8epubllc of Lhe Þhlllpplnes

SUÞkLML CCUk1
Manlla
Ln 8AnC
G.k. No. L-64261 December 26, 1984
ICSL 8UkGCS, Sk., ICSL 8UkGCS, Ik., 8A¥ANI SCkIANC and I. 8UkGCS MLDIA
SLkVICLS, INC.,peLlLloners,
vs.
1nL CnILI CI S1AII, AkMLD ICkCLS CI 1nL ÞnILIÞÞINLS, 1nL CnILI, ÞnILIÞÞINL
CCNS1A8ULAk¥, 1nL CnILI LLGAL CIIICLk, ÞkLSIDLN1IAL SLCUkI1¥ CCMMAND, 1nL
IUDGL ADVCCA1L GLNLkAL, L1 AL., respondenLs.

LSCCLIN, !"#
Assalled ln Lhls peLlLlon for cerLlorarl prohlblLlon and mandamus wlLh prellmlnary
mandaLory and prohlblLory ln[uncLlon ls Lhe valldlLy of Lwo [2] search warranLs lssued on
uecember 7, 1982 by respondenL !udge Lrnanl Cruz-Þano, LxecuLlve !udge of Lhe Lhen
CourL of llrsL lnsLance of 8lzal [Cuezon ClLy], under whlch Lhe premlses known as no.
19, 8oad 3, Þro[ecL 6, Cuezon ClLy, and 784 unlLs C & u, 8MS 8ulldlng, Cuezon Avenue,
Cuezon ClLy, buslness addresses of Lhe "MeLropollLan Mall" and "We lorum"
newspapers, respecLlvely, were searched, and offlce and prlnLlng machlnes, equlpmenL,
paraphernalla, moLor vehlcles and oLher arLlcles used ln Lhe prlnLlng, publlcaLlon and
dlsLrlbuLlon of Lhe sald newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documenLs, books and
oLher wrlLLen llLeraLure alleged Lo be ln Lhe possesslon and conLrol of peLlLloner !ose
8urgos, !r. publlsher-edlLor of Lhe "We lorum" newspaper, were selzed.
ÞeLlLloners furLher pray LhaL a wrlL of prellmlnary mandaLory and prohlblLory ln[uncLlon
be lssued for Lhe reLurn of Lhe selzed arLlcles, and LhaL respondenLs, "parLlcularly Lhe
Chlef Legal Cfflcer, ÞresldenLlal SecurlLy Command, Lhe !udge AdvocaLe Ceneral, AlÞ,
Lhe ClLy llscal of Cuezon ClLy, Lhelr represenLaLlves, asslsLanLs, subalLerns, subordlnaLes,
subsLlLuLe or successors" be en[olned from uslng Lhe arLlcles Lhus selzed as evldence
agalnsL peLlLloner !ose 8urgos, !r. and Lhe oLher accused ln Crlmlnal Case no. C- 022782
of Lhe 8eglonal 1rlal CourL of Cuezon ClLy, enLlLled !"#$%" '( )#*" +,-.#*/ )-. "0 1%. 1
ln our 8esoluLlon daLed !une 21, 1983, respondenLs were requlred Lo answer Lhe
peLlLlon. 1he plea for prellmlnary mandaLory and prohlblLory ln[uncLlon was seL for
hearlng on !une 28, 1983, laLer reseL Lo !uly 7, 1983, on moLlon of Lhe SollclLor Ceneral
ln behalf of respondenLs.
AL Lhe hearlng on !uly 7, 1983, Lhe SollclLor Ceneral, whlle opposlng peLlLloners' prayer
for a wrlL of prellmlnary mandaLory ln[uncLlon, manlfesLed LhaL respondenLs "wlll noL
use Lhe aforemenLloned arLlcles as evldence ln Lhe aforemenLloned case unLll flnal
resoluLlon of Lhe legallLy of Lhe selzure of Lhe aforemenLloned arLlcles. ..."
2
WlLh Lhls
manlfesLaLlon, Lhe prayer for prellmlnary prohlblLory ln[uncLlon was rendered mooL and
academlc.
