You are on page 1of 19

Case Digest: Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe- Llamanzares vs. COMELEC et. al.

Petitioner: Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe- Llamanzares

Respondents: COMELEC et. al.

Ponente: Perez, J:


The petitioner Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe- Llamanzares also known as Grace Poe-
Llamanzares wishes to run as the President of the Republic of the Philippines.
However, petitions were made by Estrella Elamparo to deny due course or cancel the
COC of Poe-Llamanzares for the reason that the latter is not a natural-born citizen on
the account of the fact that she is a foundling. In addition, Elamparo stated that Poe-
Llamanzares even assuming that the latter is a natural-born citizen she has deemed to
lost the same when the she became a naturalized American citizen, according to
Elamparo, natural-born citizenship must be continuous from birth.


Whether or not Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe- Llamanzares is a natural-born citizen of

the Philippines?


The presumption of a natural-born citizenship of the foundlings stems from the

presumption that their parents are nationals of the Philippines. Adopting the legal
principles of international laws from 1930 Hague Convention and the 1961 Convention
on stateliness is rational and reasonable and consistent in the Philippine Constitution’s
regime of Jus saguinis. Moreover, the SC clearly stated that the COMELEC cannot
reverse the judicial precedent as it was reserved to the court. In line with this, the
Supreme Court ruled that Poe is qualified to be a candidate for President on May 2016.
The court likewise stated that Poe-Llamanzares, being a foundling is a natural-born
citizen based on 1. Circumstantial evidence, 2. Legislation and 3. Generally Accepted
principle of other laws.




“First, Wigberto filed a prohibited pleading: a motion for reconsideration of a resolution

of the COMELEC En Banc. Section 1 ( d), Rule 13 of the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure specifically prohibits the filing of a “motion for reconsideration of an en banc
ruling, resolution, order or decision except in election offense cases.” Consequently, the
COMELEC En Banc ruling became final and executory, 8 precluding Wigberto from
raising again in any other forum Alvin John’s nuisance candidacy as an issue.”


“Second, Wigberto filed his petition beyond the period provided by the COMELEC Rules
of Procedure. The COMELEC En Banc promulgated its resolution on Alvin John’s
alleged nuisance candidacy on 25 April 2013. Wigberto filed his petition in G.R. Nos.
207199-200 before this Court on 27 May 2013. By this date, the COMELEC En Bane’s
resolution on Alvin John’s alleged nuisance candidacy was already final and executory.
Section 3, Rule 37 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure provides:

Section 3. Decisions Final After Five Days. -Decisions in preproclamation cases and
petitions to deny due course to or cancel certificates of candidacy, to declare a
candidate as nuisance candidate or to disqualify a candidate, and to postpone or
suspend elections shall become final and executory after the lapse of five (5) days from
their promulgation, unless restrained by the Supreme Court.”



“The HRET did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in declaring that it has no
jurisdiction to determine whether Alvin John was a nuisance candidate. If Wigberto
timely filed a petition before this Court within the period allotted for special actions and
questioned Alvin John’s nuisance candidacy, then it is proper for this Court to assume
jurisdiction and rule on the matter. As things stand, the COMELEC En Bane’s ruling on
Alvin John’s nuisance candidacy had long become final and executory.”


212426, 2016-07-26
petitioners respectfully pray that the Honorable Court RECONSIDER, REVERSE, AND
SET - ASIDE its Decision dated January 12, 2016, and issue a new Decision
GRANTING the instant consolidated petitions by declaring the Enhanced Defense
Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) entered into by the respondents for the Philippine
government, with the United States of America, UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND INVALID
and to permanently enjoin its implementation.
petitioners claim this Court erred when it ruled that EDCA was not a treaty.[5] In
connection to this, petitioners move that EDCA must be in the form of a treaty in order
to comply with the constitutional restriction under Section 25, Article XVIII of the 1987
Constitution on foreign military bases, troops, and facilities.[6] Additionally, they reiterate
their arguments on the issues of telecommunications, taxation, and nuclear weapons.[7]
Petitioners assert that this Court contradicted itself when it interpreted the word "allowed
in" to refer to the initial entry of foreign bases, troops, and facilities, based on the fact
that the plain meaning of the provision in question referred to prohibiting the return of
foreign bases, troops, and facilities except under a treaty concurred in by the Senate
Secondly, by interpreting "allowed in" as referring to an initial entry, the Court has
simply applied the plain meaning of the words in the particular provision.[10]
Necessarily, once entry has been established by a subsisting treaty, latter instances of
entry need not be embodied by a separate treaty. After all, the Constitution did not state
that foreign military bases, troops, and facilities shall not subsist or exist in the
constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the
Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America (U.S.)
we find that EDCA did not go beyond the framework. The entry of US troops has long
been authorized under a valid and subsisting treaty, which is the Visiting Forces
Agreement (VFA).[14] Reading the VFA along with the longstanding Mutual Defense
Treaty (MDT)[15] led this Court to the conclusion that an executive agreement such as
the EDCA was well within the bounds of the obligations imposed by both treaties.
Thus, we find no reason for EDCA to be declared unconstitutional. It fully conforms to
the Philippines' legal regime through the MDT and VFA. It also fully conforms to the
government's continued policy to enhance our military capability in the face of various
military and humanitarian issues that may arise. This Motion for Reconsideration has
not raised any additional legal arguments that warrant revisiting the Decision.
The settled rule is that the plain, clear and unambiguous language of the Constitution
should be construed as such and should not be given a construction that changes its
With due respect, the Honorable Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno's theory of
"initial entry" mentioned above ventured into a construction of the provisions of Section
25, Article XVIII of the Constitution which is patently contrary to the plain language and
meaning of the said constitutional provision.
On verba legis interpretation... verba legis
Petitioners' own interpretation and application of the verba legis rule will in fact result in
an absurdity, which legal construction strictly abhors.

