Sen. Santiago says bail hearing is Arroyo’s way out
It is still possible for former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to escape detention while being tried for nonbailable offenses if government prosecutors fail to present evidence strong enough to convince the judge during a bail hearing, Senator Miriam Santiago said Monday.
Rule 114 of Section 8 of the Rules of Court indicates that “the prosecution has the burden of showing that the evidence of guilt is strong” in case a bail hearing is set, the senator said.
Plunder and electoral sabotage are nonbailable offenses.
Arroyo faces at least five plunder cases such as the NBN-ZTE deal and the fertilizer scam.
Various quarters have also accused her and husband Jose Miguel Arroyo of masterminding the alleged cheating in the 2004 presidential and 2007 senatorial elections.
Santiago, who earlier asked Malacañang to work for Arroyo’s house arrest, said the judge with whom Arroyo’s electoral sabotage case was pending was required to hold a bail hearing or summary proceeding.
“The grant or denial of bail in capital offenses or similar cases hinges on the issue of whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong. The determination of whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong, being a matter of judicial discretion, remains with the judge,” she said.
Santiago, a former judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, said that “after the bail hearing, the judge should spell out at least a resumé of the evidence on which its order granting or denying bail is based.”
“Otherwise, the order (granting or rejecting bail) is defective and voidable,” she added.
Santiago said a bail hearing was mandatory before bail could be granted to an accused who has been charged with a capital offense or a similar case.
“All persons in the custody of the court shall be admitted to bail as a matter of right. But even if the charge is punishable by (life imprisonment), bail—although no longer a matter of right—is still a matter of discretion on the part of the judge,” she said. With a report from Maila Ager, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted: 3:37 pm | Monday, November 28th, 2011
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