V. Writs of habeas corpus, kalikasan, habeas data, and amparo

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Atty. Jericho Del Puerto

Lawyer, Author, Mentor
Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. (Section 1, Rule 102, Rules of Court)

Frequency: ★★★☆☆

1. Writ of habeas corpus

All cases of illegal confinement or detention. Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto. (Section 1, Rule 102, Rules of Court)

Same; Restraint of liberty. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint that will preclude freedom of action is sufficient. The rule is that if a person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge, or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, the writ of habeas corpus will not be allowed. (In Re: Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus of Inmates Reyes, et al., En Banc, G.R. No. 251954, 10 June 2020)

If liberty is restrained by legal process – habeas corpus unavailable. Concomitantly, if a person’s liberty is restrained by some legal process, the writ of habeas corpus is unavailing. The writ cannot be used to directly assail a judgment rendered by a competent court or tribunal which, having duly acquired jurisdiction, was not ousted of this jurisdiction through some irregularity in the course of the proceedings. (In Re: Writ of Habeas Corpus for ML Abellana, G.R. No. 232006, 10 July 2019)

Same; Range of inquiry – narrowed.Nevertheless, it must be noted that when the detention complained of finds its origin in what has been judicially ordained, the range of inquiry in a habeas corpus proceeding is considerably narrowed. Whatever situation the petitioner invokes from the exceptional circumstances listed above, the threshold remains high. Mere allegation of a violation of one’s constitutional right is not enough. The violation of constitutional right must be sufficient to void the entire proceedings. (Ibid.)

As a post-conviction remedy when, as a consequence of a judicial proceeding, any of the following exceptional circumstances is attendant:
1) There has been a deprivation of a constitutional right resulting in the restraint of a person;
2) The court had no jurisdiction to impose the sentence; or
3) the imposed penalty has been excessive, thus voiding the sentence as to such excess. (In Re: Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus of Inmates Reyes, et al., supra.)
In Re: Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus of Inmates Reyes, et al. (June 2020)
Here, petitioner invokes the third circumstance – the imposed penalty has been excessive, thus voiding the sentence as to such excess
In this case, the confinement of Reyes and Evangelista at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City is valid pursuant to a lawful judgment They were convicted for violation of Section 15, RA 6425, as amended by RA 7659, and the affirmation of their conviction was decreed by no less than this very Court.
Reyes and Evangelista, who were found guilty of illegal sale of dangerous drugs exceeding 200 grams, have committed a heinous crime.1âшphi1 This is in consonance with RA 7659, which includes the distribution or sale of dangerous drugs as heinous for being a grievous, odious and hateful offense and which, by reason of its inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity and perversity is repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society.
Rules and regulations issued by administrative bodies to interpret the law which they are entrusted to enforce, such as the 2019 IRR issued by the DOJ and the DILG, have the force of law, and are entitled to great respect. Administrative issuances partake of the nature of a statute and have in their favor a presumption of legality. As such, courts cannot ignore administrative issuances especially when, as in this case, its validity was not put in issue. Unless an administrative order is declared invalid, courts have no option but to apply the same.
Accordingly, the writ cannot be issued and the discharge of Reyes and Evangelista from imprisonment should not be authorized.
In Re:  Petition for the Writ of Amparo and Writ of Habeas Corpus in favor of AJ Lucena, En Banc, (September 2020)
In this case, however, it did not at all appear that AJ had been deprived of her liberty or that petitioners had been excluded from their rightful custody over the person of AJ.
First. The petitioners failed to make out a case that AJ is being detained or is being kept by the Anakbayan against her free will.  To start, there was never any accusation that the Anakbayan employed violence, force or threat against AJ that would have influenced her in deciding to stay with the Anakbayan. Neither is there an allegation that the Anakbayan is employing such violence, force or threat so as to prevent AJ from eventually changing her mind and from possibly leaving the Anakbayan in the future.
The only argument raised by the petitioners to support the view that AJ is being detained — i.e., AJ’s decision to stay with the Anakbayan is not a product  of  free  and  informed  consent  but  of the indoctrination  and brainwashing she endured from the group when she was still a minor — fails to persuade for it rests on pure speculation and assumption. If anything, such an argument has been discredited by the established facts and even by AJ herself.
As mentioned, AJ already categorically denied being abducted by the Anakbayan during a press conference  conducted by the representatives of the Kabataan, Bayan Muna, ACT Teacher and Gabriela Party-lists on August 14, 2019.
In a Sinumpaang Salaysay she executed on September 9, 2019,22 on the other hand, AJ disputed the allegations of being brainwashed as she relayed that her decision to leave the custody of her parents for Anakbayan was reasoned and a conscious one on her part.
Against these explicit submissions, petitioners’ claim that AJ is being held against her will certainly cannot stand.
It also cannot be said that petitioners were being excluded from their rightful custody over the person of AJ.  As it was established, AJ has already reached the age of majority and is, thus, legally emancipated. The effect of such emancipation is clear under the law. It meant the termination of the petitioners’ parental authority — which include their custodial rights­ over the person and property of AJ, who is now deemed qualified and responsible for all acts of civil life save for certain exceptions provided by law.
As she has already attained the age of majority, AJ — at least in the eyes of the State -has earned the right to make independent choices with respect to the places where she wants to stay, as well as to the persons whose company she wants to keep. Such choices, so long as they do not violate any law or any other persons’ rights, has to be respected and let alone, lest we trample upon AJ’s personal liberty — the very freedom supposed to be protected by the writs of amparo and habeas corpus.  While we understand that petitioners may feel distressed over AJ’s decision to leave their home and stay with the Anakbayan, their recourse unfortunately does not lie with the Court through the instant petition. The writs of amparo and habeas corpus were never meant to temper the brashness of youth.  The resolution of the conflict besetting petitioners and their daughter AJ is simply beyond the competence of the writs applied for.

