of judicial independence.

The Courts Ruling
We shall consider in this ruling not merely Judge Limsiacos conduct in
connection with the discharge of judicial functions within his territorial
jurisdiction, but also the performance of his legal duties before this Court as a
member of the bench. We shall then take both matters into account in
scrutinizing his conduct as a judge and in determining whether proper
disciplinary measures should be imposed against him under the
circumstances.
A judges duties to the Court
Case law teaches us that a judge is the visible representation of the law, and
more importantly of justice; he or she must, therefore, be the first to follow
the law and weave an example for the others to follow.[3] Interestingly,
in Julianito M. Salvador v. Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr., etc.,[4] a case
where Judge Limsiaco was also the respondent, we already had the occasion
to impress upon him the clear import of the directives of the Court, thus:
For a judge to exhibit indifference to a resolution requiring him to comment
on the accusations in the complaint thoroughly and substantially is gross
misconduct, and may even be considered as outright disrespect for the
Court. The office of the judge requires him to obey all the lawful orders of his
superiors. After all, a resolution of the Supreme Court is not a mere request

The obligation to uphold the dignity of his office and the institution which he
belongs to is also found in Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct under
Rule 2.01 which mandates a judge to behave at all times as to promote public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.
Under the circumstances, the conduct exhibited by Judge Limsiaco constitutes
no less than clear acts of defiance against the Courts authority. His conduct
also reveals his deliberate disrespect and indifference to the authority of the
Court, shown by his failure to heed our warnings and directives. Judge
Limsiacos actions further disclose his inability to accept our
instructions. Moreover, his conduct failed to provide a good example for other
court personnel, and the public as well, in placing significance to the Courts
directives and the importance of complying with them.
We cannot allow this type of behavior especially on a judge. Public
confidence in the judiciary can only be achieved when the court personnel
conduct themselves in a dignified manner befitting the public office they are
holding. They should avoid conduct or any demeanor that may tarnish or
diminish the authority of the Supreme Court.

15
Under existing jurisprudence, we have held judges administratively liable for
failing to comply with our directives and circulars.
In Sinaon, Sr.,[6] we penalized a judge for his deliberate failure to comply
with our directive requiring him to file a comment. We disciplined another
judge in Noe Cangco Zarate v. Judge Isauro M. Balderian[7] for his refusal to
comply with the Courts resolution requiring him to file a comment on the
administrative charge against him. In Request of Judge Eduardo F. Cartagena,
etc.,[8] we dismissed the judge for his repeated violation of a circular of the
Supreme Court. In fact, we have already reprimanded and warned Judge
Limsiaco for his failure to timely heed the Courts directives in Salvador.[9]

16
A judges duty to his public office
Given the factual circumstances in A.M. No. MTJ-11-1785, the considerable
delay Judge Limsiaco incurred in deciding the subject ejectment case has been
clearly established by the records and by his own admission. Judge Limsiaco
admitted that he decided the ejectment case only on February 4, 2008. In turn,
the records show that Judge Limsiaco did not deny Guinanaos claim that the
ejectment case was submitted for resolution as early as April 25, 2005. Thus,
it took Judge Limsiaco more than two (2) years to decide the subject
ejectment case after it was declared submitted for resolution.
The delay in deciding a case within the reglementary period constitutes a
violation of Section 5, Canon 6 of the New Code of Judicial
Conduct[10] which mandates judges to perform all judicial duties, including
the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with promptness. In
line with jurisprudence, Judge Limsiaco is also liable for gross inefficiency for
his failure to decide a case within the reglementary period.[11]
The Penalty
Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC
dated September 11, 2001, violation of Supreme Court rules, directives
and circulars, and gross inefficiency are categorized as less serious charges
with the following sanctions: (a) suspension from office without salary and
other benefits for not less than one or more than three months; or (b) a fine of
more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.[12]
In determining the proper imposable penalty, we also consider Judge
Limsiacos work history which reflects how he performed his judicial
functions as a judge. We observed that there are several administrative cases
already decided against Judge Limsiaco that show his inability to properly
discharge his judicial duties.
In Salvador,[13] we penalized Judge Limsiaco for having been found guilty
of undue delay in rendering a decision, imposing on him a P20,000.00 fine,
with a warningthat a repetition of the same or similar infraction in the future
shall be dealt with more severely.
In Helen Gamboa-Mijares v. Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr.,[14] we found
Judge Limsiaco guilty of gross misconduct and imposed on him a P20,000.00
fine, with a warning that a more severe penalty would be imposed in case of
the same of similar act in the future.
In Atty. Adoniram P. Pamplona v. Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr.,[15] we
resolved to impose a P20,000.00 fine on Judge Limsiaco for gross ignorance
of the law and procedure, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same
or similar offense would be dealt with more severely. The Court also resolved
in the said case to re-docket, as a regular administrative case, the charge for
oppression and grave abuse of authority relative to Judge Limsiacos handling
of two criminal cases.
In Re: Withholding of Salary of Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr., etc.,[16] we
imposed a P5,000.00 fine, with warning, against Judge Limsiaco for his delay
in the submission of the monthly report of cases and for twice ignoring
the OCAs directive to explain the delay.
Moreover, in the recent case of Florenda Tobias v. Judge Manuel Q.
Limsiaco, Jr.,[17] where Judge Limsiaco was charged with corruption, the
Court found him liable for gross misconduct and imposed a fine in the
amount of P25,000.00.
Lastly, we also note the existence of two other administrative cases filed
against Judge Limsiaco that are presently pending with the Court. The first
case is Mario B. Tapinco v. Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr.,[18] where Judge
Limsiaco is charged with grave misconduct, obstruction of justice, and abuse
of authority in connection with his invalid issuance of an order for the
provisional release of an accused. The second case entitled Unauthorized
Hearings Conducted by Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr., MCTC, et al.,[19] is a
complaint charging Judge Limsiaco of violating the Courts Administrative
Circular No. 3, dated July 14, 1978 which prohibits the conduct of hearings in
another station without any authority from the Court.
We find that his conduct as a repeat offender exhibits his unworthiness to don
the judicial robes and merits a sanction heavier than what is provided by our
rules and jurisprudence. Under the circumstances, Judge Limsiaco should be

dismissed from the service. We, however, note that on May 17, 2009, Judge
Limsiaco has retired from judicial service. We also note that Judge Limsiaco
has not yet applied for his retirement benefits. Thus, in lieu of the penalty of
dismissal for his unethical conduct and gross inefficiency in performing his
duties as a member of the bench, we declare all his retirement benefits, except
accrued leave credits, forfeited. Furthermore, he is barred from reemployment in any branch or service of the government, including
government-owned and controlled corporations.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we find Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco, Jr.
administratively liable for unethical conduct and gross inefficiency under the
provisions of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, specifically, Sections 7 and 8
of Canon 1, and Section 5 of Canon 6. For these infractions,
we DECLARE all his retirement benefits, except accrued leave credits if
any, FORFEITED. He is likewise barred from re-employment in any branch
or service of the government, including government-owned and controlled
corporations.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
GAUDENCIO B. PANTILO III,
Complainant,

A.M. No. RTJ-1
[Formerly OCA
08-3056-RTJ]

- versus -

Present:

JUDGE VICTOR A. CANOY,
Respondent.

CORONA, C.J.,
VELASCO, JR.,
LEONARDO-DE
DEL CASTILLO
PEREZ, JJ.
Promulgated:

February 9, 2011
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION
VELASCO, JR., J.:
This administrative complaint against Judge Victor A. Canoy (Judge Canoy)
of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 29 in Surigao City stems from a
complaint filed by Gaudencio Pantilo III (Pantilo), charging Judge Canoy with
several counts of gross ignorance of the law and/or procedures, grave abuse of
authority, and appearance of impropriety (Canon 2, Code of Judicial
Conduct). Pantilo prays for Judge Canoys disbarment in relation to Criminal
Case No. 8072 for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide
entitled People of the Philippines v. Leonardo Luzon Melgazo.
The facts of the case, as gathered from the records, are as follows:
The complainant, Pantilo, the brother of the homicide victim in the abovementioned criminal case, recounts in his letter-complaint that, on September
3, 2008, at around 5 oclock in the afternoon, he, along with police officers
Ronald C. Perocho (Perocho) and Santiago B. Lamanilao, Jr. (Lamanilao),
acting as escorts of Leonardo Luzon Melgazo (Melgazo), the accused in
Criminal Case No. 8072, went to the City Prosecutors Office, Surigao City, to
attend the inquest proceedings.[1] Later, at around 8 oclock in the evening,
Pantilo was informed by Perocho that Melgazo had been released from
detention.[2]
The following day, September 4, 2008, Pantilo went to the Surigao City Police
Station to verify the information. Upon arriving there, Custodial Officer
Anecito T. Undangan told him that Melgazo had indeed been released at
around 6:30 p.m. on September 3, 2008, as shown in the Police Logbook of
Detention Prisoners and as authorized by Chief of Police Supt. Ramer Perlito
P. Perlas.[3] Further, the logbook showed that Melgazo was temporarily
released upon the order of Judge Canoy after he posted bail in the amount of

17
thirty thousand pesos (PhP 30,000), as evidenced by O.R. No. 0291794 dated
September 3, 2008.[4]
Pantilo proceeded to the Office of the Clerk of Court to request a copy of the
Information, only to find out that none had yet been filed by the Surigao City
Prosecutors Office.[5] Puzzled, he inquired from the City Prosecutors Office
the details surrounding the release of Melgazo. He learned that no Information
had yet been filed in Court that would serve as the basis for the approval of
the bail. Likewise, he also learned from the City Police Station that no written
Order of Release had been issued but only a verbal order directing the police
officers to release Melgazo from his detention cell.[6] One of the police
officers even said that Judge Canoy assured him that a written Order of
Release would be available the following day or on September 4, 2008 after
the Information is filed in Court.
On September 5, 2008, Melgazo filed a Motion for the Release of his
impounded vehicle as physical evidence pending the trial of the case.[7] The
motion was received by the Office of the Clerk of Court at 8:30 a.m. that day
and was subsequently raffled in the afternoon. In the Notice of Hearing of the
said motion, Melgazo prayed that it be heard on September 5, 2008 at 8:30
a.m. According to Pantilo, this clearly violated the rules which require that the
other party must be served a copy of the motion at least three (3) days before
the hearing.
Nevertheless, Judge Canoy issued an Order dated September 5, 2008,
directing Assistant City Prosecutor Robert Gonzaga (Prosecutor Gonzaga), the
prosecutor-in-charge of the case, to give his comment on the said motion
within three (3) days upon receipt of the Order. Three (3) days later,
Prosecutor Gonzaga submitted his comment. And despite his opposition,
Judge Canoy granted Melgazos motion.[8]
Subsequently, Pantilo filed a motion for inhibition of Judge Canoy which was
later denied.
Aggrieved, Pantilo filed a letter-complaint dated November 3, 2008 before the
Office of the Court Administrator charging Judge Canoy with (1) gross
ignorance of the law and procedures; (2) grave abuse of authority; and (3)
appearance of impropriety (Canon 2, Code of Judicial Conduct). Pantilo also
prays for Judge Canoys disbarment.
On January 5, 2009, the Court Administrator required respondent judge to
comment on the complaint within ten (10) days from receipt.
Accordingly, on February 5, 2009, Judge Canoy filed his comment, arguing
that the facts in this case were exceptional. In his comment, he admitted that
the inquest proceedings of Melgazo before Prosecutor Gonzaga concluded
around 5:00 p.m. on September 3, 2008, after which, Melgazo, with his
counsel, Atty. Cacel Azarcon, went to his office to post bail for Melgazos
provisional liberty.[9] He noted that because of the time, most of the clerks in
his office and the Office of the Clerk of Court had already gone home. Thus, it
was no longer possible to process the posting of bail and all the necessary
papers needed for the release of Melgazo.
Bearing in mind the constitutional right of the accused to bail and coupled
with the insistence of Melgazos counsel, Judge Canoy summoned Prosecutor
Gonzaga and inquired about the result of the inquest proceedings. Thereupon,
Prosecutor Gonzaga relayed to him that the charge against Melgazo was for
Reckless Imprudence with Homicide and the recommended bail bond was
thirty thousand pesos (PhP 30,000). However, since it was already past 5:00
p.m., Prosecutor Gonzaga claimed that he could no longer file the Information
and that it would have to be filed the next day.[10]
Despite all this, Judge Canoy informed Prosecutor Gonzaga that he would
allow Melgazo to post bail in the amount recommended. He then called Mrs.
Ruth O. Suriaga (Suriaga), Clerk IV, Office of the Clerk of Court,
RTC, Surigao City, to accept as deposit for bail the thirty thousand pesos (PhP
30,000) from Melgazo.[11] Likewise, he instructed Suriaga to earmark an
official receipt which would have to be dated the following day or September
4, 2008.
Accordingly, he summoned the escorting police officers, Perocho and
Lamanilao, and verbally ordered them to release Melgazo from detention. He
also said that the written order would be issued the following day.[12]

