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HABEAS CORPUS other effect than to hold the prisoner awaiting the approval of the commanding

general; that the commanding general having seen fit to commute the
sentence of twenty years' imprisonment the conviction or sentence under
Republic of the Philippines which the petitioner is serving must be regarded as of date November 20,
SUPREME COURT 1901, and that the case does not come under the provisions of Act No. 272 of
Manila the Philippine Commission.

EN BANC After reviewing the questions as to the jurisdiction of the military commission,
and apparently reaching the conclusion that the military commission had no
G.R. No. 1251 March 27, 1903 jurisdiction to try the petitioner, the judge found that the petitioner came within
the general amnesty proclamation and was entitled to its benefits, and directed
FRANK MEKIN, petitioner-appellee, that he be discharged from custody upon his taking and subscribing the oath
vs. of allegiance provided for in the amnesty proclamation.
GEORGE N. WOLFE, Wardent of Bilibid Prison, respondent-appellant.
An appeal was taken by the Government from this decision.
COOPER, J.:
Subsequent to the date of the filing of the application for habeas corpus, but
prior to the date of the trial and of the judgment in the case, the Philippine
On the 11th day of February, 1903, application was made by Frank Mekin to
Commission promulgated Act No. 654, dated March 4, 1903, by the provisions
the Hon. B. S. Ambler, judge of the Court of First Instance, for a writ of habeas
corpus against George N. Wolfe, Warden of Bilibid Prison, for the illegal of which an appeal in habeas corpus proceedings may be taken from the
imprisonment, detention, and confinement of petitioner by the respondent as judgment of the Court of First Instance to this court, the decision of this court
warden of said prison, and setting forth in substance the following facts: having previously been that no appeal would lie in such a case in the absence
of a statute authorizing it.
That petitioner was a member of the Thirty-seventh Infantry, United States
It is contended by counsel for this petitioner that Act No. 654 is in the nature of
Volunteers, up to the date of his discharge, which occurred on the ____ day of
an ex post facto law, and having been enacted subsequent to petitioner's right
February, 1901; that after his discharge, to wit, the 13th day of July, 1901, the
to the writ of habeas corpus this appeal should not be entertained. This
petitioner was tried by a military commission composed of officers of the
contention is unsupported by either precedent or principle. It is difficult to
United States Regular Army on the charge of entering the service of the
enemy in violation of the laws and was found guilty and sentenced by said conceive any reason for such a conclusion.
military commission to twenty years of hard labor in the Presidio of Manila,
An ex post facto law has been defined as one —
where he is at present confined. That the military commission acted without
jurisdiction in so trying and sentencing the petitioner for the reason that it had
(a) Which makes an action done before the passing of the law and which was
neither jurisdiction of the person of the petitioner nor jurisdiction of the crime
for which he was tried and sentenced; that at the time of the trial the petitioner innocent when done criminal, and punishes such action; or
was a civilian, and is therefore entitled to the benefit of the amnesty
proclamation issued by the President of the United States on the 4th day of (b) Which aggravates a crime or makes it greater than it was when committed;
or
July, 1902.

The writ of habeas corpus was issued and was served upon the respondent, (c) Which damages the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the
George N. Wolfe, who made return: That he, as Warden of Bilibid, held said law annexed to the crime when it was committed; or
Frank Mekin imprisoned under authority of the United States of America
(d) Which alters the legal rules of evidence and receives less or different
through the lawful orders of the commanding general, Division of the
testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense in
Philippines, issued by virtue of a lawful sentence of a duly convened military
order to convict the defendant. (Black, Constitutional Law, 595.)
commission, for an offense in violation of the laws of war and against the
United States of America, which conviction and sentence was duly approved
by the convening authority on September 23, 1901, and which sentence was The case nearly does not come within this definition, nor can it be seen in
lawfully commuted to imprisonment at hard labor for the term of twenty years what way the act in question alters the situation of petitioner to his
by the said commanding general of the Division of the Philippines, the record disadvantage. It gives him, as well as the Government, the benefit of the
of which conviction and sentence and the approval thereof of the said appeal, and is intended as furnishing the means for the correction of errors.
The possibility that the judge of the Court of First Instance may commit error in
commuted sentence and order of confinement — in the Presidio of Manila —
his favor and wrongfully discharge him appears to be the only foundation for
was set forth in General Orders, No. 362, dated headquarters Division of the
the claim.
Philippines, Manila, P. I., November 30, 1901, copies of which said record and
said order were attached to the return, and the respondent also attached to his
A person can have no vested right in such a possibility.
return the certificate of George W. Davis, major-general, United States Army,
commanding the Division of the Philippines, and made it a part of his return.
It would be a sufficient answer to the contention of the petitioner that Act No.
654, allowing an appeal, relates to a habeas corpus proceeding. This
The respondent prayed for the dismissal of the writ of habeas corpus,
assigning as a cause that the court was without jurisdiction to issue the writ of character of proceeding is entirely distinct from the criminal proceedings under
habeas corpus for the reason that the said Frank Mekin was held as a prisoner which the prisoner has been tried and convicted. It is a new suit brought by
by virtue of the sentence of the said military commission, awarded prior to petitioner to enforce a civil right which he claims as against those who are
October 1, 1901, and that the issuance of said writ was in contravention of the holding him in custody under the criminal process. The proceeding is one
statute of the Philippine Commission, Act No. 272, entitled "An act amending instituted by himself for his liberty and not by the Government to punish him for
his crime. (Ex parte Tom Tong, 108 U. S., 556.)
chapter 26, relating to proceedings in habeas corpus."
It is distinctly a civil proceeding, and as such is provided for and regulated in
The certificate of George W. Davis, major-general, United States Army,
the Code of Civil Procedure.
commanding in the Philippines, referred to in the return, is as follows:
The doctrine of ex post facto laws refers only to the criminal law.
Headquarters Division of the Philippines, Manila, P. I., February 18, 1903. To
the Hon. B. S. Ambler, judge of the Court of First Instance, Manila, P. I. Sir: I
This case must be determined under the provisions of Act No. 272, "An act
hereby certify that Frank Mekin is held by me as commanding general,
Division of the Philippines, in the Presidio of Manila, and at the expense of the amending chapter 26, relating to proceedings of habeas corpus," enacted by
United States, by virtue of a sentence of a military commission, published in the Philippine Commission on the 21st day of October, 1901. The history of
General Orders, No. 362, dated headquarters Division of the Philippines, the legislation embodied in this act is too recent to require a review of the
Manila, P. I., November 20, 1901, (a copy of which order is herewith circumstances and conditions under which it was enacted. Its purpose was to
submitted), as a prisoner duly sentenced prior to October 1, 1901, by said prevent a conflict of jurisdiction between the civil and military branches of the
Government. By the provisions of this act, when the commanding general or
commission and duly approved by the reviewing authority prior to said date,
any general officer in command of the department or district certifies in answer
and which sentence was duly commuted by the commanding general, Division
of the Philippines, which commutation was duly published in said order, and to a writ of habeas corpus directed a military officer or soldier that the prisoner
is held by him either —
that the said Frank Mekin is a prisoner who was arrested and held for trial
before October 15, 1901, for a violation of the laws of war committed before
(1) As a prisoner of war; or
that date, and is now held by George N. Wolfe, as Warden of Bilibid Prison, as
my agent. Very respectfully, (signed) Geo. W. Davis, General, United States
(2) As a member of the Army, a civil employee thereof, or a camp follower
Army, commanding.
subject to its discipline; or
On February 18, 1903, a hearing of the habeas corpus proceedings was had,
the Government being represented by the Prosecuting Attorney and by the (3) As a prisoner committed by a military court or commision prior to October
Judge-Advocate-General, Divsion of the Philippines, and on the 9th day of 1, 1901; or
March, 1903, the judge of the Court of First Instance rendered his decision, in
(4) As a prisoner arrested and held for trial before a military court or
which it was determined that the approval and commutation of the sentence
commission, before October 15, 1901, for a violation of the laws of war
under which the prisoner is now serving was promulgated on the 20th day of
committed before the same date; or
November, 1901; that the trial before the military commission not being
disclosed by the evidence, the sentence of the military commission had no
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(5) As a person guilty of the violation of the laws of was committed in certain and had neither directly nor indirectly given their consent to the deportation.
unpacified provinces and territories named — The involuntary guests were received on board the steamers by a
representative of the Bureau of Labor and a detachment of Constabulary
such certificate shall be a conclusive answer to a writ of habeas corpus soldiers. The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for Davao
against a military officer or soldier, and a sufficient excuse for not producing during the night of October 25.
the prisoner.
The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. The women
It is not disputed that the respondent holds the petitioner by and through the were landed and receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales, provincial
orders of the commanding general Division of the Philippines, and that he is in governor of Davao, and by Feliciano Yñigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor
the custody of the Unites States Government through the respondent, the and the hacendero Yñigo, who appear as parties in the case, had no previous
Warden of Bilibid, as the agent and representative of the military, such agency notification that the women were prostitutes who had been expelled from the
appears in the certificate of the commanding general and also in the return of city of Manila. The further happenings to these women and the serious
the respondent. charges growing out of alleged ill-treatment are of public interest, but are not
essential to the disposition of this case. Suffice it to say, generally, that some
It is equally clear that the certificate of General Davis of date the 18th day of of the women married, others assumed more or less clandestine relations with
February, 1903, is in compliance with Act No. 272, from which it appears men, others went to work in different capacities, others assumed a life
distinctly that the petitioner is a prisoner committed by a military commission unknown and disappeared, and a goodly portion found means to return to
prior to October 1, 1901; and further that he is a prisoner arrested and held for Manila.
trial before October 15, 1901, for a violation of the laws of war committed
before the same date. To turn back in our narrative, just about the time the Corregidor and the
Negros were putting in to Davao, the attorney for the relatives and friends of a
We think the certificate of the commanding general is in strict compliance with considerable number of the deportees presented an application for habeas
the provisions of the law, and was a conclusive return to the writ of habeas corpus to a member of the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the application,
corpus. through stipulation of the parties, was made to include all of the women who
were sent away from Manila to Davao and, as the same questions concerned
The power of the court to either issue the writ or discharge the prisoner is them all, the application will be considered as including them. The application
ended when such return has been made and the proceedings must there end. set forth the salient facts, which need not be repeated, and alleged that the
women were illegally restrained of their liberty by Justo Lukban, Mayor of the
While the power conceded to the commanding general is of vital imprortance city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, and by
and an abuse of it would be attended with great evil, still, the high position of certain unknown parties. The writ was made returnable before the full court.
those to whom it has been confided was doubtless believed to be a sufficient The city fiscal appeared for the respondents, Lukban and Hohmann, admitted
guaranty that it would not be exercised except after careful investigation and certain facts relative to sequestration and deportation, and prayed that the writ
with a due appreaciation of the delicate nature of the power reposed in the should not be granted because the petitioners were not proper parties,
commanding general by the legislative authority. because the action should have been begun in the Court of First Instance for
Davao, Department of Mindanao and Sulu, because the respondents did not
In view of the disposition which the law requires us to make of the case it is have any of the women under their custody or control, and because their
unnecessary to discuss other interesting questions raised by counsel for the jurisdiction did not extend beyond the boundaries of the city of Manila.
petitioner. According to an exhibit attached to the answer of the fiscal, the 170 women
were destined to be laborers, at good salaries, on the haciendas of Yñigo and
The order and decision of the judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila Governor Sales. In open court, the fiscal admitted, in answer to question of a
ordering that the prisoner be discharged from custody of the respondent must member of the court, that these women had been sent out of Manila without
be reversed, the proceedings dismissed, and the prisoner remanded to the their consent. The court awarded the writ, in an order of November 4, that
custody of the respondent. It is so ordered and directed. Costs of proceedings directed Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of
will be adjudged against the petitioner. police of the city of Manila, Francisco Sales, governor of the province of
Davao, and Feliciano Yñigo, an hacendero of Davao, to bring before the court
Torres, Willard, Mapa and Ladd, JJ., concur. the persons therein named, alleged to be deprived of their liberty, on
Arellano, C. J., Torres, did not sit in this case. December 2, 1918.

Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had returned to Manila at
their own expense. On motion of counsel for petitioners, their testimony was
Republic of the Philippines taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioners. On the
SUPREME COURT day named in the order, December 2nd, 1918, none of the persons in whose
Manila behalf the writ was issued were produced in court by the respondents. It has
been shown that three of those who had been able to come back to Manila
EN BANC through their own efforts, were notified by the police and the secret service to
appear before the court. The fiscal appeared, repeated the facts more
G.R. No. L-14639 March 25, 1919 comprehensively, reiterated the stand taken by him when pleading to the
original petition copied a telegram from the Mayor of the city of Manila to the
ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL., petitioners, provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto, and telegrams that had
vs. passed between the Director of Labor and the attorney for that Bureau then in
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., respondents. Davao, and offered certain affidavits showing that the women were contained
with their life in Mindanao and did not wish to return to Manila. Respondents
MALCOLM, J.: Sales answered alleging that it was not possible to fulfill the order of the
Supreme Court because the women had never been under his control,
The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as remarkable as the because they were at liberty in the Province of Davao, and because they had
one which this application for habeas corpus submits for decision. While married or signed contracts as laborers. Respondent Yñigo answered alleging
hardly to be expected to be met with in this modern epoch of triumphant that he did not have any of the women under his control and that therefore it
democracy, yet, after all, the cause presents no great difficulty if there is kept was impossible for him to obey the mandate. The court, after due deliberation,
in the forefront of our minds the basic principles of popular government, and if on December 10, 1918, promulgated a second order, which related that the
we give expression to the paramount purpose for which the courts, as an respondents had not complied with the original order to the satisfaction of the
independent power of such a government, were constituted. The primary court nor explained their failure to do so, and therefore directed that those of
question is — Shall the judiciary permit a government of the men instead of a the women not in Manila be brought before the court by respondents Lukban,
government of laws to be set up in the Philippine Islands? Hohmann, Sales, and Yñigo on January 13, 1919, unless the women should,
in written statements voluntarily made before the judge of first instance of
Omitting much extraneous matter, of no moment to these proceedings, but Davao or the clerk of that court, renounce the right, or unless the respondents
which might prove profitable reading for other departments of the government, should demonstrate some other legal motives that made compliance
the facts are these: The Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best impossible. It was further stated that the question of whether the respondents
of all reasons, to exterminate vice, ordered the segregated district for women were in contempt of court would later be decided and the reasons for the order
of ill repute, which had been permitted for a number of years in the city of announced in the final decision.
Manila, closed. Between October 16 and October 25, 1918, the women were
kept confined to their houses in the district by the police. Presumably, during Before January 13, 1919, further testimony including that of a number of the
this period, the city authorities quietly perfected arrangements with the Bureau women, of certain detectives and policemen, and of the provincial governor of
of Labor for sending the women to Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with some Davao, was taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as
government office for the use of the coastguard cutters Corregidor and commissioner and the clerk of the Court of First Instance of Davao acting in
Negros, and with the Constabulary for a guard of soldiers. At any rate, about the same capacity. On January 13, 1919, the respondents technically
midnight of October 25, the police, acting pursuant to orders from the chief of presented before the Court the women who had returned to the city through
police, Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, their own efforts and eight others who had been brought to Manila by the
descended upon the houses, hustled some 170 inmates into patrol wagons, respondents. Attorneys for the respondents, by their returns, once again
and placed them aboard the steamers that awaited their arrival. The women recounted the facts and further endeavored to account for all of the persons
were given no opportunity to collect their belongings, and apparently were involved in the habeas corpus. In substance, it was stated that the
under the impression that they were being taken to a police station for an respondents, through their representatives and agents, had succeeded in
investigation. They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in bringing from Davao with their consent eight women; that eighty-one women
Mindanao. They had not been asked if they wished to depart from that region were found in Davao who, on notice that if they desired they could return to
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Manila, transportation fee, renounced the right through sworn statements; that should permit a government of men or a government of laws to be established
fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by other means, and that despite all in the Philippine Islands.
efforts to find them twenty-six could not be located. Both counsel for
petitioners and the city fiscal were permitted to submit memoranda. The first What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression? The
formally asked the court to find Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, remedies of the citizen are three: (1) Civil action; (2) criminal action, and (3)
Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose Rodriguez and habeas corpus.
Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila, Feliciano
Yñigo, an hacendero of Davao, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the aggrieved party
of Labor, and Anacleto Diaz, fiscal of the city of Manila, in contempt of court. may recoup money damages. It may still rest with the parties in interest to
The city fiscal requested that the replica al memorandum de los recurridos, pursue such an action, but it was never intended effectively and promptly to
(reply to respondents' memorandum) dated January 25, 1919, be struck from meet any such situation as that now before us.
the record.
As to criminal responsibility, it is true that the Penal Code in force in these
In the second order, the court promised to give the reasons for granting the Islands provides:
writ of habeas corpus in the final decision. We will now proceed to do so.
Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or by regulations of a
One fact, and one fact only, need be recalled — these one hundred and general character in force in the Philippines who shall banish any person to a
seventy women were isolated from society, and then at night, without their place more than two hundred kilometers distant from his domicile, except it be
consent and without any opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their by virtue of the judgment of a court, shall be punished by a fine of not less
rights, were forcibly hustled on board steamers for transportation to regions than three hundred and twenty-five and not more than three thousand two
unknown. Despite the feeble attempt to prove that the women left voluntarily hundred and fifty pesetas.
and gladly, that such was not the case is shown by the mere fact that the
presence of the police and the constabulary was deemed necessary and that Any public officer not thereunto expressly authorized by law or by regulation of
these officers of the law chose the shades of night to cloak their secret and a general character in force in the Philippines who shall compel any person to
stealthy acts. Indeed, this is a fact impossible to refute and practically admitted change his domicile or residence shall suffer the penalty of destierro and a fine
by the respondents. of not less than six hundred and twenty-five and not more than six thousand
two hundred and fifty pesetas. (Art. 211.)
With this situation, a court would next expect to resolve the question — By
authority of what law did the Mayor and the Chief of Police presume to act in We entertain no doubt but that, if, after due investigation, the proper
deporting by duress these persons from Manila to another distant locality prosecuting officers find that any public officer has violated this provision of
within the Philippine Islands? We turn to the statutes and we find — law, these prosecutors will institute and press a criminal prosecution just as
vigorously as they have defended the same official in this action.
Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands in conformity with Nevertheless, that the act may be a crime and that the persons guilty thereof
an Act of congress. The Governor-General can order the eviction of can be proceeded against, is no bar to the instant proceedings. To quote the
undesirable aliens after a hearing from the Islands. Act No. 519 of the words of Judge Cooley in a case which will later be referred to — "It would be
Philippine Commission and section 733 of the Revised Ordinances of the city a monstrous anomaly in the law if to an application by one unlawfully confined,
of Manila provide for the conviction and punishment by a court of justice of any ta be restored to his liberty, it could be a sufficient answer that the confinement
person who is a common prostitute. Act No. 899 authorizes the return of any was a crime, and therefore might be continued indefinitely until the guilty party
citizen of the United States, who may have been convicted of vagrancy, to the was tried and punished therefor by the slow process of criminal procedure." (In
homeland. New York and other States have statutes providing for the the matter of Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416, 434.) The writ of habeas corpus
commitment to the House of Refuge of women convicted of being common was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons
prostitutes. Always a law! Even when the health authorities compel from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal
vaccination, or establish a quarantine, or place a leprous person in the Culion freedom. Any further rights of the parties are left untouched by decision on the
leper colony, it is done pursuant to some law or order. But one can search in writ, whose principal purpose is to set the individual at liberty.
vain for any law, order, or regulation, which even hints at the right of the Mayor
of the city of Manila or the chief of police of that city to force citizens of the Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, respondents have raised
Philippine Islands — and these women despite their being in a sense lepers of three specific objections to its issuance in this instance. The fiscal has argued
society are nevertheless not chattels but Philippine citizens protected by the (l) that there is a defect in parties petitioners, (2) that the Supreme Court
same constitutional guaranties as are other citizens — to change their should not a assume jurisdiction, and (3) that the person in question are not
domicile from Manila to another locality. On the contrary, Philippine penal law restrained of their liberty by respondents. It was finally suggested that the
specifically punishes any public officer who, not being expressly authorized by jurisdiction of the Mayor and the chief of police of the city of Manila only
law or regulation, compels any person to change his residence. extends to the city limits and that perforce they could not bring the women
from Davao.
In other countries, as in Spain and Japan, the privilege of domicile is deemed
so important as to be found in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Under the The first defense was not presented with any vigor by counsel. The petitioners
American constitutional system, liberty of abode is a principle so deeply were relatives and friends of the deportees. The way the expulsion was
imbedded in jurisprudence and considered so elementary in nature as not conducted by the city officials made it impossible for the women to sign a
even to require a constitutional sanction. Even the Governor-General of the petition for habeas corpus. It was consequently proper for the writ to be
Philippine Islands, even the President of the United States, who has often submitted by persons in their behalf. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 78;
been said to exercise more power than any king or potentate, has no such Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 527.) The law, in its zealous regard for personal
arbitrary prerogative, either inherent or express. Much less, therefore, has the liberty, even makes it the duty of a court or judge to grant a writ of habeas
executive of a municipality, who acts within a sphere of delegated powers. If corpus if there is evidence that within the court's jurisdiction a person is
the mayor and the chief of police could, at their mere behest or even for the unjustly imprisoned or restrained of his liberty, though no application be made
most praiseworthy of motives, render the liberty of the citizen so insecure, then therefor. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 93.) Petitioners had standing in
the presidents and chiefs of police of one thousand other municipalities of the court.
Philippines have the same privilege. If these officials can take to themselves
such power, then any other official can do the same. And if any official can The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked for in the
exercise the power, then all persons would have just as much right to do so. Court of First Instance of Davao or should have been made returnable before
And if a prostitute could be sent against her wishes and under no law from one that court. It is a general rule of good practice that, to avoid unnecessary
locality to another within the country, then officialdom can hold the same club expense and inconvenience, petitions for habeas corpus should be presented
over the head of any citizen. to the nearest judge of the court of first instance. But this is not a hard and fast
rule. The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court or any
Law defines power. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed that — "No freeman judge thereof enforcible anywhere in the Philippine Islands. (Code of Criminal
shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be disseized of his freehold, or liberties, or Procedure, sec. 79; Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 526.) Whether the writ shall
free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will be made returnable before the Supreme Court or before an inferior court rests
we pass upon him nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers or by in the discretion of the Supreme Court and is dependent on the particular
the law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any circumstances. In this instance it was not shown that the Court of First
man either justice or right." (Magna Charta, 9 Hen., 111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 eng. Instance of Davao was in session, or that the women had any means by which
stat. at Large, 7.) No official, no matter how high, is above the law. The courts to advance their plea before that court. On the other hand, it was shown that
are the forum which functionate to safeguard individual liberty and to punish the petitioners with their attorneys, and the two original respondents with their
official transgressors. "The law," said Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of attorney, were in Manila; it was shown that the case involved parties situated
the Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only supreme power in our in different parts of the Islands; it was shown that the women might still be
system of government, and every man who by accepting office participates in imprisoned or restrained of their liberty; and it was shown that if the writ was to
its functions is only the more strongly bound to submit to that supremacy, and accomplish its purpose, it must be taken cognizance of and decided
to observe the limitations which it imposes upon the exercise of the authority immediately by the appellate court. The failure of the superior court to consider
which it gives." (U.S. vs. Lee [1882], 106 U.S., 196, 220.) "The very idea," said the application and then to grant the writ would have amounted to a denial of
Justice Matthews of the same high tribunal in another case, "that one man the benefits of the writ.
may be compelled to hold his life, or the means of living, or any material right
essential to the enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another, seems to be The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more difficult to meet.
intolerable in any country where freedom prevails, as being the essence of When the writ was prayed for, says counsel, the parties in whose behalf it was
slavery itself." (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356, 370.) All this asked were under no restraint; the women, it is claimed, were free in Davao,
explains the motive in issuing the writ of habeas corpus, and makes clear why and the jurisdiction of the mayor and the chief of police did not extend beyond
we said in the very beginning that the primary question was whether the courts the city limits. At first blush, this is a tenable position. On closer examination,
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acceptance of such dictum is found to be perversive of the first principles of control exercised? And I am aware of no other remedy. (In the matter of
the writ of habeas corpus. Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416.)

A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint The opinion of Judge Cooley has since been accepted as authoritative by
of liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to other courts. (Rivers vs. Mitchell [1881], 57 Iowa, 193; Breene vs. People
inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, [1911], Colo., 117 Pac. Rep., 1000; Ex parte Young [1892], 50 Fed., 526.)
and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which
will preclude freedom of action is sufficient. The forcible taking of these women The English courts have given careful consideration to the subject. Thus, a
from Manila by officials of that city, who handed them over to other parties, child had been taken out of English by the respondent. A writ of habeas
who deposited them in a distant region, deprived these women of freedom of corpus was issued by the Queen's Bench Division upon the application of the
locomotion just as effectively as if they had been imprisoned. Placed in Davao mother and her husband directing the defendant to produce the child. The
without either money or personal belongings, they were prevented from judge at chambers gave defendant until a certain date to produce the child, but
exercising the liberty of going when and where they pleased. The restraint of he did not do so. His return stated that the child before the issuance of the writ
liberty which began in Manila continued until the aggrieved parties were had been handed over by him to another; that it was no longer in his custody
returned to Manila and released or until they freely and truly waived his right. or control, and that it was impossible for him to obey the writ. He was found in
contempt of court. On appeal, the court, through Lord Esher, M. R., said:
Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a defense would mean.
The chief executive of any municipality in the Philippines could forcibly and A writ of habeas corpus was ordered to issue, and was issued on January 22.
illegally take a private citizen and place him beyond the boundaries of the That writ commanded the defendant to have the body of the child before a
municipality, and then, when called upon to defend his official action, could judge in chambers at the Royal Courts of Justice immediately after the receipt
calmly fold his hands and claim that the person was under no restraint and of the writ, together with the cause of her being taken and detained. That is a
that he, the official, had no jurisdiction over this other municipality. We believe command to bring the child before the judge and must be obeyed, unless
the true principle should be that, if the respondent is within the jurisdiction of some lawful reason can be shown to excuse the nonproduction of the child. If
the court and has it in his power to obey the order of the court and thus to it could be shown that by reason of his having lawfully parted with the
undo the wrong that he has inflicted, he should be compelled to do so. Even if possession of the child before the issuing of the writ, the defendant had no
the party to whom the writ is addressed has illegally parted with the custody of longer power to produce the child, that might be an answer; but in the absence
a person before the application for the writ is no reason why the writ should of any lawful reason he is bound to produce the child, and, if he does not, he is
not issue. If the mayor and the chief of police, acting under no authority of law, in contempt of the Court for not obeying the writ without lawful excuse. Many
could deport these women from the city of Manila to Davao, the same officials efforts have been made in argument to shift the question of contempt to some
must necessarily have the same means to return them from Davao to Manila. anterior period for the purpose of showing that what was done at some time
The respondents, within the reach of process, may not be permitted to restrain prior to the writ cannot be a contempt. But the question is not as to what was
a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile and to avow done before the issue of the writ. The question is whether there has been a
the act with impunity in the courts, while the person who has lost her birthright contempt in disobeying the writ it was issued by not producing the child in
of liberty has no effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be obedience to its commands. (The Queen vs. Bernardo [1889], 23 Q. B. D.,
easily evaded. 305. See also to the same effect the Irish case of In re Matthews, 12 Ir. Com.
Law Rep. [N. S.], 233; The Queen vs. Barnardo, Gossage's Case [1890], 24
It must be that some such question has heretofore been presented to the Q. B. D., 283.)
courts for decision. Nevertheless, strange as it may seem, a close examination
of the authorities fails to reveal any analogous case. Certain decisions of A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of interest. A habeas corpus
respectable courts are however very persuasive in nature. was directed to the defendant to have before the circuit court of the District of
Columbia three colored persons, with the cause of their detention. Davis, in his
A question came before the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan at an return to the writ, stated on oath that he had purchased the negroes as slaves
early date as to whether or not a writ of habeas corpus would issue from the in the city of Washington; that, as he believed, they were removed beyond the
Supreme Court to a person within the jurisdiction of the State to bring into the District of Columbia before the service of the writ of habeas corpus, and that
State a minor child under guardianship in the State, who has been and they were then beyond his control and out of his custody. The evidence
continues to be detained in another State. The membership of the Michigan tended to show that Davis had removed the negroes because he suspected
Supreme Court at this time was notable. It was composed of Martin, chief they would apply for a writ of habeas corpus. The court held the return to be
justice, and Cooley, Campbell, and Christiancy, justices. On the question evasive and insufficient, and that Davis was bound to produce the negroes,
presented the court was equally divided. Campbell, J., with whom concurred and Davis being present in court, and refusing to produce them, ordered that
Martin, C. J., held that the writ should be quashed. Cooley, J., one of the most he be committed to the custody of the marshall until he should produce the
distinguished American judges and law-writers, with whom concurred negroes, or be otherwise discharged in due course of law. The court
Christiancy, J., held that the writ should issue. Since the opinion of Justice afterwards ordered that Davis be released upon the production of two of the
Campbell was predicated to a large extent on his conception of the English negroes, for one of the negroes had run away and been lodged in jail in
decisions, and since, as will hereafter appear, the English courts have taken a Maryland. Davis produced the two negroes on the last day of the term. (United
contrary view, only the following eloquent passages from the opinion of Justice States vs. Davis [1839], 5 Cranch C.C., 622, Fed. Cas. No. 14926. See also
Cooley are quoted: Robb vs. Connolly [1883], 111 U.S., 624; Church on Habeas, 2nd ed., p. 170.)

I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the power of this court to issue We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the defense
the present writ on the petition which was laid before us. . . . offered by the respondents constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the
writ of habeas corpus.
It would be strange indeed if, at this late day, after the eulogiums of six
centuries and a half have been expended upon the Magna Charta, and rivers There remains to be considered whether the respondent complied with the two
of blood shed for its establishment; after its many confirmations, until Coke orders of the Supreme Court awarding the writ of habeas corpus, and if it be
could declare in his speech on the petition of right that "Magna Charta was found that they did not, whether the contempt should be punished or be taken
such a fellow that he will have no sovereign," and after the extension of its as purged.
benefits and securities by the petition of right, bill of rights and habeas corpus
acts, it should now be discovered that evasion of that great clause for the The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban, Anton Hohmann,
protection of personal liberty, which is the life and soul of the whole Francisco Sales, and Feliciano Yñigo to present the persons named in the writ
instrument, is so easy as is claimed here. If it is so, it is important that it be before the court on December 2, 1918. The order was dated November 4,
determined without delay, that the legislature may apply the proper remedy, as 1918. The respondents were thus given ample time, practically one month, to
I can not doubt they would, on the subject being brought to their notice. . . . comply with the writ. As far as the record discloses, the Mayor of the city of
Manila waited until the 21st of November before sending a telegram to the
The second proposition — that the statutory provisions are confined to the provincial governor of Davao. According to the response of the attorney for the
case of imprisonment within the state — seems to me to be based upon a Bureau of Labor to the telegram of his chief, there were then in Davao women
misconception as to the source of our jurisdiction. It was never the case in who desired to return to Manila, but who should not be permitted to do so
England that the court of king's bench derived its jurisdiction to issue and because of having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort naturally resulted
enforce this writ from the statute. Statutes were not passed to give the right, in none of the parties in question being brought before the court on the day
but to compel the observance of rights which existed. . . . named.

The important fact to be observed in regard to the mode of procedure upon For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three optional courses
this writ is, that it is directed to and served upon, not the person confined, but were open: (1) They could have produced the bodies of the persons according
his jailor. It does not reach the former except through the latter. The officer or to the command of the writ; or (2) they could have shown by affidavit that on
person who serves it does not unbar the prison doors, and set the prisoner account of sickness or infirmity those persons could not safely be brought
free, but the court relieves him by compelling the oppressor to release his before the court; or (3) they could have presented affidavits to show that the
constraint. The whole force of the writ is spent upon the respondent, and if he parties in question or their attorney waived the right to be present. (Code of
fails to obey it, the means to be resorted to for the purposes of compulsion are Criminal Procedure, sec. 87.) They did not produce the bodies of the persons
fine and imprisonment. This is the ordinary mode of affording relief, and if any in whose behalf the writ was granted; they did not show impossibility of
other means are resorted to, they are only auxiliary to those which are usual. performance; and they did not present writings that waived the right to be
The place of confinement is, therefore, not important to the relief, if the guilty present by those interested. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits purporting to
party is within reach of process, so that by the power of the court he can be show that the women were contended with their life in Davao, some of which
compelled to release his grasp. The difficulty of affording redress is not have since been repudiated by the signers, were appended to the return. That
increased by the confinement being beyond the limits of the state, except as through ordinary diligence a considerable number of the women, at least sixty,
greater distance may affect it. The important question is, where the power of could have been brought back to Manila is demonstrated to be found in the
Page 4 of 101
municipality of Davao, and that about this number either returned at their own mandate of the court tended to belittle and embarrass the administration of
expense or were produced at the second hearing by the respondents. justice to such an extent that his later activity may be considered only as
extenuating his conduct. A nominal fine will at once command such respect
The court, at the time the return to its first order was made, would have been without being unduly oppressive — such an amount is P100.
warranted summarily in finding the respondents guilty of contempt of court,
and in sending them to jail until they obeyed the order. Their excuses for the In resume — as before stated, no further action on the writ of habeas corpus is
non-production of the persons were far from sufficient. The, authorities cited necessary. The respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, Joaquin, Yñigo,
herein pertaining to somewhat similar facts all tend to indicate with what and Diaz are found not to be in contempt of court. Respondent Lukban is
exactitude a habeas corpus writ must be fulfilled. For example, in Gossage's found in contempt of court and shall pay into the office of the clerk of the
case, supra, the Magistrate in referring to an earlier decision of the Court, said: Supreme Court within five days the sum of one hundred pesos (P100). The
"We thought that, having brought about that state of things by his own illegal motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to strike from the record the Replica al
act, he must take the consequences; and we said that he was bound to use Memorandum de los Recurridos of January 25, 1919, is granted. Costs shall
every effort to get the child back; that he must do much more than write letters be taxed against respondents. So ordered.
for the purpose; that he must advertise in America, and even if necessary
himself go after the child, and do everything that mortal man could do in the In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task, may we not be permitted to
matter; and that the court would only accept clear proof of an absolute express the hope that this decision may serve to bulwark the fortifications of
impossibility by way of excuse." In other words, the return did not show that an orderly government of laws and to protect individual liberty from illegal
every possible effort to produce the women was made by the respondents. encroachment.
That the court forebore at this time to take drastic action was because it did
not wish to see presented to the public gaze the spectacle of a clash between Arellano, C.J., Avanceña and Moir, JJ., concur.
executive officials and the judiciary, and because it desired to give the Johnson, and Street, JJ., concur in the result.
respondents another chance to demonstrate their good faith and to mitigate
their wrong.

In response to the second order of the court, the respondents appear to have Republic of the Philippines
become more zealous and to have shown a better spirit. Agents were SUPREME COURT
dispatched to Mindanao, placards were posted, the constabulary and the Manila
municipal police joined in rounding up the women, and a steamer with free
transportation to Manila was provided. While charges and counter-charges in EN BANC
such a bitterly contested case are to be expected, and while a critical reading
of the record might reveal a failure of literal fulfillment with our mandate, we G.R. No. L-4855 October 11, 1951
come to conclude that there is a substantial compliance with it. Our finding to
this effect may be influenced somewhat by our sincere desire to see this JOSE M. NAVA ET AL., petitioners,
unhappy incident finally closed. If any wrong is now being perpetrated in vs.
Davao, it should receive an executive investigation. If any particular individual HON. MAGNO GATMAITAN, ETC., respondent.
is still restrained of her liberty, it can be made the object of separate habeas
corpus proceedings. x---------------------------------------------------------x

Since the writ has already been granted, and since we find a substantial G.R. No. L-4964 October 11, 1951
compliance with it, nothing further in this connection remains to be done.
AMADO V. HERNANDEZ, petitioner, vs. HON, AGUSTIN P. MONTESA,
The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in contempt of court Justo ETC., respondent.
Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city
of Manila, Jose Rodriguez, and Fernando Ordax, members of the police force x---------------------------------------------------------x
of the city of Manila, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau of Labor,
Feliciano Yñigo, an hacendero of Davao, and Anacleto Diaz, Fiscal of the city G.R. No. L-5102 October 11, 1951
of Manila.
EUGENIO ANGELES, ETC., petitioner, vs. HON. GAVINO S. ABAYA, ETC.,
The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the respondent.
preservative and not on the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should the
court invoke its inherent power in order to retain that respect without which the PARAS, C.J.:
administration of justice must falter or fail. Nevertheless when one is
commanded to produce a certain person and does not do so, and does not By express mandate of the Constitution (Article III, Section 1, Paragraph 14),
offer a valid excuse, a court must, to vindicate its authority, adjudge the the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in
respondent to be guilty of contempt, and must order him either imprisoned or cases of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, when the public safety requires it,
fined. An officer's failure to produce the body of a person in obedience to a writ in any of which events the same may be suspended whenever during such
of habeas corpus when he has power to do so, is a contempt committed in the period the necessity for such suspension shall exist. The power to suspend
face of the court. (Ex parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In re Patterson [1888], the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus in case of invasion, insurrection, or
99 N. C., 407.) rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it, has
been lodged by the Constitution (Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph 2) in the
With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with judicial regard for President.
human imperfections, we cannot say that any of the respondents, with the
possible exception of the first named, has flatly disobeyed the court by acting On January 31, 1905, for the first time in Philippine history, the writ of habeas
in opposition to its authority. Respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, and corpus was suspended in the provinces of Batangas and Cavite under the
Joaquin only followed the orders of their chiefs, and while, under the law of following Executive Order issued by governor General Luke E. Wright:
public officers, this does not exonerate them entirely, it is nevertheless a
powerful mitigating circumstance. The hacendero Yñigo appears to have been WHEREAS, certain organized bands of ladrones exist in the Provinces of
drawn into the case through a misconstruction by counsel of telegraphic Cavite and Batangas who are levying forced contributions upon the people,
communications. The city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would seem to have done no who frequently require them, under compulsion, to join their bands, and who
more than to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the city government. kill or maim the most barbarous manner those who fail to respond to their
Finding him innocent of any disrespect to the court, his counter-motion to unlawful demands, and are therefore terrifying the law-abiding and inoffensive
strike from the record the memorandum of attorney for the petitioners, which people of those provinces; and
brings him into this undesirable position, must be granted. When all is said and
done, as far as this record discloses, the official who was primarily responsible WHEREAS, these bands have in several instances attacked police and
for the unlawful deportation, who ordered the police to accomplish the same, constabulary detachments, and are in open insurrection against the
who made arrangements for the steamers and the constabulary, who constituted authorities, and it is believed that the said bands have numerous
conducted the negotiations with the Bureau of Labor, and who later, as the agents and confederates living within the municipalities of said provinces; and
head of the city government, had it within his power to facilitate the return of
the unfortunate women to Manila, was Justo Lukban, the Mayor of the city of WHEREAS, because of the foregoing conditions there exists a state of
Manila. His intention to suppress the social evil was commendable. His insecurity and terrorism among the people which makes it impossible in the
methods were unlawful. His regard for the writ of habeas corpus issued by the ordinary way to conduct preliminary investigations before the justices of the
court was only tardily and reluctantly acknowledged. peace and other judicial officers:

It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the Code of Civil In the interest of public safety, it is hereby ordered that the writ of habeas
Procedure, which relates to the penalty for disobeying the writ, and in corpus is from this date suspended in the Provinces of Cavite and Batangas.
pursuance thereof to require respondent Lukban to forfeit to the parties
aggrieved as much as P400 each, which would reach to many thousands of On October 22, 1950, for the second time in the Philippine history, the
pesos, and in addition to deal with him as for a contempt. Some members of suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus was decreed by virtue
the court are inclined to this stern view. It would also be possible to find that of the following Proclamation No. 210 issued by the President:
since respondent Lukban did comply substantially with the second order of the
court, he has purged his contempt of the first order. Some members of the WHEREAS, lawless elements of the country have committed overt acts of
court are inclined to this merciful view. Between the two extremes appears to sedition, insurrection and rebellion for the purpose of overthrowing the duly
lie the correct finding. The failure of respondent Lukban to obey the first
Page 5 of 101
constituted authorities and, in pursuance thereof, have created a state of arrests, should not be required to produce the person arrested in answer to a
lawlessness and disorder affecting public safety and the security of the state; writ of habeas corpus. The constitution goes no further. It does not say after a
WHEREAS, these acts of sedition, insurrection and rebellion consisiting of writ of habeas corpus is denied a citizen, that he shall be tried otherwise than
armed raids, sorties and ambushes and the wanton acts of murder, rape, by the course of common law. If it had intended this result, it was easy by the
spoilage, looting, arson, planned destruction of public and private buildings, use of direct words to have accomplished it. The illustrious men who framed
and attacks against civilian lives and properties, as reported by the that instrument were guarding the foundations of civil liberty against the
Commanding General of the Armed Forces, have seriously endangered and abuses of unlimited power; they were full of wisdom, and the lessons of history
still continue to endanger the public safety; informed them that a trial by an established court, asisted by an impartial jury,
was the only sure way of protecting the citizen against oppression and wrong.
WHEREAS, these acts of sedition, insurrection and rebellion have been Knowing this, they limited the suspension of one great right, and left the rest to
perpetrated by various groups of persons well organized for concerted action remain forever inviolable.
and well armed with machine guns, rifles, pistols and other automatic
weapons, by reason whereof there is actual danger of rebellion which may The purpose of the proclamation has already been accomplished inrespect of
extend throughout the country; those who are now facing charges in court, to be dealtwith necessarily in
WHEREAS, 100 leading members of these lawless elements have been accordance with the constitution and the law.The court, in passing upon
apprehended and are presently under detention, and strong and convincing petitions to bail and granting thesame in proper cases, does not inquire into
evidence has been found in their possession to show that they are engaged in the cause of their detention which is plainly under and by virtue of
rebellious, seditiuos and otherwise subersive acts as above set forth; and commitmentsissued by the court upon the filing of the information forrebellion
with multiple murder, arson and robberies. The court, therefore, cannot be said
WHEREAS, public safety requires that immediate and effective action be to be interfering in an act of theExecutive, for it cannot be seriously contended
taken to insure the peace and security of the population and to maintain the that, after thefiling of the information, the accused continues to be
authority of the government; underdetention as a result of an executive commitment and stillcovered by the
suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. otherwise, the
NOW, THEREFORE, I, ELPIDIO QUIRINO, President of the Philippines, by suspension will operate as a judgment of conviction, in violation of the
virtue of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, section 10, Paragraph (2) constitutional mandate that no person shall be held to answer for criminal
of the Constitution, do hereby suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas offense without due process of law (Article III, section 1, Paragraph 15). "The
corpus for the persons presently detained, as well as all others who may be laws which protect the liberties of the whole people must not be violated or set
hereafter similarly detained for the crimes of sedition, insurrection or rebellion, aside in order to inflict, even upon the guilty, unauthorized though merited
and all other crimes and offenses committed by them in furtherance or on the justice." Ex parte Milligan, supra.
occassion thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection therewith.
The right to bail, along with the right of an accused to be heard by himself and
The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him,
remedy to relive persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only to have a speedy and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to
sufficient defense of personal freedom. (Villavicencio vs, Lukban, 39 Phil., have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses in his behalf
778,788.) It secures to a prisoner the right to have the cause of his detention (Article III, Section 1, Paragraph 17, of the Constitution), tends to aid the
examined and determined by a court of justice, and to have ascertained if he accused to prove his innocence and obtain acquittal. If it be contended that the
is held under lawful authority. (Quintos vs. Director of Prisons, 55 Phil., 304, suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus includes the
306.) suspension of the distinct right to bail or to be provisionally at liberty, it would a
fortiori imply the suspension of all his other rights (even the rights to be tried
The necessity for suspending the writ of habeas corpus in 1905 arose by a court) that may win for him ultimate acquittal and, hence, absolute
obviously from the fact that it was "impossible in the ordinary way to conduct freedom. The latter result is not insisted upon for being patently untenable. it is
preliminary investigations before the justice of the peace and other judicial not correct to say that, if a person covered by Proclamation No. 210 is not
officers," so that undoubtedly it was never aimed at the indefinite detention of entitled to be released before he is indicted in court, there is more reason to
suspects, but at an investigation (other than judicial) to determine whether hold that he should not be released after an information is filed against him,
there is evidence sufficient for the filing in court of the necessary information. because it is then logical to assume that the Government holds sufficient
evidence. If he cannot secure his release before the filing of the information, it
The immediate cause for the issuance of Proclamation No. 210 on October 22, is because, in view of the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
1950, was the apprehension and detention of 100 alleged leading members of corpus, the court cannot look into the legality of his detention under an
lawless elements in whose possession strong and convincing evidence was executive act, and not because he is assumed to be guilty. As already stated,
allegedly found showing that they are engaged in rebellious, seditious and after the filing of the information, in granting to bail in proper cases, the court
otherwise subversive acts. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus had to be does not determine the legality of his prior detention which has already been
suspended not only because it was desirable for the prosecuting officials to superseded by a detention underjudicial process, but merely proceeds with
have sufficient time to investigate and file the necessary charges in court, but and carries into effect its jurisdiction over the criminal case and grants a right
also because a public officer or employee who shall detain any person for guaranteed by the Constitution. Besides, it is significant that in all criminal
some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial prosecutions the accused shall be presumed to be innocent (Article III, Section
authorities within the period of six hours, shall suffer the penalties provided in 1, Paragraph 17).
article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. In other words, the only effect of
Proclamation No. 210 is that any person detained thereunder has no right to We are not insensitive to the proposition that the very nature of the crime of
have the cause of his detention examined and determined by a court of justice rebellion suggests the likehood that a person accused thereof will jump his
through a writ of habeas corpus. bail. The remedy, however, is unfortunately not in the hands of the court. The
lawmakers or the framers of the Constitution should have made the offense
The important question is whether or not, after a person covered by the capital or even unbailable.
Proclamation has been formally indicted in court by the filing against him of an
information charging rebellion with multiple murder, arson and robberies, he In the cases now before us, the accused have been charged with rebellion so
may be entitled to bail. complexed with other offenses as to make them capital. Their right to bail is
accordingly not absolute and may be denied when evidence of guilt is strong.
Under paragraph 16, Section 1, Areticle II of the Constitution, all persons shall The filing of the information implies that the prosecution holds sufficient
before conviction be bailable by sufficientsureties, except those charged with evidence for conviction, and it is fair to suppose that the court will duly
capital offenses when evidence of guilt is strong. The crime of rebellion or exercise its judgment when called upon to pass on the question of whether or
insurrection is certainly not a capital offense, because it is penalized only by not the evidence of guilt is strong. At any rate, on admission to bail, the
prision mayor and a fine not to exceed 20,000pesos. The privilege of the writ accused is delivered to the custody of his sureties as a continuance of the
of habeas corpus and the right to bail guaranteed under the Bill of Rights are original detention. (U.S. vs. Sunico and Ng Chiong, 40 Phil. 826).
separate and co-equal. If the intention of the framers of the Constitution was
that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus carries or And it should be borne in mind that if the worse comes to the worst — to the
implies the suspension of the right to bail, they would have very easily extent that the security of the State is in factimperiled and the regular
provided that all persons shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient constitutional processes can no longerbe observed with general safety to the
sureties, except those charged with capital offenses when evidence of guilt is people, — the President isauthorized by the Constitution (Article VIII, Section
strong and except when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is 10, Paragraph 2) to "place the Philippines or any part thereof undermartial
suspended. As stated in the case of Ex parte Miligan, 4 Wall. 2, 18 Law Ed. law." Even then, the primordial objective should be a"regime of justice" as
297, the Constitution limited the suspension to only one great right, leaving the contemplated in the Preamble of the Constitution. The stubborn fact, however,
rest to remain forever inviolable. is that the meresuspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is
anadmission that the courts can function and are functioningnormal;
It is essential to the safety of every government that, in a great crisis, like the otherwise, there is no need for the suspension as therewill be no court to grant
one we have just passed through, there should be a power somewhere of the writ.
suspending the writ of habeas corpus. In every war, there are men of
previously good character, wicked enough to counsel their fellow citizens to Reyes and Jugo, JJ., concur.
resist the measures deemed necessary by a good government to sustain its
just authority and overthrow its enemies; and their influence may lead to
dangerous combinations. In the emergency of the times, an immediate public
investigation according to law may not be possible; and yet, the peril to the Republic of the Philippines
country may be too imminent to suffer such persons to go at large. SUPREME COURT
Unquestionably, there is then an exigency which demands that the Manila
government, if it should see fit, in the exercise of a proper discretion, to make
Page 6 of 101
EN BANC Respondent's pretense is, seemingly, based upon the belief that the "writ of
habeas corpus" mentioned in section 2 of Rule 102 — which, if issued by a
G.R. No. L-14819 March 19, 1959 court of first instance or a judge thereof shall be "enforceable only within his
judicial district" — is the same order of "discharge", referred to in section 15 of
ALFREDO B. SAULO, petitioner, said rule. However, the writ alluded to in said section 2 is nothing but the one
vs. specifically described in section 6 of Rule 102, reading:
BRIG. GEN. PELAGIO CRUZ, ETC., respondent.
In case of imprisonment or restraint by an officer, the writ shall be directed to
CONCEPCION, J.: him, and shall command him to have the body of the person restrained of his
liberty before the court or judge designated in the writ at the time and place
Upon the filing of the petition herein, praying for the reasons therein stated, therein specified. In case of imprisonment or restraint by a person not an
that a writ a habeas corpus be issued, and that, after appropriate proceedings, officer, the writ shall be directed to an officer, and shall command him to take
the petitioner be discharged, upon the ground that he is illegally detained and and have the body of the person restrained of his liberty before the court or
deprived of his liberty, this Court issued a resolution, dated December 24, judge designated in the writ at the time and place therein specified, and to
1958, ordering respondent Brig. Gen. Pelagio Cruz, Commanding General of summon the person by whom he is restrained then and there to appear before
the Philippine Constabulary, to file, within five (5) days from notice, an answer said court or judge to show the cause of the imprisonment or restraint.
returnable to the Court of First Instance of Manila. In due course, thereafter, or
on January 14, 1959, said court issued an order stating that the facts set forth In other words, said writ of habeas corpus plays a role somewhat comparable
in the petition — with the exception of the conclusion therein made, relative to to a summons, in ordinary civil actions, in that, by service of said writ, the court
the alleged illegality of petitioner's detention — had been substantially acquires jurisdiction over the person of the respondent. Once authority over
admitted in the answer of said respondent, who, however, assailed the the latter has thus been established, the appellate court issuing the writ, or the
jurisdiction of said Court of First Instance, under section 2, Rule 102 of the court of first instance to which the writ has been made returnable — acting in
Rules of Court, to pass upon the issues in this case, namely: place of the appellate court — may render a decision, which — like other
May a person be arrested without warrant for an alleged violation of an Act decisions of the Supreme Court and of courts of first instance — may be
which expressly provides that no prosecution thereunder shall be made unless enforced anywhere in the Philippines.
a preliminary investigation has been conducted by the proper Court of First In point of practice, when a writ of habeas corpus is, comformably to law,
Instance? made returnable to a court other than that issuing the writ, the court to which
the writ is returned or the judge thereof possesses full authority to examine all
When such person has been so arrested, is he entitled to be released during issues raised in the case and to settle the same. In the language of the
the time the preliminary investigation is being conducted? American Jurisprudence:

and directing, without passing upon the said question of jurisdiction, that the After a return to a writ, the court or judge to whom the return is made pass
record of the case — including the transcript of the proceedings had, during upon all questions of both law and fact and determine the ultimate question
the hearing, and the memoranda of the parties — be forwarded to this whether the prisoner is wrongfully restrained of his liberty. It is necessary for
Supreme Court for further proceedings. the court to determine the weight and credibility of the evidence where the
testimony is conflicting.
Section 2 of Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides:
. . . With further reference to habeas corpus proceedings in Federal courts, it is
The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court, or any expressly provided by statute that the court or judge before whom the prisoner
member thereof, on any day and at any time, or by the Court of Appeals or may be brought shall proceed in a summary way to determine the facts of the
any member thereof in the instances authorized by law, and if so granted it case, by hearing the testimony and arguments, and thereupon to dispose of
shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines, and many be made the prisoner as law and justice may require. (25 Am. Jur., p. 245; Emphasis
returnable before the court or any member thereof, or before a Court of First ours.)
Instance, or any judge thereof. It may also be granted by a Court of First
Instance, or a judge thereof, on any day and at any time, and returnable Accordingly, the Court of First Instance of Manila may validly inquire in to
before himself, enforceable only within his judicial district. (Emphasis ours.) legality of petitioner's restraints and issue such orders, in connection therewith,
as may be proper, in the light of the facts proven and the law applicable
Pursuant to this provision, the writ of habeas corpus may be granted, either by thereto.
an appellate court, or any member thereof, or by a court of first instance. If
granted by the Supreme Court, or any member thereof, or by the Court of Would it not be advisable that the merits of the case be adjudicated here and
Appeals, or any member thereof, in the instances authorized law, "it shall be now? It is the considered opinion of this Court that it would be best that this
enforceable anywhere in the Philippines, and may be made returnable before task be under taken by the Court of First Instance of Manila, inasmuch as: (1)
the court or any member thereof, or before a Court of First Instance or any said court has already acquired jurisdiction thereon, owing to the writ made
judge thereof." If granted by a court of first instance or a judge thereof, it shall returnable, and returned, thereto, and (2) said court has been conducting, and
be "returnable before himself, enforceable only within his judicial district." is still conducting, the preliminary investigation in Criminal Case No. 46410
thereof, against petitioner herein, which respondent invokes in justification for
The case at bar falls under the first alternative, the writ of habeas corpus his (petitioner's) detention, so that the lower court is better situated, than we
herein having been issued by this Court. Conformably with the first sentence are, to ascertain the pertinent facts and to make a reasonable appraisal
of said section 2 the writ was made returnable before the Court of First thereof.
Instance of Manila. Respondent, however, maintains that the court of first
instance alluded to in said section 2, is "the court of first instance within whose This should not be construed, in any manner whatsoever, as indicating that we
jurisdiction the petitioner is confined", under the theory, presumably, that the sanction the indefinite detention of an individual, without either a warrant of
decision of such court would be "enforceable only within his judicial district." arrest or an order of commitment, or that one charged with a violation of the
This view is devoid of merit. It is borne out, neither by said section 2 of the Anti-Subversion Act (Republic Act No. 1700), penalized therein "by prison
rules, nor by the language of the law pertinent thereto or the established mayor to death", may be kept under custody, without said warrant of arrest or
practice thereon. order of commitments, regardless of the duration of the preliminary
investigation conducted pursuant to the provisions of said Act. The importance
Although the last sentence of section 2 declares that the writ of habeas corpus of a warrant of arrest and/or said order of commitment; the effect, upon the
granted by a court of first instance shall be enforceable only within his judicial legality or illegality of a detention without warrant, of the filing of a complaint or
district, this limitation is not in point, the writ in this case having been granted information after the expiration of the period fixed by law for the delivery of the
by the Supreme Court and, as provided in said section, "it shall be enforceable of the period fixed by law for the delivery of the detainee to the corresponding
anywhere in the Philippines," judicial authority (Art. 125, Revised Penal Code, as amended by Act No.
3940); the steps to be taken after said delivery; the purpose of a preliminary
Moreover, it is apparent from sections 12 to 151 of said Rule 102 (which are investigation; the period of time within which the same should be completed;
quoted hereunder), that the court or judge to whom the writ is returned shall and the alternatives that may be availed of when no warrant of arrest or order
have the authority and the duty to inquire into the facts and the law pertinent to of commitment has been issued and the preliminary investigation is not
the legality or illegality of petitioner's detention and o order his discharge from seasonably undertaken or can not be finished promptly, have been thoroughly
confinement, should it appear satisfactorily "that he is unlawfully imprisoned or elucidated in the decisions of this Court in Lino vs. Fuguso (77 Phil., 933) and
restrained." It should be noted, also, that the procedure set forth in the Rules Sayo vs. Chief of Police of Manila (80 Phil., 859), and in the resolution on the
of Court is in line with the provisions of Act No. 654 of the Philippine motion for reconsideration filed in the latter case, and it is not our intention in
Commission, section 7 of which reads: the present resolution to alter the view thus expressed in said cases.

In cases where an original petition for habeas corpus is filed in the Supreme Wherefore, let the record of the case at bar be remanded to the lower court for
Court, the Supreme Court shall have the power either to decide on the face of appropriate action. It is so ordered.
the petition filed that no case has been made for the issuing of a writ, or
should such a case appear by the allegations of the petition, to issue the writ Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo,
and make the same returnable and direct the hearing, either before the Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L. and Endencia, JJ., concur.
Supreme Court as a whole, or any judge thereof, or any judge of a Court of
First Instance.

This section is, in turn, substantially identical to section 81 of General Orders Republic of the Philippines
No. 59, quoted on the margin. SUPREME COURT
Manila
Page 7 of 101
"not by virtue of its original jurisdiction but merely by delegation", this Court
EN BANC should have the final say regarding the issues raised in the petition, and only
its decision, not that of the Court of First Instance, should be regarded as
G.R. No. L-15474 August 31, 1960 operative. The logic is more than real. While the petition for habeas corpus
was originally filed with this Court, the only question that was immediately
ALFREDO B. SAULO, petitioner-appellant, involved was the propriety of the issuance of a writ that would order the
vs. respondent to show cause why the detention of the person in whose behalf the
BRIG. GENERAL PELAGIO CRUZ, ETC., respondent-appellee. writ was asked for should not be considered illegal, and that, therefore, the
petitioner be ordered discharged from custody. The Rules authorize that once
REYES, J.B.L., J.: the writ is issued, the same may be made returnable before a Court of First
Instance (Sec. 2, Rule 102, Rules of Court), and not necessarily to us. The
In G.R. No. L-14819, a petition for habeas corpus was filed before this Court court designated does not thereby become merely a recommendatory body,
by and in behalf of petitioner Alfredo B. Saulo. We issued, on December 24, whose findings and conclusion are devoid of effect, unless and until we decide
1958, a writ ordering respondent Pelagio Cruz, as the Commanding General to act on the "recommendation". By filing a notice of appeal with the Court
of the Philippine Constabulary, to submit, within five (5) days from notice, an below, the appellant impliedly admitted that the decision appealed was not
answer returnable to the Court of First Instance of Manila. merely recommendatory or fact-finding.

At the hearing in the court below, respondent questioned the jurisdiction of the In our resolution dated March 19, 1959, resolving the question of jurisdiction of
lower court on the ground that, inasmuch as petitioner was confined in the the lower court, we stated the following:
Philippine Constabulary stockade at Camp Crame, Quezon City, the Manila
court was without jurisdiction to entertain the case consonant with Section 2, Moreover, it is apparent from sections 12 to 15 of said Rule 102 that the court
Rule 102 of the Rules of Court. Upon the remanding of the particular issue to or judge to whom the writ is returned shall have the authority and the duty to
us by the trial judge, we overruled this contention in our resolution of March inquire into the facts and the law pertinent to the legality or illegality of
19, 1959, and accordingly, we ordered the return of the records to the lower petitioner's detention and to order his discharge from confinement, should it
court for its appropriate action on the merits of the petition. appear satisfactorily "that he is unlawfully imprisoned or restrained.

The case was submitted to the lower court for decision solely on the facts xxx xxx xxx
appearing in petitioner's pleadings and admitted by the respondent. According In point of practice, when a writ of habeas corpus is, conformably to law, made
to the lower court: returnable to a court other than that issuing the writ, the court to which the writ
is returned, or the judge thereof, possesses full authority to examine all issues
After successfully evading arrest since September, 1950, in connection with raised in the case and to settle the same. In the language of the American
three criminal cases (Nos. 13681, 19166 and 39253, CFI, Manila) one for jurisprudence:
inciting to rebellion with murders, arsons, robberies and kidnappings, Alfredo
B. Saulo, in whose behalf the present petition for a writ of habeas corpus has "After a return to a writ, the court or judge to whom the return is made must
been presented, finally showed up at the Indonesian Embassy, Manila, on pass upon all questions of both law and fact and determine the ultimate
November 12, 1958, to seek refuge therein. As a result of negotiations had, question whether the prisoner is wrongfully restrained of his liberty. It is
the Indonesian Embassy surrendered him to the Philippine Government on necessary for the court to determine the eight and credibility of the evidence
November 18, 1958, since which date he has remained in the custody of the where the testimony is conflicting.
Philippine Constabulary at Camp Crame, Quezon City. One of the two criminal
cases for rebellion having been dismissed with respect to him on motion of the ". . . With further reference to habeas corpus proceedings in Federal courts, it
prosecution, Saulo put up bail in the two remaining cases (Nos. 13681 and is expressly provided by statute that the court or judge before whom the
39253). When the corresponding order for his temporary release was served, prisoner may be brought shall proceed in a summary way to determine the
the herein respondent Commanding General of the Philippine Constabulary facts of the case, by hearing the testimony and arguments, and thereupon to
commanded one of his subordinates to with hold the release of Saulo on dispose of the prisoner as law and justice may require." (25 Am. Jur., p. 245,
account of Criminal Case No. 46410 the Court of First Instance of Manila. Said Emphasis ours)
criminal case is a complaint against Saulo, filed on November 19, 1958, by the
Fiscal of Manila, for alleged violation of Republic Act No. 1700, otherwise In other words, the court or the judge to whom the writ is made returnable
known as the Anti-Subversion Act, punishable by prision mayor to death, so takes the case for determination on the merits (See 39 C.J.S. p. 603, sec. 58
that the said Court of First Instance might conduct the corresponding and case cited therein), and its findings, either for the release of the detainee
preliminary investigation, as provided in the Act. While said preliminary or for sustaining his continued custody, if not appealed on time, can become
investigation was still going on, that is, on December 23, 1958, petitioner final just as it may in an ordinary case.
applied for a writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court, as already stated,
on the ground that his detention, without warrant of arrest, by reason of the We, accordingly, have no alternative than to dismiss the appeal.
pendency of the aforesaid Criminal Case No. 46410, is illegal and void. Said
court gave due course to the application and directed the respondent WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby dismissed, with costs against petitioner-
Commanding General of the Philippine Constabulary to file answer, returnable appellant.
to the Court of First Instance of Manila.
Paras, C.J., Bengzon, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Barrera and
Respondent filed answer, as directed, admitting practically all the facts above Gutierrez David, JJ., concur.
related and alleged in the application, with the plea that "the pendency of
Criminal Case No. 46410 for violation of Republic Act No. 1700 filed before the
Court of First Instance of Manila is sufficient reason for continuing the
detention of the petitioner, in the absence of an order of the Court for his Republic of the Philippines
discharge under the case aforesaid." SUPREME COURT
Manila
Upon such findings, the lower rendered decision, concluding that the filing of
Criminal Case No. 46410 amounted to the delivery of accused-petitioner, who EN BANC
was arrested without warrant, to the proper court as provided under Section
17, Rule 109 of the Rules of Court (citing Sayo, et al. vs. Chief of Police, 80 G.R. No. L-29169 August 19, 1968
Phil., 859). The Court consequently denied the petition for habeas corpus.
Hence, this appeal. ROGER CHAVEZ, petitioner,
vs.
However, petitioner's appeal to have been filed out of time, as pointed out by THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, THE PEOPLE OF THE
the Solicitor General. The records disclose that the notice of appeal was filed PHILIPPINES and THE WARDEN OF THE CITY JAIL OF MANILA,
eleven (11) days after a copy of the lower court's decision, denying the respondents.
petition, was served upon petitioner's counsel (on May 12, 1959 as per
sheriff's return). As provided by Section 18, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, SANCHEZ, J.:
petitioner should have perfected his appeal within twenty-four (24) hours from
notice of judgment: The thrust of petitioner's case presented in his original and supplementary
petitions invoking jurisdiction of this Court is that he is entitled, on habeas
Sec. 18. Appeal in habeas corpus cases, how taken. — An appeal in habeas corpus, to be freed from imprisonment upon the ground that in the trial which
corpus case shall be perfected by filing with the clerk of the court or the judge resulted in his conviction1 he was denied his constitutional right not to be
who rendered the judgment, within twenty-four (24) hours of notice of such compelled to testify against himself. There is his prayer, too, that, should he
judgment, a statement that the person making it appeals from the judgment fail in this, he be granted the alternative remedies of certiorari to strike down
rendered. the two resolutions of the Court of Appeals dismissing his appeal for failure to
file brief, and of mandamus to direct the said court to forward his appeal to this
It has been consistently held that the reglementary period for appeal is not Court for the reason that he was raising purely questions of law.
mandatory but jurisdictional on the courts and that an appeal filed out of the
time may be sought to be dismissed at any stage of the proceedings in the The indictment in the court below — the third amended information — upon
appellate court.1 which the judgment of conviction herein challenged was rendered, was for
qualified theft of a motor vehicle, one (1) Thunderbird car, Motor No. H9YH-
In petitioner's "manifestation" dated October 12, 1959 it is contented that since 143003, with Plate No. H-16648 Pasay City '62 together with its accessories
the case for habeas corpus was heard by the Manila Court of First Instance, worth P22,200.00. Accused were the following: Petitioner herein, Roger
Page 8 of 101
Chavez, Ricardo Sumilang alias "Romeo Vasquez", Edgardo P. Pascual alias Counsel has all the assurance that the court will not require the witness to
"Ging" Pascual, Pedro Rebullo alias "Pita", Luis Asistio alias "Baby" Asistio, answer questions which would incriminate him.
Lorenzo Meneses alias "Lory" Meneses, Peter Doe, Charlie Doe and Paul
Doe.2 But surely, counsel could not object to have the accused called on the
witnessstand.
Averred in the aforesaid information was that on or about the 14th day of
November, 1962, in Quezon City, the accused conspired, with intent of gain, ATTY. CARBON:
abuse of confidence and without the consent of the owner thereof, Dy Sun
Hiok y Lim, in asporting the motor vehicle above-described. I submit.

Upon arraignment, all the accused, except the three Does who have not been xxx xxx xxx
identified nor apprehended, pleaded not guilty.
ATTY. CRUZ [Counsel for defendants Pascual and Meneses]: .
On July 23, 1963, trial commenced before the judge presiding Branch IX of the
Court of First Instance of Rizal in Quezon City. MAY IT PLEASE THE COURT:
The trial opened with the following dialogue, which for the great bearing it has This incident of the accused Roger Chavez being called to testify for the
on this case, is here reproduced: prosecution is something so sudden that has come to the knowledge of this
counsel.
COURT:
This representation has been apprised of the witnesses embraced in the
The parties may proceed. information.

FISCAL GRECIA: For which reason I pray this court that I be given at least some days to meet
whatever testimony this witness will bring about. I therefore move for
Our first witness is Roger Chavez [one of the accused]. postponement of today's hearing.

ATTY. CARBON [Counsel for petitioner Chavez]: COURT:

I am quite taken by surprise, as counsel for the accused Roger Chavez, with The court will give counsel time within which to prepare his cross-examination
this move of the Fiscal in presenting him as his witness. I object. of this witness.

COURT: ATTY. CRUZ:

On what ground, counsel? I labored under the impression that the witnesses for the prosecution in this
criminal case are those only listed in the information.
ATTY. CARBON:
I did not know until this morning that one of the accused will testify as witness
On the ground that I have to confer with my client. It is really surprising that at for the prosecution.
this stage, without my being notified by the Fiscal, my client is being
presented as witness for the prosecution. I want to say in passing COURT:
that it is only at this very moment that I come to know about this strategy of the
prosecution. That's the reason why the court will go along with counsels for the accused
and will give them time within which to prepare for their cross-examination of
COURT (To the Fiscal): this witness.

You are not withdrawing the information against the accused Roger Chavez by The court will not defer the taking of the direct examination of the witness.
making [him a] state witness?
Call the witness to the witness stand.
FISCAL GRECIA:
EVIDENCE FOR THE PROSECUTION
I am not making him as state witness, Your Honor.
I am only presenting him as an ordinary witness. ROGER CHAVEZ, 31 years old, single, buy and sell merchant, presently
detained at the Manila Police Department headquarters, after being duly
ATTY. CARBON: sworn according to law, declared as follows:

As a matter of right, because it will incriminate my client, I object. ATTY. IBASCO [Counsel for defendant Luis Asistio]:

COURT: WITH THE LEAVE OF THE COURT:

The Court will give counsel for Roger Chavez fifteen minutes within which to This witness, Roger Chavez is one of the accused in this case No. Q-5311.
confer and explain to his client about the giving of his testimony.
The information alleges conspiracy. Under Rule 123, Section 12, it states:
xxx xxx xxx
'The act or declaration of a conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its
COURT: [after the recess] existence, may be given in evidence against the co-conspirator after the
conspiracy is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration.'
Are the parties ready?
COURT:
FISCAL:
That is premature, counsel. Neither the court nor counsels for the accused
We are ready to call on our first witness, Roger Chavez. know what the prosecution events to establish by calling this witness to the
witness stand.
ATTY. CARBON:
ATTY. IBASCO:
As per understanding, the proceeding was suspended in order to enable me to
confer with my client. I submit.

