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The group of Gen Ver, represented by Solicitor General opposed said

BULATAO, NLJR action by filing a motion to dismiss citing the following reasons (kindly look sa table
Topic: Tort with Independent Cvil Action; of arguments)
(i) Art 32 Civil Code/ Searches and Seizures
ROGELIO ABERCA ET AL VS MAJOR GENERAL FABIAN VER ET AL Argument of Aberca et al Argument of the group of General Ver
GR No L-69866 April 15, 1988, En Banc (take note: This is an En Banc Case) represented by the Solicitor General
YAP ,J.: (1) plaintiffs may not cause a judicial (ito na yung nakalagay sa Petiton for
inquiry into the circumstances of their Certiorari, kasi dinismiss sa RTC yung
FACTS:(take note: ang time-setting ng pangayayri ay 1980s, Martial Law years at detention in the guise of a damage suit complaint nila)
yung pagkatapos noon.) because, as to them, the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus is suspended The suspension of the privilege of the
During and after the Martial Law years, GENERAL FABIAN VER directed the (parang sinasabi niya dito, ito yung writ of habeas corpus does not destroy
TASK FORCE MAKABANSA (TFM for short, this is a unit composed of different effect ng suspension ng writ of habeas petitioners' right and cause of action
intelligence units of gthe Armed Forces of the Philippines) "to conduct pre-emptive corpus); for damages for illegal arrest and
strikes against known communist-terrorist (CT) underground houses in view of detention and other violations of their
increasing reports about CT plans to sow disturbances in Metro Manila," (2) assuming that the courts can constitutional rights.
entertain the present action,
However, this resulted in alleged illegal searches and seizures when raided defendants are immune from liability
several places, employing in most cases defectively issued judicial search warrants. for acts done in the performance of
Hereunder are some of the imputed acts against the members of the TFM: their official duties; (kasi nga public
officers ang mga defendant)
(a) that during these raids, certain members of the raiding party
confiscated a number of purely personal items belonging to plaintiffs; (3) the complaint states no cause of
(b) that plaintiffs were arrested without proper warrants issued by the action against the defendants.
(c) that for some period after their arrest, they were denied visits of FLOW OF THE CASE:
relatives and lawyers; 1. RTC-It granted the Motion to Dismiss filed by Solicitor general Estelito
(d) that plaintiffs were interrogated in violation of their rights to silence Mendoza.
and counsel; 2. Supreme Court-Petition for certiorari of Aberca et al was granted
(e) that military men who interrogated them employed threats, tortures
and other forms of violence on them in order to obtain incriminatory
ISSUE #1: Whether or not a SUPERIOR OFFICER under the notion of respondent
information or confessions and in order to punish them;
superior may be answerable for damages, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY with his
(f) that all violations of plaintiffs constitutional rights were part of a
subordinates, to the person whose constitutional rights and liberties have been
concerted and deliberate plan to forcibly extract information and
incriminatory statements from plaintiffs and to terrorize, harass and
punish them, said plans being previously known to and sanctioned by
ISSUE #2: Whether or not General Ver et al are liable eventhough they are public
Because of this, Aberca et al filed a civil action for damages for illegal
ISSUE #3: Whether or not the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
searches conducted by military personnel and other violations of rights and liberties
corpus destroyed petitioners' right and cause of action for damages for illegal arrest
guaranteed under the Constitution.
and detention and other violations of their constitutional rights.
HELD and RATIO#1:Yes, the Court ruled that the petition of Aberca et al is HELD and RATIO#3:
meritorious. The Court did not agree with the argument of General Ver et al. Instead it
The Court ruled that the doctrine of respondent superior is applicable to found merit in Aberca et als contention that the suspension of the privilege of the
the case. In general, the doctrine of respondent superior has been generally limited writ of habeas corpus does not destroy petitioners' right and cause of action for
in its application to (a)principal and agent or (b)to master and servant (i.e. employer damages for illegal arrest and detention and other violations of their constitutional
and employee) relationship. rights.
In this case, no such relationship exists between superior officers of the The suspension does not render valid an otherwise illegal arrest or
military and their subordinates. However, the Court ruled that the decisive factor in detention. What is suspended is merely the right of the individual to seek release
this case is the language of Article 32. The law speaks of an officer or employee or from detention through the writ of habeas corpus as a speedy means of obtaining
person 'directly' or "indirectly" responsible for the violation of the constitutional his liberty.
rights and liberties of another. Thus, it is not the actor alone (i.e. the one directly Petitioners have a point in contending that even assuming that the
responsible) who must answer for damages under Article 32; the person indirectly suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus suspends petitioners' right
responsible has also to answer for the damages or injury caused to the aggrieved of action for damages for illegal arrest and detention, it does not and cannot
party. suspend their rights and causes of action for injuries suffered because of
