You are on page 1of 5

Marcos vs.

Manglapus- Right to Travel


G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989
By: AttyDara
Facts:

In February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent "people power"
revolution and forced into exile. In his stead, Corazon C. Aquino was declared President of the Republic under a
revolutionary government. Her ascension to and consolidation of power have not been unchallenged.
The failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of Mr. Marcos, the takeover of television station
Channel 7 by rebel troops led by Col. Canlas with the support of "Marcos loyalists" and the unsuccessful plot of
the Marcos spouses to surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft chartered by a
Lebanese arms dealer [Manila Bulletin, January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the Marcoses to
stir trouble even from afar and to the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their followers in the country.
The ratification of the 1987 Constitution enshrined the victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the
constitutional moorings of Mrs. Aquino's presidency. This did not, however, stop bloody challenges to the
government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the major players in the February Revolution,
led a failed coup that left scores of people, both combatants and civilians, dead. There were several other armed
sorties of lesser significance, but the message they conveyed was the same a split in the ranks of the military
establishment that threatened civilian supremacy over military and brought to the fore the realization that civilian
government could be at the mercy of a fractious military.
But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among rabid followers
of Mr. Marcos. There are also the communist insurgency and the secessionists movement in Mindanao which
gained ground during the rule of Mr. Marcos, to the extent that the communists have set up a parallel government
of their own on the areas they effectively control while the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed
bands. There has been no let up on this groups' determination to wrest power from the government. Not only
through resort to arms but also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreating chaos
and destabilizing the country.
Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation
attributed to Mr. Marcos and his cronies left the economy devastated. The efforts at economic recovery, three
years after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, have yet to show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the
masses, while the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has remained elusive.
Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. But Mrs. Aquino,
considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is
threatened from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly
on the decision to bar the return of Mr. Marcos and his family.

Issue:

Whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution, the President may prohibit the
Marcoses from returning to the Philippines.

Petitioners contention:

The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is
guaranteed under the following provisions of the Bill of Rights, to wit:
o Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any
person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
o

Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be
impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the
interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.

The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because
only a court may do so "within the limits prescribed by law." Nor may the President impair their right to travel
because no law has authorized her to do so. They advance the view that before the right to travel may be
impaired by any authority or agency of the government, there must be legislation to that effect.

The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right of Mr. Marcos and his family to return to the
Philippines is guaranteed.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement
and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to
return to his country.Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which had been ratified by the
Philippines, provides:
Article 12
1. 1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement
and freedom to choose his residence.
2. 2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
3. 3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are
necessary to protect national security, public order (order public), public health or morals or the rights and
freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.
4. 4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.
Respondents argument:

Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights. In support
thereof, they cite Article II of the Constitution, to wit:
o Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may
call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under
conditions provided by law, to render personal, military, or civil service.
o

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the
promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of
democracy.

Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and family from returning to the Philippines for
reasons of national security and public safety has international precedents. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican
Republic, Anastacio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio batista of Cuba, King Farouk
of Egypt, Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among
the deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented by their governments.

Held:

It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines to other
countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right to travel would normally connote. Essentially, the right
involved is the right to return to one's country, a totally distinct right under international law, independent from
although related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a
state, the right to leave a country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. The
Declaration speaks of the "right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art.
13(l)] separately from the "right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." [Art. 13(2).]
On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his
residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave any country, including his own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights
may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals
or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It would therefore be
inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to return to one's country in the same context as those
pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel.
AnaK: Mom i know the truth
Mom: ha?? eto P500 huwag ka lang maingay sa Dad mo!!

Anak: Dad i know the truth

Dad: ha?? eto ang P1000 huwag ka lang maingay sa Mom mo

Anak: (ok pa ito subukan ko nga sa katulong) Inday i know the truth!!!

Inday: SA WAKAS!!! YAKAPIN MO AKO ANAK!!!

