Sunteți pe pagina 1din 8

[A.M. NO.

RTJ-04-1852 : June 3, 2004] Branch 21, presided by respondent Judge Amor


A. Reyes, and docketed as Criminal Case No. 02-
WILFREDO M. TALAG, Complainant, v. JUDGE
201852.
AMOR A. REYES, Regional Trial Court, Manila
Branch 21, Respondent. On May 7, 2002, complainant filed a motion for
DECISION reconsideration before the Office of the City
Prosecutor, praying for the dismissal of the
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
complaint against him for utter lack of merit. On
This is an administrative complaint filed against even date, he filed an Omnibus Motion before the
Judge Amor A. Reyes of the Regional Trial Court, trial court: (1) to defer issuance of warrant of
Manila for partiality, grave abuse of authority and arrest and/or to recall the same if already issued;
oppression in connection with Criminal Case No. and (2) to remand case to the Office of the City
02-201852 entitled People of the Philippines v. Prosecutor pending review of the motion for
Wilfredo Talag. reconsideration.
The instant case arose when, on April 18, 2001, a On May 31, 2002, complainant filed with the trial
certain Romeo Lacap filed a complaint against court a Very Urgent Motion to Set for Hearing
Wilfredo Talag, Leticia Talag and Kenneth Accuseds Omnibus Motion to defer issuance of
Bautista, for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 warrant of arrest and/or to remand case to the
and Estafa occasioned by the dishonor of four Office of the City Prosecutor pending review of
checks. the motion for reconsideration.
On June 4, 2001, during the preliminary According to complainant, on June 11, 2002, he
investigation, Wilfredo Talag, Leticia Talag, and requested his counsel to determine whether the
Kenneth Bautista, submitted their counter- hearing for the pending motions had already been
affidavits denying any participation in the set. To his consternation, he was told by his
transaction allegedly perpetrated by them to counsel that respondent Judge ordered the
defraud the complainant. issuance of a warrant of arrest without first
On December 15, 2001, the Assistant City resolving the said motions.
Prosecutor issued a Resolution recommending the Complainant immediately filed a petition
filing of an Information for Estafa against herein for certiorari before the Court of Appeals
complainant and the dismissal of all the charges challenging the issuance of the warrant of arrest.
against Leticia Talag and Kenneth Bautista.The The Court of Appeals issued a temporary
Information was filed with the RTC of Manila, restraining order enjoining the trial court from
enforcing the said warrant. Accordingly, respondent Judge reset the same to January 22,
respondent Judge issued an Order on June 25, 2003. However, the second notice was again sent
2002, deferring the resolution of the Very Urgent to the wrong address at Makati City, again
Motion until after the expiration of the TRO issued resulting in complainants failure to attend his
by the Court of Appeals. Thereafter, the petition arraignment. As a consequence, respondent
was dismissed by the Court of Appeals for lack of judge issued a bench warrant of arrest.
merit. Subsequently, complainant filed a Motion to
On August 20, 2002, complainant filed a motion Recall Warrant of Arrest and a Very Urgent
for respondent Judges inhibition.Two days Motion for Reconsideration. On February 28,
after, i.e., on August 22, respondent Judge issued 2003, an order was issued by the respondent
the assailed warrant of arrest against Judge which lifted the bench warrant but denied
complainant. Meanwhile, complainant through the motion for reconsideration.
counsel filed a Notice of Change of Address. On May 12, 2003, complainant filed a verified
On September 30, 2002, complainant filed a Very complaint before the Office of the Court
Urgent Motion to Consider Motion to Remand Administrator charging respondent Judge with
Case to the Office of the City Prosecutor pending partiality, grave abuse of authority and
Review of the Motion for Reconsideration and oppression allegedly committed in the following
Motion for Re-investigation and to Resolve the manner: ςηαñrοb lεš νι r†υ αl lαω l ιbrαrÿ