I conferred with my client and he assured me that he will not testify for the COURT: The Fiscal may proceed.3
prosecution this morning after I have explained to him the consequences of
what will transpire. And so did the trial proceed. It began with the "direct examination" of Roger
Chavez by "Fiscal Grecia".
COURT:
Came the judgment of February 1, 1965. The version of the prosecution as
What he will testify to does not necessarily incriminate him, counsel. found by the court below may be briefly narrated as follows:

And there is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on A few days before November 12, 1962, Roger Chavez saw Johnson Lee, a
the witness-stand including the accused. Chinese, driving a Thunderbird car. With Ricardo Sumilang (movie actor
Romeo Vasquez) in mind, whom he knew was in the market for such a car,
If there should be any question that is incriminating, then that is the time for Chavez asked Lee whether his car was for sale. Lee answered affirmatively
counsel to interpose his objection and the court will sustain him if and when and left his address with Chavez. Then, on November 12, Chavez met
the court feels that the answer of this witness to the question would incriminate Sumilang at a barbershop informed him about the Thunderbird. But Sumilang
him. said that he had changed his mind about buying a new car. Instead, he told
Chavez that he wanted to mortgage his Buick car for P10,000.00 to cover an
Page 9 of 101
indebtedness in Pasay City. Upon the suggestion of Chavez, they went to see
Luis Asistio, who he knew was lending money on car mortgages and who, on After Sumilang returned from posing for some photographs with some of his
one occasion, already lent Romeo Vasquez P3,000.00 on the same Buick car. fans, Bimbo showed him the receipt already signed by Chavez. Sumilang
Asistio however told the two that he had a better idea on how to raise the requested Pascual and Bimbo to sign the receipt as witnesses. And they did.
money. His plan was to capitalize on Romeo Vasquez' reputation as a wealthy This receipt was offered as an exhibit by the prosecution and by Sumilang.
movie star, introduce him as a buyer to someone who was selling a car and,
after the deed of sale is signed, by trickery to run away with the car. Asistio When Sumilang was ready to leave Eugene's, Johnson Lee turned over to him
would then register it, sell it to a third person for a profit. Chavez known to be a the deed of sale, the registration papers and the keys to the car. After shaking
car agent was included in the plan. He furnished the name of Johnson Lee hands with Lee, Sumilang drove away in the car with his driver at the wheel.
who was selling his Thunderbird. 1äwphï1.ñët
Two or three days afterwards, Sumilang dropped by the Barrio Fiesta on his
In the morning of November 14, Chavez telephoned Johnson Lee and way to a film shooting at Bulacan. He saw Asistio with many companions.
arranged for an appointment. Sometime in the afternoon. Chavez and Asistio liked his Thunderbird parked outside. Asistio offered to buy it from him
Sumilang met Lee in his Thunderbird on Highway 54. Sumilang was for P22,500.00. As the offer was good, and knowing Asistio's and his friends'
introduced as the interested buyer. Sumilang's driver inspected the car, took reputation for always getting what they wanted, Sumilang consented to the
the wheel for a while. After Sumilang and Lee agreed on the purchase price sale. Asistio tendered a down payment of P1,000.00; the balance he promised
(P21.000.00), they went to Binondo to Johnson Lee's cousin, Dy Sun Hiok, in to pay the next day after negotiating with some financing company. Before
whose name the car was registered. Thereafter, they went to see a lawyer said balance could be paid, the car was impounded.
notary public in Quezon City, known to Chavez for the drafting of the deed of
sale. After the deed of sale was drawn up, it was signed by Sumilang as the The trial court gave evidence to Sumilang's averment, strengthened by
vendee, Dy Sun Hiok the vendor, and Sumilang's driver and Johnson Lee the Baltazar's and Cailles' corroborations, that he paid good money for the car.
witnesses thereto. Sumilang was thus cleared. So was Asistio whom the trial court believed to be
a mere buyer of the car. And so, the prosecution's theory of conspiracy was
As payment was to be made at Eugene's restaurant in Quezon City, all of discounted.
them then drove in the Thunderbird car to that place. The deed of sale and
other papers remained in the pockets of Johnson Lee. As to the other accused, the court found no case against Pedro Rebullo alias
"Pita" and Lorenzo Meneses alias "Lory". The accused "Ging" Pascual was
At Eugene's, a man approached Sumilang with a note which stated that the also acquitted for in the first place he was not identified by Johnson Lee in
money was ready at the Dalisay Theater. Sumilang then wrote on the same court.
note that the money should be brought to the restaurant. At the same time he
requested Lee to exhibit the deed of sale of the car to the note bearer.4 As to Roger Chavez, however, the court had this to say: "Roger Chavez does
not offer any defense. As a matter of fact, his testimony as witness for the
Then, the two Chinese were left alone in the restaurant. For Sumilang, who prosecution establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt."5 The trial court
had left the table to pose for pictures with some fans and come back, again left branded him "a self-confessed culprit".6 The court further continued:
never to return. So did Chavez, who disappeared after he left on the pretext of
buying cigarettes. The two Chinese could not locate Sumilang and Chavez. It is not improbable that true to the saying that misery loves company Roger
They went out to the place where the Thunderbird was parked, found that it Chavez tried to drag his co-accused down with him by coloring his story with
was gone. They then immediately reported its loss to the police. Much later, fabrications which he expected would easily stick together what with the
the NBI recovered the already repainted car and impounded it. newspaper notoriety of one and the sensationalism caused by the other. But
Roger Chavez' accusations of Asistio's participation is utterly uncorroborated.
Right after the meeting at Eugene's, Chavez, Sumilang and Asistio converged And coming, as it does, from a man who has had at least two convictions for
that same day at Barrio Fiesta, a restaurant at Highway 54 near the acts not very different from those charged in this information, the Court would
Balintawak monument in Caloocan. There, Asistio handed to Sumilang be too gullible if it were to give full credence to his words even if they
P1,000.00 cash and a golf set worth P800.00 as the latter's share in the concerned a man no less notorious than himself.7
transaction. On the 14th of November, the registration of the car was
transferred in the name of Sumilang in Cavite City, and three days later, in the The trial court then came to the conclusion that if Johnson Lee was not paid
name of Asistio in Caloocan. for his car, he had no one but Roger Chavez to blame.

From the court's decision, Ricardo Sumilang's version, corroborated in part by The sum of all these is that the trial court freed all the accused except Roger
Asistio, may be condensed as follows: Chavez who was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
qualified theft. He was accordingly sentenced to suffer an indeterminate
In the last week of September, 1962, Sumilang saw Roger Chavez at a gas penalty of not less than ten (10) years, one (1) day, as minimum and not more
station. The latter informed him that there was a Thunderbird from Clark Field than fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day as maximum, to
for sale for a price between P20,000.00 and P22,000.00. Chavez said that it indemnify Dy Sun Hiok and/or Johnson Lee in the sum of P21,000.00 without
could be held for him with a down payment of P10,000.00. subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, to undergo the accessory
penalties prescribed by law, and to pay the costs. The Thunderbird car then in
To raise this sum, Sumilang and Chavez, on October 1, went to the house of a the custody of the NBI was ordered to be turned over to Ricardo Sumilang,
certain Nena Hernaez de los Reyes who wrote out a check for P5,000.00 as a who was directed to return to Asistio the sum of P1,000.00 unless the latter
loan to Sumilang. That check was exhibited in court. Sumilang and Chavez chose to pay P21,500.00, representing the balance of the contract price for the
then went to Pasay City to see a certain Mario Baltazar, an agent of the Pasay car.
City Mayor, and Narsing Cailles, Chief of the Fire Department. Sumilang asked
the two for a P10,000-loan backed up by the P5,000.00-check aforesaid on The foregoing sentence was promulgated on March 8, 1965. Roger Chavez
condition that it should not be cashed immediately as there were not enough appealed to the Court of Appeals.
funds therefor. Baltazar and Cailles agreed to give the money the nextday as
long as the check would be left with them and Sumilang would sign a On April 18, 1968, the Court of Appeals required Atty. Natividad Marquez,
promissory note for P10,000.00. Baltazar later informed Sumilang that Chavez counsel for Roger Chavez, to show cause within ten days from notice why
picked up the money the next day. Four or five days afterwards, Chavez Chavez' appeal should not be considered abandoned and dismissed. Reason
returned P4,000.00 to Sumilang because P6,000.00 was enough for the for this is that said lawyer received notice to file brief on December 28, 1967
deposit. And so, Sumilang gave back the P4,000.00 to Baltazar. and the period for the filing thereof lapsed on January 27, 1968 without any
brief having been filed.
About the end of October or at the beginning of November, Chavez asked
Sumilang for another P3,000.00. Sumilang sent Chavez to Baltazar and On May 13, 1968, Atty. Marquez registered a detailed written explanation. She
Cailles, with a note requesting that they accommodate him once more. He also stated that if she were allowed to file appellant's brief she would go along
also sent a check, again without funds. Baltazar gave the money after verifying with the factual findings of the court below but will show however that its
the authenticity of the note. conclusion is erroneous.8

On November 14, Chavez appeared at Sumilang's house with the news that On May 14, 1968, the Court of Appeals, despite the foregoing explanation,
the car was ready if Sumilang was ready with the rest of the money. So resolved to dismiss the appeal. A move to reconsider was unavailing. For, on
Sumilang got P9,000.00 from his mother and another P4,000.00 from his June 21, 1968, the Court of Appeals, through a per curiam resolution,
aparador. He immediately gave P6,000.00 to Chavez, intending to pay out the disposed to maintain its May 14 resolution dismissing the appeal, directed the
balance upon the car's delivery. It was then that Chavez told Sumilang that the City Warden of Manila where Chavez is confined by virtue of the warrant of
car was already bought by a Chinese who would be the vendor. arrest issued by the Court of Appeals, to turn him over to Muntinlupa Bilibid
Prisons pending execution of the judgment below, and ordered remand of the
The purchase price finally agreed upon between Sumilang and Johnson Lee case to the Quezon City court for execution of judgment.
was P21,000.00, plus P500.00 agents commission at the expense of the
buyer. Sumilang told Lee that he already paid part of the price to Chavez. It was at this stage that the present proceedings were commenced in this
Court.
At Eugene's, Chavez asked Sumilang for the balance. Sumilang
accommodated. There, Sumilang, also saw a friend, "Ging" Pascual. In the Upon the petitions, the return, and the reply, and after hearing on oral
course of their conversation at the bar, Sumilang mentioned the proposed arguments, we now come to grips with the main problem presented.
transaction thru Chavez. Pascual warned that Chavez was a "smart" agent
and advised that Sumilang should have a receipt for his money. A certain We concentrate attention on that phase of the issues which relates petitioner's
Bimbo, a friend of Pascual, offered to make out a receipt for Chavez to sign. assertion that he was compelled to testify against himself. For indeed if this
Page 10 of 101
one question is resolved in the affirmative, we need not reach the others; in accused called on the witness stand." The cumulative impact of all these is
which case, these should not be pursued here. that accused-petitioner had to take the stand. He was thus peremptorily asked
to create evidence against himself. The foregoing situation molds a solid case
1. Petitioner's plea on this score rests upon his averment, with proof, of for petitioner, backed by the Constitution, the law, and jurisprudence.
violation of his right — constitutionally entrenched — against self-incrimination.
He asks that the hand of this Court be made to bear down upon his conviction; Petitioner, as accused, occupies a different tier of protection from an ordinary
that he be relieved of the effects thereof. He asks us to consider the witness. Whereas an ordinary witness may be compelled to take the witness
constitutional injunction that "No person shall be compelled to be a witness stand and claim the privilege as each question requiring an incriminating
against himself,"9 fully echoed in Section 1, Rule 115, Rules of Court where, in answer is shot at him, 19 and accused may altogether refuse to take the
all criminal prosecutions, the defendant shall be entitled: "(e) To be exempt witness stand and refuse to answer any and all questions. 20 For, in reality,
from being a witness against himself." . the purpose of calling an accused as a witness for the People would be to
incriminate him. 21 The rule positively intends to avoid and prohibit the
It has been said that forcing a man to be a witness against himself is at war certainly inhuman procedure of compelling a person "to furnish the missing
with "the fundamentals of a republican government"; 10 that [i]t may suit the evidence necessary for his conviction." 22 This rule may apply even to a co-
purposes of despotic power but it can not abide the pure atmosphere of defendant in a joint trial.23
political liberty and personal freedom."11 Mr. Justice Abad Santos recounts
the historical background of this constitutional inhibition, thus: " "The maxim And the guide in the interpretation of the constitutional precept that the
Nemo tenetur seipsum accusare had its origin in a protest against the accused shall not be compelled to furnish evidence against himself "is not the
inquisitorial and manifestly unjust methods of interrogating accused persons, probability of the evidence but it is the capability of abuse." 24 Thus it is, that it
which has long obtained in the continental system, and, until the expulsion of was undoubtedly erroneous for the trial judge to placate petitioner with these
the Stuarts from the British throne in 1688, and the erection of additional words:.
barriers for the protection of the people against the exercise of arbitrary power,
was not uncommon even in England. While the admissions of confessions of What he will testify to does not necessarily incriminate him, counsel.
the prisoner, when voluntarily and freely made, have always ranked high in the
scale of incriminating evidence, if an accused person be asked to explain his And there is the right of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on
apparent connection with a crime under investigation, the ease with which the the witness-stand including the accused.
questions put to him may assume an inquisitorial character, the temptation to
press, the witness unduly, to browbeat him if he be timid or reluctant, to push If there should be any question that is incriminating, then that is the time for
him into a corner, and to entrap him into fatal contradictions, which is so counsel to interpose his objection and the court will sustain him if and when
painfully evident in many of the earlier state trials, notably in those of Sir the court feels that the answer of this witness to the question would incriminate
Nicholas Throckmorton, and Udal, the Puritan minister, made the system so him.
odious as to give rise to a demand for its total abolition. The change in the
English criminal procedure in that particular seems to be founded upon no Counsel has all the assurance that the court will not require the witness to
statute and no judicial opinion, but upon a general and silent acquiescence of answer questions which would incriminate him.
the courts in a popular demand. But, however adopted, it has become firmly
embedded in English, as well as in American jurisprudence. So deeply did the But surely, counsel could not object to have the accused called on the witness
iniquities of the ancient system impress themselves upon the minds of the stand.
American colonists that the states, with one accord, made a denial of the right
to question an accused person a part of their fundamental law, so that a Paraphrasing Chief Justice Marshall in Aaron Burr's Trial, Robertsons Rep. I,
maxim which in England was a mere rule of evidence, became clothed in this 208, 244, quoted in VIII Wigmore, p. 355, 25 While a defendant's knowledge of
country with the impregnability of a constitutional enactment." (Brown vs. the facts remains concealed within his bosom, he is safe; but draw it from
Walker, 161 U.S., 591, 597; 40 Law. ed., 819, 821)." 12 Mr. Justice Malcolm, thence, and he is exposed" — to conviction.
in expressive language, tells us that this maxim was recognized in England in
the early days "in a revolt against the thumbscrew and the rack." 13 An old The judge's words heretofore quoted — "But surely counsel could not object to
Philippine case [1904] 14 speaks of this constitutional injunction as "older than have the accused called on the witness stand" — wielded authority. By those
the Government of the United States"; as having "its origin in a protest against words, petitioner was enveloped by a coercive force; they deprived him of his
the inquisitorial methods of interrogating the accused person"; and as having will to resist; they foreclosed choice; the realities of human nature tell us that
been adopted in the Philippines "to wipe out such practices as formerly as he took his oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,
prevailed in these Islands of requiring accused persons to submit to judicial no genuine consent underlay submission to take the witness stand.
examinations, and to give testimony regarding the offenses with which they Constitutionally sound consent was absent.
were charged."
3. Prejudice to the accused for having been compelled over his objections to
So it is then that this right is "not merely a formal technical rule the be a witness for the People is at once apparent. The record discloses that by
enforcement of which is left to the discretion of the court"; it is mandatory; it leading questions Chavez, the accused, was made to affirm his statement
secures to a defendant a valuable and substantive right; 15 it is fundamental given to the NBI agents on July 17, 1963 at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon. 26
to our scheme of justice. Just a few months ago, the Supreme Court of the And this statement detailed the plan and execution thereof by Sumilang
United States (January 29, 1968), speaking thru Mr. Justice Harlan warned (Vasquez), Asistio and himself to deprive the Chinese of his Thunderbird car.
that "[t]he constitutional privilege was intended to shield the guilty and And he himself proceeded to narrate the same anew in open court. He
imprudent as well as the innocent and foresighted." 16 identified the Thunderbird car involved in the case. 27

It is in this context that we say that the constitutional guarantee may not be The decision convicting Roger Chavez was clearly of the view that the case for
treated with unconcern. To repeat, it is mandatory; it secures to every the People was built primarily around the admissions of Chavez himself. The
defendant a valuable and substantive right. Tañada and Fernando trial court described Chavez as the "star witness for the prosecution". Indeed,
(Constitution of the Philippines, 4th ed., vol. I, pp. 583-584) take note of U.S. the damaging facts forged in the decision were drawn directly from the lips of
vs. Navarro, supra, which reaffirms the rule that the constitutional proscription Chavez as a prosecution witness and of course Ricardo Sumilang for the
was established on broad grounds of public policy and humanity; of policy defense. There are the unequivocal statements in the decision that "even
because it would place the witness against the strongest temptation to commit accused Chavez" identified "the very same Thunderbird that Johnson Lee had
perjury, and of humanity because it would be to extort a confession of truth by offered for sale"; that Chavez "testimony as witness for the prosecution
a kind of duress every species and degree of which the law abhors. 17 establishes his guilt beyond reasonable doubt and that Chavez is "a self-
confessed culprit". 1äwphï1.ñët
Therefore, the court may not extract from a defendant's own lips and against
his will an admission of his guilt. Nor may a court as much as resort to 4. With all these, we have no hesitancy in saying that petitioner was forced to
compulsory disclosure, directly or indirectly, of facts usable against him as a testify to incriminate himself, in full breach of his constitutional right to remain
confession of the crime or the tendency of which is to prove the commission of silent. It cannot be said now that he has waived his right. He did not volunteer
a crime. Because, it is his right to forego testimony, to remain silent, unless he to take the stand and in his own defense; he did not offer himself as a witness;
chooses to take the witness stand — with undiluted, unfettered exercise of his on the contrary, he claimed the right upon being called to testify. If petitioner
own free, genuine will. nevertheless answered the questions inspite of his fear of being accused of
perjury or being put under contempt, this circumstance cannot be counted
Compulsion as it is understood here does not necessarily connote the use of against him. His testimony is not of his own choice. To him it was a case of
violence; it may be the product of unintentional statements. Pressure which compelled submission. He was a cowed participant in proceedings before a
operates to overbear his will, disable him from making a free and rational judge who possessed the power to put him under contempt had he chosen to
choice, or impair his capacity for rational judgment would in our opinion be remain silent. Nor could he escape testifying. The court made it abundantly
sufficient. So is moral coercion "tending to force testimony from the unwilling clear that his testimony at least on direct examination would be taken right
lips of the defendant." 18 then and thereon the first day of the trial.

2. With the foregoing as guideposts, we now turn to the facts. Petitioner is a It matters not that, after all efforts to stave off petitioner's taking the stand
defendant in a criminal case. He was called by the prosecution as the first became fruitless, no objections to questions propounded to him were made.
witness in that case to testify for the People during the first day of trial thereof. Here involve is not a mere question of self-incrimination. It is a defendant's
Petitioner objected and invoked the privilege of self-incrimination. This he constitutional immunity from being called to testify against himself. And the
broadened by the clear cut statement that he will not testify. But petitioner's objection made at the beginning is a continuing one. 1äwphï1.ñët
protestations were met with the judge's emphatic statement that it "is the right
of the prosecution to ask anybody to act as witness on the witness stand There is therefore no waiver of the privilege. "To be effective, a waiver must be
including the accused," and that defense counsel "could not object to have the certain and unequivocal, and intelligently, understandably, and willingly made;
Page 11 of 101
such waiver following only where liberty of choice has been fully accorded. EN BANC
After a claim a witness cannot properly be held to have waived his privilege on
vague and uncertain evidence." 28 The teaching in Johnson vs. Zerbst 29 is G.R. No. L-33964 December 11, 1971
this: "It has been pointed out that "courts indulge every reasonable
presumption against waiver" of fundamental constitutional rights and that we IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF
"do not presume acquiescence in the loss of fundamental rights." A waiver is TEODOSIO LANSANG RODOLFO DEL ROSARIO, and BAYANI ALCALA,
ordinarily an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or petitioners,
privilege." Renuntiatio non praesumitur. vs.
BRIGADIER-GENERAL EDUARDO M. GARCIA, Chief, Philippine
The foregoing guidelines, juxtaposed with the circumstances of the case Constabulary, respondent.
heretofore adverted to, make waiver a shaky defense. It cannot stand. If, by
his own admission, defendant proved his guilt, still, his original claim remains G.R. No. L-33965 December 11, 1971
valid. For the privilege, we say again, is a rampart that gives protection - even
to the guilty. 30 ROGELIO V. ARIENDA, petitioner, vs. SECRETARY OF NATIONAL
DEFENSE, and CHIEF, PHIL. CONSTABULARY, respondents.
5. The course which petitioner takes is correct. Habeas corpus is a high
prerogative writ. 31 It is traditionally considered as an exceptional remedy to G.R. No. L-33973 December 11, 1971
release a person whose liberty is illegally restrained such as when the LUZVIMINDA DAVID, petitioner, vs. GEN. EDUARDO GARCIA, in his capacity
accused's constitutional rights are disregarded. 32 Such defect results in the as Chief, Philippine Constabulary, COL. N. C. CAMELLO, in his capacity as
absence or loss of jurisdiction 33 and therefore invalidates the trial and the Chief of Staff, Philippine Constabulary and HON. JUAN PONCE ENRILE in his
consequent conviction of the accused whose fundamental right was violated. capacity as Secretary, Department of National defense, respondents.
34 That void judgment of conviction may be challenged by collateral attack,
which precisely is the function of habeas corpus. 35 This writ may issue even if G.R. No. L-33982 December 11, 1971
another remedy which is less effective may be availed of by the defendant. 36
Thus, failure by the accused to perfect his appeal before the Court of Appeals IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF NEMESIO
does not preclude a recourse to the writ. 37 The writ may be granted upon a E. PRUDENTE FELICIDAD G. PRUDENTE, petitioners, vs. GENERAL
judgment already final. 38 For, as explained in Johnson vs. Zerbst, 39 the writ MANUEL YAN, GEN. EDU GARCIA, respondents.
of habeas corpus as an extraordinary remedy must be liberally given effect 40
so as to protect well a person whose liberty is at stake. The propriety of the G.R. No. L-34004 December 11, 1971
writ was given the nod in that case, involving a violation of another
constitutional right, in this wise: IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUSIN
BEHALF OF GERARDO TOMAS, ALSO KNOWN AS "GERRY TOMAS" AND
Since the Sixth Amendment constitutionally entitles one charged with crime to FOR RETURN OF DOCUMENTS ILLEGALLY SEIZED. DOMINGO E. DE
the assistance of Counsel, compliance with this constitutional mandate is an LARA, in his capacity as Chairman, Committee on Legal Assistance,
essential jurisdictional prerequisite to a Federal Court's authority. When this Philippine Bar Association, petitioner, vs. BRIG. GENERAL EDUARDO M.
right is properly waived, the assistance of Counsel is no longer a necessary GARCIA, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY, respondent.
element of the Court's jurisdiction to proceed to conviction and sentence. If the
accused, however, is not represented by Counsel and has not competently G.R. No. L-34013 December 11, 1971
and intelligently waived his constitutional right, the Sixth Amendment stands
as a jurisdictional bar to a valid conviction and sentence depriving him of his REYNALDO RIMANDO, petitioner, vs. BRIG. GEN. EDUARDO M. GARCIA,
liberty. A court's jurisdiction at the beginning of trial may be lost "in the course Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, respondent.
of the proceedings" due to failure to complete the court — as the Sixth
Amendment requires — by providing Counsel for an accused who is unable to G.R. No. L-34039 December 11, 1971
obtain Counsel, who has not intelligently waived this constitutional guaranty,
and whose life or liberty is at stake. If this requirement of the Sixth Amendment IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUSIN
is not complied with, the court no longer has jurisdiction to proceed. The BEHALF OF SGT. FILOMENO M. DE CASTRO AND HIS WIFE, MRS.
judgment of conviction pronounced by a court without jurisdiction is void, and BARCELISA C. DE CASTRO. CARLOS C. RABAGO, in his capacity as
one imprisoned thereunder may obtain release of habeas corpus. 41 President of the Conference Delegates Association of the Philippines
(CONDA) petitioner, vs. BRIG. GEN. EDUARDO M. GARCIA, Chief, Philippine
Under our own Rules of Court, to grant the remedy to the accused Roger Constabulary, respondent.
Chavez whose case presents a clear picture of disregard of a constitutional
right is absolutely proper. Section 1 of Rule 102 extends the writ, unless G.R. No. L-34265 December 11, 1971
otherwise expressly provided by law, "to all cases of illegal confinement or
detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF ANTOLIN
custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. ORETA, JR. ANTOLIN ORETA, JR., petitioner, vs. GEN. EDUARDO GARCIA
and COL. PROSPERO OLIVAS, respondents.
Just as we are about to write finis to our task, we are prompted to restate that:
"A void judgment is in legal effect no judgment. By it no rights are divested. G.R. No. L-34339 December 11, 1971
From it no rights can be obtained. Being worthless in itself, all proceedings
founded upon it are equally worthless. It neither binds nor bars any one. All GARY B. OLIVAR, assisted by his father, GEORGE OLIVAR, petitioner, vs.
acts performed under it and all claims flowing out of it are void. The parties GEN. EDUARDO GARCIA, in his capacity as Chief, Philippine Constabulary,
attempting to enforce it may be responsible as trespassers. ... " 42 et al., respondents.

6. Respondents' return 43 shows that petitioner is still serving under a final CONCEPCION, C.J.:
and valid judgment of conviction for another offense. We should guard against
the improvident issuance of an order discharging a petitioner from In the evening of August 21, 1971, at about 9 p.m., while the Liberal Party of
confinement. The position we take here is that petitioner herein is entitled to the Philippines was holding a public meeting at Plaza Miranda, Manila, for the
liberty thru habeas corpus only with respect to Criminal Case Q-5311 of the presentation of its candidates in the general elections scheduled for November
Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, under which he was 8, 1971, two (2) hand grenades were thrown, one after the other, at the
prosecuted and convicted. platform where said candidates and other persons were. As a consequence,
eight (8) persons were killed and many more injured, including practically all of
Upon the view we take of this case, judgment is hereby rendered directing the the aforementioned candidates, some of whom sustained extensive, as well as
respondent Warden of the City Jail of Manila or the Director of Prisons or any serious, injuries which could have been fatal had it not been for the timely
other officer or person in custody of petitioner Roger Chavez by reason of the medical assistance given to them.
judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in
Criminal Case Q-5311, entitled "People of the Philippines, plaintiff, vs. Ricardo On August 23, soon after noontime, the President of the Philippines
Sumilang, et al., accused," to discharge said Roger Chavez from custody, announced the issuance of Proclamation No. 889, dated August 21, 1971,
unless he is held, kept in custody or detained for any cause or reason other reading as follows:
than the said judgment in said Criminal Case Q-5311 of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Quezon City Branch, in which event the discharge herein WHEREAS, on the basis of carefully evaluated information, it is definitely
directed shall be effected when such other cause or reason ceases to exist. established that lawless elements in the country, which are moved by common
or similar ideological conviction, design and goal and enjoying the active moral
No costs. So ordered. and material support of a foreign power and being guided and directed by a
well-trained, determined and ruthless group of men and taking advantage of
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Angeles and our constitutional liberties to promote and attain their ends, have entered into a
Fernando, JJ., concur. Castro, J., concurs in a separate opinion. conspiracy and have in fact joined and banded their forces together for the
avowed purpose of actually staging, undertaking and waging an armed
insurrection and rebellion in order to forcibly seize political power in this
country, overthrow the duly constituted government, and supplant our existing
Republic of the Philippines political social, economic and legal order with an entirely new one whose form
SUPREME COURT of government, whose system of laws, whose conception of God and religion,
Manila whose notion of individual rights and family relations, and whose political,

Page 12 of 101
social and economic precepts are based on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist 9. GERARDO TOMAS, alias Gerry Tomas, a 17-year old second
teachings and beliefs; year college students of St. Louis University, Baguio City, on whose behalf,
Domingo E. de Lara — in his capacity as Chairman, Committee on Legal
WHEREAS, these lawless elements, acting in concert through front Assistance, Philippine Bar Association — filed on September 3, 1971, the
organizations that are seemingly innocent and harmless, have continuously petition in Case No. L-34004, upon the ground that said Gerardo Tomas had,
and systematically strengthened and broadened their memberships through on August 23, 1971, at about 6 a.m., been arrested by Constabulary agents,
sustained and careful recruiting and enlistment of new adherents from among while on his way to school in the City of Baguio, then brought to the
our peasantry, laborers, professionals, intellectuals, students, and mass media Constabulary premises therein at Camp Holmes, and, thereafter, taken, on
personnel, and through such sustained and careful recruitment and enlistment August 24, 1971, to Camp Olivas, Pampanga, and thence, on August 25,
have succeeded in infiltrating almost every segment of our society in their 1971, to the Constabulary headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City, where
ceaseless determination to erode and weaken the political, social, economic he is detained;
and moral foundations of our existing government and to influence many
peasant, labor, professional, intellectual, student and mass media 10. REYNALDO RIMANDO, petitioner in Case No. L-34013 — filed on
organizations to commit acts of violence and depredations against our duly September 7, 1971 — a 19-year old student of the U.P. College in Baguio city
constituted authorities, against the members of our law enforcement agencies, — who, while allegedly on his way home, at Lukban Road, Baguio, on August
and worst of all, against the peaceful members of our society; 23, 1971, at about 1 a.m., was joined by three (3) men who brought him to the
Burnham Park, thence, to Camp Olivas at San Fernando, Pampanga, and,
WHEREAS, these lawless elements have created a state of lawlessness and thereafter, to Camp Crame, Quezon City, where he is detained;
disorder affecting public safety and the security of the State, the latest
manifestation of which has been the dastardly attack on the Liberal Party rally 11. Sgt. FILOMENO M. DE CASTRO and his wife, Mrs. BARCELISA
in Manila on August 21, 1971, which has resulted in the death and serious C. DE CASTRO, on whose behalf Carlos C. Rabago — as President of the
injury of scores of persons; Conference Delegates Association of the Philippines (CONDA) — filed the
petition in Case No. L-34039 — on September 14, 1971 — against Gen.
WHEREAS, public safety requires that immediate and effective action be Eduardo M. Garcia, alleging that, on August 27, 1971, at about 3 p.m., Mrs.
taken in order to maintain peace and order, secure the safety of the people De Castro was arrested, while at Liamzon Subdivision, Rosario, Pasig, Rizal,
and preserve the authority of the State; by agents of the Constabulary, and taken to the PC headquarters at Camp
Crame, where, later, that same afternoon, her husband was brought, also, by
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the PC agents and both are detained;
Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, Section 10,
Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby suspend the privilege of the writ 12. ANTOLIN ORETA, JR., who filed the petition in Case No. L-34265
of habeas corpus, for the persons presently detained, as well as others who — on October 26, 1971 — against said Gen. Garcia, as Chief of the
may be hereafter similarly detained for the crimes of insurrection or rebellion, Constabulary, and Col. Prospero Olivas, Chief of the Central Intelligence
and all other crimes and offenses committed by them in furtherance or on the Service (CIS), Philippine Constabulary, alleging that, upon invitation from said
occasion thereof, or incident thereto, or in connection therewith. CIS, he went, on October 20, 1971, to Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, to see
Gen. Manuel Yan, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who
Presently, petitions for writ of habeas corpus were filed, in the above-entitled referred petitioner to Col. Laroya of the CIS; that the latter, in turn, referred him
cases, by the following persons, who, having been arrested without a warrant to CIS Investigator Atty. Berlin Castillo and another CIS against, whose name
therefor and then detained, upon the authority of said proclamation, assail its is unknown to the petitioner; and that, after being interrogated by the two (2),
validity, as well as that of their detention, namely: petitioner was detained illegally; and

1. TEDORO LANSANG, RODOLFO DEL ROSARIO and BAYANI 13. GARY OLIVAR, petitioner in Case No. L-34339 — filed on
ALCALA, the petitioners in Case No. L-33964 — filed on August 24, 1971 — November 10, 1971 — who was apprehended, by agents of the Constabulary,
who, on August 22, 1971, between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., were "invited" by agents in the evening of November 8, 1941, in Quezon City, and then detained at
of the Philippine Constabulary — which is under the command of respondent Camp Crame, in the same City.
Brig. Gen. Eduardo M. Garcia — to go and did go to the headquarters of the
Philippine Constabulary, at Camp Crame, Quezon City, for interrogation, and Upon the filing of the aforementioned cases, the respondents were forthwith
thereafter, detained; required to answer the petitions therein, which they did. The return and answer
in L-33964 — which was, mutatis mutandis, reproduced substantially or by
2. ROGELIO V. ARIENDA, the petitioner in Case No. L-33965 — reference in the other cases, except L-34265 — alleges, inter alia, that the
filed, also, on August 24, 1971 — who was picked up in his residence, at No. petitioners had been apprehended and detained "on reasonable belief" that
55 Road, 3, Urduja Village, Quezon City, by members of the Metrocom and they had "participated in the crime of insurrection or rebellion;" that "their
then detained; continued detention is justified due to the suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Proclamation No. 889 of the President of the
3. Soon after the filing of the petition in Case No. L-33965 — or on Philippines;" that there is "a state of insurrection or rebellion" in this country,
August 28, 1971 — the same was amended to include VICENTE ILAO and and that "public safety and the security of the State required the suspension of
JUAN CARANDANG, as petitioners therein, although, apart from stating that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus," as "declared by the President of the
these additional petitioners are temporarily residing with the original petitioner, Philippines in Proclamation No. 889; that in making said declaration, the
Rogelio V. Arienda, the amended petition alleged nothing whatsoever as "President of the Philippines acted on relevant facts gathered thru the
regards the circumstances under which said Vicente Ilao and Juan Carandang coordinated efforts of the various intelligence agents of our government but
are said to be illegally deprived of their liberty; (of) which the Chief Executive could not at the moment give a full account and
disclosure without risking revelation of highly classified state secrets vital to its
4. LUZVIMINDO DAVID, petitioner in Case No. L-33973 — filed on safely and security"; that the determination thus made by the President is "final
August 25, 1971 — who was similarly arrested in his residence, at No. 131-B and conclusive upon the court and upon all other persons" and "partake(s) of
Kamias Road, Quezon City, and detained by the Constabulary; the nature of political question(s) which cannot be the subject of judicial
inquiry," pursuant to Barcelon v. Baker, 5 Phil. 87, and Montenegro v.
5. Felicidad G. Prudente, who filed the petition in Case No. L-33982 Castañeda, 91 Phil. 882; that petitioners "are under detention pending
— on August 27, 1971 — upon the ground that her father, Dr. NEMESIO E. investigation and evaluation of culpabilities on the reasonable belief" that they
PRUDENTE, had, on August 22, 1971, at about 8 p.m., been apprehended by "have committed, and are still committing, individually or in conspiracy with
Constabulary agents in his house, at St. Ignatius Village, Quezon City, and others, engaged in armed struggle, insurgency and other subversive activities
then detained at the Camp Crame stockade, Quezon City; for the overthrow of the Government; that petitioners cannot raise, in these
proceedings for habeas corpus, "the question of their guilt or innocence"; that
6. ANGELO DE LOS REYES, who was allowed — on August 30, the "Chief of Constabulary had petitioners taken into custody on the basis of
1971 — to intervene as one of the petitioners in Cases Nos. L-33964, L-33965 the existence of evidence sufficient to afford a reasonable ground to believe
and L-33973, he having been arrested by members of the Constabulary on that petitioners come within the coverage of persons to whom the privilege of
August 22, 1971, between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., in his residence, at 86 Don the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended"; that the "continuing detention
Manuel Street, Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City, and brought to Camp Crame, of the petitioners as an urgent bona fide precautionary and preventive
Quezon City, where he is detained and restrained of liberty; measure demanded by the necessities of public safety, public welfare and
public interest"; that the President of the Philippines has "undertaken concrete
7. VICTOR FELIPE, who was similarly allowed to intervene as one of and abundant steps to insure that the constitutional rights and privileges of the
the petitioners in said three (3) cases, upon the ground that, on August 23, petitioners as well as of the other persons in current confinement pursuant to
1971, at about 8 a.m., he was, likewise, apprehended at Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Proclamation 889 remain unimpaired and unhampered"; and that
by members of the Philippine Constabulary and brought, first to the "opportunities or occasions for abuses by peace officers in the implementation
Constabulary headquarters at Canlubang, Laguna, and, then, to Camp Crame, of the proclamation have been greatly minimized, if not completely curtailed,
Quezon City, where he is detained and restrained of liberty; by various safeguards contained in directives issued by proper authority."

8. TERESITO SISON, who was, also, allowed to intervene as one of These safeguards are set forth in:
the petitioners in the same three (3) cases, he having been arrested in his
residence, at 318 Lakandula St., Angeles City, on August 22, 1971, between 6 1. A letter of the President to the Secretary of National Defense,
and 7 p.m., and taken to the PC offices at Sto. Domingo, Angeles City, then to dated August 21, 1971, directing, inter alia, in connection with the arrest or
Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga, and eventually to Camp Crame, detention of suspects pursuant to Proclamation No. 889, that, except when
Quezon City, where he is restrained and deprived of liberty; caught in flagrante delicto, no arrest shall be made without warrant authorized
in writing by the Secretary of National Defense; that such authority shall not be
granted unless, "on the basis of records and other evidences," it appears
Page 13 of 101
satisfactorily, in accordance with Rule 113, section 6(b), of the Rules of Court, of habeas corpus for the persons presently detained, as well as all others who
that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of the acts mentioned in the may be hereafter similarly detained for the crimes of insurrection or rebellion [,]
proclamation; that, if such person will be charged with a crime subject to an and [all] other [crimes and offenses] overt acts committed by them in
afflictive penalty under the Anti-Subversion Act, the authorization for his arrest furtherance [or on the occasion] thereof[,]. [or incident thereto, or in connection
shall not be issued unless supported by signed intelligence reports citing at therewith.]1
least one reliable witness to the same overt act; that no unnecessary or
unreasonable force shall be used in effecting arrests; and that arrested On September 1, 1971, Cases Nos. L-33964, L-33965, L-33973 and L-33982
persons shall not be subject to greater restraint than is necessary for their were jointly heard and then the parties therein were allowed to file
detention; memoranda, which were submitted from September 3 to September 9, 1971.

2. Communications of the Chief of the Constabulary, dated August Soon thereafter, or on September 18, 1971, Proclamation No. 889 was further
23, 27, and 30, 1971, to all units of his command, stating that the privilege of amended by Proclamation No. 889-B, lifting the suspension of the privilege of
the writ is suspended for no other persons than those specified in the the writ of habeas corpus in the following provinces, sub-provinces and cities
proclamation; that the same does not involve material law; that precautionary of the Philippine, namely:
measures should be taken to forestall violence that may be precipitated by
improper behavior of military personnel; that authority to cause arrest under A. PROVINCES:
the proclamation will be exercised only by the Metrocom, CMA, CIS, and
"officers occupying position in the provinces down to provincial commanders"; 1. Batanes 15. Negros Occ.
that there shall be no indiscriminate or mass arrests; that arrested persons 2. Ilocos Norte 16. Negros Or.
shall not be harmed and shall be accorded fair and humane treatment; and 3. Ilocos Sur 17. Cebu
that members of the detainee's immediate family shall be allowed to visit him 4. Abra 18. Bohol
twice a week; 5. Abra 19. Capiz
6. Pangasinan 20. Aklan
3. A memorandum of the Department of National Defense, dated 7. Batangas 21. Antique
September 2, 1971, directing the Chief of the Constabulary to establish 8. Catanduanes 22. Iloilo
appropriate Complaints and Action Bodies/Groups to prevent and/or check 9. Masbate 23. Leyte
any abuses in connection with the suspension of the privilege of the writ; and 10. Romblon 24. Leyte del Sur
11. Marinduque 25. Northern Samar
4. Executive Order No. 333, dated August 26, 1971, creating a 12. Or. Mindoro 26. Eastern Samar
Presidential Administrative Assistance Committee to hear complaints 13. Occ. Mindoro 27. Western Samar
regarding abuses committed in connection with the implementation of 14. Palawan.
Proclamation No. 889.
B. SUB-PROVINCES:
Respondents in L-33965 further alleged that therein petitioners Vicente Ilao
and Juan Carandang had been released from custody on August 31, 1971, 1. Guimaras 3. Siquior
"after it had been found that the evidence against them was insufficient." 2. Biliran

In L-34265, the "Answer and Return" filed by respondents therein traversed C. CITIES:
some allegations of fact and conclusions of law made in the petition therein
and averred that Antolin Oreta, Jr., the petitioner therein, had been and is 1. Laog 14. Bais
detained "on the basis of a reasonable ground to believe that he has 2. Dagupan 15. Dumaguete
committed overt acts in furtherance of rebellion or insurrection against the 3. San Carlos 16. Iloilo
government" and, accordingly, "comes within the class of persons as to whom 4. Batangas 17. Roxas
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended by 5. Lipa 18. Tagbilaran
Proclamation No. 889, as amended," the validity of which is not contested by 6. Puerto Princesa 19. Lapu-lapu
him. 7. San Carlos (Negros Occ.) 20. Cebu
8. Cadiz 21. Mandaue
On August 30, 1971, the President issued Proclamation No. 889-A, amending 9. Silay 22. Danao
Proclamation No. 889, so as to read as follows: 10. Bacolod 23. Toledo
11. Bago 24. Tacloban
WHEREAS, on the basis of carefully evaluated information, it is definitely 12. Canlaon 25. Ormoc
established that lawless elements in the country, which are moved by common 13. La Carlota 26. Calbayog
or similar ideological conviction, design and goal and enjoying the active moral
and material support of a foreign power and being guided and directed by a On September 25, 1971, the President issued Proclamation No. 889-C,
well-trained, determined and ruthless group of men and taking advantage of restoring the privilege of the writ in the following provinces and cities:
our constitutional liberties to promote and attain their ends, have entered into a
conspiracy and have in fact joined and banded their forces together for the A. PROVINCES:
avowed purpose of [actually] staging, undertaking, [and] wagging and are
actually engaged in an armed insurrection and rebellion in order to forcibly 1. Surigao del Norte 8. Agusan del Sur
seize political power in this country, overthrow the duly constituted 2. Surigao del Sur 9. Misamis Or.
government, and supplant our existing political, social, economic and legal 3. Davao del Norte 10. Misamis Occ.
order with an entirely new one whose form of government, whose system of 4. Davao del Sur 11. Zamboanga del Norte
laws, whose conception of God and religion, whose notion of individual rights 5. Davao Oriental 12. Basilan
and family relations, and whose political, social and economic precepts are 6. Bukidnon 13. Pagadian
based on the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist teaching and beliefs; 7. Agusan del Norte

WHEREAS, these lawless elements, acting in concert through front B. CITIES:


organizations that are seemingly innocent and harmless, have continuously
and systematically strengthened and broadened their memberships through 1. Surigao 8. Tangub
sustained and careful recruiting and enlistment of new adherents from among 2. Davao 9. Dapitan
our peasantly, laborers, professionals, intellectuals, students, and mass media 3. Butuan 10. Dipolog
personnel, and through such sustained and careful recruitment and enlistment 4. Cagayan 11. Zamboanga
have succeeded in infiltrating almost every segment of our society in their 5. Gingoong 12. Basilan
ceaseless determination to erode and weaken the political, social, economic 6. Ozamiz 13. Pagadian.
and moral foundations of our existing government and influence many 7. Oroquieta
peasant, labor, professional, intellectual, student and mass media
organizations to commit acts of violence and depredations against our duly On October 4, 1971, the suspension of the privilege was further lifted by
constituted authorities, against the members of our law enforcement agencies, Proclamation No. 889-D, in the following places:
and worst of all, against the peaceful members of our society;
A. PROVINCES:
WHEREAS, these lawless elements, by their acts of rebellion and insurrection,
have created a state of lawlessness and disorder affecting public safety and 1. Cagayan 5. Camarines
security of the State, the latest manifestation of which has been the dastardly 2. Cavite 6. Albay
attack on the Liberal Party rally in Manila on August 21, 1971, which has 3. Mountain Province 7. Sorsogon
resulted in the death and serious injury of scores of persons; 4. Kalinga-Apayao

WHEREAS, public safety requires that immediate and effective action be B. CITIES:
taken in order to maintain peace and order, secure the safety of the people
and preserve the authority of the State; 1. Cavite City 3. Trece Martires
2. Tagaytay 4. Legaspi
NOW THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the
Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Article VII, Section 10,
Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby suspend the privilege of the writ
Page 14 of 101
As a consequence, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is still suspended records on November 6, 1971, and a summary, submitted on November 15,
in the following eighteen (18) provinces, two (2) sub-provinces and eighteen 1971, of the aforesaid classified information.
(18) cities, to wit:
In the meantime, cases Nos. L-34265 (Oreta) and L-34339 (Olivar) had been
A. PROVINCE: filed and the parties therein were heard in oral argument on November 4, and
16, 1971, respectively.
1. Bataan 10. North Cotabato
2. Benguet 11. Nueva Ecija On November 15, 1971, the Solicitor General filed manifestations — motions
3. Bulacan 13. Pampanga stating that on November 13, 1971, the following petitioners were:
4. Camarines Sur 14. Quezon
5. Ifugao 15. Rizal (a) released from custody:
6. Isabela 16. South Cotabato
7. Laguna 17. Tarlac (1) Teodosio Lansang -- G.R. No. L-33964
8. Lanao del Norte 18. Zambales (2) Bayani Alcala -- " " L-33964
9. Lanao del Norte (3) Rogelio Arienda -- " " L-33965
(4) Nemesio Prudente -- " " L-33982
B. SUB-PROVINCES: (5) Gerardo Tomas -- " " L-34004
(6) Reynaldo Rimando -- " " L-34013
1. Aurora 2. Quirino (7) Filomeno M. de Castro -- " " L-34039
(8) Barcelisa de Castro -- " " L-34039
C. CITIES: (9) Antolin Oreta, Jr. -- " " L-34264.

1. Angeles 10. Manila (b) charged, together with other persons named in the criminal
2. Baguio 11. Marawi complaint filed therefor, with a violation of Republic Act No. 1700 (Anti-
3. Cabanatuan 12. Naga Subversion Act), in the City Fiscal's Office of Quezon City:
4. Caloocan 13. Olongapo
5. Cotabato 14. Palayan (1) Angelo de los Reyes -- G.R. No. L-22982 *
6. General Santos 15. Pasay (2) Teresito Sison -- " " L-33982 *
7. Iligan 16. Quezon
8 Iriga 17. San Jose (c) accused, together with many others named in the criminal
9 Lucena 18. San Pablo complaint filed therefor, of a violation of section 4 of Republic Act No. 1700
(Anti-Subversion Act), in the Court of First Instance of Rizal:
The first major question that the Court had to consider was whether it would
adhere to the view taken in Barcelon v. Baker,2 and reiterated in Montenegro (1) Rodolfo del Rosario -- G.R. No. L-33969 **
v. Castañeda,3 pursuant to which, "the authority to decide whether the (2) Luzvimindo David -- " " L-33973
exigency has arisen requiring suspension (of the privilege of the writ of habeas (3) Victor Felipe -- " " L-33982 *
corpus) belongs to the President and his 'decision is final and conclusive' upon
the courts and upon all other persons." Indeed, had said question been and continue under detention pursuant to Proclamation No. 889, as amended,
decided in the affirmative the main issue in all of these cases, except L-34339, and praying that the petitions in G.R. Nos. L-33964, L-33965, L-33982, L-
would have been settled, and, since the other issues were relatively of minor 34004, L-34013 and L-34039 be dismissed, without prejudice to the resolution
importance, said cases could have been readily disposed of. Upon mature of the remaining cases. Copy of the criminal complaint filed, as above stated,
deliberation, a majority of the Members of the Court had, however, reached, with the Court of First Instance of Rizal and docketed therein as Criminal Case
although tentatively, a consensus to the contrary, and decided that the Court No. Q-1623 of said court — which was appended to said manifestations-
had authority to and should inquire into the existence of the factual bases motions of the respondent as Annex 2 thereof — shows that Gary Olivar, the
required by the Constitution for the suspension of the privilege of the writ; but petitioner in L-34339, is one of the defendants in said case.
before proceeding to do so, the Court deemed it necessary to hear the parties
on the nature and extent of the inquiry to be undertaken, none of them having Required to comment on said manifestations-motions, Luzvimindo David,
previously expressed their views thereof. Accordingly, on October 5, 1971, the petitioner in L-33973, in his comment dated November 23, 1971, urged the
Court issued, in L-33964, L-33965, L-33973 and L-33982, a resolution stating Court to rule on the merits of the petitions in all of these cases, particularly on
in part that — the constitutionality of Presidential Proclamation No. 889, as amended, upon
the ground that he is still detained and that the main issue is one of public
... a majority of the Court having tentatively arrived at a consensus that it may interest involving as it does the civil liberties of the people. Angelo de los
inquire in order to satisfy itself of the existence of the factual bases for the Reyes, one of the petitioners in L-33964, L-33965 and L-33973, Nemesio E.
issuance of Presidential Proclamations Nos. 889 and 889-A (suspending the Prudente and Gerardo Tomas, for whose respective benefit the petitions in L-
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for all persons detained or to be detained 33982 and L-34004 have been filed, maintained that the issue in these cases
for the crimes of rebellion or insurrection throughout the Philippines, which is not moot, not even for the detainees who have been released, for, as long
area has lately been reduced to some eighteen provinces, two subprovinces as the privilege of the writ remains suspended, they are in danger of being
and eighteen cities with the partial lifting of the suspension of the privilege arrested and detained again without just cause or valid reason. In his reply,
effected by Presidential Proclamations Nos. 889-B, 889-C and 889-D) and dated and filed on November 29, 1971, the Solicitor General insisted that the
thus determine the constitutional sufficiency of such bases in the light of the release of the above-named petitioners rendered their respective petitions
requirements of Article III, sec. 1, par. 14, and Article VII, sec. 10, par. 2, of the moot and academic.
Philippine Constitution; and considering that the members of the Court are not
agreed on the precise scope and nature of the inquiry to be made in the I
premises, even as all of them are agreed that the Presidential findings are
entitled to great respect, the Court RESOLVED that these cases be set for Petitioners herein, except Antolin Oreta, Jr. in L-34265, question the formal
rehearing on October 8, 1971 at 9:30 A.M. validity of the proclamation suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus. In this connection, it should be noted that, as originally formulated,
xxx xxx xxx Proclamation No. 889 was contested upon the ground that it did not comply
with the pertinent constitutional provisions, namely, paragraph (14) of section
On October 8, 1971, said four cases were, therefore, heard, once again, but, 1, Article III of our Constitution, reading:
this time jointly with cases Nos. L-34004, L-34013, and L-34039, and the
parties were then granted a period to file memoranda, in amplification of their The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in
respective oral arguments, which memoranda were submitted from October 12 cases of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, when the public safety requires it,
to October 21, 1971. in any way of which events the same may be suspended wherever during
such period the necessity for such suspension shall exist.
Respondents having expressed, during the oral arguments, on September 1
and October 8, 1971, their willingness to impart to the Court classified and paragraph (2), section 10, Article VII of the same instrument, which
information relevant to these cases, subject to appropriate security measures, provides that:
the Court met at closed doors, on October 28 and 29, 1971, and, in the
presence of three (3) attorneys for the petitioners, chosen by the latter, The President shall be commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the
namely, Senator Jose W. Diokno, Senator Salvador H. Laurel, and Atty. Philippines, and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed
Leopoldo Africa, as well as of the Solicitor General and two (2) members of his forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, insurrection, or
staff, was briefed, by Gen. Manuel Yan, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of rebellion. In case of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, or imminent danger
the Philippines, Gen. Fidel Ramos, Deputy Chief of Staff, Gen. Felizardo thereof when the public safety requires it, he may suspend the privileges of the
Tanabe, Col. Tagumpay Nanadiego, Judge Advocate General, JAGS (GSC), writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under
and other ranking officers of said Armed Forces, on said classified information, martial law.
most of which was contained in reports and other documents already attached
to the records. During the proceedings, the members of the Court, and, Regardless of whether or not the President may suspend the privilege of the
occassionally, counsel for the petitioners, propounded pertinent questions to writ of habeas corpus in case of "imminent danger" of invasion, insurrection or
said officers of the Armed Forces. Both parties were then granted a period of rebellion — which is one of the grounds stated in said paragraph (2), section
time within which to submit their respective observations, which were filed on 10 of Art. VII of the Constitution, but not mentioned in paragraph (14), section
November 3, 1971, and complemented by some documents attached to the 1 of its Bill of Rights — petitioners maintained that Proclamation No. 889 did
not declare the existence of actual "invasion insurrection or rebellion or
Page 15 of 101
imminent danger thereof," and that, consequently, said Proclamation was validity of said proclamations or orders were, in fact, present therein, just as
invalid. This contention was predicated upon the fact that, although the first the opposite view taken in other cases9 had a backdrop permeated or
"whereas" in Proclamation No. 889 stated that "lawless elements" had characterized by the belief that said conditions were absent. Hence, the
"entered into a conspiracy and have in fact joined and banded their forces dictum of Chief Justice Taney to the effect that "(e)very case must depend on
together for the avowed purpose of actually staging, undertaking and waging its own circumstances." 10 One of the important, if not dominant, factors, in
an armed insurrection and rebellion," the actuality so alleged refers to the connection therewith, was intimated in Sterling v. Constantin, 11 in which the
existence, not of an uprising that constitutes the essence of a rebellion or Supreme Court of the United States, speaking through Chief Justice Hughes,
insurrection, but of the conspiracy and the intent to rise in arms. declared that:

Whatever may be the merit of this claim, the same has been rendered moot .... When there is a substantial showing that the exertion of state power has
and academic by Proclamation No. 889-A, issued nine (9) days after the overridden private rights secured by that Constitution, the subject is
promulgation of the original proclamation, or on August 30, 1971. Indeed, said necessarily one for judicial inquiry in an appropriate proceeding directed
Proclamation No. 889-A amended, inter alia, the first "whereas" of the original against the individuals charged with the transgression. To such a case the
proclamation by postulating the said lawless elements "have entered into a Federal judicial power extends
conspiracy and have in fact joined and banded their forces together for the
avowed purpose of staging, undertaking, waging and are actually engaged in (Art. 3, sec. 2) and, so extending, the court has all the authority appropriate to
an armed insurrection and rebellion in order to forcibly seize political power in its exercise. .... 12
this country, overthrow the duly constituted government, and supplant our
existing political, social, economic and legal order with an entirely new one ...." In our resolution of October 5, 1971, We stated that "a majority of the Court"
Moreover, the third "whereas" in the original proclamation was, likewise, had "tentatively arrived at a consensus that it may inquire in order to satisfy
amended by alleging therein that said lawless elements, "by their acts of itself of the existence of the factual bases for the issuance of Presidential
rebellion and insurrection," have created a state of lawlessness and disorder Proclamations Nos. 889 and 889-A ... and thus determine the constitutional
affecting public safety and the security of the State. In other words, apart from sufficiency of such bases in the light of the requirements of Article III, sec. 1,
adverting to the existence of actual conspiracy and of the intent to rise in arms par. 14, and Article VII, sec. 10, par 2, of the Philippine Constitution...." Upon
to overthrow the government, Proclamation No. 889-A asserts that the lawless further deliberation, the members of the Court are now unanimous in the
elements "are actually engaged in an armed insurrection and rebellion" to conviction that it has the authority to inquire into the existence of said factual
accomplish their purpose. bases in order to determine the constitutional sufficiency thereof.

It may not be amiss to note, at this juncture, that the very tenor of the original Indeed, the grant of power to suspend the privilege is neither absolute nor
proclamation and particularly, the circumstances under which it had been unqualified. The authority conferred by the Constitution, both under the Bill of
issued, clearly suggest the intent to aver that there was and is, actually, a Rights and under the Executive Department, is limited and conditional. The
state of rebellion in the Philippines, although the language of said precept in the Bill of Rights establishes a general rule, as well as an exception
proclamation was hardly a felicitous one, it having in effect, stressed the thereto. What is more, it postulates the former in the negative, evidently to
actuality of the intent to rise in arms, rather than of the factual existence of the stress its importance, by providing that "(t)he privilege of the writ of habeas
rebellion itself. The pleadings, the oral arguments and the memoranda of corpus shall not be suspended ...." It is only by way of exception that it permits
respondents herein have consistently and abundantly emphasized — to justify the suspension of the privilege "in cases of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion"
the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus — the acts of — or, under Art VII of the Constitution, "imminent danger thereof" — "when the
violence and subversion committed prior to August 21, 1971, by the lawless public safety requires it, in any of which events the same may be suspended
elements above referred to, and the conditions obtaining at the time of the wherever during such period the necessity for such suspension shall exist." 13
issuance of the original proclamation. In short, We hold that Proclamation No. For from being full and plenary, the authority to suspend the privilege of the
889-A has superseded the original proclamation and that the flaws attributed writ is thus circumscribed, confined and restricted, not only by the prescribed
thereto are purely formal in nature. setting or the conditions essential to its existence, but, also, as regards the
time when and the place where it may be exercised. These factors and the
II aforementioned setting or conditions mark, establish and define the extent, the
confines and the limits of said power, beyond which it does not exist. And, like
Let us now consider the substantive validity of the proclamation, as amended. the limitations and restrictions imposed by the Fundamental Law upon the
Pursuant to the above-quoted provisions of the Constitution, two (2) conditions legislative department, adherence thereto and compliance therewith may,
must concur for the valid exercise of the authority to suspend the privilege to within proper bounds, be inquired into by courts of justice. Otherwise, the
the writ, to wit: (a) there must be "invasion, insurrection, or rebellion" or — explicit constitutional provisions thereon would be meaningless. Surely, the
pursuant to paragraph (2), section 10 of Art. VII of the Constitution — framers of our Constitution could not have intended to engage in such a
"imminent danger thereof," and (b) "public safety" must require the suspension wasteful exercise in futility.
of the privilege. The Presidential Proclamation under consideration declares Much less may the assumption be indulged in when we bear in mind that our
that there has been and there is actually a state of rebellion and that4 "public political system is essentially democratic and republican in character and that
safety requires that immediate and effective action be taken in order to the suspension of the privilege affects the most fundamental element of that
maintain peace and order, secure the safety of the people and preserve the system, namely, individual freedom. Indeed, such freedom includes and
authority of the State." connotes, as well as demands, the right of every single member of our
citizenry to freely discuss and dissent from, as well as criticize and denounce,
Are these findings conclusive upon the Court? Respondents maintain that they the views, the policies and the practices of the government and the party in
are, upon the authority of Barcelon v. Baker5 and Montenegro v. Castañeda.6 power that he deems unwise, improper or inimical to the commonwealth,
Upon the other hand, petitioners press the negative view and urge a regardless of whether his own opinion is objectively correct or not. The
reexamination of the position taken in said two (2) cases, as well as a reversal untrammelled enjoyment and exercise of such right — which, under certain
thereof. conditions, may be a civic duty of the highest order — is vital to the democratic
system and essential to its successful operation and wholesome growth and
The weight of Barcelon v. Baker, as a precedent, is diluted by two (2) factors, development.
namely: (a) it relied heavily upon Martin v. Mott7 involving the U.S. President's
power to call out the militia, which — he being the commander-in-chief of all Manifestly, however, the liberty guaranteed and protected by our Basic Law is
the armed forces — may be exercised to suppress or prevent any lawless one enjoyed and exercised, not in derogation thereof, but consistently
violence, even without invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or imminent danger therewith, and, hence, within the framework of the social order established by
thereof, and is, accordingly, much broader than his authority to suspend the the Constitution and the context of the Rule of Law. Accordingly, when
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, jeopardizing as the latter does individual individual freedom is used to destroy that social order, by means of force and
liberty; and (b) the privilege had been suspended by the American Governor- violence, in defiance of the Rule of Law — such as by rising publicly and
General, whose act, as representative of the Sovereign, affecting the freedom taking arms against the government to overthrow the same, thereby
of its subjects, can hardly be equated with that of the President of the committing the crime of rebellion — there emerges a circumstance that may
Philippines dealing with the freedom of the Filipino people, in whom warrant a limited withdrawal of the aforementioned guarantee or protection, by
sovereignty resides, and from whom all government authority emanates. The suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, when public safety
pertinent ruling in the Montenegro case was based mainly upon the Barcelon requires it. Although we must be forewarned against mistaking mere dissent
case, and hence, cannot have more weight than the same. Moreover, in the — no matter how emphatic or intemperate it may be — for dissidence
Barcelon case, the Court held that it could go into the question: "Did the amounting to rebellion or insurrection, the Court cannot hesitate, much less
Governor-General" — acting under the authority vested in him by the refuse — when the existence of such rebellion or insurrection has been fairly
Congress of the United States, to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas established or cannot reasonably be denied — to uphold the finding of the
corpus under certain conditions — "act in conformance with such authority?" In Executive thereon, without, in effect, encroaching upon a power vested in him
other words, it did determine whether or not the Chief Executive had acted in by the Supreme Law of the land and depriving him, to this extent, of such
accordance with law. Similarly, in the Montenegro case, the Court held that power, and, therefore, without violating the Constitution and jeopardizing the
petitioner therein had "failed to overcome the presumption of correctness very Rule of Law the Court is called upon to epitomize.
which the judiciary accords to acts of the Executive ...." In short, the Court
considered the question whether or not there really was are rebellion, as As heretofore adverted to, for the valid suspension of the privilege of the writ:
stated in the proclamation therein contested. (a) there must be "invasion, insurrection or rebellion" or — pursuant to
paragraph (2), section 10 of Art. VII of the Constitution — "imminent danger
Incidentally, even the American jurisprudence is neither explicit nor clear on thereof"; and (b) public safety must require the aforementioned suspension.
the point under consideration. Although some cases8 purport to deny the The President declared in Proclamation No. 889, as amended, that both
judicial power to "review" the findings made in the proclamations assailed in conditions are present.
said cases, the tenor of the opinions therein given, considered as a whole,
strongly suggests the court's conviction that the conditions essential for the
Page 16 of 101
As regards the first condition, our jurisprudence 14 attests abundantly to the We entertain, therefore, no doubts about the existence of a sizeable group of
Communist activities in the Philippines, especially in Manila, from the late men who have publicly risen in arms to overthrow the government and have
twenties to the early thirties, then aimed principally at incitement to sedition or thus been and still are engaged in rebellion against the Government of the
rebellion, as the immediate objective. Upon the establishment of the Philippines.
Commonwealth of the Philippines, the movement seemed to have waned
notably; but, the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific and the miseries, the In fact, the thrust of petitioners' argument is that the New People's Army
devastation and havoc, and the proliferation of unlicensed firearms proper is too small, compared with the size of the armed forces of the
concomitant with the military occupation of the Philippines and its subsequent Government, that the Communist rebellion or insurrection cannot so endanger
liberation, brought about, in the late forties, a resurgence of the Communist public safety as to require the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas
threat, with such vigor as to be able to organize and operate in Central Luzon corpus. This argument does not negate, however, the existence of a rebellion,
an army — called HUKBALAHAP, during the occupation, and renamed which, from the constitutional and statutory viewpoint, need not be widespread
Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (HMP) after liberation — which clashed or attain the magnitude of a civil war. This is apparent from the very provision
several times with the armed forces of the Republic. This prompted then of the Revised Penal Code defining the crime of rebellion, 20 which may be
President Quirino to issue Proclamation No. 210, dated October 22, 1950, limited in its scope to "any part" of the Philippines, and, also, from paragraph
suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the validity of which was (14) of section 1, Article III of the Constitution, authorizing the suspension of
upheld in Montenegro v. Castañeda. 15 Days before the promulgation of said the privilege of the writ "wherever" — in case of rebellion — "the necessity for
Proclamation, or on October 18, 1950, members of the Communist Politburo in such suspension shall exist." In fact, the case of Barcelon v. Baker referred to
the Philippines were apprehended in Manila. Subsequently accused and a proclamation suspending the privilege in the provinces of Cavite and
convicted of the crime of rebellion, they served their respective sentences. 16 Batangas only. The case of In re Boyle 21 involved a valid proclamation
suspending the privilege in a smaller area — a country of the state of Idaho.
The fifties saw a comparative lull in Communist activities, insofar as peace and
order were concerned. Still, on June 20, 1957, Rep. Act No. 1700, otherwise The magnitude of the rebellion has a bearing on the second condition
known as the Anti-Subversion Act, was approved, upon the ground — stated essential to the validity of the suspension of the privilege — namely, that the
in the very preamble of said statute — that. suspension be required by public safety. Before delving, however, into the
factual bases of the presidential findings thereon, let us consider the precise
... the Communist Party of the Philippines, although purportedly a political nature of the Court's function in passing upon the validity of Proclamation No.
party, is in fact an organized conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the 889, as amended.
Republic of the Philippines, not only by force and violence but also by deceit,
subversion and other illegal means, for the purpose of establishing in the Article VII of the Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the
Philippines a totalitarian regime subject to alien domination and control; privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to
the principle of separation of powers underlying our system of government, the
... the continued existence and activities of the Communist Party of the Executive is supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of
Philippines constitutes a clear, present and grave danger to the security of the powers, under the Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand in
Philippines; 17 and 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
... in the face of the organized, systematic and persistent subversion, national acts within the sphere allotted to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to
in scope but international in direction, posed by the Communist Party of the determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the Judicial Department,
Philippines and its activities, there is urgent need for special legislation to cope which, in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme.
with this continuing menace to the freedom and security of the country....
In the exercise of such authority, the function of the Court is merely to check
In the language of the Report on Central Luzon, submitted, on September 4, — not to supplant 22 — the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he had
1971, by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee of Seven — copy of which Report was gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the
filed in these cases by the petitioners herein — power vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his act. To be sure, the
power of the Court to determine the validity of the contested proclamation is
The years following 1963 saw the successive emergence in the country of far from being identical to, or even comparable with, its power over ordinary
several mass organizations, notably the Lapiang Manggagawa (now the civil or criminal cases elevated thereto by ordinary appeal from inferior courts,
Socialist Party of the Philippines) among the workers; the Malayang Samahan in which cases the appellate court has all of the powers of the court of origin.
ng mga Magsasaka (MASAKA) among the peasantry; the Kabataang
Makabayan (KM) among the youth/students; and the Movement for the Under the principle of separation of powers and the system of checks and
Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) among the intellectuals/professionals. The balances, the judicial authority to review decisions of administrative bodies or
PKP has exerted all-out effort to infiltrate, influence and utilize these agencies is much more limited, as regards findings of fact made in said
organizations in promoting its radical brand of nationalism. decisions. Under the English law, the reviewing court determines only whether
there is some evidentiary basis for the contested administrative findings; no
Meanwhile, the Communist leaders in the Philippines had been split into two quantitative examination of the supporting evidence is undertaken. The
(2) groups, one of which — composed mainly of young radicals, constituting administrative findings can be interfered with only if there is no evidence
the Maoist faction — reorganized the Communist Party of the Philippines early whatsoever in support thereof, and said finding is, accordingly, arbitrary,
in 1969 and established a New People's Army. This faction adheres to the capricious and obviously unauthorized. This view has been adopted by some
Maoist concept of the "Protracted People's War" or "War of National American courts. It has, likewise, been adhered to in a number of Philippine
Liberation." Its "Programme for a People's Democratic Revolution" states, inter cases. Other cases, in both jurisdictions, have applied the "substantial
alia: evidence" rule, which has been construed to mean "more than a mere scintilla"
or "relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
The Communist Party of the Philippines is determined to implement its general support a conclusion," 23 even if other minds equally reasonable might
programme for a people's democratic revolution. All Filipino communists are conceivably opine otherwise.
ready to sacrifice their lives for the worthy cause of achieving the new type of
democracy, of building a new Philippines that is genuinely and completely Manifestly, however, this approach refers to the review of administrative
independent, democratic, united, just and prosperous ... determinations involving the exercise of quasi-judicial functions calling for or
entailing the reception of evidence. It does not and cannot be applied, in its
xxx xxx xxx aforesaid form, in testing the validity of an act of Congress or of the Executive,
such as the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, for, as a
The central task of any revolutionary movement is to seize political power. The general rule, neither body takes evidence — in the sense in which the term is
Communist Party of the Philippines assumes this task at a time that both the used in judicial proceedings — before enacting a legislation or suspending the
international and national situations are favorable of asking the road of armed writ. Referring to the test of the validity of a statute, the Supreme Court of the
revolution ... 19 United States, speaking through Mr. Justice Roberts, expressed, in the leading
case of Nebbia v. New York, 24 the view that:
In the year 1969, the NPA had — according to the records of the Department
of National Defense — conducted raids, resorted to kidnappings and taken ... If the laws passed are seen to have a reasonable relation to a proper
part in other violent incidents numbering over 230, in which it inflicted 404 legislative purpose, and are neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the
casualties, and, in turn, suffered 243 losses. In 1970, its records of violent requirements of due process are satisfied, and judicial determination to that
incidents was about the same, but the NPA casualties more than doubled. effect renders a court functus officio ... With the wisdom of the policy adopted,
with the adequacy or practically of the law enacted to forward it, the courts are
At any rate, two (2) facts are undeniable: (a) all Communists, whether they both incompetent and unauthorized to deal ...
belong to the traditional group or to the Maoist faction, believe that force and
violence are indispensable to the attainment of their main and ultimate Relying upon this view, it is urged by the Solicitor General —
objective, and act in accordance with such belief, although they may disagree
on the means to be used at a given time and in a particular place; and (b) ... that judicial inquiry into the basis of the questioned proclamation can go no
there is a New People's Army, other, of course, that the arm forces of the further than to satisfy the Court not that the President's decision is correct and
Republic and antagonistic thereto. Such New People's Army is per se proof of that public safety was endanger by the rebellion and justified the suspension
the existence of a rebellion, especially considering that its establishment was of the writ, but that in suspending the writ, the President did not act arbitrarily.
announced publicly by the reorganized CPP. Such announcement is in the
nature of a public challenge to the duly constituted authorities and may be No cogent reason has been submitted to warrant the rejection of such test.
likened to a declaration of war, sufficient to establish a war status or a Indeed, the co-equality of coordinate branches of the Government, under our
condition of belligerency, even before the actual commencement of hostilities. constitutional system, seems to demand that the test of the validity of acts of
Congress and of those of the Executive be, mutatis mutandis, fundamentally
Page 17 of 101
the same. Hence, counsel for petitioner Rogelio Arienda admits that the proper Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), the Samahang Molave (SM) and the
standard is not correctness, but arbitrariness. Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino(MPKP); that, as of August, 1971,
the KM had two hundred forty-five (245) operational chapters throughout the
Did public safety require the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas Philippines, of which seventy-three (73) were in the Greater Manila Area, sixty
corpus decreed in Proclamation No. 889, as amended? Petitioners submit a (60) in Northern Luzon, forty-nine (49) in Central Luzon, forty-two (42) in the
negative answer upon the ground: (a) that there is no rebellion; (b) that, prior Visayas and twenty-one (21) in Mindanao and Sulu; that in 1970, the Party
to and at the time of the suspension of the privilege, the Government was had recorded two hundred fifty-eight (258) major demonstrations, of which
functioning normally, as were the courts; (c) that no untoward incident, about thirty-three (33) ended in violence, resulting in fifteen (15) killed and
confirmatory of an alleged July-August Plan, has actually taken place after over five hundred (500) injured; that most of these actions were organized,
August 21, 1971; (d) that the President's alleged apprehension, because of coordinated or led by the aforementioned front organizations; that the violent
said plan, is non-existent and unjustified; and (e) that the Communist forces in demonstrations were generally instigated by a small, but well-trained group of
the Philippines are too small and weak to jeopardize public safety to such armed agitators; that the number of demonstrations heretofore staged in 1971
extent as to require the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas has already exceeded those of 1970; and that twenty-four (24) of these
corpus. demonstrations were violent, and resulted in the death of fifteen (15) persons
and the injury of many more.
As above indicated, however, the existence of a rebellion is obvious, so much
so that counsel for several petitioners herein have admitted it. Subsequent events — as reported — have also proven that petitioners'
counsel have underestimated the threat to public safety posed by the New
With respect to the normal operation of government, including courts, prior to People's Army. Indeed, it appears that, since August 21, 1971, it had in
and at the time of the suspension of the privilege, suffice it to say that, if the Northern Luzon six (6) encounters and staged one (1) raid, in consequence of
conditions were such that courts of justice no longer functioned, a suspension which seven (7) soldiers lost their lives and two (2)others were wounded,
of the privilege would have been unnecessary, there being no courts to issue whereas the insurgents suffered five (5) casualties; that on August 26, 1971, a
the writ of habeas corpus. Indeed, petitioners' reference to the normal well-armed group of NPA, trained by defector Lt. Victor Corpus, attacked the
operation of courts as a factor indicative of the illegality of the contested act of very command port of TF LAWIN in Isabela, destroying two (2) helicopters and
the Executive stems, perhaps, from the fact that this circumstance was one (1) plane, and wounding one (1) soldier; that the NPA had in Central
adverted to in some American cases to justify the invalidation therein decreed Luzon a total of four (4) encounters, with two (2) killed and three (3) wounded
of said act of the Executive. Said cases involved, however, the conviction by on the side of the Government, one (1) BSDU killed and three (3) NPA
military courts of members of the civilian population charged with common casualties; that in an encounter at Botolan, Zambales, one (1) KM-SDK leader,
crimes. It was manifestly, illegal for military courts to assume jurisdiction over an unidentified dissident, and Commander Panchito, leader of the dissident
civilians so charged, when civil courts were functioning normally. group were killed; that on August 26, 1971, there was an encounter in the
barrio of San Pedro. Iriga City, Camarines Sur, between the PC and the NPA,
Then, too, the alleged absence of any untoward incident after August 21, in which a PC and two (2) KM members were killed; that the current
1971, does not necessarily bear out petitioners' view. What is more, it may disturbances in Cotabato and the Lanao provinces have been rendered more
have been due precisely to the suspension of the privilege. To be sure, one of complex by the involvement of the CPP/NPA, for, in mid-1971, a KM group,
its logical effects is to compel those connected with the insurrection or headed by Jovencio Esparagoza, contacted the Higa-onan tribes, in their
rebellion to go into hiding. In fact, most of them could not be located by the settlement in Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental, and offered them books,
authorities, after August 21, 1971. pamphlets and brochures of Mao Tse Tung, as well as conducted teach-ins in
the reservation; that Esparagoza an operation of the PC in said reservation;
The alleged July-August Plan to terrorize Manila is branded as incredible, and that there are now two (2) NPA cadres in Mindanao.
upon the theory that, according to Professor Egbal Ahman of Cornell
University, "guerrilla use of terror ... is sociological and psychologically It should, also, be noted that adherents of the CPP and its front organizations
selective," and that the indiscriminate resort to terrorism is bound to are, according to intelligence findings, definitely capable of preparing powerful
boomerang, for it tends to alienate the people's symphaty and to deprive the explosives out of locally available materials; that the bomb used in the
dissidents of much needed mass support. The fact, however, is that the Constitutional Convention Hall was a "clay-more" mine, a powerful explosive
violence used is some demonstrations held in Manila in 1970 and 1971 tended device used by the U.S. Army, believed to have been one of many pilfered
to terrorize the bulk of its inhabitants. It would have been highly imprudent, from the Subic Naval Base a few days before; that the President had received
therefore, for the Executive to discard the possibility of a resort to terrorism, on intelligence information to the effect that there was a July-August Plan
a much bigger scale, under the July-August Plan. involving a wave of assassinations, kidnappings, terrorism and mass
destruction of property and that an extraordinary occurence would signal the
We will now address our attention to petitioners' theory to the effect that the beginning of said event; that the rather serious condition of peace and order in
New People's Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines is too small to Mindanao, particularly in Cotabato and Lanao, demanded the presence
pose a danger to public safety of such magnitude as to require the suspension therein of forces sufficient to cope with the situation; that a sizeable part of our
of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The flaw in petitioners' stand armed forces discharge other functions; and that the expansion of the CPP
becomes apparent when we consider that it assumes that the Armed Forces activities from Central Luzon to other parts of the country, particularly Manila
of the Philippines have no other task than to fight the New People's Army, and and its suburbs, the Cagayan Valley, Ifugao, Zambales, Laguna, Quezon and
that the latter is the only threat — and a minor one — to our security. Such Bicol Region, required that the rest of our armed forces be spread thin over a
assumption is manifestly erroneous. wide area.

