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However, despite the procedural lapses, the Court resolves to delve deeper into the substantive

issue of the validity/nullity of the assailed order.

[G.R. No. 163604. May 6, 2005] The principal issue in this case is whether a petition for declaration of the presumptive
death of a person is in the nature of a special proceeding. If it is, the period to appeal is 30
days and the party appealing must, in addition to a notice of appeal, file with the trial court a
record on appeal to perfect its appeal. Otherwise, if the petition is an ordinary action, the period
to appeal is 15 days from notice or decision or final order appealed from and the appeal is
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS perfected by filing a notice of appeal (Section 3, Rule 41, Rules of Court).
(Twentieth Division), HON. PRESIDING JUDGE FORTUNITO L. MADRONA, RTC-
BR. 35 and APOLINARIA MALINAO JOMOC, respondents. As defined in Section 3(a), Rule 1 of the Rules of Court, a civil action is one by which a party
sues another for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention of redress of a wrong
DECISION while a special proceeding under Section 3(c) of the same rule is defined as a remedy by which
a party seeks to establish a status, a right or a particular fact (Heirs of Yaptinchay, et al. v. Del
CARPIO-MORALES, J.: Rosario, et al., G.R. No. 124320, March 2, 1999).

In In the Matter of Declaration of Presumptive Death of Absentee Spouse Clemente P. Considering the aforementioned distinction, this Court finds that the instant petition is in the
Jomoc, Apolinaria Malinao Jomoc, petitioner, the Ormoc City, Regional Trial Court, Branch 35, nature of a special proceeding and not an ordinary action. The petition merely seeks for a
by Order of September 29, 1999,[1] granted the petition on the basis of the Commissioners declaration by the trial court of the presumptive death of absentee spouse Clemente Jomoc. It
Report[2] and accordingly declared the absentee spouse, who had left his petitioner-wife nine does not seek the enforcement or protection of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong.
years earlier, presumptively dead. Neither does it involve a demand of right or a cause of action that can be enforced against any
person.
In granting the petition, the trial judge, Judge Fortunito L. Madrona, cited Article 41, par. 2
of the Family Code. Said article provides that for the purpose of contracting a valid subsequent
On the basis of the foregoing discussion, the subject Order dated January 13, 2000 denying
marriage during the subsistence of a previous marriage where the prior spouse had been absent
for four consecutive years, the spouse present must institute summary proceedings for the OSGs Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dated November 22, 1999 disapproving its Notice
of Appeal was correctly issued. The instant petition, being in the nature of a special
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee spouse, without prejudice to the effect of the
proceeding, OSG should have filed, in addition to its Notice of Appeal, a record on
reappearance of the absent spouse.
appeal in accordance with Section 19 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines to Implement BP Blg.
The Republic, through the Office of the Solicitor General, sought to appeal the trial courts 129 and Section 2(a), Rule 41 of the Rules of Court . . . (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
order by filing a Notice of Appeal.[3]
The Republic (petitioner) insists that the declaration of presumptive death under Article 41
By Order of November 22, 1999s,[4] the trial court, noting that no record of appeal was filed
of the Family Code is not a special proceeding involving multiple or separate appeals where a
and served as required by and pursuant to Sec. 2(a), Rule 41 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
record on appeal shall be filed and served in like manner.
Procedure, the present case being a special proceeding, disapproved the Notice of Appeal.
Petitioner cites Rule 109 of the Revised Rules of Court which enumerates the cases
The Republics Motion for Reconsideration of the trial courts order of disapproval having
wherein multiple appeals are allowed and a record on appeal is required for an appeal to be
been denied by Order of January 13, 2000,[5] it filed a Petition for Certiorari[6] before the Court of
perfected. The petition for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse not being
Appeals, it contending that the declaration of presumptive death of a person under Article 41 of
included in the enumeration, petitioner contends that a mere notice of appeal suffices.
the Family Code is not a special proceeding or a case of multiple or separate appeals requiring a
record on appeal. By Resolution of December 15, 2004,[8] this Court, noting that copy of the September 27,
2004 Resolution[9] requiring respondent to file her comment on the petition was returned
By Decision of May 5, 2004,[7] the Court of Appeals denied the Republics petition on
unserved with postmasters notation Party refused, Resolved to consider that copy deemed
procedural and substantive grounds in this wise:
served upon her.

At the outset, it must be stressed that the petition is not sufficient in form. It failed to attach to its The pertinent provisions on the General Provisions on Special Proceedings, Part II of
petition a certified true copy of the assailed Order dated January 13, 2000 [denying its Motion for the Revised Rules of Court entitled SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS, read:
Reconsideration of the November 22, 1999 Order disapproving its Notice of Appeal]. Moreover,
the petition questioned the [trial courts] Order dated August 15, 1999, which declared Clemente RULE 72
Jomoc presumptively dead, likewise for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion SUBJECT MATTER AND APPLICABILITY
amounting to lack of jurisdiction, yet, not even a copy could be found in the records. On this OF GENERAL RULES
score alone, the petition should have been dismissed outright in accordance with Sec. 3, Rule
46 of the Rules of Court.

Page 1 of 39
Section 1. Subject matter of special proceedings. Rules of special proceedings are provided for (a) Ordinary appeal. - The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional Trial
in the following: Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with the
court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from and serving a copy thereof upon
the adverse party. No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings and
(a) Settlement of estate of deceased persons;
other cases of multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules so require. In
(b) Escheat;
such cases, the record on appeal shall be filed and served in like manner. (Emphasis and
(c) Guardianship and custody of children;
underscoring supplied)
(d) Trustees;
(e) Adoption;
(f) Rescission and revocation of adoption; xxx
(g) Hospitalization of insane persons;
(h) Habeas corpus;
By the trial courts citation of Article 41 of the Family Code, it is gathered that the petition of
(i) Change of name;
Apolinaria Jomoc to have her absent spouse declared presumptively dead had for its purpose
(j) Voluntary dissolution of corporations;
her desire to contract a valid subsequent marriage. Ergo, the petition for that purpose is
(k) Judicial approval of voluntary recognition of minor natural children;
a summary proceeding, following above-quoted Art. 41, paragraph 2 of the Family Code.
(l) Constitution of family home;
(m) Declaration of absence and death; Since Title XI of the Family Code, entitled SUMMARY JUDICIAL PROCEEDING IN THE
(n) Cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry. FAMILY LAW, contains the following provision, inter alia:

Sec. 2. Applicability of rules of civil actions. In the absence of special provisions, the rules xxx
provided for in ordinary actions shall be, as far as practicable, applicable in special proceedings.
(Underscoring supplied)
Art. 238. Unless modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in
all cases provided for in this Codes requiring summary court proceedings. Such cases shall
The pertinent provision of the Civil Code on presumption of death provides: be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
Art. 390. After an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still
lives, he shall be presumed dead for all purposes, except for those of succession. x x x,

x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) there is no doubt that the petition of Apolinaria Jomoc required, and is, therefore, a summary
proceeding under the Family Code, not a special proceeding under the Revised Rules of Court
Upon the other hand, Article 41 of the Family Code, upon which the trial court anchored its appeal for which calls for the filing of a Record on Appeal. It being a summary ordinary
grant of the petition for the declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse, provides: proceeding, the filing of a Notice of Appeal from the trial courts order sufficed.

That the Family Code provision on repeal, Art. 254, provides as follows:
Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall
be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouses
had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief Art. 254. Titles III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, XI and XV of Book I of Republic Act No. 386, otherwise
that the absent spouses was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of known as the Civil Code of the Philippines, as amended, and Articles 17, 18, 19, 27, 28, 29, 30,
31, 39, 40, 41 and 42 of Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the Child and Youth
death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an
Welfare Code, as amended, and all laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations rules and
absence of only two years shall be sufficient.
regulations, or parts thereof, inconsistent therewith are hereby repealed, (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied),
For the purpose pf contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the
spouses present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of a seals the case in petitioners favor.
reappearance of the absent spouse. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Finally, on the alleged procedural flaw in petitioners petition before the appellate court.
Petitioners failure to attach to his petition before the appellate court a copy of the trial
Rule 41, Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Court, on Modes of Appeal, invoked by the trial courts order denying its motion for reconsideration of the disapproval of its Notice of Appeal is
court in disapproving petitioners Notice of Appeal, provides: not necessarily fatal, for the rules of procedure are not to be applied in a technical sense. Given
the issue raised before it by petitioner, what the appellate court should have done was to direct
petitioner to comply with the rule.
Sec. 2. Modes of appeal. -
As for petitioners failure to submit copy of the trial courts order granting the petition for
declaration of presumptive death, contrary to the appellate courts observation that petitioner was

Page 2 of 39
also assailing it, petitioners 8-page petition[10] filed in said court does not so reflect, it merely On December 15, 1992, the trial court issued an order setting the said petition for hearing
having assailed the order disapproving the Notice of Appeal. on February 11, 1993 and directing the publication of the order for three (3) consecutive weeks
in a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila, and further directing service by registered
WHEREFORE, the assailed May 5, 2004 Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby mail of the said order upon the heirs named in the petition at their respective addresses
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Let the case be REMANDED to it for appropriate action in light of mentioned therein.
the foregoing discussion.
On February 11, 1993, the date set for hearing of the petition, the trial court issued an
SO ORDERED. order declaring the whole world in default, except the government, and set the reception of
evidence of the petitioners therein on March 16, 1993. However, this order of general default
Xxxxx was set aside by the trial court upon motion of herein petitioners (oppositors therein) namely:
Pilar S. Vda. De Manalo, Antonio, Isabelita and Orlando who were granted ten (10) days within
which to file their opposition to the petition.

Several pleadings were subsequently filed by herein petitioners, through counsel,


culminating in the filing of an Omnibus Motion[8] on July 23, 1993 seeking: (1) to set aside and
reconsider the Order of the trial court dated July 9, 1993 which denied the motion for additional
[G.R. No. 129242. January 16, 2001] extension of time to file opposition; (2) to set for preliminary hearing their affirmative defenses as
grounds for dismissal of the case; (3) to declare that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction
over the persons of the oppositors; and (4) for the immediate inhibition of the presiding judge.

On July 30, 1993, the trial court issued an order[9] which resolved, thus:
PILAR S. VDA. DE MANALO, ANTONIO S. MANALO, ORLANDO S. MANALO, and
ISABELITA MANALO, petitioners, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. A. To admit the so-called Opposition filed by counsel for the oppositors on July 20,
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF MANILA (BRANCH 35), PURITA S. JAYME, 1993, only for the purpose of considering the merits thereof;
MILAGROS M. TERRE, BELEN M. ORILLANO, ROSALINA M. ACUIN, ROMEO S.
MANALO, ROBERTO S. MANALO, AMALIA MANALO and IMELDA B. To deny the prayer of the oppositors for a preliminary hearing of their affirmative
MANALO, respondents. defenses as ground for the dismissal of this proceeding, said affirmative
defenses being irrelevant and immaterial to the purpose and issue of the
present proceeding;
DECISION
C. To declare that this court has acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the
DE LEON, JR., J.: oppositors;

D. To deny the motion of the oppositors for the inhibition of this Presiding Judge;
This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioners Pilar S. Vda. De Manalo, et. al.,
seeking to annul the Resolution[1] of the Court of Appeals[2] affirming the Orders[3] of the Regional E. To set the application of Romeo Manalo for appointment as regular administrator
Trial Court and the Resolution[4]which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. in the intestate estate of the deceased Troadio Manalo for hearing on
September 9, 1993 at 2:00 oclock in the afternoon.
The antecedent facts[5] are as follows:
Herein petitioners filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with the
Troadio Manalo, a resident of 1966 Maria Clara Street, Sampaloc, Manila died intestate on Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP. No. 39851, after their motion for reconsideration of
February 14, 1992. He was survived by his wife, Pilar S. Manalo, and his eleven (11) children, the Order dated July 30, 1993 was denied by the trial court in its Order[10] dated September 15,
namely: Purita M. Jayme, Antonio Manalo, Milagros M. Terre, Belen M. Orillano, Isabelita 1993. In their petition for certiorari with the appellate court, they contend that: (1) the venue was
Manalo, Rosalina M. Acuin, Romeo Manalo, Roberto Manalo, Amalia Manalo, Orlando Manalo, improperly laid in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626; (2) the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over
and Imelda Manalo, who are all of legal age. their persons; (3) the share of the surviving spouse was included in the intestate proceedings;
(4) there was absence of earnest efforts toward compromise among members of the same
At the time of his death on February 14, 1992, Troadio Manalo left several real properties
family; and (5) no certification of non-forum shopping was attached to the petition.
located in Manila and in the province of Tarlac including a business under the name and style
Manalos Machine Shop with offices at No. 19 Calavite Street, La Loma, Quezon City and at No. Finding the contentions untenable, the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for
45 Gen. Tinio Street, Arty Subdivision, Valenzuela, Metro Manila. certiorari in its Resolution[11] promulgated on September 30, 1996. On May 6, 1997 the motion
for reconsideration of the said resolution was likewise dismissed. [12]
On November 26, 1992, herein respondents, who are eight (8) of the surviving children of
the late Troadio Manalo, namely: Purita, Milagros, Belen, Rosalina, Romeo, Roberto, Amalia, The only issue raised by herein petitioners in the instant petition for review is whether or
and Imelda filed a petition[6] with the respondent Regional Trial Court of Manila[7] for the judicial not the respondent Court of Appeals erred in upholding the questioned orders of the respondent
settlement of the estate of their late father, Troadio Manalo, and for the appointment of their trial court which denied their motion for the outright dismissal of the petition for judicial
brother, Romeo Manalo, as administrator thereof. settlement of estate despite the failure of the petitioners therein to aver that earnest efforts
toward a compromise involving members of the same family have been made prior to the filing
of the petition but that the same have failed.
Page 3 of 39
Herein petitioners claim that the petition in SP. PROC No. 92-63626 is actually an ordinary WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed for of this Honorable Court:
civil action involving members of the same family. They point out that it contains certain
averments which, according to them, are indicative of its adversarial nature, to wit:
(a) That after due hearing, letters of administration be issued to petitioner ROMEO
xxx MANALO for the administration of the estate of the deceased TORADIO
MANALO upon the giving of a bond in such reasonable sum that this Honorable
Par. 7. One of the surviving sons, ANTONIO MANALO, since the death of his father, Court may fix.
TROADIO MANALO, had not made any settlement, judicial or extra-judicial of
the properties of the deceased father, TROADIO MANALO. (b) That after all the properties of the deceased TROADIO MANALO have been
inventoried and expenses and just debts, if any, have been paid and the legal
Par. 8. xxx the said surviving son continued to manage and control the properties heirs of the deceased fully determined, that the said estate of TROADIO
aforementioned, without proper accounting, to his own benefit and advantage MANALO be settled and distributed among the legal heirs all in accordance with
xxx. law.

xxx c) That the litigation expenses o these proceedings in the amount of P250,000.00
and attorneys fees in the amount of P300,000.00 plus honorarium of P2,500.00
Par. 12. That said ANTONIO MANALO is managing and controlling the estate of the per appearance in court in the hearing and trial of this case and costs of suit be
deceased TROADIO MANALO to his own advantage and to the damage and taxed solely against ANTONIO MANALO.[18]
prejudice of the herein petitioners and their co-heirs xxx.
Concededly, the petition in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626 contains certain averments which
xxx may be typical of an ordinary civil action. Herein petitioners, as oppositors therein, took
advantage of the said defect in the petition and filed their so-called Opposition thereto which, as
Par. 14. For the protection of their rights and interests, petitioners were compelled to observed by the trial court, is actually an Answer containing admissions and denials, special and
bring this suit and were forced to litigate and incur expenses and will continue to affirmative defenses and compulsory counterclaims for actual, moral and exemplary damages,
incur expenses of not less than, P250,000.00 and engaged the services of plus attorney's fees and costs[19] in an apparent effort to make out a case of an ordinary civil
herein counsel committing to pay P200,000.00 as and for attorneys fees plus action an ultimately seek its dismissal under Rule 16, Section 1(j) of the Rules of Court vis--vis,
honorarium of P2,500.00 per appearance in court xxx.[13] Article 222 of the Civil Code.
Consequently, according to herein petitioners, the same should be dismissed under Rule It is our view that herein petitioners may not be allowed to defeat the purpose of the
16, Section 1(j) of the Revised Rules of Court which provides that a motion to dismiss a essentially valid petition for the settlement of the estate of the late Troadio Manalo by raising
complaint may be filed on the ground that a condition precedent for filing the claim has not been matters that are irrelevant and immaterial to the said petition. It must be emphasized that the trial
complied with, that is, that the petitioners therein failed to aver in the petition in SP. PROC. No. court, sitting, as a probate court, has limited and special jurisdiction[20] and cannot hear and
92-63626, that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made involving members of the dispose of collateral matters and issues which may be properly threshed out only in an ordinary
same family prior to the filing of the petition pursuant to Article 222 [14] of the Civil Code of the civil action. In addition, the rule has always been to the effect that the jurisdiction of a court, as
Philippines. well as the concomitant nature of an action, is determined by the averments in the complaint and
The instant petition is not impressed with merit. not by the defenses contained in the answer. If it were otherwise, it would not be too difficult to
have a case either thrown out of court or its proceedings unduly delayed by simple
It is a fundamental rule that, in the determination of the nature of an action or proceeding, strategem.[21] So it should be in the instant petition for settlement of estate.
the averments[15] and the character of the relief sought[16] in the complaint, or petition, as in the
case at bar, shall be controlling. A careful scrutiny of the Petition for Issuance of Letters of Herein petitioners argue that even if the petition in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626 were to be
Administration, Settlement and Distribution of Estate in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626 belies herein considered as a special proceeding for the settlement of estate of a deceased person, Rule 16,
petitioners claim that the same is in the nature of an ordinary civil action. The said petition Section 1(j) of the Rules of Court vis-a-vis Article 222 of the Civil Code of the Philippines would
contains sufficient jurisdictional facts required in a petition for the settlement of estate of a nevertheless apply as a ground for the dismissal of the same by virtue of Rule 1, Section 2 of the
deceased person such as the fact of death of the late Troadio Manalo on February 14, 1992, as Rules of Court which provides that the rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their
well as his residence in the City of Manila at the time of his said death. The fact of death of the object and to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every
decedent and of his residence within the country are foundation facts upon which all the action and proceeding. Petitioners contend that the term proceeding is so broad that it must
subsequent proceedings in the administration of the estate rest. [17] The petition in SP. PROC. necessarily include special proceedings.
No. 92-63626 also contains an enumeration of the names of his legal heirs including a tentative The argument is misplaced. Herein petitioners may not validly take refuge under the
list of the properties left by the deceased which are sought to be settled in the probate provisions of Rule 1, Section 2, of the Rules of Court to justify the invocation of Article 222 of the
proceedings. In addition, the reliefs prayed for in the said petition leave no room for doubt as Civil Code of the Philippines for the dismissal of the petition for settlement of the estate of the
regard the intention of the petitioners therein (private respondents herein) to seek judicial deceased Troadio Manalo inasmuch as the latter provision is clear enough, to wit:
settlement of the estate of their deceased father, Troadio Manalo, to wit:

Art. 222. No suit shall be filed or maintained between members of the same family unless it
PRAYER should appear that earnest efforts toward a compromise have been made, but that the same
have failed, subject to the limitations in Article 2035 (underscoring supplied).[22]

Page 4 of 39
The above-quoted provision of the law is applicable only to ordinary civil actions. This is The decision in LRC No. N-983 became final and executory on January 29, 1977. Judge
clear from the term suit that it refers to an action by one person or persons against another or Marigomen thereafter issued an order of November 10, 1982 directing the Land Registration
others in a court of justice in which the plaintiff pursues the remedy which the law affords him for Commission to issue the corresponding decree of registration and the certificate of title in favor
the redress of an injury or the enforcement of a right, whether at law or in equity. [23] A civil action of the spouses Lirio.
is thus an action filed in a court of justice, whereby a party sues another for the enforcement of a
right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong.[24] Besides, an excerpt from the Report of the
On February 12, 1997, Rolando Ting (petitioner) filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Code Commission unmistakably reveals the intention of the Code Commission to make that
Cebu an application for registration of title to the same lot. The application was docketed as LRC
legal provision applicable only to civil actions which are essentially adversarial and involve
No. 1437-N.1
members of the same family, thus:

The herein respondents, heirs of Diego Lirio, namely: Flora A. Lirio, Amelia L. Roska, Aurora L.
It is difficult to imagine a sadder and more tragic spectacle than a litigation between members of
Abejo, Alicia L. Dunque, Adelaida L. David, Efren A. Lirio and Jocelyn Anabelle L. Alcover, who
the same family. It is necessary that every effort should be made toward a compromise before a
were afforded the opportunity to file an opposition to petitioner’s application by Branch 21 of the
litigation is allowed to breed hate and passion in the family. It is known that lawsuit between
Cebu RTC, filed their Answer2 calling attention to the December 10, 1976 decision in LRC No.
close relatives generates deeper bitterness than strangers.[25]
N-983 which had become final and executory on January 29, 1977 and which, they argued,
barred the filing of petitioner’s application on the ground of res judicata.
It must be emphasized that the oppositors (herein petitioners) are not being sued in SP.
PROC. No. 92-63626 for any cause of action as in fact no defendant was impleaded
After hearing the respective sides of the parties, Branch 21 of the Cebu RTC, on motion of
therein. The Petition for Issuance of Letters of Administration, Settlement and Distribution of
respondents, dismissed petitioner’s application on the ground of res judicata. 31ªvvphi1.nét
Estate in SP. PROC. No. 92-63626 is a special proceeding and, as such, it is a remedy whereby
the petitioners therein seek to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact. [26] The petitioners
therein (private respondents herein) merely seek to establish the fact of death of their father and Hence, the present petition for review on certiorari which raises the sole issue of whether the
subsequently to be duly recognized as among the heirs of the said deceased so that they can decision in LRC No. N-983 constitutes res judicata in LRC No. 1437-N.
validly exercise their right to participate in the settlement and liquidation of the estate of the
decedent consistent with the limited and special jurisdiction of the probate court.
Petitioner argues that although the decision in LRC No. N-983 had become final and executory
WHEREFORE, the petition in the above-entitled case, is DENIED for lack of merit. Costs on January 29, 1977, no decree of registration has been issued by the Land Registration
against petitioners. Authority (LRA);4 it was only on July 26, 2003 that the "extinct" decision belatedly surfaced as
basis of respondents’ motion to dismiss LRC No. 1437-N;5and as no action for revival of the said
SO ORDERED. decision was filed by respondents after the lapse of the ten-year prescriptive period, "the cause
of action in the dormant judgment passé[d] into extinction."6
Xxxx
Petitioner thus concludes that an "extinct" judgment cannot be the basis of res judicata.7
SECOND DIVISION

The petition fails.


G.R. No. 168913 March 14, 2007

Section 30 of Presidential Decree No. 1529 or the Property Registration Decree provides:
ROLANDO TING, Petitioner,
vs.
HEIRS OF DIEGO LIRIO, namely: FLORA A. LIRIO, AMELIA L. ROSKA, AURORA L. SEC. 30. When judgment becomes final; duty to cause issuance of decree. – The judgment
ABEJO, ALICIA L. DUNQUE, ADELAIDA L. DAVID, EFREN A. LIRIO and JOCELYN rendered in a land registration proceeding becomes final upon the expiration of thirty days8 to
ANABELLE L. ALCOVER, Respondents. be counted from the date of receipt of notice of the judgment. An appeal may be taken from the
judgment of the court as in ordinary civil cases.

DECISION
After judgment has become final and executory, it shall devolve upon the court to forthwith issue
an order in accordance with Section 39 of this Decree to the Commissioner for the issuance of
CARPIO MORALES, J.: the decree of registration and the corresponding certificate of title in favor of the person
adjudged entitled to registration. (Emphasis supplied)
In a Decision of December 10, 1976 in Land Registration Case (LRC) No. N-983, then Judge
Alfredo Marigomen of the then Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch 7, granted the application In a registration proceeding instituted for the registration of a private land, with or without
filed by the Spouses Diego Lirio and Flora Atienza for registration of title to Lot No. 18281 (the opposition, the judgment of the court confirming the title of the applicant or oppositor, as the
lot) of the Cebu Cadastral 12 Extension, Plan Rs-07-000787. case may be, and ordering its registration in his name constitutes, when final, res
judicata against the whole world.9 It becomes final when no appeal within the reglementary
period is taken from a judgment of confirmation and registration. 10
Page 5 of 39
The land registration proceedings being in rem, the land registration court’s approval in LRC No. final, it may not be enforced after the lapse of a period of 10 years, except by another
N-983 of spouses Diego Lirio and Flora Atienza’s application for registration of the lot settled its proceeding to enforce the judgment or decision. Authority for this theory is the provision in the
ownership, and is binding on the whole world including petitioner. Rules of Court to the effect that judgment may be enforced within 5 years by motion, and after
five years but within 10 years, by an action (Sec. 6, Rule 39.) This provision of the Rules
refers to civil actions and is not applicable to special proceedings, such as a land
Explaining his position that the December 10, 1976 Decision in LRC No. N-983 had become
registration case. This is so because a party in a civil action must immediately enforce a
"extinct," petitioner advances that the LRA has not issued the decree of registration, a certain
judgment that is secured as against the adverse party, and his failure to act to enforce the
Engr. Rafaela Belleza, Chief of the Survey Assistance Section, Land Management Services,
same within a reasonable time as provided in the Rules makes the decision
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region 7, Cebu City having
unenforceable against the losing party. In special proceedings the purpose is to establish
claimed that the survey of the Cebu Cadastral Extension is erroneous and all resurvey within the
a status, condition or fact; in land registration proceedings, the
Cebu Cadastral extension must first be approved by the Land Management Services of

ownership by a person of a parcel of land is sought to be established. After the


the DENR, Region 7, Cebu City before said resurvey may be used in court; and that the spouses
ownership has been proved and confirmed
Lirio did not comply with the said requirement for they instead submitted to the court a mere
special work order.11
by judicial declaration, no further proceeding to enforce said ownership is necessary,
except when the adverse or losing party had been in possession of the land and the
There is, however, no showing that the LRA credited the alleged claim of Engineer Belleza and
winning party desires to oust him therefrom.
that it reported such claim to the land registration court for appropriate action or reconsideration
of the decision which was its duty.
Furthermore, there is no provision in the Land Registration Act similar to Sec. 6, Rule 39,
regarding the execution of a judgment in a civil action, except the proceedings to place the
Petitioners insist that the duty of the respondent land registration officials to issue the decree is
winner in possession by virtue of a writ of possession. The decision in a land registration case,
purely ministerial. It is ministerial in the sense that they act under the orders of the court and the
unless the adverse or losing party is in possession, becomes final without any further action,
decree must be in conformity with the decision of the court and with the data found in the record,
upon the expiration of the period for perfecting an appeal.
and they have no discretion in the matter. However, if they are in doubt upon any point in
relation to the preparation and issuance of the decree, it is their duty to refer the matter to
the court. They act, in this respect, as officials of the court and not as administrative x x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
officials, and their act is the act of the court. They are specifically called upon to "extend
assistance to courts in ordinary and cadastral land registration proceedings." 12 (Emphasis
WHEREFORE, the petition is, in light of the foregoing discussions, DENIED.
supplied)

Costs against petitioner, Rolando Ting.


As for petitioner’s claim that under Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court reading:

SO ORDERED.
SEC. 6. Execution by motion or by independent action. – A final and executory judgment or
order may be executed on motion within five (5) years from the date of its entry. After the lapse
of such time, and before it is barred by the statute of limitations, a judgment may be enforced by Xxxx
action. The revived judgment may also be enforced by motion within five (5) years from the date
of its entry and thereafter by action before it is barred by the statute of limitations[,] [G.R. No. 175116 : August 18, 2010]

the December 10, 1976 decision became "extinct" in light of the failure of respondents and/or of JERRY ONG, PETITIONER, VS. PHILIPPINE DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORP., RESPONDENT.
their predecessors-in-interest to execute the same within the prescriptive period, the same does
not lie. DECISION

PERALTA, J.:
Sta. Ana v. Menla, et al.13 enunciates the raison d’etre why Section 6, Rule 39 does not apply in
land registration proceedings, viz: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by petitioner Jerry Ong seeking to annul and
set aside the Decision[1] dated July 31, 2006 and the Resolution[2] dated October 5, 2006 issued
THAT THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING THAT THE DECISION RENDERED IN by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 93441.
THIS LAND REGISTRATION CASE ON NOVEMBER 28, 1931 OR TWENTY SIX YEARS AGO,
HAS NOT YET BECOME FINAL AND UNENFORCEABLE. Sometime in 1982 and 1983, petitioner Jerry Ong made some money market placements with
Omnibus Finance Inc. (OFI), which later on suffered serious financial difficulties. As petitioner's
money market placements matured, he demanded from OFI the return of the same. However,
We fail to understand the arguments of the appellant in support of the above assignment, except OFI's checks issued thereby were dishonored by the drawee bank. It was alleged that OFI
in so far as it supports his theory that after a decision in a land registration case has become sought the assistance of its sister companies which included the Rural Bank of Olongapo

Page 6 of 39
(RBO). On December 29, 1983, Jose Ma. Carballo, OFI President, and Cynthia Gonzales, upon proof of its loss the Register of Deeds is ordered to issue in the claimant's name new titles
Chairperson of the Board of Directors of RBO, executed in favor of petitioner a Deed of Real pursuant to the consolidation of property earlier made by the claimant over the property.
Estate Mortgage[3] over two parcels of land located in Tagaytay City covered by Transfer
Certificates of Title Nos. T-13769 and T-13770, which are both registered in RBO's name, as SO ORDERED.[8]
collateral to guarantee the payment of OFI's money market obligations to petitioner in the
amount of P863,517.02. The mortgage was executed by Gonzales by virtue of a Secretary's Respondent filed its motion for reconsideration. In a Resolution[9] dated June 27, 2002, Judge
Certificate[4] issued by Atty. Efren L. Legaspi, RBO's alleged Assistant Corporate Secretary, Renato J. Dilag reversed the June 25, 2001 Decision. The decretal portion of the Resolution
showing that Gonzales was authorized by the RBO Board to execute such mortgage. The deed reads:
of mortgage was annotated on TCT Nos. T-13769 and T-13770 of the Register of Deeds of
Tagaytay City on January 13, 1984. WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the Order of this Court dated June 25, 2001 is hereby
reconsidered and set aside. The real estate mortgage executed on December 29, 1983 by and
As OFI failed to pay petitioner the obligation secured by the real estate mortgage, petitioner between Cynthia Gonzales representing RBO and Jose Ma. Carballo, representing OFI is
foreclosed the mortgage on March 18, 1984. A Certificate of Sale was correspondingly issued hereby declared null and void. The Extrajudicial Proceedings conducted in March 1984 and the
which was registered with the Register of Deeds of Tagaytay City on July 16, 1985. Petitioner Sheriff's Certificate of Sale dated March 23, 1984 issued in the name of Jerry Ong are, likewise,
alleged that representatives of the Central Bank of the Philippines (Central Bank) had declared null and void. And, for failure to substantiate his claim against RBO, Jerry Ong's claim
approached him and borrowed TCT Nos. T-13769 and T-13770 for the on- going audit and is hereby denied.
inventory of the assets of the RBO; however, these titles were not returned despite petitioner's
demand. Petitioner filed with the RTC of Tagaytay City, Branch 18, a case for the surrender of SO ORDERED.[10]
said titles, docketed as TC-803. The case was subsequently dismissed for being premature as
the one year redemption period had not yet expired. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order[11] dated May 26, 2003, a copy of
which was received by petitioner on June 16, 2003.
On May 22, 1984, RBO's Corporate Secretary and Acting Manager, Atty. Rodolfo C. Soriano,
filed with the RTC of Tagaytay City, an action for the annulment of real estate mortgage, On June 17, 2003, petitioner, thru counsel, filed a Notice of Appeal[12] which the RTC gave due
extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage proceedings, sheriff's certificate of sale with damages course in an Order[13] dated July 14, 2004, after finding that the appeal had been filed within the
against petitioner, OFI, Cynthia Gonzales, the Sheriff and the Register of Deeds of Tagaytay reglementary period. The RTC also ordered the elevation of the entire records to the CA for
City, raffled off to Branch 18, and was docketed as Civil Case No. TG-805. However, the case further proceedings.
was later suspended due to OFI's pending application for rehabilitation with the Securities and
Exchange Commission. Respondent sought reconsideration of the Order giving due course to petitioner's appeal as the
latter failed to file a record on appeal within the reglementary period; thus, the appeal was not
On May 9, 1985, the Central Bank, as petitioner, which was later substituted by respondent perfected. Petitioner filed his Comment/Opposition to such motion and at the same time
Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation[5] (PDIC) filed with the RTC of Olongapo City a petition attaching the Record on Appeal dated August 25, 2004.
for assistance in the liquidation of RBO, docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 170-0-85 and was raffled off
to Branch 73. Later, upon respondent's motion, Civil Case No. TG-805, i.e., for annulment of On May 31, 2005, the RTC issued an Order, [14] the dispositive portion of which reads:
mortgage, was consolidated with RBO's liquidation proceedings.

On February 5, 1991, petitioner filed with Branch 79 of the RTC of Quezon City[6] a petition for FOREGOING CONSIDERED, the Order of this Court dated July 14, 2004 is hereby
the surrender of the titles of the Tagaytay properties against RBO, which petition was eventually reconsidered and set aside. Consequently, as provided under Rule 41, Sec. 13 of the Revised
ordered dismissed by the CA after finding that the RTC lacked jurisdiction to try the case, but Rules of Court, the appeal is hereby dismissed for having been taken out of time.
without prejudice to petitioner's right to file his claim in RBO's liquidation proceedings pending
before Branch 73 of the RTC of Olongapo City. SO ORDERED.

Consequently, on February 16, 1996, petitioner filed in Sp. Proc. No. 170-0-85 a Motion to Admit Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order dated December 7, 2005. [15]
Claim against RBO's assets as a secured creditor and the winning bidder and/or purchaser of
the Tagaytay properties in the foreclosure sale. Respondent filed its Comment/Opposition to the Petitioner then filed with the CA a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a writ of
motion. Trial, thereafter, ensued on petitioner's claim. preliminary injunction assailing the RTC Orders dated May 31, 2005 and December 7, 2005 for
having been issued with grave abuse of discretion.
On June 25, 2001, Acting Presiding Judge Philbert I. Iturralde issued an Order[7] declaring
petitioner's claim against RBO valid and legitimate, the dispositive portion of which reads: After the parties submitted their respective pleadings, the CA issued its assailed Decision on
July 31, 2006, dismissing the petition.
WHEREFORE, under the foregoing circumstance, the claim of Jerry Ong is hereby declared In so ruling, the CA found that since Sp. Proc. No. 170-0-85 was for the liquidation of RBO, it
valid and legitimate and therefore GRANTED. As prayed for, the two (2) parcels of land covered was a special proceeding and not an ordinary action; that liquidation proceedings are considered
under TCT Nos. 13769 and 13770, with all its improvements be awarded to Claimant Jerry Ong. special proceedings as held in Pacific Banking Corporation Employees Organization v. Court of
The titles subject matter of this claim allegedly in possession of the Central Bank or its appointed Appeals;[16] that since multiple appeals are allowed in proceedings for liquidation of an insolvent
liquidator, or any person presently in possession of said Transfer Certificate of Title is directed corporation, a record on appeal was necessary in petitioner's case for the perfection of his
and ordered to immediately surrender the same to the Claimant. Should the same be lost and/or appeal.
Page 7 of 39
The CA found unpersuasive petitioner's plea to consider his failure to submit a record on appeal We first resolve the issue raised by respondent anent the mode of appeal availed of by
on time as excusable neglect saying that petitioner was fully aware that Sp. Proc No. 170-0-85 petitioner. Petitioner filed a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision and Resolution
was a petition for liquidation, because he filed his claim as a preferred creditor of RBO, he of the CA which were final dispositions of the case on the merits, thus, a petition under Rule 45
participated in the trial thereof and filed the notice of appeal under the title of the said liquidation of the Rules of Court is proper. Rule 45 provides that an appeal by certiorari from the judgments
case; that petitioner's feigned ignorance and miscalculation cannot justify an exception to the or final orders or resolutions of the appellate court is by a verified petition for review on certiorari.
strict rule on perfection of appeal within the reglementary period; that petitioner filed the record Contrary to respondent's claim that petitioner in this petition merely alleges that the CA abused
on appeal 426 days after the lapse of the reglementary period, and certiorari cannot be a its discretion in dismissing his appeal, we find that petitioner also imputes grave error committed
substitute for a lost remedy of appeal. The CA ruled that petitioner's failure to perfect his appeal by the CA in rendering its assailed decision finding that the appeal was not perfected.
within the prescribed period rendered the RTC decision final and executory which deprived the
appellate court of jurisdiction to alter the final judgment, much less entertain the appeal. As to the main issues raised by petitioner, we find the same unmeritorious.

On petitioner's claim that there was a grave abuse of discretion committed by the RTC in giving Sections 2 (a) and 3 of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court provide:
credence to the testimonies of respondent's witnesses, the CA ruled that such matter was
beyond the jurisdictional parameter of a special civil action of certiorari as such issue dwelt into SEC. 2. Modes of Appeal - x x x
questions of facts and evaluation of evidence.

Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated October 5, 2006. (a) Ordinary appeal. -- The appeal to the Court of Appeals in cases decided by the Regional
Trial Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction shall be taken by filing a notice of appeal with
Hence, the present petition on the following grounds: the court which rendered the judgment or final order appealed from and serving a copy thereof
upon the adverse party. No record on appeal shall be required except in special proceedings
and other cases of multiple or separate appeals where the law or these Rules so require. In such
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING cases, the record on appeal shall be filed and served in like manner.
TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISMISSED THE PETITION
FOR CERTIORARI BASED SOLELY ON TECHNICAL RULES OF PROCEDURE. xxxx
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING SEC. 3. Period of ordinary appeal. ― The appeal shall be taken within fifteen (15) days from
TO LACK OR EXCESS OF JURISDICTION WHEN IT DISMISSED THE PETITION the notice of the judgment or final order appealed from. Where a record on appeal is required,
FOR CERTIORARIWITHOUT PASSING UPON THE MERIT OF PETITIONER'S APPEAL.[17] the appellant shall file a notice of appeal and a record on appeal within thirty (30) days from the
notice of judgment or final order.
Petitioner reiterates his argument raised before the CA that his counsel's failure to submit a
record on appeal on time is an excusable neglect as the failure was due to the serious The period to appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for new trial or reconsideration. No
complications surrounding the case that led her to commit an error of judgment; that petitioner's motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration shall be allowed.
counsel honestly believed that their claim filed against RBO in the special proceedings and the
civil case filed by RBO against petitioner for the annulment of mortgage under Civil Case No. It has been held that a petition for liquidation of an insolvent corporation is classified as a special
TG-805, which was eventually consolidated with the special proceedings, were ordinary civil proceeding.[20] The RTC decision, which petitioner sought to appeal from, was rendered in the
actions since they sought the enforcement or protection of a right or prevention or redress of a special proceeding for the liquidation of RBO's assets; thus, applying the above-quoted
wrong; thus, a mere notice of appeal would be sufficient to perfect petitioner's appeal. Petitioner provisions, an appeal in a special proceeding requires both the filing of a notice of appeal and
argues that we have liberalized in some instances the rule on perfection of appeals and the record on appeal within thirty days from receipt of the notice of judgment or final order.
cites Gregorio v. CA[18] and Gonzales-Orense v. Court of Appeals,[19] thus, he asks for the same
leniency in the interest of substantial justice so as to give him the chance to ventilate his appeal In this case, petitioner filed his Notice of Appeal on June 17, 2003, and the RTC gave due
on the merit. course to the appeal after it found that the notice of appeal was filed within the reglementary
period. However, upon respondent's motion for reconsideration, where it argued that petitioner
Petitioner claims that the issue on the admissibility of the testimonies of respondent's witnesses failed to file a record on appeal, considering that the decision was rendered in a petition for
is a question of law as its resolution calls for the application of the law on hearsay evidence and liquidation of RBO which was a special proceeding, the RTC reversed itself as no record on
not the evaluation of evidence; that respondent's witnesses came only upon RBO's liquidation appeal was filed, and dismissed petitioner's appeal for having been taken out of time. The RTC
process and were not even connected with RBO at the time of the execution of the real estate did not commit a grave abuse of discretion in dismissing petitioner's appeal, since it is clearly
mortgage among RBO, OFI and petitioner; thus, their testimonies are inadmissible for being stated under the Rules that filing of the notice of appeal must be accompanied by a record on
hearsay evidence, and a special civil action of certiorari is the proper remedy to assail the appeal to perfect one's appeal in a special proceeding. In fact, the RTC's dismissal of
admission of the same; that it would serve the ends of justice if the CA had taken a second look petitioner's appeal was expressly allowed under Section 13 of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court
on the facts and evidence of the case to determine the merit of petitioner's appeal. which states:
In its Comment, respondent avers that while the petition was denominated as a petition for
review under Rule 45, the same imputes lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the CA in SECTION 13. Dismissal of appeal. - Prior to the transmittal of the original record or the record
issuing its assailed decision; thus, petitioner availed of the wrong remedy. Petitioner filed his on appeal to the appellate court, the trial court may motu propio or on motion to dismiss the
Reply thereto. appeal for having been taken out of time.

Page 8 of 39
Thus, we find no error committed by the CA when it sustained the RTC's dismissal of petitioner's Thus, the erroneous assumption of petitioner's counsel could not excuse her from complying
appeal for failure to comply with the Rules. with the Rules. If we are to accept such reason and grant petitioner's petition would be putting a
premium on his counsel's ignorance or lack of knowledge of existing Rules.[25] An erroneous
In In the Matter of the Heirship (Intestate Estates) of the Late Hermogenes Rodriguez, et al. v. application of the law or rules is not excusable error."[26] Petitioner is bound by the mistake of his
Jaime M. Robles,[21] we nullified the CA decision for lack of jurisdiction in taking cognizance of an counsel.
appeal from the RTC decision which had already lapsed into finality for failure of the party to file
a record on appeal within the reglementary period, and said: The cases of Gregorio v. CA and Gonzales-Orense v. Court of Appeals, cited by petitioner to
support his plea for the relaxation of the rules on the application of the reglementary periods of
This Court has invariably ruled that perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period appeal, find no application in his case.
laid down by law is not only mandatory but also jurisdictional. The failure to perfect an appeal as
required by the rules has the effect of defeating the right to appeal of a party and precluding the Gregorio v. CA involved the failure of therein petitioner to file appellant's brief within the
appellate court from acquiring jurisdiction over the case. The right to appeal is not a natural right extended period on the basis of which the CA dismissed the appeal. We reinstated the appeal
nor a part of due process; it is merely a statutory privilege, and may be exercised only in the saying that the CA may allow the extension of time to file brief as long as good and sufficient
manner and in accordance with the provisions of the law. The party who seeks to avail of the cause was shown and the motion was filed before the expiration of the time sought to be
same must comply with the requirement of the rules. Failing to do so, the right to appeal is lost. extended; that expiration of time to file brief, unlike lateness in filing the notice of appeal, appeal
The reason for rules of this nature is because the dispatch of business by courts would be bond or record on appeal was not a jurisdictional matter and may be waived by the parties. The
impossible, and intolerable delays would result, without rules governing practice. Public policy case before us deals with the matter of the non-filing of the record on appeal within the
and sound practice demand that judgments of courts should become final and irrevocable at reglementary period prescribed by law which is not only mandatory but jurisdictional.
some definite date fixed by law. Such rules are a necessary incident to the proper, efficient and
orderly discharge of judicial functions. Thus, we have held that the failure to perfect an appeal Gonzales Orense v. CA though involving the issue of the non-filing of a record on appeal, the
within the prescribed reglementary period is not a mere technicality, but jurisdictional. Just as a factual mileu of that case was different. In that case, petitioner filed his notice of appeal from the
losing party has the privilege to file an appeal within the prescribed period, so does the winner order of the probate court awarding the amount of P20,000.00 for his services in the probate of
also have the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the decision. Failure to meet the the will of the husband of his client. The probate court transmitted the records to the CA, and
requirements of an appeal deprives the appellate court of jurisdiction to entertain any appeal. later petitioner submitted his appellants' brief and respondent her appellee's brief. However, the
There are exceptions to this rule, unfortunately respondents did not present any circumstances CA dismissed the appeal as petitioner failed to submit a record on appeal. In a petition filed with
that would justify the relaxation of said rule. us, we reinstated the appeal since we found that the question presented to us, i.e., whether or
not a record on appeal was necessary when an award of attorney's fees by the probate court
The rules of procedure must be faithfully followed, except only when, for persuasive reasons, was elevated to the CA, was one of first impression; that petitioner acted in honest, if mistaken
they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice commensurate with his failure to comply interpretation of the applicable law; that the probate itself believed that the record on appeal was
within the prescribed procedure.[22] Concomitant to a liberal interpretation of the rules of unnecessary and respondent herself apparently thought so too for she did not move to dismiss
procedure should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to adequately explain his the appeal and instead impliedly recognized its validity by filing the appellee's brief. In the
failure to abide by the rules.[23] present case, petitioner filed in Sp. Proc. No. 170-0-85 his claim against the assets of RBO as a
secured creditor by virtue of the real estate mortgage; that a petition for liquidation is in the
Petitioner's argument that his counsel's honest belief that their claim against the RBO assets nature of a special proceeding was already settled in Pacific Banking Corporation Employees
and the civil case filed by RBO against petitioner for the annulment of mortgage were ordinary Organization v. Court of Appeals,[27] decided in 1995, thus, no longer a novel issue when
civil actions and a mere notice of appeal would be sufficient to perfect his appeal is not a petitioner's appeal was filed in 2003. Moreover, unlike in Gonzales-Orense, where therein
satisfactory reason to warrant a relaxation of the mandatory rule on the filing of a record on respondent did not move for the dismissal of the appeal and even filed her appellee's brief,
appeal. We find apropros the CA's disposition on the matter in this wise: herein respondent had moved in the RTC for the dismissal of the appeal for failure of petitioner
to file the record on appeal.
Withal, petitioner's ratiocinations that he failed to submit a Record on Appeal on time could be Petitioner's claim that the issue on the admissibility of testimonies of respondent's witnesses
taken as excusable neglect due to serious complications surrounding the case leading him to an does not call for an evaluation of evidence but a question of law as it calls for the application of
error of judgment where "an ordinary human being, courts, not excepted, is susceptible to the law on hearsay evidence; thus, within the remedy of a petition for certiorari is not meritorious.
commit, is highly unsustainable. Petitioner counsel's honest belief that the claim of petitioner We find no error committed by the CA when it held that such issue was beyond the jurisdictional
Ong and the civil case for annulment of mortgage under TG-085 were ordinary actions and, as parameter of a special civil action of certiorari as such issue dwelt into questions of facts and
such, mere filing of a notice of appeal would be sufficient, is far from being persuasive. This is evaluation of evidence. The sole office of a writ of certiorari is the correction of errors of
not the excusable neglect as envisioned by the rules in order to sidestep on the strict compliance jurisdiction and does not include a review of public respondent's evaluation of the evidence and
with the rules on appeal. Petitioner was fully aware that Sp. Proc. No. 170-0-85 is a petition for factual findings.[28] In a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,
liquidation because they filed their claim in the case claiming to be a preferred creditor, questions of fact are generally not permitted, the inquiry being limited to whether the public
participated in the trial thereof in every step of the way, and filed the disputed Notice of Appeal respondent acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. [29]
under the title of the said case. We cannot find any reason to accept petitioner's feigned
ignorance that the case they were appealing is a liquidation petition. In fine, such miscalculation WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated July 31, 2006 and the
of the petitioner cannot justify an exception to the rules, and to apply the liberal construction Resolution dated October 5, 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP. No. 93441
rule.[24] are AFFIRMED.

Page 9 of 39
Afterwards, however, the police officers apprehended Salibo and tore off page two of his
SO ORDERED. passport that evidenced his departure for Saudi Arabia on November 7, 2009. They then
detained Salibo at the Datu Hofer Police Station for about three (3) days. 13

The police officers transferred Salibo to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in
Cotabato City, where he was detained for another 10 days. While in Cotabato City, the Criminal
Investigation and Detention Group allegedly made him sign and affix his thumbprint on
SECOND DIVISION documents.14

G.R. No. 197597, April 08, 2015 On August 20, 2010, Salibo was finally transferred to the Quezon City Jail Annex, Bureau of Jail
Management and Penology Building, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, where he is currently
detained.15
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF DATUKAN MALANG
SALIBO, DATUKAN MALANG SALIBO, Petitioner, v. WARDEN, QUEZON CITY JAIL On September 17, 2010, Salibo filed before the Court of Appeals the Urgent Petition for Habeas
ANNEX, BJMP BUILDING, CAMP BAGONG DIWA, TAGUIG CITY AND ALL OTHER Corpus16questioning the legality of his detention and deprivation of his liberty.17 He maintained
PERSONS ACTING ON HIS BEHALF AND/OR HAVING CUSTODY OF DATUKAN MALANG that he is not the accused Butukan S. Malang.18
SALIBO, Respondents.
In the Resolution19 dated September 21, 2010, the Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Habeas
DECISION Corpus, making the Writ returnable to the Second Vice Executive Judge of the Regional Trial
Court, Pasig City (Taguig Hall of Justice).20 The Court of Appeals ordered the Warden of the
Quezon City Jail Annex to file a Return of the Writ one day before the scheduled hearing and
LEONEN, J.: produce the person of Salibo at the 10:00 a.m. hearing set on September 27, 2010. 21

Habeas corpus is the proper remedy for a person deprived of liberty due to mistaken identity. In Proceedings before the trial court
such cases, the person is not under any lawful process and is continuously being illegally
detained. On September 27, 2010, the jail guards of the Quezon City Jail Annex brought Salibo before the
trial court. The Warden, however, failed to file a Return one day before the hearing. He also
This is a Petition for Review1 on Certiorari of the Court of Appeals Decision2 reversing the appeared without counsel during the hearing.22
Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City (Taguig Hall of Justice) granting
Datukan Malang Salibo's Petition for Habeas Corpus. Thus, the trial court canceled the hearing and reset it to September 29, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. 23

From November 7, 2009 to December 19, 2009, Datukan Malang Salibo (Salibo) and other
Filipinos were allegedly in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj Pilgrimage.4 "While in Saudi Arabia, . . . On September 28, 2010, the Warden filed the Return of the Writ. However, during the
Salibo visited and prayed in the cities of Medina, Mecca, Arpa, Mina and Jeddah." 5 He returned September 29, 2010 hearing on the Return, the Warden appeared with Atty. Romeo L. Villante,
to the Philippines on December 20, 2009.6 Jr., Legal Officer/Administering Officer of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. 24

On August 3, 2010, Salibo learned that police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station in Salibo questioned the appearance of Atty. Romeo L. Villante, Jr. on behalf of the Warden and
Maguindanao suspected him to be Butukan S. Malang.7 argued that only the Office of the Solicitor General has the authority to appear on behalf of a
respondent in a habeas corpus proceeding.25
Butukan S. Malang was one of the 197 accused of 57 counts of murder for allegedly
participating in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre. He had a pending warrant of The September 29, 2010 hearing, therefore, was canceled. The trial court reset the hearing on
arrest issued by the trial court in People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al.8 the Return to October 1, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.26

Salibo presented himself before the police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station to clear his The Return was finally heard on October 1, 2010. Assistant Solicitors Noel Salo and Isar Pepito
name. There, he explained that he was not Butukan S. Malang and that he could not have appeared on behalf of the Warden of the Quezon City Jail Annex and argued that Salibo's
participated in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao Massacre because he was in Saudi Arabia Petition for Habeas Corpus should be dismissed. Since Salibo was charged under a valid
at that time.9 Information and Warrant of Arrest, a petition for habeas corpus was "no longer availing." 27

To support his allegations, Salibo presented to the police "pertinent portions of his passport, Salibo countered that the Information, Amended Information, Warrant of Arrest, and Alias
boarding passes and other documents"10 tending to prove that a certain Datukan Malang Salibo Warrant of Arrest referred to by the Warden all point to Butukan S. Malang, not Datukan Malang
was in Saudi Arabia from November 7 to December 19, 2009. 11 Salibo, as accused. Reiterating that he was not Butukan S. Malang and that he was in Saudi
Arabia on the day of the Maguindanao Massacre, Salibo pleaded the trial court to order his
The police officers initially assured Salibo that they would not arrest him because he was not release from detention.28
Butukan S. Malang.12
The trial court found that Salibo was not "judicially charged"29 under any resolution, information,

Page 10 of 39
or amended information. The Resolution, Information, and Amended Information presented in Warden should have directly filed his appeal before this court.48
court did not charge Datukan Malang Salibo as an accused. He was also not validly arrested as
there was no Warrant of Arrest or Alias Warrant of Arrest against Datukan Malang Salibo. As for respondent Warden, he maintains that petitioner Salibo was duly charged in court. Even
Salibo, the trial court ruled, was not restrained of his liberty under process issued by a court. 30 assuming that he is not the Butukan S. Malang named in the Alias Warrant of Arrest, petitioner
Salibo should have pursued the ordinary remedy of a Motion to Quash Information, not a Petition
for Habeas Corpus.49
The trial court was likewise convinced that Salibo was not the Butukan S. Malang charged with
murder in connection with the Maguindanao Massacre. The National Bureau of Investigation The issues for our resolution are:
Clearance dated August 27, 2009 showed that Salibo has not been charged of any crime as of
the date of the certificate.31 A Philippine passport bearing Salibo's picture showed the name First, whether the Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City on petitioner
"Datukan Malang Salibo."32 Salibo's Petition for Habeas Corpus was appealable to the Court of Appeals; and Second,
whether petitioner Salibo's proper remedy is to file a Petition for Habeas Corpus.
Moreover, the trial court said that Salibo "established that [he] was out of the country"33 from
November 7, 2009 to December 19, 2009. This fact was supported by a Certification34 from We grant the Petition.cralawlawlibrary
Saudi Arabian Airlines confirming Salibo's departure from and arrival in Manila on board its
flights.35 A Flight Manifest issued by the Bureau of Immigration and Saudi Arabian Airlines Ticket I
No. 0652113 also showed this fact.36
Contrary to petitioner Salibo's claim, respondent Warden correctly appealed before the Court of
Thus, in the Decision dated October 29, 2010, the trial court granted Salibo's Petition for Habeas Appeals.
Corpus and ordered his immediate release from detention.
An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be made through a petition filed before this court
Proceedings before the Court of Appeals or any of its members,50 the Court of Appeals or any of its members in instances authorized by
law,51 or the Regional Trial Court or any of its presiding judges.52 The court or judge grants the
On appeal37 by the Warden, however, the Court of Appeals reversed and set aside the trial writ and requires the officer or person having custody of the person allegedly restrained of liberty
court's Decision.38 Through its Decision dated April 19, 2011, the Court of Appeals dismissed to file a return of the writ.53A hearing on the return of the writ is then conducted.54
Salibo's Petition for Habeas Corpus.
The return of the writ may be heard by a court apart from that which issued the writ. 55 Should the
Contrary to the trial court's finding, the Court of Appeals found that Salibo's arrest and court issuing the writ designate a lower court to which the writ is made returnable, the lower
subsequent detention were made under a valid Information and Warrant of Arrest. 39 Even court shall proceed to decide the petition of habeas corpus. By virtue of the designation, the
assuming that Salibo was not the Butukan S. Malang named in the Alias Warrant of Arrest, the lower court "acquire[s] the power and authority to determine the merits of the [petition for habeas
Court of Appeals said that "[t]he orderly course of trial must be pursued and the usual remedies corpus.]"56 Therefore, the decision on the petition is a decision appealable to the court that has
exhausted before the writ [of habeas corpus] may be invoked[.]" 40 According to the Court of appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the lower court.57
Appeals, Salibo's proper remedy was a Motion to Quash Information and/or Warrant of Arrest. 41
In Saulo v. Brig. Gen. Cruz, etc,58 "a petition for habeas corpus was filed before this Court . . .
Salibo filed a Motion for Reconsideration,42 which the Court of Appeals denied in the [o]n behalf of. . . Alfredo B. Saulo [(Saulo)]."59 This court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and
Resolution43 dated July 6, 2011. ordered respondent Commanding General of the Philippine Constabulary to file a Return of the
Writ. This court made the Writ returnable to the Court of First Instance of Manila. 60
Proceedings before this court
After hearing the Commanding General on the Return, the Court of First Instance denied Saulo's
On July 28, 2011,44 petitioner Salibo filed before this court the Petition for Review (With Urgent Petition for Habeas Corpus.61
Application for a Writ of Preliminary
Saulo appealed before this court, arguing that the Court of First Instance heard the Petition for
Mandatory Injunction). Respondent Warden filed a Comment,45 after which petitioner Salibo filed Habeas Corpus "not by virtue of its original jurisdiction but merely delegation[.]" 62 Consequently,
a Reply.46 "this Court should have the final say regarding the issues raised in the petition, and only [this
court's decision] . . . should be regarded as operative."63
Petitioner Salibo maintains that he is not the Butukan S. Malang charged with 57 counts of This court rejected Sciulo's argument and stated that his "logic is more apparent than real." 64 It
murder before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 221, Quezon City. Thus, contrary to the Court of ruled that when a superior court issues a writ of habeas corpus, the superior court only resolves
Appeals' finding, he, Datukan Malang Salibo, was not duly charged in court. He is being illegally whether the respondent should be ordered to show cause why the petitioner or the person in
deprived of his liberty and, therefore, his proper remedy is a Petition for Habeas Corpus. 47 whose behalf the petition was filed was being detained or deprived of his or her
liberty.65 However, once the superior court makes the writ returnable to a lower court as allowed
Petitioner Salibo adds that respondent Warden erred in appealing the Decision of the Regional by the Rules of Court, the lower court designated "does not thereby become merely a
Trial Court, Branch 153, Pasig City before the Court of Appeals. Although the Court of Appeals recommendatory body, whose findings and conclusion[s] are devoid of effect[.]"66 The decision
delegated to the trial court the authority to hear respondent Warden on the Return, the trial on the petition for habeas corpus is a decision of the lower court, not of the superior court.
court's Decision should be deemed a Decision of the Court of Appeals. Therefore, respondent

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In Medina v. Gen. Yan,67 Fortunato Medina (Medina) filed before this court a Petition for Habeas
Corpus. This court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus, making it returnable to the Court of First While Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares were serving their sentences, this
Instance of Rizal, Quezon City. After trial on the merits, the Court of First Instance granted court promulgated People v. Hernandez90 in 1956, ruling that the complex crime of rebellion with
Medina's Petition for Habeas Corpus and ordered that Medina be released from detention. 68 murder does not exist.91

The Office of the Solicitor General filed a Notice of Appeal before the Court of Appeals.69 Based on the Hernandez ruling, Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares filed a
Petition for Habeas Corpus. They prayed for their release from incarceration and argued that the
Atty. Amelito Mutuc, counsel for Medina, filed before the Court of Appeals a "Motion for Hernandez doctrine must retroactively apply to them.92
Certification of Appeal to the Supreme Court." The Court of Appeals, however, denied the
Motion.70 This court ruled that Gumabon, Bagolbagol, Agapito, Padua, and Palmares properly availed of a
petition for habeas corpus.93 Citing Harris v. Nelson,94 this court said:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
This court ruled that the Court of Appeals correctly denied the "Motion for Certification of Appeal [T]he writ of habeas corpus is the fundamental instrument for safeguarding individual freedom
to the Supreme Court," citing Saulo as legal basis.71 The Court of First Instance of Rizal, in against arbitrary and lawless state action. . . . The scope and flexibility of the writ — its capacity
deciding Medina's Petition for Habeas Corpus, "acquired the power and authority to determine to reach all manner of illegal detention — its ability to cut through barriers of form and procedural
the merits of the case[.]"72Consequently, the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal on mazes — have always been emphasized and jealously guarded by courts and lawmakers. The
Medina's Petition for Habeas Corpus was appealable to the Court of Appeals. 73 very nature of the writ demands that it be administered with the initiative and flexibility essential
to insure that miscarriages of justice within its reach are surfaced and
In this case, petitioner Salibo filed his Petition for Habeas Corpus before the Court of Appeals. corrected.95cralawlawlibrary
The Court of Appeals issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus, making it returnable to the Regional Trial In Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro,96 the Provincial Board of Mindoro issued Resolution No.
Court, Branch 153, Pasig City. The trial court then heard respondent Warden on his Return and 25, Series of 1917. The Resolution ordered the Mangyans removed from their native habitat and
decided the Petition on the merits. compelled them to permanently settle in an 800-hectare reservation in Tigbao. Under the
Resolution, Mangyans who refused to establish themselves in the Tigbao reservation were
Applying Saulo and Medina, we rule that the trial court "acquired the power and authority to imprisoned.97
determine the merits"74 of petitioner Salibo's Petition. The decision on the Petition for Habeas
Corpus, therefore, was the decision of the trial court, not of the Court of Appeals. Since the An application for habeas corpus was filed before this court on behalf of Rubi and all the other
Court of Appeals is the court with appellate jurisdiction over decisions of trial Mangyans being held in the reservation.98 Since the application questioned the legality of
courts,75 respondent Warden correctly filed the appeal before the Court of deprivation of liberty of Rubi and the other Mangyans, this court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus
Appeals.cralawlawlibrary and ordered the Provincial Board of Mindoro to make a Return of the Writ.99

II A Writ of Habeas Corpus was likewise issued in Villavicencio v. Lukban.100 "[T]o exterminate
vice,"101Mayor Justo Lukban of Manila ordered the brothels in Manila closed. The female sex
Called the "great writ of liberty[,]"76 the writ of habeas corpus "was devised and exists as a workers previously employed by these brothels were rounded up and placed in ships bound for
speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only Davao. The women were expelled from Manila and deported to Davao without their consent. 102
sufficient defense of personal freedom."77 The remedy of habeas corpus is extraordinary78 and
summary79 in nature, consistent with the law's "zealous regard for personal liberty."80 On application by relatives and friends of some of the deported women, this court issued a Writ
of Habeas Corpus and ordered Mayor Justo Lukban, among others, to make a Return of the
Under Rule 102, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, the writ of habeas corpus "shall extend to all Writ. Mayor Justo Lukban, however, failed to make a Return, arguing that he did not have
cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by custody of the women.103
which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto." 81 The
primary purpose of the writ "is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished This court cited Mayor Justo Lukban in contempt of court for failure to make a Return of the
from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal."82 "Any restraint Writ.104 As to the legality of his acts, this court ruled that Mayor Justo Lukban illegally deprived
which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient."83 the women he had deported to Davao of their liberty, specifically, of their privilege of
domicile.105 It said that the women, "despite their being in a sense lepers of society[,] are
The nature of the restraint of liberty need not be related to any offense so as to entitle a person nevertheless not chattels but Philippine citizens protected by the same constitutional guaranties
to the efficient remedy of habeas corpus. It may be availed of as a post-conviction remedy84 or as are other citizens[.]"106 The women had the right "to change their domicile from Manila to
when there is an alleged violation of the liberty of abode.85 In other words, habeas corpus another locality."107
effectively substantiates the implied autonomy of citizens constitutionally protected in the right to
liberty in Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.86 Habeas corpus being a remedy for a The writ of habeas corpus is different from the final decision on the petition for the issuance of
constitutional right, courts must apply a conscientious and deliberate level of scrutiny so that the the writ. It is the writ that commands the production of the body of the person allegedly
substantive right to liberty will not be further curtailed in the labyrinth of other processes. 87 restrained of his or her liberty. On the other hand, it is in the final decision where a court
determines the legality of the restraint.
In Gumabon, et al. v. Director of the Bureau of Prisons,88 Mario Gumabon (Gumabon), Bias
Bagolbagol (Bagolbagol), Gaudencio Agapito (Agapito), Epifanio Padua (Padua), and Paterno Between the issuance of the writ and the final decision on the petition for its issuance, it is the
Palmares (Palmares) were convicted of the complex crime of rebellion with murder. They issuance of the writ that is essential. The issuance of the writ sets in motion the speedy judicial
commenced serving their respective sentences of reclusion perpetua.89 inquiry on the legality of any deprivation of liberty. Courts shall liberally issue writs of habeas

Page 12 of 39
corpus even if the petition for its issuance "on [its] face [is] devoid of merit[.]" 108 Although the Ramos, and General Tan-Gatue filed a Motion for Reconsideration.124 They filed an Urgent
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended in cases of invasion, rebellion, or when Manifestation/Motion stating that Informations for rebellion were filed against Attys. Ilagan,
the public safety requires it,109 the writ itself may not be suspended.110 Arellano, and Risonar. They prayed that this court dismiss the Petition for Habeas Corpus for
being moot and academic.125
III
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Free Legal Assistance Group, and the Movement of
It is true that a writ of habeas corpus may no longer be issued if the person allegedly deprived of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism opposed the motion. According to them, no
liberty is restrained under a lawful process or order of the court.111 The restraint then has preliminary investigation was conducted before the filing of the Information. Attys. Ilagan,
become legal,112 and the remedy of habeas corpus is rendered moot and academic. 113 Rule 102, Arellano, and Risonar were deprived of their right to due process. Consequently, the Information
Section 4 of the Rules of Court provides:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary was void.126
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized.—If it appears that the person alleged to
be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge This court dismissed the Petition for Habeas Corpus, ruling that it became moot and academic
or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had with the filing of the Information against Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar in
jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be court:127ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged As contended by respondents, the petition herein has been rendered moot and academic by
by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in virtue of the filing of an Information against them for Rebellion, a capital offense, before the
this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense Regional Trial Court of Davao City and the issuance of a Warrant of Arrest against them. The
in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment. function of the special proceeding of habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of one's
In Ilagan v. Hon. Ponce Enrile,114 elements of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National detention. Now that the detained attorneys' incarceration is by virtue of a judicial order in relation
Police arrested Atty. Laurente C. Ilagan (Atty. Ilagan) by virtue of a Mission Order allegedly to criminal cases subsequently filed against them before the Regional Trial Court of Davao City,
issued by then Minister of National Defense, Juan Ponce Enrile (Minister Enrile). On the day of the remedy of habeas corpus no longer lies. The Writ had served its purpose.128 (Citations
Atty. Ilagan's arrest,115from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao Chapter visited Atty. omitted)
Ilagan in Camp Catitipan, where he was detained.115 This court likewise dismissed the Petitions for habeas corpus in Umil v. Ramos.129 Roberto Umil,
Rolando Dural, Renato Villanueva, Amelia Roque, Wilfredo Buenaobra, Atty. Domingo
Among Atty. Ilagan's visitors was Atty. Antonio Arellano (Atty. Arellano). Atty. Arellano, however, Anonuevo, Ramon Casiple, Vicky A. Ocaya, Deogracias Espiritu, and Narciso B. Nazareno were
no longer left Camp Catitipan as the military detained and arrested him based on an unsigned all arrested without a warrant for their alleged membership in the Communist Party of the
Mission Order.116 Philippines/New People's Army.130

Three (3) days after the arrest of Attys. Ilagan and Arellano, the military informed the Integrated During the pendency of the habeas corpus proceedings, however, Informations against them
Bar of the Philippines Davao Chapter of the impending arrest of Atty. Marcos Risonar (Atty. were filed before this court. The filing of the Informations, according to this court, rendered the
Risonar). To verify his arrest papers, Atty. Risonar went to Camp Catitipan. Like Atty. Arellano, Petitions for habeas corpus moot and academic, thus:131ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
the military did not allow Atty. Risonar to leave. He was arrested based on a Mission Order It is to be noted that, in all the petitions here considered, criminal charges have been filed in the
signed by General Echavarria, Regional Unified Commander.117 proper courts against the petitioners. The rule is, that if a person alleged to be restrained of his
liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge, and that the court
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Free Legal Assistance Group, and the Movement of or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process or make the order, or if such person is charged
Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism filed before this court a Petition for Habeas before any court, the writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed.132 (Emphasis in the original)
Corpus in behalf of Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar.118 In such cases, instead of availing themselves of the extraordinary remedy of a petition for
habeas corpus, persons restrained under a lawful process or order of the court must pursue the
This court issued a Writ of Habeas Corpus and required Minister Enrile, Armed Forces of the orderly course of trial and exhaust the usual remedies.133 This ordinary remedy is to file a motion
Philippines Acting Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Fidel V. Ramos (General Ramos), and to quash the information or the warrant of arrest.134
Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police Regional Commander Brigadier General
Dionisio Tan-Gatue (General Tan-Gatue) to make a Return of the Writ.119 This court set the At any time before a plea is entered,135 the accused may file a motion to quash complaint or
hearing on the Return on May 23, 1985.120 information based on any of the grounds enumerated in Rule 117, Section 3 of the Rules of
Court:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
In their Return, Minister Enrile, General Ramos, and General Tan-Gatue contended that the SEC. 3. Grounds.—The accused may move to quash the complaint or information on any of the
privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended as to Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar following grounds:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
by virtue of Proclamation No. 2045-A.121 The lawyers, according to respondents, allegedly (a) That the facts charged do not constitute an offense;
"played active roles in organizing mass actions of the Communist Party of the Philippines and (b) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the offense charged;
the National Democratic Front."122 (c) That the court trying the case has no jurisdiction over the person of the accused;.
(d) That the officer who filed the information had no authority to do so;
After hearing respondents on their Return, this court ordered the temporary release of Attys. (e) That it does not conform substantially to the prescribed form;
Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar on the recognizance of their counsels, retired Chief Justice (f) That more than one offense is charged except when a single punishment for various
Roberto Concepcion and retired Associate Justice Jose B.L. Reyes. 123 offenses is prescribed by law;
(g) That the criminal action or liability has been extinguished;
Instead of releasing Attys. Ilagan, Arellano, and Risonar, however, Minister Enrile, General (h) That it contains averments which, if true, would constitute a legal excuse or justification;

Page 13 of 39
and for habeas corpus may be issued.
(i) That the accused has been previously convicted or acquitted of the offense charged, or the
case against him was dismissed or otherwise terminated without his express consent. The arrest of petitioner Salibo is similar to the arrest of Atty. Risonar in the "disturbing" 143 case
In filing a motion to quash, the accused "assails the validity of a criminal complaint or information of Ilagan.144 Like petitioner Salibo, Atty. Risonar went to Camp Catitipan to verify and contest
filed against him [or her] for insufficiency on its face in point of law, or for defects which are any arrest papers against him. Then and there, Atty. Risonar was arrested without a warrant. In
apparent in the face of the information."136 If the accused avails himself or herself of a motion to his dissenting opinion in Ilagan,145 Justice Claudio Teehankee stated that the lack of preliminary
quash, the accused "hypothetical[ly] admits the facts alleged in the information."137 "Evidence investigation deprived Atty. Risonar, together with Attys. Ilagan and Arellano, of his right to due
aliunde or matters extrinsic from the information are not to be process of law — a ground for the grant of a petition for habeas corpus:146
considered."138ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The majority decision holds that the filing of the information without preliminary investigation falls
"If the motion to quash is based on an alleged defect of the complaint or information which can within the exceptions of Rule 112, sec. 7 and Rule 113, sec. 5 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal
be cured by amendment, the court shall order [the] amendment [of the complaint or Procedure. Again, this is erroneous premise. The fiscal misinvoked and misapplied the cited
information]."139 If the motion to quash is based on the ground that the facts alleged in the rules. The petitioners are not persons "lawfully arrested without a warrant." The fiscal could not
complaint or information do not constitute an offense, the trial court shall give the prosecution rely on the stale and inoperative PDA of January 25, 1985. Otherwise, the rules would be
"an opportunity to correct the defect by amendment."140 If after amendment, the complaint or rendered nugatory, if all that was needed was to get a PDA and then serve it at one's whim and
information still suffers from the same defect, the trial court shall quash the complaint or caprice when the very issuance of the PDA is premised on its imperative urgency and necessity
information.141 as declared by the President himself. The majority decision then relies on Rule 113, Sec. 5
which authorizes arrests without warrant by a citizen or by a police officer who witnessed the
IV arrestee in flagrante delicto, viz. in the act of committing the offense. Quite obviously, the arrest
was not a citizen's arrest nor were they caught in flagrante delicto violating the law. In fact, this
However, Ilagan142 and Umil do not apply to this case. Petitioner Salibo was not arrested by Court in promulgating the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure have tightened and made the rules
virtue of any warrant charging him of an offense. He was not restrained under a lawful process more strict. Thus, the Rule now requires that an offense "has in fact just been committed." This
or an order of a court. He was illegally deprived of his liberty, and, therefore, correctly availed connotes immediacy in point of time and excludes cases under the old rule where an offense
himself of a Petition for Habeas Corpus. "has in fact been committed" no matter how long ago. Similarly, the arrestor must
have "personal knowledge of factsindicating that the [arrestee] has committed it" (instead of just
The Information and Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court, Branch 221, "reasonable ground to believe that the [arrestee] has committed it" under the old rule). Clearly,
Quezon City in People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al. charged and then, an information could not just be filed against the petitioners without due process and
accused Butukan S. Malang, not Datukan Malang Salibo, of 57 counts of murder in connection preliminary investigation.147 (Emphasis in the original, citation omitted)
with the Maguindanao Massacre.
Petitioner Salibo's proper remedy is not a Motion to Quash Information and/or Warrant of Arrest.
Furthermore, petitioner Salibo was not validly arrested without a warrant. Rule 113, Section 5 of None of the grounds for filing a Motion to Quash Information apply to him. Even if petitioner
the Rules of Court enumerates the instances when a warrantless arrest may be Salibo filed a Motion to Quash, the defect he alleged could not have been cured by mere
made:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary amendment of the Information and/or Warrant of Arrest. Changing the name of the accused
SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful.—A peace officer or a private person may, without a appearing in the Information and/or Warrant of Arrest from "Butukan S. Malang" to "Datukan
warrant, arrest a person:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Malang Salibo" will not cure the lack of preliminary investigation in this case.
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or
is attempting to commit an offense; A motion for reinvestigation will' not cure the defect of lack of preliminary investigation. The
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on- Information and Alias Warrant of Arrest were issued on the premise that Butukan S. Malang and
personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed Datukan Malang Salibo are the same person. There is evidence, however, that the person
it; detained by virtue of these processes is not Butukan S. Malang but another person named
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment Datukan Malang Salibo.
or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is
pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. Petitioner Salibo presented in evidence his Philippine passport,148 his identification card from the
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested without a warrant shall Office on Muslim Affairs,149 his Tax Identification Number card,150 and clearance from the
be forthwith delivered to the nearest police station or jail and shall be proceeded against in National Bureau of Investigation151 all bearing his picture and indicating the name "Datukan
accordance with section 7 of Rule 112. Malang Salibo." None of these government-issued documents showed that petitioner Salibo
It is undisputed that petitioner Salibo presented himself before the Datu Hofer Police Station to used the alias "Butukan S. Malang."
clear his name and to prove that he is not the accused Butukan S. Malang. When petitioner
Salibo was in the presence of the police officers of Datu Hofer Police Station, he was neither Moreover, there is evidence that petitioner Salibo was not in the country on November 23, 2009
committing nor attempting to commit an offense. The police officers had no personal knowledge when the Maguindanao Massacre occurred.
of any offense that he might have committed. Petitioner Salibo was also not an escapee
prisoner. A Certification152 from the Bureau of Immigration states that petitioner Salibo departed for Saudi
Arabia on November 7, 2009 and arrived in the Philippines only on December 20, 2009. A
The police officers, therefore, had no probable cause to arrest petitioner Salibo without a Certification153 from Saudi Arabian Airlines attests that petitioner Salibo departed for Saudi
warrant. They deprived him of his right to liberty without due process of law, for which a petition Arabia on board Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight SV869 on November 7, 2009 and that he arrived

Page 14 of 39
in the Philippines on board Saudi Arabian Airlines SV870 on December 20, such a government, were constituted. The primary question is — Shall the judiciary permit a
2009.cralawlawlibrary government of the men instead of a government of laws to be set up in the Philippine Islands?

V 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
People of the Philippines v. Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., et al. is probably the most complex case the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, for the best of all reasons, to exterminate vice, ordered the
pending in our courts. The case involves 57 victims154 and 197 accused, two (2) of which have segregated district for women of ill repute, which had been permitted for a number of years in
become state witnesses.155 As of November 23, 2014, 111 of the accused have been arraigned, the city of Manila, closed. Between October 16 and October 25, 1918, the women were kept
and 70 have filed petitions for bail of which 42 have already been resolved. 156 To require confined to their houses in the district by the police. Presumably, during this period, the city
petitioner Salibo to undergo trial would be to further illegally deprive him of his liberty. Urgency authorities quietly perfected arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for sending the women to
dictates that we resolve his Petition in his favor given the strong evidence that he is not Butukan Davao, Mindanao, as laborers; with some government office for the use of the coastguard
S. Malang. 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,
In ordering petitioner Salibo's release, we are prejudging neither his guilt nor his innocence. Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, descended upon the houses,
However, between a citizen who has shown that he was illegally deprived of his liberty without hustled some 170 inmates into patrol wagons, and placed them aboard the steamers that
due process of law and the government that has all the "manpower and the resources at [its] awaited their arrival. The women were given no opportunity to collect their belongings, and
command"157 to properly indict a citizen but failed to do so, we will rule in favor of the citizen. 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
Should the government choose to prosecute petitioner Salibo, it must pursue the proper not been asked if they wished to depart from that region and had neither directly nor indirectly
remedies against him as provided in our Rules. Until then, we rule that petitioner Salibo is given their consent to the deportation. The involuntary guests were received on board the
illegally deprived of his liberty. His Petition for Habeas Corpus must be granted.cralawred 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
WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review on Certiorari is GRANTED. The Court of Appeals 25.
Decision dated April 19, 2011 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent Warden, Quezon
City Jail Annex, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Building, Camp Bagong Diwa,
Taguig, is ORDERED to immediately RELEASE petitioner Datukan Maiang Salibo from The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. The women were landed and
detention. receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales, provincial governor of Davao, and by Feliciano
Yñigo and Rafael Castillo. The governor and the hacendero Yñigo, who appear as parties in the
The Letter of the Court of Appeals elevating the records of the case to this court is case, had no previous notification that the women were prostitutes who had been expelled from
hereby NOTED. 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.
SO ORDERED.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary 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.
EN BANC
To turn back in our narrative, just about the time the Corregidor and the Negros were putting in
G.R. No. L-14639 March 25, 1919 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,
ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL., petitioners, the application, through stipulation of the parties, was made to include all of the women who
vs. were sent away from Manila to Davao and, as the same questions concerned them all, the
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., respondents. 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,
Alfonso Mendoza for petitioners. and by certain unknown parties. The writ was made returnable before the full court. The city
City Fiscal Diaz for respondents. 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
MALCOLM, J.: 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
The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as remarkable as the one which this extend beyond the boundaries of the city of Manila. According to an exhibit attached to the
application for habeas corpus submits for decision. While hardly to be expected to be met with in answer of the fiscal, the 170 women were destined to be laborers, at good salaries, on
this modern epoch of triumphant democracy, yet, after all, the cause presents no great difficulty the haciendas of Yñigo and Governor Sales. In open court, the fiscal admitted, in answer to
if there is kept in the forefront of our minds the basic principles of popular government, and if we question of a member of the court, that these women had been sent out of Manila without their
give expression to the paramount purpose for which the courts, as an independent power of 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
Page 15 of 39
Sales, governor of the province of Davao, and Feliciano Yñigo, an hacenderoof Davao, to bring One fact, and one fact only, need be recalled — these one hundred and seventy women were
before the court the persons therein named, alleged to be deprived of their liberty, on December isolated from society, and then at night, without their consent and without any opportunity to
2, 1918. 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
Before the date mentioned, seven of the women had returned to Manila at their own expense.
the police and the constabulary was deemed necessary and that these officers of the law chose
On motion of counsel for petitioners, their testimony was taken before the clerk of the Supreme
the shades of night to cloak their secret and stealthy acts. Indeed, this is a fact impossible to
Court sitting as commissioners. On the day named in the order, December 2nd, 1918, none of
refute and practically admitted by the respondents.
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 With this situation, a court would next expect to resolve the question — By authority of what law
fiscal appeared, repeated the facts more comprehensively, reiterated the stand taken by him did the Mayor and the Chief of Police presume to act in deporting by duress these persons from
when pleading to the original petition copied a telegram from the Mayor of the city of Manila to Manila to another distant locality within the Philippine Islands? We turn to the statutes and we
the provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto, and telegrams that had passed find —
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
Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands in conformity with an Act of
wish to return to Manila. Respondents Sales answered alleging that it was not possible to fulfill
congress. The Governor-General can order the eviction of undesirable aliens after a hearing
the order of the Supreme Court because the women had never been under his control, because
from the Islands. Act No. 519 of the Philippine Commission and section 733 of the Revised
they were at liberty in the Province of Davao, and because they had married or signed contracts
Ordinances of the city of Manila provide for the conviction and punishment by a court of justice
as laborers. Respondent Yñigo answered alleging that he did not have any of the women under
of any person who is a common prostitute. Act No. 899 authorizes the return of any citizen of the
his control and that therefore it was impossible for him to obey the mandate. The court, after due
United States, who may have been convicted of vagrancy, to the homeland. New York and other
deliberation, on December 10, 1918, promulgated a second order, which related that the
States have statutes providing for the commitment to the House of Refuge of women convicted
respondents had not complied with the original order to the satisfaction of the court nor
of being common prostitutes. Always a law! Even when the health authorities compel
explained their failure to do so, and therefore directed that those of the women not in Manila be
vaccination, or establish a quarantine, or place a leprous person in the Culion leper colony, it is
brought before the court by respondents Lukban, Hohmann, Sales, and Yñigo on January 13,
done pursuant to some law or order. But one can search in vain for any law, order, or regulation,
1919, unless the women should, in written statements voluntarily made before the judge of first
which even hints at the right of the Mayor of the city of Manila or the chief of police of that city to
instance of Davao or the clerk of that court, renounce the right, or unless the respondents should
force citizens of the Philippine Islands — and these women despite their being in a sense lepers
demonstrate some other legal motives that made compliance impossible. It was further stated
of society are nevertheless not chattels but Philippine citizens protected by the same
that the question of whether the respondents were in contempt of court would later be decided
constitutional guaranties as are other citizens — to change their domicile from Manila to another
and the reasons for the order announced in the final decision.
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.
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
In other countries, as in Spain and Japan, the privilege of domicile is deemed so important as to
the Supreme Court sitting as commissioner and the clerk of the Court of First Instance of Davao
be found in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution. Under the American constitutional system,
acting in the same capacity. On January 13, 1919, the respondents technically presented before
liberty of abode is a principle so deeply imbedded in jurisprudence and considered so
the Court the women who had returned to the city through their own efforts and eight others who
elementary in nature as not even to require a constitutional sanction. Even the Governor-
had been brought to Manila by the respondents. Attorneys for the respondents, by their returns,
General of the Philippine Islands, even the President of the United States, who has often been
once again recounted the facts and further endeavored to account for all of the persons involved
said to exercise more power than any king or potentate, has no such arbitrary prerogative, either
in the habeas corpus. In substance, it was stated that the respondents, through their
inherent or express. Much less, therefore, has the executive of a municipality, who acts within a
representatives and agents, had succeeded in bringing from Davao with their consent eight
sphere of delegated powers. If the mayor and the chief of police could, at their mere behest or
women; that eighty-one women were found in Davao who, on notice that if they desired they
even for the most praiseworthy of motives, render the liberty of the citizen so insecure, then the
could return to Manila, transportation fee, renounced the right through sworn statements; that
presidents and chiefs of police of one thousand other municipalities of the Philippines have the
fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by other means, and that despite all efforts to find them
same privilege. If these officials can take to themselves such power, then any other official can
twenty-six could not be located. Both counsel for petitioners and the city fiscal were permitted to
do the same. And if any official can exercise the power, then all persons would have just as
submit memoranda. The first formally asked the court to find Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of
much right to do so. And if a prostitute could be sent against her wishes and under no law from
Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose Rodriguez and Fernando
one locality to another within the country, then officialdom can hold the same club over the head
Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila, Feliciano Yñigo, an hacendero of
of any citizen.
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 Law defines power. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed that — "No freeman shall be taken, or
record. 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
In the second order, the court promised to give the reasons for granting the writ of habeas
to any man either justice or right." (Magna Charta, 9 Hen., 111, 1225, Cap. 29; 1 eng. stat. at
corpus in the final decision. We will now proceed to do so.
Large, 7.) No official, no matter how high, is above the law. The courts are the forum which

Page 16 of 39
functionate to safeguard individual liberty and to punish official transgressors. "The law," said person in question are not restrained of their liberty by respondents. It was finally suggested that
Justice Miller, delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States, "is the only the jurisdiction of the Mayor and the chief of police of the city of Manila only extends to the city
supreme power in our system of government, and every man who by accepting office limits and that perforce they could not bring the women from Davao.
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."
The first defense was not presented with any vigor by counsel. The petitioners were relatives
(U.S. vs. Lee [1882], 106 U.S., 196, 220.) "The very idea," said Justice Matthews of the same
and friends of the deportees. The way the expulsion was conducted by the city officials made it
high tribunal in another case, "that one man may be compelled to hold his life, or the means of
impossible for the women to sign a petition for habeas corpus. It was consequently proper for
living, or any material right essential to the enjoyment of life, at the mere will of another, seems
the writ to be submitted by persons in their behalf. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 78; Code
to be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails, as being the essence of slavery itself."
of Civil Procedure, sec. 527.) The law, in its zealous regard for personal liberty, even makes it
(Yick Wo vs. Hopkins [1886], 118 U.S., 356, 370.) All this explains the motive in issuing the writ
the duty of a court or judge to grant a writ of habeas corpus if there is evidence that within the
of habeas corpus, and makes clear why we said in the very beginning that the primary question
court's jurisdiction a person is unjustly imprisoned or restrained of his liberty, though no
was whether the courts should permit a government of men or a government of laws to be
application be made therefor. (Code of Criminal Procedure, sec. 93.) Petitioners had standing in
established in the Philippine Islands.
court.

What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression? The remedies of the citizen
The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked for in the Court of First Instance
are three: (1) Civil action; (2) criminal action, and (3) habeas corpus.
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
The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the aggrieved party may recoup money corpus should be presented to the nearest judge of the court of first instance. But this is not a
damages. It may still rest with the parties in interest to pursue such an action, but it was never hard and fast rule. The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court or any
intended effectively and promptly to meet any such situation as that now before us. 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
As to criminal responsibility, it is true that the Penal Code in force in these Islands provides:
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
Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or by regulations of a general their plea before that court. On the other hand, it was shown that the petitioners with their
character in force in the Philippines who shall banish any person to a place more than attorneys, and the two original respondents with their attorney, were in Manila; it was shown that
two hundred kilometers distant from his domicile, except it be by virtue of the judgment the case involved parties situated in different parts of the Islands; it was shown that the women
of a court, shall be punished by a fine of not less than three hundred and twenty-five might still be imprisoned or restrained of their liberty; and it was shown that if the writ was to
and not more than three thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. 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.
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 The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more difficult to meet. When the writ was
than six hundred and twenty-five and not more than six thousand two hundred and prayed for, says counsel, the parties in whose behalf it was asked were under no restraint; the
fifty pesetas. (Art. 211.) 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
We entertain no doubt but that, if, after due investigation, the proper prosecuting officers find that of habeas corpus.
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 A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The
against, is no bar to the instant proceedings. To quote the words of Judge Cooley in a case essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of
which will later be referred to — "It would be a monstrous anomaly in the law if to an application involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such
by one unlawfully confined, ta be restored to his liberty, it could be a sufficient answer that the restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient. The forcible
confinement was a crime, and therefore might be continued indefinitely until the guilty party was taking of these women from Manila by officials of that city, who handed them over to other
tried and punished therefor by the slow process of criminal procedure." (In the matter of Jackson parties, who deposited them in a distant region, deprived these women of freedom of locomotion
[1867], 15 Mich., 416, 434.) The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and just as effectively as if they had been imprisoned. Placed in Davao without either money or
effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient personal belongings, they were prevented from exercising the liberty of going when and where
defense of personal freedom. Any further rights of the parties are left untouched by decision on they pleased. The restraint of liberty which began in Manila continued until the aggrieved parties
the writ, whose principal purpose is to set the individual at liberty. were returned to Manila and released or until they freely and truly waived his right.

Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy, respondents have raised three specific Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a defense would mean. The chief
objections to its issuance in this instance. The fiscal has argued (l) that there is a defect in executive of any municipality in the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take a private citizen
parties petitioners, (2) that the Supreme Court should not a assume jurisdiction, and (3) that the and place him beyond the boundaries of the municipality, and then, when called upon to defend
Page 17 of 39
his official action, could calmly fold his hands and claim that the person was under no restraint The important fact to be observed in regard to the mode of procedure upon this writ is,
and that he, the official, had no jurisdiction over this other municipality. We believe the true that it is directed to and served upon, not the person confined, but his jailor. It does not
principle should be that, if the respondent is within the jurisdiction of the court and has it in his reach the former except through the latter. The officer or person who serves it does
power to obey the order of the court and thus to undo the wrong that he has inflicted, he should not unbar the prison doors, and set the prisoner free, but the court relieves him by
be compelled to do so. Even if the party to whom the writ is addressed has illegally parted with compelling the oppressor to release his constraint. The whole force of the writ is spent
the custody of a person before the application for the writ is no reason why the writ should not upon the respondent, and if he fails to obey it, the means to be resorted to for the
issue. If the mayor and the chief of police, acting under no authority of law, could deport these purposes of compulsion are fine and imprisonment. This is the ordinary mode of
women from the city of Manila to Davao, the same officials must necessarily have the same affording relief, and if any other means are resorted to, they are only auxiliary to those
means to return them from Davao to Manila. The respondents, within the reach of process, may which are usual. The place of confinement is, therefore, not important to the relief, if
not be permitted to restrain a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile the guilty party is within reach of process, so that by the power of the court he can be
and to avow the act with impunity in the courts, while the person who has lost her birthright of compelled to release his grasp. The difficulty of affording redress is not increased by
liberty has no effective recourse. The great writ of liberty may not thus be easily evaded. 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.)
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. 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.)
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, The English courts have given careful consideration to the subject. Thus, a child had been taken
who has been and continues to be detained in another State. The membership of the Michigan out of English by the respondent. A writ of habeas corpus was issued by the Queen's Bench
Supreme Court at this time was notable. It was composed of Martin, chief justice, and Cooley, Division upon the application of the mother and her husband directing the defendant to produce
Campbell, and Christiancy, justices. On the question presented the court was equally divided. the child. The judge at chambers gave defendant until a certain date to produce the child, but he
Campbell, J., with whom concurred Martin, C. J., held that the writ should be quashed. Cooley, did not do so. His return stated that the child before the issuance of the writ had been handed
J., one of the most distinguished American judges and law-writers, with whom concurred over by him to another; that it was no longer in his custody or control, and that it was impossible
Christiancy, J., held that the writ should issue. Since the opinion of Justice Campbell was for him to obey the writ. He was found in contempt of court. On appeal, the court, through Lord
predicated to a large extent on his conception of the English decisions, and since, as will Esher, M. R., said:
hereafter appear, the English courts have taken a contrary view, only the following eloquent
passages from the opinion of Justice Cooley are quoted:
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
I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the power of this court to issue the chambers at the Royal Courts of Justice immediately after the receipt of the writ,
present writ on the petition which was laid before us. . . . 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
It would be strange indeed if, at this late day, after the eulogiums of six centuries and
his having lawfully parted with the possession of the child before the issuing of the
a half have been expended upon the Magna Charta, and rivers of blood shed for its
writ, the defendant had no longer power to produce the child, that might be an answer;
establishment; after its many confirmations, until Coke could declare in his speech on
but in the absence of any lawful reason he is bound to produce the child, and, if he
the petition of right that "Magna Charta was such a fellow that he will have no
does not, he is in contempt of the Court for not obeying the writ without lawful excuse.
sovereign," and after the extension of its benefits and securities by the petition of right,
Many efforts have been made in argument to shift the question of contempt to some
bill of rights and habeas corpus acts, it should now be discovered that evasion of that
anterior period for the purpose of showing that what was done at some time prior to
great clause for the protection of personal liberty, which is the life and soul of the
the writ cannot be a contempt. But the question is not as to what was done before the
whole instrument, is so easy as is claimed here. If it is so, it is important that it be
issue of the writ. The question is whether there has been a contempt in disobeying the
determined without delay, that the legislature may apply the proper remedy, as I can
writ it was issued by not producing the child in obedience to its commands. (The
not doubt they would, on the subject being brought to their notice. . . .
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,
The second proposition — that the statutory provisions are confined to the case of Gossage's Case [1890], 24 Q. B. D., 283.)
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
A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of interest. A habeas corpus was directed to
bench derived its jurisdiction to issue and enforce this writ from the statute. Statutes
the defendant to have before the circuit court of the District of Columbia three colored persons,
were not passed to give the right, but to compel the observance of rights which
with the cause of their detention. Davis, in his return to the writ, stated on oath that he had
existed. . . .
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

Page 18 of 39
Davis had removed the negroes because he suspected they would apply for a writ of habeas court would only accept clear proof of an absolute impossibility by way of excuse." In other
corpus. The court held the return to be evasive and insufficient, and that Davis was bound to words, the return did not show that every possible effort to produce the women was made by the
produce the negroes, and Davis being present in court, and refusing to produce them, ordered respondents. That the court forebore at this time to take drastic action was because it did not
that he be committed to the custody of the marshall until he should produce the negroes, or be wish to see presented to the public gaze the spectacle of a clash between executive officials and
otherwise discharged in due course of law. The court afterwards ordered that Davis be released the judiciary, and because it desired to give the respondents another chance to demonstrate
upon the production of two of the negroes, for one of the negroes had run away and been their good faith and to mitigate their wrong.
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
In response to the second order of the court, the respondents appear to have become more
[1883], 111 U.S., 624; Church on Habeas, 2nd ed., p. 170.)
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
We find, therefore, both on reason and authority, that no one of the defense offered by the steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided. While charges and counter-charges in
respondents constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas corpus. 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
There remains to be considered whether the respondent complied with the two orders of the
sincere desire to see this unhappy incident finally closed. If any wrong is now being perpetrated
Supreme Court awarding the writ of habeas corpus, and if it be found that they did not, whether
in Davao, it should receive an executive investigation. If any particular individual is still restrained
the contempt should be punished or be taken as purged.
of her liberty, it can be made the object of separate habeas corpus proceedings.

The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban, Anton Hohmann, Francisco Sales, and
Since the writ has already been granted, and since we find a substantial compliance with it,
Feliciano Yñigo to present the persons named in the writ before the court on December 2, 1918.
nothing further in this connection remains to be done.
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 The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in contempt of court Justo Lukban, Mayor of the
governor of Davao. According to the response of the attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the city of Manila, Anton Hohmann, chief of police of the city of Manila, Jose Rodriguez, and
telegram of his chief, there were then in Davao women who desired to return to Manila, but who Fernando Ordax, members of the police force of the city of Manila, Modesto Joaquin, the
should not be permitted to do so because of having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort attorney for the Bureau of Labor, Feliciano Yñigo, an hacendero of Davao, and Anacleto Diaz,
naturally resulted in none of the parties in question being brought before the court on the day Fiscal of the city of Manila.
named.
The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative and not on
For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order, three optional courses were open: (1) the vindictive principle. Only occasionally should the court invoke its inherent power in order to
They could have produced the bodies of the persons according to the command of the writ; or retain that respect without which the administration of justice must falter or fail. Nevertheless
(2) they could have shown by affidavit that on account of sickness or infirmity those persons when one is commanded to produce a certain person and does not do so, and does not offer a
could not safely be brought before the court; or (3) they could have presented affidavits to show valid excuse, a court must, to vindicate its authority, adjudge the respondent to be guilty of
that the parties in question or their attorney waived the right to be present. (Code of Criminal contempt, and must order him either imprisoned or fined. An officer's failure to produce the body
Procedure, sec. 87.) They did not produce the bodies of the persons in whose behalf the writ of a person in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus when he has power to do so, is a contempt
was granted; they did not show impossibility of performance; and they did not present writings committed in the face of the court. (Ex parte Sterns [1888], 77 Cal., 156; In re Patterson [1888],
that waived the right to be present by those interested. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits 99 N. C., 407.)
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
With all the facts and circumstances in mind, and with judicial regard for human imperfections,
diligence a considerable number of the women, at least sixty, could have been brought back to
we cannot say that any of the respondents, with the possible exception of the first named, has
Manila is demonstrated to be found in the municipality of Davao, and that about this number
flatly disobeyed the court by acting in opposition to its authority. Respondents Hohmann,
either returned at their own expense or were produced at the second hearing by the
Rodriguez, Ordax, and Joaquin only followed the orders of their chiefs, and while, under the law
respondents.
of public officers, this does not exonerate them entirely, it is nevertheless a powerful mitigating
circumstance. The hacendero Yñigo appears to have been drawn into the case through a
The court, at the time the return to its first order was made, would have been warranted misconstruction by counsel of telegraphic communications. The city fiscal, Anacleto Diaz, would
summarily in finding the respondents guilty of contempt of court, and in sending them to jail until seem to have done no more than to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the city
they obeyed the order. Their excuses for the non-production of the persons were far from government. Finding him innocent of any disrespect to the court, his counter-motion to strike
sufficient. The, authorities cited herein pertaining to somewhat similar facts all tend to indicate from the record the memorandum of attorney for the petitioners, which brings him into this
with what exactitude a habeas corpus writ must be fulfilled. For example, in Gossage's case, undesirable position, must be granted. When all is said and done, as far as this record discloses,
supra, the Magistrate in referring to an earlier decision of the Court, said: "We thought that, the official who was primarily responsible for the unlawful deportation, who ordered the police to
having brought about that state of things by his own illegal act, he must take the consequences; accomplish the same, who made arrangements for the steamers and the constabulary, who
and we said that he was bound to use every effort to get the child back; that he must do much conducted the negotiations with the Bureau of Labor, and who later, as the head of the city
more than write letters for the purpose; that he must advertise in America, and even if necessary government, had it within his power to facilitate the return of the unfortunate women to Manila,
himself go after the child, and do everything that mortal man could do in the matter; and that the was Justo Lukban, the Mayor of the city of Manila. His intention to suppress the social evil was
Page 19 of 39
commendable. His methods were unlawful. His regard for the writ of habeas corpus issued by manner shown, acted without authority of any legal provision which constitutes an exception to
the court was only tardily and reluctantly acknowledged. the laws guaranteeing the liberty and the individual rights of the residents of the city of Manila.

It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which We do not believe in the pomp and obstentation of force displayed by the police in complying
relates to the penalty for disobeying the writ, and in pursuance thereof to require respondent with the order of the mayor of the city; neither do we believe in the necessity of taking them to
Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as much as P400 each, which would reach to many the distant district of Davao. The said governmental authority, in carrying out his intention to
thousands of pesos, and in addition to deal with him as for a contempt. Some members of the suppress the segregated district or the community formed by those women in Gardenia Street,
court are inclined to this stern view. It would also be possible to find that since respondent could have obliged the said women to return to their former residences in this city or in the
Lukban did comply substantially with the second order of the court, he has purged his contempt provinces, without the necessity of transporting them to Mindanao; hence the said official is
of the first order. Some members of the court are inclined to this merciful view. Between the two obliged to bring back the women who are still in Davao so that they may return to the places in
extremes appears to lie the correct finding. The failure of respondent Lukban to obey the first which they lived prior to their becoming inmates of certain houses in Gardenia Street.
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
As regards the manner whereby the mayor complied with the orders of this court, we do not find
will at once command such respect without being unduly oppressive — such an amount is P100.
any apparent disobedience and marked absence of respect in the steps taken by the mayor of
the city and his subordinates, if we take into account the difficulties encountered in bringing the
In resume — as before stated, no further action on the writ of habeas corpus is necessary. The said women who were free at Davao and presenting them before this court within the time fixed,
respondents Hohmann, Rodriguez, Ordax, Joaquin, Yñigo, and Diaz are found not to be in inasmuch as it does not appear that the said women were living together in a given place. It was
contempt of court. Respondent Lukban is found in contempt of court and shall pay into the office not because they were really detained, but because on the first days there were no houses in
of the clerk of the Supreme Court within five days the sum of one hundred pesos (P100). The which they could live with a relative independent from one another, and as a proof that they were
motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to strike from the record the Replica al Memorandum de free a number of them returned to Manila and the others succeeded in living separate from their
los Recurridos of January 25, 1919, is granted. Costs shall be taxed against respondents. So companions who continued living together.
ordered.
To determine whether or not the mayor acted with a good purpose and legal object and whether
In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task, may we not be permitted to express the hope he has acted in good or bad faith in proceeding to dissolve the said community of prostitutes and
that this decision may serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly government of laws and to to oblige them to change their domicile, it is necessary to consider not only the rights and
protect individual liberty from illegal encroachment. interests of the said women and especially of the patrons who have been directing and
conducting such a reproachable enterprise and shameful business in one of the suburbs of this
city, but also the rights and interests of the very numerous people of Manila where relatively a
Arellano, C.J., Avanceña and Moir, JJ., concur.
few transients accidentally and for some days reside, the inhabitants thereof being more than
Johnson, and Street, JJ., concur in the result.
three hundred thousand (300,000) who can not, with indifference and without repugnance, live in
the same place with so many unfortunate women dedicated to prostitution.

If the material and moral interests of the community as well as the demands of social morality
are to be taken into account, it is not possible to sustain that it is legal and permissible to
Separate Opinions establish a house of pandering or prostitution in the midst of an enlightened population, for,
although there were no positive laws prohibiting the existence of such houses within a district of
Manila, the dictates of common sense and dictates of conscience of its inhabitants are sufficient
TORRES, J., dissenting:
to warrant the public administration, acting correctly, in exercising the inevitable duty of ordering
the closing and abandonment of a house of prostitution ostensibly open to the public, and of
The undersigned does not entirely agree to the opinion of the majority in the decision of obliging the inmates thereof to leave it, although such a house is inhabited by its true owner who
the habeas corpusproceeding against Justo Lukban, the mayor of this city. invokes in his behalf the protection of the constitutional law guaranteeing his liberty, his
individual rights, and his right to property.
There is nothing in the record that shows the motive which impelled Mayor Lukban to oblige a
great number of women of various ages, inmates of the houses of prostitution situated in A cholera patient, a leper, or any other person affected by a known contagious disease cannot
Gardenia Street, district of Sampaloc, to change their residence. invoke in his favor the constitutional law which guarantees his liberty and individual rights,
should the administrative authority order his hospitalization, reclusion, or concentration in a
certain island or distant point in order to free from contagious the great majority of the
We know no express law, regulation, or ordinance which clearly prohibits the opening of public inhabitants of the country who fortunately do not have such diseases. The same reasons exist or
houses of prostitution, as those in the said Gardenia Street, Sampaloc. For this reason, when stand good with respect to the unfortunate women dedicated to prostitution, and such reasons
more than one hundred and fifty women were assembled and placed aboard a steamer and become stronger because the first persons named have contracted their diseases without their
transported to Davao, considering that the existence of the said houses of prostitution has been knowledge and even against their will, whereas the unfortunate prostitutes voluntarily adopted
tolerated for so long a time, it is undeniable that the mayor of the city, in proceeding in the such manner of living and spontaneously accepted all its consequences, knowing positively that
their constant intercourse with men of all classes, notwithstanding the cleanliness and
Page 20 of 39
precaution which they are wont to adopt, gives way to the spread or multiplication of the disease desire to return to their former respective residences, not in Gardenia Street, Sampaloc District,
known as syphilis, a venereal disease, which, although it constitutes a secret disease among with the exception of the prostitutes who should expressly make known to the clerk of court their
men and women, is still prejudicial to the human species in the same degree, scope, and preference to reside in Davao, which manifestation must be made under oath. This resolution
seriousness as cholera, tuberculosis, leprosy, pest, typhoid, and other contagious diseases must be transmitted to the mayor within the shortest time possible for its due compliance. The
which produce great mortality and very serious prejudice to poor humanity. costs shall be charged de officio.

If a young woman, instead of engaging in an occupation or works suitable to her sex, which can ARAULLO, J., dissenting in part:
give her sufficient remuneration for her subsistence, prefers to put herself under the will of
another woman who is usually older than she is and who is the manager or owner of a house of
I regret to dissent from the respectable opinion of the majority in the decision rendered in these
prostitution, or spontaneously dedicates herself to this shameful profession, it is undeniable that
proceedings, with respect to the finding as to the importance of the contempt committed,
she voluntarily and with her own knowledge renounces her liberty and individual rights
according to the same decision, by Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, and the
guaranteed by the Constitution, because it is evident that she can not join the society of decent
consequent imposition upon him of a nominal fine of P100.
women nor can she expect to get the same respect that is due to the latter, nor is it possible for
her to live within the community or society with the same liberty and rights enjoyed by every
citizen. Considering her dishonorable conduct and life, she should therefore be comprised within In the said decision, it is said:
that class which is always subject to the police and sanitary regulations conducive to the
maintenance of public decency and morality and to the conservation of public health, and for this
reason it should not permitted that the unfortunate women dedicated to prostitution evade the The first order, it will be recalled, directed Justo Lukban, Anton Hohmann, Francisco
just orders and resolutions adopted by the administrative authorities. Sales, and Feliciano Yñigo 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
It is regrettable that unnecessary rigor was employed against the said poor women, but those the record disclosed, the mayor of the city of Manila waited until the 21st of November
who have been worrying so much about the prejudice resulting from a governmental measure, before sending a telegram to the provincial governor of Davao. According to the
which being a very drastic remedy may be considered arbitrary, have failed to consider with due response of the Attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the telegram of his chief, there
reflection the interests of the inhabitants of this city in general and particularly the duties and were then in Davao women who desired to return to Manila, but who should not be
responsibilities weighing upon the authorities which administer and govern it; they have forgotten permitted to do so because of having contracted debts. The half-hearted effort
that many of those who criticize and censure the mayor are fathers of families and are in duty naturally resulted in none of the parties in question being brought before the court on
bound to take care of their children. the day named.

For the foregoing reasons, we reach the conclusion that when the petitioners, because of the In accordance with section 87 of General Orders No. 58, as said in the same decision, the
abnormal life they assumed, were obliged to change their residence not by a private citizen but respondents, for the purpose of complying with the order of the court, could have, (1) produced
by the mayor of the city who is directly responsible for the conservation of public health and the bodies of the persons according to the command of the writ; (2) shown by affidavits that on
social morality, the latter could take the step he had taken, availing himself of the services of the account of sickness or infirmity the said women could not safely be brought before this court;
police in good faith and only with the purpose of protecting the immense majority of the and (3) presented affidavits to show that the parties in question or their lawyers waived their right
population from the social evils and diseases which the houses of prostitution situated in to be present. According to the same decision, the said respondents ". . . did not produce the
Gardenia Street have been producing, which houses have been constituting for years a true bodies of the persons in whose behalf the writ was granted; did not show impossibility of
center for the propagation of general diseases and other evils derived therefrom. Hence, in performance; and did not present writings, that waived the right to be present by those
ordering the dissolution and abandonment of the said houses of prostitution and the change of interested. Instead, a few stereotyped affidavits purporting to show that the women were
the domicile of the inmates thereof, the mayor did not in bad faith violate the constitutional laws contented with their life in Davao, some of which have since been repudiated by the signers,
which guarantees the liberty and the individual rights of every Filipino, inasmuch as the women were appended to the return. That through ordinary diligence a considerable number of the
petitioners do not absolutely enjoy the said liberty and rights, the exercise of which they have women, at least sixty, could have been brought back to Manila is demonstrated by the fact that
voluntarily renounced in exchange for the free practice of their shameful profession. during this time they were easily 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."
In very highly advanced and civilized countries, there have been adopted by the administrative
authorities similar measures, more or less rigorous, respecting prostitutes, considering them
prejudicial to the people, although it is true that in the execution of such measures more humane The majority opinion also recognized that, "That court, at the time the return to its first order was
and less drastic procedures, fortiter in re et suaviter in forma, have been adopted, but such made, would have been warranted summarily in finding the respondent guilty of contempt of
procedures have always had in view the ultimate object of the Government for the sake of the court, and in sending them to jail until they obeyed the order. Their excuses for the non
community, that is, putting an end to the living together in a certain place of women dedicated to production of the persons were far from sufficient." To corroborate this, the majority decision
prostitution and changing their domicile, with the problematical hope that they adopt another cites the case of the Queen vs. Barnardo, Gossage's Case ([1890], 24 Q. B. D., 283) and added
manner of living which is better and more useful to themselves and to society. "that the return did not show that every possible effort to produce the women was made by the
respondents."
In view of the foregoing remarks, we should hold, as we hereby hold, that Mayor Justo Lukban is
obliged to take back and restore the said women who are at present found in Davao, and who
Page 21 of 39
When the said return by the respondents was made to this court in banc and the case respondents, especially the first named, that is Mayor Justo Lukban, who acted as chief and
discussed, my opinion was that Mayor Lukban should have been immediately punished for principal in all that refers to the compliance with the orders issued by this court, could bring
contempt. Nevertheless, a second order referred to in the decision was issued on December 10, before December 2nd, the date of the first hearing of the case, as well as before January 13th,
1918, requiring the respondents to produce before the court, on January 13, 1919, the women the date fixed for the compliance with the second order, if not the seventy-four (74) women
who were not in Manila, unless they could show that it was impossible to comply with the said already indicated, at least a great number of them, or at least sixty (60) of them, as is said in the
order on the two grounds previously mentioned. With respect to this second order, the same majority decision, inasmuch as the said respondent could count upon the aid of the
decision has the following to say: Constabulary forces and the municipal police, and had transportation facilities for the purpose.
But the said respondent mayor brought only eight (8) of the women before this court on January
13th. This fact can not, in my judgment, with due respect to the majority opinion, justify the
In response to the second order of the court, the respondents appear to have become
conclusion that the said respondent has substantially complied with the second order of this
more zealous and to have shown a better spirit. Agents were dispatched to Mindanao,
court, but on the other hand demonstrates that he had not complied with the mandate of this
placards were posted, the constabulary and the municipal police joined in rounding up
court in its first and second orders; that neither of the said orders has been complied with by the
the women, and a steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided. While
respondent Justo Lukban, Mayor of the city of Manila, who is, according to the majority decision,
charges and countercharges in such a bitterly contested case are to be expected, and
principally responsible for the contempt, to which conclusion I agree. The conduct of the said
while a critical reading of the record might reveal a failure of literal fulfillment with our
respondent with respect to the second order confirms the contempt committed by non-
mandate, we come to conclude that there is a substantial compliance with it.
compliance with the first order and constitutes a new contempt because of non-compliance with
the second, because of the production of only eight (8) of the one hundred and eighty-one (181)
I do not agree to this conclusion. women who have been illegally detained by virtue of his order and transported to Davao against
their will, committing the twenty-six (26) women who could not be found in Davao, demonstrates
in my opinion that, notwithstanding the nature of the case which deals with the remedy
The respondent mayor of the city of Manila, Justo Lukban, let 17 days elapse from the date of of habeas corpus, presented by the petitioners and involving the question whether they should
the issuance of the first order on November 4th till the 21st of the same month before taking the or not be granted their liberty, the respondent has not given due attention to the same nor has
first step for compliance with the mandate of the said order; he waited till the 21st of November,
he made any effort to comply with the second order. In other words, he has disobeyed the said
as the decision says, before he sent a telegram to the provincial governor o f Davao and two orders; has despised the authority of this court; has failed to give the respect due to justice;
naturally this half-hearted effort, as is so qualified in the decision, resulted in that none of the and lastly, he has created and placed obstacles to the administration of justice in the
women appeared before this court on December 2nd. Thus, the said order was not complied
said habeas corpus proceeding, thus preventing, because of his notorious disobedience, the
with, and in addition to this noncompliance there was the circumstances that seven of the said resolution of the said proceeding with the promptness which the nature of the same required.
women having returned to Manila at their own expense before the said second day of December
and being in the antechamber of the court room, which fact was known to Chief of Police
Hohmann, who was then present at the trial and to the attorney for the respondents, were not Contempt of court has been defined as a despising of the authority, justice, or dignity
produced before the court by the respondents nor did the latter show any effort to present them, of the court; and he is guilty of contempt whose conduct is such as tends to bring the
in spite of the fact that their attention was called to this particular by the undersigned. authority and administration of the law into disrespect or disregard. . . ." (Ruling Case
Law, vol. 6, p. 488.)
The result of the said second order was, as is said in the same decision, that the respondents,
on January 13th, the day fixed for the protection of the women before this court, presented It is a general principle that a disobedience of any valid order of the court constitutes
technically the seven (7) women above-mentioned who had returned to the city at their own contempt, unless the defendant is unable to comply therewith. (Ruling Case Law, vol.
expense and the other eight (8) women whom the respondents themselves brought to Manila, 6, p. 502.)
alleging moreover that their agents and subordinates succeeded in bringing them from Davao
with their consent; that in Davao they found eighty-one (81) women who, when asked if they
It is contempt to employ a subterfuge to evade the judgment of the court, or to obstruct
desired to return to Manila with free transportation, renounced such a right, as is shown in the
or attempt to obstruct the service of legal process. If a person hinders or prevents the
affidavits presented by the respondents to this effect; that, through other means, fifty-nine (59)
service of process by deceiving the officer or circumventing him by any means, the
women have already returned to Manila, but notwithstanding the efforts made to find them it was
result is the same as though he had obstructed by some direct means. (Ruling Case
not possible to locate the whereabouts of twenty-six (26) of them. Thus, in short, out of the one
Law, vol. 6, p. 503.)
hundred and eighty-one (181) women who, as has been previously said, have been illegally
detained by Mayor Lukban and Chief of Police Hohmann and transported to Davao against their
will, only eight (8) have been brought to Manila and presented before this court by the While it may seem somewhat incongruous to speak, as the courts often do, of
respondents in compliance with the said two orders. Fifty-nine (59) of them have returned to enforcing respect for the law and for the means it has provided in civilized
Manila through other means not furnished by the respondents, twenty-six of whom were brought communities for establishing justice, since true respect never comes in that way, it is
by the attorney for the petitioners, Mendoza, on his return from Davao. The said attorney paid apparent nevertheless that the power to enforce decorum in the courts and obedience
out of his own pocket the transportation of the said twenty-six women. Adding to these numbers to their orders and just measures is so essentially a part of the life of the courts that it
the other seven (7) women who returned to this city at their own expense before January 13 we would be difficult to conceive of their usefulness or efficiency as existing without it.
have a total of sixty-six (66), which evidently proves, on the one hand, the falsity of the allegation Therefore it may be said generally that where due respect for the courts as ministers
by the respondents in their first answer at the trial of December 2, 1918, giving as one of the of the law is wanting, a necessity arises for the use of compulsion, not, however, so
reasons for their inability to present any of the said women that the latter were content with their much to excite individual respect as to compel obedience or to remove an unlawful or
life in Mindanao and did not desire to return to Manila; and, on the other hand, that the

Page 22 of 39
unwarranted interference with the administration of justice. (Ruling Case Law, vol. 6,
p. 487.) xxxx

The power to punish for contempt is as old as the law itself, and has been exercised
from the earliest times. In England it has been exerted when the contempt consisted
of scandalizing the sovereign or his ministers, the law-making power, or the courts. In FIRST DIVISION
the American states the power to punish for contempt, so far as the executive
department and the ministers of state are concerned, and in some degree so far as MARTIN GIBBS FLETCHER, UDK-14071
the legislative department is concerned, is obsolete, but it has been almost universally Petitioner,
preserved so far as regards the judicial department. The power which the courts have Present:
of vindicating their own authority is a necessary incident to every court of justice,
whether of record or not; and the authority for issuing attachments in a proper case for PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
contempts out of court, it has been declared, stands upon the same immemorial CARPIO,
usage as supports the whole fabric of the common law. . . . (Ruling Case Law, vol. 6, - v e r s u s - CORONA,
p. 489.) LEONARDO-DE CASTRO and
BERSAMIN, JJ.
The undisputed importance of the orders of this court which have been disobeyed; the loss of
the prestige of the authority of the court which issued the said orders, which loss might have THE DIRECTOR OF BUREAU
been caused by noncompliance with the same orders on the part of the respondent Justo OF CORRECTIONS or his
Lukban; the damages which might have been suffered by some of the women illegally detained, representative,
in view of the fact that they were not brought to Manila by the respondents to be presented Respondent. Promulgated:
before the court and of the further fact that some of them were obliged to come to this city at July 17, 2009
their own expense while still others were brought to Manila by the attorney for the petitioners,
who paid out of his own pocket the transportation of the said women; and the delay which was x---------------------------------------------------x
necessarily incurred in the resolution of the petition interposed by the said petitioners and which
was due to the fact that the said orders were not opportunately and duly obeyed and complied RESOLUTION
with, are circumstances which should be taken into account in imposing upon the respondent CORONA, J.:
Justo Lukban the penalty corresponding to the contempt committed by him, a penalty which,
according to section 236 of the Code of Civil Procedure, should consist of a fine not exceeding
P1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding months, or both such fine and imprisonment. In the Petitioner Martin Gibbs Fletcher seeks his release from prison in this petition for the issuance of
imposition of the penalty, there should also be taken into consideration the special circumstance the writ of habeas corpus. He claims that his prison sentence of 12 to 17 years was commuted
that the contempt was committed by a public authority, the mayor of the city of Manila, the first by then President Fidel V. Ramos to nine to 12 years. Since he had already served 14 years,
executive authority of the city, and consequently, the person obliged to be the first in giving an three months and 12 days, including his good conduct allowance, his continued imprisonment is
example of obedience and respect for the laws and the valid and just orders of the duly illegal.[1]
constituted authorities as well as for the orders emanating from the courts of justice, and in
giving help and aid to the said courts in order that justice may be administered with promptness In its return to the writ, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) posited that the petition should
and rectitude. be denied for failure to comply with Section 3, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court. In particular, the
petition was neither signed nor verified by petitioner or a person on his behalf or by his purported
counsel. Moreover, it was not accompanied by a copy of the cause of petitioners detention or
I believe, therefore, that instead of the fine of one hundred pesos (P100), there should be commitment order.
imposed upon the respondent Justo Lukban a fine of five hundred pesos (P500), and all the
costs should be charged against him. Lastly, I believe it to be my duty to state here that the The OSG further opposed the issuance of the writ on the following grounds: petitioners prison
records of this proceeding should be transmitted to the Attorney-General in order that, after a sentence was never commuted by then President Ramos; he had not been granted the status of
study of the same and deduction from the testimony which he may deem necessary, and the a colonist; there were other pending cases against him warranting his continued detention [2] and
proper transmittal of the same to the fiscal of the city of Manila and to the provincial fiscal of he was put under custody by virtue of a judicial process or a valid judgment.
Davao, both the latter shall present the corresponding informations for the prosecution and We disagree with the OSG insofar as it argues that the petition should be dismissed for failure to
punishment of the crimes which have been committed on the occasion when the illegal detention comply with Section 3, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court. Strict compliance with the technical
of the women was carried into effect by Mayor Justo Lukban of the city of Manila and Chief of requirements for a habeas corpus petition as provided in the Rules of Court may be dispensed
Police Anton Hohmann, and also of those crimes committed by reason of the same detention with where the allegations in the application are sufficient to make out a case for habeas corpus.
and while the women were in Davao. This will be one of the means whereby the just hope In Angeles v. Director of New Bilibid Prison,[3] we held that the formalities required for petitions
expressed in the majority decision will be realized, that is, that in the Philippine Islands there for habeas corpus shall be construed liberally. The petition for the writ is required to be verified
should exist a government of laws and not a government of men and that this decision may but the defect in form is not fatal.[4] Indeed, in the landmark case of Villavicencio v. Lukban,[5] this
serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly Government of laws and to protect individual Court declared that it is the duty of a court to issue the writ if there is evidence that a person is
liberty from illegal encroachments. unjustly restrained of his liberty within its jurisdiction even if there is no application therefor. So

Page 23 of 39
long as this Court sits, technicality cannot trump liberty. Therefore, a petition which is deficient in was arraigned only on October 6, 2008. He pleaded not guilty to the charge against him. Pre-trial
form, such as petitioners petition-letter in this case, may be entertained so long as its allegations was set on January 26, 2009.[18]Clearly, he is disqualified from being released on parole and
sufficiently make out a case for habeas corpus.[6] consequently must serve out the entirety of his sentence.

The ultimate purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to relieve a person from unlawful We note the issuance of a warrant for petitioners arrest on March 8, 1996, the date he
restraint.[7] The writ exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful was first set for arraignment in Criminal Case No. 94-6988. Pursuant to Section 4, Rule 102 of
restraint and as an effective defense of personal freedom. [8] the Rules of Court, the writ cannot be issued and petitioner cannot be discharged since he has
been charged with another criminal offense. [19] His continued detention is without doubt
Where the restraint of liberty is allegedly authored by the State, the very entity tasked to ensure warranted under the circumstances.
the liberty of all persons (citizens and aliens alike) within its jurisdiction, courts must be vigilant in
extending the habeas corpus remedy to one who invokes it. To strictly restrict the great writ of Petitioner asserts that his sentence in Criminal Case No. 95-995 was commuted by
liberty to technicalities not only defeats the spirit that animates the writ but also waters down the then President Ramos. However, he presented no proof of such commutation. Other than
precious right that the writ seeks to protect, the right to liberty. To dilute the remedy that indorsements by the Chief Justice,[20] Public Attorneys Office[21] and Undersecretary of the
guarantees protection to the right is to negate the right itself. Thus, the Court will not unduly Department of Justice,[22] no document purporting to be the commutation of his sentence by then
confine the writ of habeas corpus in the prison walls of technicality. Otherwise, it will betray its President Ramos was attached in his petition and in his subsequent missives to this Court. His
constitutional mandate to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of barren claim of commutation therefore deserves scant consideration, lest we be accused of
constitutional rights.[9] usurping the Presidents sole prerogative to commute petitioners sentence in Criminal Case No.
95-995.[23]
Nonetheless, we agree with the OSG that petitioner is not entitled to the issuance of
the writ. Having established that petitioners continued imprisonment is by virtue of a valid
judgment and court process, we see no need to discuss petitioners other arguments.
The writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any
person is deprived of his liberty.[10] However, Section 4, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court provides:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
Sec. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. If it appears that
the person to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer SO ORDERED.
under process issued by a court or judge; or by virtue of a judgment
or order of a court of record, and that court or judge had jurisdiction to
issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ Xxxx
shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed,
the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION
the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held to
authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an
offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under
lawful judgment. (emphasis supplied)

Plainly stated, the writ obtains immediate relief for those who have been illegally
confined or imprisoned without sufficient cause. The writ, however, should not be issued when
the custody over the person is by virtue of a judicial process or a valid judgment.[11]
It is undisputed that petitioner was convicted of estafa in Criminal Case No. 95-
995.[12] On June 24, 1996, he was sentenced to imprisonment of 12 years of prision mayor as
minimum to 17 years and four months of reclusion temporal as maximum, with payment of
actual damages of P102,235.56.[13]

Based on petitioners prison records,[14] he began serving his sentence on July 24,
1997. He claims that after having served good conduct time allowance for 14 years, three
months and 12 days,[15] he should now be released from prison.

We disagree.

A convict may be released on parole after serving the minimum period of his
sentence. However, the pendency of another criminal case is a ground for the disqualification of
such convict from being released on parole.[16] Unfortunately, petitioner is again on trial in
Criminal Case No. 94-6988 for estafa.[17] The case was filed as early as 1996 but he

Page 24 of 39
In the Matter of the Petition for a Writ of G.R. No. 174994
Habeas Corpus of the person of ARMY
MAJOR JASON LAUREANO AQUINO, PA The facts leading to the arrest of Major Aquino, as set forth in the Solicitor Generals brief,[3] show
Present: that on 3 February 2006, Major Aquino, along with several military men, namely, Major Leomar
Jose M. Doctolero, Captain Joey T. Fontiveros, Captain Montano B. Aldomovar,[4] Captain
Isagani Criste, and Captain James Sababa, allegedly met at the resthouse of Captain
MARIA FE S. AQUINO, YNARES-SANTIAGO, J. Aldomovar near Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan to plot a breach of the Camp Defense Plan
Chairperson, of Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo and to take over Camp Aquinaldo, as well as the
Petitioner, QUISUMBING,*** Headquarters of the Philippine Army. On 26 February 2006, in the wake of the groups alleged
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,**** withdrawal of support from the Armed Forces of the Philippines chain of command and the
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, and current administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Major Aquino was ordered
arrested and confined at the Intelligence Service Group of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio,
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ. Taguig, upon the order of Lt. Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon, (Lt. Gen. Esperon) who was then
the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. On the same day, Lt. Gen. Esperon ordered
the Army Inspector General to conduct an investigation to determine: 1) the circumstances
attending Major Aquinos alleged withdrawal of support; 2) the veracity of reports anent the
alleged troop movement[5] of some Philippine Military personnel from their respective stations to
LT. GEN. HERMOGENES C. ESPERON,
Manila to join the protest march at Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue on 24 February 2006 with
AFP,* in his capacity as Commanding
Brigadier General Danilo Lim (Brig. Gen. Lim); and 3) the participation, responsibility and
General, Philippine Army, and the Custodial
culpability of all Philippine Military personnel involved, if any. For this purpose, a panel of
Officer or Commander, Army Detention
investigators[6] was formed. During the investigation, Major Aquino denied the accusations
Center, G2-21D, Camp Capinpin, Tanay,
hurled against him. He intimated, inter alia, that he had no plan nor did he make any
Rizal,**
pronouncement of withdrawing support from the chain of command, and that he pledged to
Respondents.
continue to support the same and the duly constituted authorities.[7]

On 4 March 2006, the panel of investigators submitted its Investigation Report to the
Commanding General of the Philippine Army. In its report, the panel of investigators found that
Promulgated: the troop movement[8] by some military personnel from their respective stations to Manila was
illegal, implicating Major Aquino therein, thus:

August 31, 2007


14.2 Based on the account of MAJ AQUINO, it may be
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x reasonably observed that said Officer and BGEN LIM were closely
coordinating the progress of the latters talks with CSAFP [Chief of Staff of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines] on the night of 23 February
DECISION 2006.Moreover, there are other circumstances which seem to indicate that
the leadership of FSRR [First Scout Ranger Regiment] was preparing some
of its personnel to move should the talks succeed, i.e. movement of the
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: 7SRC & 9SRC personnel to Manila. Notedly, the following attendant
circumstances put to doubt the real intention of FSRR in ordering the
aforementioned troop movement, to wit:

At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
seeking to nullify the Decision[1] dated 31 August 2006, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP. i) There is no indication that CO, 3SRB sought clearance or
No. 95341, which denied petitioner Maria Fe S. Aquinos Petition for the Issuance of a Writ informed CO, 901st Bde or CG, 91 D of said troop movement;
of Habeas Corpus for the person of her husband, Army Major Jason Laureano Aquino (Major
Aquino) of the First Scout Ranger Regiment, Special Operation Command of the Philippine ii) There was no order or call from HPA or SOCOM for the
Army, and the Resolution[2]dated 5 October 2006, of the same court which denied immediate fill up or augmentation of the 10th SRC
reconsideration of its earlier Decision. at Fort Bonifacio;

Page 25 of 39
iii) There is no showing that the troop movement was coordinated, Armed Forces of the Philippines, MAJ AQUINO should likewise be
approved and/or cleared with the AOC, the AFPCC or SOLCOM, charged of (sic) violating AW 96 (CONDUCT UNBECOMING AN
AFP; OFFICER AND GENTLEMAN) and AW 97 (Disorders and Neglects
Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline) under a separate
iv) When CO, 901st Bde called CO, 3SRB to inquire about any specification.
troop movement, the latter answered in the negative and
immediately ordered his men to go back to command post 6.4. In the (sic) light of the new averments revealed in the Supplemental
Affidavit of 1Lt REYES, there is now basis for charging MAJ
v) When the twenty six (26) 7SRC personnel were apprehended, AQUINO, MAJ DOCTOLERO, CPT FONTIVEROS, CPT
they were in civilian attire but brought with them their bandoleer ALDOMOVAR, CPT CRISTE, CPT SABABAN for violation of AW
with magazines and ammunitions which were placed inside their 67 (ATTEMPT TO CREATE A MUTINY). Per said Supplemental
backpack.[9] Affidavit, it was revealed that subj Officers met at the resthouse of
CPT ALDOMOVAR near the so-called tower area in Camp Tecson,
San Miguel, Bulacan, on the evening of 03 Feb 2006, discuss and
plot their plan to breach the Camp Defense Plan of Camp General
The panel of investigators recommended that: 1) all implicated officers therein Emilio Aguinaldo and hatch a plan to take over Camp Aguinaldo and
mentioned be immediately relieved from their respective posts; and 2) appropriate charges be [the] Headquarters [of the] Philippine Army. x x x.[14]
filed before the General Court Martial against Major Aquino, among other military
officers/personnel, for violations of Article 67[10] (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny); and
Article 97[11] (Disorders and Neglects Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline) of the
Articles of War, to wit:

On the basis of JAGOs recommendations, Col. Jose R. Recuenco (Col. Recuenco),


then Army Provost Marshal, signed under oath a charge sheet[15] against Major Aquino,
15.3.1 In addition to the relief of BGEN DANILO D LIM 0-7665 AFP which in charging the latter with violations of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny)[16] and
itself is already a disciplinary action, recommend that subj Officer Article 96[17] (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) of the Articles of War, which
and MAJ JASON LAUREANO Y AQUINO O-10503 (INF) PA be was indorsed to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
charged before the PAGCM for violation of AW 67 (CAUSING OR
EXCITING A MUTINY) and AW 97 (DISORDERS AND
NEGLECTS PREJUDICIAL TO GOOD ORDER AND MILITARY
DISCLIPLINE.)[12] On 12 July 2006, Lt. Gen. Esperon issued an Order[18] to the Commanding Officer,
191st, MP Bn to exercise custodial responsibility of Major Aquino, together with the other
implicated military personnel who withdrew their support from the chain of command in
February 2006, and to place them in confinement at the Philippine Army Detention
Center, Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. The same Order also designated the aforementioned
Commanding Officer to exercise direct supervision and control over the concerned
Further, the panels Investigation Report was referred by Lt. Gen. Esperon to the detainees.[19]
Judge Advocate Generals Office (JAGO) of the Philippine Army for review. On 17 March 2006,
the JAGO found the existence of probable cause against Major Aquino, among other military
officers, for violations of Article 96[13] (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and a Gentleman),
Article 97 (Disorders and Neglects Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline), and On 20 July 2006, the charge sheet against Major Aquino was amended to set forth
Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny) of the Articles of War. more detailed specifications of the charges.[20] It, however, retained the charges against Major
Aquino as stated in the original charge sheeti.e. violation of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or
Create a Mutiny) and Article 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) of the
Articles of War.
The JAGOs recommendation reads:

6.3. For publishing, distributing and discussing the pamphlet entitled The
New Order The Solution to the Filipino Political Problem, which On 20 July 2006, the Judge Advocate General of the AFP General Headquarters of
publication is not sanctioned as an official publication of the Armed the AFP issued Office Order Number 14-06, creating a Pre-trial Investigation Panel[21] for the
Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine Army, and which material case of Major Aquino, et al.
tends to urge or incite other military officers and enlisted men to
collectively or concertedly defy standing and lawful orders of the
Commanding General, Philippine Army as well as the Chief of Staff,

Page 26 of 39
On 21 July 2006, petitioner filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus[22] with the Court of For this Courts consideration, petitioner elevates three issues, to wit:
Appeals, praying that the AFP Chief of Staff and the Commanding General of the Philippine
Army, or whoever are acting in their place and stead, be directed to immediately produce the
body of Major Aquino and explain forthwith why he should not be set at liberty without
delay. The case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 95341. I

In the meantime, the Pre-trial Investigation Panel of the AFP issued a WHETHER OR NOT THE [COURT OF APPEALS] ERRED IN RULING THAT
Subpoena/Notice of Pre-trial Investigation[23] to Major Aquino, summoning him to appear in THE PREFERMENT OF THE CHARGE SHEET AGAINST ARMY MAJOR
person before the panel and to submit his counter-affidavits and affidavits of witnesses.[24] AQUINO IS EQUIVALENT TO FORMALLY CHARGING THE LATTER AS
CONTEMPLATED IN ARTICLE 70 OF THE ARTICLES OF WAR.

After hearing,[25] the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision[26] dated 31 August 2006, denying the
Petition for Habeas Corpus. II

The Court of Appeals held that the remedy of the writ of habeas corpus is futile WHETHER OR NOT THE [COURT OF APPEALS] ERRED IN RULING THAT
because charges had already been preferred[27] against Major Aquino.[28] In tracing the factual THERE IS LEGAL BASIS IN PLACING ARMY MAJOR AQUINO IN
antecedents leading to the preferment of charges against Major Aquino, the Court of Appeals SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN A MAXIMUM SECURITY DETENTION
significantly noted that after the Investigating Panel found probable cause against him for FACILITY.
violation of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny) and Article 96 (Conduct
Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) of the Articles of War, Lt. Gen. Esperon forwarded the
panels recommendation to the JAGO for review, which sustained the same. [29] In view of such
developments, a charge sheet against Major Aquino was signed under oath by Col. Recuenco, III
then Army Provost Marshall. The latter, thereafter, endorsed the charge sheet to the AFP Chief
of Staff for appropriate Action. Then, the Pre-trial Investigation Panel conducted a pre-trial
investigation whereby Major Aquino appeared before the said body.The Court of Appeals said:
WHETHER OR NOT THE [COURT OF APPEALS] ERRED IN RULING
THAT ARMY MAJOR AQUINOS SOLITARY CONFINEMENT IN A
MAXIMUM SECURITY DETENTION FACILITY IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH
Significantly, even if at the time Major AQUINO was arrested THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 70 OF THE ARTICLES OF WAR.[32]
there was yet no formal charge filed against him, however[,] the remedy
of habeas corpus being resorted to by the Petitioner is still unavailing,
considering that, as the records disclosed, charges have
been preferred against him even before the filing by the Petitioner of the
The paramount issue posed for resolution is whether the confinement of Major Aquino is legal.
instant petition. Basic is the rule that once a person detained is duly charged
in court, he may no longer question his detention via a petition for the
issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.[30] Anent the first issue, petitioner assails the legality of Major Aquinos confinement on the ground
that the latter had not been formally charged. It is petitioners theory that charges can only be
deemed formally filed after a thorough and impartial investigation shall have been
made.[33] Thus, petitioner suggests that the word charge as used in Article 70[34] of the Articles of
War means that a person is formally charged only after the conduct of a mandatory pre-trial
investigation. According to petitioner, the charge sheet and the furnishing thereof to any person
subject to military law is the act of preferment, which act is evidently different from the act of
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the 31 August 2006 Decision, but, the filing. Otherwise stated, the charge sheet is not the charge contemplated in Article 70 of the
Court of Appeals denied the same and found no reason to disturb its judgment. [31] Articles of War for the arrest or confinement of any person subject to military law. Thus,
according to petitioner, the filing of a formal charge can only be done after the conclusion of the
pre-trial investigation, when the case is referred to the general court-martial, akin to the conduct
of a preliminary investigation in civilian courts.[35]
Hence, the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari.

Page 27 of 39
We are not persuaded. Art. 70. Arrest or Confinement. Any person subject to military law charged with crime
or with a serious offense under these articles shall be placed in confinement
or in arrest, as circumstances may require; but when charged with a minor
offense only, such person shall not ordinarily be placed in confinement. Any
First, it is established that Major Aquino is governed by military law. Article 2 of the Articles of person placed in arrest under the provisions of this Article shall thereby be
War[36] circumscribes the jurisdiction of military law only over persons subject thereto. Major restricted to his barracks, quarters, or tent, unless such limits shall be
Aquino, G3 of the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) of the Special Operation Command of enlarged by proper authority. Any officer or cadet who breaks his arrest or
the Philippine Army, is subject to military law. Thus: who escapes from confinement, whether before or after trial or sentence
and before he is set at liberty by proper authority, shall be dismissed from
Art. 2. Persons Subject to Military Law. The following persons are subject to the service or suffer such other punishment as a court-martial may direct,
these articles and shall be understood as included in the term any person and any other person subject to military law who escapes from confinement
subject to military law or persons subject to military law, whenever used in or who breaks his arrest, whether before or after trial or sentence and
these articles: before he is set at liberty by proper authority, shall be punished as a court-
martial may direct.

(a) All officers and soldiers in the active service of the Armed Forces Evidently, Article 70 of the Articles of War empowers the commanding officer to place, in
of the Philippines or of the Philippine Constabulary; all members of confinement or in arrest, any person subject to military law charged with a crime or with a
the reserve force, from the dates of their call to active duty and while serious offense under the Articles of War. Article 70 is the authority for enabling the proper
on such active duty; all trainees undergoing military instructions; and all military personnel to put an instant end to criminal or unmilitary conduct, and to impose such
restraint as may be necessary upon the person of a military offender, with a view of his trial by
other persons lawfully called, drafted, or ordered into, or to duty or for
training in, the said service, from the dates they are required by the terms of court-martial.[38]
the call, draft, or order to obey the same;

We juxtapose Article 70 with Article 71 of the Articles of War. Under military law, the conduct of
(b) Cadets, flying cadets, and probationary second lieutenants; investigations is governed by Article 71 of the Articles of War,[39] to wit:

(c) All retainers to the camp and all persons accompanying or serving with
the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the field in time of war or when
martial law is declared though not otherwise subject to these articles; Art. 71. Charges; Action Upon. Charges and specifications must be
signed by a person subject to military law, and under oath either that
he has personal knowledge of, or has investigated, the matters set
forth therein and that the same are true in fact, to the best of his
knowledge and belief.
(d) All persons under sentence adjudged by courts-martial.

(As amended by Republic Acts 242 and 516).


No charge will be referred to a general court-martial for trial until after
a thorough and impartial investigation thereof shall have been
made. This investigation will include inquiries as to the truth of the matter
As a regular officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Major Aquino falls squarely under set forth in said charges, form of charges, and what disposition of the case
Article 2 of the Articles of War. Consequently, he is subject to the applicable provisions of the should be made in the interest of justice and discipline. At such
Articles of War and Executive Order No. 178;[37] or the Manual for Courts-Martial, Philippine investigation[,] full opportunity shall be given to the accused to cross-
Army. examine witnesses against him if they are available and to present anything
he may desire in his own behalf, either in defense or mitigation, and the
investigating officer shall examine available witnesses requested by the
accused. If the charges are forwarded after such investigation, they shall be
Second, a scrutiny of the confinement of Major Aquino proves that the same is valid. accompanied by a statement of the substance of the testimony taken on
both sides.

Article 70 of the Articles of War governs the cases of arrest or confinement, viz.:

Page 28 of 39
Before directing the trial of any charge by general court-martial[,] the
appointing authority will refer it to his Staff Judge Advocate for consideration
and advice. We find that there was compliance with the requirements of the Articles of War. As shown by the
evidence on record, the amended charge sheets[44] against Major Aquino, containing the
charges and the specifications for violations of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny)
and Article 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) of the Articles of War, were
When any person subject to military law is placed in arrest or confinement immediate personally signed under oath by Capt. Armando P. Paredes, a person subject to military
steps will be taken to try the person accused or to dismiss the charge and law. The amended charge sheets were sworn to by the accuser, Capt. Armando P. Paredes in
release him. Any officer who is responsible for unnecessary delay in the manner provided under Article 71.[45] As it is, Major Aquino stands charged in court martial
investigating or carrying the case to a final conclusion shall be punished as proceedings for alleged violations of the Articles of War.
a court-martial may direct. When a person is held for a trial by general court-
martial, the commanding officer, within eight days after the accused is
arrested or confined, if practicable, forward the charges to the officer
exercising general court-martial jurisdiction and furnish the accused a copy In Kapunan, Jr. v. De Villa,[46] this Court denied the writ of habeas corpus prayed for, and upheld
of such charges. If the same be not practicable, he will report to superior the legality of the confinement even when there was merely a substantial compliance with the
authority the reasons for delay. The trial judge advocate will cause to be procedural requisites laid down in Article 71. In said case, the Court held that the fact that the
served upon the accused a copy of the charges upon which trial is to charge sheets were not certified in the manner provided by the pertinent law, i.e., that the officer
be had, and a failure so to serve such charges will be ground for a administering the oath has personally examined the affiant and is satisfied that the latter
continuance unless the trial be had on the charges furnished the voluntarily executed and understood his affidavit, does not invalidate said charge sheets.[47] With
accused as hereinbefore provided. In time of peace[,] no person shall, more reason do we herein uphold the validity of the amended charge sheets against Major
against his objection, be brought to trial before a general court-martial within Aquino considering that they were executed in accordance with the law, and without breach of
a period of five days subsequent to the service of charges upon him. (As Article 71 of the Articles of War. The preferment of charges under Article 71 is a ground for the
amended by RA 242). (Emphasis supplied.) confinement or arrest[48] of Major Aquino pursuant to Article 70[49] of the Articles of War.

The formal written accusation in court-martial practice consists of two parts, the technical charge It bears stressing that subsequent to the preferment of charges under Article 70, the Judge
and the specification.[40] The charge, where the offense alleged is a violation of the articles, Advocate General of the General Headquarters of the AFP, issued Office Order Number 14-06,
merely indicates the article the accused is alleged to have violated while the specifications sets creating a Pre-trial Investigation Panel to investigate the case of Major Aquino and his co-
forth the specific facts and circumstances relied upon as constituting the violation.[41] Each accused. In addition, the Office of the Judge Advocate General issued a subpoena and a notice
specification, together with the charge under which it is placed, constitutes a separate of pre-trial investigation to Major Aquino summoning him to appear in person before the Pre-trial
accusation.[42] The term charges or charges and specifications is applied to the formal written Investigation Panel. Furthermore, Major Aquino was given the opportunity to submit counter-
accusation or accusations against an accused.[43] affidavits and affidavits of his witnesses. More significantly, Major Aquino was present during the
scheduled investigation. His arrest and confinement cannot be said to be without due process of
law.

The first part of Article 71 of the Articles of War categorically provides that charges and
specifications must be signed by a person subject to military law, who under oath states that he
either has personal knowledge of, or has investigated, the matters set forth therein and that the Perforce, we do not find that the Court of Appeals erred in denying petitioners Petition
same are true in fact, to the best of his knowledge and belief. Further, the second paragraph of for Habeas Corpus for the person of Major Aquino. A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases
Article 71 explicitly provides that no charge will be referred to a general court-martial for trial until of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the
after a thorough and impartial investigation thereof shall have been made. A charge is made rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled to it.[50] As a general rule, the
followed by a thorough and impartial investigation and if the result of the investigation so writ of habeas corpus will not issue where the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in
warrants, the charge is referred to the general court martial. Contrary to petitioners contention, the custody of an officer under a process issued by the court which has jurisdiction to do
Article 71 makes no qualification that there can be a charge against a person subject to military so.[51] Its essential object and purpose is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint and to
law only if a pre-trial has been completed and the case has been referred to a court relieve a person from it if such restraint is illegal. [52] In the case at bar, Major Aquino stands
martial. What Article 71 instructs is that no charges, i.e.charges and specifications signed by a charged in court martial proceedings for alleged violations of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or
person subject to military law under oath, may be referred to a general court-martial for trial until Create Mutiny) and Article 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) of the Articles of
after a thorough and impartial investigation thereof shall have been made. Article 71 does not War. The legality of Major Aquinos restraint having been settled, the privilege of the writ is
make the thorough and impartial investigation a prerequisite before charges may be filed against unavailing.
a person subject to military law. Clearly, the thorough and impartial investigation is a prerequisite
not to making a charge against a person subject to military law, but to the referral of the charge
to the general court martial. It is the charge which comes prior to the investigation, and which
sets into motion the investigation.

Page 29 of 39
We proceed to discuss jointly the second and third issues raised by the petitioner process of law, detention inevitably interferes with a detainees desire to live
before this Court. comfortably. The fact that the restrictions inherent in detention intrude into
the detainees desire to live comfortably does not convert those restrictions
into punishment. It is when the restrictions are arbitrary and purposeless
that courts will infer intent to punish. Courts will also infer intent to punish
Petitioner contends that in his confinement, Major Aquino was not restricted to his even if the restriction seems to be related rationally to the alternative
barracks, quarters or tent as mandated by Article 70 of the Articles of War; rather, he was placed purpose if the restriction appears excessive in relation to that purpose. Jail
in solitary confinement in a maximum security detention cell.When petitioner proceeded to the officials are thus not required to use the least restrictive security
detention cell, she alleged that she was restricted from visiting her husband. [53] Petitioner asserts measure. They must only refrain from implementing a restriction that
that these are extreme punishments akin to treating Major Aquino as a convicted criminal.[54] appears excessive to the purpose it serves.[62] (Emphasis supplied.)

We are not impressed.

Furthermore, the following guidelines were given by the Court to determine if an action
constitutes punishment, to wit: (1) that action causes the inmate to suffer some harm or
At this juncture, it must be stressed that respondents deny the solitary confinement of disability, and (2) the purpose of the action is to punish the inmate. [63] It is also an additional
Major Aquino.[55] According to respondents, Major Aquino is confined in a U-shaped building requisite that the harm or disability be significantly greater than, or be independent of, the
without any division/partition.[56] The place is described as a long hall with 50 double-deck inherent discomforts of confinement.[64] We do not see the attendance of the foregoing factors in
beds.[57] Respondents also asseverate that Major Aquino is confined along with 16 other military the instant case. There are no specific facts that are brought to the attention of this Court to
personnel who were similarly charged in the 23-24 February 2006 incident.[58] indicate the punitive character of the confinement. The confinement is not herein imposed as a
punishment. We do not see that the confinement of Major Aquino causes him to suffer some
harm or disability. There is no punitive hardship that exists in the case at bar. In fact, petitioner
does not even allege a single act which would show such harm or such disability as to prove that
While it is true that the extraordinary writ of habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy the same is significantly greater than, or independent of, the inherent discomforts of
confinement.
to inquire into questions of violations of constitutional right, [59] this Court, however, does not find
the conditions of Major Aquinos confinement to be a proper subject of inquiry in the instant
Petition.
To be sure, the first part of Article 70 of the Articles of War grants discretion to military
authorities over the imposition of arrest or confinement of persons subject to military law charged
with crime or with serious offense, viz:
This Court has declared that habeas corpus is not the proper mode to question
conditions of confinement.

Art. 70. Arrest or Confinement. Any person subject to military


[60] law charged with crime or with a serious offense under these Articles
In Alejano v. Cabuay, lawyers of soldiers and pre-trial detainees accused of coup
shall be placed in confinement or in arrest, as circumstances may
detat before the Regional Trial Court of Makati came to this Court bewailing the regulations
require, but when charged with a minor offense only, such person shall not
adopted by the Chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP)
who had custody over their clients. Therein petitioners claimed that their constitutional rights ordinarily be placed in confinement. Any person placed in arrest under the
were violated because they were prevented from seeing the detaineestheir clientsat any time of provisions of this Article shall thereby be restricted to his barracks, quarters,
or tent, unless such limits shall be enlarged by proper authority. Any officer
the day or night. They also alleged that the detainees constitutional right to privacy of
communication were violated because ISAFP officials opened and read the personal letters of or cadet who breaks his arrest or who escapes from confinement, whether
some of the detainees. They also challenged, as unusual and excessive punishment, the before or after trial or sentence and before he is set at liberty by proper
authority, shall be dismissed from the service or suffer such other
presence of the bars separating the detainees from their visitors and the boarding of the iron
grills in their cells with plywood. In denying the petition, this Court declared that the fact that the punishment as a court-martial may direct, and any other person subject to
restrictions inherent in detention intrude into the detainees desire to live comfortably does not military law who escapes from confinement or who breaks his arrest,
whether before or after trial or sentence and before he is set at liberty by
convert those restrictions into punishment.[61] Said the Court in Alejano:
proper authority, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct. (Emphasis
supplied.)

Bell v. Wolfish [441 U.S. 520 (1979)] pointed out that while a detainee may
not be punished prior to an adjudication of guilt in accordance with due

Page 30 of 39
Major Aquino is charged with violations of Article 67, for attempting to begin or create
mutiny, and Article 97, for Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman. According to Article
67, any person subject to military law who attempts to create or who begins, excites, causes or The ruling in this case, however, does not foreclose the right of
joins in any mutiny shall suffer death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct. It detainees and convicted prisoners from petitioning the courts for the redress
cannot be gainsaid that in determining the circumstances of arrest and confinement in Article 70 of grievances. Regulations and conditions in detention and prison facilities
of persons charged with crime or with serious offense, such circumstances as the gravity of the that violate the Constitutional rights of the detainees and prisoners will be
offense charged may be considered. reviewed by the courts on a case-by-case basis. The courts could afford
injunctive relief or damages to the detainees and prisoners subjected to
arbitrary and inhumane conditions. However, habeas corpus is not the
proper mode to question conditions of confinement. The writ
Anent petitioners allegation that she was restricted from visiting Major Aquino, the of habeas corpus will only lie if what is challenged is the fact or
Court had in the past underscored the hands-off doctrinea deference given by courts to military duration of confinement.[68] (Emphasis supplied.)
custodians over prison matters, especially on blanket restrictions on contact visit.

In Alejano, we gave reasons for the allowance of such restrictions, thus:


In sum, we find the present Petition to be devoid of merit.

Block v. Rutherford [468 U.S. 576 (1984)], which reiterated Bell v.


Wolfish, upheld the blanket restriction on contact visits as this practice was
reasonably related to maintaining security. The safety of innocent
individuals will be jeopardized if they are exposed to detainees who while WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. No costs.
not yet convicted are awaiting trial for serious, violent offenses and may
have prior criminal conviction. Contact visits make it possible for the
detainees to hold visitors and jail staff hostage to effect escapes. Contact
visits also leave the jail vulnerable to visitors smuggling in weapons, drugs, SO ORDERED.
and other contraband. The restriction on contact visit was imposed even on
low-risk detainees as they could also potentially be enlisted to help obtain
contraband and weapons. The security consideration in the imposition of
blanket restriction on contact visits was ruled to outweigh the sentiments of
the detainees.

NURHIDA JUHURI AMPATUAN, G.R. No. 182497


Block v. Rutherford held that the prohibition of contact visits bore Petitioner,
a rational connection to the legitimate goal of internal security. This case
reaffirmed the hands-off doctrine enunciated in Bell v. Wolfish, a form
of judicial self-restraint, based on the premise that courts should Present:
decline jurisdiction over prison matters in deference to administrative - versus -
expertise.[65] CORONA, C.J.,
Chairperson,
VELASCO, JR.,
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
JUDGE VIRGILIO V. MACARAIG, DEL CASTILLO, and
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, MANILA, PEREZ, JJ.
As a rule, therefore, the writ of habeas corpus does not extend into questions of BRANCH 37, DIRECTOR GENERAL
conditions of confinement; but only to the fact and duration of confinement. The high prerogative AVELINO RAZON, JR., DIRECTOR
writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve GEARY BARIAS, PSSUPT. CO YEE M.
persons from unlawful restraint.[66] Its object is to inquire into the legality of ones detention, and if CO, JR. and POLICE CHIEF INSPECTOR
found illegal, to order the release of the detainee. [67] It is not a means for the redress of AGAPITO QUIMSON,
grievances or to seek injunctive relief or damages. We reiterate the pronouncement of this Court Respondents.
in Alejano:

Page 31 of 39
Promulgated: Ampatuan with Grave Misconduct (Murder) and recommending that said PO1 Ampatuan be
subjected to summary hearing.
June 29, 2010
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x On even date, a charge sheet for Grave Misconduct was executed against PO1
Ampatuan, the accusatory portion of which reads:

DECISION CHARGE SHEET

THE UNDERSIGNED NOMINAL COMPLAINANT hereby charges


PEREZ, J.: above-named respondent of the administrative offense of Grave Misconduct
(murder) pursuant to Section 52 of R.A. 8551[6] in relation to NAPOLCOM
Memorandum Circular 93-024, committed as follows:
Before this Court is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65[1] of the Rules of Court
assailing the Order dated 25 April 2008 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 37, That on or about 7:08 in the evening of November 10, 2007, in
in Special Proceeding No. 08-119132 which denied the petition for Habeas Corpus filed by M.H. Del Pilar and Pedro Gil St., Ermita, Manila, above-named respondent
herein Petitioner Nurhida Juhuri Ampatuan in behalf of her husband Police Officer 1 Basser B. while being an active member of the PNP and within the jurisdiction of this
Ampatuan[2] (PO1 Ampatuan). office, armed with a cal .45 pistol, with intent to kill, did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, shot Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Jr.,
Petitioner alleged in her petition that her husband PO1 Ampatuan was assigned at COMELEC official on the different parts of his body, thereby inflicting upon
Sultan Kudarat Municipal Police Station. On 14 April 2008, he was asked by his Chief of Police the latter mortal gunshot wounds which directly cause (sic) his death.
to report to the Provincial Director of Shariff Kabunsuan, Superintendent Esmael Pua Ali (Supt.
Ali). The latter brought PO1 Ampatuan to Superintendent Piang Adam, Provincial Director of the Acts contrary to the existing PNP Laws rules and Regulations.[7]
Philippine National Police (PNP) Maguindanao. PO1 Ampatuan was directed to stay at the
Police Provincial Office of Maguindanao without being informed of the cause of his restraint. The
next day, 15 April 2008, PO1 Ampatuan was brought to the General Santos City Airport and was Also, through a Memorandum dated 18 April 2008, Police Director General Avelino I.
made to board a Philippine Airlines plane bound for Manila. Upon landing at Razon, Jr. directed the Regional Director of the National Capital Regional Police Office
the Manila Domestic Airport, PO1 Ampatuan was turned over to policemen of Manila and (NCRPO) to place PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive custody, thus:
brought to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim by Police Director Geary Barias and General Roberto
Rosales. A press briefing was then conducted where it was announced that PO1 Ampatuan was 1. Reference: Memo from that Office dated April 15,
arrested for the killing of two Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Officials. He was then 2008 re Arrest of PO1 Busser Ampatuan, suspect in the killing
detained at the Police Jail in United Nations Avenue, Manila. Thereafter, PO1 Ampatuan was of Atty. Alioden Dalaig and Atty. Wynee Asdala, both
brought to inquest Prosecutor Renato Gonzaga of the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila COMELEC Legal Officers.
due to the alleged murder of Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, head of the Law Department of the
COMELEC. On 20 April 2008, PO1 Ampatuan was turned-over to the Regional Headquarters 2. This pertains to the power of the Chief, PNP embodied
Support Group in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.[3] in Section 52 of RA 8551, to place police personnel under
restrictive custody during the pendency of a grave
Petitioner continues that on 21 April 2008, Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson Salva administrative case filed against him or even after the filing of
ordered the release for further investigation of PO1 Ampatuan.[4] The Order was approved by the a criminal complaint, grave in nature, against such police
City Prosecutor of Manila. But Police Senior Superintendent Co Yee Co, Jr., and Police Chief personnel.
Inspector Agapito Quimson refused to release PO1 Ampatuan.
3. In this connection, you are hereby directed to place PO1
This prompted Petitioner to file the petition for writ of habeas corpus in the RTC of Busser Ampatuan, suspect in the killing of Atty. Alioden
Manila, Branch 37.[5] Dalaig and Atty. Wynee Asdala, both COMELEC Legal
Officers, under your restrictive custody.
Private respondents had another version of the antecedent facts. They narrated that at
around 7:08 oclock in the evening of 10 November 2007, a sixty-four-year-old man, later 4. For strict compliance.[8]
identified as Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head of the COMELEC Legal Department, was killed at the
corner of M. H. Del Pilar and Pedro Gil Streets, Ermita, Manila. Investigation conducted by the
Manila Police District (MPD) Homicide Section yielded the identity of the male perpetrator as On 19 April 2008, through a Memorandum Request dated 18 April 2008, respondent
PO1 Ampatuan. Consequently, PO1 Ampatuan was commanded to the MPD District Director for Police Director Geary L. Barias requested for the creation of the Summary Hearing Board to
proper disposition. Likewise, inquest proceedings were conducted by the Manila Prosecutors hear the case of PO1 Ampatuan.[9]
Office.
On 20 April 2008, Special Order No. 921 was issued by Police Director Edgardo E.
On 18 April 2008, Police Senior Superintendent Atty. Clarence V. Guinto, rendered his Acua, placing PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive custody of the Regional Director, NCRPO,
Pre-Charge Evaluation Report against PO1 Ampatuan, finding probable cause to charge PO1 effective 19 April 2008. Said Special Order No. 921, reads:

Page 32 of 39
Granting arguendo that the administrative case was ante-dated,
Restrictive Custody the Court cannot simply ignore the filing of an administrative case filed
against PO1 Ampatuan. It cannot be denied that the PNP has its own
PO1 Basser B. Ampatuan 128677, is placed under restrictive administrative disciplinary mechanism and as clearly pointed out by the
custody of the Regional Director, NCRPO effective April 19, 2008. respondents, the Chief PNP is authorized to place PO1 Ampatuan under
(Reference: Memorandum from CPNP dated 18 April 2008). restrictive custody pursuant to Section 52, Par. 4 of R.A. 8551.

BY COMMAND OF POLICE DIRECTOR GENERAL RAZON:[10] The filing of the administrative case against PO1 Ampatuan is a
process done by the PNP and this Court has no authority to order the
release of the subject police officer.
Meanwhile, on 21 April 2008, the City Prosecutor of Manila recommended that the Lastly, anent the contention of the petitioner that the letter
case against PO1 Ampatuan be set for further investigation and that the latter be released from resignation of PO1 Ampatuan has rendered the administrative case moot
custody unless he is being held for other charges/legal grounds.[11] and academic, the same could not be accepted by this Court. It must be
stressed that the resignation has not been acted (sic) by the appropriate
Armed with the 21 April 2008 recommendation of the Manila Citys Prosecution Office, police officials of the PNP, and that the administrative case was filed while
petitioner, who is the wife of PO1 Ampatuan, filed a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas PO1 Ampatuan is still in the active status of the PNP.
Corpus before the RTC of Manila on 22 April 2008. The petition was docketed as Special
Proceeding No. 08-119132 and was raffled to Branch 37. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for habeas
On 24 April 2008, finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, corpus is hereby DISMISSED.[13]
respondent Judge Virgilio V. Macaraig ordered the issuance of a writ of habeas
corpus commanding therein respondents to produce the body of PO1 Ampatuan and directing
said respondents to show cause why they are withholding or restraining the liberty of PO1 Distressed, petitioner is now before this Court via a Petition for Certiorari under Rule
Ampatuan.[12] 65 of the Rules of Court to question the validity of the RTC Order dated 25 April 2008. The
issues are:
On 25 April 2008, the RTC resolved the Petition in its Order which reads:

Essentially, counsels for petitioner insists that PO1 Basser I. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED
Ampatuan is being illegally detained by the respondents despite the order of ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILED TO CONSIDER THAT THE
release of Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson Salva dated April 21, ARREST AND DETENTION OF PO1 BASSER B. AMPATUAN
2008. They further claim that as of April 23, 2008, no administrative case WAS MADE WITHOUT ANY WARRANT AND THEREFORE,
was filed against PO1 Ampatuan. ILLEGAL;

Respondents, while admitting that to date no criminal case was II. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED
filed against PO1 Ampatuan, assert that the latter is under restrictive ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT CONCEDED THE AUTHORITY OF
custody since he is facing an administrative case for grave RESPONDENT AVELINO RAZON, JR. UNDER SEC. 52, PAR. 4,
misconduct. They submitted to this Court the Pre-charge Evaluation Report R.A. 8551 TO PLACE AMPATUAN UNDER RESTRICTIVE
and Charge Sheet. Further, in support of their position, respondents cited CUSTODY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS;
the case of SPO2 Manalo, et al. v. Hon. Calderon, G.R. No. 178920
claiming that habeas corpus will not lie for a PNP personnel under restrictive III. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED
custody. They claim that this is authorized under Section 52, Par. 4 of R.A. ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT SHIRKED FROM ITS JUDICIAL
8551 authorizing the Chief of PNP to place the PNP personnel under DUTY TO ORDER THE RELEASE OF PO1 AMPATUAN FROM
restrictive custody during the pendency of administrative case for grave THE CUSTODY OF RESPONDENTS MAMANG PULIS.[14]
misconduct.
Essentially, a writ of habeas corpus applies to all cases of illegal confinement or
Petitioner countered that the administrative case filed against detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty.[15]
PO1 Ampatuan was ante-dated to make it appear that there was such a
case filed before April 23, 2008. Rule 102 of the 1997 Rules of Court sets forth the procedure to be followed in the
issuance of the writ. The Rule provides:
The function of habeas corpus is to determine the legality of ones
detention, meaning, if there is sufficient cause for deprivation or RULE 102
confinement and if there is none to discharge him at once. For habeas
corpus to issue, the restraint of liberty must be in the nature of illegal and HABEAS CORPUS
involuntary deprivation of freedom which must be actual and effective, not
nominal or moral. SECTION 1. To what habeas corpus extends. Except as
otherwise expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend

Page 33 of 39
to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such
deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient.[20]
withheld from the person entitled thereto.
In passing upon a petition for habeas corpus, a court or judge must first inquire into
SEC 2. Who may grant the writ. The writ of habeas corpus may whether the petitioner is being restrained of his liberty. If he is not, the writ will be
be granted by the Supreme Court, or any member thereof, on any day and refused. Inquiry into the cause of detention will proceed only where such restraint exists. If the
at any time, or by the Court of Appeals or any member thereof in the alleged cause is thereafter found to be unlawful, then the writ should be granted and the
instances authorized by law, and if so granted it shall be enforceable petitioner discharged. Needless to state, if otherwise, again the writ will be refused.[21]
anywhere in the Philippines, and may be made returnable before the court
or any member thereof, or before a Court of First Instance, or any judge While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it will not issue as a matter of course or as a
thereof for hearing and decision on the merits. It may also be granted by a mere perfunctory operation on the filing of the petition. Judicial discretion is called for in its
Court of First Instance, or a judge thereof, on any day and at any time, and issuance and it must be clear to the judge to whom the petition is presented that, prima facie, the
returnable before himself, enforceable only within his judicial district. petitioner is entitled to the writ. It is only if the court is satisfied that a person is being unlawfully
restrained of his liberty will the petition for habeas corpus be granted. If the respondents are not
xxxx detaining or restraining the applicant or the person in whose behalf the petition is filed, the
petition should be dismissed.[22]
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. If it
appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the Petitioner contends that when PO1 Ampatuan was placed under the custody of
custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of respondents on 20 April 2008, there was yet no administrative case filed against him. When the
a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had release order of Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson Salva was served upon respondents on 21
jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, April 2008, there was still no administrative case filed against PO1 Ampatuan. She also argues
the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is that the arrest on 14 April 2008 of PO1 Ampatuan in Shariff Kabunsuan was illegal because
allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or there was no warrant of arrest issued by any judicial authority against him.
defect in the process, judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be
held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an On the other hand, respondents, in their Comment[23] filed by the Office of the Solicitor
offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under General, argue that the trial court correctly denied the subject petition. Respondents maintain
lawful judgment. that while the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila had recommended that PO1 Ampatuan be
released from custody, said recommendation was made only insofar as the criminal action for
murder that was filed with the prosecution office is concerned and is without prejudice to other
The objective of the writ is to determine whether the confinement or detention is valid legal grounds for which he may be held under custody. In the instant case, PO1 Ampatuan is
or lawful. If it is, the writ cannot be issued. What is to be inquired into is the legality of a person's also facing administrative charges for Grave Misconduct. They cited the case of Manalo v.
detention as of, at the earliest, the filing of the application for the writ of habeas corpus, for even Calderon,[24] where this Court held that a petition for habeas corpus will be given due course only
if the detention is at its inception illegal, it may, by reason of some supervening events, such as if it shows that petitioner is being detained or restrained of his liberty unlawfully, but a restrictive
the instances mentioned in Section 4 of Rule 102, be no longer illegal at the time of the filing of custody and monitoring of movements or whereabouts of police officers under investigation by
the application.[16] their superiors is not a form of illegal detention or restraint of liberty.[25]

Plainly stated, the writ obtains immediate relief for those who have been illegally The Solicitor General is correct.
confined or imprisoned without sufficient cause. The writ, however, should not be issued when
the custody over the person is by virtue of a judicial process or a valid judgment.[17] In this case, PO1 Ampatuan has been placed under Restrictive Custody. Republic Act
No. 6975 (also known as the Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990), as
The most basic criterion for the issuance of the writ, therefore, is that the individual amended by Republic Act No. 8551 (also known as the Philippine National Police Reform and
seeking such relief is illegally deprived of his freedom of movement or placed under some form Reorganization Act of 1998), clearly provides that members of the police force are subject to the
of illegal restraint. If an individuals liberty is restrained via some legal process, the writ of habeas administrative disciplinary machinery of the PNP. Section 41(b) of the said law enumerates the
corpus is unavailing.[18] Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, disciplinary actions, including restrictive custody that may be imposed by duly designated
the restraint of liberty must be in the nature of an illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom of supervisors and equivalent officers of the PNP as a matter of internal discipline. The pertinent
action.[19] provision of Republic Act No. 8551 reads:

In general, the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to determine whether or not a
particular person is legally held. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas
corpus, in fact, is an actual and effective, and not merely nominal or moral, illegal restraint of
liberty. The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to Sec. 52 x x x.
relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal
freedom. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of xxxx
liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner

Page 34 of 39
4. The Chief of the PNP shall have the power to impose the disciplinary
punishment of dismissal from the service; suspension or forfeiture of salary; WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of
or any combination thereof for a period not exceeding one hundred eighty merit.
(180) days. Provided, further, That the Chief of the PNP shall have the
authority to place police personnel under restrictive custody during Costs against petitioner.
the pendency of a grave administrative case filed against him or even
after the filing of a criminal complaint, grave in nature, against such
police personnel. [Emphasis ours]. SO ORDERED.

Given that PO1 Ampatuan has been placed under restrictive custody, such constitutes
a valid argument for his continued detention. This Court has held that a restrictive custody and
monitoring of movements or whereabouts of police officers under investigation by their superiors
is not a form of illegal detention or restraint of liberty.[26] Xxxx

Restrictive custody is, at best, nominal restraint which is beyond the ambit
of habeas corpus. It is neither actual nor effective restraint that would call for the grant of the Manila
remedy prayed for. It is a permissible precautionary measure to assure the PNP authorities that
the police officers concerned are always accounted for.[27] EN BANC

Since the basis of PO1 Ampatuans restrictive custody is the administrative case filed
against him, his remedy is within such administrative process. G.R. No. L-2349 October 22, 1948

We likewise note that PO1 Ampatuan has been under restrictive custody since 19 FRED M. HARDEN, petitioner,
April 2008. To date, the administrative case against him should have already been resolved and vs.
the issue of his restrictive custody should have been rendered moot and academic, in THE DIRECTOR OF PRISONS, respondent.
accordance with Section 55 of Republic Act No. 8551, which provides:

SEC. 55. Section 47 of Republic Act No. 6975 is hereby amended to read Vicente J. Francisco for petitioner.
as follows: First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Felix V. Makasiar for
respondent.
Sec. 47. Preventive Suspension Pending Criminal Case. Upon Claro M. Recto for the intervenor.
the filing of a complaint or information sufficient in form and substance
against a member of the PNP for grave felonies where the penalty imposed
by law is six (6) years and one (1) day or more, the court shall immediately
suspend the accused from office for a period not exceeding ninety (90) days
from arraignment: Provided, however, That if it can be shown by evidence
that the accused is harassing the complainant and/or witnesses, the court TUASON, J.:
may order the preventive suspension of the accused PNP member even if
the charge is punishable by a penalty lower than six (6) years and one (1) The petitioner, Fred M. Harden, is being confined in prison for contempt of court by virtue of an
day: Provided, further, That the preventive suspension shall not be more order of the following tenor:
than ninety (90) days except if the delay in the disposition of the case is due
to the fault, negligence or petitions of the respondent: Provided, finally, That
such preventive suspension may be sooner lifted by the court in the It appearing that the defendant Fred M. Harden has not up to this date complied with
exigency of the service upon recommendation of the Chief, PNP. Such the orders of this court of October 7, 1947 and March 27, 1948;
case shall be subject to continuous trial and shall be terminated within
ninety (90) days from arraignment of the accused. (Emphasis supplied.) As prayed for, the court orders the arrest of the defendant Fred M. Harden as well as
his confinement at the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa, Rizal, until he complies with
the aforementioned orders.
Having conceded that there is no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial
court, we have to dismiss the petition.
The proceedings for contempt arose in a civil case between Mrs. Harden as plaintiff and the
In sum, petitioner is unable to discharge the burden of showing that she is entitled to petitioner and another person as defendants, commenced on July 12, 1941, and involving the
the issuance of the writ prayed for in behalf of her husband, PO1 Ampatuan. The petition fails to administration of a conjugal partnership, payment of alimony, and accounting. In that case, a
show on its face that the latter is unlawfully deprived of his liberty guaranteed and enshrined in receiver was appointed and a preliminary injunction was issued restraining Fred M. Harden and
the Constitution. his codefendant, Jose Salumbides, from transferring or alienating, except for a valuable

Page 35 of 39
consideration and with the consent of the court first had and obtained, moneys, shares of stock, No. 62. On June 7, 1947, the court "authorized" Harden "to register not later than June 30, 1947
and other properties and assets, real or personal, belonging to the aforesaid partnership, and the stock certificates in his possession, notifying the court afterwards of such action.
which might be found in the names of said defendants or either of them.
On July 28, 1947, Mrs. Harden complained that her husband failed to comply with the above
On various dates in 1946, Fred M. Harden transferred to the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking order and prayed that he be ordered to show cause why he should not be declared in contempt.
Corporation and the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China, both in Hongkong, over On August 1, 1947, Harden filed a perfunctory compliance, and in order dated August 2, 1947,
P1,000,000 in drafts or cash; to Virginia Recreation Center, Long Beach, California, P20,196.80, he was required to "make a detailed report of the stock certificates which have been duly
and to an unknown person, P50,000. registered in accordance with Republic Act No. 62." In his "compliance" dated August 7, 1947,
Harden stated that he had been granted an extension until December 31, 1947, within which to
register the Balatoc Mining Co. shares under Republic Act No. 62.
On September 9, 1947, Mrs. Harden moved the court to order Harden to return all these
amounts and to redeposit them with the Manila branch of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia
& China. On October 7, 1947, Judge Peña granted the motion in an order worded as follows: In a motion dated January 7, 1948, the receiver informed the court that, notwithstanding the
expiration on December 31, 1947, of Harden's extended time to comply with Republic Act No.
62, the records of the Balatoc Mining Co. showed that the certificate had not been registered as
Wherefore, finding the motion of the plaintiff of September 9, 1947, to be well founded,
of January 7, 1948; and upon his request, an order dated January 17, 1948, was issued giving
for the purpose of preserving the status quo and in order that the amounts above
Harden "an extension until March 31, 1948 within which to comply with the Order dated June 7,
referred to may stand ready to answer for any legitimate claims of the Government in
1947."
the form of taxes, the aforementioned motion is hereby ordered to return, within a
period of 15 days from the receipt of a copy hereof, the amount of P1,000,608.66 to
the Philippines and to redeposit the same with the accounts of the Plaza Lunch at the In a motion dated March 15, 1948, Mrs. Harden prayed for the reasons therein stated, that
Manila Branch of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, with the defendant Harden "be ordered to deliver the certificates covering the 368,553 Balatoc Mining
understanding that upon failure to comply with this order he will be declared in Co. shares either to the Clerk of this Court or to the Receiver herein for safekeeping,
contempt of court. immediately after registering them pursuant to Republic Act No. 62." On March 24, 1948,
Harden filed a motion stating that the registration of shares of stock under Republic Act No. 62
had been extended until June 30, 1948, and prayed that he "be allowed to register the stock
After a petition for certiorari was instituted by Harden in the Supreme Court and decided, and
certificates in question within such period as by law or regulations is or may be provided."
after various motions were filed and heard, Judge Peña, on March 27, 1948, entered an order,
which was a modification of that of October 7, 1947, directing Harden "to deposit with the Manila
Branch of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China within five days from receipt of a copy It was at this stage of the case that the present petitioner was committed to jail.
of this order the money and drafts that he has actually in Hongkong, without prejudice to passing
upon later on the different amounts that the defendant has spent according to his attorney, after
Broadly speaking, the grounds for relief by habeas corpus are only (1) deprivation of any
he has submitted to the court an itemized account of those expenses.
fundamental or constitutional rights, (2) lack of jurisdiction of the court to impose the sentence,
or (3) excessive penalty. (Santiago vs. Director of Prisons, 1 L-1083, Jan. 30, 1947, 44 Off. Gaz.,
In the same order there was this decree: 1231.)

With respect to the plaintiff's motion filed on March 16, 1948 praying that Fred M. The fact that the property is in a foreign country is said to deprive the court of jurisdiction, the
Harden be ordered to deliver the certificate covering the 368,553 Balatoc Mining remedy in such case being, it is contended, ancillary receivership. We can not agree with this
Company shares either to the Clerk of this Court or to the receiver in this case for view.
safekeeping after his compliance with the order of January 17, 1948, the Court, after
considering the different pleadings filed, denies defendant's motion for extension of
While a court can not give its receiver authority to act in another state without the assistance of
time to register the said certificate of stock, thereby maintaining its order of January
the courts thereof (53 C. J., 390-391), yet it may act directly upon the parties before it with
17, 1948. The said defendant is further ordered, after the registration of the said
respect to property beyond the territorial limits of its jurisdiction, and hold them in contempt if
certificate, to deposit the same with the Manila Branch of the Chartered Bank of India,
they resist the court's orders with reference to its custody or disposition (Id. 118)
Australia and China.

Whether the property was removed before or after the appointment of the receiver is likewise
The last part of the order was the culmination of another series of motions with their
immaterial.
corresponding hearings. The facts taken from the pleading were in brief as follows:

In Sercomb vs. Catlin, 21 N. E., 606-608, the Supreme Court of Illinois said:
In a motion dated May 28, 1947, the receiver appointed in the main case prayed that the
certificates of stock of the conjugal partnership, among them 368,553 shares of the Balatoc
Mining Co., alleged to be in the possession of defendant Harden, be ordered turned over to him It is true that the property attached is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts of this state,
(receiver) so that he might have them registered in pursuance of the provisions of Republic Act but the appellant, who caused it to be attached, is in this state, and within the
jurisdiction of its courts. If the superior court had no power to reach the goods in

Page 36 of 39
Newton's hands, it had the power to reach appellant, who sought to prevent its The failure of the order of commitment to state that the acts which the contemner fails to do are
receiver from getting possession of the goods. It makes no difference that the property still in his power to perform, does not void the order of imprisonment. Section 7 of Rule 64 does
was in a foreign jurisdiction. not require such finding to appear in the order, unlike section 1219 of the Code of Civil
Procedure of California on which the petitioner's contention is rested. Petitioner is in error in
saying that section 237 of the former Philippine Code of Civil Procedure, from which section 7 of
The facts of that case as stated in the decision were as follows:
Rule 64, supra, has been copied, was of California origin. Former Justice Fisher is authority for
the statement that section 237 of Act No. 190 was borrowed from section 1456 of the Ohio Code
On April 14, 1887, in the case of Ada S. Havens et al. vs. Caleb Clapp et al. then of Civil Procedure. (Fisher's Code of Civil Procedure, 3rd ed., p. 136.) The exact similarity in
pending in said superior court, the appellee was appointed receiver of all the property substance though not in language between the two provisions is a confirmation of this
and effects, real and personal, of the defendants therein, Caleb Clapp and Thomas statement.
Davies. Prior to that date Clapp and Davies had forwarded, on consignment, to Elijah
E. Newton, an auctioneer and commission merchant in Washington city, in the District
At any rate, the order of commitment contains the alleged missing element if it is taken, as it
of Columbia, a lot of jewelry, watches and silverware, to be by him disposed of for
should be taken, in connection with the orders of October 7, 1947, and March 27, 1948, and with
their benefit. So far as appears to the contrary, the goods so consigned were still in
the charges for contempt. It expressly gives non-compliance with the two last mentioned orders
the possession of Newton at Washington when the order was entered on April 7,
as the grounds for the warrant of commitment, and thus by reference makes them part of it. The
1887, for the commitment of appellant for contempt. Within a week or 10 days after his
orders of October 7, 1947, and March 27, 1948, in turn clearly specify the acts with the petitioner
appointment as receiver, appellee gave notice of such appointment to Newton, and
was commanded to fulfill. It is equally clear from these orders that in the opinion of the court the
demanded a return of the goods. On May 18, 1887, the Meriden Britannia Company, a
petitioner is in a position to bring back to the Philippines from Hongkong part of the cash and the
corporation organized under the laws of the state of Connecticut, being a creditor of
Balatoc shares he had remitted to that colony.
Clapp and Davies, commenced an attachment suit against them for the amount of its
claim in the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, and attached the goods in the
hands of Newton. Whether or not in truth the court's findings are supported by sufficient evidence is a different
matter; it is a matter of fact which can not be reviewed by habeas corpus.
The penalty complained of is neither cruel, unjust nor excessive. In Ex-parte Kemmler, 136 U.
S., 436, the United States Supreme Court said that "punishments are cruel when they involve In a long line of decisions, this Court has steadfastly held that habeas corpus does not lie to
torture or a lingering death, but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that correct errors of fact or law. (Slade Perkins vs. Director of Prisons, 58 Phil., 271; Quintos vs.
word as used in the constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous, something Director of Prisons, 55 Phil., 304; Toronto Felipe vs. Director of Prisons, 24 Phil., 121; Gutierrez
more than the mere extinguishment of life. Repide vs. Peterson, 3 Phil., 276; Santiago vs. Director of Prisons, L-1083, 1 44 Off. Gaz., 1231;
McMicking vs. Schields, 238 U.S. 99. 41 Phil., 971; Tinsley vs. Anderson, 43 Law. ed., 91.)
When a court has jurisdiction of the offense charged and of the party who is so charged, its
The punishment meted out to the petitioner is not excessive. It is suitable and adapted to its
judgment, order or decree is not subject to collateral attack by habeas corpus. the writ of habeas
objective; and it accords with section 7, Rule 64, of the Rules of Court which provides that "when
corpus can not be made to perform the function of a writ of error; and this holds true even if the
the contempt consists in the omission to do an act which is yet in the power of the accused to
judgment, orders or decree was erroneous, provided it is within the jurisdiction of the court which
perform, he may be imprisoned by order of a superior court until he performs it.
rendered such judgment or issued such an order or decree. (Slade Perkins vs. Director of
Prisons, supra; Santiago vs. Director of Prisons, supra.) So whether the act charged has been
If the term of imprisonment in this case is indefinite and might last through the natural life of the committed or can still be performed is conclusively determined by the order or judgment of the
petitioner, yet by the terms of the sentence the way is left open for him to avoid serving any part trial court in the proceeding wherein the petitioner for habeas corpus is adjudged in contempt.
of it by complying with the orders of the court, and in this manner put an end to his incarceration. (Ex-parte Fisher, 206 S.W. 2d. 1000.).
In these circumstances, the judgment can not be said to be excessive or unjust. (Davis vs.
Murphy [1947] 188 P., 2nd, 229-231.) As stated in a more recent case (De Wees [1948], 210
The petition is denied with costs.
S.W., 2d, 145-147), "to order that one be imprisoned for an indefinite period in civil contempt is
purely a remedial measure. Its purpose is to coerce the contender to do an act within his or her
power to perform. He must have the means by which he may purge himself of the contempt." Moran, C.J., Ozaeta, Paras, Feria, Pablo, Bengzon, Briones and Montemayor, JJ., concur.
The latter decision cites Stanley vs. South Jersey Realty Co., 83 N.J. Eq. 300, 90 A., 1042,
1043, in which the theory is expressed in this language:

In a "civil contempt" the proceeding is remedial, it is a step in the case the object of
which is to coerce one party for the benefit of the other party to do or to refrain from
doing some act specified in the order of the court. Hence, if imprisonment be ordered,
it is remedial in purpose and coercive in character, and to that end must relate to
Separate Opinions
something to be done by the defendant by the doing of which he many discharge
himself. As quaintly expressed, the imprisoned man "carries the keys to his prison in
his own pocket."

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PERFECTO, J., dissenting: pages about many individuals who have been burned, decapitated by guillotine, hanged or shot,
killed by garrote or electrocuted, because tribunals found them guilty beyond all reasonable
doubt, but later on found to be absolutely innocent. Some of them have been and are loved and
Since May 4, 1948, Fred M. Harden has been placed under arrest and confined at the Bilibid
enshrined as martyrs, heroes, and among them are counted the greatest moral figures humanity
Prisons, Muntinglupa, under the charge of the Director of Prisons.
has ever produced.

Respondent's authority for confining petitioner is based on the order of Judge Emilio Pena, of
Because in petitioner's case the lower court had to act only and must have acted on a mere
the Court of First Instance of Manila, issued on April 28, 1948, which reads as follows:
preponderance of evidence, the possibility of error is greater in criminal cases where conviction
beyond all reasonable doubt is required. Therefore, although the preponderance of evidence
It appearing that the defendant Fred M. Harden of the defendant to this date complied may militate against petitioner, such legal situation does not preclude the possibility that truth, as
with the orders of this court of October 7, 1947, and March 27, 1948; an absolute, may after all support petitioner's claim. In such case, unless a miracle should
supervene to rescue him from his plight, he will remain confined for the rest of his days, an
imprisonment more perpetual than reclusion perpetua, the longest imprisonment allowed by law
As prayed for, the court orders the arrest of the defendant Fred M. Harden as well as
for the worst criminals, kidnapers, robbers, parriciders, traitors.
his confinement at the New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa, Rizal, until he complies with
the aforementioned orders.
Should petitioner have embezzled or stolen the money and certificate of shares required of him
to be deposited in a bank he can be punished with years of imprisonment but not nearing
The order of October 7, 1947, requires Harden to return from abroad within a period of 15 days, even reclusion perpetua. There is no offense or crime for mere disobedience that is punished
the amount of P1,000,608.66 to the Philippines and to redeposit the same with the accounts of by reclusion perpetua or by many years of imprisonment.
the Plaza Lunch of the Manila branch of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China.

But petitioner, for a mere disobedience, which ultimately may not be disobedience at all, is
The order of March 27, 1948, requires Harden to deposit with the same bank the money and exposed to suffer imprisonment for life. This, certainly, is a flagrant violation of the constitutional
drafts that he has actually in Hongkong and the certificate covering 368,553 Balatoc Mining
inhibition that no cruel and unusual punishment shall be inflicted. (Section 1 [19], Article III of the
Company shares, after registering them, as required in the order of January 18, 1948. Constitution.) This is also a denial to petitioner of the equal protection of the laws which is the
first guarantee in our Bill of Rights. (Section 1 [1], Article III of the Constitution.)
The trial court ordered petitioner's confinement of an indefinite period of time which means that it
may last until his death, in virtue of the provisions of section 7 of Rule 64 which reads as follows: The authors of the rules could not have conceived or imagined any contempt of court of such
perversity that would require a heavier punishment than a fine of P1,000 and six months
SEC. 7. Imprisonment until ordered obeyed. — When the contempt consists in the imprisonment, the maximum penalty provided by section 6 of Rule 64. In the present case,
omission to do an act which is yet in the power of the accused to perform, he may be petitioner has already suffered the maximum imprisonment of six months , and is exposed to
imprisoned by order of a superior court until he performs it. remain in prison for many more years. Is there a conscience too callous to fail to see the
unbearable discrimination of the law against petitioner? Punishments are cruel when they
involve torture or a lingering death or when they employ something inhuman or barbarous, as
The reglementary provision is null and void per se and, therefore, should be denied compliance. stated in the Kemmler case (136 U. S. 436), an authority invoked in the majority decision. But
Perhaps, there is no other provision in our statute books more revolting to conscience, more there is anything more inhuman, barbarous, more torturing, giving the feeling of lingering death,
shocking to the most elemental sense of justice, and most unreasonably Draconian. than to compel a person to unjustly endure an indefinite number of years of imprisonment, when
the only offense that he has committed is that of contempt and the most serious case of
The provision is characterized by such an extreme of arbitrariness that is comprehensible only contempt cannot be punished with imprisonment longer than six months? We have to be blind to
under a dictatorial system of government. fail to see this.

Petitioner has been and is claiming that he has no means of complying with the orders for non- The argument that the incarceration is not cruel because the sentence left the doors open for
compliance of which he is committed to imprisonment for an indefinite period of time. The trial petitioner to avoid serving any part of it by complying with the orders of the court has absolutely
court does not believe him, and we presume that said court was justified by evidence. no merit, because there is absolutely no reasonable ground in the philosophy of law that would
leave to the offender's discretion the length of his imprisonment or the measures of his
punishment. Aside from the unscientific view revealed by the argument, it has the short-
But our presumption cannot take the place of absolute infallibility. When there are conflicting sightedness of failing to see the possibilities of error of judgment on the question as to whether
claims as to facts, courts decide the issue sometimes on a mere preponderance of evidence and the accused is yet in a position to actually perform the acts ordered.
sometimes, as in criminal cases, on evidence carrying conviction beyond all reasonable doubt.

The allegation that the imprisonment or an indefinite period is purely a remedial measure which
A decision based on a preponderance of evidence does not carry absolute certainty. A decision assumes that the offender must have the means by which he may purge himself with the
based on a conclusion of fact beyond all reasonable doubt is stronger, yet no one is too crazy to contempt is pure rhetoric that has no ground in fact as can be seen by any reasonable man. It
believe that it carries absolute certainly or the mark of infallibility. Judicial history is full of bloody

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fails to understand the true situation of a simple disobedience punished with imprisonment that
has no possible end except death.

We held that the lower court erred in issuing the order of April 28, 1948, in so far as it orders that
petitioner be confined for an indefinite period of time.

We disagree with the pronouncement in the majority opinion, limiting the scope of the writ
of habeas corpus and issuing in favor of the lower court in patent of infallibility on the factual
question of whether or not the act ordered to be performed is still in the hands of petitioner to
perform. Such pronouncement are not supported by law nor by any principle of substantial
justice. Regardless of the length of the chain of erroneous decisions supporting such
pronouncements, the errors shall continue to be errors. The length of the chain may only
emphasize the amount of injustices perpetrated under such pronouncements.

Assuming that the lower court found petitioner guilty of contempt, it could have punished
petitioner up to the maximum penalties provided by section 6 of Rule 64 but never more.
Considering that petitioner has already undergone the maximum of six months imprisonment,
even on the assumption that he is guilty, he is entitled to be released from confinement.

We vote to grant the petition and to immediately release Fred M. Harden from confinement and
from the custody of respondent Director of Prisons.

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