Same with Urgency.On October 2, 2002, he filed (1) Respondent Judge issued the warrant of
a Motion to Resolve Motion for Inhibition. arrest on May 23, 2003 despite complainants
Respondent Judge denied the motion for pending omnibus motion to defer issuance of
inhibition and set the case for arraignment on warrant of arrest or to recall the same if already
December 11, 2002.Complainant claims that said issued and to remand case to Office of the City
order never reached him or his counsel since it Prosecutor, and the very urgent motion to set for
was sent by registered mail to his previous hearing the omnibus motion; chanroblesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

address at No. 1 Zaragosa Street, San Lorenzo (2) When the matter was elevated to the Court of
Village, Makati City, inspite of the Notice of Appeals and a temporary restraining order was
Change Address which was filed as early as issued, respondent seemed to have waited for the
August 28, 2002. TRO to expire and for the dismissal of
Since complainant failed to attend his complainants petition before the Court of Appeals
arraignment allegedly due to lack of notice, because she did not resolve the motion for
inhibition, and she immediately issued a warrant uttered hostile side-comments during hearings
of arrest against him after said petition was and even commented that complainant was
dismissed. overly fond of filing motions.1 ςrνll

(3) Respondent had a predisposition to deny the In her comment, respondent Judge refuted the
motions filed by complainant since, although she charges in this wise: ςηαñrο blεš ν ιr† υαl l αω lιb rαrÿ

was in haste in issuing the warrant of arrest, she (1) She did not consider the omnibus motion
nonetheless dilly-dallied in resolving the motions dated May 7, 2002 filed by complainant because
filed by complainant; chanroblesv irtuallaw lib rary

its notice of hearing was addressed to the Public


(4) Despite complainants notice for a change of Prosecutor, for which reason, she issued the
address, respondents order of November 18, warrant of arrest on May 23, 2003; chanroble svirtual lawlib rary

2002, setting his arraignment on December 11, (2) She issued the order dated June 25, 2002
2002, was sent to his and counsels former deferring the resolution of complainants very
address resulting in his failure to attend the urgent motion to set the case for hearing in view
arraignment; chanroble svirtual lawlib rary

of the resolution of the Court of Appeals dated


(5) In the same way, the notice of the resetting June 14, 2002, enjoining her from enforcing the
of arraignment from December 11, 2002 to warrant of arrest issued against complainant; chanroble svirtuallaw lib rary

January 22, 2003, was again sent to the wrong (3) Since the trial court had not yet acquired
address, such that he was not notified of said jurisdiction over the person of the complainant
scheduled arraignment. Such lack of notice when the court received the motion to set the
however, did not stop respondent Judge from case for trial filed by Asst. City Prosecutor, she
issuing a bench warrant of arrest for his failure to again issued a warrant of arrest against
appear on the scheduled arraignment; chanroblesvi rtua llawlib ra ry

complainant; chanroblesv irt uallawl ibrary

(6) Although respondent Judge lifted the said (4) Respondents issuance of warrant of arrest
bench warrant on February 28, 2003, she against complainant on May 23, 2002, despite the
nevertheless denied complainants motion for filing of the omnibus motion and the motion to
reconsideration relative to the Order dated set the omnibus motion for hearing, was
November 2002 denying the motion for sustained by the Court of Appeals in its decision
inhibition;
chanro blesvi rt uallawl ibra ry

dated August 14, 2002, dismissing complainants


(7) Respondent Judge exhibited partiality and petition;chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

malevolent attitude when she did not only deny (5) Inasmuch as the trial court has not acquired
all remedies available to complainant but also jurisdiction over the person of the complainant,
respondent, after the Court of Appeals denied failed to produce him in court and it even filed a
complainants petition and lifted the 60-day TRO, motion of extension of timeto do so; chanroble svirtual lawlib rary

ordered the issuance of a warrant of arrest (9) Complainants claim of bias and partiality on
against complainant; chanroblesv irtuallaw lib rary

the part of respondent in denying complainants


(6) Since it was only on October 17, 2002 that motion for reconsideration and motion to inhibit is
the bail posted by complainant on September 26, baseless and unfounded considering that the
2002 for his provisional liberty before the assailed orders of the respondent were made on
Executive Judge of RTC, Makati, was received by the basis of law and facts of the case.2 ςrνll

respondent court, she could not resolve the On August 8, 2003, the Office of the Court
motion for inhibition considering that the court Administrator submitted its recommendation for
has not acquired jurisdiction over his person; chanroble svi rtual lawlib rary

the dismissal of the complaint for lack of merit.


