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SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT NETWORK, INC., vs.ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL, et.

al ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL, THE EXECUTIVE LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,


G.R. No. 178552 October 5, 2010 chilling effect, facial challenge, Human Security Act of 2007, in SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE
terrorem effect SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE BRION,
SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE PERALTA,
OCTOBER 6, 2017 SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL
FACTS: GOVERNMENT, THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, THE BERSAMIN,
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, THE CHIEF OF DEL CASTILLO,
Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of the crime of STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE
terrorism under RA 9372 (the Human Security Act of 2007) in that terms like “widespread and PHILIPPINES, AND THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE ABAD,
extraordinary fear and panic among the populace” and “coerce the government to give in to an unlawful NATIONAL POLICE,
demand” are nebulous, leaving law enforcement agencies with no standard to measure the prohibited VILLARAMA, JR.,
acts. Respondents.
PEREZ,
ISSUE: MENDOZA, and
Can the Human Security Act of 2007 be facially challenged on the grounds of vagueness and x ------------------------------- x
SERENO, JJ.
overbreadh doctrines?
RULING: KILUSANG MAYO UNO (KMU), represented by its
No. Chairperson Elmer Labog, NATIONAL FEDERATION
OF LABOR UNIONS-KILUSANG MAYO UNO (NAFLU-
A facial invalidation of a statute is allowed only in free speech cases, wherein certain rules of KMU), represented by its National President Joselito
constitutional litigation are rightly excepted. V. Ustarez and Secretary General Antonio C.
In Estrada vs. Sandiganbayan it was held that: Pascual, and CENTER FOR TRADE UNION AND
HUMAN RIGHTS, represented by its Executive
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one which is overbroad because of Director Daisy Arago,
possible”chilling effect” upon protected speech. The possible harm to society in permitting some
unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the possibility that the protected speech of Petitioners,
others may be deterred and perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of
overly broad statutes.
This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have general in terrorem effect
resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge is allowed for this reason alone, the State may - versus -
well be prevented from enacting laws against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the Promulgated:
law cannot take chances as in the area of free speech.
HON. EDUARDO ERMITA, in his capacity as
EN BANC Executive Secretary, NORBERTO GONZALES, in his October 5, 2010
capacity as Acting Secretary of National Defense,
HON. RAUL GONZALES, in his capacity as Secretary
SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ENGAGEMENT G.R. No. 178552 of Justice, HON. RONALDO PUNO, in his capacity as
NETWORK, INC., on behalf of the South-South Secretary of the Interior and Local Government,
Network (SSN) for Non-State Armed Group GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, in his capacity as G.R. No. 178554
Engagement, and ATTY. SOLIMAN M. SANTOS, JR., Present: AFP Chief of Staff, and DIRECTOR GENERAL
Petitioners, OSCAR CALDERON, in his capacity as PNP Chief of
Staff,
CORONA, C.J.,
Respondents.
CARPIO,
- versus - CARPIO MORALES,
x ------------------------------------ x
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,
THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC),
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN (BAYAN), THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON TRANSNATIONAL
GENERAL ALLIANCE BINDING WOMEN FOR CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL
REFORMS, INTEGRITY, EQUALITY, LEADERSHIP POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP,
AND ACTION (GABRIELA), KILUSANG including its intelligence and investigative elements,
MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP), MOVEMENT OF AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON,
CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES G.R. No. 178581
(MCCCL), CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY, Respondents.
RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE), x ------------------------------------ x
KALIPUNAN NG DAMAYANG MAHIHIRAP KARAPATAN, ALLIANCE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT
(KADAMAY), SOLIDARITY OF CAVITE WORKERS, OF PEOPLES RIGHTS, represented herein by Dr.
LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), Edelina de la Paz, and representing the following
ANAKBAYAN, PAMBANSANG LAKAS NG organizations: HUSTISYA, represented by
KILUSANG MAMAMALAKAYA (PAMALAKAYA), Evangeline Hernandez and also on her own behalf;
ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS (ACT), DESAPARECIDOS, represented by Mary Guy
MIGRANTE, HEALTH ALLIANCE FOR DEMOCRACY Portajada and also on her own behalf, SAMAHAN NG
(HEAD), AGHAM, TEOFISTO GUINGONA, JR., DR. MGA EX-DETAINEES LABAN SA DETENSYON AT
BIENVENIDO LUMBERA, RENATO CONSTANTINO, PARA SA AMNESTIYA (SELDA), represented by
JR., SISTER MARY JOHN MANANSAN OSB, DEAN Donato Continente and also on his own behalf,
CONSUELO PAZ, ATTY. JOSEFINA LICHAUCO, COL. ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT FOR JUSTICE AND
GERRY CUNANAN (ret.), CARLITOS SIGUION- PEACE (EMJP), represented by Bishop Elmer M.
REYNA, DR. CAROLINA PAGADUAN-ARAULLO, Bolocon, UCCP, and PROMOTION OF CHURCH
RENATO REYES, DANILO RAMOS, EMERENCIANA PEOPLES RESPONSE, represented by Fr. Gilbert
DE LESUS, RITA BAUA, REY CLARO CASAMBRE, Sabado, OCARM,
Petitioners, Petitioners,

- versus - - versus -

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as


President and Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE President and Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF SECRETARTY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT
JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALES, OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ,
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY
ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL
DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY NORBERTO DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY NORBERTO
GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND
LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY RONALDO LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY RONALDO
PUNO. DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE SECRETARY PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE SECRETARY
MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY
ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL
INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA), INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA),
THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NBI), THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NBI),
THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF
CIVIL DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF CIVIL DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF
THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP), THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP),
THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC), MUNA-ST, KONGRESO NG MGA MAGBUBUKID
THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON TRANSNATIONAL PARA SA REPORMANG AGRARYO KOMPRA,
CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BIGKIS AT LAKAS NG MGA KATUTUBO SA TIMOG
POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP, KATAGALUGAN (BALATIK), SAMAHAN AT
including its intelligence and investigative elements, UGNAYAN NG MGA MAGSASAKANG KABABAIHAN
AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, SA TIMOG KATAGALUGAN (SUMAMAKA-TK),
STARTER, LOSOS RURAL POOR ORGANIZATION
Respondents. FOR PROGRESS & EQUALITY, CHRISTIAN NIO
LAJARA, TEODORO REYES, FRANCESCA B.
TOLENTINO, JANNETTE E. BARRIENTOS, OSCAR T.
x------------------------------------ x LAPIDA, JR., DELFIN DE CLARO, SALLY P.
ASTRERA, ARNEL SEGUNE BELTRAN,

THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP), Petitioners,


represented by Atty. Feliciano M. Bautista,
COUNSELS FOR THE DEFENSE
OF LIBERTY(CODAL), SEN. MA. ANA CONSUELO
A.S. MADRIGAL and FORMER SENATORS SERGIO - versus -
OSMEA III and WIGBERTO E. TAADA,
Petitioners,

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in her capacity as


President and Commander-in-Chief, EXECUTIVE
- versus - SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL GONZALEZ,
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SECRETARY
ALBERTO ROMULO, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL
DEFENSE ACTING SECRETARY NORBERTO
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND GONZALES, DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR AND
THE MEMBERS OF THE ANTI-TERRORISM COUNCIL LOCAL GOVERNMEN T SECRETARY RONALDO
(ATC), PUNO, DEPARTMENT OF FINCANCE SECRETARY
MARGARITO TEVES, NATIONAL SECURITY
Respondents.
ADVISER NORBERTO GONZALES, THE NATIONAL
INTELLIGENCE COORDINATING AGENCY (NICA),
THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (NBI),
x------------------------------------- x THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION, THE OFFICE OF
CIVIL DEFENSE, THE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE OF
THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (ISAFP),
BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN-SOUTHERN THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING COUNCIL (AMLC),
TAGALOG (BAYAN-ST), GABRIELA-ST, KATIPUNAN THE PHILIPPINE CENTER ON TRANSNATIONAL
NG MGA SAMAHYANG MAGSASAKA-TIMOG CRIME, THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL
KATAGALUGAN (KASAMA-TK), MOVEMENT OF POLICE GEN. OSCAR CALDERON, THE PNP,
CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES including its intelligence and investigative elements,
(MCCCL), PEOPLES MARTYRS, ANAKBAYAN-ST, AFP CHIEF GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON,
PAMALAKAYA-ST, CONFEDERATION FOR UNITY,
RECOGNITION AND ADVANCEMENT OF Respondents.
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (COURAGE-ST),
PAGKAKAISAT UGNAYAN NG MGA MAGBUBUKID
SA LAGUNA (PUMALAG), SAMAHAN NG MGA
MAMAMAYAN SA TABING RILES (SMTR-ST),
LEAGUE OF FILIPINO STUDENTS (LFS), BAYAN
G.R. No. 178890
G.R. No. 179157

G.R. No. 179461


On August 6, 2007, Karapatan and its alliance member organizations Hustisya, Desaparecidos,
Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), Ecumenical
Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP), and Promotion of Church Peoples Response (PCPR), which
were represented by their respective officers[5] who are also bringing action on their own behalf, filed a
petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178890.

On August 29, 2007, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Counsels for the Defense
of Liberty (CODAL),[6] Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo A.S. Madrigal, Sergio Osmea III, and Wigberto E.
Taada filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 179157.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog (BAYAN-ST), other regional chapters and


organizations mostly based in the Southern Tagalog Region, [7] and individuals[8]followed suit by filing
on September 19, 2007 a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 179461 that
replicates the allegations raised in the BAYAN petition in G.R. No. 178581.

Impleaded as respondents in the various petitions are the Anti-Terrorism Council[9] composed of, at the
time of the filing of the petitions, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as Chairperson, Justice Secretary
Raul Gonzales as Vice Chairperson, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Acting Defense
x--------------------------------------------------------------------------x Secretary and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Interior and Local Government Secretary
Ronaldo Puno, and Finance Secretary Margarito Teves as members. All the petitions, except that of the
IBP, also impleaded Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Hermogenes Esperon
DECISION and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Oscar Calderon.
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Before the Court are six petitions challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 9372 (RA 9372), The Karapatan, BAYAN and BAYAN-ST petitions likewise impleaded President Gloria Macapagal-
An Act to Secure the State and Protect our People from Terrorism, otherwise known as the Human Arroyo and the support agencies for the Anti-Terrorism Council like the National Intelligence
Security Act of 2007,[1] signed into law on March 6, 2007. Coordinating Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, Office of Civil Defense,
Following the effectivity of RA 9372 on July 15, 2007,[2] petitioner Southern Hemisphere Engagement Intelligence Service of the AFP, Anti-MoneyLaundering Center, Philippine Center on Transnational
Network, Inc., a non-government organization, and Atty. Soliman Santos, Jr., a concerned citizen, Crime, and the PNP intelligence and investigative elements.
taxpayer and lawyer, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition on July 16, 2007 docketed as G.R. No.
178552. On even date, petitioners Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), National Federation of Labor Unions-
Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU), and Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), The petitions fail.
represented by their respective officers[3] who are also bringing the action in their capacity as citizens,
filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178554.

Petitioners resort to certiorari


The following day, July 17, 2007, organizations Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), General is improper
Alliance Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action (GABRIELA), Kilusang
Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties (MCCCL),
Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE),
Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), Solidarity of Cavite Workers (SCW), League of Filipino
Students (LFS), Anakbayan, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya (PAMALAKAYA), Alliance Preliminarily, certiorari does not lie against respondents who do not exercise judicial or quasi-judicial
of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Migrante, Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), and Agham, functions. Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is clear:
represented by their respective officers,[4] and joined by concerned citizens and taxpayers Teofisto
Guingona, Jr., Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, Renato Constantino, Jr., Sister Mary John Manansan, OSB,
Dean Consuelo Paz, Atty. Josefina Lichauco, Retired Col. Gerry Cunanan, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Dr. Section 1. Petition for certiorari.When any tribunal, board or
Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo, Renato Reyes, Danilo Ramos, Emerenciana de Jesus, Rita Baua and Rey officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or
Claro Casambre filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition docketed as G.R. No. 178581.
in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion [A] party who assails the constitutionality of a statute must have a direct and
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor personal interest. It must show not only that the law or any governmental act is
any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a invalid, but also that it sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some
person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that it suffers
alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered thereby in some indefinite way. It must show that it has been or is about to be
annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and denied some right or privilege to which it is lawfully entitled or that it is about to be
granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require. (Emphasis and subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained
underscoring supplied) of.

For a concerned party to be allowed to raise a constitutional question, it must


show that (1) it has personally suffered some actual or threatened injury as a
Parenthetically, petitioners do not even allege with any modicum of particularity how respondents acted result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government, (2) the injury is fairly
without or in excess of their respective jurisdictions, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack traceable to the challenged action, and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a
or excess of jurisdiction. favorable action. (emphasis and underscoring supplied.)

The impropriety of certiorari as a remedy aside, the petitions fail just the same. Petitioner-organizations assert locus standi on the basis of being suspected communist fronts by the
government, especially the military; whereas individual petitioners invariably invoke the transcendental
importance doctrine and their status as citizens and taxpayers.
In constitutional litigations, the power of judicial review is limited by four exacting requisites, viz: (a) there
must be an actual case or controversy; (b) petitioners must possess locus standi; (c) the question of
constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity; and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be While Chavez v. PCGG[13] holds that transcendental public importance dispenses with the requirement
the lis mota of the case.[10] that petitioner has experienced or is in actual danger of suffering direct and personal injury, cases
involving the constitutionality of penal legislation belong to an altogether different genus of constitutional
litigation. Compelling State and societal interests in the proscription of harmful conduct, as will later be
In the present case, the dismal absence of the first two requisites, which are the most essential, renders elucidated, necessitate a closer judicial scrutiny of locus standi.
the discussion of the last two superfluous.

Petitioners have not presented any personal stake in the outcome of the controversy. None of them
Petitioners lack locus standi faces any charge under RA 9372.

Locus standi or legal standing requires a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure KARAPATAN, Hustisya, Desaparecidos, SELDA, EMJP and PCR, petitioners in G.R. No. 178890,
that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely allege that they have been subjected to close security surveillance by state security forces, their
depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.[11] members followed by suspicious persons and vehicles with dark windshields, and their offices monitored
by men with military build. They likewise claim that they have been branded as enemies of the [S]tate.[14]

Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. The Executive Secretary[12] summarized the rule on locus standi,
thus: Even conceding such gratuitous allegations, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) correctly points
out that petitioners have yet to show any connection between the
purported surveillance and the implementation of RA 9372.
Locus standi or legal standing has been defined as a personal and substantial
interest in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a
result of the governmental act that is being challenged. The gist of the question on BAYAN, GABRIELA, KMP, MCCCL, COURAGE, KADAMAY, SCW, LFS, Anakbayan,
standing is whether a party alleges such personal stake in the outcome of the PAMALAKAYA, ACT, Migrante, HEAD and Agham, petitioner-organizations in G.R. No. 178581,
controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the would like the Court to take judicial notice of respondents alleged action of tagging them as militant
presentation of issues upon which the court depends for illumination of difficult organizations fronting for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the National
constitutional questions. Peoples Army (NPA). The tagging, according to petitioners, is tantamount to the effects of proscription
without following the procedure under the law.[15] The petition of BAYAN-ST, et al. in G.R. No. 179461
pleads the same allegations.
NPA organizations as domestic terrorist or outlawed organizations under RA 9372.Again, RA 9372
has been in effect for three years now. From July 2007 up to the present, petitioner-organizations have
The Court cannot take judicial notice of the alleged tagging of petitioners. conducted their activities fully and freely without any threat of, much less an actual, prosecution or
proscription under RA 9372.

Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites:


(1) the matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must Parenthetically, the Fourteenth Congress, in a resolution initiated by Party-list Representatives Saturnino
be well and authoritatively settledand not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it Ocampo, Teodoro Casio, Rafael Mariano and Luzviminda Ilagan,[20]urged the government to resume
must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal peace negotiations with the NDF by removing the impediments thereto, one of which is the adoption of
guide in determining what facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of designation of the CPP and NPA by the US and EU as foreign terrorist organizations. Considering the
notoriety. Hence, it can be said that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by policy statement of the Aquino Administration[21] of resuming peace talks with the NDF, the government
public records and facts of general notoriety. Moreover, a judicially noticed fact is not imminently disposed to ask for the judicial proscription of the CPP-NPA consortium and its allied
must be one not subject to a reasonable dispute in that it is either: (1) generally organizations.
known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court; or (2) capable of
accurate and ready determination by resorting to sources whose accuracy
cannot reasonably be questionable.
More important, there are other parties not before the Court with direct and specific interests in the
questions being raised.[22] Of recent development is the filing of the firstcase for proscription under
Section 17[23] of RA 9372 by the Department of Justice before the Basilan Regional Trial Court against
Things of common knowledge, of which courts take judicial matters coming to the the Abu Sayyaf Group.[24] Petitioner-organizations do not in the least allege any link to the Abu
knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life, or Sayyaf Group.
they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are
capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are
universally known, and which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other
publications, are judicially noticed, provided, they are of such universal notoriety Some petitioners attempt, in vain though, to show the imminence of a prosecution under RA 9372 by
and so generally understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the alluding to past rebellion charges against them.
common knowledge of every person. As the common knowledge of man ranges
far and wide, a wide variety of particular facts have been judicially noticed as being
matters of common knowledge. But a court cannot take judicial notice of any In Ladlad v. Velasco,[25] the Court ordered the dismissal of rebellion charges filed in 2006 against then
fact which, in part, is dependent on the existence or non-existence of a fact Party-List Representatives Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, Liza Maza of GABRIELA,
of which the court has no constructive knowledge.[16] (emphasis and and Joel Virador, Teodoro Casio and Saturnino Ocampo of Bayan Muna. Also named in the dismissed
underscoring supplied.) rebellion charges were petitioners Rey Claro Casambre, Carolina Pagaduan-Araullo, Renato Reyes,
Rita Baua, Emerencia de Jesus and Danilo Ramos; and accused of being front organizations for the
Communist movement were petitioner-organizations KMU, BAYAN, GABRIELA, PAMALAKAYA, KMP,
KADAMAY, LFS and COURAGE.[26]

No ground was properly established by petitioners for the taking of judicial notice. Petitioners
apprehension is insufficient to substantiate their plea. That no specific charge or proscription under RA The dismissed rebellion charges, however, do not save the day for petitioners. For one, those charges
9372 has been filed against them, three years after its effectivity, belies any claim of imminence of were filed in 2006, prior to the enactment of RA 9372, and dismissed by this Court. For another, rebellion
their perceived threat emanating from the so-called tagging. is defined and punished under the Revised Penal Code. Prosecution for rebellion is not made more
imminent by the enactment of RA 9372, nor does the enactment thereof make it easier to charge a
person with rebellion, its elements not having been altered.
The same is true with petitioners KMU, NAFLU and CTUHR in G.R. No. 178554, who merely harp as
well on their supposed link to the CPP and NPA. They fail to particularize how the implementation of
specific provisions of RA 9372 would result in direct injury to their organization and members. Conversely, previously filed but dismissed rebellion charges bear no relation to prospective charges
under RA 9372. It cannot be overemphasized that three years after the enactment of RA 9372, none of
petitioners has been charged.
While in our jurisdiction there is still no judicially declared terrorist organization, the United States of
America[17] (US) and the European Union[18] (EU) have both classified the CPP, NPA and Abu
Sayyaf Group as foreign terrorist organizations. The Court takes note of the joint statement of Executive Petitioners IBP and CODAL in G.R. No. 179157 base their claim of locus standi on their sworn duty to
Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales that the Arroyo Administration would uphold the Constitution. The IBP zeroes in on Section 21 of RA 9372 directing it to render assistance to
adopt the US and EU classification of the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations.[19] Such statement those arrested or detained under the law.
notwithstanding,there is yet to be filed before the courts an application to declare the CPP and
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
The mere invocation of the duty to preserve the rule of law does not, however, suffice to clothe the IBP instrumentality of the Government.[30] (emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
or any of its members with standing.[27] The IBP failed to sufficiently demonstrate how its mandate under
the assailed statute revolts against its constitutional rights and duties. Moreover, both the IBP and
CODAL have not pointed to even a single arrest or detention effected under RA 9372.
As early as Angara v. Electoral Commission,[31] the Court ruled that the power of judicial review is limited
Former Senator Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal, who claims to have been the subject of political to actual cases or controversies to be exercised after full opportunity of argument by the parties. Any
surveillance, also lacks locus standi. Prescinding from the veracity, let alone legal basis, of the claim of attempt at abstraction could only lead to dialectics and barren legal questions and to sterile conclusions
political surveillance, the Court finds that she has not shown even the slightest threat of being charged unrelated to actualities.
under RA 9372. Similarly lacking in locus standi are former Senator Wigberto Taada and Senator
Sergio Osmea III, who cite their being respectively a human rights advocate and an oppositor to the An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for
passage of RA 9372. Outside these gratuitous statements, no concrete injury to them has been determination, not conjectural or anticipatory, lest the decision of the court would amount to an advisory
pinpointed. opinion.[32]

Petitioners Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network and Atty. Soliman Santos Jr. in G.R. No. Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines v. COMELEC[33] cannot be more emphatic:
178552 also conveniently state that the issues they raise are of transcendental importance, which must
be settled early and are of far-reaching implications, without mention of any specific provision of RA
9372 under which they have been charged, or may be charged. Mere invocation of human rights [C]ourts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to
advocacy has nowhere been held sufficient to clothe litigants with locus standi. Petitioners must show an satisfy scholarly interest, however intellectually challenging. The
actual, or immediate danger of sustaining, direct injury as a result of the laws enforcement. To rule controversy must be justiciabledefinite and concrete, touching on the legal
otherwise would be to corrupt the settled doctrine of locus standi, as every worthy cause is an interest relations of parties having adverse legal interests. In other words, the
shared by the general public. pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a legal right, on
the one hand, and a denial thereof on the other hand; that is, it must
concern a real and not merely a theoretical question or issue. There
Neither can locus standi be conferred upon individual petitioners as taxpayers and citizens. A taxpayer ought to be an actual and substantial controversyadmitting of specific relief
suit is proper only when there is an exercise of the spending or taxing power of Congress,[28] whereas through a decree conclusive in nature, as distinguished from an opinion
citizen standing must rest on direct and personal interest in the proceeding.[29] advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of
facts. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

RA 9372 is a penal statute and does not even provide for any appropriation from Congress for its
implementation, while none of the individual petitioner-citizens has alleged any direct and personal
interest in the implementation of the law. Thus, a petition to declare unconstitutional a law converting the Municipality of Makati into a Highly
Urbanized City was held to be premature as it was tacked on uncertain, contingent events.[34] Similarly,
a petition that fails to allege that an application for a license to operate a radio or television station has
It bears to stress that generalized interests, albeit accompanied by the assertion of a public right, do not been denied or granted by the authorities does not present a justiciable controversy, and merely
establish locus standi. Evidence of a direct and personal interest is key. wheedles the Court to rule on a hypothetical problem.[35]

Petitioners fail to present an The Court dismissed the petition in Philippine Press Institute v. Commission on Elections [36] for failure to
actual case or controversy cite any specific affirmative action of the Commission on Elections to implement the assailed
resolution. It refused, in Abbas v. Commission on Elections,[37] to rule on the religious freedom claim of
the therein petitioners based merely on a perceived potential conflict between the provisions of the
By constitutional fiat, judicial power operates only when there is an actual case or controversy. Muslim Code and those of the national law, there being no actual controversy between real litigants.

Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such The list of cases denying claims resting on purely hypothetical or anticipatory grounds goes on ad
lower courts as may be established by law. infinitum.

Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
The Court is not unaware that a reasonable certainty of the occurrence of a perceived threat to any Petitioners assail for being intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad the definition of the crime of
constitutional interest terrorism[46] under RA 9372 in that terms like widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the
suffices to provide a basis for mounting a constitutional challenge. This, however, is qualified by the populace and coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand are nebulous, leaving law
requirement that there must be sufficient facts to enable the Court to intelligently adjudicate the enforcement agencies with no standard to measure the prohibited acts.
issues.[38]
Very recently, the US Supreme Court, in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project,[39] allowed the pre-
enforcement review of a criminal statute, challenged on vagueness grounds,since plaintiffs faced Respondents, through the OSG, counter that the doctrines of void-for-vagueness and overbreadth find
a credible threat of prosecution and should not be required to await and undergo a criminal prosecution no application in the present case since these doctrines apply only to free speech cases; and that RA
as the sole means of seeking relief.[40] The plaintiffs therein filed an action before a federal court to assail 9372 regulates conduct, not speech.
the constitutionality of the material support statute, 18 U.S.C. 2339B (a) (1),[41] proscribing the provision
of material support to organizations declared by the Secretary of State as foreign terrorist
organizations. They claimed that they intended to provide support for the humanitarian and political For a jurisprudentially guided understanding of these doctrines, it is imperative to outline the schools of
activities of two such organizations. thought on whether the void-for-vagueness and overbreadth doctrines are equally applicable grounds to
assail a penal statute.

Prevailing American jurisprudence allows an adjudication on the merits when an anticipatory


petition clearly shows that the challenged prohibition forbids the conduct or activity that a Respondents interpret recent jurisprudence as slanting toward the idea of limiting the application of the
petitioner seeks to do, as there would then be a justiciable controversy.[42] two doctrines to free speech cases. They particularly cite Romualdez v. Hon.
Sandiganbayan[47] and Estrada v. Sandiganbayan.[48]

Unlike the plaintiffs in Holder, however, herein petitioners have failed to show that the challenged
provisions of RA 9372 forbid constitutionally protected conduct or activitythat they seek to do. No The Court clarifies.
demonstrable threat has been established, much less a real and existing one.

At issue in Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan was whether the word intervene in Section 5[49] of the Anti-
Petitioners obscure allegations of sporadic surveillance and supposedly being tagged as Graft and Corrupt Practices Act was intrinsically vague and impermissibly broad. The Court stated that
communist fronts in no way approximate a credible threat of prosecution. From these allegations, the overbreadth and the vagueness doctrines have special application only to free-speech cases, and
the Court is being lured to render an advisory opinion, which is not its function.[43] are not appropriate for testing the validity of penal statutes.[50] It added that, at any rate, the challenged
provision, under which the therein petitioner was charged, is not vague.[51]

Without any justiciable controversy, the petitions have become pleas for declaratory relief, over which
the Court has no original jurisdiction. Then again, declaratory actions characterized by double While in the subsequent case of Romualdez v. Commission on Elections,[52] the Court stated that a facial
contingency, where both the activity the petitioners intend to undertake and the anticipated reaction to it invalidation of criminal statutes is not appropriate, it nonetheless proceeded to conduct a vagueness
of a public official are merely theorized, lie beyond judicial review for lack of ripeness.[44] analysis, and concluded that the therein subject election offense[53] under the Voters Registration Act of
1996, with which the therein petitioners were charged, is couched in precise language.[54]

The possibility of abuse in the implementation of RA 9372 does not avail to take the present petitions out
of the realm of the surreal and merely imagined. Such possibility is not peculiar to RA 9372 since the The two Romualdez cases rely heavily on the Separate Opinion[55] of Justice Vicente V. Mendoza in
exercise of any power granted by law may be abused.[45] Allegations of abuse must be anchored on real the Estrada case, where the Court found the Anti-Plunder Law (Republic Act No. 7080) clear and free
events before courts may step in to settleactual controversies involving rights which are legally from ambiguity respecting the definition of the crime of plunder.
demandable and enforceable.

The position taken by Justice Mendoza in Estrada relates these two doctrines to the concept of a facial
invalidation as opposed to an as-applied challenge. He basically postulated that allegations that a penal
statute is vague and overbroad do not justify a facial review of its validity. The pertinent portion of the
A facial invalidation of a statute is Concurring Opinion of Justice Mendoza, which was quoted at length in the main Estrada decision, reads:
allowed only in free speech cases,
wherein certain rules of constitutional A facial challenge is allowed to be made to a vague statute and to one
litigation are rightly excepted which is overbroad because of possible "chilling effect" upon protected speech. The
theory is that "[w]hen statutes regulate or proscribe speech and no readily apparent
construction suggests itself as a vehicle for rehabilitating the statutes in a single
prosecution, the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected Indeed, "on its face" invalidation of statutes results in striking them down
expression is deemed to justify allowing attacks on overly broad statutes with no entirely on the ground that they might be applied to parties not before the Court
requirement that the person making the attack demonstrate that his own conduct whose activities are constitutionally protected. It constitutes a departure from the
could not be regulated by a statute drawn with narrow specificity." The possible harm case and controversy requirement of the Constitution and permits decisions to be
to society in permitting some unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by made without concrete factual settings and in sterile abstract contexts. But, as the
the possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred and perceived U.S. Supreme Court pointed out in Younger v. Harris
grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory effects of overly broad
statutes.
[T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute,
pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring correction of these
This rationale does not apply to penal statutes. Criminal statutes have deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever
general in terrorem effect resulting from their very existence, and, if facial challenge an appropriate task for the judiciary. The combination of the
is allowed for this reason alone, the State may well be prevented from enacting laws relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the
against socially harmful conduct. In the area of criminal law, the law cannot take legislative process of the relief sought, and above all the
chances as in the area of free speech. speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line
analysis of detailed statutes, . . . ordinarily results in a kind of
case that is wholly unsatisfactory for deciding constitutional
The overbreadth and vagueness doctrines then have special questions, whichever way they might be decided.
application only to free speech cases. They are inapt for testing the validity of
penal statutes. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, in an opinion by Chief Justice
Rehnquist, "we have not recognized an 'overbreadth' doctrine outside the limited For these reasons, "on its face" invalidation of statutes has been
context of the First Amendment." In Broadrick v. Oklahoma, the Court ruled that described as "manifestly strong medicine," to be employed "sparingly and only as a
"claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving statutes last resort," and is generally disfavored. In determining the constitutionality of a
which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words" and, again, that statute, therefore, its provisions which are alleged to have been violated in a case
"overbreadth claims, if entertained at all, have been curtailed when invoked against must be examined in the light of the conduct with which the defendant is
ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be applied to protected conduct." For this charged.[56] (Underscoring supplied.)
reason, it has been held that "a facial challenge to a legislative act is the most
difficult challenge to mount successfully, since the challenger must establish that no
set of circumstances exists under which the Act would be valid." As for the
vagueness doctrine, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if
it is vague in all its possible applications. "A plaintiff who engages in some conduct The confusion apparently stems from the interlocking relation of
that is clearly proscribed cannot complain of the vagueness of the law as applied to the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines as grounds for a facial or as-applied challenge against a penal
the conduct of others." statute (under a claim of violation of due process of law) or a speech regulation (under a claim of
abridgement of the freedom of speech and cognate rights).

In sum, the doctrines of strict scrutiny, overbreadth, and vagueness


are analytical tools developed for testing "on their faces" statutes in free To be sure, the doctrine of vagueness and the doctrine of overbreadth do not operate on the same
speech cases or, as they are called in American law, First Amendment plane.
cases. They cannot be made to do service when what is involved is a criminal
statute. With respect to such statute, the established rule is that "one to whom
application of a statute is constitutional will not be heard to attack the statute on the A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards that men
ground that impliedly it might also be taken as applying to other persons or other of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. It is
situations in which its application might be unconstitutional." As has been pointed repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due process for failure to accord persons,
out, "vagueness challenges in the First Amendment context, like overbreadth especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law enforcers
challenges typically produce facial invalidation, whilestatutes found vague as a unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government
matter of due process typically are invalidated [only] 'as applied' to a particular muscle.[57] The overbreadth doctrine, meanwhile, decrees that a governmental purpose to control or
defendant." Consequently, there is no basis for petitioner's claim that this Court prevent activities constitutionally subject to state regulations may not be achieved by means which
review the Anti-Plunder Law on its face and in its entirety. sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms.[58]
As distinguished from the vagueness doctrine, the overbreadth doctrine assumes that individuals will It is settled, on the other hand, that the application of the overbreadth doctrine is limited to a facial
understand what a statute prohibits and will accordingly refrain from that behavior, even though some of kind of challenge and, owing to the given rationale of a facial challenge, applicable only to free
it is protected.[59] speech cases.

A facial challenge is likewise different from an as-applied challenge. By its nature, the overbreadth doctrine has to necessarily apply a facial type of invalidation in order to
plot areas of protected speech, inevitably almost always under situations not before the court, that are
impermissibly swept by the substantially overbroad regulation. Otherwise stated, a statute cannot be
Distinguished from an as-applied challenge which considers only extant facts affecting real litigants, properly analyzed for being substantially overbroad if the court confines itself only to facts as applied to
a facial invalidation is an examination of the entire law, pinpointing its flaws and defects, not only on the the litigants.
basis of its actual operation to the parties, but also on the assumption or prediction that its very
existence may cause others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or
activities.[60] The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it marks an
exception to some of the usual rules of constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a particular
litigant claims that a statute is unconstitutional as applied to him or her; if the litigant
Justice Mendoza accurately phrased the subtitle[61] in his concurring opinion that the vagueness and prevails, the courts carve away the unconstitutional aspects of the law by invalidating
overbreadth doctrines, as grounds for a facial challenge, are not applicable to penal laws. A litigant its improper applications on a case to case basis. Moreover, challengers to a law are
cannot thus successfully mount a facial challenge against a criminal statute on either vagueness not permitted to raise the rights of third parties and can only assert their own
or overbreadth grounds. interests. In overbreadth analysis, those rules give way; challenges are permitted to
raise the rights of third parties; and the court invalidates the entire statute "on its
face," not merely "as applied for" so that the overbroad law becomes unenforceable
The allowance of a facial challenge in free speech cases is justified by the aim to avert the chilling effect until a properly authorized court construes it more narrowly. The factor that
on protected speech, the exercise of which should not at all times be abridged. [62] As reflected earlier, motivates courts to depart from the normal adjudicatory rules is the concern with the
this rationale is inapplicable to plain penal statutes that generally bear an in terrorem effect in deterring "chilling;" deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on third parties not courageous
socially harmful conduct. In fact, the legislature may even forbid and penalize acts formerly considered enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad laws "very existence
innocent and lawful, so long as it refrains from diminishing or dissuading the exercise of constitutionally may cause others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally protected
protected rights.[63] speech or expression." An overbreadth ruling is designed to remove that deterrent
effect on the speech of those third parties.[66] (Emphasis in the original omitted;
underscoring supplied.)
The Court reiterated that there are critical limitations by which a criminal statute may be challenged and
underscored that an on-its-face invalidation of penal statutes x x x may not be allowed.[64]
In restricting the overbreadth doctrine to free speech claims, the Court, in at least two cases, [67] observed
that the US Supreme Court has not recognized an overbreadth doctrine outside the limited context of the
First Amendment,[68] and that claims of facial overbreadth have been entertained in cases involving
[T]he rule established in our jurisdiction is, only statutes on free speech, religious
statutes which, by their terms, seek to regulate only spoken words.[69] In Virginia v. Hicks,[70] it was held
freedom, and other fundamental rights may be facially challenged. Under no case
that rarely, if ever, will an overbreadth challenge succeed against a law or regulation that is not
may ordinary penal statutes be subjected to a facial challenge. The rationale is
specifically addressed to speech or speech-related conduct. Attacks on overly broad statutes are
obvious. If a facial challenge to a penal statute is permitted, the prosecution of
justified by the transcendent value to all society of constitutionally protected expression.[71]
crimes may be hampered. No prosecution would be possible. A strong criticism
against employing a facial challenge in the case of penal statutes, if the same is
allowed, would effectively go against the grain of the doctrinal requirement of an
existing and concrete controversy before judicial power may be appropriately Since a penal statute may only be assailed for
exercised. A facial challenge against a penal statute is, at best, amorphous and being vague as applied to petitioners, a limited
speculative. It would, essentially, force the court to consider third parties who are not vagueness analysis of the definition of terrorism
before it. As I have said in my opposition to the allowance of a facial challenge to in RA 9372 is legally impermissible absent
attack penal statutes, such a test will impair the States ability to deal with crime. If an actual or imminent charge against them
warranted, there would be nothing that can hinder an accused from defeating the
States power to prosecute on a mere showing that, as applied to third parties, the
penal statute is vague or overbroad, notwithstanding that the law is clear as applied While Estrada did not apply the overbreadth doctrine, it did not preclude the operation of the vagueness
to him.[65] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) test on the Anti-Plunder Law as applied to the therein petitioner, finding, however, that there was no
basis to review the law on its face and in its entirety.[72] It stressed that statutes found vague as a matter
of due process typically are invalidated only 'as applied' to a particular defendant.[73]
Petitioners notion on the transmission of message is entirely inaccurate, as it unduly focuses on just one
particle of an element of the crime. Almost every commission of a crime entails some mincing of words
American jurisprudence[74]
instructs that vagueness challenges that do not involve the First Amendment on the part of the offender like in declaring to launch overt criminal acts against a victim, in haggling on
must be examined in light of the specific facts of the case at hand and not with regard to the statute's the amount of ransom or conditions, or in negotiating a deceitful transaction. An analogy in
facial validity. one U.S. case[78] illustrated that the fact that the prohibition on discrimination in hiring on the basis of
race will require an employer to take down a sign reading White Applicants Only hardly means that the
law should be analyzed as one regulating speech rather than conduct.
For more than 125 years, the US Supreme Court has evaluated defendants claims that criminal statutes
are unconstitutionally vague, developing a doctrine hailed as among the most important guarantees of Utterances not elemental but inevitably incidental to the doing of the criminal conduct alter neither the
liberty under law.[75] intent of the law to punish socially harmful conduct nor the essence of the whole act as conduct and
not speech. This holds true a fortiori in the present case where the expression figures only as an
inevitable incident of making the element of coercion perceptible.
In this jurisdiction, the void-for-vagueness doctrine asserted under the due process clause has been
utilized in examining the constitutionality of criminal statutes. In at least three cases,[76] the Court brought
the doctrine into play in analyzing an ordinance penalizing the non-payment of municipal tax on [I]t is true that the agreements and course of conduct here were as in most instances
fishponds, the crime of illegal recruitment punishable under Article 132(b) of the Labor Code, and the brought about through speaking or writing. But it has never been deemed an
vagrancy provision under Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code. Notably, the petitioners in these abridgement of freedom of speech or press to make a course of conduct illegal
three cases, similar to those in the two Romualdez and Estrada cases, were actually charged with the merely because the conduct was, in part, initiated, evidenced, or carried out by
therein assailed penal statute, unlike in the present case. means of language, either spoken, written, or printed. Such an expansive
interpretation of the constitutional guaranties of speech and press would make it
practically impossible ever to enforce laws against agreements in restraint of trade
There is no merit in the claim that as well as many other agreements and conspiracies deemed injurious to
RA 9372 regulates speech so as to society.[79] (italics and underscoring supplied)
permit a facial analysis of its validity

Certain kinds of speech have been treated as unprotected conduct, because they merely evidence a
prohibited conduct.[80] Since speech is not involved here, the Court cannot heed the call for a facial
analysis.
From the definition of the crime of terrorism in the earlier cited Section 3 of RA 9372, the following
elements may be culled: (1) the offender commits an act punishable under any of the cited provisions of
the Revised Penal Code, or under any of the enumerated special penal laws; (2) the commission of the IN FINE, Estrada and the other cited authorities engaged in a vagueness analysis of the therein subject
predicate crime sows and creates a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the penal statute as applied to the therein petitioners inasmuch as they were actually charged with the
populace; and (3) the offender is actuated by the desire to coerce the government to give in to pertinent crimes challenged on vagueness grounds. The Court in said cases, however, found no basis to
an unlawful demand. review the assailed penal statute on its face and in its entirety.

In insisting on a facial challenge on the invocation that the law penalizes speech, petitioners contend that In Holder, on the other hand, the US Supreme Court allowed the pre-enforcement review of a criminal
the element of unlawful demand in the definition of terrorism[77] must necessarily be transmitted through statute, challenged on vagueness grounds, since the therein plaintiffs faced a credible threat of
some form of expression protected by the free speech clause. prosecution and should not be required to await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means
of seeking relief.

The argument does not persuade. What the law seeks to penalize is conduct, not speech.
As earlier reflected, petitioners have established neither an actual charge nor a credible threat of
prosecution under RA 9372. Even a limited vagueness analysis of the assailed definition of terrorism is
Before a charge for terrorism may be filed under RA 9372, there must first be a predicate crime actually thus legally impermissible. The Court reminds litigants that judicial power neither contemplates
committed to trigger the operation of the key qualifying phrases in the other elements of the crime, speculative counseling on a statutes future effect on hypothetical scenarios nor allows the courts to be
including the coercion of the government to accede to an unlawful demand. Given the presence of the used as an extension of a failed legislative lobbying in Congress.
first element, any attempt at singling out or highlighting the communicative component of the prohibition
cannot recategorize the unprotected conduct into a protected speech. WHEREFORE, the petitions are DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
Be that as it may, a request of this magnitude cannot be immediately granted
without adequate deliberation and upon advisement, especially so in this case
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES where the undersigned doubts the propriety of such request. Hence, it is believed
Associate Justice that authority should first be secured from the Supreme Court, through the
Executive Judge, for the formulation of guidelines and policies on this matter.
The case was thereupon referred to Judge Francisco Mat. Riodique for investigation and report. At the
preliminary hearing on October 16, 1975, Taal Mayor Corazon A. Caniza filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint to preserve harmony and (cooperation among officers in the same municipality. This motion
was denied by the Investigating Judge, but after formal investigation, he recommended the exoneration
Republic of the Philippines of respondent. Pertinent portion of his report reads as follows:
SUPREME COURT
Manila * * * When this case was heard, complainant Dominador Baldoza informed the
Court that he is aware of the motion to dismiss filed by Mayor Corazon A. Caniza
SECOND DIVISION and that he is in conformity with the dismissal of the administrative charge against
Judge Rodolfo Dimaano. The Court asked him if he could prove his case and he
A.M. No. 1120-MJ May 5, 1976
said he can. So, the Court denied his oral motion to dismiss and required him to
DOMINADOR C. BALDOZA, complainant, present his evidence. Complainant only manifested to the Court that he has no
vs. oral evidence. The only evidence he has are the exchanged communication which
HON. JUDGE RODOLFO B. DIMAANO, respondent. were all in writing and attached to the record between him and the respondent.
The Court asked the respondent what he has to say on the documentary evidence
RESOLUTION of the complainant. He manifested that all his answers to the complaint are all
ANTONIO, J.: embodied in his answers filed with the Court.

In a verified letter-complaint dated September 9, 1975, the Municipal Secretary of Taal, Batangas, A careful perusal, scrutiny, and study of the communications between the
charges Municipal Judge Rodolfo B. Dimaano, of the same municipality, with abuse of authority in complainant and the respondent, together with the answers filed by the latter,
refusing to allow employees of the Municipal Mayor to examine the criminal docket records of the reveal that there is no showing of abuse of authority on the part of the respondent.
Municipal Court to secure data in connection with their contemplated report on the peace and order The respondent allowed the complainant to open and view the docket books of the
conditions of the said municipality. Respondent, in answer to the complaint, stated that there has never respondent under certain conditions and under his control and supervision.
been an intention to refuse access to official court records; that although court records are among public Complainant admitted that he was aware of the rules and conditions imposed by
documents open to inspection not only by the parties directly involved but also by other persons who the respondent when he went to his office to view his docket books for the purpose
have legitimate interest to such inspection, yet the same is always subject to reasonable regulation as to mentioned in his communication. He also agreed that he is amenable to such rules
who, when, where and how they may be inspected. He further asserted that a court has unquestionably and conditions which the respondent may impose. Under these conditions,
the power to prevent an improper use or inspection of its records and the furnishing of copies therefrom therefore, the Court finds that the respondent has not committed any abuse of
may be refused where the person requesting is not motivated by a serious and legitimate interest but authority.
acts out of whim or fancy or mere curiosity or to gratify private spite or to promote public scandal. The complainant was warned to be more cautious in filing any administrative
In his answer, the respondent significantly observed: charge against any public official especially, members of the judiciary, considering
that an administrative charge against a member of the judiciary may expose the
Restrictions are imposed by the Court for fear of an abuse in the exercise of the latter to public ridicule and scandal thereby minimizing if not eradicating public
right. For fear that the dirty hands of partisan politics might again be at play, Some trust and
of the cases filed and decided by the Court after the declaration of Martial Law and
years after the election still bore the stigma of partisan politics as shown in the After a careful evaluation of the recommendation, We find that the respondent did not act arbitrarily in
affidavits and testimonies of witnesses. the premises. As found by the Investigating Judge, the respondent allowed the complainant to open and
view the docket books of respondent certain conditions and under his control and supervision. it has not
Without casting aspersion on any particular individual, it is worth mentioning, that been shown that the rules and conditions imposed by the respondent were unreasonable. The access to
the padlocks of the door of the Court has recently been tampered by inserting public records predicated on the right of the people to acquire information on matters of public concern.
papers and matchsticks. Undoubtedly in a democracy, the public has a legitimate interest in matters of social and political
Under the circumstances, to allow an indiscriminate and unlimited exercise of the significance. In an earlier case, 1 this Court held that mandamus would lie to compel the Secretary of
right to free access, might do more harm than good to the citizenry of Taal. Justice and the Register of Deeds to examine the records of the latter office. Predicating the right to
Disorder and chaos might result defeating the very essence of their request. The examine the records on statutory provisions, and to a certain degree by general principles of democratic
undersigned is just as interested as Mr. Baldoza in the welfare of the community institutions, this Court stated that while the Register of Deeds has discretion to exercise as to the
and the preservation of our democratic principles. manner in which persons desiring to inspect, examine or copy the records in his office may exercise their
rights, such power does not carry with it authority to prohibit. Citing with approval People ex rel.
Title Guarantee & T. Co. vs. Railly, 2 this Court said:
The subject is necessarily committed, to a great degree, 'to his (register of deeds')
discretion as to how much of the conveniences of the office are required to be EN BANC
preserved for the accomodation of these persons. It is not his duty to permit the
office to be thronged needlessly with persons examining its books of papers, but it
is his duty to regulate, govern, and control his office in such a manner as to permit
the statutory advantages to be enjoyed by other persons not employed by him as PROF. RANDOLF S. DAVID, LORENZO TA„ADA III, G.R. No. 171396
largely and extensibly as that consistently can be done * * *. What the law expects RONALD LLAMAS, H. HARRY L. ROQUE, JR., JOEL RUIZ
and requires from him is the exercise of an unbiased and impartial judgment, by BUTUYAN, ROGER R. RAYEL, GARY S.
which all persons resorting to the office, under legal authority, and conducting MALLARI, ROMEL REGALADO BAGARES, Present:
themselves in an orderly manner, shall be secured their lawful rights and CHRISTOPHER F.C. BOLASTIG,
privileges, and that a corporation formed in the manner in which the relator has
been, shall be permitted to obtain all the information either by searches, abstracts, Petitioners,
or copies, that the law has entitled it to obtain. PANGANIBAN, C.J.,
*PUNO,
Except, perhaps, when it is clear that the purpose of the examination is unlawful,
- versus -
or sheer, Idle curiosity, we do not believe it is the duty under the law of registration QUISUMBING,
officers to concern themselves with the motives, reasons, and objects of the
person seeking access to the records. It is not their prerogative to see that the YNARES-SANTIAGO,
information which the records contain is not flaunted before public gaze, or that SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
scandal is not made of it. If it be wrong to publish the contents of the records, it is GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, AS
the legislature and not the officials having custody thereof which is called upon to PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, EXECUTIVE CARPIO,
devise a remedy. As to the moral or material injury which the publication might SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, HON. AVELINO CRUZ II, AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
inflict on other parties, that is the publisher's responsibility and lookout. The SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, GENERAL
publication is made subject to the consequences of the law. GENEROSO SENGA, CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES CORONA,
The concurring opinion of Justice Briones predicated such right not on statutory grounds merely but on OF THE PHILIPPINES, DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO
CARPIO MORALES,
the constitutional right of the press to have access to information as the essence of press freedom. 3 LOMIBAO, CHIEF, PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE,
CALLEJO, SR.,
The New Constitution now expressly recognizes that the people are entitled to information on matters of Respondents.
public concern and thus are expressly granted access to official records, as well as documents of official AZCUNA,
x-------------------------------------------------x
acts, or transactions, or decisions, subject to such limitations imposed by law. 4 The incorporation of this TINGA,
right in the Constitution is a recognition of the fundamental role of free exchange of information in a NI„EZ CACHO-OLIVARES AND TRIBUNE PUBLISHING
democracy. There can be no realistic perception by the public of the nation's problems, nor a meaningful CO., INC., CHICO-NAZARIO,
democratic decision making if they are denied access to information of general interest. Information is Petitioners, GARCIA, and
needed to enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of the times. As has been aptly
observed: "Maintaining the flow of such information depends on protection for both its acquisition and its VELASCO, JJ.
dissemination since, if either process is interrupted, the flow inevitably ceases. " 5 However, restrictions
on access to certain records may be imposed by law. Thus, access restrictions imposed to control civil
insurrection have been permitted upon a showing of immediate and impending danger that renders - versus - Promulgated:
ordinary means of control inadequate to maintain order. 6
WHEREFORE, the case against respondent is hereby dismissed.
May 3, 2006
Fernando, Actg. C.J., Barredo, Actg.(Chairman), Aquino and Martin JJ., concur.
HONORABLE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA AND
Concepcion Jr., J., is on leave. HONORABLE DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO C.
LOMIBAO,
Respondents. G.R. No. 171409

