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Secretary of National Defense vs. Manalo G.R. No.

October 7, 2008
Facts: The brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, farmers from Bulacan who were
suspected of being members of the New Peoples Army, were forcibly taken from their
home, detained in various locations, and tortured by CAFGU and military units. After several
days in captivity, the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo recognized their abductors as
members of the armed forces led by General Jovito Palparan. They also learned that they
were being held in place for their brother, Bestre, a suspected leader of the communist
insurgents. While in captivity, they met other desaperacidos (including the still-missing
University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan) who were also
suspected of being communist insurgents and members of the NPA. After eighteen months
of restrained liberty, torture and other dehumanizing acts, the brothers were able to escape
and file a petition for the writ of amparo.
Issue: Whether or not the right to freedom from fear is or can be protected by existing
Held: Yes. The right to the security of person is not merely a textual hook in Article III,
Section 2 of the Constitution. At its core is the immunity of ones person against
government intrusion. The right to security of person is freedom from fear, a guarantee of
bodily and psychological integrity and security.
To whom may the oppressed, the little ones, the desaperacidos, run to, if the Orwellian
sword of the State, wielded recklessly by the military or under the guise of police power, is
directed against them? The law thus gives the remedy of the writ of amparo, in addition to
the rights and liberties already protected by the Bill of Rights. Amparo, literally meaning to
protect, is borne out of the long history of Latin American and Philippine human rights
abusesoften perpetrated by the armed forces against farmers thought to be communist
insurgents, anarchists or brigands. The writ serves to both prevent and cure extralegal
killings, enforced disappearances, and threats thereof, giving the powerless a powerful
remedy to ensure their rights, liberties, and dignity.Amparo, a triumph of natural law that
has been embodied in positive law, gives voice to the preys of silent guns and prisoners
behind secret walls.

07 October 2008
NATURE: Petition for Review on Certiorari
Supreme Court: Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order


Supreme Court: Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to treat their Existing Petition as Amparo
Court of Appeals: Upon order of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals summarily heard
the Petition of Amparo. Thereafter, the Court of Appeals issued a judgment which is the subject of
the present Petition for Review on Certiorari.
On 14 February 2006, at past noon, Raymond Manalo (hereafter referred to as Raymond) and
Reynaldo Manalo (hereafter referred to as Reynaldo) were abducted by military men belonging to the
Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) on the suspicion that they were members and
supporters of the New Peoples Army (NPA). After eighteen (18) months of detention and torture, the
brothers escaped on 13 August 2007.
On 23 August 2007, Raymond and Reynaldo filed a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary
Restraining Order before the Supreme Court to stop the military officers and agents from depriving
them of their right to liberty and other basic rights. In a Resolution dated 24 August 2007, the Supreme
Court ordered the Secretary of the Department of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines (AFP), their agents, representatives, or persons acting in their stead, and
further enjoined them from causing the arrest of Raymond and Reynaldo. Forthwith, they filed a
Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to Treat Existing Petition as Amparo Petition, to Admit Supporting
Affidavits, and to Grant Interim and Final Amparo Reliefs.
While the aforementioned case was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on 24 October
2007. Raymond and Reynaldo subsequently filed a manifestation and omnibus motion to treat their
existing peti tion as amparo petition.
On 25 October 2007, the Supreme Court resolved to treat the 23 August 2007 Petition as a petition
under the Amparo Rule. The Supreme Court likewise granted the Writ of Amparo and remanded the
petition to the Court of Appeals to conduct the summary hearing and decide the petition.
On 26 December 2007, the Court of Appeals granted the privilege of the writ of amparo. The Court of
Appeals ordered the Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFP to furnish the
Manalos and the court with all official and unofficial investigation reports as to the custody of Raymond
and Reynaldo, confirm the present places of official assignment of two military officials involved, and
produce all medical reports and records of Raymond and Reynaldo while under military custody.
Aggrieved, the Secretary of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFP filed an appeal with the
Supreme Court.

