By: Alexander Llanes Acain, Jr.
How to Post Bail for your Temporary Liberty?
Getting out of Jail after an arrest? What you need to know about bail - what it is, how it's set and how to pay it?
Often, a person's first thought upon landing in jail is how to get out -- and fast. The usual way to do this is to "post bail." Bail is cash or a cash equivalent that an arrested person gives to a court to ensure that he will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the accused doesn't show up or what we call jumps bail in legal terms, the court keeps the bail and issues a warrant for the arrest of the accused.
Bail can take any of the following forms:
Cash or check for the full amount of the bail
Property worth the full amount of the bail
A surety bond (that is, a guaranteed payment of the full bail amount)
A waiver of payment on the condition that the accused appear in court at the required time (commonly called "release on one's recognizance").
How Bail is set?
Public Prosecutors are responsible for setting bail. Because many people want to get out of jail immediately (depending on when or where you are arrested) it can take a day or two before you see a judge to approve your Bail and issue an Order of Release. The Department of Justice (www.doj.gov.ph) set standard bail schedules which specify bail amounts for all bailable crimes and offenses and you can see the 2018 Bailbond Guide HERE (Please click to find out more). An arrested person can get out of jail quickly by paying the amount outlined in the bail schedule.
Unless the charged is punishable by death or life imprisonment and the evidence of guilt is strong, the 1987 Constitution requires that every person charged for a crime or offense has the right to post bail which should not be excessive. This means that bail should not be used to raise money for the government or to punish a person for being suspected of committing a crime. Remember: The purpose of bail is to give an arrested person the freedom until that person is convicted for the crime, and the amount of bail must be no more than what is reasonably necessary to keep the person of the accused from fleeing before a case is over.
If a person can't afford the amount of bail on the bail schedule, he or she can ask a judge to lower it by filing a Motion to Reduce Bail Bond. The accused can also file a Petition for Bail on the ground that the evidence against him is not strong, even if the person/accused is facing a non-bailable offense such as Drug cases, Murder, Rape, and other heinous crimes.
You can pay the full amount of the bail-in Cash. If you are acquitted, you can withdraw the Bail that you posted. You can also buy a surety bond or post your property to pay for your bail.
A bail bond is like a check held in reserve: it represents the person's promise that he or she will appear in court when required to. The bail bond is purchased by payment of a non-refundable premium (usually about 15% - 35% of the face amount of the bond). The Bail Bond can only be posted by a bonding company for criminal cases duly accredited by the Supreme Court. You can see the list of accredited bonding companies for criminal case HERE. Please click to find out more.
A bail bond may sound like a good deal, but buying a surety bond may cost more in the long run. This is so because you have to renew the surety bond upon its expiration otherwise, upon motion of the prosecution, a warrant of arrest will be issued for failure to renew the surety bond. If the full amount of the bail is paid, it will be refunded (less a small administrative fee) when the case is over and all required appearances have been made. On the other hand, the 15%-35 premium is nonrefundable. Also, the bond seller may require "collateral." This means that the person who pays for the bail bond must also give the bond seller a financial interest in some of the person's valuable property. The bond seller can cash in on this interest if the suspect fails to appear in court.
Other documents Required
There also other documents required to be submitted to the Court so your bail application will be approved. These are: (1) usual mug shots (Left, Right, Front); (2) Original copy of the Barangay Residence/Certificate with Barangay Seal stating that you are a bonafide resident of the Barangay for x number of years; (3) Sketch of your house or a Map and this will be signed by the Barangay Captain with the Barangay Seal (This is required so you can easily be located if you do not appear in Court when required); (4) Other Court and Prosecution Clearances stating that you are not being detained of any other crime/s; (5) Undertaking to Appear when required by the Court; and (6) Waiver of Appearance (This is actually stating that you are waiving your appearance to appear in Court hearings, unless your appearance is required by the Court such as during Arraignment, Pre-Trial and Promulgation of Judgement. As per experience, the Barangay Residence Certifications requirement is very difficult for foreigners to produce and who are arrested while visiting the Philippines.
Getting Out of Jail Free
In certain cases, people are released "on their own Recognizance" or to a reputable person in the community. The accused released on Recognizance must simply sign a promise to show up in court. He doesn't have to post bail. The accused commonly requests release on his recognizance at his first court appearance. If the judge denies the request, he may then ask for reduced bail. In general, accused who are released on Recognizance have strong ties to a community, making them unlikely to flee.
Under Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, the accused may ask the Court to be Release on Recognizance (1) if he has stayed in Jail for period equal to or more than the possible maximum imprisonment of the offense charged to which he may be sentenced; or (2) person has already stayed in jail for a period equal to or more than the minimum of the principal penalty prescribed for the offense charged.