#3 Razon v. Tagitis G.R. No. 182498 03 December 2009 PONENTE: Brion, J. PARTIES: Group (CIDG); Police Senior Superintendent LEONARDO A.

ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER); and GEN. JOEL R. GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM, PNP RESPONDENT: MARY JEAN B. TAGITIS, herein represented by ATTY. FELIPE P. ARCILLA, JR., Attorney-inFact NATURE: Petition for Review on Certiorari PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND: Court of Appeals: Petition for the Writ of Amparo FACTS: Engineer Morced N. Tagitis (Tagitis), a consultant for the World Bank and the Senior Honorary Counselor for the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB scholar, arrived in Jolo by boat in the early morning of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They immediately checked-in at ASY Pension House. Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket for his return trip the following day to Zamboanga. When Kunnong returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer around. Kunnong looked for Tagitis and even sent a text ’ M ila-b y w K yw ’ On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP professor of Muslim studies ’ w B ’ to the Jolo Police Station. More than a month later, or on December 28, 2007, the respondent, May Jean Tagitis, through her attorney-in-fact, filed a Petition for the Writ of Amparo (petition) directed against Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano, Commanding General, Philippine Army; Gen. Avelino I. Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG); Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response; Gen. Joel Goltiao, Regional Director, ARMM-PNP; and Gen. Ruben Rafael, Chief, Anti-Terror Task Force Comet (collectively referred “ ” w y y Writ of Amparo and set the case for hearing on January 7, 2008. On March 7, 2008, the CA issued its decision confirming that the disappearance of Tagitis was an “ ” from Enforced Disappearances. The CA ruled that when military intelligence pinpointed the investigative arm of the PNP (CIDG) to be involved in the abduction, the missing-person case qualified as an enforced disappearance. Hence, the CA extended the privilege of the writ to Tagitis and his family, and directed the petitioners to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts to protect the life, liberty and security of Tagitis, with the obligation to provide monthly reports of their actions to the CA. At the same time, the

detail and precision that the petitioners apparently want to read into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token gesture of judicial concern for violations of the constitutional rights to life. however. ANSWERS: 1. to require the level of specificity. 2008. or where the victim is detained. the State or private action. Lt. the petitioners filed a petition for review with the Supreme Court. To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing the unique Amparo situation. Whether or not the presentation of substantial evidence by the petitioner to prove her allegations is sufficient for the court to grant the privilege of the writ. not the military. based on the finding that it was PNP-CIDG. it must contain details available to the petitioner under the circumstances. rather than in terms of its isolated component parts.e. this requirement must be read in light of the nature and purpose of the proceeding. liberty or security – are present. However. i. to determine if the required elements – namely. On March 31. Ruben Rafael. and the actual or threatened violations of the rights to life. Whether or not the writ of amparo determines guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the alleged enforced disappearance of the subject of the petition for the writ. No. that was involved. while w ’ b y y State or private party action. 2. EVIDENCE REQUIRED IN AN AMPARO PETITION . 2008. or who actually acted to kidnap. Gen Alexander Yano and Gen. SUPREME COURT RULINGS: 1. Aggrieved. omitting the evidentiary details. the test in reading the petition should be to determine whether it contains the details available to the petitioner under the circumstances. 2.CA dismissed the petition against the then respondents from the military. No. while presenting a cause of action showing a violation of the ’ b y y y likewise be read in its totality. liberty and security. Yes. because these information may purposely be hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance. the petitioners moved to reconsider the CA decision. PERTINENT ISSUES: 1. In an Amparo petition. complete in every ’ b petition. which addresses a situation of uncertainty – The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be complete in every detail in stating the threatened or ’ y y the ultimate facts constituting the cause of action. Whether or not the requirement that the pleader must state the ultimate facts. 3. 2. but the CA denied the motion in its Resolution dated April 9. the petitioner may not be able to describe with certainty how the victim exactly disappeared. which addresses a situation of uncertainty. 3. In this type of situation. abduct or arrest him or her. of the disappearance. REQUIREMENTS IN AN AMPARO PETITION The requirement that the pleader must state the ultimate facts must be read in light of the nature and purpose of the proceeding.