x-------------------------------------------------x
FRANCIS JOSEPH G. ESCUDERO, JOSEPH A. SANTIAGO,
TEODORO A. CASINO, AGAPITO A. AQUINO, MARIO J.
AGUJA, SATUR C. OCAMPO, MUJIV S. HATAMAN, JUAN
EDGARDO ANGARA, TEOFISTO DL. GUINGONA III, HER EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-
EMMANUEL JOSEL J. VILLANUEVA, LIZA L. MAZA, IMEE ARROYO, THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
R. MARCOS, RENATO B. MAGTUBO, JUSTIN MARC SB. EDUARDO ERMITA, THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED
CHIPECO, ROILO GOLEZ, DARLENE ANTONINO- FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, GENEROSO SENGA, AND
CUSTODIO, LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES, JOSEL G. THE PNP DIRECTOR GENERAL, ARTURO LOMIBAO,
VIRADOR, RAFAEL V. MARIANO, GILBERT C. REMULLA,
FLORENCIO G. NOEL, ANA THERESIA HONTIVEROS- Respondents.
BARAQUEL, IMELDA C. NICOLAS, MARVIC M.V.F. x-------------------------------------------------x
LEONEN, NERI JAVIER COLMENARES, MOVEMENT OF
CONCERNED CITIZENS FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES ALTERNATIVE LAW GROUPS, INC. (ALG),
REPRESENTED BY AMADO GAT INCIONG,
Petitioner,
Petitioners,
- versus -

- versus - G.R. No. 171485

EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO R. ERMITA, LT. GEN.


GENEROSO SENGA, AND DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO
LOMIBAO, G.R. No. 171483
EDUARDO R. ERMITA, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY,
AVELINO J. CRUZ, JR., SECRETARY, DND RONALDO V. Respondents.
PUNO, SECRETARY, DILG, GENEROSO SENGA, AFP
x-------------------------------------------------x
CHIEF OF STAFF, ARTURO LOMIBAO, CHIEF PNP,
JOSE ANSELMO I. CADIZ, FELICIANO M. BAUTISTA,
Respondents.
ROMULO R. RIVERA, JOSE AMOR M. AMORADO, ALICIA
x-------------------------------------------------x A. RISOS-VIDAL, FELIMON C. ABELITA III, MANUEL P.
LEGASPI, J.B. JOVY C. BERNABE, BERNARD L.
KILUSANG MAYO UNO, REPRESENTED BY ITS DAGCUTA, ROGELIO V. GARCIA AND INTEGRATED BAR
CHAIRPERSON ELMER C. LABOG AND SECRETARY OF THE PHILIPPINES (IBP),
GENERAL JOEL MAGLUNSOD, NATIONAL FEDERATION
OF LABOR UNIONS Ð KILUSANG MAYO UNO (NAFLU- Petitioners,
KMU), REPRESENTED BY ITS NATIONAL PRESIDENT,
JOSELITO V. USTAREZ, ANTONIO C. PASCUAL,
SALVADOR T. CARRANZA, EMILIA P. DAPULANG, - versus -
MARTIN CUSTODIO, JR., AND ROQUE M. TAN,
Petitioners,

HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA,


GENERAL GENEROSO SENGA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS AFP
CHIEF OF STAFF, AND DIRECTOR GENERAL ARTURO
LOMIBAO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS PNP CHIEF,
Respondents.
- versus -
x-------------------------------------------------x
LOREN B. LEGARDA,
Petitioner,
- versus -

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, IN HER CAPACITY AS


PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF; ARTURO
LOMIBAO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF
THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE (PNP); GENEROSO
SENGA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE
ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES (AFP); AND
EDUARDO ERMITA, IN HIS CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE
SECRETARY,
Respondents.

G.R. No. 171400

G.R. No. 171424

x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

G.R. No. 171489 SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:

All powers need some restraint; practical adjustments rather than rigid formula are
necessary.[1] Superior strength Ð the use of force Ð cannot make wrongs into rights. In this regard, the
courts should be vigilant in safeguarding the constitutional rights of the citizens, specifically their liberty.
WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of
the national media;
Chief Justice Artemio V. PanganibanÕs philosophy of liberty is thus most relevant. He said: ÒIn cases
involving liberty, the scales of justice should weigh heavily against government and in favor of
the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, the dispossessed and the weak.Ó Laws and actions
that restrict fundamental rights come to the courts Òwith a heavy presumption against their constitutional WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State Ð by obstructing governance
validity.Ó[2] including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the peopleÕs confidence in
government and their faith in the future of this country;
These seven (7) consolidated petitions for certiorari and prohibition allege that in issuing
Presidential Proclamation No. 1017 (PP 1017) and General Order No. 5 (G.O. No. 5), President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo committed grave abuse of discretion. Petitioners contend that respondent officials of WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;
the Government, in their professed efforts to defend and preserve democratic institutions, are actually
trampling upon the very freedom guaranteed and protected by the Constitution. Hence, such issuances
are void for being unconstitutional. WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the
opening to intensify their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

Once again, the Court is faced with an age-old but persistently modern problem. How does the WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of the our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the
Constitution of a free people combine the degree of liberty, without which, law becomes tyranny, with democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;
the degree of law, without which, liberty becomes license?[3]
On February 24, 2006, as the nation celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Edsa People Power I, WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects
President Arroyo issued PP 1017 declaring a state of national emergency, thus: constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the
Filipino people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by
Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: ÒThe President. . . whenever it
becomes necessary, . . . may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress. . .rebellion. . .,Ó and in On the same day, the President issued G. O. No. 5 implementing PP 1017, thus:
my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms
of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with
the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my authoritarians of the extreme Left, represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right,
direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State represented by military adventurists - the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State Ð and
of National Emergency. who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad
front, to bring down the duly-constituted Government elected in May 2004;
WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down our republican government;
She cited the following facts as bases:

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the
WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with
national media;
authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right,
represented by military adventurists Ð the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine
State Ð who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over
a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004; WHEREAS, these series of actions is hurting the Philippine State by obstructing governance, including
hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the peopleÕs confidence in the government and
their faith in the future of this country;
WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;
WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;
WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces; of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the NOW, THEREFORE, I, GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, President of the Republic of the
opening to intensify their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State; Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by law, hereby declare that the state of national
emergency has ceased to exist.

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the
democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;
In their presentation of the factual bases of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, respondents stated that the
proximate cause behind the executive issuances was the conspiracy among some military officers, leftist
WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects insurgents of the New PeopleÕs Army (NPA), and some members of the political opposition in a plot to
constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the unseat or assassinate President Arroyo.[4] They considered the aim to oust or assassinate the President
Filipino people; and take-over the reigns of government as a clear and present danger.
During the oral arguments held on March 7, 2006, the Solicitor General specified the facts leading to the
WHEREAS, Proclamation 1017 date February 24, 2006 has been issued declaring a State of National issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. Significantly, there was no refutation from
Emergency; petitionersÕ counsels.
The Solicitor General argued that the intent of the Constitution is to give full discretionary powers to
the President in determining the necessity of calling out the armed forces. He emphasized that none of
NOW, THEREFORE, I GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, by virtue of the powers vested in me under the petitioners has shown that PP 1017 was without factual bases. While he explained that it is not
the Constitution as President of the Republic of the Philippines, and Commander-in-Chief of the respondentsÕ task to state the facts behind the questioned Proclamation, however, they are presenting
Republic of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, do hereby the same, narrated hereunder, for the elucidation of the issues.
call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), to prevent
and suppress acts of terrorism and lawless violence in the country; On January 17, 2006, Captain Nathaniel Rabonza and First Lieutenants Sonny Sarmiento,
Lawrence San Juan and Patricio Bumidang, members of the Magdalo Group indicted in the Oakwood
mutiny, escaped their detention cell in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. In a public statement, they vowed to
I hereby direct the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Chief of the PNP, as well as the officers and remain defiant and to elude arrest at all costs. They called upon the people to Òshow and proclaim our
men of the AFP and PNP, to immediately carry out the necessary and appropriate actions and displeasure at the sham regime. Let us demonstrate our disgust, not only by going to the streets in
measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence. protest, but also by wearing red bands on our left arms.Ó [5]

On February 17, 2006, the authorities got hold of a document entitled ÒOplan Hackle I Ó which detailed
plans for bombings and attacks during the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Homecoming in Baguio
On March 3, 2006, exactly one week after the declaration of a state of national emergency and after all City. The plot was to assassinate selected targets including some cabinet members and President
these petitions had been filed, the President lifted PP 1017. She issued Proclamation No. 1021 which Arroyo herself.[6] Upon the advice of her security, President Arroyo decided not to attend the Alumni
reads: Homecoming. The next day, at the height of the celebration, a bomb was found and detonated at the
PMA parade ground.
WHEREAS, pursuant to Section 18, Article VII and Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution,
Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, was issued declaring a state of national emergency; On February 21, 2006, Lt. San Juan was recaptured in a communist safehouse in Batangas
province. Found in his possession were two (2) flash disks containing minutes of the meetings between
members of the Magdalo Group and the National PeopleÕs Army (NPA), a tape recorder, audio cassette
WHEREAS, by virtue of General Order No.5 and No.6 dated February 24, 2006, which were cartridges, diskettes, and copies of subversive documents. [7] Prior to his arrest, Lt. San Juan
issued on the basis of Proclamation No. 1017, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the announced through DZRH that the ÒMagdaloÕs D-Day would be on February 24, 2006, the
Philippine National Police (PNP), were directed to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, 20th Anniversary of Edsa I.Ó
prevent and suppress all form of lawless violence as well as any act of rebellion and to undertake such
On February 23, 2006, PNP Chief Arturo Lomibao intercepted information that members of the PNP-
action as may be necessary;
Special Action Force were planning to defect. Thus, he immediately ordered SAF Commanding
General Marcelino Franco, Jr. to ÒdisavowÓ any defection. The latter promptly obeyed and issued a
public statement: ÒAll SAF units are under the effective control of responsible and trustworthy officers
WHEREAS, the AFP and PNP have effectively prevented, suppressed and quelled the acts with proven integrity and unquestionable loyalty.Ó
lawless violence and rebellion;
On the same day, at the house of former Congressman Peping Cojuangco, President Cory AquinoÕs
brother, businessmen and mid-level government officials plotted moves to bring down the Arroyo
administration. Nelly Sindayen of TIME Magazine reported that Pastor Saycon, longtime Arroyo critic,
called a U.S. government official about his groupÕs plans if President Arroyo is ousted. Saycon also clusters of anti-riot police. The well-trained policemen used truncheons, big fiber glass shields, water
phoned a man code-named Delta. Saycon identified him as B/Gen. Danilo Lim, Commander of the cannons, and tear gas to stop and break up the marching groups, and scatter the massed participants.
ArmyÕs elite Scout Ranger. Lim said Òit was all systems go for the planned movement against The same police action was used against the protesters marching forward to Cubao, Quezon City and to
Arroyo.Ó[8] the corner of Santolan Street and EDSA. That same evening, hundreds of riot policemen broke up an
EDSA celebration rally held along Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas Street in Makati City.[12]
B/Gen. Danilo Lim and Brigade Commander Col. Ariel Querubin confided to Gen. Generoso Senga,
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), that a huge number of soldiers would join According to petitioner Kilusang Mayo Uno, the police cited PP 1017 as the ground for the dispersal of
the rallies to provide a critical mass and armed component to the Anti-Arroyo protests to be held on their assemblies.
February 24, 2005. According to these two (2) officers, there was no way they could possibly stop the
soldiers because they too, were breaking the chain of command to join the forces foist to unseat the During the dispersal of the rallyists along EDSA, police arrested (without warrant) petitioner Randolf S.
President. However, Gen. Senga has remained faithful to his Commander-in-Chief and to the chain of David, a professor at the University of the Philippines and newspaper columnist. Also arrested was his
command. He immediately took custody of B/Gen. Lim and directed Col. Querubin to return to the companion, Ronald Llamas, president of party-list Akbayan.
Philippine Marines Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio. At around 12:20 in the early morning of February 25, 2006, operatives of the Criminal Investigation and
Earlier, the CPP-NPA called for intensification of political and revolutionary work within the military and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP, on the basis of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, raided the Daily
the police establishments in order to forge alliances with its members and key officials. NPA Tribune offices in Manila. The raiding team confiscated news stories by reporters, documents, pictures,
spokesman Gregorio ÒKa RogerÓ Rosal declared: ÒThe Communist Party and revolutionary movement and mock-ups of the Saturday issue. Policemen from Camp Crame in Quezon City were stationed
and the entire people look forward to the possibility in the coming year of accomplishing its immediate inside the editorial and business offices of the newspaper; while policemen from the Manila Police
task of bringing down the Arroyo regime; of rendering it to weaken and unable to rule that it will not take District were stationed outside the building.[13]
much longer to end it.Ó[9] A few minutes after the search and seizure at the Daily Tribune offices, the police surrounded the
On the other hand, Cesar Renerio, spokesman for the National Democratic Front (NDF) at North Central premises of another pro-opposition paper, Malaya, and its sister publication, the tabloid Abante.
Mindanao, publicly announced: ÒAnti-Arroyo groups within the military and police are growing rapidly, The raid, according to Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor, is Òmeant to show a Ôstrong
hastened by the economic difficulties suffered by the families of AFP officers and enlisted personnel who presence,Õ to tell media outlets not to connive or do anything that would help the rebels in bringing
undertake counter-insurgency operations in the field.Ó He claimed that with the forces of the national down this government.Ó The PNP warned that it would take over any media organization that would
democratic movement, the anti-Arroyo conservative political parties, coalitions, plus the groups that have not follow Òstandards set by the government during the state of national emergency.Ó Director
been reinforcing since June 2005, it is probable that the PresidentÕs ouster is nearing its concluding General Lomibao stated that Òif they do not follow the standards Ð and the standards are - if they would
stage in the first half of 2006. contribute to instability in the government, or if they do not subscribe to what is in General Order No. 5
Respondents further claimed that the bombing of telecommunication towers and cell sites in Bulacan and Proc. No. 1017 Ð we will recommend a Ôtakeover.ÕÓ National TelecommunicationsÕ
and Bataan was also considered as additional factual basis for the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. Commissioner Ronald Solis urged television and radio networks to ÒcooperateÓ with the government
5. So is the raid of an army outpost in Benguet resulting in the death of three (3) soldiers. And also the for the duration of the state of national emergency. He asked for Òbalanced reportingÓ from
directive of the Communist Party of the Philippines ordering its front organizations to join 5,000 Metro broadcasters when covering the events surrounding the coup attempt foiled by the government. He
Manila radicals and 25,000 more from the provinces in mass protests.[10] warned that his agency will not hesitate to recommend the closure of any broadcast outfit that violates
rules set out for media coverage when the national security is threatened.[14]
By midnight of February 23, 2006, the President convened her security advisers and several cabinet
members to assess the gravity of the fermenting peace and order situation. She directed both the AFP Also, on February 25, 2006, the police arrested Congressman Crispin Beltran, representing
and the PNP to account for all their men and ensure that the chain of command remains solid and the Anakpawis Party and Chairman of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), while leaving his farmhouse in
undivided. To protect the young students from any possible trouble that might break loose on the Bulacan. The police showed a warrant for his arrest dated 1985. BeltranÕs lawyer explained that the
streets, the President suspended classes in all levels in the entire National Capital Region. warrant, which stemmed from a case of inciting to rebellion filed during the Marcos regime, had long
been quashed. Beltran, however, is not a party in any of these petitions.
For their part, petitioners cited the events that followed after the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O.
No. 5. When members of petitioner KMU went to Camp Crame to visit Beltran, they were told they could not be
admitted because of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. Two members were arrested and detained, while the
Immediately, the Office of the President announced the cancellation of all programs and activities related rest were dispersed by the police.
to the 20th anniversary celebration of Edsa People Power I; and revoked the permits to hold rallies
issued earlier by the local governments. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales stated that political rallies, Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo eluded arrest when the police went after him during a public
which to the PresidentÕs mind were organized for purposes of destabilization, are cancelled.Presidential forum at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. But his two drivers, identified as Roel and Art, were taken into
Chief of Staff Michael Defensor announced that Òwarrantless arrests and take-over of facilities, custody.
including media, can already be implemented.Ó[11] Retired Major General Ramon Monta–o, former head of the Philippine Constabulary, was arrested while
Undeterred by the announcements that rallies and public assemblies would not be allowed, groups of with his wife and golfmates at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in Dasmari–as, Cavite.
protesters (members of Kilusang Mayo Uno [KMU] and National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Attempts were made to arrest Anakpawis Representative Satur Ocampo, Representative Rafael
Mayo Uno [NAFLU-KMU]), marched from various parts of Metro Manila with the intention of converging Mariano, Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casi–o and Gabriela Representative Liza Maza. Bayan
at the EDSA shrine. Those who were already near the EDSA site were violently dispersed by huge Muna Representative Josel Virador was arrested at the PAL Ticket Office in Davao City. Later, he was
turned over to the custody of the House of Representatives where the ÒBatasan 5Ó decided to stay In respondentsÕ Consolidated Comment, the Solicitor General countered that: first, the petitions
indefinitely. should be dismissed for being moot; second, petitioners in G.R. Nos. 171400 (ALGI), 171424
(Legarda), 171483 (KMU et al.), 171485 (Escudero et al.) and 171489 (Cadiz et al.) have no legal
Let it be stressed at this point that the alleged violations of the rights of Representatives Beltran, Satur standing; third, it is not necessary for petitioners to implead President Arroyo as respondent; fourth, PP
Ocampo, et al., are not being raised in these petitions. 1017 has constitutional and legal basis; and fifth, PP 1017 does not violate the peopleÕs right to free
On March 3, 2006, President Arroyo issued PP 1021 declaring that the state of national emergency has expression and redress of grievances.
ceased to exist. On March 7, 2006, the Court conducted oral arguments and heard the parties on the above
In the interim, these seven (7) petitions challenging the constitutionality of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 were interlocking issues which may be summarized as follows:
filed with this Court against the above-named respondents. Three (3) of these petitions impleaded A. PROCEDURAL:
President Arroyo as respondent.
1) Whether the issuance of PP 1021 renders the petitions moot and academic.
In G.R. No. 171396, petitioners Randolf S. David, et al. assailed PP 1017 on the grounds that (1) it
encroaches on the emergency powers of Congress; (2) it is a subterfuge to avoid the constitutional 2) Whether petitioners in 171485 (Escudero et al.), G.R. Nos. 171400 (ALGI), 171483 (KMU et
requirements for the imposition of martial law; and (3) it violates the constitutional guarantees of freedom al.), 171489 (Cadiz et al.), and 171424 (Legarda) have legal standing.
of the press, of speech and of assembly.
B. SUBSTANTIVE:
In G.R. No. 171409, petitioners Ninez Cacho-Olivares and Tribune Publishing Co., Inc. challenged
the CIDGÕs act of raiding the Daily Tribune offices as a clear case of ÒcensorshipÓ or Òprior 1) Whether the Supreme Court can review the factual bases of PP 1017.
restraint.Ó They also claimed that the term ÒemergencyÓ refers only to tsunami, typhoon, hurricane 2) Whether PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are unconstitutional.
and similar occurrences, hence, there is Òabsolutely no emergencyÓ that warrants the issuance of PP
1017. a. Facial Challenge