Article 32 of the Civil Code encompasses within the ambit of its provisions respondents' confiscation of their private belongings, the violation of their right to
those directly, as well as indirectly, responsible for its violation. remain silent and to counsel and their right to protection against unreasonable
searches and seizures and against torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment.
HELD and RATIO#2. The Court cited that the case of Aberca et al centers on Article OTHER TOPICS: (mahaba man ang codal provision ng Article 32, pero isinaman ko
32 of the NCC which aims to to provide a sanction to the deeply cherished rights na rin, ito kasi ang main topic)
and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. ART. 32 of the NCC. Any public officer or employee, or any private
It cannot be said that Gen Ver et al as public officers are covered by the individual who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner
mantle of state immunity from suit for acts done in the performance of official impedes or impairs any of the following rights and liberties of another person shall
duties or function. Accordingly, the Court declared that said argument was be liable to the latter for damages:
misplaced. In answering this reason, the Court analyzed that the respondents, as (1) Freedom of religion;
members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, were merely responding to their (2) Freedom of speech;
duty, as they claim, "to prevent or suppress lawless violence, insurrection, rebellion (3) Freedom to write for the press or to maintain a periodical publication;
and subversion" in accordance with Proclamation No. 2054 of President Marcos, (4) Freedom from arbitrary or illegal detention;
despite the lifting of martial law on January 27, 1981, and in pursuance of such (5) Freedom of suffrage;
objective, to launch pre- emptive strikes against alleged communist terrorist (6) The right against deprivation of property without due process
underground houses. But this cannot be construed as a blanket license or a roving (7) of law;
commission untrammeled by any constitutional restraint, to disregard or (8) The right to a just compensation when private property is taken for
transgress upon the rights and liberties of the individual citizen enshrined in and public use;
protected by the Constitution. The Constitution remains the supreme law of the (9) The right to the equal protection of the laws;
land to which all officials, high or low, civilian or military, owe obedience and (10) The right to be secure in one's person, house, papers, and effects
allegiance at all times. against unreasonable searches and seizures;
Therefore, it is clear the applicability of Article 32 of the Civil Code which (11) The liberty of abode and of changing the same;
renders any public officer or employee or any liable in damages for violating the (12) The privacy of cmmunication and correspondence;
Constitutional rights and liberties of another, private individual as enumerated (13) The right to become a member of associations or societies for
therein, does not exempt the respondents from responsibility. Only judges are purposes not contrary to law;
excluded from liability under the said article, provided their acts or omissions do (14) The right to take part in a peaceable assembly to petition the
not constitute a violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute. Government for redress of grievances;
(15) The right to be free from involuntary servitude in any form;
(16) The rigth of the accused against excessive bail;
(17) The rigth of the aaccused to be heard by himself and counsel, to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a
speedy and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have
compulsory process to secure the attendance of witness in behalf;
(18) Freedom from being compelled to be a witness against ones self, or
from being forced to confess guilt, or from being induced by a promise of
immunity or reward to make such confession, except when the person
confessing becomes a State witness;
(19) Freedom from excessive fines or cruel and unusual punishment, unless
the same is imposed or inflicted in accordance with a statute which has not
been judicially declared unconstitutional; and
20) Freedom of access to the courts.

In any of the cases referred to in this article, whether or not the defendant's act or
omission constitutes a criminal offense, the against grieved party has a right to
commence an entirely separate and distinct civil action for damages, and for other
relief. Such civil action shall proceed independently of any criminal prosecution (if
the latter be instituted), and may be proved by a preponderance of evidence.

The indemnity shall include moral damages. Exemplary damages may also be

The responsibility herein set forth is not demandable from a judge unless
his act or omission constitutes a violation of the Penal Code or other penal statute.

Q: What is the purpose of Article 32 of the NCC?

A: The purpose is to provide a sanction to the deeply cherished rights and freedoms
enshrined in the Constitution. No man may seek to violate those sacred rights with
As Justice Teehankee puts it, certain basic rights and liberties are
immutable and cannot be sacrificed to the transient needs or imperious demands of
the ruling power even when the temptation is strongest to yield

Question: May the SUPERIOR OFFICERS be held liable even though they did not
directly violated the Constitutional Rights of others?
Answer: Yes, in the present case superior officers were held liable under Article 32
of the Civil Code for hyaving indirectly violated the constitutional right of another
against unreasoble searches and seizure.
Under Article 32, it is considered that it is not the actor alone who must
answer for damages.