CASE DIGEST: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo vs.People of the Philippines and the

Sandiganbayan, G. R. No. 220598, 19 July 2016
Bersamin, J:


The Court resolves the consolidated petitions for certiorariseparately filed by former
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)
Budget and Accounts Manager Benigno B. Aguas.
On July 10, 2012, the Ombudsman charged in the Sandiganbayan former President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) and PCSO Budget and Accounts Manager Aguas
(and some other officials of PCSO and Commission on Audit whose charges were later
dismissed by the Sandiganbayan after their respective demurrers to evidence were
granted, except for Uriarte and Valdes who were at large) for conspiracy to commit
plunder, as defined by, and penalized under Section 2 (b) of Republic Act (R.A.) No.
7080, as amended by R.A. No. 7659.

The information reads: That during the period from January 2008 to June 2010 or
sometime prior or subsequent thereto xxx accused Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the then
President of the Philippines xxx Benigno Aguas, then PCSO Budget and Accounts
Manager, all public officers committing the offense in relation to their respective offices
and taking undue advantage of their respective official positions, authority, relationships,
connections or influence, conniving, conspiring and confederating with one
another, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and criminally amass, accumulate
and/or acquire, directly or indirectly, ill-gotten wealth in the aggregate amount or
total value of PHP365,997,915.00, more or less, [by raiding the public treasury].
Thereafter, accused GMA and Aguas separately filed their respective petitions for
bail which were denied by the Sandiganbayan on the ground that the evidence of guilt
against them was strong.
After the Prosecution rested its case, accused GMA and Aguas then separately filed
their demurrers to evidence asserting that the Prosecution did not establish a case for
plunder against them. The same were denied by the Sandiganbayan, holding that there
was sufficient evidence to show that they had conspired to commit plunder. After the
respective motions for reconsideration filed by GMA and Aguas were likewise denied by
the Sandiganbayan, they filed their respective petitions for certiorari.


1. Whether or not the special civil action for certiorari is proper to assail the denial of
the demurrers to evidence.

1. Whether or not the State sufficiently established the existence of conspiracy among
GMA, Aguas, and Uriarte ;
2. Whether or not the State sufficiently established all the elements of the crime of
plunder: (a) Was there evidence of amassing, accumulating or acquiring ill-gotten
wealth in the total amount of not less than P50,000,000.00? (b) Was the predicate
act of raiding the public treasury alleged in the information proved by the

Re procedural issue:

The special civil action for certiorari is generally not proper to assail such an
interlocutory order issued by the trial court because of the availability of another remedy
in the ordinary course of law. Moreover, Section 23, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court
expressly provides that “the order denying the motion for leave of court to file demurrer
to evidence or the demurrer itself shall not be reviewable by appeal or
by certiorari before judgment.” It is not an insuperable obstacle to this action, however,
that the denial of the demurrers to evidence of the petitioners was an interlocutory order
that did not terminate the proceedings, and the proper recourse of the demurring
accused was to go to trial, and that in case of their conviction they may then appeal the
conviction, and assign the denial as among the errors to be reviewed. Indeed, it is
doctrinal that the situations in which the writ of certiorari may issue should not be
limited, because to do so “x x x would be to destroy its comprehensiveness and
usefulness. So wide is the discretion of the court that authority is not wanting to show
that certiorari is more discretionary than either prohibition or mandamus. In the exercise
of our superintending control over other courts, we are to be guided by all the
circumstances of each particular case ‘as the ends of justice may require.’ So it is that
the writ will be granted where necessary to prevent a substantial wrong or to do
substantial justice.”
The exercise of this power to correct grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government
cannot be thwarted by rules of procedure to the contrary or for the sake of the
convenience of one side. This is because the Court has the bounden constitutional duty
to strike down grave abuse of discretion whenever and wherever it is committed. Thus,
notwithstanding the interlocutory character and effect of the denial of the
demurrers to evidence, the petitioners as the accused could avail themselves of
the remedy of certiorari when the denial was tainted with grave abuse of
Re first substantive issue: The Prosecution did not properly allege and prove the
existence of conspiracy among GMA, Aguas and Uriarte.

