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Writ of amparo; writ of habeas data - provisional remedies or interim petitioner is an organization, association or institution referred to in

reliefs allowed - G.R. No. 191805 Section 3(c) of this Rule, the protection may be extended to the
officers involved.
G.R. No. 191805
The Supreme Court shall accredit the persons and private institutions
that shall extend temporary protection to the petitioner or the
"x x x. aggrieved party and any member of the immediate family, in
accordance with guidelines which it shall issue.

The accredited persons and private institutions shall comply with the
At the outset, it must be emphasized that the writs of amparo and rules and conditions that may be imposed by the court, justice or
habeas data were promulgated to ensure the protection of the judge.
people’s rights to life, liberty and security.[57] The rules on these writs
were issued in light of the alarming prevalence of extrajudicial killings (a) Inspection Order. – The court, justice or judge, upon verified
and enforced disappearances.[58] The Rule on the Writ of Amparo took motion and after due hearing, may order any person in possession or
effect on 24 October 2007,[59] and the Rule on the Writ of Habeas control of a designated land or other property, to permit entry for the
Data on 2 February 2008.[60] purpose of inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the
property or any relevant object or operation thereon.
The writ of amparo is an extraordinary and independent remedy that
provides rapid judicial relief, as it partakes of a summary proceeding The motion shall state in detail the place or places to be inspected. It
that requires only substantial evidence to make the appropriate shall be supported by affidavits or testimonies of witnesses having
interim and permanent reliefs available to the petitioner. [61] It is not personal knowledge of the enforced disappearance or whereabouts
an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond of the aggrieved party.
reasonable doubt, or liability for damages requiring preponderance of If the motion is opposed on the ground of national security or of the
evidence, or administrative responsibility requiring substantial privileged nature of the information, the court, justice or judge may
evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings.[62] Rather, conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit of the
it serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem opposition.
of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.[63] It is
preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the The movant must show that the inspection order is necessary to
commission of these offenses, and it is curative in that it facilitates establish the right of the aggrieved party alleged to be threatened or
the subsequent punishment of perpetrators by inevitably leading to violated.
subsequent investigation and action.[64]
The inspection order shall specify the person or persons authorized to
Meanwhile, the writ of habeas data provides a judicial remedy to make the inspection and the date, time, place and manner of making
protect a person’s right to control information regarding oneself, the inspection and may prescribe other conditions to protect the
particularly in instances where such information is being collected constitutional rights of all parties. The order shall expire five (5) days
through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends.[65] As an after the date of its issuance, unless extended for justifiable reasons.
independent and summary remedy to protect the right to privacy –
especially the right to informational privacy[66] – the proceedings for (b) Production Order. – The court, justice, or judge, upon verified
the issuance of the writ of habeas data does not entail any finding of motion and after due hearing, may order any person in possession,
criminal, civil or administrative culpability. If the allegations in the custody or control of any designated documents, papers, books,
petition are proven through substantial evidence, then the Court may accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, or objects
(a) grant access to the database or information; (b) enjoin the act in digitized or electronic form, which constitute or contain evidence
complained of; or (c) in case the database or information contains relevant to the petition or the return, to produce and permit their
erroneous data or information, order its deletion, destruction or inspection, copying or photographing by or on behalf of the movant.
rectification.[67] The motion may be opposed on the ground of national security or of
Firstissue:grant of interim reliefs the privileged nature of the information, in which case the court,
justice or judge may conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the
In the petition in G.R. No. 191805, Rodriguez prays for the issuance of merit of the opposition.
a temporary protection order. It must be underscored that this
interim relief is only available before final judgment. Section 14 of the The court, justice or judge shall prescribe other conditions to protect
Rule on the Writ of Amparo clearly provides: the constitutional rights of all the parties.

Interim Reliefs. – Upon filing of the petition or at anytime before final (c) Witness Protection Order. – The court, justice or judge, upon
judgment, the court, justice or judge may grant any of the following motion or motu proprio, may refer the witnesses to the Department
reliefs: of Justice for admission to the Witness Protection, Security and
Benefit Program, pursuant to Republic Act No. 6981.
Temporary Protection Order. – The court, justice or judge, upon
motion or motu proprio, may order that the petitioner or the The court, justice or judge may also refer the witnesses to other
aggrieved party and any member of the immediate family be government agencies, or to accredited persons or private institutions
protected in a government agency or by an accredited person or capable of keeping and securing their safety. (Emphasis supplied)
private institution capable of keeping and securing their safety. If the
We held in Yano v. Sanchez[68] that “[t]hese provisional reliefs are disappearance; (iv) determine the cause, manner, location, and time
intended to assist the court before it arrives at a judicious determination of death or disappearance as well as any patter or practice that may
of the amparo petition.” Being interim reliefs, they can only be granted have brought about the death or disappearance; and (v) bring the
before a final adjudication of the case is made. In any case, it must be suspected offenders before a competent court. Clearly these matters
underscored that the privilege of the writ of amparo, once granted, are important to the judge so that s/he can calibrate the means and
necessarily entails the protection of the aggrieved party. Thus, since we methods that will be required to further the protections, if any, that
grant petitioner the privilege of the writ of amparo, there is no need to will be due to the petitioner.
issue a temporary protection order independently of the former. The
order restricting respondents from going near Rodriguez is subsumed There will be a summary hearing only after the Return is filed to
under the privilege of the writ. determine the merits of the petition and whether interim reliefs are
warranted. If the Return is not filed, the hearing will be done ex
Writ of amparo; nature; special proceeding. The remedy of the Writ parte. After the hearing, the court will render the judgment within
ofAmparo is an equitable and extraordinary remedy to safeguard the ten (10) days from the time the petition is submitted for decision.
right of the people to life, liberty and security as enshrined in the 1987
Constitution. The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was issued as an If the allegations are proven with substantial evidence, the court shall
exercise of the Supreme Court’s power to promulgate rules grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper ans
concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights. appropriate. The judgment should contain measures which the judge
It aims to address concerns such as, among others, extrajudicial views as essential for the continued protection of the petitioner in
killings and enforced disappearances. the Amparo case. These measures must be detailed enough o that the
judge may be able to verify and monitor the actions taken by the
xxx respondents. It is this judgment that could be subject to appeal to the
Supreme Court via Rule 45. After the measures have served their
It is clear from this rule that this type of summary procedure only purpose, the judgment will be satisfied. InAmparo cases, this is when
applies to MTC/MTCC/MCTCs. It is mind-boggling how this rule could the threats to the petitioner’s life, liberty and security cease to exist
possibly apply to proceedings in an RTC. Aside from that, this Court as evaluated by the court that renders the judgment. Parenthetically,
limited the application of summary procedure to the case may also be terminated through consolidation should a
certain civil and criminal cases. A writ of Amparois a special subsequent case be filed – either criminal or civil. Until the full
proceeding. It is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, satisfaction of the judgment, the extraordinary remedy
a right or particular fact. It is not a civil nor a criminal action, hence, of Amparo allows vigilant judicial monitoring to ensure the protection
the application of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure is seriously of constitutional rights.Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus
misplaced. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol
Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013
Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013
Writ of Amparo; writ is an interlocutory order. The “Decision” dated
Writ of amparo; procedure. Due to the delicate and urgent nature of 20 March 2012 assailed by the petitioners could not be the judgment
these controversies, the procedure was devised to afford swift but or final order that is appealable under Section 19 of the Rule on the
decisive relief. It is initiated through a petition to be filed in a Regional Writ ofAmparo. x x x
Trial Court, Sandiganbayan, the Court of Appeals, or the Supreme
Court. The judge or justice then makes an “immediate” evaluation of This “Decision” pertained to the issuance of the writ under Section 6
the facts as alleged in the petition and the affidavits submitted “with of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, not the judgment under Section
the attendant circumstances detailed”. After evaluation, the judge 18. The “Decision” is thus an interlocutory order, as suggested by the
has the option to issue the Writ ofAmparo or immediately dismiss the fact that temporary protection, production and inspection orders
case. Dismissal is proper if the petition and the supporting affidavits were given together with the decision. The temporary protection,
do not show that the petitioner’s right to lie liberty or security is under production and inspection orders are interim reliefs that may be
threat or the acts complained of are not unlawful. On the other hand, granted by the court upon filing of the petition but before final
the issuance of the writ itself sets in motion presumptive judicial judgment is rendered. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus
protection for the petitioner. The court compels the respondents to R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol
appear before a court of law to show whether the grounds for more B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013
permanent protection and interim relies are necessary.
Writ of Amparo; the Return is the proper responsive pleading;
The respondents are required to file a Return after the issuance of the memorandum is a prohibited pleading. First the insistence on filing an
writ through the clerk of court. The Return serves as the responsive Answer was inappropriate. It is the Return that serves as the
pleading to the petition. Unlike an Answer, the Return has other responsive pleading for petitions for the issuance of Writs
purposes aside form identifying the issues in the case, Respondents of Amparo. The requirement to file an Answer is contrary to the
are also required to detail the actions they had taken to determine intention of the Court to provide a speedy remedy to those whose
the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party. right to life, liberty and security are violated or are threatened to be
violated. In utter disregard of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, Judge
If the respondents are public officials or employees, they are also Pampilo insisted on issuing summons and requiring an Answer.
required to state the actions they had taken to: (i) verify the identity
of the aggrieved party; (ii) recover and preserve evidence related to xxx
the death or disappearance of the person identified in the petition;
(iii) identify witnesses and obtain statements concerning the death or The Return in Amparo cases allows the respondents to frame the
issues subject to a hearing. Hence, it should be done prior to the
hearing, not after. A memorandum, on the other hand, is a synthesis Writ of Amparo was filed on the ground that the respondents violated
of the claims of the party litigants and is a final pleading usually the petitioner’s constitutional right to travel.
required before the case is submitted for decision. One cannot
substitute for the other since these submissions have different
functions in facilitating the suit. ISSUE:
Whether or not the petitioner’s right to liberty has been violated or
More importantly, a memorandum is a prohibited pleading under the threatened with violation by the issuance of the subject HDO, which
Rule on the writ of Amparo. Secretary Leila M. De Lima, Director would entitle him to the privilege of the writ of amparo.
Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v.
Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. February 19, 2013 HELD:
Writ of Amparo; difference between the privilege of the Writ of No. The writ is a remedy for any person whose wright to life, liberty
Amparo and the actual order called the Writ of Amparo. The privilege or security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act
of the Writ of Amparo should be distinguished from the actual or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private person or
order called the Writ of Amparo. The privilege includes the availment entity.
of the entire procedure outlined in A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC, the rule on
the Writ of Amparo. After examining the petition and its attached The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearance or
affidavits, the Return and the evidence presented in the summary threats thereof.
hearing, the judgment should detail the required acts from the
respondent that will mitigate, if not totally eradicate, the violation of Liberty has been defined as the right to exist and the right to be free
or threat to the petitioner’s life, liberty or security. form arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot be dwarfed
from arbitrary into mere freedom from physical restraint of the
A judgment which simply grants “the privilege of the writ” cannot be person of the citizen, but is deemed to embrace the right of man to
executed. It is tantamount to a failure of the judge to intervene and enjoy the facilities he has been endowed by his Creator.
grant judicial succor to the petitioner. Petitions filed to avail of the
privilege of the Writ of Amparo arise out of very real and concrete Security is the freedom of persons from fear, freedom from threat.
circumstances. Judicial responses cannot be as tragically symbolic or
ritualistic as “granting the privilege of the Writ of Amparo.” Secretary In the case at bar, the restriction on petitioner;s right to travel as a
Leila M. De Lima, Director Nonnatus R. Rojas and Deputy Director consequence of the pendency of the criminal case filed against him
Reynaldo O. Esmeralda v. Magtanggol B. Gatdula; G.R. No. 204528. was not unlawful. Petitioner has also failed to establish that his right
February 19, 2013 to travel was impaired in the manner and to the extent that it
AMOUNTED to a serious violation of his right to life, liberty and
security for which there exists no readily available legal recourse or
Consti II case digest: REYES VS GONZALES remedy.

WRIT OF AMPARO
DEFINITION: Secretary of National Defense vs. Manalo G.R. No. 180906, October 7,
Is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty,or 2008
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.
Facts: The brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, farmers from
Bulacan who were suspected of being members of the New People’s
FACTS: Army, were forcibly taken from their home, detained in various
Petitioner and 49 others were arrested in the Manila Peninsula Hotel locations, and tortured by CAFGU and military units. After several
Seige and were charged of the crime of rebellion under the Revised days in captivity, the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo recognized
Penal Code. DILG issued Hold Departure Order in the interest of their abductors as members of the armed forces led by General Jovito
national security and public safety. Palparan. They also learned that they were being held in place for
their brother, Bestre, a suspected leader of the communist
On December 13, 2007, RTC issued an order dismissing the charge for insurgents. While in captivity, they met other desaperacidos
Rebellion against the petitioner and 17 others for lack of probable (including the still-missing University of the Philippines students
cause. That petitioners and other accused civilians were arrested Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan) who were also suspected of
because they ignored the call of the police despite the deadline given being communist insurgents and members of the NPA. After eighteen
to them to come out from the 2nd Floor of the Hotel and submit months of restrained liberty, torture and other dehumanizing acts,
themselves to the police authorities. the brothers were able to escape and file a petition for the writ of
amparo.
Counsel for petitioner file thru the DOJ for the lifting of the HDO since
despite the dismissal of the crime of rebellion, he was held by the BID
officials at NAIA as his name is included in the Hold Departure List. Issue: Whether or not the right to freedom from fear is or can be
This happens every time he left for abroad. protected by existing laws.
Held: Yes. The right to the security of person is not merely a textual her two affidavits and affirmed by her in open court, are already
hook in Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution. At its core is the sufficient evidence to prove government involvement.3[97]
immunity of one’s person against government intrusion. The right to
security of person is “freedom from fear,” a guarantee of bodily and
psychological integrity and security. Proceeding from such assumption, petitioner invokes the
To whom may the oppressed, the little ones, the desaperacidos, run doctrine of command responsibility to implicate the high-ranking
to, if the Orwellian sword of the State, wielded recklessly by the civilian and military authorities she impleaded as respondents in her
military or under the guise of police power, is directed against them? amparo petition.4[98] Thus, petitioner seeks from this Court a
The law thus gives the remedy of the writ of amparo, in addition to pronouncement holding the respondents as complicit in her
the rights and liberties already protected by the Bill of Rights. Amparo, abduction and torture, as well as liable for the return of her
literally meaning “to protect,” is borne out of the long history of Latin belongings.5[99]
American and Philippine human rights abuses—often perpetrated by
the armed forces against farmers thought to be communist
insurgents, anarchists or brigands. The writ serves to both prevent Command Responsibility in Amparo Proceedings
and cure extralegal killings, enforced disappearances, and threats
thereof, giving the powerless a powerful remedy to ensure their
rights, liberties, and dignity. Amparo, a triumph of natural law that It must be stated at the outset that the use by the petitioner of the
has been embodied in positive law, gives voice to the preys of silent doctrine of command responsibility as the justification in impleading
guns and prisoners behind secret walls. the public respondents in her amparo petition, is legally inaccurate, if
not incorrect. The doctrine of command responsibility is a rule of
substantive law that establishes liability and, by this account, cannot
be a proper legal basis to implead a party-respondent in an amparo
petition.6[100]
AMPARO

The case of Rubrico v. Arroyo,7[101] which was the first to


A. examine command responsibility in the context of an amparo
proceeding, observed that the doctrine is used to pinpoint liability.
Rubrico notes that:8[102]
Petitioner first contends that the Court of Appeals erred in
absolving the public respondents from any responsibility in her
abduction and torture.1[95] Corollary to this, petitioner also finds The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds its context
fault on the part of Court of Appeals in denying her prayer for the in the development of laws of war and armed combats. According to
return of her personal belongings.2[96] Fr. Bernas, "command responsibility," in its simplest terms, means the
"responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate
members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control
Petitioner insists that the manner by which her abduction and torture in international wars or domestic conflict."9[103] In this sense,
was carried out, as well as the sounds of construction, gun-fire and command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity. The
airplanes that she heard while in detention, as these were detailed in Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command
responsibility,10[104] foreshadowing the present-day precept of measure, preclude impleading military or police commanders on the
holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his ground that the complained acts in the petition were committed with
subordinates should he be remiss in his duty of control over them. As their direct or indirect acquiescence. In which case, commanders may
then formulated, command responsibility is "an omission mode of be impleadednot actually on the basis of command responsibilitybut
individual criminal liability," whereby the superior is made rather on the ground of their responsibility, or at least accountability.
responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to In Razon v. Tagitis,16[110] the distinct, but interrelated concepts of
prevent or punish the perpetrators11[105] (as opposed to crimes he responsibility and accountability were given special and unique
ordered). (Emphasis in the orginal, underscoring supplied) significations in relation to an amparo proceeding, to wit:

Since the application of command responsibility presupposes an x x x Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been
imputation of individual liability, it is more aptly invoked in a full- established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever
blown criminal or administrative case rather than in a summary way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a
amparo proceeding. The obvious reason lies in the nature of the writ measure of the remedies this Court shall craft, among them, the
itself: directive to file the appropriate criminal and civil cases against the
responsible parties in the proper courts. Accountability, on the other
hand, refers to the measure of remedies that should be addressed to
The writ of amparo is a protective remedy aimed at providing judicial those who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance
relief consisting of the appropriate remedial measures and directives without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of
that may be crafted by the court, in order to address specific responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge
violations or threats of violation of the constitutional rights to life, relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of
liberty or security.12[106] While the principal objective of its disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the
proceedings is the initial determination of whether an enforced burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced
disappearance, extralegal killing or threats thereof had transpiredthe disappearance.
writ does not, by so doing, fix liability for such disappearance, killing
or threats, whether that may be criminal, civil or administrative under
the applicable substantive law.13[107] The rationale underpinning Responsibility of Public Respondents
this peculiar nature of an amparo writ has been, in turn, clearly set
forth in the landmark case of The Secretary of National Defense v.
Manalo:14[108] At any rate, it is clear from the records of the case that the intent of
the petitioner in impleading the public respondents is to ascribe some
form of responsibility on their part, based on her assumption that
x x x The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a they, in one way or the other, had condoned her abduction and
summary proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make torture.17[111]
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 To establish such assumption, petitioner attempted to show that it
administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will was government agents who were behind her ordeal. Thus, the
require full and exhaustive proceedings.15[109](Emphasis supplied) petitioner calls attention to the circumstances surrounding her
abduction and torturei.e., the forcible taking in broad daylight; use of
vehicles with no license plates; utilization of blindfolds; conducting
It must be clarified, however, that the inapplicability of the doctrine interrogations to elicit communist inclinations; and the infliction of
of command responsibility in an amparo proceeding does not, by any physical abusewhich, according to her, is consistent with the way
enforced disappearances are being practiced by the military or other were not proven to be part of either the military or the police chain
state forces.18[112] of command.