Concurrent jurisdiction. An application for a writ of habeas corpus may be made through a petition filed before the SC or any of its members, the Court of Appeals (CA) or any of its members in instances authorized by law, or the RTC or any of its presiding judges. In the absence of all the RTC judges in a province or city, any metropolitan trial judge, municipal trial judge, or municipal circuit trial judge may hear and decide petitions for a writ of habeas corpus in the province or city where the absent RTC judges sit… Hence, the SC has concurrent jurisdiction, along with the CA and the trial courts, to issue a writ of habeas corpus. However, mere concurrency of jurisdiction does not afford parties absolute freedom to choose the court with which the petition shall be filed. Petitioners should be directed by the hierarchy of courts. After all, the hierarchy of courts “serves as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs.” (In Re: Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus of Inmates Reyes, et al., supra.)

2. Writ of habeas data

Concept: Habeas Data. The writ of habeas data – is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party. (Section 1, A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data)

Same; Designed to protect the image, privacy, honor, etc. The writ of habeas data is an independent and summary remedy designed to protect the image, privacy, honor, information, and freedom of information of an individual, and to provide a forum to enforce one’s right to the truth and to informational privacy. It seeks to protect a person’s right to control information regarding oneself, particularly in instances in which such information is being collected through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. It must be emphasized that in order for the privilege of the writ to be granted, there must exist a nexus between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. (Gamboa v. Chan, En Banc, G.R. No. 193636, 24 July 2012)

Same. The writ of habeas datais a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party. (Vivares v. St. Teresa’s College, G.R. No. 202666, 29 September 2014)

Same; Right to informational privacy. In developing the writ of habeas data, the Court aimed to protect an individual’s right to informational privacy, among others. A comparative law scholar has, in fact, defined habeas dataas “a procedure designed to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the information age.” (Ibid.)

Same; Nexus –  right to privacy and right to life, liberty, security. The writ, however, will not issue on the basis merely of an alleged unauthorized access to information about a person. Availment of the writ requires the existence of a nexus between the right to privacy on the one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other. Thus, the existence of a person’s right to informational privacy and a showing, at least by substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim are indispensable before the privilege of the writ may be extended. (Ibid.)

