This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
, Herminio Harry, [GROUP NAME HERE], DIZON, Father Joe, ALCAIN, Maria Lourdes, ALFEREZ, Voltaire, ALTEZ, Czarina May, BALOT, Sheryl, BATACAN, Renizza, CAMANCE, Aldwin, CAÑETE, Edan Marri, CARAMOAN, Leana, DELORINO, Rene, DUMAN, Paulyn May, FAJARDO, Rodrigo III, GO, Anna Marie, JIMENEZ, Anna Arminda, LEE, Mary Ann, MANALAYSAY, Luisa, MUSNGI, Miguel, OCAMPO, Michael, OCANA, Norman Roland III, RAGAMAT, William, RAMOS, Maricar, REYES, Cherry Lou, RIVERA, Johann Frantz IV, SICAT, Melissa Ann, TABING, Cristine Mae, and TORNO, Vanessa, Petitioners,
- versus -
SPECIAL CIVIL ACTION NO. _____________________ For: Declaratory Relief (Sections 3, 7, 18, 27 of Republic Act 9372, otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007)
ERMITA, Eduardo, in his capacity as Executive Secretary and Chairman of the Anti-Terror Council (ATR); GONZALEZ, Raul,in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice and Vice Chairman of the ATC; ROMULO, Alberto, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Member of the ATC; TEODORO, Gilberto, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of National Defense and Member of the ATC; PUNO, Ronaldo, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government and Member of the ATC; TEVES, Margarito, in his capacity as Secretary of the Department of Finance and Member of the ATC; GONZALES, Norberto, in his capacity as National Security Adviser and Member of
the ATC; ESPERON, General Hermogenes, in his capacity as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and CALDERON, General Oscar, in his capacity as Director General of the Philippine National Police Respondents. x-----------------------------------------------------------------------x
COMES NOW THE PETITIONERS by the undersigned attorney, and unto this Honorable Court, respectfully alleges:
1. Petitioner Herminio Harry Roque, of legal age, Filipino citizen, married, taxpayer, is an active law practitioner who has, in several times in the past, filed petitions against the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, herein respondent. He is also the Professor of the petitioners Alcain to Torno on Constitutional Law II.
2. Petitioner [GROUP], is a __ organization duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, established for the purpose of ___.
3. Petitioner [Joe] Dizon, of legal age, Filipino citizen, single, taxpayer, is an well-known activist-priest who has constantly campaigned against abuses of the government.
4. Petitioners Alcain to Torno, all of legal age, Filipino citizens, taxpayers, are sophomore students of the College of Law, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City for the first semester of Academic Year 2007-2008. they belong to the evening class where the students are working professionals.
5. Petitioners are represented in this action by their counsel, Roque &
Butuyan Law Offices, with principal address at 1904 Antel Corporate Center, 121 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City, Philippines, where it may be served with summons and other processes.
6. Respondents are high ranking officials of the Philippine government: Eduardo Ermita, as Executive Secretary and Chairman of the AntiTerrorism Council (ATC); Raul Gonzalez, as Secretary of the Department of Justice and Vice Chairman of the ATC; Alberto Romulo, as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Member of the ATC; Gilberto Teodoro, as Secretary of the Department of National Defense and Member of the ATC; Ronaldo Puno, as Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government and Member of the ATC; Margarito Teves, as Secretary of the Department of Finance and Member of the ATC; Norberto Gonzales, as National Security Adviser and Member of the ATC; General Hermogenes Esperon, as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; and General Oscar Calderon, as Director General of the Philippine National Police.
7. They may be served with summons and other processes through the
Solicitor-General, Office of the Solicitor General, 134 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
8. Petitioners hold that sections 3, 7, 18 and 27 of Republic Act 9372, or the
Human Security Act of 2007, needs judicial determination in relation to the petitioners’ rights as provided by the Bill of Rights, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioners further hold that due to the ambiguity or the need for judicial determination of the aforesaid sections, any disbursements of public funds for purposes provided for in the law are illegal.
PREFATORY STATEMENT 9. A citizen of the Republic of the Philippines is granted rights and privileges as well as duties by the 1987 Constitution as embodied in Article II thereof also known as the Bill of Rights.
10.As provided for by the 1987 Constitution and as a signatory of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, the Philippine government is duty-bound to uphold these rights and to ensure that any action of any entity, private or public, does not infringe upon these rights.
