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Enrile vs Salazar
Constitutional Law – Political Question – Restriction to the exercise of judicial power
In February 1990, Sen Enrile was arrested. He was charged together with Mr. & Mrs. Panlilio, and Honasan for the crime of rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder which allegedly occurred during their failed coup attempt. Enrile was then brought to Camp Karingal. Enrile later filed for the habeas corpus alleging that the crime being charged against him is non existent. That he was charged with a criminal offense in an information for which no complaint was initially filed or preliminary investigation was conducted, hence was denied due process; denied his right to bail; and arrested and detained on the strength of a warrant issued without the judge who issued it first having personally determined the existence of probable cause.
ISSUE: Whether or Enrile’s arrest is valid.
HELD: Enrile filed for habeas corpus because he was denied bail although ordinarily a charge of rebellion would entitle one for bail. The crime of rebellion charged against him however is complexed with murder and multiple frustrated murders – the intention of the prosecution was to make rebellion in its most serious form so as to make the penalty thereof in the maximum. The SC ruled that there is no such crime as Rebellion with murder and multiple frustrated murder. What Enrile et al can be charged of would be Simple Rebellion because other crimes such as murder or all those that may be necessary to the commission of rebellion is absorbed hence he should be entitiled for bail. The SC however noted that a petition for habeas corpus was not the proper remedy so as to avail of bail. The proper step that should have been taken was for Enrile to file a petition to be admitted for bail. He should have exhausted all other efforts before petitioning for habeas corpus. The SC further notes that there is a need to restructure the law on rebellion as it is being used apparently by others as a tool to disrupt the peace and espouse violence. The SC can only act w/in the bounds of the law. Thus SC said “There is an apparent need to restructure the law on rebellion, either to raise the penalty therefor or to clearly define and delimit the other offenses to be considered as absorbed thereby, so that it cannot be conveniently utilized as the umbrella for every sort of illegal activity undertaken in its name. The Court has no power to effect such change, for it can only interpret the law as it stands at any given time, and what is needed lies beyond interpretation. Hopefully, Congress will perceive the need for promptly seizing the initiative in this matter, which is properly within its province.”
Read another version of this digest here (habeas corpus – right to bail – SC cannot change law)
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