MARK Rem2 Razon vs Tagitis Digest
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Razon v. Tagitis G .R. No. 182498 182498 03 Dec emb er 2009 2009 Brion, J . PONENTE: PONENTE: Br
PART PARTIES: 1.
PETITIONER ION ERS S: GEN. AVEL AV ELINO INO I. RA RA ZO N, J R., C hief, Philipp Philippine ine Nationa Na tionall Police (PNP); Police Polic e C hief
Superint up erintend end ent RAUL CA STA NEDA, C hief, C riminal iminal Investi Investiga ga tion tion a nd De tec tion tion G roup (CIDG); (C IDG); Police Senior
Super upe rintend intendent ent LEO LEO NARDO A. ESPINA, ESPINA, C hief, Police Anti-Crime Anti-Crime a nd Emerge Emergenc nc y Res Respo po nse nse (PA C ER); ER); and G EN. J OEL R. G OLTIAO, Regional Regional Dir Direc tor of ARMM ARMM , PNP 2.
RES RESPONDENT PO NDENT: MA M A RY J EAN B. TA TA G ITIS, IS, herein he rein represented by A TTY. FELI FELIPE PE P. ARCILL A RCILLA A , J R., Attorney-in-
Fact Petition for fo r Review on o n Certi C ertiora orarri NATURE: Petition
PROC EDURAL BACKGROUND: BACKGROUND: Court of Appeals: Petition for the Writ of Amparo FACT FAC TS: Engineer Enginee r M orced orc ed N. Ta gitis (Ta gitis), gitis), a c onsulta onsulta nt for the the Worl Wo rld d Bank Ban k and the Senior Hono Hono ra ry Cou C ouns nselo elorr for the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Scholarship Programme, together with Arsimin Kunnong (Kunnong), an IDB sc holar, arrived arrived in J olo b y boa bo a t in in the ea rly morning morning o f Oc tobe r 31, 31, 2007 2007 from from a seminar in in Zamb oa nga C ity. ity. They They immediately immediately c hec ked-in at ASY ASY Pension House. House. Tag itis itis asked asked Kunnong Kunnong to buy him him a boa t tic tic ket for his his return trip the following day to Zamboanga. When Kunnong returned from this errand, Tagitis was no longer around. around . Kunnong Kunnong looked for Ta gitis gitis and even eve n sent sent a text text mess messa ge to the latter’s Ma nila-b nila-b ased sec retar eta ry, who a d vised vised Kunnong to simply simply wa it for Ta gitis’ gitis’ return.
O n Novemb No vember er 4, 4, 2007 2007,, Kunnong a nd Muha mmad Ab dulnazeir N. Ma tli, tli, a UP professor of M usli uslim m studies studies a nd Tag Tag itis itis’ fellow fellow stude tudent nt c ounselor ounselor at the the IDB IDB,, report ep orted ed Tag Tag itis itis’ disap disap pearanc pe aranc e to the the J olo Police Police Stati Station. on. More More than a month later, or on Dec ember emb er 28, 28, 2007 2007,, the respond respond ent, Ma y J ea n Tag Tag itis itis,, throug through h her att a ttorney-i orney-in-fac n-fac t, filed filed a Petition Petition for the Writ Writ of Ampa A mpa ro (petit (p etition) ion) direc direc ted a ga inst Lt. Lt. G en. Alexander Alexand er Yano, C ommanding omma nding General, Philippine Army; Gen. Avelino I. Razon, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP); Gen. Edgardo M. Doromal, C hief, Crimin Criminal al Investi Investiga ga tion tion a nd De tention tention G roup (CIDG); (C IDG); Sr Sr. Supt. Supt. Leo Leonardo nardo A. Espina Espina,, Chief, C hief, Polic Polic e Anti-Cri Anti-Crime me a nd Emergenc Emergenc y Res Respo pons nse; e; G en. J oel G oltiao, oltiao, Regional Dir Direc tor, tor, ARMM-PNP; and G en. Rube Ruben n Rafa el, Chief, C hief, Anti-Terror error Ta sk Forc Force e C omet ome t (co llec llec tively referred referred to as a s “petitioners “p etitioners”), ”), with with the Court C ourt of App A pp ea ls (CA). (C A). On O n the same same da y, the CA C A immediately immedia tely iss issued the Writ Writ of Amp aro and a nd set the ca c a se for hearing hearing on on J anuar anua ry 7, 2008 2008..