8espondenLs would have Lhls CourL dlsmlss Lhe peLlLlon on Lhe ground LhaL peLlLloners
had come Lo Lhls CourL wlLhouL havlng prevlously soughL Lhe quashal of Lhe search
warranLs before respondenL [udge. lndeed, peLlLloners, before lmpugnlng Lhe valldlLy of
Lhe warranLs before Lhls CourL, should have flled a moLlon Lo quash sald warranLs ln Lhe
courL LhaL lssued Lhem.
3
8uL Lhls procedural flaw noLwlLhsLandlng, we Lake cognlzance
of Lhls peLlLlon ln vlew of Lhe serlousness and urgency of Lhe consLlLuLlonal lssues ralsed
noL Lo menLlon Lhe publlc lnLeresL generaLed by Lhe search of Lhe "We lorum" offlces,
whlch was Lelevlsed ln Channel 7 and wldely publlclzed ln all meLropollLan dallles. 1he
exlsLence of Lhls speclal clrcumsLance [usLlfles Lhls CourL Lo exerclse lLs lnherenL power
Lo suspend lLs rules. ln Lhe words of Lhe revered Mr. !usLlce Abad SanLos ln Lhe case
of 2( 341( 4" 5-4#'"61 '( 7189,:4#,
4
"lL ls always ln Lhe power of Lhe courL [Supreme
CourL] Lo suspend lLs rules or Lo excepL a parLlcular case from lLs operaLlon, whenever
Lhe purposes of [usLlce requlre lL...".
8espondenLs llkewlse urge dlsmlssal of Lhe peLlLlon on ground of laches. Conslderable
sLress ls lald on Lhe facL LhaL whlle sald search warranLs were lssued on uecember 7,
1982, Lhe lnsLanL peLlLlon lmpugnlng Lhe same was flled only on !une 16, 1983 or afLer
Lhe lapse of a perlod of more Lhan slx [6] monLhs.
Laches ls fallure or negllgence for an unreasonable and unexplalned lengLh of Llme Lo do
LhaL whlch, by exerclslng due dlllgence, could or should have been done earller. lL ls
negllgence or omlsslon Lo asserL a rlghL wlLhln a reasonable Llme, warranLlng a
presumpLlon LhaL Lhe parLy enLlLled Lo asserL lL elLher has abandoned lL or decllned Lo
asserL lL.
S

ÞeLlLloners, ln Lhelr ConsolldaLed 8eply, explalned Lhe reason for Lhe delay ln Lhe flllng
of Lhe peLlLlon Lhus:
8espondenLs should noL flnd faulL, as Lhey now do [p. 1, Answer, p. 3,
ManlfesLaLlon] wlLh Lhe facL LhaL Lhe ÞeLlLlon was flled on !une 16, 1983,
more Lhan half a year afLer Lhe peLlLloners' premlses had been ralded.
1he cllmaLe of Lhe Llmes has glven peLlLloners no oLher cholce. lf Lhey had
walLed Lhls long Lo brlng Lhelr case Lo courL, lL was because Lhey Lrled aL
flrsL Lo exhausL oLher remedles. 1he evenLs of Lhe pasL eleven flll years
had LaughL Lhem LhaL everyLhlng ln Lhls counLry, from release of publlc
funds Lo release of deLalned persons from cusLody, has become a maLLer
of execuLlve benevolence or largesse
Pence, as soon as Lhey could, peLlLloners, upon suggesLlon of persons
close Lo Lhe ÞresldenL, llke llscal llamlnlano, senL a leLLer Lo ÞresldenL
Marcos, Lhrough counsel AnLonlo CoroneL asklng Lhe reLurn aL leasL of
Lhe prlnLlng equlpmenL and vehlcles. And afLer such a leLLer had been
senL, Lhrough Col. 8alblno v. ulego, Chlef lnLelllgence and Legal Cfflcer of
Lhe ÞresldenLlal SecurlLy Command, Lhey were furLher encouraged Lo
hope LhaL Lhe laLLer would yleld Lhe deslred resulLs.
AfLer walLlng ln valn for flve [3] monLhs, peLlLloners flnally declded Lo
come Lo CourL. [pp. 123-124, 8ollo]
AlLhough Lhe reason glven by peLlLloners may noL be flaLLerlng Lo our [udlclal sysLem,
We flnd no ground Lo punlsh or chasLlse Lhem for an error ln [udgmenL. Cn Lhe conLrary,
Lhe exLra[udlclal efforLs exerLed by peLlLloners qulLe evldenLly negaLe Lhe presumpLlon
LhaL Lhey had abandoned Lhelr rlghL Lo Lhe possesslon of Lhe selzed properLy, Lhereby
refuLlng Lhe charge of laches agalnsL Lhem.
