Inoturan vs Limsiaco
INOTURAN VS LIMSIACO FACTS: In a letter addressed to the former court administrator, Judge Napoleon Inoturan of the RTC, Branch 133, Makati city, requested that Judge Manuel Q. Limsiaco Jr. of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Valladolid-San Enrique-Pulupandan, Negros Occidental, be investigated and charged accordingly. Judge Inoturan stated that Mario Balucero was charged before his court with 2 counts of violation of BP. Blg. 22. Balucero failed to appear for arraignment despite the notices prompting Inoturan to issue a bench warrant against him. Judge Inoturan received from the NBI the return of the bench warrant with the information that Balucero was arrested in Bacolod City and that he had posted a property bail bond before the MCTC of Valladolid-San Enrique-Pulupandan. Attached to it was the order of release signed by Judge Manuel Limsiaco Jr. The arraignment of Balucero was set several times, but he failed to appear prompting Judge Inoturan to order the cancellation of Balucero’s property bond and forfeited in favor of the government. A warrant of arrest should also be issued against him. Judge Inoturan ordered Ignacio Denila, Clerk of Court of the MCTC of Valladolid to forward to his sala the property bond posted for Balucero. Denila failed to comply and therefore he was cited in contempt and was ordered to be detained until he complied. Denila surrendered to the police but was ordered released on the same day by Judge Limsiaco. On Aug. 7, 1988, Denila sent a letter to Inoturan stating that Balucero did not post any property bond in Judge Limsiaco’s court; that he referred to Limsiaco the order to turn over the property bond to his court and that Limsiaco said there was no documents submitted by Balucero. The Office of the Court Administration tasked Executive Judge Garvilles to make an investigation. In his findings, the supposed property bond allegedly approved by Judge Limsiaco did not exist. Limsiaco also acted w/o authority . Balucero was arrested in Bacolod City which means the application for bail should have been filed with any of the 14 branches of the Bacolod City RTC. Garvilles also found out that Limsiaco ordered the release of the accused in several other cases without the posting of bail. Judge Garvilles recommended that Judge Limsiaco be administratively charged of gross ignorance of the law and serious irregularity in the performance of duty and abuse of authority. This was referred to Executive Judge Morales. One of her findings was this: Respondent judge issued the order of release of Balucero even prior to his arrest and that no bail was posted. Issue: WON Judge Limsiaco is guilty of ignorance of the law and procedure for ordering Balucero’s release even without bail. Held: YES. Section 1 of Rule 114 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure states that:
“Bail is 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 hereinafter specified….” An accused under detention can not be released without bail. As found by the investigating Judges, accused Balucero did not post bail but still Respondent judge ordered his release. Respondent Judge also failed to give a satisfactory explanation why he issued the Release Order of Balucero even if he did not post bail and was not under detention. Respondent Judge acted without authority I approving such bail. Section 17, Rule 114 states that: “ Bail in the amount fixed may be filed with the court where the case is pending, or in the absence or unavailability of the judge thereof, with any regional trial judge, metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge in the province, city, or municipality. If the accused is arrested in a province, city, or municipality other than where the case is pending, bail may also be filed with any regional trial court of said place, or if no judge thereof is available, with any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge therein…..” Limsiaco should not have approved Balucero’s application for bail. It is only one of the 14 branches of the RTC in Bacolod City which has the authority to act thereon.