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B/GEN. JOSE COMENDADOR, et. al., petitioner, vs. GEN. RENATO S.

VILLA, et. al., respondents, G.R. No. 93177 August 2, 1991, (CRUZ, J.)

The petitioners in G.R. Nos. 93177 and 96948 who are officers of the AFP were
directed to appear in person before the Pre-Trial Investigating Officers for the alleged
participation the failed coup on December 1 to 9, 1989. Petitioners now claim that
there was no pre-trial investigation of the charges as mandated by Article of War 71.
A motion for dismissal was denied. Now, their motion for reconsideration. Alleging
denial of due process.

This is a consolidated case of members of the AFP who were charged with
violation of Articles of War (AW) 67 (Mutiny), AW 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an
Officer and a Gentleman) and AW 94 (Various Crimes) in relation to Article
248 of the Revised Penal Code (Murder).
The petitioners were questioning the conduct of the pre-trial investigation
conducted where a motion to bail was filed but was denied. Petitioner applied
for provisional liberty and preliminary injunction before the court which was
However De Villa refused to release petitioner for provisional liberty pending
the resolution of the appeal they have taken before the court invoking that
military officers are an exemption from the right to bail guaranteed by the
Decision was rendered reiterating the release for provisional liberty of
petitioners with the court stating that there is a mistake in the presumption
of respondents that bail does not apply among military men facing court
martial proceeding. Respondents now appeal before the higher court.

1. Whether or not there was a denial of due process
2. Whether or not military men are exempted from the Constitutional
guarantee on the right to bail.
1. NO denial of due process.
Petitioners were given several opportunities to present their side at the pre-trial
investigation, first at the scheduled hearing of February 12, 1990, and then again
after the denial of their motion of February 21, 1990, when they were given until
March 7, 1990, to submit their counter-affidavits.
On that date, they filed instead a verbal motion for reconsideration which they were
again asked to submit in writing. They had been expressly warned in the subpoena

that "failure to submit counter-affidavits on the date specified shall be deemed a

waiver of their right to submit controverting evidence." Petitioners have a right to
pre-emptory challenge. (Right to challenge validity of members of G/SCM)
It is argued that since the private respondents are officers of the Armed Forces
accused of violations of the Articles of War, the respondent courts have no authority
to order their release and otherwise interfere with the court-martial proceedings.
This is without merit.
The Regional Trial Court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals and
the Supreme Court over petitions for certiorari, prohibition or mandamus against
inferior courts and other bodies and on petitions for habeas corpus and quo warranto.
2. NO. The SC ruled that the bail invoked by petitioners is not available in the
military as an exception to the general rule embodied in the Bill of Rights.
Thus the right to a speedy trial is given more emphasis in the military where the
right to bail does not exist. Justification to this rule involves the unique structure of
the military and national security considerations which may result to damaging
precedents that mutinous soldiers will be released on provisional liberty giving them
the chance to continue their plot in overthrowing the government.
Therefore the decision of the lower court granting bail to the petitioners was reversed.
Dispositive portion:
ACCORDINGLY, in G.R. No. 93177, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. In
G.R. No. 96948, the petition is GRANTED, and the respondents are DIRECTED to
allow the petitioners to exercise the right of peremptory challenge under Article 18 of
the Articles of War. In G.R. Nos. 95020 and 97454, the petitions are also GRANTED,
and the orders of the respondent courts for the release of the private respondents are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs.