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INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HON. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, GEN. PANFILO M. LACSON, GEN. EDGAR B.

AGLIPAY, and GEN. ANGELO REYES, respondents. Facts: At bar is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order seeking to nullify on constitutional grounds the order of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada commanding the deployment of the Philippine Marines (the Marines) to join the Philippine National Police (the PNP) in visibility patrols around the metropolis. In view of the alarming increase in violent crimes in Metro Manila, like robberies, kidnappings and carnappings, the President, in a verbal directive, ordered the PNP and the Marines to conduct joint visibility patrols for the purpose of crime prevention and suppression. The Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (the AFP), the Chief of the PNP and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government were tasked to execute and implement the said order. In compliance with the presidential mandate, the PNP Chief, through Police Chief Superintendent Edgar B. Aglipay, formulated Letter of Instruction 02/2000 (the LOI) which detailed the manner by which the joint visibility patrols, called Task Force Tulungan, would be conducted. Task Force Tulungan was placed under the leadership of the Police Chief of Metro Manila. Subsequently, the President confirmed his previous directive on the deployment of the Marines in a Memorandum, dated 24 January 2000, addressed to the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the PNP Chief. In the Memorandum, the President expressed his desire to improve the peace and order situation in Metro Manila through a more effective crime prevention program including increased police patrols. The President further stated that to heighten police visibility in the metropolis, augmentation from the AFP is necessary. Invoking his powers as Commander-in-Chief under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President directed the AFP Chief of Staff and PNP Chief to coordinate with each other for the proper deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in preventing or suppressing criminal or lawless violence. Finally, the President declared that the services of the Marines in the anti-crime campaign are merely temporary in nature and for a reasonable period only, until such time when the situation shall have improved. The selected areas of deployment under the LOI are: Monumento Circle, North Edsa (SM City), Araneta Shopping Center, Greenhills, SM Megamall, Makati Commercial Center, LRT/MRT Stations and the NAIA and Domestic Airport. On 17 January 2000, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (the IBP) filed the instant petition to annul LOI 02/2000 and to declare the deployment of the Philippine Marines, null and void and unconstitutional, arguing that:

I THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE PHILIPPINE MARINES IN METRO MANILA IS VIOLATIVE OF THE CONSTITUTION, IN THAT: A) NO EMERGENCY SITUATION OBTAINS IN METRO MANILA AS WOULD JUSTIFY, EVEN ONLY REMOTELY, THE DEPLOYMENT OF SOLDIERS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT WORK; HENCE, SAID DEPLOYMENT IS IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE II, SECTION 3 OF THE CONSTITUTION; B) SAID DEPLOYMENT CONSTITUTES AN INSIDIOUS INCURSION BY THE MILITARY IN A CIVILIAN FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT (LAW ENFORCEMENT) IN DEROGATION OF ARTICLE XVI, SECTION 5 (4), OF THE CONSTITUTION; C) SAID DEPLOYMENT CREATES A DANGEROUS TENDENCY TO RELY ON THE MILITARY TO PERFORM THE CIVILIAN FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT. II IN MILITARIZING LAW ENFORCEMENT IN METRO MANILA, THE ADMINISTRATION IS UNWITTINGLY MAKING THE MILITARY MORE POWERFUL THAN WHAT IT SHOULD REALLY BE UNDER THE CONSTITUTION.

Asserting itself as the official organization of Filipino lawyers tasked with the bounden duty to uphold the rule of law and the Constitution, the IBP questions the validity of the deployment and utilization of the Marines to assist the PNP in law enforcement. Issue: WON Presidents factual determination of the necessity of calling the AFP is subject to judicial review? WON The calling of the armed forces to assist PNP in joint visibility patrols violates the constitutional provisions on civilian supremacy over the military and the civilian character of PNP? Held: In case at bar, the bone contention concerns the factual determination of the President of the necessity of calling the armed forces, particularly the Marines, to aid the PNP in visibility patrols. In this regard, the petitioner agreed that the deployment of the military personnel falls under the Commander-in-Chief Powers of the President as stated in Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, specifically the power to call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Thus there is a clear textual commitment under the Constitution to bestow on the President full discretionary power to call out the armed forces and to determine the necessity of the exercise of such power. But while this court has no power to substitute its judgment for that of the President, it may look into the question of whether such exercise has been made in grave abuse of discretion. A showing that plenary power is granted either department of government may not be an obstacle to judicial inquiry, for the improvident exercise or abuse thereof may give rise to justiciable controversy.

Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution: (provides in part)


The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under Martial Law.

As stated in the foregoing provisions, the full discretionary power of the President to determine the factual basis for the exercise of the calling out power is also implied. The only criterion to the power to call out the armed forces is that whenever it becomes necessary in order to suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Hence in the Memorandum issued by the President he categorically asserted that violent crimes like bank/store robberies, holdups, kidnappings and carnappings continue to occur in Metro Manila. The court takes judicial notice of the recent bombings perpetrated by lawless elements in shopping malls, public utilities, and other public places which are among the areas described in LOI 2000. Considering the foregoing facts, the President has sufficient factual basis to call for military aid in law enforcement and in the exercise of this constitutional power. The Marines render nothing more than assistance required in conducting the patrols. As such there is no insidious incursion of the military in civilian affairs nor can there be a violation of the civilian supremacy clause in the Constitution. The real authority in these operations is lodged with the head of the civilian institution, the PNP, and not with the military. In fact, the Metro Manila Police Chief is the overall leader of the joint visibility patrols. As stated in the LOI, the police forces are tasked to brief or orient the soldiers on police patrol procedures. It is their responsibility to direct and manage the deployment of the Marines. It is likewise, their duty to provide the necessary equipment to the Marines and render logistical support to these soldiers. In view of the foregoing, it cannot be properly argued that military authority is supreme over civilian authority. It is worth mentioning that military assistance to civilian authorities in various forms persists in Philippine jurisdiction, it is not averse to requesting the assistance of military in the in the implementation and execution of certain traditionally civil functions (like relief and rescue operations during calamities and disasters, anti-drug enforcements, etc). It appears that the present petition is anchored on fear that once the armed forces are deployed, the military will gain ascendancy, and thus place in peril our cherished liberties. Such apprehensions, however, are unfounded. Not a single citizen has complained that his political or civil rights have been violated as the result of the deployment of the marines. It was precisely to safeguard peace, tranquility and civil liberties of the people that joint visibility was conceived.

WHEREFORE the petition is hereby DISMISSED.