Silverio v. CA, GR 94284, 8 April 1991
On 26 January 1988, respondent People of the Philippines filed an Urgent ex parte Motion to cancel the passport of and to issue a hold-departure Order against accused-petitioner on the ground that he had gone abroad several times without the necessary Court approval resulting in postponements of the arraignment and scheduled hearings.
Overruling opposition, the Regional Trial Court, on 4 April 1988, issued an Order directing the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel Petitioner's passport or to deny his application therefor, and the Commission on Immigration to prevent Petitioner from leaving the country. This order was based primarily on the Trial Court's finding that since the filing of the Information on 14 October 1985, "the accused has not yet been arraigned because he has never appeared in Court on the dates scheduled for his arraignment and there is evidence to show that accused Ricardo C. Silverio, Sr. has left the country and has gone abroad without the knowledge and permission of this Court"
Petitioner contends that respondent Court of Appeals erred in not finding that the Trial Court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in issuing its Orders, dated 4 April and 28 July 1988, (1) on the basis of facts allegedly patently erroneous, claiming that the scheduled arraignments could not be held because there was a pending Motion to Quash the Information; and (2) finding that the right to travel can be impaired upon lawful order of the Court, even on grounds other than the "interest of national security, public safety or public health."
Whether or not the right to travel can be impaired upon lawful order of the Court, even on grounds other than the "interest of national security, public safety or public health.
The foregoing condition imposed upon an accused to make himself available at all times whenever the Court requires his presence operates as a valid restriction of his right to travel. A person facing criminal charges may be restrained by the Court from leaving the country or, if abroad, compelled to return. So it is also that "An accused released on bail may be re-arrested without the necessity of a warrant if he attempts to depart from the Philippines without prior permission of the Court where the case is pending.
Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should be interpreted to mean that while the liberty of travel may be impaired even without Court Order, the appropriate executive officers or administrative authorities are not armed with arbitrary discretion to impose limitations. They can impose limits only on the basis of "national security, public safety, or public health" and "as may be provided by law"
Article III, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should by no means be construed as delimiting the inherent power of the Courts to use all means necessary to carry their orders into effect in criminal cases pending before them. When by law jurisdiction is conferred on a Court or judicial officer, all auxillary writs, process and other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed by such Court or officer.
Petitioner is facing a criminal charge. He has posted bail but has violated the conditions thereof by failing to appear before the Court when required. Warrants for his arrest have been issued. Those orders and processes would be rendered nugatory if an accused were to be allowed to leave or to remain, at his pleasure, outside the territorial confines of the country. Holding an accused in a criminal case within the reach of the Courts by preventing his departure from the Philippines must be considered as a valid restriction on his right to travel so that he may be dealt with in accordance with law. The offended party in any criminal proceeding is the People of the Philippines. It is to their best interest that criminal prosecutions should run their course and proceed to finality without undue delay, with an accused holding himself amenable at all times to Court Orders and processes.
WHEREFORE, the judgment under review is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner, Ricardo C. Silverio.