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Art 3, Sec. 15. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in
cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.
No. L-33964; December 17, 1971
Concepcion, C.J.
In the evening of August 21, 1971, at about 9 p.m., while the Liberal Party of the
Philippines was holding a public meeting at Plaza Miranda, Manila, for the presentation of its
candidates in the general elections scheduled for November 8, 1971, two hand grenades were
thrown at the platform where said candidates and other persons were. Eight persons were killed
and many more injured. Proclamation 889 was issued by the President suspending privilege of
writ of habeas corpus stating that there is a conspiracy of rebellion and insurrection in order to
forcibly seize political power. Petitions for writ of habeas corpus were filed by persons (13) who
have been arrested without a warrant.
It was stated that one of the safeguards of the proclamation was that it is to be applied to
persons caught in flagrante delicto. Incidentally, Proc. 889-A was issued as an amendment,
inserting the word actually staging. Proc. 889-B was also issued lifting the suspension of
privilege in 27 provinces, 3 sub-provinces and 26 cities. Proc. 889-C was issued restoring the
suspension in 13 provinces and cities(mostly in Mindanao). Proc. 889-D further lifted the
suspension in 7 provinces and 4 cities. Only 18 provinces and sub-provinces and 2 cities whose
privilege was suspended. Petitioners maintained that Proclamation No. 889 did not declare the
existence of actual "invasion insurrection or rebellion or imminent danger thereof, however it
became moot and academic since it was amended. Petitioners further contend that public safety
did not require the issuance of proclamations stating: (a) that there is no rebellion; (b) that, prior
to and at the time of the suspension of the privilege, the Government was functioning normally, as
were the courts; (c) that no untoward incident, confirmatory of an alleged July-August Plan, has
actually taken place after August 21, 1971; (d) that the President's alleged apprehension,
because of said plan, is non-existent and unjustified; and (e) that the Communist forces in the
Philippines are too small and weak to jeopardize public safety to such extent as to require the
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
A resolution was issued by majority of the Court having tentatively arrived at a consensus
that it may inquire in order to satisfy itself of the existence of the factual bases for the
proclamations. Now the Court resolves after conclusive decision reached by majority.
Issue: Whether or not the authority to decide whether the exigency has arisen requiring
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus belongs to the President and his decision
is final and conclusive upon the courts and upon all other persons.
Whether or Not public safety require the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
decreed in Proclamation No. 889-A.
No. The President has authority however it is subject to judicial review. Two conditions
must concur for the valid exercise of the authority to suspend the privilege to the writ (a) there
must be "invasion, insurrection, or rebellion" or "imminent danger thereof," and (b) "public safety"
must require the suspension of the privilege. President has three (3) courses of action: (a) to call
out the armed forces; (b) to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; and (c) to place
the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. He had, already, called out the armed

forces, proved inadequate. Of the two other alternatives, the suspension of the privilege is the
least harsh.
Petitioners contention that CPP-NPA has no ability, is negatived by the killing of 5 mayors, 20
barrio captains and 3 chiefs of police; that there were fourteen (14) meaningful bombing incidents
in the Greater Manila Area in 1970. CPP has managed to infiltrate or establish and control nine
major labor organizations; has exploited the (11) major student or youth organizations; about
thirty (30) mass organizations actively advancing the CPP.