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WRIT OF AMPARO/HABEAS DATA

This case was originally a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order

(TRO)[2] filed before this Court by herein respondents (therein petitioners) on August 23, 2007 to
THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, G.R. No. 180906 stop herein petitioners (therein respondents) and/or their officers and agents from depriving
THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF
THE PHILIPPINES, Present: them of their right to liberty and other basic rights.Therein petitioners also sought ancillary
Petitioners, remedies, Protective Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access
PUNO, C.J.,
QUISUMBING, Orders, and all other legal and equitable reliefs under Article VIII, Section 5(5) [3] of the 1987
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
CARPIO, Constitution and Rule 135, Section 6 of the Rules of Court. In our Resolution dated August 24,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, 2007, we (1) ordered the Secretary of the Department of National Defense and the Chief of
CORONA,
- versus - CARPIO MORALES, Staff of the AFP, their agents, representatives, or persons acting in their stead, including but not
AZCUNA,
limited to the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to submit their Comment; and
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO, (2) enjoined them from causing the arrest of therein petitioners, or otherwise restricting,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, curtailing, abridging, or depriving them of their right to life, liberty, and other basic rights as
REYES,
guaranteed under Article III, Section 1 [4] of the 1987 Constitution.[5]
RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, and
MANALO, BRION, JJ.
Respondents. While the August 23, 2007 Petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect
Promulgated:
October 7, 2008 on October 24, 2007. Forthwith, therein petitioners filed a Manifestation and Omnibus Motion
x- - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x to Treat Existing Petition as Amparo Petition, to Admit Supporting Affidavits, and to Grant Interim
DECISION and Final Amparo Reliefs. They prayed that: (1) the petition be considered a Petition for the

Writ of Amparo under Sec. 26[6] of the Amparo Rule; (2) the Court issue the writ commanding
PUNO, C.J.:
therein respondents to make a verified return within the period provided by law and containing

the specific matter required by law; (3) they be granted the interim reliefs allowed by
While victims of enforced disappearances are separated from the rest of the world behind
the AmparoRule and all other reliefs prayed for in the petition but not covered by
secret walls, they are not separated from the constitutional protection of their basic rights. The
the Amparo Rule; (4) the Court, after hearing, render judgment as required in Sec. 18[7] of
constitution is an overarching sky that covers all in its protection. The case at bar involves the
the Amparo Rule; and (5) all other just and equitable reliefs.[8]
rights to life, liberty and security in the first petition for a writ of amparo filed before this Court.

This is an appeal via Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section On October 25, 2007, the Court resolved to treat the August 23, 2007 Petition as a petition under
19[1] of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, seeking to reverse and set aside on both questions of the AmparoRule and further resolved, viz:
fact and law, the Decision promulgated by the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. AMPARO No. WHEREFORE, let a WRIT OF AMPARO be issued to respondents requiring them to file with
the CA (Court of Appeals) a verified written return within five (5) working days from
00001, entitled Raymond Manalo and Reynaldo Manalo, petitioners, versus The Secretary of service of the writ. We REMAND the petition to the CA and designate the Division of
National Defense, the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, respondents. Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin to conduct the summary hearing on the petition
on November 8, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and decide the petition in accordance with the Rule
on the Writ of Amparo.[9]
On December 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in favor of therein house, and forced to the ground face down. He was kicked on the hip, ordered to stand and

petitioners (herein respondents), the dispositive portion of which reads, viz: face up to the light, then forcibly brought near the road. He told his mother to follow him, but
ACCORDINGLY, the PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF AMPARO is GRANTED. three soldiers stopped her and told her to stay.[12]

The respondents SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and AFP CHIEF OF STAFF are hereby
REQUIRED: Among the men who came to take him, Raymond recognized brothers Michael de la Cruz,

Madning de la Cruz, Puti de la Cruz, and Pula de la Cruz, who all acted as lookout. They were
1. To furnish to the petitioners and to this Court within five days from notice of this decision
all official and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken in connection with their all members of the CAFGU and residing in Manuzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. He also
case, except those already on file herein;
recognized brothers Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also members of the CAFGU. While
2. To confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt Hilario aka Rollie he was being forcibly taken, he also saw outside of his house two barangaycouncilors, Pablo
Castillo and Donald Caigas within five days from notice of this decision.
Cunanan and Bernardo Lingasa, with some soldiers and armed men.[13]
3. To cause to be produced to this Court all medical reports, records and charts, reports
of any treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if any, to the The men forced Raymond into a white L300 van. Once inside, he was blindfolded. Before being
petitioners, to include a list of medical and (sic) personnel (military and civilian) who
attended to them from February 14, 2006 until August 12, 2007 within five days from blindfolded, he saw the faces of the soldiers who took him. Later, in his 18 months of captivity,
notice of this decision.
he learned their names. The one who drove the van was Rizal Hilario alias Rollie Castillo, whom
The compliance with this decision shall be made under the signature and oath of he estimated was about 40 years of age or older.The leader of the team who entered his house
respondent AFP Chief of Staff or his duly authorized deputy, the latters authority to be
express and made apparent on the face of the sworn compliance with this directive. 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-skinned and about 30 years old.[14]
SO ORDERED.[10]

Hence, this appeal. In resolving this appeal, we first unfurl the facts as alleged by The van drove off, then came to a stop. A person was brought inside the van and made to sit
herein respondents: beside Raymond.Both of them were beaten up. On the road, he recognized the voice of the

person beside him as his brother Reynaldos. The van stopped several times until they finally
Respondent Raymond Manalo recounted that about one or two weeks before February 14,
arrived at a house. Raymond and Reynaldo were each brought to a different room. With the
2006, several uniformed and armed soldiers and members of the CAFGU summoned to a
doors of their rooms left open, Raymond saw several soldiers continuously hitting his brother
meeting all the residents of their barangay in San Idelfonso, Bulacan. Respondents were not
Reynaldo on the head and other parts of his body with the butt of their guns for about 15
able to attend as they were not informed of the gathering, but Raymond saw some of the
minutes. After which, Reynaldo was brought to his (Raymonds) room and it was his (Raymonds)
soldiers when he passed by the barangay hall.[11]
turn to be beaten up in the other room. The soldiers asked him if he was a member of the New

On February 14, 2006, Raymond was sleeping in their house in Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Peoples Army. Each time he said he was not, he was hit with the butt of their guns. He was

Bulacan. At past noon, several armed soldiers wearing white shirts, fatigue pants and army questioned where his comrades were, how many soldiers he had killed, and how many NPA

boots, entered their house and roused him. They asked him if he was Bestre, but his mother, members he had helped. Each time he answered none, they hit him.[15]

Ester Manalo, replied that he was Raymond, not Bestre. The armed soldier slapped him on both
In the next days, Raymonds interrogators appeared to be high officials as the soldiers who beat
cheeks and nudged him in the stomach. He was then handcuffed, brought to the rear of his
him up would salute them, call them sir, and treat them with respect. He was in blindfolds when
interrogated by the high officials, but he saw their faces when they arrived and before the For some weeks, the respondents had a respite from all the torture. Their wounds were

blindfold was put on. He noticed that the uniform of the high officials was different from those treated. When the wounds were almost healed, the torture resumed, particularly when

of the other soldiers. One of those officials was tall and thin, wore white pants, tie, and leather respondents guards got drunk.[21]

shoes, instead of combat boots. He spoke in Tagalog and knew much about his parents and
Raymond recalled that sometime in April until May 2006, he was detained in a room enclosed
family, and a habeas corpus case filed in connection with the respondents
by steel bars. He stayed all the time in that small room measuring 1 x 2 meters, and did
abduction.[16] While these officials interrogated him, Raymond was not manhandled. But once
everything there, including urinating, removing his bowels, bathing, eating and sleeping. He
they had left, the soldier guards beat him up. When the guards got drunk, they also
counted that eighteen people[22] had been detained in that bartolina, including his brother
manhandled respondents. During this time, Raymond was fed only at night, usually with left-
Reynaldo and himself.[23]
over and rotten food.[17]

For about three and a half months, the respondents were detained in Fort Magsaysay. They
On the third week of respondents detention, two men arrived while Raymond was sleeping
were kept in a small house with two rooms and a kitchen. One room was made into
and beat him up. They doused him with urine and hot water, hit his stomach with a piece of
the bartolina. The house was near the firing range, helipad and mango trees. At dawn, soldiers
wood, slapped his forehead twice with a .45 pistol, punched him on the mouth, and burnt
marched by their house. They were also sometimes detained in what he only knew as the
some parts of his body with a burning wood. When he could no longer endure the torture and
DTU.[24]
could hardly breathe, they stopped. They then subjected Reynaldo to the same ordeal in

another room. Before their torturers left, they warned Raymond that they would come back
At the DTU, a male doctor came to examine respondents. He checked their body and eyes,
the next day and kill him.[18]
took their urine samples and marked them. When asked how they were feeling, they replied

that they had a hard time urinating, their stomachs were aching, and they felt other pains in
The following night, Raymond attempted to escape. He waited for the guards to get drunk,
their body. The next day, two ladies in white arrived.They also examined respondents and gave
then made noise with the chains put on him to see if they were still awake. When none of them
them medicines, including orasol, amoxicillin and mefenamic acid.They brought with them the
came to check on him, he managed to free his hand from the chains and jumped through the
results of respondents urine test and advised them to drink plenty of water and take their
window. He passed through a helipad and firing range and stopped near a fishpond where
medicine. The two ladies returned a few more times. Thereafter, medicines were sent through
he used stones to break his chains. After walking through a forested area, he came near a river
the master of the DTU, Master Del Rosario alias Carinyoso at Puti. Respondents were kept in the
and an Iglesia ni Kristo church. He talked to some women who were doing the laundry, asked
DTU for about two weeks.While there, he met a soldier named Efren who said that Gen.
where he was and the road to Gapan. He was told that he was in Fort Magsaysay.[19] He
Palparan ordered him to monitor and take care of them.[25]
reached the highway, but some soldiers spotted him, forcing him to run away. The soldiers

chased him and caught up with him. They brought him to another place near the entrance of
One day, Rizal Hilario fetched respondents in a Revo vehicle. They, along with Efren and several
what he saw was Fort Magsaysay. He was boxed repeatedly, kicked, and hit with chains until
other armed men wearing fatigue suits, went to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso,
his back bled. They poured gasoline on him. Then a so-called Mam or Madam suddenly called,
Bulacan. Respondents were detained for one or two weeks in a big two-storey house. Hilario
saying that she wanted to see Raymond before he was killed. The soldiers ceased the torture
and Efren stayed with them. While there, Raymond was beaten up by Hilarios men.[26]
and he was returned inside Fort Magsaysay where Reynaldo was detained.[20]
From Pinaud, Hilario and Efren brought respondents to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on board vehicle. Raymond stood outside the vehicle as Gen. Palparan told him to gain back his

the Revo. They were detained in a big unfinished house inside the compound of Kapitan for strength and be healthy and to take the medicine he left for him and Reynaldo. He said the

about three months. When they arrived in Sapang, Gen. Palparan talked to them. They were medicine was expensive at Php35.00 each, and would make them strong. He also said that

brought out of the house to a basketball court in the center of the compound and made to they should prove that they are on the side of the military and warned that they would not be

sit. Gen. Palparan was already waiting, seated. He was about two arms length away from given another chance.[31] During his testimony, Raymond identified Gen. Palparan by his

respondents. He began by asking if respondents felt well already, to which Raymond replied picture.[32]

in the affirmative. He asked Raymond if he knew him. Raymond lied that he did not. He then
One of the soldiers named Arman made Raymond take the medicine left by Gen.
asked Raymond if he would be scared if he were made to face Gen. Palparan. Raymond
Palparan. The medicine, named Alive, was green and yellow. Raymond and Reynaldo were
responded that he would not be because he did not believe that Gen. Palparan was an evil
each given a box of this medicine and instructed to take one capsule a day. Arman checked
man.[27]
if they were getting their dose of the medicine. The Alive made them sleep each time they

Raymond narrated his conversation with Gen. Palparan in his affidavit, viz: took it, and they felt heavy upon waking up.[33]
Tinanong ako ni Gen. Palparan, Ngayon na kaharap mo na ako, di ka ba natatakot
sa akin? After a few days, Hilario arrived again. He took Reynaldo and left Raymond at Sapang. Arman

Sumagot akong, Siyempre po, natatakot din instructed Raymond that while in Sapang, he should introduce himself as Oscar, a military

trainee from Sariaya, Quezon, assigned in Bulacan. While there, he saw again Ganata, one of
Sabi ni Gen. Palparan: Sige, bibigyan ko kayo ng isang pagkakataon na mabuhay,
bastat sundin nyo ang lahat ng sasabihin ko sabihin mo sa magulang mo huwag the men who abducted him from his house, and got acquainted with other military men and
pumunta sa mga rali, sa hearing, sa Karapatan at sa Human Right dahil niloloko lang
civilians.[34]
kayo. Sabihin sa magulang at lahat sa bahay na huwag paloko doon. Tulungan kami
na kausapin si Bestre na sumuko na sa gobyerno.[28]

Respondents agreed to do as Gen. Palparan told them as they felt they could not do After about three months in Sapang, Raymond was brought to Camp Tecson under the

otherwise. At about 3:00 in the morning, Hilario, Efren and the formers men - the same group 24th Infantry Battalion. He was fetched by three unidentified men in a big white vehicle. Efren

that abducted them - brought them to their parents house. Raymond was shown to his parents went with them. Raymond was then blindfolded. After a 30-minute ride, his blindfold was

while Reynaldo stayed in the Revo because he still could not walk. In the presence of Hilario removed. Chains were put on him and he was kept in the barracks.[35]

and other soldiers, Raymond relayed to his parents what Gen. Palparan told him. As they were
The next day, Raymonds chains were removed and he was ordered to clean outside the
afraid, Raymonds parents acceded. Hilario threatened Raymonds parents that if they
barracks. It was then he learned that he was in a detachment of the Rangers. There were many
continued to join human rights rallies, they would never see their children again. The
soldiers, hundreds of them were training.He was also ordered to clean inside the barracks. In
respondents were then brought back to Sapang.[29]
one of the rooms therein, he met Sherlyn Cadapan from Laguna. She told him that she was a

When respondents arrived back in Sapang, Gen. Palparan was about to leave. He student of the University of the Philippines and was abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She

was talking with the four masters who were there: Arman, Ganata, Hilario and confided that she had been subjected to severe torture and raped. She was crying and

Cabalse.[30] When Gen. Palparan saw Raymond, he called for him. He was in a big white 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]


After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his arrival, two other arrived, only the old man of the house who was sick was there. They spared him and killed only

captives, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen and Manuel were put in the room his son right before Raymonds eyes.[41]

with Allan whose name they later came to know as Donald Caigas, called master or
From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were transferred to Zambales, in
commander by his men in the 24th Infantry Battalion. Raymond and Reynaldo were put in the
a safehouse near the sea. Caigas and some of his men stayed with them. A retired army soldier
adjoining room. At times, Raymond and Reynaldo were threatened, and Reynaldo was
was in charge of the house. Like in Limay, the five detainees were made to do errands and
beaten up. In the daytime, their chains were removed, but were put back on at night. They
chores. They stayed in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007 until June 2007.[42]
were threatened that if they escaped, their families would all be killed.[37]

In June 2007, Caigas brought the five back to the camp in Limay. Raymond, Reynaldo, and
On or about October 6, 2006, Hilario arrived in Camp Tecson. He told the detainees that they
Manuel were tasked to bring food to detainees brought to the camp. Raymond narrated what
should be thankful they were still alive and should continue along their renewed life. Before the
he witnessed and experienced in the camp, viz:
hearing of November 6 or 8, 2006, respondents were brought to their parents to instruct them
Isang gabi, sinabihan kami ni Donald (Caigas) na matulog na kami. Nakita ko si Donald
not to attend the hearing. However, their parents had already left for Manila. Respondents na inaayos ang kanyang baril, at nilagyan ng silenser. Sabi ni Donald na kung mayroon
were brought back to Camp Tecson. They stayed in that camp from September 2006 to man kaming makita o marinig, walang nangyari.Kinaumagahan, nakita naming ang
bangkay ng isa sa mga bihag na dinala sa kampo. Mayroong binuhos sa kanyang
November 2006, and Raymond was instructed to continue using the name Oscar and holding katawan at itoy sinunog. Masansang ang amoy.
himself out as a military trainee. He got acquainted with soldiers of the 24 th Infantry Battalion
Makaraan ang isang lingo, dalawang bangkay and ibinaba ng mga unipormadong
whose names and descriptions he stated in his affidavit.[38] sundalo mula sa 6 x 6 na trak at dinala sa loob ng kampo. May naiwang mga bakas
ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang mga bangkay. Naamoy ko iyon nang nililinis ang
bakas.
On November 22, 2006, respondents, along with Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel, were transferred

to a camp of the 24th Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. There were many huts in the Makalipas ang isa o dalawang lingo, may dinukot sila na dalawang Ita. Itinali sila sa
labas ng kubo, piniringan, ikinadena at labis na binugbog. Nakita kong nakatakas ang
camp. They stayed in that camp until May 8, 2007. Some soldiers of the battalion stayed with isa sa kanila at binaril siya ng sundalo ngunit hindi siya tinamaan. Iyong gabi nakita
kong pinatay nila iyong isang Ita malapit sa Post 3; sinilaban ang bangkay at ibinaon
them. While there, battalion soldiers whom Raymond knew as Mar and Billy beat him up and ito.
hit him in the stomach with their guns. Sherlyn and Karen also suffered enormous torture in the
Pagkalipas ng halos 1 buwan, 2 pang bangkay ang dinala sa kampo. Ibinaba ang
camp. They were all made to clean, cook, and help in raising livestock.[39] mga bangkay mula sa pick up trak, dinala ang mga bangkay sa labas ng
bakod. Kinaumagahan nakita kong mayroong sinilaban, at napakamasangsang ang
amoy.
Raymond recalled that when Operation Lubog was launched, Caigas and some other soldiers

brought him and Manuel with them to take and kill all sympathizers of the NPA. They were 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 na sila nakita.
brought to Barangay Bayan-bayanan, Bataan where he witnessed the killing of an old man
doing kaingin. The soldiers said he was killed because he had a son who was a member of the 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 suot pang-itaas,
NPA and he coddled NPA members in his house.[40] Another time, in another Operation Lubog, pinosasan. Nilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa istiryo ng sasakyan. Di
nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel. Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng
Raymond was brought to Barangay Orion in a house where NPA men stayed. When they
kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel.
Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 na
araw pagkalipas. Sinabi sa amin na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil blindfolded with his shirt. He also named the soldiers he got acquainted with in the 18 months
pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung papatayin kami o hindi. he was detained. When Raymond attempted to escape from FortMagsaysay, Reynaldo was

Tinanggal ang aming kadena. Kinausap kami ni Donald. Tinanong kami kung ano ang severely beaten up and told that they were indeed members of the NPA because Raymond
sabi ni Manuel sa amin. Sabi ni Donald huwag na raw naming hanapin ang dalawang
escaped. With a .45 caliber pistol, Reynaldo was hit on the back and punched in the face until
babae at si Manuel, dahil magkakasama na yung tatlo. Sabi pa ni Donald na kami ni
Reynaldo ay magbagong buhay at ituloy namin ni Reynaldo ang trabaho. Sa gabi, he could no longer bear the pain.
hindi na kami kinakadena.[43]

On or about June 13, 2007, Raymond and Reynaldo were brought to Pangasinan, At one point during their detention, when Raymond and Reynaldo were in Sapang, Reynaldo
ostensibly to raise poultry for Donald (Caigas). Caigas told respondents to also farm his land, in was separated from Raymond and brought to Pinaud by Rizal Hilario. He was kept in the house
exchange for which, he would take care of the food of their family. They were also told that of Kapitan, a friend of Hilario, in a mountainous area. He was instructed to use the name Rodel
they could farm a small plot adjoining his land and sell their produce. They were no longer put and to represent himself as a military trainee from Meycauayan, Bulacan. Sometimes, Hilario
in chains and were instructed to use the names Rommel (for Raymond) and Rod (for Reynaldo) brought along Reynaldo in his trips. One time, he was brought to a market in San Jose, del
and represent themselves as cousins from Rizal, Laguna.[44] Monte, Bulacan and made to wait in the vehicle while Hilario was buying. He was also brought

to Tondo, Manila where Hilario delivered boxes of Alive in different houses. In these trips, Hilario
Respondents started to plan their escape. They could see the highway from where they
drove a black and red vehicle. Reynaldo was blindfolded while still in Bulacan, but allowed to
stayed. They helped farm adjoining lands for which they were paid Php200.00 or Php400.00
remove the blindfold once outside the province. In one of their trips, they passed
and they saved their earnings. When they had saved Php1,000.00 each, Raymond asked a
by Fort Magsaysay and Camp Tecson where Reynaldo saw the sign board, Welcome
neighbor how he could get a cellular phone as he wanted to exchange text messages with a
to Camp Tecson.[46]
girl who lived nearby. A phone was pawned to him, but he kept it first and did not use it.They

earned some more until they had saved Php1,400.00 between them. Dr. Benito Molino, M.D., corroborated the accounts of respondents Raymond and Reynaldo

Manalo. Dr. Molino specialized in forensic medicine and was connected with the Medical
There were four houses in the compound. Raymond and Reynaldo were housed in one of them
Action Group, an organization handling cases of human rights violations, particularly cases
while their guards lived in the other three. Caigas entrusted respondents to Nonong, the head
where torture was involved. He was requested by an NGO to conduct medical examinations
of the guards. Respondents house did not have electricity. They used a lamp. There was no
on the respondents after their escape. He first asked them about their ordeal, then proceeded
television, but they had a radio. In the evening of August 13, 2007, Nonong and his cohorts had
with the physical examination. His findings showed that the scars borne by respondents were
a drinking session. At about 1:00 a.m., Raymond turned up the volume of the radio. When none
consistent with their account of physical injuries inflicted upon them. The examination was
of the guards awoke and took notice, Raymond and Reynaldo proceeded towards the
conducted on August 15, 2007, two days after respondents escape, and the results thereof
highway, leaving behind their sleeping guards and barking dogs. They boarded a bus bound
were reduced into writing. Dr. Molino took photographs of the scars. He testified that he
for Manila and were thus freed from captivity.[45]
followed the Istanbul Protocol in conducting the examination.[47]

Reynaldo also executed an affidavit affirming the contents of Raymonds affidavit insofar as

they related to matters they witnessed together. Reynaldo added that when they were taken

from their house on February 14, 2006, he saw the faces of his abductors before he was
(2) to recover and preserve evidence related to the death or disappearance of the person
Petitioners dispute respondents account of their alleged abduction and torture. In compliance identified in the petition which may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons
with the October 25, 2007 Resolution of the Court, they filed a Return of the Writ responsible;

of Amparo admitting the abduction but denying any involvement therein, viz: (3) to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning the death or
13. Petitioners Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo were not at any time arrested, forcibly disappearance;
abducted, detained, held incommunicado, disappeared or under the custody by the
military. This is a settled issue laid to rest in the habeas corpus case filed in their behalf (4) to determine the cause, manner, location and time of death or disappearance as well
by petitioners parents before the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 94431 against as any pattern or practice that may have brought about the death or disappearance;
M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, as head of the 24 th Infantry Battalion; Maj. Gen.
Jovito Palparan, as Commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Luzon; Lt. Gen. (5) to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in the death or
Hermogenes Esperon, in his capacity as the Commanding General of the Philippine disappearance; and
Army, and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), namely:
Michael dela Cruz, Puti dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Pula dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza (6) to bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.[49]
and Rudy Mendoza. The respondents therein submitted a return of the writ On July 4,
2006, the Court of Appeals dropped as party respondents Lt. Gen. Hermogenes C.
Esperon, Jr., then Commanding General of the Philippine Army, and on September 19, Therein respondent AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit, attached to
2006, Maj. (sic) Jovito S. Palparan, then Commanding General, 7 th Infantry Division,
Philippine Army, stationed at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, upon a the Return of the Writ, attesting that he received the above directive of therein respondent
finding that no evidence was introduced to establish their personal involvement in the
Secretary of National Defense and that acting on this directive, he did the following:
taking of the Manalo brothers. In a Decision dated June 27, 2007, it exonerated M/Sgt.
Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo for lack of evidence establishing his involvement in any 3.1. As currently designated Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), I have
capacity in the disappearance of the Manalo brothers, although it held that the caused to be issued directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the
remaining respondents were illegally detaining the Manalo brothers and ordered them circumstances of the alleged disappearance and the recent reappearance of the
to release the latter.[48] petitioners.

3.2. I have caused the immediate investigation and submission of the result thereof to
Attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of therein respondent (herein Higher headquarters and/or direct the immediate conduct of the investigation on the
petitioner) Secretary of National Defense, which attested that he assumed office only on matter by the concerned unit/s, dispatching Radio Message on November 05, 2007,
addressed to the Commanding General, Philippine Army (Info: COMNOLCOM, CG,
August 8, 2007 and was thus unaware of the Manalo brothers alleged abduction. He also 71D PA and CO 24 IB PA). A Copy of the Radio Message is attached as ANNEX 3 of this
Affidavit.
claimed that:
3.3. We undertake to provide result of the investigations conducted or to be
7. The Secretary of National Defense does not engage in actual military directional
conducted by the concerned unit relative to the circumstances of the alleged
operations, neither does he undertake command directions of the AFP units in the field,
disappearance of the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been sought for
nor in any way micromanage the AFP operations.The principal responsibility of the
as soon as the same has been furnished Higher headquarters.
Secretary of National Defense is focused in providing strategic policy direction to the
Department (bureaus and agencies) including the Armed Forces of the Philippines;
3.4. A parallel investigation has been directed to the same units relative to another
Petition for the Writ of Amparo (G.R. No. 179994) filed at the instance of relatives of a
8. In connection with the Writ of Amparo issued by the Honorable Supreme Court in this
certain Cadapan and Empeo pending before the Supreme Court.
case, I have directed the Chief of Staff, AFP to institute immediate action in
compliance with Section 9(d) of the Amparo Rule and to submit report of such
compliance Likewise, in a Memorandum Directive also dated October 31, 2007, I have 3.5. On the part of the Armed Forces, this respondent will exert earnest efforts to
issued a policy directive addressed to the Chief of Staff, AFP that the AFP should adopt establish the surrounding circumstances of the disappearances of the petitioners and
the following rules of action in the event the Writ of Amparo is issued by a competent to bring those responsible, including any military personnel if shown to have
court against any members of the AFP: participated or had complicity in the commission of the complained acts, to the bar
of justice, when warranted by the findings and the competent evidence that may be
gathered in the process.[50]
(1) to verify the identity of the aggrieved party;
Also attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of Lt. Col. Felipe Anontado, Mendoza. He was directed to determine: (1) the veracity of the abduction of Raymond and

INF (GSC) PA, earlier filed in G.R. No. 179994, another amparo case in this Court, involving Reynaldo Manalo by the alleged elements of the CAFGU auxiliaries; and (2) the administrative

Cadapan, Empeo and Merino, which averred among others, viz: liability of said auxiliaries, if any.[57] Jimenez testified that this particular investigation was

initiated not by a complaint as was the usual procedure, but because the Commanding
10) Upon reading the allegations in the Petition implicating the 24 th Infantry Batallion
detachment as detention area, I immediately went to the 24 th IB detachment in Limay, General saw news about the abduction of the Manalo brothers on the television, and he was
Bataan and found no untoward incidents in the area nor any detainees by the name
of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino being held captive; concerned about what was happening within his territorial jurisdiction.[58]

11) There was neither any reports of any death of Manuel Merino in the 24 th IB in
Jimenez summoned all six implicated persons for the purpose of having them execute sworn
Limay, Bataan;
statements and conducting an investigation on May 29, 2006.[59] The investigation started
12) After going to the 24th
IB in Limay, Bataan, we made further inquiries with the
Philippine National Police, Limay, Bataan regarding the alleged detentions or deaths at 8:00 in the morning and finished at 10:00 in the evening.[60] The investigating officer,
and were informed that none was reported to their good office; Technical Sgt. Eduardo Lingad, took the individual sworn statements of all six persons on that

13) I also directed Company Commander 1st Lt. Romeo Publico to inquire into the day. There were no other sworn statements taken, not even of the Manalo family, nor were
alleged beachhouse in Iba, Zambales also alleged to be a detention place where
there other witnesses summoned and investigated[61] as according to Jimenez, the directive to
Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino were detained. As per the inquiry,
however, no such beachhouse was used as a detention place found to have been him was only to investigate the six persons.[62]
used by armed men to detain Cadapan, Empeo and Merino.[51]

Jimenez was beside Lingad when the latter took the statements.[63] The six persons were not
It was explained in the Return of the Writ that for lack of sufficient time, the affidavits of Maj. known to Jimenez as it was in fact his first time to meet them. [64] During the entire time that he
Gen Jovito S. Palparan (Ret.), M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, and other persons was beside Lingad, a subordinate of his in the Office of the Provost Marshall, Jimenez did not
implicated by therein petitioners could not be secured in time for the submission of the Return propound a single question to the six persons.[65]
and would be subsequently submitted.[52]
Jimenez testified that all six statements were taken on May 29, 2006, but Marcelo Mendoza
Herein petitioners presented a lone witness in the summary hearings, Lt. Col. Ruben U. Jimenez, and Rudy Mendoza had to come back the next day to sign their statements as the printing of
Provost Marshall, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, their statements was interrupted by a power failure. Jimenez testified that the two signed
Nueva Ecija. The territorial jurisdiction of this Division covers Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, on May 30, 2006, but the jurats of their statements indicated that they were signed on May 29,
Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and a portion of Pangasinan.[53] The 24th Infantry Battalion is part 2006.[66] When the Sworn Statements were turned over to Jimenez, he personally wrote his
of the 7th Infantry Division.[54] investigation report. He began writing it in the afternoon of May 30, 2006 and finished it on June

1, 2006.[67] He then gave his report to the Office of the Chief of Personnel.[68]
On May 26, 2006, Lt. Col. Jimenez was directed by the Commanding General of the 7 th Infantry
Division, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palaran,[55] through his Assistant Chief of Staff,[56] to investigate the As petitioners largely rely on Jimenezs Investigation Report dated June 1, 2006 for their
alleged abduction of the respondents by CAFGU auxiliaries under his unit, namely: CAA evidence, the report is herein substantially quoted:
Michael de la Cruz; CAA Roman de la Cruz, aka Puti; CAA Maximo de la Cruz, aka Pula; CAA
III. BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
Randy Mendoza; ex-CAA Marcelo de la Cruz aka Madning; and a civilian named Rudy
4. This pertains to the abduction of RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO who Reynaldo Manalo are familiar to him being his barriomate when he was still unmarried
were forcibly taken from their respective homes in Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San and he knew them since childhood. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14
Ildefonso, Bulacan on 14 February 2006 by unidentified armed men and thereafter February 2006, he was at his residence in Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims
were forcibly disappeared. After the said incident, relatives of the victims filed a case that he was being informed only about the incident lately and he was not aware of
for Abduction in the civil court against the herein suspects: Michael dela Cruz, Madning any reason why the two (2) brothers were being abducted by alleged members of the
dela Cruz, Puti Dela Cruz, Pula Dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza as military and CAFGU. The only reason he knows why they implicated him was because
alleged members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU). there are those people who are angry with their family particularly victims of summary
execution (killing) done by their brother @ KA Bestre Rolando Manalo who is an NPA
a) Sworn statement of CAA Maximo F. dela Cruz, aka Pula dated 29 May 2006 in leader. He claims further that it was their brother @ KA BESTRE who killed his father and
(Exhibit B) states that he was at Sitio Mozon, Brgy. Bohol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, he was living witness to that incident. Subject civilian vehemently denied any
Bulacan doing the concrete building of a church located nearby his residence, involvement on the abduction of the Manalo brothers.
together with some neighbor thereat. He claims that on 15 February 2006, he was
being informed by Brgy. Kagawad Pablo Umayan about the abduction of the brothers e) Sworn statement of Ex-CAA Marcelo dala Cruz dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit F)
Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo. As to the allegation that he was one of the suspects, states that he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso,
he claims that they only implicated him because he was a CAFGU and that they Bulacan, a farmer and a former CAA based at Biak na Bato, San Miguel, Bulacan. He
claimed that those who abducted the Manalo brothers are members of the Military claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo are familiar to him being their barrio
and CAFGU. Subject vehemently denied any participation or involvement on the mate. He claims further that they are active supporters of CPP/NPA and that their
abduction of said victims. brother Rolando Manalo @ KA 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
b) Sworn statement of CAA Roman dela Cruz y Faustino Aka Puti dtd 29 May 2006 in Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. That he vehemently denied any participation of the
(Exhibit C) states that he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and learned only about the incident when
Ildefonso, Bulacan and a CAA member based at Biak na Bato Detachment, San rumors reached him by his barrio mates.He claims that his implication is merely
Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo being his neighbors fabricated because of his relationship to Roman and Maximo who are his brothers.
are active members/sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and he also knows their elder
Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE of being an NPA Leader operating in their province. That f) Sworn statement of Michael dela Cruz y Faustino dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit G)
at the time of the alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and for accusing him to states that he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso,
be one of the suspects, he claims that on February 14, 2006, he was one of those Bulacan, the Chief of Brgy. Tanod and a CAFGU member based at Biak na Bato
working at the concrete chapel being constructed nearby his residence. He claims Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that he knew very well the brothers
further that he just came only to know about the incident on other day (15 Feb 06) Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in their barangay for having been the Tanod Chief
when he was being informed by Kagawad Pablo Kunanan. That subject CAA for twenty (20) years. He alleged further that they are active supporters or sympathizers
vehemently denied any participation about the incident and claimed that they only of the CPP/NPA and whose elder brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE is an NPA
implicated him because he is a member of the CAFGU. leader operating within the area. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 Feb
2006 he was helping in the construction of their concrete chapel in their place and he
c) Sworn Statement of CAA Randy Mendoza y Lingas dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit O) learned only about the incident which is the abduction of Raymond and Reynaldo
states that he is a resident of Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a Manalo when one of the Brgy. Kagawad in the person of Pablo Cunanan informed him
member of CAFGU based at Biak na Bato Detachment.That being a neighbor, he was about the matter. He claims further that he is truly innocent of the allegation against
very much aware about the background of the two (2) brothers Raymond and him as being one of the abductors and he considers everything fabricated in order to
Reynaldo as active supporters of the CPP NPA in their Brgy. and he also knew their elder destroy his name that remains loyal to his service to the government as a CAA member.
brother KUMANDER BESTRE TN: Rolando Manalo. Being one of the accused, he claims
that on 14 February 2006, he was at Brgy. Magmarate, San Miguel, Bulacan in the IV. DISCUSSION
house of his aunt and he learned only about the incident when he arrived home in
their place.He claims further that the only reason why they implicated him was due to 5. Based on the foregoing statements of respondents in this particular case, the proof
the fact that his mother has filed a criminal charge against their brother Rolando of linking them to the alleged abduction and disappearance of Raymond and
Manalo @ KA BESTRE who is an NPA Commander who killed his father and for that Reynaldo Manalo that transpired on 14 February 2006 at Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na
reason they implicated him in support of their brother. Subject CAA vehemently denied Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, is unsubstantiated. Their alleged involvement
any involvement on the abduction of said Manalo brothers. theretofore to that incident is considered doubtful, hence, no basis to indict them as
charged in this investigation.
d) Sworn Statement of Rudy Mendoza y Lingasa dated May 29, 2006 in (Exhibit E) states
that he is a resident of Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and
Though there are previous grudges between each families (sic) in the past to quote: AND MEDICINES PRESCRIBED, IF ANY, TO THE MANALO BROTHERS, TO INCLUDE A LIST OF
the killing of the father of Randy and Rudy Mendoza by @ KA BESTRE TN: Rolando MEDICAL PERSONNEL (MILITARY AND CIVILIAN) WHO ATTENDED TO THEM FROM
Manalo, this will not suffice to establish a fact that they were the ones who did the FEBRUARY 14, 2006 UNTIL AUGUST 12, 2007.[70]
abduction as a form of revenge. As it was also stated in the testimony of other accused
claiming that the Manalos are active sympathizers/supporters of the CPP/NPA, this
would not also mean, however, that in the first place, they were in connivance with
the abductors. Being their neighbors and as members of CAFGUs, they ought to be The case at bar is the first decision on the application of the Rule on the Writ
vigilant in protecting their village from any intervention by the leftist group, hence inside of Amparo (Amparo Rule). Let us hearken to its beginning.
their village, they were fully aware of the activities of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo
in so far as their connection with the CPP/NPA is concerned.
The adoption of the Amparo Rule surfaced as a recurring proposition in the recommendations
V. CONCLUSION
that resulted from a two-day National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and
6. Premises considered surrounding this case shows that the alleged charges of Enforced Disappearances sponsored by the Court on July 16-17, 2007. The Summit was
abduction committed by the above named respondents has not been established in
this investigation. Hence, it lacks merit to indict them for any administrative punishment envisioned to provide a broad and fact-based perspective on the issue of extrajudicial killings
and/or criminal liability. It is therefore concluded that they are innocent of the charge.
and enforced disappearances,[71] hence representatives from all sides of the political and

VI. RECOMMENDATIONS social spectrum, as well as all the stakeholders in the justice system[72] participated in mapping

out ways to resolve the crisis.