In his defense, Judge Canoy invokes the constitutional right of the accused to
bail and Section 17(c), Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
which does not require that a person be charged in court before he or she may
apply for bail.[13] To his mind, there was already a constructive bail given
that only the papers were needed to formalize it.[14] It would be unreasonable
and unjustifiable to further delay the release of the accused. Nevertheless, he
submits that if he would be faulted for such act, he does humbly concede but
he merely acted in accordance with what he deemed best for the moment x x
x.[15]
As to his Order dated September 8, 2008 directing the release of the vehicle
subject of the case, he contends that there was no deliberate intent to disregard
rules and procedure. In fact, he points out that the prosecution was given three
(3) days within which to file its comment on the motion of the accused. The
grounds raised by both parties were well taken into consideration, but he
found the grounds raised by Melgazo to be more reasonable and practical and,
hence, he granted the motion.
Similarly, he denied the motion for inhibition filed by Pantilo owing to the
absence of an express imprimatur of the prosecutor handling the case.
On February 9, 2009, Pantilo filed his Reply to the Comment arguing that
there is no such thing as constructive bail under the rules. He adds that, while
he does not dispute the accuseds right to post bail, the granting of such should
be in harmony with the rules, i.e., an application or motion to that effect and a
corresponding order from the court granting the motion.
On October 18, 2010, Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez issued his
evaluation and recommendation on the case. In his evaluation, the Court
Administrator found that respondent judge failed to comply with the
documents required by the rules to discharge an accused on bail. Further, the
Court Administrator noted that Judge Canoy also has another pending case
(but filed on a later date, September 3, 2009): OCA-IPI No. 09-3254-RTJ,
entitled Cristita Conjurado Vda. de Tolibas v. Judge Victor A. Canoy for Gross
Ignorance of the Law and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service.
Consequently, he recommended the following: (1) the instant complaint be redocketed as a regular administrative matter; and (2) Judge Canoy be fined
forty thousand pesos (PhP 40,000) with a stern warning that a commission of
similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely.
The Courts Ruling
We find the evaluation and recommendations of the Court Administrator wellfounded.
It is settled that an accused in a criminal case has the constitutional right to
bail,[16] more so in this case when the charge against Melgazo, Reckless
Imprudence Resulting in Homicide, is a non-capital offense. However, the
letter-complaint focuses on the manner of Melgazos release from detention.
Sec. 17, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure allows that any
person in custody who is not yet charged in court may apply for bail with any
court in the province, city or municipality where he is held. In the case at bar,
Melgazo did not file any application or petition for the grant of bail with the
Surigao City RTC, Branch 29. Despite the absence of any written application,
respondent judge verbally granted bail to Melgazo. This is a clear deviation
from the procedure laid down in Sec. 17 of Rule 114.
In addition to a written application for bail, Rule 114 of the Rules prescribes
other requirements for the release of the accused:
SEC. 14. Deposit of cash as bail.The accused or any person acting in his
behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue or
provincial, city, or municipal treasurer the amount of bail fixed by the court,
or recommended by the prosecutor who investigated or filed the case. Upon
submission of a proper certificate of deposit and a written undertaking
showing compliance with the requirements of section 2 of this Rule, the
accused shall be discharged from custody. The money deposited shall be
considered as bail and applied to the payment of fine and costs while the
excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the
deposit.

18
SEC. 2. Conditions of the bail; requirements.All kinds of bail are subject to
the following conditions:
(a) The undertaking shall be effective upon approval, and unless cancelled,
shall remain in form at all stages of the case until promulgation of the
judgment of the Regional Trial Court, irrespective of whether the case was
originally filed in or appealed to it;
(b) The accused shall appear before the proper court whenever required by the
court or these Rules;
(c) The failure of the accused to appear at the trial without justification and
despite due notice shall be deemed a waiver of his right to be present
thereat. In such case, the trial may proceed in absentia; and
(d) The bondsman shall surrender the accused to the court for execution of the
final execution.
The original papers shall state the full name and address of the accused, the
amount of the undertaking and the conditions required by this
section. Photographs (passport size) taken within the last six (6) months
showing the face, left and right profiles of the accused must be attached to the
bail.
In the case at bar, Melgazo or any person acting in his behalf did not deposit
the amount of bail recommended by Prosecutor Gonzaga with the nearest
collector of internal revenue or provincial, city or municipal treasurer. In clear
departure from Sec. 14 of Rule 114, Judge Canoy instead verbally ordered
Clerk IV Suriaga of the Surigao City RTC, Office of the Clerk of Court, to
accept the cash deposit as bail, to earmark an official receipt for the cash
deposit, and to date it the following day. Worse, respondent judge did not
require Melgazo to sign a written undertaking containing the conditions of the
bail under Sec. 2, Rule 114 to be complied with by Melgazo. Immediately
upon receipt by Suriaga of the cash deposit of PhP 30,000 from Melgazo,
Judge Canoy ordered the police escorts to release Melgazo without any
written order of release. In sum, there was no written application for bail, no
certificate of deposit from the BIR collector or provincial, city or municipal
treasurer, no written undertaking signed by Melgazo, and no written release
order.
As regards the insistence of Judge Canoy that such may be considered as
constructive bail, there is no such species of bail under the Rules. Despite the
noblest of reasons, the Rules of Court may not be ignored at will and at
random to the prejudice of the rights of another.
In BPI v. Court of Appeals, We underscored that procedural rules have their
own wholesome rationale in the orderly administration of justice. Justice has
to be administered according to the Rules in order to obviate arbitrariness,
caprice, or whimsicality.[17] In other words, [r]ules of procedure are intended
to ensure the orderly administration of justice and the protection of
substantive rights in judicial and extrajudicial proceedings.[18] In this case,
the reason of Judge Canoy is hardly persuasive enough to disregard the Rules.
[19]
From the foregoing, the Court finds Judge Canoy guilty of a less serious
charge of violation of Supreme Court rules, directives and circulars under Sec.
9, Rule 140 for which a fine of more than PhP 10,000 but not exceeding PhP
20,000 is the imposable penalty under Sec. 11(b), Rule 140 of the Rules of
Court. A fine of PhP 11,000 would be the appropriate penalty under the
circumstances of the case.
WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Victor A. Canoy is found GUILTY of
violation of Supreme Court rules, directives, and circulars. He is meted the
penalty of a FINE ofeleven thousand pesos (PhP 11,000). He is STERNLY
WARNED that a repetition of similar or analogous infractions in the future
shall be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. 139599. February 23, 2000]
ANICETO SABBUN MAGUDDATU and LAUREANA SABBUN
MAGUDDATU, petitioners, vs. Honorable COURT OF

APPEALS (FOURTH DIVISION) and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.
DECISION
KAPUNAN, J.:
For a human being who has been inside a prison cell, a bail
bond represents his only ticket to liberty, albeit provisional.
But the right to bail is not always a demandable right. In
certain instances, it is a matter of discretion. This discretion,
however, is not full and unfettered because the law and the
rules set the parameters for its proper exercise. Discretion is,
of course, a delicate thing and its abuse of such grave nature
would warrant intervention of this Court by way of the special
civil action for certiorari.
The primary issue in this case is whether or not under the
facts thereof petitioners are entitled to bail as a matter of
right or on the discretion of the trial court. Assuming it is a
matter of discretion, whether or not the trial court in denying
bail committed grave abuse of discretion.
The facts are well established:
Petitioners Aniceto Sabbun Maguddatu and Laureana Sabbun
Maguddatu, Atty. Teodoro Rubino, Antonio Sabbun Maguddatu
and several other "John Does" were charged
with murderbefore the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch
64, for the killing of Jose S. Pascual.
On October 23, 1985, petitioners filed a motion to be admitted
to bail on the ground that the prosecution's evidence is not
strong.
After partial trial on the merits, the trial court issued an order,
dated December 20, 1985, granting petitioners' motion for
bail and fixing the amount at P30,000.00 each. On the same
day, petitioners posted bail through AFISCO Insurance
Corporation.
On January 6, 1987, the AFISCO Insurance Corporation filed a
motion before the trial court praying for the cancellation of
petitioner's bail bond because of the latter's failure to renew
the same upon its expiration on December 20, 1986.[1] There
is no showing, however, of any action by the court on said
motion.
On January 2, 1998, the trial court convicted petitioners
Aniceto Sabbun Maguddatu and Laureana Sabbun Maguddatu,
together with Atty. Teodoro Rubino, of the crime
of Homicide and sentenced them to suffer an indeterminate
prison term of EIGHT (8) YEARS of PRISION MAYOR medium, as
minimum, to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS and EIGHT (8) months
of RECLUSION TEMPORAL medium, as maximum. The
judgment of conviction was promulgated in
absentia. Accordingly, on February 19, 1998, the trial court
issued an order for the immediate arrest of petitioners and
their commitment to the custody of proper authorities.
While remaining at large, petitioners, on February 27, 1998,
filed a Notice of Appeal from the order of conviction for
homicide with a motion to be granted provisional liberty under
the same bail bond pending appeal.[2]
The trial court does not appear to have resolved the motion
for bail pending appeal. Instead, it forwarded the records to
the Court of Appeals.
On January 8, 1999, public respondent Court of Appeals issued
a Resolution[3] which states, viz:
xxx
2. the accused-appellants to show cause within ten (10) days
from notice why their appeal should not be deemed
abandoned and accordingly dismissed for their failure to
submit themselves to the proper authorities and to the
jurisdiction of the court from which they seek relief in the
meantime that no bail has yet been approved for their
temporary liberty and, further considering that the approval of
the same is discretionary and not to be presumed (Herrera,
Remedial Law, v. VI-Criminal Procedure [1996], p. 611, citing,
People v. Patajo, G.R. No. 57718, November 20, 1998, En
Banc, Minute Resolution); and
3. in the meanwhile, the Station Commanders of the Manila
Police Station, Manila and the Makati Police Station, Makati

