People v Sola; G.R. Nos. 56158-64; 17 Mar 1981; 103 SCRA 393

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Seven separate complaints for murder were filed against Pablo Sola and eighteen others in connection with the bodies dug out of the former’s property. A warrant for their arrest was issued. However, without giving the prosecution the opportunity to prove that the evidence of guilt of the accused is strong, the court granted them the right to post bail for their temporary release. The witnesses in the murder cases informed the prosecution of their fear for their safety.

Whether or not the court may change the venue of the trial to avoid miscarriage of justice.

YES. The Supreme Court could order a change of venue or place of trial to avoid a miscarriage of justice. There may be cases where the fear, objectively viewed, may to some individuals, be less than terrifying, the question must always be the effect it has on the witnesses who will testify. The primordial aim and intent of the Constitution must ever be kept in mind. In case of doubt, it should be resolved in favor of a change of venue.

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