7. That CAAs Michael F. dela Cruz, Maximo F. Dela Cruz, Roman dela Cruz, Randy
Mendoza, and two (2) civilians Maximo F. Dela Cruz and Rudy L. Mendoza be
exonerated from the case. On October 24, 2007, the Court promulgated the Amparo Rule in light of the prevalence of

8. Upon approval, this case can be dropped and closed.[69] extralegal killing and enforced disappearances.[73] It was an exercise for the first time of the

In this appeal under Rule 45, petitioners question the appellate courts assessment of Courts expanded power to promulgate rules to protect our peoples constitutional rights, which

the foregoing evidence and assail the December 26, 2007 Decision on the following made its maiden appearance in the 1987 Constitution in response to the Filipino experience of

grounds, viz: the martial law regime.[74] As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable

problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, its coverage, in its present form,
I.
is confined to these two instances or to threats thereof. Extralegal killings are killings committed
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN BELIEVING AND GIVING
without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings.[75] On the
FULL FAITH AND CREDIT TO THE INCREDIBLE, UNCORROBORATED, CONTRADICTED, AND
OBVIOUSLY SCRIPTED, REHEARSED AND SELF-SERVING AFFIDAVIT/TESTIMONY OF HEREIN other hand, enforced disappearances are attended by the following characteristics: an arrest,
RESPONDENT RAYMOND MANALO.
detention or abduction of a person by a government official or organized groups or private

II. individuals acting with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of

the State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned or a refusal to
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN REQUIRING
RESPONDENTS (HEREIN PETITIONERS) TO: (A) FURNISH TO THE MANALO BROTHER(S) AND acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such persons outside the protection of
TO THE COURT OF APPEALS ALL OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL REPORTS OF THE law.[76]
INVESTIGATION UNDERTAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR CASE, EXCEPT THOSE
ALREADY IN FILE WITH THE COURT; (B) CONFIRM IN WRITING THE PRESENT PLACES OF
OFFICIAL ASSIGNMENT OF M/SGT. HILARIO aka ROLLIE CASTILLO AND DONALD CAIGAS; The writ of amparo originated in Mexico. Amparo literally means protection in Spanish.[77] In
AND (C) CAUSE TO BE PRODUCED TO THE COURT OF APPEALS ALL MEDICAL REPORTS,
RECORDS AND CHARTS, AND REPORTS OF ANY TREATMENT GIVEN OR RECOMMENDED 1837, de Tocquevilles Democracy in America became available in Mexico and stirred great
interest. Its description of the practice of judicial review in the U.S. appealed to many Mexican In Latin American countries, except Cuba, the writ of amparo has been constitutionally

jurists.[78] One of them, Manuel Crescencio Rejn, drafted a constitutional provision for his native adopted to protect against human rights abuses especially committed in countries under

state, Yucatan,[79] which granted judges the power to protect all persons in the enjoyment of military juntas. In general, these countries adopted an all-encompassing writ to protect the

their constitutional and legal rights. This idea was incorporated into the national constitution in whole gamut of constitutional rights, including socio-economic rights.[86]Other countries

1847, viz: like Colombia, Chile, Germany and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the protection of the
The federal courts shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic in the exercise and writ of amparo only to some constitutional guarantees or fundamental rights.[87]
preservation of those rights granted to him by this Constitution and by laws enacted
pursuant hereto, against attacks by the Legislative and Executive powers of the federal
or state governments, limiting themselves to granting protection in the specific case in In the Philippines, while the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly provide for the writ of amparo,
litigation, making no general declaration concerning the statute or regulation that
several of the above amparo protections are guaranteed by our charter. The second
motivated the violation.[80]
paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Grave Abuse Clause, provides
Since then, the protection has been an important part of Mexican
for the judicial power to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion
constitutionalism.[81] If, after hearing, the judge determines that a constitutional right of the
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
petitioner is being violated, he orders the official, or the officials superiors, to cease the violation
Government. The Clause accords a similar general protection to human rights extended by
and to take the necessary measures to restore the petitioner to the full enjoyment of the right
the amparo contra leyes, amparo casacion, and amparo administrativo. Amparo libertad is
in question. Amparo thus combines the principles of judicial review derived from the U.S.with
comparable to the remedy of habeas corpus found in several provisions of the 1987
the limitations on judicial power characteristic of the civil law tradition which prevails
Constitution.[88] The Clause is an offspring of the U.S. common law tradition of judicial review,
in Mexico. It enables courts to enforce the constitution by protecting individual rights in
which finds its roots in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.[89]
particular cases, but prevents them from using this power to make law for the entire nation. [82]

While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause through remedies
The writ of amparo then spread throughout the Western Hemisphere, gradually evolving into
of injunction or prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and a petition for habeas
various forms, in response to the particular needs of each country.[83] It became, in the words
corpus under Rule 102,[90] these remedies may not be adequate to address the pestering
of a justice of the Mexican Federal Supreme Court, one piece of Mexicos self-attributed task
problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. However, with the swiftness
of conveying to the worlds legal heritage that institution which, as a shield of human dignity,
required to resolve a petition for a writ of amparo through summary proceedings and the
her own painful history conceived.[84] What began as a protection against acts or omissions of
availability of appropriate interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo Rule, this hybrid
public authorities in violation of constitutional rights later evolved for several purposes:
writ of the common law and civil law traditions - borne out of the Latin American and Philippine
(1) amparo libertad for the protection of personal freedom, equivalent to the habeas
experience of human rights abuses - offers a better remedy to extralegal killings and enforced
corpus writ; (2) amparo contra leyes for the judicial review of the constitutionality of statutes;
disappearances and threats thereof. The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of
(3) amparo casacion for the judicial review of the constitutionality and legality of a judicial
a summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make the appropriate reliefs
decision; (4) amparo administrativo for the judicial review of administrative actions; and
available to the petitioner; it is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond
(5) amparo agrario for the protection of peasants rights derived from the agrarian reform
reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or
process.[85]
administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides for the following causes of

proceedings.[91] action, viz:

Section 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person
The writ of amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or
entity.
expectation of impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.
the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent
(emphasis supplied)
investigation and action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is

to deter the further commission of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.


Sections 17 and 18, on the other hand, provide for the degree of proof required, viz:

In the case at bar, respondents initially filed an action for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. The parties shall establish
their claims by substantial evidence.
Restraining Order[92] to stop petitioners and/or their officers and agents from depriving the

respondents of their right to liberty and other basic rights on August 23, 2007, [93] prior to the xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 18. Judgment. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence,
promulgation of the Amparo Rule. They also sought ancillary remedies including Protective the court shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and
Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access Orders and other legal appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be denied. (emphases supplied)

and equitable remedies under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the 1987 Constitution and Rule 135,

Section 6 of the Rules of Court. When the Amparo Rule came into effect on October 24, 2007, Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might

they moved to have their petition treated as an amparo petition as it would be more effective accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[95]

and suitable to the circumstances of the Manalo brothers enforced disappearance. The Court
After careful perusal of the evidence presented, we affirm the findings of the Court of Appeals
granted their motion.
that respondents were abducted from their houses in Sito Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San

With this backdrop, we now come to the arguments of the petitioner. Petitioners first argument Ildefonso, Bulacan on February 14, 2006 and were continuously detained until they escaped

in disputing the Decision of the Court of Appeals states, viz: on August 13, 2007. The abduction, detention, torture, and escape of the respondents were

The Court of Appeals seriously and grievously erred in believing and giving full faith and narrated by respondent Raymond Manalo in a clear and convincing manner.His account is
credit to the incredible uncorroborated, contradicted, and obviously scripted,
dotted with countless candid details of respondents harrowing experience and tenacious will
rehearsed and self-serving affidavit/testimony of herein respondent Raymond
Manalo.[94] to escape, captured through his different senses and etched in his memory. A few examples

are the following: Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si
In delving into the veracity of the evidence, we need to mine and refine the ore of Manuel.[96] (N)ilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa istiryo ng sasakyan. Di
petitioners cause of action, to determine whether the evidence presented is metal-strong to nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel.[97] May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo
satisfy the degree of proof required. habang 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 ang mga
involvement could not, indeed, be then established after Evangeline Francisco, who
kadena.[99] Tinanong ko sa isang kapit-bahay kung paano ako makakakuha ng cell phone; allegedly saw Hilario drive the van in which the petitioners were boarded and ferried
sabi ko gusto kong i-text ang isang babae na nakatira sa malapit na lugar.[100] following the abduction, did not testify. (See the decision of the habeas proceedings
at rollo, p. 52)

We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based on respondent Raymond However, in this case, Raymond attested that Hilario drove the white L-300 van in which
the petitioners were brought away from their houses on February 14, 2006. Raymond
Manalos affidavit and testimony, viz:
also attested that Hilario participated in subsequent incidents during the captivity of
the abduction was perpetrated by armed men who were sufficiently identified by the the petitioners, one of which was when Hilario fetched them from Fort Magsaysay on
petitioners (herein respondents) to be military personnel and CAFGU board a Revo and conveyed them to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan
auxiliaries. Raymond recalled that the six armed men who barged into his house where they were detained for at least a week in a house of strong materials (Exhibit
through the rear door were military men based on their attire of fatigue pants and army D, rollo, p. 205) and then Hilario (along with Efren) brought them to Sapang, San Miguel,
boots, and the CAFGU auxiliaries, namely: Michael de la Cruz, Madning de la Cruz, Puti Bulacan on board the Revo, to an unfinished house inside the compound
de la Cruz and Pula de la Cruz, all members of the CAFGU and residents of Muzon, San of Kapitan where they were kept for more or less three months. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) It
Ildefonso, Bulacan, and the brothers Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also CAFGU was there where the petitioners came face to face with Gen. Palparan. Hilario and
members, served as lookouts during the abduction. Raymond was sure that three of Efren also brought the petitioners one early morning to the house of the petitioners
the six military men were Ganata, who headed the abducting team, Hilario, who drove parents, where only Raymond was presented to the parents to relay the message from
the van, and George. Subsequent incidents of their long captivity, as narrated by the Gen. Palparan not to join anymore rallies. On that occasion, Hilario warned the parents
petitioners, validated their assertion of the participation of the elements of the that they would not again see their sons should they join any rallies to denounce human
7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, and their CAFGU auxiliaries. rights violations. (Exhibit D, rollo, pp. 205-206) Hilario was also among four Master
Sergeants (the others being Arman, Ganata and Cabalse) with whom Gen. Palparan
We are convinced, too, that the reason for the abduction was the suspicion that the conversed on the occasion when Gen. Palparan required Raymond to take the
petitioners were either members or sympathizers of the NPA, considering that the medicines for his health. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 206) There were other occasions when the
abductors were looking for Ka Bestre, who turned out to be Rolando, the brother of petitioners saw that Hilario had a direct hand in their torture.
petitioners.
It is clear, therefore, that the participation of Hilario in the abduction and forced
The efforts exerted by the Military Command to look into the abduction were, at best, disappearance of the petitioners was established. The participation of other military
merely superficial. The investigation of the Provost Marshall of the 7 th Infantry Division personnel like Arman, Ganata, Cabalse and Caigas, among others, was similarly
focused on the one-sided version of the CAFGU auxiliaries involved. This one-sidedness established.
might be due to the fact that the Provost Marshall could delve only into the
participation of military personnel, but even then the Provost Marshall should have As to the CAFGU auxiliaries, the habeas Court found them personally involved in the
refrained from outrightly exculpating the CAFGU auxiliaries he perfunctorily abduction. We also do, for, indeed, the evidence of their participation is
investigated overwhelming.[101]

We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalos statements were not
Gen. Palparans participation in the abduction was also established. At the very least,
he was aware of the petitioners captivity at the hands of men in uniform assigned to corroborated by other independent and credible pieces of evidence.[102] Raymonds affidavit
his command. In fact, he or any other officer tendered no controversion to the firm
claim of Raymond that he (Gen. Palparan) met them in person in a safehouse in and testimony were corroborated by the affidavit of respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The
Bulacan and told them what he wanted them and their parents to do or not to be testimony and medical reports prepared by forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the pictures of
doing. Gen. Palparans direct and personal role in the abduction might not have been
shown but his knowledge of the dire situation of the petitioners during their long the scars left by the physical injuries inflicted on respondents,[103] also corroborate respondents
captivity at the hands of military personnel under his command bespoke of his
indubitable command policy that unavoidably encouraged and not merely tolerated accounts of the torture they endured while in detention. Respondent Raymond Manalos
the abduction of civilians without due process of law and without probable cause. familiarity with the facilities in Fort Magsaysay such as the DTU, as shown in his testimony and

In the habeas proceedings, the Court, through the Former Special Sixth Division confirmed by Lt. Col. Jimenez to be the Division Training Unit,[104] firms up respondents story that
(Justices Buzon, chairman; Santiago-Lagman, Sr., member; and Romilla-Lontok, Jr.,
they were detained for some time in said military facility.
member/ponente.) found no clear and convincing evidence to establish that M/Sgt.
Rizal Hilario had anything to do with the abduction or the detention. Hilarios
In Ortiz v. Guatemala,[105] a case decided by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Elaborating on the right to security, in general, respondents point out that this right is often

Commission considered similar evidence, among others, in finding that complainant Sister Diana associated with liberty; it is also seen as an expansion of rights based on the prohibition against

Ortiz was abducted and tortured by agents of the Guatemalan government. In this case, Sister Ortiz torture and cruel and unusual punishment. Conceding that there is no right to security expressly

was kidnapped and tortured in early November 1989. The Commissions findings of fact were mostly mentioned in Article III of the 1987 Constitution, they submit that their rights to be kept free from

based on the consistent and credible statements, written and oral, made by Sister Ortiz regarding torture and from incommunicado detention and solitary detention places[112] fall under the general

her ordeal.[106] These statements were supported by her recognition of portions of the route they coverage of the right to security of person under the writ of Amparo. They submit that the Court

took when she was being driven out of the military installation where she was detained.[107] She was ought to give an expansive recognition of the right to security of person in view of the State Policy

also examined by a medical doctor whose findings showed that the 111 circular second degree under Article II of the 1987 Constitution which enunciates that, The State values the dignity of every

burns on her back and abrasions on her cheek coincided with her account of cigarette burning human person and guarantees full respect for human rights. Finally, to justify a liberal interpretation

and torture she suffered while in detention.[108] of the right to security of person, respondents cite the teaching in Moncupa v. Enrile[113] that the right

to liberty may be made more meaningful only if there is no undue restraint by the State on the
With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance and the torture perpetrated on the victim
exercise of that liberty[114] such as a requirement to report under unreasonable restrictions that
during detention, it logically holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will
amounted to a deprivation of liberty[115] or being put under monitoring and surveillance.[116]
come from the victims themselves, 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 by In sum, respondents assert that their cause of action consists in the threat to their right to life and

other evidence such as physical evidence left by the torture they suffered or landmarks they can liberty, and a violation of their right to security.

identify in the places where they were detained. Where powerful military officers are implicated,
Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has indeed been violated as
the hesitation of witnesses to surface and testify against them comes as no surprise.
respondents assert. The right to security or the right to security of person finds a textual hook in

We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the writ of amparo. There Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which provides, viz:

is no quarrel that the enforced disappearance of both respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall
Manalo has now passed as they have escaped from captivity and surfaced. But while respondents be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable
cause to be determined personally by the judge
admit that they are no longer in detention and are physically free, they assert that they are not free
At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of ones person, including the extensions of
in every sense of the word[109] as their movements continue to be restricted for fear that people they
his/her person houses, papers, and effects against government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the
have named in their Judicial Affidavits and testified against (in the case of Raymond) are still at
states power over a persons home and possessions, but more importantly, protects the privacy and
large and have not been held accountable in any way. These people are directly connected to
sanctity of the person himself.[117] The purpose of this provision was enunciated by the Court
the Armed Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in a position to threaten respondents rights to life,
in People v. CFI of Rizal, Branch IX, Quezon City, viz: [118]
liberty and security.[110] (emphasis supplied) Respondents claim that they are under threat of being

once again abducted, kept captive or even killed, which constitute a direct violation of their right The purpose of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures is
to prevent violations of private security in person and property and unlawful invasion of the
to security of person.[111] security of the home by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction and
to give remedy against such usurpation when attempted. (Adams v.New York, 192 U.S. 858;
Alvero v. Dizon, 76 Phil. 637 [1946]). The right to privacy is an essential condition to the dignity
and happiness and to the peace and security of every individual, whether it be of home or 1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to
of persons and correspondence. (Taada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, Vol. arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds
2, 139 [1962]). The constitutional inviolability of this great fundamental right against and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. (emphasis supplied)
unreasonable searches and seizures must be deemed absolute as nothing is closer to a The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR.
mans soul than the serenity of his privacy and the assurance of his personal security. Any
interference allowable can only be for the best causes and reasons.[119] (emphases
supplied) In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, freedom from fear is the right and any threat
While the right to life under Article III, Section 1[120] guarantees essentially the right to be to the rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a
alive[121] - upon which the enjoyment of all other rights is preconditioned - the right to security of reaction; threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the same stimulus can range from
person is a guarantee of the secure quality of this life, viz: The life to which each person has a right being baseless to well-founded as people react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one
is not a life lived in fear that his person and property may be unreasonably violated by a powerful person to another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of character or
ruler. Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that the government he established and consented past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the amparo context, it is more correct to say that the right
to, will protect the security of his person and property. The ideal of security in life and property to security is actually the freedom from threat. Viewed in this light, the threatened with violation
pervades the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of mans existence.[122] In a broad sense, Clause in the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to security
the right to security of person emanates in a persons legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, mentioned in the earlier part of the provision.[127]
his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation. It includes the right to exist, and the right to

enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a deprivation of life but also of those Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity

things which are necessary to the enjoyment of life according to the nature, temperament, and or security.Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, ones body

lawful desires of the individual.[123] cannot be searched or invaded without a search warrant.[128] Physical injuries inflicted in the context

of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute more than a search or invasion of the
A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various permutations of the exercise of this body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical intrusion. As the
right. degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in criminal law, physical

injuries constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to the bodily integrity or
First, the right to security of person is freedom from fear. In its whereas clauses, the Universal
security of a person.[129]
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that a world in which human beings shall enjoy

freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest Physical torture, force, and violence are a severe invasion of bodily integrity. When employed to
aspiration of the common people. (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate that freedom from vitiate the free will such as to force the victim to admit, reveal or fabricate incriminating information,
fear is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an individual international human right.[124] It it constitutes an invasion of both bodily and psychological integrity as the dignity of the human
is the right to security of person as the word security itself means freedom from fear.[125] Article 3 of person includes the exercise of free will. Article III, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution more
the UDHR provides, viz: specifically proscribes bodily and psychological invasion, viz:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.[126] (emphasis supplied)
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat or intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the
In furtherance of this right declared in the UDHR, Article 9(1) of the International Covenant
free will shall be used against him (any person under investigation for the commission of an
on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) also provides for the right to security of person, viz: offense). Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado or other similar forms of
detention are prohibited.
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). These rights and freedoms include
Parenthetically, under this provision, threat and intimidation that vitiate the free will - although not . . . the right to liberty and security of person.[132]
involving invasion of bodily integrity - nevertheless constitute a violation of the right to security in the Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of ones rights by the
sense of freedom from threat as afore-discussed. government.In the context of the writ of amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the right to

life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of
Article III, Section 12 guarantees freedom from dehumanizing abuses of persons under
person (as freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under Article
investigation for the commission of an offense. Victims of enforced disappearances who are not even
III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State
under such investigation should all the more be protected from these degradations.
guarantees full respect for human rights under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution.[133] As

An overture to an interpretation of the right to security of person as a right against torture was the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the

made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the recent case of Popov v. Russia.[130] In rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford

this case, the claimant, who was lawfully detained, alleged that the state authorities had physically protection to these rights especially when they are under threat. Protection includes conducting

abused him in prison, thereby violating his right to security of person. Article 5(1) of the European effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims

Convention on Human Rights provides, viz:Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and

No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the

procedure prescribed by law ... (emphases supplied) Article 3, on the other hand, provides that (n)o importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez Case,[134] viz:

one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Although the (The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere
formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and
application failed on the facts as the alleged ill-treatment was found baseless, the ECHR relied be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests that
heavily on the concept of security in holding, viz: depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon their offer of proof, without an
effective search for the truth by the government.[135]
...the applicant did not bring his allegations to the attention of domestic authorities at
the time when they could reasonably have been expected to take measures in order to This third sense of the right to security of person as a guarantee of government protection
ensure his security and to investigate the circumstances in question. has been interpreted by the United Nations Human Rights Committee[136] in not a few cases involving
xxx xxx xxx Article 9[137] of the ICCPR. While the right to security of person appears in conjunction with the right
to liberty under Article 9, the Committee has ruled that the right to security of person can exist
... the authorities failed to ensure his security in custody or to comply with the procedural independently of the right to liberty. In other words, there need not necessarily be a deprivation of
obligation under Art.3 to conduct an effective investigation into his
liberty for the right to security of person to be invoked.In Delgado Paez v. Colombia,[138] a case
allegations.[131] (emphasis supplied)
involving death threats to a religion teacher
they have surfaced and implicated specific officers in the military not only in their own
abduction and torture, but also in those of other persons known to have disappeared such as Sherlyn
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has also made a statement
Cadapan, Karen Empeo, and Manuel Merino, among others.
that the protection of the bodily integrity of women may also be related to the right to security and

liberty, viz: Understandably, since their escape, respondents have been under concealment and protection

gender-based violence which impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights by private citizens because of the threat to their life, liberty and security. The threat vitiates their free
and fundamental freedoms under general international law or under specific human rights
conventions is discrimination within the meaning of article 1 of the Convention (on the will as they are forced to limit their movements or activities.[149] Precisely because respondents are

being shielded from the perpetrators of their abduction, they cannot be expected to show
evidence of overt acts of threat such as face-to-face intimidation or written threats to their life, provide results of the investigations to respondents.[151] To this day, however, almost a year after the

liberty and security. Nonetheless, the circumstances of respondents abduction, detention, torture policy directive was issued by petitioner Secretary of National Defense on October 31, 2007,

and escape reasonably support a conclusion that there is an apparent threat that they will again respondents have not been furnished the results of the investigation which they now seek through

be abducted, tortured, and this time, even executed. These constitute threats to their liberty, the instant petition for a writ of amparo.

security, and life, actionable through a petition for a writ of amparo.


Under these circumstances, there is substantial evidence to warrant the conclusion that there is a

Next, the violation of the right to security as protection by the government. Apart from the failure of violation of respondents right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government.

militaryelements to provide protection to respondents by themselves perpetrating the abduction,


In sum, we conclude that respondents right to security as freedom from threat is violated by the
detention, and torture, they also miserably failed in conducting an effective investigation of
apparent threat to their life, liberty and security of person. Their right to security as a guarantee of
respondents abduction as revealed by the testimony and investigation report of petitioners own
protection by the government is likewise violated by the ineffective investigation and protection on
witness, Lt. Col. Ruben Jimenez, Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry Division.
the part of the military.

The one-day investigation conducted by Jimenez was very limited, superficial, and one-sided. He
Finally, we come to the reliefs granted by the Court of Appeals, which petitioners question.
merely relied on the Sworn Statements of the six implicated members of the CAFGU and civilians

whom he met in the investigation for the first time. He was present at the investigation when his
First, that petitioners furnish respondents all official and unofficial reports of the
subordinate Lingad was taking the sworn statements, but he did not propound a single question to
investigation undertaken in connection with their case, except those already in file with the court.
ascertain the veracity of their statements or their credibility. He did not call for other witnesses to test

the alibis given by the six implicated persons nor for the family or neighbors of the respondents. Second, that petitioners confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario

aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas.


In his affidavit, petitioner Secretary of National Defense attested that in a Memorandum Directive

dated October 31, 2007, he issued a policy directive addressed to the AFP Chief of Staff, that the Third, that petitioners cause to be produced to the Court of Appeals all medical reports, records

AFP should adopt rules of action in the event the writ of amparo is issued by a competent court and charts, and reports of any treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if any,

against any members of the AFP, which should essentially include verification of the identity of the to the Manalo brothers, to include a list of medical personnel (military and civilian) who attended to

aggrieved party; recovery and preservation of relevant evidence; identification of witnesses and them from February 14, 2006 until August 12, 2007.

securing statements from them; determination of the cause, manner, location and time of death or
With respect to the first and second reliefs, petitioners argue that the production order sought by
disappearance; identification and apprehension of the person or persons involved in the death or
respondents partakes of the characteristics of a search warrant. Thus, they claim that the requisites
disappearance; and bringing of the suspected offenders before a competent court.[150]Petitioner
for the issuance of a search warrant must be complied with prior to the grant of the production
AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit attesting that he received the above directive of
order, namely: (1) the application must be under oath or affirmation; (2) the search warrant must
respondent Secretary of National Defense and that acting on this directive, he immediately caused
particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized; (3) there exists probable
to be issued a directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the circumstances of
cause with one specific offense; and (4) the probable cause must be personally determined by the
the alleged disappearance and the recent reappearance of the respondents, and undertook to
judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may
produce.[152] In the case at bar, however, petitioners point out that other than the bare, self-serving of the alleged disappearance of the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been sought for

and vague allegations made by respondent Raymond Manalo in his unverified declaration and as soon as the same has been furnished Higher headquarters.

affidavit, the documents respondents seek to be produced are only mentioned generally by name,
With respect to the second and third reliefs, petitioners assert that the disclosure of the present places
with no other supporting details. They also argue that the relevancy of the documents to be
of assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas, as well as the submission of a
produced must be apparent, but this is not true in the present case as the involvement of petitioners
list of medical personnel, is irrelevant, improper, immaterial, and unnecessary in the resolution of the
in the abduction has not been shown.
petition for a writ of amparo. They add that it will unnecessarily compromise and jeopardize the

Petitioners arguments do not hold water. The production order under the Amparo Rule should not exercise of official functions and duties of military officers and even unwittingly and unnecessarily

be confused with a search warrant for law enforcement under Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 expose them to threat of personal injury or even death.

Constitution. This Constitutional provision is a protection of the people from the unreasonable
On the contrary, the disclosure of the present places of assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie
intrusion of the government, not a protection of the government from the demand of the people
Castillo and Donald Caigas, whom respondents both directly implicated as perpetrators behind their
such as respondents.
abduction and detention, is relevant in ensuring the safety of respondents by avoiding their areas of

Instead, the amparo production order may be likened to the production of documents or things territorial jurisdiction. Such disclosure would also help ensure that these military officers can be served

under Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure which provides in relevant part, viz: with notices and court processes in relation to any investigation and action for violation of the

respondents rights. The list of medical personnel is also relevant in securing information to create the
Section 1. Motion for production or inspection order.
medical history of respondents and make appropriate medical interventions, when applicable and
Upon motion of any party showing good cause therefor, the court in which an action is
pending may (a) order any party to produce and permit the inspection and copying or necessary.
photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of any designated documents, papers,
books of accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, not privileged, which
constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action and which are In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and security, these rights are snuffed
in his possession, custody or control
out from victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. The writ of amparo is a tool that

gives voice to preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls.

In Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. v. Judge Natividad,[153] the respondent judge, under authority of

Rule 27, issued a subpoena duces tecum for the production and inspection of among others, the WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals

books and papers of Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. The company questioned the issuance of the
dated December 26, 2007 is affirmed.
subpoena 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 that cannot be identified or
SO ORDERED.
confused with unreasonable searches prohibited by the Constitution

Moreover, in his affidavit, petitioner AFP Chief of Staff himself undertook to provide results of the

investigations conducted or to be conducted by the concerned unit relative to the circumstances


G.R. No. 182161 December 3, 2009 evidence submitted by the DOJ Panel of Investigating Prosecutors failed to show that
petitioner and the other accused-civilians conspired and confederated with the accused-
Reverend Father ROBERT P. REYES, Petitioner, soldiers in taking arms against the government; that petitioner and other accused-civilians
vs. were arrested because they ignored the call of the police despite the deadline given to
RAUL M. GONZALEZ, in his capacity as the secretary of the COURT OF APPEALS, secretary them to come out from the 2nd Floor of the Hotel and submit themselves to the police
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND COMMISSIONER MARCELINO C. LIBANAN, IN HIS CAPACITY AS authorities; that mere presence at the scene of the crime and expressing one’s sentiments on
THE COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, Respondents. electoral and political reforms did not make them conspirators absent concrete evidence
that the accused-civilians knew beforehand the intent of the accused-soldiers to commit
rebellion; and that the cooperation which the law penalizes must be one that is knowingly
DECISION
and intentionally rendered.

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:


On December 18, 2007, petitioner’s counsel Atty. Francisco L. Chavez wrote the DOJ
Secretary requesting the lifting of HDO No. 45 in view of the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 07-
For resolution is the petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the 3126.
February 4, 2008 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. No. 00011 which dismissed
the petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo under A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, as amended. It
On even date, Secretary Gonzales replied to petitioner’s letter stating that the DOJ could not
also assails the CA’s Resolution dated March 25, 2008, denying petitioner’s motion for
act on petitioner’s request until Atty. Chavez’s right to represent petitioner is settled in view of
reconsideration of the aforesaid February 4, 2008 Decision.
the fact that a certain Atty. J. V. Bautista representing himself as counsel of petitioner had
also written a letter to the DOJ.
The undisputed facts as found by the CA are as follows:
On January 3, 2008, petitioner filed the instant petition claiming that despite the dismissal of
Petitioner was among those arrested in the Manila Peninsula Hotel siege on November 30, the rebellion case against petitioner, HDO No. 45 still subsists; that on December 19, 2007,
2007. In the morning of November 30, 2007, petitioner together with fifty (50) others, were petitioner was held by BID officials at the NAIA as his name is included in the Hold Departure
brought to Camp Crame to await inquest proceedings. In the evening of the same day, the List; that had it not been for the timely intervention of petitioner’s counsel, petitioner would
Department of Justice (DOJ) Panel of Prosecutors, composed of Emmanuel Y. Velasco, Phillip not have been able to take his scheduled flight to Hong Kong; that on December 26, 2007,
L. Dela Cruz and Aristotle M. Reyes, conducted inquest proceedings to ascertain whether or petitioner was able to fly back to the Philippines from Hong Kong but every time petitioner
not there was probable cause to hold petitioner and the others for trial on charges of would present himself at the NAIA for his flights abroad, he stands to be detained and
Rebellion and/or Inciting to Rebellion. interrogated by BID officers because of the continued inclusion of his name in the Hold
Departure List; and that the Secretary of Justice has not acted on his request for the lifting of
On December 1, 2007, upon the request of the Department of Interior and Local Government HDO No. 45. Petitioner further maintained that immediate recourse to the Supreme Court for
(DILG), respondent DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzales issued Hold Departure Order (HDO) No. 45 the availment of the writ is exigent as the continued restraint on petitioner’s right to travel is
ordering respondent Commissioner of Immigration to include in the Hold Departure List of the illegal.
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) the name of petitioner and 49 others relative to
the aforementioned case in the interest of national security and public safety. On January 24, 2008, respondents represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
filed the Return of the Writ raising the following affirmative defenses: 1) that the Secretary of
On December 2, 2007, after finding probable cause against petitioner and 36 others for the Justice is authorized to issue Hold Departure Orders under the DOJ Circulars No. 17, Series of
crime of Rebellion under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors 19982 and No. 18 Series of 20073 pursuant to his mandate under the Administrative Code of
filed an Information docketed as I.S. No. 2007-1045 before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 1987 as ahead of the principal law agency of the government; 2) that HDO No. 45 dated
150 of Makati City. December 1, 2007 was issued by the Sec. Gonzales in the course of the preliminary
investigation of the case against herein petitioner upon the request of the DILG; 3) that the
On December 7, 2007, petitioner filed a Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause lifting of HDO No. 45 is premature in view of public respondent’s pending Motion for
and Release of the Accused Fr. Reyes Upon Recognizance asserting that the DOJ panel Reconsideration dated January 3, 2008 filed by the respondents of the Order dated
failed to produce any evidence indicating his specific participation in the crime charged; December 13, 2007 of the RTC dismissing Criminal Case No. 07-3126 for Rebellion for lack of
and that under the Constitution, the determination of probable cause must be made probable cause; 4) that petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies by filing a motion
personally by a judge. to lift HDO No. 45 before the DOJ; and 5) that the constitutionality of Circulars No. 17 and 18
can not be attacked collaterally in an amparo proceeding.
On December 13, 2007, the RTC issued an Order dismissing the charge for Rebellion against
petitioner and 17 others for lack of probable cause. The trial court ratiocinated that the During the hearing on January 25, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at the Paras Hall of the Court of Appeals,
counsels for both parties appeared. Petitioner’s counsel Atty. Francisco Chavez manifested that
petitioner is currently in Hong Kong; that every time petitioner would leave and return to the IV.
country, the immigration officers at the NAIA detain and interrogate him for several minutes
because of the existing HDO; that the power of the DOJ Secretary to issue HDO has no legal basis; DOJ CIRCULAR 17 SERIES OF 1998 PROVIDES NO STATUTORY BASIS FOR THE DOJ SECRETARY’S
and that petitioner did not file a motion to lift the HDO before the RTC nor the DOJ because to do CLAIMED POWER TO ISSUE AN HDO FOR IT IS NOT A STATUTE. THE CIRCULAR ITSELF APPEARS NOT TO
so would be tantamount to recognizing the power of the DOJ Secretary to issue HDO. BE BASED ON ANY STATUTE, HENCE, IT DOES NOT HAVE THE FORCE OF LAW AND NEED NOT BE
ATTACKED IN A DIRECT PROCEEDING.7
For respondents’ part, the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) maintained that the Secretary of
the DOJ’s power to issue HDO springs from its mandate under the Administrative Code to Petitioner maintains that the writ of amparo does not only exclusively apply to situations of
investigate and prosecute offenders as the principal law agency of the government; that in its ten- extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances but encompasses the whole gamut of liberties
year existence, the constitutionality of DOJ Circular No. 17 has not been challenged except now; protected by the Constitution. Petitioner argues that "[liberty] includes the right to exist and the
and that on January 3, 2008, the DOJ Panel of Investigating Prosecutors had filed a Motion for right to be free from arbitrary personal restraint or servitude and includes the right of the citizens to
Reconsideration of the Order of Dismissal of the trial court. be free to use his faculties in all lawful ways." Part of the right to liberty guaranteed by the
Constitution is the right of a person to travel.
On February 1, 2008, petitioner filed a Manifestation attaching thereto a copy of the Order dated
January 31, 2008 of the trial court denying respondent DOJ’s Motion for Reconsideration for utter In their Comment,8 both respondents Secretary Gonzalez and Commissioner Libanan argue that: 1)
lack of merit. The trial court also observed that the said Motion should be dismissed outright for HDO No. 45 was validly issued by the Secretary of Justice in accordance with Department of
being filed out of time. 4 Justice Circular No. 17, Series of 1998,9 and Circular No. 18, Series of 2007,10 which were issued
pursuant to said Secretary’s mandate under the Administrative Code of 1987, as head of the
The petition for a writ of amparo is anchored on the ground that respondents violated petitioner’s principal law agency of the government, to investigate the commission of crimes, prosecute
constitutional right to travel. Petitioner argues that the DOJ Secretary has no power to issue a Hold offenders, and provide immigration regulatory services; and; 2) the issue of the constitutionality of
Departure Order (HDO) and the subject HDO No. 45 has no legal basis since Criminal Case No. 07- the DOJ Secretary’s authority to issue hold departure orders under DOJ Circulars Nos. 17 and 18 is
3126 has already been dismissed. not within the ambit of a writ of amparo.

On February 4, 2008, the CA rendered the assailed Decision dismissing the petition and denying the The case hinges on the issue as to whether or not petitioner’s right to liberty has been violated or
privilege of the writ of amparo. threatened with violation by the issuance of the subject HDO, which would entitle him to the
privilege of the writ of amparo.
Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration5 thereon was also denied in the assailed Resolution6 dated
March 25, 2008. The petition must fail.

Hence, the present petition which is based on the following grounds: Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides:

I. 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 with violation by an unlawful act or
THE DOJ SECRETARY’S ARROGATION OF POWER AND USURPATION OF AUTHORITY TO ISSUE A HOLD omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.
DEPARTURE ORDER CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED THROUGH A RATIONALE THAT IT HAS SUPPOSEDLY BEEN
"REGULARLY EXERCISED IN THE PAST" OR HAS "NEVER BEEN QUESTIONED (IN THE PAST). The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.

II. The Court, in Secretary of National Defense et al. v. Manalo et al.,11 made a categorical
pronouncement that the Amparo Rule in its present form is confined to these two instances of
THE DOJ HAS CLAIMED A POWER TO ISSUE AN HDO INDEPENDENT OF THAT OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL "extralegal killings" and "enforced disappearances," or to threats thereof, thus:
COURTS, HENCE, PETITIONER CANNOT MERELY RELY ON THE RESIDUAL POWER OF THE RTC MAKATI IN
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 07-3126 TO ASSAIL SUCH CLAIMED POWER. x x x As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable problem of "extralegal killings"
and "enforced disappearances," its coverage, in its present form, is confined to these two
III. instances or to threats thereof. "Extralegal killings" are "killings committed without due process of
law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings." On the other hand, "enforced
disappearances" are "attended by the following characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction
THE UTMOST EXIGENCY OF THE PETITION IS EXEMPLIFIED BY THE CONTINUING ACTUAL RESTRAINT ON of a person by a government official or organized groups or private individuals acting with the
PETITIONER’S RIGHT TO TRAVEL THROUGH THE MAINTENANCE OF HIS NAME IN THE HDO LIST AND direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to disclose the fate or
DOES NOT SIMPLY HINGE ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER WAS ABLE TO TRAVEL
DESPITE SUCH A RESTRAINT.
whereabouts of the person concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty The rights that fall within the protective mantle of the Writ of Amparo under Section 1 of the Rules
which places such persons outside the protection of law."12 thereon are the following: (1) right to life; (2) right to liberty; and (3) right to security.

In Tapuz v. Del Rosario,13 the Court laid down the basic principle regarding the rule on the writ of In Secretary of National Defense et al. v. Manalo et al.,15 the Court explained the concept of right
amparo as follows: to life in this wise:

To start off with the basics, the writ of amparo was originally conceived as a response to the While the right to life under Article III, Section 1 guarantees essentially the right to be alive- upon
extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived which the enjoyment of all other rights is preconditioned - the right to security of person is a
lack of available and effective remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. It is intended to guarantee of the secure quality of this life, viz: "The life to which each person has a right is not a life
address violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and lived in fear that his person and property may be unreasonably violated by a powerful ruler.
independent remedy beyond those available under the prevailing Rules, or as a remedy Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that the government he established and consented to,
supplemental to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect concerns that are purely property or will protect the security of his person and property. The ideal of security in life and property…
commercial. Neither is it a writ that we shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds. pervades the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of man’s existence." In a broad sense,
Consequently, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo – in line with the extraordinary character of the writ the right to security of person "emanates in a person’s legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life,
and the reasonable certainty that its issuance demands – requires that every petition for the his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation. It includes the right to exist, and the right to
issuance of the writ must be supported by justifying allegations of fact, to wit: enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a deprivation of life but also of those
things which are necessary to the enjoyment of life according to the nature, temperament, and
"(a) The personal circumstances of the petitioner; lawful desires of the individual."16

(b) The name and personal circumstances of the respondent responsible for the threat, act or The right to liberty, on the other hand, was defined in the City of Manila, et al. v. Hon. Laguio,
omission, or, if the name is unknown or uncertain, the respondent may be described by an Jr.,17 in this manner:
assumed appellation;
Liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include "the right to
(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation exist and the right to be free from arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed into
by an unlawful act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the
with the attendant circumstances detailed in supporting affidavits; right of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has been endowed by his Creator, subject only to
such restraint as are necessary for the common welfare." x x x

(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal circumstances, and
addresses of the investigating authority or individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the Secretary of National Defense et al. v. Manalo et al.18 thoroughly expounded on the import of the
investigation, together with any report; right to security, thus:

(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine the fate or whereabouts of the A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various permutations of the exercise of
aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or omission; and this right.

(f) The relief prayed for. First, the right to security of person is "freedom from fear." In its "whereas" clauses, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy
freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the
The petition may include a general prayer for other just and equitable reliefs."14 highest aspiration of the common people." (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate that
"freedom from fear" is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an individual international
The writ shall issue if the Court is preliminarily satisfied with the prima facie existence of the ultimate human right. It is the "right to security of person" as the word "security" itself means "freedom from
facts determinable from the supporting affidavits that detail the circumstances of how and to fear." Article 3 of the UDHR provides, viz:
what extent a threat to or violation of the rights to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party
was or is being committed. (Emphasis supplied) Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Here, petitioner invokes this extraordinary remedy of the writ of amparo for the protection of his The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR.
right to travel. He insists that he is entitled to the protection covered by the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo because the HDO is a continuing actual restraint on his right to travel. The Court is thus
called upon to rule whether or not the right to travel is covered by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, "freedom from fear" is the right and any threat to
the rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a reaction; threat
is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the same stimulus can range from being baseless
to well-founded as people react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person to Section 22. Effect of Filing of a Criminal Action. – When a criminal action has been commenced,
another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of character or past no separate petition for the writ shall be filed. The reliefs under the writ shall be available by motion
experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the amparo context, it is more correct to say that the "right to in the criminal case.1avvphi1
security" is actually the "freedom from threat." Viewed in this light, the "threatened with violation"
Clause in the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to security The procedure under this Rule shall govern the disposition of the reliefs available under the writ of
mentioned in the earlier part of the provision. amparo.

Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or Pursuant to the aforementioned Section 22, petitioner should have filed with the RTC-Makati a
security. Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, one’s body motion to lift HDO No. 45 in Criminal Case No. 07-3126. Petitioner, however, did not file in the RTC-
cannot be searched or invaded without a search warrant. Physical injuries inflicted in the context Makati a motion to lift the DOJ’s HDO, as his co-accused did in the same criminal case. Petitioner
of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute more than a search or invasion of argues that it was not the RTC-Makati but the DOJ that issued the said HDO, and that it is his
the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical intrusion. As intention not to limit his remedy to the lifting of the HDO but also to question before this Court the
the degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in criminal law, constitutionality of the power of the DOJ Secretary to issue an HDO.24 We quote with approval the
physical injuries constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to the bodily CA’s ruling on this matter:
integrity or security of a person.

The said provision [Section 22] is an affirmation by the Supreme Court of its pronouncement in
Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of one’s rights by the government. Crespo v. Mogul25that once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the case
In the context of the writ of amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the right to life and such as its dismissal or its continuation rests on the sound discretion of the court. Despite the denial
liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as of respondent’s MR of the dismissal of the case against petitioner, the trial court has not lost control
freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under Article III, Section over Criminal Case No. 07-3126 which is still pending before it. By virtue of its residual power, the
2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State court a quo retains the authority to entertain incidents in the instant case to the exclusion of even
"guarantees full respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the this Court. The relief petitioner seeks which is the lifting of the HDO was and is available by motion in
government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights the criminal case. (Sec. 22, Rule on the Writ of amparo, supra).26
to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford
protection to these rights especially when they are under threat. Protection includes conducting
effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims Even in civil cases pending before the trial courts, the Court has no authority to separately and
of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and directly intervene through the writ of amparo, as elucidated in Tapuz v. Del Rosario,27 thus:
bringing offenders to the bar of justice. x x x (emphasis supplied) 19
Where, as in this case, there is an ongoing civil process dealing directly with the possessory dispute
The right to travel refers to the right to move from one place to another.20 As we have stated in and the reported acts of violence and harassment, we see no point in separately and directly
Marcos v. Sandiganbayan,21 "xxx a person’s right to travel is subject to the usual constraints intervening through a writ of amparo in the absence of any clear prima facie showing that the
imposed by the very necessity of safeguarding the system of justice. In such cases, whether the right to life, liberty or security the personal concern that the writ is intended to protect is
accused should be permitted to leave the jurisdiction for humanitarian reasons is a matter of the immediately in danger or threatened, or that the danger or threat is continuing. We see no legal
court’s sound discretion." 22 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 by analogy the provisions on the co-existence
of the writ with a separately filed criminal case.
Here, the restriction on petitioner’s right to travel as a consequence of the pendency of the
criminal case filed against him was not unlawful. Petitioner has also failed to establish that his right
to travel was impaired in the manner and to the extent that it amounted to a serious violation of his Additionally, petitioner is seeking the extraordinary writ of amparo due to his apprehension that the
right to life, liberty and security, for which there exists no readily available legal recourse or remedy. DOJ may deny his motion to lift the HDO.28 Petitioner’s apprehension is at best merely speculative.
Thus, he has failed to show any clear threat to his right to liberty actionable through a petition for
a writ of amparo. The absence of an actual controversy also renders it unnecessary for us on this
In Canlas et al. v. Napico Homeowners Association I – XIII, Inc. et al.,23 this Court ruled that: occasion to pass upon the constitutionality of DOJ Circular No. 17, Series of 1998 (Prescribing Rules
and Regulations Governing the Issuance of Hold Departure Orders); and Circular No. 18, Series of
This new remedy of writ of amparo which is made available by this Court is intended for the 2007 (Prescribing Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuance and Implementation of Watchlist
protection of the highest possible rights of any person, which is his or her right to life, liberty and Orders and for Other Purposes).
security. The Court will not spare any time or effort on its part in order to give priority to petitions of
this nature. However, the Court will also not waste its precious time and effort on matters not WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The assailed Decision of the CA dated February 4, 2008 in
covered by the writ. CA-G.R. No. 00011 is hereby AFFIRMED.

We find the direct recourse to this Court inappropriate, considering the provision of Section 22 of SO ORDERED.
the Rule on the Writ of Amparo which reads:
Promulgated:

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE WRIT OF G.R. No. 191805
November 15, 2011
AMPARO AND HABEAS DATA IN FAVOR OF
NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ,

x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ,
Petitioner,
DECISION

- versus - SERENO, J.:

Before this Court are two consolidated cases, namely, (1) Petition for Partial Review on
Certiorari dated 20 April 2010 (G.R. No. 191805), and (2) Petition for Review on Certiorari dated
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, GEN. VICTOR S.
IBRADO, PDG JESUS AME VERSOZA, LT. GEN. 19 August 2010 (G.R. No. 193160).[1] Both Petitions assail the 12 April 2010 Decision of the Court
DELFIN BANGIT, MAJ. GEN. NESTOR Z. OCHOA, of Appeals, the dispositive portion of which reads:
P/CSUPT. AMETO G. TOLENTINO, P/SSUPT. JUDE W.
SANTOS, COL. REMIGIO M. DE VERA, an officer WHEREFORE, the petition for writ of amparo and writ of habeas data
named MATUTINA, LT. COL. MINA, CALOG, is GRANTED.
GEORGE PALACPAC under the name HARRY,
Respondents Gen. Victor S. Ibrado, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, Maj. Gen. Nestor Z.
ANTONIO CRUZ, ALDWIN BONG PASICOLAN and
Ochoa, PCSupt. Ameto G. Tolentino, PSSupt. Jude W. Santos, Col. Remigio M. De Vera,
VINCENT CALLAGAN, Lt. Col. Laurence E. Mina and 1Lt. Ryan S. Matutina, or their replacements in their
Respondents. official posts if they have already vacated the same, are ORDERED to furnish this Court
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x within five (5) days from notice of this decision, official or unofficial reports pertaining
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE WRIT OF G.R. No. 193160 to petitioner covering but not limited to intelligence reports, operation reports and
AMPARO AND HABEAS DATA IN FAVOR OF NORIEL provost marshal reports prior to, during and subsequent to September 6, 2009 made
by the 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, its branches and subsidiaries, including the
H. RODRIGUEZ, Present:
17th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army.

POLICE DIR. GEN. JESUS A. VERSOZA, P/SSUPT. JUDE CORONA, C.J.,


The above-named respondents are also DIRECTED to refrain from using the
W. SANTOS, BGEN. REMEGIO M. DE VERA, 1ST LT. CARPIO,
said reports in any transaction or operation of the military. Necessarily, the afore-
VELASCO, JR.,
RYAN S. MATUTINA, LT. COL. LAURENCE E. MINA, named respondents are ORDERED to expunge from the records of the military all
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,*
ANTONIO C. CRUZ, ALDWIN C. PASICOLAN and documents having any reference to petitioner.
BRION,
VICENTE A. CALLAGAN, PERALTA,
Likewise, the afore-named respondents, as well as respondents Police Director
Petitioners, BERSAMIN,
General Jesus Ame Versoza, Antonio Cruz, Aldwin Pasicolan and Vicente Callagan
DEL CASTILLO,*
are DIRECTED to ensure that no further violation of petitioners rights to life, liberty and
ABAD,
security is committed against the latter or any member of his family.
- versus - VILLARAMA, JR.,
PEREZ,
The petition is DISMISSED with respect to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
MENDOZA,
on account of her presidential immunity from suit. Similarly, the petition
SERENO,
is DISMISSED with respect to respondents Calog and George Palacpac or Harry for
REYES, and
lack of merit.
NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ, PERLAS-BERNABE, JJ.
Respondent. Petitioners prayer for issuance of a temporary protection order and inspection
order is DENIED.
Noriel Rodriguez (Rodriguez) is petitioner in G.R. No. 191805 and respondent in G.R. No. Rodriguez was brought to a canteen, where six men confronted him, ordering him to
193160. He is a member of Alyansa Dagiti Mannalon Iti Cagayan (Kagimungan), a peasant confess to his membership in the NPA. Due to his exhaustion, he unintentionally fell asleep. As
organization affiliated with Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). a result, the men hit him on the head to wake him up. After the interrogation, two of the men
guarded him, but did not allow him to sleep.[5]
On the other hand, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (former President Arroyo), Police
Director General (PDG.) Jesus A. Verzosa, Police Senior Superintendent (P/SSupt.) Jude W. In the morning of 7 September 2009, the men tied the hands of Rodriguez, blindfolded him and
Santos, Brigadier General (Brig. Gen.) Remegio M. De Vera, First Lieutenant (1 st Lt.) Ryan S. made him board a vehicle. While they were in transit, the soldiers repeatedly hit him in the
Matutina, Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.) Laurence E. Mina, Antonio C. Cruz (Cruz), Aldwin C. head and threatened to kill him. When the car stopped after about ten minutes, the soldiers
Pasicolan (Pasicolan) and Vicente A. Callagan (Callagan) are respondents in G.R. No. 191805 brought him to a room, removed his blindfold, and forced him to confess to being a member
and petitioners in G.R. No. 193160. At the time the events relevant to the present Petitions of the NPA. During the interrogation, the soldiers repeatedly hit him on the head. Thereafter,
occurred, former President Arroyo was the President of the Philippines. PDG. Verzosa, P/SSupt. he was detained inside the room for the entire day. The soldiers tied his stomach to
Santos, Brig. Gen. De Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina and Lt. Col. Mina were officers of the Philippine a papag, and gave him rice and viand. Fearing that the food might be poisoned, he refused
National Police (PNP). Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan were Special Investigators of the to eat anything. He slept on the papag while being tied to it at the waist.[6]
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Region II.
On 8 September 2009, the men forced Rodriguez into a vehicle, which brought them to Bugey
Antecedent Facts and Mission.While passing houses along the way, the men asked him if his contacts lived in
those houses. When he failed to answer, a soldier pointed a gun to his head and threatened
Rodriguez claims that the military tagged KMP as an enemy of the State under the
to kill him and his family. Because he remained silent, the soldiers beat him and tied him up. The
Oplan Bantay Laya, making its members targets of extrajudicial killings and enforced vehicle returned to the military camp at past 1:00 p.m., where he was again subjected to
disappearances.[2]
tactical interrogation about the location of an NPA camp and his alleged NPA comrades. He
suffered incessant mauling every time he failed to answer.[7]
On 6 September 2009, at 5:00 p.m., Rodriguez had just reached Barangay Tapel, Cagayan
onboard a tricycle driven by Hermie Antonio Carlos (Carlos), when four men forcibly took him
At dawn on 9 September 2009, soldiers armed with rifles took Rodriguez and made him their
and forced him into a car. Inside the vehicle were several men in civilian clothes, one of whom guide on their way to an NPA camp in Birao. Accompanying them was a man named Harry,
was holding a .45 caliber pistol. Subsequently, three more persons arrived, and one of them
who, according to the soldiers, was an NPA member who had surrendered to the military. Harry
carried a gun at his side. Two men boarded the car, while the others rode on the tricycle.[3] pointed to Rodriguez and called him a member of the NPA. He also heard Harry tell the soldiers
that the latter knew the area well and was acquainted with a man named Elvis. The soldiers
The men tied the hands of Rodriguez, ordered him to lie on his stomach, sat on his back and
loaded Rodriguez into a military truck and drove to Tabbak, Bugey. While he was walking with
started punching him. The car travelled towards the direction of Sta. Teresita-Mission and
the soldiers, he noticed a soldier with the name tag Matutina, who appeared to be an official
moved around the area until about 2:00 a.m. During the drive, the men forced Rodriguez to
because the other soldiers addressed him as sir.[8]
confess to being a member of the New Peoples Army (NPA), but he remained silent. The car
then entered a place that appeared to be a military camp. There were soldiers all over the
Upon reaching Birao on foot, the soldiers looked for and was able to locate a certain Elvis and
area, and there was a banner with the word Bravo written on it. Rodriguez later on learned told him that Rodriguez had identified his whereabouts location. The soldiers forced Rodriguez
that the camp belonged to the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.[4]
to convince Elvis to disclose the location of the NPA camp. They brought the two to the
mountains, where both were threatened with death.When the soldiers punched Elvis, and wear a white polo shirt handed to him. He was then brought to the Enrile Medical Center,
Rodriguez told them that he would reveal the location of the NPA camp if they let Elvis go where Dr. Juliet Ramil (Dr. Ramil) examined him. [14] When the doctor asked him why he had
home. They finally released Elvis around 3:00 p.m. that day. The soldiers and Rodriguez spent bruises and contusions, he lied and told her that he sustained them when he slipped, as he
the next three nights in the mountains.[9] noticed a soldier observing him. Dr. Ramils medical certificate indicated that he suffered from
four hematomas in the epigastric area, chest and sternum.[15]
On 12 September 2009, the soldiers again hit Rodriguez and forced him to identify the location
of the NPA camp. He was blindfolded and warned to get ready because they would beat him Back at the camp, the soldiers let Rodriguez eat with several military officials and took pictures
up again in the military camp. Upon arrival therein, they brought him to the same room where of him while he was eating with them. They also asked him to point to a map in front of him
he had first been detained, and two soldiers mauled him again. They repeatedly punched and and again took his photograph. Later, they told him that he would finally see his mother. [16]
kicked him. In the afternoon, they let him rest and gave him an Alaxan tablet. Thereafter, he
Rodriguez was brought to another military camp, where he was ordered to sign a piece of
fell asleep due to over-fatigue and extreme body pain. The soldiers, however, hit him again.
After giving him a pen and a piece of paper, they ordered him to write down his request for paper stating that he was a surrenderee and was never beaten up. Scared and desperate to
end his ordeal, he signed the paper and was warned not to report anything to the media.[17]
rice from the people. When he refused, the soldiers maltreated him once more. [10]

On 13 September 2009, the soldiers forced Rodriguez to sign documents declaring that he had Around 6:00 a.m. on 17 September 2009, the soldiers instructed petitioner to take a bath. They
gave him a pair of jeans and perfume. While he was having breakfast, the two soldiers
surrendered in an encounter in Cumao, and that the soldiers did not shoot him because he
became a military asset in May. When he refused to sign the document, he received another guarding him repeatedly reminded him not to disclose to the media his experience in the
camp and to say instead that he had surrendered to the military.[18]
beating. Thus, he was compelled to sign, but did so using a different signature to show that he
was merely coerced.[11]
At 9:00 a.m. on the same day, the mother and the brother of Rodriguez arrived surrounded by
several men. His mother, Wilma Rodriguez (Wilma), talked to Lt. Col. Mina. Rodriguez heard one
The soldiers showed Rodriguez photographs of different persons and asked him if he knew the
men appearing therein. When he told them that he did not recognize the individuals on the of the soldiers tell Wilma that he had surrendered to the military and had long been its asset.
His brother, Rodel Rodriguez (Rodel), informed him that the men accompanying them were
photos, the soldiers instructed him to write down the name of his school and organization, but
he declined. The soldiers then wrote something on the paper, making it appear that he was from the CHR, namely, Pasicolan, Cruz and Callagan. Upon seeing Rodriguez, Cruz instructed
him to lift up his shirt, and one of the CHR employees took photographs of his bruises.[19]
the one who had written it, and forced him to sign the document. The soldiers took
photographs of him while he was signing. Afterwards, the soldiers forced him down, held his
A soldier tried to convince Wilma to let Rodriguez stay in the camp for another two weeks to
hands, and sat on his feet. He did not only receive another beating, but was also electrocuted.
supposedly prevent the NPA from taking revenge on him. Respondent Calog also approached
The torture lasted for about an hour.[12]
Rodriguez and Rodel and asked them to become military assets. Rodel refused and insisted
that they take Rodriguez home to Manila. Again, the soldiers reminded them to refrain from
At 11:00 p.m. on 15 September 2009, the soldiers brought Rodriguez to a military operation in
the mountains, where he saw Matutina again. They all spent the night there.[13] facing the media. The soldiers also told them that the latter will be taken to the Tuguegarao
Airport and guarded until they reached home.[20]
In the morning of 16 September 2009, the soldiers and Rodriguez started their descent. When
they stopped, the soldiers took his photograph and asked him to name the location of the NPA Rodriguez and his family missed their flight. Subsequently, the soldiers accompanied them to
the CHR office, where Rodriguez was made to sign an affidavit stating that he was neither
camp. Thereafter, they all returned to the military camp. The soldiers asked him to take a bath
abducted nor tortured. Afraid and desperate to return home, he was forced to sign the a. The issuance of the writ of amparo ordering respondents to desist from violating
document. Cruz advised him not to file a case against his abductors because they had already Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and security.
freed him. The CHR personnel then led him and his family to the CHR Toyota Tamaraw FX service
b. The issuance of an order to enjoin respondents from doing harm to or approaching
vehicle. He noticed that a vehicle with soldiers on board followed them. [21]
Rodriguez, his family and his witnesses.
The Tamaraw FX pulled over and respondent 1st Lt. Matutina boarded the vehicle. Upon
c. Allowing the inspection of the detention areas of the Headquarters of Bravo Co.,
reaching a mall in Isabela, Rodriguez, his family, Callagan, 1st Lt. Matutina and two other soldiers
transferred to an orange Toyota Revo with plate number WTG 579. Upon reaching the boundary 5th Infantry Division, Maguing, Gonzaga, Cagayan and another place near where Rodriguez
was brought.
of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Viscaya, 1st Lt. Matutina alighted and called Rodriguez to a diner. A
certain Alan approached Rodriguez and handed him a cellphone with a SIM card. The latter
d. Ordering respondents to produce documents submitted to them regarding any
and his family then left and resumed their journey back home.[22]
report on Rodriguez, including operation reports and provost marshall reports of the 5th Infantry

Rodriguez reached his house in Sta. Ana, Manila at 3:00 a.m. on 18 September 2010. Callagan and Division, the Special Operations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), prior to, on
and subsequent to 6 September 2009.
two soldiers went inside the house, and took photographs and a video footage thereof. The soldiers
explained that the photos and videos would serve as evidence of the fact that Rodriguez and his
e. Ordering records pertinent or in any way connected to Rodriguez, which are in
family were able to arrive home safely. Despite Rodriguezs efforts to confront the soldiers about their
the custody of respondents, to be expunged, disabused, and forever barred from being
acts, they still continued and only left thirty minutes later.[23]
used.[27]

On 19 September 2009, Dr. Reginaldo Pamugas, a physician trained by the International


On 15 December 2009, we granted the respective writs after finding that the petition
Committee on Torture and Rehabilitation, examined Rodriguez and issued a Medical Certificate
sufficiently alleged that Rodriguez had been abducted, tortured and later released by
stating that the latter had been a victim of torture.[24]
members of the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.[28] We likewise ordered

Around 7:00 a.m. on 3 November 2010, Rodriguez and his girlfriend, Aileen Hazel Robles, respondents therein to file a verified return on the writs on or before 22 December 2009 and to
comment on the petition on or before 4 January 2010.[29] Finally, we directed the Court of
noticed that several suspicious-looking men followed them at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), in
the streets and on a jeepney.[25] Appeals to hear the petition on 4 January 2010 and decide on the case within 10 days after its
submission for decision.[30]
On 7 December 2009, Rodriguez filed before this Court a Petition for the Writ of Amparo and
Petition for the Writ of Habeas Data with Prayers for Protection Orders, Inspection of Place, and During the initial hearing on 4 January 2010, the Court of Appeals required the parties
to submit affidavits and other pieces of evidence at the next scheduled hearing on 27 January
Production of Documents and Personal Properties dated 2 December 2009.[26] The petition was
filed against former President Arroyo, Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Versoza, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Major 2010.[31]

General (Maj. Gen.) Nestor Z. Ochoa, P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Col. De Vera, 1st Lt.
On 8 January 2010, respondents therein, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed
Matutina, Calog, George Palacpac (Palacpac), Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan. The petition
their Return of the Writ, which was likewise considered as their comment on the petition.[32] In
prayed for the following reliefs:
their Return, respondents therein alleged that Rodriguez had surrendered to the military on 28
May 2009 after he had been put under surveillance and identified as Ka Pepito by former document, herein CHR officers did not witness any threat, intimidation or force employed
rebels.[33] According to his military handlers, Corporal (Cpl.) Rodel against Rodriguez or his family. [47]

During their journey back to the home of Rodriguez, the CHR officers observed that he
was very much at ease with his military escorts, especially with 1 st Lt. Matutina.[48] Neither was
B. Cabaccan and Cpl. Julius P. Navarro, Rodriguez was a former member of the NPA operating
there any force or intimidation when the soldiers took pictures of his house, as the taking of
in Cagayan Valley.[34] Wanting to bolt from the NPA, he told Cpl. Cabaccan and Cpl. Navarro
photographs was performed with Wilmas consent.[49]
that he would help the military in exchange for his protection.[35]

During the hearing on 27 January 2010, the parties agreed to file additional affidavits
Upon his voluntary surrender on 28 May 2009, Rodriguez was made to sign an Oath of
and position papers and to have the case considered submitted for decision after the filing of
Loyalty and an Agents Agreement/Contract, showing his willingness to return to society and
these pleadings.[50]
become a military asset.[36] Since then, he acted as a double agent, returning to the NPA to
gather information.[37] However, he feared that his NPA comrades were beginning to suspect
On 12 April 2010, the Court of Appeals rendered its assailed Decision. [51] Subsequently, on 28
him of being an infiltrator.[38] Thus, with his knowledge and consent, the soldiers planned to
April 2010, respondents therein filed their Motion for Reconsideration.[52] Before the Court of
stage a sham abduction to erase any suspicion about him being a double agent. [39] Hence,
Appeals could resolve this Motion for Reconsideration, Rodriguez filed the instant Petition
the abduction subject of the instant petition was conducted.[40]
for Partial Review on Certiorari (G.R. No. 191805), raising the following assignment of errors:

Meanwhile, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan filed a Consolidated Return of the Writ dated 15 a. The Court of Appeals erred in not granting the Interim Relief for temporary
protection order.
January 2010,[41]alleging that they had exercised extraordinary diligence in locating Rodriguez,
facilitating his safe turnover to his family and securing their journey back home to Manila. More b. The Court of Appeals erred in saying: (H)owever, given the nature of the
writ of amparo, which has the effect of enjoining the commission by respondents of
specifically, they alleged that, on 16 September 2009, after Wilma sought their assistance in
violation to petitioners right to life, liberty and security, the safety of petitioner is ensured
ascertaining the whereabouts of her son, Cruz made phone calls to the military and law with the issuance of the writ, even in the absence of an order preventing respondent
from approaching petitioner.
enforcement agencies to determine his location.[42] Cruz was able to speak with Lt. Col. Mina,
who confirmed that Rodriguez was in their custody.[43] This information was transmitted to CHR c. The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that respondent Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo had command responsibility.[53]
Regional Director Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga. He, in turn, ordered Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan to
accompany Wilma to the 17thInfantry Division.[44]

On the other hand, respondents therein, in their Comment dated 30 July 2010,
When the CHR officers, along with Wilma and Rodel, arrived at the 17 th Infantry
Battalion at Masin, Alcala, Cagayan, Brigade Commander Col. de Vera and Battalion averred:
Commander Lt. Col. Mina alleged that Rodriguez had become one of their assets, as
a. The Court of Appeals properly dropped then President Gloria Macapagal
evidenced by the Summary on the Surrender of Noriel Rodriguez and the latters Contract as Arroyo as a party-respondent, as she may not be sued in any case during her tenure
of office or actual incumbency.
Agent.[45] The CHR officers observed his casual and cordial demeanor with the soldiers. [46] In
any case, Cruz asked him to raise his shirt to see if he had been subjected to any maltreatment. b. Petitioner had not presented any adequate and competent evidence,
much less substantial evidence, to establish his claim that public respondents had
Cruz and Pasicolan did not see any traces of torture. Thereafter, Rodriguez was released to his
violated, were violating or threatening to violate his rights to life, liberty and security,
family, and they were made to sign a certification to this effect. During the signing of the as well as his right to privacy. Hence, he was not entitled to the privilege of the writs
of amparoand habeas data or to the corresponding interim reliefs (i.e. inspection
The writ of amparo is an extraordinary and independent remedy that provides rapid
order, production order and temporary protection order) provided under the rule on
the writ of amparo and the rule on the writ of habeas data.[54] judicial relief, as it partakes of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence
to make the appropriate interim and permanent reliefs available to the petitioner. [61] It is not
an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for
On 19 August 2010, PDG. Verzosa, P/SSupt. Santos, BGen. De Vera, 1 st Lt. Matutina, Lt.
damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring
Col. Mina, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari, seeking the
substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.[62] Rather, it serves both
reversal of the 12 April 2010 Decision of the Court of Appeals. [55] They alleged that Rodriguez
preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extrajudicial killings and enforced
Has not presented any adequate and competent evidence, must less disappearances.[63] It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the
substantial evidence, to establish his claim that petitioners have violated, are violating
or threatening with violation his rights to life, liberty and security, as well as his right to commission of these offenses, and it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment
privacy; hence, he is not entitled to the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas of perpetrators by inevitably leading to subsequent investigation and action.[64]
data and their corresponding interim reliefs (i.e., inspection order, production order
and temporary protection order) provided under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo and
the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data.[56] Meanwhile, the writ of habeas data provides a judicial remedy to protect a persons
right to control information regarding oneself, particularly in instances where such information
is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. [65] As an
In ascertaining whether the Court of Appeals committed reversible error in issuing its
independent and summary remedy to protect the right to privacy especially the right to
assailed Decision and Resolution, the following issues must be resolved:
informational privacy[66] the proceedings for the issuance of the writ of habeas data does not

I. Whether the interim reliefs prayed for by Rodriguez may be granted after the writs entail any finding of criminal, civil or administrative culpability. If the allegations in the petition

of amparo and habeas data have already been issued in his favor. are proven through substantial evidence, then the Court may (a) grant access to the
database or information; (b) enjoin the act complained of; or (c) in case the database or
II. Whether former President Arroyo should be dropped as a respondent on the basis of the information contains erroneous data or information, order its deletion, destruction or
presidential immunity from suit. rectification.[67]

III. Whether the doctrine of command responsibility can be used in amparo and habeas data
cases.

IV. Whether the rights to life, liberty and property of Rodriguez were violated or threatened by
First issue: Grant of interim reliefs
respondents in G.R. No. 191805.
In the petition in G.R. No. 191805, Rodriguez prays for the issuance of a temporary
At the outset, it must be emphasized that the writs of amparo and habeas data were
protection order. It must be underscored that this interim relief is only available before final
promulgated to ensure the protection of the peoples rights to life, liberty and security.[57] The
judgment. Section 14 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo clearly provides:
rules on these writs were issued in light of the alarming prevalence of extrajudicial killings and
Interim Reliefs. Upon filing of the petition or at anytime before final judgment,
enforced disappearances.[58] The Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on 24 October
the court, justice or judge may grant any of the following reliefs:
2007,[59] and the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data on 2 February 2008.[60]
Temporary Protection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon motion or motu
proprio, may order that the petitioner or the aggrieved party and any member of the
immediate family be protected in a government agency or by an accredited person the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program, pursuant to Republic Act No.
or private institution capable of keeping and securing their safety. If the petitioner is 6981.
an organization, association or institution referred to in Section 3(c) of this Rule, the
protection may be extended to the officers involved. The court, justice or judge may also refer the witnesses to other government
agencies, or to accredited persons or private institutions capable of keeping and
The Supreme Court shall accredit the persons and private institutions that shall securing their safety. (Emphasis supplied)
extend temporary protection to the petitioner or the aggrieved party and any
member of the immediate family, in accordance with guidelines which it shall issue.
We held in Yano v. Sanchez[68] that [t]hese provisional reliefs are intended to assist the
The accredited persons and private institutions shall comply with the rules and
conditions that may be imposed by the court, justice or judge. court before it arrives at a judicious determination of the amparo petition. Being interim reliefs,
they can only be granted before a final adjudication of the case is made. In any case, it must
(a) Inspection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon verified motion
and after due hearing, may order any person in possession or control of a designated be underscored that the privilege of the writ of amparo, once granted, necessarily entails the
land or other property, to permit entry for the purpose of inspecting, measuring,
protection of the aggrieved party. Thus, since we grant petitioner the privilege of the writ
surveying, or photographing the property or any relevant object or operation thereon.
of amparo, there is no need to issue a temporary protection order independently of the former.
The motion shall state in detail the place or places to be inspected. It shall be
The order restricting respondents from going near Rodriguez is subsumed under the privilege of
supported by affidavits or testimonies of witnesses having personal knowledge of the
enforced disappearance or whereabouts of the aggrieved party. the writ.

If the motion is opposed on the ground of national security or of the privileged Second issue: Presidential immunity from suit
nature of the information, the court, justice or judge may conduct a hearing in
chambers to determine the merit of the opposition.
It bears stressing that since there is no determination of administrative, civil or criminal
The movant must show that the inspection order is necessary to establish the liability in amparoand habeas data proceedings, courts can only go as far as ascertaining
right of the aggrieved party alleged to be threatened or violated.
responsibility or accountability for the enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing. As we
The inspection order shall specify the person or persons authorized to make held in Razon v. Tagitis:[69]
the inspection and the date, time, place and manner of making the inspection and
may prescribe other conditions to protect the constitutional rights of all parties. The It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the
order shall expire five (5) days after the date of its issuance, unless extended for disappearance; rather, it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the
justifiable reasons. enforced disappearance for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to
address the disappearance. Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been
(b) Production Order. The court, justice, or judge, upon verified motion established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action
and after due hearing, may order any person in possession, custody or control of any or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court
designated documents, papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, objects or shall craft, among them, the directive to file the appropriate criminal and civil cases
tangible things, or objects in digitized or electronic form, which constitute or contain against the responsible parties in the proper courts. Accountability, on the other hand,
evidence relevant to the petition or the return, to produce and permit their inspection, refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those who
copying or photographing by or on behalf of the movant. exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of
their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with
The motion may be opposed on the ground of national security or of the knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of
privileged nature of the information, in which case the court, justice or judge may disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of
conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit of the opposition. extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. In all
these cases, the issuance of the Writ of Amparo is justified by our primary goal of
The court, justice or judge shall prescribe other conditions to protect the addressing the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty
constitutional rights of all the parties. and security are restored.[70] (Emphasis supplied.)

(c) Witness Protection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon motion
or motu proprio, may refer the witnesses to the Department of Justice for admission to
This is in accord with our ruling in In Re: Saturnino Bermudez that incumbent
Thus, in the case at bar, the Court of Appeals, in its Decision[71] found respondents in G.R.
Presidents are immune from suit or from being brought to court during the period of
No. 191805 with the exception of Calog, Palacpac or Harry to be accountable for the violations of their incumbency and tenure but not beyond. xxx
Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and security committed by the 17th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry
We now come to the scope of immunity that can be claimed by petitioner as
Division of the Philippine Army. [72] The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition with respect to former a non-sitting President. The cases filed against petitioner Estrada are criminal in
character. They involve plunder, bribery and graft and corruption. By no stretch of the
President Arroyo on account of her presidential immunity from suit. Rodriguez contends, though,
imagination can these crimes, especially plunder which carries the death penalty, be
that she should remain a respondent in this case to enable the courts to determine whether she is covered by the alleged mantle of immunity of a non-sitting president. Petitioner
cannot cite any decision of this Court licensing the President to commit criminal acts
responsible or accountable therefor. In this regard, it must be clarified that the Court of Appeals
and wrapping him with post-tenure immunity from liability. It will be anomalous to hold
rationale for dropping her from the list of respondents no longer stands since her presidential that immunity is an inoculation from liability for unlawful acts and omissions. The rule is
that unlawful acts of public officials are not acts of the State and the officer who acts
immunity is limited only to her incumbency.
illegally is not acting as such but stands in the same footing as any other trespasser.

In Estrada v. Desierto,[73] we clarified the doctrine that a non-sitting President does not Indeed, a critical reading of current literature on executive immunity will
reveal a judicial disinclination to expand the privilege especially when it impedes the
enjoy immunity from suit, even for acts committed during the latters tenure. We emphasize our
search for truth or impairs the vindication of a right. In the 1974 case of US v. Nixon, US
ruling therein that courts should look with disfavor upon the presidential privilege of immunity, President Richard Nixon, a sitting President, was subpoenaed to produce certain
recordings and documents relating to his conversations with aids and advisers. Seven
especially when it impedes the search for truth or impairs the vindication of a right, to wit:
advisers of President Nixon's associates were facing charges of conspiracy to obstruct
justice and other offenses which were committed in a burglary of the Democratic
We reject [Estradas] argument that he cannot be prosecuted for the reason
National Headquarters in Washington's Watergate Hotel during the 1972 presidential
that he must first be convicted in the impeachment proceedings. The impeachment
campaign. President Nixon himself was named an unindicted co-conspirator.
trial of petitioner Estrada was aborted by the walkout of the prosecutors and by the
President Nixon moved to quash the subpoena on the ground, among others, that the
events that led to his loss of the presidency. Indeed, on February 7, 2001, the Senate
President was not subject to judicial process and that he should first be impeached
passed Senate Resolution No. 83 Recognizing that the Impeachment Court is Functus
and removed from office before he could be made amenable to judicial
Officio. Since the Impeachment Court is now functus officio, it is untenable for
proceedings. The claim was rejected by the US Supreme Court. It concluded that
petitioner to demand that he should first be impeached and then convicted before
when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in
he can be prosecuted. The plea if granted, would put a perpetual bar against his
a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot
prosecution. Such a submission has nothing to commend itself for it will place him in a
prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration
better situation than a non-sitting President who has not been subjected to
of criminal justice. In the 1982 case of Nixon v. Fitzgerald, the US Supreme Court further
impeachment proceedings and yet can be the object of a criminal prosecution. To be
held that the immunity of the President from civil damages covers only official acts.
sure, the debates in the Constitutional Commission make it clear that when
Recently, the US Supreme Court had the occasion to reiterate this doctrine in the case
impeachment proceedings have become moot due to the resignation of the
of Clinton v. Jones where it held that the US President's immunity from suits for money
President, the proper criminal and civil cases may already be filed against him, viz:
damages arising out of their official acts is inapplicable to unofficial
conduct.[74] (Emphasis supplied)
xxx xxx xxx

Mr. Aquino. On another point, if an impeachment proceeding has


been filed against the President, for example, and the President resigns before Further, in our Resolution in Estrada v. Desierto,[75] we reiterated that the presidential
judgment of conviction has been rendered by the impeachment court or by
immunity from suit exists only in concurrence with the presidents incumbency:
the body, how does it affect the impeachment proceeding? Will it be
necessarily dropped?
Petitioner stubbornly clings to the contention that he is entitled to absolute
immunity from suit. His arguments are merely recycled and we need not prolong the
Mr. Romulo. If we decide the purpose of impeachment to remove
longevity of the debate on the subject. In our Decision, we exhaustively traced the
one from office, then his resignation would render the case moot and
origin of executive immunity in our jurisdiction and its bends and turns up to the present
academic. However, as the provision says, the criminal and civil aspects of it
time. We held that given the intent of the 1987 Constitution to breathe life to the policy
may continue in the ordinary courts.
that a public office is a public trust, the petitioner, as a non-sitting President, cannot
claim executive immunity for his alleged criminal acts committed while a sitting
President. Petitioner's rehashed arguments including their thinly disguised new spins are
Applying the foregoing rationale to the case at bar, it is clear that former President Arroyo
based on the rejected contention that he is still President, albeit, a President on leave.
His stance that his immunity covers his entire term of office or until June 30, 2004 cannot use the presidential immunity from suit to shield herself from judicial scrutiny that would
disregards the reality that he has relinquished the presidency and there is now a
assess whether, within the context of amparo proceedings, she was responsible or accountable for
new de jure President.
the abduction of Rodriguez.
Petitioner goes a step further and avers that even a non-sitting President
enjoys immunity from suit during his term of office. He buttresses his position with the
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, viz: Third issue: Command responsibility
in amparo proceedings
Mr. Suarez. Thank you.

