Accused cannot skip promulgation of judgment without justifiable cause
"A criminal case was filed against my uncle before the Municipal Trial Court. He diligently attended all the trial dates of the said case. The promulgation of judgment of his case is set two weeks from now, and his counsel told him that he should attend the promulgation by all means. Unfortunately, he is afflicted with an illness and is required to rest until cleared by his doctor. What will happen in case he fails to appear on the date of the promulgation of judgment of his case and the court finds my uncle guilty?
When an accused fails to appear, despite notice, at the promulgation of the judgment of conviction without justifiable cause, he shall lose the remedies available against the said judgment. This is provided for under Section 6, Rule 120, of the Rules of Court.The Supreme Court discussed the consequences of the failure of the accused to appear, without justifiable cause, at the promulgation of a judgment of conviction in its decision in the case of Reynaldo H. Jaylo et al. vs Sandiganbayan et al. (G.R. Nos. 183152-54, January 21, 2015), to wit:
“Xxx xxx xxxExcept when the conviction is for a light offense, in which case the judgment may be pronounced in the presence of the counsel for the accused or the latter’s representative, the accused is required to be present at the scheduled date of promulgation of judgment. Notice of the schedule of promulgation shall be made to the accused personally or through the bondsman or warden and counsel.
The promulgation of judgment shall proceed even in the absence of the accused despite notice. The promulgation in absentia shall be made by recording the judgment in the criminal docket and serving a copy thereof to the accused at their last known address or through counsel. The court shall also order the arrest of the accused if the judgment is for conviction and the failure to appear was without justifiable cause.If the judgment is for conviction and the failure to appear was without justifiable cause, the accused shall lose the remedies available in the Rules of Court against the judgment. Thus, it is incumbent upon the accused to appear on the scheduled date of promulgation, because it determines the availability of their possible remedies against the judgment of conviction. When the accused fail to present themselves at the promulgation of the judgment of conviction, they lose the remedies of filing a motion for a new trial or reconsideration (Rule 121) and an appeal from the judgment of conviction (Rule 122).The reason is simple. When the accused on bail fail to present themselves at the promulgation of a judgment of conviction, they are considered to have lost their standing in court. Without any standing in court, the accused cannot invoke its jurisdiction to seek relief.”Nonetheless, in the case of Villena vs People of the Philippines (G.R. No. 184091, January 31, 2011, Ponente: Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura), it is stated:
“However, the Rules allow the accused to regain his standing in court in order to avail of these remedies by: (a) his surrender, and (b) his filing of a motion for leave of court to avail of these remedies, stating therein the reasons for his absence, within 15 days from the date of promulgation of judgment. If the trial court finds that his absence was for a justifiable cause, the accused shall be allowed to avail of the said remedies within 15 days from notice or order finding his absence justified and allowing him the available remedies against the judgment of conviction.”Hence, if despite notice your uncle fails to appear in court, without justifiable cause, on the date of the promulgation of the judgment of his case, and the crime charged against him is not a light offense, he shall lose all the available remedies available to him once the court finds him guilty. However, if his absence is justified, he must surrender and file a motion for leave of court to avail himself of these remedies stating therein that his absence is with justifiable reason. Accordingly, if the court finds your uncle not guilty of the crime charged, he will be exonerated.We find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed and elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you in your concern.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to "
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"Accused cannot skip promulgation of judgment without justifiable cause"
was written by Mary
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comments. The article was created on 14 September 2021
and updated on 14 September 2021