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DIRECTOR OF PRISONS V ANG CHO KIO @ ANG MING HUY AND THE COURT OF APPEALS, Ang Cho Kio

Ang Cho Kio filed with the Executive Secretary a motion, dated August 29, 1966, for the
RESPONDENTS. [ G.R. No. L-30001, June 23, 1970 ] reconsideration of the supplemental order of recommitment. The Executive Secretary
failed to act on the motion for reconsideration, and so on October 5, 1966 Ang Cho Kio
Facts: Respondent Ang Cho Kio @ Ang Ming Huy had been charged, tried and convicted of
filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the Court of First Instance of Rizal (Pasay
various offenses committed in the Philippines and was sentenced to suffer penalties (a
Branch), making as respondents in said petition the Director of Prisons and the Executive
total of forty-five (45) years, ten (10) months and twenty one (21) days of imprisonment).
Secretary.
After serving six and one-half (6) years of his sentence said respondent was granted
conditional pardon on July 4, 1959 by the President of the Philippines. After due hearing the Court of First Instance of Rizal, on January 31, 1967, rendered a
decision dismissing the petition for habeas corpus.
The conditional pardon partly reads as follows: "By virtue of the authority conferred upon
me by the Constitution, and upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and The Court of First Instance of Rizal held that Ang Cho Kio @ Ang Ming Huy was validly
Parole, the unexecuted portions of the prison terms of prisoner is hereby remitted on recommitted to prison by the President of the Philippines in the exercise of his pre
condition that he will voluntarily leave the Philippines upon his release and never to rogatives pursuant to the provisions of Section 64(i) of the Revised Administrative Code.
return to this country. Should the above-named prisoner refuse to accept said condition,
Ang Cho Kio appealed to the Court of Appeals from the decision of the Court of First
he shall continue serving his sentence and upon the expiration thereof, he shall be deport
Instance of Rizal. The Court of Appeals rendered a decision which in effect affirmed the
ed from the Philippines for being an undesirable alien." Ang Cho Kio duly accepted the
decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal dismissing Ang Cho Kio's petition for
conditions of his pardon and actually left the Philippines for Taipeh, Nationalist China, on
habeas corpus.
July 28, 1959.
However, the majority opinion contains the recommendation that Ang Cho Kio ".... be
In the evening of June 26, 1966 Ang Cho Kio arrived at the Manila International Airport on
sent out at once from this country and that he be allowed to leave Muntinlupa Prisons
a Philippine Air Lines plane from Taipeh, travelling under the name "Ang Ming Huy". He
under guard only when he has been booked for outward flight at the Manila
was booked on Philippine Air Lines’ earliest connecting flight to Honolulu on June 29,
International Airport so as to avoid the possibility of any further violation of his
1966 at 6:30 p.m., or with a stopover of about 72 hours in Manila. He surrendered his
conditional pardon. At any rate it would be to the best interest of the security and peace
passport to the immigration authorities at the Manila International Airport, and was
of this country to have the petitioner expatriated from the Philippines, instead of being
issued a note that his departure was scheduled for June 29, 1966 at 6:30 p.m. He left his
recommitted for a long duration of time to prison where his presence may constitute a
luggage at the airport and was issued claim tags. He registered for a three-day stay at the
constant menace to our country's welfare and bring about some sinister influence among
El Presidente Hotel at Parañaque, Rizal. He contacted his two friends in Manila, Lim Pin
the people with whom he will associate or come in contact."
and Go Bon Kim. These two friends invited him to stay longer in the Philippines.
Then the dispositive portion of the majority opinion reads as follows: "FOR ALL OF THE
On June 28, 1966 he and his two friends went to the Bureau of Immigration, where his
FOREGOING REASONS, the petition herein filed is hereby dismissed, with costs against the
friend Lim Pin signed a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Immigration requesting
petitioner, and with a reiteration of the recommendation to allow the petitioner to
for a fourteen-day extension of stay in the Philippines for him. Ang Cho Kio was identified
leave this country in the first available transportation abroad made in the course of this
by inspector Mariano Cristi of the Immigration Bureau as the Ang Cho Kio who was
decision. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Executive Secretary."
deported to Taipeh on July 28, 1959. His identity having been established, Ang Cho Kio
was arrested, and the immigration authorities conducted an investigation regarding his In due time the Solicitor General filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for
presence in the Philippines. The immigration authorities did not allow him to proceed reconsideration, praying for the deletion from the majority opinion of the
with his trip to Honolulu. recommendation to allow Ang Cho Kio to leave the country on the first available
transportation abroad. The Court of Appeals, by a vote of three to two in the special
On July 5, 1966 the Executive Secretary, by authority of the President, ordered him
division which decided the case, denied the motion. Hence this appeal by certiorari by
recommitted to prison to serve the unexpired portion of the sentence that were imposed
the Solicitor General to this Court.
on him, for having violated the condition of his pardon.
