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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Bail (A Law Each Day)

This is based on the “A Law Each Day” by Jose Sison of The Philippine Star.

The Facts are as follows:
A criminal complaint was filed by a minor against the vice mayor of their town. Upon finding probable cause against the vice mayor for two counts of violation of Section 5(b) Article III of RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act”, the MTC judge forwarded the case to the Office of Provincial Prosecutor.

On September 27, 2004, the assistant provincial prosecutor issued a resolution on review recommending the filing of two separate Informations for violation of said RA 7610 against the vice mayor and cancellation of bail bond set by the MTC judge because the offense is punishable with reclusion perpetua when committed by public officer.

The vice mayor went to hiding and the warrant of arrest was not served.

The RTC judge was reassigned to another district, upon replacement of another judge, the vice mayor voluntarily surrender. He immediately filed an urgent ex parte motion for the grant of bail. On the same day the new judge, granted the motion and ordered the release of the vice mayor.

The minor moved to reconsider the motion but before considering the merits of the motion, the judge ordered the vice mayor to file a comment or opposition within ten days.

The minor’s father filed an administrative case against the new judge because of the differing treatment of the minor and the vice mayor.

The judge contended that crime charged is a bailable offense and when bail is a matter of right no hearing is required.

Is the judge correct?

No, the judge should decide whether the evidence of guilt is strong based on the summary evidence submitted. If the guilt is strong, the judge may discharge the accused upon approval of the bail bond. Moreover the Rues of Court, notice and hearing are required whether the bail is a matter of right and discretion. The hearing is required to determine the weight of the evidence and the amount of the bail bond.

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