O n Marc M arch h 7, 200 2008, 8, the C A iss issued its its de c ision ision c onfirmin onfirming g that tha t the disap disap pe aranc e o f Tag itis itis was wa s a n “enforced “enforc ed disa disa pp ea ranc e” under und er the the United United Na tions tions (UN) (UN) Declarati Dec laration on on o n the Protec Protec tion tion of o f All Persons Persons fr from Enforc Enforc ed Disa pp ea ranc es. The C A ruled that tha t when milit milita a ry intell intelligenc igenc e p inpointed the inves investi tiga ga tive tive a rm of the PNP (CIDG ) to be involv involved ed in the the a bd ucti uc tion, on, the mis missing-pers ing-person on c ase ase quali qua lifi fied ed as an enfor e nforc c ed disap disap pearanc pe aranc e. Hence, Henc e, the C A extend extended ed the pr p rivil ivileg ege e o f the writ writ to Ta Ta gitis gitis a nd his family, family, and directed direc ted the petit p etitioners ioners to exert extraordinary diligence and efforts to protect the life, liberty and security of Tagitis, with the obligation to provide monthly reports ep orts of their ac tions tions to to the C A. A t the same same time, time, the C A dismis dismissed the petit p etition ion aga a ga inst the then respond respondents ents from from the milit military, ary, Lt. Gen Ge n Alexander Alexand er Yano a nd G en. Ruben Rafa el, bas ba sed on the finding that it wa s PNP-C IDG, IDG , not the military, military, that tha t was involved involved .
O n Marc M arch h 31, 31, 2008 2008,, the peti pe titi tione onerrs moved to rec rec onsider onsider the CA C A dec de c ision, but the C A de nied the mo tion tion in its its Resolution Resolution da d a ted A pril 9, 2008 2008.. Aggrieved Ag grieved , the petit pe titione ionerrs filed filed a p etition etition for fo r review evie w with the the Supreme C ourt.
PERTINENT INENTISSU ISSUES: 1.
Whether or not the req req uirement uirement that tha t the plead p lead er must must state state the ultimate ultimate fac fa c ts, ts, i.e. i.e. c omplete omp lete in every
de tail in in stating stating the threa threa tened or ac tual violation violation of a victim’s rights, ights, is indispe nsa nsa ble in an amp aro p etition. etition. 2.
Whether or not the p resentation esentation of substantial substantial evidenc e by the pe titi titione onerr to to prove her allega tions tions is is
sufficient for the court to grant the privilege of the writ. 3.
Whether or not the writ writ of a mpa ro de termin termines es guilt guilt nor pinpoint c riminal iminal c ulpab ilit ility y for the the a lleg lleged ed
enforced disappearance of the subject of the petition for the writ.
No. Howe ver, it it must must contain c ontain deta d etail ils s ava ilab ilab le to the p etitioner etitioner under the c irc irc umstanc umstanc es, while while
presenting a c a use use of o f ac tion tion showing a violation of o f the vic vic tim’s rights to life, life, lib lib erty a nd sec urity urity throug throug h S State tate or private private p arty a c tion. tion.
SUPREME COURTRULINGS: 1.
REQUIREMENTS IN AN AMPARO PETITION
Th e r e q u i re m e n t t h a t t h e p l e a d e r m u st st a t e t h e u l t im a t e f a c t s m u st b e r e a d i n li g h t o f t h e n a t u re a n d p u r p o s e
framers of the Amparo Rule never o f t h e p r o c e e d i n g , w h i c h a d d r e sse s a s it u a t io n o f u n c e r ta i n t y – The intended Sec tion 5(c) to b e c omplete in every detail in stating the threa tened or ac tual violation of a victim’s rights. As in any other initiatory pleading, the pleade r must of c ourse state the ultimate fa c ts c onstituting the c ause of a c tion, omitting the evidentiary details. In an A mpa ro petition, however, this req uirement must be rea d in light of the nature a nd p urpo se of the proc eeding, whic h ad dresses a situation of unc ertainty; the petitioner may not be able to describe with certainty how the victim exactly disappeared, or who actually ac ted to kidnap, a bd uc t or arrest him or her, or where the vic tim is de tained, bec ause these information may purposely be hidden or covered up by those who caused the disappearance. In this type of situation, to require the level of spec ificity, detail and prec ision that the pe titioners ap pa rently want to rea d into the Ampa ro Rule is to make this Rule a token gesture of judicial conc ern for violations of the c onstitutiona l rights to life, libe rty and sec urity. To read the Rules of C ourt req uirement on pleadings while ad dressing the unique Amp aro situation, the test in read ing the petition should be to d etermine whether it co ntains the details ava ilable to the petitioner under the c irc umstanc es, while presenting a c ause of ac tion showing a violation of the vic tim’s rights to life, libe rty and sec urity through State or private p arty ac tion. The p etition should likewise be rea d in its totality, rather than in terms of its isolated c omp one nt pa rts, to de termine if the required elements – namely, of the disappearance, the State or private action, and the actual or threatened violations of the rights to life, liberty or sec urity – a re present.
