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LANSANG VS.

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


1971]
DOCTRINE:
ART VII.
Section 18. The President shall be the Commander-inChief of all armed forces of the Philippines and
whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such
armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence,
invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion,
when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period
not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any
part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight

invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety


requires it.
The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twentyfour hours following such proclamation or suspension,
convene in accordance with its rules without need of a
call.
The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate
proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the
factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate
its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

hours from the proclamation of martial law or the

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation

suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas

of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the

corpus, the President shall submit a report in person

civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the

or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting

conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and

jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its

agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to

Members in regular or special session, may revoke

function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of

such proclamation or suspension, which revocation

the writ of habeas corpus.

shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the


initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the
same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension
for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the

The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas


corpus shall apply only to persons judicially charged

for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly


connected with, invasion.
During the suspension of the privilege of the writ
of habeas corpus, any person thus arrested or detained
shall

be

judicially

charged

within

three

days,

otherwise he shall be released.

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 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.
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 of habeas corpus decreed in
Proclamation No. 889-A.
Held: 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.