On August 16, 2007, Regina filed a petition for habeas corpus in the RTC alleging that Pablo, her husband, was being illegally detained by the Director/Head of the CIDG; that a group of armed men identifying themselves as operatives of the CIDG, led by Pascua, had forcibly arrested Pablo and had then detained him at the office of the CIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City; that Pablo had not been found or heard from since then; and that despite repeated demands by her and her relatives, the CIDG operatives had not produced the body of Pablo. The CIDG received the petition for habeas corpus brought in behalf of Pablo which it filed its return on the writ wherein it denied having the custody of Pablo or having detained him. It prayed for the dismissal of the petition for habeas corpus. The RTC issued the writ of amparo and the Granting of the Witness Protection Program availed of by the petitioner retained until the finality of the case/cases. The CIDG forthwith moved for reconsideration which was denied. Hence, the CIDG has directly appealed to the Court.
(1) Whether there is sufficient evidence supported the grant of the writ of amparo by the RTC;
(2) Whether the CIDG already discharged its duty as required by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo;
(3) Whether the petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo was defective; and
(4) Whether the issuance of the writ of amparo by the RTC impaired Pascua’s right to the presumption of his innocence.
(1) Yes, Section 17 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo specifies the degree of proof required from the petitioner as a respondent named in the petition for the writ of amparo, states that the Burden of Proof and Standard of Diligence Required. – The parties shall establish their claims by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. That the respondent discharge her burden of proof when she provided substantial evidence to support her petition for the writ of amparo such as the Sinumpaang salaysay of Perez, Pascual admission that the abduction took place but inserted himself as another victim, and the presentation of other witnesses of the respondent
(2) No, the CIDG did not observe the required extraordinary diligence in accordance with section 17 of the rule of the writ ofAmparo. The CIDG posits that it was only required to observe ordinary diligence in conducting its investigation of the disappearance of Pablo and in determining Pablo’s whereabouts. Section 9 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo expressly states what a public official or employee impleaded as a respondent in the petition for the writ of amparo should submit with the verified written return. A general denial of the allegations in the petition shall not be allowed. The allegation that the CIDG had continuously searched for Pablo among its various operating divisions similarly constituted a general denial because the CIDG did not thereby indicate who had conducted the search, and how thoroughly the allegedly continuous searches had been conducted.
(3) No, The petition for the writ of amparo was not defective. Section 5 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo lists the matters to be alleged in the petition for the writ of amparo. There is no requirement for the petition to state the probable whereabouts of the victim.
(4) No, The issuance of the writ of amparo did not impair SPO2 Pascua’s right to the presumption of innocence. The proceedings taken under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo are not akin or similar to those in criminal prosecutions. In the former, the guilt or innocence of the respondents is not determined, and no penal sanctions are meted. The proceedings only endeavor to give the aggrieved parties immediate remedies against imminent or actual threats to life, liberty or security. The presumption of innocence is never an issue. In the latter, the prosecution of the accused with due process of law is the object of the proceedings. The presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is always the starting point. Hence, the need for the State to adduce proof beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.