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Supremacy of the Constitution

Genuino vs Delima
April 17, 2018

Case digest by: SMBonrustro

The case is a consolidated case of Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition against former
DOJ Secretary Delima for her issuance of DOJ circular no. 41. Series of 2010, known as the
“Consolidated Rules and Regulations Governing Issuance and Implementation of Hold Departure
Orders (HDO), Watchlist Orders (WLO) and Allow Departure Orders (ADO)”. The Petitioners
questions the constitutionality of this DOJ circular on the ground that it infringes the
constitutional right to travel. The petitioners in these consolidated cases are former President
Arroyo and her husband, and Efraim and Erwin Genuino. Former DOJ Secretary De lima issued
HDO and WLO against petitioners on the ground that criminal charges of plunder, qualified theft
and violation of the Omnibus Election Code were filed against them. Petitioners, particularly
Spouses Arroyo, file temporary restraining order against the issued HDO and WLO of DOJ seeking
relief and grant from court to allow them to travel so that former president Arroyo may seek
medical treatment abroad. The court granted relief sought on a condition that petition will file a
bond of PhP2M, an undertaking that petitioners shall report to Philippine consulate in the
countries they are to visit (Germany, Singapore, USA, Italy, Spain and Austria) and shall appoint
a representative to receive on their behalf subpoena, orders and other legal processes.
Petitioners complied all the conditions
Instead of following the order of the court, DOJ caused for the refusal to process the
petitioners travel documents. Hence, this case.

Whether or not the issued DOJ circular 41 infringes the constitutional rights of the
petitioners to travel and thus an ultra vires to the constitution.

Ruling of the Court:

The constitution is the fundamental, paramount and supreme law of the nation; it is
deemed written in every statute and contract. If a law or administrative rule violates any norm
of the constitution, that issuance is null and void and has no effect.
In this case, the right to travel is a guarantee of the constitution under the Bill of rights.
There are allowable restrictions in the exercise of this right which are for the interest of national
security, public safety or public health as may be provided by law.
The ground of the respondent in the issuance of DOJ circular 41 is for the petitioners to
be present during the preliminary investigation of their cases which is outside the allowable
restrictions provided by the constitution, hence, it is an ultra vires and has no effect.