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PEOPLE VS.

FERRER
On the conclusiveness of legislative findings
FACTS
On March 5, 1970, a criminal complaint for
violation of Section 4 of the Anti-Subversion
Act was filed against respondent Feliciano Co
in the Court of First Instance of Tarlac.
Co was an officer/ ranking leader of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP),
and an instructor in the Mao Tse Tung
University, the training school of new New
Peoples Army (NPA) recruits

FACTS
On May 25, 1970, another criminal complaint
was filed with the same court, sharing the
respondent Nilo Tayag and five others with
several acts of subversion aggravated by the
aid of armed men
All the accused were members and ranking
officers of the KABATAANG MAKABAYAN, a
subversive organization
Benjamin Bie and Commander Melody are
ranking leaders of the CPP and the NPA as well
FACTS
Both Co and Tayag on their separate
complaints moved to quash on the ground that
the Anti-Subversion Act is a bill of attainder
Tayag further impugned that the Act:
Is vague
embraces more than one subject not expressed
in the title thereof
denied him the equal protection of the laws
FACTS
Resolving the constitutional issues raised,
Hon. Judge Simeon Ferrer declared the
statute void on the ground that it is a bill of
attainder and that it is vague and overbroad
thereafter dismissed the Informations against
the accused
Tars and feathers the CPP as a continuing
menace to the freedom and security of the
country
The legislative usurped the powers of the judge
by pronouncing the guilt of the CPP without any
of the forms of safeguards of judicial trial.
Presumption of organizational guilt
FACTS
The Government appealed
Thus this special civil action for certiorari
ANTI SUBVERSION ACT
Sec. 2: The Congress hereby declares the
Communist Party of the Philippines to be an
organized conspiracy to overthrow the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines for the purpose of
establishing in the Philippines a totalitarian regime
and place the Government under the control and
domination of an alien power. The said party and
ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION having the same
purpose and their successors are hereby declared
illegal and outlawed.
Sec. 4: After the approval of this Act, whoever knowingly,
willfully and by overt acts affiliates himself with,
becomes or remains a member of the Communist Party
of the Philippines and/or its successor or of any
subversive association
Provided penalties

Provided that one who conspires with any other person to
overthrow the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines or the government of any of its political
subdivisions by force, violence, deceit, subversion or
other illegal means, for the purpose of placing such
Government or political subdivision under the control
and domination of any alien power, shall likewise be
punished
ANTI SUBVERSION ACT
ISSUES
Whether or not the Act is a Bill of Attainder
Whether the Act is violative of the equal
protection clause of the Constitution
Bill of Attainder
Bill of Rights: No bill of attainder or ex-post facto
law shall be enacted
A bill of attainder is a legislative act, no matter
what form, that applies to persons in such a way
as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial
trial
Usurpation of judicial powers by the legislative
An act singling out a definite class, with the legal
intent of imposing an a burden on it
There is no need for a judicial action since the act
itself is sufficient to impose a punishment

Is the Act a Bill of Attainder? NO
The Act applies not only to the Communist
Party of the Philippines but also to any other
organization having the same purpose and
their successors
The focus being not on individuals but on conduct
done to overthrow the government
ANTI SUBVERSION ACT
Sec. 2: The Congress hereby declares the
Communist Party of the Philippines to be an
organized conspiracy to overthrow the Government
of the Republic of the Philippines for the purpose of
establishing in the Philippines a totalitarian regime
and place the Government under the control and
domination of an alien power. The said party and
ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION having the same
purpose and their successors are hereby declared
illegal and outlawed.
Is the Act a Bill of Attainder? NO
Sec 4 requires that the Government must
prove the knowing, willful and direct
participation of the accused in the
organizations unlawful activities through a
judicial proceeding
Membership must be knowing or active, with
specific intent to further the illegal objectives of
the Party.

Sec. 4: After the approval of this Act, whoever knowingly,
willfully and by overt acts affiliates himself with,
becomes or remains a member of the Communist Party
of the Philippines and/or its successor or of any
subversive association
Provided penalties

Provided that one who conspires with any other person to
overthrow the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines or the government of any of its political
subdivisions by force, violence, deceit, subversion or
other illegal means, for the purpose of placing such
Government or political subdivision under the control
and domination of any alien power, shall likewise be
punished
ANTI SUBVERSION ACT
Is the Act a Bill of Attainder? NO
Act does not apply retroactively the opening
phrase of Sec. 4 being After the approval of
this act. It only punishes who through overt
acts affiliate themselves with the same group
after June 20, 1957
Law expressly provided for the exemption of
members who shall renounce their
membership in writing and under oath
Due Process
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or
property without due process nor shall any
person be denied the equal protection of the
laws.
Freedom of expression and association
Limitation on the freedoms must be justified by
the existence of a substantial evil
Individuals vs. Conduct
By carefully delimiting the reach of the Act to
conduct, Congress reaffirmed its respect for
the rule that lawful legislative objectives shall
not be pursued by means that broadly stifle
fundamental personal liberties when the end
can be more narrowly achieved
Legislative Findings/
PREAMBLE
Although a political party, it is an organized
conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines not only by force and
violence but also by deceit, subversion and other
illegal means, for the purpose of establishing a
totalitarian regime subject to alien domination and
control;
Presents a clear, present and grave danger to the
security of the Philippines;
Special legislation is necessary to cope with
continuing menace posed by the organized,
systematized and persistent subversion, national
in scope but international in direction
Is the Act Unconstitutionally
overbroad?
No, section 2 of the Act is a legislative
declaration
Section 4 provides for the qualification of the
membership which must be knowing and
willful
The use of the word OVERTHROW in
section 2 sufficiently connotes the use of
violent and other illegal means

The Act and its Title
The Act punishes not only membership in any
subversive party but the conspiracy by two
persons to overthrow the national or local
government by illegal means
An Act to Outlaw the Communist Party of the
Philippines and Similar Associations, Penalizing
Membership Therein, and for Other Purposes
Subject matter: SUBVERSION IN GENERAL
Title of a bill must not be a catalogue or an index
of its contents
A valid title must indicate in broad and clear terms
the nature, scope and consequences of the
proposed law and its operation
HELD
The constitutionality of the Anti-Subversion Act
is upheld
The court issued guidelines to be observed
and elements to be proven in any prosecution
under the Act