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JOHANNA SOMBONG, petitioner, prosecuted for the purpose of determining

vs. COURT OF APPEALS and MARIETTA the right of custody over a child.
NERI ALVIAR, LILIBETH NERI and all
persons holding the subject child 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; CHILD CUSTODY CASES;
ARABELA SOMBONG in their WELFARE OF THE CHILD IS THE
custody, respondents. SUPREME CONSIDERATION. - The
controversy does not involve the question
SYLLABUS of personal freedom, because an infant is
presumed to be in the custody of someone
until he attains majority age. In passing on
the writ in a child custody case, the court
1. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL deals with a matter of an equitable nature.
PROCEEDINGS; HABEAS Not bound by any mere legal right of
CORPUS; PURPOSE. - In general, the parent or guardian, the court gives his or
purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to her claim to the custody of the child due
determine whether or not a particular weight as a claim founded on human
person is legally held. A prime nature and considered generally equitable
specification of an application for a writ and just. Therefore, these cases are
of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual and decided, not on the legal right of the
effective, and not merely nominal or petitioner to be relived from unlawful
moral, illegal restraint of liberty. The writ imprisonment or detention, as in the .case
of habeas corpus was devised and exists of adults, but on the courts view of the
as a speedy and effectual remedy to best interests of those whose welfare
relieve persons from unlawful restraint, requires that they be in custody of one
and as the best and only sufficient defense person or another. Hence, the court is not
of personal freedom. A prime specification bound to deliver a child into the custody of
of an application for a writ of habeas any claimant or of any persons, but
corpus is restraint of liberty. The essential should, in the consideration of the facts,
object and purpose of the writ of habeas leave it in such custody as its welfare at
corpus is to inquire into all manner of the time appears to require. In short, the
involuntary restraint as distinguished from childs welfare is the supreme
voluntary, and to relieve a person consideration.
therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any
restraint which will preclude freedom of HERMOSISIMA, JR., J.:
action is sufficient.
The Petition for Review on Certiorari before
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; PROPER LEGAL REMEDY. us seeks the reversal of the decision 1 of
- Although the Writ of Habeas respondent Court of Appeals2 which had
Corpus ought not to be issued if the reversed the decision3 of the Regional Trial
restraint is voluntary, we have held time Court4 which granted the Petition for Habeas
and again that the said writ is the proper Corpus filed by petitioner.
legal remedy to enable parents to regain
the custody of a minor child even if the The following facts were developed by the
latter be in the custody of a third person of evidence presented by the opposing parties:
her own free will. It may even be said that
in custody cases involving minors, the Petitioner is the mother of Arabella O.
question of illegal and involuntary restraint Sombong who was born on April 23,
of liberty is not the underlying rationale for 1987 in Signal Village, Taguig, Metro
5
the availability of the writ as a remedy; Manila. Some time in November, 1987,
rather, the writ of habeas corpus is Arabella, then only six months old, was
brought to the Sir John Clinic, located at 121 admitted that petitioners child, Arabella, had
First Avenue, Kalookan City, for relief of for some time been in her custody. Arabella
coughing fits and for treatment of colds. was discharged from the clinic in April, 1989,
Petitioner did not have enough money to pay and was, in the presence of her clinic staff,
the hospital bill in the amount of P300.00. turned over to someone who was properly
Arabella could not be discharged, then, identified to be the childs guardian.
because of the petitioners failure to pay the
bill. In the face of the refusal of the spouses Ty
to turn over Arabella to her, she had sought
Petitioner surprisingly gave testimony to the help of Barangay Captains Alfonso and
the effect that she allegedly paid the private Bautista of Kalookan City, Mayor Asistio of the
respondents by installments in the total same city, and even Congresswoman
amount of P1,700.00, knowing for a fact that Hortensia L. Starke of Negros Occidental. Their
the sum payable was only P300.00. Despite efforts to help availed her nothing.
such alleged payments, the owners of the
clinic, Dra. Carmen Ty and her husband, Mr. On September 4, 1992, the Office of the
Vicente Ty, allegedly refused to turn over City Prosecutor of Kalookan City, on the basis
Arabella to her. Petitioner claims that the of petitioners complaint, filed an
8
reason for such a refusal was that she refused information against the spouses Ty for
to go out on a date with Mr. Ty, who had been Kidnapping and Illegal Detention of a Minor
courting her. This allegedly gave Dra. Ty a before
reason to be jealous of her, making it difficult the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City.9 On S
for everyone all around. eptember 16, 1992, an order for the arrest of
the spouses Ty was issued in the criminal case.
On the other hand and in contrast to her Facing arrest, Dra. Ty disclosed the possibility
foregoing allegations, petitioner testified that that the child, Arabella, may be found at No.
she visited Arabella at the clinic only after two 23 Jesus Street, San Francisco del
years, i.e., in 1989. This time, she did not go Monte, Quezon City. The agents of the National
beyond berating the spouses Ty for their Bureau of Investigation went to said address
refusal to give Arabella to her. Three years and there found a female child who answered
thereafter, i.e., in 1992, petitioner again to the name of Cristina Grace Neri. Quite
resurfaced to lay claim to her child. Her pleas significantly, the evidence disclosed that the
allegedly fell on deaf ears. child, Cristina, had been living with respondent
Marietta Neri Alviar since 1988. When she was
Consequently, on May 21, 1992, petitioner just a baby, Cristina was abandoned by her
filed a petition with the Regional Trial Court of parents at the Sir John Clinic. On April 18,
Quezon City for the issuance of a Writ 1988, Dr. Fe Mallonga, a dentist at the Sir John
of Habeas Corpus against the spouses Ty. She Clinic and niece of both Dra. Ty and
alleged therein that Arabella was being respondent Alviar, called the latter up to
unlawfully detained and imprisoned at No. discuss the possibility of turning over to her
121, First Avenue, Grace Park, Kalookan City. care one of the several abandoned babies at
The petition was denied due course and the said clinic. Respondent Alviar was told that
summarily dismissed,6without prejudice, on this baby whose name was unknown had long
the ground of lack of jurisdiction, the alleged been abandoned by her parents and appeared
detention having been perpetrated to be very small, very thin, and full of scabies.
in Kalookan City. Taking pity on the baby, respondent Alviar and
her mother, Maura Salacup Neri, decided to
Petitioner, thereafter, filed a criminal take care of her.
complaint7 with the Office of the City
Prosecutor of Kalookan City against the This baby was baptized at the Good
spouses Ty. Dr. Ty, in her counter-affidavit, Samaritan Church on April 30, 1988. Her
Certificate of Baptism10 indicates her name to there is no question that the minor x x x is
be Cristina Grace S. Neri; her birthday to only about five (5) years old x x x it follows
be April 30, 1987; her birthplace to be Quezon that the child must not be separated from the
City; and her foster father and foster mother mother, who is the petitioner, unless, of
to be Cicero Neri and Maura Salacup, course, this Court finds compelling reasons to
respectively. Respondent Alviar was invited by order otherwise.
the National Bureau of Investigation for
questioning on September 22, 1992 in the Heretofore, under the New Civil Code of
presence of Dra. Ty and petitioner. Cristina was the Philippines, the compelling reasons which
also brought along by said respondent. At that may deprive the parents of their authority or
confrontation, Dra. Ty could not be sure that suspend exercise thereof are stated. It was
Cristina was indeed petitioners child, Arabella. then provided in Article 332, supra, that:
Neither could petitioner with all certainty say
that Cristina was her long lost daughter. The courts may deprive the parents of their
authority x x x if they should treat their
On October 13, 1992, petitioner filed a children with excessive harshness x x x or
petition for the issuance of a Writ of Habeas abandon them. x x x (Italics supplied by the
Corpus with the Regional Trial Court11 of RTC)
Quezon City. The trial court conducted a total
of eight (8) hearings, for the period, Unfortunately, the foregoing article, which was
from October 28, 1992 to December 11, 1992. under Title XI, parental authority, was
On January 15, 1993, it rendered a decision expressly repealed by Article 254 of the Family
granting the Petition for Habeas Corpus and Code of the Philippines xxx
ordering respondent Alviar to immediately
deliver the person of Cristina Grace Neri to the xxx xxx xxx
petitioner, the court having found Cristina to
be the petitioners long lost child, Arabella. It can be seen, therefore, that the words or
abandoned them mentioned in Article 332 of
The trial court, in justification of its the New Civil Code x x x is (sic) no longer
conclusions, discussed that: mentioned in the amending (of) Art. 231 of the
Family Code of the Philippines.
On the issue of whether or not the minor child,
in question, is the daughter of the petitioner, It is clear x x x that under the law presently
there seems to be no question, to the mind of controlling, abandonment is no longer
this Court, that the petitioner, is, indeed, the considered a compelling reason upon the basis
mother of the child, registered by the name of of which the Court may separate the child
Arabella O. Sombong, per her Certificate of below seven (7) years old from the mother.
Birth x x x and later caused to be baptized as
Cristina Grace S. Nery (sic) x x x For, this child Conceivably, however, in paragraph 6 of
is the same child which was delivered by the Article 231, supra, the effects of culpable
Sir John Clinic at Kalookan City, owned by Dra. negligence on the part of the parent may be
Carmen Ty, to Dra. Fe Mallonga and later given considered by this Court in suspending
to the custody of the respondents. In fact, Dra. petitioners parental authority over her
Carmen Ty, in her testimony admitted that the daughter, in question x x x
petitioner is the mother of Arabella xxx
The question, therefore, is whether there is
On the question of whether or not the culpable negligence on the part of the
petitioner has the rightful custody of the minor petitioner so that her parental authority over
child, in question, which is being withheld by her child, in question, may at least be
the respondents from her, as will authorize the suspended by this Court.
granting of the petition for habeas corpus x x x
This Court is not persuaded that the petitioner welfare be the paramount consideration in this
is guilty of culpable negligence vis-a-vis her case which involves child custody.
daughter, in question, upon the bases of the
facts adduced. For, there is no question that The Court of Appeals reversed and set
from April, 1988 she kept on demanding from aside the decision of the trial court, ruling as it
Dra. Carmen Ty x x x the return of her child to did that:
her but the latter refused even to see her or to
talk to her. Neither did Vicente Ty, the husband x x x the lower court erred in sweepingly
of Dra. Carmen Ty, respond to her entreaties to concluding that petitioners child Arabella
return her daughter. Sombong and respondents foster child Cristina
Neri are one and the same person to warrant
xxx xxx xxx the issuance of the writ. x x x

Besides, in the interim, while petitioner was As clearly stated in the facts of this case, not
looking for her daughter, she made even petitioner herself could recognize her
representations for her recovery with own child when respondents foster child
Barangay Captains Alfonso and Bautista, and Cristina Neri was presented to her before the
Mayor Asistio, all of Kalookan City, as well as NBI and respondent court. Dr. Carmen Ty at
with Congresswoman Hortensia L. Starke to the NB! investigation could not also ascertain
intervene in her behalf. whether or not Cristina Neri and petitioners
missing child are one and the same person.
It cannot be said, therefore, no matter how
remotely, that the petitioner was negligent, Before the lower court, petitioner-appellee
nay culpably, in her efforts for the recovery of presented two physicians from the Sir John
her daughter. Clinic, namely, Dr. Carmen Ty and Dr. Angelina
Trono to identify the child in question. But both
xxx xxx xxx witnesses could not positively declare that
Cristina Neri is the same missing child Arabella
Certainly, the respondents have no right to Sombong of petitioner. Dr. Trono even declared
the parental authority of the child, superior to in court that there were other babies left in the
that of the petitioner as they are not her clinic and that she could not be certain which
parents. They have, therefore, no right to the baby was given to respondents (pp. 48-49,
custody of petitioners daughter. The Sir John tsn, Nov. 10, 1992). x x x Petitioner, herself,
Clinic, or Dra. Carmen Ty, have (sic) no right to could not identify her own child, prompting the
deliver the child, in question, to Dra. Fe respondent court to call for child Cristina Neri
Mallonga. Neither had the latter the right and to come forward near the bench for
the authority to gave (sic) the child to the comparison of her physical features with that
respondents, whose custody of petitioners of her alleged mother, the petitioner (p. 32,
daughter is, consequently, illegal.12 tsn, Nov. 5, 1992). After a comparison of
petitioner and Cristina Neris physical features,
Herein private respondents filed an appeal the lower court found no similarity and to
from the decision of the Regional Trial Court to which petitioner agreed claiming that said
the Court of Appeals. The Appellate Court took child looked like her sister-in-law (p.
cognizance of the following issues: (1) The 33, id.) When the lower court instructed
propriety of the habeas corpus proceeding vis- petitioner to bring said sister-in-law in the next
a-vis the problem respecting the identity of the hearing, petitioner stated they were not on
child subject of said proceeding; (2) If indeed good terms (p. 34, id.) No one, therefore, up to
petitioner be the mother of the child in this time has come forward to testify as a
question, what the effect would proof of witness in order to positively identify
abandonment be under the circumstances of respondents child Cristina Neri to be one and
the case; and (3) Will the question of the childs
the same as petitioners missing child, Arabella While we sympathize with the plight of
Sombong. petitioner who has been separated from her
daughter for more than eight years, we cannot
xxx xxx xxx grant her the relief she is seeking, because the
evidence in this case does not support a
The issuance of a writ of habeas corpus does finding that the child, Cristina, is in truth and
not lie in this case considering that petitioner in fact her child, Arabella; neither is there
is not entitled to the custody of Cristina Neri sufficient evidence to support the finding that
because she is not the mother of the said private respondents custody of Cristina is so
child, and does not have the right to have illegal as to warrant the grant of a Writ
custody over said child. of Habeas Corpus. In general, the purpose of
the writ of habeas corpus is to determine
xxx xxx xxx whether or not a particular person is legally
held. A prime specification of an application for
We do not agree with the lower court that the a writ of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual
ground of abandonment of a child has been and effective, and not merely nominal or
repealed by Art. 231 of the Family Code for moral, illegal restraint of liberty. The writ
abandonment can also be included under the of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a
phrase cases which have resulted from speedy and effectual remedy to relieve
culpable negligence of the parent (par. 2, Art. persons from unlawful restraint, and as the
231 of the Family Code). What can be the best and only sufficient defense of personal
worst culpable negligence of a parent than freedom. A prime specification of an
abandoning her own child. This court does not application for a writ of habeas corpus is
believe petitioner-appellees explanation that restraint of liberty. The essential object and
she had been negotiating for the discharge of purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to
her child for the past five years. That was too inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint
long a time for negotiation when she could as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve
have filed immediately a complaint with the a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal.
authorities or the courts x x x Any restraint which will preclude freedom of
action is sufficient.14
As to the issue of the welfare of the child,
petitioner-appellees capability to give her child Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant
the basic needs and guidance in life appear of the writ of habeas corpus, the restraint of
(sic) to be bleak. Before the lower court liberty must be in the nature of an illegal and
petitioner-appellee filed a motion to litigate as involuntary deprivation of freedom of action.
pauper as she had no fixed income. She also This is the basic requisite under the first part
admitted that she had no stable job, and she of Section 1, Rule 102, of the Revised Rules of
had been separated from a man previously Court, which provides that except as otherwise
married to another woman. She also confessed expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas
that she planned to go abroad and leave her corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal
other child Johannes to the care of the nuns. confinement or detention by which any person
The child Arabella Sombong wherever she is is deprived of his liberty.
certainly does not face a bright prospect with
petitioner-appellee.13 In the second part of the same provision,
however, Habeas Corpus may be resorted to in
This prompted the petitioner to file this cases where the rightful custody of any person
petition. is withheld from the person entitled thereto.
Thus, although the Writ of Habeas
We do not find the petition to be Corpus ought not to be issued if the restraint is
meritorious. voluntary, we have held time and again that
the said writ is the proper legal remedy to
enable parents to regain the custody of a The foregoing principles considered, the
minor child even if the latter be in the custody grant of the writ in the instant case will all
of a third person of her own free will.15 depend on the concurrence of the following
requisites: (1) that the petitioner has the right
It may even be said that in custody cases of custody over the minor; (2) that the rightful
involving minors, the question of illegal and custody of the minor is being withheld from
involuntary restraint of liberty is not the the petitioner by the respondent; and (3) that
underlying rationale for the availability of the it is to the best interest of the minor
writ as a remedy; rather, the writ of habeas concerned to be in the custody of petitioner
corpus is prosecuted for the purpose of and not that of the respondent.
determining the right of custody over a child.
Not all of these requisites exist in this
The controversy does not involve the case. The dismissal of this petition is thus
question of personal freedom, because an warranted.
infant is presumed to be in the custody of
someone until he attains majority age. In I
passing on the writ in a child custody case, the
court deals with a matter of an equitable As to the questionof identity.
nature. Not bound by any mere legal right of
parent or guardian, the court gives his or her Petitioner does not have the right of
claim to the custody of the child due weight as custody over the minor Cristina because, by
a claim founded on human nature and the evidence disclosed before the court a
considered generally equitable and just. quo, Cristina has not been shown to be
Therefore, these cases are decided, not on the petitioners daughter, Arabella. The evidence
legal right of the petitioner to be relieved from adduced before the trial court does not
unlawful imprisonment or detention, as in the warrant the conclusion that Arabella is the
case of adults, but on the courts view of the same person as Cristina. It will be remembered
best interests of those whose welfare requires that, in habeas corpus proceedings, the
that they be in custody of one person or question of identity is relevant and material,
another. Hence, the court is not bound to subject to the usual presumptions including