In G.R. No. 171485, petitioners herein are Representative Francis Joseph G. Escudero, and twenty b. Constitutional Basis
one (21) other members of the House of Representatives, including Representatives Satur Ocampo, c. As Applied Challenge
Rafael Mariano, Teodoro Casi–o, Liza Maza, and Josel Virador. They asserted that PP 1017 and G.O.
No. 5 constitute Òusurpation of legislative powersÓ; Òviolation of freedom of expressionÓ and Òa
declaration of martial law.Ó They alleged that President Arroyo Ògravely abused her discretion in
A. PROCEDURAL
calling out the armed forces without clear and verifiable factual basis of the possibility of lawless violence
and a showing that there is necessity to do so.Ó
In G.R. No. 171483, petitioners KMU, NAFLU-KMU, and their members averred that PP 1017 and First, we must resolve the procedural roadblocks.
G.O. No. 5 are unconstitutional because (1) they arrogate unto President Arroyo the power to enact laws
and decrees; (2) their issuance was without factual basis; and (3) they violate freedom of expression and I- Moot and Academic Principle
the right of the people to peaceably assemble to redress their grievances. One of the greatest contributions of the American system to this country is the concept of judicial
In G.R. No. 171400, petitioner Alternative Law Groups, Inc. (ALGI) alleged that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 review enunciated in Marbury v. Madison.[21] This concept rests on the extraordinary simple foundation --
are unconstitutional because they violate (a) Section 4[15] of Article II, (b) Sections 1,[16] 2,[17] and The Constitution is the supreme law. It was ordained by the people, the ultimate source of all
4[18] of Article III, (c) Section 23[19] of Article VI, and (d) Section 17[20] of Article XII of the Constitution. political authority. It confers limited powers on the national government. x x x If the government
In G.R. No. 171489, petitioners Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz et al., alleged that PP 1017 is an Òarbitrary and consciously or unconsciously oversteps these limitations there must be some authority
unlawful exercise by the President of her Martial Law powers.Ó And assuming that PP 1017 is not competent to hold it in control, to thwart its unconstitutional attempt, and thus to vindicate and
really a declaration of Martial Law, petitioners argued that Òit amounts to an exercise by the President of preserve inviolate the will of the people as expressed in the Constitution. This power the courts
emergency powers without congressional approval.Ó In addition, petitioners asserted that PP 1017 exercise. This is the beginning and the end of the theory of judicial review.[22]
Ògoes beyond the nature and function of a proclamation as defined under the Revised Administrative
Code.Ó
But the power of judicial review does not repose upon the courts a Òself-starting
And lastly, in G.R. No. 171424, petitioner Loren B. Legarda maintained that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are capacity.Ó[23] Courts may exercise such power only when the following requisites are
Òunconstitutional for being violative of the freedom of expression, including its cognate rights such as present: first, there must be an actual case or controversy; second, petitioners have to raise a question
freedom of the press and the right to access to information on matters of public concern, all guaranteed of constitutionality; third, the constitutional question must be raised at the earliest opportunity;
under Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution.Ó In this regard, she stated that these issuances and fourth, the decision of the constitutional question must be necessary to the determination of the case
prevented her from fully prosecuting her election protest pending before the Presidential Electoral itself.[24]
Tribunal.
Respondents maintain that the first and second requisites are absent, hence, we shall limit our
discussion thereon.
An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal right, an opposite legal claims susceptible of party entitled to the avails of the suit.Ó[38] Succinctly put, the plaintiffÕs standing is based on his own
judicial resolution. It is Òdefinite and concrete, touching the legal relations of parties having adverse right to the relief sought.
legal interest;Ó a real and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief.[25] The Solicitor General
refutes the existence of such actual case or controversy, contending that the present petitions were
rendered Òmoot and academicÓ by President ArroyoÕs issuance of PP 1021.
Such contention lacks merit. The difficulty of determining locus standi arises in public suits. Here, the plaintiff who asserts
A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of a Òpublic rightÓ in assailing an allegedly illegal official action, does so as a representative of the general
supervening events,[26] so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value.[27] Generally, public. He may be a person who is affected no differently from any other person. He could be suing as
courts decline jurisdiction over such case[28] or dismiss it on ground of mootness.[29] a Òstranger,Ó or in the category of a Òcitizen,Ó or Ôtaxpayer.Ó In either case, he has to adequately
show that he is entitled to seek judicial protection. In other words, he has to make out a sufficient
The Court holds that President ArroyoÕs issuance of PP 1021 did not render the present petitions moot interest in the vindication of the public order and the securing of relief as a ÒcitizenÓ or Òtaxpayer.
and academic. During the eight (8) days that PP 1017 was operative, the police officers, according to
petitioners, committed illegal acts in implementing it. Are PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 constitutional or Case law in most jurisdictions now allows both ÒcitizenÓ and ÒtaxpayerÓ standing in public
valid? Do they justify these alleged illegal acts? These are the vital issues that must be resolved in actions. The distinction was first laid down in Beauchamp v. Silk,[39] where it was held that the plaintiff
the present petitions. It must be stressed that Òan unconstitutional act is not a law, it confers no in a taxpayerÕs suit is in a different category from the plaintiff in a citizenÕs suit. In the former, the
rights, it imposes no duties, it affords no protection; it is in legal contemplation, inoperative.Ó[30] plaintiff is affected by the expenditure of public funds, while in the latter, he is but the mere
instrument of the public concern. As held by the New York Supreme Court in People ex rel Case v.
The Òmoot and academicÓ principle is not a magical formula that can automatically dissuade the courts Collins:[40] ÒIn matter of mere public right, howeverÉthe people are the real partiesÉIt is at least
in resolving a case. Courts will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if: first, there is a grave the right, if not the duty, of every citizen to interfere and see that a public offence be properly
violation of the Constitution;[31] second, the exceptional character of the situation and the paramount pursued and punished, and that a public grievance be remedied.Ó With respect to taxpayerÕs
public interest is involved;[32] third, when constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling suits, Terr v. Jordan[41] held that Òthe right of a citizen and a taxpayer to maintain an action in
principles to guide the bench, the bar, and the public;[33] and fourth, the case is capable of repetition yet courts to restrain the unlawful use of public funds to his injury cannot be denied.Ó
evading review.[34]
However, to prevent just about any person from seeking judicial interference in any official policy or
All the foregoing exceptions are present here and justify this CourtÕs assumption of jurisdiction over the act with which he disagreed with, and thus hinders the activities of governmental agencies engaged in
instant petitions. Petitioners alleged that the issuance of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 violates the public service, the United State Supreme Court laid down the more stringent Òdirect injuryÓ test in Ex
Constitution. There is no question that the issues being raised affect the publicÕs interest, involving as Parte Levitt,[42] later reaffirmed in Tileston v. Ullman.[43] The same Court ruled that for a private individual
they do the peopleÕs basic rights to freedom of expression, of assembly and of the press. Moreover, to invoke the judicial power to determine the validity of an executive or legislative action, he must show
the Court has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional precepts, doctrines or rules. It that he has sustained a direct injury as a result of that action, and it is not sufficient that he has a
has the symbolic function of educating the bench and the bar, and in the present petitions, the military general interest common to all members of the public.
and the police, on the extent of the protection given by constitutional guarantees.[35] And lastly,
respondentsÕ contested actions are capable of repetition. Certainly, the petitions are subject to This Court adopted the Òdirect injuryÓ test in our jurisdiction. In People v. Vera,[44] it held that the
judicial review. person who impugns the validity of a statute must have Òa personal and substantial interest in the
case such that he has sustained, or will sustain direct injury as a result.Ó The Vera doctrine was
In their attempt to prove the alleged mootness of this case, respondents cited Chief Justice Artemio V. upheld in a litany of cases, such as, Custodio v. President of the Senate,[45] Manila Race Horse
PanganibanÕs Separate Opinion in Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary.[36] However, they failed to take TrainersÕ Association v. De la Fuente,[46] Pascual v. Secretary of Public Works[47] and Anti-Chinese
into account the Chief JusticeÕs very statement that an otherwise ÒmootÓ case may still be decided League of the Philippines v. Felix.[48]
Òprovided the party raising it in a proper case has been and/or continues to be prejudiced or damaged
as a direct result of its issuance.Ó The present case falls right within this exception to the mootness However, being a mere procedural technicality, the requirement of locus standi may be waived by the
rule pointed out by the Chief Justice. Court in the exercise of its discretion. This was done in the 1949 Emergency Powers Cases,Araneta v.
Dinglasan,[49] where the Òtranscendental importanceÓ of the cases prompted the Court to act
II- Legal Standing liberally. Such liberality was neither a rarity nor accidental. In Aquino v. Comelec,[50] this Court
resolved to pass upon the issues raised due to the Òfar-reaching implicationsÓ of the petition
In view of the number of petitioners suing in various personalities, the Court deems it imperative to have notwithstanding its categorical statement that petitioner therein had no personality to file the
a more than passing discussion on legal standing or locus standi. suit. Indeed, there is a chain of cases where this liberal policy has been observed, allowing ordinary
citizens, members of Congress, and civic organizations to prosecute actions involving the
constitutionality or validity of laws, regulations and rulings.[51]
Locus standi is defined as Òa right of appearance in a court of justice on a given question.Ó[37] In
private suits, standing is governed by the Òreal-parties-in interestÓ rule as contained in Section 2, Rule Thus, the Court has adopted a rule that even where the petitioners have failed to show direct
3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. It provides that Òevery action must be injury, they have been allowed to sue under the principle of Òtranscendental importance.Ó Pertinent
prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in interest.Ó Accordingly, the Òreal-party-in are the following cases:
interestÓ is Òthe party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit or the
(1) Chavez v. Public Estates Authority,[52] where the Court ruled that the enforcement of the usurpation of the emergency powers of Congress, thus impairing their legislative powers. As to
constitutional right to information and the equitable diffusion of natural resources are matters of petitioners Sanlakas, Partido Manggagawa, and Social Justice Society, the Court declared them to be
transcendental importance which clothe the petitioner with locus standi; devoid of standing, equating them with the LDP in Lacson.
Now, the application of the above principles to the present petitions.
(2) Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v. Zamora,[53]
wherein the Court held that Ògiven the The locus standi of petitioners in G.R. No. 171396, particularly David and Llamas, is beyond doubt. The
transcendental importance of the issues involved, the Court may relax the standing requirements same holds true with petitioners in G.R. No. 171409, Cacho-Olivares and Tribune Publishing Co.
and allow the suit to prosper despite the lack of direct injury to the parties seeking judicial Inc. They alleged Òdirect injuryÓ resulting from Òillegal arrestÓ and Òunlawful searchÓ committed by
reviewÓ of the Visiting Forces Agreement; police operatives pursuant to PP 1017. Rightly so, the Solicitor General does not question their legal
standing.
In G.R. No. 171485, the opposition Congressmen alleged there was usurpation of legislative
(3) Lim v. Executive Secretary,[54] while the Court noted that the petitioners may not file suit in their powers. They also raised the issue of whether or not the concurrence of Congress is necessary
capacity as taxpayers absent a showing that ÒBalikatan 02-01Ó involves the exercise of CongressÕ whenever the alarming powers incident to Martial Law are used. Moreover, it is in the interest of justice
taxing or spending powers, it reiterated its ruling in Bagong Alyansang Makabayan v. that those affected by PP 1017 can be represented by their Congressmen in bringing to the attention of
Zamora,[55] that in cases of transcendental importance, the cases must be settled promptly and the Court the alleged violations of their basic rights.
definitely and standing requirements may be relaxed.
In G.R. No. 171400, (ALGI), this Court applied the liberality rule in Philconsa v.
Enriquez,[60] Kapatiran Ng Mga Naglilingkod sa Pamahalaan ng Pilipinas, Inc. v. Tan,[61] Association of
By way of summary, the following rules may be culled from the cases decided by this Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. v. Secretary of Agrarian Reform,[62] Basco v. Philippine
Court. Taxpayers, voters, concerned citizens, and legislators may be accorded standing to sue, Amusement and Gaming Corporation,[63] and Ta–ada v. Tuvera,[64] that when the issue concerns a
provided that the following requirements are met: public right, it is sufficient that the petitioner is a citizen and has an interest in the execution of the laws.

(1) the cases involve constitutional issues; In G.R. No. 171483, KMUÕs assertion that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 violated its right to peaceful
assembly may be deemed sufficient to give it legal standing. Organizations may be granted standing
(2) for taxpayers, there must be a claim of illegal disbursement of public funds or that the tax to assert the rights of their members.[65] We take judicial notice of the announcement by the Office
measure is unconstitutional; of the President banning all rallies and canceling all permits for public assemblies following the issuance
(3) for voters, there must be a showing of obvious interest in the validity of the election law in of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.
question; In G.R. No. 171489, petitioners, Cadiz et al., who are national officers of the Integrated Bar of the
(4) for concerned citizens, there must be a showing that the issues raised are of Philippines (IBP) have no legal standing, having failed to allege any direct or potential injury which the
transcendental importance which must be settled early; and IBP as an institution or its members may suffer as a consequence of the issuance of PP No. 1017 and
G.O. No. 5. In Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora,[66] the Court held that the mere invocation by
(5) for legislators, there must be a claim that the official action complained of infringes upon the IBP of its duty to preserve the rule of law and nothing more, while undoubtedly true, is not sufficient
their prerogatives as legislators. to clothe it with standing in this case. This is too general an interest which is shared by other groups
and the whole citizenry. However, in view of the transcendental importance of the issue, this Court
Significantly, recent decisions show a certain toughening in the CourtÕs attitude toward legal standing.
declares that petitioner have locus standi.
In Kilosbayan, Inc. v. Morato,[56] the Court ruled that the status of Kilosbayan as a peopleÕs
In G.R. No. 171424, Loren Legarda has no personality as a taxpayer to file the instant petition as there
organization does not give it the requisite personality to question the validity of the on-line lottery
are no allegations of illegal disbursement of public funds. The fact that she is a former Senator is of no
contract, more so where it does not raise any issue of constitutionality. Moreover, it cannot sue as a
consequence. She can no longer sue as a legislator on the allegation that her prerogatives as a
taxpayer absent any allegation that public funds are being misused. Nor can it sue as a concerned
lawmaker have been impaired by PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5. Her claim that she is a media personality
citizen as it does not allege any specific injury it has suffered.
will not likewise aid her because there was no showing that the enforcement of these issuances
In Telecommunications and Broadcast Attorneys of the Philippines, Inc. v. Comelec,[57] the Court prevented her from pursuing her occupation. Her submission that she has pending electoral protest
reiterated the Òdirect injuryÓ test with respect to concerned citizensÕ cases involving constitutional before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is likewise of no relevance. She has not sufficiently shown that
issues. It held that Òthere must be a showing that the citizen personally suffered some actual or PP 1017 will affect the proceedings or result of her case. But considering once more the transcendental
threatened injury arising from the alleged illegal official act.Ó importance of the issue involved, this Court may relax the standing rules.
In Lacson v. Perez,[58] the Court ruled that one of the petitioners, Laban ng Demokratikong It must always be borne in mind that the question of locus standi is but corollary to the bigger question of
Pilipino (LDP), is not a real party-in-interest as it had not demonstrated any injury to itself or to its proper exercise of judicial power. This is the underlying legal tenet of the Òliberality doctrineÓ on legal
leaders, members or supporters. standing. It cannot be doubted that the validity of PP No. 1017 and G.O. No. 5 is a judicial question
which is of paramount importance to the Filipino people. To paraphrase Justice Laurel, the whole of
In Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,[59] the Court ruled that only the petitioners who are members of Philippine society now waits with bated breath the ruling of this Court on this very critical matter. The
Congress have standing to sue, as they claim that the PresidentÕs declaration of a state of rebellion is a
petitions thus call for the application of the Òtranscendental importanceÓ doctrine, a relaxation of the The Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. Zamora[80] -- a recent case most pertinent to these cases at bar -
standing requirements for the petitioners in the ÒPP 1017 cases.Ó - echoed a principle similar to Lansang. While the Court considered the PresidentÕs Òcalling-outÓ
power as a discretionary power solely vested in his wisdom, it stressed that Òthis does not prevent an
examination of whether such power was exercised within permissible constitutional limits or
This Court holds that all the petitioners herein have locus standi. whether it was exercised in a manner constituting grave abuse of discretion.Ó This ruling is
mainly a result of the CourtÕs reliance on Section 1, Article VIII of 1987 Constitution which fortifies the
authority of the courts to determine in an appropriate action the validity of the acts of the political
Incidentally, it is not proper to implead President Arroyo as respondent. Settled is the doctrine that the departments. Under the new definition of judicial power, the courts are authorized not only Òto settle
President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency,[67] may not be sued in any civil or criminal actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable,Ó but also Òto
case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law. It will degrade the dignity of the determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
high office of the President, the Head of State, if he can be dragged into court litigations while serving as of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government.Ó The latter part of
such. Furthermore, it is important that he be freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or the authority represents a broadening of judicial power to enable the courts of justice to review what was
distraction to enable him to fully attend to the performance of his official duties and functions. Unlike the before a forbidden territory, to wit, the discretion of the political departments of the government.[81] It
legislative and judicial branch, only one constitutes the executive branch and anything which impairs his speaks of judicial prerogative not only in terms of power but also of duty.[82]
usefulness in the discharge of the many great and important duties imposed upon him by the
Constitution necessarily impairs the operation of the Government. However, this does not mean that the
President is not accountable to anyone. Like any other official, he remains accountable to the As to how the Court may inquire into the PresidentÕs exercise of power, Lansang adopted the test that
people[68] but he may be removed from office only in the mode provided by law and that is by Òjudicial inquiry can go no further than to satisfy the Court not that the PresidentÕs decision is correct,Ó
impeachment.[69] but that Òthe President did not act arbitrarily.Ó Thus, the standard laid down is not correctness, but
arbitrariness.[83] In Integrated Bar of the Philippines, this Court further ruled that Òit is incumbent upon
the petitioner to show that the PresidentÕs decision is totally bereft of factual basisÓ and that if
B. SUBSTANTIVE he fails, by way of proof, to support his assertion, then Òthis Court cannot undertake an independent
investigation beyond the pleadings.Ó
I. Review of Factual Bases

Petitioners failed to show that President ArroyoÕs exercise of the calling-out power, by issuing PP 1017,
Petitioners maintain that PP 1017 has no factual basis. Hence, it was not ÒnecessaryÓ for President is totally bereft of factual basis. A reading of the Solicitor GeneralÕs Consolidated Comment and
Arroyo to issue such Proclamation. Memorandum shows a detailed narration of the events leading to the issuance of PP 1017, with
supporting reports forming part of the records. Mentioned are the escape of the Magdalo Group, their
The issue of whether the Court may review the factual bases of the PresidentÕs exercise of his
audacious threat of the Magdalo D-Day, the defections in the military, particularly in the Philippine
Commander-in-Chief power has reached its distilled point - from the indulgent days of Barcelon v.
Marines, and the reproving statements from the communist leaders. There was also the Minutes of the
Baker[70] and Montenegro v. Castaneda[71] to the volatile era of Lansang
Intelligence Report and Security Group of the Philippine Army showing the growing alliance between the
v. Garcia,[72] Aquino, Jr. v. Enrile,[73] and Garcia-Padilla v. Enrile.[74] The tug-of-war always cuts
NPA and the military. Petitioners presented nothing to refute such events. Thus, absent any contrary
across the line defining Òpolitical questions,Ó particularly those questions Òin regard to which full
allegations, the Court is convinced that the President was justified in issuing PP 1017 calling for military
discretionary authority has been delegated to the legislative or executive branch of the
aid.
government.Ó[75] Barcelon and Montenegro were in unison in declaring that the authority to decide
whether an exigency has arisen belongs to the President and his decision is final and conclusive
on the courts. Lansang took the opposite view. There, the members of the Court were unanimous in
the conviction that the Court has the authority to inquire into the existence of factual bases in order to
determine their constitutional sufficiency. From the principle of separation of powers, it shifted the
focus to the system of checks and balances, Òunder which the President is supreme, x x x
only if and when he acts within the sphere allotted to him by the Basic Law, and the Indeed, judging the seriousness of the incidents, President Arroyo was not expected to simply fold her
authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the Judicial arms and do nothing to prevent or suppress what she believed was lawless violence, invasion or
Department, which in this respect, is, in turn, constitutionally supreme.Ó[76] In rebellion. However, the exercise of such power or duty must not stifle liberty.
1973, the unanimous Court of Lansang was divided in Aquino v. Enrile.[77] There, the Court
was almost evenly divided on the issue of whether the validity of
the imposition of Martial Law is a political or justiciable question.[78] Then came Garcia- II. Constitutionality of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5
Padilla v. Enrile which greatly diluted Lansang. It declared that there is a need to re-examine the latter
case, ratiocinating that Òin times of war or national emergency, the President must be given
absolute control for the very life of the nation and the government is in great peril. The Doctrines of Several Political Theorists
President, it intoned, is answerable only to his conscience, the People, and God.Ó[79]
on the Power of the President
in Times of Emergency John Stuart Mill concluded his ardent defense of representative government: ÒI am far from
condemning, in cases of extreme necessity, the assumption of absolute power in the form of a
temporary dictatorship.Ó[88]

This case brings to fore a contentious subject -- the power of the President in times of emergency. A Nicollo MachiavelliÕs view of emergency powers, as one element in the whole scheme of limited
glimpse at the various political theories relating to this subject provides an adequate backdrop for our government, furnished an ironic contrast to the Lockean theory of prerogative. He recognized and
ensuing discussion. attempted to bridge this chasm in democratic political theory, thus:
Now, in a well-ordered society, it should never be necessary to resort to extra Ðconstitutional
measures; for although they may for a time be beneficial, yet the precedent is pernicious, for if the
practice is once established for good objects, they will in a little while be disregarded under that pretext
John Locke, describing the architecture of civil government, called upon the English doctrine of but for evil purposes. Thus, no republic will ever be perfect if she has not by law provided for everything,
prerogative to cope with the problem of emergency. In times of danger to the nation, positive law having a remedy for every emergency and fixed rules for applying it.[89]
enacted by the legislature might be inadequate or even a fatal obstacle to the promptness of action
necessary to avert catastrophe. In these situations, the Crown retained a prerogative Òpower to act
according to discretion for the public good, without the proscription of the law and sometimes
even against it.Ó[84] But Locke recognized that this moral restraint might not suffice to avoid abuse of
prerogative powers. Who shall judge the need for resorting to the prerogative and how may its Machiavelli Ð in contrast to Locke, Rosseau and Mill Ð sought to incorporate into the constitution a
abuse be avoided? Here, Locke readily admitted defeat, suggesting that Òthe people have no other regularized system of standby emergency powers to be invoked with suitable checks and controls in
remedy in this, as in all other cases where they have no judge on earth, but to appeal to time of national danger. He attempted forthrightly to meet the problem of combining a capacious reserve
Heaven.Ó[85] of power and speed and vigor in its application in time of emergency, with effective constitutional
restraints.[90]

Contemporary political theorists, addressing themselves to the problem of response to emergency by