Moreover, petitioner also claims that she was held inside the military Second. The claim of the petitioner that she was taken to
camp Fort Magsaysaya conclusion that she was able to infer from the Fort Magsaysay was not adequately established by her mere estimate
travel time required to reach the place where she was actually of the time it took to reach the place where she was detained and by
detained, and also from the sounds of construction, gun-fire and the sounds that she heard while thereat. Like the Court of Appeals,
airplanes she heard while thereat.19[113] We are not inclined to take the estimate and observations of the
petitioner as accurate on its facenot only because they were made
We are not impressed. The totality of the evidence presented by the mostly while she was in blindfolds, but also in view of the fact that she
petitioner does not inspire reasonable conclusion that her abductors was a mere sojourner in the Philippines, whose familiarity with Fort
were military or police personnel and that she was detained at Fort Magsaysay and the travel time required to reach it is in itself
Magsaysay. doubtful.22[116] With nothing else but obscure observations to
support it, petitioners claim that she was taken to Fort Magsaysay
remains a mere speculation.
First. The similarity between the circumstances attending a particular
case of abduction with those surrounding previous instances of
enforced disappearances does not, necessarily, carry sufficient In sum, the petitioner was not able to establish to a concrete point
weight to prove that the government orchestrated such abduction. that her abductors were actually affiliated, whether formally or
We opine that insofar as the present case is concerned, the perceived informally, with the military or the police organizations. Neither does
similarity cannot stand as substantial evidence of the involvement of the evidence at hand prove that petitioner was indeed taken to the
the government. military camp Fort Magsaysay to the exclusion of other places. These
evidentiary gaps, in turn, make it virtually impossible to determine
whether the abduction and torture of the petitioner was in fact
In amparo proceedings, the weight that may be accorded to parallel committed with the acquiescence of the public respondents. On
circumstances as evidence of military involvement depends largely on account of this insufficiency in evidence, a pronouncement of
the availability or non-availability of other pieces of evidence that has responsibility on the part of the public respondents, therefore, cannot
the potential of directly proving the identity and affiliation of the be made.
perpetrators. Direct evidence of identity, when obtainable, must be
preferred over mere circumstantial evidence based on patterns and
similarity, because the former indubitably offers greater certainty as Prayer for the Return of Personal Belongings
to the true identity and affiliation of the perpetrators. An amparo
court cannot simply leave to remote and hazy inference what it could
otherwise clearly and directly ascertain.
This brings Us to the prayer of the petitioner for the return
of her personal belongings.

In the case at bench, petitioner was, in fact, able to include in her


Offer of Exhibits,20[114] the cartographic sketches21[115] of several
of her abductors whose faces she managed to see. To the mind of this In its decision, the Court of Appeals denied the above prayer of the
Court, these cartographic sketches have the undeniable potential of petitioner by reason of the failure of the latter to prove that the public
giving the greatest certainty as to the true identity and affiliation of respondents were involved in her abduction and torture.23[117] We
petitioners abductors. Unfortunately for the petitioner, this potential agree with the conclusion of the Court of Appeals, but not entirely
has not been realized in view of the fact that the faces described in with the reason used to support it. To the mind of this Court, the
such sketches remain unidentified, much less have been shown to be prayer of the petitioner for the return of her belongings is doomed to
that of any military or police personnel. Bluntly stated, the abductors
fail regardless of whether there is sufficient evidence to hold public An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give support or
respondents responsible for the abduction of the petitioner. strengthen the claim of a petitioner in an amparo petition, in order to
aid the court before making a decision.30[124] A basic requirement
before an amparo court may grant an inspection order is that the
In the first place, an order directing the public respondents to return place to be inspected is reasonably determinable from the allegations
the personal belongings of the petitioner is already equivalent to a of the party seeking the order. While the Amparo Rule does not
conclusive pronouncement of liability. The order itself is a substantial require that the place to be inspected be identified with clarity and
relief that can only be granted once the liability of the public precision, it is, nevertheless, a minimum for the issuance of an
respondents has been fixed in a full and exhaustive proceeding. As inspection order that the supporting allegations of a party be
already discussed above, matters of liability are not determinable in sufficient in itself, so as to make a prima facie case. This, as was shown
a mere summary amparo proceeding.24[118] above, petitioner failed to do.

But perhaps the more fundamental reason in denying the prayer of Since the very estimates and observations of the petitioner are not
the petitioner, lies with the fact that a persons right to be restituted strong enough to make out a prima facie case that she was detained
of his property is already subsumed under the general rubric of in Fort Magsaysay, an inspection of the military camp cannot be
property rightswhich are no longer protected by the writ of ordered. An inspection order cannot issue on the basis of allegations
amparo.25[119] Section 1 of the Amparo Rule,26[120] which defines that are, in themselves, unreliable and doubtful.
the scope and extent of the writ, clearly excludes the protection of
property rights.
HABEAS DATA

B.
As earlier intimated, the Court of Appeals granted to the
petitioner the privilege of the writ of habeas data, by enjoining the
The next error raised by the petitioner is the denial by the Court of public respondents from distributing or causing the distribution to the
Appeals of her prayer for an inspection of the detention areas of Fort public any records in whatever form, reports, documents or similar
Magsaysay.27[121] papers relative to the petitioners alleged ties with the CPP-NPA or
pertinently related to her abduction and torture. Though not raised
as an issue in this appeal, this Court is constrained to pass upon and
review this particular ruling of the Court of Appeals in order to rectify,
Considering the dearth of evidence concretely pointing to any military what appears to Us, an error infecting the grant.
involvement in petitioners ordeal, this Court finds no error on the part
of the Court of Appeals in denying an inspection of the military camp
at Fort Magsaysay. We agree with the appellate court that a contrary
stance would be equivalent to sanctioning a fishing expedition, which For the proper appreciation of the rationale used by the
was never intended by the Amparo Rule in providing for the interim Court of Appeals in granting the privilege of the writ of habeas data,
relief of inspection order.28[122] Contrary to the explicit We quote hereunder the relevant portion31[125] of its decision:
position29[123] espoused by the petitioner, the Amparo Rule does
not allow a fishing expedition for evidence.
Under these premises, Petitioner prayed that all the records,
intelligence reports and reports on the investigations conducted on
Melissa C. Roxas or Melissa Roxas be produced and eventually
expunged from the records. Petitioner claimed to be included in the The main problem behind the ruling of the Court of Appeals is that
Governments Order of Battle under Oplan Bantay Laya which listed there is actually no evidence on record that shows that any of the
political opponents against whom false criminal charges were filed public respondents had violated or threatened the right to privacy of
based on made up and perjured information. the petitioner. The act ascribed by the Court of Appeals to the public
respondents that would have violated or threatened the right to
privacy of the petitioner, i.e., keeping records of investigations and
Pending resolution of this petition and before Petitioner could testify other reports about the petitioners ties with the CPP-NPA, was not
before Us, Ex-army general Jovito Palaparan, Bantay party-list, and adequately provenconsidering that the origin of such records were
Pastor Alcover of the Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy party- virtually unexplained and its existence, clearly, only inferred by the
list held a press conference where they revealed that they received appellate court from the video and photograph released by
an information from a female NPA rebel who wanted out of the Representatives Palparan and Alcover in their press conference. No
organization, that Petitioner was a communist rebel. Alcover claimed evidence on record even shows that any of the public respondents
that said information reached them thru a letter with photo of had access to such video or photograph.
Petitioner holding firearms at an NPA training camp and a video CD of
the training exercises.
In view of the above considerations, the directive by the
Court of Appeals enjoining the public respondents from distributing
Clearly, and notwithstanding Petitioners denial that she was the or causing the distribution to the public any records in whatever form,
person in said video, there were records of other investigations on reports, documents or similar papers relative to the petitioners
Melissa C. Roxas or Melissa Roxas which violate her right to privacy. alleged ties with the CPP-NPA, appears to be devoid of any legal basis.
Without a doubt, reports of such nature have reasonable The public respondents cannot be ordered to refrain from distributing
connections, one way or another, to petitioners abduction where she something that, in the first place, it was not proven to have.
claimed she had been subjected to cruelties and dehumanizing acts
which nearly caused her life precisely due to allegation of her alleged
membership in the CPP-NPA. And if said report or similar reports are Verily, until such time that any of the public respondents were found
to be continuously made available to the public, Petitioners security to be actually responsible for the abduction and torture of the
and privacy will certainly be in danger of being violated or petitioner, any inference regarding the existence of reports being
transgressed by persons who have strong sentiments or aversion kept in violation of the petitioners right to privacy becomes
against members of this group. The unregulated dissemination of said farfetched, and premature.
unverified video CD or reports of Petitioners alleged ties with the CPP-
NPA indiscriminately made available for public consumption without
evidence of its authenticity or veracity certainly violates Petitioners For these reasons, this Court must, at least in the meantime, strike
right to privacy which must be protected by this Court. We, thus, down the grant of the privilege of the writ of habeas data.
deem it necessary to grant Petitioner the privilege of the Writ of
Habeas Data. (Emphasis supplied).

DISPOSITION OF THE CASE

The writ of habeas data was conceptualized as a judicial remedy


enforcing the right to privacy, most especially the right to
informational privacy of individuals.32[126] The writ operates to Our review of the evidence of the petitioner, while telling
protect a persons right to control information regarding himself, of its innate insufficiency to impute any form of responsibility on the
particularly in the instances where such information is being collected part of the public respondents, revealed two important things that
through unlawful means in order to achieve unlawful ends. can guide Us to a proper disposition of this case. One, that further
investigation with the use of extraordinary diligence must be made in
order to identify the perpetrators behind the abduction and torture
of the petitioner; and two, that the Commission on Human Rights
Needless to state, an indispensable requirement before the (CHR), pursuant to its Constitutional mandate to investigate all forms
privilege of the writ may be extended is the showing, at least by of human rights violations involving civil and political rights and to
substantial evidence, of an actual or threatened violation of the right provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human
to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim.33[127] This, in the rights,34[128] must be tapped in order to fill certain investigative and
case at bench, the petitioner failed to do. remedial voids.
Instead, Task Group CAROJAN placed the fate of their investigations
solely on the cooperation or non-cooperation of the petitionerwho,
Further Investigation Must Be Undertaken they claim, was less than enthusiastic in participating in their
investigative efforts.37[131] While it may be conceded that the
participation of the petitioner would have facilitated the progress of
Ironic as it seems, but part and parcel of the reason why the petitioner Task Group CAROJANs investigation, this Court believes that the
was not able to adduce substantial evidence proving her allegations formers reticence to cooperate is hardly an excuse for Task Group
of government complicity in her abduction and torture, may be CAROJAN not to explore other means or avenues from which they
attributed to the incomplete and one-sided investigations conducted could obtain relevant leads.38[132] Indeed, while the allegations of
by the government itself. This awkward situation, wherein the very government complicity by the petitioner cannot, by themselves, hold
persons alleged to be involved in an enforced disappearance or up as adequate evidence before a court of lawthey are, nonetheless,
extralegal killing are, at the same time, the very ones tasked by law to a vital source of valuable investigative leads that must be pursued and
investigate the matter, is a unique characteristic of these proceedings verified, if only to comply with the high standard of diligence required
and is the main source of the evidentiary difficulties faced by any by the Amparo Rule in the conduct of investigations.
petitioner in any amparo case.35[129]

Assuming the non-cooperation of the petitioner, Task Group


Cognizant of this situation, however, the Amparo Rule placed a potent CAROJANs reports still failed to explain why it never considered
safeguardrequiring the respondent who is a public official or seeking the assistance of Mr. Jesus Paolowho, along with the victims,
employee to prove that no less than extraordinary diligence as is a central witness to the abduction. The reports of Task Group
required by applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the CAROJAN is silent in any attempt to obtain from Mr. Paolo, a
performance of duty.36[130] Thus, unless and until any of the public cartographic sketch of the abductors or, at the very least, of the one
respondents is able to show to the satisfaction of the amparo court who, by petitioners account, was not wearing any mask.
that extraordinary diligence has been observed in their investigations,
they cannot shed the allegations of responsibility despite the
prevailing scarcity of evidence to that effect. The recollection of Mr. Paolo could have served as a comparative
material to the sketches included in petitioners offer of exhibits that,
it may be pointed out, were prepared under the direction of, and first
With this in mind, We note that extraordinary diligence, as required submitted to, the CHR pursuant to the latters independent
by the Amparo Rule, was not fully observed in the conduct of the investigation on the abduction and torture of the petitioner.39[133]
police and military investigations in the case at bar. But as mentioned earlier, the CHR sketches remain to be unidentified
as of this date.

A perusal of the investigation reports submitted by Task Group


CAROJAN shows modest effort on the part of the police investigators In light of these considerations, We agree with the Court of Appeals
to identify the perpetrators of the abduction. To be sure, said reports that further investigation under the norm of extraordinary diligence
are replete with background checks on the victims of the abduction, should be undertaken. This Court simply cannot write finis to this
but are, at the same time, comparatively silent as to other concrete case, on the basis of an incomplete investigation conducted by the
steps the investigators have been taking to ascertain the authors of police and the military. In a very real sense, the right to security of the
the crime. Although conducting a background investigation on the petitioner is continuously put in jeopardy because of the deficient
victims is a logical first step in exposing the motive behind the investigation that directly contributes to the delay in bringing the real
abductionits necessity is clearly outweighed by the need to identify perpetrators before the bar of justice.
the perpetrators, especially in light of the fact that the petitioner, who
was no longer in captivity, already came up with allegations about the
motive of her captors. To add teeth to the appellate courts directive, however, We find it
fitting, nay, necessary to shift the primary task of conducting further
investigations on the abduction and torture of the petitioner upon the
CHR.40[134] We note that the CHR, unlike the police or the military, any of the public respondents responsible or, at least, accountable.
seems to enjoy the trust and confidence of the petitioneras evidenced After making such determination, the Court of Appeals shall submit
by her attendance and participation in the hearings already its own report with recommendation to this Court for final action. The
conducted by the commission.41[135] Certainly, it would be Court of Appeals will continue to have jurisdiction over this case in
reasonable to assume from such cooperation that the investigations order to accomplish its tasks under this decision.
of the CHR have advanced, or at the very least, bears the most
promise of advancing farther, in terms of locating the perpetrators of
the abduction, and is thus, vital for a final resolution of this petition. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is PARTIALLY MERITORIOUS. We
From this perspective, We also deem it just and appropriate to hereby render a decision:
relegate the task of affording interim protection to the petitioner, also
to the CHR.

Hence, We modify the directive of the Court of the Appeals for further 1.) AFFIRMING the denial of the petitioners prayer for the
investigation, as follows return of her personal belongings;

1.) Appointing the CHR as the lead agency tasked with 2.) AFFIRMING the denial of the petitioners prayer for an
conducting further investigation regarding the abduction and torture inspection of the detention areas of Fort Magsaysay.
of the petitioner. Accordingly, the CHR shall, under the norm of
extraordinary diligence, take or continue to take the necessary steps:
(a) to identify the persons described in the cartographic sketches 3.) REVERSING the grant of the privilege of habeas data,
submitted by the petitioner, as well as their whereabouts; and (b) to without prejudice, however, to any modification that this Court may
pursue any other leads relevant to petitioners abduction and torture. make on the basis of the investigation reports and recommendations
submitted to it under this decision.

2.) Directing the incumbent Chief of the Philippine National


Police (PNP), or his successor, and the incumbent Chief of Staff of the 4.) MODIFYING the directive that further investigation must be
AFP, or his successor, to extend assistance to the ongoing undertaken, as follows
investigation of the CHR, including but not limited to furnishing the
latter a copy of its personnel records circa the time of the petitioners
abduction and torture, subject to reasonable regulations consistent
with the Constitution and existing laws. a. APPOINTING the Commission on Human Rights as the lead
agency tasked with conducting further investigation regarding the
abduction and torture of the petitioner. Accordingly, the Commission
on Human Rights shall, under the norm of extraordinary diligence,
3.) Further directing the incumbent Chief of the PNP, or his take or continue to take the necessary steps: (a) to identify the
successor, to furnish to this Court, the Court of Appeals, and the persons described in the cartographic sketches submitted by the
petitioner or her representative, a copy of the reports of its petitioner, as well as their whereabouts; and (b) to pursue any other
investigations and their recommendations, other than those that are leads relevant to petitioners abduction and torture.
already part of the records of this case, within ninety (90) days from
receipt of this decision.

b. DIRECTING the incumbent Chief of the Philippine National Police,


or his successor, and the incumbent Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
4.) Further directing the CHR to (a) furnish to the Court of of the Philippines, or his successor, to extend assistance to the
Appeals within ninety (90) days from receipt of this decision, a copy ongoing investigation of the Commission on Human Rights, including
of the reports on its investigation and its corresponding but not limited to furnishing the latter a copy of its personnel records
recommendations; and to (b) provide or continue to provide circa the time of the petitioners abduction and torture, subject to
protection to the petitioner during her stay or visit to the Philippines, reasonable regulations consistent with the Constitution and existing
until such time as may hereinafter be determined by this Court. laws.

Accordingly, this case must be referred back to the Court of Appeals, c. Further DIRECTING the incumbent Chief of the Philippine
for the purposes of monitoring compliance with the above directives National Police, or his successor, to furnish to this Court, the Court of
and determining whether, in light of any recent reports or Appeals, and the petitioner or her representative, a copy of the
recommendations, there would already be sufficient evidence to hold reports of its investigations and their recommendations, other than
those that are already part of the records of this case, within ninety SO ORDERED.
(90) days from receipt of this decision.

d. Further DIRECTING the Commission on Human Rights (a) to


furnish to the Court of Appeals within ninety (90) days from receipt of
this decision, a copy of the reports on its investigation and its JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
corresponding recommendations; and (b) to provide or continue to
provide protection to the petitioner during her stay or visit to the Associate Justice
Philippines, until such time as may hereinafter be determined by this
Court. What the Court decides today has nothing to do with the substance
or merits surrounding the aborted deal of the Philippine government
with the National Broadband Network and ZTE Corporation, or any
allegation of petitioner Rodolfo Noel June Lozada, Jr., (Lozada)
5.) REFERRING BACK the instant case to the Court of Appeals regarding the same. There is only one issue that we decide today
for the following purposes: whether circumstances are adequately alleged and proven by
petitioner Lozada to entitle him to the protection of the writ of
amparo. Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the
a. To MONITOR the investigations and actions taken by the PNP, Decision dated 12 September 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA),
AFP, and the CHR; dismissing the Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Amparo.42[1]

Petitioner Lozada was the former President and Chief Executive


Officer of the Philippine Forest Corporation (PFC), a government-
b. To DETERMINE whether, in light of the reports and owned- and -controlled corporation under the Department of
recommendations of the CHR, the abduction and torture of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).43[2] Petitioner Violeta
petitioner was committed by persons acting under any of the public Lozada (Violeta) is his wife, while petitioner Arturo Lozada (Arturo) is
respondents; and on the basis of this determination his brother.

