April 2004 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
Sidro v. People : 149685 : April 28, 2004 : J. Callejo Sr : Second Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 149685. April 28, 2004]
JUDGE PROCESO SIDRO, Petitioner, v. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and SANDIGANBAYAN, 5th Division, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorariunder Rule 45 of the Rules of Court of the Decision1 of the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case No. 17567 entitled People v. Judge Proceso Sidroconvicting the accused therein of violating Section 3(e) of Republic Act No. 3019,2 as amended.
Petitioner Judge Proceso Sidro was charged in the Sandiganbayan with violation of Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019, as amended. The accusatory portion of the Information reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
That on or about the 4thday of June 1990, and for some
time subsequent thereto, in the Municipality of Mondragon, Province of Northern
Samar, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the
above-named accused, a public officer, being then the Presiding Judge of the 5thMunicipal Circuit Trial Court of Mondragon, Northern Samar, while in the
performance of his official functions and committing the offense in relation to
his office, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, criminally and through
evident bad faith cause undue injury to one ROQUE VICARIO, FE CARDENAS and
AGUSTIN CARDENAS in the following manner: accused, after having received the
amount of ONE THOUSAND PESOS (
Philippine Currency, from Fe
Cardenas and Agustin Cardenas as the cash bond for the liberty of Roque Vicario
in Criminal Case No. 5671, failed to deposit the same with the Clerk of Court
and retained possession of it
after the aforesaid criminal case was provisionally dismissed on September 14,
1990, and thereafter, unjustifiably refused to return it to Roque Vicario or Fe
Cardenas or Agustin Cardenas, thus causing pecuniary damage and prejudice to
the latter who were deprived of the ownership and use of their money in the
CONTRARY TO LAW.3 cralawred
The petitioner was duly arraigned, assisted by counsel, and entered a plea of not guilty.4
The Evidence of the Prosecution
Roque Vicario, a driver employed in the Integrated Provincial
Health Office in Mondragon, Northern Samar, was charged with resisting arrest
as defined in Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code. The Information was filed
in the sala of the petitioner, the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of
Mondragon-San Roque, Northern Samar, and was docketed as Criminal Case No.
The petitioner issued a warrant
for the arrest of Vicario with a bail of
P20,000. 00 for his provisional
liberty.5 However, the petitioner reduced the amount to P10,000. 00.6 cralawred
On June 4, 1990, Vicario was arrested while on his way to the
Municipal Treasurers office on the basis of the warrant issued by the
petitioner. Vicario asked a tricycle driver to deliver a note to his friend, Fe
The driver agreed
and delivered the note to Castillo.7 In
the said note, Vicario asked Castillo to borrow
P1,000. 00 from his
officemate, Baby Alamil, for his bail bond.8 Castillo was able to borrow only P500. 00 from Alamil, and brought the money to
Vicario in the municipal jail.9 Vicario instructed Castillo to deliver the money to Luz, an employee of the
Municipal Trial Court (MTC). Castillo
did as she was told. However, Luz gave the money to Mila Mendez, another employee
of the MTC.10 cralawred
At around 3:00 p. m.,
Mila accompanied Castillo to the
petitioners residence near the municipal building where Mila gave the money to
the petitioner.11 Upon the petitioners instructions, Castillo signed a bail bond, where the cash
bail was fixed at
petitioner told her that the amount was short by P500. 00; hence, Vicario
could not be released from jail.
Castillo promised to deliver the balance of P500. 00.
In the meantime, Vicario remained in jail. He managed to produce
and asked his close friend Agustin Cardenas, Fe Castillos father, and a store
owner, to deliver the amount to the petitioner so as to complete his cash bond
of P1,000. 00.12 cralawred
On June 5, 1990, Cardenas and his daughter, Fe Castillo, arrived
at the MTC to see the petitioner, but the latter was not in court.
Cardenas informed Mila Mendez that he wanted
to talk to the petitioner, and Mendez accompanied him to the petitioners
residence. When apprised that Cardenas already had
P500. 00 to complete
Vicarios P1,000. 00 cash bond, the petitioner ordered him to give him
the P500. 00.13 Cardenas reminded the petitioner that the money should be remitted to the
municipal treasurer, and the latter replied, It can be paid with me. Anyway, when the case is dismissed, it will be
easy for you to get the money.14 Cardenas politely requested the petitioner to issue a receipt for the amount of
P1,000. 00, including the P500. 00 given by Castillo to the
petitioner the day before.
petitioner obliged and prepared, in his own handwriting, a signed receipt in
the presence of Mendez, who affixed her signature thereon as a witness.15 The Receipt reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Received the amount of One Thousand Pesos from Agustin Cardenas
For Roque Vicario in Crim. Case No. 5671
For deposit with the treasurers office.
