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Umil vs.

Ramos [GR 81567, 9 July 1990]

On 1 February 1988, the Regional Intelligence Operations Unit of the Capital Command
(RIOU-CAPCOM) received confidential information about a member of the NPA Sparrow Unit
(liquidation squad) being treated for a gunshot wound at the St. Agnes Hospital in Roosevelt Avenue,
Quezon City. Upon verification, it was found that the wounded person, who was listed in the hospital
records as Ronnie Javelon, is actually Rolando Dural, a member of the NPA liquidation squad,
responsible for the killing of 2 CAPCOM soldiers the day before, or on 31 January 1988, in Macanining
Street, Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City. In view of this verification, Dural was transferred to the Regional
Medical Services of the CAPCOM, for security reasons. While confined thereat, or on 4 February 1988,
Dural was positively identified by eyewitnesses as the gunman who went on top of the hood of the
CAPCOM mobile patrol car, and fired at the 2 CAPCOM soldiers seated inside the car identified as
T/Sgt. Carlos Pabon and CIC Renato Manligot. As a consequence of this positive identification, Dural
was referred to the Caloocan City Fiscal who conducted an inquest and thereafter filed with the Regional
Trial Court of Caloocan City an information charging Rolando Dural alias Ronnie Javelon with the crime
of "Double Murder with Assault Upon Agents of Persons in Authority." (Criminal Case C-30112; no bail
recommended). On 15 February 1988, the information was amended to include, as defendant, Bernardo
Itucal, Jr. who, at the filing of the original information, was still unidentified. Meanwhile, on 6 February
1988, a petition for habeas corpus was filed with the Supreme Court on behalf of Roberto Umil, Rolando
Dural, and Renato Villanueva. The Court issued the writ of habeas corpus on 9 February 1988 and Fidel
V. Ramos, Maj. Gen. Renato de Villa, Brig. Gen. Ramon Montano, and Brig. Gen. Alexander Aguirre
filed a Return of the Writ on 12 February 1988. Thereafter, the parties were heard on 15 February 1988.
On 26 February 1988, however, Umil and Villanueva posted bail before the Regional Trial Court of Pasay
City where charges for violation of the Anti-Subversion Act had been filed against them, and they were
accordingly released.
Whether Dural can be validly arrested without any warrant of arrest for the crime of rebellion.
Dural, it clearly appears that he was not arrested while in the act of shooting the 2 CAPCOM
soldiers nor was he arrested just after the commission of the said offense for his arrest came a day after
the said shooting incident. Seemingly, his arrest without warrant is unjustified. However, Dural was
arrested for being a member of the New Peoples Army (NPA), an outlawed subversive organization.
Subversion being a continuing offense, the arrest of Rolando Dural without warrant is justified as it can
be said that he was committing an offense when arrested. The crimes of rebellion, subversion, conspiracy
or proposal to commit such crimes, and crimes or offenses committed in furtherance thereof or in
connection therewith constitute direct assaults against the State and are in the nature of continuing crimes.
The arrest of persons involved in the rebellion whether as its fighting armed elements, or for committing
non-violent acts but in furtherance of the rebellion, is more an act of capturing them in the course of an
armed conflict, to quell the rebellion, than for the purpose of immediately prosecuting them in court for a
statutory offense. The arrest, therefore, need not follow the usual procedure in the prosecution of offenses
which requires the determination by a judge of the existence of probable cause before the issuance of a
judicial warrant of arrest and the granting of bail if the offense is bailable. Obviously, the absence of a
judicial warrant is no legal impediment to arresting or capturing persons committing overt acts of
violence against government forces, or any other milder acts but equally in pursuance of the rebellious
movement. The arrest or capture is thus impelled by the exigencies of the situation that involves the very
survival of society and its government and duly constituted authorities.