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A.M. No.

RTJ-92-898 August 5, 1993


EVANGELINE L. DINAPOL, complainant, vs. JUDGE ISMAEL O. BALDADO, Regional
Trial Court, Branch 45, Bais City, respondent.

Facts: The Information for Murder was filed against Crozoro Palermo and Jovy Palermo. No
bail was recommended.

Respondent Judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the accused. Before the RTC could acquire
jurisdiction over their persons, accused filed a motion to grant and fix bail. Evangeline Dinapol,
the complaining witness and a sister of the victim filed an opposition.

The accused did not appear on the hearing (motion). Respondent Judge issued an order (a)
denying the motion to grant bail on the ground that the court "has not acquired jurisdiction over
the person of the accused," (b) ordering the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest and (c)
directing the PNP of Guihulngan to arrest the accused.

The alias warrant was then issued. The accused filed an urgent MR on the ground that "the
accused are forthcoming, and are willing to voluntarily submit to the jurisdiction of the Court".

Respondent Judge issued an order resetting the hearing of the motion to grant and fix bail,
subject to the condition that "the accused shall surrender to the custody of the court."
Respondent Judge further directed the issuance of subpoenas to the prosecution witnesses and
warned the prosecution "that failure to present evidence on said date without justifiable reason
will be considered as lack of strength of its evidence".

Accused failed to appear on the set date. While the prosecution was ready with one witness, it
did not present the latter as the accused were still at large and not under the jurisdiction of the
court.

Respondent Judge issued an order resetting, subjected to the condition that accused shall have
voluntarily surrendered and submitted themselves to the custody of the court.

The subpoena and warrant server executed a return, informing the trial court that the warrant had
not been duly served as the accused "are not found here in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental," and
the information gathered that they were temporarily residing in Cebu City proved to be false.

Issue: whether or not respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion in entertaining the
motion for bail despite failure of the same to acquire jurisdiction over the persons of the accused
spouses.

RULING: Under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, bail is defined as the security given
for the release of a person in custody of law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his
appearance before any court as required under the conditions herein specified. When you say "in
custody of law" it refers to one who is arrested either by virtue of a warrant of arrest or even
without a warrant but such arrest is considered legal as provided by law or when accused
voluntarily submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court by surrendering to the proper
authorities.
Such is not the case at present. The facts show that the accused spouses were not yet arrested to
place them under the jurisdiction of respondent judge. The law expressly establishes that only
those persons who have been arrested, detained or otherwise deprived of their liberty will ever
have occasion to seek the benefits of the law on bail. Since, in the case at bar, the accused were
not yet arrested, the lower court under the judgment of respondent judge cannot acquire
jurisdiction over the persons of the accused. Hence, the accused have no standing in court to file
a motion for bail. More so, that respondent judge is not justified in setting the hearing for said
motion. Indeed, respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion in setting a hearing for
the motion of bail of accused with which he did no acquire jurisdiction.