[G.R. No. 148571.December 17, 2002]
GOV'T OF THE USA, etc. vs. HON. PURGANAN, etc., et al.
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a
resolution of this Court dated 17 DEC 2002.
G.R. No. 148571(Government
of the United States of America, etc. vs. Hon. Guillermo G. Purganan, etc., et
Before the Court are private respondent's Motion for Reconsideration
dated 10 October 2002, petitioner's Comment thereon dated 05 November 2002,
private respondent's Motion for Leave of Court to File and to Admit Additional
Arguments in Support of Motion for Reconsideration dated November 6, 2002, and
Reply (to petitioner's Comment) dated November 26, 2002.
First, private respondent insists that the Extradition
Court acted properly in granting bail to him. We have already exhaustively
discussed this issue in our Decision and in the Concurring Opinion of Mr.
Justice Antonio T. Carpio. Thus, we will not belabor our ruling on this point.
Suffice it to say that petitioner's repeated invocation of the Extradition
Court's grant of bail has not convinced us that he deserves bail under the exception
laid down in our Decision, namely, "(1) that, once granted bail, the applicant
will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2) that there
exists special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances including, as a
matter ofreciprocity, those cited by
the highest court in the requesting state when it grants provisional liberty in
extradition cases therein."
There has been no clear and convincing showing as to the absence of
flight risk and the non-endangerment of the community, or as to the existence
of special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances justifying grant of bail.
Second, private respondent
claims that our Decision did not make an express finding of grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the lower court. This is incorrect. On page 24 of our
Decision, we plainly stated: "Hence, after having already determined therefrom
that a prima facie finding did exist, respondent judge gravely abused
his discretion when he set the matter for hearing upon motion of Jimenez." Such
grave abuse continued to characterize thesubsequent actions of Judge Purganan in illegally granting bail to
private respondent.Again, we will not
repeat here why respondent does not deserve temporary liberty. This point has
been already exhaustively taken up in our Decision and in the Opinions
individually written by the members of the Court.
Further, contrary to Jimenez's claims, the Extradition Court did not
negate the flight risk posed by him. It did not make a finding on flight risk
as it considered the issue irrelevant, having already determined bail to be a
matter of right. Without making any finding on flight risk, it found the
capacity to flee subservient to "the benefits that respondent may be able to
deliver to his constituents," despite the absence from the records of evidence
showing the existence of such benefits.
And in any event, in his Memorandum, private respondent submitted
factual issues -- i.e., existence of special circumstances and absence of
flight risk -- for the consideration of this Court. He even reiterated some of
those factual submissions in his Motion for Reconsideration. He is therefore
deemed estopped to claim that thisCourt cannot, on certiorari, address factual issues and review andreverse the factual findings of the
Third, private respondent's
arguments (1) that the Extradition Court exercised due discretion in its grant
of bail and (2) that our "ruling that bail is not a matter of right in
extradition cases is contrary to prevailing law and jurisprudence" are neither
novel nor deserving of further rebuttal. Again, they have been extensively
taken up in Decision as well as in Concurring, Separate and Dissenting
Fourth, private respondent
argues that allegedly our Decision violates his due process rights. Again, we have
discussed this matter in our Decision saying that, in its simplest concept, due
process is merely the opportunity to be heard -- which opportunity need not
always be a prior one.In point
of fact, private respondent has been given more than enough opportunity to be
heard in this Court as well as in the extradition Court.Even his Motion for Reconsideration has been
given all the chances to persuade by way of allowing "additional arguments" in
his Motion dated November 6, 2002 and Reply. These latter pleadings are
normally not allowed, but precisely because this Court wanted to give him more
than enough opportunity to be heard and to argue, we have bent backwards and
admitted these additional pleadings.
Finally, private respondent contends that' as a member of
Congress, he is immune from arrest "arising from offenses punishable by not
more than six (6) years imprisonment," saying that he cannot be prevented from
performing his legislative duties because his constituents would be
disenfranchised. He perorates that a member of Congress may be suspended or
removed from office only by two thirds vote of the House of Representatives.
Citing People v. Jalosjos, our Decision (pp. 38-40) has already
debunked the disenfranchisement argument. Furthermore, our Decision does not in
any manner suspend or remove him from office. Neither his arrest or detention
arising from the extradition proceeding will constitute his suspension or
removal from office. That is clear enough.
While equal protection and reasonable classifications are not directly
in issue in this case, we nevertheless stress, paraphrasing Jalosjos, that respondent's election to
the position of congressman, with the concomitant duty to discharge legislative
functions, does not constitute a substantial differentiation which warrants
placing him in a classification or category apart from all other persons
confined and deprived of their liberty pending resolution of their extradition
cases. We reiterate that lawful arrest and temporary confinement of a potential
extraditee are germane to the purposes of the law and apply to all those
belonging to the same class.
As we have stated, the procedure adopted by the Extradition Court of
first notifying and hearing a prospective extraditee before the actual issuance
of the warrant for his arrest, is tantamount to giving notice to flee and avoid
extradition. Whether a candidate for extradition does in fact go into hiding or
not is beside the point. In the final analysis, the method adopted by the lower
court wascompletely at loggerheads
with the purpose, object and rationale of the law, and overlooked the evils to
As already suggested in our Decision (p. 32), private respondent can
avoid arrest and detention which are the consequences of theextradition proceeding simply by applying
for bail before the courts trying the criminal cases against him in the USA. He
himself has repeatedly told us that the indictments against him in the
United States are bailable. Furthermore, he is capable, financially and otherwise,
of producing the necessary bail in the US. Why then has he not done so?
Otherwise stated, Respondent Jimenez has the actual
power to lift his arrest and detention arising from his extradition by simply
and voluntarily going to and filing bail in the USA.
AT BOTTOM, private respondent's Motion for Reconsideration presents no
new or substantial arguments which have not been presented in his prior
pleadings and which have not been taken up in our Decision. His present
allegations and asseverations are mere rehashes of arguments previously
presented to us or are mere restatements of the Separate and Dissenting
Opinions which were already adequately discussed in our Decision. In short,
private respondent has not given any compelling reason to warrant a reversal or
modification of our earlier rulings.
WHEREFORE, the Motion for
Reconsideration is hereby DENIED with finality.
SO ORDERED.(Davide, Jr., CJ., Mendoza,
Panganiban, Carpio, Martinez, Corona, Morales, Callejo and Azcuna, JJ., concur; Bellosillo and Puno, JJ., the latter joined by Quisumbing, J., reiterate their Separate Opinions,
while Vitug, and Santiago,
JJ., both joined by Gutierrez,
J., filed their Dissenting Opinions)
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO
Clerk of Court