The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which
treats only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is our well-considered view that the right to return
may be considered, as a generally accepted principle of international law and, under our Constitution, is part of
the law of the land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution.] However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel
and enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, i.e., against being
"arbitrarily deprived" thereof [Art. 12 (4).]

The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and
protect the people" and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order,the protection of life, liberty, and property, and
the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of
democracy." [Art. II, Secs. 4 and 5.]

Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty
and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide governmental action. But
such does not mean that they are empty words. Thus, in the exercise of presidential functions, in drawing a plan
of government, and in directing implementing action for these plans, or from another point of view, in making any
decision as President of the Republic, the President has to consider these principles, among other things, and
adhere to them.

Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the Philippines, the
President is, under the Constitution, constrained to consider these basic principles in arriving at a decision. More
than that, having sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, the President has the obligation under the
Constitution to protect the people, promote their welfare and advance the national interest. It must be borne in
mind that the Constitution, aside from being an allocation of power is also a social contract whereby the people
have surrendered their sovereign powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers of the
Government exercising the powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers,
the Constitution reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all government authority
emanates from them." [Art. II, Sec. 1.]

The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the country are the
deposed dictator and his family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from whom billions of dollars
believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither
absolute nor inflexible. For the exercise of even the preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although
couched in absolute terms, admits of limits and must be adjusted to the requirements of equally important public
interests.

To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise
of rights of certain individuals. The power involved is the President's residual power to protect the general welfare
of the people. It is founded on the duty of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Theodore
Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the
Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand. It is a power borne by the President's duty to
preserve and defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President's duty to take
care that the laws are faithfully executed.

More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace. The power of
the President to keep the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of
emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence. The President is not only
clothed with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the day-to-day
problems of maintaining peace and order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears
on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in

any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in the commander-in-chief provision. For in
making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the
President's exercising as Commander-in- Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public
order and security.

That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has been recognized
by memembers of the Legislature, and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives
and signed by 103 of its members urging the President to allow Mr. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a
genuine unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to
uncompromising respect for human rights under the Constitution and our laws." The Resolution does not question
the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines, rather, it appeals to the President's
sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his country.

What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the
Philippines cannot be considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode
and the right to travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations
even remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those
residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and correlative to the paramount duty residing in
that office to safeguard and protect general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the
exercise of a broader discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.

Other Issue:

Whether or not the President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction when she determined that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a
serious threat to national interest and welfare and decided to bar their return.

The court finds from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral arguments, and the facts revealed during the
briefing in chambers by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Adviser,
wherein petitioners and respondents were represented, there exist factual bases for the President's decision..
The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from within by a wellorganized communist insurgency, a separatist movement in Mindanao, rightist conspiracies to grab power, urban
terrorism, the murder with impunity of military men, police officers and civilian officials, to mention only a few. The
documented history of the efforts of the Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country, as earlier narrated in
this ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of the Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify
the violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos.

As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be contained. The military establishment has given
assurances that it could handle the threats posed by particular groups. But it is the catalytic effect of the return of the
Marcoses that may prove to be the proverbial final straw that would break the camel's back. With these before her, the
President cannot be said to have acted arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in determining that the return of
the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return.

It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of violence against
the State, that would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the commander-in-chief powers granted her
by the Constitution to suppress or stamp out such violence. The State, acting through the Government, is not
precluded from taking pre- emptive action against threats to its existence if, though still nascent they are perceived as
apt to become serious and direct. Protection of the people is the essence of the duty of government. The preservation
of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the highest order. The President, sworn to
preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws, cannot shirk from that responsibility.

The court cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships
brought about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives,
many of whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize the country, while the Government has barely
scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in
foreign jurisdictions. Then, the court cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the

excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root
causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of common
knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice.

The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the
gains achieved during the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. Given what is within our individual and
common knowledge of the state of the economy, we cannot argue with that determination.

WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of
discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present time and under
present circumstances poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the
Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.