Felix Barcelon vs Colonel Baker of the Philippine Constabulary Suspension of the Privilege of the Writ Habeas Corpus as a Political

Question being a Prerogative by the President FACTS: In the early 1900’s in Batangas, Barcelon was detained by orders of Baker. Barcelon’s lawyers petitioned before the court for a writ of habeas corpus demanding Barcelon and Thompson, one of his men, to explain why Barcelon was detained. They alleged that there is no legal authority behind Barcelon’s arrest and it was w/o due process. The Atty-Gen averred that Baker et al acted only pursuant to the Gov-Gen’s resolution in 1905 which suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Cavite and Batangas (Sec 5 of The Philippine Bill). Barcelon argued that there is no rebellion or invasion or insurrection during his arrest hence he should be set free. ISSUE: Whether or not Barcelon was arrested w/ due process. HELD: The SC held that the issue is a political question. Only the president can determine the existence of the grounds specified in the Constitution for the suspension o the privilege o the writ of habeas corpus. This power is discretionary and therefore not justiciable. The president has superior competence to assess the peace and order condition of the country. Hence, the determination held by the president (GG) of the Philippines of the existence of any of the grounds prescribed by the Constitution for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus should be conclusive upon the courts. The justification was that the president (GG), with all the intelligence sources available to him as commander-in-chief, was in a better position than the SC to ascertain the real state of peace and order in the country.

Marcelo Montenegro vs Castañeda Suspension of the Privilege of the Writ Habeas Corpus as a Political Question being a Prerogative by the President In October 1950, Montenegro’s son was arrested by military agents. Three days after the arrest, PP 210 was proclaimed suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Montenegro then filed before the court to have his son be set free for his arrest was w/o cause and that the said PP should not be applied retroactively to his son for it would then constitute a violation of the constitutional prohibition against bill of attainders. Montenegro then filed a petition for the writ of habeas corpus demanding the detainers to bring his son’s body and explain his detention. Castaňeda et al argued that the court has no judicial authority over the matter invoking the PP and the previous ruling in Barcelon vs Baker. ISSUE: Whether or not Montenegro’s petition should be granted. HELD: As ruled by the SC in the Barcelon case, Montenegro’s petition is likewise denied. The constitutional authority of the President to suspend in case of imminent danger of invasion, insurrection or rebellion under Article 7 may not correctly be placed in doubt.

Teodosio Lansang et al vs Brig-Gen Garcia Abandonment of the Doctrine Held in the Barcelon Case & the Montenegro Case FACTS: Due to the throwing of two hand grenades in a Liberal Party caucus in 1971 causing the death of 8 people, Marcos issued PP 889 which suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Marcos urged that there is a need to curtail the growth of Maoist groups. Subsequently, Lansang et al were invited by the PC headed by Garcia for interrogation and investigation. Lansang et al questioned the validity of the suspension of the writ averring that the suspension does not meet the constitutional requisites. ISSUE: Whether or not the suspension is constitutional. HELD: The doctrine established in Barcelon and Montenegro was subsequently abandoned in this case where the SC declared that it had the power to inquire into the factual basis of the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus by Marcos in Aug 1971 and to annul the same if no legal ground could be established. Accordingly, hearings were conducted to receive evidence on this matter, including two closed-door sessions in which relevant classified information was divulged by the government to the members of the SC and 3 selected lawyers of the petitioners. In the end, after satisfying itself that there was actually a massive and systematic Communist-oriented campaign to overthrow the government by force, as claimed by Marcos, the SC unanimously decided to uphold the suspension of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

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