Aquino vs Minister of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile

November 17, 2010

Martial Law – Habeas Corpus – Power of the President to Order Arrests

Enrile (then Minister of National Defense), pursuant to the order of Marcos issued and ordered the arrest of a number of individuals including Benigno Aquino Jr even without any charge against them. Hence, Aquino and some others filed for habeas corpus against Juan Ponce Enrile. Enrile’s answer contained a common and special affirmative defense that the arrest is valid pursuant to Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law.

ISSUE: Whether or not Aquino’s detention is legal in accordance to the declaration of Martial Law.

HELD: The Constitution provides that in case of invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or imminent danger against the state, when public safety requires it, the President may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part therein under Martial Law. In the case at bar, the state of rebellion plaguing the country has not yet disappeared, therefore, there is a clear and imminent danger against the state. The arrest is then a valid exercise pursuant to the President’s order.


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