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SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

A. SETTLEMENT OF CASES Commented [BKKP1]: No case digest yet for the


following cases. Please repost/resend in case overlooked at.
Case 1: Silverio Sr vs Silverio Jr
GR 208828-29 A. Settlement
#6 Heirs of Hilario vs Edmon Ruiz
#7 Unionbank vs Santibanez
Facts: The late Beatriz S. Silverio died without a will on October 7, 1987. She was survived by her legal heirs, #8 Pilapil vs Briones
namely:
a. Ricardo C. Silverio, Sr. (husband), F. Habeas Corpus
b. Edmundo S. Silverio (son), Complete
c. Edgardo S. Silverio (son),
d. Ricardo S. Silverio, Jr. (son), I. Prerogative Writs
e. Nelia S. Silverio-Dee (daughter), and
#13 West Tower Condominium vs Phil Ind Corp
f. Ligaya S. Silverio (daughter).

Subsequently, an intestate proceeding for the settlement of her estate was filed by SILVERIO, SR.
In the course of the proceedings, the parties filed different petitions and appeal challenging several orders of the
intestate court that went all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The intestate court in its Omnibus Order, ordered among others, the sale of certain properties (Cambridge, Intsia
and Taurus) belonging to the estate. By virtue of the aforesaid Order, SILVERIO, JR. executed a Deed of
Absolute Sale in favor of the following:
a. CITRINE HOLDINGS, Inc. ("CITRINE") over the Intsia property.
b. Monica P. Ocampo over the Cambridge property. The latter subsequently sold said property to ZEE2
Resources, Inc. (ZEE2)

This case involves an active exchange of pleadings to remove and appoint a new administrator ensued between
SILVERIO SR. and SILVERIO JR. There was a flip flopping appointment of administrator. Eventually, the
Court of Appeals (Seventh Division) issued a decision reinstating SILVERIO SR. as administrator and declaring
the Writ of Preliminary Injunction permanent in regard to the appointment of administrator.

SILVERIO SR. then filed an Urgent Application for the Issuance of TRO/Preliminary Prohibitory Injunction
praying among others, that a TRO be issued restraining and/or preventing SILVERIO, JR., MONICA
OCAMPO, CITRINE HOLDINGS, INC. and their successors-in-interest from committing any act that would
affect the titles to the three properties. The TRO was granted by the Intestate Court.

SILVERIO Sr. filed a Supplement to the Urgent Omnibus Motion where the intestate court declared the Deed
of Absolute Sale in favor of Citirine and Monica P. Ocampo as VOID as well as its subsequent TCTs issued as
NULL AND VOID.

Respondent Ricardo S. Silverio, Jr. ("Silverio, Jr.") then filed a Petition for Certiorari before the CA questioning
the above issuances of the intestate court.

Respondents Silverio, Jr., Monica Ocampo and Citrine Holdings, Inc. argued that the intestate court should not
have ruled on the validity of the sale of the subject properties to third parties after it itself had authorized their
disposal in partial settlement of the estate, especially so when separate actions assailing the new titles issued to
said third parties were already instituted by petitioner.

Issue: Whether or not the intestate court erred in annulling the sales of the Intsia and Cambridge properties.

Ruling: Yes. The Court erred in annulling the sales of the Intsia and Cambridge properties.

At the outset, we emphasize that the probate court having jurisdiction over properties under administration has
the authority not only to approve any disposition or conveyance, but also to annul an unauthorized sale by the
prospective heirs or administrator. In the early case of Godoy vs. Orellano, we laid down the rule that the sale
of the property of the estate by an administrator without the order of the probate court is void and passes no title
to the purchaser.

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There is hardly any doubt that the probate court can declare null and void the disposition of the property under
administration, made by private respondent, the same having been effected without authority from said court. It
is the probate court that has the power to authorize and/or approve the sale (Section 4 and 7, Rule 89), hence, a
fortiori, it is said court that can declare it null and void for as long as the proceedings had not been closed or
terminated. To uphold petitioner’s contention that the probate court cannot annul the unauthorized sale, would
render meaningless the power pertaining to the said court. (Bonga vs. Soler, 2 SCRA 755). Our jurisprudence
is therefore clear that (1) any disposition of estate property by an administrator or prospective heir pending final
adjudication requires court approval and (2) any unauthorized disposition of estate property can be annulled by
the probate court, there being no need for a separate action to annul the unauthorized disposition.

In this case, however, the sale of the subject properties was executed by respondent Silverio, Jr. with prior
approval of the intestate court under its Omnibus Order dated October 31, 2006. Subsequently, however, the
sale was annulled by the said court on motion by petitioner.

In reversing the intestate court’s order annulling the sale of the subject properties, the CA noted that said ruling
is anchored on the fact that the deeds of sale were executed at the time when the TRO and writ of preliminary
injunction issued was still in effect. It then concluded that the eventual decision in the latter case making the
writ of preliminary injunction permanent only with respect to the appointment of petitioner as administrator and
not to the grant of authority to sell mooted the issue of whether the sale was executed at the time when the TRO
and writ of preliminary injunction were in effect.

Thus, the Court ruked that it was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the intestate court to order the sale of
the Cambridge Property and Intsia Property as NULL and VOID citing as justification the decision of the Court
of Appeals. To reiterate, the injunction order which was made permanent by the Court of Appeals was declared
to be limited only to the portion of the Omnibus Order that upheld the grant of letters of administration by
SILVERIO, JR. and the removal of SILVERIO, SR. as administrator and nothing else.

Case 2: Edgar San Luis vs. Felicidad San Luis

The instant case involves the settlement of the estate of Felicisimo T. San Luis (Felicisimo), who
was the former governor of the Province of Laguna. During his lifetime, Felicisimo contracted three marriages.
His first marriage was with Virginia Sulit on March 17, 1942 out of which were born six children, namely:
Rodolfo, Mila, Edgar, Linda, Emilita and Manuel. On August 11, 1963, Virginia predeceased Felicisimo.

Five years later, on May 1, 1968, Felicisimo married Merry Lee Corwin, with whom he had a son,
Tobias. However, on October 15, 1971, Merry Lee, an American citizen, filed a Complaint for Divorce before
the Family Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii, United States of America (U.S.A.), which issued a Decree
Granting Absolute Divorce and Awarding Child Custody on December 14, 1973

On June 20, 1974, Felicisimo married respondent Felicidad San Luis, then surnamed Sagalongos,
before Rev. Fr. William Meyer, Minister of the United Presbyterian at Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles,
California, U.S.A. He had no children with respondent but lived with her for 18 years from the time of their
marriage up to his death on December 18, 1992.

Thereafter, respondent sought the dissolution of their conjugal partnership assets and the settlement
of Felicisimos estate. On December 17, 1993, she filed a petition for letters of administration before the Regional
Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 24.

Respondent alleged that she is the widow of Felicisimo; that, at the time of his death, the
decedent was residing at 100 San Juanico Street, New Alabang Village, Alabang, Metro Manila; that the
decedents surviving heirs are respondent as legal spouse, his six children by his first marriage, and son by his
second marriage; that the decedent left real properties, both conjugal and exclusive, valued at
P30,304,178.00 more or less; that the decedent does not have any unpaid debts. Respondent prayed that the

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conjugal partnership assets be liquidated and that letters of administration be issued to her.

The argument of the petitioner:

On February 4, 1994, petitioner Rodolfo San Luis, one of the children of Felicisimo by his first marriage, filed
a motion to dismiss on the grounds of improper venue and failure to state a cause of action. Rodolfo claimed
that the petition for letters of administration should have been filed in the Province of Laguna because
this was Felicisimos place of residence prior to his death. He further claimed that respondent has no legal
personality to file the petition because she was only a mistress of Felicisimo since the latter, at the time of
his death, was still legally married to Merry Lee.

The trial court denied the motion to dismiss by the petitioner.

The defendant’s argument:

Not aware of the denial of the motion to dismiss, the defendant submitted documentary evidence
showing that while Felicisimo exercised the powers of his public office in Laguna, he regularly went home to
their house in New Alabang Village, Alabang, Metro Manila which they bought sometime in 1982. Further,
she presented the decree of absolute divorce issued by the Family Court of the First Circuit, State of
Hawaii to prove that the marriage of Felicisimo to Merry Lee had already been dissolved. Thus, she
claimed that Felicisimo had the legal capacity to marry her by virtue of paragraph 2, Article 26 of the Family
Code and the doctrine laid down in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.[

Thereafter, the petitioners filed their respective motion for reconsideration assailing the subject decision of the
trial court. Subsequently, one of the petitioners filed a motion to disqualify Acting Presiding Judge Anthony E.
Santos from hearing the case.

On October 24, 1994, the trial court issued an Order denying the motions for reconsideration. It ruled
that respondent, as widow of the decedent, possessed the legal standing to file the petition and that venue
was properly laid. Meanwhile, the motion for disqualification was deemed moot and academic because then
Acting Presiding Judge Santos was substituted by Judge Salvador S. Tensuan pending the resolution of said
motion.

One of the petitioners filed a motion for inhibition against Judge Tensuan on November 16, 1994.
On even date, Edgar also filed a motion for reconsideration from the Order denying their motion for
reconsideration arguing that it does not state the facts and law on which it was based.

On November 25, 1994, Judge Tensuan issued an Order granting the motion for inhibition. The case
was re-raffled to Branch 134 presided by Judge Paul T. Arcangel.

On September 12, 1995, the trial court dismissed the petition for letters of administration. It
held that, at the time of his death, Felicisimo was the duly elected governor and a resident of the Province
of Laguna. Hence, the petition should have been filed in Sta. Cruz, Laguna and not in Makati City. It also
ruled that respondent was without legal capacity to file the petition for letters of administration because
her marriage with Felicisimo was bigamous, thus, void ab initio. It found that the decree of absolute divorce
dissolving Felicisimos marriage to Merry Lee was not valid in the Philippines and did not bind Felicisimo who
was a Filipino citizen. It also ruled that paragraph 2, Article 26 of the Family Code cannot be retroactively
applied because it would impair the vested rights of Felicisimos legitimate children.

Respondent moved for reconsideration and for the disqualification of Judge Arcangel but said
motions were denied.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

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Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed and set aside the orders of the trial
court in its assailed Decision dated February 4, 1998.

The appellante court ruled that under Section 1, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court, the term place of
residence of the decedent, for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate, refers to the personal,
actual or physical habitation, or actual residence or place of abode of a person as distinguished from legal
residence or domicile. It noted that although Felicisimo discharged his functions as governor in Laguna, he
actually resided in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Thus, the petition for letters of administration was properly filed in
Makati City.

The Court of Appeals also held that Felicisimo had legal capacity to marry respondent by virtue of
paragraph 2, Article 26 of the Family Code and the rulings in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. and Pilapil v. Ibay-
Somer. It found that the marriage between Felicisimo and Merry Lee was validly dissolved by virtue of the
decree of absolute divorce issued by the Family Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii. As a result, under
paragraph 2, Article 26, Felicisimo was capacitated to contract a subsequent marriage with respondent.

The petitioners’ arguments before the Supreme Court

In the instant consolidated petitions, Edgar and Rodolfo insist that the venue of the subject petition
for letters of administration was improperly laid because at the time of his death, Felicisimo was a resident of
Sta. Cruz, Laguna. They contend that pursuant to our rulings in Nuval v. Guray and Romualdez v. RTC, Br. 7,
Tacloban City residence is synonymous with domicile which denotes a fixed permanent residence to which
when absent, one intends to return. They claim that a person can only have one domicile at any given time.
Since Felicisimo never changed his domicile, the petition for letters of administration should have been filed in
Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

Petitioners also contend that respondents marriage to Felicisimo was void and bigamous because it
was performed during the subsistence of the latters marriage to Merry Lee. They argue that paragraph 2, Article
26 cannot be retroactively applied because it would impair vested rights and ratify the void bigamous marriage.
As such, respondent cannot be considered the surviving wife of Felicisimo; hence, she has no legal capacity to
file the petition for letters of administration.

The issues of the case

The issues for resolution: (1) whether venue was properly laid, and (2) whether respondent has
legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration.

I. The venue was properly laid

Under Section 1, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court, the petition for letters of administration of the estate
of Felicisimo should be filed in the Regional Trial Court of the province in which he resides at the time of his
death. In the case of Garcia Fule v. Court of Appeals, we laid down the doctrinal rule for determining the
residence as contradistinguished from domicile of the decedent for purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement
of his estate:

[T] he term resides connotes ex vi termini actual residence as distinguished from legal residence or
domicile. This term resides, like the terms residing and residence, is elastic and should be interpreted in
the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. In the application of venue
statutes and rules Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature residence rather than
domicile is the significant factor. Even where the statute uses the word domicile still it is construed as meaning
residence and not domicile in the technical sense. Some cases make a distinction between the terms residence
and domicile but as generally used in statutes fixing venue, the terms are synonymous, and convey the same

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meaning as the term inhabitant. In other words, resides should be viewed or understood in its popular sense,
meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation of a person, actual residence or place of abode. It
signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat. In this popular sense, the term means merely
residence, that is, personal residence, not legal residence or domicile. Residence simply requires bodily
presence as an inhabitant in a given place, while domicile requires bodily presence in that place and also an
intention to make it ones domicile. No particular length of time of residence is required though; however, the
residence must be more than temporary. (Emphasis supplied)

It is incorrect for petitioners to argue that residence, for purposes of fixing the venue of the
settlement of the estate of Felicisimo, is synonymous with domicile. The rulings in Nuval and Romualdez
are inapplicable to the instant case because they involve election cases. Needless to say, there is a distinction
between residence for purposes of election laws and residence for purposes of fixing the venue of actions. In
election cases, residence and domicile are treated as synonymous terms, that is, the fixed permanent residence
to which when absent, one has the intention of returning. However, for purposes of fixing venue under the Rules
of Court, the residence of a person is his personal, actual or physical habitation, or actual residence or place of
abode, which may not necessarily be his legal residence or domicile provided he resides therein with continuity
and consistency. Hence, it is possible that a person may have his residence in one place and domicile in another.

In the instant case, while petitioners established that Felicisimo was domiciled in Sta. Cruz,
Laguna, respondent proved that he also maintained a residence in Alabang, Muntinlupa from 1982 up to
the time of his death. Respondent submitted in evidence the Deed of Absolute Sale dated January 5, 1983
showing that the deceased purchased the aforesaid property. She also presented billing statements[from the
Philippine Heart Center and Chinese General Hospital for the period August to December 1992 indicating the
address of Felicisimo at 100 San Juanico, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa. Respondent also presented proof of
membership of the deceased in the Ayala Alabang Village Association and Ayala Country Club, Inc., letter-
envelopes from 1988 to 1990 sent by the deceaseds children to him at his Alabang address, and the deceased’s
calling cards stating that his home/city address is at 100 San Juanico, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa
while his office/provincial address is in Provincial Capitol, Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

From the foregoing, we find that Felicisimo was a resident of Alabang, Muntinlupa for
purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of his estate. Consequently, the subject petition for letters of
administration was validly filed in the Regional Trial Court which has territorial jurisdiction over Alabang,
Muntinlupa. The subject petition was filed on December 17, 1993. At that time, Muntinlupa was still a
municipality and the branches of the Regional Trial Court of the National Capital Judicial Region which had
territorial jurisdiction over Muntinlupa were then seated in Makati City as per Supreme Court Administrative
Order No. 3. Thus, the subject petition was validly filed before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City.

II. The respondent has legal capacity to file the subject petition for letters of administration
may arise from her status as the surviving wife of Felicisimo or as his co-owner under Article 144 of the
Civil Code or Article 148 of the Family Code.

Anent the issue of respondent Felicidad’s legal personality to file the petition for letters of
administration, we must first resolve the issue of whether a Filipino who is divorced by his alien spouse
abroad may validly remarry under the Civil Code, considering that Felicidad’s marriage to Felicisimo
was solemnized on June 20, 1974, or before the Family Code took effect on August 3, 1988. In resolving
this issue, we need not retroactively apply the provisions of the Family Code, particularly Art. 26, par. (2)
considering that there is sufficient jurisprudential basis allowing us to rule in the affirmative.

The case of Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr. involved a marriage between a foreigner and his Filipino wife,
which marriage was subsequently dissolved through a divorce obtained abroad by the latter. Claiming that the
divorce was not valid under Philippine law, the alien spouse alleged that his interest in the properties from their
conjugal partnership should be protected. The Court, however, recognized the validity of the divorce and held

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that the alien spouse had no interest in the properties acquired by the Filipino wife after the divorce.

The purpose and effect of a decree of divorce from the bond of matrimony by a competent jurisdiction
are to change the existing status or domestic relation of husband and wife, and to free
them both from the bond. The marriage tie, when thus severed as to one party, ceases to
bind either. A husband without a wife, or a wife without a husband, is unknown to the
law. When the law provides, in the nature of a penalty, that the guilty party shall not marry
again, that party, as well as the other, is still absolutely freed from the bond of the former
marriage.

Thus, pursuant to his national law, private respondent is no longer the husband of petitioner. He would have
no standing to sue in the case below as petitioners husband entitled to exercise control over conjugal assets.
As he is bound by the Decision of his own countrys Court, which validly exercised jurisdiction over him, and
whose decision he does not repudiate, he is estopped by his own representation before said Court from
asserting his right over the alleged conjugal property

As to the effect of the divorce on the Filipino wife, the Court ruled that she should no longer be
considered married to the alien spouse. Further, she should not be required to perform her marital duties and
obligations. It held:

To maintain, as private respondent does, that, under our laws, petitioner


has to be considered still married to private respondent and still subject to a wife's
obligations under Article 109, et. seq. of the Civil Code cannot be just. Petitioner
should not be obliged to live together with, observe respect and fidelity, and render
support to private respondent. The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with
possible rights to conjugal property. She should not be discriminated against in her
own country if the ends of justice are to be served. (Emphasis added)
The significance of the Van Dorn case to the development of limited recognition of divorce in the
Philippines cannot be denied. The ruling has long been interpreted as severing marital ties between parties in a
mixed marriage and capacitating the Filipino spouse to remarry as a necessary consequence of upholding the
validity of a divorce obtained abroad by the alien spouse. In his treatise, Dr. Arturo M. Tolentino cited Van
Dorn stating that if the foreigner obtains a valid foreign divorce, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to
remarry under Philippine law.

As such, the Van Dorn case is sufficient basis in resolving a situation where a divorce is validly
obtained abroad by the alien spouse. With the enactment of the Family Code and paragraph 2, Article 26 thereof,
our lawmakers codified the law already established through judicial precedent.

Indeed, when the object of a marriage is defeated by rendering its continuance intolerable to one of
the parties and productive of no possible good to the community, relief in some way should be obtainable.
Marriage, being a mutual and shared commitment between two parties, cannot possibly be productive of any
good to the society where one is considered released from the marital bond while the other remains bound to it.
Such is the state of affairs where the alien spouse obtains a valid divorce abroad against the Filipino spouse, as
in this case.

Petitioners cite Articles 15 and 17 of the Civil Code in stating that the divorce is void under
Philippine law insofar as Filipinos are concerned. However, in light of this Courts rulings in the cases
discussed above, the Filipino spouse should not be discriminated against in his own country if the ends of justice
are to be served. In Alonzo v. Intermediate Appellate Court, the Court stated:

But as has also been aptly observed, we test a law by its results; and likewise, we may add, by its purposes. It
is a cardinal rule that, in seeking the meaning of the law, the first concern of the judge should be to discover in
its provisions the intent of the lawmaker. Unquestionably, the law should never be interpreted in such a way
as to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent. An indispensable part of that intent, in fact,

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for we presume the good motives of the legislature, is to render justice.

Thus, we interpret and apply the law not independently of but in consonance
with justice. Law and justice are inseparable, and we must keep them so. To be sure, there
are some laws that, while generally valid, may seem arbitrary when applied in a particular
case because of its peculiar circumstances. In such a situation, we are not bound, because
only of our nature and functions, to apply them just the same, in slavish obedience to their
language. What we do instead is find a balance between the word and the will, that justice
may be done even as the law is obeyed.
As judges, we are not automatons. We do not and must not unfeelingly apply
the law as it is worded, yielding like robots to the literal command without regard to its
cause and consequence. Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of a law,
so we are warned, by Justice Holmes again, where these words import a policy that goes
beyond them.

xxxx

More than twenty centuries ago, Justinian defined justice as the constant and
perpetual wish to render every one his due. That wish continues to motivate this Court
when it assesses the facts and the law in every case brought to it for decision. Justice is
always an essential ingredient of its decisions. Thus when the facts warrants, we interpret
the law in a way that will render justice, presuming that it was the intention of the
lawmaker, to begin with, that the law be dispensed with justice.
Applying the above doctrine in the instant case, the divorce decree allegedly obtained by Merry Lee
which absolutely allowed Felicisimo to remarry, would have vested Felicidad with the legal personality to file
the present petition as Felicisimos surviving spouse. However, the records show that there is insufficient
evidence to prove the validity of the divorce obtained by Merry Lee as well as the marriage of respondent and
Felicisimo under the laws of the U.S.A. In Garcia v. Reciothe Court laid down the specific guidelines for
pleading and proving foreign law and divorce judgments. It held that presentation solely of the divorce decree
is insufficient and that proof of its authenticity and due execution must be presented. Under Sections 24 and 25
of Rule 132, a writing or document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country by either
(1) an official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested by the officer having legal custody of the document. If
the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper
diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the
record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.

With regard to respondents marriage to Felicisimo allegedly solemnized in California, U.S.A., she
submitted photocopies of the Marriage Certificate and the annotated text[of the Family Law Act of California
which purportedly show that their marriage was done in accordance with the said law. As stated in Garcia,
however, the Court cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws as they must be alleged and proved.

Therefore, this case should be remanded to the trial court for further reception of evidence on the
divorce decree obtained by Merry Lee and the marriage of respondent and Felicisimo.

Even assuming that Felicisimo was not capacitated to marry respondent in 1974, nevertheless,
we find that the latter has the legal personality to file the subject petition for letters of administration, as
she may be considered the co-owner of Felicisimo as regards the properties that were acquired through
their joint efforts during their cohabitation.

Section 6, Rule 78 of the Rules of Court states that letters of administration may be granted to
the surviving spouse of the decedent. However, Section 2, Rule 79 thereof also provides in part:

SEC. 2. Contents of petition for letters of administration. A petition for letters of administration must be
filed by an interested person and must show, as far as known to the petitioner: x x x.

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An interested person has been defined as one who would be benefited by the estate, such as an
heir, or one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. The interest must be material and
direct, and not merely indirect or contingent.

In the instant case, respondent would qualify as an interested person who has a direct interest
in the estate of Felicisimo by virtue of their cohabitation, the existence of which was not denied by
petitioners. If she proves the validity of the divorce and Felicisimos capacity to remarry, but fails to prove
that her marriage with him was validly performed under the laws of the U.S.A., then she may be
considered as a co-owner under Article 144 of the Civil Code. This provision governs the property relations
between parties who live together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage, or their marriage is void
from the beginning. It provides that the property acquired by either or both of them through their work or
industry or their wages and salaries shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership. In a co-ownership, it is not
necessary that the property be acquired through their joint labor, efforts and industry. Any property acquired
during the union is prima facie presumed to have been obtained through their joint efforts. Hence, the portions
belonging to the co-owners shall be presumed equal, unless the contrary is proven.

Meanwhile, if respondent fails to prove the validity of both the divorce and the marriage, the
applicable provision would be Article 148 of the Family Code which has filled the hiatus in Article 144 of
the Civil Code by expressly regulating the property relations of couples living together as husband and
wife but are incapacitated to marry. The Court described the property regime under this provision as
follows:

The regime of limited co-ownership of property governing the union of parties who are not legally
capacitated to marry each other, but who nonetheless live together as husband and wife, applies to
properties acquired during said cohabitation in proportion to their respective contributions. Co-
ownership will only be up to the extent of the proven actual contribution of money, property or industry.
Absent proof of the extent thereof, their contributions and corresponding shares shall be presumed to be
equal.

In view of the foregoing, we find that respondent’s legal capacity to file the subject petition for
letters of administration may arise from her status as the surviving wife of Felicisimo or as his co-owner
under Article 144 of the Civil Code or Article 148 of the Family Code.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals reinstating and affirming the
February 28, 1994 Order of the Regional Trial Court which denied petitioners motion to dismiss and its
October 24, 1994 Order which dismissed petitioners motion for reconsideration is AFFIRMED. Let this case
be REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings.
SO ORDERED.

Case 3: AGTARAP vs AGTARAP

G.R. No. 177099 June 8, 2011


EDUARDO G. AGTARAP, Petitioner,
vs.
SEBASTIAN AGTARAP, JOSEPH AGTARAP, TERESA AGTARAP, WALTER DE SANTOS, and
ABELARDO DAGORO, Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 177192
SEBASTIAN G. AGTARAP, Petitioner,
vs.
EDUARDO G. AGTARAP, JOSEPH AGTARAP, TERESA AGTARAP, WALTER DE SANTOS, and
ABELARDO DAGORO, Respondents.

