Virtuoso v Municipal Judge
Virtuoso v. Municipal Judge and Chief of Police of Mariveles, Bataan, 82 SCRA 191, March 21, 1978 Article II, Section 12 - Constitution In relation to PD 603: Child and Youth Welfare Code issued by Pres. Marcos, December 10, 1974 Extracts from PD 603, Chapter 3 for recit purposes Article 189. Youthful Offender Defined. - A youthful offender is one who is over nine years but under twenty-one years of age at the time of the commission of the offense. Article 191. Care of Youthful Offender Held for Examination or Trial. - A youthful offender held for physical and mental examination or trial or pending appeal, if unable to furnish bail, shall from the time of his arrest be committed to the care of the Department of Social Welfare or the local rehabilitation center … The court may, in its discretion, upon recommendation of the Department of Social Welfare or other agency or agencies authorized by the Court, release a youthful offender on recognizance, to the custody of his parents or other suitable person who shall be responsible for his appearance whenever required. Article 192. Suspension of Sentence and Commitment of Youthful Offender. - If after hearing the evidence in the proper proceedings, the court should find that the youthful offender has committed the acts charged against him the court shall determine the imposable penalty, including any civil liability chargeable against him. However, instead of pronouncing judgment of conviction, the court shall suspend all further proceedings and shall commit such minor to the custody or care of the Department of Social Welfare, … until he shall have reached twenty-one years of age or, for a shorter period as the court may deem proper, after considering the reports and recommendations of the Department of Social Welfare or the agency or responsible individual under whose care he has been committed.
Facts: Petitioner Francisco Virtuoso, Jr., filed an application for the writ of habeas corpus and premised his plea for liberty primarily on the ground that the pre examination which led to the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him was a useless formality as respondent Municipal Judge of Mariveles, Bataan, failed to meet the strict standard required by the Constitution to ascertain whether there was a probable cause. He was tried for robbery of a TV set and was required to post bail of P16,000 which the defense assailed, finding it excessive. During the course of the intensive questioning it was found out that he was a minor, 17 years of age, entitled to the protection and benefits of the Child and Youth Welfare Code. According accordingly, after the hearing, the Court issued the following resolution: "Acting on the verbal petition of counsel for petitioner Francisco Virtouso, Jr., the Court Resolved pursuant to section 191 of Presidential Decree No. 603, petitioner being a 17-year old minor, to [order] the release of the petitioner on the recognizance of his parents Francisco Virtouso, Sr. and Manuela Virtouso and his counsel, Atty. Guillermo B. Bandonil, who, in open court, agreed to act in such capacity, without prejudice to further proceedings in a pending case against petitioner being taken in accordance with law." This Court should, whenever appropriate, give vitality and force to the Youth and Welfare Code, which is an implementation of this specific constitutional mandate: "The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote their physical, intellectual, and social well-being." Issue: (not entirely relevant to Article II, Section 12: only that he was a minor and should be turned over to the DSWD) Whether or not the procedure by respondent Judge in ascertaining the existence of probable cause was constitutionally deficient.
Ruling: There was no longer a need to tackle the issue as petitioner was a minor during his commission of the crime. He was entitled to the protection and benefits of the Child and Youth Welfare Code which was an implementation of Article II Section 12 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court released him on the recognizance of his parents and counsel (p.108 Cruz).