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As petitioners couch it, the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners

Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family have the right to travel and liberty of abode. Petitioners
invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without reference to attendant circumstances.
Respondents submit that in its proper formulation, the issue is whether or not
petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and
reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the President that such return
and residence will endanger national security and public safety.
It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners, the question is not a political
question as it involves merely a determination of what the law provides on the matter and
application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family. But when the question is
whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family impinge on or
collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the State to security and safety
of its nationals, the question becomes political and this Honorable Court can not consider it.
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There are thus gradations to the question, to wit:
Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the
Philippines and reestablish their residence here? This is clearly a justiciable question which
this Honorable Court can decide.
Do petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have their right to return to the
Philippines and reestablish their residence here even if their return and residence here will
endanger national security and public safety? This is still a justiciable question which this
Honorable Court can decide.
Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E.
Marcos and family shall return to the Philippines and establish their residence here? This is
now a political question which this Honorable Court can not decide for it falls within the
exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines. [Memorandum for
Respondents, pp. 9-11; Rollo, pp. 297-299.]
Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over
individual rights. In support thereof, they cite Article II of the Constitution, to wit:
Section 4.
The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people.
The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment
thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal,
military, or civil service.
Section 5.
The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and
property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the
people of the blessings of democracy.
Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr. Marcos and his family from
returning to the Philippines for reasons of national security and public safety has
international precedents. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, Anastacio Somoza, Jr. of
Nicaragua, Jorge Ubico of Guatemala, Fulgencio Batista of Cuba, King Farouk of Egypt,
Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were
among the deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented by their
governments. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S. Manglapus, quoted in
Memorandum for Respondents, pp. 26-32; Rollo, pp. 314-319.]
The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of
presidential power and its limits. We, however, view this issue in a different light. Although
we give due weight to the parties' formulation of the issues, we are not bound by its narrow
confines in arriving at a solution to the controversy.
At the outset, we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines
of the right to travel and the import of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the leading
cases of Kent v. Dulles [357 U.S. 116, 78 SCt. 1113, 2 L Ed. 2d 1204] and Haig v. Agee [453
U.S. 280, 101 SCt. 2766, 69 L Ed. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to travel and recognized
exceptions to the exercise thereof, respectively.