FACTS:

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Joaquin Agtarap died intestate on November 21, 1964 in Pasay City without any known debts or obligations.
During his lifetime, Joaquin contracted two marriages, first with Lucia Garcia and second with Caridad Garcia.
Lucia died on April 24, 1924. Joaquin and Lucia had three children, Jesus (died without issue), Milagros, and
Jose (survived by three children, namely, Gloria, Joseph, and Teresa). Joaquin married Caridad on February 9,
1926. They also had three children, Eduardo, Sebastian, and Mercedes (survived by her daughter Cecile). At
the time of his death, Joaquin left two parcels of land with improvements in Pasay City, covered by Transfer
Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. 873-(38254) and 874-(38255). Joseph, a grandson of Joaquin, had been leasing
and improving the said realties and had been appropriating for himself P26,000.00 per month since April 1994.
Eduardo asked to be appointed administrator. He was latter appointed by the probate court and was issued with
letters of administrator. Joseph, Gloria, and Teresa filed their answer/opposition. They alleged that the two
subject lots belong to the conjugal partnership of Joaquin with Lucia, and that, upon Lucia’s death in April
1924, they became the pro indiviso owners of the subject properties. They said that their residence was built
with the exclusive money of their late father Jose, and the expenses of the extensions to the house were
shouldered by Gloria and Teresa, while the restaurant (Manong’s Restaurant) was built with the exclusive
money of Joseph and his business partner. Thereafter, the RTC issued an Order of Partition, holding that
considering that the bulk of the estate property were acquired during the existence of the second marriage as
shown by TCT No. (38254) and TCT No. (38255) which showed on its face that decedent was married to
Caridad Garcia, which fact oppositors failed to contradict by evidence other than their negative allegations, the
greater part of the estate is perforce accounted by the second marriage and the compulsory heirs thereunder. It
also declared that the real estate properties belonged to the conjugal partnership of Joaquin and Lucia. It also
directed the modification of the October 23, 2000 Order of Partition to reflect the correct sharing of the heirs.
However, before the RTC could issue a new order of partition, Eduardo and Sebastian both appealed to the CA.
The CA settled, together with the settlement of the estate of Joaquin, the estates of Lucia, Jesus, Jose, Mercedes,
Gloria, and Milagros. Moreover, the estate of Milagros in the intestate proceedings despite the fact that a
proceeding was conducted in another court for the probate of the will of Milagros, bequeathing all to Eduardo
whatever share that she would receive from Joaquin’s estate. CA also affirmed that the bulk of the realties
subject of this case belong to the first marriage of Joaquin to Lucia, notwithstanding that the certificates of title
were registered in the name of Joaquin Agtarap casado con ("married to") Caridad Garcia.

ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC, acting as an intestate court with limited jurisdiction, is vested with the power
and authority to determine questions of ownership.

HELD:
Yes. The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, either as a probate or an intestate court, relates
only to matters having to do with the probate of the will and/or settlement of the estate of deceased persons, but
does not extend to the determination of questions of ownership that arise during the proceedings. The patent
rationale for this rule is that such court merely exercises special and limited jurisdiction. As held in several
cases, a probate court or one in charge of estate proceedings, whether testate or intestate, cannot adjudicate or
determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside parties,
not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the deceased but by title adverse to that of the deceased and his
estate. All that the said court could do as regards said properties is to determine whether or not they should be
included in the inventory of properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is no dispute, there poses
no problem, but if there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an
ordinary action before a court exercising general jurisdiction for a final determination of the conflicting claims
of title.
However, this general rule is subject to exceptions as justified by expediency and convenience. First, the probate
court may provisionally pass upon in an intestate or a testate proceeding the question of inclusion in, or exclusion
from, the inventory of a piece of property without prejudice to the final determination of ownership in a separate
action. Second, if the interested parties are all heirs to the estate, or the question is one of collation or
advancement, or the parties consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate court and the rights of third
parties are not impaired, then the probate court is competent to resolve issues on ownership.
Verily, its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or collateral to the settlement and distribution of the estate,
such as the determination of the status of each heir and whether the property in the inventory is conjugal or
exclusive property of the deceased spouse. We hold that the general rule does not apply to the instant case
considering that the parties are all heirs of Joaquin and that no rights of third parties will be impaired by the

pg. 9
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resolution of the ownership issue. More importantly, the determination of whether the subject properties are
conjugal is but collateral to the probate court’s jurisdiction to settle the estate of Joaquin.

Case 4: Suntay vs Cojuanco Suntay

G.R. No. 183053 October 12, 2012


Petitioners: Emilio Suntay III
Respondents: Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay
Nature: Motion for reconsideration, administration proceeding
Summary: Cristina Suntay died leaving her husband and 5 grandchildren (3 legit, 2 illegitimate). Before
she died, she and her husband adopted the 2 illegitimate grandchildren, one of whom was petitioner.
Respondent (legit grandchild) filed a petition praying that letters of administration be granted to her. Federico
(Husband of Cristina) opposed invoking the order of preference and thereafter nominating petitioner to act in
his stead. SC ruled that the order of preference is not absolute nor does it rule out the appointment of co-
administrators. The appointment of an administrator depends on the sound discretion of the trial court, taking
into consideration the circumstances of each case. (JUNE 2010 decision)

In the MR, the SC partially granted the petition and appointed Isabel as the sole administrator on the
ground that Emilio has turned out to be an unsuitable administrator of the estate. (October 2012).
Facts:

FACTS: Cristina Aguinaldo-Suntay (Cristina) died intestate on 4 June 1990. Cristina was survived by her
spouse, Dr. Federico Suntay (Federico) and five grandchildren: three legitimate grandchildren, including herein
respondent, Isabel; and two illegitimate grandchildren, including petitioner Emilio III, all by Federico’s and
Cristina’s only child, Emilio A. Suntay (Emilio I), who predeceased his parents. After Cristina’s death,
respondent Isabel, filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Malolos, Bulacan, a petition for the issuance of
letters of administration over Cristina’s estate. Federico, opposed the petition, and filed a Motion to Dismiss
Isabel’s petition for letters of administration on the ground that Isabel had no right of representation to the estate
of Cristina, she being an illegitimate grandchild of the latter as a result of Isabel’s parents’ marriage being
declared null and void.
Undaunted by the set back, Federico nominated Emilio III to administer the decedent’s estate on his behalf in
the event letters of administration issues to Federico. Consequently, Emilio III filed an Opposition-In-
Intervention, echoing the allegations in his grandfather’s opposition, alleging that Federico, or in his stead,
Emilio III, was better equipped than respondent to administer and manage the estate of the decedent, Cristina.
Federico died. Almost a year thereafter or on 9 November 2001, the trial court rendered a decision appointing
Emilio III as administrator of decedent Cristina’s intestate estate. On appeal by certiorari, the Supreme Court in
an earlier case reversed and set aside the ruling of the appellate court. The Court decided to include Emilio III
as co-administrator of Cristina’s estate, giving weight to his interest in Federico’s estate.

ISSUE: Who between Emilio III and Isabel, is better qualified to act as administrator of the decedent’s estate.

HELD: MR is partially granted, the SC appointed Isabel as the sole administrator.

The general rule in the appointment of administrator of the estate of a decedent is laid down in Section 6, Rule
78 of the Rules of Court:
SEC. 6. When and to whom letters of administration granted. – If no executor is named in the will, or the
executor or executors are incompetent, refuse the trust, or fail to give bond, or a person dies intestate,
administration shall be granted:
(a) To the surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or both, in the discretion of the court,
or to such person as such surviving husband or wife, or next of kin, requests to have appointed, if competent
and willing to serve;
(b) If such surviving husband or wife, as the case may be, or next of kin, or the person selected by them, be
incompetent or unwilling, or if the husband or widow, or next of kin, neglects for thirty (30) days after the death
of the person to apply for administration or to request that administration be granted to some other person, it
may be granted to one or more of the principal creditors, if competent and willing to serve;

pg. 10
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(c) If there is not such creditor competent and willing to serve, it may be granted to such other person as the
court may select.
Textually, the rule lists a sequence to be observed, an order of preference, in the appointment of an administrator.
This order of preference, which categorically seeks out the surviving spouse, the next of kin and the creditors
in the appointment of an administrator, has been reinforced in jurisprudence. The paramount consideration in
the appointment of an administrator over the estate of a decedent is the prospective administrator’s interest in
the estate. This is the same consideration which Section 6, Rule 78 takes into account in establishing the
order of preference in the appointment of administrator for the estate. The rationale behind the rule is
that those who will reap the benefit of a wise, speedy and economical administration of the estate, or, in
the alternative, suffer the consequences of waste, improvidence or mismanagement, have the highest
interest and most influential motive to administer the estate correctly. In all, given that the rule speaks
of an order of preference, the person to be appointed administrator of a decedent’s estate must
demonstrate not only an interest in the estate, but an interest therein greater than any other candidate.
The collected teaching is that mere demonstration of interest in the estate to be settled does not ipso facto entitle
an interested person to co-administration thereof. Neither does squabbling among the heirs nor adverse interests
necessitate the discounting of the order of preference set forth in Section 6, Rule 78. Indeed, in the appointment
of administrator of the estate of a deceased person, the principal consideration reckoned with is the interest in
said estate of the one to be appointed as administrator. Given Isabel’s unassailable interest in the estate as one
of the decedent’s legitimate grandchildren and undoubted nearest "next of kin," the appointment of Emilio III
as co-administrator of the same estate, cannot be a demandable right. It is a matter left entirely to the sound
discretion of the Court and depends on the facts and the attendant circumstances of the case.

Thus, we proceed to scrutinize the attendant facts and circumstances of this case even as we reiterate Isabel’s
and her sibling’s apparent greater interest in the estate of Cristina.
These considerations do not warrant the setting aside of the order of preference mapped out in Section 6, Rule
78 of the Rules of Court. They compel that a choice be made of one over the other.
1. The bitter estrangement and long-standing animosity between Isabel, on the one hand, and Emilio
III, on the other, traced back from the time their paternal grandparents were alive, which can be
characterized as adverse interest of some kind by, or hostility of, Emilio III to Isabel who is immediately
interested in the estate;
2. Corollary thereto, the seeming impossibility of Isabel and Emilio III working harmoniously as co-
administrators may result in prejudice to the decedent’s estate, ultimately delaying settlement thereof;
and
3. Emilio III, for all his claims of knowledge in the management of Cristina’s estate, has not looked
after the estate’s welfare and has acted to the damage and prejudice thereof.

The evidence also reveals that Emilio III has turned out to be an unsuitable administrator of the estate.
This rooted in his failure to "make and return x x x a true and complete inventory" which became proven fact
when he actually filed partial inventories before the probate court and by his inaction on two occasions of
Federico’s exclusion of Cristina’s other compulsory heirs, herein Isabel and her siblings, from the list of heirs.
As administrator, Emilio III enters into the office, posts a bond and executes an oath to faithfully discharge the
duties of settling the decedent’s estate with the end in view of distribution to the heirs, if any. This he failed to
do. The foregoing circumstances of Emilio III’s omission and inaction become even more significant and speak
volume of his unsuitability as administrator as it demonstrates his interest adverse to those immediately
interested in the estate of the decedent, Cristina. Respondent Isabel points out that after Emilio III’s appointment
as administrator of the subject estate in 2001, he has not looked after the welfare of the subject estate and has
actually acted to the damage and prejudice thereof.

WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Our Decision in G.R. No.
183053 dated 16 June 2010 is MODIFIED. Letters of Administration over the estate of decedent Cristina
Aguinaldo-Suntay shall solely issue to respondent Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay upon payment of a bond to be set
by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Malolos, Bulacan, in Special Proceeding Case No. 117-M-95. The
Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, Malolos, Bulacan is likewise directed to settle the estate of decedent Cristina
Aguinaldo-Suntay with dispatch. No costs.

pg. 11
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Case 5: Lee vs RTC


G.R. No. 146006 February 23, 2004
JOSE C. LEE AND ALMA AGGABAO, in their capacities as President and Corporate Secretary,
respectively, of Philippines International Life Insurance Company, and FILIPINO LOAN ASSISTANCE
GROUP, petitioners
vs.
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY BRANCH 85 presided by JUDGE PEDRO M.
AREOLA, BRANCH CLERK OF COURT JANICE Y. ANTERO, DEPUTY SHERIFFS ADENAUER
G. RIVERA and PEDRO L. BORJA, all of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 85, MA.
DIVINA ENDERES claiming to be Special Administratrix, and other persons/ public officers acting for
and in their behalf, respondents.

Quick Facts: Dr. Ortanez died and was survived by two families (1. By wife Juliana Ortanez with children
Rafael, Jose and Antonio Ortañez and 2. By common law wife Ligaya Novicio with children Ma. Divina
Ortañez-Enderes and her siblings Jose, Romeo, Enrico Manuel and Cesar, all surnamed Ortañez). In 1980, Jose
and Rafael were appointed as special administrators and part of the inventory they submitted was the 2,029
shares of stock of Philinterlife. During the pendency of the intestate proceedings, Juliana, Rafael and Jose
entered into a Memorandum of Agreement dated March 4, 1982 for the extrajudicial settlement of the
estate of Dr. Ortañez, partitioning the estate including the Philinterlife shares of stock among themselves. This
became the basis of the number of shares separately sold by Juliana Ortañez on April 15, 1989 (1,014 shares)
and by Jose Ortañez on October 30, 1991 (1,011 shares) in favor of herein petitioner FLAG. In 1995, Divina
Enderes file a motion for her appointment as special administrator for the PhilInterLife stocks and for the
declaration of nullity of sale of the stocks to FLAG. Both were granted by the intestate court. Decision was
appealed but was affirmed by CA and became final. Writ of Execution was issued against FLAG concerning
return of the stocks which FLAG opposed.

Facts: Dr. Juvencio P. Ortañez was the owner of the 90% of the subscribed capital stock Philippine
International Life Insurance Company, Inc (PhilInterLife). He died on July 21, 1980 and left behind a wife
(Juliana Salgado Ortañez), three legitimate children (Rafael, Jose and Antonio Ortañez) and five illegitimate
children by Ligaya Novicio (herein private respondent Ma. Divina Ortañez-Enderes and her siblings Jose,
Romeo, Enrico Manuel and Cesar, all surnamed Ortañez).
On September 24, 1980, Rafael Ortañez filed before the RTC Quezon City a petition for letters of administration
of the intestate estate of Dr. Ortañez, Private respondent Ma. Divina Ortañez-Enderes and her siblings filed an
opposition to the petition for letters of administration and prayed for the appointment of a special administrator.
On March 10, 1982, then presiding judge, appointed Rafael and Jose Ortañez as joint special administrators of
their father’s estate. As ordered by the intestate court, special administrators Rafael and Jose Ortañez submitted
an inventory of the estate of their father which included, among other properties, 2,029 shares of stock in
(PhilInterLife) representing 50.725% of the company’s outstanding capital stock.

On April 15, 1989, the decedent’s wife, Juliana S. Ortañez, claiming that she owned 1,014 Philinterlife shares
of stock as her conjugal share in the estate, sold said shares with right to repurchase in favor of herein petitioner
Filipino Loan Assistance Group (FLAG), represented by its president, herein petitioner Jose C. Lee. Juliana
Ortañez failed to repurchase the shares of stock within the stipulated period, thus ownership thereof was
consolidated by petitioner FLAG in its name. Likewise, on October 30, 1991, Special Administrator Jose
Ortañez, acting in his personal capacity and claiming that he owned the remaining 1,011 Philinterlife shares of
stocks as his inheritance share in the estate, sold said shares with right to repurchase also in favor of FLAG and
for failure to repurchase it was consolidated by FLAG as well.

It appears that several years before (but already during the pendency of the intestate proceedings at the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 85), Juliana Ortañez and her two children, Special Administrators Rafael
and Jose Ortañez, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement dated March 4, 1982 for the extrajudicial
settlement of the estate of Dr. Juvencio Ortañez, partitioning the estate (including the Philinterlife shares of
stock) among themselves. This was the basis of the number of shares separately sold by Juliana Ortañez on

pg. 12
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April 15, 1989 (1,014 shares) and by Jose Ortañez on October 30, 1991 (1,011 shares) in favor of herein
petitioner FLAG.

On July 12, 1995, private respondent Ma. Divina Ortañez–Enderes and her siblings (Enderes et al.) filed a
motion for appointment of special administrator of Philinterlife shares of stock and the intestate court granted
the motion and appointed private respondent Enderes as special administratrix of the Philinterlife shares of
stock. On December 20, 1995, Special Administratrix Enderes filed an urgent motion to declare void ab
initio the Memorandum of Agreement dated March 4, 1982. On January 9, 1996, she filed a motion to declare
the partial nullity of the extrajudicial settlement of the decedent’s estate. On March 22, 1996, Special
Administratrix Enderes filed an urgent motion to declare void ab initio the deeds of sale of Philinterlife shares
of stock, which move was again opposed by Special Administrator Jose Ortañez.

On February 4, 1997, Jose Ortañez filed an omnibus motion for (1) the approval of the deeds of sale of the
Philinterlife shares of stock and (2) the release of Ma. Divina Ortañez-Enderes as special administratrix of the
Philinterlife shares of stock on the ground that there were no longer any shares of stock for her to administer.
His motion was denied.

On August 29, 1997, the intestate court issued another order granting the motion of Special Administratrix
Enderes for the annulment of the March 4, 1982 memorandum of agreement or extrajudicial partition of
estate. Aggrieved by the above-stated orders of the intestate court, Jose Ortañez filed a petition for certiorari in
the Court of Appeals. The appellate court denied his petition, however, ruling that there was no legal
justification whatsoever for the extrajudicial partition of the estate by Jose Ortañez, his brother Rafael Ortañez
and mother Juliana Ortañez during the pendency of the settlement of the estate of Dr. Ortañez, without the
requisite approval of the intestate court, when it was clear that there were other heirs to the estate who stood to
be prejudiced thereby. Consequently, the sale made by Jose Ortañez and his mother Juliana Ortañez to FLAG
of the shares of stock they invalidly appropriated for themselves, without approval of the intestate court, was
void.

On May 2, 2000, private respondent-Special Administratrix Enderes and her siblings filed a motion for
execution of the Orders of the intestate court dated August 11 and August 29, 1997 because the orders of the
intestate court nullifying the sale (upheld by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court) had long became
final. Respondent-Special Administratrix Enderes served a copy of the motion to petitioners Jose Lee and Alma
Aggabao as president and secretary, respectively, of Philinterlife,11 but petitioners ignored the same. In the
several occasions that the sheriff went to the office of petitioners to execute the writ of execution, he was barred
by the security guard upon petitioners’ instructions. Thus, private respondent-Special Administratrix Enderes
filed a motion to cite herein petitioners Jose Lee and Alma Aggabao (president and secretary, respectively, of
Philinterlife) in contempt.
Petitioners Lee and Aggabao subsequently filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, docketed
as CA G.R. SP No. 59736. Petitioners alleged that the intestate court gravely abused its discretion in (1)
declaring that the ownership of FLAG over the Philinterlife shares of stock was null and void; (2) ordering the
execution of its order declaring such nullity and (3) depriving the petitioners of their right to due process. The
Court of Appeals dismissed the petition, hence the petition for certiorari to SC.

Issue:
1. Whether the order of the intestate court on August 11, 1997 nullifying the sale of the 2,029
Philinterlife shares of stock made by Juliana Ortañez and Jose Ortañez, in their personal capacities
and without court approval, in favor of petitioner FLAG was valid? – YES
2. Whether the writ of execution issued by the intestate court dated July 7, 2000 was valid? - YES

Ruling:
1. YES. It being settled that property under administration needs the approval of the probate court before it
can be disposed of, any unauthorized disposition does not bind the estate and is null and void.

Juliana Ortañez, and her three sons, Jose, Rafael and Antonio, all surnamed Ortañez, invalidly entered into a
memorandum of agreement extrajudicially partitioning the intestate estate among themselves, despite their

pg. 13
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knowledge that there were other heirs or claimants to the estate and before final settlement of the estate by the
intestate court. Since the appropriation of the estate properties by Juliana Ortañez and her children (Jose,
Rafael and Antonio Ortañez) was invalid, the subsequent sale thereof by Juliana and Jose to a third party
(FLAG), without court approval, was likewise void.

An heir can sell his right, interest, or participation in the property under administration under Art. 533 of the
Civil Code which provides that possession of hereditary property is deemed transmitted to the heir without
interruption from the moment of death of the decedent.20 However, an heir can only alienate such portion of
the estate that may be allotted to him in the division of the estate by the probate or intestate court after final
adjudication, that is, after all debtors shall have been paid or the devisees or legatees shall have been given
their shares.21 This means that an heir may only sell his ideal or undivided share in the estate, not any specific
property therein. In the present case, Juliana Ortañez and Jose Ortañez sold specific properties of the estate
(1,014 and 1,011 shares of stock in Philinterlife) in favor of petitioner FLAG. This they could not lawfully do
pending the final adjudication of the estate by the intestate court because of the undue prejudice it would
cause the other claimants to the estate, as what happened in the present case.

Juliana Ortañez and Jose Ortañez sold specific properties of the estate, without court approval. It is well-
settled that court approval is necessary for the validity of any disposition of the decedent’s estate. In the early
case of Godoy vs. Orellano,22 we laid down the rule that the sale of the property of the estate by an
administrator without the order of the probate court is void and passes no title to the purchaser.
Our jurisprudence is therefore clear that (1) any disposition of estate property by an administrator or
prospective heir pending final adjudication requires court approval and (2) any unauthorized disposition
of estate property can be annulled by the probate court, there being no need for a separate action to annul
the unauthorized disposition.

2. YES
We see no reason why it cannot. The intestate court has the power to execute its order with regard to the nullity
of an unauthorized sale of estate property, otherwise its power to annul the unauthorized or fraudulent
disposition of estate property would be meaningless. In other words, enforcement is a necessary adjunct of the
intestate or probate court’s power to annul unauthorized or fraudulent transactions to prevent the dissipation of
estate property before final adjudication.
Moreover, in this case, the order of the intestate court nullifying the sale was affirmed by the appellate courts
(the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 46342 dated June 23, 1998 and subsequently by the Supreme Court
in G.R. No. 135177 dated October 9, 1998). The finality of the decision of the Supreme Court was entered in
the book of entry of judgments on February 23, 1999. Considering the finality of the order of the intestate court
nullifying the sale, as affirmed by the appellate courts, it was correct for private respondent-Special
Administratrix Enderes to thereafter move for a writ of execution and for the intestate court to grant it.

Case 6: Heirs of Hilario vs Edmond Ruiz

Case 7: Unionbank vs Santibanez

Case 8: GARCIA-QUIAZON vs BELEN


G.R. No. 189121 July 31, 2013
AMELIA GARCIA-QUIAZON, JENNETH QUIAZON and MARIA JENNIFER QUIAZON,
Petitioners,
vs.
MA. LOURDES BELEN, for and in behalf of MARIA LOURDES ELISE QUIAZON, Respondent.
The Case: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed pursuant to Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court,
primarily assailing the decision of the CA denying the appeal and affirming in toto the decision of the RTC
directing the issuance of Letters of Administration to Elise upon posting the necessary bond, ruling that the
venue of the petition was properly laid in Las Piñas City, and discrediting the position taken by the petitioners
that Eliseo’s last residence was in Capas, Tarlac, as hearsay..

pg. 14
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The Facts: This case started as a Petition for Letters of Administration of the Estate of Eliseo Quiazon
(Eliseo), who died intestate on 12 December 1992, filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Las Piñas
City by herein respondents who are Eliseo’s common-law wife and daughter, Elise, who sought her
appointment as administratrix of her late father’s estate.
The petition was opposed by herein petitioners Amelia Garcia-Quaizon (Amelia) to whom Eliseo was
married. Amelia was joined by her children, Jenneth Quiazon (Jenneth) and Maria Jennifer Quiazon
(Jennifer). Claiming that the venue of the petition was improperly laid, they filed an Opposition/Motion to
Dismiss. They asserted that as shown by his Death Certificate, Eliseo was a resident of Capas, Tarlac and not
of Las Piñas City, at the time of his death. Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court, the
petition for settlement of decedent’s estate should have been filed in Capas, Tarlac. In addition to their claim
of improper venue, the petitioners averred that there are no factual and legal bases for Elise to be appointed
administratix of Eliseo’s estate.

The Issues:
1. WHETHER THE PETITION FOR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION WAS PROPERLY
FILED WITH THE RTC OF LAS PIÑAS
2. WHETHER ELISE IS ENTITLED TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE LETTERS OF
ADMINISTRATION

Held:
1. Yes.

Under Section 1, Rule 73 of the Rules of Court, the petition for letters of administration of the estate of a
decedent should be filed in the RTC of the province where the decedent resides at the time of his death.
The term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as distinguished from "legal residence or
domicile." This term "resides," like the terms "residing" and "residence," is elastic and should be interpreted in
the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. In the application of venue
statutes and rules – Section 1, Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature – residence rather than
domicile is the significant factor. Even where the statute uses word "domicile" still it is construed as meaning
residence and not domicile in the technical sense. Some cases make a distinction between the terms
"residence" and "domicile" but as generally used in statutes fixing venue, the terms are synonymous, and
convey the same meaning as the term "inhabitant." In other words, "resides" should be viewed or understood
in its popular sense, meaning, the personal, actual or physical habitation of a person, actual residence or place
of abode. It signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat. Venue for ordinary civil actions and
that for special proceedings have one and the same meaning. As thus defined, "residence," in the context of
venue provisions, means nothing more than a person’s actual residence or place of abode, provided he resides
therein with continuity and consistency.
Viewed in light of the foregoing principles, the Court of Appeals cannot be faulted for affirming the
ruling of the RTC that the venue for the settlement of the estate of Eliseo was properly laid in Las Piñas
City. It is evident from the records that during his lifetime, Eliseo resided at No. 26 Everlasting Road, Phase
5, Pilar Village, Las Piñas City. For this reason, the venue for the settlement of his estate may be laid in the
said city.