8espondenLs also submlL Lhe Lheory LhaL slnce peLlLloner !ose 8urgos, !r. had used and
marked as evldence some of Lhe selzed documenLs ln Crlmlnal Case no. C- 022872, he ls
now esLopped from challenglng Lhe valldlLy of Lhe search warranLs. We do noL follow
Lhe loglc of respondenLs. 1hese documenLs lawfully belong Lo peLlLloner !ose 8urgos, !r.
and he can do whaLever he pleases wlLh Lhem, wlLhln legal bounds. 1he facL LhaL he has
used Lhem as evldence does noL and cannoL ln any way affecL Lhe valldlLy or lnvalldlLy of
Lhe search warranLs assalled ln Lhls peLlLlon.
Several and dlverse reasons have been advanced by peLlLloners Lo nulllfy Lhe search
warranLs ln quesLlon.
1. ÞeLlLloners faulL respondenL [udge for hls alleged fallure Lo conducL an examlnaLlon
under oaLh or afflrmaLlon of Lhe appllcanL and hls wlLnesses, as mandaLed by Lhe above-
quoLed consLlLuLlonal provlslon as wen as Sec. 4, 8ule 126 of Lhe 8ules of CourL .
6
1hls
ob[ecLlon, however, may properly be consldered mooL and academlc, as peLlLloners
Lhemselves conceded durlng Lhe hearlng on AugusL 9, 1983, LhaL an examlnaLlon had
lndeed been conducLed by respondenL [udge of Col. Abadllla and hls wlLnesses.
2. Search WarranLs no. 20-82[a] and no. 20- 82[b] were used Lo search Lwo dlsLlncL
places: no. 19, 8oad 3, Þro[ecL 6, Cuezon ClLy and 784 unlLs C & u, 8MS 8ulldlng,
Cuezon Avenue, Cuezon ClLy, respecLlvely. Cb[ecLlon ls lnLerposed Lo Lhe execuLlon of
Search WarranL no. 20-82[b] aL Lhe laLLer address on Lhe ground LhaL Lhe Lwo search
warranLs plnpolnLed only one place where peLlLloner !ose 8urgos, !r. was allegedly
keeplng and conceallng Lhe arLlcles llsLed Lhereln, l.e., no. 19, 8oad 3, Þro[ecL 6, Cuezon
ClLy. 1hls asserLlon ls based on LhaL porLlon of Search WarranL no. 20- 82[b] whlch
sLaLes:
Whlch have been used, and are belng used as lnsLrumenLs and means of
commlLLlng Lhe crlme of subverslon penallzed under Þ.u. 883 as
amended and he ls keeplng and conceallng Lhe same aL 19 8oad 3,
Þro[ecL 6, Cuezon ClLy.
1he defecL polnLed ouL ls obvlously a Lypographlcal error. Þreclsely, Lwo search warranLs
were applled for and lssued because Lhe purpose and lnLenL were Lo search Lwo dlsLlncL
premlses. lL would be qulLe absurd and llloglcal for respondenL [udge Lo have lssued Lwo
warranLs lnLended for one and Lhe same place. 8esldes, Lhe addresses of Lhe places
soughL Lo be searched were speclflcally seL forLh ln Lhe appllcaLlon, and slnce lL was Col.
Abadllla hlmself who headed Lhe Leam whlch execuLed Lhe search warranLs, Lhe
amblgulLy LhaL mlghL have arlsen by reason of Lhe Lypographlcal error ls more apparenL
Lhan real. 1he facL ls LhaL Lhe place for whlch Search WarranL no. 20- 82[b] was applled
for was 728 unlLs C & u, 8MS 8ulldlng, Cuezon Avenue, Cuezon ClLy, whlch address
appeared ln Lhe openlng paragraph of Lhe sald warranL.
