See - G.R. No. 171396, 171409, 171485, 171483, 171400, 171489 & 171424 -lawphil.net
"x x x.
S U M M A T I O N
In sum, the lifting of PP 1017 through the issuance of PP 1021 – a supervening event – would have normally rendered this case moot and academic. However, while PP 1017 was still operative, illegal acts were committed allegedly in pursuance thereof. Besides, there is no guarantee that PP 1017, or one similar to it, may not again be issued. Already, there have been media reports on April 30, 2006 that allegedly PP 1017 would be reimposed "if the May 1 rallies" become "unruly and violent." Consequently, the transcendental issues raised by the parties should not be "evaded;" they must now be resolved to prevent future constitutional aberration.
The Court finds and so holds that PP 1017 is constitutional insofar as it constitutes a call by the President for the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence. The proclamation is sustained by Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution and the relevant jurisprudence discussed earlier. However, PP 1017’s extraneous provisions giving the President express or implied power (1) to issue decrees; (2) to direct the AFP to enforce obedience to all laws even those not related to lawless violence as well as decrees promulgated by the President; and (3) to impose standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press, are ultra vires and unconstitutional. The Court also rules that under Section 17, Article XII of the Constitution, the President, in the absence of a legislation, cannot take over privately-owned public utility and private business affected with public interest.
In the same vein, the Court finds G.O. No. 5 valid. It is an Order issued by the President – acting as Commander-in-Chief – addressed to subalterns in the AFP to carry out the provisions of PP 1017. Significantly, it also provides a valid standard – that the military and the police should take only the "necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence."But the words "acts of terrorism" found in G.O. No. 5 have not been legally defined and made punishable by Congress and should thus be deemed deleted from the said G.O. While "terrorism" has been denounced generally in media, no law has been enacted to guide the military, and eventually the courts, to determine the limits of the AFP’s authority in carrying out this portion of G.O. No. 5.
On the basis of the relevant and uncontested facts narrated earlier, it is also pristine clear that (1) the warrantless arrest of petitioners Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; (2) the dispersal of the rallies and warrantless arrest of the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members; (3) the imposition of standards on media or any prior restraint on the press; and (4) the warrantless search of the Tribune offices and the whimsical seizures of some articles for publication and other materials, are not authorized by the Constitution, the law and jurisprudence. Not even by the valid provisions of PP 1017 and G.O. No. 5.
Other than this declaration of invalidity, this Court cannot impose any civil, criminal or administrative sanctions on the individual police officers concerned. They have not been individually identified and given their day in court. The civil complaints or causes of action and/or relevant criminal Informations have not been presented before this Court. Elementary due process bars this Court from making any specific pronouncement of civil, criminal or administrative liabilities.
It is well to remember that military power is a means to an end and substantive civil rights are ends in themselves. How to give the military the power it needs to protect the Republic without unnecessarily trampling individual rights is one of the eternal balancing tasks of a democratic state.During emergency, governmental action may vary in breadth and intensity from normal times, yet they should not be arbitrary as to unduly restrain our people’s liberty.
Perhaps, the vital lesson that we must learn from the theorists who studied the various competing political philosophies is that, it is possible to grant government the authority to cope with crises without surrendering the two vital principles of constitutionalism: the maintenance of legal limits to arbitrary power, and political responsibility of the government to the governed.158
WHEREFORE, the Petitions are partly granted. The Court rules that PP 1017 is CONSTITUTIONAL insofar as it constitutes a call by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the AFP to prevent or suppress lawless violence. However, the provisions of PP 1017 commanding the AFP to enforce laws not related to lawless violence, as well as decrees promulgated by the President, are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL. In addition, the provision in PP 1017 declaring national emergency under Section 17, Article VII of the Constitution is CONSTITUTIONAL, but such declaration does not authorize the President to take over privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest without prior legislation.
G.O. No. 5 is CONSTITUTIONAL since it provides a standard by which the AFP and the PNP should implement PP 1017, i.e. whatever is "necessary and appropriate actions and measures to suppress and prevent acts of lawless violence." Considering that "acts of terrorism" have not yet been defined and made punishable by the Legislature, such portion of G.O. No. 5 is declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
The warrantless arrest of Randolf S. David and Ronald Llamas; the dispersal and warrantless arrest of the KMU and NAFLU-KMU members during their rallies, in the absence of proof that these petitioners were committing acts constituting lawless violence, invasion or rebellion and violating BP 880; the imposition of standards on media or any form of prior restraint on the press, as well as the warrantless search of the Tribune offices and whimsical seizure of its articles for publication and other materials, are declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
REYNATO S. PUNO
LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Associate Justice ANTONIO T. CARPIO
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
RENATO C. CORONA
CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES
ROMEO J. CALLEJO, SR.
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
DANTE O. TINGA
MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
CANCIO C. GARCIA
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.
ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN
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