At the time the Petition for the Writ of Amparo was filed, respondent
c. To SUBMIT to this Court within ten (10) days from receipt of the former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (former President Arroyo)
report and recommendation of the Commission on Human Rightsits was the incumbent President of the Philippines. Meanwhile, Eduardo
own report, which shall include a recommendation either for the Ermita (ES Ermita) was then the Executive Secretary; Avelino Razon
DISMISSAL of the petition as against the public respondents who were (Razon), the Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP);
found not responsible and/or accountable, or for the APPROPRIATE Angel Atutubo (Atutubo), the Assistant General Manager for Security
REMEDIAL MEASURES, AS MAY BE ALLOWED BY THE AMPARO AND and Emergency Services of the Manila International Airport Authority;
HABEAS DATA RULES, TO BE UNDERTAKEN as against those found and Rodolfo Valeroso (Valeroso), an agent of the Aviation Security
responsible and/or accountable. Group (ASG) of the PNP.

Antecedent Facts

Accordingly, the public respondents shall remain personally The instant Petition stems from the alleged corruption scandal
impleaded in this petition to answer for any responsibilities and/or precipitated by a transaction between the Philippine government,
accountabilities they may have incurred during their incumbencies. represented by the National Broadband Network (NBN), and ZTE
Corporation (ZTE), a Chinese manufacturer of telecommunications
equipment.44[3] Former National Economic Development Authority
(NEDA) Secretary Romulo Neri (Sec. Neri) sought the services of
Other findings of the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated 26 August Lozada as an unofficial consultant in the ZTE-NBN deal.45[4] The latter
2009 in CA-G.R. SP No. 00036-WRA that are not contrary to this avers that during the course of his engagement, he discovered several
decision are AFFIRMED. anomalies in the said transaction involving certain public
officials.46[5] These events impelled the Senate of the Philippines
Blue Ribbon Committee (Blue Ribbon Committee) to conduct an
investigation thereon,47[6] for which it issued a subpoena directing Lozada asked if he could go to the comfort room, an opportunity he
Lozada to appear and testify on 30 January 2008.48[7] used to call up his brother, petitioner Arturo, and inform him of his
situation.55[14] The men thereafter led him through the departure
On that date, instead of appearing before the Blue Ribbon area of the airport and into a car waiting for them.56[15] They made
Committee, Lozada left the country for a purported official trip to him sit alone at the back of the vehicle, while a man, whom he later
London, as announced by then DENR Secretary Lito Atienza (Sec. discovered to be respondent Valeroso, took the passenger seat and
Atienza).49[8] In the Petition, Lozada alleged that his failure to appear was always in contact with other individuals.57[16] Lozada observed
at the scheduled hearing was upon the instructions of then Executive that other cars tailed their vehicle.58[17]
Assistant Undersecretary Manuel Gaite (Usec. Gaite).50[9]
Consequently, the Senate issued an Order dated 30 January 2008: (a) Sec. Atienza then phoned Lozada, assuring the latter that he was with
citing Lozada for contempt; (b) ordering his arrest and detention; and people from the government, and that the former was going to confer
(c) directing the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms to implement the Order and with ES and Ma[a]m. Lozada surmised that these individuals referred
make a return thereon.51[10] to ES Ermita and former President Arroyo, respectively.59[18] Sec.
Atienza also purportedly instructed Lozada to pacify his wife,
While overseas, Lozada asked Sec. Atienza whether the former could petitioner Violeta, who was making public statements asking for her
be allowed to go back to the Philippines.52[11] Upon the approval of husbands return.60[19]
Sec. Atienza, Lozada informed his family that he was returning from
Hong Kong on 5 February 2008 on board Cathay Pacific Flight No. 919, The vehicle traversed the South Luzon Expressway and drove towards
bound to arrive in Manila at 4:40 p.m. on the same day.53[12] the direction of Laguna.61[20] Along the way, the men asked Lozada
to draft an antedated letter requesting police protection.62[21]
In the Petition, Lozada claims that, upon disembarking from the
aircraft, several men held his arms and took his bag. Although he Lozada requested that he be brought home to Pasig, but the men
allegedly insisted on meeting with his family, he later realized that it were allegedly compelled to deny his request on account of
was wiser to just follow them, especially when he overheard from unidentified security risks.63[22] Eventually, however, the vehicle
their handheld radio: [H]wag kayong dumaan diyan sir nandyan ang turned around and drove to Libis, Quezon City. The group stopped at
mga taga senado.54[13] The Outback restaurant to meet with certain individuals, who turned
out to be Atty. Antonio Bautista (Atty. Bautista) and Colonel Paul
Mascarinas (Col. Mascarinas) of the Police Special Protection Office
(PSPO). At the restaurant, Lozada claimed that he was made to fill in letter requesting police protection.72[31] Thereafter, former
the blanks of a prepared affidavit.64[23] Presidential Spokesperson Michael Defensor (Sec. Defensor)
supposedly came and requested Lozada to refute reports that the
After the meeting, the men informed Lozada that they were going to latter was kidnapped and to deny knowledge of alleged anomalies in
billet him in a hotel for a night, but he suggested that they take him the NBN-ZTE deal. Sec. Defensor then purportedly gave Lozada
to La Salle Green Hills instead. The men acquiesced.65[24] P50,000 for the latters expenses.73[32]
Upon arriving in La Salle Green Hills, Lozada was met by Violeta and On 7 February 2008, Lozada decided to hold a press conference and
his sister, Carmen Lozada (Carmen).66[25] He observed that the contact the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, who served the warrant of
perimeter was guarded by policemen, purportedly restraining his arrest on him.74[33] Lozada claimed that after his press conference
liberty and threatening not only his security, but also that of his family and testimony in the Senate, he and his family were since then
and the De La Salle brothers.67[26] harassed, stalked and threatened.75[34]
On 6 February 2008, at around 10:00 a.m., Col. Mascarinas On the same day, this Court issued a Resolution (a) consolidating the
supposedly brought Lozada to the office of Atty. Bautista to finalize Habeas Corpus case and the Amparo case; (b) requiring respondents
and sign an affidavit.68[27] in the Habeas Corpus case to comment on the Petition; (c) issuing a
At about 1:00 p.m., Violeta filed before this Court a Petition for Writ of Amparo; (d) ordering respondents in the Amparo case to file
Habeas Corpus, docketed as G.R. No. 181342 (the Habeas Corpus their verified Return; (e) referring the consolidated Petitions to the
case).69[28] Arturo likewise filed before this Court a Petition for a CA; and (f) directing the CA to set the cases for hearing on 14 February
Writ of Amparo, docketed as G.R. No. 181356 (the Amparo case), and 2008.76[35] Accordingly, the court a quo set both cases for hearing
prayed for the issuance of (a) the writ of amparo; (b) a Temporary on 14 February 2008.77[36]
Protection Order (TPO); and (c) Inspection and Production Orders as On 12 February 2008, respondents filed before the CA a
regards documents related to the authority ordering custody over Manifestation and Motion, praying for the dismissal of the Habeas
Lozada, as well as any other document that would show responsibility Corpus case.78[37] They asserted that Lozada was never illegally
for his alleged abduction.70[29] deprived of his liberty and was, at that time, no longer in their
At around the same time that Arturo filed the Petition for a Writ of custody. They likewise averred that, beginning 8 February 2008,
Amparo, Col. Mascarinas drove Lozada back to La Salle Green Lozada had already been under the supervision of the Senate and,
Hills.71[30] Lozada was then made to sign a typewritten, antedated from then on, had been testifying before it.79[38]
In their verified Return, respondents claimed that Sec. Atienza had Abalos (Abalos) were irrelevant to the Amparo case, and that to
arranged for the provision of a security team to be assigned to Lozada, require them to testify would only result in a fishing expedition.89[48]
who was then fearful for his safety.80[39] In effect, respondents The CA likewise denied Arturos subsequent Motion for
asserted that Lozada had knowledge and control of the events that Reconsideration.90[49]
took place on 5 February 2008, voluntarily entrusted himself to their
company, and was never deprived of his liberty. Hence, respondents In its Resolution dated 5 March 2008, the CA dropped former
prayed for the denial of the interim reliefs and the dismissal of the President Arroyo as a respondent on the ground that at the time the
Petition.81[40] Petition in the Amparo case was filed, she was still the incumbent
President enjoying immunity from suit.91[50] Arturo filed a Motion
During the initial hearing on 14 February 2008, Lozada and Violeta for Reconsideration,92[51] which the CA denied in its Resolution
ratified the Petition in the Amparo case82[41] to comply with Section dated 25 March 2008.93[52]
2 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo,83[42] which imposes an order
to be followed by those who can sue for the writ.84[43] The CA also On 12 September 2008, the CA rendered its Decision denying
dismissed the Habeas Corpus case in open court for being moot and petitioners the privilege of the Writ of Amparo and dismissing the
academic, as Lozada was physically present and was not confined or Petition.94[53] The CA found that petitioners were unable to prove
detained by any of the respondents.85[44] Considering that through substantial evidence that respondents violated, or
petitioners failed to question the dismissal of the Habeas Corpus case, threatened with violation, the right to life, liberty and security of
the said dismissal had lapsed into finality, leaving only the Amparo Lozada.
case open for disposition. Petitioners thus filed the instant Petition, praying for: (a) the reversal
Thereafter, Lozada filed a Motion for Temporary Protection Order and of the assailed CA Decision; (b) the issuance of the TPO; and (c) the
Production of Documents,86[45] while Arturo filed a Motion for accreditation of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the
Production of Documents.87[46] Additionally, Arturo also filed a Philippines and the De La Salle Brothers as the sanctuaries of Lozada
Motion for the Issuance of Subpoena Ad Testificandum and and his family.95[54] In the alternative, petitioners pray that this
Presentation of Hostile Witnesses and Adverse Parties Romulo Neri, Court remand the case to the CA for further hearings and reverse the
Benjamin Abalos, [Sr.], Rodolfo Valeroso, Jaime the Driver and Other latters Orders: (a) denying the Motion to Issue a Subpoena Ad
Respondents. Respondents opposed these motions.88[47] The CA Testificandum and (b) dropping former President Arroyo as a
denied the Motion for the Issuance of Subpoena on the ground that respondent. Petitioners raise the following issues:
the alleged acts and statements attributed to Sec. Neri and Benjamin
(1) Whether the Court a [q]uo erred in ruling to dismiss the ensure security and maintain order at the airport upon the arrival of
petition for a writ of amparo and deny Petitioners prayer for a Lozada.99[58]
Temporary Protection Order, inter alia, because there is no
substantial evidence to prove that the right to life, liberty or security In the face of these assertions by respondents, petitioners
of Jun Lozada was violated or threatened with violation. This rule is nevertheless insist that while they have sufficiently established that
not in accord with the rule on the writ of amparo and Supreme Court Lozada was taken against his will and was put under restraint,
jurisprudence on substantial evidence[.] respondents have failed to discharge their own burden to prove that
they exercised extraordinary diligence as public officials.100[59]
Petitioners also maintain that it was erroneous for the CA to have
denied their motion for subpoena ad testificandum for being
(2) Whether the Ponencia erred and gravely abused its irrelevant, given that the relevancy of evidence must be examined
discretion by prematurely ruling that the testimony of witnesses after it is offered, and not before.101[60] Finally, petitioners contend
which Petitioners sought to present and who are subject of the that the presidential immunity from suit cannot be invoked in amparo
Motion for Issuance of Subpoena ad testificandum were irrelevant to actions.102[61]
the Petition for a Writ of Amparo in a way not in accord with the Rules
of Court and Supreme Court decisions. Issues

