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143944 July 11, 2002
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. BASHER BONGCARAWAN y MACARAMBON, accused-appellant.
Facts Bongcarawan was a passenger in an interisland passenger ship, M/V Super Ferry 5, sailed from Manila to Iligan City. One of his co-passenger complained and reported a missing jewelry for which the other passengers, including Bongcarawan was searched. Bongcarawan’s samsonite bag was searched with his consent from which shabu was later found by the vessels’ security perosonnel. Bongcarawan was turned over by the vessel security personnel to to the PAOCTF Headquarters. The trial court convicter Bongcarawan of violation of R.A Section 16, Art. III, R.A. No. 6425 as amended by R.A. No. 7659 and sentenced him to Reclusion Perpetua . On appeal, Bongcarawan contended that the seized drugs were inadmissible in evidence against him for being acquired pursuant to such unlawful search and seizure. Issue: whether or not the drugs seized by the security personnel and turned over to PAOCTF were inadmissible in evidence against Bongcarawan. Held The contentions are devoid of merit. The right against unreasonable search and seizure is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution.Evidence acquired in violation of this right shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. Whenever this right is challenged, an individual may choose between invoking the constitutional protection or waiving his right by giving consent to the search and seizure. It should be stressed, however, that protection is against transgression committed by the government or its agent. As held by this Court in the case of People v. Marti, "[i]n the absence of governmental interference, liberties guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be invoked against the State." The constitutional proscription against unlawful searches and seizures applies as a restraint directed only against the government and its agencies tasked with the enforcement of the law. Thus, it could only be invoked against the State to whom the restraint against arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of power is imposed. There is no merit in the contention of the accused-appellant that the search and seizure performed by the vessel security personnel should be considered as one conducted by the police authorities for like the latter, the former are armed and tasked to maintain peace and order. The vessel security officer in the case at bar is a private employee and does not discharge any governmental function. In contrast, police officers are agents of the state tasked with the sovereign function of enforcement of the law. Historically and until now, it is against them and other agents of the state that the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures may be invoked.
2 G.R. No. 118127 April 12, 2005
CITY OF MANILA, vs. HON. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., as Presiding Judge, RTC, Manila and MALATE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION Facts: The City of Manila passed Ordinance No. 7783, which prohibits THE ESTABLISHMENT OR OPERATION OF BUSINESSES PROVIDING CERTAIN FORMS OF AMUSEMENT, ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN THE ERMITA-MALATE AREA, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. The Private respondent herein seek for Petition for Declaratory Relief with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order and to declare the ordinance void. After trial, on 25 November 1994, Judge Laguio rendered the assailed Decision, enjoining the petitioners from implementing the Ordinance. Hence this appeal to the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether or not the ordinance is valid. Held: The Ordinance is so replete with constitutional infirmities that almost every sentence thereof violates a constitutional provision. The prohibitions and sanctions therein transgress the cardinal rights of persons enshrined by the Constitution. The Court is called upon to shelter these rights from attempts at rendering them worthless. The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. It must conform to the following substantive requirements: (1) must not contravene the Constitution or any statute; (2) must not be unfair or oppressive; (3) must not be partial or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade; (5) must be general and consistent with public policy; and (6) must not be unreasonable. The Ordinance must satisfy two requirements: it must pass muster under the test of constitutionality and the test of consistency with the prevailing laws. The requirement that the enactment must not violate existing law gives stress to the precept that local government units are able to legislate only by virtue of their derivative legislative power, a delegation of legislative power from the national legislature. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher than those of the latter. In addition, the Ordinance is unreasonable and oppressive as it substantially divests the respondent of the beneficial use of its property. The Ordinance in Section 1 thereof forbids the running of the enumerated businesses in the Ermita-Malate area and in Section 3 instructs its owners/operators to wind up business operations or to transfer outside the area or convert said businesses into allowed businesses. An ordinance which permanently restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any reasonable purpose goes beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property without just compensation. It is intrusive and violative of the private property rights of individuals.
3. G.R. No. 192935 December 7, 2010
LOUIS "BAROK" C. BIRAOGO vs. THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010,
Facts: The President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order No. 1 establishing the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission). The Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President
with the primary task to investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and thereafter to submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. Though it has been described as an "independent collegial body," it is essentially an entity within the Office of the President Proper and subject to his control. Doubtless, it constitutes a public office, as an ad hoc body is one. Consequently, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner Louis Biraogo (Biraogo) in his capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order No. 1 for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article VI of the Constitution as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislature to create a public office and to appropriate funds therefor compounded by is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioners Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua, Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives. The OSG clarifies that the commission does not only confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption committed during the previous administration.104 The OSG points to Section 17 of Executive Order No. 1, which provides: SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President there is a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to include the investigation of cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by way of a supplemental Executive Order. Issue: Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause Held: Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasijudicial agency or office. The function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function. To be considered as such, the act of receiving evidence and arriving at factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to the factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or resolved authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law.60 Even respondents themselves admit that the commission is bereft of any quasi-judicial power.61 Contrary to petitioners’ apprehension, the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If at all, the investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the recommendation to prosecute is but a consequence of the overall task of the commission to conduct a fact-finding investigation."62 The actual prosecution of suspected offenders, much less adjudication on the merits of the charges against them,63 is certainly not a function given to the commission. The phrase, "when in the course of its investigation," under Section 2(g), highlights this fact and gives credence to a contrary interpretation from that of the petitioners. The function of determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts remains to be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman.64 At any rate, the Ombudsman’s power to investigate under R.A. No. 6770 is not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized government agencies. The Court is not convinced. Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the scope of investigations of the PTC so as to include the acts of graft and corruption committed in other past administrations, it does not guarantee that they would be covered in the future. Such expanded mandate of the commission will still depend on the whim and caprice of the President. If he would decide not to include them, the section would then be meaningless. This will only fortify the fears of the petitioners that the Executive Order No. 1 was "crafted to tailor-fit the prosecution of officials and personalities of the Arroyo administration." WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
4. G.R. No. 168338 February 15, 2008
FRANCISCO CHAVEZ, petitioner, vs. RAUL M. GONZALES, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Justice; and NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NTC), respondents. Facts On 24 June 2004, Congress, acting as national board of canvassers, proclaimed President Arroyo winner in the 2004 presidential elections.2 President Arroyo received a total of 12,905,808 votes, 1,123,576 more than the votes of her nearest rival, Fernando Poe, Jr. Sometime before 6 June 2005, the radio station dzMM aired the Garci Tapes where the parties to the conversation discussed "rigging" the results of the 2004 elections to favor President Arroyo. On 6 June 2005, Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye (Bunye) held a press conference in Malacañang Palace, where he played before the presidential press corps two compact disc recordings of conversations between a woman and a man. Bunye identified the woman in both recordings as President Arroyo but claimed that the contents of the second compact disc had been "spliced" to make it appear that President Arroyo was talking to Garcillano. However, on 9 June 2005, Bunye backtracked and stated that the woman's voice in the compact discs was not President Arroyo’s after all. Meanwhile, other individuals went public, claiming possession of the genuine copy of the Garci Tapes.4 Respondent Gonzalez ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate media organizations which aired the Garci Tapes for possible violation of Republic Act No. 4200 or the Anti-Wiretapping Law. On 11 June 2005, the NTC issued a press release warning radio and television stations that airing the Garci Tapes is a "cause for the suspension, revocation and/or cancellation of the licenses or authorizations" issued to them. 5 On 14 June 2005, NTC officers met with officers of the broadcasters group, Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas (KBP), to dispel fears of censorship. The NTC and KBP issued a joint press statement expressing commitment to press freedom.6 On 21 June 2005, petitioner Francisco I. Chavez (petitioner), as citizen, filed this petition to nullify the "acts, issuances, and orders" of the NTC and respondent Gonzalez (respondents) on the following grounds: (1) respondents’ conduct violated freedom of expression and the right of the people to information on matters of public concern under Section 7, Article III of the Constitution, and (2) the NTC acted ultra vires when it warned radio and television stations against airing the Garci Tapes.
Issue The principal issue for resolution is whether the NTC warning embodied in the press release of 11 June 2005 constitutes an impermissible prior restraint on freedom of expression.
Ruling The NTC does not claim that the public airing of the Garci Tapes constitutes unprotected expression that may be subject to prior restraint. The NTC does not specify what substantive evil the State seeks to prevent in imposing prior restraint on the airing of the Garci Tapes. The NTC does not claim that the public airing of the Garci Tapes constitutes a clear and present danger of a substantive evil, of grave and imminent character, that the State has a right and duty to prevent. The NTC did not conduct any hearing in reaching its conclusion that the airing of the Garci Tapes constitutes a continuing violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law. At the time of issuance of the NTC press release, and even up to now, the parties to the conversations in the Garci Tapes have not complained that the wire-tapping was without their consent, an essential element for violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law.35 It was even the Office of the President, through the Press Secretary,
that played and released to media the Garci Tapes containing the alleged "spliced" conversation between President Arroyo and Commissioner Garcillano. There is also the issue of whether a wireless cellular phone conversation is covered by the Anti-Wiretapping Law. Clearly, the NTC has no factual or legal basis in claiming that the airing of the Garci Tapes constitutes a violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law. The radio and television stations were not even given an opportunity to be heard by the NTC. The NTC did not observe basic due process as mandated in Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations.36 The NTC claims that the Garci Tapes, "after a prosecution or the appropriate investigation," may constitute "false information and/or willful misrepresentation." However, the NTC does not claim that such possible false information or willful misrepresentation constitutes misleading commercial advertisement. In the United States, false or deceptive commercial speech is categorized as unprotected expression that may be subject to prior restraint. Recently, this Court upheld the constitutionality of Section 6 of the Milk Code requiring the submission to a government screening committee of advertising materials for infant formula milk to prevent false or deceptive claims to the public.37 There is, however, no claim here by respondents that the Garci Tapes constitute false or misleading commercial advertisement. The NTC concedes that the Garci Tapes have not been authenticated as accurate or truthful. The NTC also concedes that only "after a prosecution or appropriate investigation" can it be established that the Garci Tapes constitute "false information and/or willful misrepresentation." Clearly, the NTC admits that it does not even know if the Garci Tapes contain false information or willful misrepresentation. 4. Nature of Prior Restraint in the Present Case The NTC action restraining the airing of the Garci Tapes is a content-based prior restraint because it is directed at the message of the Garci Tapes. The NTC’s claim that the Garci Tapes might contain "false information and/or willful misrepresentation," and thus should not be publicly aired, is an admission that the restraint is content-based. 5. Nature of Expression in the Present Case The public airing of the Garci Tapes is a protected expression because it does not fall under any of the four existing categories of unprotected expression recognized in this jurisdiction. The airing of the Garci Tapes is essentially a political expression because it exposes that a presidential candidate had allegedly improper conversations with a COMELEC Commissioner right after the close of voting in the last presidential elections. \The rule, which recognizes no exception, is that there can be no content-based prior restraint on protected expression. On this ground alone, the NTC press release is unconstitutional. Of course, if the courts determine that the subject matter of a wiretapping, illegal or not, endangers the security of the State, the public airing of the tape becomes unprotected expression that may be subject to prior restraint. However, there is no claim here by respondents that the subject matter of the Garci Tapes involves national security and publicly airing the tapes would endanger the security of the State.39 The alleged violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law is not in itself a ground to impose a prior restraint on the airing of the Garci Tapes because the Constitution expressly prohibits the enactment of any law, and that includes anti-wiretapping laws, curtailing freedom of expression.40 The only exceptions to this rule are the four recognized categories of unprotected expression. However, the content of the Garci Tapes does not fall under any of these categories of unprotected expression. 6. Only the Courts May Impose Content-Based Prior Restraint The NTC has no power to impose content-based prior restraint on expression. The charter of the NTC does not vest NTC with any content-based censorship power over radio and television stations. As an agency that allocates frequencies or airwaves, the NTC may regulate the bandwidth position, transmitter wattage, and location of radio and television stations, but not the content of the broadcasts. Such content-neutral prior restraint may make operating radio and television stations more costly. However, such content-neutral restraint does not restrict the content of the broadcast. 7. Government Failed to Overcome Presumption of Invalidity
The Government bears a heavy burden to prove that the NTC action is constitutional. The Government has failed to meet this burden. In their Comment, respondents did not invoke any compelling State interest to impose prior restraint on the public airing of the Garci Tapes. The respondents claim that they merely "fairly warned" radio and television stations to observe the Anti-Wiretapping Law and pertinent NTC circulars on program standards. Respondents have not explained how and why the observance by radio and television stations of the Anti-Wiretapping Law and pertinent NTC circulars constitutes a compelling State interest justifying prior restraint on the public airing of the Garci Tapes. 8. The NTC Warning is a Classic Form of Prior Restraint The NTC press release threatening to suspend or cancel the airwave permits of radio and television stations constitutes impermissible pressure amounting to prior restraint on protected expression. Whether the threat is made in an order, regulation, advisory or press release, the chilling effect is the same: the threat freezes radio and television stations into deafening silence. Radio and television stations that have invested substantial sums in capital equipment and market development suddenly face suspension or cancellation of their permits. The NTC threat is thus real and potent. The Court struck down this "wave of warning[s]" as impermissible restraint on freedom of expression. The Court ruled that "the imposition of standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press, as well as the warrantless search of the Tribune offices and whimsical seizure of its articles for publication and other materials, are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL."45 9. Conclusion In sum, the NTC press release constitutes an unconstitutional prior restraint on protected expression. There can be no content-based prior restraint on protected expression. This rule has no exception.
