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CASE DIGEST: Lagman v.

Medialdea
G.R. Nos. 231568 / 231771 / 231774, July 4, 2017
Submitted by: Reno Dave N. Alkonga, JD-1A

Majority Opinion (Del Castillo, J)

FACTS:
Proclamation No. 216 was issued by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, declaring a state of
martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, effective May 23, 2017 for a
period not exceeding 60 days.
The Report submitted by the President to Congress on May 25, 2017 pointed out that for
decades, Mindanao has been plagued with rebellion and lawless violence which only escalated
and worsened with the passing of time. It also highlighted the strategic location of Marawi City
and the crucial and significant role it plays in Mindanao, and the Philippines as a whole. The
Report also pointed out the possible tragic repercussions once Marawi City falls under the
control of the lawless groups.
After submission of the Report and the briefings, the Senate issued a resolution
expressing full support to the declaration of martial law, finding Proclamation No. 216 to be
“satisfactory, constitutional and in accordance with the law”. In the same Resolution, the Senate
declared that it found “no compelling reason to revoke the same”. The House of Representatives
likewise issued a resolution expressing its full support to the President, as it finds no reason to
revoke Proclamation No. 216.
Various concerned citizens filed several petitions, seeking to nullify Proclamation No.
216 for being unconstitutional because it lacks sufficient factual basis, essentially invoking the
Court’s specific and special jurisdiction to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the same
Proclamation.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the petitions are the “appropriate proceedings” covered by Article VII,
Section 18 (3), of the Constitution.
2. Whether or not there was sufficient factual basis for the proclamation of martial law or
suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

HELD:
1. YES. Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution clearly indicate that it should be treated
as sui generis. The jurisdiction of the Court is not restricted to the cases enumerated to
Sections 1 and 5 of Article VIII. The only requisite for standing to challenge the validity
of the suspension is that the challenger be a citizen.

Under Section 18 of Article VII, a petition filed pursuant therewith will follow a
different rule on standing as any citizen may file it. The provision also limits the issue to
the sufficiency of factual basis of the exercise of the Chief Executive of his emergency
powers.

Cullamat, et al. claim to be “suing in their capacities as citizens of the Republic.”


Similarly, in the Mohamad, et al. all claim to be "Filipino citizens, all women, all of legal
age, and residents of Marawi City." However, Lagman, et al. did not categorically
mention that they are suing as citizens but merely referred to themselves as duly elected
Representatives. That they are suing in their official capacities as Members of Congress.
In any case, the Court can take judicial cognizance of the fact that Lagman, et al. are all
citizens of the Philippines since Philippine citizenship is a requirement for them to be
elected as representatives. Therefore, they are considered as suing in their own behalf as
citizens of this country
The phrase “in an appropriate proceeding” mentioned in the third paragraph of
Section 18 refers to any action initiated by a citizen for the purpose of questioning the
sufficiency of the factual basis of the exercise of the Chief Executive’s emergency
powers.

2. YES. The President, with the facts available to him, deduced that there was an armed
public uprising, the culpable purpose of which was to remove from the allegiance of the
Philippine Government a portion of its territory and to deprive the Chief Executive of any
of his powers and prerogative. This is sufficient to satisfy the standard of probable cause
for a valid declaration of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

The factual basis for the declaration of martial law and/or suspension of writ of
habeas corpus are “(1) actual invasion or rebellion, and (2) public safety requires the
exercise of such power”. Without the concurrence of the two conditions, the President's
declaration of martial law and/or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
must be struck down; and 3) there is probable cause for the President to believe that there
is actual rebellion or invasion.

The Court held that a review of the facts leads the Court to conclude that the
President, in issuing Proclamation No. 216, had sufficient factual bases tending to show
that actual rebellion exists. The President satisfactorily discharged his burden of proof.