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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 88211 September 15, 1989

FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS, JR., IRENE M.


ARANETA, IMEE MANOTOC, TOMAS MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E.
MARCOS, NICANOR YÑIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA),
represented by its President, CONRADO F. ESTRELLA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOÑEZ, MIRIAM
DEFENSOR SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO DE VILLA, in their capacity as Secretary of
Foreign Affairs, Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner,
Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff, respectively, respondents.

CORTES, J.:

Before the Court is a contreversy of grave national importance. While ostensibly only legal issues
are involved, the Court's decision in this case would undeniably have a profound effect on the
political, economic and other aspects of national life.

We recall that in February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-
violent "people power" revolution and forced into exile. In his stead, Corazon C. Aquino was declared
President of the Republic under a revolutionary government. Her ascension to and consilidation of
power have not been unchallenged. The failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of
Mr. Marcos, the takeover of television station Channel 7 by rebel troops led by Col. Canlas with the
support of "Marcos loyalists" and the unsuccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to surreptitiously
return from Hawaii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft chartered by a Lebanese arms dealer [Manila
Bulletin, January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the Marcoses to stir trouble even
from afar and to the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their followers in the country. The ratification of
the 1987 Constitution enshrined the victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the
constitutional moorings of Mrs. Aquino's presidency. This did not, however, stop bloody challenges
to the government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the major players in the
February Revolution, led a failed coup that left scores of people, both combatants and civilians,
dead. There were several other armed sorties of lesser significance, but the message they conveyed
was the same — a split in the ranks of the military establishment that threatened civilian supremacy
over military and brought to the fore the realization that civilian government could be at the mercy of
a fractious military.

But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among
rabid followers of Mr. Marcos. There are also the communist insurgency and the secessionist
movement in Mindanao which gained ground during the rule of Mr. Marcos, to the extent that the
communists have set up a parallel government of their own on the areas they effectively control
while the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed bands. There has been no let up on
this groups' determination to wrest power from the government. Not only through resort to arms but
also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreading chaos and
destabilizing the country.
Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of
the nation attributed to Mr. Marcos and his cronies left the economy devastated. The efforts at
economic recovery, three years after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, have yet to show concrete results
in alleviating the poverty of the masses, while the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses
has remained elusive.

Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. But Mrs.
Aquino, considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of
government is threatened from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and
move forward, has stood firmly on the decision to bar the return of Mr. Marcos and his family.

The Petition

This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, for the case of a dictator forced out of office
and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and
who within the short space of three years seeks to return, is in a class by itself.

This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order the respondents to issue travel
documents to Mr. Marcos and the immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation
of the President's decision to bar their return to the Philippines.

The Issue

Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the
Constitution, the President may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines.

According to the petitioners, the resolution of the case would depend on the resolution of the
following issues:

1. Does the President have the power to bar the return of former President Marcos
and family to the Philippines?

a. Is this a political question?

2. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former President Marcos and
his family from returning to the Philippines, in the interest of "national security, public
safety or public health

a. Has the President made a finding that the return of former President Marcos and
his family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security, public
safety or public health?

b. Assuming that she has made that finding

(1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with in


making such finding?

(2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners?

(3) Has there been a hearing?


(4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with, has the
President's decision, including the grounds upon which it was based,
been made known to petitioners so that they may controvert the
same?

c. Is the President's determination that the return of former President Marcos and his
family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security, public
safety, or public health a political question?

d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the return of former President
Marcos and his family is a clear and present danger to national security, public
safety, or public health, have respondents established such fact?

3. Have the respondents, therefore, in implementing the President's decision to bar


the return of former President Marcos and his family, acted and would be acting
without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, in
performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former President Marcos
and his family to the Philippines? [Memorandum for Petitioners, pp. 5-7; Rollo, pp.
234-236.1

The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the
Philippines is guaranteed under the following provisions of the Bill of Rights, to wit:

Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process
of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

xxx xxx xxx

Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed
by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the
right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or
public health, as may be provided by law.

