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Re: Suspension of Writ of Habeas Corpus – Automatic in Martial Law.

Aquino vs. Enrile (1974)

FACTS:
These cases are all petitions for habeas corpus, the petitioners having been arrested and
detained by the military by virtue of the President’s Proclamation No. 1081.

The petitioners were arrested and held pursuant to General Order No. 2 of the
President (September 22, 1972), “for being participants or for having given aid and
comfort in the conspiracy to seize political and state power in the country and to take
over the Government by force. . .” General Order No. 2 was issued by the President in
the exercise of the powers he assumed by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081

Diokno ‘s petition was dismissed after it became moot and academic when he was
released. Other petitioners were permitted to withdraw or were released.

Formal charges of murder, subversion and illegal possession of firearms were file against
Aquino with a Military Commission. Aquino then challenged the jurisdiction of said
Commission as well as his continued detention by virtue of those charges in a petition
for certiorari and prohibition.

ISSUES:
1. WON this Court may inquire into the validity of Proclamation No. 1081.
Is the existence of conditions claimed to justify the exercise of the power to declare
martial law subject to judicial inquiry?
Is the question political or justiciable in character?

(4)Justices Makasiar, Antonio, Esguerra, Fernandez and Aquino: hold that the question is
political and therefore its determination is beyond the jurisdiction of this Court.

Justice Barredo, on the other hand, believes that political questions are not per se
beyond the Court’s jurisdiction, the judicial power vested in it by the Constitution being
plenary and all-embracing, but that as a matter of policy implicit in the Constitution
itself the Court should abstain from interfering with the Executive’s Proclamation,
dealing as it does with national security, for which the responsibility is vested by the
charter in him alone.

Justice Esguerra maintains that the findings of the President on the existence of the
grounds for the declaration of martial law are final and conclusive upon the Courts.

Justice Barredo draws a distinction between the power of the President to suspend the
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and his power to proclaim martial law, calling
attention to the fact that while the Bill of Rights prohibits suspension of the privilege
except in the instances specified therein, it places no such prohibition or qualification
with respect to the declaration of martial law.

(4)Justice Antonio, along with Justices Makasiar, Fernandez and Aquino: finds that there
is no dispute as to the existence of a state of rebellion in the country, and on that
premise emphasizes the factor of necessity for the exercise by the President of his
power under the Constitution to declare martial law, holding that the decision as to
whether or not there is such necessity is wholly confided to him and therefore is not
subject to judicial inquiry, his responsibility being directly to the people.

(4)Justices Castro, Fernando, Teehankee and Munoz Palma: hold that the constitutional
sufficiency of the proclamation may be inquired into by the Court. The test is not
whether the President’s decision is correct but whether, in suspending the writ, he did
or did not act arbitrarily. They found that there was no arbitrariness in the President’s
proclamation of martial law pursuant to the 1935 Constitution. C.J. Makalintal concurs
with them.

Validity of Proclamation No. 1081 has been foreclosed by the transitory provision of the
1973 Constitution [Art. XVII, Sec. 3(2)] that “all proclamations, orders, decrees,
instructions, and acts promulgated, issued, or done by the incumbent President shall be
part of the law of the land and shall remain valid, legal, binding and effective even after .
. . the ratification of this Constitution .

2. WON the petitions for HC of the released petitioners who have not withdrawn their
petitioners be dismissed.

The power to detain persons even without charges for acts related to the situation
which justifies the proclamation of martial law, such as the existence of a state of
rebellion, necessarily implies the power to impose upon the released detainees
conditions or restrictions which are germane to and necessary to carry out the purposes
of the proclamation.

Justice Fernando “is for easing the restrictions on the right to travel of petitioner
Rodrigo” and others similarly situated”.

Justice Teehankee believes that those restrictions do not constitute deprivation of


physical liberty within the meaning of the constitutional provision on the privilege of the
writ of habeas corpus.

Implicit in a state of martial law is the suspension of the said privilege with respect to
persons arrested or detained for acts related to the basic objective of the proclamation,
which is to suppress invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, or to safeguard public safety
against imminent danger thereof.

Justice Fernando, however, says that to him that is still an open question;

and Justice Munoz Palma qualifiedly dissents from the majority in her separate opinion,
votes for the dismissal of the petitions.