My cousin has a pending criminal case and he wants to apply for bail. Is this possible? My relatives are considering raising money so that my cousin can do so. But first they would like to know the possibility of bail being granted. Are there other forms of bail aside from cash bail?
Bail is a security given for the release of a person who is lawfully detained in order to guarantee his appearance in court. Cash deposit is the most common kind of bail. But bail does not only take the form of a cash deposit. It may also be in the form of a corporate surety, property bond and recognizance (Section 1, Rule 114, Rules of Court).
In your letter, you made no mention as to what particular criminal case your cousin is facing. You also did not mention at which court his case is pending. Nevertheless, as a rule, bail is granted as a matter of right in the following instances: (a) before or after conviction by the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Trial Court in cities and 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 (Section 4, Rule 114, Rules of Court).
If your cousin is already convicted before the Regional Trial Court for an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the grant of bail is discretionary upon the court (Section 5, Rules of Court). Also, the grant of bail is left to the discretion of the court if the offense for which your cousin is being charged is punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment and the evidence of guilt against him is not strong.
The grant of bail, however, is not possible if the offense for which your cousin is being charged is punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment and the prosecution has established that the evidence of guilt against him is strong (Section 7, Rules of Court). Further, your cousin will be denied bail, even if the penalty for the offense he committed is not death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, if: (a) he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, habitual delinquent or has committed the crime aggravated by the cir–cumstance of reiteration; (b) he has previously escaped from a penal confinement, evaded sentence or has violated the conditions of his bail without valid justification; (c) he committed the offense while under probation, parole or conditional pardon; (d) the circumstances of his case indicate the probability of flight if released on bail; or (e) there is undue risk that he may commit another crime during pendency of the appeal (3rd paragraph, Section 5, Rules of Court).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appre–ciation 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 firstname.lastname@example.org