My friend has a criminal case in court right now and he is wondering if he can post bail. Assuming he can post bail but the amount is beyond his financial capacity, can he ask the court to lower the amount? Please enlighten us. I would really like to help him out in any manner I can. Thank you and warm regards.
Bail is a security given for provisional release of a person who is under legal custody for commission of an offense that is punishable under the law. It may be invoked as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, under the following circumstances: (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).
Nevertheless, it bears stressing that the accused can be denied bail, even if the penalty for the offense 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 circumstance of reiteration; (b) he previously escaped from a penal confinement, evaded sentence or violated 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, Rule 114, id).
On the other hand, the grant of bail is discretionary upon the court if the offense committed by the accused is punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment provided that the evidence of guilt against him is not strong. (Section 7, id.) In the same manner, the grant of bail is discretionary upon the court if the accused is already convicted before the Regional Trial Court for an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. (Section 5, id.)
Accordingly, it will be prudent on your part to determine first the crime for which your friend is being held liable, as well as the court where his case is being heard, in order to properly assess whether he can post bail. Should it be determined that he can avail of posting a bail, he should coordinate with his lawyer so that they can appropriately move for reduction of the amount of his bail.
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 appreciation 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