by Joey Lei Tibon

HAYDEE HERRAS TEEHANKEE v. LEOPOLDO ROVIRA, GR No. L-101, 1945-12-20

Facts:

Petitioner Haydee Herras Teehankee is a political detainee delivered by the Counter Intelligence Corps, United States Army, to the Commonwealth Government, pursuant to the Proclamation of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, dated December 29, 1944. She was one of the... petitioners in case No. L-44, "Raquiza vs. Bradford," of this court (p. 50, ante). She is now confined in the Correctional Institution for Women under the custody of the Commonwealth Government since October, 1945, when she was thus delivered to the said... government.

Under date of October 2, 1945, petitioner, through her husband, Alberto Teehankee, filed with the People's Court a petition wherein, invoking the provisions of Executive Order No. 65, promulgated by His Excellency, the President of the Philippines, dated September 3, 1945,... she prayed that her immediate release be ordered on the ground that no evidence exists upon which she could be charged with any act punishable by law, or, alternatively, that the People's Court fix the bail for her provisional liberty, in conformity with the aforesaid executive... order, and upon approval of such bail, that an order be forthwith issued directing the officer having official custody of her person to immediately release her.

Issues:

Under date of October 2, 1945, petitioner, through her husband, Alberto Teehankee, filed with the People's Court a petition wherein, invoking the provisions of Executive Order No. 65, promulgated by His Excellency, the President of the Philippines, dated September 3, 1945,... she prayed that her immediate release be ordered on the ground that no evidence exists upon which she could be charged with any act punishable by law, or, alternatively, that the People's Court fix the bail for her provisional liberty, in conformity with the aforesaid executive... order, and upon approval of such bail, that an order be forthwith issued directing the officer having official custody of her person to immediately release her.

On October 4, 1945, the Hon. Antonio Quirino, one of the Associate Judges of the People's Court, upon considering the said petition, required the Solicitor General "to file his comment and recommendation as soon as possible."

On October 5, 1945, the Solicitor General filed recommendation in compliance with said order, stating: "that on the strength of the evidence at hand, the reasonable bail recommended for the provisional release of the petitioner be fixed at Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50.000)."

On October 9, 1945, the Hon. Leopoldo Rovira, Presiding Judge of the People's Court, entered an order referring the petition for provisional release above mentioned for consideration by the Fifth Division of said Court, but adding the following statement: "in my opinion, it... should be denied notwithstanding the recommendation of the Solicitor General for her provisional release under a bond of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000)."

On the same date, October 9, 1945, the Hon. Pompeyo Diaz, Associate Judge of said Court, entered an order disposing of said petition and denying the same "in view of the gravity of the offense as can be deduced from the fact that the office of the Special Prosecutors... recommends as high as Fifty Thousand Pesos (50,000) for her provisional release." A motion having been filed by petitioner with the People's Court praying said court to reconsider its order of October 9, 1945, denying her petition for provisional release, the Court, through

Associate Judge Pompeyo Diaz, denied said motion.

In her present petition for the writs of certiorari and mandamus originally filed with this Court on October 19, 1945, petitioner avers that the above-mentioned Judges of the People's Court, in denying her petition for provisional liberty under bail, as well as her motion for... reconsideration, acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion. Paragraph VII of this petition contains her allegations in support of this charge.

Under date of October 21, 1945, respondent Judge Pompeyo Diaz filed his answer stating that the order denying bail "was issued under express mandate of the law", citing section 19 of Commonwealth Act No. 682.

Article III, section 1 (16) of the Commonwealth Constitution provides that:

"All persons shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient sureties, except those charged with capital offenses when evidence of guilt is strong. Kxcessive bail shall not be required." Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides in the following sections:

"SEC. 3. Offenses less than capital before conviction by the Court of First Instance. After judgment by a justice of the peace and before conviction by the Court of First Instance, the defendant shall be admitted to bail as of right.

"SEC. 4. Noncapital offenses after conviction by the Court of First Instance. After conviction by the Court of First Instance, defendant may, upon application, be bailed at the discretion of the court.

"SEC. 5. Capital offenses defined. A capital offense, as the term is used in this rule, is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commission, and at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be punished by death.

"SEC. 6. Capital offense not bailable. No person in custody for the commission of a capital offense shall be admitted to bail if the evidence of his guilt is strong.

"SEC. 7. Capital offenses-burden of proof. On the hearing of an application for admission to bail made by any person who is in custody for the commission of a capital offense, the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong is on the prosecution.