(7) Complainant is to blame for the delay in the We have closely scrutinized the arguments of the
resolution of his motions because of his penchant contending parties and find the charges filed
in filing defective motions and for not against respondent are baseless.
immediately submitting himself to the jurisdiction
of the court; The Information was filed on May 7, 2002 while
the warrant of arrest was issued May 23,
chanroblesv irt uallawl ibra ry

(8) The issuance of a warrant of arrest and 2003.When complainant filed the omnibus motion
confiscation of the bond of complainant on on May 7, 2002, the court has not yet acquired
January 22, 2003 was in accordance with Sec. jurisdiction over his person. With the filing of
21, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Information, the trial court could then issue a
procedure in view of complainants failure to warrant for the arrest of the accused as provided
appear despite notice to him and his bondsman. for by Section 6 of Rule 112 of the Revised Rules
The notice of change of address filed by on Criminal Procedure. The issuance of the
complainant pertains to the change of address of warrant was not only procedurally sound but it
his counsel and not to himself, hence, court was even required considering that respondent
processes were sent to his alleged old had yet to acquire jurisdiction over the person of
address.Moreover, Produce Orders of the complainant. Consequently, complainants charge
December 11, 2002 and January 22, 2003 that respondent Judge failed to act on the
settings were sent to complainants bondsman, omnibus motion before issuing the arrest warrant
but this notwithstanding, complainants bondsman is untenable. Whether respondent correctly
disregarded the omnibus motion in view of the
alleged fatal defects is a judicial matter, which is Hence, in accordance with Sec. 21, Rule 114 of
not a proper subject in an administrative the Revised Rules of Court, his bondsman must
proceeding. It bears noting that respondent court produce him before the court on the given date
immediately deferred the execution of the and failing to do so; the bond was forfeited as it
warrant of arrest upon issuance by the Court of was.
Appeals of the TRO. Incidentally, although the On the matter of respondents denial of the
Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining motion for inhibition, suffice it to say that the
order, it eventually sustained the issuance by issue of whether a judge should voluntarily inhibit
respondent of the arrest warrant and dismissed himself is addressed to his sound discretion
the Petition for Certiorari. pursuant to paragraph 2 of Section 1 of Rule 137,
Neither can we ascribe partiality nor grave abuse which provides for the rule on voluntary inhibition
of authority on the part of respondent for issuing and states: a judge may, in the exercise of his
anew an alias warrant after the expiration of the sound discretion, disqualify himself from sitting in
Court of Appeals 60-day TRO.With the lifting of a case, for a just or valid reasons other than
the retraining order, no legal obstacle was left for those above-mentioned.Taking together all the
the issuance of the arrest warrant and thus set in acts and conduct of respondent Judge relative to
motion the stalled prosecutorial process by complainants case, we believe that she did not
acquiring jurisdiction over the person of the exhibit any bias or partiality to warrant her
accused. voluntarily inhibition from the case. Curiously,
Complainant blames the respondent for his failure while complainant decries the alleged
to appear at his arraignment because the notice respondents predilection for denying all his
was sent to the wrong address despite a prior motions, he himself conceded that respondent
notice for change of address.A cursory reading of Judge has done everything pursuant to law and
the notice of change of address will show that it jurisprudence.3 Bias and partiality cannot be
pertains to the counsels residence, not to the presumed, for in administrative proceedings no
complainants. In view of this, it becomes less than substantial proof is required. Apart from
reasonable for the court to assume that court bare allegations, there must be convincing
processes could be sent to complainants old and evidence to show that respondent Judge is indeed
unchanged residence. As correctly pointed out by biased and partial. In administrative proceedings,
respondent Judge, the Produce Order of the the burden of proof that respondent Judge
December 11, 2002 and January 22, 2003 committed the act complained of rests on the
settings were sent to complainants bondsman.
complainant.4 Complainant failed to discharge and petitioners Winston Mendoza and Fe Miclat emerged as the