(Sgd.) Proceso C. Sidro
Mila C. Mendez16 cralawred
The petitioner explained to Cardenas and Castillo that he dated
the receipt June 4, 1990 because it was on that day that Castillo had given him
P500. 00. However, the petitioner required Vicario to sign a
bail bond with Castillo as the surety therein.17 cralawred
At 2:30 p. m. that day, the petitioner proceeded to the municipal jail and ordered the jail warden to release the petitioner. The warden complied with the petitioners verbal order and released Vicario from detention. Vicario signed the bail bond and subscribed and swore to the truth thereof before the petitioner. The release of Vicario from jail on orders of the petitioner was placed in the police blotter.18 cralawred
Meanwhile, Cardenas gave the receipt signed by the petitioner to
The petitioner did not deposit
P1,000. 00 cash bond with the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of
Mondragon, nor with the nearest internal revenue collector or provincial
On September 14, 1990, the petitioner issued an Order dismissing Criminal Case No. 5671, provisionally, on motion of the public prosecutor.19 cralawred
Vicario wanted to withdraw his
P1,000. 00 cash bond.
He inquired from the Office of the Municipal
Treasurer whether the amount had been deposited by the petitioner, and was told
that there was no such deposit.20 cralawred
During the first week of October 1990, Vicario, Agustin and
Castillo went to the house of the petitioner to get back the
cash bond, earlier remitted to the petitioner in two installments on June 4 and
However, the petitioner told
Vicario, Roque, you wait until November
when I get my bonus because I will be able to pay you then. I was able to use
your money.21 Vicario agreed to return in November.
But when Vicario and Agustin saw the petitioner anew on November 30,
1990, the petitioner got peeved and told Vicario, Roque, what do you really want? Do you want your case to be revived
against you? Vicario pleaded to the petitioner not to revive the case
against him.22 The petitioner told Vicario to file a motion with the court for the refund of
his P1,000. 00.
Vicario decided to charge the petitioner for violation of the Anti-Graft Law with the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas). Vicario then executed his Affidavit-Complaint against the petitioner on December 11, 1990.23 He also filed a copy of his Affidavit-Complaint with the Supreme Court, which was docketed as Administrative Matter No. MTJ-91-508.
The Evidence of the Petitioner
The petitioner had been the presiding judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Mondragon-San Roque, Northern Samar, since October 10, 1984.24 The MCTC was located in a private house rented by the government, about 50 meters away from the municipal building. In the past, cash bonds deposited in the Office of the Municipal Treasurer were withdrawn without the corresponding order from the court. Since then, Joel Escareal, the Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon, Northern Samar, refused to accept cash bond deposits for the accused in the MCTC of San Roque- Mondragon.25 The petitioner was aware of this policy.26 Some accused resorted to depositing their cash bonds in the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of San Roque.
Roque Vicario was charged in the Municipal Court of San Roque,
Mondragon, with violation of Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, docketed as
Criminal Case No. 5671.
issued a warrant for Vicarios arrest and fixed bail in the amount of
for the latters provisional liberty.
The petitioner later reduced the amount to P10,000. 00.27 Vicario was arrested on June 4, 1990.
In the afternoon of the same day, Cardenas and his daughter, Fe
Castillo, arrived in the petitioners office to deposit the cash bail of
Luz Malabago helped them
prepare the bail bond to be signed by Vicario with his picture pasted on the
dorsal portion thereof.
The amount of
as cash bond was handwritten on the spaces provided therefor.
Castillo affixed her signature on the bond
as surety. However, the petitioner agreed to reduce the bail for the
provisional liberty of Vicario from P10,000. 00 to P1,000. 00.
Castillo gave the P1,000. 00 to the
petitioner28 who ordered Court Stenographer Remedios Bantilo to deposit the amount in the
Office of the Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon. By then, it was already 4:30 p. m. Although she already knew that the Municipal Treasurers Office
would not accept the cash bond, Bantilo still proceeded to the said office only
to be told by Muncipal Treasurer Joel Escareal that he would not accept the
deposit.29 Bantilo returned to the court and returned the amount to the petitioner.30 She informed the petitioner that the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of
Mondragon had refused to accept the P1,000. 00. The petitioner signed a handwritten receipt for the amount of P1,000. 00
returned by Bantilo for deposit with the treasurers office.31 The petitioner then issued an order for Vicarios release from the municipal
The order was served on the jail
warden through the court personnel.
jail warden released Vicario at 2:20 p. m.32 cralawred
One afternoon in the second week of October 1990, Cardenas and
his daughter, Fe Castillo arrived in the office of the petitioner asking for
the return of Vicarios
P1,000 cash bond. The petitioner suggested that Castillo file a motion for the
withdrawal of the said amount.
no such motion was filed.
30, 1990, the petitioner issued an Order directing the return of the P1,000. 00
to Castillo, care of Vicario, upon proper motion to withdraw and the execution
of a receipt thereof.35 Although Vicario received a copy of the said order, he did not file any
The petitioner turned over, on
the said date, the P1,000. 00 to Clerk of Court Pompeyo Jimena. The
petitioner also instructed Jimena to deposit the amount in the Office of the
Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon as soon as a new municipal treasurer was
appointed.36 In the meantime, Jimena kept the money.