The records before Us show that, on or before August 21, 1971, the Executive Considering that the President was in possession of the above data — except
had information and reports — subsequently confirmed, in many respects, by those related to events that happened after August 21, 1971 — when the
the abovementioned Report of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee of Seven 25 — Plaza Miranda bombing took place, the Court is not prepared to hold that the
to the effect that the Communist Party of the Philippines does not merely Executive had acted arbitrarily or gravely abused his discretion when he then
adhere to Lenin's idea of a swift armed uprising; that it has, also, adopted Ho concluded that public safety and national security required the suspension of
Chi Minh's terrorist tactics and resorted to the assassination of uncooperative the privilege of the writ, particularly if the NPA were to strike simultaneously
local official; that, in line with this policy, the insurgents have killed 5 mayors, with violent demonstrations staged by the two hundred forty-five (245) KM
20 barrio captains and 3 chiefs of police; that there were fourteen (14) chapters, all over the Philippines, with the assistance and cooperation of the
meaningful bombing incidents in the Greater Manila Area in 1970; that the dozens of CPP front organizations, and the bombing or water mains and
Constitutional Convention Hall was bombed on June 12, 1971; that, soon after conduits, as well as electric power plants and installations — a possibility
the Plaza Miranda incident, the NAWASA main pipe, at the Quezon City-San which, no matter how remote, he was bound to forestall, and a danger he was
Juan boundary, was bombed; that this was followed closely by the bombing of under obligation to anticipate and arrest.
the Manila City Hall, the COMELEC building, the Congress Building and the
MERALCO substation at Cubao, Quezon City; and that the respective He had consulted his advisers and sought their views. He had reason to feel
residences of Senator Jose J. Roy and Congressman Eduardo Cojuangco that the situation was critical — as, indeed, it was — and demanded
were, likewise, bombed, as were the MERALCO main office premises, along immediate action. This he took believing in good faith that public safety
Ortigas Avenue, and the Doctor's Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Building, in Caloocan required it. And, in the light of the circumstances adverted to above, he had
City. substantial grounds to entertain such belief.

Petitioners, similarly, fail to take into account that — as per said information Petitioners insist that, nevertheless, the President had no authority to suspend
and reports — the reorganized Communist Party of the Philippines has, the privilege in the entire Philippines, even if he may have been justified in
moreover, adopted Mao's concept of protracted people's war, aimed at the doing so in some provinces or cities thereof. At the time of the issuance of
paralyzation of the will to resist of the government, of the political, economic Proclamation No. 889, he could not be reasonably certain, however, about the
and intellectual leadership, and of the people themselves; that conformably to placed to be excluded from the operation of the proclamation. He needed
such concept, the Party has placed special emphasis upon a most extensive some time to find out how it worked, and as he did so, he caused the
and intensive program of subversion by the establishment of front suspension to be gradually lifted, first, on September 18, 1971, in twenty-
organizations in urban centers, the organization of armed city partisans and seven (27) provinces, three (3) sub-provinces and twenty six (26) cities; then,
the infiltration in student groups, labor unions, and farmer and professional on September 25, 1971, in order fourteen (14) provinces and thirteen (13)
groups; that the CPP has managed to infiltrate or establish and control nine (9) cities; and, still later, on October 4, 1971, in seven (7) additional provinces and
major labor organizations; that it has exploited the youth movement and four (4) cities, or a total of forty-eight (48) provinces, three (3) sub-provinces
succeeded in making Communist fronts of eleven (11) major student or youth and forth-three (43) cities, within a period of forty-five (45) days from August
organizations; that there are, accordingly, about thirty (30) mass organizations 21, 1971.
actively advancing the CPP interests, among which are the Malayang
Samahan ng Magsasaka (MASAKA), the Kabataang Makabayan (KM), the Neither should We overlook the significance of another fact. The President
Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN), the Samahang could have declared a general suspension of the privilege. Instead,
Page 18 of 101
Proclamation No. 889 limited the suspension to persons detained "for crimes force, violence, deceit, subversion and other illegal means, for the purpose of
of insurrection or rebellion, and all other crimes and offenses committed by establishing in the Philippines a communist totalitarian regime subject to alien
them in furtherance or on the occasion thereof, or incident thereto, or in domination and control;
connection therewith." Even this was further limited by Proclamation No. 889-
A, which withdrew from the coverage of the suspension persons detained for That all the above-named accused, as such officers and/or ranking leaders of
other crimes and offenses committed "on the occasion" of the insurrection or the Communist Party of the Philippines conspiring, confederating and mutual
rebellion, or "incident thereto, in or connection therewith." In fact, the helping one another, did then and there knowingly, wilfully, and feloniously and
petitioners in L-33964, L-33982 and L-34004 concede that the President had by overt acts committed subversive acts all intended to overthrow the
acted in good faith. government of the Republic of the Philippines, as follows:

In case of invasion, insurrection or rebellion or imminent danger thereof, the 1. By rising publicly and taking arms against the forces of the
President has, under the Constitution, three (3) courses of action open to him, government, engaging in war against the forces of the government, destroying
namely: (a) to call out the armed forces; (b) to suspend the privilege of the writ property or committing serious violence, exacting contributions or diverting
of habeas corpus; and (c) to place the Philippines or any part thereof under public lands or property from the law purposes for which they have been
martial law. He had, already, called out the armed forces, which measure, appropriated;
however, proved inadequate to attain the desired result. Of the two (2) other
alternatives, the suspension of the privilege is the least harsh. 2. By engaging by subversion thru expansion and requirement
activities not only of the Communist Party of the Philippines but also of the
In view of the foregoing, it does not appear that the President has acted united front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines as the
arbitrary in issuing Proclamation No. 889, as amended, nor that the same is Kabataang Makabayan (KM), Movement for the Democratic Philippines
unconstitutional. (MDP), Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK), Students' Alliance for
National Democracy (STAND), MASAKA Olalia-faction, Student Cultural
III Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP), KASAMA,
Pagkakaisa ng Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (PMP) and many others; thru
The next question for determination is whether petitioners herein are covered agitation promoted by rallies, demonstration and strikes some of them violent
by said Proclamation, as amended. In other words, do petitioners herein in nature, intended to create social discontent, discredit those in power and
belong to the class of persons as to whom privilege of the writ of habeas weaken the people's confidence in the government; thru consistent
corpus has been suspended? propaganda by publications, writing, posters, leaflets of similar means;
speeches, teach-ins, messages, lectures or other similar means; or thru the
In this connection, it appears that Bayani Alcala, one of the petitioners in L- media as the TV, radio or newspapers, all intended to promote the Communist
33964, Gerardo Tomas, petitioner in L-34004, and Reynaldo Rimando, pattern of subversion;
petitioner in L-34013, were, on November 13, 1971, released "permanently" —
meaning, perhaps, without any intention to prosecute them — upon the ground 3. Thru urban guerilla warfare characterized by assassinations,
that, although there was reasonable ground to believe that they had committed bombings, sabotage, kidnapping and arson, intended to advertise the
an offense related to subversion, the evidence against them is insufficient to movement, build up its morale and prestige, discredit and demoralize the
warrant their prosecution; that Teodosio Lansang, one of the petitioners in L- authorities to use harsh and repressive measures, demoralize the people and
33964, Rogelio Arienda, petitioner in L-33965, Nemesio Prudente, petitioner in weaken their confidence in the government and to weaken the will of the
L-33982, Filomeno de Castro and Barcelisa C. de Castro, for whose benefit government to resist.
the petition in L-34039 was filed, and Antolin Oreta, Jr., petitioner in L-34265,
were, on said date, "temporarily released"; that Rodolfo del Rosario, one of the That the following aggravating circumstances attended the commission of the
petitioners in L-33964, Victor Felipe, an intervenor in L-33964, L-33965 and L- offense:
33973, as well as Luzvimindo David, petitioner in L-33973, and Gary Olivar,
petitioner in L-34339, are still under detention and, hence, deprived of their a. That the offense was committed in contempt of and with insult to
liberty, they — together with over forty (40) other persons, who are at large — the public authorities;
having been accused, in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, of a violation of
section 4 of Republic Act No. 1700 (Anti-Subversion Act); and that Angelo b. That some of the overt acts were committed in the Palace of the
delos Reyes and Teresito Sison, intervenors in said L-33964, L-33965 and L- Chief Executive;
33973, are, likewise, still detained and have been charged — together with
over fifteen (15) other persons, who are, also, at large — with another violation c. That craft, fraud, or disguise was employed;
of said Act, in a criminal complaint filed with the City Fiscal's Office of Quezon
City. d. That the offense was committed with the aid of armed men;

With respect to Vicente Ilao and Juan Carandang — petitioners in L-33965 — e. That the offense was committed with the aid of persons under
who were released as early as August 31, 1971, as well as to petitioners fifteen (15) years old.
Nemesio Prudente, Teodosio Lansang, Rogelio Arienda, Antolin Oreta, Jr.,
Filomeno de Castro, Barcelisa C. de Castro, Reynaldo Rimando, Gerardo Identical allegations are made in the complaint filed with the City Fiscal of
Tomas and Bayani Alcala, who were released on November 13, 1971, and are Quezon City, except that the second paragraph thereof is slightly more
no longer deprived of their liberty, their respective petitions have, thereby, elaborate than that of the complaint filed with the CFI, although substantially
become moot and academic, as far as their prayer for release is concerned, the same. 26
and should, accordingly, be dismissed, despite the opposition thereto of
counsel for Nemesio Prudente and Gerardo Tomas who maintain that, as long In both complaints, the acts imputed to the defendants herein constitute
as the privilege of the writ remains suspended, these petitioners might be rebellion and subversion, of — in the language of the proclamation — "other
arrested and detained again, without just cause, and that, accordingly, the overt acts committed ... in furtherance" of said rebellion, both of which are
issue raised in their respective petitions is not moot. In any event, the common covered by the proclamation suspending the privilege of the writ. It is clear,
constitutional and legal issues raised in these cases have, in fact, been therefore, that the crime for which the detained petitioners are held and
decided in this joint decision. deprived of their liberty are among those for which the privilege of the writ of
habeas corpus has been suspended.
Must we order the release of Rodolfo del Rosario, one of the petitioner‘s in L-
33964, Angelo de los Reyes, Victor Felipe and Teresito Sison, intervenors in Up to this point, the Members of the Court are unanimous on the legal
L-33964, L-33965 and L-33973, Luzvimindo David, petitioner in L-33973, and principles enunciated.
Gary Olivar, petitioner in L-34339, who are still detained? The suspension of
the privilege of the writ was decreed by Proclamation No. 889, as amended, After finding that Proclamation No. 889, as amended, is not invalid and that
for persons detained "for the crimes of insurrection or rebellion and other overt petitioners Luzvimindo David, Victor Felipe, Gary Olivar, Angelo de los Reyes,
acts committed by them in furtherance thereof." Rodolfo del Rosario and Teresito Sison are detained for and actually accused
of an offense for which the privilege of the writ has been suspended by said
The records shows that petitioners Luzvimindo David, Rodolfo del Rosario, proclamation, our next step would have been the following: The Court, or a
Victor Felipe, Angelo de los Reyes, Teresito Sison and Gary Olivar are commissioner designated by it, would have received evidence on whether —
accused in Criminal Case No. Q-1623 of the Court of First Instance of Rizal as stated in respondents' "Answer and Return" — said petitioners had been
with a violation of the Anti-Subversion Act and that the similar charge against apprehended and detained "on reasonable belief" that they had "participated
petitioners Angelo de los Reyes and Teresito Sison in a criminal complaint, in the crime of insurrection or rebellion."
originally filed with the City Fiscal of Quezon City, has, also, been filed with
said court. Do the offenses so charged constitute one of the crimes or overt It is so happened, however, that on November 13, 1971 — or two (2) days
acts mentioned in Proclamation No. 889, as amended? before the proceedings relative to the briefing held on October 28 and 29,
1971, had been completed by the filing 27 of the summary of the matters then
In the complaint in said Criminal Case No. 1623, it is alleged: taken up — the aforementioned criminal complaints were filed against said
petitioners. What is more, the preliminary examination and/or investigation of
That in or about the year 1968 and for sometime prior thereto and thereafter the charges contained in said complaints has already begun. The next
up to and including August 21, 1971, in the city of Quezon, Philippines, and question, therefore, is: Shall We now order, in the cases at hand, the release
elsewhere in the Philippines, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the of said petitioners herein, despite the formal and substantial validity of the
above-named accused knowingly, wilfully and by overt acts became officers proclamation suspending the privilege, despite the fact that they are actually
and/or ranking leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines, a subversive charged with offenses covered by said proclamation and despite the
association as defined by Republic Act No. 1700, which is an organized aforementioned criminal complaints against them and the preliminary
conspiracy to overthrow the government of the Republic of the Philippines by examination and/or investigations being conducted therein?
Page 19 of 101
Rodolfo del Rosario and Teresito Sison, and to issue the corresponding
The Members of the Court, with the exception of Mr. Justice Fernando, are of warrants of arrest, if probable cause is found to exist against them, or,
the opinion, and, so hold, that, instead of this Court or its Commissioner taking otherwise, to order their release; and
the evidence adverted to above, it is best to let said preliminary examination
and/or investigation to be completed, so that petitioners' released could be 4. Should there be undue delay, for any reason whatsoever, either in
ordered by the court of first instance, should it find that there is no probable the completion of the aforementioned preliminary examination and/or
cause against them, or a warrant for their arrest could be issued, should a investigation, or in the issuance of the proper orders or resolution in
probable cause be established against them. Such course of action is more connection therewith, the parties may by motion seek in these proceedings the
favorable to the petitioners, inasmuch as the preliminary examination or proper relief.
investigation requires a greater quantum of proof than that needed to establish
that the Executive had not acted arbitrary in causing the petitioners to be 5. Without special pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.
apprehended and detained upon the ground that they had participated in the
commission of the crime of insurrection or rebellion. And, it is mainly for the Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Teehankee, Barredo, Villamor and
reason that the Court has opted to allow the Court of First Instance of Rizal to Makasiar, JJ., concur.
proceed with the determination of the existence of probable cause, although
ordinarily the Court would have merely determined the existence of the
substantial evidence of petitioners' connection with the crime of rebellion.
Besides, the latter alternative would require the reception of evidence by this Republic of the Philippines
Court and thus duplicate the proceedings now taking place in the court of first SUPREME COURT
instance. What is more, since the evidence involved in the same proceedings Manila
would be substantially the same and the presentation of such evidence cannot
be made simultaneously, each proceeding would tend to delay the other. EN BANC

Mr. Justice Fernando is of the opinion — in line with the view of Mr. Justice G.R. No. L-30026 January 30, 1971
Tuason, in Nava v. Gatmaitan, 28 to the effect that "... if and when formal
complaint is presented, the court steps in and the executive steps out. The MARIO GUMABON, BLAS BAGOLBAGOL, GAUDENCIO AGAPITO,
detention ceases to be an executive and becomes a judicial concern ..." — EPIFANIO PADUA and PATERNO PALMARES, petitioners,
that the filing of the above-mentioned complaint against the six (6) detained vs.
petitioners herein, has the effect of the Executive giving up his authority to THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF PRISONS, respondent.
continue holding them pursuant to Proclamation No. 889, as amended, even if
he did not so intend, and to place them fully under the authority of courts of FERNANDO, J.:
justice, just like any other person, who, as such, cannot be deprived of his
liberty without lawful warrant, which has not, as yet, been issued against Habeas corpus, the great writ of liberty, is relied upon by petitioners, five in
anyone of them, and that, accordingly, We should order their immediate number, for their release from imprisonment. Meted out life terms for the
release. Despite the humanitarian and libertarian spirit with which this view complex crime of rebellion with murder and other crimes, they would invoke
had been espoused, the other Members of the Court are unable to accept it the People v. Hernandez1 doctrine, negating the existence of such an offense,
because: a ruling that unfortunately for them was not handed down until after their
convictions had become final. Nor is this the first instance, a proceeding of this
(a) If the proclamation suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas character was instituted, as in Pomeroy v. Director of Prisons,2 likewise a
corpus is valid — and We so hold it to be — and the detainee is covered by petition for habeas corpus, a similar question was presented. The answer
the proclamation, the filing of a complaint or information against him does not given was in the negative. Petitioners plead for a new look on the matter. They
affect the suspension of said privilege, and, consequently, his release may not would premise their stand on the denial of equal protection if their plea would
be ordered by Us; not be granted. Moreover, they did invoke the codal provision that judicial
decisions shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines,3 necessarily
(b) Inasmuch as the filing of a formal complaint or information does resulting in the conclusion that the Hernandez decision once promulgated calls
not detract from the validity and efficacy of the suspension of the privilege, it for a retroactive effect under the explicit mandate of the Revised Penal Code
would be more reasonable to construe the filing of said formal charges with as to penal laws having such character even if at the time of their application a
the court of first instance as an expression of the President's belief that there final sentence has been rendered "and the convict is serving the same."4
are sufficient evidence to convict the petitioners so charged and that hey These arguments carry considerable persuasion. Accordingly, we find for
should not be released, therefore, unless and until said court — after petitioners, without going so far as to overrule Pomeroy.
conducting the corresponding preliminary examination and/or investigation —
shall find that the prosecution has not established the existence of a probable Petitioner Mario Gumabon, after pleading guilty, was sentenced on May 5,
cause. Otherwise, the Executive would have released said accused, as were 1953 to suffer reclusion perpetua for the complex crime of rebellion with
the other petitioners herein; multiple murder, robbery, arson and kidnapping. Petitioners Gaudencio
Agapito, Paterno Palmares and Epifanio Padua, likewise pleaded guilty to the
(c) From a long-range viewpoint, this interpretation — of the act of the complex crime of rebellion with multiple murder and other offenses, and were
President in having said formal charges filed — is, We believe, more beneficial similarly made to suffer the same penalty in decisions rendered, as to the first
to the detainees than that favored by Mr. Justice Fernando. His view — two, on March 8, 1954 and, as to the third, on December 15, 1955. The last
particularly the theory that the detainees should be released immediately, petitioner, Blas Bagolbagol, stood trial also for the complex crime of rebellion
without bail, even before the completion of said preliminary examination and/or with multiple murder and other offenses and on January 12, 1954 penalized
investigation — would tend to induce the Executive to refrain from filing formal with reclusion perpetua. Each of the petitioners has been since then
charges as long as it may be possible. Manifestly, We should encourage the imprisoned by virtue of the above convictions. Each of them has served more
early filing of said charges, so that courts of justice could assume jurisdiction than 13 years.5
over the detainees and extend to them effective protection.
Subsequently, in People v. Hernandez,6 as above noted, this Court ruled that
Although some of the petitioners in these cases pray that the Court decide the information against the accused in that case for rebellion complexed with
whether the constitutional right to bail is affected by the suspension of the murder, arson and robbery was not warranted under Article 134 of the Revised
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, We do not deem it proper to pass upon Penal Code, there being no such complex offense.7 In the recently-decided
such question, the same not having been sufficiently discussed by the parties case of People vs. Lava,8 we expressly reaffirmed the ruling in the Hernandez
herein. Besides, there is no point in settling said question with respect to case rejecting the plea of the Solicitor General for the abandonment of such
petitioners herein who have been released. Neither is necessary to express doctrine. It is the contention of each of the petitioners that he has served, in
our view thereon, as regards those still detained, inasmuch as their release the light of the above, more than the maximum penalty that could have been
without bail might still be decreed by the court of first instance, should it hold imposed upon him. He is thus entitled to freedom, his continued detention
that there is no probable cause against them. At any rate, should an actual being illegal.9
issue on the right to bail arise later, the same may be brought up in
appropriate proceedings. The fear that the Pomeroy ruling stands as an obstacle to their release on a
habeas corpus proceeding prompted petitioners, as had been mentioned, to
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: ask that it be appraised anew and, if necessary, discarded. We can resolve
the present petition without doing so. The plea there made was unconvincing,
1. Declaring that the President did not act arbitrarily in issuing there being a failure to invoke the contentions now pressed vigorously by their
Proclamation No. 889, as amended, and that, accordingly, the same is not counsel, Attorney Jose W. Diokno, as to the existence of a denial of a
unconstitutional; constitutional right that would suffice to raise a serious jurisdictional question
and the retroactive effect to be given a judicial decision favorable to one
2. Dismissing the petitions in L-33964, L-33965, L-33982, L-34004, L- already sentenced to a final judgment under Art. 22 of the Revised Penal
34013, L-34039 and L-34265, insofar as petitioners Teodosio Lansang, Bayani Code. To repeat, these two grounds carry weight. We have to grant this
Alcala, Rogelio Arienda, Vicentellao, Juan Carandang, Nemesio E. Prudente, petition.
Gerardo Tomas, Reynaldo Rimando, Filomeno M. de Castro, Barcelisa C. de
Castro and Antolin Oreta, Jr. are concerned; 1. The fundamental issue, to repeat, is the availability of the writ of
habeas corpus under the circumstances disclosed. Its latitudinarian scope to
3. The Court of First Instance of Rizal is hereby directed to act with assure that illegality of restraint and detention be avoided is one of the truisms
utmost dispatch in conducting the preliminary examination and/or investigation of the law. It is not known as the writ of liberty for nothing. The writ imposes on
of the charges for violation of the Anti-Subversion Act filed against herein judges the grave responsibility of ascertaining whether there is any legal
petitioners Luzvimindo David, Victor Felipe, Gary Olivar, Angelo de los Reyes, justification for a deprivation of physical freedom. Unless there be such a
Page 20 of 101
showing, the confinement must thereby cease. If there be a valid sentence it 3. Petitioners precisely assert a deprivation of a constitutional right,
cannot, even for a moment, be extended beyond the period provided for by namely, the denial of equal protection. According to their petition: "In the case
law. Any deviation from the legal norms call for the termination of the at bar, the petitioners were convicted by Courts of First Instance for the very
imprisonment. same rebellion for which Hernandez, Geronimo, and others were convicted.
The law under which they were convicted is the very same law under which
Rightly then could Chafee refer to the writ as "the most important human rights the latter were convicted. It had not and has not been changed. For the same
provision" in the fundamental law. 10 Nor is such praise unique. Cooley spoke crime, committed under the same law, how can we, in conscience, allow
of it as "one of the principal safeguards to personal liberty." 11 For Willoughby, petitioners to suffer life imprisonment, while others can suffer only prision
it is "the greatest of the safeguards erected by the civil law against arbitrary mayor?" 35
and illegal imprisonment by whomsoever detention may be exercised or
ordered." 12 Burdick echoed a similar sentiment, referring to it as "one of the They would thus stress that, contrary to the mandate of equal protection,
most important bulwarks of liberty." 13 Fraenkel made it unanimous, for to him, people similarly situated were not similarly dealt with. What is required under
"without it much else would be of no avail." 14 Thereby the rule of law is this required constitutional guarantee is the uniform operation of legal norms
assured. so that all persons under similar circumstances would be accorded the same
treatment both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed. As was
A full awareness of the potentialities of the writ of habeas corpus in the noted in a recent decision: "Favoritism and undue preference cannot be
defense of liberty coupled with its limitations may be detected in the opinions allowed. For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to
of former Chief Justices Arellano, 15 Avanceña, 16 Abad Santos, 17 Paras, 18 every person under circumstances, which if not identical are analogous. If law
Bengzon, 19 and the present Chief Justice. 20 It fell to Justice Malcolm's lot, be looked upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall within a class
however to emphasize quite a few times the breadth of its amplitude and of its should be treated in the same fashion, whatever restrictions cast on some in
reach. In Villavicencio v. Lukban, 21 the remedy came in handy to challenge the group equally binding on the rest." 36
the validity of the order of the then respondent Mayor of Manila who, for the
best of reasons but without legal justification, ordered the transportation of The argument of petitioners thus possesses a persuasive ring. The continued
more than 150 inmates of houses of ill-repute to Davao. After referring to the incarceration after the twelve-year period when such is the maximum length of
writ of habeas corpus as having been devised and existing "as a speedy and imprisonment in accordance with our controlling doctrine, when others similarly
effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint" the opinion of convicted have been freed, is fraught with implications at war with equal
Justice Malcolm continued: "The essential object and purpose of the writ of protection. That is not to give it life. On the contrary, it would render it
habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as nugatory. Otherwise, what would happen is that for an identical offense, the
distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint only distinction lying in the finality of the conviction of one being before the
is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient." 22 Hernandez ruling and the other after, a person duly sentenced for the same
crime would be made to suffer different penalties. Moreover, as noted in the
The liberality with which the judiciary is to construe habeas corpus petitions petition before us, after our ruling in People v. Lava, petitioners who were
even if presented in pleadings on their face devoid of merit was demonstrated mere followers would be made to languish in jail for perhaps the rest of their
in Ganaway v. Quilen, 23 where this Court, again through Justice Malcolm, natural lives when the leaders had been duly considered as having paid their
stated: "As standing alone the petition for habeas corpus was fatally defective penalty to society, and freed. Such a deplorable result is to be avoided.
in its allegations, this court, on its motion, ordered before it the record of the
lower court in the case entitled Thomas Casey, et al. v. George Ganaway." 24 4. Petitioners likewise, as was made mention at the outset, would rely
It is to Justice Malcolm likewise in Conde v. Rivera, 25 to whom is traceable on Article 22 of the Revised Penal Code which requires that penal judgment
the doctrine, one that broadens the field of the operation of the writ, that a be given a retroactive effect. In support of their contention, petitioners cite U.S.
disregard of the constitutional right to speedy trial ousts the court of jurisdiction v. Macasaet, 37 U.S. vs. Parrone, 38 U.S. v. Almencion, 39 People v. Moran,
and entitles the accused if "restrained of his liberty, by habeas corpus to obtain 40 and People v. Parel. 41 While reference in the above provision is made not
his to judicial decisions but to legislative acts, petitioners entertain the view that it
freedom." 26 would be merely an exaltation of the literal to deny its application to a case like
the present. Such a belief has a firmer foundation. As was previously noted,
So it is in the United States. An 1830 decision 27 of Chief Justice Marshall put the Civil Code provides that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the
the matter thus: "The writ of habeas corpus is a high prerogative writ, known to Constitution, as well as legislation, form part of our legal system. Petitioners
the common law, the great object of which is the liberation of those who may would even find support in the well-known dictum of Bishop Hoadley:
be imprisoned without sufficient cause." Then there is this affirmation from an
1869 decision 28 of the then Chief Justice Chase: "The great writ of habeas "Whoever hath an absolute authority to interpret any written or spoken laws, it
corpus has been for centuries esteemed the best and only sufficient defense is he who is truly the law-giver to all intents and purposes, and not the person
of personal freedom." The passing of the years has only served to confirm its who first thought or spoke them." It is to be admitted that constitutional law
primacy as a weapon on in the cause of liberty. Only the other year, Justice scholars, notably
Fortas spoke for the United States Supreme Court thus: "The writ of habeas Frankfurter, 42 Powell, 43 and Thayer, 44 in discussing judicial review as well
corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom as the jurist John Chipman Gray, were much impressed with the truth and the
against arbitrary and lawless state action. ... The scope and flexibility of the soundness of the above observations. We do not have to go that far though.
writ — its capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention — its ability to cut Enough for present purposes that both the Civil Code and the Revised Penal
through barriers of form and procedural mazes — have always been Code allow, if they do not call for, a retroactive application.
emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers. The very nature
of the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative and flexibility It being undeniable that if the Hernandez ruling were to be given a retroactive
essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced effect petitioners had served the full term for which they could have been
and corrected." 29 Justice Fortas explicitly made reference to Blackstone, who legally committed, is habeas corpus the appropriate remedy? The answer
spoke of it as "the great and efficacious writ, in all manner of illegal cannot be in doubt. As far back as 1910 the prevailing doctrine was
confinement." Implicit in his just estimate of its pre-eminent role is his adoption announced in Cruz v. Director of Prisons. 45 Thus: "The courts uniformly hold
of Holmes' famous dissent in Frank v. Mangum: 30 "But habeas corpus cuts that where a sentence imposes punishment in excess of the power of the court
through all forms and goes to the very tissue of the structure." to impose, such sentence is void as to the excess, and some of the courts
hold that the sentence is void in toto; but the weight of authority sustains the
2. Where, however, the detention complained of finds its origin in proposition that such a sentence is void only as to the excess imposed in case
what has been judicially ordained, the range of inquiry in a habeas corpus the parts are separable, the rule being that the petitioner is not entitled to his
proceeding is considerably narrowed. For if "the person alleged to be discharge on a writ of habeas corpus unless he has served out so much of the
restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by sentence as was valid." 46 There is a reiteration of such a principle in Director
a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and v. Director of Prisons 47 where it was explicitly announced by this Court "that
that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the the only means of giving retroactive effect to a penal provision favorable to the
judgment, or make the order," the writ does not lie. 31 That principle dates accused ... is the writ of habeas corpus." 48 While the above decision speaks
back to 1902, 32 when this Court announced that habeas corpus was of a trial judge losing jurisdiction over the case, insofar as the remedy of
unavailing where the person detained was in the custody of an officer under habeas corpus is concerned, the emphatic affirmation that it is the only means
process issued by a court or magistrate. This is understandable, as during the of benefiting the accused by the retroactive character of a favorable decision
time the Philippines was under American rule, there was necessarily an holds true. Petitioners clearly have thus successfully sustained the burden of
adherence to authoritative doctrines of constitutional law there followed. justifying their release.

One such principle is the requirement that there be a finding of jurisdictional WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is granted, and it is ordered that
defect. As summarized by Justice Bradley in Ex parte Siebold, an 1880 petitioners be forthwith set at liberty.
decision: "The only ground on which this court, or any court, without some
special statute authorizing it, will give relief on habeas corpus to a prisoner Dizon and Zaldivar, JJ., concur. Concepcion, C.J., concurs in the result.
under conviction and sentence of another court is the want of jurisdiction in Castro and Makasiar, JJ., took no part.
such court over the person or the cause, or some other matter rendering its
proceedings void." 33

There is the fundamental exception though, that must ever be kept in mind. Republic of the Philippines
Once a deprivation of a constitutional right is shown to exist, the court that SUPREME COURT
rendered the judgment is deemed ousted of jurisdiction and habeas corpus is Manila
the appropriate remedy to assail the legality of the detention. 34
EN BANC

Page 21 of 101
G.R. No. L-63345 January 30, 1986 legality of his actual detention to the legality of the conditions imposed by the
respondents."
EFREN C. MONCUPA, petitioner,
vs. We agree with the petitioner.
JUAN PONCE ENRILE, FABIAN C. VER, GALILEO KINTANAR,
FERNANDO GOROSPE, AND JOSE CASTRO, respondents. The reservation of the military in the form of restrictions attached to the
temporary release of the petitioner constitute restraints on the liberty of Mr.
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: Moncupa. Such restrictions limit the freedom of movement of the petitioner. It
is not physical restraint alone which is inquired into by the writ of habeas
As early as 1919, in the leading case of Villavicencio v. Lukban (39 Phil. 778, corpus.
790), this Court ruled:
In Villavicencio v. Lukban, the women who had been illegally seized and
A prime specification of al application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of transported against their will to Davao were no longer under any official
liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to restraint. Unlike petitioner Moncupa, they were free to change their domicile
inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, without asking for official permission. Indeed, some of them managed to return
and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which to Manila. Yet, the Court condemned the involuntary restraints caused by the
will preclude freedom of action is sufficient. ... official action, fined the Mayor of Manila and expressed the hope that its
"decision may serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly government of
This latitudinarian scope of the writ of habeas-corpus has, in law, remained laws and to protect individual liberty from Megal encroachment."
undiminished up to the present. The respondents' contention that the petition
has become moot and academic must necessarily be denied. Efren C. In the light of the above ruling, the present petition for habeas corpus has not
Moncupa may have been released from his detention cell. The restraints become moot and academic. Other precedents for such a conclusion are not
attached to his temporary release, however, preclude freedom of action and wanting.
under the Villavicencio v. Lukban rule warrant this Court's inquiry into the
nature of his involuntary restraint and our relieving him of such restraints as The decision in Caunca v. Salazar (82 Phil. 851) states:
may be illegal.
An employment agency, regardless of the amount it may advance to a
Petitioner Efren C. Moncupa, together with others, was arrested on April 22, prospective employee or maid, has absolutely no power to curtail her freedom
1982 at about 10:50 P.M., at the corner of D. Street and Quezon Avenue, of movement. The fact that no physical force has been exerted to keep her in
Quezon City. Moncupa D. Tuazon was brought to MIG-15 Camp Bago Bantay, the house of the respondent does not make less real the deprivation of her
Quezon City where he was detained. On April 23, 1982, on the allegation that personal freedom of movement, freedom to transfer from one place to another,
he was a National Democratic Front (NDF) staff member, a Presidential from to choose one's residence. Freedom may be lost due to external moral
Commitment Order (PCO) was issued against him and eight (8) other persons. compulsion, to founded or groundless fear, to erroneous belief in the existence
of the will. If the actual effect of such psychological spell is to place a person at
After two separate investigations, conducted first, by Lieutenant Colonel the mercy of another, the victim is entitled to the protection of courts of justice
Gerardo Lantoria, Jr., Chief of Task Force Makabansa Investigation Group as much as the individual who is illigally deprived of liberty by deprived or
and second, by Investigating Fiscal Amado Costales of Quezon City, it was physical coercion.
ascertained that the petitioner was not a member of any subversive
organization. Both investigators recommended the prosecution of the In Tibo v. The Provincial Commander (85 SCRA 564), this Court ruled:
petitioner only for illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of
subversive documents under Presidential Decree No. 33. Although the release in the custody of the Deputy Minister did not signify that
petitioners could once again enjoy their full freedom, the application could
Consequently, two separate informations were filed against the petitioner, one, have been dismissed, as it could be withdrawn by the parties themselves. That
for illegal possession of firearms before the Court of First Instance of Rizal and is a purely voluntary act. When the hearing was held on September 7, 1978, it
the other for violation of P.D. 33 before the City Court of Quezon City. Against turned out that counsel for petitioner Bonifacio V. Tupaz could have academic
the other accused, however, the cases filed were for violation of P.D. 885 as in a hasty manner when he set forth the above allegations in his manifestation
amended. Significantly, the petitioner was excluded from the charge under the of August 30, 1978, for Attorney Jose C. Espinas, who appeared for
Revised Anti-Subversion Law. During the pendency of this petition, it is petitioners, while conceding that there was such a release from confinement,
significant that his arraignment and further proceedings have not been also alleged that it was conditioned on their restricting their activities as labor
pursued. And yet, the petitioner's motions for bail were denied by the lower union leaders to the premises of the Trade Unions of the Philippines and
court. ABSOLUTE Services, presumably in Macaraig as well as the Ministry of labor.
As the voting was to take place in the business firm in Bataan, the acts set
Hence, the petitioner filed the instant petition. would nullify whatever efforts they could have exerted. To that extent, and with
the prohibition against their going to Bataan, the restraint on liberty was
The respondents, in their return of the writ justified the validity of petitioner's undeniable. If so, the moot and academic character of the petition was far from
detention on the ground that the privilege of the writ had been suspended as clear.
to the petitioner. However, on August 30, 1983, the respondents filed a motion
to dismiss stating that on May 11, 1983, the petitioner was temporarily More recently, we had occasion to rule squarely on whether or not a
released from detention on orders of the Minister temporary of National temporary release from detention renders the petition for writ of habeas corpus
Defense with the approval of the President. The respondents stated. "Since moot and academic. As in this case of Moncupa, the petitioners in Toyoto, et
the petitioner is free and no longer under the custody of the respondents, the al v. Hon. Fidel Ramos, et al, G.R. No. 69270, October 15, 1985, were
present petition for habeas corpus may be deemed moot and academic as in temporarily released from detention. The respondents filed a motion to dismiss
similar cases. the petition for habeas corpus on the ground that the petitioners had been
temporarily released and their case had, therefore, become moot and
The issue to be resolved is whether or not the instant petition has become academic. The petitioners insisted, however, that their case may be
moot and academic in view of the petitioner's temporary release. considered moot and academic only "if their release would be permanent." In
ruling for the petitioners, we said:
It is to be noted that attached to the petitioner's temporary release are
restrictions imposed on him. These are: Ordinarily, a petition for habeas corpus becomes moot and academic when
the restraint on the liberty of the petitioners is lifted either temporarily or
1) His freedom of movement is curtailed by the condition that permanently. We have so held in a number of cases. But the instant case
petitioner gets the approval of respondents for any travel outside Metro presents a different situation. The question to be resolved is whether the State
Manila. can reserve the power to re-arrest a person for an offense after a court of
competent jurisdiction has absolved him of the offense. An affirmative answer
2) His liberty of abode is restricted because prior approval of is the one suggested by the respondents because the release of the
respondents is also required in case petitioner wants to change his place of petitioners being merely 'temporary' it follows that they can be re-arrested at
residence. anytime despite their acquittal by a court of competent jurisdiction. We hold
that such a reservation is repugnant to the government of laws and not of men
3) His freedom of speech is muffled by the prohibition that he should principle. Under this principle the moment a person is acquitted on a criminal
not "participate in any interview conducted by any local or foreign mass media charge he can no longer be detained or re-arrested for the same offense. This
representatives nor give any press release or information that is inimical to the concept is so basic and elementary that it needs no elaboration.
interest of national security."
In effect the principle is clear. A release that renders a petition for a writ of
4) He is required to report regularly to respondents or their habeas corpus moot and academic must be one which is free from involuntary
representatives. restraints. Where a person continues to be unlawfully denied one or more of
his constitutional freedoms, where there is present a denial of due process,
The petitioner argues that although admittedly his temporary release is an where the restraints are not merely involuntary but appear to be unnecessary,
improvement upon his actual detention, the restrictions imposed by the and where a deprivation of freedom originally valid has, in the light of
respondents constitute an involuntary and illegal restraint on his freedom. subsequent developments, become arbitrary, the person concerned or those
applying in his behalf may still avail themselves of the privilege of the writ.
The petitioner stresses that his temporary release did not render the instant
petitioner moot and academic but that "it merely shifted the inquiry from the The respondents have failed to show why the writ may not issue and why the
restraints on the petitioner's freedom of movement should not be lifted.
Page 22 of 101
WHEREFORE, the PETITION is GRANTED. The conditions attached to the COLONEL ROLANDO N ABADILLA 0-4937 PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY
temporary release of the petitioner are declared null and void. The temporary (GENERAL STAFF CORPS)
release of the petitioner is declared ABSOLUTE. No costs,
MAJOR REYNALDO C CABAUATAN ...
SO ORDERED.
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE:
Teehankee, Concepcion, Jr., Abad Santos, Melencio-Herrera, Escolin De la
Fuente, Cuevas, Alampay and Patajo, JJ., concur. Aquino, C.J., took no part. xxx xxx xxx
Plana, J., I reserve my vote.
On July 7, 1987, the Assistant City Fiscal of Quezon City filed an Information
for Slight Physical Injuries with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Metropolitan
Manila in Quezon City against Colonel Abadilla. 6 The case was docketed as
Republic of the Philippines Criminal Case No. 0237558.
SUPREME COURT
Manila On July 27, 1987, a combined element of the Philippine Army and Philippine
Constabulary arrested Colonel Abadilla. 7 He was detained first in Camp
EN BANC Crame in Quezon City and later, up to the present, in Fort Bonifacio in Makati.

G.R. No. 79173 December 1, 1987 On July 30, 1987, another Information, this time for violation of Presidential
Decree No. 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition) was filed by
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF the Assistant City Fiscal of Quezon City against Colonel Abadilla. 8 The case
ROLANDO N. ABADILLA, SUSAN S. ABADILLA, in her own behalf and in was assigned to Branch 104 of the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City and
behalf of the minors JUNE ELIZABETH, ROLANDO, JR., DAPHINE was docketed as Criminal Case No. Q- 53382.
JENNIFER, MA. THERESA, ANNA ROSANNA, VINCENT MARCUS and
BART JOSEPH, all surnamed ABADILLA, petitioners, On the same date, July 30, 1987, Mrs. Susan S. Abadilla the spouse of
vs. Colonel Abadilla together with their minor children June Elizabeth, Rolando, Jr.
General FIDEL V. RAMOS, Chief of Staff, AFP; Major General RENATO Daphine Jennifer, Ma. Theresa, Anna Rosanna, Vincent Marcus and Bart
DE VILLA, Commanding General, Philippine Constabulary & Vice-Chief Joseph, went to this Court and filed the instant Petition for habeas corpus,
of Staff, AFP; and Brigadier General ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, challenging the validity of the detention of Colonel Abadilla. 9
Commanding General, CAPCOM, PC, respondents.
The main arguments in the Petition are as follows —
GANCAYCO, J.:
(1) When Colonel Abadilla was dropped from the rolls of officers
The validity of the detention of an individual is challenged in this Petition for effective May 9, 1987, he became a civilian and as such, the order for his
habeas corpus. The petitioners are the spouse and minor children of the arrest and confinement is null and void because he was no longer subject to
detainee while the respondents are ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the military law;
Philippines (AFP).
(2) His detention is illegal because he is not charged with any criminal
The record of the case discloses that on January 27, 1987, a group of officers offense, either before a civil court or a court-martial;
and enlisted men of the AFP seized control of the radio-television
broadcasting facilities of the Republic Broadcasting System (GMA-Channel 7) (3) Even assuming that the order for the arrest and confine- ment of
located in Quezon City ostensibly for the purpose of toppling the existing Colonel Abadilla was valid at the initial stage, the said order became functus
constitutional government. While the takeover might have been a prelude to officio and/or moot and academic when the Colonel was dropped from the rolls
similar operations throughout the national capital, it did not succeed. On of officers;
January 29, 1987, the mutineers surrendered to the military authorities and the
possession of the facility was restored to the owners and managers thereof. (4) Even assuming that Colonel Abadilla is subject to military law, his
Soon thereafter, the military authorities conducted an investigation of the detention remains illegal because under Article of War 70, a person subject to
matter. military law can be detained only if he is charged with a crime or a serious
offense under the Articles of War.
On April 18, 1987, a group of enlisted men staged a mutiny inside the Fort
Bonifacio military facility in Makati, Metropolitan Manila. The mutiny, dubbed In the meantime, the Regional Trial Court, with Judge Maximiano O. Asuncion
as "The Black Saturday Revolt," 1 did not succeed either. After the incident, presiding therein, granted the Motion to Quash and the Supplement thereto
the military authorities also conducted an investigation. filed by the counsel of Colonel Abadilla. Accordingly, the Information in
Criminal Case No. Q-53382 was dismissed by the trial court. 10
The first investigation was concluded on March 12, 1987. The investigation
disclosed that Colonel Rolando N. Abadilla of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) In a resolution dated August 4, 1987, this Court resolved to issue the writ of
of the AFP was one of the leaders of the unsuccessful takeover of the GMA habeas corpus. The respondents were required to make a return of the writ on
radio-television facilities. 2 The Board of Officers investigating the matter August 10, 1987. 11
recommended that the case of Colonel Abadilla be endorsed for pre-trial
investigation and that the appropriate charges be filed against him for violation On August 10, 1987, the respondents, represented by the Office of the
of Article of War 67 (Mutiny or Sedition). Article of War 94 (Various Crimes) in Solicitor General (OSG), submitted the Return of the writ. 12 The main
relation to Article 139 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 1 of Presidential arguments in the Return are as follows —
Decree No. 1866, and such other offenses that may be warranted by the
evidence. Accordingly, a charge sheet was prepared against the Colonel. (1) In the event that proceedings with a view to military trial are
commenced against a Person subject to military law before the termination of
The investigation conducted on "The Black Saturday Revolt" ended on May military service, military jurisdiction will fully attach on the said person.;
27, 1987. It was found at said investigation that Colonel Abadilla was also
involved in the mutiny. The Board of Officers conducting the investigation and (2) The confinement of Colonel Abadilla as a person subject to military
recommended that the case be endorsed for pre-trial investigation and that the jurisdiction is authorized by Article of War 70; and
appropriate charges be filed against the Colonel. 3 The Colonel was likewise
charged, accordingly. (3) The continued confinement of Colonel Abadilla in Fort Bonifacio is
imperative and justified on account of the criminal case/s filed against him by
Colonel Abadilla was at large when both investigations were conducted. both the military and civil authorities.

On May 4, 1987 or some two weeks before the second investigation was As instructed by this Court, the petitioners submitted their Reply to the Return
concluded, herein respondent Major General Renato De Villa, Commanding of the writ on September 7, 1987. 13 The main arguments in the Reply are as
General of the PC and Vice-Chief of Staff of the AFP issued an Order for the follows —
arrest and confinement of Colonel Abadilla. 4
(1) The pendency of a case in the civil courts has no relevance to the
On May 21, 1987, respondent AFP Chief of Staff General Fidel V. Ramos issue of military jurisdiction over Colonel Abadilla. This view notwithstanding,
issued General Orders No. 342 dropping Colonel Abadilla from the rolls of Criminal Case No. Q-53382 filed against Colonel Abadilla has been dismissed
regular officers of the AFP. 5 The pertinent portions of the said General Orders by the trial court. The pendency of Criminal Case No. 0237558 filed against
are as follows- the Colonel does not warrant his continued confinement inasmuch as the
Colonel has posted bail for his provisional liberty;
DROPPING FROM THE ROLLS OF REGULAR OFFICERS
(2) Colonel Abadilla is not in the active service of the AFP nor is he a
The names of the following officers are dropped from the rolls of Regular person under sentence adjudged by courts-martial. As such, he does not fall
Officers, Armed Forces of the Philippines for cause effective as of 9 May 1987 under the category of a person subject to military law as defined by Article of
pursuant to Article of War 117. (Authority: Letter from the President, dated 9 War 2;
May 1987).

BRIGADIER GENERAL JOSE MARIA CARLOS ZUMEL ...


Page 23 of 101
(3) An officer dropped from the rolls by order of the President is fully the military authorities. If such a conclusion were to prevail, his very own
separated from the service and is no longer subject to military law (Citing refusal to clear his name and protect his honor before his superior officers in
Gloria, Philippine Military Law Annotated).; the manner prescribed for and expected from a ranking military officer would
be his shield against prosecution in the first place. His refusal to report for duty
(4) Under Section 10 of the Manual for Courts-Martial, Philippine or to surrender when ordered arrested, which led to his name being dropped
Army, court-martial jurisdiction over officers in the military service of the from the roll of regular officers of the military, cannot thereby render him
Philippines ceases on discharge or separation from the service. The case of beyond the jurisdiction of the military courts for offenses he committed while
Colonel Abadilla does not fall under any of the exceptions to this rule. This still in the military service. This Court cannot countenance such an absurd
observation has been upheld in Martin v. Ver, 123 SCRA 745 (1983); situation. Established principles in remedial law call for application.

(5) The pronouncement of the United States Supreme Court in Toth v. The military authorities had jurisdiction over the person of Colonel Abadilla at
Quarles, 350 U.S. 11 (1955), cited in Olaguer v. Military Commission No. 34, the time of the alleged offenses. This jurisdiction having been vested in the
G.R. Nos. 54558 and 69882, May 22, 1987, supports the stand taken by the military authorities, it is retained up to the end of the proceedings against
herein petitioners and Colonel Abadilla. Well-settled is the rule that jurisdiction once acquired is not
lost upon the instance of the parties but continues until the case is terminated.
(6) Under the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1850, as amended 26
by Presidential Decree No. 1952, court-martial jurisdiction over the person of
accused military personnel Cannot be exercised if they are already separated The petitioners stress that jurisdiction over a person is acquired not by the
from the active service, provided that jurisdiction has not attached beforehand mere filing of a charge or an information, or by the commencement of an
unless otherwise provided by law. investigation, but by the arrest of the defendant. They maintain that the
Colonel was arrested when he was already a civilian.
On September 9, 1987, the petitioners submitted their Traverse to the Return
of the writ. 14 It is contended therein that, contrary to the view of the Solicitor The argument is untenable.
General, jurisdiction over a person is acquired not by the mere filing of a
charge or information, or by the commencement of an investigation, but by the The rule that jurisdiction over a person is acquired by his arrest applies only to
arrest of the defendant. The petitioners stress that inasmuch as Colonel criminal proceedings instituted before the regular courts. It does not apply to
Abadilla was arrested after he had become a civilian, the charge sheets proceedings under military law. At the time the military investigations were
prepared against him by the military authorities are nun and void for lack of commenced, Colonel Abadilla was an officer of the AFP subject to military law.
jurisdiction over the person of the Colonel. As such, the military authorities had jurisdiction over his person pursuant to
Article of War 2 and Section 8 of the Manual for Courts-Martial, AFP, which
On September 24, 1987, the petitioners submitted their Additional Traverse provide as follows-
together with a Motion to Decide the Petition. 15 On the issue of military
jurisdiction, and in support of their contentions, they cite the treatise of Colonel Art. 2. Persons Subject to Military Law. — The following persons are subject to
William Winthrop entitled Military Law and Precedents. 16 these articles and shall be understood as included in the term 'any person
subject to military law or persons subject to military law whenever used in
Inasmuch as the parties herein had already presented their respective these articles:
arguments, the case was, therefore, deemed submitted for deliberation.
(a) All officers and soldiers in the active service of the Armed Forces of the
The sole issue in habeas corpus proceedings is the legality of the detention. Philippines or of the Philippine Constabulary; ... ; and
17 Therefore, the issue that must be resolved by this Court is this: Is the
detention of Colonel Abadilla illegal? The resolution of this issue will, of 8. COURTS-MARTIAL — Jurisdiction in general — Persons. — The
course, relate to the jurisdiction of the military authorities over the person of following persons are subject to military law:
Colonel Abadilla.
(a) All officers and soldiers in the active service of the Armed Forces of the
I. Philippine Constabulary; ...

We shall first resolve the problem of jurisdiction. xxx xxx xxx

In Olaguer v. Military Commission No. 34, 18 this Court held that a military As mentioned earlier, his earlier arrest could not be effected because he was
commission or tribunal cannot try and exercise jurisdiction over civilians for at large. The initial stages of the investigations had against him before his
offenses allegedly committed by them as long as the civil courts are open and arrest were, therefore, not improper.
functioning, and that any judgment rendered by such body relating to a civilian
is null and void for lack of jurisdiction on the part of the military tribunal As a whole, the authorities cited and relied upon by the petitioners do not
concerned. For the same reasons, the doctrine announced in Aquino, Jr. v. satisfactorily support their contentions.
Military Commission No. 2 19 and all decided cases affirming the same, in so
far as they are inconsistent with the Olaguer pronouncement, were deemed Article of War 2 enumerates who are subject to military law. In March, 1987,
abandoned. There is no doubt, therefore, that military authorities cannot try Colonel Abadilla was a military officer. Under this Article, he was subject to
civilians. military law.

The petitioners contend that the Olaguer doctrine applies to Colonel Abadilla Section 10 of the Manual for Courts-Martial, AFP, which discusses court-
on the ground that he had become a civilian since May 9, 1987 when he was martial jurisdiction in general, states the general rule to be:
dropped from the rolls of officers of the AFP. They argue that on account of his
civilian status, Colonel Abadilla is no longer subject to military law. In support The general rule is that court-martial jurisdiction over officers, cadets, soldiers,
of their arguments, the petitioners cite the Articles of War, 20 the Manual for and others in the military service of the Philippines ceases on discharge or
Courts-Martial of the AFP, 21 Presidential Decree No. 1850, as amended, as other separation from such service, and that jurisdiction as to an offense
well as the dissertations on military law of Colonel William Winthrop 22 and committed during a period of service thus terminated is not revived by a re-
Colonel Claro Gloria. 23 They likewise invoke the pronouncement of this Court entry into the military service.
in Martin v. Ver 24 and that of the Supreme Court of the United States in Toth
v. Quarles. 25 Attention is called to the exception mentioned in the last sentence of the
Section, to wit —
On the other hand, the Solicitor General contends that military jurisdiction had
fully attached on Colonel Abadilla inasmuch as proceedings were initiated So also, where a dishonorably discharged general prisoner is tried for an
against him before the termination of his service in the military. offense committed while a soldier and prior to his dishonorable discharge,
such discharge does not terminate his amenability to trial for the offense.
We agree.
This exception applies to the case of Colonel Abadilla inasmuch as he is at
As early as March, 1987, months before Colonel Abadilla was dropped from present confined in Fort Bonifacio upon the orders of his superior officers, and
the rolls of officers, the military authorities began the institution of proceedings his having been dropped from the rolls of officers amounts to a dishonorable
against him. As of that time, he was certainly subject to military law. He was discharge.
under investigation for his alleged participation in the unsuccessful mutinies
when he was an officer of the AFP. As a military officer, it was incumbent upon Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1850, as amended, even acknowledges
him to appear before his superior officers conducting the investigation even for instances where military jurisdiction fully attaches on an individual even after
the purpose of clearing his name. He did not do so. His superiors could not he shall have been separated from active service, to wit —
confine him during the period of investigation because as stated earlier, he
was at large. This disregard for military duty and responsibility may have SECTION 1. Court martial jurisdiction over Integrated National Police and
prompted his superiors to cause him to be dropped from the rolls of officers. Members of the Amed Forces ...

It is clear that from the very start of this controversy, the military authorities (b) all persons subject to military law under Article 2 of the aforecited Articles
intended to try Colonel Abadilla as a person subject to military law. This can of War who commit any crime or offense shall be exclusively tried by courts-
be gleaned from the charge sheets prepared against him. martial or their case disposed of under the said Articles of War; Provided, that
in either of the aforementioned situations, the case shall be disposed of or
The fact that Colonel Abadilla was dropped from the rolls of officers cannot tried by the proper civil or judicial authorities when court- martial jurisdiction
and should not lead to the conclusion that he is now beyond the jurisdiction of over the offense has prescribed under Article 38 of Commonwealth Act No.
Page 24 of 101
408, as amended, or court-martial jurisdiction over the person of the accused The important issue in this Petition has been resolved-the detention of Colonel
military or Integrated National Police can no longer be exercised by virtue of Abadilla under the circumstances obtaining in this case is not illegal. For this
their separation from the active service without jurisdiction having duly reason, the instant Petition for habeas corpus should be dismissed for lack of
attached beforehand unless otherwise provided by law; ... (Emphasis merit.
supplied.)
In the light of the foregoing discussion, the motion of petitioners to hold
The dissertations of Colonels Winthrop and Gloria are, at most, persuasive respondent General Ramos in contempt of court for approving the filing of
authorities. Indeed, this Court has cited the treatise of Colonel Winthrop in at court martial proceedings against Colonel Abadilla during the pendency of this
least three cases 27 on account of the scholarly discussions contained therein. case should be and is hereby denied. The Court has not issued a restraining
Works of this nature provide insight and information which have been of order enjoining such proceedings. In fact We now find that the court martial
tremendous help to this Court in many judicial controversies. Regardless of proceedings may proceed inasmuch as the military authorities have
their great value, they cannot prevail over opposing but nonetheless settled jurisdiction over Colonel Abadilla in the above-stated cases.
doctrines in Philippine jurisprudence.
One last word. The man in uniform belongs to the elite in public service. His
These observations notwithstanding, We have gone through the treatise of eminent credential is his absolute loyalty to the Constitution, the flag, his
Colonel Winthrop and We find the following passage which goes against the country and his people. He is the guardian against external and internal
contention of the petitioners, viz — aggression.

3. Offenders in general — Attaching of jurisdiction. It has further been He is a man of honor and courage. He is a gentleman. He is given arms to
held, and is now settled law, in regard to military offenders in general, that if insure his capability as an instrument of peace. When he is drafted in the
the military jurisdiction has once duly attached to them previous to the date of Philippine Constabulary he becomes a peace officer, a law enforcer, a law
the termination of their legal period of service, they may be brought to trial by man. Respect for the law is his article of faith.
court-martial after that date, their discharge being meanwhile withheld. This
principle has mostly been applied to cases where the offense was committed However, when he wavers and fails to live up to the highest standard of fidelity
just prior to the end of the term. In such cases the interests of discipline clearly to his country and people, when he defies authority and discipline, when he
forbid that the offender should go unpunished. It is held therefore that if before commits offenses or when he turns against the very people and government
the day on which his service legally terminates and his right to a discharge is he is sworn to protect, he becomes an outlaw and a disgrace to his uniform.
complete, proceedings with a view to trial are commenced against him — as The state has a right to hold him to account for his transgressions and to see
by arrest or the service of charges, — the military jurisdiction will fully attach, to it that he can not use the awesome powers of his status to jeopardize the
and once attached may be continued by a trial by court-martial ordered and security and peace of the citizenry.
held after the end of the term of the enlistment of the accused ... 28
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant Petition for habeas corpus
The case of Martin v. Ver 29 cited by the petitioners is not in point. In Martin is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. We make no pronouncement as to
this Court took the opportunity to discuss the general rule that "court-martial costs.
jurisdiction over persons in the military service of the Philippines ceases upon
discharge or separation from such service" and an exception to the general SO ORDERED.
rule recited in Article of War 95 regarding frauds against the Government.
Teehankee, C.J., Yap, Fernan, Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera, Gutierrez, Jr.,
The case of Toth v. Quarles 30 decided by the Supreme Court of the United Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Sarmiento and Cortes, JJ., concur.
States is also inapplicable.

Toth involves a former serviceman named Audrey M. Toth who, five months
after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, was arrested by military Republic of the Philippines
authorities on a charge of murder allegedly committed in Korea when he was SUPREME COURT
still an airman. A divided Supreme Court 31 held that Congress has no power Manila
to subject a discharged serviceman to trial by court-martial for offenses
committed by him while in the military service and so to deprive him of the FIRST DIVISION
constitutional safeguards protecting persons accused of crime in a federal
court. G.R. No. 83251 January 23, 1991

The Toth ruling is inapplicable to the instant case for two reasons. RENATO B. SUAREZ, petitioner,
vs.
First — Toth was honorably discharged from the military service. The COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ZENAIDA BALTAZAR as Presiding Judge of
arrangement was voluntary on the part of the serviceman. There was an the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig, Metro Manila, and
ostensible intention on his part to live the life of a civilian again. Colonel ROSEMARIE MANESE, respondents.
Abadilla was not honorably discharged. On the contrary, he was dropped from
the rolls of regular officers of the AFP. This arrangement did not have his MEDIALDEA, J.:
express consent. In fact, he was at large at that time.
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals dismissing
Second — The proceedings against Toth began after his honorable discharge the special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by petitioner to annul
from the service. The proceedings against Colonel Abadilla were commenced and set aside the orders of the trial court and to enjoin the latter from
when he was still a regular officer of the AFP. proceeding with the petition for custody of and support of minor Rafael Carlos
Suarez docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 840-J filed by respondent Manese.
Moreover, the doctrine in Toth is not a unanimous pronouncement as there
were some persuasive dissenting views. The antecedent facts are as follows:

Although Toth was cited in Olaguer v. Military Commission No. 34, 32 the On December 11, 1986, respondent Manese filed with the trial court a petition
citation should not be construed as a sweeping endorsement of the entire for writ of habeas corpus against petitioner Renato Suarez, his mother Paz
doctrine therein. Toth was cited in Olaguer only for the purpose of Suarez and his sister Milagros Suarez docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 734-J.
emphasizing that military commissions or tribunals cannot try civilians. In
Olaguer, this Court relied on the doctrine announced in Ex-parte Milligan, 33 On February 23, 1987, before she could finish the presentation of her
and not the one in Toth, in arriving at the Decision of the Court. evidence, respondent Manese filed a motion to dismiss without prejudice to
her right to file another action for custody of minor under Rule 99 of the Rules
Another point should be mentioned regarding the matter of jurisdiction. We of Court, contending that the issue as to who between the parties has the
agree with the respondents in their assertion that the pendency of a case in rightful and legal custody of the minor child could be fully adjudicated in
the civil courts has no relevance to the problem of military jurisdiction over another action and not in the present action for writ of habeas corpus.
Colonel Abadilla. The argument is well-taken.
On February 24, 1987, the trial court issued a resolution granting the motion
II. with prejudice.1âwphi1

The matter of jurisdiction having been settled, We now proceed to discuss the Thereafter, respondent Manese filed another action for custody of minor and
remaining contentions of the petitioners. support on May 27, 1987 before the trial court, docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 840-
J against petitioner. The latter moved to dismiss the action on the ground of
The petitioners argue that even if it were to be assumed that Colonel Abadilla bar by prior judgment rendered in Sp. Proc. No. 734-J dismissing the same
is subject to military law, his confinement remains illegal because under Article with prejudice. On October 1, 1987, the motion to dismiss by petitioner was
of War 70, a person subject to military law can be detained only if he is denied by the trial court. Petitioner, however, moved for the reconsideration of
charged with a crime or a serious offense under the Articles of War. the denial which was also denied.

The record of the case discloses that Colonel Abadilla has been charged by Respondent Manese filed on December 1, 1987 a motion for visitorial rights
the military authorities for violation of Article of War 67 (Mutiny or Sedition) and on December 14, 1987, a motion for custody of the minor during the
which is a serious offense, and the corresponding charge sheets have been Christmas season.
prepared against him.

Page 25 of 101
On December 15, 1987, the trial court issued an order denying petitioner's whimsically and capriciously and with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to
motion for reconsideration and granting respondent Manese's two motions. nullity of the order.

On January 22, 1988, the trial court issued another order setting aside its Records show that the motion to dismiss of respondent Manese, who was the
order dated December 15, 1987, which granted the petitioner's motion for plaintiff in the trial court was filed during the trial and hearing stage of the
visitorial rights over the minor, and setting the pre-trial of the case on a petition for writ of habeas corpus. The general rule governing dismissal of
scheduled date. actions by the plaintiff after the answer has been served is laid down in Rule
17 of the Revised Rules of Court, which rule is summarized as follows — an
Not satisfied with the orders of the trial court, petitioner filed with respondent action shall not be dismissed at the request of the plaintiff after the service of
appellate court a petition for certiorari and prohibition with application for the answer except by order of the court and upon such terms and conditions
restraining order/preliminary injunction, seeking to set aside the orders of the as the court deems proper. Hence, the trial court has the judicial discretion in
trial court of October 1, 1987 and December 15, 1987. ruling on a motion to dismiss at the instance of the plaintiff, but this discretion
should be exercised within reasonable limits. In such case, the trial court has
On February 12, 1988, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment dismissing the to decide whether the dismissal of the case should be allowed, and if so on
special civil action. what terms and conditions.