A perusal of the information suggests that what the Prosecution sought to show was an
implied conspiracy to commit plunder among all of the accused on the basis of their
collective actions prior to, during and after the implied agreement. It is notable that the
Prosecution did not allege that the conspiracy among all of the accused was by express
agreement, or was a wheel conspiracy or a chain conspiracy.

We are not unmindful of the holding in Estrada v. Sandiganabayan [G.R. No. 148965,
February 26, 2002, 377 SCRA 538, 556] to the effect that an information alleging
conspiracy is sufficient if the information alleges conspiracy either: (1) with the use of
the word conspire, or its derivatives or synonyms, such as confederate, connive,
collude, etc; or (2) by allegations of the basic facts constituting the conspiracy in a
manner that a person of common understanding would know what is being conveyed,
and with such precision as would enable the accused to competently enter a plea to a
subsequent indictment based on the same facts. We are not talking about the
sufficiency of the information as to the allegation of conspiracy, however, but
rather the identification of the main plunderer sought to be prosecuted under R.A.
No. 7080 as an element of the crime of plunder. Such identification of the main
plunderer was not only necessary because the law required such identification,
but also because it was essential in safeguarding the rights of all of the accused
to be properly informed of the charges they were being made answerable for. The
main purpose of requiring the various elements of the crime charged to be set out in the
information is to enable all the accused to suitably prepare their defense because they
are presumed to have no independent knowledge of the facts that constituted the
offense charged.
Despite the silence of the information on who the main plunderer or the mastermind
was, the Sandiganbayan readily condemned GMA in its resolution dated September 10,
2015 as the mastermind despite the absence of the specific allegation in the information
to that effect. Even worse, there was no evidence that substantiated such sweeping

In fine, the Prosecution’s failure to properly allege the main plunderer should be
fatal to the cause of the State against the petitioners for violating the rights of
each accused to be informed of the charges against each of them.
Re second substantive issues:

(a) No proof of amassing, or accumulating, or acquiring ill-gotten wealth of at

least Php50 Million was adduced against GMA and Aguas.

The corpus delicti of plunder is the amassment, accumulation or acquisition of ill-gotten

wealth valued at not less than Php50,000,000.00. The failure to establish the corpus
delicti should lead to the dismissal of the criminal prosecution.
As regards the element that the public officer must have amassed, accumulated
or acquired ill-gotten wealth worth at least P50,000,000.00, the Prosecution
adduced no evidence showing that either GMA or Aguas or even Uriarte, for that
matter, had amassed, accumulated or acquired ill-gotten wealth of any amount.
There was also no evidence, testimonial or otherwise, presented by the
Prosecution showing even the remotest possibility that the CIFs
[Confidential/Intelligence Funds] of the PCSO had been diverted to either GMA or
Aguas, or Uriarte.
(b) The Prosecution failed to prove the predicate act of raiding the public
treasury (under Section 2 (b) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7080, as amended)

To discern the proper import of the phrase raids on the public treasury, the key is to look
at the accompanying words: misappropriation, conversion, misuse or malversation of
public funds [See Sec. 1(d) of RA 7080]. This process is conformable with the maxim of
statutory construction noscitur a sociis, by which the correct construction of a particular
word or phrase that is ambiguous in itself or is equally susceptible of various meanings
may be made by considering the company of the words in which the word or phrase is
found or with which it is associated. Verily, a word or phrase in a statute is always used
in association with other words or phrases, and its meaning may, therefore, be modified
or restricted by the latter. To convert connotes the act of using or disposing of another’s
property as if it were one’s own; to misappropriate means to own, to take something for
one’s own benefit; misuse means “a good, substance, privilege, or right used
improperly, unforeseeably, or not as intended;” and malversationoccurs when “any
public officer who, by reason of the duties of his office, is accountable for public funds or
property, shall appropriate the same or shall take or misappropriate or shall consent,
through abandonment or negligence, shall permit any other person to take such public
funds, or property, wholly or partially.” The common thread that binds all the four terms
together is that the public officer used the property taken. Considering that raids on the
public treasury is in the company of the four other terms that require the use of the
property taken, the phrase raids on the public treasurysimilarly requires such use of the
property taken. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan gravely erred in contending that the
mere accumulation and gathering constituted the forbidden act of raids on the public
treasury. Pursuant to the maxim of noscitur a sociis, raids on the public
treasury requires the raider to use the property taken impliedly for his personal
As a result, not only did the Prosecution fail to show where the money went but, more
importantly, that GMA and Aguas had personally benefited from the same. Hence, the
Prosecution did not prove the predicate act of raids on the public treasury beyond
reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petitions for certiorari; ANNULS and SETS
ASIDE the resolutions issued in Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 by the
Sandiganbayan on April 6, 2015 and September 10, 2015; GRANTS the petitioners’
respective demurrers to evidence; DISMISSES Criminal Case No. SB-12-CRM-0174 as
insufficiency of evidence; ORDERS the immediate release from detention of said
petitioners; and MAKES no pronouncements on costs of suit.



FACTS: Effective May 23, 2017, and for a period not exceeding 60 days, President
Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216 declaring a state of martial law and suspending
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao.

Within the timeline set by Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President
submitted to Congress on May 25, 2017, a written Report on the factual basis of
Proclamation No. 216. The Report pointed out that for decades, Mindanao has been
plagued with rebellion and lawless violence which only escalated and worsened with the
passing of time.

The President went on to explain that on May 23, 2017, a government operation to
capture the high-ranking officers of the Abu Sayyaf IP (ASG) and the Maute Group was
conducted. These groups, which have been unleashing havoc in Mindanao, however,
confronted the government operation by intensifying their efforts at sowing violence
aimed not only against the government authorities and its facilities but likewise against
civilians and their properties. In particular, the President chronicled in his Report the
events which took place on May 23, 2017 in Marawi City which impelled him to declare
a state of martial law and suspend the privilege of writ of habeas corpus

The Report highlighted the strategic location of Marawi City and the crucial and
significant role it plays in Mindanao, and the Philippines as a whole. In addition, the
Report pointed out the possible tragic repercussions once Marawi City falls under the
control of the lawless groups.

President Duterte concluded, "While the government is presently conducting legitimate

operations to address the on-going rebellion, if not the seeds of invasion, public safety
necessitates the continued implementation of martial law and the suspension of the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao until such time that the
rebellion is completely quelled."

After the submission of the Report and the briefings, the Senate issued P.S. Resolution
No. 390 expressing full support to the martial law proclamation and finding Proclamation
No. 216 "to be satisfactory, constitutional and in accordance with the law". In the same
Resolution, the Senate declared that it found "no compelling reason to revoke the

The Lagman Group, the Cullamat Group and the Mohamad Group petitioned (Petitions)
the Supreme Court, questioning the factual basis of President Duterte's Proclamation of
martial law. The OSG sided with President Duterte.


[1] Are the Petitions the proper proceeding to invoke the SC's power of review over
proclamations of martial law?
[2] Is the President required to be factually correct or only not arbitrary in his
appreciation of facts?
[3] Is the President required to obtain the favorable recommendation thereon bf the
Secretary of National Defense?
[4] Is the President is required to take into account only the situation at the time ff the
proclamation, even if subsequent events prove the situati n to have not been accurately
[5] Is the power of this Court to review the sufficiency of tlie factual basis [of] the
proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus is independent of the actual actiorls that have been taken by Congress jointly or
[6] Whether or not there were sufficient factual [basis] for the proclamation of martial law
or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habea~ corpus; · a. What are the
parameters for review? b. Who has the burden of proof? I !I c. What is the threshold of
[7] Whether the exercise of the power of judicial review by this Couj involves the
calibration of graduated powers granted the President ~~ Commander-in-Chief, namely
calling out powers, suspension of th~ privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and
declaration of martial law
[8] Whether or not Proclamation No. 216 of23 May 2017 may be considered, vague and
thus null and void: a. with its inclusion of "other rebel groups;" or b. since it has no
guidelines specifying its actual operational parameters within the entire Mindanao
[9] Whether or not the armed hostilities mentioned in Proclamation No. 216 and in the
Report of the President to Congress are sufficient [bases]: a. for the existence of actual
rebellion; or b. for a declaration of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus in the entire Mindanao 1 region;
[10] Whether or not terrorism or acts attributable to terrorism are equivalent to actual
rebellion and the requirements of public safety sufficient to declare martial law or
suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus; and
[11] Whether or not nullifying Proclamation No. 216 of23 May 2017 will: a. have the
effect of recalling Proclamation No. 55 s. 2016; or b. also nullify the acts of the
President in calling out the armed forces to quell lawless violence in Marawi and other
parts of the Mindanao region.


[0] The Constitution only requires that questions regarding the validity and
factual basis of a proclamation of martial law or a suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus be raised by any citizen, considering the transcendental
importance of such questions.

[1] Yes, the Petitions invoke the proper proceedings as contemplated by the
Constitution. "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 or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its
decision thereon within thirty days from filing."

Jurisdiction is conferred by law. The Constitution confers the Supreme Court the power
to review martial law proclamations.

A petition for certiorari is not the proper petition. The power of the Supreme Court to
review the factual basis of martial law proclamations is not limited by Sections 1 and 5
of Article VIII of the Constitution. It's a completely different proceeding not limited by
lack of or abuses of discretion.

The factual basis of the declaration of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus is not a political question but precisely within the ambit of
judicial review.
In fine, the phrase "in an appropriate proceeding" appearing on the third paragraph of
Section 18, Article VII refers to any action initiated by a citizen for the purpose of
questioning the sufficiency of the factual basis of the exercise of the Chief Executive's
emergency powers, as in these cases. It could be denominated as a complaint, a
petition, or a matter to be resolved by the Court.

[2] The power of the Court to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the
proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus under Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution is independent of the
actions taken by Congress. The framers of the 1987 Constitution intended the judicial
power to review to be exercised independently from the congressional power to revoke.

The Court may strike down the presidential proclamation in an appropriate proceeding
filed by any citizen on the ground of lack of sufficient factual basis. On the other hand,
Congress may revoke the proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set
aside by the President. Thus, the power to review by the Court and the power to revoke
by Congress are not only totally different but likewise independent from each other
although, concededly, they have the same trajectory, which is, the nullification of the
presidential proclamation. Needless to say, the power of the Court to review can be
exercised independently from the power of revocation of Congress.

[3] The judicial power to review the sufficiency of factual basis of the declaration
of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus does not
extend to the calibration of the President's decision of which among his graduated
powers he will avail of in a given situation.

These extraordinary powers are conferred by the Constitution with the President as
Commander-in-Chief; it therefore necessarily follows that the power and prerogative to
determine whether the situation warrants a mere exercise of the calling out power; or
whether the situation demands suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus;
or whether it calls for the declaration of martial law, also lies, at least initially, with the
President. The power to choose, initially, which among these extraordinary powers to
wield in a given set of conditions, is a judgment call on the part of the President. As
Commander-in-Chief, his powers are broad enough to include his prerogative to
address exigencies or threats that endanger the government, and the very integrity of
the State.

It is thus beyond doubt that the power of judicial review does not extend to calibrating
the President's decision pertaining to which extraordinary power to avail given a set of
facts or conditions. To do so would be tantamount to an incursion into the exclusive
domain of the Executive and an infringement on the prerogative that solely, at least
initially, lies with the President.

[4] There is no vagueness because the whereas clauses of the Proclamation

explain the meaning of "other rebel groups." Also, the vagueness doctrine is an
analytical tool developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free speech cases or, as
they are called in American law, First Amendment cases. Vagueness doctrine applies
only in free speech cases.

Moreover, lack of guidelines/operational parameters does not make Proclamation No.

216 vague. Clearly, therefore, there is no need for the Court to determine the
constitutionality of the implementing and/or operational guidelines, general orders,
arrest orders and other orders issued after the proclamation for being irrelevant to its
review. Thus, any act committed under the said orders in violation of the Constitution
and the laws, such as criminal acts or human rights violations, should be resolved in a
separate proceeding. Finally, there is a risk that if the Court wades into these areas, it
would be deemed as trespassing into the sphere that is reserved exclusively for
Congress in the exercise of its power to revoke.

[5] The calling out power is in a different category from the power to declare
martial law and the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus;
nullification of Proclamation No. 216 will not affect Proclamation No. 55. The Court's
ruling in these cases will not, in any way, affect the President's declaration of a state of
national emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao through Proclamation
No. 55 dated September 4, 2016, where he called upon the Armed Forces and the
Philippine National Police (PNP) to undertake such measures to suppress any and all
forms of lawless violence in the Mindanao region, and to prevent such lawless violence
from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the Philippines.

In other words, the President may exercise the power to call out the Armed Forces
independently of the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and to
declare martial law, although, of course, it may also be a prelude to a possible future
exercise of the latter powers, as in this case.

[6] After all, the Court's review is confined to the sufficiency, not accuracy, of the
information at hand during the declaration or suspension; subsequent events do not
have any bearing insofar as the Court's review is concerned. In any event, safeguards
under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution are in place to cover such a situation,
e.g., the martial law period is good only for 60 days; Congress may choose to revoke it
even immediately after the proclamation is made; and, this Court may investigate the
factual background of the declaration.

Hence, the maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus finds no application in this case.
Falsities of and/or inaccuracies in some of the facts stated in the proclamation and the
written report are not enough reasons for the Court to invalidate the declaration and/or
suspension as long as there are other facts in the proclamation and the written Report
that support the conclusion that there is an actual invasion or rebellion and that public
safety requires the declaration and/or suspension. In sum, the Court's power to review
is limited to the determination of whether the President in declaring martial law and
suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus had sufficient factual basis. Thus,
our review would be limited to an examination on whether the President acted within the
bounds set by the Constitution, i.e., whether the facts in his possession prior to and at
the time of the declaration or suspension are sufficient for him to declare martial law or
suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

[7] To summarize, the parameters for determining the sufficiency of factual basis
are as follows: l) actual rebellion or invasion; 2) public safety requires it; the first two
requirements must concur; and 3) there is probable cause for the President to believe
that there is actual rebellion or invasion.

[8] There is sufficient factual basis for the declaration of martial law and the
suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

At this juncture, it bears to emphasize that the purpose of judicial review is not the
determination of accuracy or veracity of the facts upon which the President anchored
his declaration of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus;
rather, only the sufficiency of the factual basis as to convince the President that there is
probable cause that rebellion exists. It must also be reiterated that martial law is a
matter of urgency and much leeway and flexibility should be accorded the President As
such, he is not expected to completely validate all the information he has received
before declaring martial law or suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

Moreover, the alleged false and/or inaccurate statements are just pieces and parcels of
the Report; along with these alleged false data is arsenal of other independent facts
showing that more likely than not, actua1 rebellion exists, and public safety requires the
declaration of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
To be precise, the alleged false and/or inaccurate statements are only five out of the
seven statements bulleted in the President's Report. Notably, in the interpellation by
Justice Francis H. Jardeleza during the second day of the oral argument, petitioner
Lagman admitted that he was not aware or that he had no personal knowledge of the
other incidents cited.241 As it thus stands, there is no question or challenge with
respect to the reliability of the other incidents, which by themselves are ample to
preclude the conclusion that the President's report is unreliable and that Proclamation
No. 216 was without sufficient factual basis. Verily, there is no credence to petitioners'
claim that the bases for the President's imposition of martial law and suspension of the
writ of habeas corpus were mostly inaccurate, simulated, false and/or hyperbolic.

[9] Public safety requires the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao.

nvasion or rebellion alone may justify resort to the calling out power but definitely not
the declaration of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
For a declaration of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus to be valid, there must be a concurrence of actual rebellion or invasion and the
public safety requirement. In his Report, the President noted that the acts of violence
perpetrated by the ASG and the Maute Group were directed not only against
government forces or establishments but likewise against civilians and their
properties.242 In addition and in relation to the armed hostilities, bomb threats were
issued;243 road blockades and checkpoints were set up; 244 schools and churches
were burned;245 civilian hostages were taken and killed;246 non-Muslims or Christians
were targeted;247 young male Muslims were forced to join their group; 248 medical
services and delivery of basic services were hampered;249 reinforcements of
government troops and civilian movement were hindered;250 and the security of the
entire Mindanao Island was compromised.

Indeed, martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ ff habeas corpus are
necessary for the protection of the security of the natil.; suspension of the privilege of
the writ of habeas corpus is "precautiona , and although it might [curtail] certain rights of
individuals, [it] is for t e purpose of defending and protecting the security of the state or
the entire country and our sovereign people".253 Commissioner Ople referred to the
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus as a "form of immobilization" or
"as a means of immobilizing potential internal enemies" "especially in areas like

To be sure, the facts mentioned in the Proclamation and the Report are far from being
exhaustive or all-encompassing. At this juncture, it may not be amiss to state that as
Commander-in-Chief, the President has possession of documents and information
classified as "confidential", the contents of which cannot be included in the Proclamation
or Report for reasons of national security. These documents may contain information
detailing the position of government troops and rebels, stock of firearms or
ammunitions, ground commands and operations, names of suspects and sympathizers,
etc. , In fact, during the closed door session held by the Court, some information came
to light, although not mentioned in the Proclamation or Report. But then again, the
discretion whether to include the same in the Proclamation or Report is the judgment
call of the President. In fact, petitioners concede to this. During the oral argument,
petitioner Lagman admitted that "the assertion of facts [in the Proclamation and Report]
is the call of the Preside

It is beyond cavil that the President can rely on intelligence repo1s and classified
documents. "It is for the President as [C]ommander-in- [C]hief of the Armed Forces to
appraise these [classified evidence qr documents/]reports and be satisfied that the
public safety demands thb suspension of the writ."256 Significantly, respect to these so-
called classifietl documents is accorded even "when [the] authors of or witnesses to
thes~ 257 I documents may not be revealed."

The Court has no machinery or tool equal to that of the Commander-in-Chief to ably and
properly assess the ground conditions.

Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution states that "[i]n case of invasion or rebellion,
when the public safety requires it, [the President] may x x x suspend the privilege of writ
of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law." Clearly,
the Constitution grants to the President the discretion to determine the territorial
coverage of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
He may put the entire Philippines or only a part thereof under martial law.

This is both an acknowledgement and a recognition that it is the Executive Department,

particularly the President as Commander-in-Chief, who is the repository of vital,
classified, and live information necessary for and relevant in calibrating the territorial
application of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus. It, too, is a concession that the President has the tactical and military support,
and thus has a more informed understanding of what is happening on the ground. Thus,
the Constitution imposed a limitation on the period of application, which is 60 days,
unless sooner nullified, revoked or extended, but not on the territorial scope or area of
coverage; it merely stated "the Philippines or any part thereof," depending on the
assessment of the President.

The Constitution has provided sufficient safeguards against possible abuses of

Commander-inChief's powers; further curtailment of Presidential powers should not only
be discouraged but also avoided.
The Court can only act within the confines of its power. For the Court to overreach is to
infringe upon another's territory. Clearly, the power to determine the scope of territorial
application belongs to the President. "The Court cannot indulge in judicial legislation
without violating the principle of separation of powers, and, hence, undermining the
foundation of our republican system."281

To reiterate, the Court is not equipped with the competence and logistical machinery to
determine the strategical value of other places in the military's efforts to quell the
rebellion and restore peace. It would be engaging in an act of adventurism if it dares to
embark on a mission of deciphering the territorial metes and bounds of martial law. To
be blunt about it, hours after the proclamation of martial law none of the members of this
Court could have divined that more than ten thousand souls would be forced to
evacuate to Iligan and Cagayan de Oro and that the military would have to secure those
places also; none of us could have predicted that Cayamora Maute would be arrested in
Davao City or that his wife Ominta ' Romato Maute would be apprehended in Masiu,
Lanao del Sur; and, none of us had an inkling that the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom
Fighters (BIFF) would launch an attack in Cotabato City.


It is also of judicial notice that the insurgency in Mindanao has be' n ongoing for
decades. While some groups have sought legal and peace 1 means, others have
resorted to violent extremism and terrorism. Rebelli n may be subsumed under the
crime of terrorism, which has a broader sco e covering a wide range of predicate
crimes. In fact, rebellion is only one f the various means by which terrorism can be
committed.299 However, while the scope of terrorism may be comprehensive, its
purpose is distinct and well-defined. The objective of a "'terrorist" is to sow and create a
condition of widespread fear among the populace in order to coerce the government to
give in to an unlawful demand. This condition of widespread fear is traditionally
achieved through bombing, kidnapping, mass killing, and beheading, among others. In
contrast, the purpose of rebellion, as previously discussed, is political, i.e., (a) to remove
from the allegiance to the Philippine Government or its laws: (i) the territory of the
Philippines or any part thereof; (ii) any body of land, naval, or armed forces; or (b) to
deprive the Chief Executive or Congress, wholly or partially, of any of their powers and

In determining what crime was committed, we have to look into the main objective of the
malefactors. If it is political, such as for the purpose of severing the allegiance of
Mindanao to the Philippine Government to establish a wilayat therein, the crime is
rebellion. If, on the other hand, the primary objective is to sow and create a condition of
widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace in order to coerce the
government to give in to an unlawful demand, the crime is terrorism. Here, we have
already explained and ruled that the President did not err in believing that what is going
on in Marawi City is one contemplated under the crime of rebellion.

In any case, even assuming that the insurgency in Marawi City can also be
characterized as terrorism, the same will not in any manner affect Proclamation No.
216. Section 2 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9372, otherwise known as the Human Security
Act of 2007 expressly provides that "[n]othing in this Act shall be interpreted as a
curtailment, restriction or diminution of constitutionally recognized powers of the
executive branch of the government." Thus, as long as the President complies with all
the requirements of Section 18, Article VII, the existence of terrorism cannot prevent
him from exercising his extraordinary power of proclaiming martial ' law or suspending
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.After all, the ~ ~I extraordinary powers of the
President are bestowed on him by the Constitution. No act of Congress can, therefore,
curtail or diminish sutjh powers.

Besides, there is nothing in Art. 134 of the RPC and RA 9372 whiJh states that rebellion
and terrorism are mutuallty exclusive of each other ?r that they cannot co-exist together.
RA 93 72 does not expressly or impliedly repeal Art. 134 of the RPC. And while
rebellion is one of the predicate crimes of terrorism, one cannot absorb the other as
they have differett elements.

Alliance for the Family Foundation, Philippines, Inc. (ALFI) vs. Hon. Garin
(G.R. Nos. 217872 and 221866, 26 April 2017)


Petitioners opposed the unilateral act of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on
re-certifying the contraceptive drugs named Implanon and Implanon NXT; the basis of
their opposition hinges on the fact that these drugs are abortifacients. Thus, according
to them, they should have been given notice of the certification proceedings, and a
chance to present evidence that indeed such drugs are abortifacients.

Respondents, on the other hand, alleged that petitioners are not entitled to notice and
hearing because the said proceedings are done in the exercise of its regulatory power,
not quasi-judicial power; also, they alleged that the Honorable Supreme Court is
incompetent to rule on the instant controversy due to the same reason.

(a) Whether or not said controversy is outside the scope of Judicial Review;

(b) Whether or not petitioners were deprived of substantial and procedural due process
of law;


It is quite fascinating that the Supreme Court again reminded us the two fundamental
powers of an administrative body, in the words of the Honorable Court:

“The powers of an administrative body are classified into two fundamental

powers: quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial. Quasi-legislative power, otherwise known
as the power of subordinate legislation, has been defined as the authority delegated by
the lawmaking body to the administrative body to adopt rules and regulations intended
to carry out the provisions of law and implement legislative policy. A legislative rule is in
the nature of subordinate legislation designed to implement a primary legislation by
providing the details thereof. The exercise by the administrative body of its quasi-
legislative power through the promulgation of regulations of general application does
not, as a rule, require notice and hearing. The only exception being where the
Legislature itself requires it and mandates that the regulation shall be based on certain
facts as determined at an appropriate investigation.

Quasi-judicial power, on the other hand, is known as the power of the administrative
agency to determine questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply, in
accordance with the standards laid down by the law itself. As it involves the exercise of
discretion in determining the rights and liabilities of the parties, the proper exercise of
quasi-judicial power requires the concurrence of two elements: one, jurisdiction which
must be acquired by the administrative body and two, the observance of the
requirements of due process, that is, the right to notice and hearing.”

To answer (a) above, the Supreme Court has this to say, viz:

“On the argument that the certification proceedings were conducted by the FDA in the
exercise of its “regulatory powers” and, therefore, beyond judicial review, the Court
holds that it has the power to review all acts and decisions where there is a commission
of grave abuse of discretion. No less than the Constitution decrees that the Court must
exercise its duty to ensure that no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction is committed by any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
Such is committed when there is a violation of the constitutional mandate that “no
person is deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law.” The Court’s
power cannot be curtailed by the FDA’s invocation of its regulatory power.”

With regard to (b), the Supreme Court ruled that petitioners were deprived of their Right
to Due Process. Perusal of the law and rules of procedure of the instant agency reveals
the need of an issuance of notice to all concerned MAHs and a posting of the
contraceptive products for public comments.These, respondents failed to do.
This was thoroughly explained by the Court, to wit:

“Due process of law has two aspects: substantive and procedural. In order that a
particular act may not be impugned as violative of the due process clause, there must
be compliance with both the substantive and procedural requirements thereof.
Substantive due process refers to the intrinsic validity of a law that interferes with the
rights of a person to his property. Procedural due process, on the other hand, means
compliance with the procedures or steps, even periods, prescribed by the statute, in
conformity with the standard of fair play and without arbitrariness on the part of those
who are called upon to administer it. xxx

xxx To conclude that product registration, recertification, procurement, and distribution

of the questioned contraceptive drugs and devices by the FDA in the exercise of its
regulatory power need not comply with the requirements of due process would render
the issuance of notices to concerned MAHs and the posting of a list of contraceptives
for public comment a meaningless exercise. Concerned MAHs and the public in general
will be deprived of any significant participation if what they will submit will not be

Section 7.04, Rule 7 of the IRR of the RH Law (RH-IRR), relied upon by the
respondents in support of their claims, expressly allows the consideration of
conflicting evidence, such as that supplied by the petitioners in support of their
opposition to the approval of certain contraceptive drugs and devices. In fact, the said
provision mandated that the FDA utilize the “best evidence available” to ensure that no
abortifacient is approved as family planning drug or device. It bears mentioning that the
same provision even allows an independent evidence review group (ERG) to ensure
that evidence for or against the certification of a contraceptive drug or device is duly