On January 18, 1991, the petitioner issued an Order directing the
Clerk of Court to deposit the
P1,000. 00 with the municipal treasurer
pending the filing of a motion for the withdrawal of the amount. However, the
petitioner took the original of the order and failed to return the same.37 cralawred
In the meantime, a new municipal treasurer of Mondragon was
On February 4, 1991, Jimena
P1,000. 00 with the Municipal Treasurers Office of
Mondragon which accepted the said deposit and issued Official Receipt No.
0800898 dated February 4, 1991.38 cralawred
Unknown to the petitioner, Vicario had executed an Affidavit-Complaint against him on December 11, 1990 for violation of Rep. Act No. 3019, as amended, and filed the same with the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), docketed as OMC-2-90-2871. Vicario also filed his Affidavit-Complaint in the Supreme Court. The petitioner learned about the said charges on February 21, 1991. On July 30, 1991, Graft Investigation Officer II Avito P. Cahig issued a Resolution recommending the dismissal of Vicarios complaint.39 The Supreme Court, on October 15, 1991, likewise, dismissed the complaint of Vicario.40 However, upon review by Special Prosecution Officer III Teresita V. Diaz-Baldos, the Ombudsman rejected the initial recommendation and approved the filing of the Information against the petitioner.
After trial, the Sandiganbayan rendered judgment convicting the petitioner of the crime charged. The decretal portion of the decision reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Court finds the accused, JUDGE PROCESO SIDRO Y CESISTA, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Section 3(e) of R. A. 3019, as amended and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of SIX (6) years and ONE (1) month, as minimum, to SEVEN (7) years, as maximum, and also perpetual disqualification from public office.
He is furthered ordered to pay private complainants the amount of
P1,000. 00, and to pay the costs of suit.
The Clerk of Court is hereby directed to furnish the Office of the Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines, Manila, a copy of this decision.41 cralawred
The petitioner seeks the reversal of the decision of the Sandiganbayan, contending as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
The 5thDivision of the Honorable Sandiganbayan erred in finding that the petitioner committed evident bad faith in accepting the money posted as cash bond in favor of Roque Vicario in Criminal Case No. 5671; in failing to deposit the said amount with the Clerk of Court, and; in retaining possession of the money even after the provisional dismissal of Criminal Case No. 5671 on September 14, 1990;chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
2. The 5thDivision of the Honorable Sandiganbayan erred
in finding that the petitioner had caused undue injury to Roque Vicario, and Fe
and Agustin Cardenas for the latter were deprived of the use and possession of
the One Thousand Pesos (
P1,000. 00) deposited as cash bond for the
temporary liberty of Vicario after the case against said Vicario was dismissed,
for said petitioner continued to hold the money illegally.42 cralawred
Considering that the assigned errors are interrelated, the Court shall delve into and resolve the same simultaneously.
The petitioner asserts that he was not proscribed by law or by the Rules of Court from receiving the cash bail and directing the court stenographic reporter to deposit the same in the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon, for and in behalf of Vicario who was in jail. He contends that he is not even proscribed from receiving Vicarios cash bail because Rule 114, Section 14 of the Rules of Court is merely directory and not mandatory. When the municipal treasurer refused to accept the cash bond, he decided to accept it so that Vicario would be released from jail.
The petitioner, likewise, asserts that he cannot be faulted for
exercising his broad judicial power in Rule 133, Section 5 of the Rules of
He acted in good faith when he
P1,000 cash bail, as he even issued a receipt for the
There was no way he could have
misappropriated the amount because though he kept the money from June 5, 1990
to October 30, 1990, he remitted the amount to the Clerk of Court for deposit
with the Municipal Treasurers Office.
The petitioner asserts that he had not known of the Municipal
Treasurers policy of rejecting deposits of cash bonds from those charged in
the Municipal Trial Court.
he cannot be faulted for keeping the money even after the provisional dismissal
of the case on September 14, 1990 because (a) Vicario did not file a motion for
the withdrawal of the P1,000. 00, even though there was no official
receipt from the municipal treasurer for the said amount; and, (b) it would
have been inappropriate or imprudent for him to have released the amount to
Vicario without any order from the court considering that he, the petitioner,
had issued a receipt for the amount.
The petitioner argues that he should be acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove that he acted with evident bad faith in his official actuations with reference to the cash bond of Vicario.
The petition is unmeritorious.
The Sandiganbayan convicted the petitioner on the basis of its findings and disquisitions, viz:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Our disquisition on the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused will focus on the third and fourth elements.