The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the
Marcoses because only a court may do so "within the limits prescribed by law." Nor may the
President impair their right to travel because no law has authorized her to do so. They advance the
view that before the right to travel may be impaired by any authority or agency of the government,
there must be legislation to that effect.

The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right of Mr. Marcos and his family to
return to the Philippines is guaranteed.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides:

Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within
the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to
his country.
Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which had been ratified by the
Philippines, provides:

Article 12

1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the
right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those
which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order
(order public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are
consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

On the other hand, the respondents' principal argument is that the issue in this case involves a
political question which is non-justiciable. According to the Solicitor General:

As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners
Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family have the right to travel and liberty of abode.
Petitioners invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without reference to attendant
circumstances.

Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is whether or not
petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines
and reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the President that
such return and residence will endanger national security and public safety.

It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question is not a political


question as it involves merely a determination of what the law provides on the matter
and application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family. But when the
question is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and
family impinge on or collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the
State to security and safety of its nationals, the question becomes political and this
Honorable Court can not consider it.

There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:

Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the
Philippines and reestablish their residence here? This is clearly a justiciable question
which this Honorable Court can decide.

Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to return to the
Philippines and reestablish their residence here even if their return and residence
here will endanger national security and public safety? this is still a justiciable
question which this Honorable Court can decide.

Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E.


Marcos and family shall return to the Philippines and establish their residence here?
This is now a political question which this Honorable Court can not decide for it falls
within the exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines.
[Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.]

Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights.
In support thereof, they cite Article II of the Constitution, to wit:

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The
Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment
thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render
personal, military, or civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and
property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by
all the people of the blessings of democracy.

Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and family from returning to the
Philippines for reasons of national security and public safety has international precedents. Rafael
Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Anastacio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala,
Fulgencio batista of Cuba, King Farouk of Egypt, Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador,
and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among the deposed dictators whose return to their
homelands was prevented by their governments. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul
S. Manglapus, quoted in Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 26-32; Rollo, pp. 314-319.]

The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of presidential power and
its limits. We, however, view this issue in a different light. Although we give due weight to the parties'
formulation of the issues, we are not bound by its narrow confines in arriving at a solution to the
controversy.

At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines of the right to
travel and the import of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the leading cases of Kent v.
Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt 1113, 2 L Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v. Agee [453 U.S. 280, 101 SCt 2766,
69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to travel and recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof,
respectively.

It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines
to other countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right to travel would normally
connote. Essentially, the right involved is the right to return to one's country, a totally distinct right
under international law, independent from although related to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal
Declaration of Humans Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the
right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a state, the right to leave a country,
and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. The Declaration speaks of the
"right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art. 13(l)] separately
from the "right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." [Art. 13(2).] On
the other hand, the Covenant guarantees the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose
his residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave any country, including his own." [Art.
12(2)] which rights may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national security,
public order, public health or morals or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily
deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It would therefore be inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to
return to one's country in the same context as those pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to
travel.
The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill
of Rights, which treats only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is our well-
considered view that the right to return may be considered, as a generally accepted principle of
international law and, under our Constitution, is part of the law of the land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the
Constitution.] However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel and enjoys a different
protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, i.e., against being "arbitrarily
deprived" thereof [Art. 12 (4).]

Thus, the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the issuance of passports for the purpose
of effectively exercising the right to travel are not determinative of this case and are only tangentially
material insofar as they relate to a conflict between executive action and the exercise of a protected
right. The issue before the Court is novel and without precedent in Philippine, and even in American
jurisprudence.

Consequently, resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of whether or not there can be
limitations on the right to travel in the absence of legislation to that effect is rendered unnecessary.
An appropriate case for its resolution will have to be awaited.

Having clarified the substance of the legal issue, we find now a need to explain the methodology for
its resolution. Our resolution of the issue will involve a two-tiered approach. We shall first resolve
whether or not the President has the power under the Constitution, to bar the Marcoses from
returning to the Philippines. Then, we shall determine, pursuant to the express power of the Court
under the Constitution in Article VIII, Section 1, whether or not the President acted arbitrarily or with
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she determined that the
return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and
decided to bar their return.