19
City to file a return of the Order of Arrest issued by the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Makati City on February 19,
1998 in Criminal Case No. 12010.
A Compliance and Motion, dated February 8, 1999,[4] filed by
petitioners explained their failure to submit to the proper
authorities, thus:
xxx
5. By way of comment and compliance therewith, the
undersigned counsel hereby manifests that accusedappellants are willing to submit themselves to the proper
authorities and to the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.
Further, it is manifested herein that the failure of accusedappellants to submit themselves to the proper authorities and
to the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court was due only to the
fact that, all the while, they were of the belief that
the Motion accompanying the above-mentioned Notice of
Appeal was already approved and granted by the court of
origin.
xxx
Despite the compliance and motion filed by petitioners, they
remained at large. On June 23, 1999, the Court of Appeals
issued the resolution under question denying petitioners'
application for bail and ordering their arrest. The dispositive
portion of said resolution reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court resolves, as it is hereby resolved, to:
(1) DENY accused-appellants application for bail and prayer
for recall of the Order of Arrest issued by the trial court below;
(2) ORDER the Station Commander of the Manila Police
Station to file a return of the order of arrest issued by the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Makati City on February 19,
1998 in Criminal Case No. 12010; and (3) ORDER the accusedappellants for the last time to submit to the jurisdiction of the
court with WARNING that failure to comply herewith within ten
(10) days from notice shall compel the Court to DISMISS the
appeal for failure to prosecute.
SO ORDERED.[5]
Aggrieved by the foregoing resolution, petitioners brought the
instant petition for certiorari with this Court on August 30,
1999, contending that the Court of Appeals committed grave
abuse of discretion in denying their application for bail and
their prayer to recall the order of arrest issued by the trial
court.
Pending resolution of the petition, the Court of Appeals issued
a resolution, dated September 08, 1999, which states:
For failure to submit to this court's jurisdiction pending appeal
and conformable with this Court's resolution of June 23, 1999
the appeal filed in this case is deemed ABANDONED and
DISMISSED pursuant to Section 8, Rule 128 (sic, should be
124), New Rules on Criminal Procedure.
The Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Makati City is hereby
ORDERED to issue warrants of arrest for the immediate
apprehension and service of sentence of accused ANICETO
SABBUN MAGUDDATU and LAUREANA SABBUN MAGUDDATU.
SO ORDERED.[6]
The Court of Appeals committed no error in denying
petitioners' plea to be granted bail.
The Constitution guarantees the right to bail of all the accused
except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion
perpetua when the evidence of guilt is strong.[7]
Sections 4, 5 and 7 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provide:
SEC. 4. Bail, a matter of right.- All persons in custody shall: (a)
before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities and
Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the
Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, be admitted to
bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or be
released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this Rule.
SEC. 5. Bail, when discretionary.- Upon conviction by the
Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by
death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on
application, may admit the accused to bail.

The court, in its discretion, may allow the accused to continue
on provisional liberty under the same bail bond during the
period to appeal subject to the consent of the bondsman.
If the court imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six
(6) years but not more than twenty (20) years, the accused
shall be denied bail, or his bail previously granted shall be
cancelled, upon a showing by the prosecution, with notice to
the accused, of the following or other similar circumstances:
(a) That the accused is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual
delinquent, or has committed the crime aggravated by the
circumstance of reiteration;
(b) That the accused is found to have previously escaped from
legal confinement, evaded sentence, or has violated the
conditions of his bail without valid justification;
(c) That the accused committed the offense while on
probation, parole, or under conditional pardon;
(d) That the circumstances of the accused or his case indicate
the probability of flight if released on bail; or
(e) That there is undue risk that during the pendency of the
appeal, the accused may commit another crime.
The appellate court may review the resolution of the Regional
Trial Court, on motion and with notice to the adverse party.
xxx
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, when evidence of
guilt is strong, shall be admitted to bail regardless of the
stage of the criminal prosecution.
Despite an order of arrest from the trial court and two
warnings from the Court of Appeals, petitioners had remained
at large. It is axiomatic that for one to be entitled to bail, he
should be in the custody of the law, or otherwise, deprived of
liberty. The purpose of bail is to secure one's release and it
would be incongruous to grant bail to one who is free.
[8] Petitioners' Compliance and Motion, dated February 08,
1999, came short of an unconditional submission to
respondent court's lawful order and to its jurisdiction.
The trial court correctly denied petitioners' motion that they
be allowed provisional liberty after their conviction, under
their respective bail bonds. Apart from the fact that they
were at large, Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as
amended by Supreme Court Administrative Circular 12-94,
provides that:
xxx
The Court, in its discretion, may allow the accused to continue
on provisional liberty under the same bail bond during
the period to appeal subject to the consent of the
bondsman.[9]
The bail bond that the accused previously posted can only be
used during the 15-day period to appeal (Rule 122) and not
during the entire period of appeal. This is consistent with
Section 2(a) of Rule 114 which provides that the bail "shall be
effective upon approval and remain in force at all stages of
the case, unless sooner cancelled, until the promulgation
of the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, irrespective
of whether the case was originally filed in or appealed to
it."[10] This amendment, introduced by SC Administrative
Circular 12-94 is a departure from the old rules which then
provided that bail shall be effective and remain in force at all
stages of the case until its full determination, and thus even
during the period of appeal. Moreover, under the present rule,
for the accused to continue his provisional liberty on the same
bail bond during the period to appeal, consent of the
bondsman is necessary. From the record, it appears that the
bondsman, AFISCO Insurance Corporation, filed a motion in
the trial court on January 06, 1987 for the cancellation of
petitioners' bail bond for the latter's failure to renew the same
upon its expiration.[11] Obtaining the consent of the
bondsman was, thus, foreclosed.
Pursuant to the same Section 5 of Rule 114, the accused may
be admitted to bail upon the court's discretion after conviction

20
by the RTC of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment. However, such bail shall be
denied or bail previously granted shall be cancelled if the
penalty imposed is imprisonment exceeding 6 years but not
more than 20 years if any one of the circumstances
enumerated in the third paragraph of Section 5 is present.[12]
From the records of the case, petitioners are not entitled to
bail. Firstly, petitioners violated the conditions of their bail.
Bail is defined as a security for the release of a person
conditioned upon his appearance before any court.[13] The
accused shall also appear before the proper court whenever
so required by the court or these Rules.[14] Petitioners' nonappearance during the promulgation of the trial court's
decision despite due notice and without justifiable reason, and
their continued non-submission to the proper authorities as
ordered by the Court of Appeals, constitute violations of the
conditions of their bail. Moreover, it appears that petitioners
failed to renew their expired bail bond,[15] as shown by a
Motion, dated January 06, 1987, filed by AFISCO Insurance
Corporation, praying for the cancellation of petitioners' bail
bond because of the latter's failure to renew the same upon
its expiration.[16]
The petitioners complain that they were not informed of the
date of promulgation of the decision of conviction in the trial
court and that their counsel of record abandoned them. Even
if we are to concede that these allegations are true,
petitioners still failed to surrender to the authorities despite
two orders to that effect by the Court of Appeals. Moreover,
petitioners had no cause to expect that their application for
bail would be granted as a matter of course precisely because
it is a matter of discretion. In fact, the filing of a notice of
appeal effectively deprived the trial court of jurisdiction to
entertain the motion for bail pending appeal because appeal
is perfected by the mere filing of such notice. It has been held
that trial courts would be well advised to leave the matter of
bail, after conviction for a lesser crime than the capital
offense originally charged, to the appellate court's sound
discretion.[17]
In any event, the instant petition has become moot. During
the pendency of the petition in this Court, the Court of
Appeals in a Resolution, dated September 08, 1999 dismissed
accused-appellant's appeal, thus:
For failure to submit to this Court's jurisdiction pending
appeal and conformable with this Court's resolution of June
23, 1999, the appeal filed in this case is deemed
ABANDONED and DISMISSED pursuant to Section 8, Rule
128,[18] New Rules on Criminal Procedure.
The Regional Trial Court, Branch 64, Makati City is
hereby ORDERED to issue warrants of arrest for the
immediate apprehension and service of sentence of accused
ANICETO SABBUN MAGUDDATU and LAUREANA SABBUN
MAGUDDATU.
SO ORDERED.[19]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present petition is
DISMISSED for lack of merit.
FIRST DIVISION
[A.M. No. MTJ-01-1376. January 23, 2002]
SPO1 EDUARDO CAEDA and SPO1 CHARLITO
DUERO, complainants, vs. HON. QUINTIN B. ALAAN,
ACTING PRESIDING JUDGE, MTCC, BRANCH 1, SURIGAO
CITY (PRESIDING JUDGE, TUBOD, ALEGRIA, SURIGAO
DEL NORTE), respondent.
RESOLUTION
PARDO, J.:
On July 4, 2001, SPO1 Eduardo Caeda and
SPO1 Charlito Duero filed with the Office of the Court
Administrator a complaint against Judge Quintin B. Alaan,
Acting Presiding Judge, MTCC, Branch 1, Surigao City for gross
misconduct, impropriety and bad faith.[1]
At or about 12:15 a. m. of May 13, 2001, while complainants
were at the Surigao Police Station to monitor election-related
incidents, a report regarding illegal discharge of firearms

reached their unit. A group of policemen, including
complainants, was dispatched to the scene.
Investigation showed that one of the suspects fired his gun to
threaten some errand boys of the LAKAS-NUCD Party who
were then posting election paraphernalia within the
vicinity.Thereafter, the suspects left on board a white
Mitsubishi Adventure bearing plate number GJA 467.
After a short chase, the complainants apprehended the
suspects. Suspect Ruperto Dequinio had in his possession an
unlicensed automatic rifle HPRFL, Daewoo, Caliber 5.56 with
serial number 100009. On the other hand, suspect
Joseph Pagalpagan, had an unlicensed 12-gauge shotgun with
no serial number.
Immediately thereafter, the police investigator filed a
complaint for violation of the Omnibus Election
Code Comelec Resolution No. 3328 with the Office of the City
Prosecutor, SurigaoCity docketed as IS No. 2001-199.[2]
At about 6:55 in the evening of the same day, the suspects
filed with respondent judge (in his house) an application for
bail.[3]
At around 8:10 p.m., Judge Quintin B. Alaan issued an
order[4] granting the application for bail and directing the
release of the suspects.
Complainants claimed that Judge Alaan is the husband of
Provincial Board Member Candidate
Regina Gatpolitnan Alaan[5] who was seeking re-election as an
official candidate of thePuwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) for
the provincial board of Surigao del Norte. Mrs. Alaan is a sister
of Rogelio Gatpolintan,[6] who was the official candidate of PMP
for municipal mayor of Mainit, Surigao del Norte. The suspects
were the personal bodyguards of outgoing governor
Francisco Matugas, who ran for Congress as the official
candidate of PMP for District II,Surigao del Norte.
Complainants averred that Judge Alaan should have inhibited
himself from hearing the petition for bail considering that his
favorable decision therein would benefit his wife or the
political party to which his wife and brother in law belong.
Respondent judge granted bail without requiring the Office of
the City Prosecutor to file its recommendation. Complainants
argued that this was a clear violation of Rule 114, Section 18
of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Further, the amount of bail at ten thousand pesos
(P10,000.00) was insufficient considering the gravity of the
offense committed by them and the possibility that the
suspects may jump bail.
In his comment, Judge Alaan stated that at around 6:55
p.m. Atty. Bayani S. Atup came to his residence and handed him
an application for bail of Ruperto Diquinio and JosephPagalpalan.
The two suspects had been detained since 1:25 a.m. (or about
18 hours) of that day at the Surigao City Police Station and that
no formal charges had been filed against them.
Finding the application for bail in due form and substance and
taking into account the suspects Constitutional right to bail,
Judge Alaan granted the application.
The judge argued that Rule 114, Section 18, Rules on Criminal
Procedure had been amended such that a recommendation
from the Office of the City Prosecutor is required only when
the applicant for bail was prosecuted for a crime the
imposable penalty of which is death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment.
The bail he fixed was reasonable considering that it was only
two thousand pesos P2,000.00 below the twelve thousand
pesos P12,000.00 bail fixed by the Regional Trial Court where
that case was subsequently filed.
The reference by complainants to the candidacies of his wife
and brother-in-law in the last elections had no relation
whatsoever to the exercise of his judicial duty of granting the
application for bail. The complaint was intended to harass
him. Complainants were policemen used by political
mandarins of Surigao.
On August 08 2001, complainants filed their reply claiming
that Judge Alaan misinterpreted Rule 114, Section 18 of the