2. YES
Section 6, Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court lays down the preferred persons who are entitled to the
issuance of letters of administration. Upon the other hand, Section 2 of Rule 79 provides that a petition for
Letters of Administration must be filed by an interested person.
An "interested party," in estate proceedings, is one who would be benefited in the estate, such as an heir, or
one who has a claim against the estate, such as a creditor. Also, in estate proceedings, the phrase "next of kin"
refers to those whose relationship with the decedent is such that they are entitled to share in the estate as
distributees.
In the instant case, Elise, as a compulsory heir who stands to be benefited by the distribution of Eliseo’s
estate, is deemed to be an interested party. With the overwhelming evidence on record produced by Elise to
prove her filiation to Eliseo, the petitioners’ pounding on her lack of interest in the administration of the
decedent’s estate, is just a desperate attempt to sway this Court to reverse the findings of the Court of Appeals.

pg. 15
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Certainly, the right of Elise to be appointed administratix of the estate of Eliseo is on good grounds. It is
founded on her right as a compulsory heir, who, under the law, is entitled to her legitimate share after the
debts of the estate are satisfied. Having a vested right in the distribution of Eliseo’s estate as one of his natural
children, Elise can rightfully be considered as an interested party within the purview of the law.

Case 9: Pilapil vs Heirs of M. Briones

Case 10: Sabidong vs. Solas


A.M. No. P-01-1448 June 25, 2013
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 99-664-P)
RODOLFO C. SABIDONG, Complainant,
vs.
NICOLASITO S. SOLAS (Clerk of Court IV), Respondent

Facts: Trinidad Sabidong, complainant’s mother, is one of the longtime occupants of Lot 11 originally
registered in the name of C. N. Hodges. The Sabidongs are in possession of 1/2 portion of Lot 11, as the other
half-portion was occupied by Saplagio. Lot 11 was the subject of an ejectment suit filed by the Hodges Estate,
docketed at MTCC Iloilo City, Branch 4. A decision was rendered in said case ordering the Sapalgio to
immediately vacate the portion of Lot 11 leased to her. At the time, Solas was the Clerk of Court III of
MTCC, Branch 3, Iloilo City.

Solas submitted an Offer to Purchase Lots 11 and 12. The Administratrix of the Hodges Estate rejected Solas’
offer in view of an application to purchase already filed by the actual occupant of Lot 12. He was nevertheless
informed that he may file an offer to purchase Lot 11 and that if he could put up a sufficient down payment,
the Estate could immediately endorse it for approval of the Probate Court so that the property can be awarded
to him "should the occupant fail to avail of the priority given to them."

The following day Solas again submitted an Offer to Purchase Lot 11. Under the Order issued by the probate
court (RTC of Iloilo, Branch 27) in Special Proceedings No. 1672 Solas’ Offer to Purchase Lot 11 was
approved upon the court’s observation that the occupants of the subject lots "have not manifested their desire
to purchase the lots they are occupying up to this date and considering time restraint and considering. The
Probate court issued another Order granting Solas’ motion for issuance of a writ of possession in his favor.
The TCT in the name of C. N. Hodges was cancelled and a new certificate of title, in the name of respondent
was issued. A writ of demolition was issued by the probate court in against all adverse occupants of Lot 11.

A sworn letter-complaint was filed by the complainant asserting that as court employee Solas cannot buy
property in litigation (consequently he is not a buyer in good faith), commit deception, dishonesty, oppression
and grave abuse of authority. Complainant specifically alleged the following:
6. That Solas, has knowledge, by reason of his position that in Hodges Estate was ejecting occupants
of its land. Taking advantage of this inside information that the land subject of an ejectment case
surreptitiously offered to buy the said lot in litigation.
8. That Solas made the complainant and his family believed that he is the representative of the estate
and that he needed a downpayment right away. All the while, the Sabidong family (who were
carpenters, laundrywomen, a janitor) relied on the representations of Solas that he was authorized to
facilitate the sale, with more reason that Solas represented himself as the City Sheriff;
9. That after receiving the money, Solas assured the Sabidong family that they will not be ejected
from the lot.
12. That Solas was able to secure an order for the approval of his offer to purchase and moved for the
issuance of a Writ of Possession in his favor, which the probate court acted favorably
19. That the complainant again, paid Solas a sum of money as expenses for the subdivision of the
subject lot. The respondent facilitated the subdivision and after the same was approved, the
complainant did not know that two (2) titles were issued in the name of Solas
20. That, Solas prepared a Contract to Sell, for the complainant and his neighbor Saplagio to affix
their signatures, pursuant to their previous agreement for the buyers to avail of a housing loan with the
PAGIBIG. However, when the complainant affixed his signature in the contract, he was surprised that

pg. 16
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

the owner of the subject property was Solas. When complainant raised a question about this,
respondent assured complainant that everything was alright and that sooner complainant will be the
owner of the property. Complainant and his family, all these years, had believed and continued to
believe that the owner was the estate of Hodges and that Solas was only the representative of the
estate;
21. The Contract to Sell, appeared to have been notarized however, no copy thereof was given to the
complainant by Solas. Solas then, took the papers and documents required by the HDMF to be
completed, from the complainant allegedly for the purpose of personally filing the same with the
HDMF. Complainant freely and voluntarily delivered all pertinent documents to the respondent,
thinking that respondent was helping in the fast and easy release of the loan. While the said
documents were in the possession of the respondent, he never made any transaction with the HDMF,
worse, when complainant tried to secure a copy of the Contract to Sell, the copy given was not signed
by the Notary Public, x x x;
22. The complainant [was] shocked to learn that respondent had canceled the sale and that respondent
refused to return the documents required by the HDMF. Solas claimed that as Sheriff, he can cause
the demolition of the house of the complainant and of his family. Solas threatened the complainant
and he is capable of pursuing a demolition order and serve the same with the assistance of the
military.

Court Administrator Perez found Solas liable for serious and grave misconduct and dishonesty and
recommended the forfeiture of respondent’s salary for six months, which shall be deducted from his
retirement benefits.

Issue 1: WON the sale of Lot 11 in favor of Solas violated the rule on disqualification to purchase
property. NO

Held: NO. Article 1491, paragraph 5 of the Civil Code prohibits court officers such as clerks of court from
acquiring property involved in litigation within the jurisdiction or territory of their courts. Said provision
reads:
Article 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or judicial auction,
either in person or through the mediation of another:
(5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior and inferior courts, and other officers
and employees connected with the administration of justice, the property and rights in litigation or
levied upon an execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their
respective functions; this prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to
lawyers, with respect to the property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in which
they may take part by virtue of their profession.

The rationale advanced for the prohibition is that public policy disallows the transactions in view of the
fiduciary relationship involved, i.e., the relation of trust and confidence and the peculiar control exercised by
these persons.32"In so providing, the Code tends to prevent fraud, or more precisely, tends not to give occasion
for fraud, which is what can and must be done."33

For the prohibition to apply, the sale or assignment of the property must take place during the pendency of the
litigation involving the property.34 Where the property is acquired after the termination of the case, no
violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the Civil Code attaches.35

In the case at bar, when respondent purchased Lot 11-A on November 21, 1994, the Decision in Civil Case
No. 14706 which was promulgated on May 31, 1983 had long become final. Be that as it may, it can not be
said that the property is no longer "in litigation" at that time considering that it was part of the Hodges Estate
then under settlement proceedings (Sp. Proc. No. 1672).

A thing is said to be in litigation not only if there is some contest or litigation over it in court, but also from
the moment that it becomes subject to the judicial action of the judge.36 A property forming part of the estate
under judicial settlement continues to be subject of litigation until the probate court issues an order declaring

pg. 17
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

the estate proceedings closed and terminated. The rule is that as long as the order for the distribution of the
estate has not been complied with, the probate proceedings cannot be deemed closed and terminated.37 The
probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate under administration only after the payment of all the debts and
the remaining estate delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the same.38 Since there is no evidence to show
that Sp. Proc. No. 1672 in the RTC of Iloilo, Branch 27, had already been closed and terminated at the time of
the execution of the Deed of Sale With Mortgage dated November 21, 1994, Lot 11 is still deemed to be "in
litigation" subject to the operation of Article 1491 (5) of the Civil Code.

This notwithstanding, we hold that the sale of Lot 11 in favor of respondent did NOT violate the rule on
disqualification to purchase property because Sp. Proc. No. 1672 was then pending before another
court (RTC) and not MTCC where he was Clerk of Court.

Issue 2: WON Solas is liable for dishonesty and grave misconduct. YES

Held: Yes. Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly,
unlawful behavior as well as gross negligence by a public officer. To warrant dismissal from service, the
misconduct must be grave, serious, important, weighty, momentous and not trifling. The misconduct must
imply wrongful intention and not a mere error of judgment. The misconduct must also have a direct relation to
and be connected with the performance of the public officer’s official duties amounting either to
maladministration or willful, intentional neglect, or failure to discharge the duties of the office.39
Dishonesty is the "disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, defraud or betray; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity;
lack of honesty, probity, or integrity in principle; and lack of fairness and straightforwardness."40

Respondent’s bare denials were correctly disregarded by the Court Administrator in the light of his own
admission that he indeed asked money from both complainant and Saplagio. The evidence on record clearly
established that by misrepresenting himself as the estate’s representative and as a court officer having the
power to protect complainant’s family from eviction, respondent was able to collect sums totaling ₱20,000
from complainant’s family. Even after the latter realized they were duped since respondent was already the
owner of Lot 11, they still offered to buy the property from him. Respondent, however, changed his mind and
no longer wanted to sell the property after nothing happened to the loan applications of complainant and
Saplagio. This subsequent unilateral cancellation by respondent of the contract to sell with complainant may
have been an afterthought, and plainly unjustified, based merely on his own assumption that complainant
could not make full payment. But it did not negate the deception and fraudulent acts perpetrated against
complainant’s family who were forced into submission by the constant threat of eviction. Such acts constitute
grave misconduct for which respondent should be held answerable.

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Nicolasito S. Solas, retired Clerk of Court IV, Municipal Trial
Court in Cities, Iloilo City, LIABLE FOR GRAVE MISCONDUCT AND DISHONESTY. Respondent is
FINED in an amount equivalent to his salary for six (6) months to be deducted from his retirement benefits.

Case 11: Aranas vs Mercado


G.R. No. 156407; January 15, 2014

ARANAS, Petitioner, vs. TERESITA V. MERCADO, et al., Respondents.


The probate court is authorized to determine the issue of ownership of properties for purposes of their inclusion
or exclusion from the inventory to be submitted by the administrator, but its determination shall only be
provisional unless the interested parties are all heirs of the decedent, or the question is one of collation or
advancement, or the parties consent to the assumption of jurisdiction by the probate court and the rights of third
parties are not impaired. Its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental or collateral to the settlement and
distribution of the estate, such as the determination of the status of each heir and whether property included in
the inventory is the conjugal or exclusive property of the deceased spouse.

FACTS: Emigdio S. Mercado died intestate on January 12, 1991, survived by his second wife, Teresita V.
Mercado, and their five children, namely: Allan, Felimon, Carmencita, Richard, and Maria Teresita; and his two
children by his first marriage, namely: respondent Franklin L. Mercado and petitioner Thelma M. Aranas.

pg. 18
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

Emigdio inherited and acquired real properties during his lifetime. He owned corporate shares in Mervir Realty
Corporation and Cebu Emerson Transportation Corporation. He assigned his real properties in exchange for
corporate stocks of Mervir Realty, and sold his real property in Badian, Cebu to Mervir Realty.
On June 3, 1991, Thelma filed in the RTC in Cebu City a petition for the appointment of Teresita as the
administrator of Emigdio’s estate (Special Proceedings No. 3094-CEB). The RTC granted the petition
considering that there was no opposition.

As the administrator, Teresita submitted an inventory of the estate of Emigdio on for the consideration and
approval by the RTC. She indicated in the inventory that at the time of his death, Emigdio had "left no real
properties but only personal properties" worth ₱6,675,435.25 in all, consisting of cash of ₱32,141.20; furniture
and fixtures worth ₱20,000.00; pieces of jewelry valued at ₱15,000.00; 44,806 shares of stock of Mervir Realty
worth ₱6,585,585.80; and 30 shares of stock of Cebu Emerson worth ₱22,708.25.
Claiming that Emigdio had owned other properties that were excluded from the inventory, Thelma moved that
the RTC direct Teresita to amend the inventory, and to be examined regarding it. The RTC granted Thelma’s
motion.

Teresita filed a compliance with the order supporting her inventory with copies of three certificates of stocks
covering the 44,806 Mervir Realty shares of stock; the deed of assignment executed by Emigdio involving real
properties with the market value of ₱4,440,651.10 in exchange for 44,407 Mervir Realty shares of stock with
total par value of ₱4,440,700.00; and the certificate of stock issued on January 30, 1979 for 300 shares of stock
of Cebu Emerson worth ₱30,000.00
Thelma again moved to require Teresita to be examined under oath on the inventory, and that she (Thelma) be
allowed 30 days within which to file a formal opposition to or comment on the inventory and the supporting
documents Teresita had submitted, but Thelma again opposed the approval of the inventory, and asked leave of
court to examine Teresita on the inventory.

RTC ruled that the inventory submitted by Teresita had excluded properties that should be included.
Thereby Court denies the administratrix’s motion for approval of inventory and hereby orders the said
administratrix to re-do the inventory of properties.
Alleging that the RTC thereby acted with grave abuse of discretion in refusing to approve the inventory, and in
ordering her as administrator to include real properties that had been transferred to Mervir Realty, Teresita,
joined by her four children and her stepson Franklin, assailed the adverse orders of the RTC by petition for
certiorari,

CA reversed and set aside the decision of the RTC insofar as the inclusion of parcels of land located at Badian,
Cebu subject matter of the Deed of Absolute Sale dated and the various parcels of land subject matter of the
Deeds of Assignment and the revised inventory to be submitted by the administratrix is concerned and affirmed
in all other respects.

Issue: Whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in directing the inclusion of certain properties in
the estate of the decedent?

Held: No. Under Section 6(a), Rule 78 of the Rules of Court, the letters of administration may be granted at the
discretion of the court to the surviving spouse, who is competent and willing to serve when the person dies
intestate. Upon issuing the letters of administration to the surviving spouse, the RTC becomes duty-bound to
direct the preparation and submission of the inventory of the properties of the estate, and the surviving spouse,
as the administrator, has the duty and responsibility to submit the inventory within three months from the
issuance of letters of administration pursuant to Rule 83 of the Rules of Court.

The objective of the Rules of Court in requiring the inventory and appraisal of the estate of the decedent is "to
aid the court in revising the accounts and determining the liabilities of the executor or the administrator, and in
making a final and equitable distribution (partition) of the estate and otherwise to facilitate the administration
of the estate." Hence, the RTC that presides over the administration of an estate is vested with wide
discretion on the question of what properties should be included in the inventory.

pg. 19
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

There is no dispute that the jurisdiction of the trial court as an intestate court is special and limited. The trial
court cannot adjudicate title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate but are claimed to belong to third
parties by title adverse to that of the decedent and the estate, not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the
decedent. All that the trial court can do regarding said properties is to determine whether or not they should be
included in the inventory of properties to be administered by the administrator.

Such determination is provisional and may be still revised. As the Court said in Agtarap v. Agtarap:
The general rule is that the jurisdiction of the trial court, either as a probate court or an intestate court, relates
only to matters having to do with the probate of the will and/or settlement of the estate of deceased persons, but
does not extend to the determination of questions of ownership that arise during the proceedings. The patent
rationale for this rule is that such court merely exercises special and limited jurisdiction. As held in several
cases, a probate court or one in charge of estate proceedings, whether testate or intestate, cannot adjudicate or
determine title to properties claimed to be a part of the estate and which are claimed to belong to outside parties,
not by virtue of any right of inheritance from the deceased but by title adverse to that of the deceased and his
estate. All that the said court could do as regards said properties is to determine whether or not they should be
included in the inventory of properties to be administered by the administrator. If there is no dispute, there poses
no problem, but if there is, then the parties, the administrator, and the opposing parties have to resort to an
ordinary action before a court exercising general jurisdiction for a final determination of the conflicting claims
of title.

The determination of which properties should be excluded from or included in the inventory of estate
properties was well within the authority and discretion of the RTC as an intestate court. In making its
determination, the RTC acted with circumspection, and proceeded under the guiding policy that it was
best to include all properties in the possession of the administrator or were known to the administrator
to belong to Emigdio rather than to exclude properties that could turn out in the end to be actually part
of the estate. As long as the RTC commits no patent grave abuse of discretion, its orders must be respected
as part of the regular performance of its judicial duty. Grave abuse of discretion means either that the
judicial or quasi-judicial power was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion
or personal hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or board evaded a positive duty, or virtually
refused to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law, such as when such judge, tribunal
or board exercising judicial or quasi-judicial powers acted in a capricious or whimsical manner as to be
equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.

Case 12: Butiong vs Plazo


SPOUSES MARIA BUTIONG and FRANCISCO VILLAFRIA, substituted by DR. RUEL B.
VILLAFRIA, petitioners, vs. MA. GRACIA RIÑOZA PLAZO and MA. FE RIÑOZA
ALARAS, respondents

FACTS:
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to reverse
and set aside the Decision and Resolution, dated March 13, 2009 and April 23, 2009, respectively, of the Court
Appeals (CA).

On November 16, 1989, Pedro L. Riñoza died intestate, leaving several heirs, including his children with his
first wife, respondents Ma. Gracia R. Plazo and Ma. Fe Alaras, as well as several properties including a resort
covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) No. 51354 and No. 51355, each with an area of 351 square
meters, and a family home, the land on which it stands is covered by TCT Nos. 40807 and 40808, both located
in Nasugbu, Batangas.

In their Amended Complaint for Judicial Partition with Annulment of Title and Recovery of Possession dated
September 15, 1993, respondents alleged that sometime in March 1991, they discovered that their co-heirs,
Pedro's second wife, Benita Tenorio and other children, had sold the subject properties to petitioners, spouses
Francisco Villafria and Maria Butiong, who are now deceased and substituted by their son, Dr. Ruel B. Villafria,
without their knowledge and consent.

pg. 20
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

Benita acknowledged the same, showing respondents a document she believed evidenced receipt of her share
in the sale, which, however, did not refer to any sort of sale but to a previous loan obtained by Pedro and Benita
from a bank. The document actually evidenced receipt from Banco Silangan of the amount of P87,352.62
releasing her and her late husband's indebtedness therefrom.

When respondents went to the subject properties, they discovered that 4 out of the 8 cottages in the resort had
been demolished. They were not, however, able to enter as the premises were padlocked. Notice of extra-
judicial settlement of estate of their late father was published in a tabloid called Balita. Because of this, they
caused the annotation of their adverse claims over the subject properties before the Register of Deeds
of Nasugbu and filed their complaint praying, among others, for the annulment of all documents conveying
the subject properties to the petitioners and certificates of title issued pursuant thereto.

Petitioners contended that there is lack of personal knowledge and good faith in acquiring the subject properties.
In the course of his testimony during trial, petitioner Francisco further contended that what they purchased was
only the resort. He also presented an Extra-Judicial Settlement with Renunciation, Repudiations and Waiver of
Rights and Sale which provides, among others, that respondents' co-heirs sold the family home to the spouses
Rolando and Ma. Cecilia Bondoc for P1 million as well as a Deed of Sale whereby Benita sold the resort to
petitioners for P650,000.00.

RTC’s Ruling:

On October 1, 2001, the trial court nullified the transfer of the subject properties to petitioners and spouses
Bondoc due to irregularities in the documents of conveyance offered by petitioners as well as the
circumstances surrounding the execution of the same. Specifically, the Extra-Judicial Settlement was notarized
by a notary public who was not duly commissioned as such on the date it was executed. Deed of Sale was
undated, date of the acknowledgment therein was left blank, and the typewritten name "Pedro Riñoza,
Husband" on the left side of the document was not signed. It never presented to the Office of the Register of
Deeds for registration and that the titles to the subject properties were still in the names of Pedro and his
second wife Benita. The supposed notaries and buyers of the subject properties were not even presented as
witnesses who supposedly witnessed the signing and execution of the documents of conveyance.
It ordered defendant Francisco Villafria and all persons, whose occupancy within the premises of the four (4)
parcels of land described in par. 4-c above is derived from the rights and interest of defendant Villafria, to
vacate its premises and to deliver possession thereof, and all improvements existing thereon
 and declaring
the plaintiffs and the defendants-heirs in the Amended Complaint to be the legitimate heirs of decedent Pedro
L. Riñoza.

CA’s Ruling: Affirmed RTC’s decision


Parenthetically, the settlement/family home deed cannot be considered a public document. This is because the
following cast doubt on the document's authenticity, to wit: 1.) The date of its execution was not indicated; 2.)
The amount of consideration was superimposed; 3.) It was not presented to the Registry of Deeds of Nasugbu,
Batangas for annotation; and 4.) Not even the supposed notary public, Alfredo de Guzman, or the purported
buyer, the Spouses Rolando and Ma. Cecilia Bondoc, were presented as witnesses.


Concededly, the absence of notarization in the resort deed and/or the lacking details in the settlement/family
home deed did not necessarily invalidate the transactions evidenced by the said documents. However, since
the said deeds are private documents, perforce, their due execution and authenticity becomes subject to the
requirement of proof under the Rules on Evidence, Section 20, Rule 132 of which provides: Sec. 20. Proof of
private document. — Before any private document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due
execution and authenticity must be proved either: (a) By anyone who saw the document executed or written;
or (b) By evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker.

After the Complaining Heirs presented proofs in support of their claim that their signatures were forged, the
burden then fell upon the Villafrias to disprove the same, or conversely, to prove the authenticity and due
execution of the said deeds. The Villafrias failed in this regard. As aforestated, the Villafrias did not present

pg. 21
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

as witnesses (a) the notary public who purportedly notarized the questioned instrument, (b) the witnesses who
appear[ed] in the instruments as eyewitnesses to the signing, or (c) an expert to prove the authenticity and
genuineness of all the signatures appearing on the said instruments. Verily, the rule that, proper foundation
must be laid for the admission of documentary evidence; that is, the identity and authenticity of the document
must be reasonably established as a pre- requisite to its admission, was prudently observed by the lower court
when it refused to admit the settlement/family home and the resort deeds as their veracity are doubtful.

Petitioner’s Contentions: It was alleged that when the Complaint for Judicial Partition with Annulment of
Title and Recovery of Possession was filed, there was yet no settlement of Pedro's estate, determination as to
the nature thereof, nor was there an identification of the number of legitimate heirs. As such, the trial court
ruled on the settlement of the intestate estate of Pedro in its ordinary jurisdiction when the action filed was for
Judicial Partition (1) Decision should be annulled on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction;
The Motion for Reconsideration was, however, denied. On January 16, 2008, the Court further denied
petitioner's motion for leave to admit a second motion for reconsideration of its September 26,
2007 Resolution. Unsatisfied, petitioner wrote a letter dated March 24, 2008 addressed to then Chief Justice
Reynato S. Puno praying that a decision on the case be rendered based on the merits and not on formal
requirements "as he stands to lose everything his parents had left him just because the verification against non-
forum shopping is formally defective.


On the 1st issue: Section 2 of the Rules as stated above provides that the annulment of a judgment may "be
based only on grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. The pivotal issues before Us are: (1) whether
there was a time during the proceedings below that the Petitioners ever prevented from exhibiting fully their
case, by fraud or deception, practiced on them by Respondents, and (2) whether the Petitioners were kept away
from the court or kept in ignorance by the acts of the Respondent? We find nothing of that sort. Instead, what
We deduced as We carefully delved into the evidentiary facts surrounding the instant case as well as the
proceedings below as shown in the 36-page Decision of the Court a quo, is that the Petitioners were given
ample time to rebut the allegations of the Respondents and had in fact addressed every detail of Respondent's
cause of action against them. Thus, Petitioners' allegation of the Court a quo's lack of jurisdiction is
misplaced.


If Petitioners lost their chance to avail themselves of the appropriate remedies or appeal before the Supreme
Court, that is their own look out.

ISSUE: Whether or not the application filed before the RTC of Nasugbu, Batangas would fall under the case
of judicial partition of estate.

RULING:
In this case, it was expressly alleged in the complaint, and was not disputed, that Pedro died without a will,
leaving his estate without any pending obligations. Thus, contrary to petitioner's contention, respondents were
under no legal obligation to submit the subject properties of the estate to a special proceeding for settlement of
intestate estate, and are, in fact, encouraged to have the same partitioned, judicially or extrajudicially.
Petitioner asserts that while the complaint filed by respondents was captioned as "Judicial Partition with
Annulment of Title and Recovery of Possession," the allegations therein show that the cause of action is
actually one for settlement of estate of decedent Pedro. Considering that settlement of estate is a special
proceeding cognizable by a probate court of limited jurisdiction while judicial partition with annulment of title
and recovery of possession are ordinary civil actions cognizable by a court of general jurisdiction, the trial
court exceeded its jurisdiction in entertaining the latter while it was sitting merely in its probate jurisdiction.
Petitioner is mistaken. It is true that some of respondents' causes of action pertaining to the properties left
behind by the decedent Pedro, his known heirs, and the nature and extent of their interests thereon, may
fall under an action for settlement of estate. However, a complete reading of the complaint would readily show
that, based on the nature of the suit, the allegations therein, and the reliefs prayed for, the action is clearly one
for judicial partition with annulment of title and recovery of possession.

pg. 22
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

In all, the Court agrees with the appellate court that petitioners failed to adequately substantiate, with
convincing, credible and independently verifiable proof, their claim that they had, in fact, purchased the
subject properties. The circumstances surrounding the purported transfers cast doubt on whether they actually
took place. In substantiating their claim, petitioners relied solely on the Extra-Judicial Settlement and Deed of
Sale, who utterly failed to prove their authenticity and due execution. They cannot, therefore, be permitted to
claim absolute ownership of the subject lands based on the same.
Neither can they be considered as innocent purchasers for value and builders in good faith. Good faith consists
in the belief of the builder that the land the latter is building on is one's own without knowledge of any defect
or flaw in one's title. However, in view of the manifest defects in the instruments conveying their titles,
petitioners should have been placed on guard. Yet, they still demolished several cottages and
constructed improvement on the properties. Thus, their claim of good faith cannot be given credence.

F. HABEAS CORPUS

Case 1. Ilusorio vs Bildner, 332 SCRA 169

Facts: This is a consolidated case of the following:

Petitioner Erlinda Ilusorio seeks to reverse the Decision of the CA dismissing her application for habeas corpus
to have the custody of her husband, lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio (Respondent, “R” for brevity) and enforce
consortium.
Potenciano filed a petition to annul the portion of the Decision of the CA giving visitation rights her wife Erlinda
to her.
Potenciano is about 86 years of age, possessed extensive properties valued at millions of pesos. He was, for
many years, the Chairman of the Board and President of Baguio Country Club.

Erlinda and Potenciano are married couple but they separated from bed and board for undisclosed reasons. They
have six (6) children (co-respondents).

On December 30, 1997, Potenciano arrived coming from USA here in the Philippines. He stayed for five (5)
months with Erlinda in Antipolo City. The children, Sylvia and Erlinda, alleged that during such time, Erlinda
gave Potenciano an overdosed amount of Zoloft (instead of 100mg, she gave 200mg); thus, Potenciano’s health
deteriorated.

On February 25, 1998, Erlinda filed with the RTC of Antipolo a petition for Guardianship over the person and
property of Potenciano due to latters advanced age, frail health, poor eyesight and impaired judgment.

On May 31, 1998, After attending a corporate meeting, Potenciano did not return to his wife in Antipolo but
rather he went and lived at Makati with his children.

Because of such event, Erlinda filed a petition with the CA for habeas corpus to have the custody of her lawyer
husband, Potenciano. CA denied such petition.

Issue: Whether habeas corpus may be availed by Erlinda to compel Potenciano to live with her in conjugal
bliss?

Ruling: No. Marital rights including overture and living in conjugal dwelling may not be enforced by the extra-
ordinary writ of habeas corpus.

No court is empowered as a judicial authority to compel a husband to live with his wife. Coverture cannot be
enforced by compulsion of a writ of habeas corpus carried out by sheriffs or by any other means process. That
is a matter beyond judicial authority and is best left to the man and woman’s free choice.

Case 2: Serapio vs Sandiganbayan

pg. 23
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G.R. No. 148468 January 28, 2003


ATTY. EDWARD SERAPIO, petitioner,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION), PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, and PHILIPPINE
NATIONAL POLICE DIRECTOR-GENERAL LEANDRO MENDOZA, respondents.

G.R. No. 148769 January 28, 2003


EDWARD SERAPIO, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.
G.R. No. 149116 January 28, 2003

EDWARD SERAPIO, petitioner,


vs.
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (THIRD DIVISION) and PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, respondents.

Quick Facts: Two petitions for certiorari filed by petitioner Edward Serapio, assailing the resolutions of the
Third Division of the Sandiganbayan denying his petition for bail, motion for a reinvestigation and motion to
quash, and a petition for habeas corpus, all in relation to Criminal Case No. 26558 for plunder wherein petitioner
is one of the accused together with former President Joseph E. Estrada, Jose "Jinggoy" P. Estrada and several
others.

Facts: Petitioner was a member of the Board of Trustees and the Legal Counsel of the Erap Muslim Youth
Foundation. Sometime in April 2000, petitioner, as trustee of the Foundation, received on its behalf a donation
in the amount of Two Hundred Million Pesos (P200 Million) from Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson.

In the latter part of the year 2000, Gov. Singson publicly accused then President Joseph E. Estrada and his
cohorts of engaging in several illegal activities, including its operation on the illegal numbers game known
as jueteng. This triggered the filing with the Office of the Ombudsman of several criminal complaints against
Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada and petitioner, together with other persons.

On April 18, 2001, the Ombudsman filed an amended Information in said case charging Estrada and several co-
accused, including petitioner, with plunder. No bail was recommended for the provisional release of all the
accused, including petitioner.

The Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution on April 25, 2001 in Criminal Case No. 26558 finding probable cause
to justify the issuance of warrants of arrest for the accused, including petitioner. Accordingly, the
Sandiganbayan issued an Order on the same date for the arrest of petitioner.5 When apprised of said order,
petitioner voluntarily surrendered at 9:45 p.m. on the same day to Philippine National Police Chief Gen.
Leandro Mendoza. Petitioner has since been detained at Camp Crame for said charge.

The Sandiganbayan set the arraignment of the accused, including petitioner, in Criminal Case No. 26558 on
June 27, 2001. In the meantime, on April 27, 2001, petitioner filed with the Sandiganbayan an Urgent Petition
for Bail which was set for hearing on May 4, 2001.

During the hearing on May 4, 2001 on petitioner's Urgent Petition for Bail, the prosecution moved for the
resetting of the arraignment of the accused earlier than the June 27, 2001 schedule. However, the
Sandiganbayan denied the motion of the prosecution and issued an order declaring that the petition for bail
can and should be heard before petitioner's arraignment on June 27, 2001 and even before the other accused in
Criminal Case No. 26558 filed their respective petitions for bail. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan set the
hearing for the reception of evidence on petitioner's petition for bail on May 21 to 25, 2001.

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On May 17, 2001, four days before the hearing on petitioner's petition for bail, the Ombudsman filed an
urgent motion for early arraignment of Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada and petitioner and a motion for joint
bail hearings of Joseph Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada and petitioner. The following day, petitioner filed a
manifestation questioning the propriety of including Joseph Estrada and Jinggoy Estrada in the hearing on his
(petitioner's) petition for bail.

However, instead of proceeding with the bail hearing set by it on June 18, 2001, the Sandiganbayan issued an
Order on June 15, 2001 canceling the said bail hearing due to pending incidents yet to be resolved and reset
anew the hearing to June 26, 2001.

The bail hearing on June 26, 2001 did not again proceed because on said date petitioner filed with the
Sandiganbayan a motion to quash the amended Information on the grounds that as against him, the amended
Information does not allege a combination or series of overt or criminal acts constitutive of plunder.

The Sandiganbayan reset the arraignment of accused and the hearing on the petition for bail of petitioner in
Criminal Case No. 26558 for July 10, 2001 to enable it to resolve the pending incidents and the motion to
quash of petitioner. However, even before the Sandiganbayan could resolve the pending motions of petitioner
and the prosecution, petitioner filed with this Court on June 29, 2001 a Petition for Habeas Corpus and
Certiorari, docketed as G.R. No. 148468, praying that the Court declare void the questioned orders,
resolutions and actions of the Sandiganbayan on his claim that he was thereby effectively denied of his right
to due process. Petitioner likewise prayed for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus; that the People be
declared to have waived their right to present evidence in opposition to his petition for bail; and, premised on
the failure of the People to adduce strong evidence of petitioner's guilt of plunder, that he be granted
provisional liberty on bail after due proceedings.

Issue: Whether petitioner was deprived of his right to due process in Criminal Case No. 26558 and should
thus be released from detention via a writ of habeas corpus.

Held: No.

As a general rule, the writ of habeas corpus will not issue where the person alleged to be restrained of
his liberty in custody of an officer under a process issued by the court which jurisdiction to do so. In
exceptional circumstances, habeas corpus may be granted by the courts even when the person concerned is
detained pursuant to a valid arrest or his voluntary surrender, for this writ of liberty is recognized as "the
fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary and lawless state action" due to
"its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural mazes." Thus, in previous cases, we issued the writ
where the deprivation of liberty, while initially valid under the law, had later become invalid, and even though
the persons praying for its issuance were not completely deprived of their liberty.

The Court finds no basis for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus in favor of petitioner. The general
rule that habeas corpus does not lie where the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the
custody of an officer under process issued by a court which had jurisdiction to issue the same applies,
because petitioner is under detention pursuant to the order of arrest issued by the Sandiganbayan on
April 25, 2001 after the filing by the Ombudsman of the amended information for plunder against
petitioner and his co-accused. Petitioner had in fact voluntarily surrendered himself to the authorities
on April 25, 2001 upon learning that a warrant for his arrest had been issued.

The ruling in Moncupa vs. Enrile that habeas corpus will lie where the deprivation of liberty which was
initially valid has become arbitrary in view of subsequent developments finds no application in the present
case because the hearing on petitioner's application for bail has yet to commence. As stated earlier, they delay
in the hearing of petitioner's petition for bail cannot be pinned solely on the Sandiganbayan or on the
prosecution for that matter. Petitioner himself is partly to be blamed. Moreover, a petition for habeas
corpus is not the appropriate remedy for asserting one's right to bail. It cannot be availed of where
accused is entitled to bail not as a matter of right but on the discretion of the court and the latter has

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not abused such discretion in refusing to grant bail, or has not even exercised said discretion. The
proper recourse is to file an application for bail with the court where the criminal case is pending and
to allow hearings thereon to proceed.

Case 3: Lacson vs Perez

357 SCRA 756 G.R. No. 147780


May 10, 2001

Facts: President Macapagal-Arroyo declared a State of Rebellion (Proclamation No. 38) on May 1, 2001 as
well as General Order No. 1 ordering the AFP and the PNP to suppress the rebellion in the NCR. Warrantless
arrests of several alleged leaders and promoters of the “rebellion” were thereafter effected.

Petitioner filed for prohibition, injunction, mandamus and habeas corpus with an application for the issuance of
temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. Petitioners assail the declaration of Proc. No.
38 and the warrantless arrests allegedly effected by virtue thereof.

Petitioners furthermore pray that the appropriate court, wherein the information against them were filed, would
desist arraignment and trial until this instant petition is resolved. They also contend that they are allegedly faced
with impending warrantless arrests and unlawful restraint being that hold departure orders were issued against
them.

Issue: Whether the Proclamation No. 38 is valid, along with the warrantless arrests and hold departure orders
allegedly effected by the same.

Held: President Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the lifting of Proc. No. 38 on May 6, 2006, accordingly the instant
petition has been rendered moot and academic. Respondents have declared that the Justice Department and the
police authorities intend to obtain regular warrants of arrests from the courts for all acts committed prior to and
until May 1, 2001. Under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, authorities may only resort to warrantless
arrests of persons suspected of rebellion in suppressing the rebellion if the circumstances so warrant, thus the
warrantless arrests are not based on Proc. No. 38.

Petitioner’s Resort to the extraordinary remedies of mandamus and prohibition not justified since an individual
subjected to warrantless arrest is not without adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law.—Moreover,
petitioners’ contention in G.R. No. 147780 (Lacson Petition), 147781 (Defensor-Santiago Petition), and 147799
(Lumbao Petition) that they are under imminent danger of being arrested without warrant do not justify their
resort to the extraordinary remedies of mandamus and prohibition, since an individual subjected to warrantless
arrest is not without adequate remedies in the ordinary course of law. Such an individual may ask for a
preliminary investigation under Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, where he may adduce evidence in his defense,
or he may submit himself to inquest proceedings to determine whether or not he should remain under custody
and correspondingly be charged in court. Further, a person subject of a warrantless arrest must be delivered to
the proper judicial authorities within the periods provided in Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, otherwise
the arresting officer could be held liable for delay in the delivery of detained persons. Should the detention be
without legal ground, the person arrested can charge the arresting officer with arbitrary detention. All this is
without prejudice to his filing an action for damages against the arresting officer under Article 32 of the Civil
Code. Verily, petitioners have a surfeit of other remedies which they can avail themselves of, thereby making
the prayer for prohibition and mandamus improper at this time (Sections 2 and 3, Rule 65, Rules of Court).
Petitioners were neither assailing the validity of the subject hold departure orders, nor were they expressing any
intention to leave the country in the near future. To declare the hold departure orders null and void ab initio
must be made in the proper proceedings initiated for that purpose.

Petitioners’ prayer for relief regarding their alleged impending warrantless arrests is premature being
that no complaints have been filed against them for any crime, furthermore, the writ of habeas corpus is
uncalled for since its purpose is to relieve unlawful restraint which Petitioners are not subjected to.

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Petition is dismissed. Respondents, consistent and congruent with their undertaking earlier adverted to, together
with their agents, representatives, and all persons acting in their behalf, are hereby enjoined from arresting
Petitioners without the required judicial warrants for all acts committed in relation to or in connection with the
May 1, 2001 siege of Malacañang.

KAPUNAN, J., Dissenting Opinion:


Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Arrests; In the exercise of the calling out power as Commander-in-Chief of
the Armed Forces, the Constitution does not require the President to make a declaration of a “state of rebellion”;
Declaration of a “state of rebellion” cannot diminish or violate constitutionally-protected rights, such as the
right to due process, the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly to petition the government for redress of
grievances and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures.—Section 18 grants the President, as
Commander-in-Chief, the power to call out the armed forces in cases of (1) lawless violence, (2) rebellion and
(3) invasion. In the latter two cases, i.e., rebellion or invasion, the President may, when public safety requires,
also (a) suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or (b) place the Philippines or any part thereof under
martial law. However, in the exercise of this calling out power as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the
Constitution does not require the President to make a declaration of a “state of rebellion” (or, for that matter, of
lawless violence or invasion). The term “state of rebellion” has no legal significance. It is vague and amorphous
and does not give the President more power than what the Constitution says, i.e., whenever it becomes
necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. As
Justice Mendoza observed during the hearing of this case, such a declaration is “legal surplusage.” But whatever
the term means, it cannot diminish or violate constitutionally-protected rights, such as the right to due process,
the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly to petition the government for redress of grievances, and the
right against unreasonable searches and seizures, among others.

Same; Same; Same; Nothing in Section 18 authorizes the President or any person acting under her direction to
make unwarranted arrests.—Indeed, there is nothing in Section 18 which authorizes the President or any person
acting under her direction to make unwarranted arrests. The existence of “lawless violence, invasion or
rebellion” only authorizes the President to call out the “armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence,
invasion or rebellion.”

Same; Same; Same; Not even the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the declaration of
martial law authorizes the President to order the arrest of any person.—Not even the suspension of the privilege
of the writ of habeas corpus or the declaration of martial law authorizes the President to order the arrest of any
person. The only significant consequence of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is to divest the courts
of the power to issue the writ whereby the detention of the person is put in issue. It does not by itself authorize
the President to order the arrest of a person.

Same; Same; Same; A declaration of a “state of rebellion” does not justify any deviation from the Constitutional
proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures.—In the instant case, the President did not suspend the
writ of habeas corpus. Nor did she declare martial law. A declaration of a “state of rebellion,” at most, only
gives notice to the nation that it exists, and that the armed forces may be called to prevent or suppress it, as in
fact she did. Such declaration does not justify any deviation from the Constitutional proscription against
unreasonable searches and seizures.

Same; Same; Same; To justify a warrantless arrest under Section 5(a), there must be a showing that the persons
arrested or to be arrested has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to commit the offense of
rebellion.—In contrast, it has not been alleged that the persons to be arrested for their alleged participation in
the “rebellion” on May 1, 2001 are members of an outlawed organization intending to overthrow the
government. Therefore, to justify a warrantless arrest under Section 5(a), there must be a showing that the
persons arrested or to be arrested has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to commit the offense

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of rebellion. In other words, there must be an overt act constitutive of rebellion taking place in the presence of
the arresting officer.

Same; Same; Same; A declaration of a state of rebellion does not relieve the State of its burden of proving
probable cause; The determination of probable cause is a purely legal question of which courts are the final
arbiters.—A declaration of a state of rebellion does not relieve the State of its burden of proving probable cause.
The declaration does not constitute a substitute for proof. It does not in any way bind the courts, which must
still judge for itself the existence of probable cause. Under Section 18, Article VII, the determination of the
existence of a state of rebellion for purposes of proclaiming martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus rests for which the President is granted ample, though not absolute, discretion. Under
Section 2, Article III, the determination of probable cause is a purely legal question of which courts are the final
arbiters.

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J., Dissenting Opinion:


Constitutional Law; Bill of Rights; Arrests; To accept the theory that the President could disregard the applicable
statutes, particularly that which concerns arrests, searches and seizures, on the mere declaration of a “state of
rebellion” is in effect to place the Philippines under martial law without a declaration of the executive to that
effect and without observing the proper procedure.—Obviously, the power of the President in cases when she
assumed the existence of rebellion is properly laid down by the Constitution. I see no reason or justification for
the President’s deviation from the concise and plain provisions. To accept the theory that the President could
disregard the applicable statutes, particularly that which concerns arrests, searches and seizures, on the mere
declaration of a “state of rebellion” is in effect to place the Philippines under martial law without a declaration
of the executive to that effect and without observing the proper procedure. This should not be countenanced. In
a society which adheres to the rule of law, resort to extra-constitutional measures is unnecessary, where the law
has provided everything for any emergency or contingency.

Same; Same; Same; The implementation of warrantless arrests premised on the declaration of a “state of
rebellion” is unconstitutional and contrary to existing laws.—The implementation of warrantless arrests
premised on the declaration of a “state of rebellion” is unconstitutional and contrary to existing laws. The
Constitution provides that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects
against unreasonable searches and seizure of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no
search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the
judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and
particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” If a state of martial law
“does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative
assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians, where
civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ,” then it is with more reason,
that a mere declaration of a state of rebellion could not bring about the suspension of the operation of the
Constitution or of the writ of habeas corpus.

Case 4: Sangca vs City Prosecutor of Cebu

Facts: On January 4, 2007, petitioner Anisah Impal Sangca filed the instant petition praying for the issuance of
a writ of habeas corpus and the release of Lovely Impal Adam who was detained in the Cebu City Jail for alleged
violation of Section 5, Article 2 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act
of 2002.

In the first week of July 2006, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Regional Office VII, received
information that Adam was engaged in illegal drug trafficking activities in Cebu City and neighboring cities and
municipalities. After evaluating the information, Police Chief Inspector Josefino Ligan, PDEA VII Asst.
Regional Director for Administration/Operation, together with FO1 Rayford A. Yap and PO2 Dindo M. Tuliao,
planned an entrapment operation.

According to the arresting officers, Lovely Impal Adam was arrested following the said entrapment operation

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after the latter had sold said officers one (1) packed medium size of heat sealed transparent plastic sachet filled
with white crystalline substance believed to be shabu. In the course of the operation, said officers also seized
her cellular phone and the Toyota Fortuner which she used in delivering and transporting illegal drugs.
Thereafter, they informed her that she is under arrest for violation of Section 5, Article II, RA 9165 and
likewise apprised her of the Miranda Doctrine in the language she knew and understood but she opted to
remain silent. After which, they asked her name and she introduced herself as Lovely Adam y Impal, 29 years
old, married, businesswoman and a resident of Celiron, Iligan City. They brought her along with the confiscated
items to their office for proper disposition. Later on, they found out that the item that Yap bought from
respondent, marked "LA" dated 07-07-06 with Yap’s signature, weighing 50.27 grams which was submitted
before the PNP Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis, yielded positive results for the presence of
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or Shabu, a dangerous drug.

On the other hand, respondent Lovely Impal Adam had a different version of such event. That respondent
denies the charge against her. She claims that she is a trader of ready to wear clothing. Respondent claims
that on July 7, 2006, at around 10:00 in the evening, she was at Pizza Hut, Fuente Osmeña Boulevard, together
with her four children and their "yayas". A friend of hers, Ana, had called her earlier in the day saying that she
would pay off her loan to her (respondent) at Pizza Hut that evening. Thereafter, her companion Ana had a
conversation with a certain woman named Rose. After said conversation, Ana handed over a parcel to Rose in
exchange for a green bag. Thereafter, when Adam and her companions, including Ana were about to leave, they
had noticed a vehicle blocking her car, making it impossible for her to back out into the road, without hitting
the car. She then beeped her car. Instead of moving their car, one of the men went down and thereafter, entered
her vehicle and demanded for the bag that was allegedly given to Ana by Rose. Respondent told them to ask
Ana since they claimed that it was given to Ana. However, the men pointed their guns at respondent, including
her children, claiming that they were elements of PDEA and they were placing her under arrest for illegal drug
trafficking.

Thereafter, after the inquest procedings, the inquest prosecutor recommended the dismissal of the case but was
disapproved by the City Prosecutor. Consequently, an information charging Adam with violation of Section 5,
Article 2 of R.A. No. 9165 was filed and docketed as Criminal Case No. CBU-77562 before the Regional Trial
Court of Cebu City, Branch 58.

On petition for review before the Department of Justice, Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez found no probable
cause to hold Adam liable for the offense charged, to wit:

A very thorough and careful scrutiny of the records, particularly the affidavit of arrest, reveals that no payment
was ever made by the police officers for the supposed object of the buy-bust operations. The police officers
have not even alleged in their affidavits that payment was made to respondent in exchange for the shabu. No
buy-bust money was ever presented. The certificate of inventory does not show any buy-bust money.

The Justice Secretary directed the City Prosecutor of Cebu City to withdraw the information.3 PDEA filed a
motion for reconsideration but was denied by the Justice Secretary on December 8, 2006.4

Finding that Adam could not be held liable for the crime charged, Judge Ingles issued an Order on
January 26, 2007 granting the Motion to Withdraw Information and ordering the release of the accused,
unless otherwise held for another valid ground. The dispositive portion of the Order reads:

Accordingly, the "Motion to Withdraw Information" is hereby GRANTED and the accused is ordered
immediately released unless another valid ground exists for her continued detention.

A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention in which any person is
deprived of his liberty, or in which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled
to it. Its essential object and purpose is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint and to relieve
a person from it if such restraint is illegal. The singular function of a petition for habeas corpus is to
protect and secure the basic freedom of physical liberty.

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In the instant case, records show that Adam has been released upon order of the trial judge on January 26, 2007.
Therefore, the petition has become moot.

Case 5: Mangila vs Pangilinan

Facts: Anita Mangila, petitioner, was charged with seven of syndicated estafa. The complaint against her arose
from recruiting and promising employment to private complainants as overseas contract workers in Toronto,
Canada without lawful authority from POEA.

By reason of the charged against petitioner, a warrant of arrest was issued against her. She was arrested. She
then filed a petition for habeas corpus before the CA alleging that she is deprived of the remedy of a motion to
quash or a motion to recall the warrant of arrest because Judge Pangilinan (Judge who issued the warrant) had
already forwarded the entire records of the case to the City Prosecutor who had no authority to lift or recall the
warrant. CA denied the petition.

Issue: WON Habeas Corpus is the proper remedy.

Ruling: NO. Habeas corpus is a speedy and effective remedy devised to relieve persons from unlawful restraint.
Petitioner’s restraint in this case in NOT unlawful. She had been arrested and detained by virtue of the valid
warrant issued for her arrest.

The objective of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of the detention, and, if the detention is
found to be illegal, to require the release of the detainee. Equally well-settled, however, is that the writ will not
issue where the person in whose behalf the writ is sought is out on bail, or is in the custody of an officer under
process issued by a court or judge with jurisdiction or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record.

Her proper remedy was to bring the supposed irregularities attending the conduct of the (preliminary
investigation) and the issuance of the warrant for her arrest to the attention of the City Prosecutor for appropriate
action.

Case 6: Tujan-Militante vs Cada-Deapera

Fscts: Respondent Raquel M. Cada-Deapera filed before the RTC-Caloocan a verified petition for writ of
habeas corpus. In the said petition, respondent demanded the immediate issuance of the special writ, directing
petitioner Ma. Hazelina Tujan-Militante to produce before the court respondent's biological daughter, minor
Criselda M. Cada (Criselda), and to return to her the custody over the child.

RTC-Caloocan issued a writ of habeas corpus, ordering petitioner to bring the child to court. Despite diligent
efforts and several attempts, however, the Sheriff was unsuccessful in personally serving petitioner copies of
the habeas corpus petition and of the writ. Instead, the Sheriff left copies of the court processes at petitioner’s
Caloocan residence, as witnessed by respondent’s counsel and barangay officials. Nevertheless, petitioner failed
to appear at the scheduled hearings before the RTC-Caloocan.

Meanwhile, petitioner filed a Petition for Guardianship over the person of Criselda before the RTC Quezon
City. Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss the petition for guardianship on the ground of litis pendentia, among
others. Thereafter, respondent filed a criminal case for kidnapping before the Office of the City Prosecutor –
Quezon City against petitioner and her counsel. RTC-Quezon City granted respondent’s motion and dismissed
the guardianship case due to the pendency of the habeas corpus petition before RTC-Caloocan.