7
Cbvlously Lhls ls Lhe same
place LhaL respondenL [udge had ln mlnd when he lssued WarranL no. 20-82 [b].
ln Lhe deLermlnaLlon of wheLher a search warranL descrlbes Lhe premlses Lo be
searched wlLh sufflclenL parLlcularlLy, lL has been held "LhaL Lhe execuLlng offlcer's prlor
knowledge as Lo Lhe place lnLended ln Lhe warranL ls relevanL. 1hls would seem Lo be
especlally Lrue where Lhe execuLlng offlcer ls Lhe afflanL on whose affldavlL Lhe warranL
had lssued, and when he knows LhaL Lhe [udge who lssued Lhe warranL lnLended Lhe
bulldlng descrlbed ln Lhe affldavlL, And lL has also been sald LhaL Lhe execuLlng offlcer
may look Lo Lhe affldavlL ln Lhe offlclal courL flle Lo resolve an amblgulLy ln Lhe warranL
as Lo Lhe place Lo be searched."
8

3. AnoLher ground relled upon Lo annul Lhe search warranLs ls Lhe facL LhaL alLhough Lhe
warranLs were dlrecLed agalnsL !ose 8urgos, !r. alone, arLlcles b belonglng Lo hls co-
peLlLloners !ose 8urgos, Sr., 8ayanl Sorlano and Lhe !. 8urgos Medla Servlces, lnc. were
selzed.
SecLlon 2, 8ule 126 of Lhe 8ules of CourL, enumeraLes Lhe personal properLles LhaL may
be selzed under a search warranL, Lo wlL:
Sec. 2. Þersonal ÞroperLy Lo be selzed. - A search warranL may be lssued
for Lhe search and selzure of Lhe followlng personal properLy:
[a] ÞroperLy sub[ecL of Lhe offense,
[b] ÞroperLy sLolen or embezzled and oLher proceeds or
frulLs of Lhe offense, and
[c] ÞroperLy used or lnLended Lo be used as Lhe means of
commlLLlng an offense.
1he above rule does noL requlre LhaL Lhe properLy Lo be selzed should be owned by Lhe
person agalnsL whom Lhe search warranL ls dlrecLed. lL may or may noL be owned by
hlm. ln facL, under subsecLlon [b] of Lhe above-quoLed SecLlon 2, one of Lhe properLles
LhaL may be selzed ls sLolen properLy. necessarlly, sLolen properLy musL be owned by
one oLher Lhan Lhe person ln whose possesslon lL may be aL Lhe Llme of Lhe search and
selzure. Cwnershlp, Lherefore, ls of no consequence, and lL ls sufflclenL LhaL Lhe person
agalnsL whom Lhe warranL ls dlrecLed has conLrol or possesslon of Lhe properLy soughL
Lo be selzed, as peLlLloner !ose 8urgos, !r. was alleged Lo have ln relaLlon Lo Lhe arLlcles
and properLy selzed under Lhe warranLs.
4. nelLher ls Lhere merlL ln peLlLloners' asserLlon LhaL real properLles were selzed under
Lhe dlspuLed warranLs. under ArLlcle 413[3] of Lhe Clvll Code of Lhe Þhlllpplnes,
"machlnery, recepLables, lnsLrumenLs or lmplemenLs lnLended by Lhe owner of Lhe
LenemenL for an lndusLry or works whlch may be carrled on ln a bulldlng or on a plece of
land and whlch Lend dlrecLly Lo meeL Lhe needs of Lhe sald lndusLry or works" are
consldered lmmovable properLy. ln ;1'1# <1=9>%% 2#( '( 21*0>%%#
9
where Lhls legal
provlslon was lnvoked, Lhls CourL ruled LhaL machlnery whlch ls movable by naLure
becomes lmmoblllzed when placed by Lhe owner of Lhe LenemenL, properLy or planL,
buL noL so when placed by a LenanL, usufrucLuary, or any oLher person havlng only a
Lemporary rlghL, unless such person acLed as Lhe agenL of Lhe owner.
ln Lhe case aL bar, peLlLloners do noL clalm Lo be Lhe owners of Lhe land and/or bulldlng
on whlch Lhe machlnerles were placed. 1hls belng Lhe case, Lhe machlnerles ln quesLlon,
whlle ln facL bolLed Lo Lhe ground remaln movable properLy suscepLlble Lo selzure under
a search warranL.
3. 1he quesLloned search warranLs were lssued by respondenL [udge upon appllcaLlon of
Col. 8olando n. Abadllla lnLelllgence Cfflcer of Lhe Þ.C. MeLrocom.
10
1he appllcaLlon
was accompanled by Lhe !olnL AffldavlL of Ale[andro M. CuLlerrez and Þedro u.
