Legal Ethics Case Digests – Issuance of an Order of Release
Jesusa Santiago vs. Judge Eduardo Jovellanos
Margarita Sanchez vs. Judge Eduardo Jovellanos
A.M. No. MTJ-00-1289. August 1, 2000
Facts: Jesusa Santiago and Margarita Sanchez were complainants in two different criminal cases before the MTC of San Ildefonso, Bulacan and the RTC of Rosales, Pampanga, respectively. The suspects in each of the criminal cases were caught by authorities and detained. However, both suspects were released by order of Judge Eduardo Jovellanos, presiding judge of the MCTC of Alcala-Bautista, Pangasinan. The complainants questioned both Orders for Release issued by Judge Jovellanos, alleging that the requirements for the bailbond had not been fulfilled and that the said judge had no jurisdiction to order the release.
Held: GUILTY. There are two defects in the Orders for Release signed by Judge Jovellanos. First, in both cases, the detainees had not registered the bailbond in accordance with the Rules of Criminal Procedure. One may not be given provisional liberty if the bailbond is not registered with the proper office. Secondly, Judge Jovellanos did not have jurisdiction to order the release of the detainees. The Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that when a suspect is arrested outside of the province, city or municipality where his case is pending, he may either apply for bail with the court where his case is pending or with any RTC in the province, city or municipality where he was arrested. If a RTC judge is not available, he may apply for bail with any MTC or MCTC in the place where he was arrested. In this case, Judge Jovellanos entertained motions for bail and ordered release for suspects whose cases were not pending in his court nor were they arrested within his jurisdiction. As an advocate of justice and a visible representation of the law, a judge is expected to keep abreast with and be proficient in the interpretation of our laws. A judge should be acquainted with legal norms and precepts as well as with statutes and procedural rules. Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of incompetence which goes against Canon 3, specifically Rule 3.01, of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Having accepted the exalted position of a judge, Judge Jovellanos owes the public and the court he sits in proficiency in the law. He must have the basic rules at the palm of his hands as he is expected to maintain professional competence at all times. Judge Jovellanos was suspended for 1 year without pay issued the warning that similar conduct in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
Posted on September 8, 2014, in Digests and tagged Issuance of an Order of Release, Jesusa Santiago vs. Judge Eduardo Jovellanos, Margarita Sanchez vs. Judge Eduardo Jovellanos. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.