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Secretary of National Defense v.

Manalo 568 SCRA 42 2008

FACTS: The respondents (Raymond Manalo and Reynaldo Manalo) were abducted by
members of the military and Citizens Armed Forces Graphic Unit (CAFGU) from their house
in San Ildefonso, Bulacan on February 14, 2006. They were accused of being active
members and sympathizers of the New People’s Army. They were brought to several
military camps (Fort Magsaysay, Camp Tecson and Pangasinan) wherein they were
detained and tortured numerous times in order to make them admit that they were members
of the NPA. On August 13, 2007, the respondents were able escape from their abductors.
They then filed a petition for prohibition, injunction and TRO before the Supreme Court (SC)
to stop the petitioners from depriving them of their right to liberty and other basic rights.
While the said petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo was promulgated by
the SC on October 24, 2007 in order to address the prevalence of extralegal killing and
enforced disappearances. The petition for a Writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any
person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an
unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity .
The petition for a Writ of Amparo offers a better remedy to extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances as compared to a petition for habeas corpus because it swifter since it is
done through summary proceedings and requires only substantial evidence to make
appropriate reliefs available to the petitioner . It is not an action to determine criminal guilt
requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance
of evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require
full and exhaustive proceedings . Subsequent to the promulgation of the Rule on the Writ
of Amparo , the respondents filed a petition asking the SC to modify their petition for
prohibition into a petition for Writ of Amparo . The SC remanded the petition to the Court of
Appeals (CA) which in turn rendered a decision in favor of the Manalo brothers based on
the testimonies of the Manalos and the corroborating testimony of the doctor who
conducted medical examinations on the respondents after their escape. Thus, this petition.
The petitioners alleged that the CA grievously erred in believing and giving full faith and
credit to the incredible and uncorroborated affidavit/testimony of the respondent.

ISSUES:
WON the pieces of evidence presented by the respondents were enough to grant the
Petition for Writ of Amparo?
WON the respondents still have the right to the privilege of the Writ of Amparo even if their
enforced disappearance had already passed as they have escaped from captivity?

HOLDING/RATIO:
On the applicability of the Writ of Amparo While the respondents admitted that they were
no longer in detention and were physically free, they asserted that they were not free in
every sense of the word as their movements continued to be restricted for fear that people
they had named in their Judicial Affidavits and testified against were still at large and had
not been held accountable in any way. They alleged that their rights to life and liberty are
under threat, and that their right to security of person were violated. The SC characterized
the right to security of person and how these were violated. Freedom from fear/threat as
while respondents were detained, they were threatened that if they escaped, their families,
including them, would be killed. A guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity and
security. A guarantee of protection of one’s rights by the government. Apart from the failure
of military elements to provide protection to respondents by themselves perpetrating the
abduction, detention, and torture, they also miserably failed in conducting an effective
investigation of respondents ’ abduction. In sum, the SC concluded that respondents’ right
to security as freedom from threat was violated by the apparent threat to their life, liberty
and security of person. Their right to security as a guarantee of protection by the
government was likewise violated by the ineffective investigation and protection on the part
of the military .