this burden. highest bidders. Thus, the land was awarded to petitioners and they
immediately took possession of the same.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court Sometime thereafter, respondents filed a complaint for recovery of
resolves to adopt the recommendation of the property against petitioners with the Regional Trial Court of Iba,
Court Administrator, and accordingly, DISMISS Zambales, Branch 70,5 grounded on the nullity of the entire
the instant complaint for lack of merit. proceedings relating to the property bond. During the pre-trial
conducted on 3 May 1988, the parties agreed that the property would
SO ORDERED. be placed in the possession of respondents. On 2 August 1989, the
G.R. No. 151970 May 7, 2008 court rendered its decision dismissing the complaint and declaring that
WINSTON MENDOZA and FE MICLAT, petitioners, the Order dated 14 April 1986 was a judgment on the bond.
vs. On appeal, the appellate court reversed the decision of the trial court
FERNANDO ALARMA and FAUSTA ALARMA, respondents. and nullified the proceedings on the execution, sale, and issuance of
DECISION the writ of possession.6 Thereafter, petitioners filed a petition for
review on certiorari with this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 101103 and
CARPIO, J.: entitled "Winston Mendoza, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et al." In a
The Case Resolution dated 18 March 1992, this Court denied the petition and
ruled with finality that the assailed 14 April 1986 Order was not a
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the
judgment on the bond.7
Decision2 dated 9 July 2001 and Resolution3 dated 30 January 2002 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58139. Meanwhile, petitioners applied for the registration of the land with the
Regional Trial Court of Iba, Zambales, Branch 70.8 On 9 September
The Facts
1987, the trial court granted the registration and issued Original
Spouses Fernando and Fausta Alarma (respondents) are the owners of Certificate of Title (OCT) No. O-7249 in the name of petitioners.
an 11.7 hectare parcel of land (land) located in Iba, Zambales. The
The Trial Court’s Ruling
land, identified as Cadastral Lot No. 2087 of Iba Cadastre, was posted
as a property bond for the provisional liberty of a certain Joselito Respondents then filed an action for the annulment of title and
Mayo, charged with illegal possession of firearms in Criminal Case reconveyance of ownership of the land covered by OCT No. O-7249
No. 1417-I, entitled "People of the Philippines v. Gregorio Cayan, et with the Regional Trial Court of Iba, Zambales, Branch 71.9 On 24
al." September 1997, the trial court dismissed the action contending that it
had no jurisdiction to annul the judgment rendered by the Regional
When the accused failed to appear in court as directed on 19 March
Trial Court of Iba, Zambales, Branch 70, a co-equal court.10 The trial
1984, the trial court ordered his arrest and the confiscation of his bail
court declared further that since the issue of the case was the validity
bond in favor of the government. It also directed the bondsmen to
of OCT No. O-7249, the case should have been filed with the Court of
produce within a period of 30 days the person of the accused and to
Appeals which has exclusive original jurisdiction over annulment of
show cause why judgment should not be entered against the bail bond.
judgments of a Regional Trial Court.
However, without a judgment being rendered against the bondsmen,
the trial court issued a writ of execution against the land in an Order The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
dated 14 April 1986.4 The land was eventually sold at public auction
Respondents filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals which reversed (b) explain why the accused did not appear before the
the findings of the trial court and annulled OCT No. O-7249.11 The court when first required to do so.
appellate court also ordered that a new title over the property be issued Failing in these two requisites, a judgment shall be rendered
in the name of respondents. Petitioners filed a Motion for against the bondsmen, jointly and severally, for the amount of
Reconsideration which the appellate court denied in a Resolution dated the bail. The court shall not reduce or otherwise mitigate the
30 January 2002. liability of the bondsmen, unless the accused has been
Hence, this petition. surrendered or is acquitted.
The Issue The provision clearly provides for the procedure to be followed before
The sole issue for our resolution is whether the Court of Appeals erred a bail bond may be forfeited and a judgment on the bond rendered