5. G.R. No. 181881 October 18, 2011
BRICCIO "Ricky" A. POLLO, Petitioner, vs. CHAIRPERSON KARINA CONSTANTINO-DAVID, DIRECTOR IV RACQUEL DE GUZMAN BUENSALIDA, DIRECTOR IV LYDIA A. CASTILLO, DIRECTOR III ENGELBERT ANTHONY D. UNITE AND THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Respondents.
Facts This case involves a search of office computer assigned to a government employee who was charged administratively and eventually dismissed from the service. The employee’s personal files stored in the computer were used by the government employer as evidence of misconduct. Most of the foregoing files are drafts of legal pleadings or documents that are related to or connected with administrative cases that may broadly be lumped as pending either in the CSCRO No. IV, the CSC-NCR, the CSC-Central Office or other tribunals. It is also of note that most of these draft pleadings are for and on behalves of parties, who are facing charges as respondents in administrative cases. This gives rise to the inference that the one who prepared them was knowingly, deliberately and willfully aiding and advancing interests adverse and inimical to the interest of the CSC as the central personnel agency of the government tasked to discipline misfeasance and malfeasance in the government service. The number of pleadings so prepared further demonstrates that such person is not merely engaged in an isolated practice but pursues it with seeming regularity. It would also be the height of naivete or credulity, and certainly against common human experience, to believe that the person concerned had engaged in this customary practice without any
consideration, and in fact, one of the retrieved files (item 13 above) appears to insinuate the collection of fees. That these draft pleadings were obtained from the computer assigned to Pollo invariably raises the presumption that he was the one responsible or had a hand in their drafting or preparation since the computer of origin was within his direct control and disposition. Issue legality of the search conducted on his office computer and the copying of his personal files without his knowledge and consent, alleged as a transgression on his constitutional right to privacy.
Ruling The right to privacy has been accorded recognition in this jurisdiction as a facet of the right protected by the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure under Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution,27 which provides: Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. The constitutional guarantee is not a prohibition of all searches and seizures but only of "unreasonable" searches and seizures.28 But to fully understand this concept and application for the purpose of resolving the issue at hand, it is essential that we examine the doctrine in the light of pronouncements in another jurisdiction. As the Court declared in People v. Marti29 : Our present constitutional provision on the guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure had its origin in the 1935 Charter which, worded as follows: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, to be determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (Sec. 1, Article III) In this inquiry, the relevant surrounding circumstances to consider include "(1) the employee’s relationship to the item seized; (2) whether the item was in the immediate control of the employee when it was seized; and (3) whether the employee took actions to maintain his privacy in the item." These factors are relevant to both the subjective and objective prongs of the reasonableness inquiry, and we consider the two questions together. 44 Thus, where the employee used a password on his computer, did not share his office with co-workers and kept the same locked, he had a legitimate expectation of privacy and any search of that space and items located therein must comply with the Fourth Amendment.45 We answer the first in the negative. Petitioner failed to prove that he had an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy either in his office or government-issued computer which contained his personal files. Petitioner did not allege that he had a separate enclosed office which he did not share with anyone, or that his office was always locked and not open to other employees or visitors. Neither did he allege that he used passwords or adopted any means to prevent other employees from accessing his computer files. On the contrary, he submits that being in the public assistance office of the CSC-ROIV, he normally would have visitors in his office like friends, associates and even unknown people, whom he even allowed to use his computer which to him seemed a trivial request. He described his office as "full of people, his friends, unknown people" and that in the past 22 years he had been discharging his functions at the PALD, he is "personally assisting incoming clients, receiving documents, drafting cases on appeals, in charge of accomplishment report, Mamamayan Muna Program, Public Sector Unionism, Correction of name, accreditation of service, and hardly had anytime for himself alone, that in fact he stays in the office as a paying customer."46 Under this scenario, it can hardly be deduced that petitioner had such expectation of privacy that society would recognize as reasonable.
In fine, no error or grave abuse of discretion was committed by the CA in affirming the CSC’s ruling that petitioner is guilty of grave misconduct, dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and violation of R.A. No. 6713. The gravity of these offenses justified the imposition on petitioner of the ultimate penalty of dismissal with all its accessory penalties, pursuant to existing rules and regulations. 6 G.R. No. 180452 January 10, 2011
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. NG YIK BUN, KWOK WAI CHENG, CHANG CHAUN SHI, CHUA SHILOU HWAN, KAN SHUN MIN, AND RAYMOND S. TAN, Accused-Appellants. Facts On August 24, 2000, at around 9:00 p.m., Capt. Danilo Ibon of Task Force Aduana received information from an operative that there was an ongoing shipment of contraband in Barangay Bignay II, Sariaya, Quezon Province. Upon instructions from his superior, Major Carlo Magno Tabo, Capt. Ibon formed a team in coordination with a Philippine National Police detachment, and, along with the operative, the team then proceeded to Villa Vicenta Resort in Barangay Bignay II, Sariaya. The members of the team were able to observe the goings-on at the resort from a distance of around 50 meters. They spotted six Chinese-looking men loading bags containing a white substance into a white van. Having been noticed, Capt. Ibon identified his team and asked accused-appellant Chua Shilou Hwan (Hwan) what they were loading on the van. Hwan replied that it was shabu and pointed, when probed further, to accused-appellant Raymond Tan as the leader. A total of 172 bags of suspected shabu were then confiscated. Bundles of noodles (bihon) were also found on the premises. A laboratory report prepared later by Police Inspector Mary Jean Geronimo on samples of the 172 confiscated bags showed the white substance to be shabu. Issue The trial court erred when it held as valid the warrantless search, seizure and subsequent arrest of the accused-appellants despite the non-concurrence of the requisite circumstances that justify a warrantless arrest Held On the issue of warrantless arrest, it is apropos to mention what the Bill of Rights under the present Constitution provides in part: SEC. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. A settled exception to the right guaranteed in the aforequoted provision is that of an arrest made during the commission of a crime, which does not require a warrant. Such warrantless arrest is considered reasonable and valid under Rule 113, Sec. 5(a) of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure, which states: Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. — A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (Emphasis supplied.)
The foregoing proviso refers to arrest in flagrante delicto.8 In the instant case, contrary to accused-appellants’ contention, there was indeed a valid warrantless arrest in flagrante delicto. Consider the circumstances immediately prior to and surrounding the arrest of accused-appellants: (1) the police officers received information from an operative about an ongoing shipment of contraband; (2) the police officers, with the operative, proceeded to Villa Vicenta Resort in Barangay Bignay II, Sariaya, Quezon; (3) they observed the goings-on at the resort from a distance of around 50 meters; and (4) they spotted the six accused-appellants loading transparent bags containing a white substance into a white L-300 van. Evidently, the arresting police officers had probable cause to suspect that accused-appellants were loading and transporting contraband, more so when Hwan, upon being accosted, readily mentioned that they were loading shabu and pointed to Tan as their leader. Thus, the arrest of accused-appellants––who were caught in flagrante delicto of possessing, and in the act of loading into a white L-300 van, shabu, a prohibited drug under RA 6425, as amended––is valid. In People v. Alunday, we held that when a police officer sees the offense, although at a distance, or hears the disturbances created thereby, and proceeds at once to the scene, he may effect an arrest without a warrant on the basis of Sec. 5(a), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, as the offense is deemed committed in his presence or within his view.10 In the instant case, it can plausibly be argued that accused-appellants were committing the offense of possessing shabu and were in the act of loading them in a white van when the police officers arrested them. As aptly noted by the appellate court, the crime was committed in the presence of the police officers with the contraband, inside transparent plastic containers, in plain view and duly observed by the arresting officers. And to write finis to the issue of any irregularity in their warrantless arrest, the Court notes, as it has consistently held, that accused-appellants are deemed to have waived their objections to their arrest for not raising the issue before entering their plea.11 Moreover, present in the instant case are all the elements of illegal possession of drugs: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possesses the said drug.12 Accused-appellants were positively identified in court as the individuals caught loading and possessing illegal drugs. They were found to be in possession of prohibited drugs without proof that they were duly authorized by law to possess them. Having been caught in flagrante delicto, there is, therefore, a prima facie evidence of animus possidendi on the part of accused-appellants.13 There is, thus, no merit to the argument of the defense that a warrant was needed to arrest accused-appellants
7 RODEL LUZ y ONG, Petitioner, - versus PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. G. R. No. 197788
PO2 Emmanuel L. Alteza, who was then assigned at the Sub-Station 1 of the Naga City Police Station as a traffic enforcer, saw the accused, who was coming from the direction of Panganiban Drive and going to Diversion Road, Naga City, driving a motorcycle without a helmet; that this prompted him to flag down the accused for violating a municipal ordinance which requires all motorcycle drivers to wear helmet (sic) while driving said motor vehicle\ that while he and SPO1 Rayford Brillante were issuing a citation ticket for violation of municipal ordinance, he noticed that the accused was uneasy and kept on getting something from his jacket; that he was alerted and so, he told the accused to take out the contents of the pocket of his jacket as the latter may have a weapon inside it; that the accused obliged and slowly put out the contents of the pocket of his jacket which was a nickel-like tin or metal container about two (2) to three (3) inches in size, including two (2) cellphones, one (1) pair of scissors and one (1) Swiss knife; that upon seeing the said container, he asked the accused to open it; that after the accused opened the container, he noticed a cartoon cover and something beneath it; and that upon his instruction, the accused spilled out the contents of the container on the table which turned out to be four (4) plastic sachets, the two (2) of which were empty while the other two (2) contained suspected shabu. Petitioner was convicted for violation of The Dangerous Drugs law Petitioner claims that there was no lawful search and seizure, because there was no lawful arrest. He claims that the finding that there was a lawful arrest was erroneous, since he was not even issued a citation ticket or charged with violation of the city ordinance. Even assuming there was a valid arrest, he claims that he had never consented to the search conducted upon him.
Issue Whether or not there was no lawful search and seizure, because there was no lawful arrest. Held We find the Petition to be impressed with merit, but not for the particular reasons alleged. In criminal cases, an appeal throws the entire case wide open for review and the reviewing tribunal can correct errors, though unassigned in the appealed judgment, or even reverse the trial court’s decision based on grounds other than those that the parties raised as errors. First, there was no valid arrest of petitioner. When he was flagged down for committing a traffic violation, he was not, ipso facto and solely for this reason, arrested. Arrest is the taking of a person into custody in order that he or she may be bound to answer for the commission of an offense. It is effected by an actual restraint of the person to be arrested or by that person’s voluntary submission to the custody of the one making the arrest. Neither the application of actual force, manual touching of the body, or physical restraint, nor a formal declaration of arrest, is required. It is enough that there be an intention on the part of one of the parties to arrest the other, and that there be an intent on the part of the other to submit, under the belief and impression that submission is necessary. Under R.A. 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the general procedure for dealing with a traffic violation is not the arrest of the offender, but the confiscation of the driver’s license of the latter; Second, circumstances associated with the typical traffic stop are not such that the motorist feels completely at the mercy of the police. To be sure, the aura of authority surrounding an armed, uniformed officer and the knowledge that the officer has some discretion in deciding whether to issue a citation, in combination, exert some pressure on the detainee to respond to questions. But other aspects of the situation substantially offset these forces. Perhaps most importantly, the typical traffic stop is public, at least to some degree. x x x In both of these respects, the usual traffic stop is more analogous to a so-called “Terry stop,” than to a formal arrest
Even if one were to work under the assumption that petitioner was deemed “arrested” upon being flagged down for a traffic violation and while awaiting the issuance of his ticket, then the requirements for a valid arrest were not complied with. This Court has held that at the time a person is arrested, it shall be the duty of the arresting officer to inform the latter of the reason for the arrest and must show that person the warrant of arrest, if any. Persons shall be informed of their constitutional rights to remain silent and to counsel, and that any statement they might make could be used against them. It may also be noted that in this case, these constitutional requirements were complied with by the police officers only after petitioner had been arrested for illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
If it were true that petitioner was already deemed “arrested” when he was flagged down for a traffic violation and while he waiting for his ticket, then there would have been no need for him to be arrested for a second time—after the police officers allegedly discovered the drugs—as he was already in their custody. Second, there being no valid arrest, the warrantless search that resulted from it was likewise illegal. The following are the instances when a warrantless search is allowed: (i) a warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest; (ii) search of evidence in “plain view;” (iii) search of a moving vehicle; (iv) consented warrantless search; (v) customs search; (vi) a “stop and frisk” search; and (vii) exigent and emergency circumstances.  None of the abovementioned instances, especially a search incident to a lawful arrest, are applicable to this case. It must be noted that the evidence seized, although alleged to be inadvertently discovered, was not in “plain view.” It was actually concealed inside a metal container inside petitioner’s pocket. Clearly, the evidence was not immediately apparent. Neither was there a consented warrantless search. Neither does the search qualify under the “stop and frisk” rule. While the rule normally applies when a police officer observes suspicious or unusual conduct, which may lead him to believe that a criminal act may be afoot, the stop and frisk is merely a limited protective search of outer clothing for weapons. The foregoing considered, petitioner must be acquitted. While he may have failed to object to the illegality of his arrest at the earliest opportunity, a waiver of an illegal warrantless arrest does not, however, mean a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence seized during the illegal warrantless arrest. The Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Any evidence obtained in violation of said right shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. While the power to search and seize may at times be necessary to the public welfare, still it must be exercised and the law implemented without contravening the constitutional rights of citizens, for the enforcement of no statute is of sufficient importance to justify indifference to the basic principles of government. The subject items seized during the illegal arrest are inadmissible. The drugs are the very corpus delicti of the crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. Thus, their inadmissibility precludes conviction and calls for the acquittal of the accused
8 G.R. No. 157870 November 3, 2008
SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY (SJS), petitioner vs. DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD and PHILIPPINE DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY (PDEA),respondents
Facts In these kindred petitions, the constitutionality of Section 36 of Republic Act No. (RA) 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, insofar as it requires mandatory drug testing of candidates for public office, students of secondary and tertiary schools, officers and employees of public and private offices, and persons charged before the prosecutor's office with certain offenses, among other personalities, is put in issue. Petitioner Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr., a senator of the Republic and a candidate for re - election in the May 10, 2004 elections,1 filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65. In it, he seeks (1) to nullify Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 dated December 23, 2003 for being unconstitutional in that they impose a qualification for candidates for senators in addition to those already provided for in the 1987 Constitution; and (2) to enjoin the COMELEC from implementing Resolution No. 6486.
Issue (1) Do Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 impose an additional qualification for candidates for senator? Corollarily, can Congress enact a law prescribing qualifications for candidates for senator in addition to those laid down by the Constitution? and (2) Are paragraphs (c), (d), (f), and (g) of Sec. 36, RA 9165 unconstitutional? Specifically, do these paragraphs violate the right to privacy, the right against unreasonable searches and seizure, and the equal protection clause? Or do they constitute undue delegation of legislative power?
Held Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 illegally impose an additional qualification on candidates for senator. The Congress cannot validly amend or otherwise modify these qualification standards, as it cannot disregard, evade, or weaken the force of a constitutional mandate,7 or alter or enlarge the Constitution. Accordingly, Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 should be, as it is hereby declared as, unconstitutional. It is basic that if a law or an administrative rule violates any norm of the Constitution, that issuance is null and void and has no effect. The Constitution is the basic law to which all laws must conform; no act shall be valid if it conflicts with the Constitution. 8 In the discharge of their defined functions, the three departments of government have no choice but to yield obedience to the commands of the Constitution. Whatever limits it imposes must be observed.9 The drug test prescribed under Sec. 36(c), (d), and (f) of RA 9165 for secondary and tertiary level students and public and private employees, while mandatory, is a random and suspicionless arrangement. The primary legislative intent is not criminal prosecution, as those found positive for illegal drug use as a result of this random testing are not necessarily treated as criminals. They may even be exempt from criminal liability should the illegal drug user consent to undergo rehabilitation. Just as in the case of secondary and tertiary level students, the mandatory but random drug test prescribed by Sec. 36 of RA 9165 for officers and employees of public and private offices is justifiable, albeit not exactly for the same reason. Taking into account the foregoing factors, i.e., the reduced expectation of privacy on the part of the employees, the compelling state concern likely to be met by the search, and the well - defined limits set forth in the law to properly guide authorities in the conduct of the random testing, we hold that the challenged drug test requirement is, under the limited context of the case, reasonable and, ergo, constitutional.
Like their counterparts in the private sector, government officials and employees also labor under reasonable supervision and restrictions imposed by the Civil Service law and other laws on public officers, all enacted to promote a high standard of ethics in the public service.37 And if RA 9165 passes the norm of reasonableness for private employees, the more reason that it should pass the test for civil servants, who, by constitutional command, are required to be accountable at all times to the people and to serve them with utmost responsibility and efficiency. We find the situation entirely different in the case of persons charged before the public prosecutor's office with criminal offenses punishable with six (6) years and one (1) day imprisonment. The operative concepts in the mandatory drug testing are "randomness" and "suspicionless." In the case of persons charged with a crime before the prosecutor's office, a mandatory drug testing can never be random or suspicionless. The ideas of randomness and being suspicionless are antithetical to their being made defendants in a criminal complaint. They are not randomly picked; neither are they beyond suspicion. When persons suspected of committing a crime are charged, they are singled out and are impleaded against their will. The persons thus charged, by the bare fact of being haled before the prosecutor's office and peaceably submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do not necessarily consent to the procedure, let alone waive their right to privacy.40 To impose mandatory drug testing on the accused is a blatant attempt to harness a medical test as a tool for criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated objectives of RA 9165. Drug testing in this case would violate a persons' right to privacy guaranteed under Sec. 2, Art. III of the Constitution. Worse still, the accused persons are veritably forced to incriminate themselves.
WHEREFORE, the Court resolves to GRANT the petition in G.R. No. 161658 and declares Sec. 36(g)of RA 9165 and COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 as UNCONSTITUTIONAL; and to PARTIALLY GRANT the petition in G.R. Nos. 157870 and 158633 by declaring Sec. 36(c) and (d) of RA 9165 CONSTITUTIONAL, but declaring its Sec. 36(f) UNCONSTITUTIONAL. All concerned agencies are, accordingly, permanently enjoined from implementing Sec. 36(f) and (g) of RA 9165.
9 G.R. No. 160792 August 25, 2005 IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF CAPT. GARY ALEJANO, PN (MARINES) CAPT. NICANOR FAELDON, PN (MARINES) CAPT. GERARDO GAMBALA, PA LT. SG JAMES LAYUG, PN CAPT. MILO MAESTRECAMPO, PA LT. SG ANTONIO TRILLANES IV, PN HOMOBONO ADAZA, and ROBERTO RAFAEL (ROEL) PULIDO, Petitioners, vs. GEN. PEDRO CABUAY, GEN. NARCISO ABAYA, SEC. ANGELO REYES, and SEC. ROILO GOLEZ,Respondents Facts Early morning of 27 July 2003, some 321 armed soldiers, led by the now detained junior officers, entered and took control of the Oakwood Premier Luxury Apartments ("Oakwood"), an upscale apartment complex, located in the business district of Makati City. The soldiers disarmed the security officers of Oakwood and planted explosive devices in its immediate surroundings. The junior officers publicly renounced their support for the administration and called for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several cabinet members. Around 7:00 p.m. of the same date, the soldiers voluntarily surrendered to the authorities after several negotiations with government emissaries. The soldiers later defused the explosive devices they had earlier planted. The soldiers then returned to their barracks. Petitioners also point out that the officials of the ISAFP Detention Center violated the detainees’ right to privacy of communication when the ISAFP officials opened and read the personal letters of Trillanes and Capt. Milo Maestrecampo ("Maestrecampo"). Petitioners further claim that the ISAFP officials violated the detainees’ right against cruel and unusual punishment when the ISAFP officials prevented the detainees from having contact with their visitors. Moreover, the ISAFP officials boarded up with iron bars and plywood slabs the iron grills of the detention cells, limiting the already poor light and ventilation in the detainees’ cells.
Issue The narrow issue thus presented is whether letters determined or found to be from attorneys may be opened by prison authorities in the presence of the inmate or whether such mail must be delivered unopened if normal detection techniques fail to indicate contraband Held We now pass upon petitioners’ argument that the officials of the ISAFP Detention Center violated the detainees’ right to privacy when the ISAFP officials opened and read the letters handed by detainees Trillanes and Maestrecampo to one of the petitioners for mailing. Petitioners point out that the letters were not in a sealed envelope but simply folded because there were no envelopes in the ISAFP Detention Center. Petitioners contend that the Constitution prohibits the infringement of a citizen’s privacy rights unless authorized by law. The Solicitor General does not deny that the ISAFP officials opened the letters.
Thus, we do not agree with the Court of Appeals that the opening and reading of the detainees’ letters in the present case violated the detainees’ right to privacy of communication. The letters were not in a sealed envelope. The inspection of the folded letters is a valid measure as it serves the same purpose as the opening of sealed letters for the inspection of contraband. The letters alleged to have been read by the ISAFP authorities were not confidential letters between the detainees and their lawyers. The petitioner who received the letters from detainees Trillanes and Maestrecampo was merely acting as the detainees’ personal courier and not as their counsel when he received the letters for mailing. In the present case, since the letters were not confidential communication between the detainees and their lawyers, the officials of the ISAFP Detention Center could read the letters. If the letters are marked confidential communication between the detainees and their lawyers, the detention officials should not read the letters but only open the envelopes for inspection in the presence of the detainees. Moreover, the junior officers are detained with other high-risk persons from the Abu Sayyaf and the NPA. Thus, we must give the military custodian a wider range of deference in implementing the regulations in the ISAFP Detention Center. The military custodian is in a better position to know the security risks involved in detaining the junior officers, together with the suspected Abu Sayyaf and NPA members. Since the appropriate regulations depend largely on the security risks involved, we should defer to the regulations adopted by the military custodian in the absence of patent arbitrariness. 10 G.R. No. 182555 September 7, 2010
LENIDO LUMANOG and AUGUSTO SANTOS, Petitioners, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent SPO2 Cesar Fortuna y Abudo, Rameses de Jesus y Calma, Lorenzo delos Santos y Dela Cruz, Lenido Lumanog y Luistro, Joel de Jesus y Valdez and Arturo Napolitano y Caburnay were charged with theft of the alleged gun owned by the late Abadilla , a gold-plated Omega wristwatch and a wallet containing an undetermined amount of cash plus calling cards and other important papers, all of which were supposedly stolen by them after killing Abadilla. On the other hand, Lorenzo delos Santos y Dela Cruz, SPO2 Cesar Fortuna y Abudo and Rameses de Jesus y Calma were respectively charged with illegal possession of firearms. All the seven (7) named accused were indicted for Murder under the following Information. When arraigned, all the accused pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.
The initial questioning of Joel began in the morning of June 20, 1996, the first time said suspect was presented to him at the CPDC station, even before he was brought to the IBP Office for the taking of his formal statement. Thus, the possibility of appellant Joel having been subjected to intimidation or violence in the hands of police investigators as he claims, cannot be discounted. The constitutional requirement obviously had not been observed. Settled is the rule that the moment a police officer tries to elicit admissions or confessions or even plain information from a suspect, the latter should, at that juncture, be assisted by counsel, unless he waives this right in writing and in the presence of counsel. 138 The purpose of providing counsel to a person under custodial investigation is to curb the police-state practice of extracting a confession that leads appellant to make self-incriminating statements.139 Since Joel was provided with a lawyer secured by CPDC investigators from the IBP-Quezon City chapter, it cannot be said that his right to a counsel "preferably of his own choice" was not complied with, particularly as he never objected to Atty. Sansano when the latter was presented to him to be his counsel for the taking down of his statement. The phrase "preferably of his own choice" does not convey the message that the choice of a lawyer by a person under investigation is exclusive as to preclude other equally competent and independent attorneys from handling the defense; otherwise the tempo of custodial investigation would be solely in the hands of the accused who can impede, nay, obstruct the progress of the interrogation by simply selecting a lawyer who, for one reason or another, is not available to protect his interest.141 Thus, while the choice of a lawyer in cases where the person under custodial interrogation cannot afford the services of counsel – or where the preferred lawyer is not available – is naturally lodged in the police investigators, the suspect has the final choice, as he may reject the counsel chosen for him and ask for another one. A lawyer provided by the investigators is deemed engaged by the accused when he does not raise any objection against the counsel’s appointment during the course of the investigation, and the accused thereafter subscribes to the veracity of the statement before the swearing officer.142 Issue The question really is whether or not Atty. Sansano was an independent and competent counsel as to satisfy the constitutional requirement. Ruling The Extrajudicial Confession of Joel de Jesus Not Valid Custodial investigation refers to the critical pre-trial stage when the investigation is no longer a general inquiry into an unsolved crime, but has begun to focus on a particular person as a suspect.136 Police officers claimed that appellants were apprehended as a result of "hot pursuit" activities on the days following the ambush-slay of Abadilla. There is no question, however, that when appellants were arrested they were already considered suspects: Joel was pinpointed by security guard Alejo who went along with the PARAC squad to Fairview on June 19, 1996, while the rest of appellants were taken by the same operatives in follow-up operations after Joel provided them with the identities of his conspirators and where they could be found. As used in this Act, "custodial investigation" shall include the practice of issuing an "invitation" to a person who is investigated in connection with an offense he is suspected to have committed, without prejudice to the liability of the "inviting" officer for any violation of law.
11. G.R. No. 187689 September 7, 2010
CLARITA J. CARBONEL, Petitioner, vs. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Respondent.
Petitioner Clarita J. Carbonel was an employee of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Makati City. She went to the CSCRO IV to secure a copy of the result of the Computer Assisted Test (CATS) Career Service Professional because she lost the original copy of her Career Service Professional Certificate of Rating (hereafter referred to as certificate of rating). The Examination Placement and Service Division noticed that petitioner’s personal and physical appearance was entirely different from the picture of the examinee attached to the application form and the picture seat plan. It was also discovered that the signature affixed on the application form was different from that appearing on the verification slip.4 Because of these discrepancies, the Legal Affairs Division of the CSCRO IV conducted an investigation. In the course of the investigation, petitioner voluntarily made a statement5 before Atty. Rosalinda S.M. Gepigon, admitting that, sometime in March 1999, she accepted the proposal of a certain Bettina J. Navarro (Navarro) for the latter to obtain for petitioner a Career Service Professional Eligibility by merely accomplishing an application form and paying the amount of P10,000.00. Petitioner thus accomplished an application form to take the CATS Career Service Professional Examination and gave Navarro P5,000.00 as down payment. . She was formally charged with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Falsification of Official Documents by the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IV (CSCRO IV). She was formally charged with Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Falsification of Official Documents by the Civil Service Commission Regional Office No. IV (CSCRO IV). Denying her admissions in her voluntary statement before the CSCRO IV, petitioner, in her Answer, 6 traversed the charges against her. More importantly, she questioned the use of her voluntary statement as the basis of the formal charge against her inasmuch as the same was made without the assistance of counsel.
Issue Whether or not her the voluntary statement is inadmissible in evidence against her. Ruling Petitioner faults the CSC’s finding because it was based solely on her uncounselled admission taken during the investigation by the CSCRO IV. She claims that her right to due process was violated because she was not afforded the right to counsel when her statement was taken. It is true that the CSCRO IV, the CSC, and the CA gave credence to petitioner’s uncounselled statements and, partly on the basis thereof, uniformly found petitioner liable for the charge of dishonesty, grave misconduct, and falsification of official document. However, it must be remembered that the right to counsel under Section 12 of the Bill of Rights is meant to protect a suspect during custodial investigation.16 Thus, the exclusionary rule under paragraph (2), Section 12 of the Bill of Rights applies only to admissions made in a criminal investigation but not to those made in an administrative investigation. 17 While investigations conducted by an administrative body may at times be akin to a criminal proceeding, the fact remains that, under existing laws, a party in an administrative inquiry may or may not be assisted by counsel, irrespective of the nature of the charges and of petitioner’s capacity to represent herself, and no duty rests on such body to furnish the person being investigated with counsel.18 The right to counsel is not always imperative in administrative investigations because such inquiries are conducted merely to determine whether there are facts that merit the imposition of disciplinary measures against erring public officers and employees, with the purpose of maintaining the dignity of government service.19 As such, the admissions made by petitioner during the investigation may be used as evidence to justify her dismissal. Besides, petitioner’s written statement was not the only basis of her dismissal from the service. Records show that the CSCRO IV’s conclusion was reached after consideration of all the documentary and testimonial evidence submitted by the parties during the formal investigation.
12 G.R. No. 153675 April 19, 2007
GOVERNMENT OF HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION, represented by the Philippine Department of Justice, Petitioner, vs. HON. FELIXBERTO T. OLALIA, JR. and JUAN ANTONIO MUÑOZ, Facts On January 30, 1995, the Republic of the Philippines and the then British Crown Colony of Hong Kong signed an "Agreement for the Surrender of Accused and Convicted Persons." It took effect on June 20, 1997. Private respondent Muñoz was charged before the Hong Kong Court with three (3) counts of the offense of "accepting an advantage as agent," in violation of Section 9 (1) (a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, Cap. 201 of Hong Kong. He also faces seven (7) counts of the offense of conspiracy to defraud, penalized by the common law of Hong Kong. On August 23, 1997 and October 25, 1999, warrants of arrest were issued against him. If convicted, he faces a jail term of seven (7) to fourteen (14) years for each charge. the DOJ received from the Hong Kong Department of Justice a request for the provisional arrest of private respondent. The DOJ then forwarded the request to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which, in turn, filed with the RTC of Manila, Branch 19 an application for the provisional arrest of private respondent. On September 23, 1999, the RTC, Branch 19, Manila issued an Order of Arrest against private respondent. That same day, the NBI agents arrested and detained him. petitioner Hong Kong Special Administrative Region filed with the RTC of Manila a petition for the extradition of private respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. 99-95733, raffled off to Branch 10, presided by Judge Ricardo Bernardo, Jr. For his part, private respondent filed, in the same case,- a petition for bail which was opposed by petitioner. The petition for bail is granted subject to the following conditions. Hence, the instant petition. Petitioner alleged that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in admitting private respondent to bail; that there is nothing in the Constitution or statutory law providing that a potential extraditee has a right to bail, the right being limited solely to criminal proceedings. Issue Whether or not the grant of bail amounts to grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Held The provision in the Constitution stating that the "right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended" does not detract from the rule that the constitutional right to bail is available only in criminal proceedings. It must be noted that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpusfinds application "only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion" (Sec. 18, Art. VIII, Constitution). Hence, the second sentence in the constitutional provision on bail merely emphasizes the right to bail in criminal proceedings for the aforementioned offenses. It cannot be taken to mean that the right is available even in extradition proceedings that are not criminal in nature. At first glance, the above ruling applies squarely to private respondent’s case. However, this Court cannot ignore the following trends in international law: (1) the growing importance of the individual person in public international law who, in the 20th century, has gradually attained global recognition; (2) the higher value now being given to human rights in the international sphere; (3) the corresponding duty of countries to observe these universal human rights in fulfilling their treaty obligations; and (4) the duty of this Court to balance the rights of the individual under our fundamental law, on one hand, and the law on extradition, on the other.
The modern trend in public international law is the primacy placed on the worth of the individual person and the sanctity of human rights. Slowly, the recognition that the individual person may properly be a subject of international law is now taking root. The vulnerable doctrine that the subjects of international law are limited only to states was dramatically eroded towards the second half of the past century. For one, the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials after World War II resulted in the unprecedented spectacle of individual defendants for acts characterized as violations of the laws of war, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity. Recently, under the Nuremberg principle, Serbian leaders have been persecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia. These significant events show that the individual person is now a valid subject of international law. If bail can be granted in deportation cases, we see no justification why it should not also be allowed in extradition cases. Likewise, considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to deportation cases, there is no reason why it cannot be invoked in extradition cases. After all, both are administrative proceedings where the innocence or guilt of the person detained is not in issue. But while extradition is not a criminal proceeding, it is characterized by the following: (a) it entails a deprivation of liberty on the part of the potential extraditee and (b) the means employed to attain the purpose of extradition is also "the machinery of criminal law." This is shown by Section 6 of P.D. No. 1069 (The Philippine Extradition Law) which mandates the "immediate arrest and temporary detention of the accused" if such "will best serve the interest of justice." We further note that Section 20 allows the requesting state "in case of urgency" to ask for the "provisional arrest of the accused, pending receipt of the request for extradition;" and that release from provisional arrest "shall not prejudice re-arrest and extradition of the accused if a request for extradition is received subsequently." Obviously, an extradition proceeding, while ostensibly administrative, bears all earmarks of a criminal process. A potential extraditee may be subjected to arrest, to a prolonged restraint of liberty, and forced to transfer to the demanding state following the proceedings. "Temporary detention" may be a necessary step in the process of extradition, but the length of time of the detention should be reasonable. Records show that private respondent was arrested on September 23, 1999, and remained incarcerated until December 20, 2001, when the trial court ordered his admission to bail. In other words, he had been detained for over two (2) years without having been convicted of any crime. By any standard, such an extended period of detention is a serious deprivation of his fundamental right to liberty. In fact, it was this prolonged deprivation of liberty which prompted the extradition court to grant him bail. While our extradition law does not provide for the grant of bail to an extraditee, however, there is no provision prohibiting him or her from filing a motion for bail, a right to due process under the Constitution. In this case, there is no showing that private respondent presented evidence to show that he is not a flight risk. Consequently, this case should be remanded to the trial court to determine whether private respondent may be granted bail on the basis of "clear and convincing evidence."
13 G.R. No. 180906 October 7, 2008
THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES,petitioners, vs. RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO, For about three and a half months, the respondents were detained in Fort Magsaysay. They were kept in a small house with two rooms and a kitchen. One room was made into the bartolina. The house was near the firing range, helipad and mango trees. At dawn, soldiers marched by their house. They were also sometimes detained in what he only knew as the "DTU."24
After about three months in Sapang, Raymond was brought to Camp Tecson under the 24 th Infantry Battalion. After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his arrival, two other captives, Karen Empeño and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen and Manuel were put in the room with "Allan" whose name they later came to know as Donald Caigas, called "master" or "commander" by his men in the 24th Infantry Battalion. From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were transferred to Zambales, in a safehouse near the sea. Caigas and some of his men stayed with them. A retired army soldier was in charge of the house. Like in Limay, the five detainees were made to do errands and chores. They stayed in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007 until June 2007.42 In the evening of August 13, 2007, Nonong and his cohorts had a drinking session. At about 1:00 a.m., Raymond turned up the volume of the radio. When none of the guards awoke and took notice, Raymond and Reynaldo proceeded towards the highway, leaving behind their sleeping guards and barking dogs. They boarded a bus bound for Manila and were thus freed from captivity.45 Reynaldo also executed an affidavit affirming the contents of Raymond's affidavit insofar as they related to matters they witnessed together. Dr. Benito Molino, M.D., corroborated the accounts of respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo. Dr. Molino specialized in forensic medicine and was connected with the Medical Action Group, an organization handling cases of human rights violations, particularly cases where torture was involved. He was requested by an NGO to conduct medical examinations on the respondents after their escape. He first asked them about their ordeal, then proceeded with the physical examination. His findings showed that the scars borne by respondents were consistent with their account of physical injuries inflicted upon them. The examination was conducted on August 15, 2007, two days after respondents' escape, and the results thereof were reduced into writing. Dr. Molino took photographs of the scars. He testified that he followed the Istanbul Protocol in conducting the examination.47 While the August 23, 2007 Petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on October 24, 2007. Forthwith, therein petitioners filed a Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to Treat Existing Petition as AmparoPetition, to Admit Supporting Affidavits, and to Grant Interim and Final Amparo Reliefs. Petitioners dispute respondents' account of their alleged abduction and torture. In compliance with the October 25, 2007 Resolution of the Court, they filed a Return of the Writ of Amparo admitting the abduction but denying any involvement therein. Issue Whether or not the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalo's statements were not corroborated by other independent and credible pieces of evidence to warrant the issuance of writ of amparo. Held The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to deter the further commission of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. Gen. Palparan's participation in the abduction was also established. At the very least, he was aware of the petitioners' captivity at the hands of men in uniform assigned to his command. In fact, he or any other officer tendered no controversion to the firm claim of Raymond that he (Gen. Palparan) met them in person in a safehouse in Bulacan and told them what he wanted them and their parents to do or not to be doing. Gen. Palparan's direct and personal role in the abduction might not have been shown but his knowledge of the dire situation of the petitioners during their long captivity at the hands of military personnel under his command bespoke of his indubitable command policy that unavoidably encouraged and not merely tolerated the abduction of civilians without due process of law and without probable cause. We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalo's statements were not corroborated by other independent and credible pieces of evidence.102 Raymond's affidavit and testimony were corroborated by the affidavit of
respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and medical reports prepared by forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the pictures of the scars left by the physical injuries inflicted on respondents,103 also corroborate respondents' accounts of the torture they endured while in detention. Respondent Raymond Manalo's familiarity with the facilities in Fort Magsaysay such as the "DTU," as shown in his testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col. Jimenez to be the "Division Training Unit,"104 firms up respondents' story that they were detained for some time in said military facility. We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the writ of Amparo. There is no quarrel that the enforced disappearance of both respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo has now passed as they have escaped from captivity and surfaced. But while respondents admit that they are no longer in detention and are physically free, they assert that they are not "free in every sense of the word"109 as their "movements continue to be restricted for fear that people they have named in their Judicial Affidavits and testified against (in the case of Raymond) are still at large and have not been held accountable in any way. These people are directly connected to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in a position to threaten respondents' rights to life, liberty and security."110 (emphasis supplied) Respondents claim that they are under threat of being once again abducted, kept captive or even killed, which constitute a direct violation of their right to security of person. In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and security, these rights are snuffed out from victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. The writ of Amparo is a tool that gives voice to preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls. 14 G.R. No. 191805 November 15, 2011
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE WRIT OF AMPARO AND HABEAS DATA IN FAVOR OF NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ, NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ, Petitioner, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, GEN. VICTOR S. IBRADO, PDG JESUS AME VERSOZA, LT. GEN. DELFIN BANGIT, MAJ. GEN. NESTOR Z. OCHOA, P/CSUPT. AMETO G. TOLENTINO, P/SSUPT. JUDE W. SANTOS, COL. REMIGIO M. DE VERA, an officer named MATUTINA, LT. COL. MINA, CALOG, GEORGE PALACPAC under the name "HARRY," ANTONIO CRUZ, ALDWIN "BONG" PASICOLAN and VINCENT CALLAGAN,Respondents. Facts Rodriguez claims that the military tagged KMP as an enemy of the State under the Oplan Bantay Laya, making its members targets of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.2 Later Rodriguez was freed under ceratin conditions. where Rodriguez was made to sign an affidavit stating that he was neither abducted nor tortured. Afraid and desperate to return home, he was forced to sign the document. Cruz advised him not to file a case against his abductors because they had already freed him. The CHR personnel then led him and his family to the CHR Toyota Tamaraw FX service vehicle. On 7 December 2009, Rodriguez filed before this Court a Petition for the Writ of Amparo and Petition for the Writ of Habeas Data with Prayers for Protection Orders, Inspection of Place, and Production of Documents and Personal Properties dated 2 December 2009.26 The petition was filed against former President Arroyo, Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Versoza, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Major General (Maj. Gen.) Nestor Z. Ochoa, P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Col. De Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina, Calog, George Palacpac (Palacpac), Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan. The petition prayed for the following reliefs: a. The issuance of the writ of amparo ordering respondents to desist from violating Rodriguez’s right to life, liberty and security. b. The issuance of an order to enjoin respondents from doing harm to or approaching Rodriguez, his family and his witnesses. c. Allowing the inspection of the detention areas of the Headquarters of Bravo Co., 5th Infantry Division, Maguing, Gonzaga, Cagayan and another place near where Rodriguez was brought.
d. Ordering respondents to produce documents submitted to them regarding any report on Rodriguez, including operation reports and provost marshall reports of the 5th Infantry Division, the Special Operations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), prior to, on and subsequent to 6 September 2009.1âwphi1 e. Ordering records pertinent or in any way connected to Rodriguez, which are in the custody of respondents, to be expunged, disabused, and forever barred from being used.27 On 15 December 2009, we granted the respective writs after finding that the petition sufficiently alleged that Rodriguez had been abducted, tortured and later released by members of the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.28 We likewise ordered respondents therein to file a verified return on the writs on or before 22 December 2009 and to comment on the petition on or before 4 January 2010.29 Finally, we directed the Court of Appeals to hear the petition on 4 January 2010 and decide on the case within 10 days after its submission for decision.30
Issue Whether the doctrine of command responsibility can be used in amparo and habeas data cases. Whether the rights to life, liberty and property of Rodriguez were violated or threatened by respondents in G.R. No. 191805.
Held Command responsibility in amparo proceedings To attribute responsibility or accountability to former President Arroyo, Rodriguez contends that the doctrine of command responsibility may be applied. As we explained in Rubrico v. Arroyo,77 command responsibility pertains to the "responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict."78 Although originally used for ascertaining criminal complicity, the command responsibility doctrine has also found application in civil cases for human rights abuses. 79 In the United States, for example, command responsibility was used in Ford v. Garcia andRomagoza v. Garcia – civil actions filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act.80This development in the use of command responsibility in civil proceedings shows that the application of this doctrine has been liberally extended even to cases not criminal in nature. Thus, it is our view that command responsibility may likewise find application in proceedings seeking the privilege of the writ of amparo. Precisely in the case at bar, the doctrine of command responsibility may be used to determine whether respondents are accountable for and have the duty to address the abduction of Rodriguez in order to enable the courts to devise remedial measures to protect his rights. Clearly, nothing precludes this Court from applying the doctrine of command responsibility in amparo proceedings to ascertain responsibility and accountability in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Whether the rights to life, liberty and property of Rodriguez were violated or threatened by respondents The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces of evidence adduced in their totality, and to consider any evidence otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it is consistent with the admissible evidence adduced. In other words, we reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason – i.e., to the relevance of the evidence to the issue at hand and its consistency with all other pieces of adduced evidence. Thus, even hearsay evidence can be admitted if it satisfies this basic minimum test.95 (Emphasis supplied.) In the case at bar, we find no reason to depart from the factual findings of the Court of Appeals, the same being supported by substantial evidence. A careful examination of the records of this case reveals that the totality of the evidence adduced by Rodriguez indubitably prove the responsibility and accountability of some respondents in G.R. No. 191805 for violating his right to life, liberty and security.
a. The totality of evidence proved by substantial evidence the responsibility or accountability of respondents for the violation of or threat to Rodriguez’s right to life, liberty and security. After a careful examination of the records of these cases, we are convinced that the Court of Appeals correctly found sufficient evidence proving that the soldiers of the 17th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division of the military abducted Rodriguez on 6 September 2009, and detained and tortured him until 17 September 2009. Rodriguez’s Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 4 December 2009 was a meticulous and straightforward account of his horrific ordeal with the military, detailing the manner in which he was captured and maltreated on account of his suspected membership in the NPA.96 His narration of his suffering included an exhaustive description of his physical surroundings, personal circumstances and perceived observations. He likewise positively identified respondents 1st Lt. Matutina and Lt. Col. Mina to be present during his abduction, detention and torture,97 and respondents Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan as the CHR representatives who appeared during his release.98 More particularly, the fact of Rodriguez’s abduction was corroborated by Carlos in his Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 16 September 2009,99 wherein he recounted in detail the circumstances surrounding the victim’s capture. In the instant case, this Court rules that respondents in G.R. No. 191805 are responsible or accountable for the violation of Rodriguez’s right to life, liberty and security on account of their abject failure to conduct a fair and effective official investigation of his ordeal in the hands of the military. Respondents Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Col. De Vera and Lt. Col. Mina only conducted a perfunctory investigation, exerting no efforts to take Ramirez’s account of the events into consideration. Rather, these respondents solely relied on the reports and narration of the military.
15 G.R. No. 186050 December 13, 2011
ARTHUR BALAO, WINSTON BALAO, NONETTE BALAO, JONILYN BALAO-STRUGAR and BEVERLY LONGID,Petitioners, vs. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, EDUARDO ERMITA, GILBERTO TEODORO, RONALDO PUNO, NORBERTO GONZALES, Gen. ALEXANDER YANO, Gen. JESUS VERZOSA, Brig. Gen. REYNALDO MAPAGU, Lt. P/Dir. EDGARDO DOROMAL, Maj. Gen. ISAGANI CACHUELA, Commanding Officer of the AFP-ISU based in Baguio City, PSS EUGENE MARTIN and several JOHN DOES, Respondents.
Facts On October 8, 2008, Arthur Balao, Winston Balao, Nonette Balao and Jonilyn Balao-Strugar, siblings of James Balao, and Beverly Longid (petitioners), filed with the RTC of La Trinidad, Benguet a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Amparo2 in favor of James Balao who was abducted by unidentified armed men on September 17, 2008 in Tomay, La Trinidad, Benguet. Named respondents in the petition were then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita, Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr.,Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo V. Puno, National Security Adviser (NSA) Norberto B. Gonzales, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander B. Yano, Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Director General Jesus A. Verzosa, Philippine Army (PA) Chief Brig. Gen. Reynaldo B. Mapagu, PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Chief Lt. P/Dir. Edgardo Doromal, Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Commander Maj. Gen. Isagani C. Cachuela, PNP-Cordillera Administrative Region Regional Director Police Senior Supt. Eugene Gabriel Martin, the Commanding Officer of the AFP Intelligence Service Unit (AFPISU) based in Baguio City and several John Does. James M. Balao is a Psychology and Economics graduate of the University of the Philippines-Baguio (UP-Baguio). In 1984, he was among those who founded the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), a coalition of non-government organizations
(NGOs) working for the cause of indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region. As head of CPA’s education and research committee, James actively helped in the training and organization of farmers. He was also the President of Oclupan Clan Association which undertakes the registration and documentation of clan properties to protect their rights over ancestral lands. In 1988, while working for the CPA, he was arrested on the charge of violation of the Anti-Subversion Law but the case was eventually dismissed for lack of evidence. Contending that there is no plain, speedy or adequate remedy for them to protect James’s life, liberty and security, petitioners prayed for the issuance of a writ of amparo ordering the respondents to disclose where James is detained or confined, to release James, and to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon his person. They likewise prayed for (1) an inspection order for the inspection of at least 11 military and police facilities which have been previously reported as detention centers for activists abducted by military and police operatives; (2) a production order for all documents that contain evidence relevant to the petition, particularly the Order of Battle List and any record or dossier respondents have on James; and (3) a witness protection order. Petitioners simultaneously filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion5 for the immediate issuance of a writ of amparo pursuant to Section 6 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. On October 9, 2008, the Writ of Amparo6 was issued directing respondents to file their verified return together with their supporting affidavit within five days from receipt of the writ. The RTC further held that "more likely than not," the motive for James’s disappearance is his activist/political leanings and that James’s case is one of an enforced disappearance as defined under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. In so ruling, the RTC considered (1) the several incidents of harassment mentioned in Beverly’s testimony and enumerated in the petition; and (2) the references in the petition to the CPA as a front for the CPP-NPA.
Issue Held We hold that such documented practice of targeting activists in the military’s counter-insurgency program by itself does not fulfill the evidentiary standard provided in the Amparo Rule to establish an enforced disappearance. The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds its context in the development of laws of war and armed combats. According to Fr. Bernas, "command responsibility," in its simplest terms, means the "responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict." In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity. The Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command responsibility, foreshadowing the presentday precept of holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his subordinates should he be remiss in his duty of control over them. As then formulated, command responsibility is "an omission mode of individual criminal liability," whereby the superior is made responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to prevent or punish the perpetrators (as opposed to crimes he ordered). The doctrine has recently been codified in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to which the Philippines is signatory. Sec. 28 of the Statute imposes individual responsibility on military commanders for crimes committed by forces under their control. The country is, however, not yet formally bound by the terms and provisions embodied in this treaty-statute, since the Senate has yet to extend concurrence in its ratification. While there are several pending bills on command responsibility, there is still no Philippine law that provides for criminal liability under that doctrine. Assessing the evidence on record, we find that the participation in any manner of military and police authorities in the abduction of James has not been adequately proven. The identities of the abductors have not been established, much less their link to any military or police unit. There is likewise no concrete evidence indicating that James is being held or detained upon orders of or with acquiescence of government agents. Consequently, the trial court erred in granting amparo reliefs by ordering the respondent officials (1) to disclose where James Balao is detained or confined, (2) to release him from such detention or confinement, and (3) to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon his person.
Such pronouncement of responsibility on the part of public respondents cannot be made given the insufficiency of evidence.39 However, we agree with the trial court in finding that the actions taken by respondent officials are "very limited, superficial and one-sided." Lastly, on the denial of the prayer for interim reliefs under the Amparo Rule. An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give support or strengthen the claim of a petitioner in an amparo petition, in order to aid the court before making a decision.48 A basic requirement before an amparo court may grant an inspection order is that the place to be inspected is reasonably determinable from the allegations of the party seeking the order.49 In this case, the issuance of inspection order was properly denied since the petitioners specified several military and police establishments based merely on the allegation that the testimonies of victims and witnesses in previous incidents of similar abductions involving activists disclosed that those premises were used as detention centers. In the same vein, the prayer for issuance of a production order was predicated on petitioners’ bare allegation that it obtained confidential information from an unidentified military source, that the name of James was included in the so-called Order of Battle. Indeed, the trial court could not have sanctioned any "fishing expedition" by precipitate issuance of inspection and production orders on the basis of insufficient claims of one party.
16 G.R. No. 182165 November 25, 2009
P/SUPT. FELIXBERTO CASTILLO, POLICE OFFICERS ROMEO BAGTAS, RUPERTO BORLONGAN, EDMUNDO DIONISIO, RONNIE MORALES, ARNOLD TRIA, and GILBERTO PUNZALAN, ENGR. RICASOL P. MILLAN, ENGR. REDENTOR S. DELA CRUZ, MR. ANASTACIO L. BORLONGAN, MR. ARTEMIO ESGUERRA, "TISOY," and JOHN DOES, Petitioners, vs. DR. AMANDA T. CRUZ, NIXON T. CRUZ, and FERDINAND T. CRUZ, Respondents.
Facts Respondent Amanda Cruz (Amanda) who, along with her husband Francisco G. Cruz (Spouses Cruz), leased a parcel of land situated at Barrio Guinhawa, Malolos (the property), refused to vacate the property, despite demands by the lessor Provincial Government of Bulacan (the Province) which intended to utilize it for local projects. The Province thus filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against the Spouses Cruz before the then Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Bulacan, Bulacan. By Decision of September 5, 1997, the MTC rendered judgment against the Spouses Cruz, which judgment, following its affirmance by the RTC, became final and executory. The finality of the decision in the ejectment case notwithstanding, the spouses Cruz refused to vacate the property. They thereupon filed cases against the Province2 and the judges who presided over the case.3 Those cases were dismissed except their petition for annulment of judgment lodged before Branch 18 of the RTC of Malolos, and a civil case for injunction 833-M-2004 lodged before Branch 10 of the same RTC Malolos. The Spouses Cruz sought in the case for injunction the issuance of a permanent writ of injunction to prevent the execution of the final and executory judgment against them. On February 21, 2008, petitioners Police Superintendent Felixberto Castillo et al., who were deployed by the City Mayor in compliance with a memorandum issued by Governor Joselito R. Mendoza instructing him to "protect, secure and maintain the possession of the property," entered the property.
Amanda and her co-respondents refused to turn over the property, however. Insisting that the RTC July 19, 2005 Order of Permanent Injunction enjoined the Province from repossessing it, they shoved petitioners, forcing the latter to arrest them and cause their indictment for direct assault, trespassing and other forms of light threats. Respondents later filed on March 3, 2008 a "Respectful Motion-Petition for Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data," docketed as Special Civil Action No. 53-M-2008, which was coincidentally raffled to Branch 10 of the RTC Malolos. Respondents averred that despite the Permanent Injunction, petitioners unlawfully entered the property with the use of heavy equipment, tore down the barbed wire fences and tents,6 and arrested them when they resisted petitioners’ entry; and that as early as in the evening of February 20, 2008, members of the Philippine National Police had already camped in front of the property. On the basis of respondents’ allegations in their petition and the supporting affidavits, the RTC, by Order of March 4, 2008, issued writs of amparo and habeas data.7
Issue Whether or not the writ of amparo applies to violation of property rights. Held Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides: Section 1. Petition. – The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides: Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) From the above-quoted provisions, the coverage of the writs is limited to the protection of rights to life, libertyand security. And the writs cover not only actual but also threats of unlawful acts or omissions. To thus be covered by the privilege of the writs, respondents must meet the threshold requirement that their right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with an unlawful act or omission. Evidently, the present controversy arose out of a property dispute between the Provincial Government and respondents. Absent any considerable nexus between the acts complained of and its effect on respondents’ right to life, liberty and security, the Court will not delve on the propriety of petitioners’ entry into the property. It bears emphasis that respondents’ petition did not show any actual violation, imminent or continuing threat to their life, liberty and security. Bare allegations that petitioners "in unison, conspiracy and in contempt of court, there and then willfully, forcibly and feloniously with the use of force and intimidation entered and forcibly, physically manhandled the petitioners (respondents) and arrested the herein petitioners (respondents)" 19 will not suffice to prove entitlement to the remedy of the writ of amparo. No undue confinement or detention was present. In fact, respondents were even able to post bail for the offenses a day after their arrest.20 Although respondents’ release from confinement does not necessarily hinder supplication for the writ of amparo, absent any evidence or even an allegation in the petition that there is undue and continuing restraint on their liberty, and/or that there exists threat or intimidation that destroys the efficacy of their right to be secure in their persons, the issuance of the writ cannot be justified.