11.The construction of the 1987 Constitution with regards the relationship of the government and the citizens of the Republic ensures that the latter’s rights are respected above all else. Sec. 5 of the Declaration of
Principles and State Policies, Article II of the 1987 Constitution states, to wit: “Sec. 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment of all the people of the blessings of democracy.” 12.This was reinforced by Sec. 1 of the Bill of Rights, Article III of the 1987 Constitution which states, to wit: “ Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws.” 13.To ensure this, any omission or excessiveness of actions of any of the three branches of government are checked and balanced by other branches of the government. This is an important process in the
safeguarding of the rights of its citizens.
14. And the last arbiter of questions regarding this nature is vested on the
Judiciary particularly the Supreme Court. From the seminal case of Marbury vs. Madison of the United States to the latest Supreme Court decisions, the Court has remained steadfast in its role and duty as the last bastion of human rights defense and preservation.
15. On this aspect, the Supreme Court, in a line of decisions, has always
upheld the rights of the citizens as sacrosanct in any working democracy. Even in times of crises and national emergencies, the roles of the branches of government and government as a whole, has been limited
due to the rights of its citizens. This was what the Court, in a recent decision, David vs. Arroyo, through Justice Sandoval-Gutierrez meant when it declared, to wit: “xxx. During emergency, governmental action may vary in breadth and intensity from normal times, yet they should not be arbitrary as to unduly restrain our people’s liberty. “Perhaps, the vital lesson that we must learn from the theorists who studied the various competing political philosophies is that, it is possible to grant government the authority to cope with crises without surrendering the two vital principles of constitutionalism: the maintenance of legal limits to arbitrary power, and political responsibility of the government to the governed.” 16.At present, there exists a silent threat, one that has haunted the world since the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. Our country is not new to this kind of threat; we have always faced the threat of violence and war with the insurgents of the New People’s Army and the extremists of the South.
17.These elements have sown discord, difficulty and even terror on our people especially those whose families were directly affected. Others were affected due to the displacement from their homes and lands due to conflicts continue to suffer.
18.Terrorism or acts of terrorism has become a household name because of one singular event in the history of mankind that changed our socio- and geopolitical landscape, the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York. Before millions of spectators from all over
the world who watched through television and the internet, terrorists, hijacking and commanding two airplanes, crashed the said aircrafts into the World Trade Center in New York City. There were two other
airplanes reportedly en route to their targets. One hit the Pentagon but the other did not reach its destination due to the intervention of the passengers. The latter crashed into a field near the town of Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
19. The group, Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, claimed responsibility for
the attacks. This was delivered through a taped statement where bin Laden publicly acknowledged his and al-Qaeda's direct involvement in what has now been called the 9-11 attacks.1
20.In response to the September 11 attacks, the US President George W. Bush, addressed a Joint Session of Congress and called for a “War on Terror”. He called on all its allies to join the United States in this war. In his speech, he stated: “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”2
21. He directed his attention to Afghanistan where the Taliban, a suspected
terrorist group allied with Al Qaeda, is in control. He enumerated the many human rights violations that the Taliban regime has committed
“September 11attacks,” <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_11,_2001_attacks.html>.
“War in Afghanistan (2001-present),” http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/20/gen.bush.transcript.html>.
against the Afghan people and made demands against it or face military action. He further states: “By aiding and abetting murder, the Taliban regime is committing murder. And tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: -- Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Qaeda who hide in your land. -- Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned. -- Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. -- Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities. -- Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. “These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. “The Taliban must act and act immediately. “They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate. I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah. “The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. “The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends. It is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them.”3
22. The Taliban regime refused to negotiate and so, on October 7, 2001,
American and British forces began aerial attacks on Afghanistan, particularly Kabul.
23.On November 12, 2001, Kabul fell. This marked as the start of the fall of the Taliban regime. Despite a shaky start, democracy was restored in Afghanistan with the election of the post-Taliban president, Hamid Karzai.
24.In the meantime, as the “War of Terror” was being waged, Presidents and Prime Ministers of governments around the world threw their support to the US campaign. The Philippine president, Gloria Macapgal-Arroyo, threw in her support. According to Time Asia website: “President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was the first Asian leader to back the U.S. in its war on terror after 9/11—and she has pledged her "general support" for a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.”4 25. After Afghanistan, the “War on Terror” turned towards Iraq where Saddam Hussein is the dictator. The rationale for the Iraq War was that the country under Hussein is developing weapons of mass destruction. This was offered by Pres. Bush and Prime Minister Blair to their allies.
26.On 2 March 2003, the US led the coalition forces in the war in Iraq. After more than a month, Pres. Bush, in a visit to USS Abraham Lincoln, proclaimed that Iraq has been freed from Saddam Hussein and therefore “Mission Accomplished”. He said: “Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And
“For or against the War on Iraq,” <http://www.time.com/time/asia/covers/501030324/poe/13.html>.
now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.”5 27.Despite all these, Osama bin Laden remains at large with linkages all over the world which includes Jemaah Islamiyah, of which the Abu Sayaff group of the South is part.
