• Detained person’s release won’t mean amparo plea’s dismissal

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    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My brother was taken by certain persons who are actually military men. Things in his possession and those found in his house were ransacked by the same men. After four days, he was released by his abductors. We filed for a writ of amparo during the time of his detention. Considering that he was already released, lawyers for the military men sought dismissal of the petition. Will his release amount to the dismissal of our application for the writ of amparo?

    Sincerely yours,
    SJ

    Dear SJ,
    Fairly recent, is the case of Mamba et. al. v. Leomar Bueno (G.R. No. 191416, February 7, 2017; ponente: Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes) that stated the function of a writ of amparo:

    “In the seminal case of Secretary of National Defense, et. al. v. Manalo, et. al., the court emphasized that the writ of amparo serves both preventive and curative roles in addressing the problem of extralegal killings and enforced disappearances.

    “It is preventive in that it breaks the expectation of impunity in the commission of these offenses; it is curative in that it facilitates the subsequent punishment of perpetrators as it will inevitably yield leads to subsequent investigation and action.

    “Accordingly, a writ of amparo may still [be]issue[d]in the respondent’s favor notwithstanding that he has already been released from detention.

    “In such case, the writ of amparo is issued to facilitate the punishment of those behind the illegal detention through subsequent investigation and action.

    “More importantly, the writ of amparo likewise covers violations of the right to security. At the core of the guarantee of the right to security, as embodied in Section 2, Article III of the Constitution, is the immunity of one’s person, including the extensions of his/her person, i.e., houses, papers and effects, against unwarranted government intrusion.

    “Section 2, Article III of the Constitution not only limits the State’s power over a person’s home and possession, but more importantly, protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself.” [Emphasis supplied]
    Clearly, your brother’s release would not amount to the dismissal of your petition or application for a writ of amparo. In fine, the same needs to [be]pursue[d]as it is required for the protection of your brother against the same persons behind his illegal arrest and the illegal search made upon him. It shall cure the illegality by having those persons involved investigated and afford him protection against further unwarranted intrusion.

    Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

    We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

    Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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