‘Di alam ang batas: SC suspends Koronadal judge for releasing suspects outside jurisdiction
The Supreme Court (SC) has meted out a one-year suspension on Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 24 Acting Judge Jordan Reyes for issuing eight release orders in favor of suspects outside his jurisdiction.
In a recent 13-page en banc resolution, the SC found Reyes guilty of the administrative offense of gross ignorance of the law.
The sanction arose from a judicial audit that revealed Reyes approved the property bonds posted to secure the release of suspects who actually face cases before the Alabel, Sarangani, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 38.
The SC pointed out that the bail could only be posted before the Alabel RTC Branch 38, or in the other three banches should the judge be unavailable.
Reyes’s argument that he merely acted as “receiver” of the bail bonds “does not have basis in any law or rules of procedure,” the SC said.
“He does not have any duty, whether ministerial or discretionary, to issue the release orders upon the posting of bail in his court by the accused since he does not have the authority or jurisdiction to process the bail in the first place,” read the resolution.
At the same time, the SC cleared Reyes of liability arising from three more release orders, which he had denied signing.
Reyes’s signature in the three spurious release orders turned out to have been scanned by a certain Sethmark Villegas, who had admitted to the falsification. The judicial audit team said it had been informed of “rampant bail-fixing” in the court.