28. In response to Bush’s call to global war on terror, the US Congress
passed the The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 or the USA Patriot Act of 2001. Similarly, other nations followed suit: Great Britain’s Houses of Parliament passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 and Australia made the Anti-Terrorism Bill into law in the year 2005. Other countries also passed their own anti-terror laws.
29.In response to the developments worldwide on anti-terror legislation, the Houses of Congress initiated two different bills towards an anti-terror law.
30. On 30 June 2004, Sen. Manuel Villar, initially, filed Senate Bill No. 735,
An Act to Define and Penalize Acts of Terrorism and For Other Purposes. This was later on substituted along with other Senate Bills with Senate Bill No. 2137 on 12 October 2007. Senator(s) Manuel B. Villar, Jr., Panfilo M. Lacson, Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy P. Ejercito-
“President Bush Announces Major Combat Operations <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030501-15.html>.
Estrada, Ramon B. Magsaysay, Jr. and Alfredo S. Lim sponsored the bill in substitution.
31.On 11 October 2005, Rep. Imee Marcos, with several Congressmen and women as co-sponsors, introduced House Bill No. 4839.
32.On 12 October 2005, these bills were certified by the President of the Philippines for its IMMEDIATE enactment.
33.The two bills were submitted to Joint Conference Committee where the Senate members of the Conference Committee approved it on 08 February 2007; while the House of Representatives members of the Conference Committee approved it on 19 February 2007. The approved bill was transmitted to the President on 27 February 2007.
34.On 06 March 2007, the President acted on the submitted bill and approved and signed it into law which became Republic Act No. 9372.
35.The effectivity of RA 9372 was scheduled two (2) months after the May 14, 2007 elections as contained inn Sec. 63 of the law thereof. It states: SEC. 62. Special Effectivity Clause. – “xxx After the publication required above shall have been done, the Act shall take effect two months after the elections are held in May 2007.
Thereafter, the provisions of this Act shall be automatically suspended one month before and two months after the holding of any election.” 36.However, a month before the scheduled effectivity, the Secretary of Justice, Raul Gonzalez, issued statements that sent chilling effects to the populace. In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, stated that the interviews and sources of media practitioners are “sacred”. However, he further stated: “Of course, unless there is sufficient basis or if they are being suspected of co-mingling with terror suspects.”6 37. On 05 July 2007, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) called on the 14th Congress “to act posthaste on this potential threat not just to press freedom but to democracy itself by reviewing or, better still, repeal altogether this law that is worse than the disease it purports to cure.”7 They were particularly concerned with Sec. Gonzalez’s statement, “there is sufficient basis or if they are being suspected of co-mingling with terror suspects," to which chairman Jose Torres Jr. and secretary general Rowena Paraan, on behalf of NUJP, issued a statement stating thus: “This is a statement as vague and as fraught with danger as many of the anti-terror law's provisions, especially those that supposedly define what terrorism is and who terrorists are, provisions so open-ended they could actually lead to anyone and everyone who government deems fit being tagged a terrorist.”8
DoJ can recommend wiretap on alleged terrorists – Gonzalez,” by Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net, July 04, 2007, < http://archive.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&story_id=74741>.
Gonzalez ‘wiretap media’ statement slammed ,” by Nonoy Expina, INQUIRER.net, July 05, 2007, < http://archive.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&story_id=74992>.
38. On the other hand, Ambassador Alistair MacDonald, head of delegation
of the European Commission to the Philippines said in Bacolod City, “The anti-terrorism law is not an excuse to go out and shoot people… to target people for matters not provided in the law.”9
39.In relation to the aforementioned, a phenomenon has arisen in the recent history of our country that is reminiscent of the Martial Law days when people simply disappear and probably summarily killed. In addition, the growing number of persons, supposedly or suspected to be allied with the Left, and without due process, are killed by a pattern that is not unique to our country: 2 motorcycle-riding and bonnet-wearing hitmen shooting their target even in broad daylight in the presence of a lot of people.
40. Sec. Eduardo Ermita, in an interview with The Daily Tribune said that
concerned agencies of the government and the anti-terrorism council are now preparing the implementing rules and regulations, as well as the publication of the law’s implementation for public awareness.10
41.On 15 July 2007, Republic Act 9372, as scheduled became effective.
42. As with any law, RA 9372 requires that Implementing Rules and
Regulations be developed.
