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80508; 30 JAN 1990]

181 SCRA 623;

Facts: The 41 petitioners alleged that the "saturation drive" or "aerial

target zoning" that were conducted in their place (Tondo Manila) were
unconstitutional. They alleged that there is no specific target house to be
search and that there is no search warrant or warrant of arrest served.
Most of the policemen are in their civilian clothes and without nameplates
or identification cards. The residents were rudely rouse from their sleep by
banging on the walls and windows of their houses. The residents were at
the point of high-powered guns and herded like cows. Men were ordered
to strip down to their briefs for the police to examine their tattoo marks.
The residents complained that they're homes were ransacked, tossing
their belongings and destroying their valuables. Some of their money and
valuables had disappeared after the operation. The residents also
reported incidents of maulings, spot-beatings and maltreatment. Those
who were detained also suffered mental and physical torture to extract
confessions and tactical informations. The respondents said that such
accusations were all lies. Respondents contends that the Constitution
grants to government the power to seek and cripple subversive
movements for the maintenance of peace in the state. The aerial target
zoning were intended to flush out subversives and criminal elements
coddled by the communities were the said drives were conducted. They
said that they have intelligently and carefully planned months ahead for
the actual operation and that local and foreign media joined the operation
to witness and record such event.

Issue: Whether or Not the saturation drive committed consisted of violation

of human rights.

Held: It is not the police action per se which should be prohibited rather it
is the procedure used or the methods which "offend even hardened
sensibilities" .Based on the facts stated by the parties, it appears to have
been no impediment to securing search warrants or warrants of arrest
before any houses were searched or individuals roused from sleep were
arrested. There is no showing that the objectives sought to be attained by
the "aerial zoning" could not be achieved even as th rights of the squatters
and low income families are fully protected. However, the remedy should
not be brought by a tazpaer suit where not one victim complaints and not
one violator is properly charged. In the circumstances of this taxpayers'
suit, there is no erring soldier or policeman whom the court can order
prosecuted. In the absence of clear facts no permanent relief can be

In the meantime where there is showing that some abuses were

committed, the court temporary restraint the alleged violations which are
shocking to the senses. Petition is remanded to the RTC of Manila.