"SEC. 8. Notice of application to fiscal. When admission to bail is a matter of discretion, the court must require that reasonable notice of the hearing of the application for bail be given to the fiscal."

Section 66 of General Orders, No. 58 stipulates:

"When admission to bail is a matter of discretion, the court must require that reasonable notice of the hearing of the application for bail be given to the promotor fiscal."

Section 19 of Commonwealth Act No. 682 contains the following proviso:

"SEC. 19. * * * Provided, however, That existing provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the aforesaid political prisoners may, in the discretion of the People's Court, after due notice to the office of Special Prosecutors and hearing, be released on bail,... even prior to the presentation of the corresponding information, unless the Court finds that there is strong evidence of the commission of a capital offense. * * *."

Ruling:

On October 4, 1945, the Hon. Antonio Quirino, one of the Associate Judges of the People's Court, upon considering the said petition, required the Solicitor General "to file his comment and recommendation as soon as possible."

On October 5, 1945, the Solicitor General filed recommendation in compliance with said order, stating: "that on the strength of the evidence at hand, the reasonable bail recommended for the provisional release of the petitioner be fixed at Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50.000)."

On October 9, 1945, the Hon. Leopoldo Rovira, Presiding Judge of the People's Court, entered an order referring the petition for provisional release above mentioned for consideration by the Fifth Division of said Court, but adding the following statement: "in my opinion, it... should be denied notwithstanding the recommendation of the Solicitor General for her provisional release under a bond of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000)."

On the same date, October 9, 1945, the Hon. Pompeyo Diaz, Associate Judge of said Court, entered an order disposing of said petition and denying the same "in view of the gravity of the offense as can be deduced from the fact that the office of the Special Prosecutors... recommends as high as Fifty Thousand Pesos (50,000) for her provisional release." A motion having been filed by petitioner with the People's Court praying said court to reconsider its order of October 9, 1945, denying her petition for provisional release, the Court, through

Associate Judge Pompeyo Diaz, denied said motion.

In her present petition for the writs of certiorari and mandamus originally filed with this Court on October 19, 1945, petitioner avers that the above-mentioned Judges of the People's Court, in denying her petition for provisional liberty under bail, as well as her motion for... reconsideration, acted in excess of jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion. Paragraph VII of this petition contains her allegations in support of this charge.

Under date of October 21, 1945, respondent Judge Pompeyo Diaz filed his answer stating that the order denying bail "was issued under express mandate of the law", citing section 19 of Commonwealth Act No. 682.

Article III, section 1 (16) of the Commonwealth Constitution provides that:

"All persons shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient sureties, except those charged with capital offenses when evidence of guilt is strong. Kxcessive bail shall not be required." Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides in the following sections:

"SEC. 3. Offenses less than capital before conviction by the Court of First Instance. After judgment by a justice of the peace and before conviction by the Court of First Instance, the defendant shall be admitted to bail as of right.

"SEC. 4. Noncapital offenses after conviction by the Court of First Instance. After conviction by the Court of First Instance, defendant may, upon application, be bailed at the discretion of the court.

"SEC. 5. Capital offenses defined. A capital offense, as the term is used in this rule, is an offense which, under the law existing at the time of its commission, and at the time of the application to be admitted to bail, may be punished by death.

"SEC. 6. Capital offense not bailable. No person in custody for the commission of a capital offense shall be admitted to bail if the evidence of his guilt is strong.

"SEC. 7. Capital offenses-burden of proof. On the hearing of an application for admission to bail made by any person who is in custody for the commission of a capital offense, the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong is on the prosecution.

"SEC. 8. Notice of application to fiscal. When admission to bail is a matter of discretion, the court must require that reasonable notice of the hearing of the application for bail be given to the fiscal."

Section 66 of General Orders, No. 58 stipulates:

"When admission to bail is a matter of discretion, the court must require that reasonable notice of the hearing of the application for bail be given to the promotor fiscal."

Section 19 of Commonwealth Act No. 682 contains the following proviso:

"SEC. 19. * * * Provided, however, That existing provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the aforesaid political prisoners may, in the discretion of the People's Court, after due notice to the office of Special Prosecutors and hearing, be released on bail,... even prior to the presentation of the corresponding information, unless the Court finds that there is strong evidence of the commission of a capital offense. * * *."

Section 22 of Commonwealth Act No. 682 ordains:

"SEC. 22. The prosecution, trial and disposal of cases before the People's Court shall be governed by existing laws and rules of court, unless otherwise expressly provided herein * * *."

Principles: