Legally Yours,  Political Law

Aquino v. Enrile

Constitutional Law. Political Law. Powers of the President.
Aquino v. Enrile
59 SCRA 183

The cases are all petitions for habeas corpus, the petitioners having been arrested and detained by the military by virtue of Proclamation 1081. The petitioners were arrested and held pursuant to General Order No.2 of the President “for being participants or ¬†for having given aid and comfort in the conspiracy to seize political and state power in the country and to take over the Government by force…” General Order No. 2 was issued by the President in the exercise of the power he assumed by virtue of Proclamation 1081 placing the entire country under martial law.

1) Is the existence of conditions claimed to justify the exercise of the power to declare martial law subject to judicial inquiry?; and
2) Is the detention of the petitioners legal in accordance with the declaration of martial law?

5 Justices held that the issue is a political question, hence, not subject to judicial inquiry, while 4 Justices held that the issue is a justiciable one. However, any inquiry by this Court in the present cases into the constitutional sufficiency of the factual bases for the proclamation of martial law has become moot and academic. Implicit in the state of martial law is the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus with respect to persons arrested or detained for acts related to the basic objective of the proclamation, which is to suppress invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or to safeguard public safety against imminent danger thereof. The preservation of society and national survival takes precedence. The proclamation of martial law automatically suspends the privilege of the writ as to the persons referred to in this case.

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