Executive Secretary Ermita has said that
“Anti-terror law not a license for killings -- EU envoy,” by Carla Gomez, INQUIRER.net, July 05, 2007, < http://archive.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&story_id=74986>. “Wiretap on journalists possible under anti-terror law — DoJ chief,” by Benjamin B. Pulta, The Daily Tribune, July 5, 2007, < http://www.tribune.net.ph/headlines/20070705hed3.html>.
concerned agencies of the government and the Anti-Terrorism Council have begun the preparation of the law’s IRR, as well as the publication of the law’s implementation for public awareness. Ermita likewise parried the possible postponement of the implementation of the law despite the absence of the IRR.11
43.However, due to the ambiguity of some of its provisions and given the present state of our system of investigation and custodial procedure, there is an imminent possibility of misinterpretation thereby opening the identification of terrorists to any and all citizens that commits acts within supposed purview of the definition. Hence, this petition.
NATURE OF THE PETITION
44. This is a Petition for Declaratory Relief under Rule 63 of the Revised
Rules of Court seeking the declaration of the validity of construction of Republic Act 9372 particularly sections 3, 7, 18, 27 in relation to the petitioners rights as provided for in Article II of the 1987 Constitution also known as the Bill of Rights.
45. Justice Regalado, in his book, Remedial Law Compendium, enumerates
the following requisites for an action for declaratory relief, to wit: “(a) The subject matter of the controversy must be a deed, will, contract or other written instrument, statute, executive order or regulation, or ordinance;
Newspaper or online source?
“(b) The terms of said documents and the validity thereof are doubtful and require judicial construction; “(c) There must have been no breach of the documents in question; “(d) There must be an actual justiciable controversy or the “ripening seeds” of one between persons whose interests are adverse; “(e) The issue must be ripe for judicial determination; and “(f) Adequate relief is not available through other means or other forms of action or proceeding.”
46. Letter (a) points to the subject matter of the action. The present petition’s
subject matter is Republic Act 9372, otherwise known as the Human Security Act of 2007, especially sections 3, 7, 18 and 27.
47.Letter (b) provides for the issue or cause of the action. In this petition, the provisions of the aforesaid sections are doubtful and its implementation may lead to arbitrariness; hence, they require judicial construction.
48. Letter (c) of the requirements are applicable to contracts and therefore
breach is an important element in the determination of justiciability in relation to the nature of the action????? There must be no breach of law or contract; otherwise declaratory relief will no longer lie. The suit will be converted into an ordinary action.
49. Letter (d) requires ripeness. RA 9372 is already in full effect although
awaiting for the formulation of the Impelementing Rules and Regulations. In this regard, the Court declared in Ople vs. Torres, to wit:
“xxx [t]he ripeness for adjudication of the petition at bar is not affected by the fact that the implementing rules of A.O. No. 308 have yet to be promulgated. Petitioner Ople assails A.O. No. 308 as invalid per se and as infirmed on its face. His action is not premature for the rules yet to be promulgated cannot cure its fatal defects. Moreover, the respondents themselves have started the implementation of A.O. No. 308 without waiting for the rules.” (emphasis supplied)
50. Letter (e) and (f) point to the exhaustion of any and all available
remedies for adequate relief. In the case when a law is involved, the principle of presumption of regularity stands; hence, the only remedy for any questions concerning the (validity) of the law lies in the Judiciary.
51.Section 2 of Rule 63 of the Revised Rules of Court states, to wit: “All persons who have or claim any interest which would be affected by the declaration shall be made parties xxx”
52. Consistent with the controlling doctrine espoused in Gonzales v
COMELEC12, this instant petition is filed after the effectivity date of 15 July 2007. In the aforementioned case, the petitioners therein have
waited for the assailed law to become effective before filing the suit; petitioners herein similarly have done the same. Apart from filing the herein petition for declaratory relief after the effectivity date as per Gonzales v COMELEC, petitioners aver that the issue is ripe for adjudication and that declaratory relief is the proper remedy.
Gonzales v COMELEC, 9 SCRA 230 (1963).
53. Abbot Laboratories v Gardner, the leading case on the issue of ripeness,
laid out a two-part test for assessing ripeness challenges to federal regulations. The case is often applied to constitutional challenges to statues as well. The Court in this case said: “Without undertaking to survey the intricacies of the ripeness doctrine it is fair to say that its basic rationale is to prevent the courts, through avoidance of premature adjudication, from entangling themselves in abstract disagreements over administrative policies, and also to protect the agencies from judicial interference until an administrative decision has been formalized and its effects felt in a concrete way by the challenging parties. The problem is best seen in a twofold aspect, requiring us to evaluate both the fitness of the issues for judicial decision and the hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration.”13
54. This was reiterated in Gardner v. Toilet Goods Association, wherein the
Court observed that the assailed law “has an immediate and substantial impact upon the respondents”, therefore, declaratory relief was appropriate.14
55.The determination of the fitness of the issues for judicial decision, the hardship to the parties of withholding court consideration, and even the immediate and substantial impact upon the respondents of the implementation of the Human Security Act of 2007 have bases as well on jurisprudence.
