Republic of the
EPIMACO A. VELASCO,
as Director of the
National Bureau of
OF INVESTIGATION SPECIAL
OPERATIONS GROUP [SOG],
III FLOR L. RESURRECCION
and ANTONIO M. ERUM,
JR.chanrobles virtual law library
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
G. R. No. 118644
July 7, 1995
OF APPEALS, FELICITAS S. CUYAG, for
E C I S I O N
of LAWRENCE A. LARKINS,
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
prerogative of the writ of habeas
corpus whose origin is lost in antiquity,
was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve
from unlawful restraint and as the best and only sufficient defense of
More specifically, its vital purposes are to obtain immediate relief
illegal confinement, to liberate those who may be imprisoned without
cause and to deliver them from unlawful custody. It is then essentially
a writ of inquiry and is granted to test the right under which a person
Constitution, the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus cannot be suspended except in cases of
or rebellion when the public safety requires it.
Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, it extends,
as otherwise provided by law, to all cases of illegal confinement or
by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the
custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. It
is not available, however, under the instances enumerated in Section 4
of the said Rule which reads:
Sec. 4. When writ not allowed or
authorized.- If it appears that the person alleged to be
of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by
a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of
and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process,
the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if
jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be
discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process,
or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the
of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines,
or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.
petition for review, the petitioners want
us to set aside and reverse the decision of 1 February 1995 of the
of Appeals in CA-G. R. SP No. 36273,
a petition for habeas corpus and certiorari with a
for a temporary restraining order, ordering the herein petitioners to
release Lawrence A. Larkins from their custody and declaring moot the
relief of certiorari. The antecedent facts of the case as
culled from the challenged decision and the pleadings of the parties
neither complicated nor disputed.
On 16 September
1993, a warrant of arrest was
issued by Judge Manuel Padolina of Branch 162 of the Regional Trial
[RTC] of Pasig, Metro Manila, against accused Lawrence Larkins in
Cases Nos. 101189-92 for violation of B.P. Blg. 22. On 20 November
a certain Desiree Alinea executed and filed before the National Bureau
of Investigation [NBI], a complaint-affidavit accusing Larkins of the
of rape allegedly committed against her on 19 November 1994 at 2:00
in Victoria Valley Subdivision, Valley Golf, Antipolo, Rizal.
Acting on the
basis of the complaint of Alinea,
petitioners Special Investigators Flor L. Resurreccion and Antonio M.
Jr., proceeded to the office of Larkins in Makati, Metro Manila, on 21
November 1994 and arrested the latter, who was thereupon positively
by Alinea as her rapist.
Larkins was then detained at the Detention Cell of the NBI, Taft
On 22 November
1994, Larkins posted his bail of
P4,000.00 in Criminal Cases Nos. 101189-92. Judge Padolina forthwith
an order recalling and setting aside the warrant of arrest issued on 16
September 1993 and directing the Jail Warden of the NBI Detention Cell
to release Larkins from confinement "unless otherwise detained for some
Investigators Resurreccion and Erum refused
to release Larkins because he was still detained for another cause,
for the crime of rape for which he would be held for inquest. On
23 November 1994, a complaint against Larkins for rape was executed by
It contains a certification by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Ma. Paz
Reyes Yson that it is "filed pursuant to Section 7, Rule 112 of the
Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, the accused not having opted
avail of his right to preliminary investigation and not having executed
a waiver pursuant to Article 125 of the RPC." The complaint was filed
the RTC of Antipolo on 2 December 1994, docketed therein as Criminal
No. 94-11794 and assigned to Branch 71 of the court, presided by Judge
Felix S. Caballes.cralaw
On 2 December
1994, Larkins, through his counsel
Mauricio C. Ulep, filed an Urgent Motion for Bail
wherein he alleged, inter alia, that the evidence of guilt
him for rape is not strong as he had no carnal knowledge of the
and the medical report indicates that her hymen was neither lacerated
ruptured; that he is entitled as a matter of right to bail; and that he
has no intention of going out of the country or hiding away from the
On 6 December
1994, Larkins, through his new counsel,
Atty. Theodore O. Te, filed in Criminal Case No. 94-11794 an Urgent
Motion for the Dismissal of the Complaint and for Immediate Release,
principally based on the alleged illegality of his warrantless arrest.
This motion met vigorous opposition from the private complainant.
In the Order of 5 January 1995,
the trial court denied the aforesaid motions, thus:
After a careful appreciation of the
of the prosecution and the defense, the Court finds no legal or valid
to dismiss the complaint or release the accused, or to grant him bail.
The filing of this case against the accused, which is [a] very serious
offense, justifies the grant of the motion of the prosecution for the
of a hold-departure order.
WHEREFORE, the motions of the accused are
denied for lack of merit and as prayed for by the prosecution, the
of Immigration and Deportation is hereby directed to include the name
the accused, Lawrence A. Larkins, in its hold-order departure list
further order from this Court.
accept the ruling, Larkins' common-law
wife, Felicitas S. Cuyag, filed before the Court of Appeals a petition
for habeas corpus with certiorari. Impleaded as
were the herein petitioners and Judge Felix S. Caballes. Subsequently,
the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution
ordering the respondents therein to appear and produce Lawrence A.
before the Court on 31 January 1995 at 10:30 a.m. and to show cause why
Larkins' liberty is being restrained.
On the said date,
Special Investigators Resurreccion
and Erum appeared and produced Larkins at the hearing. Atty. Orlando
of the NBI acted as their counsel.
The Office of the Solicitor General representing the People of the
made no appearance.
Neither did Judge Caballes, for he had not received a copy of the
On the other hand, the petitioner therein, Felicitas S. Cuyag, appeared
with her counsel, who manifested that should the Court order the
of Larkins the alternative prayer for certiorari would be
After hearing the
arguments of the parties, the
Court of Appeals rendered the challenged decision holding that:
From the arguments presented by the
We resolve to order the immediate release of Larkins from his present
on the ground that the complaint presented to the NBI by complainant
Alinea on the basis of which, Larkins was detained without a warrant of
arrest for rape did not meet the legal requirements provided for in
113 of the Rules of Court.
Furthermore, on the day the detention of
commenced, i.e., immediately after the NBI was served with the
of the Pasig RTC for his release on bail in connection with the B.P. 22
cases, no other criminal complaint or information had been filed or
in any court. It was only sometime between November 25, 1994 [when
of the complaint was approved by the Rizal Provincial Prosecutor] and
29, 1994 [the date appearing on the Urgent Motion for Bail filed by
former counsel, said Atty. Ulep] that the complaint for rape was filed
with the Antipolo RTC.
insist that the respondent court
erred in granting the petition for habeas corpus because
had already been charged with the crime of rape and the trial court had
denied his application for bail. They further claim that the
arrest in this case is valid for it was made under Section 5[b], Rule
of the Rules of Court.
On the other
hand, the private respondent contends
that habeas corpus is rendered unavailing not by the mere
of an information, but by the issuance of a warrant of arrest or
of commitment, which are the only two processes recognized by law to
deprivation of liberty, and the order of Judge Caballes of 5 January
denying the petition for bail does not qualify as such. She asserts
the petitioners have miscomprehended Paredes vs. Sandiganbayan
because that case did not rule that the writ is no longer available
an information [or criminal complaint for rape as in this case] is
against the person detained; what it stated is that the writ of
corpus will not issue when the person alleged to be restrained of
liberty is in the custody of an officer under a process issued by the
which has jurisdiction to do so. She submits that the controlling
is that enunciated in Ilagan vs. Ponce Enrile,
adverted to in Sanchez vs. Demetriou,
that "[t]he filing of charges and the issuance of the corresponding
of arrest against a person invalidly detained will cure the defect of
detention or at least deny him the right to be released because of such
We find for the
But, before We
take up the substantive merits
of this petition, We shall first delve into the propriety of the
for habeas corpus and certiorari filed by private
Cuyag with the Court of Appeals. Concededly, the private
has the personality to institute on behalf of her common-law spouse,
Larkins, the habeas corpus aspect of the petition, as she falls
within the purview of the term "some person" under Section 3, Rule 102
of the Rules of Court which means any person who has a legally
interest in the freedom of the person whose liberty is restrained or
shows some authorization to make the application.
