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Potenciano Ilusorio is about 86 years of age possessed of

[G.R. No. 139789. May 12, 2000] extensive property valued at millions of pesos. For many
years, lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio was Chairman of the
ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO, petitioner, vs. ERLINDA I. Board and President of Baguio Country Club.
BILDNER and SYLVIA K. ILUSORIO, JOHN DOE and JANE
DOE, respondents. Mesm On July 11, 1942, Erlinda Kalaw and Potenciano Ilusorio
contracted matrimony and lived together for a period of
[G.R. No. 139808. May 12, 2000] thirty (30) years. In 1972, they separated from bed and
board for undisclosed reasons. Potenciano lived at
POTENCIANO ILUSORIO, MA. ERLINDA I. BILDNER, and Urdaneta Condominium, Ayala Ave., Makati City when he
SYLVIA ILUSORIO, petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS was in Manila and at Ilusorio Penthouse, Baguio Country
and ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO, respondents. Club when he was in Baguio City. On the other hand, Erlinda
lived in Antipolo City.
DECISION
Out of their marriage, the spouses had six (6) children,
namely: Ramon Ilusorio (age 55); Erlinda Ilusorio Bildner
PARDO, J.: (age 52); Maximo (age 50); Sylvia (age 49); Marietta (age
48); and Shereen (age 39).
May a wife secure a writ of habeas corpus to compel her
husband to live with her in conjugal bliss? The answer is no. On December 30, 1997, upon Potencianos arrival from the
Marital rights including coverture and living in conjugal United States, he stayed with Erlinda for about five (5)
dwelling may not be enforced by the extra-ordinary writ months in Antipolo City. The children, Sylvia and Erlinda
of habeas corpus. (Lin), alleged that during this time, their mother gave
Potenciano an overdose of 200 mg instead of 100 mg Zoloft,
A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal an antidepressant drug prescribed by his doctor in New
confinement or detention,[1] or by which the rightful York, U.S.A. As a consequence, Potencianos health
custody of a person is withheld from the one entitled deteriorated.
thereto.[2] Slx
On February 25, 1998, Erlinda filed with the Regional Trial
"Habeas corpus is a writ directed to the person detaining Court, Antipolo City a petition[10] for guardianship over the
another, commanding him to produce the body of the person and property of Potenciano Ilusorio due to the
prisoner at a designated time and place, with the day and latters advanced age, frail health, poor eyesight and
cause of his capture and detention, to do, submit to, and impaired judgment.
receive whatsoever the court or judge awarding the writ
shall consider in that behalf."[3] On May 31, 1998, after attending a corporate meeting in
Baguio City, Potenciano Ilusorio did not return to Antipolo
It is a high prerogative, common-law writ, of ancient origin, City and instead lived at Cleveland Condominium,
the great object of which is the liberation of those who may Makati. Slxsc
be imprisoned without sufficient cause.[4] It is issued when
one is deprived of liberty or is wrongfully prevented from On March 11, 1999, Erlinda filed with the Court of Appeals
exercising legal custody over another person.[5] a petition for habeas corpus to have the custody of lawyer
Potenciano Ilusorio. She alleged that
The petition of Erlinda K. Ilusorio[6] is to reverse the respondents[11] refused petitioners demands to see and
decision[7] of the Court of Appeals and its visit her husband and prohibited Potenciano from returning
resolution[8] dismissing the application for habeas corpus to to Antipolo City.
have the custody of her husband, lawyer Potenciano
Ilusorio and enforce consortium as the wife. After due hearing, on April 5, 1999, the Court of Appeals
rendered decision the dispositive portion of which reads:
On the other hand, the petition of Potenciano Ilusorio[9] is to
annul that portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals "WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing
giving Erlinda K. Ilusorio visitation rights to her husband disquisitions, judgment is hereby
and to enjoin Erlinda and the Court of Appeals from rendered:
enforcing the visitation rights.
"(1) Ordering, for humanitarian
The undisputed facts are as follows: Scslx consideration and upon petitioners
manifestation, respondents Erlinda K.
Erlinda Kalaw Ilusorio is the wife of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio Bildner and Sylvia Ilusorio-Yap,
Ilusorio. the administrator of Cleveland
Condominium or anywhere in its place, his
guards and Potenciano Ilusorios staff seeing or visiting him. He made it clear that he did not object
especially Ms. Aurora Montemayor to to seeing them.
allow visitation rights to Potenciano
Ilusorios wife, Erlinda Ilusorio and all her As to lawyer Potenciano Ilusorios mental state, the Court of
children, notwithstanding any list limiting Appeals observed that he was of sound and alert mind,
visitors thereof, under penalty of having answered all the relevant questions to the
contempt in case of violation of refusal satisfaction of the court.
thereof; xxx
Being of sound mind, he is thus possessed with the capacity
"(2) ORDERING that the writ of habeas to make choices. In this case, the crucial choices revolve on
corpus previously issued be recalled and his residence and the people he opts to see or live with. The
the herein petition for habeas corpus be choices he made may not appeal to some of his family
DENIED DUE COURSE, as it is hereby members but these are choices which exclusively belong to
DISMISSED for lack of unlawful restraint Potenciano. He made it clear before the Court of Appeals
or detention of the subject of the petition. that he was not prevented from leaving his house or seeing
people. With that declaration, and absent any true restraint
"SO ORDERED."[12] on his liberty, we have no reason to reverse the findings of
the Court of Appeals.
Hence, the two petitions, which were consolidated and are
herein jointly decided. With his full mental capacity coupled with the right of
choice, Potenciano Ilusorio may not be the subject of
As heretofore stated, a writ of habeas corpus extends to all visitation rights against his free choice. Otherwise, we will
cases of illegal confinement or detention,[13] or by which the deprive him of his right to privacy. Needless to say, this will
rightful custody of a person is withheld from the one run against his fundamental constitutional right. Es m
entitled thereto. It is available where a person continues to
be unlawfully denied of one or more of his constitutional The Court of Appeals exceeded its authority when it
freedoms, where there is denial of due process, where the awarded visitation rights in a petition for habeas
restraints are not merely involuntary but are unnecessary, corpus where Erlinda never even prayed for such right. The
and where a deprivation of freedom originally valid has ruling is not consistent with the finding of subjects sanity.
later become arbitrary.[14] It is devised as a speedy and
effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, When the court ordered the grant of visitation rights, it also
as the best and only sufficient defense of personal emphasized that the same shall be enforced under penalty
freedom.[15] Jksm of contempt in case of violation or refusal to comply. Such
assertion of raw, naked power is unnecessary.
The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas
corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint, The Court of Appeals missed the fact that the case did not
and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is involve the right of a parent to visit a minor child but the
illegal.[16] right of a wife to visit a husband. In case the husband refuses
to see his wife for private reasons, he is at liberty to do so
To justify the grant of the petition, the restraint of liberty without threat of any penalty attached to the exercise of his
must be an illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom right.
of action.[17] The illegal restraint of liberty must be actual
and effective, not merely nominal or moral.[18] No court is empowered as a judicial authority to compel a
husband to live with his wife. Coverture cannot be enforced
The evidence shows that there was no actual and effective by compulsion of a writ of habeas corpus carried out by
detention or deprivation of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorios sheriffs or by any other mesne process. That is a matter
liberty that would justify the issuance of the writ. The fact beyond judicial authority and is best left to the man and
that lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio is about 86 years of age, or womans free choice.
under medication does not necessarily render him mentally
incapacitated. Soundness of mind does not hinge on age or WHEREFORE, in G. R. No. 139789, the Court DISMISSES the
medical condition but on the capacity of the individual to petition for lack of merit. No costs.
discern his actions.
In G. R. No. 139808, the Court GRANTS the petition and
After due hearing, the Court of Appeals concluded that there nullifies the decision of the Court of Appeals insofar as it
was no unlawful restraint on his liberty. gives visitation rights to respondent Erlinda K. Ilusorio. No
costs.
The Court of Appeals also observed that lawyer Potenciano
Ilusorio did not request the administrator of the Cleveland SO ORDERED.
Condominium not to allow his wife and other children from