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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 180906

October 7, 2008

THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE CHIEF OF STAFF, ARMED FORCES OF THE
PHILIPPINES,petitioners,
vs.
RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO, respondents.
DECISION
PUNO, C.J.:
While victims of enforced disappearances are separated from the rest of the world behind secret walls, they are not
separated from the constitutional protection of their basic rights. The constitution is an overarching sky that covers all in
its protection. The case at bar involves the rights to life, liberty and security in the first petition for a writ of Amparo filed
before this Court.
This is an appeal via Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 191 of the Rule on the
Writ of Amparo, seeking to reverse and set aside on both questions of fact and law, the Decision promulgated by the Court
of Appeals in C.A. G.R. AMPARO No. 00001, entitled "Raymond Manalo and Reynaldo Manalo, petitioners, versus The
Secretary of National Defense, the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, respondents."
This case was originally a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)2 filed before this
Court by herein respondents (therein petitioners) on August 23, 2007 to stop herein petitioners (therein respondents)
and/or their officers and agents from depriving them of their right to liberty and other basic rights. Therein petitioners also
sought ancillary remedies, Protective Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access Orders, and
all other legal and equitable reliefs under Article VIII, Section 5(5)3 of the 1987 Constitution and Rule 135, Section 6 of
the Rules of Court. In our Resolution dated August 24, 2007, we (1) ordered the Secretary of the Department of National
Defense and the Chief of Staff of the AFP, their agents, representatives, or persons acting in their stead, including but not
limited to the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) to submit their Comment; and (2) enjoined them from
causing the arrest of therein petitioners, or otherwise restricting, curtailing, abridging, or depriving them of their right to
life, liberty, and other basic rights as guaranteed under Article III, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution.5
While the August 23, 2007 Petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on October 24, 2007.
Forthwith, therein petitioners filed a Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to Treat Existing Petition as AmparoPetition, to
Admit Supporting Affidavits, and to Grant Interim and Final Amparo Reliefs. They prayed that: (1) the petition be
considered a Petition for the Writ of Amparo under Sec. 266 of the Amparo Rule; (2) the Court issue the writ commanding
therein respondents to make a verified return within the period provided by law and containing the specific matter
required by law; (3) they be granted the interim reliefs allowed by the Amparo Rule and all other reliefs prayed for in the
petition but not covered by the Amparo Rule; (4) the Court, after hearing, render judgment as required in Sec. 187 of
the Amparo Rule; and (5) all other just and equitable reliefs.8
On October 25, 2007, the Court resolved to treat the August 23, 2007 Petition as a petition under the AmparoRule and
further resolved, viz:
WHEREFORE, let a WRIT OF AMPARO be issued to respondents requiring them to file with the CA (Court of
Appeals) a verified written return within five (5) working days from service of the writ. We REMAND the
petition to the CA and designate the Division of Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin to conduct the summary
hearing on the petition on November 8, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. and decide the petition in accordance with the Rule on
the Writ of Amparo.9

On December 26, 2007, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision in favor of therein petitioners (herein respondents), the
dispositive portion of which reads, viz:
ACCORDINGLY, the PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF AMPARO is GRANTED.
The respondents SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE and AFP CHIEF OF STAFF are hereby
REQUIRED:
1. To furnish to the petitioners and to this Court within five days from notice of this decision all official
and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken in connection with their case, except those already
on file herein;
2. To confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and
Donald Caigas within five days from notice of this decision.
3. To cause to be produced to this Court all medical reports, records and charts, reports of any treatment
given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if any, to the petitioners, to include a list of medical and
(sic) personnel (military and civilian) who attended to them from February 14, 2006 until August 12,
2007 within five days from notice of this decision.
The compliance with this decision shall be made under the signature and oath of respondent AFP Chief of Staff or
his duly authorized deputy, the latter's authority to be express and made apparent on the face of the sworn
compliance with this directive.
SO ORDERED.10
Hence, this appeal. In resolving this appeal, we first unfurl the facts as alleged by herein respondents:
Respondent Raymond Manalo recounted that about one or two weeks before February 14, 2006, several uniformed and
armed soldiers and members of the CAFGU summoned to a meeting all the residents of their barangay in San Idelfonso,
Bulacan. Respondents were not able to attend as they were not informed of the gathering, but Raymond saw some of the
soldiers when he passed by the barangay hall.11
On February 14, 2006, Raymond was sleeping in their house in Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. At past noon,
several armed soldiers wearing white shirts, fatigue pants and army boots, entered their house and roused him. They asked
him if he was Bestre, but his mother, Ester Manalo, replied that he was Raymond, not Bestre. The armed soldier slapped
him on both cheeks and nudged him in the stomach. He was then handcuffed, brought to the rear of his house, and forced
to the ground face down. He was kicked on the hip, ordered to stand and face up to the light, then forcibly brought near
the road. He told his mother to follow him, but three soldiers stopped her and told her to stay.12
Among the men who came to take him, Raymond recognized brothers Michael de la Cruz, Madning de la Cruz, "Puti" de
la Cruz, and "Pula" de la Cruz, who all acted as lookout. They were all members of the CAFGU and residing in Manuzon,
San Ildefonso, Bulacan. He also recognized brothers Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also members of the CAFGU.
While he was being forcibly taken, he also saw outside of his house two barangaycouncilors, Pablo Cunanan and
Bernardo Lingasa, with some soldiers and armed men.13
The men forced Raymond into a white L300 van. Once inside, he was blindfolded. Before being blindfolded, he saw the
faces of the soldiers who took him. Later, in his 18 months of captivity, he learned their names. The one who drove the
van was Rizal Hilario alias Rollie Castillo, whom he estimated was about 40 years of age or older. The leader of the team
who entered his house and abducted him was "Ganata." He was tall, thin, curly-haired and a bit old. Another one of his
abductors was "George" who was tall, thin, white-skinned and about 30 years old.14
The van drove off, then came to a stop. A person was brought inside the van and made to sit beside Raymond. Both of
them were beaten up. On the road, he recognized the voice of the person beside him as his brother Reynaldo's. The van
stopped several times until they finally arrived at a house. Raymond and Reynaldo were each brought to a different room.

With the doors of their rooms left open, Raymond saw several soldiers continuously hitting his brother Reynaldo on the
head and other parts of his body with the butt of their guns for about 15 minutes. After which, Reynaldo was brought to
his (Raymond's) room and it was his (Raymond's) turn to be beaten up in the other room. The soldiers asked him if he was
a member of the New People's Army. Each time he said he was not, he was hit with the butt of their guns. He was
questioned where his comrades were, how many soldiers he had killed, and how many NPA members he had helped. Each
time he answered none, they hit him.15
In the next days, Raymond's interrogators appeared to be high officials as the soldiers who beat him up would salute them,
call them "sir," and treat them with respect. He was in blindfolds when interrogated by the high officials, but he saw their
faces when they arrived and before the blindfold was put on. He noticed that the uniform of the high officials was
different from those of the other soldiers. One of those officials was tall and thin, wore white pants, tie, and leather shoes,
instead of combat boots. He spoke in Tagalog and knew much about his parents and family, and a habeas corpus case
filed in connection with the respondents' abduction.16 While these officials interrogated him, Raymond was not
manhandled. But once they had left, the soldier guards beat him up. When the guards got drunk, they also manhandled
respondents. During this time, Raymond was fed only at night, usually with left-over and rotten food.17
On the third week of respondents' detention, two men arrived while Raymond was sleeping and beat him up. They doused
him with urine and hot water, hit his stomach with a piece of wood, slapped his forehead twice with a .45 pistol, punched
him on the mouth, and burnt some parts of his body with a burning wood. When he could no longer endure the torture and
could hardly breathe, they stopped. They then subjected Reynaldo to the same ordeal in another room. Before their
torturers left, they warned Raymond that they would come back the next day and kill him.18
The following night, Raymond attempted to escape. He waited for the guards to get drunk, then made noise with the
chains put on him to see if they were still awake. When none of them came to check on him, he managed to free his hand
from the chains and jumped through the window. He passed through a helipad and firing range and stopped near a
fishpond where he used stones to break his chains. After walking through a forested area, he came near a river and an
Iglesia ni Kristo church. He talked to some women who were doing the laundry, asked where he was and the road to
Gapan. He was told that he was in Fort Magsaysay.19 He reached the highway, but some soldiers spotted him, forcing him
to run away. The soldiers chased him and caught up with him. They brought him to another place near the entrance of
what he saw was Fort Magsaysay. He was boxed repeatedly, kicked, and hit with chains until his back bled. They poured
gasoline on him. Then a so-called "Mam" or "Madam" suddenly called, saying that she wanted to see Raymond before he
was killed. The soldiers ceased the torture and he was returned inside Fort Magsaysay where Reynaldo was detained.20
For some weeks, the respondents had a respite from all the torture. Their wounds were treated. When the wounds were
almost healed, the torture resumed, particularly when respondents' guards got drunk.21
Raymond recalled that sometime in April until May 2006, he was detained in a room enclosed by steel bars. He stayed all
the time in that small room measuring 1 x 2 meters, and did everything there, including urinating, removing his bowels,
bathing, eating and sleeping. He counted that eighteen people22 had been detained in that bartolina, including his brother
Reynaldo and himself.23
For about three and a half months, the respondents were detained in Fort Magsaysay. They were kept in a small house
with two rooms and a kitchen. One room was made into the bartolina. The house was near the firing range, helipad and
mango trees. At dawn, soldiers marched by their house. They were also sometimes detained in what he only knew as the
"DTU."24
At the DTU, a male doctor came to examine respondents. He checked their body and eyes, took their urine samples and
marked them. When asked how they were feeling, they replied that they had a hard time urinating, their stomachs were
aching, and they felt other pains in their body. The next day, two ladies in white arrived. They also examined respondents
and gave them medicines, including orasol, amoxicillin and mefenamic acid. They brought with them the results of
respondents' urine test and advised them to drink plenty of water and take their medicine. The two ladies returned a few
more times. Thereafter, medicines were sent through the "master" of the DTU, "Master" Del Rosario alias Carinyoso at
Puti. Respondents were kept in the DTU for about two weeks. While there, he met a soldier named Efren who said that
Gen. Palparan ordered him to monitor and take care of them.25

One day, Rizal Hilario fetched respondents in a Revo vehicle. They, along with Efren and several other armed men
wearing fatigue suits, went to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Respondents were detained for one or two
weeks in a big two-storey house. Hilario and Efren stayed with them. While there, Raymond was beaten up by Hilario's
men.26
From Pinaud, Hilario and Efren brought respondents to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on board the Revo. They were
detained in a big unfinished house inside the compound of "Kapitan" for about three months. When they arrived in
Sapang, Gen. Palparan talked to them. They were brought out of the house to a basketball court in the center of the
compound and made to sit. Gen. Palparan was already waiting, seated. He was about two arms' length away from
respondents. He began by asking if respondents felt well already, to which Raymond replied in the affirmative. He asked
Raymond if he knew him. Raymond lied that he did not. He then asked Raymond if he would be scared if he were made
to face Gen. Palparan. Raymond responded that he would not be because he did not believe that Gen. Palparan was an evil
man.27
Raymond narrated his conversation with Gen. Palparan in his affidavit, viz:
Tinanong ako ni Gen. Palparan, "Ngayon na kaharap mo na ako, di ka ba natatakot sa akin?"
Sumagot akong, "Siyempre po, natatakot din..."
Sabi ni Gen. Palparan: "Sige, bibigyan ko kayo ng isang pagkakataon na mabuhay, basta't sundin n'yo ang lahat
ng sasabihin ko... sabihin mo sa magulang mo - huwag pumunta sa mga rali, sa hearing, sa Karapatan at sa
Human Right dahil niloloko lang kayo. Sabihin sa magulang at lahat sa bahay na huwag paloko doon. Tulungan
kami na kausapin si Bestre na sumuko na sa gobyerno."28
Respondents agreed to do as Gen. Palparan told them as they felt they could not do otherwise. At about 3:00 in the
morning, Hilario, Efren and the former's men - the same group that abducted them - brought them to their parents' house.
Raymond was shown to his parents while Reynaldo stayed in the Revo because he still could not walk. In the presence of
Hilario and other soldiers, Raymond relayed to his parents what Gen. Palparan told him. As they were afraid, Raymond's
parents acceded. Hilario threatened Raymond's parents that if they continued to join human rights rallies, they would
never see their children again. The respondents were then brought back to Sapang.29
When respondents arrived back in Sapang, Gen. Palparan was about to leave. He was talking with the four "masters" who
were there: Arman, Ganata, Hilario and Cabalse.30 When Gen. Palparan saw Raymond, he called for him. He was in a big
white vehicle. Raymond stood outside the vehicle as Gen. Palparan told him to gain back his strength and be healthy and
to take the medicine he left for him and Reynaldo. He said the medicine was expensive at Php35.00 each, and would make
them strong. He also said that they should prove that they are on the side of the military and warned that they would not
be given another chance.31 During his testimony, Raymond identified Gen. Palparan by his picture.32
One of the soldiers named Arman made Raymond take the medicine left by Gen. Palparan. The medicine, named "Alive,"
was green and yellow. Raymond and Reynaldo were each given a box of this medicine and instructed to take one capsule
a day. Arman checked if they were getting their dose of the medicine. The "Alive" made them sleep each time they took
it, and they felt heavy upon waking up.33
After a few days, Hilario arrived again. He took Reynaldo and left Raymond at Sapang. Arman instructed Raymond that
while in Sapang, he should introduce himself as "Oscar," a military trainee from Sariaya, Quezon, assigned in Bulacan.
While there, he saw again Ganata, one of the men who abducted him from his house, and got acquainted with other
military men and civilians.34
After about three months in Sapang, Raymond was brought to Camp Tecson under the 24th Infantry Battalion. He was
fetched by three unidentified men in a big white vehicle. Efren went with them. Raymond was then blindfolded. After a
30-minute ride, his blindfold was removed. Chains were put on him and he was kept in the barracks.35
The next day, Raymond's chains were removed and he was ordered to clean outside the barracks. It was then he learned
that he was in a detachment of the Rangers. There were many soldiers, hundreds of them were training. He was also

ordered to clean inside the barracks. In one of the rooms therein, he met Sherlyn Cadapan from Laguna. She told him that
she was a student of the University of the Philippines and was abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She confided that she had
been subjected to severe torture and raped. She was crying and longing to go home and be with her parents. During the
day, her chains were removed and she was made to do the laundry.36
After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his arrival, two other captives, Karen Empeo
and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen and Manuel were put in the room with "Allan" whose name they later came to know
as Donald Caigas, called "master" or "commander" by his men in the 24th Infantry Battalion. Raymond and Reynaldo
were put in the adjoining room. At times, Raymond and Reynaldo were threatened, and Reynaldo was beaten up. In the
daytime, their chains were removed, but were put back on at night. They were threatened that if they escaped, their
families would all be killed.37
On or about October 6, 2006, Hilario arrived in Camp Tecson. He told the detainees that they should be thankful they
were still alive and should continue along their "renewed life." Before the hearing of November 6 or 8, 2006, respondents
were brought to their parents to instruct them not to attend the hearing. However, their parents had already left for Manila.
Respondents were brought back to Camp Tecson. They stayed in that camp from September 2006 to November 2006, and
Raymond was instructed to continue using the name "Oscar" and holding himself out as a military trainee. He got
acquainted with soldiers of the 24th Infantry Battalion whose names and descriptions he stated in his affidavit.38
On November 22, 2006, respondents, along with Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel, were transferred to a camp of the
24th Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. There were many huts in the camp. They stayed in that camp until May 8, 2007.
Some soldiers of the battalion stayed with them. While there, battalion soldiers whom Raymond knew as "Mar" and
"Billy" beat him up and hit him in the stomach with their guns. Sherlyn and Karen also suffered enormous torture in the
camp. They were all made to clean, cook, and help in raising livestock.39
Raymond recalled that when "Operation Lubog" was launched, Caigas and some other soldiers brought him and Manuel
with them to take and kill all sympathizers of the NPA. They were brought to Barangay Bayan-bayanan, Bataan where he
witnessed the killing of an old man doing kaingin. The soldiers said he was killed because he had a son who was a
member of the NPA and he coddled NPA members in his house.40 Another time, in another "Operation Lubog," Raymond
was brought to Barangay Orion in a house where NPA men stayed. When they arrived, only the old man of the house who
was sick was there. They spared him and killed only his son right before Raymond's eyes.41
From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were transferred to Zambales, in a safehouse near the sea.
Caigas and some of his men stayed with them. A retired army soldier was in charge of the house. Like in Limay, the five
detainees were made to do errands and chores. They stayed in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007 until June 2007.42
In June 2007, Caigas brought the five back to the camp in Limay. Raymond, Reynaldo, and Manuel were tasked to bring
food to detainees brought to the camp. Raymond narrated what he witnessed and experienced in the camp, viz:
Isang gabi, sinabihan kami ni Donald (Caigas) na matulog na kami. Nakita ko si Donald na inaayos ang kanyang
baril, at nilagyan ng silenser. Sabi ni Donald na kung mayroon man kaming makita o marinig, walang nangyari.
Kinaumagahan, nakita naming ang bangkay ng isa sa mga bihag na dinala sa kampo. Mayroong binuhos sa
kanyang katawan at ito'y sinunog. Masansang ang amoy.
Makaraan ang isang lingo, dalawang bangkay and ibinaba ng mga unipormadong sundalo mula sa 6 x 6 na trak at
dinala sa loob ng kampo. May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang mga bangkay. Naamoy ko
iyon nang nililinis ang bakas.
Makalipas ang isa o dalawang lingo, may dinukot sila na dalawang Ita. Itinali sila sa labas ng kubo, piniringan,
ikinadena at labis na binugbog. Nakita kong nakatakas ang isa sa kanila at binaril siya ng sundalo ngunit hindi
siya tinamaan. Iyong gabi nakita kong pinatay nila iyong isang Ita malapit sa Post 3; sinilaban ang bangkay at
ibinaon ito.

Pagkalipas ng halos 1 buwan, 2 pang bangkay ang dinala sa kampo. Ibinaba ang mga bangkay mula sa pick up
trak, dinala ang mga bangkay sa labas ng bakod. Kinaumagahan nakita kong mayroong sinilaban, at
napakamasangsang ang amoy.
May nakilala rin akong 1 retiradong koronel at 1 kasama niya. Pinakain ko sila. Sabi nila sa akin na dinukot sila
sa Bataan. Iyong gabi, inilabas sila at hindi ko na sila nakita.
xxx xxx xxx
Ikinadena kami ng 3 araw. Sa ikatlong araw, nilabas ni Lat si Manuel dahil kakausapin daw siya ni Gen. Palparan.
Nakapiring si Manuel, wala siyang suot pang-itaas, pinosasan. Nilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa
istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal, narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel. Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig
at nakita kong sinisilaban si Manuel.
Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 na araw pagkalipas. Sinabi sa amin
na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung papatayin kami o hindi.
Tinanggal ang aming kadena. Kinausap kami ni Donald. Tinanong kami kung ano ang sabi ni Manuel sa amin.
Sabi ni Donald huwag na raw naming hanapin ang dalawang babae at si Manuel, dahil magkakasama na yung
tatlo. Sabi pa ni Donald na kami ni Reynaldo ay magbagong buhay at ituloy namin ni Reynaldo ang trabaho. Sa
gabi, hindi na kami kinakadena.43
On or about June 13, 2007, Raymond and Reynaldo were brought to Pangasinan, ostensibly to raise poultry for Donald
(Caigas). Caigas told respondents to also farm his land, in exchange for which, he would take care of the food of their
family. They were also told that they could farm a small plot adjoining his land and sell their produce. They were no
longer put in chains and were instructed to use the names Rommel (for Raymond) and Rod (for Reynaldo) and represent
themselves as cousins from Rizal, Laguna.44
Respondents started to plan their escape. They could see the highway from where they stayed. They helped farm adjoining
lands for which they were paid Php200.00 or Php400.00 and they saved their earnings. When they had saved Php1,000.00
each, Raymond asked a neighbor how he could get a cellular phone as he wanted to exchange text messages with a girl
who lived nearby. A phone was pawned to him, but he kept it first and did not use it. They earned some more until they
had saved Php1,400.00 between them.
There were four houses in the compound. Raymond and Reynaldo were housed in one of them while their guards lived in
the other three. Caigas entrusted respondents to Nonong, the head of the guards. Respondents' house did not have
electricity. They used a lamp. There was no television, but they had a radio. In the evening of August 13, 2007, Nonong
and his cohorts had a drinking session. At about 1:00 a.m., Raymond turned up the volume of the radio. When none of the
guards awoke and took notice, Raymond and Reynaldo proceeded towards the highway, leaving behind their sleeping
guards and barking dogs. They boarded a bus bound for Manila and were thus freed from captivity.45
Reynaldo also executed an affidavit affirming the contents of Raymond's affidavit insofar as they related to matters they
witnessed together. Reynaldo added that when they were taken from their house on February 14, 2006, he saw the faces of
his abductors before he was blindfolded with his shirt. He also named the soldiers he got acquainted with in the 18 months
he was detained. When Raymond attempted to escape from Fort Magsaysay, Reynaldo was severely beaten up and told
that they were indeed members of the NPA because Raymond escaped. With a .45 caliber pistol, Reynaldo was hit on the
back and punched in the face until he could no longer bear the pain.
At one point during their detention, when Raymond and Reynaldo were in Sapang, Reynaldo was separated from
Raymond and brought to Pinaud by Rizal Hilario. He was kept in the house of Kapitan, a friend of Hilario, in a
mountainous area. He was instructed to use the name "Rodel" and to represent himself as a military trainee from
Meycauayan, Bulacan. Sometimes, Hilario brought along Reynaldo in his trips. One time, he was brought to a market in
San Jose, del Monte, Bulacan and made to wait in the vehicle while Hilario was buying. He was also brought to Tondo,
Manila where Hilario delivered boxes of "Alive" in different houses. In these trips, Hilario drove a black and red vehicle.
Reynaldo was blindfolded while still in Bulacan, but allowed to remove the blindfold once outside the province. In one of

their trips, they passed by Fort Magsaysay and Camp Tecson where Reynaldo saw the sign board, "Welcome to Camp
Tecson."46
Dr. Benito Molino, M.D., corroborated the accounts of respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo. Dr. Molino
specialized in forensic medicine and was connected with the Medical Action Group, an organization handling cases of
human rights violations, particularly cases where torture was involved. He was requested by an NGO to conduct medical
examinations on the respondents after their escape. He first asked them about their ordeal, then proceeded with the
physical examination. His findings showed that the scars borne by respondents were consistent with their account of
physical injuries inflicted upon them. The examination was conducted on August 15, 2007, two days after respondents'
escape, and the results thereof were reduced into writing. Dr. Molino took photographs of the scars. He testified that he
followed the Istanbul Protocol in conducting the examination.47
Petitioners dispute respondents' account of their alleged abduction and torture. In compliance with the October 25, 2007
Resolution of the Court, they filed a Return of the Writ of Amparo admitting the abduction but denying any involvement
therein, viz:
13. Petitioners Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo were not at any time arrested, forcibly abducted, detained, held
incommunicado, disappeared or under the custody by the military. This is a settled issue laid to rest in the habeas
corpus case filed in their behalf by petitioners' parents before the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 94431
against M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, as head of the 24th Infantry Battalion; Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan,
as Commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Luzon; Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, in his capacity as the
Commanding General of the Philippine Army, and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit
(CAFGU), namely: Michael dela Cruz, Puti dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz, Pula dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza and
Rudy Mendoza. The respondents therein submitted a return of the writ... On July 4, 2006, the Court of Appeals
dropped as party respondents Lt. Gen. Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr., then Commanding General of the Philippine
Army, and on September 19, 2006, Maj. (sic) Jovito S. Palparan, then Commanding General, 7th Infantry
Division, Philippine Army, stationed at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, upon a finding that no
evidence was introduced to establish their personal involvement in the taking of the Manalo brothers. In a
Decision dated June 27, 2007..., it exonerated M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo for lack of evidence
establishing his involvement in any capacity in the disappearance of the Manalo brothers, although it held that the
remaining respondents were illegally detaining the Manalo brothers and ordered them to release the latter.48
Attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of therein respondent (herein petitioner) Secretary of National
Defense, which attested that he assumed office only on August 8, 2007 and was thus unaware of the Manalo brothers'
alleged abduction. He also claimed that:
7. The Secretary of National Defense does not engage in actual military directional operations, neither does he
undertake command directions of the AFP units in the field, nor in any way micromanage the AFP operations.
The principal responsibility of the Secretary of National Defense is focused in providing strategic policy direction
to the Department (bureaus and agencies) including the Armed Forces of the Philippines;
8. In connection with the Writ of Amparo issued by the Honorable Supreme Court in this case, I have directed the
Chief of Staff, AFP to institute immediate action in compliance with Section 9(d) of the AmparoRule and to
submit report of such compliance... Likewise, in a Memorandum Directive also dated October 31, 2007, I have
issued a policy directive addressed to the Chief of Staff, AFP that the AFP should adopt the following rules of
action in the event the Writ of Amparo is issued by a competent court against any members of the AFP:
(1) to verify the identity of the aggrieved party;
(2) to recover and preserve evidence related to the death or disappearance of the person identified in the
petition which may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible;
(3) to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning the death or disappearance;

(4) to determine the cause, manner, location and time of death or disappearance as well as any pattern or
practice that may have brought about the death or disappearance;
(5) to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in the death or disappearance; and
(6) to bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.49
Therein respondent AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own affidavit, attached to the Return of the Writ, attesting that
he received the above directive of therein respondent Secretary of National Defense and that acting on this directive, he
did the following:
3.1. As currently designated Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), I have caused to be issued
directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the circumstances of the alleged disappearance
and the recent reappearance of the petitioners.
3.2. I have caused the immediate investigation and submission of the result thereof to Higher headquarters and/or
direct the immediate conduct of the investigation on the matter by the concerned unit/s, dispatching Radio
Message on November 05, 2007, addressed to the Commanding General, Philippine Army (Info:
COMNOLCOM, CG, 71D PA and CO 24 IB PA). A Copy of the Radio Message is attached as ANNEX "3" of
this Affidavit.
3.3. We undertake to provide result of the investigations conducted or to be conducted by the concerned unit
relative to the circumstances of the alleged disappearance of the persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has
been sought for as soon as the same has been furnished Higher headquarters.
3.4. A parallel investigation has been directed to the same units relative to another Petition for the Writ
of Amparo (G.R. No. 179994) filed at the instance of relatives of a certain Cadapan and Empeo pending before
the Supreme Court.
3.5. On the part of the Armed Forces, this respondent will exert earnest efforts to establish the surrounding
circumstances of the disappearances of the petitioners and to bring those responsible, including any military
personnel if shown to have participated or had complicity in the commission of the complained acts, to the bar of
justice, when warranted by the findings and the competent evidence that may be gathered in the process.50
Also attached to the Return of the Writ was the affidavit of Lt. Col. Felipe Anontado, INF (GSC) PA, earlier filed in G.R.
No. 179994, another Amparo case in this Court, involving Cadapan, Empeo and Merino, which averred among
others, viz:
10) Upon reading the allegations in the Petition implicating the 24th Infantry Batallion detachment as detention
area, I immediately went to the 24th IB detachment in Limay, Bataan and found no untoward incidents in the area
nor any detainees by the name of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino being held captive;
11) There was neither any reports of any death of Manuel Merino in the 24th IB in Limay, Bataan;
12) After going to the 24th IB in Limay, Bataan, we made further inquiries with the Philippine National Police,
Limay, Bataan regarding the alleged detentions or deaths and were informed that none was reported to their good
office;
13) I also directed Company Commander 1st Lt. Romeo Publico to inquire into the alleged beachhouse in Iba,
Zambales also alleged to be a detention place where Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino were
detained. As per the inquiry, however, no such beachhouse was used as a detention place found to have been used
by armed men to detain Cadapan, Empeo and Merino.51

It was explained in the Return of the Writ that for lack of sufficient time, the affidavits of Maj. Gen Jovito S. Palparan
(Ret.), M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario aka Rollie Castillo, and other persons implicated by therein petitioners could not be secured in
time for the submission of the Return and would be subsequently submitted.52
Herein petitioners presented a lone witness in the summary hearings, Lt. Col. Ruben U. Jimenez, Provost Marshall,
7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. The territorial jurisdiction of
this Division covers Nueva Ecija, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and a portion of Pangasinan.53 The
24th Infantry Battalion is part of the 7th Infantry Division.54
On May 26, 2006, Lt. Col. Jimenez was directed by the Commanding General of the 7th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen.
Jovito Palaran,55 through his Assistant Chief of Staff,56 to investigate the alleged abduction of the respondents by CAFGU
auxiliaries under his unit, namely: CAA Michael de la Cruz; CAA Roman de la Cruz, aka Puti; CAA Maximo de la Cruz,
aka Pula; CAA Randy Mendoza; ex-CAA Marcelo de la Cruz aka Madning; and a civilian named Rudy Mendoza. He was
directed to determine: (1) the veracity of the abduction of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo by the alleged elements of the
CAFGU auxiliaries; and (2) the administrative liability of said auxiliaries, if any.57 Jimenez testified that this particular
investigation was initiated not by a complaint as was the usual procedure, but because the Commanding General saw news
about the abduction of the Manalo brothers on the television, and he was concerned about what was happening within his
territorial jurisdiction.58
Jimenez summoned all six implicated persons for the purpose of having them execute sworn statements and conducting an
investigation on May 29, 2006.59 The investigation started at 8:00 in the morning and finished at 10:00 in the
evening.60 The investigating officer, Technical Sgt. Eduardo Lingad, took the individual sworn statements of all six
persons on that day. There were no other sworn statements taken, not even of the Manalo family, nor were there other
witnesses summoned and investigated61 as according to Jimenez, the directive to him was only to investigate the six
persons.62
Jimenez was beside Lingad when the latter took the statements.63 The six persons were not known to Jimenez as it was in
fact his first time to meet them.64 During the entire time that he was beside Lingad, a subordinate of his in the Office of
the Provost Marshall, Jimenez did not propound a single question to the six persons.65
Jimenez testified that all six statements were taken on May 29, 2006, but Marcelo Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza had to
come back the next day to sign their statements as the printing of their statements was interrupted by a power failure.
Jimenez testified that the two signed on May 30, 2006, but the jurats of their statements indicated that they were signed on
May 29, 2006.66 When the Sworn Statements were turned over to Jimenez, he personally wrote his investigation report.
He began writing it in the afternoon of May 30, 2006 and finished it on June 1, 2006.67 He then gave his report to the
Office of the Chief of Personnel.68
As petitioners largely rely on Jimenez's Investigation Report dated June 1, 2006 for their evidence, the report is herein
substantially quoted:
III. BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
4. This pertains to the abduction of RAYMOND MANALO and REYNALDO MANALO who were forcibly
taken from their respective homes in Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on 14 February 2006 by
unidentified armed men and thereafter were forcibly disappeared. After the said incident, relatives of the victims
filed a case for Abduction in the civil court against the herein suspects: Michael dela Cruz, Madning dela Cruz,
Puti Dela Cruz, Pula Dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza as alleged members of the Citizen Armed
Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
a) Sworn statement of CAA Maximo F. dela Cruz, aka Pula dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "B") states that he was
at Sitio Mozon, Brgy. Bohol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan doing the concrete building of a church located
nearby his residence, together with some neighbor thereat. He claims that on 15 February 2006, he was being
informed by Brgy. Kagawad Pablo Umayan about the abduction of the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo.
As to the allegation that he was one of the suspects, he claims that they only implicated him because he was a

CAFGU and that they claimed that those who abducted the Manalo brothers are members of the Military and
CAFGU. Subject vehemently denied any participation or involvement on the abduction of said victims.
b) Sworn statement of CAA Roman dela Cruz y Faustino Aka Puti dtd 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "C") states that
he is a resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a CAA member based at
Biak na Bato Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo being his
neighbors are active members/sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and he also knows their elder Rolando Manalo @
KA BESTRE of being an NPA Leader operating in their province. That at the time of the alleged abduction of the
two (2) brothers and for accusing him to be one of the suspects, he claims that on February 14, 2006, he was one
of those working at the concrete chapel being constructed nearby his residence. He claims further that he just
came only to know about the incident on other day (15 Feb 06) when he was being informed by Kagawad Pablo
Kunanan. That subject CAA vehemently denied any participation about the incident and claimed that they only
implicated him because he is a member of the CAFGU.
c) Sworn Statement of CAA Randy Mendoza y Lingas dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "O") states that he is a
resident of Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and a member of CAFGU based at Biak na Bato
Detachment. That being a neighbor, he was very much aware about the background of the two (2) brothers
Raymond and Reynaldo as active supporters of the CPP NPA in their Brgy. and he also knew their elder brother
"KUMANDER BESTRE" TN: Rolando Manalo. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006,
he was at Brgy. Magmarate, San Miguel, Bulacan in the house of his aunt and he learned only about the incident
when he arrived home in their place. He claims further that the only reason why they implicated him was due to
the fact that his mother has filed a criminal charge against their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE who is
an NPA Commander who killed his father and for that reason they implicated him in support of their brother.
Subject CAA vehemently denied any involvement on the abduction of said Manalo brothers.
d) Sworn Statement of Rudy Mendoza y Lingasa dated May 29, 2006 in (Exhibit "E") states that he is a resident
of Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo are familiar to him being his
barriomate when he was still unmarried and he knew them since childhood. Being one of the accused, he claims
that on 14 February 2006, he was at his residence in Brgy. Marungko, Angat, Bulacan. He claims that he was
being informed only about the incident lately and he was not aware of any reason why the two (2) brothers were
being abducted by alleged members of the military and CAFGU. The only reason he knows why they implicated
him was because there are those people who are angry with their family particularly victims of summary
execution (killing) done by their brother @ KA Bestre Rolando Manalo who is an NPA leader. He claims further
that it was their brother @ KA BESTRE who killed his father and he was living witness to that incident. Subject
civilian vehemently denied any involvement on the abduction of the Manalo brothers.
e) Sworn statement of Ex-CAA Marcelo dala Cruz dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "F") states that he is a resident
of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, a farmer and a former CAA based at Biak na
Bato, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo are familiar to him being their barrio
mate. He claims further that they are active supporters of CPP/NPA and that their brother Rolando Manalo @ KA
BESTRE is an NPA leader. Being one of the accused, he claims that on 14 February 2006, he was in his residence
at Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. That he vehemently denied any participation of
the alleged abduction of the two (2) brothers and learned only about the incident when rumors reached him by his
barrio mates. He claims that his implication is merely fabricated because of his relationship to Roman and
Maximo who are his brothers.
f) Sworn statement of Michael dela Cruz y Faustino dated 29 May 2006 in (Exhibit "G") states that he is a
resident of Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, the Chief of Brgy. Tanod and a
CAFGU member based at Biak na Bato Detachment, San Miguel, Bulacan. He claims that he knew very well the
brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in their barangay for having been the Tanod Chief for twenty (20) years.
He alleged further that they are active supporters or sympathizers of the CPP/NPA and whose elder brother
Rolando Manalo @ KA BESTRE is an NPA leader operating within the area. Being one of the accused, he claims
that on 14 Feb 2006 he was helping in the construction of their concrete chapel in their place and he learned only
about the incident which is the abduction of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo when one of the Brgy. Kagawad in
the person of Pablo Cunanan informed him about the matter. He claims further that he is truly innocent of the

allegation against him as being one of the abductors and he considers everything fabricated in order to destroy his
name that remains loyal to his service to the government as a CAA member.
IV. DISCUSSION
5. Based on the foregoing statements of respondents in this particular case, the proof of linking them to the
alleged abduction and disappearance of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo that transpired on 14 February 2006 at
Sitio Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, is unsubstantiated. Their alleged involvement
theretofore to that incident is considered doubtful, hence, no basis to indict them as charged in this investigation.
Though there are previous grudges between each families (sic) in the past to quote: the killing of the father of
Randy and Rudy Mendoza by @ KA BESTRE TN: Rolando Manalo, this will not suffice to establish a fact that
they were the ones who did the abduction as a form of revenge. As it was also stated in the testimony of other
accused claiming that the Manalos are active sympathizers/supporters of the CPP/NPA, this would not also mean,
however, that in the first place, they were in connivance with the abductors. Being their neighbors and as
members of CAFGU's, they ought to be vigilant in protecting their village from any intervention by the leftist
group, hence inside their village, they were fully aware of the activities of Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo in so
far as their connection with the CPP/NPA is concerned.
V. CONCLUSION
6. Premises considered surrounding this case shows that the alleged charges of abduction committed by the above
named respondents has not been established in this investigation. Hence, it lacks merit to indict them for any
administrative punishment and/or criminal liability. It is therefore concluded that they are innocent of the charge.
VI. RECOMMENDATIONS
7. That CAAs Michael F. dela Cruz, Maximo F. Dela Cruz, Roman dela Cruz, Randy Mendoza, and two (2)
civilians Maximo F. Dela Cruz and Rudy L. Mendoza be exonerated from the case.
8. Upon approval, this case can be dropped and closed.69
In this appeal under Rule 45, petitioners question the appellate court's assessment of the foregoing evidence and assail the
December 26, 2007 Decision on the following grounds, viz:
I.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN BELIEVING AND GIVING
FULL FAITH AND CREDIT TO THE INCREDIBLE, UNCORROBORATED, CONTRADICTED, AND
OBVIOUSLY SCRIPTED, REHEARSED AND SELF-SERVING AFFIDAVIT/TESTIMONY OF HEREIN
RESPONDENT RAYMOND MANALO.
II.
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY AND GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN REQUIRING RESPONDENTS
(HEREIN PETITIONERS) TO: (A) FURNISH TO THE MANALO BROTHER(S) AND TO THE COURT OF
APPEALS ALL OFFICIAL AND UNOFFICIAL REPORTS OF THE INVESTIGATION UNDERTAKEN IN
CONNECTION WITH THEIR CASE, EXCEPT THOSE ALREADY IN FILE WITH THE COURT; (B)
CONFIRM IN WRITING THE PRESENT PLACES OF OFFICIAL ASSIGNMENT OF M/SGT. HILARIO aka
ROLLIE CASTILLO AND DONALD CAIGAS; AND (C) CAUSE TO BE PRODUCED TO THE COURT OF
APPEALS ALL MEDICAL REPORTS, RECORDS AND CHARTS, AND REPORTS OF ANY TREATMENT
GIVEN OR RECOMMENDED AND MEDICINES PRESCRIBED, IF ANY, TO THE MANALO BROTHERS,
TO INCLUDE A LIST OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL (MILITARY AND CIVILIAN) WHO ATTENDED TO
THEM FROM FEBRUARY 14, 2006 UNTIL AUGUST 12, 2007.70

The case at bar is the first decision on the application of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo (Amparo Rule). Let us hearken to
its beginning.
The adoption of the Amparo Rule surfaced as a recurring proposition in the recommendations that resulted from a two-day
National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances sponsored by the Court on July 1617, 2007. The Summit was "envisioned to provide a broad and fact-based perspective on the issue of extrajudicial killings
and enforced disappearances,"71 hence "representatives from all sides of the political and social spectrum, as well as all
the stakeholders in the justice system"72 participated in mapping out ways to resolve the crisis.
On October 24, 2007, the Court promulgated the Amparo Rule "in light of the prevalence of extralegal killing and
enforced disappearances."73 It was an exercise for the first time of the Court's expanded power to promulgate rules to
protect our people's constitutional rights, which made its maiden appearance in the 1987 Constitution in response to the
Filipino experience of the martial law regime.74 As the Amparo Rule was intended to address the intractable problem of
"extralegal killings" and "enforced disappearances," its coverage, in its present form, is confined to these two instances or
to threats thereof. "Extralegal killings" are "killings committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards
or judicial proceedings."75 On the other hand, "enforced disappearances" are "attended by the following characteristics: an
arrest, detention or abduction of a person by a government official or organized groups or private individuals acting with
the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the
person concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such persons outside the protection
of law."76
The writ of Amparo originated in Mexico. "Amparo" literally means "protection" in Spanish.77 In 1837, de
Tocqueville's Democracy in America became available in Mexico and stirred great interest. Its description of the practice
of judicial review in the U.S. appealed to many Mexican jurists.78 One of them, Manuel Crescencio Rejn, drafted a
constitutional provision for his native state, Yucatan,79 which granted judges the power to protect all persons in the
enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights. This idea was incorporated into the national constitution in 1847, viz:
The federal courts shall protect any inhabitant of the Republic in the exercise and preservation of those rights
granted to him by this Constitution and by laws enacted pursuant hereto, against attacks by the Legislative and
Executive powers of the federal or state governments, limiting themselves to granting protection in the specific
case in litigation, making no general declaration concerning the statute or regulation that motivated the violation. 80
Since then, the protection has been an important part of Mexican constitutionalism.81 If, after hearing, the judge
determines that a constitutional right of the petitioner is being violated, he orders the official, or the official's superiors, to
cease the violation and to take the necessary measures to restore the petitioner to the full enjoyment of the right in
question. Amparo thus combines the principles of judicial review derived from the U.S. with the limitations on judicial
power characteristic of the civil law tradition which prevails in Mexico. It enables courts to enforce the constitution by
protecting individual rights in particular cases, but prevents them from using this power to make law for the entire
nation.82
The writ of Amparo then spread throughout the Western Hemisphere, gradually evolving into various forms, in response
to the particular needs of each country.83 It became, in the words of a justice of the Mexican Federal Supreme Court, one
piece of Mexico's self-attributed "task of conveying to the world's legal heritage that institution which, as a shield of
human dignity, her own painful history conceived."84 What began as a protection against acts or omissions of public
authorities in violation of constitutional rights later evolved for several purposes: (1) Amparo libertad for the protection of
personal freedom, equivalent to the habeas corpus writ; (2) Amparo contra leyes for the judicial review of the
constitutionality of statutes; (3) Amparo casacion for the judicial review of the constitutionality and legality of a judicial
decision; (4) Amparo administrativo for the judicial review of administrative actions; and (5) Amparo agrario for the
protection of peasants' rights derived from the agrarian reform process.85
In Latin American countries, except Cuba, the writ of Amparo has been constitutionally adopted to protect against human
rights abuses especially committed in countries under military juntas. In general, these countries adopted an allencompassing writ to protect the whole gamut of constitutional rights, including socio-economic rights.86Other countries
like Colombia, Chile, Germany and Spain, however, have chosen to limit the protection of the writ of Amparo only to
some constitutional guarantees or fundamental rights.87

In the Philippines, while the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly provide for the writ of Amparo, several of the
above Amparo protections are guaranteed by our charter. The second paragraph of Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987
Constitution, the Grave Abuse Clause, provides for the judicial power "to determine whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government." The Clause accords a similar general protection to human rights extended by the Amparo contra
leyes, Amparo casacion, and Amparo administrativo. Amparo libertad is comparable to the remedy of habeas
corpus found in several provisions of the 1987 Constitution.88 The Clause is an offspring of the U.S. common law
tradition of judicial review, which finds its roots in the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.89
While constitutional rights can be protected under the Grave Abuse Clause through remedies of injunction or prohibition
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court and a petition for habeas corpus under Rule 102,90 these remedies may not be
adequate to address the pestering problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. However, with the swiftness
required to resolve a petition for a writ of Amparo through summary proceedings and the availability of appropriate
interim and permanent reliefs under the Amparo Rule, this hybrid writ of the common law and civil law traditions - borne
out of the Latin American and Philippine experience of human rights abuses - offers a better remedy to extralegal killings
and enforced disappearances and threats thereof. The remedy provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary
proceeding that requires only substantial evidence to make 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 administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require full and
exhaustive proceedings.91
The writ of Amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances. It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these offenses;
it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent
investigation and action. In the long run, the goal of both the preventive and curative roles is to deter the further
commission of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.
In the case at bar, respondents initially filed an action for "Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order" 92 to
stop petitioners and/or their officers and agents from depriving the respondents of their right to liberty and other basic
rights on August 23, 2007,93 prior to the promulgation of the Amparo Rule. They also sought ancillary remedies including
Protective Custody Orders, Appointment of Commissioner, Inspection and Access Orders and other legal and equitable
remedies under Article VIII, Section 5(5) of the 1987 Constitution and Rule 135, Section 6 of the Rules of Court. When
the Amparo Rule came into effect on October 24, 2007, they moved to have their petition treated as an Amparo petition as
it would be more effective and suitable to the circumstances of the Manalo brothers' enforced disappearance. The Court
granted their motion.
With this backdrop, we now come to the arguments of the petitioner. Petitioners' first argument in disputing the Decision
of the Court of Appeals states, viz:
The Court of Appeals seriously and grievously erred in believing and giving full faith and credit to the incredible
uncorroborated, contradicted, and obviously scripted, rehearsed and self-serving affidavit/testimony of herein
respondent Raymond Manalo.94
In delving into the veracity of the evidence, we need to mine and refine the ore of petitioners' cause of action, to determine
whether the evidence presented is metal-strong to satisfy the degree of proof required.
Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides for the following causes of action, viz:
Section 1. Petition. - The petition for a writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life,
liberty and 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.
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (emphasis supplied)
Sections 17 and 18, on the other hand, provide for the degree of proof required, viz:

Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. - The parties shall establish their claims
by substantial evidence.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 18. Judgment. - ... If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court
shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege
shall be denied. (emphases supplied)
Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support
a conclusion.95
After careful perusal of the evidence presented, we affirm the findings of the Court of Appeals that respondents were
abducted from their houses in Sito Muzon, Brgy. Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan on February 14, 2006 and
were continuously detained until they escaped on August 13, 2007. The abduction, detention, torture, and escape of the
respondents were narrated by respondent Raymond Manalo in a clear and convincing manner. His account is dotted with
countless candid details of respondents' harrowing experience and tenacious will to escape, captured through his different
senses and etched in his memory. A few examples are the following: "Sumilip ako sa isang haligi ng kamalig at nakita
kong sinisilaban si Manuel."96 "(N)ilakasan ng mga sundalo ang tunog na galing sa istiryo ng sasakyan. Di nagtagal,
narinig ko ang hiyaw o ungol ni Manuel."97 "May naiwang mga bakas ng dugo habang hinihila nila ang mga bangkay.
Naamoy ko iyon nang nililinis ang bakas."98 "Tumigil ako sa may palaisdaan kung saan ginamit ko ang bato para
tanggalin ang mga kadena."99 "Tinanong ko sa isang kapit-bahay kung paano ako makakakuha ng cell phone; sabi ko
gusto kong i-text ang isang babae na nakatira sa malapit na lugar."100
We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based on respondent Raymond Manalo's affidavit and
testimony, viz:
...the abduction was perpetrated by armed men who were sufficiently identified by the petitioners (herein
respondents) to be military personnel and CAFGU auxiliaries. Raymond recalled that the six armed men who
barged into his house through the rear door were military men based on their attire of fatigue pants and army
boots, and the CAFGU auxiliaries, namely: Michael de la Cruz, Madning de la Cruz, Puti de la Cruz and Pula de
la Cruz, all members of the CAFGU and residents of Muzon, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, and the brothers Randy
Mendoza and Rudy Mendoza, also CAFGU members, served as lookouts during the abduction. Raymond was
sure that three of the six military men were Ganata, who headed the abducting team, Hilario, who drove the van,
and George. Subsequent incidents of their long captivity, as narrated by the petitioners, validated their assertion of
the participation of the elements of the 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, and their CAFGU auxiliaries.
We are convinced, too, that the reason for the abduction was the suspicion that the petitioners were either
members or sympathizers of the NPA, considering that the abductors were looking for Ka Bestre, who turned out
to be Rolando, the brother of petitioners.
The efforts exerted by the Military Command to look into the abduction were, at best, merely superficial. The
investigation of the Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry Division focused on the one-sided version of the CAFGU
auxiliaries involved. This one-sidedness might be due to the fact that the Provost Marshall could delve only into
the participation of military personnel, but even then the Provost Marshall should have refrained from outrightly
exculpating the CAFGU auxiliaries he perfunctorily investigated...
Gen. Palparan's participation in the abduction was also established. At the very least, he was aware of the
petitioners' captivity at the hands of men in uniform assigned to his command. In fact, he or any other officer
tendered no controversion to the firm claim of Raymond that he (Gen. Palparan) met them in person in a
safehouse in Bulacan and told them what he wanted them and their parents to do or not to be doing. Gen.
Palparan's direct and personal role in the abduction might not have been shown but his knowledge of the dire
situation of the petitioners during their long captivity at the hands of military personnel under his command
bespoke of his indubitable command policy that unavoidably encouraged and not merely tolerated the abduction
of civilians without due process of law and without probable cause.