Executive Power

The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of the three great branches of
government. To recall the words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139
(1936)], "the Constitution has blocked but with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to
the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of the government." [At 157.1 Thus, the
1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of
the Philippines" Art VI, Sec. 11, "[t]he executive power shall bevested in the President of the
Philippines" [Art. VII, Sec. 11, and "[te judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in
such lower courts as may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1.] These provisions not only
establish a separation of powers by actual division [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra] but also
confer plenary legislative, executive and judicial powers subject only to limitations provided in the
Constitution. For as the Supreme Court in Ocampo v. Cabangis [15 Phil. 626 (1910)] pointed out "a
grant of the legislative power means a grant of all legislative power; and a grant of the judicial power
means a grant of all the judicial power which may be exercised under the government." [At 631-
632.1 If this can be said of the legislative power which is exercised by two chambers with a
combined membership of more than two hundred members and of the judicial power which is vested
in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally be said of the executive power which is vested in one official
the President.

As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the
President of the Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is meant by
executive power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the
President, i.e., the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power
to execute the laws, the appointing power, the powers under the commander-in-chief clause, the
power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, the power to grant amnesty with the
concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to enter into
treaties or international agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to
address Congress [Art. VII, Sec. 14-23].

The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers
of the Constitution intend that the President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are
these se enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the
view that the President's powers are limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987
Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has enumerated powers, and what is not enumerated
is impliedly denied to her. Inclusion unius est exclusio alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4-
Rollo p. 233.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the U.S. Presidency after which ours is
legally patterned.**

Corwin, in his monumental volume on the President of the United States grappled with the same
problem. He said:

Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To those who think
that a constitution ought to settle everything beforehand it should be a nightmare; by
the same token, to those who think that constitution makers ought to leave
considerable leeway for the future play of political forces, it should be a vision
realized.

We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: "The executive


power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." . . .. [The
President: Office and Powers, 17871957, pp. 3-4.]

Reviewing how the powers of the U.S. President were exercised by the different persons who held
the office from Washington to the early 1900's, and the swing from the presidency by commission to
Lincoln's dictatorship, he concluded that "what the presidency is at any particular moment depends
in important measure on who is President." [At 30.]

This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial Presidency:

For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution. it remained of


course, an agency of government subject to unvarying demands and duties no
remained, of cas President. But, more than most agencies of government, it changed
shape, intensity and ethos according to the man in charge. Each President's
distinctive temperament and character, his values, standards, style, his habits,
expectations, Idiosyncrasies, compulsions, phobias recast the WhiteHouse and
pervaded the entire government. The executive branch, said Clark Clifford, was a
chameleon, taking its color from the character and personality of the President. The
thrust of the office, its impact on the constitutional order, therefore altered from
President to President. Above all, the way each President understood it as his
personal obligation to inform and involve the Congress, to earn and hold the
confidence of the electorate and to render an accounting to the nation and posterity
determined whether he strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. [At 212-
213.]

We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. Aquino says it is or what she does but, rather, that
the consideration of tradition and the development of presidential power under the different
constitutions are essential for a complete understanding of the extent of and limitations to the
President's powers under the 1987 Constitution. The 1935 Constitution created a strong President
with explicitly broader powers than the U.S. President. The 1973 Constitution attempted to modify
the system of government into the parliamentary type, with the President as a mere figurehead, but
through numerous amendments, the President became even more powerful, to the point that he was
also the de facto Legislature. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system
of government and restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their
actual distribution among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and
balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws,
for the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such
positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution
itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. It also grants
the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power
over the country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the
exercise of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as
within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be
limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other words, executive power is
more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated,

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor
judicial has to be executive. Thus, in the landmark decision of Springer v. Government of the
Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189 (1928), on the issue of who between the Governor-General of the
Philippines and the Legislature may vote the shares of stock held by the Government to elect
directors in the National Coal Company and the Philippine National Bank, the U.S. Supreme Court,
in upholding the power of the Governor-General to do so, said:

...Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the "board" and
"committee" respectively, are not charged with the performance of any legislative
functions or with the doing of anything which is in aid of performance of any such
functions by the legislature. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the
duties devolved upon these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-
General, it is clear that they are not legislative in character, and still more clear that
they are not judicial. The fact that they do not fall within the authority of either of
these two constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that of the
remaining one among which the powers of government are divided ....[At 202-203;
Emphasis supplied.]

