Bail depends on crime and evidence of guilt

Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My neighbor is being accused of committing a drug-related crime. The information says that his case is “non-bailable” Does this mean he can’t post bail? Thank you.

Dear Suzy,
Our answer on whether your friend can post bail will depend on the crime he is being accused of and whether the evidence of guilt against him is strong.

Bail is defined as the “security given for the release of a person in custody of the law, furnished by him or a bondsman, to guarantee his appearance before any court as required under the conditions herein specified” (Sec. 1, Rule 114, Rules of Criminal Procedure).

Bail emanates from a person’s constitutional right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The right to bail is guaranteed by our Constitution.

Section 13 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution states that, “All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. Xxx” Sec. 3, Rule 114 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure states that:

“All persons in custody shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this Rule (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court, and (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment.”

The Constitution and the Rules are clear that a person has a right to bail unless that person is being charged of an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua, death, or life imprisonment, and the evidence of the person’s guilt is strong.

You did not state what crime your friend was being accused of.

Most probably he is being accused of a drug-related crime being pu–nished with life imprisonment.

Therefore, he is not entitled to bail only when the evidence of guilt is strong against him.

In order to determine this, he must file a petition for bail, so that the court can decide whether or not to grant him bail. If the court, after hearing the Petition, finds that the evidence of guilt is not strong against him, then he will be allowed to post bail.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreci–ation of the same.

Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to


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  1. Atty. Roslee M. Formoso on

    By rule the fiscal writing the Information cannot arbitrary write “non-bailable”, it goes against the rules on writing pleadings. However, if the fiscal wrote the Special Law violated and the Special Law categorical says “non-bailable” then the fiscal when writing the law may incorporate such condition.

    Bill of Rights, guarantee that “all those charged before the court may apply for bail or recognizance, EXCEPT those charged with capital offense and carry with it the punishment of reclusion perpetua. Drug-related crimes are punishable under Special Laws and the Quantum of evidence is what “actually happened occurred at the actual time of arrest”, henceforth, the Special Law can classify the offence and that such is punishable by Reclusion Perpetua or Death and the caption “non-bailable” is appropriate. In Special Laws were the punishment is not Reclusion Perpetua, the offender has guarranted Constitutional Right to Bail and if the fiscal wrote such limitation in violation of Special Laws which does not carry with it the capital punishment, the fiscal may be charged administrative for illegal writing of pleadings and has violated the Constitutional Right to Bail of the offender.

  2. Atty. Roslee M. Formoso on

    Drug-related offenses are all punishable by Special Laws. When the drug-related offense alleged committed by the offender falls in the category of a Special Law which expressly state that it is “non-bailable”, recital of the facts and the Special Law committed with the caption “non-bailable” is appropriate as a long as that is provided by the Special Law. However, if the Special Law violated does not carry the caption “non-bailable”, it is wrong to write it, such is tantamount to deprivation of his Constitutional Right to Bail.