Question: Can an excessive bail bond recommendation be reduced?
Scenario: Two carpenters on their way home figured in a brawl with street toughies (“istambays”). As they were constrained to defend themselves with their carpentry tools (hammers and wood chisels), they were able to inflict physical injuries to their assailants. However, the public prosecutor charged them with frustrated murder and recommended bail at P 120,000 each.
Answer: Yes. Excessive bail can be reduced. Legal basis is Sec. 20. Rule 114, The Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure which provides that:
Increase or reduction of bail. – After the accused is admitted to bail, the court may, upon good cause, either increase or reduce its amount. When increased, the accused may be committed to custody if he does not give bail in the increased amount within a reasonable period. An accused held to answer a criminal charge, who is released without bail upon filing of the complaint or information, may, at any subsequent stage of the proceedings and whenever a strong showing of guilt appears to the court, be required to give bail in the amount fixed, or in lieu thereof, committed to custody.
The Civil Code of the Philippines even sanctions those who do not reduce an excessive bail:
Article 32. Any public officer or employee, or any private individual, who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the following rights and liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for damages:
xxx xxx xxx
(15) The right of the accused against excessive bail;
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For a sample of a motion for reduction of bail, email firstname.lastname@example.org.