EVIDENCE REQUIRED IN AN AMPARO PETITION
Bu rd e n o f p r o o f o f A m p a ro p e t i ti o n e r – [T ]he A mpa ro petitioner needs only to prop erly c omply with the
substance a nd form requirements of a Writ of Ampa ro p etition, as disc ussed ab ove, a nd p rove the allega tions by substantial evidence. Once a rebuttable case has been proven, the respondents must then respond and prove their defenses ba sed on the stand ard o f diligence required . The rebuttab le c ase, of course, must show that an e nforc ed disap pea ranc e took plac e under circ umstances showing a violation o f the victim’s c onstitutiona l rights to life, libe rty or sec urity, and the fa ilure on the part of the investiga ting authorities to appropriately respond. Su b s ta n t i a l e v i d e n c e r e q u i re d i n a m p a r o p ro c e e d i n g s – The [charac teristic s of amparo proce edings] –
namely, of being summary and the use o f substantial evidenc e a s the req uired level of proof (in c ontrast to the usual preponde ranc e of evidence or proof beyond reasonable doubt in court proce edings) – revea l the c lear intent of the framers of the Ampa ro Rule to ha ve the equivalent of an ad ministrative proc eeding, albeit judicially c onduc ted, in add ressing Ampa ro situations. The standa rd of diligence required – the duty of public officials and employees to ob serve extraordinary diligenc e – po int, too, to the extraordinary measures expec ted in the protec tion of constitutional rights and in the consequent handling and investiga tion of extra judicial killings and enforc ed d isap pea ranc e cases. Thus, in these proceed ings, the Ampa ro petitioner need s only to properly c omply with the substanc e a nd form requirements of a Writ of Amparo pe tition, as disc ussed ab ove, and p rove the a llega tions by substantial evidenc e. Once a rebuttable c ase has been proven, the respo nde nts must then respo nd a nd prove their defenses ba sed on the stand ard o f diligence required . The rebuttable c ase, of c ourse, must show that a n enforced disap pearanc e took plac e under circ umstances showing a violation of the victim’s co nstitutional rights to life, liberty or sec urity, and the failure on the p art of the investiga ting authorities to app rop riately respo nd. The landmark case of Ang Tibay v. C ourt of Industrial Relations provide d the C ourt its first op po rtunity to de fine the substantial evide nc e required to a rrive at a valid de c ision in ad ministrative p roc eedings. To direc tly quote Ang Tibay: Substantial evide nc e is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a c onc lusion. The statute p rovides that ‘the rules of evidenc e prevailing in c ourts of law a nd equity shall not be c ontrolling.’ The o bvious purpose of this and similar provisions is to free administrative boa rds from the compulsion of technical rules so that the mere admission of matter which would be deemed incompetent in judicial proc eed ings would not invalida te the administrative order. But this assuranc e of a desirab le flexibility in ad ministrative p roc ed ure do es not go so far as to justify orders without a ba sis in evidenc e having rational proba tive force. As a rule, minor Minor inc onsistenc ies in the testimo ny should not a ffec t the c redib ility o f the witness – inconsistencies such as these indicate truthfulness rather than prevarication and only tend to strengthen their prob ative va lue, in c ontrast to testimonies from va rious witnesses dovetailing on every detail; the latter cannot but generate suspic ion that the ma terial circ umstanc es they testified to were integral pa rts of a well thought of and prefabricated story.
ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCESin relation to THE WRITOF AMPARO
Th e w r it o f a m p a ro d o e s n o t d e t e rm i n e g u i l t n o r p i n p o i n t c r im i n a l c u l p a b i l it y f o r th e d i sa p p e a r a n c e , r a t h e r, it de termines respon sibility, or at least ac c oun tab ility , for the enforc ed disap pe ara nc e for pu rposes of im po sing
writ of amp aro is] a protec tive remedy ag ainst t h e a p p r o p r ia t e r e m e d i e s t o a d d r e ss t h e d i sa p p e a r a n c e – [The violations or threats of viola tion aga inst the rights to life, liberty and sec urity. It embod ies, as a remed y, the c ourt’s direc tive to p olic e a genc ies to undertake spec ified c ourses of ac tion to a dd ress the d isap pearanc e of an individual, in this c ase, Engr. Morced N. Tagitis. It does not determine guilt nor pinpoint criminal culpability for the disap pe aranc e; rather, it de termines responsibility, or at lea st ac c ountab ility, for the e nforced disappearance for purposes of imposing the appropriate remedies to address the disappearance. Respo nsibility refers to the extent the a c tors have been established by substantial evidenc e to ha ve participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, as a measure of the remed ies this C ourt shall c raft, among them, the directive to file the a pp rop riate c riminal a nd c ivil c ases ag ainst the respo nsible parties in the p rop er c ourts. Ac countab ility, on the other hand , refers to the mea sure of remedies that should be addressed to those who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their co mplic ity to the level of responsibility de fined abo ve; or who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who c arry, but have fa iled to disc harge, the b urde n of extraordinary diligence in the investiga tion of the enforce d disapp ea ranc e. In all these c ases, the issuanc e o f the Writ of Ampa ro is justified b y our primary goa l of ad dressing the d isap pearanc e, so that the life o f the victim is preserved and his libe rty and sec urity are restored. The A m pa ro Rule shou ld b e rea d, too , as a wo rk in progress, as its direc tions and finer p oints rem ain to e volve t h ro u g h t i m e a n d j u ri sp r u d e n c e a n d t h ro u g h t h e s u b st a n t iv e l a w s th a t C o n g re s s m a y p r o m u l g a t e –[T]he
unique situations that call for the issuanc e of the writ, as well as the c onsiderations and me asures nec essary to ad dress these situations, may no t at all be the same a s the standa rd mea sures and proc ed ures in ordinary court actions and proceedings. In this sense, the Rule on the Writ of Amparo (Amparo Rule) issued by this C ourt is unique. The A mpa ro Rule should be rea d, too, a s a work in progress, as its direc tions and finer points remain to evolve through time a nd jurisprudenc e a nd through the substantive laws that Congress may promulgate. The c onc ep t of “enforced disapp ea ranc es” is neither de fined nor p ena lized in this jurisdic tion – The Ampa ro
Rule expressly provides that the “writ shall c ove r extralegal killings and enforced d isapp ea ranc es or threa ts thereof.” We note that although the writ spe c ifica lly covers “enforced disap pe aranc es,” this conc ept is neither de fined nor pena lized in this jurisdic tion.
The records of the Supreme C ourt C ommittee on the
Revision of Rules (Committee) revea l that the d rafters of the A mpa ro Rule initially co nsidered providing a n elemental d efinition o f the c onc ept of enforced disap pearanc e: x x x In the end, the C ommittee took c og nizance of several b ills filed in the House of Rep resentatives and in the Sena te on extrajudic ial killings and enforced disap pearanc es, and resolved to do a way with a c lear textual definition of these terms in the Rule. The Co mmittee instead foc used on the nature and sc ope of the co ncerns within its power to add ress and provided the ap propriate remedy therefor, mindful that an elemental definition may intrude into the ongoing legislative efforts. As the law no w stand s, extra-judic ial killings and enforced disappe aranc es in this jurisdiction are no t crimes penalized separately from the c omponent criminal ac ts undertaken to c arry out these killings and enforc ed disap pea ranc es and are now p enalized under the Revised Penal C ode a nd spec ial laws. The simple reason is that the Legislature has not spoken on the matter; the determination of what acts are criminal and what the c orresponding pena lty these c riminal a c ts should c arry are ma tters of substantive law that only the Legislature ha s the po wer to ena c t under the c ountry’s c onstitutiona l sc heme a nd p owe r struc ture. Source of the po wer of the Supreme C ourt to ac t on extrajudic ial killings and enforced disapp ea rances – Even without the benefit of direc tly ap plica ble substantive laws on e xtra-judic ial killings and enforced disapp ea ranc es, howe ver, the Supreme C ourt is not po werless to ac t under its own c onstitutiona l mandate to promulgate “rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice and proc ed ure in all courts,” since extrajudicial killings and enforced disap pearanc es, by their nature and purpose, c onstitute State or private p arty violation of the c onstitutiona l rights of individuals to life, libe rty and sec urity. Although the C ourt’s power is strictly proc ed ural and as suc h does not diminish, inc rease or modify substantive rights, the lega l protection that the C ourt ca n provide c an be very mea ningful through the proc ed ures it sets in ad dressing extrajudicial killings and enforced disapp ea ranc es. The C ourt, through its proc ed ural rules, c an set the procedural standards and thereby directly compel the public authorities to act on actual or threa tened violations of c onstitutiona l rights. To state the obvious, judicial intervention c an make a difference – eve n if only proc ed urally – in a situation when the very same investiga ting p ublic a uthorities may ha ve ha d a hand in the threa tened or ac tual violations of c onstitutiona l rights.
