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PROF. RANDOLF S. DAVID, ET AL., VS. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-AROYO ET AL., G.R. NO. 171396 (Digest)

PROF. RANDOLF S. DAVID, ET AL., VS. GLORIA MACAPAGAL-AROYO ET AL.,

G.R. NO. 171396.   May 3, 2006

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:


Facts : 


On February 24, 2006, as the nation celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Edsa People Power I, President Arroyo issued PP 1017 declaring a state of national emergency, she cited that over the past three months, element in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme, right, represented by military adventurist the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State who are now in a tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004, On the same day, The President issued G.O. No. 5 implementing PP 1017. By the virtue of power vested upon the President by the Constitution and Commander in chief of the Republic of the Philippines, and pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 dated February 24, 2006, the president call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, to prevent and suppress acts of terrorism and lawless violence in the country.

The Office of the President announced the cancellation of all programs and activities related to the 20th anniversary celebration of edsa people power 1; and revoked the permits to hold rallies issued earlier by the local governments. Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales stated that political rallies, which to the President’s mind were organized for purpose of destabilization, are cancelled. Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor announced that ‘warrantless arrest and take-over of facilities, including media, can already be implemented.

Undeterred by the announcements that rallies and public protest would not be allowed, members of Kilusang Mayo Uno and National Federation of Labor Unions, marched from various parts of Metro Manila with the intention of converging at the EDSA shrine. Those who where already near EDSA were violently dispersed by huge cluster of anti-riot police. The same police action was used against the protesters marching forward to Cubao, Quezon City and the corner of Santolan street and EDSA. That same evening, hundreds of riot police broke up an EDSA celebration rally held along Ayala Avenue and Paseo de Roxas street in Makaty City.

During the dispersal of the rallyist along EDSA, police arrested without warrant petitioner Randolf S. David, a Proffesor of the University of the Philippines and newspaper columnist. Also arrested was his companion, Ronald Llamas, president of party-list Akbayan.

At around 12:20 in the early morning of February 25, 2006, operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the PNP, on the basis of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5, raided the Daily Tribune Offices in Manila. The raiding team confiscated news stories by reporters, documents, pictures, and mock-ups of the Saturday issue.

A few minutes later after the search and seizure at the Daily Tribune. The police surrounded the premises of another pro-opposition paper, Malaya and its sister publication, tabloid Abante.

Also, on February 25, 2006, the police arrested Congressman Crispin Beltran, representing the Anakpawis party and Chairman of Kilusang Mayo Uno, while leaving his farmhouse in Bulacan. The police showed a warrant for his arrest gated 1985. Beltran’s lawyer explained that the warrant, which stemmed form a case of inciting to rebellion filed during the Marcos regime, had long been quashed. When members of petitioner KMU went to Camp Crame to visit Beltran, they were told they could not be admitted because PP 1017 and G.O. No.5. Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo eluded arrest when the police went after him during a public forum at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. Retired Major General Ramon Montao, former head of the Philippine Constabulary, were arrested while with his wife and golfmates at the Orchard Golf and Country Club in DasmariƱas, Cavite. Attempts were made to arrest Bayan Muna Represenatative Satur Ocampo, Teodoro CasiƱo, Anakpawis Representative Rafael Mariano, Gabriela Representative Liza Maza, Bayan Muna Representative Jose Virador was arrested at a PAL ticket Office in Davao City, Later, he was turned to the custody of the House of Representative where the ‘Batasan % decided to stay indefinitely.

March 3, 2006, exactly one week after the declaration of a state of national emergency and after all these petitions had been filed, the president lifted PP 1017, and issued Proclamation No. 1021.

Issue: 
Whether the issuance of PP 1017 is Constitutional,
Whether the provision of PP 1017 commanding the AFP to enforce laws not related to lawless violence, as well as decrees promulgated by the President, and provision declaring national emergency under section 17, article VII of the Constitution is Constitutional.
Whether G.O. No. 5 is Constitutional Whether the dispersal and warrantless arrest, the warrantless search are Constitutional.

Held: 

PP 1017 is constitutional insofar as it constitute a call by the President for the AFP to prevent or suppress Lawless violence. The proclamation is sustained by section 18, article VII of the constitution. However, PP 1017’s extraneous provisions giving the President express or implied power to issue decrees to direct AFP to enforce obedience to all laws even those not related to lawless violence as decrees promulgated by the President; and to impose standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press, are ultra vires and unconstitutional. The Court also rules that under section 17, article XII of the constitution, the President, in the absence of a legislation, cannot take over privately-owned public utility and private business affected with public interest.

In the same element, the court finds G.O. No. 5 valid It is an Order issued by the President acting as Commander in Chief addressed to subalterns in the AFP to carry out provisions of PP 1017. Significantly, it also provides valid standard that the military and the police should take necessary and appropriate actions and measure to suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence. But the word acts of terrorism found in G.O. No. 5 have not been denounced generally in media, no law has been enacted to guide the military, and eventually the courts, to determine the limits of the AFP’s authority in carrying out this portion of G.O. No. 5.

On the basis of the relevant and uncontested facts narrated earlier, it is also pristine clear trhat the warrantless arrest of petitioners Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; the dispersal of rallies and warrantless arrest of the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members; the imposition of standard on media or any prior restraint on the press; and the warrantless search of the tribune offices and whimsical seizure of some article for publication and other materials, are not authorized by the Constitution, the law and jurisprudence. Not even by the valid provisions of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5

Wherefore, The Petitions are partly granted. The court rules that PP 1017 is Constitutional insofar as it constitute a call by the President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence. However, the provisions of PP 1017 commanding the AFP to enforce laws not related to lawless violence, as well as decrees promulgated by the President, are declared unconstitutional. In addition, the provision in PP 1017 declaring national emergency under section 17, article VII of the Constitution is constitutional, but such declaration does not authorize the President to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest without prior legislation.

G.O. No. 5 is Constitutional since it provides a standard which the AFP and the PNP should implement PP 1017, whatever is ‘necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence’. Considering that acts of terrorism have not yet been defined and made punishable by legislature, such portion of G.O. No. 5 is declared Unconstitutional.

The warrantless arrest of Randolf S. David and Ronal Llamas; the dispersal and warrantless arrest of KMU and NAFLU-KMU members during their rallies, in absence of proof that these petitioners were committing acts constituting lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and violating BP 880; the imposition of standards on media or any form of prior restraint on press, as well as the warrantless search of the tribune offices and whimsical seizure of its articles for publication and other materials, are declared Unconstitutional.

No cost.

So Ordered.

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