21
Rules on Criminal Procedure. They maintained that even if bail
is a matter of right in non-capital cases, notice of application
for bail is still required to be given to the prosecutor even
though no charge has been filed in court.
They claimed that the judge was liable for gross misconduct
and impropriety for holding office and performing his function
as a judge at his residence when he received the application
for bail and granted the same at his residence at about 8:10
p.m. on a Sunday.
They denied that they were used as tools by political
mandarins in Surigao and claimed that the grant of bail would
definitely bolster and favor the candidacy of Mrs. Alaan as well
as the political party to which respondents wife and the
brother in law belong.
On September 10, 2001, the Court Administrator submitted
the following recommendation:
1. This complaint be FORMALLY DOCKETED as an
administrative case against Judge Quintin B. Alaan, Acting
Presiding Judge, MTCC, Branch 1, Surigao City;
2. Judge Quintin B. Alaan be FINED in the amount of Two
Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) with a WARNING that a repetition
of the same and similar act in the future will be dealt with
more severely.
True, the suspects have the right to apply for bail since the
charge of violation of the Omnibus Election Code is
a bailable offense. In this jurisdiction, however, before the
judge may grant applications for bail, whether bail is a matter
of right or discretion, the prosecutor must be given reasonable
notice of hearing or he must be asked to submit his
recommendation.[7]
The purpose for bail is to guarantee the appearance of the
accused at the trial,[8] or whenever so required by the court.
[9] Thus, the amount should be high enough to assure the
presence of the accused when required but not higher than is
reasonably calculated to fulfill this purpose.[10]
Considering that the alleged crime was committed to threaten
followers of a political party on the occasion of an election,
there is a high possibility that the accused would no longer be
around to answer the charges after the election. Thusly, the
release of the accused the day prior to the election on bail of
ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) is questionable. The judge
must consider the possibility that the accused may not appear
at the trial.
A bail application does not only involve the right of the
accused to temporary liberty, but likewise the right of the
State to protect the people and the peace of the community
from dangerous elements.[11]
We find that respondent judge acted with undue haste in
issuing the order granting bail. Judge Alaan reasoned that he
had to act on the petition for the sake of securing the prompt
release of the detained accused, who were then not charged
with any offense.
Yet, the records show that on May 13, 2001, SPO3 Raul
C. Commendador of the Surigao City Police Station filed a
complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor against the
suspects for violation of the Omnibus Election Code
and Comelec Resolution No. 3328.
The election scheduled for the following day is not an excuse
for the judge to be overzealous in acting on the suspects
application for bail. Rather, it should have been a cause for
him to be more cautious.
Judges are required not only to be impartial but also to appear
to be so, for appearance is an essential manifestation of
reality.[12] Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins
judges to avoid not just impropriety in their conduct but even
the mere appearance of impropriety.
They must conduct themselves in such a manner that they
give no ground for reproach.[13]
Judge Alaans acts have been less than circumspect. He should
have kept himself free from any appearance of impropriety
and endeavored to distance himself from any act liable to
create an impression of indecorum.

In Rallos, v. Judge Irineo Lee Gako, Jr., RTC Branch 5, Cebu City,
[14] we held that:
Judges must not only render just, correct and impartial
decisions, but must do so in a manner free of suspicion as to
their fairness, impartiality and integrity.
This reminder applies all the more sternly to municipal trial
court judges like respondent because they are the judicial
front-liners who have direct contact with the parties. They are
the embodiments of the peoples sense of justice. Thus, their
official conduct should be beyond reproach.[15]
Indeed, respondent must always bear in mind that:
A judicial office traces a line around his official as well as
personal conduct, a price one has to pay for occupying an
exalted position in the judiciary, beyond which he may not
freely venture. Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins
a judge to avoid not just impropriety in the performance of
judicial duties but in all his activities whether in his public or
private life. He must conduct himself in a manner that gives
no ground for reproach.[16]
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the Court finds
Judge Quintin B. Alaan liable for violation of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, and imposes on him a FINE of FIVE THOUSAND
PESOS (P5,000.00).He is further WARNED that a repetition of
the same or similar act would be dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
A.M. No. P-99-1302
February 28, 2001
JUDGE PLACIDO B. VALLARTA, MCTC, Cabiao-San Isidro
Nueva Ecija, complainant,
vs.
YOLANDA LOPEZ Vda. de BATOON, Clerk of Court, MCTC
Cabiao-San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, respondent.
QUISUMBING, J.:
In a letter-complaint1 dated September 04, 1996 addressed to
Deputy Court Administrator Bernardo P. Abesamis, Judge
Placido B. Vallarta, Presiding Judge, Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, Cabiao-San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, charged his Clerk of
Court, Yolanda Lopez Vda. de Batoon, with "Falsification and
Usurpation of Judicial Power."
Judge Vallarta alleged that while he was on official leave from
June 10 to June 11, 1996, respondent Clerk of Court caused
the preparation of an Order of Release2 dated June 10, 1996
in connection with Criminal Case No. 165-95, entitled People
of the Philippines vs. Felicisimo Magno, signed and issued the
duplicate original of the order of release aware that presiding
judge was on leave, could not sign the original order of
release, and without the cash bond for the release. On the
basis of said duplicate original order, the accused Felicisimo
Magno was released from police custody.1âwphi1.nêt
As a consequence of these acts, complainant claims he has
lost his trust and confidence on the respondent and requests
that she be placed on preventive suspension or be
temporarily transferred to another court pending the outcome
of this case.
Acting upon the recommendation of the Office of the Court
Administrator, the Court, in its resolution3 dated June 16,
1997, directed herein respondent to comment. In her
comment4 filed on July 23, 1997, respondent stated that the
complaint of Judge Vallarta against her has no truth as the
same was made by him merely to harass her. She claims that
from the start, Judge Vallarta orally instructed her to issue
orders with stamp mark "ORIGINAL SIGNED" whenever he was
not in the office, in cases where cash bonds with complete
supporting papers are filed.
In the case of accused Felicisimo Magno, he filed his cash
bond, complete with supporting documents so she issued the
duplicate copy with original signed on the strength of Judge
Vallarta's instructions. She further claims that the order
stamped "ORIGINAL SIGNED," did not prejudice Judge Vallarta.

22
Instead, she helped the judge and prevented accused Magno
from filing a case against the judge for failure to report for
work without leave of absence. She explains she had not
acted beyond her duties as Clerk of Court nor beyond the
order given to her by Judge Vallarta.
Meantime, Judge Vallarta, through a letter5 dated November
4, 1997, informed the Court that on August 27, 1997, Criminal
Case No. 7059, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Yolanda
Lopez Vda. de Batoon" for Falsification of Public Documents
was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Gapan, Nueva
Ecija, Branch 36.
In his reply,6 Judge Vallarta vehemently denied giving said
instructions to respondent because if it were true, he would
not have bothered filing the complaint. Moreover, such
instruction would be abandonment of his official duty. He
further suggests that respondent deserves no less than
dismissal from the service.
In her Rejoinder,7 respondent reiterated that complainant
judge authorized her to sign orders whenever he was absent.
Adding that at the time the questioned order was released,
the judge was absent a week before and a week after said
date.
In a Memorandum8 dated February 2, 1999, the Office of the
Court Administrator commented that the charge against
respondent was a very serious matter involving release of a
detained accused and recommended that the matter be
referred to Executive Judge Arturo Bernardo, Regional Trial
Court of Gapan, Nueva Ecija, for investigation, report and
recommendation within sixty (60) days from notice.
After several hearings and interviews, Judge Bernardo
reported,
But, undeniably, respondent Yolanda Lopez Vda. de Batoon
had encroached on the authority of Judge Placido Vallarta to
approve bail bond and to release accused from detention.
Indeed, the respondent is guilty of Gross Misconduct for her
failure to observe the proper decorum expected of her in the
performance of her duties as Clerk of Court.9
The investigating judge however, concluded that "there is no
showing that respondent acted with malice or for a valuable
consideration in releasing accused Felicisimo Magno thru the
questioned duplicate copy of the release order marked
ORIGINAL SIGNED."10 And considering also that this was the
first time respondent was charged administratively during her
entire twenty five (25) years in the judiciary, the investigating
judge recommended that respondent be meted out the
penalty of one (1) month suspension without pay.
We agree with the findings of the investigating judge that
respondent is administratively liable for the release of
accused Felicisimo Magno from the custody of the police
through the duplicate copy of the release order marked
"ORIGINAL SIGNED" without the original copy of the release
order signed by private complainant Judge Vallarta. However
we are unable to agree with the recommended administrative
sanction of one (1) month suspension without pay, which to us
is too harsh.
There is no question that respondent encroached on the
authority of Judge Placido Vallarta.
Section 5, Rule 136 of the Rules of Court, provides that –
In the absence of the judge, the clerk may perform all the
duties of the judge in receiving applications, petitions,
inventories, reports, and the issuance of all orders and notices
that follows as a matter of course under these rules, and may
also, when directed so to do by the judge, receive the
accounts of executors, administrators, guardians, trustees,
and receivers, and all evidence relating to them, or to the
settlement of the estates of deceased persons, or to
guardianships, trusteeships, or receiverships, and forthwith
transmit such reports, accounts and evidence to the judge,
together with his findings in relation to the same, if the judge
shall direct him to make findings and include the same in his
report.

We note that respondent was steadfast in her claim that she
was given oral instructions by the complainant to issue
release orders with stamp marked "ORIGINAL SIGNED" in
times when the judge was not in his court and when the
offense is bailable and the amount of bail has already been
fixed. The records of the instant case also show that a cash
bond in the amount of P3,000.00 receipted in the name of
Felicisimo Magno under O.R. No. 4887911 dated June 7, 1996
was actually posted, together with the affidavit of undertaking
dated June 7, 1996 and also the pictures of Felicisimo Magno.
However, the approval of the bail of an accused person and
the authority to order the release of a detained person is
purely a judicial function. The Clerk of Court, unlike a judicial
authority, has no power to order either the commitment or the
release on bail of person charged with penal offenses. The
Clerk of Court may release an order "upon the order of the
Judge" or "by authority of the Judge", but under no
circumstance should the clerk make it appear that the judge
signed the order when in fact, the judge did not.
However, the circumstances of this case do not point to a
predisposed insolence on respondent's part to undermine the
authority of the presiding judge. As found by the investigating
judge, it was more likely that respondent Yolanda Lopez Vda.
de Batoon was made to understand she had authority to do
what she did.
Without any showing of bad faith, malice nor corruption and
considering that this is the first time respondent was ever
charged administratively in twenty five years she has served
the judiciary, we are of the view that she may have been
moved only by her eargerness to perform her duty as
instructed.
WHEREFORE, a FINE of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) is
hereby imposed upon respondent with a stern warning that a
repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more
severely.1âwphi1.nêt
SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
RUPERTO A. AMBIL, JR.,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 17545

- versus SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondent.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
ALEXANDRINO R. APELADO, SR.,
Petitioner,

- versus -

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
Respondent.

G.R. No. 17548
Present:

CORONA, C.J.
Ch
CARPIO,
BERSAMIN,
DEL CASTILL
VILLARAMA,
Promulgated:
July 6, 2011

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Before us are two consolidated petitions for review on certiorari filed by
petitioner Ruperto A. Ambil, Jr.[1] and petitioner Alexandrino R. Apelado Sr.
[2] assailing the Decision[3] promulgated on September 16, 2005 and
Resolution[4] dated November 8, 2006 of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal
Case No. 25892.