Whether or not statements from the victims themselves is sufficient for amparo petitions.
Whether or not actual deprivation of liberty is necessary for the right to security of a person
may be invoked.
It depends on the credibility and candidness of the victims in their statements.

Effect of the nature of enforced disappearance and torture to the quantum of evidence
required With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance and the torture perpetrated on the
victim during detention, it logically holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will
come from the victims themselves, and the veracity of their account will depend on their credibility
and candidness in their written and/or oral statements. Their statements can be corroborated by other
evidence such as physical evidence left by the torture they suffered or landmarks they can identify in
the places where they were detained. Where powerful military officers are implicated, the hesitation of
witnesses to surface and testify against them comes as no surprise.
Permutations of the Right to Security A closer look at the right to security of person would yield
various permutations of the exercise of this right. First, the right to security of person is freedom from
fear. In its whereas clauses, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that a
world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want
has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people. Some scholars postulate that
freedom from fear is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an individual international
human right. It is the right to security of person as the word security itself means freedom from
fear. Article 3 of the UDHR provides, viz: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or security.
Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, ones body cannot be
searched or invaded without a search warrant. Physical injuries inflicted in the context of extralegal
killings and enforced disappearances constitute more than a search or invasion of the body. It may
constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical intrusion. As the degree of
physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in criminal law, physical injuries
constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to the bodily integrity or security of a
Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of ones rights by the government. In
the context of the writ of amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the right to life and liberty
under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from
threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under Article III, Section 2. The right to
security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State guarantees full respect
for human rights under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief
guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of
person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford protection to these rights especially when
they are under threat. Protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the
government apparatus to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances
(or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice.

Freedom from fear as a right In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, freedom from fear
is the right and any threat to the rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state
of mind, a reaction; threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the same stimulus can
range from being baseless to well-founded as people react differently. The degree of fear can vary from
one person to another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of character or
past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the amparo context, it is more correct to say that the right
to security is actually the freedom from threat. Viewed in this light, the threatened with violation
Clause in the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to security
mentioned in the earlier part of the provision.
Deprivation of liberty is not necessary before the right to security may be invoked While
the right to security of person appears in conjunction with the right to liberty under Article 9, the
Committee has ruled that the right to security of person can exist independently of the right to liberty.
In other words, there need not necessarily be a deprivation of liberty for the right to security of person
to be invoked.
The Supreme Court dismissed the petition and affirmed the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 26
December 2007.
BALAO et al vs. GMA
G.R. No. 186050
December 13, 2011
FACTS: The siblings of James Balao, and Longid (petitioners), filed with the RTC of La Trinidad,
Benguet a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Amparo in favor of James Balao who was abducted by
unidentified armed men earlier. Named respondents in the petition were then President GMA, Exec Sec
Eduardo Ermita, Defense Sec Gilberto Teodoro, Jr., ILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno, National Security
Adviser (NSA) Norberto Gonzales, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander . Yano, PNP Police Director
General Jesus Verzosa, among others.
James M. Balao is a Psychology and Economics graduate of the UP-Baguio. In 1984, he was among
those who founded the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), a coalition of NGOs working for the cause of
indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region.
According to witnesses testimony, James was abducted by unidentified men, saying they were
policemen and were arresting him for a drugs case and then made to ride a white van.
petitioners prayed for the issuance of a writ of amparo and likewise prayed for (1) an inspection order
for the inspection of at least 11 military and police facilities which have been previously reported as
detention centers for activists abducted by military and police operatives; (2) a production order for all
documents that contain evidence relevant to the petition, particularly the Order of Battle List and any
record or dossier respondents have on James; and (3) a witness protection order.
the RTC issued the assailed judgment, disposing as follows:
ISSUE a Writ of Amparo Ordering the respondents to (a) disclose where James is detained or confined,
(b) to release James considering his unlawful detention since his abduction and (c) to cease and desist
from further inflicting harm upon his person; and