She is not, however, the real party in interest in the certiorari
aspect of the petition. Only Larkins could institute a petition for certiorari
to set aside the order denying his motions for bail and for the
of the complaint against him.cralaw
It does not,
however, follow that if certiorari
is available to Larkins, an application for a writ of habeas
will absolutely be barred. While ordinarily, the writ of habeas
will not be granted when there is an adequate remedy by writ
or appeal or by writ of certiorari, it may, nevertheless, be
in exceptional cases, for the writ should not be considered subservient
to procedural limitations which glorify form over substance.
It must be kept in mind that although the question most often
in both habeas corpus and certiorari proceedings is
an inferior court has exceeded its jurisdiction, the former involves a
collateral attack on the judgment and "reaches the body but not the
while the latter assails directly the judgment and "reaches the record
but not the body."
And now on the
merits of the petition.cralaw
The Court of
Appeals granted the writ of habeas
corpus because it found that the warrantless arrest of Larkins for
the crime of rape "did not meet the legal requirements provided for in
Rule 113 of the Rules of Court." It could have in mind Section 5
on lawful warrantless arrest.cralaw
Even if the
arrest of a person is illegal, supervening
events may bar his release or discharge from custody. What is to be
into is the legality of his detention as of, at the earliest, the
of the application for a writ of habeas corpus, for even if
detention is at its inception illegal, it may, by reason of some
events, such as the instances mentioned in Section 4 of Rule 102, be no
longer illegal at the time of the filing of the application. Among such
supervening events is the issuance of a judicial process preventing the
discharge of the detained person. Thus, in Sayo vs. Chief of Police of
this Court held:
We hold that petitioners are being
restrained of their liberty, and their release is hereby ordered unless
they are now detained by virtue of a process issued by a competent
of justice. [emphasis supplied].
Another is the
filing of a complaint or information
for the offense for which the accused is detained, as in the instant
By then, the restraint of liberty is already by virtue of the complaint
or information and, therefore, the writ of habeas corpus is no
available. Section 4 of Rule 102 reads in part as follows: "nor shall
in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged
with an offense in the Philippines."
Thus, in Matsura
vs. Director of Prisons,
where petitioners Macario Herce and Celso Almadovar claimed to have
illegally detained for more than one year without any complaint or
filed against them, this Court denied the petition for a writ of habeas
corpus for at the time they filed the petition, they had already
charged with the crime of treason and confined by reason thereof.
In Cruz vs.
this Court dismissed the petition for habeas corpus for having
academic because the information for estafa against the party whose
was allegedly illegally restrained had already been filed and a warrant
for his arrest had been issued and whatever illegality might have
infected his detention had been cured.cralaw
In Umil vs. Ramos,
this Court, applying the last sentence of Section 4 of Rule 102, held
the writ of habeas corpus should not be allowed after the
sought to be released had been charged before any court. Thus:
It is to be noted that in all the
considered, criminal charges have been filed in the proper courts
the petitioners. The rule is that if a person alleged to be restrained
of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by
a court or judge, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue
the process or make the order, or if such person is charged before any
court, the writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed. Section 4, Rule
Rules of Court, as amended is quite explicit in providing that:
Sec. 4. Nor shall anything in this rule
to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an
offense in the Philippines or of a person suffering from imprisonment
It may also be
said that by filing his motion for
bail, Larkins admitted that he was under the custody of the court and
submitted his person to its jurisdiction. In De Asis vs. Romero,
this Court stated:
De Asis could have, right after his
to the regularity of the issuance of the warrant of arrest in question.
Instead he not only filed a petition for bail with the lower court,
accepting the court's jurisdiction over his person, but he also
on arraignment, to the information filed against him. [Emphasis
The filing of a
petition or motion for bail in cases
where no bail is recommended has the same legal import and effect as
posting of bail in cases where bail is recommended. It is settled that
the giving or posting of bail by the accused is tantamount to
of his person to the jurisdiction of the court. In the case of
this Court declared:
When a defendant
in a criminal case is brought
before a competent court by virtue of a warrant of arrest or,
in order to avoid the submission of his body to the jurisdiction of the
court, he must raise the question of the court's jurisdiction over his
person at the very earliest opportunity. If he gives bail, demurs to
complaint or files any dilatory plea or pleads to the merits, he
gives the court jurisdiction over his person. [State ex rel.