23
The present controversy arose from a letter[5] of Atty. David B. Loste,
President of the Eastern Samar Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), to the Office of the Ombudsman, praying for an
investigation into the alleged transfer of then Mayor Francisco Adalim, an
accused in Criminal Case No. 10963 for murder, from the provincial jail of
Eastern Samar to the residence of petitioner, then Governor Ruperto A. Ambil,
Jr. In a Report[6] dated January 4, 1999, the National Bureau of Investigation
(NBI) recommended the filing of criminal charges against petitioner Ambil, Jr.
for violation of Section 3(e)[7] of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 3019, otherwise
known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as amended. On
September 22, 1999, the new President of the IBP, Eastern Samar Chapter,
informed the Ombudsman that the IBP is no longer interested in pursuing the
case against petitioners. Thus, he recommended the dismissal of the complaint
against petitioners.[8]
Nonetheless, in an Information[9] dated January 31, 2000, petitioners Ambil,
Jr. and Alexandrino R. Apelado, Sr. were charged with violation of Section
3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, together with SPO3 Felipe A. Balano. Upon
reinvestigation, the Office of the Ombudsman issued a
Memorandum[10] dated August 4, 2000, recommending the dismissal of the
complaint as regards Balano and the amendment of the Information to include
the charge of Delivering Prisoners from Jail under Article 156[11] of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, (RPC) against the remaining
accused. The Amended Information[12] reads:
That on or about the 6th day of September 1998, and for sometime prior [or]
subsequent thereto, [in] the Municipality of Borongan, Province of Eastern
Samar, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, [the]
above-named accused, Ruperto A. Ambil, Jr.[,] being then the Provincial
Governor of Eastern Samar, and Alexandrino R. Apelado, being then the
Provincial Warden of Eastern Samar, both having been public officers, duly
elected, appointed and qualified as such, committing the offense in relation to
office, conniving and confederating together and mutually helping x x x each
other, with deliberate intent, manifest partiality and evident bad faith, did then
and there wilfully, unlawfully and criminally order and cause the release from
the Provincial Jail of detention prisoner Mayor Francisco Adalim, accused in
Criminal Case No. 10963, for Murder, by virtue of a warrant of Arrest issued
by Honorable Arnulfo P. Bugtas, Presiding Judge, RTC-Branch 2, Borongan,
Eastern Samar, and thereafter placed said detention prisoner (Mayor Francisco
Adalim) under accused RUPERTO A. AMBIL, JR.s custody, by allowing said
Mayor Adalim to stay at accused Ambils residence for a period of Eighty-Five
(85) days, more or less which act was done without any court order, thus
accused in the performance of official functions had given unwarranted
benefits and advantage to detainee Mayor Francisco Adalim to the prejudice
of the government.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
BAIL BOND RECOMMENDED: P30,000.00 each.[13]
On arraignment, petitioners pleaded not guilty and posted bail.
At the pre-trial, petitioners admitted the allegations in the Information. They
reason, however, that Adalims transfer was justified considering the imminent
threats upon his person and the dangers posed by his detention at the
provincial jail. According to petitioners, Adalims sister, Atty. Juliana A.
Adalim-White, had sent numerous prisoners to the same jail where Mayor
Adalim was to be held.
Consequently, the prosecution no longer offered testimonial evidence and
rested its case after the admission of its documentary exhibits. Petitioners filed
a Motion for Leave to File Demurrer to Evidence with Reservation to Present
Evidence in Case of Denial[14] but the same was denied.
At the trial, petitioners presented three witnesses: petitioner Ambil, Jr., Atty.
Juliana A. Adalim-White and Mayor Francisco C. Adalim.
Petitioner Ambil, Jr. testified that he was the Governor of Eastern Samar from
1998 to 2001. According to him, it was upon the advice of Adalims lawyers
that he directed the transfer of Adalims detention to his home. He cites poor
security in the provincial jail as the primary reason for taking personal
custody of Adalim considering that the latter would be in the company of
inmates who were put away by his sister and guards identified with his
political opponents.[15]
For her part, Atty. White stated that she is the District Public Attorney of
Eastern Samar and the sister of Mayor Adalim. She recounted how Mayor
Adalim was arrested while they were attending a wedding in Sulat, Eastern
Samar, on September 6, 1998. According to Atty. White, she sought the
alternative custody of Gov. Ambil, Jr. after Provincial Warden and herein
petitioner Apelado, Sr. failed to guarantee the mayors safety.[16]
Meanwhile, Francisco Adalim introduced himself as the Mayor of Taft,
Eastern Samar. He confirmed his arrest on September 6, 1998 in connection
with a murder case filed against him in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of

Borongan, Eastern Samar. Adalim confirmed Atty. Whites account that he
spotted inmates who served as bodyguards for, or who are associated with, his
political rivals at the provincial jail. He also noticed a prisoner, Roman
Akyatan, gesture to him with a raised clenched fist. Sensing danger, he called
on his sister for help. Adalim admitted staying at Ambil, Jr.s residence for
almost three months before he posted bail after the charge against him was
downgraded to homicide.[17]
Petitioner Apelado, Sr. testified that he was the Provincial Jail Warden of
Eastern Samar. He recalls that on September 6, 1998, SPO3 Felipe Balano
fetched him at home to assist in the arrest of Mayor Adalim. Allegedly, Atty.
White was contesting the legality of Mayor Adalims arrest and arguing with
the jail guards against booking him for detention. At the provincial jail,
petitioner was confronted by Atty. White who informed him that he was under
the governor, in the latters capacity as a provincial jailer. Petitioner claims that
it is for this reason that he submitted to the governors order to relinquish
custody of Adalim.[18]
Further, petitioner Apelado, Sr. described the physical condition of the jail to
be dilapidated and undermanned. According to him, only two guards were
incharge of looking after 50 inmates. There were two cells in the jail, each
housing 25 inmates, while an isolation cell of 10 square meters was
unserviceable at the time. Also, there were several nipa huts within the
perimeter for use during conjugal visits.[19]
On September 16, 2005, the Sandiganbayan, First Division, promulgated the
assailed Decision[20] finding petitioners guilty of violating Section 3(e) of
R.A. No. 3019. The court ruled that in moving Adalim to a private residence,
petitioners have conspired to accord him unwarranted benefits in the form of
more comfortable quarters with access to television and other privileges that
other detainees do not enjoy. It stressed that under the Rules, no person under
detention by legal process shall be released or transferred except upon order of
the court or when he is admitted to bail.[21]
The Sandiganbayan brushed aside petitioners defense that Adalims transfer
was made to ensure his safety. It observed that petitioner Ambil, Jr. did not
personally verify any actual threat on Adalims life but relied simply on the
advice of Adalims lawyers. The Sandiganbayan also pointed out the
availability of an isolation cell and nipa huts within the 10-meter-high
perimeter fence of the jail which could have been used to separate Adalim
from other prisoners. Finally, it cited petitioner Ambil, Jr.s failure to turn over
Adalim despite advice from Assistant Secretary Jesus Ingeniero of the
Department of Interior and Local Government.
Consequently, the Sandiganbayan sentenced petitioner Ambil, Jr. to an
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for nine (9) years, eight (8) months
and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and four (4) months. In favor of
petitioner Apelado, Sr., the court appreciated the incomplete justifying
circumstance of obedience to a superior order and sentenced him to
imprisonment for six (6) years and one (1) month to nine (9) years and eight
(8) months.
Hence, the present petitions.
Petitioner Ambil, Jr. advances the following issues for our consideration:
I
WHETHER OR NOT SECTION 3(e) REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3019, AS
AMENDED, APPLIES TO PETITIONERS CASE BEFORE THE
SANDIGANBAYAN.
II
WHETHER OR NOT A PUBLIC OFFICER SUCH AS PETITIONER IS A
PRIVATE PARTY FOR PURPOSES OF SECTION 3(e), REPUBLIC ACT
NO. 3019, AS AMENDED.
III
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER ACTED WITH DELIBERATE
INTENT, MANIFEST PARTIALITY, EVIDENT BAD FAITH OR GROSS
INEXCUSABLE NEGLIGENCE IN THE CONTEXT OF SAID SECTION
3(e).
IV
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER AS PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR AND
JAILER UNDER SECTIONS 1730 AND 1733, ARTICLE III, CHAPTER 45
OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CODE OF 1917 AND SECTION 61,
CHAPTER V, REPUBLIC ACT 6975 HAS THE AUTHORITY TO TAKE
CUSTODY OF A DETENTION PRISONER.
V
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER IS ENTITLED TO THE JUSTIFYING
CIRCUMSTANCE OF FULFILLMENT OF A DUTY OR THE LAWFUL
EXERCISE OF A RIGHT OR OFFICE.
VI

24
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER SHOULD HAVE BEEN ACQUITTED
BECAUSE THE PROSECUTION EVIDENCE DID NOT ESTABLISH HIS
GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.[22]
For his part, petitioner Apelado, Sr. imputes the following errors on the
Sandiganbayan:
I
THERE WAS MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS AND/OR
MISAPPLICATION OF THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE IN
CONVICTING ACCUSED APELADO, EITHER AS PRINCIPAL OR IN
CONSPIRACY WITH HIS CO-ACCUSED AMBIL.
II
IN THE ABSENCE OF COMPETENT PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE
DOUBT OF CONSPIRACY BETWEEN ACCUSED AMBIL AND HEREIN
PETITIONER, THE LATTER SHOULD BE ACCORDED FULL CREDIT
FOR THE JUSTIFYING CIRCUMSTANCE UNDER PARAGRAPH 6,
ARTICLE 11 OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE.
III
THE COURT A QUOS BASIS IN CONVICTING BOTH ACCUSED AMBIL
AND HEREIN PETITIONER OF HAVING GIVEN MAYOR ADALIM
UNWARRANTED BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGE TO THE PREJUDICE x
x x OF THE GOVERNMENT IS, AT THE MOST, SPECULATIVE.[23]
The issues raised by petitioner Ambil, Jr. can be summed up into three: (1)
Whether he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 3(e), R.A.
No. 3019; (2) Whether a provincial governor has authority to take personal
custody of a detention prisoner; and (3) Whether he is entitled to the justifying
circumstance of fulfillment of duty under Article 11(5)[24] of the RPC.
Meanwhile, petitioner Apelado, Sr.s assignment of errors can be condensed
into two: (1) Whether he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating
Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019; and (2) Whether he is entitled to the justifying
circumstance of obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful
purpose under Article 11(6)[25] of the RPC.
Fundamentally, petitioner Ambil, Jr. argues that Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019
does not apply to his case because the provision contemplates only
transactions of a pecuniary nature. Since the law punishes a public officer who
extends unwarranted benefits to a private person, petitioner avers that he
cannot be held liable for extending a favor to Mayor Adalim, a public
officer. Further, he claims good faith in taking custody of the mayor pursuant
to his duty as a Provincial Jailer under the Administrative Code of
1917.Considering this, petitioner believes himself entitled to the justifying
circumstance of fulfillment of duty or lawful exercise of duty.
Petitioner Apelado, Sr., on the other hand, denies allegations of conspiracy
between him and petitioner Ambil, Jr. Petitioner Apelado, Sr. defends that he
was merely following the orders of a superior when he transferred the
detention of Adalim. As well, he invokes immunity from criminal liability.
For the State, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) points out the
absence of jurisprudence that restricts the application of Section 3(e), R.A.
No. 3019 to transactions of a pecuniary nature. The OSP explains that it is
enough to show that in performing their functions, petitioners have accorded
undue preference to Adalim for liability to attach under the provision. Further,
the OSP maintains that Adalim is deemed a private party for purposes of
applying Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 because the unwarranted benefit
redounded, not to his person as a mayor, but to his person as a detention
prisoner accused of murder. It suggests further that petitioners were motivated
by bad faith as evidenced by their refusal to turn over Adalim despite
instruction from Asst. Sec. Ingeniero. The OSP also reiterates petitioners lack
of authority to take custody of a detention prisoner without a court
order. Hence, it concludes that petitioners are not entitled to the benefit of any
justifying circumstance.
After a careful review of this case, the Court finds the present petitions bereft
of merit.
Petitioners were charged with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 or
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which provides:
Section. 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. - In addition to acts or
omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following
shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared
to be unlawful:
xxxx
(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or
giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in
the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial functions through
manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This
provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government
corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other
concessions.