1ango, 11 members of Lhe MeLrocom lnLelllgence and SecurlLy Croup under Col.
Abadllla whlch conducLed a survelllance of Lhe premlses prlor Lo Lhe flllng of Lhe
appllcaLlon for Lhe search warranLs on uecember 7, 1982.
lL ls conLended by peLlLloners, however, LhaL Lhe abovemenLloned documenLs could noL
have provlded sufflclenL basls for Lhe flndlng of a probable cause upon whlch a warranL
may valldly lssue ln accordance wlLh SecLlon 3, ArLlcle lv of Lhe 1973 ConsLlLuLlon whlch
provldes:
SLC. 3. ... and no search warranL or warranL of arresL shall lssue excepL
upon probable cause Lo be deLermlned by Lhe [udge, or such oLher
responslble offlcer as may be auLhorlzed by law, afLer examlnaLlon under
oaLh or afflrmaLlon of Lhe complalnanL and Lhe wlLnesses he may
produce, and parLlcularly descrlblng Lhe place Lo be searched and Lhe
persons or Lhlngs Lo be selzed.
We flnd peLlLloners' Lhesls lmpressed wlLh merlL. Þrobable cause for a search ls deflned
as such facLs and clrcumsLances whlch would lead a reasonably dlscreeL and prudenL
man Lo belleve LhaL an offense has been commlLLed and LhaL Lhe ob[ecLs soughL ln
connecLlon wlLh Lhe offense are ln Lhe place soughL Lo be searched. And when Lhe
search warranL applled for ls dlrecLed agalnsL a newspaper publlsher or edlLor ln
connecLlon wlLh Lhe publlcaLlon of subverslve maLerlals, as ln Lhe case aL bar, Lhe
appllcaLlon and/or lLs supporLlng affldavlLs musL conLaln a speclflcaLlon, sLaLlng wlLh
parLlcularlLy Lhe alleged subverslve maLerlal he has publlshed or ls lnLendlng Lo publlsh.
Mere generallzaLlon wlll noL sufflce. 1hus, Lhe broad sLaLemenL ln Col. Abadllla's
appllcaLlon LhaL peLlLloner "ls ln possesslon or has ln hls conLrol prlnLlng equlpmenL and
oLher paraphernalla, news publlcaLlons and oLher documenLs whlch were used and are
all conLlnuously belng used as a means of commlLLlng Lhe offense of subverslon
punlshable under ÞresldenLlal uecree 883, as amended ..." 12 ls a mere concluslon of
law and does noL saLlsfy Lhe requlremenLs of probable cause. 8erefL of such parLlculars
as would [usLlfy a flndlng of Lhe exlsLence of probable cause, sald allegaLlon cannoL
serve as basls for Lhe lssuance of a search warranL and lL was a grave error for
respondenL [udge Lo have done so.
Lqually lnsufflclenL as basls for Lhe deLermlnaLlon of probable cause ls Lhe sLaLemenL
conLalned ln Lhe [olnL affldavlL of Ale[andro M. CuLlerrez and Þedro u. 1ango, "LhaL Lhe
evldence gaLhered and collaLed by our unlL clearly shows LhaL Lhe premlses above-
menLloned and Lhe arLlcles and Lhlngs above-descrlbed were used and are conLlnuously
belng used for subverslve acLlvlLles ln consplracy wlLh, and Lo promoLe Lhe ob[ecLlve of,
lllegal organlzaLlons such as Lhe LlghL-a-llre MovemenL, MovemenL for lree Þhlllpplnes,
and Aprll 6 MovemenL." 13
ln mandaLlng LhaL "no warranL shall lssue excepL upon probable cause Lo be deLermlned
by Lhe [udge, ... afLer examlnaLlon under oaLh or afflrmaLlon of Lhe complalnanL and Lhe
wlLnesses he may produce, 14 Lhe ConsLlLuLlon requlres no less Lhan personal
knowledge by Lhe complalnanL or hls wlLnesses of Lhe facLs upon whlch Lhe lssuance of
a search warranL may be [usLlfled. ln?%'1-"6 '( 2#,-0 #@ A>-*0 B:*01:C"/ 1S Lhls CourL ruled
LhaL "Lhe oaLh requlred musL refer Lo Lhe LruLh of Lhe facLs wlLhln Lhe personal
knowledge of Lhe peLlLloner or hls wlLnesses, because Lhe purpose Lhereof ls Lo
convlnce Lhe commlLLlng maglsLraLe, noL Lhe lndlvldual maklng Lhe affldavlL and seeklng
Lhe lssuance of Lhe warranL, of Lhe exlsLence of probable cause." As couched, Lhe
quoLed avermenL ln sald [olnL affldavlL flled before respondenL [udge hardly meeLs Lhe
LesL of sufflclency esLabllshed by Lhls CourL ln Alvarez case.
