[G.R. No. 158129. June 18, 2003]
BRIONES vs. PEOPLE
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this
Court dated JUN 18 2003.
G.R. No. 158129 (Jun Ancajas Briones vs. People of the
Philippines, Hon. Narciso Bravo, Presiding Judge, RTC Br. 46 Masbate, Atty.
Regino Tambago, and the Hon. Court Of Appeals.)
Before us is a petition for certiorari with prayer for issuance
of writ of preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court assailing
the twin orderscralaw
issued by the Regional Trial Court of Masbate City, Branch 46, in Criminal Case
No. 9272 dated February 18, 2002 and March 14, 2002 which denied petitioner's
application for bail and motion for reconsideration respectively.
On September 14, 1998, private respondent Regino Tambago filed a
criminal complaint for libel against petitioner Jun Ancajas Briones. The trial
court found probable cause against petitioner and, on September 17, 1998, it
approved petitioner's bail bond.
Petitioner was then charged with libel in an information dated
January 29, 1999. During the trial, petitioner repeatedly failed to appear in
court despite due notice. Consequently, the trial court allowed the prosecution
to present evidence in absentia.
On October 2, 2001, the prosecution rested its case and, on the
same day, the trial court declared petitioner to have waived his right to
present his evidence and deemed the case submitted for decision.
On November 14, 2001, the case was set for promulgation of
judgment. The decision was thereafter promulgated in accordance with Section 6,
Rule 120 of the Rules of Court.
On February 11, 2002, petitioner filed his application for bail,
citing as a ground for its allowance his voluntary surrender on January 22,
2002 and the fact that the decision was still unpromulgated as to him because
he had neither been notified of its promulgation nor given a copy thereof.
On February 18, 2002, the trial court issued the first assailed
order denying petitioner's bail application. On the same day, petitioner
escaped from the provincial jail.
On February 22, 2002, petitioner filed a motion for
reconsideration. On March 14, 2002, the trial court denied said motion for
reconsideration in its second assailed order.
Aggrieved, petitioner elevated the case to the Court of Appeals via
petition for certiorari. On October 4, 2002, the appellate court rendered a
dismissing the same for lack of merit. A subsequent motion for reconsideration
Thus, the instant petition wherein petitioner harps on the
alleged grave abuse of discretion committed by the trial court when it denied
his application for bail despite the fact that there was allegedly no valid
promulgation of judgment against him.
The petition deserves scant consideration.
Records reveal that no abuse of discretion was committed by the
trial court when it denied petitioner's application for bail and motion for
reconsideration. In fact, the assailed orders were founded on justifiable
ground which was petitioner's blatant disregard of the lawful orders of the
It is worthy to note that the trial court approved the bail bond
of petitioner on September 17, 1998 and thus, he was in fact out on bail during
the entire duration of the trial of his case. However, petitioner repeatedly
failed to appear before the court despite due notice, to the point that the
trial court considered him to have waived his right to present evidence and
deemed the case submitted for decision.
Under the third paragraph of Section 6 of Rule 120 of the Rules
of Court, all accused, regardless of the gravity of the offense with which they
are charged, must be given notice of promulgation of judgment. However, the
last paragraph of the said provision allows the promulgation of judgment in
absentia to cover the possibility that the judicial process might be
subverted if the accused jumps bail. This is the exact situation in the case at
bar. Petitioner insists that he was not served a notice of promulgation. On the
other hand, the trial court, in denying petitioner's motion for
reconsideration, categorically stated that there was a valid promulgation of
judgment against him:
The counsel for the accused insists that the decision in the above
cases had never been promulgated. The record of each of the above-entitled
cases shows that the decision had been duly promulgated. It was the making of
the accused not to receive a copy of the decision at his last known address and
there was no one to receive a copy of the decision. The accused had been a
fugitive from justice, hence, he lost his legal standing in court and had
forfeited all his rights under the law.cralaw
As against petitioner's unsubstantiated allegation, the Court is
inclined to give credence to the trial court's pronouncement which carries a
presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty.cralaw
Regarding the supposed entitlement to bail of petitioner as a matter
of right, Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 114 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure are
SEC. 4. Bail, a matter of right. - All persons
in custody shall: (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial
Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities and Municipal
Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of
an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life
imprisonment, be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient
sureties, or be released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this Rule.
SEC. 5 Bail, when discretionary. - Upon conviction by the
Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion
perpetua or life imprisonment, the court, on application, may admit the
accused to bail.
Clearly, after conviction by the RTC of an offense not punishable
by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, bail becomes a matter
It is settled that where the ground invoked in a special civil
action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is abuse of
discretion, the abuse must be so grave as where the power is exercised in an
arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility; or it
must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a
virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation
of law. Grave abuse of discretion implies a capricious and whimsical exercise
All told, the Court finds no grave abuse of discretion committed
by the trial court.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
Very truly yours,
(Sgd.) JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court