Sufficient Justification For The Revocation Of Probation

An Information was filed against petitioner Neil Suyan, charging him for illegal possession of regulated drugs (Section 16, Article III o...

An Information was filed against petitioner Neil Suyan, charging him for illegal possession of regulated drugs (Section 16, Article III of R.A. No. 6425). During arraignment, he pleaded guilty to the charge. Petitioner was convicted of the crime, for which he was sentenced to suffer the penalty of six (6) years of prision correccional and to pay the costs. On even date, he filed his application for probation. The RTC issued a Probation Order covering a period of six (6) years. While on probation, petitioner was arrested on two occasions for illegal possession of regulated drugs. Two separate Informations were filed against him, both of which were filed with the RTC of Dagupan City.

Atty. Simplicio A. Navarro, Jr. then the Chief Probation and Parole Officer of Dagupan City, filed a Motion to Revoke Probation. Atty. Navarro alleged that petitioner has been apprehended twice for drug possession while on probation. The former further alleged that petitioner was considered a recidivist, whose commission of other offenses while on probation was a serious violation of the terms thereof. Atty. Navarro also pointed out that petitioner was no longer in a position to comply with the conditions of the latter’s probation, in view of his incarceration.

The RTC issued an order revoking the probation of petitioner and directing him to serve the sentence imposed upon him. Aggrieved, petitioner filed a Rule 65 Petition with the CA, wherein he assailed the revocation of his probation. The CA in its Decision, granted the Rule 65 Petition by annulling and set aside RTC’s revocation of petitioner’s probation. The CA ordered the remand of the case to the RTC for further proceedings, for the purpose of affording petitioner his right to due process pursuant to Presidential Decree (PD) No. 968, and the Revised Rules on Probation Methods and Procedures.

In compliance with the CA Decision, the RTC conducted a hearing on the Motion to Revoke. A Violation Report was filed by the Dagupan City Parole and Probation Office recommending the revocation of probation. The RTC issued an Order revoking the probation.  Aggrieved, petitioner again filed an appeal with the CA. The CA ruled that, for having been apprehended twice for the commission of two offenses similar in nature, petitioner violated one of the conditions prescribed in the Probation Order. He even admitted to having served out his sentence for those offenses.

Hence, in this instant petition, petitioner alleges that he already showed repentance after his conviction. In his first case, he readily admitted his accountability by pleading guilty to the charge. Thus, he was convicted and he subsequently applied for probation. He further alleges that, of the two cases filed against him, one was ordered dismissed; he has already served his sentence for the other. Since then, no derogatory information has been received either by the probation office or the trial court. Petitioner points out that he has already reformed his ways and is thus entitled to the grace of law. He contends that the CA should have ordered him to resume his probation pursuant to the positivist theory adopted in our criminal justice system.

Whether the probation was validly revoked.

The probation of petitioner was validly revoked.

On the procedural grounds, we do not subscribe to his contention that his right to due process was violated after the RTC had already conducted a full-blown trial on the Motion to Revoke, in compliance with the directive of the CA. Based on record, he had ample opportunity to refute the allegations contained in the Violation Report.

The essence of due process is that a party is afforded a reasonable opportunity to be heard in support of his case; what the law abhors and prohibits is the absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard. When the party seeking due process was in fact given several opportunities to be heard and to air his side

On substantive grounds, we believe that there was sufficient justification for the revocation of his probation. There was sufficient justification for the revocation of his probation. Petitioner does not deny the fact that he has been convicted, and that he has served out his sentence for another offense while on probation. Consequently, his commission of another offense is a direct violation of Condition No. 9 of his Probation Order, and the effects are clearly outlined in Section 11 of the Probation Law.

Section 11 of the Probation Law provides that the commission of another offense shall render the probation order ineffective. Section 11 states:
Sec. 11. Effectivity of Probation Order. - A probation order shall take effect upon its issuance, at which time the court shall inform the offender of the consequences thereof and explain that upon his failure to comply with any of the conditions prescribed in the said order or his commission of another offense, he shall serve the penalty imposed for the offense under which he was placed on probation. (Emphasis supplied)

Based on the foregoing, the CA was correct in revoking the probation of petitioner and ordering him to serve the penalty for the offense for which he was placed on probation.

As probation is a mere discretionary grant, petitioner was bound to observe full obedience to the terms and conditions pertaining to the probation order or run the risk of revocation of this privilege. Regrettably, petitioner wasted the opportunity granted him by the RTC to remain outside prison bars, and must now suffer the consequences of his violation. The Court's discretion to grant probation is to be exercised primarily for the benefit of organized society and only incidentally for the benefit of the accused. Having the power to grant probation, it follows that the trial court also has the power to order its revocation in a proper case and under appropriate circumstances.

G.R. No. 189644, July 2, 2014

The author takes no responsibility for the validity, correctness and result of this work. The information provided is not a legal advice and it should not be used  as a substitute for a competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer. See the disclaimer

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