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Superfluous pleading aimed to delay trial

02:01 AM July 19, 2014

Under Rule 112, Section 6 of the Rules of Court, the court, upon receipt of the criminal information, may issue a warrant for the arrest of the accused after determining the existence of probable cause after an examination of the records of the case. This is a mandated obligation of the court and it is not necessary for the accused to file a motion for determination of probable cause in order for the court to do so. The filing of such is superfluous and dilatory. Often, lawyers do it for the sake of fees, unmindful of their duties to the client, court and the society—which duties require them, as officers of the court, to observe honesty and the rules of procedure.

The issuance of a warrant of arrest is an exclusive task of the court and cannot be dictated by the party litigants through pleadings. Elevating the issuance of a warrant of arrest to higher court on the ground of abuse of discretion is a disservice to the legal profession, given that lawyers owe candor, fairness and good faith to the court, and are mandated to observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.

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The general rule on the right to bail is, all persons in custody for the commission of an offense shall before conviction be admitted to bail as a matter of right with sufficient sureties; or be released on recognizance prescribed by law. The exception is when the offense charged is punishable by reclusion perpetua (meaning, life sentence) and when the evidence of guilt is strong. The exception to the exception is, when the evidence presented by the prosecution is weak, then, the right to bail shall not be impaired and the court must grant the same (Section 13, Article III, 1987 Philippine Constitution).

Thus, an honest practitioner will proceed immediately to trial to ascertain the strength or weakness of the prosecution’s evidence. In the negative, the accused enjoys his provisional liberty to bail as a matter of right.

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—NORMAN M. VERZOSA, Verzosa Gutierrez Nolasco Montenegro Law Offices, [email protected]

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TAGS: letters to the editor, opinion, Right to bail, Trial, Warrant of arrest
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