Remedial Law

The Writ of Habeas Corpus, AQUINO v. ESPERON, FERIA v. CA

RULE 102

Habeas Corpus

Section 1. To what habeas corpus extends. — Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto.

Section 2. Who may grant the writ. — The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court, or any member thereof in the instances authorized by law, and if so granted it shall be enforceable anywhere in the Philippines, and may be made returnable before the court or any member thereof, or before a Court of First Instance, or any judge thereof for the hearing and decision on the merits. It may also be granted by a Court of First Instance, or a judge thereof, on any day and at any time, and returnable before himself, enforceable only within his judicial district.

Section 3. Requisites of application therefor. — Application for the writ shall be by petition signed and verified either by the party for whose relief it is intended, or by some person on his behalf, and shall set forth:

(a) That the person in whose behalf the application is made is imprisoned or restrained on his liberty;

(b) The officer or name of the person by whom he is so imprisoned or restrained; or, if both are unknown or uncertain, such officer or person may be described by an assumed appellation, and the person who is served with the writ shall be deemed the person intended;

(c) The place where he is so imprisoned or restrained, if known;

(d) A copy of the commitment or cause of detention of such person, if it can be procured without impairing the efficiency of the remedy; or, if the imprisonment or restraint is without any legal authority, such fact shall appear.

Section 4. When writ not allowed or discharge authorized. — If it appears that the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under process issued by a court or judge or by virtue of a judgment or order of a court of record, and that the court or judge had jurisdiction to issue the process, render the judgment, or make the order, the writ shall not be allowed; or if the jurisdiction appears after the writ is allowed, the person shall not be discharged by reason of any informality or defect in the process, judgment, or order. Not shall anything in this rule be held to authorize the discharge of a person charged with or convicted of an offense in the Philippines, or of a person suffering imprisonment under lawful judgment.

Section 5. When the writ must be granted and issued. — A court or judge authorized to grant the writ must, when a petition therefor is presented and it appears that the writ ought to issue, grant the same forthwith, and immediately thereupon the clerk of the court shall issue the writ under the seal of the court; or in case of emergency, the judge may issue the writ under his own hand, and may depute any officer or person to serve it.

Section 6. To whom writ directed, and what to require. — In case of imprisonment or restraint by an officer, the writ shall be directed to him, and shall command him to have the body of the person restrained of his liberty before the court or judge designated in the writ at the time and place therein specified. In case of imprisonment or restraint by a person not an officer, the writ shall be directed to an officer, and shall command him to take and have the body of the person restrained of his liberty before the court or judge designated in the writ at the time and place therein specified, and to summon the person by whom he is restrained then and there to appear before said court or judge to show the cause of the imprisonment or restraint.

Section 7. How prisoner designated and writ served. — The person to be produced should be designated in the writ by his name, if known, but if his name is not known he may be otherwise described or identified. The writ may be served in any province by the sheriff or other proper officer, or by a person deputed by the court or judge. Service of the writ shall be made by leaving the original with the person to whom it is directed and preserving a copy on which to make return or service. If that person cannot be found, or has not the prisoner in his custody, then the service shall be made on any other person having or exercising such custody.

Section 8. How writ executed and returned. — The officer to whom the writ is directed shall convey the person so imprisoned or restrained, and named in the writ, before the judge allowing the writ, or in case of his absence or disability, before some other judge of the same court, on the day specified in the writ, unless, from sickness or infirmity of the person directed to be produced, such person cannot, without danger, be bought before the court or judge; and the officer shall make due return of the writ, together with the day and the cause of the caption and restraint of such person according to the command thereof.

Section 9. Defect of form. — No writ of habeas corpus can be disobeyed for defect of form, if it sufficiently appears therefrom in whose custody or under whose restraint the party imprisoned or restrained is held and the court or judge before whom he is to be bought.

Section 10. Contents of return. — When the person to be produced is imprisoned or restrained by an officer, the person who makes the return shall state therein, and in other cases the person in whose custody the prisoner is found shall state, in writing to the court or judge before whom the writ is returnable, plainly and unequivocably:

(a) Whether he has or has not the party in his custody or power, or under restraint;

(b) If he has the party in his custody or power, or under restraint, the authority and the true and whole cause thereof, set forth at large, with a copy of the writ, order execution, or other process, if any, upon which the party is held;

(c) If the party is in his custody or power or is restrained by him, and is not produced, particularly the nature and gravity of the sickness or infirmity of such party by reason of which he cannot, without danger, be bought before the court or judge;

(d) If he has had the party in his custody or power, or under restraint, and has transferred such custody or restraint to another, particularly to whom, at what time, for what cause, and by what authority such transfer was made.

Section 11. Return to be signed and sworn to. — The return or statement shall be signed by the person who makes it; and shall also be sworn by him if the prisoner is not produced, and in all other cases unless the return is made and signed by a sworn public officer in his official capacity.

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G.R. No. 174994   August 31, 2007

In the Matter of the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus of the person of ARMY MAJOR JASON LAUREANO AQUINO

MARIA FE S. AQUINO vs. ESPERON

FACTS:

Major Aquino, along with several military men, allegedly met at the resthouse of Captain Aldomovar near Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan to plot a breach of the Camp Defense Plan of Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo and to take over Camp Aquinaldo, as well as the Headquarters of the Philippine Army. In the wake of the group’s alleged withdrawal of support from the AFP chain of command and the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Major Aquino was ordered arrested and confined at the Intelligence Service Group of the Philippine Army in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, upon the order of Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, who was then the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. On the same day, Lt. Gen. Esperon ordered the Army Inspector General to conduct an investigation on the matter.

For this purpose, a panel of investigators was formed. During the investigation, Major Aquino denied the accusations hurled against him.

The panel of investigators, found that the troop movement by some military personnel from their respective stations to Manila was illegal, implicating Major Aquino.

The panel recommended thus:

1) all implicated officers therein mentioned be immediately relieved from their respective posts; and

2) appropriate charges be filed before the General Court Martial against Major Aquino, among other military officers/personnel, for violations of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny); and Article 97 (Disorders and Neglects Prejudicial to Good Order and Military Discipline) of the Articles of War.

The Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO) found the existence of probable cause against Major Aquino, among other military officers.

Lt. Gen. Esperon issued an Order to the Commanding Officer to exercise custodial responsibility of Major Aquino, together with the other implicated military personnel, and to place them in confinement at the Philippine Army Detention Center, Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. The same Order also designated the aforementioned Commanding Officer to exercise direct supervision and control over the concerned detainees.

Petitioner filed a Petition for Habeas Corpus with the CA, praying that the AFP Chief of Staff and the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, or whoever are acting in their place and stead, be directed to immediately produce the body of Major Aquino and explain forthwith why he should not be set at liberty without delay. The CA denied the petition, ruling that the remedy of the writ of habeas corpus is futile because charges had already been preferred against Major Aquino.

Petitioner’s MR was denied as well.

 

ISSUE:

  1. Whether or not the confinement of Major Aquino is legal.
  2. Whether or not habeas corpus is not the proper mode to question conditions of confinement

RULING:

1.

It bears stressing that subsequent to the preferment of charges under Article 70, the Judge Advocate General of the General Headquarters of the AFP, issued Office Order Number 14-06, creating a Pre-trial Investigation Panel to investigate the case of Major Aquino and his co-accused. In addition, the Office of the Judge Advocate General issued a subpoena and a notice of pre-trial investigation to Major Aquino summoning him to appear in person before the Pre-trial Investigation Panel. Furthermore, Major Aquino was given the opportunity to submit counter-affidavits and affidavits of his witnesses. More significantly, Major Aquino was present during the scheduled investigation. His arrest and confinement cannot be said to be without due process of law.

Perforce, we do not find that the Court of Appeals erred in denying petitioner’s Petition for Habeas Corpus for the person of Major Aquino.

A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled to it. As a general rule, the writ of habeas corpus will not issue where the person alleged to be restrained of his liberty is in the custody of an officer under a process issued by the court which has jurisdiction to do so. Its essential object and purpose is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint and to relieve a person from it if such restraint is illegal. In the case at bar, Major Aquino stands charged in court martial proceedings for alleged violations of Article 67 (Attempting to Begin or Create Mutiny) and Article 96 (Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Gentleman) of the Articles of War. The legality of Major Aquino’s restraint having been settled, the privilege of the writ is unavailing.

2.

 

While it is true that the extraordinary writ of habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy to inquire into questions of violations of constitutional right, this Court, however, does not find the conditions of Major Aquino’s confinement to be a proper subject of inquiry in the instant Petition.

This Court has declared that habeas corpus is not the proper mode to question conditions of confinement.

As a rule, therefore, the writ of habeas corpus does not extend into questions of conditions of confinement; but only to the fact and duration of confinement. The high prerogative writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. Its object is to inquire into the legality of one’s detention, and if found illegal, to order the release of the detainee. It is not a means for the redress of grievances or to seek injunctive relief or damages. We reiterate the pronouncement of this Court in Alejano v. Cabuay

The ruling in this case, however, does not foreclose the right of detainees and convicted prisoners from petitioning the courts for the redress of grievances. Regulations and conditions in detention and prison facilities that violate the Constitutional rights of the detainees and prisoners will be reviewed by the courts on a case-by-case basis. The courts could afford injunctive relief or damages to the detainees and prisoners subjected to arbitrary and inhumane conditions. However, habeas corpus is not the proper mode to question conditions of confinement. The writ of habeas corpus will only lie if what is challenged is the fact or duration of confinement.

 

 

FERIA v. CA

G.R. No. 122954. February 15, 2000

FACTS:

Petitioner Norberto Feria has been under detention since May 21, 1981, by reason of his conviction of the crime of Robbery with Homicide In Criminal Case No. 60677.

On June 9, 1993, petitioner sought to be transferred from the Manila City Jail to the Bureau of Corrections in Muntinlupa City, but the Jail Warden of the Manila City Jail informed the Presiding Judge that the transfer cannot be effected without the submission of the requirements, namely, the Commitment Order or Mittimus, Decision, and Information.

It was then discovered that the entire records of the case, including the copy of the judgment, were missing.

In response to the inquiries made by counsel of petitioner, both the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila and the Clerk of Court of RTC attested to the fact that the records of Criminal Case No. 60677 could not be found in their respective offices. Upon further inquiries, the entire records appear to have been lost or destroyed in the fire which occurred at the second and third floor of the Manila City Hall on November 3, 1986.

Petitioner filed a Petition for the Issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus with the Supreme Court against the Jail Warden of the Manila City Jail, the Presiding Judge of Branch 2, Regional Trial Court of Manila, and the City Prosecutor of Manila, praying for his discharge from confinement on the ground that his continued detention without any valid judgment is illegal and violative of his constitutional right to due process.

ISSUE:

Whether or not a petition for a writ of habeas corpus is the proper remedy in this case.

RULING:

As a general rule, the burden of proving illegal restraint by the respondent rests on the petitioner who attacks such restraint. In other words, where the return is not subject to exception, that is, where it sets forth process which on its face shows good ground for the detention of the prisoner, it is incumbent on petitioner to allege and prove new matter that tends to invalidate the apparent effect of such process. If the detention of the prisoner is by reason of lawful public authority, the return is considered prima facie evidence of the validity of the restraint and the petitioner has the burden of proof to show that the restraint is illegal.

Public respondents having sufficiently shown good ground for the detention, petitioner’s release from confinement is not warranted under Section 4 of Rule 102 of the Rules of Court.

Note further that, in the present case, there is also no showing that petitioner duly appealed his conviction of the crime of Robbery with Homicide, hence for all intents and purposes, such judgment has already become final and executory. When a court has jurisdiction of the offense charged and of the party who is so charged, its judgment, order, or decree is not subject to collateral attack by habeas corpus. Put another way, in order that a judgment may be subject to collateral attack by habeas corpus, it must be void for lack of jurisdiction. 

The proper remedy in this case is for either petitioner or public respondents to initiate the reconstitution of the judgment of the case under either Act No. 3110, the general law governing reconstitution of judicial records, or under the inherent power of courts to reconstitute at any time the records of their finished cases in accordance with Section 5 (h) of Rule 135 of the Rules of Court.

In this case, the records were lost after petitioner, by his own admission, was already convicted by the trial court of the offense charged. Further, the same incident which gave rise to the filing of the Information for Robbery with Homicide also gave rise to another case for Illegal Possession of Firearm, the records of which could be of assistance in the reconstitution of the present case.

Petition is DENIED.

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