for failure of herein Petitioners to comply with the stringent provisions on the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo and substantiate the same
ISSUE: WON the totality of evidence satisfies the degree of proof required by the Amparo Rule to
establish an enforced disappearance.
HELD: NO; The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was promulgated on October 24, 2007 amidst rising
incidence of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. It was formulated in the exercise of
this Courts expanded rule-making power for the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights
enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, albeit limited to these two situations. Extralegal killings refer to
killings committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings.
On the other hand, enforced disappearances are attended by the following characteristics: an arrest,
detention, or abduction of a person by a government official or organized groups or private individuals
acting with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to disclose
the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty
which places such person outside the protection of law.
The trial court gave considerable weight to the discussion in the petition of briefing papers supposedly
obtained from the AFP indicating that the anti-insurgency campaign of the military under the
administration of President Arroyo included targeting of identified legal organizations under the NDF,
which included the CPA, and their members, as enemies of the state.
We hold that such documented practice of targeting activists in the militarys counter-insurgency
program by itself does not fulfill the evidentiary standard provided in the Amparo Rule to establish an
enforced disappearance.
In the case of Roxas v. Macapagal-Arroyo, the Court noted that the similarity between the
circumstances attending a particular case of abduction with those surrounding previous instances of
enforced disappearances does not, necessarily, carry sufficient weight to prove that the government
orchestrated such abduction. Accordingly, the trial court in this case cannot simply infer government
involvement in the abduction of James from past similar incidents in which the victims also worked or
affiliated with the CPA and other left-leaning groups.
The petition further premised government complicity in the abduction of James on the very positions
held by the respondents. The Court in Rubrico v. Macapagal-Arroyo had the occasion to expound on
the doctrine of command responsibility and why it has little bearing, if at all, in amparo proceedings.
It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to hold military/police
commanders liable for extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats, may be made
applicable to this jurisdiction on the theory that the command responsibility doctrine now constitutes a
principle of international law or customary international law in accordance with the incorporation
clause of the Constitution. Still, it would be inappropriate to apply to these proceedings the doctrine of
command responsibility, as the CA seemed to have done, as a form of criminal complicity through
omission, for individual respondents criminal liability, if there be any, is beyond the reach of amparo.

In other words, the Court does not rule in such proceedings on any issue of criminal culpability, even if
incidentally a crime or an infraction of an administrative rule may have been committed. As the Court
stressed in Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo (Manalo), the writ of amparo was conceived to
provide expeditious and effective procedural relief against violations or threats of violation of the basic
rights to life, liberty, and security of persons; the corresponding amparo suit, however, is not an
action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt x x x or administrative
liability requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings. Of the same
tenor, and by way of expounding on the nature and role of amparo, is what the Court said in Razon v.
It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance [threats thereof or
extrajudicial killings]; it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced
disappearance [threats thereof or extrajudicial killings] for purposes of imposing the appropriate
remedies to address the disappearance [or extrajudicial killings].
As the law now stands, 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.
The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on the matter; the determination of what
acts are criminal x x x are matters of substantive law that only the Legislature has the power to enact.
x x x[
Assessing the evidence on record, we find that the participation in any manner of military and police
authorities in the abduction of James has not been adequately proven. The identities of the abductors
have not been established, much less their link to any military or police unit. There is likewise no
concrete evidence indicating that James is being held or detained upon orders of or with acquiescence
of government agents. Consequently, the trial court erred in granting amparo reliefs. Such
pronouncement of responsibility on the part of public respondents cannot be made given the
insufficiency of evidence. However, we agree with the trial court in finding that the actions taken by
respondent officials are very limited, superficial and one-sided. Its candid and forthright observations
on the efforts exerted by the respondents are borne by the evidence on record.
An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give support or strengthen the claim of a petitioner
in an amparo petition, in order to aid the court before making a decision. A basic requirement before
an amparo court may grant an inspection order is that the place to be inspected is reasonably
determinable from the allegations of the party seeking the order. In this case, the issuance of
inspection order was properly denied since the petitioners specified several military and police
establishments based merely on the allegation that the testimonies of victims and witnesses in
previous incidents of similar abductions involving activists disclosed that those premises were used as
detention centers. In the same vein, the prayer for issuance of a production order was predicated on
petitioners bare allegation that it obtained confidential information from an unidentified military
source, that the name of James was included in the so-called Order of Battle. Indeed, the trial court
could not have sanctioned any fishing expedition by precipitate issuance of inspection and production
orders on the basis of insufficient claims of one party.