Issue: W/N the courts are empowered to make recommendations, nor is it inherent in the the functions of the Chief Executive. It would be, as urged by the Solicitor General, an
exercise of judicial powers. interference on, or an attempt to influence, the exercise by the Chief Executive of the
political powers of his office. The matter of whether an alien who violated the laws in this
Held: No, it is an interference on, or an attempt to influence, the exercise by the Chief
country may remain or be deported is a political question that should be left entirely to
Executive of the political powers of his office.
the Chief Executive to decide. Under the principle of separation of powers, it is not within
The case before the Court of Appeals was for habeas corpus. The only question to be the province of the judiciary to express an opinion, or express a suggestion, that would
resolved by the Court of Appeals was whether, or not, the Court of First Instate of Rizal, reflect on the wisdom or propriety of the action of the Chief Executive on matters purely
had rightly dismissed the petition of Ang Cho Kio for habeas corpus. The Court of political in nature. It may be said that the recommendation embodied in the majority
Appeals was not called upon to review any sentence imposed upon Ang Cho Kio. The opinion of the special division of the Court of Appeals simply represents the private
sentence against him had long become final, and, in fact, he had served part of the opinion of the three justices, and judges should be left free to express even their private
sentence when he was extended pardon on July 4, 1959, upon the condition that he opinions in judicial decisions.
should leave the country, never to return.
We believe, however, that the better practice should be that the decision of a court
The opinion of the three justices of the special division of the Court of Appeals, to which should contain only opinion that is relevant to the question that is before the court for
the two other justices have concurred, found that the recommitment to prison of Ang Cho decision. After all, courts are not concerned with the wisdom or morality of laws, but only
Kio was done in the exercise by the President of the Philippines of his power pursuant to in the interpretation and application of the law. We believe that judges should refrain
the provision of Section 64(i) of the Revised Administrative Code, and the courts should from expressing irrelevant opinions in their decisions which may only reflect unfavorably
not interfere with the exercise of that power. The majority opinion should have been upon their competence and the propriety of their judicial actuations. However, of the ten
limited to the affirmance of the decision of the lower court, and no more. The members of the Court, as presently constituted, only five are of the opinion that the
recommendatory power of the courts in this jurisdiction are limited to those expressly recommendation embodied in the decision of the majority of the special division of the
provided in the law - and such law is the provision of Section 5 of the Revised Penal Code. Court of Appeals, now in question, should be deleted from the decision. Two members of
Certainly, the recommendation in the majority opinion of the special division of the Court the Court are of a different opinion, and three others did not take part in the decision
of Appeals, now in question, is not authorized under the aforequoted provision of Article because of their official actuations relative to the case of respondent Ang Cho Kio before
5 of the Revised Penal Code. The Court of Appeals was not called upon to review any it reached this Court. There is, therefore, one vote less than the majority of the Court that
sentence that was imposed on Ang Cho Kio. It was simply called upon to determine is necessary to grant the certiorari prayed for.
whether Ang Cho Kio was illegally confined, or not, in the insular penitentiary under the
WHEREFORE, the petition for writ of certiorari is denied, and the decision of the special
Director of Prisons.
division of the Court of Appeals stands. No costs.
We do not consider it proper that the majority of the justices in the special division make
Sec 5 RPC: "Whenever a court has knowledge of any act which it may deem proper to
a recommendation that would suggest a modification or a correction of the act of the
repress and which is not punishable by law, it shall render the proper decision, and shall
Chief Executive, after the same justices have said in their opinion "that the Chief Executive
report to the Chief Executive, through the Department of Justice, the reasons which
may determine, alone and by himself, whether the condition attached to a pardon given
induce the court to believe that said act should be made the subject of penal legislation.
by him had been violated; and in the exercise of this prerogative, the courts may not
"In the same way the court shall submit to the Chief Executive, through the Department
interfere, however erroneous the findings may be." When the Chief Executive, exercising
of Justice such statement as may be deemed proper, without suspending the execution of
his powers pursuant to Section 64(i) of the Revised Administrative Code, ordered Ang Cho
the sentence, when a strict enforcement of the provisions of this Code would result in the
Kio recommitted to prison, it is assumed that the Chief Executive had decided that Ang
imposition of a clearly excessive penalty, taking into consideration the degree of malice
Cho Kio should be dealt with that way under the circumstances.
and the injury caused by the offense."
For the court to suggest to the Chief Executive to modify his decision to recommit Ang
Cho Kio to prison by allowing him to leave the country instead is indeed to interfere with