deliver a child into the custody of any claimant those as to identity of person. 19 These
or of any person, but should, in the presumptions may yield, however, to the
consideration of the facts, leave it in such evidence proffered by the parties.
custody as its welfare at the time appears to
require. In short, the childs welfare is the Identity may be thought of as a quality of a
supreme consideration. person or thing, - the quality of sameness with
another person or thing. The essential
Considering that the childs welfare is an assumption is that two persons or things are
all-important factor in custody cases, the Child first thought of as existing, and that then the
and Youth Welfare Code16 unequivocally one is alleged, because of common features,
provides that in all questions regarding the to be the same as the other.20
care and custody, among others, of the child,
his welfare shall be the paramount Evidence must necessarily be adduced to
17
consideration. In the same vein, the Family prove that two persons, initially thought of to
Code authorizes the courts to, if the welfare of be distinct and separate from each other, are
the child so demands, deprive the parents indeed one and the same. The process is both
concerned of parental authority over the child logical and analytical.
or adopt such measures as may be proper
under the circumstances.18 x x x it operates by comparing common marks
found to exist in the two supposed separate
objects of thought, with reference to the
possibility of their being the same. It follows and separate existence of petitioners child,
that its force depends on the necessariness of Arabella, from that of private respondents
the association between the mark and a single foster child, Cristina.
object. Where a certain circumstance, feature,
or mark, may commonly be found associated We note, among others, that Dr. Trono,
with a large number of objects, the presence who is petitioners own witness, testified in
of that feature or mark in two supposed court that, together with Arabella, there were
objects is little indication of their identity, several babies left in the clinic and so she
because x x x the other conceivable could not be certain whether it was Arabella or
hypotheses are so numerous, i.e., the objects some other baby that was given to private
that possess that mark are numerous and respondents. Petitioners own evidence shows
therefore any two of them possessing it may that, after the confinement of Arabella in the
well be different. But where the objects clinic in 1987, she saw her daughter again
possessing the mark are only one or a few, only in 1989 when she visited the clinic. This
and the mark is found in two supposed corroborates the testimony of petitioners own
instances, the chances of two being different witness, Dra. Ty, that Arabella was physically
are nil or are comparatively small. confined in the clinic from November, 1987 to
April, 1989. This testimony tallies with her
Hence, in the process of identification of assertion in her counter-affidavit to the effect
two supposed objects, by a common mark, the that Arabella was in the custody of the hospital
force of the inference depends on the degree until April, 1989. All this, when juxtaposed with
of necessariness of association of that mark the unwavering declaration of private
with a single object. respondents that they obtained custody of
Cristina in April, 1988 and had her baptized at
For simplicitys sake, the evidential the Good Samaritan Church on April 30, 1988,
circumstance may thus be spoken of as a leads to the conclusion that Cristina is not
mark. But in practice it rarely occurs that the Arabella.
evidential mark is a single circumstance. The
evidencing feature is usually a group of Significantly, Justice. Lourdes K. Tayao-
circumstances, which as a whole constitute a Jaguros, herself a mother and the ponente of
feature capable of being associated with a the herein assailed decision, set the case for
single object. Rarely can one circumstance hearing on August 30, 1993 primarily for the
alone be so inherently peculiar to a single purpose of observing petitioners demeanor
object. It is by adding circumstance to towards the minor Cristina. She made the
circumstance that we obtain a composite following personal but relevant manifestation:
feature or mark which as a whole cannot be
supposed to be associated with more than a The undersigned ponente as a mother herself
single object. of four children, wanted to see how petitioner
as an alleged mother of a missing child
The process of constructing an inference of supposedly in the person of Cristina Neri would
identity thus consists usually in adding react on seeing again her long lost child. The
together a number of circumstances, each of petitioner appeared in the scheduled hearing
which by itself might be a feature of many of this case late, and she walked inside the
objects, but all of which together make it more courtroom looking for a seat without even
probable that they co-exist in a single object stopping at her alleged daughters seat;
only. Each additional circumstance reduces the without even casting a glance on said child,
chances of there being more than one object and without even that tearful embrace which
so associated.21 characterizes the reunion of a loving mother
with her missing dear child. Throughout the
In the instant case, the testimonial and proceedings, the undersigned ponente noticed
circumstantial proof establishes the individual no signs of endearment and affection expected
of a mother who had been deprived of the NURHIDA JUHURI AMPATUAN vs. JUDGE
embrace of her little child for many years. The VIRGILIO V. MACARAIG, RTC, BRANCH 37
conclusion or finding of undersigned ponente
as a mother, herself, that petitioner-appellee is PEREZ, J.:
not the mother of Cristina Neri has been given
support by aforestated observation x x x.22 Before this Court is a Petition
for Certiorari under Rule 65[1] of the Rules of
The process of constructing an inference of
identity having earlier been explained to Court assailing the Order dated 25 April 2008
consist of adding one circumstance to another of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila,
in order to obtain a composite feature or mark Branch 37, in Special Proceeding No. 08-
which as a whole cannot be supposed to be 119132 which denied the petition for Habeas
associated with more than a single object, the
Corpus filed by herein Petitioner Nurhida Juhuri
reverse is also true, i.e., when one
circumstance is added to another, and the Ampatuan in behalf of her husband Police
result is a fortification of the corporeality of. Officer 1 Basser B. Ampatuan[2] (PO1
each of the two objects the identity of which is Ampatuan).
being sought to be established, the nexus of
Petitioner alleged in her petition that
circumstances correspondingly multiply the
chances of there being more than one object her husband PO1 Ampatuan was assigned at
so associated. This is the situation that Sultan Kudarat Municipal Police Station. On 14
confronts us in this case, and so the inevitable April 2008, he was asked by his Chief of Police
but sad conclusion that we must make is that
to report to the Provincial Director of Shariff
petitioner has no right of custody over the
Kabunsuan, Superintendent Esmael Pua Ali
minor Cristina, because Cristina is not identical
with her missing daughter, Arabella. (Supt. Ali). The latter brought PO1 Ampatuan
to Superintendent Piang Adam, Provincial
xxxxx Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
Maguindanao. PO1 Ampatuan was directed to
In the light of the aforegoing premises, we
are constrained to rule that Habeas stay at the Police Provincial Office of
Corpus does not lie to afford petitioner the Maguindanao without being informed of the
relief she seeks. cause of his restraint. The next day, 15 April
2008, PO1 Ampatuan was brought to
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 30574 the General Santos City Airport and was made
is AFFIRMED IN TOTO. Costs against petitioner. to board a Philippine Airlines plane bound
for Manila. Upon landing at
SO ORDERED.
the Manila Domestic Airport, PO1 Ampatuan
was turned over to policemen of Manila and
brought to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim by Police
Director Geary Barias and General Roberto
Rosales. A press briefing was then conducted
where it was announced that PO1 Ampatuan
was arrested for the killing of two Commission
on Elections (COMELEC) Officials. He was then
detained at the Police Jail in United Nations
Avenue, Manila. Thereafter, PO1 Ampatuan
GR NO 182497
was brought to inquest Prosecutor Renato
Gonzaga of the Office of the City Prosecutor of to charge PO1 Ampatuan with Grave
Manila due to the alleged murder of Atty. Misconduct (Murder) and recommending that
Alioden D. Dalaig, head of the Law Department said PO1 Ampatuan be subjected to summary
of the COMELEC. On 20 April 2008, PO1 hearing.
Ampatuan was turned-over to the Regional
Headquarters Support Group On even date, a charge sheet for Grave
[3]
in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. Misconduct was executed against PO1
Ampatuan, the accusatory portion of which
Petitioner continues that on 21 April reads:
2008, Chief Inquest Prosecutor Nelson Salva
ordered the release for further investigation of CHARGE SHEET

PO1 Ampatuan.[4] The Order was approved by THE UNDERSIGNED NOMINAL COMPLAINANT
the City Prosecutor of Manila. But Police Senior hereby charges above-named respondent of
the administrative offense of Grave
Superintendent Co Yee Co, Jr., and Police Chief Misconduct (murder) pursuant to Section 52 of
Inspector Agapito Quimson refused to release R.A. 8551[6] in relation to NAPOLCOM
Memorandum Circular 93-024, committed as
PO1 Ampatuan.
follows:

This prompted Petitioner to file the That on or about 7:08 in the evening of
November 10, 2007, in M.H. Del Pilar and
petition for writ of habeas corpus in the RTC of Pedro Gil St., Ermita, Manila, above-named
Manila, Branch 37.[5] respondent while being an active member of
the PNP and within the jurisdiction of this
office, armed with a cal .45 pistol, with intent
Private respondents had another version to kill, did then and there willfully, unlawfully
of the antecedent facts. They narrated that at and feloniously, shot Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig,
Jr., COMELEC official on the different parts of
around 7:08 oclock in the evening of 10 his body, thereby inflicting upon the latter
November 2007, a sixty-four-year-old man, mortal gunshot wounds which directly cause
(sic) his death.
later identified as Atty. Alioden D. Dalaig, Head
of the COMELEC Legal Department, was killed Acts contrary to the existing PNP Laws rules
at the corner of M. H. Del Pilar and Pedro Gil and Regulations.[7]

Streets, Ermita, Manila.Investigation


Also, through a Memorandum dated 18
conducted by the Manila Police District (MPD)
April 2008, Police Director General Avelino I.
Homicide Section yielded the identity of the
Razon, Jr. directed the Regional Director of the
male perpetrator as PO1
National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO)
Ampatuan. Consequently, PO1 Ampatuan was
to place PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive
commanded to the MPD District Director for
custody, thus:
proper disposition. Likewise, inquest
proceedings were conducted by the Manila 1. Reference: Memo from that Office
Prosecutors Office. dated April 15, 2008 re Arrest of PO1
Busser Ampatuan, suspect in the killing
of Atty. Alioden Dalaig and Atty. Wynee
On 18 April 2008, Police Senior Asdala, both COMELEC Legal Officers.
Superintendent Atty. Clarence V. Guinto,
2. This pertains to the power of the
rendered his Pre-Charge Evaluation Report Chief, PNP embodied in Section 52 of RA
against PO1 Ampatuan, finding probable cause 8551, to place police personnel under
restrictive custody during the pendency Armed with the 21 April 2008
of a grave administrative case filed
against him or even after the filing of a recommendation of the Manila Citys
criminal complaint, grave in nature, Prosecution Office, petitioner, who is the wife
against such police personnel.
of PO1 Ampatuan, filed a Petition for the
3. In this connection, you are hereby Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the
directed to place PO1 Busser Ampatuan,
RTC of Manila on 22 April 2008. The petition
suspect in the killing of Atty. Alioden
Dalaig and Atty. Wynee Asdala, both was docketed as Special Proceeding No. 08-
COMELEC Legal Officers, under your 119132 and was raffled to Branch 37.
restrictive custody.
On 24 April 2008, finding the petition to
4. For strict compliance.[8] be sufficient in form and substance,
respondent Judge Virgilio V. Macaraig ordered
On 19 April 2008, through a
the issuance of a writ of habeas
Memorandum Request dated 18 April 2008,
corpuscommanding therein respondents to
respondent Police Director Geary L. Barias
produce the body of PO1 Ampatuan and
requested for the creation of the Summary
directing said respondents to show cause why
Hearing Board to hear the case of PO1
they are withholding or restraining the liberty
Ampatuan.[9]
of PO1 Ampatuan.[12]

On 20 April 2008, Special Order No. 921


On 25 April 2008, the RTC resolved the
was issued by Police Director Edgardo E. Acua,
Petition in its Order which reads:
placing PO1 Ampatuan under restrictive
custody of the Regional Director, NCRPO, Essentially, counsels for petitioner
effective 19 April 2008. Said Special Order No. insists that PO1 Basser Ampatuan is being
illegally detained by the respondents despite
921, reads: the order of release of Chief Inquest
Prosecutor Nelson Salva dated April 21,
Restrictive Custody 2008. They further claim that as of April 23,
2008, no administrative case was filed
PO1 Basser B. Ampatuan against PO1 Ampatuan.
128677, is placed under
restrictive custody of the Regional Respondents, while admitting that to
Director, NCRPO effective April date no criminal case was filed against PO1
19, 2008. (Reference: Ampatuan, assert that the latter is under
Memorandum from CPNP restrictive custody since he is facing an
dated 18 April 2008). administrative case for grave
misconduct. They submitted to this Court the
BY COMMAND OF POLICE DIRECTOR Pre-charge Evaluation Report and Charge
GENERAL RAZON:[10] Sheet. Further, in support of their position,
respondents cited the case of SPO2 Manalo,
et al. v. Hon. Calderon, G.R. No. 178920
claiming that habeas corpus will not lie for
Meanwhile, on 21 April 2008, the City
a PNP personnel under restrictive
Prosecutor of Manila recommended that the custody. They claim that this is authorized
case against PO1 Ampatuan be set for further under Section 52, Par. 4 of R.A. 8551
authorizing the Chief of PNP to place
investigation and that the latter be released the PNP personnel under restrictive custody
from custody unless he is being held for other during the pendency of administrative case
for grave misconduct.
charges/legal grounds.[11]
Petitioner countered that the TO CONSIDER THAT THE
administrative case filed against PO1 ARREST AND DETENTION OF PO1 BASSER
Ampatuan was ante-dated to make it appear B. AMPATUAN WAS MADE WITHOUT ANY
that there was such a case filed before April WARRANT AND THEREFORE, ILLEGAL;
23, 2008.
II. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY
The function of habeas corpus is to ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT
determine the legality of ones detention, CONCEDED THE AUTHORITY OF
meaning, if there is sufficient cause for RESPONDENT AVELINO RAZON, JR.
deprivation or confinement and if there is UNDER SEC. 52, PAR. 4, R.A. 8551 TO PLACE
none to discharge him at once. For habeas AMPATUAN UNDER RESTRICTIVE CUSTODY
corpus to issue, the restraint of liberty must FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS;
be in the nature of illegal and involuntary
deprivation of freedom which must be III. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY
actual and effective, not nominal or moral. ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT SHIRKED
FROM ITS JUDICIAL DUTY TO ORDER THE
Granting arguendo that the RELEASE OF PO1 AMPATUAN FROM THE
administrative case was ante-dated, the CUSTODY OF RESPONDENTS MAMANG PULIS.
[14]
Court cannot simply ignore the filing of an
administrative case filed against PO1
Ampatuan. It cannot be denied that Essentially, a writ
the PNP has its own administrative of habeas corpus applies to all cases of
disciplinary mechanism and as clearly
pointed out by the respondents, the illegal confinement or detention by which
Chief PNP is authorized to place PO1
any person is deprived of his liberty.[15]
Ampatuan under restrictive custody
pursuant to Section 52, Par. 4 of R.A. 8551.

The filing of the administrative case Rule 102 of the 1997 Rules of Court sets
against PO1 Ampatuan is a process done
forth the procedure to be followed in the
by the PNP and this Court has no authority
to order the release of the subject police issuance of the writ. The Rule provides:
officer.

Lastly, anent the contention of the RULE 102


petitioner that the letter resignation of
PO1 Ampatuan has rendered the HABEAS CORPUS
administrative case moot and academic,
the same could not be accepted by this SECTION 1. To what habeas corpus extends.
Court. It must be stressed that the Except as otherwise expressly provided by
resignation has not been acted (sic) by the law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to
appropriate police officials of the PNP, and all cases of illegal confinement or detention
that the administrative case was filed by which any person is deprived of his
while PO1 Ampatuan is still in the active liberty, or by which the rightful custody of
status of the PNP. any person is withheld from the person
entitled thereto.
WHEREFORE, premises considered,
the petition for habeas corpus is hereby SEC 2. Who may grant the writ. The writ
DISMISSED.[13] of habeas corpus may be granted by the
Supreme Court, or any member thereof, on
Distressed, petitioner is now before any day and at any time, or by the Court of
this Court via a Petition Appeals or any member thereof in the
for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules instances authorized by law, and if so granted
of Court to question the validity of the it shall be enforceable anywhere in the
RTC Order dated 25 April 2008. Philippines, and may be made returnable
The issues are: before the court or any member thereof, or
before a Court of First Instance, or any judge
I. THE RESPONDENTCOURT GRAVELY thereof for hearing and decision on the
ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILED merits. It may also be granted by a Court of
First Instance, or a judge thereof, on any day freedom of movement or placed under some
and at any time, and returnable before
himself, enforceable only within his judicial form of illegal restraint. If an individuals liberty
district. is restrained via some legal process, the writ

xxxx of habeas corpus is unavailing.