SC clarifies use of amparo writ

The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday cautioned lawyers in pleading
for a writ of amparo and reiterated that the said writ eyed as a
counterpoint to state sponsored abductions and killings cannot be
used for commecial interests.
In its decision the high court said the privilege of the writ of
amparo is an extraordinary remedy adopted to address the
special concerns of extra-legal killings and enforced
disappearances. Accordingly, the remedy ought to be resorted to
and granted judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the amparo Rule
be diluted and undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo
petitions for purposes less than the desire to secure amparo
reliefs and protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated
The ruling upheld a lower court decision on July 3, 2008 which
found a petitioners claims were based on hearsay, speculations,
surmises and conjectures and that respondents had sufficiently
explained the reason behind the letters of invitation. It then denied
petitioners the privilege of the writ of amparo.
The case arose from rumors that circulated naming the
petitioners the spouses Nerio and Soledad Pador as marijuana
planters. They were subjected to a raid and later invited by the
respondents led by Barangay Captain Bernabe Arcayan for a
conference. Instead of attending the conference, the petitioners
opted to refer the invitation letters to their counsel, who had

advised them not to attend and instead, sent a letter-reply.

The petitioners claimed the conduct of the raid, the invitation
letters, and the possibility of more harassment, false accusations
and possible violence from respondents require the issuance of
the writ of amparo.
After examining the contents of the petition the regional trial court
issued the writ and required the baranggay officials respondents
to make a verified return. Respondents submitted their Return,
essentially submitting that it was petitioner Pador who had
threatened others and that they had taken the threats seriously
and, for that reason, the respondents had acted.
In upholding the lower courts ruling against the issuance of a
decision the high court pointed out that under Section 1 of the
Rule on the writ of amparo, the grounds that may be relied upon
in a petition include a threatened violation of the right to life,
liberty and security.
Thus, to be entitled to the privilege of the writ, petitioners must
prove by substantial evidence that their rights to life, liberty, and
security are being violated or threatened by an unlawful act or
The court pointed out that the petition is anchored on the following
allegations: First, that respondents conducted a raid on their
property based on information that they were cultivators of
marijuana; second, that respondentsent them invitation letters
without stating the purpose of the invitation; third, that respondent
refused to receive petitoners letter-reply; and fourth, that
petitioners anticipate the possibility of more harassment cases,
false accusations and potential violence from respondents. All
these are insufficient for a grant of the privilege of the writ.
The alleged intrustion into petitioners property is an insufficient

ground to grant the privilege of the writ of amparo. The Court has
ruled in Tapuz v. Del Rosario that the writ does not envisage the
protection of concerns that are purely property or commercial in
On the other allegations, there is no showing that these violate or
threaten the constitutional rights to life, liberty or security,the SC

As earlier pointed out, amparo proceedings determine (a) responsibility, or the extent the actors
have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action or
omission, in an enforced disappearance, and (b) accountability, or the measure of remedies that
should be addressed to those (i) who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without
bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or (ii) who are
imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of
disclosure; or (iii) those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence
in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. Thus, although there is no determination of
criminal, civil or administrative liabilities, the doctrine of command responsibility may nevertheless be
applied to ascertain responsibility and accountability within these foregoing definitions.
Thus, the doctrine of command responsibility may be used in amparo proceedings to the extent of
identifying the superiors accountable for the enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing, and
those who may be directed to implement the processes and reliefs in the amparo case.