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Alejano v. Cabuay G.R. No.

160792, August 25, 2005


Facts: Early morning of 27 July 2003, some 321 armed soldiers, led by the now detained junior
officers, entered and took control of the Oakwood Premier Luxury Apartments (“Oakwood”). The
soldiers disarmed the security officers of Oakwood and planted explosive devices in its immediate
surroundings. The junior officers publicly renounced their support for the administration and
called for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several cabinet members.
Around 7:00 p.m. of the same date, the soldiers voluntarily surrendered to the authorities after
several negotiations with government emissaries. The soldiers later defused the explosive devices
they had earlier planted. The soldiers then returned to their barracks. Gen. Abaya, as the Chief of
Staff of the AFP, issued a directive to all the Major Service Commanders to turn over custody of ten
junior officers to the ISAFP Detention Center. The transfer took place while military and civilian
authorities were investigating the soldiers’ involvement in the Oakwood incident. Government
prosecutors filed an Information for coup d’etat with the RTC against the soldiers involved in the
Oakwood incident. the CA rendered its decision ordered Gen. Cabuay, who was in charge of
implementing the regulations in the ISAFP Detention Center, to uphold faithfully the rights of the
detainees in accordance with Standing Operations Procedure No. 0263-04. The appellate court
directed Gen. Cabuay to adhere to his commitment made in court regarding visiting hours and the
detainees’ right to exercise for two hours a day. The appellate court declared that while the opening
and reading of Trillanes’ letter is an abhorrent violation of his right to privacy of communication,
this does not justify the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. The violation does not amount to
illegal restraint, which is the proper subject of habeas corpus proceedings.

Issue: Whether the opening, inspection and reading of the letter of the detainees is an
infringement of a citizen’s privacy rights.

Held: No, the SC do not agree with the CA that the opening and reading of the detainees’ letters
violated the detainees’ right to privacy of communication. The letters were not in a sealed
envelope. The inspection of the folded letters is a valid measure as it serves the same purpose as
the opening of sealed letters for the inspection of contraband. The letters alleged to have been read
by the ISAFP authorities were not confidential letters between the detainees and their lawyers. The
petitioner who received the letters from detainees Trillanes and Maestrecampo was merely acting
as the detainees’ personal courier and not as their counsel when he received the letters for mailing.
In the present case, since the letters were not confidential communication between the detainees
and their lawyers, the officials of the ISAFP Detention Center could read the letters. If the letters
are marked confidential communication between the detainees and their lawyers, the detention
officials should not read the letters but only open the envelopes for inspection in the presence of
the detainees. The right to privacy of those detained is subject to Section 4 of RA 7438, as well as to
the limitations inherent in lawful detention or imprisonment. By the very fact of their detention,
pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners have a diminished expectation of privacy rights. The
detainees in the present case are junior officers accused of leading 300 soldiers in committing
coup d’etat, a crime punishable with reclusion perpetua. The junior officers are not ordinary
detainees but visible leaders of the Oakwood incident involving an armed takeover of a civilian
building in the heart of the financial district of the country. As members of the military armed
forces, the detainees are subject to the Articles of War. Moreover, the junior officers are detained
with other high-risk persons from the Abu Sayyaf and the NPA. Thus, we must give the military
custodian a wider range of deference in implementing the regulations in the ISAFP Detention
Center. The military custodian is in a better position to know the security risks involved in
detaining the junior officers, together with the suspected Abu Sayyaf and NPA members. Since the
appropriate regulations depend largely on the security risks involved, we should defer to the
regulations adopted by the military custodian in the absence of patent arbitrariness.
Marcos VS. Manglapus

Facts:

In its decision dated September 15, 1989, the Court by a vote of eight to seven, dismissed the
petition, after finding that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in
determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family pose a threat to national
interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the Philippines. On September 28, 1989,
Marcos died in Honolulu, Hawaii.

President Corazon Aquino issued a statement saying that in the interest of the safety of those who
will take the death of Marcos in widely and passionately conflicting ways, and for the tranquility
and order of the state and society, she did not allow the remains of Marcos to be brought back in
the Philippines.

A motion for Reconsideration was filed by the petitioners raising the following arguments:
Barring their return would deny them their inherent right as citizens to return to their country of birth and all other
rights guaranteed by the Constitution to all Filipinos.

The President has no power to bar a Filipino from his own country; if she has, she had exercised it arbitrarily.

There is no basis for barring the return of the family of former President Marcos.

Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent
“people power” revolution and was forced into exile. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his
wish to return to the Philippines to die. But President Corazon Aquino, considering the dire
consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is threatened
from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood
firmly on the decision to bar the return of Marcos and his family.

Aquino barred Marcos from returning due to possible threats & following supervening events:
1. failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by Marcos leaders
2. channel 7 taken over by rebels & loyalists
3. plan of Marcoses to return w/ mercenaries aboard a chartered plane of a Lebanese arms dealer. This is to
prove that they can stir trouble from afar
4. Honasan’s failed coup
5. Communist insurgency movements
6. secessionist movements in Mindanao
7. devastated economy because of
8. accumulated foreign debt
9. plunder of nation by Marcos & cronies

Marcos filed for a petition of mandamus and prohibition to order the respondents to issue them
their travel documents and prevent the implementation of President Aquino’s decision to bar
Marcos from returning in the Philippines. Petitioner questions Aquino’s power to bar his return in
the country. He also questioned the claim of the President that the decision was made in the
interest of national security, public safety and health. Petitioner also claimed that the President
acted outside her jurisdiction.
According to the Marcoses, such act deprives them of their right to life, liberty, property without
due process and equal protection of the laws. They also said that it deprives them of their right to
travel which according to Section 6, Article 3 of the constitution, may only be impaired by a court
order.

Issue:

Whether or not the motion for reconsideration that the Marcoses be allowed to return in the
Philippines be granted.

Decision:

No. The Marcoses were not allowed to return. Motion for Reconsideration denied because of lack
of merit.

Ratio:
Petitioners failed to show any compelling reason to warrant reconsideration.

Factual scenario during the time Court rendered its decision has not changed. The threats to the government, to
which the return of the Marcoses has been viewed to provide a catalytic effect, have not been shown to have
ceased. Imelda Marcos also called President Aquino “illegal” claiming that it is Ferdinand Marcos who is the legal
president.

President has unstated residual powers implied from grant of executive power. Enumerations are merely for
specifying principal articles implied in the definition; leaving the rest to flow from general grant that power,
interpreted in conformity with other parts of the Constitution (Hamilton). Executive unlike Congress can exercise
power from sources not enumerates so long as not forbidden by constitutional text (Myers vs. US). This does not
amount to dictatorship. Amendment No. 6 expressly granted Marcos power of legislation whereas 1987 Constitution
granted Aquino with implied powers.

It is within Aquino’s power to protect & promote interest & welfare of the people. She bound to comply w/ that duty
and there is no proof that she acted arbitrarily

Separation of power dictates that each department has exclusive powers. According to Section 1,
Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, “the executive power shall be vested in the
President of the Philippines.” However, it does not define what is meant by “executive power”
although in the same article it touches on exercise of certain powers by the President, i.e., the
power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the
laws, the appointing power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons… (art VII secfs. 14-23).
Although the constitution outlines tasks of the president, this list is not defined & exclusive. She
has residual & discretionary powers not stated in the Constitution which include the power to
protect the general welfare of the people. She is obliged to protect the people, promote their
welfare & advance national interest. (Art. II, Sec. 4-5 of the Constitution). Residual powers,
according to Theodore Roosevelt, dictate that the President can do anything which is not
forbidden in the Constitution (Corwin, supra at 153), inevitable to vest discretionary powers on the
President (Hyman, American President) and that the president has to maintain peace during times
of emergency but also on the day-to-day operation of the State.
The rights Marcoses are invoking are not absolute. They’re flexible depending on the
circumstances. The request of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines cannot be
considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode and the
right to travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated
situations even remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a matter that is
appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in
and correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and protect general
welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the exercise of a broader
discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.

For issue number 2, the question for the court to determine is whether or not there exist factual
basis for the President to conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return of the
Marcoses in the Philippines. It is proven that there are factual bases in her decision. The
supervening events that happened before her decision are factual. The President must take
preemptive measures for the self-preservation of the country & protection of the people. She has
to uphold the Constitution.

ASSOCIATED LABOR UNION, Petitioner, v. JUDGE AMADOR E. GOMEZ

On January 1, 1965, Associated Labor Union 1 and Superior Gas and Equipment Co. of Cebu, Inc. 2 entered into a
collective bargaining contract. It was to expire on January 1, 1966. Prior to the contract’s expiry, union and employer
started negotiations for its renewal. Late in February, 1966, while bargaining was in progress, 12 of Sugeco’s employees
resigned from the Union. Negotiations were broken. On March 1, 1966, the Union wrote Sugeco. There, request was
made that unless the 12 resigned employees 3 could produce a clearance from the Union, they be not allowed in the
meantime to report for work. On the same day, Sugeco’s attorney rejected the request. The reasons given are that
irreparable injury would ensue, that the bargaining contract had lapsed, and that the Company could no longer demand
from its employees the requested clearance. Sugeco made it understood that after the 12 men would have returned into
the Union fold, said company would then be "in a position to negotiate again for the renewal of the collective bargaining
contract." Also on the same day, March 1, the Union wrote Sugeco, charged the latter with bargaining in bad faith, and
its supervisors with "campaigning for the resignation of members of this Union." The Union there served notice "unless
the aforementioned unfair labor practice acts will immediately be stopped and a collective bargaining agreement be
signed between your company and this union immediately after receipt of this letter, this union will declare a strike
against your management and correspondingly establish picket lines in any place where your business may be found." On
March 3, 1966, counsel for Sugeco wrote the Union stating that, with the resignation of union members aforesaid, the
Union was no longer the representative of the majority of the employees "for purposes of negotiation and recognition."

On March 4, the Union struck, picketed the Basak (Mandawe) plant of Sugeco.

The next day, March 5, 1966, Sugeco went to the Court of First Instance of Cebu (Case No. R-9221, entitled "Superior
Gas and Equipment Co. of Cebu, Inc., Petitioner, v. Associated Labor Union, respondent"), praying that the Union be
restrained from alleged illegal picketing activities at its Basak plant, and also from picketing Sugeco’s offices at Juan Luna
street, Cebu City, and its other offices located elsewhere in the Philippines.

On the same date, March 5, 1966, upon a bond of P5,000.00, respondent Judge Amador E. Gomez, purportedly upon the
authority of the Rules of Court, 4 issued ex-parte the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for. The Union moved to
reconsider. Ground, inter alia, is that the court of first instance had no jurisdiction over the subject-matter — unfair labor
practice. It was the turn of the other respondent, Judge Jose C. Borromeo, to refuse reconsideration.

Meanwhile, on March 5, 1966 — on the same day the Court of First Instance complaint was filed by Sugeco against the
Union — the latter lodged with the Court of Industrial Relations (CIR, for short) a charge for unfair labor practice against
Sugeco, its general manager, Concepcion Y. Lua, and its two supervisors, Nestor Yu and Mariano Nulla. The Union there
averred that said respondents coerced and exerted pressure upon the union members to resign, as they did resign, from
the Union; and that such resignations were seized upon by Sugeco to refuse further negotiations with the Union. Offshoot
is the complaint for unfair labor practice registered in the CIR on April 29, 1966 by its Acting Prosecutor. 5

On May 9, 1966, the Union came to this Court on certiorari and prohibition. The Union here prays that respondent judges
of the Court of First Instance of Cebu be declared without jurisdiction over the subject matter of the petition in Civil Case
No. R-9221 aforesaid; that the writ of preliminary injunction therein issued be annulled; and that said judges be directed
to dismiss said case. The Union also asks that pendente lite the respondent judges be stopped from further proceeding
with the case just adverted to.
This Court on May 16, 1966, issued the solicited cease-and-desist order.

The quintessence of this case is jurisdiction.

First, we go to the background facts. We take stock of Sugeco’s petition against the Union in the Court of First Instance
of Cebu (Case No. P.-9221). Read as it should be, Sugeco in paragraph 10 thereof charges the Union with "coercing the
resigned employees to rejoin" the same. And this, obviously to neutralize the Union claim that Sugeco was coercing and
cajoling its members to separate therefrom. 6

This charge and countercharge require us to focus attention on the Industrial Peace Act. 7 Section 4(a) and (b) thereof
recite, as follows:
cha nrob 1es vi rtua l 1aw lib rary

(a) It shall be unfair labor practice for an employer: chan rob 1es vi rtual 1aw lib rary

(1) To interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in section three.

x x x

"(b) It shall be unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents: chan rob1es v irt ual 1aw li bra ry

(1) To restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights under section three . . ." cralaw virtua1aw l ibra ry

And Section 3 referred to in Sections 4(a) and (b), provides: jgc:chan rob les.com. ph

". . . Employees shall have the right to self-organization and to form, join or assist labor organizations of their own
choosing for the purpose of collective bargaining through representatives of their own choosing and to engage in
concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining and other mutual aid or protection . . ." cralaw virtua 1aw lib rary

The broad sweep of the law suggests that the coercion or cajolery of employees heretofore described, by management or
union, is unfair labor practice. 8 Therefore, the alleged act of coercing or instigating union members to resign therefrom
is clearly within the coverage of the prescription. It is aimed at crippling the Union, throwing it off balance, destroying its
bargaining authority. It is an attack against the Magna Carta of Labor. By the same token, the charge levelled by Sugeco
against the Union that the latter "is coercing the resigned employees to rejoin the Union" is no less an unfair labor
practice.

Jurisdiction then is exclusively vested in the Court of Industrial Relations. For, explicit in Section 5(a) of the Industrial
Peace Act is the precept that —

"The Court shall have jurisdiction over the prevention of unfair labor practices and as empowered to prevent any person
from engaging in any unfair labor practice. This power shall be exclusive and shall not be affected by any other means of
adjustment or prevention that has been or may be established by an agreement, code, law or otherwise." [Italics
supplied]

Nor will Sugeco’s averment below that it suffers damages by reason of the strike, work to defeat the CIR’s jurisdiction to
hear the unfair labor practice charge. Reason for this is that the right to damages "would still have to depend on the
evidence in the unfair labor practice case" — in the CIR. 9 To hold otherwise is to sanction split jurisdiction — which is
obnoxious to the orderly administration of justice. 10

The stance that the ULP case initiated by the Union in the CIR was an afterthought, will not carry the day for Sugeco.
That case was filed on the very same day Sugeco went to the Court of First Instance — which anyway, is without
jurisdiction over the subject-matter. The Union struck precisely because of the unfair labor practice allegedly indulged in
by Sugeco. So that, the ULP case was not calculated merely to divest the Cebu court of first instance of jurisdiction which
it did not possess. 11 A rule buttressed upon statute and reason and frequently reiterated in jurisprudence is that labor
cases involving labor practice are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the CIR. By now, this rule has ripened into dogma. It
thus commands adherence, not breach. 12 This Court once pointedly remarked that" [t]he policy of social justice
guaranteed by the Constitution demands that when cases appear to involve labor disputes courts should take care in the
exercise of their prerogatives and discretion." 13

The Court of First Instance of Cebu, we rule, is without jurisdiction over the subject-matter of Case No. R-9221. Its
judges, therefore, did not have the authority to provide for an ancillary remedy in that case. Hence, the injunction below
complained of was issued coram non judice. It is void.

For the reasons given: chanro b1es vi rtua l 1aw li bra ry

(1) the petition herein for a writ of certiorari and prohibition is hereby granted, and the writ of preliminary injunction we
issued on May 18, 1966 is declared permanent;

(2) the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Court of First Instance of Cebu in Case No. R-9221, entitled "Superior
Gas and Equipment Co. of Cebu, Inc., Petitioner, v. Associated Labor Union," respondent", is hereby declared null and
void; and

(3) the respondent judges, or whoever shall take their place, are hereby directed to dismiss the said Case No. R-9221.

Costs against respondent Superior Gas and Equipment Co. of Cebu, Inc. So ordered.