Gamboa v. Chan, En Banc (July 2012)
The collection and forwarding of information by the PNP vis-à-vis the interest of the state to dismantle private armies.
The Constitution explicitly mandates the dismantling of private armies and other armed groups (PAG) not recognized by the duly constituted authority. It also provides for the establishment of one police force that is national in scope and civilian in character, and is controlled and administered by a national police commission.
Taking into account these constitutional fiats, it is clear that the issuance of A.O. 275 articulates a legitimate state aim, which is to investigate the existence of PAGs with the ultimate objective of dismantling them permanently.
Pursuant to the state interest of dismantling PAGs, as well as the foregoing powers and functions accorded to the Zeñarosa Commission and the PNP, the latter collected information on individuals suspected of maintaining PAGs, monitored them and counteracted their activities. One of those individuals is herein petitioner Gamboa.
Following the pronouncements of the ECHR in Leander, the fact that the PNP released information to the Zeñarosa Commission without prior communication to Gamboa and without affording her the opportunity to refute the same cannot be interpreted as a violation or threat to her right to privacy since that act is an inherent and crucial component of intelligence-gathering and investigation.1âwphi1 Additionally, Gamboa herself admitted that the PNP had a validation system, which was used to update information on individuals associated with PAGs and to ensure that the data mirrored the situation on the field.66 Thus, safeguards were put in place to make sure that the information collected maintained its integrity and accuracy.
However, to accord the right to privacy with the kind of protection established in existing law and jurisprudence, this Court nonetheless deems it necessary to caution these investigating entities that information-sharing must observe strict confidentiality. Intelligence gathered must be released exclusively to the authorities empowered to receive the relevant information. After all, inherent to the right to privacy is the freedom from “unwarranted exploitation of one’s person or from intrusion into one’s private activities in such a way as to cause humiliation to a person’s ordinary sensibilities.”
It is clear from the foregoing discussion that the state interest of dismantling PAGs far outweighs the alleged intrusion on the private life of Gamboa, especially when the collection and forwarding by the PNP of information against her was pursuant to a lawful mandate. Therefore, the privilege of the writ of habeas data must be denied.
Lee v. Ilagan (October 2014)
In his Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data…, Ilagan alleged that he and petitioner Dr. Lee (Lee) were former common law partners. Sometime in July 2011, he visited Lee at the latter’s condominium, rested for a while and thereafter, proceeded to his office. Upon arrival, Ilagan noticed that his digital camera was missing. On August 23, 2011, Lee confronted Ilagan at the latter’s office regarding a purported sex video (subject video) she discovered from the aforesaid camera involving Ilagan and another woman. Ilagan denied the video and demanded Lee to return the camera, but to no avail. During the confrontation, Ilagan allegedly slammed Lee’s head against a wall inside his office and walked away. Subsequently, Lee utilized the said video as evidence in filing various complaints against Ilagan… Ilagan claimed that Lee’s acts of reproducing the subject video and threatening to distribute the same to the upper echelons of the NAPOLCOM and uploading it to the internet violated not only his right to life, liberty, security, and privacy but also that of the other woman, and thus, the issuance of a writ of habeas data in his favor is warranted.
In this case, the Court finds that Ilagan was not able to sufficiently allege that his right to privacy in life, liberty or security was or would be violated through the supposed reproduction and threatened dissemination of the subject sex video. While Ilagan purports a privacy interest in the suppression of this video – which he fears would somehow find its way to Quiapo or be uploaded in the internet for public consumption – he failed to explain the connection between such interest and any violation of his right to life, liberty or security. Indeed, courts cannot speculate or contrive versions of possible transgressions. As the rules and existing jurisprudence on the matter evoke, alleging and eventually proving the nexus between one’s privacy right to the cogent rights to life, liberty or security are crucial in habeas data cases, so much so that a failure on either account certainly renders a habeas data petition dismissible, as in this case.
In fact, even discounting the insufficiency of the allegations, the petition would equally be dismissible due to the inadequacy of the evidence presented. As the records show, all that Ilagan submitted in support of his petition was his self-serving testimony which hardly meets the substantial evidence requirement as prescribed by the Habeas Data Rule. This is because nothing therein would indicate that Lee actually proceeded to commit any overt act towards the end of violating Ilagan’s right to privacy in life, liberty or security. Nor would anything on record even lead a reasonable mind to conclude that Lee was going to use the subject video in order to achieve unlawful ends – say for instance, to spread it to the public so as to ruin Ilagan’ s reputation. Contrastingly, Lee even made it clear in her testimony that the only reason why she reproduced the subject video was to legitimately utilize the same as evidence in the criminal and administrative cases that she filed against Ilagan.23 Hence, due to the insufficiency of the allegations as well as the glaring absence of substantial evidence, the Court finds it proper to reverse the RTC Decision and dismiss the habeas data petition.

Not limited to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.The writ of habeas data is not only confined to cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. (Vivares v. St. Teresa’s College, G.R. No. 202666, 29 September 2014)

Vivares v. St. Teresa’s College (September 2014)
Habeas data, to stress, was designed “to safeguard individual freedom from abuse in the information age.” As such, it is erroneous to limit its applicability to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances only. In fact, the annotations to the Rule preparedby the Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, after explaining that the Writ of Habeas Data complements the Writ of Amparo, pointed out that:
The writ of habeas data, however, can be availed of as an independent remedy to enforce one’s right to privacy, more specifically the right to informational privacy. The remedies against the violation of such right can include the updating, rectification, suppression or destruction of the database or information or files in possession or in control of respondents.
Clearly then, the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Data may also be availed of in cases outside of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

Engaged in the gathering, collecting, storing of data or information. To “engage” in something is different from undertaking a business endeavour. To “engage” means “to do or take part in something.” It does not necessarily mean that the activity must be done in pursuit of a business. What matters is that the person or entity must be gathering, collecting or storing said data or information about the aggrieved party or his or her family. Whether such undertaking carries the element of regularity, as when one pursues a business, and is in the nature of a personal endeavour, for any other reason or even for no reason at all, is immaterial and such will not prevent the writ from getting to said person or entity. (Ibid.)

Vivares v. St. Teresa’s College (September 2014)
Nothing in the Rule would suggest that the habeas data protection shall be available only against abuses of a person or entity engaged in the businessof gathering, storing, and collecting of data.
Habeas data is a protection against unlawful acts or omissions of public officials and of private individuals or entities engaged in gathering, collecting, or storing data about the aggrieved party and his or her correspondences, or about his or her family. Such individual or entity need not be in the business of collecting or storing data.
Who may file:
Any aggrieved party may file a petition for the writ of habeas data. However, in cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances, the petition may be filed by:
1) Any member of the immediate family of the aggrieved party, namely: the spouse, children and parents; or
2) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph. (Section 2, Ibid.)

Where to File. The petition may be filed with the Regional Trial Court where the petitioner or respondent resides, or that which has jurisdiction over the place where the data or information is gathered, collected or stored, at the option of the petitioner. (Section 3, Ibid.)

Same; When before Supreme Court of the Court of Appeals. The petition may also be filed with the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals or the Sandiganbayan when the action concerns public data files of government offices. (Paragraph 2, Section 3, Ibid.)

Where returnable or enforceable:
1) When the writ is issued by a Regional Trial Court or any judge thereof, it shall be returnable before such court or judge. (Section 4, Ibid.)
2) When issued by the Court of Appeals or the Sandiganbayan or any of its justices, it may be returnable before such court or any justice thereof, or to any Regional Trial Court of the place where the petitioner or respondent resides, or that which has jurisdiction over the place where the data or information is gathered, collected or stored. (Pargaraph 2, Section 4, Ibid.)
3) When issued by the Supreme Court or any of its justices, it may be returnable before such Court or any justice thereof, or before the Court of Appeals or the Sandiganbayan or any of its justices, or to any Regional Trial Court of the place where the petitioner or respondent resides, or that which has jurisdiction over the place where the data or information is gathered, collected or stored. (Paragraph 3, Section 4, Ibid.)
4) The writ of habeas data shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines. (Paragraph 5, Section 4, Ibid.)

Issuance of the writ. Upon the filing of the petition, the court, justice or judge shall immediately order the issuance of the writ if on its face it ought to issue. The clerk of court shall issue the writ under the seal of the court and cause it to be served within three (3) days from the issuance; or, in case of urgent necessity, the justice or judge may issue the writ under his or her own hand, and may deputize any officer or person serve it. (Section 7, Ibid.)

Summary hearing. The hearing on the petition shall be summary. However, the court, justice or judge may call for a preliminary conference to simplify the issues and determine the possibility of obtaining stipulations and admissions from the parties. (Section 15, Ibid.)

Judgment. The court shall render judgment within ten (10) days from the time the petition is submitted for decision. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court shall enjoin the act complained of, or order the deletion, destruction, or rectification of the erroneous data or information and grant other relevant reliefs as may be just and equitable; otherwise, the privilege of the writ shall be denied. (Section 16, Ibid.)

Same; Enforcement. Upon its finality, the judgment shall be enforced by the sheriff or any lawful officers as may be designated by the court, justice or judge within five (5) working days. (Paragraph 2, Section 16, Ibid.)

3. Writ of amparo

Concept: Writ of amparo.  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. (Section, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, Rule on the Writ of Amparo)

Same; Coverage. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (Paragraph 2, Section, Ibid.)

Elements constituting enforced disappearance as defined under RA No. 9851:
1) That there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;
2) That it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State or a political organization;
3) That it be followed by the State or political organization’s refusal to acknowledge or give information on the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo petition; and
4) that the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time. (Callo v. Morente, En Banc, G.R. No. 230324, 19 September 2017)
In Re: Petition for Writ of Amparo and Writ of Habeas Corpus in favor of AJ S. Lucena, En Banc, (2020)
The remedy of amparo, in its present formulation, is confined merely to instances of “extralegal killings” or “enforced disappearances” and to threats thereof. x x x
Here, there is not much issue that AJ’s situation does not qualify either as an actual or threatened enforced disappearance or extralegal killing. AJ is not missing.  Her whereabouts are determinable.  By all accounts, she is staying with the Anakbayan and its officers which, at least insofar as AJ’s case is concerned, are not agents or organizations acting on behalf of the State. Indeed, against these facts, petitioners’ invocation of the remedy of cannot pass. x x x
As she has already attained the age of majority, AJ — at least in the eyes of the State -has earned the right to make independent choices with respect to the places where she wants to stay, as well as to the persons whose company she wants to keep. Such choices, so long as they do not violate any law or any other persons’ rights, has to be respected and let alone, lest we trample upon AJ’s personal liberty — the very freedom supposed to be protected by the writs of amparo and habeas corpus.  While we understand that petitioners may feel distressed over AJ’s decision to leave their home and stay with the Anakbayan, their recourse unfortunately does not lie with the Court through the instant petition. The writs of amparo and habeas corpus were never meant to temper the brashness of youth.  The resolution of the conflict besetting petitioners and their daughter AJ is simply beyond the competence of the writs applied for.
Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, En Banc (2008)
[T]he Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable problem of “extralegal killings” and “enforced disappearances,” its coverage, in its present form, is confined to these two instances or to threats thereof. “Extralegal killings” are killings committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or judicial proceedings. On the other hand, enforced disappearances are attended by the following characteristics: an arrest, detention or abduction of a  person  by  a  government official  or organized groups or private individuals acting with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the person  concerned or a refusal  to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such persons outside the protection of law.
Callo v. Morente (September 2017)
It is clear that the elements of enforced disappearance are not attendant in this case. There is also no threat of such enforced disappearance. While there is indeed a detention carried out by the State through the Bureau of Immigration, the third and fourth elements are not present. There is no refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of freedom or refusal to give information on the whereabouts of Parker because as Callo admits, Parker is detained in the Immigration Detention Facility of the Bureau of Immigration. The Bureau of Immigration also does not deny this. In fact, the Bureau of Immigration had produced the body of Parker before the RTC in the proceedings for the writ of habeas corpus previously initiated by Parker herself.9 Similarly, there is no intention to remove Parker from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time. As the Bureau of Immigration explained, Parker has a pending criminal case against her in Davao City, which prevents the Bureau of Immigration from deporting her from the country.
Simply put, we see no enforced or involuntary disappearance, or any threats thereof, that would warrant the issuance of the writ of amparo. For the issuance of the writ, it is not sufficient that a person’s life is endangered. It is even not sufficient to allege and prove that a person has disappeared. It has to be shown by the required quantum of proof that the disappearance was carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the government or a political organization, and that there is a refusal to acknowledge the same or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of the missing persons. In this case, Parker has not disappeared. Her detention has been sufficiently justified by the Bureau of Immigration, given that there is an SDO and a pending criminal case against her.
Navia v. Padrico, En Banc (June 2012)
But lest it be overlooked, in an amparo petition, proof of disappearance alone is not enough. It is likewise essential to establish that such disappearance was carried out with the direct or indirect authorization, support or acquiescence of the government. This indispensable element of State participation is not present in this case. The petition does not contain any allegation of State complicity, and none of the evidence presented tend to show that the government or any of its agents orchestrated Ben’s disappearance. In fact, none of its agents, officials, or employees were impleaded or implicated in Virginia’s amparo petition whether as responsible or accountable persons.51 Thus, in the absence of an allegation or proof that the government or its agents had a hand in Ben’s disappearance or that they failed to exercise extraordinary diligence in investigating his case, the Court will definitely not hold the government or its agents either as responsible or accountable persons.

b. 1987 Constitution

SC’s power to promulgate rules. The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was issued by this Court as an exercise of its power to “promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights[.]” Section 1 defines a petition for a writ of amparo as “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 writ of amparo is, thus, an equitable and extraordinary remedy primarily meant to address concerns such as, but not limited to, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or threats thereof. (In Re: Petition for Writ of Amparo of VA Sanchez, En Banc, G.R. No. 242257, 15 October 2019)

Amparo protections in the 1987 Constitution. In the Philippines, while the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly provide for the writ of Amparo, several of the above Amparo protections are guaranteed by our charter. The second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, the Grave Abuse Clause, provides for the judicial power :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 instrumentality of the Government.” The Clause accords a similar general protection to human rights extended by the Amparo contra leyes, Amparo casacion, and Amparo administrativo. Amparo libertad is comparable to the remedy of habeas corpus found in several provisions of the 1987 Constitution. The Clause is an offspring of the U.S. common law tradition of judicial review, which finds its roots in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison. (Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, En Banc, G.R. No. 180906, 07 October 2008)

The writ of Amparo is designed to protect and guarantee:
1) The right to life;
2) The right to liberty;
3) The right to security of persons, free from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of life. (Agcaoili, Jr. v. Marcos, En Banc, G.R. No. 232395, 03 July 2018)
Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, En Banc (2008)
While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause through remedies of injunction or prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and a petition for habeas corpus under Rule 102, these remedies may not be adequate to address the pestering problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. However, with the swiftness required to resolve a petition for a writ of Amparo through summary proceedings and the availability of appropriate interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo Rule, this hybrid writ of the common law and civil law traditions – borne out of the Latin American and Philippine experience of human rights abuses – offers a better remedy to extralegal killings and enforced disappearances and threats thereof. The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make the 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.
The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to deter the further commission of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

Right to security. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge. (Section 2, Article III, 1987 Constitution)

Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo, En Banc (2008)
We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the writ of Amparo. There is no quarrel that the enforced disappearance of both respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo has now passed as they have escaped from captivity and surfaced. But while respondents admit that they are no longer in detention and are physically free, they assert that they are not “free in every sense of the word” as their “movements continue to be restricted for fear that people they have named in their Judicial Affidavits and testified against (in the case of Raymond) are still at large and have not been held accountable in any way. These people are directly connected to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in a position to threaten respondents’ rights to life, liberty and security.” Respondents claim that they are under threat of being once again abducted, kept captive or even killed, which constitute a direct violation of their right to security of person.
Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has indeed been violated as respondents assert. The right to security or the right to security of person finds a textual hook in Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which provides…
At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of one’s person, including the extensions of his/her person – houses, papers, and effects – against government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the state’s power over a person’s home and possessions, but more importantly, protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself. x x x
First, the right to security of person is “freedom from fear.” In its “whereas” clauses, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that “a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.” (emphasis supplied) Some scholars postulate that “freedom from fear” is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an individual international human right. It is the “right to security of person” as the word “security” itself means “freedom from fear.”
In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, “freedom from fear” is the right and any threat to the rights to life, liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a reaction; threat is a stimulus, a cause of action. Fear caused by the same stimulus can range from being baseless to well-founded as people react differently. The degree of fear can vary from one person to another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of character or past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the Amparo context, it is more correct to say that the “right to security” is actually the “freedom from threat.” Viewed in this light, the “threatened with violation” Clause in the latter part of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to security mentioned in the earlier part of the provision.
Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or security. Article III, Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, one’s body cannot be searched or invaded without a search warrant. Physical injuries inflicted in the context of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute more than a search or invasion of the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical intrusion. As the degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in criminal law, physical injuries constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to the bodily integrity or security of a person.
Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of one’s rights by the government. In the context of the writ of Amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State “guarantees full respect for human rights” under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under threat. Protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice. x x x
In sum, we conclude that respondents’ right to security as “freedom from threat” is 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 is likewise violated by the ineffective investigation and protection on the part of the military.