To begin with, what are the issues which confront Us?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Did the respondent act with evident bad faith in:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
1. accepting the money posted as cash bond by Fe Cardenas and Agustin Cardenas in favor of Roque Vicario in Criminal Case No. 5671,
2. failing to deposit the said amount with the Clerk of Court, and
3. retaining possession of the money even after the provisional dismissal of Criminal Case No. 5671 on September 14, 1990?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
In addition, did private complainant suffer undue injury due to the actuations of the respondent?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Bad faith imports a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of wrong it partakes of the nature of fraud, a breach of a known duty through some motive of interest or ill will.
It must be reiterated that bad faith should be established by clear and convincing evidence the settled rule is that the law always presumes good faith such that any person who seeks to be awarded damages due to acts of another has the burden of proving that the latter acted in bad faith or with ill motive
From the evidence presented, this Court is convinced that the respondent acted in evident bad faith.
For one, it is not among the functions of a Presiding Judge to accept cash bonds from the accused or his representative. Section 11, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is clear on the matter:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Deposit of cash as bail. The accused or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue, or provincial, city or municipal treasurerthe amount of bail fixed by the court or recommended by the fiscal who investigated or filed the case, and upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and of a written undertaking showing compliance with the requirements of Section 2 hereof, the accused shall be discharged from custody. Money thus deposited shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of any fine and costs and the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the deposit. (Underlining supplied)
Ironically, it was defense witness, Remedios Bantilo, the Court Stenographer, who admitted that the accused already knew that the Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon would refuse the deposit of the cash bond from their office. Why did the accused accept the money posted by Cardenas as cash bond for the release of Vicario? Unless, he had some other motive for accepting the same. Surmise? Further evidence will hold Us out.
Bantilo continued by saying that the reason why the accused asked her to make the alleged deposit of the cash bond with the Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon was to show to the bondsman, Fe Cardenas, that he (accused) was directing her (Bantilo) to deposit the money. Accused already knew of the futility of going through the process of depositing the money with the Treasurer of Mondragon. Isnt this a conscious doing of wrongby the respondent manifesting a. .. state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or with some motive of self-interest or ill will or for ulterior purpose?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
So, accused accepted the money and issued a temporary receipt to Cardenas for the same (Exhibit D). What did he do with the money next? Prudence dictates that, a Presiding Judge, who is expected to be circumspect in his actions, will give the money to the Clerk of Court for the latter to deposit the same with the Municipal Treasurer. But he did otherwise. Instead, according to the Clerk of Court Jimena, accused kept the money in his possession from June 1990 to October 1990 and even told him (Jimena) to wait for the incoming Municipal Treasure to assume office before depositing the money with the Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon, the former Treasurer having passed away already. In obedience to the order of his superior, Jimena waited until January 18, 1991 when the accused issued an order to deposit the money with the Municipal Treasurer.
As we can see then, the money remained with the accused for more or less seven (7) months. It was not until February 4, 1991 when the cash bond was finally deposited with the Municipal Treasurer of Mondragon in the name of bondsman, Fe Cardenas (Exhibit 6). How can accused be said to have acted in good faith when, as a judge, he should know that the rule (Section 11, Rule 114, Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure) is explicit on who should have custody of the money posted as cash bond? We see it no other way than the accused acted in bad faith in the premises.
The record is replete with instances where the accused manipulated the records of Criminal Case No. 5671 to suit his needs. Accused, according to Clerk of Court Jimena borrowed from the records the original copy of the Order of January 18, 1991 directing the deposit of the cash bond with the Municipal Treasurers office and never returned the same. Why and what for are not for Us to unnecessarily delve into what is of concern to Us is that a Judge compromised the integrity of the records he is supposed to preserve inviolate at all times. Not only that, from his own testimony, it appears that there were discrepancies in the bail bond of Vicario in Criminal Case No. 5671 such as the real amounts of the original bond and the final bond charged against him (Vicario).
Accused acknowledged that although the case against Vicario was dismissed on September 14, 1990, he did not as yet order the release of the cash bond posted because the dismissal was provisional in nature. If that be so, why then did he order the release of the cash bond on October 30, 1990 (Exhibit 4) when the dismissal of Vicarios case was not yet final? This was the question posed to the accused by the Court to which no satisfactory answer was given by him to convince Us that his actuation was done in good faith.43 cralawred
We agree with the foregoing findings.
Section 3(e) of Rep. Act No. 3019 under which the petitioner is charged states, thus:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
SEC. 3. Corrupt Practices of Public Officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
e. Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or permits or other concessions.
To warrant the conviction of the accused, the prosecution is burdened to prove the following essential elements of the crime:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
The elements of the offense defined in this provision are that: (1) The accused is a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; (2) he must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith, or inexcusable negligence; and (3) his action has caused any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or has given any party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.44 cralawred
In Marcelo v. Sandigabayan,45 the Court defined evident bad faith, viz:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Bad faith does not simply connote bad judgment or negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of sworn duty through some motive or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud. (Spiegel v. Beacon Participations, 8 NE 2ndSeries, 895, 1007). It contemplates a state of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or some motive of self-interest or ill will for ulterior purposes. (Air France v. Carrascoso, 18 SCRA 155, 166-167). Evident bad faith connotes a manifest deliberate intent on the part of the accused to do wrong or cause damage.46 cralawred
In this case, the petitioner was the presiding judge of the MCTC
of San Roque-Mondragon, Northern Samar and acted in that capacity when he
P1,000. 00 from Castillo and Cardenas. The petitioner acted
with evident bad faith from the time he received Vicarios P1,000. 00
cash bail on June 4 and June 5, 1990, and refused to have the amount deposited
either with the nearest collector of internal revenue, the municipal treasurer
of Mondragon, or provincial treasurer of Northern Samar as provided for in
Section 11, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. Even after the provisional
dismissal of Criminal Case No. 5671 on September 14, 1990, the petitioner
refused to return the amount despite the demands of Vicario, Castillo and
Cardenas that the money be returned. Vicario suffered undue injury when the
petitioner retained the P1,000. 00 for his personal use.
Section 11, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court provides:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
SEC. 11. Deposit of cash as bail. The accused or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue, or provincial, city or municipal treasurer the amount of bail fixed by the court or recommended by the fiscal who investigated or filed the case, and upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and of a written undertaking showing compliance with the requirements of Section 2 hereof, the accused shall be discharged from custody. Money thus deposited shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of any fine and costs and the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the deposit.
It is evident that the petitioner is not one of those authorized
to receive cash bail from the accused; nor is he authorized to keep the money
in his office.47 It bears stressing that the cash bail shall be applied to the payment of any
fine and cost and the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to
whoever made the deposit.48 The
bail is to ensure the appearance of the
accused when required by the court or by the rules, and for the failure to appear before the court without any justification therefor, his bail may be forfeited in favor of the government. Unless the bail is deposited with the municipal treasurer or internal revenue collector as required by the Rules, the government may not be able to collect the fine or costs from the accused or have the bond confiscated in its favor.
The petitioner received
P500. 00 from Castillo on June 4,
1990, which was part of Vicarios cash bail.
The petitioner did not issue any official receipt for the amount, as
well as for the P500. 00 he received on June 5, 1990 from Castillo and
Cardenas, and even kept the money. The petitioner did not even bother to have
the transaction placed in the records of Criminal Case No. 5671. Pursuant to
the Rules, the petitioner should have instructed Castillo to deposit the cash
bail, either in the office of the nearest revenue collector, or in the office
of the municipal treasurer of Mondragon.
Even if he acquiesced to the plea of Castillo and Cardenas for him to
receive the P1,000. 00, it was incumbent upon the petitioner to have
turned over the money to the clerk of court. The petitioner should then have
directed the clerk of court to issue an official receipt for the amount, and to
immediately deposit the same with the nearest revenue collector or municipal
The proper procedure in the
handling of cash submitted or given to the municipal court as bail bond is for
the court to formally direct the clerk of court to officially receive the cash
and to immediately deposit it with the municipal treasurers office.
The transaction must not only be properly
receipted for but must also appear in the records of the case.49 cralawred
It may be true that the petitioner signed a receipt for the
However, he did so in his personal
capacity, as he failed to indicate therein that he was signing the receipt
in his capacity as the presiding judge of the MCTC. He even failed to have the receipt or a copy thereof attached to
the records to show that Vicario had posted bail.
We do not believe the petitioners contention that, on June 5, 1990, he requested Bantilo to deposit the amount with the office of the municipal treasurer but that the latter rejected the deposit. In the first place, contrary to the petitioners claim, he already knew that the municipal treasurer of Mondragon had previously rejected deposits of cash bail of accused in the municipal trial court. This was the testimony of stenographic reporter Remedios Bantilo, a witness for the petitioner no less, in answer to the clarificatory questions of the Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan, to wit:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
QDid you not tell the judge that it will be useless for you to go to the treasurer of Mondragon carrying money because the treasurer will refuse it?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QDid you tell that to the judge?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhat did the judge say?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWhen I said (sic) that to Judge Sidro, Fe Cardenas just handed the money to Judge Sidro and asked for a receipt.
QEither you are confused or you are deliberately twisting. You already said that, many times in the past, the municipal treasurer of Mondragon would refuse to accept cash bond?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QSo Judge Sidro even before this occasion already knew that the municipal treasurer of Mondragon would refuse to accept cash deposit for bail?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QSo Judge Sidro, even before this occasion, already knew that the municipal treasurer of Mondragon would refuse to accept that cash bail?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AYes, sir.50 cralawred
It is inconceivable that the petitioner would still order Bantilo on June 5, 1990 to deposit the money in the office of the municipal treasurer when he knew all along that the deposit would be rejected.
Even assuming that the petitioner was not aware before June 5, 1990, that the municipal treasurer would refuse to accept cash bail and still sent Bantilo to deposit the amount in the office of the municipal treasurer, the petitioner should have turned over the amount to the clerk of court the next day, and ordered the latter to deposit the amount to the nearest internal revenue collector as provided for in Rule 114, Section 11 of the Rules of Court. The petitioner failed to do so.
After the petitioner dismissed the case provisionally on
September 14, 1990, he was obliged to return the
P1,000. 00 to Vicario,
Cardenas or Castillo.
After all, the
proceedings before the municipal trial court had already been terminated when
the petitioners order provisionally dismissing Criminal Case No. 5671 became final.
However, the petitioner failed to
return the amount when Castillo and Vicario asked him during the first week of October 1990 to return the same. It turned out that the petitioner used the money and did not have
when Vicario and Cardenas arrived in his office to claim it.
As testified to by Vicario, the petitioner
asked to be given until November 1990 within which to repay the amount.
QWhen was that when you went to the Judge together with Agustin Cardenas and Fe Cardenas?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAbout October of 1990, sir.
QDo you know the specific date?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI cannot tell, sir.
QFirst week, second week, last week?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AFirst week, Your Honor.
QWere you able to meet the Judge when you went there?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhat transpired when you met him?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AHe said, Roque, you wait until November when I get my bonus because I will be able to pay you then. I was able to use your money.
QWhat did you do when he told you that?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI went home, sir.
QIn other words, you agreed that you will just wait until November?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AYes, Your Honor.51 cralawred
Vicario was rebuffed anew by the petitioner when he returned to
the latters office with Castillo and Cardenas and asked for the return of the
Petitioner again failed to return the amount
despite his promise.
He even threatened
to have the case against Vicario revived. Vicario, thus, decided to complain
against the petitioner in the Office of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court.
QWhen did you return again to the Judge regarding your cash bond?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ALast week of November, sir.
QWho were your companions when you went back to the Judge?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AAgustin Cardenas, sir.
AAnd also Fe Cardenas, the daughter of Agustin Cardenas, sir.
QWere you able to meet with the Judge?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhat transpired when you met him?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI told him, Judge, I came back because of your promise about my (sic) cash bond.
QWhat did the judge tell you, if any?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AHe told me, Roque, what do you really want? Do you want your case to be revived against you?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhat did you answer the Judge?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI told him, No, Judge. Dont do that. (Huwang(sic) naman, Judge).
QWhat happened next, after that?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ASo I went to see a lawyer and I asked the lawyer to prepare an affidavit and a letter addressed to the Ombudsman and to the Supreme Court, sir.52 cralawred
Vicarios testimony, thus, belies the petitioners defense that he refused to return the amount to Vicario because the dismissal of the case on September 14, 1990 was merely provisional, and because neither Vicario nor Castillo filed a motion for the withdrawal of the amount as mandated by the petitioner in his Order of October 30, 1990. Vicario and Castillo could not file any motion for the withdrawal of the cash bail, as there was no official receipt for the amount issued by the municipal treasurer or internal revenue collector.
We agree with the findings and disquisitions of the Sandiganbayan, viz:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Accused argued that Vicario could have had his money if he only filed the proper motion to withdraw the said cash bond. Precisely, Vicario could not file the said motion because there is no official receipt to show that the said money had been deposited with the government through the Municipal Treasurer. As a judge, the accused should know that the procedure in the release of a cash bond is the filing of a proper motion together with the attachment of the official receipt showing the deposit of the money with either an internal revenue collector or the municipal/provincial treasurer. No official receipt was given to Vicario because the accused circumvent the rules to suit his personal needs, holding on to the money instead of immediately depositing it with the government through the Municipal Treasurer.
Along this line, We note the anomalous order issued by the accused on January 18, 1991. The successful release of the cash bond is predicated on the filing of a motion with the attachment of the official receipt. The prior deposit of the cash bond with the Municipal Treasurer is the initial step undertaken prior to the eventual filing of a motion for its withdrawal upon acquittal or dismissal of the case. A perusal of the said order would either show that the accused is ignorant of the procedure or misleading the complainant in his attempt to cover-up his wrongdoing.53 cralawred
Also, Vicario cannot be faulted for not filing a motion for the
withdrawal of the
P1,000. 00 because he had earlier learned from the
municipal treasurers office that the petitioner had not deposited the said
Furthermore, the petitioner
himself had promised Vicario that he would refund the amount in November 1990.
There was, thus, no sense for Vicario to file such motion to withdraw the cash
We agree with the following
comment of the respondents:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
To the point of being repetitious, Vicario and his bondsman could not possibly file the motion to withdraw the cash bond because the said bond was not deposited with the Municipal Treasurer. Thus, there was no official receipt from the Municipal Treasurer which Vicario and his bondsman could attach to his motion and show to the court that the cash bond was indeed deposited with the former. No official receipt can also be found in the expediente. As earlier stated, the cash bond was deposited with petitioner for which he merely issued a receipt. Surely, the receipt issued by petitioner is not the receipt contemplated by law which evidences deposit of the cash bond.
Moreover, if petitioner truly believes that there was no need for
the receipt from the Municipal Treasurer because Vicarios
bondsman was in possession of a receipt
which he (petitioner) had issued acknowledging receipt of the cash bond, then
it follows that filing of the motion to withdraw the cash bond is also a futile
exercise since all that petitioner has to do was to release the
to the bondsman.54 cralawred
When he testified, the petitioner denied having met Vicario after June 5, 1990:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
QHow about Roque Vicario, before June 4, 1990, did you ever see him prior to that date?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI saw him several times before June 4.
QUnder what circumstances?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ABecause of some cases filed against him.
QAfter June 4, 1990, did you have occasion to see him again?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI never saw him.
QThe last time you saw Roque Vicario was on June 4, 1990 and you never saw him again until here in Court?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AYes, sir.55 cralawred
By his testimony, the petitioner sought to impugn Vicarios
account that during the first week of October 1990 and November 1990, he, along
with Cardenas and Castillo, demanded the return of the
P1,000. 00 cash
However, when he testified during
the reopening of the case the petitioner declared that Vicario was insistent on
the return of the P1,000. 00 after
the provisional dismissalof Criminal Case No. 5671:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
QMr. Witness, whenever you dismiss a case, according to you, in your Order of dismissal, usually you do not include the Order to return the Cash Bond to the accused or to the bondsman. But in case there is an oral motion from the accused on the same date of dismissal, do you not include that in your Order of Dismissal the return of the cash bond to the accused or bondsman?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ANo, of course, the cases are different from each other so I have to look into the case and the circumstance around it particularly whether I should-- because, you know in our place, in some minor cases, we do not order the accused to file his bond. So, not all cases have to be treated in like manner. That means that in this particular case, the accused filed his bond through somebody else. He was not the actual person who filed the cash bond and I actually receipted that. I remember that it was a certain Agusto (sic) Cardenas who filed his bond and the accused, after the dismissal of the case, was insistent that his cash bond should be given to him personally and I had some doubts whether he was the owner of that. (Underscoring supplied)56 cralawred
Moreover, in his petition at bar, the petitioner admitted that Vicario and Castillo saw and talked to him in October 1990:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
With due respect, from the evidence presented, they (sic) is no showing whatsoever that the petitioner had ever attempted to preclude Vicario and his bondsman from their enjoyment of the cash bond. It may be recalled that on September 14, 1990, the case against Vicario for which the cash bond was posted was dismissed without prejudice. On the following month, October, 1990, Vicario and his bondsman went to see the petitioner and manifested their intention to withdraw the cash bond. While Vicario and his bondsman claimed that the petitioner allegedly requested that he would just pay the amount when he will get his bonus in November, 1990, the same is nothing but a self-serving statement, without any supporting evidence whatsoever. On the other hand, at the time Vicario and his bondman went to the petitioner in October, 1990, they had already the right to withdraw the cash bond, without any condition, and they could absolutely do it at their instance. Yet, they did not do anything.57 cralawred
The averments of the petitioner in his petition and his testimony on May 2, 2001, thus, frontally belie his testimony before the Sandiganbayan, that he never saw and talked with Vicario after June 4, 1990.
Also incredible is the testimony of the petitioner and Clerk of
Court Pompeyo Jimena that the petitioner turned over the
P1,000. 00 to
the latter on October 30, 1990, and that the petitioner ordered Jimena to
deposit the amount as soon as a new municipal treasurer was appointed.
The petitioner failed to adduce in evidence
any official receipt signed by Jimena acknowledging that he received the said
amount from the petitioner on the said date, or on any date for that matter, and showing that the matter was placed in the records of Criminal Case No.
Neither did the petitioner adduce
in evidence any order he issued on the said date directing Jimena to deposit
the amount with the municipal treasurers office.
Jimenas testimony that the petitioner issued an order on January 18, 1991, directing him to deposit the amount with the municipal treasurer pending Vicario or Castillos motion for the withdrawal of the amount is doubtful. The alleged order adduced in evidence by the petitioner in the Sandiganbayan is merely a xerox copy, which was not even certified by Jimena. Inexplicably, the latter testified that the petitioner took the original of the order and never returned the same to Jimena:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
QAnd you said that up to the present accused Roque Vicario nor his counsel never filed a motion for the withdrawal or in compliance with this order. What did you do with the money?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI waited for the order of the court because according to Judge Sidro, once the court received the compliance, I should give the money back to Mr. Vicario.
QWas there an order of the court to deposit the money?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhen was that?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AJanuary 18, 1991.
QI am showing to you a xerox copy of an order dated January 18, 1991, will you please examine this and explain to us what relation has this order to that you said a while ago?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThis is the order issued
by Judge Sidro ordering me to deposit the amount of
P1,000 but the
original of this order was borrowed by the Judge himself. He told me he will
borrow the original copy.
