Bail (Rule 114) Nature
(1) 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 (Sec. 13, Art. III, The Constitution).
(2) Bail is the security given for the release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before any court as required under the conditions hereinafter specified. Bail may be given in the form of corporate surety, property bond, cash deposit, or recognizance (Sec. 1).
(3) Bail is the security required by the court and given by the accused to ensure that the accused appear before the proper court at the scheduled time and place to answer the charges brought against him. It is awarded to the accused to honor the presumption of innocence until his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt, and to enable him to prepare his defense without being subject to punishment prior to conviction (Cortes vs. Catral, 279 SCRA 1. Its main purpose is to relieve an accused from the rigors of imprisonment until his conviction and secure his appearance at the trial (Paderanga vs. CA, 247 SCRA 741).
(4) The person seeking provisional release need not wait for a formal complaint or information to be filed against him as it is available to all persons where the offense is bailable, so long as the applicant is in the custody of the law (Paderanga vs. CA, 247 SCRA 741).
(5) Kinds of bail:
(a)Corporate bond — one issued by a corporation licensed to provide bail subscribed jointly by the accused and an officer duly authorized by its board of directors (Sec. 10).
(b)Property bond — an undertaking constituted as a lien on the real property given as security for the amount of the bond (Sec. 11).
(c)Recognizance — an obligation of record entered into usually by the responsible members of the community before some court or magistrate duly authorized to take it, with the condition to do some particular act, the most usual act being to assure the appearance of the accused for trial (People vs. Abner, 87 Phil. 566).
(d)Cash deposit — the money deposited by the accused or any person acting on his behalf, with the nearest collector of internal revenue, or provincial, city or municipal treasurer. Considered as bail, it may be applied to the payment of any fees and costs, and the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the deposit (Sec. 14).
When a matter of right; exceptions
(1) All persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this Rule (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or 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 (Sec. 4, Rule 114).
(2) If bail can be granted in deportation cases, we see no justification why it should not also be allowed in extradition cases. After all, both are administrative proccedings where the innocence or guilt of the person detained is not in issue (Govt. of Hongkong vs. Olalia, GR 153675, April 19, 2007).
(3) Bail is a matter of right before final conviction, but the rule is not absolute. The exception is when a person is charged with a capital offense when the evidence of guilt is strong, or when the offense for which on is charged is punishable by reclusion perpetua. The exception to this rule, however, is even if a person is charged with a capital offense where the evidence of guilt is strong, if the accused has failing health, hence, for humanitarian reasons, he may be admitted to bail, but that is discretionary on the part of the court (De La Ramos vs. People‘s Court, 77 Phil. 461; Catiis vs. CA, 487 SCRA 71).
When a matter of discretion
(1) 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 under 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 (Sec. 5, Rule 114).
(2)Where the grant of bail is a matter of discretion, or the accused seeks to be released on recognizance, the application may only be filed in the court where the case is pending, whether on preliminary investigation, trial, or on appeal (Sec. 17[a]).
(3)The discretion lies in the determination of whether the evidence of guilt is strong. If it is determined that it is not strong, then bail is a matter of right. There is no more discretion of the court in denying the bail, the moment there is a determination that the evidence of guilt is not strong.
Hearing of application for bail in capital offenses
(1) A bail application in capital offense 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. Accordingly, the prosecution must be given ample opportunity to show that the evidence of guilt is strong, because, by the very nature of deciding applications for bail, it is on the basis of such evidence that judicial discretion is exercised in determining whether the evidence of guilt is strong is a matter of judicial discretion. Though not absolute nor beyond control, the discretion within reasonable bounds (People vs. Antona, GR 137681, Jan. 31, 2002).
(2) A hearing in an application for bail is absolutely indispensable before a judge can properly determine whether the prosecution‘s evidence is weak or strong. In receiving evidence on bail, while a court is not required to try the merits of the case, he must nevertheless conduct a summary hearing which is ―such brief and speedy method of receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the purpose of the hearing which is to determine the weight of the evidence for purposes of the bail (In re complaint against Judge Elma, AM RTJ-94-1183, Feb. 8, 1994).
(3) A judge should not hear a petition for bail in capital offenses on the same day that the petition was filed. He should give the prosecution a reasonable time within which to oppose the same. Neither is he supposed to grant bail solely on the belief that the accused will not flee during the pendency of the case by reason of the fact that he had even voluntarily surrendered to the authorities. Voluntary surrender is merely a mitigating circumstance in decreasing the penalty that may eventually be imposed upon the accused in case of conviction but is not a ground for granting bail to an accused charged with a capital offense (Sule vs. Judge Bitgeng, 60 SCAD 341,April 18, 1995).
