G.R. No. 204603, September 24, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, REPRESENTED BY THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, THE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE, THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, THE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL DEFENSE, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT THE SECRETARY OF FINANCE, THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, THE SECRETARY OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT THE TREASURER. OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES, AND THE CHIEF OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE, Petitioners, v. HERMINIO HARRY ROQUE, MORO CHRISTIAN PEOPLE'S ALLIANCE, FR. JOE DIZON, RODINIE SORIANO, STEPHANIE ABIERA, MARIA LOURDES ALCAIN, VOLTAIRE ALFEREZ, CZARINA MAY ALTEZ, SHERYL BALOT, RENIZZA BATACAN, EDAN MARRI CANETE, LEANA CARAMOAN, ALDWIN CAMANCE, RENE DELORINO, PAULYN MAY DUMAN, RODRIGO FAJARDO III, ANNA MARIE GO, ANNA ARMINDA JIMENEZ, MARY ANN LEE, LUISA MANALAYSAY, MIGUEL MUSNGI, MICHAEL OCAMPO, NORMAN ROLAND OCANA III, WILLIAM RAGAMAT, MARICAR RAMOS, CHERRY LOU REYES, MELISSA ANN SICAT, CRISTINE MAE TABING, VANESSA TORNO, AND HON. JUDGE ELEUTERIO L. BATHAN, AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 92, Respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
Without any justiciable controversy, the petitions have become pleas for declaratory relief, over which the Court has no original jurisdiction. Then again, declaratory actions characterized by “double contingency,” where both the activity the petitioners intend to undertake and the anticipated reaction to it of a public official are merely theorized, lie beyond judicial review for lack of ripeness.Thus, in the same light that the Court dismissed the SC petitions in the Southern Hemisphere cases on the basis of, among others, lack of actual justiciable controversy (or the ripening seeds of one), the RTC should have dismissed private respondents’ petition for declaratory relief all the same.
The possibility of abuse in the implementation of RA 9372 does not avail to take the present petitions out of the realm of the surreal and merely imagined. Such possibility is not peculiar to RA 9372 since the exercise of any power granted by law may be abused. Allegations of abuse must be anchored on real events before courts may step in to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.41 (Emphasis supplied; citations omitted)
1Rollo, pp. 2-29.cralawnad
2 Id. at 31-32. Penned by Presiding Judge Eleuterio L. Bathan.cralawnad
3 Id. at 33-35.cralawnad
4 “AN ACT TO SECURE THE STATE AND PROTECT OUR PEOPLE FROM TERRORISM.”
5 G.R. Nos. 178552, 178554, 178581, 178890, 179157 & 179461, October 5, 2010, 632 SCRA 146.cralawnad
6Rollo, pp. 51-91.cralawnad
7 SEC. 3. Terrorism.Any person who commits an act punishable under any of the following provisions of the Revised Penal Code:chanrobles virtua1aw 1ibrarya. Article 122 (Piracy in General and Mutiny in the High Seas or in the Philippine Waters);thereby sowing and creating a condition of widespread and extraordinary fear and panic among the populace, in order to coerce the government to give in to an unlawful demand shall be guilty of the crime of terrorism and shall suffer the penalty of forty (40) years of imprisonment, without the benefit of parole as provided for under Act No. 4103, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.cralawnad
b. Article 134 (Rebellion or Insurrection);
c. Article 134-a (Coup d' Etat), including acts committed by private persons;
d. Article 248 (Murder);
e. Article 267 (Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention);
f. Article 324 (Crimes Involving Destruction), or under1. Presidential Decree No. 1613 (The Law on Arson);
2. Republic Act No. 6969 (Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990);
3. Republic Act No. 5207, (Atomic Energy Regulatory and Liability Act of 1968);
4. Republic Act No. 6235 (Anti-Hijacking Law);
5. Presidential Decree No. 532 (Anti-Piracy and Anti-Highway Robbery Law of 1974); and,
6. Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended (Decree Codifying the Laws on Illegal and Unlawful Possession, Manufacture, Dealing in, Acquisition or Disposition of Firearms, Ammunitions or Explosives)
8Rollo, pp. 72-77.cralawnad
9 SEC. 7. Surveillance of Suspects and Interception and Recording of Communications. The provisions of Republic Act No. 4200 (Anti-Wire Tapping Law) to the contrary notwithstanding, a police or law enforcement official and the members of his team may, upon a written order of the Court of Appeals, listen to, intercept and record, with the use of any mode, form, kind or type of electronic or other surveillance equipment or intercepting and tracking devices, or with the use of any other suitable ways and means for that purpose, any communication, message, conversation, discussion, or spoken or written words between members of a judicially declared and outlawed terrorist organization, association, or group of persons or of any person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism.
Provided, That surveillance, interception and recording of communications between lawyers and clients, doctors and patients, journalists and their sources and confidential business correspondence shall not be authorized.cralawnad
10Rollo, pp. 77-79.cralawnad
11 SEC. 18. Period of Detention Without Judicial Warrant of Arrest. The provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code to the contrary notwithstanding, any police or law enforcement personnel, who, having been duly authorized in writing by the Anti-Terrorism Council has taken custody of a person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or the crime of conspiracy to commit terrorism shall, without incurring any criminal liability for delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities, deliver said charged or suspected person to the proper judicial authority within a period of three days counted from the moment the said charged or suspected person has been apprehended or arrested, detained, and taken into custody by the said police, or law enforcement personnel: Provided, That the arrest of those suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism must result from the surveillance under Section 7 and examination of bank deposits under Section 27 of this Act.
The police or law enforcement personnel concerned shall, before detaining the person suspected of the crime of terrorism, present him or her before any judge at the latter's residence or office nearest the place where the arrest took place at any time of the day or night. It shall be the duty of the judge, among other things, to ascertain the identity of the police or law enforcement personnel and the person or persons they have arrested and presented before him or her, to inquire of them the reasons why they have arrested the person and determine by questioning and personal observation whether or not the suspect has been subjected to any physical, moral or psychological torture by whom and why. The judge shall then submit a written report of what he/she had observed when the subject was brought before him to the proper court that has jurisdiction over the case of the person thus arrested. The judge shall forthwith submit his/her report within three calendar days from the time the suspect was brought to his/her residence or office.
Immediately after taking custody of a person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism, the police or law enforcement personnel shall notify in writing the judge of the court nearest the place of apprehension or arrest: Provided, That where the arrest is made during Saturdays, Sundays, holidays or after office hours, the written notice shall be served at the residence of the judge nearest the place where the accused was arrested.
The penalty of ten (10) years and one day to twelve (12) years of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the police or law enforcement personnel who fails to notify any judge as provided in the preceding paragraph.cralawnad
12 Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. The penalties provided in the next preceding article shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of: twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correctional penalties, or their equivalent; and thirty-six (36) hours, for crimes, or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.
In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be allowed upon his request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel. (As amended by Executive Order Nos. 59 and 272, November 7, 1986 and July 25, 1987, respectively.)
13Rollo, pp. 79-85.cralawnad
14 SEC. 26. Restriction on Travel. In cases where evidence of guilt is not strong, and the person charged with the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism is entitled to bail and is granted the same, the court, upon application by the prosecutor, shall limit the right of travel of the accused to within the municipality or city where he resides or where the case is pending, in the interest of national security and public safety, consistent with Article III, Section 6 of the Constitution. Travel outside of said municipality or city, without the authorization of the court, shall be deemed a violation of the terms and conditions of his bail, which shall then be forfeited as provided under the Rules of Court. He/she may also be placed under house arrest by order of the court at his or her usual place of residence.
While under house arrest, he or she may not use telephones, cellphones, e-mails, computers, the internet or other means of communications with people outside the residence until otherwise ordered by the court.
The restrictions abovementioned shall be terminated upon the acquittal of the accused or of the dismissal of the case filed against him or earlier upon the discretion of the court on motion of the prosecutor or of the accused.cralawnad
15Rollo, pp. 85-86.cralawnad
16 SEC. 27. Judicial Authorization Required to Examine Bank Deposits, Accounts, and Records. The provisions of Republic Act No. 1405 as amended, to the contrary notwithstanding, the justices of the Court of Appeals designated as a special court to handle anti-terrorism cases after satisfying themselves of the existence of probable cause in a hearing called for that purpose that: (1) a person charged with or suspected of the crime of terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism, (2) of a judicially declared and outlawed terrorist organization, association, or group of persons; and (3) of a member of such judicially declared and outlawed organization, association, or group of persons, may authorize in writing any police or law enforcement officer and the members of his/her team duly authorized in writing by the anti-terrorism council to: (a) examine, or cause the examination of, the deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets and records in a bank or financial institution; and (b) gather or cause the gathering of any relevant information about such deposits, placements, trust accounts, assets, and records from a bank or financial institution. The bank or financial institution concerned, shall not refuse to allow such examination or to provide the desired information, when so ordered by and served with the written order of the Court of Appeals.cralawnad
17Rollo, pp. 86-88.cralawnad
18 Id. at 95-99. Very Urgent Motion to Suspend Proceedings in Deference to Supreme Court dated September 3, 2007.cralawnad
19 Pertaining to the petitions for certiorari in the Southern Hemisphere cases.cralawnad
20Rollo, pp. 104-105. Penned by then Presiding Judge (now Court of Appeals Associate Justice) Samuel H. Gaerlan.cralawnad
21Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc. v. Anti-Terrorism Council, supra note 5.cralawnad
22Rollo, pp. 107-117.cralawnad
23 Id. at 118-132. Dated March 23, 2012.cralawnad
24 Id. at 31-32.cralawnad
25 Id. at 37-48. Dated June 13, 2012.cralawnad
26 Id. at 33-35.cralawnad
27 Id. at 35.cralawnad
28Yu v. Reyes-Carpio, G.R. No. 189207, June 15, 2011, 652 SCRA 341, 348.cralawnad
29Chua Huat v. Court of Appeals, 276 Phil. 1, 18 (1991).cralawnad
30 See Tavera-Luna, Inc. v. Nable, 67 Phil. 340, 344 (1939).cralawnad
31Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc. v. Anti-Terrorism Council, supra note 5, at 166-167.cralawnad
32 Id. at 167-175.cralawnad
33 Id. at 175-179.cralawnad
34Almeda v. Bathala Marketing Industries, Inc., 566 Phil. 458, 467 (2008).cralawnad
35 The subject matter of the controversy is a law, in particular, Sections 3, 7, 18, 26, and 27 of RA 9372.cralawnad
36 Private respondents assert that the validity of Sections 3, 7, 18, 26, and 27 of RA 9372 remain doubtful on grounds of, among others, void for vagueness, lack of due process, and for being violative of various constitutional rights.cralawnad
37 Private respondents admit that they have yet to suffer any injury from the implementation of the said law. See rollo, pp. 162-164.cralawnad
38Velarde v. Social Justice Society, G.R. No. 159357, April 28, 2004, 428 SCRA 283, 291.cralawnad
39 HERRERA, OSCAR M., Remedial Law, Volume III, Special Civil Actions Rule 57-71, p. 193 (1999), citing Tolentino v. Board of Accountancy, 90 Phil. 83 (1951) and In re: Pablo Y. Sen. v. Republic of the Philippines, 96 Phil. 987 (1955).cralawnad
40Rollo, pp. 62-65.cralawnad
41Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc. v. Anti-Terrorism Council, supra note 5, at 179.cralawnad
42 “x x x [A] party who assails the constitutionality of a statute must have a direct and personal interest. It must show not only that the law or any governmental act is invalid, but also that it sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of its enforcement, and not merely that it suffers thereby in some indefinite way. It must show that it has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which it is lawfully entitled or that it is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.
For a concerned party to be allowed to raise a constitutional question, it must show that (1) it has personally suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the allegedly illegal conduct of the government, (2) the injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action, and (3) the injury is likely to be redressed by a favorable action.” (Anak Mindanao Party-List Group v. Exec. Sec. Ermita, 558 Phil. 338, 351  citations omitted.)
43 See Chavez v. PCGG, 360 Phil. 133, 155-156 (1998).cralawnad
44Southern Hemisphere Engagement Network, Inc. v. Anti-Terrorism Council, supra note 5, at 168.cralawnad
46 Id. at 174.cralawnad
47Guingona, Jr. v. Court of Appeals, 354 Phil. 415, 427 (1998).