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Manotoc vs Court of Appeals Digest


● A court has the power to prohibit a person admitted to bail from leaving the Philippines. This is a necessary consequence of the nature and function of a bail bond.

● The constitutional right to travel is not an absolute right. The Constitution provides: "The liberty of abode and of travel shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court xxx." The order of the trial court releasing petitioner on bail constitutes such lawful order. 


Facts: 

Ricardo Manotoc Jr. was one of the two principal stockholders of Trans-Insular Management Inc. and the Manotoc Securities Inc., a stock brokerage house. He was in US for a certain time. He went home to file a petition with SEC for appointment of a management committee for both businesses. Pending disposition of the case, the SEC requested the Commissioner of Immigration not to clear Manotoc for departure, and a memorandum to this effect was issued by the Commissioner.

Meanwhile, six clients of Manotoc Securities Inc. filed separate criminal complaints for estafa against Manotoc. Manotoc posted bail in all cases. He then filed a motion for permission to leave the country in each trial courts stating as ground therefor his desire to go to the United States, "relative to his business transactions and opportunities." His motion was denied. He also wrote the Immigration Commissioner requesting the recall or withdrawal of the latter's memorandum, but said request was also denied. Thus, he filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus before the Court of Appeals seeking to annul the judges' orders, as well as the communication-request of the SEC, denying his leave to travel abroad. The same was denied; hence, he appealed to the Supreme Court. He contends that having been admitted to bail as a matter of right, the courts which granted him bail could not prevent him from exercising his constitutional right to travel.


Issues: 

1. Whether a court has the power to prohibit a person admitted to bail from leaving the Philippines.

2. Whether the constitutional right to travel is absolute


Held: 

A court has the power to prohibit a person admitted to bail from leaving the Philippines. This is a necessary consequence of the nature and function of a bail bond. Rule 114, Section 1 of the Rules of Court defines bail as the security required and given for the release of a person who is in the custody of the law, that he will appear before any court in which his appearance may be required as stipulated in the bail bond or recognizance. The condition imposed upon petitioner to make himself available at all times whenever the court requires his presence operates as a valid restriction on his right to travel. Indeed, if the accused were allowed to leave the Philippines without sufficient reason, he may be placed beyond the reach of the courts.

The constitutional right to travel being invoked by petitioner is not an absolute right. Section 5, Article IV of the 1973 Constitution (Sec 6. Art. III, 1987 Constitution) states:

The liberty of abode and of travel shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court, or when necessary in the interest of national security, public safety or public health.

The order of the trial court releasing petitioner on bail constitutes such lawful order as contemplated by the above-quoted constitutional provision.  (Ricardo Manotoc vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-62100, May 30, 1986)

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