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Roxas v.

Macapagal-Arroyo informed that she is being detained for being a member of Communist
G.R. No. 189155 Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA). She was
07 September 2010 then separated from her companions and was brought to a room, from
where she could hear sounds of gunfire, noise of planes taking off and
PONENTE: Perez, J. landing, and some construction bustle.
PARTIES: She was interrogated and tortured for 5 straight days to convince her
PETITIONER: MELISSA ROXAS to abandon her communist beliefs. She was informed by a person
named RC that those who tortured her came from the Special
RESPONDENTS: PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, Operations Group and that she was abducted because her name is
GILBERT TEODORO, GEN. VICTOR IBRADO, P/DIR. GEN. JESUS included in the Order of Battle.
DELA CRUZ, MAJ.GEN. RALPH VILLANUEVA, PS/SUPT. RUDY On 25 May 2009, Roxas was finally released and was given a cellular
phone with a sim card. She was sternly warned not to report the
incident to the group Karapatan or something untoward will happen to
NATURE: Petition for Review on Certiorari her and her family. After her release, Roxas continued to receive calls
from RC thru the cell phone given to her. Out of apprehension, she
PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND: threw the phone and the sim card.
Supreme Court: Petition for the issuance of Writs of Amparo and Hence, on 01 June 2009, Roxas filed a petition for the issuance of
Habeas Data Writs of Amparo and Habeas Data before the Supreme Court,
impleading the high-ranking officials of military and Philippine National
Court of Appeals: Upon order of the Supreme Court, the Court of
Police (PNP), on the belief that it was the government agents who
Appeals summarily heard the Original Action for Petition of Amparo.
were behind her abduction and torture.
Thereafter, the Court of Appeals issued a judgment which is the
subject of the present Petition for Review on Certiorari.
On 09 June 2009, the Supreme Court issued the writs and
FACTS: referred the case to the Court of Appeals for hearing, reception of
evidence and appropriate action. The Court of Appeals granted the
Melissa Roxas, an American citizen of Filipino descent, while privilege of writs of amparo and habeas data. However, the court a
in the United States, enrolled in an exposure program to the quo absolved the respondents because it was not convinced that the
Philippines with the group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-United respondents were responsible for the abduction and torture of Roxas.
States of America (BAYAN- USA) of which she is a member.
Aggrieved, Roxas filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
On 19 May 2009, after doing survey work in Tarlac, Roxas and her
companions rested in the house of Mr. Jesus Paolo in Sitio Bagong PERTINENT ISSUES:
Sikat. While Roxas and her companions were resting, 15 heavily
Whether or not the doctrine of command responsibility is applicable in
armed men in civilian clothes forcibly entered the house and dragged
an amparo petition.
them inside a van. When they alighted from the van, she was
Whether or not circumstantial evidence with regard to the identity and administrative case rather than in a summary amparo proceeding.
affiliation of the perpetrators is enough ground for the issuance of the However, the inapplicability of the doctrine of command responsibility
privilege of the writ of amparo. does not preclude impleading military or police commanders on the
ground that the complained acts in the petition were committed with
Whether or not substantial evidence to prove actual or threatened their direct or indirect acquiescence. In which case, commanders may
violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim is be impleaded not actually on the basis of command
necessary before the privilege of the writ may be extended. responsibilitybut rather on the ground of their responsibility, or at
ANSWERS: least accountability.


It depends. Direct evidence of identity, when obtainable must be In amparo proceedings, direct evidence of identity must be preferred
preferred over mere circumstantial evidence. over mere circumstantial evidence In amparo proceedings, the
weight that may be accorded to parallel circumstances as evidence of
Yes. military involvement depends largely on the availability or non-
availability of other pieces of evidence that has the potential of directly
SUPREME COURT RULINGS: proving the identity and affiliation of the perpetrators. Direct evidence
of identity, when obtainable, must be preferred over mere
circumstantial evidence based on patterns and similarity, because the
former indubitably offers greater certainty as to the true identity and
Command responsibility as justification in impleading respondents is affiliation of the perpetrators.
legally inaccurate The use of the doctrine of command responsibility
as justification in impleading the respondents in her amparo petition,
is legally inaccurate, if not incorrect. Such doctrine is a rule of Substantial evidence of an actual or threatened violation of the right to
substantive law that establishes liability and, by this account, cannot privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim is an indispensable
be a proper legal basis to implead a party-respondent in an amparo requirement before the privilege of the writ may be extended An
petition. indispensable requirement before the privilege of the writ may be
extended is the showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an actual
The Writ of Amparo as a protective remedy As held in the case of
or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security
Rubrico v. Arroyo, the writ of amparo is a protective remedy aimed at
of the victim. In the case at bar, Roxas failed to show that there is an
providing judicial relief consisting of the appropriate remedial
actual or threatened violation of such right. Hence, until such time that
measures and directives that may be crafted by the court, in order to
any of the respondents were found to be actually responsible for the
address specific violations or threats of violation of the constitutional
abduction and torture of Roxas, any inference regarding the existence
rights to life, liberty or security. It does not fix liability for such
of reports being kept in violation of the petitioners right to privacy
disappearance, killing or threats, whether that may be criminal, civil or
becomes farfetched, and premature. The Court must, at least in the
administrative under the applicable substantive law. Since the
meantime, strike down the grant of the privilege of the writ of habeas
application of command responsibility presupposes an imputation of
individual liability, it is more aptly invoked in a full-blown criminal or
DISPOSITIVE: recommendations, there would already be sufficient evidence to hold
any of the public respondents responsible or, at least, accountable.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals. After making such determination, the Court of Appeals shall submit its
However, it modified the directive of the Court of the Appeals for own report with recommendation to the Supreme Court for its
further investigation, as follows: consideration. It was declared that the Court of Appeals will continue
Appointing the CHR as the lead agency tasked with conducting further to have jurisdiction over this case in order to accomplish its tasks
under this decision.
investigation regarding the abduction and torture of the petitioner.
Accordingly, the CHR shall, under the norm of extraordinary diligence,
take or continue to take the necessary steps: (a) to identify the
persons described in the cartographic sketches submitted by the
petitioner, as well as their whereabouts; and (b) to pursue any other
leads relevant to petitioners abduction and torture.

Directing the incumbent Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP),

or his successor, and the incumbent Chief of Staff of the AFP, or his
successor, to extend assistance to the ongoing investigation of the
CHR, including but not limited to furnishing the latter a copy of its
personnel records circa the time of the petitioners abduction and
torture, subject to reasonable regulations consistent with the
Constitution and existing laws.

Further directing the incumbent Chief of the PNP, or his successor, to

furnish to this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the petitioner or her
representative, a copy of the reports of its investigations and their
recommendations, other than those that are already part of the
records of this case, within ninety (90) days from receipt of this

Further directing the CHR to (a) furnish to the Court of Appeals within
ninety (90) days from receipt of this decision, a copy of the reports on
its investigation and its corresponding recommendations; and to (b)
provide or continue to provide protection to the petitioner during her
stay or visit to the Philippines, until such time as may hereinafter be
determined by this Court.

The Supreme Court likewise referred the case back to the Court of
Appeals, for the purposes of monitoring compliance with the above
directives and determining whether, in light of any recent reports or