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Marcos vs.

Manglapus,
Before the Court is a controversy of grave national importance. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved, the
Court's decision in this case would undeniably have a profound effect on the political, economic and other aspects of
national life.
We recall that in February 1986, Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent "people
power" revolution and forced into exile. In his stead, Corazon C. Aquino was declared President of the Republic under a
revolutionary government. Her ascension to and consilidation of power have not been unchallenged. The failed Manila
Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of Mr. Marcos, the takeover of television station Channel 7 by rebel troops
led by Col. Canlas with the support of "Marcos loyalists" and the unseccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to
surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft chartered by a Lebanese arms dealer [Manila
Bulletin, January 30, 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the Marcoses to stir trouble even from afar and to
the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their followers in the country. The ratification of the 1987 Constitution enshrined the
victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the constitutional moorings of Mrs. Aquino's presidency. This did
not, however, stop bloody challenges to the government. On August 28, 1987, Col. Gregorio Honasan, one of the major
players in the February Revolution, led a failed coup that left scores of people, both combatants and civilians, dead.
There were several other armed sorties of lesser significance, but the message they conveyed was the same a split
in the ranks of the military establishment that thraetened civilian supremacy over military and brought to the fore the
realization that civilian government could be at the mercy of a fractious military.
But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among rabid followers of Mr.
Marcos. There are also the communist insurgency and the seccessionist movement in Mindanao which gained ground
during the rule of Mr. Marcos, to the extent that the communists have set up a parallel government of their own on the
areas they effectively control while the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed bands. There has been no
let up on this groups' determination to wrest power from the govermnent. Not only through resort to arms but also to
through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreating chaos and destabilizing the country.
Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation
attributed to Mr. Marcos and his cronies left the economy devastated. The efforts at economic recovery, three years
after Mrs. Aquino assumed office, have yet to show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the masses, while the
recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has remained elusive.
Now, Mr. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. But Mrs. Aquino,
considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is threatened
from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly on the decision
to bar the return of Mr. Marcos and his family.
The Petition
This case is unique. It should not create a precedent, for the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile after
causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country and who within the short space of three
years seeks to return, is in a class by itself.
This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order the respondents to issue travel documents to Mr.
Marcos and the immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation of the President's decision to bar
their return to the Philippines.
The Issue
Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution, the
President may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines.
According to the petitioners, the resolution of the case would depend on the resolution of the following issues:
1. Does the President have the power to bar the return of former President Marcos and family to the Philippines?
a. Is this a political question?
2. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the
Philippines, in the interest of "national security, public safety or public health
a. Has the President made a finding that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a
clear and present danger to national security, public safety or public health?
b. Assuming that she has made that finding
(1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with in making such finding?

(2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners?


(3) Has there been a hearing?
(4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with, has the President's decision, including the grounds upon
which it was based, been made known to petitioners so that they may controvert the same?
c. Is the President's determination that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear
and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health a political question?
d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the return of former President Marcos and his family is a clear
and present danger to national security, public safety, or public health, have respondents established such fact?
3. Have the respondents, therefore, in implementing the President's decision to bar the return of former President
Marcos and his family, acted and would be acting without jurisdiction, or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse
of discretion, in performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former President Marcos and his family to
the Philippines? [Memorandum for Petitioners, pp. 5-7; Rollo, pp. 234-236.1
The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is
guaranteed under the following provisions of the Bill of Rights, 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.
xxx xxx xxx
Section 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired
except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national
security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.
The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because
only a court may do so "within the limits prescribed by law." Nor may the President impair their right to travel because
no law has authorized her to do so. They advance the view that before the right to travel may be impaired by any
authority or agency of the government, there must be legislation to that effect.
The petitioners further assert that under international law, the right of Mr. Marcos and his family to return to the
Philippines is guaranteed.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides:
Article 13. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Likewise, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which had been ratified by the Philippines, provides:
Article 12
1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and
freedom to choose his residence.
2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are
necessary to protect national security, public order (order public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of
others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.
4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.
On the other hand, the respondents' principal argument is that the issue in this case involves a political question which
is non-justiciable. According to the Solicitor General:
As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family
have the right to travel and liberty of abode. Petitioners invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without reference
to attendant circumstances.
Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and
family have the right to return to the Philippines and reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the
President that such return and residence will endanger national security and public safety.
It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question is not a political question as it involves merely a
determination of what the law provides on the matter and application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and

family. But when the question is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family impinge
on or collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the State to security and safety of its nationals, the
question becomes political and this Honorable Court can not consider it.
There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:
Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence
here? This is clearly a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide.
Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their
residence here even if their return and residence here will endanger national security and public safety? this is still a
justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide.
Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family shall return to the
Philippines and establish their residence here? This is now a political question which this Honorable Court can not
decide for it falls within the exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines. [Memorandum for
Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.]
Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights. In support
thereof, they cite Article II of the Constitution, to wit:
Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the
people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by
law, to render personal, military, or civil service.
Section 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 by all the people of the blessings of democracy.
Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and family from returning to the Philippines for reasons
of national security and public safety has international precedents. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Anastacio
Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio batista of Cuba, King Farouk of Egypt, Maximiliano
Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among the deposed dictators whose
return to their homelands was prevented by their governments. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S.
Manglapus, quoted in Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 26-32; Rollo, pp. 314-319.]
The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of presidential power and its limits. We,
however, view this issue in a different light. Although we give due weight to the parties' formulation of the issues, we
are not bound by its narrow confines in arriving at a solution to the controversy.
At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines of the right to travel and the
import of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the leading cases of Kent v. Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt 1113, 2 L
Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v. Agee [453 U.S. 280, 101 SCt 2766, 69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to travel and
recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof, respectively.
It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines to other countries
or within the Philippines. These are what the right to travel would normally connote. Essentially, the right involved is
the right to return to one's country, a totally distinct right under international law, independent from although related
to the right to travel. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a state, the right to leave a
country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. The Declaration speaks of the "right to
freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art. 13(l)] separately from the "right to leave
any country, including his own, and to return to his country." [Art. 13(2).] On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees
the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" [Art. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave
any country, including his own." [Art. 12(2)] which rights may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect
national security, public order, public health or morals or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily
deprived." [Art. 12(4).] It would therefore be inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to return to one's
country in the same context as those pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel.
The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which treats
only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is our well-considered view that the right to return may be
considered, as a generally accepted principle of international law and, under our Constitution, is part of the law of the
land [Art. II, Sec. 2 of the Constitution.] However, it is distinct and separate from the right to travel and enjoys a
different protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, i.e., against being "arbitrarily
deprived" thereof [Art. 12 (4).]
Thus, the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the issuance of passports for the purpose of effectively
exercising the right to travel are not determinative of this case and are only tangentially material insofar as they relate

to a conflict between executive action and the exercise of a protected right. The issue before the Court is novel and
without precedent in Philippine, and even in American jurisprudence.
Consequently, resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of whether or not there can be limitations on the right
to travel in the absence of legislation to that effect is rendered unnecessary. An appropriate case for its resolution will
have to be awaited.
Having clarified the substance of the legal issue, we find now a need to explain the methodology for its resolution. Our
resolution of the issue will involve a two-tiered approach. We shall first resolve whether or not the President has the
power under the Constitution, to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. Then, we shall determine,
pursuant to the express power of the Court under the Constitution in Article VIII, Section 1, whether or not the
President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she
determined that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare
and decided to bar their return.
Executive Power
The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of the three great branches of government. To recall
the words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. 139 (1936)], "the Constitution has blocked but
with deft strokes and in bold lines, allotment of power to the executive, the legislative and the judicial departments of
the government." [At 157.1 Thus, the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative power shall be vested
in the Congress of the Philippines" Art VI, Sec. 11, "[t]he executive power shall bevested in the President of the
Philippines" [Art. VII, Sec. 11, and "[te judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as
may be established by law" [Art. VIII, Sec. 1.] These provisions not only establish a separation of powers by actual
division [Angara v. Electoral Commission, supra] but also confer plenary legislative, executive and judicial powers
subject only to limitations provided in the Constitution. For as the Supreme Court in Ocampo v. Cabangis [15 Phil. 626
(1910)] pointed out "a grant of the legislative power means a grant of all legislative power; and a grant of the judicial
power means a grant of all the judicial power which may be exercised under the government." [At 631-632.1 If this can
be said of the legislative power which is exercised by two chambers with a combined membership of more than two
hundred members and of the judicial power which is vested in a hierarchy of courts, it can equally be said of the
executive power which is vested in one official the President.
As stated above, the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the
Philippines." [Art. VII, Sec. 1]. However, it does not define what is meant by executive power" although in the same
article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all executive
departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws, the appointing power, the powers under the
commander-in-chief clause, the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons, the power to grant amnesty
with the concurrence of Congress, the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans, the power to enter into treaties or
international agreements, the power to submit the budget to Congress, and the power to address Congress [Art. VII,
Sec. 14-23].
The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the Constitution
intend that the President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are these se enumerated powers the
breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are limited to those
specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. Thus, they assert: "The President has enumerated powers, and what
is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. Inclusion unius est exclusio alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners, p. 4Rollo p. 233.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the U.S. Presidency after which ours is legally
patterned.**
Corwin, in his monumental volume on the President of the United States grappled with the same problem. He said:
Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To those who think that a constitution ought to settle
everything beforehand it should be a nightmare; by the same token, to those who think that constitution makers ought
to leave considerable leeway for the future play of political forces, it should be a vision realized.
We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: "The executive power shall be vested in a President
of the United States of America." . . .. [The President: Office and Powers, 17871957, pp. 3-4.]
Reviewing how the powers of the U.S. President were exercised by the different persons who held the office from
Washington to the early 1900's, and the swing from the presidency by commission to Lincoln's dictatorship, he
concluded that "what the presidency is at any particular moment depends in important measure on who is President."
[At 30.]
This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial Presidency:
For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution. it remained of course, an agency of government
subject to unvarying demands and duties no remained, of cas President. But, more than most agencies of government,
it changed shape, intensity and ethos according to the man in charge. Each President's distinctive temperament and

character, his values, standards, style, his habits, expectations, Idiosyncrasies, compulsions, phobias recast the
WhiteHouse and pervaded the entire government. The executive branch, said Clark Clifford, was a chameleon, taking
its color from the character and personality of the President. The thrust of the office, its impact on the constitutional
order, therefore altered from President to President. Above all, the way each President understood it as his personal
obligation to inform and involve the Congress, to earn and hold the confidence of the electorate and to render an
accounting to the nation and posterity determined whether he strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. [At
212- 213.]
We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. Aquino says it is or what she does but, rather, that the consideration of
tradition and the development of presidential power under the different constitutions are essential for a complete
understanding of the extent of and limitations to the President's powers under the 1987 Constitution. The 1935
Constitution created a strong President with explicitly broader powers than the U.S. President. The 1973 Constitution
attempted to modify the system of government into the parliamentary type, with the President as a mere figurehead,
but through numerous amendments, the President became even more powerful, to the point that he was also the de
facto Legislature. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and restored
the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution among three distinct branches of
government with provision for checks and balances.
It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws, for the President is
head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless
the Constitution itself withholds it. Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the laws is only
one of the powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any
provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.
On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise of
specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive
power." Corollarily, the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in
the Constitution. In other words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated,
It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to be
executive. Thus, in the landmark decision of Springer v. Government of the Philippine Islands, 277 U.S. 189 (1928), on
the issue of who between the Governor-General of the Philippines and the Legislature may vote the shares of stock
held by the Government to elect directors in the National Coal Company and the Philippine National Bank, the U.S.
Supreme Court, in upholding the power of the Governor-General to do so, said:
...Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the "board" and "committee" respectively, are not
charged with the performance of any legislative functions or with the doing of anything which is in aid of performance
of any such functions by the legislature. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the duties devolved upon
these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General, it is clear that they are not legislative in
character, and still more clear that they are not judicial. The fact that they do not fall within the authority of either of
these two constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that of the remaining one among which the
powers of government are divided ....[At 202-203; Emphasis supplied.]
We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. But in his enduring words of dissent we find reinforcement for
the view that it would indeed be a folly to construe the powers of a branch of government to embrace only what are
specifically mentioned in the Constitution:
The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. Even the more specific of
them are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other. ....
xxx xxx xxx
It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot
carry out the distinction between legislative and executive action with mathematical precision and divide the branches
into watertight compartments, were it ever so desirable to do so, which I am far from believing that it is, or that the
Constitution requires. [At 210- 211.]
The Power Involved
The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and
protect the people" and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order,the protection of life, liberty, and property, and
the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy."
[Art. II, Secs. 4 and 5.]
Admittedly, service and protection of the people, the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty
and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide governmental action. But such
does not mean that they are empty words. Thus, in the exercise of presidential functions, in drawing a plan of
government, and in directing implementing action for these plans, or from another point of view, in making any

decision as President of the Republic, the President has to consider these principles, among other things, and adhere
to them.
Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the Philippines, the
President is, under the Constitution, constrained to consider these basic principles in arriving at a decision. More than
that, having sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution, the President has the obligation under the Constitution to
protect the people, promote their welfare and advance the national interest. It must be borne in mind that the
Constitution, aside from being an allocation of power is also a social contract whereby the people have surrendered
their sovereign powers to the State for the common good. Hence, lest the officers of the Government exercising the
powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers, the Constitution reminds
everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them." [Art. II, Sec. 1.]
The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the country are the deposed
dictator and his family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from whom billions of dollars believed to
be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither absolute nor
inflexible. For the exercise of even the preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression, although couched in absolute
terms, admits of limits and must be adjusted to the requirements of equally important public interests [Zaldivar v.
Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707, October 7, 1981.]
To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise of
rights of certain individuals. The power involved is the President's residual power to protect the general welfare of the
people. It is founded on the duty of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, it is not
only the power of the President but also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the laws that the
needs of the nation demand [See Corwin, supra, at 153]. It is a power borne by the President's duty to preserve and
defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President's duty to take care that the laws are
faithfully executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the author advances the view that an allowance of
discretionary power is unavoidable in any government and is best lodged in the President].
More particularly, this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace. Rossiter The
American Presidency].The power of the President to keep the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commanderin-chief powers in times of emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence. The
President is not only clothed with extraordinary powers in times of emergency, but is also tasked with attending to the
day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe
appears on the horizon. Wide discretion, within the bounds of law, in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is
not in any way diminished by the relative want of an emergency specified in the commander-in-chief provision. For in
making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the
President's exercising as Commander-in- Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces, or suspending the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law, in order to keep the peace, and maintain public order
and security.
That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has been recognized by
memembers of the Legislature, and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives and
signed by 103 of its members urging the President to allow Mr. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a genuine
unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to
uncompromising respect for human rights under the Constitution and our laws." [House Resolution No. 1342, Rollo, p.
321.1 The Resolution does not question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines,
rather, it appeals to the President's sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his country.
What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines
cannot be considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode and the right to
travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations even remotely similar
to the present one. It must be treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of
the President which are implicit in and correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and
protect general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the exercise of a broader discretion
on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.
The Extent of Review
Under the Constitution, judicial power includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government."
[Art. VIII, Sec. 1] Given this wording, we cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue constitutes a political
question which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court to decide.
The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into
areas which the Court, under previous constitutions, would have normally left to the political departments to decide.
But nonetheless there remain issues beyond the Court's jurisdiction the determination of which is exclusively for the
President, for Congress or for the people themselves through a plebiscite or referendum. We cannot, for example,

question the President's recognition of a foreign government, no matter how premature or improvident such action
may appear. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it may appear to us that the beneficiary is totally
undeserving of the grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of resolving a dispute brought before us
because the power is reserved to the people.
There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our determination thereof on the political question doctrine. The
deliberations of the Constitutional Commission cited by petitioners show that the framers intended to widen the scope
of judicial review but they did not intend courts of justice to settle all actual controversies before them. When political
questions are involved, the Constitution limits the determination to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being questioned. If
grave abuse is not established, the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the official concerned and decide a
matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to decide. In this light, it would appear clear that the second
paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution, defining "judicial power," which specifically empowers the
courts to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or
instrumentality of the government, incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling in Lansang v. Garcia [G.R. No. L33964, December 11, 1971, 42 SCRA 4481 that:]
Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to the principle of separation of powers underlying our system of
government, the Executive is supreme within his own sphere. However, the separation of powers, under the
Constitution, is not absolute. What is more, it goes hand in hand with the system of checks and balances, under which
the Executive is supreme, as regards the suspension of the privilege, but only if and when he acts within the sphere
alloted to him by the Basic Law, and the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the Judicial
Department, which, in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme. In the exercise of such authority, the function
of the Court is merely to check not to supplant the Executive, or to ascertain merely whether he has gone beyond
the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction, not to exercise the power vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his
act [At 479-480.]
Accordingly, the question for the Court to determine is whether or not there exist factual bases for the President to
conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines. If such postulates do
exist, it cannot be said that she has acted, or acts, arbitrarily or that she has gravely abused her discretion in deciding
to bar their return.
We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties, from their oral arguments, and the facts revealed during the
briefing in chambers by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Adviser,
wherein petitioners and respondents were represented, there exist factual bases for the President's decision..
The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from within by a wellorganized communist insurgency, a separatist movement in Mindanao, rightist conspiracies to grab power, urban
terrorism, the murder with impunity of military men, police officers and civilian officials, to mention only a few. The
documented history of the efforts of the Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country, as earlier narrated in
this ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of the Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify
the violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos.
As divergent and discordant forces, the enemies of the State may be contained. The military establishment has given
assurances that it could handle the threats posed by particular groups. But it is the catalytic effect of the return of the
Marcoses that may prove to be the proverbial final straw that would break the camel's back. With these before her, the
President cannot be said to have acted arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in determining that the return of
the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return.
It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of violence against
the State, that would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the commander-in-chief powers granted her
by the Constitution to suppress or stamp out such violence. The State, acting through the Government, is not
precluded from taking pre- emptive action against threats to its existence if, though still nascent they are perceived as
apt to become serious and direct. Protection of the people is the essence of the duty of government. The preservation
of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the highest order. The President, sworn to
preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws, cannot shirk from that responsibility.
We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships brought
about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives, many of
whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize the country, while the Government has barely
scratched the surface, so to speak, in its efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in
foreign jurisdictions. Then, We cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the
excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root
causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of common
knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice.

The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains
achieved during the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. Given what is within our individual and
common knowledge of the state of the economy, we cannot argue with that determination.
WHEREFORE, and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of
discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present time and under
present circumstances poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the
Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

DIGEST:
MARCOS VS. MANGLAPUS [177 SCRA 668; G.R. NO. 88211; 15 SEPT 1989]

Facts: This case involves a petition of mandamus and prohibition asking the court to order the
respondents Secretary of Foreign Affairs, etc. To issue a travel documents to former Pres. Marcos
and the immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation of the President's
decision to bar their return to the Philippines. Petitioners assert that the right of the Marcoses to
return in the Philippines is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, specifically Sections 1 and 6. They
contended that Pres. Aquino is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses
because only a court may do so within the limits prescribed by law. Nor the President impair their
right to travel because no law has authorized her to do so.
They further assert that under international law, their right to return to the Philippines is
guaranteed particularly by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which has been ratified by the Philippines.
Issue: Whether or not, in the exercise of the powers granted by the constitution, the President
(Aquino) may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines.
Held: "It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the
Philippines to other countries or within the Philippines. These are what the right to travel would
normally connote. Essentially, the right involved in this case at bar is the right to return to one's
country, a distinct right under international law, independent from although related to the right
to travel. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of
a state, the right to leave the country, and the right to enter one's country as separate and
distinct rights. What the Declaration speaks of is the "right to freedom of movement and
residence within the borders of each state". On the other hand, the Covenant guarantees the
right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence and the right to be free to
leave any country, including his own. Such rights may only be restricted by laws protecting the
national security, public order, public health or morals or the separate rights of others. However,
right to enter one's country cannot be arbitrarily deprived. It would be therefore inappropriate to
construe the limitations to the right to return to ones country in the same context as those
pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel.

The Bill of rights treats only the liberty of abode and the right to travel, but it is a well considered
view that the right to return may be considered, as a generally accepted principle of International
Law and under our Constitution as part of the law of the land.
The court held that President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in
determining that the return of the Former Pres. Marcos and his family poses a serious threat to
national interest and welfare. President Aquino has determined that the destabilization caused by

the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains achieved during the past few years after
the Marcos regime.
The return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat and therefore prohibiting their return to the
Philippines, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.

G.R. No. 88211

October 27, 1989

FERDINAND E. MARCOS, IMELDA R. MARCOS, FERDINAND R. MARCOS. JR., IRENE M. ARANETA,


IMEE M. MANOTOC, TOMAS MANOTOC, GREGORIO ARANETA, PACIFICO E. MARCOS, NICANOR
YIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA), represented by its
President, CONRADO F. ESTRELLA, petitioners,
vs.
HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS, CATALINO MACARAIG, SEDFREY ORDOEZ, MIRIAM DEFENSOR
SANTIAGO, FIDEL RAMOS, RENATO DE VILLA, in their capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs,
Executive Secretary, Secretary of Justice, Immigration Commissioner, Secretary of National
Defense and Chief of Staff, respectively, respondents.

RESOLUTION
EN BANC:

In its decision dated September 15,1989, the Court, by a vote of eight (8) to seven (7), dismissed
the petition, after finding that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of
discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present
time and under present circumstances pose a threat to national interest and welfare and in
prohibiting their return to the Philippines. On September 28, 1989, former President Marcos died
in Honolulu, Hawaii. In a statement, President Aquino said:

In the interest of the safety of those who will take the death of Mr. Marcos in widely and
passionately conflicting ways, and for the tranquility of the state and order of society, the
remains of Ferdinand E. Marcos will not be allowed to be brought to our country until such time
as the government, be it under this administration or the succeeding one, shall otherwise decide.
[Motion for Reconsideration, p. 1; Rollo, p, 443.]

On October 2, 1989, a Motion for Reconsideration was filed by petitioners, raising the following
major arguments:

1.
to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines is to deny
them not only the inherent right of citizens to return to their country of birth but also the
protection of the Constitution and all of the rights guaranteed to Filipinos under the Constitution;
2.
the President has no power to bar a Filipino from his own country; if she has, she had
exercised it arbitrarily; and
3.
there is no basis for barring the return of the family of former President Marcos. Thus,
petitioners prayed that the Court reconsider its decision, order respondents to issue the
necessary travel documents to enable Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Irene M.
Araneta, Imee M. Manotoc, Tommy Manotoc and Gregorio Araneta to return to the Philippines,
and enjoin respondents from implementing President Aquino's decision to bar the return of the
remains of Mr. Marcos, and the other petitioners, to the Philippines.

Commenting on the motion for reconsideration, the Solicitor General argued that the motion for
reconsideration is moot and academic as to the deceased Mr. Marcos. Moreover, he asserts that
"the 'formal' rights being invoked by the Marcoses under the label 'right to return', including the
label 'return of Marcos' remains, is in reality or substance a 'right' to destabilize the country, a
'right' to hide the Marcoses' incessant shadowy orchestrated efforts at destabilization."
[Comment, p. 29.] Thus, he prays that the Motion for Reconsideration be denied for lack of merit.

We deny the motion for reconsideration.

1.
It must be emphasized that as in all motions for reconsideration, the burden is upon the
movants, petitioner herein, to show that there are compelling reasons to reconsider the decision
of the Court.

2.
After a thorough consideration of the matters raised in the motion for reconsideration, the
Court is of the view that no compelling reasons have been established by petitioners to warrant a
reconsideration of the Court's decision.

The death of Mr. Marcos, although it may be viewed as a supervening event, has not changed the
factual scenario under which the Court's decision was rendered. The threats to the government,
to which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed to provide a catalytic effect, have not been
shown to have ceased. On the contrary, instead of erasing fears as to the destabilization that will
be caused by the return of the Marcoses, Mrs. Marcos reinforced the basis for the decision to bar
their return when she called President Aquino "illegal," claiming that it is Mr. Marcos, not Mrs.
Aquino, who is the "legal" President of the Philippines, and declared that the matter "should be
brought to all the courts of the world." [Comment, p. 1; Philippine Star, October 4, 1989.]

3.
Contrary to petitioners' view, it cannot be denied that the President, upon whom executive
power is vested, has unstated residual powers which are implied from the grant of executive
power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the Constitution. The
powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the
Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. This is so, notwithstanding
the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers
of the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Marcos, for the result was a

limitation of specific power of the President, particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief
clause, but not a diminution of the general grant of executive power.

That the President has powers other than those expressly stated in the Constitution is nothing
new. This is recognized under the U.S. Constitution from which we have patterned the
distribution of governmental powers among three (3) separate branches.

Article II, [section] 1, provides that "The Executive Power shall be vested in a President of the
United States of America." In Alexander Hamilton's widely accepted view, this statement cannot
be read as mere shorthand for the specific executive authorizations that follow it in [sections] 2
and 3. Hamilton stressed the difference between the sweeping language of article II, section 1,
and the conditional language of article I, [section] 1: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall
be vested in a Congress of the United States . . ." Hamilton submitted that "[t]he [article III
enumeration [in sections 2 and 31 ought therefore to be considered, as intended merely to
specify the principal articles implied in the definition of execution power; leaving the rest to flow
from the general grant of that power, interpreted in confomity with other parts of the
Constitution...

In Myers v. United States, the Supreme Court accepted Hamilton's proposition, concluding that
the federal executive, unlike the Congress, could exercise power from sources not enumerated,
so long as not forbidden by the constitutional text: the executive power was given in general
terms, strengthened by specific terms where emphasis was regarded as appropriate, and was
limited by direct expressions where limitation was needed. . ." The language of Chief Justice Taft
in Myers makes clear that the constitutional concept of inherent power is not a synonym for
power without limit; rather, the concept suggests only that not all powers granted in the
Constitution are themselves exhausted by internal enumeration, so that, within a sphere properly
regarded as one of "executive' power, authority is implied unless there or elsewhere expressly
limited. [TRIBE, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 158-159 (1978).]

And neither can we subscribe to the view that a recognition of the President's implied or residual
powers is tantamount to setting the stage for another dictatorship. Despite petitioners' strained
analogy, the residual powers of the President under the Constitution should not be confused with
the power of the President under the 1973 Constitution to legislate pursuant to Amendment No.
6 which provides:

Whenever in the judgment of the President (Prime Minister), there exists a grave emergency or a
threat or imminence thereof, or whenever the interim Batasang Pambansa or the regular
National Assembly fails or is unable to act adequately on any matter for any reason that in his
judgment requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the exigency, issue the necessary
decrees, orders, or letters of instruction, which shall form part of the law of the land,
There is no similarity between the residual powers of the President under the 1987 Constitution
and the power of the President under the 1973 Constitution pursuant to Amendment No. 6. First
of all, Amendment No. 6 refers to an express grant of power. It is not implied. Then, Amendment
No. 6 refers to a grant to the President of the specific power of legislation.
4.
Among the duties of the President under the Constitution, in compliance with his (or her)
oath of office, is to protect and promote the interest and welfare of the people. Her decision to

bar the return of the Marcoses and subsequently, the remains of Mr. Marcos at the present time
and under present circumstances is in compliance with this bounden duty. In the absence of a
clear showing that she had acted with arbitrariness or with grave abuse of discretion in arriving
at this decision, the Court will not enjoin the implementation of this decision.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolved to DENY the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit."

2. LUKBAN VS. VILLACENCIO


The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as remarkable as the one which this application for habeas
corpus submits for decision. While hardly to be expected to be met with in this modern epoch of triumphant
democracy, yet, after all, the cause presents no great difficulty if there is kept in the forefront of our minds the basic
principles of popular government, and if we give expression to the paramount purpose for which the courts, as an
independent power of such a government, were constituted. The primary question is Shall the judiciary permit a
government of the men instead of a government of laws to be set up in the Philippine Islands?

Omitting much extraneous matter, of no moment to these proceedings, but which might prove profitable reading for
other departments of the government, the facts are these: The Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best
of all reasons, to exterminate vice, ordered the segregated district for women of ill repute, which had been permitted
for a number of years in the city of Manila, closed. Between October 16 and October 25, 1918, the women were kept
confined to their houses in the district by the police. Presumably, during this period, the city authorities quietly
perfected arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for sending the women to Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with some
government office for the use of the coastguard cutters Corregidor and Negros, and with the Constabulary for a guard
of soldiers. At any rate, about midnight of October 25, the police, acting pursuant to orders from the chief of police,
Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, descended upon the houses, hustled some 170
inmates into patrol wagons, and placed them aboard the steamers that awaited their arrival. The women were given
no opportunity to collect their belongings, and apparently were under the impression that they were being taken to a
police station for an investigation. They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in Mindanao. They had not
been asked if they wished to depart from that region and had neither directly nor indirectly given their consent to the
deportation. The involuntary guests were received on board the steamers by a representative of the Bureau of Labor
and a detachment of Constabulary soldiers. The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for Davao during
the night of October 25.

The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. The women were landed and receipted for as laborers
by Francisco Sales, provincial governor of Davao, and by Feliciano Yigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor and the
hacendero Yigo, who appear as parties in the case, had no previous notification that the women were prostitutes who
had been expelled from the city of Manila. The further happenings to these women and the serious charges growing
out of alleged ill-treatment are of public interest, but are not essential to the disposition of this case. Suffice it to say,
generally, that some of the women married, others assumed more or less clandestine relations with men, others went
to work in different capacities, others assumed a life unknown and disappeared, and a goodly portion found means to
return to Manila.

To turn back in our narrative, just about the time the Corregidor and the Negros were putting in to Davao, the attorney
for the relatives and friends of a considerable number of the deportees presented an application for habeas corpus to
a member of the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the application, through stipulation of the parties, was made to
include all of the women who were sent away from Manila to Davao and, as the same questions concerned them all,
the application will be considered as including them. The application set forth the salient facts, which need not be
repeated, and alleged that the women were illegally restrained of their liberty by Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of
Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, and by certain unknown parties. The writ was made
returnable before the full court. The city fiscal appeared for the respondents, Lukban and Hohmann, admitted certain
facts relative to sequestration and deportation, and prayed that the writ should not be granted because the petitioners
were not proper parties, because the action should have been begun in the Court of First Instance for Davao,
Department of Mindanao and Sulu, because the respondents did not have any of the women under their custody or
control, and because their jurisdiction did not extend beyond the boundaries of the city of Manila. According to an
exhibit attached to the answer of the fiscal, the 170 women were destined to be laborers, at good salaries, on the
haciendas of Yigo and Governor Sales. In open court, the fiscal admitted, in answer to question of a member of the

court, that these women had been sent out of Manila without their consent. The court awarded the writ, in an order of
November 4, that directed Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of
Manila, Francisco Sales, governor of the province of Davao, and Feliciano Yigo, an hacendero of Davao, to bring
before the court the persons therein named, alleged to be deprived of their liberty, on December 2, 1918.

Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had returned to Manila at their own expense. On motion of counsel for
petitioners, their testimony was taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioners. On the day
named in the order, December 2nd, 1918, none of the persons in whose behalf the writ was issued were produced in
court by the respondents. It has been shown that three of those who had been able to come back to Manila through
their own efforts, were notified by the police and the secret service to appear before the court. The fiscal appeared,
repeated the facts more comprehensively, reiterated the stand taken by him when pleading to the original petition
copied a telegram from the Mayor of the city of Manila to the provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto,
and telegrams that had passed between the Director of Labor and the attorney for that Bureau then in Davao, and
offered certain affidavits showing that the women were contained with their life in Mindanao and did not wish to return
to Manila. Respondents Sales answered alleging that it was not possible to fulfill the order of the Supreme Court
because the women had never been under his control, because they were at liberty in the Province of Davao, and
because they had married or signed contracts as laborers. Respondent Yigo answered alleging that he did not have
any of the women under his control and that therefore it was impossible for him to obey the mandate. The court, after
due deliberation, on December 10, 1918, promulgated a second order, which related that the respondents had not
complied with the original order to the satisfaction of the court nor explained their failure to do so, and therefore
directed that those of the women not in Manila be brought before the court by respondents Lukban, Hohmann, Sales,
and Yigo on January 13, 1919, unless the women should, in written statements voluntarily made before the judge of
first instance of Davao or the clerk of that court, renounce the right, or unless the respondents should demonstrate
some other legal motives that made compliance impossible. It was further stated that the question of whether the
respondents were in contempt of court would later be decided and the reasons for the order announced in the final
decision.

Before January 13, 1919, further testimony including that of a number of the women, of certain detectives and
policemen, and of the provincial governor of Davao, was taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as
commissioner and the clerk of the Court of First Instance of Davao acting in the same capacity. On January 13, 1919,
the respondents technically presented before the Court the women who had returned to the city through their own
efforts and eight others who had been brought to Manila by the respondents. Attorneys for the respondents, by their
returns, once again recounted the facts and further endeavored to account for all of the persons involved in the
habeas corpus. In substance, it was stated that the respondents, through their representatives and agents, had
succeeded in bringing from Davao with their consent eight women; that eighty-one women were found in Davao who,
on notice that if they desired they could return to Manila, transportation fee, renounced the right through sworn
statements; that fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by other means, and that despite all efforts to find them
twenty-six could not be located. Both counsel for petitioners and the city fiscal were permitted to submit memoranda.
The first formally asked the court to find Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of
the city of Manila, Jose Rodriguez and Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila, Feliciano
Yigo, an hacendero of Davao, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau of Labor, and Anacleto Diaz, fiscal of the
city of Manila, in contempt of court. The city fiscal requested that the replica al memorandum de los recurridos, (reply
to respondents' memorandum) dated January 25, 1919, be struck from the record.

In the second order, the court promised to give the reasons for granting the writ of habeas corpus in the final decision.
We will now proceed to do so.

One fact, and one fact only, need be recalled these one hundred and seventy women were isolated from society,
and then at night, without their consent and without any opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their rights,
were forcibly hustled on board steamers for transportation to regions unknown. Despite the feeble attempt to prove
that the women left voluntarily and gladly, that such was not the case is shown by the mere fact that the presence of
the police and the constabulary was deemed necessary and that these officers of the law chose the shades of night to
cloak their secret and stealthy acts. Indeed, this is a fact impossible to refute and practically admitted by the
respondents.

With this situation, a court would next expect to resolve the question By authority of what law did the Mayor and the
Chief of Police presume to act in deporting by duress these persons from Manila to another distant locality within the
Philippine Islands? We turn to the statutes and we find

Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands in conformity with an Act of congress. The GovernorGeneral can order the eviction of undesirable aliens after a hearing from the Islands. Act No. 519 of the Philippine
Commission and section 733 of the Revised Ordinances of the city of Manila provide for the conviction and punishment
by a court of justice of any person who is a common prostitute. Act No. 899 authorizes the return of any citizen of the
United States, who may have been convicted of vagrancy, to the homeland. New York and other States have statutes
providing for the commitment to the House of Refuge of women convicted of being common prostitutes. Always a law!
Even when the health authorities compel vaccination, or establish a quarantine, or place a leprous person in the Culion
leper colony, it is done pursuant to some law or order. But one can search in vain for any law, order, or regulation,
which even hints at the right of the Mayor of the city of Manila or the chief of police of that city to force citizens of the
Philippine Islands and these women despite their being in a sense lepers of society are nevertheless not chattels but
Philippine citizens protected by the same constitutional guaranties as are other citizens to change their domicile
from Manila to another locality. On the contrary, Philippine penal law specifically punishes any public officer who, not
being expressly authorized by law or regulation, compels any person to change his residence.

In other countries, as in Spain and Japan, the privilege of domicile is deemed so important as to be found in the Bill of
Rights of the Constitution. Under the American constitutional system, liberty of abode is a principle so deeply
imbedded in jurisprudence and considered so elementary in nature as not even to require a constitutional sanction.
Even the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands, even the President of the United States, who has often been said
to exercise more power than any king or potentate, has no such arbitrary prerogative, either inherent or express. Much
less, therefore, has the executive of a municipality, who acts within a sphere of delegated powers. If the mayor and the
chief of police could, at their mere behest or even for the most praiseworthy of motives, render the liberty of the
citizen so insecure, then the presidents and chiefs of police of one thousand other municipalities of the Philippines
have the same privilege. If these officials can take to themselves such power, then any other official can do the same.
And if any official can exercise the power, then all persons would have just as much right to do so. And if a prostitute
could be sent against her wishes and under no law from one locality to another within the country, then officialdom
can hold the same club over the head of any citizen.

Law defines power. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed that "No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or be
disseized of his freehold, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will
we pass upon him nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. We will sell to no
man, we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right." (Magna Charta, 9 Hen., 111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 eng.
stat. at Large, 7.) No official, no matter how high, is above the law. The courts are the forum which functionate to
safeguard individual liberty and to punish official transgressors. "The law," said Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of
the Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only supreme power in our system of government, and every man who
by accepting office participates in its functions is only the more strongly bound to submit to that supremacy, and to
observe the limitations which it imposes upon the exercise of the authority which it gives." (U.S. vs. Lee [1882], 106
U.S., 196, 220.) "The very idea," said Justice Matthews of the same high tribunal in another case, "that one man may
be compelled to hold his life, or the means of living, or any material right essential to the enjoyment of life, at the
mere will of another, seems to be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery
itself." (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356, 370.) All this explains the motive in issuing the writ of habeas
corpus, and makes clear why we said in the very beginning that the primary question was whether the courts should
permit a government of men or a government of laws to be established in the Philippine Islands.

What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression? The remedies of the citizen are three: (1) Civil
action; (2) criminal action, and (3) habeas corpus.
The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the aggrieved party may recoup money damages. It may still
rest with the parties in interest to pursue such an action, but it was never intended effectively and promptly to meet
any such situation as that now before us.
As to criminal responsibility, it is true that the Penal Code in force in these Islands provides:
Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or by regulations of a general character in force in the Philippines
who shall banish any person to a place more than two hundred kilometers distant from his domicile, except it be by
virtue of the judgment of a court, shall be punished by a fine of not less than three hundred and twenty-five and not
more than three thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas.

Any public officer not thereunto expressly authorized by law or by regulation of a general character in force in the
Philippines who shall compel any person to change his domicile or residence shall suffer the penalty of destierro and a
fine of not less than six hundred and twenty-five and not more than six thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. (Art.
211.)

We entertain no doubt but that, if, after due investigation, the proper prosecuting officers find that any public officer
has violated this provision of law, these prosecutors will institute and press a criminal prosecution just as vigorously as
they have defended the same official in this action. Nevertheless, that the act may be a crime and that the persons
guilty thereof can be proceeded against, is no bar to the instant proceedings. To quote the words of Judge Cooley in a
case which will later be referred to "It would be a monstrous anomaly in the law if to an application by one
unlawfully confined, ta be restored to his liberty, it could be a sufficient answer that the confinement was a crime, and
therefore might be continued indefinitely until the guilty party was tried and punished therefor by the slow process of
criminal procedure." (In the matter of Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416, 434.) The writ of habeas corpus was devised and
exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient
defense of personal freedom. Any further rights of the parties are left untouched by decision on the writ, whose
principal purpose is to set the individual at liberty.

Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, respondents have raised three specific objections to its issuance in
this instance. The fiscal has argued (l) that there is a defect in parties petitioners, (2) that the Supreme Court should
not a assume jurisdiction, and (3) that the person in question are not restrained of their liberty by respondents. It was
finally suggested that the jurisdiction of the Mayor and the chief of police of the city of Manila only extends to the city
limits and that perforce they could not bring the women from Davao.
The first defense was not presented with any vigor by counsel. The petitioners were relatives and friends of the
deportees. The way the expulsion was conducted by the city officials made it impossible for the women to sign a
petition for habeas corpus. It was consequently proper for the writ to be submitted by persons in their behalf. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 78; Code of Civil Procedure, sec. 527.) The law, in its zealous regard for personal liberty, even
makes it the duty of a court or judge to grant a writ of habeas corpus if there is evidence that within the court's
jurisdiction a person is unjustly imprisoned or restrained of his liberty, though no application be made therefor. (Code
of Criminal Procedure, sec. 93.) Petitioners had standing in court.

The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked for in the Court of First Instance of Davao or should
have been made returnable before that court. It is a general rule of good practice that, to avoid unnecessary expense
and inconvenience, petitions for habeas corpus should be presented to the nearest judge of the court of first instance.
But this is not a hard and fast rule. The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court or any judge
thereof enforcible anywhere in the Philippine Islands. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 79; Code of Civil Procedure,
sec. 526.) Whether the writ shall be made returnable before the Supreme Court or before an inferior court rests in the
discretion of the Supreme Court and is dependent on the particular circumstances. In this instance it was not shown
that the Court of First Instance of Davao was in session, or that the women had any means by which to advance their
plea before that court. On the other hand, it was shown that the petitioners with their attorneys, and the two original
respondents with their attorney, were in Manila; it was shown that the case involved parties situated in different parts
of the Islands; it was shown that the women might still be imprisoned or restrained of their liberty; and it was shown
that if the writ was to accomplish its purpose, it must be taken cognizance of and decided immediately by the
appellate court. The failure of the superior court to consider the application and then to grant the writ would have
amounted to a denial of the benefits of the writ.

The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more difficult to meet. When the writ was prayed for, says
counsel, the parties in whose behalf it was asked were under no restraint; the women, it is claimed, were free in
Davao, and the jurisdiction of the mayor and the chief of police did not extend beyond the city limits. At first blush, this
is a tenable position. On closer examination, acceptance of such dictum is found to be perversive of the first principles
of the writ of habeas corpus.

A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The essential object and
purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from
voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of
action is sufficient. The forcible taking of these women from Manila by officials of that city, who handed them over to

other parties, who deposited them in a distant region, deprived these women of freedom of locomotion just as
effectively as if they had been imprisoned. Placed in Davao without either money or personal belongings, they were
prevented from exercising the liberty of going when and where they pleased. The restraint of liberty which began in
Manila continued until the aggrieved parties were returned to Manila and released or until they freely and truly waived
his right.

Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a defense would mean. The chief executive of any municipality in
the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take a private citizen and place him beyond the boundaries of the
municipality, and then, when called upon to defend his official action, could calmly fold his hands and claim that the
person was under no restraint and that he, the official, had no jurisdiction over this other municipality. We believe the
true principle should be that, if the respondent is within the jurisdiction of the court and has it in his power to obey the
order of the court and thus to undo the wrong that he has inflicted, he should be compelled to do so. Even if the party
to whom the writ is addressed has illegally parted with the custody of a person before the application for the writ is no
reason why the writ should not issue. If the mayor and the chief of police, acting under no authority of law, could
deport these women from the city of Manila to Davao, the same officials must necessarily have the same means to
return them from Davao to Manila. The respondents, within the reach of process, may not be permitted to restrain a
fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile and to avow the act with impunity in the courts, while
the person who has lost her birthright of liberty has no effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be
easily evaded.

It must be that some such question has heretofore been presented to the courts for decision. Nevertheless, strange as
it may seem, a close examination of the authorities fails to reveal any analogous case. Certain decisions of respectable
courts are however very persuasive in nature.

A question came before the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan at an early date as to whether or not a writ of
habeas corpus would issue from the Supreme Court to a person within the jurisdiction of the State to bring into the
State a minor child under guardianship in the State, who has been and continues to be detained in another State. The
membership of the Michigan Supreme Court at this time was notable. It was composed of Martin, chief justice, and
Cooley, Campbell, and Christiancy, justices. On the question presented the court was equally divided. Campbell, J.,
with whom concurred Martin, C. J., held that the writ should be quashed. Cooley, J., one of the most distinguished
American judges and law-writers, with whom concurred Christiancy, J., held that the writ should issue. Since the
opinion of Justice Campbell was predicated to a large extent on his conception of the English decisions, and since, as
will hereafter appear, the English courts have taken a contrary view, only the following eloquent passages from the
opinion of Justice Cooley are quoted:

I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the power of this court to issue the present writ on the petition which
was laid before us. . . .
It would be strange indeed if, at this late day, after the eulogiums of six centuries and a half have been expended upon
the Magna Charta, and rivers of blood shed for its establishment; after its many confirmations, until Coke could declare
in his speech on the petition of right that "Magna Charta was such a fellow that he will have no sovereign," and after
the extension of its benefits and securities by the petition of right, bill of rights and habeas corpus acts, it should now
be discovered that evasion of that great clause for the protection of personal liberty, which is the life and soul of the
whole instrument, is so easy as is claimed here. If it is so, it is important that it be determined without delay, that the
legislature may apply the proper remedy, as I can not doubt they would, on the subject being brought to their
notice. . . .

The second proposition that the statutory provisions are confined to the case of imprisonment within the state
seems to me to be based upon a misconception as to the source of our jurisdiction. It was never the case in England
that the court of king's bench derived its jurisdiction to issue and enforce this writ from the statute. Statutes were not
passed to give the right, but to compel the observance of rights which existed. . . .

The important fact to be observed in regard to the mode of procedure upon this writ is, that it is directed to and served
upon, not the person confined, but his jailor. It does not reach the former except through the latter. The officer or
person who serves it does not unbar the prison doors, and set the prisoner free, but the court relieves him by
compelling the oppressor to release his constraint. The whole force of the writ is spent upon the respondent, and if he

fails to obey it, the means to be resorted to for the purposes of compulsion are fine and imprisonment. This is the
ordinary mode of affording relief, and if any other means are resorted to, they are only auxiliary to those which are
usual. The place of confinement is, therefore, not important to the relief, if the guilty party is within reach of process,
so that by the power of the court he can be compelled to release his grasp. The difficulty of affording redress is not
increased by the confinement being beyond the limits of the state, except as greater distance may affect it. The
important question is, where the power of control exercised? And I am aware of no other remedy. (In the matter of
Jackson [1867], 15 Mich., 416.)

The opinion of Judge Cooley has since been accepted as authoritative by other courts. (Rivers vs. Mitchell [1881], 57
Iowa, 193; Breene vs. People [1911], Colo., 117 Pac. Rep., 1000; Ex parte Young [1892], 50 Fed., 526.)

The English courts have given careful consideration to the subject. Thus, a child had been taken out of English by the
respondent. A writ of habeas corpus was issued by the Queen's Bench Division upon the application of the mother and
her husband directing the defendant to produce the child. The judge at chambers gave defendant until a certain date
to produce the child, but he did not do so. His return stated that the child before the issuance of the writ had been
handed over by him to another; that it was no longer in his custody or control, and that it was impossible for him to
obey the writ. He was found in contempt of court. On appeal, the court, through Lord Esher, M. R., said:

A writ of habeas corpus was ordered to issue, and was issued on January 22. That writ commanded the defendant to
have the body of the child before a judge in chambers at the Royal Courts of Justice immediately after the receipt of
the writ, together with the cause of her being taken and detained. That is a command to bring the child before the
judge and must be obeyed, unless some lawful reason can be shown to excuse the nonproduction of the child. If it
could be shown that by reason of his having lawfully parted with the possession of the child before the issuing of the
writ, the defendant had no longer power to produce the child, that might be an answer; but in the absence of any
lawful reason he is bound to produce the child, and, if he does not, he is in contempt of the Court for not obeying the
writ without lawful excuse. Many efforts have been made in argument to shift the question of contempt to some
anterior period for the purpose of showing that what was done at some time prior to the writ cannot be a contempt.
But the question is not as to what was done before the issue of the writ. The question is whether there has been a
contempt in disobeying the writ it was issued by not producing the child in obedience to its commands. (The Queen vs.
Bernardo [1889], 23 Q. B. D., 305. See also to the same effect the Irish case of In re Matthews, 12 Ir. Com. Law Rep. [N.
S.], 233; The Queen vs. Barnardo, Gossage's Case [1890], 24 Q. B. D., 283.)

A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of interest. A habeas corpus was directed to the defendant to have
before the circuit court of the District of Columbia three colored persons, with the cause of their detention. Davis, in his
return to the writ, stated on oath that he had purchased the negroes as slaves in the city of Washington; that, as he
believed, they were removed beyond the District of Columbia before the service of the writ of habeas corpus, and that
they were then beyond his control and out of his custody. The evidence tended to show that Davis had removed the
negroes because he suspected they would apply for a writ of habeas corpus. The court held the return to be evasive
and insufficient, and that Davis was bound to produce the negroes, and Davis being present in court, and refusing to
produce them, ordered that he be committed to the custody of the marshall until he should produce the negroes, or be
otherwise discharged in due course of law. The court afterwards ordered that Davis be released upon the production of
two of the negroes, for one of the negroes had run away and been lodged in jail in Maryland. Davis produced the two
negroes on the last day of the term. (United States vs. Davis [1839], 5 Cranch C.C., 622, Fed. Cas. No. 14926. See also
Robb vs. Connolly [1883], 111 U.S., 624; Church on Habeas, 2nd ed., p. 170.)

We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the defense offered by the respondents constituted a
legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas corpus.

There remains to be considered whether the respondent complied with the two orders of the Supreme Court awarding
the writ of habeas corpus, and if it be found that they did not, whether the contempt should be punished or be taken
as purged.

The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban, Anton Hohmann, Francisco Sales, and Feliciano Yigo to
present the persons named in the writ before the court on December 2, 1918. The order was dated November 4, 1918.
The respondents were thus given ample time, practically one month, to comply with the writ. As far as the record

discloses, the Mayor of the city of Manila waited until the 21st of November before sending a telegram to the provincial
governor of Davao. According to the response of the attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the telegram of his chief, there
were then in Davao women who desired to return to Manila, but who should not be permitted to do so because of
having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort naturally resulted in none of the parties in question being brought
before the court on the day named.

For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three optional courses were open: (1) They could have produced
the bodies of the persons according to the command of the writ; or (2) they could have shown by affidavit that on
account of sickness or infirmity those persons could not safely be brought before the court; or (3) they could have
presented affidavits to show that the parties in question or their attorney waived the right to be present. (Code of
Criminal Procedure, sec. 87.) They did not produce the bodies of the persons in whose behalf the writ was granted;
they did not show impossibility of performance; and they did not present writings that waived the right to be present
by those interested. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits purporting to show that the women were contended with their
life in Davao, some of which have since been repudiated by the signers, were appended to the return. That through
ordinary diligence a considerable number of the women, at least sixty, could have been brought back to Manila is
demonstrated to be found in the municipality of Davao, and that about this number either returned at their own
expense or were produced at the second hearing by the respondents.

The court, at the time the return to its first order was made, would have been warranted summarily in finding the
respondents guilty of contempt of court, and in sending them to jail until they obeyed the order. Their excuses for the
non-production of the persons were far from sufficient. The, authorities cited herein pertaining to somewhat similar
facts all tend to indicate with what exactitude a habeas corpus writ must be fulfilled. For example, in Gossage's case,
supra, the Magistrate in referring to an earlier decision of the Court, said: "We thought that, having brought about that
state of things by his own illegal act, he must take the consequences; and we said that he was bound to use every
effort to get the child back; that he must do much more than write letters for the purpose; that he must advertise in
America, and even if necessary himself go after the child, and do everything that mortal man could do in the matter;
and that the court would only accept clear proof of an absolute impossibility by way of excuse." In other words, the
return did not show that every possible effort to produce the women was made by the respondents. That the court
forebore at this time to take drastic action was because it did not wish to see presented to the public gaze the
spectacle of a clash between executive officials and the judiciary, and because it desired to give the respondents
another chance to demonstrate their good faith and to mitigate their wrong.

In response to the second order of the court, the respondents appear to have become more zealous and to have shown
a better spirit. Agents were dispatched to Mindanao, placards were posted, the constabulary and the municipal police
joined in rounding up the women, and a steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided. While charges and
counter-charges in such a bitterly contested case are to be expected, and while a critical reading of the record might
reveal a failure of literal fulfillment with our mandate, we come to conclude that there is a substantial compliance with
it. Our finding to this effect may be influenced somewhat by our sincere desire to see this unhappy incident finally
closed. If any wrong is now being perpetrated in Davao, it should receive an executive investigation. If any particular
individual is still restrained of her liberty, it can be made the object of separate habeas corpus proceedings.

Since the writ has already been granted, and since we find a substantial compliance with it, nothing further in this
connection remains to be done.

The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in contempt of court Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, Anton
Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose Rodriguez, and Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the
city of Manila, Modesto Joaquin, the attorney for the Bureau of Labor, Feliciano Yigo, an hacendero of Davao, and
Anacleto Diaz, Fiscal of the city of Manila.

The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle.
Only occasionally should the court invoke its inherent power in order to retain that respect without which the
administration of justice must falter or fail. Nevertheless when one is commanded to produce a certain person and
does not do so, and does not offer a valid excuse, a court must, to vindicate its authority, adjudge the respondent to
be guilty of contempt, and must order him either imprisoned or fined. An officer's failure to produce the body of a
person in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus when he has power to do so, is a contempt committed in the face of
the court. (Ex parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In re Patterson [1888], 99 N. C., 407.)

With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with judicial regard for human imperfections, we cannot say that any
of the respondents, with the possible exception of the first named, has flatly disobeyed the court by acting in
opposition to its authority. Respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, and Joaquin only followed the orders of their
chiefs, and while, under the law of public officers, this does not exonerate them entirely, it is nevertheless a powerful
mitigating circumstance. The hacendero Yigo appears to have been drawn into the case through a misconstruction by
counsel of telegraphic communications. The city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would seem to have done no more than to fulfill
his duty as the legal representative of the city government. Finding him innocent of any disrespect to the court, his
counter-motion to strike from the record the memorandum of attorney for the petitioners, which brings him into this
undesirable position, must be granted. When all is said and done, as far as this record discloses, the official who was
primarily responsible for the unlawful deportation, who ordered the police to accomplish the same, who made
arrangements for the steamers and the constabulary, who conducted the negotiations with the Bureau of Labor, and
who later, as the head of the city government, had it within his power to facilitate the return of the unfortunate women
to Manila, was Justo Lukban, the Mayor of the city of Manila. His intention to suppress the social evil was
commendable. His methods were unlawful. His regard for the writ of habeas corpus issued by the court was only
tardily and reluctantly acknowledged.

It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which relates to the penalty
for disobeying the writ, and in pursuance thereof to require respondent Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as
much as P400 each, which would reach to many thousands of pesos, and in addition to deal with him as for a
contempt. Some members of the court are inclined to this stern view. It would also be possible to find that since
respondent Lukban did comply substantially with the second order of the court, he has purged his contempt of the first
order. Some members of the court are inclined to this merciful view. Between the two extremes appears to lie the
correct finding. The failure of respondent Lukban to obey the first mandate of the court tended to belittle and
embarrass the administration of justice to such an extent that his later activity may be considered only as extenuating
his conduct. A nominal fine will at once command such respect without being unduly oppressive such an amount is
P100.

In resume as before stated, no further action on the writ of habeas corpus is necessary. The respondents Hohmann,
Rodriguez, Ordax, Joaquin, Yigo, and Diaz are found not to be in contempt of court. Respondent Lukban is found in
contempt of court and shall pay into the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court within five days the sum of one
hundred pesos (P100). The motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to strike from the record the Replica al
Memorandum de los Recurridos of January 25, 1919, is granted. Costs shall be taxed against respondents. So ordered.

In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task, may we not be permitted to express the hope that this decision may
serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly government of laws and to protect individual liberty from illegal
encroachment.

DIGEST:

Villavicencio vs Lukban L-14639


Facts:

Justo Lukban as Manila Mayor together with the police officer, took custody of 170 women at the
night of October 25 beyond the latter's consent and knowledge and thereafter were shipped to
Davao City where they were signed as laborers.
A writ of habeas corpus was filed against the mayor on behalf of those women. The court granted
the writ, but the mayor was not able to bring any of the women before the court on the
stipulated date.

Issue:
Whether or not the act of mayor has a legal basis.
Held:
The supreme court said that the mayor's acts were not legal. His intent of exterminating vice was
commendable, but there was no law saying that he could force filipino women to change their
domicile from manila to nother place. The women, said the court, although in a sense "lepers of
society" were still filipino citizens and such they were entitled to the constitutional enjoyed by all
other filipino citizens. The right to freedom of domicile was such a fundamental right that its
suppression could considered tantamount to slavery.

The supreme court upheld the right of filipino citizens to freedom of domicile or the Liberty of
abode. "Ours is a government of laws and not of men."

3. GARCIA VS. DRILON

G.R. No. 179267

June 25, 2013

JESUS C. GARCIA, Petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE RAY ALAN T. DRILON, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court-Branch 41, Bacolod
City, and ROSALIE JAYPE-GARCIA, for herself and in behalf of minor children, namely: JO-ANN,
JOSEPH EDUARD, JESSE ANTHONE, all surnamed GARCIA, Respondents.

DECISION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Hailed as the bastion of Christianity in Asia, the Philippines boasts of 86.8 million Filipinos- or 93
percent of a total population of 93.3 million adhering to the teachings of Jesus Christ.1 Yet, the
admonition for husbands to love their wives as their own bodies just as Christ loved the church
and gave himself up for her2 failed to prevent, or even to curb, the pervasiveness of violence
against Filipino women. The National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW)
reported that, for the years 2000-2003, "female violence comprised more than 90o/o of all forms
of abuse and violence and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the
women's intimate partners such as their husbands and live-in partners."3

Thus, on March 8, 2004, after nine (9) years of spirited advocacy by women's groups, Congress
enacted Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and
Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and
for Other Purposes." It took effect on March 27, 2004.4

R.A. 9262 is a landmark legislation that defines and criminalizes acts of violence against women
and their children (VAWC) perpetrated by women's intimate partners, i.e, husband; former
husband; or any person who has or had a sexual or dating relationship, or with whom the woman
has a common child.5 The law provides for protection orders from the barangay and the courts to
prevent the commission of further acts of VAWC; and outlines the duties and responsibilities of
barangay officials, law enforcers, prosecutors and court personnel, social workers, health care
providers, and other local government officials in responding to complaints of VAWC or requests
for assistance.

A husband is now before the Court assailing the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 as being violative
of the equal protection and due process clauses, and an undue delegation of judicial power to
barangay officials.

The Factual Antecedents

On March 23, 2006, Rosalie Jaype-Garcia (private respondent) filed, for herself and in behalf of
her minor children, a verified petition6 (Civil Case No. 06-797) before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Bacolod City for the issuance of a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) against her
husband, Jesus C. Garcia (petitioner), pursuant to R.A. 9262. She claimed to be a victim of
physical abuse; emotional, psychological, and economic violence as a result of marital infidelity
on the part of petitioner, with threats of deprivation of custody of her children and of financial
support.7

Private respondent's claims

Private respondent married petitioner in 2002 when she was 34 years old and the former was
eleven years her senior. They have three (3) children, namely: Jo-Ann J. Garcia, 17 years old, who
is the natural child of petitioner but whom private respondent adopted; Jessie Anthone J. Garcia,
6 years old; and Joseph Eduard J. Garcia, 3 years old.8

Private respondent described herself as a dutiful and faithful wife, whose life revolved around her
husband. On the other hand, petitioner, who is of Filipino-Chinese descent, is dominant,
controlling, and demands absolute obedience from his wife and children. He forbade private
respondent to pray, and deliberately isolated her from her friends. When she took up law, and
even when she was already working part time at a law office, petitioner trivialized her ambitions
and prevailed upon her to just stay at home. He was often jealous of the fact that his attractive
wife still catches the eye of some men, at one point threatening that he would have any man
eyeing her killed.9

Things turned for the worse when petitioner took up an affair with a bank manager of Robinson's
Bank, Bacolod City, who is the godmother of one of their sons. Petitioner admitted to the affair
when private respondent confronted him about it in 2004. He even boasted to the household
help about his sexual relations with said bank manager. Petitioner told private respondent,
though, that he was just using the woman because of their accounts with the bank.10

Petitioner's infidelity spawned a series of fights that left private respondent physically and
emotionally wounded. In one of their quarrels, petitioner grabbed private respondent on both
arms and shook her with such force that caused bruises and hematoma. At another time,
petitioner hit private respondent forcefully on the lips that caused some bleeding. Petitioner
sometimes turned his ire on their daughter, Jo-Ann, who had seen the text messages he sent to
his paramour and whom he blamed for squealing on him. He beat Jo-Ann on the chest and
slapped her many times. When private respondent decided to leave petitioner, Jo-Ann begged
her mother to stay for fear that if the latter leaves, petitioner would beat her up. Even the small

boys are aware of private respondent's sufferings. Their 6-year-old son said that when he grows
up, he would beat up his father because of his cruelty to private respondent.11

All the emotional and psychological turmoil drove private respondent to the brink of despair. On
December 17, 2005, while at home, she attempted suicide by cutting her wrist. She was found
by her son bleeding on the floor. Petitioner simply fled the house instead of taking her to the
hospital. Private respondent was hospitalized for about seven (7) days in which time petitioner
never bothered to visit, nor apologized or showed pity on her. Since then, private respondent has
been undergoing therapy almost every week and is taking anti-depressant medications.12

When private respondent informed the management of Robinson's Bank that she intends to file
charges against the bank manager, petitioner got angry with her for jeopardizing the manager's
job. He then packed his things and told private respondent that he was leaving her for good. He
even told private respondent's mother, who lives with them in the family home, that private
respondent should just accept his extramarital affair since he is not cohabiting with his paramour
and has not sired a child with her.13

Private respondent is determined to separate from petitioner but she is afraid that he would take
her children from her and deprive her of financial support. Petitioner had previously warned her
that if she goes on a legal battle with him, she would not get a single centavo.14

Petitioner controls the family businesses involving mostly the construction of deep wells. He is
the President of three corporations 326 Realty Holdings, Inc., Negros Rotadrill Corporation, and
J-Bros Trading Corporation of which he and private respondent are both stockholders. In
contrast to the absolute control of petitioner over said corporations, private respondent merely
draws a monthly salary of P20,000.00 from one corporation only, the Negros Rotadrill
Corporation. Household expenses amounting to not less than P200,000.00 a month are paid for
by private respondent through the use of credit cards, which, in turn, are paid by the same
corporation together with the bills for utilities.15

On the other hand, petitioner receives a monthly salary of P60,000.00 from Negros Rotadrill
Corporation, and enjoys unlimited cash advances and other benefits in hundreds of thousands of
pesos from the corporations.16 After private respondent confronted him about the affair,
petitioner forbade her to hold office at JBTC Building, Mandalagan, where all the businesses of
the corporations are conducted, thereby depriving her of access to full information about said
businesses. Until the filing of the petition a quo, petitioner has not given private respondent an
accounting of the businesses the value of which she had helped raise to millions of pesos.17

Action of the RTC of Bacolod City

Finding reasonable ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the private
respondent and her children exists or is about to recur, the RTC issued a TPO18 on March 24,
2006 effective for thirty (30) days, which is quoted hereunder:

Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:

a) Ordered to remove all his personal belongings from the conjugal dwelling or family home
within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Restraining Order and if he refuses, ordering that
he be removed by police officers from the conjugal dwelling; this order is enforceable
notwithstanding that the house is under the name of 236 Realty Holdings Inc. (Republic Act No.
9262 states "regardless of ownership"), this is to allow the Petitioner (private respondent herein)
to enter the conjugal dwelling without any danger from the Respondent.

After the Respondent leaves or is removed from the conjugal dwelling, or anytime the Petitioner
decides to return to the conjugal dwelling to remove things, the Petitioner shall be assisted by
police officers when re-entering the family home.

The Chief of Police shall also give the Petitioner police assistance on Sunday, 26 March 2006
because of the danger that the Respondent will attempt to take her children from her when he
arrives from Manila and finds out about this suit.

b) To stay away from the petitioner and her children, mother and all her household help and
driver from a distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the
Petitioner may be temporarily residing.

c) Not to harass, annoy, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with the Petitioner,
directly or indirectly, or through other persons, or contact directly or indirectly her children,
mother and household help, nor send gifts, cards, flowers, letters and the like. Visitation rights to
the children may be subject of a modified TPO in the future.

d) To surrender all his firearms including a .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK and ordering
the Philippine National Police Firearms and Explosives Unit and the Provincial Director of the PNP
to cancel all the Respondent's firearm licenses. He should also be ordered to surrender any
unlicensed firearms in his possession or control.

e) To pay full financial support for the Petitioner and the children, including rental of a house for
them, and educational and medical expenses.

f) Not to dissipate the conjugal business.

g) To render an accounting of all advances, benefits, bonuses and other cash he received from all
the corporations from 1 January 2006 up to 31 March 2006, which himself and as President of the
corporations and his Comptroller, must submit to the Court not later than 2 April 2006.
Thereafter, an accounting of all these funds shall be reported to the court by the Comptroller,
copy furnished to the Petitioner, every 15 days of the month, under pain of Indirect Contempt of
Court.

h) To ensure compliance especially with the order granting support pendente lite, and
considering the financial resources of the Respondent and his threat that if the Petitioner sues
she will not get a single centavo, the Respondent is ordered to put up a BOND TO KEEP THE
PEACE in the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS, in two sufficient sureties.

On April 24, 2006, upon motion19 of private respondent, the trial court issued an amended
TPO,20 effective for thirty (30) days, which included the following additional provisions:

i) The petitioners (private respondents herein) are given the continued use of the Nissan Patrol
and the Starex Van which they are using in Negros Occidental.

j) The petitioners are given the continued use and occupation of the house in Paraaque, the
continued use of the Starex van in Metro Manila, whenever they go to Manila.

k) Respondent is ordered to immediately post a bond to keep the peace, in two sufficient
sureties.

l) To give monthly support to the petitioner provisionally fixed in the sum of One Hundred Fifty
Thousand Pesos (Php 150,000.00) per month plus rental expenses of Fifty Thousand Pesos (Php
50,000.00) per month until the matter of support could be finally resolved.

Two days later, or on April 26, 2006, petitioner filed an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion
for Renewal of the TPO21 seeking the denial of the renewal of the TPO on the grounds that it did
not (1) comply with the three-day notice rule, and (2) contain a notice of hearing. He further
asked that the TPO be modified by (1) removing one vehicle used by private respondent and
returning the same to its rightful owner, the J-Bros Trading Corporation, and (2) cancelling or
reducing the amount of the bond from P5,000,000.00 to a more manageable level at
P100,000.00.

Subsequently, on May 23, 2006, petitioner moved22 for the modification of the TPO to allow him
visitation rights to his children.

On May 24, 2006, the TPO was renewed and extended yet again, but subject only to the
following modifications prayed for by private respondent:

a) That respondent (petitioner herein) return the clothes and other personal belongings of Rosalie
and her children to Judge Jesus Ramos, co-counsel for Petitioner, within 24 hours from receipt of
the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in Indirect Contempt of
Court;

b) Respondent shall make an accounting or list of furniture and equipment in the conjugal house
in Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod City within 24 hours from receipt of the
Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;

c) Ordering the Chief of the Women's Desk of the Bacolod City Police Headquarters to remove
Respondent from the conjugal dwelling within eight (8) hours from receipt of the Temporary
Protection Order by his counsel, and that he cannot return until 48 hours after the petitioners
have left, so that the petitioner Rosalie and her representatives can remove things from the
conjugal home and make an inventory of the household furniture, equipment and other things in
the conjugal home, which shall be submitted to the Court.

d) Deliver full financial support of Php200,000.00 and Php50,000.00 for rental and Php25,000.00
for clothes of the three petitioners (sic) children within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary
Protection Order by his counsel, otherwise be declared in indirect contempt of Court;

e) That respondent surrender his two firearms and all unlicensed firearms to the Clerk of Court
within 24 hours from receipt of the Temporary Protection Order by his counsel;

f) That respondent shall pay petitioner educational expenses of the children upon presentation of
proof of payment of such expenses.23

Claiming that petitioner continued to deprive them of financial support; failed to faithfully comply
with the TPO; and committed new acts of harassment against her and their children, private
respondent filed another application24 for the issuance of a TPO ex parte. She alleged inter

alia that petitioner contrived a replevin suit against himself by J-Bros Trading, Inc., of which the
latter was purportedly no longer president, with the end in view of recovering the Nissan Patrol
and Starex Van used by private respondent and the children. A writ of replevin was served upon
private respondent by a group of six or seven policemen with long firearms that scared the two
small boys, Jessie Anthone and Joseph Eduard.25

While Joseph Eduard, then three years old, was driven to school, two men allegedly attempted to
kidnap him, which incident traumatized the boy resulting in his refusal to go back to school. On
another occasion, petitioner allegedly grabbed their daughter, Jo-Ann, by the arm and threatened
her.26 The incident was reported to the police, and Jo-Ann subsequently filed a criminal
complaint against her father for violation of R.A. 7610, also known as the "Special Protection of
Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act."

Aside from the replevin suit, petitioner's lawyers initiated the filing by the housemaids working at
the conjugal home of a complaint for kidnapping and illegal detention against private
respondent. This came about after private respondent, armed with a TPO, went to said home to
get her and her children's belongings. Finding some of her things inside a housemaid's (Sheryl
Jamola) bag in the maids' room, private respondent filed a case for qualified theft against
Jamola.27

On August 23, 2006, the RTC issued a TPO,28 effective for thirty (30) days, which reads as
follows:

Respondent (petitioner herein), Jesus Chua Garcia, is hereby:

1) Prohibited from threatening to commit or committing, personally or through another, acts of


violence against the offended party;

2) Prohibited from harassing, annoying, telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating in


any form with the offended party, either directly or indirectly;

3) Required to stay away, personally or through his friends, relatives, employees or agents, from
all the Petitioners Rosalie J. Garcia and her children, Rosalie J. Garcia's three brothers, her mother
Primitiva Jaype, cook Novelita Caranzo, driver Romeo Hontiveros, laundrywoman Mercedita
Bornales, security guard Darwin Gayona and the petitioner's other household helpers from a
distance of 1,000 meters, and shall not enter the gate of the subdivision where the Petitioners
are temporarily residing, as well as from the schools of the three children; Furthermore, that
respondent shall not contact the schools of the children directly or indirectly in any manner
including, ostensibly to pay for their tuition or other fees directly, otherwise he will have access
to the children through the schools and the TPO will be rendered nugatory;

4) Directed to surrender all his firearms including .9MM caliber firearm and a Walther PPK to the
Court;

5) Directed to deliver in full financial support of Php200,000.00 a month and Php50,000.00 for
rental for the period from August 6 to September 6, 2006; and support in arrears from March
2006 to August 2006 the total amount of Php1,312,000.00;

6) Directed to deliver educational expenses for 2006-2007 the amount of Php75,000.00 and
Php25,000.00;

7) Directed to allow the continued use of a Nissan Patrol with Plate No. FEW 508 and a Starex van
with Plate No. FFD 991 and should the respondent fail to deliver said vehicles, respondent is
ordered to provide the petitioner another vehicle which is the one taken by J Bros Tading;

8) Ordered not to dissipate, encumber, alienate, sell, lease or otherwise dispose of the conjugal
assets, or those real properties in the name of Jesus Chua Garcia only and those in which the
conjugal partnership of gains of the Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and respondent have an interest
in, especially the conjugal home located in No. 14, Pitimini St., Capitolville Subdivision, Bacolod
City, and other properties which are conjugal assets or those in which the conjugal partnership of

gains of Petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia and the respondent have an interest in and listed in Annexes
"I," "I-1," and "I-2," including properties covered by TCT Nos. T-186325 and T-168814;

9) Ordered that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City and E.B. Magalona shall be served a copy
of this TEMPORARY PROTECTION ORDER and are ordered not to allow the transfer, sale,
encumbrance or disposition of these above-cited properties to any person, entity or corporation
without the personal presence of petitioner Rosalie J. Garcia, who shall affix her signature in the
presence of the Register of Deeds, due to the fear of petitioner Rosalie that her signature will be
forged in order to effect the encumbrance or sale of these properties to defraud her or the
conjugal partnership of gains.

In its Order29 dated September 26, 2006, the trial court extended the aforequoted TPO for
another ten (10) days, and gave petitioner a period of five (5) days within which to show cause
why the TPO should not be renewed, extended, or modified. Upon petitioner's manifestation,30
however, that he has not received a copy of private respondent's motion to modify/renew the
TPO, the trial court directed in its Order31 dated October 6, 2006 that petitioner be furnished a
copy of said motion. Nonetheless, an Order32 dated a day earlier, October 5, had already been
issued renewing the TPO dated August 23, 2006. The pertinent portion is quoted hereunder:

xxxx

x x x it appearing further that the hearing could not yet be finally terminated, the Temporary
Protection Order issued on August 23, 2006 is hereby renewed and extended for thirty (30) days
and continuously extended and renewed for thirty (30) days, after each expiration, until further
orders, and subject to such modifications as may be ordered by the court.

After having received a copy of the foregoing Order, petitioner no longer submitted the required
comment to private respondent's motion for renewal of the TPO arguing that it would only be an
"exercise in futility."33

Proceedings before the CA

During the pendency of Civil Case No. 06-797, petitioner filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) a
petition34 for prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698), with prayer for injunction and temporary
restraining order, challenging (1) the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 for being violative of the due
process and the equal protection clauses, and (2) the validity of the modified TPO issued in the
civil case for being "an unwanted product of an invalid law."

On May 26, 2006, the appellate court issued a 60-day Temporary Restraining Order36 (TRO)
against the enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto.

Subsequently, however, on January 24, 2007, the appellate court dismissed36 the petition for
failure of petitioner to raise the constitutional issue in his pleadings before the trial court in the
civil case, which is clothed with jurisdiction to resolve the same. Secondly, the challenge to the
validity

of R.A. 9262 through a petition for prohibition seeking to annul the protection orders issued by
the trial court constituted a collateral attack on said law.

His motion for reconsideration of the foregoing Decision having been denied in the Resolution37
dated August 14, 2007, petitioner is now before us alleging that

The Issues

I.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN DISMISSING THE PETITION ON THE THEORY THAT THE ISSUE
OF CONSTITUTIONALITY WAS NOT RAISED AT THE EARLIEST OPPORTUNITY AND THAT, THE
PETITION CONSTITUTES A COLLATERAL ATTACK ON THE VALIDITY OF THE LAW.

II.

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR IN FAILING TO CONCLUDE THAT R.A. 9262
IS DISCRIMINATORY, UNJUST, AND VIOLATIVE OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.

III.

THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE MISTAKE IN NOT FINDING THAT R.A. 9262 RUNS
COUNTER TO THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION.

IV.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THE LAW DOES VIOLENCE TO THE POLICY
OF THE STATE TO PROTECT THE FAMILY AS A BASIC SOCIAL INSTITUTION.

V.

THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT DECLARING R.A. No. 9262 AS INVALID AND
UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT ALLOWS AN UNDUE DELEGATION OF JUDICIAL POWER TO THE
BARANGAY OFFICIALS.38

The Ruling of the Court

Before delving into the arguments propounded by petitioner against the constitutionality of R.A.
9262, we shall first tackle the propriety of the dismissal by the appellate court of the petition for
prohibition (CA-G.R. CEB-SP. No. 01698) filed by petitioner.

As a general rule, the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity so
that if not raised in the pleadings, ordinarily it may not be raised in the trial, and if not raised in
the trial court, it will not be considered on appeal.39 Courts will not anticipate a question of
constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it.40

In defending his failure to attack the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 before the RTC of Bacolod City,
petitioner argues that the Family Court has limited authority and jurisdiction that is "inadequate
to tackle the complex issue of constitutionality."41

We disagree.

Family Courts have authority and jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute.

At the outset, it must be stressed that Family Courts are special courts, of the same level as
Regional Trial Courts. Under R.A. 8369, otherwise known as the "Family Courts Act of 1997,"
family courts have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of domestic violence
against women and children.42 In accordance with said law, the Supreme Court designated from
among the branches of the Regional Trial Courts at least one Family Court in each of several key
cities identified.43 To achieve harmony with the first mentioned law, Section 7 of R.A. 9262 now
provides that Regional Trial Courts designated as Family Courts shall have original and exclusive
jurisdiction over cases of VAWC defined under the latter law, viz:

SEC. 7. Venue. The Regional Trial Court designated as a Family Court shall have original and
exclusive jurisdiction over cases of violence against women and their children under this law. In
the absence of such court in the place where the offense was committed, the case shall be filed
in the Regional Trial Court where the crime or any of its elements was committed at the option of
the complainant. (Emphasis supplied)

Inspite of its designation as a family court, the RTC of Bacolod City remains possessed of
authority as a court of general original jurisdiction to pass upon all kinds of cases whether civil,
criminal, special proceedings, land registration, guardianship, naturalization, admiralty or
insolvency.44 It is settled that RTCs have jurisdiction to resolve the constitutionality of a

statute,45 "this authority being embraced in the general definition of the judicial power to
determine what are the valid and binding laws by the criterion of their conformity to the
fundamental law."46 The Constitution vests the power of judicial review or the power to declare
the constitutionality or validity of a law, treaty, international or executive agreement, presidential
decree, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation not only in this Court, but in all RTCs.47 We
said in J.M. Tuason and Co., Inc. v. CA48 that, "plainly the Constitution contemplates that the
inferior courts should have jurisdiction in cases involving constitutionality of any treaty or law, for
it speaks of appellate review of final judgments of inferior courts in cases where such
constitutionality happens to be in issue." Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution reads in
part as follows:

SEC. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:

xxx

2. Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of
Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in:

a. All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive
agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is
in question.

xxxx

Thus, contrary to the posturing of petitioner, the issue of constitutionality of R.A. 9262 could
have been raised at the earliest opportunity in his Opposition to the petition for protection order
before the RTC of Bacolod City, which had jurisdiction to determine the same, subject to the
review of this Court.

Section 20 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the Rule on Violence Against Women and Their Children, lays
down a new kind of procedure requiring the respondent to file an opposition to the petition and
not an answer.49 Thus:

SEC. 20. Opposition to petition. (a) The respondent may file an opposition to the petition which
he himself shall verify. It must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show
cause why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.

(b) Respondent shall not include in the opposition any counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party
complaint, but any cause of action which could be the subject thereof may be litigated in a
separate civil action. (Emphasis supplied)

We cannot subscribe to the theory espoused by petitioner that, since a counterclaim, cross-claim
and third-party complaint are to be excluded from the opposition, the issue of constitutionality
cannot likewise be raised therein. A counterclaim is defined as any claim for money or other
relief which a defending party may have against an opposing party.50 A cross-claim, on the other
hand, is any claim by one party against a co-party arising out of the transaction or occurrence
that is the subject matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim therein.51 Finally, a
third-party complaint is a claim that a defending party may, with leave of court, file against a
person not a party to the action for contribution, indemnity, subrogation or any other relief, in
respect of his opponent's claim.52 As pointed out by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, the
unconstitutionality of a statute is not a cause of action that could be the subject of a
counterclaim, cross-claim or a third-party complaint. Therefore, it is not prohibited from being
raised in the opposition in view of the familiar maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius.

Moreover, it cannot be denied that this issue affects the resolution of the case a quo because the
right of private respondent to a protection order is founded solely on the very statute the validity
of which is being attacked53 by petitioner who has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a
result of its enforcement. The alleged unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, for all intents and
purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a protection order.

That the proceedings in Civil Case No. 06-797 are summary in nature should not have deterred
petitioner from raising the same in his Opposition. The question relative to the constitutionality of
a statute is one of law which does not need to be supported by evidence.54 Be that as it may,
Section 25 of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC nonetheless allows the conduct of a hearing to determine
legal issues, among others, viz:

SEC. 25. Order for further hearing. - In case the court determines the need for further hearing, it
may issue an order containing the following:

(a) Facts undisputed and admitted;

(b) Factual and legal issues to be resolved;

(c) Evidence, including objects and documents that have been marked and will be presented;

(d) Names of witnesses who will be ordered to present their direct testimonies in the form of
affidavits; and

(e) Schedule of the presentation of evidence by both parties which shall be done in one day, to
the extent possible, within the 30-day period of the effectivity of the temporary protection order
issued. (Emphasis supplied)

To obviate potential dangers that may arise concomitant to the conduct of a hearing when
necessary, Section 26 (b) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC provides that if a temporary protection order
issued is due to expire, the trial court may extend or renew the said order for a period of thirty
(30) days each time until final judgment is rendered. It may likewise modify the extended or
renewed temporary protection order as may be necessary to meet the needs of the parties. With
the private respondent given ample protection, petitioner could proceed to litigate the
constitutional issues, without necessarily running afoul of the very purpose for the adoption of
the rules on summary procedure.

In view of all the foregoing, the appellate court correctly dismissed the petition for prohibition
with prayer for injunction and temporary restraining order (CA-G.R. CEB - SP. No. 01698).
Petitioner may have proceeded upon an honest belief that if he finds succor in a superior court,
he could be granted an injunctive relief. However, Section 22(j) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC expressly
disallows the filing of a petition for certiorari, mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory
order issued by the trial court. Hence, the 60-day TRO issued by the appellate court in this case
against the enforcement of the TPO, the amended TPOs and other orders pursuant thereto was
improper, and it effectively hindered the case from taking its normal course in an expeditious
and summary manner.

As the rules stand, a review of the case by appeal or certiorari before judgment is prohibited.
Moreover, if the appeal of a judgment granting permanent protection shall not stay its
enforcement,55 with more reason that a TPO, which is valid only for thirty (30) days at a time,56
should not be enjoined.

The mere fact that a statute is alleged to be unconstitutional or invalid, does not of itself entitle a
litigant to have the same enjoined.57 In Younger v. Harris, Jr.,58 the Supreme Court of the United
States declared, thus:

Federal injunctions against state criminal statutes, either in their entirety or with respect to their
separate and distinct prohibitions, are not to be granted as a matter of course, even if such
statutes are unconstitutional. No citizen or member of the community is immune from
prosecution, in good faith, for his alleged criminal acts. The imminence of such a prosecution
even though alleged to be unauthorized and, hence, unlawful is not alone ground for relief in
equity which exerts its extraordinary powers only to prevent irreparable injury to the plaintiff who
seeks its aid. (Citations omitted)

The sole objective of injunctions is to preserve the status quo until the trial court hears fully the
merits of the case. It bears stressing, however, that protection orders are granted ex parte so as
to protect women and their children from acts of violence. To issue an injunction against such
orders will defeat the very purpose of the law against VAWC.

Notwithstanding all these procedural flaws, we shall not shirk from our obligation to determine
novel issues, or issues of first impression, with far-reaching implications. We have, time and
again, discharged our solemn duty as final arbiter of constitutional issues, and with more reason
now, in view of private respondent's plea in her Comment59 to the instant Petition that we
should put the challenge to the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 to rest. And so we shall.

Intent of Congress in enacting R.A. 9262.

Petitioner claims that since R.A. 9262 is intended to prevent and criminalize spousal and child
abuse, which could very well be committed by either the husband or the wife, gender alone is
not enough basis to deprive the husband/father of the remedies under the law.60

A perusal of the deliberations of Congress on Senate Bill No. 2723,61 which became R.A. 9262,
reveals that while the sponsor, Senator Luisa Pimentel-Ejercito (better known as Senator Loi
Estrada), had originally proposed what she called a "synthesized measure"62 an amalgamation
of two measures, namely, the "Anti-Domestic Violence Act" and the "Anti-Abuse of Women in
Intimate Relationships Act"63 providing protection to "all family members, leaving no one in
isolation" but at the same time giving special attention to women as the "usual victims" of
violence and abuse,64 nonetheless, it was eventually agreed that men be denied protection
under the same measure. We quote pertinent portions of the deliberations:

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Senator Pangilinan. I just wanted to place this on record, Mr. President. Some women's groups
have expressed concerns and relayed these concerns to me that if we are to include domestic
violence apart from against women as well as other members of the household, including
children or the husband, they fear that this would weaken the efforts to address domestic
violence of which the main victims or the bulk of the victims really are the wives, the spouses or
the female partners in a relationship. We would like to place that on record. How does the good
Senator respond to this kind of observation?

Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President, there is this group of women who call themselves "WIIR"
Women in Intimate Relationship. They do not want to include men in this domestic violence. But
plenty of men are also being abused by women. I am playing safe so I placed here members of
the family, prescribing penalties therefor and providing protective measures for victims. This
includes the men, children, live-in, common-law wives, and those related with the family.65

xxx

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

xxxx

The President Pro Tempore. x x x

Also, may the Chair remind the group that there was the discussion whether to limit this to
women and not to families which was the issue of the AWIR group. The understanding that I have
is that we would be having a broader scope rather than just women, if I remember correctly,
Madam sponsor.

Senator Estrada. Yes, Mr. President.

As a matter of fact, that was brought up by Senator Pangilinan during the interpellation period.

I think Senator Sotto has something to say to that.

Senator Legarda. Mr. President, the reason I am in support of the measure. Do not get me wrong.
However, I believe that there is a need to protect women's rights especially in the domestic
environment.

As I said earlier, there are nameless, countless, voiceless women who have not had the
opportunity to file a case against their spouses, their live-in partners after years, if not decade, of
battery and abuse. If we broaden the scope to include even the men, assuming they can at all be
abused by the women or their spouses, then it would not equalize the already difficult situation
for women, Mr. President.

I think that the sponsor, based on our earlier conversations, concurs with this position. I am sure
that the men in this Chamber who love their women in their lives so dearly will agree with this
representation. Whether we like it or not, it is an unequal world. Whether we like it or not, no
matter how empowered the women are, we are not given equal opportunities especially in the
domestic environment where the macho Filipino man would always feel that he is stronger, more
superior to the Filipino woman.

xxxx

The President Pro Tempore. What does the sponsor say?

Senator Estrada. Mr. President, before accepting this, the committee came up with this bill
because the family members have been included in this proposed measure since the other
members of the family other than women are also possible victims of violence. While women are
most likely the intended victims, one reason incidentally why the measure focuses on women,
the fact remains that in some relatively few cases, men also stand to be victimized and that
children are almost always the helpless victims of violence. I am worried that there may not be
enough protection extended to other family members particularly children who are excluded.
Although Republic Act No. 7610, for instance, more or less, addresses the special needs of
abused children. The same law is inadequate. Protection orders for one are not available in said
law.

I am aware that some groups are apprehensive about granting the same protection to men,
fearing that they may use this law to justify their abusive behavior against women. However, we
should also recognize that there are established procedures and standards in our courts which
give credence to evidentiary support and cannot just arbitrarily and whimsically entertain
baseless complaints.

Mr. President, this measure is intended to harmonize family relations and to protect the family as
the basic social institution. Though I recognize the unequal power relations between men and
women in our society, I believe we have an obligation to uphold inherent rights and dignity of
both husband and wife and their immediate family members, particularly children.

While I prefer to focus mainly on women, I was compelled to include other family members as a
critical input arrived at after a series of consultations/meetings with various NGOs, experts,
sports groups and other affected sectors, Mr. President.

Senator Sotto. Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Yes, with the permission of the other senators.

Senator Sotto. Yes, with the permission of the two ladies on the Floor.

The President Pro Tempore. Yes, Sen. Vicente C. Sotto III is recognized.

Senator Sotto. I presume that the effect of the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda would
be removing the "men and children" in this particular bill and focus specifically on women alone.
That will be the net effect of that proposed amendment. Hearing the rationale mentioned by the
distinguished sponsor, Sen. Luisa "Loi" Ejercito Estrada, I am not sure now whether she is inclined
to accept the proposed amendment of Senator Legarda.

I am willing to wait whether she is accepting this or not because if she is going to accept this, I
will propose an amendment to the amendment rather than object to the amendment, Mr.
President.

xxxx

Senator Estrada. The amendment is accepted, Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection?

xxxx

Senator Sotto. x x x May I propose an amendment to the amendment.

The President Pro Tempore. Before we act on the amendment?

Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Yes, please proceed.

Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I am inclined to believe the rationale used by the distinguished
proponent of the amendment. As a matter of fact, I tend to agree. Kung may maaabuso, mas
malamang iyong babae kaysa sa lalake. At saka iyong mga lalake, puwede na talagang magulpi
iyan. Okey lang iyan. But I cannot agree that we remove the children from this particular
measure.

So, if I may propose an amendment

The President Pro Tempore. To the amendment.

Senator Sotto. more than the women, the children are very much abused. As a matter of fact, it
is not limited to minors. The abuse is not limited to seven, six, 5-year-old children. I have seen
14, 15-year-old children being abused by their fathers, even by their mothers. And it breaks my
heart to find out about these things.

Because of the inadequate existing law on abuse of children, this particular measure will update
that. It will enhance and hopefully prevent the abuse of children and not only women.

SOTTO-LEGARDA AMENDMENTS

Therefore, may I propose an amendment that, yes, we remove the aspect of the men in the bill
but not the children.

Senator Legarda. I agree, Mr. President, with the Minority Leader.

The President Pro Tempore. Effectively then, it will be women AND CHILDREN.

Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President.

Senator Estrada. It is accepted, Mr. President.

The President Pro Tempore. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the amendment,
as amended, is approved.66

It is settled that courts are not concerned with the wisdom, justice, policy, or expediency of a
statute.67 Hence, we dare not venture into the real motivations and wisdom of the members of
Congress in limiting the protection against violence and abuse under R.A. 9262 to women and
children only. No proper challenge on said grounds may be entertained in this proceeding.
Congress has made its choice and it is not our prerogative to supplant this judgment. The choice
may be perceived as erroneous but even then, the remedy against it is to seek its amendment or
repeal by the legislative. By the principle of separation of powers, it is the legislative that
determines the necessity, adequacy, wisdom and expediency of any law.68 We only step in when
there is a violation of the Constitution. However, none was sufficiently shown in this case.

R.A. 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws.

Equal protection simply requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated
alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. The oft-repeated disquisition in
the early case of Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union69 is instructive:

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the
laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the
constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected
alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on
persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which
are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause
does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which
is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to
operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in
law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in
speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not
invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it
goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means
that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real
differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to
existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court

has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable
foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. (Emphasis supplied)

Measured against the foregoing jurisprudential yardstick, we find that R.A. 9262 is based on a
valid classification as shall hereinafter be discussed and, as such, did not violate the equal
protection clause by favoring women over men as victims of violence and abuse to whom the
State extends its protection.

I. R.A. 9262 rests on substantial distinctions.

The unequal power relationship between women and men; the fact that women are more likely
than men to be victims of violence; and the widespread gender bias and prejudice against
women all make for real differences justifying the classification under the law. As Justice McIntyre
succinctly states, "the accommodation of differences ... is the essence of true equality."70

A. Unequal power relationship between men and women

According to the Philippine Commission on Women (the National Machinery for Gender Equality
and Women's Empowerment), violence against women (VAW) is deemed to be closely linked with
the unequal power relationship between women and men otherwise known as "gender-based
violence". Societal norms and traditions dictate people to think men are the leaders, pursuers,
providers, and take on dominant roles in society while women are nurturers, men's companions
and supporters, and take on subordinate roles in society. This perception leads to men gaining
more power over women. With power comes the need to control to retain that power. And VAW is
a form of men's expression of controlling women to retain power.71

The United Nations, which has long recognized VAW as a human rights issue, passed its
Resolution 48/104 on the Declaration on Elimination of Violence Against Women on December
20, 1993 stating that "violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power
relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination
against women by men and to the prevention of the full advancement of women, and that
violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into
subordinate positions, compared with men."72

Then Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno traced the historical and social context of gender-based
violence and developments in advocacies to eradicate VAW, in his remarks delivered during the
Joint Launching of R.A. 9262 and its Implementing Rules last October 27, 2004, the pertinent
portions of which are quoted hereunder:

History reveals that most societies sanctioned the use of violence against women. The patriarch
of a family was accorded the right to use force on members of the family under his control. I
quote the early studies:

Traditions subordinating women have a long history rooted in patriarchy the institutional rule of
men. Women were seen in virtually all societies to be naturally inferior both physically and
intellectually. In ancient Western societies, women whether slave, concubine or wife, were under
the authority of men. In law, they were treated as property.

The Roman concept of patria potestas allowed the husband to beat, or even kill, his wife if she
endangered his property right over her. Judaism, Christianity and other religions oriented towards
the patriarchal family strengthened the male dominated structure of society.

English feudal law reinforced the tradition of male control over women. Even the eminent
Blackstone has been quoted in his commentaries as saying husband and wife were one and that
one was the husband. However, in the late 1500s and through the entire 1600s, English common
law began to limit the right of husbands to chastise their wives. Thus, common law developed
the rule of thumb, which allowed husbands to beat their wives with a rod or stick no thicker than
their thumb.

In the later part of the 19th century, legal recognition of these rights to chastise wives or inflict
corporeal punishment ceased. Even then, the preservation of the family was given more
importance than preventing violence to women.

The metamorphosis of the law on violence in the United States followed that of the English
common law. In 1871, the Supreme Court of Alabama became the first appellate court to strike
down the common law right of a husband to beat his wife:

The privilege, ancient though it may be, to beat one's wife with a stick, to pull her hair, choke
her, spit in her face or kick her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is not now
acknowledged by our law... In person, the wife is entitled to the same protection of the law that
the husband can invoke for himself.

As time marched on, the women's advocacy movement became more organized. The
temperance leagues initiated it. These leagues had a simple focus. They considered the evils of
alcoholism as the root cause of wife abuse. Hence, they demonstrated and picketed saloons, bars
and their husbands' other watering holes. Soon, however, their crusade was joined by suffragette
movements, expanding the liberation movement's agenda. They fought for women's right to
vote, to own property, and more. Since then, the feminist movement was on the roll.

The feminist movement exposed the private invisibility of the domestic violence to the public
gaze. They succeeded in transforming the issue into an important public concern. No less than
the United States Supreme Court, in 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey, noted:

In an average 12-month period in this country, approximately two million women are the victims
of severe assaults by their male partners. In a 1985 survey, women reported that nearly one of
every eight husbands had assaulted their wives during the past year. The [American Medical
Association] views these figures as "marked underestimates," because the nature of these

incidents discourages women from reporting them, and because surveys typically exclude the
very poor, those who do not speak English well, and women who are homeless or in institutions
or hospitals when the survey is conducted. According to the AMA, "researchers on family violence
agree that the true incidence of partner violence is probably double the above estimates; or four
million severely assaulted women per year."

Studies on prevalence suggest that from one-fifth to one-third of all women will be physically
assaulted by a partner or ex-partner during their lifetime... Thus on an average day in the United
States, nearly 11,000 women are severely assaulted by their male partners. Many of these
incidents involve sexual assault... In families where wife beating takes place, moreover, child
abuse is often present as well.

Other studies fill in the rest of this troubling picture. Physical violence is only the most visible
form of abuse. Psychological abuse, particularly forced social and economic isolation of women,
is also common.

Many victims of domestic violence remain with their abusers, perhaps because they perceive no
superior alternative...Many abused women who find temporary refuge in shelters return to their
husbands, in large part because they have no other source of income... Returning to one's abuser
can be dangerous. Recent Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics disclose that 8.8 percent of
all homicide victims in the United States are killed by their spouses...Thirty percent of female
homicide victims are killed by their male partners.

Finally in 1994, the United States Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act.

In the International front, the women's struggle for equality was no less successful. The United
States Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed the equality of all human
beings. In 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted the landmark Convention on the Elimination
of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 1993, the UN General Assembly also
adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. World conferences on the
role and rights of women have been regularly held in Mexico City, Copenhagen, Nairobi and
Beijing. The UN itself established a Commission on the Status of Women.

The Philippines has been in cadence with the half and full steps of all these women's
movements. No less than Section 14, Article II of our 1987 Constitution mandates the State to
recognize the role of women in nation building and to ensure the fundamental equality before the
law of women and men. Our Senate has ratified the CEDAW as well as the Convention on the
Rights of the Child and its two protocols. To cap it all, Congress, on March 8, 2004, enacted Rep.
Act No. 9262, entitled "An Act Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for
Protective Measures for Victims, Prescribing Penalties therefor and for other Purposes." (Citations
omitted)

B. Women are the "usual" and "most likely"

victims of violence.

At the time of the presentation of Senate Bill No. 2723, official statistics on violence against
women and children show that

x x x physical injuries had the highest number of cases at 5,058 in 2002 representing 55.63% of
total cases reported (9,903). And for the first semester of 2003, there were 2,381 reported cases
out of 4,354 cases which represent 54.31%. xxx (T)he total number of women in especially
difficult circumstances served by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for
the year 2002, there are 1,417 physically abused/maltreated cases out of the total of 5,608
cases. xxx (T)here are 1,091 DSWD cases out of a total number of 3,471 cases for the first
semester of 2003. Female violence comprised more than 90% of all forms of abuse and violence
and more than 90% of these reported cases were committed by the women's intimate partners
such as their husbands and live-in partners.73

Recently, the Philippine Commission on Women presented comparative statistics on violence


against women across an eight-year period from 2004 to August of 2011 with violations under
R.A. 9262 ranking first among the different VAW categories since its implementation in 2004,74
thus:

Table 1. Annual Comparative Statistics on Violence Against Women, 2004 - 2011*

Reported
Cases 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Rape 997

927

659

837

811

770

1,042 832

Incestuous Rape

38

46

26

22

28

27

19

23

Attempted Rape

194

148

185

147

204

167

268

201

580

536

382

358

445

485

745

625

Acts of
Lasciviousness
Physical
Injuries

3,553 2,335 1,892 1,505 1,307 1,498 2,018 1,588

Sexual
Harassment 53

37

38

RA 9262

218

924

1,269 2,387 3,599 5,285 9,974 9,021

Threats

319

223

199

182

220

208

374

213

Seduction

62

19

29

30

19

19

25

15

Concubinage121

102

93

109

109

99

158

128

RA 9208

11

16

24

34

152

190

62

17

46

18

54

83

63

Abduction
/Kidnapping 29

16

34

23

28

18

25

22

Unjust Vexation

90

50

59

59

83

703

183

Total 6,271 5,374 4,881 5,729 6,905 9,485 15,104

155

12,948

*2011 report covers only from January to August

Source: Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC)

On the other hand, no reliable estimates may be obtained on domestic abuse and violence
against men in the Philippines because incidents thereof are relatively low and, perhaps, because
many men will not even attempt to report the situation. In the United Kingdom, 32% of women
who had ever experienced domestic violence did so four or five (or more) times, compared with
11% of the smaller number of men who had ever experienced domestic violence; and women
constituted 89% of all those who had experienced 4 or more incidents of domestic violence.75
Statistics in Canada show that spousal violence by a woman against a man is less likely to cause
injury than the other way around (18 percent versus 44 percent). Men, who experience violence
from their spouses are much less likely to live in fear of violence at the hands of their spouses,
and much less likely to experience sexual assault. In fact, many cases of physical violence by a
woman against a spouse are in self-defense or the result of many years of physical or emotional
abuse.76

While there are, indeed, relatively few cases of violence and abuse perpetrated against men in
the Philippines, the same cannot render R.A. 9262 invalid.

In a 1960 case involving the violation of a city ordinance requiring drivers of animal-drawn
vehicles to pick up, gather and deposit in receptacles the manure emitted or discharged by their
vehicle-drawing animals in any public highways, streets, plazas, parks or alleys, said ordinance
was challenged as violative of the guaranty of equal protection of laws as its application is
limited to owners and drivers of vehicle-drawing animals and not to those animals, although not
utilized, but similarly pass through the same streets.

The ordinance was upheld as a valid classification for the reason that, while there may be nonvehicle-drawing animals that also traverse the city roads, "but their number must be negligible
and their appearance therein merely occasional, compared to the rig-drawing ones, as not to
constitute a menace to the health of the community."77 The mere fact that the legislative
classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection, for
every classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some
degree, but the law is not thereby rendered invalid.78

C. Gender bias and prejudices

From the initial report to the police through prosecution, trial, and sentencing, crimes against
women are often treated differently and less seriously than other crimes. This was argued by
then United States Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., now Vice President, chief sponsor of the Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA), in defending the civil rights remedy as a valid exercise of the U.S.
Congress' authority under the Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses. He stressed that the
widespread gender bias in the U.S. has institutionalized historic prejudices against victims of
rape or domestic violence, subjecting them to "double victimization" first at the hands of the
offender and then of the legal system.79

Our own Senator Loi Estrada lamented in her Sponsorship Speech for Senate Bill No. 2723 that
"(w)henever violence occurs in the family, the police treat it as a private matter and advise the
parties to settle the conflict themselves. Once the complainant brings the case to the prosecutor,
the latter is hesitant to file the complaint for fear that it might later be withdrawn. This lack of
response or reluctance to be involved by the police and prosecution reinforces the escalating,
recurring and often serious nature of domestic violence."80

Sadly, our own courts, as well, have exhibited prejudices and biases against our women.

In a recent case resolved on March 9, 2011, we fined RTC Judge Venancio J. Amila for Conduct
Unbecoming of a Judge. He used derogatory and irreverent language in reference to the
complainant in a petition for TPO and PPO under R.A. 9262, calling her as "only a live-in partner"
and presenting her as an "opportunist" and a "mistress" in an "illegitimate relationship." Judge
Amila even called her a "prostitute," and accused her of being motivated by "insatiable greed"
and of absconding with the contested property.81 Such remarks betrayed Judge Amila's
prejudices and lack of gender sensitivity.

The enactment of R.A. 9262 aims to address the discrimination brought about by biases and
prejudices against women. As emphasized by the CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women, addressing or correcting discrimination through specific measures
focused on women does not discriminate against men.82 Petitioner's contention,83 therefore,
that R.A. 9262 is discriminatory and that it is an "anti-male," "husband-bashing," and "hate-men"
law deserves scant consideration. As a State Party to the CEDAW, the Philippines bound itself to
take all appropriate measures "to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and
women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other
practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or
on stereotyped roles for men and women."84 Justice Puno correctly pointed out that "(t)he
paradigm shift changing the character of domestic violence from a private affair to a public
offense will require the development of a distinct mindset on the part of the police, the
prosecution and the judges."85

II. The classification is germane to the purpose of the law.

The distinction between men and women is germane to the purpose of R.A. 9262, which is to
address violence committed against women and children, spelled out in its Declaration of Policy,
as follows:

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared that the State values the dignity of women
and children and guarantees full respect for human rights. The State also recognizes the need to
protect the family and its members particularly women and children, from violence and threats to
their personal safety and security.

Towards this end, the State shall exert efforts to address violence committed against women and
children in keeping with the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution and the
provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child and other
international human rights instruments of which the Philippines is a party.

In 1979, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the CEDAW, which the Philippines ratified on August
5, 1981. Subsequently, the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW was also ratified by the Philippines on
October 6, 2003.86 This Convention mandates that State parties shall accord to women equality
with men before the law87 and shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination
against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations on the basis of equality of
men and women.88 The Philippines likewise ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child
and its two protocols.89 It is, thus, bound by said Conventions and their respective protocols.

III. The classification is not limited to existing

conditions only, and apply equally to all members

Moreover, the application of R.A. 9262 is not limited to the existing conditions when it was
promulgated, but to future conditions as well, for as long as the safety and security of women
and their children are threatened by violence and abuse.

R.A. 9262 applies equally to all women and children who suffer violence and abuse. Section 3
thereof defines VAWC as:

x x x any act or a series of acts committed by any person against a woman who is his wife,
former wife, or against a woman with whom the person has or had a sexual or dating
relationship, or with whom he has a common child, or against her child whether legitimate or
illegitimate, within or without the family abode, which result in or is likely to result in physical,
sexual, psychological harm or suffering, or economic abuse including threats of such acts,
battery, assault, coercion, harassment or arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It includes, but is not
limited to, the following acts:

A. "Physical Violence" refers to acts that include bodily or physical harm;

B. "Sexual violence" refers to an act which is sexual in nature, committed against a woman or her
child. It includes, but is not limited to:

a) rape, sexual harassment, acts of lasciviousness, treating a woman or her child as a sex object,
making demeaning and sexually suggestive remarks, physically attacking the sexual parts of the
victim's body, forcing her/him to watch obscene publications and indecent shows or forcing the
woman or her child to do indecent acts and/or make films thereof, forcing the wife and
mistress/lover to live in the conjugal home or sleep together in the same room with the abuser;

b) acts causing or attempting to cause the victim to engage in any sexual activity by force,
threat of force, physical or other harm or threat of physical or other harm or coercion;

c) Prostituting the woman or child.

C. "Psychological violence" refers to acts or omissions causing or likely to cause mental or


emotional suffering of the victim such as but not limited to intimidation, harassment, stalking,
damage to property, public ridicule or humiliation, repeated verbal abuse and marital infidelity. It
includes causing or allowing the victim to witness the physical, sexual or psychological abuse of
a member of the family to which the victim belongs, or to witness pornography in any form or to
witness abusive injury to pets or to unlawful or unwanted deprivation of the right to custody
and/or visitation of common children.

D. "Economic abuse" refers to acts that make or attempt to make a woman financially dependent
which includes, but is not limited to the following:

1. withdrawal of financial support or preventing the victim from engaging in any legitimate
profession, occupation, business or activity, except in cases wherein the other spouse/partner
objects on valid, serious and moral grounds as defined in Article 73 of the Family Code;

2. deprivation or threat of deprivation of financial resources and the right to the use and
enjoyment of the conjugal, community or property owned in common;

3. destroying household property;

4. controlling the victims' own money or properties or solely controlling the conjugal money or
properties.

It should be stressed that the acts enumerated in the aforequoted provision are attributable to
research that has exposed the dimensions and dynamics of battery. The acts described here are
also found in the U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.90 Hence, the

argument advanced by petitioner that the definition of what constitutes abuse removes the
difference between violent action and simple marital tiffs is tenuous.

There is nothing in the definition of VAWC that is vague and ambiguous that will confuse
petitioner in his defense. The acts enumerated above are easily understood and provide
adequate contrast between the innocent and the prohibited acts. They are worded with sufficient
definiteness that persons of ordinary intelligence can understand what conduct is prohibited, and
need not guess at its meaning nor differ in its application.91 Yet, petitioner insists92 that phrases
like "depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal right," "solely
controlling the conjugal or common money or properties," "marital infidelity," and "causing
mental or emotional anguish" are so vague that they make every quarrel a case of spousal
abuse. However, we have stressed that the "vagueness" doctrine merely requires a reasonable
degree of certainty for the statute to be upheld not absolute precision or mathematical
exactitude, as petitioner seems to suggest. Flexibility, rather than meticulous specificity, is
permissible as long as the metes and bounds of the statute are clearly delineated. An act will not
be held invalid merely because it might have been more explicit in its wordings or detailed in its
provisions.93

There is likewise no merit to the contention that R.A. 9262 singles out the husband or father as
the culprit. As defined above, VAWC may likewise be committed "against a woman with whom
the person has or had a sexual or dating relationship." Clearly, the use of the gender-neutral
word "person" who has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the woman encompasses even
lesbian relationships. Moreover, while the law provides that the offender be related or connected
to the victim by marriage, former marriage, or a sexual or dating relationship, it does not
preclude the application of the principle of conspiracy under the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Thus,
in the case of Go-Tan v. Spouses Tan,94 the parents-in-law of Sharica Mari L. Go-Tan, the victim,
were held to be proper respondents in the case filed by the latter upon the allegation that they
and their son (Go-Tan's husband) had community of design and purpose in tormenting her by
giving her insufficient financial support; harassing and pressuring her to be ejected from the
family home; and in repeatedly abusing her verbally, emotionally, mentally and physically.

R.A. 9262 is not violative of the


due process clause of the Constitution.

Petitioner bewails the disregard of R.A. 9262, specifically in the issuance of POs, of all protections
afforded by the due process clause of the Constitution. Says he: "On the basis of unsubstantiated
allegations, and practically no opportunity to respond, the husband is stripped of family,
property, guns, money, children, job, future employment and reputation, all in a matter of
seconds, without an inkling of what happened."95

A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence against women and their
children, their family or household members, and to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is
to safeguard the offended parties from further harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life
and facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life.96

"The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the victim or offended party
is afforded all the remedies necessary to curtail access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves
to safeguard the victim from greater risk of violence; to accord the victim and any designated
family or household member safety in the family residence, and to prevent the perpetrator from
committing acts that jeopardize the employment and support of the victim. It also enables the
court to award temporary custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to
prevent their abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support."97

The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed and verified by the
petitioner98 thereby undertaking full responsibility, criminal or civil, for every allegation therein.
Since "time is of the essence in cases of VAWC if further violence is to be prevented,"99 the court
is authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice and hearing when the life, limb
or property of the victim is in jeopardy and there is reasonable ground to believe that the order is
necessary to protect the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to prevent
such violence, which is about to recur.100

There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to issue an ex parte order.
The victim is required not only to verify the allegations in the petition, but also to attach her
witnesses' affidavits to the petition.101

The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative of the right to due
process. Just like a writ of preliminary attachment which is issued without notice and hearing
because the time in which the hearing will take could be enough to enable the defendant to
abscond or dispose of his property,102 in the same way, the victim of VAWC may already have
suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and possibly even death, if notice
and hearing were required before such acts could be prevented. It is a constitutional
commonplace that the ordinary requirements of procedural due process must yield to the
necessities of protecting vital public interests,103 among which is protection of women and
children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.

It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court shall likewise order that
notice be immediately given to the respondent directing him to file an opposition within five (5)
days from service. Moreover, the court shall order that notice, copies of the petition and TPO be
served immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs are initially effective for
thirty (30) days from service on the respondent.104

Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the immediate issuance and
service of the notice upon the respondent requiring him to file an opposition to the petition
within five (5) days from service. The date of the preliminary conference and hearing on the
merits shall likewise be indicated on the notice.105

The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify, must be accompanied by
the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause why a temporary or permanent protection order
should not be issued.106

It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for protection order should be
apprised of the charges imputed to him and afforded an opportunity to present his side. Thus,
the fear of petitioner of being "stripped of family, property, guns, money, children, job, future
employment and reputation, all in a matter of seconds, without an inkling of what happened" is a
mere product of an overactive imagination. The essence of due process is to be found in the
reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of one's
defense. "To be heard" does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard also
through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or pleadings, is
accorded, there is no denial of procedural due process.107

It should be recalled that petitioner filed on April 26, 2006 an Opposition to the Urgent Ex-Parte
Motion for Renewal of the TPO that was granted only two days earlier on April 24, 2006. Likewise,
on May 23, 2006, petitioner filed a motion for the modification of the TPO to allow him visitation
rights to his children. Still, the trial court in its Order dated September 26, 2006, gave him five
days (5) within which to show cause why the TPO should not be renewed or extended. Yet, he
chose not to file the required comment arguing that it would just be an "exercise in futility,"
conveniently forgetting that the renewal of the questioned TPO was only for a limited period (30
days) each time, and that he could prevent the continued renewal of said order if he can show
sufficient cause therefor. Having failed to do so, petitioner may not now be heard to complain
that he was denied due process of law.

Petitioner next laments that the removal and exclusion of the respondent in the VAWC case from
the residence of the victim, regardless of ownership of the residence, is virtually a "blank check"
issued to the wife to claim any property as her conjugal home.108

The wording of the pertinent rule, however, does not by any stretch of the imagination suggest
that this is so. It states:

SEC. 11. Reliefs available to the offended party. -- The protection order shall include any, some or
all of the following reliefs:

xxxx

(c) Removing and excluding the respondent from the residence of the offended party, regardless
of ownership of the residence, either temporarily for the purpose of protecting the offended
party, or permanently where no property rights are violated. If the respondent must remove
personal effects from the residence, the court shall direct a law enforcement agent to
accompany the respondent to the residence, remain there until the respondent has gathered his
things and escort him from the residence;

xxxx

Indubitably, petitioner may be removed and excluded from private respondent's residence,
regardless of ownership, only temporarily for the purpose of protecting the latter. Such removal

and exclusion may be permanent only where no property rights are violated. How then can the
private respondent just claim any property and appropriate it for herself, as petitioner seems to
suggest?

The non-referral of a VAWC case


to a mediator is justified.

Petitioner argues that "by criminalizing run-of-the-mill arguments, instead of encouraging


mediation and counseling, the law has done violence to the avowed policy of the State to
"protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution."109

Under Section 23(c) of A.M. No. 04-10-11-SC, the court shall not refer the case or any issue
thereof to a mediator. The reason behind this provision is well-explained by the Commentary on
Section 311 of the Model Code on Domestic and Family Violence as follows:110

This section prohibits a court from ordering or referring parties to mediation in a proceeding for
an order for protection. Mediation is a process by which parties in equivalent bargaining positions
voluntarily reach consensual agreement about the issue at hand. Violence, however, is not a
subject for compromise. A process which involves parties mediating the issue of violence implies
that the victim is somehow at fault. In addition, mediation of issues in a proceeding for an order
of protection is problematic because the petitioner is frequently unable to participate equally
with the person against whom the protection order has been sought. (Emphasis supplied)

There is no undue delegation of


judicial power to barangay officials.

Petitioner contends that protection orders involve the exercise of judicial power which, under the
Constitution, is placed upon the "Supreme Court and such other lower courts as may be
established by law" and, thus, protests the delegation of power to barangay officials to issue
protection orders.111 The pertinent provision reads, as follows:

SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay Protection
Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by the Punong Barangay ordering the
perpetrator to desist from committing acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act.1wphi1 A
Punong Barangay who receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the
applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of the application. If the
Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the application for a BPO, the application shall be
acted upon by any available Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad,
the order must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the Punong
Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance of the BPO. BPOs shall be effective for
fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or
Barangay Kagawad shall personally serve a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any
barangay official to effect its personal service.

The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any proceeding before the Punong
Barangay.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving
rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has
been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of the Government.112 On the other hand, executive power "is
generally defined as the power to enforce and administer the laws. It is the power of carrying the
laws into practical operation and enforcing their due observance."113

As clearly delimited by the aforequoted provision, the BPO issued by the Punong Barangay or, in
his unavailability, by any available Barangay Kagawad, merely orders the perpetrator to desist
from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her child; and (2) threatening to cause the
woman or her child physical harm. Such function of the Punong Barangay is, thus, purely
executive in nature, in pursuance of his duty under the Local Government Code to "enforce all
laws and ordinances," and to "maintain public order in the barangay."114

We have held that "(t)he mere fact that an officer is required by law to inquire into the existence
of certain facts and to apply the law thereto in order to determine what his official conduct shall
be and the fact that these acts may affect private rights do not constitute an exercise of judicial
powers."115

In the same manner as the public prosecutor ascertains through a preliminary inquiry or
proceeding "whether there is reasonable ground to believe that an offense has been committed
and the accused is probably guilty thereof," the Punong Barangay must determine reasonable
ground to believe that an imminent danger of violence against the woman and her children
exists or is about to recur that would necessitate the issuance of a BPO. The preliminary
investigation conducted by the prosecutor is, concededly, an executive, not a judicial, function.
The same holds true with the issuance of a BPO.

We need not even belabor the issue raised by petitioner that since barangay officials and other
law enforcement agencies are required to extend assistance to victims of violence and abuse, it
would be very unlikely that they would remain objective and impartial, and that the chances of
acquittal are nil. As already stated, assistance by barangay officials and other law enforcement
agencies is consistent with their duty to enforce the law and to maintain peace and order.

Conclusion

Before a statute or its provisions duly challenged are voided, an unequivocal breach of, or a clear
conflict with the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or argumentative one, must be
demonstrated in such a manner as to leave no doubt in the mind of the Court. In other words,
the grounds for nullity must be beyond reasonable doubt.116 In the instant case, however, no
concrete evidence and convincing arguments were presented by petitioner to warrant a

declaration of the unconstitutionality of R.A. 9262, which is an act of Congress and signed into
law by the highest officer of the co-equal executive department. As we said in Estrada v.
Sandiganbayan, 117 courts must assume that the legislature is ever conscious of the borders
and edges of its plenary powers, and passed laws with full knowledge of the facts and for the
purpose of promoting what is right and advancing the welfare of the majority.

We reiterate here Justice Puno's observation that "the history of the women's movement against
domestic violence shows that one of its most difficult struggles was the fight against the violence
of law itself. If we keep that in mind, law will not again be a hindrance to the struggle of women
for equality but will be its fulfillment."118 Accordingly, the constitutionality of R.A. 9262 is, as it
should be, sustained.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.

Garcia vs. J. Drilon and Garcia, G. R. No. 179267, 25 June 2013


Nature of the Case: Petition for Review of Republic Act (R.A.) 9262

Facts:
Private respondent Rosalie filed a petition before the RTC of Bacolod City a
Temporary Protection Order against her husband, Jesus, pursuant to R.A. 9262, entitled An Act
Defining Violence Against Women and Their Children, Providing for Protective Measures for
Victims, Prescribing Penalties Therefor, and for Other Purposes. She claimed to be a victim of
physical, emotional, psychological and economic violence, being threatened of deprivation of
custody of her children and of financial support and also a victim of marital infidelity on the part
of petitioner.

The TPO was granted but the petitioner failed to faithfully comply with the conditions set forth by
the said TPO, private-respondent filed another application for the issuance of a TPO ex parte. The
trial court issued a modified TPO and extended the same when petitioner failed to comment on
why the TPO should not be modified. After the given time allowance to answer, the petitioner no
longer submitted the required comment as it would be an axercise in futility.

Petitioner filed before the CA a petition for prohibition with prayer for injunction and TRO on,
questioning the constitutionality of the RA 9262 for violating the due process and equal
protection clauses, and the validity of the modified TPO for being an unwanted product of an
invalid law.

The CA issued a TRO on the enforcement of the TPO but however, denied the petition for failure
to raise the issue of constitutionality in his pleadings before the trial court and the petition for
prohibition to annul protection orders issued by the trial court constituted collateral attack on
said law.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied. Thus, this petition is filed.

Issues: WON the CA erred in dismissing the petition on the theory that the issue of
constitutionality was not raised at the earliest opportunity and that the petition constitutes a
collateral attack on the validity of the law.

WON the CA committed serious error in failing to conclude that RA 9262 is discriminatory, unjust
and violative of the equal protection clause.

WON the CA committed grave mistake in not finding that RA 9262 runs counter to the due
process clause of the Constitution

WON the CA erred in not finding that the law does violence to the policy of the state to protect
the family as a basic social institution

WON the CA seriously erredin declaring RA 9262 as invalid and unconstitutional because it allows
an undue delegation of judicial power to Brgy. Officials.

Decision:
1. Petitioner contends that the RTC has limited authority and jurisdiction,
inadequate to tackle the complex issue of constitutionality. Family Courts have authority and
jurisdiction to consider the constitutionality of a statute. The question of constitutionality must be
raised at the earliest possible time so that if not raised in the pleadings, it may not be raised in
the trial and if not raised in the trial court, it may not be considered in appeal.

2. RA 9262 does not violate the guaranty of equal protection of the laws. Equal protection simply
requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights
conferred and responsibilities imposed. In Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workerkers Union, the
Court ruled that all that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means
that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real
differences; that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; not limited to existing conditions
only; and apply equally to each member of the class. Therefore, RA9262 is based on a valid
classification and did not violate the equal protection clause by favouring women over men as
victims of violence and abuse to whom the Senate extends its protection.

3. RA 9262 is not violative of the due process clause of the Constitution. The essence of due
process is in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in
support of ones defense. The grant of the TPO exparte cannot be impugned as violative of the
right to due process.

4. The non-referral of a VAWC case to a mediator is justified. Petitioners contention that by not
allowing mediation, the law violated the policy of the State to protect and strengthen the family
as a basic autonomous social institution cannot be sustained. In a memorandum of the Court, it

ruled that the court shall not refer the case or any issue therof to a mediator. This is so because
violence is not a subject for compromise.

5. There is no undue delegation of judicial power to Barangay officials. Judicial power includes
the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on any part of any branch of the
Government while executive power is the power to enforce and administer the laws. The
preliminary investigation conducted by the prosecutor is an executive, not a judicial, function.
The same holds true with the issuance of BPO. Assistance by Brgy. Officials and other law
enforcement agencies is consistent with their duty executive function.

The petition for review on certiorari is denied for lack of merit.

4.

BORIS MEJOFF, petitioner,


vs.
THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, respondent.

Ambrosio T. Dollete for petitioner.


First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianson and Solicitor Florencio Villamor for
respondents.

TUASON, J.:

This is a second petition for habeas corpus by Boris Mejoff, the first having been denied in a
decision of this Court of July 30, 1949. The history of the petitioner's detention was thus briefly
set forth in that decision, written by Mr. Justice Bengzon:

The petitioner Boris Mejoff is an alien of Russian descent who was brought to this country from
Shanghai as a secret operative by the Japanese forces during the latter's regime in these Islands.
Upon liberation he was arrested as a Japanese spy, by U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps.
Later he was handed to theCommonwealth Government for disposition in accordance with
Commonwealth Act No. 682. Thereafter, the People's Court ordered his release. But the
deportation Board taking his case up, found that having no travel documents Mejoff was illegally
in this country, and consequently referred the matter to the immigration authorities. After the
corresponding investigation, the Board of commissioners of Immigration on April 5, 1948,
declared that Mejoff had entered the Philippines illegally in 1944, without inspection and

admission by the immigration officials at a designation port of entry and, therefore, it ordered
that he be deported on the first available transportation to Russia. The petitioner was then under
custody, he having been arrested on March 18, 1948. In May 1948 he was transferred to the
Cebu Provincial Jail together with three other Russians to await the arrival of some Russian
vessels. In July and August of that year two boats of Russian nationality called at the Cebu Port.
But their masters refused to take petitioner and his companions alleging lack of authority to do
so. In October 1948 after repeated failures to ship this deportee abroad, the authorities removed
him to Bilibid Prison at Muntinglupa where he has been confined up to the present time,
inasmuch as the Commissioner of Immigration believes it is for the best interests of the country
to keep him under detention while arrangements for his departure are being made.

The Court held the petitioner's detention temporary and said that "temporary detention is a
necessary step in the process of exclusion or expulsion of undesirable aliens and that pending
arrangements for his deportation, the Government has the right to hold the undesirable alien
under confinement for a reasonable lenght of time." It took note of the fact, manifested by the
Solicitor General's representative in the course of the of the oral argumment, that "this
Government desires to expel the alien, and does not relish keeping him at the people's expense .
. . making efforts to carry out the decree of exclusion by the highest officer of the land." No
period was fixed within which the immigration authorities should carry out the contemplated
deportation beyond the statement that "The meaning of 'reasonable time' depends upon the
circumstances, specially the difficulties of obtaining a passport, the availability of transportation,
the diplomatic arrangements with the governments concerned and the efforts displayed to send
the deportee away;" but the Court warned that "under established precedents, too long a
detention may justify the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus."

Mr. Justice Paras, now Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Feria, Mr. Justice Perfecto, and the writer of this
decision dissented. Mr. Justice Feria and Mr. Justice Perfecto voted for outright discharge of the
prisoner from custody. Mr. Justice Paras qualified his dissent by stating that he might agree "to
further detention of the herein petitioner, provided that he be released if after six months, the
Government is still unable to deport him." This writer joined in the latter dissent but thought that
two months constituted reasonable time.

Over two years having elapsed since the decision aforesaid was promulgated, the Government
has not found way and means of removing the petitioner out of the country, and none are in
sight, although it should be said in justice to the deportation authorities, it was through no fault
of theirs that no ship or country would take the petitioner.

Aliens illegally staying in the Philippines have no right of asylum therein (Sowapadji vs. Wixon,
Sept. 18, 1946, 157 F. ed., 289, 290), even if they are "stateless," which the petitioner claims to
be. It is no less true however, as impliedly stated in this Court's decision, supra, that foreign
nationals, not enemy against whom no charge has been made other than that their permission to
stay has expired, may not indefinitely be kept in detention. The protection against deprivation of
liberty without due process of law and except for crimes committed against the laws of the land
is not limited to Philippine citizens but extends to all residents, except enemy aliens, regardless
of nationality. Whether an alien who entered the country in violation of its immigration laws may
be detained for as long as the Government is unable to deport him, is a point we need not
decide. The petitioner's entry into the Philippines was not unlawful; he was brought by the armed
and belligerent forces of a de facto government whose decrees were law furing the occupation.

Moreover, by its Constitution (Art. II, Sec. 3) the Philippines "adopts the generally accepted
principles of international law as part of the law of Nation." And in a resolution entitled "Universal
Declaration of Human Rights" and 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. It
was there resolved that "All human beings are born free and equal in degree and rights" (Art. 1);
that "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" (Art. 2): that "Every one 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" (Art. 8); that "No one shall be subjected to
arbitrary arrest, detention or exile" (Art. 9); etc.

In U. S. vs. Nichols, 47 Fed. Supp., 201, it was said that the court "has the power to release from
custody an alien who has been detained an unreasonably long period of time by the Department
of Justice after it has become apparent that although a warrant for his deportation has been
issued, the warrant can not be effectuated;" that "the theory on which the court is given the
power to act is that the warrant of deportation, not having been able to be executed, is functus
officio and the alien is being held without any authority of law." The decision cited several cases
which, it said, settled the matter definitely in that jurisdiction, adding that the same result had
reached in innumerable cases elsewhere. The cases referred to were United States ex rel. Ross
vs. Wallis, 2 Cir. 279 F. 401, 404; Caranica vs. Nagle, 9 Cir., 28 F. 2d 955; Saksagansky vs.
Weedin, 9 Cir., 53 F. 2d 13, 16 last paragraph; Ex parte Matthews, D.C.W.D. Wash., 277 F. 857;
Moraitis vs. Delany, D.C. Md. Aug. 28, 1942, 46 F. Supp. 425.

The most recent case, as far as we have been able to find, was that of Staniszewski vs. Watkins
(1948), 90 Fed. Supp., 132, which is nearly foursquare with the case at hand. In that case a
stateless person, formerly a Polish national, resident in the United States since 1911 and many
times serving as a seaman on American vessels both in peace and in war, was ordered excluded
from the United States and detained at Ellis Island at the expense of the steamship company,
when he returned from a voyage on which he had shipped from New York for one or more
European ports and return to the United States. The grounds for his exclusion were that he had
no passport or immigration visa, and that in 1937 had been convicted of perjury because in
certain documents he presented himself to be an American citizen. Upon his application for
release on habeas corpus, the Court released him upon his own recognizance. Judge Leibell, of
the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, said in part:

When the return to the writ of habeas corpus came before this court, I suggested that all
interested parties . . . make an effort to arrange to have the petitioner ship out of some country
that he would receive him as a resident. He is, a native-born Pole but the Polish Consul has
advised him in writing that he is no longer a Polish subject. This Government does not claim that
he is a Polish citizen. His attorney says he is a stateless. The Government is willing that he go
back to the ship, but if he were sent back aboard a ship and sailed to the Port (Cherbourg,
France) from which he last sailed to the United States, he would probably be denied permission
to land. There is no other country that would take him, without proper documents.

It seems to me that this is a genuine hardship case and that the petitioner should be released
from custody on proper terms. . . .

What is to be done with the petitioner? The government has had him in custody almost seven
months and practically admits it has no place to send him out of this country. The steamship
company, which employed him as one of a group sent to the ship by the Union, with proper
seaman's papers issued by the United States Coast Guard, is paying $3 a day for petitioner's
board at Ellis Island. It is no fault of the steamship company that petitioner is an inadmissible
alien as the immigration officials describe him. . . .

I intend to sustain the writ of habeas corpus and order the release of the petitioner on his own
recognizance. He will be required to inform the immigration officials at Ellis Island by mail on the
15th of each month, stating where he is employed and where he can be reached by mail. If the
government does succeed in arranging for petitioner's deportation to a country that will be ready
to receive him as a resident, it may then advise the petitioner to that effect and arrange for his
deportation in the manner provided by law.

Although not binding upon this Court as a precedent, the case aforecited affords a happy solution
to the quandry in which the parties here finds themselves, solution which we think is sensible,
sound and compatible with law and the Constitution. For this reason, and since the Philippine law
on immigration was patterned after or copied from the American law and practice, we choose to
follow and adopt the reasoning and conclusions in the Staniszewski decision with some
modifications which, it is believed, are in consonance with the prevailing conditions of peace and
order in the Philippines.

It was said or insinuated at the hearing ofthe petition at bar, but not alleged in the return, that
the petitioner was engaged in subversive activities, and fear was expressed that he might join or
aid the disloyal elements if allowed to be at large. Bearing in mind the Government's allegation
in its answer that "the herein petitioner was brought to the Philippines by the Japanese forces,"
and the fact that Japan is no longer at war with the United States or the Philippines nor identified
with the countries allied against these nations, the possibility of the petitioner's entertaining or
committing hostile acts prejudicial to the interest and security of this country seems remote.

If we grant, for the sake of argument, that such a possibility exists, still the petitioner's unduly
prolonged detention would be unwarranted by law and the Constitution, if the only purpose of
the detention be to eliminate a danger that is by no means actual, present, or uncontrolable.
After all, the Government is not impotent to deal with or prevent any threat by such measure as
that just outlined. The thought eloquently expressed by Mr. Justice Jackson of the United States
Supreme Court in connection with the appliccation for bail of ten Communists convicted by a
lower court of advocacy of violent overthrow of the United States Government is, in principle,
pertinent and may be availed of at this juncture. Said the learned Jurist:

The Governmet's alternative contention is that defendants, by misbehavior after conviction, have
forfeited their claim to bail. Grave public danger is said to result from what they may be
expected to do, in addition to what they have done since their conviction. If I assume that
defendants are disposed to commit every opportune disloyal to act helpful to Communist

countries, it is still difficult to reconcile with traditional American law the jailing of persons by the
courts because of anticipated but as yet uncommitted crimes. lmprisonment to protect society
from predicted but unconsummated offenses is so unprecedented in this country and so fraught
with danger of excesses and injustice that I am loath to resort it, even as a discretionary judicial
technique to supplement conviction of such offenses as those of which defendants stand
convicted.

But the right of every American to equal treatment before the law is wrapped up in the same
constitutional bundle with those of these Communists. If an anger or disgust with these
defendants we throw out the bundle, we alsocast aside protection for the liberties of more
worthy critics who may be in opposition to the government of some future day.

xxx

xxx

x x x1wphl.nt

If, however, I were to be wrong on all of these abstract or theoretical matters of principle, there is
a very practical aspect of this application which must not be overlooked or underestimated
that is the disastrous effect on the reputation of American justice if I should now send these men
to jail and the full Court later decide that their conviction is invalid. All experience with litigation
teaches that existence of a substantial question about a conviction implies a more than
negligible risk of reversal. Indeed this experience lies back of our rule permitting and practice of
allowing bail where such questions exist, to avoid the hazard of unjustifiably imprisoning persons
with consequent reproach to our system of justice. If that is prudent judicial practice in the
ordinary case, how much more important to avoid every chance of handing to the Communist
world such an ideological weapon as it would have if this country should imprison this handful of
Communist leaders on a conviction that our highest Court would confess to be illegal. Risks, of
course, are involved in either granting or refusing bail. I am naive enough to underestimate the
troublemaking propensities of the defendants. But, with the Department of Justice alert to the
the dangers, the worst they can accomplish in the short time it will take to end the litigation is
preferable to the possibility of national embarrassment from a celebrated case of unjustified
imprisonment of Communist leaders. Under no circumstances must we permit their
symbolization of an evil force in the world to be hallowed and glorified by any semblance of
martyrdom. The way to avoid that risk is not to jail these men until it is finally decided that they
should stay jailed.

If that case is not comparable with ours on the issues presented, its underlying principle is of
universal application. In fact, its ratio decidendi applies with greater force to the present petition,
since the right of accused to bail pending apppeal of his case, as in the case of the ten
Communists, depends upon the discretion of the court, whereas the right to be enlarged before
formal charges are instituted is absolute. As already noted, not only are there no charges
pending against the petitioner, but the prospects of bringing any against him are slim and
remote.

Premises considered, the writ will issue commanding the respondents to release the petitioner
from custody upon these terms: The petitioner shall be placed under the surveillance of the
immigration authorities or their agents in such form and manner as may be deemed adequate to
insure that he keep peace and be available when the Government is ready to deport him. The
surveillance shall be reasonable and the question of reasonableness shall be submitted to this

Court or to the Court of First Instance of Manila for decision in case of abuse. He shall also put up
a bond for the above purpose in the amount of P5,000 with sufficient surety or sureties, which
bond the Commissioner of Immigration is authorized to exact by section 40 of Commonwealth
Act No. 613.

Digest
FACTS:

Petitioner: Boris Mejoff, a Russian national brought to the Philippines as a secret operative by the
Japanese during the Japanese Occupation
Yet another petition for habeas corpus (i.e. this was not the first case filed by Mejoff)
First petition denied by SC on July 30, 1949
[Now that were done with that, lets go back to the story]
Upon the liberation of the Philippines, Mejoff was arrested as a spy by the US Army CounterIntelligence Corps
The Peoples Court ordered Mejoffs release, but the Deportation Board then found out that he
had no travel documents and referred the matter to the immigration authorities
The Immigration Board declared Mejoff an illegal alien, having illegally entered the Philippines in
1944, without inspection or admission by immigration officials, and ordered that he be deported
to Russia come the first available transport
Mejoff was then under custody, having been arrested on March 18, 1948
Repeated failures to ship Mejoff to Russia
Mejoff was moved to Bilibid where he has been confined for give or take two years; no ship or
country would take him, says the decision
ISSUE:

WON Mejoff should be released from prison pending his deportation


RULING:

The protection against deprivation of liberty without due process of law, and except for crimes
committed against the laws of the land, is not limited to Philippine citizens but extends to all
residents, except enemy aliens, regardless of nationality
Sec. 3, Art. II of the 1935 Constitution adopts the generally accepted principles of international
law as part of the law of the Nation, which means that the incorporation doctrine holds sway
here
The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights proclaims the right to life and liberty and all other
fundamental rights as applied to all human beings, stating that all human beings are born free
and equal in degree and rights (Art. 1); that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedom
set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language,
religion, political or other opinion, nationality or social origin, property, birth, or other status

(Art. 2); that every one 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 (Art. 8); that
no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile (Art. 9 ), etc.
The writ of habeas corpus will issue commanding the respondents to release the petitioner from
custody upon these terms: that the petitioner shall be placed under reasonable surveillance c/o
the immigration authorities or their agents in such form and manner as may be deemed
adequate to insure that he keep peace and be available when the Government is ready to deport
him.

5.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ALLIANCE OF EDUCATORS (ISAE), petitioner, vs. HON. LEONARDO A.


QUISUMBING in his capacity as the Secretary of Labor and Employment; HON. CRESENCIANO B.
TRAJANO in his capacity as the Acting Secretary of Labor and Employment; DR. BRIAN
MACCAULEY in his capacity as the Superintendent of International School-Manila; and
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, INC., respondents.

DECISION

KAPUNAN, J.:

Receiving salaries less than their counterparts hired abroad, the local-hires of private respondent
School, mostly Filipinos, cry discrimination. We agree. That the local-hires are paid more than
their colleagues in other schools is, of course, beside the point. The point is that employees
should be given equal pay for work of equal value. That is a principle long honored in this
jurisdiction. That is a principle that rests on fundamental notions of justice. That is the principle
we uphold today.

Private respondent International School, Inc. (the School, for short), pursuant to Presidential
Decree 732, is a domestic educational institution established primarily for dependents of foreign
diplomatic personnel and other temporary residents.[1] To enable the School to continue carrying
out its educational program and improve its standard of instruction, Section 2(c) of the same
decree authorizes the School to

employ its own teaching and management personnel selected by it either locally or abroad, from
Philippine or other nationalities, such personnel being exempt from otherwise applicable laws
and regulations attending their employment, except laws that have been or will be enacted for
the protection of employees.

Accordingly, the School hires both foreign and local teachers as members of its faculty,
classifying the same into two: (1) foreign-hires and (2) local-hires. The School employs four tests
to determine whether a faculty member should be classified as a foreign-hire or a local hire:

a.....What is one's domicile?

b.....Where is one's home economy?

c.....To which country does one owe economic allegiance?

d.....Was the individual hired abroad specifically to work in the School and was the School
responsible for bringing that individual to the Philippines?[2]

Should the answer to any of these queries point to the Philippines, the faculty member is
classified as a local hire; otherwise, he or she is deemed a foreign-hire.

The School grants foreign-hires certain benefits not accorded local-hires. These include housing,
transportation, shipping costs, taxes, and home leave travel allowance. Foreign-hires are also
paid a salary rate twenty-five percent (25%) more than local-hires. The School justifies the
difference on two "significant economic disadvantages" foreign-hires have to endure, namely: (a)
the "dislocation factor" and (b) limited tenure. The School explains:

A foreign-hire would necessarily have to uproot himself from his home country, leave his family
and friends, and take the risk of deviating from a promising career path-all for the purpose of
pursuing his profession as an educator, but this time in a foreign land. The new foreign hire is
faced with economic realities: decent abode for oneself and/or for one's family, effective means
of transportation, allowance for the education of one's children, adequate insurance against
illness and death, and of course the primary benefit of a basic salary/retirement compensation.

Because of a limited tenure, the foreign hire is confronted again with the same economic reality
after his term: that he will eventually and inevitably return to his home country where he will
have to confront the uncertainty of obtaining suitable employment after a long period in a
foreign land.

The compensation scheme is simply the School's adaptive measure to remain competitive on an
international level in terms of attracting competent professionals in the field of international
education.[3]

When negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement were held on June 1995, petitioner
International School Alliance of Educators, "a legitimate labor union and the collective bargaining
representative of all faculty members"[4] of the School, contested the difference in salary rates

between foreign and local-hires. This issue, as well as the question of whether foreign-hires
should be included in the appropriate bargaining unit, eventually caused a deadlock between the
parties.

On September 7, 1995, petitioner filed a notice of strike. The failure of the National Conciliation
and Mediation Board to bring the parties to a compromise prompted the Department of Labor
and Employment (DOLE) to assume jurisdiction over the dispute. On June 10, 1996, the DOLE
Acting Secretary, Crescenciano B. Trajano, issued an Order resolving the parity and
representation issues in favor of the School. Then DOLE Secretary Leonardo A. Quisumbing
subsequently denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration in an Order dated March 19, 1997.
Petitioner now seeks relief in this Court.

Petitioner claims that the point-of-hire classification employed by the School is discriminatory to
Filipinos and that the grant of higher salaries to foreign-hires constitutes racial discrimination.

The School disputes these claims and gives a breakdown of its faculty members, numbering 38
in all, with nationalities other than Filipino, who have been hired locally and classified as local
hires.[5]The Acting Secretary of Labor found that these non-Filipino local-hires received the same
benefits as the Filipino local-hires:

The compensation package given to local-hires has been shown to apply to all, regardless of
race. Truth to tell, there are foreigners who have been hired locally and who are paid equally as
Filipino local hires.[6]

The Acting Secretary upheld the point-of-hire classification for the distinction in salary rates:

The principle "equal pay for equal work" does not find application in the present case. The
international character of the School requires the hiring of foreign personnel to deal with different
nationalities and different cultures, among the student population.

We also take cognizance of the existence of a system of salaries and benefits accorded to foreign
hired personnel which system is universally recognized. We agree that certain amenities have to
be provided to these people in order to entice them to render their services in the Philippines and
in the process remain competitive in the international market.

Furthermore, we took note of the fact that foreign hires have limited contract of employment
unlike the local hires who enjoy security of tenure. To apply parity therefore, in wages and other
benefits would also require parity in other terms and conditions of employment which include the
employment contract.

A perusal of the parties' 1992-1995 CBA points us to the conditions and provisions for salary and
professional compensation wherein the parties agree as follows:

All members of the bargaining unit shall be compensated only in accordance with Appendix C
hereof provided that the Superintendent of the School has the discretion to recruit and hire
expatriate teachers from abroad, under terms and conditions that are consistent with accepted
international practice.

Appendix C of said CBA further provides:

The new salary schedule is deemed at equity with the Overseas Recruited Staff (OSRS) salary
schedule. The 25% differential is reflective of the agreed value of system displacement and
contracted status of the OSRS as differentiated from the tenured status of Locally Recruited Staff
(LRS).

To our mind, these provisions demonstrate the parties' recognition of the difference in the status
of two types of employees, hence, the difference in their salaries.

The Union cannot also invoke the equal protection clause to justify its claim of parity. It is an
established principle of constitutional law that the guarantee of equal protection of the laws is
not violated by legislation or private covenants based on reasonable classification. A
classification is reasonable if it is based on substantial distinctions and apply to all members of
the same class. Verily, there is a substantial distinction between foreign hires and local hires, the
former enjoying only a limited tenure, having no amenities of their own in the Philippines and
have to be given a good compensation package in order to attract them to join the teaching
faculty of the School.[7]

We cannot agree.

That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution
and laws reflect the policy against these evils. The Constitution[8] in the Article on Social Justice
and Human Rights exhorts Congress to "give highest priority to the enactment of measures that
protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and
political inequalities." The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person, "in the
exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give everyone his
due, and observe honesty and good faith."

International law, which springs from general principles of law,[9] likewise proscribes
discrimination. General principles of law include principles of equity,[10] i.e., the general
principles of fairness and justice, based on the test of what is reasonable.[11] The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights,[12] the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural
Rights,[13] the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
[14] the Convention against Discrimination in Education,[15] the Convention (No. 111)
Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation[16] - all embody the
general principle against discrimination, the very antithesis of fairness and justice. The
Philippines, through its Constitution, has incorporated this principle as part of its national laws.

In the workplace, where the relations between capital and labor are often skewed in favor of
capital, inequality and discrimination by the employer are all the more reprehensible.

The Constitution[17] specifically provides that labor is entitled to "humane conditions of work."
These conditions are not restricted to the physical workplace - the factory, the office or the field but include as well the manner by which employers treat their employees.

The Constitution[18] also directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for
all." Similarly, the Labor Code[19] provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities
regardless of sex, race or creed." It would be an affront to both the spirit and letter of these
provisions if the State, in spite of its primordial obligation to promote and ensure equal
employment opportunities, closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions of
employment.[20]

Discrimination, particularly in terms of wages, is frowned upon by the Labor Code. Article 135, for
example, prohibits and penalizes[21] the payment of lesser compensation to a female employee
as against a male employee for work of equal value. Article 248 declares it an unfair labor
practice for an employer to discriminate in regard to wages in order to encourage or discourage
membership in any labor organization.

Notably, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, supra, in Article 7
thereof, provides:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of
just and favourable conditions of work, which ensure, in particular:

a.....Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:

i.....Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in
particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with
equal pay for equal work;

x x x.

The foregoing provisions impregnably institutionalize in this jurisdiction the long honored legal
truism of "equal pay for equal work." Persons who work with substantially equal qualifications,
skill, effort and responsibility, under similar conditions, should be paid similar salaries.[22] This
rule applies to the School, its "international character" notwithstanding.

The School contends that petitioner has not adduced evidence that local-hires perform work
equal to that of foreign-hires.[23] The Court finds this argument a little cavalier. If an employer
accords employees the same position and rank, the presumption is that these employees
perform equal work. This presumption is borne by logic and human experience. If the employer
pays one employee less than the rest, it is not for that employee to explain why he receives less
or why the others receive more. That would be adding insult to injury. The employer has
discriminated against that employee; it is for the employer to explain why the employee is
treated unfairly.

The employer in this case has failed to discharge this burden. There is no evidence here that
foreign-hires perform 25% more efficiently or effectively than the local-hires. Both groups have
similar functions and responsibilities, which they perform under similar working conditions.

The School cannot invoke the need to entice foreign-hires to leave their domicile to rationalize
the distinction in salary rates without violating the principle of equal work for equal pay.

"Salary" is defined in Black's Law Dictionary (5th ed.) as "a reward or recompense for services
performed." Similarly, the Philippine Legal Encyclopedia states that "salary" is the
"[c]onsideration paid at regular intervals for the rendering of services." In Songco v. National
Labor Relations Commission,[24] we said that:

"salary" means a recompense or consideration made to a person for his pains or industry in
another man's business. Whether it be derived from "salarium," or more fancifully from "sal," the
pay of the Roman soldier, it carries with it the fundamental idea of compensation for services
rendered. (Emphasis supplied.)

While we recognize the need of the School to attract foreign-hires, salaries should not be used as
an enticement to the prejudice of local-hires. The local-hires perform the same services as
foreign-hires and they ought to be paid the same salaries as the latter. For the same reason, the
"dislocation factor" and the foreign-hires' limited tenure also cannot serve as valid bases for the
distinction in salary rates. The dislocation factor and limited tenure affecting foreign-hires are
adequately compensated by certain benefits accorded them which are not enjoyed by local-hires,
such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes and home leave travel allowances.

The Constitution enjoins the State to "protect the rights of workers and promote their
welfare,"[25] "to afford labor full protection."[26] The State, therefore, has the right and duty to
regulate the relations between labor and capital.[27] These relations are not merely contractual
but are so impressed with public interest that labor contracts, collective bargaining agreements
included, must yield to the common good.[28] Should such contracts contain stipulations that
are contrary to public policy, courts will not hesitate to strike down these stipulations.

In this case, we find the point-of-hire classification employed by respondent School to justify the
distinction in the salary rates of foreign-hires and local hires to be an invalid classification. There
is no reasonable distinction between the services rendered by foreign-hires and local-hires. The

practice of the School of according higher salaries to foreign-hires contravenes public policy and,
certainly, does not deserve the sympathy of this Court.

We agree, however, that foreign-hires do not belong to the same bargaining unit as the localhires.

A bargaining unit is "a group of employees of a given employer, comprised of all or less than all
of the entire body of employees, consistent with equity to the employer indicate to be the best
suited to serve the reciprocal rights and duties of the parties under the collective bargaining
provisions of the law."[29] The factors in determining the appropriate collective bargaining unit
are (1) the will of the employees (Globe Doctrine); (2) affinity and unity of the employees'
interest, such as substantial similarity of work and duties, or similarity of compensation and
working conditions (Substantial Mutual Interests Rule); (3) prior collective bargaining history; and
(4) similarity of employment status.[30] The basic test of an asserted bargaining unit's
acceptability is whether or not it is fundamentally the combination which will best assure to all
employees the exercise of their collective bargaining rights.[31]

It does not appear that foreign-hires have indicated their intention to be grouped together with
local-hires for purposes of collective bargaining. The collective bargaining history in the School
also shows that these groups were always treated separately. Foreign-hires have limited tenure;
local-hires enjoy security of tenure. Although foreign-hires perform similar functions under the
same working conditions as the local-hires, foreign-hires are accorded certain benefits not
granted to local-hires. These benefits, such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes, and
home leave travel allowance, are reasonably related to their status as foreign-hires, and justify
the exclusion of the former from the latter. To include foreign-hires in a bargaining unit with localhires would not assure either group the exercise of their respective collective bargaining rights.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GIVEN DUE COURSE. The petition is hereby GRANTED IN PART. The
Orders of the Secretary of Labor and Employment dated June 10, 1996 and March 19, 1997, are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE insofar as they uphold the practice of respondent School of
according foreign-hires higher salaries than local-hires.

International School Manila Alliance of Educators vs. Quisumbing (G.R. No.


128845)
Facts:
The International School Manila (ISM), under Presidential Decree 732, is a domestic educational
institution established primarily for dependents of foreign diplomatic personnel and other
temporary residents. To enable the School to continue carrying out its educational program and
improve its standard of instruction, Section 2(c) of the same decree authorizes the School to
employ its own teaching and management personnel selected by it either locally or abroad, from
Philippine or other nationalities, such personnel being exempt from otherwise applicable laws
and regulations attending their employment, except laws that have been or will be enacted for
the protection of employees.

The local-hires union of the ISM were crying foul over the disparity in wages that they got
compared to that of their foreign teaching counterparts.
These questions are asked to qualify a teacher into a local or foreign hire.
a.....What is one's domicile?
b.....Where is one's home economy?
c.....To which country does one owe economic allegiance?
d.....Was the individual hired abroad specifically to work in the School and was the School
responsible for bringing that individual to the Philippines?

Should any answer point to Philippines, the person is a local hire. The School grants foreign-hires
certain benefits to the foreign hires such as housing, transportation, and 25% more pay than
locals under the theory of (a) the "dislocation factor" and (b) limited tenure. The first was
grounded on leaving his home country, the second was on the lack of tenure when he returns
home.

The negotiations between the school and the union caused a deadlock between the parties. The
DOLE resolved in favor of the school, while Dole Secretary Quisumbing denied the unions motion
for reconsideration He said, The Union cannot also invoke the equal protection clause to justify
its claim of parity. It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guarantee of equal
protection of the laws is not violated by legislation or private covenants based on reasonable
classification. A classification is reasonable if it is based on substantial distinctions and apply to
all members of the same class. Verily, there is a substantial distinction between foreign hires and
local hires, the former enjoying only a limited tenure, having no amenities of their own in the
Philippines and have to be given a good compensation package in order to attract them to join
the teaching faculty of the School.

The union appealed to the Supreme Court. The petitioner called the hiring system discriminatory
and racist. The school alleged that some local hires were in fact of foreign origin. They were paid
local salaries.

Issue:
Whether or not the hiring system is violative of the equal protection clause.

Held:
The Constitution also directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for all."
Similarly, the Labor Code provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities
regardless of sex, race or creed. Article 248 declares it an unfair labor practice for an employer to
discriminate in regard to wages in order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor
organization.

In this jurisdiction, there is the term equal pay for equal work, pertaining to persons being paid
with equal salaries and have similar skills and similar conditions. There was no evidence here
that foreign-hires perform 25% more efficiently or effectively than the local-hires.

The State, therefore, has the right and duty to regulate the relations between labor and capital.
These relations are not merely contractual but are so impressed with public interest that labor
contracts, collective bargaining agreements included, must yield to the common good.

For the same reason, the "dislocation factor" and the foreign-hires' limited tenure also cannot
serve as valid bases for the distinction in salary rates. The dislocation factor and limited tenure
affecting foreign-hires are adequately compensated by certain benefits accorded them which are
not enjoyed by local-hires, such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes and home leave
travel allowances.

In this case, we find the point-of-hire classification employed by respondent School to justify the
distinction in the salary rates of foreign-hires and local hires to be an invalid classification. There
is no reasonable distinction between the services rendered by foreign-hires and local-hires

The order of the Secretary of DOLE was reversed in sofar as giving foreign-hires higher salary.

6.

Republic of the Philippines, petitioner, vs. Sandiganbayan, Major General Josephus Q. Ramas and
Elizabeth Dimaano, respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:

The Case

Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan (First Division)[1] dated 18 November 1991 and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No.

0037. The first Resolution dismissed petitioners Amended Complaint and ordered the return of
the confiscated items to respondent Elizabeth Dimaano, while the second Resolution denied
petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. Petitioner prays for the grant of the reliefs sought in its
Amended Complaint, or in the alternative, for the remand of this case to the Sandiganbayan
(First Division) for further proceedings allowing petitioner to complete the presentation of its
evidence.

Antecedent Facts

Immediately upon her assumption to office following the successful EDSA Revolution, then
President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 1 (EO No. 1) creating the Presidential
Commission on Good Government (PCGG). EO No. 1 primarily tasked the PCGG to recover all illgotten wealth of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives,
subordinates and close associates. EO No. 1 vested the PCGG with the power (a) to conduct
investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and carry out the purposes of this
order and the power (h) to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry
out the purpose of this order. Accordingly, the PCGG, through its then Chairman Jovito R. Salonga,
created an AFP Anti-Graft Board (AFP Board) tasked to investigate reports of unexplained wealth
and corrupt practices by AFP personnel, whether in the active service or retired.[2]

Based on its mandate, the AFP Board investigated various reports of alleged unexplained wealth
of respondent Major General Josephus Q. Ramas (Ramas). On 27 July 1987, the AFP Board issued
a Resolution on its findings and recommendation on the reported unexplained wealth of Ramas.
The relevant part of the Resolution reads:

III. FINDINGS and EVALUATION:

Evidence in the record showed that respondent is the owner of a house and lot located at 15Yakan St., La Vista, Quezon City. He is also the owner of a house and lot located in Cebu City. The
lot has an area of 3,327 square meters.

The value of the property located in Quezon City may be estimated modestly at P700,000.00.

The equipment/items and communication facilities which were found in the premises of Elizabeth
Dimaano and were confiscated by elements of the PC Command of Batangas were all covered by
invoice receipt in the name of CAPT. EFREN SALIDO, RSO Command Coy, MSC, PA. These items
could not have been in the possession of Elizabeth Dimaano if not given for her use by
respondent Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

Aside from the military equipment/items and communications equipment, the raiding team was
also able to confiscate money in the amount of P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars in the
house of Elizabeth Dimaano on 3 March 1986.

Affidavits of members of the Military Security Unit, Military Security Command, Philippine Army,
stationed at Camp Eldridge, Los Baos, Laguna, disclosed that Elizabeth Dimaano is the mistress
of respondent. That respondent usually goes and stays and sleeps in the alleged house of
Elizabeth Dimaano in Barangay Tengga, Itaas, Batangas City and when he arrives, Elizabeth
Dimaano embraces and kisses respondent. That on February 25, 1986, a person who rode in a
car went to the residence of Elizabeth Dimaano with four (4) attache cases filled with money and
owned by MGen Ramas.

Sworn statement in the record disclosed also that Elizabeth Dimaano had no visible means of
income and is supported by respondent for she was formerly a mere secretary.

Taking in toto the evidence, Elizabeth Dimaano could not have used the military equipment/items
seized in her house on March 3, 1986 without the consent of respondent, he being the
Commanding General of the Philippine Army. It is also impossible for Elizabeth Dimaano to claim
that she owns the P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars for she had no visible source of income.

This money was never declared in the Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent. There
was an intention to cover the existence of these money because these are all ill-gotten and
unexplained wealth. Were it not for the affidavits of the members of the Military Security Unit
assigned at Camp Eldridge, Los Baos, Laguna, the existence and ownership of these money
would have never been known.

The Statement of Assets and Liabilities of respondent were also submitted for scrutiny and
analysis by the Boards consultant. Although the amount of P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US
Dollars were not included, still it was disclosed that respondent has an unexplained wealth of
P104,134. 60.

IV. CONCLUSION:

In view of the foregoing, the Board finds that a prima facie case exists against respondent for illgotten and unexplained wealth in the amount of P2,974,134.00 and $50,000 US Dollars.

V. RECOMMENDATION:

Wherefore it is recommended that Maj. Gen. Josephus Q. Ramas (ret.) be prosecuted and tried for
violation of RA 3019, as amended, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and
RA 1379, as amended, otherwise known as The Act for the Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired
Property.[3]

Thus, on 1 August 1987, the PCGG filed a petition for forfeiture under Republic Act No. 1379 (RA
No. 1379) [4] against Ramas.

Before Ramas could answer the petition, then Solicitor General Francisco I. Chavez filed an
Amended Complaint naming the Republic of the Philippines (petitioner), represented by the
PCGG, as plaintiff and Ramas as defendant. The Amended Complaint also impleaded Elizabeth
Dimaano (Dimaano) as co-defendant.

The Amended Complaint alleged that Ramas was the Commanding General of the Philippine
Army until 1986. On the other hand, Dimaano was a confidential agent of the Military Security
Unit, Philippine Army, assigned as a clerk-typist at the office of Ramas from 1 January 1978 to
February 1979. The Amended Complaint further alleged that Ramas acquired funds, assets and
properties manifestly out of proportion to his salary as an army officer and his other income from
legitimately acquired property by taking undue advantage of his public office and/or using his
power, authority and influence as such officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as a
subordinate and close associate of the deposed President Ferdinand Marcos.[5]

The Amended Complaint also alleged that the AFP Board, after a previous inquiry, found
reasonable ground to believe that respondents have violated RA No. 1379.[6] The Amended
Complaint prayed for, among others, the forfeiture of respondents properties, funds and
equipment in favor of the State.

Ramas filed an Answer with Special and/or Affirmative Defenses and Compulsory Counterclaim to
the Amended Complaint. In his Answer, Ramas contended that his property consisted only of a
residential house at La Vista Subdivision, Quezon City, valued at P700,000, which was not out of
proportion to his salary and other legitimate income. He denied ownership of any mansion in
Cebu City and the cash, communications equipment and other items confiscated from the house
of Dimaano.

Dimaano filed her own Answer to the Amended Complaint. Admitting her employment as a clerktypist in the office of Ramas from January-November 1978 only, Dimaano claimed ownership of
the monies, communications equipment, jewelry and land titles taken from her house by the
Philippine Constabulary raiding team.

After termination of the pre-trial,[7] the court set the case for trial on the merits on 9-11
November 1988.

On 9 November 1988, petitioner asked for a deferment of the hearing due to its lack of
preparation for trial and the absence of witnesses and vital documents to support its case. The
court reset the hearing to 17 and 18 April 1989.

On 13 April 1989, petitioner filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint in order to charge
the delinquent properties with being subject to forfeiture as having been unlawfully acquired by
defendant Dimaano alone x x x.[8]

Nevertheless, in an order dated 17 April 1989, the Sandiganbayan proceeded with petitioners
presentation of evidence on the ground that the motion for leave to amend complaint did not

state when petitioner would file the amended complaint. The Sandiganbayan further stated that
the subject matter of the amended complaint was on its face vague and not related to the
existing complaint. The Sandiganbayan also held that due to the time that the case had been
pending in court, petitioner should proceed to present its evidence.

After presenting only three witnesses, petitioner asked for a postponement of the trial.

On 28 September 1989, during the continuation of the trial, petitioner manifested its inability to
proceed to trial because of the absence of other witnesses or lack of further evidence to present.
Instead, petitioner reiterated its motion to amend the complaint to conform to the evidence
already presented or to change the averments to show that Dimaano alone unlawfully acquired
the monies or properties subject of the forfeiture.

The Sandiganbayan noted that petitioner had already delayed the case for over a year mainly
because of its many postponements. Moreover, petitioner would want the case to revert to its
preliminary stage when in fact the case had long been ready for trial. The Sandiganbayan
ordered petitioner to prepare for presentation of its additional evidence, if any.

During the trial on 23 March 1990, petitioner again admitted its inability to present further
evidence. Giving petitioner one more chance to present further evidence or to amend the
complaint to conform to its evidence, the Sandiganbayan reset the trial to 18 May 1990. The
Sandiganbayan, however, hinted that the re-setting was without prejudice to any action that
private respondents might take under the circumstances.

However, on 18 May 1990, petitioner again expressed its inability to proceed to trial because it
had no further evidence to present. Again, in the interest of justice, the Sandiganbayan granted
petitioner 60 days within which to file an appropriate pleading. The Sandiganbayan, however,
warned petitioner that failure to act would constrain the court to take drastic action.

Private respondents then filed their motions to dismiss based on Republic v. Migrino.[9] The Court
held in Migrino that the PCGG does not have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute military
officers by reason of mere position held without a showing that they are subordinates of former
President Marcos.

On 18 November 1991, the Sandiganbayan rendered a resolution, the dispositive portion of


which states:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the Amended Complaint, without


pronouncement as to costs. The counterclaims are likewise dismissed for lack of merit, but the
confiscated sum of money, communications equipment, jewelry and land titles are ordered
returned to Elizabeth Dimaano.
The records of this case are hereby remanded and referred to the Hon. Ombudsman, who has
primary jurisdiction over the forfeiture cases under R.A. No. 1379, for such appropriate action as

the evidence warrants. This case is also referred to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue for a determination of any tax liability of respondent Elizabeth Dimaano in connection
herewith.

SO ORDERED.

On 4 December 1991, petitioner filed its Motion for Reconsideration.

In answer to the Motion for Reconsideration, private respondents


Comment/Opposition to which petitioner filed its Reply on 10 January 1992.

filed

Joint

On 25 March 1992, the Sandiganbayan rendered a Resolution denying the Motion for
Reconsideration.

Ruling of the Sandiganbayan

The Sandiganbayan dismissed the Amended Complaint on the following grounds:

(1.) The actions taken by the PCGG are not in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court
in Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan[10] and Republic v. Migrino[11] which involve the same issues.

(2.) No previous inquiry similar to preliminary investigations in criminal cases was conducted
against Ramas and Dimaano.

(3.) The evidence adduced against Ramas does not constitute a prima facie case against him.

(4.) There was an illegal search and seizure of the items confiscated.

The Issues

Petitioner raises the following issues:

A. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT PETITIONERS EVIDENCE


CANNOT MAKE A CASE FOR FORFEITURE AND THAT THERE WAS NO SHOWING OF CONSPIRACY,
COLLUSION OR RELATIONSHIP BY CONSANGUINITY OR AFFINITY BY AND BETWEEN RESPONDENT
RAMAS AND RESPONDENT DIMAANO NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT SUCH CONCLUSIONS
WERE CLEARLY UNFOUNDED AND PREMATURE, HAVING BEEN RENDERED PRIOR TO THE
COMPLETION OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE EVIDENCE OF THE PETITIONER.

B. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ACTIONS TAKEN BY THE
PETITIONER, INCLUDING THE FILING OF THE ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND THE AMENDED
COMPLAINT, SHOULD BE STRUCK OUT IN LINE WITH THE RULINGS OF THE SUPREME COURT IN
CRUZ, JR. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, 194 SCRA 474 AND REPUBLIC v. MIGRINO, 189 SCRA 289,
NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT:

1. The cases of Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan, supra, and Republic v. Migrino, supra, are clearly not
applicable to this case;

2. Any procedural defect in the institution of the complaint in Civil Case No. 0037 was cured
and/or waived by respondents with the filing of their respective answers with counterclaim; and

3. The separate motions to dismiss were evidently improper considering that they were filed
after commencement of the presentation of the evidence of the petitioner and even before the
latter was allowed to formally offer its evidence and rest its case;

C. RESPONDENT COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE ARTICLES AND THINGS SUCH
AS SUMS OF MONEY, COMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT, JEWELRY AND LAND TITLES CONFISCATED
FROM THE HOUSE OF RESPONDENT DIMAANO WERE ILLEGALLY SEIZED AND THEREFORE
EXCLUDED AS EVIDENCE.[12]

The Courts Ruling

First Issue: PCGGs Jurisdiction to Investigate Private Respondents

This case involves a revisiting of an old issue already decided by this Court in Cruz, Jr. v.
Sandiganbayan[13] and Republic v. Migrino.[14]

The primary issue for resolution is whether the PCGG has the jurisdiction to investigate and
cause the filing of a forfeiture petition against Ramas and Dimaano for unexplained wealth under
RA No. 1379.

We hold that PCGG has no such jurisdiction.

The PCGG created the AFP Board to investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt practices of
AFP personnel, whether in the active service or retired.[15] The PCGG tasked the AFP Board to
make the necessary recommendations to appropriate government agencies on the action to be
taken based on its findings.[16] The PCGG gave this task to the AFP Board pursuant to the PCGGs
power under Section 3 of EO No. 1 to conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to

accomplish and to carry out the purposes of this order. EO No. 1 gave the PCGG specific
responsibilities, to wit:

SEC. 2. The Commission shall be charged with the task of assisting the President in regard to the
following matters:

(a) The recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his
immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close associates, whether located in the
Philippines or abroad, including the takeover and sequestration of all business enterprises and
entities owned or controlled by them, during his administration, directly or through nominees, by
taking undue advantage of their public office and/ or using their powers, authority, influence,
connections or relationship.

(b) The investigation of such cases of graft and corruption as the President may assign to the
Commission from time to time.

x x x.

The PCGG, through the AFP Board, can only investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt
practices of AFP personnel who fall under either of the two categories mentioned in Section 2 of
EO No. 1. These are: (1) AFP personnel who have accumulated ill-gotten wealth during the
administration of former President Marcos by being the latters immediate family, relative,
subordinate or close associate, taking undue advantage of their public office or using their
powers, influence x x x;[17] or (2) AFP personnel involved in other cases of graft and corruption
provided the President assigns their cases to the PCGG.[18]

Petitioner, however, does not claim that the President assigned Ramas case to the PCGG.
Therefore, Ramas case should fall under the first category of AFP personnel before the PCGG
could exercise its jurisdiction over him. Petitioner argues that Ramas was undoubtedly a
subordinate of former President Marcos because of his position as the Commanding General of
the Philippine Army. Petitioner claims that Ramas position enabled him to receive orders directly
from his commander-in-chief, undeniably making him a subordinate of former President Marcos.

We hold that Ramas was not a subordinate of former President Marcos in the sense contemplated
under EO No. 1 and its amendments.

Mere position held by a military officer does not automatically make him a subordinate as this
term is used in EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A absent a showing that he enjoyed close association
with former President Marcos. Migrino discussed this issue in this wise:

A close reading of EO No. 1 and related executive orders will readily show what is contemplated
within the term subordinate. The Whereas Clauses of EO No. 1 express the urgent need to

recover the ill-gotten wealth amassed by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate
family, relatives, and close associates both here and abroad.

EO No. 2 freezes all assets and properties in the Philippines in which former President Marcos
and/or his wife, Mrs. Imelda Marcos, their close relatives, subordinates, business associates,
dummies, agents, or nominees have any interest or participation.

Applying the rule in statutory construction known as ejusdem generis that is-

[W]here general words follow an enumeration of persons or things by words of a particular and
specific meaning, such general words are not to be construed in their widest extent, but are to
be held as applying only to persons or things of the same kind or class as those specifically
mentioned [Smith, Bell & Co, Ltd. vs. Register of Deeds of Davao, 96 Phil. 53, 58, citing Black on
Interpretation of Laws, 2nd Ed., 203].

[T]he term subordinate as used in EO Nos. 1 & 2 refers to one who enjoys a close association
with former President Marcos and/or his wife, similar to the immediate family member, relative,
and close associate in EO No. 1 and the close relative, business associate, dummy, agent, or
nominee in EO No. 2.

xxx

It does not suffice, as in this case, that the respondent is or was a government official or
employee during the administration of former President Marcos. There must be a prima facie
showing that the respondent unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of his close association or
relation with former Pres. Marcos and/or his wife. (Emphasis supplied)

Ramas position alone as Commanding General of the Philippine Army with the rank of Major
General[19] does not suffice to make him a subordinate of former President Marcos for purposes
of EO No. 1 and its amendments. The PCGG has to provide a prima facie showing that Ramas was
a close associate of former President Marcos, in the same manner that business associates,
dummies, agents or nominees of former President Marcos were close to him. Such close
association is manifested either by Ramas complicity with former President Marcos in the
accumulation of ill-gotten wealth by the deposed President or by former President Marcos
acquiescence in Ramas own accumulation of ill-gotten wealth if any.

This, the PCGG failed to do.

Petitioners attempt to differentiate the instant case from


argues that unlike in Migrino, the AFP Board Resolution
Board conducted the investigation pursuant to EO Nos.
1379. Petitioner asserts that there is a presumption

Migrino does not convince us. Petitioner


in the instant case states that the AFP
1, 2, 14 and 14-A in relation to RA No.
that the PCGG was acting within its

jurisdiction of investigating crony-related cases of graft and corruption and that Ramas was truly
a subordinate of the former President. However, the same AFP Board Resolution belies this
contention. Although the Resolution begins with such statement, it ends with the following
recommendation:

V. RECOMMENDATION:

Wherefore it is recommended that Maj. Gen. Josephus Q. Ramas (ret.) be prosecuted and tried for
violation of RA 3019, as amended, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and
RA 1379, as amended, otherwise known as The Act for the Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired
Property.[20]

Thus, although the PCGG sought to investigate and prosecute private respondents under EO Nos.
1, 2, 14 and 14-A, the result yielded a finding of violation of Republic Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379
without any relation to EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. This absence of relation to EO No. 1 and its
amendments proves fatal to petitioners case. EO No. 1 created the PCGG for a specific and
limited purpose, and necessarily its powers must be construed to address such specific and
limited purpose.

Moreover, the resolution of the AFP Board and even the Amended Complaint do not show that
the properties Ramas allegedly owned were accumulated by him in his capacity as a subordinate
of his commander-in-chief. Petitioner merely enumerated the properties Ramas allegedly owned
and suggested that these properties were disproportionate to his salary and other legitimate
income without showing that Ramas amassed them because of his close association with former
President Marcos. Petitioner, in fact, admits that the AFP Board resolution does not contain a
finding that Ramas accumulated his wealth because of his close association with former
President Marcos, thus:

10. While it is true that the resolution of the Anti-Graft Board of the New Armed Forces of the
Philippines did not categorically find a prima facie evidence showing that respondent Ramas
unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of his close association or relation with former President
Marcos and/or his wife, it is submitted that such omission was not fatal. The resolution of the
Anti-Graft Board should be read in the context of the law creating the same and the objective of
the investigation which was, as stated in the above, pursuant to Republic Act Nos. 3019 and
1379 in relation to Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-a;[21] (Emphasis supplied)

Such omission is fatal. Petitioner forgets that it is precisely a prima facie showing that the illgotten wealth was accumulated by a subordinate of former President Marcos that vests
jurisdiction on PCGG. EO No. 1[22] clearly premises the creation of the PCGG on the urgent need
to recover all ill-gotten wealth amassed by former President Marcos, his immediate family,
relatives, subordinates and close associates. Therefore, to say that such omission was not fatal is
clearly contrary to the intent behind the creation of the PCGG.

In Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan,[23] the Court outlined the cases that fall under the jurisdiction of
the PCGG pursuant to EO Nos. 1, 2,[24] 14,[25] 14-A:[26]

A careful reading of Sections 2(a) and 3 of Executive Order No. 1 in relation with Sections 1, 2
and 3 of Executive Order No. 14, shows what the authority of the respondent PCGG to investigate
and prosecute covers:

(a) the investigation and prosecution of the civil action for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth under
Republic Act No. 1379, accumulated by former President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives,
subordinates and close associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the
take-over or sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them,
during his administration, directly or through his nominees, by taking undue advantage of their
public office and/or using their powers, authority and influence, connections or relationships; and

(b) the investigation and prosecution of such offenses committed in the acquisition of said illgotten wealth as contemplated under Section 2(a) of Executive Order No. 1.

However, other violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act not otherwise falling under
the foregoing categories, require a previous authority of the President for the respondent PCGG
to investigate and prosecute in accordance with Section 2 (b) of Executive Order No. 1.
Otherwise, jurisdiction over such cases is vested in the Ombudsman and other duly authorized
investigating agencies such as the provincial and city prosecutors, their assistants, the Chief
State Prosecutor and his assistants and the state prosecutors. (Emphasis supplied)

The proper government agencies, and not the PCGG, should investigate and prosecute forfeiture
petitions not falling under EO No. 1 and its amendments. The preliminary investigation of
unexplained wealth amassed on or before 25 February 1986 falls under the jurisdiction of the
Ombudsman, while the authority to file the corresponding forfeiture petition rests with the
Solicitor General.[27] The Ombudsman Act or Republic Act No. 6770 (RA No. 6770) vests in the
Ombudsman the power to conduct preliminary investigation and to file forfeiture proceedings
involving unexplained wealth amassed after 25 February 1986.[28]

After the pronouncements of the Court in Cruz, the PCGG still pursued this case despite the
absence of a prima facie finding that Ramas was a subordinate of former President Marcos. The
petition for forfeiture filed with the Sandiganbayan should be dismissed for lack of authority by
the PCGG to investigate respondents since there is no prima facie showing that EO No. 1 and its
amendments apply to respondents. The AFP Board Resolution and even the Amended Complaint
state that there are violations of RA Nos. 3019 and 1379. Thus, the PCGG should have
recommended Ramas case to the Ombudsman who has jurisdiction to conduct the preliminary
investigation of ordinary unexplained wealth and graft cases. As stated in Migrino:

[But] in view of the patent lack of authority of the PCGG to investigate and cause the prosecution
of private respondent for violation of Rep. Acts Nos. 3019 and 1379, the PCGG must also be
enjoined from proceeding with the case, without prejudice to any action that may be taken by
the proper prosecutory agency. The rule of law mandates that an agency of government be
allowed to exercise only the powers granted to it.

Petitioners argument that private respondents have waived any defect in the filing of the
forfeiture petition by submitting their respective Answers with counterclaim deserves no merit as
well.

Petitioner has no jurisdiction over private respondents. Thus, there is no jurisdiction to waive in
the first place. The PCGG cannot exercise investigative or prosecutorial powers never granted to
it. PCGGs powers are specific and limited. Unless given additional assignment by the President,
PCGGs sole task is only to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, their relatives and
cronies.[29] Without these elements, the PCGG cannot claim jurisdiction over a case.

Private respondents questioned the authority and jurisdiction of the PCGG to investigate and
prosecute their cases by filing their Motion to Dismiss as soon as they learned of the
pronouncement of the Court in Migrino. This case was decided on 30 August 1990, which
explains why private respondents only filed their Motion to Dismiss on 8 October 1990.
Nevertheless, we have held that the parties may raise lack of jurisdiction at any stage of the
proceeding.[30] Thus, we hold that there was no waiver of jurisdiction in this case. Jurisdiction is
vested by law and not by the parties to an action.[31]

Consequently, the petition should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction by the PCGG to conduct
the preliminary investigation. The Ombudsman may still conduct the proper preliminary
investigation for violation of RA No. 1379, and if warranted, the Solicitor General may file the
forfeiture petition with the Sandiganbayan.[32] The right of the State to forfeit unexplained
wealth under RA No. 1379 is not subject to prescription, laches or estoppel.[33]

Second Issue: Propriety of Dismissal of Case


Before Completion of Presentation of Evidence

Petitioner also contends that the Sandiganbayan erred in dismissing the case before completion
of the presentation of petitioners evidence.

We disagree.

Based on the findings of the Sandiganbayan and the records of this case, we find that petitioner
has only itself to blame for non-completion of the presentation of its evidence. First, this case has
been pending for four years before the Sandiganbayan dismissed it. Petitioner filed its Amended
Complaint on 11 August 1987, and only began to present its evidence on 17 April 1989.
Petitioner had almost two years to prepare its evidence. However, despite this sufficient time,
petitioner still delayed the presentation of the rest of its evidence by filing numerous motions for
postponements and extensions. Even before the date set for the presentation of its evidence,
petitioner filed, on 13 April 1989, a Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint.[34] The motion
sought to charge the delinquent properties (which comprise most of petitioners evidence) with
being subject to forfeiture as having been unlawfully acquired by defendant Dimaano alone x x x.

The Sandiganbayan, however, refused to defer the presentation of petitioners evidence since
petitioner did not state when it would file the amended complaint. On 18 April 1989, the
Sandiganbayan set the continuation of the presentation of evidence on 28-29 September and 911 October 1989, giving petitioner ample time to prepare its evidence. Still, on 28 September
1989, petitioner manifested its inability to proceed with the presentation of its evidence. The
Sandiganbayan issued an Order expressing its view on the matter, to wit:

The Court has gone through extended inquiry and a narration of the above events because this
case has been ready for trial for over a year and much of the delay hereon has been due to the
inability of the government to produce on scheduled dates for pre-trial and for trial documents
and witnesses, allegedly upon the failure of the military to supply them for the preparation of the
presentation of evidence thereon. Of equal interest is the fact that this Court has been held to
task in public about its alleged failure to move cases such as this one beyond the preliminary
stage, when, in view of the developments such as those of today, this Court is now faced with a
situation where a case already in progress will revert back to the preliminary stage, despite a
five-month pause where appropriate action could have been undertaken by the plaintiff Republic.
[35]

On 9 October 1989, the PCGG manifested in court that it was conducting a preliminary
investigation on the unexplained wealth of private respondents as mandated by RA No. 1379.[36]
The PCGG prayed for an additional four months to conduct the preliminary investigation. The
Sandiganbayan granted this request and scheduled the presentation of evidence on 26-29 March
1990. However, on the scheduled date, petitioner failed to inform the court of the result of the
preliminary investigation the PCGG supposedly conducted. Again, the Sandiganbayan gave
petitioner until 18 May 1990 to continue with the presentation of its evidence and to inform the
court of what lies ahead insofar as the status of the case is concerned x x x.[37] Still on the date
set, petitioner failed to present its evidence. Finally, on 11 July 1990, petitioner filed its ReAmended Complaint.[38] The Sandiganbayan correctly observed that a case already pending for
years would revert to its preliminary stage if the court were to accept the Re-Amended
Complaint.

Based on these circumstances, obviously petitioner has only itself to blame for failure to
complete the presentation of its evidence. The Sandiganbayan gave petitioner more than
sufficient time to finish the presentation of its evidence. The Sandiganbayan overlooked
petitioners delays and yet petitioner ended the long-string of delays with the filing of a ReAmended Complaint, which would only prolong even more the disposition of the case.

Moreover, the pronouncements of the Court in Migrino and Cruz prompted the Sandiganbayan to
dismiss the case since the PCGG has no jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the case
against private respondents. This alone would have been sufficient legal basis for the
Sandiganbayan to dismiss the forfeiture case against private respondents.

Thus, we hold that the Sandiganbayan did not err in dismissing the case before completion of the
presentation of petitioners evidence.

Third Issue: Legality of the Search and Seizure

Petitioner claims that the Sandiganbayan erred in declaring the properties confiscated from
Dimaanos house as illegally seized and therefore inadmissible in evidence. This issue bears a
significant effect on petitioners case since these properties comprise most of petitioners
evidence against private respondents. Petitioner will not have much evidence to support its case
against private respondents if these properties are inadmissible in evidence.

On 3 March 1986, the Constabulary raiding team served at Dimaanos residence a search warrant
captioned Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition. Dimaano was not present during the
raid but Dimaanos cousins witnessed the raid. The raiding team seized the items detailed in the
seizure receipt together with other items not included in the search warrant. The raiding team
seized these items: one baby armalite rifle with two magazines; 40 rounds of 5.56 ammunition;
one pistol, caliber .45; communications equipment, cash consisting of P2,870,000 and
US$50,000, jewelry, and land titles.

Petitioner wants the Court to take judicial notice that the raiding team conducted the search and
seizure on March 3, 1986 or five days after the successful EDSA revolution.[39] Petitioner argues
that a revolutionary government was operative at that time by virtue of Proclamation No. 1
announcing that President Aquino and Vice President Laurel were taking power in the name and
by the will of the Filipino people.[40] Petitioner asserts that the revolutionary government
effectively withheld the operation of the 1973 Constitution which guaranteed private
respondents exclusionary right.

Moreover, petitioner argues that the exclusionary right arising from an illegal search applies only
beginning 2 February 1987, the date of ratification of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contends
that all rights under the Bill of Rights had already reverted to its embryonic stage at the time of
the search. Therefore, the government may confiscate the monies and items taken from
Dimaano and use the same in evidence against her since at the time of their seizure, private
respondents did not enjoy any constitutional right.

Petitioner is partly right in its arguments.

The EDSA Revolution took place on 23-25 February 1986. As succinctly stated in President
Aquinos Proclamation No. 3 dated 25 March 1986, the EDSA Revolution was done in defiance of
the provisions of the 1973 Constitution.[41] The resulting government was indisputably a
revolutionary government bound by no constitution or legal limitations except treaty obligations
that the revolutionary government, as the de jure government in the Philippines, assumed under
international law.

The correct issues are: (1) whether the revolutionary government was bound by the Bill of Rights
of the 1973 Constitution during the interregnum, that is, after the actual and effective take-over
of power by the revolutionary government following the cessation of resistance by loyalist forces
up to 24 March 1986 (immediately before the adoption of the Provisional Constitution); and (2)
whether the protection accorded to individuals under the International Covenant on Civil and

Political Rights (Covenant) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Declaration) remained
in effect during the interregnum.

We hold that the Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution was not operative during the
interregnum. However, we rule that the protection accorded to individuals under the Covenant
and the Declaration remained in effect during the interregnum.

During the interregnum, the directives and orders of the revolutionary government were the
supreme law because no constitution limited the extent and scope of such directives and orders.
With the abrogation of the 1973 Constitution by the successful revolution, there was no
municipal law higher than the directives and orders of the revolutionary government. Thus,
during the interregnum, a person could not invoke any exclusionary right under a Bill of Rights
because there was neither a constitution nor a Bill of Rights during the interregnum. As the Court
explained in Letter of Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno:[42]

A revolution has been defined as the complete overthrow of the established government in any
country or state by those who were previously subject to it or as a sudden, radical and
fundamental change in the government or political system, usually effected with violence or at
least some acts of violence. In Kelsen's book, General Theory of Law and State, it is defined as
that which occurs whenever the legal order of a community is nullified and replaced by a new
order . . . a way not prescribed by the first order itself.

It was through the February 1986 revolution, a relatively peaceful one, and more popularly
known as the people power revolution that the Filipino people tore themselves away from an
existing regime. This revolution also saw the unprecedented rise to power of the Aquino
government.

From the natural law point of view, the right of revolution has been defined as an inherent right
of a people to cast out their rulers, change their policy or effect radical reforms in their system of
government or institutions by force or a general uprising when the legal and constitutional
methods of making such change have proved inadequate or are so obstructed as to be
unavailable. It has been said that the locus of positive law-making power lies with the people of
the state and from there is derived the right of the people to abolish, to reform and to alter any
existing form of government without regard to the existing constitution.

xxx

It is widely known that Mrs. Aquinos rise to the presidency was not due to constitutional
processes; in fact, it was achieved in violation of the provisions of the 1973 Constitution as a
Batasang Pambansa resolution had earlier declared Mr. Marcos as the winner in the 1986
presidential election. Thus it can be said that the organization of Mrs. Aquinos Government which
was met by little resistance and her control of the state evidenced by the appointment of the
Cabinet and other key officers of the administration, the departure of the Marcos Cabinet
officials, revamp of the Judiciary and the Military signaled the point where the legal system then
in effect, had ceased to be obeyed by the Filipino. (Emphasis supplied)

To hold that the Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution remained operative during the
interregnum would render void all sequestration orders issued by the Philippine Commission on
Good Government (PCGG) before the adoption of the Freedom Constitution. The sequestration
orders, which direct the freezing and even the take-over of private property by mere executive
issuance without judicial action, would violate the due process and search and seizure clauses of
the Bill of Rights.

During the interregnum, the government in power was concededly a revolutionary government
bound by no constitution. No one could validly question the sequestration orders as violative of
the Bill of Rights because there was no Bill of Rights during the interregnum. However, upon the
adoption of the Freedom Constitution, the sequestered companies assailed the sequestration
orders as contrary to the Bill of Rights of the Freedom Constitution.

In Bataan Shipyard & Engineering Co. Inc. vs. Presidential Commission on Good Government,[43]
petitioner Baseco, while conceding there was no Bill of Rights during the interregnum,
questioned the continued validity of the sequestration orders upon adoption of the Freedom
Constitution in view of the due process clause in its Bill of Rights. The Court ruled that the
Freedom Constitution, and later the 1987 Constitution, expressly recognized the validity of
sequestration orders, thus:

If any doubt should still persist in the face of the foregoing considerations as to the validity and
propriety of sequestration, freeze and takeover orders, it should be dispelled by the fact that
these particular remedies and the authority of the PCGG to issue them have received
constitutional approbation and sanction. As already mentioned, the Provisional or Freedom
Constitution recognizes the power and duty of the President to enact measures to achieve the
mandate of the people to . . . (r)ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and
supporters of the previous regime and protect the interest of the people through orders of
sequestration or freezing of assets or accounts. And as also already adverted to, Section 26,
Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution treats of, and ratifies the authority to issue sequestration or
freeze orders under Proclamation No. 3 dated March 25, 1986.

The framers of both the Freedom Constitution and the 1987 Constitution were fully aware that
the sequestration orders would clash with the Bill of Rights. Thus, the framers of both
constitutions had to include specific language recognizing the validity of the sequestration
orders. The following discourse by Commissioner Joaquin G. Bernas during the deliberations of
the Constitutional Commission is instructive:

FR. BERNAS: Madam President, there is something schizophrenic about the arguments in defense
of the present amendment.
For instance, I have carefully studied Minister Salongas lecture in the Gregorio Araneta University
Foundation, of which all of us have been given a copy. On the one hand, he argues that
everything the Commission is doing is traditionally legal. This is repeated by Commissioner
Romulo also. Minister Salonga spends a major portion of his lecture developing that argument.
On the other hand, almost as an afterthought, he says that in the end what matters are the

results and not the legal niceties, thus suggesting that the PCGG should be allowed to make
some legal shortcuts, another word for niceties or exceptions.
Now, if everything the PCGG is doing is legal, why is it asking the CONCOM for special protection?
The answer is clear. What they are doing will not stand the test of ordinary due process, hence
they are asking for protection, for exceptions. Grandes malos, grandes remedios, fine, as the
saying stands, but let us not say grandes malos, grande y malos remedios. That is not an
allowable extrapolation. Hence, we should not give the exceptions asked for, and let me
elaborate and give three reasons:
First, the whole point of the February Revolution and of the work of the CONCOM is to hasten
constitutional normalization. Very much at the heart of the constitutional normalization is the full
effectivity of the Bill of Rights. We cannot, in one breath, ask for constitutional normalization and
at the same time ask for a temporary halt to the full functioning of what is at the heart of
constitutionalism. That would be hypocritical; that would be a repetition of Marcosian
protestation of due process and rule of law. The New Society word for that is backsliding. It is
tragic when we begin to backslide even before we get there.
Second, this is really a corollary of the first. Habits tend to become ingrained. The committee
report asks for extraordinary exceptions from the Bill of Rights for six months after the convening
of Congress, and Congress may even extend this longer.
Good deeds repeated ripen into virtue; bad deeds repeated become vice. What the committee
report is asking for is that we should allow the new government to acquire the vice of
disregarding the Bill of Rights.
Vices, once they become ingrained, become difficult to shed. The practitioners of the vice begin
to think that they have a vested right to its practice, and they will fight tooth and nail to keep the
franchise. That would be an unhealthy way of consolidating the gains of a democratic revolution.
Third, the argument that what matters are the results and not the legal niceties is an argument
that is very disturbing. When it comes from a staunch Christian like Commissioner Salonga, a
Minister, and repeated verbatim by another staunch Christian like Commissioner Tingson, it
becomes doubly disturbing and even discombobulating. The argument makes the PCGG an
auctioneer, placing the Bill of Rights on the auction block. If the price is right, the search and
seizure clause will be sold. Open your Swiss bank account to us and we will award you the search
and seizure clause. You can keep it in your private safe.
Alternatively, the argument looks on the present government as hostage to the hoarders of
hidden wealth. The hoarders will release the hidden health if the ransom price is paid and the
ransom price is the Bill of Rights, specifically the due process in the search and seizure clauses.
So, there is something positively revolving about either argument. The Bill of Rights is not for
sale to the highest bidder nor can it be used to ransom captive dollars. This nation will survive
and grow strong, only if it would become convinced of the values enshrined in the Constitution of
a price that is beyond monetary estimation.
For these reasons, the honorable course for the Constitutional Commission is to delete all of
Section 8 of the committee report and allow the new Constitution to take effect in full vigor. If
Section 8 is deleted, the PCGG has two options. First, it can pursue the Salonga and the Romulo
argument that what the PCGG has been doing has been completely within the pale of the law. If
sustained, the PCGG can go on and should be able to go on, even without the support of Section
8. If not sustained, however, the PCGG has only one honorable option, it must bow to the majesty
of the Bill of Rights.
The PCGG extrapolation of the law is defended by staunch Christians. Let me conclude with what
another Christian replied when asked to toy around with the law. From his prison cell, Thomas

More said, "I'll give the devil benefit of law for my nations safety sake. I ask the Commission to
give the devil benefit of law for our nations sake. And we should delete Section 8.
Thank you, Madam President. (Emphasis supplied)

Despite the impassioned plea by Commissioner Bernas against the amendment excepting
sequestration orders from the Bill of Rights, the Constitutional Commission still adopted the
amendment as Section 26,[44] Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution. The framers of the
Constitution were fully aware that absent Section 26, sequestration orders would not stand the
test of due process under the Bill of Rights.

Thus, to rule that the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution remained in force during the
interregnum, absent a constitutional provision excepting sequestration orders from such Bill of
Rights, would clearly render all sequestration orders void during the interregnum. Nevertheless,
even during the interregnum the Filipino people continued to enjoy, under the Covenant and the
Declaration, almost the same rights found in the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution.

The revolutionary government, after installing itself as the de jure government, assumed
responsibility for the States good faith compliance with the Covenant to which the Philippines is a
signatory. Article 2(1) of the Covenant requires each signatory State to respect and to ensure to
all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights[45] recognized in the
present Covenant. Under Article 17(1) of the Covenant, the revolutionary government had the
duty to insure that [n]o one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his
privacy, family, home or correspondence.

The Declaration, to which the Philippines is also a signatory, provides in its Article 17(2) that [n]o
one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. Although the signatories to the Declaration did
not intend it as a legally binding document, being only a declaration, the Court has interpreted
the Declaration as part of the generally accepted principles of international law and binding on
the State.[46] Thus, the revolutionary government was also obligated under international law to
observe the rights[47] of individuals under the Declaration.

The revolutionary government did not repudiate the Covenant or the Declaration during the
interregnum. Whether the revolutionary government could have repudiated all its obligations
under the Covenant or the Declaration is another matter and is not the issue here. Suffice it to
say that the Court considers the Declaration as part of customary international law, and that
Filipinos as human beings are proper subjects of the rules of international law laid down in the
Covenant. The fact is the revolutionary government did not repudiate the Covenant or the
Declaration in the same way it repudiated the 1973 Constitution. As the de jure government, the
revolutionary government could not escape responsibility for the States good faith compliance
with its treaty obligations under international law.

It was only upon the adoption of the Provisional Constitution on 25 March 1986 that the
directives and orders of the revolutionary government became subject to a higher municipal law
that, if contravened, rendered such directives and orders void. The Provisional Constitution
adopted verbatim the Bill of Rights of the 1973 Constitution.[48] The Provisional Constitution

served as a self-limitation by the revolutionary government to avoid abuses of the absolute


powers entrusted to it by the people.

During the interregnum when no constitution or Bill of Rights existed, directives and orders
issued by government officers were valid so long as these officers did not exceed the authority
granted them by the revolutionary government. The directives and orders should not have also
violated the Covenant or the Declaration. In this case, the revolutionary government
presumptively sanctioned the warrant since the revolutionary government did not repudiate it.
The warrant, issued by a judge upon proper application, specified the items to be searched and
seized. The warrant is thus valid with respect to the items specifically described in the warrant.

However, the Constabulary raiding team seized items not included in the warrant. As admitted
by petitioners witnesses, the raiding team confiscated items not included in the warrant, thus:

Direct Examination of Capt. Rodolfo Sebastian


AJ AMORES

Q. According to the search warrant, you are supposed to seize only for weapons. What else, aside
from the weapons, were seized from the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?

A. The communications equipment, money in Philippine currency and US dollars, some jewelries,
land titles, sir.

Q. Now, the search warrant speaks only of weapons to be seized from the house of Elizabeth
Dimaano. Do you know the reason why your team also seized other properties not mentioned in
said search warrant?
A. During the conversation right after the conduct of said raid, I was informed that the reason
why they also brought the other items not included in the search warrant was because the
money and other jewelries were contained in attach cases and cartons with markings Sony
Trinitron, and I think three (3) vaults or steel safes. Believing that the attach cases and the steel
safes were containing firearms, they forced open these containers only to find out that they
contained money.

xxx

Q. You said you found money instead of weapons, do you know the reason why your team seized
this money instead of weapons?
A. I think the overall team leader and the other two officers assisting him decided to bring along
also the money because at that time it was already dark and they felt most secured if they will
bring that because they might be suspected also of taking money out of those items, your Honor.
[49]

Cross-examination
Atty. Banaag

Q. Were you present when the search warrant in connection with this case was applied before
the Municipal Trial Court of Batangas, Branch 1?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. And the search warrant applied for by you was for the search and seizure of five (5) baby
armalite rifles M-16 and five (5) boxes of ammunition?
A. Yes, sir.

xxx

AJ AMORES

Q. Before you applied for a search warrant, did you conduct surveillance in the house of Miss
Elizabeth Dimaano?
A. The Intelligence Operatives conducted surveillance together with the MSU elements, your
Honor.

Q. And this party believed there were weapons deposited in the house of Miss Elizabeth
Dimaano?
A. Yes, your Honor.

Q. And they so swore before the Municipal Trial Judge?


A. Yes, your Honor.

Q. But they did not mention to you, the applicant for the search warrant, any other properties or
contraband which could be found in the residence of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?
A. They just gave us still unconfirmed report about some hidden items, for instance, the
communications equipment and money. However, I did not include that in the application for
search warrant considering that we have not established concrete evidence about that. So when

Q. So that when you applied for search warrant, you had reason to believe that only weapons
were in the house of Miss Elizabeth Dimaano?
A. Yes, your Honor.[50]

xxx

Q. You stated that a .45 caliber pistol was seized along with one armalite rifle M-16 and how
many ammunition?
A. Forty, sir.

Q. And this became the subject of your complaint with the issuing Court, with the fiscals office
who charged Elizabeth Dimaano for Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition?
A. Yes, sir.

Q. Do you know what happened to that case?


A. I think it was dismissed, sir.

Q. In the fiscals office?


A. Yes, sir.

Q. Because the armalite rifle you seized, as well as the .45 caliber pistol had a Memorandum
Receipt in the name of Felino Melegrito, is that not correct?
A. I think that was the reason, sir.

Q. There were other articles seized which were not included in the search warrant, like for
instance, jewelries. Why did you seize the jewelries?
A. I think it was the decision of the overall team leader and his assistant to bring along also the
jewelries and other items, sir. I do not really know where it was taken but they brought along also
these articles. I do not really know their reason for bringing the same, but I just learned that
these were taken because they might get lost if they will just leave this behind.

xxx

Q. How about the money seized by your raiding team, they were not also included in the search
warrant?
A. Yes sir, but I believe they were also taken considering that the money was discovered to be
contained in attach cases. These attach cases were suspected to be containing pistols or other
high powered firearms, but in the course of the search the contents turned out to be money. So
the team leader also decided to take this considering that they believed that if they will just
leave the money behind, it might get lost also.

Q. That holds true also with respect to the other articles that were seized by your raiding team,
like Transfer Certificates of Title of lands?
A. Yes, sir. I think they were contained in one of the vaults that were opened.[51]

It is obvious from the testimony of Captain Sebastian that the warrant did not include the
monies, communications equipment, jewelry and land titles that the raiding team confiscated.
The search warrant did not particularly describe these items and the raiding team confiscated
them on its own authority. The raiding team had no legal basis to seize these items without
showing that these items could be the subject of warrantless search and seizure.[52] Clearly, the
raiding team exceeded its authority when it seized these items.

The seizure of these items was therefore void, and unless these items are contraband per se,[53]
and they are not, they must be returned to the person from whom the raiding seized them.
However, we do not declare that such person is the lawful owner of these items, merely that the
search and seizure warrant could not be used as basis to seize and withhold these items from the
possessor. We thus hold that these items should be returned immediately to Dimaano.

WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. The questioned Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan dated 18 November 1991 and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No. 0037, remanding
the records of this case to the Ombudsman for such appropriate action as the evidence may
warrant, and referring this case to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for a
determination of any tax liability of respondent Elizabeth Dimaano, are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

The Case
Republic of the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan, Major General Josephus Q. Ramas, Elizabeth
Dimaano G.R. No. 104768
Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan (First Division) dated 18 November 1991 and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No.
0037.
The first Resolution dismissed petitioners (Republic of the Philippines) Amended Complaint and
ordered the return of the confiscated items to respondent Elizabeth Dimaano, while the second
Resolution denied petitioners (Republic of the Philippines) Motion for Reconsideration.
Petitioner prays for the grant of the reliefs sought in its Amended Complaint, or in the alternative,
for the remand of this case to the Sandiganbayan (First Division) for further proceedings allowing
petitioner to complete the presentation of its evidence.
Statement of Facts
Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG)

President Corazon C. Aquino, immediately upon assuming Malacaang, enacts Executive Order 1
(EO No. 1) or the Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG). It is mandated to
recover all ill-gotten wealth of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family,
relatives, subordinates and close associates.
EO No. 1 vested the PCGG with the power:
(a) to conduct investigation as may be necessary in order to accomplish and carry out the
purposes of this order and the power
(h) to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purpose of
this order.
Accordingly, the PCGG, through its then Chairman Jovito R. Salonga, created an AFP Anti-Graft
Board (AFP Board) tasked to investigate reports of unexplained wealth and corrupt practices by
AFP personnel, whether in the active service or retired.
AFP Board
The AFP Board, in line with its mandate, investigates Major General Q. Josephus Ramas.
On July 1987, the AFP Board issues a resolution and findings on Ramas alleged ill gotten wealth.
It submits the following findings:
Evidence in the record showed that respondent is the owner of a house and lot located at 15Yakan St., La Vista, Quezon City. The aforementioned property in Quezon City may be estimated
modestly at P700,000.00.
He is also the owner of a house and lot located in Cebu City. The lot has an area of 3,327 square
meters.
Communication equipment and facilities are found in the premises of Elizabeth Dimaano, a
Confidential Agent of the Military Security Unit, and are confiscated by elements of the PC
Command of Batangas.
These items could not have been in the possession of Elizabeth Dimaano if not given for her use
by respondent Commanding General of the Philippine Army.
Aside from the military equipment/items and communications equipment, the raiding team was
also able to confiscate money in the amount of P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars in the
house of Elizabeth Dimaano on 3 March 1986.
Aside from the military equipment/items and communications equipment, the raiding team was
also able to confiscate money in the amount of P2,870,000.00 and $50,000 US Dollars in the
house of Elizabeth Dimaano on 3 March 1986.
Elizabeth Dimaano is allegedly Major General Q. Josephus Ramas mistress. She does not have
any means to acquire the communications equipment as well as the aforementioned money.
The AFP Board finds a prima facie case against Major General Josephus Ramas for ill gotten
wealth and unexplained wealth in the amount of P2,974,134.00 and $50,000 US Dollars.
Decision: It is recommended that Maj. Gen. Josephus Q. Ramas (ret.) be prosecuted and tried for
violation of RA 3019, as amended, otherwise known as Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and
RA 1379, as amended, otherwise known as The Act for the Forfeiture of Unlawfully Acquired
Property.
On 1 August 1987, the PCGG filed a petition for forfeiture under Republic Act No. 1379 (RA No.
1379) against Ramas.

Amended Complaint: Amended Complaint further alleged that Ramas acquired funds, assets and
properties manifestly out of proportion to his salary as an army officer and his other income from
legitimately acquired property by taking undue advantage of his public office and/or using his
power, authority and influence as such officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and as a
subordinate and close associate of the deposed President Ferdinand Marcos.
The Amended Complaint also alleged that the AFP Board, after a previous inquiry, found
reasonable ground to believe that respondents have violated RA No. 1379. The Amended
Complaint prayed for, among others, the forfeiture of respondents properties, funds and
equipment in favor of the State.
Ramas Answer:
Ramas contends that his property consisted only of a residential house at La Vista Subdivision,
Quezon City, valued at P700,000, which was not out of proportion to his salary and other
legitimate income.
He denies ownership of any mansion in Cebu City and the cash, communications equipment and
other items confiscated from the house of Dimaano.
Dimaano filed her own Answer to the Amended Complaint. Admitting her employment as a clerktypist in the office of Ramas from January-November 1978 only, Dimaano claimed ownership of
the monies, communications equipment, jewelry and land titles taken from her house by the
Philippine Constabulary raiding team.
The Sandiganbayan
On 13 April 1989, petitioner filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint in order to charge
the delinquent properties with being subject to forfeiture as having been unlawfully acquired by
defendant Dimaano alone x x x.
Petitioner fails to present witnesses and delays the court for over a year.
on 18 May 1990, petitioner again expressed its inability to proceed to trial because it had no
further evidence to present. Again, in the interest of justice, the Sandiganbayan granted
petitioner 60 days within which to file an appropriate pleading. The Sandiganbayan, however,
warned petitioner that failure to act would constrain the court to take drastic action.
Private respondents then filed their motions to dismiss based on Republic v. Migrino.The Court
held in Migrino that the PCGG does not have jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute military
officers by reason of mere position held without a showing that they are subordinates of former
President Marcos.
Dispositive: WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing the Amended Complaint,
without pronouncement as to costs. The counterclaims are likewise dismissed for lack of merit,
but the confiscated sum of money, communications equipment, jewelry and land titles are
ordered returned to Elizabeth Dimaano.
The records of this case are hereby remanded and referred to the Hon. Ombudsman, who has
primary jurisdiction over the forfeiture cases under R.A. No. 1379, for such appropriate action as
the evidence warrants. This case is also referred to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue for a determination of any tax liability of respondent Elizabeth Dimaano in connection
herewith.
Ruling of the Sandiganbayan
(1.) The actions taken by the PCGG are not in accordance with the rulings of the Supreme Court
in Cruz, Jr. v. Sandiganbayan[10] and Republic v. Migrino[11] which involve the same issues.

(2.) No previous inquiry similar to preliminary investigations in criminal cases was conducted
against Ramas and Dimaano.
(3.) The evidence adduced against Ramas does not constitute a prima facie case against him.
(4.) There was an illegal search and seizure of the items confiscated.
Issues
PCGGs Jurisdiction to Investigate Private Respondents
Propriety of Dismissal of Case Before Completion of Presentation of Evidence Petitioner also
contends that the Sandiganbayan erred in dismissing the case before completion of the
presentation of petitioners evidence.
Third Issue: Legality of the Search and Seizure Petitioner claims that the Sandiganbayan erred
in declaring the properties confiscated from Dimaanos house as illegally seized and therefore
inadmissible in evidence. This issue bears a significant effect on petitioners case since these
properties comprise most of petitioners evidence against private respondents. Petitioner will not
have much evidence to support its case against private respondents if these properties are
inadmissible in evidence.Ruling
First issue:
The PCGG, through the AFP Board, can only investigate the unexplained wealth and corrupt
practices of AFP personnel who fall under either of the two categories mentioned in Section 2 of
EO No. 1. These are: (1) AFP personnel who have accumulated ill-gotten wealth during the
administration of former President Marcos by being the latters immediate family, relative,
subordinate or close associate, taking undue advantage of their public office or using their
powers, influence x x x; or (2) AFP personnel involved in other cases of graft and corruption
provided the President assigns their cases to the PCGG.
Ramas case should fall under the first category of AFP personnel before the PCGG could exercise
its jurisdiction over him. Petitioner argues that Ramas was undoubtedly a subordinate of former
President Marcos because of his position as the Commanding General of the Philippine Army.
Petitioner claims that Ramas position enabled him to receive orders directly from his
commander-in-chief, undeniably making him a subordinate of former President Marcos.
We hold that Ramas was not a subordinate of former President Marcos in the sense contemplated
under EO No. 1 and its amendments.
Mere position held by a military officer does not automatically make him a subordinate as this
term is used in EO Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A absent a showing that he enjoyed close association
with former President Marcos.
Second issue:
Based on the findings of the Sandiganbayan and the records of this case, we find that petitioner
has only itself to blame for non-completion of the presentation of its evidence. First, this case has
been pending for four years before the Sandiganbayan dismissed it.
Third issue:
On 3 March 1986, the Constabulary raiding team served at Dimaanos residence a search warrant
captioned Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition. Dimaano was not present during the
raid but Dimaanos cousins witnessed the raid. The raiding team seized the items detailed in the
seizure receipt together with other items not included in the search warrant. The raiding team
seized these items: one baby armalite rifle with two magazines; 40 rounds of 5.56 ammunition;

one pistol, caliber .45; communications equipment, cash consisting of P2,870,000 and
US$50,000, jewelry, and land titles.
Petitioner wants the Court to take judicial notice that the raiding team conducted the search and
seizure on March 3, 1986 or five days after the successful EDSA revolution. Petitioner argues that
a revolutionary government was operative at that time by virtue of Proclamation No. 1
announcing that President Aquino and Vice President Laurel were taking power in the name and
by the will of the Filipino people. Petitioner asserts that the revolutionary government effectively
withheld the operation of the 1973 Constitution which guaranteed private respondents
exclusionary right.
Moreover, petitioner argues that the exclusionary right arising from an illegal search applies only
beginning 2 February 1987, the date of ratification of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner contends
that all rights under the Bill of Rights had already reverted to its embryonic stage at the time of
the search. Therefore, the government may confiscate the monies and items taken from
Dimaano and use the same in evidence against her since at the time of their seizure, private
respondents did not enjoy any constitutional right.
Petitioner is partly right in its arguments.
The correct issues are: (1) whether the revolutionary government was bound by the Bill of Rights
of the 1973 Constitution during the interregnum, that is, after the actual and effective take-over
of power by the revolutionary government following the cessation of resistance by loyalist forces
up to 24 March 1986 (immediately before the adoption of the Provisional Constitution); and (2)
whether the protection accorded to individuals under the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (Covenant) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Declaration) remained
in effect during the interregnum.
We hold that the Bill of Rights under the 1973 Constitution was not operative during the
interregnum. However, we rule that the protection accorded to individuals under the Covenant
and the Declaration remained in effect during the interregnum.
During the interregnum, the directives and orders of the revolutionary government were the
supreme law because no constitution limited the extent and scope of such directives and orders.
With the abrogation of the 1973 Constitution by the successful revolution, there was no
municipal law higher than the directives and orders of the revolutionary government. Thus,
during the interregnum, a person could not invoke any exclusionary right under a Bill of Rights
because there was neither a constitution nor a Bill of Rights during the interregnum.
As the Court explained in Letter of Associate Justice Reynato S. Puno:A revolution has been
defined as the complete overthrow of the established government in any country or state by
those who were previously subject to it or as a sudden, radical and fundamental change in the
government or political system, usually effected with violence or at least some acts of violence.
In Kelsens book, General Theory of Law and State, it is defined as that which occurs whenever
the legal order of a community is nullified and replaced by a new order . . . a way not prescribed
by the first order itself.
During the interregnum, the government in power was concededly a revolutionary government
bound by no constitution. No one could validly question the sequestration orders as violative of
the Bill of Rights because there was no Bill of Rights during the interregnum. However, upon the
adoption of the Freedom Constitution, the sequestered companies assailed the sequestration
orders as contrary to the Bill of Rights of the Freedom Constitution.
The revolutionary government did not repudiate the Covenant or the Declaration during the
interregnum. Whether the revolutionary government could have repudiated all its obligations
under the Covenant or the Declaration is another matter and is not the issue here. Suffice it to
say that the Court considers the Declaration as part of customary international law, and that

Filipinos as human beings are proper subjects of the rules of international law laid down in the
Covenant. The fact is the revolutionary government did not repudiate the Covenant or the
Declaration in the same way it repudiated the 1973 Constitution. As the de jure government, the
revolutionary government could not escape responsibility for the States good faith compliance
with its treaty obligations under international law.
During the interregnum when no constitution or Bill of Rights existed, directives and orders
issued by government officers were valid so long as these officers did not exceed the authority
granted them by the revolutionary government. The directives and orders should not have also
violated the Covenant or the Declaration. In this case, the revolutionary government
presumptively sanctioned the warrant since the revolutionary government did not repudiate it.
The warrant, issued by a judge upon proper application, specified the items to be searched and
seized. The warrant is thus valid with respect to the items specifically described in the warrant.
It is obvious from the testimony of Captain Sebastian that the warrant did not include the
monies, communications equipment, jewelry and land titles that the raiding team confiscated.
The search warrant did not particularly describe these items and the raiding team confiscated
them on its own authority. The raiding team had no legal basis to seize these items without
showing that these items could be the subject of warrantless search and seizure. Clearly, the
raiding team exceeded its authority when it seized these items.The seizure of these items was
therefore void, and unless these items are contraband per se, and they are not, they must be
returned to the person from whom the raiding seized them. However, we do not declare that
such person is the lawful owner of these items, merely that the search and seizure warrant could
not be used as basis to seize and withhold these items from the possessor. We thus hold that
these items should be returned immediately to Dimaano.
The Dispositive
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is DISMISSED. The questioned Resolutions of the
Sandiganbayan dated 18 November 1991 and 25 March 1992 in Civil Case No. 0037, remanding
the records of this case to the Ombudsman for such appropriate action as the evidence may
warrant, and referring this case to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue for a
determination of any tax liability of respondent Elizabeth Dimaano, are AFFIRMED.

7.

CENTRAL BANK (now Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION, INC., petitioner, vs.
BANGKO SENTRAL NG PILIPINAS and the EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, respondents.

DECISION

PUNO, J.:

Can a provision of law, initially valid, become subsequently unconstitutional, on the ground that
its continued operation would violate the equal protection of the law? We hold that with the
passage of the subsequent laws amending the charter of seven (7) other governmental financial
institutions (GFIs), the continued operation of the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of
Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7653, constitutes invidious discrimination on the 2,994 rank-and-file
employees of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

I.

The Case

First the facts.

On July 3, 1993, R.A. No. 7653 (the New Central Bank Act) took effect. It abolished the old Central
Bank of the Philippines, and created a new BSP.

On June 8, 2001, almost eight years after the effectivity of R.A. No. 7653, petitioner Central Bank
(now BSP) Employees Association, Inc., filed a petition for prohibition against BSP and the
Executive Secretary of the Office of the President, to restrain respondents from further
implementing the last proviso in Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, on the ground that it is
unconstitutional.

Article II, Section 15(c) of R.A. No. 7653 provides:

Section 15. Exercise of Authority - In the exercise of its authority, the Monetary Board shall:

xxx xxx xxx

(c) establish a human resource management system which shall govern the selection, hiring,
appointment, transfer, promotion, or dismissal of all personnel. Such system shall aim to
establish professionalism and excellence at all levels of the Bangko Sentral in accordance with
sound principles of management.

A compensation structure, based on job evaluation studies and wage surveys and subject to the
Boards approval, shall be instituted as an integral component of the Bangko Sentrals human
resource development program: Provided, That the Monetary Board shall make its own system
conform as closely as possible with the principles provided for under Republic Act No. 6758
[Salary Standardization Act]. Provided, however, That compensation and wage structure of
employees whose positions fall under salary grade 19 and below shall be in accordance with the
rates prescribed under Republic Act No. 6758. [emphasis supplied]

The thrust of petitioners challenge is that the above proviso makes an unconstitutional cut
between two classes of employees in the BSP, viz: (1) the BSP officers or those exempted from
the coverage of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) (exempt class); and (2) the rank-and-file
(Salary Grade [SG] 19 and below), or those not exempted from the coverage of the SSL (nonexempt class). It is contended that this classification is a classic case of class legislation,
allegedly not based on substantial distinctions which make real differences, but solely on the SG

of the BSP personnels position. Petitioner also claims that it is not germane to the purposes of
Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, the most important of which is to establish
professionalism and excellence at all levels in the BSP.[1] Petitioner offers the following sub-set of
arguments:

a. the legislative history of R.A. No. 7653 shows that the questioned proviso does not appear in
the original and amended versions of House Bill No. 7037, nor in the original version of Senate
Bill No. 1235; [2]

b. subjecting the compensation of the BSP rank-and-file employees to the rate prescribed by the
SSL actually defeats the purpose of the law[3] of establishing professionalism and excellence at
all levels in the BSP; [4] (emphasis supplied)

c. the assailed proviso was the product of amendments introduced during the deliberation of
Senate Bill No. 1235, without showing its relevance to the objectives of the law, and even
admitted by one senator as discriminatory against low-salaried employees of the BSP;[5]

d. GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS personnel are all exempted from the coverage of the SSL; thus within
the class of rank-and-file personnel of government financial institutions (GFIs), the BSP rank-andfile are also discriminated upon;[6] and

e. the assailed proviso has caused the demoralization among the BSP rank-and-file and resulted
in the gross disparity between their compensation and that of the BSP officers.[7]

In sum, petitioner posits that the classification is not reasonable but arbitrary and capricious, and
violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.[8] Petitioner also stresses: (a) that R.A.
No. 7653 has a separability clause, which will allow the declaration of the unconstitutionality of
the proviso in question without affecting the other provisions; and (b) the urgency and propriety
of the petition, as some 2,994 BSP rank-and-file employees have been prejudiced since 1994
when the proviso was implemented. Petitioner concludes that: (1) since the inequitable proviso
has no force and effect of law, respondents implementation of such amounts to lack of
jurisdiction; and (2) it has no appeal nor any other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the
ordinary course except through this petition for prohibition, which this Court should take
cognizance of, considering the transcendental importance of the legal issue involved.[9]

Respondent BSP, in its comment,[10] contends that the provision does not violate the equal
protection clause and can stand the constitutional test, provided it is construed in harmony with
other provisions of the same law, such as fiscal and administrative autonomy of BSP, and the
mandate of the Monetary Board to establish professionalism and excellence at all levels in
accordance with sound principles of management.

The Solicitor General, on behalf of respondent Executive Secretary, also defends the validity of
the provision. Quite simplistically, he argues that the classification is based on actual and real
differentiation, even as it adheres to the enunciated policy of R.A. No. 7653 to establish

professionalism and excellence within the BSP subject to prevailing laws and policies of the
national government.[11]

II.

Issue

Thus, the sole - albeit significant - issue to be resolved in this case is whether the last paragraph
of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653, runs afoul of the constitutional mandate that "No
person shall be. . . denied the equal protection of the laws."[12]

III.

Ruling

A. UNDER THE PRESENT STANDARDS OF EQUAL


PROTECTION, SECTION 15(c), ARTICLE II OF R.A. NO. 7653
IS VALID.

Jurisprudential standards for equal protection challenges indubitably show that the classification
created by the questioned proviso, on its face and in its operation, bears no constitutional
infirmities.

It is settled in constitutional law that the "equal protection" clause does not prevent the
Legislature from establishing classes of individuals or objects upon which different rules shall
operate - so long as the classification is not unreasonable. As held in Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope
Workers Union,[13] and reiterated in a long line of cases:[14]

The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the
laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the
constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected
alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on
persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which
are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause
does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which
is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to
operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in
law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in
speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not
invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it
goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means
that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real
differences, that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to
existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court
has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable
foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary.

In the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws over matters
within its jurisdiction, the state is recognized as enjoying a wide range of discretion. It is not
necessary that the classification be based on scientific or marked differences of things or in their
relation. Neither is it necessary that the classification be made with mathematical nicety. Hence,
legislative classification may in many cases properly rest on narrow distinctions, for the equal
protection guaranty does not preclude the legislature from recognizing degrees of evil or harm,
and legislation is addressed to evils as they may appear. (citations omitted)

Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a valid classification.[15] The equal protection
clause is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those persons falling within a specified
class.[16] If the groupings are characterized by substantial distinctions that make real
differences, one class may be treated and regulated differently from another.[17] The
classification must also be germane to the purpose of the law and must apply to all those
belonging to the same class.[18]

In the case at bar, it is clear in the legislative deliberations that the exemption of officers (SG 20
and above) from the SSL was intended to address the BSPs lack of competitiveness in terms of
attracting competent officers and executives. It was not intended to discriminate against the
rank-and-file. If the end-result did in fact lead to a disparity of treatment between the officers
and the rank-and-file in terms of salaries and benefits, the discrimination or distinction has a
rational basis and is not palpably, purely, and entirely arbitrary in the legislative sense. [19]

That the provision was a product of amendments introduced during the deliberation of the
Senate Bill does not detract from its validity. As early as 1947 and reiterated in subsequent
cases,[20] this Court has subscribed to the conclusiveness of an enrolled bill to refuse
invalidating a provision of law, on the ground that the bill from which it originated contained no
such provision and was merely inserted by the bicameral conference committee of both Houses.

Moreover, it is a fundamental and familiar teaching that all reasonable doubts should be resolved
in favor of the constitutionality of a statute.[21] An act of the legislature, approved by the
executive, is presumed to be within constitutional limitations.[22] To justify the nullification of a
law, there must be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not a doubtful and
equivocal breach.[23]

B. THE ENACTMENT, HOWEVER, OF SUBSEQUENT LAWS EXEMPTING ALL OTHER RANK-AND-FILE EMPLOYEES
OF GFIs FROM THE SSL - RENDERS THE CONTINUED
APPLICATION OF THE CHALLENGED PROVISION
A VIOLATION OF THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.

While R.A. No. 7653 started as a valid measure well within the legislatures power, we hold that
the enactment of subsequent laws exempting all rank-and-file employees of other GFIs leeched
all validity out of the challenged proviso.

1. The concept of relative constitutionality.

The constitutionality of a statute cannot, in every instance, be determined by a mere comparison


of its provisions with applicable provisions of the Constitution, since the statute may be
constitutionally valid as applied to one set of facts and invalid in its application to another.[24]

A statute valid at one time may become void at another time because of altered circumstances.
[25] Thus, if a statute in its practical operation becomes arbitrary or confiscatory, its validity,
even though affirmed by a former adjudication, is open to inquiry and investigation in the light of
changed conditions.[26]

Demonstrative of this doctrine is Vernon Park Realty v. City of Mount Vernon,[27] where the Court
of Appeals of New York declared as unreasonable and arbitrary a zoning ordinance which placed
the plaintiff's property in a residential district, although it was located in the center of a business
area. Later amendments to the ordinance then prohibited the use of the property except for
parking and storage of automobiles, and service station within a parking area. The Court found
the ordinance to constitute an invasion of property rights which was contrary to constitutional
due process. It ruled:

While the common council has the unquestioned right to enact zoning laws respecting the use of
property in accordance with a well-considered and comprehensive plan designed to promote
public health, safety and general welfare, such power is subject to the constitutional limitation
that it may not be exerted arbitrarily or unreasonably and this is so whenever the zoning
ordinance precludes the use of the property for any purpose for which it is reasonably adapted.
By the same token, an ordinance valid when adopted will nevertheless be stricken down as
invalid when, at a later time, its operation under changed conditions proves confiscatory such,
for instance, as when the greater part of its value is destroyed, for which the courts will afford
relief in an appropriate case.[28] (citations omitted, emphasis supplied)

In the Philippine setting, this Court declared the continued enforcement of a valid law as
unconstitutional as a consequence of significant changes in circumstances. Rutter v. Esteban[29]
upheld the constitutionality of the moratorium law - its enactment and operation being a valid

exercise by the State of its police power[30] - but also ruled that the continued enforcement of
the otherwise valid law would be unreasonable and oppressive. It noted the subsequent changes
in the countrys business, industry and agriculture. Thus, the law was set aside because its
continued operation would be grossly discriminatory and lead to the oppression of the creditors.
The landmark ruling states:[31]

The question now to be determined is, is the period of eight (8) years which Republic Act No. 342
grants to debtors of a monetary obligation contracted before the last global war and who is a war
sufferer with a claim duly approved by the Philippine War Damage Commission reasonable under
the present circumstances?

It should be noted that Republic Act No. 342 only extends relief to debtors of prewar obligations
who suffered from the ravages of the last war and who filed a claim for their losses with the
Philippine War Damage Commission. It is therein provided that said obligation shall not be due
and demandable for a period of eight (8) years from and after settlement of the claim filed by the
debtor with said Commission. The purpose of the law is to afford to prewar debtors an
opportunity to rehabilitate themselves by giving them a reasonable time within which to pay
their prewar debts so as to prevent them from being victimized by their creditors. While it is
admitted in said law that since liberation conditions have gradually returned to normal, this is not
so with regard to those who have suffered the ravages of war and so it was therein declared as a
policy that as to them the debt moratorium should be continued in force (Section 1).

But we should not lose sight of the fact that these obligations had been pending since 1945 as a
result of the issuance of Executive Orders Nos. 25 and 32 and at present their enforcement is still
inhibited because of the enactment of Republic Act No. 342 and would continue to be
unenforceable during the eight-year period granted to prewar debtors to afford them an
opportunity to rehabilitate themselves, which in plain language means that the creditors would
have to observe a vigil of at least twelve (12) years before they could effect a liquidation of their
investment dating as far back as 1941. his period seems to us unreasonable, if not oppressive.
While the purpose of Congress is plausible, and should be commended, the relief accorded works
injustice to creditors who are practically left at the mercy of the debtors. Their hope to effect
collection becomes extremely remote, more so if the credits are unsecured. And the injustice is
more patent when, under the law, the debtor is not even required to pay interest during the
operation of the relief, unlike similar statutes in the United States.

xxx xxx xxx

In the face of the foregoing observations, and consistent with what we believe to be as the only
course dictated by justice, fairness and righteousness, we feel that the only way open to us
under the present circumstances is to declare that the continued operation and enforcement of
Republic Act No. 342 at the present time is unreasonable and oppressive, and should not be
prolonged a minute longer, and, therefore, the same should be declared null and void and
without effect. (emphasis supplied, citations omitted)

2. Applicability of the equal protection clause.

In the realm of equal protection, the U.S. case of Atlantic Coast Line R. Co. v. Ivey[32] is
illuminating. The Supreme Court of Florida ruled against the continued application of statutes
authorizing the recovery of double damages plus attorney's fees against railroad companies, for
animals killed on unfenced railroad right of way without proof of negligence. Competitive motor
carriers, though creating greater hazards, were not subjected to similar liability because they
were not yet in existence when the statutes were enacted. The Court ruled that the statutes
became invalid as denying equal protection of the law, in view of changed conditions since their
enactment.

In another U.S. case, Louisville & N.R. Co. v. Faulkner,[33] the Court of Appeals of Kentucky
declared unconstitutional a provision of a statute which imposed a duty upon a railroad company
of proving that it was free from negligence in the killing or injury of cattle by its engine or cars.
This, notwithstanding that the constitutionality of the statute, enacted in 1893, had been
previously sustained. Ruled the Court:

The constitutionality of such legislation was sustained because it applied to all similar
corporations and had for its object the safety of persons on a train and the protection of property.
Of course, there were no automobiles in those days. The subsequent inauguration and
development of transportation by motor vehicles on the public highways by common carriers of
freight and passengers created even greater risks to the safety of occupants of the vehicles and
of danger of injury and death of domestic animals. Yet, under the law the operators of that mode
of competitive transportation are not subject to the same extraordinary legal responsibility for
killing such animals on the public roads as are railroad companies for killing them on their private
rights of way.

The Supreme Court, speaking through Justice Brandeis in Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. Co. v. Walters,
294 U.S. 405, 55 S.Ct. 486, 488, 79 L.Ed. 949, stated, A statute valid when enacted may become
invalid by change in the conditions to which it is applied. The police power is subject to the
constitutional limitation that it may not be exerted arbitrarily or unreasonably. A number of prior
opinions of that court are cited in support of the statement. The State of Florida for many years
had a statute, F.S.A. 356.01 et seq. imposing extraordinary and special duties upon railroad
companies, among which was that a railroad company was liable for double damages and an
attorney's fee for killing livestock by a train without the owner having to prove any act of
negligence on the part of the carrier in the operation of its train. In Atlantic Coast Line Railroad
Co. v. Ivey, it was held that the changed conditions brought about by motor vehicle
transportation rendered the statute unconstitutional since if a common carrier by motor vehicle
had killed the same animal, the owner would have been required to prove negligence in the
operation of its equipment. Said the court, This certainly is not equal protection of the law.[34]
(emphasis supplied)

Echoes of these rulings resonate in our case law, viz:

[C]ourts are not confined to the language of the statute under challenge in determining whether
that statute has any discriminatory effect. A statute nondiscriminatory on its face may be grossly
discriminatory in its operation. Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in

appearance, yet, if it is applied and administered by public authority with an evil eye and
unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in
similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the
prohibition of the Constitution.[35] (emphasis supplied, citations omitted)

[W]e see no difference between a law which denies equal protection and a law which permits of
such denial. A law may appear to be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if it permits
of unjust and illegal discrimination, it is within the constitutional prohibition.. In other words,
statutes may be adjudged unconstitutional because of their effect in operation. If a law has the
effect of denying the equal protection of the law it is unconstitutional. .[36] (emphasis supplied,
citations omitted

3. Enactment of R.A. Nos. 7907 + 8282 + 8289 + 8291 + 8523 + 8763


+ 9302 = consequential unconstitutionality of challenged proviso.

According to petitioner, the last proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of R.A. No. 7653 is also
violative of the equal protection clause because after it was enacted, the charters of the GSIS,
LBP, DBP and SSS were also amended, but the personnel of the latter GFIs were all exempted
from the coverage of the SSL.[37] Thus, within the class of rank-and-file personnel of GFIs, the
BSP rank-and-file are also discriminated upon.

Indeed, we take judicial notice that after the new BSP charter was enacted in 1993, Congress
also undertook the amendment of the charters of the GSIS, LBP, DBP and SSS, and three other
GFIs, from 1995 to 2004, viz:

1. R.A. No. 7907 (1995) for Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP);

2. R.A. No. 8282 (1997) for Social Security System (SSS);

3. R.A. No. 8289 (1997) for Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation, (SBGFC);

4. R.A. No. 8291 (1997) for Government Service Insurance System (GSIS);

5. R.A. No. 8523 (1998) for Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP);

6. R.A. No. 8763 (2000) for Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC);[38] and

7. R.A. No. 9302 (2004) for Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).

It is noteworthy, as petitioner points out, that the subsequent charters of the seven other GFIs
share this common proviso: a blanket exemption of all their employees from the coverage of the
SSL, expressly or impliedly, as illustrated below:

1. LBP (R.A. No. 7907)

Section 10. Section 90 of [R.A. No. 3844] is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 90. Personnel. -

xxx xxx xxx

All positions in the Bank shall be governed by a compensation, position classification system and
qualification standards approved by the Banks Board of Directors based on a comprehensive job
analysis and audit of actual duties and responsibilities. The compensation plan shall be
comparable with the prevailing compensation plans in the private sector and shall be subject to
periodic review by the Board no more than once every two (2) years without prejudice to yearly
merit reviews or increases based on productivity and profitability. The Bank shall therefore be
exempt from existing laws, rules and regulations on compensation, position classification and
qualification standards. It shall however endeavor to make its system conform as closely as
possible with the principles under Republic Act No. 6758. (emphasis supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

2. SSS (R.A. No. 8282)

Section 1. [Amending R.A. No. 1161, Section 3(c)]:

xxx xxx xxx

(c)The Commission, upon the recommendation of the SSS President, shall appoint an actuary and
such other personnel as may [be] deemed necessary; fix their reasonable compensation,
allowances and other benefits; prescribe their duties and establish such methods and procedures
as may be necessary to insure the efficient, honest and economical administration of the
provisions and purposes of this Act: Provided, however, That the personnel of the SSS below the
rank of Vice President shall be appointed by the SSS President: Provided, further, That the
personnel appointed by the SSS President, except those below the rank of assistant manager,
shall be subject to the confirmation by the Commission; Provided further, That the personnel of
the SSS shall be selected only from civil service eligibles and be subject to civil service rules and
regulations: Provided, finally, That the SSS shall be exempt from the provisions of Republic Act
No. 6758 and Republic Act No. 7430. (emphasis supplied)

3. SBGFC (R.A. No. 8289)

Section 8. [Amending R.A. No. 6977, Section 11]:

xxx xxx xxx

The Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation shall:

xxx xxx xxx

(e) notwithstanding the provisions of Republic Act No. 6758, and Compensation Circular No. 10,
series of 1989 issued by the Department of Budget and Management, the Board of Directors of
SBGFC shall have the authority to extend to the employees and personnel thereof the allowance
and fringe benefits similar to those extended to and currently enjoyed by the employees and
personnel of other government financial institutions. (emphases supplied)

4. GSIS (R.A. No. 8291)

Section 1. [Amending Section 43(d)].

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 43. Powers and Functions of the Board of Trustees. - The Board of Trustees shall have the
following powers and functions:

xxx xxx xxx

(d) upon the recommendation of the President and General Manager, to approve the GSIS
organizational and administrative structures and staffing pattern, and to establish, fix, review,
revise and adjust the appropriate compensation package for the officers and employees of the
GSIS with reasonable allowances, incentives, bonuses, privileges and other benefits as may be
necessary or proper for the effective management, operation and administration of the GSIS,
which shall be exempt from Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the Salary
Standardization Law and Republic Act No. 7430, otherwise known as the Attrition Law. (emphasis
supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

5. DBP (R.A. No. 8523)

Section 6. [Amending E.O. No. 81, Section 13]:

Section 13. Other Officers and Employees. - The Board of Directors shall provide for an
organization and staff of officers and employees of the Bank and upon recommendation of the
President of the Bank, fix their remunerations and other emoluments. All positions in the Bank
shall be governed by the compensation, position classification system and qualification
standards approved by the Board of Directors based on a comprehensive job analysis of actual
duties and responsibilities. The compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing
compensation plans in the private sector and shall be subject to periodic review by the Board of
Directors once every two (2) years, without prejudice to yearly merit or increases based on the
Banks productivity and profitability. The Bank shall, therefore, be exempt from existing laws,
rules, and regulations on compensation, position classification and qualification standards. The
Bank shall however, endeavor to make its system conform as closely as possible with the
principles under Compensation and Position Classification Act of 1989 (Republic Act No. 6758, as
amended). (emphasis supplied)

6. HGC (R.A. No. 8763)

Section 9. Powers, Functions and Duties of the Board of Directors. - The Board shall have the
following powers, functions and duties:

xxx xxx xxx

(e) To create offices or positions necessary for the efficient management, operation and
administration of the Corporation: Provided, That all positions in the Home Guaranty Corporation
(HGC) shall be governed by a compensation and position classification system and qualifications
standards approved by the Corporations Board of Directors based on a comprehensive job
analysis and audit of actual duties and responsibilities: Provided, further, That the compensation
plan shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation plans in the private sector and which
shall be exempt from Republic Act No. 6758, otherwise known as the Salary Standardization Law,
and from other laws, rules and regulations on salaries and compensations; and to establish a
Provident Fund and determine the Corporations and the employees contributions to the Fund;
(emphasis supplied)

xxx xxx xxx

7. PDIC (R.A. No. 9302)

Section 2. Section 2 of [Republic Act No. 3591, as amended] is hereby further amended to read:

xxx xxx xxx

3.

xxx xxx xxx

A compensation structure, based on job evaluation studies and wage surveys and subject to the
Boards approval, shall be instituted as an integral component of the Corporations human
resource development program: Provided, That all positions in the Corporation shall be governed
by a compensation, position classification system and qualification standards approved by the
Board based on a comprehensive job analysis and audit of actual duties and responsibilities. The
compensation plan shall be comparable with the prevailing compensation plans of other
government financial institutions and shall be subject to review by the Board no more than once
every two (2) years without prejudice to yearly merit reviews or increases based on productivity
and profitability. The Corporation shall therefore be exempt from existing laws, rules and
regulations on compensation, position classification and qualification standards. It shall however
endeavor to make its system conform as closely as possible with the principles under Republic
Act No. 6758, as amended. (emphases supplied)

Thus, eleven years after the amendment of the BSP charter, the rank-and-file of seven other GFIs
were granted the exemption that was specifically denied to the rank-and-file of the BSP. And as if
to add insult to petitioners injury, even the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was
granted the same blanket exemption from the SSL in 2000![39]

The prior view on the constitutionality of R.A. No. 7653 was confined to an evaluation of its
classification between the rank-and-file and the officers of the BSP, found reasonable because
there were substantial distinctions that made real differences between the two classes.

The above-mentioned subsequent enactments, however, constitute significant changes in


circumstance that considerably alter the reasonability of the continued operation of the last
proviso of Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act No. 7653, thereby exposing the proviso to more
serious scrutiny. This time, the scrutiny relates to the constitutionality of the classification - albeit
made indirectly as a consequence of the passage of eight other laws - between the rank-and-file
of the BSP and the seven other GFIs. The classification must not only be reasonable, but must
also apply equally to all members of the class. The proviso may be fair on its face and impartial
in appearance but it cannot be grossly discriminatory in its operation, so as practically to make
unjust distinctions between persons who are without differences.[40]

Stated differently, the second level of inquiry deals with the following questions: Given that
Congress chose to exempt other GFIs (aside the BSP) from the coverage of the SSL, can the
exclusion of the rank-and-file employees of the BSP stand constitutional scrutiny in the light of
the fact that Congress did not exclude the rank-and-file employees of the other GFIs? Is Congress
power to classify so unbridled as to sanction unequal and discriminatory treatment, simply

because the inequity manifested itself, not instantly through a single overt act, but gradually and
progressively, through seven separate acts of Congress? Is the right to equal protection of the
law bounded in time and space that: (a) the right can only be invoked against a classification
made directly and deliberately, as opposed to a discrimination that arises indirectly, or as a
consequence of several other acts; and (b) is the legal analysis confined to determining the
validity within the parameters of the statute or ordinance (where the inclusion or exclusion is
articulated), thereby proscribing any evaluation vis--vis the grouping, or the lack thereof, among
several similar enactments made over a period of time?

In this second level of scrutiny, the inequality of treatment cannot be justified on the mere
assertion that each exemption (granted to the seven other GFIs) rests on a policy determination
by the legislature. All legislative enactments necessarily rest on a policy determination - even
those that have been declared to contravene the Constitution. Verily, if this could serve as a
magic wand to sustain the validity of a statute, then no due process and equal protection
challenges would ever prosper. There is nothing inherently sacrosanct in a policy determination
made by Congress or by the Executive; it cannot run riot and overrun the ramparts of protection
of the Constitution.

In fine, the policy determination argument may support the inequality of treatment between the
rank-and-file and the officers of the BSP, but it cannot justify the inequality of treatment between
BSP rank-and-file and other GFIs who are similarly situated. It fails to appreciate that what is at
issue in the second level of scrutiny is not the declared policy of each law per se, but the
oppressive results of Congress inconsistent and unequal policy towards the BSP rank-and-file and
those of the seven other GFIs. At bottom, the second challenge to the constitutionality of Section
15(c), Article II of Republic Act No. 7653 is premised precisely on the irrational discriminatory
policy adopted by Congress in its treatment of persons similarly situated. In the field of equal
protection, the guarantee that "no person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws
includes the prohibition against enacting laws that allow invidious discrimination, directly or
indirectly. If a law has the effect of denying the equal protection of the law, or permits such
denial, it is unconstitutional.[41]

It is against this standard that the disparate treatment of the BSP rank-and-file from the other
GFIs cannot stand judicial scrutiny. For as regards the exemption from the coverage of the SSL,
there exist no substantial distinctions so as to differentiate, the BSP rank-and-file from the other
rank-and-file of the seven GFIs. On the contrary, our legal history shows that GFIs have long been
recognized as comprising one distinct class, separate from other governmental entities.

Before the SSL, Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 985 (1976) declared it as a State policy (1) to
provide equal pay for substantially equal work, and (2) to base differences in pay upon
substantive differences in duties and responsibilities, and qualification requirements of the
positions. P.D. No. 985 was passed to address disparities in pay among similar or comparable
positions which had given rise to dissension among government employees. But even then, GFIs
and government-owned and/or controlled corporations (GOCCs) were already identified as a
distinct class among government employees. Thus, Section 2 also provided, [t]hat
notwithstanding a standardized salary system established for all employees, additional financial
incentives may be established by government corporation and financial institutions for their
employees to be supported fully from their corporate funds and for such technical positions as
may be approved by the President in critical government agencies.[42]

The same favored treatment is made for the GFIs and the GOCCs under the SSL. Section 3(b)
provides that one of the principles governing the Compensation and Position Classification
System of the Government is that: [b]asic compensation for all personnel in the government and
government-owned or controlled corporations and financial institutions shall generally be
comparable with those in the private sector doing comparable work, and must be in accordance
with prevailing laws on minimum wages.

Thus, the BSP and all other GFIs and GOCCs were under the unified Compensation and Position
Classification System of the SSL,[43] but rates of pay under the SSL were determined on the
basis of, among others, prevailing rates in the private sector for comparable work. Notably, the
Compensation and Position Classification System was to be governed by the following principles:
(a) just and equitable wages, with the ratio of compensation between pay distinctions
maintained at equitable levels;[44] and (b) basic compensation generally comparable with the
private sector, in accordance with prevailing laws on minimum wages.[45] Also, the Department
of Budget and Management was directed to use, as guide for preparing the Index of Occupational
Services, the Benchmark Position Schedule, and the following factors:[46]

(1) the education and experience required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the
positions;

(2) the nature and complexity of the work to be performed;

(3) the kind of supervision received;

(4) mental and/or physical strain required in the completion of the work;

(5) nature and extent of internal and external relationships;

(6) kind of supervision exercised;

(7) decision-making responsibility;

(8) responsibility for accuracy of records and reports;

(9) accountability for funds, properties and equipment; and

(10) hardship, hazard and personal risk involved in the job.

The Benchmark Position Schedule enumerates the position titles that fall within Salary Grades 1
to 20.

Clearly, under R.A. No. 6758, the rank-and-file of all GFIs were similarly situated in all aspects
pertaining to compensation and position classification, in consonance with Section 5, Article IX-B
of the 1997 Constitution.[47]

Then came the enactment of the amended charter of the BSP, implicitly exempting the Monetary
Board from the SSL by giving it express authority to determine and institute its own
compensation and wage structure. However, employees whose positions fall under SG 19 and
below were specifically limited to the rates prescribed under the SSL.

Subsequent amendments to the charters of other GFIs followed. Significantly, each government
financial institution (GFI) was not only expressly authorized to determine and institute its own
compensation and wage structure, but also explicitly exempted - without distinction as to salary
grade or position - all employees of the GFI from the SSL.

It has been proffered that legislative deliberations justify the grant or withdrawal of exemption
from the SSL, based on the perceived need to fulfill the mandate of the institution concerned
considering, among others, that: (1) the GOCC or GFI is essentially proprietary in character; (2)
the GOCC or GFI is in direct competition with their [sic] counterparts in the private sector, not
only in terms of the provisions of goods or services, but also in terms of hiring and retaining
competent personnel; and (3) the GOCC or GFI are or were [sic] experiencing difficulties filling up
plantilla positions with competent personnel and/or retaining these personnel. The need for the
scope of exemption necessarily varies with the particular circumstances of each institution, and
the corresponding variance in the benefits received by the employees is merely incidental.

The fragility of this argument is manifest. First, the BSP is the central monetary authority,[48]
and the banker of the government and all its political subdivisions.[49] It has the sole power and
authority to issue currency;[50] provide policy directions in the areas of money, banking, and
credit; and supervise banks and regulate finance companies and non-bank financial institutions
performing quasi-banking functions, including the exempted GFIs.[51] Hence, the argument that
the rank-and-file employees of the seven GFIs were exempted because of the importance of their
institutions mandate cannot stand any more than an empty sack can stand.

Second, it is certainly misleading to say that the need for the scope of exemption necessarily
varies with the particular circumstances of each institution. Nowhere in the deliberations is there
a cogent basis for the exclusion of the BSP rank-and-file from the exemption which was granted
to the rank-and-file of the other GFIs and the SEC. As point in fact, the BSP and the seven GFIs
are similarly situated in so far as Congress deemed it necessary for these institutions to be
exempted from the SSL. True, the SSL-exemption of the BSP and the seven GFIs was granted in
the amended charters of each GFI, enacted separately and over a period of time. But it bears
emphasis that, while each GFI has a mandate different and distinct from that of another, the
deliberations show that the raison dtre of the SSL-exemption was inextricably linked to and for
the most part based on factors common to the eight GFIs, i.e., (1) the pivotal role they play in
the economy; (2) the necessity of hiring and retaining qualified and effective personnel to carry

out the GFIs mandate; and (3) the recognition that the compensation package of these GFIs is
not competitive, and fall substantially below industry standards. Considering further that (a) the
BSP was the first GFI granted SSL exemption; and (b) the subsequent exemptions of other GFIs
did not distinguish between the officers and the rank-and-file; it is patent that the classification
made between the BSP rank-and-file and those of the other seven GFIs was inadvertent, and NOT
intended, i.e., it was not based on any substantial distinction vis--vis the particular circumstances
of each GFI. Moreover, the exemption granted to two GFIs makes express reference to allowance
and fringe benefits similar to those extended to and currently enjoyed by the employees and
personnel of other GFIs,[52] underscoring that GFIs are a particular class within the realm of
government entities.

It is precisely this unpremeditated discrepancy in treatment of the rank-and-file of the BSP made manifest and glaring with each and every consequential grant of blanket exemption from
the SSL to the other GFIs - that cannot be rationalized or justified. Even more so, when the SEC which is not a GFI - was given leave to have a compensation plan that shall be comparable with
the prevailing compensation plan in the [BSP] and other [GFIs],[53] then granted a blanket
exemption from the SSL, and its rank-and-file endowed a more preferred treatment than the
rank-and-file of the BSP.

The violation to the equal protection clause becomes even more pronounced when we are faced
with this undeniable truth: that if Congress had enacted a law for the sole purpose of exempting
the eight GFIs from the coverage of the SSL, the exclusion of the BSP rank-and-file employees
would have been devoid of any substantial or material basis. It bears no moment, therefore, that
the unlawful discrimination was not a direct result arising from one law. Nemo potest facere per
alium quod non potest facere per directum. No one is allowed to do indirectly what he is
prohibited to do directly.

It has also been proffered that similarities alone are not sufficient to support the conclusion that
rank-and-file employees of the BSP may be lumped together with similar employees of the other
GOCCs for purposes of compensation, position classification and qualification standards. The fact
that certain persons have some attributes in common does not automatically make them
members of the same class with respect to a legislative classification. Cited is the ruling in
Johnson v. Robinson:[54] this finding of similarity ignores that a common characteristic shared by
beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries alike, is not sufficient to invalidate a statute when other
characteristics peculiar to only one group rationally explain the statutes different treatment of
the two groups.

The reference to Johnson is inapropos. In Johnson, the US Court sustained the validity of the
classification as there were quantitative and qualitative distinctions, expressly recognized by
Congress, which formed a rational basis for the classification limiting educational benefits to
military service veterans as a means of helping them readjust to civilian life. The Court listed the
peculiar characteristics as follows:

First, the disruption caused by military service is quantitatively greater than that caused by
alternative civilian service. A conscientious objector performing alternative service is obligated to
work for two years. Service in the Armed Forces, on the other hand, involves a six-year
commitment

xxx xxx xxx

Second, the disruptions suffered by military veterans and alternative service performers are
qualitatively different. Military veterans suffer a far greater loss of personal freedom during their
service careers. Uprooted from civilian life, the military veteran becomes part of the military
establishment, subject to its discipline and potentially hazardous duty. Congress was acutely
aware of the peculiar disabilities caused by military service, in consequence of which military
servicemen have a special need for readjustment benefits[55] (citations omitted)

In the case at bar, it is precisely the fact that as regards the exemption from the SSL, there are
no characteristics peculiar only to the seven GFIs or their rank-and-file so as to justify the
exemption which BSP rank-and-file employees were denied (not to mention the anomaly of the
SEC getting one). The distinction made by the law is not only superficial,[56] but also arbitrary. It
is not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between the BSP rank-and-file
and the seven other GFIs.

Moreover, the issue in this case is not - as the dissenting opinion of Mme. Justice Carpio-Morales
would put it - whether being an employee of a GOCC or GFI is reasonable and sufficient basis for
exemption from R.A. No. 6758. It is Congress itself that distinguished the GFIs from other
government agencies, not once but eight times, through the enactment of R.A. Nos. 7653, 7907,
8282, 8289, 8291, 8523, 8763, and 9302. These laws may have created a preferred sub-class
within government employees, but the present challenge is not directed at the wisdom of these
laws. Rather, it is a legal conundrum involving the exercise of legislative power, the validity of
which must be measured not only by looking at the specific exercise in and by itself (R.A. No.
7653), but also as to the legal effects brought about by seven separate exercises - albeit
indirectly and without intent.

Thus, even if petitioner had not alleged a comparable change in the factual milieu as regards the
compensation, position classification and qualification standards of the employees of the BSP
(whether of the executive level or of the rank-and-file) since the enactment of the new Central
Bank Act is of no moment. In GSIS v. Montesclaros,[57] this Court resolved the issue of
constitutionality notwithstanding that claimant had manifested that she was no longer interested
in pursuing the case, and even when the constitutionality of the said provision was not squarely
raised as an issue, because the issue involved not only the claimant but also others similarly
situated and whose claims GSIS would also deny based on the challenged proviso. The Court held
that social justice and public interest demanded the resolution of the constitutionality of the
proviso. And so it is with the challenged proviso in the case at bar.

It bears stressing that the exemption from the SSL is a privilege fully within the legislative
prerogative to give or deny. However, its subsequent grant to the rank-and-file of the seven other
GFIs and continued denial to the BSP rank-and-file employees breached the latters right to equal
protection. In other words, while the granting of a privilege per se is a matter of policy
exclusively within the domain and prerogative of Congress, the validity or legality of the exercise
of this prerogative is subject to judicial review.[58] So when the distinction made is superficial,
and not based on substantial distinctions that make real differences between those included and

excluded, it becomes a matter of arbitrariness that this Court has the duty and the power to
correct.[59] As held in the United Kingdom case of Hooper v. Secretary of State for Work and
Pensions,[60] once the State has chosen to confer benefits, discrimination contrary to law may
occur where favorable treatment already afforded to one group is refused to another, even
though the State is under no obligation to provide that favorable treatment. [61]

The disparity of treatment between BSP rank-and-file and the rank-and-file of the other seven
GFIs definitely bears the unmistakable badge of invidious discrimination - no one can, with
candor and fairness, deny the discriminatory character of the subsequent blanket and total
exemption of the seven other GFIs from the SSL when such was withheld from the BSP. Alikes are
being treated as unalikes without any rational basis.

Again, it must be emphasized that the equal protection clause does not demand absolute
equality but it requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under like circumstances and
conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. Favoritism and undue
preference cannot be allowed. For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be
given to every person under circumstances which, if not identical, are analogous. If law be looked
upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall within a class should be treated in the same
fashion; whatever restrictions cast on some in the group is equally binding on the rest.[62]

In light of the lack of real and substantial distinctions that would justify the unequal treatment
between the rank-and-file of BSP from the seven other GFIs, it is clear that the enactment of the
seven subsequent charters has rendered the continued application of the challenged proviso
anathema to the equal protection of the law, and the same should be declared as an outlaw.

IV.

Equal Protection Under


International Lens

In our jurisdiction, the standard and analysis of equal protection challenges in the main have
followed the rational basis test, coupled with a deferential attitude to legislative
classifications[63] and a reluctance to invalidate a law unless there is a showing of a clear and
unequivocal breach of the Constitution. [64]

A. Equal Protection
in the United States
In contrast, jurisprudence in the U.S. has gone beyond the static rational basis test. Professor
Gunther highlights the development in equal protection jurisprudential analysis, to wit: [65]

Traditionally, equal protection supported only minimal judicial intervention in most contexts.
Ordinarily, the command of equal protection was only that government must not impose

differences in treatment except upon some reasonable differentiation fairly related to the object
of regulation. The old variety of equal protection scrutiny focused solely on the means used by
the legislature: it insisted merely that the classification in the statute reasonably relates to the
legislative purpose. Unlike substantive due process, equal protection scrutiny was not typically
concerned with identifying fundamental values and restraining legislative ends. And usually the
rational classification requirement was readily satisfied: the courts did not demand a tight fit
between classification and purpose; perfect congruence between means and ends was not
required.

xxx xxx xxx

[From marginal intervention to major cutting edge: The Warren Courts new equal protection and
the two-tier approach.]

From its traditional modest role, equal protection burgeoned into a major intervention tool during
the Warren era, especially in the 1960s. The Warren Court did not abandon the deferential
ingredients of the old equal protection: in most areas of economic and social legislation, the
demands imposed by equal protection remained as minimal as everBut the Court launched an
equal protection revolution by finding large new areas for strict rather than deferential scrutiny. A
sharply differentiated two-tier approach evolved by the late 1960s: in addition to the deferential
old equal protection, a new equal protection, connoting strict scrutiny, arose. The intensive
review associated with the new equal protection imposed two demands - a demand not only as
to means but also one as to ends. Legislation qualifying for strict scrutiny required a far closer fit
between classification and statutory purpose than the rough and ready flexibility traditionally
tolerated by the old equal protection: means had to be shown necessary to achieve statutory
ends, not merely reasonably related ones. Moreover, equal protection became a source of ends
scrutiny as well: legislation in the areas of the new equal protection had to be justified by
compelling state interests, not merely the wide spectrum of legitimate state ends.

The Warren Court identified the areas appropriate for strict scrutiny by searching for two
characteristics: the presence of a suspect classification; or an impact on fundamental rights or
interests. In the category of suspect classifications, the Warren Courts major contribution was to
intensify the strict scrutiny in the traditionally interventionist area of racial classifications. But
other cases also suggested that there might be more other suspect categories as well:
illegitimacy and wealth for example. But it was the fundamental interests ingredient of the new
equal protection that proved particularly dynamic, open-ended, and amorphous.. [Other
fundamental interests included voting, criminal appeals, and the right of interstate travel .]

xxx xxx xxx

The Burger Court and Equal Protection.

The Burger Court was reluctant to expand the scope of the new equal protection, although its
best established ingredient retains vitality. There was also mounting discontent with the rigid
two-tier formulations of the Warren Courts equal protection doctrine. It was prepared to use the

clause as an interventionist tool without resorting to the strict language of the new equal
protection. [Among the fundamental interests identified during this time were voting and access
to the ballot, while suspect classifications included sex, alienage and illegitimacy.]

xxx xxx xxx

Even while the two-tier scheme has often been adhered to in form, there has also been an
increasingly noticeable resistance to the sharp difference between deferential old and
interventionist new equal protection. A number of justices sought formulations that would blur
the sharp distinctions of the two-tiered approach or that would narrow the gap between strict
scrutiny and deferential review. The most elaborate attack came from Justice Marshall, whose
frequently stated position was developed most elaborately in his dissent in the Rodriguez case:
[66]

The Court apparently seeks to establish [that] equal protection cases fall into one of two neat
categories which dictate the appropriate standard of review - strict scrutiny or mere rationality.
But this (sic) Courts [decisions] defy such easy categorization. A principled reading of what this
Court has done reveals that it has applied a spectrum of standards in reviewing discrimination
allegedly violative of the equal protection clause. This spectrum clearly comprehends variations
in the degree of care with which Court will scrutinize particular classification, depending, I
believe, on the constitutional and societal importance of the interests adversely affected and the
recognized invidiousness of the basis upon which the particular classification is drawn.

Justice Marshalls sliding scale approach describes many of the modern decisions, although it is a
formulation that the majority refused to embrace. But the Burger Courts results indicate at least
two significant changes in equal protection law: First, invocation of the old equal protection
formula no longer signals, as it did with the Warren Court, an extreme deference to legislative
classifications and a virtually automatic validation of challenged statutes. Instead, several cases,
even while voicing the minimal rationality hands-off standards of the old equal protection,
proceed to find the statute unconstitutional. Second, in some areas the modern Court has put
forth standards for equal protection review that, while clearly more intensive than the deference
of the old equal protection, are less demanding than the strictness of the new equal protection.
Sex discrimination is the best established example of an intermediate level of review. Thus, in
one case, the Court said that classifications by gender must serve important governmental
objectives and must be substantially related to achievement of those objectives. That standard is
intermediate with respect to both ends and means: where ends must be compelling to survive
strict scrutiny and merely legitimate under the old mode, important objectives are required here;
and where means must be necessary under the new equal protection, and merely rationally
related under the old equal protection, they must be substantially related to survive the
intermediate level of review. (emphasis supplied, citations omitted)

B. Equal Protection
in Europe

The United Kingdom and other members of the European Community have also gone forward in
discriminatory legislation and jurisprudence. Within the United Kingdom domestic law, the most
extensive list of protected grounds can be found in Article 14 of the European Convention on
Human Rights (ECHR). It prohibits discrimination on grounds such as sex, race, colour, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority,
property, birth or other status. This list is illustrative and not exhaustive. Discrimination on the
basis of race, sex and religion is regarded as grounds that require strict scrutiny. A further
indication that certain forms of discrimination are regarded as particularly suspect under the
Covenant can be gleaned from Article 4, which, while allowing states to derogate from certain
Covenant articles in times of national emergency, prohibits derogation by measures that
discriminate solely on the grounds of race, colour, language, religion or social origin.[67]

Moreover, the European Court of Human Rights has developed a test of justification which varies
with the ground of discrimination. In the Belgian Linguistics case[68] the European Court set the
standard of justification at a low level: discrimination would contravene the Convention only if it
had no legitimate aim, or there was no reasonable relationship of proportionality between the
means employed and the aim sought to be realised.[69] But over the years, the European Court
has developed a hierarchy of grounds covered by Article 14 of the ECHR, a much higher level of
justification being required in respect of those regarded as suspect (sex, race, nationality,
illegitimacy, or sexual orientation) than of others. Thus, in Abdulaziz, [70] the European Court
declared that:

. . . [t]he advancement of the equality of the sexes is today a major goal in the member States of
the Council of Europe. This means that very weighty reasons would have to be advanced before
a difference of treatment on the ground of sex could be regarded as compatible with the
Convention.

And in Gaygusuz v. Austria,[71] the European Court held that very weighty reasons would have
to be put forward before the Court could regard a difference of treatment based exclusively on
the ground of nationality as compatible with the Convention.[72] The European Court will then
permit States a very much narrower margin of appreciation in relation to discrimination on
grounds of sex, race, etc., in the application of the Convention rights than it will in relation to
distinctions drawn by states between, for example, large and small land-owners. [73]

C. Equality under
International Law

The principle of equality has long been recognized under international law. Article 1 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal
in dignity and rights. Non-discrimination, together with equality before the law and equal
protection of the law without any discrimination, constitutes basic principles in the protection of
human rights. [74]

Most, if not all, international human rights instruments include some prohibition on discrimination
and/or provisions about equality.[75] The general international provisions pertinent to

discrimination and/or equality are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
[76] the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR); the
International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD);[77] the
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

In the broader international context, equality is also enshrined in regional instruments such as
the American Convention on Human Rights;[78] the African Charter on Human and People's
Rights;[79] the European Convention on Human Rights;[80] the European Social Charter of 1961
and revised Social Charter of 1996; and the European Union Charter of Rights (of particular
importance to European states). Even the Council of the League of Arab States has adopted the
Arab Charter on Human Rights in 1994, although it has yet to be ratified by the Member States of
the League.[81]

The equality provisions in these instruments do not merely function as traditional "first
generation" rights, commonly viewed as concerned only with constraining rather than requiring
State action. Article 26 of the ICCPR requires guarantee[s] of equal and effective protection
against discrimination while Articles 1 and 14 of the American and European Conventions oblige
States Parties to ensure ... the full and free exercise of [the rights guaranteed] ... without any
discrimination and to secure without discrimination the enjoyment of the rights guaranteed.[82]
These provisions impose a measure of positive obligation on States Parties to take steps to
eradicate discrimination.

In the employment field, basic detailed minimum standards ensuring equality and prevention of
discrimination, are laid down in the ICESCR[83] and in a very large number of Conventions
administered by the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations body. [84] Additionally,
many of the other international and regional human rights instruments have specific provisions
relating to employment.[85]

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has also gone beyond the earlier tendency to view
the prohibition against discrimination (Article 26) as confined to the ICCPR rights.[86] In
Broeks[87] and Zwaan-de Vries,[88] the issue before the Committee was whether discriminatory
provisions in the Dutch Unemployment Benefits Act (WWV) fell within the scope of Article 26. The
Dutch government submitted that discrimination in social security benefit provision was not
within the scope of Article 26, as the right was contained in the ICESCR and not the ICCPR. They
accepted that Article 26 could go beyond the rights contained in the Covenant to other civil and
political rights, such as discrimination in the field of taxation, but contended that Article 26 did
not extend to the social, economic, and cultural rights contained in ICESCR. The Committee
rejected this argument. In its view, Article 26 applied to rights beyond the Covenant including the
rights in other international treaties such as the right to social security found in ICESCR:

Although Article 26 requires that legislation should prohibit discrimination, it does not of itself
contain any obligation with respect to the matters that may be provided for by legislation. Thus it
does not, for example, require any state to enact legislation to provide for social security.
However, when such legislation is adopted in the exercise of a State's sovereign power, then
such legislation must comply with Article 26 of the Covenant.[89]

Breaches of the right to equal protection occur directly or indirectly. A classification may be
struck down if it has the purpose or effect of violating the right to equal protection. International
law recognizes that discrimination may occur indirectly, as the Human Rights Committee[90]
took into account the definitions of discrimination adopted by CERD and CEDAW in declaring
that:

. . . discrimination as used in the [ICCPR] should be understood to imply any distinction,


exclusion, restriction or preference which is based on any ground such as race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other
status, and which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment
or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing, of all rights and freedoms. [91] (emphasis
supplied)

Thus, the two-tier analysis made in the case at bar of the challenged provision, and its
conclusion of unconstitutionality by subsequent operation, are in cadence and in consonance
with the progressive trend of other jurisdictions and in international law. There should be no
hesitation in using the equal protection clause as a major cutting edge to eliminate every
conceivable irrational discrimination in our society. Indeed, the social justice imperatives in the
Constitution, coupled with the special status and protection afforded to labor, compel this
approach.[92]

Apropos the special protection afforded to labor under our Constitution and international law, we
held in International School Alliance of Educators v. Quisumbing: [93]

That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution
and laws reflect the policy against these evils. The Constitution in the Article on Social Justice
and Human Rights exhorts Congress to "give highest priority to the enactment of measures that
protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and
political inequalities." The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person, "in the
exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give everyone his
due, and observe honesty and good faith."

International law, which springs from general principles of law, likewise proscribes discrimination.
General principles of law include principles of equity, i.e., the general principles of fairness and
justice, based on the test of what is reasonable. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention against Discrimination in
Education, the Convention (No. 111) Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and
Occupation - all embody the general principle against discrimination, the very antithesis of
fairness and justice. The Philippines, through its Constitution, has incorporated this principle as
part of its national laws.

In the workplace, where the relations between capital and labor are often skewed in favor of
capital, inequality and discrimination by the employer are all the more reprehensible.

The Constitution specifically provides that labor is entitled to "humane conditions of work." These
conditions are not restricted to the physical workplace - the factory, the office or the field - but
include as well the manner by which employers treat their employees.

The Constitution also directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for all."
Similarly, the Labor Code provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities
regardless of sex, race or creed." It would be an affront to both the spirit and letter of these
provisions if the State, in spite of its primordial obligation to promote and ensure equal
employment opportunities, closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions of
employment.

xxx xxx xxx

Notably, the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, in Article 7 thereof,
provides:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of
just and [favorable] conditions of work, which ensure, in particular:

a. Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:

i. Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in
particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with
equal pay for equal work;

xxx xxx xxx

The foregoing provisions impregnably institutionalize in this jurisdiction the long honored legal
truism of "equal pay for equal work." Persons who work with substantially equal qualifications,
skill, effort and responsibility, under similar conditions, should be paid similar salaries. (citations
omitted)

Congress retains its wide discretion in providing for a valid classification, and its policies should
be accorded recognition and respect by the courts of justice except when they run afoul of the
Constitution.[94] The deference stops where the classification violates a fundamental right, or
prejudices persons accorded special protection by the Constitution. When these violations arise,
this Court must discharge its primary role as the vanguard of constitutional guaranties, and
require a stricter and more exacting adherence to constitutional limitations. Rational basis should
not suffice.

Admittedly, the view that prejudice to persons accorded special protection by the Constitution
requires a stricter judicial scrutiny finds no support in American or English jurisprudence.
Nevertheless, these foreign decisions and authorities are not per se controlling in this
jurisdiction. At best, they are persuasive and have been used to support many of our decisions.
[95] We should not place undue and fawning reliance upon them and regard them as
indispensable mental crutches without which we cannot come to our own decisions through the
employment of our own endowments. We live in a different ambience and must decide our own
problems in the light of our own interests and needs, and of our qualities and even idiosyncrasies
as a people, and always with our own concept of law and justice.[96] Our laws must be construed
in accordance with the intention of our own lawmakers and such intent may be deduced from the
language of each law and the context of other local legislation related thereto. More importantly,
they must be construed to serve our own public interest which is the be-all and the end-all of all
our laws. And it need not be stressed that our public interest is distinct and different from others.
[97]

In the 2003 case of Francisco v. House of Representatives, this Court has stated that: [A]merican
jurisprudence and authorities, much less the American Constitution, are of dubious application
for these are no longer controlling within our jurisdiction and have only limited persuasive merit
insofar as Philippine constitutional law is concerned....[I]n resolving constitutional disputes, [this
Court] should not be beguiled by foreign jurisprudence some of which are hardly applicable
because they have been dictated by different constitutional settings and needs.[98] Indeed,
although the Philippine Constitution can trace its origins to that of the United States, their paths
of development have long since diverged. [99]

Further, the quest for a better and more equal world calls for the use of equal protection as a tool
of effective judicial intervention.

Equality is one ideal which cries out for bold attention and action in the Constitution. The
Preamble proclaims equality as an ideal precisely in protest against crushing inequities in
Philippine society. The command to promote social justice in Article II, Section 10, in all phases of
national development, further explicitated in Article XIII, are clear commands to the State to take
affirmative action in the direction of greater equality. [T]here is thus in the Philippine Constitution
no lack of doctrinal support for a more vigorous state effort towards achieving a reasonable
measure of equality.[100]

Our present Constitution has gone further in guaranteeing vital social and economic rights to
marginalized groups of society, including labor.[101] Under the policy of social justice, the law
bends over backward to accommodate the interests of the working class on the humane
justification that those with less privilege in life should have more in law.[102] And the obligation
to afford protection to labor is incumbent not only on the legislative and executive branches but
also on the judiciary to translate this pledge into a living reality.[103] Social justice calls for the
humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that
justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated.[104]

V.

A Final Word

Finally, concerns have been raised as to the propriety of a ruling voiding the challenged
provision. It has been proffered that the remedy of petitioner is not with this Court, but with
Congress, which alone has the power to erase any inequity perpetrated by R.A. No. 7653. Indeed,
a bill proposing the exemption of the BSP rank-and-file from the SSL has supposedly been filed.

Under most circumstances, the Court will exercise judicial restraint in deciding questions of
constitutionality, recognizing the broad discretion given to Congress in exercising its legislative
power. Judicial scrutiny would be based on the rational basis test, and the legislative discretion
would be given deferential treatment. [105]

But if the challenge to the statute is premised on the denial of a fundamental right, or the
perpetuation of prejudice against persons favored by the Constitution with special protection,
judicial scrutiny ought to be more strict. A weak and watered down view would call for the
abdication of this Courts solemn duty to strike down any law repugnant to the Constitution and
the rights it enshrines. This is true whether the actor committing the unconstitutional act is a
private person or the government itself or one of its instrumentalities. Oppressive acts will be
struck down regardless of the character or nature of the actor. [106]

Accordingly, when the grant of power is qualified, conditional or subject to limitations, the issue
on whether or not the prescribed qualifications or conditions have been met, or the limitations
respected, is justiciable or non-political, the crux of the problem being one of legality or validity
of the contested act, not its wisdom. Otherwise, said qualifications, conditions or limitations particularly those prescribed or imposed by the Constitution - would be set at naught. What is
more, the judicial inquiry into such issue and the settlement thereof are the main functions of
courts of justice under the Presidential form of government adopted in our 1935 Constitution,
and the system of checks and balances, one of its basic predicates. As a consequence, We have
neither the authority nor the discretion to decline passing upon said issue, but are under the
ineluctable obligation - made particularly more exacting and peremptory by our oath, as
members of the highest Court of the land, to support and defend the Constitution - to settle it.
This explains why, in Miller v. Johnson, it was held that courts have a "duty, rather than a power",
to determine whether another branch of the government has "kept within constitutional limits."
Not satisfied with this postulate, the court went farther and stressed that, if the Constitution
provides how it may be amended - as it is in our 1935 Constitution - "then, unless the manner is
followed, the judiciary as the interpreter of that constitution, will declare the amendment
invalid." In fact, this very Court - speaking through Justice Laurel, an outstanding authority on
Philippine Constitutional Law, as well as one of the highly respected and foremost leaders of the
Convention that drafted the 1935 Constitution - declared, as early as July 15, 1936, that "(i)n
times of social disquietude or political excitement, the great landmarks of the Constitution are
apt to be forgotten or marred, if not entirely obliterated. In cases of conflict, the judicial
department is the only constitutional organ which can be called upon to determine the proper
allocation of powers between the several departments" of the government.[107] (citations
omitted; emphasis supplied)

In the case at bar, the challenged proviso operates on the basis of the salary grade or officeremployee status. It is akin to a distinction based on economic class and status, with the higher

grades as recipients of a benefit specifically withheld from the lower grades. Officers of the BSP
now receive higher compensation packages that are competitive with the industry, while the
poorer, low-salaried employees are limited to the rates prescribed by the SSL. The implications
are quite disturbing: BSP rank-and-file employees are paid the strictly regimented rates of the
SSL while employees higher in rank - possessing higher and better education and opportunities
for career advancement - are given higher compensation packages to entice them to stay.
Considering that majority, if not all, the rank-and-file employees consist of people whose status
and rank in life are less and limited, especially in terms of job marketability, it is they - and not
the officers - who have the real economic and financial need for the adjustment This is in accord
with the policy of the Constitution "to free the people from poverty, provide adequate social
services, extend to them a decent standard of living, and improve the quality of life for all.[108]
Any act of Congress that runs counter to this constitutional desideratum deserves strict scrutiny
by this Court before it can pass muster.

To be sure, the BSP rank-and-file employees merit greater concern from this Court. They
represent the more impotent rank-and-file government employees who, unlike employees in the
private sector, have no specific right to organize as a collective bargaining unit and negotiate for
better terms and conditions of employment, nor the power to hold a strike to protest unfair labor
practices. Not only are they impotent as a labor unit, but their efficacy to lobby in Congress is
almost nil as R.A. No. 7653 effectively isolated them from the other GFI rank-and-file in
compensation. These BSP rank-and-file employees represent the politically powerless and they
should not be compelled to seek a political solution to their unequal and iniquitous treatment.
Indeed, they have waited for many years for the legislature to act. They cannot be asked to wait
some more for discrimination cannot be given any waiting time. Unless the equal protection
clause of the Constitution is a mere platitude, it is the Courts duty to save them from reasonless
discrimination.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, we hold that the continued operation and implementation of the last proviso
of Section 15(c), Article II of Republic Act No. 7653 is unconstitutional.

CASE DIGEST: Central Bank Employees Association v. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Published by Paul Nikko Degollado on January 3, 2014 | Leave a response


GR No 148208

Puno, J.

Facts:

RA 7653 otherwise known as the New Central Bank Act took effect July 3 1993, effectively
replacing the earlier Central Bank of the Philippines (established 1949) by the Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas. On June 8 2001, petitioner Central Bank (now BSP) Employees Association Inc. filed a
petition against the Executive Secretary of the Office of the President to restrain BSP from
implementing the last proviso in Section 15 (i), Article II of RA 7653 which pertains to

establishment of a Human resource management system and a compensation structure as part


of the authority of the Monetary Board. Employees whose positions fall under SG 19 and below
shall be in accordance with the rates in the salary standardization act. Petitioner contends that
the classifications is not reasonable, arbitrary and violates the equal protection clause. The said
proviso has been prejudicial to some 2994 rank- and file BSP employees. Respondent on the
other hand contends that the provision does not violate the equal protection clause, provided
that it is construed together with other provisions of the same law such as the fiscal and
administrative autonomy of the Bangko Sentral and the mandate of its monetary board. The
Solicitor General, as counsel of the Executive Secretary defends the provision, that the
classification of employees is based on real and actual differentiation and it adheres to the policy
of RA 7653 to establish professionalism and excellence within the BSP subject to prevailing laws
and policies of the government.

Issue: Whether or not the contended proviso if RA 7653 violates the equal protection of laws,
hence unconstitutional.

Held: Yes the proviso is unconstitutional as it operate on the salary grade or the officer employee
status, it distinguishes between economic class and status with the higher salary grade
recipients are of greater benefit above the law than those of mandated by the Salary
Standardization Act. Officers of the BSP receive higher wages that those of rank-and-file
employees because the former are not covered by the salary standardization act as provided by
the proviso.

8.

Ocampo v. Enriquez
Facts: During 2016 presidential campaign, Duterte publicly announced he would allow the burial
of Marcos in LNMB. After winning the elections, through Sec. of National Defense Lorenzana, a
Memorandum was issued to Chief of Staff of AFP, Gen. Visaya, for the interment of Marcos, in
compliance with the verbal order of the President to implement his election campaign promise.
AFP rear Admiral Enriquez issued directives to the Philippine Army Commanding General to
provide services, honors, and other courtesies for the late Former President Marcos. Dissatisfied
with the issuances and directives, various petitioners filed petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.
Saturnino Ocampo, et. al., in their capacity as human rights advocates and human rights
violations victims
-

Rene Saguisag and his son, as members of the Bar and human rights lawyers

Edcel Lagman, as member of Congress

Loretta Pargas-Rosales, former Chairperson of CHr, as victims of State-sanctioned human


rights violations during martial law
-

Heherson Alvarez, former Senator, as concerned citizens and taxpayers

Zaira Baniaga, as concerned citizens and taxpayers

Algamar Latiph, former chairperson of regional human rights commission ARMM, on behalf
of Moros who are victims during martial law
-

Leila De Lima, as Senator

Issues
PROCEDURAL
1.
Whether Pres. Dutertes determination to have the remains of Marcos interred at LNMB
poses a justiciable controversy
NO. The Court agrees with the OSG that Pres. Dutertes decision to have the remains of Marcos
interred at the LNMB involves a political question that is not a justiciable controversy. It is also
under the Constitution and EO 292 (Admin Code of 1987) to allow the interment in LNMB which is
a land of public domain devoted for national military cemetery and military shrine purposes. It is
based on his wisdom that it shall promote national healing and forgiveness. It is outside the
ambit of judicial review.
2.

Whether petitioners have locus standi to file the instant petitions

NO. Petitioners failed to show that they have suffered or will suffer direct or personal injury as a
result of the interment of Marcos at the LNMB. The interment of Marcos would have no profound
effect on the political, economic, and other aspects of our national life considering that more
than 27 years since his death and 30 years after his ouster have already passed. Petitioners
failed to demonstrate a clear and imminent threat to their fundamental constitutional rights
3.
Whether petitioners violated the doctrines of exhaustion of administrative remedies and
hierarchy of courts
YES. Petitioners violated the doctrines of exhaustion of administrative remedies and hierarchy of
courts. They should seek reconsideration of the assailed memorandum and directive before the
Secretary of National Defense and give them the opportunity to correct themselves, if warranted.
If petitioners are still dissatisfied with the Secretarys decision they could have elevated it before
the Office of the President which has control and supervision of the DND.
Even though there are exceptions that would warrant a direct resort to the Supreme Court under
exceptional cases, the petitioners cannot brush aside the doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts that
requires such petitions to be filed first with the proper RTC which are not only trier of facts but
can also resolve questions of law in the exercise of its original and concurrent jurisdiction over
petitions for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, and has the power to issue restraining order
and injunction when proven necessary.
In fine, the petitions at bar should be dismissed on procedural grounds alone.
SUBSTANTIVE
1.
Whether the issuance and implementation of the memorandum violates the Constitution,
domestic and international law
NO. The Presidents decision to bury Marcos at the LNMB is in accordance with the Constitution,
the law or jurisprudence.
Laws and Constitutional provisions cited by petitioner:
Art. II: Sec. 2, 11, 13, 23, 26, 27, and 28 not self-executory

Art. VII: Sec. 17 Faithful execution clause, it is consistent with President Dutertes mandate, the
burial does not contravene RA 289, RA 10368, and the international human rights laws cited by
petitioner
Art. XIV: Sec. 3(2) reliance in this provision is misplaced it refers to duty of educ institutions to
teach values of nationalism and patriotism and respect for human rights
Art. XI: Sec. 1 not self-executory but RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Officials and Employees), RA 7080 (Penalizing Plunder), RA 9485 (Anti-red Tape Act) was enacted
pursuant to this
Art. XVIII: Sec. 26 transitory provision and freeze order to recover ill-gotten wealth
RA 289 authorized the construction of a National Pantheon as a burial place for Presidents,
National Heroes, and Patriots for the perpetuation of the memory and for the inspiration and
emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.
Petitioners failed to provide legal and historical bases that LNMB and National Pantheon is one
and the same. LNMB is distinct from the burial place envisioned in rA 289. The National Pantheon
does not exist at present. Also to apply the standard that LNMB is reserved only for the decent
and brave or hero, it will put into question all the mortal remains therein. The name of LNMB is a
misnomer, interment of Marcos remain does not confer upon him the status of a hero.
RA 10368 (compensation for Human rights violations victims during Marcos regime) recognizes
the human rights violations committed and gives them reparation. However, the court cannot
subscribe to petitioners logic that the reparation includes the prohibition of Marcos interment
when it is not provided. It is undue to extend the law beyond what it contemplates. Legislators
could have easily inserted a provision prohibiting Marcos internment as reparation but they did
not. The law is silent and should remain to be so. We cannot read into law what is simply not
there. That would be tantamount to judicial legislation.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights these are principles that call for an
enactment of legislative measures. The PH is compliant with its international obligations evident
by the various RAs, exec issuances, and even in the Constitution
Our nations history will not be instantly revised by a single resolve of President Duterte to bury
Marcos at the LNMB. Whether petititoners admit it or not, the lessons of Martial Law are already
engraved, albeit in varying degrees, in the hearts and minds of the present generation of
Filipinos.
2.
Whether the Sec. of National Defense and AFP rear admiral commited grave abuse of
discretion when they issued the memorandum and directive in compliance with the verbal order
of Pres. Duterte to implement his election campaign promise of Marcos interment in LNMB
The Presidents decision to bury Marcos at the LNMB is not done whimsically, capriciously or
arbitrarily, out of malice, ill will or personal bias. Presumption of regularity in the performance of
official duty prevails over the petitioners allegation of Dutertes utang na loob or bayad utang to
the Marcoses. Petitioners should establish such claims but failed to do so. Then again, the court
is not a trier of facts.
3.
Whether historical facts, laws enacted to recover ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his
cronies, and pronouncement of SC, nullifies his entitlement as a soldier and former President to
interment at the LNMB
National Shrines are governed by NHCP, military shrines are not. They are governed by PVAO of
DND. LNMB is a military shrine.

Magsaysay issued EO 77 orders remains of war dead interred at Bataan to be reinterred in


McKinley to minimize expenses and accessibility to widows.
Magsaysay issued Proc. 86 changing the name to LNMB
Garcia issued Proc. 423, Marcos issued Proc and General Orders, Cory issued EOs too. The point
is the PVAO manages military shrines which is under DND which is under the Office of the
President
AFP Regulations G 161-375 who may be interred
a.)

Medal of Valor awardee

b.)

Presidents or Commander-in-Chief, AFP

c.)

Sec. of National Defense

d.)

Chief of Staff, AFP

e.)

General/Flag Officers, AFP

f.)

Active and retired military personnel

g.)
Gov dignitaries, statesman,national artists and others as long as approved by the C-i-C,
Congress or Sec. of National defense
h.)

Widows of former presidents

Petitioners did not dispute that Marcos was a former President and C-i-C, legislator, Sec. of
National Defense, veteran, medal of valor awardee.
Marcos does not have any disqualification. He was not convicted of moral turpitude nor
dishonourably discharged.
Marcos rendered significant active military service and military-related activities.
THOSE WHO Are NOT QUALIFIED:
a.)

Personnel who are dishonorably discharged

b.)

Convicted of final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude

Moral Turpitude conduct that is contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good
morals.
4.
Whether the Marcos family waived the burial of remains of Marcos in LNMB when they
entered into agreement with Gov. of PH as to the condition and procedures by which his remains
shall be brought back to and interred in the PH.
The presidential power of control over the Executive Branch of Government is a self-executing
provision of the Constitution nor its exercise be limted by legislature. As the incumbent President,
Duterte is not bound by the 1992 Agreement between ramos and the Marcos family to have the
remains of Marcos interred in Ilocos Norte, he is free to amend, revoke or rescind political
agreements entered into by his predecessors, and to determine policies which he considers,
based on informed judgment and presumed wisdom, will be most effective in carrying out his
mandate.

In sum, there is no clear constitutional or legal basis to hold that there was grave abuse of
discretion which would justify the Court to interpose its authority to check and override an act
entrusted to the judgment of another branch. The President through respondents acted within

the bounds of law and jurisprudence. The Court must uphold what is legal and just and that is not
to deny Marcos of his rightful place in LNMB
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the petitions are DISMISSED. Necessarily, the Status Quo
Ante Order is hereby LIFTED.

9.

POE vs COMELEC

Before the Court are two consolidated petitions under Rule 64 in relation to Rule 65 of the Rules
of Court with extremely urgent application for an ex parte issuance of temporary restraining
order/status quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary injunction assailing the following: (1) 1
December 2015 Resolution of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Second Division; (2) 23
December 2015 Resolution of the COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-001 (DC); (3) 11 December
2015 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division; and ( 4) 23 December 2015 Resolution of the
COMELEC En Banc, in SPA No. 15-002 (DC), SPA No. 15-007 (DC) and SPA No. 15-139 (DC) for
having been issued without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction.

The Facts

Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares (petitioner) was found abandoned as a newborn infant
in the Parish Church of Jaro, Iloilo by a certain Edgardo Militar (Edgardo) on 3 September 1968.
Parental care and custody over petitioner was passed on by Edgardo to his relatives, Emiliano
Militar (Emiliano) and his wife. Three days after, 6 September 1968, Emiliano reported and
registered petitioner as a foundling with the Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City (OCR-Iloilo).
In her Foundling Certificate and Certificate of Live Birth, the petitioner was given the name "Mary
Grace Natividad Contreras Militar." 1

When petitioner was five (5) years old, celebrity spouses Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (a.k.a. Fenando
Poe, Jr.) and Jesusa Sonora Poe (a.k.a. Susan Roces) filed a petition for her adoption with the
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Juan City. On 13 May 1974, the trial court granted their petition
and ordered that petitioner's name be changed from "Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar" to
"Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe." Although necessary notations were made by OCR-Iloilo on
petitioner's foundling certificate reflecting the court decreed adoption,2 the petitioner's adoptive
mother discovered only sometime in the second half of 2005 that the lawyer who handled
petitioner's adoption failed to secure from the OCR-Iloilo a new Certificate of Live Birth indicating
petitioner's new name and the name of her adoptive parents. 3 Without delay, petitioner's
mother executed an affidavit attesting to the lawyer's omission which she submitted to the OCR-

Iloilo. On 4 May 2006, OCR-Iloilo issued a new Certificate of Live Birth in the name of Mary Grace
Natividad Sonora Poe.4

Having reached the age of eighteen (18) years in 1986, petitioner registered as a voter with the
local COMELEC Office in San Juan City. On 13 December 1986, she received her COMELEC Voter's
Identification Card for Precinct No. 196 in Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila.5

On 4 April 1988, petitioner applied for and was issued Philippine Passport No. F9272876 by the
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). Subsequently, on 5 April 1993 and 19 May 1998, she
renewed her Philippine passport and respectively secured Philippine Passport Nos. L881511 and
DD156616.7

Initially, the petitioner enrolled and pursued a degree in Development Studies at the University of
the Philippines8 but she opted to continue her studies abroad and left for the United States of
America (U.S.) in 1988. Petitioner graduated in 1991 from Boston College in Chestnuts Hill,
Massachusetts where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies.9

On 27 July 1991, petitioner married Teodoro Misael Daniel V. Llamanzares (Llamanzares), a citizen
of both the Philippines and the U.S., at Sanctuario de San Jose Parish in San Juan City. 10
Desirous of being with her husband who was then based in the U.S., the couple flew back to the
U.S. two days after the wedding ceremony or on 29 July 1991. 11

While in the U.S., the petitioner gave birth to her eldest child Brian Daniel (Brian) on 16 April
1992.12 Her two daughters Hanna MacKenzie (Hanna) and Jesusa Anika (Anika) were both born
in the Philippines on 10 July 1998 and 5 June 2004, respectively. 13

On 18 October 2001, petitioner became a naturalized American citizen. 14 She obtained U.S.
Passport No. 017037793 on 19 December 2001. 15

On 8 April 2004, the petitioner came back to the Philippines together with Hanna to support her
father's candidacy for President in the May 2004 elections. It was during this time that she gave
birth to her youngest daughter Anika. She returned to the U.S. with her two daughters on 8 July
2004. 16

After a few months, specifically on 13 December 2004, petitioner rushed back to the Philippines
upon learning of her father's deteriorating medical condition. 17 Her father slipped into a coma
and eventually expired. The petitioner stayed in the country until 3 February 2005 to take care of
her father's funeral arrangements as well as to assist in the settlement of his estate.18

According to the petitioner, the untimely demise of her father was a severe blow to her entire
family. In her earnest desire to be with her grieving mother, the petitioner and her husband
decided to move and reside permanently in the Philippines sometime in the first quarter of

2005.19 The couple began preparing for their resettlement including notification of their
children's schools that they will be transferring to Philippine schools for the next semester;20
coordination with property movers for the relocation of their household goods, furniture and cars
from the U.S. to the Philippines;21 and inquiry with Philippine authorities as to the proper
procedure to be followed in bringing their pet dog into the country.22 As early as 2004, the
petitioner already quit her job in the U.S.23

Finally, petitioner came home to the Philippines on 24 May 200524 and without delay, secured a
Tax Identification Number from the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Her three (3) children
immediately followed25 while her husband was forced to stay in the U.S. to complete pending
projects as well as to arrange the sale of their family home there.26

The petitioner and her children briefly stayed at her mother's place until she and her husband
purchased a condominium unit with a parking slot at One Wilson Place Condominium in San Juan
City in the second half of 2005.27 The corresponding Condominium Certificates of Title covering
the unit and parking slot were issued by the Register of Deeds of San Juan City to petitioner and
her husband on 20 February 2006.28 Meanwhile, her children of school age began attending
Philippine private schools.

On 14 February 2006, the petitioner made a quick trip to the U.S. to supervise the disposal of
some of the family's remaining household belongings.29 She travelled back to the Philippines on
11 March 2006.30

In late March 2006, petitioner's husband officially informed the U.S. Postal Service of the family's
change and abandonment of their address in the U.S.31 The family home was eventually sold on
27 April 2006.32 Petitioner's husband resigned from his job in the U.S. in April 2006, arrived in
the country on 4 May 2006 and started working for a major Philippine company in July 2006.33

In early 2006, petitioner and her husband acquired a 509-square meter lot in Corinthian Hills,
Quezon City where they built their family home34 and to this day, is where the couple and their
children have been residing.35 A Transfer Certificate of Title covering said property was issued in
the couple's name by the Register of Deeds of Quezon City on 1June 2006.

On 7 July 2006, petitioner took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines pursuant
to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.36
Under the same Act, she filed with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) a sworn petition to reacquire
Philippine citizenship together with petitions for derivative citizenship on behalf of her three
minor children on 10 July 2006.37 As can be gathered from its 18 July 2006 Order, the BI acted
favorably on petitioner's petitions and declared that she is deemed to have reacquired her
Philippine citizenship while her children are considered as citizens of the Philippines.38
Consequently, the BI issued Identification Certificates (ICs) in petitioner's name and in the names
of her three (3) children. 39

Again, petitioner registered as a voter of Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan City on 31 August
2006.40 She also secured from the DFA a new Philippine Passport bearing the No. XX4731999.41

This passport was renewed on 18 March 2014 and she was issued Philippine Passport No.
EC0588861 by the DFA.42

On 6 October 2010, President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed petitioner as Chairperson of the
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).43 Before assuming her post,
petitioner executed an "Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States of America
and Renunciation of American Citizenship" before a notary public in Pasig City on 20 October
2010,44 in satisfaction of the legal requisites stated in Section 5 of R.A. No. 9225.45 The
following day, 21 October 2010 petitioner submitted the said affidavit to the BI46 and took her
oath of office as Chairperson of the MTRCB.47 From then on, petitioner stopped using her
American passport.48

On 12 July 2011, the petitioner executed before the Vice Consul of the U.S. Embassy in Manila an
"Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of the United States."49 On that day, she
accomplished a sworn questionnaire before the U.S. Vice Consul wherein she stated that she had
taken her oath as MTRCB Chairperson on 21 October 2010 with the intent, among others, of
relinquishing her American citizenship.50 In the same questionnaire, the petitioner stated that
she had resided outside of the U.S., specifically in the Philippines, from 3 September 1968 to 29
July 1991 and from May 2005 to present.51

On 9 December 2011, the U.S. Vice Consul issued to petitioner a "Certificate of Loss of
Nationality of the United States" effective 21 October 2010.52

On 2 October 2012, the petitioner filed with the COMELEC her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for
Senator for the 2013 Elections wherein she answered "6 years and 6 months" to the question
"Period of residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013."53 Petitioner obtained the highest
number of votes and was proclaimed Senator on 16 May 2013. 54

On 19 December 2013, petitioner obtained Philippine Diplomatic Passport No. DE0004530. 55

On 15 October 2015, petitioner filed her COC for the Presidency for the May 2016 Elections. 56 In
her COC, the petitioner declared that she is a natural-born citizen and that her residence in the
Philippines up to the day before 9 May 2016 would be ten (10) years and eleven (11) months
counted from 24 May 2005.57 The petitioner attached to her COC an "Affidavit Affirming
Renunciation of U.S.A. Citizenship" subscribed and sworn to before a notary public in Quezon City
on 14 October 2015. 58

Petitioner's filing of her COC for President in the upcoming elections triggered the filing of several
COMELEC cases against her which were the subject of these consolidated cases.

Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. No. 221697

A day after petitioner filed her COC for President, Estrella Elamparo (Elamparo) filed a petition to
deny due course or cancel said COC which was docketed as SPA No. 15-001 (DC) and raffled to
the COMELEC Second Division.59 She is convinced that the COMELEC has jurisdiction over her
petition.60 Essentially, Elamparo's contention is that petitioner committed material
misrepresentation when she stated in her COC that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and that
she is a resident of the Philippines for at least ten (10) years and eleven (11) months up to the
day before the 9 May 2016 Elections.61

On the issue of citizenship, Elamparo argued that petitioner cannot be considered as a naturalborn Filipino on account of the fact that she was a foundling.62 Elamparo claimed that
international law does not confer natural-born status and Filipino citizenship on foundlings.63
Following this line of reasoning, petitioner is not qualified to apply for reacquisition of Filipino
citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 for she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen to begin with.64 Even
assuming arguendo that petitioner was a natural-born Filipino, she is deemed to have lost that
status when she became a naturalized American citizen.65 According to Elamparo, natural-born
citizenship must be continuous from birth.66

On the matter of petitioner's residency, Elamparo pointed out that petitioner was bound by the
sworn declaration she made in her 2012 COC for Senator wherein she indicated that she had
resided in the country for only six ( 6) years and six ( 6) months as of May 2013 Elections.
Elamparo likewise insisted that assuming arguendo that petitioner is qualified to regain her
natural-born status under R.A. No. 9225, she still fell short of the ten-year residency requirement
of the Constitution as her residence could only be counted at the earliest from July 2006, when
she reacquired Philippine citizenship under the said Act. Also on the assumption that petitioner is
qualified to reacquire lost Philippine Citizenship, Elamparo is of the belief that she failed to
reestablish her domicile in the Philippines.67

Petitioner seasonably filed her Answer wherein she countered that:

(1) the COMELEC did not have jurisdiction over Elamparo's petition as it was actually a petition
for quo warranto which could only be filed if Grace Poe wins in the Presidential elections, and that
the Department of Justice (DOJ) has primary jurisdiction to revoke the BI's July 18, 2006 Order;

(2) the petition failed to state a cause of action because it did not contain allegations which, if
hypothetically admitted, would make false the statement in her COC that she is a natural-born
Filipino citizen nor was there any allegation that there was a willful or deliberate intent to
misrepresent on her part;

(3) she did not make any material misrepresentation in the COC regarding her citizenship and
residency qualifications for:

a. the 1934 Constitutional Convention deliberations show that foundlings were considered
citizens;

b. foundlings are presumed under international law to have been born of citizens of the place
where they are found;

c. she reacquired her natural-born Philippine citizenship under the provisions of R.A. No. 9225;

d. she executed a sworn renunciation of her American citizenship prior to the filing of her COC for
President in the May 9, 2016 Elections and that the same is in full force and effect and has not
been withdrawn or recanted;

e. the burden was on Elamparo in proving that she did not possess natural-born status;

f. residence is a matter of evidence and that she reestablished her domicile in the Philippines as
early as May 24, 2005;

g. she could reestablish residence even before she reacquired natural-born citizenship under R.A.
No. 9225;

h. statement regarding the period of residence in her 2012 COC for Senator was an honest
mistake, not binding and should give way to evidence on her true date of reacquisition of
domicile;

i. Elamparo's petition is merely an action to usurp the sovereign right of the Filipino people to
decide a purely political question, that is, should she serve as the country's next leader.68

After the parties submitted their respective Memoranda, the petition was deemed submitted for
resolution.

On 1 December 2015, the COMELEC Second Division promulgated a Resolution finding that
petitioner's COC, filed for the purpose of running for the President of the Republic of the
Philippines in the 9 May 2016 National and Local Elections, contained material representations
which are false. The fallo of the aforesaid Resolution reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, the instant Petition to Deny Due Course
to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Certificate of
Candidacy for President of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 9, 2016 National and Local
Elections filed by respondent Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares is hereby
CANCELLED.69

Motion for Reconsideration of the 1 December 2015 Resolution was filed by petitioner which the
COMELEC En Banc resolved in its 23 December 2015 Resolution by denying the same.70

Origin of Petition for Certiorari in G.R. Nos. 221698-700

This case stemmed from three (3) separate petitions filed by Francisco S. Tatad (Tatad), Antonio
P. Contreras (Contreras) and Amado D. Valdez (Valdez) against petitioner before the COMELEC
which were consolidated and raffled to its First Division.

In his petition to disqualify petitioner under Rule 25 of the COMELEC Rules of Procedure,71
docketed as SPA No. 15-002 (DC), Tatad alleged that petitioner lacks the requisite residency and
citizenship to qualify her for the Presidency.72

Tatad theorized that since the Philippines adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis, persons of
unknown parentage, particularly foundlings, cannot be considered natural-born Filipino citizens
since blood relationship is determinative of natural-born status.73 Tatad invoked the rule of
statutory construction that what is not included is excluded. He averred that the fact that
foundlings were not expressly included in the categories of citizens in the 193 5 Constitution is
indicative of the framers' intent to exclude them.74 Therefore, the burden lies on petitioner to
prove that she is a natural-born citizen.75

Neither can petitioner seek refuge under international conventions or treaties to support her
claim that foundlings have a nationality.76 According to Tatad, international conventions and
treaties are not self-executory and that local legislations are necessary in order to give effect to
treaty obligations assumed by the Philippines.77 He also stressed that there is no standard state
practice that automatically confers natural-born status to foundlings.78

Similar to Elamparo's argument, Tatad claimed that petitioner cannot avail of the option to
reacquire Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 because it only applies to former naturalborn citizens and petitioner was not as she was a foundling.79

Referring to petitioner's COC for Senator, Tatad concluded that she did not comply with the ten
(10) year residency requirement.80 Tatad opined that petitioner acquired her domicile in Quezon
City only from the time she renounced her American citizenship which was sometime in 2010 or
2011.81 Additionally, Tatad questioned petitioner's lack of intention to abandon her U.S. domicile
as evinced by the fact that her husband stayed thereat and her frequent trips to the U.S.82

In support of his petition to deny due course or cancel the COC of petitioner, docketed as SPA No.
15-139 (DC), Valdez alleged that her repatriation under R.A. No. 9225 did not bestow upon her
the status of a natural-born citizen.83 He advanced the view that former natural-born citizens
who are repatriated under the said Act reacquires only their Philippine citizenship and will not
revert to their original status as natural-born citizens.84

He further argued that petitioner's own admission in her COC for Senator that she had only been
a resident of the Philippines for at least six (6) years and six (6) months prior to the 13 May 2013

Elections operates against her. Valdez rejected petitioner's claim that she could have validly
reestablished her domicile in the Philippines prior to her reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. In
effect, his position was that petitioner did not meet the ten (10) year residency requirement for
President.

Unlike the previous COMELEC cases filed against petitioner, Contreras' petition,85 docketed as
SPA No. 15-007 (DC), limited the attack to the residency issue. He claimed that petitioner's 2015
COC for President should be cancelled on the ground that she did not possess the ten-year period
of residency required for said candidacy and that she made false entry in her COC when she
stated that she is a legal resident of the Philippines for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months by
9 May 2016.86 Contreras contended that the reckoning period for computing petitioner's
residency in the Philippines should be from 18 July 2006, the date when her petition to reacquire
Philippine citizenship was approved by the BI.87 He asserted that petitioner's physical presence
in the country before 18 July 2006 could not be valid evidence of reacquisition of her Philippine
domicile since she was then living here as an American citizen and as such, she was governed by
the Philippine immigration laws.88

In her defense, petitioner raised the following arguments:

First, Tatad's petition should be dismissed outright for failure to state a cause of action. His
petition did not invoke grounds proper for a disqualification case as enumerated under Sections
12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.89 Instead, Tatad completely relied on the alleged lack
of residency and natural-born status of petitioner which are not among the recognized grounds
for the disqualification of a candidate to an elective office.90

Second, the petitions filed against her are basically petitions for quo warranto as they focus on
establishing her ineligibility for the Presidency.91 A petition for quo warranto falls within the
exclusive jurisdiction of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) and not the COMELEC.92

Third, the burden to prove that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen is on the respondents.93
Otherwise stated, she has a presumption in her favor that she is a natural-born citizen of this
country.

Fourth, customary international law dictates that foundlings are entitled to a nationality and are
presumed to be citizens of the country where they are found.94 Consequently, the petitioner is
considered as a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.95

Fifth, she claimed that as a natural-born citizen, she has every right to be repatriated under R.A.
No. 9225 or the right to reacquire her natural-born status.96 Moreover, the official acts of the
Philippine Government enjoy the presumption of regularity, to wit: the issuance of the 18 July
2006 Order of the BI declaring her as natural-born citizen, her appointment as MTRCB Chair and
the issuance of the decree of adoption of San Juan RTC.97 She believed that all these acts
reinforced her position that she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines.98

Sixth, she maintained that as early as the first quarter of 2005, she started reestablishing her
domicile of choice in the Philippines as demonstrated by her children's resettlement and
schooling in the country, purchase of a condominium unit in San Juan City and the construction
of their family home in Corinthian Hills.99

Seventh, she insisted that she could legally reestablish her domicile of choice in the Philippines
even before she renounced her American citizenship as long as the three determinants for a
change of domicile are complied with.100 She reasoned out that there was no requirement that
renunciation of foreign citizenship is a prerequisite for the acquisition of a new domicile of
choice.101

Eighth, she reiterated that the period appearing in the residency portion of her COC for Senator
was a mistake made in good faith.102

In a Resolution103 promulgated on 11 December 2015, the COMELEC First Division ruled that
petitioner is not a natural-born citizen, that she failed to complete the ten (10) year residency
requirement, and that she committed material misrepresentation in her COC when she declared
therein that she has been a resident of the Philippines for a period of ten (10) years and eleven
(11) months as of the day of the elections on 9 May 2016. The COMELEC First Division concluded
that she is not qualified for the elective position of President of the Republic of the Philippines.
The dispositive portion of said Resolution reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to


GRANT the Petitions and cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA
POE-LLAMANZARES for the elective position of President of the Republic of the Philippines in
connection with the 9 May 2016 Synchronized Local and National Elections.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration seeking a reversal of the COMELEC First Division's
Resolution. On 23 December 2015, the COMELEC En Banc issued a Resolution denying
petitioner's motion for reconsideration.

Alarmed by the adverse rulings of the COMELEC, petitioner instituted the present petitions for
certiorari with urgent prayer for the issuance of an ex parte temporary restraining order/status
quo ante order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. On 28 December 2015, temporary
restraining orders were issued by the Court enjoining the COMELEC and its representatives from
implementing the assailed COMELEC Resolutions until further orders from the Court. The Court
also ordered the consolidation of the two petitions filed by petitioner in its Resolution of 12
January 2016. Thereafter, oral arguments were held in these cases.

The Court GRANTS the petition of Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares and to ANNUL and
SET ASIDE the:

1. Resolution dated 1 December 2015 rendered through its Second Division, in SPA No. 15-001
(DC), entitled Estrella C. Elamparo, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares.

2. Resolution dated 11 December 2015, rendered through its First Division, in the consolidated
cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC) entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad
Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; SPA No. 15-007 (DC) entitled Antonio P. Contreras,
petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and SPA No. 15-139
(DC) entitled Amado D. Valdez, petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares,
respondent.

3. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of the Commission En Banc, upholding the 1 December
2015 Resolution of the Second Division.

4. Resolution dated 23 December 2015 of the Commission En Banc, upholding the 11 December
2015 Resolution of the First Division.

The procedure and the conclusions from which the questioned Resolutions emanated are tainted
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The petitioner is a QUALIFIED
CANDIDATE for President in the 9 May 2016 National Elections.

The issue before the COMELEC is whether or not the COC of petitioner should be denied due
course or cancelled "on the exclusive ground" that she made in the certificate a false material
representation. The exclusivity of the ground should hedge in the discretion of the COMELEC and
restrain it from going into the issue of the qualifications of the candidate for the position, if, as in
this case, such issue is yet undecided or undetermined by the proper authority. The COMELEC
cannot itself, in the same cancellation case, decide the qualification or lack thereof of the
candidate.

We rely, first of all, on the Constitution of our Republic, particularly its provisions in Article IX, C,
Section 2:

Section 2. The Commission on Elections shall exercise the following powers and functions:

(1) Enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of an election,
plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and recall.

(2) Exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over all contests relating to the elections, returns, and
qualifications of all elective regional, provincial, and city officials, and appellate jurisdiction over
all contests involving elective municipal officials decided by trial courts of general jurisdiction, or
involving elective barangay officials decided by trial courts of limited jurisdiction.

Decisions, final orders, or rulings of the Commission on election contests involving elective
municipal and barangay offices shall be final, executory, and not appealable.

(3) Decide, except those involving the right to vote, all questions affecting elections, including
determination of the number and location of polling places, appointment of election officials and
inspectors, and registration of voters.

(4) Deputize, with the concurrence of the President, law enforcement agencies and
instrumentalities of the Government, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, for the
exclusive purpose of ensuring free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.

(5) Register, after sufficient publication, political parties, organizations, or coalitions which, in
addition to other requirements, must present their platform or program of government; and
accredit citizens' arms of the Commission on Elections. Religious denominations and sects shall
not be registered. Those which seek to achieve their goals through violence or unlawful means,
or refuse to uphold and adhere to this Constitution, or which are supported by any foreign
government shall likewise be refused registration.

Financial contributions from foreign governments and their agencies to political parties,
organizations, coalitions, or candidates related to elections constitute interference in national
affairs, and, when accepted, shall be an additional ground for the cancellation of their
registration with the Commission, in addition to other penalties that may be prescribed by law.

(6) File, upon a verified complaint, or on its own initiative, petitions in court for inclusion or
exclusion of voters; investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute cases of violations of election
laws, including acts or omissions constituting election frauds, offenses, and malpractices.

(7) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to minimize election spending, including
limitation of places where propaganda materials shall be posted, and to prevent and penalize all
forms of election frauds, offenses, malpractices, and nuisance candidacies.

(8) Recommend to the President the removal of any officer or employee it has deputized, or the
imposition of any other disciplinary action, for violation or disregard of, or disobedience to its
directive, order, or decision.

(9) Submit to the President and the Congress a comprehensive report on the conduct of each
election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, or recall.

Not any one of the enumerated powers approximate the exactitude of the provisions of Article VI,
Section 17 of the same basic law stating that:

The Senate and the House of Representatives shall each have an Electoral Tribunal which shall
be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of their
respective Members. Each Electoral Tribunal shall be composed of nine Members, three of whom

shall be Justices of the Supreme Court to be designated by the Chief Justice, and the remaining
six shall be Members of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, who
shall be chosen on the basis of proportional representation from the political parties and the
parties or organizations registered under the party-list system represented therein. The senior
Justice in the Electoral Tribunal shall be its Chairman.

or of the last paragraph of Article VII, Section 4 which provides that:

The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the
election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its
rules for the purpose.

The tribunals which have jurisdiction over the question of the qualifications of the President, the
Vice-President, Senators and the Members of the House of Representatives was made clear by
the Constitution. There is no such provision for candidates for these positions.

Can the COMELEC be such judge?

The opinion of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in Romualdez-Marcos v. Commission on Elections,104


which was affirmatively cited in the En Banc decision in Fermin v. COMELEC105 is our guide. The
citation in Fermin reads:

Apparently realizing the lack of an authorized proceeding for declaring the ineligibility of
candidates, the COMELEC amended its rules on February 15, 1993 so as to provide in Rule 25 1,
the following:

Grounds for disqualification. - Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a
candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act declared
by law to be grounds for disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate.

The lack of provision for declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by
a mere rule. Such an act is equivalent to the creation of a cause of action which is a substantive
matter which the COMELEC, in the exercise of its rule-making power under Art. IX, A, 6 of the
Constitution, cannot do it. It is noteworthy that the Constitution withholds from the COMELEC
even the power to decide cases involving the right to vote, which essentially involves an inquiry
into qualifications based on age, residence and citizenship of voters. [Art. IX, C, 2(3)]

The assimilation in Rule 25 of the COMELEC rules of grounds for ineligibility into grounds for
disqualification is contrary to the evident intention of the law. For not only in their grounds but
also in their consequences are proceedings for "disqualification" different from those for a
declaration of "ineligibility." "Disqualification" proceedings, as already stated, are based on
grounds specified in 12 and 68 of the Omnibus Election Code and in 40 of the Local

Government Code and are for the purpose of barring an individual from becoming a candidate or
from continuing as a candidate for public office. In a word, their purpose is to eliminate a
candidate from the race either from the start or during its progress. "Ineligibility," on the other
hand, refers to the lack of the qualifications prescribed in the Constitution or the statutes for
holding public office and the purpose of the proceedings for declaration of ineligibility is to
remove the incumbent from office.

Consequently, that an individual possesses the qualifications for a public office does not imply
that he is not disqualified from becoming a candidate or continuing as a candidate for a public
office and vice versa. We have this sort of dichotomy in our Naturalization Law. (C.A. No. 473)
That an alien has the qualifications prescribed in 2 of the Law does not imply that he does not
suffer from any of [the] disqualifications provided in 4.

Before we get derailed by the distinction as to grounds and the consequences of the respective
proceedings, the importance of the opinion is in its statement that "the lack of provision for
declaring the ineligibility of candidates, however, cannot be supplied by a mere rule". Justice
Mendoza lectured in Romualdez-Marcos that:

Three reasons may be cited to explain the absence of an authorized proceeding for determining
before election the qualifications of a candidate.

First is the fact that unless a candidate wins and is proclaimed elected, there is no necessity for
determining his eligibility for the office. In contrast, whether an individual should be disqualified
as a candidate for acts constituting election offenses (e.g., vote buying, over spending,
commission of prohibited acts) is a prejudicial question which should be determined lest he wins
because of the very acts for which his disqualification is being sought. That is why it is provided
that if the grounds for disqualification are established, a candidate will not be voted for; if he has
been voted for, the votes in his favor will not be counted; and if for some reason he has been
voted for and he has won, either he will not be proclaimed or his proclamation will be set aside.

Second is the fact that the determination of a candidates' eligibility, e.g., his citizenship or, as in
this case, his domicile, may take a long time to make, extending beyond the beginning of the
term of the office. This is amply demonstrated in the companion case (G.R. No. 120265, Agapito
A. Aquino v. COMELEC) where the determination of Aquino's residence was still pending in the
COMELEC even after the elections of May 8, 1995. This is contrary to the summary character
proceedings relating to certificates of candidacy. That is why the law makes the receipt of
certificates of candidacy a ministerial duty of the COMELEC and its officers. The law is satisfied if
candidates state in their certificates of candidacy that they are eligible for the position which
they seek to fill, leaving the determination of their qualifications to be made after the election
and only in the event they are elected. Only in cases involving charges of false representations
made in certificates of candidacy is the COMELEC given jurisdiction.

Third is the policy underlying the prohibition against pre-proclamation cases in elections for
President, Vice President, Senators and members of the House of Representatives. (R.A. No.
7166, 15) The purpose is to preserve the prerogatives of the House of Representatives Electoral
Tribunal and the other Tribunals as "sole judges" under the Constitution of the election, returns

and qualifications of members of Congress of the President and Vice President, as the case may
be.106

To be sure, the authoritativeness of the Romualdez pronouncements as reiterated in Fermin, led


to the amendment through COMELEC Resolution No. 9523, on 25 September 2012 of its Rule 25.
This, the 15 February1993 version of Rule 25, which states that:

Grounds for disqualification. -Any candidate who does not possess all the qualifications of a
candidate as provided for by the Constitution or by existing law or who commits any act declared
by law to be grounds for disqualification may be disqualified from continuing as a candidate.107

was in the 2012 rendition, drastically changed to:

Grounds. - Any candidate who, in action or protest in which he is a party, is declared by final
decision of a competent court, guilty of, or found by the Commission to be suffering from any
disqualification provided by law or the Constitution.

A Petition to Disqualify a Candidate invoking grounds for a Petition to Deny to or Cancel a


Certificate of Candidacy or Petition to Declare a Candidate as a Nuisance Candidate, or a
combination thereof, shall be summarily dismissed.

Clearly, the amendment done in 2012 is an acceptance of the reality of absence of an authorized
proceeding for determining before election the qualifications of candidate. Such that, as
presently required, to disqualify a candidate there must be a declaration by a final judgment of a
competent court that the candidate sought to be disqualified "is guilty of or found by the
Commission to be suffering from any disqualification provided by law or the Constitution."

Insofar as the qualification of a candidate is concerned, Rule 25 and Rule 23 are flipsides of one
to the other. Both do not allow, are not authorizations, are not vestment of jurisdiction, for the
COMELEC to determine the qualification of a candidate. The facts of qualification must
beforehand be established in a prior proceeding before an authority properly vested with
jurisdiction. The prior determination of qualification may be by statute, by executive order or by
a judgment of a competent court or tribunal.

If a candidate cannot be disqualified without a prior finding that he or she is suffering from a
disqualification "provided by law or the Constitution," neither can the certificate of candidacy be
cancelled or denied due course on grounds of false representations regarding his or her
qualifications, without a prior authoritative finding that he or she is not qualified, such prior
authority being the necessary measure by which the falsity of the representation can be found.
The only exception that can be conceded are self-evident facts of unquestioned or
unquestionable veracity and judicial confessions. Such are, anyway, bases equivalent to prior
decisions against which the falsity of representation can be determined.

The need for a predicate finding or final pronouncement in a proceeding under Rule 23 that deals
with, as in this case, alleged false representations regarding the candidate's citizenship and
residence, forced the COMELEC to rule essentially that since foundlings108 are not mentioned in
the enumeration of citizens under the 1935 Constitution,109 they then cannot be citizens. As the
COMELEC stated in oral arguments, when petitioner admitted that she is a foundling, she said it
all. This borders on bigotry. Oddly, in an effort at tolerance, the COMELEC, after saying that it
cannot rule that herein petitioner possesses blood relationship with a Filipino citizen when "it is
certain that such relationship is indemonstrable," proceeded to say that "she now has the burden
to present evidence to prove her natural filiation with a Filipino parent."

The fact is that petitioner's blood relationship with a Filipino citizen is DEMONSTRABLE.

At the outset, it must be noted that presumptions regarding paternity is neither unknown nor
unaccepted in Philippine Law. The Family Code of the Philippines has a whole chapter on
Paternity and Filiation.110 That said, there is more than sufficient evider1ce that petitioner has
Filipino parents and is therefore a natural-born Filipino. Parenthetically, the burden of proof was
on private respondents to show that petitioner is not a Filipino citizen. The private respondents
should have shown that both of petitioner's parents were aliens. Her admission that she is a
foundling did not shift the burden to her because such status did not exclude the possibility that
her parents were Filipinos, especially as in this case where there is a high probability, if not
certainty, that her parents are Filipinos.

The factual issue is not who the parents of petitioner are, as their identities are unknown, but
whether such parents are Filipinos. Under Section 4, Rule 128:

Sect. 4. Relevancy, collateral matters - Evidence must have such a relation to the fact in issue as
to induce belief in its existence or no-existence. Evidence on collateral matters shall not be
allowed, except when it tends in any reasonable degree to establish the probability of
improbability of the fact in issue.

The Solicitor General offered official statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)111
that from 1965 to 1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines was 15,986 while
the total number of Filipinos born in the country was 10,558,278. The statistical probability that
any child born in the Philippines in that decade is natural-born Filipino was 99.83%. For her part,
petitioner presented census statistics for Iloilo Province for 1960 and 1970, also from the PSA. In
1960, there were 962,532 Filipinos and 4,734 foreigners in the province; 99.62% of the
population were Filipinos. In 1970, the figures were 1,162,669 Filipinos and 5,304 foreigners, or
99.55%. Also presented were figures for the child producing ages (15-49). In 1960, there were
230,528 female Filipinos as against 730 female foreigners or 99.68%. In the same year, there
were 210,349 Filipino males and 886 male aliens, or 99.58%. In 1970, there were 270,299 Filipino
females versus 1, 190 female aliens, or 99.56%. That same year, there were 245,740 Filipino
males as against only 1,165 male aliens or 99.53%. COMELEC did not dispute these figures.
Notably, Commissioner Arthur Lim admitted, during the oral arguments, that at the time
petitioner was found in 1968, the majority of the population in Iloilo was Filipino.112

Other circumstantial evidence of the nationality of petitioner's parents are the fact that she was
abandoned as an infant in a Roman Catholic Church in Iloilo City.1wphi1 She also has typical
Filipino features: height, flat nasal bridge, straight black hair, almond shaped eyes and an oval
face.

There is a disputable presumption that things have happened according to the ordinary course of
nature and the ordinary habits of life.113 All of the foregoing evidence, that a person with typical
Filipino features is abandoned in Catholic Church in a municipality where the population of the
Philippines is overwhelmingly Filipinos such that there would be more than a 99% chance that a
child born in the province would be a Filipino, would indicate more than ample probability if not
statistical certainty, that petitioner's parents are Filipinos. That probability and the evidence on
which it is based are admissible under Rule 128, Section 4 of the Revised Rules on Evidence.

To assume otherwise is to accept the absurd, if not the virtually impossible, as the norm. In the
words of the Solicitor General:

Second. It is contrary to common sense because foreigners do not come to the Philippines so
they can get pregnant and leave their newborn babies behind. We do not face a situation where
the probability is such that every foundling would have a 50% chance of being a Filipino and a
50% chance of being a foreigner. We need to frame our questions properly. What are the chances
that the parents of anyone born in the Philippines would be foreigners? Almost zero. What are the
chances that the parents of anyone born in the Philippines would be Filipinos? 99.9%.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, from 2010 to 2014, on a yearly average, there
were 1,766,046 children born in the Philippines to Filipino parents, as opposed to 1,301 children
in the Philippines of foreign parents. Thus, for that sample period, the ratio of non-Filipino
children to natural born Filipino children is 1:1357. This means that the statistical probability that
any child born in the Philippines would be a natural born Filipino is 99.93%.

From 1965 to 1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines is 15,986 while the
total number of Filipinos born in the Philippines is 15,558,278. For this period, the ratio of nonFilipino children is 1:661. This means that the statistical probability that any child born in the
Philippines on that decade would be a natural born Filipino is 99.83%.

We can invite statisticians and social anthropologists to crunch the numbers for us, but I am
confident that the statistical probability that a child born in the Philippines would be a natural
born Filipino will not be affected by whether or not the parents are known. If at all, the likelihood
that a foundling would have a Filipino parent might even be higher than 99.9%. Filipinos abandon
their children out of poverty or perhaps, shame. We do not imagine foreigners abandoning their
children here in the Philippines thinking those infants would have better economic opportunities
or believing that this country is a tropical paradise suitable for raising abandoned children. I
certainly doubt whether a foreign couple has ever considered their child excess baggage that is
best left behind.

To deny full Filipino citizenship to all foundlings and render them stateless just because there
may be a theoretical chance that one among the thousands of these foundlings might be the
child of not just one, but two, foreigners is downright discriminatory, irrational, and unjust. It just
doesn't make any sense. Given the statistical certainty - 99.9% - that any child born in the
Philippines would be a natural born citizen, a decision denying foundlings such status is
effectively a denial of their birthright. There is no reason why this Honorable Court should use an
improbable hypothetical to sacrifice the fundamental political rights of an entire class of human
beings. Your Honor, constitutional interpretation and the use of common sense are not separate
disciplines.

As a matter of law, foundlings are as a class, natural-born citizens. While the 1935 Constitution's
enumeration is silent as to foundlings, there is no restrictive language which would definitely
exclude foundlings either. Because of silence and ambiguity in the enumeration with respect to
foundlings, there is a need to examine the intent of the framers. In Nitafan v. Commissioner of
Internal Revenue,114 this Court held that:

The ascertainment of that intent is but in keeping with the fundamental principle of constitutional
construction that the intent of the framers of the organic law and of the people adopting it should
be given effect. The primary task in constitutional construction is to ascertain and thereafter
assure the realization of the purpose of the framers and of the people in the adoption of the
Constitution. It may also be safely assumed that the people in ratifying the Constitution were
guided mainly by the explanation offered by the framers.115

As pointed out by petitioner as well as the Solicitor General, the deliberations of the 1934
Constitutional Convention show that the framers intended foundlings to be covered by the
enumeration. The following exchange is recorded:

Sr. Rafols: For an amendment. I propose that after subsection 2, the following is inserted: "The
natural children of a foreign father and a Filipino mother not recognized by the father.

xxxx

President:
[We] would like to request a clarification from the proponent of the amendment. The gentleman
refers to natural children or to any kind of illegitimate children?

Sr. Rafols:
To all kinds of illegitimate children. It also includes natural children of unknown parentage,
natural or illegitimate children of unknown parents.

Sr. Montinola:

For clarification. The gentleman said "of unknown parents." Current codes consider them Filipino,
that is, I refer to the Spanish Code wherein all children of unknown parentage born in Spanish
territory are considered Spaniards, because the presumption is that a child of unknown
parentage is the son of a Spaniard. This may be applied in the Philippines in that a child of
unknown parentage born in the Philippines is deemed to be Filipino, and there is no need ...

Sr. Rafols:
There is a need, because we are relating the conditions that are [required] to be Filipino.

Sr. Montinola:
But that is the interpretation of the law, therefore, there is no [more] need for amendment.

Sr. Rafols:
The amendment should read thus:
"Natural or illegitimate of a foreign father and a Filipino mother recognized by one, or the
children of unknown parentage."

Sr. Briones:
The amendment [should] mean children born in the Philippines of unknown parentage.

Sr. Rafols:
The son of a Filipina to a Foreigner, although this [person] does not recognize the child, is not
unknown.

President:
Does the gentleman accept the amendment or not?

Sr. Rafols:
I do not accept the amendment because the amendment would exclude the children of a Filipina
with a foreigner who does not recognize the child. Their parentage is not unknown and I think
those of overseas Filipino mother and father [whom the latter] does not recognize, should also be
considered as Filipinos.

President:
The question in order is the amendment to the amendment from the Gentleman from Cebu, Mr.
Briones.

Sr. Busion:
Mr. President, don't you think it would be better to leave this matter in the hands of the
Legislature?

Sr. Roxas:
Mr. President, my humble opinion is that these cases are few and far in between, that the
constitution need [not] refer to them. By international law the principle that children or people
born in a country of unknown parents are citizens in this nation is recognized, and it is not
necessary to include a provision on the subject exhaustively.116

Though the Rafols amendment was not carried out, it was not because there was any objection
to the notion that persons of "unknown parentage" are not citizens but only because their
number was not enough to merit specific mention. Such was the account,117 cited by petitioner,
of delegate and constitution law author Jose Aruego who said:

During the debates on this provision, Delegate Rafols presented an amendment to include as
Filipino citizens the illegitimate children with a foreign father of a mother who was a citizen of the
Philippines, and also foundlings; but this amendment was defeated primarily because the
Convention believed that the cases, being too few to warrant the inclusion of a provision in the
Constitution to apply to them, should be governed by statutory legislation. Moreover, it was
believed that the rules of international law were already clear to the effect that illegitimate
children followed the citizenship of the mother, and that foundlings followed the nationality of
the place where they were found, thereby making unnecessary the inclusion in the Constitution
of the proposed amendment.

This explanation was likewise the position of the Solicitor General during the 16 February 2016
Oral Arguments:

We all know that the Rafols proposal was rejected. But note that what was declined was the
proposal for a textual and explicit recognition of foundlings as Filipinos. And so, the way to
explain the constitutional silence is by saying that it was the view of Montinola and Roxas which
prevailed that there is no more need to expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos.

Obviously, it doesn't matter whether Montinola's or Roxas' views were legally correct. Framers of
a constitution can constitutionalize rules based on assumptions that are imperfect or even
wrong. They can even overturn existing rules. This is basic. What matters here is that Montinola
and Roxas were able to convince their colleagues in the convention that there is no more need to
expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos because they are already impliedly so recognized.

In other words, the constitutional silence is fully explained in terms of linguistic efficiency and the
avoidance of redundancy. The policy is clear: it is to recognize foundlings, as a class, as Filipinos
under Art. IV, Section 1 (3) of the 1935 Constitution. This inclusive policy is carried over into the
1973 and 1987 Constitution. It is appropriate to invoke a famous scholar as he was paraphrased
by Chief Justice Fernando: the constitution is not silently silent, it is silently vocal. 118

The Solicitor General makes the further point that the framers "worked to create a just and
humane society," that "they were reasonable patriots and that it would be unfair to impute upon
them a discriminatory intent against foundlings." He exhorts that, given the grave implications of
the argument that foundlings are not natural-born Filipinos, the Court must search the records of
the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions "for an express intention to deny foundlings the status of
Filipinos. The burden is on those who wish to use the constitution to discriminate against
foundlings to show that the constitution really intended to take this path to the dark side and
inflict this across the board marginalization."

We find no such intent or language permitting discrimination against foundlings. On the contrary,
all three Constitutions guarantee the basic right to equal protection of the laws. All exhort the
State to render social justice. Of special consideration are several provisions in the present
charter: Article II, Section 11 which provides that the "State values the dignity of every human
person and guarantees full respect for human rights," Article XIII, Section 1 which mandates
Congress to "give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the
right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities x x x"
and Article XV, Section 3 which requires the State to defend the "right of children to assistance,
including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse,
cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development." Certainly, these
provisions contradict an intent to discriminate against foundlings on account of their unfortunate
status.

Domestic laws on adoption also support the principle that foundlings are Filipinos. These laws do
not provide that adoption confers citizenship upon the adoptee. Rather, the adoptee must be a
Filipino in the first place to be adopted. The most basic of such laws is Article 15 of the Civil Code
which provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights, duties, status, conditions, legal capacity of
persons are binding on citizens of the Philippines even though living abroad." Adoption deals with
status, and a Philippine adoption court will have jurisdiction only if the adoptee is a Filipino. In
Ellis and Ellis v. Republic,119 a child left by an unidentified mother was sought to be adopted by
aliens. This Court said:

In this connection, it should be noted that this is a proceedings in rem, which no court may
entertain unless it has jurisdiction, not only over the subject matter of the case and over the
parties, but also over the res, which is the personal status of Baby Rose as well as that of
petitioners herein. Our Civil Code (Art. 15) adheres to the theory that jurisdiction over the status
of a natural person is determined by the latter's nationality. Pursuant to this theory, we have
jurisdiction over the status of Baby Rose, she being a citizen of the Philippines, but not over the
status of the petitioners, who are foreigners.120 (Underlining supplied)

Recent legislation is more direct. R.A. No. 8043 entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules to Govern
the Inter-Country Adoption of Filipino Children and For Other Purposes" (otherwise known as the
"Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995"), R.A. No. 8552, entitled "An Act Establishing the Rules and
Policies on the Adoption of Filipino Children and For Other Purposes" (otherwise known as the
Domestic Adoption Act of 1998) and this Court's A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC or the "Rule on Adoption,"
all expressly refer to "Filipino children" and include foundlings as among Filipino children who
may be adopted.

It has been argued that the process to determine that the child is a foundling leading to the
issuance of a foundling certificate under these laws and the issuance of said certificate are acts
to acquire or perfect Philippine citizenship which make the foundling a naturalized Filipino at
best. This is erroneous. Under Article IV, Section 2 "Natural-born citizens are those who are
citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their
Philippine citizenship." In the first place, "having to perform an act" means that the act must be
personally done by the citizen. In this instance, the determination of foundling status is done not
by the child but by the authorities.121 Secondly, the object of the process is the determination of
the whereabouts of the parents, not the citizenship of the child. Lastly, the process is certainly
not analogous to naturalization proceedings to acquire Philippine citizenship, or the election of
such citizenship by one born of an alien father and a Filipino mother under the 1935 Constitution,
which is an act to perfect it.

In this instance, such issue is moot because there is no dispute that petitioner is a foundling, as
evidenced by a Foundling Certificate issued in her favor.122 The Decree of Adoption issued on 13
May 1974, which approved petitioner's adoption by Jesusa Sonora Poe and Ronald Allan Kelley
Poe, expressly refers to Emiliano and his wife, Rosario Militar, as her "foundling parents," hence
effectively affirming petitioner's status as a foundling.123

Foundlings are likewise citizens under international law. Under the 1987 Constitution, an
international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either by transformation or
incorporation. The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed into
a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation.124 On the other
hand, generally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of
the Constitution, form part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty
obligations. Generally accepted principles of international law include international custom as
evidence of a general practice accepted as law, and general principles of law recognized by
civilized nations.125 International customary rules are accepted as binding as a result from the
combination of two elements: the established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of
States; and a psychological element known as the opinionjuris sive necessitates (opinion as to
law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is
rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it.126 "General principles of law
recognized by civilized nations" are principles "established by a process of reasoning" or judicial
logic, based on principles which are "basic to legal systems generally,"127 such as "general
principles of equity, i.e., the general principles of fairness and justice," and the "general principle
against discrimination" which is embodied in the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on
the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention Against Discrimination in
Education, the Convention (No. 111) Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and
Occupation."128 These are the same core principles which underlie the Philippine Constitution
itself, as embodied in the due process and equal protection clauses of the Bill of Rights.129

Universal Declaration of Human Rights ("UDHR") has been interpreted by this Court as part of the
generally accepted principles of international law and binding on the State.130 Article 15 thereof
states:

1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.

2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his
nationality.

The Philippines has also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 7
of the UNCRC imposes the following obligations on our country:

Article 7

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a
name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for
by his or her parents.

2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national
law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular
where the child would otherwise be stateless.

In 1986, the country also ratified the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR). Article 24 thereof provide for the right of every child "to acquire a nationality:"

Article 24

1. Every child shall have, without any discrimination as to race, colour, sex, language, religion,
national or social origin, property or birth, the right, to such measures of protection as are
required by his status as a minor, on the part of his family, society and the State.

2. Every child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have a name.

3. Every child has the right to acquire a nationality.

The common thread of the UDHR, UNCRC and ICCPR is to obligate the Philippines to grant
nationality from birth and ensure that no child is stateless. This grant of nationality must be at
the time of birth, and it cannot be accomplished by the application of our present naturalization
laws, Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended, and R.A. No. 9139, both of which require the
applicant to be at least eighteen (18) years old.

The principles found in two conventions, while yet unratified by the Philippines, are generally
accepted principles of international law. The first is Article 14 of the 1930 Hague Convention on

Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws under which a foundling is
presumed to have the "nationality of the country of birth," to wit:

Article 14

A child whose parents are both unknown shall have the nationality of the country of birth. If the
child's parentage is established, its nationality shall be determined by the rules applicable in
cases where the parentage is known.

A foundling is, until the contrary is proved, presumed to have been born on the territory of the
State in which it was found. (Underlining supplied)

The second is the principle that a foundling is presumed born of citizens of the country where he
is found, contained in Article 2 of the 1961 United Nations Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness:

Article 2

A foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof to the
contrary, be considered to have been born within the territory of parents possessing the
nationality of that State.

That the Philippines is not a party to the 1930 Hague Convention nor to the 1961 Convention on
the Reduction of Statelessness does not mean that their principles are not binding. While the
Philippines is not a party to the 1930 Hague Convention, it is a signatory to the Universal
Declaration on Human Rights, Article 15(1) ofwhich131 effectively affirms Article 14 of the 1930
Hague Convention. Article 2 of the 1961 "United Nations Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness" merely "gives effect" to Article 15(1) of the UDHR.132 In Razon v. Tagitis, 133 this
Court noted that the Philippines had not signed or ratified the "International Convention for the
Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance." Yet, we ruled that the proscription
against enforced disappearances in the said convention was nonetheless binding as a "generally
accepted principle of international law." Razon v. Tagitis is likewise notable for declaring the ban
as a generally accepted principle of international law although the convention had been ratified
by only sixteen states and had not even come into force and which needed the ratification of a
minimum of twenty states. Additionally, as petitioner points out, the Court was content with the
practice of international and regional state organs, regional state practice in Latin America, and
State Practice in the United States.

Another case where the number of ratifying countries was not determinative is Mijares v. Ranada,
134 where only four countries had "either ratified or acceded to"135 the 1966 "Convention on
the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters" when
the case was decided in 2005. The Court also pointed out that that nine member countries of the
European Common Market had acceded to the Judgments Convention. The Court also cited U.S.
laws and jurisprudence on recognition of foreign judgments. In all, only the practices of fourteen

countries were considered and yet, there was pronouncement that recognition of foreign
judgments was widespread practice.

Our approach in Razon and Mijares effectively takes into account the fact that "generally
accepted principles of international law" are based not only on international custom, but also on
"general principles of law recognized by civilized nations," as the phrase is understood in Article
38.1 paragraph (c) of the ICJ Statute. Justice, fairness, equity and the policy against
discrimination, which are fundamental principles underlying the Bill of Rights and which are
"basic to legal systems generally,"136 support the notion that the right against enforced
disappearances and the recognition of foreign judgments, were correctly considered as
"generally accepted principles of international law" under the incorporation clause.

Petitioner's evidence137 shows that at least sixty countries in Asia, North and South America,
and Europe have passed legislation recognizing foundlings as its citizen. Forty-two (42) of those
countries follow the jus sanguinis regime. Of the sixty, only thirty-three (33) are parties to the
1961 Convention on Statelessness; twenty-six (26) are not signatories to the Convention. Also,
the Chief Justice, at the 2 February 2016 Oral Arguments pointed out that in 166 out of 189
countries surveyed (or 87.83%), foundlings are recognized as citizens. These circumstances,
including the practice of jus sanguinis countries, show that it is a generally accepted principle of
international law to presume foundlings as having been born of nationals of the country in which
the foundling is found.

Current legislation reveals the adherence of the Philippines to this generally accepted principle of
international law. In particular, R.A. No. 8552, R.A. No. 8042 and this Court's Rules on Adoption,
expressly refer to "Filipino children." In all of them, foundlings are among the Filipino children
who could be adopted. Likewise, it has been pointed that the DFA issues passports to foundlings.
Passports are by law, issued only to citizens. This shows that even the executive department,
acting through the DFA, considers foundlings as Philippine citizens.

Adopting these legal principles from the 1930 Hague Convention and the 1961 Convention on
Statelessness is rational and reasonable and consistent with the jus sanguinis regime in our
Constitution. The presumption of natural-born citizenship of foundlings stems from the
presumption that their parents are nationals of the Philippines. As the empirical data provided by
the PSA show, that presumption is at more than 99% and is a virtual certainty.

In sum, all of the international law conventions and instruments on the matter of nationality of
foundlings were designed to address the plight of a defenseless class which suffers from a
misfortune not of their own making. We cannot be restrictive as to their application if we are a
country which calls itself civilized and a member of the community of nations. The Solicitor
General's warning in his opening statement is relevant:

.... the total effect of those documents is to signify to this Honorable Court that those treaties
and conventions were drafted because the world community is concerned that the situation of
foundlings renders them legally invisible. It would be tragically ironic if this Honorable Court
ended up using the international instruments which seek to protect and uplift foundlings a tool to
deny them political status or to accord them second-class citizenship.138

The COMELEC also ruled139 that petitioner's repatriation in July 2006 under the provisions of R.A.
No. 9225 did not result in the reacquisition of natural-born citizenship. The COMELEC reasoned
that since the applicant must perform an act, what is reacquired is not "natural-born" citizenship
but only plain "Philippine citizenship."

The COMELEC's rule arrogantly disregards consistent jurisprudence on the matter of repatriation
statutes in general and of R.A. No. 9225 in particular.

In the seminal case of Bengson Ill v. HRET, 140 repatriation was explained as follows:

Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a
naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized
Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his
Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.

R.A. No. 9225 is a repatriation statute and has been described as such in several cases. They
include Sobejana-Condon v. COMELEC141 where we described it as an "abbreviated repatriation
process that restores one's Filipino citizenship x x x." Also included is Parreno v. Commission on
Audit,142 which cited Tabasa v. Court of Appeals,143 where we said that "[t]he repatriation of
the former Filipino will allow him to recover his natural-born citizenship. Parreno v. Commission
on Audit144 is categorical that "if petitioner reacquires his Filipino citizenship (under R.A. No.
9225), he will ... recover his natural-born citizenship."

The COMELEC construed the phrase "from birth" in the definition of natural citizens as implying
"that natural-born citizenship must begin at birth and remain uninterrupted and continuous from
birth." R.A. No. 9225 was obviously passed in line with Congress' sole prerogative to determine
how citizenship may be lost or reacquired. Congress saw it fit to decree that natural-born
citizenship may be reacquired even if it had been once lost. It is not for the COMELEC to disagree
with the Congress' determination.

More importantly, COMELEC's position that natural-born status must be continuous was already
rejected in Bengson III v. HRET145 where the phrase "from birth" was clarified to mean at the
time of birth: "A person who at the time of his birth, is a citizen of a particular country, is a
natural-born citizen thereof." Neither is "repatriation" an act to "acquire or perfect" one's
citizenship. In Bengson III v. HRET, this Court pointed out that there are only two types of citizens
under the 1987 Constitution: natural-born citizen and naturalized, and that there is no third
category for repatriated citizens:

It is apparent from the enumeration of who are citizens under the present Constitution that there
are only two classes of citizens: (1) those who are natural-born and (2) those who are naturalized
in accordance with law. A citizen who is not a naturalized Filipino, ie., did not have to undergo the
process of naturalization to obtain Philippine citizenship, necessarily is a natural-born Filipino.
Noteworthy is the absence in said enumeration of a separate category for persons who, after

losing Philippine citizenship, subsequently reacquire it. The reason therefor is clear: as to such
persons, they would either be natural-born or naturalized depending on the reasons for the loss
of their citizenship and the mode prescribed by the applicable law for the reacquisition thereof.
As respondent Cruz was not required by law to go through naturalization proceedings in order to
reacquire his citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born Filipino. As such, he possessed all the
necessary qualifications to be elected as member of the House of Representatives.146

The COMELEC cannot reverse a judicial precedent. That is reserved to this Court. And while we
may always revisit a doctrine, a new rule reversing standing doctrine cannot be retroactively
applied. In Morales v. Court of Appeals and Jejomar Erwin S. Binay, Jr.,147 where we decreed
reversed the condonation doctrine, we cautioned that it "should be prospective in application for
the reason that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws of the Constitution, until
reversed, shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines." This Court also said that "while
the future may ultimately uncover a doctrine's error, it should be, as a general rule, recognized
as good law prior to its abandonment. Consequently, the people's reliance thereupon should be
respected."148

Lastly, it was repeatedly pointed out during the oral arguments that petitioner committed a
falsehood when she put in the spaces for "born to" in her application for repatriation under R.A.
No. 9225 the names of her adoptive parents, and this misled the BI to presume that she was a
natural-born Filipino. It has been contended that the data required were the names of her
biological parents which are precisely unknown.

This position disregards one important fact - petitioner was legally adopted. One of the effects of
adoption is "to sever all legal ties between the biological parents and the adoptee, except when
the biological parent is the spouse of the adoptee."149 Under R.A. No. 8552, petitioner was also
entitled to an amended birth certificate "attesting to the fact that the adoptee is the child of the
adopter(s)" and which certificate "shall not bear any notation that it is an amended issue."150
That law also requires that "[a]ll records, books, and papers relating to the adoption cases in the
files of the court, the Department [of Social Welfare and Development], or any other agency or
institution participating in the adoption proceedings shall be kept strictly confidential."151 The
law therefore allows petitioner to state that her adoptive parents were her birth parents as that
was what would be stated in her birth certificate anyway. And given the policy of strict
confidentiality of adoption records, petitioner was not obligated to disclose that she was an
adoptee.

Clearly, to avoid a direct ruling on the qualifications of petitioner, which it cannot make in the
same case for cancellation of COC, it resorted to opinionatedness which is, moreover, erroneous.
The whole process undertaken by COMELEC is wrapped in grave abuse of discretion.

On Residence

The tainted process was repeated in disposing of the issue of whether or not petitioner
committed false material representation when she stated in her COC that she has before and
until 9 May 2016 been a resident of the Philippines for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months.

Petitioner's claim that she will have been a resident for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months on
the day before the 2016 elections, is true.

The Constitution requires presidential candidates to have ten (10) years' residence in the
Philippines before the day of the elections. Since the forthcoming elections will be held on 9 May
2016, petitioner must have been a resident of the Philippines prior to 9 May 2016 for ten (10)
years. In answer to the requested information of "Period of Residence in the Philippines up to the
day before May 09, 2016," she put in "10 years 11 months" which according to her pleadings in
these cases corresponds to a beginning date of 25 May 2005 when she returned for good from
the U.S.

When petitioner immigrated to the U.S. in 1991, she lost her original domicile, which is the
Philippines. There are three requisites to acquire a new domicile: 1. Residence or bodily presence
in a new locality; 2. an intention to remain there; and 3. an intention to abandon the old
domicile.152 To successfully effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate an actual
removal or an actual change of domicile; a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of
residence and establishing a new one and definite acts which correspond with the purpose. In
other words, there must basically be animus manendi coupled with animus non revertendi. The
purpose to remain in or at the domicile of choice must be for an indefinite period of time; the
change of residence must be voluntary; and the residence at the place chosen for the new
domicile must be actual.153

Petitioner presented voluminous evidence showing that she and her family abandoned their U.S.
domicile and relocated to the Philippines for good. These evidence include petitioner's former
U.S. passport showing her arrival on 24 May 2005 and her return to the Philippines every time
she travelled abroad; e-mail correspondences starting in March 2005 to September 2006 with a
freight company to arrange for the shipment of their household items weighing about 28,000
pounds to the Philippines; e-mail with the Philippine Bureau of Animal Industry inquiring how to
ship their dog to the Philippines; school records of her children showing enrollment in Philippine
schools starting June 2005 and for succeeding years; tax identification card for petitioner issued
on July 2005; titles for condominium and parking slot issued in February 2006 and their
corresponding tax declarations issued in April 2006; receipts dated 23 February 2005 from the
Salvation Army in the U.S. acknowledging donation of items from petitioner's family; March 2006
e-mail to the U.S. Postal Service confirming request for change of address; final statement from
the First American Title Insurance Company showing sale of their U.S. home on 27 April 2006; 12
July 2011 filled-up questionnaire submitted to the U.S. Embassy where petitioner indicated that
she had been a Philippine resident since May 2005; affidavit from Jesusa Sonora Poe (attesting to
the return of petitioner on 24 May 2005 and that she and her family stayed with affiant until the
condominium was purchased); and Affidavit from petitioner's husband (confirming that the
spouses jointly decided to relocate to the Philippines in 2005 and that he stayed behind in the
U.S. only to finish some work and to sell the family home).

The foregoing evidence were undisputed and the facts were even listed by the COMELEC,
particularly in its Resolution in the Tatad, Contreras and Valdez cases.

However, the COMELEC refused to consider that petitioner's domicile had been timely changed
as of 24 May 2005. At the oral arguments, COMELEC Commissioner Arthur Lim conceded the
presence of the first two requisites, namely, physical presence and animus manendi, but
maintained there was no animus non-revertendi.154 The COMELEC disregarded the import of all
the evidence presented by petitioner on the basis of the position that the earliest date that
petitioner could have started residence in the Philippines was in July 2006 when her application
under R.A. No. 9225 was approved by the BI. In this regard, COMELEC relied on Coquilla v.
COMELEC,155 Japzon v. COMELEC156 and Caballero v. COMELEC. 157 During the oral arguments,
the private respondents also added Reyes v. COMELEC.158 Respondents contend that these
cases decree that the stay of an alien former Filipino cannot be counted until he/she obtains a
permanent resident visa or reacquires Philippine citizenship, a visa-free entry under a balikbayan
stamp being insufficient. Since petitioner was still an American (without any resident visa) until
her reacquisition of citizenship under R.A. No. 9225, her stay from 24 May 2005 to 7 July 2006
cannot be counted.

But as the petitioner pointed out, the facts in these four cases are very different from her
situation. In Coquilla v. COMELEC,159 the only evidence presented was a community tax
certificate secured by the candidate and his declaration that he would be running in the
elections. Japzon v. COMELEC160 did not involve a candidate who wanted to count residence
prior to his reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. With the Court decreeing that residence is
distinct from citizenship, the issue there was whether the candidate's acts after reacquisition
sufficed to establish residence. In Caballero v. COMELEC, 161 the candidate admitted that his
place of work was abroad and that he only visited during his frequent vacations. In Reyes v.
COMELEC,162 the candidate was found to be an American citizen who had not even reacquired
Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225 or had renounced her U.S. citizenship. She was
disqualified on the citizenship issue. On residence, the only proof she offered was a seven-month
stint as provincial officer. The COMELEC, quoted with approval by this Court, said that "such fact
alone is not sufficient to prove her one-year residency."

It is obvious that because of the sparse evidence on residence in the four cases cited by the
respondents, the Court had no choice but to hold that residence could be counted only from
acquisition of a permanent resident visa or from reacquisition of Philippine citizenship. In
contrast, the evidence of petitioner is overwhelming and taken together leads to no other
conclusion that she decided to permanently abandon her U.S. residence (selling the house,
taking the children from U.S. schools, getting quotes from the freight company, notifying the U.S.
Post Office of the abandonment of their address in the U.S., donating excess items to the
Salvation Army, her husband resigning from U.S. employment right after selling the U.S. house)
and permanently relocate to the Philippines and actually re-established her residence here on 24
May 2005 (securing T.I.N, enrolling her children in Philippine schools, buying property here,
constructing a residence here, returning to the Philippines after all trips abroad, her husband
getting employed here). Indeed, coupled with her eventual application to reacquire Philippine
citizenship and her family's actual continuous stay in the Philippines over the years, it is clear
that when petitioner returned on 24 May 2005 it was for good.

In this connection, the COMELEC also took it against petitioner that she had entered the
Philippines visa-free as a balikbayan. A closer look at R.A. No. 6768 as amended, otherwise
known as the "An Act Instituting a Balikbayan Program," shows that there is no overriding intent
to treat balikbayans as temporary visitors who must leave after one year. Included in the law is a
former Filipino who has been naturalized abroad and "comes or returns to the Philippines." 163

The law institutes a balikbayan program "providing the opportunity to avail of the necessary
training to enable the balikbayan to become economically self-reliant members of society upon
their return to the country"164 in line with the government's "reintegration program."165
Obviously, balikbayans are not ordinary transients.

Given the law's express policy to facilitate the return of a balikbayan and help him reintegrate
into society, it would be an unduly harsh conclusion to say in absolute terms that the balikbayan
must leave after one year. That visa-free period is obviously granted him to allow him to reestablish his life and reintegrate himself into the community before he attends to the necessary
formal and legal requirements of repatriation. And that is exactly what petitioner did - she
reestablished life here by enrolling her children and buying property while awaiting the return of
her husband and then applying for repatriation shortly thereafter.

No case similar to petitioner's, where the former Filipino's evidence of change in domicile is
extensive and overwhelming, has as yet been decided by the Court. Petitioner's evidence of
residence is unprecedented. There is no judicial precedent that comes close to the facts of
residence of petitioner. There is no indication in Coquilla v. COMELEC,166 and the other cases
cited by the respondents that the Court intended to have its rulings there apply to a situation
where the facts are different. Surely, the issue of residence has been decided particularly on the
facts-of-the case basis.

To avoid the logical conclusion pointed out by the evidence of residence of petitioner, the
COMELEC ruled that petitioner's claim of residence of ten (10) years and eleven (11) months by 9
May 2016 in her 2015 COC was false because she put six ( 6) years and six ( 6) months as
"period of residence before May 13, 2013" in her 2012 COC for Senator. Thus, according to the
COMELEC, she started being a Philippine resident only in November 2006. In doing so, the
COMELEC automatically assumed as true the statement in the 2012 COC and the 2015 COC as
false.

As explained by petitioner in her verified pleadings, she misunderstood the date required in the
2013 COC as the period of residence as of the day she submitted that COC in 2012. She said that
she reckoned residency from April-May 2006 which was the period when the U.S. house was sold
and her husband returned to the Philippines. In that regard, she was advised by her lawyers in
2015 that residence could be counted from 25 May 2005.

Petitioner's explanation that she misunderstood the query in 2012 (period of residence before 13
May 2013) as inquiring about residence as of the time she submitted the COC, is bolstered by the
change which the COMELEC itself introduced in the 2015 COC which is now "period of residence
in the Philippines up to the day before May 09, 2016." The COMELEC would not have revised the
query if it did not acknowledge that the first version was vague.

That petitioner could have reckoned residence from a date earlier than the sale of her U.S. house
and the return of her husband is plausible given the evidence that she had returned a year
before. Such evidence, to repeat, would include her passport and the school records of her
children.

It was grave abuse of discretion for the COMELEC to treat the 2012 COC as a binding and
conclusive admission against petitioner. It could be given in evidence against her, yes, but it was
by no means conclusive. There is precedent after all where a candidate's mistake as to period of
residence made in a COC was overcome by evidence. In Romualdez-Marcos v. COMELEC,167 the
candidate mistakenly put seven (7) months as her period of residence where the required period
was a minimum of one year. We said that "[i]t is the fact of residence, not a statement in a
certificate of candidacy which ought to be decisive in determining whether or not an individual
has satisfied the constitutions residency qualification requirement." The COMELEC ought to have
looked at the evidence presented and see if petitioner was telling the truth that she was in the
Philippines from 24 May 2005. Had the COMELEC done its duty, it would have seen that the 2012
COC and the 2015 COC both correctly stated the pertinent period of residency.

The COMELEC, by its own admission, disregarded the evidence that petitioner actually and
physically returned here on 24 May 2005 not because it was false, but only because COMELEC
took the position that domicile could be established only from petitioner's repatriation under R.A.
No. 9225 in July 2006. However, it does not take away the fact that in reality, petitioner had
returned from the U.S. and was here to stay permanently, on 24 May 2005. When she claimed to
have been a resident for ten (10) years and eleven (11) months, she could do so in good faith.

For another, it could not be said that petitioner was attempting to hide anything. As already
stated, a petition for quo warranto had been filed against her with the SET as early as August
2015. The event from which the COMELEC pegged the commencement of residence, petitioner's
repatriation in July 2006 under R.A. No. 9225, was an established fact to repeat, for purposes of
her senatorial candidacy.

Notably, on the statement of residence of six (6) years and six (6) months in the 2012 COC,
petitioner recounted that this was first brought up in the media on 2 June 2015 by Rep. Tobias
Tiangco of the United Nationalist Alliance. Petitioner appears to have answered the issue
immediately, also in the press. Respondents have not disputed petitioner's evidence on this
point. From that time therefore when Rep. Tiangco discussed it in the media, the stated period of
residence in the 2012 COC and the circumstances that surrounded the statement were already
matters of public record and were not hidden.

Petitioner likewise proved that the 2012 COC was also brought up in the SET petition for quo
warranto. Her Verified Answer, which was filed on 1 September 2015, admitted that she made a
mistake in the 2012 COC when she put in six ( 6) years and six ( 6) months as she misunderstood
the question and could have truthfully indicated a longer period. Her answer in the SET case was
a matter of public record. Therefore, when petitioner accomplished her COC for President on 15
October 2015, she could not be said to have been attempting to hide her erroneous statement in
her 2012 COC for Senator which was expressly mentioned in her Verified Answer.

The facts now, if not stretched to distortion, do not show or even hint at an intention to hide the
2012 statement and have it covered by the 2015 representation. Petitioner, moreover, has on
her side this Court's pronouncement that:

Concededly, a candidate's disqualification to run for public office does not necessarily constitute
material misrepresentation which is the sole ground for denying due course to, and for the
cancellation of, a COC. Further, as already discussed, the candidate's misrepresentation in his
COC must not only refer to a material fact (eligibility and qualifications for elective office), but
should evince a deliberate intent to mislead, misinform or hide a fact which would otherwise
render a candidate ineligible. It must be made with an intention to deceive the electorate as to
one's qualifications to run for public office.168

In sum, the COMELEC, with the same posture of infallibilism, virtually ignored a good number of
evidenced dates all of which can evince animus manendi to the Philippines and animus non
revertedi to the United States of America. The veracity of the events of coming and staying home
was as much as dismissed as inconsequential, the focus having been fixed at the petitioner's
"sworn declaration in her COC for Senator" which the COMELEC said "amounts to a declaration
and therefore an admission that her residence in the Philippines only commence sometime in
November 2006"; such that "based on this declaration, [petitioner] fails to meet the residency
requirement for President." This conclusion, as already shown, ignores the standing jurisprudence
that it is the fact of residence, not the statement of the person that determines residence for
purposes of compliance with the constitutional requirement of residency for election as
President. It ignores the easily researched matter that cases on questions of residency have been
decided favorably for the candidate on the basis of facts of residence far less in number, weight
and substance than that presented by petitioner.169 It ignores, above all else, what we consider
as a primary reason why petitioner cannot be bound by her declaration in her COC for Senator
which declaration was not even considered by the SET as an issue against her eligibility for
Senator. When petitioner made the declaration in her COC for Senator that she has been a
resident for a period of six (6) years and six (6) months counted up to the 13 May 2013 Elections,
she naturally had as reference the residency requirements for election as Senator which was
satisfied by her declared years of residence. It was uncontested during the oral arguments before
us that at the time the declaration for Senator was made, petitioner did not have as yet any
intention to vie for the Presidency in 2016 and that the general public was never made aware by
petitioner, by word or action, that she would run for President in 2016. Presidential candidacy has
a length-of-residence different from that of a senatorial candidacy. There are facts of residence
other than that which was mentioned in the COC for Senator. Such other facts of residence have
never been proven to be false, and these, to repeat include:

[Petitioner] returned to the Philippines on 24 May 2005. (petitioner's] husband however stayed in
the USA to finish pending projects and arrange the sale of their family home.

Meanwhile [petitioner] and her children lived with her mother in San Juan City. [Petitioner]
enrolled Brian in Beacon School in Taguig City in 2005 and Hanna in Assumption College in
Makati City in 2005. Anika was enrolled in Learning Connection in San Juan in 2007, when she
was already old enough to go to school.

In the second half of 2005, [petitioner] and her husband acquired Unit 7F of One Wilson Place
Condominium in San Juan. [Petitioner] and her family lived in Unit 7F until the construction of
their family home in Corinthian Hills was completed.

Sometime in the second half of 2005, [petitioner's] mother discovered that her former lawyer
who handled [petitioner's] adoption in 1974 failed to secure from the Office of the Civil Registrar
of Iloilo a new Certificate of Live Birth indicating [petitioner's] new name and stating that her
parents are "Ronald Allan K. Poe" and "Jesusa L. Sonora."

In February 2006, [petitioner] travelled briefly to the US in order to supervise the disposal of
some of the family's remaining household belongings.1a\^/phi1 [Petitioner] returned to the
Philippines on 11 March 2006.

In late March 2006, [petitioner's] husband informed the United States Postal Service of the
family's abandonment of their address in the US.

The family home in the US was sole on 27 April 2006.

In April 2006, [petitioner's] husband resigned from his work in the US. He returned to the
Philippines on 4 May 2006 and began working for a Philippine company in July 2006.

In early 2006, [petitioner] and her husband acquired a vacant lot in Corinthian Hills, where they
eventually built their family home.170

In light of all these, it was arbitrary for the COMELEC to satisfy its intention to let the case fall
under the exclusive ground of false representation, to consider no other date than that
mentioned by petitioner in her COC for Senator.

All put together, in the matter of the citizenship and residence of petitioner for her candidacy as
President of the Republic, the questioned Resolutions of the COMELEC in Division and En Banc
are, one and all, deadly diseased with grave abuse of discretion from root to fruits.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions, to wit:

1. dated 1 December 2015 rendered through the COMELEC Second Division, in SPA No. 15-001
(DC), entitled Estrella C. Elamparo, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares,
respondent, stating that:

[T]he Certificate of Candidacy for President of the Republic of the Philippines in the May 9, 2016
National and Local Elections filed by respondent Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares is
hereby GRANTED.

2. dated 11 December 2015, rendered through the COMELEC First Division, in the consolidated
cases SPA No. 15-002 (DC) entitled Francisco S. Tatad, petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad

Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; SPA No. 15-007 (DC) entitled Antonio P. Contreras,
petitioner, vs. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, respondent; and SPA No. 15-139
(DC) entitled Amado D. Valdez, petitioner, v. Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe-Llamanzares,
respondent; stating that:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to


GRANT the petitions and cancel the Certificate of Candidacy of MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA
POE-LLAMANZARES for the elective position of President of the Republic of the Philippines in
connection with the 9 May 2016 Synchronized Local and National Elections.

3. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En Banc, upholding the 1 December 2015
Resolution of the Second Division stating that:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Commission RESOLVED, as it hereby RESOLVES, to DENY


the Verified Motion for Reconsideration of SENATOR MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POELLAMANZARES. The Resolution dated 11 December 2015 of the Commission First Division is
AFFIRMED.

4. dated 23 December 2015 of the COMELEC En Banc, upholding the 11 December 2015
Resolution of the First Division.

are hereby ANNULED and SET ASIDE. Petitioner MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD SONORA POELLAMANZARES is DECLARED QUALIFIED to be a candidate for President in the National and Local
Elections of 9 May 2016.

SO ORDERED.

Grace Poe vs COMELEC


(Case Digest: GR 221697, GR 221698-700 March 8, 2016)

Facts:

In her COC for presidency for the May 2016 elections, Grace Poe declared that she is a naturalborn citizen and that her residence in the Philippines up to the day before 9 May 2016 would be
10 years and 11 months counted from 24 May 2005.

May 24, 2005 was the day she came to the Philippines after deciding to stay in the PH for good.
Before that however, and even afterwards, she has been going to and fro between US and
Philippines. She was born in 1968, found as newborn infant in Iloilo, and was legally adopted.
She immigrated to the US in 1991 and was naturalized as American citizen in 2001. On July 18,
2006, the BI granted her petition declaring that she had reacquired her Filipino citizenship under
RA 9225. She registered as a voter and obtained a new Philippine passport. In 2010, before
assuming her post as an appointed chairperson of the MTRCB, she renounced her American
citizenship to satisfy the RA 9225 requirement . From then on, she stopped using her American
passport.

Petitions were filed before the COMELEC to deny or cancel her candidacy on the ground
particularly, among others, that she cannot be considered a natural-born Filipino citizen since she
cannot prove that her biological parents or either of them were Filipinos. The COMELEC en banc
cancelled her candidacy on the ground that she is in want of citizenship and residence
requirements, and that she committed material misrepresentations in her COC.

On certiorari, the SC reversed the ruling and held (9-6 votes) that Poe is qualified as a candidate
for Presidency. Three justices, however, abstained to vote on the natural-born citizenship issue.

Issue 1: W/N the COMELEC has jurisdiction to rule on the issue of qualifications of candidates
(Read Dissent)

Held:

No. Article IX-C, Sec 2 of the Constitution provides for the powers and functions of the COMELEC,
and deciding on the qualifications or lack thereof of a candidate is not one among them.

In contrast, the Constitution provides that only the SET and HRET tribunals have sole jurisdiction
over the election contests, returns, and qualifications of their respective members, whereas over
the President and Vice President, only the SC en banc has sole jurisdiction. As for the
qualifications of candidates for such positions, the Constitution is silent. There is simply no
authorized proceeding in determining the ineligibility of candidates before elections. Such lack
of provision cannot be supplied by a mere rule, and for the COMELEC to assimilate grounds for
ineligibility into grounds for disqualification in Rule 25 in its rules of procedures would be contrary
to the intent of the Constitution.

Hence, the COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion when it decided on the qualification
issue of Grace as a candidate in the same case for cancellation of her COC.

Issue 2: W/N Grace Poe-Llamanzares is a natural-born Filipino citizen (Read Dissent)

Held:

Yes, Grace Poe might be and is considerably a natural-born Filipino. For that, she satisfies one of
the constitutional requirements that only natural-born Filipinos may run for presidency.

First, there is a high probability that Grace Poes parents are Filipinos. Her physical features are
typical of Filipinos. The fact that she was abandoned as an infant in a municipality where the
population of the Philippines is overwhelmingly Filipinos such that there would be more than 99%
chance that a child born in such province is a Filipino is also a circumstantial evidence of her
parents nationality. That probability and the evidence on which it is based are admissible under
Rule 128, Section 4 of the Revised Rules on Evidence. To assume otherwise is to accept the
absurd, if not the virtually impossible, as the norm.

Second, by votes of 7-5, the SC pronounced that foundlings are as a class, natural-born citizens.
This is based on the finding that the deliberations of the 1934 Constitutional Convention show
that the framers intended foundlings to be covered by the enumeration. While the 1935
Constitutions enumeration is silent as to foundlings, there is no restrictive language which would
definitely exclude foundlings either. Because of silence and ambiguity in the enumeration with
respect to foundlings, the SC felt the need to examine the intent of the framers.

Third, that foundlings are automatically conferred with natural-born citizenship is supported by
treaties and the general principles of international law. Although the Philippines is not a
signatory to some of these treaties, it adheres to the customary rule to presume foundlings as
having born of the country in which the foundling is found.

Issue 3: W/N Grace Poe satisfies the 10-year residency requirement

Held:

Yes. Grace Poe satisfied the requirements of animus manendi coupled with animus revertendi in
acquiring a new domicile.

Grace Poes domicile had been timely changed as of May 24, 2005, and not on July 18, 2006
when her application under RA 9225 was approved by the BI. COMELECs reliance on cases
which decree that an aliens stay in the country cannot be counted unless she acquires a
permanent resident visa or reacquires her Filipino citizenship is without merit. Such cases are
different from the circumstances in this case, in which Grace Poe presented an overwhelming
evidence of her actual stay and intent to abandon permanently her domicile in the US. Coupled
with her eventual application to reacquire Philippine citizenship and her familys actual
continuous stay in the Philippines over the years, it is clear that when Grace Poe returned on May
24, 2005, it was for good.

Issue 4: W/N the Grace Poes candidacy should be denied or cancelled for committing material
misrepresentations in her COC

Held:

No. The COMELEC cannot cancel her COC on the ground that she misrepresented facts as to her
citizenship and residency because such facts refer to grounds for ineligibility in which the
COMELEC has no jurisdiction to decide upon. Only when there is a prior authority finding that a
candidate is suffering from a disqualification provided by law or the Constitution that the
COMELEC may deny due course or cancel her candidacy on ground of false representations
regarding her qualifications.

In this case, by authority of the Supreme Court Grace Poe is now pronounced qualified as a
candidate for the presidency. Hence, there cannot be any false representations in her COC
regarding her citizenship and residency.

10.

Sec. of National Defense vs. Manalo

DECISION

PUNO, C.J.:
While victims of enforced disappearances are separated from the rest of the world behind secret
walls, they are not separated from the constitutional protection of their basic rights. The
constitution is an overarching sky that covers all in its protection. The case at bar involves the
rights to life, liberty and security in the first petition for a writ of amparo filed before this Court.

This is an appeal via Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section
19[1] of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, seeking to reverse and set aside on both questions of
fact and law, the Decision promulgated by the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. AMPARO No. 00001,
entitled Raymond Manalo and Reynaldo Manalo, petitioners, versus The Secretary of National
Defense, the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, respondents.

This case was originally a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order
(TRO)[2] filed before this Court by herein respondents (therein petitioners) on August 23, 2007 to
stop herein petitioners (therein respondents) and/or their officers and agents from depriving
them of their right to liberty and other basic rights. Therein petitioners also sought ancillary
remedies, Protective Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access
Orders, and all other legal and equitable reliefs under Article VIII, Section 5(5)[3] of the 1987
Constitution and Rule 135, Section 6 of the Rules of Court. In our Resolution dated August 24,
2007, we (1) ordered the Secretary of the Department of National Defense and the Chief of Staff
of the AFP, their agents, representatives, or persons acting in their stead, including but not
limited to the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to submit their Comment; and
(2) enjoined them from causing the arrest of therein petitioners, or otherwise restricting,
curtailing, abridging, or depriving them of their right to life, liberty, and other basic rights as
guaranteed under Article III, Section 1[4] of the 1987 Constitution.[5]

While the August 23, 2007 Petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on
October 24, 2007. Forthwith, therein petitioners filed a Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to
Treat Existing Petition as Amparo Petition, to Admit Supporting Affidavits, and to Grant Interim
and Final Amparo Reliefs. They prayed that: (1) the petition be considered a Petition for the Writ
of Amparo under Sec. 26[6] of the Amparo Rule; (2) the Court issue the writ commanding therein
respondents to make a verified return within the period provided by law and containing the
specific matter required by law; (3) they be granted the interim reliefs allowed by the Amparo
Rule and all other reliefs prayed for in the petition but not covered by the Amparo Rule; (4) the
Court, after hearing, render judgment as required in Sec. 18[7] of the Amparo Rule; and (5) all
other just and equitable reliefs.[8]
On October 25, 2007, the Court resolved to treat the August 23, 2007 Petition as a petition under
the Amparo Rule and further resolved, viz:

WHEREFORE, let a WRIT OF AMPARO be issued to respondents requiring them to file with the CA
(Court of Appeals) a verified written return within five (5) working days from service of the writ.
We REMAND the petition to the CA and designate the Division of Associate Justice Lucas P.
Bersamin to conduct the summary hearing on the petition on November 8, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and
decide the petition in accordance with the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.[9]
On December 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in favor of therein petitioners
(herein respondents), the dispositive portion of which reads, viz:
ACCORDINGLY, the PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF AMPARO is GRANTED.

The respondents SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and AFP CHIEF OF STAFF are hereby
REQUIRED:

1.
To furnish to the petitioners and to this Court within five days from notice of this decision all
official and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken in connection with their case,
except those already on file herein;

2.
To confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt Hilario aka Rollie
Castillo and Donald Caigas within five days from notice of this decision.

3.
To cause to be produced to this Court all medical reports, records and charts, reports of any
treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if any, to the petitioners, to include
a list of medical and (sic) personnel (military and civilian) who attended to them from February
14, 2006 until August 12, 2007 within five days from notice of this decision.

The compliance with this decision shall be made under the signature and oath of respondent AFP
Chief of Staff or his duly authorized deputy, the latters authority to be express and made
apparent on the face of the sworn compliance with this directive.

SO ORDERED.[10]
Hence, this appeal. In resolving this appeal, we first unfurl the facts as alleged by herein
respondents:
Respondent Raymond Manalo recounted that about one or two weeks before February 14, 2006,
several uniformed and armed soldiers and members of the CAFGU summoned to a meeting all
the residents of their barangay in San Idelfonso, Bulacan. Respondents were not able to attend
as they were not informed of the gathering, but Raymond saw some of the soldiers when he
passed by the barangay hall.[11]

On February 14, 2006, Raymond was sleeping in their house in Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso,
Bulacan. At past noon, several armed soldiers wearing white shirts, fatigue pants and army
boots, entered their house and roused him. They asked him if he was Bestre, but his mother,
Ester Manalo, replied that he was Raymond, not Bestre. The armed soldier slapped him on both
cheeks and nudged him in the stomach. He was then handcuffed, brought to the rear of his
house, and forced to the ground face down. He was kicked on the hip, ordered to stand and face
up to the light, then forcibly brought near the road. He told his mother to follow him, but three
soldiers stopped her and told her to stay.[12]

Among the men who came to take him, Raymond recognized brothers Michael de la Cruz,
Madning de la Cruz, Puti de la Cruz, and Pula de la Cruz, who all acted as lookout. They were all
members of the CAFGU and residing in Manuzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. He also recognized
brothers Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also members of the CAFGU. While he was being
forcibly taken, he also saw outside of his house two barangay councilors, Pablo Cunanan and
Bernardo Lingasa, with some soldiers and armed men.[13]

The men forced Raymond into a white L300 van. Once inside, he was blindfolded. Before being
blindfolded, he saw the faces of the soldiers who took him. Later, in his 18 months of captivity,
he learned their names. The one who drove the van was Rizal Hilario alias Rollie Castillo, whom
he estimated was about 40 years of age or older. The leader of the team who entered his house
and abducted him was Ganata. He was tall, thin, curly-haired and a bit old. Another one of his
abductors was George who was tall, thin, white-skinned and about 30 years old.[14]

The van drove off, then came to a stop. A person was brought inside the van and made to sit
beside Raymond. Both of them were beaten up. On the road, he recognized the voice of the
person beside him as his brother Reynaldos. The van stopped several times until they finally
arrived at a house. Raymond and Reynaldo were each brought to a different room. With the doors
of their rooms left open, Raymond saw several soldiers continuously hitting his brother Reynaldo
on the head and other parts of his body with the butt of their guns for about 15 minutes. After
which, Reynaldo was brought to his (Raymonds) room and it was his (Raymonds) turn to be
beaten up in the other room. The soldiers asked him if he was a member of the New Peoples
Army. Each time he said he was not, he was hit with the butt of their guns. He was questioned
where his comrades were, how many soldiers he had killed, and how many NPA members he had
helped. Each time he answered none, they hit him.[15]
In the next days, Raymonds interrogators appeared to be high officials as the soldiers who beat
him up would salute them, call them sir, and treat them with respect. He was in blindfolds when
interrogated by the high officials, but he saw their faces when they arrived and before the
blindfold was put on. He noticed that the uniform of the high officials was different from those of
the other soldiers. One of those officials was tall and thin, wore white pants, tie, and leather
shoes, instead of combat boots. He spoke in Tagalog and knew much about his parents and
family, and a habeas corpus case filed in connection with the respondents abduction.[16] While
these officials interrogated him, Raymond was not manhandled. But once they had left, the
soldier guards beat him up. When the guards got drunk, they also manhandled respondents.
During this time, Raymond was fed only at night, usually with left-over and rotten food.[17]

On the third week of respondents detention, two men arrived while Raymond was sleeping and
beat him up. They doused him with urine and hot water, hit his stomach with a piece of wood,
slapped his forehead twice with a .45 pistol, punched him on the mouth, and burnt some parts of
his body with a burning wood. When he could no longer endure the torture and could hardly
breathe, they stopped. They then subjected Reynaldo to the same ordeal in another room. Before
their torturers left, they warned Raymond that they would come back the next day and kill him.
[18]

The following night, Raymond attempted to escape. He waited for the guards to get drunk, then
made noise with the chains put on him to see if they were still awake. When none of them came
to check on him, he managed to free his hand from the chains and jumped through the window.
He passed through a helipad and firing range and stopped near a fishpond where he used stones
to break his chains. After walking through a forested area, he came near a river and an Iglesia ni
Kristo church. He talked to some women who were doing the laundry, asked where he was and
the road to Gapan. He was told that he was in Fort Magsaysay.[19] He reached the highway, but
some soldiers spotted him, forcing him to run away. The soldiers chased him and caught up with
him. They brought him to another place near the entrance of what he saw was Fort Magsaysay.
He was boxed repeatedly, kicked, and hit with chains until his back bled. They poured gasoline
on him. Then a so-called Mam or Madam suddenly called, saying that she wanted to see
Raymond before he was killed. The soldiers ceased the torture and he was returned inside Fort
Magsaysay where Reynaldo was detained.[20]

For some weeks, the respondents had a respite from all the torture. Their wounds were treated.
When the wounds were almost healed, the torture resumed, particularly when respondents
guards got drunk.[21]

Raymond recalled that sometime in April until May 2006, he was detained in a room enclosed by
steel bars. He stayed all the time in that small room measuring 1 x 2 meters, and did everything
there, including urinating, removing his bowels, bathing, eating and sleeping. He counted that
eighteen people[22] had been detained in that bartolina, including his brother Reynaldo and
himself.[23]

For about three and a half months, the respondents were detained in Fort Magsaysay. They were
kept in a small house with two rooms and a kitchen. One room was made into the bartolina. The
house was near the firing range, helipad and mango trees. At dawn, soldiers marched by their
house. They were also sometimes detained in what he only knew as the DTU.[24]

At the DTU, a male doctor came to examine respondents. He checked their body and eyes, took
their urine samples and marked them. When asked how they were feeling, they replied that they
had a hard time urinating, their stomachs were aching, and they felt other pains in their body.
The next day, two ladies in white arrived. They also examined respondents and gave them
medicines, including orasol, amoxicillin and mefenamic acid. They brought with them the results
of respondents urine test and advised them to drink plenty of water and take their medicine. The
two ladies returned a few more times. Thereafter, medicines were sent through the master of the
DTU, Master Del Rosario alias Carinyoso at Puti. Respondents were kept in the DTU for about two
weeks. While there, he met a soldier named Efren who said that Gen. Palparan ordered him to
monitor and take care of them.[25]

One day, Rizal Hilario fetched respondents in a Revo vehicle. They, along with Efren and several
other armed men wearing fatigue suits, went to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan.
Respondents were detained for one or two weeks in a big two-storey house. Hilario and Efren
stayed with them. While there, Raymond was beaten up by Hilarios men.[26]

From Pinaud, Hilario and Efren brought respondents to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on board the
Revo. They were detained in a big unfinished house inside the compound of Kapitan for about
three months. When they arrived in Sapang, Gen. Palparan talked to them. They were brought
out of the house to a basketball court in the center of the compound and made to sit. Gen.
Palparan was already waiting, seated. He was about two arms length away from respondents. He
began by asking if respondents felt well already, to which Raymond replied in the affirmative. He
asked Raymond if he knew him. Raymond lied that he did not. He then asked Raymond if he
would be scared if he were made to face Gen. Palparan. Raymond responded that he would not
be because he did not believe that Gen. Palparan was an evil man.[27]

Raymond narrated his conversation with Gen. Palparan in his affidavit, viz:

Tinanong ako ni Gen. Palparan, Ngayon na kaharap mo na ako, di ka ba natatakot sa akin?

Sumagot akong, Siyempre po, natatakot din

Sabi ni Gen. Palparan: Sige, bibigyan ko kayo ng isang pagkakataon na mabuhay, bastat sundin
nyo ang lahat ng sasabihin ko sabihin mo sa magulang mo huwag pumunta sa mga rali, sa
hearing, sa Karapatan at sa Human Right dahil niloloko lang kayo. Sabihin sa magulang at lahat
sa bahay na huwag paloko doon. Tulungan kami na kausapin si Bestre na sumuko na sa
gobyerno.[28]
Respondents agreed to do as Gen. Palparan told them as they felt they could not do otherwise.
At about 3:00 in the morning, Hilario, Efren and the formers men - the same group that abducted
them - brought them to their parents house. Raymond was shown to his parents while Reynaldo
stayed in the Revo because he still could not walk. In the presence of Hilario and other soldiers,
Raymond relayed to his parents what Gen. Palparan told him. As they were afraid, Raymonds
parents acceded. Hilario threatened Raymonds parents that if they continued to join human
rights rallies, they would never see their children again. The respondents were then brought back
to Sapang.[29]
When respondents arrived back in Sapang, Gen. Palparan was about to leave. He was talking
with the four masters who were there: Arman, Ganata, Hilario and Cabalse.[30] When Gen.
Palparan saw Raymond, he called for him. He was in a big white vehicle. Raymond stood outside
the vehicle as Gen. Palparan told him to gain back his strength and be healthy and to take the
medicine he left for him and Reynaldo. He said the medicine was expensive at Php35.00 each,
and would make them strong. He also said that they should prove that they are on the side of the
military and warned that they would not be given another chance.[31] During his testimony,
Raymond identified Gen. Palparan by his picture.[32]
One of the soldiers named Arman made Raymond take the medicine left by Gen. Palparan. The
medicine, named Alive, was green and yellow. Raymond and Reynaldo were each given a box of
this medicine and instructed to take one capsule a day. Arman checked if they were getting their
dose of the medicine. The Alive made them sleep each time they took it, and they felt heavy
upon waking up.[33]
After a few days, Hilario arrived again. He took Reynaldo and left Raymond at Sapang. Arman
instructed Raymond that while in Sapang, he should introduce himself as Oscar, a military
trainee from Sariaya, Quezon, assigned in Bulacan. While there, he saw again Ganata, one of the
men who abducted him from his house, and got acquainted with other military men and civilians.
[34]

After about three months in Sapang, Raymond was brought to Camp Tecson under the 24th
Infantry Battalion. He was fetched by three unidentified men in a big white vehicle. Efren went
with them. Raymond was then blindfolded. After a 30-minute ride, his blindfold was removed.
Chains were put on him and he was kept in the barracks.[35]

The next day, Raymonds chains were removed and he was ordered to clean outside the barracks.
It was then he learned that he was in a detachment of the Rangers. There were many soldiers,
hundreds of them were training. He was also ordered to clean inside the barracks. In one of the
rooms therein, he met Sherlyn Cadapan from Laguna. She told him that she was a student of the
University of the Philippines and was abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She confided that she had
been subjected to severe torture and raped. She was crying and longing to go home and be with
her parents. During the day, her chains were removed and she was made to do the laundry.[36]

After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his arrival, two other
captives, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen and Manuel were put in the room with

Allan whose name they later came to know as Donald Caigas, called master or commander by
his men in the 24th Infantry Battalion. Raymond and Reynaldo were put in the adjoining room. At
times, Raymond and Reynaldo were threatened, and Reynaldo was beaten up. In the daytime,
their chains were removed, but were put back on at night. They were threatened that if they
escaped, their families would all be killed.[37]

On or about October 6, 2006, Hilario arrived in Camp Tecson. He told the detainees that they
should be thankful they were still alive and should continue along their renewed life. Before the
hearing of November 6 or 8, 2006, respondents were brought to their parents to instruct them
not to attend the hearing. However, their parents had already left for Manila. Respondents were
brought back to Camp Tecson. They stayed in that camp from September 2006 to November
2006, and Raymond was instructed to continue using the name Oscar and holding himself out as
a military trainee. He got acquainted with soldiers of the 24th Infantry Battalion whose names
and descriptions he stated in his affidavit.[38]

On November 22, 2006, respondents, along with Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel, were transferred to
a camp of the 24th Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. There were many huts in the camp. They
stayed in that camp until May 8, 2007. Some soldiers of the battalion stayed with them. While
there, battalion soldiers whom Raymond knew as Mar and Billy beat him up and hit him in the
stomach with their guns. Sherlyn and Karen also suffered enormous torture in the camp. They
were all made to clean, cook, and help in raising livestock.[39]

Raymond recalled that when Operation Lubog was launched, Caigas and some other soldiers
brought him and Manuel with them to take and kill all sympathizers of the NPA. They were
brought to Barangay Bayan-bayanan, Bataan where he witnessed the killing of an old man doing
kaingin. The soldiers said he was killed because he had a son who was a member of the NPA and
he coddled NPA members in his house.[40] Another time, in another Operation Lubog, Raymond
was brought to Barangay Orion in a house where NPA men stayed. When they arrived, only the
old man of the house who was sick was there. They spared him and killed only his son right
before Raymonds eyes.[41]

From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were transferred to Zambales, in a
safehouse near the sea. Caigas and some of his men stayed with them. A retired army soldier
was in charge of the house. Like in Limay, the five detainees were made to do errands and
chores. They stayed in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007 until June 2007.[42]

In June 2007, Caigas brought the five back to the camp in Limay. Raymond, Reynaldo, and
Manuel were tasked to bring food to detainees brought to the camp. Raymond narrated what he
witnessed and experienced in the camp, viz:

Isang gabi, sinabihan kami ni Donald (Caigas) na matulog na kami. Nakita ko si Donald na
inaayos ang kanyang baril, at nilagyan ng silenser. Sabi ni Donald na kung mayroon man kaming
makita o marinig, walang nangyari. Kinaumagahan, nakita naming ang bangkay ng isa sa mga
bihag na dinala sa kampo. Mayroong binuhos sa kanyang katawan at itoy sinunog. Masansang
ang amoy.

Makaraan ang isang lingo, dalawang bangkay and ibinaba ng mga unipormadong sundalo mula
sa 6 x 6 na trak at dinala sa loob ng kampo. May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila
nila ang mga bangkay. Naamoy ko iyon nang nililinis ang bakas.

Makalipas ang isa o dalawang lingo, may dinukot sila na dalawang Ita. Itinali sila sa labas ng
kubo, piniringan, ikinadena at labis na binugbog. Nakita kong nakatakas ang isa sa kanila at
binaril siya ng sundalo ngunit hindi siya tinamaan. Iyong gabi nakita kong pinatay nila iyong
isang Ita malapit sa Post 3; sinilaban ang bangkay at ibinaon ito.

Pagkalipas ng halos 1 buwan, 2 pang bangkay ang dinala sa kampo. Ibinaba ang mga bangkay
mula sa pick up trak, dinala ang mga bangkay sa labas ng bakod. Kinaumagahan nakita kong
mayroong sinilaban, at napakamasangsang ang amoy.

May nakilala rin akong 1 retiradong koronel at 1 kasama niya. Pinakain ko sila. Sabi nila sa akin
na dinukot sila sa Bataan. Iyong gabi, inilabas sila at hindi ko na sila nakita.

xxx xxx xxx

Ikinadena kami ng 3 araw. Sa ikatlong araw, nilabas ni Lat si Manuel dahil kakausapin daw siya ni
Gen. Palparan. Nakapiring si Manuel, wala siyang suot pang-itaas, pinosasan. Nilakasan ng mga
sundalo ang tunog na galing sa istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni
Manuel. Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel.

Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 na araw pagkalipas.
Sinabi sa amin na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung
papatayin kami o hindi.

Tinanggal ang aming kadena. Kinausap kami ni Donald. Tinanong kami kung ano ang sabi ni
Manuel sa amin. Sabi ni Donald huwag na raw naming hanapin ang dalawang babae at si
Manuel, dahil magkakasama na yung tatlo. Sabi pa ni Donald na kami ni Reynaldo ay magbagong
buhay at ituloy namin ni Reynaldo ang trabaho. Sa gabi, hindi na kami kinakadena.[43]
On or about June 13, 2007, Raymond and Reynaldo were brought to Pangasinan, ostensibly to
raise poultry for Donald (Caigas). Caigas told respondents to also farm his land, in exchange for
which, he would take care of the food of their family. They were also told that they could farm a
small plot adjoining his land and sell their produce. They were no longer put in chains and were
instructed to use the names Rommel (for Raymond) and Rod (for Reynaldo) and represent
themselves as cousins from Rizal, Laguna.[44]
Respondents started to plan their escape. They could see the highway from where they stayed.
They helped farm adjoining lands for which they were paid Php200.00 or Php400.00 and they
saved their earnings. When they had saved Php1,000.00 each, Raymond asked a neighbor how
he could get a cellular phone as he wanted to exchange text messages with a girl who lived

nearby. A phone was pawned to him, but he kept it first and did not use it. They earned some
more until they had saved Php1,400.00 between them.

There were four houses in the compound. Raymond and Reynaldo were housed in one of them
while their guards lived in the other three. Caigas entrusted respondents to Nonong, the head of
the guards. Respondents house did not have electricity. They used a lamp. There was no
television, but they had a radio. In the evening of August 13, 2007, Nonong and his cohorts had a
drinking session. At about 1:00 a.m., Raymond turned up the volume of the radio. When none of
the guards awoke and took notice, Raymond and Reynaldo proceeded towards the highway,
leaving behind their sleeping guards and barking dogs. They boarded a bus bound for Manila and
were thus freed from captivity.[45]

Reynaldo also executed an affidavit affirming the contents of Raymonds affidavit insofar as they
related to matters they witnessed together. Reynaldo added that when they were taken from
their house on February 14, 2006, he saw the faces of his abductors before he was blindfolded
with his shirt. He also named the soldiers he got acquainted with in the 18 months he was
detained. When Raymond attempted to escape from Fort Magsaysay, Reynaldo was severely
beaten up and told that they were indeed members of the NPA because Raymond escaped. With
a .45 caliber pistol, Reynaldo was hit on the back and punched in the face until he could no
longer bear the pain.

At one point during their detention, when Raymond and Reynaldo were in Sapang, Reynaldo was
separated from Raymond and brought to Pinaud by Rizal Hilario. He was kept in the house of
Kapitan, a friend of Hilario, in a mountainous area. He was instructed to use the name Rodel and
to represent himself as a military trainee from Meycauayan, Bulacan. Sometimes, Hilario brought
along Reynaldo in his trips. One time, he was brought to a market in San Jose, del Monte, Bulacan
and made to wait in the vehicle while Hilario was buying. He was also brought to Tondo, Manila
where Hilario delivered boxes of Alive in different houses. In these trips, Hilario drove a black and
red vehicle. Reynaldo was blindfolded while still in Bulacan, but allowed to remove the blindfold
once outside the province. In one of their trips, they passed by Fort Magsaysay and Camp Tecson
where Reynaldo saw the sign board, Welcome to Camp Tecson.[46]

Dr. Benito Molino, M.D., corroborated the accounts of respondents Raymond and Reynaldo
Manalo. Dr. Molino specialized in forensic medicine and was connected with the Medical Action
Group, an organization handling cases of human rights violations, particularly cases where
torture was involved. He was requested by an NGO to conduct medical examinations on the
respondents after their escape. He first asked them about their ordeal, then proceeded with the
physical examination. His findings showed that the scars borne by respondents were consistent
with their account of physical injuries inflicted upon them. The examination was conducted on
August 15, 2007, two days after respondents escape, and the results thereof were reduced into
writing. Dr. Molino took photographs of the scars. He testified that he followed the Istanbul
Protocol in conducting the examination.[47]

Petitioners dispute respondents account of their alleged abduction and torture. In compliance
with the October 25, 2007 Resolution of the Court, they filed a Return of the Writ of Amparo
admitting the abduction but denying any involvement therein, viz:

13. Petitioners Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo were not at any time arrested, forcibly abducted,
detained, held incommunicado, disappeared or under the custody by the military. This is a
settled issue laid to rest in the habeas corpus case filed in their behalf by petitioners parents
before the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 94431 against M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie
Castillo, as head of the 24th Infantry Battalion; Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, as Commander of the
7th Infantry Division in Luzon; Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, in his capacity as the Commanding
General of the Philippine Army, and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit
(CAFGU), namely: Michael dela Cruz, Puti dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Pula dela Cruz, Randy
Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza. The respondents therein submitted a return of the writ On July 4,
2006, the Court of Appeals dropped as party respondents Lt. Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr.,
then Commanding General of the Philippine Army, and on September 19, 2006, Maj. (sic) Jovito
S. Palparan, then Commanding General, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, stationed at Fort
Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, upon a finding that no evidence was introduced to
establish their personal involvement in the taking of the Manalo brothers. In a Decision dated
June 27, 2007, it exonerated M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo for lack of evidence
establishing his involvement in any capacity in the disappearance of the Manalo brothers,
although it held that the remaining respondents were illegally detaining the Manalo brothers and
ordered them to release the latter.[48]
Attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of therein respondent (herein petitioner)
Secretary of National Defense, which attested that he assumed office only on August 8, 2007 and
was thus unaware of the Manalo brothers alleged abduction. He also claimed that:
7.
The Secretary of National Defense does not engage in actual military directional operations,
neither does he undertake command directions of the AFP units in the field, nor in any way
micromanage the AFP operations. The principal responsibility of the Secretary of National
Defense is focused in providing strategic policy direction to the Department (bureaus and
agencies) including the Armed Forces of the Philippines;

8.
In connection with the Writ of Amparo issued by the Honorable Supreme Court in this case, I
have directed the Chief of Staff, AFP to institute immediate action in compliance with Section
9(d) of the Amparo Rule and to submit report of such compliance Likewise, in a Memorandum
Directive also dated October 31, 2007, I have issued a policy directive addressed to the Chief of
Staff, AFP that the AFP should adopt the following rules of action in the event the Writ of Amparo
is issued by a competent court against any members of the AFP:
(1) to verify the identity of the aggrieved party;

(2) to recover and preserve evidence related to the death or disappearance of the person
identified in the petition which may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible;

(3)
to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning the death or
disappearance;

(4) to determine the cause, manner, location and time of death or disappearance as well as any
pattern or practice that may have brought about the death or disappearance;

(5) to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in the death or disappearance;
and

(6) to bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.[49]

Therein respondent AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit, attached to the Return of
the Writ, attesting that he received the above directive of therein respondent Secretary of
National Defense and that acting on this directive, he did the following:
3.1. As currently designated Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), I have caused
to be issued directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the circumstances of
the alleged disappearance and the recent reappearance of the petitioners.

3.2. I have caused the immediate investigation and submission of the result thereof to Higher
headquarters and/or direct the immediate conduct of the investigation on the matter by the
concerned unit/s, dispatching Radio Message on November 05, 2007, addressed to the
Commanding General, Philippine Army (Info: COMNOLCOM, CG, 71D PA and CO 24 IB PA). A Copy
of the Radio Message is attached as ANNEX 3 of this Affidavit.

3.3. We undertake to provide result of the investigations conducted or to be conducted by the


concerned unit relative to the circumstances of the alleged disappearance of the persons in
whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been sought for as soon as the same has been furnished
Higher headquarters.

3.4. A parallel investigation has been directed to the same units relative to another Petition for
the Writ of Amparo (G.R. No. 179994) filed at the instance of relatives of a certain Cadapan and
Empeo pending before the Supreme Court.

3.5. On the part of the Armed Forces, this respondent will exert earnest efforts to establish the
surrounding circumstances of the disappearances of the petitioners and to bring those
responsible, including any military personnel if shown to have participated or had complicity in
the commission of the complained acts, to the bar of justice, when warranted by the findings and
the competent evidence that may be gathered in the process.[50]
Also attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of Lt. Col. Felipe Anontado, INF (GSC) PA,
earlier filed in G.R. No. 179994, another amparo case in this Court, involving Cadapan, Empeo
and Merino, which averred among others, viz:
10) Upon reading the allegations in the Petition implicating the 24th Infantry Batallion
detachment as detention area, I immediately went to the 24th IB detachment in Limay, Bataan
and found no untoward incidents in the area nor any detainees by the name of Sherlyn Cadapan,
Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino being held captive;

11) There was neither any reports of any death of Manuel Merino in the 24th IB in Limay, Bataan;

12) After going to the 24th IB in Limay, Bataan, we made further inquiries with the Philippine
National Police, Limay, Bataan regarding the alleged detentions or deaths and were informed
that none was reported to their good office;

13) I also directed Company Commander 1st Lt. Romeo Publico to inquire into the alleged
beachhouse in Iba, Zambales also alleged to be a detention place where Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen
Empeo and Manuel Merino were detained. As per the inquiry, however, no such beachhouse was
used as a detention place found to have been used by armed men to detain Cadapan, Empeo
and Merino.[51]

It was explained in the Return of the Writ that for lack of sufficient time, the affidavits of Maj. Gen
Jovito S. Palparan (Ret.), M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, and other persons implicated by
therein petitioners could not be secured in time for the submission of the Return and would be
subsequently submitted.[52]
Herein petitioners presented a lone witness in the summary hearings, Lt. Col. Ruben U. Jimenez,
Provost Marshall, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City,
Nueva Ecija. The territorial jurisdiction of this Division covers Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan,
Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and a portion of Pangasinan.[53] The 24th Infantry Battalion is part of
the 7th Infantry Division.[54]

On May 26, 2006, Lt. Col. Jimenez was directed by the Commanding General of the 7th Infantry
Division, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palaran,[55] through his Assistant Chief of Staff,[56] to investigate the
alleged abduction of the respondents by CAFGU auxiliaries under his unit, namely: CAA Michael
de la Cruz; CAA Roman de la Cruz, aka Puti; CAA Maximo de la Cruz, aka Pula; CAA Randy
Mendoza; ex-CAA Marcelo de la Cruz aka Madning; and a civilian named Rudy Mendoza. He was
directed to determine: (1) the veracity of the abduction of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo by the
alleged elements of the CAFGU auxiliaries; and (2) the administrative liability of said auxiliaries,
if any.[57] Jimenez testified that this particular investigation was initiated not by a complaint as
was the usual procedure, but because the Commanding General saw news about the abduction
of the Manalo brothers on the television, and he was concerned about what was happening
within his territorial jurisdiction.[58]

Jimenez summoned all six implicated persons for the purpose of having them execute sworn
statements and conducting an investigation on May 29, 2006.[59] The investigation started at
8:00 in the morning and finished at 10:00 in the evening.[60] The investigating officer, Technical
Sgt. Eduardo Lingad, took the individual sworn statements of all six persons on that day. There
were no other sworn statements taken, not even of the Manalo family, nor were there other
witnesses summoned and investigated[61] as according to Jimenez, the directive to him was only
to investigate the six persons.[62]

Jimenez was beside Lingad when the latter took the statements.[63] The six persons were not
known to Jimenez as it was in fact his first time to meet them.[64] During the entire time that he
was beside Lingad, a subordinate of his in the Office of the Provost Marshall, Jimenez did not
propound a single question to the six persons.[65]

Jimenez testified that all six statements were taken on May 29, 2006, but Marcelo Mendoza and
Rudy Mendoza had to come back the next day to sign their statements as the printing of their
statements was interrupted by a power failure. Jimenez testified that the two signed on May 30,
2006, but the jurats of their statements indicated that they were signed on May 29, 2006.[66]
When the Sworn Statements were turned over to Jimenez, he personally wrote his investigation
report. He began writing it in the afternoon of May 30, 2006 and finished it on June 1, 2006.[67]
He then gave his report to the Office of the Chief of Personnel.[68]

As petitioners largely rely on Jimenezs Investigation Report dated June 1, 2006 for their evidence,
the report is herein substantially quoted:

III. BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

4. This pertains to the abduction of RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO who were
forcibly taken from their respective homes in Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on
14 February 2006 by unidentified armed men and thereafter were forcibly disappeared. After the
said incident, relatives of the victims filed a case for Abduction in the civil court against the
herein suspects: Michael dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Puti Dela Cruz, Pula Dela Cruz, Randy
Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza as alleged members of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit
(CAFGU).

a) Sworn statement of CAA Maximo F. dela Cruz, aka Pula dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit B) states
that he was at Sitio Mozon, Brgy. Bohol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan doing the concrete
building of a church located nearby his residence, together with some neighbor thereat. He
claims that on 15 February 2006, he was being informed by Brgy. Kagawad Pablo Umayan about
the abduction of the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo. As to the allegation that he was
one of the suspects, he claims that they only implicated him because he was a CAFGU and that
they claimed that those who abducted the Manalo brothers are members of the Military and
CAFGU. Subject vehemently denied any participation or involvement on the abduction of said
victims.

b) Sworn statement of CAA Roman dela Cruz y Faustino Aka Puti dtd 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit C)
states that he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a
CAA member based at Biak na Bato Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond
and Reynaldo Manalo being his neighbors are active members/sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and
he also knows their elder Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE of being an NPA Leader operating in their
province. That at the time of the alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and for accusing him
to be one of the suspects, he claims that on February 14, 2006, he was one of those working at
the concrete chapel being constructed nearby his residence. He claims further that he just came
only to know about the incident on other day (15 Feb 06) when he was being informed by
Kagawad Pablo Kunanan. That subject CAA vehemently denied any participation about the
incident and claimed that they only implicated him because he is a member of the CAFGU.

c) Sworn Statement of CAA Randy Mendoza y Lingas dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit O) states that
he is a resident of Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a member of CAFGU based
at Biak na Bato Detachment. That being a neighbor, he was very much aware about the

background of the two (2) brothers Raymond and Reynaldo as active supporters of the CPP NPA
in their Brgy. and he also knew their elder brother KUMANDER BESTRE TN: Rolando Manalo. Being
one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006, he was at Brgy. Magmarate, San Miguel,
Bulacan in the house of his aunt and he learned only about the incident when he arrived home in
their place. He claims further that the only reason why they implicated him was due to the fact
that his mother has filed a criminal charge against their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE
who is an NPA Commander who killed his father and for that reason they implicated him in
support of their brother. Subject CAA vehemently denied any involvement on the abduction of
said Manalo brothers.

d) Sworn Statement of Rudy Mendoza y Lingasa dated May 29, 2006 in (Exhibit E) states that he
is a resident of Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo
are familiar to him being his barriomate when he was still unmarried and he knew them since
childhood. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006, he was at his
residence in Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that he was being informed only about
the incident lately and he was not aware of any reason why the two (2) brothers were being
abducted by alleged members of the military and CAFGU. The only reason he knows why they
implicated him was because there are those people who are angry with their family particularly
victims of summary execution (killing) done by their brother @ KA Bestre Rolando Manalo who is
an NPA leader. He claims further that it was their brother @ KA BESTRE who killed his father and
he was living witness to that incident. Subject civilian vehemently denied any involvement on the
abduction of the Manalo brothers.

e) Sworn statement of Ex-CAA Marcelo dala Cruz dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit F) states that he
is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, a farmer and a
former CAA based at Biak na Bato, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo
Manalo are familiar to him being their barrio mate. He claims further that they are active
supporters of CPP/NPA and that their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE is an NPA leader.
Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006, he was in his residence at Sitio
Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. That he vehemently denied any
participation of the alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and learned only about the incident
when rumors reached him by his barrio mates. He claims that his implication is merely fabricated
because of his relationship to Roman and Maximo who are his brothers.

f) Sworn statement of Michael dela Cruz y Faustino dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit G) states that
he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, the Chief of Brgy.
Tanod and a CAFGU member based at Biak na Bato Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims
that he knew very well the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in their barangay for having
been the Tanod Chief for twenty (20) years. He alleged further that they are active supporters or
sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and whose elder brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE is an NPA
leader operating within the area. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 Feb 2006 he
was helping in the construction of their concrete chapel in their place and he learned only about
the incident which is the abduction of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo when one of the Brgy.
Kagawad in the person of Pablo Cunanan informed him about the matter. He claims further that
he is truly innocent of the allegation against him as being one of the abductors and he considers
everything fabricated in order to destroy his name that remains loyal to his service to the
government as a CAA member.

IV. DISCUSSION

5. Based on the foregoing statements of respondents in this particular case, the proof of linking
them to the alleged abduction and disappearance of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo that
transpired on 14 February 2006 at Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, is
unsubstantiated. Their alleged involvement theretofore to that incident is considered doubtful,
hence, no basis to indict them as charged in this investigation.

Though there are previous grudges between each families (sic) in the past to quote: the killing of
the father of Randy and Rudy Mendoza by @ KA BESTRE TN: Rolando Manalo, this will not suffice
to establish a fact that they were the ones who did the abduction as a form of revenge. As it was
also stated in the testimony of other accused claiming that the Manalos are active
sympathizers/supporters of the CPP/NPA, this would not also mean, however, that in the first
place, they were in connivance with the abductors. Being their neighbors and as members of
CAFGUs, they ought to be vigilant in protecting their village from any intervention by the leftist
group, hence inside their village, they were fully aware of the activities of Raymond and
Reynaldo Manalo in so far as their connection with the CPP/NPA is concerned.

V.

CONCLUSION

6. Premises considered surrounding this case shows that the alleged charges of abduction
committed by the above named respondents has not been established in this investigation.
Hence, it lacks merit to indict them for any administrative punishment and/or criminal liability. It
is therefore concluded that they are innocent of the charge.

VI.

RECOMMENDATIONS

7. That CAAs Michael F. dela Cruz, Maximo F. Dela Cruz, Roman dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza, and
two (2) civilians Maximo F. Dela Cruz and Rudy L. Mendoza be exonerated from the case.

8. Upon approval, this case can be dropped and closed.[69]


In this appeal under Rule 45, petitioners question the appellate courts assessment of the
foregoing evidence and assail the December 26, 2007 Decision on the following grounds, viz:
I.

THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN BELIEVING AND GIVING FULL
FAITH AND CREDIT TO THE INCREDIBLE, UNCORROBORATED, CONTRADICTED, AND OBVIOUSLY
SCRIPTED, REHEARSED AND SELF-SERVING AFFIDAVIT/TESTIMONY OF HEREIN RESPONDENT
RAYMOND MANALO.

II.

THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN REQUIRING RESPONDENTS


(HEREIN PETITIONERS) TO: (A) FURNISH TO THE MANALO BROTHER(S) AND TO THE COURT OF
APPEALS ALL OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL REPORTS OF THE INVESTIGATION UNDERTAKEN IN
CONNECTION WITH THEIR CASE, EXCEPT THOSE ALREADY IN FILE WITH THE COURT; (B) CONFIRM
IN WRITING THE PRESENT PLACES OF OFFICIAL ASSIGNMENT OF M/SGT. HILARIO aka ROLLIE
CASTILLO AND DONALD CAIGAS; AND (C) CAUSE TO BE PRODUCED TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
ALL MEDICAL REPORTS, RECORDS AND CHARTS, AND REPORTS OF ANY TREATMENT GIVEN OR
RECOMMENDED AND MEDICINES PRESCRIBED, IF ANY, TO THE MANALO BROTHERS, TO INCLUDE
A LIST OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL (MILITARY AND CIVILIAN) WHO ATTENDED TO THEM FROM
FEBRUARY 14, 2006 UNTIL AUGUST 12, 2007.[70]

The case at bar is the first decision on the application of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo (Amparo
Rule). Let us hearken to its beginning.

The adoption of the Amparo Rule surfaced as a recurring proposition in the recommendations
that resulted from a two-day National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced
Disappearances sponsored by the Court on July 16-17, 2007. The Summit was envisioned to
provide a broad and fact-based perspective on the issue of extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances,[71] hence representatives from all sides of the political and social spectrum, as
well as all the stakeholders in the justice system[72] participated in mapping out ways to resolve
the crisis.
On October 24, 2007, the Court promulgated the Amparo Rule in light of the prevalence of
extralegal killing and enforced disappearances.[73] It was an exercise for the first time of the
Courts expanded power to promulgate rules to protect our peoples constitutional rights, which
made its maiden appearance in the 1987 Constitution in response to the Filipino experience of
the martial law regime.[74] As 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.[75] 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.[76]

The writ of amparo originated in Mexico. Amparo literally means protection in Spanish.[77] In
1837, de Tocquevilles Democracy in America became available in Mexico and stirred great
interest. Its description of the practice of judicial review in the U.S. appealed to many Mexican
jurists.[78] One of them, Manuel Crescencio Rejn, drafted a constitutional provision for his native
state, Yucatan,[79] which granted judges the power to protect all persons in the enjoyment of
their constitutional and legal rights. This idea was incorporated into the national constitution in
1847, viz:

The federal courts shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic in the exercise and preservation of
those rights granted to him by this Constitution and by laws enacted pursuant hereto, against
attacks by the Legislative and Executive powers of the federal or state governments, limiting
themselves to granting protection in the specific case in litigation, making no general declaration
concerning the statute or regulation that motivated the violation.[80]
Since then, the protection has been an important part of Mexican constitutionalism.[81] If, after
hearing, the judge determines that a constitutional right of the petitioner is being violated, he
orders the official, or the officials superiors, to cease the violation and to take the necessary
measures to restore the petitioner to the full enjoyment of the right in question. Amparo thus
combines the principles of judicial review derived from the U.S. with the limitations on judicial
power characteristic of the civil law tradition which prevails in Mexico. It enables courts to
enforce the constitution by protecting individual rights in particular cases, but prevents them
from using this power to make law for the entire nation.[82]

The writ of amparo then spread throughout the Western Hemisphere, gradually evolving into
various forms, in response to the particular needs of each country.[83] It became, in the words of
a justice of the Mexican Federal Supreme Court, one piece of Mexicos self-attributed task of
conveying to the worlds legal heritage that institution which, as a shield of human dignity, her
own painful history conceived.[84] What began as a protection against acts or omissions of
public authorities in violation of constitutional rights later evolved for several purposes: (1)
amparo libertad for the protection of personal freedom, equivalent to the habeas corpus writ; (2)
amparo contra leyes for the judicial review of the constitutionality of statutes; (3) amparo
casacion for the judicial review of the constitutionality and legality of a judicial decision; (4)
amparo administrativo for the judicial review of administrative actions; and (5) amparo agrario
for the protection of peasants rights derived from the agrarian reform process.[85]

In Latin American countries, except Cuba, the writ of amparo has been constitutionally adopted
to protect against human rights abuses especially committed in countries under military juntas.
In general, these countries adopted an all-encompassing writ to protect the whole gamut of
constitutional rights, including socio-economic rights.[86] Other countries like Colombia, Chile,
Germany and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the protection of the writ of amparo only to
some constitutional guarantees or fundamental rights.[87]

In the Philippines, while the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly provide for the writ of amparo,
several of the above amparo protections are guaranteed by our charter. The second paragraph of
Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Grave Abuse Clause, provides for the judicial
power to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. The
Clause accords a similar general protection to human rights extended by the amparo contra
leyes, amparo casacion, and amparo administrativo. Amparo libertad is comparable to the
remedy of habeas corpus found in several provisions of the 1987 Constitution.[88] The Clause is
an offspring of the U.S. common law tradition of judicial review, which finds its roots in the 1803
case of Marbury v. Madison.[89]

While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause through remedies of
injunction or prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and a petition for habeas corpus
under Rule 102,[90] these remedies may not be adequate to address the pestering problem of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. However, with the swiftness required to resolve

a petition for a writ of amparo through summary proceedings and the availability of appropriate
interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo Rule, this hybrid writ of the common law and
civil law traditions - borne out of the Latin American and Philippine experience of human rights
abuses - offers a better remedy to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances and threats
thereof. The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that
requires only substantial evidence to make the appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner; it is
not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for
damages requiring preponderance of evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring
substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.[91]

The writ of amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation
of impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent
punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and
action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to deter the further
commission of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

In the case at bar, respondents initially filed an action for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary
Restraining Order[92] to stop petitioners and/or their officers and agents from depriving the
respondents of their right to liberty and other basic rights on August 23, 2007,[93] prior to the
promulgation of the Amparo Rule. They also sought ancillary remedies including Protective
Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access Orders and other legal
and equitable remedies under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the 1987 Constitution and Rule 135,
Section 6 of the Rules of Court. When the Amparo Rule came into effect on October 24, 2007,
they moved to have their petition treated as an amparo petition as it would be more effective
and suitable to the circumstances of the Manalo brothers enforced disappearance. The Court
granted their motion.
With this backdrop, we now come to the arguments of the petitioner. Petitioners first argument in
disputing the Decision of the Court of Appeals states, viz:

The Court of Appeals seriously and grievously erred in believing and giving full faith and credit to
the incredible uncorroborated, contradicted, and obviously scripted, rehearsed and self-serving
affidavit/testimony of herein respondent Raymond Manalo.[94]

In delving into the veracity of the evidence, we need to mine and refine the ore of petitioners
cause of action, to determine whether the evidence presented is metal-strong to satisfy the
degree of proof required.
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides for the following causes of action, viz:
Section 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose
right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.

The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (emphasis
supplied)

Sections 17 and 18, on the other hand, provide for the degree of proof required, viz:
Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. The parties shall establish their
claims by substantial evidence.

xxx xxx xxx


Sec. 18. Judgment. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court
shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise,
the privilege shall be denied. (emphases supplied)

Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.[95]
After careful perusal of the evidence presented, we affirm the findings of the Court of Appeals
that respondents were abducted from their houses in Sito Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San
Ildefonso, Bulacan on February 14, 2006 and were continuously detained until they escaped on
August 13, 2007. The abduction, detention, torture, and escape of the respondents were
narrated by respondent Raymond Manalo in a clear and convincing manner. His account is dotted
with countless candid details of respondents harrowing experience and tenacious will to escape,
captured through his different senses and etched in his memory. A few examples are the
following: Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel.[96]
(N)ilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko
ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel.[97] May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang mga
bangkay. Naamoy ko iyon nang nililinis ang bakas.[98] Tumigil ako sa may palaisdaan kung saan
ginamit ko ang bato para tanggalin ang mga kadena.[99] Tinanong ko sa isang kapit-bahay kung
paano ako makakakuha ng cell phone; sabi ko gusto kong i-text ang isang babae na nakatira sa
malapit na lugar.[100]

We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based on respondent Raymond
Manalos affidavit and testimony, viz:

the abduction was perpetrated by armed men who were sufficiently identified by the petitioners
(herein respondents) to be military personnel and CAFGU auxiliaries. Raymond recalled that the
six armed men who barged into his house through the rear door were military men based on
their attire of fatigue pants and army boots, and the CAFGU auxiliaries, namely: Michael de la
Cruz, Madning de la Cruz, Puti de la Cruz and Pula de la Cruz, all members of the CAFGU and
residents of Muzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, and the brothers Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza,
also CAFGU members, served as lookouts during the abduction. Raymond was sure that three of
the six military men were Ganata, who headed the abducting team, Hilario, who drove the van,
and George. Subsequent incidents of their long captivity, as narrated by the petitioners,
validated their assertion of the participation of the elements of the 7th Infantry Division,
Philippine Army, and their CAFGU auxiliaries.

We are convinced, too, that the reason for the abduction was the suspicion that the petitioners
were either members or sympathizers of the NPA, considering that the abductors were looking
for Ka Bestre, who turned out to be Rolando, the brother of petitioners.

The efforts exerted by the Military Command to look into the abduction were, at best, merely
superficial. The investigation of the Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry Division focused on the
one-sided version of the CAFGU auxiliaries involved. This one-sidedness might be due to the fact
that the Provost Marshall could delve only into the participation of military personnel, but even
then the Provost Marshall should have refrained from outrightly exculpating the CAFGU
auxiliaries he perfunctorily investigated

Gen. Palparans participation in the abduction was also established. At the very least, he was
aware of the petitioners captivity at the hands of men in uniform assigned to his command. In
fact, he or any other officer tendered no controversion to the firm claim of Raymond that he
(Gen. Palparan) met them in person in a safehouse in Bulacan and told them what he wanted
them and their parents to do or not to be doing. Gen. Palparans direct and personal role in the
abduction might not have been shown but his knowledge of the dire situation of the petitioners
during their long captivity at the hands of military personnel under his command bespoke of his
indubitable command policy that unavoidably encouraged and not merely tolerated the
abduction of civilians without due process of law and without probable cause.

In the habeas proceedings, the Court, through the Former Special Sixth Division (Justices Buzon,
chairman; Santiago-Lagman, Sr., member; and Romilla-Lontok, Jr., member/ponente.) found no
clear and convincing evidence to establish that M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario had anything to do with the
abduction or the detention. Hilarios involvement could not, indeed, be then established after
Evangeline Francisco, who allegedly saw Hilario drive the van in which the petitioners were
boarded and ferried following the abduction, did not testify. (See the decision of the habeas
proceedings at rollo, p. 52)

However, in this case, Raymond attested that Hilario drove the white L-300 van in which the
petitioners were brought away from their houses on February 14, 2006. Raymond also attested
that Hilario participated in subsequent incidents during the captivity of the petitioners, one of
which was when Hilario fetched them from Fort Magsaysay on board a Revo and conveyed them
to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan where they were detained for at least a week
in a house of strong materials (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) and then Hilario (along with Efren) brought
them to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on board the Revo, to an unfinished house inside the
compound of Kapitan where they were kept for more or less three months. (Exhibit D, rollo, p.
205) It was there where the petitioners came face to face with Gen. Palparan. Hilario and Efren
also brought the petitioners one early morning to the house of the petitioners parents, where
only Raymond was presented to the parents to relay the message from Gen. Palparan not to join
anymore rallies. On that occasion, Hilario warned the parents that they would not again see their
sons should they join any rallies to denounce human rights violations. (Exhibit D, rollo, pp. 205206) Hilario was also among four Master Sergeants (the others being Arman, Ganata and
Cabalse) with whom Gen. Palparan conversed on the occasion when Gen. Palparan required
Raymond to take the medicines for his health. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 206) There were other
occasions when the petitioners saw that Hilario had a direct hand in their torture.

It is clear, therefore, that the participation of Hilario in the abduction and forced disappearance of
the petitioners was established. The participation of other military personnel like Arman, Ganata,
Cabalse and Caigas, among others, was similarly established.

xxx xxx xxx

As to the CAFGU auxiliaries, the habeas Court found them personally involved in the abduction.
We also do, for, indeed, the evidence of their participation is overwhelming.[101]
We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalos statements were not
corroborated by other independent and credible pieces of evidence.[102] Raymonds affidavit and
testimony were corroborated by the affidavit of respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and
medical reports prepared by forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the pictures of the scars left by
the physical injuries inflicted on respondents,[103] also corroborate respondents accounts of the
torture they endured while in detention. Respondent Raymond Manalos familiarity with the
facilities in Fort Magsaysay such as the DTU, as shown in his testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col.
Jimenez to be the Division Training Unit,[104] firms up respondents story that they were detained
for some time in said military facility.
In Ortiz v. Guatemala,[105] a case decided by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights,
the Commission considered similar evidence, among others, in finding that complainant Sister
Diana Ortiz was abducted and tortured by agents of the Guatemalan government. In this case,
Sister Ortiz was kidnapped and tortured in early November 1989. The Commissions findings of
fact were mostly based on the consistent and credible statements, written and oral, made by
Sister Ortiz regarding her ordeal.[106] These statements were supported by her recognition of
portions of the route they took when she was being driven out of the military installation where
she was detained.[107] She was also examined by a medical doctor whose findings showed that
the 111 circular second degree burns on her back and abrasions on her cheek coincided with her
account of cigarette burning and torture she suffered while in detention.[108]

With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance and the torture perpetrated on the victim
during detention, it logically holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will
come from the victims themselves, and the veracity of their account will depend on their
credibility and candidness in their written and/or oral statements. Their statements can be
corroborated by other evidence such as physical evidence left by the torture they suffered or
landmarks they can identify in the places where they were detained. Where powerful military
officers are implicated, the hesitation of witnesses to surface and testify against them comes as
no surprise.

We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the writ of amparo. There is no
quarrel that the enforced disappearance of both respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo has
now passed as they have escaped from captivity and surfaced. But while respondents admit that
they are no longer in detention and are physically free, they assert that they are not free in every
sense of the word[109] as their movements continue to be restricted for fear that people they
have named in their Judicial Affidavits and testified against (in the case of Raymond) are still at
large and have not been held accountable in any way. These people are directly connected to the
Armed Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in a position to threaten respondents rights to life,
liberty and security.[110] (emphasis supplied) Respondents claim that they are under threat of
being once again abducted, kept captive or even killed, which constitute a direct violation of
their right to security of person.[111]

Elaborating on the right to security, in general, respondents point out that this right is often
associated with liberty; it is also seen as an expansion of rights based on the prohibition against
torture and cruel and unusual punishment. Conceding that there is no right to security expressly
mentioned in Article III of the 1987 Constitution, they submit that their rights to be kept free from
torture and from incommunicado detention and solitary detention places[112] fall under the
general coverage of the right to security of person under the writ of Amparo. They submit that
the Court ought to give an expansive recognition of the right to security of person in view of the
State Policy under Article II of the 1987 Constitution which enunciates that, The State values the
dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights. Finally, to justify a
liberal interpretation of the right to security of person, respondents cite the teaching in Moncupa
v. Enrile[113] that the right to liberty may be made more meaningful only if there is no undue
restraint by the State on the exercise of that liberty[114] such as a requirement to report under
unreasonable restrictions that amounted to a deprivation of liberty[115] or being put under
monitoring and surveillance.[116]

In sum, respondents assert that their cause of action consists in the threat to their right to life
and liberty, and a violation of their right to security.

Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has indeed been violated as
respondents assert. The right to security or the right to security of person finds a textual hook in
Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which provides, viz:

Sec. 2. 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
At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of ones person, including the extensions of his/her
person houses, papers, and effects against government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the
states power over a persons home and possessions, but more importantly, protects the privacy
and sanctity of the person himself.[117] The purpose of this provision was enunciated by the
Court in People v. CFI of Rizal, Branch IX, Quezon City, viz: [118]
The purpose of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures is to
prevent violations of private security in person and property and unlawful invasion of the security
of the home by officers of the law acting under legislative or judicial sanction and to give remedy
against such usurpation when attempted. (Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 858; Alvero v. Dizon, 76
Phil. 637 [1946]). The right to privacy is an essential condition to the dignity and happiness and
to the peace and security of every individual, whether it be of home or of persons and
correspondence. (Taada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, Vol. 2, 139 [1962]). The
constitutional inviolability of this great fundamental right against unreasonable searches and
seizures must be deemed absolute as nothing is closer to a mans soul than the serenity of his
privacy and the assurance of his personal security. Any interference allowable can only be for the
best causes and reasons.[119] (emphases supplied)
While the right to life under Article III, Section 1[120] guarantees essentially the right to be
alive[121] - upon which the enjoyment of all other rights is preconditioned - the right to security
of person is a guarantee of the secure quality of this life, viz: The life to which each person has a
right is not a life lived in fear that his person and property may be unreasonably violated by a
powerful ruler. Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that the government he established
and consented to, will protect the security of his person and property. The ideal of security in life

and property pervades the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of mans existence.
[122] In a broad sense, the right to security of person emanates in a persons legal and
uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation. It includes
the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a
deprivation of life but also of those things which are necessary to the enjoyment of life according
to the nature, temperament, and lawful desires of the individual.[123]
A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various permutations of the exercise of
this right.

First, the right to security of person is freedom from fear. In its whereas clauses, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that a world in which human beings shall enjoy
freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the
highest aspiration of the common people. (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate that
freedom from fear is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an individual international
human right.[124] It is the right to security of person as the word security itself means freedom
from fear.[125] Article 3 of the UDHR provides, viz:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.[126] (emphasis supplied)
In furtherance of this right declared in the UDHR, Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) also provides for the right to security of person, viz:
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 procedure as are established by law. (emphasis supplied)
The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR.
In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, freedom from fear is the right and any threat to
the rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a reaction;
threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the same stimulus can range from being
baseless to well-founded as people react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person
to another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of character or past
experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the amparo context, it is more correct to say that the right
to security is actually the freedom from threat. Viewed in this light, the threatened with violation
Clause in the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to
security mentioned in the earlier part of the provision.[127]
Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or
security. Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, ones
body cannot be searched or invaded without a search warrant.[128] Physical injuries inflicted in
the context of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute more than a search or
invasion of the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical
intrusion. As the degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in
criminal law, physical injuries constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to
the bodily integrity or security of a person.[129]

Physical torture, force, and violence are a severe invasion of bodily integrity. When employed to
vitiate the free will such as to force the victim to admit, reveal or fabricate incriminating
information, it constitutes an invasion of both bodily and psychological integrity as the dignity of

the human person includes the exercise of free will. Article III, Section 12 of the 1987
Constitution more specifically proscribes bodily and psychological invasion, viz:

(2) No torture, force, violence, threat or intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free
will shall be used against him (any person under investigation for the commission of an offense).
Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado or other similar forms of detention are
prohibited.

Parenthetically, under this provision, threat and intimidation that vitiate the free will - although
not involving invasion of bodily integrity - nevertheless constitute a violation of the right to
security in the sense of freedom from threat as afore-discussed.
Article III, Section 12 guarantees freedom from dehumanizing abuses of persons under
investigation for the commission of an offense. Victims of enforced disappearances who are not
even under such investigation should all the more be protected from these degradations.

An overture to an interpretation of the right to security of person as a right against torture was
made by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the recent case of Popov v. Russia.[130]
In this case, the claimant, who was lawfully detained, alleged that the state authorities had
physically abused him in prison, thereby violating his right to security of person. Article 5(1) of
the European Convention on Human Rights provides, viz: Everyone has the right to liberty and
security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in
accordance with a procedure prescribed by law ... (emphases supplied) Article 3, on the other
hand, provides that (n)o one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment. Although the application failed on the facts as the alleged ill-treatment was found
baseless, the ECHR relied heavily on the concept of security in holding, viz:
...the applicant did not bring his allegations to the attention of domestic authorities at the time
when they could reasonably have been expected to take measures in order to ensure his security
and to investigate the circumstances in question.

xxx xxx xxx

... the authorities failed to ensure his security in custody or to comply with the procedural
obligation under Art.3 to conduct an effective investigation into his allegations.[131] (emphasis
supplied)

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has also made a
statement that the protection of the bodily integrity of women may also be related to the right to
security and liberty, viz:
gender-based violence which impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and
fundamental freedoms under general international law or under specific human rights
conventions is discrimination within the meaning of article 1 of the Convention (on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). These rights and freedoms include . . .
the right to liberty and security of person.[132]

Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of ones rights by the
government. In the context of the writ of amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the
right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to
security of person (as freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity)
under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the
policy that the State guarantees full respect for human rights under Article II, Section 11 of the
1987 Constitution.[133] As the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the
Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective
if government does not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under threat.
Protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government
apparatus to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or
threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The InterAmerican Court of Human Rights stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez
Rodriguez Case,[134] viz:
(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality
preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the
State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests that depends upon the
initiative of the victim or his family or upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the
truth by the government.[135]

This third sense of the right to security of person as a guarantee of government protection has
been interpreted by the United Nations Human Rights Committee[136] in not a few cases
involving Article 9[137] of the ICCPR. While the right to security of person appears in conjunction
with the right to liberty under Article 9, the Committee has ruled that the right to security of
person can exist independently of the right to liberty. In other words, there need not necessarily
be a deprivation of liberty for the right to security of person to be invoked. In Delgado Paez v.
Colombia,[138] a case involving death threats to a religion teacher at a secondary school in
Leticia, Colombia, whose social views differed from those of the Apostolic Prefect of Leticia, the
Committee held, viz:
The first sentence of article 9 does not stand as a separate paragraph. Its location as a part of
paragraph one could lead to the view that the right to security arises only in the context of arrest
and detention. The travaux prparatoires indicate that the discussions of the first sentence did
indeed focus on matters dealt with in the other provisions of article 9. The Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, in article 3, refers to the right to life, the right to liberty and the right to
security of the person. These elements have been dealt with in separate clauses in the
Covenant. Although in the Covenant the only reference to the right of security of person is to be
found in article 9, there is no evidence that it was intended to narrow the concept of the right to
security only to situations of formal deprivation of liberty. At the same time, States parties have
undertaken to guarantee the rights enshrined in the Covenant. It cannot be the case that, as a
matter of law, States can ignore known threats to the life of persons under their jurisdiction, just
because that he or she is not arrested or otherwise detained. States parties are under an
obligation to take reasonable and appropriate measures to protect them. An interpretation of
article 9 which would allow a State party to ignore threats to the personal security of nondetained persons within its jurisdiction would render totally ineffective the guarantees of the
Covenant.[139] (emphasis supplied)
The Paez ruling was reiterated in Bwalya v. Zambia,[140] which involved a political activist and
prisoner of conscience who continued to be intimidated, harassed, and restricted in his
movements following his release from detention. In a catena of cases, the ruling of the
Committee was of a similar import: Bahamonde v. Equatorial Guinea,[141] involving
discrimination, intimidation and persecution of opponents of the ruling party in that state;

Tshishimbi v. Zaire,[142] involving the abduction of the complainants husband who was a
supporter of democratic reform in Zaire; Dias v. Angola,[143] involving the murder of the
complainants partner and the harassment he (complainant) suffered because of his investigation
of the murder; and Chongwe v. Zambia,[144] involving an assassination attempt on the chairman
of an opposition alliance.
Similarly, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has interpreted the right to security not
only as prohibiting the State from arbitrarily depriving liberty, but imposing a positive duty on
the State to afford protection of the right to liberty.[145] The ECHR interpreted the right to
security of person under Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights in the leading
case on disappearance of persons, Kurt v. Turkey.[146] In this case, the claimants son had been
arrested by state authorities and had not been seen since. The familys requests for information
and investigation regarding his whereabouts proved futile. The claimant suggested that this was
a violation of her sons right to security of person. The ECHR ruled, viz:

... any deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity with the substantive
and procedural rules of national law but must equally be in keeping with the very purpose of
Article 5, namely to protect the individual from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that
individual it is incumbent on the authorities to account for his or her whereabouts. For this
reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective measures to
safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt effective investigation into
an arguable claim that a person has been taken into custody and has not been seen since.[147]
(emphasis supplied)
Applying the foregoing concept of the right to security of person to the case at bar, we now
determine whether there is a continuing violation of respondents right to security.
First, the violation of the right to security as freedom from threat to respondents life, liberty and
security.

While respondents were detained, they were threatened that if they escaped, their families,
including them, would be killed. In Raymonds narration, he was tortured and poured with
gasoline after he was caught the first time he attempted to escape from Fort Magsaysay. A call
from a certain Mam, who wanted to see him before he was killed, spared him.

This time, respondents have finally escaped. The condition of the threat to be killed has come to
pass. It should be stressed that they are now free from captivity not because they were released
by virtue of a lawful order or voluntarily freed by their abductors. It ought to be recalled that
towards the end of their ordeal, sometime in June 2007 when respondents were detained in a
camp in Limay, Bataan, respondents captors even told them that they were still deciding
whether they should be executed. Respondent Raymond Manalo attested in his affidavit, viz:

Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 na araw pagkalipas.
Sinabi sa amin na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung
papatayin kami o hindi.[148]

The possibility of respondents being executed stared them in the eye while they were in
detention. With their escape, this continuing threat to their life is apparent, moreso now that they

have surfaced and implicated specific officers in the military not only in their own abduction and
torture, but also in those of other persons known to have disappeared such as Sherlyn Cadapan,
Karen Empeo, and Manuel Merino, among others.

Understandably, since their escape, respondents have been under concealment and protection
by private citizens because of the threat to their life, liberty and security. The threat vitiates their
free will as they are forced to limit their movements or activities.[149] Precisely because
respondents are being shielded from the perpetrators of their abduction, they cannot be
expected to show evidence of overt acts of threat such as face-to-face intimidation or written
threats to their life, liberty and security. Nonetheless, the circumstances of respondents
abduction, detention, torture and escape reasonably support a conclusion that there is an
apparent threat that they will again be abducted, tortured, and this time, even executed. These
constitute threats to their liberty, security, and life, actionable through a petition for a writ of
amparo.

Next, the violation of the right to security as protection by the government. Apart from the failure
of military elements to provide protection to respondents by themselves perpetrating the
abduction, detention, and torture, they also miserably failed in conducting an effective
investigation of respondents abduction as revealed by the testimony and investigation report of
petitioners own witness, Lt. Col. Ruben Jimenez, Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry Division.

The one-day investigation conducted by Jimenez was very limited, superficial, and one-sided. He
merely relied on the Sworn Statements of the six implicated members of the CAFGU and civilians
whom he met in the investigation for the first time. He was present at the investigation when his
subordinate Lingad was taking the sworn statements, but he did not propound a single question
to ascertain the veracity of their statements or their credibility. He did not call for other witnesses
to test the alibis given by the six implicated persons nor for the family or neighbors of the
respondents.

In his affidavit, petitioner Secretary of National Defense attested that in a Memorandum Directive
dated October 31, 2007, he issued a policy directive addressed to the AFP Chief of Staff, that the
AFP should adopt rules of action in the event the writ of amparo is issued by a competent court
against any members of the AFP, which should essentially include verification of the identity of
the aggrieved party; recovery and preservation of relevant evidence; identification of witnesses
and securing statements from them; determination of the cause, manner, location and time of
death or disappearance; identification and apprehension of the person or persons involved in the
death or disappearance; and bringing of the suspected offenders before a competent court.[150]
Petitioner AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit attesting that he received the above
directive of respondent Secretary of National Defense and that acting on this directive, he
immediately caused to be issued a directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of
establishing the circumstances of the alleged disappearance and the recent reappearance of the
respondents, and undertook to provide results of the investigations to respondents.[151] To this
day, however, almost a year after the policy directive was issued by petitioner Secretary of
National Defense on October 31, 2007, respondents have not been furnished the results of the
investigation which they now seek through the instant petition for a writ of amparo.

Under these circumstances, there is substantial evidence to warrant the conclusion that there is
a violation of respondents right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government.

In sum, we conclude that respondents right to security as freedom from threat is violated by the
apparent threat to their life, liberty and security of person. Their right to security as a guarantee
of protection by the government is likewise violated by the ineffective investigation and
protection on the part of the military.

Finally, we come to the reliefs granted by the Court of Appeals, which petitioners question.
First, that petitioners furnish respondents all official and unofficial reports of the investigation
undertaken in connection with their case, except those already in file with the court.
Second, that petitioners confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt.
Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas.

Third, that petitioners cause to be produced to the Court of Appeals all medical reports, records
and charts, and reports of any treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if
any, to the Manalo brothers, to include a list of medical personnel (military and civilian) who
attended to them from February 14, 2006 until August 12, 2007.

With respect to the first and second reliefs, petitioners argue that the production order sought by
respondents partakes of the characteristics of a search warrant. Thus, they claim that the
requisites for the issuance of a search warrant must be complied with prior to the grant of the
production order, namely: (1) the application must be under oath or affirmation; (2) the search
warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized; (3) there
exists probable cause with one specific offense; and (4) the probable cause must be personally
determined by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce.[152] In the case at bar, however, petitioners point out that other
than the bare, self-serving and vague allegations made by respondent Raymond Manalo in his
unverified declaration and affidavit, the documents respondents seek to be produced are only
mentioned generally by name, with no other supporting details. They also argue that the
relevancy of the documents to be produced must be apparent, but this is not true in the present
case as the involvement of petitioners in the abduction has not been shown.

Petitioners arguments do not hold water. The production order under the Amparo Rule should not
be confused with a search warrant for law enforcement under Article III, Section 2 of the 1987
Constitution. This Constitutional provision is a protection of the people from the unreasonable
intrusion of the government, not a protection of the government from the demand of the people
such as respondents.

Instead, the amparo production order may be likened to the production of documents or things
under Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil Procedure which provides in relevant part, viz:

Section 1. Motion for production or inspection order.

Upon motion of any party showing good cause therefor, the court in which an action is pending
may (a) order any party to produce and permit the inspection and copying or photographing, by
or on behalf of the moving party, of any designated documents, papers, books of accounts,
letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, not privileged, which constitute or contain
evidence material to any matter involved in the action and which are in his possession, custody
or control

In Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. v. Judge Natividad,[153] the respondent judge, under authority
of Rule 27, issued a subpoena duces tecum for the production and inspection of among others,
the books and papers of Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. The company questioned the issuance of
the subpoena on the ground that it violated the search and seizure clause. The Court struck
down the argument and held that the subpoena pertained to a civil procedure that cannot be
identified or confused with unreasonable searches prohibited by the Constitution
Moreover, in his affidavit, petitioner AFP Chief of Staff himself undertook to provide results of the
investigations conducted or to be conducted by the concerned unit relative to the circumstances
of the alleged disappearance of the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been sought
for as soon as the same has been furnished Higher headquarters.

With respect to the second and third reliefs, petitioners assert that the disclosure of the present
places of assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas, as well as the
submission of a list of medical personnel, is irrelevant, improper, immaterial, and unnecessary in
the resolution of the petition for a writ of amparo. They add that it will unnecessarily compromise
and jeopardize the exercise of official functions and duties of military officers and even
unwittingly and unnecessarily expose them to threat of personal injury or even death.

On the contrary, the disclosure of the present places of assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie
Castillo and Donald Caigas, whom respondents both directly implicated as perpetrators behind
their abduction and detention, is relevant in ensuring the safety of respondents by avoiding their
areas of territorial jurisdiction. Such disclosure would also help ensure that these military officers
can be served with notices and court processes in relation to any investigation and action for
violation of the respondents rights. The list of medical personnel is also relevant in securing
information to create the medical history of respondents and make appropriate medical
interventions, when applicable and necessary.

In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and security, these rights are
snuffed out from victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. The writ of amparo is
a tool that gives voice to preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals dated December 26, 2007 is affirmed.

SO ORDERED.

Secretary of National Defense vs. Manalo G.R. No. 180906, October 7, 2008

Facts: The brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, farmers from Bulacan who were suspected of
being members of the New Peoples Army, were forcibly taken from their home, detained in
various locations, and tortured by CAFGU and military units. After several days in captivity, the
brothers Raymond and Reynaldo recognized their abductors as members of the armed forces led
by General Jovito Palparan. They also learned that they were being held in place for their brother,
Bestre, a suspected leader of the communist insurgents. While in captivity, they met other
desaperacidos (including the still-missing University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno
and Sherlyn Cadapan) who were also suspected of being communist insurgents and members of
the NPA. After eighteen months of restrained liberty, torture and other dehumanizing acts, the
brothers were able to escape and file a petition for the writ of amparo.

Issue: Whether or not the right to freedom from fear is or can be protected by existing laws.

Held: Yes. The right to the security of person is not merely a textual hook in Article III, Section 2
of the Constitution. At its core is the immunity of ones person against government intrusion. The
right to security of person is freedom from fear, a guarantee of bodily and psychological
integrity and security.
To whom may the oppressed, the little ones, the desaperacidos, run to, if the Orwellian sword of
the State, wielded recklessly by the military or under the guise of police power, is directed
against them? The law thus gives the remedy of the writ of amparo, in addition to the rights and
liberties already protected by the Bill of Rights. Amparo, literally meaning to protect, is borne
out of the long history of Latin American and Philippine human rights abusesoften perpetrated
by the armed forces against farmers thought to be communist insurgents, anarchists or brigands.
The writ serves to both prevent and cure extralegal killings, enforced disappearances, and
threats thereof, giving the powerless a powerful remedy to ensure their rights, liberties, and
dignity. Amparo, a triumph of natural law that has been embodied in positive law, gives voice to
the preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls.

11.

REYES VS CA

For resolution is the petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the February
4, 2008 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. No. 00011 which dismissed the
petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo under A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, as amended. It also
assails the CAs Resolution dated March 25, 2008, denying petitioners motion for reconsideration
of the aforesaid February 4, 2008 Decision.

The undisputed facts as found by the CA are as follows:

Petitioner was among those arrested in the Manila Peninsula Hotel siege on November 30, 2007.
In the morning of November 30, 2007, petitioner together with fifty (50) others, were brought to
Camp Crame to await inquest proceedings. In the evening of the same day, the Department of
Justice (DOJ) Panel of Prosecutors, composed of Emmanuel Y. Velasco, Phillip L. Dela Cruz and
Aristotle M. Reyes, conducted inquest proceedings to ascertain whether or not there was
probable cause to hold petitioner and the others for trial on charges of Rebellion and/or Inciting
to Rebellion.

On December 1, 2007, upon the request of the Department of Interior and Local Government
(DILG), respondent DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzales issued Hold Departure Order (HDO) No. 45
ordering respondent Commissioner of Immigration to include in the Hold Departure List of the
Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) the name of petitioner and 49 others relative to the
aforementioned case in the interest of national security and public safety.

On December 2, 2007, after finding probable cause against petitioner and 36 others for the
crime of Rebellion under Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, the DOJ Panel of Prosecutors filed
an Information docketed as I.S. No. 2007-1045 before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 150 of
Makati City.

On December 7, 2007, petitioner filed a Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause and
Release of the Accused Fr. Reyes Upon Recognizance asserting that the DOJ panel failed to
produce any evidence indicating his specific participation in the crime charged; and that under
the Constitution, the determination of probable cause must be made personally by a judge.

On December 13, 2007, the RTC issued an Order dismissing the charge for Rebellion against
petitioner and 17 others for lack of probable cause. The trial court ratiocinated that the evidence
submitted by the DOJ Panel of Investigating Prosecutors failed to show that petitioner and the
other accused-civilians conspired and confederated with the accused-soldiers in taking arms
against the government; that petitioner and other accused-civilians were arrested because they
ignored the call of the police despite the deadline given to them to come out from the 2nd Floor
of the Hotel and submit themselves to the police authorities; that mere presence at the scene of
the crime and expressing ones sentiments on electoral and political reforms did not make them
conspirators absent concrete evidence that the accused-civilians knew beforehand the intent of
the accused-soldiers to commit rebellion; and that the cooperation which the law penalizes must
be one that is knowingly and intentionally rendered.

On December 18, 2007, petitioners counsel Atty. Francisco L. Chavez wrote the DOJ Secretary
requesting the lifting of HDO No. 45 in view of the dismissal of Criminal Case No. 07-3126.

On even date, Secretary Gonzales replied to petitioners letter stating that the DOJ could not act
on petitioners request until Atty. Chavezs right to represent petitioner is settled in view of the
fact that a certain Atty. J. V. Bautista representing himself as counsel of petitioner had also
written a letter to the DOJ.

On January 3, 2008, petitioner filed the instant petition claiming that despite the dismissal of the
rebellion case against petitioner, HDO No. 45 still subsists; that on December 19, 2007, petitioner
was held by BID officials at the NAIA as his name is included in the Hold Departure List; that had
it not been for the timely intervention of petitioners counsel, petitioner would not have been able
to take his scheduled flight to Hong Kong; that on December 26, 2007, petitioner was able to fly
back to the Philippines from Hong Kong but every time petitioner would present himself at the
NAIA for his flights abroad, he stands to be detained and interrogated by BID officers because of
the continued inclusion of his name in the Hold Departure List; and that the Secretary of Justice
has not acted on his request for the lifting of HDO No. 45. Petitioner further maintained that
immediate recourse to the Supreme Court for the availment of the writ is exigent as the
continued restraint on petitioners right to travel is illegal.

On January 24, 2008, respondents represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed
the Return of the Writ raising the following affirmative defenses: 1) that the Secretary of Justice is
authorized to issue Hold Departure Orders under the DOJ Circulars No. 17, Series of 1998[2] and
No. 18 Series of 2007[3] pursuant to his mandate under the Administrative Code of 1987 as
ahead of the principal law agency of the government; 2) that HDO No. 45 dated December 1,
2007 was issued by the Sec. Gonzales in the course of the preliminary investigation of the case
against herein petitioner upon the request of the DILG; 3) that the lifting of HDO No. 45 is
premature in view of public respondents pending Motion for Reconsideration dated January 3,
2008 filed by the respondents of the Order dated December 13, 2007 of the RTC dismissing
Criminal Case No. 07-3126 for Rebellion for lack of probable cause; 4) that petitioner failed to
exhaust administrative remedies by filing a motion to lift HDO No. 45 before the DOJ; and 5) that
the constitutionality of Circulars No. 17 and 18 can not be attacked collaterally in an amparo
proceeding.

During the hearing on January 25, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at the Paras Hall of the Court of Appeals,
counsels for both parties appeared. Petitioners counsel Atty. Francisco Chavez manifested that
petitioner is currently in Hong Kong; that every time petitioner would leave and return to the
country, the immigration officers at the NAIA detain and interrogate him for several minutes
because of the existing HDO; that the power of the DOJ Secretary to issue HDO has no legal
basis; and that petitioner did not file a motion to lift the HDO before the RTC nor the DOJ because
to do so would be tantamount to recognizing the power of the DOJ Secretary to issue HDO.

For respondents part, the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG) maintained that the Secretary of
the DOJs power to issue HDO springs from its mandate under the Administrative Code to
investigate and prosecute offenders as the principal law agency of the government; that in its
ten-year existence, the constitutionality of DOJ Circular No. 17 has not been challenged except

now; and that on January 3, 2008, the DOJ Panel of Investigating Prosecutors had filed a Motion
for Reconsideration of the Order of Dismissal of the trial court.

On February 1, 2008, petitioner filed a Manifestation attaching thereto a copy of the Order dated
January 31, 2008 of the trial court denying respondent DOJs Motion for Reconsideration for utter
lack of merit. The trial court also observed that the said Motion should be dismissed outright for
being filed out of time. [4]

The petition for a writ of amparo is anchored on the ground that respondents violated petitioners
constitutional right to travel. Petitioner argues that the DOJ Secretary has no power to issue a
Hold Departure Order (HDO) and the subject HDO No. 45 has no legal basis since Criminal Case
No. 07-3126 has already been dismissed.

On February 4, 2008, the CA rendered the assailed Decision dismissing the petition and denying
the privilege of the writ of amparo.

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration[5] thereon was also denied in the assailed Resolution[6]
dated March 25, 2008.

Hence, the present petition which is based on the following grounds:

I.

THE DOJ SECRETARYS ARROGATION OF POWER AND USURPATION OF AUTHORITY TO ISSUE A


HOLD DEPARTURE ORDER CANNOT BE JUSTIFIED THROUGH A RATIONALE THAT IT HAS
SUPPOSEDLY BEEN REGULARLY EXERCISED IN THE PAST OR HAS NEVER BEEN QUESTIONED (IN
THE PAST).

II.

THE DOJ HAS CLAIMED A POWER TO ISSUE AN HDO INDEPENDENT OF THAT OF THE REGIONAL
TRIAL COURTS, HENCE, PETITIONER CANNOT MERELY RELY ON THE RESIDUAL POWER OF THE RTC
MAKATI IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. 07-3126 TO ASSAIL SUCH CLAIMED POWER.

III.

THE UTMOST EXIGENCY OF THE PETITION IS EXEMPLIFIED BY THE CONTINUING ACTUAL


RESTRAINT ON PETITIONERS RIGHT TO TRAVEL THROUGH THE MAINTENANCE OF HIS NAME IN

THE HDO LIST AND DOES NOT SIMPLY HINGE ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT
PETITIONER WAS ABLE TO TRAVEL DESPITE SUCH A RESTRAINT.

IV.

DOJ CIRCULAR 17 SERIES OF 1998 PROVIDES NO STATUTORY BASIS FOR THE DOJ SECRETARYS
CLAIMED POWER TO ISSUE AN HDO FOR IT IS NOT A STATUTE. THE CIRCULAR ITSELF APPEARS
NOT TO BE BASED ON ANY STATUTE, HENCE, IT DOES NOT HAVE THE FORCE OF LAW AND NEED
NOT BE ATTACKED IN A DIRECT PROCEEDING.[7]

Petitioner maintains that the writ of amparo does not only exclusively apply to situations of
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances but encompasses the whole gamut of liberties
protected by the Constitution. Petitioner argues that [liberty] includes the right to exist and the
right to be free from arbitrary personal restraint or servitude and includes the right of the citizens
to be free to use his faculties in all lawful ways. Part of the right to liberty guaranteed by the
Constitution is the right of a person to travel.

In their Comment,[8] both respondents Secretary Gonzalez and Commissioner Libanan argue
that: 1) HDO No. 45 was validly issued by the Secretary of Justice in accordance with Department
of Justice Circular No. 17, Series of 1998,[9] and Circular No. 18, Series of 2007,[10] which were
issued pursuant to said Secretarys mandate under the Administrative Code of 1987, as head of
the principal law agency of the government, to investigate the commission of crimes, prosecute
offenders, and provide immigration regulatory services; and; 2) the issue of the constitutionality
of the DOJ Secretarys authority to issue hold departure orders under DOJ Circulars Nos. 17 and 18
is not within the ambit of a writ of amparo.

The case hinges on the issue as to whether or not petitioners right to liberty has been violated or
threatened with violation by the issuance of the subject HDO, which would entitle him to the
privilege of the writ of amparo.

The petition must fail.

Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides:

SECTION 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose
right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or
omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.

The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.

The Court, in Secretary of National Defense et al. v. Manalo et al.,[11] made a categorical
pronouncement that the Amparo Rule in its present form is confined to these two instances of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, or to threats thereof, thus:

x x x As 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.[12]

In Tapuz v. Del Rosario,[13] the Court laid down the basic principle regarding the rule on the writ
of amparo as follows:

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.[14]

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. (Emphasis supplied)

Here, petitioner invokes this extraordinary remedy of the writ of amparo for the protection of his
right to travel. He insists that he is entitled to the protection covered by the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo because the HDO is a continuing actual restraint on his right to travel. The Court is thus
called upon to rule whether or not the right to travel is covered by the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo.

The rights that fall within the protective mantle of the Writ of Amparo under Section 1 of the
Rules thereon are the following: (1) right to life; (2) right to liberty; and (3) right to security.

In Secretary of National Defense et al. v. Manalo et al.,[15] the Court explained the concept of
right to life in this wise:

While the right to life under Article III, Section 1 guarantees essentially the right to be alive- upon
which the enjoyment of all other rights is preconditioned - the right to security of person is a
guarantee of the secure quality of this life, viz: The life to which each person has a right is not a
life lived in fear that his person and property may be unreasonably violated by a powerful ruler.
Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that the government he established and consented to,
will protect the security of his person and property. The ideal of security in life and property
pervades the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of mans existence. In a broad sense,
the right to security of person emanates in a persons legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his
life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation. It includes the right to exist, and the right
to enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a deprivation of life but also of
those things which are necessary to the enjoyment of life according to the nature, temperament,
and lawful desires of the individual.[16]

The right to liberty, on the other hand, was defined in the City of Manila, et al. v. Hon. Laguio, Jr.,
[17] in this manner:

Liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include the right to
exist and the right to be free from arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed
into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace
the right of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has been endowed by his Creator, subject
only to such restraint as are necessary for the common welfare. x x x

Secretary of National Defense et al. v. Manalo et al.[18] thoroughly expounded on the import of
the right to security, thus:

A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various permutations of the exercise of
this right.

First, the right to security of person is freedom from fear. In its whereas clauses, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that a world in which human beings shall enjoy
freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the
highest aspiration of the common people. (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate that
freedom from fear is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an individual international
human right. It is the right to security of person as the word security itself means freedom from
fear. Article 3 of the UDHR provides, viz:

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.


xxx

The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR.

In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, freedom from fear is the right and any threat to
the rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a reaction;
threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the same stimulus can range from being
baseless to well-founded as people react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person
to another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of character or past
experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the amparo context, it is more correct to say that the right
to security is actually the freedom from threat. Viewed in this light, the threatened with violation
Clause in the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to
security mentioned in the earlier part of the provision.

Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or
security. Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, ones
body cannot be searched or invaded without a search warrant. Physical injuries inflicted in the
context of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute more than a search or
invasion of the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical
intrusion. As the degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in
criminal law, physical injuries constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to
the bodily integrity or security of a person.

xxx

Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of ones rights by the
government. In the context of the writ of amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the
right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to
security of person (as freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity)
under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the
policy that the State guarantees full respect for human rights under Article II, Section 11 of the
1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the
Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective
if government does not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under threat.
Protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government
apparatus to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or
threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. x x x (emphasis
supplied) [19]
The right to travel refers to the right to move from one place to another.[20] As we have stated
in Marcos v. Sandiganbayan,[21] xxx a persons right to travel is subject to the usual constraints
imposed by the very necessity of safeguarding the system of justice. In such cases, whether the
accused should be permitted to leave the jurisdiction for humanitarian reasons is a matter of the
courts sound discretion. [22]

Here, the restriction on petitioners right to travel as a consequence of the pendency of the
criminal case filed against him was not unlawful. Petitioner has also failed to establish that his
right to travel was impaired in the manner and to the extent that it amounted to a serious
violation of his right to life, liberty and security, for which there exists no readily available legal
recourse or remedy.

In Canlas et al. v. Napico Homeowners Association I XIII, Inc. et al.,[23] this Court ruled that:

This new remedy of writ of amparo which is made available by this Court is intended for the
protection of the highest possible rights of any person, which is his or her right to life, liberty and
security. The Court will not spare any time or effort on its part in order to give priority to petitions
of this nature. However, the Court will also not waste its precious time and effort on matters not
covered by the writ.

We find the direct recourse to this Court inappropriate, considering the provision of Section 22 of
the Rule on the Writ of Amparo which reads:

Section 22. Effect of Filing of a Criminal Action. When a criminal action has been commenced, no
separate petition for the writ shall be filed. The reliefs under the writ shall be available by motion
in the criminal case.

The procedure under this Rule shall govern the disposition of the reliefs available under the writ
of amparo.

Pursuant to the aforementioned Section 22, petitioner should have filed with the RTC-Makati a
motion to lift HDO No. 45 in Criminal Case No. 07-3126. Petitioner, however, did not file in the
RTC-Makati a motion to lift the DOJs HDO, as his co-accused did in the same criminal case.
Petitioner argues that it was not the RTC-Makati but the DOJ that issued the said HDO, and that it
is his intention not to limit his remedy to the lifting of the HDO but also to question before this
Court the constitutionality of the power of the DOJ Secretary to issue an HDO.[24] We quote with
approval the CAs ruling on this matter:

The said provision [Section 22] is an affirmation by the Supreme Court of its pronouncement in
Crespo v. Mogul[25] that once a complaint or information is filed in court, any disposition of the
case such as its dismissal or its continuation rests on the sound discretion of the court. Despite
the denial of respondents MR of the dismissal of the case against petitioner, the trial court has
not lost control over Criminal Case No. 07-3126 which is still pending before it. By virtue of its
residual power, the court a quo retains the authority to entertain incidents in the instant case to
the exclusion of even this Court. The relief petitioner seeks which is the lifting of the HDO was
and is available by motion in the criminal case. (Sec. 22, Rule on the Writ of amparo, supra).[26]

Even in civil cases pending before the trial courts, the Court has no authority to separately and
directly intervene through the writ of amparo, as elucidated in Tapuz v. Del Rosario,[27] thus:

Where, as in this case, there is an ongoing civil process dealing directly with the possessory
dispute and the reported acts of violence and harassment, we see no point in separately and
directly intervening through a writ of amparo in the absence of any clear prima facie showing
that the right to life, liberty or securitythe personal concern that the writ is intended to
protectis immediately in danger or threatened, or that the danger or threat is continuing. We
see no legal bar, however, to an application for the issuance of the writ, in a proper case, by
motion in a pending case on appeal or on certiorari, applying by analogy the provisions on the
co-existence of the writ with a separately filed criminal case.

Additionally, petitioner is seeking the extraordinary writ of amparo due to his apprehension that
the DOJ may deny his motion to lift the HDO.[28] Petitioners apprehension is at best merely
speculative. Thus, he has failed to show any clear threat to his right to liberty actionable through
a petition for a writ of amparo. The absence of an actual controversy also renders it unnecessary
for us on this occasion to pass upon the constitutionality of DOJ Circular No. 17, Series of 1998
(Prescribing Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuance of Hold Departure Orders); and
Circular No. 18, Series of 2007 (Prescribing Rules and Regulations Governing the Issuance and
Implementation of Watchlist Orders and for Other Purposes).

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The assailed Decision of the CA dated February 4, 2008
in CA-G.R. No. 00011 is hereby AFFIRMED.

FR. REYES V. GONZALES (2009)


G.R. No. 182161 December 3, 2009

FACTS:
Fr. Reyes was among of those who were arrested during the Manila Peninsula Hotel siege,
30th of November, 2007 and they were temporarily held at Camp Crame. A Hold Departure Order
(HDO) for the petitioner and to the other accused was issued by the DOJ upon the request of the
Department of Interior and Local Government. Probable cause was found during investigation
and petitioner was charged with rebellion. The RTC however dismissed the charge against him
but the HDO was still in effect. Petitioner requested that HDO should be lifted in view of the
dismissal of the criminal case. Petitioner argued that a writ of amparo should be issued against
the respondents, violating the whole breadth of rights enshrined in the Constitution, specifically,
his right to travel.

ISSUE: Whether the right to travel is covered by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.

RULING:
No. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to
life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of
a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal
killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.
The restriction on petitioners right to travel as a consequence of the pendency of the
criminal case filed against him was not unlawful. Petitioner has failed to establish that his right to
travel was impaired in the manner and to the extent that it amounted to a serious violation of his
right to life, liberty and security, for which there exists no readily available legal recourse or
remedy.
A persons right to travel is subject to the usual constraints imposed by the very
necessity of safeguarding the system of justice. In such cases, whether the accused should be
permitted to leave the jurisdiction for humanitarian reasons is a matter of the courts sound
discretion.

12.

RUBRICO VS GMA

In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 19[1] of the
Rule on the Writ of Amparo[2] (Amparo Rule), Lourdes D. Rubrico, Jean Rubrico Apruebo, and

Mary Joy Rubrico Carbonel assail and seek to set aside the Decision[3] of the Court of Appeals
(CA) dated July 31, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 00003, a petition commenced under the Amparo Rule.

The petition for the writ of amparo dated October 25, 2007 was originally filed before this Court.
After issuing the desired writ and directing the respondents to file a verified written return, the
Court referred the petition to the CA for summary hearing and appropriate action. The petition
and its attachments contained, in substance, the following allegations:
1. On April 3, 2007, armed men belonging to the 301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron
(AISS, for short) based in Fernando Air Base in Lipa City abducted Lourdes D. Rubrico (Lourdes),
then attending a Lenten pabasa in Bagong Bayan, Dasmarias, Cavite, and brought to, and
detained at, the air base without charges. Following a week of relentless interrogation conducted alternately by hooded individuals - and what amounts to verbal abuse and mental
harassment, Lourdes, chair of the Ugnayan ng Maralita para sa Gawa Adhikan, was released at
Dasmarias, Cavite, her hometown, but only after being made to sign a statement that she would
be a military asset.

After Lourdes release, the harassment, coming in the form of being tailed on at least two
occasions at different places, i.e., Dasmarias, Cavite and Baclaran in Pasay City, by motorcycleriding men in bonnets, continued;

2. During the time Lourdes was missing, P/Sr. Insp. Arsenio Gomez (P/Insp. Gomez), then substation commander of Bagong Bayan, Dasmarias, Cavite, kept sending text messages to Lourdes
daughter, Mary Joy R. Carbonel (Mary Joy), bringing her to beaches and asking her questions
about Karapatan, an alliance of human rights organizations. He, however, failed to make an
investigation even after Lourdes disappearance had been made known to him;

3. A week after Lourdes release, another daughter, Jean R. Apruebo (Jean), was constrained to
leave their house because of the presence of men watching them;

4. Lourdes has filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a criminal complaint for kidnapping and
arbitrary detention and administrative complaint for gross abuse of authority and grave
misconduct against Capt. Angelo Cuaresma (Cuaresma), Ruben Alfaro (Alfaro), Jimmy Santana
(Santana) and a certain Jonathan, c/o Headquarters 301st AISS, Fernando Air Base and Maj.
Sy/Reyes with address at No. 09 Amsterdam Ext., Merville Subd., Paraaque City, but nothing has
happened; and the threats and harassment incidents have been reported to the Dasmarias
municipal and Cavite provincial police stations, but nothing eventful resulted from their
respective investigations.

Two of the four witnesses to Lourdes abduction went into hiding after being visited by
government agents in civilian clothes; and

5. Karapatan conducted an investigation on the incidents. The investigation would indicate that
men belonging to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), namely Capt. Cuaresma of the
Philippine Air Force (PAF), Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan and Maj. Darwin Sy/Reyes, led the abduction

of Lourdes; that unknown to the abductors, Lourdes was able to pilfer a mission order which was
addressed to CA Ruben Alfaro and signed by Capt. Cuaresma of the PAF.

The petition prayed that a writ of amparo issue, ordering the individual respondents to desist
from performing any threatening act against the security of the petitioners and for the Office of
the Ombudsman (OMB) to immediately file an information for kidnapping qualified with the
aggravating circumstance of gender of the offended party. It also prayed for damages and for
respondents to produce documents submitted to any of them on the case of Lourdes.

Before the CA, respondents President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, then
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Police Director-General (P/Dir. Gen.) Avelino
Razon, then Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Police Superintendent (P/Supt.) Roquero of the
Cavite Police Provincial Office, Police Inspector (P/Insp.) Gomez, now retired, and the OMB
(answering respondents, collectively) filed, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), a
joint return on the writ specifically denying the material inculpatory averments against them. The
OSG also denied the allegations against the following impleaded persons, namely: Cuaresma,
Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes, for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a
belief as to the allegations truth. And by way of general affirmative defenses, answering
respondents interposed the following defenses: (1) the President may not be sued during her
incumbency; and (2) the petition is incomplete, as it fails to indicate the matters required by Sec.
5(d) and (e) of the Amparo Rule.[4]

Attached to the return were the affidavits of the following, among other public officials,
containing their respective affirmative defenses and/or statements of what they had undertaken
or committed to undertake regarding the claimed disappearance of Lourdes and the harassments
made to bear on her and her daughters:

1. Gen. Esperon attested that, pursuant to a directive of then Secretary of National Defense
(SND) Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr., he ordered the Commanding General of the PAF, with information
to all concerned units, to conduct an investigation to establish the circumstances behind the
disappearance and the reappearance of Lourdes insofar as the involvement of alleged
personnel/unit is concerned. The Provost Marshall General and the Office of the Judge Advocate
General (JAGO), AFP, also undertook a parallel action.

Gen. Esperon manifested his resolve to provide the CA with material results of the investigation;
to continue with the probe on the alleged abduction of Lourdes and to bring those responsible,
including military personnel, to the bar of justice when warranted by the findings and the
competent evidence that may be gathered in the investigation process by those mandated to
look into the matter;[5]

2. P/Dir. Gen. Razon - stated that an investigation he immediately ordered upon receiving a copy
of the petition is on-going vis--vis Lourdes abduction, and that a background verification with the
PNP Personnel Accounting and Information System disclosed that the names Santana, Alfaro,
Cuaresma and one Jonathan do not appear in the police personnel records, although the PNP files
carry the name of Darwin Reyes Y. Muga.

Per the initial investigation report of the Dasmarias municipal police station, P/Dir. Gen. Razon
disclosed, Lourdes was abducted by six armed men in the afternoon of April 3, 2007 and dragged
aboard a Toyota Revo with plate number XRR 428, which plate was issued for a Mitsubishi van to
AK Cottage Industry with address at 9 Amsterdam St., Merville Subd., Paraaque City. The person
residing in the apartment on that given address is one Darius/Erwin See @ Darius Reyes
allegedly working, per the latters house helper, in Camp Aguinaldo.

P/Dir. Gen. Razon, however, bemoaned the fact that Mrs. Rubrico never contacted nor
coordinated with the local police or other investigating units of the PNP after her release,
although she is in the best position to establish the identity of her abductors and/or provide
positive description through composite sketching. Nonetheless, he manifested that the PNP is
ready to assist and protect the petitioners and the key witnesses from threats, harassments and
intimidation from whatever source and, at the same time, to assist the Court in the
implementation of its orders.[6]

3. P/Supt. Roquero stated conducting, upon receipt of Lourdes complaint, an investigation and
submitting the corresponding report to the PNP Calabarzon, observing that neither Lourdes nor
her relatives provided the police with relevant information;

4. P/Insp. Gomez alleged that Lourdes, her kin and witnesses refused to cooperate with the
investigating Cavite PNP; and

5. Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro - alleged that cases for violation of Articles 267
and 124, or kidnapping and arbitrary detention, respectively, have been filed with, and are under
preliminary investigation by the OMB against those believed to be involved in Lourdes
kidnapping; that upon receipt of the petition for a writ of amparo, proper coordination was made
with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and other Law Enforcement Offices
(MOLEO) where the subject criminal and administrative complaints were filed.

Commenting on the return, petitioners pointed out that the return was no more than a general
denial of averments in the petition. They, thus, pleaded to be allowed to present evidence ex
parte against the President, Santana, Alfaro, Capt. Cuaresma, Darwin Sy, and Jonathan. And with
leave of court, they also asked to serve notice of the petition through publication, owing to their
failure to secure the current address of the latter five and thus submit, as the CA required, proof
of service of the petition on them.

The hearing started on November 13, 2007.[7] In that setting, petitioners counsel prayed for the
issuance of a temporary protection order (TPO) against the answering respondents on the basis
of the allegations in the petition. At the hearing of November 20, 2007, the CA granted
petitioners motion that the petition and writ be served by the courts process server on Darwin
Sy/Reyes, Santana, Alfaro, Capt. Cuaresma, and Jonathan.

The legal skirmishes that followed over the propriety of excluding President Arroyo from the
petition, petitioners motions for service by publication, and the issuance of a TPO are not of
decisive pertinence in this recital. The bottom line is that, by separate resolutions, the CA
dropped the President as respondent in the case; denied the motion for a TPO for the courts want
of authority to issue it in the tenor sought by petitioners; and effectively denied the motion for
notice by publication owing to petitioners failure to submit the affidavit required under Sec. 17,
Rule 14 of the Rules of Court.[8]

After due proceedings, the CA rendered, on July 31, 2008, its partial judgment, subject of this
review, disposing of the petition but only insofar as the answering respondents were concerned.
The fallo of the CA decision reads as follows:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, partial judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the instant
petition with respect to respondent Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon, Supt.
Edgar B. Roquero, P/Sr. Insp. Arsenio C. Gomez (ret.) and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Nevertheless, in order that petitioners complaint will not end up as another unsolved case, the
heads of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are directed to
ensure that the investigations already commenced are diligently pursued to bring the
perpetrators to justice. The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and P/Dir. Gen.
Avelino Razon are directed to regularly update petitioners and this Court on the status of their
investigation.

SO ORDERED.

In this recourse, petitioners formulate the issue for resolution in the following wise:

WHETHER OR NOT the [CA] committed reversible error in dismissing [their] Petition and dropping
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as party respondent.

Petitioners first take issue on the Presidents purported lack of immunity from suit during her term
of office. The 1987 Constitution, so they claim, has removed such immunity heretofore enjoyed
by the chief executive under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions.

Petitioners are mistaken. The presidential immunity from suit remains preserved under our
system of government, albeit not expressly reserved in the present constitution. Addressing a
concern of his co-members in the 1986 Constitutional Commission on the absence of an express
provision on the matter, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. observed that it was already understood in
jurisprudence that the President may not be sued during his or her tenure.[9] The Court

subsequently made it abundantly clear in David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, a case likewise resolved


under the umbrella of the 1987 Constitution, that indeed the President enjoys immunity during
her incumbency, and why this must be so:

Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may
not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution
or law. It will degrade the dignity of the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can
be dragged into court litigations while serving as such. Furthermore, it is important that he be
freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or distraction to enable him to fully attend to the
performance of his official duties and functions. Unlike the legislative and judicial branch, only
one constitutes the executive branch and anything which impairs his usefulness in the discharge
of the many great and important duties imposed upon him by the Constitution necessarily
impairs the operation of the Government.[10] x x x

And lest it be overlooked, the petition is simply bereft of any allegation as to what specific
presidential act or omission violated or threatened to violate petitioners protected rights.

This brings us to the correctness of the assailed dismissal of the petition with respect to Gen.
Esperon, P/Dir. Gen. Razon, P/Supt. Roquero, P/Insp. Gomez, and the OMB.

None of the four individual respondents immediately referred to above has been implicated as
being connected to, let alone as being behind, the alleged abduction and harassment of
petitioner Lourdes. Their names were not even mentioned in Lourdes Sinumpaang Salaysay[11]
of April 2007. The same goes for the respective Sinumpaang Salaysay and/or Karagdagang
Sinumpaang Salaysay of Jean[12] and Mary Joy.[13]

As explained by the CA, Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon were included in the case on the
theory that they, as commanders, were responsible for the unlawful acts allegedly committed by
their subordinates against petitioners. To the appellate court, the privilege of the writ of amparo
must be denied as against Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon for the simple reason that
petitioners have not presented evidence showing that those who allegedly abducted and illegally
detained Lourdes and later threatened her and her family were, in fact, members of the military
or the police force. The two generals, the CAs holding broadly hinted, would have been
accountable for the abduction and threats if the actual malefactors were members of the AFP or
PNP.

As regards the three other answering respondents, they were impleaded because they allegedly
had not exerted the required extraordinary diligence in investigating and satisfactorily resolving
Lourdes disappearance or bringing to justice the actual perpetrators of what amounted to a
criminal act, albeit there were allegations against P/Insp. Gomez of acts constituting threats
against Mary Joy.

While in a qualified sense tenable, the dismissal by the CA of the case as against Gen. Esperon
and P/Dir. Gen. Razon is incorrect if viewed against the backdrop of the stated rationale
underpinning the assailed decision vis--vis the two generals, i.e., command responsibility. The
Court assumes the latter stance owing to the fact that command responsibility, as a concept
defined, developed, and applied under international law, has little, if at all, bearing in amparo
proceedings.

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.[14] In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity. The
Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command responsibility,[15] foreshadowing
the present-day precept of holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his
subordinates should he be remiss in his duty of control over them. As then formulated, command
responsibility is an omission mode of individual criminal liability, whereby the superior is made
responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to prevent or punish the
perpetrators[16] (as opposed to crimes he ordered).
The doctrine has recently been codified in the Rome Statute[17] of the International Criminal
Court (ICC) to which the Philippines is signatory. Sec. 28 of the Statute imposes individual
responsibility on military commanders for crimes committed by forces under their control. The
country is, however, not yet formally bound by the terms and provisions embodied in this treatystatute, since the Senate has yet to extend concurrence in its ratification.[18]

While there are several pending bills on command responsibility,[19] there is still no Philippine
law that provides for criminal liability under that doctrine.[20]

It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to hold military/police
commanders liable for extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats, may be made
applicable to this jurisdiction on the theory that the command responsibility doctrine now
constitutes a principle of international law or customary international law in accordance with the
incorporation clause of the Constitution.[21] Still, it would be inappropriate to apply to these
proceedings the doctrine of command responsibility, as the CA seemed to have done, as a form
of criminal complicity through omission, for individual respondents criminal liability, if there be
any, is beyond the reach of amparo. In other words, the Court does not rule in such proceedings
on any issue of criminal culpability, even if incidentally a crime or an infraction of an
administrative rule may have been committed. As the Court stressed in Secretary of National
Defense v. Manalo (Manalo),[22] the writ of amparo was conceived to provide expeditious and
effective procedural relief against violations or threats of violation of the basic rights to life,
liberty, and security of persons; the corresponding amparo suit, however, is not an action to
determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt x x x or administrative liability
requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.[23] Of the same
tenor, and by way of expounding on the nature and role of amparo, is what the Court said in
Razon v. Tagitis:

It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance [threats
thereof or extra-judicial killings]; it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the

enforced disappearance [threats thereof or extra-judicial killings] for purposes of imposing the
appropriate remedies to address the disappearance [or extra-judicial killings].

xxxx

As the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are
not crimes penalized separately from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these
killings and enforced disappearances and are now penalized under the Revised Penal Code and
special laws. The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on the matter; the
determination of what acts are criminal x x x are matters of substantive law that only the
Legislature has the power to enact.[24] x x x

If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at


most, be only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the
duty to address, the disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to
devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered
by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to
fix criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to
administrative disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any.

Petitioners, as the CA has declared, have not adduced substantial evidence pointing to
government involvement in the disappearance of Lourdes. To a concrete point, petitioners have
not shown that the actual perpetrators of the abduction and the harassments that followed
formally or informally formed part of either the military or the police chain of command. A
preliminary police investigation report, however, would tend to show a link, however hazy,
between the license plate (XRR 428) of the vehicle allegedly used in the abduction of Lourdes
and the address of Darwin Reyes/Sy, who was alleged to be working in Camp Aguinaldo.[25]
Then, too, there were affidavits and testimonies on events that transpired which, if taken
together, logically point to military involvement in the alleged disappearance of Lourdes, such as,
but not limited to, her abduction in broad daylight, her being forcibly dragged to a vehicle
blindfolded and then being brought to a place where the sounds of planes taking off and landing
could be heard. Mention may also be made of the fact that Lourdes was asked about her
membership in the Communist Party and of being released when she agreed to become an asset.

Still and all, the identities and links to the AFP or the PNP of the alleged abductors, namely
Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes, have yet to be established.

Based on the separate sworn statements of Maj. Paul Ciano[26] and Technical Sergeant John N.
Romano,[27] officer-in-charge and a staff of the 301st AISS, respectively, none of the alleged
abductors of Lourdes belonged to the 301st AISS based in San Fernando Air Base. Neither were
they members of any unit of the Philippine Air Force, per the certification[28] of Col. Raul
Dimatactac, Air Force Adjutant. And as stated in the challenged CA decision, a verification with
the Personnel Accounting and Information System of the PNP yielded the information that, except
for a certain Darwin Reyes y Muga, the other alleged abductors, i.e., Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana
and Jonathan, were not members of the PNP. Petitioners, when given the opportunity to identify

Police Officer 1 Darwin Reyes y Muga, made no effort to confirm if he was the same Maj. Darwin
Reyes a.k.a. Darwin Sy they were implicating in Lourdes abduction.

Petitioners, to be sure, have not successfully controverted answering respondents documentary


evidence, adduced to debunk the formers allegations directly linking Lourdes abductors and
tormentors to the military or the police establishment. We note, in fact, that Lourdes, when
queried on cross-examination, expressed the belief that Sy/Reyes was an NBI agent.[29] The
Court is, of course, aware of what was referred to in Razon[30] as the evidentiary difficulties
presented by the nature of, and encountered by petitioners in, enforced disappearance cases.
But it is precisely for this reason that the Court should take care too that no wrong message is
sent, lest one conclude that any kind or degree of evidence, even the outlandish, would suffice to
secure amparo remedies and protection.

Sec. 17, as complemented by Sec. 18 of the Amparo Rule, expressly prescribes the minimum
evidentiary substantiation requirement and norm to support a cause of action under the Rule,
thus:

Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required.The parties shall establish their
claims by substantial evidence.

xxxx

Sec. 18. Judgment.x x x If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the
court shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate;
otherwise, the privilege shall be denied. (Emphasis added.)

Substantial evidence is more than a mere imputation of wrongdoing or violation that would
warrant a finding of liability against the person charged;[31] it is more than a scintilla of
evidence. It means such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion, even if other equally reasonable minds might opine otherwise.
[32] Per the CAs evaluation of their evidence, consisting of the testimonies and affidavits of the
three Rubrico women and five other individuals, petitioners have not satisfactorily hurdled the
evidentiary bar required of and assigned to them under the Amparo Rule. In a very real sense,
the burden of evidence never even shifted to answering respondents. The Court finds no
compelling reason to disturb the appellate courts determination of the answering respondents
role in the alleged enforced disappearance of petitioner Lourdes and the threats to her familys
security.

Notwithstanding the foregoing findings, the Court notes that both Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen.
Razon, per their separate affidavits, lost no time, upon their receipt of the order to make a return
on the writ, in issuing directives to the concerned units in their respective commands for a
thorough probe of the case and in providing the investigators the necessary support. As of this

date, however, the investigations have yet to be concluded with some definite findings and
recommendation.

As regards P/Supt. Romero and P/Insp. Gomez, the Court is more than satisfied that they have no
direct or indirect hand in the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the threats against
her daughters. As police officers, though, theirs was the duty to thoroughly investigate the
abduction of Lourdes, a duty that would include looking into the cause, manner, and like details
of the disappearance; identifying witnesses and obtaining statements from them; and following
evidentiary leads, such as the Toyota Revo vehicle with plate number XRR 428, and securing and
preserving evidence related to the abduction and the threats that may aid in the prosecution of
the person/s responsible. As we said in Manalo,[33] the right to security, as a guarantee of
protection by the government, is breached by the superficial and one-sidedhence,
ineffectiveinvestigation by the military or the police of reported cases under their jurisdiction. As
found by the CA, the local police stations concerned, including P/Supt. Roquero and P/Insp.
Gomez, did conduct a preliminary fact-finding on petitioners complaint. They could not, however,
make any headway, owing to what was perceived to be the refusal of Lourdes, her family, and
her witnesses to cooperate. Petitioners counsel, Atty. Rex J.M.A. Fernandez, provided a plausible
explanation for his clients and their witnesses attitude, [They] do not trust the government
agencies to protect them.[34] The difficulty arising from a situation where the party whose
complicity in extra-judicial killing or enforced disappearance, as the case may be, is alleged to be
the same party who investigates it is understandable, though.

The seeming reluctance on the part of the Rubricos or their witnesses to cooperate ought not to
pose a hindrance to the police in pursuing, on its own initiative, the investigation in question to
its natural end. To repeat what the Court said in Manalo, the right to security of persons is a
guarantee of the protection of ones right by the government. And this protection includes
conducting effective investigations of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats of
the same kind. The nature and importance of an investigation are captured in the Velasquez
Rodriguez case,[35] in which the Inter-American Court of Human Rights pronounced:

[The duty to investigate] must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality
preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the
State as its own legal duty, not a step taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative
of the victim or his family or upon offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the
government. (Emphasis added.)

This brings us to Mary Joys charge of having been harassed by respondent P/Insp. Gomez. With
the view we take of this incident, there is nothing concrete to support the charge, save for Mary
Joys bare allegations of harassment. We cite with approval the following self-explanatory excerpt
from the appealed CA decision:

In fact, during her cross-examination, when asked what specific act or threat P/Sr. Gomez (ret)
committed against her or her mother and sister, Mary Joy replied None [36]

Similarly, there appears to be no basis for petitioners allegations about the OMB failing to act on
their complaint against those who allegedly abducted and illegally detained Lourdes. Contrary to
petitioners contention, the OMB has taken the necessary appropriate action on said complaint.
As culled from the affidavit[37] of the Deputy Overall Ombudsman and the joint affidavits[38] of
the designated investigators, all dated November 7, 2007, the OMB had, on the basis of said
complaint, commenced criminal[39] and administrative[40] proceedings, docketed as OMB-P-C07-0602-E and OMB-P-A 07-567-E, respectively, against Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan,
and Sy/Reyes. The requisite orders for the submission of counter-affidavits and verified position
papers had been sent out.

The privilege of the writ of amparo, to reiterate, is a remedy available to victims of extra-judicial
killings and enforced disappearances or threats of similar nature, regardless of whether the
perpetrator of the unlawful act or omission is a public official or employee or a private individual.
At this juncture, it bears to state that petitioners have not provided the CA with the correct
addresses of respondents Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes. The mailed
envelopes containing the petition for a writ of amparo individually addressed to each of them
have all been returned unopened. And petitioners motion interposed before the appellate court
for notice or service via publication has not been accompanied by supporting affidavits as
required by the Rules of Court. Accordingly, the appealed CA partial judgmentdisposing of the
underlying petition for a writ of amparo without (1) pronouncement as to the accountability, or
lack of it, of the four non-answering respondents or (2) outright dismissal of the same petition as
to themhews to the prescription of Sec. 20 of the Amparo Rule on archiving and reviving cases.
[41] Parenthetically, petitioners have also not furnished this Court with sufficient data as to
where the afore-named respondents may be served a copy of their petition for review.

Apart from the foregoing considerations, the petition did not allege ultimate facts as would link
the OMB in any manner to the violation or threat of violation of the petitioners rights to life,
liberty, or personal security.

The privilege of the writ of amparo is envisioned basically to protect and guarantee the rights to
life, liberty, and security of persons, free from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of this life.
[42] It is an extraordinary writ conceptualized and adopted in light of and in response to the
prevalence of extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances.[43] Accordingly, the remedy
ought to be resorted to and granted judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the Amparo Rule be
diluted and undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo petitions for purposes less than
the desire to secure amparo reliefs and protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated
allegations.

In their petition for a writ of amparo, petitioners asked, as their main prayer, that the Court order
the impleaded respondents to immediately desist from doing any acts that would threaten or
seem to threaten the security of the Petitioners and to desist from approaching Petitioners, x x x
their residences and offices where they are working under pain of contempt of [this] Court.
Petitioners, however, failed to adduce the threshold substantive evidence to establish the
predicate facts to support their cause of action, i.e., the adverted harassments and threats to
their life, liberty, or security, against responding respondents, as responsible for the
disappearance and harassments complained of. This is not to say, however, that petitioners

allegation on the fact of the abduction incident or harassment is necessarily contrived. The
reality on the ground, however, is that the military or police connection has not been adequately
proved either by identifying the malefactors as components of the AFP or PNP; or in case
identification is not possible, by showing that they acted with the direct or indirect acquiescence
of the government. For this reason, the Court is unable to ascribe the authorship of and
responsibility for the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the harassment and threats
on her daughters to individual respondents. To this extent, the dismissal of the case against them
is correct and must, accordingly, be sustained.

Prescinding from the above considerations, the Court distinctly notes that the appealed decision
veritably extended the privilege of the writ of amparo to petitioners when it granted what to us
are amparo reliefs. Consider: the appellate court decreed, and rightly so, that the police and the
military take specific measures for the protection of petitioners right or threatened right to liberty
or security. The protection came in the form of directives specifically to Gen. Esperon and P/Dir.
Gen. Razon, requiring each of them (1) to ensure that the investigations already commenced by
the AFP and PNP units, respectively, under them on the complaints of Lourdes and her daughters
are being pursued with urgency to bring to justice the perpetrators of the acts complained of;
and (2) to submit to the CA, copy furnished the petitioners, a regular report on the progress and
status of the investigations. The directives obviously go to Gen. Esperon in his capacity as head
of the AFP and, in a sense, chief guarantor of order and security in the country. On the other
hand, P/Dir. Gen. Razon is called upon to perform a duty pertaining to the PNP, a crimepreventing, investigatory, and arresting institution.

As the CA, however, formulated its directives, no definitive time frame was set in its decision for
the completion of the investigation and the reportorial requirements. It also failed to consider
Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razons imminent compulsory retirement from the military and
police services, respectively. Accordingly, the CA directives, as hereinafter redefined and
amplified to fully enforce the amparo remedies, are hereby given to, and shall be directly
enforceable against, whoever sits as the commanding general of the AFP and the PNP.

At this stage, two postulates and their implications need highlighting for a proper disposition of
this case.

First, a criminal complaint for kidnapping and, alternatively, for arbitrary detention rooted in the
same acts and incidents leading to the filing of the subject amparo petition has been instituted
with the OMB, docketed as OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E. The usual initial steps to determine the
existence of a prima facie case against the five (5) impleaded individuals suspected to be
actually involved in the detention of Lourdes have been set in motion. It must be pointed out,
though, that the filing[44] of the OMB complaint came before the effectivity of the Amparo Rule
on October 24, 2007.

Second, Sec. 22[45] of the Amparo Rule proscribes the filing of an amparo petition should a
criminal action have, in the meanwhile, been commenced. The succeeding Sec. 23,[46] on the
other hand, provides that when the criminal suit is filed subsequent to a petition for amparo, the
petition shall be consolidated with the criminal action where the Amparo Rule shall nonetheless
govern the disposition of the relief under the Rule. Under the terms of said Sec. 22, the present
petition ought to have been dismissed at the outset. But as things stand, the outright dismissal

of the petition by force of that section is no longer technically feasible in light of the interplay of
the following factual mix: (1) the Court has, pursuant to Sec. 6[47] of the Rule, already issued ex
parte the writ of amparo; (2) the CA, after a summary hearing, has dismissed the petition, but
not on the basis of Sec. 22; and (3) the complaint in OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E named as respondents
only those believed to be the actual abductors of Lourdes, while the instant petition impleaded,
in addition, those tasked to investigate the kidnapping and detention incidents and their
superiors at the top. Yet, the acts and/or omissions subject of the criminal complaint and the
amparo petition are so linked as to call for the consolidation of both proceedings to obviate the
mischief inherent in a multiplicity-of-suits situation.

Given the above perspective and to fully apply the beneficial nature of the writ of amparo as an
inexpensive and effective tool to protect certain rights violated or threatened to be violated, the
Court hereby adjusts to a degree the literal application of Secs. 22 and 23 of the Amparo Rule to
fittingly address the situation obtaining under the premises. [48] Towards this end, two things are
at once indicated: (1) the consolidation of the probe and fact-finding aspects of the instant
petition with the investigation of the criminal complaint before the OMB; and (2) the
incorporation in the same criminal complaint of the allegations in this petition bearing on the
threats to the right to security. Withal, the OMB should be furnished copies of the investigation
reports to aid that body in its own investigation and eventual resolution of OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E.
Then, too, the OMB shall be given easy access to all pertinent documents and evidence, if any,
adduced before the CA. Necessarily, Lourdes, as complainant in OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E, should be
allowed, if so minded, to amend her basic criminal complaint if the consolidation of cases is to be
fully effective.

WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS this petition for review and makes a decision:
(1) Affirming the dropping of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from the petition for a writ of
amparo;

(2) Affirming the dismissal of the amparo case as against Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, and P/Dir.
Gen. Avelino Razon, insofar as it tended, under the command responsibility principle, to attach
accountability and responsibility to them, as then AFP Chief of Staff and then PNP Chief, for the
alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the ensuing harassments allegedly committed
against petitioners. The dismissal of the petition with respect to the OMB is also affirmed for
failure of the petition to allege ultimate facts as to make out a case against that body for the
enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the threats and harassment that followed; and

(3) Directing the incumbent Chief of Staff, AFP, or his successor, and the incumbent DirectorGeneral of the PNP, or his successor, to ensure that the investigations already commenced by
their respective units on the alleged abduction of Lourdes Rubrico and the alleged harassments
and threats she and her daughters were made to endure are pursued with extraordinary
diligence as required by Sec. 17[49] of the Amparo Rule. They shall order their subordinate
officials, in particular, to do the following:

(a) Determine based on records, past and present, the identities and locations of respondents
Maj. Darwin Sy, a.k.a. Darwin Reyes, Jimmy Santana, Ruben Alfaro, Capt. Angelo Cuaresma, and

one Jonathan; and submit certifications of this determination to the OMB with copy furnished to
petitioners, the CA, and this Court;

(b) Pursue with extraordinary diligence the evidentiary leads relating to Maj. Darwin Sy and the
Toyota Revo vehicle with Plate No. XRR 428; and
(c) Prepare, with the assistance of petitioners and/or witnesses, cartographic sketches of
respondents Maj. Sy/Reyes, Jimmy Santana, Ruben Alfaro, Capt. Angelo Cuaresma, and a certain
Jonathan to aid in positively identifying and locating them.

The investigations shall be completed not later than six (6) months from receipt of this Decision;
and within thirty (30) days after completion of the investigations, the Chief of Staff of the AFP
and the Director-General of the PNP shall submit a full report of the results of the investigations
to the Court, the CA, the OMB, and petitioners.

This case is accordingly referred back to the CA for the purpose of monitoring the investigations
and the actions of the AFP and the PNP.

Subject to the foregoing modifications, the Court AFFIRMS the partial judgment dated July 31,
2008 of the CA.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. NO. 183871

Rubrico vs. Arroyo


February 18, 2010

FACTS:

Rubrico, in her petition, said she was abducted on April 3, 2007 by armed men belonging to the
301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron, based at the Philippine Air Force Field Station at
Fernando Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas. During her detention, the petitioner added, her
daughters Mary Joy Rubrico Carbonel and Jean Rubrico Apruebo were harassed by Senior Insp.
Arsenio Gomez and that there were also armed men following them. The petitioners prayed that
a writ of amparo be issued, ordering the individual respondents to desist from performing any
threatening act against the security of the petitioners and for the Office of the Ombudsman
(OMB) to immediately file an information for kidnapping qualified with the aggravating
circumstance of gender of the offended party. It also prayed for damages and for respondents to
produce documents submitted to any of them on the case of Lourdes.

The respondents then filed a joint return on the writ specifically denying the material inculpatory
averments against them. Respondents interposed the defense that the President may not be
sued during her incumbency.

Petitioners pleaded back to be allowed to present evidence ex parte against the President, et al.

By a separate resolution, the CA dropped the President as respondent in the case .

ISSUE:

WHETHER OR NOT the [CA] committed reversible error in dismissing [their] Petition and dropping
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as party respondent.

HELD:

The presidential immunity from suit remains preserved under our system of government, albeit
not expressly reserved in the present constitution. Addressing a concern of his co-members in
the 1986 Constitutional Commission on the absence of an express provision on the matter, Fr.
Joaquin Bernas, S.J. observed that it was already understood in jurisprudence that the President
may not be sued during his or her tenure.

Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may
not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution
or law. It will degrade the dignity of the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can
be dragged into court litigations while serving as such.

The Court also affirmed the dismissal of the amparo case against other respondents for failure of
the petition to allege ultimate facts as to make out a case against that body for the enforced
disappearance of Lourdes and the threats and harassment that followed.

13.

BOAC VS CADAPAN

At 2:00 a.m. of June 26, 2006, armed men abducted Sherlyn Cadapan (Sherlyn), Karen Empeo
(Karen) and Manuel Merino (Merino) from a house in San Miguel, Hagonoy, Bulacan. The three
were herded onto a jeep bearing license plate RTF 597 that sped towards an undisclosed
location.

Having thereafter heard nothing from Sherlyn, Karen and Merino, their respective families
scoured nearby police precincts and military camps in the hope of finding them but the same
yielded nothing.

On July 17, 2006, spouses Asher and Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo filed a petition for
habeas corpus[1] before the Court, docketed as G.R. No. 173228, impleading then Generals
Romeo Tolentino and Jovito Palparan (Gen. Palparan), Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac (Lt. Col. Boac), Arnel
Enriquez and Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson (Lt. Mirabelle) as respondents. By Resolution of July
19, 2006,[2] the Court issued a writ of habeas corpus, returnable to the Presiding Justice of the
Court of Appeals.

The habeas corpus petition was docketed at the appellate court as CA-G.R. SP No. 95303.

By Return of the Writ dated July 21, 2006,[3] the respondents in the habeas corpus petition
denied that Sherlyn, Karen and Merino are in the custody of the military. To the Return were
attached affidavits from the respondents, except Enriquez, who all attested that they do not
know Sherlyn, Karen and Merino; that they had inquired from their subordinates about the
reported abduction and disappearance of the three but their inquiry yielded nothing; and that the
military does not own nor possess a stainless steel jeep with plate number RTF 597. Also
appended to the Return was a certification from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) that plate
number RTF 597 had not yet been manufactured as of July 26, 2006.

Trial thereupon ensued at the appellate court.

Witness Wilfredo Ramos, owner of the house where the three were abducted, recounted that on
June 26, 2006, while he was inside his house in Hagonoy, he witnessed armed men wearing
bonnets abduct Sherlyn and Karen from his house and also abduct Merino on their way out; and
that tied and blindfolded, the three were boarded on a jeep and taken towards Iba in Hagonoy.[4]

Witness Alberto Ramirez (Ramirez) recalled that on June 28, 2006, while he was sleeping in his
house, he was awakened by Merino who, in the company of a group of unidentified armed men,
repaired to his house; that onboard a stainless jeep bearing plate number RTF 597, he (Ramirez)
was taken to a place in Mercado, Hagonoy and was asked by one Enriquez if he knew Sierra,

Tanya, Vincent and Lisa; and that Enriquez described the appearance of two ladies which
matched those of Sherlyn and Karen, whom he was familiar with as the two had previously slept
in his house.[5]

Another witness, Oscar Leuterio, who was himself previously abducted by armed men and
detained for five months, testified that when he was detained in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija,
he saw two women fitting the descriptions of Sherlyn and Karen, and also saw Merino, his
kumpare.[6]

Lt. Col. Boac, the then commander of Task Force Malolos, a special operations team tasked to
neutralize the intelligence network of communists and other armed groups, declared that he
conducted an inquiry on the abduction of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino but his subordinates denied
knowledge thereof.[7]

While he denied having received any order from Gen. Palparan to investigate the disappearance
of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino, his assistance in locating the missing persons was sought by the
mayor of Hagonoy.

Major Dominador Dingle, the then division adjutant of the Philippine Armys 7th Infantry Division
in Fort Magsaysay, denied that a certain Arnel Enriquez is a member of his infantry as in fact his
name did not appear in the roster of troops.[8]

Roberto Se, a supervisor of the Equipment, Plate Number and Supply Units of the LTO, denied
that his office manufactured and issued a plate number bearing number RTF 597.[9]

On rebuttal, Lt. Mirabelle, Lt. Col. Boac and Gen. Palparan took the witness stand as hostile
witnesses.

Lt. Mirabelle testified that she did not receive any report on the abduction of Sherlyn, Karen and
Merino nor any order to investigate the matter. And she denied knowing anything about the
abduction of Ramirez nor who were Ka Tanya or Ka Lisa.[10]

Gen. Palparan testified that during a debate in a televised program, he mentioned the names of
Ka Lisa and Ka Tanya as the ones involved in revolutionary tax activities; and that he ordered Lt.
Col. Boac to conduct an investigation on the disappearance of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino.[11]
When pressed to elaborate, he stated: I said that I got the report that it stated that it was Ka
Tanya and Ka Lisa that, I mean, that incident happened in Hagonoy, Bulacan was the abduction
of Ka Lisa and Ka Tanya, Your Honor, and another one. That was the report coming from the
people in the area.[12]

By Decision of March 29, 2007,[13] the Court of Appeals dismissed the habeas corpus petition in
this wise:

As Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino are indeed missing, the present petition
for habeas corpus is not the appropriate remedy since the main office or function of the habeas
corpus is to inquire into the legality of ones detention which presupposes that respondents have
actual custody of the persons subject of the petition. The reason therefor is that the courts have
limited powers, means and resources to conduct an investigation. x x x.

It being the situation, the proper remedy is not a habeas corpus proceeding but criminal
proceedings by initiating criminal suit for abduction or kidnapping as a crime punishable by law.
In the case of Martinez v. Mendoza, supra, the Supreme Court restated the doctrine that habeas
corpus may not be used as a means of obtaining evidence on the whereabouts of a person, or as
a means of finding out who has specifically abducted or caused the disappearance of a certain
person. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Thus the appellate court disposed:

WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is hereby DISMISSED, there being no strong
evidence that the missing persons are in the custody of the respondents.

The Court, however, further resolves to refer the case to the Commission on Human Rights, the
National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police for separate investigations
and appropriate actions as may be warranted by their findings and to furnish the Court with their
separate reports on the outcome of their investigations and the actions taken thereon.

Let copies of this decision be furnished the Commission on Human Rights, the National Bureau of
Investigation and the Philippine National Police for their appropriate actions.

SO ORDERED. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Petitioners in CA-G.R. SP No. 95303 moved for a reconsideration of the appellate courts decision.
They also moved to present newly discovered evidence consisting of the testimonies of
Adoracion Paulino, Sherlyns mother-in-law who was allegedly threatened by soldiers; and
Raymond Manalo who allegedly met Sherlyn, Karen and Merino in the course of his detention at a
military camp.

During the pendency of the motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 95303, Erlinda Cadapan
and Concepcion Empeo filed before this Court a Petition for Writ of Amparo[14] With Prayers for
Inspection of Place and Production of Documents dated October 24, 2007, docketed as G.R. No.
179994. The petition impleaded the same respondents in the habeas corpus petition, with the
addition of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then Armed Forces of the Phil. (AFP) Chief of

Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr., then Phil. National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Avelino Razon (Gen.
Razon), Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado (Lt. Col. Anotado) and Donald Caigas.

Then President Arroyo was eventually dropped as respondent in light of her immunity from suit
while in office.

Petitioners in G.R. No. 179994 also prayed that they be allowed to inspect the detention areas of
the following places:

1.

7th Infantry Division at Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija

2.

24th Infantry Batallion at Limay, Bataan

3.

Army Detachment inside Valmocina Farm, Pinaod, San Ildefonso, Bulacan

4.

Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan

5.
The Resthouse of Donald Caigas alias Allan or Alvin of the 24th Infantry Batallion at
Barangay Banog, Bolinao, Pangasinan

6.

56th Infantry Batallion Headquarters at Iba, Hagonoy, Bulacan

7.

Army Detachment at Barangay Mercado, Hagonoy, Bulacan

8.
Beach House [at] Iba, Zambales used as a safehouse with a retired military personnel
as a caretaker;

By Resolution of October 25, 2007, the Court issued in G.R. No. 179994 a writ of amparo
returnable to the Special Former Eleventh Division of the appellate court, and ordered the
consolidation of the amparo petition with the pending habeas corpus petition.

Docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 002, respondents in the amparo case, through the Solicitor General,
filed their Return of the Writ on November 6, 2007.[15] In the Return, Gen. Palparan, Lt. Col. Boac
and Lt. Mirabelle reiterated their earlier narrations in the habeas corpus case.

Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. stated in the Return that he immediately caused to investigate and
verify the identities of the missing persons and was aware of the earlier decision of the appellate
court ordering the police, the Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of
Investigation to take further action on the matter.[16]

Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, the then battalion commander of the 24th Infantry Battalion based in
Balanga City, Bataan, denied any involvement in the abduction. While the 24th Infantry Battalion
detachment was reported to be a detention site of the missing persons, Lt. Col. Anotado claimed
that he found no untoward incident when he visited said detachment. He also claimed that there
was no report of the death of Merino per his inquiry with the local police.[17]

Police Director General Avelino Razon narrated that he ordered the compilation of pertinent
records, papers and other documents of the PNP on the abduction of the three, and that the
police exhausted all possible actions available under the circumstances.[18]

In addition to the witnesses already presented in the habeas corpus case, petitioners called on
Adoracion Paulino and Raymond Manalo to testify during the trial.

Adoracion Paulino recalled that her daughter-in-law Sherlyn showed up at home on April 11,
2007, accompanied by two men and three women whom she believed were soldiers. She averred
that she did not report the incident to the police nor inform Sherlyns mother about the visit.[19]

Raymond Manalo (Manalo) claimed that he met the three abducted persons when he was
illegally detained by military men in Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan. His group was later
taken to a camp in Limay, Bataan. He recalled that Lt. Col. Anotado was the one who
interrogated him while in detention.[20]

In his Sinumpaang Salaysay,[21] Manalo recounted:

xxxx

59.

Saan ka dinala mula sa Sapang?

Pagkalipas ng humigit kumulang 3 buwan sa Sapang, dinala ako sa Camp Tecson sa ilalim ng
24th IB.

xxxx

Sa loob ng barracks ko nakilala si Sherlyn Cadapan, isang estudyante ng UP.

Ipinapalinis din sa akin ang loob ng barracks. Sa isang kwarto sa loob ng barracks, may nakita
akong babae na nakakadena[.] Noong una, pinagbawalan akong makipag-usap sa kanya. Sa
ikatlo o ikaapat na araw, nakausap ko yung babaeng nagngangalang Sherlyn. Binigyan ko siya ng
pagkain. Sinabi niya sa akin na dinukot si[ya] sa Hagonoy, Bulacan at matindi ang tortyur na
dinaranas niya. Sabi niya gusto niyang umuwi at makasama ang kanyang magulang. Umiiyak
siya. Sabi niya sa akin ang buong pangalan niya ay Sherlyn Cadapan, mula sa Laguna. Sa araw
tinatanggal ang kanyang kadena at inuutusan si Sherlyn na maglaba.

x x x x.

61.

Sino ang mga nakilala mo sa Camp Tecson?

Dito sa Camp Tecson naming nakilala si Allan Alvin (maya-maya nalaman naming na siya pala si
Donald Caigas), ng 24th IB, na tinatawag na master o commander ng kanyang mga tauhan.

Pagkalipas ng 2 araw matapos dalhin si Reynaldo sa Camp Tecson dumating sina Karen Empeo at
Manuel Merino na mga bihag din. Inilagay si Karen at Manuel sa kwarto ni Allan[.] Kami naman ni
Reynaldo ay nasa katabing kwarto, kasama si Sherlyn.

xxxx

62.

xxxx

Kaming mga lalake (ako, si Reynaldo at si Manuel) ay ginawang utusan, habang sina Sherlyn at
Karen ay ginawang labandera.

Si Sherlyn ang pinahirapan nina Mickey, Donald at Billy. Sabi ni Sherlyn sa akin na siyay
ginahasa.

xxxx

63.

xxxx

xxxx

Kaming lima (ako, si Reynaldo, si Sherlyn, si Karen at si [Merino]) ang dinala sa Limay. Sinakay
ako, si Reynaldo, si Sherlyn at si [Merino] sa isang stainless na jeep. Si Karen ay isinakay sa itim
na sasakyan ni Donald Caigas. x x x x

xxxx

66.

Saan pa kayo dinala mula sa Limay, Bataan?

Mula sa Limay, kaming 5 (ako, si Reynaldo, si Sherlyn, Si Karen at si Manuel) ay dinala sa isang
safehouse sa Zambales, tabi ng dagat. x x x x (underscoring supplied; italics and emphasis in the
original)

On rebuttal, Lt. Col. Anotado and Col. Eduardo Boyles Davalan were called to the witness stand.

Lt. Col. Anotado denied seeing or meeting Manalo. He posited that Manalo recognized him
because he was very active in conducting lectures in Bataan and even appeared on television
regarding an incident involving the 24th Infantry Batallion. He contended that it was impossible
for Manalo, Sherlyn, Karen and Merino to be detained in the Limay detachment which had no
detention area.

Col. Eduardo Boyles Davalan, the then chief of staff of the First Scout Ranger Regiment in Camp
Tecson, testified that the camp is not a detention facility, nor does it conduct military operations
as it only serves as a training facility for scout rangers. He averred that his regiment does not
have any command relation with either the 7th Infantry Division or the 24th Infantry Battalion.
[22]

By Decision of September 17, 2008,[23] the appellate court granted the Motion for
Reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 95303 (the habeas corpus case) and ordered the immediate
release of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino in CA-G.R. SP No. 00002 (the amparo case). Thus it
disposed:

WHEREFORE, in CA-G.R. SP NO. 95303 (Habeas Corpus case), the Motion for Reconsideration is
GRANTED.

Accordingly, in both CA-G.R. SP NO. 95303 (Habeas Corpus case) and in CA-G.R. SP NO. 00002
(Amparo case), the respondents are thereby ordered to immediately RELEASE, or cause the
release, from detention the persons of Sher[lyn] Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino.

Respondent Director General Avelino Razon is hereby ordered to resume [the] PNPs unfinished
investigation so that the truth will be fully ascertained and appropriate charges filed against
those truly responsible.

SO ORDERED.

In reconsidering its earlier Decision in the habeas corpus case, the appellate court relied heavily
on the testimony of Manalo in this wise:

With the additional testimony of Raymond Manalo, the petitioners have been able to convincingly
prove the fact of their detention by some elements in the military. His testimony is a first hand
account that military and civilian personnel under the 7th Infantry Division were responsible for
the abduction of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino. He also confirmed the claim
of Oscar Leuterio that the latter was detained in Fort Magsaysay. It was there where he (Leuterio)
saw Manuel Merino.

His testimony that Leuterio saw Manuel Merino in Fort Magsaysay may be hearsay but not with
respect to his meeting with, and talking to, the three desaparecidos. His testimony on those
points was no hearsay. Raymond Manalo saw the three with his very own eyes as they were
detained and tortured together. In fact, he claimed to be a witness to the burning of Manuel
Merino. In the absence of confirmatory proof, however, the Court will presume that he is still
alive.

The testimony of Raymond Manalo can no longer be ignored and brushed aside. His narration
and those of the earlier witnesses, taken together, constitute more than substantial evidence
warranting an order that the three be released from detention if they are not being held for a
lawful cause. They may be moved from place to place but still they are considered under
detention and custody of the respondents.

His testimony was clear, consistent and convincing. x x x.

xxxx

The additional testimonies of Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and Col. Eduardo Boyles Davalan were of no
help either. Again, their averments were the same negative ones which cannot prevail over those
of Raymond Manalo. Indeed, Camp Tecson has been utilized as a training camp for army scout
rangers. Even Raymond Manalo noticed it but the camps use for purposes other than training
cannot be discounted.

xxxx

In view of the foregoing, there is now a clear and credible evidence that the three missing
persons, [Sherlyn, Karen and Merino], are being detained in military camps and bases under the
7th Infantry Division. Being not held for a lawful cause, they should be immediately released
from detention. (italic in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Meanwhile, in the amparo case, the appellate court deemed it a superfluity to issue any
inspection order or production order in light of the release order. As it earlier ruled in the habeas
corpus case, it found that the three detainees right to life, liberty and security was being
violated, hence, the need to immediately release them, or cause their release. The appellate
court went on to direct the PNP to proceed further with its investigation since there were enough
leads as indicated in the records to ascertain the truth and file the appropriate charges against
those responsible for the abduction and detention of the three.

Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac, et al. challenged before this Court, via petition for review, the September
17, 2008 Decision of the appellate court. This was docketed as G.R. Nos. 184461-62, the first
above-captioned case- subject of the present Decision.

Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo, on the other hand, filed their own petition for review
also challenging the same September 17, 2008 Decision of the appellate court only insofar as the
amparo aspect is concerned. Their petition, docketed as G.R. No. 179994, was redocketed as G.R.
No. 184495, the second above-captioned case.

By Resolution of June 15, 2010, the Court ordered the consolidation of G.R. No. 184495 with G.R.
Nos. 1844461-62.[24]

Meanwhile, Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo filed before the appellate court a Motion to
Cite Respondents in Contempt of Court for failure of the respondents in the amparo and habeas
corpus cases to comply with the directive of the appellate court to immediately release the three
missing persons. By Resolution of March 5, 2009,[25] the appellate court denied the motion,
ratiocinating thus:

While the Court, in the dispositive portion, ordered the respondents to immediately RELEASE, or
cause the release, from detention the persons of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel
Merino, the decision is not ipso facto executory. The use of the term immediately does not mean
that that it is automatically executory. There is nothing in the Rule on the Writ of Amparo which
states that a decision rendered is immediately executory. x x x.

Neither did the decision become final and executory considering that both parties questioned the
Decision/Resolution before the Supreme Court. x x x.

Besides, the Court has no basis. The petitioners did not file a motion for execution pending
appeal under Section 2 of Rule 39. There being no motion, the Court could not have issued, and
did not issue, a writ of execution. x x x. (underscoring supplied)

Via a petition for certiorari filed on March 30, 2009 before this Court, Erlinda Cadapan and
Concepcion Empeo challenged the appellate courts March 5, 2009 Resolution denying their
motion to cite respondents in contempt. The petition was docketed as G.R. No. 187109, the last
above-captioned case subject of the present Decision.

Only Lt. Col. Anotado and Lt. Mirabelle remained of the original respondents in the amparo and
habeas corpus cases as the other respondents had retired from government service.[26] The AFP
has denied that Arnel Enriquez was a member of the Philippine Army.[27] The whereabouts of
Donald Caigas remain unknown.[28]
In G.R. Nos. 184461-62, petitioners posit as follows:

THE COURT OF APPEALS GROSSLY MISAPPRECIATED THE VALUE OF THE TESTIMONY OF RAYMOND
MANALO.

II

THE PETITION[S] FOR HABEAS CORPUS AND WRIT OF AMPARO SHOULD BE DISMISSED BECAUSE
RESPONDENTS FAILED TO PROVE BY THE REQUIRED QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE THAT PETITIONERS
HAVE SHERLYN CADAPAN, KAREN EMPEO AND MANUEL MERINO ARE IN THEIR CUSTODY.

III

PETITIONERS DENIALS PER SE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TAKEN AGAINST THEM BECAUSE THEY
DID NOT REALLY HAVE ANY INVOLVEMENT IN THE ALLEGED ABDUCTION; MOREOVER, THE
SUPPOSED INCONSISTENCIES IN THEIR TESTIMONIES ARE ON POINTS IRRELEVANT TO THE
PETITION.

IV

THE DISPOSITIVE PORTION OF THE ASSAILED DECISION IS VAGUE AND INCONGRUENT WITH THE
FINDINGS OF THE COURT OF APPEALS.

THE COURT OF APPEALS IGNORED AND FAILED TO RULE UPON THE FATAL PROCEDURAL
INFIRMITIES IN THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF AMPARO.[29]

In G.R. No. 184495, petitioners posit as follows:

5.

The Court of Appeals erred in not granting the Interim Relief for Inspection of Places;

6.
Documents;

The Court of Appeals erred in not granting the Interim Relief for Production of

7.
The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that the Police Director Gen. Avelino Razon did
not make extraordinary diligence in investigating the enforced disappearance of the aggrieved
parties

8.
The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that this was not the command coming from
the highest echelon of powers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Army and the
Seventh Infantry Division of the Philippine Army to enforcibly disappear [sic] the aggrieved
parties

9.
The Court of Appeals erred in dropping President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as party
respondent in this case;

10.
The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had
command responsibility in the enforced disappearance and continued detention of the three
aggrieved parties

11.
The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that the Armed Forces Chief of Staff then
Hermogenes Esperon and the Present Chief of Staff as having command responsibility in the
enforced disappearance and continued detention of the three aggrieved parties[30]

In G.R. No. 187109, petitioners raise the following issues:

[1] Whether the decision in the Court of Appeals has become final and executory[.]

[2] Whetherthere is a need to file a motion for execution in a Habeas Corpus decision or in an
Amparo decision[.]

[3] Whetheran appeal can stay the decision of a Habeas Corpus [case] [or] an Amparo case[.]
[31]

Essentially, the consolidated petitions present three primary issues, viz: a) whether the
testimony of Raymond Manalo is credible; b) whether the chief of the AFP, the commanding
general of the Philippine Army, as well as the heads of the concerned units had command
responsibility over the abduction and detention of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino; and c) whether
there is a need to file a motion for execution to cause the release of the aggrieved parties.

G.R. Nos. 184461-62

Petitioners Lt. Col. Boac, et al. contend that the appellate court erred in giving full credence to
the testimony of Manalo who could not even accurately describe the structures of Camp Tecson
where he claimed to have been detained along with Sherlyn, Karen and Merino. They underscore
that Camp Tecson is not under the jurisdiction of the 24th Infantry Batallion and that Manalos
testimony is incredible and full of inconsistencies.[32]

In Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo,[33] an original petition for Prohibition, Injunction and
Temporary Restraining Order which was treated as a petition under the Amparo Rule, said Rule
having taken effect during the pendency of the petition, the Court ruled on the truthfulness and
veracity of the personal account of Manalo which included his encounter with Sherlyn, Kara and
Merino while on detention. Thus it held:

We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based on respondent Raymond
Manalos affidavit and testimony, viz:
x x x x.
We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalos statements were not
corroborated by other independent and credible pieces of evidence. Raymonds affidavit and
testimony were corroborated by the affidavit of respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and
medical reports prepared by forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the pictures of the scars left by
the physical injuries inflicted on respondents, also corroborate respondents accounts of the
torture they endured while in detention. Respondent Raymond Manalos familiarity with the
facilities in Fort Magsaysay such as the DTU, as shown in his testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col.
Jimenez to be the Division Training Unit, firms up respondents story that they were detained for
some time in said military facility. (citations omitted; emphasis and underscoring supplied)

On Manalos having allegedly encountered Sherlyn, Karen and Merino while on detention, the
Court in the immediately cited case synthesized his tale as follows:

The next day, Raymonds chains were removed and he was ordered to clean outside the barracks.
It was then he learned that he was in a detachment of the Rangers. There were many soldiers,
hundreds of them were training. He was also ordered to clean inside the barracks. In one of the
rooms therein, he met Sherlyn Cadapan from Laguna. She told him that she was a student of the
University of the Philippines and was abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She confided that she had
been subjected to severe torture and raped. She was crying and longing to go home and be with
her parents. During the day, her chains were removed and she was made to do the laundry.