Hence, this petition was filed with the petitioner assigning the following errors In the case at bar, the motion to dismiss filed by the plaintiff states that it was
of the respondent appellate court: without prejudice to the filing of an action for the custody of minor on the
ground that the issue as to the custody of the child would be properly
I determined in a second action to be filed under Rule 99 of the Revised Rules
of Court. Clearly, the purpose of the plaintiff in dismissing the first action for a
THE ORDER OF THE HONORABLE JUDGE EUTROPIO MIGRINO IN SP. writ of habeas corpus was not to end litigation concerning the right of the
PROC. NO. 734-J DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS IS A former to the custody of her child but on the contrary, to pursue it in a second
VALID JUDGMENT. action, this time for custody of minor. It is worthy to note that the ground upon
which respondent Manese filed her motion for dismissal is erroneous since the
II question as to who shall have the custody of the child can be sufficiently
resolved in the petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to Rule 102,
UNDER SECTION 2, RULE 17 OF THE RULES OF COURT, THE HON. Revised Rules of Court without the necessity of filing a separate action under
JUDGE MIGRINO HAS THE RIGHT TO DISMISS THE HABEAS CORPUS Rule 99 of the said rules for that purpose. Nevertheless, it is error for the trial
CASE FILED BY MANESE WITH PREJUDICE. court to dismiss the first case with prejudice to the filing of the second action
without stating the reasons or basis thereof This should not prevent the filing
III of the second action for custody of minor, since no opportunity was granted by
the trial court to the plaintiff to raise this issue for the determination of the court
THE PROPRIETY OR VALIDITY OF JUDGE MIGRINO'S ORDER OF in the habeas corpus case. Hence, We believe that the order of dismissal of
DISMISSAL (ANNEX 'D') OF THE HABEAS CORPUS CASE CANNOT BE the petition for the writ of habeas corpus cannot be considered as a valid
PASSED UPON BY THE COURT OF APPEALS, BECAUSE IT WAS NOT adjudication on the merits which would serve as a bar to the second action for
APPEALED. custody of minor.

IV Assuming in gratia argumenti that the prior judgment of dismissal with


prejudice was validly rendered within the lawful discretion of the court and
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, MANESE'S CAUSE OF ACTION could be considered as an adjudication on the merits, nonetheless, the
(PETITION FOR CUSTODY OF MINOR) IS BARRED BY A PRIOR principle of res judicata should be disregarded if its application would involve
RESOLUTION (SEC. 1, PAR. (F), RULE 16 OF THE RULES OF COURT). the sacrifice of justice to technicality (Republic v. De los Angeles, No. L-30240,
March 25, 1988, 159 SCRA 264). The application of the said principle, under
V the particular facts obtaining, would amount to denial of justice and/or bar to a
vindication of a legitimate grievance (Ronquillo v. Marasigan, No. L-11621,
GRANTING IN GRATIA ARGUMENTI THAT THE ORDER OF DISMISSAL BY May 31, 1962, 5 SCRA 304). It is worth stating here that the controversy in the
JUDGE MIGRINO IS NULL AND VOID UNDER THE CONSTITUTION, instant case is not just an ordinary suit between parties over a trivial matter but
WHICH SUAREZ VEHEMENTLY DENIES, NEVERTHELESS, THE PETITION a litigation initiated by the natural mother over the welfare and custody of her
FOR CUSTODY OF MINOR SHOULD STILL BE DISMISSED ON THE child, in which the State has a paramount interest. The fundamental policy of
GROUND OF LITIS PENDENTIA. the State as embodied in the Constitution in promoting and protecting the
welfare of children shall not be disregarded by the courts by mere technicality
VI in resolving disputes which involve the family and the youth.

GRANTING, FURTHER, THAT THE ORDER OF DISMISSAL IS NOT A The other issue raised by petitioner concerning grave abuse of discretion of
VALID JUDGMENT, WHICH SUAREZ VEHEMENTLY DENIES, the trial court in granting the custody of the child to respondent Manese during
NEVERTHELESS, RESPONDENT JUDGE BALTAZAR COMMITTED NOT the Christmas season from December 18, 1987 to January 2, 1988 is already
ONLY GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION BUT EXCEEDED HER moot and academic.
JURISDICTION WHEN SHE GRANTED MANESE'S MOTION FOR
CUSTODY OF THE MINOR (ANNEX "M") IN HER ORDER OF 15 ACCORDINGLY, the petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of the
DECEMBER 1987 (ANNEX "N"). respondent Court of Appeals dated February 12, 1988 is AFFIRMED.

The assigned errors boil down to the following issues: 1) Whether or not the SO ORDERED.
order of dismissal with prejudice in the action for the writ of habeas corpus,
docketed as Sp. No. 734-J is res judicata to the present action for custody of Narvasa, Cruz, Gancayco and Grino-Aquino, JJ., concur.
minor and support docketed as Sp. No. 840-J; 2) whether or not the
respondent appellate court committed grave abuse of discretion in granting
custody to the private respondent during the Christmas season as stated in
the questioned order of December 15, 1987. Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
We find the petition devoid of merit. Manila

Anent the first issue, petitioner contends that the petition for custody of minor EN BANC
cannot prosper due to the prior judgment dismissing the petition for writ of
habeas corpus and the principle of res judicata applies even if the party G.R. No. 115576 August 4, 1994
changed the form of its cause of action in filing the present action for custody
of minor. IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF
LEONARDO PAQUINTO AND JESUS CABANGUNAY.
There are four well known requisites to the principle of res judicata: (1) there
must be a final judgment or order; (2) the court rendering the same must have CHAIRMAN SEDFREY A. ORDOÑEZ, COMM. SAMUEL M. SORIANO,
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the parties; (3) the former judgment is a COMM. HESIQUIO R. MALLILLIN, COMM. NARCISO C. MONTEIRO,
judgment on the merits; and (4) there is between the first and the second COMM. PAULYNN PAREDES-SICAM, THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN
action identity of parties, of subject matter, and of causes of action (Filipinas RIGHTS, petitioners,
Investment Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. 66059-60, December 4, vs.
1989). However, the foregoing requisites should be subservient to the most DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, respondent.
significant requirement that the former judgment must be a valid one. We
agree with the conclusion of the Court of Appeals that the former order issued CRUZ, J.:
by the trial court in Sp. Proc. No. 734-J, dismissing the habeas corpus case is Why are Leonardo Paquinto and Jesus Cabangunay still in prison?
null and void for having been rendered in violation of the constitutional
mandate that no decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing These persons are among the civilians who were tried by the military
therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based (Article commissions during the period of martial law. Both were originally condemned
VIII, Section 14, 1987 Constitution). Further, the circumstances surrounding to die by musketry, but their sentence was commuted by the new Constitution
the dismissal of the case show that the order of the trial court was issued to reclusion perpetua.
Page 26 of 101
No. 503/1992 of Abaloc, Paquinto and Cabangunay and thus suggesting the
Their convictions were subsequently nullified by this Court in the case of violation of their liberty as guaranteed under the International Covenant on
Olaguer v. Military Commission No. 34, 1 where we held that the military Civil and Political Rights; and the assurance of the Department of Justice that
tribunals had no jurisdiction to try civilians when the courts of justice were it would have no objection to the filing of a petition for habeas corpus by the
functioning. Commission on behalf of Paquinto and Cabangunay.

Accordingly, in the case of Cruz v. Ponce Enrile, 2 this Court directed the The Court stresses that in its en banc resolution dated February 26, 1991, it
Department of Justice to file the corresponding informations in the civil courts declared, citing the Tan case, that "those civilians who were convicted by
against the petitioners within 180 days from notice of the decision. military courts and who have been serving (but not yet completed) their
sentences of imprisonment for the past many years" . . . "may be given the
No information has so far been filed against Paquinto and Cabangunay, but option either to complete the service of their sentence, or be tried anew by the
they have remained under detention. civil courts. Upon conviction, they should be credited in the service of their
sentence for the full period of their previous imprisonment. Upon acquittal,
On May 27, 1992, Ernesto Abaloc, together with Cabangunay and Paquinto, they should be set free."
wrote to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) complaining
that their continued detention violated their rights under Articles 6, 7, 9, 10, 14, Accordingly, it directed "the Department of Justice to forthwith comply with the
and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 3 directive in the "Cruz Cases" for the filing of the necessary informations
against them in the courts having jurisdiction over the offenses involved,
In its decision dated October 14, 1993, the UNHRC declared their without prejudice to said petitioners' exercise of the option granted to them by
communication as admissible and requested the Republic of the Philippines to this Court's ruling in G.R. Nos. 85481-82, William Tan, et al. v. Hernani T.
submit a written explanation of their complaint within six months from the date Barrios, etc., et al., supra."
of transmittal. 4
The Office of the Solicitor General submitted its memorandum after its second
The Department of Foreign Affairs furnished the Commission on Human motion for extension was denied, in view of the necessity to decide this
Rights with a copy of the decision. Thereupon, the Commission, through its petition without further delay. 12 The memorandum was admitted just the
Chairman Sedfrey A. Ordoñez wrote the Secretary of Justice of its intention to same, but we find it adds nothing to the respondent's original arguments.
sue for the release of the complaints unless criminal charges had already
been filed against them. 5 There is absolutely no question that the prisoners' plea should be heeded. The
government has failed to show that their continued detention is supported by a
On June 7, 1994, the Department of Justice informed the Commission that valid conviction or by the pendency of charges against them or by any
Abaloc had been released on September 29, 1992, and that Paquinto and legitimate cause whatsoever. If no information can be filed against them
Cabangunay were still detained at the National Penitentiary. There was the because the records have been lost, it is not the prisoners who should be
intimation that it would not object to a petition for habeas corpus that the made to suffer. In the eyes of the law, Paquinto and Cabangunay are not guilty
Commission might choose to file for Paquinto and Cabangunay.6 This or appear to be guilty of any crime for which they may be validly held. Hence,
assurance was later confirmed in a letter from the Department dated May 31, they are entitled to be set free.
1994.7
Liberty is not a gift of the government but the right of the governed. Every
The present petition for habeas corpus was filed with this Court on June 13, person is free, save only for the fetters of the law that limit but do not bind him
1994. The writ was immediately issued, returnable on or before June 22, 1994, unless he affronts the rights of others or offends the public welfare. Liberty is
on which date a hearing was also scheduled. not derived from the sufferance of the government or its magnanimity or even
from the Constitution itself, which merely affirms but does not grant it. Liberty
At the hearing, Chairman Ordoñez argued for the prisoners and pleaded for is a right that inheres in every one of us as a member of the human family.
their immediate release in view of the failure of the Department of Justice to When a person is deprived of this right, all of us are diminished and debased
file charges against them within the period specified in the Cruz case. He for liberty is total and indivisible.
stressed that their continued detention despite the nullification of their
convictions was a clear violation of their human rights. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Jesus Cabangunay and Leonardo
Paquinto should not be detained in prison a minute longer. They are ordered
For its part, the Office of the Solicitor General, as counsel for the respondent released IMMEDIATELY.
Director of Prisons, argued that under our ruling in Tan v. Barrios, 8 the
Olaguer decision could not be retroactively applied to decisions of the military Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero,
tribunals that have already become final or to persons who were already Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur.
serving their sentence. It suggested that, under the circumstances, the only
recourse of the prisoners was to reiterate and pursue their applications for
executive clemency.
Republic of the Philippines
It has been seven years since the Olaguer decision nullifying the convictions SUPREME COURT
of Paquinto and Cabangunay by the military commissions was promulgated. It Manila
has been six years since our decision in the Cruz case directed the Secretary
of Justice to file the appropriate informations against the civilians still detained FIRST DIVISION
under convictions rendered by the military tribunals. The prisoners have been
confined since 1974. We can only guess at the validity of their convictions as G.R. No. 118644 July 7, 1995
the records of their cases have allegedly been burned.
DIRECTOR EPIMACO A. VELASCO, as Director of the National Bureau of
The loss of these records is the main reason the Department gives for its Investigation (NBI), NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION SPECIAL
failure to file the corresponding charges against the two detainees before the OPERATIONS GROUP (SOG), SPECIAL INVESTIGATORS III FLOR L.
civil courts. It is unacceptable, of course. It is not the fault of the prisoners that RESURRECCION and ANTONIO M. ERUM, JR., and THE PEOPLE OF THE
the records cannot now be found. If anyone is to be blamed, it surely cannot PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
be the prisoners, who were not the custodian of those records. It is illogical vs.
and even absurd to suggest that because the government cannot prosecute COURT OF APPEALS, FELICITAS S. CUYAG, for and in behalf of
them, the prisoners' detention must continue. LAWRENCE A. LARKINS, respondents.

The other excuse of the government must also be rejected. During the DAVIDE, JR., J.:
hearing, the Office of the Solicitor General contended that the prisoners had
themselves opted to serve their sentences rather than undergo another trial. The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus, whose origin is lost in antiquity,1
Their ultimate objective, so it was maintained, was to secure their release by was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons
applying for executive clemency. To prove this, counsel submitted a letter from from unlawful restraint and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal
one freedom.2 More specifically, its vital purposes are to obtain immediate relief
Atty. Anselmo B. Mabuti to the Secretary of Justice manifesting that Leonardo from illegal confinement, to liberate those who may be imprisoned without
B. Paquinto "chooses to complete the service of his sentence so that the sufficient cause, and to deliver them from unlawful custody. It is then
Board of Pardons and Parole has jurisdiction over his case." 9 No mention essentially a writ of inquiry and is granted to test the right under which a
was made of Jesus Cabangunay. person is detained.3

Upon direct questioning from the Court during the hearing, both Paquinto and Under our Constitution, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus cannot be
Cabangunay disowned Atty. Mabuti as their counsel and said they had never suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety
seen nor talked to him before. Paquinto denied ever having authorized him to requires it.4 Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, it extends,
write the letter. Instead, the two prisoners reiterated their plea to be released except as otherwise provided by law, to all cases of illegal confinement or
on the strength of the Olaguer decision. detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful
custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. It is not
The petitioners further contend in their memorandum that a re-examination of available, however, under the instances enumerated in Section 4 of the said
the ruling in Cruz v. Enrile 10 in relation to the case of Tan v. Barrios, 11 is Rule which reads:
necessary in view of certain supervening events. These are the failure of the
Department of Justice to file the informations against the prisoners; the Sec. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. — If it appears that
decision of the UNHRC declaring admissible the communication the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer
Page 27 of 101
under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of On the said date, Special Investigators Resurreccion and Erum appeared and
a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the produced Larkins at the hearing. Atty. Orlando Dizon of the NBI acted as their
process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; counsel. 14 The Office of the Solicitor General representing the People of the
or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be Philippines made no appearance.15 Neither did Judge Caballes, for he had
discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or not received a copy of the resolution. On the other hand, the petitioner therein,
order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a Felicitas S. Cuyag, appeared with her counsel, who manifested that should the
person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a court order the release of Larkins the alternative prayer for certiorari would be
person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment. deemed abandoned. 16

In this petition for review, the petitioners want us to set aside and reverse the After hearing the arguments of the parties, the Court of Appeals rendered the
decision of 1 February 1995 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. challenged decision, holding that:
36273,5 a petition for habeas corpus and certiorari with a prayer for a
temporary restraining order, ordering the herein petitioners to immediately From the arguments presented by the parties, we resolve to order the
release Lawrence A. Larkins from their custody and declaring moot the immediate release of Larkins from his present confinement on the ground that
alternative relief of certiorari. the complaint presented to the NBI by complainant Desiree Alinea on the
basis of which Larkins was detained without a warrant of arrest for rape did not
The antecedent facts of the case as culled from the challenged decision and meet the legal requirements provided for in Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.
the pleadings of the parties are neither complicated nor disputed.
Furthermore, on the day the detention of Larkins commenced, i.e.,
On 16 September 1993, a warrant of arrest was issued by Judge Manuel immediately after the NBI was served with the Order of the Pasig RTC for his
Padolina of Branch 162 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig, Metro release on bail in connection with the BP 22 cases, no other criminal complaint
Manila, against accused Lawrence Larkins in Criminal Cases Nos. 101189-92 or information had been filed or pending in any court. It was only sometime
for violations of B.P. Blg. 22. between November 25, 1994 (when filing of the complaint was approved by
the Rizal Provincial Prosecutor) and November 29, 1994 (the date appearing
On 20 November 1994, a certain Desiree Alinea executed and filed before the on the Urgent Motion for Bail filed by Larkins's former counsel, said Atty. Ulep)
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) a complaint-affidavit accusing Larkins of that the complaint for rape was filed with the Antipolo RTC.
the crime of rape allegedly committed against her on 19 November 1994 at
2:00 a.m. in Victoria Valley Subdivision, Valley Golf, Antipolo, Rizal.6 The petitioners insist that the respondent court erred in granting the petition for
habeas corpus because Larkins had already been charged with the crime of
Acting on the basis of the complaint of Alinea, petitioners Special Investigators rape and the trial court had denied his application for bail. They further claim
Flor L. Resurreccion and Antonio M. Erum, Jr. proceeded to the office of that the warrantless arrest in this case is valid for it was made under Section
Larkins in Makati, Metro Manila, on 21 November 1994 and arrested the latter, 5(b), Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.
who was thereupon positively identified by Alinea as her rapist. 7 Larkins was
then detained at the Detention Cell of the NBI, Taft Avenue, Manila. On the other hand, the private respondent contends that habeas corpus is
rendered unavailing not by the mere filing of an information, but by the
On 22 November 1994, Larkins posted his bail of P4,000.00 in Criminal Cases issuance of a warrant of arrest or warrant of commitment, which are the only
Nos. 101189-92. Judge Padolina forthwith issued an order recalling and two processes recognized by law to justify deprivation of liberty, and the order
setting aside the warrant of arrest issued on 16 September 1993 and directing of Judge Caballes of 5 January 1995 denying the petition for bail does not
the Jail Warden of the NBI Detention Cell to release Larkins from confinement qualify as such. She asserts that the petitioners have miscomprehended
"unless otherwise detained for some other cause." Paredes vs. Sandiganbayan17 because that case did not rule that the writ is
no longer available after an information (or criminal complaint for rape as in
Special Investigators Resurreccion and Erum refused to release Larkins this case) is filed against the person detained; what it stated is that the writ of
because he was still detained for another cause, specifically for the crime of habeas corpus will not issue when the person alleged to be restrained of his
rape for which he would be held for inquest. liberty is in the custody of an officer under a process issued by the court which
has jurisdiction to do so. She submits that the controlling doctrine is that
On 23 November 1994, a complaint against Larkins for rape was executed by enunciated in Ilagan vs. Ponce Enrile,18 adverted to in Sanchez vs.
Alinea.8 It contains a certification by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Ma. Paz Demetriou,19 that "[t]he filing of charges, and the issuance of the
Reyes Yson that it is "filed pursuant to Section 7, Rule 112 of the 1985 Rules corresponding warrant of arrest, against a person invalidly detained will cure
on Criminal Procedure, as amended, the accused not having opted to avail of the defect of that detention or at least deny him the right to be released
his right to preliminary investigation and not having executed a waiver because of such defect."
pursuant to Article 125 of the RPC. . . ." The complaint was filed with the RTC
of Antipolo on 2 December 1994, docketed therein as Criminal Case No. 94- We find for the petitioners.
11794, and assigned to Branch 71 of the court, presided by Judge Felix S.
Caballes. But, before we take up the substantive merits of this petition, we shall first
delve into the propriety of the petition for habeas corpus and certiorari filed by
On 2 December 1994, Larkins, through his counsel Mauricio C. Ulep, filed an private respondent Cuyag with the Court of Appeals.
Urgent Motion for Bail9 wherein he alleged, inter alia, that the evidence of guilt
against him for rape is not strong, as he had no carnal knowledge of the Concededly, the private respondent has the personality to institute on behalf of
complainant and the medical report indicates that her hymen was neither her common-law spouse, Lawrence Larkins, the habeas corpus aspect of the
lacerated nor ruptured; that he is entitled as a matter of right to bail; and that petition, as she falls within the purview of the term "some person" under
he has no intention of going out of the country or hiding away from the law. Section 3, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, which means any person who has a
legally justified interest in the freedom of the person whose liberty is restrained
On 6 December 1994, Larkins, through his new counsel, Atty. Theodore O. or who shows some authorization to make the application.20 She is not,
Te, filed in Criminal Case No. 94-11794 an Urgent Omnibus Motion for the however, the real party in interest in the certiorari aspect of the petition. Only
Dismissal of the Complaint and for Immediate Release,10 principally based on Larkins could institute a petition for certiorari to set aside the order denying his
the alleged illegality of his warrantless arrest. This motion met vigorous motions for bail and for the dismissal of the complaint against him.
opposition from the private complainant.11
It does not, however, follow that if certiorari is available to Larkins, an
In the order of 5 January 1995,12 the trial court denied the aforesaid motions, application for a writ of habeas corpus will absolutely be barred. While
thus: ordinarily, the writ of habeas corpus will not be granted when there is an
adequate remedy by writ of error or appeal or by writ of certiorari, it may,
After a careful appreciation of the arguments of the prosecution and the nevertheless, be available in exceptional cases, for the writ should not be
defense, the Court finds no legal or valid grounds to dismiss the complaint or considered subservient to procedural limitations which glorify form over
release the accused, or to grant him bail. The filing of this case against the substance.21 It must be kept in mind that although the question most often
accused, which is [a] very serious offense, justifies the grant of the motion of considered in both habeas corpus and certiorari proceedings is whether an
the prosecution for the issuance of a hold departure order. inferior court has exceeded its jurisdiction, the former involves a collateral
attack on the judgment and "reaches the body but not the record," while the
WHEREFORE, the motions of the accused are hereby denied for lack of merit, latter assails directly the judgment and "reaches the record but not the
and as prayed for by the prosecution the Bureau of Immigration and body."22
Deportation is hereby directed to include the name of the accused, Lawrence
A. Larkins, in its hold order departure list until further order from this Court. And now on the merits of the petition.

Unable to accept the ruling, Larkins' common-law wife, Felicitas S. Cuyag, The Court of Appeals granted the writ of habeas corpus because it found that
filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for habeas corpus with certiorari. the warrantless arrest of Larkins for the crime of rape "did not meet the legal
Impleaded as respondents were the herein petitioners and Judge Felix S. requirements provided for in Rule 113 of the Rules of Court." It could have in
Caballes. mind Section 5 thereof on lawful warrantless arrest.

Subsequently, the Court of Appeals issued a resolution13 ordering the Even if the arrest of a person is illegal, supervening events may bar his
respondents therein to appear and produce Lawrence A. Larkins before the release or discharge from custody. What is to be inquired into is the legality of
court on 31 January 1995 at 10:30 a.m. and to show cause why Larkins' liberty his detention as of, at the earliest, the filing of the application for a writ of
is being restrained. habeas corpus, for even if the detention is at its inception illegal, it may, by
reason of some supervening events, such as the instances mentioned in
Section 4 of Rule 102, be no longer illegal at the time of the filing of the
Page 28 of 101
application. Among such supervening events is the issuance of a judicial only where the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of
process preventing the discharge of the detained person. Thus, in Sayo vs. an officer under process issued by the court or judge, and that there are only
Chief of Police of Manila,23 this Court held: two recognized processes which justify deprivation of liberty, viz., (1)
commitment order and (2) warrant of arrest. The contention is not only a
[W]e hold that petitioners are being illegally restrained of their liberty, and their deliberate misreading of Section 4 of Rule 102 limiting its application to the
release is hereby ordered unless they are now detained by virtue of a process first part of the first sentence and disregarding the rest, but is also an undue
issued by a competent court of justice. (emphasis supplied) and unwarranted restriction of the term process. A commitment order and a
warrant of arrest are but species of judicial process.
Another is the filing of a complaint or information for the offense for which the
accused is detained, as in the instant case. By then, the restraint of liberty is In Malaloan vs. Court of Appeals,33 this Court stated:
already by virtue of the complaint or information and, therefore, the writ of
habeas corpus is no longer available. Section 4 of Rule 102 reads in part as Invariably a judicial process is defined as a writ, warrant, subpoena, or other
follows: "Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a formal writing issued by authority of law; also, the means of accomplishing an
person charged with . . . an offense in the Philippines." end, including judicial proceedings, or all writs, warrants, summonses and
orders of courts of justice or judicial officers. It is likewise held to include a writ,
Thus, in Matsura vs. Director of Prisons,24 where petitioners Macario Herce summons or order issued in a judicial proceeding to acquire jurisdiction of a
and Celso Almadovar claimed to have been illegally detained for more than person or his property, to expedite the cause or enforce the judgment, or a
one year without any complaint or information filed against them, this Court writ, warrant, mandate or other process issuing from a court of justice.
denied the petition for a writ of habeas corpus, for at the time they filed the
petition they had already been charged with the crime of treason and confined In Macondray & Co., Inc. vs. Bernabe,34 this Court quoted Corpus Juris'
by reason thereof. Harvey vs. Defensor-Santiago25 reiterates Matsura. definition of the term "process," to wit:

In Cruz vs. Montoya,26 this Court dismissed the petition for habeas corpus for As a legal term, process is a generic word of very comprehensive signification
having become academic because the information for estafa against the party and many meanings. In its broadest sense, it is equivalent to, or synonymous
whose liberty was allegedly illegally restrained had already been filed and a with "proceedings" or procedure and embraces all the steps and proceedings
warrant for his arrest had been issued, and whatever illegality might have in a cause from its commencement to its conclusion. Sometimes the term is
originally infected his detention had been cured. also broadly defined as the means whereby a court compels a compliance
with its demands. (50 C.J. 441)
In Umil vs. Ramos27 this Court, applying the last sentence of Section 4 of
Rule 102, held that the writ of habeas corpus should not be allowed after the We thus rule that the order of 5 January 1995 of the trial court also qualifies as
party sought to be released had been charged before any court. Thus: a process within the meaning of Section 4 of Rule 102.

It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here considered, criminal charges have Hence, even granting that Larkins was illegally arrested, still the petition for a
been filed in the proper courts against the petitioners. The rule is, that if a writ of habeas corpus will not prosper because his detention has become legal
person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer by virtue of the filing before the trial court of the complaint against him and by
under process issued by a court or judge, and that the court or judge had the issuance of the 5 January 1995 order.
jurisdiction to issue the process or make the order, or if such person is
charged before any court, the writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed. Even as we thus decide in favor of the petitioners, we are, nevertheless,
Section 4, Rule 102, Rules of Court, as amended is quite explicit in providing disturbed by certain incidents relative to the warrantless arrest of Larkins.
that: Firstly, assuming that it was lawful, the facts before us disclose that the
arresting officers failed to strictly comply with (1) the last paragraph of Section
Sec. 4. . . . Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court requiring that the person lawfully arrested
discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the without a warrant shall forthwith be delivered to the nearest police station or
Philippines or of a person suffering from imprisonment under lawful jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with Section 7, Rule 112;
judgment.28 (emphasis supplied) and (2) Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, providing that he
be delivered to the proper judicial authorities within thirty-six hours, the crime
It may also be said that by filing his motion for bail, Larkins admitted that he with which Larkins was charged being punishable by an afflictive penalty.
was under the custody of the court and voluntarily submitted his person to its Although the arrest was made in Makati where there is a police station and a
jurisdiction. In De Asis vs. Romero,29 this Court stated: municipal (now city) jail, Larkins was brought to the NBI Detention Cell at Taft
Avenue, Manila, and though the complaint of the offended party was executed
De Asis could have, right after his arrest, objected to the regularity of the on 23 November 1994, it was not until 2 December 1994 that the said
issuance of the warrant of arrest in question. Instead he not only filed a complaint was actually filed in court.
petition for bail with the lower court, thereby accepting the court's jurisdiction
over his person, but he also pleaded, on arraignment, to the information filed Unless satisfactorily explained, the non-compliance by the arresting officers
against him. (emphasis supplied) with the said provisions merits nothing but disapproval from the Court. In the
performance of their duty and in their commendable pursuit to stamp out
The filing of a petition or motion for bail in cases where no bail is crimes and bring criminals to the bar of justice, law enforcement authorities
recommended has the same legal import and effect as the posting of bail in should make no shortcuts, but must comply with all procedures to safeguard
cases where bail is recommended. It is settled that the giving or posting of bail the constitutional and statutory rights of accused persons. The rule of law must
by the accused is tantamount to submission of his person to the jurisdiction of always be upheld. What this Court said in Beltran vs. Garcia35 needs to be
the court. In the case of Carrington vs. Peterson,30 this Court declared: repeated:

When a defendant in a criminal case is brought before a competent court by It certainly does not speak well of officialdom, whether civilian or military, if a
virtue of a warrant of arrest or otherwise, in order to avoid the submission of person deprived of his liberty had to go to court before his rights are
his body to the jurisdiction of the court he must raise the question of the court's respected. The good name of the administration is jeopardized, without any
jurisdiction over his person at the very earliest opportunity. If he gives bail, fault on its part, by such inefficiency or inattention to duty. Every precaution
demurs to the complaint or files any dilatory plea or pleads to the merits, he should be taken against its repetition. Otherwise, the parties responsible for
thereby gives the court jurisdiction over his person. (State ex rel. John Brown this state of affairs would justly lay themselves open to the accusation that the
vs. Fitzgerald, 51 Minn., 534) greatest danger to constitutional rights comes from public officials, men of
zeal, concededly well-meaning, but without sufficient understanding of the
In United States vs. Grant,31 this Court held: implication of the rule of law.

Conceding again that the warrant issued in this case was void for the reason We also note that the trial court did not conduct a hearing of the urgent motion
that no probable cause was found by the court before issuing it, the defendant for bail, as required under Section 5, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court. The grant
waived all his rights to object to the same by appearing and giving bond. or denial of bail must be based upon the court's determination as to whether or
not the evidence of guilt is strong. This discretion may only be exercised after
While it may be true that on 6 December 1994, or four days after the filing of evidence is submitted at the hearing conducted for that
the Urgent Motion for Bail, Larkins, thru a new counsel, filed an Urgent purpose.36 The court's order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary
Omnibus Motion for Dismissal of the Complaint and for Immediate Release of the evidence for the prosecution followed by its conclusion whether or not
based on the alleged illegality of his warrantless arrest, the said motion was a the evidence of guilt is strong; otherwise, the order would be defective and
mere afterthought which came too late in the day. By then, the trial court had voidable. 37 In fact, even if the prosecutor refuses to adduce evidence in
firmly acquired jurisdiction over his person. opposition to the application to grant and fix bail, the court may ask the
prosecution such questions as would ascertain the strength of the State's
Moreover, the trial court's order of 5 January 1995 denying the urgent motion evidence or judge the adequacy of the amount of bail.38 It was thus
for bail was an unequivocal assertion of its authority to keep in custody the incumbent upon the trial court to receive the evidence for the prosecution on
person of Larkins. This order comes under the purview of the word order the urgent motion for bail. For this procedural shortcoming, Larkins should also
under the first sentence of Section 4 of Rule 102 reading: "If it appears that the be partly blamed. He did not press for a hearing after the scheduled hearing
person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer . . . on 5 December 1994 was cancelled because, as he claimed, the presiding
by virtue of [an] order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had Judge was out of the country.39
jurisdiction to . . . make the order, the writ shall not be allowed. . . ."
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED, and the decision of the Court
The foregoing renders untenable the private respondent's claim that it is the of Appeals of 1 February 1995 in CA-G.R. SP No. 36273 is hereby SET
rule in Ilagan vs. Enrile32 which must govern, that the writ may not be allowed ASIDE and ANNULLED.
Page 29 of 101
petitioner, and that the proper remedy would be reconstitution of the records of
No pronouncement as to costs. the case which should be filed with the court which rendered the decision.

SO ORDERED. Petitioner duly appealed said Order to the Court of Appeals, which on April 28,
1995, rendered the assailed Decisions8 affirming the decision of the trial court
Padilla, Bellosillo, Quiason and Kapunan, JJ., concur. with the modification that "in the interest of orderly administration of justice"
and "under the peculiar facts of the case" petitioner may be transferred to the
Bureau of Corrections in Muntinlupa City without submission of the
requirements (Mittimus, Decision and Information) but without prejudice to the
Republic of the Philippines reconstitution of the original records.
SUPREME COURT
Manila The Motion for Reconsideration of the aforesaid Order having been denied for
lack of merit,9 petitioner is now before us on certiorari, assigning the following
SECOND DIVISION errors of law:10

G.R. No. 122954 February 15, 2000 I. WHETHER OR NOT, UNDER THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF
THIS CASE, WHERE THE RECORDS OF CONVICTION WERE LOST, THE
NORBERTO FERIA Y PACQUING, petitioner, PETITIONER'S CONTINUED INCARCERATION IS JUSTIFIED UNDER THE
vs. LAW.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF
CORRECTIONS, MUNTINLUPA, METRO MANILA (IN PLACE OF THE JAIL COROLLARY TO THIS, WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS'
WARDEN OF THE MANILA CITY JAIL), THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF RESOLUTION, AFFIRMING THE DENIAL OF HEREIN APPELLANT'S
BRANCH II, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA, and THE CITY PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS IS, IN CONTEMPLATION OF LAW, A
PROSECUTOR, CITY OF MANILA, respondents. JUDGMENT OR A SUBSTITUTE JUDGMENT, WHICH CAN BE UTILIZED
AS A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR HIS INCARCERATION.
QUISUMBING, J.:
II. WHETHER OR NOT THE RECONSTITUTION OF OFFICIAL RECORDS
The mere loss or destruction of the records of a criminal case subsequent to LOST/DESTROYED SHOULD BE INITIATED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND
conviction of the accused will not render the judgment of conviction void, nor ITS ORGANS, WHO ARE IN CUSTODY OF SUCH, OR BY THE PRISONER,
will it warrant the release of the convict by virtue of a writ of habeas corpus. WHOSE LIBERTY IS RESTRAINED.
The proper remedy is the reconstitution of judicial records which is as much a
duty of the prosecution as of the defense. Petitioner argues that his detention is illegal because there exists no copy of a
valid judgment as required by Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 120 of the Rules of
Subject of this petition for review on certiorari are (1) the Decision dated April Court,11 and that the evidence considered by the trial court and Court of
28, 1995, of the Eighth Division of the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the Appeals in the habeas corpus proceedings did not establish the contents of
dismissal of the petition for habeas corpus filed by petitioner, and (2) the such judgment. Petitioner further contends that our ruling in Gunabe v.
Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated December 1, 1995, which denied the Director of Prisons, 77 Phil. 993, 995 (1947), that "reconstitution is as much
Motion for Reconsideration. As hereafter elucidated, we sustain the judgment the duty of the prosecution as of the defense" has been modified or
of respondent appellate court. abandoned in the subsequent case of Ordonez v. Director of Prisons, 235
SCRA 152, 155 (1994), wherein we held that "[i]t is not the fault of the
Based on the available records and the admissions of the parties, the prisoners that the records cannot now be found. If anyone is to be blamed, it
antecedents of the present petition are as follows: surely cannot be the prisoners, who were not the custodians of those records."

Petitioner Norberto Feria y Pacquing has been under detention since May 21, In its Comment,12 the Office of the Solicitor General contends that the sole
1981, up to present1 by reason of his conviction of the crime of Robbery with inquiry in this habeas corpus proceeding is whether or not there is legal basis
Homicide, in Criminal Case No. 60677, by the Regional Trial Court of Manila, to detain petitioner. The OSG maintains that public respondents have more
Branch 2, for the jeepney hold-up and killing of United States Peace Corps than sufficiently shown the existence of a legal ground for petitioner's
Volunteer Margaret Viviene Carmona. continued incarceration, viz., his conviction by final judgment, and under
Section 4 of Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, the discharge of a person
Some twelve (12) years later, or on June 9, 1993, petitioner sought to be suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment is not authorized. Petitioner's
transferred from the Manila City Jail to the Bureau of Corrections in Muntinlupa remedy, therefore, is not a petition for habeas corpus but a proceeding for the
City,2 but the Jail Warden of the Manila City Jail informed the Presiding Judge reconstitution of judicial records.
of the RTC-Manila, Branch 2, that the transfer cannot be effected without the
submission of the requirements, namely, the Commitment Order or Mittimus, The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus, whose origin is traced to antiquity,
Decision, and Information.3 It was then discovered that the entire records of was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons
the case, including the copy of the judgment, were missing. In response to the from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal
inquiries made by counsel of petitioner, both the Office of the City Prosecutor freedom.13 It secures to a prisoner the right to have the cause of his detention
of Manila and the Clerk of Court of Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 2 examined and determined by a court of justice, and to have the issue
attested to the fact that the records of Criminal Case No. 60677 could not be ascertained as to whether he is held under lawful authority.14 Consequently,
found in their respective offices. Upon further inquiries, the entire records the writ may also be availed of where, as a consequence of a judicial
appear to have been lost or destroyed in the fire which occurred at the second proceeding, (a) there has been a deprivation of a constitutional right resulting
and third floor of the Manila City Hall on November 3, 1986.4 in the restraint of a person, (b) the court had no jurisdiction to impose the
sentence, or (c) an excessive penalty has been imposed, as such sentence is
On October 3, 1994, petitioner filed a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of void as to such excess.15 Petitioner's claim is anchored on the first ground
Habeas Corpus5 with the Supreme Court against the Jail Warden of the considering, as he claims, that his continued detention, notwithstanding the
Manila City Jail, the Presiding Judge of Branch 2, Regional Trial Court of lack of a copy of a valid judgment of conviction, is violative of his constitutional
Manila, and the City Prosecutor of Manila, praying for his discharge from right to due process.
confinement on the ground that his continued detention without any valid
judgment is illegal and violative of his constitutional right to due process. Based on the records and the hearing conducted by the trial court, there is
sufficient evidence on record to establish the fact of conviction of petitioner
In its Resolution dated October 10, 1994,6 the Second Division of this Court which serves as the legal basis for his detention. Petitioner made judicial
resolved — admissions, both verbal and written, that he was charged with and convicted
of the crime of Robbery with Homicide, and sentenced to suffer imprisonment
. . . (a) to ISSUE the Writ of Habeas Corpus; (b) to ORDER the Executive "habang buhay".
Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Manila to conduct an immediate RAFFLE
of this case among the incumbent judges thereof; and (c) to REQUIRE [1] the In its Order dated October 17, 1994, the RTC-Manila, Branch 9, made the
Judge to whom this case is raffled to SET the case for HEARING on Thursday, finding that —16
October 13, 1994 at 8:30 A.M., try and decide the same on the merits and
thereafter FURNISH this Court with a copy of his decision thereon; [2] the During the trial and on manifestation and arguments made by the accused, his
respondents to make a RETURN of the Writ on or before the close of office learned counsel and Solicitor Alexander G. Gesmundo who appeared for the
hours on Wednesday, October 12, 1994 and APPEAR PERSONALLY and respondents, it appears clear and indubitable that:
PRODUCE the person of Norberto Feria y Pa[c]quing on the aforesaid date
and time of hearing to the Judge to whom this case is raffled, and [3] the (A) Petitioner had been charged with Robbery with Homicide in Criminal Case
Director General, Philippine National Police, through his duly authorized No. 60677, Illegal Possession of Firearm in Criminal Case No. 60678 and
representative(s) to SERVE the Writ and Petition, and make a RETURN Robbery in Band in Criminal Case No. 60867. . . In Criminal Case No. 60677
thereof as provided by law and, specifically, his duly authorized (Robbery with Homicide) the accused admitted in open Court that a decision
representative(s) to APPEAR PERSONALLY and ESCORT the person of was read to him in open Court by a personnel of the respondent Court (RTC
Norberto Feria y Pa[c]quing at the aforesaid date and time of hearing. Branch II) sentencing him to Life Imprisonment (Habang buhay) . . . (emphasis
supplied).
The case was then raffled to Branch 9 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
which on November 15, 1994, after hearing, issued an Order7 dismissing the Further, in the Urgent Motion for the Issuance of Commitment Order of the
case on the ground that the mere loss of the records of the case does not Above Entitled Criminal Case dated June 8, 1993,17 petitioner himself stated
invalidate the judgment or commitment nor authorize the release of the that —
Page 30 of 101
COMES NOW, the undersigned accused in the above entitled criminal case Note further that, in the present case, there is also no showing that petitioner
and unto this Honorable Court most respectfully move: duly appealed his conviction of the crime of Robbery with Homicide, hence for
all intents and purposes, such judgment has already become final and
1. That in 1981 the accused was charge of (sic) Robbery with Homicide; executory. When a court has jurisdiction of the offense charged and of the
party who is so charged, its judgment, order, or decree is not subject to
2. That after four years of trial, the court found the accused guilty and given a collateral attack by habeas corpus.24 Put another way, in order that a
Life Sentence in a promulgation handed down in 1985; (emphasis supplied). judgment may be subject to collateral attack by habeas corpus, it must be void
for lack of jurisdiction.25 Thus, petitioner's invocation of our ruling in Reyes v.
3. That after the sentence was promulgated, the Presiding Judge told the Director of Prisons, supra, is misplaced. In the Reyes case, we granted the
councel (sic) that accused has the right to appeal the decision; writ and ordered the release of the prisoner on the ground that "[i]t does not
appear that the prisoner has been sentenced by any tribunal duly established
4. That whether the de oficio counsel appealed the decision is beyond the by a competent authority during the enemy occupation" and not because there
accused comprehension (sic) because the last time he saw the counsel was were no copies of the decision and information. Here, a copy of the mittimus is
when the decision was promulgated. available. And, indeed, petitioner does not raise any jurisdictional issue.

5. That everytime there is change of Warden at the Manila City Jail attempts The proper remedy in this case is for either petitioner or public respondents to
were made to get the Commitment Order so that transfer of the accused to the initiate the reconstitution of the judgment of the case under either Act No.
Bureau of Corrections can be affected, but all in vain; 3110,26 the general law governing reconstitution of judicial records, or under
the inherent power of courts to reconstitute at any time the records of their
Petitioner's declarations as to a relevant fact may be given in evidence against finished cases in accordance with Section 5 (h) of Rule 135 of the Rules of
him under Section 23 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. This rule is based Court.27 Judicial records are subject to reconstitution without exception,
upon the presumption that no man would declare anything against himself, whether they refer to pending cases or finished cases.28 There is no sense in
unless such declaration were true,18 particularly with respect to such grave limiting reconstitution to pending cases; finished cases are just as important as
matter as his conviction for the crime of Robbery with Homicide. Further, under pending ones, as evidence of rights and obligations finally adjudicated.29
Section 4 of Rule 129, "[a]n admission, verbal or written, made by a party in
the course of the proceedings in the same case, does not require proof. The Petitioner belabors the fact that no initiative was taken by the Government to
admission may be contradicted only by a showing that it was made through reconstitute the missing records of the trial court. We reiterate, however, that
palpable mistake or that no such admission was made." Petitioner does not "reconstitution is as much the duty of the prosecution as of the defense."30
claim any mistake nor does he deny making such admissions. Petitioner's invocation of Ordoñez v. Director of Prisons, 235 SCRA 152
(1994), is misplaced since the grant of the petition for habeas corpus therein
The records also contain a certified true copy of the Monthly Report dated was premised on the loss of records prior to the filing of Informations against
January 198519 of then Judge Rosalio A. De Leon, attesting to the fact that the prisoners, and therefore "[t]he government has failed to show that their
petitioner was convicted of the crime of Robbery with Homicide on January 11, continued detention is supported by a valid conviction or by the pendency of
1985. Such Monthly Report constitutes an entry in official records under charges against them or by any legitimate cause whatsoever." In this case, the
Section 44 of Rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, which is prima facie records were lost after petitioner, by his own admission, was already convicted
evidence of facts therein stated. by the trial court of the offense charged. Further, the same incident which gave
rise to the filing of the Information for Robbery with Homicide also gave rise to
Public respondents likewise presented a certified hue copy of People's Journal another case for Illegal Possession of Firearm,31 the records of which could
dated January 18, 1985, page 2,20 issued by the National Library, containing be of assistance in the reconstitution of the present case.
a short news article that petitioner was convicted of the crime of Robbery with
Homicide and was sentenced to "life imprisonment." However, newspaper WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit, and the decision of the
articles amount to "hearsay evidence, twice removed"21 and are therefore not Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
only inadmissible but without any probative value at all whether objected to or
not,22 unless offered for a purpose other than proving the truth of the matter SO ORDERED.
asserted. In this case, the news article is admissible only as evidence that
such publication does exist with the tenor of the news therein stated. Bellosillo, Mendoza, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

As a general rule, the burden of proving illegal restraint by the respondent


rests on the petitioner who attacks such restraint. In other words, where the
return is not subject to exception, that is, where it sets forth process which on Republic of the Philippines
its face shows good ground for the detention of the prisoner, it is incumbent on SUPREME COURT
petitioner to allege and prove new matter that tends to invalidate the apparent Manila
effect of such process.23 If the detention of the prisoner is by reason of lawful
public authority, the return is considered prima facie evidence of the validity of FIRST DIVISION
the restraint and the petitioner has the burden of proof to show that the
restraint is illegal. Thus, Section 13 of Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides: G.R. No. 139789. May 12, 2000

Sec. 13. When the return evidence, and when only a plea. — If it appears that ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO, petitioner, vs. ERLINDA I. BILDNER and SYLVIA
the prisoner is in custody under a warrant of commitment in pursuance of law, K. ILUSORIO, JOHN DOE and JANE DOE, respondents. Mesm
the return shall be considered prima facie evidence of the cause of restraint,
but if he is restrained of his liberty by any alleged private authority, the return G.R. No. 139808. May 12, 2000
shall be considered only as a plea of the facts therein set forth, and the party POTENCIANO ILUSORIO, MA. ERLINDA I. BILDNER, and SYLVIA
claiming the custody must prove such facts. ILUSORIO, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and ERLINDA K.
ILUSORIO, respondents.
Public respondents having sufficiently shown good ground for the detention,
petitioner's release from confinement is not warranted under Section 4 of Rule DECISION
102 of the Rules of Court which provides that —
PARDO, J.:
Sec. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. — If it appears that the
person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer May a wife secure a writ of habeas corpus to compel her husband to live with
under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of her in conjugal bliss? The answer is no. Marital rights including coverture and
a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the living in conjugal dwelling may not be enforced by the extra-ordinary writ of
process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; habeas corpus.
or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be
discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or
order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a detention,1 or by which the rightful custody of a person is withheld from the
person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a one entitled thereto.2
person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.
"Habeas corpus is a writ directed to the person detaining another,
In the case of Gomez v. Director of Prisons, 77 Phil. 458 (1946), accused was commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner at a designated time and
convicted by the trial court of the crime of rape, and was committed to the New place, with the day and cause of his capture and detention, to do, submit to,
Bilibid Prison. Pending appeal with the Court of Appeals, the records of the and receive whatsoever the court or judge awarding the writ shall consider in
case were, for reasons undisclosed, completely destroyed or lost. Accused that behalf."3
then filed a petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus with the
Supreme Court. The Court denied the petition, ruling thus: It is a high prerogative, common-law writ, of ancient origin, the great object of
which is the liberation of those who may be imprisoned without sufficient
The petition does not make out a case. The Director of Prisons is holding the cause.4 It is issued when one is deprived of liberty or is wrongfully prevented
prisoner under process issued by a competent court in pursuance of a lawful, from exercising legal custody over another person.5
subsisting judgment. The prisoner himself admits the legality of his detention.
The mere loss or destruction of the record of the case does not invalidate the The petition of Erlinda K. Ilusorio6 is to reverse the decision7 of the Court of
judgment or the commitment, or authorize the prisoner's release. Appeals and its resolution8 dismissing the application for habeas corpus to
have the custody of her husband, lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio and enforce
consortium as the wife.
Page 31 of 101
incapacitated. Soundness of mind does not hinge on age or medical condition
On the other hand, the petition of Potenciano Ilusorio9 is to annul that portion but on the capacity of the individual to discern his actions.
of the decision of the Court of Appeals giving Erlinda K. Ilusorio visitation
rights to her husband and to enjoin Erlinda and the Court of Appeals from After due hearing, the Court of Appeals concluded that there was no unlawful
enforcing the visitation rights. restraint on his liberty.

The undisputed facts are as follows: The Court of Appeals also observed that lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio did not
request the administrator of the Cleveland Condominium not to allow his wife
Erlinda Kalaw Ilusorio is the wife of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio. and other children from seeing or visiting him. He made it clear that he did not
object to seeing them.
Potenciano Ilusorio is about 86 years of age possessed of extensive property
valued at millions of pesos. For many years, lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio was As to lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio‘s mental state, the Court of Appeals observed
Chairman of the Board and President of Baguio Country Club. that he was of sound and alert mind, having answered all the relevant
questions to the satisfaction of the court.
On July 11, 1942, Erlinda Kalaw and Potenciano Ilusorio contracted
matrimony and lived together for a period of thirty (30) years. In 1972, they Being of sound mind, he is thus possessed with the capacity to make choices.
separated from bed and board for undisclosed reasons. Potenciano lived at In this case, the crucial choices revolve on his residence and the people he
Urdaneta Condominium, Ayala Ave., Makati City when he was in Manila and opts to see or live with. The choices he made may not appeal to some of his
at Ilusorio Penthouse, Baguio Country Club when he was in Baguio City. On family members but these are choices which exclusively belong to Potenciano.
the other hand, Erlinda lived in Antipolo City. He made it clear before the Court of Appeals that he was not prevented from
leaving his house or seeing people. With that declaration, and absent any true
Out of their marriage, the spouses had six (6) children, namely: Ramon restraint on his liberty, we have no reason to reverse the findings of the Court
Ilusorio (age 55); Erlinda Ilusorio Bildner (age 52); Maximo (age 50); Sylvia of Appeals.
(age 49); Marietta (age 48); and Shereen (age 39).
With his full mental capacity coupled with the right of choice, Potenciano
On December 30, 1997, upon Potenciano‘s arrival from the United States, he Ilusorio may not be the subject of visitation rights against his free choice.
stayed with Erlinda for about five (5) months in Antipolo City. The children, Otherwise, we will deprive him of his right to privacy. Needless to say, this will
Sylvia and Erlinda (Lin), alleged that during this time, their mother gave run against his fundamental constitutional right.
Potenciano an overdose of 200 mg instead of 100 mg Zoloft, an
antidepressant drug prescribed by his doctor in New York, U.S.A. As a The Court of Appeals exceeded its authority when it awarded visitation rights
consequence, Potenciano‘s health deteriorated. in a petition for habeas corpus where Erlinda never even prayed for such right.
The ruling is not consistent with the finding of subject‘s sanity.
On February 25, 1998, Erlinda filed with the Regional Trial Court, Antipolo City
a petition10 for guardianship over the person and property of Potenciano When the court ordered the grant of visitation rights, it also emphasized that
Ilusorio due to the latter‘s advanced age, frail health, poor eyesight and the same shall be enforced under penalty of contempt in case of violation or
impaired judgment. refusal to comply. Such assertion of raw, naked power is unnecessary.

On May 31, 1998, after attending a corporate meeting in Baguio City, The Court of Appeals missed the fact that the case did not involve the right of
Potenciano Ilusorio did not return to Antipolo City and instead lived at a parent to visit a minor child but the right of a wife to visit a husband. In case
Cleveland Condominium, Makati. the husband refuses to see his wife for private reasons, he is at liberty to do so
without threat of any penalty attached to the exercise of his right.
On March 11, 1999, Erlinda filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for
habeas corpus to have the custody of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio. She alleged No court is empowered as a judicial authority to compel a husband to live with
that respondents11 refused petitioner‘s demands to see and visit her husband his wife. Coverture cannot be enforced by compulsion of a writ of habeas
and prohibited Potenciano from returning to Antipolo City. corpus carried out by sheriffs or by any other mesne process. That is a matter
beyond judicial authority and is best left to the man and woman‘s free choice.
After due hearing, on April 5, 1999, the Court of Appeals rendered decision the
dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, in G. R. No. 139789, the Court DISMISSES the petition for
lack of merit. No costs.
"WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing disquisitions, judgment is hereby
rendered: In G. R. No. 139808, the Court GRANTS the petition and nullifies the decision
of the Court of Appeals insofar as it gives visitation rights to respondent
"(1) Ordering, for humanitarian consideration and upon petitioner‘s Erlinda K. Ilusorio. No costs.
manifestation, respondents Erlinda K. Ilusorio Bildner and Sylvia Ilusorio-Yap,
the administrator of Cleveland Condominium or anywhere in its place, his SO ORDERED.
guards and Potenciano Ilusorio‘s staff especially Ms. Aurora Montemayor to
allow visitation rights to Potenciano Ilusorio‘s wife, Erlinda Ilusorio and all her Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno, Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ.,
children, notwithstanding any list limiting visitors thereof, under penalty of concur.
contempt in case of violation of refusal thereof; xxx

"(2) ORDERING that the writ of habeas corpus previously issued be recalled
and the herein petition for habeas corpus be DENIED DUE COURSE, as it is Republic of the Philippines
hereby DISMISSED for lack of unlawful restraint or detention of the subject of SUPREME COURT
the petition. Manila

"SO ORDERED."12 FIRST DIVISION

Hence, the two petitions, which were consolidated and are herein jointly G.R. No. 172813 July 20, 2006
decided.
IVY JOAN P. REYES-TABUJARA, petitioner,
As heretofore stated, a writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal vs.
confinement or detention,13 or by which the rightful custody of a person is HON. COURT OF APPEALS and ERNESTO A. TABUJARA III,
withheld from the one entitled thereto. It is available where a person continues respondents.
to be unlawfully denied of one or more of his constitutional freedoms, where
there is denial of due process, where the restraints are not merely involuntary DECISION
but are unnecessary, and where a deprivation of freedom originally valid has
later become arbitrary.14 It is devised as a speedy and effectual remedy to CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
relieve persons from unlawful restraint, as the best and only sufficient defense
of personal freedom.15 Before Us is a Petition for Certiorari seeking the reversal of the Resolutions
dated 2 June 2006 and 7 June 2006 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-
The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into G.R. SP No. 94699.1 The 2 June 2006 Resolution restrained Judge Fatima
all manner of involuntary restraint, and to relieve a person therefrom if such Gonzales-Asdala, Pairing Judge of Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC),
restraint is illegal.16 Branch 86, from enforcing her Order dated 31 May 2006 while the Resolution
of 7 June 2006 set aside and nullified the Order she issued on 1 June 2006.
To justify the grant of the petition, the restraint of liberty must be an illegal and
involuntary deprivation of freedom of action.17 The illegal restraint of liberty In her Petition, petitioner alleges that she and private respondent were married
must be actual and effective, not merely nominal or moral.18 on 26 November 2000 at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception,
Intramuros, Manila. Their union was blessed with a son, Carlos Iñigo, who was
The evidence shows that there was no actual and effective detention or born on 5 July 2002. Apparently, the couple's marital bliss was only short-lived
deprivation of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio‘s liberty that would justify the for immediately after their wedding, their relationship was already beset by
issuance of the writ. The fact that lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio is about 86 years frequent squabbles which persisted even after the birth of their son. Despite
of age, or under medication does not necessarily render him mentally their problems, petitioner and private respondent, together with their son,
stayed at their conjugal home in Capitol Homes, Quezon City.
Page 32 of 101
On 31 May 2006, petitioner filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Order
Since 11 March 2006, however, petitioner had been staying at her sister's Respondent to Comply with the Writ of Habeas Corpus with Urgent Motion for
house in Brixton Hills, Quezon City, because they were awaiting the arrival of Partial Reconsideration of the Order dated 31 May 2006.11 The Motion for
their mother from abroad. On 14 March 2006, private respondent picked up partial reconsideration pertained to that portion of Judge Bay's Order granting
Carlos Iñigo, who was with petitioner at that time. The following day, petitioner private respondent continued custody over Carlos Iñigo in alleged violation of
notified private respondent that she would fetch the child since she and her Article 213 of the Family Code stating:
sister decided to go to San Fernando, Pampanga. Private respondent
allegedly asked her to wait for him at their conjugal abode as he had Art. 213. In case of separation of the parents, parental authority shall be
something to give her. Thinking that private respondent was going to hand exercised by the parent designated by the court. The court shall take into
over to her the documents pertaining to their separation, petitioner acceded to account all relevant considerations, especially the choice of the child over
his request. While waiting for private respondent, petitioner decided to bring seven years of age, unless the parent chosen is unfit.
her and Carlos Iñigo's clothes to the car so they could leave as soon as private
respondent arrived. Much to petitioner's surprise, however, private respondent No child under seven years of age shall be separated from the mother, unless
refused to allow her to take their child. When petitioner remonstrated, private the court finds compelling reasons to order otherwise.
respondent purportedly berated, insulted, and told her that she could no longer
see their son without his permission. Petitioner also averred that when she This motion was referred by the branch clerk of court to Judge Fatima
tried to wrest Carlos Iñigo away from private respondent, the latter hit her Gonzales-Asdala, Pairing Judge of Branch 86, because Judge Bay was to go
several times and started choking her. Finally, private respondent boarded his on official leave effective 1 June 2006.
car and sped away with their son in tow.
Acting on said Motion, Judge Gonzales-Asdala issued an Order dated 31 May
Petitioner then proceeded to the East Avenue Medical Center to have her 2006, to wit:
injuries treated and also to Camp Karingal, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, to
report the matter.2 WHEREFORE, Ernesto A. Tabujara III or any person or persons acting for and
in his behalf and under his direction is hereby directed to produce the person
Since the 15 March 2006 incident, petitioner has never seen her son and has of minor Carlos Iñigo R. Tabujara before the Session Hall, Branch 87, located
been barred by private respondent from going back to their conjugal home. at 114, Hall of Justice, Quezon City on June 1, 2006 at 9:00 o'clock in the
Left with no recourse and prompted by her longing to see her son Carlos Iñigo, morning. Failing which, the more coercive process of a Bench Warrant will be
petitioner filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus with the RTC, Quezon City, to issued against said respondent, without prejudice to a declaration of contempt
compel private respondent to produce their son before the court.3 The which may be due under the obtaining circumstances.12
Petition, docketed as Spec. Proc. No. Q-06-57984, was initially raffled off to
Branch 102 of RTC, Quezon City, which issued an Order dated 23 May 20064 As it turned out, private respondent failed to appear before Judge Gonzales-
the pertinent portion of which provides: Asdala on 1 June 2006. Consequently, through the Order dated 1 June 2006,
he was declared in contempt of court and a bench warrant for his arrest was
ORDER issued.13

Filed before this Court is a verified Petition for Habeas Corpus filed by IVY Aggrieved by the Order, respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari before the
JOAN P. REYES-TABUJARA, through counsel, seeking for the production of Court of Appeals praying for the issuance of a temporary restraining order
the minor CARLOS IÑIGO R. TABUJARA, who is reportedly in the custody of and/or writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin Judge Gonzales-Asdala from:
the respondent Ernesto Tabujara III, residing at No. 72 Berlin Street, Capitol issuing a bench warrant against private respondent; implementing her Order of
Homes, Quezon City. 31 May 2006; requiring private respondent to turn over custody of Carlos Iñigo
to petitioner; and taking further action on Civil Cases No. Q-06-57760, No. Q-
Finding the Petition to be sufficient in form and substance, the same is hereby 06-57857,14 and Spec. Proc. No. Q-06-57984.15
given due course. On 2 June 2006, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution restraining the
ACCORDINGLY, the respondent Ernesto A. Tabujara III is hereby directed to implementation of Judge Gonzales-Asdala's Order of 31 May 2006.
produce the living person of the minor CARLOS IÑIGO R. TABUJARA, before
the Court during the hearing of this Petition which for that purpose is hereby Later, another Resolution was issued by the Court of Appeals setting aside
set on 25 May 2006 at 10:00 A.M., and to show cause why, as alleged, the and nullifying the 1 June 2006 Order of Judge Gonzales-Asdala.
subject minor has been allegedly restrained of his liberty and detained by him.
Observance of the Order is a way of effecting the return of this writ, as Hence, this Petition for Certiorari raising the following grounds:
required by law.5
JUDGE FATIMA GONZALES-GONZALES-ASDALA ACTED WITHIN
On the scheduled hearing, private respondent appeared before the court BOUNDS OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE ORDER DATED 31 MAY
without Carlos Iñigo. According to him, Carlos Iñigo was then vacationing at 2006, AS WELL AS THE ORDER AND BENCH WARRANTS ISSUED ON
Tagaytay Highlands and that he did not have sufficient time to fetch the child JUNE 1, 2006 IN HER CAPACITY AS PAIRING JUDGE OF BRANCH 86 IN
for the hearing since he was informed of the court's order only on the evening THE ABSENCE OF ITS PRESIDING JUDGE.
of 24 March 2006.6
THE ORDER OF MAY 31, 2006 HAS ALREADY BEEN IMPLEMENTED
In the same hearing, petitioner's counsel moved for the consolidation of this BEFORE THE ISSUANCE OF SUBJECT TRO ON JUNE 2, 2006, THUS, THE
case with that pending before the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 86, docketed as TRO IS ALREADY MOOT AND ACADEMIC
Civil Case No. Q-06-57760, for violation of Republic Act No. 9262 or the "Anti-
Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004." This motion was SIMILARLY, THE ORDER OF JUNE 1, 2006 AND BENCH WARRANT HAVE
granted by the court.7 ALREADY BEEN ISSUED AND SERVED UPON PRIVATE RESPONDENT
ON 1 JUNE 2006 OR EVEN BEFORE THE TRO WAS ISSUED BY
On 25 May 2006, petitioner filed with the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 86, an RESPONDENT COURT.
Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Hear Writ of Habeas Corpus on 26 May 2006 at
8:30 A.M.8 THE MATTER OF THE HABEAS CORPUS HAS BEEN SQUARELY RAISED
Subsequently, Presiding Judge Teodoro Bay of the RTC, Quezon City, Branch BEFORE RESPONDENT COURT IN SUBJECT PETITION, AND
86, issued, in chambers, an Order dated 31 May 2006 resolving, among other RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
things, the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus for the person of Carlos Iñigo – AND MANIFEST PARTIALITY IN DENYING HEREIN PETITIONER'S
MOTION TO PRODUCE THE 4-YEAR OLD MINOR BEFORE THE
After considering the records of the three (3) cases consolidated before this RESPONDENT COURT.
Court,9 the Court resolves as follows:
THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS MUST BE IMMEDIATELY EFFECTED
1. the child Carlos Iñigo R. Tabujara shall continue to be under the custody of SINCE PETITIONER IS ENTITLED TO SOLE CUSTODY OF THE MINOR
the respondent Ernesto Tabujara III until the Court shall have resolved the WHO CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM HER UNDER ART. 213 OF THE
issue of custody of said child. This is necessary to protect the child from FAMILY CODE.
emotional and psychological violence due to the misunderstanding now
existing between his parents. Petitioner contends that the subject Petition filed before the Court of Appeals
shows that Judge Gonzales-Asdala was impleaded in her capacity as
2. the Motion to Admit Amended Petition with Prayer for Temporary Protection Presiding Judge of Branch 87 when in fact, she issued the 31 May 2006 and 1
Order is GRANTED. The Temporary Protection Order dated 19 April 2006 is June 2006 Orders when she was acting as the Pairing Judge of Branch 86.
hereby extended until the prayer for Permanent Protection is resolved. Private respondent's ploy, petitioner argues, has misled the Court of Appeals
into believing that Judge Gonzales-Asdala's Orders violated the rule
3. the respondent Ernesto Tabujara III is hereby ordered to bring the child proscribing the interference by a court with the processes of another court of
Carlos Iñigo Tabujara to this Court during the hearing of these cases on July co-equal jurisdiction.
14, 2006 at 8:00 in the morning.
Also, petitioner maintains that the temporary restraining order issued by the
4. the motion for support pendente lite shall be resolved after sufficient details Court of Appeals had already been rendered moot by the incidents which
are presented to support said motion. occurred prior to their issuance. For one, the hearing on 1 June 2006 took
place as scheduled thereby rendering useless the 2 June 2006 Resolution of
5. the respondent, as previously ordered, is directed to turn over the the Court of Appeals. Similarly, the 7 June 2006 Resolution of the Court of
possession of one of the family's car to the petitioner.10 Appeals enjoining the issuance of the bench warrant became inutile as the

Page 33 of 101
bench warrant for arrest was not only issued by Judge Gonzales-Asdala but (c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and
said warrant was actually served upon private respondent on 1 June 2006.16 any further delay would prejudice the interests of the Government or of the
petitioner or the subject matter of the action is perishable;
Petitioner also claims that private respondent violated Article 213 of the Family
Code when he prevented petitioner from having access to their conjugal (d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be
abode and by forcibly separating her from Carlos Iñigo beginning 15 March useless;
2006.
In addition, petitioner takes exception to the ruling of Judge Bay giving private (e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme
respondent continued custody over Carlos Iñigo. Petitioner argues that said urgency for relief;
Order not only contravenes Article 213 of the Family Code but the same is
also utterly lacking in any legal and factual bases. (f) where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the
granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable;
Lastly, in an attempt to bolster her claim that she should have custody over
Carlos Iñigo, petitioner cites the Court of Appeals' Resolution dated 4 July (g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due
200317 granting private respondent a mere visitorial right to their son. This process;
Resolution was issued by the Court of Appeals in connection with CA-G.R.
SP. No. 77707.18 (h) where the proceedings was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no
opportunity to object; and
In his Comment, private respondent argues that the Court of Appeals
committed no grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed Resolutions. (i) where the issue raised is one purely of law or where public interest is
He contends that Judge Gonzales-Asdala, as the Pairing Judge of Quezon involved.27
City RTC, Branch 86, has the authority "to step into and take action in a case
only when the presiding judge is on leave, absent, incapacitated, or otherwise An examination of the records reveals the measures that the parties herein
unavailable."19 In this case, however, she exceeded such authority when she have undertaken to have custody of their only child. Thus, while petitioner has
issued her 31 May 2006 Order considering that Judge Bay, the Presiding continuously pressed on to regain custody of Carlos Iñigo, private respondent
Judge was yet to go on leave on 1 June 2006. It was therefore improper for has been steadfast in ensuring that the minor child stays with him. If only to
her to take over the consolidated cases involving the parties herein since protect Carlos Iñigo from the ill-effects of this virtual tug-of-war between his
Judge Bay was still performing his duty on 31 May 2006. parents, and to allow the Court of Appeals to proceed with the resolution of the
Petition for Certiorari filed by private respondent, this Court deems it proper to
Private respondent also disputes petitioner's assertion that the acts sought to give due course to this Petition. We believe that the urgent necessity for the
be restrained by the Court of Appeals' Resolutions were already fait accompli. resolution of this Petition is for the benefit of the minor Carlos Iñigo and not so
According to him, the fact that Judge Gonzales-Asdala's Orders of 31 May and much to protect the interest of any of the parties herein.
1 June 2006 were served upon his counsel does not mean that these were
successfully implemented. He avers that, in fact, one of the grounds of his In this case, we do not agree with petitioner's argument that the questioned
Petition for Certiorari before the Court of Appeals was the undue haste with Resolutions of the Court of Appeals have already become moot. To reiterate,
which these Orders were successively issued thereby depriving him of Judge Gonzales-Asdala was enjoined by said 2 June 2006 Resolution from
substantial and procedural due process.20 As the party aggrieved, private performing the following:
respondent insists that he has the right to question Judge Gonzales-Asdala's
Orders before a higher court. (1) implementation and/or issuance of a bench warrant of arrest of petitioner;

In addition, private respondent asserts that petitioner is guilty of forum (2) implementation of the Order of respondent Judge dated 31 May 2006;
shopping. He points out that in petitioner's original complaint in Civil Case No.
Q-06-57760, she prayed that she be granted the "sole custody and charge" of (3) requiring petitioner to turn over custody of his minor son Carlos Iñigo
Carlos Iñigo21 but this was denied by Judge Bay in his Order dated 19 April Tabujara to private respondent (petitioner herein);
2006.22 Later, petitioner filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus before the Quezon
City RTC where she again raised the issue relating to the custody of Carlos (4) taking further action and trying Civil Cases Nos. Q-06-57760, Q-06-57857,
Iñigo. Private respondent insists that petitioner is clearly trying to circumvent and Spec. Proc. No. Q-06-57984.28
the rule against forum shopping by seeking to regain custody over Carlos Iñigo
in the habeas corpus case – a relief that was already denied her by Judge Bay The general rule contemplates that injunction is only proper to restrain acts
in Civil Case No. Q-06-57760. being committed or about to be committed. Nevertheless, consummated acts
which are continuing in nature may still be enjoined by a temporary restraining
Private respondent is also of the view that jurisdiction over the petition for order.29
habeas corpus properly lies with the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 86, which
has acquired prior jurisdiction over the matter. He points out that Judge Bay In this case, it appears from the sheriff's return dated 5 June 200630 that
had even scheduled the hearing of the consolidated cases on 14 July 2006 at Judge Gonzales-Asdala's Order of 1 June 2006 was indeed served upon
which time he is supposed to bring Carlos Iñigo to the court. private respondent at his office in Makati City, as well as at his father's house
in UP Diliman, Quezon City, and yet it is not shown that his arrest had been
Preliminarily, we shall address the procedural infirmity obtaining in this implemented. Clearly then, the Resolutions of the Court of Appeals had not
Petition. become useless as alleged by petitioner.

Petitioner herself admits that the present Petition was filed without her first Even assuming that, as petitioner insists, the issuance of the bench warrant
seeking the reconsideration of the two assailed Resolutions of the Court of for the arrest of private respondent and the conduct of the 1 June 2006
Appeals. She contends, however, that there were instances in the past when hearing may no longer be restrained still, the remainder of the acts sought to
this Court allowed the filing of a petition for certiorari sans prior recourse to a be enjoined remain the proper subjects of the temporary restraining order
motion for reconsideration citing the cases of Candido v. Camacho23 and issued on 2 June 2006. Thus, said Resolution was still able to restrain Judge
Metro Transit Organization, Inc. v. Court of Appeals.24 Gonzales-Asdala from compelling private respondent to turn over custody of
Carlos Iñigo to petitioner and from taking any further action with respect to the
In the case of Candido, this Court held that: consolidated cases before the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 86. For these,
We have ruled that "(a) prior motion for reconsideration is not indispensable petitioner's contention regarding the mootness of the impugned Resolutions
for commencement of certiorari proceedings if the errors sought to be does not deserve merit.
corrected in such proceedings had been duly heard and passed upon or were As regards the issue of whether the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse
similar to the issues already resolved by the tribunal or agency below. of discretion in issuing the impugned Resolutions, we rule in the negative.
Accordingly, the Court has excused the non-filing of a motion for
reconsideration when such motion would be basically pro-forma in nature and It is settled doctrine that grave abuse of discretion is present "when there is a
content, and where x x x the questions raised are essentially legal in nature." capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
In the case at bar, the parties have argued their positions and have been duly jurisdiction, such as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or despotic
heard by the RTC before it issued the assailed injunction order. Moreover, as manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be so patent
the issues involved therein are essentially legal, the filing of motion for and gross so as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal
reconsideration assailing the RTC's injunction order may be properly to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law."31
dispensed with.25
In this case, we perceive no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court
In Metro Transit Organization, Inc., we declared the general rule to be "that a of Appeals. The assailed Resolutions were not issued whimsically nor
motion for reconsideration is indispensable before resort to the special civil capriciously. As alleged in the Petition before the Court of Appeals, Judge
action for certiorari to afford the court or tribunal the opportunity to correct its Gonzales-Asdala was poised to find private respondent in contempt of court
error, if any."26 The rule however allows the following exceptions: and to issue a bench warrant for his arrest should he fail to comply with her
Order dated 31 May 2006. Bearing in mind that the validity of said Order has
(a) where the order is a patent of nullity, as where the court a quo has no yet to be resolved by the Court of Appeals, it was only proper that the
jurisdiction; temporary restraining order was issued; otherwise, private respondent would
have suffered irreparable injury should the Court of Appeals decide not to
(b) where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly sustain the validity of the 31 May 2006 Order.
raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same as those raised
and passed upon in the lower court; Petitioner also prays that we direct the Court of Appeals to effect the writ of
habeas corpus issued by the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 102, by ordering
Page 34 of 101
private respondent to immediately produce the minor child Carlos Iñigo either remedies available under such writ where an employer decides to transfer her
before the Court of Appeals itself or the RTC, Quezon City, Branch 86. workplace on the basis of copies of an anonymous letter posted therein ─
imputing to her disloyalty to the company and calling for her to leave, which
This, we cannot do. imputation it investigated but fails to inform her of the details thereof?

It is worthy to recall here the rule with regard to jurisdiction over habeas Rosario G. Lim (respondent), also known as Cherry Lim, is an administrative
corpus cases which this Court had the opportunity to clarify through In the clerk at the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO).
Matter of Application for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus Richard
Brian Thornton for and in behalf of the minor child Sequeira Jennifer Delle On June 4, 2008, an anonymous letter was posted at the door of the Metering
Francisco Thornton v. Adelfa Francisco Thornton.32 In said case, we declared Office of the Administration building of MERALCO Plaridel, Bulacan Sector, at
that both this Court and the Court of Appeals still retain their jurisdiction over which respondent is assigned, denouncing respondent. The letter reads:
habeas corpus cases despite the passage of Republic Act No. 836933 – the
law conferring upon family courts the exclusive jurisdiction over habeas corpus Cherry Lim:
cases, thus:
MATAPOS MONG LAMUNIN LAHAT NG BIYAYA NG MERALCO, NGAYON
The Court of Appeals opines that RA 8369 impliedly repealed RA 7902 and NAMAN AY GUSTO MONG PALAMON ANG BUONG KUMPANYA SA MGA
BP 129 since, by giving family courts exclusive jurisdiction over habeas corpus BUWAYA NG GOBYERNO. KAPAL NG MUKHA MO, LUMAYAS KA RITO,
cases, the lawmakers intended it to be the sole court which can issue writs of WALANG UTANG NA LOOB….1
habeas corpus. To the court a quo, the word "exclusive" apparently cannot be
construed any other way. Copies of the letter were also inserted in the lockers of MERALCO linesmen.
Informed about it, respondent reported the matter on June 5, 2008 to the
We disagree with the CA's reasoning because it will result in an iniquitous Plaridel Station of the Philippine National Police.2
situation, leaving individuals like petitioner without legal recourse in obtaining
custody of their children. Individuals who do not know the whereabouts of By Memorandum3 dated July 4, 2008, petitioner Alexander Deyto, Head of
minors they are looking for would be helpless since they cannot seek redress MERALCO‘s Human Resource Staffing, directed the transfer of respondent to
from family courts whose writs are enforceable only in their respective MERALCO‘s Alabang Sector in Muntinlupa as "A/F OTMS Clerk," effective
territorial jurisdictions. Thus, if a minor is being transferred from one place to July 18, 2008 in light of the receipt of "… reports that there were accusations
another, which seems to be the case here, the petitioner in a habeas corpus and threats directed against [her] from unknown individuals and which could
case will be left without legal remedy. This lack of recourse could not have possibly compromise [her] safety and security."
been the intention of the lawmakers when they passed the Family Courts Act
of 1997. x x x Respondent, by letter of July 10, 2008 addressed to petitioner Ruben A.
Sapitula, Vice-President and Head of MERALCO‘s Human Resource
xxxx Administration, appealed her transfer and requested for a dialogue so she
could voice her concerns and misgivings on the matter, claiming that the
The primordial consideration is the welfare and best interests of the child. We "punitive" nature of the transfer amounted to a denial of due process. Citing
rule therefore that RA 8369 did not divest the Court of Appeals and the the grueling travel from her residence in Pampanga to Alabang and back
Supreme Court of their jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases involving the entails, and violation of the provisions on job security of their Collective
custody of minors. x x x34 (Emphasis supplied.) Bargaining Agreement (CBA), respondent expressed her thoughts on the
alleged threats to her security in this wise:
It is clear from the foregoing that the trial court, the Court of Appeals, and this
Court have concurrent jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases. As the Petition xxxx
for Habeas Corpus was filed by petitioner before the trial court, the latter has
acquired jurisdiction over the petition to the exclusion of all others. To hold I feel that it would have been better . . . if you could have intimated to me the
otherwise would be to risk instances where courts of concurrent jurisdiction nature of the alleged accusations and threats so that at least I could have
might have conflicting orders.35 And, jurisdiction once acquired by a court is found out if these are credible or even serious. But as you stated, these came
not lost upon the instance of the parties but continues until the case is from unknown individuals and the way they were handled, it appears that the
terminated.36 veracity of these accusations and threats to be [sic] highly suspicious, doubtful
or are just mere jokes if they existed at all.
In view of this, we hold that petitioner's motion for the production of the minor
Carlos Iñigo should be resolved by the trial court. We cannot act on said Assuming for the sake of argument only, that the alleged threats exist as the
motion without overstepping the boundary laid down by the law with respect to management apparently believe, then my transfer to an unfamiliar place and
jurisdiction over habeas corpus cases. Parenthetically, Judge Bay had already environment which will make me a "sitting duck" so to speak, seems to betray
acted on a similar motion filed by petitioner37 and had, in fact, set the hearing the real intent of management which is contrary to its expressed concern on
of the consolidated cases on 14 July 2006 during which time private my security and safety . . . Thus, it made me think twice on the rationale for
respondent should present Carlos Iñigo before the trial court.38 management‘s initiated transfer. Reflecting further, it appears to me that
instead of the management supposedly extending favor to me, the net result
Anent the alleged violation of Article 213 of the Family Code, suffice it to state and effect of management action would be a punitive one.
here that this issue is still the subject of a Motion for Reconsideration pending
before the trial court. Respondent thus requested for the deferment of the implementation of her
transfer pending resolution of the issues she raised.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Certiorari is
hereby DIMISSED. The assailed Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 2 No response to her request having been received, respondent filed a petition5
June 2006, restraining the execution of Judge Fatima Gonzales-Asdala's for the issuance of a writ of habeas data against petitioners before the
Order dated 31 May 2006, and the Court of Appeals' Resolution dated 7 June Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bulacan, docketed as SP. Proc. No. 213-M-
2006 setting aside and nullifying Judge Gonzales-Asdala's 1 June 2006 Order, 2008.
are hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.
By respondent‘s allegation, petitioners‘ unlawful act and omission consisting of
SO ORDERED. their continued failure and refusal to provide her with details or information
about the alleged report which MERALCO purportedly received concerning
Panganiban, C.J., Ynares-Santiago, Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., J.J., threats to her safety and security amount to a violation of her right to privacy in
concur. life, liberty and security, correctible by habeas data. Respondent thus prayed
for the issuance of a writ commanding petitioners to file a written return
containing the following:

Republic of the Philippines a) a full disclosure of the data or information about respondent in relation to
SUPREME COURT the report purportedly received by petitioners on the alleged threat to her
Manila safety and security; the nature of such data and the purpose for its collection;

EN BANC b) the measures taken by petitioners to ensure the confidentiality of such data
or information; and
G.R. No. 184769 October 5, 2010
c) the currency and accuracy of such data or information obtained.
MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, ALEXANDER S. DEYTO and RUBEN A.
SAPITULA, Petitioners, Additionally, respondent prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining
vs. Order (TRO) enjoining petitioners from effecting her transfer to the MERALCO
ROSARIO GOPEZ LIM, Respondent. Alabang Sector.

DECISION By Order6 of August 29, 2008, Branch 7 of the Bulacan RTC directed
petitioners to file their verified written return. And by Order of September 5,
CARPIO MORALES, J.: 2008, the trial court granted respondent‘s application for a TRO.

The Court is once again confronted with an opportunity to define the evolving Petitioners moved for the dismissal of the petition and recall of the TRO on the
metes and bounds of the writ of habeas data. May an employee invoke the grounds that, inter alia, resort to a petition for writ of habeas data was not in
Page 35 of 101
order; and the RTC lacked jurisdiction over the case which properly belongs to WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed September 22, 2008
the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).7 Decision of the Bulacan RTC, Branch 7 in SP. Proc. No. 213-M-2008 is hereby
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. SP. Proc. No. 213-M-2008 is, accordingly,
By Decision of September 22, 2008, the trial court granted the prayers of DISMISSED. No costs.
respondent including the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction directing
petitioners to desist from implementing respondent‘s transfer until such time SO ORDERED.
that petitioners comply with the disclosures required.
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
The trial court justified its ruling by declaring that, inter alia, recourse to a writ Associate Justice
of habeas data should extend not only to victims of extra-legal killings and
political activists but also to ordinary citizens, like respondent whose rights to
life and security are jeopardized by petitioners‘ refusal to provide her with
information or data on the reported threats to her person.

Hence, the present petition for review under Rule 45 of 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure and the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data9 contending that 1) the Republic of the Philippines
RTC lacked jurisdiction over the case and cannot restrain MERALCO‘s SUPREME COURT
prerogative as employer to transfer the place of work of its employees, and 2) Manila
the issuance of the writ is outside the parameters expressly set forth in the
Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data.101avvphi1 EN BANC

Maintaining that the RTC has no jurisdiction over what they contend is clearly G.R. No. 193636 July 24, 2012
a labor dispute, petitioners argue that "although ingeniously crafted as a
petition for habeas data, respondent is essentially questioning the transfer of MARYNETTE R. GAMBOA, Petitioner,
her place of work by her employer"11 and the terms and conditions of her vs.
employment which arise from an employer-employee relationship over which P/SSUPT. MARLOU C. CHAN, in his capacity as the PNP-Provincial
the NLRC and the Labor Arbiters under Article 217 of the Labor Code have Director of Ilocos Norte, and P/SUPT. WILLIAM 0. FANG, in his capacity
jurisdiction. as Chief, Intelligence Division, PNP Provincial Office, Ilocos Norte,
Respondents.
Petitioners thus maintain that the RTC had no authority to restrain the
implementation of the Memorandum transferring respondent‘s place of work DECISION
which is purely a management prerogative, and that OCA-Circular No. 79-
2003 expressly prohibits the issuance of TROs or injunctive writs in labor- SERENO, J.:
related cases.
Before this Court is an Appeal by Certiorari (Under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Petitioners go on to point out that the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data directs Court) filed pursuant to Rule 191 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data,2
the issuance of the writ only against public officials or employees, or private seeking a review of the 9 September 2010 Decision in Special Proc. No.
individuals or entities engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or 14979 of the Regional Trial Court, First Judicial Region, Laoag City, Branch 13
information regarding an aggrieved party‘s person, family or home; and that (RTC Br. 13).3 The questioned Decision denied petitioner the privilege of the
MERALCO (or its officers) is clearly not engaged in such activities. writ of habeas data.4

The petition is impressed with merit. At the time the present Petition was filed, petitioner Marynette R. Gamboa
(Gamboa) was the Mayor of Dingras, Ilocos Norte.5 Meanwhile, respondent
Respondent‘s plea that she be spared from complying with MERALCO‘s Police Senior Superintendent (P/SSUPT.) Marlou C. Chan was the Officer-in-
Memorandum directing her reassignment to the Alabang Sector, under the Charge, and respondent Police Superintendent (P/SUPT.) William O. Fang
guise of a quest for information or data allegedly in possession of petitioners, was the Chief of the Provincial Investigation and Detective Management
does not fall within the province of a writ of habeas data. Branch, both of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office.6

Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides: On 8 December 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued
Administrative Order No. 275 (A.O. 275), "Creating an Independent
Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to Commission to Address the Alleged Existence of Private Armies in the
any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or Country."7 The body, which was later on referred to as the Zeñarosa
threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or of Commission,8 was formed to investigate the existence of private army groups
a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of (PAGs) in the country with a view to eliminating them before the 10 May 2010
data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of elections and dismantling them permanently in the future.9 Upon the
the aggrieved party. (emphasis and underscoring supplied) conclusion of its investigation, the Zeñarosa Commission released and
submitted to the Office of the President a confidential report entitled "A
The habeas data rule, in general, is designed to protect by means of judicial Journey Towards H.O.P.E.: The Independent Commission Against Private
complaint the image, privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information Armies‘ Report to the President" (the Report).10
of an individual. It is meant to provide a forum to enforce one‘s right to the
truth and to informational privacy, thus safeguarding the constitutional Gamboa alleged that the Philippine National Police in Ilocos Norte (PNP–
guarantees of a person‘s right to life, liberty and security against abuse in this Ilocos Norte) conducted a series of surveillance operations against her and
age of information technology. her aides,11 and classified her as someone who keeps a PAG.12 Purportedly
without the benefit of data verification, PNP–Ilocos Norte forwarded the
It bears reiteration that like the writ of amparo, habeas data was conceived as information gathered on her to the Zeñarosa Commission,13 thereby causing
a response, given the lack of effective and available remedies, to address the her inclusion in the Report‘s enumeration of individuals maintaining PAGs.14
extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances. Its More specifically, she pointed out the following items reflected therein:
intent is to address violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security
as a remedy independently from those provided under prevailing Rules.13 (a) The Report cited the PNP as its source for the portion regarding the status
of PAGs in the Philippines.
Castillo v. Cruz underscores the emphasis laid down in Tapuz v. del Rosario
that the writs of amparo and habeas data will NOT issue to protect purely (b) The Report stated that "x x x the PNP organized one dedicated Special
property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support of Task Group (STG) for each private armed group (PAG) to monitor and
the petitions therefor are vague or doubtful.16 Employment constitutes a counteract their activities."
property right under the context of the due process clause of the Constitution.
It is evident that respondent‘s reservations on the real reasons for her transfer (c) Attached as Appendix "F" of the Report is a tabulation generated by the
- a legitimate concern respecting the terms and conditions of one‘s PNP and captioned as "Status of PAGs Monitoring by STGs as of April 19,
employment - are what prompted her to adopt the extraordinary remedy of 2010," which classifies PAGs in the country according to region, indicates their
habeas data. Jurisdiction over such concerns is inarguably lodged by law with identity, and lists the prominent personalities with whom these groups are
the NLRC and the Labor Arbiters. associated.17 The first entry in the table names a PAG, known as the Gamboa
Group, linked to herein petitioner Gamboa.
In another vein, there is no showing from the facts presented that petitioners
committed any unjustifiable or unlawful violation of respondent‘s right to (d) Statistics on the status of PAGs were based on data from the PNP, to wit:
privacy vis-a-vis the right to life, liberty or security. To argue that petitioners‘
refusal to disclose the contents of reports allegedly received on the threats to The resolutions were the subject of a national press conference held in
respondent‘s safety amounts to a violation of her right to privacy is at best Malacañang on March 24, 2010 at which time, the Commission was also
speculative. Respondent in fact trivializes these threats and accusations from asked to comment on the PNP report that out of one hundred seventeen (117)
unknown individuals in her earlier-quoted portion of her July 10, 2008 letter as partisan armed groups validated, twenty-four (24) had been dismantled with
"highly suspicious, doubtful or are just mere jokes if they existed at all."18 And sixty-seven (67) members apprehended and more than eighty-six (86) firearms
she even suspects that her transfer to another place of work "betray[s] the real confiscated.
intent of management]" and could be a "punitive move." Her posture
unwittingly concedes that the issue is labor-related. Commissioner Herman Basbaño qualified that said statistics were based on
PNP data but that the more significant fact from his report is that the PNP has
Page 36 of 101
been vigilant in monitoring the activities of these armed groups and this an investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the
vigilance is largely due to the existence of the Commission which has Administrative Code of 1987.
continued communicating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and
PNP personnel in the field to constantly provide data on the activities of the xxx xxx xxx
PAGs. Commissioner Basbaño stressed that the Commission‘s efforts have
preempted the formation of the PAGs because now everyone is aware that By her inclusion in the list of persons maintaining PAGs, Gamboa alleged as
there is a body monitoring the PAGs movement through the PNP. she accused respondents, who are public officials, of having gathered and
Commissioner Lieutenant General Edilberto Pardo Adan also clarified that the provided information that made the Zeñarosa Commission to include her in the
PAGs are being destabilized so that their ability to threaten and sow fear list. Obviously, it was this gathering and forwarding of information supposedly
during the election has been considerably weakened. by respondents that petitioner barks at as unlawful. x x x.34

(e) The Report briefly touched upon the validation system of the PNP: Despite the foregoing findings, RTC Br. 13 nevertheless dismissed the Petition
on the ground that Gamboa failed to prove through substantial evidence that
Also, in order to provide the Commission with accurate data which is truly the subject information originated from respondents, and that they forwarded
reflective of the situation in the field, the PNP complied with the Commission‘s this database to the Zeñarosa Commission without the benefit of prior
recommendation that they revise their validation system to include those verification.35 The trial court also ruled that even before respondents assumed
PAGs previously listed as dormant. In the most recent briefing provided by the their official positions, information on her may have already been acquired.36
PNP on April 26, 2010, there are one hundred seven (107) existing PAGs. Of Finally, it held that the Zeñarosa Commission, as the body tasked to gather
these groups, the PNP reported that seven (7) PAGs have been reorganized. information on PAGs and authorized to disclose information on her, should
have been impleaded as a necessary if not a compulsory party to the
On 6 and 7 July 2010, ABS-CBN broadcasted on its evening news program Petition.37
the portion of the Report naming Gamboa as one of the politicians alleged to
be maintaining a PAG.21 Gamboa averred that her association with a PAG Gamboa then filed the instant Appeal by Certiorari dated 24 September
also appeared on print media.22 Thus, she was publicly tagged as someone 2010,38 raising the following assignment of errors:
who maintains a PAG on the basis of the unverified information that the PNP-
Ilocos Norte gathered and forwarded to the Zeñarosa Commission.23 As a 1. The trial court erred in ruling that the Zeñarosa Commission be impleaded
result, she claimed that her malicious or reckless inclusion in the enumeration as either a necessary or indispensable party;
of personalities maintaining a PAG as published in the Report also made her,
as well as her supporters and other people identified with her, susceptible to 2. The trial court erred in declaring that Gamboa failed to present sufficient
harassment and police surveillance operations.24 proof to link respondents as the informant to [sic] the Zeñarosa Commission;

Contending that her right to privacy was violated and her reputation maligned 3. The trial court failed to satisfy the spirit of Habeas Data;
and destroyed, Gamboa filed a Petition dated 9 July 2010 for the issuance of a
writ of habeas data against respondents in their capacities as officials of the 4. The trial court erred in pronouncing that the reliance of the Zeñarosa
PNP-Ilocos Norte.25 In her Petition, she prayed for the following reliefs: (a) Commission to [sic] the PNP as alleged by Gamboa is an assumption;
destruction of the unverified reports from the PNP-Ilocos Norte database; (b)
withdrawal of all information forwarded to higher PNP officials; (c) rectification 5. The trial court erred in making a point that respondents are distinct to PNP
of the damage done to her honor; (d) ordering respondents to refrain from as an agency.39
forwarding unverified reports against her; and (e) restraining respondents from
making baseless reports.26 On the other hand, respondents maintain the following arguments: (a)
Gamboa failed to present substantial evidence to show that her right to privacy
The case was docketed as Special Proc. No. 14979 and was raffled to RTC in life, liberty or security was violated, and (b) the trial court correctly dismissed
Br. 13, which issued the corresponding writ on 14 July 2010 after finding the the Petition on the ground that she had failed to present sufficient proof
Petition meritorious on its face.27 Thus, the trial court (a) instructed showing that respondents were the source of the report naming her as one
respondents to submit all information and reports forwarded to and used by who maintains a PAG.
the Zeñarosa Commission as basis to include her in the list of persons
maintaining PAGs; (b) directed respondents, and any person acting on their Meanwhile, Gamboa argues that although A.O. 275 was a lawful order,
behalf, to cease and desist from forwarding to the Zeñarosa Commission, or to fulfilling the mandate to dismantle PAGs in the country should be done in
any other government entity, information that they may have gathered against accordance with due process, such that the gathering and forwarding of
her without the approval of the court; (c) ordered respondents to make a unverified information on her must be considered unlawful.41 She also
written return of the writ together with supporting affidavits; and (d) scheduled reiterates that she was able to present sufficient evidence showing that the
the summary hearing of the case on 23 July 2010.28 subject information originated from respondents.

In their Return of the Writ, respondents alleged that they had acted within the In determining whether Gamboa should be granted the privilege of the writ of
bounds of their mandate in conducting the investigation and surveillance of habeas data, this Court is called upon to, first, unpack the concept of the right
Gamboa.29 The information stored in their database supposedly pertained to to privacy; second, explain the writ of habeas data as an extraordinary remedy
two criminal cases in which she was implicated, namely: (a) a Complaint for that seeks to protect the right to informational privacy; and finally,
murder and frustrated murder docketed as NPS DOC No. 1-04-INQ-091- contextualize the right to privacy vis-à-vis the state interest involved in the
00077, and (b) a Complaint for murder, frustrated murder and direct assault case at bar.
upon a person in authority, as well as indirect assault and multiple attempted
murder, docketed as NPS DOCKET No. 1-04-INV-10-A-00009.30 The Right to Privacy

Respondents likewise asserted that the Petition was incomplete for failing to The right to privacy, as an inherent concept of liberty, has long been
comply with the following requisites under the Rule on the Writ of Habeas recognized as a constitutional right. This Court, in Morfe v. Mutuc, thus
Data: (a) the manner in which the right to privacy was violated or threatened enunciated:
with violation and how it affected the right to life, liberty or security of Gamboa;
(b) the actions and recourses she took to secure the data or information; and The due process question touching on an alleged deprivation of liberty as thus
(c) the location of the files, registers or databases, the government office, and resolved goes a long way in disposing of the objections raised by plaintiff that
the person in charge, in possession or in control of the data or information. the provision on the periodical submission of a sworn statement of assets and
They also contended that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Data, being limited to liabilities is violative of the constitutional right to privacy. There is much to be
cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, was not the said for this view of Justice Douglas: "Liberty in the constitutional sense must
proper remedy to address the alleged besmirching of the reputation of mean more than freedom from unlawful governmental restraint; it must include
Gamboa. privacy as well, if it is to be a repository of freedom. The right to be let alone is
indeed the beginning of all freedom." As a matter of fact, this right to be let
RTC Br. 13, in its assailed Decision dated 9 September 2010, dismissed the alone is, to quote from Mr. Justice Brandeis "the most comprehensive of rights
Petition. The trial court categorically ruled that the inclusion of Gamboa in the and the right most valued by civilized men."
list of persons maintaining PAGs, as published in the Report, constituted a
violation of her right to privacy, to wit: The concept of liberty would be emasculated if it does not likewise compel
respect for his personality as a unique individual whose claim to privacy and
In this light, it cannot also be disputed that by her inclusion in the list of interference demands respect. xxx.
persons maintaining PAGs, Gamboa‘s right to privacy indubitably has been
violated. The violation understandably affects her life, liberty and security xxx xxx xxx
enormously. The untold misery that comes with the tag of having a PAG could
even be insurmountable. As she essentially alleged in her petition, she fears In the leading case of Griswold v. Connecticut, Justice Douglas, speaking for
for her security that at any time of the day the unlimited powers of respondents five members of the Court, stated: "Various guarantees create zones of
may likely be exercised to further malign and destroy her reputation and to privacy. The right of association contained in the penumbra of the First
transgress her right to life. Amendment is one, as we have seen. The Third Amendment in its prohibition
against the quartering of soldiers ‗in any house‘ in time of peace without the
By her inclusion in the list of persons maintaining PAGs, it is likewise consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy. The Fourth Amendment
undisputed that there was certainly intrusion into Gamboa‘s activities. It cannot explicitly affirms the ‗right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses,
be denied that information was gathered as basis therefor. After all, under papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.‘ The Fifth
Administrative Order No. 275, the Zeñarosa Commission was tasked to Amendment in its Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to create a
investigate the existence of private armies in the country, with all the powers of zone of privacy which government may not force him to surrender to his
Page 37 of 101
detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: ‗The enumeration in the that Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution, guarantees respect for the rights
Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage of persons affected by the legislative investigation, not every invocation of the
others retained by the people." After referring to various American Supreme right to privacy should be allowed to thwart a legitimate congressional inquiry.
Court decisions, Justice Douglas continued: "These cases bear witness that In Sabio v. Gordon, we have held that the right of the people to access
the right of privacy which presses for recognition is a legitimate one." information on matters of public concern generally prevails over the right to
privacy of ordinary financial transactions. In that case, we declared that the
xxx xxx xxx right to privacy is not absolute where there is an overriding compelling state
interest. Employing the rational basis relationship test, as laid down in Morfe v.
So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy as such is accorded Mutuc, there is no infringement of the individual‘s right to privacy as the
recognition independently of its identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully requirement to disclosure information is for a valid purpose, in this case, to
deserving of constitutional protection. The language of Prof. Emerson is ensure that the government agencies involved in regulating banking
particularly apt: "The concept of limited government has always included the transactions adequately protect the public who invest in foreign securities.
idea that governmental powers stop short of certain intrusions into the Suffice it to state that this purpose constitutes a reason compelling enough to
personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one of the basic distinctions between proceed with the assailed legislative investigation.48
absolute and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the
individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the absolute state. In Therefore, when the right to privacy finds tension with a competing state
contrast, a system of limited government, safeguards a private sector, which objective, the courts are required to weigh both notions. In these cases,
belongs to the individual, firmly distinguishing it from the public sector, which although considered a fundamental right, the right to privacy may nevertheless
the state can control. Protection of this private sector — protection, in other succumb to an opposing or overriding state interest deemed legitimate and
words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual — has become increasingly compelling.
important as modern society has developed. All the forces of a technological
age — industrialization, urbanization, and organization — operate to narrow The Writ of Habeas Data
the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity
to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the difference The writ of habeas data is an independent and summary remedy designed to
between a democratic and a totalitarian society." protect the image, privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information of
an individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one‘s right to the truth and to
In Ople v. Torres, this Court traced the constitutional and statutory bases of informational privacy.49 It seeks to protect a person‘s right to control
the right to privacy in Philippine jurisdiction, to wit: information regarding oneself, particularly in instances in which such
information is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve
Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that the right of privacy is unlawful ends.50 It must be emphasized that in order for the privilege of the
recognized and enshrined in several provisions of our Constitution. It is writ to be granted, there must exist a nexus between the right to privacy on the
expressly recognized in section 3 (1) of the Bill of Rights: one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. Section 1 of the
Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data reads:
Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be
inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order Habeas data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person
requires otherwise as prescribed by law. whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private
Other facets of the right to privacy are protected in various provisions of the individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data
Bill of Rights, viz: information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the
aggrieved party.
Sec. 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 The notion of informational privacy is still developing in Philippine law and
laws. jurisprudence. Considering that even the Latin American habeas data, on
which our own Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data is rooted, finds its origins from
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, the European tradition of data protection,51 this Court can be guided by cases
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature on the protection of personal data decided by the European Court of Human
and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of Rights (ECHR). Of particular note is Leander v. Sweden,52 in which the ECHR
arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by balanced the right of citizens to be free from interference in their private affairs
the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and with the right of the state to protect its national security. In this case, Torsten
the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be Leander (Leander), a Swedish citizen, worked as a temporary replacement
searched and the persons or things to be seized. museum technician at the Naval Museum, which was adjacent to a restricted
military security zone.53 He was refused employment when the requisite
xxx xxx xxx personnel control resulted in an unfavorable outcome on the basis of
information in the secret police register, which was kept in accordance with the
Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits Personnel Control Ordinance and to which he was prevented access.54 He
prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. claimed, among others, that this procedure of security control violated Article 8
Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national of the European Convention of Human Rights55 on the right to privacy, as
security, public safety, or public health as may be provided by law. nothing in his personal or political background would warrant his classification
in the register as a security risk.56
xxx xxx xxx
The ECHR ruled that the storage in the secret police register of information
Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and relating to the private life of Leander, coupled with the refusal to allow him the
private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not opportunity to refute the same, amounted to an interference in his right to
contrary to law shall not be abridged. respect for private life.57 However, the ECHR held that the interference was
justified on the following grounds: (a) the personnel control system had a
Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. legitimate aim, which was the protection of national security,58 and (b) the
Personnel Control Ordinance gave the citizens adequate indication as to the
Zones of privacy are likewise recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil scope and the manner of exercising discretion in the collection, recording and
Code provides that "every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy release of information by the authorities.59 The following statements of the
and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons" and punishes as ECHR must be emphasized:
actionable torts several acts by a person of meddling and prying into the
privacy of another. It also holds a public officer or employee or any private 58. The notion of necessity implies that the interference corresponds to a
individual liable for damages for any violation of the rights and liberties of pressing social need and, in particular, that it is proportionate to the legitimate
another person, and recognizes the privacy of letters and other private aim pursued (see, inter alia, the Gillow judgment of 24 November 1986, Series
communications. The Revised Penal Code makes a crime the violation of A no. 109, p. 22, § 55).
secrets by an officer, the revelation of trade and industrial secrets, and
trespass to dwelling. Invasion of privacy is an offense in special laws like the 59. However, the Court recognises that the national authorities enjoy a margin
Anti-Wiretapping Law, the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act and the Intellectual of appreciation, the scope of which will depend not only on the nature of the
Property Code. The Rules of Court on privileged communication likewise legitimate aim pursued but also on the particular nature of the interference
recognize the privacy of certain information. involved. In the instant case, the interest of the respondent State in protecting
its national security must be balanced against the seriousness of the
Unlike the dissenters, we prescind from the premise that the right to privacy is interference with the applicant‘s right to respect for his private life.
a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution, hence, it is the burden of
government to show that A.O. No. 308 is justified by some compelling state There can be no doubt as to the necessity, for the purpose of protecting
interest and that it is narrowly drawn. x x x.46 (Emphases supplied) national security, for the Contracting States to have laws granting the
competent domestic authorities power, firstly, to collect and store in registers
Clearly, the right to privacy is considered a fundamental right that must be not accessible to the public information on persons and, secondly, to use this
protected from intrusion or constraint. However, in Standard Chartered Bank v. information when assessing the suitability of candidates for employment in
Senate Committee on Banks,47 this Court underscored that the right to posts of importance for national security.
privacy is not absolute, viz:
Admittedly, the contested interference adversely affected Mr. Leander‘s
With respect to the right of privacy which petitioners claim respondent has legitimate interests through the consequences it had on his possibilities of
violated, suffice it to state that privacy is not an absolute right. While it is true access to certain sensitive posts within the public service. On the other hand,
Page 38 of 101
the right of access to public service is not as such enshrined in the Convention Following the pronouncements of the ECHR in Leander, the fact that the PNP
(see, inter alia, the Kosiek judgment of 28 August 1986, Series A no. 105, p. released information to the Zeñarosa Commission without prior communication
20, §§ 34-35), and, apart from those consequences, the interference did not to Gamboa and without affording her the opportunity to refute the same cannot
constitute an obstacle to his leading a private life of his own choosing. be interpreted as a violation or threat to her right to privacy since that act is an
inherent and crucial component of intelligence-gathering and
In these circumstances, the Court accepts that the margin of appreciation investigation.1âwphi1 Additionally, Gamboa herself admitted that the PNP had
available to the respondent State in assessing the pressing social need in the a validation system, which was used to update information on individuals
present case, and in particular in choosing the means for achieving the associated with PAGs and to ensure that the data mirrored the situation on the
legitimate aim of protecting national security, was a wide one. field.66 Thus, safeguards were put in place to make sure that the information
collected maintained its integrity and accuracy.
xxx xxx xxx
Pending the enactment of legislation on data protection, this Court declines to
66. The fact that the information released to the military authorities was not make any further determination as to the propriety of sharing information
communicated to Mr. Leander cannot by itself warrant the conclusion that the during specific stages of intelligence gathering. To do otherwise would
interference was not "necessary in a democratic society in the interests of supplant the discretion of investigative bodies in the accomplishment of their
national security", as it is the very absence of such communication which, at functions, resulting in an undue encroachment on their competence.
least partly, ensures the efficacy of the personnel control procedure (see,
mutatis mutandis, the above-mentioned Klass and Others judgment, Series A However, to accord the right to privacy with the kind of protection established
no. 28, p. 27, § 58). in existing law and jurisprudence, this Court nonetheless deems it necessary
to caution these investigating entities that information-sharing must observe
The Court notes, however, that various authorities consulted before the issue strict confidentiality. Intelligence gathered must be released exclusively to the
of the Ordinance of 1969, including the Chancellor of Justice and the authorities empowered to receive the relevant information. After all, inherent to
Parliamentary Ombudsman, considered it desirable that the rule of the right to privacy is the freedom from "unwarranted exploitation of one‘s
communication to the person concerned, as contained in section 13 of the person or from intrusion into one‘s private activities in such a way as to cause
Ordinance, should be effectively applied in so far as it did not jeopardise the humiliation to a person‘s ordinary sensibilities."67
purpose of the control (see paragraph 31 above).
In this case, respondents admitted the existence of the Report, but
67. The Court, like the Commission, thus reaches the conclusion that the emphasized its confidential nature.1âwphi1 That it was leaked to third parties
safeguards contained in the Swedish personnel control system meet the and the media was regrettable, even warranting reproach. But it must be
requirements of paragraph 2 of Article 8 (art. 8-2). Having regard to the wide stressed that Gamboa failed to establish that respondents were responsible
margin of appreciation available to it, the respondent State was entitled to for this unintended disclosure. In any event, there are other reliefs available to
consider that in the present case the interests of national security prevailed her to address the purported damage to her reputation, making a resort to the
over the individual interests of the applicant (see paragraph 59 above). The extraordinary remedy of the writ of habeas data unnecessary and improper.
interference to which Mr. Leander was subjected cannot therefore be said to
have been disproportionate to the legitimate aim pursued. (Emphases Finally, this Court rules that Gamboa was unable to prove through substantial
supplied) evidence that her inclusion in the list of individuals maintaining PAGs made
her and her supporters susceptible to harassment and to increased police
Leander illustrates how the right to informational privacy, as a specific surveillance. In this regard, respondents sufficiently explained that the
component of the right to privacy, may yield to an overriding legitimate state investigations conducted against her were in relation to the criminal cases in
interest. In similar fashion, the determination of whether the privilege of the which she was implicated. As public officials, they enjoy the presumption of
writ of habeas data, being an extraordinary remedy, may be granted in this regularity, which she failed to overcome.
case entails a delicate balancing of the alleged intrusion upon the private life
of Gamboa and the relevant state interest involved. It is clear from the foregoing discussion that the state interest of dismantling
PAGs far outweighs the alleged intrusion on the private life of Gamboa,
The collection and forwarding of information by the PNP vis-à-vis the interest especially when the collection and forwarding by the PNP of information
of the state to dismantle private armies. against her was pursuant to a lawful mandate. Therefore, the privilege of the
writ of habeas data must be denied.
The Constitution explicitly mandates the dismantling of private armies and
other armed groups not recognized by the duly constituted authority.60 It also WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review is DENIED. The assailed
provides for the establishment of one police force that is national in scope and Decision in Special Proc. No. 14979 dated 9 September 2010 of the Regional
civilian in character, and is controlled and administered by a national police Trial Court, Laoag City, Br. 13, insofar as it denies Gamboa the privilege of the
commission.61 writ of habeas data, is AFFIRMED.

Taking into account these constitutional fiats, it is clear that the issuance of SO ORDERED.
A.O. 275 articulates a legitimate state aim, which is to investigate the
existence of PAGs with the ultimate objective of dismantling them MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO
permanently. Associate justice

To enable the Zeñarosa Commission to achieve its goals, A.O. 275 clothed it
with the powers of an investigative body, including the power to summon
witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony or evidence relevant to the Republic of the Philippines
investigation and use compulsory processes to produce documents, books, SUPREME COURT
and records.62 A.O. 275 likewise authorized the Zeñarosa Commission to Manila
deputize the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the National Bureau of
Investigation, the Department of Justice, the PNP, and any other law THIRD DIVISION
enforcement agency to assist the commission in the performance of its
functions.63 UDK No. 14817 January 13, 2014

Meanwhile, the PNP, as the national police force, is empowered by law to (a) IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF MINOR
enforce all laws and ordinances relative to the protection of lives and SHANG KO VINGSON YU SHIRLY VINGSON@ SHIRLY VINGSON
properties; (b) maintain peace and order and take all necessary steps to DEMAISIP, Petitioner,
ensure public safety; and (c) investigate and prevent crimes.64 vs.
JOVY CABCABAN, Respondent.
Pursuant to the state interest of dismantling PAGs, as well as the foregoing
powers and functions accorded to the Zeñarosa Commission and the PNP, the DECISION
latter collected information on individuals suspected of maintaining PAGs,
monitored them and counteracted their activities.65 One of those individuals is ABAD, J.:
herein petitioner Gamboa.
Petitioner Shirly Vingson (Shirly) alleged that Shang Ko Vingson Yu (Shang
This Court holds that Gamboa was able to sufficiently establish that the data Ko),1 her 14-year-old daughter, ran away from home on September 23, 2011.
contained in the Report listing her as a PAG coddler came from the PNP. On November 2, 2011 Shirly went to the police station in Bacolod City upon
Contrary to the ruling of the trial court, however, the forwarding of information receipt of information that Shang Ko was in the custody of respondent Jovy
by the PNP to the Zeñarosa Commission was not an unlawful act that violated Cabcaban Cabcaban), a police officer in that station. Since Cabcaban refused
or threatened her right to privacy in life, liberty or security. to release Shang Ko to her, Shirly sought the help of the National Bureau of
Investigation NBI) to rescue her child. An NBI agent, Arnel Pura Pura),
The PNP was rationally expected to forward and share intelligence regarding informed Shirly that Shang Ko was no longer with Cabcaban but was staying
PAGs with the body specifically created for the purpose of investigating the with a private organization called Calvary Kids. Pura told her, however, that
existence of these notorious groups. Moreover, the Zeñarosa Commission the child was fine and had been attending school.
was explicitly authorized to deputize the police force in the fulfillment of the
former‘s mandate, and thus had the power to request assistance from the This prompted petitioner Shirly to file a petition for habeas corpus against
latter. respondent Cabcaban and the unnamed officers of Calvary Kids before the
Court of Appeals rather than the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City citing as
reason several threats against her life in that city.
Page 39 of 101
Associate Justice
In a Resolution dated December 18, 2012, the CA resolved in CA-G.R. SP
07261 to deny the petition for its failure to clearly allege who has custody of
Shang Ko. According to the CA, habeas corpus may not be used as a means
of obtaining evidence on the whereabouts of a person or as a means of finding Republic of the Philippines
out who has specifically abducted or caused the disappearance of such SUPREME COURT
person.3 The CA denied petitioner Shirly‘s motion for reconsideration on Manila
January 8, 2013, hence, this petition for review.
SECOND DIVISION
In her Comment, respondent Cabcaban claimed that on September 28, 2011
police officers found Shang Ko crying outside a church. When queried, the G.R. No. 197597, April 08, 2015
latter refused to give any information about herself. Thus, they indorsed her
case to the Bacolod City Police Women and Children Protection Desk that IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF
Cabcaban headed. After the initial interview, Cabcaban referred Shang Ko to DATUKAN MALANG SALIBO, DATUKAN MALANG SALIBO, Petitioner, v.
Balay Pasilungan, a temporary shelter for abused women and children. WARDEN, QUEZON CITY JAIL ANNEX, BJMP BUILDING, CAMP BAGONG
DIWA, TAGUIG CITY AND ALL OTHER PERSONS ACTING ON HIS
Respondent Cabcaban further claimed that on the next day, a social worker BEHALF AND/OR HAVING CUSTODY OF DATUKAN MALANG SALIBO,
sat with the minor who said that her mother Shirly had been abusive in treating Respondents.
her. She narrated that on September 27, 2011 Shirly instructed another
daughter to give Shang Ko ₱280.00 and take her to the pier to board a boat DECISION
going to Iloilo City.5 Shang Ko was told to look for a job there and to never
come back to Bacolod City. Since she had nowhere to go when she arrived in LEONEN, J.:
Iloilo City, Shang Ko decided to return to Bacolod City with the money given
her. She went to her best friend‘s house but was turned away for fear of Shirly. Habeas corpus is the proper remedy for a person deprived of liberty due to
She called her sister so that she and her boyfriend could get her but they, too, mistaken identity. In such cases, the person is not under any lawful process
turned her down. and is continuously being illegally detained.

Respondent Cabcaban also claimed that Shang Ko pleaded with the police This is a Petition for Review1 on Certiorari of the Court of Appeals Decision2
and the social worker not to return her to her mother. As a result, the Bacolod reversing the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City
City Police filed a complaint against petitioner Shirly for violation of Republic (Taguig Hall of Justice) granting Datukan Malang Salibo's Petition for Habeas
Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, Corpus.
and Discrimination Act. The police sent notice to Shirly inviting her to a
conference but she refused to receive such notice. Two days later, however, From November 7, 2009 to December 19, 2009, Datukan Malang Salibo
she came and spoke to Cabcaban, pointing out that Shang Ko had been a (Salibo) and other Filipinos were allegedly in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj
difficult child with a tendency to steal. From their conversation, Cabcaban Pilgrimage.4 "While in Saudi Arabia, . . . Salibo visited and prayed in the cities
surmised that Shirly did not want to take her daughter back, having offered to of Medina, Mecca, Arpa, Mina and Jeddah."5 He returned to the Philippines on
pay for her daily expenses at the shelter. December 20, 2009.6

Respondent Cabcaban said that on October 29, 2011 she decided to turn over On August 3, 2010, Salibo learned that police officers of Datu Hofer Police
Shang Ko to the Calvary Kids, a private organization that gave sanctuary and Station in Maguindanao suspected him to be Butukan S. Malang.7
schooling to abandoned and abused children. On November 2, 2011 petitioner
Shirly showed up at the police station asking for her daughter. Cabcaban told Butukan S. Malang was one of the 197 accused of 57 counts of murder for
her that Shang Ko was in a sanctuary for abandoned children and that the allegedly participating in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre. He
police officer had to first coordinate with it before she can disclose where had a pending warrant of arrest issued by the trial court in People of the
Shang Ko was. But Shirly was adamant and threatened her with a lawsuit. Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al.8
Cabcaban claimed that Shang Ko‘s father was a Taiwanese and that Shirly
wanted the child back to use her as leverage for getting financial support from Salibo presented himself before the police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station
him. to clear his name. There, he explained that he was not Butukan S. Malang and
that he could not have participated in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao
Respondent Cabcaban further claimed that one year later, NBI agents led by Massacre because he was in Saudi Arabia at that time.9
Pura went to the police station to verify Shirly‘s complaint that Cabcaban had
kidnapped Shang Ko. Cabcaban accompanied the NBI agents to Calvary Kids To support his allegations, Salibo presented to the police "pertinent portions of
to talk to the institution‘s social worker, school principal, and director. They his passport, boarding passes and other documents"10 tending to prove that a
provided the NBI agents with the child‘s original case study report9 and told certain Datukan Malang Salibo was in Saudi Arabia from November 7 to
them that it was not in Shang Ko‘s best interest to return her to her mother December 19, 2009.11
who abused and maltreated her. Shang Ko herself told the NBI that she would
rather stay at Calvary Kids because she was afraid of what would happen to The police officers initially assured Salibo that they would not arrest him
her if she returned home. As proof, Shang Ko wrote a letter stating that, because he was not Butukan S. Malang.12
contrary to her mother‘s malicious insinuations, Cabcaban actually helped her
when she had nowhere to go after her family refused to take her back. Afterwards, however, the police officers apprehended Salibo and tore off page
two of his passport that evidenced his departure for Saudi Arabia on
Under Section 1, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas corpus is November 7, 2009. They then detained Salibo at the Datu Hofer Police Station
available, not only in cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any for about three (3) days.13
person is deprived of his liberty, but also in cases involving the rightful custody
over a minor. The general rule is that parents should have custody over their The police officers transferred Salibo to the Criminal Investigation and
minor children. But the State has the right to intervene where the parents, Detection Group in Cotabato City, where he was detained for another 10 days.
rather than care for such children, treat them cruelly and abusively, impairing While in Cotabato City, the Criminal Investigation and Detention Group
their growth and well-being and leaving them emotional scars that they carry allegedly made him sign and affix his thumbprint on documents.14
throughout their lives unless they are liberated from such parents and properly
counseled. On August 20, 2010, Salibo was finally transferred to the Quezon City Jail
Annex, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Building, Camp Bagong
Since this case presents factual issues and since the parties are all residents Diwa, Taguig City, where he is currently detained.15
of Bacolod City, it would be best that such issues be resolved by a Family
Court in that city. Meantime, considering the presumption that the police On September 17, 2010, Salibo filed before the Court of Appeals the Urgent
authorities acted regularly in placing Shang Ko in the custody of Calvary Kids Petition for Habeas Corpus16 questioning the legality of his detention and
the Court believes that she should remain there pending hearing and deprivation of his liberty.17 He maintained that he is not the accused Butukan
adjudication of this custody case. Besides she herself has expressed S. Malang.18
preference to stay in that place.
In the Resolution19 dated September 21, 2010, the Court of Appeals issued a
WHEREFORE, the Court SETS ASIDE the Court of Appeals Resolutions in Writ of Habeas Corpus, making the Writ returnable to the Second Vice
CA-G.R. SP 07261 dated December 18, 2012 and January 8, 2013 and Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig City (Taguig Hall of
ORDERS this custody case forwarded to the Family Court of Bacolod City for Justice).20 The Court of Appeals ordered the Warden of the Quezon City Jail
hearing and adjudication as the evidence warrants. Meantime until such court Annex to file a Return of the Writ one day before the scheduled hearing and
orders otherwise let the minor Shang Ko Vingson remain in the custody of produce the person of Salibo at the 10:00 a.m. hearing set on September 27,
Calvary Kids of Bacolod City. 2010.21

Further the Court ORDERS petitioner Shirly Vingson Shirly Vingson Demaisip Proceedings before the trial court
to pay the balance of the docket and other legal fees within 10 days from
receipt of this Resolution. On September 27, 2010, the jail guards of the Quezon City Jail Annex brought
Salibo before the trial court. The Warden, however, failed to file a Return one
SO ORDERED. day before the hearing. He also appeared without counsel during the
hearing.22
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Page 40 of 101
Thus, the trial court canceled the hearing and reset it to September 29, 2010 should be deemed a Decision of the Court of Appeals. Therefore, respondent
at 2:00 p.m.23 Warden should have directly filed his appeal before this court.48

As for respondent Warden, he maintains that petitioner Salibo was duly


On September 28, 2010, the Warden filed the Return of the Writ. However, charged in court. Even assuming that he is not the Butukan S. Malang named
during the September 29, 2010 hearing on the Return, the Warden appeared in the Alias Warrant of Arrest, petitioner Salibo should have pursued the
with Atty. Romeo L. Villante, Jr., Legal Officer/Administering Officer of the ordinary remedy of a Motion to Quash Information, not a Petition for Habeas
Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.24 Corpus.49
The issues for our resolution are:
Salibo questioned the appearance of Atty. Romeo L. Villante, Jr. on behalf of
the Warden and argued that only the Office of the Solicitor General has the First, whether the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City
authority to appear on behalf of a respondent in a habeas corpus on petitioner Salibo's Petition for Habeas Corpus was appealable to the Court
proceeding.25 of Appeals; and Second, whether petitioner Salibo's proper remedy is to file a
Petition for Habeas Corpus.
The September 29, 2010 hearing, therefore, was canceled. The trial court
reset the hearing on the Return to October 1, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.26 We grant the Petition.

The Return was finally heard on October 1, 2010. Assistant Solicitors Noel I
Salo and Isar Pepito appeared on behalf of the Warden of the Quezon City Jail
Annex and argued that Salibo's Petition for Habeas Corpus should be Contrary to petitioner Salibo's claim, respondent Warden correctly appealed
dismissed. Since Salibo was charged under a valid Information and Warrant of before the Court of Appeals.
Arrest, a petition for habeas corpus was "no longer availing."27
An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be made through a petition filed
Salibo countered that the Information, Amended Information, Warrant of before this court or any of its members,50 the Court of Appeals or any of its
Arrest, and Alias Warrant of Arrest referred to by the Warden all point to members in instances authorized by law,51 or the Regional Trial Court or any
Butukan S. Malang, not Datukan Malang Salibo, as accused. Reiterating that of its presiding judges.52 The court or judge grants the writ and requires the
he was not Butukan S. Malang and that he was in Saudi Arabia on the day of officer or person having custody of the person allegedly restrained of liberty to
the Maguindanao Massacre, Salibo pleaded the trial court to order his release file a return of the writ.53 A hearing on the return of the writ is then
from detention.28 conducted.54

The trial court found that Salibo was not "judicially charged"29 under any The return of the writ may be heard by a court apart from that which issued the
resolution, information, or amended information. The Resolution, Information, writ.55 Should the court issuing the writ designate a lower court to which the
and Amended Information presented in court did not charge Datukan Malang writ is made returnable, the lower court shall proceed to decide the petition of
Salibo as an accused. He was also not validly arrested as there was no habeas corpus. By virtue of the designation, the lower court "acquire[s] the
Warrant of Arrest or Alias Warrant of Arrest against Datukan Malang Salibo. power and authority to determine the merits of the [petition for habeas
Salibo, the trial court ruled, was not restrained of his liberty under process corpus.]"56 Therefore, the decision on the petition is a decision appealable to
issued by a court.30 the court that has appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the lower court.57

In Saulo v. Brig. Gen. Cruz, etc,58 "a petition for habeas corpus was filed
The trial court was likewise convinced that Salibo was not the Butukan S. before this Court . . . [o]n behalf of. . . Alfredo B. Saulo [(Saulo)]."59 This court
Malang charged with murder in connection with the Maguindanao Massacre. issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and ordered respondent Commanding
The National Bureau of Investigation Clearance dated August 27, 2009 General of the Philippine Constabulary to file a Return of the Writ. This court
showed that Salibo has not been charged of any crime as of the date of the made the Writ returnable to the Court of First Instance of Manila.60
certificate.31 A Philippine passport bearing Salibo's picture showed the name
"Datukan Malang Salibo."32 After hearing the Commanding General on the Return, the Court of First
Instance denied Saulo's Petition for Habeas Corpus.61
Moreover, the trial court said that Salibo "established that [he] was out of the
country"33 from November 7, 2009 to December 19, 2009. This fact was Saulo appealed before this court, arguing that the Court of First Instance
supported by a Certification34 from Saudi Arabian Airlines confirming Salibo's heard the Petition for Habeas Corpus "not by virtue of its original jurisdiction
departure from and arrival in Manila on board its flights.35 A Flight Manifest but merely delegation[.]"62 Consequently, "this Court should have the final say
issued by the Bureau of Immigration and Saudi Arabian Airlines Ticket No. regarding the issues raised in the petition, and only [this court's decision] . . .
0652113 also showed this fact.36 should be regarded as operative."63

Thus, in the Decision dated October 29, 2010, the trial court granted Salibo's This court rejected Sciulo's argument and stated that his "logic is more
Petition for Habeas Corpus and ordered his immediate release from detention. apparent than real."64 It ruled that when a superior court issues a writ of
habeas corpus, the superior court only resolves whether the respondent
Proceedings before the Court of Appeals should be ordered to show cause why the petitioner or the person in whose
behalf the petition was filed was being detained or deprived of his or her
On appeal37 by the Warden, however, the Court of Appeals reversed and set liberty.65 However, once the superior court makes the writ returnable to a
aside the trial court's Decision.38 Through its Decision dated April 19, 2011, lower court as allowed by the Rules of Court, the lower court designated "does
the Court of Appeals dismissed Salibo's Petition for Habeas Corpus. not thereby become merely a recommendatory body, whose findings and
conclusion[s] are devoid of effect[.]"66 The decision on the petition for habeas
Contrary to the trial court's finding, the Court of Appeals found that Salibo's corpus is a decision of the lower court, not of the superior court.
arrest and subsequent detention were made under a valid Information and
Warrant of Arrest.39 Even assuming that Salibo was not the Butukan S. In Medina v. Gen. Yan,67 Fortunato Medina (Medina) filed before this court a
Malang named in the Alias Warrant of Arrest, the Court of Appeals said that Petition for Habeas Corpus. This court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus,
"[t]he orderly course of trial must be pursued and the usual remedies making it returnable to the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City. After
exhausted before the writ [of habeas corpus] may be invoked[.]"40 According trial on the merits, the Court of First Instance granted Medina's Petition for
to the Court of Appeals, Salibo's proper remedy was a Motion to Quash Habeas Corpus and ordered that Medina be released from detention.68
Information and/or Warrant of Arrest.41
The Office of the Solicitor General filed a Notice of Appeal before the Court of
Salibo filed a Motion for Reconsideration,42 which the Court of Appeals Appeals.69
denied in the Resolution43 dated July 6, 2011.
Atty. Amelito Mutuc, counsel for Medina, filed before the Court of Appeals a
Proceedings before this court "Motion for Certification of Appeal to the Supreme Court." The Court of
Appeals, however, denied the Motion.70
On July 28, 2011,44 petitioner Salibo filed before this court the Petition for
Review (With Urgent Application for a Writ of Preliminary This court ruled that the Court of Appeals correctly denied the "Motion for
Certification of Appeal to the Supreme Court," citing Saulo as legal basis.71
Mandatory Injunction). Respondent Warden filed a Comment,45 after which The Court of First Instance of Rizal, in deciding Medina's Petition for Habeas
petitioner Salibo filed a Reply.46 Corpus, "acquired the power and authority to determine the merits of the
case[.]"72 Consequently, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal on
Medina's Petition for Habeas Corpus was appealable to the Court of
Petitioner Salibo maintains that he is not the Butukan S. Malang charged with Appeals.73
57 counts of murder before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 221, Quezon
City. Thus, contrary to the Court of Appeals' finding, he, Datukan Malang In this case, petitioner Salibo filed his Petition for Habeas Corpus before the
Salibo, was not duly charged in court. He is being illegally deprived of his Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus,
liberty and, therefore, his proper remedy is a Petition for Habeas Corpus.47 making it returnable to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City. The
trial court then heard respondent Warden on his Return and decided the
Petitioner Salibo adds that respondent Warden erred in appealing the Decision Petition on the merits.
of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City before the Court of
Appeals. Although the Court of Appeals delegated to the trial court the Applying Saulo and Medina, we rule that the trial court "acquired the power
authority to hear respondent Warden on the Return, the trial court's Decision and authority to determine the merits"74 of petitioner Salibo's Petition. The
Page 41 of 101
decision on the Petition for Habeas Corpus, therefore, was the decision of the The writ of habeas corpus is different from the final decision on the petition for
trial court, not of the Court of Appeals. Since the Court of Appeals is the court the issuance of the writ. It is the writ that commands the production of the body
with appellate jurisdiction over decisions of trial courts,75 respondent Warden of the person allegedly restrained of his or her liberty. On the other hand, it is
correctly filed the appeal before the Court of Appeals. in the final decision where a court determines the legality of the restraint.

II Between the issuance of the writ and the final decision on the petition for its
issuance, it is the issuance of the writ that is essential. The issuance of the writ
Called the "great writ of liberty[,]"76 the writ of habeas corpus "was devised sets in motion the speedy judicial inquiry on the legality of any deprivation of
and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful liberty. Courts shall liberally issue writs of habeas corpus even if the petition
restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom."77 for its issuance "on [its] face [is] devoid of merit[.]"108 Although the privilege of
The remedy of habeas corpus is extraordinary78 and summary79 in nature, the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended in cases of invasion, rebellion, or
consistent with the law's "zealous regard for personal liberty."80 when the public safety requires it,109 the writ itself may not be suspended.110
III
Under Rule 102, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas corpus
"shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any It is true that a writ of habeas corpus may no longer be issued if the person
person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person allegedly deprived of liberty is restrained under a lawful process or order of the
is withheld from the person entitled thereto."81 The primary purpose of the writ court.111 The restraint then has become legal,112 and the remedy of habeas
"is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from corpus is rendered moot and academic.113 Rule 102, Section 4 of the Rules
voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal."82 "Any of Court provides:
restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient."83
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized.—If it appears that the
The nature of the restraint of liberty need not be related to any offense so as to person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer
entitle a person to the efficient remedy of habeas corpus. It may be availed of under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of
as a post-conviction remedy84 or when there is an alleged violation of the a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the
liberty of abode.85 In other words, habeas corpus effectively substantiates the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed;
implied autonomy of citizens constitutionally protected in the right to liberty in or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be
Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.86 Habeas corpus being a remedy for a discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or
constitutional right, courts must apply a conscientious and deliberate level of order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a
scrutiny so that the substantive right to liberty will not be further curtailed in the person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a
labyrinth of other processes.87 person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.

In Gumabon, et al. v. Director of the Bureau of Prisons,88 Mario Gumabon In Ilagan v. Hon. Ponce Enrile,114 elements of the Philippine Constabulary-
(Gumabon), Bias Bagolbagol (Bagolbagol), Gaudencio Agapito (Agapito), Integrated National Police arrested Atty. Laurente C. Ilagan (Atty. Ilagan) by
Epifanio Padua (Padua), and Paterno Palmares (Palmares) were convicted of virtue of a Mission Order allegedly issued by then Minister of National
the complex crime of rebellion with murder. They commenced serving their Defense, Juan Ponce Enrile (Minister Enrile). On the day of Atty. Ilagan's
respective sentences of reclusion perpetua.89 arrest,115 from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao Chapter visited
While Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares were serving Atty. Ilagan in Camp Catitipan, where he was detained.115
their sentences, this court promulgated People v. Hernandez90 in 1956, ruling
that the complex crime of rebellion with murder does not exist.91 Among Atty. Ilagan's visitors was Atty. Antonio Arellano (Atty. Arellano). Atty.
Arellano, however, no longer left Camp Catitipan as the military detained and
Based on the Hernandez ruling, Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and arrested him based on an unsigned Mission Order.116
Palmares filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus. They prayed for their release
from incarceration and argued that the Hernandez doctrine must retroactively Three (3) days after the arrest of Attys. Ilagan and Arellano, the military
apply to them.92 informed the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao Chapter of the impending
arrest of Atty. Marcos Risonar (Atty. Risonar). To verify his arrest papers, Atty.
This court ruled that Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares Risonar went to Camp Catitipan. Like Atty. Arellano, the military did not allow
properly availed of a petition for habeas corpus.93 Citing Harris v. Nelson,94 Atty. Risonar to leave. He was arrested based on a Mission Order signed by
this court said: General Echavarria, Regional Unified Commander.117

[T]he writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Free Legal Assistance Group, and
individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action. . .. The scope the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism filed
and flexibility of the writ — its capacity to reach all manner of illegal detention before this court a Petition for Habeas Corpus in behalf of Attys. Ilagan,
— its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural mazes — have Arellano, and Risonar.118
always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers.
The very nature of the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative This court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and required Minister Enrile, Armed
and flexibility essential to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are Forces of the Philippines Acting Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Fidel V.
surfaced and corrected.95 Ramos (General Ramos), and Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National
Police Regional Commander Brigadier General Dionisio Tan-Gatue (General
In Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro,96 the Provincial Board of Mindoro Tan-Gatue) to make a Return of the Writ.119 This court set the hearing on the
issued Resolution No. 25, Series of 1917. The Resolution ordered the Return on May 23, 1985.120
Mangyans removed from their native habitat and compelled them to
permanently settle in an 800-hectare reservation in Tigbao. Under the In their Return, Minister Enrile, General Ramos, and General Tan-Gatue
Resolution, Mangyans who refused to establish themselves in the Tigbao contended that the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended as
reservation were imprisoned.97 to Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar by virtue of Proclamation No. 2045-
A.121 The lawyers, according to respondents, allegedly "played active roles in
An application for habeas corpus was filed before this court on behalf of Rubi organizing mass actions of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the
and all the other Mangyans being held in the reservation.98 Since the National Democratic Front."122
application questioned the legality of deprivation of liberty of Rubi and the
other Mangyans, this court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and ordered the After hearing respondents on their Return, this court ordered the temporary
Provincial Board of Mindoro to make a Return of the Writ.99 release of Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar on the recognizance of their
counsels, retired Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion and retired Associate
A Writ of Habeas Corpus was likewise issued in Villavicencio v. Lukban.100 Justice Jose B.L. Reyes.123
"[T]o exterminate vice,"101 Mayor Justo Lukban of Manila ordered the brothels
in Manila closed. The female sex workers previously employed by these Instead of releasing Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar, however, Minister
brothels were rounded up and placed in ships bound for Davao. The women Enrile, General Ramos, and General Tan-Gatue filed a Motion for
were expelled from Manila and deported to Davao without their consent.102 Reconsideration.124 They filed an Urgent Manifestation/Motion stating that
Informations for rebellion were filed against Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and
On application by relatives and friends of some of the deported women, this Risonar. They prayed that this court dismiss the Petition for Habeas Corpus for
court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and ordered Mayor Justo Lukban, being moot and academic.125
among others, to make a Return of the Writ. Mayor Justo Lukban, however,
failed to make a Return, arguing that he did not have custody of the The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Free Legal Assistance Group, and
women.103 the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism
opposed the motion. According to them, no preliminary investigation was
This court cited Mayor Justo Lukban in contempt of court for failure to make a conducted before the filing of the Information. Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and
Return of the Writ.104 As to the legality of his acts, this court ruled that Mayor Risonar were deprived of their right to due process. Consequently, the
Justo Lukban illegally deprived the women he had deported to Davao of their Information was void.126
liberty, specifically, of their privilege of domicile.105 It said that the women,
"despite their being in a sense lepers of society[,] are nevertheless not chattels This court dismissed the Petition for Habeas Corpus, ruling that it became
but Philippine citizens protected by the same constitutional guaranties as are moot and academic with the filing of the Information against Attys. Ilagan,
other citizens[.]"106 The women had the right "to change their domicile from Arellano, and Risonar in court:127
Manila to another locality."107
As contended by respondents, the petition herein has been rendered moot
and academic by virtue of the filing of an Information against them for
Page 42 of 101
Rebellion, a capital offense, before the Regional Trial Court of Davao City and (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
the issuance of a Warrant of Arrest against them. The function of the special actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
proceeding of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of one's detention. (b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to
Now that the detained attorneys' incarceration is by virtue of a judicial order in believe based on- personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the
relation to criminal cases subsequently filed against them before the Regional person to be arrested has committed it;
Trial Court of Davao City, the remedy of habeas corpus no longer lies. The (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a
Writ had served its purpose.128 (Citations omitted) penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is
temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being
This court likewise dismissed the Petitions for habeas corpus in Umil v. transferred from one confinement to another.
Ramos.129 Roberto Umil, Rolando Dural, Renato Villanueva, Amelia Roque,
Wilfredo Buenaobra, Atty. Domingo Anonuevo, Ramon Casiple, Vicky A. In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested
Ocaya, Deogracias Espiritu, and Narciso B. Nazareno were all arrested without a warrant shall be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or
without a warrant for their alleged membership in the Communist Party of the jail and shall be proceeded against in accordance with section 7 of Rule 112.
Philippines/New People's Army.130
It is undisputed that petitioner Salibo presented himself before the Datu Hofer
During the pendency of the habeas corpus proceedings, however, Police Station to clear his name and to prove that he is not the accused
Informations against them were filed before this court. The filing of the Butukan S. Malang. When petitioner Salibo was in the presence of the police
Informations, according to this court, rendered the Petitions for habeas corpus officers of Datu Hofer Police Station, he was neither committing nor attempting
moot and academic, thus:131 to commit an offense. The police officers had no personal knowledge of any
offense that he might have committed. Petitioner Salibo was also not an
It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here considered, criminal charges have escapee prisoner.
been filed in the proper courts against the petitioners. The rule is, that if a
person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer The police officers, therefore, had no probable cause to arrest petitioner Salibo
under process issued by a court or judge, and that the court or judge had without a warrant. They deprived him of his right to liberty without due process
jurisdiction to issue the process or make the order, or if such person is of law, for which a petition for habeas corpus may be issued.
charged before any court, the writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed.132
(Emphasis in the original) The arrest of petitioner Salibo is similar to the arrest of Atty. Risonar in the
In such cases, instead of availing themselves of the extraordinary remedy of a "disturbing"143 case of Ilagan.144 Like petitioner Salibo, Atty. Risonar went to
petition for habeas corpus, persons restrained under a lawful process or order Camp Catitipan to verify and contest any arrest papers against him. Then and
of the court must pursue the orderly course of trial and exhaust the usual there, Atty. Risonar was arrested without a warrant. In his dissenting opinion in
remedies.133 This ordinary remedy is to file a motion to quash the information Ilagan,145 Justice Claudio Teehankee stated that the lack of preliminary
or the warrant of arrest.134 investigation deprived Atty. Risonar, together with Attys. Ilagan and Arellano,
of his right to due process of law — a ground for the grant of a petition for
At any time before a plea is entered,135 the accused may file a motion to habeas corpus:146
quash complaint or information based on any of the grounds enumerated in
Rule 117, Section 3 of the Rules of Court: The majority decision holds that the filing of the information without preliminary
investigation falls within the exceptions of Rule 112, sec. 7 and Rule 113, sec.
SEC. 3. Grounds — The accused may move to quash the complaint or 5 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure. Again, this is erroneous premise.
information on any of the following grounds: The fiscal misinvoked and misapplied the cited rules. The petitioners are not
persons "lawfully arrested without a warrant." The fiscal could not rely on the
(a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense; stale and inoperative PDA of January 25, 1985. Otherwise, the rules would be
(b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged; rendered nugatory, if all that was needed was to get a PDA and then serve it
(c) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the at one's whim and caprice when the very issuance of the PDA is premised on
accused; its imperative urgency and necessity as declared by the President himself. The
(d) That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so; majority decision then relies on Rule 113, Sec. 5 which authorizes arrests
(e) That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form; without warrant by a citizen or by a police officer who witnessed the arrestee in
(f) That more than one offense is charged except when a single punishment flagrante delicto, viz. in the act of committing the offense. Quite obviously, the
for various offenses is prescribed by law; arrest was not a citizen's arrest nor were they caught in flagrante delicto
(g) That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished; violating the law. In fact, this Court in promulgating the 1985 Rules on Criminal
(h) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or Procedure have tightened and made the rules more strict. Thus, the Rule now
justification; and requires that an offense "has in fact just been committed." This connotes
(i) That the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense immediacy in point of time and excludes cases under the old rule where an
charged, or the case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated offense "has in fact been committed" no matter how long ago. Similarly, the
without his express consent. arrestor must have "personal knowledge of facts indicating that the [arrestee]
has committed it" (instead of just "reasonable ground to believe that the
In filing a motion to quash, the accused "assails the validity of a criminal [arrestee] has committed it" under the old rule). Clearly, then, an information
complaint or information filed against him [or her] for insufficiency on its face in could not just be filed against the petitioners without due process and
point of law, or for defects which are apparent in the face of the preliminary investigation.147 (Emphasis in the original, citation omitted)
information."136 If the accused avails himself or herself of a motion to quash,
the accused "hypothetical[ly] admits the facts alleged in the information."137 Petitioner Salibo's proper remedy is not a Motion to Quash Information and/or
"Evidence aliunde or matters extrinsic from the information are not to be Warrant of Arrest. None of the grounds for filing a Motion to Quash Information
considered."138 apply to him. Even if petitioner Salibo filed a Motion to Quash, the defect he
alleged could not have been cured by mere amendment of the Information
"If the motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or and/or Warrant of Arrest. Changing the name of the accused appearing in the
information which can be cured by amendment, the court shall order [the] Information and/or Warrant of Arrest from "Butukan S. Malang" to "Datukan
amendment [of the complaint or information]."139 If the motion to quash is Malang Salibo" will not cure the lack of preliminary investigation in this case.
based on the ground that the facts alleged in the complaint or information do
not constitute an offense, the trial court shall give the prosecution "an A motion for reinvestigation will' not cure the defect of lack of preliminary
opportunity to correct the defect by amendment."140 If after amendment, the investigation. The Information and Alias Warrant of Arrest were issued on the
complaint or information still suffers from the same defect, the trial court shall premise that Butukan S. Malang and Datukan Malang Salibo are the same
quash the complaint or information.141 person. There is evidence, however, that the person detained by virtue of
these processes is not Butukan S. Malang but another person named Datukan
IV Malang Salibo.

However, Ilagan142 and Umil do not apply to this case. Petitioner Salibo was Petitioner Salibo presented in evidence his Philippine passport,148 his
not arrested by virtue of any warrant charging him of an offense. He was not identification card from the Office on Muslim Affairs,149 his Tax Identification
restrained under a lawful process or an order of a court. He was illegally Number card,150 and clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation151
deprived of his liberty, and, therefore, correctly availed himself of a Petition for all bearing his picture and indicating the name "Datukan Malang Salibo." None
Habeas Corpus. of these government-issued documents showed that petitioner Salibo used the
alias "Butukan S. Malang."
The Information and Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 221, Quezon City in People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Moreover, there is evidence that petitioner Salibo was not in the country on
Ampatuan, Jr., et al. charged and accused Butukan S. Malang, not Datukan November 23, 2009 when the Maguindanao Massacre occurred.
Malang Salibo, of 57 counts of murder in connection with the Maguindanao
Massacre. A Certification152 from the Bureau of Immigration states that petitioner Salibo
departed for Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2009 and arrived in the Philippines
Furthermore, petitioner Salibo was not validly arrested without a warrant. Rule only on December 20, 2009. A Certification153 from Saudi Arabian Airlines
113, Section 5 of the Rules of Court enumerates the instances when a attests that petitioner Salibo departed for Saudi Arabia on board Saudi Arabian
warrantless arrest may be made: Airlines Flight SV869 on November 7, 2009 and that he arrived in the
Philippines on board Saudi Arabian Airlines SV870 on December 20,
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful.—A peace officer or a private 2009.cralawlawlibrary
person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
V
Page 43 of 101
People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al. is probably the In their Answer4 dated 14 May 2006, the petitioners denied the material
most complex case pending in our courts. The case involves 57 victims154 allegations of the complaint. They essentially claimed that: (1) they are the
and 197 accused, two (2) of which have become state witnesses.155 As of actual and prior possessors of the disputed land; (2) on the contrary, the
November 23, 2014, 111 of the accused have been arraigned, and 70 have private respondents are the intruders; and (3) the private respondents'
filed petitions for bail of which 42 have already been resolved.156 To require certificate of title to the disputed property is spurious. They asked for the
petitioner Salibo to undergo trial would be to further illegally deprive him of his dismissal of the complaint and interposed a counterclaim for damages.
liberty. Urgency dictates that we resolve his Petition in his favor given the
strong evidence that he is not Butukan S. Malang. The MCTC, after due proceedings, rendered on 2 January 2007 a decision5 in
the private respondents' favor. It found prior possession - the key issue in
In ordering petitioner Salibo's release, we are prejudging neither his guilt nor forcible entry cases - in the private respondents' favor, thus:
his innocence. However, between a citizen who has shown that he was
illegally deprived of his liberty without due process of law and the government "The key that could unravel the answer to this question lies in the Amended
that has all the "manpower and the resources at [its] command"157 to properly Commissioner's Report and Sketch found on pages 245 to 248 of the records
indict a citizen but failed to do so, we will rule in favor of the citizen. and the evidence the parties have submitted. It is shown in the Amended
Commissioner's Report and Sketch that the land in question is enclosed by a
Should the government choose to prosecute petitioner Salibo, it must pursue concrete and cyclone wire perimeter fence in pink and green highlighter as
the proper remedies against him as provided in our Rules. Until then, we rule shown in the Sketch Plan (p. 248). Said perimeter fence was constructed by
that petitioner Salibo is illegally deprived of his liberty. His Petition for Habeas the plaintiffs 14 years ago. The foregoing findings of the Commissioner in his
Corpus must be granted. report and sketch collaborated the claim of the plaintiffs that after they
acquired the land in question on May 27, 1993 through a Deed of Sale (Annex
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is GRANTED. The Court 'A', Affidavit of Gregorio Sanson, p. 276, rec.), they caused the construction of
of Appeals Decision dated April 19, 2011 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. the perimeter fence sometime in 1993 (Affidavit of Gregorio Sanson, pp. 271-
Respondent Warden, Quezon City Jail Annex, Bureau of Jail Management 275, rec.).
and Penology Building, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, is ORDERED to
immediately RELEASE petitioner Datukan Maiang Salibo from detention. From the foregoing established facts, it could be safely inferred that the
plaintiffs were in actual physical possession of the whole lot in question since
The Letter of the Court of Appeals elevating the records of the case to this 1993 when it was interrupted by the defendants (sic) when on January 4, 2005
court is hereby NOTED. claiming to (sic) the Heirs of Antonio Tapuz entered a portion of the land in
question with view of inhabiting the same and building structures therein
SO ORDERED. prompting plaintiff Gregorio Sanson to confront them before BSPU, Police
Chief Inspector Jack L. Wanky and Barangay Captain Glenn Sacapaño. As a
Carpio, (Chairperson), Brion, Del Castillo, and Mendoza, JJ., concur. result of their confrontation, the parties signed an Agreement (Annex 'D',
Complaint p. 20) wherein they agreed to vacate the disputed portion of the
land in question and agreed not to build any structures thereon.
AMPARO
The foregoing is the prevailing situation of the parties after the incident of
January 4, 2005 when the plaintiff posted security guards, however, sometime
Republic of the Philippines on or about 6:30 A.M. of April 19, 2006, the defendants some with bolos and
SUPREME COURT one carrying a sack suspected to contain firearms with other John Does
Manila numbering about 120 persons by force and intimidation forcibly entered the
premises along the road and built a nipa and bamboo structure (Annex 'E',
EN BANC Complaint, p. 11) inside the lot in question which incident was promptly
G.R. No. 182484 June 17, 2008 reported to the proper authorities as shown by plaintiffs' Certification (Annex
'F', Complaint, p. 12) of the entry in the police blotter and on same date April
DANIEL MASANGKAY TAPUZ, AURORA TAPUZ-MADRIAGA, LIBERTY M. 19, 2006, the plaintiffs filed a complaint with the Office of the Lupong
ASUNCION, LADYLYN BAMOS MADRIAGA, EVERLY TAPUZ MADRIAGA, Tagapamayapa of Barangay Balabag, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan but no
EXCEL TAPUZ, IVAN TAPUZ AND MARIAN TIMBAS, petitioners, settlement was reached as shown in their Certificate to File Action (Annex 'G',
vs. Complaint, p. 13); hence the present action.
HONORABLE JUDGE ELMO DEL ROSARIO, in his capacity as Presiding
Judge of RTC Br. 5 Kalibo, SHERIFF NELSON DELA CRUZ, in his Defendants' (sic) contend in their answer that 'prior to January 4, 2005, they
capacity as Sheriff of the RTC, THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE were already occupants of the property, being indigenous settlers of the same,
stationed in Boracay Island, represented by the PNP STATION under claim of ownership by open continuous, adverse possession to the
COMMANDER, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN CEBU 18th exclusion of other (sic)'. (Paragraph 4, Answer, p. 25).
DIVISION, SPOUSES GREGORIO SANSON & MA. LOURDES T. SANSON,
respondents. The contention is untenable. As adverted earlier, the land in question is
enclosed by a perimeter fence constructed by the plaintiffs sometime in 1993
RESOLUTION as noted by the Commissioner in his Report and reflected in his Sketch, thus,
it is safe to conclude that the plaintiffs where (sic) in actual physical
BRION, J.: possession of the land in question from 1993 up to April 19, 2006 when they
were ousted therefrom by the defendants by means of force. Applying by
Before us for the determination of sufficiency of form and substance (pursuant analogy the ruling of the Honorable Supreme Court in the case of Molina, et al.
vs. De Bacud, 19 SCRA 956, if the land were in the possession of plaintiffs
to Sections 1 and 4 of Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court; Sections 1 and 5
from 1993 to April 19, 2006, defendants' claims to an older possession must
of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo;1 and Sections 1 and 6 of the Rule on the
be rejected as untenable because possession as a fact cannot be recognized
Writ of Habeas Data2) is the petition for certiorari and for the issuance of the
at the same time in two different personalities.
writs of amparo and habeas data filed by the above-named petitioners against
the Honorable Judge Elmo del Rosario [in his capacity as presiding judge of
Defendants likewise contend that it was the plaintiffs who forcibly entered the
RTC Br. 5, Kalibo], Sheriff Nelson de la Cruz [in his capacity as Sheriff of the
land in question on April 18, 2006 at about 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon as
RTC], the Philippine National Police stationed in Boracay Island, represented
shown in their Certification (Annex 'D', Defendants' Position Paper, p. 135,
by the PNP Station Commander, the Honorable Court of Appeals in Cebu,
18th Division, and the spouses Gregorio Sanson and Ma. Lourdes T. Sanson, rec.).
respondents.
The contention is untenable for being inconsistent with their allegations made
The petition and its annexes disclose the following material antecedents: to the commissioner who constituted (sic) the land in question that they built
structures on the land in question only on April 19, 2006 (Par. D.4,
Commissioner's Amended Report, pp. 246 to 247), after there (sic) entry
The private respondents spouses Gregorio Sanson and Ma. Lourdes T.
thereto on even date.
Sanson (the "private respondents"), filed with the Fifth Municipal Circuit Trial
Court of Buruanga-Malay, Aklan (the "MCTC") a complaint3 dated 24 April
Likewise, said contention is contradicted by the categorical statements of
2006 for forcible entry and damages with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of
defendants' witnesses, Rowena Onag, Apolsida Umambong, Ariel Gac,
preliminary mandatory injunction against the petitioners Daniel Masangkay
Darwin Alvarez and Edgardo Pinaranda, in their Joint Affidavit (pp. 143- '144,
Tapuz, Aurora Tapuz-Madriaga, Liberty M. Asuncion, Ladylyn Bamos
rec.) [sic] categorically stated 'that on or about April 19, 2006, a group of
Madriaga, Everly Tapuz Madriaga, Excel Tapuz, Ivan Tapuz and Marian
armed men entered the property of our said neighbors and built plastic roofed
Timbas (the "petitioners") and other John Does numbering about 120. The
tents. These armed men threatened to drive our said neighbors away from
private respondents alleged in their complaint that: (1) they are the registered
owners under TCT No. 35813 of a 1.0093-hectare parcel of land located at their homes but they refused to leave and resisted the intruding armed men'.
Sitio Pinaungon, Balabag, Boracay, Malay, Aklan (the "disputed land"); (2)
they were the disputed land's prior possessors when the petitioners - armed From the foregoing, it could be safely inferred that no incident of forcible entry
happened on April 18, 2006 but it was only on April 19, 2006 when the
with bolos and carrying suspected firearms and together with unidentified
defendants overpowered by their numbers the security guards posted by the
persons numbering 120 - entered the disputed land by force and intimidation,
plaintiffs prior to the controversy.
without the private respondents' permission and against the objections of the
private respondents' security men, and built thereon a nipa and bamboo
Likewise, defendants (sic) alleged burnt and other structures depicted in their
structure.
pictures attached as annexes to their position paper were not noted and
Page 44 of 101
reflected in the amended report and sketch submitted by the Commissioner, Republic Act No. 7691,14 they maintain that the forcible entry case in fact
hence, it could be safely inferred that these structures are built and (sic) involves issues of title to or possession of real property or an interest therein,
situated outside the premises of the land in question, accordingly, they are with the assessed value of the property involved exceeding P20,000.00; thus,
irrelevant to the instant case and cannot be considered as evidence of their the case should be originally cognizable by the RTC. Accordingly, the
actual possession of the land in question prior to April 19, 20066." petitioners reason out that the RTC - to where the MCTC decision was
appealed - equally has no jurisdiction to rule on the case on appeal and could
The petitioners appealed the MCTC decision to the Regional Trial Court not have validly issued the assailed orders.
("RTC," Branch 6 of Kalibo, Aklan) then presided over by Judge Niovady M.
Marin ("Judge Marin"). OUR RULING

On appeal, Judge Marin granted the private respondents' motion for the We find the petitions for certiorari and issuance of a writ of habeas data fatally
issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction through an Order dated defective, both in substance and in form. The petition for the issuance of the
26 February 2007, with the issuance conditioned on the private respondents' writ of amparo, on the other hand, is fatally defective with respect to content
posting of a bond. The writ7 - authorizing the immediate implementation of the and substance.
MCTC decision - was actually issued by respondent Judge Elmo F. del
Rosario (the "respondent Judge") on 12 March 2007 after the private The Petition for Certiorari
respondents had complied with the imposed condition. The petitioners moved
to reconsider the issuance of the writ; the private respondents, on the other We conclude, based on the outlined material antecedents that led to the
hand, filed a motion for demolition. petition, that the petition for certiorari to nullify the assailed RTC orders has
been filed out of time. It is not lost on us that the petitioners have a pending
The respondent Judge subsequently denied the petitioners' Motion for petition with the Court of Appeals (the "CA petition") for the review of the same
Reconsideration and to Defer Enforcement of Preliminary Mandatory RTC orders now assailed in the present petition, although the petitioners never
Injunction in an Order dated 17 May 20078. disclosed in the body of the present petition the exact status of their pending
CA petition. The CA petition, however, was filed with the Court of Appeals on 2
Meanwhile, the petitioners opposed the motion for demolition.9 The August 2007, which indicates to us that the assailed orders (or at the very
respondent Judge nevertheless issued via a Special Order10 a writ of least, the latest of the interrelated assailed orders) were received on 1 August
demolition to be implemented fifteen (15) days after the Sheriff's written notice 2007 at the latest. The present petition, on the other hand, was filed on April
to the petitioners to voluntarily demolish their house/s to allow the private 29, 2008 or more than eight months from the time the CA petition was filed.
respondents to effectively take actual possession of the land. Thus, the present petition is separated in point of time from the assumed
receipt of the assailed RTC orders by at least eight (8) months, i.e., beyond
The petitioners thereafter filed on 2 August 2007 with the Court of Appeals, the reglementary period of sixty (60) days15 from receipt of the assailed order
Cebu City, a Petition for Review11 (under Rule 42 of the 1997 Rules of Civil or orders or from notice of the denial of a seasonably filed motion for
Procedure) of the Permanent Mandatory Injunction and Order of Demolition of reconsideration.
the RTC of Kalibo, Br. 6 in Civil Case No. 7990.
We note in this regard that the petitioners' counsel stated in his attached
Meanwhile, respondent Sheriff Nelson R. dela Cruz issued the Notice to "Certificate of Compliance with Circular #1-88 of the Supreme Court"16
Vacate and for Demolition on 19 March 2008.12 ("Certificate of Compliance") that "in the meantime the RTC and the Sheriff
issued a NOTICE TO VACATE AND FOR DEMOLITION not served to counsel
It was against this factual backdrop that the petitioners filed the present but to the petitioners who sent photo copy of the same NOTICE to their
petition last 29 April 2008. The petition contains and prays for three remedies, counsel on April 18, 2008 by LBC." To guard against any insidious argument
namely: a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court; that the present petition is timely filed because of this Notice to Vacate, we feel
the issuance of a writ of habeas data under the Rule on the Writ of Habeas it best to declare now that the counting of the 60-day reglementary period
Data; and finally, the issuance of the writ of amparo under the Rule on the Writ under Rule 65 cannot start from the April 18, 2008 date cited by the
of Amparo. petitioners' counsel. The Notice to Vacate and for Demolition is not an order
that exists independently from the RTC orders assailed in this petition and in
To support the petition and the remedies prayed for, the petitioners present the previously filed CA petition. It is merely a notice, made in compliance with
factual positions diametrically opposed to the MCTC's findings and legal one of the assailed orders, and is thus an administrative enforcement medium
reasons. Most importantly, the petitioners maintain their claims of prior that has no life of its own separately from the assailed order on which it is
possession of the disputed land and of intrusion into this land by the private based. It cannot therefore be the appropriate subject of an independent
respondents. The material factual allegations of the petition - bases as well of petition for certiorari under Rule 65 in the context of this case. The April 18,
the petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo - read: 2008 date cannot likewise be the material date for Rule 65 purposes as the
above-mentioned Notice to Vacate is not even directly assailed in this petition,
"29. On April 29, 2006 at about 9:20 a.m. armed men sporting 12 gauge shot as the petition's Prayer patently shows.17
guns intruded into the property of the defendants [the land in dispute]. They
were not in uniform. They fired their shotguns at the defendants. Later the Based on the same material antecedents, we find too that the petitioners have
following day at 2:00 a.m. two houses of the defendants were burned to been guilty of willful and deliberate misrepresentation before this Court and, at
ashes. the very least, of forum shopping.

30. These armed men [without uniforms] removed the barbed wire fence put By the petitioners' own admissions, they filed a petition with the Court of
up by defendants to protect their property from intruders. Two of the armed Appeals (docketed as CA - G.R. SP No. 02859) for the review of the orders
men trained their shotguns at the defendants who resisted their intrusion. One now also assailed in this petition, but brought the present recourse to us,
of them who was identified as SAMUEL LONGNO y GEGANSO, 19 years old, allegedly because "the CA did not act on the petition up to this date and for the
single, and a resident of Binun-an, Batad, Iloilo, fired twice. petitioner (sic) to seek relief in the CA would be a waste of time and would
render the case moot and academic since the CA refused to resolve pending
31. The armed men torched two houses of the defendants reducing them to urgent motions and the Sheriff is determined to enforce a writ of demolition
ashes. [...] despite the defect of LACK OF JURISDICTION."18

32. These acts of TERRORISM and (heinous crime) of ARSON were reported Interestingly, the petitioners' counsel - while making this claim in the body of
by one of the HEIRS OF ANTONIO TAPUZ [...]. The terrorists trained their the petition - at the same time represented in his Certificate of Compliance19
shotguns and fired at minors namely IVAN GAJISAN and MICHAEL that:
MAGBANUA, who resisted their intrusion. Their act is a blatant violation of the
law penalizing Acts of Violence against women and children, which is "x x x
aggravated by the use of high-powered weapons.
(e) the petitioners went up to the Court of Appeals to question the WRIT OF
[…] PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION copy of the petition is attached (sic);

34. That the threats to the life and security of the poor indigent and unlettered (f) the CA initially issued a resolution denying the PETITION because it held
petitioners continue because the private respondents Sansons have under that the ORDER TO VACATE AND FOR DEMOLITION OF THE HOMES OF
their employ armed men and they are influential with the police authorities PETITIONERS is not capable of being the subject of a PETITION FOR
owing to their financial and political clout. RELIEF, copy of the resolution of the CA is attached hereto; (underscoring
supplied)
35. The actual prior occupancy, as well as the ownership of the lot in dispute
by defendants and the atrocities of the terrorists [introduced into the property (g) Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration on August 7, 2007 but up to
in dispute by the plaintiffs] are attested by witnesses who are persons not this date the same had not been resolved copy of the MR is attached (sic).
related to the defendants are therefore disinterested witnesses in the case
namely: Rowena Onag, Apolsida Umambong, Ariel Gac, Darwin Alvarez and x x x"
Edgardo Penarada. Likewise, the affidavit of Nemia T. Carmen is submitted to
prove that the plaintiffs resorted to atrocious acts through hired men in their The difference between the above representations on what transpired at the
bid to unjustly evict the defendants.13" appellate court level is replete with significance regarding the petitioners'
intentions. We discern -- from the petitioners' act of misrepresenting in the
The petitioners posit as well that the MCTC has no jurisdiction over the body of their petition that "the CA did not act on the petition up to this date"
complaint for forcible entry that the private respondents filed below. Citing while stating the real Court of Appeals action in the Certification of Compliance
Section 33 of The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, as amended by -- the intent to hide the real state of the remedies the petitioners sought below
Page 45 of 101
in order to mislead us into action on the RTC orders without frontally (d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal
considering the action that the Court of Appeals had already undertaken. circumstances, and addresses of the investigating authority or individuals, as
well as the manner and conduct of the investigation, together with any report;
At the very least, the petitioners are obviously seeking to obtain from us, via
the present petition, the same relief that it could not wait for from the Court of (e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine the fate or
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 02859. The petitioners' act of seeking against the whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible
same parties the nullification of the same RTC orders before the appellate for the threat, act or omission; and
court and before us at the same time, although made through different
mediums that are both improperly used, constitutes willful and deliberate (f) The relief prayed for.
forum shopping that can sufficiently serve as basis for the summary dismissal
of the petition under the combined application of the fourth and penultimate The petition may include a general prayer for other just and equitable
paragraphs of Section 3, Rule 46; Section 5, Rule 7; Section 1, Rule 65; and reliefs."22
Rule 56, all of the Revised Rules of Court. That a wrong remedy may have
been used with the Court of Appeals and possibly with us will not save the The writ shall issue if the Court is preliminarily satisfied with the prima facie
petitioner from a forum-shopping violation where there is identity of parties, existence of the ultimate facts determinable from the supporting affidavits that
involving the same assailed interlocutory orders, with the recourses existing detail the circumstances of how and to what extent a threat to or violation of
side by side at the same time. the rights to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party was or is being
committed.
To restate the prevailing rules, "forum shopping is the institution of two or more
actions or proceedings involving the same parties for the same cause of The issuance of the writ of amparo in the present case is anchored on the
action, either simultaneously or successively, on the supposition that one or factual allegations heretofore quoted,23 that are essentially repeated in
the other court would make a favorable disposition. Forum shopping may be paragraph 54 of the petition. These allegations are supported by the following
resorted to by any party against whom an adverse judgment or order has been documents:
issued in one forum, in an attempt to seek a favorable opinion in another,
other than by appeal or a special civil action for certiorari. Forum shopping "(a) Joint Affidavit dated 23 May 2006 of Rowena B. Onag, Apolsida
trifles with the courts, abuses their processes, degrades the administration of Umambong, Ariel Gac, Darwin Alvarez and Edgardo Pinaranda, supporting
justice and congest court dockets. Willful and deliberate violation of the rule the factual positions of the petitioners, id., petitioners' prior possession, private
against it is a ground for summary dismissal of the case; it may also constitute respondents' intrusion and the illegal acts committed by the private
direct contempt."20 respondents and their security guards on 19 April 2006;

Additionally, the required verification and certification of non-forum shopping is (b) Unsubscribed Affidavit of Nemia Carmen y Tapuz, alleging the illegal acts
defective as one (1) of the seven (7) petitioners - Ivan Tapuz - did not sign, in (firing of guns, etc.) committed by a security guard against minors -
violation of Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 7; Section 3, Rule 46; Section 1, Rule 65; descendants of Antonio Tapuz;
all in relation with Rule 56 of the Revised Rules of Court. Of those who signed,
only five (5) exhibited their postal identification cards with the Notary Public. (c) Unsubscribed Affidavit of Melanie Tapuz y Samindao, essentially
corroborating Nemia's affidavit;
In any event, we find the present petition for certiorari, on its face and on the
basis of the supporting attachments, to be devoid of merit. The MCTC (d) Certification dated 23 April 2006 issued by Police Officer Jackson Jauod
correctly assumed jurisdiction over the private respondents' complaint, which regarding the incident of petitioners' intrusion into the disputed land;
specifically alleged a cause for forcible entry and not - as petitioners may have
misread or misappreciated - a case involving title to or possession of realty or (e) Certification dated 27 April 2006 issued by Police Officer Allan R. Otis,
an interest therein. Under Section 33, par. 2 of The Judiciary Reorganization narrating the altercation between the Tapuz family and the security guards of
Act, as amended by Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7691, exclusive jurisdiction over the private respondents, including the gun-poking and shooting incident
forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases lies with the Metropolitan Trial involving one of the security guards;
Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. These first-
level courts have had jurisdiction over these cases - called accion interdictal - (f) Certification issued by Police Officer Christopher R. Mendoza, narrating that
even before the R.A. 7691 amendment, based on the issue of pure physical a house owned by Josiel Tapuz, Jr., rented by a certain Jorge Buenavente,
possession (as opposed to the right of possession). This jurisdiction is was accidentally burned by a fire."
regardless of the assessed value of the property involved; the law established
no distinctions based on the assessed value of the property forced into or On the whole, what is clear from these statements - both sworn and unsworn -
unlawfully detained. Separately from accion interdictal are accion publiciana is the overriding involvement of property issues as the petition traces its roots
for the recovery of the right of possession as a plenary action, and accion to questions of physical possession of the property disputed by the private
reivindicacion for the recovery of ownership.21 Apparently, these latter actions parties. If at all, issues relating to the right to life or to liberty can hardly be
are the ones the petitioners refer to when they cite Section 33, par. 3, in discerned except to the extent that the occurrence of past violence has been
relation with Section 19, par. 2 of The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, as alleged. The right to security, on the other hand, is alleged only to the extent of
amended by Republic Act No. 7691, in which jurisdiction may either be with the threats and harassments implied from the presence of "armed men bare to
the first-level courts or the regional trial courts, depending on the assessed the waist" and the alleged pointing and firing of weapons. Notably, none of the
value of the realty subject of the litigation. As the complaint at the MCTC was supporting affidavits compellingly show that the threat to the rights to life,
patently for forcible entry, that court committed no jurisdictional error liberty and security of the petitioners is imminent or is continuing.
correctible by certiorari under the present petition.
A closer look at the statements shows that at least two of them - the
In sum, the petition for certiorari should be dismissed for the cited formal statements of Nemia Carreon y Tapuz and Melanie Tapuz are practically
deficiencies, for violation of the non-forum shopping rule, for having been filed identical and unsworn. The Certification by Police Officer Jackson Jauod, on
out of time, and for substantive deficiencies. the other hand, simply narrates what had been reported by one Danny Tapuz
y Masangkay, and even mentions that the burning of two residential houses
The Writ of Amparo was "accidental."

To start off with the basics, the writ of amparo was originally conceived as a As against these allegations are the cited MCTC factual findings in its decision
response to the extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced in the forcible entry case which rejected all the petitioners' factual claims.
disappearances, and to the perceived lack of available and effective remedies These findings are significantly complete and detailed, as they were made
to address these extraordinary concerns. It is intended to address violations of under a full-blown judicial process, i.e., after examination and evaluation of the
or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and contending parties' positions, evidence and arguments and based on the
independent remedy beyond those available under the prevailing Rules, or as report of a court-appointed commissioner.
a remedy supplemental to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect
concerns that are purely property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we We preliminarily examine these conflicting factual positions under the
shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds. Consequently, the Rule on backdrop of a dispute (with incidents giving rise to allegations of violence or
the Writ of Amparo - in line with the extraordinary character of the writ and the threat thereof) that was brought to and ruled upon by the MCTC; subsequently
reasonable certainty that its issuance demands - requires that every petition brought to the RTC on an appeal that is still pending; still much later brought to
for the issuance of the Pwrit must be supported by justifying allegations of fact, the appellate court without conclusive results; and then brought to us on
to wit: interlocutory incidents involving a plea for the issuance of the writ of amparo
that, if decided as the petitioners advocate, may render the pending RTC
"(a) The personal circumstances of the petitioner; appeal moot.

(b) The name and personal circumstances of the respondent responsible for Under these legal and factual situations, we are far from satisfied with the
the threat, act or omission, or, if the name is unknown or uncertain, the prima facie existence of the ultimate facts that would justify the issuance of a
respondent may be described by an assumed appellation; writ of amparo. Rather than acts of terrorism that pose a continuing threat to
the persons of the petitioners, the violent incidents alleged appear to us to be
(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or purely property-related and focused on the disputed land. Thus, if the
threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of the respondent, and petitioners wish to seek redress and hold the alleged perpetrators criminally
how such threat or violation is committed with the attendant circumstances accountable, the remedy may lie more in the realm of ordinary criminal
detailed in supporting affidavits; prosecution rather than on the use of the extraordinary remedy of the writ of
amparo.

Page 46 of 101
Nor do we believe it appropriate at this time to disturb the MCTC findings, as data is nothing more than the "fishing expedition" that this Court - in the course
our action may carry the unintended effect, not only of reversing the MCTC of drafting the Rule on habeas data - had in mind in defining what the purpose
ruling independently of the appeal to the RTC that is now in place, but also of of a writ of habeas data is not. In these lights, the outright denial of the petition
nullifying the ongoing appeal process. Such effect, though unintended, will for the issuance of the writ of habeas data is fully in order.
obviously wreak havoc on the orderly administration of justice, an overriding
goal that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo does not intend to weaken or negate. WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DISMISS the present petition
OUTRIGHT for deficiencies of form and substance patent from its body and
Separately from these considerations, we cannot fail but consider too at this attachments.
point the indicators, clear and patent to us, that the petitioners' present
recourse via the remedy of the writ of amparo is a mere subterfuge to negate SO ORDERED.
the assailed orders that the petitioners sought and failed to nullify before the
appellate court because of the use of an improper remedial measure. We ARTURO D. BRION
discern this from the petitioners' misrepresentations pointed out above; from Associate Justice
their obvious act of forum shopping; and from the recourse itself to the
extraordinary remedies of the writs of certiorari and amparo based on grounds
that are far from forthright and sufficiently compelling. To be sure, when
recourses in the ordinary course of law fail because of deficient legal Republic of the Philippines
representation or the use of improper remedial measures, neither the writ of SUPREME COURT
certiorari nor that of amparo - extraordinary though they may be - will suffice to Manila
serve as a curative substitute. The writ of amparo, particularly, should not
issue when applied for as a substitute for the appeal or certiorari process, or EN BANC
when it will inordinately interfere with these processes - the situation obtaining
in the present case. G.R. No. 180906 October 7, 2008

While we say all these, we note too that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE CHIEF OF STAFF,
provides for rules on the institution of separate actions,24 for the effect of ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioners,
earlier-filed criminal actions,25 and for the consolidation of petitions for the vs.
issuance of a writ of amparo with a subsequently filed criminal and civil RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO, respondents.
action.26 These rules were adopted to promote an orderly procedure for
dealing with petitions for the issuance of the writ of amparo when the parties DECISION
resort to other parallel recourses.
PUNO, C.J.:
Where, as in this case, there is an ongoing civil process dealing directly with
the possessory dispute and the reported acts of violence and harassment, we While victims of enforced disappearances are separated from the rest of the
see no point in separately and directly intervening through a writ of amparo in world behind secret walls, they are not separated from the constitutional
the absence of any clear prima facie showing that the right to life, liberty or protection of their basic rights. The constitution is an overarching sky that
security - the personal concern that the writ is intended to protect - is covers all in its protection. The case at bar involves the rights to life, liberty
immediately in danger or threatened, or that the danger or threat is continuing. and security in the first petition for a writ of Amparo filed before this Court.
We see no legal bar, however, to an application for the issuance of the writ, in
a proper case, by motion in a pending case on appeal or on certiorari, applying This is an appeal via Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in
by analogy the provisions on the co-existence of the writ with a separately filed relation to Section 191 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, seeking to reverse
criminal case. and set aside on both questions of fact and law, the Decision promulgated by
the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. AMPARO No. 00001, entitled "Raymond
The Writ of Habeas Data Manalo and Reynaldo Manalo, petitioners, versus The Secretary of National
Defense, the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, respondents."
Section 6 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data requires the following
material allegations of ultimate facts in a petition for the issuance of a writ of This case was originally a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary
habeas data: Restraining Order (TRO)2 filed before this Court by herein respondents
(therein petitioners) on August 23, 2007 to stop herein petitioners (therein
"(a) The personal circumstances of the petitioner and the respondent; respondents) and/or their officers and agents from depriving them of their right
to liberty and other basic rights. Therein petitioners also sought ancillary
(b) The manner the right to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects remedies, Protective Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner,
the right to life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party; Inspection and Access Orders, and all other legal and equitable reliefs under
Article VIII, Section 5(5)3 of the 1987 Constitution and Rule 135, Section 6 of
(c) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to secure the data or the Rules of Court. In our Resolution dated August 24, 2007, we (1) ordered
information; the Secretary of the Department of National Defense and the Chief of Staff of
the AFP, their agents, representatives, or persons acting in their stead,
(d) The location of the files, registers or databases, the government office, and including but not limited to the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit
the person in charge, in possession or in control of the data or information, if (CAFGU) to submit their Comment; and (2) enjoined them from causing the
known; arrest of therein petitioners, or otherwise restricting, curtailing, abridging, or
depriving them of their right to life, liberty, and other basic rights as guaranteed
(e) The reliefs prayed for, which may include the updating, rectification, under Article III, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution.5
suppression or destruction of the database or information or files kept by the
respondent. While the August 23, 2007 Petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo took effect on October 24, 2007. Forthwith, therein petitioners filed a
In case of threats, the relief may include a prayer for an order enjoining the act Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to Treat Existing Petition as Amparo
complained of; and Petition, to Admit Supporting Affidavits, and to Grant Interim and Final Amparo
Reliefs. They prayed that: (1) the petition be considered a Petition for the Writ
(f) Such other relevant reliefs as are just and equitable." of Amparo under Sec. 266 of the Amparo Rule; (2) the Court issue the writ
commanding therein respondents to make a verified return within the period
Support for the habeas data aspect of the present petition only alleges that: provided by law and containing the specific matter required by law; (3) they be
granted the interim reliefs allowed by the Amparo Rule and all other reliefs
"1. [ … ] Similarly, a petition for a WRIT OF HABEAS DATA is prayed for so prayed for in the petition but not covered by the Amparo Rule; (4) the Court,
that the PNP may release the report on the burning of the homes of the after hearing, render judgment as required in Sec. 187 of the Amparo Rule;
petitioners and the acts of violence employed against them by the private and (5) all other just and equitable reliefs.8
respondents, furnishing the Court and the petitioners with copy of the same;
On October 25, 2007, the Court resolved to treat the August 23, 2007 Petition
[…] as a petition under the Amparo Rule and further resolved, viz:

66. Petitioners apply for a WRIT OF HABEAS DATA commanding the WHEREFORE, let a WRIT OF AMPARO be issued to respondents requiring
Philippine National Police [PNP] to produce the police report pertaining to the them to file with the CA (Court of Appeals) a verified written return within five
burning of the houses of the petitioners in the land in dispute and likewise the (5) working days from service of the writ. We REMAND the petition to the CA
investigation report if an investigation was conducted by the PNP." and designate the Division of Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin to conduct
the summary hearing on the petition on November 8, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and
These allegations obviously lack what the Rule on Writ of Habeas Data decide the petition in accordance with the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.9
requires as a minimum, thus rendering the petition fatally deficient.
Specifically, we see no concrete allegations of unjustified or unlawful violation On December 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in favor of
of the right to privacy related to the right to life, liberty or security. The petition therein petitioners (herein respondents), the dispositive portion of which reads,
likewise has not alleged, much less demonstrated, any need for information viz:
under the control of police authorities other than those it has already set forth
as integral annexes. The necessity or justification for the issuance of the writ, ACCORDINGLY, the PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF AMPARO is GRANTED.
based on the insufficiency of previous efforts made to secure information, has
not also been shown. In sum, the prayer for the issuance of a writ of habeas
Page 47 of 101
The respondents SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and AFP CHIEF his stomach with a piece of wood, slapped his forehead twice with a .45 pistol,
OF STAFF are hereby REQUIRED: punched him on the mouth, and burnt some parts of his body with a burning
wood. When he could no longer endure the torture and could hardly breathe,
1. To furnish to the petitioners and to this Court within five days from notice of they stopped. They then subjected Reynaldo to the same ordeal in another
this decision all official and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken in room. Before their torturers left, they warned Raymond that they would come
connection with their case, except those already on file herein; back the next day and kill him.18

2. To confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt The following night, Raymond attempted to escape. He waited for the guards
Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas within five days from notice of to get drunk, then made noise with the chains put on him to see if they were
this decision. still awake. When none of them came to check on him, he managed to free his
hand from the chains and jumped through the window. He passed through a
3. To cause to be produced to this Court all medical reports, records and helipad and firing range and stopped near a fishpond where he used stones to
charts, reports of any treatment given or recommended and medicines break his chains. After walking through a forested area, he came near a river
prescribed, if any, to the petitioners, to include a list of medical and (sic) and an Iglesia ni Kristo church. He talked to some women who were doing the
personnel (military and civilian) who attended to them from February 14, 2006 laundry, asked where he was and the road to Gapan. He was told that he was
until August 12, 2007 within five days from notice of this decision. in Fort Magsaysay.19 He reached the highway, but some soldiers spotted him,
forcing him to run away. The soldiers chased him and caught up with him.
The compliance with this decision shall be made under the signature and oath They brought him to another place near the entrance of what he saw was Fort
of respondent AFP Chief of Staff or his duly authorized deputy, the latter's Magsaysay. He was boxed repeatedly, kicked, and hit with chains until his
authority to be express and made apparent on the face of the sworn back bled. They poured gasoline on him. Then a so-called "Mam" or "Madam"
compliance with this directive. suddenly called, saying that she wanted to see Raymond before he was killed.
The soldiers ceased the torture and he was returned inside Fort Magsaysay
SO ORDERED.10 where Reynaldo was detained.20

Hence, this appeal. In resolving this appeal, we first unfurl the facts as alleged For some weeks, the respondents had a respite from all the torture. Their
by herein respondents: wounds were treated. When the wounds were almost healed, the torture
resumed, particularly when respondents' guards got drunk.21
Respondent Raymond Manalo recounted that about one or two weeks before
February 14, 2006, several uniformed and armed soldiers and members of the Raymond recalled that sometime in April until May 2006, he was detained in a
CAFGU summoned to a meeting all the residents of their barangay in San room enclosed by steel bars. He stayed all the time in that small room
Idelfonso, Bulacan. Respondents were not able to attend as they were not measuring 1 x 2 meters, and did everything there, including urinating,
informed of the gathering, but Raymond saw some of the soldiers when he removing his bowels, bathing, eating and sleeping. He counted that eighteen
passed by the barangay hall.11 people22 had been detained in that bartolina, including his brother Reynaldo
and himself.23
On February 14, 2006, Raymond was sleeping in their house in Buhol na
Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. At past noon, several armed soldiers For about three and a half months, the respondents were detained in Fort
wearing white shirts, fatigue pants and army boots, entered their house and Magsaysay. They were kept in a small house with two rooms and a kitchen.
roused him. They asked him if he was Bestre, but his mother, Ester Manalo, One room was made into the bartolina. The house was near the firing range,
replied that he was Raymond, not Bestre. The armed soldier slapped him on helipad and mango trees. At dawn, soldiers marched by their house. They
both cheeks and nudged him in the stomach. He was then handcuffed, were also sometimes detained in what he only knew as the "DTU."24
brought to the rear of his house, and forced to the ground face down. He was
kicked on the hip, ordered to stand and face up to the light, then forcibly At the DTU, a male doctor came to examine respondents. He checked their
brought near the road. He told his mother to follow him, but three soldiers body and eyes, took their urine samples and marked them. When asked how
stopped her and told her to stay.12 they were feeling, they replied that they had a hard time urinating, their
stomachs were aching, and they felt other pains in their body. The next day,
Among the men who came to take him, Raymond recognized brothers Michael two ladies in white arrived. They also examined respondents and gave them
de la Cruz, Madning de la Cruz, "Puti" de la Cruz, and "Pula" de la Cruz, who medicines, including orasol, amoxicillin and mefenamic acid. They brought
all acted as lookout. They were all members of the CAFGU and residing in with them the results of respondents' urine test and advised them to drink
Manuzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. He also recognized brothers Randy plenty of water and take their medicine. The two ladies returned a few more
Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also members of the CAFGU. While he was times. Thereafter, medicines were sent through the "master" of the DTU,
being forcibly taken, he also saw outside of his house two barangay "Master" Del Rosario alias Carinyoso at Puti. Respondents were kept in the
councilors, Pablo Cunanan and Bernardo Lingasa, with some soldiers and DTU for about two weeks. While there, he met a soldier named Efren who said
armed men.13 that Gen. Palparan ordered him to monitor and take care of them.25

The men forced Raymond into a white L300 van. Once inside, he was One day, Rizal Hilario fetched respondents in a Revo vehicle. They, along with
blindfolded. Before being blindfolded, he saw the faces of the soldiers who Efren and several other armed men wearing fatigue suits, went to a
took him. Later, in his 18 months of captivity, he learned their names. The one detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Respondents were detained
who drove the van was Rizal Hilario alias Rollie Castillo, whom he estimated for one or two weeks in a big two-storey house. Hilario and Efren stayed with
was about 40 years of age or older. The leader of the team who entered his them. While there, Raymond was beaten up by Hilario's men.26
house and abducted him was "Ganata." He was tall, thin, curly-haired and a bit
old. Another one of his abductors was "George" who was tall, thin, white- From Pinaud, Hilario and Efren brought respondents to Sapang, San Miguel,
skinned and about 30 years old.14 Bulacan on board the Revo. They were detained in a big unfinished house
inside the compound of "Kapitan" for about three months. When they arrived in
The van drove off, then came to a stop. A person was brought inside the van Sapang, Gen. Palparan talked to them. They were brought out of the house to
and made to sit beside Raymond. Both of them were beaten up. On the road, a basketball court in the center of the compound and made to sit. Gen.
he recognized the voice of the person beside him as his brother Reynaldo's. Palparan was already waiting, seated. He was about two arms' length away
The van stopped several times until they finally arrived at a house. Raymond from respondents. He began by asking if respondents felt well already, to
and Reynaldo were each brought to a different room. With the doors of their which Raymond replied in the affirmative. He asked Raymond if he knew him.
rooms left open, Raymond saw several soldiers continuously hitting his brother Raymond lied that he did not. He then asked Raymond if he would be scared if
Reynaldo on the head and other parts of his body with the butt of their guns for he were made to face Gen. Palparan. Raymond responded that he would not
about 15 minutes. After which, Reynaldo was brought to his (Raymond's) room be because he did not believe that Gen. Palparan was an evil man.27
and it was his (Raymond's) turn to be beaten up in the other room. The
soldiers asked him if he was a member of the New People's Army. Each time Raymond narrated his conversation with Gen. Palparan in his affidavit, viz:
he said he was not, he was hit with the butt of their guns. He was questioned
where his comrades were, how many soldiers he had killed, and how many Tinanong ako ni Gen. Palparan, "Ngayon na kaharap mo na ako, di ka ba
NPA members he had helped. Each time he answered none, they hit him.15 natatakot sa akin?"

In the next days, Raymond's interrogators appeared to be high officials as the Sumagot akong, "Siyempre po, natatakot din..."
soldiers who beat him up would salute them, call them "sir," and treat them
with respect. He was in blindfolds when interrogated by the high officials, but Sabi ni Gen. Palparan: "Sige, bibigyan ko kayo ng isang pagkakataon na
he saw their faces when they arrived and before the blindfold was put on. He mabuhay, basta't sundin n'yo ang lahat ng sasabihin ko... sabihin mo sa
noticed that the uniform of the high officials was different from those of the magulang mo - huwag pumunta sa mga rali, sa hearing, sa Karapatan at sa
other soldiers. One of those officials was tall and thin, wore white pants, tie, Human Right dahil niloloko lang kayo. Sabihin sa magulang at lahat sa bahay
and leather shoes, instead of combat boots. He spoke in Tagalog and knew na huwag paloko doon. Tulungan kami na kausapin si Bestre na sumuko na
much about his parents and family, and a habeas corpus case filed in sa gobyerno."28
connection with the respondents' abduction.16 While these officials
interrogated him, Raymond was not manhandled. But once they had left, the Respondents agreed to do as Gen. Palparan told them as they felt they could
soldier guards beat him up. When the guards got drunk, they also manhandled not do otherwise. At about 3:00 in the morning, Hilario, Efren and the former's
respondents. During this time, Raymond was fed only at night, usually with men - the same group that abducted them - brought them to their parents'
left-over and rotten food.17 house. Raymond was shown to his parents while Reynaldo stayed in the Revo
because he still could not walk. In the presence of Hilario and other soldiers,
On the third week of respondents' detention, two men arrived while Raymond Raymond relayed to his parents what Gen. Palparan told him. As they were
was sleeping and beat him up. They doused him with urine and hot water, hit afraid, Raymond's parents acceded. Hilario threatened Raymond's parents
Page 48 of 101
that if they continued to join human rights rallies, they would never see their camp. Raymond narrated what he witnessed and experienced in the camp,
children again. The respondents were then brought back to Sapang.29 viz:

When respondents arrived back in Sapang, Gen. Palparan was about to leave. Isang gabi, sinabihan kami ni Donald (Caigas) na matulog na kami. Nakita ko
He was talking with the four "masters" who were there: Arman, Ganata, Hilario si Donald na inaayos ang kanyang baril, at nilagyan ng silenser. Sabi ni
and Cabalse.30 When Gen. Palparan saw Raymond, he called for him. He Donald na kung mayroon man kaming makita o marinig, walang nangyari.
was in a big white vehicle. Raymond stood outside the vehicle as Gen. Kinaumagahan, nakita naming ang bangkay ng isa sa mga bihag na dinala sa
Palparan told him to gain back his strength and be healthy and to take the kampo. Mayroong binuhos sa kanyang katawan at ito'y sinunog. Masansang
medicine he left for him and Reynaldo. He said the medicine was expensive at ang amoy.
Php35.00 each, and would make them strong. He also said that they should
prove that they are on the side of the military and warned that they would not Makaraan ang isang lingo, dalawang bangkay and ibinaba ng mga
be given another chance.31 During his testimony, Raymond identified Gen. unipormadong sundalo mula sa 6 x 6 na trak at dinala sa loob ng kampo. May
Palparan by his picture.32 naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang mga bangkay. Naamoy
ko iyon nang nililinis ang bakas.
One of the soldiers named Arman made Raymond take the medicine left by
Gen. Palparan. The medicine, named "Alive," was green and yellow. Raymond Makalipas ang isa o dalawang lingo, may dinukot sila na dalawang Ita. Itinali
and Reynaldo were each given a box of this medicine and instructed to take sila sa labas ng kubo, piniringan, ikinadena at labis na binugbog. Nakita kong
one capsule a day. Arman checked if they were getting their dose of the nakatakas ang isa sa kanila at binaril siya ng sundalo ngunit hindi siya
medicine. The "Alive" made them sleep each time they took it, and they felt tinamaan. Iyong gabi nakita kong pinatay nila iyong isang Ita malapit sa Post
heavy upon waking up.33 3; sinilaban ang bangkay at ibinaon ito.

After a few days, Hilario arrived again. He took Reynaldo and left Raymond at Pagkalipas ng halos 1 buwan, 2 pang bangkay ang dinala sa kampo. Ibinaba
Sapang. Arman instructed Raymond that while in Sapang, he should introduce ang mga bangkay mula sa pick up trak, dinala ang mga bangkay sa labas ng
himself as "Oscar," a military trainee from Sariaya, Quezon, assigned in bakod. Kinaumagahan nakita kong mayroong sinilaban, at
Bulacan. While there, he saw again Ganata, one of the men who abducted napakamasangsang ang amoy.
him from his house, and got acquainted with other military men and
civilians.34 May nakilala rin akong 1 retiradong koronel at 1 kasama niya. Pinakain ko sila.
Sabi nila sa akin na dinukot sila sa Bataan. Iyong gabi, inilabas sila at hindi ko
After about three months in Sapang, Raymond was brought to Camp Tecson na sila nakita.
under the 24th Infantry Battalion. He was fetched by three unidentified men in
a big white vehicle. Efren went with them. Raymond was then blindfolded. xxx xxx xxx
After a 30-minute ride, his blindfold was removed. Chains were put on him and
he was kept in the barracks.35 Ikinadena kami ng 3 araw. Sa ikatlong araw, nilabas ni Lat si Manuel dahil
kakausapin daw siya ni Gen. Palparan. Nakapiring si Manuel, wala siyang
The next day, Raymond's chains were removed and he was ordered to clean suot pang-itaas, pinosasan. Nilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa
outside the barracks. It was then he learned that he was in a detachment of istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel.
the Rangers. There were many soldiers, hundreds of them were training. He Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel.
was also ordered to clean inside the barracks. In one of the rooms therein, he
met Sherlyn Cadapan from Laguna. She told him that she was a student of the Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4
University of the Philippines and was abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She na araw pagkalipas. Sinabi sa amin na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil
confided that she had been subjected to severe torture and raped. She was pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung papatayin kami o hindi.
crying and longing to go home and be with her parents. During the day, her
chains were removed and she was made to do the laundry.36 Tinanggal ang aming kadena. Kinausap kami ni Donald. Tinanong kami kung
ano ang sabi ni Manuel sa amin. Sabi ni Donald huwag na raw naming
After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his hanapin ang dalawang babae at si Manuel, dahil magkakasama na yung tatlo.
arrival, two other captives, Karen Empeño and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen Sabi pa ni Donald na kami ni Reynaldo ay magbagong buhay at ituloy namin
and Manuel were put in the room with "Allan" whose name they later came to ni Reynaldo ang trabaho. Sa gabi, hindi na kami kinakadena.43
know as Donald Caigas, called "master" or "commander" by his men in the
24th Infantry Battalion. Raymond and Reynaldo were put in the adjoining On or about June 13, 2007, Raymond and Reynaldo were brought to
room. At times, Raymond and Reynaldo were threatened, and Reynaldo was Pangasinan, ostensibly to raise poultry for Donald (Caigas). Caigas told
beaten up. In the daytime, their chains were removed, but were put back on at respondents to also farm his land, in exchange for which, he would take care
night. They were threatened that if they escaped, their families would all be of the food of their family. They were also told that they could farm a small plot
killed.37 adjoining his land and sell their produce. They were no longer put in chains
and were instructed to use the names Rommel (for Raymond) and Rod (for
On or about October 6, 2006, Hilario arrived in Camp Tecson. He told the Reynaldo) and represent themselves as cousins from Rizal, Laguna.44
detainees that they should be thankful they were still alive and should continue
along their "renewed life." Before the hearing of November 6 or 8, 2006, Respondents started to plan their escape. They could see the highway from
respondents were brought to their parents to instruct them not to attend the where they stayed. They helped farm adjoining lands for which they were paid
hearing. However, their parents had already left for Manila. Respondents were Php200.00 or Php400.00 and they saved their earnings. When they had saved
brought back to Camp Tecson. They stayed in that camp from September Php1,000.00 each, Raymond asked a neighbor how he could get a cellular
2006 to November 2006, and Raymond was instructed to continue using the phone as he wanted to exchange text messages with a girl who lived nearby.
name "Oscar" and holding himself out as a military trainee. He got acquainted A phone was pawned to him, but he kept it first and did not use it. They earned
with soldiers of the 24th Infantry Battalion whose names and descriptions he some more until they had saved Php1,400.00 between them.
stated in his affidavit.38
There were four houses in the compound. Raymond and Reynaldo were
On November 22, 2006, respondents, along with Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel, housed in one of them while their guards lived in the other three. Caigas
were transferred to a camp of the 24th Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. entrusted respondents to Nonong, the head of the guards. Respondents'
There were many huts in the camp. They stayed in that camp until May 8, house did not have electricity. They used a lamp. There was no television, but
2007. Some soldiers of the battalion stayed with them. While there, battalion they had a radio. In the evening of August 13, 2007, Nonong and his cohorts
soldiers whom Raymond knew as "Mar" and "Billy" beat him up and hit him in had a drinking session. At about 1:00 a.m., Raymond turned up the volume of
the stomach with their guns. Sherlyn and Karen also suffered enormous the radio. When none of the guards awoke and took notice, Raymond and
torture in the camp. They were all made to clean, cook, and help in raising Reynaldo proceeded towards the highway, leaving behind their sleeping
livestock.39 guards and barking dogs. They boarded a bus bound for Manila and were thus
freed from captivity.45
Raymond recalled that when "Operation Lubog" was launched, Caigas and
some other soldiers brought him and Manuel with them to take and kill all Reynaldo also executed an affidavit affirming the contents of Raymond's
sympathizers of the NPA. They were brought to Barangay Bayan-bayanan, affidavit insofar as they related to matters they witnessed together. Reynaldo
Bataan where he witnessed the killing of an old man doing kaingin. The added that when they were taken from their house on February 14, 2006, he
soldiers said he was killed because he had a son who was a member of the saw the faces of his abductors before he was blindfolded with his shirt. He
NPA and he coddled NPA members in his house.40 Another time, in another also named the soldiers he got acquainted with in the 18 months he was
"Operation Lubog," Raymond was brought to Barangay Orion in a house detained. When Raymond attempted to escape from Fort Magsaysay,
where NPA men stayed. When they arrived, only the old man of the house Reynaldo was severely beaten up and told that they were indeed members of
who was sick was there. They spared him and killed only his son right before the NPA because Raymond escaped. With a .45 caliber pistol, Reynaldo was
Raymond's eyes.41 hit on the back and punched in the face until he could no longer bear the pain.

From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were At one point during their detention, when Raymond and Reynaldo were in
transferred to Zambales, in a safehouse near the sea. Caigas and some of his Sapang, Reynaldo was separated from Raymond and brought to Pinaud by
men stayed with them. A retired army soldier was in charge of the house. Like Rizal Hilario. He was kept in the house of Kapitan, a friend of Hilario, in a
in Limay, the five detainees were made to do errands and chores. They stayed mountainous area. He was instructed to use the name "Rodel" and to
in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007 until June 2007.42 represent himself as a military trainee from Meycauayan, Bulacan. Sometimes,
Hilario brought along Reynaldo in his trips. One time, he was brought to a
In June 2007, Caigas brought the five back to the camp in Limay. Raymond, market in San Jose, del Monte, Bulacan and made to wait in the vehicle while
Reynaldo, and Manuel were tasked to bring food to detainees brought to the Hilario was buying. He was also brought to Tondo, Manila where Hilario
Page 49 of 101
delivered boxes of "Alive" in different houses. In these trips, Hilario drove a purpose of establishing the circumstances of the alleged disappearance and
black and red vehicle. Reynaldo was blindfolded while still in Bulacan, but the recent reappearance of the petitioners.
allowed to remove the blindfold once outside the province. In one of their trips,
they passed by Fort Magsaysay and Camp Tecson where Reynaldo saw the 3.2. I have caused the immediate investigation and submission of the result
sign board, "Welcome to Camp Tecson."46 thereof to Higher headquarters and/or direct the immediate conduct of the
investigation on the matter by the concerned unit/s, dispatching Radio
Dr. Benito Molino, M.D., corroborated the accounts of respondents Raymond Message on November 05, 2007, addressed to the Commanding General,
and Reynaldo Manalo. Dr. Molino specialized in forensic medicine and was Philippine Army (Info: COMNOLCOM, CG, 71D PA and CO 24 IB PA). A Copy
connected with the Medical Action Group, an organization handling cases of of the Radio Message is attached as ANNEX "3" of this Affidavit.
human rights violations, particularly cases where torture was involved. He was
requested by an NGO to conduct medical examinations on the respondents 3.3. We undertake to provide result of the investigations conducted or to be
after their escape. He first asked them about their ordeal, then proceeded with conducted by the concerned unit relative to the circumstances of the alleged
the physical examination. His findings showed that the scars borne by disappearance of the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been
respondents were consistent with their account of physical injuries inflicted sought for as soon as the same has been furnished Higher headquarters.
upon them. The examination was conducted on August 15, 2007, two days
after respondents' escape, and the results thereof were reduced into writing. 3.4. A parallel investigation has been directed to the same units relative to
Dr. Molino took photographs of the scars. He testified that he followed the another Petition for the Writ of Amparo (G.R. No. 179994) filed at the instance
Istanbul Protocol in conducting the examination.47 of relatives of a certain Cadapan and Empeño pending before the Supreme
Court.
Petitioners dispute respondents' account of their alleged abduction and torture.
In compliance with the October 25, 2007 Resolution of the Court, they filed a 3.5. On the part of the Armed Forces, this respondent will exert earnest efforts
Return of the Writ of Amparo admitting the abduction but denying any to establish the surrounding circumstances of the disappearances of the
involvement therein, viz: petitioners and to bring those responsible, including any military personnel if
shown to have participated or had complicity in the commission of the
13. Petitioners Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo were not at any time arrested, complained acts, to the bar of justice, when warranted by the findings and the
forcibly abducted, detained, held incommunicado, disappeared or under the competent evidence that may be gathered in the process.50
custody by the military. This is a settled issue laid to rest in the habeas corpus
case filed in their behalf by petitioners' parents before the Court of Appeals in Also attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of Lt. Col. Felipe
C.A.-G.R. SP No. 94431 against M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, as Anontado, INF (GSC) PA, earlier filed in G.R. No. 179994, another Amparo
head of the 24th Infantry Battalion; Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, as Commander case in this Court, involving Cadapan, Empeño and Merino, which averred
of the 7th Infantry Division in Luzon; Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, in his among others, viz:
capacity as the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, and members of
the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), namely: Michael dela 10) Upon reading the allegations in the Petition implicating the 24th Infantry
Cruz, Puti dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Pula dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza and Batallion detachment as detention area, I immediately went to the 24th IB
Rudy Mendoza. The respondents therein submitted a return of the writ... On detachment in Limay, Bataan and found no untoward incidents in the area nor
July 4, 2006, the Court of Appeals dropped as party respondents Lt. Gen. any detainees by the name of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel
Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., then Commanding General of the Philippine Merino being held captive;
Army, and on September 19, 2006, Maj. (sic) Jovito S. Palparan, then
Commanding General, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, stationed at Fort 11) There was neither any reports of any death of Manuel Merino in the 24th
Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, upon a finding that no evidence was IB in Limay, Bataan;
introduced to establish their personal involvement in the taking of the Manalo
brothers. In a Decision dated June 27, 2007..., it exonerated M/Sgt. Rizal 12) After going to the 24th IB in Limay, Bataan, we made further inquiries with
Hilario aka Rollie Castillo for lack of evidence establishing his involvement in the Philippine National Police, Limay, Bataan regarding the alleged detentions
any capacity in the disappearance of the Manalo brothers, although it held that or deaths and were informed that none was reported to their good office;
the remaining respondents were illegally detaining the Manalo brothers and 13) I also directed Company Commander 1st Lt. Romeo Publico to inquire into
ordered them to release the latter.48 the alleged beachhouse in Iba, Zambales also alleged to be a detention place
where Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel Merino were detained.
Attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of therein respondent As per the inquiry, however, no such beachhouse was used as a detention
(herein petitioner) Secretary of National Defense, which attested that he place found to have been used by armed men to detain Cadapan, Empeño
assumed office only on August 8, 2007 and was thus unaware of the Manalo and Merino.51
brothers' alleged abduction. He also claimed that:
It was explained in the Return of the Writ that for lack of sufficient time, the
7. The Secretary of National Defense does not engage in actual military affidavits of Maj. Gen Jovito S. Palparan (Ret.), M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie
directional operations, neither does he undertake command directions of the Castillo, and other persons implicated by therein petitioners could not be
AFP units in the field, nor in any way micromanage the AFP operations. The secured in time for the submission of the Return and would be subsequently
principal responsibility of the Secretary of National Defense is focused in submitted.52
providing strategic policy direction to the Department (bureaus and agencies)
including the Armed Forces of the Philippines; Herein petitioners presented a lone witness in the summary hearings, Lt. Col.
Ruben U. Jimenez, Provost Marshall, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army,
8. In connection with the Writ of Amparo issued by the Honorable Supreme based in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. The territorial jurisdiction
Court in this case, I have directed the Chief of Staff, AFP to institute immediate of this Division covers Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga,
action in compliance with Section 9(d) of the Amparo Rule and to submit Tarlac and a portion of Pangasinan.53 The 24th Infantry Battalion is part of the
report of such compliance... Likewise, in a Memorandum Directive also dated 7th Infantry Division.54
October 31, 2007, I have issued a policy directive addressed to the Chief of
Staff, AFP that the AFP should adopt the following rules of action in the event On May 26, 2006, Lt. Col. Jimenez was directed by the Commanding General
the Writ of Amparo is issued by a competent court against any members of the of the 7th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palaran,55 through his Assistant
AFP: Chief of Staff,56 to investigate the alleged abduction of the respondents by
CAFGU auxiliaries under his unit, namely: CAA Michael de la Cruz; CAA
(1) to verify the identity of the aggrieved party; Roman de la Cruz, aka Puti; CAA Maximo de la Cruz, aka Pula; CAA Randy
Mendoza; ex-CAA Marcelo de la Cruz aka Madning; and a civilian named
(2) to recover and preserve evidence related to the death or disappearance of Rudy Mendoza. He was directed to determine: (1) the veracity of the
the person identified in the petition which may aid in the prosecution of the abduction of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo by the alleged elements of the
person or persons responsible; CAFGU auxiliaries; and (2) the administrative liability of said auxiliaries, if
any.57 Jimenez testified that this particular investigation was initiated not by a
(3) to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning the complaint as was the usual procedure, but because the Commanding General
death or disappearance; saw news about the abduction of the Manalo brothers on the television, and
he was concerned about what was happening within his territorial
(4) to determine the cause, manner, location and time of death or jurisdiction.58
disappearance as well as any pattern or practice that may have brought about
the death or disappearance; Jimenez summoned all six implicated persons for the purpose of having them
execute sworn statements and conducting an investigation on May 29,
(5) to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in the death or 2006.59 The investigation started at 8:00 in the morning and finished at 10:00
disappearance; and in the evening.60 The investigating officer, Technical Sgt. Eduardo Lingad,
took the individual sworn statements of all six persons on that day. There were
(6) to bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.49 no other sworn statements taken, not even of the Manalo family, nor were
there other witnesses summoned and investigated61 as according to Jimenez,
Therein respondent AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit, the directive to him was only to investigate the six persons.62
attached to the Return of the Writ, attesting that he received the above
directive of therein respondent Secretary of National Defense and that acting Jimenez was beside Lingad when the latter took the statements.63 The six
on this directive, he did the following: persons were not known to Jimenez as it was in fact his first time to meet
them.64 During the entire time that he was beside Lingad, a subordinate of his
3.1. As currently designated Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines in the Office of the Provost Marshall, Jimenez did not propound a single
(AFP), I have caused to be issued directive to the units of the AFP for the question to the six persons.65
Page 50 of 101
of the alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and learned only about the
Jimenez testified that all six statements were taken on May 29, 2006, but incident when rumors reached him by his barrio mates. He claims that his
Marcelo Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza had to come back the next day to sign implication is merely fabricated because of his relationship to Roman and
their statements as the printing of their statements was interrupted by a power Maximo who are his brothers.
failure. Jimenez testified that the two signed on May 30, 2006, but the jurats of
their statements indicated that they were signed on May 29, 2006.66 When f) Sworn statement of Michael dela Cruz y Faustino dated 29 May 2006 in
the Sworn Statements were turned over to Jimenez, he personally wrote his (Exhibit "G") states that he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na
investigation report. He began writing it in the afternoon of May 30, 2006 and Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, the Chief of Brgy. Tanod and a CAFGU
finished it on June 1, 2006.67 He then gave his report to the Office of the Chief member based at Biak na Bato Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims
of Personnel.68 that he knew very well the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in their
barangay for having been the Tanod Chief for twenty (20) years. He alleged
As petitioners largely rely on Jimenez's Investigation Report dated June 1, further that they are active supporters or sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and
2006 for their evidence, the report is herein substantially quoted: whose elder brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE is an NPA leader
operating within the area. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 Feb
III. BACKGROUND OF THE CASE 2006 he was helping in the construction of their concrete chapel in their place
and he learned only about the incident which is the abduction of Raymond and
4. This pertains to the abduction of RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO Reynaldo Manalo when one of the Brgy. Kagawad in the person of Pablo
MANALO who were forcibly taken from their respective homes in Brgy. Buhol Cunanan informed him about the matter. He claims further that he is truly
na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on 14 February 2006 by unidentified innocent of the allegation against him as being one of the abductors and he
armed men and thereafter were forcibly disappeared. After the said incident, considers everything fabricated in order to destroy his name that remains loyal
relatives of the victims filed a case for Abduction in the civil court against the to his service to the government as a CAA member.
herein suspects: Michael dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Puti Dela Cruz, Pula
Dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza as alleged members of the IV. DISCUSSION
Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
5. Based on the foregoing statements of respondents in this particular case,
a) Sworn statement of CAA Maximo F. dela Cruz, aka Pula dated 29 May the proof of linking them to the alleged abduction and disappearance of
2006 in (Exhibit "B") states that he was at Sitio Mozon, Brgy. Bohol na Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo that transpired on 14 February 2006 at Sitio
Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan doing the concrete building of a church Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, is unsubstantiated.
located nearby his residence, together with some neighbor thereat. He claims Their alleged involvement theretofore to that incident is considered doubtful,
that on 15 February 2006, he was being informed by Brgy. Kagawad Pablo hence, no basis to indict them as charged in this investigation.
Umayan about the abduction of the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo.
As to the allegation that he was one of the suspects, he claims that they only Though there are previous grudges between each families (sic) in the past to
implicated him because he was a CAFGU and that they claimed that those quote: the killing of the father of Randy and Rudy Mendoza by @ KA BESTRE
who abducted the Manalo brothers are members of the Military and CAFGU. TN: Rolando Manalo, this will not suffice to establish a fact that they were the
Subject vehemently denied any participation or involvement on the abduction ones who did the abduction as a form of revenge. As it was also stated in the
of said victims. testimony of other accused claiming that the Manalos are active
sympathizers/supporters of the CPP/NPA, this would not also mean, however,
b) Sworn statement of CAA Roman dela Cruz y Faustino Aka Puti dtd 29 May that in the first place, they were in connivance with the abductors. Being their
2006 in (Exhibit "C") states that he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na neighbors and as members of CAFGU's, they ought to be vigilant in protecting
Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a CAA member based at Biak na Bato their village from any intervention by the leftist group, hence inside their
Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo village, they were fully aware of the activities of Raymond and Reynaldo
Manalo being his neighbors are active members/sympathizers of the Manalo in so far as their connection with the CPP/NPA is concerned.
CPP/NPA and he also knows their elder Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE of
being an NPA Leader operating in their province. That at the time of the V. CONCLUSION
alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and for accusing him to be one of the
suspects, he claims that on February 14, 2006, he was one of those working 6. Premises considered surrounding this case shows that the alleged charges
at the concrete chapel being constructed nearby his residence. He claims of abduction committed by the above named respondents has not been
further that he just came only to know about the incident on other day (15 Feb established in this investigation. Hence, it lacks merit to indict them for any
06) when he was being informed by Kagawad Pablo Kunanan. That subject administrative punishment and/or criminal liability. It is therefore concluded
CAA vehemently denied any participation about the incident and claimed that that they are innocent of the charge.
they only implicated him because he is a member of the CAFGU.
VI. RECOMMENDATIONS
c) Sworn Statement of CAA Randy Mendoza y Lingas dated 29 May 2006 in
(Exhibit "O") states that he is a resident of Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San 7. That CAAs Michael F. dela Cruz, Maximo F. Dela Cruz, Roman dela Cruz,
Ildefonso, Bulacan and a member of CAFGU based at Biak na Bato Randy Mendoza, and two (2) civilians Maximo F. Dela Cruz and Rudy L.
Detachment. That being a neighbor, he was very much aware about the Mendoza be exonerated from the case.
background of the two (2) brothers Raymond and Reynaldo as active
supporters of the CPP NPA in their Brgy. and he also knew their elder brother 8. Upon approval, this case can be dropped and closed.69
"KUMANDER BESTRE" TN: Rolando Manalo. Being one of the accused, he
claims that on 14 February 2006, he was at Brgy. Magmarate, San Miguel, In this appeal under Rule 45, petitioners question the appellate court's
Bulacan in the house of his aunt and he learned only about the incident when assessment of the foregoing evidence and assail the December 26, 2007
he arrived home in their place. He claims further that the only reason why they Decision on the following grounds, viz:
implicated him was due to the fact that his mother has filed a criminal charge
against their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE who is an NPA I.
Commander who killed his father and for that reason they implicated him in
support of their brother. Subject CAA vehemently denied any involvement on THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN
the abduction of said Manalo brothers. BELIEVING AND GIVING FULL FAITH AND CREDIT TO THE INCREDIBLE,
UNCORROBORATED, CONTRADICTED, AND OBVIOUSLY SCRIPTED,
d) Sworn Statement of Rudy Mendoza y Lingasa dated May 29, 2006 in REHEARSED AND SELF-SERVING AFFIDAVIT/TESTIMONY OF HEREIN
(Exhibit "E") states that he is a resident of Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. RESPONDENT RAYMOND MANALO.
He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo are familiar to him being his
barriomate when he was still unmarried and he knew them since childhood. II.
Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006, he was at his
residence in Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that he was being THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN
informed only about the incident lately and he was not aware of any reason REQUIRING RESPONDENTS (HEREIN PETITIONERS) TO: (A) FURNISH
why the two (2) brothers were being abducted by alleged members of the TO THE MANALO BROTHER(S) AND TO THE COURT OF APPEALS ALL
military and CAFGU. The only reason he knows why they implicated him was OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL REPORTS OF THE INVESTIGATION
because there are those people who are angry with their family particularly UNDERTAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR CASE, EXCEPT THOSE
victims of summary execution (killing) done by their brother @ KA Bestre ALREADY IN FILE WITH THE COURT; (B) CONFIRM IN WRITING THE
Rolando Manalo who is an NPA leader. He claims further that it was their PRESENT PLACES OF OFFICIAL ASSIGNMENT OF M/SGT. HILARIO aka
brother @ KA BESTRE who killed his father and he was living witness to that ROLLIE CASTILLO AND DONALD CAIGAS; AND (C) CAUSE TO BE
incident. Subject civilian vehemently denied any involvement on the abduction PRODUCED TO THE COURT OF APPEALS ALL MEDICAL REPORTS,
of the Manalo brothers. RECORDS AND CHARTS, AND REPORTS OF ANY TREATMENT GIVEN
OR RECOMMENDED AND MEDICINES PRESCRIBED, IF ANY, TO THE
e) Sworn statement of Ex-CAA Marcelo dala Cruz dated 29 May 2006 in MANALO BROTHERS, TO INCLUDE A LIST OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL
(Exhibit "F") states that he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na (MILITARY AND CIVILIAN) WHO ATTENDED TO THEM FROM FEBRUARY
Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, a farmer and a former CAA based at Biak na 14, 2006 UNTIL AUGUST 12, 2007.70
Bato, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo
are familiar to him being their barrio mate. He claims further that they are The case at bar is the first decision on the application of the Rule on the Writ
active supporters of CPP/NPA and that their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA of Amparo (Amparo Rule). Let us hearken to its beginning.
BESTRE is an NPA leader. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14
February 2006, he was in his residence at Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na The adoption of the Amparo Rule surfaced as a recurring proposition in the
Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. That he vehemently denied any participation recommendations that resulted from a two-day National Consultative Summit
Page 51 of 101
on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances sponsored by the Court petition for a writ of Amparo through summary proceedings and the availability
on July 16-17, 2007. The Summit was "envisioned to provide a broad and fact- of appropriate interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo Rule, this
based perspective on the issue of extrajudicial killings and enforced hybrid writ of the common law and civil law traditions - borne out of the Latin
disappearances,"71 hence "representatives from all sides of the political and American and Philippine experience of human rights abuses - offers a better
social spectrum, as well as all the stakeholders in the justice system"72 remedy to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances and threats thereof.
participated in mapping out ways to resolve the crisis. The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary
proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make the appropriate
On October 24, 2007, the Court promulgated the Amparo Rule "in light of the reliefs available to the petitioner; it is not an action to determine criminal guilt
prevalence of extralegal killing and enforced disappearances."73 It was an requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring
exercise for the first time of the Court's expanded power to promulgate rules to preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring
protect our people's constitutional rights, which made its maiden appearance substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.91
in the 1987 Constitution in response to the Filipino experience of the martial
law regime.74 As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing
problem of "extralegal killings" and "enforced disappearances," its coverage, in the problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. It is preventive
its present form, is confined to these two instances or to threats thereof. in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these
"Extralegal killings" are "killings committed without due process of law, i.e., offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of
without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings."75 On the other hand, perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and
"enforced disappearances" are "attended by the following characteristics: an action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to
arrest, detention or abduction of a person by a government official or deter the further commission of extralegal killings and enforced
organized groups or private individuals acting with the direct or indirect disappearances.
acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to disclose the fate
or whereabouts of the person concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the In the case at bar, respondents initially filed an action for "Prohibition,
deprivation of liberty which places such persons outside the protection of Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order"92 to stop petitioners and/or their
law."76 officers and agents from depriving the respondents of their right to liberty and
other basic rights on August 23, 2007,93 prior to the promulgation of the
The writ of Amparo originated in Mexico. "Amparo" literally means "protection" Amparo Rule. They also sought ancillary remedies including Protective
in Spanish.77 In 1837, de Tocqueville's Democracy in America became Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access Orders
available in Mexico and stirred great interest. Its description of the practice of and other legal and equitable remedies under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the
judicial review in the U.S. appealed to many Mexican jurists.78 One of them, 1987 Constitution and Rule 135, Section 6 of the Rules of Court. When the
Manuel Crescencio Rejón, drafted a constitutional provision for his native Amparo Rule came into effect on October 24, 2007, they moved to have their
state, Yucatan,79 which granted judges the power to protect all persons in the petition treated as an Amparo petition as it would be more effective and
enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights. This idea was incorporated suitable to the circumstances of the Manalo brothers' enforced disappearance.
into the national constitution in 1847, viz: The Court granted their motion.

The federal courts shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic in the exercise With this backdrop, we now come to the arguments of the petitioner.
and preservation of those rights granted to him by this Constitution and by Petitioners' first argument in disputing the Decision of the Court of Appeals
laws enacted pursuant hereto, against attacks by the Legislative and states, viz:
Executive powers of the federal or state governments, limiting themselves to
granting protection in the specific case in litigation, making no general The Court of Appeals seriously and grievously erred in believing and giving full
declaration concerning the statute or regulation that motivated the violation.80 faith and credit to the incredible uncorroborated, contradicted, and obviously
scripted, rehearsed and self-serving affidavit/testimony of herein respondent
Since then, the protection has been an important part of Mexican Raymond Manalo.94
constitutionalism.81 If, after hearing, the judge determines that a constitutional
right of the petitioner is being violated, he orders the official, or the official's In delving into the veracity of the evidence, we need to mine and refine the ore
superiors, to cease the violation and to take the necessary measures to of petitioners' cause of action, to determine whether the evidence presented is
restore the petitioner to the full enjoyment of the right in question. Amparo thus metal-strong to satisfy the degree of proof required.
combines the principles of judicial review derived from the U.S. with the
limitations on judicial power characteristic of the civil law tradition which Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides for the following causes
prevails in Mexico. It enables courts to enforce the constitution by protecting of action, viz:
individual rights in particular cases, but prevents them from using this power to
make law for the entire nation.82 Section 1. Petition. - The petition for a writ of Amparo is a remedy available to
any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened
The writ of Amparo then spread throughout the Western Hemisphere, with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or
gradually evolving into various forms, in response to the particular needs of of a private individual or entity.
each country.83 It became, in the words of a justice of the Mexican Federal
Supreme Court, one piece of Mexico's self-attributed "task of conveying to the The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats
world's legal heritage that institution which, as a shield of human dignity, her thereof. (emphasis supplied)
own painful history conceived."84 What began as a protection against acts or
omissions of public authorities in violation of constitutional rights later evolved Sections 17 and 18, on the other hand, provide for the degree of proof
for several purposes: (1) Amparo libertad for the protection of personal required, viz:
freedom, equivalent to the habeas corpus writ; (2) Amparo contra leyes for the
judicial review of the constitutionality of statutes; (3) Amparo casacion for the Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. - The parties
judicial review of the constitutionality and legality of a judicial decision; (4) shall establish their claims by substantial evidence.
Amparo administrativo for the judicial review of administrative actions; and (5)
Amparo agrario for the protection of peasants' rights derived from the agrarian xxx xxx xxx
reform process.85
Sec. 18. Judgment. - ... If the allegations in the petition are proven by
In Latin American countries, except Cuba, the writ of Amparo has been substantial evidence, the court shall grant the privilege of the writ and such
constitutionally adopted to protect against human rights abuses especially reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be
committed in countries under military juntas. In general, these countries denied. (emphases supplied)
adopted an all-encompassing writ to protect the whole gamut of constitutional
rights, including socio-economic rights.86 Other countries like Colombia, Chile, Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a
Germany and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the protection of the writ of reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.95
Amparo only to some constitutional guarantees or fundamental rights.87
After careful perusal of the evidence presented, we affirm the findings of the
In the Philippines, while the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly provide for Court of Appeals that respondents were abducted from their houses in Sito
the writ of Amparo, several of the above Amparo protections are guaranteed Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on February 14, 2006
by our charter. The second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 and were continuously detained until they escaped on August 13, 2007. The
Constitution, the Grave Abuse Clause, provides for the judicial power "to abduction, detention, torture, and escape of the respondents were narrated by
determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion respondent Raymond Manalo in a clear and convincing manner. His account
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or is dotted with countless candid details of respondents' harrowing experience
instrumentality of the Government." The Clause accords a similar general and tenacious will to escape, captured through his different senses and etched
protection to human rights extended by the Amparo contra leyes, Amparo in his memory. A few examples are the following: "Sumilip ako sa isang haligi
casacion, and Amparo administrativo. Amparo libertad is comparable to the ng kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel."96 "(N)ilakasan ng mga
remedy of habeas corpus found in several provisions of the 1987 sundalo ang tunog na galing sa istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko
Constitution.88 The Clause is an offspring of the U.S. common law tradition of ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel."97 "May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang
judicial review, which finds its roots in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.89 hinihila nila ang mga bangkay. Naamoy ko iyon nang nililinis ang bakas."98
"Tumigil ako sa may palaisdaan kung saan ginamit ko ang bato para tanggalin
While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause ang mga kadena."99 "Tinanong ko sa isang kapit-bahay kung paano ako
through remedies of injunction or prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of makakakuha ng cell phone; sabi ko gusto kong i-text ang isang babae na
Court and a petition for habeas corpus under Rule 102,90 these remedies may nakatira sa malapit na lugar."100
not be adequate to address the pestering problem of extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances. However, with the swiftness required to resolve a
Page 52 of 101
We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based on Jimenez to be the "Division Training Unit,"104 firms up respondents' story that
respondent Raymond Manalo's affidavit and testimony, viz: they were detained for some time in said military facility.

...the abduction was perpetrated by armed men who were sufficiently identified In Ortiz v. Guatemala,105 a case decided by the Inter-American Commission
by the petitioners (herein respondents) to be military personnel and CAFGU on Human Rights, the Commission considered similar evidence, among
auxiliaries. Raymond recalled that the six armed men who barged into his others, in finding that complainant Sister Diana Ortiz was abducted and
house through the rear door were military men based on their attire of fatigue tortured by agents of the Guatemalan government. In this case, Sister Ortiz
pants and army boots, and the CAFGU auxiliaries, namely: Michael de la was kidnapped and tortured in early November 1989. The Commission's
Cruz, Madning de la Cruz, Puti de la Cruz and Pula de la Cruz, all members of findings of fact were mostly based on the consistent and credible statements,
the CAFGU and residents of Muzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, and the brothers written and oral, made by Sister Ortiz regarding her ordeal.106 These
Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also CAFGU members, served as statements were supported by her recognition of portions of the route they
lookouts during the abduction. Raymond was sure that three of the six military took when she was being driven out of the military installation where she was
men were Ganata, who headed the abducting team, Hilario, who drove the detained.107 She was also examined by a medical doctor whose findings
van, and George. Subsequent incidents of their long captivity, as narrated by showed that the 111 circular second degree burns on her back and abrasions
the petitioners, validated their assertion of the participation of the elements of on her cheek coincided with her account of cigarette burning and torture she
the 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, and their CAFGU auxiliaries. suffered while in detention.108

We are convinced, too, that the reason for the abduction was the suspicion With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance and the torture
that the petitioners were either members or sympathizers of the NPA, perpetrated on the victim during detention, it logically holds that much of the
considering that the abductors were looking for Ka Bestre, who turned out to information and evidence of the ordeal will come from the victims themselves,
be Rolando, the brother of petitioners. and the veracity of their account will depend on their credibility and candidness
in their written and/or oral statements. Their statements can be corroborated
The efforts exerted by the Military Command to look into the abduction were, by other evidence such as physical evidence left by the torture they suffered or
at best, merely superficial. The investigation of the Provost Marshall of the 7th landmarks they can identify in the places where they were detained. Where
Infantry Division focused on the one-sided version of the CAFGU auxiliaries powerful military officers are implicated, the hesitation of witnesses to surface
involved. This one-sidedness might be due to the fact that the Provost and testify against them comes as no surprise.
Marshall could delve only into the participation of military personnel, but even
then the Provost Marshall should have refrained from outrightly exculpating We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the writ of
the CAFGU auxiliaries he perfunctorily investigated... Amparo. There is no quarrel that the enforced disappearance of both
respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo has now passed as they have
Gen. Palparan's participation in the abduction was also established. At the escaped from captivity and surfaced. But while respondents admit that they
very least, he was aware of the petitioners' captivity at the hands of men in are no longer in detention and are physically free, they assert that they are not
uniform assigned to his command. In fact, he or any other officer tendered no "free in every sense of the word"109 as their "movements continue to be
controversion to the firm claim of Raymond that he (Gen. Palparan) met them restricted for fear that people they have named in their Judicial Affidavits and
in person in a safehouse in Bulacan and told them what he wanted them and testified against (in the case of Raymond) are still at large and have not been
their parents to do or not to be doing. Gen. Palparan's direct and personal role held accountable in any way. These people are directly connected to the
in the abduction might not have been shown but his knowledge of the dire Armed Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in a position to threaten
situation of the petitioners during their long captivity at the hands of military respondents' rights to life, liberty and security."110 (emphasis supplied)
personnel under his command bespoke of his indubitable command policy that Respondents claim that they are under threat of being once again abducted,
unavoidably encouraged and not merely tolerated the abduction of civilians kept captive or even killed, which constitute a direct violation of their right to
without due process of law and without probable cause. security of person.111

In the habeas proceedings, the Court, through the Former Special Sixth Elaborating on the "right to security, in general," respondents point out that this
Division (Justices Buzon, chairman; Santiago-Lagman, Sr., member; and right is "often associated with liberty;" it is also seen as an "expansion of rights
Romilla-Lontok, Jr., member/ponente.) found no clear and convincing based on the prohibition against torture and cruel and unusual punishment."
evidence to establish that M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario had anything to do with the Conceding that there is no right to security expressly mentioned in Article III of
abduction or the detention. Hilario's involvement could not, indeed, be then the 1987 Constitution, they submit that their rights "to be kept free from torture
established after Evangeline Francisco, who allegedly saw Hilario drive the and from incommunicado detention and solitary detention places112 fall under
van in which the petitioners were boarded and ferried following the abduction, the general coverage of the right to security of person under the writ of
did not testify. (See the decision of the habeas proceedings at rollo, p. 52) Amparo." They submit that the Court ought to give an expansive recognition of
the right to security of person in view of the State Policy under Article II of the
However, in this case, Raymond attested that Hilario drove the white L-300 1987 Constitution which enunciates that, "The State values the dignity of every
van in which the petitioners were brought away from their houses on February human person and guarantees full respect for human rights." Finally, to justify
14, 2006. Raymond also attested that Hilario participated in subsequent a liberal interpretation of the right to security of person, respondents cite the
incidents during the captivity of the petitioners, one of which was when Hilario teaching in Moncupa v. Enrile113 that "the right to liberty may be made more
fetched them from Fort Magsaysay on board a Revo and conveyed them to a meaningful only if there is no undue restraint by the State on the exercise of
detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan where they were detained for at that liberty"114 such as a requirement to "report under unreasonable
least a week in a house of strong materials (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) and then restrictions that amounted to a deprivation of liberty"115 or being put under
Hilario (along with Efren) brought them to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on "monitoring and surveillance."116
board the Revo, to an unfinished house inside the compound of Kapitan where
they were kept for more or less three months. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) It was In sum, respondents assert that their cause of action consists in the threat to
there where the petitioners came face to face with Gen. Palparan. Hilario and their right to life and liberty, and a violation of their right to security.
Efren also brought the petitioners one early morning to the house of the
petitioners' parents, where only Raymond was presented to the parents to Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has indeed
relay the message from Gen. Palparan not to join anymore rallies. On that been violated as respondents assert. The right to security or the right to
occasion, Hilario warned the parents that they would not again see their sons security of person finds a textual hook in Article III, Section 2 of the 1987
should they join any rallies to denounce human rights violations. (Exhibit D, Constitution which provides, viz:
rollo, pp. 205-206) Hilario was also among four Master Sergeants (the others
being Arman, Ganata and Cabalse) with whom Gen. Palparan conversed on Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers
the occasion when Gen. Palparan required Raymond to take the medicines for and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature
his health. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 206) There were other occasions when the and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of
petitioners saw that Hilario had a direct hand in their torture. arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by
the judge...
It is clear, therefore, that the participation of Hilario in the abduction and forced
disappearance of the petitioners was established. The participation of other At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of one's person, including the
military personnel like Arman, Ganata, Cabalse and Caigas, among others, extensions of his/her person - houses, papers, and effects - against
was similarly established. government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the state's power over a
person's home and possessions, but more importantly, protects the privacy
xxx xxx xxx and sanctity of the person himself.117 The purpose of this provision was
As to the CAFGU auxiliaries, the habeas Court found them personally involved enunciated by the Court in People v. CFI of Rizal, Branch IX, Quezon City, viz:
in the abduction. We also do, for, indeed, the evidence of their participation is 118
overwhelming.101
The purpose of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches
We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalo's and seizures is to prevent violations of private security in person and property
statements were not corroborated by other independent and credible pieces of and unlawful invasion of the security of the home by officers of the law acting
evidence.102 Raymond's affidavit and testimony were corroborated by the under legislative or judicial sanction and to give remedy against such
affidavit of respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and medical reports usurpation when attempted. (Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 858; Alvero v.
prepared by forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the pictures of the scars left by Dizon, 76 Phil. 637 [1946]). The right to privacy is an essential condition to the
the physical injuries inflicted on respondents,103 also corroborate dignity and happiness and to the peace and security of every individual,
respondents' accounts of the torture they endured while in detention. whether it be of home or of persons and correspondence. (Tañada and
Respondent Raymond Manalo's familiarity with the facilities in Fort Magsaysay Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, Vol. 2, 139 [1962]). The constitutional
such as the "DTU," as shown in his testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col. inviolability of this great fundamental right against unreasonable searches and
seizures must be deemed absolute as nothing is closer to a man's soul than
Page 53 of 101
the serenity of his privacy and the assurance of his personal security. Any An overture to an interpretation of the right to security of person as a right
interference allowable can only be for the best causes and reasons.119 against torture was made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in
(emphases supplied) the recent case of Popov v. Russia.130 In this case, the claimant, who was
lawfully detained, alleged that the state authorities had physically abused him
While the right to life under Article III, Section 1120 guarantees essentially the in prison, thereby violating his right to security of person. Article 5(1) of the
right to be alive121 - upon which the enjoyment of all other rights is European Convention on Human Rights provides, viz: "Everyone has the right
preconditioned - the right to security of person is a guarantee of the secure to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in
quality of this life, viz: "The life to which each person has a right is not a life the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law ..."
lived in fear that his person and property may be unreasonably violated by a (emphases supplied) Article 3, on the other hand, provides that "(n)o one shall
powerful ruler. Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that the government be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
he established and consented to, will protect the security of his person and Although the application failed on the facts as the alleged ill-treatment was
property. The ideal of security in life and property... pervades the whole history found baseless, the ECHR relied heavily on the concept of security in holding,
of man. It touches every aspect of man's existence."122 In a broad sense, the viz:
right to security of person "emanates in a person's legal and uninterrupted
enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation. It ...the applicant did not bring his allegations to the attention of domestic
includes the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life while existing, and authorities at the time when they could reasonably have been expected to take
it is invaded not only by a deprivation of life but also of those things which are measures in order to ensure his security and to investigate the circumstances
necessary to the enjoyment of life according to the nature, temperament, and in question.
lawful desires of the individual."123
xxx xxx xxx
A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various permutations
of the exercise of this right. ... the authorities failed to ensure his security in custody or to comply with the
procedural obligation under Art.3 to conduct an effective investigation into his
First, the right to security of person is "freedom from fear." In its "whereas" allegations.131 (emphasis supplied)
clauses, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that
"a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has
freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of also made a statement that the protection of the bodily integrity of women may
the common people." (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate that also be related to the right to security and liberty, viz:
"freedom from fear" is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an
individual international human right.124 It is the "right to security of person" as ...gender-based violence which impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of
the word "security" itself means "freedom from fear."125 Article 3 of the UDHR human rights and fundamental freedoms under general international law or
provides, viz: under specific human rights conventions is discrimination within the meaning
of article 1 of the Convention (on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.126 (emphasis Against Women). These rights and freedoms include . . . the right to liberty
supplied) and security of person.132

In furtherance of this right declared in the UDHR, Article 9(1) of the Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of one's rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) also provides for by the government. In the context of the writ of Amparo, this right is built into
the right to security of person, viz: the guarantees of the right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the
1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from threat
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under Article III, Section 2.
subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that
liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are the State "guarantees full respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11
established by law. (emphasis supplied) of the 1987 Constitution.133 As the government is the chief guarantor of order
and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and
The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR. security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford
protection to these rights especially when they are under threat. Protection
In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, "freedom from fear" is the right includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government
and any threat to the rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. apparatus to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced
Fear is a state of mind, a reaction; threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing
caused by the same stimulus can range from being baseless to well-founded offenders to the bar of justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights
as people react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person to stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez Case,134
another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of viz:
character or past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the Amparo context, it
is more correct to say that the "right to security" is actually the "freedom from (The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a
threat." Viewed in this light, the "threatened with violation" Clause in the latter mere formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an
part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step
security mentioned in the earlier part of the provision.127 taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his
family or upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by
Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and the government.135
psychological integrity or security. Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution
guarantees that, as a general rule, one's body cannot be searched or invaded This third sense of the right to security of person as a guarantee of
without a search warrant.128 Physical injuries inflicted in the context of government protection has been interpreted by the United Nations' Human
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute more than a search Rights Committee136 in not a few cases involving Article 9137 of the ICCPR.
or invasion of the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, While the right to security of person appears in conjunction with the right to
and painful physical intrusion. As the degree of physical injury increases, the liberty under Article 9, the Committee has ruled that the right to security of
danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in criminal law, physical injuries person can exist independently of the right to liberty. In other words, there
constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to the bodily need not necessarily be a deprivation of liberty for the right to security of
integrity or security of a person.129 person to be invoked. In Delgado Paez v. Colombia,138 a case involving
death threats to a religion teacher at a secondary school in Leticia, Colombia,
Physical torture, force, and violence are a severe invasion of bodily integrity. whose social views differed from those of the Apostolic Prefect of Leticia, the
When employed to vitiate the free will such as to force the victim to admit, Committee held, viz:
reveal or fabricate incriminating information, it constitutes an invasion of both
bodily and psychological integrity as the dignity of the human person includes The first sentence of article 9 does not stand as a separate paragraph. Its
the exercise of free will. Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution more location as a part of paragraph one could lead to the view that the right to
specifically proscribes bodily and psychological invasion, viz: security arises only in the context of arrest and detention. The travaux
préparatoires indicate that the discussions of the first sentence did indeed
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat or intimidation, or any other means which focus on matters dealt with in the other provisions of article 9. The Universal
vitiate the free will shall be used against him (any person under investigation Declaration of Human Rights, in article 3, refers to the right to life, the right to
for the commission of an offense). Secret detention places, solitary, liberty and the right to security of the person. These elements have been dealt
incommunicado or other similar forms of detention are prohibited. with in separate clauses in the Covenant. Although in the Covenant the only
reference to the right of security of person is to be found in article 9, there is
Parenthetically, under this provision, threat and intimidation that vitiate the free no evidence that it was intended to narrow the concept of the right to security
will - although not involving invasion of bodily integrity - nevertheless constitute only to situations of formal deprivation of liberty. At the same time, States
a violation of the right to security in the sense of "freedom from threat" as parties have undertaken to guarantee the rights enshrined in the Covenant. It
afore-discussed. cannot be the case that, as a matter of law, States can ignore known threats to
the life of persons under their jurisdiction, just because that he or she is not
Article III, Section 12 guarantees freedom from dehumanizing abuses of arrested or otherwise detained. States parties are under an obligation to take
persons under investigation for the commission of an offense. Victims of reasonable and appropriate measures to protect them. An interpretation of
enforced disappearances who are not even under such investigation should all article 9 which would allow a State party to ignore threats to the personal
the more be protected from these degradations. security of non-detained persons within its jurisdiction would render totally
ineffective the guarantees of the Covenant.139 (emphasis supplied)

Page 54 of 101
The Paez ruling was reiterated in Bwalya v. Zambia,140 which involved a ascertain the veracity of their statements or their credibility. He did not call for
political activist and prisoner of conscience who continued to be intimidated, other witnesses to test the alibis given by the six implicated persons nor for the
harassed, and restricted in his movements following his release from family or neighbors of the respondents.
detention. In a catena of cases, the ruling of the Committee was of a similar
import: Bahamonde v. Equatorial Guinea,141 involving discrimination, In his affidavit, petitioner Secretary of National Defense attested that in a
intimidation and persecution of opponents of the ruling party in that state; Memorandum Directive dated October 31, 2007, he issued a policy directive
Tshishimbi v. Zaire,142 involving the abduction of the complainant's husband addressed to the AFP Chief of Staff, that the AFP should adopt rules of action
who was a supporter of democratic reform in Zaire; Dias v. Angola,143 in the event the writ of Amparo is issued by a competent court against any
involving the murder of the complainant's partner and the harassment he members of the AFP, which should essentially include verification of the
(complainant) suffered because of his investigation of the murder; and identity of the aggrieved party; recovery and preservation of relevant evidence;
Chongwe v. Zambia,144 involving an assassination attempt on the chairman identification of witnesses and securing statements from them; determination
of an opposition alliance. of the cause, manner, location and time of death or disappearance;
identification and apprehension of the person or persons involved in the death
Similarly, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has interpreted the or disappearance; and bringing of the suspected offenders before a competent
"right to security" not only as prohibiting the State from arbitrarily depriving court.150 Petitioner AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit
liberty, but imposing a positive duty on the State to afford protection of the attesting that he received the above directive of respondent Secretary of
right to liberty.145 The ECHR interpreted the "right to security of person" under National Defense and that acting on this directive, he immediately caused to
Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights in the leading case be issued a directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the
on disappearance of persons, Kurt v. Turkey.146 In this case, the claimant's circumstances of the alleged disappearance and the recent reappearance of
son had been arrested by state authorities and had not been seen since. The the respondents, and undertook to provide results of the investigations to
family's requests for information and investigation regarding his whereabouts respondents.151 To this day, however, almost a year after the policy directive
proved futile. The claimant suggested that this was a violation of her son's was issued by petitioner Secretary of National Defense on October 31, 2007,
right to security of person. The ECHR ruled, viz: respondents have not been furnished the results of the investigation which
they now seek through the instant petition for a writ of Amparo.
... any deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity
with the substantive and procedural rules of national law but must equally be Under these circumstances, there is substantial evidence to warrant the
in keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the individual conclusion that there is a violation of respondents' right to security as a
from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual it is guarantee of protection by the government.
incumbent on the authorities to account for his or her whereabouts. For this
reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective In sum, we conclude that respondents' right to security as "freedom from
measures to safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a threat" is violated by the apparent threat to their life, liberty and security of
prompt effective investigation into an arguable claim that a person has been person. Their right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government
taken into custody and has not been seen since.147 (emphasis supplied) is likewise violated by the ineffective investigation and protection on the part of
the military.
Applying the foregoing concept of the right to security of person to the case at
bar, we now determine whether there is a continuing violation of respondents' Finally, we come to the reliefs granted by the Court of Appeals, which
right to security. petitioners question.

First, the violation of the right to security as freedom from threat to First, that petitioners furnish respondents all official and unofficial reports of
respondents' life, liberty and security. the investigation undertaken in connection with their case, except those
already in file with the court.
While respondents were detained, they were threatened that if they escaped,
their families, including them, would be killed. In Raymond's narration, he was Second, that petitioners confirm in writing the present places of official
tortured and poured with gasoline after he was caught the first time he assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas.
attempted to escape from Fort Magsaysay. A call from a certain "Mam," who
wanted to see him before he was killed, spared him. Third, that petitioners cause to be produced to the Court of Appeals all medical
reports, records and charts, and reports of any treatment given or
This time, respondents have finally escaped. The condition of the threat to be recommended and medicines prescribed, if any, to the Manalo brothers, to
killed has come to pass. It should be stressed that they are now free from include a list of medical personnel (military and civilian) who attended to them
captivity not because they were released by virtue of a lawful order or from February 14, 2006 until August 12, 2007.
voluntarily freed by their abductors. It ought to be recalled that towards the end
of their ordeal, sometime in June 2007 when respondents were detained in a With respect to the first and second reliefs, petitioners argue that the
camp in Limay, Bataan, respondents' captors even told them that they were production order sought by respondents partakes of the characteristics of a
still deciding whether they should be executed. Respondent Raymond Manalo search warrant. Thus, they claim that the requisites for the issuance of a
attested in his affidavit, viz: search warrant must be complied with prior to the grant of the production
order, namely: (1) the application must be under oath or affirmation; (2) the
Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 search warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched and the
na araw pagkalipas. Sinabi sa amin na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil things to be seized; (3) there exists probable cause with one specific offense;
pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung papatayin kami o hindi.148 and (4) the probable cause must be personally determined by the judge after
examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he
The possibility of respondents being executed stared them in the eye while may produce.152 In the case at bar, however, petitioners point out that other
they were in detention. With their escape, this continuing threat to their life is than the bare, self-serving and vague allegations made by respondent
apparent, moreso now that they have surfaced and implicated specific officers Raymond Manalo in his unverified declaration and affidavit, the documents
in the military not only in their own abduction and torture, but also in those of respondents seek to be produced are only mentioned generally by name, with
other persons known to have disappeared such as Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen no other supporting details. They also argue that the relevancy of the
Empeño, and Manuel Merino, among others. documents to be produced must be apparent, but this is not true in the present
case as the involvement of petitioners in the abduction has not been shown.
Understandably, since their escape, respondents have been under
concealment and protection by private citizens because of the threat to their Petitioners' arguments do not hold water. The production order under the
life, liberty and security. The threat vitiates their free will as they are forced to Amparo Rule should not be confused with a search warrant for law
limit their movements or activities.149 Precisely because respondents are enforcement under Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. This
being shielded from the perpetrators of their abduction, they cannot be Constitutional provision is a protection of the people from the unreasonable
expected to show evidence of overt acts of threat such as face-to-face intrusion of the government, not a protection of the government from the
intimidation or written threats to their life, liberty and security. Nonetheless, the demand of the people such as respondents.
circumstances of respondents' abduction, detention, torture and escape
reasonably support a conclusion that there is an apparent threat that they will Instead, the Amparo production order may be likened to the production of
again be abducted, tortured, and this time, even executed. These constitute documents or things under Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure
threats to their liberty, security, and life, actionable through a petition for a writ which provides in relevant part, viz:
of Amparo.
Section 1. Motion for production or inspection order.
Next, the violation of the right to security as protection by the government.
Apart from the failure of military elements to provide protection to respondents Upon motion of any party showing good cause therefor, the court in which an
by themselves perpetrating the abduction, detention, and torture, they also action is pending may (a) order any party to produce and permit the inspection
miserably failed in conducting an effective investigation of respondents' and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of any
abduction as revealed by the testimony and investigation report of petitioners' designated documents, papers, books of accounts, letters, photographs,
own witness, Lt. Col. Ruben Jimenez, Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry objects or tangible things, not privileged, which constitute or contain evidence
Division. material to any matter involved in the action and which are in his possession,
custody or control...
The one-day investigation conducted by Jimenez was very limited, superficial,
and one-sided. He merely relied on the Sworn Statements of the six implicated In Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. v. Judge Natividad,153 the respondent
members of the CAFGU and civilians whom he met in the investigation for the judge, under authority of Rule 27, issued a subpoena duces tecum for the
first time. He was present at the investigation when his subordinate Lingad production and inspection of among others, the books and papers of Material
was taking the sworn statements, but he did not propound a single question to Distributors (Phil.) Inc. The company questioned the issuance of the subpoena
Page 55 of 101
on the ground that it violated the search and seizure clause. The Court struck
down the argument and held that the subpoena pertained to a civil procedure The Spouses Cruz sought in the case for injunction the issuance of a
that "cannot be identified or confused with unreasonable searches prohibited permanent writ of injunction to prevent the execution of the final and executory
by the Constitution..." judgment against them.

Moreover, in his affidavit, petitioner AFP Chief of Staff himself undertook "to By Order of July 19, 2005, the RTC, finding merit in the Spouses Cruzes‘
provide results of the investigations conducted or to be conducted by the allegation that subsequent events changed the situation of the parties to justify
concerned unit relative to the circumstances of the alleged disappearance of a suspension of the execution of the final and executory judgment, issued a
the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been sought for as soon as permanent writ of injunction, the dispositive portion of which reads:
the same has been furnished Higher headquarters."
WHEREFORE, the foregoing petitioners‘ Motion for Reconsideration of the
With respect to the second and third reliefs, petitioners assert that the Order dated August 10, 2004 is hereby GRANTED. Order dated August 10,
disclosure of the present places of assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie 2004 is hereby RECONSIDERED and SET ASIDE. Further, the verified
Castillo and Donald Caigas, as well as the submission of a list of medical petition dated November 05, 2002 are hereby REINSTATED and MADE
personnel, is irrelevant, improper, immaterial, and unnecessary in the PERMANENT until the MTC-Bulacan, Bulacan finally resolves the pending
resolution of the petition for a writ of Amparo. They add that it will motions of petitioners with the same determines the metes and bounds of 400
unnecessarily compromise and jeopardize the exercise of official functions and sq. meters leased premises subject matter of this case with immediate
duties of military officers and even unwittingly and unnecessarily expose them dispatch. Accordingly, REMAND the determination of the issues raised by the
to threat of personal injury or even death. petitioners on the issued writ of demolition to the MTC of Bulacan, Bulacan.

On the contrary, the disclosure of the present places of assignment of M/Sgt. SO ORDERED.4 (Emphasis in the original; underscoring supplied)
Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas, whom respondents both directly
implicated as perpetrators behind their abduction and detention, is relevant in Finding that the fallo of the RTC July 19, 2005 Order treats, as a suspensive
ensuring the safety of respondents by avoiding their areas of territorial condition for the lifting of the permanent injunction, the determination of the
jurisdiction. Such disclosure would also help ensure that these military officers boundaries of the property, the Province returned the issue for the
can be served with notices and court processes in relation to any investigation consideration of the MTC. In a Geodetic Engineer‘s Report submitted to the
and action for violation of the respondents' rights. The list of medical personnel MTC on August 31, 2007, the metes and bounds of the property were
is also relevant in securing information to create the medical history of indicated.
respondents and make appropriate medical interventions, when applicable
and necessary. The MTC, by Order of January 2, 2008, approved the Report and ruled that
the permanent injunction which the RTC issued is ineffective. On motion of the
In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and security, Province, the MTC, by Order of January 21, 2008, thus issued a Second Alias
these rights are snuffed out from victims of extralegal killings and enforced Writ of Demolition.
disappearances. The writ of Amparo is a tool that gives voice to preys of silent
guns and prisoners behind secret walls. On receiving notice of the January 2, 2008 MTC Order, the Spouses Cruz filed
a motion before Branch 10 of the RTC for the issuance of a temporary
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The restraining order (TRO) which it set for hearing on January 25, 2008 on which
Decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 26, 2007 is affirmed. date, however, the demolition had, earlier in the day, been implemented. Such
notwithstanding, the RTC issued a TRO.5 The Spouses Cruz, along with their
SO ORDERED. sons-respondents Nixon and Ferdinand, thereupon entered the property,
placed several container vans and purportedly represented themselves as
REYNATO S. PUNO owners of the property which was for lease.
Chief Justice
On February 21, 2008, petitioners Police Superintendent Felixberto Castillo et
al., who were deployed by the City Mayor in compliance with a memorandum
issued by Governor Joselito R. Mendoza instructing him to "protect, secure
Republic of the Philippines and maintain the possession of the property," entered the property.
SUPREME COURT
Manila Amanda and her co-respondents refused to turn over the property, however.
Insisting that the RTC July 19, 2005 Order of Permanent Injunction enjoined
EN BANC the Province from repossessing it, they shoved petitioners, forcing the latter to
arrest them and cause their indictment for direct assault, trespassing and other
G.R. No. 182165 November 25, 2009 forms of light threats.

P/SUPT. FELIXBERTO CASTILLO, POLICE OFFICERS ROMEO BAGTAS, Respondents later filed on March 3, 2008 a "Respectful Motion-Petition for
RUPERTO BORLONGAN, EDMUNDO DIONISIO, RONNIE MORALES, Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data," docketed as Special Civil Action No. 53-M-
ARNOLD TRIA, and GILBERTO PUNZALAN, ENGR. RICASOL P. MILLAN, 2008, which was coincidentally raffled to Branch 10 of the RTC Malolos.
ENGR. REDENTOR S. DELA CRUZ, MR. ANASTACIO L. BORLONGAN,
MR. ARTEMIO ESGUERRA, "TISOY," and JOHN DOES, Petitioners, Respondents averred that despite the Permanent Injunction, petitioners
vs. unlawfully entered the property with the use of heavy equipment, tore down
DR. AMANDA T. CRUZ, NIXON T. CRUZ, and FERDINAND T. CRUZ, the barbed wire fences and tents,6 and arrested them when they resisted
Respondents. petitioners‘ entry; and that as early as in the evening of February 20, 2008,
members of the Philippine National Police had already camped in front of the
DECISION property.

CARPIO MORALES, J.: On the basis of respondents‘ allegations in their petition and the supporting
affidavits, the RTC, by Order of March 4, 2008, issued writs of amparo and
Petitioners, employees and members of the local police force of the City habeas data.7
Government of Malolos, challenge the March 28, 2008 Decision of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos, Branch 10 in a petition for issuance of The RTC, crediting respondents‘ version in this wise:
writs of amparo and habeas data instituted by respondents.
Petitioners have shown by preponderant evidence that the facts and
The factual antecedents. circumstances of the alleged offenses examined into on Writs of Amparo and
Habeas Data that there have been an on-going hearings on the verified
Respondent Amanda Cruz (Amanda) who, along with her husband Francisco Petition for Contempt, docketed as Special Proceedings No. 306-M-2006,
G. Cruz (Spouses Cruz), leased a parcel of land situated at Barrio Guinhawa, before this Court for alleged violation by the respondents of the Preliminary
Malolos (the property), refused to vacate the property, despite demands by the Injunction Order dated July 16, 2005 [sic] in Sp. Civil Action No. 833-M-2002,
lessor Provincial Government of Bulacan (the Province) which intended to hearings were held on January 25, 2008, February 12 and 19, 2008, where
utilize it for local projects. the respondents prayed for an April 22, 2008 continuance, however, in the
pitch darkness of February 20, 2008, police officers, some personnel from the
The Province thus filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against the Spouses Engineering department, and some civilians proceeded purposely to the Pinoy
Cruz before the then Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Bulacan, Bulacan. Compound, converged therein and with continuing threats of bodily harm and
danger and stone-throwing of the roofs of the homes thereat from voices
By Decision of September 5, 1997, the MTC rendered judgment against the around its premises, on a pretext of an ordinary police operation when
Spouses Cruz, which judgment, following its affirmance by the RTC, became enterviewed [sic] by the media then present, but at 8:00 a.m. to late in the
final and executory. afternoon of February 21, 2008, zoomed in on the petitioners, subjecting them
to bodily harm, mental torture, degradation, and the debasement of a human
The finality of the decision in the ejectment case notwithstanding, the spouses being, reminiscent of the martial law police brutality, sending chill in any
Cruz refused to vacate the property. They thereupon filed cases against the ordinary citizen, rendered judgment, by Decision of March 28, 2008, in favor of
Province2 and the judges who presided over the case.3 Those cases were respondents, disposing as follows:
dismissed except their petition for annulment of judgment lodged before
Branch 18 of the RTC of Malolos, and a civil case for injunction 833-M-2004 "WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commitment Orders and waivers in
lodged before Branch 10 of the same RTC Malolos. Crim. Cases Nos. 08-77 for Direct assault; Crim. Case No. 08-77 for Other
Page 56 of 101
Forms of Trespass; and Crim. Case No. 08-78 for Light Threats are hereby xxxx
DECLARED illegal, null and void, as petitioners were deprived of their The writ shall issue if the Court is preliminarily satisfied with the prima facie
substantial rights, induced by duress or a well-founded fear of personal existence of the ultimate facts determinable from the supporting affidavits that
violence. Accordingly, the commitment orders and waivers are hereby SET detail the circumstances of how and to what extent a threat to or violation of
ASIDE. The temporary release of the petitioners is declared ABSOLUTE. the rights to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party was or is being
Without any pronouncement as to costs. committed.

SO ORDERED." Tapuz also arose out of a property dispute, albeit between private individuals,
with the petitioners therein branding as "acts of terrorism" the therein
Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari, pursuant to Section 1910 respondents‘ alleged entry into the disputed land with armed men in tow. The
of The Rule on the Writ of Amparo (A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC),11 which is Court therein held:
essentially reproduced in the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (A.M. No. 08-1-
16-SC).12 On the whole, what is clear from these statements – both sworn and unsworn
– is the overriding involvement of property issues as the petition traces its
In the main, petitioners fault the RTC for roots to questions of physical possession of the property disputed by the
private parties. If at all, issues relating to the right to life or to liberty can hardly
… giving due course and issuing writs of amparo and habeas data when from be discerned except to the extent that the occurrence of past violence has
the allegations of the petition, the same ought not to have been issued as (1) been alleged. The right to security, on the other hand, is alleged only to the
the petition in [sic] insufficient in substance as the same involves property extent of the treats and harassments implied from the presence of "armed men
rights; and (2) criminal cases had already been filed and pending with the bare to the waist" and the alleged pointing and firing of weapons. Notably,
Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 1, City of Malolos. (Underscoring none of the supporting affidavits compellingly show that the threat to the rights
supplied) to life, liberty and security of the petitioners is imminent or continuing.

The petition is impressed with merit. It bears emphasis that respondents‘ petition did not show any actual violation,
imminent or continuing threat to their life, liberty and security. Bare allegations
The Court is, under the Constitution, empowered to promulgate rules for the that petitioners "in unison, conspiracy and in contempt of court, there and then
protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. In view of the heightening willfully, forcibly and feloniously with the use of force and intimidation entered
prevalence of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, the Rule on and forcibly, physically manhandled the petitioners (respondents) and arrested
the Writ of Amparo was issued and took effect on October 24, 2007 which the herein petitioners (respondents)"19 will not suffice to prove entitlement to
coincided with the celebration of United Nations Day and affirmed the Court‘s the remedy of the writ of amparo. No undue confinement or detention was
commitment towards internationalization of human rights. More than three present. In fact, respondents were even able to post bail for the offenses a day
months later or on February 2, 2008, the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data was after their arrest.
promulgated.
Although respondents‘ release from confinement does not necessarily hinder
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides: supplication for the writ of amparo, absent any evidence or even an allegation
in the petition that there is undue and continuing restraint on their liberty,
Section 1. Petition. – The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to and/or that there exists threat or intimidation that destroys the efficacy of their
any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened right to be secure in their persons, the issuance of the writ cannot be justified.
with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or
of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and That respondents are merely seeking the protection of their property rights is
enforced disappearances or threats thereof. gathered from their Joint Affidavit, viz:

Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides: xxxx

Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to 11. Kami ay humarang at humiga sa harap ng mga heavy equipment na
any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or hawak hawak ang nasabing kautusan ng RTC Branch 10 (PERMANENT
threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or of INJUNCTION at RTC ORDERS DATED February 12, 17 at 19 2008) upang
a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of ipaglaban ang dignidad ng kautusan ng korte, ipaglaban ang prinsipyo ng
data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of "SELF-HELP" at batas ukol sa "PROPERTY RIGHTS", Wala kaming nagawa
the aggrieved party. ipagtanggol ang aming karapatan sa lupa na 45 years naming "IN
POSSESSION."
From the above-quoted provisions, the coverage of the writs is limited to the
protection of rights to life, liberty and security. And the writs cover not only Oddly, respondents also seek the issuance of a writ of habeas data when it is
actual but also threats of unlawful acts or omissions. not even alleged that petitioners are gathering, collecting or storing data or
information regarding their person, family, home and correspondence.
Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo teaches:
As for respondents‘ assertion of past incidents wherein the Province allegedly
As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable problem of violated the Permanent Injunction order, these incidents were already raised in
"extralegal killings" and "enforced disappearances," its coverage, in its present the injunction proceedings on account of which respondents filed a case for
form, is confined to these two instances or to threats thereof. "Extralegal criminal contempt against petitioners.
killings" are "killings committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal
safeguards or judicial proceedings." On the other hand, "enforced Before the filing of the petition for writs of amparo and habeas data, or on
disappearances" are "attended by the following characteristics: an arrest, February 22, 2008, petitioners even instituted a petition for habeas corpus
detention or abduction of a person by a government official or organized which was considered moot and academic by Branch 14 of the Malolos RTC
groups or private individuals acting with the direct or indirect acquiescence of and was accordingly denied by Order of April 8, 2008.
the government; the refusal of the State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of
the person concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty More. Respondent Amanda and one of her sons, Francisco Jr., likewise filed a
which places such persons outside the protection of law. petition for writs of amparo and habeas data before the Sandiganbayan, they
alleging the commission of continuing threats by petitioners after the issuance
To thus be covered by the privilege of the writs, respondents must meet the of the writs by the RTC, which petition was dismissed for insufficiency and
threshold requirement that their right to life, liberty and security is violated or forum shopping.
threatened with an unlawful act or omission. Evidently, the present controversy
arose out of a property dispute between the Provincial Government and It thus appears that respondents are not without recourse and have in fact
respondents. Absent any considerable nexus between the acts complained of taken full advantage of the legal system with the filing of civil, criminal and
and its effect on respondents‘ right to life, liberty and security, the Court will administrative charges.
not delve on the propriety of petitioners‘ entry into the property.
It need not be underlined that respondents‘ petitions for writs of amparo and
Apropos is the Court‘s ruling in Tapuz v. Del Rosario: habeas data are extraordinary remedies which cannot be used as tools to stall
the execution of a final and executory decision in a property dispute.
To start off with the basics, the writ of amparo was originally conceived as a
response to the extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced At all events, respondents‘ filing of the petitions for writs of amparo and
disappearances, and to the perceived lack of available and effective remedies habeas data should have been barred, for criminal proceedings against them
to address these extraordinary concerns. It is intended to address violations of had commenced after they were arrested in flagrante delicto and proceeded
or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and against in accordance with Section 6, Rule 11224 of the Rules of Court.
independent remedy beyond those available under the prevailing Rules, or as Validity of the arrest or the proceedings conducted thereafter is a defense that
a remedy supplemental to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect may be set up by respondents during trial and not before a petition for writs of
concerns that are purely property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we amparo and habeas data. The reliefs afforded by the writs may, however, be
shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds. Consequently, the Rule on made available to the aggrieved party by motion in the criminal
the Writ of Amparo – in line with the extraordinary character of the writ and the proceedings.25
reasonable certainty that its issuance demands – requires that every petition
for the issuance of the writ must be supported by justifying allegations of fact, WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The challenged March 4, 2008
to wit: Order of Branch 10 of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos is DECLARED NULL

Page 57 of 101
AND VOID, and its March 28, 2008 Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The background facts, based on the petition and the records of the case, are
Special Civil Action No. 53-M-2008 is DISMISSED. summarized below.

SO ORDERED. The established facts show that Tagitis, a consultant for the World Bank and
Republic of the Philippines the Senior Honorary Counselor for the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)
SUPREME COURT Scholarship Programme, was last seen in Jolo, Sulu. Together with Arsimin
Manila Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB scholar, Tagitis arrived in Jolo by boat in the early
morning of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They
EN BANC immediately checked-in at ASY Pension House. Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy
him a boat ticket for his return trip the following day to Zamboanga. When
G.R. No. 182498 December 3, 2009 Kunnong returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer around.5 The
GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, JR., Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); receptionist related that Tagitis went out to buy food at around 12:30 in the
Police Chief Superintendent RAUL CASTAÑEDA, Chief, Criminal afternoon and even left his room key with the desk.6 Kunnong looked for
Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG); Police Senior Superintendent Tagitis and even sent a text message to the latter‘s Manila-based secretary
LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency who did not know of Tagitis‘ whereabouts and activities either; she advised
Response (PACER); and GEN. JOEL R. GOLTIAO, Regional Director of Kunnong to simply wait.7
ARMM, PNP, Petitioners,
vs. On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP
MARY JEAN B. TAGITIS, herein represented by ATTY. FELIPE P. professor of Muslim studies and Tagitis‘ fellow student counselor at the IDB,
ARCILLA, JR., Attorney-in-Fact, Respondent. reported Tagitis‘ disappearance to the Jolo Police Station.8 On November 7,
2007, Kunnong executed a sworn affidavit attesting to what he knew of the
DECISION circumstances surrounding Tagitis‘ disappearance.9

BRION, J.: More than a month later (on December 28, 2007), the respondent filed a
Petition for the Writ of Amparo (petition) with the CA through her Attorney-in-
We review in this petition for review on certiorari1 the decision dated March 7, Fact, Atty. Felipe P. Arcilla.10 The petition was directed against Lt. Gen.
2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in C.A-G.R. AMPARO No. 00009.2 This CA Alexander Yano, Commanding General, Philippine Army; Gen. Avelino I.
decision confirmed the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal,
(Tagitis) and granted the Writ of Amparo at the petition of his wife, Mary Jean Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG); Sr. Supt. Leonardo
B. Tagitis (respondent). The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads: A. Espina, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response; Gen. Joel
Goltiao, Regional Director, ARMM-PNP; and Gen. Ruben Rafael, Chief, Anti-
WHEREFORE, premises considered, petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court Terror Task Force Comet [collectively referred to as petitioners]. After reciting
hereby FINDS that this is an "enforced disappearance" within the meaning of Tagitis‘ personal circumstances and the facts outlined above, the petition went
the United Nations instruments, as used in the Amparo Rules. The privileges on to state:
of the writ of amparo are hereby extended to Engr. Morced Tagitis.
xxxx
Consequently: (1) respondent GEN. EDGARDO M. DOROMAL, Chief,
Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) who should order COL. 7. Soon after the student left the room, Engr. Tagitis went out of the pension
JOSE VOLPANE PANTE, CIDG-9 Chief, Zamboanga City, to aid him; (2) house to take his early lunch but while out on the street, a couple of burly men
respondent GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, Chief, PNP, who should order his men, believed to be police intelligence operatives, forcibly took him and boarded the
namely: (a) respondent GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM latter on a motor vehicle then sped away without the knowledge of his student,
PNP, (b) COL. AHIRON AJIRIM, both head of TASK FORCE TAGITIS, and (c) Arsimin Kunnong;
respondent SR. SUPERINTENDENT LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police
Anti-Crime and Emergency Response, to aid him as their superior- are hereby 8. As instructed, in the late afternoon of the same day, Kunnong returned to
DIRECTED to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts, not only to protect the the pension house, and was surprised to find out that subject Engr. Tagitis
life, liberty and security of Engr. Morced Tagitis, but also to extend the cannot [sic] be contacted by phone and was not also around and his room was
privileges of the writ of amparo to Engr. Morced Tagitis and his family, and to closed and locked;
submit a monthly report of their actions to this Court, as a way of PERIODIC
REVIEW to enable this Court to monitor the action of respondents. 9. Kunnong requested for the key from the desk of the pension house who
[sic] assisted him to open the room of Engr. Tagitis, where they discovered
This amparo case is hereby DISMISSED as to respondent LT. GEN. that the personal belongings of Engr. Tagitis, including cell phones,
ALEXANDER YANO, Commanding General, Philippine Army, and as to documents and other personal belongings were all intact inside the room;
respondent GEN. RUBEN RAFAEL, Chief Anti-Terror Task Force Comet,
Zamboanga City, both being with the military, which is a separate and distinct 10. When Kunnong could not locate Engr. Tagitis, the former sought the help
organization from the police and the CIDG, in terms of operations, chain of of another IDB scholar and reported the matter to the local police agency;
command and budget.
11. Arsimin Kunnong including his friends and companions in Jolo, exerted
This Decision reflects the nature of the Writ of Amparo – a protective remedy efforts in trying to locate the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis and when he
against violations or threats of violation against the rights to life, liberty and reported the matter to the police authorities in Jolo, he was immediately given
security.3 It embodies, as a remedy, the court‘s directive to police agencies to a ready answer that Engr. Tagitis could have been abducted by the Abu
undertake specified courses of action to address the disappearance of an Sayyaf group and other groups known to be fighting against the government;
individual, in this case, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. It does not determine guilt nor
pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance; rather, it determines 12. Being scared with [sic] these suggestions and insinuations of the police
responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance for officers, Kunnong reported the matter to the [respondent, wife of Engr. Tagitis]
purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance. by phone and other responsible officers and coordinators of the IDB
Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by Scholarship Programme in the Philippines, who alerted the office of the
substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action or Governor of ARMM who was then preparing to attend the OIC meeting in
omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;
Court shall craft, among them, the directive to file the appropriate criminal and
civil cases against the responsible parties in the proper courts. Accountability, 13. [Respondent], on the other hand, approached some of her co-employees
on the other hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be with the Land Bank in Digos branch, Digos City, Davao del Sur who likewise
addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance sought help from some of their friends in the military who could help them
without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility find/locate the whereabouts of her husband;
defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced
disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but 14. All of these efforts of the [respondent] did not produce any positive results
have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the except the information from persons in the military who do not want to be
investigation of the enforced disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance identified that Engr. Tagitis is in the hands of the uniformed men;
of the Writ of Amparo is justified by our primary goal of addressing the
disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty and 15. According to reliable information received by the [respondent], subject
security are restored. Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police intelligence operatives, specifically with
the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an earnest
We highlight this nature of a Writ of Amparo case at the outset to stress that attempt of the police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different
the unique situations that call for the issuance of the writ, as well as the terrorist groups;
considerations and measures necessary to address these situations, may not
at all be the same as the standard measures and procedures in ordinary court xxxx
actions and proceedings. In this sense, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo4
(Amparo Rule) issued by this Court is unique. The Amparo Rule should be 17. [Respondent] filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station in the ARMM
read, too, as a work in progress, as its directions and finer points remain to in Cotobato and in Jolo, as suggested by her friends, seeking their help to find
evolve through time and jurisprudence and through the substantive laws that her husband, but [respondent‘s] request and pleadings failed to produce any
Congress may promulgate. positive results;

THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS 18. Instead of helping the [respondent], she [sic] was told of an intriguing tale
by the police that her husband, subject of the petition, was not missing but was
Page 58 of 101
with another woman having good time somewhere, which is a clear indication case build up and information gathering to locate the whereabouts of Engr.
of the [petitioners‘] refusal to help and provide police assistance in locating her Tagitis.
missing husband;
c) That the Director, CIDG directed the conduct of the search in all divisions of
19. The continued failure and refusal of the [petitioners] to release and/or turn- the CIDG to find Engr. Tagitis who was allegedly abducted or illegally detained
over subject Engr. Tagitis to his family or even to provide truthful information to by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence Operatives since October 30, 2007, but after
[the respondent] of the subject‘s whereabouts, and/or allow [the respondent] to diligent and thorough search, records show that no such person is being
visit her husband Engr. Morced Tagitis, caused so much sleepless nights and detained in CIDG or any of its department or divisions.
serious anxieties;
5. On this particular case, the Philippine National Police exhausted all possible
20. Lately, [the respondent] was again advised by one of the [petitioners] to go efforts, steps and actions available under the circumstances and continuously
to the ARMM Police Headquarters again in Cotobato City and also to the search and investigate [sic] the instant case. This immense mandate,
different Police Headquarters including [those] in Davao City, in Zamboanga however, necessitates the indispensable role of the citizenry, as the PNP
City, in Jolo, and in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and all these places have cannot stand alone without the cooperation of the victims and witnesses to
been visited by the [respondent] in search for her husband, which entailed identify the perpetrators to bring them before the bar of justice and secure their
expenses for her trips to these places thereby resorting her to borrowings and conviction in court.
beggings [sic] for financial help from friends and relatives only to try complying
[sic] to the different suggestions of these police officers, despite of which, her The petitioner PNP-CIDG Chief, Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, submitted as well
efforts produced no positive results up to the present time; his affidavit, also attached to the Return of the Writ, attesting that upon receipt
of the Writ of Amparo, he caused the following:14
21. In fact at times, some police officers, who [sympathized with] the sufferings
undergone by the [respondent], informed her that they are not the proper xxxx
persons that she should approach, but assured her not to worry because her
husband is [sic] in good hands; That immediately upon receipt on December 29, 2007 of the Resolution of the
Honorable Special Fourth Division of the Court of Appeals, I immediately
22. The unexplained uncooperative behavior of the [petitioners] to the directed the Investigation Division of this Group [CIDG] to conduct urgent
[respondent‘s] request for help and failure and refusal of the [petitioners] to investigation on the alleged enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced
extend the needed help, support and assistance in locating the whereabouts Tagitis.
of Engr. Tagitis who had been declared missing since October 30, 2007 which
is almost two (2) months now, clearly indicates that the [petitioners] are That based on record, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis attended an Education
actually in physical possession and custody of [respondent‘s] husband, Engr. Development Seminar on October 28, 2007 at Ateneo de Zamboanga at
Tagitis; Zamboanga City together with Prof. Abdulnasser Matli. On October 30, 2007,
at around six o‘clock in the morning he arrived at Jolo, Sulu. He was assisted
xxxx by his student identified as Arsimin Kunnong of the Islamic Development Bank
who was also one of the participants of the said seminar. He checked in at
25. [The respondent] has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies ASY pension house located [sic] Kakuyagan, Patikul, Sulu on October 30,
but to no avail, and under the circumstances, [the respondent] has no other 2007 with [sic] unidentified companion. At around six o‘clock in the morning of
plain, speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of subject even date, Engr. Tagitis instructed his student to purchase a fast craft ticket for
Engr. Morced Tagitis from the illegal clutches of the [petitioners], their Zamboanga City. In the afternoon of the same date, Kunnong arrived at the
intelligence operatives and the like which are in total violation of the subject‘s pension house carrying the ticket he purchased for Engr. Tagitis, but the latter
human and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT OF AMPARO. was nowhere to be found anymore. Kunnong immediately informed Prof.
[Emphasis supplied] Abdulnasser Matli who reported the incident to the police. The CIDG is not
involved in the disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis to make out a case of
On the same day the petition was filed, the CA immediately issued the Writ of an enforced disappearance which presupposes a direct or indirect involvement
Amparo, set the case for hearing on January 7, 2008, and directed the of the government.
petitioners to file their verified return within seventy-two (72) hours from
service of the writ.11 That herein [petitioner] searched all divisions and departments for a person
named Engr. Morced N. Tagitis, who was allegedly abducted or illegally
In their verified Return filed during the hearing of January 27, 2008, the detained by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence Operatives since October 30, 2007
petitioners denied any involvement in or knowledge of Tagitis‘ alleged and after a diligent and thorough research records show that no such person
abduction. They argued that the allegations of the petition were incomplete is being detained in CIDG or any of its department or divisions.
and did not constitute a cause of action against them; were baseless, or at
best speculative; and were merely based on hearsay evidence. 12 That nevertheless, in order to determine the circumstances surrounding Engr.
Morced Tagitis [sic] alleged enforced disappearance, the undersigned had
The affidavit of PNP Chief Gen. Avelino I. Razon, attached to the Return, undertaken immediate investigation and will pursue investigations up to its full
stated that: he did not have any personal knowledge of, or any participation in, completion in order to aid in the prosecution of the person or persons
the alleged disappearance; that he had been designated by President Gloria responsible therefore.
Macapagal Arroyo as the head of a special body called TASK FORCE USIG,
to address concerns about extralegal killings and enforced disappearances; Likewise attached to the Return of the Writ was PNP-PACER15 Chief PS
the Task Force, inter alia, coordinated with the investigators and local police, Supt. Leonardo A. Espina‘s affidavit which alleged that:16
held case conferences, rendered legal advice in connection to these cases;
and gave the following summary:13 xxxx

xxxx That, I and our men and women in PACER vehemently deny any participation
in the alleged abduction or illegally [sic] detention of ENGR. MORCED N.
4. TAGITS on October 30, 2007. As a matter of fact, nowhere in the writ was
mentioned that the alleged abduction was perpetrated by elements of PACER
a) On November 5, 2007, the Regional Director, Police Regional Office ARMM nor was there any indication that the alleged abduction or illegal detention of
submitted a report on the alleged disappearance of one Engr. Morced Tagitis. ENGR. TAGITIS was undertaken jointly by our men and by the alleged covert
According to the said report, the victim checked-in at ASY Pension House on CIDG-PNP intelligence operatives alleged to have abducted or illegally
October 30, 2007 at about 6:00 in the morning and then roamed around Jolo, detained ENGR. TAGITIS.
Sulu with an unidentified companion. It was only after a few days when the
said victim did not return that the matter was reported to Jolo MPS. That I was shocked when I learned that I was implicated in the alleged
Afterwards, elements of Sulu PPO conducted a thorough investigation to trace disappearance of ENGR. MORCED in my capacity as the chief PACER [sic]
and locate the whereabouts of the said missing person, but to no avail. The considering that our office, the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response
said PPO is still conducting investigation that will lead to the immediate (PACER), a special task force created for the purpose of neutralizing or
findings of the whereabouts of the person. eradicating kidnap-for-ransom groups which until now continue to be one of
the menace of our society is a respondent in kidnapping or illegal detention
b) Likewise, the Regional Chief, 9RCIDU submitted a Progress Report to the case. Simply put, our task is to go after kidnappers and charge them in court
Director, CIDG. The said report stated among others that: subject person and to abduct or illegally detain or kidnap anyone is anathema to our mission.
attended an Education Development Seminar set on October 28, 2007
conducted at Ateneo de Zamboanga, Zamboanga City together with a Prof. That right after I learned of the receipt of the WRIT OF AMPARO, I directed
Matli. On October 30, 2007, at around 5:00 o‘clock in the morning, Engr. the Chief of PACER Mindanao Oriental (PACER-MOR) to conduct pro-active
Tagitis reportedly arrived at Jolo Sulu wharf aboard M/V Bounty Cruise, he measures to investigate, locate/search the subject, identify and apprehend the
was then billeted at ASY Pension House. At about 6:15 o‘clock in the morning persons responsible, to recover and preserve evidence related to the
of the same date, he instructed his student to purchase a fast craft ticket disappearance of ENGR. MORCED TAGITIS, which may aid in the
bound for Zamboanga City and will depart from Jolo, Sulu on October 31, prosecution of the person or persons responsible, to identify witnesses and
2007. That on or about 10:00 o‘clock in the morning, Engr. Tagitis left the obtain statements from them concerning the disappearance and to determine
premises of ASY Pension House as stated by the cashier of the said pension the cause, manner, location and time of disappearance as well as any pattern
house. Later in the afternoon, the student instructed to purchase the ticket or practice that may have brought about the disappearance.
arrived at the pension house and waited for Engr. Tagitis, but the latter did not
return. On its part, the elements of 9RCIDU is now conducting a continuous

Page 59 of 101
That I further directed the chief of PACER-MOR, Police Superintendent JOSE disappearance of Engr. Tagitis considering that it is within their area of
ARNALDO BRIONES JR., to submit a written report regarding the operational jurisdiction;
disappearance of ENGR. MORCED.
f) Memorandum from Chief, Intelligence Division, PRO ARMM dated
That in compliance with my directive, the chief of PACER-MOR sent through December 30, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu PPO requiring them to submit
fax his written report. complete investigation report regarding the case of Engr. Tagitis;

That the investigation and measures being undertaken to locate/search the 10. In compliance to our directives, PD Sulu PPO has exerted his [sic] efforts
subject in coordination with Police Regional Office, Autonomous Region of to conduct investigation [sic] on the matter to determine the whereabouts of
Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM) and Jolo Police Provincial Office (PPO) and Engr. Tagitis and the circumstances related to his disappearance and
other AFP and PNP units/agencies in the area are ongoing with the instruction submitted the following:
not to leave any stone unturned so to speak in the investigation until the
perpetrators in the instant case are brought to the bar of justice. a) Progress Report dated November 6, 2007 through Radio Message Cite No.
SPNP3-1106-10-2007;
That I have exercised EXTRAORDINARY DILIGENCE in dealing with the
WRIT OF AMPARO just issued. b) Radio Message Cite No. SPIDMS-1205-47-07 informing this office that they
are still monitoring the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis;
Finally, the PNP PRO ARMM Regional Director PC Supt. Joel R. Goltiao (Gen.
Goltiao), also submitted his affidavit detailing the actions that he had taken c) Investigation Report dated December 31, 2007 from the Chief of Police,
upon receipt of the report on Tagitis‘ disappearance, viz:17 Jolo Police Station, Sulu PPO;

xxxx 11. This incident was properly reported to the PNP Higher Headquarters as
shown in the following:
3) For the record:
a) Memorandum dated November 6, 2007 addressed to the Chief, PNP
1. I am the Regional Director of Police Regional Office ARMM now and during informing him of the facts of the disappearance and the action being taken by
the time of the incident; our office;

xxxx b) Memorandum dated November 6, 2007 addressed to the Director,


Directorate for Investigation and Detection Management, NHQ PNP;
4. It is my duty to look into and take appropriate measures on any cases of
reported enforced disappearances and when they are being alluded to my c) Memorandum dated December 30, 2007 addressed to the Director, DIDM;
office;
4) In spite of our exhaustive efforts, the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis cannot
5. On November 5, 2007, the Provincial Director of Sulu Police Provincial be determined but our office is continuously intensifying the conduct of
Office reported to me through Radio Message Cite No. SPNP3-1105-07-2007 information gathering, monitoring and coordination for the immediate solution
that on November 4, 2007 at around 3:30 p.m., a certain Abdulnasser Matli, an of the case.
employee of Islamic Development Bank, appeared before the Office of the
Chief of Police, Jolo Police Station, and reported the disappearance of Engr. Since the disappearance of Tagistis was practically admitted and taking note
Morced Tagitis, scholarship coordinator of Islamic Development Bank, Manila; of favorable actions so far taken on the disappearance, the CA directed Gen.
Goltiao – as the officer in command of the area of disappearance – to form
6. There was no report that Engr. Tagibis was last seen in the company of or TASK FORCE TAGITIS.18
taken by any member of the Philippine National Police but rather he just
disappeared from ASY Pension House situated at Kakuyagan Village, Village, Task Force Tagitis
Patikul, Sulu, on October 30, 2007, without any trace of forcible abduction or
arrest; On January 11, 2008, Gen. Goltiao designated PS Supt. Ahiron Ajirim (PS
Supt. Ajirim) to head TASK FORCE TAGITIS.19 The CA subsequently set
7. The last known instance of communication with him was when Arsimin three hearings to monitor whether TASK FORCE TAGITIS was exerting
Kunnong, a student scholar, was requested by him to purchase a vessel ticket "extraordinary efforts" in handling the disappearance of Tagitis.20 As planned,
at the Office of Weezam Express, however, when the student returned back to (1) the first hearing would be to mobilize the CIDG, Zamboanga City; (2) the
ASY Pension House, he no longer found Engr. Tagitis there and when he second hearing would be to mobilize intelligence with Abu Sayyaf and ARMM;
immediately inquired at the information counter regarding his whereabouts and (3) the third hearing would be to mobilize the Chief of Police of Jolo, Sulu
[sic], the person in charge in the counter informed him that Engr. Tagitis had and the Chief of Police of Zamboanga City and other police operatives.21
left the premises on October 30, 2007 around 1 o‘clock p.m. and never
returned back to his room; In the hearing on January 17, 2008, TASK FORCE TAGITIS submitted to the
CA an intelligence report from PSL Usman S. Pingay, the Chief of Police of
8. Immediately after learning the incident, I called and directed the Provincial the Jolo Police Station, stating a possible motive for Tagitis‘ disappearance.22
Director of Sulu Police Provincial Office and other units through phone call and The intelligence report was apparently based on the sworn affidavit dated
text messages to conduct investigation [sic] to determine the whereabouts of January 4, 2008 of Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli (Prof. Matli), Professor of
the aggrieved party and the person or persons responsible for the threat, act Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines and an Honorary Student
or omission, to recover and preserve evidence related to the disappearance of Counselor of the IDB Scholarship Program in the Philippines, who told the
Engr. Tagitis, to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them Provincial Governor of Sulu that:23
concerning his disappearance, to determine the cause and manner of his
disappearance, to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in [Based] on reliable information from the Office of Muslim Affairs in Manila,
the disappearance so that they shall be brought before a competent court; Tagitis has reportedly taken and carried away… more or less Five Million
Pesos (P5,000,000.00) deposited and entrusted to his … [personal] bank
9. Thereafter, through my Chief of the Regional Investigation and Detection accounts by the Central Office of IDB, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
Management Division, I have caused the following directives: which [was] intended for the … IDB Scholarship Fund.

a) Radio Message Cite No. RIDMD-1122-07-358 dated November 22, 2007 In the same hearing, PS Supt. Ajirim testified that since the CIDG was alleged
directing PD Sulu PPO to conduct joint investigation with CIDG and CIDU to be responsible, he personally went to the CIDG office in Zamboanga City to
ARMM on the matter; conduct an ocular inspection/investigation, particularly of their detention
cells.24 PS Supt. Ajirim stated that the CIDG, while helping TASK FORCE
b) Radio Message Cite No. RIDMD-1128-07-361 dated November 28, 2007 TAGITIS investigate the disappearance of Tagitis, persistently denied any
directing PD Sulu PPO to expedite compliance to my previous directive; knowledge or complicity in any abduction.25 He further testified that prior to
the hearing, he had already mobilized and given specific instructions to their
c) Memorandum dated December 14, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu PPO supporting units to perform their respective tasks; that they even talked to, but
reiterating our series of directives for investigation and directing him to failed to get any lead from the respondent in Jolo.26 In his submitted
undertake exhaustive coordination efforts with the owner of ASY Pension investigation report dated January 16, 2008, PS Supt. Ajirim concluded:27
House and student scholars of IDB in order to secure corroborative statements
regarding the disappearance and whereabouts of said personality; 9. Gleaned from the undersigned inspection and observation at the
Headquarters 9 RCIDU and the documents at hand, it is my own initial
d) Memorandum dated December 24, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu PPO conclusion that the 9RCIDU and other PNP units in the area had no
directing him to maximize efforts to establish clues on the whereabouts of participation neither [sic] something to do with [sic] mysterious disappearance
Engr. Tagitis by seeking the cooperation of Prof. Abdulnasser Matli and of Engr. Morced Tagitis last October 30, 2007. Since doubt has been raised
Arsimin Kunnong and/or whenever necessary, for them to voluntarily submit regarding the emolument on the Islamic Development Bank Scholar program
for polygraph examination with the NBI so as to expunge all clouds of doubt of IDB that was reportedly deposited in the personal account of Engr. Tagitis
that they may somehow have knowledge or idea to his disappearance; by the IDB central office in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Secondly, it
could might [sic] be done by resentment or sour grape among students who
e) Memorandum dated December 27, 2007 addressed to the Regional Chief, are applying for the scholar [sic] and were denied which was allegedly
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Police Regional Office 9, conducted/screened by the subject being the coordinator of said program.
Zamboanga City, requesting assistance to investigate the cause and unknown

Page 60 of 101
20. It is also premature to conclude but it does or it may and [sic] presumed the report indicated that her husband met with people belonging to a terrorist
that the motive behind the disappearance of the subject might be due to the group and that he was under custodial investigation. She then told Col. Kasim
funds he maliciously spent for his personal interest and wanted to elude that her husband was a diabetic taking maintenance medication, and asked
responsibilities from the institution where he belong as well as to the Islamic that the Colonel relay to the persons holding him the need to give him his
student scholars should the statement of Prof. Matli be true or there might be a medication.38
professional jealousy among them.
On February 11, 2008, TASK FORCE TAGITIS submitted two narrative
xxxx reports,39 signed by the respondent, detailing her efforts to locate her
husband which led to her meetings with Col. Ancanan of the Philippine Army
It is recommended that the Writ of Amparo filed against the respondents be and Col. Kasim of the PNP. In her narrative report concerning her meeting
dropped and dismissed considering on [sic] the police and military actions in with Col. Ancanan, the respondent recounted, viz:40
the area particularly the CIDG are exerting their efforts and religiously doing
their tasked [sic] in the conduct of its intelligence monitoring and investigation On November 11, 2007, we went to Zamboanga City with my friend Mrs.
for the early resolution of this instant case. But rest assured, our office, in Marydel Talbin. Our flight from Davao City is 9:00 o‘clock in the morning; we
coordination with other law-enforcement agencies in the area, are arrived at Zamboanga Airport at around 10:00 o‘clock. We [were] fetched by
continuously and religiously conducting our investigation for the resolution of the two staffs of Col. Ancanan. We immediately proceed [sic] to West
this case. Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM).

On February 4, 2008, the CA issued an ALARM WARNING that Task Force On that same day, we had private conversation with Col. Ancanan. He
Tagitis did not appear to be exerting extraordinary efforts in resolving Tagitis‘ interviewed me and got information about the personal background of Engr.
disappearance on the following grounds:28 Morced N. Tagitis. After he gathered all information, he revealed to us the
contents of text messages they got from the cellular phone of the subject Engr.
(1) This Court FOUND that it was only as late as January 28, 2008, after the Tagitis. One of the very important text messages of Engr. Tagitis sent to his
hearing, that GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO and COL. AHIRON AJIRIM had requested daughter Zaynah Tagitis was that she was not allowed to answer any
for clear photographs when it should have been standard operating procedure telephone calls in his condominium unit.
in kidnappings or disappearances that the first agenda was for the police to
secure clear pictures of the missing person, Engr. Morced Tagitis, for While we were there he did not tell us any information of the whereabouts of
dissemination to all parts of the country and to neighboring countries. It had Engr. Tagitis. After the said meeting with Col. Ancanan, he treated us as
been three (3) months since GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO admitted having been guests to the city. His two staffs accompanied us to the mall to purchase our
informed on November 5, 2007 of the alleged abduction of Engr. Morced plane ticket going back to Davao City on November 12, 2007.
Tagitis by alleged bad elements of the CIDG. It had been more than one (1)
month since the Writ of Amparo had been issued on December 28, 2007. It When we arrived in Davao City on November 12, 2007 at 9:00 in the morning,
had been three (3) weeks when battle formation was ordered through Task Col. Ancanan and I were discussing some points through phone calls. He
Force Tagitis, on January 17, 2008. It was only on January 28, 2008 when the assured me that my husband is alive and he‘s last looked [sic] in Talipapao,
Task Force Tagitis requested for clear and recent photographs of the missing Jolo, Sulu. Yet I did not believe his given statements of the whereabouts of my
person, Engr. Morced Tagitis, despite the Task Force Tagitis‘ claim that they husband, because I contacted some of my friends who have access to the
already had an "all points bulletin", since November 5, 2007, on the missing groups of MILF, MNLF and ASG. I called up Col. Ancanan several times
person, Engr. Morced Tagitis. How could the police look for someone who begging to tell me the exact location of my husband and who held him but he
disappeared if no clear photograph had been disseminated? refused.

(2) Furthermore, Task Force Tagitis‘ COL. AHIROM AJIRIM informed this While I was in Jolo, Sulu on November 30, 2007, I called him up again
Court that P/Supt KASIM was designated as Col. Ahirom Ajirim‘s replacement because the PNP, Jolo did not give me any information of the whereabouts of
in the latter‘s official designated post. Yet, P/Supt KASIM‘s subpoena was my husband. Col. Ancanan told me that "Sana ngayon alam mo na kung saan
returned to this Court unserved. Since this Court was made to understand that ang kinalalagyan ng asawa mo." When I was in Zamboanga, I was thinking of
it was P/Supt KASIM who was the petitioner‘s unofficial source of the military dropping by the office of Col. Ancanan, but I was hesitant to pay him a visit for
intelligence information that Engr. Morced Tagitis was abducted by bad the reason that the Chief of Police of Jolo told me not to contact any AFP
elements of the CIDG (par. 15 of the Petition), the close contact between officials and he promised me that he can solve the case of my husband (Engr.
P/Supt KASIM and Col. Ahirom Ajirim of TASK FORCE TAGITIS should have Tagitis) within nine days.
ensured the appearance of Col. KASIM in response to this court‘s subpoena
and COL. KASIM could have confirmed the military intelligence information I appreciate the effort of Col. Ancanan on trying to solve the case of my
that bad elements of the CIDG had abducted Engr. Morced Tagitis. husband Engr. Morced Tagitis, yet failed to do so.

Testimonies for the Respondent The respondent also narrated her encounter with Col. Kasim, as follows:41

On January 7, 2008, the respondent, Mary Jean B. Tagitis, testified on direct On November 7, 2007, I went to Land Bank of the Philippines, Bajada Branch,
examination that she went to Jolo and Zamboanga in her efforts to locate her Davao City to meet Mr. Rudy Salvador. I told him that my husband, Engineer
husband. She said that a friend from Zamboanga holding a high position in the Morced Tagitis was presumed to be abducted in Jolo, Sulu on October 30,
military (whom she did not then identify) gave her information that allowed her 2007. I asked him a favor to contact his connections in the military in Jolo,
to "specify" her allegations, "particularly paragraph 15 of the petition."29 This Sulu where the abduction of Engr. Tagitis took place. Mr. Salvador
friend also told her that her husband "[was] in good hands."30 The respondent immediately called up Camp Katitipan located in Davao City looking for high-
also testified that she sought the assistance of her former boss in Davao City, ranking official who can help me gather reliable information behind the
Land Bank Bajada Branch Manager Rudy Salvador, who told her that "PNP abduction of subject Engineer Tagitis.
CIDG is holding [her husband], Engineer Morced Tagitis."31 The respondent
recounted that she went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City where she met Col. On that same day, Mr. Salvador and my friend, Anna Mendoza, Executive
Julasirim Ahadin Kasim (Col. Kasim/Sr. Supt Kasim) who read to her and her Secretary, accompanied me to Camp Katitipan to meet Col. Kasim. Mr.
friends (who were then with her) a "highly confidential report" that contained Salvador introduced me to Col. Kasim and we had a short conversation. And
the "alleged activities of Engineer Tagitis" and informed her that her husband he assured me that he‘ll do the best he can to help me find my husband.
was abducted because "he is under custodial investigation" for being a liaison
for "J.I. or Jema‘ah Islamiah."32 After a few weeks, Mr. Salvador called me up informing me up informing me
that I am to go to Camp Katitipan to meet Col. Kasim for he has an urgent,
On January 17, 2008, the respondent on cross-examination testified that she confidential information to reveal.
is Tagitis‘ second wife, and they have been married for thirteen years; Tagitis
was divorced from his first wife.33 She last communicated with her husband On November 24, 2007, we went back to Camp Katitipan with my three
on October 29, 2007 at around 7:31 p.m. through text messaging; Tagitis was friends. That was the time that Col. Kasim read to us the confidential report
then on his way to Jolo, Sulu, from Zamboanga City.34 that Engr. Tagitis was allegedly connected [with] different terrorist [groups],
one of which he mentioned in the report was OMAR PATIK and a certain
The respondent narrated that she learned of her husband‘s disappearance on SANTOS - a Balik Islam.
October 30, 2007 when her stepdaughter, Zaynah Tagitis (Zaynah), informed
her that she had not heard from her father since the time they arranged to It is also said that Engr. Tagitis is carrying boxes of medicines for the injured
meet in Manila on October 31, 2007.35 The respondent explained that it took terrorists as a supplier. These are the two information that I can still remember.
her a few days (or on November 5, 2007) to personally ask Kunnong to report It was written in a long bond paper with PNP Letterhead. It was not shown to
her husband‘s disappearance to the Jolo Police Station, since she had the us, yet Col. Kasim was the one who read it for us.
impression that her husband could not communicate with her because his
cellular phone‘s battery did not have enough power, and that he would call her He asked a favor to me that "Please don‘t quote my Name! Because this is a
when he had fully-charged his cellular phone‘s battery.36 raw report." He assured me that my husband is alive and he is in the custody
of the military for custodial investigation. I told him to please take care of my
The respondent also identified the high-ranking military friend, who gave her husband because he has aliments and he recently took insulin for he is a
the information found in paragraph 15 of her petition, as Lt. Col. Pedro L. diabetic patient.
Ancanan, Jr (Col. Ancanan). She met him in Camp Karingal, Zamboanga
through her boss.37 She also testified that she was with three other people, In my petition for writ of amparo, I emphasized the information that I got from
namely, Mrs. Marydel Martin Talbin and her two friends from Mati City, Davao Kasim.
Oriental, when Col. Kasim read to them the contents of the "highly confidential
report" at Camp Katitipan, Davao City. The respondent further narrated that
Page 61 of 101
On February 11, 2008, the respondent presented Mrs. Marydel Martin Talbin information that the CIDG, as the police intelligence arm, was involved in
(Mrs. Talbin) to corroborate her testimony regarding her efforts to locate her Tagitis‘ abduction came from no less than the military – an independent
husband, in relation particularly with the information she received from Col. agency of government. The CA thus greatly relied on the "raw report" from
Kasim. Mrs. Talbin testified that she was with the respondent when she went Col. Kasim‘s asset, pointing to the CIDG‘s involvement in Tagitis‘ abduction.
to Zamboanga to see Col. Ancanan, and to Davao City at Camp Katitipan to The CA held that "raw reports" from an "asset" carried "great weight" in the
meet Col. Kasim.42 intelligence world. It also labeled as "suspect" Col. Kasim‘s subsequent and
belated retraction of his statement that the military, the police, or the CIDG
In Zamboanga, Mrs. Talbin recounted that they met with Col. Ancanan, who was involved in the abduction of Tagitis.
told them that there was a report and that he showed them a series of text
messages from Tagitis‘ cellular phone, which showed that Tagitis and his The CA characterized as "too farfetched and unbelievable" and "a bedlam of
daughter would meet in Manila on October 30, 2007.43 speculation" police theories painting the disappearance as "intentional" on the
part of Tagitis. He had no previous brushes with the law or any record of
She further narrated that sometime on November 24, 2007, she went with the overstepping the bounds of any trust regarding money entrusted to him; no
respondent together with two other companions, namely, Salvacion Serrano student of the IDB scholarship program ever came forward to complain that he
and Mini Leong, to Camp Katitipan to talk to Col. Kasim.44 The respondent or she did not get his or her stipend. The CA also found no basis for the police
asked Col. Kasim if he knew the exact location of Engr. Tagitis. Col. Kasim theory that Tagitis was "trying to escape from the clutches of his second wife,"
told them that Tagitis was in good hands, although he was not certain whether on the basis of the respondent‘s testimony that Tagitis was a Muslim who
he was with the PNP or with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). She could have many wives under the Muslim faith, and that there was "no issue"
further recounted that based on the report Col. Kasim read in their presence, at all when the latter divorced his first wife in order to marry the second.
Tagitis was under custodial investigation because he was being charged with Finally, the CA also ruled out kidnapping for ransom by the Abu Sayyaf or by
terrorism; Tagitis in fact had been under surveillance since January 2007 up to the ARMM paramilitary as the cause for Tagitis‘ disappearance, since the
the time he was abducted when he was seen talking to Omar Patik and a respondent, the police and the military noted that there was no
certain Santos of Bulacan, a "Balik Islam" charged with terrorism. Col. Kasim acknowledgement of Tagitis‘ abduction or demand for payment of ransom –
also told them that he could not give a copy of the report because it was a the usual modus operandi of these terrorist groups.
"raw report."45 She also related that the Col. Kasim did not tell them exactly
where Tagitis was being kept, although he mentioned Talipapao, Sulu.Prof., Based on these considerations, the CA thus extended the privilege of the writ
lalabas din yan."50 Prof. Matli also emphasized that despite what his January to Tagitis and his family, and directed the CIDG Chief, Col. Jose Volpane
4, 2008 affidavit indicated,51 he never told PS Supt. Pingay, or made any Pante, PNP Chief Avelino I. Razon, Task Force Tagitis heads Gen. Joel
accusation, that Tagitis took away money entrusted to him.52 Prof. Matli Goltiao and Col. Ahiron Ajirim, and PACER Chief Sr. Supt. Leonardo A.
confirmed, however, that that he had received an e-mail report53 from Nuraya Espina to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts to protect the life, liberty
Lackian of the Office of Muslim Affairs in Manila that the IDB was seeking and security of Tagitis, with the obligation to provide monthly reports of their
assistance of the office in locating the funds of IDB scholars deposited in actions to the CA. At the same time, the CA dismissed the petition against the
Tagitis‘ personal account.54 then respondents from the military, Lt. Gen Alexander Yano and Gen. Ruben
Rafael, based on the finding that it was PNP-CIDG, not the military, that was
On cross-examination by the respondent‘s counsel, Prof. Matli testified that his involved.
January 4, 2008 affidavit was already prepared when PS Supt. Pingay asked
him to sign it.55 Prof Matli clarified that although he read the affidavit before On March 31, 2008, the petitioners moved to reconsider the CA decision, but
signing it, he "was not so much aware of… [its] contents."56 the CA denied the motion in its Resolution of April 9, 2008.73

On February 11, 2008, the petitioners presented Col. Kasim to rebut material THE PETITION
portions of the respondent‘s testimony, particularly the allegation that he had
stated that Tagitis was in the custody of either the military or the PNP.57 Col. In this Rule 45 appeal questioning the CA‘s March 7, 2008 decision, the
Kasim categorically denied the statements made by the respondent in her petitioners mainly dispute the sufficiency in form and substance of the Amparo
narrative report, specifically: (1) that Tagitis was seen carrying boxes of petition filed before the CA; the sufficiency of the legal remedies the
medicines as supplier for the injured terrorists; (2) that Tagitis was under the respondent took before petitioning for the writ; the finding that the rights to life,
custody of the military, since he merely said to the respondent that "your liberty and security of Tagitis had been violated; the sufficiency of evidence
husband is in good hands" and is "probably taken cared of by his armed supporting the conclusion that Tagitis was abducted; the conclusion that the
abductors;" and (3) that Tagitis was under custodial investigation by the CIDG Zamboanga was responsible for the abduction; and, generally, the ruling
military, the PNP or the CIDG Zamboanga City.58 Col. Kasim emphasized that that the respondent discharged the burden of proving the allegations of the
the "informal letter" he received from his informant in Sulu did not indicate that petition by substantial evidence.74
Tagitis was in the custody of the CIDG.59 He also stressed that the
information he provided to the respondent was merely a "raw report" sourced THE COURT‘S RULING
from "barangay intelligence" that still needed confirmation and "follow-up" as to
its veracity.60 We do not find the petition meritorious.

On cross-examination, Col. Kasim testified that the information he gave the Sufficiency in Form and Substance
respondent was given to him by his informant, who was a "civilian asset,"
through a letter which he considered as "unofficial."61 Col. Kasim stressed In questioning the sufficiency in form and substance of the respondent‘s
that the letter was only meant for his "consumption" and not for reading by Amparo petition, the petitioners contend that the petition violated Section 5(c),
others.62 He testified further that he destroyed the letter right after he read it (d), and (e) of the Amparo Rule. Specifically, the petitioners allege that the
to the respondent and her companions because "it was not important to him" respondent failed to:
and also because the information it contained had no importance in relation
with the abduction of Tagitis.63 He explained that he did not keep the letter 1) allege any act or omission the petitioners committed in violation of Tagitis‘
because it did not contain any information regarding the whereabouts of rights to life, liberty and security;
Tagitis and the person(s) responsible for his abduction.64
2) allege in a complete manner how Tagitis was abducted, the persons
In the same hearing on February 11, 2008, the petitioners also presented responsible for his disappearance, and the respondent‘s source of information;
Police Senior Superintendent Jose Volpane Pante (Col. Pante), Chief of the
CIDG-9, to disprove the respondent‘s allegation that Tagitis was in the custody 3) allege that the abduction was committed at the petitioners‘ instructions or
of CIDG-Zamboanga City.65 Col. Pante clarified that the CIDG was the with their consent;
"investigative arm" of the PNP, and that the CIDG "investigates and
prosecutes all cases involving violations in the Revised Penal Code 4) implead the members of CIDG regional office in Zamboanga alleged to
particularly those considered as heinous crimes."66 Col. Pante further testified have custody over her husband;
that the allegation that 9 RCIDU personnel were involved in the disappearance
of Tagitis was baseless, since they did not conduct any operation in Jolo, Sulu 5) attach the affidavits of witnesses to support her accusations;
before or after Tagitis‘ reported disappearance.67 Col. Pante added that the
four (4) personnel assigned to the Sulu CIDT had no capability to conduct any 6) allege any action or inaction attributable to the petitioners in the
"operation," since they were only assigned to investigate matters and to performance of their duties in the investigation of Tagitis‘ disappearance; and
monitor the terrorism situation.68 He denied that his office conducted any
surveillance on Tagitis prior to the latter‘s disappearance.69 Col. Pante further 7) specify what legally available efforts she took to determine the fate or
testified that his investigation of Tagitis‘ disappearance was unsuccessful; the whereabouts of her husband.
investigation was "still facing a blank wall" on the whereabouts of Tagitis.70
A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and shall allege,
THE CA RULING among others (in terms of the portions the petitioners cite):75

On March 7, 2008, the CA issued its decision71 confirming that the (c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or
disappearance of Tagitis was an "enforced disappearance" under the United threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of the respondent, and
Nations (UN) Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced how such threat or violation is committed with the attendant circumstances
Disappearances.72 The CA ruled that when military intelligence pinpointed the detailed in supporting affidavits;
investigative arm of the PNP (CIDG) to be involved in the abduction, the
missing-person case qualified as an enforced disappearance. The conclusion (d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal
that the CIDG was involved was based on the respondent‘s testimony, circumstances, and addresses of the investigating authority or individuals, as
corroborated by her companion, Mrs. Talbin. The CA noted that the well as the manner and conduct of the investigation, together with any report;
Page 62 of 101
petition. To require the respondent to elaborately specify the names, personal
(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine the fate or circumstances, and addresses of the investigating authority, as well the
whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible manner and conduct of the investigation is an overly strict interpretation of
for the threat, act or omission; and Section 5(d), given the respondent‘s frustrations in securing an investigation
with meaningful results. Under these circumstances, we are more than
The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be complete in satisfied that the allegations of the petition on the investigations undertaken
every detail in stating the threatened or actual violation of a victim‘s rights. As are sufficiently complete for purposes of bringing the petition forward.
in any other initiatory pleading, the pleader must of course state the ultimate
facts constituting the cause of action, omitting the evidentiary details.76 In an Section 5(e) is in the Amparo Rule to prevent the use of a petition – that
Amparo petition, however, this requirement must be read in light of the nature otherwise is not supported by sufficient allegations to constitute a proper
and purpose of the proceeding, which addresses a situation of uncertainty; the cause of action – as a means to "fish" for evidence.81 The petitioners contend
petitioner may not be able to describe with certainty how the victim exactly that the respondent‘s petition did not specify what "legally available efforts
disappeared, or who actually acted to kidnap, abduct or arrest him or her, or were taken by the respondent," and that there was an "undue haste" in the
where the victim is detained, because these information may purposely be filing of the petition when, instead of cooperating with authorities, the
hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance. In this type of respondent immediately invoked the Court‘s intervention.
situation, to require the level of specificity, detail and precision that the
petitioners apparently want to read into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule We do not see the respondent‘s petition as the petitioners view it.
a token gesture of judicial concern for violations of the constitutional rights to
life, liberty and security. Section 5(e) merely requires that the Amparo petitioner (the respondent in the
present case) allege "the actions and recourses taken to determine the fate or
To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing the whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible
unique Amparo situation, the test in reading the petition should be to for the threat, act or omission." The following allegations of the respondent‘s
determine whether it contains the details available to the petitioner under the petition duly outlined the actions she had taken and the frustrations she
circumstances, while presenting a cause of action showing a violation of the encountered, thus compelling her to file her petition.
victim‘s rights to life, liberty and security through State or private party action.
The petition should likewise be read in its totality, rather than in terms of its xxxx
isolated component parts, to determine if the required elements – namely, of
the disappearance, the State or private action, and the actual or threatened 7. Soon after the student left the room, Engr. Tagitis went out of the pension
violations of the rights to life, liberty or security – are present. house to take his early lunch but while out on the street, a couple of burly men
believed to be police intelligence operatives, forcibly took him and boarded the
In the present case, the petition amply recites in its paragraphs 4 to 11 the latter on a motor vehicle then sped away without the knowledge of his student,
circumstances under which Tagitis suddenly dropped out of sight after Arsimin Kunnong;
engaging in normal activities, and thereafter was nowhere to be found despite
efforts to locate him. The petition alleged, too, under its paragraph 7, in xxxx
relation to paragraphs 15 and 16, that according to reliable information, police
operatives were the perpetrators of the abduction. It also clearly alleged how 10. When Kunnong could not locate Engr. Tagitis, the former sought the help
Tagitis‘ rights to life, liberty and security were violated when he was "forcibly of another IDB scholar and reported the matter to the local police agency;
taken and boarded on a motor vehicle by a couple of burly men believed to be
police intelligence operatives," and then taken "into custody by the 11. Arsimin Kunnong, including his friends and companions in Jolo, exerted
respondents‘ police intelligence operatives since October 30, 2007, specifically efforts in trying to locate the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis and when he
by the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, x x x held against his will in an earnest reported the matter to the police authorities in Jolo, he was immediately given
attempt of the police to involve and connect [him] with different terrorist a ready answer that Engr. Tagitis could [have been] abducted by the Abu
groups."77 Sayyaf group and other groups known to be fighting against the government;

These allegations, in our view, properly pleaded ultimate facts within the 12. Being scared with these suggestions and insinuations of the police
pleader‘s knowledge about Tagitis‘ disappearance, the participation by agents officers, Kunnong reported the matter to the [respondent](wife of Engr. Tagitis)
of the State in this disappearance, the failure of the State to release Tagitis or by phone and other responsible officers and coordinators of the IDB
to provide sufficient information about his whereabouts, as well as the actual Scholarship Programme in the Philippines who alerted the office of the
violation of his right to liberty. Thus, the petition cannot be faulted for any Governor of ARMM who was then preparing to attend the OIC meeting in
failure in its statement of a cause of action. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;

If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is its lack of 13. [The respondent], on the other hand, approached some of her co-
supporting affidavit, as required by Section 5(c) of the Amparo Rule. Owing to employees with the Land Bank in Digos branch, Digos City, Davao del Sur,
the summary nature of the proceedings for the writ and to facilitate the who likewise sought help from some of their friends in the military who could
resolution of the petition, the Amparo Rule incorporated the requirement for help them find/locate the whereabouts of her husband;
supporting affidavits, with the annotation that these can be used as the
affiant‘s direct testimony.78 This requirement, however, should not be read as xxxx
an absolute one that necessarily leads to the dismissal of the petition if not
strictly followed. Where, as in this case, the petitioner has substantially 15. According to reliable information received by the [respondent], subject
complied with the requirement by submitting a verified petition sufficiently Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police intelligence operatives, specifically with
detailing the facts relied upon, the strict need for the sworn statement that an the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an earnest
affidavit represents is essentially fulfilled. We note that the failure to attach the attempt of the police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different
required affidavits was fully cured when the respondent and her witness (Mrs. terrorist groups;
Talbin) personally testified in the CA hearings held on January 7 and 17 and
February 18, 2008 to swear to and flesh out the allegations of the petition. xxxx
Thus, even on this point, the petition cannot be faulted.
17. [The respondent] filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station at the
Section 5(d) of the Amparo Rule requires that prior investigation of an alleged ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo, as suggested by her friends, seeking their help
disappearance must have been made, specifying the manner and results of to find her husband, but [the respondent‘s] request and pleadings failed to
the investigation. Effectively, this requirement seeks to establish at the earliest produce any positive results
opportunity the level of diligence the public authorities undertook in relation
with the reported disappearance.79 xxxx

We reject the petitioners‘ argument that the respondent‘s petition did not 20. Lately, [respondent] was again advised by one of the [petitioners] to go to
comply with the Section 5(d) requirements of the Amparo Rule, as the petition the ARMM Police Headquarters again in Cotobato City and also to the
specifies in its paragraph 11 that Kunnong and his companions immediately different Police Headquarters including the police headquarters in Davao City,
reported Tagitis‘ disappearance to the police authorities in Jolo, Sulu as soon in Zamboanga City, in Jolo, and in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and all these
as they were relatively certain that he indeed had disappeared. The police, places have been visited by the [respondent] in search for her husband, which
however, gave them the "ready answer" that Tagitis could have been abducted entailed expenses for her trips to these places thereby resorting her to
by the Abu Sayyaf group or other anti-government groups. The respondent borrowings and beggings [sic] for financial help from friends and relatives only
also alleged in paragraphs 17 and 18 of her petition that she filed a "complaint" to try complying to the different suggestions of these police officers, despite of
with the PNP Police Station in Cotobato and in Jolo, but she was told of "an which, her efforts produced no positive results up to the present time;
intriguing tale" by the police that her husband was having "a good time with
another woman." The disappearance was alleged to have been reported, too, xxxx
to no less than the Governor of the ARMM, followed by the respondent‘s
personal inquiries that yielded the factual bases for her petition.80 25. [The respondent] has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies
but to no avail, and under the circumstances, [respondent] has no other plain,
These allegations, to our mind, sufficiently specify that reports have been speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of subject Engr.
made to the police authorities, and that investigations should have followed. Morced Tagitis from the illegal clutches of [the petitioners], their intelligence
That the petition did not state the manner and results of the investigation that operatives and the like which are in total violation of the subject‘s human and
the Amparo Rule requires, but rather generally stated the inaction of the constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT OF AMPARO.
police, their failure to perform their duty to investigate, or at the very least, their
reported failed efforts, should not be a reflection on the completeness of the
Page 63 of 101
Based on these considerations, we rule that the respondent‘s petition for the disappearances. In other jurisdictions, the concept includes acts and
Writ of Amparo is sufficient in form and substance and that the Court of omissions not only of state actors but also of non state actors. Well, more
Appeals had every reason to proceed with its consideration of the case. specifically in the case of the Philippines for instance, should these rules
include the killings, the disappearances which may be authored by let us say,
The Desaparecidos the NPAs or the leftist organizations and others. So, again we need to define
the nature of the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances that will be
The present case is one of first impression in the use and application of the covered by these rules. [Emphasis supplied] 95
Rule on the Writ of Amparo in an enforced disappearance situation. For a
deeper appreciation of the application of this Rule to an enforced In the end, the Committee took cognizance of several bills filed in the House of
disappearance situation, a brief look at the historical context of the writ and Representatives96 and in the Senate97 on extrajudicial killings and enforced
enforced disappearances would be very helpful. disappearances, and resolved to do away with a clear textual definition of
these terms in the Rule. The Committee instead focused on the nature and
The phenomenon of enforced disappearance arising from State action first scope of the concerns within its power to address and provided the
attracted notice in Adolf Hitler‘s Nact und Nebel Erlass or Night and Fog appropriate remedy therefor, mindful that an elemental definition may intrude
Decree of December 7, 1941.82 The Third Reich‘s Night and Fog Program, a into the ongoing legislative efforts.98
State policy, was directed at persons in occupied territories "endangering
German security"; they were transported secretly to Germany where they As the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in
disappeared without a trace. In order to maximize the desired intimidating this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized separately from the component
effect, the policy prohibited government officials from providing information criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced
about the fate of these targeted persons.83 disappearances and are now penalized under the Revised Penal Code and
special laws.99 The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on
In the mid-1970s, the phenomenon of enforced disappearances resurfaced, the matter; the determination of what acts are criminal and what the
shocking and outraging the world when individuals, numbering anywhere from corresponding penalty these criminal acts should carry are matters of
6,000 to 24,000, were reported to have "disappeared" during the military substantive law that only the Legislature has the power to enact under the
regime in Argentina. Enforced disappearances spread in Latin America, and country‘s constitutional scheme and power structure.
the issue became an international concern when the world noted its
widespread and systematic use by State security forces in that continent under Even without the benefit of directly applicable substantive laws on extra-
Operation Condor84 and during the Dirty War85 in the 1970s and 1980s. The judicial killings and enforced disappearances, however, the Supreme Court is
escalation of the practice saw political activists secretly arrested, tortured, and not powerless to act under its own constitutional mandate to promulgate "rules
killed as part of governments‘ counter-insurgency campaigns. As this form of concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading,
political brutality became routine elsewhere in the continent, the Latin practice and procedure in all courts,"100 since extrajudicial killings and
American media standardized the term "disappearance" to describe the enforced disappearances, by their nature and purpose, constitute State or
phenomenon. The victims of enforced disappearances were called the private party violation of the constitutional rights of individuals to life, liberty
"desaparecidos,"86 which literally means the "disappeared ones."87 In and security. Although the Court‘s power is strictly procedural and as such
general, there are three different kinds of "disappearance" cases: does not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights, the legal protection
that the Court can provide can be very meaningful through the procedures it
1) those of people arrested without witnesses or without positive identification sets in addressing extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. The
of the arresting agents and are never found again; Court, through its procedural rules, can set the procedural standards and
thereby directly compel the public authorities to act on actual or threatened
2) those of prisoners who are usually arrested without an appropriate warrant violations of constitutional rights. To state the obvious, judicial intervention can
and held in complete isolation for weeks or months while their families are make a difference – even if only procedurally – in a situation when the very
unable to discover their whereabouts and the military authorities deny having same investigating public authorities may have had a hand in the threatened
them in custody until they eventually reappear in one detention center or or actual violations of constitutional rights.
another; and
Lest this Court intervention be misunderstood, we clarify once again that we
3) those of victims of "salvaging" who have disappeared until their lifeless do not rule on any issue of criminal culpability for the extrajudicial killing or
bodies are later discovered.88 enforced disappearance. This is an issue that requires criminal action before
our criminal courts based on our existing penal laws. Our intervention is in
In the Philippines, enforced disappearances generally fall within the first two determining whether an enforced disappearance has taken place and who is
categories,89 and 855 cases were recorded during the period of martial law responsible or accountable for this disappearance, and to define and impose
from 1972 until 1986. Of this number, 595 remained missing, 132 surfaced the appropriate remedies to address it. The burden for the public authorities to
alive and 127 were found dead. During former President Corazon C. Aquino‘s discharge in these situations, under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, is twofold.
term, 820 people were reported to have disappeared and of these, 612 cases The first is to ensure that all efforts at disclosure and investigation are
were documented. Of this number, 407 remain missing, 108 surfaced alive undertaken under pain of indirect contempt from this Court when
and 97 were found dead. The number of enforced disappearances dropped governmental efforts are less than what the individual situations require. The
during former President Fidel V. Ramos‘ term when only 87 cases were second is to address the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is
reported, while the three-year term of former President Joseph E. Estrada preserved and his or her liberty and security restored. In these senses, our
yielded 58 reported cases. KARAPATAN, a local non-governmental orders and directives relative to the writ are continuing efforts that are not truly
organization, reports that as of March 31, 2008, the records show that there terminated until the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance is fully
were a total of 193 victims of enforced disappearance under incumbent addressed by the complete determination of the fate and the whereabouts of
President Gloria M. Arroyo‘s administration. The Commission on Human the victim, by the production of the disappeared person and the restoration of
Rights‘ records show a total of 636 verified cases of enforced disappearances his or her liberty and security, and, in the proper case, by the commencement
from 1985 to 1993. Of this number, 406 remained missing, 92 surfaced alive, of criminal action against the guilty parties.
62 were found dead, and 76 still have undetermined status.90 Currently, the
United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance91 Enforced Disappearance
reports 619 outstanding cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances Under International Law
covering the period December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008.92
From the International Law perspective, involuntary or enforced
Enforced Disappearances disappearance is considered a flagrant violation of human rights.101 It does
not only violate the right to life, liberty and security of the desaparecido; it
Under Philippine Law affects their families as well through the denial of their right to information
regarding the circumstances of the disappeared family member. Thus,
The Amparo Rule expressly provides that the "writ shall cover extralegal enforced disappearances have been said to be "a double form of torture," with
killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof."93 We note that "doubly paralyzing impact for the victims," as they "are kept ignorant of their
although the writ specifically covers "enforced disappearances," this concept is own fates, while family members are deprived of knowing the whereabouts of
neither defined nor penalized in this jurisdiction. The records of the Supreme their detained loved ones" and suffer as well the serious economic hardship
Court Committee on the Revision of Rules (Committee) reveal that the drafters and poverty that in most cases follow the disappearance of the household
of the Amparo Rule initially considered providing an elemental definition of the breadwinner.102
concept of enforced disappearance:94
The UN General Assembly first considered the issue of "Disappeared
JUSTICE MARTINEZ: I believe that first and foremost we should come up or Persons" in December 1978 under Resolution 33/173. The Resolution
formulate a specific definition [for] extrajudicial killings and enforced expressed the General Assembly‘s deep concern arising from "reports from
disappearances. From that definition, then we can proceed to formulate the various parts of the world relating to enforced or involuntary disappearances,"
rules, definite rules concerning the same. and requested the "UN Commission on Human Rights to consider the issue of
enforced disappearances with a view to making appropriate
CHIEF JUSTICE PUNO: … As things stand, there is no law penalizing recommendations."103
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances… so initially also we have
to [come up with] the nature of these extrajudicial killings and enforced In 1992, in response to the reality that the insidious practice of enforced
disappearances [to be covered by the Rule] because our concept of killings disappearance had become a global phenomenon, the UN General Assembly
and disappearances will define the jurisdiction of the courts. So we‘ll have to adopted the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
agree among ourselves about the nature of killings and disappearances for Disappearance (Declaration).104 This Declaration, for the first time, provided
instance, in other jurisdictions, the rules only cover state actors. That is an in its third preambular clause a working description of enforced
element incorporated in their concept of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance, as follows:
Page 64 of 101
in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is rendered
Deeply concerned that in many countries, often in a persistent manner, obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it. [Emphasis in the
enforced disappearances occur, in the sense that persons are arrested, original]
detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by
officials of different branches or levels of Government, or by organized groups The most widely accepted statement of sources of international law today is
or private individuals acting on behalf of, or with the support, direct or indirect, Article 38(1) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, which provides
consent or acquiescence of the Government, followed by a refusal to disclose that the Court shall apply "international custom, as evidence of a general
the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge practice accepted as law."118 The material sources of custom include State
the deprivation of their liberty, which places such persons outside the practice, State legislation, international and national judicial decisions, recitals
protection of the law. [Emphasis supplied] in treaties and other international instruments, a pattern of treaties in the same
form, the practice of international organs, and resolutions relating to legal
Fourteen years after (or on December 20, 2006), the UN General Assembly questions in the UN General Assembly.119 Sometimes referred to as
adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from "evidence" of international law,120 these sources identify the substance and
Enforced Disappearance (Convention).105 The Convention was opened for content of the obligations of States and are indicative of the "State practice"
signature in Paris, France on February 6, 2007.106 Article 2 of the Convention and "opinio juris" requirements of international law.121 We note the following
defined enforced disappearance as follows: in these respects:

For the purposes of this Convention, "enforced disappearance" is considered First, barely two years from the adoption of the Declaration, the Organization
to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty of American States (OAS) General Assembly adopted the Inter-American
by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the Convention on Enforced Disappearance of Persons in June 1994.122 State
authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to parties undertook under this Convention "not to practice, permit, or tolerate the
acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or forced disappearance of persons, even in states of emergency or suspension
whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside of individual guarantees."123 One of the key provisions includes the States‘
the protection of the law. [Emphasis supplied] obligation to enact the crime of forced disappearance in their respective
national criminal laws and to establish jurisdiction over such cases when the
The Convention is the first universal human rights instrument to assert that crime was committed within their jurisdiction, when the victim is a national of
there is a right not to be subject to enforced disappearance107 and that this that State, and "when the alleged criminal is within its territory and it does not
right is non-derogable.108 It provides that no one shall be subjected to proceed to extradite him," which can be interpreted as establishing universal
enforced disappearance under any circumstances, be it a state of war, internal jurisdiction among the parties to the Inter-American Convention.124 At
political instability, or any other public emergency. It obliges State Parties to present, Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela have enacted
codify enforced disappearance as an offense punishable with appropriate separate laws in accordance with the Inter-American Convention and have
penalties under their criminal law.109 It also recognizes the right of relatives of defined activities involving enforced disappearance to be criminal.1251avvphi1
the disappeared persons and of the society as a whole to know the truth on
the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared and on the progress and results Second, in Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights has no explicit
of the investigation.110 Lastly, it classifies enforced disappearance as a provision dealing with the protection against enforced disappearance. The
continuing offense, such that statutes of limitations shall not apply until the fate European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), however, has applied the
and whereabouts of the victim are established.111 Convention in a way that provides ample protection for the underlying rights
affected by enforced disappearance through the Convention‘s Article 2 on the
Binding Effect of UN Action on the Philippines right to life; Article 3 on the prohibition of torture; Article 5 on the right to liberty
and security; Article 6, paragraph 1 on the right to a fair trial; and Article 13 on
To date, the Philippines has neither signed nor ratified the Convention, so that the right to an effective remedy. A leading example demonstrating the
the country is not yet committed to enact any law penalizing enforced protection afforded by the European Convention is Kurt v. Turkey,126 where
disappearance as a crime. The absence of a specific penal law, however, is the ECHR found a violation of the right to liberty and security of the
not a stumbling block for action from this Court, as heretofore mentioned; disappeared person when the applicant‘s son disappeared after being taken
underlying every enforced disappearance is a violation of the constitutional into custody by Turkish forces in the Kurdish village of Agilli in November
rights to life, liberty and security that the Supreme Court is mandated by the 1993. It further found the applicant (the disappeared person‘s mother) to be a
Constitution to protect through its rule-making powers. victim of a violation of Article 3, as a result of the silence of the authorities and
the inadequate character of the investigations undertaken. The ECHR also
Separately from the Constitution (but still pursuant to its terms), the Court is saw the lack of any meaningful investigation by the State as a violation of
guided, in acting on Amparo cases, by the reality that the Philippines is a Article 13.127
member of the UN, bound by its Charter and by the various conventions we
signed and ratified, particularly the conventions touching on humans rights. Third, in the United States, the status of the prohibition on enforced
Under the UN Charter, the Philippines pledged to "promote universal respect disappearance as part of customary international law is recognized in the most
for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without recent edition of Restatement of the Law: The Third,128 which provides that
distinctions as to race, sex, language or religion."112 Although no universal "[a] State violates international law if, as a matter of State policy, it practices,
agreement has been reached on the precise extent of the "human rights and encourages, or condones… (3) the murder or causing the disappearance of
fundamental freedoms" guaranteed to all by the Charter,113 it was the UN individuals."129 We significantly note that in a related matter that finds close
itself that issued the Declaration on enforced disappearance, and this identification with enforced disappearance – the matter of torture – the United
Declaration states:114 States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Court held in Filartiga v. Pena-
Irala130 that the prohibition on torture had attained the status of customary
Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to dignity. It is condemned as international law. The court further elaborated on the significance of UN
a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave declarations, as follows:
and flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in These U.N. declarations are significant because they specify with great
international instruments in this field. [Emphasis supplied] precision the obligations of member nations under the Charter. Since their
adoption, "(m)embers can no longer contend that they do not know what
As a matter of human right and fundamental freedom and as a policy matter human rights they promised in the Charter to promote." Moreover, a U.N.
made in a UN Declaration, the ban on enforced disappearance cannot but Declaration is, according to one authoritative definition, "a formal and solemn
have its effects on the country, given our own adherence to "generally instrument, suitable for rare occasions when principles of great and lasting
accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land." importance are being enunciated." Accordingly, it has been observed that the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights "no longer fits into the dichotomy of
In the recent case of Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the ‗binding treaty‘ against ‗non-binding pronouncement,' but is rather an
Philippines v. Duque III, we held that: authoritative statement of the international community." Thus, a Declaration
creates an expectation of adherence, and "insofar as the expectation is
Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere gradually justified by State practice, a declaration may by custom become
of domestic law either by transformation or incorporation. The transformation recognized as laying down rules binding upon the States." Indeed, several
method requires that an international law be transformed into a domestic law commentators have concluded that the Universal Declaration has become, in
through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation. The toto, a part of binding, customary international law. [Citations omitted]
incorporation method applies when, by mere constitutional declaration,
international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law. [Emphasis Fourth, in interpreting Article 2 (right to an effective domestic remedy) of the
supplied] International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the
Philippines is both a signatory and a State Party, the UN Human Rights
We characterized "generally accepted principles of international law" as norms Committee, under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has
of general or customary international law that are binding on all states. We stated that the act of enforced disappearance violates Articles 6 (right to life), 7
held further: (prohibition on torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment)
and 9 (right to liberty and security of the person) of the ICCPR, and the act
[G]enerally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the may also amount to a crime against humanity.131
incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even
if they do not derive from treaty obligations. The classical formulation in Fifth, Article 7, paragraph 1 of the 1998 Rome Statute establishing the
international law sees those customary rules accepted as binding result from International Criminal Court (ICC) also covers enforced disappearances
the combination [of] two elements: the established, widespread, and insofar as they are defined as crimes against humanity,132 i.e., crimes
consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian
as the opinion juris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit population, with knowledge of the attack." While more than 100 countries have
Page 65 of 101
ratified the Rome Statute,133 the Philippines is still merely a signatory and has breach of the Covenant. These obligations arise notably in respect of those
not yet ratified it. We note that Article 7(1) of the Rome Statute has been violations recognized as criminal under either domestic or international law,
incorporated in the statutes of other international and hybrid tribunals, such as torture and similar cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (article 7),
including Sierra Leone Special Court, the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in summary and arbitrary killing (article 6) and enforced disappearance (articles 7
Timor-Leste, and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.134 and 9 and, frequently, 6). Indeed, the problem of impunity for these violations,
In addition, the implementing legislation of State Parties to the Rome Statute a matter of sustained concern by the Committee, may well be an important
of the ICC has given rise to a number of national criminal provisions also contributing element in the recurrence of the violations. When committed as
covering enforced disappearance.135 part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population, these
violations of the Covenant are crimes against humanity (see Rome Statute of
While the Philippines is not yet formally bound by the terms of the Convention the International Criminal Court, article 7). [Emphasis supplied]
on enforced disappearance (or by the specific terms of the Rome Statute) and
has not formally declared enforced disappearance as a specific crime, the In Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo,139 this Court, in ruling that the
above recital shows that enforced disappearance as a State practice has been right to security of persons is a guarantee of the protection of one‘s right by the
repudiated by the international community, so that the ban on it is now a government, held that:
generally accepted principle of international law, which we should consider a
part of the law of the land, and which we should act upon to the extent already The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that
allowed under our laws and the international conventions that bind us. the State "guarantees full respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11
of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and
The following civil or political rights under the Universal Declaration of Human security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of
Rights, the ICCPR and the International Convention on Economic, Social and person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford protection to
Cultural Rights (ICESR) may be infringed in the course of a these rights especially when they are under threat. Protection includes
disappearance:136 conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus
to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced
1) the right to recognition as a person before the law; disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing
offenders to the bar of justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights
2) the right to liberty and security of the person; stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez Case, viz:

3) the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or (The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a
degrading treatment or punishment; mere formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an
objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step
4) the right to life, when the disappeared person is killed; taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his
family or upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by
5) the right to an identity; the government. [Emphasis supplied]

6) the right to a fair trial and to judicial guarantees; Manalo significantly cited Kurt v. Turkey,140 where the ECHR interpreted the
"right to security" not only as a prohibition on the State against arbitrary
7) the right to an effective remedy, including reparation and compensation; deprivation of liberty, but also as the imposition of a positive duty to afford
protection to the right to liberty. The Court notably quoted the following ECHR
8) the right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of a disappearance. ruling:

9) the right to protection and assistance to the family; [A]ny deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity with
the substantive and procedural rules of national law but must equally be in
10) the right to an adequate standard of living; keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the individual
from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual, it is
11) the right to health; and incumbent on the authorities to account for his or her whereabouts. For this
reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective
12) the right to education [Emphasis supplied] measures to safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a
prompt effective investigation into an arguable claim that a person has been
Article 2 of the ICCPR, which binds the Philippines as a state party, provides: taken into custody and has not been seen since. [Emphasis supplied]

Article 2 These rulings effectively serve as the backdrop for the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo, which the Court made effective on October 24, 2007. Although the
3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes: Amparo Rule still has gaps waiting to be filled through substantive law, as
evidenced primarily by the lack of a concrete definition of "enforced
(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized disappearance," the materials cited above, among others, provide ample
are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation guidance and standards on how, through the medium of the Amparo Rule, the
has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity; Court can provide remedies and protect the constitutional rights to life, liberty
and security that underlie every enforced disappearance.
(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right
thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative Evidentiary Difficulties Posed by the Unique Nature of an Enforced
authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal Disappearance
system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;
Before going into the issue of whether the respondent has discharged the
(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when burden of proving the allegations of the petition for the Writ of Amparo by the
granted. [Emphasis supplied] degree of proof required by the Amparo Rule, we shall discuss briefly the
unique evidentiary difficulties presented by enforced disappearance cases;
In General Comment No. 31, the UN Human Rights Committee opined that the these difficulties form part of the setting that the implementation of the Amparo
right to an effective remedy under Article 2 of the ICCPR includes the Rule shall encounter.
obligation of the State to investigate ICCPR violations promptly, thoroughly,
and effectively, viz:137 These difficulties largely arise because the State itself – the party whose
involvement is alleged – investigates enforced disappearances. Past
15. Article 2, paragraph 3, requires that in addition to effective protection of experiences in other jurisdictions show that the evidentiary difficulties are
Covenant rights, States Parties must ensure that individuals also have generally threefold.
accessible and effective remedies to vindicate those rights… The Committee
attaches importance to States Parties' establishing appropriate judicial and First, there may be a deliberate concealment of the identities of the direct
administrative mechanisms for addressing claims of rights violations under perpetrators.141 Experts note that abductors are well organized, armed and
domestic law… Administrative mechanisms are particularly required to give usually members of the military or police forces, thus:
effect to the general obligation to investigate allegations of violations promptly,
thoroughly and effectively through independent and impartial bodies. A failure The victim is generally arrested by the security forces or by persons acting
by a State Party to investigate allegations of violations could in and of itself under some form of governmental authority. In many countries the units that
give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant. Cessation of an ongoing plan, implement and execute the program are generally specialized, highly-
violation is an essential element of the right to an effective remedy. [Emphasis secret bodies within the armed or security forces. They are generally directed
supplied] through a separate, clandestine chain of command, but they have the
necessary credentials to avoid or prevent any interference by the "legal" police
The UN Human Rights Committee further stated in the same General forces. These authorities take their victims to secret detention centers where
Comment No. 31 that failure to investigate as well as failure to bring to justice they subject them to interrogation and torture without fear of judicial or other
the perpetrators of ICCPR violations could in and of itself give rise to a controls.142
separate breach of the Covenant, thus:138
In addition, there are usually no witnesses to the crime; if there are, these
18. Where the investigations referred to in paragraph 15 reveal violations of witnesses are usually afraid to speak out publicly or to testify on the
certain Covenant rights, States Parties must ensure that those responsible are disappearance out of fear for their own lives.143 We have had occasion to
brought to justice. As with failure to investigate, failure to bring to justice note this difficulty in Secretary of Defense v. Manalo144 when we
perpetrators of such violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate acknowledged that "where powerful military officers are implicated, the
Page 66 of 101
hesitation of witnesses to surface and testify against them comes as no flexibility in administrative procedure does not go so far as to justify orders
surprise." without a basis in evidence having rational probative force. [Emphasis
supplied]
Second, deliberate concealment of pertinent evidence of the disappearance is
a distinct possibility; the central piece of evidence in an enforced In Secretary of Defense v. Manalo,152 which was the Court‘s first petition for a
disappearance – i.e., the corpus delicti or the victim‘s body – is usually Writ of Amparo, we recognized that the full and exhaustive proceedings that
concealed to effectively thwart the start of any investigation or the progress of the substantial evidence standard regularly requires do not need to apply due
one that may have begun.145 The problem for the victim‘s family is the State‘s to the summary nature of Amparo proceedings. We said:
virtual monopoly of access to pertinent evidence. The Inter-American Court of
Human Rights (IACHR) observed in the landmark case of Velasquez The remedy [of the writ of amparo] provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes
Rodriguez146 that inherent to the practice of enforced disappearance is the of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make the
deliberate use of the State‘s power to destroy the pertinent evidence. The appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner; it is not an action to determine
IACHR described the concealment as a clear attempt by the State to commit criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages
the perfect crime.147 requiring preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring
substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.
Third is the element of denial; in many cases, the State authorities deliberately [Emphasis supplied]
deny that the enforced disappearance ever occurred.148 "Deniability" is
central to the policy of enforced disappearances, as the absence of any Not to be forgotten in considering the evidentiary aspects of Amparo petitions
proven disappearance makes it easier to escape the application of legal are the unique difficulties presented by the nature of enforced disappearances,
standards ensuring the victim‘s human rights.149 Experience shows that heretofore discussed, which difficulties this Court must frontally meet if the
government officials typically respond to requests for information about Amparo Rule is to be given a chance to achieve its objectives. These
desaparecidos by saying that they are not aware of any disappearance, that evidentiary difficulties compel the Court to adopt standards appropriate and
the missing people may have fled the country, or that their names have merely responsive to the circumstances, without transgressing the due process
been invented.150 requirements that underlie every proceeding.

These considerations are alive in our minds, as these are the difficulties we In the seminal case of Velasquez Rodriguez,153 the IACHR – faced with a
confront, in one form or another, in our consideration of this case. lack of direct evidence that the government of Honduras was involved in
Velasquez Rodriguez‘ disappearance – adopted a relaxed and informal
Evidence and Burden of Proof in Enforced Disappearances Cases evidentiary standard, and established the rule that presumes governmental
responsibility for a disappearance if it can be proven that the government
Sections 13, 17 and 18 of the Amparo Rule define the nature of an Amparo carries out a general practice of enforced disappearances and the specific
proceeding and the degree and burden of proof the parties to the case carry, case can be linked to that practice.154 The IACHR took note of the realistic
as follows: fact that enforced disappearances could be proven only through circumstantial
Section 13. Summary Hearing. The hearing on the petition shall be summary. or indirect evidence or by logical inference; otherwise, it was impossible to
However, the court, justice or judge may call for a preliminary conference to prove that an individual had been made to disappear. It held:
simplify the issues and determine the possibility of obtaining stipulations and 130. The practice of international and domestic courts shows that direct
admissions from the parties. evidence, whether testimonial or documentary, is not the only type of evidence
that may be legitimately considered in reaching a decision. Circumstantial
xxxx evidence, indicia, and presumptions may be considered, so long as they lead
to conclusions consistent with the facts.
Section 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. – The parties
shall establish their claims by substantial evidence. 131. Circumstantial or presumptive evidence is especially important in
allegations of disappearances, because this type of repression is
The respondent who is a private individual must prove that ordinary diligence characterized by an attempt to suppress all information about the kidnapping
as required by applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the or the whereabouts and fate of the victim. [Emphasis supplied]
performance of duty.
In concluding that the disappearance of Manfredo Velásquez (Manfredo) was
The respondent who is a public official or employee must prove that carried out by agents who acted under cover of public authority, the IACHR
extraordinary diligence as required by applicable laws, rules and regulations relied on circumstantial evidence including the hearsay testimony of Zenaida
was observed in the performance of duty. Velásquez, the victim‘s sister, who described Manfredo‘s kidnapping on the
basis of conversations she had with witnesses who saw Manfredo kidnapped
The respondent public official or employee cannot invoke the presumption that by men in civilian clothes in broad daylight. She also told the Court that a
official duty has been regularly performed or evade responsibility or liability. former Honduran military official had announced that Manfredo was kidnapped
by a special military squadron acting under orders of the Chief of the Armed
Section 18. Judgment. – … If the allegations in the petition are proven by Forces.155 The IACHR likewise considered the hearsay testimony of a
substantial evidence, the court shall grant the privilege of the writ and such second witness who asserted that he had been told by a Honduran military
reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be officer about the disappearance, and a third witness who testified that he had
denied. [Emphasis supplied] spoken in prison to a man who identified himself as Manfredo.156

These characteristics – namely, of being summary and the use of substantial Velasquez stresses the lesson that flexibility is necessary under the unique
evidence as the required level of proof (in contrast to the usual preponderance circumstances that enforced disappearance cases pose to the courts; to have
of evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt in court proceedings) – reveal an effective remedy, the standard of evidence must be responsive to the
the clear intent of the framers of the Amparo Rule to have the equivalent of an evidentiary difficulties faced. On the one hand, we cannot be arbitrary in the
administrative proceeding, albeit judicially conducted, in addressing Amparo admission and appreciation of evidence, as arbitrariness entails violation of
situations. The standard of diligence required – the duty of public officials and rights and cannot be used as an effective counter-measure; we only
employees to observe extraordinary diligence – point, too, to the extraordinary compound the problem if a wrong is addressed by the commission of another
measures expected in the protection of constitutional rights and in the wrong. On the other hand, we cannot be very strict in our evidentiary rules and
consequent handling and investigation of extra-judicial killings and enforced cannot consider evidence the way we do in the usual criminal and civil cases;
disappearance cases. precisely, the proceedings before us are administrative in nature where, as a
rule, technical rules of evidence are not strictly observed. Thus, while we must
Thus, in these proceedings, the Amparo petitioner needs only to properly follow the substantial evidence rule, we must observe flexibility in considering
comply with the substance and form requirements of a Writ of Amparo petition, the evidence we shall take into account.
as discussed above, and prove the allegations by substantial evidence. Once
a rebuttable case has been proven, the respondents must then respond and The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces of evidence
prove their defenses based on the standard of diligence required. The adduced in their totality, and to consider any evidence otherwise inadmissible
rebuttable case, of course, must show that an enforced disappearance took under our usual rules to be admissible if it is consistent with the admissible
place under circumstances showing a violation of the victim‘s constitutional evidence adduced. In other words, we reduce our rules to the most basic test
rights to life, liberty or security, and the failure on the part of the investigating of reason – i.e., to the relevance of the evidence to the issue at hand and its
authorities to appropriately respond. consistency with all other pieces of adduced evidence. Thus, even hearsay
evidence can be admitted if it satisfies this basic minimum test.
The landmark case of Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations151 provided
the Court its first opportunity to define the substantial evidence required to We note in this regard that the use of flexibility in the consideration of evidence
arrive at a valid decision in administrative proceedings. To directly quote Ang is not at all novel in the Philippine legal system. In child abuse cases, Section
Tibay: 28 of the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness157 is expressly recognized
as an exception to the hearsay rule. This Rule allows the admission of the
Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant hearsay testimony of a child describing any act or attempted act of sexual
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a abuse in any criminal or non-criminal proceeding, subject to certain
conclusion. [citations omitted] The statute provides that ‗the rules of evidence prerequisites and the right of cross-examination by the adverse party. The
prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling.‘ The obvious admission of the statement is determined by the court in light of specified
purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative boards from the subjective and objective considerations that provide sufficient indicia of
compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which reliability of the child witness.158 These requisites for admission find their
would be deemed incompetent in judicial proceedings would not invalidate the counterpart in the present case under the above-described conditions for the
administrative order. [citations omitted] But this assurance of a desirable
Page 67 of 101
exercise of flexibility in the consideration of evidence, including hearsay
evidence, in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance cases. Q: And you mentioned that he showed you a report?

Assessment of the Evidence A: Yes, ma‘am.

The threshold question for our resolution is: was there an enforced Q: Were you able to read the contents of that report?
disappearance within the meaning of this term under the UN Declaration we
have cited? A: He did not furnish me a copy of those [sic] report because those [sic] were
highly confidential. That is a military report, ma‘am.
The Convention defines enforced disappearance as "the arrest, detention,
abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or Q: But you were able to read the contents?
by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the A: No. But he read it in front of us, my friends, ma‘am.
deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the
disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the Q: How many were you when you went to see Col. Kasim?
law."159 Under this definition, the elements that constitute enforced
disappearance are essentially fourfold:160 A: There were three of us, ma‘am.

(a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty; Q: Who were your companions?

(b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups of persons acting A: Mrs. Talbin, tapos yung dalawang friends nya from Mati City, Davao
with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State; Oriental, ma‘am.162

(c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or a concealment of xxxx


the fate of the disappeared person; and
Q: When you were told that your husband is in good hands, what was your
(d) placement of the disappeared person outside the protection of the law. reaction and what did you do?
[Emphasis supplied]
A: May binasa kasi sya that my husband has a parang meeting with other
We find no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually disappeared. The people na parang mga terorista na mga tao. Tapos at the end of the report is
direct evidence at hand only shows that Tagitis went out of the ASY Pension [sic] under custodial investigation. So I told him "Colonel, my husband is sick.
House after depositing his room key with the hotel desk and was never seen He is diabetic at nagmemaintain yun ng gamot. Pakisabi lang sa naghohold sa
nor heard of again. The undisputed conclusion, however, from all concerned – asawa ko na bigyan siya ng gamot, ma‘am."163
the petitioner, Tagitis‘ colleagues and even the police authorities – is that
Tagistis disappeared under mysterious circumstances and was never seen xxxx
again. The respondent injected the causal element in her petition and Q: You mentioned that you received information that Engineer Tagitis is being
testimony, as we shall discuss below. held by the CIDG in Zamboanga, did you go to CIDG Zamboanga to verify that
information?
We likewise find no direct evidence showing that operatives of PNP CIDG
Zamboanga abducted or arrested Tagitis. If at all, only the respondent‘s A: I did not go to CIDG Zamboanga. I went to Camp Karingal instead. Enough
allegation that Tagistis was under CIDG Zamboanga custody stands on na yun na effort ko because I know that they would deny it, ma‘am.164
record, but it is not supported by any other evidence, direct or circumstantial.
On February 11, 2008, the respondent presented Mrs. Talbin to corroborate
In her direct testimony, the respondent pointed to two sources of information her testimony that her husband was abducted and held under custodial
as her bases for her allegation that Tagistis had been placed under investigation by the PNP-CIDG Zamboanga City, viz:
government custody (in contrast with CIDG Zamboanga custody). The first
was an unnamed friend in Zamboanga (later identified as Col. Ancanan), who Q: You said that you went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City sometime
occupied a high position in the military and who allegedly mentioned that November 24, 2007, who was with you when you went there?
Tagitis was in good hands. Nothing came out of this claim, as both the
respondent herself and her witness, Mrs. Talbin, failed to establish that Col. A: Mary Jean Tagitis, sir.
Ancanan gave them any information that Tagitis was in government custody.
Col. Ancanan, for his part, admitted the meeting with the respondent but Q: Only the two of you?
denied giving her any information about the disappearance.
A: No. We have some other companions. We were four at that time, sir.
The more specific and productive source of information was Col. Kasim, whom
the respondent, together with her witness Mrs. Talbin, met in Camp Katitipan Q: Who were they?
in Davao City. To quote the relevant portions of the respondent‘s testimony:
A: Salvacion Serrano, Mini Leong, Mrs. Tagitis and me, sir.
Q: Were you able to speak to other military officials regarding the whereabouts
of your husband particularly those in charge of any records or investigation? Q: Were you able to talk, see some other officials at Camp Katitipan during
that time?
A: I went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City. Then one military officer, Col.
Casim, told me that my husband is being abducted [sic] because he is under A: Col. Kasim (PS Supt. Julasirim Ahadin Kasim) only, sir.
custodial investigation because he is allegedly "parang liason ng J.I.", sir.
Q: Were you able to talk to him?
Q: What is J.I.?
A: Yes, sir.
A: Jema‘ah Islamiah, sir.
Q: The four of you?
Q: Was there any information that was read to you during one of those visits of
yours in that Camp? A: Yes, sir.

A: Col. Casim did not furnish me a copy of his report because he said those Q: What information did you get from Col. Kasim during that time?
reports are highly confidential, sir.
A: The first time we met with [him] I asked him if he knew of the exact location,
Q: Was it read to you then even though you were not furnished a copy? if he can furnish us the location of Engr. Tagitis. And he was reading this
report. He told us that Engr. Tagitis is in good hands. He is with the military,
A: Yes, sir. In front of us, my friends. but he is not certain whether he is with the AFP or PNP. He has this serious
case. He was charged of terrorism because he was under surveillance from
Q: And what was the content of that highly confidential report? January 2007 up to the time that he was abducted. He told us that he was
under custodial investigation. As I‘ve said earlier, he was seen under
A: Those alleged activities of Engineer Tagitis, sir.161 [Emphasis supplied] surveillance from January. He was seen talking to Omar Patik, a certain
Santos of Bulacan who is also a Balik Islam and charged with terrorism. He
She confirmed this testimony in her cross-examination: was seen carrying boxes of medicines. Then we asked him how long will he
be in custodial investigation. He said until we can get some information. But he
Q: You also mentioned that you went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City? also told us that he cannot give us that report because it was a raw report. It
was not official, sir.
A: Yes, ma‘am.
Q: You said that he was reading a report, was that report in document form, in
Q: And a certain Col. Kasim told you that your husband was abducted and a piece of paper or was it in the computer or what?
under custodial investigation?

A: Yes, ma‘am.
Page 68 of 101
A: As far as I can see it, sir, it is written in white bond paper. I don‘t know if it unavoidably present in Amparo situations, particularly in extrajudicial killings
was computerized but I‘m certain that it was typewritten. I‘m not sure if it used and enforced disappearances. The Amparo Rule was not promulgated with
computer, fax or what, sir. this intent or with the intent to make it a token gesture of concern for
constitutional rights. It was promulgated to provide effective and timely
Q: When he was reading it to you, was he reading it line by line or he was remedies, using and profiting from local and international experiences in
reading in a summary form? extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as the situation may
require. Consequently, we have no choice but to meet the evidentiary
A: Sometimes he was glancing to the report and talking to us, sir.165 difficulties inherent in enforced disappearances with the flexibility that these
difficulties demand.1avvphi1
xxxx
To give full meaning to our Constitution and the rights it protects, we hold that,
Q: Were you informed as to the place where he was being kept during that as in Velasquez, we should at least take a close look at the available evidence
time? to determine the correct import of every piece of evidence – even of those
usually considered inadmissible under the general rules of evidence – taking
A: He did not tell us where he [Tagitis] was being kept. But he mentioned this into account the surrounding circumstances and the test of reason that we can
Talipapao, Sulu, sir. use as basic minimum admissibility requirement. In the present case, we
should at least determine whether the Kasim evidence before us is relevant
Q: After that incident, what did you do if any? and meaningful to the disappearance of Tagistis and reasonably consistent
with other evidence in the case.
A: We just left and as I‘ve mentioned, we just waited because that raw
information that he was reading to us [sic] after the custodial investigation, The evidence about Tagitis‘ personal circumstances surrounded him with an
Engineer Tagitis will be released. [Emphasis supplied]166 air of mystery. He was reputedly a consultant of the World Bank and a Senior
Honorary Counselor for the IDB who attended a seminar in Zamboanga and
Col. Kasim never denied that he met with the respondent and her friends, and thereafter proceded to Jolo for an overnight stay, indicated by his request to
that he provided them information based on the input of an unnamed asset. Kunnong for the purchase of a return ticket to Zamboanga the day after he
He simply claimed in his testimony that the "informal letter" he received from arrived in Jolo. Nothing in the records indicates the purpose of his overnight
his informant in Sulu did not indicate that Tagitis was in the custody of the sojourn in Jolo. A colleague in the IDB, Prof. Matli, early on informed the Jolo
CIDG. He also stressed that the information he provided the respondent was police that Tagitis may have taken funds given to him in trust for IDB scholars.
merely a "raw report" from "barangay intelligence" that still needed Prof Matli later on stated that he never accused Tagitis of taking away money
confirmation and "follow up" as to its veracity.167 held in trust, although he confirmed that the IDB was seeking assistance in
locating funds of IDB scholars deposited in Tagitis‘ personal account. Other
To be sure, the respondent‘s and Mrs. Talbin‘s testimonies were far from than these pieces of evidence, no other information exists in the records
perfect, as the petitioners pointed out. The respondent mistakenly relating to the personal circumstances of Tagitis.
characterized Col. Kasim as a "military officer" who told her that "her husband
is being abducted because he is under custodial investigation because he is The actual disappearance of Tagitis is as murky as his personal
allegedly ‗parang liason ng J.I.‘" The petitioners also noted that "Mrs. Talbin‘s circumstances. While the Amparo petition recited that he was taken away by
testimony imputing certain statements to Sr. Supt. Kasim that Engr. Tagitis is "burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives," no evidence
with the military, but he is not certain whether it is the PNP or AFP is not whatsoever was introduced to support this allegation. Thus, the available
worthy of belief, since Sr. Supt. Kasim is a high ranking police officer who direct evidence is that Tagitis was last seen at 12.30 p.m. of October 30, 2007
would certainly know that the PNP is not part of the military." – the day he arrived in Jolo – and was never seen again.

Upon deeper consideration of these inconsistencies, however, what appears The Kasim evidence assumes critical materiality given the dearth of direct
clear to us is that the petitioners never really steadfastly disputed or presented evidence on the above aspects of the case, as it supplies the gaps that were
evidence to refute the credibility of the respondent and her witness, Mrs. never looked into and clarified by police investigation. It is the evidence, too,
Talbin. The inconsistencies the petitioners point out relate, more than anything that colors a simple missing person report into an enforced disappearance
else, to details that should not affect the credibility of the respondent and Mrs. case, as it injects the element of participation by agents of the State and thus
Talbin; the inconsistencies are not on material points.168 We note, for brings into question how the State reacted to the disappearance.
example, that these witnesses are lay people in so far as military and police
matters are concerned, and confusion between the police and the military is Denials on the part of the police authorities, and frustration on the part of the
not unusual. As a rule, minor inconsistencies such as these indicate respondent, characterize the attempts to locate Tagitis. Initially in Jolo, the
truthfulness rather than prevarication169and only tend to strengthen their police informed Kunnong that Tagitis could have been taken by the Abu
probative value, in contrast to testimonies from various witnesses dovetailing Sayyaf or other groups fighting the government. No evidence was ever offered
on every detail; the latter cannot but generate suspicion that the material on whether there was active Jolo police investigation and how and why the
circumstances they testified to were integral parts of a well thought of and Jolo police arrived at this conclusion. The respondent‘s own inquiry in Jolo
prefabricated story.170 yielded the answer that he was not missing but was with another woman
somewhere. Again, no evidence exists that this explanation was arrived at
Based on these considerations and the unique evidentiary situation in based on an investigation. As already related above, the inquiry with Col.
enforced disappearance cases, we hold it duly established that Col. Kasim Ancanan in Zamboanga yielded ambivalent results not useful for evidentiary
informed the respondent and her friends, based on the informant‘s letter, that purposes. Thus, it was only the inquiry from Col. Kasim that yielded positive
Tagitis, reputedly a liaison for the JI and who had been under surveillance results. Col. Kasim‘s story, however, confirmed only the fact of his custodial
since January 2007, was "in good hands" and under custodial investigation for investigation (and, impliedly, his arrest or abduction), without identifying his
complicity with the JI after he was seen talking to one Omar Patik and a abductor/s or the party holding him in custody. The more significant part of
certain "Santos" of Bulacan, a "Balik Islam" charged with terrorism. The Col. Kasim‘s story is that the abduction came after Tagitis was seen talking
respondent‘s and Mrs. Talbin‘s testimonies cannot simply be defeated by Col. with Omar Patik and a certain Santos of Bulacan, a "Balik Islam" charged with
Kasim‘s plain denial and his claim that he had destroyed his informant‘s letter, terrorism. Mrs. Talbin mentioned, too, that Tagitis was being held at Talipapao,
the critical piece of evidence that supports or negates the parties‘ conflicting Sulu. None of the police agencies participating in the investigation ever
claims. Col. Kasim‘s admitted destruction of this letter – effectively, a pursued these leads. Notably, Task Force Tagitis to which this information was
suppression of this evidence – raises the presumption that the letter, if relayed did not appear to have lifted a finger to pursue these aspects of the
produced, would be proof of what the responde