[18]
Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant
SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge
of the writ of habeas corpus, the restraint of
authorized. If it appears that the person
alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the liberty must be in the nature of an illegal and
custody of an officer under process issued by involuntary deprivation of freedom of action.[19]
a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or
order of a court of record, and that the court In general, the purpose of the writ
or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, of habeas corpus is to determine whether or
render the judgment, or make the order, the
not a particular person is legally held. A prime
writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction
appears after the writ is allowed, the person specification of an application for a writ
shall not be discharged by reason of any of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual and
informality or defect in the process,
judgment, or order. Nor shall anything in this effective, and not merely nominal or moral,
rule be held to authorize the discharge of a illegal restraint of liberty. The writ of habeas
person charged with or convicted of an
corpus was devised and exists as a speedy
offense in the Philippines, or of a person
suffering imprisonment under lawful and effectual remedy to relieve persons from
judgment. unlawful restraint, and as the best and only
sufficient defense of personal freedom. A
The objective of the writ is to determine
prime specification of an application for a writ
whether the confinement or detention is valid
of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. The
or lawful. If it is, the writ cannot be
essential object and purpose of the writ
issued. What is to be inquired into is the
of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner
legality of a person's detention as of, at the
of involuntary restraint as distinguished from
earliest, the filing of the application for the
voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if
writ of habeas corpus, for even if the detention
such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will
is at its inception illegal, it may, by reason of
preclude freedom of action is sufficient. [20]
some supervening events, such as the
In passing upon a petition for habeas
instances mentioned in Section 4 of Rule 102,
corpus, a court or judge must first inquire into
be no longer illegal at the time of the filing of
whether the petitioner is being restrained of
the application.[16]
his liberty. If he is not, the writ will be
refused. Inquiry into the cause of detention will
Plainly stated, the writ obtains
proceed only where such restraint exists. If the
immediate relief for those who have been
alleged cause is thereafter found to be
illegally confined or imprisoned without
unlawful, then the writ should be granted and
sufficient cause. The writ, however, should not
the petitioner discharged. Needless to state, if
be issued when the custody over the person is
otherwise, again the writ will be refused. [21]
by virtue of a judicial process or a valid
While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it
judgment.[17]
will not issue as a matter of course or as a
The most basic criterion for the issuance
mere perfunctory operation on the filing of the
of the writ, therefore, is that the individual
petition. Judicial discretion is called for in its
seeking such relief is illegally deprived of his
issuance and it must be clear to the judge to
whom the petition is presented that, prima petition for habeas corpus will be given due
facie, the petitioner is entitled to the writ. It is
course only if it shows that petitioner is being
only if the court is satisfied that a person is
detained or restrained of his liberty unlawfully,
being unlawfully restrained of his liberty will
but a restrictive custody and monitoring of
the petition for habeas corpus be granted. If
the respondents are not detaining or movements or whereabouts of police officers
restraining the applicant or the person in under investigation by their superiors is not a
whose behalf the petition is filed, the petition form of illegal detention or restraint of liberty.
should be dismissed.[22] [25]

Petitioner contends that when PO1


Ampatuan was placed under the custody of
The Solicitor General is correct.
respondents on 20 April 2008, there was yet
no administrative case filed against him. When In this case, PO1 Ampatuan has been
the release order of Chief Inquest Prosecutor placed under Restrictive Custody. Republic Act
Nelson Salva was served upon respondents on No. 6975 (also known as the Department of
Interior and Local Government Act of 1990), as
21 April 2008, there was still no administrative
amended by Republic Act No. 8551 (also
case filed against PO1 Ampatuan. She also
known as the Philippine National Police Reform
argues that the arrest on 14 April 2008 of PO1
and Reorganization Act of 1998), clearly
Ampatuan in Shariff Kabunsuan was illegal provides that members of the police force are
because there was no warrant of arrest issued subject to the administrative disciplinary
by any judicial authority against him. machinery of the PNP. Section 41(b) of the said
law enumerates the disciplinary
On the other hand, respondents, in their
actions, including restrictive custody that may
Comment[23] filed by the Office of the Solicitor
be imposed by duly designated supervisors
General, argue that the trial court correctly
and equivalent officers of the PNP as a matter
denied the subject petition.Respondents of internal discipline. The pertinent provision of
maintain that while the Office of the City Republic Act No. 8551 reads:
Prosecutor of Manila had recommended that
Sec. 52 x x x.
PO1 Ampatuan be released from custody, said
xxxx
recommendation was made only insofar as the
criminal action for murder that was filed with 4. The Chief of the PNP shall have the power
to impose the disciplinary punishment of
the prosecution office is concerned and is dismissal from the service; suspension or
forfeiture of salary; or any combination
without prejudice to other legal grounds for
thereof for a period not exceeding one
which he may be held under custody. In the hundred eighty (180) days. Provided,
further, That the Chief of the PNP shall
instant case, PO1 Ampatuan is also facing have the authority to place police
administrative charges for Grave personnel under restrictive custody
during the pendency of a grave
Misconduct. They cited the case of Manalo v. administrative case filed against him or
even after the filing of a criminal
Calderon,[24] where this Court held that a
complaint, grave in nature, against such SO ORDERED.
police personnel. [Emphasis ours].

xxxxx
G.R. No. 182855 June 5, 2013
Given that PO1 Ampatuan has been
MR. ALEXANDER "LEX" ADONIS,
placed under restrictive custody, such
represented by the CENTER FOR MEDIA
constitutes a valid argument for his continued FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY (CMFR),
through its Executive Director, MRS.
detention. This Court has held that a MELINDA QUINTOS-DE JESUS; and the
restrictive custody and monitoring of NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF
THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP), through its
movements or whereabouts of police officers Chairperson, MR. JOSE TORRES,
JR., Petitioners,
under investigation by their superiors is not a vs.
form of illegal detention or restraint of liberty. SUPERENTENDENT VENANCIO TESORO,
DIRECTOR, DAVAO PRISONS AND PENAL
[26]
FARM, PANABO CITY, DIGOS DAVAO DEL
NORTE, Respondent.