DISPOSITIVE: The Supreme C ourt affirmed the dec ision of the C ourt of App ea ls da ted M arc h 7, 2008 under the following terms: 1.
Rec ognition that the disap pearanc e o f Engineer Morc ed N. Tag itis is an e nforc ed disap pea ranc e
covered by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo;
Without any spe c ific pronounc ement on exac t authorship and responsibility, dec laring the
government (through the PNP and the PNP-C IDG) a nd C olonel J ulasirim Ahadin Kasim ac c ountable for the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis; 3.
C onfirmation of the va lidity of the Writ of Ampa ro the C ourt of Appeals issued;
Holding the PNP, through the PNP C hief, and the PNP-C IDG, throug h its C hief, direc tly responsible for
the disclosure of material facts known to the government and to their offices regarding the disappearance of Engineer Morce d N. Tagitis, and for the c ond uct of prop er investiga tions using extraordinary diligenc e, with the ob liga tion to show investiga tion results ac c ep table to this C ourt; 5.
Orde ring Colonel J ulasirim Aha din Kasim implead ed in this c ase and holding him ac c ountab le with
the obligation to d isclose information known to him and to his “assets” in relation with the enforced disappearance of Engineer Morced N. Tagitis; 6.
Referring this case back to the Court of Appeals for appropriate proceedings directed at the
monitoring of the PNP a nd PNP-C IDG investigations, ac tions and the valida tion o f their results; the PNP a nd the PNP-C IDG shall initially present to the C ourt of Ap peals a plan of a c tion for further investiga tion, p eriod ica lly reporting their results to the C ourt of Ap peals for consideration and ac tion; 7.
Requiring the C ourt of Ap pe als to submit to this C ourt a quarterly rep ort with its rec omme ndations,
c op y furnished the incumb ent PNP a nd PNP-C IDG C hiefs as petitioners and the responde nt, with the first report due at the end of the first quarter counted from the finality of this Decision; 8.
The PNP and the PNP-C IDG shall have one (1) full year to undertake their investiga tions; the C ourt of
App ea ls shall submit its full rep ort for the c onsideration of this C ourt at the end of the 4th quarter counted from the finality of this Dec ision; The abo vementioned d irec tives and those of the Court of App eals’ made p ursuant to this Dec ision were given to, and were direc tly enforc ea ble aga inst, whoe ver may be the incumbent C hiefs of the Philipp ine National Police and its C riminal Investiga tion and Detec tion G roup , under pain of co ntempt from the Supreme C ourt when the initiatives and e fforts at disc losure and investigation c onstitute less than the extraordina ry dilige nc e that the Rule on the Writ of Ampa ro a nd the c irc umstanc es of this case d ema nd.
Given the unique nature of Amparo cases and their varying attendant circumstances, the aforementioned direc tives – pa rtic ularly, the referral bac k to a nd monitoring b y the C A – are spec ific to this c ase and are not standard remedies that can be applied to every Amparo situation.
The Supreme C ourt likewise affirmed the dismissal of the Ampa ro petition with respec t to General Alexander Yano, Co mmanding General, Philippine Army, and G eneral Ruben Rafael, C hief, Anti-Terrorism Task Force C omet, Zamboa nga C ity.