In order to hold a person liable under this provision, the following elements
must concur: (1) the accused must be a public officer discharging
administrative, judicial or official functions; (2) he must have acted with
manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and (3)
his action caused any undue injury to any party, including the government, or
gave any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the
discharge of his functions.[26]
As to the first element, there is no question that petitioners are public officers
discharging official functions and that jurisdiction over them lay with the
Sandiganbayan.Jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over public officers charged
with violation of the Anti-Graft Law is provided under Section 4 of
Presidential Decree No. 1606,[27] as amended by R.A. No. 8249.[28] The
pertinent portions of Section 4, P.D. No. 1606, as amended, read as follows:
SEC. 4. Jurisdiction.The Sandiganbayan shall exercise exclusive original
jurisdiction in all cases involving:
a. Violations of Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, otherwise known as the
Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, Republic Act No. 1379, and Chapter II,
Section 2, Title VII, Book II of the Revised Penal Code, where one or more of
the accused are officials occupying the following positions in the government,
whether in a permanent, acting or interim capacity, at the time of the
commission of the offense:
(1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the positions of regional
director and higher, otherwise classified as Grade 27 and higher, of the
Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No.
6758), specifically including:
(a) Provincial governors, vice-governors, members of the sangguniang
panlalawigan and provincial treasurers, assessors, engineers and other
provincial department heads[;]
xxxx
In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions corresponding to
Salary Grade 27 or higher, as prescribed in the said Republic Act No. 6758, or
military and PNP officers mentioned above, exclusive original jurisdiction
thereof shall be vested in the proper regional trial court, metropolitan trial
court, municipal trial court, and municipal circuit trial court, as the case may
be, pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as provided in Batas Pambansa
Blg. 129, as amended.
xxxx
Thus, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over petitioner Ambil, Jr. is
beyond question. The same is true as regards petitioner Apelado, Sr. As to
him, a Certification[29] from the Provincial Government Department Head of
the HRMO shows that his position as Provincial Warden is classified as Salary
Grade 22. Nonetheless, it is only when none of the accused are occupying
positions corresponding to salary grade 27 or higher shall exclusive
jurisdiction be vested in the lower courts. Here, petitioner Apelado, Sr. was
charged as a co-principal with Governor Ambil, Jr., over whose position the
Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction. Accordingly, he was correctly tried jointly
with said public officer in the proper court which had exclusive original
jurisdiction over them the Sandiganbayan.
The second element, for its part, describes the three ways by which a violation
of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 may be committed, that is, through manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
In Sison v. People,[30] we defined partiality, bad faith and gross negligence as
follows:
Partiality is synonymous with bias which excites a disposition to see and
report matters as they are wished for rather than as they are. Bad faith does not
simply connote bad judgment or negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or
some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of sworn duty
through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud.
Gross negligence has been so defined as negligence characterized by the want
of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty
to act, not inadvertently but wilfully and intentionally with a conscious
indifference to consequences in so far as other persons may be affected. It is
the omission of that care which even inattentive and thoughtless men never
fail to take on their own property. x x x[31]
In this case, we find that petitioners displayed manifest partiality and evident
bad faith in transferring the detention of Mayor Adalim to petitioner Ambil,
Jr.s house. There is no merit to petitioner Ambil, Jr.s contention that he is
authorized to transfer the detention of prisoners by virtue of his power as the
Provincial Jailer of Eastern Samar.
Section 28 of the Local Government Code draws the extent of the power of
local chief executives over the units of the Philippine National Police within
their jurisdiction:
SEC. 28. Powers of Local Chief Executives over the Units of the Philippine
National Police.The extent of operational supervision and control of local

25
chief executives over the police force, fire protection unit, and jail
management personnel assigned in their respective jurisdictions shall be
governed by the provisions of Republic Act Numbered Sixty-nine hundred
seventy-five (R.A. No. 6975), otherwise known as The Department of the
Interior and Local Government Act of 1990, and the rules and regulations
issued pursuant thereto.
In particular, Section 61, Chapter 5 of R.A. No. 6975[32] on the Bureau of Jail
Management and Penology provides:
Sec. 61. Powers and Functions. - The Jail Bureau shall exercise supervision
and control over all city and municipal jails. The provincial jails shall be
supervised and controlled by the provincial government within its
jurisdiction, whose expenses shall be subsidized by the National Government
for not more than three (3) years after the effectivity of this Act.
The power of control is the power of an officer to alter or modify or set aside
what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to
substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter.[33] An officer in
control lays down the rules in the doing of an act. If they are not followed, he
may, in his discretion, order the act undone or re-done by his subordinate or he
may even decide to do it himself.[34]
On the other hand, the power of supervision means overseeing or the authority
of an officer to see to it that the subordinate officers perform their duties.
[35] If the subordinate officers fail or neglect to fulfill their duties, the official
may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their
duties. Essentially, the power of supervision means no more than the power of
ensuring that laws are faithfully executed, or that subordinate officers act
within the law.[36] The supervisor or superintendent merely sees to it that the
rules are followed, but he does not lay down the rules, nor does he have
discretion to modify or replace them.[37]
Significantly, it is the provincial government and not the governor alone
which has authority to exercise control and supervision over provincial
jails. In any case, neither of said powers authorizes the doing of acts beyond
the parameters set by law. On the contrary, subordinates must be enjoined to
act within the bounds of law. In the event that the subordinate performs an
act ultra vires, rules may be laid down on how the act should be done, but
always in conformity with the law.
In a desperate attempt to stretch the scope of his powers, petitioner Ambil, Jr.
cites Section 1731, Article III of the Administrative Code of 1917 on
Provincial jails in support.Section 1731 provides:
SEC. 1731. Provincial governor as keeper of jail.The governor of the
province shall be charged with the keeping of the provincial jail, and it
shall be his duty to administer the same in accordance with law and the
regulations prescribed for the government of provincial prisons. The
immediate custody and supervision of the jail may be committed to the care of
a jailer to be appointed by the provincial governor. The position of jailer shall
be regarded as within the unclassified civil service but may be filled in the
manner in which classified positions are filled, and if so filled, the appointee
shall be entitled to all the benefits and privileges of classified employees,
except that he shall hold office only during the term of office of the appointing
governor and until a successor in the office of the jailer is appointed and
qualified, unless sooner separated. The provincial governor shall, under the
direction of the provincial board and at the expense of the province,
supply proper food and clothing for the prisoners; though the provincial
board may, in its discretion, let the contract for the feeding of the prisoners to
some other person. (Emphasis supplied.)
This provision survived the advent of the Administrative Code of 1987. But
again, nowhere did said provision designate the provincial governor as the
provincial jailer, or even slightly suggest that he is empowered to take
personal custody of prisoners. What is clear from the cited provision is that
the provincial governors duty as a jail keeper is confined to the administration
of the jail and the procurement of food and clothing for the prisoners. After
all, administrative acts pertain only to those acts which are necessary to be
done to carry out legislative policies and purposes already declared by the
legislative body or such as are devolved upon it[38] by the
Constitution. Therefore, in the exercise of his administrative powers, the
governor can only enforce the law but not supplant it.
Besides, the only reference to a transfer of prisoners in said article is found in
Section 1737[39] under which prisoners may be turned over to the jail of the
neighboring province in case the provincial jail be insecure or insufficient to
accommodate all provincial prisoners. However, this provision has been
superseded by Section 3, Rule 114 of the RevisedRules of Criminal
Procedure, as amended. Section 3, Rule 114 provides:
SEC. 3. No release or transfer except on court order or bail.-No person under
detention by legal process shall be released or transferred except upon order of
the court or when he is admitted to bail.

Indubitably, the power to order the release or transfer of a person under
detention by legal process is vested in the court, not in the provincial
government, much less the governor.This was amply clarified by Asst. Sec.
Ingeniero in his communication[40] dated October 6, 1998 addressed to
petitioner Ambil, Jr. Asst. Sec. Ingeniero wrote:
06 October 1996
GOVERNOR RUPERTO AMBIL
Provincial Capitol
Borongan, Eastern Samar
Dear Sir:
This has reference to the letter of Atty. Edwin B. Docena, and the reports
earlier received by this Department, relative to your alleged action in taking
into custody Mayor Francisco Aising Adalim of Taft, that province, who has
been previously arrested by virtue by a warrant of arrest issued in Criminal
Case No. 10963.
If the report is true, it appears that your actuation is not in accord with the
provision of Section 3, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, which mandates that
an arrested person be delivered to the nearest police station or jail.
Moreover, invoking Section 61 of RA 6975 as legal basis in taking custody of
the accused municipal mayor is misplaced. Said section merely speaks of the
power of supervision vested unto the provincial governor over provincial jails.
It does not, definitely, include the power to take in custody any person in
detention.
In view of the foregoing, you are hereby enjoined to conduct yourself within
the bounds of law and to immediately deliver Mayor Adalim to the provincial
jail in order to avoid legal complications.
Please be guided accordingly.
Very truly yours,
(SGD.)
JESUS I. INGENIERO
Assistant Secretary
Still, petitioner Ambil, Jr. insisted on his supposed authority as a provincial
jailer. Said petitioners usurpation of the court's authority, not to mention his
open and willful defiance to official advice in order to accommodate a former
political party mate,[41] betray his unmistakable bias and the evident bad faith
that attended his actions.
Likewise amply established beyond reasonable doubt is the third element of
the crime. As mentioned above, in order to hold a person liable for violation
of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019, it is required that the act constituting the
offense consist of either (1) causing undue injury to any party, including the
government, or (2) giving any private party any unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference in the discharge by the accused of his official,
administrative or judicial functions.
In the case at hand, the Information specifically accused petitioners of giving
unwarranted benefits and advantage to Mayor Adalim, a public officer
charged with murder, by causing his release from prison and detaining him
instead at the house of petitioner Ambil, Jr. Petitioner Ambil, Jr. negates the
applicability of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019 in this case on two points. First,
Section 3(e) is not applicable to him allegedly because the last sentence
thereof provides that the provision shall apply to officers and employees of
offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses, permits
or other concessions and he is not such government officer or
employee. Second, the purported unwarranted benefit was accorded not to a
private party but to a public officer.
However, as regards his first contention, it appears that petitioner Ambil, Jr.
has obviously lost sight, if he is not altogether unaware, of our ruling
in Mejorada v. Sandiganbayan[42] where we held that a prosecution for
violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft Law will lie regardless of whether
or not the accused public officer is charged with the grant of licenses or
permits or other concessions. Following is an excerpt of what we said
in Mejorada,
Section 3 cited above enumerates in eleven subsections the corrupt practices
of any public officers (sic) declared unlawful. Its reference to any public
officer is without distinction or qualification and it specifies the acts declared
unlawful. We agree with the view adopted by the Solicitor General that the
last sentence of paragraph [Section 3] (e) is intended to make clear the