In ruling on whether the CA committed reversible error in issuing its


assailed Decision, three issues must be discussed:
(3) Whether the Court a quo erred in using and considering
the affidavits of respondents in coming up with the questioned I. Whether the CA committed an error in dropping former
decision when these were not offered as evidence and were not President Arroyo as a respondent in the Amparo case.
subjected to cross-examination. This ruling is not in accord with the
Rules of Court and jurisprudence. II. Whether the CA committed an error in denying petitioners
Motion for the Issuance of a Subpoena Ad Testificandum.

III. Whether petitioners should be granted the privilege of the


(4) Whether the Court a [q]uo erred in dropping as writ of amparo.
respondent Pres. Gloria Arroyo despite her failure to submit a verified
return and personally claim presidential immunity in a way not in Discussion
accord with the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.96[55] The writ of amparo is an independent and summary remedy that
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) asserts that petitioners failed provides rapid judicial relief to protect the peoples right to life, liberty
to adduce substantial evidence, as the allegations they propounded and security.103[62] Having been originally intended as a response to
in support of their Petition were largely hearsay.97[56] The OSG also the alarming cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced
maintains that it was proper for the CA to have dropped former disappearances in the country, it serves both preventive and curative
President Arroyo as respondent on account of her presidential roles to address the said human rights violations. It is preventive in
immunity from suit.98[57] that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these
offenses, and it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent
Respondent Atutubo also alleges, among others, that: (a) Lozada punishment of perpetrators by inevitably leading to subsequent
voluntarily asked for security and protection; (b) Lozada willingly investigation and action.104[63]
submitted himself to the company of the police escorts; (c) Atutubo
merely accompanied him to pass through the contingency route As it stands, the writ of amparo is confined only to cases of
customarily provided to VIP passengers, public figures, foreign extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or to threats
dignitaries, and the like; and (d) Atutubo only performed his job to
thereof.105[64] Considering that this remedy is aimed at addressing violation or threatened violation of the right to life, liberty and
these serious violations of or threats to the right to life, liberty and security of Lozada.
security, it cannot be issued on amorphous and uncertain
grounds,106[65] or in cases where the alleged threat has ceased and Nonetheless, examining the merits of the case still results in the denial
is no longer imminent or continuing.107[66] Instead, it must be of the Petition on the issue of former President Arroyos alleged
granted judiciously so as not to dilute the extraordinary and remedial responsibility or accountability. A thorough examination of the
character of the writ, thus: allegations postulated and the evidence adduced by petitioners reveals
their failure to sufficiently establish any unlawful act or omission on her
The privilege of the writ of amparo is envisioned basically to protect part that violated, or threatened with violation, the right to life, liberty
and guarantee the rights to life, liberty, and security of persons, free and security of Lozada. Except for the bare claims that: (a) Sec. Atienza
from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of this life. It is an mentioned a certain Ma[a]m,111[70] whom Lozada speculated to have
extraordinary writ conceptualized and adopted in light of and in referred to her, and (b) Sec. Defensor told Lozada that the President
response to the prevalence of extra-legal killings and enforced was hurting from all the media frenzy,112[71] there is nothing in the
disappearances. Accordingly, the remedy ought to be resorted to and records that would sufficiently establish the link of former President
granted judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the Amparo Rule be Arroyo to the events that transpired on 5-6 February 2010, as well as to
diluted and undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo the subsequent threats that Lozada and his family purportedly received.
petitions for purposes less than the desire to secure amparo reliefs
and protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated Second issue: Denial of the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum
allegations.108[67] (Emphasis supplied.) This Court, in Roco v. Contreras,113[72] ruled that for a subpoena to
Using this perspective as the working framework for evaluating the issue, it must first appear that the person or documents sought to be
assailed CA decision and the evidence adduced by the parties, this presented are prima facie relevant to the issue subject of the
Court denies the Petition. controversy, to wit:

