Bail to the Chief! (2)

With the arrest of Erap for the crime of plunder, the next logical move for his lawyers is to petition the Sandiganbayan for bail.  This is a result of the express provision in the Rules of Criminal Procedure that no person charged with a capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the state of the criminal prosecution. 

At the hearing of Erap’s application for bail, it is the prosecution which has the burden of showing that evidence of guilt is strong. Moreover,  the evidence presented during the bail hearing shall be considered automatically reproduced at the trial but, upon motion of either party, the court may recall any witness for additional examination unless the latter is dead, outside the Philippines, or otherwise unable to testify. 

We now move on to the forms of bail. There are four kinds of bail under the law, these are: corporate surety, property bond, cash deposit, or recognizance. We shall now discuss each form:

1. Corporate Surety: Any domestic or foreign corporation, licensed as a surety in accordance with law and currently authorized to act as such, may provide bail by a bond subscribed jointly by the accused and an officer of the corporation duly 
authorized by its board of directors. 

2. Property Bond: A property bond is an undertaking constituted as lien on the real property given as security for the amount of the bail. Within ten (10) days after the approval of the bond, the accused shall cause the annotation of the lien on the certificate of title on file with the Registry of Deeds if the land is registered, or if unregistered, in the Registration Book on the space provided therefore, in the Registry of Deeds for the province or city where the land lies, and on the corresponding tax declaration in the office of the provincial, city and municipal assessor concerned. Within the same period, the accused shall submit to the court his compliance and his failure to do so shall be sufficient cause for the cancellation of the property bond and his re-arrest and detention. 

3. Cash Deposit: The accused or any person acting in his behalf may deposit in cash with the nearest collector of internal revenue or provincial, city, or municipal treasurer the amount of bail fixed by the court, or recommended by the prosecutor who investigated or filed the case. Upon submission of a proper certificate of deposit and a written undertaking showing compliance with the requirements of section 2 of this Rule, the accused shall be discharged from custody. The money deposited shall be considered as bail and applied to the payment of fine and costs while the excess, if any, shall be returned to the accused or to whoever made the deposit. 

4. Recognizance: Whenever allowed by law or these Rules, the court may release a person in custody on his own recognizance or that of a responsible person. 

New provision on bail in Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure:

The new Rules also provide that bail is not a bar to objections on illegal arrest, or lack of or irregular preliminary investigation. It states that an application for or admission to bail shall not bar the accused from challenging the validity of his arrest or the legality of the warrant issued therefore, or from assailing the regularity or questioning the absence of a preliminary investigation of the charge against him, provided that he raises them before entering his plea. The court shall resolve the matter as early as practicable but not later than the start of the trial of the case.