b. Command responsibility

In Re: Petition for the Writ of Amparo and Habeas Data in favor of NH Rodriguez, En Banc (November 2011)
The doctrine of command responsibility may be used to determine whether respondents are accountable for and have the duty to address the abduction of Rodriguez in order to enable the courts to devise remedial measures to protect his rights. Clearly, nothing precludes this Court from applying the doctrine of command responsibility in amparo proceedings to ascertain responsibility and accountability in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
That proceedings under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo do not determine criminal, civil or administrative liability should not abate the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility. x x x
Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were the ones who were remiss in their duties when the government completely failed to exercise the extraordinary diligence that the Amparo Rule requires. We hold these organizations accountable through their incumbent Chiefs who, under this Decision, shall carry the personal responsibility of seeing to it that extraordinary diligence, in the manner the Amparo Rule requires, is applied in addressing the enforced disappearance of Tagitis.
As earlier pointed out, amparo proceedings determine (a) responsibility, or the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, and (b) accountability, or the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those (i) who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or (ii) who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or (iii) those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. Thus, although there is no determination of criminal, civil or administrative liabilities, the doctrine of command responsibility may nevertheless be applied to ascertain responsibility and accountability within these foregoing definitions. x x x
Having established the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility in amparo proceedings, it must now be resolved whether the president, as commander-in-chief of the military, can be held responsible or accountable for extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. We rule in the affirmative.
To hold someone liable under the doctrine of command responsibility, the following elements must obtain:
a. the existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the accused as superior and the perpetrator of the crime as his subordinate;
b. the superior knew or had reason to know that the crime was about to be or had been committed; and
c. the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the criminal acts or punish the perpetrators thereof.
The president, being the commander-in-chief of all armed forces,85 necessarily possesses control over the military that qualifies him as a superior within the purview of the command responsibility doctrine.
On the issue of knowledge, it must be pointed out that although international tribunals apply a strict standard of knowledge, i.e., actual knowledge, such may nonetheless be established through circumstantial evidence. In the Philippines, a more liberal view is adopted and superiors may be charged with constructive knowledge. This view is buttressed by the enactment of Executive Order No. 226, otherwise known as the Institutionalization of the Doctrine of ‘Command Responsibility’ in all Government Offices, particularly at all Levels of Command in the Philippine National Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies (E.O. 226). Under E.O. 226, a government official may be held liable for neglect of duty under the doctrine of command responsibility if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during, or immediately after its commission. Knowledge of the commission of irregularities, crimes or offenses is presumed when (a) the acts are widespread within the government official’s area of jurisdiction; (b) the acts have been repeatedly or regularly committed within his area of responsibility; or (c) members of his immediate staff or office personnel are involved.
Meanwhile, as to the issue of failure to prevent or punish, it is important to note that as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president has the power to effectively command, control and discipline the military.

c. Procedure

Who May File
The petition may be filed by the aggrieved party or by any qualified person or entity in the following order:
1) Any member of the immediate family, namely: the spouse, children and parents of the aggrieved party;
2) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph; or
3) Any concerned citizen, organization, association or institution, if there is no known member of the immediate family or relative of the aggrieved party. (Section 2, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, Rule on the Writ of Amparo
Callo v. Morente (September 2017)
Thus, while “any person” may file a petition for the writ of habeas corpus, in a petition for the writ of amparo, the order of priority on who can file the petition should be strictly followed. In this case, there was no allegation nor proof that Parker had no immediate family members or any ascendant, descendant, or collateral relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity. In fact, no allegation was made on any of the familial relationship of Parker as only her whereabouts from 2011 were alleged and discussed. Therefore, based on the order of priority, Callo had no legal standing to file this petition.

Same; When filed by the aggrieved party. The filing of a petition by the aggrieved party suspends the right of all other authorized parties to file similar petitions. Likewise, the filing of the petition by an authorized party on behalf of the aggrieved party suspends the right of all others, observing the order established herein. (Paragraph 2, Section 2, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, Rule on the Writ of Amparo

Same; Issuance of the Writ. Upon the filing of the petition, the court, justice or judge shall immediately order the issuance of the writ if on its face it ought to issue. The clerk of court shall issue the writ under the seal of the court; or in case of urgent necessity, the justice or the judge may issue the writ under his or her own hand, and may deputize any officer or person to serve it. (Section 6, Ibid.)

d. Interim reliefs

Interim Reliefs
Upon filing of the petition or at anytime before final judgment, the court, justice or judge may grant any of the following reliefs:
1) Temporary Protection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon motion or motu proprio, may order that the petitioner or the aggrieved party and any member of the immediate family be protected in a government agency or by an accredited person or private institution capable of keeping and securing their safety. If the petitioner is an organization, association or institution referred to in Section 3(c) of this Rule, the protection may be extended to the officers involved. (Section 14[a], Ibid.)
The Supreme Court shall accredit the persons and private institutions that shall extend temporary protection to the petitioner or the aggrieved party and any member of the immediate family, in accordance with guidelines which it shall issue. (Paragraph 2, Section 14[a], Ibid.)
The accredited persons and private institutions shall comply with the rules and conditions that may be imposed by the court, justice or judge. (Paragraph 3, Section 14[a], Ibid.)
2) Inspection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon verified motion and after due hearing, may order any person in possession or control of a designated land or other property, to permit entry for the purpose of inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any relevant object or operation thereon. (Section 14[b], Ibid.)
The motion shall state in detail the place or places to be inspected. It shall be supported by affidavits or testimonies of witnesses having personal knowledge of the enforced disappearance or whereabouts of the aggrieved party. (Paragraph 2, Section 14[b], Ibid.)
If the motion is opposed on the ground of national security or of the privileged nature of the information, the court, justice or judge may conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit of the opposition. (Paragraph 3, Section 14[b], Ibid.)
The movant must show that the inspection order is necessary to establish the right of the aggrieved party alleged to be threatened or violated. (Paragraph 4, Section 14[b], Ibid.)
The inspection order shall specify the person or persons authorized to make the inspection and the date, time, place and manner of making the inspection and may prescribe other conditions to protect the constitutional rights of all parties. The order shall expire five (5) days after the date of its issuance, unless extended for justifiable reasons. (Last paragraph, Section 14[b], Ibid.)
3) Production Order. – The court, justice or judge, upon verified motion and after due hearing, may order any person in possession, custody or control of any designated documents, papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, or objects in digitized or electronic form, which constitute or contain evidence relevant to the petition or the return, to produce and permit their inspection, copying or photographing by or on behalf of the movant.
The motion may be opposed on the ground of national security or of the privileged nature of the information, in which case the court, justice or judge may conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit of the opposition. (Section 14[c], Ibid.)
The court, justice or judge shall prescribe other conditions to protect the constitutional rights of all the parties. (Paragraph 2, Section 14[c], Ibid.)
4) Witness Protection Order. – The court, justice or judge, upon motion or motu proprio, may refer the witnesses to the Department of Justice for admission to the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program, pursuant to Republic Act No. 6981. (Section 14[d], Ibid.)
The court, justice or judge may also refer the witnesses to other government agencies, or to accredited persons or private institutions capable of keeping and securing their safety. (Paragraph 2, Section 14[d], Ibid.)

Availability of Interim Reliefs to Respondent. Upon verified motion of the respondent and after due hearing, the court, justice or judge may issue an inspection order or production order under paragraphs (b) and (c) of the preceding section. (Section 15, Ibid.)

Same; Motion for inspection. A motion for inspection order under this section shall be supported by affidavits or testimonies of witnesses having personal knowledge of the defenses of the respondent. (Section 15, Ibid.)

Contempt. The court, justice or judge may order the respondent who refuses to make a return, or who makes a false return, or any person who otherwise disobeys or resists a lawful process or order of the court to be punished for contempt. The contemnor may be imprisoned or imposed a fine. (Section 16, Ibid.)

Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required.
1) The parties shall establish their claims by substantial evidence. (Section 17, Ibid.)
2) The respondent who is a private individual or entity must prove that ordinary diligence as required by applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the performance of duty. (Paragraph 2, Section 17, Ibid.)
3) The respondent who is a public official or employee must prove that extraordinary diligence as required by applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the performance of duty. (Paragraph 3, Section 17, Ibid.)
4) The respondent public official or employee cannot invoke the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed to evade responsibility or liability. (Section 17, Ibid.)

Judgment. The court shall render judgment within ten (10) days from the time the petition is submitted for decision. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be denied. (Section 18, Ibid.)

In Re: Petition for Writ of Amparo of VA Sanchez, En Banc, 15 (October 2019)
The proceedings for the issuance of writs of amparo are extraordinary. They are significant not only in terms of final relief. In determining whether the petition must be granted, judges act as impartial inquisitors seeking to assure themselves that there is no actual or future threat to the life or liberty of petitioners. In a way, courts hearing writs of amparo assist in ferreting out the truth by providing an antidote to the naturally intimidating atmosphere of police investigations, especially involving communist and other rebels against the government.

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Subjects

Political Law, Labor Law

F. Military powers

Frequency: ★★★★☆ | Probability: ★★★☆☆ 1. Calling out powers President – power to call out the armed forces. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of

L. Bouncing Checks Law

Frequency: ★★★★☆ “Credit” – refers to an arrangement or understanding with the bank for the payment of such check. (Section 4, B.P. 22) 1. Crime

C. Crimes against public order

Frequency: ★★★☆☆ CHAPTER 1: REBELLION, SEDITION AND DISLOYALTY 1. Rebellion or insurrection a. CONCEPT Article 134. Rebellion or insurrection; How committed. – The crime of

M. Quasi-offenses

Frequency: ★★★★★ 1. Imprudence and negligence a. Reckless imprudence RECKLESS IMPRUDENCE: Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or falling to do an

H. Anti-Torture Act of 2009

Frequency: ★★★☆☆ “Torture” – refers to an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for

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