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People vs.

Ferrer (48 SCRA 382)


Facts:
On March 10, 1970, a prima facie case was filed against Feliciano Co in the Court of First Instance in
Tarlac concerning the Anti-Subversion Act. He was accused of being an officer or a ranked leader of
the Communist Party of the Philippines, an outlawed and illegal organization aimed to overthrow the
government of the Philippines by means of force, violence, deceit, subversion or any other illegal
means. Co claimed that the Anti-Subversion Act is a bill of attainder. On May 25, 1970, Nilo Tayag and
five others were also charged in the same court with subversion. Tayag copied Cos attack on the law.
The court ruled the statute void on the grounds that it is a bill of attainder and that it is vague
overbroad. Government appealed to the SC as a special civil action for certiorari.
Issues:
Relevant: WoN the Anti-Subversion Act is a bill of attainder
Irrelevant: WoN it is vague and overbroad
Irrelevant: WoN it denies the defendants the due process of the law
Held And Ratio:
Relevant: No. Only when a statute applies either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable
members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a judicial trial does it
become a bill of attainder. (US v. Lovett 328 US 303 1946)
Irrelevant: No. The contention about the word overthrow regarding the government (peaceful
overthrowing) is clarified by the provision of the clause: by means of force, violence, deceit,
subversion or any other illegal means.
Irrelevant: No. The freedom of expression and freedom of association is superseded by the right of the
state to self-preservation.
Decision: The questioned resolution is set aside.