Lisa Marie J. Clemente April 12, 2018 ATTY. IRENE D. VALONES Human Rights Law, Sun., 10-12nn Secretary of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Chief of Staff (Petitioners) Vs. Raymond Manalo and Reynaldo Manalo (Respondents) G.R. No. 180906 October 7, 2008 Puno, C. J.: FACTS: On February 14, 2006, brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, farmers from San Ildefonso, Bulacan were abducted by members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) on suspicion that the brothers were members or supporters of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA). The Manalo brothers were detained in various locations: in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija; in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan; in Camp Luna, Limay Bataan; in a house somewhere in Zambales; in a farm in Pangasinan. They were also subjected to various forms of torture such as chained and blind folded, beaten black and blue in different parts of the body, hit in the stomach with a hard wood, slapped in the forehead by .45 pistol, punched in the mouth, burned some parts of their bodies with a burning wood, made to witness the killings of fellow captives; forced to take the pill “alive” which caused them headaches, and threatened to be executed. After having been detained and tortured for 18 months, the brothers were able to escape from their captors and torturers on August 13, 2007. On August 23, 2007, the Manalo brothers filed a Petition for Prohibition, Injunction, and Temporary Restraining Order to stop the military (herein petitioners) from depriving them of their right to liberty and other basic rights. While the petition was pending, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo took effect on October 24, 2007. On the same day, the Manalo brothers filed a Manifestation and Omnibus Motion to Treat Existing Petition as Amparo Petition. The next day, October 25, 2017, the Supreme Court (SC) favorably granted their petition which was treated as an Amparo Petition. The SC remanded the Amparo petition to the Court of Appeals (CA) and ordered the latter to conduct a summary hearing thereon on November 8, 2007. CA RULING: On December 26, 2007, the CA granted the privilege of the Writ of Amparo to the Manalo brothers relying on the brothers’ affidavits and testimonies and the medical reports and testimony of Dr. Molino, a forensic expert, on the scars left by the injuries inflicted on the brothers. The CA ordered the Secretary of National Defense and the AFP Chief of Staff (petitioners) to furnish the Manalo brothers and the CA within 5 days with all the official and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken, confirm in writing the present places of Hilario and Caigas – the military personnel identified by the Manalo brothers; to produce all medical reports, records and charts, reports of any treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed while in detention; and to submit a list of medical personnel who attended to the brothers while under military custody. In their Return of the Writ, the military disputed the brothers’ accounts but undertook to exert efforts in providing results of the investigations conducted or to be conducted relative to the circumstances of the alleged abduction of the Manalo brothers. The petitioners went to the Supreme Court seeking the reversal of the CA decision extending the privilege of the Writ of Amparo to the Manalo brothers. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the CA erred in believing ang giving full faith and credit to the affidavit/testimony of the Manalo brothers. 2. Whether or not the CA erred in granting the reliefs requested in the Amparo Petition – requiring the petitioners to furnish the Manalo brothers and the CA with all the official and unofficial reports of the investigation undertaken, confirm in writing the present places of Hilario and Caigas, to produce all medical reports, records and charts, reports Lisa Marie J. Clemente April 12, 2018 ATTY. IRENE D. VALONES Human Rights Law, Sun., 10-12nn of any treatment given or recommended and medicines prescribed while in detention and to submit a list of medical personnel who attended to the brothers while under military custody. HELD: 1. Whether or not the CA erred in believing ang giving full faith and credit to the affidavit/testimony of the Manalo brothers? No. Section 1 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo provides: Section 1. Petition. - The petition for a writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity. The writ shall cover extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. (emphasis supplied) Meanwhile Sections 17 and 18 provide that the quantum of evidence required in petitions for Writ of Amparo is substantial evidence, to wit: Sec. 17. Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. - The parties shall establish their claims by substantial evidence. In affirming the the factual findings of the CA, the Supreme Court ruled that Raymond Manalo’s affidavit and testimony which was corraborated by his brother Reynaldo’s affidavit and testimony as well as the medical reports and testimony of forensic expert, Dr. Molino, constitute substantial evidence which is defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. The SC was convinced by the CA findings that indeed the Manalo brothers were abducted and detained by the military for 18 months in various locations on suspicion that they were either members or sympathizers of the NPA. The participation of identified abductors Hilario, Arman, Ganata, Cabalse, Caigas and the named CAFGU auxillaries was established. General Palparan’s participation in the abduction was also established when he failed to controvert Raymond Manalo’s claim. The SC also pointed out that the results of the investigation of the Provost Marshall focused on the one-sided version of the CAFGU auxillaries involved. The SC ruled that there is a continuing violation of the Manalo brothers’ right to security. Since the brothers’ escape, they have been under concealment and protection from the military by private citizens because of the threat to their life, liberty and security. The circumstances of the brothers’ abduction, detention, torture and escape reasonably support a conclusion that there is an apparent threat that they will again be abducted, tortured, and even executed. These constitute threats to their liberty, security, and life, actionable through a petition for a Writ of Amparo. 2. Whether or not the CA erred in granting the particular reliefs requested in the Amparo Petition? No. The petitioners argue that the production order of the CA partakes the nature of a search warrant that necessitates compliance with the Constitutional requisites for the protection of the right against unreasonable searches. They are wrong. The amparo production order pertained to a procedure that cannot be identified or confused with unreasonable searches prohibited by the Constitution. Moreover in his affidavit, AFP Chief of Staff himself undertook to provide results of the investigations conducted or to be conducted by the concerned unit relative to the circumstances of the alleged abduction of the Manalo brothers. Lisa Marie J. Clemente April 12, 2018 ATTY. IRENE D. VALONES Human Rights Law, Sun., 10-12nn Also the disclosure of the present places of assignment of Hilario and Caigas whom the brothers positively identified as their abductors, is relevant in ensuring the safety of the brothers and ensuring that Hilario and Caigas will be served with notices and court processes. The medical reports, on the other hand, will provide the medical history of the brothers while in detention. The SC then concluded: In blatant violation of our hard-won guarantees to life, liberty and security, these rights are snuffed out from victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. The writ of Amparo is a tool that gives voice to preys of silent guns and prisoners behind secret walls.