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a declaration of a state of rebellion is required to call out the armed forces

During the wee hours of July 27, 2003, some three-hundred junior officers
and enlisted men of the AFP, acting upon instigation, command and
direction of known and unknown leaders have seized the Oakwood
Building in Makati.
Publicly, they complained of the corruption in the AFP and declared their
withdrawal of support for the government, demanding the resignation of
the President, Secretary of Defense and the PNP Chief.
These acts constitute a violation of Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code,
and by virtue of Proclamation No. 427 and General Order No. 4, the
Philippines was declared under the State of Rebellion.
Negotiations took place and the officers went back to their barracks in the
evening of the same day.
On August 1, 2003, both the Proclamation and General Orders were lifted,
and Proclamation No. 435, declaring the Cessation of the State of
Rebellion was issued.
In the interim, however, the following petitions were filed:
SECRETARY, petitioners contending that Sec. 18 Article VII of the
Constitution does not require the declaration of a state of rebellion
to call out the AFP, and that there is no factual basis for such
SJS Officers/Members v. Hon. Executive Secretary, et al, petitioners
contending that the proclamation is a circumvention of the report
requirement under the same Section 18, Article VII, commanding
the President to submit a report to Congress within 48 hours from
the proclamation of martial law. Finally, they contend that the
presidential issuances cannot be construed as an exercise of
emergency powers as Congress has not delegated any such power to
the President.
Rep. Suplico et al. v. President MacapagalArroyo and Executive
Secretary Romulo, petitioners contending that there was usurpation
of the power of Congress granted by Section 23 (2), Article VI of the
(4) Pimentel v. Romulo, et al, petitioner fears that the declaration of
a state of rebellion "opens the door to the unconstitutional
implementation of warrantless arrests" for the crime of rebellion.
Only the suit of the members of Congress had standing to file suit.
Petitioners argue that the declaration of the state of rebellion is a
superfluity and is actually an exercise of emergency powers. Such
exercise, it is contended, amounts to a usurpation of the power of
Congress granted by Section 23(2), Article 6 of the constitution.

The above provision grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a

sequence of graduated power[s].[30] From the most to the least benign,
these are: the calling out power, the power to suspend the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus, and the power to declare martial law. In the
exercise of the latter two powers, the Constitution requires the
concurrence of two conditions, namely, an actual invasion or rebellion,
and that public safety requires the exercise of such power.[31] However, as
we observed in Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora,[32] [t]hese
conditions are not required in the exercise of the calling out power. The
only criterion is that whenever it becomes necessary, the President may
call the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or

Nevertheless, it is equally true that Section 18, Article VII does not
expressly prohibit the President from declaring a state of rebellion. Note
that the Constitution vests the President not only with Commander-inChief powers but, first and foremost, with Executive powers.

In her ponencia in Marcos v. Manglapus, Justice Cortes put her thesis

into jurisprudence. There, the Court, by a slim 8-7 margin, upheld the
Presidents power to forbid the return of her exiled predecessor. The
rationale for the majoritys ruling rested on the Presidents unstated
residual powers which are implied from the grant of executive power and
which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the
Constitution. The powers of the President are not limited to what are

expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department and in

scattered provisions of the Constitution. This is so, notwithstanding the
avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986
to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the abuses under the
regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a limitation of specific powers of
the President, particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief
clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of executive power.
Thus, the Presidents authority to declare a state of rebellion springs in
the main from her powers as chief executive and, at the same time, draws
strength from her Commander-in-Chief powers.
Indeed, as the Solicitor General accurately points out, statutory authority
for such a declaration may be found in Section 4, Chapter 2 (Ordinance
Power), Book III (Office of the President) of the Revised Administrative
Code of 1987, which states:
SEC. 4. Proclamations. Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a
status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the existence of
which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend,
shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an
executive order.


The foregoing discussion notwithstanding, in calling out the armed

forces, a declaration of a state of rebellion is an utter superfluity. At most,
it only gives notice to the nation that such a state exists and that the
armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it. Perhaps the
declaration may wreak emotional effects upon the perceived enemies of
the State, even on the entire nation. But this Courts mandate is to probe
only into the legal consequences of the declaration.
This Court finds that such a declaration is devoid of any legal significance.
For all legal intents, the declaration is deemed not written.
Should there be any confusion generated by the issuance of Proclamation
No. 427 and General Order No. 4, we clarify that, as the dissenters in
Lacson correctly pointed out, the mere declaration of a state of rebellion
cannot diminish or violate constitutionally protected rights.[60] Indeed, if
a state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution
or automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,[61]
then it is with more reason that a simple declaration of a state of rebellion
could not bring about these conditions.[62] At any rate, the presidential
issuances themselves call for the suppression of the rebellion with due
regard to constitutional rights.
It is not disputed that the President has full discretionary power to call
out the armed forces and to determine the necessity for the exercise of
such power. While the Court may examine whether the power was
exercised within constitutional limits or in a manner constituting grave
abuse of discretion, none of the petitioners here have, by way of proof,
supported their assertion that the President acted without factual basis.
The argument that the declaration of a state of rebellion amounts to a
declaration of martial law and, therefore, is a circumvention of the report
requirement, is a leap of logic. There is no indication that military
tribunals have replaced civil courts in the theater of war or that military
authorities have taken over the functions of civil government. There is no
allegation of curtailment of civil or political rights. There is no indication
that the President has exercised judicial and legislative powers. In short,
there is no illustration that the President has attempted to exercise or has
exercised martial law powers.
Nor by any stretch of the imagination can the declaration constitute an
indirect exercise of emergency powers, which exercise depends upon a
grant of Congress pursuant to Section 23 (2), Article VI of the Constitution
The petitions do not cite a specific instance where the President has
attempted to or has exercised powers beyond her powers as Chief
Executive or as Commander-in-Chief. The President, in declaring a state
of rebellion and in calling out the armed forces, was merely exercising a
wedding of her Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief powers. These
are purely executive powers, vested on the President by Sections 1 and 18,
Article VII, as opposed to the delegated legislative powers contemplated
by Section 23 (2), Article VI.