Jean-Jacques Rousseau also assumed the need for temporary suspension of democratic processes of constitutional democracies, have employed the doctrine of constitutional dictatorship.[91] Frederick M.
government in time of emergency. According to him: Watkins saw Òno reason why absolutism should not be used as a means for the defense of liberal
The inflexibility of the laws, which prevents them from adopting themselves to circumstances, may, in institutions,Ó provided it Òserves to protect established institutions from the danger of
certain cases, render them disastrous and make them bring about, at a time of crisis, the ruin of the permanent injury in a period of temporary emergency and is followed by a prompt return to the
StateÉ previous forms of political life.Ó[92] He recognized the two (2) key elements of the problem of
emergency governance, as well as all constitutional governance: increasing administrative powers of
the executive, while at the same time Òimposing limitation upon that power.Ó[93] Watkins placed
It is wrong therefore to wish to make political institutions as strong as to render it impossible to suspend his real faith in a scheme of constitutional dictatorship. These are the conditions of success of such a
their operation. Even Sparta allowed its law to lapse... dictatorship: ÒThe period of dictatorship must be relatively shortÉDictatorship should always be
strictly legitimate in characterÉFinal authority to determine the need for dictatorship in any given
case must never rest with the dictator himselfÉÓ[94] and the objective of such an emergency
dictatorship should be Òstrict political conservatism.Ó
If the peril is of such a kind that the paraphernalia of the laws are an obstacle to their preservation, the
method is to nominate a supreme lawyer, who shall silence all the laws and suspend for a moment the
sovereign authority. In such a case, there is no doubt about the general will, and it clear that the
peopleÕs first intention is that the State shall not perish.[86] Carl J. Friedrich cast his analysis in terms similar to those of Watkins.[95] ÒIt is a problem of
concentrating power Ð in a government where power has consciously been divided Ð to cope withÉ
situations of unprecedented magnitude and gravity. There must be a broad grant of powers, subject to
equally strong limitations as to who shall exercise such powers, when, for how long, and to what
end.Ó[96] Friedrich, too, offered criteria for judging the adequacy of any of scheme of emergency
Rosseau did not fear the abuse of the emergency dictatorship or Òsupreme magistracyÓ as he termed powers, to wit: ÒThe emergency executive must be appointed by constitutional means Ð i.e., he
it. For him, it would more likely be cheapened by Òindiscreet use.Ó He was unwilling to rely upon an must be legitimate; he should not enjoy power to determine the existence of an emergency;
Òappeal to heaven.Ó Instead, he relied upon a tenure of office of prescribed duration to avoid emergency powers should be exercised under a strict time limitation; and last, the objective of
perpetuation of the dictatorship.[87] emergency action must be the defense of the constitutional order.Ó[97]
Clinton L. Rossiter, after surveying the history of the employment of emergency powers in Great Britain,
France, Weimar, Germany and the United States, reverted to a description of a scheme of
Òconstitutional dictatorshipÓ as solution to the vexing problems presented by emergency.[98] Like Rossiter accorded to legislature a far greater role in the oversight exercise of emergency powers than
Watkins and Friedrich, he stated a priori the conditions of success of the Òconstitutional dictatorship,Ó did Watkins. He would secure to Congress final responsibility for declaring the existence or termination
thus: of an emergency, and he places great faith in the effectiveness of congressional investigating
committees.[100]
1) No general regime or particular institution of constitutional dictatorship should be initiated unless it is
necessary or even indispensable to the preservation of the State and its constitutional orderÉ Scott and Cotter, in analyzing the above contemporary theories in light of recent experience, were
one in saying that, Òthe suggestion that democracies surrender the control of government to an
authoritarian ruler in time of grave danger to the nation is not based upon sound constitutional
theory.Ó To appraise emergency power in terms of constitutional dictatorship serves merely to distort
2) Éthe decision to institute a constitutional dictatorship should never be in the hands of the man or the problem and hinder realistic analysis. It matters not whether the term ÒdictatorÓ is used in its
men who will constitute the dictatorÉ normal sense (as applied to authoritarian rulers) or is employed to embrace all chief executives
administering emergency powers. However used, Òconstitutional dictatorshipÓ cannot be divorced from
the implication of suspension of the processes of constitutionalism. Thus, they favored instead the
3) No government should initiate a constitutional dictatorship without making specific provisions for its Òconcept of constitutionalismÓ articulated by Charles H. McIlwain:
terminationÉ

A concept of constitutionalism which is less misleading in the analysis of problems of emergency


4) Éall uses of emergency powers and all readjustments in the organization of the government should powers, and which is consistent with the findings of this study, is that formulated by Charles H. McIlwain.
be effected in pursuit of constitutional or legal requirementsÉ While it does not by any means necessarily exclude some indeterminate limitations upon the substantive
powers of government, full emphasis is placed upon procedural limitations, and political
responsibility. McIlwain clearly recognized the need to repose adequate power in government. And in
5) É no dictatorial institution should be adopted, no right invaded, no regular procedure altered any discussing the meaning of constitutionalism, he insisted that the historical and proper test of
more than is absolutely necessary for the conquest of the particular crisis . . . constitutionalism was the existence of adequate processes for keeping government
responsible. He refused to equate constitutionalism with the enfeebling of government by an
exaggerated emphasis upon separation of powers and substantive limitations on governmental power.
6) The measures adopted in the prosecution of the a constitutional dictatorship should never be He found that the really effective checks on despotism have consisted not in the weakening of
permanent in character or effectÉ government but, but rather in the limiting of it; between which there is a great and very significant
difference. In associating constitutionalism with ÒlimitedÓ as distinguished from ÒweakÓ
government, McIlwain meant government limited to the orderly procedure of law as opposed to
7) The dictatorship should be carried on by persons representative of every part of the citizenry the processes of force. The two fundamental correlative elements of constitutionalism for which
interested in the defense of the existing constitutional order. . . all lovers of liberty must yet fight are the legal limits to arbitrary power and a complete political
responsibility of government to the governed.[101]

8) Ultimate responsibility should be maintained for every action taken under a constitutional
dictatorship. . . In the final analysis, the various approaches to emergency of the above political theorists Ð- from
LockÕs Òtheory of prerogative,Ó to WatkinsÕ doctrine of Òconstitutional dictatorshipÓ and, eventually,
to McIlwainÕs Òprinciple of constitutionalismÓ --- ultimately aim to solve one real problem in
9) The decision to terminate a constitutional dictatorship, like the decision to institute one should never emergency governance, i.e., that of allotting increasing areas of discretionary power to the Chief
be in the hands of the man or men who constitute the dictator. . . Executive, while insuring that such powers will be exercised with a sense of political
responsibility and under effective limitations and checks.

10) No constitutional dictatorship should extend beyond the termination of the crisis for which it was
institutedÉ Our Constitution has fairly coped with this problem. Fresh from the fetters of a repressive regime, the
1986 Constitutional Commission, in drafting the 1987 Constitution, endeavored to create a government
in the concept of Justice JacksonÕs Òbalanced power structure.Ó[102] Executive, legislative, and judicial
powers are dispersed to the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court, respectively. Each is
11) Éthe termination of the crisis must be followed by a complete return as possible to the political and
supreme within its own sphere. But none has the monopoly of power in times of emergency. Each
governmental conditions existing prior to the initiation of the constitutional dictatorshipÉ[99]
branch is given a role to serve as limitation or check upon the
other. This system does not weaken the President, it just limits his power, using the language of
McIlwain. In other words, in times of emergency, our Constitution reasonably demands that we repose a
certain amount of faith in the basic integrity and wisdom of the Chief Executive but, at the same time, it Thus, claims of facial overbreadth are entertained in cases involving statutes which, by their
obliges him to operate within carefully prescribed procedural limitations. terms, seek to regulate only Òspoken wordsÓ and again, that Òoverbreadth claims, if entertained at
all, have been curtailed when invoked against ordinary criminal laws that are sought to be
applied to protected conduct.Ó[106] Here, the incontrovertible fact remains that PP 1017 pertains to a
a. ÒFacial ChallengeÓ spectrum of conduct, not free speech, which is manifestly subject to state regulation.

Petitioners contend that PP 1017 is void on its face because of its Òoverbreadth.Ó They claim that its Second, facial invalidation of laws is considered as Òmanifestly strong medicine,Ó to be used
enforcement encroached on both unprotected and protected rights under Section 4, Article III of the Òsparingly and only as a last resort,Ó and is Ògenerally disfavored;Ó[107] The reason for this is
Constitution and sent a Òchilling effectÓ to the citizens. obvious. Embedded in the traditional rules governing constitutional adjudication is the principle that a
person to whom a law may be applied will not be heard to challenge a law on the ground that it may
conceivably be applied unconstitutionally to others, i.e., in other situations not before the Court.[108] A
A facial review of PP 1017, using the overbreadth doctrine, is uncalled for. writer and scholar in Constitutional Law explains further:

The most distinctive feature of the overbreadth technique is that it marks an exception to some
of the usual rules of constitutional litigation. Ordinarily, a particular litigant claims that a statute
First and foremost, the overbreadth doctrine is an analytical tool developed for testing Òon their facesÓ is unconstitutional as applied to him or her; if the litigant prevails, the courts carve away the
statutes in free speech cases, also known under the American Law as First Amendment cases.[103] unconstitutional aspects of the law by invalidating its improper applications on a case to case
basis. Moreover, challengers to a law are not permitted to raise the rights of third parties and
can only assert their own interests. In overbreadth analysis, those rules give way; challenges
are permitted to raise the rights of third parties; and the court invalidates the entire statute Òon its
face,Ó not merely Òas applied forÓ so that the overbroad law becomes unenforceable until a properly
A plain reading of PP 1017 shows that it is not primarily directed to speech or even speech-related authorized court construes it more narrowly. The factor that motivates courts to depart from the normal
conduct. It is actually a call upon the AFP to prevent or suppress all forms adjudicatory rules is the concern with the Òchilling;Ó deterrent effect of the overbroad statute on third
of lawless violence. In United States v. Salerno,[104] the US Supreme Court held that Òwe have not parties not courageous enough to bring suit. The Court assumes that an overbroad lawÕs Òvery
recognized an ÔoverbreadthÕ doctrine outside the limited context of the First AmendmentÓ existence may cause others not before the court to refrain from constitutionally protected speech or
(freedom of speech). expression.Ó An overbreadth ruling is designed to remove that deterrent effect on the speech of those
third parties.

Moreover, the overbreadth doctrine is not intended for testing the validity of a law that Òreflects
legitimate state interest in maintaining comprehensive control over harmful, constitutionally unprotected In other words, a facial challenge using the overbreadth doctrine will require the Court to examine PP
conduct.Ó Undoubtedly, lawless violence, insurrection and rebellion are considered ÒharmfulÓ and 1017 and pinpoint its flaws and defects, not on the basis of its actual operation to petitioners, but on the
Òconstitutionally unprotected conduct.Ó In Broadrick v. Oklahoma,[105] it was held: assumption or prediction that its very existence may cause others not before the Court to refrain from
constitutionally protected speech or expression. In Younger v. Harris,[109] it was held that:

It remains a Ômatter of no little difficultyÕ to determine when a law may properly be held void on its face
and when Ôsuch summary actionÕ is inappropriate. But the plain import of our cases is, at the very [T]he task of analyzing a proposed statute, pinpointing its deficiencies, and requiring correction of these
least, that facial overbreadth adjudication is an exception to our traditional rules of practice and deficiencies before the statute is put into effect, is rarely if ever an appropriate task for the judiciary. The
that its function, a limited one at the outset, attenuates as the otherwise unprotected behavior combination of the relative remoteness of the controversy, the impact on the legislative process of
that it forbids the State to sanction moves from Ôpure speechÕ toward conduct and that conduct the relief sought, and above all the speculative and amorphous nature of the required line-by-line
Ðeven if expressive Ð falls within the scope of otherwise valid criminal laws that reflect analysis of detailed statutes,...ordinarily results in a kind of case that is wholly unsatisfactory for
legitimate state interests in maintaining comprehensive controls over harmful, constitutionally deciding constitutional questions, whichever way they might be decided.
unprotected conduct.

And third, a facial challenge on the ground of overbreadth is the most difficult challenge to mount
successfully, since the challenger must establish that there can be no instance when the assailed law
may be valid. Here, petitioners did not even attempt to show whether this situation exists.
Petitioners likewise seek a facial review of PP 1017 on the ground of vagueness. This, too, is
unwarranted.
Third provision:

Related to the ÒoverbreadthÓ doctrine is the Òvoid for vagueness doctrineÓ which holds that Òa law
is facially invalid if men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ
as to its application.Ó[110] It is subject to the same principles governing overbreadth doctrine. For one,
it is also an analytical tool for testing Òon their facesÓ statutes in free speech cases. And like
overbreadth, it is said that a litigant may challenge a statute on its face only if it is vague in all its
possible applications. Again, petitioners did not even attempt to show that PP 1017 is vague in Òas provided in Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National
all its application. They also failed to establish that men of common intelligence cannot understand the Emergency.Ó
meaning and application of PP 1017.

b. Constitutional Basis of PP 1017


First Provision: Calling-out Power

Now on the constitutional foundation of PP 1017.


The first provision pertains to the PresidentÕs calling-out power. In
Sanlakas v. Executive Secretary,[111] this Court, through Mr. Justice Dante O. Tinga, held that Section
The operative portion of PP 1017 may be divided into three important provisions, thus: 18, Article VII of the Constitution reproduced as follows:

First provision: Sec. 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines
and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress
lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety
requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the
Òby virtue of the power vested upon me by Section 18, Artilce VII É do hereby command the Armed proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President
Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at
forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellionÓ least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or
suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President,
the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be
Second provision: determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall within twenty-four hours following such
proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency
Òand to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by of the factual bases of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the
me personally or upon my direction;Ó extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the declaration, in the words of Sanlakas, is harmless, without legal significance, and deemed not written. In
functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on these cases, PP 1017 is more than that. In declaring a state of national emergency, President Arroyo
military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically did not only rely on Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, a provision calling on the AFP to prevent or
suspend the privilege of the writ. suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. She also relied on Section 17, Article XII, a provision
on the StateÕs extraordinary power to take over privately-owned public utility and business affected with
public interest. Indeed, PP 1017 calls for the exercise of an awesome power. Obviously, such
The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially Proclamation cannot be deemed harmless, without legal significance, or not written, as in the case
charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion. of Sanlakas.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or Some of the petitioners vehemently maintain that PP 1017 is actually a declaration of Martial
detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released. Law. It is no so. What defines the character of PP 1017 are its wordings. It is plain therein that what
the President invoked was her calling-out power.

The declaration of Martial Law is a Òwarn[ing] to citizens that the military power has been called
grants the President, as Commander-in-Chief, a ÒsequenceÓ of graduated powers. From the most to upon by the executive to assist in the maintenance of law and order, and that, while the emergency
the least benign, these are: the calling-out power, the power to suspend the privilege of the writ lasts, they must, upon pain of arrest and punishment, not commit any acts which will in any way render
of habeas corpus, and the power to declare Martial Law. Citing Integrated Bar of the Philippines v. more difficult the restoration of order and the enforcement of law.Ó[113]
Zamora,[112] the Court ruled that the only criterion for the exercise of the calling-out power is that
Òwhenever it becomes necessary,Ó the President may call the armed forces Òto prevent or
suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.Ó Are these conditions present in the instant In his ÒStatement before the Senate Committee on JusticeÓ on March 13, 2006, Mr. Justice Vicente V.
cases? As stated earlier, considering the circumstances then prevailing, President Arroyo found it Mendoza,[114] an authority in constitutional law, said that of the three powers of the President as
necessary to issue PP 1017. Owing to her OfficeÕs vast intelligence network, she is in the best position Commander-in-Chief, the power to declare Martial Law poses the most severe threat to civil liberties. It
to determine the actual condition of the country. is a strong medicine which should not be resorted to lightly. It cannot be used to stifle or persecute
critics of the government. It is placed in the keeping of the President for the purpose of enabling him to
secure the people from harm and to restore order so that they can enjoy their individual freedoms. In
Under the calling-out power, the President may summon the armed forces to aid him in fact, Section 18, Art. VII, provides:
suppressing lawless violence, invasion and rebellion. This involves ordinary police action. But every
act that goes beyond the PresidentÕs calling-out power is considered illegal or ultra vires. For this
reason, a President must be careful in the exercise of his powers. He cannot invoke a greater power A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of
when he wishes to act under a lesser power. There lies the wisdom of our Constitution, the greater the the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts
power, the greater are the limitations. and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the
privilege of the writ.

It is pertinent to state, however, that there is a distinction between the PresidentÕs authority to
declare a Òstate of rebellionÓ (in Sanlakas) and the authority to proclaim a state of national
emergency. While President ArroyoÕs authority to declare a Òstate of rebellionÓ emanates from her
powers as Chief Executive, the statutory authority cited in Sanlakas was Section 4, Chapter 2, Book II of Justice Mendoza also stated that PP 1017 is not a declaration of Martial Law. It is no more than a
the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, which provides: call by the President to the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence. As such, it cannot be
used to justify acts that only under a valid declaration of Martial Law can be done. Its use for any other
purpose is a perversion of its nature and scope, and any act done contrary to its command is ultra
SEC. 4. Ð Proclamations. Ð Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of vires.
public moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is
made to depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.
Justice Mendoza further stated that specifically, (a) arrests and seizures without judicial warrants;
(b) ban on public assemblies; (c) take-over of news media and agencies and press censorship; and (d)
issuance of Presidential Decrees, are powers which can be exercised by the President as Commander-
in-Chief only where there is a valid declaration of Martial Law or suspension of the writ of habeas
President ArroyoÕs declaration of a Òstate of rebellionÓ was merely an act declaring a status or corpus.
condition of public moment or interest, a declaration allowed under Section 4 cited above. Such
Based on the above disquisition, it is clear that PP 1017 is not a declaration of Martial Law. It is merely PetitionersÕ contention is understandable. A reading of PP 1017 operative clause shows that it was
an exercise of President ArroyoÕs calling-out power for the armed forces to assist her in preventing lifted[120] from Former President MarcosÕ Proclamation No. 1081, which partly reads:
or suppressing lawless violence.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines by virtue of the powers
vested upon me by Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby place the entire
Philippines as defined in Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law and, in my capacity as
their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain
Second Provision: ÒTake CareÓ Power law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as
well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees,
orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.
The second provision pertains to the power of the President to ensure that the laws be faithfully
executed. This is based on Section 17, Article VII which reads:

We all know that it was PP 1081 which granted President Marcos legislative power. Its enabling clause
SEC. 17. The President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus, and offices. He states: Òto enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated
shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed. by me personally or upon my direction.Ó Upon the other hand, the enabling clause of PP 1017
issued by President Arroyo is: to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and
regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.Ó

Is it within the domain of President Arroyo to promulgate ÒdecreesÓ?

As the Executive in whom the executive power is vested,[115] the primary function of the President is to
enforce the laws as well as to formulate policies to be embodied in existing laws. He sees to it that all PP 1017 states in part: Òto enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees x x x promulgated by
laws are enforced by the officials and employees of his department. Before assuming office, he is me personally or upon my direction.Ó
required to take an oath or affirmation to the effect that as President of the Philippines, he will, among
others, Òexecute its laws.Ó[116] In the exercise of such function, the President, if needed, may employ
the powers attached to his office as the Commander-in-Chief of all the armed forces of the The President is granted an Ordinance Power under Chapter 2, Book III of Executive Order No. 292
country,[117]including the Philippine National Police[118] under the Department of Interior and Local (Administrative Code of 1987). She may issue any of the following:
Government.[119]

Sec. 2. Executive Orders. Ñ Acts of the President providing for rules of a general or permanent
character in implementation or execution of constitutional or statutory powers shall be promulgated in
executive orders.
Petitioners, especially Representatives Francis Joseph G. Escudero, Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano,
Teodoro Casi–o, Liza Maza, and Josel Virador argue that PP 1017 is unconstitutional as it arrogated Sec. 3. Administrative Orders. Ñ Acts of the President which relate to particular aspect of governmental
upon President Arroyo the power to enact laws and decrees in violation of Section 1, Article VI of the operations in pursuance of his duties as administrative head shall be promulgated in administrative
Constitution, which vests the power to enact laws in Congress. They assail the clause Òto enforce orders.
obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me Sec. 4. Proclamations. Ñ Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of public
personally or upon my direction.Ó moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to
depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations which shall have the force of an executive order.

\ Sec. 5. Memorandum Orders. Ñ Acts of the President on matters of administrative detail or of


subordinate or temporary interest which only concern a particular officer or office of the Government
shall be embodied in memorandum orders.
Sec. 6. Memorandum Circulars. Ñ Acts of the President on matters relating to internal administration, x x x and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders, and regulations promulgated by
which the President desires to bring to the attention of all or some of the departments, agencies, me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article XII of the
bureaus or offices of the Government, for information or compliance, shall be embodied in memorandum Constitution do hereby declare a state of national emergency.
circulars.
Sec. 7. General or Special Orders. Ñ Acts and commands of the President in his capacity as
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines shall be issued as general or special
orders. The import of this provision is that President Arroyo, during the state of national emergency under PP
1017, can call the military not only to enforce obedience Òto all the laws and to all decrees x x xÓ but
also to act pursuant to the provision of Section 17, Article XII which reads:

President ArroyoÕs ordinance power is limited to the foregoing issuances. She cannot
issue decrees similar to those issued by Former President Marcos under PP 1081. Presidential Sec. 17. In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may,
Decrees are laws which are of the same category and binding force as statutes because they were during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the
issued by the President in the exercise of his legislative power during the period of Martial Law under the operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest.
1973 Constitution.[121]

This Court rules that the assailed PP 1017 is unconstitutional insofar as it grants President
Arroyo the authority to promulgate Òdecrees.Ó Legislative power is peculiarly within the province of
the Legislature. Section 1, Article VI categorically states that Ò[t]he legislative power shall be vested What could be the reason of President Arroyo in invoking the above provision when she issued PP
in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of 1017?
Representatives.Ó To be sure, neither Martial Law nor a state of rebellion nor a state of emergency
can justify President ArroyoÕs exercise of legislative power by issuing decrees.
The answer is simple. During the existence of the state of national emergency, PP 1017 purports to
grant the President, without any authority or delegation from Congress, to take over or direct the
Can President Arroyo enforce obedience to all decrees and laws through the military? operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest.

This provision was first introduced in the 1973 Constitution, as a product of the Òmartial lawÓ thinking of
the 1971 Constitutional Convention.[122] In effect at the time of its approval was President MarcosÕ
As this Court stated earlier, President Arroyo has no authority to enact decrees. It follows that Letter of Instruction No. 2 dated September 22, 1972 instructing the Secretary of National Defense to
these decrees are void and, therefore, cannot be enforced. With respect to Òlaws,Ó she cannot call the take over Òthe management, control and operation of the Manila Electric Company, the
military to enforce or implement certain laws, such as customs laws, laws governing family and property Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority, the
relations, laws on obligations and contracts and the like. She can only order the military, under PP 1017, Philippine National Railways, the Philippine Air Lines, Air Manila (and) Filipinas Orient Airways . . . for
to enforce laws pertinent to its duty to suppress lawless violence. the successful prosecution by the Government of its effort to contain, solve and end the present national
emergency.Ó

Petitioners, particularly the members of the House of Representatives, claim that President
ArroyoÕs inclusion of Section 17, Article XII in PP 1017 is an encroachment on the legislatureÕs
emergency powers.
Third Provision: Power to Take Over
This is an area that needs delineation.

