[G.R. No. 157039. June 9, 2003]




Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 9 2003.

G.R. No. 157039(People of the Philippines vs. Josefina M. Dimalanta.)

This case is before this Court on appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 121, in Criminal Case No. C-58083, convicting appellant Josefina M. Dimalanta of Estafa for allegedly misappropriating amounts equivalent to P408,826.00, and sentencing her to suffer the penalty of "imprisonment for 30 years of RECLUSION PERPETUA." [1] cralaw After her conviction, appellant moved that she be allowed to post bail, but her motion was denied in view of the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua.

On March 18, 2003, appellant through counsel filed with this Court an "Urgent Motion for Provisional Liberty Pending Appeal," assailing the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua, and arguing that, assuming she was guilty, the trial court should have applied the Indeterminate Sentence Law.

The OSG filed its Comment wherein it manifested that it interposed no objection to the Motion for Bail.

Rule 114, Section 5 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides that in cases where a judgment of conviction has been rendered by the Regional Trial Court, the accused may be allowed to post bail provided the penalty imposed for the offense is not death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Thus:

Bail, when discretionary. - Upon conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, admission to bail is discretionary. xxx xxx xxx.

In People v. Elpidio Hernando and Elena Hernando, [2] cralaw it was held that the penalty of thirty (30) years of reclusion perpetua imposed by the trial court was error. Rather, the proper penalty imposable should not be thirty (30) years (straight) but an indeterminate penalty. [3] cralaw Furthermore:

Hence, if the amount of the fraud exceeds twenty-two thousand pesos, the penalty of reclusion temporal is imposed in its maximum period, adding one year for each additional ten thousand (P10,000.00) pesos but the total penalty shall not exceed thirty (30) years, which shall be termed reclusion perpetua. As used herein, reclusion perpetua is not the prescribed penalty for the offense. It merely describes the penalty actually imposed on account of the amount of the fraud involved, which exceeds twenty two thousand (P22,000.00) pesos. (underscoring provided) [4] cralaw

Therefore, appellant's contention that bail is discretionary in this case is well-taken. It does not fall within any of the exceptions, inasmuch as the penalty imposed is not death, life imprisonment or reclusion perpetua. In Yap, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, [5] cralaw this Court allowed the appellant, who was convicted by the trial court of Estafa involving P5,500,000.00, to post bail in the amount of P200,000.00.

Hence, without necessarily resolving the merits of the case or the propriety of the penalty imposed by the trial court, this Court grants appellant's "Urgent Motion for Provisional Liberty Pending Appeal," and allows her to post bail in the amount of P200,000.00.

ACCORDINGLY, appellant Josefina M. Dimalanta is GRANTED PROVISIONAL LIBERTY pending this appeal upon the posting of BAIL in the amount of Two Hundred Thousand (P200,000.00) Pesos and subject to the following conditions, viz:

(1)������������������ Appellant shall secure a certification/guaranty from the Mayor of the place of her residence that she is a resident of the area and that she will remain to be a resident therein until final judgment is rendered or in case she transfers residence, it must be with prior notice to this Court;

(2)������������������ Appellant shall forthwith surrender her passport to the Division Clerk of Court for safekeeping until the Court orders its return;

(3)Any violation of the aforesaid conditions shall cause the forfeiture of appellant's bail bond, the dismissal of appeal and her immediate arrest and confinement in jail.

*���� The Court further Resolves to:

(a)���� GRANT the motion of the Solicitor General for an extension of fifteen (15) days from May 16, 2003 within which to file a comment on the accused-appellant's urgent motion for provisional liberty pending appeal ; and

*��������� (b) NOTE :(1)the letter dated April 10, 2003 of the Officer-in-Charge, Correctional Institution for Women, Mandaluyong City, informing the Court that as of said date they have no record of confinement of one Josefina M. Dimalanta; and (2) the said comment thereafter filed by the Solicitor General.

Very truly yours,

Clerk of Court


[1] cralaw Rollo, p. 24.

[2] cralaw G.R. No. 125214, October 28, 1999, 317 SCRA 617.

[3] cralaw Id., at 628.

[4] cralaw Id., at 629.

[5] cralaw G.R. No. 141529, June 6, 2001, 358 SCRA 564.

* REVISION:������� Paragraphs (a) & (b) ADDED.

* REVISION:������� Paragraphs (a) & (b) ADDED.

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