SC explains rules on WHERE to file BAIL application

The criminal cases are pending before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Dapa, Surigao del Norte. The order of release should have been issued if at all, by that court, or in the absence or unavailability of Judge Jose Comon who hears the cases in the MCTC of Dapa, Surigao del Norte, then by another branch of an MCTC within Surigao del Norte. However, there is no proof that Judge Comon was absent or unavailable on 5 May 1995 to grant the bail. Respondent judge alleged in his memorandum that the arresting officers were not able to locate Judge Comon because it was already twelve noon and the latter was not in his office. But he did not buttress this claim. The three (3) arresting officers presented, however, never testified that they tried to consult Judge Comon regarding the validity of the warrants, as respondent judge had claimed. Instead, they testified that they tried to locate accused Bondoc in order to serve the warrants of arrest on 5 May 1995 but failed to find him. If Judge Comon was indeed absent or unavailable, there is no evidence on record that respondent judge tried to ascertain or confirm this fact. Furthermore, there is no evidence presented that accused Bondoc was arrested in the municipality of Sta. Monica-Burgos, to clothe respondent judge with authority to grant the bail and issue the order of release in the absence of any RTC judge. Respondent judge avers that accused Bondoc was arrested in the house of Arsenio Mindaa in Dapa, which statement makes his order of release all the more untenable because the arrest was allegedly made in Dapa while the order of release was issued by respondent judge in his capacity as presiding judge of the 11th MCTC of Santa Monica-Burgos. Respondent judge, therefore, granted bail and issued the order of release without jurisdiction. [A.M. No. MTJ-96-1112. December 27, 1996]