In the habeas proceedings, the Court, through the Former Special Sixth Division (Justices Buzon, chairman;
Santiago-Lagman, Sr., member; and Romilla-Lontok, Jr., member/ponente.) found no clear and convincing
evidence to establish that M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario had anything to do with the abduction or the detention. Hilario's
involvement could not, indeed, be then established after Evangeline Francisco, who allegedly saw Hilario drive
the van in which the petitioners were boarded and ferried following the abduction, did not testify. (See the
decision of the habeas proceedings at rollo, p. 52)
However, in this case, Raymond attested that Hilario drove the white L-300 van in which the petitioners were
brought away from their houses on February 14, 2006. Raymond also attested that Hilario participated in
subsequent incidents during the captivity of the petitioners, one of which was when Hilario fetched them from
Fort Magsaysay on board a Revo and conveyed them to a detachment in Pinaud, San Ildefonso, Bulacan where
they were detained for at least a week in a house of strong materials (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) and then Hilario
(along with Efren) brought them to Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan on board the Revo, to an unfinished house
inside the compound of Kapitan where they were kept for more or less three months. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 205) It
was there where the petitioners came face to face with Gen. Palparan. Hilario and Efren also brought the
petitioners one early morning to the house of the petitioners' parents, where only Raymond was presented to the
parents to relay the message from Gen. Palparan not to join anymore rallies. On that occasion, Hilario warned the
parents that they would not again see their sons should they join any rallies to denounce human rights violations.
(Exhibit D, rollo, pp. 205-206) Hilario was also among four Master Sergeants (the others being Arman, Ganata
and Cabalse) with whom Gen. Palparan conversed on the occasion when Gen. Palparan required Raymond to take
the medicines for his health. (Exhibit D, rollo, p. 206) There were other occasions when the petitioners saw that
Hilario had a direct hand in their torture.
It is clear, therefore, that the participation of Hilario in the abduction and forced disappearance of the petitioners
was established. The participation of other military personnel like Arman, Ganata, Cabalse and Caigas, among
others, was similarly established.
xxx xxx xxx
As to the CAFGU auxiliaries, the habeas Court found them personally involved in the abduction. We also do, for,
indeed, the evidence of their participation is overwhelming.101
We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalo's statements were not corroborated by other
independent and credible pieces of evidence.102 Raymond's affidavit and testimony were corroborated by the affidavit of
respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and medical reports prepared by forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the
pictures of the scars left by the physical injuries inflicted on respondents,103 also corroborate respondents' accounts of the
torture they endured while in detention. Respondent Raymond Manalo's familiarity with the facilities in Fort Magsaysay
such as the "DTU," as shown in his testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col. Jimenez to be the "Division Training
Unit,"104 firms up respondents' story that they were detained for some time in said military facility.
In Ortiz v. Guatemala,105 a case decided by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Commission
considered similar evidence, among others, in finding that complainant Sister Diana Ortiz was abducted and tortured by
agents of the Guatemalan government. In this case, Sister Ortiz was kidnapped and tortured in early November 1989. The
Commission's findings of fact were mostly based on the consistent and credible statements, written and oral, made by
Sister Ortiz regarding her ordeal.106 These statements were supported by her recognition of portions of the route they took
when she was being driven out of the military installation where she was detained.107 She was also examined by a medical
doctor whose findings showed that the 111 circular second degree burns on her back and abrasions on her cheek coincided
with her account of cigarette burning and torture she suffered while in detention.108
With the secret nature of an enforced disappearance and the torture perpetrated on the victim during detention, it logically
holds that much of the information and evidence of the ordeal will come from the victims themselves, and the veracity of
their account will depend on their credibility and candidness in their written and/or oral statements. Their statements can
be corroborated by other evidence such as physical evidence left by the torture they suffered or landmarks they can
identify in the places where they were detained. Where powerful military officers are implicated, the hesitation of
witnesses to surface and testify against them comes as no surprise.

We now come to the right of the respondents to the privilege of the writ of Amparo. There is no quarrel that the enforced
disappearance of both respondents Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo has now passed as they have escaped from captivity
and surfaced. But while respondents admit that they are no longer in detention and are physically free, they assert that
they are not "free in every sense of the word"109 as their "movements continue to be restricted for fear that people they
have named in their Judicial Affidavits and testified against (in the case of Raymond) are still at large and have not been
held accountable in any way. These people are directly connected to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and are, thus, in
a position to threaten respondents' rights to life, liberty and security."110 (emphasis supplied) Respondents claim that
they are under threat of being once again abducted, kept captive or even killed, which constitute a direct violation of
their right to security of person.111
Elaborating on the "right to security, in general," respondents point out that this right is "often associated with liberty;"
it is also seen as an "expansion of rights based on the prohibition against torture and cruel and unusual punishment."
Conceding that there is no right to security expressly mentioned in Article III of the 1987 Constitution, they submit that
their rights "to be kept free from torture and from incommunicado detention and solitary detention places112 fall under the
general coverage of the right to security of person under the writ of Amparo." They submit that the Court ought to give an
expansive recognition of the right to security of person in view of the State Policy under Article II of the 1987
Constitution which enunciates that, "The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for
human rights." Finally, to justify a liberal interpretation of the right to security of person, respondents cite the teaching
in Moncupa v. Enrile113 that "the right to liberty may be made more meaningful only if there is no undue restraint by the
State on the exercise of that liberty"114 such as a requirement to "report under unreasonable restrictions that amounted to a
deprivation of liberty"115 or being put under "monitoring and surveillance."116
In sum, respondents assert that their cause of action consists in the threat to their right to life and liberty, and
a violation of their right to security.
Let us put this right to security under the lens to determine if it has indeed been violated as respondents
assert. The right to security or the right to security of person finds a textual hook in Article III, Section 2 of the 1987
Constitution which provides, viz:
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable
searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or
warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge...
At the core of this guarantee is the immunity of one's person, including the extensions of his/her person - houses, papers,
and effects - against government intrusion. Section 2 not only limits the state's power over a person's home and
possessions, but more importantly, protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself.117 The purpose of this provision
was enunciated by the Court in People v. CFI of Rizal, Branch IX, Quezon City, viz: 118
The purpose of the constitutional guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures is to prevent violations of
private security in person and property and unlawful invasion of the security of the home by officers of the law
acting under legislative or judicial sanction and to give remedy against such usurpation when attempted. (Adams
v. New York, 192 U.S. 858; Alvero v. Dizon, 76 Phil. 637 [1946]). The right to privacy is an essential condition
to the dignity and happiness and to the peace and security of every individual, whether it be of home or of
persons and correspondence. (Taada and Carreon, Political Law of the Philippines, Vol. 2, 139 [1962]). The
constitutional inviolability of this great fundamental right against unreasonable searches and seizures must be
deemed absolute as nothing is closer to a man's soul than the serenity of his privacy and the assurance of his
personal security. Any interference allowable can only be for the best causes and reasons.119 (emphases supplied)
While the right to life under Article III, Section 1120 guarantees essentially the right to be alive121 - upon which the
enjoyment of all other rights is preconditioned - the right to security of person is a guarantee of the secure quality of this
life, viz: "The life to which each person has a right is not a life lived in fear that his person and property may be
unreasonably violated by a powerful ruler. Rather, it is a life lived with the assurance that the government he established
and consented to, will protect the security of his person and property. The ideal of security in life and property... pervades
the whole history of man. It touches every aspect of man's existence."122 In a broad sense, the right to security of person
"emanates in a person's legal and uninterrupted enjoyment of his life, his limbs, his body, his health, and his reputation. It
includes the right to exist, and the right to enjoyment of life while existing, and it is invaded not only by a deprivation of

life but also of those things which are necessary to the enjoyment of life according to the nature, temperament, and lawful
desires of the individual."123
A closer look at the right to security of person would yield various permutations of the exercise of this right.
First, the right to security of person is "freedom from fear." In its "whereas" clauses, the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (UDHR) enunciates that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief
and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people." (emphasis
supplied) Some scholars postulate that "freedom from fear" is not only an aspirational principle, but essentially an
individual international human right.124 It is the "right to security of person" as the word "security" itself means "freedom
from fear."125 Article 3 of the UDHR provides, viz:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.126 (emphasis supplied)
In furtherance of this right declared in the UDHR, Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) also provides for the right to security of person, viz:
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or
detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure
as are established by law. (emphasis supplied)
The Philippines is a signatory to both the UDHR and the ICCPR.
In the context of Section 1 of the Amparo Rule, "freedom from fear" is the right and any threat to the rights to life,
liberty or security is the actionable wrong. Fear is a state of mind, a reaction; threat is a stimulus, a cause of action.
Fear caused by the same stimulus can range from being baseless to well-founded as people react differently. The degree of
fear can vary from one person to another with the variation of the prolificacy of their imagination, strength of character or
past experience with the stimulus. Thus, in the Amparo context, it is more correct to say that the "right to security" is
actually the "freedom from threat." Viewed in this light, the "threatened with violation" Clause in the latter part of
Section 1 of the Amparo Rule is a form of violation of the right to security mentioned in the earlier part of the
provision.127
Second, the right to security of person is a guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity or security. Article III,
Section II of the 1987 Constitution guarantees that, as a general rule, one's body cannot be searched or invaded without a
search warrant.128 Physical injuries inflicted in the context of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances constitute
more than a search or invasion of the body. It may constitute dismemberment, physical disabilities, and painful physical
intrusion. As the degree of physical injury increases, the danger to life itself escalates. Notably, in criminal law, physical
injuries constitute a crime against persons because they are an affront to the bodily integrity or security of a person. 129
Physical torture, force, and violence are a severe invasion of bodily integrity. When employed to vitiate the free will such
as to force the victim to admit, reveal or fabricate incriminating information, it constitutes an invasion of both bodily and
psychological integrity as the dignity of the human person includes the exercise of free will. Article III, Section 12 of the
1987 Constitution more specifically proscribes bodily and psychological invasion, viz:
(2) No torture, force, violence, threat or intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used
against him (any person under investigation for the commission of an offense). Secret detention places,
solitary, incommunicado or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.
Parenthetically, under this provision, threat and intimidation that vitiate the free will - although not involving invasion of
bodily integrity - nevertheless constitute a violation of the right to security in the sense of "freedom from threat" as aforediscussed.
Article III, Section 12 guarantees freedom from dehumanizing abuses of persons under investigation for the commission
of an offense. Victims of enforced disappearances who are not even under such investigation should all the more be
protected from these degradations.

An overture to an interpretation of the right to security of person as a right against torture was made by the European
Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the recent case of Popov v. Russia.130 In this case, the claimant, who was lawfully
detained, alleged that the state authorities had physically abused him in prison, thereby violating his right to security of
person. Article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights provides, viz: "Everyone has the right to liberty and
security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure
prescribed by law ..." (emphases supplied) Article 3, on the other hand, provides that "(n)o one shall be subjected to
torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." Although the application failed on the facts as the alleged
ill-treatment was found baseless, the ECHR relied heavily on the concept of security in holding, viz:
...the applicant did not bring his allegations to the attention of domestic authorities at the time when they could
reasonably have been expected to take measures in order to ensure his security and to investigate the
circumstances in question.
xxx xxx xxx
... the authorities failed to ensure his security in custody or to comply with the procedural obligation under Art.3
to conduct an effective investigation into his allegations.131 (emphasis supplied)
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has also made a statement that the protection
of the bodily integrity of women may also be related to the right to security and liberty, viz:
...gender-based violence which impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental
freedoms under general international law or under specific human rights conventions is discrimination within the
meaning of article 1 of the Convention (on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women).
These rights and freedoms include . . . the right to liberty and security of person.132
Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of one's rights by the government. In the context
of the writ of Amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1
of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and
psychological integrity) under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the
policy that the State "guarantees full respect for human rights" under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution.133 As
the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and
security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford protection to these rights especially when they are
under threat. Protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend
protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and
bringing offenders to the bar of justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the importance of
investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez Case,134 viz:
(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained
to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty,
not as a step taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon
their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the government.135
This third sense of the right to security of person as a guarantee of government protection has been interpreted by the
United Nations' Human Rights Committee136 in not a few cases involving Article 9137 of the ICCPR. While the right to
security of person appears in conjunction with the right to liberty under Article 9, the Committee has ruled that the right
to security of person can exist independently of the right to liberty. In other words, there need not necessarily be a
deprivation of liberty for the right to security of person to be invoked. In Delgado Paez v. Colombia,138 a case involving
death threats to a religion teacher at a secondary school in Leticia, Colombia, whose social views differed from those of
the Apostolic Prefect of Leticia, the Committee held, viz:
The first sentence of article 9 does not stand as a separate paragraph. Its location as a part of paragraph one could
lead to the view that the right to security arises only in the context of arrest and detention. The travaux
prparatoires indicate that the discussions of the first sentence did indeed focus on matters dealt with in the other
provisions of article 9. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in article 3, refers to the right to life, the

right to liberty and the right to security of the person. These elements have been dealt with in separate
clauses in the Covenant. Although in the Covenant the only reference to the right of security of person is to
be found in article 9, there is no evidence that it was intended to narrow the concept of the right to security
only to situations of formal deprivation of liberty. At the same time, States parties have undertaken to
guarantee the rights enshrined in the Covenant. It cannot be the case that, as a matter of law, States can
ignore known threats to the life of persons under their jurisdiction, just because that he or she is not
arrested or otherwise detained. States parties are under an obligation to take reasonable and appropriate
measures to protect them. An interpretation of article 9 which would allow a State party to ignore threats
to the personal security of non-detained persons within its jurisdiction would render totally ineffective the
guarantees of the Covenant.139 (emphasis supplied)
The Paez ruling was reiterated in Bwalya v. Zambia,140 which involved a political activist and prisoner of conscience
who continued to be intimidated, harassed, and restricted in his movements following his release from detention. In a
catena of cases, the ruling of the Committee was of a similar import: Bahamonde v. Equatorial Guinea,141 involving
discrimination, intimidation and persecution of opponents of the ruling party in that state; Tshishimbi v.
Zaire,142 involving the abduction of the complainant's husband who was a supporter of democratic reform in Zaire; Dias
v. Angola,143 involving the murder of the complainant's partner and the harassment he (complainant) suffered
because of his investigation of the murder; and Chongwe v. Zambia,144involving an assassination attempt on the
chairman of an opposition alliance.
Similarly, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has interpreted the "right to security" not only as prohibiting the
State from arbitrarily depriving liberty, but imposing a positive duty on the State to afford protection of the right to
liberty.145 The ECHR interpreted the "right to security of person" under Article 5(1) of the European Convention of
Human Rights in the leading case on disappearance of persons, Kurt v. Turkey.146 In this case, the claimant's son had
been arrested by state authorities and had not been seen since. The family's requests for information and investigation
regarding his whereabouts proved futile. The claimant suggested that this was a violation of her son's right to security of
person. The ECHR ruled, viz:
... any deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity with the substantive and procedural
rules of national law but must equally be in keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the
individual from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual it is incumbent on the authorities to
account for his or her whereabouts. For this reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take
effective measures to safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt effective
investigation into an arguable claim that a person has been taken into custody and has not been seen
since.147 (emphasis supplied)
Applying the foregoing concept of the right to security of person to the case at bar, we now determine whether there is a
continuing violation of respondents' right to security.
First, the violation of the right to security as freedom from threat to respondents' life, liberty and security.
While respondents were detained, they were threatened that if they escaped, their families, including them, would be
killed. In Raymond's narration, he was tortured and poured with gasoline after he was caught the first time he attempted to
escape from Fort Magsaysay. A call from a certain "Mam," who wanted to see him before he was killed, spared him.
This time, respondents have finally escaped. The condition of the threat to be killed has come to pass. It should be stressed
that they are now free from captivity not because they were released by virtue of a lawful order or voluntarily freed by
their abductors. It ought to be recalled that towards the end of their ordeal, sometime in June 2007 when respondents were
detained in a camp in Limay, Bataan, respondents' captors even told them that they were still deciding whether they
should be executed. Respondent Raymond Manalo attested in his affidavit, viz:
Kinaumagahan, naka-kadena pa kami. Tinanggal ang mga kadena mga 3 o 4 na araw pagkalipas. Sinabi sa amin
na kaya kami nakakadena ay dahil pinagdedesisyunan pa ng mga sundalo kung papatayin kami o hindi.148

The possibility of respondents being executed stared them in the eye while they were in detention. With their escape, this
continuing threat to their life is apparent, moreso now that they have surfaced and implicated specific officers in the
military not only in their own abduction and torture, but also in those of other persons known to have disappeared such as
Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo, and Manuel Merino, among others.
Understandably, since their escape, respondents have been under concealment and protection by private citizens because
of the threat to their life, liberty and security. The threat vitiates their free will as they are forced to limit their movements
or activities.149 Precisely because respondents are being shielded from the perpetrators of their abduction, they cannot be
expected to show evidence of overt acts of threat such as face-to-face intimidation or written threats to their life, liberty
and security. Nonetheless, the circumstances of respondents' abduction, detention, torture and escape reasonably support a
conclusion that there is an apparent threat that they will again be abducted, tortured, and this time, even executed. These
constitute threats to their liberty, security, and life, actionable through a petition for a writ of Amparo.
Next, the violation of the right to security as protection by the government. Apart from the failure of military
elements to provide protection to respondents by themselves perpetrating the abduction, detention, and torture, they also
miserably failed in conducting an effective investigation of respondents' abduction as revealed by the testimony and
investigation report of petitioners' own witness, Lt. Col. Ruben Jimenez, Provost Marshall of the 7thInfantry Division.
The one-day investigation conducted by Jimenez was very limited, superficial, and one-sided. He merely relied on the
Sworn Statements of the six implicated members of the CAFGU and civilians whom he met in the investigation for the
first time. He was present at the investigation when his subordinate Lingad was taking the sworn statements, but he did
not propound a single question to ascertain the veracity of their statements or their credibility. He did not call for other
witnesses to test the alibis given by the six implicated persons nor for the family or neighbors of the respondents.
In his affidavit, petitioner Secretary of National Defense attested that in a Memorandum Directive dated October 31,
2007, he issued a policy directive addressed to the AFP Chief of Staff, that the AFP should adopt rules of action in the
event the writ of Amparo is issued by a competent court against any members of the AFP, which should essentially
include verification of the identity of the aggrieved party; recovery and preservation of relevant evidence; identification of
witnesses and securing statements from them; determination of the cause, manner, location and time of death or
disappearance; identification and apprehension of the person or persons involved in the death or disappearance; and
bringing of the suspected offenders before a competent court.150 Petitioner AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own
affidavit attesting that he received the above directive of respondent Secretary of National Defense and that acting on this
directive, he immediately caused to be issued a directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the
circumstances of the alleged disappearance and the recent reappearance of the respondents, and undertook to provide
results of the investigations to respondents.151 To this day, however, almost a year after the policy directive was issued by
petitioner Secretary of National Defense on October 31, 2007, respondents have not been furnished the results of the
investigation which they now seek through the instant petition for a writ of Amparo.
Under these circumstances, there is substantial evidence to warrant the conclusion that there is a violation of respondents'
right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government.
In sum, we conclude that respondents' right to security as "freedom from threat" is violated by the apparent threat to their
life, liberty and security of person. Their right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government is likewise
violated by the ineffective investigation and protection on the part of the military.
Finally, we come to the reliefs granted by the Court of Appeals, which petitioners question.
First, that petitioners furnish respondents all official and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken in
connection with their case, except those already in file with the court.
Second, that petitioners confirm in writing the present places of official assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie
Castillo and Donald Caigas.
Third, that petitioners cause to be produced to the Court of Appeals all medical reports, records and charts, and
reports of any treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed, if any, to the Manalo brothers, to

include a list of medical personnel (military and civilian) who attended to them from February 14, 2006 until August
12, 2007.
With respect to the first and second reliefs, petitioners argue that the production order sought by respondents partakes of
the characteristics of a search warrant. Thus, they claim that the requisites for the issuance of a search warrant must be
complied with prior to the grant of the production order, namely: (1) the application must be under oath or affirmation; (2)
the search warrant must particularly describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized; (3) there exists probable
cause with one specific offense; and (4) the probable cause must be personally determined by the judge after examination
under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.152 In the case at bar, however, petitioners
point out that other than the bare, self-serving and vague allegations made by respondent Raymond Manalo in his
unverified declaration and affidavit, the documents respondents seek to be produced are only mentioned generally by
name, with no other supporting details. They also argue that the relevancy of the documents to be produced must be
apparent, but this is not true in the present case as the involvement of petitioners in the abduction has not been shown.
Petitioners' arguments do not hold water. The production order under the Amparo Rule should not be confused with a
search warrant for law enforcement under Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution. This Constitutional provision is
a protection of the people from the unreasonable intrusion of the government, not a protection of the government from the
demand of the people such as respondents.
Instead, the Amparo production order may be likened to the production of documents or things under Section 1, Rule 27
of the Rules of Civil Procedure which provides in relevant part, viz:
Section 1. Motion for production or inspection order.
Upon motion of any party showing good cause therefor, the court in which an action is pending may (a)
order any party to produce and permit the inspection and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the
moving party, of any designated documents, papers, books of accounts, letters, photographs, objects or
tangible things, not privileged, which constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the
action and which are in his possession, custody or control...
In Material Distributors (Phil.) Inc. v. Judge Natividad,153 the respondent judge, under authority of Rule 27, issued
a subpoena duces tecum for the production and inspection of among others, the books and papers of Material Distributors
(Phil.) Inc. The company questioned the issuance of the subpoena on the ground that it violated the search and seizure
clause. The Court struck down the argument and held that the subpoenapertained to a civil procedure that "cannot be
identified or confused with unreasonable searches prohibited by the Constitution..."
Moreover, in his affidavit, petitioner AFP Chief of Staff himself undertook "to provide results of the investigations
conducted or to be conducted by the concerned unit relative to the circumstances of the alleged disappearance of the
persons in whose favor the Writ of Amparo has been sought for as soon as the same has been furnished Higher
headquarters."
With respect to the second and third reliefs, petitioners assert that the disclosure of the present places of assignment of
M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald Caigas, as well as the submission of a list of medical personnel, is
irrelevant, improper, immaterial, and unnecessary in the resolution of the petition for a writ of Amparo. They add that it
will unnecessarily compromise and jeopardize the exercise of official functions and duties of military officers and even
unwittingly and unnecessarily expose them to threat of personal injury or even death.
On the contrary, the disclosure of the present places of assignment of M/Sgt. Hilario aka Rollie Castillo and Donald
Caigas, whom respondents both directly implicated as perpetrators behind their abduction and detention, is relevant in
ensuring the safety of respondents by avoiding their areas of territorial jurisdiction. Such disclosure would also help
ensure that these military officers can be served with notices and court processes in relation to any investigation and
action for violation of the respondents' rights. The list of medical personnel is also relevant in securing information to
create the medical history of respondents and make appropriate medical interventions, when applicable and necessary.

In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and security, these rights are snuffed out from victims of
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. The writ of Amparo is a tool that gives voice to preys of silent guns and
prisoners behind secret walls.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated
December 26, 2007 is affirmed.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 182498

December 3, 2009

GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, JR., Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Police Chief Superintendent RAUL
CASTAEDA, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG); Police Senior Superintendent
LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER); and GEN. JOEL R.
GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM, PNP, Petitioners,
vs.
MARY JEAN B. TAGITIS, herein represented by ATTY. FELIPE P. ARCILLA, JR., Attorney-inFact,Respondent.
DECISION
BRION, J.:
We review in this petition for review on certiorari1 the decision dated March 7, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in C.AG.R. AMPARO No. 00009.2 This CA decision confirmed the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis
(Tagitis) and granted the Writ of Amparo at the petition of his wife, Mary Jean B. Tagitis (respondent). The dispositive
portion of the CA decision reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, petition is hereby GRANTED. The Court hereby FINDS that this is an "enforced
disappearance" within the meaning of the United Nations instruments, as used in the Amparo Rules. The privileges of the
writ of amparo are hereby extended to Engr. Morced Tagitis.
Consequently: (1) respondent GEN. EDGARDO M. DOROMAL, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detention Group
(CIDG) who should order COL. JOSE VOLPANE PANTE, CIDG-9 Chief, Zamboanga City, to aid him; (2) respondent
GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, Chief, PNP, who should order his men, namely: (a) respondent GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO,
Regional Director of ARMM PNP, (b) COL. AHIRON AJIRIM, both head of TASK FORCE TAGITIS, and (c)
respondent SR. SUPERINTENDENT LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response, to
aid him as their superior- are hereby DIRECTED to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts, not only to protect the life,
liberty and security of Engr. Morced Tagitis, but also to extend the privileges of the writ of amparo to Engr. Morced
Tagitis and his family, and to submit a monthly report of their actions to this Court, as a way of PERIODIC REVIEW to
enable this Court to monitor the action of respondents.
This amparo case is hereby DISMISSED as to respondent LT. GEN. ALEXANDER YANO, Commanding General,
Philippine Army, and as to respondent GEN. RUBEN RAFAEL, Chief Anti-Terror Task Force Comet, Zamboanga City,
both being with the military, which is a separate and distinct organization from the police and the CIDG, in terms of
operations, chain of command and budget.

This Decision reflects the nature of the Writ of Amparo a protective remedy against violations or threats of violation
against the rights to life, liberty and security.3 It embodies, as a remedy, the courts directive to police agencies to
undertake specified courses of action to address the disappearance of an individual, in this case, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis.
It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance; rather, it determines responsibility, or
at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the
disappearance. Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have
participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this
Court shall craft, among them, the 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 those
who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of
responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry
the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the
investigation of the enforced disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance of the Writ of Amparo is justified by our
primary goal of addressing the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty and security are
restored.
We highlight this nature of a Writ of Amparo case at the outset to stress that the unique situations that call for the issuance
of the writ, as well as the considerations and measures necessary to address these situations, may not at all be the same as
the standard measures and procedures in ordinary court actions and proceedings. In this sense, the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo4 (Amparo Rule) issued by this Court is unique. The Amparo Rule should be read, too, as a work in progress, as
its directions and finer points remain to evolve through time and jurisprudence and through the substantive laws that
Congress may promulgate.
THE FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS
The background facts, based on the petition and the records of the case, are summarized below.
The established facts show that Tagitis, a consultant for the World Bank and the Senior Honorary Counselor for the
Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, was last seen in Jolo, Sulu. Together with Arsimin Kunnong
(Kunnong), an IDB scholar, Tagitis arrived in Jolo by boat in the early morning of October 31, 2007 from a seminar in
Zamboanga City. They immediately checked-in at ASY Pension House. Tagitis asked Kunnong to buy him a boat ticket
for his return trip the following day to Zamboanga. When Kunnong returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer
around.5 The receptionist related that Tagitis went out to buy food at around 12:30 in the afternoon and even left his room
key with the desk.6 Kunnong looked for Tagitis and even sent a text message to the latters Manila-based secretary who
did not know of Tagitis whereabouts and activities either; she advised Kunnong to simply wait.7
On November 4, 2007, Kunnong and Muhammad Abdulnazeir N. Matli, a UP professor of Muslim studies and Tagitis
fellow student counselor at the IDB, reported Tagitis disappearance to the Jolo Police Station. 8 On November 7, 2007,
Kunnong executed a sworn affidavit attesting to what he knew of the circumstances surrounding Tagitis disappearance.9
More than a month later (on December 28, 2007), the respondent filed a Petition for the Writ of Amparo (petition) with
the CA through her Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Felipe P. Arcilla.10 The petition was directed against Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano,
Commanding General, Philippine Army; Gen. Avelino I. Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo
M. Doromal, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG); Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina, Chief, Police
Anti-Crime and Emergency Response; Gen. Joel Goltiao, Regional Director, ARMM-PNP; and Gen. Ruben Rafael,
Chief, Anti-Terror Task Force Comet [collectively referred to as petitioners]. After reciting Tagitis personal
circumstances and the facts outlined above, the petition went on to state:
xxxx
7. Soon after the student left the room, Engr. Tagitis went out of the pension house to take his early lunch but while out on
the street, a couple of burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives, forcibly took him and boarded the latter on
a motor vehicle then sped away without the knowledge of his student, Arsimin Kunnong;

8. As instructed, in the late afternoon of the same day, Kunnong returned to the pension house, and was surprised to find
out that subject Engr. Tagitis cannot [sic] be contacted by phone and was not also around and his room was closed and
locked;
9. Kunnong requested for the key from the desk of the pension house who [sic] assisted him to open the room of Engr.
Tagitis, where they discovered that the personal belongings of Engr. Tagitis, including cell phones, documents and other
personal belongings were all intact inside the room;
10. When Kunnong could not locate Engr. Tagitis, the former sought the help of another IDB scholar and reported the
matter to the local police agency;
11. Arsimin Kunnong including his friends and companions in Jolo, exerted efforts in trying to locate the whereabouts of
Engr. Tagitis and when he reported the matter to the police authorities in Jolo, he was immediately given a ready answer
that Engr. Tagitis could have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group and other groups known to be fighting against the
government;
12. Being scared with [sic] these suggestions and insinuations of the police officers, Kunnong reported the matter to the
[respondent, wife of Engr. Tagitis] by phone and other responsible officers and coordinators of the IDB Scholarship
Programme in the Philippines, who alerted the office of the Governor of ARMM who was then preparing to attend the
OIC meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;
13. [Respondent], on the other hand, approached some of her co-employees with the Land Bank in Digos branch, Digos
City, Davao del Sur who likewise sought help from some of their friends in the military who could help them find/locate
the whereabouts of her husband;
14. All of these efforts of the [respondent] did not produce any positive results except the information from persons in the
military who do not want to be identified that Engr. Tagitis is in the hands of the uniformed men;
15. According to reliable information received by the [respondent], subject Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police
intelligence operatives, specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an earnest
attempt of the police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist groups;
xxxx
17. [Respondent] filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station in the ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo, as suggested by
her friends, seeking their help to find her husband, but [respondents] request and pleadings failed to produce any positive
results;
18. Instead of helping the [respondent], she [sic] was told of an intriguing tale by the police that her husband, subject of
the petition, was not missing but was with another woman having good time somewhere, which is a clear indication of the
[petitioners] refusal to help and provide police assistance in locating her missing husband;
19. The continued failure and refusal of the [petitioners] to release and/or turn-over subject Engr. Tagitis to his family or
even to provide truthful information to [the respondent] of the subjects whereabouts, and/or allow [the respondent] to
visit her husband Engr. Morced Tagitis, caused so much sleepless nights and serious anxieties;
20. Lately, [the respondent] was again advised by one of the [petitioners] to go to the ARMM Police Headquarters again
in Cotobato City and also to the different Police Headquarters including [those] in Davao City, in Zamboanga City, in
Jolo, and in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and all these places have been visited by the [respondent] in search for her
husband, which entailed expenses for her trips to these places thereby resorting her to borrowings and beggings [sic] for
financial help from friends and relatives only to try complying [sic] to the different suggestions of these police officers,
despite of which, her efforts produced no positive results up to the present time;

21. In fact at times, some police officers, who [sympathized with] the sufferings undergone by the [respondent], informed
her that they are not the proper persons that she should approach, but assured her not to worry because her husband is [sic]
in good hands;
22. The unexplained uncooperative behavior of the [petitioners] to the [respondents] request for help and failure and
refusal of the [petitioners] to extend the needed help, support and assistance in locating the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis
who had been declared missing since October 30, 2007 which is almost two (2) months now, clearly indicates that the
[petitioners] are actually in physical possession and custody of [respondents] husband, Engr. Tagitis;
xxxx
25. [The respondent] has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies but to no avail, and under the circumstances,
[the respondent] has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of subject Engr. Morced
Tagitis from the illegal clutches of the [petitioners], their intelligence operatives and the like which are in total violation of
the subjects human and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT OF AMPARO. [Emphasis supplied]
On the same day the petition was filed, the CA immediately issued the Writ of Amparo, set the case for hearing on
January 7, 2008, and directed the petitioners to file their verified return within seventy-two (72) hours from service of the
writ.11
In their verified Return filed during the hearing of January 27, 2008, the petitioners denied any involvement in or
knowledge of Tagitis alleged abduction. They argued that the allegations of the petition were incomplete and did not
constitute a cause of action against them; were baseless, or at best speculative; and were merely based on hearsay
evidence. 12
The affidavit of PNP Chief Gen. Avelino I. Razon, attached to the Return, stated that: he did not have any personal
knowledge of, or any participation in, the alleged disappearance; that he had been designated by President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo as the head of a special body called TASK FORCE USIG, to address concerns about extralegal killings
and enforced disappearances; the Task Force, inter alia, coordinated with the investigators and local police, held case
conferences, rendered legal advice in connection to these cases; and gave the following summary:13
xxxx
4.
a) On November 5, 2007, the Regional Director, Police Regional Office ARMM submitted a report on the alleged
disappearance of one Engr. Morced Tagitis. According to the said report, the victim checked-in at ASY Pension
House on October 30, 2007 at about 6:00 in the morning and then roamed around Jolo, Sulu with an unidentified
companion. It was only after a few days when the said victim did not return that the matter was reported to Jolo
MPS. Afterwards, elements of Sulu PPO conducted a thorough investigation to trace and locate the whereabouts
of the said missing person, but to no avail. The said PPO is still conducting investigation that will lead to the
immediate findings of the whereabouts of the person.
b) Likewise, the Regional Chief, 9RCIDU submitted a Progress Report to the Director, CIDG. The said report
stated among others that: subject person attended an Education Development Seminar set on October 28, 2007
conducted at Ateneo de Zamboanga, Zamboanga City together with a Prof. Matli. On October 30, 2007, at around
5:00 oclock in the morning, Engr. Tagitis reportedly arrived at Jolo Sulu wharf aboard M/V Bounty Cruise, he
was then billeted at ASY Pension House. At about 6:15 oclock in the morning of the same date, he instructed his
student to purchase a fast craft ticket bound for Zamboanga City and will depart from Jolo, Sulu on October 31,
2007. That on or about 10:00 oclock in the morning, Engr. Tagitis left the premises of ASY Pension House as
stated by the cashier of the said pension house. Later in the afternoon, the student instructed to purchase the ticket
arrived at the pension house and waited for Engr. Tagitis, but the latter did not return. On its part, the elements of
9RCIDU is now conducting a continuous case build up and information gathering to locate the whereabouts of
Engr. Tagitis.

c) That the Director, CIDG directed the conduct of the search in all divisions of the CIDG to find Engr. Tagitis
who was allegedly abducted or illegally detained by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence Operatives since October 30,
2007, but after diligent and thorough search, records show that no such person is being detained in CIDG or any
of its department or divisions.
5. On this particular case, the Philippine National Police exhausted all possible efforts, steps and actions available under
the circumstances and continuously search and investigate [sic] the instant case. This immense mandate, however,
necessitates the indispensable role of the citizenry, as the PNP cannot stand alone without the cooperation of the victims
and witnesses to identify the perpetrators to bring them before the bar of justice and secure their conviction in court.
The petitioner PNP-CIDG Chief, Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, submitted as well his affidavit, also attached to the Return of
the Writ, attesting that upon receipt of the Writ of Amparo, he caused the following:14
xxxx
That immediately upon receipt on December 29, 2007 of the Resolution of the Honorable Special Fourth Division of the
Court of Appeals, I immediately directed the Investigation Division of this Group [CIDG] to conduct urgent investigation
on the alleged enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced Tagitis.
That based on record, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis attended an Education Development Seminar on October 28, 2007 at
Ateneo de Zamboanga at Zamboanga City together with Prof. Abdulnasser Matli. On October 30, 2007, at around six
oclock in the morning he arrived at Jolo, Sulu. He was assisted by his student identified as Arsimin Kunnong of the
Islamic Development Bank who was also one of the participants of the said seminar. He checked in at ASY pension house
located [sic] Kakuyagan, Patikul, Sulu on October 30, 2007 with [sic] unidentified companion. At around six oclock in
the morning of even date, Engr. Tagitis instructed his student to purchase a fast craft ticket for Zamboanga City. In the
afternoon of the same date, Kunnong arrived at the pension house carrying the ticket he purchased for Engr. Tagitis, but
the latter was nowhere to be found anymore. Kunnong immediately informed Prof. Abdulnasser Matli who reported the
incident to the police. The CIDG is not involved in the disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis to make out a case of an
enforced disappearance which presupposes a direct or indirect involvement of the government.
That herein [petitioner] searched all divisions and departments for a person named Engr. Morced N. Tagitis, who was
allegedly abducted or illegally detained by covert CIDG-PNP Intelligence Operatives since October 30, 2007 and after a
diligent and thorough research records show that no such person is being detained in CIDG or any of its department or
divisions.
That nevertheless, in order to determine the circumstances surrounding Engr. Morced Tagitis [sic] alleged enforced
disappearance, the undersigned had undertaken immediate investigation and will pursue investigations up to its full
completion in order to aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible therefore.
Likewise attached to the Return of the Writ was PNP-PACER15 Chief PS Supt. Leonardo A. Espinas affidavit which
alleged that:16
xxxx
That, I and our men and women in PACER vehemently deny any participation in the alleged abduction or illegally [sic]
detention of ENGR. MORCED N. TAGITS on October 30, 2007. As a matter of fact, nowhere in the writ was mentioned
that the alleged abduction was perpetrated by elements of PACER nor was there any indication that the alleged abduction
or illegal detention of ENGR. TAGITIS was undertaken jointly by our men and by the alleged covert CIDG-PNP
intelligence operatives alleged to have abducted or illegally detained ENGR. TAGITIS.
That I was shocked when I learned that I was implicated in the alleged disappearance of ENGR. MORCED in my capacity
as the chief PACER [sic] considering that our office, the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER), a special
task force created for the purpose of neutralizing or eradicating kidnap-for-ransom groups which until now continue to be
one of the menace of our society is a respondent in kidnapping or illegal detention case. Simply put, our task is to go after
kidnappers and charge them in court and to abduct or illegally detain or kidnap anyone is anathema to our mission.