must show that an enforced disappearance took place under circumstances showing a ’ b y y and the failure on the part of the investigating authorities to appropriately respond. To directly quote Ang Tibay: Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla.judicial killings and enforced disappearance cases. while we must follow the substantial evidence rule. Minor inconsistencies in the testimony should not affect the credibility of the witness – As a rule. Thus. we must observe flexibility in considering the evidence we shall take into account. of being summary and the use of substantial evidence as the required level of proof (in contrast to the usual preponderance of evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt in court proceedings) – reveal the clear intent of the framers of the Amparo Rule to have the equivalent of an administrative proceeding. to our mind.e. must show that an k w ’ constitutional rights to life.. In other words. and prove the allegations by substantial evidence. is to consider all the pieces of evidence adduced in their totality.Burden of proof of Amparo petitioner – [T]he Amparo petitioner needs only to properly comply with the substance and form requirements of a Writ of Amparo petition. The standard of diligence required – the duty of public officials and employees to observe extraordinary diligence – point. of course. Once a rebuttable case has been proven. in addressing Amparo situations. the respondents must then respond and prove their defenses based on the standard of diligence required. liberty or security. to the extraordinary measures expected in the protection of constitutional rights and in the consequent handling and investigation of extra. and prove the allegations by substantial evidence. albeit judicially conducted. as discussed above. and the failure on the part of the investigating authorities to appropriately respond. Thus. the latter cannot but generate suspicion that the material circumstances they testified to were integral parts of a well thought of and prefabricated story. . It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a ‘ w q y b ’ bvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent in judicial proceedings would not invalidate the administrative order. we reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason – i. even hearsay evidence can be admitted if it satisfies this basic minimum test. But this assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative procedure does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational probative force. the Amparo petitioner needs only to properly comply with the substance and form requirements of a Writ of Amparo petition. of course. as discussed above. The landmark case of Ang Tibay v. Once a rebuttable case has been proven. The rebuttable case. the respondents must then respond and prove their defenses based on the standard of diligence required. minor inconsistencies such as these indicate truthfulness rather than prevarication and only tend to strengthen their probative value. The fair and proper rule. Substantial evidence required in amparo proceedings – The [characteristics of amparo proceedings] – namely. The rebuttable case. in contrast to testimonies from various witnesses dovetailing on every detail. Court of Industrial Relations provided the Court its first opportunity to define the substantial evidence required to arrive at a valid decision in administrative proceedings. Thus. in these proceedings. to the relevance of the evidence to the issue at hand and its consistency with all other pieces of adduced evidence. and to consider any evidence otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it is consistent with the admissible evidence adduced. too.

the Rule on the Writ of Amparo (Amparo Rule) issued by this Court is unique. on the other hand. It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance. Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way. it determines responsibility. mindful that an elemental definition may intrude into the ongoing legislative efforts. j – killings and enforced ” W w y “ ” z j The records of the Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of Rules (Committee) reveal that the drafters of the Amparo Rule initially considered providing an elemental definition of the concept of enforced disappearance: x x x In the end. the directive to file the appropriate criminal and civil cases against the responsible parties in the proper courts. the determination of what acts are criminal and what the corresponding penalty these criminal acts should carry are matters of substantive law that only the Legislature has the x y “w x “ ” z . or at least accountability . may not at all be the same as the standard measures and procedures in ordinary court actions and proceedings. refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above. so that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty and security are restored. rather. The Amparo Rule should be read. as a measure of the remedies this Court shall craft. among them. as its directions and finer points remain to evolve through time and jurisprudence and through the substantive laws that Congress may promulgate – [T]he unique situations that call for the issuance of the writ. the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. it determines responsibility. in this case. but have failed to discharge. Accountability. for the enforced disappearance for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance. as a work in progress. Engr. Morced N. in an enforced disappearance. The Amparo Rule should be read.3. too. The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on the matter. b y y b y ’ undertake specified courses of action to address the disappearance of an individual. As the law now stands. rather. too. the issuance of the Writ of Amparo is justified by our primary goal of addressing the disappearance. ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES in relation to THE WRIT OF AMPARO The writ of amparo does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance. or those who carry. as well as the considerations and measures necessary to address these situations. or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure. and resolved to do away with a clear textual definition of these terms in the Rule. the Committee took cognizance of several bills filed in the House of Representatives and in the Senate on extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. or at least accountability. The Committee instead focused on the nature and scope of the concerns within its power to address and provided the appropriate remedy therefor. extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized separately from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are now penalized under the Revised Penal Code and special laws. In this sense. by action or omission. as its directions and finer points remain to evolve through time and jurisprudence and through the substantive laws that Congress may promulgate. as a work in progress. In all these cases. for the enforced disappearance for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance – [The writ of amparo is] a protective remedy against violations or threats of violation against the rights to life. Tagitis.