56. In U.S. Public Workers v. Mitchell, federal employees assailed the Hatch
Act of 1940, which prohibited federal executive branch employees from
Abbot Laboratories v Gardner, 387 U.S. 136 (1967). Gardner v Toilet Goods Ass’n, 387 U.S. 167 (1967).
engaging in politics. The employees' boss told them that they could not participate in political campaigns without being fired. The U.S. Supreme Court awarded standing to one plaintiff who had actually been threatened with fire; the other employees had not faced such a direct threat, and their cases were dismissed for lack of ripeness.15
57. Similarly in a later case, the US Supreme Court held that “In cases where
the court addressed the constitutionality of the statute, there was a “realistic fear of prosecution.”16
58. Echoing these standards, the Philippine Supreme Court, in Bayantel vs.
Republic, which was a petition for declaratory relief, stated that “[a]n issue is ripe for judicial determination when litigation is inevitable or when administrative remedies have been exhausted.”
59. Due to the national scope of the law and its application dependent on the
authorities implementing it, any ambiguity of the definition or concern on the procedural aspect of the law could lead to breach of rights of any Filipino citizen suspected as a terrorist. Hence, the principle, as laid down in the US case Poe vs. Ullman [367 U.S. 497 (1961)], that for the Court to adjudicate petitions for declaratory judgments on state or federal laws, there must exist a “realistic fear of prosecution”, is met. The petitioners, citizens of the country, are indeed susceptible to prosecution
U.S. Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75 (1947). Poe vs. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497 (1961).
for the effect of the law extends to any citizen, irregardless of affiliation. All could well be under the definition of terrorist as provided by the law and be subjected to prosecution. This could have serious repercussions on the civil liberties of the people of the Philippines.
60. Moreover, petitioner Dizon, as well as other critics of the current
government, are confronted with a realistic fear of prosecution under RA 9372. In the Comprehensive List of Terrorists and Groups Identified under Executive Order 13224, signed by President Bush on 23 September (year), which blocks the assets of organizations and individuals linked to terrorism, two Filipino organizations were such listed: the Abu Sayyaf Group and Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
61. Subsequently, the Philippines, a staunch ally of the US global war on
terror in Southeast Asia, has manifested its support of the classification of such groups as terrorists. No less than the President herself proclaimed at the three-day Mindanao Peace and Security Summit at the Pryce Hotel in Cagayan de Oro that “[i]f you are a communist terrorist, we will stop you. If you are a religious terrorist, we will stop you. If you are a rogue element of our own police or military, we will stop you.”17
“1st targets: Rogue AFP, red terrorists,” Paolo Romero, The Philippine Star, Vol. XXI, No. 346, Wednesday, July 11, 2007, p. 1.
62.Parenthetically, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has alleged that Bayan Muna, of which petitioner Casino is a member, and similar groups are fronts of the CPP-NPA and would, therefore, be endangered of being prescribed as being terrorists under Section 17 of the assailed law.
63.Even before the effectivity of RA 9372, critics and the political opposition, as well as those who simply earned the ire of those in power, have been prosecuted or have been threatened with prosecution as a result of their criticisms and political leanings. If petitioners have been
subjected to prosecution or threats of prosecution prior to the effectivity of RA 9372, then the said law now in effect—with all its attendant unconstitutional provisions as alleged in the discussion that follows— raises the possibility of inevitable litigation or realistic fear of prosecution to new heights.
64.As stated, a petition for declaratory relief is the proper and only remedy available to petitioners in this case.
DISCUSSION Section 3, is not a definition per se of terrorism.
65. Sec. 3 of Republic Act 9372, or the Human Security Act of 2007, states,
to wit: “Sec. 3. Terrorism. – Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code:
a. Article 122 (Piracy in General and Mutiny in the High Seas or in the Philippine Waters); b. Article 134 (Rebellion or Insurrection); c. Article 134-a (Coup d’Etat), including acts committed by private persons; d. Article 248 (Murder); e. Article 267 (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention); f. Article 324 (Crimes Involving Destruction), or under (1) Presidential Decree No. 1613 (The Law on Arson); (2) Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990); (3) Republic Act No. 5207 (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968); (4) Republic Act No. 6235 (Anti-Highjacking Law); (5) Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-Piracy and AntiHighway Robbery Law of 1974); and, (6) Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended (Decree codifying the Law on Illegal and Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunitions or Explosives) thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand shall be guilty of the crime of terrorism and shall suffer the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment, without the benefit of parole as provided for under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.”
66. The definition of terrorism proceeds from an enumeration of crimes and
felonies provided for by the Revised Penal Code or special laws and qualified by “thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and
extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand”.
67. It is a well-settled principle that a law “must be sufficiently explicit to
inform those who are subject to it what conduct on their part will render them liable to its penalties is a well- recognized requirement, consonant alike with ordinary notions of fair play and the settled rules of law; and a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application violates the first essential of due process of law.” (269 U.S. 385, Connally v General Construction Co.)
68.The test of whether or not a law is vague is that men of common intelligence must be able to understand and interpret it. “In assessing statutory language, unless words have acquired a peculiar meaning, by virtue of statutory definition or judicial construction, they are to be construed in accordance with their common usage." [Muller v. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., 923 P.2d 783, 787-88 (Alaska 1996)]
69.Section 3 fails in this respect. First, the definition of terrorism lies not in the crimes enumerated but on the qualification. This simply expands the crime and not define terrorism per se.
70. Terrorism, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is “the use of or the threat
of, extreme violence for political purposes.”18
71. Moreover, the Federal Bureau of Investigation website19 classifies two
kinds of terrorism—domestic and international. It states: “Domestic terrorism refers to activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States. [18 U.S.C. § 2331(5)] “International terrorism involves violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any state, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any state. These acts appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping and occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum. [18 U.S.C. § 2331(1)]”
72. It can be gleaned from the two definitions that terrorism as defined is not
an effect but a crime per se.
“Terrorism,” Webster’s English Dictionary with Pronunciation Guide, Geddes & Grosset, for WS Pacific Publications, Inc., 2007.
73. By application, say that a supporter of a losing candidate murders the
elected mayor and threatens to murder each and every person who sits as mayor until his candidate sits. This act will definitely cause a general fear in the populace and according to Sec. 3, terroristic. The act is not one that is extreme violence. For that matter, none of the crimes listed is of the nature of extreme violence. The phrase, “thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace,” somehow makes it extreme violence. Moreover, the FBI definition points to “mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping” as the acts used that aggravate acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any state.
74. In a line of cases, the US Supreme Court defined the line that separates a
clear and a vague law. In United States v. Harriss20, the Court States that a law is vague if it “fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute,” or is so indefinite that “it encourages arbitrary and erratic arrests and convictions,” (Papachristou v. Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156, 162 (1972)
75.Assuming without conceding that this is a valid and clear definition, when is an act terroristic and who determines it? Can the average man immediately grasp, by the definition of the section, that what he is doing is terroristic?
United States v. Harriss, 347 U.S. 612, 617 (1954).
76.The answer is No. An average person can never immediately say that a murder case is terroristic. He does not have all the information regarding the supposed network or the intention of the suspect. Only the
government has those information; therefore, the absolute discretion to determine what acts constitute terrorism is left to the authorities.
77.This lack of definition is contrary to Section 1 of the Bill of Rights which provides, to wit: “Section 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.” and the ruling in David v. Arroyo where the Supreme Court had the occasion to state that, to wit: “xxx “Unlike the term “lawless violence” which is unarguably extant in our statutes and the Constitution, and which is invariably associated with “invasion, insurrection or rebellion,” the phrase “acts of terrorism” is still an amorphous and vague concept. Congress has yet to enact a law defining and punishing acts of terrorism. “In fact, this “definitional predicament” or the “absence of an agreed definition of terrorism” confronts not only our country, but the international community as well…. “xxx “The absence of a law defining “acts of terrorism” may result in abuse and oppression on the part of the police or military... It must be remembered that an act can only be considered a crime if there is a law defining the same as such and imposing the corresponding penalty thereon. “xxx
“P.D. No. 1835 was repealed by E.O. No. 167 (which outlaws the Communist Party of the Philippines) enacted by President Corazon Aquino on May 5, 1985. These two (2) laws, however, do not define “acts of terrorism.” Since there is no law defining “acts of terrorism,” it is President Arroyo alone, under G.O. No. 5, who has the discretion to determine what acts constitute terrorism. Her judgment on this aspect is absolute, without restrictions. Consequently, there can be indiscriminate arrest without warrants, breaking into offices and residences, taking over the media enterprises, prohibition and dispersal of all assemblies and gatherings unfriendly to the administration. All these can be effected in the name of G.O. No. 5. These acts go far beyond the calling-out power of the President. Certainly, they violate the due process clause of the Constitution. Thus, this Court declares that the “acts of terrorism” portion of G.O. No. 5 is unconstitutional.” (emphasis supplied)
78. What is more important is that Sec. 3 does not provide complete and
sufficient standards to guide the authorities in dealing with an accused alleged to have committed the offense. In Estrada v. Sandiganbayan21 citing People v. Nazario, the Supreme Court said, to wit: “A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: a) it violates due process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to avoid; and b) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.” (emphasis supplied) 79.Due to this, there exists a danger of prosecution to petitioners and to any citizen of the country who may be suspected as a terrorist. The
arbitrariness which unfortunately rocks our bureaucracy poses a real threat to all citizens.
(Citation of Estrada case)
Section 7 violates the Right to Privacy of Communication 80.Sec. 7 of Ra 9372 which states, to wit: “Sec. 7. Surveillance of Suspects and Interception and Recording of Communications. – The provisions of Republic Act No. 4200 (Anti-wire Tapping Law) to the contrary notwithstanding, a police or law enforcement official and the members of his team may, upon a written order of the Court of Appeals, listen to, intercept and record, with the use of any mode, form, kind or type of electronic or other surveillance equipment or intercepting and tracking devices, or with the use of any other suitable ways and means for that purpose, any communication, message, conversation, discussion, or spoken or written words between members of a judicially declared and outlawed terrorist organization, association, or group of persons or of any person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism. “Provided, That surveillance, interception and recording of communications between lawyers and clients, doctors and patients, journalists and their sources and confidential business correspondence shall not be authorized.” is violative of the constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy of communication which states: “Sec. 3. The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law. “Any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.”
81. It is clear that intrusion is allowable upon an order of the court or when
public safety or order requires otherwise, as prescribed by law. But if the intrusion is to be done through wiretaps “for any communication, message, conversation, discussion, or spoken or written words between
members of a judicially declared and outlawed terrorist organization, association, or group of persons or of any person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism” when a definition of terrorism is wanting, it makes the provision applicable to just any person. The requirements for probable cause
cannot be established because the offenders and the offense are not defined.
82.Petitioner Dizon avers that his rights as a priest as well as those of his penitents stand to be violated since priest-penitent relationships are not included in the exclusions, making confessions made to priests unconditionally susceptible to Section 7 of the Human Security Act of 2007.
83.This seems to be a subtle amendment of the Anti-Wiretapping Act of which provides: (Cite Anti-Wiretapping provision)
Section 18 is violative of the Due Process Clause 84.The whole Sec. 18 of RA 9372 smacks of violations to the Bill of Rights. The first paragraph thereof states, to wit: “Sec. 18. Period of Detention Without Judicial Warrant of Arrest. – The provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code to the contrary notwithstanding, any police or law enforcement personnel, who having been duly authorized in writing by the AntiTerrorism Council has taken custody of a person charged with or
suspected of the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism shall, without incurring any criminal liability for delay in the delivery of charged or suspected person to the proper judicial authority within a period of three days counted from the moment the said charged or suspected person has been apprehended or arrested, detained, and taken into custody by the said police, or law enforcement personnel: Provided, That the arrest of those suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy must result from the surveillance xxx.”
85. Sec.18. Period of detention without judicial warrant of arrest violates
Sec. 22 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution which provides, to wit: “No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted” (emphasis supplied)
86. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., in his book, The 1987 Consitution of the Republic
of the Philippines: A Commentary, mentions that Sec. 22 of the Bill of Rights can be applied to criminal procedural law prejudicial to the accused.22 Clearly, by changing the duration of custody, the law has prejudiced the accused.
87.The acts of terrorism as enumerated under Sec. 3 of RA 9372 are acts punishable under the existing RPC. It has repealed, in effect, Art. 125 of the RPC in relation to the felonies described as terrorism as the provision would not be made to apply to detained persons under this Act.
Joaquin Bernas, S.J., The 1987 Consitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary, (Quezon City: Rex Printing Compnay, Inc., 2003), p. 600 citing Mekin v. Wolfe, 2 Phil. 74, 78 (1903); US v. Jueves, 23 Phil. 100, 105 (1912); Roman Cath. Bishop of Lipa v. Municipality of Taal, 38 Phil. 367 (1918); Province of Camarines Sur v. Director of Lands, 64 Phil. 600(1937); Ongsiako v. Gamboa, 86 Phil. 50, 54 (1950); Tolentino v. Angeles, 99 Phil. 309, 318 (1956); Phil. National Bank v. Ruperto , G.R. No. L-13777, June 30, 1960; Snatos v. Secretary of Public Works and Communications, G.R. No. L16049, March 18, 1967.
