G.R. No. 153675,
April 19, 2007
Private respondent Muñoz was charged before Hong Kong – 3 counts of Accepting Advantage as Agent, 7 counts of conspiracy to defraud. Warrants were issued and Hong Kong filed with the RTC of Manila a petition for the extradition of private respondent. Private respondent filed, in the same case, a petition for bail which was opposed by petitioner. The petition for bail was denied by Judge Bernardo.
Eventually, Judge Bernardo, Jr. inhibited himself from further hearing the case and thus it was then raffled off to Branch presided by respondent judge. Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the Order denying his application for bail. This was granted by respondent judge.
Petitioner filed an urgent motion to vacate the above Order, but it was denied by
respondent judge in his Order. Hence, the instant petition. Petitioner alleged that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in admitting private respondent to bail; that there is nothing in the Constitution or statutory law providing that a potential extraditee has a right to bail, the right being limited solely to criminal proceedings.
1. Whether or not a potential extraditee is entitled to post bail.
2. What should be the quantum of evidence needed to grant such bail to a potential extraditee.
1. Yes. If bail can be granted in deportation cases, we see no justification why it should not also be allowed in extradition cases. Likewise, considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to deportation cases, there is no reason why it cannot be invoked in extradition cases. After all, both are administrative proceedings where the innocence or guilt of the person detained is not in issue. Clearly, the right of a prospective extraditee to apply for bail in this jurisdiction must be viewed in the light of the various treaty obligations of the Philippines concerning respect for the promotion and protection of human rights. Under these treaties, the presumption lies in favor of human liberty. Thus, the Philippines should see to it that the right to liberty of every individual is not impaired.
2. An extradition proceeding being sui generis, the standard of proof required in granting or denying bail can neither be the proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal cases nor the standard of proof of preponderance of evidence in civil cases. While administrative in character, the standard of substantial evidence used in administrative cases cannot likewise apply given the object of extradition law which is to prevent the prospective extraditee from fleeing our jurisdiction. In his Separate Opinion in Purganan, then Associate Justice, now Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, proposed that a new standard which he termed “clear and convincing evidence” should be used in granting bail in extradition cases. According to him, this standard should be lower than proof beyond reasonable doubt but higher than preponderance of evidence. The potential extraditee must prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that he is not a flight risk and will abide with all the orders and processes of the extradition court.
In this case, there is no showing that private respondent presented evidence to show that he is not a flight risk. Consequently, this case should be remanded to the trial court to determine whether private respondent may be granted bail on the basis of “clear and convincing evidence.”