The last question is with reference to the Committee's omitting in the To attribute responsibility or accountability to former President Arroyo, Rodriguez
draft proposal the immunity provision for the President. I agree with contends that the doctrine of command responsibility may be applied. As we explained
Commissioner Nolledo that the Committee did very well in striking out this
second sentence, at the very least, of the original provision on immunity from in Rubrico v. Arroyo,[77] command responsibility pertains to the responsibility of commanders for
suit under the 1973 Constitution. But would the Committee members not agree crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to
to a restoration of at least the first sentence that the president shall be immune
from suit during his tenure, considering that if we do not provide him that kind their control in international wars or domestic conflict.[78] Although originally used for
of an immunity, he might be spending all his time facing litigations, as the ascertaining criminal complicity, the command responsibility doctrine has also found
President-in-exile in Hawaii is now facing litigations almost daily?
application in civil cases for human rights abuses.[79] In the United States, for example,
Fr. Bernas: command responsibility was used in Ford v. Garcia and Romagoza v. Garcia civil actions filed

The reason for the omission is that we consider it understood in present under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. [80] This development in
jurisprudence that during his tenure he is immune from suit. the use of command responsibility in civil proceedings shows that the application of this

Mr. Suarez: doctrine has been liberally extended even to cases not criminal in nature. Thus, it is our view
that command responsibility may likewise find application in proceedings seeking the privilege
So there is no need to express it here.
of the writ of amparo. As we held in Rubrico:
Fr. Bernas:
It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to
There is no need. It was that way before. The only innovation made hold military/police commanders liable for extra-legal killings, enforced
by the 1973 Constitution was to make that explicit and to add other things. disappearances, or threats, may be made applicable to this jurisdiction on the theory
that the command responsibility doctrine now constitutes a principle of international
Mr. Suarez: law or customary international law in accordance with the incorporation clause of the
Constitution.
On the understanding, I will not press for any more query, madam
President. If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these
I thank the Commissioner for the clarification. proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine the author who, at the first
instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the disappearance and
Petitioner, however, fails to distinguish between term and tenure. The term harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to devise remedial measures
means the time during which the officer may claim to hold the office as of right, and that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered by the writ of
fixes the interval after which the several incumbents shall succeed one another. The amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to fix
tenure represents the term during which the incumbent actually holds office. The tenure criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to
may be shorter than the term for reasons within or beyond the power of the incumbent. administrative disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there
From the deliberations, the intent of the framers is clear that the immunity of the president be any.[81] (Emphasis supplied.)
from suit is concurrent only with his tenure and not his term.[76](Emphasis supplied)
In fine, I submit that the Court should take this opportunity to state what the
Precisely in the case at bar, the doctrine of command responsibility may be used to
law ought to be if it truly wants to make the Writ of Amparo an effective remedy for
determine whether respondents are accountable for and have the duty to address the victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. While
there is a genuine dearth of evidence to hold respondents Gen. Hermogenes Esperon
abduction of Rodriguez in order to enable the courts to devise remedial measures to protect
and P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon accountable under the command responsibility
his rights. Clearly, nothing precludes this Court from applying the doctrine of command doctrine, the ponencias hesitant application of the doctrine itself is replete with
implications abhorrent to the rationale behind the Rule on the Writ of
responsibility in amparo proceedings to ascertain responsibility and accountability in
Amparo.[82](Emphasis supplied.)
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. In this regard, the Separate Opinion of
Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales in Rubrico is worth noting, thus:
This Separate Opinion was reiterated in the recently decided case of Boac v.
That proceedings under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo do not determine
criminal, civil or administrative liability should not abate the applicability of the Cadapan,[83] likewise penned by Justice Carpio-Morales, wherein this Court ruled:
doctrine of command responsibility. Taking Secretary of National Defense v.
Manalo and Razon v. Tagitis in proper context, they do not preclude the application Rubrico categorically denies the application of command responsibility
of the doctrine of command responsibility to Amparo cases. in amparo cases to determine criminal liability. The Court maintains its adherence to
this pronouncement as far as amparo cases are concerned.
Manalo was actually emphatic on the importance of the right to security of
person and its contemporary signification as a guarantee of protection of ones rights Rubrico, however, recognizes a preliminary yet limited application of
by the government. It further stated that protection includes conducting effective command responsibility in amparo cases to instances of determining
investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to the responsible or accountable individuals or entities that are duty-bound to abate
victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, or threats thereof, and/or any transgression on the life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party.
their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice.
Tagitis, on the other hand, cannot be more categorical on the application, at If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these
least in principle, of the doctrine of command responsibility: proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine the author who, at the
first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the
Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to
were the ones who were remiss in their duties when the government devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to
completely failed to exercise the extraordinary diligence that the Amparo protect rights covered by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however,
Rule requires. We hold these organizations accountable through their the determination should not be pursued to fix criminal liability on respondents
incumbent Chiefs who, under this Decision, shall carry the personal preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to administrative
responsibility of seeing to it that extraordinary diligence, in the manner the disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be
Amparo Rule requires, is applied in addressing the enforced any.
disappearance of Tagitis.
In other words, command responsibility may be loosely applied
Neither does Republic Act No. 9851 emasculate the applicability of the in amparo cases in order to identify those accountable individuals that have the
command responsibility doctrine to Amparo cases. The short title of the law is power to effectively implement whatever processes an amparo court wouldissue. In
the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and such application, the amparo court does not impute criminal responsibility but merely
Other Crimes Against Humanity. Obviously, it should, as it did, only treat of superior pinpoint the superiors it considers to be in the best position to protect the rights of the
responsibility as a ground for criminal responsibility for the crimes covered. Such limited aggrieved party.
treatment, however, is merely in keeping with the statutes purpose and not intended
to rule out the application of the doctrine of command responsibility to other Such identification of the responsible and accountable superiors may well be
appropriate cases. a preliminary determination of criminal liability which, of course, is still subject to further
investigation by the appropriate government agency. (Emphasis supplied.)
Indeed, one can imagine the innumerable dangers of insulating high-ranking
military and police officers from the coverage of reliefs available under the Rule on
the Writ of Amparo. The explicit adoption of the doctrine of command responsibility in As earlier pointed out, amparo proceedings determine (a) responsibility, or the extent
the present case will only bring Manalo and Tagitis to their logical conclusion.
the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever
way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, and (b) accountability, or the established through circumstantial evidence.[87] In the Philippines, a more liberal view is
measure of remedies that should be addressed to those (i) who exhibited involvement in the adopted and superiors may be charged with constructive knowledge. This view is buttressed
enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of by the enactment of Executive Order No. 226, otherwise known as the Institutionalization of the
responsibility defined above; or (ii) who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced Doctrine of Command Responsibility in all Government Offices, particularly at all Levels of
disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or (iii) those who carry, but have failed Command in the Philippine National Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies (E.O.
to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced 226).[88]Under E.O. 226, a government official may be held liable for neglect of duty under the
disappearance. Thus, although there is no determination of criminal, civil or administrative doctrine of command responsibility if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be
liabilities, the doctrine of command responsibility may nevertheless be applied to ascertain committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within
responsibility and accountability within these foregoing definitions. his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective
action either before, during, or immediately after its commission. [89]Knowledge of the
a. Command responsibility of the
President commission of irregularities, crimes or offenses is presumed when (a) the acts are widespread
within the government officials area of jurisdiction; (b) the acts have been repeatedly or

Having established the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility regularly committed within his area of responsibility; or (c) members of his immediate staff or

in amparo proceedings, it must now be resolved whether the president, as commander-in- office personnel are involved.[90]

chief of the military, can be held responsible or accountable for extrajudicial killings and
Meanwhile, as to the issue of failure to prevent or punish, it is important to note that as the
enforced disappearances. We rule in the affirmative.
commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president has the power to effectively command,

To hold someone liable under the doctrine of command responsibility, the following control and discipline the military.[91]

elements must obtain:


b. Responsibility or accountability
of former President Arroyo
a. the existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the accused as superior and
the perpetrator of the crime as his subordinate;
The next question that must be tackled is whether Rodriguez has proven through

b. the superior knew or had reason to know that the crime was about to be or had been substantial evidence that former President Arroyo is responsible or accountable for his

committed; and abduction. We rule in the negative.

c. the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the criminal Rodriguez anchors his argument on a general allegation that on the basis of the Melo

acts or punish the perpetrators thereof.[84] Commission and the Alston Report, respondents in G.R. No. 191805 already had knowledge of
and information on, and should have known that a climate of enforced disappearances had
The president, being the commander-in-chief of all armed forces,[85] necessarily been perpetrated on members of the NPA.[92] Without even attaching, or at the very least,
possesses control over the military that qualifies him as a quoting these reports, Rodriguez contends that the Melo Report points to rogue military men
superior within the purview of the command responsibility doctrine. [86] as the perpetrators. While the Alston Report states that there is a policy allowing enforced
disappearances and pins the blame on the President, we do not automatically impute
On the issue of knowledge, it must be pointed out that although international tribunals
responsibility to former President Arroyo for each and every count of forcible
apply a strict standard of knowledge, i.e., actual knowledge, such may nonetheless be
disappearance.[93] Aside from Rodriguezs general averments, there is no piece of evidence that his suffering included an exhaustive description of his physical surroundings, personal circumstances
could establish her responsibility or accountability for his abduction. Neither was there even a clear and perceived observations. He likewise positively identified respondents 1st Lt. Matutina and Lt. Col.
attempt to show that she should have known about the violation of his right to life, liberty or security, Mina to be present during his abduction, detention and torture,[97] and respondents Cruz, Pasicolan
or that she had failed to investigate, punish or prevent it. and Callagan as the CHR representatives who appeared during his release.[98]

Fourth issue: Responsibility or accountability of


respondents in G.R. No. 191805 More particularly, the fact of Rodriguezs abduction was corroborated by Carlos in
his Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 16 September 2009,[99] wherein he recounted in detail the

The doctrine of totality of evidence in amparo cases was first laid down in this Courts ruling circumstances surrounding the victims capture.

in Razon,[94]to wit:
As regards the allegation of torture, the respective Certifications of Dr. Ramil and Dr.
The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces of evidence Pamugas validate the physical maltreatment Rodriguez suffered in the hands of the soldiers of the
adduced in their totality, and to consider any evidence otherwise inadmissible under our
usual rules to be admissible if it is consistent with the admissible evidence adduced. In other 17th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division. According to the Certification dated 12 October 2009
words, we reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason i.e., to therelevance of the
executed by Dr. Ramil,[100] she examined Rodriguez in the Alfonso Ponce Enrile Memorial District
evidence to the issue at hand and its consistency with all other pieces of adduced
evidence. Thus, even hearsay evidence can be admitted if it satisfies this basic minimum Hospital on 16 September 2009 and arrived at the following findings:
test.[95] (Emphasis supplied.)
FACE
- 10cm healed scar face right side
- 2cm healed scar right eyebrow (lateral area)
In the case at bar, we find no reason to depart from the factual findings of the Court of - 2cm healed scar right eye brow (median area)
Appeals, the same being supported by substantial evidence. A careful examination of the records - 4cm x 2cm hematoma anterior chest at the sternal area right side
- 3cm x 2cm hematoma sternal area left side
of this case reveals that the totality of the evidence adduced by Rodriguez indubitably prove the - 6cm x 1cm hematoma from epigastric area to ant. chest left side
- 6cm x 1cm hematoma from epigastric area to ant. chest right side
responsibility and accountability of some respondents in G.R. No. 191805 for violating his right to life,
- Multiple healed rashes (brownish discoloration) both forearm
liberty and security. - Multiple healed rashes (brownish discoloration)
- both leg arm
a. The totality of evidence proved by - hip area/lumbar area[101]
substantial evidence the responsibility or
accountability of respondents for the violation
of or threat to Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and
security. Dr. Pamugas performed a separate medical examination of Rodriguez on 19 September
2009, the results of which confirmed that the injuries suffered by the latter were inflicted through

After a careful examination of the records of these cases, we are convinced that the Court torture. Dr. Pamugas thus issued a Medical Report dated 23 September 2009,[102] explicitly stating

of Appeals correctly found sufficient evidence proving that the soldiers of the 17th Infantry Battalion, that Rodriguez had been tortured during his detention by the military, to wit:

5th Infantry Division of the military abducted Rodriguez on 6 September 2009, and detained and X. Interpretation of Findings
tortured him until 17 September 2009.
The above physical and psychological findings sustained by the subject are
related to the torture and ill-treatment done to him. The multiple circular brown to dark
Rodriguezs Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 4 December 2009 was a meticulous and brown spots found on both legs and arms were due to the insect bites that he sustained
when he was forced to join twice in the military operations. The abrasions could also be due
straightforward account of his horrific ordeal with the military, detailing the manner in which he was to the conditions related during military operations. The multiple pin-point blood spots found
on his left ear is a result of an unknown object placed inside his left ear. The areas of
captured and maltreated on account of his suspected membership in the NPA.[96] His narration of
tenderness he felt during the physical examination were due to the overwhelming punching
and kicking on his body. The occasional difficulty of sleeping is a symptom experience (sic)
Also, Rodel made the following supporting averments in his Sinumpaang Salaysay dated 3
by the subject as a result of the psychological trauma he encountered during his detention.
December 2009:[106]
XI. Conclusions and Recommendations
24. Na nang makita ko si Noriel, hindi sya makalakad ng diretso, hinang-hina sya,
The physical injuries and psychological trauma suffered by the subject are malaki ang ipinayat at nanlalalim ang mga mata;
secondary to the torture and ill-treatment done to him while in detention for about 11
days. The physical injuries sustained by the subject, of which the age is compatible with the 25. Na nang makita ko ang aking kapatid ay nakaramdam ako ng awa dahil
alleged date of infliction (sic).[103] (Emphasis supplied.) nakilala ko syang masigla at masayahin;

26. Na ilang minuto lang ay binulugan nya ako ng Kuya, ilabas mo ako dito,
papatayin nila ako.
In assessing the weight of the Certifications, the Court of Appeals correctly relied on the
medical finding that the injuries suffered by Rodriguez matched his account of the maltreatment 27. Na sinabihan kami ni Lt. Col. Mina na baka pwedeng maiwan pa ng dalwang
linggo ang aking kapatid sa kanila para raw ma-train sya.
inflicted on him by the soldiers of the 17th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.
Further, the kind of injuries he sustained showed that he could not have sustained them from merely
28. Na hindi kami pumayag ng aking nanay; xxx[107]
falling, thus making respondents claim highly implausible.

Despite these medical findings that overwhelmingly supported and lent credibility to the Moreover, the Court of Appeals likewise aptly pointed out the illogical, if not outrightly
allegations of Rodriguez in his Sinumpaang Salaysay, respondents in G.R. No. 191805 still stubbornly contradictory, contention of respondents in G.R. No. 191805 that while Rodriguez had complained
clung to their argument that he was neither abducted nor detained. Rather, they claimed that he of his exhaustion from his activities as a member of the CPP-NPA, he nevertheless willingly
was a double agent, whose relationship with the military was at all times congenial. This contention volunteered to return to his life in the NPA to become a double-agent for the military. The lower court
cannot be sustained, as it is far removed from ordinary human experience. ruled in this manner:

In the Return of the Writ, respondent AFP members alleged that petitioner confided
If it were true that Rodriguez maintained amicable relations with the military, then he should to his military handler, Cpl. Navarro, that petitioner could no longer stand the hardships he
have unhesitatingly assured his family on 17 September 2009 that he was among friends. Instead, he experienced in the wilderness, and that he wanted to become an ordinary citizen again
because of the empty promises of the CPP-NPA. However, in the same Return, respondents
vigorously pleaded with them to get him out of the military facility. In fact, in the Sinumpaang state that petitioner agreed to become a double agent for the military and wanted to re-
Salaysay dated 4 December 2009[104] Wilma executed, she made the following averments: enter the CPP-NPA, so that he could get information regarding the movement directly from
the source. If petitioner was tired of life in the wilderness and desired to become an ordinary
18. Na nang Makita ko ang aking anak ay nakaramdam ako sa kanya ng awa citizen again, it defies logic that he would agree to become an undercover agent and work
dahil sa mukha syang pagod at malaki ang kanyang ipinayat. alongside soldiers in the mountains or the wilderness he dreads to locate the hideout of his
alleged NPA comrades.[108] (Emphasis supplied.)
19. Na niyakap ko sya at sa aming pagkakayakap ay binulungan nya ako na wag
ko syang iiwan sa lugar na iyon;
Furthermore, the appellate court also properly ruled that aside from the abduction,
23. Na sinabihan ako ng mga sundalo na kung pwede daw ay maiwan muna ng
dalawang linggo sa kampo ako at si Noriel para daw matrain pa si Noriel sa loob ng kampo; detention and torture of Rodriguez, respondents, specifically 1st Lt. Matutina, had violated and
threatened the formers right to security when they made a visual recording of his house, as well as
24. Na hindi ako pumayag na maiwan ang aking anak;
the photos of his relatives, to wit:
33. Na sa kasalukuhan, hanggang ngayon ay nag-aalala pa ako sa paa (sic) sa
kaligtasan ng aming buong pamilya, lalo na kay Noriel; xxx[105] In the videos taken by the soldiers one of whom was respondent Matutina in the
house of petitioner on September 18, 2009, the soldiers even went as far as taking videos of
the photos of petitioners relatives hung on the wall of the house, as well as videos of the
innermost part of the house. This Court notes that 1Lt. Matutina, by taking the said videos,
did not merely intend to make proofs of the safe arrival of petitioner and his family in their
home. 1Lt. Matutina also desired to instill fear in the minds of petitioner and his family by In this regard, we emphasize our ruling in Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo[114] that
showing them that the sanctity of their home, from then on, will not be free from the watchful the right to security of a person includes the positive obligation of the government to ensure the
eyes of the military, permanently captured through the medium of a seemingly innocuous
cellhpone video camera. The Court cannot and will not condone such act, as it intrudes observance of the duty to investigate, viz:
into the very core of petitioners right to security guaranteed by the fundamental
law.[109](Emphasis supplied.) Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of one's rights by
the government. In the context of the writ of Amparo, this right is built into 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 and guarantee of bodily and psychological
Taken in their totality, the pieces of evidence adduced by Rodriguez, as well as the integrity) under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a
corollary of the policy that the State guarantees full respect for human rights under Article
contradictory defenses presented by respondents in G.R. No. 191805, give credence to his claim
II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and
that he had been abducted, detained and tortured by soldiers belonging to the 17th Infantry security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is
rendered ineffective if government does not afford protection to these rights especially
Battalion, 5th Infantry Division of the military. when they are under threat. Protection includes conducting effective
investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims
of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families,
It must be pointed out, however, that as to respondents Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan,
and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights
there was no substantial evidence to show that they violated, or threatened with violation, stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez Case, viz:
(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not
Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and security. Despite the dearth of evidence to show the CHR officers as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an
responsibility or accountability, this Court nonetheless emphasizes its criticism as regards their objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken
by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or
capacity to recognize torture or any similar form of abuse. The CHR, being constitutionally mandated upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the
to protect human rights and investigate violations thereof,[110] should ensure that its officers are well- government.

equipped to respond effectively to and address human rights violations. The actuations of Similarly, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has interpreted the right to
security not only as prohibiting the State from arbitrarily depriving liberty, but imposing a
respondents unmistakably showed their insufficient competence in facilitating and ensuring the safe
positive duty on the State to afford protection of the right to liberty. The ECHR interpreted
release of Rodriguez after his ordeal. the right to security of person under Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human
Rights in the leading case on disappearance of persons, Kurt v. Turkey. In this case,
the claimant's son had been arrested by state authorities and had not been seen since. The
b. The failure to conduct a fair and effect family's requests for information and investigation regarding his whereabouts proved futile.
investigation amounted to a violation of or The claimant suggested that this was a violation of her son's right to security of person. The
threat to Rodriguezs rights to life, liberty and ECHR ruled, viz:
security.
... any deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in
conformity with the substantive and procedural rules of national law but must
The Rule on the Writ of Amparo explicitly states that the violation of or threat to the right to equally be in keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the
individual from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual it is
life, liberty and security may be caused by either an act or an omission of a public incumbent on the authorities to account for his or her whereabouts. For this
official.[111] Moreover, in the context of amparo proceedings, responsibility may refer to the reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective
measures to safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt
participation of the respondents, by action or omission, in enforced effective investigation into an arguable claim that a person has been taken into
custody and has not been seen since.[115] (Emphasis supplied)
disappearance.[112] Accountability, on the other hand, may attach to respondents who are imputed
with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or
those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the In the instant case, this Court rules that respondents in G.R. No. 191805 are responsible or
investigation of the enforced disappearance.[113] accountable for the violation of Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and security on account of their abject
failure to conduct a fair and effective official investigation of his ordeal in the hands of the military.
Respondents Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Col. De Vera and Lt. Rodriguezs rights to life, liberty and security on the basis of (a) his abduction, detention and torture
Col. Mina only conducted a perfunctory investigation, exerting no efforts to take Ramirezs account from 6 September to 17 September 2009, and (b) the lack of any fair and effective official
of the events into consideration. Rather, these respondents solely relied on the reports and narration investigation as to his allegations. Thus, the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data must
of the military. The ruling of the appellate court must be emphasized: be granted in his favor. As a result, there is no longer any need to issue a temporary protection order,
as the privilege of these writs already has the effect of enjoining respondents in G.R. No. 191805 from
In this case, respondents Ibrado, Verzosa, Bangit, Tolentino, Santos, De Vera, and
Mina are accountable, for while they were charged with the investigation of the subject violating his rights to life, liberty and security.
incident, the investigation they conducted and/or relied on is superficial and one-
sided. The records disclose that the military, in investigating the incident complained of,
depended on the Comprehensive Report of Noriel Rodriguez @Pepito prepared by 1Lt. It is also clear from the above discussion that despite (a) maintaining former President
Johnny Calub for the Commanding Officer of the 501st Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division,
Arroyo in the list of respondents in G.R. No. 191805, and (b) allowing the application of the command
Philippine Army. Such report, however, is merely based on the narration of the military. No
efforts were undertaken to solicit petitioners version of the subject incident and no witnesses responsibility doctrine to amparo and habeas data proceedings, Rodriguez failed to prove through
were questioned regarding the alleged abduction of petitioner.
substantial evidence that former President Arroyo was responsible or accountable for the violation
Respondent PDG Verzosa, as Chief of the PNP, is accountable because Section 24 of his rights to life, liberty and property. He likewise failed to prove through substantial evidence the
of Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the PNP Law, specifies the PNP as the
governmental office with the mandate to investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest accountability or responsibility of respondents Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan.
of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution. In this case,
PDG Verzosa failed to order the police to conduct the necessary investigation to unmask
WHEREFORE, we resolve to GRANT the Petition for Partial Review in G.R. No. 191805
the mystery surrounding petitioners abduction and disappearance. Instead, PDG Verzosa
disclaims accountability by merely stating that petitioner has no cause of action against and DENYthe Petition for Review in G.R. No. 193160. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is
him. Palpable, however, is the lack of any effort on the part of PDG Verzosa to effectively
and aggressively investigate the violations of petitioners right to life, liberty and security by hereby AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATION.
members of the 17th Infantry Battalion, 17th Infantry Division, Philippine Army.[116] (Emphasis
supplied.)
The case is dismissed with respect to respondents former President Gloria Macapagal-
Arroyo, P/CSupt. Ameto G. Tolentino, and P/SSupt. Jude W. Santos, Calog, George Palacpac,

Clearly, the absence of a fair and effective official investigation into the claims of Rodriguez Antonio Cruz, Aldwin Pasicolan and Vicent Callagan for lack of merit.

violated his right to security, for which respondents in G.R. No. 191805 must be held responsible or
This Court directs the Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of
accountable.
Justice (DOJ) to take the appropriate action with respect to any possible liability or liabilities, within their

Nevertheless, it must be clarified that Rodriguez was unable to establish any responsibility or respective legal competence, that may have been incurred by respondents Gen. Victor Ibrado, PDG.

accountability on the part of respondents P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Calog and Palacpac. Jesus Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, Maj. Gen. Nestor Ochoa, Brig. Gen. Remegio De Vera, 1 st Lt.

Respondent P/CSupt. Tolentino had already retired when the abduction and torture of Rodriguez Ryan Matutina, and Lt. Col. Laurence Mina. The Ombudsman and the DOJ are ordered to submit to

was perpetrated, while P/SSupt. Santos had already been reassigned and transferred to the National this Court the results of their action within a period of six months from receipt of this Decision.

Capital Regional Police Office six months before the subject incident occurred. Meanwhile, no
In the event that herein respondents no longer occupy their respective posts, the directives
sufficient allegations were maintained against respondents Calog and Palacpac.
mandated in this Decision and in the Court of Appeals are enforceable against the incumbent

From all the foregoing, we rule that Rodriguez was successful in proving through substantial officials holding the relevant positions. Failure to comply with the foregoing shall constitute contempt

evidence that respondents Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Brig. Gen. of court.

De Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina, and Lt. Col. Mina were responsible and accountable for the violation of
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 203254, October 08, 2014 The RTC Ruling

DR. JOY MARGATE LEE, Petitioner, v. P/SUPT. NERI A. ILAGAN, Respondent. In a Decision13 dated August 30, 2012, the RTC granted the privilege of the writ of habeas
data in Ilagan’s favor, and accordingly, ordered the implementing officer to turn-over copies
of the subject video to him, and enjoined Lee from further reproducing the same.14
DECISION
The RTC did not give credence to Lee’s defense that she is not engaged in the gathering,
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: collecting or storing of data regarding the person of Ilagan, finding that her acts of
reproducing the subject video and showing it to other people, i.e., the NAPOLCOM officers,
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 dated August 30, violated the latter’s right to privacy in life and caused him to suffer humiliation and mental
2012 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 (RTC) in SP No. 12-71527, which anguish. In this relation, the RTC opined that Lee’s use of the subject video as evidence in the
extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of respondent Police various cases she filed against Ilagan is not enough justification for its reproduction.
Superintendent Neri A. Ilagan (Ilagan). Nevertheless, the RTC clarified that it is only ruling on the return of the aforesaid video and not
on its admissibility before other tribunals.15
The Facts
Dissatisfied, Lee filed this petition.
In his Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data3 dated June 22, 2012, Ilagan alleged
that he and petitioner Dr. Joy Margate Lee (Lee) were former common law partners. The Issue Before the Court
Sometime in July 2011, he visited Lee at the latter’s condominium, rested for a while and
thereafter,proceeded to his office. Upon arrival, Ilagan noticed that his digital camera was The essential issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not the RTC correctly extended the
missing.4 On August 23, 2011, Lee confronted Ilagan at the latter’s office regarding a privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of Ilagan.
purported sex video (subject video) she discovered from the aforesaid camera involving
Ilagan and another woman. Ilagan denied the video and demanded Lee to return the The Court’s Ruling
camera, but to no avail.5 During the confrontation, Ilagan allegedly slammed Lee’s head
against a wall inside his office and walked away.6Subsequently, Lee utilized the said video as The petition is meritorious.
evidence in filing various complaints against Ilagan, namely: (a) a criminal complaint for
violation of Republic Act No. 9262,7otherwise known as the “Anti-Violence Against Women A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (Habeas Data Rule), was
and Their Children Act of 2004,” before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati; and (b) conceived as a response, given the lack of effective and available remedies, to address the
an administrative complaint for grave misconduct before the National Police Commission extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances.16 It was
(NAPOLCOM).8 Ilagan claimed that Lee’s acts of reproducing the subject video and conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing the right to privacy, most especially the right
threatening to distribute the same to the upper echelons of the NAPOLCOM and uploading it to informational privacy of individuals,17 which is defined as “the right to control the
to the internet violated not only his right to life, liberty, security, and privacy but also that of collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of data about oneself.”18
the other woman, and thus, the issuance of a writ of habeas data in his favor is warranted.9
As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of habeas data now stands as “a
Finding the petition prima facie meritorious, the RTC issued a Writ of Habeas Data10 dated remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or
June 25, 2012, directing Lee to appear before the court a quo, and to produce Ilagan’s threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private
digital camera, as well as the negative and/or original of the subject video and copies individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information
thereof, and to file a verified written return within five (5) working days from date of receipt regarding the person, family, home, and correspondence of the aggrieved party.” Thus, in
thereof. order to support a petition for the issuance of such writ, Section 6 of the Habeas Data Rule
essentially requires that the petition sufficiently alleges, among others, “[t]he manner the right
In her Verified Return11 dated July 2, 2012, Lee admitted that she indeed kept the memory to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty or security of the
card of the digital camera and reproduced the aforesaid video but averred that she only aggrieved party.” In other words, the petition must adequately show that there exists a nexus
did so to utilize the same as evidence in the cases she filed against Ilagan. She also admitted between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the
that her relationship with Ilagan started sometime in 2003 and ended under disturbing other .19 Corollarily, the allegations in the petition must be supported by substantial
circumstances in August 2011, and that she only happened to discover the subject video evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or
when Ilagan left his camera in her condominium. Accordingly, Lee contended that Ilagan’s security of the victim.20 In this relation, it bears pointing out that the writ of habeas data will
petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas data should be dismissed because: (a) its filing not issue to protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in
was only aimed at suppressing the evidence against Ilagan in the cases she filed; and (b) she support of the petitions therefor are vague and doubtful.21
is not engaged in the gathering, collecting, or storing of data regarding the person of
Ilagan.12 In this case, the Court finds that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently allege that his right to
privacy in life, liberty or security was or would be violated through the supposed reproduction
and threatened dissemination of the subject sex video. While Ilagan purports a privacy
interest in the suppression of this video – which he fears would somehow find its way
to Quiapo or be uploaded in the internet for public consumption – he failed to explain the
connection between such interest and any violation of his right to life, liberty or security.
Indeed, courts cannot speculate or contrive versions of possible transgressions. As the rules
and existing jurisprudence on the matter evoke, alleging and eventually proving the nexus
between one’s privacy right to the cogent rights to life, liberty or security are crucial
in habeas datacases, so much so that a failure on either account certainly renders a habeas
data petition dismissible, as in this case.

In fact, even discounting the insufficiency of the allegations, the petition would equally be
dismissible due to the inadequacy of the evidence presented. As the records show, all that
Ilagan submitted in support of his petition was his self-serving testimony which hardly meets
the substantial evidence requirement as prescribed by the Habeas Data Rule. This is because
nothing therein would indicate that Lee actually proceeded to commit any overt act
towards the end of violating Ilagan’s right to privacy in life, liberty or security. Nor would
anything on record even lead a reasonable mind to conclude 22 that Lee was going to use
the subject video in order to achieve unlawful ends – say for instance, to spread it to the
public so as to ruin Ilagan’s reputation. Contrastingly, Lee even made it clear in her
testimony that the only reason why she reproduced the subject video was to legitimately
utilize the same as evidence in the criminal and administrative cases that she filed against
Ilagan.23 Hence, due to the insufficiency of the allegations as well as the glaring absence of
substantial evidence, the Court finds it proper to reverse the RTC Decision and dismiss
the habeas data petition.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated August 30, 2012 of the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 in SP No. 12-71527is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Accordingly, the Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data filed by respondent P/Supt.
Neri A. Ilagan is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.
PRIVACY OF COMMUNICATION went to the desk officer, Sgt. Añonuevo, to report the incident. In a while, Liquin and Sioco
arrived on a motorcycle.7
G.R. No. 121087 August 26, 1999
Sioco and Liquin were met by petitioner Navarro who talked with them in a corner for around
FELIPE NAVARRO, petitioner, fifteen minutes.8 Afterwards, petitioner Navarro turned to Jalbuena and, pushing him to the
vs. wall, said to him: "Putang ina, kinakalaban mo si Kabo Liquin, anak yan ni Kabo Liquin, hindi
THE COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. mo ba kilala?"9 Petitioner Navarro then pulled out his firearm and cocked it, and, pressing it
on the face of Jalbuena, said "Ano, uutasin na kita?"10
MENDOZA, J.:
At this point, Lingan intervened and said to petitioner Navarro: "Huwag namang ganyan
pumarito kami para magpa-blotter, I am here to mediate."11 Petitoner Navarro replied:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals, dated "Walang press, press, mag-sampu pa kayo."12 He then turned to Sgt. Añonuevo and told him
December 14, 1994, which affirmed the judgment of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 5, to make of record the behavior of Jalbuena and Lingan.13
Lucena City, dated July 27, 1992, finding petitioner Felipe Navarro guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of homicide and sentencing him to ten (10) years of prision mayor, as minimum, and
fourteen (14) years and eight (8) months, and (1) day of reclusion temporal, as maximum, but This angered Lingan, who said: "O, di ilagay mo diyan"14 Petitioner Navarro retorted:
increased the death indemnity awarded to the heirs of the victim, Enrique "Ike" Lingan, from "Talagang ilalagay ko."15 The two then had a heated exchange.16 Finally, Lingan said:
P30,000.00 to P50,000.00. "Masyado kang abusado, alisin mo yang baril mo at magsuntukan na lang tayo."17 Petitioner
Navarro replied: "Ah, ganoon?"18
The information against petitioner alleged —
As Lingan was about turn away, petitioner Navarro hit him with the handle of the pistol above
the left eyebrow. Lingan fell on the floor, blood flowing down his face. He tried to get up, but
That on or about the 4th day of February, 1990, in the nighttime, in the City of Lucena, petitioner Navarro gave him a fist blow on the forehead which floored him.19
Province of Quezon, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said
accused, being then a member of the Lucena Integrated National Police, with intent to kill,
did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault one Ike Lingan inside the Petitioner Navarro turned to Jalbuena and said: "Kita mo yan ha, buhay kang testigo, si Ike
Lucena police headquarters, where authorities are supposed to be engaged in the Lingan and naghamon."20 He said to Sgt. Añonuevo: "Ilagay mo diyan sa blotter sa harap ni
discharge of their duties, by boxing the said Ike Lingan in the head with the butt of a gun and Alex Sioco at Dante Liquin, na si Ike Lingan ang naghamon."21 He then poked his gun at the
thereafter when the said victim fell, by banging his head against the concrete pavement, as right temple of Jalbuena and made him sign his name on the blotter.22 Jalbuena could not
a consequence of which said Ike Lingan suffered cerebral concussion and shock which affix his signature. His right hand was trembling and he simply wrote his name in print.23
directly caused his death.
Capt. Coronado, the station commander, called petitioner Navarro to his office, while a
The evidence show that, at around 8:40 in the evening of February 4, 1990, Stanley Jalbuena policeman took Lingan to the Quezon Memorial Hospital. The station manager of DWTI, Boy,
and Enrique "Ike" Lingan, who were reporters of the radio station DWTI in Lucena City, Casañada, arrived and, learning that Lingan had been taken to the hospital, proceeded
together with one Mario Ilagan, went to the Entertainment City following reports that it was there. But Lingan died from his injuries.24
showing the nude dancers. After the three had seated themselves at a table and ordered
beer, a scantily clad dancer appeared on stage and began to perform a strip act. As she Unknown to petitioner Navarro, Jalbuena was able to record on tape the exchange
removed her brassieres, Jalbuena brought out his camera and took a picture.2 between petitioner and the deceased.25 The following is an excerpt from the tape recording:

At that point, the floor manager, Dante Liquin, with a security guard, Alex Sioco, approached Lingan: Pare, you are abusing yourself.
Jalbuena and demanded to know why he took a picture.3 Jalbuena replied: "Wala kang
pakialam, because this is my job."4 Sioco pushed Jalbuena towards the table as he warned Navarro: Who is that abusing?
the latter that he would kill him.5 When Jalbuena saw that Sioco was about to pull out his gun,
he ran out of the joint followed by his companions.6
Lingan: I'm here to mediate. Do not include me in the problem. I'm out of the problem.

Jalbuena and his companions went to the police station to report the matter. Three of the
Navarro: Wala sa akin yan. Ang kaso lang . . .
policeman on duty, including petitioner Navarro, were having drinks in front of the police
station, and they asked Jalbuena and his companions to join them. Jalbuena declined and
Lingan: Kalaban mo ang media, pare, Ako at si Stanley, dalawa kami. Okay. Do not fight concrete and sufficient to create that moral certainty in the mind of the court that accused
with me. I just came here to ayusin things. Do not say bad things against me. I'm the number herein is criminally responsible.
one loko sa media. I'm the best media man. . . .
The defense's evidence which consists of outright denial could not under the circumstance
Navarro: Huwag tayong mag-lokohan sa ganyan! Huwag na tayong mag-takotan! Huwag overturn the strength of the prosecution's evidence.
mong sabihing loko ka!
This court finds that the prosecution witnesses, more particularly Stanley Jalbuena, lacked any
Lingan: I'm brave also. motive to make false accusation, distort the truth, testify falsehood or cause accusation of
one who had neither brought him harm or injury.
Navarro: Ay lalo na ako. Tahimik lang naman ako. Wala ka namang masasabi sa akin dahil
nag-tatrabaho lang ako ng ayon sa serbisyo ko. Going over the evidence on record, the postmortem report issued by Dra. Eva Yamamoto
confirms the detailed account given by Stanley Jalbuena on how Lingan sustained head
Lingan: You are challenging me and him. . . . injuries.

Navarro: Ay walastik ka naman Ike! Pag may problema ka dito sinasabihan kita na may Said post-mortem report together with the testimony of Jalbuena sufficiently belie the claim
balita tayong maganda. Pambihira ka Ike. Huwag mong sabihin na . . . Parang of the defense that the head injuries of deceased Lingan were caused by the latter's falling
minomonopoly mo eh. down on the concrete pavement head first.

Lingan: Pati ako kalaban ninyo. The Court of Appeals affirmed:

Navarro: Talagang kalaban namin ang press. Lahat, hindi lang ikaw! We are far from being convinced by appellant's aforesaid disquisition. We have carefully
evaluated the conflicting versions of the incident as presented by both parties, and we find
the trial court's factual conclusions to have better and stronger evidentiary support.
Lingan: You are wrong. Bakit kalaban nyo ang press?

In the first place, the mere fact that Jalbuena was himself a victim of appellant's aggression
Navarro: Pulis ito! Aba!
does not impair the probative worth of his positive and logical account of the incident in
question. In fact, far from proving his innocence, appellant's unwarranted assault upon
Lingan: Alisin mo ang baril mo! Alisin mo ang baril mo! Suntukan tayo, sige. Jalbuena, which the defense has virtually admitted, clearly betrays his violent character or
disposition and his capacity to harm others. Apparently, the same motivation that led him
Navarro: Mayabang ka ah! into assailing Jalbuena must have provoked him into also attacking Lingan who had
interceded for Jalbuena and humiliated him and further challenged to a fist
(Sounds of a scuffle) fight.1âwphi1.nêt

Navarro: Hinamon ako nyan! Pare hinamon ako nyan! Pare hinamon ako nyan, testigo kayo. On the other hand, appellant's explanation as how Lingan was injured is too tenuous and
Alisin ko daw ang baril ko. Hinamon ako nyan. Pare, ilagay mo diyan, hinamon ako sa harap illogical to be accepted. It is in fact contradicted by the number, nature and location of
ni Stanley. Testigo kayo, hinamon ako. Pulis tayo eh. Puta, buti nga, suntok lang ang inabot Lingan's injuries as shown in thepost-mortem report (Exh. D). According to the defense, Lingan
nyan. Sa harap ni Alex, ni Joe, ni Stanley, hinamon ako. Pare, hinamon ako, kinig nyo ha. fell two times when he was outbalanced in the course of boxing the appellant. And yet,
Hinamon ako nyan. Sige, dalhin nyo sa hospital yan. Lingan suffered lacerated wounds in his left forehead, left eyebrow, between his left and right
eyebrows, and contusion in the right temporal region of the head (Exh. E.). Certainly, these
injuries could not have been resulted from Lingan's accidental fall.
Petitioner Felipe Navarro claims that it was the deceased who tried to hit him twice, but he
(petitioner) was able to duck both times, and that Lingan was so drunk he fell on the floor
twice, each time hitting his head on the concrete.26 Hence, this appeal. Petitioner Navarro contends:

In giving credence to the evidence for the prosecution, the trial court stated: THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS HAS DECIDED THE CASE NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND
WITH THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT. ITS CONCLUSION IS A FINDING
BASED ON SPECULATION, SURMISE OR CONJECTURE; THE INFERENCE IT MADE IS MANIFESTLY
After a thorough and in-depth evaluation of the evidence adduced by the prosecution and MISTAKEN, ABSURD OR IMPOSSIBLE; IT COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION; ITS
the defense, this court finds that the evidence for the prosecution is the more credible,
JUDGMENT IS BASED ON A MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS; ITS FINDING IS CONTRADICTED BY recorded;32 and that the speakers on the tape were petitioner Navarro and Lingan.33 A
EVIDENCE ON RECORD; AND ITS FINDING IS DEVOID OF SUPPORT IN THE RECORD. sufficient foundation was thus laid for the authentication of the tape presented by the
prosecution.
The appeal is without merit.
Second. The voice recording made by Jalbuena established: (1) that there was a heated
First. Petitioner Navarro questions the credibility of the testimony of Jalbuena on the ground exchange between petitioner Navarro and Lingan on the placing in the police blotter of an
that he was a biased witness, having a grudge against him. The testimony of a witness who entry against him and Jalbuena; and (2) that some form of violence occurred involving
has an interest in the conviction of the accused is not, for this reason alone, unreliable.27 Trial petitioner Navarro and Lingan, with the latter getting the worst of it.
courts, which have the opportunity observe the facial expressions, gestures, and tones of
voice of a witness while testifying, are competent to determine whether his or her testimony Furthermore, Dr. Eva Yamamoto, who performed the autopsy on the body of Lingan, issued
should be given credence.28 In the instant case, petitioner Navarro has not shown that the the medical certificate,34 dated February 5, 1990, containing the following findings:
trial court erred in according weight to the testimony of Jalbuena.
Post Mortem Findings:
Indeed, Jalbuena's testimony is confirmed by the voice recording had made. It may be
asked whether the tape is admissible in view of R.A. No. 4200, which prohibits wire tapping. = Dried blood, forehead & face
The answer is in the affirmative. The law provides:
= No blood oozed from the ears, nose & mouth
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any
private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other
= Swelling, 3 cm x 2 cm, temporal region, head, right
device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or
spoken word by using a device commonly known as dictaphone or dictagraph of
dectectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-recorder, or however otherwise described: = Lacerated wound, 2 cm in length, 1-2 in depth, lateral eyebrow, Left

It shall also be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the act or acts penalized = Lacerated wound, 0.5 cm in length, superficial, between the left & right eyebrow
in the next preceding sentence, to knowingly possess any tape record, wire record, disc
record, or any other such record, or copies thereof, of any communication or spoken word = Lacerated wound, 2 cm in length, 1 cm in depth, forehead, Left
secured either before or after the effective date of this Act in the manner prohibited by this
law; or to replay the same for any other person or persons; or to communicate the contents = Cyanosis of the tips of fingers & toes
thereof, either verbally or in writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or
partial, to any other person: Provided, That the use of such record or any copies thereof as
evidence in any civil, criminal investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in section 3 hereof, CAUSE OF DEATH:
shall not be covered by this prohibition.
= CEREBRAL CONCUSSION & SHOCK
Sec. 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport,
effect, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained = BLOW ON THE HEAD
obtained or secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not
be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or Dr. Yamamato testified:
investigation.
Q Give your opinion as to what was the possible cause of this findings number one, which is
Thus, the law prohibits the overhearing, intercepting, or recording of private oozing of blood from the forehead?
communications.29 Since the exchange between petitioner Navarro and Lingan was not
private, its tape recording is not prohibited.
A It may be due to a blow on the forehead or it bumped to a hard object, sir.