88. Under Art 125, for crimes or offenses punishable by capital penalties, the
public officer or employee who detains, on legal ground, an accused for more than 36 hours would be liable for a felony. Under RA 9372, the police or law enforcement officer is allowed to detain for a maximum number of three days, a person he has previously arrested without a warrant. The maximum length of warrantless arrest and detention is also made applicable to a person suspected for committing a conspiracy to commit any of the acts of terrorism, which are not originally punished under the RPC. The said article states, to wit: “Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. — The penalties provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of; twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes, or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent. In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be allowed upon his request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel. (As amended by E.O. Nos. 59 and 272, Nov. 7, 1986 and July 25, 1987, respectively).”
89. It also violates Article 2, Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution stating:
“The Philippines…adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land. Since In a Resolution entitled `Universal Declaration of Human Rights' (approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations of which the Philippines is a member at its plenary meeting on December 10, 1948) the right to life and liberty and all other fundamental rights as applied to all human beings were proclaimed. “The UDHR provides that:
“Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in degree and rights; “Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedom set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, nationality or social origin, property, birth, or other status; xxx xxx xxx
“Article 8. Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the Constitution or by law; “Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile” (emphasis supplied)
90.Furthermore, it also violates Article 3, Sec 1 of the 1987 Constitution stating: “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws”
91. In view of Sec. 2, Article III of the Constitution, the rule is that no arrest
may be made except by virtue of a warrant issued by a judge after examining the complainant and the witnesses he may produce and after finding probable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed the crime. The exceptions when an arrest may be made even without a warrant are provided in Rule 113, Sec. 5 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure which reads: (a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of the facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.
92. However, in RA 9372, no probable cause is needed to be determined by
the judge. The judicial determination by the police or law enforcement officers who will make the arrests is based on or must result from the surveillance under Sec 7 (recording of communications) and Sec 27 of the Act (examination of bank deposits). Court authorization is needed for the conduct of surveillance but not for the arrests to be made.
93. Moreover, RA 9372 violates the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (hereinafter cited as ICCPR). The UN General Assembly adopted the ICCPR on December 16, 1966. The Philippines signed the convention on December 19, 1966 but ratified it only on October 23, 1986. International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) contains the protection of a citizen(s) from illegal/arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, torture and court delay. The Philippine government is a state party to the ICCPR. It is provided in Article 9 therein, to wit: 1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law.
Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him; Anyone arrested or detained in a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within reasonable time or to release. Anyone who was deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that such court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful. Anyone who has been a victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.
94. In relation to this, in the case, Roger Posadas et. al., vs The Hon.
Ombudsman, the Court declared, to wit: “The determination of the existence of probable cause that the persons to be arrested committed the crime was for the judge to make. The law authorizes a police officer or even an ordinary citizen to arrest criminal offenders only if the latter are committing or have just committed a crime. Otherwise, we cannot leave to the police officers the determination of whom to apprehend if we are to protect our civil liberties. This is evident from a consideration of the requirements before a judge can order the arrest of suspects. Art. III, §2 of the Constitution provides: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall 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.”23
G.R. No. 131492 September 29, 2000.
Section 27 is violative of Right to Property and the Right Against Unreasonable Search and Seizure (incomplete) 95.Section 27 is in violation of right to property and the right against unreasonable search and seizure inasmuch as it did not specify the transactions and the period the deposits, accounts and records are to be viewed. It is a blanket authority to open the accounts. It states, to wit: Sec. 27. Judicial Authorization Required to Examine Bank Deposits, Accounts, and Records. – The provisions of Republic Act No. 1405 as amended, to the contrary notwithstanding, the justices of the Court of Appeals designated as a special court to handle anti-terrorism cases after satisfying themselves of the existence of probable cause in a hearing called for that purpose that (1) a person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism, (2) of a judicially declared and outlawed terrorist organization, association, or group of persons, and (3) of a member of such judicially declared and outlawed organization, association, or group of persons, may authorize in writing any police or law enforcement officer and the members of his/her team duly authorized in writing by the anti-terrorism council to: (a) examine, or cause the examination of, the deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets and records in a bank or financial institution; and (b) gather or cause the gathering of any relevant information about such deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets, and records from a bank or financial institution. The bank or financial institution concerned shall not refuse to allow such examination or to provide the desired information, when so ordered by and served with the written order of the Court of Appeals (emphasis supplied).
PRAYER WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Court to exercise its power to determine the validity of the statute in question in relation to plaintiff’s rights as provided by the Article III of the 1987 Constitution. Quezon City. ____ July 2007.