Political Law

Rolando Abadilla vs Gen. Fidel Ramos

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G.R. No. 79173 – 156 SCRA 92 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Habeas Corpus

Col. Abadilla was the head of the group that seized GMA 7 in 1987. A subsequent mutiny was done in Fort Bonifacio. The act was infamously known as the Black Saturday Revolt. The mutiny failed and Abadilla was later detained. Ramos, the then Chief of Staff, issued an order dropping the name of Abadilla from the roll of regular officers in the military. Later, Susan, the wife of Abadilla, filed a petition for the issuance of the Writ of Habeas Corpus together with their minor children. They questioned the validity of Abadilla’s detention. It was alleged that when Col Abadilla was dropped from the rolls of officers effective May 9, 1987, he became a civilian and as such, the order for his arrest and confinement is null and void because he was no longer subject to military law. His detention is illegal because he is not charged with any criminal offense, either before a civil court or a court-martial

ISSUE: Whether or not the detention of Abadila is legal.

HELD: The fact that Colonel Abadilla was dropped from the rolls of officers cannot and should not lead to the conclusion that he is now beyond the jurisdiction of the military authorities. If such a conclusion were to prevail, his very own refusal to clear his name and protect his honor before his superior officers in the manner prescribed for and expected from a ranking military officer would be his shield against prosecution in the first place. His refusal to report for duty or to surrender when ordered arrested, which led to his name being dropped from the roll of regular officers of the military, cannot thereby render him beyond the jurisdiction of the military courts for offenses he committed while still in the military service. Military jurisdiction had fully attached on Colonel Abadilla inasmuch as proceedings were initiated against him before the termination of his service in the military. The record of the case discloses that Col Abadilla has been charged by the military authorities for violation of Article of War  (Mutiny or Sedition) which is a serious offense, and the corresponding charge sheets have been prepared against him. The detention of Col Abadilla under the circumstances obtaining in this case is not illegal. For this reason, the petition for habeas corpus should be dismissed for lack of merit.

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