[G.R. No. L-20077. September 30, 1964.]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROMEO PACOMIO, ET AL., Accused; ASSOCIATED INSURANCE & SURETY CO., INC., Respondent-Appellant.
Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.
M. Perez Cardenas for Respondent-Appellant.
1. BAIL BONDS; FORFEITURE; MERE REDUCTION OF JUDGMENT JUSTIFIED BY GROSS NEGLIGENCE OF SURETY. — Where the record satisfactorily establishes that the appellant surety was grossly remiss in the performance of its duty under its bail bonds, despite the later production of the accused, it is held that the lower court was fully justified in merely reducing the amount of the judgment against the surety, instead of totally exonerating it.
2. ID.; ID.; FAILURE OF SURETY TO NOTIFY DEFENDANTS BEFOREHAND OF SCHEDULED HEARING CONSIDERED BREACH OF DUTY. — Where appellant surety does not claim that it tried to notify the defendants of the scheduled hearing prior thereto; where it did not even send a representative to the trial court on the date of the said hearing in order to explain why the accused could not be present then; and where, despite the fact that it received copy of a subsequent order requiring them to produce the body of the accused within thirty days and show cause why their bonds should not be confiscated and judgment rendered thereon, appellant did nothing to comply with said order, it is held that said surety was grossly remiss in the performance of its duty.
D E C I S I O N
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of First Instance of Zambales, which was certified to us by the Court of Appeals, no question of fact being involved therein.
The record shows that, in Criminal Case No. 4100 of said court of first instance, Romeo Pacomio and Justiniano Pacomio, who were accused therein of illegal possession of dynamite, had been released on bail bonds of P1,200 each, posted by appellant Associated Insurance & Surety Co., Inc.; that the accused failed to appear before the said court at the hearing of the case, on February 26, 1959, despite the notice duly served upon appellant; that on the same date, the court, accordingly, issued an order requiring appellant to produce the accused within thirty (30) days from notice, and to show cause why judgment should not be rendered against appellant on the aforementioned bonds; that, although notice of this order was duly served on March 7, 1959, appellant did not comply with said order within the period therein given; that on motion of the prosecution, said court, consequently, issued on July 31, 1959, an order sentencing appellant to pay to the Republic of the Philippines the sum of P2,400, representing the aggregate value of the two (2) bonds; that on September 23, 1959, appellant surrendered the aforementioned accused to the lower court and moved to set aside its order of confiscation and cancellation of the aforementioned bonds; and that on November 25, 1959, the lower court amended its order of July 31, 1959, by reducing the sentence against appellant from P2,400 to P1,800.
Appellant seeks a reversal of this order of November 25, 1959 upon the ground that the body of the defendants had already been surrendered to the lower court. In support of its pretense, appellant quotes in its brief a motion, allegedly filed with the lower court by the accused in said criminal case, alleging that their failure to appear before said court on February 26, 1959 was due, not to a desire to disobey the orders of said court, or to jump their bail, but to the fact that they were then "at sea fishing for their livelihood" and that it was only upon their return that they learned, through appellant’s agents, of the court order setting the case for hearing on February 26, 1959.
The appeal is devoid of merit. To begin with, said motion is not a part of the record of the present appeal. It was not introduced in evidence in connection therewith. Secondly, the motion does not appear to be verified and, hence, the allegations thereof cannot be taken on the face value thereof. Thirdly, appellant does not claim that it tried to notify the defendants of the scheduled hearing prior thereto. He had it done so, it would have probably found them in their residence, inasmuch as, according to said motion, they were at sea on the date of the healing, not prior thereto. Appellant, did not even send a representative to the lower court on February 26, 1959, in order to explain why the accused could not be present then. What is more, despite the fact that, on March 7, 1959, they received copy of the order requiring them to produce the body of the accused within thirty (30) days and show cause why their bonds should not be confiscated and judgment rendered thereon, appellant did nothing either to comply with said order or to explain why they could not surrender the accused within the aforementioned period. Thus, the record satisfactorily establishes that appellant was grossly remiss in the performance of its duty under the aforementioned bonds and that, accordingly, the lower court was fully justified in merely reducing the amount of the judgment against the appellant from P2,400.00 to P1,800.00.
WHEREFORE, the order appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs against appellant herein. It is so ordered.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P. and Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Barrera, J., took no part.
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