26
inclusion of officers and employees of officers (sic) or government
corporations which, under the ordinary concept of public officers may not
come within the term. It is a strained construction of the provision to read it
as applying exclusively to public officers charged with the duty of granting
licenses or permits or other concessions.[43] (Italics supplied.)
In the more recent case of Cruz v. Sandiganbayan,[44] we affirmed that a
prosecution for violation of said provision will lie regardless of whether the
accused public officer is charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other
concessions.[45]
Meanwhile, regarding petitioner Ambil, Jr.s second contention, Section 2(b) of
R.A. No. 3019 defines a public officer to include elective and appointive
officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the classified or
unclassified or exemption service receiving compensation, even nominal from
the government. Evidently, Mayor Adalim is one. But considering that Section
3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 punishes the giving by a public officer of unwarranted
benefits to a private party, does the fact that Mayor Adalim was the recipient
of such benefits take petitioners case beyond the ambit of said law?
We believe not.
In drafting the Anti-Graft Law, the lawmakers opted to use private party rather
than private person to describe the recipient of the unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference for a reason. The term party is a technical word
having a precise meaning in legal parlance[46] as distinguished from person
which, in general usage, refers to a human being.[47]Thus, a private person
simply pertains to one who is not a public officer. While a private party is
more comprehensive in scope to mean either a private person or a public
officer acting in a private capacity to protect his personal interest.
In the present case, when petitioners transferred Mayor Adalim from the
provincial jail and detained him at petitioner Ambil, Jr.s residence, they
accorded such privilege to Adalim, not in his official capacity as a mayor, but
as a detainee charged with murder. Thus, for purposes of applying the
provisions of Section 3(e), R.A. No. 3019, Adalim was a private party.
Moreover, in order to be found guilty under the second mode, it suffices that
the accused has given unjustified favor or benefit to another in the exercise of
his official, administrative or judicial functions.[48] The word unwarranted
means lacking adequate or official support; unjustified; unauthorized or
without justification or adequate reason.Advantage means a more favorable or
improved position or condition; benefit, profit or gain of any kind; benefit
from some course of action. Preference signifies priority or higher evaluation
or desirability; choice or estimation above another.[49]
Without a court order, petitioners transferred Adalim and detained him in a
place other than the provincial jail. The latter was housed in much more
comfortable quarters, provided better nourishment, was free to move about the
house and watch television. Petitioners readily extended these benefits to
Adalim on the mere representation of his lawyers that the mayors life would
be put in danger inside the provincial jail.
As the Sandiganbayan ruled, however, petitioners were unable to establish the
existence of any risk on Adalims safety. To be sure, the latter would not be
alone in having unfriendly company in lockup. Yet, even if we treat Akyatans
gesture of raising a closed fist at Adalim as a threat of aggression, the same
would still not constitute a special and compelling reason to warrant Adalims
detention outside the provincial jail. For one, there were nipa huts within the
perimeter fence of the jail which could have been used to separate Adalim
from the rest of the prisoners while the isolation cell was undergoing
repair. Anyhow, such repair could not have exceeded the 85 days that Adalim
stayed in petitioner Ambil, Jr.s house. More importantly, even if Adalim could
have proven the presence of an imminent peril on his person to petitioners, a
court order was still indispensable for his transfer.
The foregoing, indeed, negates the application of the justifying circumstances
claimed by petitioners.
Specifically, petitioner Ambil, Jr. invokes the justifying circumstance of
fulfillment of duty or lawful exercise of right or office. Under paragraph 5,
Article 11 of the RPC, any person who acts in the fulfillment of a duty or in
the lawful exercise of a right or office does not incur any criminal liability. In
order for this justifying circumstance to apply, two requisites must be
satisfied: (1) the accused acted in the performance of a duty or in the lawful
exercise of a right or office; and (2) the injury caused or the offense
committed be the necessary consequence of the due performance of duty or
the lawful exercise of such right or office.[50] Both requisites are lacking in
petitioner Ambil, Jr.s case.
As we have earlier determined, petitioner Ambil, Jr. exceeded his authority
when he ordered the transfer and detention of Adalim at his house. Needless to
state, the resulting violation of the Anti-Graft Law did not proceed from the
due performance of his duty or lawful exercise of his office.

In like manner, petitioner Apelado, Sr. invokes the justifying circumstance of
obedience to an order issued for some lawful purpose. Under paragraph 6,
Article 11 of the RPC, any person who acts in obedience to an order issued by
a superior for some lawful purpose does not incur any criminal liability. For
this justifying circumstance to apply, the following requisites must be present:
(1) an order has been issued by a superior; (2) such order must be for some
lawful purpose; and (3) the means used by the subordinate to carry out said
order is lawful.[51] Only the first requisite is present in this case.
While the order for Adalims transfer emanated from petitioner Ambil, Jr., who
was then Governor, neither said order nor the means employed by petitioner
Apelado, Sr. to carry it out was lawful. In his capacity as the Provincial Jail
Warden of Eastern Samar, petitioner Apelado, Sr. fetched Mayor Adalim at the
provincial jail and, unarmed with a court order, transported him to the house
of petitioner Ambil, Jr. This makes him liable as a principal by direct
participation under Article 17(1)[52] of the RPC.
An accepted badge of conspiracy is when the accused by their acts aimed at
the same object, one performing one part of and another performing another
so as to complete it with a view to the attainment of the same object, and their
acts although apparently independent were in fact concerted and cooperative,
indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrence
of sentiments.[53]
Conspiracy was sufficiently demonstrated by petitioner Apelado, Sr.s willful
cooperation in executing petitioner Ambil, Jr.s order to move Adalim from
jail, despite the absence of a court order. Petitioner Apelado, Sr., a law
graduate, cannot hide behind the cloak of ignorance of the law. The Rule
requiring a court order to transfer a person under detention by legal process is
elementary. Truth be told, even petitioner governor who is unschooled in the
intricacies of the law expressed reservations on his power to transfer
Adalim. All said, the concerted acts of petitioners Ambil, Jr. and Apelado, Sr.
resulting in the violation charged, makes them equally responsible as
conspirators.
As regards the penalty imposed upon petitioners, Section 9(a) of R.A. No.
3019 punishes a public officer or a private person who violates Section 3 of
R.A. No. 3019 with imprisonment for not less than six (6) years and one (1)
month to not more than fifteen (15) years and perpetual disqualification from
public office. Under Section 1 of theIndeterminate Sentence Law or Act No.
4103, as amended by Act No. 4225, if the offense is punished by a special law,
the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the
maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and
the minimum shall not be less than the minimum term prescribed by the same.
Thus, the penalty imposed by the Sandiganbayan upon petitioner Ambil, Jr. of
imprisonment for nine (9) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day to twelve
(12) years and four (4) months is in accord with law. As a co-principal without
the benefit of an incomplete justifying circumstance to his credit, petitioner
Apelado, Sr. shall suffer the same penalty.
WHEREFORE, the consolidated petitions are DENIED. The Decision of the
Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 25892 is AFFIRMED WITH
MODIFICATION. We find petitioners Ruperto A. Ambil, Jr. and Alexandrino R.
Apelado, Sr. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 3(e), R.A. No.
3019. Petitioner Alexandrino R. Apelado, Sr. is, likewise, sentenced to an
indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for nine (9) years, eight (8) months and one
(1) day to twelve (12) years and four (4) months.
With costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
Supreme Court
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
EDUARDO SAN MIGUEL, A.M. No. RTJ-03-1749
Complainant, [Formerly OCA IPI-01-1342-RTJ]
Present:
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,
- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CALLEJO, SR.,
CHICO-NAZARIO, and
NACHURA, JJ.
JUDGE BONIFACIO SANZ
MACEDA, Presiding Judge,

27
Regional Trial Court, Branch 275,
Las Pias City, Promulgated:
Respondent. April 4, 2007
x-------------------------------------------------x

dated September 17, 2001 while the Information for murder
was filed against complainant on September 14, 2001 or three
days earlier. Thus, the cancellation was in due course because
complainant was already detained for the non-bailable offense
of murder three days before the cancellation was ordered.

RESOLUTION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.

In the Agenda Report[4] dated September 17, 2002, the Office
of the Court Administrator (OCA) submitted its evaluation and
recommendation, to wit:

Before us is the Complaint-Affidavit[1] dated November 28,
2001 of Eduardo M. San Miguel (complainant) charging
Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda (respondent), Presiding Judge,
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 275, Las Pias City with
Gross Ignorance of the Law, Manifest Partiality, Gross
Misconduct, Grave Abuse of Authority, Evident Bad Faith and
Gross Inexcusable Negligence, relative to Criminal Case No.
00-0736, entitled People of the Philippines v. Eduardo M. San
Miguel and Socorro B. Osorio, for Violation of Section 15,
Article III, Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6425.[2]
Complainant was arrested for illegal sale, dispensation,
distribution and delivery of .50 grams
of methamphetamine hydrochloride, punishable
by prision correccional. He jumped bail. On May 10, 2001,
then Judge Florentino Alumbres issued a bench warrant and
canceled his bail bond in the amount of P60,000.00 and fixed
a new bail bond in the amount of P120,000.00. Complainant
was arrested on September 8, 2001. On September 12, 2001,
the state prosecutor filed a Motion to Cancel Recommended
Bail on the ground of reasonable belief and indications
pointing to the probability that accused is seriously
considering flight from prosecution. The Motion was set for
hearing on September 19, 2001. On September 17, 2001,
complainant filed an Opposition to the Motion. On the same
day, or two (2) days before the scheduled hearing, respondent
issued an Order granting the Motion. During the hearing
of September 19, 2001, respondent opted to consider
complainants Opposition as a motion for reconsideration and
merely ordered the prosecutor to file a reply
thereto. On November 21, 2001, respondent issued an Order
clarifying his Order of September 17, 2001.
Complainant comes to this Court alleging that his right to
procedural due process was gravely violated when respondent
issued the September 17, 2001 Order without giving him the
opportunity to comment on the same. The issuance of the
September 17, 2001 Order shows respondent's gross
ignorance of the law as the offense charged is neither a
capital offense nor punishable by reclusion perpetua. His right
to bail is not a mere privilege but a constitutionally
guaranteed right that cannot be defeated by any
order. Clearly, the intendment of the September 17, 2001
Order was to deny him of his constitutional right to bail. The
issuance of the November 21, 2001 Order that only the bail
recommended by the prosecutor was considered withdrawn
did not relieve the respondent of any liability.
In his Comment[3] dated March 8, 2002, respondent
explained that the motion to cancel the prosecutor's
recommended bail in Crim. Case No. 00-0736 did not need
any hearing because the court could act upon it without
prejudicing the rights of the adverse party. When he canceled
the bail, the cancellation referred to the P60,000.00 and not
theP120,000.00 bail fixed by Judge Alumbres. The September
17, 2001 Order canceling the bail does not speak of the
cancellation of the P120,000.00 bail and the same was
reaffirmed in a subsequent Order on November 21, 2001. The
right of complainant to be heard in the motion to withdraw
bail was never violated nor his right to bail impaired.
Complainant could have posted the P120,000.00 bail fixed by
Judge Alumbres or could have seasonably moved for the lifting
of the warrant, but he did not. The Order of cancellation is

EVALUATION: The complaint is meritorious.
The complainant is correct in saying that the order
dated September 17, 2001 of respondent denied him his right
to bail. This order was issued upon motion of the prosecution
which motion was quite explicit of what was sought to be
cancelled. The motion in part reads:
xxx
2.
In the said warrant of arrest the Honorable Court
recommended bail in the amount of P120,000.00 to secure
the provisional release of the accused. Undersigned most
respectfully moves for the cancellation of this recommended
bail amount due to the actuations of both accused towards
the authority of this Honorable Court.
xxx
PRAYER
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully
prayed that the allowance for bail granted to the accused to
secure their provisional liberty provided in the Warrant of
Arrest dated May 10, 2001 be CANCELLED as there is
reasonable ground to believe and all indication, point to the
probability, that both accused are seriously considering flight
from the prosecution of the instant case. x x x
It is thus clear that what the prosecution prayed for was the
cancellation of the bail of P120,000.00 set by
Judge Alumbres in his Warrant of Arrest dated May 10,
2001. This necessarily meant that the prosecution wanted
complainant to remain in jail without bail. Hence, when
respondent granted the motion in his order dated September
17, 2001, he in effect denied complainant his right to bail. It
can not be denied that since complainant was charged with an
offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua and life
imprisonment and since he has not yet been convicted, bail in
his case is still a matter of right. (Section 4, Rule 114, Rules of
Court) This is true notwithstanding the fact that he previously
jumped bail. In such a case, respondent should have
increased the amount of bail or set certain conditions to
ensure complainant's presence during the trial, but he can not
deny altogether complainant's right to bail.
xxx
In order to prove his point that he never intended to deny
respondent his right to bail, respondent used as example
Socorro Osorio, the other co-accused, who was able to gain
her provisional liberty by posting a bail of P120,000.00. This is
untenable. Ms. Osorio was able to post bail only on November
26, 2001 (Rollo, p. 5) or five (5) days after respondent issued
his clarificatoryorder of November 21, 2001. It is important to
recall that the first order of respondent, that dated September
17, 2001, gave the clear impression that bail has been
cancelled and from that date up to the time he issued the
order dated November 21, 2001 clarifying his position, or a
period of two (2) months, complainant stayed in jail because
he has lost his right to bail as a result of the patently
erroneous and illegal order of respondent Judge. Hence,
respondent is liable for gross ignorance of the law for having