Raquel moved for the ex parte issuance of an alias writ of habeas corpus before the RTC-Caloocan, which was
granted by the trial court. The court directed the Sheriff to serve the alias writ upon petitioner at the Office of
the Assistant City Prosecutor of Quezon City. The Sheriff served petitioner the Order as well as the Alias Writ
during the preliminary investigation of the kidnapping case.

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Following this development, petitioner, by way of special appearance, moved for the quashal of the writ and
prayed before the RTC Caloocan for the dismissal of the habeas corpus petition, claiming, among others, that
she was not personally served with summons. Thus, as argued by petitioner, jurisdiction over her and Criselda’s
person was not acquired by the RTC Caloocan.

Ruling of Trial Court:

Denied petitioner’s omnibus motion, citing Saulo v. Brig. Gen. Cruz, where the Court held that a writ of habeas
corpus, being an extraordinary process requiring immediate proceeding and action, plays a role somewhat
comparable to a summons in ordinary civil actions, in that, by service of said writ, the Court acquires jurisdiction
over the person of the respondent.

Moreover, personal service, the RTC said, does not necessarily require that service be made exclusively at
petitioner’s given address, for service may be made elsewhere or wherever she may be found for as long as she
was handed a copy of the court process in person by anyone authorized by law. Since the sheriff was able to
personally serve petitioner a copy of the writ, albeit in Quezon City, the RTC-Caloocan validly acquired
jurisdiction over her person.

Ruling of CA:

Dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by petitioner. Jurisdiction was properly laid when respondent filed the
habeas corpus petition before the designated Family Court in Caloocan City. Anent the RTC-Caloocan’s
jurisdiction, the appellate court ruled that service of summons is not required under Section 20 of A.M. No. 03-
04-04-SC, otherwise known as the Rules on Custody of Minors and Habeas Corpus in Relation to Custody of
Minors. According to the CA, the rules on summons contemplated in ordinary civil actions have no place in
petitions for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, it being a special proceeding.

Issue: Whether or not the RTC Caloocan has jurisdiction over the habeas corpus petition filed by respondent
and, assuming arguendo it does, whether or not it validly acquired jurisdiction over petitioner and the person of
Criselda.

Ruling: Yes. The RTC-Caloocan correctly took cognizance of the habeas corpus petition. Subsequently, it
acquired jurisdiction over petitioner when the latter was served with a copy of the writ in Quezon City.
In the case at bar, what respondent filed was a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus under Section
20 of A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC and Rule 102 of the Rules of Court. As provided:

Section 20. Petition for writ of habeas corpus.- A verified petition for a writ of habeas corpus involving custody
of minors shall be filed with the Family Court. The writ shall be enforceable within its judicial region to which
the Family Court belongs.

However, the petition may be filed with the regular court in the absence of the presiding judge of the Family
Court, provided, however, that the regular court shall refer the case to the Family Court as soon as its presiding
judge returns to duty.

The petition may also be filed with the appropriate regular courts in places where there are no Family Courts.

The writ issued by the Family Court or the regular court shall be enforceable in the judicial region where they
belong.

The petition may likewise be filed with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, or with any of its members and,
if so granted, the writ shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. The writ may be made returnable to a
Family Court or to any regular court within the region where the petitioner resides or where the minor may be
found for hearing and decision on the merits.

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Upon return of the writ, the court shall decide the issue on custody of minors. The appellate court, or the member
thereof, issuing the writ shall be furnished a copy of the decision. (emphasis added)

Considering that the writ is made enforceable within a judicial region, petitions for the issuance of the writ of
habeas corpus, whether they be filed under Rule 102 of the Rules of Court or pursuant to Section 20 of A.M.
No. 03-04-04-SC, may therefore be filed with any of the proper RTCs within the judicial region where
enforcement thereof is sought.

On this point, Section 13 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 (BP 129), otherwise known as the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980, finds relevance. Said provision, which contains the enumeration of judicial regions
in the country, states:

Section 13. Creation of Regional Trial Courts. – There are hereby created thirteen Regional Trial Courts, one
for each of the following judicial regions: x x x x

The National Capital Judicial Region, consisting of the cities of Manila, Quezon, Pasay, Caloocan and
Mandaluyong, and the municipalities of Navotas, Malabon, San Juan, Makati, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Marikina,
Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Valenzuela. (emphasis ours)
In view of the afore-quoted provision, it is indubitable that the filing of a petition for the issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus before a family court in any of the cities enumerated is proper as long as the writ is sought to be
enforced within the National Capital Judicial Region, as here.

In the case at bar, respondent filed the petition before the family court of Caloocan City. Since Caloocan City
and Quezon City both belong to the same judicial region, the writ issued by the RTC-Caloocan can still be
implemented in Quezon City. Whether petitioner resides in the former or the latter is immaterial in view of the
above rule.

Lastly, as regards petitioner’s assertion that the summons was improperly served, suffice it to state that service
of summons, to begin with, is not required in a habeas corpus petition, be it under Rule 102 of the Rules of
Court or A.M. No. 03-04-04-SC. As held in Saulo v. Cruz, a writ of habeas corpus plays a role somewhat
comparable to a summons, in ordinary civil actions, in that, by service of said writ, the court acquires jurisdiction
over the person of the respondent.22

Datukan Malang Salibo vs Warden, Quezon City

Datukan Malang Salibo (Salibo) and other Filipinos were allegedly inn Saudi Arabia for the Hajj Pilgrimage.
Salibo learned that police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station in Maguindanao suspect Butukan S. Malang
was one of the 197 accused of 57 counts of murder for allegedly participating in the November 23, 2009
Maguindanao Massacre. He had a pending warrant of arrest issued by the trial court in People of the Philippines
v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al.

Salibo presented himself before the police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station to clear his name. There, he
explained that he was not Butukan S. Malang and that he could not have participated in the November 23, 2009
Maguindanao Massacre because he was in Saudi Arabia at that time. To support his allegations, Salibo presented
to the police “pertinent portions of his passport, boarding passes and other documents” tending to prove that a
certain Datukan Malang Salibo was in Saudi Arabia from November 7 to December 19, 2009.

Afterwards, however, the police officers apprehended Salibo and tore off page two of his passport that evidenced
his departure for Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2009. They then detained Salibo at the Datu Hofer Police

Station for about three (3) days. The police officers transferred Salibo to the Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group in Cotabato City, where he was detained for another 10 days. While in Cotabato City, the
Criminal Investigation and Detention Group allegedly made him sign and affix his thumbprint on documents.

pg. 32
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On August 20, 2010, Salibo was finally transferred to the Quezon City Jail Annex, Bureau of Jail Management
and Penology Building, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, where he is currently detained. On September 17,
2010, Salibo filed before the Court of Appeals the Urgent Petition for Habeas Corpus questioning the legality
of his detention and deprivation of his liberty. He maintained that he is not the accused Butukan S. Malang.In
the Resolution dated September 21, 2010, the Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus, making the
Writ returnable to the Second Vice Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig City (Taguig Hall of
Justice).

The Court of Appeals ordered the Warden of the Quezon City Jail Annex to file a Return of the Writ one day
before the scheduled hearing and produce the person of Salibo at the 10:00 a.m. hearing set on September 27,
2010.

Issue 1: W/N Salibo properly availed the remedy of a petition for writ of habeas corpus

Yes. Habeas corpus is the remedy for a person deprived of liberty due to mistaken identity. In such cases, the
person is not under any lawful process and is continuously being illegally detained.

First, it was Butukan S. Malang, not Salibo, who was charged and accused in the Information and Alias Warrant
of Arrest issued in the case of People vs Ampatuan. Based on the evidences presented, Salibo sufficiently
established that he could not have been Butukan S. Malang. Therefore, Salibo was not arrested by virtue of any
warrant charging him of an offense, nor restrained under a lawful process or an order of a court. Second, Salibo
was not validly arrested without a warrant. When he was in the presence of authorities, he was neither
committing nor attempting to commit an offense, and the police officers had no personal knowledge of any
offense that he might have committed. Salibo was also not an escape prisoner.

The police officers have deprived him of his liberty without due process of law. Therefore, Salibo correctly
availed himself of a Petition for Habeas Corpus.

Issue 2: W/N a motion to quash information and/or warrant of arrest is the proper remedy in cases where a
person with a mistaken identity is detained

No, the CA’s contention is not correct. Salibo’s proper remedy is not a Motion to Quash Information and/or
Warrant of Arrest. None of the grounds for filing a Motion to Quash Information apply to him. Even if
petitioner Salibo filed a Motion to Quash, the defect he alleged could not have been cured by mere amendment
of the Information and/or Warrant of Arrest. Changing the name of the accused appearing in the Information
and/or Warrant of Arrest from “Butukan S. Malang” to “Datukan Malang Salibo” will not cure the lack of
preliminary investigation in this case.

Likewise, a motion for reinvestigation will not cure the defect of lack of preliminary investigation.

Issue 3: W/N the Warden correctly appealed the RTC ruling on the Return before the CA

Yes. An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be made through a petition filed before CA or any of its
members, the CA or any of its members in instances authorized by law, or the RTC or any of its presiding
judges. The court or judge grants the writ and requires the officer or person having custody of the person
allegedly restrained of liberty to file a return of the writ. A hearing on the return of the writ is then conducted.

The return of the writ may be heard by a court apart from that which issued the writ. Should the court issuing
the writ designate a lower court to which the writ is made returnable, the lower court shall proceed to decide the
petition of habeas corpus. By virtue of the designation, the lower court acquires the power and authority to
determine the merits of the petition for habeas corpus. Therefore, the decision on the petition is a decision
appealable to the court that has appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the lower court.

Case 7: Datukan Malang Salibo vs Warden, Quezon City

pg. 33
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Datukan Malang Salibo (Salibo) and other Filipinos were allegedly inn Saudi Arabia for the Hajj Pilgrimage.
Salibo learned that police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station in Maguindanao suspect Butukan S. Malang
was one of the 197 accused of 57 counts of murder for allegedly participating in the November 23, 2009
Maguindanao Massacre. He had a pending warrant of arrest issued by the trial court in People of the Philippines
v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al.

Salibo presented himself before the police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station to clear his name. There, he
explained that he was not Butukan S. Malang and that he could not have participated in the November 23, 2009
Maguindanao Massacre because he was in Saudi Arabia at that time. To support his allegations, Salibo presented
to the police “pertinent portions of his passport, boarding passes and other documents” tending to prove that a
certain Datukan Malang Salibo was in Saudi Arabia from November 7 to December 19, 2009.

Afterwards, however, the police officers apprehended Salibo and tore off page two of his passport that evidenced
his departure for Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2009. They then detained Salibo at the Datu Hofer Police
Station for about three (3) days.The police officers transferred Salibo to the Criminal Investigation
and Detection Group in Cotabato City, where he was detained for another 10 days. While in Cotabato City, the
Criminal Investigation and Detention Group allegedly made him sign and affix his thumbprint on documents.

On August 20, 2010, Salibo was finally transferred to the Quezon City Jail Annex, Bureau of Jail Management
and Penology Building, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, where he is currently detained. On September 17,
2010, Salibo filed before the Court of Appeals the Urgent Petition for Habeas Corpusquestioning the legality of
his detention and deprivation of his liberty.He maintained that he is not the accused Butukan S. Malang.In the
Resolution dated September 21, 2010,the Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus, making the Writ
returnable to the Second Vice Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Pasig City (Taguig Hall of Justice).

The Court of Appeals ordered the Warden of the Quezon City Jail Annex to file a Return of the Writ one day
before the scheduled hearing and produce the person of Salibo at the 10:00 a.m. hearing set on September 27,
2010.

Issue 1: W/N Salibo properly availed the remedy of a petition for writ of habeas corpus

Yes. Habeas corpus is the remedy for a person deprived of liberty due to mistaken identity. In such cases, the
person is not under any lawful process and is continuously being illegally detained.

First, it was Butukan S. Malang, not Salibo, who was charged and accused in the Information and Alias Warrant
of Arrest issued in the case of People vs Ampatuan. Based on the evidences presented, Salibo sufficiently
established that he could not have been Butukan S. Malang. Therefore, Salibo was not arrested by virtue of any
warrant charging him of an offense, nor restrained under a lawful process or an order of a court. Second, Salibo
was not validly arrested without a warrant. When he was in the presence of authorities, he was neither
committing nor attempting to commit an offense, and the police officers had no personal knowledge of any
offense that he might have committed. Salibo was also not an escape prisoner.

The police officers have deprived him of his liberty without due process of law. Therefore, Salibo correctly
availed himself of a Petition for Habeas Corpus.

Issue 2: W/N a motion to quash information and/or warrant of arrest is the proper remedy in cases where a
person with a mistaken identity is detained

No, the CA’s contention is not correct. Salibo’s proper remedy is not a Motion to Quash Information and/or
Warrant of Arrest. None of the grounds for filing a Motion to Quash Information apply to him. Even if
petitioner Salibo filed a Motion to Quash, the defect he alleged could not have been cured by mere amendment
of the Information and/or Warrant of Arrest. Changing the name of the accused appearing in the Information
and/or Warrant of Arrest from “Butukan S. Malang” to “Datukan Malang Salibo” will not cure the lack of
preliminary investigation in this case.

pg. 34
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Likewise, a motion for reinvestigation will not cure the defect of lack of preliminary investigation.
Issue 3: W/N the Warden correctly appealed the RTC ruling on the Return before the CA

Yes. An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be made through a petition filed before CA or any of its
members, the CA or any of its members in instances authorized by law, or the RTC or any of its presiding
judges. The court or judge grants the writ and requires the officer or person having custody of the person
allegedly restrained of liberty to file a return of the writ. A hearing on the return of the writ is then conducted.

The return of the writ may be heard by a court apart from that which issued the writ. Should the court issuing
the writ designate a lower court to which the writ is made returnable, the lower court shall proceed to decide the
petition of habeas corpus. By virtue of the designation, the lower court acquires the power and authority to
determine the merits of the petition for habeas corpus. Therefore, the decision on the petition is a decision
appealable to the court that has appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the lower court.

I. PREROGATIVE WRITS

Case 1: Tapuz vs Del Rosario

Facts: Private Respondents Spouses Sanson filed with the MCTC of Buruanga – Malay Aklan a complaint for
forcible entry with damages with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of prelim mandatory injunction against
petitioners Daniel Masangkay Tapuz, Aurora Tapuz-Madriaga, Liberty M. Asuncion, Ladylyn Bamos
Madriaga, Everly Tapuz Madriaga, Excel Tapuz, Ivan Tapuz and Marian Timbas and other John Does
numbering about 120. They alleged that that: (1) they are the registered owners of a 1.0093-hectare parcel of
land located at Boracay, Malay, Aklan; (2) they were the disputed land's prior possessors when the petitioners
- armed with bolos and carrying suspected firearms and together with unidentified persons numbering 120 -
entered the disputed land by force and intimidation, without the private respondents' permission and against the
objections of the private respondents' security men, and built thereon a nipa and bamboo structure.

In their Answer dated 14 May 2006, the petitioners denied the material allegations of the complaint. They
essentially claimed that: (1) they are the actual and prior possessors of the disputed land; (2) on the contrary,
the private respondents are the intruders; and (3) the private respondents' certificate of title to the disputed
property is spurious. They asked for the dismissal of the complaint and interposed a counterclaim for damages.

Said court, rendered judgment in favor of Private Respondents. The case was appealed with RTC of Kalibo. On
appeal, Private Respondents filed a motion for the issuance of the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction.
After complying with all the requirements for the issuance of said writ, Judge Del Rosario issued the same.
Petitioner moved to reconsider the issuance of said writ, while the Private Respondents, on the other hand, filed
a motion for demolition which petitioner also opposed. Judge Del Rosario denied the opposition against the
motion for demolition and the same issued a writ of demolition.

Petitioners thereafter filed with the CA a petition for review of the Permanent Mandatory Injunction and the
Order of Demolition. After that, Petitioners also filed herein petition for certiorari under Rule 65 with prayers
for the issuance of the writs of habeas data and amparo. To support the issuance of said writs, the alleged factual
positions contrary and opposed to the MCTCs findings and legal reasons. They contend that they had prior
possession of the subject real property; and that the Private Respondents intrude and took away their possession
of the same by force and violence.

Issue: Whether Petitioners have a basis for the issuance of the prayed writs to his favor?

Ruling: The petitions herein for the issuance of the writs of habeas data and amparo are fatally defective both
as to its substance and form.

1. WRIT OF AMPARO

pg. 35
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Such writ, as held by the Court in this case: “the writ of amparo was originally conceived as a response to the
extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived lack of available
and effective remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. It is intended to address violations of or threats
to the rights to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and independent remedy beyond those available
under the prevailing Rules, or as a remedy supplemental to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect
concerns that are purely property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we shall issue on amorphous and
uncertain grounds.”

To start off with the basics, the writ of amparo was originally conceived as a response to the extraordinary rise
in the number of killings and enforced disappearances, and to the perceived lack of available and effective
remedies to address these extraordinary concerns. It is intended to address violations of or threats to the rights
to life, liberty or security, as an extraordinary and independent remedy beyond those available under the
prevailing Rules, or as a remedy supplemental to these Rules. What it is not, is a writ to protect concerns that
are purely property or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we shall issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds.
Consequently, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo - in line with the extraordinary character of the writ and the
reasonable certainty that its issuance demands - requires that every petition for the issuance of the writ must be
supported by justifying allegations of fact, to wit:
a. The personal circumstances of the petitioner;
b. The name and personal circumstances of the respondent responsible for the threat, act or omission, or,
if the name is unknown or uncertain, the respondent may be described by an assumed appellation;
c. The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation by an
unlawful act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed with the
attendant circumstances detailed in supporting affidavits;
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 investigation, together
with any report;
e. The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved
party and the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or omission; and
f. The relief prayed for. The petition may include a general prayer for other just and equitable reliefs."

The writ shall issue if the Court is preliminarily satisfied with the prima facie existence of the ultimate facts
determinable from the supporting affidavits that detail the circumstances of how and to what extent a threat to
or violation of the rights to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party was or is being committed.

The alleged acts of violence made by the private respondents against Petitioner were disproved at the
proceedings with the MCTC – through a full-blown trial. Rather than acts of terrorism that pose a continuing
threat to the persons of the petitioners, the violent incidents alleged appear to us to be purely property-
related and focused on the disputed land. Thus, if the petitioners wish to seek redress and hold the alleged
perpetrators criminally accountable, the remedy may lie more in the realm of ordinary criminal prosecution
rather than on the use of the extraordinary remedy of the writ of amparo.

2. WRIT OF HABEAS DATA

Section 6 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data requires the following material allegations of ultimate facts in
a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas data:
a. The personal circumstances of the petitioner and the respondent;
b. The manner the right to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty or
security of the aggrieved party;
c. The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to secure the data or information;
d. The location of the files, registers or databases, the government office, and the person in charge, in
possession or in control of the data or information, if known;
e. The reliefs prayed for, which may include the updating, rectification, suppression or destruction of the
database or information or files kept by the respondent. In case of threats, the relief may include a prayer
for an order enjoining the act complained of; and

pg. 36
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f. Such other relevant reliefs as are just and equitable."

Case 2: Caram vs Segui

Facts: Petitioner Ma. Christina Yusay Caram (Christina) had an amorous relationship with Marcelino Gicano
Constantito III (Marcelino) and eventually became pregnant. Christina deceived Marcelino in believing that
she had the child aborted. However, she intended to have the child admitted in Sun and Moon Home for
Children to avoid embarrassment to her family having a second illegitimate child. On 26 July 2009, the child
they named Julian was born and was surrendered by Christina to Sun and Moon by way of Deed of Voluntary
Commitment.

Marcelino died of a heart attack without knowing having a child with Christina. Christina during the wake of
Marcelino disclosed the existence of Marcelino’s child and that she was forced to give him up for adoption due
to financial distress and embarrassment. The family of Marcelino took sympathy upon Christina and committed
to take back Julian.

On 27 November 2009, the DSWD through Secretary Esperanza Cabral issued a certificate declaring Julian,
available for adoption and Julian was matched with Spouses Vergel and Filomina Medina on 5 February 2010
for which a supervised custody ensued. On 5 May 2010, Christina wrote the DSWD, for the suspension of the
process of adoption for Julian. DSWD explained that they cannot suspend the proceedings since the termination
of parental authority of Christina and making Julian available for adoption, attained finality on 13 November
2009 or three months after Christina signed the Deed of Voluntary Commitment. DSWD also denied the DNA
testing requested by the family of Marcelino.

On 27 July 2010, Christina filed a petition for the issuance of writ of amparo. The RTC denied the petition
without prejudice for filing the appropriate action in court. The order also acknowledged that the child was
brought before the court and the petitioner Christina was allowed to see and take photographs of Julian. The
court explained that Christina should have filed an action for custody under the Family Code simultaneously or
independently a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.

Christina filed a petition for certiorari.

Issue: Whether the writ of amparo the appropriate remedy.

Ruling: No. In the landmark case of Secretary of National Defense, et al. v. Manalo, et al., this Court held: 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 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 of a person by a government official or organized groups or private 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 acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such
persons outside the protection of law.

The Court in Navia v. Pardico enumerated the elements constituting "enforced disappearances" as the term is
statutorily defined in Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 985134 to wit:
a. that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;
b. that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State ora political
organization;
c. that it be followed by the State or political organization’s refusal to acknowledge or give information
on the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo petition; and,
d. that the intention for such refusal isto remove subject person from the protection of the law for a
prolonged period of time.

pg. 37
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In this case, Christina alleged that the respondent DSWD officers caused her "enforced separation" from Baby
Julian and that their action amounted to an "enforced disappearance" within the context of the Amparo rule.
Contrary to her position, however, the respondent DSWD officers never concealed Baby Julian's whereabouts.
In fact, Christina obtained a copy of the DSWD's May 28, 2010 Memorandum35 explicitly stating that Baby
Julian was in the custody of the Medina Spouses when she filed her petition before the RTC. Besides, she even
admitted in her petition for review on certiorari that the respondent DSWD officers presented Baby Julian before
the RTC during the hearing held in the afternoon of August 5, 2010. There is therefore, no "enforced
disappearance" as used in the context of the Amparo rule as the third and fourth elements are missing.

Christina's directly accusing the respondents of forcibly separating her from her child and placing the latter up
for adoption, supposedly without complying with the necessary legal requisites to qualify the child for adoption,
clearly indicates that she is not searching for a lost child but asserting her parental authority over the child and
contesting custody over him. Since it is extant from the pleadings filed that what is involved is the issue of child
custody and the exercise of parental rights over a child, who, for all intents and purposes, has been legally
considered a ward of the State, the Amparo rule cannot be properly applied.

To reiterate, the privilege of the writ of amparo is a remedy available to victims of extra-judicial killings and
enforced disappearances or threats of a similar nature, regardless of whether the perpetrator of the unlawful act
or omission is a public official or employee or a private individual. It is envisioned basically to protect and
guarantee the right to life, liberty and security of persons, free from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of
life.

Case 3: Vivares et al vs St Therese College et al

Habeas Data

G.R. No. 202666 September 29, 2014

RHONDA AVE S. VIVARES and SPS. MARGARITA and DAVID SUZARA, Petitioners,
vs.
ST. THERESA'S COLLEGE, MYLENE RHEZA T. ESCUDERO, and JOHN DOES, Respondents.

Facts:

Angela Tan, a high school student at St. Theresa’s College (STC), uploaded on Facebook several pictures of
her and her classmates (Julia Daluz and Julienne Suzara) wearing only their undergarments.

Thereafter, some of their classmates reported said photos to their teacher, Mylene Escudero. Using STC’s
computers, Escudero’s students logged in to their respective personal Facebook accounts and showed her photos
of the identified students, which include: (a) drinking hard liquor and smoking cigarettes inside a bar; and (b)
along the streets of Cebu wearing articles of clothing that show virtually the entirety of their black brassieres.
What is more, Escudero’s students claimed that there were times when access to or the availability of the
identified students’ photos was not confined to the girls’ Facebook friends,4but were, in fact, viewable by any
Facebook user.5

Later, STC found Tan et al to have violated the student’s handbook and banned them from “marching” in their
graduation ceremonies.

pg. 38
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The issue went to court but despite a TRO (temporary restraining order) granted by the Cebu RTC enjoining
the school from barring the students in the graduation ceremonies, STC still barred said students.
Subsequently, Rhonda Vivares, mother of Nenita, and the other mothers filed a petition for the issuance of the
writ of habeas data against the school. They argued, among others, that:
1. The privacy setting of their children’s Facebook accounts was set at “Friends Only.” They, thus, have
a reasonable expectation of privacy which must be respected.
2. The photos accessed belong to the girls and, thus, cannot be used and reproduced without their
consent. Escudero, however, violated their rights by saving digital copies of the photos and by
subsequently showing them to STC’s officials. Thus, the Facebook accounts of the children were
intruded upon;
3. The intrusion into the Facebook accounts, as well as the copying of information, data, and digital
images happened at STC’s Computer Laboratory;
They prayed that STC be ordered to surrender and deposit with the court all soft and printed copies of the subject
data and have such data be declared illegally obtained in violation of the children’s right to privacy.

RTC

The Cebu RTC eventually denied the petition. To the trial court, petitioners failed to prove the existence of an
actual or threatened violation of the minors’ right to privacy, one of the preconditions for the issuance of the
writ of habeas data. Moreover, the court a quoheld that the photos, having been uploaded on Facebook without
restrictions as to who may view them, lost their privacy in some way. Besides, the RTC noted, STC gathered
the photographs through legal means and for a legal purpose, that is, the implementation of the school’s policies
and rules on discipline.

Supreme Court

DEFINITION: Writ of Habeas Data

The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is
violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual
or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family,
home and correspondence of the aggrieved party.11 It is an independent and summary remedy designed to
protect the image, privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information of an individual, and to provide a
forum to enforce one’s right to the truth and to informational privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to
control information regarding oneself, particularly in instances in which such information is being collected
through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends.12

In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed to protect an individual’s right to informational privacy,
among others. A comparative law scholar has, in fact, defined habeas dataas "a procedure designed to safeguard
individual freedom from abuse in the information age." 13 The writ, however, will not issue on the basis merely
of an alleged unauthorized access to information about a person.Availment of the writ requires the existence of
a nexus between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other.14 Thus,
the existence of a person’s right to informational privacy and a showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an
actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim are indispensable
before the privilege of the writ may be extended.15

Without an actionable entitlement in the first place to the right to informational privacy, a habeas datapetition
will not prosper.

PROCEDURAL ISSSUES

pg. 39
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a. The writ of habeas data is not only confined to cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances

Contrary to STC’s submission, the Writ of Habeas Datawas not enacted solely for the purpose of complementing
the Writ of Amparo in cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

Section 2 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides:

Sec. 2. Who May File. – Any aggrieved party may file a petition for the writ of habeas data. However, in cases
of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, the petition may be filed by:

(a) Any member of the immediate family of the aggrieved party, namely: the spouse, children and
parents; or

(b) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within the fourth civil
degreeof consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph. (emphasis
supplied)

Had the framers of the Rule intended to narrow the operation of the writ only to cases of extralegal killings or
enforced disappearances, the above underscored portion of Section 2, reflecting a variance of habeas data
situations, would not have been made.

Habeas data, to stress, was designed "to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the information age."17 As
such, it is erroneous to limit its applicability to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances only. In fact, the
annotations to the Rule preparedby the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, after explaining that
the Writ of Habeas Data complements the Writ of Amparo, pointed out that:

The writ of habeas data, however, can be availed of as an independent remedy to enforce one’s right to privacy,
more specifically the right to informational privacy. The remedies against the violation of such right can include
the updating, rectification, suppression or destruction of the database or information or files in possession or in
control of respondents.18 (emphasis Ours) Clearly then, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Datamay also be
availed of in cases outside of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

b. Meaning of "engaged" in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information

STC’s contention that the habeas data writ may not issue against STC, it not being an entity engaged in the
gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence
of the aggrieved party, while valid to a point, is, nonetheless, erroneous.

To be sure, nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas data protection shall be available only against
abuses of a person or entity engaged in the businessof gathering, storing, and collecting of data. As provided
under Section 1 of the Rule:

Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas datais a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in
life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee,
or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding
the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party. (emphasis Ours)

The provision, when taken in its proper context, as a whole, irresistibly conveys the idea that habeas data is a
protection against unlawful acts or omissions of public officials and of private individuals or entities engaged
in gathering, collecting, or storing data about the aggrieved party and his or her correspondences, or about his
or her family. Such individual or entity need not be in the business of collecting or storing data.

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To “engage” in something is different from undertaking a business endeavour. To “engage” means “to do or
take part in something.”19 It does not necessarily mean that the activity must be done in pursuit of a business.
What matters is that the person or entity must be gathering, collecting or storing said data or information about
the aggrieved party or his or her family. Whether such undertaking carries the element of regularity, as when
one pursues a business, and is in the nature of a personal endeavour, for any other reason or even for no reason
at all, is immaterial and such will not prevent the writ from getting to said person or entity.

To agree with respondents’ above argument, would mean unduly limiting the reach of the writ to a very small
group, i.e., private persons and entities whose business is data gathering and storage, and in the process
decreasing the effectiveness of the writ asan instrument designed to protect a right which is easily violated in
view of rapid advancements in the information and communications technology––a right which a great majority
of the users of technology themselves are not capable of protecting.

SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE
ISSUE: Whether or not the petition for writ of habeas data is proper.
HELD: Yes, it is proper but in this case, it will NOT prosper.

Right to Informational Privacy on Social Media (Online Networking Sites)


The Supreme Court ruled that if an online networking site (ONS) like Facebook has privacy tools, and the user
makes use of such privacy tools, then he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy (right to informational
privacy, that is). Thus, such privacy must be respected and protected.
In this case, however, there is no showing that the students concerned made use of such privacy tools.
Evidence would show that that their post (status) on Facebook were published as “Public”.

Facebook has the following settings to control as to who can view a user’s posts on his “wall” (profile page):

(a) Public – the default setting; every Facebook user can view the photo;
(b) Friends of Friends – only the user’s Facebook friends and their friends can view the photo;
(c) Friends – only the user’s Facebook friends can view the photo;
(d) Custom – the photo is made visible only to particular friends and/or networks of the Facebook user;
and
(e) Only Me – the digital image can be viewed only by the user.
The default setting is “Public” and if a user wants to have some privacy, then he must choose any setting other
than “Public”. If it is true that the students concerned did set the posts subject of this case so much so that only
five people can see them (as they claim), then how come most of their classmates were able to view them. This
fact was not refuted by them. In fact, it was their classmates who informed and showed their teacher, Escudero,
of the said pictures. Therefore, it appears that Tan et al never use the privacy settings of Facebook hence, they
have no reasonable expectation of privacy on the pictures of them scantily clad.
STC did not violate the students’ right to privacy. The manner which the school gathered the pictures cannot
be considered illegal. As it appears, it was the classmates of the students who showed the picture to their teacher
and the latter, being the recipient of said pictures, merely delivered them to the proper school authority and it
was for a legal purpose, that is, to discipline their students according to the standards of the school (to which
the students and their parents agreed to in the first place because of the fact that they enrolled their children
there).

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated July 27, 2012 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 14 in Cebu City in SP. Proc. No. 19251-CEB is hereby AFFIRMED.

pg. 41
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Case 4: Razon vs Tagitis


WRIT OF AMPARO

GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, JR., Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Police Chief Superintendent
RAUL CASTAÑEDA, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG); Police Senior
Superintendent LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response
(PACER); and GEN. JOEL R. GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM, PNP, petitioners, vs. MARY
JEAN B. TAGITIS, herein represented by ATTY. FELIPE P. ARCILLA, JR., Attorney-in-Fact,
respondent

FACTS:

This is a petition for review on certiorari on the decision dated March 7, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
C.A-G.R. AMPARO No. 00009. Engr. Tagitis, a consultant for the World Bank and the Senior Honorary
Counselor for the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, was last seen in Jolo, Sulu.
Together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB scholar, Tagitis arrived in Jolo by boat in the early morning
of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in Zamboanga City. They immediately checked-in at ASY Pension House.
Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket for his return trip the following day to Zamboanga.
When Kunnong returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer around. The receptionist related that Tagitis
went out to buy food at around 12:30 in the afternoon and even left his room key with the desk. Kunnong
looked for Tagitis and even sent a text message to the latter's Manila-based secretary who did not know of
Tagitis' whereabouts and activities either; she advised Kunnong to simply wait.

On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP professor of Muslim studies and
Tagitis' fellow student counselor at the IDB, reported Tagitis' disappearance to the Jolo Police Station. On
November 7, 2007, Kunnong executed a sworn affidavit attesting to what he knew of the circumstances
surrounding Tagitis' disappearanceMore than a month later (on December 28, 2007), the respondent filed a
Petition for the Writ of Amparo (petition) with the CA through her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Felipe P. Arcilla.

According to reliable information received by the [respondent], subject Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police
intelligence operatives, specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an
earnest attempt of the police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist groups. Instead
of helping the [respondent], she [sic] was told of an intriguing tale by the police that her husband, subject of
the petition, was not missing but was with another woman having good time somewhere, which is a clear
indication of the [petitioners'] refusal to help and provide police assistance in locating her missing husband.
The unexplained uncooperative behavior of the [petitioners] to the [respondent's] request for help and failure
and refusal of the [petitioners] to extend the needed help. Respondents denied any involvement in or
knowledge of Tagitis' alleged abduction. They argued that the allegations of the petition were incomplete and
did not constitute a cause of action against them. Officers submitted their respective affidavit but all of them
denied the allegations.

The respondent also narrated her encounter with Col. Kasim. On November 24, 2007, we went back to Camp
Katitipan with my three friends. That was the time that Col. Kasim read to us the confidential report that Engr.
Tagitis was allegedly connected [with] different terrorist [groups], one of which he mentioned in the report
was OMAR PATIK and a certain SANTOS — a Balik Islam. Tagitis was under custodial investigation because
he was being charged with terrorism; Tagitis in fact had been under surveillance since January 2007 up to the
time he was abducted when he was seen talking to Omar Patik and a certain Santos of Bulacan, a "Balik Islam"
charged with terrorism.

On February 11, 2008, the petitioners presented Col. Kasim to rebut material portions of the respondent's
testimony, particularly the allegation that he had stated that Tagitis was in the custody of either the military or
the PNP. 57 Col. Kasim categorically denied the statements made by the respondent in her narrative report,
specifically: (1) that Tagitis was seen carrying boxes of medicines as supplier for the injured terrorists; (2) that
Tagitis was under the custody of the military, since he merely said to the respondent that "your husband is in
good hands" and is "probably taken cared of by his armed abductors"; and (3) that Tagitis was under custodial

pg. 42
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investigation by the military, the PNP or the CIDG Zamboanga City. 58 Col. Kasim emphasized that the
"informal letter" he received from his informant in Sulu did not indicate that Tagitis was in the custody of the
CIDG. 59 He also stressed that the information he provided to the respondent was merely a "raw
report" sourced from "barangay intelligence" that still needed confirmation and "follow-up" as to its veracity.
He testified further that he destroyed the letter right after he read it to the respondent and her companions
because “it was not important to him— and also because the information it contained had no importance
in relation with the abduction of Tagitis.

CA’s Ruling

On March 7, 2008, the CA issued its decision confirming that the disappearance of Tagitis was an "enforced
disappearance" under the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearances. The CA ruled that when military intelligence pinpointed the investigative arm of the PNP
(CIDG) to be involved in the abduction, the missing-person case qualified as an enforced disappearance.
 The
CA thus greatly relied on the "raw report" from Col. Kasim's asset, pointing to the CIDG's involvement in
Tagitis' abduction. The CA held that "raw reports" from an "asset" carried "great weight" in the intelligence
world. It also labeled as "suspect" Col. Kasim's subsequent and belated retraction of his statement that the
military, the police, or the CIDG was involved in the abduction of Tagitis. The CA characterized as "too
farfetched and unbelievable" and "a bedlam of speculation" police theories painting the disappearance as
"intentional" on the part of Tagitis. He had no previous brushes with the law or any record of overstepping the
bounds of any trust regarding money entrusted to him. It is hereby DIRECTED to the PNP to exert
extraordinary diligence and efforts, not only to protect the life, liberty and security of Engr. Morced Tagitis,
but also to extend the privileges of the writ of amparo to Engr. Morced Tagitis and his family, and to submit a
monthly report of their actions to this Court, as a way of PERIODIC REVIEW to enable this Court to monitor
the action of respondents. It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance;
rather, it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance for purposes of
imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance.

Petitioners Contentions: On March 31, 2008, the petitioners moved to reconsider the CA decision, but the
CA denied the motion in its Resolution of April 9, 2008. The petitioners mainly dispute the (1) sufficiency in
form and substance of the Amparo petition led before the CA; (2) the sufficiency of the legal remedies the
respondent took before petitioning for the writ; (3) the finding that the rights to life, liberty and security of
Tagitis had been violated; (4) the sufficiency of evidence supporting the conclusion that Tagitis was abducted;
(5) the conclusion that the CIDG Zamboanga was responsible for the abduction; and, generally, the ruling
that the respondent discharged the burden of proving the allegations of the petition by substantial evidence.

On the 1st issue: The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5 (c) to be complete in every detail
in stating the threatened or actual violation of a victim's rights. In an Amparo petition, however, this
requirement must be read in light of the nature and purpose of the proceeding, which addresses a situation of
uncertainty; the petitioner may not be able to describe with certainty how the victim exactly disappeared, or
who actually acted to kidnap, abduct or arrest him or her, or where the victim is detained, because these
information may purposely be hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance. These allegations,
in our view, properly pleaded ultimate facts within the pleader's knowledge about Tagitis' disappearance, the
participation by agents of the State in this disappearance, the failure of the State to release Tagitis or to provide
sufficient information about his whereabouts, as well as the actual violation of his right to liberty. Thus, the
petition cannot be faulted for any failure in its statement of a cause of action.

If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is its lack of supporting af?davit, as required by
Section 5 (c) of the Amparo Rule. This requirement, however, should not be read as an absolute one that
necessarily leads to the dismissal of the petition if not strictly followed. We note that the failure to attach the
required affidavits was fully cured when the respondent and her witness (Mrs. Talbin) personally testified in
the CA hearings held on January 7 and 17 and February 18, 2008 to swear to the allegations of the petition.
Thus, even on this point, the petition cannot be faulted.

pg. 43
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On the 2nd issue: Section 5 (e) merely requires that the Amparo petitioner (the respondent in the present case)
allege "the actions and recourses taken to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the
identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or omission". The following allegations of the respondent's
petition duly outlined the actions she had taken and the frustrations she encountered, thus compelling her to
file her petition. She has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies but to no avail, and under the
circumstances, [respondent] has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of
subject Engr. Morced Tagitis from the illegal clutches of [the petitioners], their intelligence operatives and the
like which are in total violation of the subject's human and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT
OF AMPARO.

On the 3rd issue: While the Philippines is not yet formally bound by the terms of the Convention on enforced
disappearance (or by the specific terms of the Rome Statute) and has not formally declared enforced
disappearance as a specific crime, the above recital shows that enforced disappearance as a State practice has
been repudiated by the international community, so that the ban on it is now a generally accepted principle
of international law, which we should consider a part of the law of the land, and which we should act upon to
the extent already allowed under our laws and the international conventions that bind us. The following civil
or political rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR and the International
Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR) may be infringed in the course of a
disappearance. Article 2 of the ICCPR, which binds the Philippines as a state party, provides: 3. Each State
Party to the present Covenant undertakes: (a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein
recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed
by persons acting in an official capacity; (b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his
right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other
competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial
remedy; (c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.

Although the Amparo Rule still has gaps waiting to be filled through substantive law, as evidenced primarily
by the lack of a concrete definition of "enforced disappearance", the materials cited above, among others,
provide ample guidance and standards on how, through the medium of the Amparo Rule, the Court can provide
remedies and protect the constitutional rights to life, liberty and security that underlie every enforced
disappearance.


On the 4th issue: These characteristics — namely, of being summary and the use of substantial evidence as the
required level of proof (in contrast to the usual preponderance of evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt
in court proceedings) — reveal the clear intent of the framers of the Amparo Rule to have the equivalent of an
administrative proceeding, albeit judicially conducted, in addressing Amparo situations.
 Thus, in these
proceedings, the Amparo petitioner needs only to properly comply with the substance and form requirements
of a Writ of Amparo petition, as discussed above, and prove the allegations by substantial evidence. To directly
quote Ang Tibay: Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. [citations omitted] The statute provides that
'the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling.' The obvious purpose of
this and similar provisions is to free administrative boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the
mere admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent in judicial proceedings would not invalidate
the administrative order. [citations omitted] But this assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative
procedure does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational probative force.

ISSUE: Whether or not there was a proper application of privilege of Writ of Amparo.

HELD:

The Amparo Rule was not promulgated with the intent to make it a token gesture of concern for constitutional
rights. It was promulgated to provide effective and timely remedies, using from local and
international experiences in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as the situation may require.

pg. 44
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Consequently, we have no choice but to meet the evidentiary difficulties inherent in enforced disappearances
with the flexibility that these difficulties demand.

It was only the inquiry from Col. Kasim that yielded positive results. Col. Kasim's story, however, confirmed
only the fact of his custodial investigation (and, impliedly, his arrest or abduction), without identifying
his abductor/s or the party holding him in custody.

The Task Force notably did not pursue any investigation about the personal circumstances of Tagitis, his
background in relation to the IDB and the background and activities of this Bank itself, and the reported sighting
of Tagistis with terrorists and his alleged custody in Talipapao, Sulu. No attempt appears to have ever been
made to look into the alleged IDB funds that Tagitis held in trust, or to tap any of the "assets" who are
indispensable in investigations of this nature. These omissions and negative results were aggravated by the CA
findings that it was only as late as January 28, 2008 or three months after the disappearance that the police
authorities requested for clear pictures of Tagitis.

In sum, none of the reports on record contains any meaningful results or details on the depth and extent of the
investigation made. To be sure, reports of top police officials indicating the personnel and units they directed to
investigate can never constitute exhaustive and meaningful investigation, or equal detailed
investigative reports of the activities undertaken to search for Tagitis. Indisputably, the police authorities from
the very beginning failed to come up to the extraordinary diligence that the Amparo Rule requires. Based on
these considerations, we conclude that Col. Kasim's disclosure, made in an unguarded moment, unequivocally
point to some government complicity in the disappearance. This kind of fact situation and the conclusion
reached are not without precedent in international enforced disappearance rulings.

While the facts are not exactly the same, the facts of this case run very close to those of Timurtas v. Turkey, a
case decided by ECHR. Although there was no eyewitness evidence of the apprehension or subsequent
detainment, the applicant presented evidence corroborating his version of events, including a photocopy of a
post-operation report signed by the commander of gendarme operations in Silopi, Turkey. Following the lead
of this Turkish experience — adjusted to the Philippine legal setting and the Amparo remedy this Court has
established, as applied to the unique facts and developments of this case — we believe and so hold that
the government in general, through the PNP and the PNP-CIDG, and in particular, the Chiefs of these
organizations together with Col. Kasim, should be held fully accountable for the enforced disappearance of
Tagitis. The PNP and CIDG are accountable because Section 24 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 of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution". We
hold Col. Kasim accountable for his failure to disclose under oath information relating to the enforced
disappearance. For the purpose of this accountability, we order that Col. Kasim be impleaded as a party to this
case. The PNP is similarly held accountable for the suppression of vital information that Col. Kasim could and
did not provide, and, as the entity with direct authority over Col. Kasim, is held with the same obligation of
disclosure that Col. Kasim carries.

To fully enforce the Amparo remedy, we refer this case back to the CA for appropriate proceedings directed at
the monitoring of the PNP and the PNP-CIDG investigations and actions, and the validation of their results
through hearings the CA may deem appropriate to conduct.

Case 5: Roxas vs GMA


Roxas vs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo G.R. No. 189155 September 7, 2010
The Case:
Petition For Review on Certiorari assailing the Decision dated 26 August 2009 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. SP No. 00036-WRA a petition that was commenced jointly under the Rules on the Writ of
Amparo (Amparo Rule) and Habeas Data (Habeas Data Rule). In its decision, the Court of Appeals
extended to the petitioner, Melissa C. Roxas, the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data but
denied the latter’s prayers for an inspection order, production order and return of specified personal
belongings.

pg. 45
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FACTS:
MELISSA C. ROXAS, the petitioner is an American citizen of Filipino descent and a member of the group
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-United States of America (BAYAN-USA). After doing survey work on 19
May 2009, petitioner and her companions, (Carabeo) and (Jandoc), while resting in the house of one (Mr.
Paolo) at around 1:30 in the afternoon, they were startled by loud banging at the front door and a voice
demanding that they open up. Suddenly, fifteen (15) heavily armed men, in civilian clothes and wearing
bonnets except their leader, forcibly opened the door, barged inside and ordered petitioner and her
companions to lie on the ground face down. They were taken later, in a van, to a place about an hour travel
from where they stayed. She was informed that she is being detained because she is a member of the
Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA). She was escorted to a room that she
believed was a jail cell from the sound of its metal doors, and from there, she could hear the sounds of
gunfire, the noise of planes taking off and landing and some construction bustle. She inferred that she was
taken to the military camp of Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija. What followed was five (5) straight
days of interrogation coupled with torture.

On 25 May 2009, petitioner was finally released and returned to her uncle’s house in Quezon City, sternly
warned not to report the incident to the group Karapatan or something untoward will happen to her and her
family.

Seeking sanctuary against the threat of future harm as well as the suppression of any existing government
files or records linking her to the communist movement, petitioner filed a Petition for the Writs of Amparo
and Habeas Data before this Court on 1 June 2009. Petitioner impleaded public officials occupying the
uppermost echelons of the military and police hierarchy as respondents, on the belief that it was government
agents who were behind her abduction and torture. Petitioner likewise included in her suit Rose, Dex and
RC, people she met during her detention.
ISSUE:
1. a. W/N Command Responsibility is applicable in Amparo Proceedings - NO
b. W/N inapplicability of the doctrine of command responsibility in an amparo proceeding
preclude impleading military or police commanders - NO
2. W/N the Court of Appeals erred in absolving the public respondents from any responsibility in
her abduction and torture - NO
3. W/N the Court of Appeals erred in denying her prayer for the return of her personal belongings
- NO
4. W/N the Court of Appeals erred in denying her prayer for an inspection of the detention areas of
Fort Magsaysay - NO
5. W/N the Court of Appeals correct in granting the privilege of Habeas data (not raised an issue) -
NO
HELD:
1. a. NO.
It must be stated at the outset that the use by the petitioner of the doctrine of command responsibility
as the justification in impleading the public respondents in her amparo petition, is legally inaccurate, if
not incorrect. The doctrine of command responsibility is a rule of substantive law that establishes
liability and, by this account, cannot be a proper legal basis to implead a party-respondent in an
amparo petition.

The case of Rubrico v. Arroyo, which was the first to examine command responsibility in the context of an
amparo proceeding, observed that the doctrine is used to pinpoint liability. Rubrico notes that:

The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds its context in the development of laws of war
and armed combats. According to Fr. Bernas, "command responsibility," in its simplest terms, means
the "responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed
forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict."

pg. 46
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Since the application of command responsibility presupposes an imputation of individual liability, it is more
aptly invoked in a full-blown criminal or administrative case rather than in a summary amparo proceeding.

1. b. NO.
It must be clarified, however, that the inapplicability of the doctrine of command responsibility in an
amparo proceeding does not, by any measure, preclude impleading military or police commanders on
the ground that the complained acts in the petition were committed with their direct or indirect
acquiescence. In which case, commanders may be impleaded not actually on the basis of command
responsibility but rather on the ground of their responsibility, or at least accountability.
2. NO

In sum, the petitioner was not able to establish to a concrete point that her abductors were actually affiliated,
whether formally or informally, with the military or the police organizations. Neither does the evidence at
hand prove that petitioner was indeed taken to the military camp Fort Magsaysay to the exclusion of other
places. These evidentiary gaps, in turn, make it virtually impossible to determine whether the abduction
and torture of the petitioner was in fact committed with the acquiescence of the public respondents. On
account of this insufficiency in evidence, a pronouncement of responsibility on the part of the public
respondents, therefore, cannot be made.

3. NO
We agree with the conclusion of the Court of Appeals, but not entirely with the reason used to support it.
To the mind of this Court, the prayer of the petitioner for the return of her belongings is doomed to fail
regardless of whether there is sufficient evidence to hold public respondents responsible for the abduction
of the petitioner.

In the first place, an order directing the public respondents to return the personal belongings of the
petitioner is already equivalent to a conclusive pronouncement of liability. The order itself is a
substantial relief that can only be granted once the liability of the public respondents has been fixed in a
full and exhaustive proceeding. As already discussed above, matters of liability are not determinable in a
mere summary amparo proceeding.

But perhaps the more fundamental reason in denying the prayer of the petitioner, lies with the fact
that a person’s right to be restituted of his property is already subsumed under the general rubric of
property rights which are no longer protected by the writ of amparo. Section 1 of the Amparo Rule,
which defines the scope and extent of the writ, clearly excludes the protection of property rights.

4. NO

We agree with the appellate court that a contrary stance would be equivalent to sanctioning a fishing
expedition, which was never intended by the Amparo Rule in providing for the interim relief of
inspection order. Contrary to the explicit position espoused by the petitioner, the Amparo Rule does not
allow a fishing expedition for evidence.

An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give support or strengthen the claim of a petitioner
in an amparo petition, in order to aid the court before making a decision. A basic requirement before an
amparo court may grant an inspection order is that the place to be inspected is reasonably determinable
from the allegations of the party seeking the order. While the Amparo Rule does not require that the place
to be inspected be identified with clarity and precision, it is, nevertheless, a minimum for the issuance of
an inspection order that the supporting allegations of a party be sufficient in itself, so as to make a prima
facie case. This, as was shown above, petitioner failed to do.
5. NO
The writ of habeas data was conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing the right to privacy, most
especially the right to informational privacy of individuals. The writ operates to protect a person’s right to

pg. 47
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control information regarding himself, particularly in the instances where such information is being
collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends.

Needless to state, an indispensable requirement before the privilege of the writ may be extended is the
showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in
life, liberty or security of the victim. This, in the case at bench, the petitioner failed to do.

In view of the above considerations, the directive by the Court of Appeals enjoining the public respondents
from distributing or causing the distribution to the public any records in whatever form, reports, documents
or similar papers relative to the petitioners alleged ties with the CPP-NPA, appears to be devoid of any legal
basis. The public respondents cannot be ordered to refrain from distributing something that, in the first
place, it was not proven to have.

Case 6: Burgos vs Esperon GR No. 178497, February 04, 2014

Facts: Jeffrey Cabintoy and Elsa Agasang have witnessed on that fateful day of April 28, 2007 the forcible
abduction of Jonas Burgos by a group of about seven (7) men and a woman from the extension portion of Hapag
Kainan Restaurant located in Quezon City.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) submitted to the Court its Investigation Report on the Enforced
Disappearance of Jonas Burgos. The CHR finds that the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos had transpired
and that his constitutional rights to life, liberty and security were violated by the Government have been fully
determined. The CHR demonstrated in its investigations resulted in the criminal prosecution of Lt. Baliaga.
Regional Trial Court found probable cause for arbitrary detention against Lt. Baliaga and ordered his arrest in
connection with Jonas’ disappearance.

Based on the finding that Jonas was a victim of enforced disappearance, the Court of Appeals concluded that
the present case falls within the ambit of the Writ of Amparo. The respondents have not appealed to the court,
as provided under Section 19 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. Hence, the petitioner filed motion to issue a
writ of amparo anew based on newly discovered evidence?

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner’s motion to issue a writ of Amparo on the basis of the newly discovered
evidence should be granted?

Ruling: No. The Court noted and concluded, based on the developments of the case, the beneficial purpose of
the Writ of Amparo has been served. As the Court held in Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis the writ merely embodies the
Court’s directives to police agencies to undertake specified courses of action to address the enforced
disappearance of an individual. The Writ of Amparo serves both a preventive and a curative role. It is curative
as it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators through the investigation and remedial action that it
directs. The focus is on procedural curative remedies rather than on the tracking of a specific criminal or the
resolution of administrative liabilities.

In the present case, while Jonas remains missing, the series of calculated directives issued by the Court outlined
above and the extraordinary diligence the CHR demonstrated in its investigations resulted in the criminal
prosecution of Lt. Baliaga. The Court take judicial notice of the fact that the Regional Trial Court has already
found probable cause for arbitrary detention against Lt. Baliaga and has ordered his arrest in connection with
Jonas’ disappearance.

The Court emphasize that the Court’s role in a writ of Amparo proceeding is merely to determine
whether an enforced disappearance has taken place; to determine who is responsible or accountable; and
to define and impose the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance.

As shown above, the beneficial purpose of the Writ of Amparo has been served in the present case with the
CA’s final determination of the persons responsible and accountable for the enforced disappearance of Jonas

pg. 48
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and the commencement of criminal action against Lt. Baliaga. At this stage, criminal, investigation and
prosecution proceedings are already beyond the reach of the Writ of Amparo proceeding now before us.

Case 7: Dolot vs Paje

G.R. No. 199199 August 27, 2013

MARICRIS D. DOLOT, CHAIRMAN OF THE BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN-


SORSOGON, PETITIONER
vs.
HON. RAMON PAJE, IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, REYNULFO A. JUAN, REGIONAL DIRECTOR,
MINES AND GEOSCIENCES BUREAU, DENR, HON. RAUL R. LEE, GOVERNOR, PROVINCE
OF SORSOGON, ANTONIO C. OCAMPO, JR., VICTORIA A. AJERO, ALFREDO M. AGUILAR,
AND JUAN M. AGUILAR, ANTONES ENTERPRISES, GLOBAL SUMMIT MINES DEV'T CORP.,
AND TR ORE, RESPONDENTS.

Facts: On September 15, 2011, petitioner Maricris D. Dolot (Dolot), together with the parish priest of the
Holy Infant Jesus Parish and the officers of Alyansa Laban sa Mina sa Matnog (petitioners), filed a petition
for continuing mandamus, damages and attorney’s fees with the RTC of Sorsogon, docketed as Civil Case No.
2011-8338.4

The petition contained the following pertinent allegations: (1) sometime in 2009, they protested the iron ore
mining operations being conducted by Antones Enterprises, Global Summit Mines Development Corporation
and TR Ore in Barangays Balocawe and Bon-ot Daco, located in the Municipality of Matnog, to no avail; (2)
Matnog is located in the southern tip of Luzon and there is a need to protect, preserve and maintain the
geological foundation of the municipality; (3) Matnog is susceptible to flooding and landslides, and
confronted with the environmental dangers of flood hazard, liquefaction, ground settlement, ground
subsidence and landslide hazard; (4) after investigation, they learned that the mining operators did not have
the required permit to operate; (5) Sorsogon Governor Raul Lee and his predecessor Sally Lee issued to the
operators a small-scale mining permit, which they did not have authority to issue; (6) the representatives of
the Presidential Management Staff and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),
despite knowledge, did not do anything to protect the interest of the people of Matnog;5 and (7) the
respondents violated Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7076 or the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991, R.A. No.
7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, and the Local Government Code.6

Thus, they prayed for the following reliefs: (1) the issuance of a writ commanding the respondents to
immediately stop the mining operations in the Municipality of Matnog; (2) the issuance of a temporary
environment protection order or TEPO; (3) the creation of an inter-agency group to undertake the
rehabilitation of the mining site; (4) award of damages; and (5) return of the iron ore, among others.7

The case was referred by the Executive Judge to the RTC of Sorsogon, Branch 53 being the designated
environmental court. In the Order dated September 16, 2011, the case was summarily dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction. MR was likewise denied and the RTC11 further ruled that: (1) there was no final court decree,
order or decision yet that the public officials allegedly failed to act on, which is a condition for the issuance of
the writ of continuing mandamus; (2) the case was prematurely filed as the petitioners therein failed to exhaust
their administrative remedies; and (3) they also failed to attach judicial affidavits and furnish a copy of the
complaint to the government or appropriate agency, as required by the rules.12

Issue:
1. Whether the RTC-Branch 53 has jurisdiction to resolve Civil Case No. 2011-8338? - YES
2. Whether the petition is dismissible on the grounds that: (1) there is no final court decree, order or decision
that the public officials allegedly failed to act on; (2) the case was prematurely filed for failure to exhaust

pg. 49
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administrative remedies; and (3) the petitioners failed to attach judicial affidavits and furnish a copy of the
complaint to the government or appropriate agency? - No

Held:

1. Yes.
The RTC cannot solely rely on SC A.O. No. 7 and Admin. Circular No. 23-2008 and confine itself within its
four corners in determining whether it had jurisdiction over the action filed by the petitioners. None is more
well-settled than the rule that jurisdiction, which is the power and authority of the court to hear, try and decide
a case, is conferred by law. It may either be over the nature of the action, over the subject matter, over the person
of the defendants or over the issues framed in the pleadings.17 By virtue of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129 or
the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, jurisdiction over special civil actions for certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus is vested in the RTC. Particularly, Section 21(1) thereof provides that the RTCs shall exercise
original jurisdiction –

in the issuance of writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction
which may be enforced in any part of their respective regions.

A.O. No. 7 and Admin. Circular No. 23-2008 was issued pursuant to Section 18 of B.P. Blg. 129, which gave
the Court authority to define the territory over which a branch of the RTC shall exercise its authority. These
administrative orders and circulars issued by the Court merely provide for the venue where an action may be
filed. The Court does not have the power to confer jurisdiction on any court or tribunal as the allocation of
jurisdiction is lodged solely in Congress.

At most, the error committed by the petitioners in filing the case with the RTC of Sorsogon was that of improper
venue. A.M. No. 09-6-8-SC or the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases (Rules) specifically states that
a special civil action for continuing mandamus shall be filed with the "[RTC] exercising jurisdiction over the
territory where the actionable neglect or omission occurred x x x."23 In this case, it appears that the alleged
actionable neglect or omission occurred in the Municipality of Matnog and as such, the petition should have
been filed in the RTC of Irosin.24 But even then, it does not warrant the outright dismissal of the petition by the
RTC as venue may be waived.25 Moreover, the action filed by the petitioners is not criminal in nature where
venue is an essential element of jurisdiction.

2. No.
Similar to the procedure under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for special civil actions for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus, Section 4, Rule 8 of the Rules requires that the petition filed should be sufficient in form and
substance before a court may take further action; otherwise, the court may dismiss the petition outright.
Sufficiency in form and substance refers to the contents of the petition filed under Rule 8, Section 1:

When any agency or instrumentality of the government or officer thereof unlawfully neglects the
performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station
in connection with the enforcement or violation of an environmental law rule or regulation or a right
therein, or unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of such right and there is no other plain,
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified
petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty, attaching thereto supporting evidence,
specifying that the petition concerns an environmental law, rule or regulation, and praying that judgment be
rendered commanding the respondent to do an act or series of acts until the judgment is fully satisfied, and
to pay damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the malicious neglect to perform the duties of the
respondent, under the law, rules or regulations. The petition shall also contain a sworn certification of non-
forum shopping.

On matters of form, the petition must be verified and must contain supporting evidence as well as a sworn
certification of non-forum shopping. It is also necessary that the petitioner must be one who is aggrieved by an
act or omission of the government agency, instrumentality or its officer concerned. Sufficiency of substance,

pg. 50
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on the other hand, necessitates that the petition must contain substantive allegations specifically constituting
an actionable neglect or omission and must establish, at the very least, a prima facie basis for the issuance of
the writ, viz: (1) an agency or instrumentality of government or its officer unlawfully neglects the
performance of an act or unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of a right; (2) the act to be
performed by the government agency, instrumentality or its officer is specifically enjoined by law as a duty;
(3) such duty results from an office, trust or station in connection with the enforcement or violation of an
environmental law, rule or regulation or a right therein; and (4) there is no other plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the course of law.32

The writ of continuing mandamus is a special civil action that may be availed of "to compel the performance
of an act specifically enjoined by law."33 The petition should mainly involve an environmental and other
related law, rule or regulation or a right therein. The RTC’s mistaken notion on the need for a final judgment,
decree or order is apparently based on the definition of the writ of continuing mandamus under Section 4,
Rule 1 of the Rules, to wit:

(c) Continuing mandamus is a writ issued by a court in an environmental case directing any agency or
instrumentality of the government or officer thereof to perform an act or series of acts decreed by final
judgment which shall remain effective until judgment is fully satisfied.

The final court decree, order or decision erroneously alluded to by the RTC actually pertains to the judgment
or decree that a court would eventually render in an environmental case for continuing mandamus and which
judgment or decree shall subsequently become final.

A writ of continuing mandamus is, in essence, a command of continuing compliance with a final judgment as
it "permits the court to retain jurisdiction after judgment in order to ensure the successful implementation of
the reliefs mandated under the court’s decision."

The Court, likewise, cannot sustain the argument that the petitioners should have first filed a case with the
Panel of Arbitrators (Panel), which has jurisdiction over mining disputes under R.A. No. 7942. Arbitration
before the Panel of Arbitrators is proper only when there is a disagreement between the parties as to some
provisions of the contract between them, which needs the interpretation and the application of that particular
knowledge and expertise possessed by members of that Panel. It is not proper when one of the parties
repudiates the existence or validity of such contract or agreement on the ground of fraud or oppression as in
this case.

Petition filed below does not involve a mining dispute. What was being protested are the alleged negative
environmental impact of the small-scale mining operation being conducted by Antones Enterprises, Global
Summit Mines Development Corporation and TR Ore in the Municipality of Matnog; the authority of the
Governor of Sorsogon to issue mining permits in favor of these entities; and the perceived indifference of the
DENR and local government officials over the issue. Resolution of these matters does not entail the technical
knowledge and expertise of the members of the Panel but requires an exercise of judicial function.
Consequently, resort to the Panel would be completely useless and unnecessary.

The Court also finds that the RTC erred in ruling that the petition is infirm for failure to attach judicial
affidavits. As previously stated, Rule 8 requires that the petition should be verified, contain supporting
evidence and must be accompanied by a sworn certification of non-forum shopping. There is nothing in Rule
8 that compels the inclusion of judicial affidavits, albeit not prohibited. It is only if the evidence of the
petitioner would consist of testimony of witnesses that it would be the time that judicial affidavits (affidavits
of witnesses in the question and answer form) must be attached to the petition/complaint.

Case 8: Meralco vs Lim

pg. 51
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MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, ALEXANDER S. DEYTO and RUBEN A. SAPITULA, Petitioners,


vs.
ROSARIO GOPEZ LIM, Respondent.

Rosario G. Lim (respondent), also known as Cherry Lim, is an administrative clerk at the Manila Electric
Company (MERALCO).
On June 4, 2008, an anonymous letter was posted at the door of the Metering Office of the Administration
building of MERALCO Plaridel, Bulacan Sector, at which respondent is assigned, denouncing respondent. The
letter reads:

Cherry Lim:
MATAPOS MONG LAMUNIN LAHAT NG BIYAYA NG MERALCO, NGAYON NAMAN AY GUSTO
MONG PALAMON ANG BUONG KUMPANYA SA MGA BUWAYA NG GOBYERNO. KAPAL NG
MUKHA MO, LUMAYAS KA RITO, WALANG UTANG NA LOOB….1

By Memorandum, petitioner Alexander Deyto, Head of MERALCO’s Human Resource Staffing, directed the
transfer of respondent to MERALCO’s Alabang Sector in Muntinlupa due to concerns over her safety.
She complained under the premise that the transfer was a denial of her due process. She wrote a letter stating
that:

“It appears that the veracity of these accusations and threats to be [sic] highly suspicious, doubtful or are just
mere jokes if they existed at all.” She added, “instead of the management supposedly extending favor to me, the
net result and effect of management action would be a punitive one.” She asked for deferment thereafter.
Since the company didn’t respond, she filed for a writ of habeas data in the Bulacan RTC due to
meralco’s omission of providing her with details about the report of the letter. To her, this constituted a violation
of her liberty and security. She asked for disclosure of the data and measures for keeping the confidentiality of
the data.

Meralco filed a reply saying that the jurisdiction was with the NLRC and that the petition wasn’t in order.
Trial court ruled in her favor declaring that, inter alia, recourse to a writ of habeas data should extend not only
to victims of extra-legal killings and political activists but also to ordinary citizens, like respondent whose rights
to life and security are jeopardized by petitioners’ refusal to provide her with information or data on the reported
threats to her person.

Issue: Whether the Writ of Habeas Data invoked by Lim is proper

Held: No. Respondent’s plea that she be spared from complying with MERALCO’s Memorandum directing
her reassignment to the Alabang Sector, under the guise of a quest for information or data allegedly in possession
of petitioners, does not fall within the province of a writ of habeas data.
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data provides:
Section 1. Habeas Data. – The writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy
in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or
employee or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or
informationregarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party. (emphasis and
underscoring supplied)

The habeas data rule, in general, is designed to protect by means of judicial complaint the image, privacy, honor,
information, and freedom of information of an individual. It is meant to provide a forum to enforce one’s right
to the truth and to informational privacy, thus safeguarding the constitutional guarantees of a person’s right to
life, liberty and security against abuse in this age of information technology.

It bears reiteration that like the writ of amparo, habeas data was conceived as a response, given the lack of
effective and available remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the number of killings and enforced
disappearances. Its intent is to address violations of or threats to the rights to life, liberty or security as a remedy
independently from those provided under prevailing Rules.

pg. 52
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Castillo v. Cruz underscores the emphasis laid down in Tapuz v. del Rosario that the writs of amparo and habeas
data will NOT issue to protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support
of the petitions therefor are vague or doubtful. Employment constitutes a property right under the context of
the due process clause of the Constitution. It is evident that respondent’s reservations on the real reasons for her
transfer - a legitimate concern respecting the terms and conditions of one’s employment - are what prompted
her to adopt the extraordinary remedy of habeas data. Jurisdiction over such concerns is inarguably lodged by
law with the NLRC and the Labor Arbiters.

In another vein, there is no showing from the facts presented that petitioners committed any unjustifiable or
unlawful violation of respondent’s right to privacy vis-a-vis the right to life, liberty or security. To argue that
petitioners’ refusal to disclose the contents of reports allegedly received on the threats to respondent’s safety
amounts to a violation of her right to privacy is at best speculative.

Case 9: Lee vs Ilagan

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision dated August 30, 2012 of the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 (RTC) in SP No. 12-71527, which extended the privilege of
the writ of habeas data in favor of respondent Police Superintendent Neri A. Ilagan (Ilagan).

In his Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data dated June 22, 2012, Ilagan alleged that he and
petitioner Dr. Joy Margate Lee (Lee) were former common law partners. The controversy arose when
Ilagan confronted Lee in connection with the former's digital camera which allegedly contains a
purported sex video (subject video) which the latter discovered from the aforesaid camera involving
Ilagan and another woman.

Ilagan denied the video and demanded Lee to return the camera, but to no avail. During the confrontation,
Ilagan allegedly slammed Lee’s head against a wall inside his office and walked away. Subsequently, Lee
utilized the said video as 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
and Their Children Act of 2004,” before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati; and (b) an
administrative complaint for grave misconduct before the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).

Ilagan claimed that Lee’s acts of reproducing the subject video and threatening to distribute the same to
the upper echelons of the NAPOLCOM and uploading it to the internet violated not only his right to life,
liberty, security, and privacy but also that of the other woman, and thus, the issuance of a writ of habeas
data in his favor is warranted.

Finding the petition prima facie meritorious, the RTC issued a Writ of Habeas Data dated June 25, 2012,
directing Lee to appear before the court a quo, and to produce Ilagan’s digital camera, as well as the
negative and/or original of the subject video and copies thereof, and to file a verified written return within five
(5) working days from date of receipt thereof.

In her Verified Return dated July 2, 2012, Lee admitted that she indeed kept the memory card of the digital
camera and reproduced the aforesaid video but averred that she only did so to utilize the same as evidence in
the cases she filed against Ilagan.

Accordingly, Lee contended that Ilagan’s petition for the issuance of the writ of habeas data should be
dismissed because: (a) its filing was only aimed at suppressing the evidence against Ilagan in the cases she
filed; and (b) she is not engaged in the gathering, collecting, or storing of data regarding the person of
Ilagan.

The RTC, in its decision dated August 30, 2012, the 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.

pg. 53
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The RTC did not give credence to Lee’s defense that she is not engaged in the gathering, 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, violated the latter’s right to privacy in life and caused him to suffer
humiliation and mental anguish.

Dissatisfied, Lee filed this petition.

Issues: Whether or not the RTC correctly extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of Ilagan.

Ruling: The petition is meritorious.

A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (Habeas Data Rule), was conceived as a
response, given the lack of effective and available remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the number of
killings and enforced disappearances. It was conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing the right to
privacy, most especially the right to informational privacy of individuals, which is defined as “the right
to control the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of data about oneself.”

As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of habeas data now stands as “a remedy
available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in
the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home, and
correspondence of the aggrieved party.” Thus, in 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 to privacy is violated or threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty or security of the
aggrieved party.”

In other words, the petition must adequately show that there exists a nexus between the right to privacy
on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. Corollary, the allegations in the
petition must be supported by substantial evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the right
to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim. In this relation, it bears pointing out that the writ of habeas
data will not issue to protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when the grounds invoked in support
of the petitions therefor are vague and doubtful.

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.

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 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. 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.

pg. 54
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Case 10: Arigo vs Swift

Facts: In 2013, the USS Guardian of the US Navy ran aground on an area near the Tubbataha Reefs, a marine
habitat of which entry and certain human activities are prevented and afforded protection by a Philippine law.
The grounding incident prompted the petitioners to seek for issuance of Writ of Kalikasan with Temporary
Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) from the SC.

Among those impleaded are US officials in their capacity as commanding officers of the US Navy. As
petitioners argued, they were impleaded because there was a waiver of immunity from suit between US and PH
pursuant to the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) terms.

Petitioners claimed that the grounding, salvaging and post-salvaging operations of the USS Guardian violated
their constitutional rights to a balanced and healthful ecology since these events caused and continue to cause
environmental damage of such magnitude as to affect other provinces surrounding the Tubbataha Reefs. Aside
from damages, they sought a directive from the SC for the institution of civil, administrative and criminal suits
for acts committed in violation of environmental laws and regulations in connection with the grounding incident.
They also prayed for the annulment of some VFA provisions for being unconstitutional.

Issue: WON the respondents have waived state immunity so that a claim for damages will prosper and that a
petition for writ of Kalikasan is proper.

Ruling: NO. The general rule on state’s immunity from suit applies in this case.

First, any waiver of State immunity under the VFA pertains only to criminal jurisdiction and not to special civil
actions such as for the issuance of the writ of kalikasan. Hence, contrary to petitioners’ claim, the US
government could not be deemed to have waived its immunity from suit.

The US respondents were sued in their official capacity as commanding officers of the US Navy who have
control and supervision over the USS Guardian and its crew. Since the satisfaction of any judgment against
these officials would require remedial actions and the appropriation of funds by the US government, the suit is
deemed to be one against the US itself. Thus, the principle of State Immunity in correlation with the principle
of States as sovereign equals “par in parem non habet non imperium” – bars the exercise of jurisdiction by the
court over their persons.

The invocation of US federal tort laws and even common law is improper considering that it is the VFA which
governs disputes involving US military ships and crew navigating Philippine waters in pursuance of the
objectives of the agreement.

As it is, the waiver of State immunity under the VFA pertains only to criminal jurisdiction and not to special
civil actions. Since jurisdiction cannot be had over the respondents for being immuned from suit, there is no
way damages which resulted from violation of environmental laws could be awarded to petitioners. In fact, it
can be inferred from Section 17, Rule 7 of the Rules that a criminal case against a person charged with a violation
of an environmental law is to be filed separately:

SEC. 17. Institution of separate actions.—The filing of a petition for the issuance of the writ of kalikasan
shall not preclude the filing of separate civil, criminal or administrative actions.
In any case, the Rules on Writ of Kalikasan provides that a criminal case against a person charged with a
violation of an environmental law is to be filed separately. Hence, a ruling on the application or non-application
of criminal jurisdiction provisions of the VFA to a US personnel who may be found responsible for the
grounding of the USS Guardian, would be premature and beyond the province of a petition for a writ of
Kalikasan.

The VFA was duly concurred in by the Philippine Senate and has been recognized as a treaty by the US as
attested and certified by the duly authorized representative of the US government. The VFA being a valid and
binding agreement, the parties are required as a matter of international law to abide by its terms and provisions.

pg. 55
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A petition under the Rules on Writ of Kalikasan is NOT the proper remedy to assail the constitutionality of its
provisions.

No exception exists in Philippine or international law that would remove the immunity of the United States in
order to place it under the jurisdiction of Philippine courts. The Writ of Kalikasan is a compulsory writ, and its
issuance initiates a legal process that would circumvent the internationally established rules of immunity.
Should the Court issue the Writ, it could possibly entail international responsibility for breaching the
jurisdictional immunity of a sovereign state.

The writ of kalikasan is not an all-embracing legal remedy to be wielded like a political tool. It is both an
extraordinary and equitable remedy which assists to prevent environmental catastrophes. It does not replace
other legal remedies similarly motivated by concern for the environment and the community’s ecological
welfare. Certainly, when the petition itself alleges that remedial and preventive remedies have occurred, the
functions of the writ cease to exist. In case of disagreement, parties need to exhaust the political and
administrative arena. Only when a concrete cause of action arises out of facts that can be proven with substantial
evidence may the proper legal action be entertained.

Case 11: Paje vs Casino

G.R. No. 207257 February 3, 2015

HON. RAMON JESUS P. PAJE, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF


ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES (DENR), Petitioner,
vs.
HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. RAFAEL V. MARIANO,
HON. EMERENCIANA A. DE JESUS, CLEMENTE G. BAUTISTA, JR., HON. ROLEN C.
PAULINO, HON. EDUARDO PIANO, HON. JAMES DE LOS REYES, HON. AQUILINO Y.
CORTEZ, JR., HON. SARAH LUGERNA LIPUMANO-GARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO,
BIANCA CHRISTINE GAMBOA ESPINOS, CHARO SIMONS, GREGORIO LLORCA
MAGDARAOG, RUBELH PERALTA, ALEX CORPUS HERMOSO, RODOLFO SAMBAJON, REV.
FR. GERARDO GREGORIO P. JORGE, CARLITO A. BALOY, OFELIA D. PABLO, MARIO
ESQUILLO, ELLE LATINAZO, EVANGELINE Q. RODRIGUEZ, JOHN CARLO DELOS
REYES, Respondents.

x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 207276

REDONDO PENINSULA ENERGY, INC., Petitioner,


vs.
HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. RAFAEL V. MARIANO,
HON. EMERENCIANA A. DE JESUS, CLEMENTE G. BAUTISTA, JR., HON. ROLEN C.
PAULINO, HON. EDUARDO PIANO, HON. JAMES DE LOS REYES, HON. AQUILINO Y.
CORTEZ, JR., HON. SARAH LUGERNA LIPUMANO-GARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO,
BIANCA CHRISTINE GAMBOA ESPINOS, CHARO SIMONS, GREGORIO LLORCA
MAGDARAOG, RUBELH PERALTA, ALEX CORPUS HERMOSO, RODOLFO SAMBAJON, REV.
FR. GERARDO GREGORIO P. JORGE, CARLITO A. BALOY, OFELIA D. PABLO, MARIO
ESQUILLO, ELLE LATINAZO, EVANGELINE Q. RODRIGUEZ, JOHN CARLO DELOS REYES,
RAMON JESUS P. PAJE, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN
AUTHORITY, Respondents.

x-----------------------x

pg. 56
SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS: Case Digests | Monday, 7:30-9:30PM

G.R. No. 207282

HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. EMERENCIANA A. DE


JESUS, CLEMENTE G. BAUTISTA, JR., HON. RAFAEL V. MARIANO, HON. ROLEN C.
PAULINO, HON. EDUARDO PIANO, HON. JAMES DE LOS REYES, HON. AQUILINO Y.
CORTEZ, JR., HON. SARAH LUGERNA LIPUMANO-GARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO,
BIANCA CHRISTINE GAMBOA ESPINOS, CHARO SIMONS, GREGORIO LLORCA
MAGDARAOG, RUBELH PERALTA, ALEX CORPUS HERMOSA, RODOLFO SAMBAJON, ET
AL., Petitioners,
vs.
RAMON JESUS P. PAJE in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY,
AND REDONDO PENINSULA ENERGY, INC., Respondents.

x-----------------------x

G.R. No. 207366

SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY, Petitioner,


vs.
HON. TEODORO A. CASIÑO, HON. RAYMOND V. PALATINO, HON. RAFAEL V. MARIANO,
HON. EMERENCIANA A. DE JESUS, HON. ROLEN C. PAULINO, HON EDUARDO PIANO, HON.
JAMES DE LOS REYES, HON. AQUILINO Y. CORTEZ, JR., HON. SARAH LUGERNA
LIPUMANOGARCIA, NORAIDA VELARMINO, BIANCA CHRISTINE GAMBOA, GREGORIO
LLORCA MAGDARAOG, RUBELHPERALTA, ALEX CORPUS HERMOSO, RODOLFO
SAMBAJON, REV. FR. GERARDO GREGORIO P. JORGE, CARLITO A. BALOY, OFELIA D.
PABLO, MARIO ESQUILLO, ELLE·LATINAZO, EV ANGELINE Q. RODRIGUEZ, JOHN CARLO
DELOS REYES, HON. RAMON JESUS P. PAJE, in his capacity as SECRETARY OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES AND REDONDO
PENINSULA ENERGY, INC.,Respondents.

In February 2006, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), a government agency organized and
established under RA 7227, and Taiwan Cogeneration Corporation (TCC) entered into a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) expressing their intention to build a powerplant in Subic Bay which would apply
reliable and affordable power to Subic Bay Industrial Park (SBIP).
On July 28, 2006, SBMA and TCC entered into another MOU, whereby TCC undertook to build and operate a
coal-fired powerplant. On April 4, 2007, the SBMA Ecology Center issued SBFZ Environmental Compliance
Certificate (ECC) No. EC-SBFZ-ECC-69-21-500 in favor of Taiwan Cogeneration International Corporation
(TCIC), a subsidiary of TCC, for the construction, installation,and operation of 2x150-MW Circulating
Fluidized Bed (CFB) Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant at Sitio Naglatore.

On June 6, 2008, TCC assigned all its rights and interests under the MOU dated July 28, 2006 to Redondo
Peninsula Energy, Inc. (RP Energy),11 a corporation duly organized and existing under the laws of the
Philippines with the primary purpose of building, owning, and operating powerplants in the Philippines,
among others. Accordingly, an Addendum to the said MOU was executed by SBMA and RP Energy.

RP Energy then contracted GHD Pty, Ltd. (GHD) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the
proposed coal-fired power plant and to assist RP Energy in applying for the issuance ofan ECC from the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). On August 27, 2008, the Sangguniang
Panglungsodof Olongapo City issued Resolution No. 131, Series of 2008, expressing the city government’s
objection to the coal-fired power plant as an energy source and urging the proponent to consider safer
alternative sources ofenergy for Subic Bay.

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On December 22, 2008, the DENR, through former Secretary Jose L. Atienza, Jr., issued an ECC for the
proposed 2x150-MW coal-fired power plant. The ECC was amended several months later. Instead of
constructing a 2x150-MW coal-fired power plant, as originally planned, it now sought toconstruct a 1x300-
MWcoal-fired power plant.
On August 1, 2011, the Sangguniang Panglalawiganof Zambales issued Resolution No. 2011-149, opposing
the establishment of a coal-fired thermal power plant at SitioNaglatore, Brgy. Cawag, Subic, Zambales.
On July 20, 2012, petitioners filed before this Court a Petition for Writ of Kalikasan against RP Energy,
SBMA, and Hon. Ramon Jesus P. Paje, in his capacity as Secretary of the DENR.

In the Petition, the Casiño Group alleged, among others, that the power plant project would cause grave
environmental damage; that it would adversely affect the health of the residents of the municipalities of
Subic,Zambales, Morong, Hermosa, and the City of Olongapo; that the ECC was issued and the LDA entered
into without the prior approval of the concerned sanggunians as required under Sections 26 and 27 of the
Local Government Code (LGC); that the LDA was entered into without securing a prior certification from the
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as required under Section 59 of RA8371 or the
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA Law); that Section 8.3 of DENR Administrative Order No.
2003-30 (DAO 2003-30) which allowsamendments of ECCs is ultra viresbecause the DENR has no authority
to decide on requests for amendments of previously issued ECCs in the absence of a new EIS; and that due to
the nullity of Section 8.3 of DAO 2003-30, all amendments to RP Energy’s ECC are null and void.

On January 30, 2013, the CA rendereda Decision denying the privilege of the writ of kalikasanand the
application for an environment protection order due to the failure of the Casiño Group to prove that its
constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology was violated or threatened. The CA also invalidated
the LDA entered into by SBMA and RP Energy as it was issued without the prior consultation and approval of
all the sanggunians concerned as required under Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC, and in violation of Section
59, Chapter VIII ofthe IPRA Law, which enjoins all departments and other governmental agencies from
granting any lease without a prior certification that the area affected does not overlap with any ancestral
domain.
The DENR and SBMA separately moved for reconsideration. RP Energy filed a Motion for Partial
Reconsideration, attaching thereto a signed Statement of Accountability. The Casiño Group, on the other
hand, filed Omnibus Motions for Clarification and Reconsideration.
On May 22, 2013, the CAissued a Resolution denying the aforesaid motions for lack of merit.
Unsatisfied, the parties appealed to this Court.
The Casiño Group, in essence, argues that it is entitled to a Writ of Kalikasan as it was able to prove that the
operation of the power plant would cause environmental damage and pollution, and that thiswould adversely
affect the residents of the provinces of Bataan and Zambales, particularly the municipalities of Subic, Morong,
Hermosa, and the City of Olongapo. It cites as basis RP Energy’s EIS, which allegedly admits that acid rain
may occur in the combustion of coal; that the incidence of asthma attacks among residents in the vicinity of
the project site may increasedue to exposure to suspended particles from plant operations; and that increased
sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions may occur during plant operations.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Writ of Kalikasan shoud be issued.
RULING: No.
The Rules on the Writ of Kalikasan, which is Part III of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, was
issued by the Court pursuant to its power to promulgate rules for the protection and enforcement of
constitutional rights, in particular, the individual’s right to a balanced and healthful ecology.
The writ is categorized as a special civil action and was, thus, conceptualized as an extraordinary remedy,
which aims to provide judicial relief from threatened or actual violation/s of the constitutional right to a
balanced and healthful ecology of a magnitude or degree of damage that transcends political and territorial
boundaries. It is intended "to provide a stronger defense for environmental rights through judicial efforts
where institutional arrangements of enforcement, implementation and legislation have fallen short" and seeks
"to address the potentially exponential nature of large-scale ecological threats."

Under Section 1 of Rule 7, the following requisites must be present to avail of this extraordinary remedy: (1)
there is an actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology; (2) the

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actual or threatened violation arises from an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or
private individual or entity; and (3) the actual or threatened violation involves or will lead to an environmental
damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the life, health or property ofinhabitants in two or more cities or
provinces.

Expectedly, the Rules do not define the exact nature or degree of environmental damage but only that it must
be sufficiently grave, in terms of the territorial scope of such damage, so as to call for the grant of this
extraordinary remedy. The gravity of environmental damage sufficient to grant the writ is, thus, to be decided
on a case-to-case basis.

If the petitioner successfully proves the foregoing requisites, the court shall render judgment granting the
privilege of the writ of kalikasan. Otherwise, the petition shall be denied. If the petition is granted, the court
may grant the reliefs provided for under Section 15of Rule 7, to wit: Section 15. Judgment.- Within sixty (60)
daysfrom the time the petition is submitted for decision, the court shall render judgment granting or denying
the privilege of the writ of kalikasan.

The writ of kalikasan is principally predicated on an actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to
a balanced and healthful ecology, which involves environmental damage of a magnitude that transcends
political and territorial boundaries. A party, therefore, who invokes the writ based on alleged defects or
irregularities in the issuance of an ECC must not only allege and prove such defects or irregularities, but must
also provide a causal link or, at least, a reasonable connection between the defects or irregularities in the
issuance of an ECC and the actual or threatened violation of the constitutional right to a balanced and
healthful ecology of the magnitude contemplated under the Rules. Otherwise, the petition should be dismissed
outright and the action re-filed before the proper forum with due regard to the doctrine of exhaustion of
administrative remedies. This must be so if we are to preserve the noble and laudable purposes of the writ
against those who seek to abuse it.

To repeat, in cases of defects or irregularities in the issuance of an ECC, it is not sufficient to merely allege
such defects or irregularities, but to show a causal link or reasonable connection with the environmental
damage of the magnitude contemplated under the Rules. In the case at bar, no such causal link or reasonable
connection was shown or even attempted relative to the aforesaid second set of allegations. It is a mere listing
of the perceived defects or irregularities in the issuance of the ECC. This would have been sufficient reason to
disallow the resolution of such issues in a writ of kalikasan case.

In this case, the Casiño Group failed to substantiate its claims that the construction and operation of the power
plant will cause environmental damage of the magnitude contemplated under the writ of kalikasan. On the
other hand, RP Energy presented evidenceto establish that the subject project will not cause grave
environmental damage, through its Environmental Management Plan, which will ensure thatthe project will
operate within the limits of existing environmental laws and standards.

Case 12: Resident Marine Mammals of the Protected Seascape Tañon Strait vs. Secretary Angelo Reyes

Facts: Two sets of petitioners filed separate cases challenging the legality of Service Contract No. 46 (SC-46)
awarded to Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. (JAPEX). The service contract allowed JAPEX to conduct oil
exploration in the Tañon Strait during which it performed seismic surveys and drilled one exploration well. The
first petition was brought on behalf of resident marine mammals in the Tañon Strait by two individuals acting
as legal guardians and stewards of the marine mammals. The second petition was filed by a non-governmental
organization representing the interests of fisherfolk, along with individual representatives from fishing
communities impacted by the oil exploration activities. The petitioners filed their cases in 2007, shortly after
JAPEX began drilling in the strait. In 2008, JAPEX and the government of the Philippines mutually terminated
the service contract and oil exploration activities ceased. The Supreme Court consolidated the cases for the
purpose of review.

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In its decision, the Supreme Court first addressed the important procedural point of whether the case was moot
because the service contract had been terminated. The Court declared that mootness is “not a magical formula
that can automatically dissuade the courts in resolving a case.” Due to the alleged grave constitutional violations
and paramount public interest in the case, not to mention the fact that the actions complained of could be
repeated, the Court found it necessary to reach the merits of the case even though the particular service contract
had been terminated.

Reviewing the numerous claims filed by the petitioners, the Supreme Court narrowed them down to two: 1)
whether marine mammals, through their stewards, have legal standing to pursue the case; and 2) whether the
service contract violated the Philippine Constitution or other domestic laws.

As to standing, the Court declined to extend the principle of standing beyond natural and juridical persons, even
though it recognized that the current trend in Philippine jurisprudence “moves towards simplification of
procedures and facilitating court access in environmental cases.” Instead, the Court explained, “the need to give
the Resident Marine Mammals legal standing has been eliminated by our Rules, which allow any Filipino
citizen, as a steward of nature, to bring a suit to enforce our environmental laws.”

The Court then held that while SC-46 was authorized Presidential Decree No. 87 on oil extraction, the contract
did not fulfill two additional constitutional requirements. Section 2 Article XII of the 1987 Constitution requires
a service contract for oil exploration and extraction to be signed by the president and reported to
congress. Because the JAPEX contract was executed solely by the Energy Secretary, and not reported to the
Philippine congress, the Court held that it was unconstitutional.

In addition, the Court also ruled that the contract violated the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act
of 1992 (NIPAS Act), which generally prohibits exploitation of natural resources in protected areas. In order
to explore for resources in a protected area, the exploration must be performed in accordance with an
environmental impact assessment (EIA). The Court noted that JAPEX started the seismic surveys before any
EIA was performed; therefore its activity was unlawful. Id., pp. 33-34. Furthermore, the Tanon Strait is a
NIPAS area, and exploration and utilization of energy resources can only be authorized through a law passed
by the Philippine Congress. Because Congress had not specifically authorized the activity in Tañon Strait, the
Court declared that no energy exploration should be permitted in that area. Id., p. 34.

Case 13: West Tower Condominium vs Phil Ind Corp

West Tower Condominium v. First Philippine Industrial Corporation, First Gen Corporation and their
respective Board of Directors.

GR No. 194239, 16 June 2015

FACTS
The respondent FPIC owns and operates two piplelines namely: (1) the White Oil Pipeline (WOPL) System,
117 kilometers running from Batangas to Pandacan Terminal which transports diesel, gasoline, kerosene and
jet fuel; (2) Black Oil Pipeline (BOPL) System, 105 kilometer running from Batangas to Sucat Paranaque,
transporting bunker fuel. Both pipelines transport 60% of the petroleum requirement of Manila, Rizal, Laguna
and Bulacan. Both pipelines were designed more than the standard requirements against leakage, which are
buried 1.5 meters more that the US Standards of 0.9 meters.

In May 2010, it was discovered that a leak happened from the WOPL (FPIC initially denied this) in Basement
2 of the West Tower Condominium (West Tower) which started in a two drums per day to 15-20 drums per
day. Unable to control the leak, West Tower reported the same to the Makati Police District which in turn
called the Bureau of Fire Protection. It was in October 28, 2010 when the UP National Institute of Geological
Science which revealed that the leak came from WOPL which is 86 meters from West Tower. WOPL was
closed on October 24, 2010.

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On November 15, 2010, West Tower interposed the present Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Kalikasan on
behalf of the residents of West Tower and in representation of the surrounding communities in Barangay
Bangkal, Makati City. West Tower Corp. also alleged that it is joined by the civil society and several people's
organizations, non-governmental organizations and public interest groups who have expressed their intent to
join the suit because of the magnitude of the environmental issues involved. In their petition, petitioners prayed
that respondents FPIC and its board of directors and officers, and First Gen Corporation (FGC) and its board of
directors and officers be directed to: (1) permanently cease and desist from committing acts of negligence
in the performance of their functions as a common carrier; (2) continue to check the structural integrity
of the whole 117-kilometer pipeline and to replace the same; (3) make periodic reports on their findings
with regard to the 117-kilometer pipeline and their replacement of the same; (4) rehabilitate and restore
the environment, especially Barangay Bangkal and West Tower, at least to what it was before the signs
of the leak became manifest; and (5) to open a special trust fund to answer for similar and future
contingencies in the future. Furthermore, petitioners pray that respondents be prohibited from opening the
pipeline and allowing the use thereof until the same has been thoroughly checked and replaced, and be
temporarily restrained from operating the pipeline until the final resolution of the case.

On 19 November 2010, the Court issued the Writ of Kalikasan with TEPO. FPIC director in their return alleged
(1) the petitioners has no legal capacity to institute the action; (2) there are no allegation that environmental
damage was caused to two or more cities or provinces; (3) continued operation of the pipeline should be allowed
to maintain adequate supply of petroleum; (4) petition contains no allegation that respondents FPIC directors
and officers acted in such a manner as to allow the piercing of the corporate veil. FGC directors on the other
hand filed a return that they do not operate said pipeline and that as far as they are concerned, they prayed that
the writ and TEPO be declared performed as far as they are concerned.

On 21 June 2011, FPIC reported to the Court their actions to address the structural integrity and the preventive
maintenance measures undertaken. It was also indicated in their report that it was the Department of Energy
who conducted the test of structural integrity which engaged the services of UP-NIGS. Coordination with the
DPWH and MMDA was done with regard to the preventive maintenance measures.

Since the issuance of the writ and TEPO, FPIC ceased operation of both pipelines. On 31 May 2011 upon the
clarification from the DOE the Court answered that only WOPL is covered by the writ/TEPO. This was assailed
by the petitioners in its Omnibus Motion and prayed for oral arguments on the opening of the BOPL. The
petitioners in their Manifestation invoked the precautionary principle and asserted that the possibility of a
leak in the BOPL System leading to catastrophic environmental damage is enough reason to order the
closure of its operation. They likewise alleged that the entities contracted by FPIC to clean and remediate the
environment are illegally discharging waste water, which had not undergone proper treatment, into the
Parañaque River. Petitioners, thus, prayed that respondents be directed to comply with environmental laws in
rehabilitating the surroundings affected by the oil leak and to submit a copy of their work plan and monthly
reports on the progress thereof. To these omnibus motions, respondents were directed to file their respective
comments.

On September 28 , 2 0 1 1 , respondent FPIC filed an Urgent Motion for Leave ( To Undertake "Bangkal
Realignment" Project) 13 in order to reduce stress on the WOPL System. FPIC sought to construct a new
realigned segment to replace the old pipe segment under the Magallanes Interchange, which covers the portion
that leaked. Petitioners were directed to file their comment on FPIC's motion.

To expedite resolution of the case, the Court remanded the case to the Court of Appeals for recommendations.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE CA
1. FPIC to submit appropriate certification from the DOE on the safe commercial operation of BOPL,
otherwise its operation must be enjoined.
2. Denied its motion re: Bangkal Realignment Project
3. CA found that the existence of another possible leak alleged by petitioners was not established.
Nonetheless, to prevent such event, the CA ordered FPIC to: (i) review, adopt and strictly observe
appropriate safety and precautionary measures; (ii) closely monitor the conduct of its maintenance and

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repair works; and (iii) submit to the DOE regular monthly reports on the structural integrity and safe
commercial operation of the pipeline.
4. As to the merits of the case:
a. People’s organization, NGO and public interest groups who indicated their intention and submitted
proof of juridical personality be allowed to be impleaded as petitioners.
b. FPIC to submit certification from DOE on WOPL’s safe commercial operation.
c. Denied creation of special trust fund.
d. First Gen not liable under the TEPO.

On 30 July 2013, the Court adopted the CA Recommendations and the the WOPL may resume operation after
securing a certification from the DOE that it is safe for commercial operations.

In compliance with the Court's July 30, 2013 Resolution, the DOE Secretary issued on October 25, 2013 a
Certification, 27 attesting that the WOPL is safe to resume commercial operations, subject to monitoring or
inspection requirements, and imposing several conditions that FPIC must comply with.

ISSUES
1. Whether petitioner West Tower Corp. has the legal capacity to represent the other petitioners and
whether the other petitioners, apart from the residents of West Tower and Barangay Bangkal, are real
parties-in- interest;
2. Propriety of Converting the TEPO to PEPO or its Lifting in light of the DOE Certification of the
WOPL's Commercial Viability
3. Propriety of a special trust fund.
4. Liability of FPIC, FirstGen and their respective boards.

HELD:
1. Yes
As defined, a real party-in-interest is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit,
or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. Generally, every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name
of the real parties-in-interest. In other words, the action must be brought by the person who, by substantive law,
possesses the right sought to be enforced. Alternatively, one who has no right or interest to protect cannot invoke
the jurisdiction of the court as party-plaintiff-in-action for it is jurisprudentially ordained that every action must
be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-interest. In the case at bar, there can be no quibble
that the oil leak from the WOPL affected all the condominium unit owners and residents of West Tower as, in
fact, all had to evacuate their units at the wee hours in the morning of July 23, 2010, when the condominium’s
electrical power was shut down. Until now, the unit owners and residents of West Tower could still not return
to their condominium units. Thus, there is no gainsaying that the residents of West Tower are real parties-in-
interest. There can also be no denying that West Tower Corp. represents the common interest of its unit owners
and residents, and has the legal standing to file and pursue the instant petition. While a condominium corporation
has limited powers under RA 4726, otherwise known as The Condominium Act, it is empowered to pursue
actions in behalf of its members. In the instant case, the condominium corporation is the management body of
West Tower and deals with everything that may affect some or all of the condominium unit owners or users.

The filing of a petition for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan under Sec. 1, Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for
Environmental Cases does not require that a petitioner be directly affected by an environmental disaster. The
rule clearly allows juridical persons to file the petition on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a
balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation.—Anent the propriety of including the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya, Inc., Women’s Business
Council of the Philippines, Inc., Junior Chambers International Philippines, Inc.-San Juan Chapter, Zonta Club
of Makati Ayala Foundations, and the Consolidated Mansions Condominium Corporation, as petitioners in the
case, the Court already granted their intervention in the present controversy in the adverted July 30, 2013
Resolution. This is so considering that the filing of a petition for the issuance of a writ of kalikasan under Sec.
1, Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases does not require that a petitioner be directly affected
by an environmental disaster. The rule clearly allows juridical persons to file the petition on behalf of persons
whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated, or threatened with violation. Thus, as

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parties to the case, they are entitled to be furnished copies of all the submissions to the Court, including the
periodic reports of FPIC and the results of the evaluations and tests conducted on the WOPL.

2.

After a perusal of the recommendations of the DOE and the submissions of the parties, the Court adopts the
activities and measures prescribed in the DOE letter dated August 5, 2014 to be complied with by FPIC as
conditions for the resumption of the commercial operations of the WOPL. The DOE should, therefore, proceed
with the implementation of the tests proposed in the said August 5, 2014 letter. Thereafter, if it is satisfied that
the results warrant the immediate reopening of the WOPL, the DOE shall issue an order allowing FPIC to
resume the operation of the WOPL. On the other hand, should the probe result in a finding that the pipeline is
no longer safe for continued use and that its condition is irremediable, or that it already exceeded its serviceable
life, among others, the closure of the WOPL may be ordered.

Lastly, any delay in the reopening of the WOPL, if said delay is for the purpose of making sure that the pipeline
is commercially viable, is better than hastily allowing its reopening without an extensive check on its structural
integrity when experience shows that there were and may still be flaws in the pipeline. Even the DOE, the
agency tasked to oversee the supply and distribution of petroleum in the country, is well aware of this and even
recommended the checking of the patched portions of the pipeline, among others. In this regard, the Court deems
it best to take the necessary safeguards, which are not similar to applying the precautionary principle as
previously explained, in order to prevent a similar incident from happening in the future.

PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE
Section 1, Rule 20 of A.M. No. 09-6-8-SC or the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, on the
Precautionary Principle, provides that “[w]hen there is lack of full scientific certainty in establishing a causal
link between human activity and environmental effect, the court shall apply the precautionary principle in
resolving the case before it.” According to the dissent, the directive for the repetition of the tests is based on
speculations, justified by the application of said principle. This, however, is not the case. Nowhere did We apply
the precautionary principle in deciding the issue on the WOPL’s structural integrity. The precautionary principle
only applies when the link between the cause, that is the human activity sought to be inhibited, and the effect,
that is the damage to the environment, cannot be established with full scientific certainty. Here, however, such
absence of a link is not an issue. Detecting the existence of a leak or the presence of defects in the WOPL, which
is the issue in the case at bar, is different from determining whether the spillage of hazardous materials into the
surroundings will cause environmental damage or will harm human health or that of other organisms. As a
matter of fact, the petroleum leak and the harm that it caused to the environment and to the residents of the
affected areas is not even questioned by FPIC.

3. No
A reading of the petition and the motion for partial reconsideration readily reveals that the prayer is for the
creation of a trust fund for similar future contingencies. This is clearly outside the limited purpose of a special
trust fund under the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, which is to rehabilitate or restore the
environment that has presumably already suffered. Hence, the Court affirms with concurrence the observation
of the appellate court that the prayer is but a claim for damages, which is prohibited by the Rules of Procedure
for Environmental Cases. As such, the Court is of the considered view that the creation of a special trust fund
is misplaced. The present ruling on petitioners’ prayer for the creation of a special trust fund in the instant
recourse, however, is without prejudice to the judgment/s that may be rendered in the civil and/or criminal cases
filed by petitioners arising from the same incident if the payment of damages is found warranted.

4. No ruling.
he Court will refrain from ruling on the finding of the CA that the individual directors and officers of FPIC and
FGC are not liable due to the explicit rule in the Rules of Procedure for Environmental cases that in a petition
for a writ of kalikasan, the Court cannot grant the award of damages to individual petitioners under Rule 7, Sec.
15 (e) of the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases. As duly noted by the CA, the civil case and criminal
complaint filed by petitioners against respondents are the proper proceedings to ventilate and determine the
individual liability of respondents, if any, on their exercise of corporate powers and the management of FPIC

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relative to the dire environmental impact of the dumping of petroleum products stemming from the leak in the
WOPL in Barangay Bangkal, Makati City.

DISSENTING: Leonen
The Writ of Kalikasan has served its functions and, therefore, is functus officio. The leaks have been found and
remedied. The various administrative agencies have identified the next steps that should ensure a viable level
of risk that is sufficiently precautionary. In other words, they have shown that they know what to do to prevent
future leaks. The rest should be left for them to execute.

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