We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. But in his enduring words of dissent we find
reinforcement for the view that it would indeed be a folly to construe the powers of a branch of
government to embrace only what are specifically mentioned in the Constitution:

The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black
and white. Even the more specific of them are found to terminate in a penumbra
shading gradually from one extreme to the other. ....

xxx xxx xxx

It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by
veiling words we do not and cannot carry out the distinction between legislative and
executive action with mathematical precision and divide the branches into watertight
compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far from believing that it
is, or that the Constitution requires. [At 210- 211.]

The Power Involved

The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to
serve and protect the people" and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order,the protection of life,
liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all
the people of the blessings of democracy." [Art. II, Secs. 4 and 5.]

Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance of peace and order, the protection
of life, liberty and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide
governmental action. But such does not mean that they are empty words. Thus, in the exercise of
presidential functions, in drawing a plan of government, and in directing implementing action for
these plans, or from another point of view, in making any decision as President of the Republic, the
President has to consider these principles, among other things, and adhere to them.

Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the
Philippines, the President is, under the Constitution, constrained to consider these basic principles in
arriving at a decision. More than that, having sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, the
President has the obligation under the Constitution to protect the people, promote their welfare and
advance the national interest. It must be borne in mind that the Constitution, aside from being an
allocation of power is also a social contract whereby the people have surrendered their sovereign
powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers of the Government exercising the
powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers, the
Constitution reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all government authority
emanates from them." [Art. II, Sec. 1.]

The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the
country are the deposed dictator and his family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and
from whom billions of dollars believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered. The
constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither absolute nor inflexible. For the exercise of even the
preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although couched in absolute terms, admits of limits
and must be adjusted to the requirements of equally important public interests [Zaldivar v.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, October 7, 1981.]

To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against
the exercise of rights of certain individuals. The power involved is the President's residual power to
protect the general welfare of the people. It is founded on the duty of the President, as steward of
the people. To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but also his
duty to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand
[See Corwin, supra, at 153]. It is a power borne by the President's duty to preserve and defend the
Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President's duty to take care that the
laws are faithfully executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the author advances the
view that an allowance of discretionary power is unavoidable in any government and is best lodged
in the President].

More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace.
Rossiter The American Presidency].The power of the President to keep the peace is not limited
merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of emergency or to leading the State
against external and internal threats to its existence. The President is not only clothed with
extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the day-to-day
problems of maintaining peace and order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign
foe appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law, in fulfilling presidential duties
in times of peace is not in any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in the
commander-in-chief provision. For in making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration of
powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the President's exercising as Commander-in- Chief
powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order and security.

That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has
been recognized by memembers of the Legislature, and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in
the House of Representatives and signed by 103 of its members urging the President to allow Mr.
Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a genuine unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation
and as irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to uncompromising respect for human rights
under the Constitution and our laws." [House Resolution No. 1342, Rollo, p. 321.1 The Resolution
does not question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines,
rather, it appeals to the President's sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his
country.

What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to
the Philippines cannot be considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing
liberty of abode and the right to travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly
never contemplated situations even remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a
matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of the President which are
implicit in and correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and protect
general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the exercise of a broader
discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.

The Extent of Review

Under the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been
a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the Government." [Art. VIII, Sec. 1] Given this wording, we cannot agree with the
Solicitor General that the issue constitutes a political question which is beyond the jurisdiction of the
Court to decide.

The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of
judicial inquiry into areas which the Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to
the political departments to decide. But nonetheless there remain issues beyond the Court's
jurisdiction the determination of which is exclusively for the President, for Congress or for the people
themselves through a plebiscite or referendum. We cannot, for example, question the President's
recognition of a foreign government, no matter how premature or improvident such action may
appear. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it may appear to us that the beneficiary is
totally undeserving of the grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of resolving a
dispute brought before us because the power is reserved to the people.

