Remedial Law

Relissa Lucena vs Sarah Elago

image_printPrint this!

G.R. No. 252120 – Remedial Law – Special Proceedings – A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC; Writ of Amparo – Proper only in cases of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances; Writ of Habeas Corpus; Not proper when there is no restraint of liberty

AJ Lucena is the child of Relissa Lucena. In 2018, while being enrolled as a senior high student at FEU, AJ was recruited by Anakbayan and Kabataan. She became an active member. Unfortunately, she was so engrossed with the activities of Anakbayan that she dropped from FEU, left her parents, and never returned.

In 2019, Relissa filed a petition for issuance of a writ of amparo and writ of habeas corpus against Anakbayan and Kabataan. She impleaded Sarah Elago et al.

In her petition, Relissa prayed for the following:

a. A writ of amparo in favor of AJ and petitioners.

b. In the interim, a temporary protection order “prohibiting the respondents from recruiting, influencing, indoctrinating, immersing and threatening the life, liberty and security of AJ, or from committing or attempting to commit any act which are violative of the rights of AJ, and abusive of her physical, mental, psychological and emotional development.”

c. A writ of habeas corpus ordering the respondents to produce the person of AJ in Court.

d. An order immediately placing AJ under the custody and care of the petitioners.

e. An order requiring the conduct of a medical and psychological examination on, and the conferment of medical and psychological assistance to AJ in order to determine the extent and gravity of the abuse, exploitation and prejudice to her mental, physical, emotional and psychological state.

Relissa admitted that AJ is already of age at the time of the filing of the petition, however, she argues that AJ’s decision to stay with the Anakbayan cannot be considered to have emanated from a valid and informed consent as the same had been a product of the radicalization and indoctrination AJ received from Anakbayan when she was still a minor.


1. Whether or not the writ of amparo may be granted.

2. Whether or not the writ of habeas corpus may be granted.


1. No. The petition is not proper. The remedy of amparo, in its present formulation, is confined merely to instances of “extralegal killings” or “enforced disappearances” and to threats thereof. Here, there is not much issue that AJ’s situation does not qualify either as an actual or threatened enforced disappearance or extralegal killing. AJ is not missing. Her whereabouts are determinable. By all accounts, she is staying with the Anakbayan and its officers which, at least insofar as AJ’s case is concerned, are not agents or organizations acting on behalf of the State. Indeed, against these facts, petitioners’ invocation of the remedy of cannot pass.

2. No. The petition is not proper. Relissa failed to make out a case that AJ is being detained or is being kept by the Anakbayan against her free will. The allegation that AJ was brainwashed is not persuasive. AJ herself executed a sworn statement stating that she is with Anakbayan on her free will. AJ has the right to make independent choices with respect to the places where she wants to stay, as well as to the persons whose company she wants to keep. Such choices, so long as they do not violate any law or any other persons’ rights, has to be respected and let alone, lest we trample upon AJ’s personal liberty — the very freedom supposed to be protected by the writs of amparo and habeas corpus.

Read full text.

image_printPrint this!

Leave a Reply