That right after I learned of the receipt of the WRIT OF AMPARO, I directed the Chief of PACER Mindanao Oriental
(PACER-MOR) to conduct pro-active measures to investigate, locate/search the subject, identify and apprehend the
persons responsible, to recover and preserve evidence related to the disappearance of ENGR. MORCED TAGITIS, which
may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible, to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them
concerning the disappearance and to determine the cause, manner, location and time of disappearance as well as any
pattern or practice that may have brought about the disappearance.
That I further directed the chief of PACER-MOR, Police Superintendent JOSE ARNALDO BRIONES JR., to submit a
written report regarding the disappearance of ENGR. MORCED.
That in compliance with my directive, the chief of PACER-MOR sent through fax his written report.
That the investigation and measures being undertaken to locate/search the subject in coordination with Police Regional
Office, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (PRO-ARMM) and Jolo Police Provincial Office (PPO) and other AFP
and PNP units/agencies in the area are ongoing with the instruction not to leave any stone unturned so to speak in the
investigation until the perpetrators in the instant case are brought to the bar of justice.
That I have exercised EXTRAORDINARY DILIGENCE in dealing with the WRIT OF AMPARO just issued.
Finally, the PNP PRO ARMM Regional Director PC Supt. Joel R. Goltiao (Gen. Goltiao), also submitted his affidavit
detailing the actions that he had taken upon receipt of the report on Tagitis disappearance, viz:17
xxxx
3) For the record:
1. I am the Regional Director of Police Regional Office ARMM now and during the time of the incident;
xxxx
4. It is my duty to look into and take appropriate measures on any cases of reported enforced disappearances and when
they are being alluded to my office;
5. On November 5, 2007, the Provincial Director of Sulu Police Provincial Office reported to me through Radio Message
Cite No. SPNP3-1105-07-2007 that on November 4, 2007 at around 3:30 p.m., a certain Abdulnasser Matli, an employee
of Islamic Development Bank, appeared before the Office of the Chief of Police, Jolo Police Station, and reported the
disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis, scholarship coordinator of Islamic Development Bank, Manila;
6. There was no report that Engr. Tagibis was last seen in the company of or taken by any member of the Philippine
National Police but rather he just disappeared from ASY Pension House situated at Kakuyagan Village, Village, Patikul,
Sulu, on October 30, 2007, without any trace of forcible abduction or arrest;
7. The last known instance of communication with him was when Arsimin Kunnong, a student scholar, was requested by
him to purchase a vessel ticket at the Office of Weezam Express, however, when the student returned back to ASY
Pension House, he no longer found Engr. Tagitis there and when he immediately inquired at the information counter
regarding his whereabouts [sic], the person in charge in the counter informed him that Engr. Tagitis had left the premises
on October 30, 2007 around 1 oclock p.m. and never returned back to his room;
8. Immediately after learning the incident, I called and directed the Provincial Director of Sulu Police Provincial Office
and other units through phone call and text messages to conduct investigation [sic] to determine the whereabouts of the
aggrieved party and the person or persons responsible for the threat, act or omission, to recover and preserve evidence
related to the disappearance of Engr. Tagitis, to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning his
disappearance, to determine the cause and manner of his disappearance, to identify and apprehend the person or persons
involved in the disappearance so that they shall be brought before a competent court;

9. Thereafter, through my Chief of the Regional Investigation and Detection Management Division, I have caused the
following directives:
a) Radio Message Cite No. RIDMD-1122-07-358 dated November 22, 2007 directing PD Sulu PPO to conduct
joint investigation with CIDG and CIDU ARMM on the matter;
b) Radio Message Cite No. RIDMD-1128-07-361 dated November 28, 2007 directing PD Sulu PPO to expedite
compliance to my previous directive;
c) Memorandum dated December 14, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu PPO reiterating our series of directives for
investigation and directing him to undertake exhaustive coordination efforts with the owner of ASY Pension
House and student scholars of IDB in order to secure corroborative statements regarding the disappearance and
whereabouts of said personality;
d) Memorandum dated December 24, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu PPO directing him to maximize efforts to
establish clues on the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis by seeking the cooperation of Prof. Abdulnasser Matli and
Arsimin Kunnong and/or whenever necessary, for them to voluntarily submit for polygraph examination with the
NBI so as to expunge all clouds of doubt that they may somehow have knowledge or idea to his disappearance;
e) Memorandum dated December 27, 2007 addressed to the Regional Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detection
Group, Police Regional Office 9, Zamboanga City, requesting assistance to investigate the cause and unknown
disappearance of Engr. Tagitis considering that it is within their area of operational jurisdiction;
f) Memorandum from Chief, Intelligence Division, PRO ARMM dated December 30, 2007 addressed to PD Sulu
PPO requiring them to submit complete investigation report regarding the case of Engr. Tagitis;
10. In compliance to our directives, PD Sulu PPO has exerted his [sic] efforts to conduct investigation [sic] on the matter
to determine the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis and the circumstances related to his disappearance and submitted the
following:
a) Progress Report dated November 6, 2007 through Radio Message Cite No. SPNP3-1106-10-2007;
b) Radio Message Cite No. SPIDMS-1205-47-07 informing this office that they are still monitoring the
whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis;
c) Investigation Report dated December 31, 2007 from the Chief of Police, Jolo Police Station, Sulu PPO;
11. This incident was properly reported to the PNP Higher Headquarters as shown in the following:
a) Memorandum dated November 6, 2007 addressed to the Chief, PNP informing him of the facts of the
disappearance and the action being taken by our office;
b) Memorandum dated November 6, 2007 addressed to the Director, Directorate for Investigation and Detection
Management, NHQ PNP;
c) Memorandum dated December 30, 2007 addressed to the Director, DIDM;
4) In spite of our exhaustive efforts, the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis cannot be determined but our office is continuously
intensifying the conduct of information gathering, monitoring and coordination for the immediate solution of the case.
Since the disappearance of Tagistis was practically admitted and taking note of favorable actions so far taken on the
disappearance, the CA directed Gen. Goltiao as the officer in command of the area of disappearance to form TASK
FORCE TAGITIS.18
Task Force Tagitis

On January 11, 2008, Gen. Goltiao designated PS Supt. Ahiron Ajirim (PS Supt. Ajirim) to head TASK FORCE
TAGITIS.19 The CA subsequently set three hearings to monitor whether TASK FORCE TAGITIS was exerting
"extraordinary efforts" in handling the disappearance of Tagitis.20 As planned, (1) the first hearing would be to mobilize
the CIDG, Zamboanga City; (2) the second hearing would be to mobilize intelligence with Abu Sayyaf and ARMM; and
(3) the third hearing would be to mobilize the Chief of Police of Jolo, Sulu and the Chief of Police of Zamboanga City and
other police operatives.21
In the hearing on January 17, 2008, TASK FORCE TAGITIS submitted to the CA an intelligence report from PSL Usman
S. Pingay, the Chief of Police of the Jolo Police Station, stating a possible motive for Tagitis disappearance.22 The
intelligence report was apparently based on the sworn affidavit dated January 4, 2008 of Muhammad Abdulnazeir N.
Matli (Prof. Matli), Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines and an Honorary Student Counselor
of the IDB Scholarship Program in the Philippines, who told the Provincial Governor of Sulu that: 23
[Based] on reliable information from the Office of Muslim Affairs in Manila, Tagitis has reportedly taken and carried
away more or less Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000.00) deposited and entrusted to his [personal] bank accounts by
the Central Office of IDB, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which [was] intended for the IDB Scholarship Fund.
In the same hearing, PS Supt. Ajirim testified that since the CIDG was alleged to be responsible, he personally went to the
CIDG office in Zamboanga City to conduct an ocular inspection/investigation, particularly of their detention cells.24 PS
Supt. Ajirim stated that the CIDG, while helping TASK FORCE TAGITIS investigate the disappearance of Tagitis,
persistently denied any knowledge or complicity in any abduction.25 He further testified that prior to the hearing, he had
already mobilized and given specific instructions to their supporting units to perform their respective tasks; that they even
talked to, but failed to get any lead from the respondent in Jolo.26 In his submitted investigation report dated January 16,
2008, PS Supt. Ajirim concluded:27
9. Gleaned from the undersigned inspection and observation at the Headquarters 9 RCIDU and the documents at hand, it
is my own initial conclusion that the 9RCIDU and other PNP units in the area had no participation neither [sic] something
to do with [sic] mysterious disappearance of Engr. Morced Tagitis last October 30, 2007. Since doubt has been raised
regarding the emolument on the Islamic Development Bank Scholar program of IDB that was reportedly deposited in the
personal account of Engr. Tagitis by the IDB central office in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Secondly, it could might
[sic] be done by resentment or sour grape among students who are applying for the scholar [sic] and were denied which
was allegedly conducted/screened by the subject being the coordinator of said program.
20. It is also premature to conclude but it does or it may and [sic] presumed that the motive behind the disappearance of
the subject might be due to the funds he maliciously spent for his personal interest and wanted to elude responsibilities
from the institution where he belong as well as to the Islamic student scholars should the statement of Prof. Matli be true
or there might be a professional jealousy among them.
xxxx
It is recommended that the Writ of Amparo filed against the respondents be dropped and dismissed considering on [sic]
the police and military actions in the area particularly the CIDG are exerting their efforts and religiously doing their
tasked [sic] in the conduct of its intelligence monitoring and investigation for the early resolution of this instant case. But
rest assured, our office, in coordination with other law-enforcement agencies in the area, are continuously and religiously
conducting our investigation for the resolution of this case.
On February 4, 2008, the CA issued an ALARM WARNING that Task Force Tagitis did not appear to be exerting
extraordinary efforts in resolving Tagitis disappearance on the following grounds:28
(1) This Court FOUND that it was only as late as January 28, 2008, after the hearing, that GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO
and COL. AHIRON AJIRIM had requested for clear photographs when it should have been standard operating
procedure in kidnappings or disappearances that the first agenda was for the police to secure clear pictures of the
missing person, Engr. Morced Tagitis, for dissemination to all parts of the country and to neighboring countries. It
had been three (3) months since GEN. JOEL GOLTIAO admitted having been informed on November 5, 2007 of
the alleged abduction of Engr. Morced Tagitis by alleged bad elements of the CIDG. It had been more than one

(1) month since the Writ of Amparo had been issued on December 28, 2007. It had been three (3) weeks when
battle formation was ordered through Task Force Tagitis, on January 17, 2008. It was only on January 28, 2008
when the Task Force Tagitis requested for clear and recent photographs of the missing person, Engr. Morced
Tagitis, despite the Task Force Tagitis claim that they already had an "all points bulletin", since November 5,
2007, on the missing person, Engr. Morced Tagitis. How could the police look for someone who disappeared if no
clear photograph had been disseminated?
(2) Furthermore, Task Force Tagitis COL. AHIROM AJIRIM informed this Court that P/Supt KASIM was
designated as Col. Ahirom Ajirims replacement in the latters official designated post. Yet, P/Supt KASIMs
subpoena was returned to this Court unserved. Since this Court was made to understand that it was P/Supt
KASIM who was the petitioners unofficial source of the military intelligence information that Engr. Morced
Tagitis was abducted by bad elements of the CIDG (par. 15 of the Petition), the close contact between P/Supt
KASIM and Col. Ahirom Ajirim of TASK FORCE TAGITIS should have ensured the appearance of Col.
KASIM in response to this courts subpoena and COL. KASIM could have confirmed the military intelligence
information that bad elements of the CIDG had abducted Engr. Morced Tagitis.
Testimonies for the Respondent
On January 7, 2008, the respondent, Mary Jean B. Tagitis, testified on direct examination that she went to Jolo and
Zamboanga in her efforts to locate her husband. She said that a friend from Zamboanga holding a high position in the
military (whom she did not then identify) gave her information that allowed her to "specify" her allegations, "particularly
paragraph 15 of the petition."29 This friend also told her that her husband "[was] in good hands."30 The respondent also
testified that she sought the assistance of her former boss in Davao City, Land Bank Bajada Branch Manager Rudy
Salvador, who told her that "PNP CIDG is holding [her husband], Engineer Morced Tagitis." 31 The respondent recounted
that she went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City where she met Col. Julasirim Ahadin Kasim (Col. Kasim/Sr. Supt Kasim)
who read to her and her friends (who were then with her) a "highly confidential report" that contained the "alleged
activities of Engineer Tagitis" and informed her that her husband was abducted because "he is under custodial
investigation" for being a liaison for "J.I. or Jemaah Islamiah."32
On January 17, 2008, the respondent on cross-examination testified that she is Tagitis second wife, and they have been
married for thirteen years; Tagitis was divorced from his first wife.33 She last communicated with her husband on October
29, 2007 at around 7:31 p.m. through text messaging; Tagitis was then on his way to Jolo, Sulu, from Zamboanga City.34
The respondent narrated that she learned of her husbands disappearance on October 30, 2007 when her stepdaughter,
Zaynah Tagitis (Zaynah), informed her that she had not heard from her father since the time they arranged to meet in
Manila on October 31, 2007.35 The respondent explained that it took her a few days (or on November 5, 2007) to
personally ask Kunnong to report her husbands disappearance to the Jolo Police Station, since she had the impression that
her husband could not communicate with her because his cellular phones battery did not have enough power, and that he
would call her when he had fully-charged his cellular phones battery.36
The respondent also identified the high-ranking military friend, who gave her the information found in paragraph 15 of
her petition, as Lt. Col. Pedro L. Ancanan, Jr (Col. Ancanan). She met him in Camp Karingal, Zamboanga through her
boss.37 She also testified that she was with three other people, namely, Mrs. Marydel Martin Talbin and her two friends
from Mati City, Davao Oriental, when Col. Kasim read to them the contents of the "highly confidential report" at Camp
Katitipan, Davao City. The respondent further narrated that the report indicated that her husband met with people
belonging to a terrorist group and that he was under custodial investigation. She then told Col. Kasim that her husband
was a diabetic taking maintenance medication, and asked that the Colonel relay to the persons holding him the need to
give him his medication.38
On February 11, 2008, TASK FORCE TAGITIS submitted two narrative reports,39 signed by the respondent, detailing her
efforts to locate her husband which led to her meetings with Col. Ancanan of the Philippine Army and Col. Kasim of the
PNP. In her narrative report concerning her meeting with Col. Ancanan, the respondent recounted, viz:40
On November 11, 2007, we went to Zamboanga City with my friend Mrs. Marydel Talbin. Our flight from Davao City is
9:00 oclock in the morning; we arrived at Zamboanga Airport at around 10:00 oclock. We [were] fetched by the two
staffs of Col. Ancanan. We immediately proceed [sic] to West Mindanao Command (WESTMINCOM).

On that same day, we had private conversation with Col. Ancanan. He interviewed me and got information about the
personal background of Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. After he gathered all information, he revealed to us the contents of text
messages they got from the cellular phone of the subject Engr. Tagitis. One of the very important text messages of Engr.
Tagitis sent to his daughter Zaynah Tagitis was that she was not allowed to answer any telephone calls in his
condominium unit.
While we were there he did not tell us any information of the whereabouts of Engr. Tagitis. After the said meeting with
Col. Ancanan, he treated us as guests to the city. His two staffs accompanied us to the mall to purchase our plane ticket
going back to Davao City on November 12, 2007.
When we arrived in Davao City on November 12, 2007 at 9:00 in the morning, Col. Ancanan and I were discussing some
points through phone calls. He assured me that my husband is alive and hes last looked [sic] in Talipapao, Jolo, Sulu. Yet
I did not believe his given statements of the whereabouts of my husband, because I contacted some of my friends who
have access to the groups of MILF, MNLF and ASG. I called up Col. Ancanan several times begging to tell me the exact
location of my husband and who held him but he refused.
While I was in Jolo, Sulu on November 30, 2007, I called him up again because the PNP, Jolo did not give me any
information of the whereabouts of my husband. Col. Ancanan told me that "Sana ngayon alam mo na kung saan ang
kinalalagyan ng asawa mo." When I was in Zamboanga, I was thinking of dropping by the office of Col. Ancanan, but I
was hesitant to pay him a visit for the reason that the Chief of Police of Jolo told me not to contact any AFP officials and
he promised me that he can solve the case of my husband (Engr. Tagitis) within nine days.
I appreciate the effort of Col. Ancanan on trying to solve the case of my husband Engr. Morced Tagitis, yet failed to do
so.
The respondent also narrated her encounter with Col. Kasim, as follows:41
On November 7, 2007, I went to Land Bank of the Philippines, Bajada Branch, Davao City to meet Mr. Rudy Salvador. I
told him that my husband, Engineer Morced Tagitis was presumed to be abducted in Jolo, Sulu on October 30, 2007. I
asked him a favor to contact his connections in the military in Jolo, Sulu where the abduction of Engr. Tagitis took place.
Mr. Salvador immediately called up Camp Katitipan located in Davao City looking for high-ranking official who can help
me gather reliable information behind the abduction of subject Engineer Tagitis.
On that same day, Mr. Salvador and my friend, Anna Mendoza, Executive Secretary, accompanied me to Camp Katitipan
to meet Col. Kasim. Mr. Salvador introduced me to Col. Kasim and we had a short conversation. And he assured me that
hell do the best he can to help me find my husband.
After a few weeks, Mr. Salvador called me up informing me up informing me that I am to go to Camp Katitipan to meet
Col. Kasim for he has an urgent, confidential information to reveal.
On November 24, 2007, we went back to Camp Katitipan with my three friends. That was the time that Col. Kasim read
to us the confidential report that Engr. Tagitis was allegedly connected [with] different terrorist [groups], one of which he
mentioned in the report was OMAR PATIK and a certain SANTOS - a Balik Islam.
It is also said that Engr. Tagitis is carrying boxes of medicines for the injured terrorists as a supplier. These are the two
information that I can still remember. It was written in a long bond paper with PNP Letterhead. It was not shown to us, yet
Col. Kasim was the one who read it for us.
He asked a favor to me that "Please dont quote my Name! Because this is a raw report." He assured me that my husband
is alive and he is in the custody of the military for custodial investigation. I told him to please take care of my husband
because he has aliments and he recently took insulin for he is a diabetic patient.
In my petition for writ of amparo, I emphasized the information that I got from Kasim.

On February 11, 2008, the respondent presented Mrs. Marydel Martin Talbin (Mrs. Talbin) to corroborate her testimony
regarding her efforts to locate her husband, in relation particularly with the information she received from Col. Kasim.
Mrs. Talbin testified that she was with the respondent when she went to Zamboanga to see Col. Ancanan, and to Davao
City at Camp Katitipan to meet Col. Kasim.42
In Zamboanga, Mrs. Talbin recounted that they met with Col. Ancanan, who told them that there was a report and that he
showed them a series of text messages from Tagitis cellular phone, which showed that Tagitis and his daughter would
meet in Manila on October 30, 2007.43
She further narrated that sometime on November 24, 2007, she went with the respondent together with two other
companions, namely, Salvacion Serrano and Mini Leong, to Camp Katitipan to talk to Col. Kasim.44 The respondent
asked Col. Kasim if he knew the exact location of Engr. Tagitis. Col. Kasim told them that Tagitis was in good hands,
although he was not certain whether he was with the PNP or with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). She further
recounted that based on the report Col. Kasim read in their presence, Tagitis was under custodial investigation because he
was being charged with terrorism; Tagitis in fact had been under surveillance since January 2007 up to the time he was
abducted when he was seen talking to Omar Patik and a certain Santos of Bulacan, a "Balik Islam" charged with terrorism.
Col. Kasim also told them that he could not give a copy of the report because it was a "raw report." 45 She also related that
the Col. Kasim did not tell them exactly where Tagitis was being kept, although he mentioned Talipapao, Sulu.Prof.,
lalabas din yan."50 Prof. Matli also emphasized that despite what his January 4, 2008 affidavit indicated,51 he never told PS
Supt. Pingay, or made any accusation, that Tagitis took away money entrusted to him.52 Prof. Matli confirmed, however,
that that he had received an e-mail report53 from Nuraya Lackian of the Office of Muslim Affairs in Manila that the IDB
was seeking assistance of the office in locating the funds of IDB scholars deposited in Tagitis personal account.54
On cross-examination by the respondents counsel, Prof. Matli testified that his January 4, 2008 affidavit was already
prepared when PS Supt. Pingay asked him to sign it.55 Prof Matli clarified that although he read the affidavit before
signing it, he "was not so much aware of [its] contents."56
On February 11, 2008, the petitioners presented Col. Kasim to rebut material portions of the respondents testimony,
particularly the allegation that he had stated that Tagitis was in the custody of either the military or the PNP. 57 Col. Kasim
categorically denied the statements made by the respondent in her narrative report, specifically: (1) that Tagitis was seen
carrying boxes of medicines as supplier for the injured terrorists; (2) that Tagitis was under the custody of the military,
since he merely said to the respondent that "your husband is in good hands" and is "probably taken cared of by his armed
abductors;" and (3) that Tagitis was under custodial investigation by the military, the PNP or the CIDG Zamboanga
City.58 Col. Kasim emphasized that the "informal letter" he received from his informant in Sulu did not indicate that
Tagitis was in the custody of the CIDG.59 He also stressed that the information he provided to the respondent was merely
a "raw report" sourced from "barangay intelligence" that still needed confirmation and "follow-up" as to its veracity.60
On cross-examination, Col. Kasim testified that the information he gave the respondent was given to him by his
informant, who was a "civilian asset," through a letter which he considered as "unofficial."61 Col. Kasim stressed that the
letter was only meant for his "consumption" and not for reading by others.62 He testified further that he destroyed the letter
right after he read it to the respondent and her companions because "it was not important to him" and also because the
information it contained had no importance in relation with the abduction of Tagitis.63He explained that he did not keep
the letter because it did not contain any information regarding the whereabouts of Tagitis and the person(s) responsible for
his abduction.64
In the same hearing on February 11, 2008, the petitioners also presented Police Senior Superintendent Jose Volpane Pante
(Col. Pante), Chief of the CIDG-9, to disprove the respondents allegation that Tagitis was in the custody of CIDGZamboanga City.65 Col. Pante clarified that the CIDG was the "investigative arm" of the PNP, and that the CIDG
"investigates and prosecutes all cases involving violations in the Revised Penal Code particularly those considered as
heinous crimes."66 Col. Pante further testified that the allegation that 9 RCIDU personnel were involved in the
disappearance of Tagitis was baseless, since they did not conduct any operation in Jolo, Sulu before or after Tagitis
reported disappearance.67 Col. Pante added that the four (4) personnel assigned to the Sulu CIDT had no capability to
conduct any "operation," since they were only assigned to investigate matters and to monitor the terrorism situation. 68 He
denied that his office conducted any surveillance on Tagitis prior to the latters disappearance. 69 Col. Pante further
testified that his investigation of Tagitis disappearance was unsuccessful; the investigation was "still facing a blank wall"
on the whereabouts of Tagitis.70

THE CA RULING
On March 7, 2008, the CA issued its decision71 confirming that the disappearance of Tagitis was an "enforced
disappearance" under the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Disappearances.72 The CA ruled that when military intelligence pinpointed the investigative arm of the PNP (CIDG) to be
involved in the abduction, the missing-person case qualified as an enforced disappearance. The conclusion that the CIDG
was involved was based on the respondents testimony, corroborated by her companion, Mrs. Talbin. The CA noted that
the information that the CIDG, as the police intelligence arm, was involved in Tagitis abduction came from no less than
the military an independent agency of government. The CA thus greatly relied on the "raw report" from Col. Kasims
asset, pointing to the CIDGs involvement in Tagitis abduction. The CA held that "raw reports" from an "asset" carried
"great weight" in the intelligence world. It also labeled as "suspect" Col. Kasims subsequent and belated retraction of his
statement that the military, the police, or the CIDG was involved in the abduction of Tagitis.
The CA characterized as "too farfetched and unbelievable" and "a bedlam of speculation" police theories painting the
disappearance as "intentional" on the part of Tagitis. He had no previous brushes with the law or any record of
overstepping the bounds of any trust regarding money entrusted to him; no student of the IDB scholarship program ever
came forward to complain that he or she did not get his or her stipend. The CA also found no basis for the police theory
that Tagitis was "trying to escape from the clutches of his second wife," on the basis of the respondents testimony that
Tagitis was a Muslim who could have many wives under the Muslim faith, and that there was "no issue" at all when the
latter divorced his first wife in order to marry the second. Finally, the CA also ruled out kidnapping for ransom by the
Abu Sayyaf or by the ARMM paramilitary as the cause for Tagitis disappearance, since the respondent, the police and the
military noted that there was no acknowledgement of Tagitis abduction or demand for payment of ransom the usual
modus operandi of these terrorist groups.
Based on these considerations, the CA thus extended the privilege of the writ to Tagitis and his family, and directed the
CIDG Chief, Col. Jose Volpane Pante, PNP Chief Avelino I. Razon, Task Force Tagitis heads Gen. Joel Goltiao and Col.
Ahiron Ajirim, and PACER Chief Sr. Supt. Leonardo A. Espina to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts to protect the
life, liberty and security of Tagitis, with the obligation to provide monthly reports of their actions to the CA. At the same
time, the CA dismissed the petition against the then respondents from the military, Lt. Gen Alexander Yano and Gen.
Ruben Rafael, based on the finding that it was PNP-CIDG, not the military, that was involved.
On March 31, 2008, the petitioners moved to reconsider the CA decision, but the CA denied the motion in its Resolution
of April 9, 2008.73
THE PETITION
In this Rule 45 appeal questioning the CAs March 7, 2008 decision, the petitioners mainly dispute the sufficiency in form
and substance of the Amparo petition filed before the CA; the sufficiency of the legal remedies the respondent took before
petitioning for the writ; the finding that the rights to life, liberty and security of Tagitis had been violated; the sufficiency
of evidence supporting the conclusion that Tagitis was abducted; the conclusion that the CIDG Zamboanga was
responsible for the abduction; and, generally, the ruling that the respondent discharged the burden of proving the
allegations of the petition by substantial evidence.74
THE COURTS RULING
We do not find the petition meritorious.
Sufficiency in Form and Substance
In questioning the sufficiency in form and substance of the respondents Amparo petition, the petitioners contend that the
petition violated Section 5(c), (d), and (e) of the Amparo Rule. Specifically, the petitioners allege that the respondent
failed to:
1) allege any act or omission the petitioners committed in violation of Tagitis rights to life, liberty and security;

2) allege in a complete manner how Tagitis was abducted, the persons responsible for his disappearance, and the
respondents source of information;
3) allege that the abduction was committed at the petitioners instructions or with their consent;
4) implead the members of CIDG regional office in Zamboanga alleged to have custody over her husband;
5) attach the affidavits of witnesses to support her accusations;
6) allege any action or inaction attributable to the petitioners in the performance of their duties in the investigation
of Tagitis disappearance; and
7) specify what legally available efforts she took to determine the fate or whereabouts of her husband.
A petition for the Writ of Amparo shall be signed and verified and shall allege, among others (in terms of the portions the
petitioners cite):75
(c) The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful
act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed with the attendant circumstances
detailed in supporting affidavits;
(d) The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal circumstances, and addresses of the
investigating authority or individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the investigation, together with any
report;
(e) The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the
identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or omission; and
The framers of the Amparo Rule never intended Section 5(c) to be complete in every detail in stating the threatened or
actual violation of a victims rights. As in any other initiatory pleading, the pleader must of course state the ultimate facts
constituting the cause of action, omitting the evidentiary details.76 In an Amparo petition, however, this requirement must
be read in light of the nature and purpose of the proceeding, which addresses a situation of uncertainty; the petitioner may
not be able to describe with certainty how the victim exactly disappeared, or who actually acted to kidnap, abduct or arrest
him or her, or where the victim is detained, because these information may purposely be hidden or covered up by those
who caused the disappearance. In this type of situation, to require the level of specificity, detail and precision that the
petitioners apparently want to read into the Amparo Rule is to make this Rule a token gesture of judicial concern for
violations of the constitutional rights to life, liberty and security.
To read the Rules of Court requirement on pleadings while addressing the unique Amparo situation, the test in reading the
petition should be to determine whether it contains the details available to the petitioner under the circumstances, while
presenting a cause of action showing a violation of the victims rights to life, liberty and security through State or private
party action. The petition should likewise be read in its totality, rather than in terms of its isolated component parts, to
determine if the required elements namely, of the disappearance, the State or private action, and the actual or threatened
violations of the rights to life, liberty or security are present.
In the present case, the petition amply recites in its paragraphs 4 to 11 the circumstances under which Tagitis suddenly
dropped out of sight after engaging in normal activities, and thereafter was nowhere to be found despite efforts to locate
him. The petition alleged, too, under its paragraph 7, in relation to paragraphs 15 and 16, that according to reliable
information, police operatives were the perpetrators of the abduction. It also clearly alleged how Tagitis rights to life,
liberty and security were violated when he was "forcibly taken and boarded on a motor vehicle by a couple of burly men
believed to be police intelligence operatives," and then taken "into custody by the respondents police intelligence
operatives since October 30, 2007, specifically by the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, x x x held against his will in an
earnest attempt of the police to involve and connect [him] with different terrorist groups." 77

These allegations, in our view, properly pleaded ultimate facts within the pleaders knowledge about Tagitis
disappearance, the participation by agents of the State in this disappearance, the failure of the State to release Tagitis or to
provide sufficient information about his whereabouts, as well as the actual violation of his right to liberty. Thus, the
petition cannot be faulted for any failure in its statement of a cause of action.
If a defect can at all be attributed to the petition, this defect is its lack of supporting affidavit, as required by Section 5(c)
of the Amparo Rule. Owing to the summary nature of the proceedings for the writ and to facilitate the resolution of the
petition, the Amparo Rule incorporated the requirement for supporting affidavits, with the annotation that these can be
used as the affiants direct testimony.78 This requirement, however, should not be read as an absolute one that necessarily
leads to the dismissal of the petition if not strictly followed. Where, as in this case, the petitioner has substantially
complied with the requirement by submitting a verified petition sufficiently detailing the facts relied upon, the strict need
for the sworn statement that an affidavit represents is essentially fulfilled. We note that the failure to attach the required
affidavits was fully cured when the respondent and her witness (Mrs. Talbin) personally testified in the CA hearings held
on January 7 and 17 and February 18, 2008 to swear to and flesh out the allegations of the petition. Thus, even on this
point, the petition cannot be faulted.
Section 5(d) of the Amparo Rule requires that prior investigation of an alleged disappearance must have been made,
specifying the manner and results of the investigation. Effectively, this requirement seeks to establish at the earliest
opportunity the level of diligence the public authorities undertook in relation with the reported disappearance.79
We reject the petitioners argument that the respondents petition did not comply with the Section 5(d) requirements of the
Amparo Rule, as the petition specifies in its paragraph 11 that Kunnong and his companions immediately reported
Tagitis disappearance to the police authorities in Jolo, Sulu as soon as they were relatively certain that he indeed had
disappeared. The police, however, gave them the "ready answer" that Tagitis could have been abducted by the Abu Sayyaf
group or other anti-government groups. The respondent also alleged in paragraphs 17 and 18 of her petition that she filed
a "complaint" with the PNP Police Station in Cotobato and in Jolo, but she was told of "an intriguing tale" by the police
that her husband was having "a good time with another woman." The disappearance was alleged to have been reported,
too, to no less than the Governor of the ARMM, followed by the respondents personal inquiries that yielded the factual
bases for her petition.80
These allegations, to our mind, sufficiently specify that reports have been made to the police authorities, and that
investigations should have followed. That the petition did not state the manner and results of the investigation that the
Amparo Rule requires, but rather generally stated the inaction of the police, their failure to perform their duty to
investigate, or at the very least, their reported failed efforts, should not be a reflection on the completeness of the petition.
To require the respondent to elaborately specify the names, personal circumstances, and addresses of the investigating
authority, as well the manner and conduct of the investigation is an overly strict interpretation of Section 5(d), given the
respondents frustrations in securing an investigation with meaningful results. Under these circumstances, we are more
than satisfied that the allegations of the petition on the investigations undertaken are sufficiently complete for purposes of
bringing the petition forward.
Section 5(e) is in the Amparo Rule to prevent the use of a petition that otherwise is not supported by sufficient
allegations to constitute a proper cause of action as a means to "fish" for evidence.81 The petitioners contend that the
respondents petition did not specify what "legally available efforts were taken by the respondent," and that there was an
"undue haste" in the filing of the petition when, instead of cooperating with authorities, the respondent immediately
invoked the Courts intervention.
We do not see the respondents petition as the petitioners view it.
Section 5(e) merely requires that the Amparo petitioner (the respondent in the present case) allege "the actions and
recourses taken to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the identity of the person responsible for
the threat, act or omission." The following allegations of the respondents petition duly outlined the actions she had taken
and the frustrations she encountered, thus compelling her to file her petition.
xxxx

7. Soon after the student left the room, Engr. Tagitis went out of the pension house to take his early lunch but while out on
the street, a couple of burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives, forcibly took him and boarded the latter on
a motor vehicle then sped away without the knowledge of his student, Arsimin Kunnong;
xxxx
10. When Kunnong could not locate Engr. Tagitis, the former sought the help of another IDB scholar and reported the
matter to the local police agency;
11. Arsimin Kunnong, including his friends and companions in Jolo, exerted efforts in trying to locate the whereabouts of
Engr. Tagitis and when he reported the matter to the police authorities in Jolo, he was immediately given a ready answer
that Engr. Tagitis could [have been] abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group and other groups known to be fighting against the
government;
12. Being scared with these suggestions and insinuations of the police officers, Kunnong reported the matter to the
[respondent](wife of Engr. Tagitis) by phone and other responsible officers and coordinators of the IDB Scholarship
Programme in the Philippines who alerted the office of the Governor of ARMM who was then preparing to attend the OIC
meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia;
13. [The respondent], on the other hand, approached some of her co-employees with the Land Bank in Digos branch,
Digos City, Davao del Sur, who likewise sought help from some of their friends in the military who could help them
find/locate the whereabouts of her husband;
xxxx
15. According to reliable information received by the [respondent], subject Engr. Tagitis is in the custody of police
intelligence operatives, specifically with the CIDG, PNP Zamboanga City, being held against his will in an earnest
attempt of the police to involve and connect Engr. Tagitis with the different terrorist groups;
xxxx
17. [The respondent] filed her complaint with the PNP Police Station at the ARMM in Cotobato and in Jolo, as suggested
by her friends, seeking their help to find her husband, but [the respondents] request and pleadings failed to produce any
positive results
xxxx
20. Lately, [respondent] was again advised by one of the [petitioners] to go to the ARMM Police Headquarters again in
Cotobato City and also to the different Police Headquarters including the police headquarters in Davao City, in
Zamboanga City, in Jolo, and in Camp Crame, Quezon City, and all these places have been visited by the [respondent] in
search for her husband, which entailed expenses for her trips to these places thereby resorting her to borrowings and
beggings [sic] for financial help from friends and relatives only to try complying to the different suggestions of these
police officers, despite of which, her efforts produced no positive results up to the present time;
xxxx
25. [The respondent] has exhausted all administrative avenues and remedies but to no avail, and under the circumstances,
[respondent] has no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy to protect and get the release of subject Engr. Morced
Tagitis from the illegal clutches of [the petitioners], their intelligence operatives and the like which are in total violation of
the subjects human and constitutional rights, except the issuance of a WRIT OF AMPARO.
Based on these considerations, we rule that the respondents petition for the Writ of Amparo is sufficient in form and
substance and that the Court of Appeals had every reason to proceed with its consideration of the case.
The Desaparecidos

The present case is one of first impression in the use and application of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo in an enforced
disappearance situation. For a deeper appreciation of the application of this Rule to an enforced disappearance situation, a
brief look at the historical context of the writ and enforced disappearances would be very helpful.
The phenomenon of enforced disappearance arising from State action first attracted notice in Adolf Hitlers Nact und
Nebel Erlass or Night and Fog Decree of December 7, 1941.82 The Third Reichs Night and Fog Program, a State policy,
was directed at persons in occupied territories "endangering German security"; they were transported secretly to Germany
where they disappeared without a trace. In order to maximize the desired intimidating effect, the policy prohibited
government officials from providing information about the fate of these targeted persons.83
In the mid-1970s, the phenomenon of enforced disappearances resurfaced, shocking and outraging the world when
individuals, numbering anywhere from 6,000 to 24,000, were reported to have "disappeared" during the military regime in
Argentina. Enforced disappearances spread in Latin America, and the issue became an international concern when the
world noted its widespread and systematic use by State security forces in that continent under Operation Condor 84 and
during the Dirty War85 in the 1970s and 1980s. The escalation of the practice saw political activists secretly arrested,
tortured, and killed as part of governments counter-insurgency campaigns. As this form of political brutality became
routine elsewhere in the continent, the Latin American media standardized the term "disappearance" to describe the
phenomenon. The victims of enforced disappearances were called the "desaparecidos,"86 which literally means the
"disappeared ones."87 In general, there are three different kinds of "disappearance" cases:
1) those of people arrested without witnesses or without positive identification of the arresting agents and are
never found again;
2) those of prisoners who are usually arrested without an appropriate warrant and held in complete isolation for
weeks or months while their families are unable to discover their whereabouts and the military authorities deny
having them in custody until they eventually reappear in one detention center or another; and
3) those of victims of "salvaging" who have disappeared until their lifeless bodies are later discovered. 88
In the Philippines, enforced disappearances generally fall within the first two categories,89 and 855 cases were recorded
during the period of martial law from 1972 until 1986. Of this number, 595 remained missing, 132 surfaced alive and 127
were found dead. During former President Corazon C. Aquinos term, 820 people were reported to have disappeared and
of these, 612 cases were documented. Of this number, 407 remain missing, 108 surfaced alive and 97 were found dead.
The number of enforced disappearances dropped during former President Fidel V. Ramos term when only 87 cases were
reported, while the three-year term of former President Joseph E. Estrada yielded 58 reported cases. KARAPATAN, a
local non-governmental organization, reports that as of March 31, 2008, the records show that there were a total of 193
victims of enforced disappearance under incumbent President Gloria M. Arroyos administration. The Commission on
Human Rights records show a total of 636 verified cases of enforced disappearances from 1985 to 1993. Of this number,
406 remained missing, 92 surfaced alive, 62 were found dead, and 76 still have undetermined status.90 Currently, the
United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance91 reports 619 outstanding cases of enforced or
involuntary disappearances covering the period December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008.92
Enforced Disappearances
Under Philippine Law
The Amparo Rule expressly provides that the "writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats
thereof."93 We note that although the writ specifically covers "enforced disappearances," this concept is neither defined
nor penalized in this jurisdiction. The records of the Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of Rules (Committee)
reveal that the drafters of the Amparo Rule initially considered providing an elemental definition of the concept of
enforced disappearance:94
JUSTICE MARTINEZ: I believe that first and foremost we should come up or formulate a specific definition [for]
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. From that definition, then we can proceed to formulate the rules,
definite rules concerning the same.

CHIEF JUSTICE PUNO: As things stand, there is no law penalizing extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances so initially also we have to [come up with] the nature of these extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances [to be covered by the Rule] because our concept of killings and disappearances will define the jurisdiction
of the courts. So well have to agree among ourselves about the nature of killings and disappearances for instance, in other
jurisdictions, the rules only cover state actors. That is an element incorporated in their concept of extrajudicial killings and
enforced disappearances. In other jurisdictions, the concept includes acts and omissions not only of state actors but also of
non state actors. Well, more specifically in the case of the Philippines for instance, should these rules include the killings,
the disappearances which may be authored by let us say, the NPAs or the leftist organizations and others. So, again we
need to define the nature of the extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances that will be covered by these rules.
[Emphasis supplied] 95
In the end, the Committee took cognizance of several bills filed in the House of Representatives96 and in the Senate97 on
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, and resolved to do away with a clear textual definition of these terms
in the Rule. The Committee instead focused on the nature and scope of the concerns within its power to address and
provided the appropriate remedy therefor, mindful that an elemental definition may intrude into the ongoing legislative
efforts.98
As the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized
separately from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are
now penalized under the Revised Penal Code and special laws.99 The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken
on the matter; the determination of what acts are criminal and what the corresponding penalty these criminal acts should
carry are matters of substantive law that only the Legislature has the power to enact under the countrys constitutional
scheme and power structure.
Even without the benefit of directly applicable substantive laws on extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances,
however, the Supreme Court is not powerless to act under its own constitutional mandate to promulgate "rules concerning
the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and procedure in all courts," 100 since
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, by their nature and purpose, constitute State or private party violation
of the constitutional rights of individuals to life, liberty and security. Although the Courts power is strictly procedural and
as such does not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights, the legal protection that the Court can provide can be
very meaningful through the procedures it sets in addressing extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. The
Court, through its procedural rules, can set the procedural standards and thereby directly compel the public authorities to
act on actual or threatened violations of constitutional rights. To state the obvious, judicial intervention can make a
difference even if only procedurally in a situation when the very same investigating public authorities may have had a
hand in the threatened or actual violations of constitutional rights.
Lest this Court intervention be misunderstood, we clarify once again that we do not rule on any issue of criminal
culpability for the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance. This is an issue that requires criminal action before our
criminal courts based on our existing penal laws. Our intervention is in determining whether an enforced disappearance
has taken place and who is responsible or accountable for this disappearance, and to define and impose the appropriate
remedies to address it. The burden for the public authorities to discharge in these situations, under the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo, is twofold. The first is to ensure that all efforts at disclosure and investigation are undertaken under pain of
indirect contempt from this Court when governmental efforts are less than what the individual situations require. The
second is to address the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his or her liberty and security
restored. In these senses, our orders and directives relative to the writ are continuing efforts that are not truly terminated
until the extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance is fully addressed by the complete determination of the fate and
the whereabouts of the victim, by the production of the disappeared person and the restoration of his or her liberty and
security, and, in the proper case, by the commencement of criminal action against the guilty parties.
Enforced Disappearance
Under International Law
From the International Law perspective, involuntary or enforced disappearance is considered a flagrant violation of
human rights.101 It does not only violate the right to life, liberty and security of the desaparecido; it affects their families as
well through the denial of their right to information regarding the circumstances of the disappeared family member. Thus,
enforced disappearances have been said to be "a double form of torture," with "doubly paralyzing impact for the victims,"

as they "are kept ignorant of their own fates, while family members are deprived of knowing the whereabouts of their
detained loved ones" and suffer as well the serious economic hardship and poverty that in most cases follow the
disappearance of the household breadwinner.102
The UN General Assembly first considered the issue of "Disappeared Persons" in December 1978 under Resolution
33/173. The Resolution expressed the General Assemblys deep concern arising from "reports from various parts of the
world relating to enforced or involuntary disappearances," and requested the "UN Commission on Human Rights to
consider the issue of enforced disappearances with a view to making appropriate recommendations."103
In 1992, in response to the reality that the insidious practice of enforced disappearance had become a global phenomenon,
the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
(Declaration).104 This Declaration, for the first time, provided in its third preambular clause a working description of
enforced disappearance, as follows:
Deeply concerned that in many countries, often in a persistent manner, enforced disappearances occur, in the sense that
persons are arrested, detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by officials of different
branches or levels of Government, or by organized groups or private individuals acting on behalf of, or with the support,
direct or indirect, consent or acquiescence of the Government, followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of
the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of their liberty, which places such persons outside the
protection of the law. [Emphasis supplied]
Fourteen years after (or on December 20, 2006), the UN General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the
Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Convention).105 The Convention was opened for signature in
Paris, France on February 6, 2007.106 Article 2 of the Convention defined enforced disappearance as follows:
For the purposes of this Convention, "enforced disappearance" is considered to be the arrest, detention, abduction or any
other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization,
support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of
the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law. [Emphasis
supplied]
The Convention is the first universal human rights instrument to assert that there is a right not to be subject to enforced
disappearance107 and that this right is non-derogable.108 It provides that no one shall be subjected to enforced
disappearance under any circumstances, be it a state of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency. It
obliges State Parties to codify enforced disappearance as an offense punishable with appropriate penalties under their
criminal law.109 It also recognizes the right of relatives of the disappeared persons and of the society as a whole to know
the truth on the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared and on the progress and results of the investigation.110 Lastly, it
classifies enforced disappearance as a continuing offense, such that statutes of limitations shall not apply until the fate and
whereabouts of the victim are established.111
Binding Effect of UN
Action on the Philippines
To date, the Philippines has neither signed nor ratified the Convention, so that the country is not yet committed to enact
any law penalizing enforced disappearance as a crime. The absence of a specific penal law, however, is not a stumbling
block for action from this Court, as heretofore mentioned; underlying every enforced disappearance is a violation of the
constitutional rights to life, liberty and security that the Supreme Court is mandated by the Constitution to protect through
its rule-making powers.
Separately from the Constitution (but still pursuant to its terms), the Court is guided, in acting on Amparo cases, by the
reality that the Philippines is a member of the UN, bound by its Charter and by the various conventions we signed and
ratified, particularly the conventions touching on humans rights. Under the UN Charter, the Philippines pledged to
"promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinctions as
to race, sex, language or religion."112 Although no universal agreement has been reached on the precise extent of the

"human rights and fundamental freedoms" guaranteed to all by the Charter,113 it was the UN itself that issued the
Declaration on enforced disappearance, and this Declaration states:114
Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of
the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in international instruments in this field. [Emphasis
supplied]
As a matter of human right and fundamental freedom and as a policy matter made in a UN Declaration, the ban on
enforced disappearance cannot but have its effects on the country, given our own adherence to "generally accepted
principles of international law as part of the law of the land."115
In the recent case of Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines v. Duque III,116 we held that:
Under the 1987 Constitution, international law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either
by transformation or incorporation. The transformation method requires that an international law be transformed into a
domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local legislation. The incorporation method applies when, by
mere constitutional declaration, international law is deemed to have the force of domestic law. [Emphasis supplied]
We characterized "generally accepted principles of international law" as norms of general or customary international law
that are binding on all states. We held further:117
[G]enerally accepted principles of international law, by virtue of the incorporation clause of the Constitution, form part of
the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations. The classical formulation in international law sees
those customary rules accepted as binding result from the combination [of] two elements: the established, widespread, and
consistent practice on the part of States; and a psychological element known as the opinion juris sive
necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity). Implicit in the latter element is a belief that the practice in question is
rendered obligatory by the existence of a rule of law requiring it. [Emphasis in the original]
The most widely accepted statement of sources of international law today is Article 38(1) of the Statute of the
International Court of Justice, which provides that the Court shall apply "international custom, as evidence of a general
practice accepted as law."118 The material sources of custom include State practice, State legislation, international and
national judicial decisions, recitals in treaties and other international instruments, a pattern of treaties in the same form,
the practice of international organs, and resolutions relating to legal questions in the UN General Assembly.119 Sometimes
referred to as "evidence" of international law,120 these sources identify the substance and content of the obligations of
States and are indicative of the "State practice" and "opinio juris" requirements of international law.121 We note the
following in these respects:
First, barely two years from the adoption of the Declaration, the Organization of American States (OAS) General
Assembly adopted the Inter-American Convention on Enforced Disappearance of Persons in June 1994.122 State parties
undertook under this Convention "not to practice, permit, or tolerate the forced disappearance of persons, even in states of
emergency or suspension of individual guarantees."123 One of the key provisions includes the States obligation to enact
the crime of forced disappearance in their respective national criminal laws and to establish jurisdiction over such cases
when the crime was committed within their jurisdiction, when the victim is a national of that State, and "when the alleged
criminal is within its territory and it does not proceed to extradite him," which can be interpreted as establishing universal
jurisdiction among the parties to the Inter-American Convention.124 At present, Colombia, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and
Venezuela have enacted separate laws in accordance with the Inter-American Convention and have defined activities
involving enforced disappearance to be criminal.1251avvphi1
Second, in Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights has no explicit provision dealing with the protection
against enforced disappearance. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), however, has applied the Convention in a
way that provides ample protection for the underlying rights affected by enforced disappearance through the Conventions
Article 2 on the right to life; Article 3 on the prohibition of torture; Article 5 on the right to liberty and security; Article 6,
paragraph 1 on the right to a fair trial; and Article 13 on the right to an effective remedy. A leading example
demonstrating the protection afforded by the European Convention is Kurt v. Turkey,126 where the ECHR found a

violation of the right to liberty and security of the disappeared person when the applicants son disappeared after being
taken into custody by Turkish forces in the Kurdish village of Agilli in November 1993. It further found the applicant (the
disappeared persons mother) to be a victim of a violation of Article 3, as a result of the silence of the authorities and the
inadequate character of the investigations undertaken. The ECHR also saw the lack of any meaningful investigation by the
State as a violation of Article 13.127
Third, in the United States, the status of the prohibition on enforced disappearance as part of customary international law
is recognized in the most recent edition of Restatement of the Law: The Third,128 which provides that "[a] State violates
international law if, as a matter of State policy, it practices, encourages, or condones (3) the murder or causing the
disappearance of individuals."129 We significantly note that in a related matter that finds close identification with enforced
disappearance the matter of torture the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Court held in Filartiga v.
Pena-Irala130 that the prohibition on torture had attained the status of customary international law. The court further
elaborated on the significance of UN declarations, as follows:
These U.N. declarations are significant because they specify with great precision the obligations of member nations under
the Charter. Since their adoption, "(m)embers can no longer contend that they do not know what human rights they
promised in the Charter to promote." Moreover, a U.N. Declaration is, according to one authoritative definition, "a formal
and solemn instrument, suitable for rare occasions when principles of great and lasting importance are being enunciated."
Accordingly, it has been observed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "no longer fits into the dichotomy of
binding treaty against non-binding pronouncement,' but is rather an authoritative statement of the international
community." Thus, a Declaration creates an expectation of adherence, and "insofar as the expectation is gradually justified
by State practice, a declaration may by custom become recognized as laying down rules binding upon the States." Indeed,
several commentators have concluded that the Universal Declaration has become, in toto, a part of binding, customary
international law. [Citations omitted]
Fourth, in interpreting Article 2 (right to an effective domestic remedy) of the International Convention on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR), to which the Philippines is both a signatory and a State Party, the UN Human Rights
Committee, under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has stated that the act of enforced
disappearance violates Articles 6 (right to life), 7 (prohibition on torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
punishment) and 9 (right to liberty and security of the person) of the ICCPR, and the act may also amount to a crime
against humanity.131
Fifth, Article 7, paragraph 1 of the 1998 Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) also covers
enforced disappearances insofar as they are defined as crimes against humanity,132 i.e., crimes "committed as part of a
widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack." While more than 100
countries have ratified the Rome Statute,133 the Philippines is still merely a signatory and has not yet ratified it. We note
that Article 7(1) of the Rome Statute has been incorporated in the statutes of other international and hybrid tribunals,
including Sierra Leone Special Court, the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in Timor-Leste, and the Extraordinary
Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.134 In addition, the implementing legislation of State Parties to the Rome Statute of
the ICC has given rise to a number of national criminal provisions also covering enforced disappearance.135
While the Philippines is not yet formally bound by the terms of the Convention on enforced disappearance (or by the
specific terms of the Rome Statute) and has not formally declared enforced disappearance as a specific crime, the above
recital shows that enforced disappearance as a State practice has been repudiated by the international community, so that
the ban on it is now a generally accepted principle of international law, which we should consider a part of the law of the
land, and which we should act upon to the extent already allowed under our laws and the international conventions that
bind us.
The following civil or political rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR and the International
Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR) may be infringed in the course of a disappearance: 136
1) the right to recognition as a person before the law;
2) the right to liberty and security of the person;

3) the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
4) the right to life, when the disappeared person is killed;
5) the right to an identity;
6) the right to a fair trial and to judicial guarantees;
7) the right to an effective remedy, including reparation and compensation;
8) the right to know the truth regarding the circumstances of a disappearance.
9) the right to protection and assistance to the family;
10) the right to an adequate standard of living;
11) the right to health; and
12) the right to education [Emphasis supplied]
Article 2 of the ICCPR, which binds the Philippines as a state party, provides:
Article 2
3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective
remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;
(b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent
judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal
system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;
(c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted. [Emphasis supplied]
In General Comment No. 31, the UN Human Rights Committee opined that the right to an effective remedy under Article
2 of the ICCPR includes the obligation of the State to investigate ICCPR violations promptly, thoroughly, and effectively,
viz:137
15. Article 2, paragraph 3, requires that in addition to effective protection of Covenant rights, States Parties must ensure
that individuals also have accessible and effective remedies to vindicate those rights The Committee attaches
importance to States Parties' establishing appropriate judicial and administrative mechanisms for addressing claims of
rights violations under domestic law Administrative mechanisms are particularly required to give effect to the general
obligation to investigate allegations of violations promptly, thoroughly and effectivelythrough independent and impartial
bodies. A failure by a State Party to investigate allegations of violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach
of the Covenant. Cessation of an ongoing violation is an essential element of the right to an effective remedy. [Emphasis
supplied]
The UN Human Rights Committee further stated in the same General Comment No. 31 that failure to investigate as well
as failure to bring to justice the perpetrators of ICCPR violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the
Covenant, thus:138
18. Where the investigations referred to in paragraph 15 reveal violations of certain Covenant rights, States Parties must
ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. As with failure to investigate, failure to bring to justice perpetrators of

such violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant. These obligations arise notably in
respect of those violations recognized as criminal under either domestic or international law, such as torture and similar
cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (article 7), summary and arbitrary killing (article 6) and enforced disappearance
(articles 7 and 9 and, frequently, 6). Indeed, the problem of impunity for these violations, a matter of sustained concern by
the Committee, may well be an important contributing element in the recurrence of the violations. When committed as
part of a widespread or systematic attack on a civilian population, these violations of the Covenant are crimes against
humanity (see Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, article 7). [Emphasis supplied]
In Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo,139 this Court, in ruling that the right to security of persons is a guarantee of
the protection of ones right by the government, held that:
The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State "guarantees full respect for
human rights" under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and
security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if
government does not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under threat.Protection includes
conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims of
extralegal killings or enforced disappearances (or threats thereof) and/or their families, and bringing offenders to
the bar of justice. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez
Rodriguez Case, viz:
(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be
ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken
by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon their offer of proof, without an
effective search for the truth by the government. [Emphasis supplied]
Manalo significantly cited Kurt v. Turkey,140 where the ECHR interpreted the "right to security" not only as a prohibition
on the State against arbitrary deprivation of liberty, but also as the imposition of a positive duty to afford protection to the
right to liberty. The Court notably quoted the following ECHR ruling:
[A]ny deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity with the substantive and procedural rules of
national law but must equally be in keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the individual from
arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual, it is incumbent on the authorities to account for his or her
whereabouts. For this reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective measures to safeguard
against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt effective investigation into an arguable claim that a person has
been taken into custody and has not been seen since. [Emphasis supplied]
These rulings effectively serve as the backdrop for the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, which the Court made effective on
October 24, 2007. Although the Amparo Rule still has gaps waiting to be filled through substantive law, as evidenced
primarily by the lack of a concrete definition of "enforced disappearance," the materials cited above, among others,
provide ample guidance and standards on how, through the medium of the Amparo Rule, the Court can provide remedies
and protect the constitutional rights to life, liberty and security that underlie every enforced disappearance.
Evidentiary Difficulties Posed
by the Unique Nature of an
Enforced Disappearance
Before going into the issue of whether the respondent has discharged the burden of proving the allegations of the petition
for the Writ of Amparo by the degree of proof required by the Amparo Rule, we shall discuss briefly the unique
evidentiary difficulties presented by enforced disappearance cases; these difficulties form part of the setting that the
implementation of the Amparo Rule shall encounter.
These difficulties largely arise because the State itself the party whose involvement is alleged investigates enforced
disappearances. Past experiences in other jurisdictions show that the evidentiary difficulties are generally threefold.

First, there may be a deliberate concealment of the identities of the direct perpetrators.141 Experts note that abductors are
well organized, armed and usually members of the military or police forces, thus:
The victim is generally arrested by the security forces or by persons acting under some form of governmental authority. In
many countries the units that plan, implement and execute the program are generally specialized, highly-secret bodies
within the armed or security forces. They are generally directed through a separate, clandestine chain of command, but
they have the necessary credentials to avoid or prevent any interference by the "legal" police forces. These authorities take
their victims to secret detention centers where they subject them to interrogation and torture without fear of judicial or
other controls.142
In addition, there are usually no witnesses to the crime; if there are, these witnesses are usually afraid to speak out
publicly or to testify on the disappearance out of fear for their own lives.143 We have had occasion to note this difficulty in
Secretary of Defense v. Manalo144 when we acknowledged that "where powerful military officers are implicated, the
hesitation of witnesses to surface and testify against them comes as no surprise."
Second, deliberate concealment of pertinent evidence of the disappearance is a distinct possibility; the central piece of
evidence in an enforced disappearance i.e., the corpus delicti or the victims body is usually concealed to effectively
thwart the start of any investigation or the progress of one that may have begun.145 The problem for the victims family is
the States virtual monopoly of access to pertinent evidence. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR)
observed in the landmark case of Velasquez Rodriguez146 that inherent to the practice of enforced disappearance is the
deliberate use of the States power to destroy the pertinent evidence. The IACHR described the concealment as a clear
attempt by the State to commit the perfect crime.147
Third is the element of denial; in many cases, the State authorities deliberately deny that the enforced disappearance ever
occurred.148 "Deniability" is central to the policy of enforced disappearances, as the absence of any proven disappearance
makes it easier to escape the application of legal standards ensuring the victims human rights.149 Experience shows that
government officials typically respond to requests for information about desaparecidos by saying that they are not aware
of any disappearance, that the missing people may have fled the country, or that their names have merely been invented. 150
These considerations are alive in our minds, as these are the difficulties we confront, in one form or another, in our
consideration of this case.
Evidence and Burden of Proof in
Enforced Disappearances Cases
Sections 13, 17 and 18 of the Amparo Rule define the nature of an Amparo proceeding and the degree and burden of proof
the parties to the case carry, as follows:
Section 13. Summary Hearing. The hearing on the petition shall be summary. However, the court, justice or judge may
call for a preliminary conference to simplify the issues and determine the possibility of obtaining stipulations and
admissions from the parties.
xxxx
Section 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. The parties shall establish their claims by substantial
evidence.
The respondent who is a private individual must prove that ordinary diligence as required by applicable laws, rules and
regulations was observed in the performance of duty.
The respondent who is a public official or employee must prove that extraordinary diligence as required by applicable
laws, rules and regulations was observed in the performance of duty.
The respondent public official or employee cannot invoke the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed
or evade responsibility or liability.

Section 18. Judgment. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court
shall grant the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall
be denied. [Emphasis supplied]
These characteristics namely, of being summary and the use of substantial evidence as the required level of proof (in
contrast to the usual preponderance of evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt in court proceedings) reveal the clear
intent of the framers of the Amparo Rule to have the equivalent of an administrative proceeding, albeit judicially
conducted, in addressing Amparo situations. The standard of diligence required the duty of public officials and
employees to observe extraordinary diligence point, too, to the extraordinary measures expected in the protection of
constitutional rights and in the consequent handling and investigation of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearance
cases.
Thus, in these proceedings, the Amparo petitioner needs only to properly comply with the substance and form
requirements of a Writ of Amparo petition, as discussed above, and prove the allegations by substantial evidence. Once a
rebuttable case has been proven, the respondents must then respond and prove their defenses based on the standard of
diligence required. The rebuttable case, of course, must show that an enforced disappearance took place under
circumstances showing a violation of the victims constitutional rights to life, liberty or security, and the failure on the
part of the investigating authorities to appropriately respond.
The landmark case of Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations151 provided the Court its first opportunity to define the
substantial evidence required to arrive at a valid decision in administrative proceedings. To directly quote Ang Tibay:
Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion. [citations omitted] The statute provides that the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of
law and equity shall not be controlling. The obvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative
boards from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent
in judicial proceedings would not invalidate the administrative order. [citations omitted] But this assurance of a desirable
flexibility in administrative procedure does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational
probative force. [Emphasis supplied]
In Secretary of Defense v. Manalo,152 which was the Courts first petition for a Writ of Amparo, we recognized that the
full and exhaustive proceedings that the substantial evidence standard regularly requires do not need to apply due to the
summary nature of Amparo proceedings. We said:
The remedy [of the writ of amparo] provides rapid judicial relief as it partakes of a summary proceeding that requires only
substantial evidence to make 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
administrative responsibility requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings. [Emphasis
supplied]
Not to be forgotten in considering the evidentiary aspects of Amparo petitions are the unique difficulties presented by the
nature of enforced disappearances, heretofore discussed, which difficulties this Court must frontally meet if the Amparo
Rule is to be given a chance to achieve its objectives. These evidentiary difficulties compel the Court to adopt standards
appropriate and responsive to the circumstances, without transgressing the due process requirements that underlie every
proceeding.
In the seminal case of Velasquez Rodriguez,153 the IACHR faced with a lack of direct evidence that the government of
Honduras was involved in Velasquez Rodriguez disappearance adopted a relaxed and informal evidentiary standard,
and established the rule that presumes governmental responsibility for a disappearance if it can be proven that the
government carries out a general practice of enforced disappearances and the specific case can be linked to that
practice.154 The IACHR took note of the realistic fact that enforced disappearances could be proven only through
circumstantial or indirect evidence or by logical inference; otherwise, it was impossible to prove that an individual had
been made to disappear. It held:

130. The practice of international and domestic courts shows that direct evidence, whether testimonial or documentary, is
not the only type of evidence that may be legitimately considered in reaching a decision. Circumstantial evidence, indicia,
and presumptions may be considered, so long as they lead to conclusions consistent with the facts.
131. Circumstantial or presumptive evidence is especially important in allegations of disappearances, because this type of
repression is characterized by an attempt to suppress all information about the kidnapping or the whereabouts and fate of
the victim. [Emphasis supplied]
In concluding that the disappearance of Manfredo Velsquez (Manfredo) was carried out by agents who acted under cover
of public authority, the IACHR relied on circumstantial evidence including the hearsay testimony of Zenaida Velsquez,
the victims sister, who described Manfredos kidnapping on the basis of conversations she had with witnesses who saw
Manfredo kidnapped by men in civilian clothes in broad daylight. She also told the Court that a former Honduran military
official had announced that Manfredo was kidnapped by a special military squadron acting under orders of the Chief of
the Armed Forces.155 The IACHR likewise considered the hearsay testimony of a second witness who asserted that he had
been told by a Honduran military officer about the disappearance, and a third witness who testified that he had spoken in
prison to a man who identified himself as Manfredo.156
Velasquez stresses the lesson that flexibility is necessary under the unique circumstances that enforced disappearance
cases pose to the courts; to have an effective remedy, the standard of evidence must be responsive to the evidentiary
difficulties faced. On the one hand, we cannot be arbitrary in the admission and appreciation of evidence, as arbitrariness
entails violation of rights and cannot be used as an effective counter-measure; we only compound the problem if a wrong
is addressed by the commission of another wrong. On the other hand, we cannot be very strict in our evidentiary rules and
cannot consider evidence the way we do in the usual criminal and civil cases; precisely, the proceedings before us are
administrative in nature where, as a rule, technical rules of evidence are not strictly observed. Thus, while we must follow
the substantial evidence rule, we must observe flexibility in considering the evidence we shall take into account.
The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces of evidence adduced in their totality, and to consider any
evidence otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it is consistent with the admissible evidence
adduced. In other words, we reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason i.e., to the relevance of the evidence to the
issue at hand and its consistency with all other pieces of adduced evidence. Thus, even hearsay evidence can be admitted
if it satisfies this basic minimum test.
We note in this regard that the use of flexibility in the consideration of evidence is not at all novel in the Philippine legal
system. In child abuse cases, Section 28 of the Rule on Examination of a Child Witness157 is expressly recognized as an
exception to the hearsay rule. This Rule allows the admission of the hearsay testimony of a child describing any act or
attempted act of sexual abuse in any criminal or non-criminal proceeding, subject to certain prerequisites and the right of
cross-examination by the adverse party. The admission of the statement is determined by the court in light of specified
subjective and objective considerations that provide sufficient indicia of reliability of the child witness. 158 These requisites
for admission find their counterpart in the present case under the above-described conditions for the exercise of flexibility
in the consideration of evidence, including hearsay evidence, in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance cases.
Assessment of the Evidence
The threshold question for our resolution is: was there an enforced disappearance within the meaning of this term under
the UN Declaration we have cited?
The Convention defines enforced disappearance as "the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of
liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of
the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of
the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law."159 Under this definition, the elements
that constitute enforced disappearance are essentially fourfold:160
(a) arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;

(b) carried out by agents of the State or persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or
acquiescence of the State;
(c) followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention, or a concealment of the fate of the disappeared person;
and
(d) placement of the disappeared person outside the protection of the law. [Emphasis supplied]
We find no direct evidence indicating how the victim actually disappeared. The direct evidence at hand only shows that
Tagitis went out of the ASY Pension House after depositing his room key with the hotel desk and was never seen nor
heard of again. The undisputed conclusion, however, from all concerned the petitioner, Tagitis colleagues and even the
police authorities is that Tagistis disappeared under mysterious circumstances and was never seen again. The respondent
injected the causal element in her petition and testimony, as we shall discuss below.
We likewise find no direct evidence showing that operatives of PNP CIDG Zamboanga abducted or arrested Tagitis. If at
all, only the respondents allegation that Tagistis was under CIDG Zamboanga custody stands on record, but it is not
supported by any other evidence, direct or circumstantial.
In her direct testimony, the respondent pointed to two sources of information as her bases for her allegation that Tagistis
had been placed under government custody (in contrast with CIDG Zamboanga custody). The first was an unnamed friend
in Zamboanga (later identified as Col. Ancanan), who occupied a high position in the military and who allegedly
mentioned that Tagitis was in good hands. Nothing came out of this claim, as both the respondent herself and her witness,
Mrs. Talbin, failed to establish that Col. Ancanan gave them any information that Tagitis was in government custody. Col.
Ancanan, for his part, admitted the meeting with the respondent but denied giving her any information about the
disappearance.
The more specific and productive source of information was Col. Kasim, whom the respondent, together with her witness
Mrs. Talbin, met in Camp Katitipan in Davao City. To quote the relevant portions of the respondents testimony:
Q: Were you able to speak to other military officials regarding the whereabouts of your husband particularly those in
charge of any records or investigation?
A: I went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City. Then one military officer, Col. Casim, told me that my husband is being
abducted [sic] because he is under custodial investigation because he is allegedly "parang liason ng J.I.", sir.
Q: What is J.I.?
A: Jemaah Islamiah, sir.
Q: Was there any information that was read to you during one of those visits of yours in that Camp?
A: Col. Casim did not furnish me a copy of his report because he said those reports are highly confidential, sir.
Q: Was it read to you then even though you were not furnished a copy?
A: Yes, sir. In front of us, my friends.
Q: And what was the content of that highly confidential report?
A: Those alleged activities of Engineer Tagitis, sir.161 [Emphasis supplied]
She confirmed this testimony in her cross-examination:
Q: You also mentioned that you went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City?

A: Yes, maam.
Q: And a certain Col. Kasim told you that your husband was abducted and under custodial investigation?
A: Yes, maam.
Q: And you mentioned that he showed you a report?
A: Yes, maam.
Q: Were you able to read the contents of that report?
A: He did not furnish me a copy of those [sic] report because those [sic] were highly confidential. That is a military
report, maam.
Q: But you were able to read the contents?
A: No. But he read it in front of us, my friends, maam.
Q: How many were you when you went to see Col. Kasim?
A: There were three of us, maam.
Q: Who were your companions?
A: Mrs. Talbin, tapos yung dalawang friends nya from Mati City, Davao Oriental, maam.162
xxxx
Q: When you were told that your husband is in good hands, what was your reaction and what did you do?
A: May binasa kasi sya that my husband has a parang meeting with other people na parang mga terorista na mga tao.
Tapos at the end of the report is [sic] under custodial investigation. So I told him "Colonel, my husband is sick. He is
diabetic at nagmemaintain yun ng gamot. Pakisabi lang sa naghohold sa asawa ko na bigyan siya ng gamot, maam." 163
xxxx
Q: You mentioned that you received information that Engineer Tagitis is being held by the CIDG in Zamboanga, did you
go to CIDG Zamboanga to verify that information?
A: I did not go to CIDG Zamboanga. I went to Camp Karingal instead. Enough na yun na effort ko because I know that
they would deny it, maam.164
On February 11, 2008, the respondent presented Mrs. Talbin to corroborate her testimony that her husband was abducted
and held under custodial investigation by the PNP-CIDG Zamboanga City, viz:
Q: You said that you went to Camp Katitipan in Davao City sometime November 24, 2007, who was with you when you
went there?
A: Mary Jean Tagitis, sir.
Q: Only the two of you?
A: No. We have some other companions. We were four at that time, sir.

Q: Who were they?


A: Salvacion Serrano, Mini Leong, Mrs. Tagitis and me, sir.
Q: Were you able to talk, see some other officials at Camp Katitipan during that time?
A: Col. Kasim (PS Supt. Julasirim Ahadin Kasim) only, sir.
Q: Were you able to talk to him?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: The four of you?
A: Yes, sir.
Q: What information did you get from Col. Kasim during that time?
A: The first time we met with [him] I asked him if he knew of the exact location, if he can furnish us the location of Engr.
Tagitis. And he was reading this report. He told us that Engr. Tagitis is in good hands. He is with the military, but he is
not certain whether he is with the AFP or PNP. He has this serious case. He was charged of terrorism because he was
under surveillance from January 2007 up to the time that he was abducted. He told us that he was under custodial
investigation. As Ive said earlier, he was seen under surveillance from January. He was seen talking to Omar Patik, a
certain Santos of Bulacan who is also a Balik Islam and charged with terrorism. He was seen carrying boxes of medicines.
Then we asked him how long will he be in custodial investigation. He said until we can get some information. But he also
told us that he cannot give us that report because it was a raw report. It was not official, sir.
Q: You said that he was reading a report, was that report in document form, in a piece of paper or was it in the computer
or what?
A: As far as I can see it, sir, it is written in white bond paper. I dont know if it was computerized but Im certain that it
was typewritten. Im not sure if it used computer, fax or what, sir.
Q: When he was reading it to you, was he reading it line by line or he was reading in a summary form?
A: Sometimes he was glancing to the report and talking to us, sir.165
xxxx
Q: Were you informed as to the place where he was being kept during that time?
A: He did not tell us where he [Tagitis] was being kept. But he mentioned this Talipapao, Sulu, sir.
Q: After that incident, what did you do if any?
A: We just left and as Ive mentioned, we just waited because that raw information that he was reading to us [sic] after the
custodial investigation, Engineer Tagitis will be released. [Emphasis supplied]166
Col. Kasim never denied that he met with the respondent and her friends, and that he provided them information based on
the input of an unnamed asset. He simply claimed in his testimony that the "informal letter" he received from his
informant in Sulu did not indicate that Tagitis was in the custody of the CIDG. He also stressed that the information he
provided the respondent was merely a "raw report" from "barangay intelligence" that still needed confirmation and
"follow up" as to its veracity.167

To be sure, the respondents and Mrs. Talbins testimonies were far from perfect, as the petitioners pointed out. The
respondent mistakenly characterized Col. Kasim as a "military officer" who told her that "her husband is being abducted
because he is under custodial investigation because he is allegedly parang liason ng J.I." The petitioners also noted that
"Mrs. Talbins testimony imputing certain statements to Sr. Supt. Kasim that Engr. Tagitis is with the military, but he is
not certain whether it is the PNP or AFP is not worthy of belief, since Sr. Supt. Kasim is a high ranking police officer who
would certainly know that the PNP is not part of the military."
Upon deeper consideration of these inconsistencies, however, what appears clear to us is that the petitioners never really
steadfastly disputed or presented evidence to refute the credibility of the respondent and her witness, Mrs. Talbin. The
inconsistencies the petitioners point out relate, more than anything else, to details that should not affect the credibility of
the respondent and Mrs. Talbin; the inconsistencies are not on material points.168 We note, for example, that these
witnesses are lay people in so far as military and police matters are concerned, and confusion between the police and the
military is not unusual. As a rule, minor inconsistencies such as these indicate truthfulness rather than prevarication169and
only tend to strengthen their probative value, in contrast to testimonies from various witnesses dovetailing on every detail;
the latter cannot but generate suspicion that the material circumstances they testified to were integral parts of a well
thought of and prefabricated story.170
Based on these considerations and the unique evidentiary situation in enforced disappearance cases, we hold it duly
established that Col. Kasim informed the respondent and her friends, based on the informants letter, that Tagitis,
reputedly a liaison for the JI and who had been under surveillance since January 2007, was "in good hands" and under
custodial investigation for complicity with the JI after he was seen talking to one Omar Patik and a certain "Santos" of
Bulacan, a "Balik Islam" charged with terrorism. The respondents and Mrs. Talbins testimonies cannot simply be
defeated by Col. Kasims plain denial and his claim that he had destroyed his informants letter, the critical piece of
evidence that supports or negates the parties conflicting claims. Col. Kasims admitted destruction of this letter
effectively, a suppression of this evidence raises the presumption that the letter, if produced, would be proof of what the
respondent claimed.171 For brevity, we shall call the evidence of what Col. Kasim reported to the respondent to be the
"Kasim evidence."
Given this evidence, our next step is to decide whether we can accept this evidence, in lieu of direct evidence, as proof
that the disappearance of Tagitis was due to action with government participation, knowledge or consent and that he was
held for custodial investigation. We note in this regard that Col. Kasim was never quoted to have said that the custodial
investigation was by the CIDG Zamboanga. The Kasim evidence only implies government intervention through the use of
the term "custodial investigation," and does not at all point to CIDG Zamboanga as Tagitis custodian.
Strictly speaking, we are faced here with a classic case of hearsay evidence i.e., evidence whose probative value is not
based on the personal knowledge of the witnesses (the respondent, Mrs. Talbin and Col. Kasim himself) but on the
knowledge of some other person not on the witness stand (the informant).172
To say that this piece of evidence is incompetent and inadmissible evidence of what it substantively states is to
acknowledge as the petitioners effectively suggest that in the absence of any direct evidence, we should simply
dismiss the petition. To our mind, an immediate dismissal for this reason is no different from a statement that the Amparo
Rule despite its terms is ineffective, as it cannot allow for the special evidentiary difficulties that are unavoidably
present in Amparo situations, particularly in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. The Amparo Rule was not
promulgated with this intent or with the intent to make it a token gesture of concern for constitutional rights. It was
promulgated to provide effective and timely remedies, using and profiting from local and international experiences in
extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as the situation may require. Consequently, we have no choice but to
meet the evidentiary difficulties inherent in enforced disappearances with the flexibility that these difficulties
demand.1avvphi1
To give full meaning to our Constitution and the rights it protects, we hold that, as in Velasquez, we should at least take a
close look at the available evidence to determine the correct import of every piece of evidence even of those usually
considered inadmissible under the general rules of evidence taking into account the surrounding circumstances and the
test of reason that we can use as basic minimum admissibility requirement. In the present case, we should at least
determine whether the Kasim evidence before us is relevant and meaningful to the disappearance of Tagistis and
reasonably consistent with other evidence in the case.

The evidence about Tagitis personal circumstances surrounded him with an air of mystery. He was reputedly a consultant
of the World Bank and a Senior Honorary Counselor for the IDB who attended a seminar in Zamboanga and thereafter
proceded to Jolo for an overnight stay, indicated by his request to Kunnong for the purchase of a return ticket to
Zamboanga the day after he arrived in Jolo. Nothing in the records indicates the purpose of his overnight sojourn in Jolo.
A colleague in the IDB, Prof. Matli, early on informed the Jolo police that Tagitis may have taken funds given to him in
trust for IDB scholars. Prof Matli later on stated that he never accused Tagitis of taking away money held in trust,
although he confirmed that the IDB was seeking assistance in locating funds of IDB scholars deposited in Tagitis
personal account. Other than these pieces of evidence, no other information exists in the records relating to the personal
circumstances of Tagitis.
The actual disappearance of Tagitis is as murky as his personal circumstances. While the Amparo petition recited that he
was taken away by "burly men believed to be police intelligence operatives," no evidence whatsoever was introduced to
support this allegation. Thus, the available direct evidence is that Tagitis was last seen at 12.30 p.m. of October 30, 2007
the day he arrived in Jolo and was never seen again.
The Kasim evidence assumes critical materiality given the dearth of direct evidence on the above aspects of the case, as it
supplies the gaps that were never looked into and clarified by police investigation. It is the evidence, too, that colors a
simple missing person report into an enforced disappearance case, as it injects the element of participation by agents of
the State and thus brings into question how the State reacted to the disappearance.
Denials on the part of the police authorities, and frustration on the part of the respondent, characterize the attempts to
locate Tagitis. Initially in Jolo, the police informed Kunnong that Tagitis could have been taken by the Abu Sayyaf or
other groups fighting the government. No evidence was ever offered on whether there was active Jolo police investigation
and how and why the Jolo police arrived at this conclusion. The respondents own inquiry in Jolo yielded the answer that
he was not missing but was with another woman somewhere. Again, no evidence exists that this explanation was arrived
at based on an investigation. As already related above, the inquiry with Col. Ancanan in Zamboanga yielded ambivalent
results not useful for evidentiary purposes. Thus, it was only the inquiry from Col. Kasim that yielded positive results.
Col. Kasims story, however, confirmed only the fact of his custodial investigation (and, impliedly, his arrest or
abduction), without identifying his abductor/s or the party holding him in custody. The more significant part of Col.
Kasims story is that the abduction came after Tagitis was seen talking with Omar Patik and a certain Santos of Bulacan, a
"Balik Islam" charged with terrorism. Mrs. Talbin mentioned, too, that Tagitis was being held at Talipapao, Sulu. None of
the police agencies participating in the investigation ever pursued these leads. Notably, Task Force Tagitis to which this
information was relayed did not appear to have lifted a finger to pursue these aspects of the case.
More denials were manifested in the Returns on the writ to the CA made by the petitioners. Then PNP Chief Gen. Avelino
I. Razon merely reported the directives he sent to the ARMM Regional Director and the Regional Chief of the CIDG on
Tagitis, and these reports merely reiterated the open-ended initial report of the disappearance. The CIDG directed a search
in all of its divisions with negative results. These, to the PNP Chief, constituted the exhaustion "of all possible efforts."
PNP-CIDG Chief General Edgardo M. Doromal, for his part, also reported negative results after searching "all divisions
and departments [of the CIDG] for a person named Engr. Morced N. Tagitis . . . and after a diligent and thorough
research, records show that no such person is being detained in the CIDG or any of its department or divisions." PNPPACER Chief PS Supt. Leonardo A. Espina and PNP PRO ARMM Regional Director PC Superintendent Joel R. Goltiao
did no better in their affidavits-returns, as they essentially reported the results of their directives to their units to search for
Tagitis.
The extent to which the police authorities acted was fully tested when the CA constituted Task Force Tagitis, with specific
directives on what to do. The negative results reflected in the Returns on the writ were again replicated during the three
hearings the CA scheduled. Aside from the previously mentioned "retraction" that Prof. Matli made to correct his
accusation that Tagitis took money held in trust for students, PS Supt. Ajirim reiterated in his testimony that the CIDG
consistently denied any knowledge or complicity in any abduction and said that there was no basis to conclude that the
CIDG or any police unit had anything to do with the disappearance of Tagitis; he likewise considered it premature to
conclude that Tagitis simply ran away with the money in his custody. As already noted above, the Task Force notably did
not pursue any investigation about the personal circumstances of Tagitis, his background in relation to the IDB and the
background and activities of this Bank itself, and the reported sighting of Tagistis with terrorists and his alleged custody
in Talipapao, Sulu. No attempt appears to have ever been made to look into the alleged IDB funds that Tagitis held in
trust, or to tap any of the "assets" who are indispensable in investigations of this nature. These omissions and negative

results were aggravated by the CA findings that it was only as late as January 28, 2008 or three months after the
disappearance that the police authorities requested for clear pictures of Tagitis. Col. Kasim could not attend the trial
because his subpoena was not served, despite the fact that he was designated as Ajirims replacement in the latters last
post. Thus, Col. Kasim was not then questioned. No investigation even an internal one appeared to have been made to
inquire into the identity of Col. Kasims "asset" and what he indeed wrote.
We glean from all these pieces of evidence and developments a consistency in the governments denial of any complicity
in the disappearance of Tagitis, disrupted only by the report made by Col. Kasim to the respondent at Camp Katitipan.
Even Col. Kasim, however, eventually denied that he ever made the disclosure that Tagitis was under custodial
investigation for complicity in terrorism. Another distinctive trait that runs through these developments is the
governments dismissive approach to the disappearance, starting from the initial response by the Jolo police to Kunnongs
initial reports of the disappearance, to the responses made to the respondent when she herself reported and inquired about
her husbands disappearance, and even at Task Force Tagitis itself.
As the CA found through Task Force Tagitis, the investigation was at best haphazard since the authorities were looking
for a man whose picture they initially did not even secure. The returns and reports made to the CA fared no better, as the
CIDG efforts themselves were confined to searching for custodial records of Tagitis in their various departments and
divisions. To point out the obvious, if the abduction of Tagitis was a "black" operation because it was unrecorded or
officially unauthorized, no record of custody would ever appear in the CIDG records; Tagitis, too, would not be detained
in the usual police or CIDG detention places. In sum, none of the reports on record contains any meaningful results or
details on the depth and extent of the investigation made. To be sure, reports of top police officials indicating the
personnel and units they directed to investigate can never constitute exhaustive and meaningful investigation, or equal
detailed investigative reports of the activities undertaken to search for Tagitis. Indisputably, the police authorities from the
very beginning failed to come up to the extraordinary diligence that the Amparo Rule requires.
CONCLUSIONS AND THE AMPARO REMEDY
Based on these considerations, we conclude that Col. Kasims disclosure, made in an unguarded moment, unequivocally
point to some government complicity in the disappearance. The consistent but unfounded denials and the haphazard
investigations cannot but point to this conclusion. For why would the government and its officials engage in their chorus
of concealment if the intent had not been to deny what they already knew of the disappearance? Would not an in-depth
and thorough investigation that at least credibly determined the fate of Tagitis be a feather in the governments cap under
the circumstances of the disappearance? From this perspective, the evidence and developments, particularly the Kasim
evidence, already establish a concrete case of enforced disappearance that the Amparo Rule covers. From the prism of the
UN Declaration, heretofore cited and quoted,173 the evidence at hand and the developments in this case confirm the fact of
the enforced disappearance and government complicity, under a background of consistent and unfounded government
denials and haphazard handling. The disappearance as well effectively placed Tagitis outside the protection of the law a
situation that will subsist unless this Court acts.
This kind of fact situation and the conclusion reached are not without precedent in international enforced disappearance
rulings. While the facts are not exactly the same, the facts of this case run very close to those of Timurtas v. Turkey, 174 a
case decided by ECHR. The European tribunal in that case acted on the basis of the photocopy of a "post-operation
report" in finding that Abdulvahap Timurtas (Abdulvahap) was abducted and later detained by agents (gendarmes) of the
government of Turkey. The victim's father in this case brought a claim against Turkey for numerous violations of the
European Convention, including the right to life (Article 2) and the rights to liberty and security of a person (Article 5).
The applicant contended that on August 14, 1993, gendarmes apprehended his son, Abdulvahap for being a leader of the
Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in the Silopi region. The petition was filed in southeast Turkey nearly six and one half
years after the apprehension. According to the father, gendarmes first detained Abdulvahap and then transferred him to
another detainment facility. Although there was no eyewitness evidence of the apprehension or subsequent detainment,
the applicant presented evidence corroborating his version of events, including a photocopy of a post-operation report
signed by the commander of gendarme operations in Silopi, Turkey. The report included a description of Abdulvahap's
arrest and the result of a subsequent interrogation during detention where he was accused of being a leader of the PKK in
the Silopi region. On this basis, Turkey was held responsible for Abdulvahaps enforced disappearance.
Following the lead of this Turkish experience - adjusted to the Philippine legal setting and the Amparo remedy this Court
has established, as applied to the unique facts and developments of this case we believe and so hold that the government

in general, through the PNP and the PNP-CIDG, and in particular, the Chiefs of these organizations together with Col.
Kasim, should be held fully accountable for the enforced disappearance of Tagitis.
The PNP and CIDG are accountable because Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the "PNP
Law,"175 specifies the PNP as the governmental office with the mandate "to investigate and prevent crimes, effect the
arrest of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution." The PNP-CIDG, as Col. Jose
Volpane Pante (then Chief of CIDG Region 9) testified, is the "investigative arm" of the PNP and is mandated to
"investigate and prosecute all cases involving violations of the Revised Penal Code, particularly those considered as
heinous crimes."176 Under the PNP organizational structure, the PNP-CIDG is tasked to investigate all major crimes
involving violations of the Revised Penal Code and operates against organized crime groups, unless the President assigns
the case exclusively to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).177 No indication exists in this case showing that the
President ever directly intervened by assigning the investigation of Tagitis disappearance exclusively to the NBI.
Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were the ones who were remiss in their duties when
the government completely failed to exercise the extral'>To fully enforce the Amparo remedy, we refer this case back to
the CA for appropriate proceedings directed at the monitoring of the PNP and the PNP-CIDG investigations and actions,
and the validation of their results through hearings the CA may deem appropriate to conduct. For purposes of these
investigations, the PNP/PNP-CIDG shall initially present to the CA a plan of action for further investigation, periodically
reporting the detailed results of its investigation to the CA for its consideration and action. On behalf of this Court, the CA
shall pass upon: the need for the PNP and the PNP-CIDG to make disclosures of matters known to them as indicated in
this Decision and as further CA hearings may indicate; the petitioners submissions; the sufficiency of their investigative
efforts; and submit to this Court a quarterly report containing its actions and recommendations, copy furnished the
petitioners and the respondent, with the first report due at the end of the first quarter counted from the finality of this
Decision. The PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall have one (1) full year to undertake their investigation. The CA shall submit
its full report for the consideration of this Court at the end of the 4th quarter counted from the finality of this Decision.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the petitioners petition for review on certiorari for lack of merit, and
AFFIRM the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 7, 2008 under the following terms:
a. Recognition that the disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis is an enforced disappearance covered by the
Rule on the Writ of Amparo;
b. Without any specific pronouncement on exact authorship and responsibility, declaring the government (through
the PNP and the PNP-CIDG) and Colonel Julasirim Ahadin Kasim accountable for the enforced disappearance of
Engineer Morced N. Tagitis;
c. Confirmation of the validity of the Writ of Amparo the Court of Appeals issued;
d. Holding the PNP, through the PNP Chief, and the PNP-CIDG, through its Chief, directly responsible for the
disclosure of material facts known to the government and to their offices regarding the disappearance of Engineer
Morced N. Tagitis, and for the conduct of proper investigations using extraordinary diligence, with the obligation
to show investigation results acceptable to this Court;
e. Ordering Colonel Julasirim Ahadin Kasim impleaded in this case and holding him accountable with the
obligation to disclose information known to him and to his "assets" in relation with the enforced disappearance of
Engineer Morced N. Tagitis;
f. Referring this case back to the Court of Appeals for appropriate proceedings directed at the monitoring of the
PNP and PNP-CIDG investigations, actions and the validation of their results; the PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall
initially present to the Court of Appeals a plan of action for further investigation, periodically reporting their
results to the Court of Appeals for consideration and action;
g. Requiring the Court of Appeals to submit to this Court a quarterly report with its recommendations, copy
furnished the incumbent PNP and PNP-CIDG Chiefs as petitioners and the respondent, with the first report due at
the end of the first quarter counted from the finality of this Decision;

h. The PNP and the PNP-CIDG shall have one (1) full year to undertake their investigations; the Court of Appeals
shall submit its full report for the consideration of this Court at the end of the 4th quarter counted from the finality
of this Decision;
These directives and those of the Court of Appeals made pursuant to this Decision shall be given to, and shall be directly
enforceable against, whoever may be the incumbent Chiefs of the Philippine National Police and its Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group, under pain of contempt from this Court when the initiatives and efforts at disclosure
and investigation constitute less than the extraordinary diligence that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo and the
circumstances of this case demand. Given the unique nature of Amparo cases and their varying attendant circumstances,
these directives particularly, the referral back to and monitoring by the CA are specific to this case and are not
standard remedies that can be applied to every Amparo situation.
The dismissal of the Amparo petition with respect to General Alexander Yano, Commanding General, Philippine Army,
and General Ruben Rafael, Chief, Anti-Terrorism Task Force Comet, Zamboanga City, is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC
G.R. No. 182498

February 16, 2010

GEN. AVELINO I. RAZON, JR., Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Police Chief Superintendent RAUL
CASTAEDA, Chief, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG); Police Senior Superintendent
LEONARDO A. ESPINA, Chief, Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER); and GEN. JOEL R.
GOLTIAO, Regional Director of ARMM, PNP, Petitioners,
vs.
MARY JEAN B. TAGITIS, herein represented by ATTY. FELIPE P. ARCILLA, JR., Attorney-inFact,Respondent.
RESOLUTION
BRION, J.:
We resolve in this Resolution the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the petitioners -- Gen. Avelino I. Razon, former
Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP);1 Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, former Chief of the Criminal Investigation
and Detection Group (CIDG), PNP;2 Police Senior Superintendent Leonardo A. Espina, former Chief of the Police AntiCrime and Emergency Response (PACER), PNP;3 and Gen. Joel Goltiao, former Regional Director of the PNPAutonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao4 (petitioners) -- addressing our Decision of December 3, 2009. This Decision
affirmed the Court of Appeals (CA) decision of March 7, 2008 confirming the enforced disappearance of Engineer
Morced N. Tagitis (Tagitis) and granting the Writ of Amparo.
Our December 3, 2009 Decision was based, among other considerations, on the finding that Col. Julasirim Ahadin Kasim
(Col. Kasim) informed the respondent Mary Jean Tagitis (respondent) and her friends that her husband had been under
surveillance since January 2007 because an informant notified the authorities, through a letter, that Tagitis was a liaison
for the JI;5 that he was "in good hands" and under custodial investigation for complicity with the JI after he was seen
talking to one Omar Patik and a certain "Santos" of Bulacan, a "Balik Islam" charged with terrorism (Kasim evidence).
We considered Col. Kasims information, together with the consistent denials by government authorities of any
complicity in the disappearance of Tagitis, the dismissive approach of the police authorities to the report of the
disappearance, as well as the haphazard investigations conducted that did not translate into any meaningful results, to be
indicative of government complicity in the disappearance of Tagitis (for purposes of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo).
We explained that although the Kasim evidence was patently hearsay (and was thus incompetent and inadmissible under
our rules of evidence), the unique evidentiary difficulties posed by enforced disappearance cases compel us to adopt
standards that were appropriate and responsive to the evidentiary difficulties faced. We noted that while we must follow
the substantial evidence rule, we must also observe flexibility in considering the evidence that we shall take into account.
Thus, we introduced a new evidentiary standard for Writ of Amparo cases in this wise:
The fair and proper rule, to our mind, is to consider all the pieces of evidence adduced in their totality, and to consider any
evidence otherwise inadmissible under our usual rules to be admissible if it is consistent with the admissible evidence
adduced. In other words, we reduce our rules to the most basic test of reason i.e., to the relevance of the evidence to the
issue at hand and its consistency with all the other pieces of adduced evidence, Thus, even hearsay evidence can be
admitted if it satisfies this minimum test. [Emphasis in the original]
We held further that the Kasim evidence was crucial to the resolution of the present case for two reasons: first, it supplied
the gaps that were never looked into or clarified by police investigation; and second, it qualified a simple missing person
report into an enforced disappearance case by injecting the element of participation by agents of the State and thus
brought into question how the State reacted to the disappearance.
Based on these considerations, we held that the government in general, through the PNP and the PNP-CIDG, and in
particular, the Chiefs of these organizations, together with Col. Kasim, were fully accountable 6 for the enforced
disappearance of Tagitis. Specifically, we held Col. Kasim accountable for his failure to disclose under oath information

relating to the enforced disappearance; for the purpose of this accountability, we ordered that Col. Kasim be impleaded as
a party to this case. Similarly, we also held the PNP accountable for the suppression of vital information that Col. Kasim
could, but did not, provide with the same obligation of disclosure that Col. Kasim carries.
The Motion for Reconsideration
The petitioners cited two grounds in support of their Motion for Reconsideration.
First, the petitioners argue that there was no sufficient evidence to conclude that Col. Kasims disclosure unequivocally
points to some government complicity in the disappearance of Tagitis. Specifically, the petitioners contend that this Court
erred in unduly relying on the raw information given to Col. Kasim by a personal intelligence "asset" without any other
evidence to support it. The petitioners also point out that the Court misapplied its cited cases (Secretary of Defense v.
Manalo,7 Velasquez Rodriguez v. Honduras,8 and Timurtas v. Turkey9) to support its December 3, 2009 decision; in those
cases, more than one circumstance pointed to the complicity of the government and its agents. The petitioners emphasize
that in the present case, the respondent only presented a "token piece of evidence" that points to Col. Kasim as the source
of information that Tagitis was under custodial investigation for having been suspected as a "terrorist supporter." This,
according to the petitioners, cannot be equated to the substantial evidence required by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.10
Second, the petitioners contend that Col. Kasims death renders impossible compliance with the Courts directive in its
December 3, 2009 decision that Col. Kasim be impleaded in the present case and held accountable with the obligation to
disclose information known to him and to his "assets" on the enforced disappearance of Tagitis. The petitioners alleged
that Col. Kasim was killed in an encounter with the Abu Sayaff Group on May 7, 2009. To prove Col. Kasims death, the
petitioners attached to their motion a copy of an article entitled "Abus kill Sulu police director" published by the
Philippine Daily Inquirer on May 8, 2009.11 This article alleged that "Senior Supt. Julasirim Kasim, his brother Rosalin, a
police trainee, and two other police officers were killed in a fire fight with Abu Sayyaf bandits that started at about 1 p.m.
on Thursday, May 7, 2009 at the boundaries of Barangays Kulasi and Bulabog in Maimbung town, Sulu." The petitioners
also attached an official copy of General Order No. 1089 dated May 15, 2009 issued by the PNP National Headquarters,
indicating that "PS SUPT [Police Senior Superintendent] Julasirim Ahadin Kasim 0-05530, PRO ARMM, is
posthumously retired from PNP service effective May 8, 2009."12 Additionally, the petitioners point out that the
intelligence "assets" who supplied the information that Tagitis was under custodial investigation were personal to Col.
Kasim; hence, the movants can no longer comply with this Courts order to disclose any information known to Col. Kasim
and his "assets."
The Courts Ruling
We hold that our directive to implead Col. Kasim as a party to the present case has been rendered moot and academic by
his death. Nevertheless, we resolve to deny the petitioners motion for reconsideration for lack of merit.
Paragraph (e) of the dispositive portion of our December 3, 2009 decision directs:
e. Ordering Colonel Julasirim Ahadin Kasim impleaded in this case and holding him accountable with the obligation to
disclose information known to him and to his "assets" in relation with the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N.
Tagitis;
Undisputably, this directive can no longer be enforced, and has been rendered moot and academic, given Col. Kasim's
demise. His intervening death, however, does not necessarily signify the loss of the information Col. Kasim may have left
behind, particularly the network of "assets" he utilized while he was in the service. Intelligence gathering is not an activity
conducted in isolation, and involves an interwoven network of informants existing on the basis of symbiotic relationships
with the police and the military. It is not farfetched that a resourceful investigator, utilizing the extraordinary diligence
that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo requires,13 can still access or reconstruct the information Col. Kasim received from
his "asset" or network of assets during his lifetime.
The extinction of Col. Kasims personal accountability and obligation to disclose material information, known to him and
his assets, does not also erase the burden of disclosure and investigation that rests with the PNP and the CIDG. Lest this
Court be misunderstood, we reiterate that our holding in our December 3, 2009 Decision that the PNP -- through the

incumbent PNP Chief; and the PNP-CIDG, through its incumbent Chief -- are directly responsible14 for the disclosure of
material facts known to the government and to their offices regarding the disappearance of Tagitis; and that the conduct of
proper investigation using extraordinary diligence still subsists. These are continuing obligations that will not truly be
terminated until the enforced disappearance of the victim, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis, is fully addressed by the responsible
or accountable parties, as we directed in our Decision.
We now turn to the petitioners substantial challenge to the merits of our December 3, 2009 decision.
We see no merit in the petitioners submitted position that no sufficient evidence exists to support the conclusion that the
Kasim evidence unequivocally points to some government complicity in the disappearance. Contrary to the petitioners
claim that our conclusions only relied on Col. Kasims report, our Decision plainly and pointedly considered other
evidence supporting our conclusion, particularly the consistent denials by government authorities of any complicity in the
disappearance of Tagitis; the dismissive approach of the police authorities to the report of the disappearance; and the
conduct of haphazard investigations that did not translate into any meaningful results. We painstakingly ruled:
To give full meaning to our Constitution and the rights it protects, we hold that, as in Velasquez, we should at least take a
close look at the available evidence to determine the correct import of every piece of evidence even of those usually
considered inadmissible under the general rules of evidence taking into account the surrounding circumstances and the
test of reason that we can use as basic minimum admissibility requirement. In the present case, we should at least
determine whether the Kasim evidence before us is relevant and meaningful to the disappearance of Tagistis and
reasonably consistent with other evidence in the case.
xxx
The Kasim evidence assumes critical materiality given the dearth of direct evidence on the above aspects of the case, as it
supplies the gaps that were never looked into and clarified by police investigation. It is the evidence, too, that colors a
simple missing person report into an enforced disappearance case, as it injects the element of participation by agents of
the State and thus brings into question how the State reacted to the disappearance.
xxx
We glean from all these pieces of evidence and developments a consistency in the governments denial of any complicity
in the disappearance of Tagitis, disrupted only by the report made by Col. Kasim to the respondent at Camp Katitipan.
Even Col. Kasim, however, eventually denied that he ever made the disclosure that Tagitis was under custodial
investigation for complicity in terrorism. Another distinctive trait that runs through these developments is the
governments dismissive approach to the disappearance, starting from the initial response by the Jolo police to Kunnongs
initial reports of the disappearance, to the responses made to the respondent when she herself reported and inquired about
her husbands disappearance, and even at Task Force Tagitis itself.
As the CA found through Task Force Tagitis, the investigation was at best haphazard since the authorities were looking
for a man whose picture they initially did not even secure. The returns and reports made to the CA fared no better, as the
CIDG efforts themselves were confined to searching for custodial records of Tagitis in their various departments and
divisions. To point out the obvious, if the abduction of Tagitis was a "black" operation because it was unrecorded or
officially unauthorized, no record of custody would ever appear in the CIDG records; Tagitis, too, would not be detained
in the usual police or CIDG detention places. In sum, none of the reports on record contains any meaningful results or
details on the depth and extent of the investigation made. To be sure, reports of top police officials indicating the
personnel and units they directed to investigate can never constitute exhaustive and meaningful investigation, or equal
detailed investigative reports of the activities undertaken to search for Tagitis. Indisputably, the police authorities from the
very beginning failed to come up to the extraordinary diligence that the Amparo Rule requires. [Emphasis in the original]
Likewise, we see no merit in the petitioners claim that the Kasim evidence does not amount to substantial evidence
required by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. This is not a new issue; we extensively and thoroughly considered and
resolved it in our December 3, 2009 Decision. At this point, we need not go into another full discussion of the
justifications supporting an evidentiary standard specific to the Writ of Amparo. Suffice it to say that we continue to
adhere to the substantial evidence rule that the Rule on the Writ of Amparo requires, with some adjustments for flexibility

in considering the evidence presented. When we ruled that hearsay evidence (usually considered inadmissible under the
general rules of evidence) may be admitted as the circumstances of the case may require, we did not thereby dispense with
the substantial evidence rule; we merely relaxed the evidentiary rule on the admissibility of evidence, maintaining all the
time the standards of reason and relevance that underlie every evidentiary situation. This, we did, by considering the
totality of the obtaining situation and the consistency of the hearsay evidence with the other available evidence in the case.
We also cannot agree with the petitioners contention that we misapplied Secretary of Defense v. Manalo,15Velasquez
Rodriguez v. Honduras,16 and Timurtas v. Turkey17 to support our December 3, 2009 decision. The petitioners make this
claim with the view that in these cases, more than one circumstance pointed to the government or its agents as the parties
responsible for the disappearance, while we can only point to the Kasim evidence. A close reading of our December 3,
2009 Decision shows that it rests on more than one basis.
At the risk of repetition, we stress that other pieces of evidence point the way towards our conclusion, particularly the
unfounded and consistent denials by government authorities of any complicity in the disappearance; the dismissive
approach of the police to the report of the disappearance; and the haphazard handling of the investigation that did not
produce any meaningful results. In cruder but more understandable language, the run-around given to the respondent and
the government responses to the request for meaningful investigation, considered in the light of the Kasim evidence,
pointed to the conclusion that the Tagitis affair carried a "foul smell" indicative of government complicity or, at the very
least, an attempt at cover-up and concealment. This is the situation that the Writ of Amparo specifically seeks to address.
Manalo, Velasquez Rodriguez and Timurtas, read in proper perspective, fully support our findings and conclusions in this
case.
Manalo is different from Tagitis in terms of their factual settings, as enforced disappearance was no longer a problem in
that case. The enforced disappearance of the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo effectively ended when they
escaped from captivity and surfaced, while Tagitis is still nowhere to be found and remains missing more than two years
after his reported disappearance. An Amparo situation subsisted in Manalo, however, because of the continuing threat to
the brothers right to security; the brothers claimed that since the persons responsible for their enforced disappearance
were still at large and had not been held accountable, the former were still under the threat of being once again abducted,
kept captive or even killed, which threat constituted a direct violation of their right to security of person. In ruling that
substantial evidence existed to support the conclusion that the respondents right to security had been violated, the Court
not only considered the respondents affidavit and testimony which positively identified the perpetrators, but also noted
other evidence showing the ineffective investigation and protection on the part of the military. The Court significantly
found that:
Next, the violation of the right to security as protection by the government. Apart from the failure of military elements to
provide protection to respondents by themselves perpetrating the abduction, detention, and torture, they also miserably
failed in conducting an effective investigation of respondents abduction as revealed by the testimony and investigation
report of petitioners own witness, Lt. Col. Ruben Jimenez, Provost Marshall of the 7th Infantry Division.
The one-day investigation conducted by Jimenez was very limited, superficial, and one-sided. He merely relied on the
Sworn Statements of the six implicated members of the CAFGU and civilians whom he met in the investigation for the
first time. He was present at the investigation when his subordinate Lingad was taking the sworn statements, but he did
not propound a single question to ascertain the veracity of their statements or their credibility. He did not call for other
witnesses to test the alibis given by the six implicated persons nor for the family or neighbors of the respondents.
In his affidavit, petitioner Secretary of National Defense attested that in a Memorandum Directive dated October 31,
2007, he issued a policy directive addressed to the AFP Chief of Staff, that the AFP should adopt rules of action in the
event the writ of amparo is issued by a competent court against any members of the AFP, which should essentially
include verification of the identity of the aggrieved party; recovery and preservation of relevant evidence; identification of
witnesses and securing statements from them; determination of the cause, manner, location and time of death or
disappearance; identification and apprehension of the person or persons involved in the death or disappearance; and
bringing of the suspected offenders before a competent court. Petitioner AFP Chief of Staff also submitted his own
affidavit attesting that he received the above directive of respondent Secretary of National Defense and that acting on this
directive, he immediately caused to be issued a directive to the units of the AFP for the purpose of establishing the
circumstances of the alleged disappearance and the recent reappearance of the respondents, and undertook to provide

results of the investigations to respondents. To this day, however, almost a year after the policy directive was issued by
petitioner Secretary of National Defense on October 31, 2007, respondents have not been furnished the results of the
investigation which they now seek through the instant petition for a writ of amparo.
Under these circumstances, there is substantial evidence to warrant the conclusion that there is a violation of respondents
right to security as a guarantee of protection by the government. [Emphasis supplied]18
Similarly in Velasquez Rodriguez, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) acknowledged that when the
Honduran Government carried out or tolerated enforced disappearances, the police customarily used a distinctive form of
kidnapping. Consequently, the IACHR presumed that Velasquez disappeared at the "hands of or with the acquiescence of
those officials within the framework of that practice." Moreover, the IACHR found that negative inferences may be drawn
from the fact that the government failed to investigate or to inquire into his disappearance, and thwarted the attempts by
the victims family to do so; these according to the Court strongly suggested the governments involvement in the
disappearance, even if there was no direct evidence indicating that the government kidnapped Velasquez.19 The Court thus
held:201avvphi1
iii. In the case of Manfredo Velsquez, there were the same type of denials by his captors and the Armed Forces, the same
omissions of the latter and of the Government in investigating and revealing his whereabouts, and the same
ineffectiveness of the courts where three writs of HABEAS corpus and two criminal complaints were brought ( testimony
of Miguel Angel Pavn Salazar, Ramn Custodio Lpez, Zenaida Velsquez, press clippings and documentary evidence ).
h. There is no evidence in the record that Manfredo Velsquez had disappeared in order to join subversive groups, other
than a letter from the Mayor of Langue, which contained rumors to that effect. The letter itself shows that the Government
associated him with activities it considered a threat to national security. However, the Government did not corroborate the
view expressed in the letter with any other evidence. Nor is there any evidence that he was kidnapped by common
criminals or other persons unrelated to the practice of disappearances existing at that time."
148. Based upon the above, the Court finds that the following facts have been proven in this proceeding: (1) a practice of
disappearances carried out or tolerated by Honduran officials existed between 1981 and 1984; ( 2) Manfredo Velsquez
disappeared at the hands of or with the acquiescence of those officials within the framework of that practice; and (3) the
Government of Honduras failed to guarantee the human rights affected by that practice.
Finally, in Timurtas, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) altered the prevailing jurisprudence by permitting a
lesser evidentiary burden in cases of enforced disappearances. The ECHR dismissed the need for direct evidence
previously held necessary in the leading case of Kurt v. Turkey,21 and instead permitted the use of circumstantial evidence
to establish a violation of the right to life. It stated that "whether the failure on the part of authorities to provide a plausible
explanation as to a detainees fate, in the absence of a body, might raise issues under Article 2 of the Convention (right to
life), will depend on the circumstances of the case and, in particular, on the existence of sufficient circumstantial evidence
based on concrete elements, from which it may be concluded to the requisite standard of proof that the detainee must be
presumed to have died in custody."22The ECHR found that:23
Noting that more than six and a half years has gone by since Abdulvahap Timurtas apprehension and having regard to all
the other circumstances of the case, the Court found that the disappearance of Abdulvahap Timurtas after he had been
taken into detention led, in the circumstances of this case, to a presumption that he had died. No explanation having been
provided by the Government as to what had happened to him during his detention, the Government was liable for his
death and there was a violation of Article 2 of the Convention. [Emphasis supplied]
Significantly (in the context of the present case), the ECHR also noted that the inadequacy of the investigation into the
disappearance of Timurtas also constituted a violation of his right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention on
Human Rights.
Thus viewed, common threads that plainly run in the three cited cases are applicable to the present case. There is the
evidence of ineffective investigation in Manalo and Velasquez Rodriguez, while in all three was the recognition that the
burden of proof must be lowered or relaxed (either through the use of circumstantial or indirect evidence or even by
logical inference); the requirement for direct evidence to establish that an enforced disappearance occurred -- as the

petitioners effectively suggest -- would render it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to prove that an individual has been
made to disappear. In these lights, we emphasized in our December 3, 2009 Decision that while the need for substantial
evidence remains the rule, flexibility must be observed where appropriate (as the Courts in Velasquez Rodriguez and
Timurtas did) for the protection of the precious rights to life, liberty and security. This flexibility, we noted, requires that
"we should take a close look at the available evidence to determine the correct import of every piece of evidence even of
those usually considered inadmissible under the general rules of evidence taking into account the surrounding
circumstances and the test of reason that we can use as basic minimum admissibility requirement." From these
perspectives, we see no error that we should rectify or reconsider.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we resolve to GRANT the motion to declare the inclusion of PS/Supt. Julasirim
Ahadin Kasim moot and academic, but, otherwise, DENY the petitioners motion for reconsideration. Let this case be
remanded to the Court of Appeals for further proceedings as directed in our Decision of December 3, 2009.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 183871

February 18, 2010

LOURDES D. RUBRICO, JEAN RUBRICO APRUEBO, and MARY JOY RUBRICO CARBONEL, Petitioners,
vs.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, P/DIR. GEN. AVELINO RAZON, MAJ.
DARWIN SY a.k.a. DARWIN REYES, JIMMY SANTANA, RUBEN ALFARO, CAPT. ANGELO CUARESMA,
a certain JONATHAN, P/SUPT. EDGAR B. ROQUERO, ARSENIO C. GOMEZ, and OFFICE OF THE
OMBUDSMAN, Respondents.
DECISION
VELASCO, JR., J.:
In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court in relation to Section 191 of the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo2 (Amparo Rule), Lourdes D. Rubrico, Jean Rubrico Apruebo, and Mary Joy Rubrico Carbonel assail and seek to
set aside the Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated July 31, 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 00003, a petition
commenced under the Amparo Rule.
The petition for the writ of amparo dated October 25, 2007 was originally filed before this Court. After issuing the desired
writ and directing the respondents to file a verified written return, the Court referred the petition to the CA for summary
hearing and appropriate action. The petition and its attachments contained, in substance, the following allegations:
1. On April 3, 2007, armed men belonging to the 301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron (AISS, for short)
based in Fernando Air Base in Lipa City abducted Lourdes D. Rubrico (Lourdes), then attending a
Lenten pabasa in Bagong Bayan, Dasmarias, Cavite, and brought to, and detained at, the air base without
charges. Following a week of relentless interrogation - conducted alternately by hooded individuals - and what
amounts to verbal abuse and mental harassment, Lourdes, chair of the Ugnayan ng Maralita para sa Gawa
Adhikan, was released at Dasmarias, Cavite, her hometown, but only after being made to sign a statement that
she would be a military asset.
After Lourdes release, the harassment, coming in the form of being tailed on at least two occasions at different
places, i.e., Dasmarias, Cavite and Baclaran in Pasay City, by motorcycle-riding men in bonnets, continued;
2. During the time Lourdes was missing, P/Sr. Insp. Arsenio Gomez (P/Insp. Gomez), then sub-station
commander of Bagong Bayan, Dasmarias, Cavite, kept sending text messages to Lourdes daughter, Mary Joy R.

Carbonel (Mary Joy), bringing her to beaches and asking her questions about Karapatan, an alliance of human
rights organizations. He, however, failed to make an investigation even after Lourdes disappearance had been
made known to him;
3. A week after Lourdes release, another daughter, Jean R. Apruebo (Jean), was constrained to leave their house
because of the presence of men watching them;
4. Lourdes has filed with the Office of the Ombudsman a criminal complaint for kidnapping and arbitrary
detention and administrative complaint for gross abuse of authority and grave misconduct against Capt. Angelo
Cuaresma (Cuaresma), Ruben Alfaro (Alfaro), Jimmy Santana (Santana) and a certain Jonathan, c/o Headquarters
301st AISS, Fernando Air Base and Maj. Sy/Reyes with address at No. 09 Amsterdam Ext., Merville Subd.,
Paraaque City, but nothing has happened; and the threats and harassment incidents have been reported to the
Dasmarias municipal and Cavite provincial police stations, but nothing eventful resulted from their respective
investigations.
Two of the four witnesses to Lourdes abduction went into hiding after being visited by government agents in
civilian clothes; and
5. Karapatan conducted an investigation on the incidents. The investigation would indicate that men belonging to
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), namely Capt. Cuaresma of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Alfaro,
Santana, Jonathan and Maj. Darwin Sy/Reyes, led the abduction of Lourdes; that unknown to the abductors,
Lourdes was able to pilfer a "mission order" which was addressed to CA Ruben Alfaro and signed by Capt.
Cuaresma of the PAF.
The petition prayed that a writ of amparo issue, ordering the individual respondents to desist from performing any
threatening act against the security of the petitioners and for the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) to immediately file an
information for kidnapping qualified with the aggravating circumstance of gender of the offended party. It also prayed for
damages and for respondents to produce documents submitted to any of them on the case of Lourdes.
Before the CA, respondents President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, then Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Police Director-General (P/Dir. Gen.) Avelino Razon, then Philippine National Police
(PNP) Chief, Police Superintendent (P/Supt.) Roquero of the Cavite Police Provincial Office, Police Inspector (P/Insp.)
Gomez, now retired, and the OMB (answering respondents, collectively) filed, through the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG), a joint return on the writ specifically denying the material inculpatory averments against them. The OSG also
denied the allegations against the following impleaded persons, namely: Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and
Sy/Reyes, for lack of knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the allegations truth. And by way of
general affirmative defenses, answering respondents interposed the following defenses: (1) the President may not be sued
during her incumbency; and (2) the petition is incomplete, as it fails to indicate the matters required by Sec. 5(d) and (e)
of the Amparo Rule.4
Attached to the return were the affidavits of the following, among other public officials, containing their respective
affirmative defenses and/or statements of what they had undertaken or committed to undertake regarding the claimed
disappearance of Lourdes and the harassments made to bear on her and her daughters:
1. Gen. Esperon attested that, pursuant to a directive of then Secretary of National Defense (SND) Gilberto C.
Teodoro, Jr., he ordered the Commanding General of the PAF, with information to all concerned units, to conduct
an investigation to establish the circumstances behind the disappearance and the reappearance of Lourdes insofar
as the involvement of alleged personnel/unit is concerned. The Provost Marshall General and the Office of the
Judge Advocate General (JAGO), AFP, also undertook a parallel action.
Gen. Esperon manifested his resolve to provide the CA with material results of the investigation; to continue with
the probe on the alleged abduction of Lourdes and to bring those responsible, including military personnel, to the
bar of justice when warranted by the findings and the competent evidence that may be gathered in the
investigation process by those mandated to look into the matter;5

2. P/Dir. Gen. Razon - stated that an investigation he immediately ordered upon receiving a copy of the petition is
on-going vis--vis Lourdes abduction, and that a background verification with the PNP Personnel Accounting
and Information System disclosed that the names Santana, Alfaro, Cuaresma and one Jonathan do not appear in
the police personnel records, although the PNP files carry the name of Darwin Reyes Y. Muga.
Per the initial investigation report of the Dasmarias municipal police station, P/Dir. Gen. Razon disclosed,
Lourdes was abducted by six armed men in the afternoon of April 3, 2007 and dragged aboard a Toyota Revo
with plate number XRR 428, which plate was issued for a Mitsubishi van to AK Cottage Industry with address at
9 Amsterdam St., Merville Subd., Paraaque City. The person residing in the apartment on that given address is
one Darius/Erwin See @ Darius Reyes allegedly working, per the latters house helper, in Camp Aguinaldo.
P/Dir. Gen. Razon, however, bemoaned the fact that Mrs. Rubrico never contacted nor coordinated with the local
police or other investigating units of the PNP after her release, although she is in the best position to establish the
identity of her abductors and/or provide positive description through composite sketching. Nonetheless, he
manifested that the PNP is ready to assist and protect the petitioners and the key witnesses from threats,
harassments and intimidation from whatever source and, at the same time, to assist the Court in the
implementation of its orders.61avvphi1
3. P/Supt. Roquero stated conducting, upon receipt of Lourdes complaint, an investigation and submitting the
corresponding report to the PNP Calabarzon, observing that neither Lourdes nor her relatives provided the police
with relevant information;
4. P/Insp. Gomez alleged that Lourdes, her kin and witnesses refused to cooperate with the investigating Cavite
PNP; and
5. Overall Deputy Ombudsman Orlando Casimiro - alleged that cases for violation of Articles 267 and 124, or
kidnapping and arbitrary detention, respectively, have been filed with, and are under preliminary investigation by
the OMB against those believed to be involved in Lourdes kidnapping; that upon receipt of the petition for a writ
of amparo, proper coordination was made with the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and other
Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) where the subject criminal and administrative complaints were filed.
Commenting on the return, petitioners pointed out that the return was no more than a general denial of averments in the
petition. They, thus, pleaded to be allowed to present evidence ex parte against the President, Santana, Alfaro, Capt.
Cuaresma, Darwin Sy, and Jonathan. And with leave of court, they also asked to serve notice of the petition through
publication, owing to their failure to secure the current address of the latter five and thus submit, as the CA required, proof
of service of the petition on them.
The hearing started on November 13, 2007.7 In that setting, petitioners counsel prayed for the issuance of a temporary
protection order (TPO) against the answering respondents on the basis of the allegations in the petition. At the hearing of
November 20, 2007, the CA granted petitioners motion that the petition and writ be served by the courts process server
on Darwin Sy/Reyes, Santana, Alfaro, Capt. Cuaresma, and Jonathan.
The legal skirmishes that followed over the propriety of excluding President Arroyo from the petition, petitioners
motions for service by publication, and the issuance of a TPO are not of decisive pertinence in this recital. The bottom line
is that, by separate resolutions, the CA dropped the President as respondent in the case; denied the motion for a TPO for
the courts want of authority to issue it in the tenor sought by petitioners; and effectively denied the motion for notice by
publication owing to petitioners failure to submit the affidavit required under Sec. 17, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. 8
After due proceedings, the CA rendered, on July 31, 2008, its partial judgment, subject of this review, disposing of the
petition but only insofar as the answering respondents were concerned. The fallo of the CA decision reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, partial judgment is hereby rendered DISMISSING the instant petition with respect
to respondent Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon, Supt. Edgar B. Roquero, P/Sr. Insp. Arsenio C.
Gomez (ret.) and the Office of the Ombudsman.

Nevertheless, in order that petitioners complaint will not end up as another unsolved case, the heads of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are directed to ensure that the investigations already commenced are
diligently pursued to bring the perpetrators to justice. The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and P/Dir.
Gen. Avelino Razon are directed to regularly update petitioners and this Court on the status of their investigation.
SO ORDERED.
In this recourse, petitioners formulate the issue for resolution in the following wise:
WHETHER OR NOT the [CA] committed reversible error in dismissing [their] Petition and dropping President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo as party respondent.
Petitioners first take issue on the Presidents purported lack of immunity from suit during her term of office. The 1987
Constitution, so they claim, has removed such immunity heretofore enjoyed by the chief executive under the 1935 and
1973 Constitutions.
Petitioners are mistaken. The presidential immunity from suit remains preserved under our system of government, albeit
not expressly reserved in the present constitution. Addressing a concern of his co-members in the 1986 Constitutional
Commission on the absence of an express provision on the matter, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. observed that it was already
understood in jurisprudence that the President may not be sued during his or her tenure.9 The Court subsequently made it
abundantly clear in David v. Macapagal-Arroyo, a case likewise resolved under the umbrella of the 1987 Constitution,
that indeed the President enjoys immunity during her incumbency, and why this must be so:
Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or
criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law. It will degrade the dignity of the high office
of the President, the Head of State, if he can be dragged into court litigations while serving as such. Furthermore, it is
important that he be freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or distraction to enable him to fully attend to the
performance of his official duties and functions. Unlike the legislative and judicial branch, only one constitutes the
executive branch and anything which impairs his usefulness in the discharge of the many great and important duties
imposed upon him by the Constitution necessarily impairs the operation of the Government.10 x x x
And lest it be overlooked, the petition is simply bereft of any allegation as to what specific presidential act or omission
violated or threatened to violate petitioners protected rights.
This brings us to the correctness of the assailed dismissal of the petition with respect to Gen. Esperon, P/Dir. Gen. Razon,
P/Supt. Roquero, P/Insp. Gomez, and the OMB.
None of the four individual respondents immediately referred to above has been implicated as being connected to, let
alone as being behind, the alleged abduction and harassment of petitioner Lourdes. Their names were not even mentioned
in Lourdes Sinumpaang Salaysay11 of April 2007. The same goes for the respective Sinumpaang
Salaysay and/or Karagdagang Sinumpaang Salaysay of Jean12 and Mary Joy.13
As explained by the CA, Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon were included in the case on the theory that they, as
commanders, were responsible for the unlawful acts allegedly committed by their subordinates against petitioners. To the
appellate court, "the privilege of the writ of amparo must be denied as against Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon for the
simple reason that petitioners have not presented evidence showing that those who allegedly abducted and illegally
detained Lourdes and later threatened her and her family were, in fact, members of the military or the police force." The
two generals, the CAs holding broadly hinted, would have been accountable for the abduction and threats if the actual
malefactors were members of the AFP or PNP.
As regards the three other answering respondents, they were impleaded because they allegedly had not exerted the
required extraordinary diligence in investigating and satisfactorily resolving Lourdes disappearance or bringing to justice
the actual perpetrators of what amounted to a criminal act, albeit there were allegations against P/Insp. Gomez of acts
constituting threats against Mary Joy.

While in a qualified sense tenable, the dismissal by the CA of the case as against Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon is
incorrect if viewed against the backdrop of the stated rationale underpinning the assailed decision vis--vis the two
generals, i.e., command responsibility. The Court assumes the latter stance owing to the fact that command responsibility,
as a concept defined, developed, and applied under international law, has little, if at all, bearing in amparo proceedings.
The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds its context in the development of laws of war and armed
combats. According to 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 in
international wars or domestic conflict."14 In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity.
The Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command responsibility,15 foreshadowing the present-day
precept of holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his subordinates should he be remiss in his duty
of control over them. As then formulated, command responsibility is "an omission mode of individual criminal
liability," whereby the superior is made responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to prevent or
punish the perpetrators16 (as opposed to crimes he ordered).
The doctrine has recently been codified in the Rome Statute17 of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to which the
Philippines is signatory. Sec. 28 of the Statute imposes individual responsibility on military commanders for crimes
committed by forces under their control. The country is, however, not yet formally bound by the terms and provisions
embodied in this treaty-statute, since the Senate has yet to extend concurrence in its ratification.18
While there are several pending bills on command responsibility,19 there is still no Philippine law that provides for
criminal liability under that doctrine.20
It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to hold military/police commanders liable for
extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats, may be made applicable to this jurisdiction on the theory that the
command responsibility doctrine now constitutes a principle of international law or customary international law in
accordance with the incorporation clause of the Constitution.21 Still, it would be inappropriate to apply to these
proceedings the doctrine of command responsibility, as the CA seemed to have done, as a form of criminal complicity
through omission, for individual respondents criminal liability, if there be any, is beyond the reach of amparo. In other
words, the Court does not rule in such proceedings on any issue of criminal culpability, even if incidentally a crime or an
infraction of an administrative rule may have been committed. As the Court stressed in Secretary of National Defense v.
Manalo (Manalo),22 the writ of amparo was conceived to provide expeditious and effective procedural relief against
violations or threats of violation of the basic rights to life, liberty, and security of persons; the corresponding amparo suit,
however, "is not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt x x x or administrative
liability requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings."23 Of the same tenor, and by way
of expounding on the nature and role of amparo, is what the Court said in Razon v. Tagitis:
It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance [threats thereof or extra-judicial
killings]; it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance [threats thereof or extrajudicial killings] for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance [or extra-judicial
killings].
xxxx
As the law now stands, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized
separately from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are
now penalized under the Revised Penal Code and special laws. The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on
the matter; the determination of what acts are criminal x x x are matters of substantive law that only the Legislature has
the power to enact.24 x x x
If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine
the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the disappearance and harassments
complained of, so as to enable the Court to devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to
protect rights covered by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to fix
criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to administrative disciplinary
proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any.

Petitioners, as the CA has declared, have not adduced substantial evidence pointing to government involvement in the
disappearance of Lourdes. To a concrete point, petitioners have not shown that the actual perpetrators of the abduction
and the harassments that followed formally or informally formed part of either the military or the police chain of
command. A preliminary police investigation report, however, would tend to show a link, however hazy, between the
license plate (XRR 428) of the vehicle allegedly used in the abduction of Lourdes and the address of Darwin Reyes/Sy,
who was alleged to be working in Camp Aguinaldo.25 Then, too, there were affidavits and testimonies on events that
transpired which, if taken together, logically point to military involvement in the alleged disappearance of Lourdes, such
as, but not limited to, her abduction in broad daylight, her being forcibly dragged to a vehicle blindfolded and then being
brought to a place where the sounds of planes taking off and landing could be heard. Mention may also be made of the
fact that Lourdes was asked about her membership in the Communist Party and of being released when she agreed to
become an "asset."
Still and all, the identities and links to the AFP or the PNP of the alleged abductors, namely Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana,
Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes, have yet to be established.
Based on the separate sworn statements of Maj. Paul Ciano26 and Technical Sergeant John N. Romano,27officer-in-charge
and a staff of the 301st AISS, respectively, none of the alleged abductors of Lourdes belonged to the 301st AISS based in
San Fernando Air Base. Neither were they members of any unit of the Philippine Air Force, per the certification28 of Col.
Raul Dimatactac, Air Force Adjutant. And as stated in the challenged CA decision, a verification with the Personnel
Accounting and Information System of the PNP yielded the information that, except for a certain Darwin Reyes y Muga,
the other alleged abductors, i.e., Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana and Jonathan, were not members of the PNP. Petitioners,
when given the opportunity to identify Police Officer 1 Darwin Reyes y Muga, made no effort to confirm if he was the
same Maj. Darwin Reyes a.k.a. Darwin Sy they were implicating in Lourdes abduction.
Petitioners, to be sure, have not successfully controverted answering respondents documentary evidence, adduced to
debunk the formers allegations directly linking Lourdes abductors and tormentors to the military or the police
establishment. We note, in fact, that Lourdes, when queried on cross-examination, expressed the belief that Sy/Reyes was
an NBI agent.29 The Court is, of course, aware of what was referred to in Razon30 as the "evidentiary difficulties"
presented by the nature of, and encountered by petitioners in, enforced disappearance cases. But it is precisely for this
reason that the Court should take care too that no wrong message is sent, lest one conclude that any kind or degree of
evidence, even the outlandish, would suffice to secure amparo remedies and protection.
Sec. 17, as complemented by Sec. 18 of the Amparo Rule, expressly prescribes the minimum evidentiary substantiation
requirement and norm to support a cause of action under the Rule, thus:
Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required.The parties shall establish their claims by substantial
evidence.
xxxx
Sec. 18. Judgment.x x x If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court shall grant the
privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be denied. (Emphasis
added.)
Substantial evidence is more than a mere imputation of wrongdoing or violation that would warrant a finding of liability
against the person charged;31 it is more than a scintilla of evidence. It means such amount of relevant evidence which a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, even if other equally reasonable minds might opine
otherwise.32 Per the CAs evaluation of their evidence, consisting of the testimonies and affidavits of the three Rubrico
women and five other individuals, petitioners have not satisfactorily hurdled the evidentiary bar required of and assigned
to them under the Amparo Rule. In a very real sense, the burden of evidence never even shifted to answering respondents.
The Court finds no compelling reason to disturb the appellate courts determination of the answering respondents role in
the alleged enforced disappearance of petitioner Lourdes and the threats to her familys security.
Notwithstanding the foregoing findings, the Court notes that both Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razon, per their separate
affidavits, lost no time, upon their receipt of the order to make a return on the writ, in issuing directives to the concerned

units in their respective commands for a thorough probe of the case and in providing the investigators the necessary
support. As of this date, however, the investigations have yet to be concluded with some definite findings and
recommendation.
As regards P/Supt. Romero and P/Insp. Gomez, the Court is more than satisfied that they have no direct or indirect hand
in the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the threats against her daughters. As police officers, though, theirs
was the duty to thoroughly investigate the abduction of Lourdes, a duty that would include looking into the cause, manner,
and like details of the disappearance; identifying witnesses and obtaining statements from them; and following evidentiary
leads, such as the Toyota Revo vehicle with plate number XRR 428, and securing and preserving evidence related to the
abduction and the threats that may aid in the prosecution of the person/s responsible. As we said in Manalo,33 the right to
security, as a guarantee of protection by the government, is breached by the superficial and one-sidedhence,
ineffectiveinvestigation by the military or the police of reported cases under their jurisdiction. As found by the CA, the
local police stations concerned, including P/Supt. Roquero and P/Insp. Gomez, did conduct a preliminary fact-finding on
petitioners complaint. They could not, however, make any headway, owing to what was perceived to be the refusal of
Lourdes, her family, and her witnesses to cooperate. Petitioners counsel, Atty. Rex J.M.A. Fernandez, provided a
plausible explanation for his clients and their witnesses attitude, "[They] do not trust the government agencies to protect
them."34 The difficulty arising from a situation where the party whose complicity in extra-judicial killing or enforced
disappearance, as the case may be, is alleged to be the same party who investigates it is understandable, though.
The seeming reluctance on the part of the Rubricos or their witnesses to cooperate ought not to pose a hindrance to the
police in pursuing, on its own initiative, the investigation in question to its natural end. To repeat what the Court said
in Manalo, the right to security of persons is a guarantee of the protection of ones right by the government. And this
protection includes conducting effective investigations of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats of the
same kind. The nature and importance of an investigation are captured in the Velasquez Rodriguez case,35 in which the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights pronounced:
[The duty to investigate] must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be
ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not a step taken
by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon offer of proof, without an
effective search for the truth by the government. (Emphasis added.)
This brings us to Mary Joys charge of having been harassed by respondent P/Insp. Gomez. With the view we take of this
incident, there is nothing concrete to support the charge, save for Mary Joys bare allegations of harassment. We cite with
approval the following self-explanatory excerpt from the appealed CA decision:
In fact, during her cross-examination, when asked what specific act or threat P/Sr. Gomez (ret) committed against her or
her mother and sister, Mary Joy replied "None "36
Similarly, there appears to be no basis for petitioners allegations about the OMB failing to act on their complaint against
those who allegedly abducted and illegally detained Lourdes. Contrary to petitioners contention, the OMB has taken the
necessary appropriate action on said complaint. As culled from the affidavit37 of the Deputy Overall Ombudsman and the
joint affidavits38 of the designated investigators, all dated November 7, 2007, the OMB had, on the basis of said
complaint, commenced criminal39 and administrative40 proceedings, docketed as OMB-P-C-07-0602-E and OMB-P-A 07567-E, respectively, against Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes. The requisite orders for the submission
of counter-affidavits and verified position papers had been sent out.
The privilege of the writ of amparo, to reiterate, is a remedy available to victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced
disappearances or threats of similar nature, regardless of whether the perpetrator of the unlawful act or omission is a
public official or employee or a private individual.
At this juncture, it bears to state that petitioners have not provided the CA with the correct addresses of respondents
Cuaresma, Alfaro, Santana, Jonathan, and Sy/Reyes. The mailed envelopes containing the petition for a writ of amparo
individually addressed to each of them have all been returned unopened. And petitioners motion interposed before the
appellate court for notice or service via publication has not been accompanied by supporting affidavits as required by the
Rules of Court. Accordingly, the appealed CA partial judgmentdisposing of the underlying petition for a writ of amparo
without (1) pronouncement as to the accountability, or lack of it, of the four non-answering respondents or (2) outright

dismissal of the same petition as to themhews to the prescription of Sec. 20 of the Amparo Rule on archiving and
reviving cases.41 Parenthetically, petitioners have also not furnished this Court with sufficient data as to where the aforenamed respondents may be served a copy of their petition for review.
Apart from the foregoing considerations, the petition did not allege ultimate facts as would link the OMB in any manner
to the violation or threat of violation of the petitioners rights to life, liberty, or personal security.
The privilege of the writ of amparo is envisioned basically to protect and guarantee the rights to life, liberty, and security
of persons, free from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of this life.42 It is an extraordinary writ conceptualized and
adopted in light of and in response to the prevalence of extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances.43 Accordingly,
the remedy ought to be resorted to and granted judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the Amparo Rule be diluted and
undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo petitions for purposes less than the desire to secure amparo reliefs and
protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.
In their petition for a writ of amparo, petitioners asked, as their main prayer, that the Court order the impleaded
respondents "to immediately desist from doing any acts that would threaten or seem to threaten the security of the
Petitioners and to desist from approaching Petitioners, x x x their residences and offices where they are working under
pain of contempt of [this] Court." Petitioners, however, failed to adduce the threshold substantive evidence to establish the
predicate facts to support their cause of action, i.e., the adverted harassments and threats to their life, liberty, or security,
against responding respondents, as responsible for the disappearance and harassments complained of. This is not to say,
however, that petitioners allegation on the fact of the abduction incident or harassment is necessarily contrived. The
reality on the ground, however, is that the military or police connection has not been adequately proved either by
identifying the malefactors as components of the AFP or PNP; or in case identification is not possible, by showing that
they acted with the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government. For this reason, the Court is unable to ascribe the
authorship of and responsibility for the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the harassment and threats on her
daughters to individual respondents. To this extent, the dismissal of the case against them is correct and must,
accordingly, be sustained.
Prescinding from the above considerations, the Court distinctly notes that the appealed decision veritably extended the
privilege of the writ of amparo to petitioners when it granted what to us are amparo reliefs. Consider: the appellate court
decreed, and rightly so, that the police and the military take specific measures for the protection of petitioners right or
threatened right to liberty or security. The protection came in the form of directives specifically to Gen. Esperon and
P/Dir. Gen. Razon, requiring each of them (1) to ensure that the investigations already commenced by the AFP and PNP
units, respectively, under them on the complaints of Lourdes and her daughters are being pursued with urgency to bring to
justice the perpetrators of the acts complained of; and (2) to submit to the CA, copy furnished the petitioners, a regular
report on the progress and status of the investigations. The directives obviously go to Gen. Esperon in his capacity as head
of the AFP and, in a sense, chief guarantor of order and security in the country. On the other hand, P/Dir. Gen. Razon is
called upon to perform a duty pertaining to the PNP, a crime-preventing, investigatory, and arresting institution.
As the CA, however, formulated its directives, no definitive time frame was set in its decision for the completion of the
investigation and the reportorial requirements. It also failed to consider Gen. Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Razons imminent
compulsory retirement from the military and police services, respectively. Accordingly, the CA directives, as hereinafter
redefined and amplified to fully enforce the amparo remedies, are hereby given to, and shall be directly enforceable
against, whoever sits as the commanding general of the AFP and the PNP.
At this stage, two postulates and their implications need highlighting for a proper disposition of this case.
First, a criminal complaint for kidnapping and, alternatively, for arbitrary detention rooted in the same acts and incidents
leading to the filing of the subject amparo petition has been instituted with the 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) impleaded individuals suspected
to be actually involved in the detention of Lourdes have been set in motion. It must be pointed out, though, that the
filing44 of the OMB complaint came before the effectivity of the Amparo Rule on October 24, 2007.
Second, Sec. 2245 of the Amparo Rule proscribes the filing of an amparo petition should a criminal action have, in the
meanwhile, been commenced. The succeeding Sec. 23,46 on the other hand, provides that when the criminal suit is filed
subsequent to a petition for amparo, the petition shall be consolidated with the criminal action where the Amparo Rule

shall nonetheless govern the disposition of the relief under the Rule. Under the terms of said Sec. 22, the present petition
ought to have been dismissed at the outset. But as things stand, the outright dismissal of the petition by force of that
section is no longer technically feasible in light of the interplay of the following factual mix: (1) the Court has, pursuant to
Sec. 647 of the Rule, already issued ex parte the writ of amparo; (2) the CA, after a summary hearing, has dismissed the
petition, but not on the basis of Sec. 22; and (3) the complaint in OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E named as respondents only those
believed to be the actual abductors of Lourdes, while the instant petition impleaded, in addition, those tasked to
investigate the kidnapping and detention incidents and their superiors at the top. 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 both proceedings to obviate
the mischief inherent in a multiplicity-of-suits situation.
Given the above perspective and to fully apply the beneficial nature of the writ of amparo as an inexpensive and effective
tool to protect certain rights violated or threatened to be violated, the Court hereby adjusts to a degree the literal
application of Secs. 22 and 23 of the Amparo Rule to fittingly address the situation obtaining under the
premises. 48 Towards this end, two things are at once indicated: (1) the consolidation of the probe and fact-finding aspects
of the instant petition with the investigation of the criminal complaint before the OMB; and (2) the incorporation in the
same criminal complaint of the allegations in this petition bearing on the threats to the right to security. Withal, the OMB
should be furnished copies of the investigation reports to aid that body in its own investigation and eventual resolution of
OMB-P-C-O7-0602-E. Then, too, the OMB shall be given easy access to all pertinent documents and evidence, if any,
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 criminal complaint if the consolidation of cases is to be fully effective.
WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS this petition for review and makes a decision:
(1) Affirming the dropping of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from the petition for a writ of amparo;
(2) Affirming the dismissal of the amparo case as against Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, and P/Dir. Gen. Avelino
Razon, insofar as it tended, under the command responsibility principle, to attach accountability and responsibility
to them, as then AFP Chief of Staff and then PNP Chief, for the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and
the ensuing harassments allegedly committed against petitioners. The dismissal of the petition with respect to the
OMB is also affirmed for failure of the petition to allege ultimate facts as to make out a case against that body for
the enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the threats and harassment that followed; and
(3) Directing the incumbent Chief of Staff, AFP, or his successor, and the incumbent Director-General of the
PNP, or his successor, to ensure that the investigations already commenced by their respective units on the alleged
abduction of Lourdes Rubrico and the alleged harassments and threats she and her daughters were made to endure
are pursued with extraordinary diligence as required by Sec. 1749 of the Amparo Rule. They shall order their
subordinate officials, in particular, to do the following:
(a) Determine based on records, past and present, the identities and locations of respondents Maj. Darwin
Sy, a.k.a. Darwin Reyes, Jimmy Santana, Ruben Alfaro, Capt. Angelo Cuaresma, and one Jonathan; and
submit certifications of this determination to the OMB with copy furnished to petitioners, the CA, and
this Court;
(b) Pursue with extraordinary diligence the evidentiary leads relating to Maj. Darwin Sy and the Toyota
Revo vehicle with Plate No. XRR 428; and
(c) Prepare, with the assistance of petitioners and/or witnesses, cartographic sketches of respondents Maj.
Sy/Reyes, Jimmy Santana, Ruben Alfaro, Capt. Angelo Cuaresma, and a certain Jonathan to aid in
positively identifying and locating them.
The investigations shall be completed not later than six (6) months from receipt of this Decision; and within thirty (30)
days after completion of the investigations, the Chief of Staff of the AFP and the Director-General of the PNP shall
submit a full report of the results of the investigations to the Court, the CA, the OMB, and petitioners.

This case is accordingly referred back to the CA for the purpose of monitoring the investigations and the actions of the
AFP and the PNP.
Subject to the foregoing modifications, the Court AFFIRMS the partial judgment dated July 31, 2008 of the CA.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. Nos. 184461-62

May 31, 2011

LT. COL. ROGELIO BOAC, LT. COL. FELIPE ANOTADO AND LT. FRANCIS MIRABELLE
SAMSON, Petitioners,
vs.
ERLINDA T. CADAPAN AND CONCEPCION E. EMPEO, Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 184495
ERLINDA T. CADAPAN AND CONCEPCION E. EMPEO, Petitioners,
vs.
GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, P/DIR.GEN. AVELINO RAZON, (RET.) GEN. ROMEO TOLENTINO,
(RET.) GEN. JOVITO PALPARAN, LT. COL. ROGELIO BOAC, LT. COL. FELIPE ANOTADO, ET
AL., Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 187109
ERLINDA T. CADAPAN AND CONCEPCION E. EMPEO, Petitioners,
vs.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, GEN. HERMOGENES ESPERON, P/DIR.GEN. AVELINO RAZON,
(RET.) GEN. ROMEO TOLENTINO, (RET.) GEN. JOVITO PALPARAN, LT. COL. ROGELIO BOAC, LT.
COL. FELIPE ANOTADO, DONALD CAIGAS, A.K.A. ALAN OR ALVIN, ARNEL ENRIQUEZ AND LT.
FRANCIS MIRABELLE SAMSON, Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
At 2:00 a.m. of June 26, 2006, armed men abducted Sherlyn Cadapan (Sherlyn), Karen Empeo (Karen) and Manuel
Merino (Merino) from a house in San Miguel, Hagonoy, Bulacan. The three were herded onto a jeep bearing license plate
RTF 597 that sped towards an undisclosed location.
Having thereafter heard nothing from Sherlyn, Karen and Merino, their respective families scoured nearby police
precincts and military camps in the hope of finding them but the same yielded nothing.

On July 17, 2006, spouses Asher and Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo filed a petition for habeas corpus1 before
the Court, docketed as G.R. No. 173228, impleading then Generals Romeo Tolentino and Jovito Palparan (Gen. Palparan),
Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac (Lt. Col. Boac), Arnel Enriquez and Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson (Lt. Mirabelle) as respondents.
By Resolution of July 19, 2006,2 the Court issued a writ of habeas corpus, returnable to the Presiding Justice of the Court
of Appeals.
The habeas corpus petition was docketed at the appellate court as CA-G.R. SP No. 95303.
By Return of the Writ dated July 21, 2006,3 the respondents in the habeas corpus petition denied that Sherlyn, Karen and
Merino are in the custody of the military. To the Return were attached affidavits from the respondents, except Enriquez,
who all attested that they do not know Sherlyn, Karen and Merino; that they had inquired from their subordinates about
the reported abduction and disappearance of the three but their inquiry yielded nothing; and that the military does not own
nor possess a stainless steel jeep with plate number RTF 597. Also appended to the Return was a certification from the
Land Transportation Office (LTO) that plate number RTF 597 had not yet been manufactured as of July 26, 2006.
Trial thereupon ensued at the appellate court.
Witness Wilfredo Ramos, owner of the house where the three were abducted, recounted that on June 26, 2006, while he
was inside his house in Hagonoy, he witnessed armed men wearing bonnets abduct Sherlyn and Karen from his house and
also abduct Merino on their way out; and that tied and blindfolded, the three were boarded on a jeep and taken towards Iba
in Hagonoy.4
Witness Alberto Ramirez (Ramirez) recalled that on June 28, 2006, while he was sleeping in his house, he was awakened
by Merino who, in the company of a group of unidentified armed men, repaired to his house; that onboard a stainless jeep
bearing plate number RTF 597, he (Ramirez) was taken to a place in Mercado, Hagonoy and was asked by one Enriquez if
he knew "Sierra," "Tanya," "Vincent" and "Lisa"; and that Enriquez described the appearance of two ladies which
matched those of Sherlyn and Karen, whom he was familiar with as the two had previously slept in his house.5
Another witness, Oscar Leuterio, who was himself previously abducted by armed men and detained for five months,
testified that when he was detained in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, he saw two women fitting the descriptions of
Sherlyn and Karen, and also saw Merino, his kumpare.6
Lt. Col. Boac, the then commander of Task Force Malolos, a special operations team tasked to neutralize the intelligence
network of communists and other armed groups, declared that he conducted an inquiry on the abduction of Sherlyn, Karen
and Merino but his subordinates denied knowledge thereof.7
While he denied having received any order from Gen. Palparan to investigate the disappearance of Sherlyn, Karen and
Merino, his assistance in locating the missing persons was sought by the mayor of Hagonoy.
Major Dominador Dingle, the then division adjutant of the Philippine Armys 7th Infantry Division in Fort Magsaysay,
denied that a certain Arnel Enriquez is a member of his infantry as in fact his name did not appear in the roster of troops. 8
Roberto Se, a supervisor of the Equipment, Plate Number and Supply Units of the LTO, denied that his office
manufactured and issued a plate number bearing number RTF 597.9
On rebuttal, Lt. Mirabelle, Lt. Col. Boac and Gen. Palparan took the witness stand as hostile witnesses.
Lt. Mirabelle testified that she did not receive any report on the abduction of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino nor any order to
investigate the matter. And she denied knowing anything about the abduction of Ramirez nor who were Ka Tanya or Ka
Lisa.10
Gen. Palparan testified that during a debate in a televised program, he mentioned the names of Ka Lisa and Ka Tanya as
the ones involved in revolutionary tax activities; and that he ordered Lt. Col. Boac to conduct an investigation on the
disappearance of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino.11 When pressed to elaborate, he stated: "I said that I got the report that it

stated that it was Ka Tanya and Ka Lisa that, I mean, that incident happened in Hagonoy, Bulacan was the abduction of
Ka Lisa and Ka Tanya, Your Honor, and another one. That was the report coming from the people in the area."12
By Decision of March 29, 2007,13 the Court of Appeals dismissed the habeas corpus petition in this wise:
As Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino are indeed missing, the present petition for habeas corpus is not
the appropriate remedy since the main office or function of the habeas corpus is to inquire into the legality of ones
detention which presupposes that respondents have actual custody of the persons subject of the petition. The reason
therefor is that the courts have limited powers, means and resources to conduct an investigation. x x x.
It being the situation, the proper remedy is not a habeas corpus proceeding but criminal proceedings by initiating criminal
suit for abduction or kidnapping as a crime punishable by law. In the case of Martinez v. Mendoza, supra, the Supreme
Court restated the doctrine that habeas corpus may not be used as a means of obtaining evidence on the whereabouts of a
person, or as a means of finding out who has specifically abducted or caused the disappearance of a certain person.
(emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Thus the appellate court disposed:
WHEREFORE, the petition for habeas corpus is hereby DISMISSED, there being no strong evidence that the missing
persons are in the custody of the respondents.
The Court, however, further resolves to refer the case to the Commission on Human Rights, the National Bureau of
Investigation and the Philippine National Police for separate investigations and appropriate actions as may be warranted
by their findings and to furnish the Court with their separate reports on the outcome of their investigations and the actions
taken thereon.
Let copies of this decision be furnished the Commission on Human Rights, the National Bureau of Investigation and the
Philippine National Police for their appropriate actions.
SO ORDERED. (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Petitioners in CA-G.R. SP No. 95303 moved for a reconsideration of the appellate courts decision. They also moved to
present newly discovered evidence consisting of the testimonies of Adoracion Paulino, Sherlyns mother-in-law who was
allegedly threatened by soldiers; and Raymond Manalo who allegedly met Sherlyn, Karen and Merino in the course of his
detention at a military camp.
During the pendency of the motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No. 95303, Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion
Empeo filed before this Court a Petition for Writ of Amparo14 With Prayers for Inspection of Place and Production of
Documents dated October 24, 2007, docketed as G.R. No. 179994. The petition impleaded the same respondents in the
habeas corpus petition, with the addition of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then Armed Forces of the Phil.
(AFP) Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr., then Phil. National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Avelino Razon (Gen. Razon),
Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado (Lt. Col. Anotado) and Donald Caigas.
Then President Arroyo was eventually dropped as respondent in light of her immunity from suit while in office.
Petitioners in G.R. No. 179994 also prayed that they be allowed to inspect the detention areas of the following places:
1. 7th Infantry Division at Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija
2. 24th Infantry Batallion at Limay, Bataan
3. Army Detachment inside Valmocina Farm, Pinaod, San Ildefonso, Bulacan
4. Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan

5. The Resthouse of Donald Caigas alias Allan or Alvin of the 24th Infantry Batallion at Barangay Banog,
Bolinao, Pangasinan
6. 56th Infantry Batallion Headquarters at Iba, Hagonoy, Bulacan
7. Army Detachment at Barangay Mercado, Hagonoy, Bulacan
8. Beach House [at] Iba, Zambales used as a safehouse with a retired military personnel as a caretaker;
By Resolution of October 25, 2007, the Court issued in G.R. No. 179994 a writ of amparo returnable to the Special
Former Eleventh Division of the appellate court, and ordered the consolidation of the amparo petition with the pending
habeas corpus petition.
Docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 002, respondents in the amparo case, through the Solicitor General, filed their Return of the
Writ on November 6, 2007.15 In the Return, Gen. Palparan, Lt. Col. Boac and Lt. Mirabelle reiterated their earlier
narrations in the habeas corpus case.
Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. stated in the Return that he immediately caused to investigate and verify the identities of the
missing persons and was aware of the earlier decision of the appellate court ordering the police, the Commission on
Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigation to take further action on the matter.16
Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, the then battalion commander of the 24th Infantry Battalion based in Balanga City, Bataan,
denied any involvement in the abduction. While the 24th Infantry Battalion detachment was reported to be a detention site
of the missing persons, Lt. Col. Anotado claimed that he found no untoward incident when he visited said detachment. He
also claimed that there was no report of the death of Merino per his inquiry with the local police.17
Police Director General Avelino Razon narrated that he ordered the compilation of pertinent records, papers and other
documents of the PNP on the abduction of the three, and that the police exhausted all possible actions available under the
circumstances.18
In addition to the witnesses already presented in the habeas corpus case, petitioners called on Adoracion Paulino and
Raymond Manalo to testify during the trial.
Adoracion Paulino recalled that her daughter-in-law Sherlyn showed up at home on April 11, 2007, accompanied by two
men and three women whom she believed were soldiers. She averred that she did not report the incident to the police nor
inform Sherlyns mother about the visit.19
Raymond Manalo (Manalo) claimed that he met the three abducted persons when he was illegally detained by military
men in Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan. His group was later taken to a camp in Limay, Bataan. He recalled that Lt.
Col. Anotado was the one who interrogated him while in detention.20
In his Sinumpaang Salaysay,21 Manalo recounted:
xxxx
59. Saan ka dinala mula sa Sapang?
Pagkalipas ng humigit kumulang 3 buwan sa Sapang, dinala ako sa Camp Tecson sa ilalim ng 24th IB.
xxxx
Sa loob ng barracks ko nakilala si Sherlyn Cadapan, isang estudyante ng UP.

Ipinapalinis din sa akin ang loob ng barracks. Sa isang kwarto sa loob ng barracks, may nakita akong babae na
nakakadena[.] Noong una, pinagbawalan akong makipag-usap sa kanya. Sa ikatlo o ikaapat na araw, nakausap ko yung
babaeng nagngangalang Sherlyn. Binigyan ko siya ng pagkain. Sinabi niya sa akin na dinukot si[ya] sa Hagonoy, Bulacan
at matindi ang tortyur na dinaranas niya. Sabi niya gusto niyang umuwi at makasama ang kanyang magulang. Umiiyak
siya. Sabi niya sa akin ang buong pangalan niya ay Sherlyn Cadapan, mula sa Laguna. Sa araw tinatanggal ang kanyang
kadena at inuutusan si Sherlyn na maglaba.
x x x x.
61. Sino ang mga nakilala mo sa Camp Tecson?
Dito sa Camp Tecson naming nakilala si Allan Alvin (maya-maya nalaman naming na siya pala si Donald Caigas), ng
24th IB, na tinatawag na master o commander ng kanyang mga tauhan.
Pagkalipas ng 2 araw matapos dalhin si Reynaldo sa Camp Tecson dumating sina Karen Empeo at Manuel Merino na
mga bihag din. Inilagay si Karen at Manuel sa kwarto ni Allan[.] Kami naman ni Reynaldo ay nasa katabing kwarto,
kasama si Sherlyn.
xxxx
62. x x x x
Kaming mga lalake (ako, si Reynaldo at si Manuel) ay ginawang utusan, habang sina Sherlyn at Karen ay ginawang
labandera.
Si Sherlyn ang pinahirapan nina Mickey, Donald at Billy. Sabi ni Sherlyn sa akin na siyay ginahasa.
xxxx
63. x x x x
xxxx
Kaming lima (ako, si Reynaldo, si Sherlyn, si Karen at si [Merino]) ang dinala sa Limay. Sinakay ako, si Reynaldo, si
Sherlyn at si [Merino] sa isang stainless na jeep. Si Karen ay isinakay sa itim na sasakyan ni Donald Caigas. x x x x
xxxx
66. Saan pa kayo dinala mula sa Limay, Bataan?
Mula sa Limay, kaming 5 (ako, si Reynaldo, si Sherlyn, Si Karen at si Manuel) ay dinala sa isang safehouse sa Zambales,
tabi ng dagat. x x x x (underscoring supplied; italics and emphasis in the original)
On rebuttal, Lt. Col. Anotado and Col. Eduardo Boyles Davalan were called to the witness stand.
Lt. Col. Anotado denied seeing or meeting Manalo. He posited that Manalo recognized him because he was very active in
conducting lectures in Bataan and even appeared on television regarding an incident involving the 24th Infantry Batallion.
He contended that it was impossible for Manalo, Sherlyn, Karen and Merino to be detained in the Limay detachment
which had no detention area.
Col. Eduardo Boyles Davalan, the then chief of staff of the First Scout Ranger Regiment in Camp Tecson, testified that
the camp is not a detention facility, nor does it conduct military operations as it only serves as a training facility for scout
rangers. He averred that his regiment does not have any command relation with either the 7th Infantry Division or the 24th
Infantry Battalion.22

By Decision of September 17, 2008,23 the appellate court granted the Motion for Reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP No.
95303 (the habeas corpus case) and ordered the immediate release of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino in CA-G.R. SP No.
00002 (the amparo case). Thus it disposed:
WHEREFORE, in CA-G.R. SP NO. 95303 (Habeas Corpus case), the Motion for Reconsideration is GRANTED.
Accordingly, in both CA-G.R. SP NO. 95303 (Habeas Corpus case) and in CA-G.R. SP NO. 00002 (Amparo case), the
respondents are thereby ordered to immediately RELEASE, or cause the release, from detention the persons of Sher[lyn]
Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino.
Respondent Director General Avelino Razon is hereby ordered to resume [the] PNPs unfinished investigation so that the
truth will be fully ascertained and appropriate charges filed against those truly responsible.
SO ORDERED.
In reconsidering its earlier Decision in the habeas corpus case, the appellate court relied heavily on the testimony of
Manalo in this wise:
With the additional testimony of Raymond Manalo, the petitioners have been able to convincingly prove the fact of their
detention by some elements in the military. His testimony is a first hand account that military and civilian personnel under
the 7th Infantry Division were responsible for the abduction of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino. He
also confirmed the claim of Oscar Leuterio that the latter was detained in Fort Magsaysay. It was there where he
(Leuterio) saw Manuel Merino.
His testimony that Leuterio saw Manuel Merino in Fort Magsaysay may be hearsay but not with respect to his meeting
with, and talking to, the three desaparecidos. His testimony on those points was no hearsay. Raymond Manalo saw the
three with his very own eyes as they were detained and tortured together. In fact, he claimed to be a witness to the burning
of Manuel Merino. In the absence of confirmatory proof, however, the Court will presume that he is still alive.
The testimony of Raymond Manalo can no longer be ignored and brushed aside. His narration and those of the earlier
witnesses, taken together, constitute more than substantial evidence warranting an order that the three be released from
detention if they are not being held for a lawful cause. They may be moved from place to place but still they are
considered under detention and custody of the respondents.
His testimony was clear, consistent and convincing. x x x.
xxxx
The additional testimonies of Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and Col. Eduardo Boyles Davalan were of no help either. Again,
their averments were the same negative ones which cannot prevail over those of Raymond Manalo. Indeed, Camp Tecson
has been utilized as a training camp for army scout rangers. Even Raymond Manalo noticed it but the camps use for
purposes other than training cannot be discounted.
xxxx
In view of the foregoing, there is now a clear and credible evidence that the three missing persons, [Sherlyn, Karen and
Merino], are being detained in military camps and bases under the 7th Infantry Division. Being not held for a lawful
cause, they should be immediately released from detention. (italic in the original; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Meanwhile, in the amparo case, the appellate court deemed it a superfluity to issue any inspection order or production
order in light of the release order. As it earlier ruled in the habeas corpus case, it found that the three detainees right to
life, liberty and security was being violated, hence, the need to immediately release them, or cause their release. The
appellate court went on to direct the PNP to proceed further with its investigation since there were enough leads as
indicated in the records to ascertain the truth and file the appropriate charges against those responsible for the abduction
and detention of the three.

Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac, et al. challenged before this Court, via petition for review, the September 17, 2008 Decision of the
appellate court. This was docketed as G.R. Nos. 184461-62, the first above-captioned case- subject of the present
Decision.
Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo, on the other hand, filed their own petition for review also challenging the
same September 17, 2008 Decision of the appellate court only insofar as the amparo aspect is concerned. Their petition,
docketed as G.R. No. 179994, was redocketed as G.R. No. 184495, the second above-captioned case.
By Resolution of June 15, 2010, the Court ordered the consolidation of G.R. No. 184495 with G.R. Nos. 1844461-62.24
Meanwhile, Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo filed before the appellate court a Motion to Cite Respondents in
Contempt of Court for failure of the respondents in the amparo and habeas corpus cases to comply with the directive of
the appellate court to immediately release the three missing persons. By Resolution of March 5, 2009,25 the appellate court
denied the motion, ratiocinating thus:
While the Court, in the dispositive portion, ordered the respondents "to immediately RELEASE, or cause the release, from
detention the persons of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel Merino," the decision is not ipso facto executory.
The use of the term "immediately" does not mean that that it is automatically executory. There is nothing in the Rule on
the Writ of Amparo which states that a decision rendered is immediately executory. x x x.
Neither did the decision become final and executory considering that both parties questioned the Decision/Resolution
before the Supreme Court. x x x.
Besides, the Court has no basis. The petitioners did not file a motion for execution pending appeal under Section 2 of Rule
39. There being no motion, the Court could not have issued, and did not issue, a writ of execution. x x x. (underscoring
supplied)
Via a petition for certiorari filed on March 30, 2009 before this Court, Erlinda Cadapan and Concepcion Empeo
challenged the appellate courts March 5, 2009 Resolution denying their motion to cite respondents in contempt. The
petition was docketed as G.R. No. 187109, the last above-captioned case subject of the present Decision.
Only Lt. Col. Anotado and Lt. Mirabelle remained of the original respondents in the amparo and habeas corpus cases as
the other respondents had retired from government service.26 The AFP has denied that Arnel Enriquez was a member of
the Philippine Army.27 The whereabouts of Donald Caigas remain unknown.28
In G.R. Nos. 184461-62, petitioners posit as follows:
I
THE COURT OF APPEALS GROSSLY MISAPPRECIATED THE VALUE OF THE TESTIMONY OF
RAYMOND MANALO.
II
THE PETITION[S] FOR HABEAS CORPUS AND WRIT OF AMPARO SHOULD BE DISMISSED
BECAUSE RESPONDENTS FAILED TO PROVE BY THE REQUIRED QUANTUM OF EVIDENCE THAT
PETITIONERS HAVE SHERLYN CADAPAN, KAREN EMPEO AND MANUEL MERINO ARE IN THEIR
CUSTODY.
III
PETITIONERS DENIALS PER SE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN TAKEN AGAINST THEM BECAUSE
THEY DID NOT REALLY HAVE ANY INVOLVEMENT IN THE ALLEGED ABDUCTION; MOREOVER,
THE SUPPOSED INCONSISTENCIES IN THEIR TESTIMONIES ARE ON POINTS IRRELEVANT TO THE
PETITION.

IV
THE DISPOSITIVE PORTION OF THE ASSAILED DECISION IS VAGUE AND INCONGRUENT WITH
THE FINDINGS OF THE COURT OF APPEALS.
V
THE COURT OF APPEALS IGNORED AND FAILED TO RULE UPON THE FATAL PROCEDURAL
INFIRMITIES IN THE PETITION FOR WRIT OF AMPARO.29
In G.R. No. 184495, petitioners posit as follows:
5. The Court of Appeals erred in not granting the Interim Relief for Inspection of Places;
6. The Court of Appeals erred in not granting the Interim Relief for Production of Documents;
7. The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that the Police Director Gen. Avelino Razon did not make
extraordinary diligence in investigating the enforced disappearance of the aggrieved parties
8. The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that this was not the command coming from the highest echelon of
powers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine Army and the Seventh Infantry Division of the
Philippine Army to enforcibly disappear [sic] the aggrieved parties
9. The Court of Appeals erred in dropping President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as party respondent in this case;
10. The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had command
responsibility in the enforced disappearance and continued detention of the three aggrieved parties
11. The Court of Appeals erred in not finding that the Armed Forces Chief of Staff then Hermogenes Esperon and
the Present Chief of Staff as having command responsibility in the enforced disappearance and continued
detention of the three aggrieved parties30
In G.R. No. 187109, petitioners raise the following issues:
[1] Whether the decision in the Court of Appeals has become final and executory[.]
[2] Whetherthere is a need to file a motion for execution in a Habeas Corpus decision or in an Amparo
decision[.]
[3] Whetheran appeal can stay the decision of a Habeas Corpus [case] [or] an Amparo case[.] 31
Essentially, the consolidated petitions present three primary issues, viz: a) whether the testimony of Raymond Manalo is
credible; b) whether the chief of the AFP, the commanding general of the Philippine Army, as well as the heads of the
concerned units had command responsibility over the abduction and detention of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino; and c)
whether there is a need to file a motion for execution to cause the release of the aggrieved parties.
G.R. Nos. 184461-62
Petitioners Lt. Col. Boac, et al. contend that the appellate court erred in giving full credence to the testimony of Manalo
who could not even accurately describe the structures of Camp Tecson where he claimed to have been detained along with
Sherlyn, Karen and Merino. They underscore that Camp Tecson is not under the jurisdiction of the 24th Infantry Batallion
and that Manalos testimony is incredible and full of inconsistencies.32

In Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo,33 an original petition for Prohibition, Injunction and Temporary Restraining
Order which was treated as a petition under the Amparo Rule, said Rule having taken effect during the pendency of the
petition, the Court ruled on the truthfulness and veracity of the personal account of Manalo which included his encounter
with Sherlyn, Kara and Merino while on detention. Thus it held:
We affirm the factual findings of the appellate court, largely based on respondent Raymond Manalos affidavit and
testimony, viz:
x x x x.
We reject the claim of petitioners that respondent Raymond Manalos statements were not corroborated by other
independent and credible pieces of evidence. Raymonds affidavit and testimony were corroborated by the affidavit of
respondent Reynaldo Manalo. The testimony and medical reports prepared by forensic specialist Dr. Molino, and the
pictures of the scars left by the physical injuries inflicted on respondents, also corroborate respondents accounts of the
torture they endured while in detention. Respondent Raymond Manalos familiarity with the facilities in Fort Magsaysay
such as the "DTU," as shown in his testimony and confirmed by Lt. Col. Jimenez to be the "Division Training Unit," firms
up respondents story that they were detained for some time in said military facility. (citations omitted; emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
On Manalos having allegedly encountered Sherlyn, Karen and Merino while on detention, the Court in the immediately
cited case synthesized his tale as follows:
The next day, Raymonds chains were removed and he was ordered to clean outside the barracks. It was then he learned
that he was in a detachment of the Rangers. There were many soldiers, hundreds of them were training. He was also
ordered to clean inside the barracks. In one of the rooms therein, he met Sherlyn Cadapan from Laguna. She told him that
she was a student of the University of the Philippines and was abducted in Hagonoy, Bulacan. She confided that she had
been subjected to severe torture and raped. She was crying and longing to go home and be with her parents. During the
day, her chains were removed and she was made to do the laundry.
After a week, Reynaldo was also brought to Camp Tecson. Two days from his arrival, two other captives, Karen Empeo
and Manuel Merino, arrived. Karen and Manuel were put in the room with "Allan" whose name they later came to know
as Donald Caigas, called "master" or "commander" by his men in the 24th Infantry Battalion. Raymond and Reynaldo
were put in the adjoining room. At times, Raymond and Reynaldo were threatened, and Reynaldo was beaten up. In the
daytime, their chains were removed, but were put back on at night. They were threatened that if they escaped, their
families would all be killed.
On or about October 6, 2006, Hilario arrived in Camp Tecson. He told the detainees that they should be thankful they
were still alive and should continue along their "renewed life." Before the hearing of November 6 or 8, 2006, respondents
were brought to their parents to instruct them not to attend the hearing. However, their parents had already left for Manila.
Respondents were brought back to Camp Tecson. They stayed in that camp from September 2006 to November 2006, and
Raymond was instructed to continue using the name "Oscar" and holding himself out as a military trainee. He got
acquainted with soldiers of the 24th Infantry Battalion whose names and descriptions he stated in his affidavit.
On November 22, 2006, respondents, along with Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel, were transferred to a camp of the 24th
Infantry Battalion in Limay, Bataan. There were many huts in the camp. They stayed in that camp until May 8, 2007.
Some soldiers of the battalion stayed with them. While there, battalion soldiers whom Raymond knew as "Mar" and
"Billy" beat him up and hit him in the stomach with their guns. Sherlyn and Karen also suffered enormous torture in the
camp. They were all made to clean, cook, and help in raising livestock.
Raymond recalled that when "Operation Lubog" was launched, Caigas and some other soldiers brought him and Manuel
with them to take and kill all sympathizers of the NPA. They were brought to Barangay Bayan-bayanan, Bataan where he
witnessed the killing of an old man doing kaingin. The soldiers said he was killed because he had a son who was a
member of the NPA and he coddled NPA members in his house. Another time, in another "Operation Lubog," Raymond
was brought to Barangay Orion in a house where NPA men stayed. When they arrived, only the old man of the house who
was sick was there. They spared him and killed only his son right before Raymonds eyes.

From Limay, Raymond, Reynaldo, Sherlyn, Karen, and Manuel were transferred to Zambales, in a safehouse near the
sea. Caigas and some of his men stayed with them. A retired army soldier was in charge of the house. Like in Limay, the
five detainees were made to do errands and chores. They stayed in Zambales from May 8 or 9, 2007 until June 2007.
In June 2007, Caigas brought the five back to the camp in Limay. Raymond, Reynaldo, and Manuel were tasked to bring
food to detainees brought to the camp. Raymond narrated what he witnessed and experienced in the camp, viz:
x x x x.34 (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
The Court takes judicial notice of its Decision in the just cited Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo35 which assessed
the account of Manalo to be a candid and forthright narrative of his and his brother Reynaldos abduction by the military
in 2006; and of the corroborative testimonies, in the same case, of Manalos brother Reynaldo and a forensic specialist, as
well as Manalos graphic description of the detention area. There is thus no compelling reason for the Court, in the present
case, to disturb its appreciation in Manalos testimony. The outright denial of petitioners Lt. Col. Boac, et al. thus
crumbles.
Petitioners go on to point out that the assailed Decision of the appellate court is "vague and incongruent with [its]
findings" for, so they contend, while the appellate court referred to the perpetrators as "misguided and self-righteous
civilian and military elements of the 7th Infantry Division," it failed to identify who these perpetrators are. Moreover,
petitioners assert that Donald Caigas and Arnel Enriquez are not members of the AFP. They furthermore point out that
their co-petitioners Generals Esperon, Tolentino and Palparan have already retired from the service and thus have no more
control of any military camp or base in the country.36
There is nothing vague and/or incongruent about the categorical order of the appellate court for petitioners to release
Sherlyn, Karen and Merino. In its discourse, the appellate court merely referred to "a few misguided self-righteous people
who resort to the extrajudicial process of neutralizing those who disagree with the countrys democratic system of
government." Nowhere did it specifically refer to the members of the 7th Infantry Division as the "misguided selfrighteous" ones.
Petitioners finally point out that the parents of Sherlyn and Karen do not have the requisite standing to file the amparo
petition on behalf of Merino. They call attention to the fact that in the amparo petition, the parents of Sherlyn and Karen
merely indicated that they were "concerned with Manuel Merino" as basis for filing the petition on his behalf. 37
Section 2 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo38 provides:
The petition may be filed by the aggrieved party or by any qualified person or entity in the following order:
(a) Any member of the immediate family, namely: the spouse, children and parents of the aggrieved party;
(b) Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within the fourth civil degree of
consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph; or
(c) Any concerned citizen, organization, association or institution, if there is no known member of the immediate
family or relative of the aggrieved party.
Indeed, the parents of Sherlyn and Karen failed to allege that there were no known members of the immediate family or
relatives of Merino. The exclusive and successive order mandated by the above-quoted provision must be followed. The
order of priority is not without reason"to prevent the indiscriminate and groundless filing of petitions for amparo which
may even prejudice the right to life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party." 39
The Court notes that the parents of Sherlyn and Karen also filed the petition for habeas corpus on Merinos behalf. No
objection was raised therein for, in a habeas corpus proceeding, any person may apply for the writ on behalf of the
aggrieved party.40

It is thus only with respect to the amparo petition that the parents of Sherlyn and Karen are precluded from filing the
application on Merinos behalf as they are not authorized parties under the Rule.
G.R. No. 184495
Preliminarily, the Court finds the appellate courts dismissal of the petitions against then President Arroyo well-taken,
owing to her immunity from suit at the time the habeas corpus and amparo petitions were filed.41
Settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or
criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law. It will degrade the dignity of the high office
of the President, the Head of State, if he can be dragged into court litigations while serving as such. Furthermore, it is
important that he be freed from any form of harassment, hindrance or distraction to enable him to fully attend to the
performance of his official duties and functions. Unlike the legislative and judicial branch, only one constitutes the
executive branch and anything which impairs his usefulness in the discharge of the many great and important duties
imposed upon him by the Constitution necessarily impairs the operation of the Government. x x x 42
Parenthetically, the petitions are bereft of any allegation that then President Arroyo permitted, condoned or performed any
wrongdoing against the three missing persons.
On the issue of whether a military commander may be held liable for the acts of his subordinates in an amparo
proceeding, a brief discussion of the concept of command responsibility and its application insofar as amparo cases
already decided by the Court is in order.
Rubrico v. Macapagal Arroyo43 expounded on the concept of command responsibility as follows:
The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds its context in the development of laws of war and armed
combats. According to 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 in
international wars or domestic conflict." In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity.
The Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command responsibility, foreshadowing the present-day precept
of holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his subordinates should he be remiss in his duty of
control over them. As then formulated, command responsibility is "an omission mode of individual criminal liability,"
whereby the superior is made responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to prevent or punish the
perpetrators (as opposed to crimes he ordered). (citations omitted; emphasis in the original; underscoring supplied) 44
It bears stressing that command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity,45 and thus a substantive rule that
points to criminal or administrative liability.
An amparo proceeding is not criminal in nature nor does it ascertain the criminal liability of individuals or entities
involved. Neither does it partake of a civil or administrative suit.46 Rather, it is a remedial measure designed to direct
specified courses of action to government agencies to safeguard the constitutional right to life, liberty and security of
aggrieved individuals.47
Thus Razon Jr. v. Tagitis 48 enlightens:
[An amparo proceeding] does nor determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance [threats thereof
or extrajudicial killings]; it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearancefor
purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance49 (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Further, Tagitis defines what constitutes "responsibility" and "accountability," viz:
x x x. Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in
whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court shall craft,
among them, the 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 those who

exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of
responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry
the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the
investigation of the enforced disappearance. In all these cases, the issuance of the Writ of Amparo is justified by our
primary goal of addressing the disappearance, so that the life of the victim is preserved and his liberty and security are
restored.50 (emphasis in the original; underscoring supplied)
Rubrico categorically denies the application of command responsibility in amparo cases to determine criminal
liability.51 The Court maintains its adherence to this pronouncement as far as amparo cases are concerned.
Rubrico, however, recognizes a preliminary yet limited application of command responsibility in amparo cases to
instances of determining the responsible or accountable individuals or entities that are duty-bound to abate any
transgression on the life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party.
If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine
the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the disappearance and harassments
complained of, so as to enable the Court to devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to
protect rights covered by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to fix
criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to administrative disciplinary
proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any.52 (emphasis and underscoring supplied)
In other words, command responsibility may be loosely applied in amparo cases in order to identify those accountable
individuals that have the power to effectively implement whatever processes an amparo court would issue. 53 In such
application, the amparo court does not impute criminal responsibility but merely pinpoint the superiors it considers to be
in the best position to protect the rights of the aggrieved party.
Such identification of the responsible and accountable superiors may well be a preliminary determination of criminal
liability which, of course, is still subject to further investigation by the appropriate government agency.
Relatedly, the legislature came up with Republic Act No. 985154 (RA 9851) to include command responsibility as a form
of criminal complicity in crimes against international humanitarian law, genocide and other crimes.55 RA 9851 is thus the
substantive law that definitively imputes criminal liability to those superiors who, despite their position, still fail to take
all necessary and reasonable measures within their power to prevent or repress the commission of illegal acts or to submit
these matters to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution.
The Court finds that the appellate court erred when it did not specifically name the respondents that it found to be
responsible for the abduction and continued detention of Sherlyn, Karen and Merino. For, from the records, it appears that
the responsible and accountable individuals are Lt. Col. Anotado, Lt. Mirabelle, Gen. Palparan, Lt. Col. Boac, Arnel
Enriquez and Donald Caigas. They should thus be made to comply with the September 17, 2008 Decision of the appellate
court to IMMEDIATELY RELEASE Sherlyn, Karen and Merino.
The petitions against Generals Esperon, Razon and Tolentino should be dismissed for lack of merit as there is no showing
that they were even remotely accountable and responsible for the abduction and continued detention of Sherlyn, Karen
and Merino.
G.R. No. 187109.
Contrary to the ruling of the appellate court, there is no need to file a motion for execution for an amparo or habeas corpus
decision. Since the right to life, liberty and security of a person is at stake, the proceedings should not be delayed and
execution of any decision thereon must be expedited as soon as possible since any form of delay, even for a day, may
jeopardize the very rights that these writs seek to immediately protect.
The Solicitor Generals argument that the Rules of Court supplement the Rule on the Writ of Amparo is misplaced. The
Rules of Court only find suppletory application in an amparo proceeding if the Rules strengthen, rather than weaken, the
procedural efficacy of the writ. As it is, the Rule dispenses with dilatory motions in view of the urgency in securing the

life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party. Suffice it to state that a motion for execution is inconsistent with the
extraordinary and expeditious remedy being offered by an amparo proceeding.
In fine, the appellate court erred in ruling that its directive to immediately release Sherlyn, Karen and Merino was not
automatically executory. For that would defeat the very purpose of having summary proceedings 56 in amparo petitions.
Summary proceedings, it bears emphasis, are immediately executory without prejudice to further appeals that may be
taken therefrom.57
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing discussions, the Court renders the following judgment:
1. The Petitions in G.R. Nos. 184461-62 and G.R. No. 184495 are DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals dated September 17, 2008 is AFFIRMED with modification in that respondents in G.R. No. 184495,
namely Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, Gen. Jovito Palparan, Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac,
Arnel Enriquez and Donald Caigas are ordered to immediately release Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and
Manuel Merino from detention.
The petitions against Generals Esperon, Razon and Tolentino are DISMISSED.
2. The petition in G.R. No. 187109 is GRANTED. The named respondents are directed to forthwith comply with
the September 17, 2008 Decision of the appellate court. Owing to the retirement and/or reassignment to other
places of assignment of some of the respondents herein and in G.R. No. 184495, the incumbent commanding
general of the 7th Infantry Division and the incumbent battalion commander of the 24th Infantry Battalion, both
of the Philippine Army, are enjoined to fully ensure the release of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeo and Manuel
Merino from detention.1awphi1
Respondents Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, Gen. Jovito Palparan, Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac,
Arnel Enriquez and Donald Caigas shall remain personally impleaded in the petitions to answer for any
responsibilities and/or accountabilities they may have incurred during their incumbencies.
Let copies of this Decision and the records of these cases be furnished the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Philippine
National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for further investigation to determine the respective
criminal and administrative liabilities of respondents.
All the present petitions are REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action, directed at monitoring of the
DOJ, PNP and AFP investigations and the validation of their results.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 186050

December 13, 2011

ARTHUR BALAO, WINSTON BALAO, NONETTE BALAO, JONILYN BALAO-STRUGAR and BEVERLY
LONGID, Petitioners,
vs.
GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, EDUARDO ERMITA, GILBERTO TEODORO, RONALDO PUNO,
NORBERTO GONZALES, Gen. ALEXANDER YANO, Gen. JESUS VERZOSA, Brig. Gen. REYNALDO
MAPAGU, Lt. P/Dir. EDGARDO DOROMAL, Maj. Gen. ISAGANI CACHUELA, Commanding Officer of the
AFP-ISU based in Baguio City, PSS EUGENE MARTIN and several JOHN DOES, Respondents.
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
G.R. No. 186059
PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA, SECRETARY
GILBERTO TEODORO, SECRETARY RONALDO PUNO, SECRETARY NORBERTO GONZALES, GEN.
ALEXANDER YANO, P/DGEN. JESUS VERZOSA, BRIG GEN. REYNALDO MAPAGU, MAJ. GEN. ISAGANI
CACHUELA ANDPOL. SR. SUPT. EUGENE MARTIN, Petitioners,
vs.
ARTHUR BALAO, WINSTON BALAO, NONETTE BALAO, JONILYN BALAO-STRUGAR and BEVERLY
LONGID, Respondents.
DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Before us are consolidated appeals under Section 19 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparofrom the January 19, 2009
Judgment1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of La Trinidad, Benguet, Branch 63, in Special Proceeding No. 08-AMP0001, entitled "In the Matter of the Petition for Issuance of Writ of Amparo in favor of James Balao, Arthur Balao, et al.
v. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et al." The RTC granted the petition for the writ of amparo but denied the prayer for
issuance of inspection, production and witness protection orders.
The Antecedents
On October 8, 2008, Arthur Balao, Winston Balao, Nonette Balao and Jonilyn Balao-Strugar, siblings of James Balao, and
Beverly Longid (petitioners), filed with the RTC of La Trinidad, Benguet a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of
Amparo2 in favor of James Balao who was abducted by unidentified armed men on September 17, 2008 in Tomay, La
Trinidad, Benguet. Named respondents in the petition were then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary
Eduardo R. Ermita, Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr.,Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo V.
Puno, National Security Adviser (NSA) Norberto B. Gonzales, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen.
Alexander B. Yano, Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Director General Jesus A. Verzosa, Philippine Army (PA)
Chief Brig. Gen. Reynaldo B. Mapagu, PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Chief Lt. P/Dir.
Edgardo Doromal, Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Commander Maj. Gen. Isagani C. Cachuela, PNP-Cordillera

Administrative Region Regional Director Police Senior Supt. Eugene Gabriel Martin, the Commanding Officer of the
AFP Intelligence Service Unit (AFP-ISU) based in Baguio City and several John Does.
James M. Balao is a Psychology and Economics graduate of the University of the Philippines-Baguio (UP-Baguio). In
1984, he was among those who founded the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), a coalition of non-government
organizations (NGOs) working for the cause of indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region. As head of CPAs education
and research committee, James actively helped in the training and organization of farmers. He was also the President of
Oclupan Clan Association which undertakes the registration and documentation of clan properties to protect their rights
over ancestral lands. In 1988, while working for the CPA, he was arrested on the charge of violation of the AntiSubversion Law but the case was eventually dismissed for lack of evidence.
The testimonies and statements of eyewitnesses established the following circumstances surrounding Jamess
disappearance:
On September 17, 2008, at around 8:30 in the morning, a man clad in black jacket, black shirt, black visor and gray pants
was standing infront of Saymors3 Store at Tomay, La Trinidad, Benguet. He had a belt bag and a travelling bag which
was placed on a bench. Vicky Bonel was at the time attending to the said store owned by her brother-in-law while Aniceto
G. Dawing, Jr. and his co-employee were delivering bakery products thereat. A white van then arrived and stopped infront
of the store. Five men in civilian clothes who were carrying firearms alighted from the van and immediately approached
the man poking their guns on him. They grabbed and handcuffed him. The man was asking why he was being
apprehended. One of the armed men addressed the people witnessing the incident, saying they were policemen. Another
warned that no one should interfere because the man was being arrested for illegal drugs. Thereafter, they pushed the man
inside the van. One of the armed men went back to the store to get the mans travelling bag. Before leaving the place, one
of the armed men was also heard telling the driver of the van that they are going to proceed to Camp Dangwa (PNP
Provincial Headquarters in La Trinidad, Benguet). The van headed towards the direction of La Trinidad town proper. The
witnesses later identified the man as James Balao after seeing his photograph which appeared in posters announcing him
as missing.
The petition alleged that in May 2008, James reported surveillances on his person to his family, particularly to his sister
Nonette Balao (Nonette), and to CPA Chairperson Beverly Longid (Beverly). James supposedly observed certain vehicles
tailing him and suspiciously parked outside his residence, one of which was a van with plate number USC 922. He also
claimed to have received calls and messages through his mobile phone informing him that he was under surveillance by
the PNP Regional Office and the AFP-ISU. To prove the surveillance, the informer gave the exact dates he visited his
family, clothes he wore, and dates and times he goes home or visits friends and relatives. Attached to the petition were the
affidavits4 of Nonette and Beverly attesting to Jamess reports of surveillance to his family and to the CPA.
It was further alleged that on September 17, 2008, around 7:00 in the morning, James sent a text message to Nonette
informing her that he was about to leave his rented house in Fairview Central, Baguio City and that he was going to their
ancestral residence in Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet to do his laundry. The travel time from Fairview, Baguio City to Pico
usually takes only 20 to 45 minutes. Around 8:00 a.m., Nonette, after discovering that James never reached their parents
house at Pico, started contacting their friends and relatives to ask about Jamess whereabouts. No one, however, had any
idea where he was.
Thus, the Balao family, with the assistance of the CPA and other NGOs, tried to locate James. Teams were formed to
follow Jamess route from Fairview, Baguio City to Pico, La Trinidad and people along the way were asked if they
happened to see him. These searches, however, yielded negative results. One of the teams also went to the office of the
AFP-ISU (PA-ISU) in Navy Base and the office of the Military Intelligence Group in Camp Allen, both in Baguio City,
but the personnel in said offices denied any knowledge on Jamess whereabouts. The family likewise went to Baguio
Police Station 7 to report Jamess disappearance. The report was duly entered on the blotter but there have been no
developments as of the filing of the petition. They also sought the help of the media to announce Jamess disappearance
and wrote several government agencies to inform them of his disappearance and enlist their help in locating him.
Petitioners, moreover, enumerated in their petition several incidents of harassments and human rights violations against
CPA officers, staff and members.

Contending that there is no plain, speedy or adequate remedy for them to protect Jamess life, liberty and security,
petitioners prayed for the issuance of a writ of amparo ordering the respondents to disclose where James is detained or
confined, to release James, and to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon his person. They likewise prayed for
(1) an inspection order for the inspection of at least 11 military and police facilities which have been previously reported
as detention centers for activists abducted by military and police operatives; (2) a production order for all documents that
contain evidence relevant to the petition, particularly the Order of Battle List and any record or dossier respondents have
on James; and (3) a witness protection order.
Petitioners simultaneously filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion5 for the immediate issuance of a writ of amparo pursuant to
Section 6 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo.
On October 9, 2008, the Writ of Amparo6 was issued directing respondents to file their verified return together with their
supporting affidavit within five days from receipt of the writ.
Respondents in their Joint Return7 stated: (1) that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is immune from suit and should
thus be dropped as party-respondent; (2) that only Arthur Balao should be named petitioner and the rest of the other
petitioners dropped; (3) that there is no allegation of specific wrongdoing against respondents that would show their
knowledge, involvement or participation in the abduction of James; (4) that Exec. Sec. Ermita, Sec. Teodoro, Sec. Puno,
Sec. Gonzales, Gen. Yano, Gen. Cachuela, Gen. Mapagu and Gen. Verzosa in their respective affidavits denied having
such participation or knowledge of Jamess abduction, set forth their actions taken in investigating the matter and
undertaking to continue exerting extraordinary diligence in securing the liberty of James and bring all those responsible
for his disappearance to the bar of justice, including military or police personnel when warranted by the findings of the
investigations; (5) that Supt. Martin already ordered an investigation, came up with interviews of several witnesses, and
held a dialogue with the Commander of the Military Intelligence Group I (MIG1) and the Commanding Officer of the
Internal Service Unit-Internal Security Group, Philippine Army;and (6) that petitioners themselves did not cooperate with
police authorities in the investigation and neither did they ask the National Bureau of Investigation to locate James.
Respondents contended that the petition failed to meet the requirement in the Rule on the Writ of Amparo that claims
must be established by substantial evidence considering that: (1) petitioners allegations do not mention in anyway the
manner, whether directly or indirectly, the alleged participation of respondents in the purported abduction of James; (2)
Nonette and Beverly do not have personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the abduction of James, hence,
their statements are hearsay with no probative value; and (3) the allegations in the petition do not show the materiality and
relevance of the places sought to be searched/inspected and documents to be produced, specifically the requirement that
the prayer for an inspection order shall be supported by affidavits or testimonies of witnesses having personal knowledge
of the whereabouts of the aggrieved party.
Respondents further argued that it is the PNP as the law enforcement agency, and not the respondent military and
executive officials, which has the duty to investigate cases of missing persons. At most, the AFP may inquire on the
matters being alluded to them as may be ordered by the proper superior, which is primarily done for possible court martial
proceedings. Hence, their common denials of having any knowledge, participation or authorization for the alleged
disappearance of James Balao. Nonetheless, respondents executed their affidavits to show the actions they have taken and
reports submitted to them by the proper authorities, as follows:
Executive Secretary Ermitastated that upon receipt of copy of the petition for a writ of amparo, he caused the issuance of a
letter addressed to the PNP Chief and AFP Chief of Staff for the purpose of inquiring and establishing the circumstances
surrounding the alleged disappearance of James Balao, and which letters also called for the submission of pertinent
reports on the results of the investigation conducted, if any.8
Secretary Teodoro declared that soon after the promulgation by this Court of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo, he issued
"Policy Directive on the Actions and Defenses Under the Amparo Rule" which instructed members of the AFP to
undertake specific measures even without waiting for the filing of an amparo petition in court whenever any member of
the AFP or any of its commands or units have been reported or published as being involved in the alleged violation of an
individuals right to life, liberty and security or threat thereof, as a preparatory step in the filing of a verified return as
required by A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC. The AFP was therein also directed to immediately coordinate with the PNP, NBI, DOJ
and other government agencies in the attainment of the desired actions in the event a petition is filed. Said policy directive

was contained in his Memorandum dated October 31, 2007 to the Chief of Staff, AFP, and there is no reason for him to
doubt that the AFP will comply with it insofar as the present petition for writ of amparo is concerned.9
Secretary Puno confirmed receipt of a copy of the petition and said he will write to the PNP Chief to call for pertinent
reports relative to the circumstances of the alleged "taking" of the person in whose favor the writ of amparo was sought.
He undertook to make available any report he will receive from the PNP on the matter.10
NSA Gonzales asserted that as a public officer, he is presumed to have performed his duties in accordance with law,
which presumption remains undisturbed amid gratuitous assumptions and conclusions in the petition devoid of factual and
legal basis. Upon receipt of a copy of the petition, he caused to be issued letters/communications to the Director General
of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the PNP Chief and the AFP Chief of Staff for the purpose of making
active inquiries and establishing the circumstances of the alleged disappearance insofar as the possible involvement of
military/police personnel is concerned. He undertook to provide the material results of investigations conducted or to be
conducted by the concerned agencies.11
General Yano narrated that prior to the receipt of a copy of the petition, he received a memorandum from the Department
of National Defense transmitting the letter of Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro A. Casio inquiring about the alleged
abduction of James Balao. On the basis of said memo, he directed by radio message the NOLCOM Commander to
conduct a thorough investigation on the matter and to submit the result thereof to the AFP General Headquarters. This was
also done in compliance with the Policy Directive issued by Defense Secretary Teodoro. He reiterated his October 6, 2008
directive to the PA Commanding General in another radio message dated October 16, 2008. He undertook to provide the
court with material results of the investigations conducted by the concerned units as soon as the same are received by
Higher Headquarters.12
Lt. Gen. Cachuela said that even prior to the receipt of a copy of the petition, he was already directed by Higher
Headquarters to conduct a thorough investigation on the alleged abduction of James Balao. Acting on said directive, he in
turn directed the 5th Infantry Division, PA to investigate the matter since the place of the commission of the abduction is
within its area of responsibility. He undertook to furnish the court with a copy of the result of the investigation conducted
or to be conducted, as soon as NOLCOM receives the same.13
BGen. Mapagu on his part declared that there is nothing in the allegations of the petition that would show the involvement
of the PA in the reported disappearance of James Balao. He claimed that he immediately called the attention of the
"concerned staff" to give some information regarding the case and directed them to submit a report if they are able to
obtain information.14
Pol. Dir. General Verzosa set forth the actions and steps taken by the PNP, particularly the PNP Regional OfficeCordillera (PRO-COR) headed by PCSupt. Eugene Martin, being the lead PNP unit investigating the case of James
Balao.15
Pol. Chief Supt. Martin recounted that in the afternoon of September 17, 2008, CPA Chairperson Beverly Longid called
up and informed him of the disappearance of James. On September 20, 2008, he was informed that James was allegedly
missing and immediately ordered the Office of the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) to send flash alarm to all lower
units to look for and locate James Balao. This was followed by a Memorandum with his picture and description. Upon his
orders, Police Station 1 of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) immediately conducted inquiries at the boarding house
of James at Barangay Fairview, Baguio City. Likewise, he ordered the creation of Task Force Balao to fast track the
investigation of the case. He further instructed the RID to exert all efforts and supervise all lower units to intensify their
investigation and ascertain the whereabouts and other circumstances surrounding the disappearance of James. Results of
the investigations conducted were set forth in his affidavit. He had constant coordination with the CPA leaders and Balao
family who divulged the plate numbers of vehicles allegedly observed by James prior to his disappearance as conducting
surveillance on his person. Upon verification with the Land Transportation Office, the said vehicles were found to be
registered under the following persons: TNH 787 Narciso Magno of #20 Darasa, Tanauan, Batangas; and USC 922 G
& S Transport Corp. On October 6, 2008, he received information regarding an abduction incident in Tomay, La Trinidad
whereupon he ordered the Provincial Director of Benguet to conduct an in-depth investigation; said investigation
disclosed that the person abducted was indeed James. On October 8, 2008, Task Force Balao with the help of the CPA and
Balao family were able to convince two witnesses in the abduction incident in Tomay, La Trinidad, Benguet to shed light
on the incident; as a result, cartographic sketches of the suspects were made. In the morning of October 9, 2008, he

presided over a dialogue which was attended by the Group Commander, MIG1 and Commanding Officer of ISU, ISG and
PA, for the coordinated efforts to locate James. In the afternoon of the same day, he met with the family and relatives of
James to inform them of initial efforts and investigation of the case. The Task Force Balao was also able to secure the
affidavits of witnesses Aniceto Dawing and Vicky Bonel, and invited some members of the CPA who retrieved Jamess
personal belongings in Fairview, Baguio City and his companions prior to his disappearance on September 17, 2008 to
appear before the Task Force Balao for some clarifications but none of them appeared. The case is still under follow-up
and continuing investigation to know what really happened, identify the abductors, determine the real motive for the
abduction and file the necessary charges in court against those responsible.16
Also attached to the Return are the more detailed reports (with attached affidavits of other witnesses) dated October 14,
2008 and October 6, 2008 submitted by Task Force Balao Commander P/S Supt. Fortunato B. Albas to the PNP
Cordillera Regional Director. Pertinent portions of the two reports read:
xxxx
2. Inquiries conducted from Mr. Zusimo Unarosa, a resident of Nr 126, Purok 3, Central Fairview, Baguio City,
claimed that on the 1st week of September 2008, he frequently observed two (2) unidentified male persons aged
50-70 years old and about 51" to 55" in height, bringing boxes from the house, the contents of which could not
be determined. However, averred that these two (2) male personalities are not familiar in the barangay. He further
stated that he had never seen a van conducting surveillance on the house and have not heard of any incident of
kidnapping or abduction in the community.
3. Mr[.] Anselmo Alukim, a neighbor, residing adjacent to the house of the subject, when interviewed, averred
that he observed some unidentified male and female persons visiting the said house.
4. Interview conducted on Mr[.] Danny Griba, a resident of said barangay averred that James Balao is not a
resident or occupant of the said house and claimed that he only saw the subject last summer and stated there are
five (5) unidentified persons occupying the said house. He further stated that three (3) male persons aged 40 to 50
years old and a female aged between 20-30 years old goes out during day time with several boxes and returns at
about 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM on board a taxi cab again with some boxes of undetermined contents.
5. Mrs[.] Corazon Addun, resident of Nr 114, Purok 3, Central Fairview, Baguio City averred that the subject is
not residing in the said place and saw him only once, sometime on April 2008. She further narrated that a certain
Uncle John aged 40 to 50 years old and a male person aged 20 to 30 are among the occupants of said house.
Accordingly, on September 21, 2008, Uncle John went to the house of Mrs. Addun and over a cup of coffee told
her that he will be going to Sagada, Mountain Province purposely to locate a missing colleague who was sent
there. Accordingly[,] he received a phone call that his missing colleague (James Balao) did not reach the
municipality and reported missing. After that short talk, she never saw Uncle John again. Additionally, she did not
notice any vehicle conducting surveillance therein and any unusual incidents that transpired in said place.
xxxx
7. This office has likewise coordinated with MIG-1 and ISU, ISG, PA but both offices denied any knowledge on
the alleged abduction of James Balao.
8. It was found out that it was SPO4 Genero Rosal, residing within the vicinity, who followed-up the incident
because it was reported to him by his neighbors. That after he learned about [James abduction], he contacted
PDEA, La Trinidad PS, RID ad Intel BPPO to verify if they had an operation in Tomay, La Trinidad but all of
them answered negative.
x x x x17
xxxx

3. A photocopy of the photograph of James Balao was presented to the witnesses wherein they confirmed that the
picture is the same person who was arrested and handcuffed. Another witness divulged that prior to the arrest of
the person in the picture/photograph, a red motorcycle with two (2) male riders allegedly conducted surveillance
along the highway about ten (10) meters away from the place where the victim was picked-up. Minutes later, a
white Mitsubishi Adventure arrived and took the victim inside the car. The motorcycle riding in tandem followed
the Mitsubushi Adventure en route to Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet. Another witness overheard one of the
abductors instructing the driver to quote "pare sa Camp Dangwa tayo."
4. Follow[-]up investigation resulted in the identification of a certain "KULOT" who also witnessed the alleged
abduction. However, he was hesitant to talk and instead pointed to the driver of the delivery van of Helens Bread.
At about 8:30 AM of October 9, 2008, Aniceto Dawing Jr[.] y Gano, the driver of the delivery van of Helens
Bread, surfaced and gave his statements on what he witnessed on the alleged abduction.
5. On October 12, 2008, one Vicky Bonel y Felipe, 19 years old, single, native of Atok, Benguet, resident of
Tomay, LTB and store keeper of Saymor[s] Store appeared before the office of Benguet PPO and gave her sworn
statement on the alleged abduction. A cartographic sketch was made on the person who identified himself as
policeman. She further stated that it was when while she was tending her brother-in-laws store, gun-wielding
men, of about six or more, handcuffed and shove the victim inside their vehicle. She recalled that she can
recognize the abductors if she can see them again.
6. Another witness stated that she was preparing her merchandise in the waiting shed of Lower Tomay when she
noticed a parked motorcycle beside the elementary school at about 7:00 AM of September 17, 2008. The rider of
the bike was suspiciously scouring the area and kept on calling someone from his cellular phone before the
abduction was made.
7. Baguio City Police Office conducted follow-up investigation and were able to secure affidavit of Florence
Luken y Mayames, 47 years old, married, and a resident of 135 Central Fairview averred that James Balao
together with a certain Uncle John about 65-75 years old, about 54" in height and a certain Rene about 30-35
years old and stands 55", were her neighbors for almost one year. She further stated that James Balao and
company do not mingle with their neighbors and only one person is usually left behind while James and Rene
goes out at 6:00 or 7:00 AM and goes back at around 6:00 or 7:00 PM.
She further averred that she did not notice any van or any kind of vehicle parked along the roadside infront of any
residence not his neighbors nor any person or persons observing the occupants of the said house. Accordingly, at
around 1:00 PM of September 26, 2008, a closed van (Ca[n]ter) with unknown plate number was seen parked
infront of the said house and more or less (10) unidentified male person[s] aging from 20-23 and an unidentified
female entered the alleged rented house of James Balao and took some table, chairs and cabinets then left
immediately to unknown destination.
8. Mrs[.] Mina Cabati Serdan the owner of the house being rented by James Balao averred that sometime May of
2007, a certain Mr[.] June, a realtor agent, recommended to her that a certain James Balao will rent the house for
one (1) year term with an agreed monthly rent of fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000.00). She stated that James Balao
had extended his stay for almost 4 months. On the last week of August 2008, Mrs[.] Serdan called up James Balao
through phone to inform him that she will terminate his stay at the rented house on September 30, 2008. Mrs[.]
Serdan further stated that [she]visited the rented house only twice and that was the only time she saw James Balao
with an unidentified companions.
That she only discovered that James Balao was missing when a certain Carol informed her that he was missing. [Sh]e
further stated that she visited her house and found out that the said occupants have already left on September 26, 2008 and
discovered that all personal belongings of the occupants have already been taken out by the relatives.
xxxx
VI. ACTIONS TAKEN:

1. That a composite team "TASK FORCE BALAO" from this office and the Regional Headquarters headed by
[P/S SUPT] FORTUNATO BASCO ALBAS was formed.
2. That the composite team of investigators conducted ocular inspection on the area.
3. On October 8, 2008, two (2) witnesses namely: Marjore Domingo Hipolito and Jenny Lynn Malondon Valdez
gave their sworn statements and cartographic sketch of one of the abductors.
4. On the morning of October 9, 2008, a dialogue was presided by RD, PRO-COR and attended by the Group
Commander, MIG1 and Commanding Officer of ISU, SG, PA. Both commanders denied the accusations against
them.
5. In the afternoon of the same day, a meeting with the family and relatives of James Balao was again presided by
RD, PRO-COR wherein the results of the initial efforts and investigation were given to the family. He also
reported the surfacing of another two (2) witnesses who described the suspect who handcuffed James Balao.
6. PRO-Cordillera wrote a letter to the Cordillera Peoples Alliance requesting them to present Uncle John, Rene
and his other companions who are then residing in the same boarding house including all his companions on
September 17, 2008 and prior to his disappearance.
REMARKS:
Case is still under follow-up investigation to identify the alleged abductors to determine the real motive of the abduction
and to file necessary charges against them in court.18
During the hearing, the affidavits and testimonies of the following witnesses were presented by petitioners:
Aniceto Dawing19 testified that on September 17, 2008, around 8:00 in the morning, while he was delivering bread at
Saymors Store in Tomay, La Trinidad, Benguet, a white van stopped infront of them and five armed men alighted. The
armed men, who introduced themselves as policemen in Filipino, held and pointed a gun at one male person. The armed
men told the male person that he was being apprehended for illegal drugs. They then let the male person board the vehicle
and informed him that they will proceed to Camp Dangwa. Dawing admitted that he did not know that it was James whom
he saw that time and came to know only of his identity when he saw a poster bearing Jamess photograph. On crossexamination, he stated that the white van did not have any markings that it was a police vehicle and that the armed men
were in civilian clothes and did not wear any police badges or identification cards. He just assumed that they were
policemen because of their posture and haircut and because they introduced themselves as such.
Anvil Lumbag stated in his affidavit20 that he was also at Saymors Store in the morning of September 17, 2008 to buy
chicken. He said that a ToyotaRevo stopped infront of the store from where four men alighted. The men handcuffed a man
who was standing infront of the store and uttered "Walang makikialam, drugs kaso nito" while pointing a gun at the said
man. Then, they forced the man to board the Revo. Before the Revo fled, Lumbag heard one of the men say that they will
be going to Camp Dangwa. Lumbags affidavit, however, did not mention if it was James who was forcibly taken by the
armed men.
Beverly Longid21 testified that she got to know James when she was a member of the CPA youth organization in her
student days. Every time James will have an activity that is CPA-related, he would coordinate with Beverly, she being the
CPA chair. She also testified that prior to his disappearance, the last time she talked with James was in July or August of
2008 when he reported surveillances on his person by the PNP and the AFP. In her affidavit, she alleged that James
reported to her several vehicles tailing him, one of which was a green van with plate number USC 922, the same plate
number she had seen at the Intelligence Security Unit in Navy Base, Baguio City, and which was attached to a silver grey
van.
Beverly admitted that at the time of the alleged abduction, she was in Baguio City, at the Office of the Cordillera Peoples
Legal Center and that she only came to know that James was missing in the afternoon of September 18, 2008. She also
confirmed that they met with Pol. Supt. Martin to seek assistance regarding Jamess disappearance.

Nonette Balao22 testified that she was at her bakeshop located in Km. 4, La Trinidad, Benguet in the morning of
September 17, 2008. At around 6:30 a.m., she received a text message from James saying that he will be going home to
their ancestral home to do some laundry. Thirty minutes later, she received another text message from James saying that
he was already leaving his place in Fairview, Baguio City. When around 8:00 a.m. James had not yet arrived at their
ancestral home, she got worried. She texted him but failed to get a reply, so she tried to call him. His phone, however, had
already been turned off. She then called the CPA office to check if James was there. She was told that he was not there so
she went to Jamess house in Fairview at around 9:00 a.m. Jamess housemates, however, told her that he left at 7:00 a.m.
Nonette also testified that they only reported Jamess disappearance to the police on September 20, 2008 because they
thought that it was necessary that a person be missing for at least 48 hours before the disappearance could be reported.
They went to Sub-Station Police Precinct No. 1 in Baguio and to the police precinct in La Trinidad to report the matter.
They also went to Camp Dangwa to see if James was there.
Nonette claimed that she became worried because James never switched off his mobile phone and since he already texted
her that he was coming home, he could have texted again if there was a change of plans. Also, James had told them since
April 2008 that he had been under surveillance. She does not know why James went to Tomay, La Trinidad.
Samuel Anongos stated in his affidavit23 that he is a member of the Education Commission of the CPA. He claimed that
when they conducted trainings and educational discussions on mining education in Abra, members of the AFP harassed
the community and committed various human rights violations. The AFP also allegedly held community meetings where
they said that the CPA is part of the New Peoples Army. Attached to Anongoss affidavit is a copy of a paper that the
AFP was allegedly distributing. It shows the organizational structure of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New
Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) wherein CPA was identified as one of the organizations under the National Democratic Front
(NDF).24
RTC Ruling
On January 19, 2009, the RTC issued the assailed judgment, disposing as follows:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered:
ISSUE a Writ of Amparo Ordering the respondents to (a) disclose where James Balao is detained or confined, (b) to
release James Balao considering his unlawful detention since his abduction and (c) to cease and desist from further
inflicting harm upon his person; and
DENY the issuance of INSPECTION ORDER, PRODUCTION ORDER and WITNESS PROTECTION ORDER for
failure of herein Petitioners to comply with the stringent provisions on the Rule on the Writ of Amparo and substantiate
the same.25
In denying respondents prayer that President Arroyo be dropped as party-respondent, the RTC held that a petition for a
writ of amparo is not "by any stretch of imagination a niggling[,] vexing or annoying court case"26from which she should
be shielded. The RTC ruled that said petition is nothing more than a tool to aid the president to guarantee that laws on
human rights are devotedly and staunchly carried out. It added that those who complain against naming the president as
party-respondent are only those who "either do not understand what the Writ of Amparo is all about or who do not want to
aid Her Excellency in her duty to supervise and control the machinery of government."27
In upholding the standing of Jamess siblings and Beverly to file the petition, the RTC held that what Section 2 of
the Rule on the Writ of Amparorules out is the right to file similar petitions, meaning there could be no successive
petitions for the issuance of a writ of amparo for the same party.
The RTC further held that "more likely than not," the motive for Jamess disappearance is his activist/political leanings
and that Jamess case is one of an enforced disappearance as defined under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. In so ruling,
the RTC considered (1) the several incidents of harassment mentioned in Beverlys testimony and enumerated in the
petition; and (2) the references in the petition to the CPA as a front for the CPP-NPA.

The RTC likewise ruled that the government unmistakably violated Jamess right to security of person. It found the
investigation conducted by respondents as very limited, superficial and one-sided. The police and military thus miserably
failed to conduct an effective investigation of Jamess abduction as revealed by the investigation report of respondents
own witnesses, Supt. Martin and P/S Supt. Fortunato Basco Albas, the Commander of Task Force Balao. It further noted
that respondents did not investigate the military officials believed to be behind the abduction as said military officials
were merely invited to a dialogue and there was no investigation made in Camp Dangwa where the abductors were
believed to have taken James as narrated by the witnesses. Moreover, the RTC observed that despite the undertaking of
respondents to investigate the abduction and provide results thereof, four months have passed but petitioners have not
been furnished reports regarding the investigation.
As to the denial of the interim reliefs, the RTC stated that the stringent provisions of the rules were not complied with and
granting said reliefs might violate respondents constitutional rights and jeopardize State security.
Both parties appealed to this Court.
The Consolidated Petitions
Petitioners, in G.R. No. 186050, question the RTCs denial of the interim reliefs.
Respondents, on the other hand, assail in their petition in G.R. No. 186059, the issuance of the writ of amparo. They raise
the following arguments:
I
THE TRIAL COURTS JUDGMENT ORDERING RESPONDENT-PETITIONERS TO: (A) DISCLOSE
WHERE JAMES BALAO IS DETAINED AND CONFINED; (B) TO RELEASE JAMES BALAO
CONSIDERING HIS UNLAWFUL DETENTION SINCE HIS "ABDUCTION" AND (C) TO CEASE AND
DESIST FROM FURTHER INFLICTING HARM UPON HIS PERSON IS BASED PURELY ON
CONJECTURES, SURMISES AND HEARSAY EVIDENCE; HENCE, IT MUST BE SET ASIDE.
II
RESPONDENT-PETITIONERS HAD PROVEN THAT THEY OBSERVED EXTRAORDINARY DILIGENCE
AS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE LAWS, RULES AND REGULATIONS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF
THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES.
III
THE FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED IN THE MANALO CASE ARE
TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE CASE AT BAR; HENCE, THE TRIAL COURT GROSSLY ERRED IN
APPLYING THE RULING THEREIN TO THE CASE AT BAR.
IV
THE TRIAL COURT CORRECTLY DENIED PETITIONER-RESPONDENTS PRAYER FOR THE
ISSUANCE OF AN INSPECTION ORDER, PRODUCTION ORDER AND A WITNESS PROTECTION
ORDER.28
Our Ruling
The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was promulgated on October 24, 2007 amidst rising incidence of "extralegal killings"
and "enforced disappearances." It was formulated in the exercise of this Courts expanded rule-making power for the
protection and enforcement of constitutional rights enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, albeit limited to these two
situations. "Extralegal killings" refer to killings committed without due process of law, i.e., without legal safeguards or
judicial proceedings.29 On the other hand, "enforced disappearances" are attended by the following characteristics: an

arrest, detention, or abduction of a person by a government official or organized groups or private individuals acting with
the direct or indirect acquiescence of the government; the refusal of the State to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the
person concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty which places such person outside the protection of
law.30
Section 18 of the Amparo Rule provides:
SEC. 18. Judgment. - The court shall render judgment within ten (10) days from the time the petition is submitted for
decision. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court shall grant the privilege of the writ
and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be denied. (Emphasis supplied.)
The threshold issue in this case is whether the totality of evidence satisfies the degree of proof required by the Amparo
Rule to establish an enforced disappearance.
In granting the privilege of the writ of amparo, the trial court ratiocinated:
On record is evidence pointing to the more likely than not motive for James Balaos disappearance his activist/political
leanings. This is shown by the several incidents relating to harassments of activists as mentioned in the unrebutted
testimony of Beverly Longid and the enumeration made in par. 48 (a) to (cc) of the petition. There were also references in
the petitions pars. 52 et. seq. to the CPA (of which James Balao was an active staff) as a front organization of the
Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army. More likely than not he was not taken to parts unknown for
reasons other than his involvement in the CPA, that is, politically-motivated. The Court considers these facts enough
circumstances to establish substantial evidence of an enforced disappearance as defined under the Rule on the Writ of
Amparo. For after all, substantial evidence requires nothing greater than "more likely than not" degree of
proof.31 (Emphasis supplied.)
The trial court gave considerable weight to the discussion in the petition of briefing papers supposedly obtained from the
AFP (Oplan Bantay-Laya implemented since 2001) indicating that the anti-insurgency campaign of the military under the
administration of President Arroyo included targeting of identified legal organizations under the NDF, which included the
CPA, and their members, as "enemies of the state." The petition cited other documents confirming such "all-out war"
policy which resulted in the prevalence of extrajudicial killings: namely, the published reports of the Melo Commission
and the UNHRCs Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Mr. Philip Alston. The petition
also enumerated previously documented cases of extralegal killings of activists belonging to militant groups, including
CPA leaders and workers, almost all of which have been preceded by surveillance by military or police agents and acts of
harassment. Consequently, petitioners postulated that the surveillance on James and his subsequent abduction are
interconnected with the harassments, surveillance, threats and political assassination of other members and officers of
CPA which is his organization.
We hold that such documented practice of targeting activists in the militarys counter-insurgency program by itself does
not fulfill the evidentiary standard provided in the Amparo Rule to establish an enforced disappearance.
In the case of Roxas v. Macapagal-Arroyo,32 the Court noted that the similarity between the circumstances attending a
particular case of abduction with those surrounding previous instances of enforced disappearances does not, necessarily,
carry sufficient weight to prove that the government orchestrated such abduction. Accordingly, the trial court in this case
cannot simply infer government involvement in the abduction of James from past similar incidents in which the victims
also worked or affiliated with the CPA and other left-leaning groups.
The petition further premised government complicity in the abduction of James on the very positions held by the
respondents, stating that -The abduction of James Balao can only be attributed to the Respondents who have command responsibility of all the
actions of their subordinates and who are the primary persons in the implementation of the governments all out war
policy.33 (Emphasis supplied.)

The Court in Rubrico v. Macapagal-Arroyo34 had the occasion to expound on the doctrine of command responsibility and
why it has little bearing, if at all, in amparo proceedings.
The evolution of the command responsibility doctrine finds its context in the development of laws of war and armed
combats. According to 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 in
international wars or domestic conflict." In this sense, command responsibility is properly a form of criminal complicity.
The Hague Conventions of 1907 adopted the doctrine of command responsibility, foreshadowing the present-day precept
of holding a superior accountable for the atrocities committed by his subordinates should he be remiss in his duty of
control over them. As then formulated, command responsibility is "an omission mode of individual criminal liability,"
whereby the superior is made responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates for failing to prevent or punish the
perpetrators (as opposed to crimes he ordered).
The doctrine has recently been codified in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to which the
Philippines is signatory. Sec. 28 of the Statute imposes individual responsibility on military commanders for crimes
committed by forces under their control. The country is, however, not yet formally bound by the terms and provisions
embodied in this treaty-statute, since the Senate has yet to extend concurrence in its ratification.
While there are several pending bills on command responsibility, there is still no Philippine law that provides for criminal
liability under that doctrine.
It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to hold military/police commanders liable for
extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats, may be made applicable to this jurisdiction on the theory that the
command responsibility doctrine now constitutes a principle of international law or customary international law in
accordance with the incorporation clause of the Constitution. Still, it would be inappropriate to apply to these proceedings
the doctrine of command responsibility, as the CA seemed to have done, as a form of criminal complicity through
omission, for individual respondents criminal liability, if there be any, is beyond the reach of amparo. In other words, the
Court does not rule in such proceedings on any issue of criminal culpability, even if incidentally a crime or an infraction
of an administrative rule may have been committed. As the Court stressed in Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo
(Manalo), the writ of amparo was conceived to provide expeditious and effective procedural relief against violations or
threats of violation of the basic rights to life, liberty, and security of persons; the corresponding amparo suit, however, "is
not an action to determine criminal guilt requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt x x x or administrative liability
requiring substantial evidence that will require full and exhaustive proceedings." Of the same tenor, and by way of
expounding on the nature and role of amparo, is what the Court said in Razon v. Tagitis:
It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disappearance [threats thereof or extrajudicial
killings]; it determines responsibility, or at least accountability, for the enforced disappearance [threats thereof or
extrajudicial killings] for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance [or extrajudicial
killings].
xxxx
As the law now stands, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in this jurisdiction are not crimes penalized
separately from the component criminal acts undertaken to carry out these killings and enforced disappearances and are
now penalized under the Revised Penal Code and special laws. The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on
the matter; the determination of what acts are criminal x x x are matters of substantive law that only the Legislature has
the power to enact. x x x35
Subsequently, we have clarified that the inapplicability of the doctrine of command responsibility in an amparo
proceeding does not, by any measure, preclude impleading military or police commanders on the ground that the
complained acts in the petition were committed with their direct or indirect acquiescence. Commanders may therefore be
impleadednot actually on the basis of command responsibilitybut rather on the ground of their responsibility, or at
least accountability.36

In Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis,37 the Court defined responsibility and accountability as these terms are applied to amparo
proceedings, as follows:
x x x Responsibility refers to the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in
whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remedies this Court shall craft,
among them, the 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 those who
exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of
responsibility defined above; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry
the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the
investigation of the enforced disappearance. x x x38(Emphasis supplied.)
Assessing the evidence on record, we find that the participation in any manner of military and police authorities in the
abduction of James has not been adequately proven. The identities of the abductors have not been established, much less
their link to any military or police unit. There is likewise no concrete evidence indicating that James is being held or
detained upon orders of or with acquiescence of government agents. Consequently, the trial court erred in granting amparo
reliefs by ordering the respondent officials (1) to disclose where James Balao is detained or confined, (2) to release him
from such detention or confinement, and (3) to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon his person. Such
pronouncement of responsibility on the part of public respondents cannot be made given the insufficiency of
evidence.39 However, we agree with the trial court in finding that the actions taken by respondent officials are "very
limited, superficial and one-sided." Its candid and forthright observations on the efforts exerted by the respondents are
borne by the evidence on record, thus:
x x x the violation of the right to security as protection by the government is unmistakable. The police and the military
miserably failed in conducting an effective investigation of James Balaos abduction as revealed by the investigation
report of respondents own witnesses Honorable Chief Superintendent Eugene Martin and Honorable Senior
Superintendent Fortunato Albas. The investigation was to use the words in The Secretary of National Defense, et. al., v.
Manalo et. al. "verylimited, superficial and one-sided."
The actions taken were simply these: (a) organization of the "Task Force Balao"; (b) conduct of ocular inspection at the
place of abduction; (c) taking of sworn statements of civilian witnesses, whose testimonies did not prove much as shown
by the continued disappearance of James Balao; (d) dialogue with implicated military officials as well as family members
and friends of James Balao; and (e) writing of letter to the CPA. The Court does not want to second-guess police protocols
in investigation but surely some things are amiss where the investigation DID NOT INVESTIGATE the military officials
believed to be behind the abduction as they were merely invited to a dialogue and where the investigation DID NOT
LEAD to Camp Dangwa where the abductors were supposed to have proceeded as narrated by the witnesses. To the mind
of this Court, there is a seeming prejudice in the process of investigation to pin suspects who are not connected with the
military establishments. By any measure, this cannot be a thorough and good faith investigation but one that falls short of
that required by the Writ of Amparo.40
Respondents reiterate that they did their job the best they could and fault the petitioners instead for their non-cooperation
which caused delay in the investigation. They particularly blamed Beverly who failed to attend the October 15, 2008
invitation to appear before the investigators and shed light on Jamess disappearance.
We are not persuaded.
First, the Task Force Balao had acknowledged the fact that Pol. Chief Supt. Martin was already in constant coordination
with the Balao family and CPA, and hence the investigators could have readily obtained whatever information they
needed from Beverly. Pol. Chief Supt. Martin even mentioned in his affidavit that Task Force Balao was able to secure the
testimonies of two eyewitnesses with the help of Beverly and the Balao family, and that as a result cartographic sketches
were made of some suspects.41 Moreover, Beverly had explained during the cross-examination conducted by Associate
Solicitor Paderanga that she was at the time coordinating with national and local agencies even as the police investigation
was ongoing.42 There is nothing wrong with petitioners simultaneous recourse to other legal avenues to gain public
attention for a possible enforced disappearance case involving their very own colleague. Respondents should even
commend such initiative that will encourage those who may have any information on the identities and whereabouts of
Jamess abductors to help the PNP in its investigation.

Assuming there was reluctance on the part of the Balao family and CPA to submit Jamess relatives or colleagues for
questioning by agents of the PNP and AFP, they cannot be faulted for such stance owing to the militarys perception of
their organization as a communist front: ergo, enemies of the State who may be targeted for liquidation. But more
important, such non-cooperation provides no excuse for respondents incomplete and one-sided investigations. As we held
in Rubrico v. Macapagal-Arroyo43 :
As regards P/Supt. Romero and P/Insp. Gomez, the Court is more than satisfied that they have no direct or indirect hand
in the alleged enforced disappearance of Lourdes and the threats against her daughters. As police officers, though, theirs
was the duty to thoroughly investigate the abduction of Lourdes, a duty that would include looking into the cause, manner,
and like details of the disappearance; identifying witnesses and obtaining statements from them; and following evidentiary
leads, such as the Toyota Revo vehicle with plate number XRR 428, and securing and preserving evidence related to the
abduction and the threats that may aid in the prosecution of the person/s responsible. As we said in Manalo, the right to
security, as a guarantee of protection by the government, is breached by the superficial and one-sidedhence,
ineffectiveinvestigation by the military or the police of reported cases under their jurisdiction. As found by the CA, the
local police stations concerned, including P/Supt. Roquero and P/Insp. Gomez, did conduct a preliminary fact-finding on
petitioners complaint. They could not, however, make any headway, owing to what was perceived to be the refusal of
Lourdes, her family, and her witnesses to cooperate. Petitioners counsel, Atty. Rex J.M.A. Fernandez, provided a
plausible explanation for his clients and their witnesses attitude, "[They] do not trust the government agencies to protect
them.The difficulty arising from a situation where the party whose complicity in extrajudicial killing or enforced
disappearance, as the case may be, is alleged to be the same party who investigates it is understandable, though.
The seeming reluctance on the part of the Rubricos or their witnesses to cooperate ought not to pose a hindrance to the
police in pursuing, on its own initiative, the investigation in question to its natural end. To repeat what the Court said
in Manalo, the right to security of persons is a guarantee of the protection of ones right by the government. And this
protection includes conducting effective investigations of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats of the
same kind. The nature and importance of an investigation are captured in the Velasquez Rodriguez case, in which the
Inter-American Court of Human Rights pronounced:
"[The duty to investigate] must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be
ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not a step taken
by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon offer of proof, without an
effective search for the truth by the government."44 (Emphasis supplied.)1avvphi1
Indeed, why zero in on Jamess own kin and colleagues when independent eyewitnesses already provided firsthand
accounts of the incident, as well as descriptions of the abductors? With the cartographic sketches having been made from
interviews and statements of witnesses, the police investigators could have taken proper steps to establish the personal
identities of said suspects and yet this was not done, the police investigators not even lifting a finger to ascertain whether
the cartographic sketches would match with any enlisted personnel of AFP and PNP, or their civilian agents/assets. As to
the vehicles, the plate numbers of which have earlier been disclosed by James to his family and the CPA as used in
conducting surveillance on him prior to his abduction, the military merely denied having a vehicle with such plate number
on their property list despite the fact that the same plate number (USC 922) was sighted attached to a car which was
parked at the PA-ISU compound in Navy Base, Baguio City. As to the other plate number given by James (TNH 787),
while the police investigators were able to verify the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle, there is no
showing that said owner had been investigated or that efforts had been made to locate the said vehicle. Respondents
insistence that the CPA produce the alleged companions of James in his rented residence for investigation by the PNP
team, while keeping silent as to why the police investigators had not actively pursued those evidentiary leads provided by
eyewitnessesand the Balao family, only reinforce the trial courts observation that the investigators are seemingly intent
on building up a case against other persons so as to deflect any suspicion of military or police involvement in James
Balaos disappearance.
In view of the foregoing evidentiary gaps, respondents clearly failed to discharge their burden of extraordinary diligence
in the investigation of Jamess abduction. Such ineffective investigation extant in the records of this case prevents us from
completely exonerating the respondents from allegations of accountability for James disappearance. The reports
submitted by the PNP Regional Office, Task Force Balao and Baguio City Police Station do not contain meaningful
results or details on the depth and extent of the investigation made. In Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis, the Court observed that such
reports of top police officials indicating the personnel and units they directed to investigate can never constitute

exhaustive and meaningful investigation, or equal detailed investigative reports of the activities undertaken to search for
the victim.45 In the same case we stressed that the standard of diligence required the duty of public officials and
employees to observe extraordinary diligence called for extraordinary measures expected in the protection of
constitutional rights and in the consequent handling and investigation of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearance
cases.
As to the matter of dropping President Arroyo as party-respondent, though not raised in the petitions, we hold that the trial
court clearly erred in holding that presidential immunity cannot be properly invoked in an amparo proceeding. As
president, then President Arroyo was enjoying immunity from suit when the petition for a writ of amparo was filed.
Moreover, the petition is bereft of any allegation as to what specific presidential act or omission violated or threatened to
violate petitioners protected rights.46
In order to effectively address thru the amparo remedy the violations of the constitutional rights to liberty and security of
James who remains missing to date, the Court deems it appropriate to refer this case back to the trial court for further
investigation by the PNP and CIDG and monitoring of their investigative activities that complies with the standard of
diligence required by the Amparo Rule. Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the "PNP
Law"47 specifies the PNP as the governmental office with the mandate to "[i]nvestigate and prevent crimes, effect the
arrest of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution." The trial court should further
validate the results of such investigations and actions through hearings it may deem necessary to conduct.
Lastly, on the denial of the prayer for interim reliefs under the Amparo Rule.
An inspection order is an interim relief designed to give support or strengthen the claim of a petitioner in an amparo
petition, in order to aid the court before making a decision.48 A basic requirement before an amparo court may grant an
inspection order is that the place to be inspected is reasonably determinable from the allegations of the party seeking the
order.49 In this case, the issuance of inspection order was properly denied since the petitioners specified several military
and police establishments based merely on the allegation that the testimonies of victims and witnesses in previous
incidents of similar abductions involving activists disclosed that those premises were used as detention centers. In the
same vein, the prayer for issuance of a production order was predicated on petitioners bare allegation that it obtained
confidential information from an unidentified military source, that the name of James was included in the so-called Order
of Battle. Indeed, the trial court could not have sanctioned any "fishing expedition" by precipitate issuance of inspection
and production orders on the basis of insufficient claims of one party.
Nonetheless, the trial court is not precluded, as further evidence warrants, to grant the above interim reliefs to aid it in
making a decision upon evaluation of the actions taken by the respondents under the norm of extraordinary diligence.
WHEREFORE, the petitions in G.R. Nos. 186050 and 186059 are PARTLY GRANTED. The Judgment dated January
19, 2009 of the Regional Trial Court of La Trinidad, Benguet, Branch 63, in Special Proceeding No. 08-AMP-0001 is
MODIFIED as follows:
1) REVERSING the grant of the privilege of the writ of amparo;
2) AFFIRMING the denial of the prayer for inspection and production orders, without prejudice to the subsequent
grant thereof, in the course of hearing and other developments in the investigations by the Philippine National
Police/Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Armed Forces of the
Philippines;
3) ORDERING the incumbent Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or his successor, and the
incumbent Director General of the Philippine National Police, or his successor, to CONTINUE the investigations
and actions already commenced by the Philippine National Police Regional OfficeCordillera, Baguio City
Police, Northern Luzon Command, Philippine National Police/Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation
and Detection Group, Philippine Army-Intelligence Service Unit and other concerned units, and specifically take
and continue to take the necessary steps:
(a) to identify the persons described in the cartographic sketches submitted by Task Force Balao;

(b) to locate and search the vehicles bearing the plate numbers submitted by the petitioners and which
James Balao had reported to be conducting surveillance on his person prior to his abduction on September
17, 2008, and investigate the registered owners or whoever the previous and present
possessors/transferees thereof; and to pursue any other leads relevant to the abduction of James Balao;
The incumbent Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Philippine National Police Director General, or
their successors, shall ensure that the investigations and actions of their respective units on the abduction of James
Balao are pursued with extraordinary diligence as required by Sec. 17 of the Amparo Rule.
For purposes of these investigations, the Philippine National Police/Philippine National Police Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group shall periodically report the detailed results of its investigation to the trial court
for its consideration and action. On behalf of this Court, the trial court shall pass upon the sufficiency of their
investigative efforts. The Philippine National Police and the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group shall have six (6) months from notice hereof to undertake their investigations. Within fifteen
(15) days after completion of the investigations, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the
DirectorGeneral of the Philippine National Police shall submit a full report of the results of the said investigations
to the trial court. Within thirty (30) days thereafter, the trial court shall submit its full reportto this Court.
These directives and those of the trial court made pursuant to this Decision shall be given to, and shall be directly
enforceable against, whoever may be the incumbent Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, Director
General of the Philippine National Police and Chief of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and
Detection Group and other concerned units, under pain of contempt from this Court when the initiatives and
efforts at disclosure and investigation constitute less than the EXTRAORDINARY DILIGENCE that the Amparo
Rule and the circumstances of the case demand; and1awphi1
4) DROPPING former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as party-respondent in the petition for writ of amparo;
This case is hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of La Trinidad, Benguet, Branch 63 for continuation of
proceedings in Special Proceeding No. 08-AMP-0001 for the purposes of monitoring compliance with the above
directives and determining whether, in the light of any recent reports or recommendations, there would already be
sufficient evidence to hold any of the public respondents responsible, or, at least, accountable. After making such
determination, the trial court shall submit its own report and recommendation to this Court for final action. The trial court
will continue to have jurisdiction over this case in order to accomplish its tasks under this decision;
Accordingly, the public respondents shall remain personally impleaded in this petition to answer for any responsibilities
and/or accountabilities they may have incurred during their incumbencies.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC
G.R. No. 184467

June 19, 2012

EDGARDO NAVIA,1 RUBEN DIO,2 and ANDREW BUISING, Petitioners,


vs.
VIRGINIA PARDICO, for and in behalf and in representation of BENHUR V. PARDICO Respondent.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
For the protective writ of amparo to issue in enforced disappearance cases, allegation and proof that the persons subject
thereof are missing are not enough. It must also be shown by the required quantum of proof that their disappearance was
carried out by, "or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, [the government] or a political organization,
followed by a refusal to acknowledge [the same or] give information on the fate or whereabouts of [said missing]
persons."3
This petition for review on certiorari4 filed in relation to Section 19 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC5 challenges the July 24, 2008
Decision6 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 20, Malolos City which granted the Petition for Writ of
Amparo7 filed by herein respondent against the petitioners.
Factual Antecedents
On March 31, 2008, at around 8:30 p.m., a vehicle of Asian Land Strategies Corporation8 (Asian Land) arrived at the
house of Lolita M. Lapore (Lolita) located at 7A Lot 9, Block 54, Grand Royale Subdivision, Barangay Lugam, Malolos
City. The arrival of the vehicle awakened Lolitas son, Enrique Lapore (Bong), and Benhur Pardico (Ben), who were then
both staying in her house. When Lolita went out to investigate, she saw two uniformed guards disembarking from the
vehicle. One of them immediately asked Lolita where they could find her son Bong. Before Lolita could answer, the guard
saw Bong and told him that he and Ben should go with them to the security office of Asian Land because a complaint was
lodged against them for theft of electric wires and lamps in the subdivision.9
Shortly thereafter, Bong, Lolita and Ben were in the office of the security department of Asian Land also located in Grand
Royale Subdivision.10 The supervisor of the security guards, petitioner Edgardo Navia (Navia), also arrived thereat.
As to what transpired next, the parties respective versions diverge.
Version of the Petitioners
Petitioners alleged that they invited Bong and Ben to their office because they received a report from a certain Mrs.
Emphasis, a resident of Grand Royale Subdivision, that she saw Bong and Ben removing a lamp from a post in said
subdivision.11 The reported unauthorized taking of the lamp was relayed thru radio to petitioners Ruben Dio (Dio) and
Andrew Buising (Buising), who both work as security guards at the Asian Land security department. Following their
departments standard operating procedure, Dio and Buising entered the report in their logbook and proceeded to the
house of Mrs. Emphasis. It was there where Dio and Buising were able to confirm who the suspects were. They thus
repaired to the house of Lolita where Bong and Ben were staying to invite the two suspects to their office. Bong and Ben
voluntarily went with them.
At the security office, Dio and Buising interviewed Bong and Ben. The suspects admitted that they took the lamp but
clarified that they were only transferring it to a post nearer to the house of Lolita.12 Soon, Navia arrived and Buising
informed him that the complainant was not keen in participating in the investigation. Since there was no complainant,
Navia ordered the release of Bong and Ben. Bong then signed a statement to the effect that the guards released him
without inflicting any harm or injury to him.13 His mother Lolita also signed the logbook below an entry which states that
she will never again harbor or entertain Ben in her house. Thereafter, Lolita and Bong left the security office.

Ben was left behind as Navia was still talking to him about those who might be involved in the reported loss of electric
wires and lamps within the subdivision. After a brief discussion though, Navia allowed Ben to leave. Ben also affixed his
signature on the logbook to affirm the statements entered by the guards that he was released unharmed and without any
injury.14
Upon Navias instructions, Dio and Buising went back to the house of Lolita to make her sign the logbook as witness that
they indeed released Ben from their custody. Lolita asked Buising to read aloud that entry in the logbook where she was
being asked to sign, to which Buising obliged. Not contented, Lolita put on her reading glasses and read the entry in the
logbook herself before affixing her signature therein. After which, the guards left.
Subsequently, petitioners received an invitation15 from the Malolos City Police Station requesting them to appear thereat
on April 17, 2008 relative to the complaint of Virginia Pardico (Virginia) about her missing husband Ben. In compliance
with the invitation, all three petitioners appeared at the Malolos City Police Station. However, since Virginia was not
present despite having received the same invitation, the meeting was reset to April 22, 2008.16
On April 22, 2008, Virginia attended the investigation. Petitioners informed her that they released Ben and that they have
no information as to his present whereabouts.17 They assured Virginia though that they will cooperate and help in the
investigation of her missing husband.18
Version of the Respondent
According to respondent, Bong and Ben were not merely invited. They were unlawfully arrested, shoved into the Asian
Land vehicle and brought to the security office for investigation. Upon seeing Ben at the security office, Navia lividly
grumbled "Ikaw na naman?"19 and slapped him while he was still seated. Ben begged for mercy, but his pleas were met
with a flurry of punches coming from Navia hitting him on different parts of his body.20 Navia then took hold of his gun,
looked at Bong, and said, "Wala kang nakita at wala kang narinig, papatayin ko na si Ben."21
Bong admitted that he and Ben attempted to take the lamp. He explained that the area where their house is located is very
dark and his father had long been asking the administrator of Grand Royale Subdivision to install a lamp to illumine their
area. But since nothing happened, he took it upon himself to take a lamp from one of the posts in the subdivision and
transfer it to a post near their house. However, the lamp Bong got was no longer working. Thus, he reinstalled it on the
post from which he took it and no longer pursued his plan. 22
Later on, Lolita was instructed to sign an entry in the guards logbook where she undertook not to allow Ben to stay in her
house anymore.23 Thereafter, Navia again asked Lolita to sign the logbook. Upon Lolitas inquiry as to why she had to
sign again, Navia explained that they needed proof that they released her son Bong unharmed but that Ben had to stay as
the latters case will be forwarded to the barangay. Since she has poor eyesight, Lolita obligingly signed the logbook
without reading it and then left with Bong.24 At that juncture, Ben grabbed Bong and pleaded not to be left alone.
However, since they were afraid of Navia, Lolita and Bong left the security office at once leaving Ben behind.25
Moments after Lolita and Bong reached their house, Buising arrived and asked Lolita to sign the logbook again. Lolita
asked Buising why she had to sign again when she already twice signed the logbook at the headquarters. Buising assured
her that what she was about to sign only pertains to Bongs release. Since it was dark and she has poor eyesight, Lolita
took Buisings word and signed the logbook without, again, reading what was written in it. 26
The following morning, Virginia went to the Asian Land security office to visit her husband Ben, but only to be told that
petitioners had already released him together with Bong the night before. She then looked for Ben, asked around, and
went to the barangay. Since she could not still find her husband, Virginia reported the matter to the police.
In the course of the investigation on Bens disappearance, it dawned upon Lolita that petitioners took advantage of her
poor eyesight and naivete. They made her sign the logbook as a witness that they already released Ben when in truth and
in fact she never witnessed his actual release. The last time she saw Ben was when she left him in petitioners custody at
the security office.27

Exasperated with the mysterious disappearance of her husband, Virginia filed a Petition for Writ of Amparo28before the
RTC of Malolos City. Finding the petition sufficient in form and substance, the amparo court issued an Order 29 dated June
26, 2008 directing, among others, the issuance of a writ of amparo and the production of the body of Ben before it on June
30, 2008. Thus:
WHEREFORE, conformably with Section 6 of the Supreme Court Resolution [in] A.M. No. 07-[9]-12-SC, also known as
"The Rule On The Writ Of Amparo", let a writ of amparo be issued, as follows:
(1) ORDERING [petitioners] Edgardo Navia, Ruben Dio and Andrew Buising of the Asian Land Security Agency
to produce before the Court the body of aggrieved party Benhur Pardico, on Monday, June 30, 2008, at 10:30
a.m.;
(2) ORDERING the holding of a summary hearing of the petition on the aforementioned date and time, and
DIRECTING the [petitioners] to personally appear thereat;
(3) COMMANDING [petitioners] Edgardo Navia, Ruben Dio and Andrew Buising to file, within a nonextendible period of seventy-two (72) hours from service of the writ, a verified written return with supporting
affidavits which shall, among other things, contain the following:
a) The lawful defenses to show that the [petitioners] did not violate or threaten with violation the right to
life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party, through any act or omission;
b) The steps or actions taken by the [petitioners] to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved
party and the person or persons responsible for the threat, act or omission; and
c) All relevant information in the possession of the [petitioners] pertaining to the threat, act or omission
against the aggrieved party.
(4) GRANTING, motu proprio, a Temporary Protection Order prohibiting the [petitioners], or any persons acting
for and in their behalf, under pain of contempt, from threatening, harassing or inflicting any harm to [respondent],
his immediate family and any [member] of his household.
The Branch Sheriff is directed to immediately serve personally on the [petitioners], at their address indicated in the
petition, copies of the writ as well as this order, together with copies of the petition and its annexes.30
A Writ of Amparo31 was accordingly issued and served on the petitioners on June 27, 2008.32 On June 30, 2008,
petitioners filed their Compliance33 praying for the denial of the petition for lack of merit.
A summary hearing was thereafter conducted. Petitioners presented the testimony of Buising, while Virginia submitted
the sworn statements34 of Lolita and Enrique which the two affirmed on the witness stand.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On July 24, 2008, the trial court issued the challenged Decision35 granting the petition. It disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby grants the privilege of the writ of amparo, and deems it proper and appropriate, as
follows:
(a) To hereby direct the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to immediately conduct a deep and thorough
investigation of the [petitioners] Edgardo Navia, Ruben Dio and Andrew Buising in connection with the
circumstances surrounding the disappearance of [Benhur] Pardico, utilizing in the process, as part of the
investigation, the documents forming part of the records of this case;
(b) To hereby direct the NBI to extend to the family of [Benhur] Pardico and the witnesses who testified in this
case protection as it may deem necessary to secure their safety and security; and

(c) To hereby direct the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan to investigate the circumstances
concerning the legality of the arrest of [Benhur] Pardico by the [petitioners] in this case, utilizing in the process,
as part of said investigation, the pertinent documents and admissions forming part of the record of this case, and
take whatever course/s of action as may be warranted.
Furnish immediately copies of this decision to the NBI, through the Office of Director Nestor Mantaring, and to the
Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan.
SO ORDERED.36
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration37 which was denied by the trial court in an Order38 dated August 29, 2008.
Hence, this petition raising the following issues for our consideration:
4.1. WHETHER X X X THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RULING THAT
RESPONDENT IS ENTITLED TO THE PRIVILEGE OF THE WRIT OF AMPARO.
4.1.1. WHETHER X X X RESPONDENT WAS ABLE TO ESTABLISH THAT PETITIONERS HAVE
COMMITTED OR ARE COMMITTING ACTS IN VIOLATION OF HER HUSBANDS RIGHT TO LIFE,
LIBERTY, OR SECURITY.
4.1.2. WHETHER X X X RESPONDENT SUFFICIENTLY ESTABLISHED THE FACT OF THE
DISAPPEARANCE OF BENHUR PARDICO.
4.1.3. WHETHER X X X RESPONDENT WAS ABLE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE ALLEGED
DISAPPEARANCE OF BENHUR PARDICO WAS AT THE INSTANCE OF HEREIN PETITIONERS.39
Petitioners Arguments
Petitioners essentially assail the sufficiency of the amparo petition. They contend that the writ of amparo is available only
in cases where the factual and legal bases of the violation or threatened violation of the aggrieved partys right to life,
liberty and security are clear. Petitioners assert that in the case at bench, Virginia miserably failed to establish all these.
First, the petition is wanting on its face as it failed to state with some degree of specificity the alleged unlawful act or
omission of the petitioners constituting a violation of or a threat to Bens right to life, liberty and security. And second, it
cannot be deduced from the evidence Virginia adduced that Ben is missing; or that petitioners had a hand in his alleged
disappearance. On the other hand, the entries in the logbook which bear the signatures of Ben and Lolita are eloquent
proof that petitioners released Ben on March 31, 2008 at around 10:30 p.m. Petitioners thus posit that the trial court erred
in issuing the writ and in holding them responsible for Bens disappearance.
Our Ruling
Virginias Petition for Writ of Amparo is fatally defective and must perforce be dismissed, but not for the reasons
adverted to by the petitioners.
A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC or The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was promulgated to arrest the rampant extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances in the country. Its purpose is to provide an expeditious and effective relief "to any person whose
right to life, liberty and 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." 40
Here, Bens right to life, liberty and security is firmly settled as the parties do not dispute his identity as the same person
summoned and questioned at petitioners security office on the night of March 31, 2008. Such uncontroverted fact ipso
facto established Bens inherent and constitutionally enshrined right to life, liberty and security. Article 641 of the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights42 recognizes every human beings inherent right to life, while Article
943 thereof ordains that everyone has the right to liberty and security. The right to life must be protected by law while the
right to liberty and security cannot be impaired except on grounds provided by and in accordance with law. This

overarching command against deprivation of life, liberty and security without due process of law is also embodied in our
fundamental law.44
The pivotal question now that confronts us is whether Bens disappearance as alleged in Virginias petition and proved
during the summary proceedings conducted before the court a quo, falls within the ambit of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC and
relevant laws.
It does not. Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC provides:
SECTION 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty
and 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.
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (Emphasis ours.)
While Section 1 provides A.M. No. 07-9-12-SCs coverage, said Rules does not, however, define extralegal killings and
enforced disappearances. This omission was intentional as the Committee on Revision of the Rules of Court which drafted
A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC chose to allow it to evolve through time and jurisprudence and through substantive laws as may be
promulgated by Congress.45 Then, the budding jurisprudence on amparo blossomed in Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis46 when this
Court defined enforced disappearances. The Court in that case applied the generally accepted principles of international
law and adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances definition
of enforced disappearances, as "the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the
State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a
refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person,
which place such a person outside the protection of the law."47
Not long thereafter, another significant development affecting A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC came about after Congress enacted
Republic Act (RA) No. 985148 on December 11, 2009. Section 3(g) thereof defines enforced or involuntary
disappearances as follows:
(g) "Enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons" means the arrest, detention, or abduction of persons by, or with
the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization followed by a refusal to acknowledge that
deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing
from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
Then came Rubrico v. Macapagal-Arroyo49 where Justice Arturo D. Brion wrote in his Separate Opinion that with the
enactment of RA No. 9851, "the Rule on the Writ of Amparo is now a procedural law anchored, not only on the
constitutional rights to the rights to life, liberty and security, but on a concrete statutory definition as well of what an
enforced or involuntary disappearance is."50 Therefore, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SCs reference to enforced disappearances
should be construed to mean the enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons contemplated in Section 3(g) of RA
No. 9851. Meaning, in probing enforced disappearance cases, courts should read A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC in relation to RA
No. 9851.
From the statutory definition of enforced disappearance, thus, we can derive the following elements that constitute it:
(a) that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;
(b) that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State or a political
organization;
(c) that it be followed by the State or political organizations refusal to acknowledge or give information on the
fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo petition; and,
(d) that the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person from the protection of the law for a prolonged
period of time.

As thus dissected, it is now clear that for the protective writ of amparo to issue, allegation and proof that the persons
subject thereof are missing are not enough. It must also be shown and proved by substantial evidence that the
disappearance was carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State or a political
organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the same or give information on the fate or whereabouts of said
missing persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
Simply put, the petitioner in an amparo case has the burden of proving by substantial evidence the indispensable element
of government participation.
In the present case, we do not doubt Bongs testimony that Navia had a menacing attitude towards Ben and that he
slapped and inflicted fistic blows upon him. Given the circumstances and the pugnacious character of Navia at that time,
his threatening statement, "Wala kang nakita at wala kang narinig, papatayin ko na si Ben," cannot be taken lightly. It
unambiguously showed his predisposition at that time. In addition, there is nothing on record which would support
petitioners assertion that they released Ben on the night of March 31, 2008 unscathed from their wrath. Lolita sufficiently
explained how she was prodded into affixing her signatures in the logbook without reading the entries therein. And so far,
the information petitioners volunteered are sketchy at best, like the alleged complaint of Mrs. Emphasis who was never
identified or presented in court and whose complaint was never reduced in writing.1wphi1
But lest it be overlooked, in an amparo petition, proof of disappearance alone is not enough. It is likewise essential to
establish that such disappearance was carried out with the direct or indirect authorization, support or acquiescence of the
government. This indispensable element of State participation is not present in this case. The petition does not contain any
allegation of State complicity, and none of the evidence presented tend to show that the government or any of its agents
orchestrated Bens disappearance. In fact, none of its agents, officials, or employees were impleaded or implicated in
Virginias amparo petition whether as responsible or accountable persons.51 Thus, in the absence of an allegation or proof
that the government or its agents had a hand in Bens disappearance or that they failed to exercise extraordinary diligence
in investigating his case, the Court will definitely not hold the government or its agents either as responsible or
accountable persons.
We are aware that under Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC a writ of amparo may lie against a private individual or entity.
But even if the person sought to be held accountable or responsible in an amparo petition is a private individual or entity,
still, government involvement in the disappearance remains an indispensable element. Here, petitioners are mere security
guards at Grand Royale Subdivision in Brgy. Lugam, Malolos City and their principal, the Asian Land, is a private entity.
They do not work for the government and nothing has been presented that would link or connect them to some covert
police, military or governmental operation. As discussed above, to fall within the ambit of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC in
relation to RA No. 9851, the disappearance must be attended by some governmental involvement. This hallmark of State
participation differentiates an enforced disappearance case from an ordinary case of a missing person.
WHEREFORE, the July 24, 2008 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 20, Malolos City, is REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. The Petition for Writ of Amparo filed by Virginia Pardico is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. 182795

June 5, 2008

ARMANDO Q. CANLAS, MIGUEL D. CAPISTRANO, MARRIETA PIA, petitioners,


vs.
NAPICO HOMEOWNERS ASSN., I XIII, INC., ET AL., respondents.
RESOLUTION
REYES, R.T., J.:
THE present petition filed on May 26, 2008 seeks the issuance of a Writ of Amparo upon the following premise:
Petitioners were deprived of their liberty, freedom and/or rights to shelter enshrined and embodied in our
Constitution, as the result of these nefarious activities of both the Private and Public Respondents. This ardent
request filed before this Honorable Supreme Court is the only solution to this problem via this newly advocated
principles incorporated in the Rules the "RULE ON THE WRIT OF AMPARO."1
It appears that petitioners are settlers in a certain parcel of land situated in Barangay Manggahan, Pasig City. Their
dwellings/houses have either been demolished as of the time of filing of the petition, or is about to be demolished pursuant
to a court judgment.
While they attempted to focus on issuance of what they claimed to be fraudulent and spurious land titles, to wit:
Petitioners herein are desirous to help the government, the best way they can, to unearth these so-called
"syndicates" clothed with governmental functions, in cahoots with the "squatting syndicates" - - - - the low so
defines. If only to give its proper meanings, the Government must be the first one to cleans (sic) its ranks from
these unscrupulous political protges. If unabated would certainly ruin and/or destroy the efficacy of the Torrens
System of land registration in this Country. It is therefore the ardent initiatives of the herein Petitioners, by way of
the said prayer for the issuance of the Writ of Amparo, that these unprincipled Land Officials be summoned to
answer their participation in the issuances of these fraudulent and spurious titles, NOW, in the hands of the
Private Respondents. The Courts of Justice, including this Honorable Supreme Court, are likewise being
made to believe that said titles in the possession of the Private Respondents were issued untainted with
frauds.2
what the petition ultimately seeks is the reversal of this Courts dismissal of petitions in G.R. Nos. 177448, 180768,
177701, 177038, thus:

That, Petitioners herein knew before hand that: there can be no motion for reconsideration for the second or third
time to be filed before this Honorable Supreme Court. As such therefore, Petitioners herein are aware of the
opinion that this present petition should not in any way be treated as such motions fore reconsideration. Solely,
this petition is only for the possible issuance of the writ of amparo, although it might affect the previous rulings of
this Honorable Supreme Court in these cases, G.R. Nos. 177448, 180768, 177701 and 177038. Inherent in the
powers of the Supreme Court of the Philippines is to modify, reverse and set aside, even its own previous
decision, that can not be thwarted nor influenced by any one, but, only on the basis of merits and evidence.
This is the purpose of this petition for the Writ of Amparo.3
We dismiss the petition.
The Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides:
Section 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life,
liberty and 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.
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (Emphasis supplied.)
The threatened demolition of a dwelling by virtue of a final judgment of the court, which in this case was affirmed with
finality by this Court in G.R. Nos. 177448, 180768, 177701, 177038, is not included among the enumeration of rights as
stated in the above-quoted Section 1 for which the remedy of a writ of amparo is made available. Their claim to their
dwelling, assuming they still have any despite the final and executory judgment adverse to them, does not constitute right
to life, liberty and security. There is, therefore, no legal basis for the issuance of the writ of amparo.
Besides, the factual and legal basis for petitioners claim to the land in question is not alleged in the petition at all. The
Court can only surmise that these rights and interest had already been threshed out and settled in the four cases cited
above. No writ of amparo may be issued unless there is a clear allegation of the supposed factual and legal basis of the
right sought to be protected.
Under Section 6 of the same rules, the court shall issue the writ upon the filing of the petition, only if on its face, the court
ought to issue said writ.
Section 6. Issuance of the Writ. Upon the filing of the petition, the court, justice or judge shall immediately
order the issuance of the writ if on its face it ought to issue. The clerk of court shall issue the writ under the seal of
the court; or in case of urgent necessity, the justice or the judge may issue the writ under his or her own hand, and
may deputize any officer or person to serve it.
The writ shall also set the date and time for summary hearing of the petition which shall not be later than seven
(7) days from the date of its issuance.
Considering that there is no legal basis for its issuance, as in this case, the writ will not be issued and the petition will be
dismissed outright.
This new remedy of writ of amparo which is made available by this Court is intended for the protection of the highest
possible rights of any person, which is his or her right to life, liberty and security. The Court will not spare any time or
effort on its part in order to give priority to petitions of this nature. However, the Court will also not waste its precious
time and effort on matters not covered by the writ.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC
(25 September 2007)
THE RULE ON THE WRIT OF AMPARO
SECTION 1. Petition. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life,
liberty and 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.
The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.
SEC. 2. Who May File. The petition may be filed by the aggrieved party or by any qualified person or entity in
the following order:
Any member of the immediate family, namely: the spouse, children and parents of the aggrieved party;
Any ascendant, descendant or collateral relative of the aggrieved party within the fourth civil degree of
consanguinity or affinity, in default of those mentioned in the preceding paragraph; or
Any concerned citizen, organization, association or institution, if there is no known member of the immediate
family or relative of the aggrieved party.
The filing of a petition by the aggrieved party suspends the right of all other authorized parties to file similar
petitions. Likewise, the filing of the petition by an authorized party on behalf of the aggrieved party suspends the
right of all others, observing the order established herein.
SEC. 3. Where to File. The petition may be filed on any day and at any time with the Regional Trial Court of the
place where the threat, act or omission was committed or any of its elements occurred, or with the Sandiganbayan,
the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court, or any justice of such courts. The writ shall be enforceable anywhere in
the Philippines.
When issued by a Regional Trial Court or any judge thereof, the writ shall be returnable before such court or
judge.
When issued by the Sandiganbayan or the Court of Appeals or any of their justices, it may be returnable before
such court or any justice thereof, or to any Regional Trial Court of the place where the threat, act or omission was
committed or any of its elements occurred.
When issued by the Supreme Court or any of its justices, it may be returnable before such Court or any justice
thereof, or before the Sandiganbayan or the Court of Appeals or any of their justices, or to any Regional Trial
Court of the place where the threat, act or omission was committed or any of its elements occurred.
SEC. 4. No Docket Fees. The petitioner shall be exempted from the payment of the docket and other lawful fees
when filing the petition. The court, justice or judge shall docket the petition and act upon it immediately.
SEC. 5. Contents of Petition. The petition shall be signed and verified and shall allege the following:
The personal circumstances of the petitioner;

The name and personal circumstances of the respondent responsible for the threat, act or omission, or, if the name
is unknown or uncertain, the respondent may be described by an assumed appellation;
The right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful
act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed with the attendant circumstances
detailed in supporting affidavits;
The investigation conducted, if any, specifying the names, personal circumstances, and addresses of the
investigating authority or individuals, as well as the manner and conduct of the investigation, together with any
report;
The actions and recourses taken by the petitioner to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and
the identity of the person responsible for the threat, act or omission; and
The relief prayed for.
The petition may include a general prayer for other just and equitable reliefs.
SEC. 6. Issuance of the Writ. Upon the filing of the petition, the court, justice or judge shall immediately order
the issuance of the writ if on its face it ought to issue. The clerk of court shall issue the writ under the seal of the
court; or in case of urgent necessity, the justice or the judge may issue the writ under his or her own hand, and
may deputize any officer or person to serve it.
The writ shall also set the date and time for summary hearing of the petition which shall not be later than seven (7)
days from the date of its issuance.
SEC. 7. Penalty for Refusing to Issue or Serve the Writ. A clerk of court who refuses to issue the writ after its
allowance, or a deputized person who refuses to serve the same, shall be punished by the court, justice or judge for
contempt without prejudice to other disciplinary actions.
SEC. 8. How the Writ is Served. The writ shall be served upon the respondent by a judicial officer or by a person
deputized by the court, justice or judge who shall retain a copy on which to make a return of service. In case the
writ cannot be served personally on the respondent, the rules on substituted service shall apply.
SEC. 9. Return; Contents. Within seventy-two (72) hours after service of the writ, the respondent shall file a
verified written return together with supporting affidavits which shall, among other things, contain the following:
The lawful defenses to show that the respondent did not violate or threaten with violation the right to life, liberty
and security of the aggrieved party, through any act or omission;
The steps or actions taken by the respondent to determine the fate or whereabouts of the aggrieved party and the
person or persons responsible for the threat, act or omission;
All relevant information in the possession of the respondent pertaining to the threat, act or omission against the
aggrieved party; and
If the respondent is a public official or employee, the return shall further state the actions that have been or will
still be taken:
to verify the identity of the aggrieved party;
to recover and preserve evidence related to the death or disappearance of the person identified in the petition
which may aid in the prosecution of the person or persons responsible;
to identify witnesses and obtain statements from them concerning the death or disappearance;

to determine the cause, manner, location and time of death or disappearance as well as any pattern or practice that
may have brought about the death or disappearance;
to identify and apprehend the person or persons involved in the death or disappearance; and
to bring the suspected offenders before a competent court.
The return shall also state other matters relevant to the investigation, its resolution and the prosecution of the case.
A general denial of the allegations in the petition shall not be allowed.
SEC. 10. Defenses not Pleaded Deemed Waived. All defenses shall be raised in the return, otherwise, they shall
be deemed waived.
SEC. 11. Prohibited Pleadings and Motions. The following pleadings and motions are prohibited:
Motion to dismiss;
Motion for extension of time to file return, opposition, affidavit, position paper and other pleadings;
Dilatory motion for postponement;
Motion for a bill of particulars;
Counterclaim or cross-claim;
Third-party complaint;
Reply;
Motion to declare respondent in default;
Intervention;
Memorandum;
Motion for reconsideration of interlocutory orders or interim relief orders; and
Petition for certiorari, mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory order.
SEC. 12. Effect of Failure to File Return. In case the respondent fails to file a return, the court, justice or judge
shall proceed to hear the petition ex parte.
SEC. 13. Summary Hearing. The hearing on the petition shall be summary. However, the court, justice or judge
may call for a preliminary conference to simplify the issues and determine the possibility of obtaining stipulations
and admissions from the parties.
The hearing shall be from day to day until completed and given the same priority as petitions for habeas corpus.
SEC. 14. Interim Reliefs. Upon filing of the petition or at anytime before final judgment, the court, justice or
judge may grant any of the following reliefs:
(a) Temporary Protection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon motion or motu proprio, may order that the
petitioner or the aggrieved party and any member of the immediate family be protected in a government agency or

by an accredited person or private institution capable of keeping and securing their safety. If the petitioner is an
organization, association or institution referred to in Section 3(c) of this Rule, the protection may be extended to
the officers involved.
The Supreme Court shall accredit the persons and private institutions that shall extend temporary protection to
the petitioner or the 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 rules and conditions that may be imposed by
the court, justice or judge.
(b) Inspection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon verified motion and after due hearing, may order any
person in possession or control of a designated land or other property, to permit entry for the purpose of
inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any relevant object or operation thereon.
The motion shall state in detail the place or places to be inspected. It shall be supported by affidavits or testimonies
of witnesses having personal knowledge of the enforced disappearance or whereabouts of the aggrieved party.
If the motion is opposed on the ground of national security or of the privileged nature of the information, the court,
justice or judge may conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit of the opposition.
The movant must show that the inspection order is necessary to establish the right of the aggrieved party alleged to
be threatened or violated.
The inspection order shall specify the person or persons authorized to make the inspection and the date, time,
place and manner of making the inspection and may prescribe other conditions to protect the constitutional rights
of all parties. The order shall expire five (5) days after the date of its issuance, unless extended for justifiable
reasons.
(c) Production Order. The court, justice or judge, upon verified motion and after due hearing, may order any
person in possession, custody or control of any designated documents, papers, books, accounts, letters,
photographs, objects or tangible things, or objects in digitized or electronic form, which constitute or contain
evidence relevant to the petition or the return, to produce and permit their inspection, copying or photographing
by or on behalf of the movant.
The motion may be opposed on the ground of national security or of the privileged nature of the information, in
which case the court, justice or judge may conduct a hearing in chambers to determine the merit of the opposition.
The court, justice or judge shall prescribe other conditions to protect the constitutional rights of all the parties.
(d) Witness Protection Order. The court, justice or judge, upon motion or motu proprio, may refer the witnesses
to the Department of Justice for admission to the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program, pursuant to
Republic Act No. 6981.
The court, justice or judge may also refer the witnesses to other government agencies, or to accredited persons or
private institutions capable of keeping and securing their safety.
SEC. 15. Availability of Interim Reliefs to Respondent. Upon verified motion of the respondent and after due
hearing, the court, justice or judge may issue an inspection order or production order under paragraphs (b) and
(c) of the preceding section.
A motion for inspection order under this section shall be supported by affidavits or testimonies of witnesses having
personal knowledge of the defenses of the respondent.

SEC. 16. Contempt. The court, justice or judge may order the respondent who refuses to make a return, or who
makes a false return, or any person who otherwise disobeys or resists a lawful process or order of the court to be
punished for contempt. The contemnor may be imprisoned or imposed a fine.
SEC. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. The parties shall establish their claims by
substantial evidence.
The respondent who is a private individual or entity must prove that ordinary diligence as required by applicable
laws, rules and regulations was observed in the performance of duty.
The respondent who is a public official or employee must prove that extraordinary diligence as required by
applicable laws, rules and regulations was observed in the performance of duty.
The respondent public official or employee cannot invoke the presumption that official duty has been regularly
performed to evade responsibility or liability.
SEC. 18. Judgment. The court shall render judgment within ten (10) days from the time the petition is
submitted for decision. If the allegations in the petition are proven by substantial evidence, the court shall grant
the privilege of the writ and such reliefs as may be proper and appropriate; otherwise, the privilege shall be
denied.
SEC. 19. Appeal. Any party may appeal from the final judgment or order to the Supreme Court under Rule 45.
The appeal may raise questions of fact or law or both.
The period of appeal shall be five (5) working days from the date of notice of the adverse judgment.
The appeal shall be given the same priority as in habeas corpus cases.
SEC. 20. Archiving and Revival of Cases. The court shall not dismiss the petition, but shall archive it, if upon its
determination it cannot proceed for a valid cause such as the failure of petitioner or witnesses to appear due to
threats on their lives.
A periodic review of the archived cases shall be made by the amparo court that shall, motu proprio or upon motion
by any party, order their revival when ready for further proceedings. The petition shall be dismissed with
prejudice upon failure to prosecute the case after the lapse of two (2) years from notice to the petitioner of the
order archiving the case.
The clerks of court shall submit to the Office of the Court Administrator a consolidated list of archived cases under
this Rule not later than the first week of January of every year.
SEC. 21. Institution of Separate Actions. This Rule shall not preclude the filing of separate criminal, civil or
administrative actions.
SEC. 22. Effect of Filing of a Criminal Action. When a criminal action has been commenced, no separate petition
for the writ shall be filed. The reliefs under the writ shall be available by motion in the criminal case.
The procedure under this Rule shall govern the disposition of the reliefs available under the writ of amparo.
SEC. 23. Consolidation. When a criminal action is filed subsequent to the filing of a petition for the writ, the
latter shall be consolidated with the criminal action.
When a criminal action and a separate civil action are filed subsequent to a petition for a writ of amparo, the latter
shall be consolidated with the criminal action.

After consolidation, the procedure under this Rule shall continue to apply to the disposition of the reliefs in the
petition.
SEC. 24. Substantive Rights. This Rule shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive rights recognized and
protected by the Constitution.
SEC. 25. Suppletory Application of the Rules of Court. The Rules of Court shall apply suppletorily insofar as it is
not inconsistent with this Rule.
SEC. 26. Applicability to Pending Cases. This Rule shall govern cases involving extralegal killings and enforced
disappearances or threats thereof pending in the trial and appellate courts.
SEC. 27. Effectivity. This Rule shall take effect on October 24, 2007, following its publication in three (3)
newspapers of general circulation.