Nor is there any question that it was duly authenticated. A voice recording is authenticated
Q Could a metal like a butt of a gun have caused this wound No. 1.?
by the testimony of a witness (1) that he personally recorded the conversations; (2) that the
tape played in the court was the one he recorded; and (3) that the voices on the tape are
those of the persons such are claimed to belong.30 In the instant case, Jalbuena testified that A It is possible, sir.
he personally made the voice recording;31 that the tape played in the court was the one he
Q And in the alternative, could have it been caused by bumping on a concrete floor? Q What could have been the cause of jarring of the brain?

A Possible, sir. A It could have been caused by a blow of a hard object, sir.

FISCAL: Q What about the shock, what could have caused it?

What could have been the cause of the contusion and swelling under your findings No. 2 A It was due to peripheral circulatory failure, sir.
doctor?
Q Could any one of both caused the death of the victim?
WITNESS:
A Yes, sir.
It may be caused by bumping to a hard object, sir.
Q Could cerebral concussion alone have caused the death of the deceased?
Q Could a butt of a gun have caused it doctor?
A May be, sir.
A The swelling is big so it could have not been caused by a butt of a gun because the butt
of a gun is small, sir. FISCAL:

Q How about this findings No. 4? Which of these two more likely, to cause death?

A By a bump or contact of the body to a hard object, sir. WITNESS:

Q And findings No. 5 what could have caused it? Shock, sir.

A Same cause, sir. Q Please explain further the meaning of the medical term shock?

Q This findings No. 6 what could have caused this wound? A It is caused by peripheral circulatory failure as I have said earlier sir.

A Same thing sir. FISCAL:

Q How about the last finding, cyanosis of tips of fingers and toes, what could have caused it Could a bumping or pushing of one's head against a concrete floor have caused shock?
doctor?
WITNESS:
WITNESS:
Possible, sir.
It indicates there was cardiac failure, sir.
How about striking with a butt of a gun, could it cause shock?
FISCAL:
A Possible, sir.35
In this same post mortem report and under the heading cause of death it states: Cause of
Death: Cerebral concussion and Shock, will you explain it?
The above testimony clearly supports the claim of Jalbuena that petitioner Navarro hit Lingan
with the handle of his pistol above the left eyebrow and struck him on the forehead with his
A Cerebral concussion means in Tagalog "naalog ang utak" or jarring of the brain, sir. fist.
Third. It is argued that the mitigating circumstances of sufficient provocation or threat on the Bellosillo, Quisumbing and Buena, JJ., concur.
part of the offended party immediately preceding the act should have been appreciated in
favor of petitioner Navarro. Provocation is defined to be any unjust or improper conduct or
act of the offended party, capable of exciting, inciting or irritating anyone.36 The provocation
must be sufficient and should immediately precede the act.37 To be sufficient, it must be
adequate to excite a person to commit the wrong, which must accordingly be proportionate
in gravity.38 And it must immediately precede the act so much so that there is no interval
between the provocation by the offended party and the commission of the crime by the
accused.39

In the present case, the remarks of Lingan, which immediately preceded the act of
petitioner, constituted sufficient provocation. In People v. Macaso,40 we appreciated this
mitigating circumstance in favor of the accused, a policeman, who shot a motorist after the
latter had repeatedly taunted him with defiant words. Hence, this mitigating circumstance
should be considered in favor of petitioner Navarro.

Furthermore, the mitigating circumstance that the offender had no intention to commit so
grave a wrong as that committed should also be appreciated in favor of petitioner. The
frantic exclamations of petitioner Navarro after the scuffle that it was Lingan who provoked
him shows that he had no intent to kill the latter. Thus, this mitigating circumstance should be
taken into account in determining the penalty that should be imposed on petitioner Navarro.
The allowance of this mitigating circumstance is consistent with the rule that criminal liability
shall be incurred by any person committing a felony although the wrongful act done be
different from that which he intended.41 In People v.Castro,42 the mitigating circumstance of
lack of intent to commit so grave a wrong as that committed was appreciated in favor of the
accused while finding him guilty of homicide.

However, the aggravating circumstance of commission of a crime in a place where the


public authorities are engaged in the discharge of their duties should be appreciated
against petitioner Navarro. The offense in this case was committed right in the police station
where policemen were discharging their public functions.43

The crime committed as found by the trial court and the Court of Appeals was homicide, for
which the penalty under Art. 249 of the Revised Penal Code is reclusion temporal. As there
were two mitigating circumstances and one aggravating circumstances, the penalty should
be fixed in its minimum period.44 Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, petitioner
Navarro should be sentenced to an indeterminate penalty, the minimum of which is within
the range of the penalty next lower degree, i.e., prision mayor, and the maximum of which
is reclusion temporal in its minimum period.45

The indemnity as increased by the Court of Appeals from P30,000.00 to P50,000.00 is in


accordance with the current jurisprudence.46

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with the modification that
petitioner Felipe Navarro is hereby SENTENCED to suffer a prison terms of 18 years of prision
mayor, as minimum, to 14 years and 8 months of reclusion temporal, as maximum.

SO ORDERED.1âwphi1.nêt
G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995 CHUCHI — Kumuha kami ng exam noon.

SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner, ESG — Oo, pero hindi ka papasa.


vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents. CHUCHI — Eh, bakit ako ang nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo

KAPUNAN, J.: ESG — Kukunin ka kasi ako.

A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the Regional Trial Court of CHUCHI — Eh, di sana —
Quezon City alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter's
office, allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a "hostile and furious mood" and in a
manner offensive to petitioner's dignity and personality," contrary to morals, good customs and ESG — Huwag mong ipagmalaki na may utak ka kasi wala kang utak. Akala mo ba makukuha ka
public policy."1 dito kung hindi ako.

In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event and sought moral CHUCHI — Mag-eexplain ako.
damages, attorney's fees and other expenses of litigation in the amount of P610,000.00, in addition
to costs, interests and other reliefs awardable at the trial court's discretion. The transcript on which ESG — Huwag na, hindi ako mag-papa-explain sa 'yo, makaalala ka kung paano ka puma-rito.
the civil case was based was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by "Putang-ina" sasabi-sabihin mo kamag-anak ng nanay at tatay mo ang mga magulang ko.
petitioner.2 The transcript reads as follows:
ESG — Wala na akong pakialam, dahil nandito ka sa loob, nasa labas ka puwede ka ng hindi
Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez (Chuchi) — Good Afternoon M'am. pumasok, okey yan nasaloob ka umalis ka doon.

Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) — Ano ba ang nangyari sa 'yo, nakalimot ka na kung paano ka CHUCHI — Kasi M'am, binbalikan ako ng mga taga Union.
napunta rito, porke member ka na, magsumbong ka kung ano ang gagawin ko sa 'yo.
ESG — Nandiyan na rin ako, pero huwag mong kalimutan na hindi ka makakapasok kung hindi
CHUCHI — Kasi, naka duty ako noon. ako. Kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey lang sa akin, dahil tapos ka na.

ESG — Tapos iniwan no. (Sic) CHUCHI — Ina-ano ko m'am na utang na loob.

CHUCHI — Hindi m'am, pero ilan beses na nila akong binalikan, sabing ganoon — ESG — Huwag na lang, hindi mo utang na loob, kasi kung baga sa no, nilapastangan mo ako.

ESG — Ito and (sic) masasabi ko sa 'yo, ayaw kung (sic) mag explain ka, kasi hanggang 10:00 p.m., CHUCHI — Paano kita nilapastanganan?
kinabukasan hindi ka na pumasok. Ngayon ako ang babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply ka sa States, nag-
aaply ka sa review mo, kung kakailanganin ang certification mo, kalimutan mo na kasi hindi ka sa ESG — Mabuti pa lumabas ka na. Hindi na ako makikipagusap sa 'yo. Lumabas ka na.
akin makakahingi. Magsumbong ka.3

CHUCHI — Hindi M'am. Kasi ang ano ko talaga noon i-cocontinue ko up to 10:00 p.m. As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and alleging that the said act of secretly taping
the confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal case before the Regional Trial
ESG — Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka pumasok dito sa hotel. Magsumbong ka sa Court of Pasay City for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled "An Act to prohibit and penalize wire
Union kung gusto mo. Nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka nakapasok dito "Do you think that on tapping and other related violations of private communication, and other purposes." An
your own makakapasok ka kung hindi ako. Panunumbyoyan na kita (Sinusumbatan na kita). information charging petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated October 6, 1988 is quoted
herewith:
CHUCHI — Itutuloy ko na M'am sana ang duty ko.
INFORMATION
ESG — Kaso ilang beses na akong binabalikan doon ng mga no (sic) ko.
The Undersigned Assistant City Fiscal Accusses Socorro D. Ramirez of Violation of Republic Act No.
ESG — Nakalimutan mo na ba kung paano ka pumasok sa hotel, kung on your own merit alam ko 4200, committed as follows:
naman kung gaano ka "ka bobo" mo. Marami ang nag-aaply alam kong hindi ka papasa.
That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1988, in Pasay City Metro Manila, Philippines, and within First, legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the
the jurisdiction of this honorable court, the above-named accused, Socorro D. Ramirez not being language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express terms,
authorized by Ester S. Garcia to record the latter's conversation with said accused, did then and and interpretation would be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with the use of a tape recorder secretly record the said impossible 11 or absurb or would lead to an injustice. 12
conversation and thereafter communicate in writing the contents of the said recording to other
person. Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit and Penalized Wire Tapping and Other Related
Violations of Private Communication and Other Purposes," provides:
Contrary to law.
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private
Pasay City, Metro Manila, September 16, 1988. communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or
arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by
MARIANO M. CUNETA using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie
Asst. City Fiscal or tape recorder, or however otherwise described.

Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for any person, not authorized
ground that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. In by all the parties to any private communication to secretly record such communication by means
an order May 3, 1989, the trial court granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with petitioner that 1) of a tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the party sought to be penalized
the facts charged do not constitute an offense under R.A. 4200; and that 2) the violation punished by the statute ought to be a party other than or different from those involved in the private
by R.A. 4200 refers to a the taping of a communication by a person other than a participant to the communication. The statute's intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make such recording is
communication.4 underscored by the use of the qualifier "any". Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals
correctly concluded, "even a (person) privy to a communication who records his private
conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter (will) qualify as a violator" 13 under
From the trial court's Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with this this provision of R.A. 4200.
Court, which forthwith referred the case to the Court of Appeals in a Resolution (by the First
Division) of June 19, 1989.
A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports the respondent court's
conclusion that in enacting R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed contemplated to make illegal,
On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed Decision declaring the unauthorized tape recording of private conversations or communications taken either by the
trial court's order of May 3, 1989 null and void, and holding that: parties themselves or by third persons. Thus:

[T]he allegations sufficiently constitute an offense punishable under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. In thus Senator Tañada: That qualified only "overhear".
quashing the information based on the ground that the facts alleged do not constitute an offense,
the respondent judge acted in grave abuse of discretion correctible by certiorari.5
Senator Padilla: So that when it is intercepted or recorded, the element of secrecy would not
appear to be material. Now, suppose, Your Honor, the recording is not made by all the parties but
Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which by some parties and involved not criminal cases that would be mentioned under section 3 but
respondent Court of Appeals denied in its Resolution6 dated June 19, 1990. Hence, the instant would cover, for example civil cases or special proceedings whereby a recording is made not
petition. necessarily by all the parties but perhaps by some in an effort to show the intent of the parties
because the actuation of the parties prior, simultaneous even subsequent to the contract or the
Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and principal issue" 7 that the applicable provision of act may be indicative of their intention. Suppose there is such a recording, would you say, Your
Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the taping of a private conversation by one of the parties to Honor, that the intention is to cover it within the purview of this bill or outside?
the conversation. She contends that the provision merely refers to the unauthorized taping of a
private conversation by a party other than those involved in the communication.8 In relation to this, Senator Tañada: That is covered by the purview of this bill, Your Honor.
petitioner avers that the substance or content of the conversation must be alleged in the
Information, otherwise the facts charged would not constitute a violation of R.A. 4200. 9 Finally,
petitioner agues that R.A. 4200 penalizes the taping of a "private communication," not a "private Senator Padilla: Even if the record should be used not in the prosecution of offense but as
conversation" and that consequently, her act of secretly taping her conversation with private evidence to be used in Civil Cases or special proceedings?
respondent was not illegal under the said act. 10
Senator Tañada: That is right. This is a complete ban on tape recorded conversations taken without
We disagree. the authorization of all the parties.

Senator Padilla: Now, would that be reasonable, your Honor?


Senator Tañada: I believe it is reasonable because it is not sporting to record the observation of word communicare, meaning "to share or to impart." In its ordinary signification, communication
one without his knowing it and then using it against him. It is not fair, it is not sportsmanlike. If the connotes the act of sharing or imparting signification, communication connotes the act of sharing
purpose; Your honor, is to record the intention of the parties. I believe that all the parties should or imparting, as in a conversation, 15 or signifies the "process by which meanings or thoughts are
know that the observations are being recorded. shared between individuals through a common system of symbols (as language signs or
gestures)" 16 These definitions are broad enough to include verbal or non-verbal, written or
Senator Padilla: This might reduce the utility of recorders. expressive communications of "meanings or thoughts" which are likely to include the emotionally-
charged exchange, on February 22, 1988, between petitioner and private respondent, in the
privacy of the latter's office. Any doubts about the legislative body's meaning of the phrase
Senator Tañada: Well no. For example, I was to say that in meetings of the board of directors "private communication" are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact that the terms "conversation" and
where a tape recording is taken, there is no objection to this if all the parties know. It is but fair that "communication" were interchangeably used by Senator Tañada in his Explanatory Note to the bill
the people whose remarks and observations are being made should know that the observations quoted below:
are being recorded.

It has been said that innocent people have nothing to fear from their conversations being
Senator Padilla: Now, I can understand. overheard. But this statement ignores the usual nature of conversations as well the undeniable fact
that most, if not all, civilized people have some aspects of their lives they do not wish to expose.
Senator Tañada: That is why when we take statements of persons, we say: "Please be informed that Free conversationsare often characterized by exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable falsehoods,
whatever you say here may be used against you." That is fairness and that is what we demand. and the expression of anti-social desires of views not intended to be taken seriously. The right to
Now, in spite of that warning, he makes damaging statements against his own interest, well, he the privacy of communication, among others, has expressly been assured by our Constitution.
cannot complain any more. But if you are going to take a recording of the observations and Needless to state here, the framers of our Constitution must have recognized the nature
remarks of a person without him knowing that it is being taped or recorded, without him knowing of conversations between individuals and the significance of man's spiritual nature, of his feelings
that what is being recorded may be used against him, I think it is unfair. and of his intellect. They must have known that part of the pleasures and satisfactions of life are to
be found in the unaudited, and free exchange of communication between individuals — free
(Congression Record, Vol. III, No. 31, p. 584, March 12, 1964) from every unjustifiable intrusion by whatever means.17

Senator Diokno: Do you understand, Mr. Senator, that under Section 1 of the bill as now worded, if In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case which dealt with the issue of telephone
a party secretly records a public speech, he would be penalized under Section 1? Because the wiretapping, we held that the use of a telephone extension for the purpose of overhearing a
speech is public, but the recording is done secretly. private conversation without authorization did not violate R.A. 4200 because a telephone
extension devise was neither among those "device(s) or arrangement(s)" enumerated
therein, 19 following the principle that "penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the
Senator Tañada: Well, that particular aspect is not contemplated by the bill. It is the accused."20 The instant case turns on a different note, because the applicable facts and
communication between one person and another person — not between a speaker and a public. circumstances pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200 suffer from no ambiguity, and the statute itself
explicitly mentions the unauthorized "recording" of private communications with the use of tape-
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, p. 626, March 12, 1964) recorders as among the acts punishable.

The unambiguity of the express words of the provision, taken together with the above-quoted WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the case at bench is clear and unambiguous and
deliberations from the Congressional Record, therefore plainly supports the view held by the leaves us with no discretion, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision appealed from is
respondent court that the provision seeks to penalize even those privy to the private AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
communications. Where the law makes no distinctions, one does not distinguish.
SO ORDERED.
Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of the statute. The substance of
the same need not be specifically alleged in the information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the Padilla, Davide, Jr. and Bellosillo JJ., concur.
acts of secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording private communications by means of the
devices enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an individual made a secret recording of a
private communication by means of a tape recorder would suffice to constitute an offense under Hermosisima, Jr., J., is on leave.
Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General pointed out in his COMMENT before the respondent
court: "Nowhere (in the said law) is it required that before one can be regarded as a violator, the
nature of the conversation, as well as its communication to a third person should be professed." 14

Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase "private communication" in Section 1 of R.A. 4200
does not include "private conversations" narrows the ordinary meaning of the word
"communication" to a point of absurdity. The word communicate comes from the latin
G.R. No. 107383 February 20, 1996 malpractice or gross misconduct, For this reason it is contended that the Court of Appeals
erred in affirming the decision of the trial court instead of dismissing private respondent's
CECILIA ZULUETA, petitioner, complaint.
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and ALFREDO MARTIN, respondents. Petitioner's contention has no merit. The case against Atty. Felix, Jr. was for disbarment.
Among other things, private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin, as complainant in that case,
DECISION charged that in using the documents in evidence, Atty. Felix, Jr. committed malpractice or
gross misconduct because of the injunctive order of the trial court. In dismissing the complaint
against Atty. Felix, Jr., this Court took note of the following defense of Atty. Felix; Jr. which it
MENDOZA, J.:
found to be "impressed with merit:"2

This is a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals, affirming the decision of the
On the alleged malpractice or gros misconduct of respondent [Alfonso Felix, Jr.], he
Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch X) which ordered petitioner to return documents and
maintains that:
papers taken by her from private respondent's clinic without the latter's knowledge and
consent.
4. When respondent refiled Cecilia's case for legal separation before the Pasig Regional Trial
Court, there was admittedly an order of the Manila Regional Trial Court prohibiting Cecilia
The facts are as follows:
from using the documents Annex "A-1 to J-7." On September 6, 1983, however having
appealed the said order to this Court on a petition for certiorari, this Court issued a restraining
Petitioner Cecilia Zulueta is the wife of private respondent Alfredo Martin. On March 26, 1982, order on aforesaid date which order temporarily set aside the order of the trial court. Hence,
petitioner entered the clinic of her husband, a doctor of medicine, and in the presence of during the enforceability of this Court's order, respondent's request for petitioner to admit the
her mother, a driver and private respondent's secretary, forcibly opened the drawers and genuineness and authenticity of the subject annexes cannot be looked upon as
cabinet in her husband's clinic and took 157 documents consisting of private malpractice. Notably, petitioner Dr. Martin finally admitted the truth and authenticity of the
correspondence between Dr. Martin and his alleged paramours, greetings cards, cancelled questioned annexes, At that point in time, would it have been malpractice for respondent to
checks, diaries, Dr. Martin's passport, and photographs. The documents and papers were use petitioner's admission as evidence against him in the legal separation case pending in
seized for use in evidence in a case for legal separation and for disqualification from the the Regional Trial Court of Makati? Respondent submits it is not malpractice.
practice of medicine which petitioner had filed against her husband.
Significantly, petitioner's admission was done not thru his counsel but by Dr. Martin himself
Dr. Martin brought this action below for recovery of the documents and papers and for under oath, Such verified admission constitutes an affidavit, and, therefore, receivable in
damages against petitioner. The case was filed with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, evidence against him. Petitioner became bound by his admission. For Cecilia to avail herself
Branch X, which, after trial, rendered judgment for private respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin, of her husband's admission and use the same in her action for legal separation cannot be
declaring him "the capital/exclusive owner of the properties described in paragraph 3 of treated as malpractice.
plaintiff's Complaint or those further described in the Motion to Return and Suppress" and
ordering Cecilia Zulueta and any person acting in her behalf to a immediately return the
Thus, the acquittal of Atty. Felix, Jr. in the administrative case amounts to no more than a
properties to Dr. Martin and to pay him P5,000.00, as nominal damages; P5,000.00, as moral
declaration that his use of the documents and papers for the purpose of securing Dr. Martin's
damages and attorney's fees; and to pay the costs of the suit. The writ of preliminary
admission as to their genuiness and authenticity did not constitute a violation of the injunctive
injunction earlier issued was made final and petitioner Cecilia Zulueta and her attorneys and
order of the trial court. By no means does the decision in that case establish the admissibility
representatives were enjoined from "using or submitting/admitting as evidence" the
of the documents and papers in question.
documents and papers in question. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision
of the Regional Trial Court. Hence this petition.
It cannot be overemphasized that if Atty. Felix, Jr. was acquitted of the charge of violating
the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the trial court, it was only because, at the time he
There is no question that the documents and papers in question belong to private
used the documents and papers, enforcement of the order of the trial court was temporarily
respondent, Dr. Alfredo Martin, and that they were taken by his wife, the herein petitioner,
restrained by this Court. The TRO issued by this Court was eventually lifted as the petition
without his knowledge and consent. For that reason, the trial court declared the documents
for certiorari filed by petitioner against the trial court's order was dismissed and, therefore, the
and papers to be properties of private respondent, ordered petitioner to return them to
prohibition against the further use of the documents and papers became effective again.
private respondent and enjoined her from using them in evidence. In appealing from the
decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court's decision, petitioner's only ground is
that in Alfredo Martin v. Alfonso Felix, Jr.,1 this Court ruled that the documents and papers
(marked as Annexes A-1 to J-7 of respondent's comment in that case) were admissible in
evidence and, therefore, their use by petitioner's attorney, Alfonso Felix did not constitute
Indeed the documents and papers in question are inadmissible in evidence. The
constitutional injunction declaring "the privacy of communication and correspondence [to
be] inviolable"3 is no less applicable simply because it is the wife (who thinks herself aggrieved
by her husband's infidelity) who is the party against whom the constitutional provision is to be
enforced. The only exception to the prohibition in the Constitution is if there is a "lawful order
[from a] court or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law." 4 Any
violation of this provision renders the evidence obtained inadmissible "for any purpose in any
proceeding." 5

The intimacies between husband and wife do not justify any one of them in breaking the
drawers and cabinets of the other and in ransacking them for any telltale evidence of marital
infidelity. A person, by contracting marriage, does not shed his/her integrity or his right to
privacy as an individual and the constitutional protection is ever available to him or to her.

The law insures absolute freedom of communication between the spouses by making it
privileged. Neither husband nor wife may testify for or against the other without the consent
of the affected spouse while the marriage subsists.6Neither may be examined without the
consent of the other as to any communication received in confidence by one from the other
during the marriage, save for specified exceptions.7 But one thing is freedom of
communication; quite another is a compulsion for each one to share what one knows with
the other. And this has nothing to do with the duty of fidelity that each owes to the other.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.

Regalado, Romero and Puno, JJ., concur.


G.R. No. 113271 October 16, 1997 No. 19045 is priced at P384.00 or an over price of P64.00 per bottle (or total of P640.00). WDRC
paid the amount of P3,840.00 thru MBTC Check No. 222832 dated December 15, 1988.
WATEROUS DRUG CORPORATION and MS. EMMA CO, petitioners, Verification was made to YSP, Inc. to determine the discrepancy and it was found that the
vs. cost per bottle was indeed overpriced. YSP, Inc. Accounting Department (Ms. Estelita Reyes)
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and ANTONIA MELODIA CATOLICO, respondents. confirmed that the difference represents refund of jack-up price of ten bottles of Voren
tablets per sales invoice no. 266 as per their check voucher no. 629552 (shown to the
undersigned), which was paid to Ms. Catolico through China Bank check no. 892068 dated
November 9, 1989 . . . .

DAVIDE, JR., J.:


The undersigned talked to Ms. Catolico regarding the check but she denied having received
it and that she is unaware of the overprice. However, upon conversation with Ms. Saldana,
Nor is he a true Servant [who] buys dear to share in the Profit with the Seller.1 EDRC Espana Pharmacy Clerk, she confirmed that the check amounting to P640.00 was
actually received by Ms. Catolico. As a matter of fact, Ms. Catolico even asked Ms. Saldana
This petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeks to declare private if she opened the envelope containing the check but Ms. Saldana answered her "talagang
respondent Antonia Melodia Catolico (hereafter Catolico) not a "true Servant," thereby ganyan, bukas." It appears that the amount in question (P640.00) had been pocketed by Ms.
assailing the 30 September 1993 decision2 and December 1993 Resolution3 of the National Catolico.10
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in NLRC-NCR CA No. 005160-93, which sustained the
reinstatement and monetary awards in favor of private respondent4 and denied the Forthwith, in her memorandum11 dated 37 January 1990, Co asked Catolico to explain, within
petitioners' motion for reconsideration.5 twenty-four hours, her side of the reported irregularity. Catolico asked for additional time to
give her explanation,12 and she was granted a 48-hour extension from 1 to 3 February 1990.
The facts are as follows: However, on 2 February 1990, she was informed that effective 6 February 1990 to 7 March
1990, she would be placed on preventive suspension to protect the interests of the
Catolico was hired as a pharmacist by petitioner Waterous Drug Corporation (hereafter company.13
WATEROUS) on 15 August 1988.
In a letter dated 2 February 1990, Catolico requested access to the file containing Sales
On 31 July 1989, Catolico received a memorandum6 from WATEROUS Vice President-General Invoice No. 266 for her to be able to make a satisfactory explanation. In said letter she
Manager Emma R. Co warning her not to dispense medicine to employees chargeable to protested Saldaña's invasion of her privacy when Saldaña opened an envelope addressed
the latter's accounts because the same was a prohibited practice. On the same date, Co to Catolico.14
issued another memorandum7 to Catolico warning her not to negotiate with suppliers of
medicine without consulting the Purchasing Department, as this would impair the company's In a letter15 to Co dated 10 February 1990, Catolico, through her counsel, explained that the
control of purchases and, besides she was not authorized to deal directly with the suppliers. check she received from YSP was a Christmas gift and not a "refund of overprice." She also
averred that the preventive suspension was ill-motivated, as it sprang from an earlier incident
As regards the first memorandum, Catolico did not deny her responsibility but explained that between her and Co's secretary, Irene Soliven.
her act was "due to negligence," since fellow employee Irene Soliven "obtained the
medicines in bad faith and through misrepresentation when she claimed that she was given On 5 March 1990, WATEROUS Supervisor Luzviminda Bautro, issued a memorandum16 notifying
a charge slip by the Admitting Dept." Catolico then asked the company to look into the Catolico of her termination; thus:
fraudulent activities of Soliven.8
We received your letter of explanation and your lawyer's letter dated Feb. 2, 1990 and Feb.
In a memorandum9 dated 21 November 1989, WATEROUS Supervisor Luzviminda E. Bautro 10, 1990 respectively regarding our imposition of preventive suspension on you for acts of
warned Catolico against the "rush delivery of medicines without the proper documents." dishonesty. However, said letters failed to rebut the evidences [sic] in our possession which
clearly shows that as a Pharmacist stationed at Espana Branch, you actually made Purchase
On 29 January 1990, WATEROUS Control Clerk Eugenio Valdez informed Co that he noticed Orders at YSP Phils., Inc. for 10 bottles of Voren tablets at P384.00/bottle with previous price of
an irregularity involving Catolico and Yung Shin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (hereafter YSP), which P320.00/bottle only. A check which you received in the amount of P640.00 actually
he described as follows: represents the refund of over price of said medicines and this was confirmed by Ms. Estelita
Reyes, YSP Phils., Inc. Accounting Department.
. . . A case in point is medicine purchased under our Purchase Order (P.O.) No. 19045 with YSP
Sales Invoice No. 266 representing purchase of ten (10) bottles of Voren tablets at P384.00 per Your actuation constitutes an act of dishonesty detrimental to the interest of the company.
unit. Previews P.O.s issued to YSP, Inc. showed that the price per bottle is P320.00 while P.O. Accordingly, you are hereby terminated effective March 8, 1990.
On 5 May 1990, Catolico filed before the Office of the Labor Arbiter a complaint for unfair III. Public respondent gravely erred in applying Section 3, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.
labor practice, illegal dismissal, and illegal suspension.17
As to the first and second grounds, petitioners insist that Catolico had been receiving "commissions"
In his decision18 of 10 May 1993, Labor Arbiter Alex Arcadio Lopez found no proof of unfair from YSP, or probably from other suppliers, and that the check issued to her on 9 November 1989
labor practice against petitioners. Nevertheless, he decided in favor of Catolico because was not the first or the last. They also maintained that Catolico occupied a confidential position
petitioners failed to "prove what [they] alleged as complainant's dishonesty," and to show and that Catolico's receipt of YSP's check, aggravated by her "propensity to violate company
that any investigation was conducted. Hence, the dismissal was without just cause and due rules," constituted breach of confidence. And contrary to the findings of NLRC, Catolico was given
process. He thus declared the dismissal and suspension illegal but disallowed reinstatement, ample opportunity to explain her side of the controversy.
as it would not be to the best interest of the parties. Accordingly, he awarded separation pay
to Catolico computed at one-half month's pay for every year of service; back wages for one Anent the third ground, petitioners submit that, in light of the decision in the People v. Marti,21 the
year; and the additional sum of P2,000.00 for illegal suspension "representing 30 days work." constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures refers to the immunity of
Arbiter Lopez computed the award in favor of Catolico as follows: one's person from interference by government and cannot be extended to acts committed by
private individuals so as to bring it within the ambit of alleged unlawful intrusion by the government.

30 days Preventive Suspension P2,000.00


Backwages 26,858.50 In its Manifestation in Lieu of Comment, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) disagreed with
the NLRC's decision, as it was of the persuasion that (a) the conclusions reached by public
1/12 of P26,858.50 2,238.21
respondent are inconsistent with its findings of fact; and (b) the incident involving the opening of
Separation pay (3 years) 4,305.15
envelope addressed to private respondent does not warrant the application of the constitutional
————— provisions. It observed that Catolico was given "several opportunities" to explain her side of the
TOTAL AWARD P35,401.86 check controversy, and concluded that the opportunities granted her and her subsequent
————— explanation "satisfy the requirements of just cause and due process." The OSG was also convinced
that Catolico's dismissal was based on just cause and that Catolico's admission of the existence of
Petitioners seasonably appealed from the decision and urged the NLRC to set it aside the check, as well as her "lame excuse" that it was a Christmas gift from YSP, constituted substantial
because the Labor Arbiter erred in finding that Catolico was denied due process and that evidence of dishonesty. Finally, the OSG echoed petitioners' argument that there was no violation
there was no just cause to terminate her services. of the right of privacy of communication in this case,22adding that petitioner WATEROUS was
justified in opening an envelope from one of its regular suppliers as it could assume that the letter
was a business communication in which it had an interest.
In its decision19 of 30 September 1993, the NLRC affirmed the findings of the Labor Arbiter on
the ground that petitioners were not able to prove a just cause for Catolico's dismissal from
her employment. It found that petitioner's evidence consisted only of the check of P640.00 In its Comment which we required to be filed in view of the adverse stand of the OSG, the NLRC
contends that petitioners miserably failed to prove their claim that it committed grave abuse of
drawn by YSP in favor of complainant, which her co-employee saw when the latter opened
discretion in its findings of fact. It then prays that we dismiss this petition.
the envelope. But, it declared that the check was inadmissible in evidence pursuant to
Sections 2 and 3(1 and 2) of Article III of the Constitution.20 It concluded:
In her Comment, Catolico asserts that petitioners' evidence is too "flimsy" to justify her dismissal. The
check in issue was given to her, and she had no duty to turn it over to her employer. Company
With the smoking gun evidence of respondents being rendered inadmissible, by virtue of the rules do not prohibit an employee from accepting gifts from clients, and there is no indication in
constitutional right invoked by complainants, respondents' case falls apart as it is bereft of the contentious check that it was meant as a refund for overpriced medicines. Besides, the check
evidence which cannot be used as a legal basis for complainant's dismissal. was discovered in violation of the constitutional provision on the right to privacy and
communication; hence, as correctly held by the NLRC, it was inadmissible in evidence.
The NLRC then dismissed the appeal for lack of merit, but modified the dispositive portion of
the appealed decision by deleting the award for illegal suspension as the same was already Catolico likewise disputes petitioners' claim that the audit report and her initial response that she
included in the computation of the aggregate of the awards in the amount of P35,401.86. never received a check were sufficient to justify her dismissal. When she denied having received a
check from YSP, she meant that she did not receive any refund of overprice, consistent with her
Their motion for reconsideration having been denied, petitioners filed this special civil action position that what she received was a token gift. All that can be gathered from the audit report is
for certiorari, which is anchored on the following grounds: that there was apparently an overcharge, with no basis to conclude that Catolico pocketed the
amount in collusion with YSP. She thus concluded that her dismissal was based on a mere
suspicion.
I. Public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in its findings of facts.
Finally, Catolico insists that she could not have breached the trust and confidence of WATEROUS
II. Due process was duly accorded to private respondent. because, being merely a pharmacist, she did not handle "confidential information or sensitive
properties." She was doing the task of a saleslady: selling drugs and making requisitions when Moreover, the two purchase orders for Voren tablets presented by petitioners do not indicate an
supplies were low. overcharge. The purchase order dated 16 August 198929 stated that the Voren tablets cost
P320.00 per box, while the purchase order dated 5 October 198930 priced the Voren tablets at
A thorough review of the record leads us to no other conclusion than that, except as to the third P384.00 per bottle. The difference in price may then be attributed to the different packaging used
ground, the instant petition must fail. in each purchase order.

