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Al-Ghoul vs. CA Case Digest (Right to Bail)


Bail is a matter of right before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment.

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Facts:

Yousef Al-Ghoul and others are detention prisoners who were arrested and charged with illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives under Sections 1 and 3 of P.D. No. 1866 before the RTC of Kaloocan City.

Petitioners filed a motion for bail but the resolution of the same was held in abeyance by the trial court pending the presentation of evidence by the prosecution to enable the court to determine whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong. Subsequently, the trial court issued an order denying petitioners’ motion for bail on the ground that the law under which petitioners are charged prescribes a penalty of reclusion perpetua and that the evidence of guilt is strong.

On October 30, 1997, petitioners filed a Manifestation alleging that with the enactment of Republic Act No. 8294, amending PD. 1866, the penalty for the offenses under which petitioners are being charged has been reduced from the penalty ranging from reclusion temporal to reclusion perpetua, to only the penalty ranging from prision mayor to reclusion temporal; hence, petitioners are now entitled to bail regardless of the strength of evidence against them.


Issue:

Whether or not petitioners are entitled to bail.


Held:

Consequent to the enactment of RA 8294, the penalty prescribed in Section 1 and 3 of P.D. 1866 for illegal possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives under which petitioners were charged, has now been reduced to prision mayor in its minimum period and prision mayor in its maximum period to reclusion temporal, respectively. Evidently, petitioners are now entitled to bail as a matter of right prior to their conviction by the trial court pursuant to Section 4 of SC Administrative Circular No. 12-94 which provides as follows:

SEC. 4. Bail, a matter of right.x x x. (b) before conviction by the Regional Trial Court of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, be admitted to bail as a matter of right, with sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance as prescribed by law or this Rule. (Al-Ghoul vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126859. November 24, 1998)

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