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LANSANG VS.

GARCIA [42 SCRA 448; L-33964; 11 Dec 1971]


Facts:

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 extentas
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.

Issues:
(1) 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.

(2) Whether or Not public safety require the suspension of the privilege of the
writ

Held:

of

habeas corpus decreed

in Proclamation No.

889-A.

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.