First issue: Presidential immunity from suit A subpoena is a process directed to a person requiring him to attend
and to testify at the hearing or trial of an action or at any investigation
It is settled in jurisprudence that the President enjoys immunity from conducted under the laws of the Philippines, or for the taking of his
suit during his or her tenure of office or actual incumbency.109[68] deposition.
Conversely, this presidential privilege of immunity cannot be invoked
by a non-sitting president even for acts committed during his or her In this jurisdiction, there are two (2) kinds of subpoena, to wit:
tenure.110[69] subpoena ad testificandum and subpoena duces tecum. The first is
used to compel a person to testify, while the second is used to compel
In the case at bar, the events that gave rise to the present action, as the production of books, records, things or documents therein
well as the filing of the original Petition and the issuance of the CA specified. As characterized in H.C. Liebenow vs. The Philippine
Decision, occurred during the incumbency of former President Vegetable Oil Company:
Arroyo. In that respect, it was proper for the court a quo to have
dropped her as a respondent on account of her presidential immunity
from suit. The subpoena duces tecum is, in all respects, like the ordinary
It must be underscored, however, that since her tenure of office has subpoena ad testificandum with the exception that it concludes with
already ended, former President Arroyo can no longer invoke the an injunction that the witness shall bring with him and produce at the
privilege of presidential immunity as a defense to evade judicial examination the books, documents, or things described in the
determination of her responsibility or accountability for the alleged subpoena.
right to life, liberty and security of Lozada. Thus, the CA did not
commit any reversible error in denying the Motion for the Issuance of
Well-settled is the rule that before a subpoena duces tecum may Subpoena Ad Testificandum.
issue, the court must first be satisfied that the following requisites are
present: (1) the books, documents or other things requested must Third issue: Grant of the privilege of the writ of amparo
appear prima facie relevant to the issue subject of the controversy
(test of relevancy); and (2) such books must be reasonably described A. Alleged violation of or threat to the right to life, liberty and security
by the parties to be readily identified (test of definiteness).114[73] of Lozada
(Emphasis supplied.) Sections 17 and 18 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo requires the
In the present case, the CA correctly denied petitioners Motion for parties to establish their claims by substantial evidence,116[75] or
the Issuance of Subpoena Ad Testificandum on the ground that the such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
testimonies of the witnesses sought to be presented during trial were adequate to support a conclusion.117[76] The use of this evidentiary
prima facie irrelevant to the issues of the case. The court a quo aptly threshold reveals the clear intent of the framers of the Rule on the
ruled in this manner: Writ of Amparo to have the equivalent of an administrative
proceeding, albeit judicially conducted, in addressing amparo
The alleged acts and statements attributed by the petitioner to Neri situations.118[77]
and Abalos are not relevant to the instant Amparo Petition where the
issue involved is whether or not Lozadas right to life, liberty and In cases where the violation of the right to life, liberty or security has
security was threatened or continues to be threatened with violation already ceased, it is necessary for the petitioner in an amparo action
by the unlawful act/s of the respondents. Evidence, to be relevant, to prove the existence of a continuing threat.119[78] Thus, this Court
must have such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce belief in its held in its Resolution in Razon v. Tagitis:120[79]
existence or nonexistence. Further, Neri, Abalos and a certain driver Manalo is different from Tagitis in terms of their factual settings, as
Jaime are not respondents in this Amparo Petition and the vague enforced disappearance was no longer a problem in that case. The
allegations averred in the Motion with respect to them do not pass enforced disappearance of the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo
the test of relevancy. To Our mind, petitioner appears to be Manalo effectively ended when they escaped from captivity and
embarking on a fishing expedition. Petitioner should present the surfaced, while Tagitis is still nowhere to be found and remains
aggrieved party [Lozada], who has been regularly attending the missing more than two years after his reported disappearance. An
hearings, to prove the allegations in the Amparo Petition, instead of Amparo situation subsisted in Manalo, however, because of the
dragging the names of other people into the picture. We have continuing threat to the brothers right to security; the brothers
repeatedly reminded the parties, in the course of the proceedings, claimed that since the persons responsible for their enforced
that the instant Amparo Petition does not involve the investigation of disappearance were still at large and had not been held accountable,
the ZTE-[NBN] contract. Petitioner should focus on the fact in issue the former were still under the threat of being once again abducted,
and not embroil this Court into said ZTE-NBN contract, which is now kept captive or even killed, which threat constituted a direct violation
being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the of their right to security of person.121[80] (Emphasis supplied.)
Office of the Ombudsman.115[74] (Emphasis supplied.)
In the present case, the totality of the evidence adduced by
All the references of petitioners to either Sec. Neri or Abalos were petitioners failed to meet the threshold of substantial evidence.
solely with respect to the ZTE-NBN deal, and not to the events that Sifting through all the evidence and allegations presented, the crux of
transpired on 5-6 February 2008, or to the ensuing threats that the case boils down to assessing the veracity and credibility of the
petitioners purportedly received. Although the present action is parties diverging claims as to what actually transpired on 5-6 February
rooted from the involvement of Lozada in the said government 2008. In this regard, this Court is in agreement with the factual
transaction, the testimonies of Sec. Neri or Abalos are nevertheless findings of the CA to the extent that Lozada was not illegally deprived
not prima facie relevant to the main issue of whether there was an of his liberty from the point when he disembarked from the aircraft
unlawful act or omission on the part of respondents that violated the
up to the time he was led to the departure area of the airport,122[81] ceased and has consequently rendered the grant of the privilege of
as he voluntarily submitted himself to the custody of respondents: the writ of amparo moot. Whether or not Lozada was deprived of his
liberty from the point when he was led inside the vehicle waiting for
[Lozada] was one of the first few passengers to get off the plane him at the airport up to the time he was taken to La Salle Green Hills,
because he was instructed by Secretary Atienza, th[r]ough a phone petitioners assertions that Lozada and his family continue to suffer
call on the night of 04 February 2008, while he was still in Hong Kong, various threats from respondents remain unproven. The CA correctly
to proceed directly to the Bureau of Immigration so that few people found as follows:
would notice him and he could be facilitated in going out of the
airport without any hassle from the people of the Senate Sergeant-at- The supposed announcement of General Razon over the radio that
Arms. Again, [Lozada] stated that he wanted to get away from the [Lozada] was in the custody of the PNP can neither be construed as a
Senate people. [Lozada] even went to the mens room of the airport, threat to [Lozadas] life, liberty and security. Certainly, no person in his
after he was allegedly grabbed, where he made a call to his brother right mind would make that kind of media announcement if his intent
Arturo, using his Globe phone, and he was not prevented from making was indeed to threaten somebodys life, liberty and security.
said call, and was simply advised by the person who met him at the
tube to (sic) sir, bilisan mo na. When they proceeded out of the tube xxx xxx xxx
and while walking, [Lozada] heard from the radio track down, wag He claims that he is threatened by the alleged presence of armed men
kayo dyan, sir, nandyan yong mga taga Senado, so they took a detour riding in motorcycle passing outside the De La Salle premises where
and went up to the departure area, did not go out of the normal he and his family are staying and by alleged threats of armed men
arrival area, and proceeded towards the elevator near the Duty Free around him at places where he went to. Again, these alleged threats
Shop and then down towards the tarmac. Since [Lozada] was avoiding were not proven by any evidence at all, as having originated from any
the people from the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, said of the respondents.
detour appears to explain why they did not get out at the arrival area,
where [Lozada] could have passed through immigration so that his [Lozada] also considers the installation of the surveillance camera at
passport could be properly stamped. the De La Salle and at St. Scholastica as indirect threat to his right to
life, liberty and security. He claims that these are spy cameras.
This Court does not find any evidence on record that [Lozada] However, save for [Lozadas] self-serving claim, he simply failed to
struggled or made an outcry for help when he was allegedly grabbed prove that they were installed or ordered installed by the
or abducted at the airport. [Lozada] even testified that nobody held respondents for the purpose of threatening his right to life, liberty and
him, and they were not hostile to him nor shouted at him. With noon security.
day clarity, this Court finds that the reason why [Lozada] was fetched
at the airport was to help him avoid the Senate contingent, who [Lozada] further maintains that there is an alleged trend, i.e.,
would arrest and detain him at the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at- wherever he goes, there is a bomb threat. There were bomb threats
Arms, until such time that he would appear and give his testimony, in the places where he went to like in [the Polytechnic University of
pursuant to the Order of the Senate on the NBN-ZTE Project. [Lozada] the Philippines], Dagupan, Cebu and Bohol. However, [Lozada]
clearly knew this because at that time, it was still his decision not to himself testified that he did not try to ascertain where the bomb
testify before the Senate. He agreed with that plan.123[82] threats emanated. Plainly, there is no evidence on record that the
(Emphases supplied.) bomb threats were made by the respondents or done upon their
instigation.
The foregoing statements show that Lozada personally sought the
help of Sec. Atienza to avoid the Senate personnel, and thus knew Moreover, [Lozada] views the pronouncement of the Secretary of
that the men who met him at the airport were there to aid him in such Justice that he was put on the watch list of the Bureau of Immigration
objective. Surely, the actions of Lozada evinced knowledge and as a threat to his life, liberty and security. This alleged threat is again
voluntariness, uncharacteristic of someone who claims to have been unsupported by evidence, as in fact, [Lozada] testified that he did not
forcibly abducted. ascertain from the Bureau of Immigration whether his name was
actually in the official watch list of the Bureau. At any rate, the
However, these mens subsequent acts of directing Lozada to board Secretary of Justice is not one of the respondents in the amparo
the vehicle and driving him around, without disclosing the exact petition, and there is no showing in the record that it was the
purpose thereof, appear to be beyond what he had consented to and respondents who ordered the same for the purpose of threatening
requested from Sec. Atienza. These men neither informed him of him.
where he was being transported nor provided him complete liberty
to contact his family members to assure them of his safety. These acts [Lozada] harps on the filing of alleged frivolous cases against him and
demonstrated that he lacked absolute control over the situation, as his family as threat to his life, liberty and security. xxx However,
well as an effective capacity to challenge their instructions. [Lozada] himself testified that he does not know whether the
respondents or any of the respondents ordered the filing of these
Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that if Lozada had in fact been cases against him. In any event, said purported cases are to be
illegally restrained, so much so that his right to liberty and security determined based on their own merits and are clearly beyond the
had been violated, the acts that manifested this restraint had already
realm of the instant amparo petition filed against the the filing of the subject amparo petition has been instituted with the
respondents.124[83] (Emphasis supplied.) OMB, docketed as OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E. The usual initial steps to
determine the existence of a prima facie case against the five (5)
Finally, petitioners insist that while they were able to sufficiently impleaded individuals suspected to be actually involved in the
establish their case by the required evidentiary standard, detention of Lourdes have been set in motion. It must be pointed out,
respondents failed to discharge their burden to prove their defenses though, that the filing of the OMB complaint came before the
by substantial evidence and to show that respondents exercised effectivity of the Amparo Rule on October 24, 2007.
extraordinary diligence as required by the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo.125[84] This Court has squarely passed upon this contention Second, Sec. 22 of the Amparo Rule proscribes the filing of an amparo
in Yano v. Sanchez,126[85] to wit: petition should a criminal action have, in the meanwhile, been
commenced. The succeeding Sec. 23, on the other hand, provides
The failure to establish that the public official observed extraordinary that when the criminal suit is filed subsequent to a petition for
diligence in the performance of duty does not result in the automatic amparo, the petition shall be consolidated with the criminal action
grant of the privilege of the amparo writ. It does not relieve the where the Amparo Rule shall nonetheless govern the disposition of
petitioner from establishing his or her claim by substantial evidence. the relief under the Rule. Under the terms of said Sec. 22, the present
Thus, in amparo actions, petitioners must establish their claims by petition ought to have been dismissed at the outset. But as things
substantial evidence, and they cannot merely rely on the supposed stand, the outright dismissal of the petition by force of that section is
failure of respondents to prove either their defenses or their exercise no longer technically feasible in light of the interplay of the following
of extraordinary diligence. In this case, the totality of the evidence factual mix: (1) the Court has, pursuant to Sec. 6 of the Rule, already
presented by petitioners fails to meet the requisite evidentiary issued ex parte the writ of amparo; (2) the CA, after a summary
threshold, and the privilege of the writ of amparo has already been hearing, has dismissed the petition, but not on the basis of Sec. 22;
rendered moot and academic by the cessation of the restraint to and (3) the complaint in OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E named as respondents
Lozadas liberty. only those believed to be the actual abductors of Lourdes, while the
instant petition impleaded, in addition, those tasked to investigate
B. Propriety of the privilege of the writ of amparo and its interim the kidnapping and detention incidents and their superiors at the top.
reliefs Yet, the acts and/or omissions subject of the criminal complaint and
the amparo petition are so linked as to call for the consolidation of
As previously discussed, there is no basis to grant Lozada the privilege both proceedings to obviate the mischief inherent in a multiplicity-of-
of the writ of amparo, considering that the illegal restraint alleged in suits situation.
this case had already ceased and there is no imminent or continuing
restriction on his liberty. In Castillo v. Cruz,127[86] this Court held as Given the above perspective and to fully apply the beneficial nature
follows: of the writ of amparo as an inexpensive and effective tool to protect
certain rights violated or threatened to be violated, the Court hereby
Although respondents release from confinement does not necessarily adjusts to a degree the literal application of Secs. 22 and 23 of the
hinder supplication for the writ of amparo, absent any evidence or Amparo Rule to fittingly address the situation obtaining under the
even an allegation in the petition that there is undue and continuing premises. Towards this end, two things are at once indicated: (1) the
restraint on their liberty, and/or that there exists threat or consolidation of the probe and fact-finding aspects of the instant
intimidation that destroys the efficacy of their right to be secure in petition with the investigation of the criminal complaint before the
their persons, the issuance of the writ cannot be justified. (Emphasis OMB; and (2) the incorporation in the same criminal complaint of the
supplied.) allegations in this petition bearing on the threats to the right to
Further, it appears that Lozada had already filed before the security. Withal, the OMB should be furnished copies of the
Department of Justice (DOJ) a Complaint charging respondents with investigation reports to aid that body in its own investigation and
kidnapping and attempted murder, docketed as I.S. No. 2008- eventual resolution of OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E. Then, too, the OMB shall
467.128[87] In this regard, this Courts ruling in Rubrico v. be given easy access to all pertinent documents and evidence, if any,
Arroyo129[88] is worth considering: adduced before the CA. Necessarily, Lourdes, as complainant in OMB-
P-C-O7-0602-E, should be allowed, if so minded, to amend her basic
First, a criminal complaint for kidnapping and, alternatively, for criminal complaint if the consolidation of cases is to be fully effective.
arbitrary detention rooted in the same acts and incidents leading to (Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, if the Complaint filed before the DOJ had already progressed walked away.6Subsequently, Lee utilized the said video as evidence in
into a criminal case, then the latter action can more adequately filing various complaints against Ilagan, namely: (a) a criminal
dispose of the allegations made by petitioners. After all, one of the complaint for violation of Republic Act No. 9262,7otherwise known as
ultimate objectives of the writ of amparo as a curative remedy is to the “Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004,”
facilitate the subsequent punishment of perpetrators.130[89] On the before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati; and (b) an
other hand, if there is no actual criminal case lodged before the administrative complaint for grave misconduct before the National
courts, then the denial of the Petition is without prejudice to the filing Police Commission (NAPOLCOM).8 Ilagan claimed that Lee’s acts of
of the appropriate administrative, civil or criminal case, if applicable, reproducing the subject video and threatening to distribute the same
against those individuals whom Lozada deems to have unduly to the upper echelons of the NAPOLCOM and uploading it to the
restrained his liberty. 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
Finally, with respect to the interim reliefs sought by petitioners, this habeas data in his favor is warranted.9
Court, in Yano v. Sanchez,131[90] declined to grant the prayer for the
issuance of a TPO, as well as Inspection and Production Orders, upon Finding the petition prima facie meritorious, the RTC issued a Writ of
a finding that the implicated public officials were not accountable for Habeas Data10 dated June 25, 2012, directing Lee to appear before
the disappearance subject of that case. Analogously, it would be the court a quo, and to produce Ilagan’s digital camera, as well as the
incongruous to grant herein petitioners prayer for a TPO and negative and/or original of the subject video and copies thereof, and
Inspection and Production Orders and at the same time rule that to file a verified written return within five (5) working days from date
there no longer exists any imminent or continuing threat to Lozadas of receipt thereof.
right to life, liberty and security. Thus, there is no basis on which a
prayer for the issuance of these interim reliefs can be anchored. In her Verified Return11 dated July 2, 2012, Lee admitted that she
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED for being moot and indeed kept the memory card of the digital camera and reproduced
academic. The Court of Appeals denial of the privilege of the writ of the aforesaid video but averred that she only did so to utilize the same
amparo is hereby AFFIRMED. as evidence in the cases she filed against Ilagan. She also admitted
that her relationship with Ilagan started sometime in 2003 and ended
SO ORDERED. under disturbing circumstances in August 2011, and that she only
happened to discover the subject video when Ilagan left his camera in
HABEAS DATA her condominium. Accordingly, Lee contended that Ilagan’s petition
for the issuance of the writ of habeas data should be dismissed
because: (a) its filing was only aimed at suppressing the evidence
DR. JOY MARGATE LEE, Petitioner, v. P/SUPT. NERI A. ILAGAN, against Ilagan in the cases she filed; and (b) she is not engaged in the
Respondent. gathering, collecting, or storing of data regarding the person of
Ilagan.12
DECISION
The RTC Ruling
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the In a Decision13 dated August 30, 2012, the RTC granted the privilege
Decision2 dated August 30, 2012 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon of the writ of habeas data in Ilagan’s favor, and accordingly, ordered
City, Branch 224 (RTC) in SP No. 12-71527, which extended the the implementing officer to turn-over copies of the subject video to
privilege of the writ of habeas data in favor of respondent Police him, and enjoined Lee from further reproducing the same.14
Superintendent Neri A. Ilagan (Ilagan).
The RTC did not give credence to Lee’s defense that she is not
The Facts
engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data regarding the
person of Ilagan, finding that her acts of reproducing the subject video
In his Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data3 dated June 22, and showing it to other people, i.e., the NAPOLCOM officers, violated
2012, Ilagan alleged that he and petitioner Dr. Joy Margate Lee (Lee) the latter’s right to privacy in life and caused him to suffer humiliation
were former common law partners. Sometime in July 2011, he visited and mental anguish. In this relation, the RTC opined that Lee’s use of
Lee at the latter’s condominium, rested for a while and the subject video as evidence in the various cases she filed against
thereafter,proceeded to his office. Upon arrival, Ilagan noticed that Ilagan is not enough justification for its reproduction. Nevertheless,
his digital camera was missing.4 On August 23, 2011, Lee confronted the RTC clarified that it is only ruling on the return of the aforesaid
Ilagan at the latter’s office regarding a purported sex video (subject video and not on its admissibility before other tribunals.15
video) she discovered from the aforesaid camera involving Ilagan and
another woman. Ilagan denied the video and demanded Lee to Dissatisfied, Lee filed this petition.
return the camera, but to no avail.5 During the confrontation, Ilagan
The Issue Before the Court
allegedly slammed Lee’s head against a wall inside his office and
Habeas Data Rule. This is because nothing therein would indicate that
The essential issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not the Lee actually proceeded to commit any overt act towards the end of
RTC correctly extended the privilege of the writ of habeas data in violating Ilagan’s right to privacy in life, liberty or security. Nor would
favor of Ilagan. anything on record even lead a reasonable mind to conclude22 that
Lee was going to use the subject video in order to achieve unlawful
The Court’s Ruling 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
The petition is meritorious. that the only reason why she reproduced the subject video was to
legitimately utilize the same as evidence in the criminal and
A.M. No. 08-1-16-SC, or the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data (Habeas administrative cases that she filed against Ilagan.23 Hence, due to the
Data Rule), was conceived as a response, given the lack of effective insufficiency of the allegations as well as the glaring absence of
and available remedies, to address the extraordinary rise in the substantial evidence, the Court finds it proper to reverse the RTC
number of killings and enforced disappearances.16 It was Decision and dismiss the habeas data petition.
conceptualized as a judicial remedy enforcing the right to privacy,
most especially the right to informational privacy of individuals, 17 WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated August 30,
which is defined as “the right to control the collection, maintenance, 2012 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 224 in SP No.
use, and dissemination of data about oneself.”18 12-71527is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Petition
for Issuance of the Writ of Habeas Data filed by respondent P/Supt.
As defined in Section 1 of the Habeas Data Rule, the writ of habeas Neri A. Ilagan is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
data now stands as “a remedy available to any person whose right to
privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an SO ORDERED.
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.” Thus, in order to
support a petition for the issuance of such writ, Section 6 of the
Habeas Data Rule essentially requires that the petition sufficiently
alleges, among others, “[t]he manner the right to privacy is violated
or threatened and how it affects the right to life, liberty or security of
the aggrieved party.” In other words, the petition must adequately
show that there exists a nexus between the right to privacy on the
one hand, and the right to life, liberty or security on the other .19
Corollarily, the allegations in the petition must be supported by
substantial evidence showing an actual or threatened violation of the
right to privacy in life, liberty or security of the victim.20 In this
relation, it bears pointing out that the writ of habeas data will not
issue to protect purely property or commercial concerns nor when
the grounds invoked in support of the petitions therefor are vague
and doubtful.21

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