There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our determination thereof on the political
question doctrine. The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission cited by petitioners show that
the framers intended to widen the scope of judicial review but they did not intend courts of justice to
settle all actual controversies before them. When political questions are involved, the Constitution
limits the determination to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being questioned. If grave
abuse is not established, the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the official concerned
and decide a matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to decide. In this light, it
would appear clear that the second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, defining
"judicial power," which specifically empowers the courts to determine whether or not there has been
a grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government,
incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling in Lansang v. Garcia [G.R. No. L-33964, December
11, 1971, 42 SCRA 4481 that:]

Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to the
principle of separation of powers underlying our system of government, the Executive
is supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of powers, under the
Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand in hand with the system of
checks and balances, under which the Executive is supreme, as regards the
suspension of the privilege, but only if and when he acts within the sphere alloted to
him by the Basic Law, and the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted
is vested in the Judicial Department, which, in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally
supreme. In the exercise of such authority, the function of the Court is merely to
check — not to supplant the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he has gone
beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in
him or to determine the wisdom of his act [At 479-480.]

Accordingly, the question for the Court to determine is whether or not there exist factual bases for
the President to conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses to the
Philippines. If such postulates do exist, it cannot be said that she has acted, or acts, arbitrarily or that
she has gravely abused her discretion in deciding to bar their return.

We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral arguments, and the facts revealed
during the briefing in chambers by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the
National Security Adviser, wherein petitioners and respondents were represented, there exist factual
bases for the President's decision..

The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from
within by a well-organized communist insurgency, a separatist movement in Mindanao, rightist
conspiracies to grab power, urban terrorism, the murder with impunity of military men, police officers
and civilian officials, to mention only a few. The documented history of the efforts of the Marcose's
and their followers to destabilize the country, as earlier narrated in this ponencia bolsters the
conclusion that the return of the Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify the
violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos.

As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be contained. The military
establishment has given assurances that it could handle the threats posed by particular groups. But
it is the catalytic effect of the return of the Marcoses that may prove to be the proverbial final straw
that would break the camel's back. With these before her, the President cannot be said to have
acted arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in determining that the return of the Marcoses
poses a serious threat to the national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return.

It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of
violence against the State, that would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the
commander-in-chief powers granted her by the Constitution to suppress or stamp out such violence.
The State, acting through the Government, is not precluded from taking pre- emptive action against
threats to its existence if, though still nascent they are perceived as apt to become serious and
direct. Protection of the people is the essence of the duty of government. The preservation of the
State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the highest order. The President,
sworn to preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws, cannot
shirk from that responsibility.

We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the
hardships brought about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close
associates and relatives, many of whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize
the country, while the Government has barely scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to
recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in foreign jurisdictions. Then, We
cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign
borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root
causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy
is of common knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice.

The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would
wipe away the gains achieved during the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. Given
what is within our individual and common knowledge of the state of the economy, we cannot argue
with that determination.

WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or
with grave abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his
family at the present time and under present circumstances poses a serious threat to national
interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the Philippines, the instant petition is
hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
Facts:

Ferdinand E. Marcos, former president of the Philippines whom were stripped of power and exiled
through people power revolution during his presidency under the martial law era in 1986. He posed a
massive threat to the citizens during his dictatorship and even after he was exiled.

He wish to return to the country to die here but he is barred by President Aquino from returning as he is
a threat to the National Security, public safety and order of the country.

He filed a petition for mandamus to order the respondents to issue travel documents to the Marcoses
and prohibition from barring their return by the president.

Issue:

Whether or not the right to travel guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of the Constitution includes the right
to return to the country

Held:

The president under the Constitution has the obligation to protect the people, promote their welfare
and advance the national interest. Since former president Marcos, posed a threat to the people, the
Court said that the President (Aquino) did not act arbitrarily in barring the former president to return to
the country.

Moreover, the Court iterated that the Right to Travel guaranteed by the Bill of Rights includes the: (1)
the Right to Travel WITHIN the country; (2) the right to LEAVE the country. But it does not include the
right to RETURN to the Country.