in finding a defect in the proceedings and in ordering the annulment of against the surety. In Reliance Surety & Insurance Co., Inc. v. Amante,
OCT No. O-7249. Jr.,12 we outlined the two occasions upon which the trial court judge
may rule adversely against the bondsmen in cases when the accused
Petitioners contend that even if the execution proceedings were fails to appear in court. First, the non-appearance by the accused is
nullified, they were not privy to the irregularities of the auction sale. cause for the judge to summarily declare the bond as forfeited. Second,
Thus, as buyers in good faith, they must be protected by the law. the bondsmen, after the summary forfeiture of the bond, are given 30
Respondents, on the other hand, maintain that the basis for the days within which to produce the principal and to show cause why a
acquisition of the land and the issuance of title over it had already been judgment should not be rendered against them for the amount of the
declared void by this Court in G.R. No. 101103. Thus, petitioners bond. It is only after this 30-day period, during which the bondsmen
cannot now claim good faith. With no valid title to the land, petitioners are afforded the opportunity to be heard by the trial court, that the trial
must reconvey the land to respondents. court may render a judgment on the bond against the bondsmen.
Judgment against the bondsmen cannot be entered unless such
The Court’s Ruling
judgment is preceded by the order of forfeiture and an opportunity
The petition lacks merit. given to the bondsmen to produce the accused or to adduce
Section 21, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure satisfactory reason for their inability to do so.13
states: In the present case, it is undisputed that the accused failed to appear in
SEC. 21. — Forfeiture of bail. When the presence of the person before the court and that the trial court declared his bail
accused is required by the court or these Rules, his bondsmen forfeited. The trial court gave the bondsmen, respondents in this case,
shall be notified to produce him before the court on a given a 30-day period to produce the accused or a reasonable explanation for
date and time. If the accused fails to appear in person as their non-production. However, two years had passed from the time
required, his bail shall be declared forfeited and the bondsmen the court ordered the forfeiture and still no judgment had been
given thirty (30) days within which to produce their principal rendered against the bondsmen for the amount of the bail. Instead, an
and to show cause why no judgment should be rendered against order of execution was issued and the property was put up for sale and
them for the amount of their bail. Within the said period, the awarded to petitioners, the highest bidders.
bondsmen must: These turn of events distinctly show that there was a failure of due
(a) produce the body of their principal or give the process of law. The execution was issued, not on a judgment, because
reason for his non-production; and there was none, but simply and solely on the declaration of forfeiture.
An order of forfeiture of the bail bond is conditional and interlocutory,
there being something more to be done such as the production of the
accused within 30 days. This process is also called confiscation of
bond. In People v. Dizon,14 we held that an order of forfeiture is
interlocutory and merely requires appellant "to show cause why
judgment should not be rendered against it for the amount of the
bond." Such order is different from a judgment on the bond which is
issued if the accused was not produced within the 30-day period. The
judgment on the bond is the one that ultimately determines the liability
of the surety, and when it becomes final, execution may issue at
once.15 However, in this case, no such judgment was ever issued and
neither has an amount been fixed for which the bondsmen may be held
liable. The law was not strictly observed and this violated respondents’
right to procedural due process.
In addition, we find that the issue of good faith in buying the property
at the auction sale is no longer material. This Court in a previous case
had already ruled upon the invalidity of the execution and sale of the
land. As a result, the basis for which title to the land had been issued
has no more leg to stand on. The appellate court, therefore, was correct
in ordering the annulment of the title to the land as a matter of course.
There being no valid title nor any right to possess the land,
reconveyance to the respondents is only proper under the
circumstances.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 9 July
2001 Decision and 30 January 2002 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 58139.
SO ORDERED.