AnoLher facLor whlch makes Lhe search warranLs under conslderaLlon consLlLuLlonally
ob[ecLlonable ls LhaL Lhey are ln Lhe naLure of general warranLs. 1he search warranLs
descrlbe Lhe arLlcles soughL Lo be selzed ln Lhls wlse:
1] All prlnLlng equlpmenL, paraphernalla, paper, lnk, phoLo (equlpmenL,
LypewrlLers, cablneLs, Lables, communlcaLlons/recordlng equlpmenL, Lape
recorders, dlcLaphone and Lhe llke used and/or connecLed ln Lhe prlnLlng
of Lhe "WL lC8uM" newspaper and any and all documenLs
communlcaLlon, leLLers and facslmlle of prlnLs relaLed Lo Lhe "WL
lC8uM" newspaper.
2] Subverslve documenLs, pamphleLs, leafleLs, books, and oLher
publlcaLlon Lo promoLe Lhe ob[ecLlves and plurposes of Lhe subverslve
organlzaLlon known as MovemenL for lree Þhlllpplnes, LlghL-a-llre
MovemenL and Aprll 6 MovemenL, and,
3] MoLor vehlcles used ln Lhe dlsLrlbuLlon/clrculaLlon of Lhe "WL lC8uM"
and oLher subverslve maLerlals and propaganda, more parLlcularly,
1] 1oyoLa-Corolla, colored yellow wlLh ÞlaLe no. nkA 892,
2] uA1Sun plck-up colored whlLe wlLh ÞlaLe no. nkv 969
3] A dellvery Lruck wlLh ÞlaLe no. n8S 324,
4] 1C?C1A-1AMA8AW, colored whlLe wlLh ÞlaLe no. Þ8Þ
663, and,
3] 1C?C1A Pl-Lux, plck-up Lruck wlLh ÞlaLe no. nCv 427
wlLh marklng "8agong Sllang."
ln <01:@#-4 '( <010" #@ D"E1* 16 Lhe search warranL whlch auLhorlzed Lhe search for
"books, records, pamphleLs, cards, recelpLs, llsLs, memoranda, plcLures, recordlngs and
oLher wrlLLen lnsLrumenLs concernlng Lhe CommunlsL ÞarLy ln 1exas," was declared vold
by Lhe u.S. Supreme CourL for belng Loo general. ln llke manner, dlrecLlons Lo "selze any
evldence ln connecLlonwlLh Lhe vlolaLlon of SuC 13-3703 or oLherwlse" have been held
Loo general, and LhaL porLlon of a search warranL whlch auLhorlzed Lhe selzure of any
"paraphernalla whlch could be used Lo vlolaLe Sec. 34-197 of Lhe ConnecLlcuL Ceneral
SLaLuLes [Lhe sLaLuLe deallng wlLh Lhe crlme of consplracy]" was held Lo be a general
warranL, and Lherefore lnvalld. 17 1he descrlpLlon of Lhe arLlcles soughL Lo be selzed
under Lhe search warranLs ln quesLlon cannoL be characLerlzed dlfferenLly.
ln Lhe SLanford case, Lhe u.S. Supreme CourLs calls Lo mlnd a noLable chapLer ln Lngllsh
hlsLory: Lhe era of dlsaccord beLween Lhe 1udor CovernmenL and Lhe Lngllsh Þress,
when "Cfflcers of Lhe Crown were glven rovlng commlsslons Lo search where Lhey
pleased ln order Lo suppress and desLroy Lhe llLeraLure of dlssenL boLh CaLhollc and
ÞurlLan 8eference hereln Lo such hlsLorlcal eplsode would noL be relevanL for lL ls noL
Lhe pollcy of our governmenL Lo suppress any newspaper or publlcaLlon LhaL speaks wlLh
"Lhe volce of non-conformlLy" buL poses no clear and lmmlnenL danger Lo sLaLe securlLy.