Brown vs. Fitzgerald, 51 Minn., 534].cralaw
In United States
this Court held:
Conceding again that the warrant issued
case was void for the reason that no probable cause was found by the
before issuing it, the defendant waived all his rights to object to the
same by appearing and giving bond.
While it may be
true that on 6 December 1994, or
four days after the filing of the Urgent Motion for Bail, Larkins, thru
a new counsel, filed an Urgent Omnibus Motion for Dismissal of the
and for Immediate Release based on the alleged illegality of his
arrest, the said motion was a mere afterthought which came too late in
the day. By then, the trial court had firmly acquired jurisdiction over
trial court's order of 5 January
1995 denying the Urgent Motion for Bail was an unequivocal assertion of
its authority to keep in custody the person of Larkins. This order
under the purview of the word Order under the first sentence of Section
4 of Rule 102 reading: "If it appears that the person alleged to be
of his liberty is in the custody of an officer by virtue of [an] order
of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to
the order, the writ shall not be allowed."
renders untenable private respondent's
claim that it is the rule in Ilagan vs. Enrile
which must govern that the writ may not be allowed only where the
alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer
under process issued by the court or judge and that there are only two
recognized processes which justify deprivation of liberty, viz.:
 commitment order; and  warrant of arrest. The contention is not
only a deliberate misreading of Section 4 of Rule 102 limiting its
to the first part of the first sentence and disregarding the rest but
also an undue and unwarranted restriction of the term process. A
order and a warrant of arrest are but species of judicial process.cralaw
In Malaloan vs.
Court of Appeals,
this Court stated:
Invariably a judicial process is defined
writ, warrant, subpoena or other formal writing issued by authority of
law; also, the means of accomplishing an end, including judicial
or all writs, warrants, summonses and orders of courts of justice or
officers. It is likewise held to include a writ, summons or order
in a judicial proceeding to acquire jurisdiction of a person or his
to expedite the cause or enforce the judgment, or a writ, warrant,
or other processes issuing from a court of justice.
& Co., Inc. vs. Bernabe,
this Court quoted Corpus Juris' definition of the term
As a legal term, process is a generic
very comprehensive signification and many meanings. In its broadest
it is equivalent to, or synonymous with "proceedings" or procedure and
embraces all the steps and proceedings in a cause from its commencement
to its conclusion. Sometimes the term is also broadly defined as the
whereby a court compels a compliance with its demands. [50 C.J.
We, thus, rule
that the order of 5 January 1995 of
the trial court also qualifies as a process within the meaning of
4 of Rule 102. Hence, even granting that Larkins was illegally
still the petition for a writ of habeas corpus will not prosper
because his detention has become legal by virtue of the filing before
trial court of the complaint against him and by the issuance of the 5
1995 order. Even as We, thus, decide in favor of the petitioners, We
nevertheless, disturbed by certain incidents relative to the
arrest of Larkins. Firstly, assuming that it was lawful, the facts
Us disclose that the arresting officers failed to strictly comply with
the last paragraph of Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court
that the person lawfully arrested without a warrant shall forthwith be
delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded
against in accordance with Section 7, Rule 112; and (2) Article 125 of
the Revised Penal Code, as amended, providing that he be delivered to
proper judicial authorities within thirty-six hours, the crime with
Larkins was charged being punishable by an afflictive penalty. Although
the arrest was made in Makati where there is a police station and a
[now city] jail, Larkins was brought to the NBI Detention Cell at Taft
Avenue, Manila, and though the complaint of the offended party was
on 23 November 1994, it was not until 2 December 1994 that the said
was actually filed in court.
satisfactorily explained, the non-compliance
by the arresting officers with the said provisions merits nothing but
from the Court. In the performance of their duty and in their
pursuit to stamp out crimes and bring criminals to the bar of justice,
law enforcement authorities should make no shortcuts, but must comply
all procedures to safeguard the constitutional and statutory rights of
accused persons. The rule of law must always be upheld. What this Court
said in Beltran vs. Garcia
needs to be repeated:
It certainly does not speak well of
whether civilian or military, if a person deprived of his liberty had
go to court before his rights are respected. The good name of the
is jeopardized, without any fault on its part, by such inefficiency or
inattention to duty. Every precaution should be taken against its
Otherwise, the parties responsible for this state of affairs would
lay themselves open to the accusation that the greatest danger to
rights comes from public officials, men of zeal, concededly
but without sufficient understanding of the implication of the rule of
We also note
that the trial court did not conduct
a hearing of the Urgent Motion for Bail as required under Section 5,
114 of the Rules of Court. The grant or denial of bail must be based
the court's determination as to whether or not the evidence of guilt is
strong. This discretion may only be exercised after evidence is
at the hearing conducted for that purpose.
The court's order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of
evidence for the prosecution followed by its conclusion whether or not
the evidence of guilt is strong; otherwise, the order would be
In fact, even if the prosecutor refuses to adduce evidence in
to the application to grant and fix bail, the court may ask the
such questions as would ascertain the strength of the State's evidence
or judge the adequacy of the amount of bail.
It was, thus, incumbent upon the trial court to receive the evidence
the prosecution on the urgent motion for bail. For this procedural
Larkins should also be partly blamed. He did not press for a hearing
the scheduled hearing on 5 December 1994 was cancelled because, as he
the Presiding Judge was out of the country.
instant petition is granted, and
the Decision of the Court of Appeals of 1 February 1995 in CA-G. R. SP
No. 36273 is hereby set aside and annulled. No pronouncement as
Bellosillo, Quiason and Kapunan, JJ.,
39 C.J.S., Habeas Corpus, Section 2, 460.
Villavicencio vs. Lukban, 39 Phil. 778, 788 .
39 Am Jur 2d, Habeas Corpus, Section 1, 179.
Section 15, Article III.
Annex "A" of Petition; Rollo, 31-36. Per Elbinias, J., with the
of Tayao-Jaguros and De la Rama, JJ.
Annex "B" of Petition; Rollo, 37-39.
Joint Affidavit of Arresting Officers, Annex "D," Id., 41.
Annex "E" of Petition; Rollo, 42-43.
Annex "A" of Reply; Id., 173-175.
Annex "4" of Private Respondent's Memorandum; Id., 257-261.
Petition, 8; Id., 8.
Annex "F" of Petition; Rollo, 43.
Annex "G," Id., 44-47.
Challenged Decision of the Court of Appeals, 3-4; Id., 34-35.
It appears that a copy of the resolution was transmitted to the
Solicitor to whom the case was assigned only at about 10:00 a.m. of 31
January 1995 [par. 11, Petition].
Challenged decision of the Court of Appeals, 4; Rollo, 35.
193 SCRA 464 .
139 SCRA 349 .
227 SCRA 627 .
39 Am Jur 2d, Habeas Corpus, Section 117, 263.
39 C.J.S. Habeas Corpus Section 13, 486-488.
39 Am Jur 2d, Habeas Corpus, Section 3, 181.
80 Phil. 859, 871 .
77 Phil. 1050, 1051-1052 .
162 SCRA 840, 847-848 .
62 SCRA 543, 545-546 .
187 SCRA 311 .
41 SCRA 235, 240 .
4 Phil. 134, 137-138 .
18 Phil. 122, 147 . See also Doce vs. Court of First Instance of
Quezon, 22 SCRA 1028, 1031 ; Zacarias vs. Cruz, 30 SCRA 728, 730
; Bermejo vs. Barrios, 31 SCRA 764, 777 ; Callanta vs.
77 SCRA 377, 379 ; Bagcal vs. Villaraza, 120 SCRA 525, 527 .
Supra; Note 18.
232 SCRA 249 .
67 Phil. 658, 661 .
89 SCRA 717, 723 .
Payao vs. Lesaca, 63 Phil. 210 ; Peralta vs. Ramos, 71 Phil. 271
; Tahil vs. Eisma, 64 SCRA 378 .
People vs. San Diego, 26 SCRA 522, 524 ; Carpio vs. Maglalang,
SCRA 41, 50-51 ; Borinaga vs. Tamin, 226 SCRA 206, 216-217 .
Borinaga vs. Tamin, supra; Note 37.
Paragraph 3.08, Petition in CA-G. R. SP No. 36273; Rollo, 270.