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[G.R. No. 149276.February 26, 2002]

LIM AND LIM vs. PEOPLE, et al.

EN BANC

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated FEB 26 2002.

G.R. No. 149276(Jovencio Lim and Teresita Lim vs. People of the Philippines, et al.)

In their petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedures, petitioner spouses assail the constitutionality of Presidential Decree 818 which amended Art. 315, par. 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code for allegedly imposing excessive or no bail on accused; imposes excessive fines and inflicts cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment; violates the due process clause under the constitution; and was not published in the Official Gazette for its effectivity.

It appears that the petitioners were charged with the offense of Estafa under Art. 315, par. 2 (d) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by P.D. No. 818 for having issued to private respondent Wilson Cham two (2) post-dated checks, to wit:Metro Bank Check No. 464728 dated 15 January 1992 for the amount of P365,750.00, and Metro Bank Check No. 464743 dated January 12, 1992 for the amount of P429,000.00.Check No. 464728 was dishonored upon presentment for having been drawn against insufficient funds (DAIF) while the second check (No. 464743) was not presented for payment upon request of petitioner Jovencio P. Lim.Thereafter, or in June 2000, Wilson Cham filed a complaint-affidavit before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to which petitioner spouses filed their counter-affidavit with motion to dismiss.

On 16 February 2001, the City Prosecutor issued a resolution finding probable cause against the petitioners and recommending the filing of an information against them for estafa defined in Art. 315, par. 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code in relation to P.D. No. 818 with no bail recommended.On the same day, an Information was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, charging petitioners with estafa under Art. 315, par. 2 (d) of the Revised Penal Code, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. Q-01-101574.

On 28 June 2001, the Presiding Judge of the public respondent Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 217 to which said criminal case was assigned, issued a Warrant for the Arrest of the petitioner with no bail recommended.

On 18 July 2001, petitioners filed with respondent court an Urgent Motion to Quash Information and Warrant of Arrest with application for a TRO/Injunction.However, the respondent court denied the same in an order dated 24 July 2001.

Petitioners' motion for bail filed on 24 July 2001 was summarily denied by respondent court on the same day and petitioner Jovencio Lim was arrested by virtue of the Warrant of Arrest issued by the respondent court and is now detained at the Quezon City Jail.However, petitioner Teresita Lim remains at large.

Hence, this petition.

In our resolution dated 28 August 2001, the respondents were required to Comment on the petition.Private respondent, through counsel, filed his comment on 15 October 2001.On the other hand, the OSG has requested for four (4) extensions to file its Comment prompting the petitioner to file two (2) Urgent Motions to resolve prayer to allow petitioner Jovencio Lim to post bail bond, to which an opposition was filed by private respondent.

Undaunted, petitioners' counsel filed on 29 January 2001, a Manifestation and Motion bringing to Our attention Department of Justice Circular No. 74 dated 6 November 2001 amending the 2000 Bail Bond Guide involving Estafa under Art. 315, 2(d) as amended by P.D. 818 and Qualified Theft, which now allows bail in such cases, thus:

"x x x

"(3)Where the amount of fraud is P32,000.00 or over in which the imposable penalty is reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, bail shall be based on reclusion temporal maximum, pursuant to Par. 2(a) of the 2000 Bail Bond Guide, multiplied by P2,000.00 plus an additional of P2,000.00 for every P10,000.00 in excess of P22,000.00; Provided, however, that the total amount of bail shall not exceed P60,000.00"

In view of the aforecited Circular No. 74 of the Department of Justice, the intendment and provision of which would benefit the accused, the Court hereby resolves to grant the prayer of petitioner Jovencio Lim to post bail pending resolution on the merits of his petition for Certiorari.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.Accordingly, the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, branch 217 is directed, within 10 days from notice, to allow petitioners to post bail in accordance with the provisions of Department of Justice Circular No. 74 dated November 6, 2001.

This case is now closed and terminated.(Puno, J., no part)

Very truly yours,

LUZVIMINDA D. PUNO

Clerk of Court

(Sgd.) MA. LUISA D. VILLARAMA

Asst. Clerk of Court


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