28
denied complainant's right to bail in a case where bail was a
matter of right. Besides, the prosecution's motion was granted
two (2) days before the scheduled date of hearing thereby
depriving the accused of his right to due process.
RECOMMENDATION: Respectfully submitted for the
consideration of the Honorable Court our recommendations
that the instant complaint be RE-DOCKETED as a regular
administrative matter and respondent be FINED in the
amount of P5,000.00 with a WARNING that commission of a
similar offense in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
[5]
In the Resolution of November 27, 2002, the Court required
the parties to manifest if they were willing to submit the case
for resolution on the basis of the pleadings. Difficulties were
encountered in notifying the parties.
Finally, on September 18, 2006, respondent manifested his
willingness to submit the case for resolution based on the
pleadings.
In its undated Letter-Reply,[6] the Postmaster of
Las Pias informed the Court that the letter addressed to
complainant under Registry No. 59265 dated June 23,
2005 was returnedunserved with the notation RTS-Deceased.
Thus, in the Resolution of January 29, 2007, the Court deemed
the case submitted for resolution.
The Court agrees with the findings and recommendations of
the OCA.
Section 13, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides:
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.
Section 4, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure
provides that before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of
an offense not punishable by death, reclusionperpetua, or life
imprisonment, all persons in custody shall be admitted to bail
as a matter of right.
Records show that complainant was charged with violation of
Section 15, Article III of R.A. No. 6425 which is punishable
by prision correccional. Following the provisions of the
Constitution and the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,
complainant is entitled to bail as a matter of right.
Records show that the prosecutor's Motion to Cancel
Recommended Bail was very precise in its prayer, i.e., that
the allowance for bail granted to the accused to secure his
provisional liberty provided in the Warrant of Arrest
dated May 10, 2001 be canceled as there is reasonable
ground to believe and all indications point to the probability
that accused is seriously considering flight from the
prosecution of the case.
Two days before the scheduled date of hearing of the
prosecutors Motion, respondent issued the Order
dated September 17, 2001, to wit:
ORDER
Considering the allegations in the Motion to Cancel
Recommended Bail filed by the State Prosecutor that both
accused are considering flight, especially accused San Miguel
who is facing a number of grave criminal charges, and the

probability of the accused jumping bail is very high to warrant
the cancellation of the recommended bail, and it appearing
that the accused x x xjumped bail on May 10, 2001, the
x x x motion is GRANTED. The bail recommended xxx is
considered withdrawn.
SO ORDERED.[7]
However, respondent continued with the hearing
on September 19, 2001. He considered the Opposition to the
Motion as a motion for reconsideration of the assailed Order
granting the withdrawal by the prosecution of the
recommended bail.[8] This may have rectified the mistake
committed by respondent as the latter took into consideration
that the accused has a right to due process as much as the
State;[9] but then, no evidence was adduced to prove that
complainant was seriously considering flight from prosecution,
which was very critical to the granting or denial of the motion
of the prosecution to cancel bail.
In his Order dated November 21, 2001, to wit:
ORDER
The question is whether or not the increased bail
of P120,000.00 fixed by x x x Hon. Florentino M. Alumbres, in
the Warrant of Arrest he issued on May 10, 2001 x x x was
also withdrawn by the Order dated September 17,
2001 granting the prosecution's withdrawal of its
recommended bail.
The answer is in the negative.
On September 19, 2001 Atty. Sebrio xxx manifested that
x x x the bail fixed by Judge Alumbres was not affected by the
withdrawal of the prosecution's recommended bail. That is
correct. Any of the accused, therefore, could have applied for
bail thereunder. They could have even moved for the lifting of
the warrant dated May 10. But, they did not.
It is clear from the [September] 17 Order that only the bail
recommended by the prosecutor was considered
withdrawn. Such Order does not speak of cancellation of
the P120,000.00 bail fixed by the former Presiding Judge x x x.
SO ORDERED.[10]
respondent clarified that the bail fixed by Judge Alumbres was
not affected by the withdrawal of the prosecution's
recommended bail; only the bail recommended by the
prosecutor in the amount of P60,000.00 was considered
withdrawn in the Order of September 17, 2001. This belated
order cannot exonerate respondent from liability. The bail in
the amount of P60,000.00 was already forfeited as a
consequence of complainant's jumping bail.[11] How then can
respondent claim that he merely canceled the recommended
bail of P60,000.00 when the same had already been
forfeited? The only recommended bail that remains subject of
the Motion of the prosecutor is the increased bail in the
amount of P120,000.00. Thus, there remains no other
conclusion except that respondent canceled the
recommended bail in the increased amount
of P120,000.00. The Order of September 17, 2001 effectively
deprived complainant of his constitutional right to bail when it
was issued two days before the scheduled hearing
on September 19, 2001.
The OCA was right in observing that it was a mere
afterthought on the part of respondent in issuing
the clarificatory Order, for how can the latter cancel
the P60,000.00 bail when the same was already forfeited as a
consequence of complainant's jumping bail?

29
And even granting for the sake of argument that complainant
was also charged with the crime of murder on September 14,
2001, or three days before the Order of cancellation was
issued, respondent failed to consider that what was being
prayed for by the prosecutor was the cancellation of the
recommended bail for violation of R.A. No. 6425 and not that
of the crime of murder.
Respondent's asseveration that the cancellation of the bail
without due hearing was justified considering that
complainant was already detained for the non-bailable offense
of murder three days before the cancellation was ordered, is
misplaced.
As we opined in Andres v. Beltran,[12] it is a misconception
that when an accused is charged with the crime of murder, he
is not entitled to bail at all or that the crime of murder is nonbailable. The grant of bail to an accused charged with an
offense that carries with it the penalty
of reclusion perpetua x x x is discretionary on the part of the
trial court. In other words, accused is still entitled to bail but
no longer "as a matter of right." Instead, it is discretionary
and calls for a judicial determination that the evidence of guilt
is not strong in order to grant bail. The prosecution is
accorded ample opportunity to present evidence because by
the very nature of deciding applications for bail, it is on the
basis of such evidence that judicial discretion is weighed in
determining whether the guilt of the accused is strong.[13]
As we held in Sy Guan v. Amparo,[14] where bail is a matter
of right and prior absconding and forfeiture is not excepted
from such right, bail must be allowed irrespective of such
circumstance. The existence of a high degree of
probability that the defendant will abscond confers
upon the court no greater discretion than to increase
the bond to such an amount as would reasonably tend to
assure the presence of the defendant when it is wanted, such
amount to be subject, of course, to the other provision that
excessive bail shall not be required.[15]
Upon review of the TSN of the September 19, 2001 hearing,
we find that the prosecutor failed to adduce evidence that
there exists a high probability of accused's jumping bail that
would warrant the cancellation of the recommended bail
bond. Following then the above ratiocination, respondent's
only recourse is to fix a higher amount of bail and not cancel
the P120,000.00 bail fixed by Judge Alumbres.
Well-entrenched is the rule that a partys remedy, if prejudiced
by the orders of a judge given in the course of a trial, is the
proper reviewing court, and not with the OCA by means of an
administrative complaint.[16] As a matter of policy, in the
absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge
in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action
even though such acts are erroneous.[17] A judge may not be
disciplined for error of judgment unless there is proof that the
error is made with a conscious and deliberate intent to
commit an injustice. Thus, as a matter of public policy, not
every error or mistake of a judge in the performance of his
official duties makes him liabletherefor.[18] The Court has to
be shown acts or conduct of the judge clearly indicative of
arbitrariness or prejudice before the latter can be branded the
stigma of being biased and partial. To hold otherwise would be
to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to
try the facts or interpret the law in the process of
administering justice can be infallible in his judgment.[19]
For liability to attach for ignorance of the law, the assailed
order of a judge must not only be erroneous; more important,
it must be motivated by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred or some
other similar motive.[20] Complainant, having failed to
present positive evidence to show that respondent judge was

so motivated in granting the Motion without hearing, can not
be held guilty of gross ignorance of the law.
Anent the allegation that complainant was deprived of his
right to due process, we find the same meritorious.
Sec. 1, Article III of the Constitution provides that no person
shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due
process of law.
Respondent's issuance of the September 17, 2001 Order two
days prior to the scheduled hearing without considering
complainant's Opposition to the Motion, effectively deprived
the latter of his constitutional right to due process. As above
stated, during the September 19, 2001 hearing, respondent
considered the Opposition to the Motion as a motion for
reconsideration of the assailed Order, albeit, the prosecutor
was merely ordered to file its reply thereto without adducing
evidence to prove the high probability that complainant will
jump bail.
Respondent's issuance of the assailed Order before the
scheduled hearing is premature and is tantamount to
misconduct. Thus, we find respondent guilty of simple
misconduct.Misconduct is defined as any unlawful conduct on
the part of a person concerned in the administration of justice
prejudicial to the rights of parties or to the right determination
of the cause.[21] It generally means wrongful, improper or
unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate or
intentional purpose. Respondent may not be held guilty of
gross misconduct because the term gross connotes something
out of all measure; beyond allowance; not to be excused;
flagrant; shameful.[22] In this case, complainant was not able
to post bail because there is no other way for a lay man to
interpret the assailed Order except that it effectively canceled
the bail bond fixed by Judge Alumbres, thereby depriving him
of his right to temporary liberty as a result of respondent's
erroneous Order.
WHEREFORE, Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda, RTC, Branch
275, Las Pias City is found GUILTY of simple misconduct
and FINED in the amount of P5,000.00 with aWARNING that
a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be
dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.

30

that the law amount to an unlawful deprivation
of the State’s ownership over lands of the
public domain as well as minerals and other
natural resources therein, in violation of the
regalian doctrine embodied in Section 2, Article
XII of the Constitution. The IPRA law basically
enumerates the rights of the indigenous
peoples over ancestral domains which may
include natural resources.
In addition, Cruz et al contend that, by
providing for an all-encompassing definition of
“ancestral domains” and “ancestral lands”
which might even include private lands found
within said areas, Sections 3(a) and 3(b) of
said law also violate the rights of private
landowners.
ISSUE: Whether or not the IPRA law is
unconstitutional.

347 SCRA 128 (400 Phil 904) – Civil Law –
Land Titles and Deeds – IPRA Law vis a vis
Regalian Doctrine
Former Justice Isagani Cruz, a noted
constitutionalist, assailed the validity of
theRepublic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous
People’s Rights Act (IPRA Law) on the ground

HELD: The Supreme Court deliberated upon
the matter. After deliberation they voted and
reached a 7-7 vote. They deliberated again and
the same result transpired. Since there was no
majority vote, Cruz’s petition was dismissed
and the constitutionality of the IPRA law was
sustained. Hence, ancestral domains may
include public domain – somehow against the
regalian doctrine.

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