QYou are saying that the original of that order does not exist in the records?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ADoes not exist in the record.
QDo you allow people to get pages from the records?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AWell, he is my superior, and he told me he will be using that.58 cralawred
Alright, you were clerk of court since 1982. From that time up to the present you do not know that one way of preserving the records is to number them?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhat you are telling us is that there was an order in the records, you cut up the records, get the order and sewed the records back again?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AIn our place, Your Honor, we do not sew the records. We use the fastener. It is only in the RTC that I experienced that the records are being sewn.
QIn this particular instance, Judge Sidro extracted the order, fastened it back and returned it to you?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AI was the one who detached the order from the records, Your Honor.
JUSTICE DE LEON
QWhen Judge Sidro asked to be allowed to borrow the original of that order, that order dated January 18, 1991, did you see to it that there was a copy of that order left with the expediente?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThat was the last order, the original.
QThe only copy left?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
QWhen did he return the original?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
ATo date, he did not return the original because according to him, he will use it.
QThe expediente of that case which is before you does not contain the original copy?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
AThis is the xerox copy.59 cralawred
The petitioner never explained why he took the original copy of the order and why he never returned the same, so as to be made part of the records of Criminal Case No. 5671.
We also agree with the Sandiganbayan that the prosecution proved
beyond reasonable cavil that Vicario suffered undue injury because of the
petitioners refusal to return the
Undue injury refers to injury that is more than necessary, not proper, or an illegal wrong or damage done to another, either in his person, rights, reputation or property.
The testimonies of Roque Vicario and Fe and Agustin Cardenas are
clear that they were deprived of the possession and use of the One Thousand
the money deposited as cash bond for the temporary
liberty of Vicario, due to the doing of the accused. From the time the case against Vicario was dismissed, the latter
and his bondsmen were entitled to the release and enjoyment of the money
deposited as cash bond. Section 22, Rule 114, Revised Rules of Court is clear
x x x
The bail bond shall be deemed automatically cancelled upon acquittal of the accused or dismissal of the case or execution of the final judgment of conviction.
x x x
By holding on to the money illegally, the accused precluded the enjoyment of the said amount by the concerned persons. The belated action by the accused in ordering the deposit of the amount with the Municipal Treasurer on January 18, 1991, more than four (4) months from the time the case against Vicario was dismissed on September 14, 1990, is of no moment since it is a fact that actual injury had already been suffered by Vicario and his bondsmen.60 cralawred
IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the petition is DENIEDdue course and is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Sandiganbayan is AFFIRMED. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Court Administrator so that the appropriate administrative charges may be filed against the petitioner. Costs against the petitioner.
Puno, J., (Chairman), Quisumbing, Austria-Martinez, and TINGA, JJ., concur.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario (Chairman) with Associate Justices Anacleto D. Badoy, Jr. and Ma. Cristina Cortez-Estrada concurring.2 Also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.3 Records, p. 1.4 Id. at 92.5 Exhibit E.6 Ibid.7 TSN, 27 October 1992, p. 27.8 Ibid.9 TSN, 28 October 1992, p. 22.10 Id. at 27.11 Id. at 23.12 TSN, 27 October 1992, p. 25.13 TSN, 28 October 1992, p. 7.14 Id. at 8.15 Id.16 Exhibit D.17 Exhibit 3.18 Exhibit C.19 Exhibit 2.20 TSN, 27 October 1992, pp. 22-24.21 Id. at 10.22 Id. at 11.23 Exhibit A.24 TSN, 14 December 1992, p. 51.25 Id. at 7.26 Id. at 19-20.27 Exhibit E.28 TSN, 14 December 1992, pp. 52-54.29 Id. at 7-8.30 Id. at 8.31 Exhibit D.32 Exhibit C.33 TSN, 14 December 1992, p. 34.34 Exhibit 2-Re-opening.35 Exhibit 4.36 TSN, 14 December 1992, p. 38.37 Exhibit 5.38 Exhibit 6.39 Exhibit 10.40 Exhibit 9.41 Rollo, p. 50.42 Rollo, p. 8.43 Rollo, pp. 39-43.44 Ponce De Leon v. Sandiganbayan, 186 SCRA 745 (1990).45 185 SCRA 346 (1990).46 Id. at 349.47 Naui v. Mauricio, A. M. No. MTJ-01-1368, October 23, 2003; Aguilar v. Fernandez, 356 SCRA 162 (2001).48 Section 11, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court.49 Id. at 49.50 TSN, 14 December 1992, p. 20.51 TSN, 27 October 1992, pp. 10-11.52 Id. at 11.53 Records, p. 369.54 Id. at 424.55 TSN, 14 December 1990, p. 80.56 TSN, 2 May 2001, pp. 28-29.57 Rollo, pp. 14-15; underlining supplied.58 TSN, 14 December 1992, pp. 34-35.59 Id. at 36.60 Records, p. 368.