whoever may be the incumbent Chiefs of the Philippine National Police and its Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. Without any specific pronouncement on exact authorship and responsibility. with the obligation to show investigation results acceptable to this Court. copy furnished the incumbent PNP and PNP-CIDG Chiefs as petitioners and the respondent. To state the obvious. the Supreme Court is not powerless to act under its own constitutional mandate to “ ” x j k arances. and the PNP-CIDG. through its Chief. Tagitis. judicial intervention can make a difference – even if only procedurally – in a situation when the very same investigating public authorities may have had a hand in the threatened or actual violations of constitutional rights. 2008 under the following terms: 1. declaring the government (through the PNP and the PNP-CIDG) and Colonel Julasirim Ahadin Kasim accountable for the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Referring this case back to the Court of Appeals for appropriate proceedings directed at the monitoring of the PNP and PNP-CIDG investigations. Requiring the Court of Appeals to submit to this Court a quarterly report with its recommendations. and were directly enforceable against. 6. The Court. however. 7. periodically reporting their results to the Court of Appeals for consideration and action. Tagitis is an enforced disappearance covered by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. with the first report due at the end of the first quarter counted from the finality of this Decision. Tagitis. can set the procedural standards and thereby directly compel the public authorities to act on actual or threatened violations of constitutional rights. through the PNP Chief. The ab ’ Decision were given to. 4. The PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall have one (1) full year to undertake their investigations. increase or modify substantive rights. . actions and the validation of their results. Source of the power of the Supreme Court to act on extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances – Even without the benefit of directly applicable substantive laws on extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances. constitute State or private party violation of the constitutional rights of individuals b y y ’ w y diminish. 8. under pain of contempt from the Supreme Court when the initiatives and efforts at disclosure and investigation constitute less than the extraordinary diligence that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo and the circumstances of this case demand. 3. by their nature and purpose. directly responsible for the disclosure of material facts known to the government and to their offices regarding the disappearance of Engineer Morced N. DISPOSITIVE: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 7. the legal protection that the Court can provide can be very meaningful through the procedures it sets in addressing extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Recognition that the disappearance of Engineer Morced N. the PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall initially present to the Court of Appeals a plan of action for further investigation.w y’ w structure. the Court of Appeals shall submit its full report for the consideration of this Court at the end of the 4th quarter counted from the finality of this Decision. Tagitis. 2. Ordering Colonel Julasirim Ahadin Kasim impleaded in this case and holding him accountable with the b k w “ ” relation with the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Confirmation of the validity of the Writ of Amparo the Court of Appeals issued. Holding the PNP. 5. through its procedural rules. and for the conduct of proper investigations using extraordinary diligence.

and General Ruben Rafael. AntiTerrorism Task Force Comet. the aforementioned directives – particularly. Commanding General. the referral back to and monitoring by the CA – are specific to this case and are not standard remedies that can be applied to every Amparo situation. . Chief. The Supreme Court likewise affirmed the dismissal of the Amparo petition with respect to General Alexander Yano. Zamboanga City.Given the unique nature of Amparo cases and their varying attendant circumstances. Philippine Army.

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