The pertinent provision of PP 1017 states: A distinction must be drawn between the PresidentÕs authority to declare Òa state of national
emergencyÓ and to exercise emergency powers. To the first, as elucidated by the Court, Section
18, Article VII grants the President such power, hence, no legitimate constitutional objection can be
raised. But to the second, manifold constitutional issues arise.
Section 23, Article VI of the Constitution reads: (3) The delegation must be subject to such restrictions as the Congress may prescribe.
(4) The emergency powers must be exercised to carry out a national policy declared by Congress.[124]
SEC. 23. (1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting
separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.
(2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for
a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and
proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, Section 17, Article XII must be understood as an aspect of the emergency powers clause. The
such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof. taking over of private business affected with public interest is just another facet of the emergency powers
generally reposed upon Congress. Thus, when Section 17 states that the Òthe State may, during the
emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the
It may be pointed out that the second paragraph of the above provision refers not only to war but operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest,Ó it refers
also to Òother national emergency.Ó If the intention of the Framers of our Constitution was to to Congress, not the President. Now, whether or not the President may exercise such power is
withhold from the President the authority to declare a Òstate of national emergencyÓ pursuant to dependent on whether Congress may delegate it to him pursuant to a law prescribing the reasonable
Section 18, Article VII (calling-out power) and grant it to Congress (like the declaration of the existence terms thereof. Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. et al. v. Sawyer,[125] held:
of a state of war), then the Framers could have provided so. Clearly, they did not intend that Congress
should first authorize the President before he can declare a Òstate of national emergency.Ó The logical
conclusion then is that President Arroyo could validly declare the existence of a state of national It is clear that if the President had authority to issue the order he did, it must be found in some provision
emergency even in the absence of a Congressional enactment. of the Constitution. And it is not claimed that express constitutional language grants this power to the
President. The contention is that presidential power should be implied from the aggregate of his powers
under the Constitution. Particular reliance is placed on provisions in Article II which say that ÒThe
But the exercise of emergency powers, such as the taking over of privately owned public utility or executive Power shall be vested in a President . . . .;Ó that Òhe shall take Care that the Laws be
business affected with public interest, is a faithfully executed;Ó and that he Òshall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United
different matter. This requires a delegation from Congress. States.

Courts have often said that constitutional provisions in pari materia are to be construed The order cannot properly be sustained as an exercise of the PresidentÕs military power as
together. Otherwise stated, different clauses, sections, and provisions of a constitution which relate to Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The Government attempts to do so by citing a number of
the same subject matter will be construed together and considered in the light of each cases upholding broad powers in military commanders engaged in day-to-day fighting in a theater of
other.[123] Considering that Section 17 of Article XII and Section 23 of Article VI, previously quoted, war. Such cases need not concern us here. Even though Òtheater of warÓ be an expanding
relate to national emergencies, they must be read together to determine the limitation of the exercise of concept, we cannot with faithfulness to our constitutional system hold that the Commander-in-
emergency powers. Chief of the Armed Forces has the ultimate power as such to take possession of private property
in order to keep labor disputes from stopping production. This is a job for the nationÕs
lawmakers, not for its military authorities.
Generally, Congress is the repository of emergency powers. This is evident in the tenor of Section
23 (2), Article VI authorizing it to delegate such powers to the President. Certainly, a body cannot
delegate a power not reposed upon it. However, knowing that during grave emergencies, it may not Nor can the seizure order be sustained because of the several constitutional provisions that
be possible or practicable for Congress to meet and exercise its powers, the Framers of our Constitution grant executive power to the President. In the framework of our Constitution, the PresidentÕs
deemed it wise to allow Congress to grant emergency powers to the President, subject to certain power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a
conditions, thus: lawmaker. The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending
of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad. And the Constitution is neither
silent nor equivocal about who shall make laws which the President is to execute. The first
section of the first article says that ÒAll legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a
Congress of the United States. . .Ó[126]
(1) There must be a war or other emergency.

(2) The delegation must be for a limited period only.


Petitioner Cacho-Olivares, et al. contends that the term ÒemergencyÓ under Section 17, Article XII It may be argued that when there is national emergency, Congress may not be able to convene
refers to Òtsunami,Ó Òtyphoon,Ó ÒhurricaneÓ and Òsimilar occurrences.Ó This is a limited view and, therefore, unable to delegate to the President the power to take over privately-owned public utility
of Òemergency.Ó or business affected with public interest.

In Araneta v. Dinglasan,[134] this Court emphasized that legislative power, through which
extraordinary measures are exercised, remains in Congress even in times of crisis.

Emergency, as a generic term, connotes the existence of conditions suddenly intensifying the degree of
existing danger to life or well-being beyond that which is accepted as normal. Implicit in this definitions Òx x x
are the elements of intensity, variety, and perception.[127] Emergencies, as perceived by legislature or
executive in the United Sates since 1933, have been occasioned by a wide range of situations,
classifiable under three (3) principal heads: a) economic,[128] b) natural disaster,[129] and c) national After all the criticisms that have been made against the efficiency of the system of the separation
security.[130] of powers, the fact remains that the Constitution has set up this form of government, with all its defects
and shortcomings, in preference to the commingling of powers in one man or group of men. The Filipino
people by adopting parliamentary government have given notice that they share the faith of other
democracy-loving peoples in this system, with all its faults, as the ideal. The point is, under this
framework of government, legislation is preserved for Congress all the time, not excepting periods of
crisis no matter how serious. Never in the history of the United States, the basic features of whose
Constitution have been copied in ours, have specific functions of the legislative branch of enacting laws
been surrendered to another department Ð unless we regard as legislating the carrying out of a
legislative policy according to prescribed standards; no, not even when that Republic was fighting a total
ÒEmergency,Ó as contemplated in our Constitution, is of the same breadth. It may include rebellion, war, or when it was engaged in a life-and-death struggle to preserve the Union. The truth is that under
economic crisis, pestilence or epidemic, typhoon, flood, or other similar catastrophe of nationwide our concept of constitutional government, in times of extreme perils more than in normal circumstances
proportions or effect.[131] This is evident in the Records of the Constitutional Commission, thus: Ôthe various branches, executive, legislative, and judicial,Õ given the ability to act, are called upon Ôto
perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities committed to them respectively.Ó

MR. GASCON. Yes. What is the CommitteeÕs definition of Ònational emergencyÓ which appears in
Section 13, page 5? It reads:
Following our interpretation of Section 17, Article XII, invoked by President Arroyo in issuing PP 1017,
this Court rules that such Proclamation does not authorize her during the emergency to temporarily take
When the common good so requires, the State may temporarily take over or direct the operation of any over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest
privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest. without authority from Congress.
MR. VILLEGAS. What I mean is threat from external aggression, for example, calamities or natural
disasters.
Let it be emphasized that while the President alone can declare a state of national emergency,
MR. GASCON. There is a question by Commissioner de los Reyes. What about strikes and riots? however, without legislation, he has no power to take over privately-owned public utility or business
affected with public interest. The President cannot decide whether exceptional circumstances exist
MR. VILLEGAS. Strikes, no; those would not be covered by the term Ònational emergency.Ó
warranting the take over of privately-owned public utility or business affected with public
MR. BENGZON. Unless they are of such proportions such that they would paralyze government interest. Nor can he determine when such exceptional circumstances have ceased. Likewise, without
service.[132] legislation, the President has no power to point out the types of businesses affected with public interest
that should be taken over. In short, the President has no absolute authority to exercise all the powers of
x x x x x x the State under Section 17, Article VII in the absence of an emergency powers act passed by Congress.
MR. TINGSON. May I ask the committee if Ònational emergencyÓ refers to military national
emergency or could this be economic emergency?Ó
MR. VILLEGAS. Yes, it could refer to both military or economic dislocations.
c. ÒAS APPLIED CHALLENGEÓ
MR. TINGSON. Thank you very much.[133]
One of the misfortunes of an emergency, particularly, that which pertains to security, is that military Now, may this Court adjudge a law or ordinance unconstitutional on the ground that its implementor
necessity and the guaranteed rights of the individual are often not compatible. Our history reveals that committed illegal acts? The answer is no. The criterion by which the validity of the statute or ordinance
in the crucible of conflict, many rights are curtailed and trampled upon. Here, the right against is to be measured is the essential basis for the exercise of power, and not a mere incidental result
unreasonable search and seizure; the right against warrantless arrest; and the freedom of arising from its exertion.[138] This is logical. Just imagine the absurdity of situations when laws maybe
speech, of expression, of the press, and of assembly under the Bill of Rights suffered the greatest declared unconstitutional just because the officers implementing them have acted arbitrarily. If this were
blow. so, judging from the blunders committed by policemen in the cases passed upon by the Court, majority
of the provisions of the Revised Penal Code would have been declared unconstitutional a long time ago.

Of the seven (7) petitions, three (3) indicate Òdirect injury.Ó

President Arroyo issued G.O. No. 5 to carry into effect the provisions of PP 1017. General orders are
In G.R. No. 171396, petitioners David and Llamas alleged that, on February 24, 2006, they were Òacts and commands of the President in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of
arrested without warrants on their way to EDSA to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of People Power the Philippines.Ó They are internal rules issued by the executive officer to his subordinates precisely for
I. The arresting officers cited PP 1017 as basis of the arrest. the proper and efficient administration of law. Such rules and regulations create no relation except
between the official who issues them and the official who receives them.[139] They are based on and are
the product of, a relationship in which power is their source, and obedience, their object.[140] For these
In G.R. No. 171409, petitioners Cacho-Olivares and Tribune Publishing Co., Inc. claimed that on reasons, one requirement for these rules to be valid is that they must be reasonable, not arbitrary or
February 25, 2006, the CIDG operatives Òraided and ransacked without warrantÓ their office. Three capricious.
policemen were assigned to guard their office as a possible Òsource of destabilization.Ó Again, the
basis was PP 1017.
G.O. No. 5 mandates the AFP and the PNP to immediately carry out the Ònecessary and appropriate
actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of terrorism and lawless violence.Ó
And in G.R. No. 171483, petitioners KMU and NAFLU-KMU et al. alleged that their members were
Òturned away and dispersedÓ when they went to EDSA and later, to Ayala Avenue, to celebrate the
20th Anniversary of People Power I. Unlike the term Òlawless violenceÓ which is unarguably extant in our statutes and the Constitution, and
which is invariably associated with Òinvasion, insurrection or rebellion,Ó the phrase Òacts of terrorismÓ
is still an amorphous and vague concept. Congress has yet to enact a law defining and punishing acts
A perusal of the Òdirect injuriesÓ allegedly suffered by the said petitioners shows that they of terrorism.
resulted from the implementation, pursuant to G.O. No. 5, of PP 1017.

Can this Court adjudge as unconstitutional PP 1017 and G.O. No 5 on the basis of these illegal acts? In
general, does the illegal implementation of a law render it unconstitutional?
In fact, this Òdefinitional predicamentÓ or the Òabsence of an agreed definition of terrorismÓ confronts
not only our country, but the international
Settled is the rule that courts are not at liberty to declare statutes invalid although they may be abused community as well. The following observations are quite apropos:
and misabused[135] and may afford an opportunity for abuse in the manner of application.[136] The
validity of a statute or ordinance is to be determined from its general purpose and its efficiency to
accomplish the end desired, not from its effects in a particular case.[137] PP 1017 is merely an In the actual unipolar context of international relations, the Òfight against terrorismÓ has become one of
invocation of the PresidentÕs calling-out power. Its general purpose is to command the AFP to the basic slogans when it comes to the justification of the use of force against certain states and against
suppress all forms of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. It had accomplished the end desired which groups operating internationally. Lists of states Òsponsoring terrorismÓ and of terrorist organizations
prompted President Arroyo to issue PP 1021. But there is nothing in PP 1017 allowing the police, are set up and constantly being updated according to criteria that are not always known to the public, but
expressly or impliedly, to conduct illegal arrest, search or violate the citizensÕ constitutional rights. are clearly determined by strategic interests.

The basic problem underlying all these military actions Ð or threats of the use of force as the most recent
by the United States against Iraq Ð consists in the absence of an agreed definition of terrorism.
Remarkable confusion persists in regard to the legal categorization of acts of violence either by states,
by armed groups such as liberation movements, or by individuals.
This Òdefinitional predicamentÓ of an organization consisting of sovereign states Ð and not of peoples,
in spite of the emphasis in the Preamble to the United Nations Charter! Ð has become even more
serious in the present global power constellation: one superpower exercises the decisive role in the
The dilemma can by summarized in the saying ÒOne countryÕs terrorist is another countryÕs freedom Security Council, former great powers of the Cold War era as well as medium powers are increasingly
fighter.Ó The apparent contradiction or lack of consistency in the use of the term ÒterrorismÓ may being marginalized; and the problem has become even more acute since the terrorist attacks of 11
further be demonstrated by the historical fact that leaders of national liberation movements such as September 2001 I the United States.[141]
Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Habib Bourgouiba in Tunisia, or Ahmed Ben Bella in Algeria, to mention
only a few, were originally labeled as terrorists by those who controlled the territory at the time, but later
became internationally respected statesmen.
The absence of a law defining Òacts of terrorismÓ may result in abuse and oppression on the part of the
police or military. An illustration is when a group of persons are merely engaged in a drinking
spree. Yet the military or the police may consider the act as an act of terrorism and immediately arrest
What, then, is the defining criterion for terrorist acts Ð the differentia specifica distinguishing those acts them pursuant to G.O. No. 5. Obviously, this is abuse and oppression on their part. It must be
from eventually legitimate acts of national resistance or self-defense? remembered that an act can only be considered a crime if there is a law defining the same as such and
imposing the corresponding penalty thereon.

Since the times of the Cold War the United Nations Organization has been trying in vain to reach a
consensus on the basic issue of definition. The organization has intensified its efforts recently, but has
been unable to bridge the gap between those who associate ÒterrorismÓ with any violent act by non-
state groups against civilians, state functionaries or infrastructure or military installations, and those who So far, the word ÒterrorismÓ appears only once in our criminal laws, i.e., in P.D. No. 1835 dated
believe in the concept of the legitimate use of force when resistance against foreign occupation or January 16, 1981 enacted by President Marcos during the Martial Law regime. This decree is entitled
against systematic oppression of ethnic and/or religious groups within a state is concerned. ÒCodifying The Various Laws on Anti-Subversion and Increasing The Penalties for Membership in
Subversive Organizations.Ó The word ÒterrorismÓ is mentioned in the following provision: ÒThat one
who conspires with any other person for the purpose of overthrowing the Government of the Philippines
The dilemma facing the international community can best be illustrated by reference to the contradicting x x x by force, violence, terrorism, x x x shall be punished by reclusion temporal x x x.Ó
categorization of organizations and movements such as Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Ð
which is a terrorist group for Israel and a liberation movement for Arabs and Muslims Ð the Kashmiri
resistance groups Ð who are terrorists in the perception of India, liberation fighters in that of Pakistan Ð
the earlier Contras in Nicaragua Ð freedom fighters for the United States, terrorists for the Socialist camp
Ð or, most drastically, the Afghani Mujahedeen (later to become the Taliban movement): during the Cold
War period they were a group of freedom fighters for the West, nurtured by the United States, and a P.D. No. 1835 was repealed by E.O. No. 167 (which outlaws the Communist Party of the Philippines)
terrorist gang for the Soviet Union. One could go on and on in enumerating examples of conflicting enacted by President Corazon Aquino on May 5, 1985. These two (2) laws, however, do not define
categorizations that cannot be reconciled in any way Ð because of opposing political interests that are at Òacts of terrorism.Ó Since there is no law defining Òacts of terrorism,Ó it is President Arroyo alone,
the roots of those perceptions. under G.O. No. 5, who has the discretion to determine what acts constitute terrorism. Her judgment on
this aspect is absolute, without restrictions. Consequently, there can be indiscriminate arrest without
warrants, breaking into offices and residences, taking over the media enterprises, prohibition and
How, then, can those contradicting definitions and conflicting perceptions and evaluations of one and the dispersal of all assemblies and gatherings unfriendly to the administration. All these can be effected in
same group and its actions be explained? In our analysis, the basic reason for these striking the name of G.O. No. 5. These acts go far beyond the calling-out power of the President. Certainly,
inconsistencies lies in the divergent interest of states. Depending on whether a state is in the position of they violate the due process clause of the Constitution. Thus, this Court declares that the Òacts of
an occupying power or in that of a rival, or adversary, of an occupying power in a given territory, the terrorismÓ portion of G.O. No. 5 is unconstitutional.
definition of terrorism will ÒfluctuateÓ accordingly. A state may eventually see itself as protector of the
rights of a certain ethnic group outside its territory and will therefore speak of a Òliberation struggle,Ó
not of ÒterrorismÓ when acts of violence by this group are concerned, and vice-versa.

The United Nations Organization has been unable to reach a decision on the definition of terrorism
exactly because of these conflicting interests of sovereign states that determine in each and every
instance how a particular armed movement (i.e. a non-state actor) is labeled in regard to the terrorists- Significantly, there is nothing in G.O. No. 5 authorizing the military or police to commit acts beyond what
freedom fighter dichotomy. A Òpolicy of double standardsÓ on this vital issue of international affairs has are necessary and appropriate to suppress and prevent lawless violence, the limitation of their
been the unavoidable consequence. authority in pursuing the Order. Otherwise, such acts are considered illegal.
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is
attempting to commit an offense.

(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal
knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and

We first examine G.R. No. 171396 (David et al.) x x x.

The Constitution provides that Òthe right of the people to be secured in their persons, houses, papers
and effects against unreasonable search and seizure of whatever nature and for any purpose shall
beinviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be
determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and
the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or Neither of the two (2) exceptions mentioned above justifies petitioner
things to be seized.Ó[142] The plain import of the language of the Constitution is that searches, seizures DavidÕs warrantless arrest. During the inquest for the charges of inciting to sedition and violation
and arrests are normally unreasonable unless authorized by a validly issued search warrant or warrant of BP 880, all that the arresting officers could invoke was their
of arrest. Thus, the fundamental protection given by this provision is that between person and police observation that some rallyists were wearing t-shirts with the invective ÒOust Gloria
must stand the protective authority of a magistrate clothed with power to issue or refuse to issue search NowÓ and their erroneous assumption that petitioner David was the leader of the
warrants or warrants of arrest.[143] rally.[146] Consequently, the Inquest Prosecutor ordered his immediate release on the ground of
insufficiency of evidence. He noted that petitioner David was not wearing the subject t-shirt and even if
he was wearing it, such fact is insufficient to charge him with inciting to sedition. Further, he also
stated that there is insufficient evidence for the charge of violation of BP 880 as it was not even known
whether petitioner David was the leader of the rally.[147]
In the Brief Account[144] submitted by petitioner David, certain facts are established: first, he was
arrested without warrant; second, the PNP operatives arrested him on the basis of PP 1017; third, he
was brought at Camp Karingal, Quezon City where he was fingerprinted, photographed and booked like
a criminal suspect; fourth, he was treated brusquely by policemen who Òheld his head and tried to push
himÓ inside an unmarked car; fifth, he was charged with Violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang No.
880[145] and Inciting to Sedition; sixth, he was detained for seven (7) hours; and seventh, he
was eventually released for insufficiency of evidence.
But what made it doubly worse for petitioners David et al. is that not only was their right against
warrantless arrest violated, but also their right to peaceably assemble.

Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure provides:

Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private person may, without a Section 4 of Article III guarantees:
warrant, arrest a person:

No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of
the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
to lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. With the blanket revocation of permits, the distinction
between protected and unprotected assemblies was eliminated.

ÒAssemblyÓ means a right on the part of the citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to
public affairs. It is a necessary consequence of our republican institution and complements the right of
speech. As in the case of freedom of expression, this right is not to be limited, much less denied, except
on a showing of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that Congress has a right to Moreover, under BP 880, the authority to regulate assemblies and rallies is lodged with the local
prevent. In other words, like other rights embraced in the freedom of expression, the right to assemble is government units. They have the power to issue permits and to revoke such permits after due notice
not subject to previous restraint or censorship. It may not be conditioned upon the prior issuance of a and hearing on the determination of the presence of clear and present danger. Here, petitioners were
permit or authorization from the government authorities except, of course, if the assembly is intended to not even notified and heard on the revocation of their permits.[150] The first time they learned of it was at
be held in a public place, a permit for the use of such place, and not for the assembly itself, may be the time of the dispersal. Such absence of notice is a fatal defect. When a personÕs right is restricted
validly required. by government action, it behooves a democratic government to see to it that the restriction is fair,
reasonable, and according to procedure.

The ringing truth here is that petitioner David, et al. were arrested while they were exercising their right
to peaceful assembly. They were not committing any crime, neither was there a showing of a clear and G.R. No. 171409, (Cacho-Olivares, et al.) presents another facet of freedom of speech i.e., the freedom
present danger that warranted the limitation of that right. As can be gleaned from circumstances, the of the press. PetitionersÕ narration of facts, which the Solicitor General failed to refute, established the
charges of inciting to sedition and violation of BP 880 were mere afterthought. Even the Solicitor following: first, the Daily TribuneÕs offices were searched without warrant; second, the police operatives
General, during the oral argument, failed to justify the arresting officersÕ conduct. In De Jonge v. seized several materials for publication; third, the search was conducted at about 1:00 oÕ clock in the
Oregon,[148] it was held that peaceable assembly cannot be made a crime, thus: morning of February 25, 2006; fourth, the search was conducted in the absence of any official of
the Daily Tribune except the security guard of the building; and fifth, policemen stationed themselves at
the vicinity of the Daily Tribune offices.
Peaceable assembly for lawful discussion cannot be made a crime. The holding of meetings for
peaceable political action cannot be proscribed. Those who assist in the conduct of such meetings
cannot be branded as criminals on that score. The question, if the rights of free speech and peaceful Thereafter, a wave of warning came from government officials. Presidential Chief of Staff Michael
assembly are not to be preserved, is not as to the auspices under which the meeting was held but as to Defensor was quoted as saying that such raid was Òmeant to show a Ôstrong presence,Õ to tell
its purpose; not as to the relations of the speakers, but whether their utterances transcend the bounds of media outlets not to connive or do anything that would help the rebels in bringing down this
the freedom of speech which the Constitution protects. If the persons assembling have committed government.Ó Director General Lomibao further stated that Òif they do not follow the standards
crimes elsewhere, if they have formed or are engaged in a conspiracy against the public peace and Ðand the standards are if they would contribute to instability in the government, or if they do not
order, they may be prosecuted for their conspiracy or other violations of valid laws. But it is a different subscribe to what is in General Order No. 5 and Proc. No. 1017 Ð we will recommend
matter when the State, instead of prosecuting them for such offenses, seizes upon mere a Ôtakeover.ÕÓ National Telecommunications Commissioner Ronald Solis urged television and radio
participation in a peaceable assembly and a lawful public discussion as the basis for a criminal networks to ÒcooperateÓ with the government for the duration of the state of national emergency. He
charge. warned that his agency will not hesitate to recommend the closure of any broadcast outfit that
violates rules set out for media coverage during times when the national security is
threatened.[151]

On the basis of the above principles, the Court likewise considers the dispersal and arrest of the The search is illegal. Rule 126 of The Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure lays down the steps in the
members of KMU et al. (G.R. No. 171483) unwarranted. Apparently, their dispersal was done merely on conduct of search and seizure. Section 4 requires that a search warrant be issued upon probable
the basis of Malaca–angÕs directive canceling all permits previously issued by local government cause in connection with one specific offence to be determined personally by the judge after examination
units. This is arbitrary. The wholesale cancellation of all permits to rally is a blatant disregard of the under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce. Section 8 mandates
principle that Òfreedom of assembly is not to be limited, much less denied, except on a showing that the search of a house, room, or any other premise be made in the presence of the lawful
of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that the State has a right to occupant thereof or any member of his family or in the absence of the latter, in the presence of two (2)
prevent.Ó[149] Tolerance is the rule and limitation is the exception. Only upon a showing that an witnesses of sufficient age and discretion residing in the same locality. And Section 9 states that the
assembly presents a clear and present danger that the State may deny the citizensÕ right to exercise warrant must direct that it be served in the daytime, unless the property is on the person or in the place
it. Indeed, respondents failed to show or convince the Court that the rallyists committed acts amounting ordered to be searched, in which case a direction may be inserted that it be served at any time of the
day or night. All these rules were violated by the CIDG operatives.
You made quite a mouthful of admission when you said that the policemen, when inspected the
Tribune for the purpose of gathering evidence and you admitted that the policemen were able to get the
clippings. Is that not in admission of the admissibility of these clippings that were taken from the
Not only that, the search violated petitionersÕ freedom of the press. The best gauge of a free and Tribune?
democratic society rests in the degree of freedom enjoyed by its media. In the Burgos v. Chief of
Staff[152] this Court held that --
SOLICITOR GENERAL BENIPAYO:
As heretofore stated, the premises searched were the business and printing offices of the "Metropolitan
Mail" and the "We ForumÓ newspapers. As a consequence of the search and seizure, these premises
were padlocked and sealed, with the further result that the printing and publication of said
newspapers were discontinued. Under the law they would seem to be, if they were illegally seized, I think and I know, Your
Honor, and these are inadmissible for any purpose.[155]

Such closure is in the nature of previous restraint or censorship abhorrent to the freedom of the
press guaranteed under the fundamental law, and constitutes a virtual denial of petitioners' xxx xxx xxx
freedom to express themselves in print. This state of being is patently anathematic to a
democratic framework where a free, alert and even militant press is essential for the political
enlightenment and growth of the citizenry. SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO:

These have been published in the past issues of the Daily Tribune; all you have to do is to get
those past issues. So why do you have to go there at 1 oÕclock in the morning and without any search
warrant? Did they become suddenly part of the evidence of rebellion or inciting to sedition or what?
While admittedly, the Daily Tribune was not padlocked and sealed like the ÒMetropolitan MailÓ and
ÒWe ForumÓ newspapers in the above case, yet it cannot be denied that the CIDG operatives
exceeded their enforcement duties. The search and seizure of materials for publication, the stationing of SOLGEN BENIPAYO:
policemen in the vicinity of the The Daily Tribune offices, and the arrogant warning of government
officials to media, are plain censorship. It is that officious functionary of the repressive government who
tells the citizen that he may speak only if allowed to do so, and no more and no less than what he is Well, it was the police that did that, Your Honor. Not upon my instructions.
permitted to say on pain of punishment should he be so rash as to disobey.[153] Undoubtedly, the The
Daily Tribune was subjected to these arbitrary intrusions because of its anti-government
sentiments. This Court cannot tolerate the blatant disregard of a constitutional right even if it involves SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO:
the most defiant of our citizens. Freedom to comment on public affairs is essential to the vitality of a
representative democracy. It is the duty of the courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the
citizen, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon. The motto should always be obsta Are you saying that the act of the policeman is illegal, it is not based on any law, and it is not
principiis.[154] based on Proclamation 1017.

SOLGEN BENIPAYO:

It is not based on Proclamation 1017, Your Honor, because there is nothing in 1017 which says
Incidentally, during the oral arguments, the Solicitor General admitted that the search of that the police could go and inspect and gather clippings from Daily Tribune or any other newspaper.
the TribuneÕs offices and the seizure of its materials for publication and other papers are illegal; and
that the same are inadmissible Òfor any purpose,Ó thus:
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO:

JUSTICE CALLEJO:
Is it based on any law?
SOLGEN BENIPAYO:
The Court has passed upon the constitutionality of these issuances. Its ratiocination has been
exhaustively presented. At this point, suffice it to reiterate that PP 1017 is limited to the calling out by
As far as I know, no, Your Honor, from the facts, no. the President of the military to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. When in
implementing its provisions, pursuant to G.O. No. 5, the military and the police committed acts which
violate the citizensÕ rights under the Constitution, this Court has to declare such acts unconstitutional
SR. ASSO. JUSTICE PUNO: and illegal.

So, it has no basis, no legal basis whatsoever? In this connection, Chief Justice Artemio V. PanganibanÕs concurring opinion, attached hereto, is
considered an integral part of this ponencia.

SUMMATION

SOLGEN BENIPAYO:
In sum, the lifting of PP 1017 through the issuance of PP 1021 Ð a supervening event Ð would have
normally rendered this case moot and academic. However, while PP 1017 was still operative, illegal
Maybe so, Your Honor. Maybe so, that is why I said, I donÕt know if it is premature to say acts were committed allegedly in pursuance thereof. Besides, there is no guarantee that PP 1017, or
this, we do not condone this. If the people who have been injured by this would want to sue one similar to it, may not again be issued. Already, there have been media reports on April 30, 2006
them, they can sue and there are remedies for this.[156] that allegedly PP 1017 would be reimposed Òif the May 1 ralliesÓ become Òunruly and
violent.Ó Consequently, the transcendental issues raised by the parties should not be Òevaded;Ó they
must now be resolved to prevent future constitutional aberration.

Likewise, the warrantless arrests and seizures executed by the police were, according to the Solicitor
The Court finds and so holds that PP 1017 is constitutional insofar as it constitutes a call by the
General, illegal and cannot be condoned, thus:
President for the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence. The proclamation is sustained by
Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution and the relevant jurisprudence discussed earlier. However, PP
1017Õs extraneous provisions giving the President express or implied power (1) to issue decrees; (2) to
CHIEF JUSTICE PANGANIBAN: direct the AFP to enforce obedience to all laws even those not related to lawless violence as well as
decrees promulgated by the President; and (3) to impose standards on media or any form of prior
restraint on the press, are ultra vires and unconstitutional. The Court also rules that under Section 17,
There seems to be some confusions if not contradiction in your theory. Article XII of the Constitution, the President, in the absence of a legislation, cannot take over privately-
owned public utility and private business affected with public interest.

SOLICITOR GENERAL BENIPAYO:

I donÕt know whether this will clarify. The acts, the supposed illegal or unlawful acts committed
on the occasion of 1017, as I said, it cannot be condoned. You cannot blame the President for, as you In the same vein, the Court finds G.O. No. 5 valid. It is an Order issued by the President Ð acting as
said, a misapplication of the law. These are acts of the police officers, that is their responsibility.[157] Commander-in-Chief Ð addressed to subalterns in the AFP to carry out the provisions of PP
1017. Significantly, it also provides a valid standard Ð that the military and the police should take only
the Ònecessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of lawless
violence.Ó But the words Òacts of terrorismÓ found in G.O. No. 5 have not been legally defined and
made punishable by Congress and should thus be deemed deleted from the said G.O. While
ÒterrorismÓ has been denounced generally in media, no law has been enacted to guide the military,
The Dissenting Opinion states that PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5 are constitutional in every aspect and and eventually the courts, to determine the limits of the AFPÕs authority in carrying out this portion of
Òshould result in no constitutional or statutory breaches if applied according to their letter.Ó G.O. No. 5.
suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence.Ó Considering that Òacts of terrorismÓ have not yet
been defined and made punishable by the Legislature, such portion of G.O. No. 5 is
declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

On the basis of the relevant and uncontested facts narrated earlier, it is also pristine clear that (1) the
warrantless arrest of petitioners Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; (2) the dispersal of the rallies and
warrantless arrest of the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members; (3) the imposition of standards on media or
any prior restraint on the press; and (4) the warrantless search of the Tribune offices and the whimsical
seizures of some articles for publication and other materials, are not authorized by the Constitution, the
law and jurisprudence. Not even by the valid provisions of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.

The warrantless arrest of Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; the dispersal and warrantless arrest of
the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members during their rallies, in the absence of proof that these petitioners
were committing acts constituting lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and violating BP 880; the
Other than this declaration of invalidity, this Court cannot impose any civil, criminal or administrative imposition of standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press, as well as the warrantless
sanctions on the individual police officers concerned. They have not been individually identified and search of the Tribune offices and whimsical seizure of its articles for publication and other materials, are
given their day in court. The civil complaints or causes of action and/or relevant criminal Informations declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
have not been presented before this Court. Elementary due process bars this Court from making any
specific pronouncement of civil, criminal or administrative liabilities.
No costs.

SO ORDERED.

It is well to remember that military power is a means to an end and substantive civil rights are Simon vs. Comm. on Human Rights G.R. No. 100150 January 05, 1994
ends in themselves. How to give the military the power it needs to protect the Republic without Facts :
unnecessarily trampling individual rights is one of the eternal balancing tasks of a democratic
state. During emergency, governmental action may vary in breadth and intensity from normal times, yet Petitioner Mayor Simon asks to prohibit CHR from further hearing and investigating "demolition case" on
they should not be arbitrary as to unduly restrain our peopleÕs liberty. vendors of North EDSA.
Constitutional Issue :

Perhaps, the vital lesson that we must learn from the theorists who studied the various competing Whether the CHR is authorized to hear and decide on the "demolition case" and to impose a fine for
political philosophies is that, it is possible to grant government the authority to cope with crises without contempt.
surrendering the two vital principles of constitutionalism: the maintenance of legal limits to arbitrary Ruling :
power, and political responsibility of the government to the governed.[158]
Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution empowered the CHR to investigate all forms of human
rights violations involving civil and political rights. The demolition of stalls, sari-sari stores and carenderia
WHEREFORE, the Petitions are partly granted. The Court rules that PP 1017 cannot fall within the compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political rights".
is CONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it constitutes a call by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the Human rights are the basic rights which inhere in man by virtue of his humanity and are the same in all
AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence. However, the provisions of PP 1017 commanding the parts of the world.
AFP to enforce laws not related to lawless violence, as well as decrees promulgated by the President,
are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. In addition, the provision in PP 1017 declaring national Human rights include civil rights (right to life, liberty and property; freedom of speech, of the press, of
emergency under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution is CONSTITUTIONAL, but such declaration religion, academic freedom; rights of the accused to due process of law), political rights (right to elect
does not authorize the President to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected with public officials, to be elected to public office, and to form political associations and engage in politics),
public interest without prior legislation. social rights (right to education, employment and social services.
Human rights are entitlements that inhere in the individual person from the sheer fact of his
humanity...Because they are inherent, human rights are not granted by the State but can only be
G.O. No. 5 is CONSTITUTIONAL since it provides a standard by which the AFP and the PNP should recognized and protected by it.
implement PP 1017, i.e. whatever is Ònecessary and appropriate actions and measures to
Human rights includes all the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights defined in the Universal On the basis of the sworn statements submitted by the private respondents on 31 July 1990, as well as
Declaration of Human Rights. CHR's own ocular inspection, and convinced that on 28 July 1990 the petitioners carried out the
demolition of private respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia,5 the CHR, in its resolution of 1
Human rights are rights that pertain to man simply because he is human. They are part of his natural August 1990, ordered the disbursement of financial assistance of not more than P200,000.00 in favor of
birth, right, innate and inalienable. the private respondents to purchase light housing materials and food under the Commission's
CIVIL RIGHTS - are those that belong to every citizen and are not connected with the organization or supervision and again directed the petitioners to "desist from further demolition, with the warning that
administration of the government. violation of said order would lead to a citation for contempt and arrest."6

POLITICAL RIGHTS - are rights to participate, directly or indirectly, in the establishment or A motion to dismiss,7 dated 10 September 1990, questioned CHR's jurisdiction. The motion also
administration of the government. averred, among other things, that:
1. this case came about due to the alleged violation by the (petitioners) of the
Inter-Agency Memorandum of Agreement whereby Metro-Manila Mayors agreed
Republic of the Philippines on a moratorium in the demolition of the dwellings of poor dwellers in Metro-
SUPREME COURT Manila;
Manila
xxx xxx xxx
EN BANC
3. . . . , a perusal of the said Agreement (revealed) that the moratorium referred to
therein refers to moratorium in the demolition of the structures of poor dwellers;
G.R. No. 100150 January 5, 1994 4. that the complainants in this case (were) not poor dwellers but independent
BRIGIDO R. SIMON, JR., CARLOS QUIMPO, CARLITO ABELARDO, AND GENEROSO business entrepreneurs even this Honorable Office admitted in its resolution of 1
OCAMPO, petitioners, August 1990 that the complainants are indeed, vendors;
vs. 5. that the complainants (were) occupying government land, particularly the
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, ROQUE FERMO, AND OTHERS AS JOHN DOES, respondents. sidewalk of EDSA corner North Avenue, Quezon City; . . . and
The City Attorney for petitioners. 6. that the City Mayor of Quezon City (had) the sole and exclusive discretion and
The Solicitor General for public respondent. authority whether or not a certain business establishment (should) be allowed to
operate within the jurisdiction of Quezon City, to revoke or cancel a permit, if
already issued, upon grounds clearly specified by law and ordinance.8
VITUG, J.: During the 12 September 1990 hearing, the petitioners moved for postponement, arguing that the motion
to dismiss set for 21 September 1990 had yet to be resolved. The petitioners likewise manifested that
The extent of the authority and power of the Commission on Human Rights ("CHR") is again placed into
they would bring the case to the courts.
focus in this petition for prohibition, with prayer for a restraining order and preliminary injunction. The
petitioners ask us to prohibit public respondent CHR from further hearing and investigating CHR Case On 18 September 1990 a supplemental motion to dismiss was filed by the petitioners, stating that the
No. 90-1580, entitled "Fermo, et al. vs. Quimpo, et al." Commission's authority should be understood as being confined only to the investigation of violations of
civil and political rights, and that "the rights allegedly violated in this case (were) not civil and political
The case all started when a "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo (one of
rights, (but) their privilege to engage in business."9
the petitioners) in his capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers
Management Council under the Office of the City Mayor, was sent to, and received by, the private On 21 September 1990, the motion to dismiss was heard and submitted for resolution, along with the
respondents (being the officers and members of the North EDSA Vendors Association, Incorporated). In contempt charge that had meantime been filed by the private respondents, albeit vigorously objected to
said notice, the respondents were given a grace-period of three (3) days (up to 12 July 1990) within by petitioners (on the ground that the motion to dismiss was still then unresolved).10
which to vacate the questioned premises of North EDSA.1Prior to their receipt of the demolition notice,
the private respondents were informed by petitioner Quimpo that their stalls should be removed to give In an Order,11 dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited the petitioners in contempt for carrying out the
way to the "People's Park".2 On 12 July 1990, the group, led by their President Roque Fermo, filed a demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to desist", and it imposed a fine
letter-complaint (Pinag-samang Sinumpaang Salaysay) with the CHR against the petitioners, asking the of P500.00 on each of them.
late CHR Chairman Mary Concepcion Bautista for a letter to be addressed to then Mayor Brigido Simon, On 1 March 1991,12 the CHR issued an Order, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss and supplemental
Jr., of Quezon City to stop the demolition of the private respondents' stalls, sari-sari stores, motion to dismiss, in this wise:
and carinderia along North EDSA. The complaint was docketed as CHR Case No. 90-1580.3 On 23 July
1990, the CHR issued an Order, directing the petitioners "to desist from demolishing the stalls and Clearly, the Commission on Human Rights under its constitutional mandate had
shanties at North EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint before the Commission" jurisdiction over the complaint filed by the squatters-vendors who complained of
and ordering said petitioners to appear before the CHR.4 the gross violations of their human and constitutional rights. The motion to dismiss
should be and is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.13
The CHR opined that "it was not the intention of the (Constitutional) Commission to create only a paper (5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to
tiger limited only to investigating civil and political rights, but it (should) be (considered) a quasi-judicial enhance respect for the primacy of human rights;
body with the power to provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all
persons within the Philippines . . . ." It added: (6) Recommend to the Congress effective measures to promote human rights and
to provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their
The right to earn a living is a right essential to one's right to development, to life families;
and to dignity. All these brazenly and violently ignored and trampled upon by
respondents with little regard at the same time for the basic rights of women and (7) Monitor the Philippine Government's compliance with international treaty
children, and their health, safety and welfare. Their actions have psychologically obligations on human rights;
scarred and traumatized the children, who were witness and exposed to such a (8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose
violent demonstration of Man's inhumanity to man. possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to
In an Order,14 dated 25 April 1991, petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied. determine the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;

Hence, this recourse. (9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the
performance of its functions;
The petition was initially dismissed in our resolution15 of 25 June 1991; it was subsequently reinstated,
however, in our resolution16 of 18 June 1991, in which we also issued a temporary restraining order, (10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and
directing the CHR to "CEASE and DESIST from further hearing CHR No. 90-1580."17 (11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.
The petitioners pose the following: In its Order of 1 March 1991, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss, the CHR theorizes that the intention
Whether or not the public respondent has jurisdiction: of the members of the Constitutional Commission is to make CHR a quasi-judicial body.23 This view,
however, has not heretofore been shared by this Court. In Cariño v. Commission on Human Rights,24 the
a) to investigate the alleged violations of the "business rights" of the private respondents whose stalls Court, through then Associate Justice, now Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, has observed that it is "only
were demolished by the petitioners at the instance and authority given by the Mayor of Quezon City; the first of the enumerated powers and functions that bears any resemblance to adjudication or
adjudgment," but that resemblance can in no way be synonymous to the adjudicatory power itself. The
b) to impose the fine of P500.00 each on the petitioners; and Court explained:
c) to disburse the amount of P200,000.00 as financial aid to the vendors affected by the demolition. . . . (T)he Commission on Human Rights . . . was not meant by the fundamental
In the Court's resolution of 10 October 1991, the Solicitor-General was excused from filing his comment law to be another court or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much
for public respondent CHR. The latter thus filed its own comment,18 through Hon. Samuel Soriano, one less take over the functions of the latter.
of its Commissioners. The Court also resolved to dispense with the comment of private respondent The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative
Roque Fermo, who had since failed to comply with the resolution, dated 18 July 1991, requiring such power is that it may investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as
comment. regards claimed human rights violations involving civil and political rights. But fact
The petition has merit. finding is not adjudication, and cannot be likened to the judicial function of a court
of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The function of receiving
The Commission on Human Rights was created by the 1987 evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial
Constitution.19 It was formally constituted by then President Corazon Aquino via Executive Order No. function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving
163,20 issued on 5 May 1987, in the exercise of her legislative power at the time. It succeeded, but so evidence and making factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied
superseded as well, the Presidential Committee on Human Rights.21 by the authority of applying the law to those factual conclusions to the end that the
The powers and functions22 of the Commission are defined by the 1987 Constitution, thus: to — controversy may be decided or determined authoritatively, finally and definitively,
subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be provided by law. This
(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights function, to repeat, the Commission does not have.
violations involving civil and political rights;
After thus laying down at the outset the above rule, we now proceed to the other kernel of this
(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt controversy and, its is, to determine the extent of CHR's investigative power.
for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;
It can hardly be disputed that the phrase "human rights" is so generic a term that any attempt to define it,
(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all albeit not a few have tried, could at best be described as inconclusive. Let us observe. In a symposium
persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for on human rights in the Philippines, sponsored by the University of the Philippines in 1977, one of the
preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human questions that has been propounded is "(w)hat do you understand by "human rights?" The participants,
rights have been violated or need protection; representing different sectors of the society, have given the following varied answers:
(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;
Human rights are the basic rights which inhere in man by virtue of his humanity. MR. GARCIA . . . , the primacy of its (CHR) task must be made clear in view of the
They are the same in all parts of the world, whether the Philippines or England, importance of human rights and also because civil and political rights have been
Kenya or the Soviet Union, the United States or Japan, Kenya or Indonesia . . . . determined by many international covenants and human rights legislations in the
Philippines, as well as the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights and
Human rights include civil rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property; subsequent legislation. Otherwise, if we cover such a wide territory in area, we
freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, academic freedom, and the rights of might diffuse its impact and the precise nature of its task, hence, its effectivity
the accused to due process of law; political rights, such as the right to elect public would also be curtailed.
officials, to be elected to public office, and to form political associations and
engage in politics; and social rights, such as the right to an education, So, it is important to delienate the parameters of its tasks so that the commission
employment, and social services.25 can be most effective.
Human rights are the entitlement that inhere in the individual person from the MR. BENGZON. That is precisely my difficulty because civil and political rights are
sheer fact of his humanity. . . . Because they are inherent, human rights are not very broad. The Article on the Bill of Rights covers civil and political rights. Every
granted by the State but can only be recognized and protected by it.26 single right of an individual involves his civil right or his political right. So, where do
we draw the line?
(Human rights include all) the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights
defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.27 MR. GARCIA. Actually, these civil and political rights have been made clear in the
language of human rights advocates, as well as in the Universal Declaration of
Human rights are rights that pertain to man simply because he is human. They are Human Rights which addresses a number of articles on the right to life, the right
part of his natural birth, right, innate and inalienable.28 against torture, the right to fair and public hearing, and so on. These are very
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as, or more specifically, the International Covenant specific rights that are considered enshrined in many international documents and
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, legal instruments as constituting civil and political rights, and these are precisely
suggests that the scope of human rights can be understood to include those that relate to an individual's what we want to defend here.
social, economic, cultural, political and civil relations. It thus seems to closely identify the term to the MR. BENGZON. So, would the commissioner say civil and political rights as
universally accepted traits and attributes of an individual, along with what is generally considered to be defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
his inherent and inalienable rights, encompassing almost all aspects of life.
MR. GARCIA. Yes, and as I have mentioned, the International Covenant of Civil
Have these broad concepts been equally contemplated by the framers of our 1986 Constitutional and Political Rights distinguished this right against torture.
Commission in adopting the specific provisions on human rights and in creating an independent
commission to safeguard these rights? It may of value to look back at the country's experience under the MR. BENGZON. So as to distinguish this from the other rights that we have?
martial law regime which may have, in fact, impelled the inclusions of those provisions in our
fundamental law. Many voices have been heard. Among those voices, aptly represented perhaps of the MR. GARCIA. Yes, because the other rights will encompass social and economic
sentiments expressed by others, comes from Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes, a respected jurist and an rights, and there are other violations of rights of citizens which can be addressed
advocate of civil liberties, who, in his paper, entitled "Present State of Human Rights in the to the proper courts and authorities.
Philippines,"29 observes: xxx xxx xxx
But while the Constitution of 1935 and that of 1973 enshrined in their Bill of Rights MR. BENGZON. So, we will authorize the commission to define its functions, and,
most of the human rights expressed in the International Covenant, these rights therefore, in doing that the commission will be authorized to take under its wings
became unavailable upon the proclamation of Martial Law on 21 September 1972. cases which perhaps heretofore or at this moment are under the jurisdiction of the
Arbitrary action then became the rule. Individuals by the thousands became ordinary investigative and prosecutorial agencies of the government. Am I correct?
subject to arrest upon suspicion, and were detained and held for indefinite periods,
sometimes for years, without charges, until ordered released by the Commander- MR. GARCIA. No. We have already mentioned earlier that we would like to define
in-Chief or this representative. The right to petition for the redress of grievances the specific parameters which cover civil and political rights as covered by the
became useless, since group actions were forbidden. So were strikes. Press and international standards governing the behavior of governments regarding the
other mass media were subjected to censorship and short term licensing. Martial particular political and civil rights of citizens, especially of political detainees or
law brought with it the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and judges lost prisoners. This particular aspect we have experienced during martial law which we
independence and security of tenure, except members of the Supreme Court. would now like to safeguard.
They were required to submit letters of resignation and were dismissed upon the MR. BENGZON. Then, I go back to that question that I had. Therefore, what we
acceptance thereof. Torture to extort confessions were practiced as declared by are really trying to say is, perhaps, at the proper time we could specify all those
international bodies like Amnesty International and the International Commission rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and defined as human
of Jurists. rights. Those are the rights that we envision here?
Converging our attention to the records of the Constitutional Commission, we can see the following MR. GARCIA. Yes. In fact, they are also enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our
discussions during its 26 August 1986 deliberations: Constitution. They are integral parts of that.
MR. BENGZON. Therefore, is the Gentleman saying that all the rights under the wise to link our concept of human rights to general terms like "convention," rather
Bill of Rights covered by human rights? than specify the rights contained in the convention.
MR. GARCIA. No, only those that pertain to civil and political rights. As far as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is concerned, the Committee,
before the period of amendments, could specify to us which of these articles in the
xxx xxx xxx Declaration will fall within the concept of civil and political rights, not for the
MR. RAMA. In connection with the discussion on the scope of human rights, I purpose of including these in the proposed constitutional article, but to give the
would like to state that in the past regime, everytime we invoke the violation of sense of the Commission as to what human rights would be included, without
human rights, the Marcos regime came out with the defense that, as a matter of prejudice to expansion later on, if the need arises. For example, there was no
fact, they had defended the rights of people to decent living, food, decent housing definite reply to the question of Commissioner Regalado as to whether the right to
and a life consistent with human dignity. marry would be considered a civil or a social right. It is not a civil right?

