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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

G.R. No. 100150 January 5, 1994
BRIGIDO R. SIMON, JR., CARLOS UIMPO, CARLITO ABELARDO, AND
GENEROSO OCAMPO, petitioners,
vs.
COMMISSION ON !UMAN RIG!TS, ROUE "ERMO, AND OT!ERS AS JO!N
DOES, respondents.
The City Attorney for petitioners.
The Solicitor General for public respondent.

#ITUG, J.:
The extent of the authority and poer of the Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts $%C"R%& is
a#ain placed into focus in this petition for prohibition, ith prayer for a restrainin# order
and preli!inary in'unction. The petitioners as( us to prohibit public respondent C"R
fro! further hearin# and investi#atin# C"R Case No. )*+,-.*, entitled %/er!o, et al.
vs. 0ui!po, et al.%
The case all started hen a %1e!olition Notice,% dated ) 2uly ,))*, si#ned by Carlos
0ui!po $one of the petitioners& in his capacity as an Executive 3fficer of the 0ue4on
City 5nte#rated "a(ers Mana#e!ent Council under the 3ffice of the City Mayor, as
sent to, and received by, the private respondents $bein# the officers and !e!bers of
the North E16A 7endors Association, 5ncorporated&. 5n said notice, the respondents
ere #iven a #race+period of three $8& days $up to ,9 2uly ,))*& ithin hich to vacate
the :uestioned pre!ises of North E16A.
1
Prior to their receipt of the de!olition notice,
the private respondents ere infor!ed by petitioner 0ui!po that their stalls should be
re!oved to #ive ay to the %People;s Par(%.
$
3n ,9 2uly ,))*, the #roup, led by their
President Ro:ue /er!o, filed a letter+co!plaint $Pinag-samang Sinumpaang
Salaysay& ith the C"R a#ainst the petitioners, as(in# the late C"R Chair!an Mary
Concepcion Bautista for a letter to be addressed to then Mayor Bri#ido 6i!on, 2r., of
0ue4on City to stop the de!olition of the private respondents; stalls, sari-sari stores,
and carinderia alon# North E16A. The co!plaint as doc(eted as C"R Case No. )*+
,-.*.
%
3n 98 2uly ,))*, the C"R issued an 3rder, directin# the petitioners %to desist
fro! de!olishin# the stalls and shanties at North E16A pendin# resolution of the
vendors<s:uatters; co!plaint before the Co!!ission% and orderin# said petitioners to
appear before the C"R.
4
3n the basis of the sorn state!ents sub!itted by the private respondents on 8, 2uly
,))*, as ell as C"R;s on ocular inspection, and convinced that on 9. 2uly ,))* the
petitioners carried out the de!olition of private respondents; stalls, sari-sari stores and
carinderia,
5
the C"R, in its resolution of , Au#ust ,))*, ordered the disburse!ent of
financial assistance of not !ore than P9**,***.** in favor of the private respondents
to purchase li#ht housin# !aterials and food under the Co!!ission;s supervision and
a#ain directed the petitioners to %desist fro! further de!olition, ith the arnin# that
violation of said order ould lead to a citation for conte!pt and arrest.%
&
A !otion to dis!iss,
'
dated ,* 6epte!ber ,))*, :uestioned C"R;s 'urisdiction. The
!otion also averred, a!on# other thin#s, that=
,. this case ca!e about due to the alle#ed violation by the $petitioners& of the 5nter+
A#ency Me!orandu! of A#ree!ent hereby Metro+Manila Mayors a#reed on a
!oratoriu! in the de!olition of the dellin#s of poor dellers in Metro+Manila>
xxx xxx xxx
8. . . . , a perusal of the said A#ree!ent $revealed& that the !oratoriu! referred to
therein refers to !oratoriu! in the de!olition of the structures of poor dellers>
?. that the co!plainants in this case $ere& not poor dellers but independent
business entrepreneurs even this "onorable 3ffice ad!itted in its resolution of ,
Au#ust ,))* that the co!plainants are indeed, vendors>
-. that the co!plainants $ere& occupyin# #overn!ent land, particularly the sideal(
of E16A corner North Avenue, 0ue4on City> . . . and
@. that the City Mayor of 0ue4on City $had& the sole and exclusive discretion and
authority hether or not a certain business establish!ent $should& be alloed to
operate ithin the 'urisdiction of 0ue4on City, to revo(e or cancel a per!it, if already
issued, upon #rounds clearly specified by la and ordinance.

1urin# the ,9 6epte!ber ,))* hearin#, the petitioners !oved for postpone!ent,
ar#uin# that the !otion to dis!iss set for 9, 6epte!ber ,))* had yet to be resolved.
The petitioners li(eise !anifested that they ould brin# the case to the courts.
3n ,. 6epte!ber ,))* a supple!ental !otion to dis!iss as filed by the petitioners,
statin# that the Co!!ission;s authority should be understood as bein# confined only to
the investi#ation of violations of civil and political ri#hts, and that %the ri#hts alle#edly
violated in this case $ere& not civil and political ri#hts, $but& their privile#e to en#a#e in
business.%
9
1
3n 9, 6epte!ber ,))*, the !otion to dis!iss as heard and sub!itted for resolution,
alon# ith the conte!pt char#e that had !eanti!e been filed by the private
respondents, albeit vi#orously ob'ected to by petitioners $on the #round that the !otion
to dis!iss as still then unresolved&.
10
5n an 3rder,
11
dated 9- 6epte!ber ,))*, the C"R cited the petitioners in conte!pt for
carryin# out the de!olition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the
%order to desist%, and it i!posed a fine of P-**.** on each of the!.
3n , March ,)),,
1$
the C"R issued an 3rder, denyin# petitioners; !otion to dis!iss
and supple!ental !otion to dis!iss, in this ise=
Clearly, the Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts under its constitutional !andate had
'urisdiction over the co!plaint filed by the s:uatters+vendors ho co!plained of the
#ross violations of their hu!an and constitutional ri#hts. The !otion to dis!iss should
be and is hereby 1EN5E1 for lac( of !erit.
1%
The C"R opined that %it as not the intention of the $Constitutional& Co!!ission to
create only a paper ti#er li!ited only to investi#atin# civil and political ri#hts, but it
$should& be $considered& a :uasi+'udicial body ith the poer to provide appropriate
le#al !easures for the protection of hu!an ri#hts of all persons ithin the
Philippines . . . .% 5t added=
The ri#ht to earn a livin# is a ri#ht essential to one;s ri#ht to develop!ent, to life and to
di#nity. All these bra4enly and violently i#nored and tra!pled upon by respondents ith
little re#ard at the sa!e ti!e for the basic ri#hts of o!en and children, and their
health, safety and elfare. Their actions have psycholo#ically scarred and trau!ati4ed
the children, ho ere itness and exposed to such a violent de!onstration of Man;s
inhu!anity to !an.
5n an 3rder,
14
dated 9- April ,)),, petitioners; !otion for reconsideration as denied.
"ence, this recourse.
The petition as initially dis!issed in our resolution
15
of 9- 2une ,)),> it as
subse:uently reinstated, hoever, in our resolution
1&
of ,. 2une ,)),, in hich e
also issued a te!porary restrainin# order, directin# the C"R to %CEA6E and 1E656T
fro! further hearin# C"R No. )*+,-.*.%
1'
The petitioners pose the folloin#=
Ahether or not the public respondent has 'urisdiction=
a& to investi#ate the alle#ed violations of the %business ri#hts% of the private
respondents hose stalls ere de!olished by the petitioners at the instance and
authority #iven by the Mayor of 0ue4on City>
b& to i!pose the fine of P-**.** each on the petitioners> and
c& to disburse the a!ount of P9**,***.** as financial aid to the vendors affected by
the de!olition.
5n the Court;s resolution of ,* 3ctober ,)),, the 6olicitor+Beneral as excused fro!
filin# his co!!ent for public respondent C"R. The latter thus filed its on co!!ent,
1(

throu#h "on. 6a!uel 6oriano, one of its Co!!issioners. The Court also resolved to
dispense ith the co!!ent of private respondent Ro:ue /er!o, ho had since failed
to co!ply ith the resolution, dated ,. 2uly ,)),, re:uirin# such co!!ent.
The petition has !erit.
The Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts as created by the ,).C
Constitution.
19
5t as for!ally constituted by then President Cora4on A:uino via
Executive 3rder No. ,@8,
$0
issued on - May ,).C, in the exercise of her le#islative
poer at the ti!e. 5t succeeded, but so superseded as ell, the Presidential
Co!!ittee on "u!an Ri#hts.
$1
The poers and functions
$$
of the Co!!ission are defined by the ,).C Constitution,
thus= to D
$,& 5nvesti#ate, on its on or on co!plaint by any party, all for!s of hu!an ri#hts
violations involvin# civil and political ri#hts>
$9& Adopt its operational #uidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for conte!pt for
violations thereof in accordance ith the Rules of Court>
$8& Provide appropriate le#al !easures for the protection of hu!an ri#hts of all persons
ithin the Philippines, as ell as /ilipinos residin# abroad, and provide for preventive
!easures and le#al aid services to the underprivile#ed hose hu!an ri#hts have been
violated or need protection>
$?& Exercise visitorial poers over 'ails, prisons, or detention facilities>
$-& Establish a continuin# pro#ra! of research, education, and infor!ation to enhance
respect for the pri!acy of hu!an ri#hts>
$@& Reco!!end to the Con#ress effective !easures to pro!ote hu!an ri#hts and to
provide for co!pensation to victi!s of violations of hu!an ri#hts, or their fa!ilies>
$C& Monitor the Philippine Bovern!ent;s co!pliance ith international treaty
obli#ations on hu!an ri#hts>
2
$.& Brant i!!unity fro! prosecution to any person hose testi!ony or hose
possession of docu!ents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to deter!ine
the truth in any investi#ation conducted by it or under its authority>
$)& Re:uest the assistance of any depart!ent, bureau, office, or a#ency in the
perfor!ance of its functions>
$,*& Appoint its officers and e!ployees in accordance ith la> and
$,,& Perfor! such other duties and functions as !ay be provided by la.
5n its 3rder of , March ,)),, denyin# petitioners; !otion to dis!iss, the C"R theori4es
that the intention of the !e!bers of the Constitutional Co!!ission is to !a(e C"R a
:uasi+'udicial body.
$%
This vie, hoever, has not heretofore been shared by this
Court. 5n CariEo v. Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts,
$4
the Court, throu#h then Associate
2ustice, no Chief 2ustice Andres Narvasa, has observed that it is %only the first of the
enu!erated poers and functions that bears any rese!blance to ad'udication or
ad'ud#!ent,% but that rese!blance can in no ay be synony!ous to the ad'udicatory
poer itself. The Court explained=
. . . $T&he Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts . . . as not !eant by the funda!ental la to
be another court or :uasi+'udicial a#ency in this country, or duplicate !uch less ta(e
over the functions of the latter.
The !ost that !ay be conceded to the Co!!ission in the ay of ad'udicative poer is
that it !ay investi#ate, i.e., receive evidence and !a(e findin#s of fact as re#ards
clai!ed hu!an ri#hts violations involvin# civil and political ri#hts. But fact findin# is not
ad'udication, and cannot be li(ened to the 'udicial function of a court of 'ustice, or even
a :uasi+'udicial a#ency or official. The function of receivin# evidence and ascertainin#
therefro! the facts of a controversy is not a 'udicial function, properly spea(in#. To be
considered such, the faculty of receivin# evidence and !a(in# factual conclusions in a
controversy !ust be acco!panied by the authority of applyin# the la to those factual
conclusions to the end that the controversy !ay be decided or deter!ined
authoritatively, finally and definitively, sub'ect to such appeals or !odes of revie as
!ay be provided by la. This function, to repeat, the Co!!ission does not have.
After thus layin# don at the outset the above rule, e no proceed to the other (ernel
of this controversy and, its is, to deter!ine the extent of C"R;s investi#ative poer.
5t can hardly be disputed that the phrase %hu!an ri#hts% is so #eneric a ter! that any
atte!pt to define it, albeit not a fe have tried, could at best be described as
inconclusive. Fet us observe. 5n a sy!posiu! on hu!an ri#hts in the Philippines,
sponsored by the Gniversity of the Philippines in ,)CC, one of the :uestions that has
been propounded is %$&hat do you understand by %hu!an ri#htsH% The participants,
representin# different sectors of the society, have #iven the folloin# varied ansers=
Human rights are the basic ri#hts hich inhere in !an by virtue of his hu!anity. They
are the sa!e in all parts of the orld, hether the Philippines or En#land, Ienya or the
6oviet Gnion, the Gnited 6tates or 2apan, Ienya or 5ndonesia . . . .
Human rights include civil ri#hts, such as the ri#ht to life, liberty, and property> freedo!
of speech, of the press, of reli#ion, acade!ic freedo!, and the ri#hts of the accused to
due process of la> political ri#hts, such as the ri#ht to elect public officials, to be
elected to public office, and to for! political associations and en#a#e in politics> and
social ri#hts, such as the ri#ht to an education, e!ploy!ent, and social services.
$5
Human rights are the entitle!ent that inhere in the individual person fro! the sheer
fact of his hu!anity. . . . Because they are inherent, hu!an ri#hts are not #ranted by
the 6tate but can only be reco#ni4ed and protected by it.
$&
$Human rights include all& the civil, political, econo!ic, social, and cultural ri#hts
defined in the Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts.
$'
Human rights are ri#hts that pertain to !an si!ply because he is hu!an. They are part
of his natural birth, ri#ht, innate and inalienable.
$(
The Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts, as ell as, or !ore specifically, the
5nternational Covenant on Econo!ic, 6ocial and Cultural Ri#hts and 5nternational
Covenant on Civil and Political Ri#hts, su##ests that the scope of hu!an ri#hts can be
understood to include those that relate to an individual;s social, econo!ic, cultural,
political and civil relations. 5t thus see!s to closely identify the ter! to the universally
accepted traits and attributes of an individual, alon# ith hat is #enerally considered
to be his inherent and inalienable ri#hts, enco!passin# al!ost all aspects of life.
"ave these broad concepts been e:ually conte!plated by the fra!ers of our ,).@
Constitutional Co!!ission in adoptin# the specific provisions on hu!an ri#hts and in
creatin# an independent co!!ission to safe#uard these ri#htsH 5t !ay of value to loo(
bac( at the country;s experience under the !artial la re#i!e hich !ay have, in fact,
i!pelled the inclusions of those provisions in our funda!ental la. Many voices have
been heard. A!on# those voices, aptly represented perhaps of the senti!ents
expressed by others, co!es fro! Mr. 2ustice 2.B.F. Reyes, a respected 'urist and an
advocate of civil liberties, ho, in his paper, entitled %Present 6tate of "u!an Ri#hts in
the Philippines,%
$9
observes=
But hile the Constitution of ,)8- and that of ,)C8 enshrined in their Bill of Ri#hts
!ost of the hu!an ri#hts expressed in the 5nternational Covenant, these ri#hts
beca!e unavailable upon the procla!ation of Martial Fa on 9, 6epte!ber ,)C9.
Arbitrary action then beca!e the rule. 5ndividuals by the thousands beca!e sub'ect to
arrest upon suspicion, and ere detained and held for indefinite periods, so!eti!es
for years, ithout char#es, until ordered released by the Co!!ander+in+Chief or this
representative. The ri#ht to petition for the redress of #rievances beca!e useless,
since #roup actions ere forbidden. 6o ere stri(es. Press and other !ass !edia
ere sub'ected to censorship and short ter! licensin#. Martial la brou#ht ith it the
3
suspension of the rit of habeas corpus, and 'ud#es lost independence and security of
tenure, except !e!bers of the 6upre!e Court. They ere re:uired to sub!it letters of
resi#nation and ere dis!issed upon the acceptance thereof. Torture to extort
confessions ere practiced as declared by international bodies li(e A!nesty
5nternational and the 5nternational Co!!ission of 2urists.
Conver#in# our attention to the records of the Constitutional Co!!ission, e can see
the folloin# discussions durin# its 9@ Au#ust ,).@ deliberations=
MR. BARC5A . . . , the pri!acy of its $C"R& tas( !ust be !ade clear in vie of the
i!portance of hu!an ri#hts and also because civil and political ri#hts have been
deter!ined by !any international covenants and hu!an ri#hts le#islations in the
Philippines, as ell as the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Ri#hts and subse:uent
le#islation. 3therise, if e cover such a ide territory in area, e might diffuse its
impact and the precise nature of its tas!, hence, its effectivity ould also be curtailed.
So, it is important to delienate the parameters of its tas!s so that the commission can
be most effective.
MR. BENBJ3N. That is precisely !y difficulty because civil and political ri#hts are very
broad. The Article on the Bill of Ri#hts covers civil and political ri#hts. Every sin#le ri#ht
of an individual involves his civil ri#ht or his political ri#ht. 6o, here do e dra the
lineH
MR. BARC5A. Actually, these civil and political ri#hts have been !ade clear in the
lan#ua#e of hu!an ri#hts advocates, as ell as in the Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an
Ri#hts hich addresses a nu!ber of articles on the ri#ht to life, the ri#ht a#ainst
torture, the ri#ht to fair and public hearin#, and so on. These are very specific ri#hts
that are considered enshrined in !any international docu!ents and le#al instru!ents
as constitutin# civil and political ri#hts, and these are precisely hat e ant to defend
here.
MR. BENBJ3N. 6o, ould the co!!issioner say civil and political ri#hts as defined in
the Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#htsH
MR. BARC5A. Kes, and as 5 have !entioned, the 5nternational Covenant of Civil and
Political Ri#hts distin#uished this ri#ht a#ainst torture.
MR. BENBJ3N. 6o as to distin#uish this fro! the other ri#hts that e haveH
MR. BARC5A. Kes, because the other ri#hts ill enco!pass social and econo!ic
ri#hts, and there are other violations of ri#hts of citi4ens hich can be addressed to the
proper courts and authorities.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. BENBJ3N. 6o, e ill authori4e the co!!ission to define its functions, and,
therefore, in doin# that the co!!ission ill be authori4ed to ta(e under its in#s cases
hich perhaps heretofore or at this !o!ent are under the 'urisdiction of the ordinary
investi#ative and prosecutorial a#encies of the #overn!ent. A! 5 correctH
MR. BARC5A. No. Ae have already !entioned earlier that e ould li(e to define the
specific para!eters hich cover civil and political ri#hts as covered by the international
standards #overnin# the behavior of #overn!ents re#ardin# the particular political and
civil ri#hts of citi4ens, especially of political detainees or prisoners. This particular
aspect e have experienced durin# !artial la hich e ould no li(e to safe#uard.
MR. BENBJ3N. Then, 5 #o bac( to that :uestion that 5 had. Therefore, hat e are
really tryin# to say is, perhaps, at the proper ti!e e could specify all those ri#hts
stated in the Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts and defined as hu!an ri#hts.
Those are the ri#hts that e envision hereH
MR. BARC5A. Kes. 5n fact, they are also enshrined in the Bill of Ri#hts of our
Constitution. They are inte#ral parts of that.
MR. BENBJ3N. Therefore, is the Gentleman saying that all the rights under the "ill of
#ights covered by human rightsH
MR. BARC5A. $o, only those that pertain to civil and political rights.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. RAMA. %n connection ith the discussion on the scope of human rights, % ould
li!e to state that in the past regime, everytime e invo!e the violation of human rights,
the &arcos regime came out ith the defense that, as a matter of fact, they had
defended the rights of people to decent living, food, decent housing and a life
consistent ith human dignity.
So, % thin! e should really limit the definition of human rights to political rights. %s that
the sense of the committee, so as not to confuse the issueH
MR. 6ARM5ENT3. 'es, &adam President.
MR. BARC5A. 5 ould li(e to continue and respond also to repeated points raised by
the previous spea(er.
There are actually si( areas here this Commission on Human #ights could act
effectively= )* protection of rights of political detainees+ ,* treatment of prisoners and
the prevention of tortures+ -* fair and public trials+ .* cases of disappearances+ /*
salvagings and hamletting+ and 0* other crimes committed against the religious.
4
xxx xxx xxx
The PRE651ENT. Co!!issioner Buin#ona is reco#ni4ed.
MR. BG5NB3NA. Than( Kou Mada! President.
5 ould li(e to start by sayin# that 5 a#ree ith Co!!issioner Barcia that e should, in
order to ma!e the proposed Commission more effective, delimit as much as possible,
ithout pre1udice to future e(pansion. The coverage of the concept and 1urisdictional
area of the term %human rights%. 5 as actually disturbed this !ornin# hen the
reference as !ade ithout :ualification to the ri#hts e!bodied in the universal
1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts, althou#h later on, this as :ualified to refer to civil and
political ri#hts contained therein.
5f 5 re!e!ber correctly, Mada! President, Co!!issioner Barcia, after !entionin# the
Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts of ,)?., !entioned or lin(ed the concept of
hu!an ri#ht ith other hu!an ri#hts specified in other convention hich 5 do not
re!e!ber. A! 5 correctH
MR. BARC5A. 5s Co!!issioner Buin#ona referrin# to the 1eclaration of Torture of
,).-H
MR. BG5NB3NA. 5 do not (no, but the co!!issioner !entioned another.
MR. BARC5A. Mada! President, the other one is the 5nternational Convention on Civil
and Political Ri#hts of hich e are si#natory.
MR. BG5NB3NA. 5 see. The only proble! is that, althou#h 5 have a copy of the
Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts here, 5 do not have a copy of the other
covenant !entioned. 5t is :uite possible that there are ri#hts specified in that other
convention hich !ay not be specified here. 5 as onderin# hether it ould be ise
to lin( our concept of hu!an ri#hts to #eneral ter!s li(e %convention,% rather than
specify the ri#hts contained in the convention.
As far as the Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts is concerned, the Co!!ittee,
before the period of a!end!ents, could specify to us hich of these articles in the
1eclaration ill fall ithin the concept of civil and political ri#hts, not for the purpose of
includin# these in the proposed constitutional article, but to #ive the sense of the
Co!!ission as to hat hu!an ri#hts ould be included, ithout pre'udice to
expansion later on, if the need arises. /or exa!ple, there as no definite reply to the
:uestion of Co!!issioner Re#alado as to hether the ri#ht to !arry ould be
considered a civil or a social ri#ht. 5t is not a civil ri#htH
MR. BARC5A. &adam President, % have to repeat the various specific civil and political
rights that e felt must be envisioned initially by this provision 2 freedom from political
detention and arrest prevention of torture, right to fair and public trials, as ell as
crimes involving disappearance, salvagings, hamlettings and collective violations. So,
it is limited to politically related crimes precisely to protect the civil and political rights of
a specific group of individuals, and therefore, e are not opening it up to all of the
definite areas.
MR. BG5NB3NA. Correct. Therefore, 'ust for the record, the Bentle!en is no lon#er
lin(in# his concept or the concept of the Co!!ittee on "u!an Ri#hts ith the so+
called civil or political ri#hts as contained in the Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an
Ri#hts.
MR. BARC5A. Ahen 5 !entioned earlier the Gniversal 1eclaration of "u!an Ri#hts, 5
as referrin# to an international instru!ent.
MR. BG5NB3NA. 5 (no.
MR. BARC5A. But it does not !ean that e ill refer to each and every specific article
therein, but only to those that pertain to the civil and politically related, as e
understand it in this Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts.
MR. BG5NB3NA. Mada! President, 5 a! not even clear as to the distinction beteen
civil and social ri#hts.
MR. BARC5A. There are to international covenants= the 5nternational Covenant and
Civil and Political Ri#hts and the 5nternational Covenant on Econo!ic, 6ocial and
Cultural Ri#hts. The second covenant contains all the different ri#hts+the ri#hts of labor
to or#ani4e, the ri#ht to education, housin#, shelter, et cetera.
MR. BG5NB3NA. 6o e are 'ust li!itin# at the !o!ent the sense of the co!!ittee to
those that the Bentle!en has specified.
MR. BARC5A. Kes, to civil and political ri#hts.
MR. BG5NB3NA. Than( you.
xxx xxx xxx
6R. TAN. Mada! President, fro! the standpoint of the victi!s of hu!an ri#hts, 5
cannot stress !ore on ho !uch e need a Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts. . . .
. . . hu!an ri#hts victi!s are usually penniless. They cannot pay and very fe layers
ill accept clients ho do not pay. And so, they are the ones !ore abused and
oppressed. Another reason is, the cases involved are very delicate 2 torture,
salvaging, pic!ing up ithout any arrant of arrest, massacre D and the persons ho
are alle#edly #uilty are people in poer li(e politicians, !en in the !ilitary and bi#
shots. Therefore, this "u!an Ri#hts Co!!ission !ust be independent.
5
5 ould li(e very !uch to e!phasi4e ho !uch e need this co!!ission, especially
for the little /ilipino, the little individual ho needs this (ind of help and cannot #et it.
And % thin! e should concentrate only on civil and political violations because if e
open this to land, housing and health, e ill have no place to go again and e ill
not receive any response. . . .
%0
$e!phasis supplied&
The final outco!e, no ritten as 6ection ,., Article L555, of the ,).C Constitution, is a
provision e!poerin# the Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts to %investi#ate, on its on or
on co!plaint by any party, all for!s of hu!an ri#hts violations involving civil and
political rights% $6ec. ,&.
The ter! %civil ri#hts,%
%1
has been defined as referrin# D
$t&o those $ri#hts& that belon# to every citi4en of the state or country, or, in ider sense,
to all its inhabitants, and are not connected ith the or#ani4ation or ad!inistration of
the #overn!ent. They include the ri#hts of property, !arria#e, e:ual protection of the
las, freedo! of contract, etc. 3r, as otherise defined civil ri#hts are ri#hts
appertainin# to a person by virtue of his citi4enship in a state or co!!unity. 6uch ter!
!ay also refer, in its #eneral sense, to ri#hts capable of bein# enforced or redressed in
a civil action.
Also :uite often !entioned are the #uarantees a#ainst involuntary servitude, reli#ious
persecution, unreasonable searches and sei4ures, and i!prison!ent for debt.
%$
Political ri#hts,
%%
on the other hand, are said to refer to the ri#ht to participate, directly
or indirectly, in the establish!ent or ad!inistration of #overn!ent, the ri#ht of suffra#e,
the ri#ht to hold public office, the ri#ht of petition and, in #eneral, the ri#hts appurtenant
to citi4enship vis-a-vis the !ana#e!ent of #overn!ent.
%4
Recallin# the deliberations of the Constitutional Co!!ission, afore:uoted, it is readily
apparent that the dele#ates envisioned a Co!!ission on "u!an Ri#hts that ould
focus its attention to the !ore severe cases of hu!an ri#hts violations. 1ele#ate
Barcia, for instance, !entioned such areas as the %$,& protection of ri#hts of political
detainees, $9& treat!ent of prisoners and the prevention of tortures, $8& fair and public
trials, $?& cases of disappearances, $-& salva#in#s and ha!lettin#, and $@& other cri!es
co!!itted a#ainst the reli#ious.% Ahile the enu!eration has not li(ely been !eant to
have any preclusive effect, !ore than 'ust expressin# a state!ent of priority, it is,
nonetheless, si#nificant for the tone it has set. 5n any event, the dele#ates did not
apparently ta(e co!fort in pere!ptorily !a(in# a conclusive delineation of the C"R;s
scope of investi#atorial 'urisdiction. They have thus seen it fit to resolve, instead, that
%Con#ress !ay provide for other cases of violations of hu!an ri#hts that should fall
ithin the authority of the Co!!ission, ta(in# into account its reco!!endation.%
%5
5n the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that hat are sou#ht to be de!olished
are the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, as ell as te!porary shanties, erected by
private respondents on a land hich is planned to be developed into a %People;s Par(%.
More than that, the land ad'oins the North E16A of 0ue4on City hich, this Court can
ta(e 'udicial notice of, is a busy national hi#hay. The conse:uent dan#er to life and
li!b is not thus to be li(eise si!ply i#nored. 5t is indeed paradoxical that a ri#ht hich
is clai!ed to have been violated is one that cannot, in the first place, even be invo(ed,
if it is, in fact, extant. Be that as it !ay, loo(in# at the standards hereinabove
discoursed vis-a-vis the circu!stances obtainin# in this instance, e are not prepared
to conclude that the order for the de!olition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia
of the private respondents can fall ithin the co!part!ent of %hu!an ri#hts violations
involvin# civil and political ri#hts% intended by the Constitution.
3n its conte!pt poers, the C"R is constitutionally authori4ed to %adopt its operational
#uidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for conte!pt for violations thereof in
accordance ith the Rules of Court.% Accordin#ly, the C"R acted ithin its authority in
providin# in its revised rules, its poer %to cite or hold any person in direct or indirect
conte!pt, and to i!pose the appropriate penalties in accordance ith the procedure
and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court.% That poer to cite for conte!pt,
hoever, should be understood to apply only to violations of its adopted operational
#uidelines and rules of procedure essential to carry out its investi#atorial poers. To
exe!plify, the poer to cite for conte!pt could be exercised a#ainst persons ho
refuse to cooperate ith the said body, or ho unduly ithhold relevant infor!ation, or
ho decline to honor su!!ons, and the li(e, in pursuin# its investi#ative or(. The
%order to desist% $a se!antic interplay for a restrainin# order& in the instance before us,
hoever, is not investi#atorial in character but prescinds fro! an ad'udicative poer
that it does not possess. 5n 3(port Processing 4one Authority vs. Commission on
Human #ights,
%&
the Court, spea(in# throu#h Mada!e 2ustice Carolina BriEo+A:uino,
explained=
The constitutional provision directin# the C"R to %provide for preventive !easures and
le#al aid services to the underprivile#ed hose hu!an ri#hts have been violated or
need protection% !ay not be construed to confer 'urisdiction on the Co!!ission to
issue a restrainin# order or rit of in'unction for, it that ere the intention, the
Constitution ould have expressly said so. %2urisdiction is conferred only by the
Constitution or by la%. 5t is never derived by i!plication.
Evidently, the %preventive !easures and le#al aid services% !entioned in the
Constitution refer to extra'udicial and 'udicial re!edies $includin# a rit of preli!inary
in'unction& hich the C"R !ay see( fro! proper courts on behalf of the victi!s of
hu!an ri#hts violations. Not bein# a court of 'ustice, the C"R itself has no 'urisdiction
to issue the rit, for a rit of preli!inary in'unction !ay only be issued %by the 'ud#e of
any court in hich the action is pendin# Mithin his districtN, or by a 2ustice of the Court
of Appeals, or of the 6upre!e Court. . . . A rit of preli!inary in'unction is an ancillary
re!edy. 5t is available only in a pendin# principal action, for the preservation or
protection of the ri#hts and interests of a party thereto, and for no other purpose.%
$footnotes o!itted&.
The Co!!ission does have le#al standin# to indorse, for appropriate action, its
findin#s and reco!!endations to any appropriate a#ency of #overn!ent.
%'
6
The challen#e on the C"R;s disburse!ent of the a!ount of P9**,***.** by ay of
financial aid to the vendors affected by the de!olition is not an appropriate issue in the
instant petition. Not only is there lac( of locus standi on the part of the petitioners to
:uestion the disburse!ent but, !ore i!portantly, the !atter lies ith the appropriate
ad!inistrative a#encies concerned to initially consider.
The public respondent explains that this petition for prohibition filed by the petitioners
has beco!e !oot and acade!ic since the case before it $C"R Case No. )*+,-.*& has
already been fully heard, and that the !atter is !erely aaitin# final resolution. 5t is
true that prohibition is a preventive re!edy to restrain the doin# of an act about to be
done, and not intended to provide a re!edy for an act already acco!plished.
%(
"ere,
hoever, said Co!!ission ad!ittedly has yet to pro!ul#ate its resolution in C"R
Case No. )*+,-.*. The instant petition has been intended, a!on# other thin#s, to also
prevent C"R fro! precisely doin# that.
%9
A"ERE/3RE, the rit prayed for in this petition is BRANTE1. The Co!!ission on
"u!an Ri#hts is hereby prohibited fro! further proceedin# ith C"R Case No. )*+
,-.* and fro! i!ple!entin# the P-**.** fine for conte!pt. The te!porary restrainin#
order heretofore issued by this Court is !ade per!anent. No costs.
63 3R1ERE1.
7