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A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC or The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was promulgated to arrest the rampant extralegal killings and enforced disappearances in the country. Its purpose is to provide an expeditious and effective relief “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.” 
Here, Ben’s right to life, liberty and security is firmly settled as the parties do not dispute his identity as the same person summoned and questioned at petitioners’ security office on the night of March 31, 2008. Such uncontroverted fact ipso facto established Ben’s inherent and constitutionally enshrined right to life, liberty and security. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsrecognizes every human being’s inherent right to life, while Article 9 thereof ordains that everyone has the right to liberty and security. The right to life must be protected by law while the right to liberty and security cannot be impaired except on grounds provided by and in accordance with law. This overarching command against deprivation of life, liberty and security without due process of law is also embodied in our fundamental law.
The pivotal question now that confronts us is whether Ben’s disappearance as alleged in Virginia’s petition and proved during the summary proceedings conducted before the court a quo, falls within the ambit of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC and relevant laws.
It does not. Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC 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 ours.)
While Section 1 provides A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC’s coverage, said Rules does not, however, define extralegal killings and enforced disappearances. This omission was intentional as the Committee on Revision of the Rules of Court which drafted A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC chose to allow it to evolve through time and jurisprudence and through substantive laws as may be promulgated by Congress. Then, the budding jurisprudence on amparo blossomed in Razon, Jr. v. Tagitis when this Court defined enforced disappearances. The Court in that case applied the generally accepted principles of international law and adopted the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance’s definition of enforced disappearances, as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”
Not long thereafter, another significant development affecting A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC came about after Congress enacted Republic Act (RA) No. 9851 on December 11, 2009. Section 3(g) thereof defines enforced or involuntary disappearances as follows:
(g) "Enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons" means the arrest, detention, or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
Then came Rubrico v. Macapagal-Arroyo where Justice Arturo D. Brion wrote in his Separate Opinion that with the enactment of RA No. 9851, “the Rule on the Writ of Amparo is now a procedural law anchored, not only on the constitutional rights to the rights to life, liberty and security, but on a concrete statutory definition as well of what an ‘enforced or involuntary disappearance’ is.” Therefore, A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC’s reference to enforced disappearances should be construed to mean the enforced or involuntary disappearance of persons contemplated in Section 3(g) of RA No. 9851. Meaning, in probing enforced disappearance cases, courts should read A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC in relation to RA No. 9851.
From the statutory definition of enforced disappearance, thus, we can derive the following elements that constitute it:
(a) that there be an arrest, detention, abduction or any form of deprivation of liberty;
(b) that it be carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State or a political organization;
(c) that it be followed by the State or political organization’s refusal to acknowledge or give information on the fate or whereabouts of the person subject of the amparo petition; and,
(d) that the intention for such refusal is to remove subject person from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.
As thus dissected, it is now clear that for the protective writ of amparo to issue, allegation and proof that the persons subject thereof are missing are not enough. It must also be shown and proved by substantial evidence that the disappearance was carried out by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, the State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the same or give information on the fate or whereabouts of said missing persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time. Simply put, the petitioner in an amparocase has the burden of proving by substantial evidence the indispensable element of government participation.
In the present case, we do not doubt Bong’s testimony that Navia had a menacing attitude towards Ben and that he slapped and inflicted fistic blows upon him. Given the circumstances and the pugnacious character of Navia at that time, his threatening statement, “Wala kang nakita at wala kang narinig, papatayin ko na si Ben,” cannot be taken lightly. It unambiguously showed his predisposition at that time. In addition, there is nothing on record which would support petitioners’ assertion that they released Ben on the night of March 31, 2008 unscathed from their wrath. Lolita sufficiently explained how she was prodded into affixing her signatures in the logbook without reading the entries therein. And so far, the information petitioners volunteered are sketchy at best, like the alleged complaint of Mrs. Emphasis who was never identified or presented in court and whose complaint was never reduced in writing.
But lest it be overlooked, in an amparo petition, proof of disappearance alone is not enough. It is likewise essential to establish that such disappearance was carried out with the direct or indirect authorization, support or acquiescence of the government. This indispensable element of State participation is not present in this case. The petition does not contain any allegation of State complicity, and none of the evidence presented tend to show that the government or any of its agents orchestrated Ben’s disappearance. In fact, none of its agents, officials, or employees were impleaded or implicated in
’s amparo petition whether as responsible or accountable persons. Thus, in the absence of an allegation or proof that the government or its agents had a hand in Ben’s disappearance or that they failed to exercise extraordinary diligence in investigating his case, the Court will definitely not hold the government or its agents either as responsible or Virginia
We are aware that under Section 1 of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC a writ of amparo may lie against a private individual or entity. But even if the person sought to be held accountable or responsible in anamparo petition is a private individual or entity, still, government involvement in the disappearance remains an indispensable element. Here, petitioners are mere security guards at Grand Royale Subdivision in Brgy. Lugam,
Malolos City and their principal, the , is a private entity. They do not work for the government and nothing has been presented that would link or connect them to some covert police, military or governmental operation. As discussed above, to fall within the ambit of A.M. No. 07-9-12-SC in relation to RA No. 9851, the disappearance must be attended by some governmental involvement. This hallmark of State participation differentiates an enforced disappearance case from an ordinary case of a missing person. Asian Land
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