After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his arrival, two other
captives, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen and Manuel were put in the room with
Allan whose name they later came to know as Donald Caigas, called master or commander by
his men in the 24th Infantry Battalion. Raymond and Reynaldo were put in the adjoining room. At
times, Raymond and Reynaldo were threatened, and Reynaldo was beaten up. In the daytime,
their chains were removed, but were put back on at night. They were threatened that if they
escaped, their families would all be killed.

On or about October 6, 2006, Hilario arrived in Camp Tecson. He told the detainees that they
should be thankful they were still alive and should continue along their renewed life. Before the
hearing of November 6 or 8, 2006, respondents were brought to their parents to instruct them
not to attend the hearing. However, their parents had already left for Manila. Respondents were
brought back to Camp Tecson. They stayed in that camp from September 2006 to November
2006, and Raymond was instructed to continue using the name Oscar and holding himself out as
a military trainee. He got acquainted with soldiers of the 24th Infantry Battalion whose names
and descriptions he stated in his affidavit.

On November 22, 2006, respondents, along with Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel, were transferred to
a camp of the 24th Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. There were many huts in the camp. They
stayed in that camp until May 8, 2007. Some soldiers of the battalion stayed with them. While
there, battalion soldiers whom Raymond knew as Mar and Billy beat him up and hit him in the
stomach with their guns. Sherlyn and Karen also suffered enormous torture in the camp. They
were all made to clean, cook, and help in raising livestock.

Raymond recalled that when Operation Lubog was launched, Caigas and some other soldiers
brought him and Manuel with them to take and kill all sympathizers of the NPA. They were
brought to Barangay Bayan-bayanan, Bataan where he witnessed the killing of an old man doing
kaingin. The soldiers said he was killed because he had a son who was a member of the NPA and
he coddled NPA members in his house. Another time, in another Operation Lubog, Raymond was
brought to Barangay Orion in a house where NPA men stayed. When they arrived, only the old
man of the house who was sick was there. They spared him and killed only his son right before
Raymonds eyes.

From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were transferred to Zambales, in a
safehouse near the sea. Caigas and some of his men stayed with them. A retired army soldier

was in charge of the house. Like in Limay, the five detainees were made to do errands and
chores. They stayed in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007 until June 2007.

In June 2007, Caigas brought the five back to the camp in Limay. Raymond, Reynaldo, and
Manuel were tasked to bring food to detainees brought to the camp. Raymond narrated what he
witnessed and experienced in the camp, viz:

x x x x.[34] (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The Court takes judicial notice of its Decision in the just cited Secretary of National Defense v.
Manalo[35] which assessed the account of Manalo to be a candid and forthright narrative of his
and his brother Reynaldos abduction by the military in 2006; and of the corroborative
testimonies, in the same case, of Manalos brother Reynaldo and a forensic specialist, as well as
Manalos graphic description of the detention area. There is thus no compelling reason for the
Court, in the present case, to disturb its appreciation in Manalos testimony. The outright denial of
petitioners Lt. Col. Boac, et al. thus crumbles.

Petitioners go on to point out that the assailed Decision of the appellate court is vague and
incongruent with [its] findings for, so they contend, while the appellate court referred to the
perpetrators as misguided and self-righteous civilian and military elements of the 7th Infantry
Division, it failed to identify who these perpetrators are. Moreover, petitioners assert that Donald
Caigas and Arnel Enriquez are not members of the AFP. They furthermore point out that their copetitioners Generals Esperon, Tolentino and Palparan have already retired from the service and
thus have no more control of any military camp or base in the country.[36]

There is nothing vague and/or incongruent about the categorical order of the appellate court for
petitioners to release Sherlyn, Karen and Merino. In its discourse, the appellate court merely
referred to a few misguided self-righteous people who resort to the extrajudicial process of
neutralizing those who disagree with the countrys democratic system of government. Nowhere
did it specifically refer to the members of the 7th Infantry Division as the misguided selfrighteous ones.

Petitioners finally point out that the parents of Sherlyn and Karen do not have the requisite
standing to file the amparo petition on behalf of Merino. They call attention to the fact that in the
amparo petition, the parents of Sherlyn and Karen merely indicated that they were concerned
with Manuel Merino as basis for filing the petition on his behalf.[37]

Section 2 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo[38] provides:

The petition may be filed by the aggrieved party or by any qualified person or entity in the
following order:

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

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

(c) Any concerned citizen, organization, association or institution, if there is no known member of
the immediate family or relative of the aggrieved party.

Indeed, the parents of Sherlyn and Karen failed to allege that there were no known members of
the immediate family or relatives of Merino. The exclusive and successive order mandated by the
above-quoted provision must be followed. The order of priority is not without reasonto prevent
the indiscriminate and groundless filing of petitions for amparo which may even prejudice the
right to life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party.[39]

The Court notes that the parents of Sherlyn and Karen also filed the petition for habeas corpus on
Merinos behalf. No objection was raised therein for, in a habeas corpus proceeding, any person
may apply for the writ on behalf of the aggrieved party.[40]

It is thus only with respect to the amparo petition that the parents of Sherlyn and Karen are
precluded from filing the application on Merinos behalf as they are not authorized parties under
the Rule.

G.R. No. 184495

Preliminarily, the Court finds the appellate courts dismissal of the petitions against then
President Arroyo well-taken, owing to her immunity from suit at the time the habeas corpus and
amparo petitions were filed.[41]

Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may
not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution
or law. It will degrade the dignity of the high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can
be dragged into court litigations while serving as such. Furthermore, it is important that he be
freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or distraction to enable him to fully attend to the
performance of his official duties and functions. Unlike the legislative and judicial branch, only
one constitutes the executive branch and anything which impairs his usefulness in the discharge
of the many great and important duties imposed upon him by the Constitution necessarily
impairs the operation of the Government. x x x [42]

Parenthetically, the petitions are bereft of any allegation that then President Arroyo permitted,
condoned or performed any wrongdoing against the three missing persons.

On the issue of whether a military commander may be held liable for the acts of his subordinates
in an amparo proceeding, a brief discussion of the concept of command responsibility and its
application insofar as amparo cases already decided by the Court is in order.

Rubrico v. Macapagal Arroyo[43] expounded on the concept of command responsibility as


follows:

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." In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity. The
Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command responsibility, foreshadowing the
present-day precept of holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his
subordinates should he be remiss in his duty of control over them. As then formulated, command
responsibility is "an omission mode of individual criminal liability," whereby the superior is made
responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to prevent or punish the
perpetrators (as opposed to crimes he ordered). (citations omitted; emphasis in the original;
underscoring supplied)[44]

It bears stressing that command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity,[45] and
thus a substantive rule that points to criminal or administrative liability.

An amparo proceeding is not criminal in nature nor does it ascertain the criminal liability of
individuals or entities involved. Neither does it partake of a civil or administrative suit.[46]
Rather, it is a remedial measure designed to direct specified courses of action to government
agencies to safeguard the constitutional right to life, liberty and security of aggrieved individuals.
[47]

Thus Razon Jr. v. Tagitis [48] enlightens:

[An amparo proceeding] does nor determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the
disappearance [threats thereof or extrajudicial killings]; it determines responsibility, or at least
accountability, for the enforced disappearancefor purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies
to address the disappearance[49] (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

Further, Tagitis defines what constitutes responsibility and accountability, viz:

x x x. Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by substantial
evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced
disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court shall craft, among them, the directive to
file the appropriate criminal and civil cases against the responsible parties in the proper courts.
Accountability, on the other hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to
those who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of
their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge
relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who
carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of
the enforced disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance of the Writ of Amparo is justified by
our primary goal of addressing the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and
his liberty and security are restored.[50] (emphasis in the original; underscoring supplied)

Rubrico categorically denies the application of command responsibility in amparo cases to


determine criminal liability.[51] The Court maintains its adherence to this pronouncement as far
as amparo cases are concerned.

Rubrico, however, recognizes a preliminary yet limited application of command responsibility in


amparo cases to instances of determining the responsible or accountable individuals or entities
that are duty-bound to abate any transgression on the life, liberty or security of the aggrieved
party.

If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at


most, be only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the
duty to address, the disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to
devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered
by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to
fix criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to
administrative disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any.
[52] (emphasis and underscoring supplied)

In other words, command responsibility may be loosely applied in amparo cases in order to
identify those accountable individuals that have the power to effectively implement whatever
processes an amparo court would issue.[53] In such application, the amparo court does not
impute criminal responsibility but merely pinpoint the superiors it considers to be in the best
position to protect the rights of the aggrieved party.

Such identification of the responsible and accountable superiors may well be a preliminary
determination of criminal liability which, of course, is still subject to further investigation by the
appropriate government agency.

Relatedly, the legislature came up with Republic Act No. 9851[54] (RA 9851) to include command
responsibility as a form of criminal complicity in crimes against international humanitarian law,
genocide and other crimes.[55] RA 9851 is thus the substantive law that definitively imputes
criminal liability to those superiors who, despite their position, still fail to take all necessary and
reasonable measures within their power to prevent or repress the commission of illegal acts or to
submit these matters to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.

The Court finds that the appellate court erred when it did not specifically name the respondents
that it found to be responsible for the abduction and continued detention of Sherlyn, Karen and
Merino. For, from the records, it appears that the responsible and accountable individuals are Lt.
Col. Anotado, Lt. Mirabelle, Gen. Palparan, Lt. Col. Boac, Arnel Enriquez and Donald Caigas. They
should thus be made to comply with the September 17, 2008 Decision of the appellate court to
IMMEDIATELY RELEASE Sherlyn, Karen and Merino.

The petitions against Generals Esperon, Razon and Tolentino should be dismissed for lack of
merit as there is no showing that they were even remotely accountable and responsible for the
abduction and continued detention of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino.

G.R. No. 187109.

Contrary to the ruling of the appellate court, there is no need to file a motion for execution for an
amparo or habeas corpus decision. Since the right to life, liberty and security of a person is at
stake, the proceedings should not be delayed and execution of any decision thereon must be
expedited as soon as possible since any form of delay, even for a day, may jeopardize the very
rights that these writs seek to immediately protect.

The Solicitor Generals argument that the Rules of Court supplement the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo is misplaced. The Rules of Court only find suppletory application in an amparo
proceeding if the Rules strengthen, rather than weaken, the procedural efficacy of the writ. As it
is, the Rule dispenses with dilatory motions in view of the urgency in securing the life, liberty or
security of the aggrieved party. Suffice it to state that a motion for execution is inconsistent with
the extraordinary and expeditious remedy being offered by an amparo proceeding.

In fine, the appellate court erred in ruling that its directive to immediately release Sherlyn, Karen
and Merino was not automatically executory. For that would defeat the very purpose of having
summary proceedings[56] in amparo petitions. Summary proceedings, it bears emphasis, are
immediately executory without prejudice to further appeals that may be taken therefrom.[57]

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing discussions, the Court renders the following judgment:

1. The Petitions in G.R. Nos. 184461-62 and G.R. No. 184495 are DISMISSED. The Decision of the
Court of Appeals dated September 17, 2008 is AFFIRMED with modification in that respondents in
G.R. No. 184495, namely Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, Gen. Jovito
Palparan, Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac, Arnel Enriquez and Donald Caigas are ordered to immediately
release Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino from detention.

The petitions against Generals Esperon, Razon and Tolentino are DISMISSED.

2. The petition in G.R. No. 187109 is GRANTED. The named respondents are directed to forthwith
comply with the September 17, 2008 Decision of the appellate court. Owing to the retirement
and/or reassignment to other places of assignment of some of the respondents herein and in G.R.
No. 184495, the incumbent commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division and the incumbent
battalion commander of the 24th Infantry Battalion, both of the Philippine Army, are enjoined to
fully ensure the release of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino from detention.

Respondents Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, Gen. Jovito Palparan, Lt. Col.
Rogelio Boac, Arnel Enriquez and Donald Caigas shall remain personally impleaded in the
petitions to answer for any responsibilities and/or accountabilities they may have incurred during
their incumbencies.

Let copies of this Decision and the records of these cases be furnished the Department of Justice
(DOJ), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for
further investigation to determine the respective criminal and administrative liabilities of
respondents.

All the present petitions are REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action, directed
at monitoring of the DOJ, PNP and AFP investigations and the validation of their results.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. Nos. 184461-62 BOAC v. CADAPAN


FACTS

At 2:00 a.m. of June 26, 2006, armed men abducted Sherlyn Cadapan (Sherlyn),Karen Empeo
(Karen) and Manuel Merino (Merino) from a house in San Miguel,Hagonoy, Bulacan. The three
were herded onto a jeep bearing license plate RTF 597that sped towards an undisclosed
location.Having thereafter heard nothing from Sherlyn, Karen and Merino, their respectivefamilies
scoured nearby police precincts and military camps in the hope of findingthem but the same
yielded nothing.During the pendency of the motion for reconsideration of the Petition for
HabeasCorpus, Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo filed before this Court a Petitionfor Writ
of Amparo With Prayers for Inspection of Place and Production of Documents.By Decision of
September 17, 2008,23 the appellate court granted the Motion forReconsideration in CA-G.R. SP
No. 95303 (the habeas corpus case) and ordered theimmediate release of Sherlyn, Karen and
Merino in CA-G.R. SP No. 00002 (theamparo case).ISSUE Whether or not the Petition for the
issuance of the Writ of Amparo withPrayers for Inspection of Place and Production of Documents
was properHELD/RATIOIn the Amparo case, the appellate court deemed it a superfluity to issue
any inspectionorder or production order in light of the release order. As it earlier ruled in the
habeascorpus case, it found that the three detainees right to life, liberty and security wasbeing
violated, hence, the need to immediately release them, or cause their release.Indeed, the
parents of Sherlyn and Karen failed to allege that there were no knownmembers of the
immediate family or relatives of Merino. The exclusive and successiveorder mandated by Section
2 must be followed. The order of priority is not withoutreason"to prevent the indiscriminate and
groundless filing of petitions for amparowhich may even prejudice the right to life, liberty or
security of the aggrieved party."With respect to the amparo petition, the parents of Sherlyn and
Karen are precludedfrom filing the application on Merinos behalf as they are not authorized
parties underthe Rule.

14.

BIRAOGO VS TRUTH COMMISION

he role of the Constitution cannot be overlooked. It is through the Constitution that the
fundamental powers of government are established, limited and defined, and by which these
powers are distributed among the several departments.[2] The Constitution is the basic and
paramount law to which all other laws must conform and to which all persons, including the
highest officials of the land, must defer.[3] Constitutional doctrines must remain steadfast no
matter what may be the tides of time. It cannot be simply made to sway and accommodate the
call of situations and much more tailor itself to the whims and caprices of government and the
people who run it.[4]

For consideration before the Court are two consolidated cases[5] both of which essentially assail
the validity and constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, dated July 30, 2010, entitled Creating
the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010.

The first case is G.R. No. 192935, a special civil action for prohibition instituted by petitioner
Louis Biraogo (Biraogo) in his capacity as a citizen and taxpayer. Biraogo assails Executive Order
No. 1 for being violative of the legislative power of Congress under Section 1, Article VI of the
Constitution[6] as it usurps the constitutional authority of the legislature to create a public office
and to appropriate funds therefor.[7]

The second case, G.R. No. 193036, is a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition filed by
petitioners Edcel C. Lagman, Rodolfo B. Albano Jr., Simeon A. Datumanong, and Orlando B. Fua,
Sr. (petitioners-legislators) as incumbent members of the House of Representatives.

The genesis of the foregoing cases can be traced to the events prior to the historic May 2010
elections, when then Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III declared his staunch condemnation of
graft and corruption with his slogan, Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap. The Filipino people,
convinced of his sincerity and of his ability to carry out this noble objective, catapulted the good
senator to the presidency.

To transform his campaign slogan into reality, President Aquino found a need for a special body
to investigate reported cases of graft and corruption allegedly committed during the previous
administration.

Thus, at the dawn of his administration, the President on July 30, 2010, signed Executive Order
No. 1 establishing the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (Truth Commission). Pertinent
provisions of said executive order read:
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1

CREATING THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010

WHEREAS, Article XI, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines solemnly enshrines the
principle that a public office is a public trust and mandates that public officers and employees,
who are servants of the people, must at all times be accountable to the latter, serve them with
utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead
modest lives;

WHEREAS, corruption is among the most despicable acts of defiance of this principle and
notorious violation of this mandate;

WHEREAS, corruption is an evil and scourge which seriously affects the political, economic, and
social life of a nation; in a very special way it inflicts untold misfortune and misery on the poor,
the marginalized and underprivileged sector of society;

WHEREAS, corruption in the Philippines has reached very alarming levels, and undermined the
peoples trust and confidence in the Government and its institutions;

WHEREAS, there is an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of
large scale graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the filing of
the appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing
the evil, restore the peoples faith and confidence in the Government and in their public servants;

WHEREAS, the Presidents battlecry during his campaign for the Presidency in the last elections
kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap expresses a solemn pledge that if elected, he would end
corruption and the evil it breeds;

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out
the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous
administration, and which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for
all;
WHEREAS, Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the
Revised Administrative Code of the Philippines, gives the President the continuing authority to
reorganize the Office of the President.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO III, President of the Republic of the Philippines,
by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, do hereby order:

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH


COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the COMMISSION, which shall primarily seek and find the
truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and
magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by
public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private
sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate
action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served
without fear or favor.
The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four (4) members who will act as an
independent collegial body.

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an
investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is
primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and
corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public officers and higher, their coprincipals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous

administration and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress
and the Ombudsman.
In particular, it shall:

a)
Identify and determine the reported cases of such graft and corruption which it will
investigate;

b)
Collect, receive, review and evaluate evidence related to or regarding the cases of large
scale corruption which it has chosen to investigate, and to this end require any agency, official or
employee of the Executive Branch, including government-owned or controlled corporations, to
produce documents, books, records and other papers;

c)
Upon proper request or representation, obtain information and documents from the Senate
and the House of Representatives records of investigations conducted by committees thereof
relating to matters or subjects being investigated by the Commission;

d)
Upon proper request and representation, obtain information from the courts, including the
Sandiganbayan and the Office of the Court Administrator, information or documents in respect to
corruption cases filed with the Sandiganbayan or the regular courts, as the case may be;

e)
Invite or subpoena witnesses and take their testimonies and for that purpose, administer
oaths or affirmations as the case may be;

f)
Recommend, in cases where there is a need to utilize any person as a state witness to
ensure that the ends of justice be fully served, that such person who qualifies as a state witness
under the Revised Rules of Court of the Philippines be admitted for that purpose;

g)
Turn over from time to time, for expeditious prosecution, to the appropriate prosecutorial
authorities, by means of a special or interim report and recommendation, all evidence on
corruption of public officers and employees and their private sector co-principals, accomplices or
accessories, if any, when in the course of its investigation the Commission finds that there is
reasonable ground to believe that they are liable for graft and corruption under pertinent
applicable laws;

h)
Call upon any government investigative or prosecutorial agency such as the Department of
Justice or any of the agencies under it, and the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission, for such
assistance and cooperation as it may require in the discharge of its functions and duties;

i)
Engage or contract the services of resource persons, professionals and other personnel
determined by it as necessary to carry out its mandate;

j)
Promulgate its rules and regulations or rules of procedure it deems necessary to effectively
and efficiently carry out the objectives of this Executive Order and to ensure the orderly conduct
of its investigations, proceedings and hearings, including the presentation of evidence;

k)
Exercise such other acts incident to or are appropriate and necessary in connection with
the objectives and purposes of this Order.
SECTION 3. Staffing Requirements. x x x.

SECTION 4. Detail of Employees. x x x.


SECTION 5. Engagement of Experts. x x x

SECTION 6. Conduct of Proceedings. x x x.


SECTION 7. Right to Counsel of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.
SECTION 8. Protection of Witnesses/Resource Persons. x x x.
SECTION 9. Refusal to Obey Subpoena, Take Oath or Give Testimony. Any government official or
personnel who, without lawful excuse, fails to appear upon subpoena issued by the Commission
or who, appearing before the Commission refuses to take oath or affirmation, give testimony or
produce documents for inspection, when required, shall be subject to administrative disciplinary
action. Any private person who does the same may be dealt with in accordance with law.
SECTION 10. Duty to Extend Assistance to the Commission. x x x.
SECTION 11. Budget for the Commission. The Office of the President shall provide the necessary
funds for the Commission to ensure that it can exercise its powers, execute its functions, and
perform its duties and responsibilities as effectively, efficiently, and expeditiously as possible.
SECTION 12. Office. x x x.

SECTION 13. Furniture/Equipment. x x x.

SECTION 14. Term of the Commission. The Commission shall accomplish its mission on or before
December 31, 2012.

SECTION 15. Publication of Final Report. x x x.

SECTION 16. Transfer of Records and Facilities of the Commission. x x x.

SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President
there is a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to
include the investigation of cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior
administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by way of a supplemental
Executive Order.

SECTION 18. Separability Clause. If any provision of this Order is declared unconstitutional, the
same shall not affect the validity and effectivity of the other provisions hereof.

SECTION 19. Effectivity. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

DONE in the City of Manila, Philippines, this 30th day of July 2010.

(SGD.) BENIGNO S. AQUINO III

By the President:

(SGD.) PAQUITO N. OCHOA, JR.


Executive Secretary

Nature of the Truth Commission

As can be gleaned from the above-quoted provisions, the Philippine Truth Commission (PTC) is a
mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President with the primary task to investigate
reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and employees, their coprincipals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration, and thereafter to
submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman. Though
it has been described as an independent collegial body, it is essentially an entity within the
Office of the President Proper and subject to his control. Doubtless, it constitutes a public office,
as an ad hoc body is one.[8]

To accomplish its task, the PTC shall have all the powers of an investigative body under Section
37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987. It is not, however, a quasi-judicial body
as it cannot adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards in disputes between
contending parties. All it can do is gather, collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption
and make recommendations. It may have subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in
contempt, much less order their arrest. Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine
from such facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in our courts of
law. Needless to state, it cannot impose criminal, civil or administrative penalties or sanctions.
The PTC is different from the truth commissions in other countries which have been created as
official, transitory and non-judicial fact-finding bodies to establish the facts and context of serious
violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law in a countrys past.[9] They are
usually established by states emerging from periods of internal unrest, civil strife or
authoritarianism to serve as mechanisms for transitional justice.

Truth commissions have been described as bodies that share the following characteristics: (1)
they examine only past events; (2) they investigate patterns of abuse committed over a period
of time, as opposed to a particular event; (3) they are temporary bodies that finish their work
with the submission of a report containing conclusions and recommendations; and (4) they are
officially sanctioned, authorized or empowered by the State.[10] Commissions members are
usually empowered to conduct research, support victims, and propose policy recommendations
to prevent recurrence of crimes. Through their investigations, the commissions may aim to
discover and learn more about past abuses, or formally acknowledge them. They may aim to
prepare the way for prosecutions and recommend institutional reforms.[11]

Thus, their main goals range from retribution to reconciliation. The Nuremburg and Tokyo war
crime tribunals are examples of a retributory or vindicatory body set up to try and punish those
responsible for crimes against humanity. A form of a reconciliatory tribunal is the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, the principal function of which was to heal the wounds
of past violence and to prevent future conflict by providing a cathartic experience for victims.

The PTC is a far cry from South Africas model. The latter placed more emphasis on reconciliation
than on judicial retribution, while the marching order of the PTC is the identification and
punishment of perpetrators. As one writer[12] puts it:

The order ruled out reconciliation. It translated the Draconian code spelled out by Aquino in his
inaugural speech: To those who talk about reconciliation, if they mean that they would like us to
simply forget about the wrongs that they have committed in the past, we have this to say: There
can be no reconciliation without justice. When we allow crimes to go unpunished, we give
consent to their occurring over and over again.

The Thrusts of the Petitions

Barely a month after the issuance of Executive Order No. 1, the petitioners asked the Court to
declare it unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing its functions. A perusal of the
arguments of the petitioners in both cases shows that they are essentially the same. The
petitioners-legislators summarized them in the following manner:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates the separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to
create a public office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot
legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally reorganize
the Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the
power to create an entirely new public office which was hitherto inexistent like the Truth
Commission.

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and pertinent statutes when it vested the Truth
Commission with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of the
Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the Department of Justice created under
the Administrative Code of 1987.

(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and
prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their peculiar
species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present, who may be
indictable.

(e) The creation of the Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 violates the consistent and general
international practice of four decades wherein States constitute truth commissions to exclusively
investigate human rights violations, which customary practice forms part of the generally
accepted principles of international law which the Philippines is mandated to adhere to pursuant
to the Declaration of Principles enshrined in the Constitution.

(f) The creation of the Truth Commission is an exercise in futility, an adventure in partisan
hostility, a launching pad for trial/conviction by publicity and a mere populist propaganda to
mistakenly impress the people that widespread poverty will altogether vanish if corruption is
eliminated without even addressing the other major causes of poverty.

(g) The mere fact that previous commissions were not constitutionally challenged is of no
moment because neither laches nor estoppel can bar an eventual question on the
constitutionality and validity of an executive issuance or even a statute.[13]

In their Consolidated Comment,[14] the respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG), essentially questioned the legal standing of petitioners and defended the assailed
executive order with the following arguments:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress to create a public office because the
Presidents executive power and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to
conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the
Constitution, Revised Administrative Code of 1987 (E.O. No. 292), [15] Presidential Decree (P.D.)
No. 1416[16] (as amended by P.D. No. 1772), R.A. No. 9970,[17] and settled jurisprudence that
authorize the President to create or form such bodies.

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no
appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Office of the
Ombudsman (Ombudsman) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), because it is a fact-finding body

and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions do not duplicate, supplant or erode the latters
jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly
created for laudable purposes.

The OSG then points to the continued existence and validity of other executive orders and
presidential issuances creating similar bodies to justify the creation of the PTC such as
Presidential Complaint and Action Commission (PCAC) by President Ramon B. Magsaysay,
Presidential Committee on Administrative Performance Efficiency (PCAPE) by President Carlos P.
Garcia and Presidential Agency on Reform and Government Operations (PARGO) by President
Ferdinand E. Marcos.[18]
From the petitions, pleadings, transcripts, and memoranda, the following are the principal issues
to be resolved:

1.
Whether or not the petitioners have the legal standing to file their respective
petitions and question Executive Order No. 1;

2.
Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the principle of separation of
powers by usurping the powers of Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices,
agencies and commissions;
3. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;

4. Whether or not Executive Order No. 1 violates the equal protection clause; and

5. Whether or not petitioners are entitled to injunctive relief.

Essential requisites for judicial review

Before proceeding to resolve the issue of the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1, the Court
needs to ascertain whether the requisites for a valid exercise of its power of judicial review are
present.

Like almost all powers conferred by the Constitution, the power of judicial review is subject to
limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or controversy calling for the exercise of
judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must have the standing to question the validity
of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he must have a personal and substantial interest
in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement;
(3) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue
of constitutionality must be the very lis mota of the case.[19]

Among all these limitations, only the legal standing of the petitioners has been put at issue.

Legal Standing of the Petitioners

The OSG attacks the legal personality of the petitioners-legislators to file their petition for failure
to demonstrate their personal stake in the outcome of the case. It argues that the petitioners
have not shown that they have sustained or are in danger of sustaining any personal injury
attributable to the creation of the PTC. Not claiming to be the subject of the commissions
investigations, petitioners will not sustain injury in its creation or as a result of its proceedings.
[20]

The Court disagrees with the OSG in questioning the legal standing of the petitioners-legislators
to assail Executive Order No. 1. Evidently, their petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power
of the Congress as a body to which they belong as members. This certainly justifies their resolve
to take the cudgels for Congress as an institution and present the complaints on the usurpation
of their power and rights as members of the legislature before the Court. As held in Philippine
Constitution Association v. Enriquez,[21]

To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each member thereof,
since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of that institution.

An act of the Executive which injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but
nonetheless substantial injury, which can be questioned by a member of Congress. In such a
case, any member of Congress can have a resort to the courts.

Indeed, legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges
vested by the Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the
validity of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators.
[22]

With regard to Biraogo, the OSG argues that, as a taxpayer, he has no standing to question the
creation of the PTC and the budget for its operations.[23] It emphasizes that the funds to be used
for the creation and operation of the commission are to be taken from those funds already
appropriated by Congress. Thus, the allocation and disbursement of funds for the commission
will not entail congressional action but will simply be an exercise of the Presidents power over
contingent funds.

As correctly pointed out by the OSG, Biraogo has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of
sustaining, any personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of Executive Order
No. 1. Nowhere in his petition is an assertion of a clear right that may justify his clamor for the

Court to exercise judicial power and to wield the axe over presidential issuances in defense of the
Constitution. The case of David v. Arroyo[24] explained the deep-seated rules on locus standi.
Thus:

Locus standi is defined as a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. In


private suits, standing is governed by the real-parties-in interest rule as contained in Section 2,
Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. It provides that every action must be
prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. Accordingly, the 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. Succinctly put, the plaintiffs standing is based on his own
right to the relief sought.

The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a
public right in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the
general public. He may be a person who is affected no differently from any other person. He
could be suing as a stranger, or in the category of a citizen, or taxpayer. In either case, he has to
adequately show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. In other words, he has to make
out a sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a citizen
or taxpayer.

Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both citizen and taxpayer standing in public actions.
The distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk, where it was held that the plaintiff in a
taxpayers suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizens suit. In the former, the
plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the latter, he is but the mere
instrument of the public concern. As held by the New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v.
Collins: In matter of mere public right, howeverthe people are the real partiesIt is at least the
right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly
pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied. With respect to taxpayers suits,
Terr v. Jordan held that the right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in courts to
restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied.

However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy
or act with which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies
engaged in public service, the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent direct
injury test in Ex Parte Levitt, later reaffirmed in Tileston v. Ullman. The same Court ruled that for
a private individual to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of an executive or
legislative action, he must show that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that action,
and it is not sufficient that he has a general interest common to all members of the public.

This Court adopted the direct injury test in our jurisdiction. In People v. Vera, it held that the
person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest in the
case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result. The Vera doctrine was
upheld in a litany of cases, such as, Custodio v. President of the Senate, Manila Race Horse
Trainers Association v. De la Fuente, Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works and Anti-Chinese
League of the Philippines v. Felix. [Emphases included. Citations omitted]

Notwithstanding, the Court leans on the doctrine that the rule on standing is a matter of
procedure, hence, can be relaxed for nontraditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens, taxpayers,
and legislators when the public interest so requires, such as when the matter is of transcendental
importance, of overreaching significance to society, or of paramount public interest.[25]

Thus, in Coconut Oil Refiners Association, Inc. v. Torres,[26] the Court held that in cases of
paramount importance where serious constitutional questions are involved, the standing
requirements may be relaxed and a suit may be allowed to prosper even where there is no direct
injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. In the first Emergency Powers Cases,[27]
ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several
executive orders although they had only an indirect and general interest shared in common with
the public.

The OSG claims that the determinants of transcendental importance[28] laid down in CREBA v.
ERC and Meralco[29] are non-existent in this case. The Court, however, finds reason in Biraogos
assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental importance to justify the exercise of
jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in the petition which deserve the
attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and weight as precedents. Where the
issues are of transcendental and paramount importance not only to the public but also to the
Bench and the Bar, they should be resolved for the guidance of all.[30] Undoubtedly, the Filipino
people are more than interested to know the status of the Presidents first effort to bring about a
promised change to the country. The Court takes cognizance of the petition not due to
overwhelming political undertones that clothe the issue in the eyes of the public, but because
the Court stands firm in its oath to perform its constitutional duty to settle legal controversies
with overreaching significance to society.

Power of the President to Create the Truth Commission

In his memorandum in G.R. No. 192935, Biraogo asserts that the Truth Commission is a public
office and not merely an adjunct body of the Office of the President.[31] Thus, in order that the
President may create a public office he must be empowered by the Constitution, a statute or an
authorization vested in him by law. According to petitioner, such power cannot be presumed[32]
since there is no provision in the Constitution or any specific law that authorizes the President to
create a truth commission.[33] He adds that Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987,
granting the President the continuing authority to reorganize his office, cannot serve as basis for
the creation of a truth commission considering the aforesaid provision merely uses verbs such as
reorganize, transfer, consolidate, merge, and abolish.[34] Insofar as it vests in the President the
plenary power to reorganize the Office of the President to the extent of creating a public office,
Section 31 is inconsistent with the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution
and must be deemed repealed upon the effectivity thereof.[35]

Similarly, in G.R. No. 193036, petitioners-legislators argue that the creation of a public office lies
within the province of Congress and not with the executive branch of government. They maintain
that the delegated authority of the President to reorganize under Section 31 of the Revised
Administrative Code: 1) does not permit the President to create a public office, much less a truth

commission; 2) is limited to the reorganization of the administrative structure of the Office of the
President; 3) is limited to the restructuring of the internal organs of the Office of the President
Proper, transfer of functions and transfer of agencies; and 4) only to achieve simplicity, economy
and efficiency.[36] Such continuing authority of the President to reorganize his office is limited,
and by issuing Executive Order No. 1, the President overstepped the limits of this delegated
authority.

The OSG counters that there is nothing exclusively legislative about the creation by the President
of a fact-finding body such as a truth commission. Pointing to numerous offices created by past
presidents, it argues that the authority of the President to create public offices within the Office
of the President Proper has long been recognized.[37] According to the OSG, the Executive, just
like the other two branches of government, possesses the inherent authority to create factfinding committees to assist it in the performance of its constitutionally mandated functions and
in the exercise of its administrative functions.[38] This power, as the OSG explains it, is but an
adjunct of the plenary powers wielded by the President under Section 1 and his power of control
under Section 17, both of Article VII of the Constitution.[39]

It contends that the President is necessarily vested with the power to conduct fact-finding
investigations, pursuant to his duty to ensure that all laws are enforced by public officials and
employees of his department and in the exercise of his authority to assume directly the functions
of the executive department, bureau and office, or interfere with the discretion of his officials.
[40] The power of the President to investigate is not limited to the exercise of his power of
control over his subordinates in the executive branch, but extends further in the exercise of his
other powers, such as his power to discipline subordinates,[41] his power for rule making,
adjudication and licensing purposes[42] and in order to be informed on matters which he is
entitled to know.[43]

The OSG also cites the recent case of Banda v. Ermita,[44] where it was held that the President
has the power to reorganize the offices and agencies in the executive department in line with his
constitutionally granted power of control and by virtue of a valid delegation of the legislative
power to reorganize executive offices under existing statutes.

Thus, the OSG concludes that the power of control necessarily includes the power to create
offices. For the OSG, the President may create the PTC in order to, among others, put a closure to
the reported large scale graft and corruption in the government.[45]

The question, therefore, before the Court is this: Does the creation of the PTC fall within the
ambit of the power to reorganize as expressed in Section 31 of the Revised Administrative Code?
Section 31 contemplates reorganization as limited by the following functional and structural
lines: (1) restructuring the internal organization of the Office of the President Proper by
abolishing, consolidating or merging units thereof or transferring functions from one unit to
another; (2) transferring any function under the Office of the President to any other
Department/Agency or vice versa; or (3) transferring any agency under the Office of the
President to any other Department/Agency or vice versa. Clearly, the provision refers to
reduction of personnel, consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or
redundancy of functions. These point to situations where a body or an office is already existent
but a modification or alteration thereof has to be effected. The creation of an office is nowhere

mentioned, much less envisioned in said provision. Accordingly, the answer to the question is in
the negative.

To say that the PTC is borne out of a restructuring of the Office of the President under Section 31
is a misplaced supposition, even in the plainest meaning attributable to the term restructure an
alteration of an existing structure. Evidently, the PTC was not part of the structure of the Office of
the President prior to the enactment of Executive Order No. 1. As held in Buklod ng Kawaning
EIIB v. Hon. Executive Secretary,[46]

But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any department or
agency in the executive branch does not have to end here. We must not lose sight of the very
source of the power that which constitutes an express grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III
of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987), "the
President, subject to the policy in the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity,
economy and efficiency, shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative
structure of the Office of the President." For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other
Departments or Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado v. Aguirre [323 SCRA 312
(2000)], we ruled that reorganization "involves the reduction of personnel, consolidation of
offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy of functions." It takes place
when there is an alteration of the existing structure of government offices or units therein,
including the lines of control, authority and responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau
attached to the Department of Finance. It falls under the Office of the President. Hence, it is
subject to the Presidents continuing authority to reorganize. [Emphasis Supplied]

In the same vein, the creation of the PTC is not justified by the Presidents power of control.
Control is essentially the power to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a subordinate
officer had done in the performance of his duties and to substitute the judgment of the former
with that of the latter.[47] Clearly, the power of control is entirely different from the power to
create public offices. The former is inherent in the Executive, while the latter finds basis from
either a valid delegation from Congress, or his inherent duty to faithfully execute the laws.

The question is this, is there a valid delegation of power from Congress, empowering the
President to create a public office?

According to the OSG, the power to create a truth commission pursuant to the above provision
finds statutory basis under P.D. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772.[48] The said law granted the
President the continuing authority to reorganize the national government, including the power to
group, consolidate bureaus and agencies, to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and
classify functions, services and activities, transfer appropriations, and to standardize salaries and
materials. This decree, in relation to Section 20, Title I, Book III of E.O. 292 has been invoked in
several cases such as Larin v. Executive Secretary.[49]

The Court, however, declines to recognize P.D. No. 1416 as a justification for the President to
create a public office. Said decree is already stale, anachronistic and inoperable. P.D. No. 1416
was a delegation to then President Marcos of the authority to reorganize the administrative
structure of the national government including the power to create offices and transfer
appropriations pursuant to one of the purposes of the decree, embodied in its last Whereas
clause:

WHEREAS, the transition towards the parliamentary form of government will necessitate
flexibility in the organization of the national government.

Clearly, as it was only for the purpose of providing manageability and resiliency during the
interim, P.D. No. 1416, as amended by P.D. No. 1772, became functus oficio upon the convening
of the First Congress, as expressly provided in Section 6, Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution. In
fact, even the Solicitor General agrees with this view. Thus:

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: Because P.D. 1416 was enacted was the last whereas clause of P.D.
1416 says it was enacted to prepare the transition from presidential to parliamentary. Now, in a
parliamentary form of government, the legislative and executive powers are fused, correct?

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: That is why, that P.D. 1416 was issued. Now would you agree with
me that P.D. 1416 should not be considered effective anymore upon the promulgation, adoption,
ratification of the 1987 Constitution.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Not the whole of P.D. [No.] 1416, Your Honor.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE CARPIO: The power of the President to reorganize the entire National
Government is deemed repealed, at least, upon the adoption of the 1987 Constitution, correct.

SOLICITOR GENERAL CADIZ: Yes, Your Honor.[50]

While the power to create a truth commission cannot pass muster on the basis of P.D. No. 1416
as amended by P.D. No. 1772, the creation of the PTC finds justification under Section 17, Article
VII of the Constitution, imposing upon the President the duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully
executed. Section 17 reads:

Section 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and
offices. He shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. (Emphasis supplied).

As correctly pointed out by the respondents, the allocation of power in the three principal
branches of government is a grant of all powers inherent in them. The Presidents power to
conduct investigations to aid him in ensuring the faithful execution of laws in this case,
fundamental laws on public accountability and transparency is inherent in the Presidents powers
as the Chief Executive. That the authority of the President to conduct investigations and to
create bodies to execute this power is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution or in statutes
does not mean that he is bereft of such authority.[51] As explained in the landmark case of
Marcos v. Manglapus:[52]

x x x. The 1987 Constitution, however, brought back the presidential system of government and
restored the separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution
among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and balances.

It would not be accurate, however, to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the
laws, for the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers
inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it.
Furthermore, the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the
powers of the President. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the
execution of any provision of law, e.g., his power over the country's foreign relations.

On these premises, we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on
the exercise of specific powers of the President, it maintains intact what is traditionally
considered as within the scope of "executive power." Corollarily, the powers of the President
cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. In other
words, executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated.

It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative
nor judicial has to be executive. x x x.

Indeed, the Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. As
stated above, the powers of the President are not limited to those specific powers under the
Constitution.[53] One of the recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this
constitutionally-mandated duty is the power to create ad hoc committees. This flows from the
obvious need to ascertain facts and determine if laws have been faithfully executed. Thus, in
Department of Health v. Camposano,[54] the authority of the President to issue Administrative
Order No. 298, creating an investigative committee to look into the administrative charges filed
against the employees of the Department of Health for the anomalous purchase of medicines
was upheld. In said case, it was ruled:

The Chief Executives power to create the Ad hoc Investigating Committee cannot be doubted.
Having been constitutionally granted full control of the Executive Department, to which
respondents belong, the President has the obligation to ensure that all executive officials and
employees faithfully comply with the law. With AO 298 as mandate, the legality of the
investigation is sustained. Such validity is not affected by the fact that the investigating team
and the PCAGC had the same composition, or that the former used the offices and facilities of the
latter in conducting the inquiry. [Emphasis supplied]

It should be stressed that the purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating bodies to exist is to allow
an inquiry into matters which the President is entitled to know so that he can be properly advised
and guided in the performance of his duties relative to the execution and enforcement of the
laws of the land. And if history is to be revisited, this was also the objective of the investigative
bodies created in the past like the PCAC, PCAPE, PARGO, the Feliciano Commission, the Melo
Commission and the Zenarosa Commission. There being no changes in the government
structure, the Court is not inclined to declare such executive power as non-existent just because
the direction of the political winds have changed.

On the charge that Executive Order No. 1 transgresses the power of Congress to appropriate
funds for the operation of a public office, suffice it to say that there will be no appropriation but
only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already appropriated. Accordingly, there is no
usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to appropriate funds. Further,
there is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of the commission
because, in the words of the Solicitor General, whatever funds the Congress has provided for the
Office of the President will be the very source of the funds for the commission.[55] Moreover,
since the amount that would be allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules
and regulations, there is no impropriety in the funding.

Power of the Truth Commission to Investigate

The Presidents power to conduct investigations to ensure that laws are faithfully executed is well
recognized. It flows from the faithful-execution clause of the Constitution under Article VII,
Section 17 thereof.[56] As the Chief Executive, the president represents the government as a
whole and sees to it that all laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department.
He has the authority to directly assume the functions of the executive department.[57]

Invoking this authority, the President constituted the PTC to primarily investigate reports of graft
and corruption and to recommend the appropriate action. As previously stated, no quasi-judicial
powers have been vested in the said body as it cannot adjudicate rights of persons who come
before it. It has been said that Quasi-judicial powers involve the power to hear and determine
questions of fact to which the legislative policy is to apply and to decide in accordance with the
standards laid down by law itself in enforcing and administering the same law.[58] In simpler
terms, judicial discretion is involved in the exercise of these quasi-judicial power, such that it is
exclusively vested in the judiciary and must be clearly authorized by the legislature in the case of
administrative agencies.

The distinction between the power to investigate and the power to adjudicate was delineated by
the Court in Cario v. Commission on Human Rights.[59] Thus:

"Investigate," commonly understood, means to examine, explore, inquire or delve or probe into,
research on, study. The dictionary definition of "investigate" is "to observe or study closely:
inquire into systematically: "to search or inquire into: x x to subject to an official probe x x: to
conduct an official inquiry." The purpose of investigation, of course, is to discover, to find out, to
learn, obtain information. Nowhere included or intimated is the notion of settling, deciding or
resolving a controversy involved in the facts inquired into by application of the law to the facts
established by the inquiry.

The legal meaning of "investigate" is essentially the same: "(t)o follow up step by step by patient
inquiry or observation. To trace or track; to search into; to examine and inquire into with care and
accuracy; to find out by careful inquisition; examination; the taking of evidence; a legal inquiry;"
"to inquire; to make an investigation," "investigation" being in turn described as "(a)n
administrative function, the exercise of which ordinarily does not require a hearing. 2 Am J2d
Adm L Sec. 257; x x an inquiry, judicial or otherwise, for the discovery and collection of facts
concerning a certain matter or matters."

"Adjudicate," commonly or popularly understood, means to adjudge, arbitrate, judge, decide,


determine, resolve, rule on, settle. The dictionary defines the term as "to settle finally (the rights
and duties of the parties to a court case) on the merits of issues raised: x x to pass judgment on:
settle judicially: x x act as judge." And "adjudge" means "to decide or rule upon as a judge or
with judicial or quasi-judicial powers: x x to award or grant judicially in a case of controversy x x."
In the legal sense, "adjudicate" means: "To settle in the exercise of judicial authority. To
determine finally. Synonymous with adjudge in its strictest sense;" and "adjudge" means: "To
pass on judicially, to decide, settle or decree, or to sentence or condemn. x x. Implies a judicial
determination of a fact, and the entry of a judgment." [Italics included. Citations Omitted]

Fact-finding is not adjudication and it cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court of
justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or office. The function of receiving evidence and
ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial function. To be considered as
such, the act of receiving evidence and arriving at factual conclusions in a controversy must be
accompanied by the authority of applying the law to the factual conclusions to the end that the
controversy may be decided or resolved authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to
appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law.[60] Even respondents themselves admit
that the commission is bereft of any quasi-judicial power.[61]

Contrary to petitioners apprehension, the PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or
erode their respective powers. If at all, the investigative function of the commission will
complement those of the two offices. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the
recommendation to prosecute is but a consequence of the overall task of the commission to
conduct a fact-finding investigation.[62] The actual prosecution of suspected offenders, much
less adjudication on the merits of the charges against them,[63] is certainly not a function given
to the commission. The phrase, when in the course of its investigation, under Section 2(g),
highlights this fact and gives credence to a contrary interpretation from that of the petitioners.

The function of determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the
courts remains to be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman.[64]

At any rate, the Ombudsmans power to investigate under R.A. No. 6770 is not exclusive but is
shared with other similarly authorized government agencies. Thus, in the case of Ombudsman v.
Galicia,[65] it was written:

This power of investigation granted to the Ombudsman by the 1987 Constitution and The
Ombudsman Act is not exclusive but is shared with other similarly authorized government
agencies such as the PCGG and judges of municipal trial courts and municipal circuit trial courts.
The power to conduct preliminary investigation on charges against public employees and officials
is likewise concurrently shared with the Department of Justice. Despite the passage of the Local
Government Code in 1991, the Ombudsman retains concurrent jurisdiction with the Office of the
President and the local Sanggunians to investigate complaints against local elective officials.
[Emphasis supplied].

Also, Executive Order No. 1 cannot contravene the power of the Ombudsman to investigate
criminal cases under Section 15 (1) of R.A. No. 6770, which states:

(1) Investigate and prosecute on its own or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of
any public officer or employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appears to be illegal,
unjust, improper or inefficient. It has primary jurisdiction over cases cognizable by the
Sandiganbayan and, in the exercise of its primary jurisdiction, it may take over, at any stage,
from any investigatory agency of government, the investigation of such cases. [Emphases
supplied]

The act of investigation by the Ombudsman as enunciated above contemplates the conduct of a
preliminary investigation or the determination of the existence of probable cause. This is
categorically out of the PTCs sphere of functions. Its power to investigate is limited to obtaining
facts so that it can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties relative to the
execution and enforcement of the laws of the land. In this regard, the PTC commits no act of
usurpation of the Ombudsmans primordial duties.

The same holds true with respect to the DOJ. Its authority under Section 3 (2), Chapter 1, Title III,
Book IV in the Revised Administrative Code is by no means exclusive and, thus, can be shared
with a body likewise tasked to investigate the commission of crimes.

Finally, nowhere in Executive Order No. 1 can it be inferred that the findings of the PTC are to be
accorded conclusiveness. Much like its predecessors, the Davide Commission, the Feliciano
Commission and the Zenarosa Commission, its findings would, at best, be recommendatory in
nature. And being so, the Ombudsman and the DOJ have a wider degree of latitude to decide
whether or not to reject the recommendation. These offices, therefore, are not deprived of their

mandated duties but will instead be aided by the reports of the PTC for possible indictments for
violations of graft laws.

Violation of the Equal Protection Clause

Although the purpose of the Truth Commission falls within the investigative power of the
President, the Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in
view of its apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III
(Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution. Section 1 reads:

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.

The petitioners assail Executive Order No. 1 because it is violative of this constitutional
safeguard. They contend that it does not apply equally to all members of the same class such
that the intent of singling out the previous administration as its sole object makes the PTC an
adventure in partisan hostility.[66] Thus, in order to be accorded with validity, the commission
must also cover reports of graft and corruption in virtually all administrations previous to that of
former President Arroyo.[67]

The petitioners argue that the search for truth behind the reported cases of graft and corruption
must encompass acts committed not only during the administration of former President Arroyo
but also during prior administrations where the same magnitude of controversies and
anomalies[68] were reported to have been committed against the Filipino people. They assail the
classification formulated by the respondents as it does not fall under the recognized exceptions
because first, there is no substantial distinction between the group of officials targeted for
investigation by Executive Order No. 1 and other groups or persons who abused their public
office for personal gain; and second, the selective classification is not germane to the purpose of
Executive Order No. 1 to end corruption.[69] In order to attain constitutional permission, the
petitioners advocate that the commission should deal with graft and grafters prior and
subsequent to the Arroyo administration with the strong arm of the law with equal force.[70]

Position of respondents

According to respondents, while Executive Order No. 1 identifies the previous administration as
the initial subject of the investigation, following Section 17 thereof, the PTC will not confine itself
to cases of large scale graft and corruption solely during the said administration.[71] Assuming
arguendo that the commission would confine its proceedings to officials of the previous
administration, the petitioners argue that no offense is committed against the equal protection
clause for the segregation of the transactions of public officers during the previous
administration as possible subjects of investigation is a valid classification based on substantial
distinctions and is germane to the evils which the Executive Order seeks to correct.[72] To
distinguish the Arroyo administration from past administrations, it recited the following:

First. E.O. No. 1 was issued in view of widespread reports of large scale graft and corruption in
the previous administration which have eroded public confidence in public institutions. There is,
therefore, an urgent call for the determination of the truth regarding certain reports of large
scale graft and corruption in the government and to put a closure to them by the filing of the
appropriate cases against those involved, if warranted, and to deter others from committing the
evil, restore the peoples faith and confidence in the Government and in their public servants.

Second. The segregation of the preceding administration as the object of fact-finding is


warranted by the reality that unlike with administrations long gone, the current administration
will most likely bear the immediate consequence of the policies of the previous administration.

Third. The classification of the previous administration as a separate class for investigation lies in
the reality that the evidence of possible criminal activity, the evidence that could lead to
recovery of public monies illegally dissipated, the policy lessons to be learned to ensure that
anti-corruption laws are faithfully executed, are more easily established in the regime that
immediately precede the current administration.

Fourth. Many administrations subject the transactions of their predecessors to investigations to


provide closure to issues that are pivotal to national life or even as a routine measure of due
diligence and good housekeeping by a nascent administration like the Presidential Commission
on Good Government (PCGG), created by the late President Corazon C. Aquino under Executive
Order No. 1 to pursue the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of her predecessor former President
Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies, and the Saguisag Commission created by former President
Joseph Estrada under Administrative Order No, 53, to form an ad-hoc and independent citizens
committee to investigate all the facts and circumstances surrounding Philippine Centennial
projects of his predecessor, former President Fidel V. Ramos.[73] [Emphases supplied]

Concept of the Equal Protection Clause

One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of the equality of right
which is embodied in Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution. The equal protection of the
laws is embraced in the concept of due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the
requirements of justice and fair play. It has been embodied in a separate clause, however, to
provide for a more specific guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or hostility from the
government. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on the basis of the due process clause.
But if the particular act assailed partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper
weapon to cut it down is the equal protection clause.[74]

According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things
similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities
imposed.[75] It requires public bodies and institutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a
similar manner.[76] The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person within a
states jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the
express terms of a statue or by its improper execution through the states duly constituted
authorities.[77] In other words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the state to

govern impartially, and it may not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences
that are irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective.[78]

The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just those of the legislature.
[79] Its inhibitions cover all the departments of the government including the political and
executive departments, and extend to all actions of a state denying equal protection of the laws,
through whatever agency or whatever guise is taken. [80]

It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without
distinction. What it simply requires is equality among equals as determined according to a valid
classification. Indeed, the equal protection clause permits classification. Such classification,
however, to be valid must pass the test of reasonableness. The test has four requisites: (1) The
classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is
not limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) It applies equally to all members of the same class.[81] Superficial differences do not make
for a valid classification.[82]

For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must include or embrace all
persons who naturally belong to the class.[83] The classification will be regarded as invalid if all
the members of the class are not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations
imposed. It is not necessary that the classification be made with absolute symmetry, in the sense
that the members of the class should possess the same characteristics in equal degree.
Substantial similarity will suffice; and as long as this is achieved, all those covered by the
classification are to be treated equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class
differs from the other members, as long as that class is substantially distinguishable from all
others, does not justify the non-application of the law to him.[84]

The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to


preclude addition to the number included in the class. It must be of such a nature as to embrace
all those who may thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions. It must not leave out or
underinclude those that should otherwise fall into a certain classification. As elucidated in
Victoriano v. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union[85] and reiterated in a long line of cases,[86]
The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the
laws upon all citizens of the state. It is not, therefore, a requirement, in order to avoid the
constitutional prohibition against inequality, that every man, woman and child should be affected
alike by a statute. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on
persons merely as such, but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. It
guarantees equality, not identity of rights. The Constitution does not require that things which
are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. The equal protection clause
does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. It does not prohibit legislation which
is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to
operate.

The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. Classification in
law, as in the other departments of knowledge or practice, is the grouping of things in
speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. A law is not

invalid because of simple inequality. The very idea of classification is that of inequality, so that it
goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of
constitutionality. All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable, which means
that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real
differences, that it must be germane to the purpose of the law; that it must not be limited to
existing conditions only; and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. This Court
has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable
foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. [Citations omitted]

Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of
the equal protection clause. The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to
investigate and find out the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during
the previous administration[87] only. The intent to single out the previous administration is plain,
patent and manifest. Mention of it has been made in at least three portions of the questioned
executive order. Specifically, these are:

WHEREAS, there is a need for a separate body dedicated solely to investigating and finding out
the truth concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during the previous
administration, and which will recommend the prosecution of the offenders and secure justice for
all;

SECTION 1. Creation of a Commission. There is hereby created the PHILIPPINE TRUTH


COMMISSION, hereinafter referred to as the COMMISSION, which shall primarily seek and find the
truth on, and toward this end, investigate reports of graft and corruption of such scale and
magnitude that shock and offend the moral and ethical sensibilities of the people, committed by
public officers and employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories from the private
sector, if any, during the previous administration; and thereafter recommend the appropriate
action or measure to be taken thereon to ensure that the full measure of justice shall be served
without fear or favor.

SECTION 2. Powers and Functions. The Commission, which shall have all the powers of an
investigative body under Section 37, Chapter 9, Book I of the Administrative Code of 1987, is
primarily tasked to conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation of reported cases of graft and
corruption referred to in Section 1, involving third level public officers and higher, their coprincipals, accomplices and accessories from the private sector, if any, during the previous
administration and thereafter submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress
and the Ombudsman. [Emphases supplied]

In this regard, it must be borne in mind that the Arroyo administration is but just a member of a
class, that is, a class of past administrations. It is not a class of its own. Not to include past
administrations similarly situated constitutes arbitrariness which the equal protection clause
cannot sanction. Such discriminating differentiation clearly reverberates to label the commission
as a vehicle for vindictiveness and selective retribution.

Though the OSG enumerates several differences between the Arroyo administration and other
past administrations, these distinctions are not substantial enough to merit the restriction of the

investigation to the previous administration only. The reports of widespread corruption in the
Arroyo administration cannot be taken as basis for distinguishing said administration from earlier
administrations which were also blemished by similar widespread reports of impropriety. They
are not inherent in, and do not inure solely to, the Arroyo administration. As Justice Isagani Cruz
put it, Superficial differences do not make for a valid classification.[88]

The public needs to be enlightened why Executive Order No. 1 chooses to limit the scope of the
intended investigation to the previous administration only. The OSG ventures to opine that to
include other past administrations, at this point, may unnecessarily overburden the commission
and lead it to lose its effectiveness.[89] The reason given is specious. It is without doubt
irrelevant to the legitimate and noble objective of the PTC to stamp out or end corruption and the
evil it breeds.[90]

The probability that there would be difficulty in unearthing evidence or that the earlier reports
involving the earlier administrations were already inquired into is beside the point. Obviously,
deceased presidents and cases which have already prescribed can no longer be the subjects of
inquiry by the PTC. Neither is the PTC expected to conduct simultaneous investigations of
previous administrations, given the bodys limited time and resources. The law does not require
the impossible (Lex non cogit ad impossibilia).[91]

Given the foregoing physical and legal impossibility, the Court logically recognizes the
unfeasibility of investigating almost a centurys worth of graft cases. However, the fact remains
that Executive Order No. 1 suffers from arbitrary classification. The PTC, to be true to its mandate
of searching for the truth, must not exclude the other past administrations. The PTC must, at
least, have the authority to investigate all past administrations. While reasonable prioritization is
permitted, it should not be arbitrary lest it be struck down for being unconstitutional. In the often
quoted language of Yick Wo v. Hopkins,[92]

Though the law itself be fair on its face and impartial in appearance, yet, if applied and
administered by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make
unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their
rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the constitution. [Emphasis
supplied]

It could be argued that considering that the PTC is an ad hoc body, its scope is limited. The Court,
however, is of the considered view that although its focus is restricted, the constitutional
guarantee of equal protection under the laws should not in any way be circumvented. The
Constitution is the fundamental and paramount law of the nation to which all other laws must
conform and in accordance with which all private rights determined and all public authority
administered.[93] Laws that do not conform to the Constitution should be stricken down for being
unconstitutional.[94] While the thrust of the PTC is specific, that is, for investigation of acts of
graft and corruption, Executive Order No. 1, to survive, must be read together with the provisions

of the Constitution. To exclude the earlier administrations in the guise of substantial distinctions
would only confirm the petitioners lament that the subject executive order is only an adventure
in partisan hostility. In the case of US v. Cyprian,[95] it was written: A rather limited number of
such classifications have routinely been held or assumed to be arbitrary; those include: race,
national origin, gender, political activity or membership in a political party, union activity or
membership in a labor union, or more generally the exercise of first amendment rights.

To reiterate, in order for a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must


include or embrace all persons who naturally belong to the class.[96] Such a classification must
not be based on existing circumstances only, or so constituted as to preclude additions to the
number included within a class, but must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may
thereafter be in similar circumstances and conditions. Furthermore, all who are in situations and
circumstances which are relative to the discriminatory legislation and which are indistinguishable
from those of the members of the class must be brought under the influence of the law and
treated by it in the same way as are the members of the class.[97]

The Court is not unaware that mere underinclusiveness is not fatal to the validity of a law under
the equal protection clause.[98] Legislation is not unconstitutional merely because it is not allembracing and does not include all the evils within its reach.[99] It has been written that a
regulation challenged under the equal protection clause is not devoid of a rational predicate
simply because it happens to be incomplete.[100] In several instances, the underinclusiveness
was not considered a valid reason to strike down a law or regulation where the purpose can be
attained in future legislations or regulations. These cases refer to the step by step process.[101]
With regard to equal protection claims, a legislature does not run the risk of losing the entire
remedial scheme simply because it fails, through inadvertence or otherwise, to cover every evil
that might conceivably have been attacked.[102]

In Executive Order No. 1, however, there is no inadvertence. That the previous administration
was picked out was deliberate and intentional as can be gleaned from the fact that it was
underscored at least three times in the assailed executive order. It must be noted that Executive
Order No. 1 does not even mention any particular act, event or report to be focused on unlike the
investigative commissions created in the past. The equal protection clause is violated by
purposeful and intentional discrimination.[103]

To disprove petitioners contention that there is deliberate discrimination, the OSG clarifies that
the commission does not only confine itself to cases of large scale graft and corruption
committed during the previous administration.[104] The OSG points to Section 17 of Executive
Order No. 1, which provides:

SECTION 17. Special Provision Concerning Mandate. If and when in the judgment of the President
there is a need to expand the mandate of the Commission as defined in Section 1 hereof to
include the investigation of cases and instances of graft and corruption during the prior
administrations, such mandate may be so extended accordingly by way of a supplemental
Executive Order.

The Court is not convinced. Although Section 17 allows the President the discretion to expand the
scope of investigations of the PTC so as to include the acts of graft and corruption committed in
other past administrations, it does not guarantee that they would be covered in the future. Such
expanded mandate of the commission will still depend on the whim and caprice of the President.
If he would decide not to include them, the section would then be meaningless. This will only
fortify the fears of the petitioners that the Executive Order No. 1 was crafted to tailor-fit the
prosecution of officials and personalities of the Arroyo administration.[105]

The Court tried to seek guidance from the pronouncement in the case of Virata v.
Sandiganbayan,[106] that the PCGG Charter (composed of Executive Orders Nos. 1, 2 and 14)
does not violate the equal protection clause. The decision, however, was devoid of any
discussion on how such conclusory statement was arrived at, the principal issue in said case
being only the sufficiency of a cause of action.

A final word

The issue that seems to take center stage at present is - whether or not the Supreme Court, in
the exercise of its constitutionally mandated power of Judicial Review with respect to recent
initiatives of the legislature and the executive department, is exercising undue interference. Is
the Highest Tribunal, which is expected to be the protector of the Constitution, itself guilty of
violating fundamental tenets like the doctrine of separation of powers? Time and again, this issue
has been addressed by the Court, but it seems that the present political situation calls for it to
once again explain the legal basis of its action lest it continually be accused of being a hindrance
to the nations thrust to progress.

The Philippine Supreme Court, according to Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, is
vested with Judicial Power that includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine
whether or not there has been a grave of abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.

Furthermore, in Section 4(2) thereof, it is vested with the power of judicial review which is the
power to declare a treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree,
proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation unconstitutional. This power also
includes the duty to rule on the constitutionality of the application, or operation of presidential
decrees, proclamations, orders, instructions, ordinances, and other regulations. These provisions,
however, have been fertile grounds of conflict between the Supreme Court, on one hand, and the
two co-equal bodies of government, on the other. Many times the Court has been accused of
asserting superiority over the other departments.

To answer this accusation, the words of Justice Laurel would be a good source of enlightenment,
to wit: And when the judiciary mediates to allocate constitutional boundaries, it does not assert
any superiority over the other departments; it does not in reality nullify or invalidate an act of the
legislature, but only asserts the solemn and sacred obligation assigned to it by the Constitution
to determine conflicting claims of authority under the Constitution and to establish for the parties
in an actual controversy the rights which that instrument secures and guarantees to them.[107]

Thus, the Court, in exercising its power of judicial review, is not imposing its own will upon a coequal body but rather simply making sure that any act of government is done in consonance with
the authorities and rights allocated to it by the Constitution. And, if after said review, the Court
finds no constitutional violations of any sort, then, it has no more authority of proscribing the
actions under review. Otherwise, the Court will not be deterred to pronounce said act as void and
unconstitutional.

It cannot be denied that most government actions are inspired with noble intentions, all geared
towards the betterment of the nation and its people. But then again, it is important to remember
this ethical principle: The end does not justify the means. No matter how noble and worthy of
admiration the purpose of an act, but if the means to be employed in accomplishing it is simply
irreconcilable with constitutional parameters, then it cannot still be allowed.[108] The Court
cannot just turn a blind eye and simply let it pass. It will continue to uphold the Constitution and
its enshrined principles.

The Constitution must ever remain supreme. All must bow to the mandate of this law.
Expediency must not be allowed to sap its strength nor greed for power debase its rectitude.
[109]

Lest it be misunderstood, this is not the death knell for a truth commission as nobly envisioned
by the present administration. Perhaps a revision of the executive issuance so as to include the
earlier past administrations would allow it to pass the test of reasonableness and not be an
affront to the Constitution. Of all the branches of the government, it is the judiciary which is the
most interested in knowing the truth and so it will not allow itself to be a hindrance or obstacle to
its attainment. It must, however, be emphasized that the search for the truth must be within
constitutional bounds for ours is still a government of laws and not of men.[110]

WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED. Executive Order No. 1 is hereby declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it is violative of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

As also prayed for, the respondents are hereby ordered to cease and desist from carrying out the
provisions of Executive Order No. 1.

SO ORDERED.

DIGEST
FACTS:

Pres. Aquino signed E. O. No. 1 establishing Philippine Truth Commission of 2010 (PTC) dated July
30, 2010.

PTC is a mere ad hoc body formed under the Office of the President with the primary task to
investigate reports of graft and corruption committed by third-level public officers and
employees, their co-principals, accomplices and accessories during the previous administration,
and to submit its finding and recommendations to the President, Congress and the Ombudsman.
PTC has all the powers of an investigative body. But it is not a quasi-judicial body as it cannot
adjudicate, arbitrate, resolve, settle, or render awards in disputes between contending parties.
All it can do is gather, collect and assess evidence of graft and corruption and make
recommendations. It may have subpoena powers but it has no power to cite people in contempt,
much less order their arrest. Although it is a fact-finding body, it cannot determine from such
facts if probable cause exists as to warrant the filing of an information in our courts of law.

Petitioners asked the Court to declare it unconstitutional and to enjoin the PTC from performing
its functions. They argued that:

(a) E.O. No. 1 violates separation of powers as it arrogates the power of the Congress to create a
public office and appropriate funds for its operation.

(b) The provision of Book III, Chapter 10, Section 31 of the Administrative Code of 1987 cannot
legitimize E.O. No. 1 because the delegated authority of the President to structurally reorganize
the Office of the President to achieve economy, simplicity and efficiency does not include the
power to create an entirely new public office which was hitherto inexistent like the Truth
Commission.

(c) E.O. No. 1 illegally amended the Constitution and statutes when it vested the Truth
Commission with quasi-judicial powers duplicating, if not superseding, those of the Office of the
Ombudsman created under the 1987 Constitution and the DOJ created under the Administrative
Code of 1987.

(d) E.O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause as it selectively targets for investigation and
prosecution officials and personnel of the previous administration as if corruption is their peculiar
species even as it excludes those of the other administrations, past and present, who may be
indictable.

Respondents, through OSG, questioned the legal standing of petitioners and argued that:

1] E.O. No. 1 does not arrogate the powers of Congress because the Presidents executive power
and power of control necessarily include the inherent power to conduct investigations to ensure
that laws are faithfully executed and that, in any event, the Constitution, Revised Administrative
Code of 1987, PD No. 141616 (as amended), R.A. No. 9970 and settled jurisprudence, authorize
the President to create or form such bodies.

2] E.O. No. 1 does not usurp the power of Congress to appropriate funds because there is no
appropriation but a mere allocation of funds already appropriated by Congress.

3] The Truth Commission does not duplicate or supersede the functions of the Ombudsman and
the DOJ, because it is a fact-finding body and not a quasi-judicial body and its functions do not
duplicate, supplant or erode the latters jurisdiction.

4] The Truth Commission does not violate the equal protection clause because it was validly
created for laudable purposes.

ISSUES:

1. WON the petitioners have legal standing to file the petitions and question E. O. No. 1;
2. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the principle of separation of powers by usurping the powers of
Congress to create and to appropriate funds for public offices, agencies and commissions;
3. WON E. O. No. 1 supplants the powers of the Ombudsman and the DOJ;
4. WON E. O. No. 1 violates the equal protection clause.

RULING:
The power of judicial review is subject to limitations, to wit: (1) there must be an actual case or
controversy calling for the exercise of judicial power; (2) the person challenging the act must
have the standing to question the validity of the subject act or issuance; otherwise stated, he
must have a personal and substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained, or will
sustain, direct injury as a result of its enforcement; (3) the question of constitutionality must be
raised at the earliest opportunity; and (4) the issue of constitutionality must be the very lis mota
of the case.

1. The petition primarily invokes usurpation of the power of the Congress as a body to which they
belong as members. To the extent the powers of Congress are impaired, so is the power of each
member thereof, since his office confers a right to participate in the exercise of the powers of
that institution.

Legislators have a legal standing to see to it that the prerogative, powers and privileges vested
by the Constitution in their office remain inviolate. Thus, they are allowed to question the validity
of any official action which, to their mind, infringes on their prerogatives as legislators.

With regard to Biraogo, he has not shown that he sustained, or is in danger of sustaining, any
personal and direct injury attributable to the implementation of E. O. No. 1.

Locus standi is a right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question. In private suits,
standing is governed by the real-parties-in interest rule. It provides that every action must be
prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest. 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.

Difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts a
public right in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the
general public. He has to show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. He has to make out
a sufficient interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a citizen
or taxpayer.

The person who impugns the validity of a statute must have a personal and substantial interest
in the case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result. The Court,
however, finds reason in Biraogos assertion that the petition covers matters of transcendental
importance to justify the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court. There are constitutional issues in
the petition which deserve the attention of this Court in view of their seriousness, novelty and
weight as precedents

The Executive is given much leeway in ensuring that our laws are faithfully executed. The powers
of the President are not limited to those specific powers under the Constitution. One of the
recognized powers of the President granted pursuant to this constitutionally-mandated duty is
the power to create ad hoc committees. This flows from the obvious need to ascertain facts and
determine if laws have been faithfully executed. The purpose of allowing ad hoc investigating
bodies to exist is to allow an inquiry into matters which the President is entitled to know so that
he can be properly advised and guided in the performance of his duties relative to the execution
and enforcement of the laws of the land.

2. There will be no appropriation but only an allotment or allocations of existing funds already
appropriated. There is no usurpation on the part of the Executive of the power of Congress to
appropriate funds. There is no need to specify the amount to be earmarked for the operation of
the commission because, whatever funds the Congress has provided for the Office of the
President will be the very source of the funds for the commission. The amount that would be
allocated to the PTC shall be subject to existing auditing rules and regulations so there is no
impropriety in the funding.

3. PTC will not supplant the Ombudsman or the DOJ or erode their respective powers. If at all, the
investigative function of the commission will complement those of the two offices. The function

of determining probable cause for the filing of the appropriate complaints before the courts
remains to be with the DOJ and the Ombudsman. PTCs power to investigate is limited to
obtaining facts so that it can advise and guide the President in the performance of his duties
relative to the execution and enforcement of the laws of the land.

4. Court finds difficulty in upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 1 in view of its
apparent transgression of the equal protection clause enshrined in Section 1, Article III (Bill of
Rights) of the 1987 Constitution.

Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike,
both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. It requires public bodies and institutions
to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner. The purpose of the equal protection
clause is to secure every person within a states jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary
discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper execution
through the states