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HAYDEE HERRAS TEEHANKEE VS.

LEOPOLDO ROVIRA, ANTONIO QUIBINO, AND POMPEYO DIAZ,

Facts: Petitioner Haydee Herras Teehankee is a political detainee delivered by the Counter Intelligence Corps,
United States Army, to the Commonwealth Government.Through her husband, Alberto Teehankee, filed with
the People's Court a petition wherein 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.
Solicitor General stated "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 stated "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, 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.
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. Excessive bail shall not be required."
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 * * *."
Issues: (1) whether Article III, section 1(16) of the Commonwealth Constitution is applicable to the instant
case; (2) whether a hearing should be held of the application for bail with the attendance of the petitioner and
the Solicitor General or the latter's representative; and (3) if so, what kind of hearing it should be.

1. As to the first question, SC held that Article III, section 1(16) of the Commonwealth Constitution is
applicable to the instant case. This constitutional mandate refers to all persons, not only to persons
against whom a complaint or information has already been formally filed. It lays down the rule that all
persons shall before conviction be bailable except those charged with capital offenses when evidence
of guilt is strong. According to this provision, the general rule is that any person, before being
convicted of any criminal offense, shall be bailable, except when he is charged with a capital offense
and the evidence of his guilt is strong. Of course, only those persons who have been either arrested,
detained or otherwise deprived of their liberty will ever have occasion to seek the benefits of said
provision. But in order that a person can invoke this constitutional precept, it is not necessary that he
should wait until a formal complaint or information is filed against him. From the moment he is placed
under arrest, detention or restraint by the officers of the law, he can claim this guarantee of the Bill of
Rights, and this right he retains unless and until he is charged with a capital offense and evidence of his
guilt is strong. Indeed if, as admitted on all sides, the precept protects those already charged under a
formal complaint or information, there seems to be no legal or just reason for denying its benefits to
one as against whom the proper authorities may even yet conclude that there exists no sufficient
evidence of guilt. To place the former in a more favored position than the latter would be, to say the
least, anomalous and absurd. If there is a presumption of innocence in favor of one already formally
charged with criminal offense (Constitution, Article III, section 1 [17], a fortiori, this presumption
should be indulged in favor of one not yet so charged, although already arrested or detained.
2. As to the second question, SC held that upon application by a political prisoner or detainee to the
People's Court for provisional release under bail, a hearing, summary or otherwise, should be held with
due notice to the Office of Special Prosecutors, as well as to the prisoner or detainee. The hearing and
disposal of application for bail for provisional release before the People's Court should be governed by
existing laws and rules of court, the hearing and disposal of such applications being a mere part of the
"prosecution, trial, and disposal" of the corresponding cases before said court. If attention should be
directed to the clause "unless otherwise expressly provided herein" in said section 22, in connection
with the first proviso of section 19 of the same act, it should be borne in mind that the provisions of
said act should be construed in harmony with those of the Constitution, under the well-settled rule of
statutory construction that legislative enactments should be construed, wherever possible, in a
manner that would avoid their conflicting with the fundamental law.
3. As to the third question. While it is true that the Solicitor General on October 3, 1945, recommended
Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000) as a reasonable bail "on the strength of the evidence at hand," it may
happen that thereafter his office may have secured additional evidence which, in addition to or in
connection with that he already possessed, in his opinion is sufficiently strong to prove petitioner's
guilt for a capital offense, in which case, he may yet decide to oppose the application for bail
heretofore filed by the petitioner at the hearing thereof hereinafter ordered. Of course, it may also
happen that, either because no such further evidence has come into his possession or because, in his
judgment, the public interest would be better served by his withholding the evidence that he has until
the trial in the merits, he would prefer not to oppose the application for bail. At the hearing of the
application the Solicitor General will be free to adopt one course or the other. If he opposes, the
burden of proof will be on him to show that petitioner is not entitled to bail. Petitioner will have the
right to offer evidence to prove her right thereto. In fine, the hearing is for the purpose of enabling the
People's Court to exercise its sound discretion as to whether or not under the Constitution and laws in
force petitioner is entitled to provisional release under bail.

Wherefore, it is the judgment of this Court that: (a) the order of the People's Court have been entered with
grave abuse of discretion and should be set aside; and (b) a hearing of petitioner's application for bail be held
before the People's Court with due notice to the Solicitor General, as well as to the petitioner, as hereinabove
outlined, said hearing, whether summary or otherwise, to be such as would enable the People's Court to
exercise its sound discretion in the disposal of the aforesaid petition. Without costs. So ordered.