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PEOPLE V SANDIGANBAYAN (SPECIAL DIVISION) - One of the Informations was for the crime of plunder under RA 7080

AUG 10 2007 | GARCIA, J. and among the respondents was Jose Jinggoy Estrada, then mayor
of San Juan, Metro Manila. This case was assigned to the 3rd Division
SUMMARY OF FACTS: of the Sandiganbayan.
Former President Estrada was charged with plunder along with members of Amended information: charged with plunder defined and penalized
his family, his associates, friends and conspirators [INCLUDING JINGGOY; under RA 7080 as amended by Sec 12 of RA 7659
for specific acts of Jinggoy SEE a-d]. The Sandiganbayan issued a warrant of (P4,097,804,173.17) through any or a combination of a series of overt
arrest and they were placed in custody of the law. Jinggoy applied for or criminal acts or similar schemes or means:
Omnibus Application for Bail before the Sandiganbayan and the Special a. P545M from illegal gambling in the form of gift, share,
Division granted the bail for P500,000. Petitioners filed a motion for percentage, kickback or any form of pecuniary benefit in
reconsideration [DENIED]. Hence this petition. consideration of toleration or protection of illegal
gambling
DOCTRINE: b. P130M from diverting, receiving, misappropriating, converting
Even capital offense charged is bailable owing to the weakness of the or misusing public funds (from the portion of P200M
evidence of guilt, the right to bail may justifiably still be denied if the tobacco excise tax share allocated for Province of Ilocos
probability of escape is great. Grant of bail is predicated only on its Sur under Art 7171)
preliminary appreciation of the evidence adduced in the bail hearing to c. directing, ordering and compelling the GSIS to purchase
determine whether or not deprivation of the right to bail is warranted. A grant 351,878,000 shares of stock, the SSS 329,855,000 shares
of bail does not prevent the trier of facts from making a final assessment of of stock of the Belle Corporation in the amount of
the evidence after full trial on the merits. P1,847,578,057.50 and by collecting or receiving directly or
indirectly commissions or percentages by reason of said
APPLICATION TO CASE: purchases in the amount of P189,700,000 which became
(1) Estrada was not considered as a flight-risk (seeing that he was part of the deposit in the Equitable-PCI Bank under Jose
elected as Senator) Velarde
(2) Sandiganbayan is still in the process of determining the facts and d. by unjustly enriching himself from commissions, gifts,
merits of the case shares percentages, kickbacks or any form of pecuniary
(3) Sandiganbayans statement that Jinggoys criminal liability would benefits in the amount of P3,233,104,173.17 and depositing
probably not warrant the death penalty or reclusion perpetua the same under Jose Velardo at Equitable-PCI Bank
Sandiganbayan issued a warrant of arrest and they were placed in custody
FACTS of the law.
As an offshoot of the Impeachment proceedings against then President - JINGGOY: (1) no probable cause exists; and (2) he is entitled to bail as
Estrada, 5 criminal complaints against the him and members of his family, a matter of right.
his associates, friends and conspirators were filed with the Office of the - SANDIGANBAYAN: RESOLUTION [DENIED]; Alternative prayer to post
Ombudsman. bail was set for hearing after arraignment of all accused.
The Ombudsman issued a Joint Resolution finding probable cause - JINGGOY: MR OF THE RESOLUTION
warranting the filing with the Sandiganbayan of several criminal - SANDIGANBAYAN: DENIED and proceeded to arraign him.
Informations against the former President and the other respondents.
- JINGGOY: PETITION FOR CERTIORARI TO SC: (1) sustaining the - Jinggoy does not (as determined by Sandiganbayan) seem to be a flight
charge against him and with alleged conspirators with whom he is not risk. The likelihood of escape is now almost nil given his election on
even connected, and (2) in not fixing bail for him. May 10 2004 as Senator.
- JINGGOY: Urgent Second Motion for Bail for Medical Reasons - The Court takes stock of the fact that those who usually jump bail are
- SANDIGANBAYAN: OPPOSED; conducted hearings on the motion for shadowy characters mindless of their reputation in the eyes of the
bail with Dr. Roberto Atanacio of Makati Medical Center appearing as people for as long as they can flee from the retribution of justice.
sole witness for Jinggoy - ON THE OTHER HAND, those with reputation and a respectable name
- JINGGOY: Urgent Motion with SC praying for early resolution of his to protect and preserve are very unlikely to jump bail.
Petition for Bail on Medical/Humanitarian Considerations. - The Court, to be sure, cannot accept any suggestion that someone who
- SC: referred the motion to the Sandiganbayan for resolution and has a popular mandate to serve as Senator is harboring any plan to give
directed said court to make a report not later than 8:30AM of Dec 21 01 up his Senate seat in exchange for becoming a fugitive from service.
- SANDIGANBAYAN: Report was submitted with copy of ON THEORY OF OVERLAPPING OF CONSPIRACIES, rulings in Catelo
Sandiganbayans Resolution denying Jinggoys motion for bail for lack and Ty Sui Wong are not on all-fours applicable to and of governing sway to
of factual basis - failed to submit sufficient evidence to convince the the issue of the propriety of revoking Jinggoys release on bail.
court that the medical condition of the accused requires that he be - Cases mentioned contextually dealt with the guilt of culprits for the
confined at home and for that purpose that he be allowed to post bail. crimes of murder unlike in this proceeding, the propriety of a grant of
- SC: DISMISSED EARLIER PETITION bail, given the evidence for or against the bail application, was not an
- JINGGOY: Omnibus Application for Bail before Sandiganbayan. issue in the cases.
- SANDIGANBAYAN (SPECIAL DIVISION): GRANTED for P500K - And in present case, Sandiganbayan is still in the process of
- PETITIONER: MR determining the facts and merits of the main case.
- SANDIGANBAYAN: DENIED - Revoking the bail thus granted to Jinggoy, as the petitioner urges, which
necessarily implies that the evidence of his guilt is strong would be
ISSUE: WON respondent court committed grave abuse of discretion when it tantamount to pre-empting the Sandiganbayans on-going
granted Jinggoy Estradas application for bail? NO determination of the facts and merits of the main case.
GRANT OF BAIL IS PREDICATED ONLY ON ITS PRELIMINARY
RULING: APPRECIATION OF THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED IN THE BAIL HEARING
SEC 13 ART III. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT DEPRIVATION OF THE RIGHT TO
by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before BAIL IS WARRANTED
conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance - A grant of bail does not prevent the trier of facts, the same Anti-Graft
as may be provided by law. xxx Court, from making a final assessment of the evidence after full trial on
Even capital offense charged is bailable owing to the weakness of the the merits.
evidence of guilt, the right to bail may justifiably still be denied if the As final consideration, the Court notes a statement made by the
probability of escape is great. respondent court:
xxx Corollarily, it is not amiss to state that, at this time, there looms the
possibility that, in case of conviction, Jinggoys criminal liability would
probably not warrant the death penalty or reclusion perpetua