As hereLofore sLaLed, Lhe premlses searched were Lhe buslness and prlnLlng offlces of
Lhe "MeLropollLan Mall" and Lhe "We lorum newspapers. As a consequence of Lhe
search and selzure, Lhese premlses were padlocked and sealed, wlLh Lhe furLher resulL
LhaL Lhe prlnLlng and publlcaLlon of sald newspapers were dlsconLlnued.
Such closure ls ln Lhe naLure of prevlous resLralnL or censorshlp abhorrenL Lo Lhe
freedom of Lhe press guaranLeed under Lhe fundamenLal law, 18 and consLlLuLes a
vlrLual denlal of peLlLloners' freedom Lo express Lhemselves ln prlnL. 1hls sLaLe of belng
ls paLenLly anaLhemaLlc Lo a democraLlc framework where a free, alerL and even mlllLanL
press ls essenLlal for Lhe pollLlcal enllghLenmenL and growLh of Lhe clLlzenry.
8espondenLs would [usLlfy Lhe conLlnued seallng of Lhe prlnLlng machlnes on Lhe ground
LhaL Lhey have been sequesLered under SecLlon 8 of ÞresldenLlal uecree no. 883, as
amended, whlch auLhorlzes "Lhe sequesLraLlon of Lhe properLy of any person, naLural or
arLlflclal, engaged ln subverslve acLlvlLles agalnsL Lhe governmenL and lLs duly
consLlLuLed auLhorlLles ... ln accordance wlLh lmplemenLlng rules and regulaLlons as may
be lssued by Lhe SecreLary of naLlonal uefense." lL ls doubLful however, lf sequesLraLlon
could valldly be effecLed ln vlew of Lhe absence of any lmplemenLlng rules and
regulaLlons promulgaLed by Lhe MlnlsLer of naLlonal uefense.
8esldes, ln Lhe uecember 10, 1982 lssue of Lhe ;1>%8 FE$-"**, lL was reporLed LhaL no
less Lhan ÞresldenL Marcos hlmself denled Lhe requesL of Lhe mlllLary auLhorlLles Lo
sequesLer Lhe properLy selzed from peLlLloners on uecember 7, 1982. 1hus:
1he ÞresldenL denled a requesL flled by governmenL prosecuLors for
sequesLraLlon of Lhe WL lC8uM newspaper and lLs prlnLlng presses,
accordlng Lo lnformaLlon MlnlsLer Cregorlo S. Cendana.
Cn Lhe basls of courL orders, governmenL agenLs wenL Lo Lhe We lorum
offlces ln Cuezon ClLy and Look a deLalled lnvenLory of Lhe equlpmenL
and all maLerlals ln Lhe premlses.
Cendana sald LhaL because of Lhe denlal Lhe newspaper and lLs
equlpmenL remaln aL Lhe dlsposal of Lhe owners, sub[ecL Lo Lhe dlscreLlon
of Lhe courL. 19
1haL Lhe properLy selzed on uecember 7, 1982 had noL been sequesLered ls furLher
conflrmed by Lhe reply of Lhen lorelgn MlnlsLer Carlos Þ. 8omulo Lo Lhe leLLer daLed
lebruary 10, 1983 of u.S. Congressman 1ony Þ. Pall addressed Lo ÞresldenL Marcos,
expresslng alarm over Lhe "WL lC8uM " case.
20
ln Lhls reply daLed lebruary 11, 1983,
MlnlsLer 8omulo sLaLed:
2. ConLrary Lo reporLs, ÞresldenL Marcos Lurned down Lhe
recommendaLlon of our auLhorlLles Lo close Lhe paper's prlnLlng faclllLles
and conflscaLe Lhe equlpmenL and maLerlals lL uses.
21

IN VILW CI 1nL ICkLGCING, Search Warrants Nos. 20-82[a] and 20-82[b] |ssued by
respondent [udge on December 7, 1982 are hereby dec|ared nu|| and vo|d and are
accord|ng|y set as|de. 1he prayer for a wr|t of mandatory |n[unct|on for the return of
the se|zed art|c|es |s hereby granted and a|| art|c|es se|zed thereunder are hereby
ordered re|eased to pet|t|oners. No costs.
SC CkDLkLD.

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