So, I think we should really limit the definition of human rights to political rights. Is MR. GARCIA. Madam President, I have to repeat the various specific civil and
that the sense of the committee, so as not to confuse the issue? political rights that we felt must be envisioned initially by this provision — freedom
from political detention and arrest prevention of torture, right to fair and public
MR. SARMIENTO. Yes, Madam President. trials, as well as crimes involving disappearance, salvagings, hamlettings and
MR. GARCIA. I would like to continue and respond also to repeated points raised collective violations. So, it is limited to politically related crimes precisely to protect
by the previous speaker. the civil and political rights of a specific group of individuals, and therefore, we are
not opening it up to all of the definite areas.
There are actually six areas where this Commission on Human Rights could act
effectively: 1) protection of rights of political detainees; 2) treatment of prisoners MR. GUINGONA. Correct. Therefore, just for the record, the Gentlemen is no
and the prevention of tortures; 3) fair and public trials; 4) cases of disappearances; longer linking his concept or the concept of the Committee on Human Rights with
5) salvagings and hamletting; and 6) other crimes committed against the religious. the so-called civil or political rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights.
xxx xxx xxx
MR. GARCIA. When I mentioned earlier the Universal Declaration of Human
The PRESIDENT. Commissioner Guingona is recognized. Rights, I was referring to an international instrument.
MR. GUINGONA. Thank You Madam President. MR. GUINGONA. I know.
I would like to start by saying that I agree with Commissioner Garcia that we MR. GARCIA. But it does not mean that we will refer to each and every specific
should, in order to make the proposed Commission more effective, delimit as article therein, but only to those that pertain to the civil and politically related, as
much as possible, without prejudice to future expansion. The coverage of the we understand it in this Commission on Human Rights.
concept and jurisdictional area of the term "human rights". I was actually disturbed
this morning when the reference was made without qualification to the rights MR. GUINGONA. Madam President, I am not even clear as to the distinction
embodied in the universal Declaration of Human Rights, although later on, this between civil and social rights.
was qualified to refer to civil and political rights contained therein. MR. GARCIA. There are two international covenants: the International Covenant
If I remember correctly, Madam President, Commissioner Garcia, after mentioning and Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, mentioned or linked the and Cultural Rights. The second covenant contains all the different rights-the
concept of human right with other human rights specified in other convention rights of labor to organize, the right to education, housing, shelter, et cetera.
which I do not remember. Am I correct? MR. GUINGONA. So we are just limiting at the moment the sense of the
MR. GARCIA. Is Commissioner Guingona referring to the Declaration of Torture of committee to those that the Gentlemen has specified.
1985? MR. GARCIA. Yes, to civil and political rights.
MR. GUINGONA. I do not know, but the commissioner mentioned another. MR. GUINGONA. Thank you.
MR. GARCIA. Madam President, the other one is the International Convention on xxx xxx xxx
Civil and Political Rights of which we are signatory.
SR. TAN. Madam President, from the standpoint of the victims of human rights, I
MR. GUINGONA. I see. The only problem is that, although I have a copy of the cannot stress more on how much we need a Commission on Human Rights. . . .
Universal Declaration of Human Rights here, I do not have a copy of the other
covenant mentioned. It is quite possible that there are rights specified in that other . . . human rights victims are usually penniless. They cannot pay and very few
convention which may not be specified here. I was wondering whether it would be lawyers will accept clients who do not pay. And so, they are the ones more abused
and oppressed. Another reason is, the cases involved are very delicate — torture,
salvaging, picking up without any warrant of arrest, massacre — and the persons
who are allegedly guilty are people in power like politicians, men in the military and Accordingly, the CHR acted within its authority in providing in its revised rules, its power "to cite or hold
big shots. Therefore, this Human Rights Commission must be independent. any person in direct or indirect contempt, and to impose the appropriate penalties in accordance with the
procedure and sanctions provided for in the Rules of Court." That power to cite for contempt, however,
I would like very much to emphasize how much we need this commission, should be understood to apply only to violations of its adopted operational guidelines and rules of
especially for the little Filipino, the little individual who needs this kind of help and procedure essential to carry out its investigatorial powers. To exemplify, the power to cite for contempt
cannot get it. And I think we should concentrate only on civil and political violations could be exercised against persons who refuse to cooperate with the said body, or who unduly withhold
because if we open this to land, housing and health, we will have no place to go relevant information, or who decline to honor summons, and the like, in pursuing its investigative work.
again and we will not receive any response. . . .30 (emphasis supplied) The "order to desist" (a semantic interplay for a restraining order) in the instance before us, however, is
The final outcome, now written as Section 18, Article XIII, of the 1987 Constitution, is a provision not investigatorial in character but prescinds from an adjudicative power that it does not possess.
empowering the Commission on Human Rights to "investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, In Export Processing Zone Authority vs. Commission on Human Rights,36 the Court, speaking through
all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights" (Sec. 1). Madame Justice Carolina Griño-Aquino, explained:

The term "civil rights,"31 has been defined as referring — The constitutional provision directing the CHR to "provide for preventive measures
and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been
(t)o those (rights) that belong to every citizen of the state or country, or, in wider violated or need protection" may not be construed to confer jurisdiction on the
sense, to all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the organization or Commission to issue a restraining order or writ of injunction for, it that were the
administration of the government. They include the rights of property, marriage, intention, the Constitution would have expressly said so. "Jurisdiction is conferred
equal protection of the laws, freedom of contract, etc. Or, as otherwise defined civil only by the Constitution or by law". It is never derived by implication.
rights are rights appertaining to a person by virtue of his citizenship in a state or
community. Such term may also refer, in its general sense, to rights capable of Evidently, the "preventive measures and legal aid services" mentioned in the
being enforced or redressed in a civil action. Constitution refer to extrajudicial and judicial remedies (including a writ of
preliminary injunction) which the CHR may seek from proper courts on behalf of
Also quite often mentioned are the guarantees against involuntary servitude, religious persecution, the victims of human rights violations. Not being a court of justice, the CHR itself
unreasonable searches and seizures, and imprisonment for debt.32 has no jurisdiction to issue the writ, for a writ of preliminary injunction may only be
Political rights,33 on the other hand, are said to refer to the right to participate, directly or indirectly, in the issued "by the judge of any court in which the action is pending [within his district],
establishment or administration of government, the right of suffrage, the right to hold public office, the or by a Justice of the Court of Appeals, or of the Supreme Court. . . . A writ of
right of petition and, in general, the rights appurtenant to citizenship vis-a-vis the management of preliminary injunction is an ancillary remedy. It is available only in a pending
government.34 principal action, for the preservation or protection of the rights and interests of a
party thereto, and for no other purpose." (footnotes omitted).
Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, aforequoted, it is readily apparent that the
delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus its attention to the more severe The Commission does have legal standing to indorse, for appropriate action, its findings and
cases of human rights violations. Delegate Garcia, for instance, mentioned such areas as the "(1) recommendations to any appropriate agency of government.37
protection of rights of political detainees, (2) treatment of prisoners and the prevention of tortures, (3) fair The challenge on the CHR's disbursement of the amount of P200,000.00 by way of financial aid to the
and public trials, (4) cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings and hamletting, and (6) other crimes vendors affected by the demolition is not an appropriate issue in the instant petition. Not only is there
committed against the religious." While the enumeration has not likely been meant to have any lack of locus standi on the part of the petitioners to question the disbursement but, more importantly, the
preclusive effect, more than just expressing a statement of priority, it is, nonetheless, significant for the matter lies with the appropriate administrative agencies concerned to initially consider.
tone it has set. In any event, the delegates did not apparently take comfort in peremptorily making a
conclusive delineation of the CHR's scope of investigatorial jurisdiction. They have thus seen it fit to The public respondent explains that this petition for prohibition filed by the petitioners has become moot
resolve, instead, that "Congress may provide for other cases of violations of human rights that should fall and academic since the case before it (CHR Case No. 90-1580) has already been fully heard, and that
within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its recommendation."35 the matter is merely awaiting final resolution. It is true that prohibition is a preventive remedy to restrain
the doing of an act about to be done, and not intended to provide a remedy for an act already
In the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the stalls, sari- accomplished. 38 Here, however, said Commission admittedly has yet to promulgate its resolution in
sari stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by private respondents on a land CHR Case No. 90-1580. The instant petition has been intended, among other things, to also prevent
which is planned to be developed into a "People's Park". More than that, the land adjoins the North CHR from precisely doing that.39
EDSA of Quezon City which, this Court can take judicial notice of, is a busy national highway. The
consequent danger to life and limb is not thus to be likewise simply ignored. It is indeed paradoxical that WHEREFORE, the writ prayed for in this petition is GRANTED. The Commission on Human Rights is
a right which is claimed to have been violated is one that cannot, in the first place, even be invoked, if it hereby prohibited from further proceeding with CHR Case No. 90-1580 and from implementing the
is, in fact, extant. Be that as it may, looking at the standards hereinabove discoursed vis-a-vis the P500.00 fine for contempt. The temporary restraining order heretofore issued by this Court is made
circumstances obtaining in this instance, we are not prepared to conclude that the order for the permanent. No costs.
demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia of the private respondents can fall within the SO ORDERED.
compartment of "human rights violations involving civil and political rights" intended by the Constitution.
Narvasa, C.J., Cruz, Feliciano, Bidin, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason
On its contempt powers, the CHR is constitutionally authorized to "adopt its operational guidelines and and Puno, JJ., concur.
rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court."
its authors Felix Ferrer and Isabelo Artacho embedded in it four
Philippines: The Old Struggle for Human Rights, New Problems Posed by Security articles which guaranteed freedom of the press, the right of
association, freedom of religion, and freedom from deprivation of
Apr. 26, 2007 DAVAO TODAY property or domicile except by virtue of judgment passed by a competent
court of authority. They entrenched these radical ideals in 1898 when
By Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno
Aguinaldo established a revolutionary government and adopted the Malolos
Supreme Court
Constitution.

(Delivered on April 18, 2007 on the occasion of the conferment of the Then came our war against the United States. American President McKinley
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws by the University of the East.) sent the First Philippine Commission headed by Jacob Gould Schurman to
assess the Philippine situation. On February 2, 1900, the commission
�Tomorrow begins in the East,� trumpets the motto of this venerable
reported to the President that the Filipino wanted above all a
institution of learning. In his last moments in Bagumbayan, our national
�guarantee of those fundamental human rights which Americans hold to be
hero Jose Rizal stared at tomorrow in the eye, veered his bullet-riddled
the natural and inalienable birthright of the individual but which under
body to the right and fell lifeless on the ground �face turned towards
Spanish domination in the Philippines had been shamefully invaded and
the rising sun in the east. From the cradle to the grave, Rizal
ruthlessly trampled upon.� (emphasis supplied) In response to this,
consecrated his life to fight for the human rights of our people.
President McKinley, in his Instruction of April 7, 1990 to the Second
Philippine Commission, provided an authorization and guide for the
Today, you will be certified as a walking intellectual. Tomorrow, you
establishment of a civil government in the Philippines stated that
will be looking at our people with a fresh eye. I urge you to use your
�(u)pon every division and branch of the government of the Philippines.
new eye to perceive the meaning and nuances of our continuing struggle
. . must be imposed these inviolable rules�� The �inviolable rules�
to protect and push to new thresholds the human rights of our people.
included, among others, that no person shall be deprived of life,
The wisdom of hindsight informs us that human rights stem from three liberty, or property without due process of law.
bedrock rights: the right to life, the right to human dignity, and the
The �inviolable rules� of the Instruction were re-enacted almost exactly
right to develop. From the right to life springs our right to own
in the Philippine Bill of 1902, in the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916
property, to health, to work, to establish a family. From the right to
or the Jones Law, and in the 1935 Constitution.
human dignity flows our right to equal treatment before the law, to
freedom of thought, of conscience, of religion, of opinion, expression,
The 1935 Bill of Rights was carried into the 1973 Constitution with a
and to be recognized as a person everywhere. From the right to develop
few changes, and finally in the 1987 Constitution. As an aftermath of
comes the right to education, and to live in an environment that allows
the martial law regime of the Marcos government, the 1987 Constitution,
all of our rights to flourish in full.
enshrined a Bill of Rights which more jealously safeguards the people�s
There is no human without any right. The caveman and the civilized man fundamental liberties. In clear and unmistakable language, the
have the same natural rights. Human rights inhere in all of us as human Constitutional proclaimed as a state policy that �(t)he state values the
beings, as beings higher and different from other creatures. Since they dignity of very human person and guarantees full respect for human
are innate to man, since they are inherent to his being, these rights rights.� In addition, it has a separate Article on Social Justice and
are inalienable and cannot be taken away; they are inviolable and cannot Human Rights, under which, the Commission on Human Rights was created.
be waylaid by any might of man; their preservation is an obligation
The horrors of the World Wars warn us that the protection of human
shared by the rulers and the ruled alike.
rights is a duty we owe to generations to come. In 1945, the peoples of
Our history tells us that in this small patch of the earth, our the United Nations (UN), declared in the Preamble of the UN Charter that
forefathers pioneered in planting the seeds of human rights when it was their primary end was the reaffirmation of �faith in the fundamental
far from being the fad and fashion of the day. On May 31, 1897, they human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal
established a republican government in Biak-na-Bato. It had a rights of men and women and of nations large and small,� in order �to
Constitution advance on political and civil rights. With serendipity, save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.�
The promotion of human rights is also the indispensable predicate of as terrorists) periodic human rights violation, including arbitrary
peace and progress. For this reason, on December 10, 1948, the United detentions, extrajudicial executions and torture, continue to be
Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Its two reported. Aside from them, community activists, church workers, lawyers,
implementing covenants are the International Covenant on Economic, journalists and others perceived as sympathetic to the communist
Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and movement suffered violation of their human rights. Not to be outdone,
Political Rights. These instruments not only denounced nazism and the NPAs are also reported to have lawlessly retaliated against their
fascism, but also recognized that the �security of individual rights, opponents.
like the security of national rights, was a necessary requisite to a
peaceful and stable world order.� The escalation of extra judicial killings in the Philippines has
attracted the harsh eye of advocates of human rights. The UN Commission
The interesting question is what has happened to human rights in this on Rights has sent Prof. Alston to look at the Philippine human rights
new millennium? The end of the Cold War ended the bipolar world starring situation. Some members of the International Parliamentary Union are in
the West led by the United States and the East led by Russia. The end town for the same purpose. Their initial findings are not complementing
result of that clash of civilization is the emergence of a unipolar to our Constitutional commitment to protect human rights. As young
world dominated by democracy as the political ideology and the triumph graduates, you may be asking yourself the relevance of these ongoing
of capitalism as the bible of economics. With communism out in the cold, violations of human rights to your life, especially as you embark on
the world awaited with bated breath the dawn of universal peace and your journey to improve the economic aspects of your life. I submit that
order. But when peace appeared to be within mankind�s grasp, 9/11 the fight against terrorism and the battle to preserve human rights have
shattered to smithereens its illusion. 9/11 gave birth to new realities high impact on the right of young people to live with dignity. One of
on ground with grave repercussions on the human rights situation in the its ill-effects is the massive displacement of young people in areas
world, especially the most vulnerable sector, the poor who are many, the where the fight against terrorism tramples on human rights. These young
many yet the most impotent. people are compelled to migrate to seek greener pastures in hostile
environments and, worse where they find their human rights subjected to
On the universal level, 9/11 altered the face of international law. As new abuses with near impunity. Figures show that this problem of
the worst victim of terrorism, the United States led the fight to excise displacement will get worse in the coming years because of the galloping
and exorcise terrorism from the face of the earth. It pursued a strategy growth of the youth population. The United Nations predict that some 138
characterized by a bruising aggressiveness that raised the eyebrows of countries will have growing �youth bulge�; its calamitous consequence is
legal observers. The leader country of democracy did not wait for the that youth unemployment will skyrocket to record levels with the highest
United Nations to act but immediately sought to search and destroy rate in the Middle East and North Africa. The UN findings further reveal
terrorists withersoever they may be found. In less polite parlance, the that at least 60 million people aged 15-20 will not be able to find work
search and destroy strategy gave little respect to the sovereignty of and twice as many, about 130M, cannot lift their families out of
states and violated their traditional borders. The strategy which is poverty. It will not take a prophet to predict that countries that
keyed on military stealth and might had trampling effects on the basic cannot give decent life to their young people will serve as incubators
liberties of suspected terrorists for laws are silent when the guns of of extremism that may end up in terrorism.
war do the talking. The war on terrorism has inevitable spilled over
effects on human rights all over the world, especially in countries And this leads me to the proposition that we need to give a broader,
suspected as being used as havens of terrorists. One visible result of innovative view on our efforts to protect the human rights of our people
the scramble to end terrorism is to take legal shortcuts and legal which should consider our distinct social, economic and political
shortcuts always shrink the scope of human rights. These shortcuts have context. Defying the cult of comformity and comfort, I submit that this
scarred the landscape of rights in the Philippines. In March 2006, view should consider the following facts and factors:
Amnesty International issued a public statement expressing grave concern
over reports of an ongoing pattern of political killings of members of One. Terrorism is just one means of violating our human rights,
legal leftist organizations in various provinces in the country. It also especially our right to life itself, and should not consume our entire
stated that in the wider context of continuing nationwide attention. Often, terrorism attracts universal attention because of its
counter-insurgency operations against the New People�s Army (denounced cinematic impact � the shocking violence, the bravado of the villains,
the heroism of the victims� rescuers, the sickening loss of lives and cruel fact is that poverty stalks this land of plenty and hunger is
property and the dominance of the animal in man. Terrorism is terrible still the best food seasoning of its people. In poor countries, it is
enough but the mindless, knee jerk reaction to extirpate the evil is poverty that truly terrorizes people for they are terrorized by the
more discomforting. The quickie solution is to unfurl the flag, sing the thought that they will die because of empty stomachs and not that they
national anthem and issue the high pitched call to arms for the military will lose their lives due to some invisible suicide bombers. In poor
and the police to use their weapons of destruction under the theme countries, it is also poverty that renders the poor vulnerable to
victory at all cost. To put constitutional cosmetics to the violation of their rights, for the poor will not vindicate their rights
military-police muscular efforts, lawmakers usually enact laws using in a justice system that moves in slow motion and whose wheels have to
security of the state to justify the dimunition of human rights by be greased with money. And would any dare to doubt, that our national
allowing arrests without warrants; surveillance of suspects; security and our human rights are more threatened by the fear that we
interception and recording of communications; seizure or freezing of face an environmental collapse if we do not take immediate steps to save
bank deposits, assets and records of suspects. They also redefine our seas and our forests from the despoliation to satisfy the economic
terrorism as a crime against humanity and the redefinition is broadly greed of the few. Again, the realities may be uncomfortable but let the
drawn to constrict and shrink further the zone of individual rights. If statistics talk and they tell us that in year 2000 for example, 300,000
there is any lesson that we can derive from the history of human rights, people all over the world died due to violence in armed conflicts but as
it is none other than these rights cannot be obliterated by bombs but many people die each and every month because of contaminated water or
neither can they be preserved by bullets alone. Terrorism is a lack of adequate sanitation.
military-police problem but its ultimate solution lies beyond the guns
of our armed forces. Three. The threats to our national security and human rights will be
aggravated if we have a state, weakened internally by a government
Two. In fighting terrorism, let us not overlook the non-military aspects hobbled by corruption, struggling with credibility, battling the endless
of our national security and their impact on human rights. The scholar insurgence of the left and the right; and, by a state weakened
Michael Renver hits the bulleye with the following analysis: externally by pressure exerted by creditor countries, by countries where
our trade comes from, by countries that supply our military and police
xxx terrorism is only symptomatic of a far broader set of deep concerns armaments. A weak state cannot fully protect the rights of its citizens
that have produced a new age of anxiety. Acts of terror and the within its borders just as a state without economic independence cannot
dangerous reactions to them are like exclamation marks in a toxic brew protect the rights of its citizens who are abroad from the exploitation
of profound socioeconomic, environmental, and political pressures forces of more powerful countries.
that together create a tumultuous and less stable world. Among them are
endemic poverty, convulsive economic transitions that cause growing Fourth and lastly, the business of safeguarding our national security,
inequality and high unemployment, international crime, the spread of the obligation of protecting human rights is a burden shared by all of
deadly armaments, large-scale population movements, recurring natural us. It is not only the military that should tackle our problem of
disasters, ecosystem breakdown, new and resurgent communicable diseases, security for it is our security that is at stake, not their security.
and rising competition over land and other natural resources, Security interest is a collective interest where everybody has a
particularly oil. These �problems without passports� are likely to significant stake. In the same vein, the rich and the powerful should
worsen in the years ahead. xxx They cannot be resolved by raising not consider the protection of the rights of the poor and the powerless
military expenditures or dispatching troops. Nor can they be contained as peripheral problems just because for the moment their own rights are
by sealing borders or maintaining the status quo in a highly unequal world. unthreatened. Sooner or later, they will find that they who default in
protecting the rights of the many will end up without rights like the
Today and yesterday�s broadsheets bannered the news about the many. The apathy of those who can make a difference is the reason why
stranglehold of poverty in the Philippines. The World Bank says that violations of human rights continue to prosper. The worst enemy of human
about 15M or 19% of Filipinos survive on less than $1 a day. Our rights is not its non believers but the fence sitters who will not lift
National Anti Poverty Commission disputes the figures and claim that a finger despite their violations. �If we have learned anything from
only 10.5 M Filipinos live on $1 a day. To the unsophisticated in the September 11� wrote New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman, �it is
esoterics of economics, this is a distinction without difference for the that if you don�t visit a bad neighborhood, it will visit you.�
Our work of protecting human rights is not yet finished. With the
incursions and threats of incursion to our human rights at this crucial
moment in our history, the clarion call to each one of us is to
consecrate our lives to the great cause of upholding our human rights.
When Rizal turned his face towards the rising sun, he saw hope in a
heroic people carrying on the fight. Let us not allow the shadow of
ignorance, indifference or indolence eclipse this hope so that we may
continue to see a tomorrow begin in the East.

Thank you and again, congratulations.

(FULL TEXT OF CHIEF JUSTICE REYNATO S. PUNO�S COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS)