Political Law

Josefina Garcia-Padilla vs Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile et al

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G.R. No. L-61388 – 121 SCRA 472 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Bill of Rights – Warrantless Arrest – Writ of Habeas Corpus – Reversal of the Lansang Doctrine; Reinstatement of the Montenegro Doctrine

In July 1982, Sabino Padilla, together w/ 8 others who were having a conference in a house in Bayombong, NV, were arrested by members of the Philippine Constabulary. The raid of the house was authorized by a search warrant issued by Judge Sayo. Josefina, mother of Sabino, opposed the arrest averring that no warrant of arrest was issued hence the arrest of her son and the others was w/o just cause. Sabino and companions together with 4 others were later transferred to a facility only the PCs know. Josefina petitioned the court for the issuance of the writ of habeas corpus.

ISSUE: Whether or not the arrests done against Sabino et al were valid.

HELD: Yes. In a complete about face, the SC decision in the Lansang Case was reversed and the ruling in the Barcelon Case & the Montenegro Case was again reinstated. The questioned power of the president to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus  was once again held as discretionary in the president. The SC again reiterated that the suspension of the writ was a political question to be resolved solely by the president. It was also noted that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus must, indeed, carry with it the suspension of the right to bail, if the government’s campaign to suppress the rebellion is to be enhanced and rendered effective. If the right to bail may be demanded during the continuance of the rebellion, and those arrested, captured and detained in the course thereof will be released, they would, without the least doubt, rejoin their comrades in the field thereby jeopardizing the success of government efforts to bring to an end the invasion, rebellion or insurrection.

NOTE: This ruling was abrogated by Sec 18, Art 7 of the 1987 Constitution which expressly constitutionalized the Lansang Doctrine. Note as well that under Art 3 (Sec 13) of the Constitution it is stated that “the right to bail shall not be impaired even if the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended.”

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