Court allows Daraga Mayor Baldo to post bail
MANILA, Philippines — The prosecutor’s failure to file a case against suspended Mayor Carlwyn Baldo of Daraga, Albay, has prompted the Legazpi City Regional Court Branch 10 to grant his request to post bail amounting P3 million or a surety bond worth P4 million.
In a seven-page order, Branch 10 Judge Maria Theresa San Juan-Loquillano pointed out that no case had been filed against Baldo in court.
Baldo is the suspected brains behind the killing of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort, SPO2 Orlando Diaz.
Last Jan. 22, 2019, members of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Region 5 arrested the mayor after discovering firearms and ammunition in his house during their implementation of a search warrant.
Baldo was subjected to an inquest proceeding but signed a waiver of detention as a condition for a preliminary investigation.
He was then hospitalized due to asthma.
His lawyers filed a motion to post bail while the preliminary investigation was ongoing.
The court then ordered the Albay prosecutors to comment or manifest its objections.
However, last Feb. 7, the court was informed that the panel of prosecutors from Albay had inhibited themselves from handling the case.
Regional State Prosecutor Mary May De Leoz assigned a new set of prosecutors from Camarines Sur.
According to the court, these new set of prosecutors requested that they be excused from making any statement on the strength or weakness of the case because it had yet to undergo formal probe.
In granting Baldo’s request, the court cited the third paragraph of Section 17 under Rule 114 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure, saying that it applied to Baldo.
That provision provides that “any person in custody who is not yet charged in court may apply for bail with any court in the province, city, or municipality where he is held.”
“The Constitution itself guarantees every person’s right to life, liberty and property,” the court said pointing out that if there is a presumption of innocence in favor of one already formally charged with a criminal offense, the very same presumption should apply in favor of one not yet charged but is under detention.
“If bail could be availed of by one who is charged with a capital offense, then with more reason that bail could be availed for one under arrest without any proper criminal information filed in court against him,” the court said.
The court added that once a criminal case had been filed against Baldo, the bail would automatically be canceled and released to him to pave way for the court to determine if there was enough evidence of guilt.
The court added that it would expect Baldo to surrender to the court once a criminal case has been filed against him.
Aside from allowing the posting of bail, the court also imposed the following conditions on Baldo:
- He will appear in court whenever required.
- He will report weekly to the CIDG Region V office or to the Office of the Regional Director of the PNP Region V, whichever is convenient for him.
- He will refrain from talking about his case during campaigns.
- He will immediately surrender once the case is filed against him.
The court warned that a violation of any of the conditions would mean a revocation of his bail and a warrant of arrest would be immediately issued against him. /atm
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