LAGMAN ET. AL vs. PIMENTEL III ET. AL, G.R. No. 235935, February 6, 2018

Facts:
On May 23, 2017, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216, declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days, to address the rebellion mounted by members of the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

On May 25, 2017, within the 48-hour period set in Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, the President submitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives his written Report, citing the events and reasons that impelled him to issue Proclamation No. 216. Thereafter, the Senate adopted P.S. Resolution No. 3883 while the House of Representatives issued House Resolution No. 1050, both expressing full support to the Proclamation and finding no cause to revoke the same.

Three separate petitions were subsequently filed before the Court, challenging the sufficiency of the factual basis of Proclamation No. 216. In a Decision rendered on July 4, 2017, the Court found sufficient factual bases for the Proclamation and declared it constitutional.

On July 18, 2017, the President requested the Congress to extend the effectivity of Proclamation No. 216. In a Special Joint Session on July 22, 2017, the Congress adopted Resolution of Both Houses No. 26 extending Proclamation No. 216 until December 31, 2017.

In a letter to the President, through Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana (Secretary Lorenzana), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, General Rey Leonardo Guerrero (General Guerrero), recommended the further extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the entire Mindanao for one year beginning January 1, 2018 “for compelling reasons based on current security assessment.” On the basis of this security assessment, Secretary Lorenzana wrote a similar recommendation to the President “primarily to ensure total eradication of DAESH-inspired Da’awatul Islamiyah Waliyatul Masriq (DIWM), other like-minded Local/Foreign Terrorist Groups (L/FTGs) and Armed Lawless Groups (ALGs), and the communist terrorists (CTs) and their coddlers, supporters and financiers, and to ensure speedy rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Marawi, and the attainment of lasting peace, stability, economic development and prosperity in Mindanao.

Acting on said recommendations, the President, in a letter dated December 8, 2017, asked both the Senate and the House of Representatives to further extend the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the entire Mindanao for one year, from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, or for such period as the Congress may determine. Urging the Congress to grant the extension based on the “essential facts”.

On December 13, 2017, the Senate and the House of Representatives, in a joint session, adopted Resolution of Both Houses No. 413 further extending the period of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the entire Mindanao for one year, from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. In granting the President’s request.

Petitioners went to the SC questioning the extension of the Declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao and ask the court to use its Expanded Jurisdiction to declare the Martial Law Unconstitutional.

Issue:
Whether a certiorari petition invoking the Court’s expanded jurisdiction is a proper remedy to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the Congress’ extension of the proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ.

Held:
No, Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution pertains to the Court’s judicial power to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. The first part is to be known as the traditional concept of judicial power while the latter part, an innovation of the 1987 Constitution, became known as the court’s expanded jurisdiction. Under its expanded jurisdiction, courts can now delve into acts of any branch or instrumentality of the Government traditionally considered as political if such act was tainted with grave abuse of discretion.

In seeking the Court’s review of the extension of Proclamation No. 216 on the strength of the third paragraph of Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, alternately invoke the Court’s expanded (certiorari) jurisdiction under Section 1, Article VIII.

We emphasized that this Court’s jurisdiction under the third paragraph of Section 18, Article VII is special and specific, different from those enumerated in Sections 1 and 5 of Article VIII. It was further stressed therein that the standard of review in a petition for certiorari is whether the respondent has committed any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in the performance of his or her functions, whereas under Section 18, Article VII, the Court is tasked to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the President’s exercise of emergency powers. Hence, the Court concluded that a petition for certiorari pursuant to Section 1 or Section 5 of Article VIII is not the proper tool to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. SC held that to apply the standard of review in a petition for certiorari will emasculate the Court’s constitutional task under Section 18, Article VII, which was precisely meant to provide an additional safeguard against possible martial law abuse and limit the extent of the powers of the Commander-in-Chief.

With regard to the extension of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ, the same special and specific jurisdiction is vested in the Court to review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis thereof. Necessarily, and by parity of reasoning, a certiorari petition invoking the Court’s expanded jurisdiction is not the proper remedy to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the Congress’ extension of the proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ.

Furthermore, as in the case of the Court’s review of the President’s proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ, the Court’s judicial review of the Congress’ extension of such proclamation or suspension is limited only to a determination of the sufficiency of the factual basis thereof. By its plain language, the Constitution provides such scope of review in the exercise of the Court’s sui generis authority under Section 18, Article VII, which is principally aimed at balancing (or curtailing) the power vested by the Constitution in the Congress to determine whether to extend such proclamation or suspension.

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