Guidelines in fixing amount of bail
(1) The judge who issued the warrant or granted the application shall fix a reasonable amount of bail considering primarily, but not limited to, the following factors:
(a) Financial ability of the accused to give bail;
(b) Nature and circumstances of the offense;
(c) Penalty for the offense charged;
(d) Character and reputation of the accused;
(e) Age and health of the accused;
(f) Weight of the evidence against the accused;
(g) Probability of the accused appearing at the trial;
(h) Forfeiture of other bail;
(i) The fact that the accused was a fugitive from justice when arrested; and
(j) Pendency of other cases where the accused is on bail. Excessive bail shall not be required (Sec. 9).
Bail when not required
(1)No bail shall be required when the law or these Rules so provide.
When a person has been in custody for a period equal to or more than the possible maximum imprisonment prescribed for the offense charged, he shall be released immediately, without prejudice to the continuation of the trial or the proceedings on appeal. If the maximum penalty to which the accused may be sentenced is destierro, he shall be released after thirty (30) days of preventive imprisonment.
A person in custody for a period equal to or more than the minimum of the principal penalty prescribed for the offense charged, without application of the Indeterminate Sentence Law or any modifying circumstance, shall be released on a reduced bail or on his own recognizance, at the discretion of the court (Sec. 16).
Increase or Reduction of Bail
(1)After the accused is admitted to bail, the court may, upon good cause, either increase or reduce its amount. When increased, the accused may be committed to custody if he does not give bail in the increased amount within a reasonable period. An accused held to answer a criminal charge, who is released without bail upon filing of the complaint or information, may, at any subsequent stage of the proceedings whenever a strong showing of guilt appears to the court, be required to give bail in the amount fixed, or in lieu thereof, committed to custody (Sec. 20).
Forfeiture and Cancellation of bail
(1) When the presence of the accused is required by the court or these Rules, his bondsmen shall be notified to produce him before the court on a given date and time. If the accused fails to appear in person as required, his bail shall be declared forfeited and the bondsmen given thirty (30) days within which to produce their principal and to show cause why no judgment should be rendered against them for the amount of their bail. Within the said period, the bondsmen must:
(a) produce the body of their principal or give the reason for his non-production; and
(b) explain why the accused did not appear before the court when first required to do so.
Failing in these two requisites, a judgment shall be rendered against the bondsmen, jointly and severally, for the amount of the bail. The court shall not reduce or otherwise mitigate the liability of the bondsmen, unless the accused has been surrendered or is acquitted (Sec. 21).
(2) Upon application of the bondsmen, with due notice to the prosecutor, the bail may be cancelled upon surrender of the accused or proof of his death. The bail shall be deemed automatically cancelled upon acquittal of the accused, dismissal of the case, or execution of the judgment of conviction. In all instances, the cancellation shall be without prejudice to any liability on the bail (Sec. 22).
Application not a bar to objections in illegal arrest, lack of or irregular preliminary investigation
(1) The posting of the bail does not constitute a waiver of any question on the irregularity attending the arrest of person. He can still question the same before arraignment, otherwise, the right to question it is deeme3d waived. It was also said that posting bail is deemed to be a forfeiture of a habeas corpus petition which becomes moot and academic (Arriba vs. People. `07 SCRA 191; Bagcal vs. Villaroza, 120 SCRA 525).
(2)An application for or admission to bail shall not bar the accused from challenging the validity of his arrest or the legality of the warrant issued therefor, or from assailing the regularity or questioning the absence of a preliminary investigation of the charge against him, provided that he raises them before entering his plea. The court shall resolve the matter as early as practicable but not later than the start of the trial of the case (Sec. 26).
(3)The arraignment of an accused is not a prerequisite to the conduct of hearings on his petition for bail. A person is allowed to petition for bail as soon as he is deprived of his liberty by virtue of his arrest or voluntary surrender (Mendoza vs. CFI of Quezon, 51 SCAD 369). an accused need not wait for his arraignment before filing a petition for bail. In Lavides vs. CA, 324 SCRA 321, it was held that in cases where it is authorized, bail should be granted before arraignment, otherwise the accused may be precluded from filing a motion to quash. This pronouncement should be understood in the light of the fact that the accused in said case filed a petition for bail as well as a motion to quash the informations filed against him. It was explained that to condition the grant of bail to an accused on his arraignment would be to place him in a position where he has to choose between: (1) filing a motion to quash and thus delay his release on bail because until his motion to quash can be resolved, his arraignment cannot be held; and (2) foregoing the filing of a motion to quash so that he can be arraigned at once and thereafter be released on bail. This would undermine his constitutional right not to be put on trial except upon a valid complaint or information sufficient to charge him with a crime and his right to bail. It is therefore not necessary that an accused be first arraigned before the conduct of hearings on his application for bail. For when bail is a matter of right, an accused may apply for and be granted bail even prior to arraignment (Serapio vs. Sandiganbayan, GR Nos. 148468-69, 149116, Jan. 28, 2003).