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[YOUSEF AL-GHOUL v. CA](https://lawyerly.ph/juris/view/c8eca?user=fbGU2WFpmaitMVEVGZ2lBVW5xZ2RVdz09)
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DIVISION

[ GR No. 126859, Nov 24, 1998 ]

YOUSEF AL-GHOUL v. CA +

RESOLUTION

359 Phil. 476

FIRST DIVISION

[ G.R. No. 126859, November 24, 1998 ]

YOUSEF AL-GHOUL, ISAM MOHAMMAD ABDULHADI, WAIL RASHID AL-KHATIB NABEEL NASSER AL-RIYAMI, ET. AL., PETITIONER VS. COURT OF APPEALS AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENTS.

R E S O L U T I O N

QUISUMBING, J.:

This resolves petitioners' Motion for Clarification or Partial Lifting of Temporary Restraining Order on the Motion for Bail which was filed on May 25, 1998.

Herein petitioners are detention prisoners who were arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives under Sections 1 and 3 of Presidential Decree No. 1866 before the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City, Branch 123,[1] as a consequence of the search conducted pursuant to the search warrants issued by the RTC of Kalookan City, Branch 125.

After their arrest, petitioners filed a motion for bail. However, the resolution of the same was held in abeyance by the trial court pending the presentation of evidence by the prosecution to enable the court to determine whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong. Upon formal offer by the prosecution of its evidence consisting of Exhibits "A" to "UU", petitioners objected to the same for being inadmissible. In its Order dated February 7, 1996,[2] the trial court admitted all the exhibits being offered by the prosecution for whatever purpose that it may be worth. Subsequently, the trial court issued the Order dated February 19, 1996[3] denying petitioners' motion for bail on the ground that the law under which petitioners are charged prescribes a penalty of reclusion perpetua and that the evidence of guilt is strong.

Thereafter, petitioners proceeded to file a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals,[4] assailing the aforementioned orders issued by the trial court admitting the evidence of the prosecution and denying petitioners' motion for bail. In its Decision dated September 30, 1996[5] the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for certiorari and affirmed the assailed orders of trial court pursuant to Section 6 of Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended by Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 12-94.

Aggrieved, petitioners filed before this Court the instant petition for certiorari under Rule 65, seeking the reversal of the September 30, 1996 decision of respondent Court of Appeals for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack of or in excess of jurisdiction. Additionally, petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining order enjoining the trial court from proceeding with the trial of the criminal cases.

On November 20, 1996, the Court, without giving due course to the petition, resolved to require the respondents to file its comment to the petition and at the same time issued the temporary restraining order prayed for, effective during the entire period that the case is pending or until further orders from the Court.[6]

On October 30, 1997, petitioners filed a Manifestation[7] alleging that with the enactment of Republic Act No. 8294, amending P.D. 1866, the penalty for the offenses under which petitioners are being charged has been reduced from the penalty ranging from reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, to only the penalty ranging from prision mayor to reclusion temporal, hence, petitioners are now entitled to bail regardless of the strength of evidence against them.

On May 25, 1998, petitioner, through a new counsel, filed the instant Motion for Clarification or Partial Lifting of TRO on the Matter of Bail,[8] seeking the partial lifting of the temporary restraining order issued by this Court to allow the trial court to proceed with the hearing on petitioners' motion for bail in view of the amendment introduced by RA 8294.

On July 6, 1998, the Court required the respondents to file their Comment to petitioners' motion.[9] In compliance therewith, the Office of the Solicitor General manifested that it is not interposing any objection to petitioners' motion for the partial lifting of the temporary restraining order issued by this Court to enable the trial court to hear and resolve petitioners' motion for bail, considering the amendment introduced by RA 8294 which reduced the penalties for illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives, thereby entitling petitioners to be admitted to bail a matter of right before conviction by the trial court, in accordance with Section 4 of SC Administrative Circular No. 12-94.[10]

Consequent to the enactment of RA 8294, the penalty prescribed in Section 1 and 3 of P.D. 1866 for illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives under which petitioners were charged, has now been reduced to prision mayor in its minimum period[11] and prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal,[12] respectively. Evidently, petitioners are now entitled to bail as a matter of right prior to their conviction by the trial court pursuant to Section 4 of SC Administrative Circular No. 12-94 which provides as follows:
"SEC. 4. Bail, a matter of right."x x x. (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."
WHEREFORE, the petitioners' motion is hereby GRANTED. The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this Court in the Resolution of November 20, 1996 is hereby PARTIALLY LIFTED in so far as petitioners' pending motion for bail before the RTC of Kalookan City, Branch 123 is concerned. The trial court is hereby ordered to proceed with the hearing of the motion for bail and resolve the same with dispatch.

SO ORDERED.

Davide Jr. (Chairman), Bellosillo, Vitug, and Panganiban, JJ., concur.


[1] Docketed as Criminal Cases No. C-48666-67.

[2] Rollo, p. 53.

[3] Rollo, p. 54.

[4] CA-G.R. SP No. 40013.

[5] Rollo, p. 43.

[6] Rollo, p. 64.

[7] Rollo p. 138.

[8] Rollo, p. 156.

[9] Rollo, p. 166.

[10] Rollo, p. 175-177.

[11] Section 1 (par. 2), R.A. 8294.

[12] Section 2(par. 1), R.A. 8294.

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