Concededly, Catolico was denied due process. Procedural due process requires that an Assuming that there was an overcharge, the two purchase orders for the Voren tablets were
employee be apprised of the charge against him, given reasonable time to answer the charge, recommended by Director-MMG Mario R. Panuncio, verified by AVP-MNG Noli M. Lopez and
allowed ample opportunity to be heard and defend himself, and assisted by a representative if the approved by Vice President-General Manager Emma R. Co. The purchase orders were silent as to
employee so Catolico's participation in the purchase. If the price increase was objectionable to petitioners, they
desires.23 Ample opportunity connotes every kind of assistance that management must accord the or their officers should have disapproved the transaction. Consequently, petitioners had no one to
employee to enable him to prepare adequately for his defense, including legal representation.24 blame for their predicament but themselves. This set of facts emphasizes the exceedingly
incredible situation proposed by petitioners. Despite the memorandum warning Catolico not to
negotiate with suppliers of medicine, there was no proof that she ever transacted, or that she had
In the case at bar, although Catolico was given an opportunity to explain her side, she was the opportunity to transact, with the said suppliers. Again, as the purchase orders indicate,
dismissed from the service in the memorandum of 5 March 1990 issued by her Supervisor after Catolico was not at all involved in the sale of the Voren tablets. There was no occasion for
receipt of her letter and that of her counsel. No hearing was ever conducted after the issues were Catolico to initiate, much less benefit from, what Valdez called an "under the table deal" with YSP.
joined through said letters. The Supervisor's memorandum spoke of "evidences [sic] in [WATEROUS]
possession," which were not, however, submitted. What the "evidences" [sic] other than the sales
invoice and the check were, only the Supervisor knew. Catolico's dismissal then was obviously grounded on mere suspicion, which in no case can justify
an employee's dismissal. Suspicion is not among the valid causes provided by the Labor Code for
the termination of
Catolico was also unjustly dismissed. It is settled that the burden is on the employer to prove just employment;31 and even the dismissal of an employee for loss of trust and confidence must rest on
and valid cause for dismissing an employee, and its failure to discharge that burden would result in substantial grounds and not on the employer's arbitrariness, whims, caprices, or suspicion.32 Besides,
a finding that the dismissal is unjustified.25 Here, WATEROUS proved unequal to the task. Catolico was not shown to be a managerial employee, to which class of employees the term "trust
and confidence" is restricted.33
It is evident from the Supervisor's memorandum that Catolico was dismissed because of an alleged
anomalous transaction with YSP. Unfortunately for petitioners, their evidence does not establish As regards the constitutional violation upon which the NLRC anchored its decision, we find no
that there was an overcharge. Control Clerk Eugenio C. Valdez, who claims to have discovered reason to revise the doctrine laid down in People vs. Marti34 that the Bill of Rights does not protect
Catolico's inappropriate transaction, stated in his affidavit:26 citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures perpetrated by private individuals. It is not true,
as counsel for Catolico claims, that the citizens have no recourse against such assaults. On the
4. My findings revealed that on or before the month of July 31, 1989, Ms. Catolico in violation of the contrary, and as said counsel admits, such an invasion gives rise to both criminal and civil liabilities.
[company] procedure, made an under the table deal with YSP Phils. to supply WDRC needed
medicines like Voren tablets at a jack-up price of P384.00 per bottle of 50 mg. which has a previous Finally, since it has been determined by the Labor Arbiter that Catolico's reinstatement would not
price of only P320.00; be to the best interest of the parties, he correctly awarded separation pay to Catolico. Separation
pay in lieu of reinstatement is computed at one month's salary for every year of service. 35 In this
5. I verified the matter to YSP Phils. to determine the discrepancy and I found out that the cost per case, however, Labor Arbiter Lopez computed the separation pay at one-half month's salary for
bottle was indeed overpriced. The Accounting Department of YSP Phils. through Ms. Estelita Reyes every year of service. Catolico did not oppose or raise an objection. As such, we will uphold the
confirmed that there was really an overprice and she said that the difference was refunded award of separation pay as fixed by the Labor Arbiter.
through their check voucher no. 629552 which was shown to me and the payee is Melodia
Catolico, through a China Bank Check No. 892068 dated November 9, 1989. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and the challenged decision and resolution of
the National Labor Relations Commission dated 30 September 1993 and 2 December 1993,
It clearly appears then that Catolico's dismissal was based on hearsay information. Estelita Reyes respectively, in NLRC-NCR CA No. 005160-93 are AFFIRMED, except as to its reason for upholding
never testified nor executed an affidavit relative to this case; thus, we have to reject the the Labor Arbiter's decision, viz., that the evidence against private respondent was inadmissible for
statements attributed to her by Valdez. Hearsay evidence carries no probative value. 27 having been obtained in violation of her constitutional rights of privacy of communication and
against unreasonable searches and seizures which is hereby set aside.
Besides, it was never shown that petitioners paid for the Voren tablets. While Valdez informed Co,
through the former's memorandum28 of 29 January 1990, that WATEROUS paid YSP P3,840.00 "thru Costs against petitioners.
MBTC Check No. 222832," the said check was never presented in evidence, nor was any receipt
from YSP offered by petitioners. SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 135882 June 27, 2001 Clearly, the specific provision of R.A. 6770, a later legislation, modifies the law on the Secrecy
of Bank Deposits (R.A.1405) and places the office of the Ombudsman in the same footing as
LOURDES T. MARQUEZ, in her capacity as Branch Manager, UNION BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES, the courts of law in this regard."2
petitioner,
vs. The basis of the Ombudsman in ordering an in camera inspection of the accounts is a trail
HONORABLE ANIANO A. DESIERTO, in his capacity as OMBUDSMAN, ANGEL C. MAYOR-ALGO, managers checks purchased by one George Trivinio, a respondent in OMB-097-0411,
JR., MARY ANN CORPUZ-MANALAC AND JOSE T. DE JESUS, JR., in their capacity as Chairman pending with the office of the Ombudsman.
and Members of the Panel, respectively, respondents.
It would appear that Mr. George Trivinio, purchased fifty one (51) Managers Checks (MCs) for
PARDO, J.: a total amount of P272.1 Million at Traders Royal Bank, United Nations Avenue branch, on
May 2 and 3, 1995. Out of the 51 MCs, eleven (11) MCs in the amount of P70.6 million, were
In the petition at bar, petitioner seeks to -- deposited and credited to an account maintained at the Union Bank, Julia Vargas Branch. 3

a. Annul and set aside, for having been issued without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave On May 26, 1998, the FFIB panel met in conference with petitioner Lourdes T. Marquez and
abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, respondents' order dated September 7, Atty. Fe B. Macalino at the bank's main office, Ayala Avenue, Makati City. The meeting was
1998 in OMB-0-97-0411, In Re: Motion to Cite Lourdes T. Marquez for indirect contempt, for the purpose of allowing petitioner and Atty. Macalino to view the checks furnished by
received by counsel of September 9,1998, and their order dated October 14,1998, denying Traders Royal Bank. After convincing themselves of the veracity of the checks, Atty. Macalino
Marquez's motion for reconsideration dated September 10, 1998, received by counsel on advised Ms. Marquez to comply with the order of the Ombudsman. Petitioner agreed to an in
October 20, 1998. camera inspection set on June 3, 1998.4

b. Prohibit respondents from implementing their order dated October 14, 1998, in proceeding However, on June 4,1998, petitioner wrote the Ombudsman explaining to him that the
with the hearing of the motion to cite Marquez for indirect contempt, through the issuance accounts in question cannot readily be identified and asked for time to respond to the order.
by this Court of a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction.1 The reason forwarded by the petitioner was that "despite diligent efforts and from the
accounts numbers presented, we can not identify these accounts since the checks are
issued in cash or bearer. We surmised that these accounts have long been dormant, hence
The antecedent facts are as follows:
are not covered by the new account number generated by the Union Bank system. We
therefore have to verify from the Interbank records archives for the whereabouts of these
Sometime in May 1998, petitioner Marquez received an Order from the Ombudsman Aniano accounts.5
A. Desierto dated April 29, 1998, to produce several bank documents for purposes of
inspection in camera relative to various accounts maintained at Union Bank of the
The Ombudsman, responding to the request of the petitioner for time to comply with the
Philippines, Julia Vargas Branch, where petitioner is the branch manager. The accounts to be
order, stated: "firstly, it must be emphasized that Union Bank, Julia Vargas Branch was
inspected are Account Nos. 011-37270, 240-020718, 245-30317-3 and 245-30318-1, involved in
depositary bank of the subject Traders Royal Bank Manager's Check (MCs), as shown at its
a case pending with the Ombudsman entitled, Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) v.
dorsal portion and as cleared by the Philippines Clearing House, not the International
Amado Lagdameo, et al. The order further states:
Corporate Bank.

"It is worth mentioning that the power of the Ombudsman to investigate and to require the
Notwithstanding the facts that the checks were payable to cash or bearer, nonetheless, the
production and inspection of records and documents is sanctioned by the 1987 Philippine
name of the depositor(s) could easily be identified since the account numbers x x x where
Constitution, Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as Ombudsman Act of 1989 and under
said checks were deposited are identified in the order.
existing jurisprudence on the matter. It must be noted that R.A. 6770 especially Section 15
thereof provides, among others, the following powers, functions and duties of the
Ombudsman, to wit: Even assuming that the accounts xxx were already classified as "dormant accounts," the
bank is still required to preserve the records pertaining to the accounts within a certain period
of time as required by existing banking rules and regulations.
(8) Administer oaths, issue subpoena duces tecum and take testimony in any investigation or
inquiry, including the power to examine and have access to banks accounts and records;
And finally, the in camera inspection was already extended twice from May 13, 1998 to June
3,1998 thereby giving the bank enough time within which to sufficiently comply with the
(9) Punish for contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court and under the same
order."6
procedure and with the same penalties provided therein.
Thus, on June 16, 1998, the Ombudsman issued an order directing petitioner to produce the Since petitioner failed to show prima facie evidence that the subject matter of the
bank documents relative to accounts in issue. The order states: investigation is outside the jurisdiction of the Office of the Ombudsman, no writ of injunction
may be issued by this Court to delay this investigation pursuant to section 14 of Ombudsman
Viewed from the foregoing, your persistent refusal to comply with Ombudsman's order in Act of 1989."10
unjustified, and is merely intended to delay the investigation of the case. Your act constitutes
disobedience of or resistance to a lawful order issued by this office and is punishable as On July 20,1998, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration based on the following grounds:
Indirect Contempt under Section 3(b) of R.A. 6770. The same may also constitute obstruction
in the lawful exercise of the functions of the Ombudsman which is punishable under Section a. Petitioners' application for filed Temporary Restraining Order is not only to restrain the
36 of R.A. 6770.7 Ombudsman from exercising his contempt powers, but to stop him from implementing his
Orders dated April 29, 1998 and June 16, 1998: and
On July 10,1998, petitioner together with Union Bank of the Philippines, filed a petition for
declaratory relief, prohibition and injunctions8 with the Regional Trial Court, Makati City, b. The subject matter of the investigation being conducted by the Ombudsman at
against the Ombudsman. petitioners' premises is outside his jurisdiction.11

The petition was intended to clear the rights and duties of petitioner. Thus, petitioner sought a On July 23, 1998, the Ombudsman filed a motion to dismiss the petition for declaratory
declaration of her rights from the court due to the clear conflict between RA No.6770, relief12 on the ground that the Regional Trial Court has no jurisdiction to hear a petition for
Section 15 and R.A. No. 1405, Sections 2 and 3. relief from the findings and orders of the Ombudsman, citing R.A. No. 6770, Sections 14 and
27. On August 7, 1998, the Ombudsman filed an opposition to petitioner's motion for
Petitioner prayed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) because the Ombudsman and the reconsideration dated July 20, 1998.13
other persons acting under his authority were continuously harassing her to produce the bank
documents relatives to the accounts in question. Moreover, on June 16, 1998, the On August 19,1998, the lower court denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration, 14 and also
Ombudsman issued another order stating that unless petitioner appeared before the FFIB the Ombudsman's motion to dismiss. 15
with the documents requested, petitioner manager would be charged with indirect
contempt and obstruction of justice.
On August 21, 1998, petitioner received a copy of the motion to cite her for contempt, filed
with the Office of the Ombudsman by Agapito B. Rosales, Director, Fact Finding and
In the meantime,9 on July 14, 1998, the lower court denied petitioner's prayer for a temporary Intelligence Bureau (FFIB).16
restraining order and stated us:
On August 31, 1998, petitioner filed with the Ombudsman an opposition to the motion to cite
"After hearing the arguments of the parties, the court finds the application for a Temporary her in contempt on the ground that the filing thereof was premature due to the petition
Restraining Order to be without merit. pending in the lower court.17 Petitioner likewise reiterated that she had no intention to
disobey the orders of the Ombudsman. However, she wanted to be clarified as to how she
"Since the application prays for restraint of the respondent, in the exercise of his contempt would comply with the orders without her breaking any law, particularly RA. No. 1405.18
powers under Section 15(9) in relation to paragraph (8) of RA. 6770, known as " The
Ombudsman Act of 1989", there is no great or irreparable injury from which petitioners may Respondent Ombudsman panel set the incident for hearing on September 7, 1998.19 After
suffer, if respondent is not so restrained. Respondent should he decide to exercise his hearing, the panel issued an order dated September 7, 1998, ordering petitioner and counsel
contempt powers would still have to apply with the court. x x x Anyone who, without lawful to appear for a continuation of the hearing of the contempt charges against her.20
excuse x x x refuses to produce documents for inspection, when thereunto lawfully required
shall be subject to discipline as in case of contempt of Court and upon application of the
On September 10, 1998, petitioner filed with the Ombudsman a motion for reconsideration of
individual or body exercising the power in question shall be dealt with by the Judge of the
the above order.21 Her motion was premised on the fact that there was a pending case with
First Instance (now RTC) having jurisdiction of the case in a manner provided by the law
the Regional Trial Court, Makati City,22 which would determine whether obeying the orders of
(section 580 of the Revised Administrative Code). Under the present Constitution only judges
the Ombudsman to produce bank documents would not violate any law.
may issue warrants, hence, respondent should apply with the Court for the issuance of the
warrant needed for the enforcement of his contempt orders. It is in these proceedings where
petitioner may question the propriety of respondent's exercise of his contempt powers. The FFIB opposed the motion,23 and on October 14, 1998, the Ombudsman denied the
Petitioners are not therefore left without any adequate remedy. motion by order the dispositive portion of which reads:

"The questioned orders were issued with the investigation of the case of Fact-Finding and "Wherefore, respondent Lourdes T. Marquez's motion for reconsideration is hereby DENIED, for
Intelligence Bureau vs. Amado Lagdameo, et. al., OMB-0-97-0411, for violation of RA. 3019. lack of merit. Let the hearing of the motion of the Fact Finding Intelligence Bureau (FFIB) to
cite her for indirect contempt to be intransferrably set to 29 October 1998 at 2:00 o'clock p.m. (2) In an examination made by an independent auditor hired by the bank to conduct its
at which date and time she should appear personally to submit her additional evidence. regular audit provided that the examination is for audit purposes only and the results thereof
Failure to do so shall be deemed a waiver thereof."24 shall be for the exclusive use of the bank,

Hence, the present petition.25 (3) Upon written permission of the depositor,

The issue is whether petitioner may be cited for indirect contempt for her failure to produce (4) In cases of impeachment,
the documents requested by the Ombudsman. And whether the order of the Ombudsman
to have an in camera inspection of the questioned account is allowed as an exception to (5) Upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public
the law on secrecy of bank deposits (R.A. No.1405). officials, or

An examination of the secrecy of bank deposits law (R.A. No.1405) would reveal the (6) In cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation". 27
following exceptions:
In the case at bar, there is yet no pending litigation before any court of competent authority.
1. Where the depositor consents in writing; What is existing is an investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman. In short, what the office
of the ombudsman would wish to do is to fish for additional evidence to formally charge
2. Impeachment case; Amado Lagdameo, et. al., with the Sandiganbayan. Clearly, there was no pending case in
court which would warrant the opening of the bank account for inspection.
3. By court order in bribery or dereliction of duty cases against public officials;
Zone of privacy are recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil Code provides that"
4. Deposit is subject of litigation; [e]very person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his
neighbors and other persons" and punishes as actionable torts several acts for meddling and
prying into the privacy of another. It also holds public officer or employee or any private
5. Sec. 8, R.A. No.3019, in cases of unexplained wealth as held in the case of PNB vs.
individual liable for damages for any violation of the rights and liberties of another person,
Gancayco.26
and recognizes the privacy of letters and other private communications. The Revised Penal
Code makes a crime of the violation of secrets by an officer, revelation of trade and
The order of the Ombudsman to produce for in camera inspection the subject accounts with industrial secrets, and trespass to dwelling. Invasion of privacy is an offense in special laws like
the Union Bank of the Philippines, Julia Vargas Branch, is based on a pending investigation at the Anti-Wiretapping Law, the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act, and the Intellectual Property
the Office of the Ombudsman against Amado Lagdameo, et. al. for violation of R.A. No. Code.28
3019, Sec. 3 (e) and (g) relative to the Joint Venture Agreement between the Public Estates
Authority and AMARI.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, we GRANT the petition. We order the Ombudsman to cease and desist
from requiring Union Bank Manager Lourdes T. Marquez, or anyone in her place to comply
We rule that before an in camera inspection may be allowed, there must be a pending case with the order dated October 14,1998, and similar orders. No costs.
before a court of competent jurisdiction. Further, the account must be clearly identified, the
inspection limited to the subject matter of the pending case before the court of competent
SO ORDERED . 1âwphi1.nêt
jurisdiction. The bank personnel and the account holder must be notified to be present during
the inspection, and such inspection may cover only the account identified in the pending
case. Davide, Jr:, C.J., Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing,
Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago, De Leon. Jr., and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
In Union Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, we held that "Section 2 of the Law on
Secrecy of Bank Deposits, as amended, declares bank deposits to be "absolutely
confidential" except:

(1) In an examination made in the course of a special or general examination of a bank that
is specifically authorized by the Monetary Board after being satisfied that there is reasonable
ground to believe that a bank fraud or serious irregularity has been or is being committed
and that it is necessary to look into the deposit to establish such fraud or irregularity,
G.R. No. 127685 July 23, 1998 Sec. 1. Establishment of a National Compoterized Identification Reference System. A
decentralized Identification Reference System among the key basic services and social
BLAS F. OPLE, petitioner, security providers is hereby established.

vs. Sec. 2. Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee


(IACC) to draw-up the implementing guidelines and oversee the implementation of the
System is hereby created, chaired by the Executive Secretary, with the following as members:
RUBEN D. TORRES, ALEXANDER AGUIRRE, HECTOR VILLANUEVA, CIELITO HABITO, ROBERT
BARBERS, CARMENCITA REODICA, CESAR SARINO, RENATO VALENCIA, TOMAS P. AFRICA,
HEAD OF THE NATIONAL COMPUTER CENTER and CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION ON Head, Presidential Management Staff
AUDIT, respondents.
Secretary, National Economic Development Authority

Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government


PUNO, J.:
Secretary, Department of Health
The petition at bar is a commendable effort on the part of Senator Blas F. Ople to prevent the
shrinking of the right to privacy, which the revered Mr. Justice Brandeis considered as "the Administrator, Government Service Insurance System,
most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men." 1 Petitioner Ople
prays that we invalidate Administrative Order No. 308 entitled "Adoption of a National Administrator, Social Security System,
Computerized Identification Reference System" on two important constitutional grounds, viz:
one, it is a usurpation of the power of Congress to legislate, and two, it impermissibly intrudes
Administrator, National Statistics Office
on our citizenry's protected zone of privacy. We grant the petition for the rights sought to be
vindicated by the petitioner need stronger barriers against further erosion.
Managing Director, National Computer Center.
A.O. No. 308 was issued by President Fidel V. Ramos On December 12, 1996 and reads as
follows: Sec. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center (NCC) is hereby designated as secretariat
to the IACC and as such shall provide administrative and technical support to the IACC.
ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED
Sec. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the
NSO shall serve as the common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned
IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM
agencies. The IACC Secretariat shall coordinate with the different Social Security and
Services Agencies to establish the standards in the use of Biometrics Technology and in
WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to computer application designs of their respective systems.
conveniently transact business with basic service and social security providers and other
government instrumentalities;
Sec. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination Campaign. The Office of the Press Secretary, in
coordination with the National Statistics Office, the GSIS and SSS as lead agencies and other
WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons concerned agencies shall undertake a massive tri-media information dissemination
seeking basic services on social security and reduce, if not totally eradicate fraudulent campaign to educate and raise public awareness on the importance and use of the PRN and
transactions and misrepresentations; the Social Security Identification Reference.

WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social Sec. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the implementation of the system shall be sourced
security providing agencies and other government intrumentalities is required to achieve from the respective budgets of the concerned agencies.
such a system;
Sec. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO, GSIS and SSS shall submit regular reports to
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Republic of the Philippines, by virtue of the Office of the President through the IACC, on the status of implementation of this
the powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following: undertaking.
Sec. 8. Effectivity. This Administrative Order shall take effect immediately. respondents aver that petitioner has no legal interest to uphold and that the implementing
rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated.
DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen
Hundred and Ninety-Six. These submissions do not deserve our sympathetic ear. Petitioner Ople is a distinguished
member of our Senate. As a Senator, petitioner is possessed of the requisite standing to bring
(SGD.) FIDEL V. RAMOS suit raising the issue that the issuance of A.O. No. 308 is a usurpation of legislative power. 4 As
taxpayer and member of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), petitioner can
also impugn the legality of the misalignment of public funds and the misuse of GSIS funds to
A.O. No. 308 was published in four newspapers of general circulation on January 22, 1997
implement A.O. No. 308. 5
and January 23, 1997. On January 24, 1997, petitioner filed the instant petition against
respondents, then Executive Secretary Ruben Torres and the heads of the government
agencies, who as members of the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee, are charged with The ripeness for adjudication of the Petition at bar is not affected by the fact that the
the implementation of A.O. No. 308. On April 8, 1997, we issued a temporary restraining order implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated. Petitioner Ople assails A.O.
enjoining its implementation. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on its face. His action is not premature for the rules
yet to be promulgated cannot cure its fatal defects. Moreover, the respondents themselves
have started the implementation of A.O. No. 308 without waiting for the rules. As early as
Petitioner contends:
January 19, 1997, respondent Social Security System (SSS) caused the publication of a notice
to bid for the manufacture of the National Identification (ID) card. 6 Respondent Executive
A. THE ESTABLISNMENT OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM Secretary Torres has publicly announced that representatives from the GSIS and the SSS have
REQUIRES A LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE ISSUANCE OF A.O. NO. 308 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE completed the guidelines for the national identification system. 7 All signals from the
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES IS, THEREFORE, AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE respondents show their unswerving will to implement A.O. No. 308 and we need not wait for
LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. the formality of the rules to pass judgment on its constitutionality. In this light, the dissenters
insistence that we tighten the rule on standing is not a commendable stance as its result
B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY THE PRESIDENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. would be to throttle an important constitutional principle and a fundamental right.
NO. 308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF CONGRESS TO
APPROPRIATE PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EXPENDITURE. II

C. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308 INSIDIOUSLY LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR A SYSTEM We now come to the core issues. Petitioner claims that A.O. No. 308 is not a mere
WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION. 2 administrative order but a law and hence, beyond the power of the President to issue. He
alleges that A.O. No. 308 establishes a system of identification that is all-encompassing in
Respondents counter-argue: scope, affects the life and liberty of every Filipino citizen and foreign resident, and more
particularly, violates their right to privacy.
A. THE INSTANT PETITION IS NOT A JUSTICIABLE CASE AS WOULD WARRANT A JUDICIAL REVIEW;
Petitioner's sedulous concern for the Executive not to trespass on the lawmaking domain of
B. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] WAS ISSUED WITHIN THE EXECUTIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE POWERS OF Congress is understandable. The blurring of the demarcation line between the power of the
THE PRESIDENT WITHOUT ENCROACHING ON THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF CONGRESS; Legislature to make laws and the power of the Executive to execute laws will disturb their
delicate balance of power and cannot be allowed. Hence, the exercise by one branch of
government of power belonging to another will be given a stricter scrutiny by this Court.
C. THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE
SYSTEM MAY BE SOURCED FROM THE BUDGETS OF THE CONCERNED AGENCIES;
The line that delineates Legislative and Executive power is not indistinct. Legislative power is
"the authority, under the Constitution, to make laws, and to alter and repeal them." 8 The
D. A.O. NO. 308 [1996] PROTECTS AN INDIVIDUAL'S INTEREST IN PRIVACY. 3 Constitution, as the will of the people in their original, sovereign and unlimited capacity, has
vested this power in the Congress of the Philippines. 9 The grant of legislative power to
We now resolve. Congress is broad, general and comprehensive. 10 The legislative body possesses plenary
power for all purposes of civil government. 11 Any power, deemed to be legislative by usage
I and tradition, is necessarily possessed by Congress, unless the Constitution has lodged it
elsewhere. 12 In fine, except as limited by the Constitution, either expressly or impliedly,
legislative power embraces all subjects and extends to matters of general concern or
As is usual in constitutional litigation, respondents raise the threshold issues relating to the
common interest. 13
standing to sue of the petitioner and the justiciability of the case at bar. More specifically,
While Congress is vested with the power to enact laws, the President executes the laws. 14 The It cannot be simplistically argued that A.O. No. 308 merely implements the Administrative
executive power is vested in the Presidents. 15 It is generally defined as the power to enforce Code of 1987. It establishes for the first time a National Computerized Identification Reference
and administer the laws. 16 It is the power of carrying the laws into practical operation and System. Such a System requires a delicate adjustment of various contending state policies —
enforcing their due observance. 17 the primacy of national security, the extent of privacy interest against dossier-gathering by
government, the choice of policies, etc. Indeed, the dissent of Mr. Justice Mendoza states
As head of the Executive Department, the President is the Chief Executive. He represents the that the A.O. No. 308 involves the all-important freedom of thought. As said administrative
government as a whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and order redefines the parameters of some basic rights of our citizenry vis-a-vis the State as well
employees of his department. 18 He has control over the executive department, bureaus and as the line that separates the administrative power of the President to make rules and the
offices. This means that he has the authority to assume directly the functions of the executive legislative power of Congress, it ought to be evident that it deals with a subject that should be
department, bureau and office or interfere with the discretion of its officials.19 Corollary to the covered by law.
power of control, the President also has the duty of supervising the enforcement of laws for
the maintenance of general peace and public order. Thus, he is granted administrative Nor is it correct to argue as the dissenters do that A.D. No. 308 is not a law because it confers
power over bureaus and offices under his control to enable him to discharge his duties no right, imposes no duty, affords no proctection, and creates no office. Under A.O. No. 308, a
effectively. 20 citizen cannot transact business with government agencies delivering basic services to the
people without the contemplated identification card. No citizen will refuse to get this
Administrative power is concerned with the work of applying policies and enforcing orders as identification card for no one can avoid dealing with government. It is thus clear as daylight
determined by proper governmental organs. 21 It enables the President to fix a uniform that without the ID, a citizen will have difficulty exercising his rights and enjoying his
standard of administrative efficiency and check the official conduct of his agents. 22 To this privileges. Given this reality, the contention that A.O. No. 308 gives no right and imposes no
end, he can issue administrative orders, rules and regulations. duty cannot stand.

Prescinding from these precepts, we hold that A.O. No. 308 involves a subject that is not Again, with due respect, the dissenting opinions unduly expand the limits of administrative
appropriate to be covered by an administrative order. An administrative order is: legislation and consequently erodes the plenary power of Congress to make laws. This is
contrary to the established approach defining the traditional limits of administrative
legislation. As well stated by Fisher: ". . . Many regulations however, bear directly on the
Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. — Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of
public. It is here that administrative legislation must he restricted in its scope and application.
governmental operation in pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be
Regulations are not supposed to be a substitute for the general policy-making that Congress
promulgated in administrative orders. 23
enacts in the form of a public law. Although administrative regulations are entitled to respect,
the authority to prescribe rules and regulations is not an independent source of power to
An administrative order is an ordinance issued by the President which relates to specific make laws." 28
aspects in the administrative operation of government. It must be in harmony with the law
and should be for the sole purpose of implementing the law and carrying out the legislative
III
policy. 24 We reject the argument that A.O. No. 308 implements the legislative policy of the
Administrative Code of 1987. The Code is a general law and "incorporates in a unified
document the major structural, functional and procedural principles of governance." 25 and Assuming, arguendo, that A.O. No. 308 need not be the subject of a law, still it cannot pass
"embodies changes in administrative structure and procedures designed to serve the constitutional muster as an administrative legislation because facially it violates the right to
people." 26 The Code is divided into seven (7) Books: Book I deals with Sovereignty and privacy. The essence of privacy is the "right to be let alone." 29 In the 1965 case of Griswold v.
General Administration, Book II with the Distribution of Powers of the three branches of Connecticut, 30 the United States Supreme Court gave more substance to the right of privacy
Government, Book III on the Office of the President, Book IV on the Executive Branch, Book V when it ruled that the right has a constitutional foundation. It held that there is a right of
on Constitutional Commissions, Book VI on National Government Budgeting, and Book VII on privacy which can be found within the penumbras of the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth
Administrative Procedure. These Books contain provisions on the organization, powers and Amendments, 31 viz:
general administration of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, the
organization and administration of departments, bureaus and offices under the executive Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras formed by emanations from these
branch, the organization and functions of the Constitutional Commissions and other guarantees that help give them life and substance . . . various guarantees create zones of
constitutional bodies, the rules on the national government budget, as well as guideline for privacy. The right of association contained in the penumbra of the First Amendment is one, as
the exercise by administrative agencies of quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers. The we have seen. The Third Amendment in its prohibition against the quartering of soldiers "in
Code covers both the internal administration of government, i.e, internal organization, any house" in time of peace without the consent of the owner is another facet of that privacy.
personnel and recruitment, supervision and discipline, and the effects of the functions The Fourth Amendment explicitly affirms the ''right of the people to be secure in their persons,
performed by administrative officials on private individuals or parties outside government. 27 houses and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." The Fifth Amendment in its
Self-Incrimination Clause enables the citizen to create a zone of privacy which government
may not force him to surrender to his detriment. The Ninth Amendment provides: "The complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage searched and the persons or things to be seized.
others retained by the people."
Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall
In the 1968 case of Morfe v. Mutuc, 32 we adopted the Griswold ruling that there is a not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be
constitutional right to privacy. Speaking thru Mr. Justice, later Chief Justice, Enrique Fernando, impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health as may be
we held: provided by law.

The Griswold case invalidated a Connecticut statute which made the use of contraceptives a Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to
criminal offence on the ground of its amounting to an unconstitutional invasion of the right of form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.
privacy of married persons; rightfully it stressed "a relationship lying within the zone of privacy
created by several fundamental constitutional guarantees." It has wider implications though. Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
The constitutional right to privacy has come into its own.
Zones of privacy are likewise recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil Code provides
So it is likewise in our jurisdiction. The right to privacy as such is accorded recognition that "[e]very person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his
independently of its identification with liberty; in itself, it is fully deserving of constitutional neighbors and other persons" and punishes as actionable torts several acts by a person of
protection. The language of Prof. Emerson is particularly apt: "The concept of limited meddling and prying into the privacy of another. 35 It also holds a public officer or employee
government has always included the idea that governmental powers stop short of certain or any private individual liable for damages for any violation of the rights and liberties of
intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one of the basic distinctions another person, 36 and recognizes the privacy of letters and other private
between absolute and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control of the individual, communications. 37 The Revised Penal Code makes a crime the violation of secrets by an
in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the absolute state. In contrast, a system of limited officer, 38the revelation of trade and industrial secrets, 39 and trespass to dwelling. 40 Invasion
government safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the individual, firmly distinguishing of privacy is an offense in special laws like the Anti-Wiretapping Law, 41 the Secrecy of Bank
it from the public sector, which the state can control. Protection of this private sector — Deposits Act 42 and the Intellectual Property Code. 43 The Rules of Court on privileged
protection, in other words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual — has become communication likewise recognize the privacy of certain information. 44
increasingly important as modern society has developed. All the forces of a technological
age — industrialization, urbanization, and organization — operate to narrow the area of
Unlike the dissenters, we prescind from the premise that the right to privacy is a fundamental
privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain and support
right guaranteed by the Constitution, hence, it is the burden of government to show that A.O.
this enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian
No. 308 is justified by some compelling state interest and that it is narrowly drawn. A.O. No.
society."
308 is predicated on two considerations: (1) the need to provides our citizens and foreigners
with the facility to conveniently transact business with basic service and social security
Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that the right of privacy is recognized and providers and other government instrumentalities and (2) the need to reduce, if not totally
enshrined in several provisions of our Constitution. 33 It is expressly recognized in section 3 (1) eradicate, fraudulent transactions and misrepresentations by persons seeking basic services.
of the Bill of Rights: It is debatable whether these interests are compelling enough to warrant the issuance of A.O.
No. 308. But what is not arguable is the broadness, the vagueness, the overbreadth of A.O.
Sec. 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except No. 308 which if implemented will put our people's right to privacy in clear and present
upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed danger.
by law.
The heart of A.O. No. 308 lies in its Section 4 which provides for a Population Reference
Other facets of the right to privacy are protectad in various provisions of the Bill of Number (PRN) as a "common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned
Rights, viz: 34 agencies" through the use of "Biometrics Technology" and "computer application designs."

Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor Biometry or biometrics is "the science of the applicatin of statistical methods to biological
shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. facts; a mathematical analysis of biological data." 45 The term "biometrics" has evolved into a
broad category of technologies which provide precise confirmation of an individual's identity
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses papers, and effects through the use of the individual's own physiological and behavioral characteristics. 46 A
against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be physiological characteristic is a relatively stable physical characteristic such as a fingerprint,
inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause retinal scan, hand geometry or facial features. A behavioral characteristic is influenced by
to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the the individual's personality and includes voice print, signature and keystroke. 47 Most
biometric idenfication systems use a card or personal identificatin number (PIN) for initial We can even grant, arguendo, that the computer data file will be limited to the name,
identification. The biometric measurement is used to verify that the individual holding the address and other basic personal infomation about the individual. 57 Even that hospitable
card or entering the PIN is the legitimate owner of the card or PIN. 48 assumption will not save A.O. No. 308 from constitutional infirmity for again said order does
not tell us in clear and categorical terms how these information gathered shall he handled. It
A most common form of biological encoding is finger-scanning where technology scans a does not provide who shall control and access the data, under what circumstances and for
fingertip and turns the unique pattern therein into an individual number which is called a what purpose. These factors are essential to safeguard the privacy and guaranty the integrity
biocrypt. The biocrypt is stored in computer data banks 49 and becomes a means of of the information. 58 Well to note, the computer linkage gives other government agencies
identifying an individual using a service. This technology requires one's fingertip to be access to the information. Yet, there are no controls to guard against leakage of information.
scanned every time service or access is provided. 50 Another method is the retinal scan. When the access code of the control programs of the particular computer system is broken,
Retinal scan technology employs optical technology to map the capillary pattern of the an intruder, without fear of sanction or penalty, can make use of the data for whatever
retina of the eye. This technology produces a unique print similar to a finger print. 51 Another purpose, or worse, manipulate the data stored within the system. 59
biometric method is known as the "artificial nose." This device chemically analyzes the
unique combination of substances excreted from the skin of people. 52 The latest on the list of It is plain and we hold that A.O. No. 308 falls short of assuring that personal information which
biometric achievements is the thermogram. Scientists have found that by taking pictures of a will be gathered about our people will only be processed for unequivocally specified
face using infra-red cameras, a unique heat distribution pattern is seen. The different densities purposes. 60 The lack of proper safeguards in this regard of A.O. No. 308 may interfere with the
of bone, skin, fat and blood vessels all contribute to the individual's personal "heat individual's liberty of abode and travel by enabling authorities to track down his movement; it
signature." 53 may also enable unscrupulous persons to access confidential information and circumvent
the right against self-incrimination; it may pave the way for "fishing expeditions" by
In the last few decades, technology has progressed at a galloping rate. Some science government authorities and evade the right against unreasonable searches and
fictions are now science facts. Today, biometrics is no longer limited to the use of fingerprint seizures. 61 The possibilities of abuse and misuse of the PRN, biometrics and computer
to identify an individual. It is a new science that uses various technologies in encoding any technology are accentuated when we consider that the individual lacks control over what
and all biological characteristics of an individual for identification. It is noteworthy that A.O. can be read or placed on his ID, much less verify the correctness of the data
No. 308 does not state what specific biological characteristics and what particular biometrics encoded. 62 They threaten the very abuses that the Bill of Rights seeks to prevent. 63
technology shall be used to identify people who will seek its coverage. Considering the
banquest of options available to the implementors of A.O. No. 308, the fear that it threatens The ability of sophisticated data center to generate a comprehensive cradle-to-grave dossier
the right to privacy of our people is not groundless. on an individual and transmit it over a national network is one of the most graphic threats of
the computer revolution. 64 The computer is capable of producing a comprehensive dossier
A.O. No. 308 should also raise our antennas for a further look will show that it does not state on individuals out of information given at different times and for varied purposes. 65 It can
whether encoding of data is limited to biological information alone for identification continue adding to the stored data and keeping the information up to date. Retrieval of
purposes. In fact, the Solicitor General claims that the adoption of the Identification stored date is simple. When information of a privileged character finds its way into the
Reference System will contribute to the "generation of population data for development computer, it can be extracted together with other data on the subject. 66Once extracted, the
planning." 54 This is an admission that the PRN will not be used solely for identification but the information is putty in the hands of any person. The end of privacy begins.
generation of other data with remote relation to the avowed purposes of A.O. No. 308.
Clearly, the indefiniteness of A.O. No. 308 can give the government the roving authority to Though A.O. No. 308 is undoubtedly not narrowly drawn, the dissenting opinions would dismiss
store and retrieve information for a purpose other than the identification of the individual its danger to the right to privacy as speculative and hypothetical. Again, we cannot
through his PRN. countenance such a laidback posture. The Court will not be true to its role as the ultimate
guardian of the people's liberty if it would not immediately smother the sparks that endanger
The potential for misuse of the data to be gathered under A.O. No. 308 cannot be their rights but would rather wait for the fire that could consume them.
undarplayed as the dissenters do. Pursuant to said administrative order, an individual must
present his PRN everytime he deals with a government agency to avail of basic services and We reject the argument of the Solicitor General that an individual has a reasonable
security. His transactions with the government agency will necessarily be recorded — expectation of privacy with regard to the Natioal ID and the use of biometrics technology as
whether it be in the computer or in the documentary file of the agency. The individual's file it stands on quicksand. The reasonableness of a person's expectation of privacy depends on
may include his transactions for loan availments, income tax returns, statement of assets and a two-part test: (1) whether by his conduct, the individual has exhibited an expectation of
liabilities, reimbursements for medication, hospitalization, etc. The more frequent the use of privacy; and (2) whether this expectation is one that society recognizes as reasonable. 67 The
the PRN, the better the chance of building a huge formidable informatin base through the factual circumstances of the case determines the reasonableness of the
electronic linkage of the files. 55 The data may be gathered for gainful and useful government expectation. 68 However, other factors, such as customs, physical surroundings and practices
purposes; but the existence of this vast reservoir of personal information constitutes a covert of a particular activity, may serve to create or diminish this expectation. 69 The use of
invitation to misuse, a temptation that may be too great for some of our authorities to resist. 56 biometrics and computer technology in A.O. No. 308 does not assure the individual of a
reasonable expectation of privacy. 70 As technology advances, the level of reasonably
expected privacy decreases. 71 The measure of protection granted by the reasonable the least we can do is to lean towards the stance that will not put in danger the rights
expectation diminishes as relevant technology becomes more widely accepted. 72 The protected by the Constitutions.
security of the computer data file depends not only on the physical inaccessibility of the file
but also on the advances in hardware and software computer technology. A.O. No. 308 is so The case of Whalen v. Roe 79 cited by the Solicitor General is also off-line. In Whalen, the
widely drawn that a minimum standard for a reasonable expectation of privacy, regardless of United States Supreme Court was presented with the question of whether the State of New
technology used, cannot be inferred from its provisions. York could keep a centralized computer record of the names and addresses of all persons
who obtained certain drugs pursuant to a doctor's prescription. The New York State Controlled
The rules and regulations to be by the IACC cannot remedy this fatal defect. Rules and Substance Act of 1972 required physicians to identify parties obtaining prescription drugs
regulations merely implement the policy of the law or order. On its face, A.O. No. gives the enumerated in the statute, i.e., drugs with a recognized medical use but with a potential for
IACC virtually infettered discretion to determine the metes and bounds of the ID System. abuse, so that the names and addresses of the patients can be recorded in a centralized
computer file of the State Department of Health. The plaintiffs, who were patients and doctors,
Nor do your present laws prvide adequate safeguards for a reasonable expectation of claimed that some people might decline necessary medication because of their fear that the
privacy. Commonwealth Act. No. 591 penalizes the disclosure by any person of data computerized data may be readily available and open to public disclosure; and that once
furnished by the individual to the NSO with imprisonment and fine. 73 Republic Act. No. 1161 disclosed, it may stigmatize them as drug addicts. 80 The plaintiffs alleged that the statute
prohibits public disclosure of SSS employment records and reports. 74 These laws, however, invaded a constitutionally protected zone of privacy, i.e., the individual interest in avoiding
apply to records and data with the NSO and the SSS. It is not clear whether they may be disclosure of personal matters, and the interest in independence in making certain kinds of
applied to data with the other government agencies forming part of the National ID System. important decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court held that while an individual's interest in avoiding
The need to clarify the penal aspect of A.O. No. 308 is another reason why its enactment disclosuer of personal matter is an aspect of the right to privacy, the statute did not pose a
should be given to Congress. grievous threat to establish a constitutional violation. The Court found that the statute was
necessary to aid in the enforcement of laws designed to minimize the misuse of dangerous
drugs. The patient-identification requirement was a product of an orderly and rational
Next, the Solicitor General urges us to validate A.O. No. 308's abridgment of the right of
legislative decision made upon recommmendation by a specially appointed commission
privacy by using the rational relationship test. 75 He stressed that the purposes of A.O. No. 308
which held extensive hearings on the matter. Moreover, the statute was narrowly drawn and
are: (1) to streamline and speed up the implementation of basic government services, (2)
contained numerous safeguards against indiscriminate disclosure. The statute laid down the
eradicate fraud by avoiding duplication of services, and (3) generate population data for
procedure and requirements for the gathering, storage and retrieval of the informatin. It
development planning. He cocludes that these purposes justify the incursions into the right to
ebumerated who were authorized to access the data. It also prohibited public disclosure of
privacy for the means are rationally related to the end. 76
the data by imposing penalties for its violation. In view of these safeguards, the infringement
of the patients' right to privacy was justified by a valid exercise of police power. As we
We are not impressed by the argument. In Morfe v. Mutuc, 77 we upheld the constitutionality discussed above, A.O. No. 308 lacks these vital safeguards.
of R.A. 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, as a valid police power measure. We
declared that the law, in compelling a public officer to make an annual report disclosing his
Even while we strike down A.O. No. 308, we spell out in neon that the Court is not per
assets and liabilities, his sources of income and expenses, did not infringe on the individual's
se agains the use of computers to accumulate, store, process, retvieve and transmit data to
right to privacy. The law was enacted to promote morality in public administration by
improve our bureaucracy. Computers work wonders to achieve the efficiency which both
curtailing and minimizing the opportunities for official corruption and maintaining a standard
government and private industry seek. Many information system in different countries make
of honesty in the public service. 78
use of the computer to facilitate important social objective, such as better law enforcement,
faster delivery of public services, more efficient management of credit and insurance
The same circumstances do not obtain in the case at bar. For one, R.A. 3019 is a statute, not programs, improvement of telecommunications and streamlining of financial
an administrative order. Secondly, R.A. 3019 itself is sufficiently detailed. The law is clear on activities. 81 Used wisely, data stored in the computer could help good administration by
what practices were prohibited and penalized, and it was narrowly drawn to avoid abuses. IN making accurate and comprehensive information for those who have to frame policy and
the case at bar, A.O. No. 308 may have been impelled by a worthy purpose, but, it cannot make key decisions. 82 The benefits of the computer has revolutionized information
pass constitutional scrutiny for it is not narrowly drawn. And we now hod that when the technology. It developed the internet, 83 introduced the concept of cyberspace 84 and the
integrity of a fundamental right is at stake, this court will give the challenged law, information superhighway where the individual, armed only with his personal computer, may
administrative order, rule or regulation a stricter scrutiny. It will not do for the authorities to surf and search all kinds and classes of information from libraries and databases connected
invoke the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties. Nor is it enough for to the net.
the authorities to prove that their act is not irrational for a basic right can be diminished, if not
defeated, even when the government does not act irrationally. They must satisfactorily show
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy does not bar all incursions
the presence of compelling state interests and that the law, rule or regulation is narrowly
into individual privacy. The right is not intended to stifle scientific and technological
drawn to preclude abuses. This approach is demanded by the 1987 Constitution whose entire
advancements that enhance public service and the common good. It merely requires that
matrix is designed to protect human rights and to prevent authoritarianism. In case of doubt,
the law be narrowly focused 85 and a compelling interest justify such intrusions. 86 Intrusions
into the right must be accompanied by proper safeguards and well-defined standards to Aside from the distinguishing physical characteristics, man is a rational being, one who is endowed
prevent unconstitutional invasions. We reiterate that any law or order that invades individual with intellect which allows him to apply reasoned judgment to problems at hand; he has the innate
privacy will be subjected by this Court to strict scrutiny. The reason for this stance was laid spiritual faculty which can tell, not only what is right but, as well, what is moral and ethical.
down in Morfe v. Mutuc, to wit: Because of his sensibilities, emotions and feelings, he likewise possesses a sense of shame. In
varying degrees as dictated by diverse cultures, he erects a wall between himself and the outside
world wherein he can retreat in solitude, protecting himself from prying eyes and ears and their
The concept of limited government has always included the idea that governmental powers extensions, whether form individuals, or much later, from authoritarian intrusions.
stop short of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. This is indeed one of the
basic disctinctions between absolute and limited government. Ultimate and pervasive control
Piercing through the mists of time, we find the original Man and Woman defying the injunction of
of the individual, in all aspects of his life, is the hallmark of the absolute state. In contrast, a
God by eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden. And when their eyes were "opened" forthwith
system of limited government safeguards a private sector, which belongs to the individual,
"they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." 1 Down the corridors of time, we
firmly distinguishing it from the public sector, which the state can control. Protection of this find man fashioning "fig leaves" of sorts or setting up figurative walls, the better to insulate
private sector — protection, in other words, of the dignity and integrity of the individual — has themselves from the rest of humanity.
become increasingly important as modern society has developed. All the forces of a
technological age — industrialization, urbanization, and organization — operate to narrow
Such vague stirrings of the desire "to be left alone," considered "anti-social" by some, led to the
the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. In modern terms, the capacity to maintain
development of the concept of "privacy," unheard of among beasts. Different branches of science,
and support this enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic and a
have made their own studies of this craving of the human spirit — psychological, anthropological
totalitarian society. 87 sociological and philosophical, with the legal finally giving its imprimatur by elevating it to the
status ofa right, specifically a private right.
IV
Initially recognized as an aspect of tort law, it created giant waves in legal circles with the
The right to privacy is one of the most threatened rights of man living in a mass society. The publication in the Harvard Law Review 2 of the trail-blazing article, "The Right to Privacy," by Samuel
threats emanate from various sources — governments, journalists, employers, social D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis.
scientists, etc. 88 In th case at bar, the threat comes from the executive branch of government
which by issuing A.O. No. 308 pressures the people to surrender their privacy by giving Whether viewed as a personal or a property right, it found its way in Philippine Constitutions and
information about themselves on the pretext that it will facilitate delivery of basic services. statutes; this, in spite of the fact that Philippine culture can hardly be said to provide a fertile field
Given the record-keeping power of the computer, only the indifferent fail to perceive the for the burgeoning of said right. In fact, our lexicographers have yet to coin a word for it in the
danger that A.O. No. 308 gives the government the power to compile a devastating dossier Filipino language. Customs and practices, being what they have always been, Filipinos think it
against unsuspecting citizens. It is timely to take note of the well-worded warning of Kalvin, perfectly natural and in good taste to inquire into each other's intimate affairs.
Jr., "the disturbing result could be that everyone will live burdened by an unerasable record
of his past and his limitations. In a way, the threat is that because of its record-keeping, the One has only to sit through a televised talk show to be convinced that what passes for wholesome
society will have lost its benign capacity to forget." 89 Oblivious to this counsel, the dissents entertainment is actually an invasion into one's private life, leaving the interviewee embarrassed
still say we should not be too quick in labelling the right to privacy as a fundamental right. We and outraged by turns.
close with the statement that the right to privacy was not engraved in our Constitution for
flattery. With the overarching influence of common law and the recent advent of the Information Age with
its high-tech devices, the right to privacy has expanded to embrace its public law aspect. The Bill
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and Adminisrative Order No. 308 entitled "Adoption of Rights of our evolving Charters, a direct transplant from that of the United States, contains in
of a National Computerized Identification Reference System" declared null and void for being essence facets of the right to privacy which constitute limitations on the far-reaching powers of
unconstitutional. government.

SO ORDERED. So terrifying are the possibilities of a law such as Administrative Order No. 308 in making inroads
into the private lives of the citizens, a virtual Big Brother looking over our shoulder, that it must,
without delay, be "slain upon sight" before our society turns totalitarian with each of us, a mindless
Separate Opinions robot.

ROMERO, J., separate opinion; I, therefore, VOTE for the nullification of A.O. No. 308.

What marks offs man from a beast?


VITUG, J., separate opinion; Be that as it may, the scholarly discussions of Justices Romero, Puno, Kapunan and Mendoza on
the constitutional right to privacy and freedom of thought may stil become useful guides to our
One can appreciate the concern expressed by my esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Reynato S. lawmakers, when and if Congress should deliberate on a bill establishing a national identification
Puno, echoing that of the petitioner, the Honorable Blas F. Ople, on the issuance of Administrative system.
Order No. 308 by the President of the Philippines and the dangers its implementation could bring. I
find it hard, nevertheless, to peremptorily assume at this time that the administrative order will be Let it be noted that this Court, as shown by the voting of the justices, has not definitively ruled on
misused and to thereby ignore the possible benefits that can be derived from, or the merits of, a these points. The voting is decisive only on the need for the appropriate legislation, and it is only on
nationwide computerized identification reference system. The great strides and swift advances in this ground that the petition is granted by this Court.
technology render it inescapable that one day we will, at all events, have to face up with the
reality of seeing extremely sophisticated methods of personal identification and any attempt to
stop the inevitable may either be short-lived or even futile. The imperatives, I believe, would
instead be to now install specific safeguards and control measures that may be calculated best to
ward-off probable ill effects of any such device. Here, it may be apropos to recall the KAPUNAN, J., dissenting opinion;
pronouncement of this Court in People vs. Nazario 1 that —
The pioneering efforts of the executive to adopt a national computerized identification reference
As a rule, a statute or [an] act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards system has met fierce opposition. It has spun dark predictions of sinister government ploys to
that men "of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its tamper with the citizen's right to privacy and ominous forecasts of a return to authoritarianism. Lost
application." It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due process for failure in the uproar, however, is the simple fact that there is nothing in the whole breadth and lenght of
to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) Administrative Order No. 308 that suggests a taint constitutional infirmity.
it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary
flexing of the Government muscle. 2 A.O. No. 308 issued by President Fidel V. Ramos on 12 December 1996 reads:

Administrative Order No. 308 appears to be so extensively drawn that could, indeed, allow ADMTNISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 308
unbridled options to become available to its implementors beyond the reasonable comfort of the
citizens and of residents alike. ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED

Prescinding from the foregoing, and most importantly to this instance, the subject covered by the IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM
questioned administrative order can have far-reaching consequences that can tell on all
individuals, their liberty and privacy, that, to my mind, should make it indispensable and
appropriate to have the matter specifically addressed by the Congress of the Philippines, the WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to
policy-making body of our government, to which the task should initially belong and to which the conveniently transact business with basic services and social security providers and other
authority to formulate and promulgate that policy is constitutionally lodged. government instrumentalities;

WHEREFORE, I vote for the nullification of Administrative Order No. 308 for being an undue and WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons
impermissible exercise of legislative power by the Executive. seeking basic services and social security and reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent
transactions and misrepresentations;

WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social
security providing agencies and other government instrumentalities is required to achieve such a
PANGANIBAN, J., separate opinion; system;

I concur only in the result and only on the ground that an executive issuance is not legally sufficient NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Repubic of the Philippines, by virtue of the
to establish an all-encompassing computerized system of identification in the country. The subject powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following:
matter contained in AO 308 is beyond the powers of the President to regulate without a legislative
enactment.
Sec. 1 Establishment of a National Computerized Identification Reference System. A decentralized
Identification Reference System among the key basic services and social security providers is
I reserve judgmeht on the issue of wherher a national ID system is an infringement of the hereby established.
constitutional right to privacy or the freedom of thought until after Congress passes, if ever, a law to
this effect. Only then, and upon the filing of a proper petition, may the provisions of the statute be
scrutinized by the judiciary to determine their constitutional foundation. Until such time, the issue is
premature; and any decision thereon, speculative and academic. 1
Sec. 2. Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) A. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM REQUIRES A
to draw-up the implementing guidelines and oversee the implementation of the System is hereby LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE ISSUACE OF A.O. NO. 308 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE
created, chaired by the Executive Secretary, with the following as members: PHILIPPINES IS, THEREFORE, AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE
CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.
Head Presidential Management Staff
B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY THE PRESIDENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO.
Secretary, National Economic Development Authority 308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE
PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EXPENDITURE.

Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government


C. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308 INSIDIOUSLY LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR A SYSTEM
WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION.
Secretary, Department of Health

The National Computerized Identification Reference system to which the NSO, GSIS and SSS are
Administrator, Government Service Insurance System linked as lead members of the IACC is intended to establish uniform standards for ID cards isssued
by key government agencies (like the SSS) 1 for the "efficient identification of persons." 2 Under the
Administrator, Social Security System new system, only one reliable and tamper-proof I.D. need be presented by the cardholder instead
of several identification papers such as passports and driver's license, 3 to able to transact with
Administrator, National Statistics Office government agencies. The improved ID can be used to facilitate public transactions such as:

Managing Director, National Computer Center 1. Payment of SSS and GSIS benefits

Sec. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center (NCC) is hereby designated as secretariat to the 2. Applications for driver's license, BIR TIN, passport, marriage license, death certificate, NBI and
IACC and as such shall provide administrative and technical support to the IACC. police clearances, and business permits

Sec. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the NSO 3. Availment of Medicare services in hospitals
shall serve as the common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned agencies.
The IACC Secretariat shall coordinate with the different Social Security and Services Agencies to 4. Availment of welfare services
establish the standards in the use of Biometrics Technology and in computer application designs of
their respective systems. 5. Application for work/employment

Sec. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination Campaign. The Office of the Press Secretary, in 6. Pre-requisite for Voter's ID. 4
coordination with the National Statistics Offices, the GSIS and SSS as lead agencies and other
concerned agencies shall undertake a massive tri-media information dissemination campaign to
educate and raise public awareness on the importance and use of the PRN and the Social Security The card may also be used for private transactions such as:
Identification Reference.
1. Opening of bank accounts
Sec. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the implementation of the system shall be sourced from
the respective budgets of the concerned agencies. 2. Encashment of checks

Sec. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO, GSIS and SSS shall submit regular reports to the 3. Applications for loans, credit cards, water, power, telephones, pagers, etc.
Office of the President, through the IACC, on the status of implementation of this undertaking.
4. Purchase of stocks
Sec. 8 Effectivity. This Administartive Order shall take effect immediately.
5. Application for work/employment
DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred
and Ninety-Six. 6. Insurance claims

In seeking to strike down A.O. No. 308 as unconstitutional, petitioner argues: 7. Receipt of payments, checks, letters, valuables, etc. 5
The new identification system would tremendously improve and uplift public service in our country unquestionably the responsibility of the President to find ways and means to improve the
to the benefit of Filipino citizens and resident aliens. It would promote, facilitate and speed up government bureaucracy, and make it more professional, efficient and reliable, specially those
legitimate transactions with government offices as well as with private and business entities. government agencies and instrumentalities which provide basic services and which the citizenry
Experience tells us of the constant delays and inconveniences the public has to suffer in availing of constantly transact with, like the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security
basic public services and social security benefits because of inefficient and not too reliable means System (SSS) and National Statistics Office (NSO). The national computerized ID system is one such
of identification of the beneficiaries. advancement. To emphasize, the new identification reference system is created to streamline the
bureaucracy, cut the red tape and ultimately achieve administrative efficiency. The project,
Thus, in the "Primer on the Social Security Card and Administrative Order No. 308" issued by the SSS, therefore, relates to, is an appropriate subject and falls squarely within the ambit of the Chief
a lead agency in the implementation of the said order, the following salient features are Executive's administrative power under which, in order to successfully carry out his administrative
mentioned: duties, he has been granted by law quasi-legislative powers, quoted above.

1. A.O. 308 merely establishes the standards for I.D. cards issued by key government agencies Understandably, strict adherence to the doctrine of separation of power spawns differences of
such as SSS and GSIS. opinion. For we cannot divide the branches of government into water-tight compartment. Even if
such is possible, it is neither desirable nor feasible. Bernard Schwartz, in his work Administrative
Law, A Casebook, thus states:
2. It does not establish a national I.D. system neither does it require a national I.D. card for every
person.
To be sure, if we think of the separation of powers as carrying out the distinction between
legislation and administration with mathematical precision and as dividing the branches of
3. The use of the I.D. is voluntary. government into watertight compartments, we would probably have to conclude that any exercise
of lawmaking authority by an agency is automatically invalid. Such a rigorous application of the
4. The I.D. is not required for delivery of any government service. Everyone has the right to basic constitutional doctrine is neither desirable nor feasible; the only absolute separation that has ever
government services as long as he is qualified under existing laws. been possible was that in the theoretical writings of a Montesquieu, who looked across at foggy
England from his sunny Gascon vineyards and completely misconstrued what he saw. 7
5. The LD. cannot and will not in any way be used to prevent one to travel.
A mingling of powers among the three branches of government is not a novel concept. This
6. There will be no discrimination Non-holders of the improved I.D. are still entitled to the same blending of powers has become necessary to properly address the complexities brought about by
services but will be subjected to the usual rigid identification and verification beforehand. a rapidly developing society and which the traditional branches of government have difficulty
coping with. 8

I
It has been said that:

The issue that must first be hurdled is: was the issuance of A.O. No. 308 an exercise by the President
of legislative power properly belonging to Congress? The true meaning of the general doctrine of the separation of powers seems to be that the whole
power of one department should not be exercised by the same hands which possess the whole
power of either of the other department, and that no one department ought to possess directly or
It is not. indirectly an overruling influence over the others. And it has been that this doctrine should be
applied only to the powers which because of their nature are assigned by the constitution itself to
The Administrative Code of 1987 has unequivocally vested the President with quasi-legislative one of the departments exclusively. Hence, it does not necessarily follow that an entire and
powers in the form of executive orders, administrative orders, proclamations, memorandum orders complete separation is either desirable of was ever intended, for such a complete separation
and circulars and general or special orders. 6 An administrative order, like the one under which the would be impracticable if not impossible; there may be-and frequently are-areas in which
new identification system is embodied, has its peculiar meaning under the 1987 Administrative executive, legislative, and judicial powers blend or overlap; and many officers whose duties
Code: cannot be exclusively placed under any one of these heads.

Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. — Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of The courts have perceived the necessity of avoiding a narrow construction of a state constitutional
governmental operations in pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be promulgated in provision for the division of the powers of the government into three distinct departments, for it is
administrative orders. impractical to view the provision from the standpoint of a doctrinaire. Thus, the modern view of
separation of powers rejects the metaphysical abstractions and reverts instead to more pragmatic,
The National Computerized Identification Reference System was established pursuant to the flexible, functional approach, giving recognition to the fact that then may be a certain degree of
aforaquoted provision precisely because its principal purpose, as expressly stated in the order, is blending or admixture of the three powers of the government. Moreover, the doctrine of separation
to provide the people with "the facility to conveniently transact business" with the various of powers has never been strictly or rigidly applied, and indeed could not be, to all the
government agencies providing basic services. Being the "administrative head," it is ramifications of state or national governments; government would prove abortive if it were
attempted to follow the policy of separation to the letter. 9
In any case A.O. No. 308 was promulgated by the President pursuant to the quasi-legislative in the I.D. cards as no guidelines therefor have yet been laid down by the IACC. Before the
powers expressly granted to him by law and in accordance with his duty as administrative head. assailed system can be set up, it is imperative that the guidelines be issued first.
Hence, the contention that the President usurped the legislative prerogatives of Congress has no
firm basis. III

II Without the essential guidelines, the principal contention for invalidating the new identification
reference system — that it is an impermissible encroachment on the constitutionally recognized
Having resolved that the President has the authority and prerogative to issue A.O. No. 308, I submit right to privacy — is plainly groundless. There is nothing in A.O. No. 308 to serve as sufficient basis
that it is premature for the Court to determine the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the for a conclusion that the new system to be evolved violates the right to privacy. Said order simply
National Computerized Identification Reference System. provides the system's general framework. Without the concomitant guidelines, which would spell
out in detail how this new identification system would work, the perceived violation of the right to
Basic in constitutional law is the rule that before the court assumes jurisdiction over and decide privacy amounts to nothing more than mere surmise and speculation.
constitutional issues, the following requisites must first be satisfied:
What has caused much of the hysteria over the National Computerized Identification Reference
1) there must be an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of rights susceptible of judicial System is the possible utilization of Biometrics Technology which refers to the use of autnomated
determination; matching of physiological or behavioral characteristics to identify a person that would violated the
citizen's constitutionally protected right to privacy.

2) the constitutional question must be raised by a proper party;


The majority opinion has enumerated various forms and methods of Biometrics Technology which if
adopted in the National Computaized Identification Reference System would seriously threaten the
3) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and right to privacy. Among which are biocrypt retinal scan, artificial nose and thermogram. The
majority also points to certain alleged deficiencies of A O. No. 308. Thus:
4) the resolution of the constitutional question must be necessary to the resolution of the case. 10

1) A.O. No. 308 does not specify the particular Biometrics Technology that shall be used for the new
In this case, it is evident that the first element is missing. Judicial intervention calls for an actual identification system.
case or controversy which is defined as "an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe
for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory." 11 Justice Isagani A. Cruz further expounds that 2) The order dots not state whether encoding of data is limited to biological information alone for
"(a) justifiable controversy is thus distinguished from a difference or dispute of a hypothetical or identification purposes;
abstract character or from one that is academic or moot. The controversy must be definite and
concrete, touching the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. It must be a real
and substantial controversy admitting of special relief through a decree that is conclusive in 3) There is no provision as to who shall control and access the data, under what circumstances and
character, as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical for what purpose; and
state of facts. . . ." 12 A.O. No. 308 does not create any concrete or substantial controversy. It
provides the general framework of the National Computerized Identification Reference System and 4) There are no controls to guard against leakage of information, thus heightening the potential for
lays down the basic standards (efficiency, convenience and prevention of fraudulent transactions) misuse and abuse.
for its cretion. But as manifestly indicated in the subject order, it is the Inter-Agency Coordinating
Committee (IACC) which is tasked to research, study and formulate the guidelines and parameters We should not be overwhelmed by the mere mention of the Biometrics Technology and its alleged,
for the use of Biometrics Technology and in computer application designs that will and define give yet unfounded "far-reaching effects."
substance to the new system. 13 This petition is, thus, premature considering that the IACC is still in
the process of doing the leg work and has yet to codify and formalize the details of the new
system. There is nothing in A.O. No. 308, as it is worded, to suggest that the advanced methods of the
Biometrics Technology that may pose danger to the right of privacy will be adopted.

The majority opines that the petition is ripe for adjudication even without the promulgation of the
necessary guidelines in view of the fact that respondents have begun implementation of A.O. No. The standards set in A.O. No. 308 for the adoption of the new system are clear-cut and
308. The SSS, in particular, has started advertising in newspapers the invitation to bid for the unequivocably spelled out in the "WHEREASES" and body of the order, namely, the need to provide
production of the I.D. cards. 14 citizens and foreign residents with the facility to conveniently transact business with basic
service and social security providers and other government instrumentalities; the computerized
system is intended to properly and efficientlyidentify persons seeking basic services or social
I beg to disagree. It is not the new system itself that is intended to be implemented in the invitation security and reduce, if not totally eradicate fraudulent transactions and misreprentation; the
to bid but only the manufacture of the I.D. cards. Biometrics Technology is not and cannot be used national identification reference system is established among the key basic services and social
security providers; and finally, the IACC Secretariat shall coordinate with different Social Security
and Services Agencies to establish the standards in the use of Biometrics Technology. To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right
Consequently, the choice of the particular form and extent of Biometrics Technology that will be to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the Nation. It is one of the happy
applied and the parameters for its use (as will be defined in the guidelines) will necessarily and incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a
logically be guided, limited and circumscribed by the afore-stated standards. The fear entertained laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.
by the majority on the potential dangers of this new technology is thus securedly allayed by the This Court has the power to prevent an experiment. We may strike down the statute which
specific limitations set by the above-mentioned standards. More than this, the right to privacy is embodies it on the ground that, in our opinion, the measure is arbitary, capricious or unreaonable.
well-esconced in and directly protected by various provisions of the Bill of Rights, the Civil Code, We have power to do this, because the due process clause has been held by he Court applicable
the Revised Penal Code, and certain laws, all so painstakingly and resourcefully catalogued in the to matters of substantive law as well as to matters of procedure. But in the exercise of this high
majority opinion. Many of these laws provide penalties for their violation in the form of power, we must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles. If we would
imprisonment, fines, or damages. These laws will serve as powerful deterrents not only in the guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold. 17
establishment of any administrative rule that will violate the constitutionally protected right to
privacy, but also to would-be transgressors of such right. Again, the concerns of the majority are premature precisely because there are as yet no
guidelines that will direct the Court and serve as solid basis for determining the constitutionality of
Relevant to this case is the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Whalen v. Roe. 15 In that case, a New the new identification system. The Court cannot and should not anticipate the constitutional issues
York statute was challenged for requiring physicians to identify patients obtaining prescription and rule on the basis of guesswok. The guidelines would, among others, determine the particular
drugs of the statute's "Schedule II" category (a class of drugs having a potential for abuse and a biometrics method that would be used and the specific personal data that would be collected
recognized medical use) so the names and addresses of the prescription drug patients can be provide the safeguard, (if any) and supply the details on how this new system in supposed to work.
recorded in a centralized computer file maintained by the New York State Department of Health. The Court should not jump the gun on the Executive.
Some patients regularly receiving prescription for "Schedule II" drugs and doctors who prescribed
such drugs brought an action questioning the validity of the statute on the ground that it violated III
the plaintiffs' constitutionally protected rights of privacy.

On the issue of funding, the majority submits that Section 6 of A.O. No. 308, which allows the
In a unanimous decision, the US Supreme Court sustained the validity of the statute on the ground government agencies included in the new system to obtain funding form their respective budgets,
that the patient identification requirement is a reasonable exercise of the State's broad police is unconstitutional for being an illegal transfer of appropriations.
powers. The Court also held that there is no support in the record for an assumption that the security
provisions of the statute will be adiministered improperly. Finally, the Court opined that the remote
possibility that judicial supervision of the evidentiary use of particular items of stored information It is not so. The budget for the national identification system cannot be deemed a transfer of funds
will not provide adequate protection against unwarranted diclosures is not a sufficient reason for since the same is composed of and will be implemented by the member government agancies.
invalidating the patient-identification program. Morever, thses agencies particularly the GSIS and SSS have been issuing some form of
identification or membership card. The improved ID cards that will be issued under this new system
would just take place of the old identification cards and budget-wise, the funds that were being
To be sure, there is always a possibility of an unwarranted disclosure of confidential matters used to manufacture the old ID cards, which are usually accounted for under the "Supplies and
enomously accumulated in computerized data banks and in government records relating to taxes, Materials" item of the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual, could now be utilized to fund
public health, social security benefits, military affairs, and similar matters. But as previously pointed the new cards. Hence, what is envisioned is not transfer of appropriations but a pooling of funds
out, we have a sufficient number of laws prohibiting and punishing any such unwarranted and resources by the various government agencies involved in the project.
disclosures. Anent this matter, the observation in Whalen vs. Roe is instructive:

WHEREFORE, I vote to dismiss the petition.


. . . We are not unaware of the threat to privacy implicit in the accumulation of vast amounts of
personal information in computerized data banks or other massive government files. The collection
of taxes, the distribution of welfare and social security benefits, the supervision of public health, the
direction of our Armed Forces and the enforcement of the criminal laws all require the orderly
preservation of great quantities of information, much of which is personal in character and MENDOZA, J., separate opinion;
potentially embarrassing or harmful if disclosed. The right to collect and use such data for public
purposes is typically accompanied by a concomitant statutory or regulatory duty to avoid My vote is to dismiss the petition in this case.
unwarranted disclosures. . . . 16

First. I cannot find anything in the text of Administrative Order No. 308 of the President of the
The majority laments that as technology advances, the level of reasonably expected privacy Philippines that would warrant a declaration that it is violative of the right of privacy. So far as I can
decreases. That may be true. However, court should tread daintily on the field of social and see, all the Administrative Orders does is
economic experimentation lest they impede or obstruct the march of technology to improve
public services just on the basis of an unfounded fear that the experimentation violates one's
constitutionally protected rights. In the sobering words of Mr. Justice Brandeis: • establish an Identification Reference System involving the following service agencies of the
government:
º Presidential Management Staff annulments; (d) legitimations, (e) adoptions, (f) acknowledgments of natural children, (g)
naturalizations, and (h) changes of name. 3
º National Economic Developemnt Authority
Other statutes giving government agencies the power to require personal information may be
º Department of the Interior and Local Government cited. R.A. No. 4136, §23 gives the Land Transportation Office the power to require applicants for a
driver's license to give information regarding the following: their full names, date of birth, height,
weight, sex, color of eyes, blood type, address, and right thumbprint;4 while R.A. No. 8239, §5 gives
º Department of Health the Department of Foreign Affairs the power to require passport applicants to give information
concerning their names, place of birth, date of birth, religious affiliation, marital status, and
º Government Service Isurance System citizenship.

º Social Security Office Justice Romero, tracing the origin of privacy to the attempt of the first man and woman to cover
their nakedness with fig leaves, bemoans the fact that technology and institutional pressures have
º National Computer Center threatened our sense of privacy. On the other hand, the majority would have none of the
Identification Reference System "to prevent the shrinking of the right to privacy, once regarded as
"the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."" 5 Indeed,
• create a committee, composed of the heads of the agencies concerned, to draft rules for the techniques such as fingerprinting or electronic photography in banks have become
System; commonplace. As has been observed, the teaching hospital has come to be accepted as offering
madical services that compensate for the loss of the isolation of the sickbed; the increased
• direct the use of the Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the National Census and capacity of applied sciences to utilize more and more kinds of data and the cosequent calls for
Statistics Office as the common reference number to link the participating agencies into an such data have weakened traditional resistance to disclosure. As the area of relevance, political
Identification Reference System, and the adoption by the agencies of standards in the use of or scientific, expands, there is strong psychological pressure to yield some ground of privacy. 6
biometrics technology and computer designs; and
But this is a fact of life to which we must adjust, as long as the intrusion into the domain of privacy is
• provide for the funding of the System from the budgets of the agencies concerned. reasonable. In Morfe v. Mutuc, 7 this Court dealt the coup de grace to claims of latitudinarian
scope for the right of privacy by quoting the pungent remark of an acute observer of the social
Petitioner argues, however, that "the implementation of A.O. No. 308 will mean that each and scene, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil:
every Filipino and resident will have a file with the government containing, at the very least,
his PRN and physiological biometrics such as, but not limited to, his facial features, hand geometry, Privacy? What's that? There is no precise word for it in Filipino, and as far as I know any Filipino
retinal or iris pattern, DNA pattern, fingerprints, voice characteristics, and signature analysis." dialect and there is none because there is no need for it. The concept and practice of privacy are
missing from conventional Filipino life. The Filipino believes that privacy is an unnecessary
In support of his contention, petitioner quotes the following publication surfed from the Internet: imposition, an eccentricity that is barely pardonable or, at best, an esoteric Western afterthought
smacking of legal trickery. 8

The use of biometrics is the means by which an individual may be conclusively identified. There are
two types of biometrics identifiers; Physical and behavioral characteristics, Physiological biometrics Justice Romero herself says in her separate opinion that the word privacy is not even in the lexicon
include facial features, hand geometry, retinal and iris patterns. DNA, and fingerprints of Filipinos.
characteristics include voice characteristics and signature analysis. 1
As to whether the right of privacy is "the most valued right," we do well to remember the
I do not see how from the bare provisions of the Order, the full text of which is set forth in the encomiums paid as well to other constitutional rights. For Professor Zechariah Chafee, "The writ of
majority opinion, petitioner and the majority can conclude that the Identification Reference System habeas corpus is "the most important human rights provision in the fundamental law,""9 For Justice
establishes such comprehensive personal information dossiers that can destroy individual privacy. Cardozo, on the other hand, freedom of expression "is the matrix, the indispensable condition of
So far as the Order provides, all that is contemplated is an identification system based on data nearly every other form of freedom." 10
which the government agencies involved have already been requiring individuals making use of
their services to give. The point is that care must be taken in assigning values to constitutional rights for the purpose of
calibrating them on the judicial scale, especially if this means employing stricter standards of
For example, under C.A. No. 591, §2(a) the National Statistics Office collects "by enumeration, review for regulations alleged to infringe certain rights deemed to be "most valued by civilized
sampling or other methods, statistics and other information concerning population . . . social and men.''
economic institutions, and such other statistics as the President may direct." In addition, it is in
charge of the administration of the Civil Register, 2 which means that it keeps records of information Indeed, the majority concedes that "the right of privacy does not bar all incursions into individual
concerning the civil status of persons, i.e., (a) births, (b) deaths, (c) marriages and their privacy . . . [only that such] incursions into the right must be accompanied by proper safeguards
and well-defined standards to prevent unconstitutional invasions." 11 In the case of the mere administrative order, the prescise nature of which is given in the following excerpt from the
Identification Reference System, the purpose is to facilitate the transaction of business with service decision in the early case of Olsen & Co. v. Herstein: 15
agencies of the government and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation. The personal
identification of an individual can facilitate his treatment in any government hospital in case of [It] is nothing more or less than a command from a superior to an inferior. It creates no relation
emergency. On the other hand, the delivery of material assistance, such as free medicines, can be except between the official who issues it and the official who receives it. Such orders, whether
protected from fraud or misrepresentation as the absence of a data base makes it possible for executive or departmental, have for their object simply the efficient and economical
unscrupulous individuals to obtain assistance from more than one government agency. administration of the affairs of the department to which or in which they are issued in accordance
with the law governing the subject-matter. They are administrative in their nature and do not pass
Second. Thus, the issue in this case is not really whether A.O. No. 308 violates the right of privacy beyond the limits of the department to which they are directed or in which they are published,
formed by emanations from the several constitutional rights cited by the majority. 12 The question is and, therefore, create no rights in third persons. They are based on, and are the product of a
whether it violates freedom of thought and of conscience guaranteed in the following provisions of relationship in which power is their source and obedience their object. Disobedience to or
our Bill of Rights (Art. III): deviation from such an order can be punished only by the power which issued it: and, if that power
fails to administer the corrective, then the disobedience goes unpunished. In that relationship no
Sec. 4. No law Shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or third person or official may intervene, not even the court. Such orders may be very temporary, they
the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of being subject to instant revocation or modification by the power which published them. Their very
grievances. nature, as determined by the relationship which prodecued them, demonstrates clearly the
impossibility of any other person enforcing them except the one who created them. An attempt on
the part of the courts to enforce such orders would result not only in confusion but, substantially, in
Sec. 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free departmental anarchy also. 16
exercise thereof. The free exercise enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without
discrimination or preference, shall be forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the
exercise of civil or political rights. Third. There is no basis for believing that, beyond the identification of individuals, the System will be
used for illegal purposes. Nor are sanctions lacking for the unauthorized use or disclosure of
information gathered by the various agencies constituting the System. For example, as the Solicitor
More specifically, the question is whether the establishment of the Identification Reference System General points out. C.A. No. 591. §4 penalizes the unauthorized use or disclosure of data furnished
will not result in the compilation of massive dossiers on individuals which, beyond their use for the NSO with a fine of not more than P600.00 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both.
identification, can become instruments of thought control. So far, the next of A.O. No. 308 affords
no basis for believing that the data gathered can be used for such sinister purpose. As already
stated, nothing that is not already being required by the concerned agencies of those making use At all events, at this stage, it is premature to pass on the claim that the Identification Reference
of their servides is required by the Order in question. The Order simply organizes service agencies System can be used for the purpose of compiling massive dossiers on individuals that can be used
of the government into a System for the purpose of facilitating the identification of persons seeking to curtail basic civil and political rights since, if at all, this can only be provided in the implementing
basic services and social security. Thus, the whereas clauses of A.O. No. 308 state: rules and regulations which have yet to be promulgated. We have already stated that A.O. No. 308
is not a statute. Even in the case of statutes, however, where implementing rules are necessary to
put them into effect, it has been held that an attack on their constitutionality would be
WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to premature. 17 As Edgar in King Lear puts it, "Ripeness is all." 18For, to borrow some more
conveniently transact business with basic services and social security providers and other Shakespearean lines,
government instrumentalities;

The canker galls the infants of the spring


WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons
seeking basic services and social security, and reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent
transactions and misrepresentations; Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd. 19

WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social That, more than any doctrine of constitutional law I can think of, succinctly expresses the rule on
security providing agencies and other government instrumentalities is required to achieve such a ripeness, prematurity, and hypothetical, speculative, or conjectural claims.
system:
Of special relevance to this case is Laird v. Tatum. 20 There, a class suit was brought seeking
The application of biometric technology and the standardization of computer designs can provide declaratory and injunctive relief on the claim that a U.S. Army intelligence surveillance of civilian
service agencies with precise identification of individuals, but what is wrong with that? political activity having "a potential for civil disorder" exercised "a present inhibiting effect on
[respondents'] full expression and utilization of their First Amendment rights." In holding the case
nonjusticiable, the U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Burger. said: 21
Indeed, A.O. No. 308 is no more than a directive to government agencies which the President of
the Philippines has issued in his capacity as administrative head. 13 It is not a statute. It confers no
right; it imposes no duty; it affords no protection; it creates no office. 14 It is, as its name indicates, a In recent years this Court has found in a number of cases that constitutional violations may arise
from the deterrent or ''chilling," effect of governmental regulations that fall short of a direct
prohibition against the exercise of First Amendment rights. [Citation of cases omitted] In none of Petitioner's argument is anchored on two erroneous assumptions: one, that all the concerned
these cases, however, did the chilling effect arise merely from the individual's knowledge that a agencies, including the SSS and the GSIS, receive budgetary support from the national
governmental agency was engaged in certain activities or from the individual's concomitant fear government; and two, that the GAA is the only law whereby public funds are appropriated. Both
that, armed with the fruits of those activities, the agency might in the future take some other and assumptions are wrong.
additional action detrimental to that individual. Rather, in each of these cases, the challenged
exercise of governmental power was regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory in nature, and the The SSS and GSIS do not presently receive budgetary support from the National Government. They
complainant was either presently or prospectively subject to the regulations, proscriptions, or have achieved self-supporting status such that the contributions of their members are sufficient to
compulsions that he was challenging. . . . finance their expenses. One would be hard pressed to find in the GAA an appropriation of funds to
the SSS and the GSIS.
[T]hese decisions have in no way eroded the "established principle that to entitle a private
individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of executive or legislative action Furthermore, their respective charters authorize the SSS and the GSIS to disburse their funds (Rep.
he must show that he was sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining a direct injury as the Act No. 1161 [1954], as amended, Sec. 25; Pres. Decree No. 1146 [1977], as amended, Sec. 29)
result of that action. . . . without the need for a separate appropriation from the Congress.

The respondents do not meet this test; [the] alleged "chilling" effect may perhaps be seen as arising Nor as Senator can petitioner claim standing since no power of Congress is alleged to have been
from respondents' perception of the system as inappropriate to the Army's role under our form of impaired by the Administrative Order in question. 22 As already stated, in issuing A.O. No. 308, the
government, or as arising from respondents' beliefs that it is inherently dangerous for the military to President did not exercise the legislative power vested by the Constitution in Congress. He acted
be concerned with activities in the civilian sector, or as arising from respondents' less generalized on the basis of his own powers as administrative head of the government, as distinguished from his
yet speculative apprehensiveness that the Army may at some future date misuse the information in capacity as the Executive. Dean Sinco elucidates the crucial distinction thus:
some way that would cause direct harm to respondents. Allegations of a subjective "chill" are not
an adequate substitute for a claim of specific present objective harm or a threat of specific future
harm: "the federal courts established pursuant to Article III of the Constitution do not render The Constitution of the Philippines makes the President not only the executive but also the
advisory opinions." United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 US 75, 89, 91 L Ed 754, 766, 67 S Ct 556 administrative head of the government. . . . Executive power refers to the legal and political
(1947). function of the President involving the exercise of discretion. Administrative power, on the other
hand, concerns itself with the work of applying policies and enforcing orders as determined by
proper governmental organs. These two functions are often confused by the public: but they are
Fourth. Given the fact that no right of privacy is involved in this case and that any objection to the distinct from each other. The President as the executive authority has the duty of supervising the
identification Reference System on the ground that it violates freedom of thought is premature, enforcement of laws for the maintenance of general peace and public order. As administrative
speculative, or conjectural pending the issuance of the implementing rules, it is clear that head, his duty is to see that every government office is managed and maintained properly by the
petitioner Blas F. Ople has no cause of action and, therefore, no standing to bring this action. persons in charge of it in accordance with pertinent laws and regulations.
Indeed, although he assails A.O. No. 308 on the ground that it violates the right of privacy, he
claims no personal injury suffered as a result of the Order in question. Instead, he says he is
bringing this action as taxpayer, Senator, and member of the Government Service Insurance . . . The power of control vested in him by the Constitution makes for a strongly centralized
System. administrative system. It reinforces further his position as the executive of the government, enabling
him to comply more effectively with his constitutional duty to enforce the laws. It enables him to fix
a uniform standard of a administrative eficiency and to check the official conduct of his agents.
Insofar as petitioner claims an interest as taxpayer, it is sufficient to say that A.O. No. 308 does not The decisions of all the officers within his department are subject to his power of revision, either on
involve the exercise of the taxing or spending power of the government. his own motion or on the appeal of some individual who might deem himself aggrieved by the
action of an administrative official. In case of serious dereliction of duty, he may suspend or
Insofar as he purports to sue as a member of the GSIS, neither does petitioner have an intertest remove the officials concerned. 23
sufficient to enable him to litigate a constitutional question. Petitioner claims that in providing that
the funds necessary for implementing the System shall be taken from the budgets of the For the foregoing reasons, the petition should be DISMISSED.
concerned agencies. A.O. No. 308 violates Art. VI, §25(5) which. provides:

No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the
President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to # Separate Opinions
augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in
other items of their respective appropriations. ROMERO, J., separate opinion;

But, as the Solicitor General states: What marks offs man from a beast?
Aside from the distinguishing physical characteristics, man is a rational being, one who is endowed VITUG, J., separate opinion;
with intellect which allows him to apply reasoned judgment to problems at hand; he has the innate
spiritual faculty which can tell, not only what is right but, as well, what is moral and ethical. One can appreciate the concern expressed by my esteemed colleague, Mr. Justice Reynato S.
Because of his sensibilities, emotions and feelings, he likewise possesses a sense of shame. In Puno, echoing that of the petitioner, the Honorable Blas F. Ople, on the issuance of Administrative
varying degrees as dictated by diverse cultures, he erects a wall between himself and the outside Order No. 308 by the President of the Philippines and the dangers its implementation could bring. I
world wherein he can retreat in solitude, protecting himself from prying eyes and ears and their find it hard, nevertheless, to peremptorily assume at this time that the administrative order will be
extensions, whether form individuals, or much later, from authoritarian intrusions. misused and to thereby ignore the possible benefits that can be derived from, or the merits of, a
nationwide computerized identification reference system. The great strides and swift advances in
Piercing through the mists of time, we find the original Man and Woman defying the injunction of technology render it inescapable that one day we will, at all events, have to face up with the
God by eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden. And when their eyes were "opened" forthwith reality of seeing extremely sophisticated methods of personal identification and any attempt to
"they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons." 1 Down the corridors of time, we stop the inevitable may either be short-lived or even futile. The imperatives, I believe, would
find man fashioning "fig leaves" of sorts or setting up figurative walls, the better to insulate instead be to now install specific safeguards and control measures that may be calculated best to
themselves from the rest of humanity. ward-off probable ill effects of any such device. Here, it may be apropos to recall the
pronouncement of this Court in People vs. Nazario 1 that —
Such vague stirrings of the desire "to be left alone," considered "anti-social" by some, led to the
development of the concept of "privacy," unheard of among beasts. Different branches of science, As a rule, a statute or [an] act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards
have made their own studies of this craving of the human spirit — psychological, anthropological that men "of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its
sociological and philosophical, with the legal finally giving its imprimatur by elevating it to the application." It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due process for failure
status ofa right, specifically a private right. to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2)
it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary
Initially recognized as an aspect of tort law, it created giant waves in legal circles with the flexing of the Government muscle. 2
publication in the Harvard Law Review 2 of the trail-blazing article, "The Right to Privacy," by Samuel
D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis. Administrative Order No. 308 appears to be so extensively drawn that could, indeed, allow
unbridled options to become available to its implementors beyond the reasonable comfort of the
Whether viewed as a personal or a property right, it found its way in Philippine Constitutions and citizens and of residents alike.
statutes; this, in spite of the fact that Philippine culture can hardly be said to provide a fertile field
for the burgeoning of said right. In fact, our lexicographers have yet to coin a word for it in the Prescinding from the foregoing, and most importantly to this instance, the subject covered by the
Filipino language. Customs and practices, being what they have always been, Filipinos think it questioned administrative order can have far-reaching consequences that can tell on all
perfectly natural and in good taste to inquire into each other's intimate affairs. individuals, their liberty and privacy, that, to my mind, should make it indispensable and
appropriate to have the matter specifically addressed by the Congress of the Philippines, the
One has only to sit through a televised talk show to be convinced that what passes for wholesome policy-making body of our government, to which the task should initially belong and to which the
entertainment is actually an invasion into one's private life, leaving the interviewee embarrassed authority to formulate and promulgate that policy is constitutionally lodged.
and outraged by turns.
WHEREFORE, I vote for the nullification of Administrative Order No. 308 for being an undue and
With the overarching influence of common law and the recent advent of the Information Age with impermissible exercise of legislative power by the Executive.
its high-tech devices, the right to privacy has expanded to embrace its public law aspect. The Bill
of Rights of our evolving Charters, a direct transplant from that of the United States, contains in
essence facets of the right to privacy which constitute limitations on the far-reaching powers of
government. PANGANIBAN, J., separate opinion;

So terrifying are the possibilities of a law such as Administrative Order No. 308 in making inroads I concur only in the result and only on the ground that an executive issuance is not legally sufficient
into the private lives of the citizens, a virtual Big Brother looking over our shoulder, that it must, to establish an all-encompassing computerized system of identification in the country. The subject
without delay, be "slain upon sight" before our society turns totalitarian with each of us, a mindless matter contained in AO 308 is beyond the powers of the President to regulate without a legislative
robot. enactment.

I, therefore, VOTE for the nullification of A.O. No. 308. I reserve judgmeht on the issue of wherher a national ID system is an infringement of the
constitutional right to privacy or the freedom of thought until after Congress passes, if ever, a law to
this effect. Only then, and upon the filing of a proper petition, may the provisions of the statute be
scrutinized by the judiciary to determine their constitutional foundation. Until such time, the issue is
premature; and any decision thereon, speculative and academic. 1
Be that as it may, the scholarly discussions of Justices Romero, Puno, Kapunan and Mendoza on Sec. 2. Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee. An Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC)
the constitutional right to privacy and freedom of thought may stil become useful guides to our to draw-up the implementing guidelines and oversee the implementation of the System is hereby
lawmakers, when and if Congress should deliberate on a bill establishing a national identification created, chaired by the Executive Secretary, with the following as members:
system.
Head Presidential Management Staff
Let it be noted that this Court, as shown by the voting of the justices, has not definitively ruled on
these points. The voting is decisive only on the need for the appropriate legislation, and it is only on Secretary, National Economic Development Authority
this ground that the petition is granted by this Court.

Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government

Secretary, Department of Health


KAPUNAN, J., dissenting opinion;

Administrator, Government Service Insurance System


The pioneering efforts of the executive to adopt a national computerized identification reference
system has met fierce opposition. It has spun dark predictions of sinister government ploys to
tamper with the citizen's right to privacy and ominous forecasts of a return to authoritarianism. Lost Administrator, Social Security System
in the uproar, however, is the simple fact that there is nothing in the whole breadth and lenght of
Administrative Order No. 308 that suggests a taint constitutional infirmity. Administrator, National Statistics Office

A.O. No. 308 issued by President Fidel V. Ramos on 12 December 1996 reads: Managing Director, National Computer Center

ADMTNISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 308 Sec. 3. Secretariat. The National Computer Center (NCC) is hereby designated as secretariat to the
IACC and as such shall provide administrative and technical support to the IACC.
ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED
Sec. 4. Linkage Among Agencies. The Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the NSO
IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM shall serve as the common reference number to establish a linkage among concerned agencies.
The IACC Secretariat shall coordinate with the different Social Security and Services Agencies to
establish the standards in the use of Biometrics Technology and in computer application designs of
WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to their respective systems.
conveniently transact business with basic services and social security providers and other
government instrumentalities;
Sec. 5. Conduct of Information Dissemination Campaign. The Office of the Press Secretary, in
coordination with the National Statistics Offices, the GSIS and SSS as lead agencies and other
WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons concerned agencies shall undertake a massive tri-media information dissemination campaign to
seeking basic services and social security and reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent educate and raise public awareness on the importance and use of the PRN and the Social Security
transactions and misrepresentations; Identification Reference.

WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social Sec. 6. Funding. The funds necessary for the implementation of the system shall be sourced from
security providing agencies and other government instrumentalities is required to achieve such a the respective budgets of the concerned agencies.
system;

Sec. 7. Submission of Regular Reports. The NSO, GSIS and SSS shall submit regular reports to the
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FIDEL V. RAMOS, President of the Repubic of the Philippines, by virtue of the Office of the President, through the IACC, on the status of implementation of this undertaking.
powers vested in me by law, do hereby direct the following:

Sec. 8 Effectivity. This Administartive Order shall take effect immediately.


Sec. 1 Establishment of a National Computerized Identification Reference System. A decentralized
Identification Reference System among the key basic services and social security providers is
hereby established. DONE in the City of Manila, this 12th day of December in the year of Our Lord, Nineteen Hundred
and Ninety-Six.

In seeking to strike down A.O. No. 308 as unconstitutional, petitioner argues:


A. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL COMPUTERIZED IDENTIFICATION REFERENCE SYSTEM REQUIRES A The new identification system would tremendously improve and uplift public service in our country
LEGISLATIVE ACT. THE ISSUACE OF A.O. NO. 308 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE to the benefit of Filipino citizens and resident aliens. It would promote, facilitate and speed up
PHILIPPINES IS, THEREFORE, AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE POWERS OF THE legitimate transactions with government offices as well as with private and business entities.
CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. Experience tells us of the constant delays and inconveniences the public has to suffer in availing of
basic public services and social security benefits because of inefficient and not too reliable means
B. THE APPROPRIATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS BY THE PRESIDENT FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. of identification of the beneficiaries.
308 IS AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL USURPATION OF THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT OF CONGRESS TO APPROPRIATE
PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EXPENDITURE. Thus, in the "Primer on the Social Security Card and Administrative Order No. 308" issued by the SSS,
a lead agency in the implementation of the said order, the following salient features are
C. THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A.O. NO. 308 INSIDIOUSLY LAYS THE GROUNDWORK FOR A SYSTEM mentioned:
WHICH WILL VIOLATE THE BILL OF RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION.
1. A.O. 308 merely establishes the standards for I.D. cards issued by key government agencies
The National Computerized Identification Reference system to which the NSO, GSIS and SSS are such as SSS and GSIS.
linked as lead members of the IACC is intended to establish uniform standards for ID cards isssued
by key government agencies (like the SSS) 1 for the "efficient identification of persons." 2 Under the 2. It does not establish a national I.D. system neither does it require a national I.D. card for every
new system, only one reliable and tamper-proof I.D. need be presented by the cardholder instead person.
of several identification papers such as passports and driver's license, 3 to able to transact with
government agencies. The improved ID can be used to facilitate public transactions such as: 3. The use of the I.D. is voluntary.

1. Payment of SSS and GSIS benefits 4. The I.D. is not required for delivery of any government service. Everyone has the right to basic
government services as long as he is qualified under existing laws.
2. Applications for driver's license, BIR TIN, passport, marriage license, death certificate, NBI and
police clearances, and business permits 5. The LD. cannot and will not in any way be used to prevent one to travel.

3. Availment of Medicare services in hospitals 6. There will be no discrimination Non-holders of the improved I.D. are still entitled to the same
services but will be subjected to the usual rigid identification and verification beforehand.
4. Availment of welfare services
I
5. Application for work/employment
The issue that must first be hurdled is: was the issuance of A.O. No. 308 an exercise by the President
6. Pre-requisite for Voter's ID. 4 of legislative power properly belonging to Congress?

The card may also be used for private transactions such as: It is not.

1. Opening of bank accounts The Administrative Code of 1987 has unequivocally vested the President with quasi-legislative
powers in the form of executive orders, administrative orders, proclamations, memorandum orders
2. Encashment of checks and circulars and general or special orders. 6 An administrative order, like the one under which the
new identification system is embodied, has its peculiar meaning under the 1987 Administrative
Code:
3. Applications for loans, credit cards, water, power, telephones, pagers, etc.

Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. — Acts of the President which relate to particular aspects of
4. Purchase of stocks governmental operations in pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be promulgated in
administrative orders.
5. Application for work/employment
The National Computerized Identification Reference System was established pursuant to the
6. Insurance claims aforaquoted provision precisely because its principal purpose, as expressly stated in the order, is
to provide the people with "the facility to conveniently transact business" with the various
7. Receipt of payments, checks, letters, valuables, etc. 5 government agencies providing basic services. Being the "administrative head," it is
unquestionably the responsibility of the President to find ways and means to improve the In any case A.O. No. 308 was promulgated by the President pursuant to the quasi-legislative
government bureaucracy, and make it more professional, efficient and reliable, specially those powers expressly granted to him by law and in accordance with his duty as administrative head.
government agencies and instrumentalities which provide basic services and which the citizenry Hence, the contention that the President usurped the legislative prerogatives of Congress has no
constantly transact with, like the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security firm basis.
System (SSS) and National Statistics Office (NSO). The national computerized ID system is one such
advancement. To emphasize, the new identification reference system is created to streamline the II
bureaucracy, cut the red tape and ultimately achieve administrative efficiency. The project,
therefore, relates to, is an appropriate subject and falls squarely within the ambit of the Chief
Executive's administrative power under which, in order to successfully carry out his administrative Having resolved that the President has the authority and prerogative to issue A.O. No. 308, I submit
duties, he has been granted by law quasi-legislative powers, quoted above. that it is premature for the Court to determine the constitutionality or unconstitutionality of the
National Computerized Identification Reference System.

Understandably, strict adherence to the doctrine of separation of power spawns differences of


opinion. For we cannot divide the branches of government into water-tight compartment. Even if Basic in constitutional law is the rule that before the court assumes jurisdiction over and decide
such is possible, it is neither desirable nor feasible. Bernard Schwartz, in his work Administrative constitutional issues, the following requisites must first be satisfied:
Law, A Casebook, thus states:
1) there must be an actual case or controversy involving a conflict of rights susceptible of judicial
To be sure, if we think of the separation of powers as carrying out the distinction between determination;
legislation and administration with mathematical precision and as dividing the branches of
government into watertight compartments, we would probably have to conclude that any exercise 2) the constitutional question must be raised by a proper party;
of lawmaking authority by an agency is automatically invalid. Such a rigorous application of the
constitutional doctrine is neither desirable nor feasible; the only absolute separation that has ever 3) the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and
been possible was that in the theoretical writings of a Montesquieu, who looked across at foggy
England from his sunny Gascon vineyards and completely misconstrued what he saw. 7
4) the resolution of the constitutional question must be necessary to the resolution of the case. 10

A mingling of powers among the three branches of government is not a novel concept. This
blending of powers has become necessary to properly address the complexities brought about by In this case, it is evident that the first element is missing. Judicial intervention calls for an actual
a rapidly developing society and which the traditional branches of government have difficulty case or controversy which is defined as "an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe
coping with. 8 for determination, not conjectural or anticipatory." 11 Justice Isagani A. Cruz further expounds that
"(a) justifiable controversy is thus distinguished from a difference or dispute of a hypothetical or
abstract character or from one that is academic or moot. The controversy must be definite and
It has been said that: concrete, touching the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. It must be a real
and substantial controversy admitting of special relief through a decree that is conclusive in
The true meaning of the general doctrine of the separation of powers seems to be that the whole character, as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical
power of one department should not be exercised by the same hands which possess the whole state of facts. . . ." 12 A.O. No. 308 does not create any concrete or substantial controversy. It
power of either of the other department, and that no one department ought to possess directly or provides the general framework of the National Computerized Identification Reference System and
indirectly an overruling influence over the others. And it has been that this doctrine should be lays down the basic standards (efficiency, convenience and prevention of fraudulent transactions)
applied only to the powers which because of their nature are assigned by the constitution itself to for its cretion. But as manifestly indicated in the subject order, it is the Inter-Agency Coordinating
one of the departments exclusively. Hence, it does not necessarily follow that an entire and Committee (IACC) which is tasked to research, study and formulate the guidelines and parameters
complete separation is either desirable of was ever intended, for such a complete separation for the use of Biometrics Technology and in computer application designs that will and define give
would be impracticable if not impossible; there may be-and frequently are-areas in which substance to the new system. 13 This petition is, thus, premature considering that the IACC is still in
executive, legislative, and judicial powers blend or overlap; and many officers whose duties the process of doing the leg work and has yet to codify and formalize the details of the new
cannot be exclusively placed under any one of these heads. system.

The courts have perceived the necessity of avoiding a narrow construction of a state constitutional The majority opines that the petition is ripe for adjudication even without the promulgation of the
provision for the division of the powers of the government into three distinct departments, for it is necessary guidelines in view of the fact that respondents have begun implementation of A.O. No.
impractical to view the provision from the standpoint of a doctrinaire. Thus, the modern view of 308. The SSS, in particular, has started advertising in newspapers the invitation to bid for the
separation of powers rejects the metaphysical abstractions and reverts instead to more pragmatic, production of the I.D. cards. 14
flexible, functional approach, giving recognition to the fact that then may be a certain degree of
blending or admixture of the three powers of the government. Moreover, the doctrine of separation I beg to disagree. It is not the new system itself that is intended to be implemented in the invitation
of powers has never been strictly or rigidly applied, and indeed could not be, to all the to bid but only the manufacture of the I.D. cards. Biometrics Technology is not and cannot be used
ramifications of state or national governments; government would prove abortive if it were
attempted to follow the policy of separation to the letter. 9
in the I.D. cards as no guidelines therefor have yet been laid down by the IACC. Before the and Services Agencies to establish the standards in the use of Biometrics Technology.
assailed system can be set up, it is imperative that the guidelines be issued first. Consequently, the choice of the particular form and extent of Biometrics Technology that will be
applied and the parameters for its use (as will be defined in the guidelines) will necessarily and
III logically be guided, limited and circumscribed by the afore-stated standards. The fear entertained
by the majority on the potential dangers of this new technology is thus securedly allayed by the
specific limitations set by the above-mentioned standards. More than this, the right to privacy is
Without the essential guidelines, the principal contention for invalidating the new identification well-esconced in and directly protected by various provisions of the Bill of Rights, the Civil Code,
reference system — that it is an impermissible encroachment on the constitutionally recognized the Revised Penal Code, and certain laws, all so painstakingly and resourcefully catalogued in the
right to privacy — is plainly groundless. There is nothing in A.O. No. 308 to serve as sufficient basis majority opinion. Many of these laws provide penalties for their violation in the form of
for a conclusion that the new system to be evolved violates the right to privacy. Said order simply imprisonment, fines, or damages. These laws will serve as powerful deterrents not only in the
provides the system's general framework. Without the concomitant guidelines, which would spell establishment of any administrative rule that will violate the constitutionally protected right to
out in detail how this new identification system would work, the perceived violation of the right to privacy, but also to would-be transgressors of such right.
privacy amounts to nothing more than mere surmise and speculation.

Relevant to this case is the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Whalen v. Roe. 15 In that case, a New
What has caused much of the hysteria over the National Computerized Identification Reference York statute was challenged for requiring physicians to identify patients obtaining prescription
System is the possible utilization of Biometrics Technology which refers to the use of autnomated drugs of the statute's "Schedule II" category (a class of drugs having a potential for abuse and a
matching of physiological or behavioral characteristics to identify a person that would violated the recognized medical use) so the names and addresses of the prescription drug patients can be
citizen's constitutionally protected right to privacy. recorded in a centralized computer file maintained by the New York State Department of Health.
Some patients regularly receiving prescription for "Schedule II" drugs and doctors who prescribed
The majority opinion has enumerated various forms and methods of Biometrics Technology which if such drugs brought an action questioning the validity of the statute on the ground that it violated
adopted in the National Computaized Identification Reference System would seriously threaten the the plaintiffs' constitutionally protected rights of privacy.
right to privacy. Among which are biocrypt retinal scan, artificial nose and thermogram. The
majority also points to certain alleged deficiencies of A O. No. 308. Thus: In a unanimous decision, the US Supreme Court sustained the validity of the statute on the ground
that the patient identification requirement is a reasonable exercise of the State's broad police
1) A.O. No. 308 does not specify the particular Biometrics Technology that shall be used for the new powers. The Court also held that there is no support in the record for an assumption that the security
identification system. provisions of the statute will be adiministered improperly. Finally, the Court opined that the remote
possibility that judicial supervision of the evidentiary use of particular items of stored information
2) The order dots not state whether encoding of data is limited to biological information alone for will not provide adequate protection against unwarranted diclosures is not a sufficient reason for
identification purposes; invalidating the patient-identification program.

3) There is no provision as to who shall control and access the data, under what circumstances and To be sure, there is always a possibility of an unwarranted disclosure of confidential matters
for what purpose; and enomously accumulated in computerized data banks and in government records relating to taxes,
public health, social security benefits, military affairs, and similar matters. But as previously pointed
out, we have a sufficient number of laws prohibiting and punishing any such unwarranted
4) There are no controls to guard against leakage of information, thus heightening the potential for disclosures. Anent this matter, the observation in Whalen vs. Roe is instructive:
misuse and abuse.
. . . We are not unaware of the threat to privacy implicit in the accumulation of vast amounts of
We should not be overwhelmed by the mere mention of the Biometrics Technology and its alleged, personal information in computerized data banks or other massive government files. The collection
yet unfounded "far-reaching effects." of taxes, the distribution of welfare and social security benefits, the supervision of public health, the
direction of our Armed Forces and the enforcement of the criminal laws all require the orderly
There is nothing in A.O. No. 308, as it is worded, to suggest that the advanced methods of the preservation of great quantities of information, much of which is personal in character and
Biometrics Technology that may pose danger to the right of privacy will be adopted. potentially embarrassing or harmful if disclosed. The right to collect and use such data for public
purposes is typically accompanied by a concomitant statutory or regulatory duty to avoid
The standards set in A.O. No. 308 for the adoption of the new system are clear-cut and unwarranted disclosures. . . . 16
unequivocably spelled out in the "WHEREASES" and body of the order, namely, the need to provide
citizens and foreign residents with the facility to conveniently transact business with basic The majority laments that as technology advances, the level of reasonably expected privacy
service and social security providers and other government instrumentalities; the computerized decreases. That may be true. However, court should tread daintily on the field of social and
system is intended to properly and efficientlyidentify persons seeking basic services or social economic experimentation lest they impede or obstruct the march of technology to improve
security and reduce, if not totally eradicate fraudulent transactions and misreprentation; the public services just on the basis of an unfounded fear that the experimentation violates one's
national identification reference system is established among the key basic services and social constitutionally protected rights. In the sobering words of Mr. Justice Brandeis:
security providers; and finally, the IACC Secretariat shall coordinate with different Social Security
To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right º Presidential Management Staff
to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the Nation. It is one of the happy
incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a º National Economic Developemnt Authority
laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.
This Court has the power to prevent an experiment. We may strike down the statute which
embodies it on the ground that, in our opinion, the measure is arbitary, capricious or unreaonable. º Department of the Interior and Local Government
We have power to do this, because the due process clause has been held by he Court applicable
to matters of substantive law as well as to matters of procedure. But in the exercise of this high º Department of Health
power, we must be ever on our guard, lest we erect our prejudices into legal principles. If we would
guide by the light of reason, we must let our minds be bold. 17 º Government Service Isurance System

Again, the concerns of the majority are premature precisely because there are as yet no º Social Security Office
guidelines that will direct the Court and serve as solid basis for determining the constitutionality of
the new identification system. The Court cannot and should not anticipate the constitutional issues
and rule on the basis of guesswok. The guidelines would, among others, determine the particular º National Computer Center
biometrics method that would be used and the specific personal data that would be collected
provide the safeguard, (if any) and supply the details on how this new system in supposed to work. • create a committee, composed of the heads of the agencies concerned, to draft rules for the
The Court should not jump the gun on the Executive. System;

III • direct the use of the Population Reference Number (PRN) generated by the National Census and
Statistics Office as the common reference number to link the participating agencies into an
On the issue of funding, the majority submits that Section 6 of A.O. No. 308, which allows the Identification Reference System, and the adoption by the agencies of standards in the use of
government agencies included in the new system to obtain funding form their respective budgets, biometrics technology and computer designs; and
is unconstitutional for being an illegal transfer of appropriations.
• provide for the funding of the System from the budgets of the agencies concerned.
It is not so. The budget for the national identification system cannot be deemed a transfer of funds
since the same is composed of and will be implemented by the member government agancies. Petitioner argues, however, that "the implementation of A.O. No. 308 will mean that each and
Morever, thses agencies particularly the GSIS and SSS have been issuing some form of every Filipino and resident will have a file with the government containing, at the very least,
identification or membership card. The improved ID cards that will be issued under this new system his PRN and physiological biometrics such as, but not limited to, his facial features, hand geometry,
would just take place of the old identification cards and budget-wise, the funds that were being retinal or iris pattern, DNA pattern, fingerprints, voice characteristics, and signature analysis."
used to manufacture the old ID cards, which are usually accounted for under the "Supplies and
Materials" item of the Government Accounting and Auditing Manual, could now be utilized to fund In support of his contention, petitioner quotes the following publication surfed from the Internet:
the new cards. Hence, what is envisioned is not transfer of appropriations but a pooling of funds
and resources by the various government agencies involved in the project.
The use of biometrics is the means by which an individual may be conclusively identified. There are
two types of biometrics identifiers; Physical and behavioral characteristics, Physiological biometrics
WHEREFORE, I vote to dismiss the petition. include facial features, hand geometry, retinal and iris patterns. DNA, and fingerprints
characteristics include voice characteristics and signature analysis. 1

I do not see how from the bare provisions of the Order, the full text of which is set forth in the
MENDOZA, J., separate opinion; majority opinion, petitioner and the majority can conclude that the Identification Reference System
establishes such comprehensive personal information dossiers that can destroy individual privacy.
My vote is to dismiss the petition in this case. So far as the Order provides, all that is contemplated is an identification system based on data
which the government agencies involved have already been requiring individuals making use of
their services to give.
First. I cannot find anything in the text of Administrative Order No. 308 of the President of the
Philippines that would warrant a declaration that it is violative of the right of privacy. So far as I can
see, all the Administrative Orders does is For example, under C.A. No. 591, §2(a) the National Statistics Office collects "by enumeration,
sampling or other methods, statistics and other information concerning population . . . social and
economic institutions, and such other statistics as the President may direct." In addition, it is in
• establish an Identification Reference System involving the following service agencies of the charge of the administration of the Civil Register, 2 which means that it keeps records of information
government: concerning the civil status of persons, i.e., (a) births, (b) deaths, (c) marriages and their
annulments; (d) legitimations, (e) adoptions, (f) acknowledgments of natural children, (g) and well-defined standards to prevent unconstitutional invasions." 11 In the case of the
naturalizations, and (h) changes of name. 3 Identification Reference System, the purpose is to facilitate the transaction of business with service
agencies of the government and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation. The personal
Other statutes giving government agencies the power to require personal information may be identification of an individual can facilitate his treatment in any government hospital in case of
cited. R.A. No. 4136, §23 gives the Land Transportation Office the power to require applicants for a emergency. On the other hand, the delivery of material assistance, such as free medicines, can be
driver's license to give information regarding the following: their full names, date of birth, height, protected from fraud or misrepresentation as the absence of a data base makes it possible for
weight, sex, color of eyes, blood type, address, and right thumbprint;4 while R.A. No. 8239, §5 gives unscrupulous individuals to obtain assistance from more than one government agency.
the Department of Foreign Affairs the power to require passport applicants to give information
concerning their names, place of birth, date of birth, religious affiliation, marital status, and Second. Thus, the issue in this case is not really whether A.O. No. 308 violates the right of privacy
citizenship. formed by emanations from the several constitutional rights cited by the majority. 12 The question is
whether it violates freedom of thought and of conscience guaranteed in the following provisions of
Justice Romero, tracing the origin of privacy to the attempt of the first man and woman to cover our Bill of Rights (Art. III):
their nakedness with fig leaves, bemoans the fact that technology and institutional pressures have
threatened our sense of privacy. On the other hand, the majority would have none of the Sec. 4. No law Shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or
Identification Reference System "to prevent the shrinking of the right to privacy, once regarded as the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of
"the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."" 5 Indeed, grievances.
techniques such as fingerprinting or electronic photography in banks have become
commonplace. As has been observed, the teaching hospital has come to be accepted as offering Sec. 5. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
madical services that compensate for the loss of the isolation of the sickbed; the increased exercise thereof. The free exercise enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without
capacity of applied sciences to utilize more and more kinds of data and the cosequent calls for discrimination or preference, shall be forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the
such data have weakened traditional resistance to disclosure. As the area of relevance, political exercise of civil or political rights.
or scientific, expands, there is strong psychological pressure to yield some ground of privacy. 6

More specifically, the question is whether the establishment of the Identification Reference System
But this is a fact of life to which we must adjust, as long as the intrusion into the domain of privacy is will not result in the compilation of massive dossiers on individuals which, beyond their use for
reasonable. In Morfe v. Mutuc, 7 this Court dealt the coup de grace to claims of latitudinarian identification, can become instruments of thought control. So far, the next of A.O. No. 308 affords
scope for the right of privacy by quoting the pungent remark of an acute observer of the social no basis for believing that the data gathered can be used for such sinister purpose. As already
scene, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil: stated, nothing that is not already being required by the concerned agencies of those making use
of their servides is required by the Order in question. The Order simply organizes service agencies
Privacy? What's that? There is no precise word for it in Filipino, and as far as I know any Filipino of the government into a System for the purpose of facilitating the identification of persons seeking
dialect and there is none because there is no need for it. The concept and practice of privacy are basic services and social security. Thus, the whereas clauses of A.O. No. 308 state:
missing from conventional Filipino life. The Filipino believes that privacy is an unnecessary
imposition, an eccentricity that is barely pardonable or, at best, an esoteric Western afterthought WHEREAS, there is a need to provide Filipino citizens and foreign residents with the facility to
smacking of legal trickery. 8 conveniently transact business with basic services and social security providers and other
government instrumentalities;
Justice Romero herself says in her separate opinion that the word privacy is not even in the lexicon
of Filipinos. WHEREAS, this will require a computerized system to properly and efficiently identify persons
seeking basic services and social security, and reduce, if not totally eradicate, fraudulent
As to whether the right of privacy is "the most valued right," we do well to remember the transactions and misrepresentations;
encomiums paid as well to other constitutional rights. For Professor Zechariah Chafee, "The writ of
habeas corpus is "the most important human rights provision in the fundamental law,""9 For Justice WHEREAS, a concerted and collaborative effort among the various basic services and social
Cardozo, on the other hand, freedom of expression "is the matrix, the indispensable condition of security providing agencies and other government instrumentalities is required to achieve such a
nearly every other form of freedom." 10 system:

The point is that care must be taken in assigning values to constitutional rights for the purpose of The application of biometric technology and the standardization of computer designs can provide
calibrating them on the judicial scale, especially if this means employing stricter standards of service agencies with precise identification of individuals, but what is wrong with that?
review for regulations alleged to infringe certain rights deemed to be "most valued by civilized
men.''
Indeed, A.O. No. 308 is no more than a directive to government agencies which the President of
the Philippines has issued in his capacity as administrative head. 13 It is not a statute. It confers no
Indeed, the majority concedes that "the right of privacy does not bar all incursions into individual right; it imposes no duty; it affords no protection; it creates no office. 14 It is, as its name indicates, a
privacy . . . [only that such] incursions into the right must be accompanied by proper safeguards
mere administrative order, the prescise nature of which is given in the following excerpt from the prohibition against the exercise of First Amendment rights. [Citation of cases omitted] In none of
decision in the early case of Olsen & Co. v. Herstein: 15 these cases, however, did the chilling effect arise merely from the individual's knowledge that a
governmental agency was engaged in certain activities or from the individual's concomitant fear
[It] is nothing more or less than a command from a superior to an inferior. It creates no relation that, armed with the fruits of those activities, the agency might in the future take some other and
except between the official who issues it and the official who receives it. Such orders, whether additional action detrimental to that individual. Rather, in each of these cases, the challenged
executive or departmental, have for their object simply the efficient and economical exercise of governmental power was regulatory, proscriptive, or compulsory in nature, and the
administration of the affairs of the department to which or in which they are issued in accordance complainant was either presently or prospectively subject to the regulations, proscriptions, or
with the law governing the subject-matter. They are administrative in their nature and do not pass compulsions that he was challenging. . . .
beyond the limits of the department to which they are directed or in which they are published,
and, therefore, create no rights in third persons. They are based on, and are the product of a [T]hese decisions have in no way eroded the "established principle that to entitle a private
relationship in which power is their source and obedience their object. Disobedience to or individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of executive or legislative action
deviation from such an order can be punished only by the power which issued it: and, if that power he must show that he was sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining a direct injury as the
fails to administer the corrective, then the disobedience goes unpunished. In that relationship no result of that action. . . .
third person or official may intervene, not even the court. Such orders may be very temporary, they
being subject to instant revocation or modification by the power which published them. Their very The respondents do not meet this test; [the] alleged "chilling" effect may perhaps be seen as arising
nature, as determined by the relationship which prodecued them, demonstrates clearly the from respondents' perception of the system as inappropriate to the Army's role under our form of
impossibility of any other person enforcing them except the one who created them. An attempt on government, or as arising from respondents' beliefs that it is inherently dangerous for the military to
the part of the courts to enforce such orders would result not only in confusion but, substantially, in be concerned with activities in the civilian sector, or as arising from respondents' less generalized
departmental anarchy also. 16 yet speculative apprehensiveness that the Army may at some future date misuse the information in
some way that would cause direct harm to respondents. Allegations of a subjective "chill" are not
Third. There is no basis for believing that, beyond the identification of individuals, the System will be an adequate substitute for a claim of specific present objective harm or a threat of specific future
used for illegal purposes. Nor are sanctions lacking for the unauthorized use or disclosure of harm: "the federal courts established pursuant to Article III of the Constitution do not render
information gathered by the various agencies constituting the System. For example, as the Solicitor advisory opinions." United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 US 75, 89, 91 L Ed 754, 766, 67 S Ct 556
General points out. C.A. No. 591. §4 penalizes the unauthorized use or disclosure of data furnished (1947).
the NSO with a fine of not more than P600.00 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both.
Fourth. Given the fact that no right of privacy is involved in this case and that any objection to the
At all events, at this stage, it is premature to pass on the claim that the Identification Reference identification Reference System on the ground that it violates freedom of thought is premature,
System can be used for the purpose of compiling massive dossiers on individuals that can be used speculative, or conjectural pending the issuance of the implementing rules, it is clear that
to curtail basic civil and political rights since, if at all, this can only be provided in the implementing petitioner Blas F. Ople has no cause of action and, therefore, no standing to bring this action.
rules and regulations which have yet to be promulgated. We have already stated that A.O. No. 308 Indeed, although he assails A.O. No. 308 on the ground that it violates the right of privacy, he
is not a statute. Even in the case of statutes, however, where implementing rules are necessary to claims no personal injury suffered as a result of the Order in question. Instead, he says he is
put them into effect, it has been held that an attack on their constitutionality would be bringing this action as taxpayer, Senator, and member of the Government Service Insurance
premature. 17 As Edgar in King Lear puts it, "Ripeness is all." 18For, to borrow some more System.
Shakespearean lines,
Insofar as petitioner claims an interest as taxpayer, it is sufficient to say that A.O. No. 308 does not
The canker galls the infants of the spring involve the exercise of the taxing or spending power of the government.

Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd. 19 Insofar as he purports to sue as a member of the GSIS, neither does petitioner have an intertest
sufficient to enable him to litigate a constitutional question. Petitioner claims that in providing that
That, more than any doctrine of constitutional law I can think of, succinctly expresses the rule on the funds necessary for implementing the System shall be taken from the budgets of the
ripeness, prematurity, and hypothetical, speculative, or conjectural claims. concerned agencies. A.O. No. 308 violates Art. VI, §25(5) which. provides:

Of special relevance to this case is Laird v. Tatum. 20 There, a class suit was brought seeking No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the
declaratory and injunctive relief on the claim that a U.S. Army intelligence surveillance of civilian President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the
political activity having "a potential for civil disorder" exercised "a present inhibiting effect on Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to
[respondents'] full expression and utilization of their First Amendment rights." In holding the case augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in
nonjusticiable, the U.S. Supreme Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Burger. said: 21 other items of their respective appropriations.

In recent years this Court has found in a number of cases that constitutional violations may arise But, as the Solicitor General states:
from the deterrent or ''chilling," effect of governmental regulations that fall short of a direct
Petitioner's argument is anchored on two erroneous assumptions: one, that all the concerned
agencies, including the SSS and the GSIS, receive budgetary support from the national
government; and two, that the GAA is the only law whereby public funds are appropriated. Both
assumptions are wrong.

The SSS and GSIS do not presently receive budgetary support from the National Government. They
have achieved self-supporting status such that the contributions of their members are sufficient to
finance their expenses. One would be hard pressed to find in the GAA an appropriation of funds to
the SSS and the GSIS.

Furthermore, their respective charters authorize the SSS and the GSIS to disburse their funds (Rep.
Act No. 1161 [1954], as amended, Sec. 25; Pres. Decree No. 1146 [1977], as amended, Sec. 29)
without the need for a separate appropriation from the Congress.

Nor as Senator can petitioner claim standing since no power of Congress is alleged to have been
impaired by the Administrative Order in question. 22 As already stated, in issuing A.O. No. 308, the
President did not exercise the legislative power vested by the Constitution in Congress. He acted
on the basis of his own powers as administrative head of the government, as distinguished from his
capacity as the Executive. Dean Sinco elucidates the crucial distinction thus:

The Constitution of the Philippines makes the President not only the executive but also the
administrative head of the government. . . . Executive power refers to the legal and political
function of the President involving the exercise of discretion. Administrative power, on the other
hand, concerns itself with the work of applying policies and enforcing orders as determined by
proper governmental organs. These two functions are often confused by the public: but they are
distinct from each other. The President as the executive authority has the duty of supervising the
enforcement of laws for the maintenance of general peace and public order. As administrative
head, his duty is to see that every government office is managed and maintained properly by the
persons in charge of it in accordance with pertinent laws and regulations.

. . . The power of control vested in him by the Constitution makes for a strongly centralized
administrative system. It reinforces further his position as the executive of the government, enabling
him to comply more effectively with his constitutional duty to enforce the laws. It enables him to fix
a uniform standard of a administrative eficiency and to check the official conduct of his agents.
The decisions of all the officers within his department are subject to his power of revision, either on
his own motion or on the appeal of some individual who might deem himself aggrieved by the
action of an administrative official. In case of serious dereliction of duty, he may suspend or
remove the officials concerned. 23

For the foregoing reasons, the petition should be DISMISSED.