“x x x.
b. The failure to conduct a fair and effect investigation amounted to a violation of or threat to Rodriguezs rights to life, liberty and security.
The Rule on the Writ of Amparo explicitly states that the violation of or threat to the right to life, liberty and security may be caused by either an act or an omission of a public official. Moreover, in the context of amparo proceedings, responsibility may refer to the participation of the respondents, by action or omission, in enforced disappearance. Accountability, on the other hand, may attach to respondents who are imputed with knowledge relating to the enforced disappearance and who carry the burden of disclosure; or those who carry, but have failed to discharge, the burden of extraordinary diligence in the investigation of the enforced disappearance.
In this regard, we emphasize our ruling in Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo that the right to security of a person includes the positive obligation of the government to ensure the observance of the duty to investigate, viz:
Third, the right to security of person is a guarantee of protection of one's rights by the government. In the context of the writ of Amparo, this right is built into the guarantees of the right to life and liberty under Article III, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution and the right to security of person (as freedom from threat and guarantee of bodily and psychological integrity) under Article III, Section 2. The right to security of person in this third sense is a corollary of the policy that the State guarantees full respect for human rights under Article II, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution. As the government is the chief guarantor of order and security, the Constitutional guarantee of the rights to life, liberty and security of person is rendered ineffective if government does not afford protection to these rights especially when they are under threat. 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. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights stressed the importance of investigation in the Velasquez Rodriguez Case, viz:
(The duty to investigate) must be undertaken in a serious manner and not as a mere formality preordained to be ineffective. An investigation must have an objective and be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests that depends upon the initiative of the victim or his family or upon their offer of proof, without an effective search for the truth by the government.
xxx xxx xxx
Similarly, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has interpreted the right to security not only as prohibiting the State from arbitrarily depriving liberty, but imposing a positive duty on the State to afford protection of the right to liberty. The ECHR interpreted the right to security of person under Article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights in the leading case on disappearance of persons, Kurt v. Turkey. In this case, the claimant's son had been arrested by state authorities and had not been seen since. The family's requests for information and investigation regarding his whereabouts proved futile. The claimant suggested that this was a violation of her son's right to security of person. The ECHR ruled, viz:
... any deprivation of liberty must not only have been effected in conformity with the substantive and procedural rules of national law but must equally be in keeping with the very purpose of Article 5, namely to protect the individual from arbitrariness... Having assumed control over that individual it is incumbent on the authorities to account for his or her whereabouts. For this reason, Article 5 must be seen as requiring the authorities to take effective measures to safeguard against the risk of disappearance and to conduct a prompt effective investigation into an arguable claim that a person has been taken into custody and has not been seen since. (Emphasis supplied)
In the instant case, this Court rules that respondents in G.R. No. 191805 are responsible or accountable for the violation of Rodriguezs right to life, liberty and security on account of their abject failure to conduct a fair and effective official investigation of his ordeal in the hands of the military. Respondents Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Col. De Vera and Lt. Col. Mina only conducted a perfunctory investigation, exerting no efforts to take Ramirezs account of the events into consideration. Rather, these respondents solely relied on the reports and narration of the military. The ruling of the appellate court must be emphasized:
In this case, respondents Ibrado, Verzosa, Bangit, Tolentino, Santos, De Vera, and Mina are accountable, for while they were charged with the investigation of the subject incident, the investigation they conducted and/or relied on is superficial and one-sided. The records disclose that the military, in investigating the incident complained of, depended on the Comprehensive Report of Noriel Rodriguez @Pepito prepared by 1Lt. Johnny Calub for the Commanding Officer of the 501st Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army. Such report, however, is merely based on the narration of the military. No efforts were undertaken to solicit petitioners version of the subject incident and no witnesses were questioned regarding the alleged abduction of petitioner.
Respondent PDG Verzosa, as Chief of the PNP, is accountable because Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6975, otherwise known as the PNP Law, specifies the PNP as the governmental office with the mandate to investigate and prevent crimes, effect the arrest of criminal offenders, bring offenders to justice and assist in their prosecution. In this case, PDG Verzosa failed to order the police to conduct the necessary investigation to unmask the mystery surrounding petitioners abduction and disappearance. Instead, PDG Verzosa disclaims accountability by merely stating that petitioner has no cause of action against him. Palpable, however, is the lack of any effort on the part of PDG Verzosa to effectively and aggressively investigate the violations of petitioners right to life, liberty and security by members of the 17th Infantry Battalion, 17th Infantry Division, Philippine Army. (Emphasis supplied.)
Clearly, the absence of a fair and effective official investigation into the claims of Rodriguez violated his right to security, for which respondents in G.R. No. 191805 must be held responsible or accountable.
Nevertheless, it must be clarified that Rodriguez was unable to establish any responsibility or accountability on the part of respondents P/CSupt. Tolentino, P/SSupt. Santos, Calog and Palacpac. Respondent P/CSupt. Tolentino had already retired when the abduction and torture of Rodriguez was perpetrated, while P/SSupt. Santos had already been reassigned and transferred to the National Capital Regional Police Office six months before the subject incident occurred. Meanwhile, no sufficient allegations were maintained against respondents Calog and Palacpac.
From all the foregoing, we rule that Rodriguez was successful in proving through substantial evidence that respondents Gen. Ibrado, PDG. Verzosa, Lt. Gen. Bangit, Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Brig. Gen. De Vera, 1st Lt. Matutina, and Lt. Col. Mina were responsible and accountable for the violation of Rodriguezs rights to life, liberty and security on the basis of (a) his abduction, detention and torture from 6 September to 17 September 2009, and (b) the lack of any fair and effective official investigation as to his allegations. Thus, the privilege of the writs of amparo and habeas data must be granted in his favor. As a result, there is no longer any need to issue a temporary protection order, as the privilege of these writs already has the effect of enjoining respondents in G.R. No. 191805 from violating his rights to life, liberty and security.
It is also clear from the above discussion that despite (a) maintaining former President Arroyo in the list of respondents in G.R. No. 191805, and (b) allowing the application of the command responsibility doctrine to amparo and habeas data proceedings, Rodriguez failed to prove through substantial evidence that former President Arroyo was responsible or accountable for the violation of his rights to life, liberty and property. He likewise failed to prove through substantial evidence the accountability or responsibility of respondents Maj. Gen. Ochoa, Cruz, Pasicolan and Callagan.
X x x.”
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.