Restrictive custody is, at best, nominal REYES, J.:

restraint which is beyond the ambit This is a Petition for the Issuance of the Writ of
of habeas corpus. It is neither actual nor Habeas Corpus1 under Rule 102 of the 1997
Rules of Court filed by petitioner Alexander
effective restraint that would call for the grant Adonis (Adonis), praying that the Court directs
respondent Superintendent Venancio Tesoro
of the remedy prayed for. It is a permissible (respondent), Director of the Davao Prisons
precautionary measure to assure the PNP and Penal Farm, to have the body of the
former brought before this Court and in the
authorities that the police officers concerned alternative, praying for the application of the
Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 08-
are always accounted for.[27]
2008,2 which imposes the penalty of a fine
Since the basis of PO1 Ampatuans instead of imprisonment in Criminal Case No.
48679-2001.3
restrictive custody is the administrative case
filed against him, his remedy is within such Antecedent Facts

administrative process. In Criminal Case No. 48679-2001, Adonis was


convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Davao
City (RTC), Branch 17 for Libel, filed against
In sum, petitioner is unable to discharge him by then Representative Prospero Nograles.
He was sentenced to an indeterminate
the burden of showing that she is entitled to sentence of five (5) months and one (1) day of
arresto mayor maximum, as minimum penalty,
the issuance of the writ prayed for in behalf of
to four (4) years, six (6) months and one (1)
her husband, PO1 Ampatuan. The petition fails day of prision correccional medium, as
maximum penalty.4 He began serving his
to show on its face that the latter is unlawfully sentence at the Davao Prisons and Penal Farm
deprived of his liberty guaranteed and on February 20, 2007.5

enshrined in the Constitution. A second libel case, docketed as Criminal Case


WHEREFORE, premises considered, the No. 48719-2001 was likewise filed against
Adonis by Jeanette L. Leuterio, pending before
instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of the RTC of Davao City, Branch 14.6
merit.
Costs against petitioner.
On December 11, 2007, the Board of Pardons The petition is without merit.
and Parole (BPP) issued an order for the
Discharge on Parole of seven (7) inmates in The ultimate purpose of the writ of habeas
various jails in the country, which included corpus is to relieve a person from unlawful
Adonis. The said document was received by restraint. The writ exists as a speedy and
the City Parole and Probation Office of Davao effectual remedy to relieve persons from
on May 2, 2008.7 unlawful restraint and as an effective defense
of personal freedom. It is issued only for the
Meanwhile, on January 25, 2008, this Court lone purpose of obtaining relief for those
issued Administrative Circular No. 08-2008, illegally confined or imprisoned without
the subject of which is the "Guidelines in the sufficient legal basis. It is not issued when the
Observance of a Rule of Preference in the person is in custody because of a judicial
Imposition of Penalties in Libel Cases." process or a valid judgment.18

In view of these developments, Adonis, on Section 4, Rule 102 of the Revised Rules of
April 18, 2008 filed with the RTC Branch 17 a Court provides when a writ must not be
Motion to Reopen Case (With Leave of allowed or discharge authorized, to wit:
Court),8 praying for his immediate release from
detention and for the modification of his SEC. 4. When writ not allowed or discharge
sentence to payment of fine pursuant to the authorized. If it appears that the person
said Circular. alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the
custody of an officer under process issued by a
On May 26, 2008, in Criminal Case No. 48719- court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or
2001 before the RTC Branch 14, Adonis moved order of a court of record, and that the court or
for his provisional release from detention. The judge had jurisdiction to issue the process,
motion was granted by Presiding Judge George render the judgment, or make the order, the
Omelio in open court and he was allowed to writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction
post bail in the amount appears after the writ is allowed, the person
9
of P5,000. Subsequently on even date and shall not be discharged by reason of any
after Adonis filed a cash bond and an informality or defect in the process, judgment,
undertaking,10 the trial court issued an Order or order. Nor shall anything in this rule be held
directing the Chief of Davao Penal Colony "to to authorize the discharge of a person charged
release the accused Alexis Adonis unless he is with or convicted of an offense in the
being held for some other crimes or Philippines, or of a person suffering
offenses."11 On the same date, the said order imprisonment under lawful judgment.
was served to the respondent, 12 but the
release of Adonis was not effected. In the instant case, Adonis was convicted for
libel by the RTC Branch 17, in Criminal Case
On May 30, 2008, Adonis filed the instant No. 48679-2001.1wphi1 Since his detention
petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas was by virtue of a final judgment, he is not
corpus alleging that his liberty was restrained entitled to the Writ of Habeas Corpus. He was
by the respondent for no valid reason.13 serving his sentence when the BPP granted
him parole, along with six (6) others, on
The respondent consequently filed his December 11, 2007.19 While it is true that a
Comment.14 Adonis then filed on October 27, convict may be released from prison on parole
2008 an Urgent Motion to Resolve15 and on when he had served the minimum period of
November 7, 2008 a Manifestation and his sentence; the pendency of another criminal
Motion,16 reiterating all his previous prayers. case, however, is a ground for the
disqualification of such convict from being
On February 11, 2009, the Court received the released on parole.20 Notably, at the time he
letter from the respondent, informing the was granted the parole, the second libel case
Court that Adonis had been released from was pending before the RTC Branch 14. 21 In
confinement on December 23, 2008 after fact, even when the instant petition was filed,
accepting the conditions set forth in his parole Criminal Case No. 48719-01 was still pending.
and with the advise to report to the City Parole The issuance of the writ under such
and Probation Officer of Davao.17 circumstance was, therefore, proscribed. There
was basis for the respondent to deny his
The Courts Ruling immediate release at that time.
xxxx SO ORDERED.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.