“x x x.
Third issue: Command responsibility in amparo proceedings
To attribute responsibility or accountability to former President Arroyo, Rodriguez contends that the doctrine of command responsibility may be applied. As we explained in Rubrico v. Arroyo, command responsibility pertains to the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflict. Although originally used for ascertaining criminal complicity, the command responsibility doctrine has also found application in civil cases for human rights abuses. In the United States, for example, command responsibility was used in Ford v. Garcia and Romagoza v. Garcia civil actions filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. This development in the use of command responsibility in civil proceedings shows that the application of this doctrine has been liberally extended even to cases not criminal in nature. Thus, it is our view that command responsibility may likewise find application in proceedings seeking the privilege of the writ of amparo. As we held in Rubrico:
It may plausibly be contended that command responsibility, as legal basis to hold military/police commanders liable for extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, or threats, may be made applicable to this jurisdiction on the theory that the command responsibility doctrine now constitutes a principle of international law or customary international law in accordance with the incorporation clause of the Constitution.
If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to fix criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to administrative disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any. (Emphasis supplied.)
Precisely in the case at bar, the doctrine of command responsibility may be used to determine whether respondents are accountable for and have the duty to address the abduction of Rodriguez in order to enable the courts to devise remedial measures to protect his rights. Clearly, nothing precludes this Court from applying the doctrine of command responsibility in amparo proceedings to ascertain responsibility and accountability in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. In this regard, the Separate Opinion of Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales in Rubrico is worth noting, thus:
That proceedings under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo do not determine criminal, civil or administrative liability should not abate the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility. Taking Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo and Razon v. Tagitis in proper context, they do not preclude the application of the doctrine of command responsibility to Amparo cases.
Manalo was actually emphatic on the importance of the right to security of person and its contemporary signification as a guarantee of protection of ones rights by the government. It further stated that protection includes conducting effective investigations, organization of the government apparatus to extend protection to victims of extralegal killings or enforced disappearances, or threats thereof, and/or their families, and bringing offenders to the bar of justice.
Tagitis, on the other hand, cannot be more categorical on the application, at least in principle, of the doctrine of command responsibility:
Given their mandates, the PNP and PNP-CIDG officials and members were the ones who were remiss in their duties when the government completely failed to exercise the extraordinary diligence that the Amparo Rule requires. We hold these organizations accountable through their incumbent Chiefs who, under this Decision, shall carry the personal responsibility of seeing to it that extraordinary diligence, in the manner the Amparo Rule requires, is applied in addressing the enforced disappearance of Tagitis.
Neither does Republic Act No. 9851 emasculate the applicability of the command responsibility doctrine to Amparo cases. The short title of the law is the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity. Obviously, it should, as it did, only treat of superior responsibility as a ground for criminal responsibility for the crimes covered. Such limited treatment, however, is merely in keeping with the statutes purpose and not intended to rule out the application of the doctrine of command responsibility to other appropriate cases.
Indeed, one can imagine the innumerable dangers of insulating high-ranking military and police officers from the coverage of reliefs available under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. The explicit adoption of the doctrine of command responsibility in the present case will only bring Manalo and Tagitis to their logical conclusion.
In fine, I submit that the Court should take this opportunity to state what the law ought to be if it truly wants to make the Writ of Amparo an effective remedy for victims of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof. While there is a genuine dearth of evidence to hold respondents Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon accountable under the command responsibility doctrine, the ponencias hesitant application of the doctrine itself is replete with implications abhorrent to the rationale behind the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. (Emphasis supplied.)
This Separate Opinion was reiterated in the recently decided case of Boac v. Cadapan, likewise penned by Justice Carpio-Morales, wherein this Court ruled:
Rubrico categorically denies the application of command responsibility in amparo cases to determine criminal liability. The Court maintains its adherence to this pronouncement as far as amparo cases are concerned.
Rubrico, however, recognizes a preliminary yet limited application of command responsibility in amparo cases to instances of determining the responsible or accountable individuals or entities that are duty-bound to abate any transgression on the life, liberty or security of the aggrieved party.
If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the disappearance and harassments complained of, so as to enable the Court to devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered by the writ of amparo. As intimated earlier, however, the determination should not be pursued to fix criminal liability on respondents preparatory to criminal prosecution, or as a prelude to administrative disciplinary proceedings under existing administrative issuances, if there be any.
In other words, command responsibility may be loosely applied in amparo cases in order to identify those accountable individuals that have the power to effectively implement whatever processes an amparo court would issue. In such application, the amparo court does not impute criminal responsibility but merely pinpoint the superiors it considers to be in the best position to protect the rights of the aggrieved party.
Such identification of the responsible and accountable superiors may well be a preliminary determination of criminal liability which, of course, is still subject to further investigation by the appropriate government agency. (Emphasis supplied.)
As earlier pointed out, amparo proceedings determine (a) responsibility, or the extent the actors have been established by substantial evidence to have participated in whatever way, by action or omission, in an enforced disappearance, and (b) accountability, or the measure of remedies that should be addressed to those (i) who exhibited involvement in the enforced disappearance without bringing the level of their complicity to the level of responsibility defined above; or (ii) who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or (iii) those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance. Thus, although there is no determination of criminal, civil or administrative liabilities, the doctrine of command responsibility may nevertheless be applied to ascertain responsibility and accountability within these foregoing definitions.
a. Command responsibility of the President
Having established the applicability of the doctrine of command responsibility in amparo proceedings, it must now be resolved whether the president, as commander-in-chief of the military, can be held responsible or accountable for extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. We rule in the affirmative.
To hold someone liable under the doctrine of command responsibility, the following elements must obtain:
a. the existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the accused as superior and the perpetrator of the crime as his subordinate;
b. the superior knew or had reason to know that the crime was about to be or had been committed; and
c. the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the criminal acts or punish the perpetrators thereof.
The president, being the commander-in-chief of all armed forces, necessarily possesses control over the military that qualifies him as a superior within the purview of the command responsibility doctrine. 
On the issue of knowledge, it must be pointed out that although international tribunals apply a strict standard of knowledge, i.e., actual knowledge, such may nonetheless be established through circumstantial evidence. In the Philippines, a more liberal view is adopted and superiors may be charged with constructive knowledge. This view is buttressed by the enactment of Executive Order No. 226, otherwise known as the Institutionalization of the Doctrine of Command Responsibility in all Government Offices, particularly at all Levels of Command in the Philippine National Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies (E.O. 226). Under E.O. 226, a government official may be held liable for neglect of duty under the doctrine of command responsibility if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during, or immediately after its commission. Knowledge of the commission of irregularities, crimes or offenses is presumed when (a) the acts are widespread within the government officials area of jurisdiction; (b) the acts have been repeatedly or regularly committed within his area of responsibility; or (c) members of his immediate staff or office personnel are involved.
Meanwhile, as to the issue of failure to prevent or punish, it is important to note that as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president has the power to effectively command, control and discipline the military.
b. Responsibility or accountability of former President Arroyo
The next question that must be tackled is whether Rodriguez has proven through substantial evidence that former President Arroyo is responsible or accountable for his abduction. We rule in the negative.
Rodriguez anchors his argument on a general allegation that on the basis of the Melo Commission and the Alston Report, respondents in G.R. No. 191805 already had knowledge of and information on, and should have known that a climate of enforced disappearances had been perpetrated on members of the NPA. Without even attaching, or at the very least, quoting these reports, Rodriguez contends that the Melo Report points to rogue military men as the perpetrators. While the Alston Report states that there is a policy allowing enforced disappearances and pins the blame on the President, we do not automatically impute responsibility to former President Arroyo for each and every count of forcible disappearance. Aside from Rodriguezs general averments, there is no piece of evidence that could establish her responsibility or accountability for his abduction. Neither was there even a clear attempt to show that she should have known about the violation of his right to life, liberty or security, or that she had failed to investigate, punish or prevent it.
X xx .”
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR THE WRIT OF AMPARO AND HABEAS DATA IN FAVOR OF NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ: NORIEL H. RODRIGUEZ, Petitioner, versus GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, GEN. VICTOR S. IBRADO, PDG JESUS AME VERSOZA, LT. GEN. DELFIN BANGIT, MAJ. GEN. NESTOR Z. OCHOA, P/CSUPT. AMETO G. TOLENTINO, P/SSUPT. JUDE W. SANTOS, COL. REMIGIO M. DE VERA, an officer named MATUTINA, LT. COL. MINA, CALOG, GEORGE PALACPAC under the name HARRY, ANTONIO CRUZ, ALDWIN BONG PASICOLAN and VINCENT CALLAGAN, Respondents. G.R. No. 191805, November 15, 2011.