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[G.R. No. 145840.October 24, 2001]

PEOPLE vs. UY

FIRST DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated OCT 24 2001.

G.R. No. 145840 (People of the Philippines vs. David Allen Uy (at large).)

Accused-appellant David Allen Uy appealed from the decision of 25 April 2000 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 215, Quezon City, finding him guilty of the crime of estafa and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the offended party the sum of P250,000 as actual damages and P62,500 as attorney's fees.

             On 26 April 2000 the trial court issued a warrant for the arrest of accused-appellant (Rollo, 28) and directed the PNP Station Commander of Quezon City, the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Chief of the PNP to execute the warrant of arrest within ten (10) days from receipt thereof.

Since accused-appellant has remained at large, this Court issued on 16 July 2001 a Resolution directing counsel for accused-appellant, Atty. Bonifacio Alentajan, to inform the Court within five (5) days from notice of the whereabouts of accused-appellant.

In its Compliance dated 16 August 2001, the Alentajan Law Office through Atty. Maria Rowena R. Dimson, informed the Court that accused-appellant is presently staying at his residence at No. 124-B V. Luna Road Extension Sikatuna Village, Quezon City." The compliance was verified by accused-appellant.

On 5 September 2001 this Court promulgated a Resolution noting the abovementioned Compliance and requiring Attys. Alentajan and Dimson to inform the Court within a non-extendible period of five (5) days from notice why accused-appellant is still staying at his residence at the address given in the Compliance. The Court further directed Judge Ma. Luisa Q. Padilla of the court of origin to inform the Court whether the warrant she issued for the arrest of the accused-appellant on 26 April 2001 has been served or returned.

On 11 September 2001 Atty. Alentajan filed a Compliance with the Resolution of 5 September 2001. He stated therein that he took over the case of the accused-appellant after the rendition of the decision therein which, as he found out, was promulgated in the absence of accused-appellant. Since he did not handle the case while it was being tried, and the only action he did was to file on behalf of accused-appellant the notice of appeal, "he could not give a personal account as to the reason why the accused-appellant is still staying at his residence."

On 28 September 2001 the Court received the letter dated 25 September 2001 of Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla, which she filed in compliance with the Resolution of 5 September 2001. She stated therein that copies of the warrant of arrest issued against accused David Allen Uy were transmitted to the Director, Central Police District, Camp Karingal, Quezon City; the National Bureau of Investigation; and the Chief, PNP, in Camp Crame, Quezon City. Up to this date, not one of the aforecited agencies has submitted a return on the warrant. Out of the three (3) agencies, only the registry receipt of mail matter registered as DE-1613 addressed to the Director, Central Police District, Quezon City containing a copy of the warrant of arrest aforementioned [was] returned to the Court.Verifications were already made with the NBI, Camp Crame and even with the post office in Quezon City to trace the whereabouts of the mails containing the warrants for the NBI and Camp Crame but the Court has yet to receive their response.(Rollo, 47).

In the Resolution of 5 September 2001, both accused-appellant and his counsel were made aware that a warrant for the former's arrest had been issued by the trial court on 26 April 2000.Counsel also knew that since the penalty imposed on his client is reclusion perpetua bail for the client's temporary liberty is no longer a matter of right.(Sec. 5, Rule 114, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure).Furthermore, having been required in the said Resolution to inform the Court why his client was still staying in his residence, it was incumbent upon Atty. Alentajan to inquire from his client why he is not detained.He could have easily done so since his client even verified the Compliance with the Resolution of 5 September.We do not, therefore, find satisfactory Atty. Alentajan's explanation for his failure to give the reason why his client is still staying in his residence.

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING the Court hereby RESOLVED to

1. DISMISS the instant appeal of accused-appellant for the reason that he has remained a fugitive from justice, and REMAND the records of this case to the trial court for execution of judgment.

2. REQUIRE (a) the Director of Central Police District of Quezon City at Camp Karingal, Quezon City; (b) the Director, National Bureau of Investigation, Taft Avenue, Manila; and (c) the Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp Crame, to show cause within a non-extendible period of five (5) days from notice of this Resolution, why they should not be held in contempt of court for failure to execute the warrant of arrest issued by the trial court on 26 April 2000 and/or to make a return thereof.

Copies of this Resolution should be personally served on counsel for the accused-appellant, the Director of the Central Police District of Quezon City, the Director of the NBI, and the Chief of the PNP.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.) VIRGINIA ANCHETA-SORIANO

Clerk of Court


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