It need not be underlined that respondents’ petitions for writs of amparo and habeas data are extraordinary remedies which cannot be used as tools to stall the execution of a final and executory decision in a property dispute. At all events, respondents’ filing of the petitions for writs of amparo and habeas data should have been barred, for criminal proceedings against them had commenced after they were arrested in flagrante delicto and proceeded against in accordance with Section 6, Rule 11224 of the Rules of Court. Validity of the arrest or the proceedings conducted thereafter is a defense that may be set up by respondents during trial and not before a petition for writs of amparo and habeas data. The reliefs afforded by the writs may, however, be made available to the aggrieved party by motion in the criminal proceedings.25
17 G.R. No. 184467 June 19, 2012
EDGARDO NAVIA,1 RUBEN DIO,2 and ANDREW BUISING, Petitioners, vs. VIRGINIA PARDICO, for and in behalf and in representation of BENHUR V. PARDICO Respondent.
Facts Bong and Ben were suspects in stealing the street lamp . Bong then signed a statement to the effect that the guards released him without inflicting any harm or injury to him.13 His mother Lolita also signed the logbook below an entry which states that she will never again harbor or entertain Ben in her house. Thereafter, Lolita and Bong left the security office leaving Ben behind. The following morning, Virginia, Ben’s wife, went to the Asian Land security office to visit her husband Ben, but only to be told that petitioners had already released him together with Bong the night before. She then looked for Ben, asked around, and went to the barangay. Since she could not still find her husband, Virginia reported the matter to the police. The last time Ben was seen was Lolita and Bong left him in petitioners’ custody at the security office.27 Exasperated with the mysterious disappearance of her husband, Virginia filed a Petition for Writ of Amparo 28before the RTC of Malolos City. Finding the petition sufficient in form and substance, the amparo court issued an Order 29 dated June 26, 2008 directing, among others, the issuance of a writ of amparo and the production of the body of Ben before it on June 30, 2008.
Issue Whether or not the writ of amparo may be issued against the Asian Land security officers. Held But lest it be overlooked, in an amparo petition, proof of disappearance alone is not enough. It is likewise essential to establish that such disappearance was carried out with the direct or indirect authorization, support or acquiescence of the government. This indispensable element of State participation is not present in this case. The petition does not contain any allegation of State complicity, and none of the evidence presented tend to show that the government or any of its agents orchestrated Ben’s disappearance. In fact, none of its agents, officials, or employees were impleaded or implicated in Virginia’s amparo petition whether as responsible or accountable persons.
Thus, in the absence of an allegation or proof that the government or its agents had a hand in Ben’s disappearance or that they failed to exercise extraordinary diligence in investigating his case, the Court will definitely not hold the government or its agents either as responsible or accountable persons. We are aware that under Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC a writ of amparo may lie against a private individual or entity. But even if the person sought to be held accountable or responsible in an amparo petition is a private individual or entity, still, government involvement in the disappearance remains an indispensable element. Here, petitioners are mere security guards at Grand Royale Subdivision in Brgy. Lugam, Malolos City and their principal, the Asian Land, is a private entity. They do not work for the government and nothing has been presented that would link or connect them to some covert police, military or governmental operation. As discussed above, to fall within the ambit of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC in relation to RA No. 9851, the disappearance must be attended by some governmental involvement. This hallmark of State participation differentiates an enforced disappearance case from an ordinary case of a missing person.
18 G.R. No. 180088 January 19, 2009
MANUEL B. JAPZON, Petitioner, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and JAIME S. TY, Respondents. Facts Both petitioner Manuel B. Japzon (Japzon) and private respondent Jaime S. Ty (Ty) were candidates for the Office of Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, in the local elections held on 14 May 2007. Japzon instituted SPA No. 07-568 by filing before the COMELEC a Petition5 to disqualify and/or cancel Ty’s Certificate of Candidacy on the ground of material misrepresentation. Japzon averred in his Petition that Ty was a former natural-born Filipino, having been born on 9 October 1943 in what was then Pambujan Sur, Hernani Eastern Samar (now the Municipality of General Macarthur, Easter Samar) Hence, Japzon prayed for in his Petition that the COMELEC order the disqualification of Ty from running for public office and the cancellation of the latter’s Certificate of Candidacy. Japzon argues that when Ty became a naturalized American citizen, he lost his domicile of origin In his Answer6 to Japzon’s Petition in SPA No. 07-568, Ty admitted that he was a natural-born Filipino who went to the USA to work and subsequently became a naturalized American citizen. Therefore, Ty sought the dismissal of Japzon’s Petition in SPA No. 07-568. Pending the submission by the parties of their respective Position Papers in SPA No. 07-568, the 14 May 2007 elections were already held. Ty acquired the highest number of votes and was declared Mayor of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, by the Municipal Board of Canvassers on 15 May 2007.7 The COMELEC ruled in favour of Ty. Japson’s MR was denied for lack of merit. Issue Whether or not Ty was a natural-born Filipino Ruling There is no dispute that Ty was a natural-born Filipino. He was born and raised in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines. However, he left to work in the USA and eventually became an American citizen. On 2 October 2005, Ty reacquired his Philippine citizenship by taking his Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines before Noemi T. Diaz, Vice Consul of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California, USA, in accordance with the
provisions of Republic Act No. 9225.16 At this point, Ty still held dual citizenship. It bears to point out that Republic Act No. 9225 governs the manner in which a natural-born Filipino may reacquire or retain17 his Philippine citizenship despite acquiring a foreign citizenship, and provides for his rights and liabilities under such circumstances. A close scrutiny of said statute would reveal that it does not at all touch on the matter of residence of the natural-born Filipino taking advantage of its provisions. Republic Act No. 9225 imposes no residency requirement for the reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship; nor does it mention any effect of such reacquisition or retention of Philippine citizenship on the current residence of the concerned natural-born Filipino. Clearly, Republic Act No. 9225 treats citizenship independently of residence. The term "residence" is to be understood not in its common acceptation as referring to "dwelling" or "habitation," but rather to "domicile" or legal residence, that is, "the place where a party actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain (animus manendi)."18 Ty’s intent to establish a new domicile of choice in the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, Philippines, became apparent when, immediately after reacquiring his Philippine citizenship on 2 October 2005, he applied for a Philippine passport indicating in his application that his residence in the Philippines was at A. Mabini St., Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar. For the years 2006 and 2007, Ty voluntarily submitted himself to the local tax jurisdiction of the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, by paying community tax and securing CTCs from the said municipality stating therein his address as A. Mabini St., Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar. Thereafter, Ty applied for and was registered as a voter on 17 July 2006 in Precinct 0013A, Barangay 6, Poblacion, General Macarthur, Eastern Samar. There is no basis for this Court to require Ty to stay in and never leave at all the Municipality of General Macarthur, Eastern Samar, for the full one-year period prior to the 14 May 2007 local elections so that he could be considered a resident thereof. To the contrary, the Court has previously ruled that absence from residence to pursue studies or practice a profession or registration as a voter other than in the place where one is elected, does not constitute loss of residence. Finally, when the evidence of the alleged lack of residence qualification of a candidate for an elective position is weak or inconclusive and it clearly appears that the purpose of the law would not be thwarted by upholding the victor’s right to the office, the will of the electorate should be respected. For the purpose of election laws is to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters.
19. G.R. No. 162759 August 4, 2006 LOIDA NICOLAS-LEWIS, GREGORIO B. MACABENTA, ALEJANDRO A. ESCLAMADO, ARMANDO B. HEREDIA, REUBEN S. SEGURITAN, ERIC LACHICA FURBEYRE, TERESITA A. CRUZ, JOSEFINA OPENA DISTERHOFT, MERCEDES V. OPENA, CORNELIO R. NATIVIDAD, EVELYN D. NATIVIDAD, Petitioners, vs. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, Respondent. Facts Petitioners are successful applicants for recognition of Philippine citizenship under R.A. 9225 which accords to such applicants the right of suffrage, among others. Long before the May 2004 national and local elections, petitioners sought registration and certification as "overseas absentee voter" only to be advised by the Philippine Embassy in the United States that, per a COMELEC letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs dated September 23, 2003 2, they have yet no right to vote in such elections owing to their lack of the one-year residence requirement prescribed by the Constitution. COMELEC argues: 4. ‘DUALS’ MUST FIRST ESTABLISH THEIR DOMICILE/ RESIDENCE IN THE PHILIPPINES
4.01. The inclusion of such additional and specific requirements in RA 9225 is logical. The ‘duals,’ upon renouncement of their Filipino citizenship and acquisition of foreign citizenship, have practically and legally abandoned their domicile and severed their legal ties to the homeland as a consequence. Having subsequently acquired a second citizenship (i.e., Filipino) then, ‘duals’ must, for purposes of voting, first of all, decisively and definitely establish their domicile through positive acts; 13
Faced with the prospect of not being able to vote in the May 2004 elections owing to the COMELEC's refusal to include them in the National Registry of Absentee Voters, petitioner Nicolas-Lewis et al., 5 filed on April 1, 2004 this petition for certiorari and mandamus.
Issue whether or not petitioners and others who might have meanwhile retained and/or reacquired Philippine citizenship pursuant to R.A. 9225 may vote as absentee voter under R.A. 9189. Held The Court disagrees. As may be noted, there is no provision in the dual citizenship law - R.A. 9225 - requiring "duals" to actually establish residence and physically stay in the Philippines first before they can exercise their right to vote. On the contrary, R.A. 9225, in implicit acknowledgment that "duals" are most likely non-residents, grants under its Section 5(1) the same right of suffrage as that granted an absentee voter under R.A. 9189. It cannot be overemphasized that R.A. 9189 aims, in essence, to enfranchise as much as possible all overseas Filipinos who, save for the residency requirements exacted of an ordinary voter under ordinary conditions, are qualified to vote. It is very likely that a considerable number of those unmarried children below eighteen (18) years of age had never set foot in the Philippines. Now then, if the next generation of "duals" may nonetheless avail themselves the right to enjoy full civil and political rights under Section 5 of the Act, then there is neither no rhyme nor reason why the petitioners and other present day "duals," provided they meet the requirements under Section 1, Article V of the Constitution in relation to R.A. 9189, be denied the right of suffrage as an overseas absentee voter. Congress could not have plausibly intended such absurd situation. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Court rules and so holds that those who retain or re-acquire Philippine citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225, the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003, may exercise the right to vote under the system of absentee voting in Republic Act No. 9189, the Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003. 20 G.R. No. 159618 February 1, 2011
BAYAN MUNA, as represented by Rep. SATUR OCAMPO, Rep. CRISPIN BELTRAN, and Rep. LIZA L. MAZA,Petitioner, vs. ALBERTO ROMULO, in his capacity as Executive Secretary, and BLAS F. OPLE, in his capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Respondents. Facts
Petitioner Bayan Muna is a duly registered party-list group established to represent the marginalized sectors of society. Respondent Blas F. Ople, now deceased, was the Secretary of Foreign Affairs during the period material to this case. Respondent Alberto Romulo was impleaded in his capacity as then Executive Secretary. RP-US Non-Surrender Agreement On May 9, 2003, then Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone sent US Embassy Note No. 0470 to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) proposing the terms of the non-surrender bilateral agreement (Agreement, hereinafter) between the USA and the RP. Via Exchange of Notes No. BFO-028-037 dated May 13, 2003 (E/N BFO-028-03, hereinafter), the RP, represented by then DFA Secretary Ople, agreed with and accepted the US proposals embodied under the US Embassy Note adverted to and put in effect the Agreement with the US government. In esse, the Agreement aims to protect what it refers to and defines as "persons" of the RP and US from frivolous and harassment suits that might be brought against them in international tribunals.8 It is reflective of the increasing pace of the strategic security and defense partnership between the two countries. As of May 2, 2003, similar bilateral agreements have been effected by and between the US and 33 other countries.9 In this proceeding, petitioner imputes grave abuse of discretion to respondents in concluding and ratifying the Agreement and prays that it be struck down as unconstitutional, or at least declared as without force and effect.
Issue Whether or not the RP-US Non-Surrender Agreement is unconstitutional
Held Petitioners’ contention––perhaps taken unaware of certain well-recognized international doctrines, practices, and jargons––is untenable. One of these is the doctrine of incorporation, as expressed in Section 2, Article II of the Constitution, wherein the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law and international jurisprudence as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, cooperation, and amity with all nations.26 An exchange of notes falls "into the category of inter-governmental agreements,"27 which is an internationally accepted form of international agreement. The United Nations Treaty Collections (Treaty Reference Guide) defines the term as follows: An "exchange of notes" is a record of a routine agreement, that has many similarities with the private law contract. The agreement consists of the exchange of two documents, each of the parties being in the possession of the one signed by the representative of the other. Under the usual procedure, the accepting State repeats the text of the offering State to record its assent. The signatories of the letters may be government Ministers, diplomats or departmental heads. The technique of exchange of notes is frequently resorted to, either because of its speedy procedure, or, sometimes, to avoid the process of legislative approval.28 In another perspective, the terms "exchange of notes" and "executive agreements" have been used interchangeably, exchange of notes being considered a form of executive agreement that becomes binding through executive action. 29 On the other hand, executive agreements concluded by the President "sometimes take the form of exchange of notes and at other times that of more formal documents denominated ‘agreements’ or ‘protocols.’"30 As former US High Commissioner to the Philippines Francis B. Sayre observed in his work, The Constitutionality of Trade Agreement Acts: Senate Concurrence Not Required Article 2 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties defines a treaty as "an international agreement concluded between states in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation."32 International agreements may be in the form of (1)
treaties that require legislative concurrence after executive ratification; or (2) executive agreements that are similar to treaties, except that they do not require legislative concurrence and are usually less formal and deal with a narrower range of subject matters than treaties.33 Under international law, there is no difference between treaties and executive agreements in terms of their binding effects on the contracting states concerned,34 as long as the negotiating functionaries have remained within their powers.35 Neither, on the domestic sphere, can one be held valid if it violates the Constitution. 36 Authorities are, however, agreed that one is distinct from another for accepted reasons apart from the concurrence-requirement aspect.37 As has been observed by US constitutional scholars, a treaty has greater "dignity" than an executive agreement, because its constitutional efficacy is beyond doubt, a treaty having behind it the authority of the President, the Senate, and the people;38 a ratified treaty, unlike an executive agreement, takes precedence over any prior statutory enactment. 39 By constitutional fiat and by the nature of his or her office, the President, as head of state and government, is the sole organ and authority in the external affairs of the country.65 The Constitution vests in the President the power to enter into international agreements, subject, in appropriate cases, to the required concurrence votes of the Senate. But as earlier indicated, executive agreements may be validly entered into without such concurrence. As the President wields vast powers and influence, her conduct in the external affairs of the nation is, as Bayan would put it, "executive altogether." The right of the President to enter into or ratify binding executive agreements has been confirmed by long practice. International law is part of our law, and must be ascertained and administered by the courts of justice of appropriate jurisdiction as often as questions of right depending upon it are duly presented for their determination. For this purpose, where there is no treaty and no controlling executive or legislative act or judicial decision, resort must be had to the customs and usages of civilized nations, and, as evidence of these, to the works of jurists and commentators who by years of labor, research, and experience have made themselves peculiarly well acquainted with the subjects of which they treat. Such works are resorted to by judicial tribunals, not for the speculations of their authors concerning what the law ought to be, but for the trustworthy evidence of what the law really is.
21. G.R No. 187167 August 16, 2011
PROF. MERLIN M. MAGALLONA, MARCELINO VELOSO III, Petitioners, vs. HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, Facts In 1961, Congress passed Republic Act No. 3046 (RA 3046)2 demarcating the maritime baselines of the Philippines as an archipelagic State.3 This law followed the framing of the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone in 1958 (UNCLOS I),4 codifying, among others, the sovereign right of States parties over their "territorial sea," the breadth of which, however, was left undetermined. Attempts to fill this void during the second round of negotiations in Geneva in 1960 (UNCLOS II) proved futile. Thus, domestically, RA 3046 remained unchanged for nearly five decades, save for legislation passed in 1968 (Republic Act No. 5446 [RA 5446]) correcting typographical errors and reserving the drawing of baselines around Sabah in North Borneo. In March 2009, Congress amended RA 3046 by enacting RA 9522, the statute now under scrutiny. The change was prompted by the need to make RA 3046 compliant with the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III),5 which the Philippines ratified on 27 February 1984.6 Among others, UNCLOS III prescribes the water-land ratio, length, and contour of baselines of archipelagic States like the Philippines7 and sets the deadline for the filing of application for the extended continental shelf.8 Complying with these requirements, RA 9522 shortened one baseline, optimized the location of some basepoints around the Philippine archipelago and classified adjacent territories, namely, the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and the Scarborough Shoal, as "regimes of islands" whose islands generate their own applicable maritime zones. Petitioners, professors of law, law students and a legislator, in their respective capacities as "citizens, taxpayers or x x x legislators,"9 as the case may be, assail the constitutionality of RA 9522 on two principal grounds, namely: (1) RA 9522
reduces Philippine maritime territory, and logically, the reach of the Philippine state’s sovereign power, in violation of Article 1 of the 1987 Constitution,10 embodying the terms of the Treaty of Paris11 and ancillary treaties,12 and (2) RA 9522 opens the country’s waters landward of the baselines to maritime passage by all vessels and aircrafts, undermining Philippine sovereignty and national security, contravening the country’s nuclear-free policy, and damaging marine resources, in violation of relevant constitutional provisions.13 In addition, petitioners contend that RA 9522’s treatment of the KIG as "regime of islands" not only results in the loss of a large maritime area but also prejudices the livelihood of subsistence fishermen. 14 To buttress their argument of territorial diminution, petitioners facially attack RA 9522 for what it excluded and included – its failure to reference either the Treaty of Paris or Sabah and its use of UNCLOS III’s framework of regime of islands to determine the maritime zones of the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal.
Issue whether or not RA 9522 is unconstitutional. Held RA 9522 is Not Unconstitutional RA 9522 is a Statutory Tool to Demarcate the Country’s Maritime Zones and Continental Shelf Under UNCLOS III, not to Delineate Philippine Territory UNCLOS III has nothing to do with the acquisition (or loss) of territory. It is a multilateral treaty regulating, among others, sea-use rights over maritime zones (i.e., the territorial waters [12 nautical miles from the baselines], contiguous zone [24 nautical miles from the baselines], exclusive economic zone [200 nautical miles from the baselines]), and continental shelves that UNCLOS III delimits.23 UNCLOS III was the culmination of decades-long negotiations among United Nations members to codify norms regulating the conduct of States in the world’s oceans and submarine areas, recognizing coastal and archipelagic States’ graduated authority over a limited span of waters and submarine lands along their coasts. On the other hand, baselines laws such as RA 9522 are enacted by UNCLOS III States parties to mark-out specific basepoints along their coasts from which baselines are drawn, either straight or contoured, to serve as geographic starting points to measure the breadth of the maritime zones and continental shelf. Article 48 of UNCLOS III on archipelagic States like ours could not be any clearer: Article 48. Measurement of the breadth of the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf. – The breadth of the territorial sea, the contiguous zone, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf shall be measured from archipelagic baselines drawn in accordance with article 47. (Emphasis supplied) Thus, baselines laws are nothing but statutory mechanisms for UNCLOS III States parties to delimit with precision the extent of their maritime zones and continental shelves. In turn, this gives notice to the rest of the international community of the scope of the maritime space and submarine areas within which States parties exercise treaty-based rights, namely, the exercise of sovereignty over territorial waters (Article 2), the jurisdiction to enforce customs, fiscal, immigration, and sanitation laws in the contiguous zone (Article 33), and the right to exploit the living and non-living resources in the exclusive economic zone (Article 56) and continental shelf (Article 77). UNCLOS III and its ancillary baselines laws play no role in the acquisition, enlargement or, as petitioners claim, diminution of territory. Under traditional international law typology, States acquire (or conversely, lose) territory through occupation, accretion, cession and prescription,25 not by executing multilateral treaties on the regulations of seause rights or enacting statutes to comply with the treaty’s terms to delimit maritime zones and continental shelves. Territorial claims to land features are outside UNCLOS III, and are instead governed by the rules on general international law.26
RA 9522’s Use of the Framework of Regime of Islands to Determine the Maritime Zones of the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal, not Inconsistent with the Philippines’ Claim of Sovereignty Over these Areas Petitioners next submit that RA 9522’s use of UNCLOS III’s regime of islands framework to draw the baselines, and to measure the breadth of the applicable maritime zones of the KIG, "weakens our territorial claim" over that area.27 Petitioners add that the KIG’s (and Scarborough Shoal’s) exclusion from the Philippine archipelagic baselines results in the loss of "about 15,000 square nautical miles of territorial waters," prejudicing the livelihood of subsistence fishermen.28 A comparison of the configuration of the baselines drawn under RA 3046 and RA 9522 and the extent of maritime space encompassed by each law, coupled with a reading of the text of RA 9522 and its congressional deliberations, vis-à-vis the Philippines’ obligations under UNCLOS III, belie this view.1avvphi1 The configuration of the baselines drawn under RA 3046 and RA 9522 shows that RA 9522 merely followed the basepoints mapped by RA 3046, save for at least nine basepoints that RA 9522 skipped to optimize the location of basepoints and adjust the length of one baseline (and thus comply with UNCLOS III’s limitation on the maximum length of baselines). Under RA 3046, as under RA 9522, the KIG and the Scarborough Shoal lie outside of the baselines drawn around the Philippine archipelago. This undeniable cartographic fact takes the wind out of petitioners’ argument branding RA 9522 as a statutory renunciation of the Philippines’ claim over the KIG, assuming that baselines are relevant for this purpose.
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