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Navales

 v.  Abaya  (2004)      |      G.R.  No.  162318      |      Oct  25,  2004      |      Ponente:  Callejo  J.  
 
Nature  of  the  Case:  Petition  for  Certiorari  and  Prohibition  under  Rule  65  
Petitioners:  1Lt.  Navales,  et  al.  
Respondents:  General Narciso Abaya,  General Mariano Sarmiento, Jr.,  
 
SUMMARY:   The   Court   rules   on   the   constitutionality   of   the   appointment   of   Reynaldo   A.   Villar   as   the   Chairman   of   the  
Commission   on   Audit,   based   on   the   constitutional   provision   found   in   Art.   IX(D),   Sec.   1(2).   The   Court   ruled   that   his  
appointment  was  unconstitutional,  because  the  Constitution  mandates  that  any  member  of  COA  cannot  have  a  term  
longer  than  an  total  of  7  years.  
 
DOCTRINE:  Powers  and  Functions  of  the  President,  Power  of  Appointment  
 
FACTS:  
• At  past  1:00  am  July  27  2003,  elite  units  of  the  AFP,  the  Philippine  Armys  Scout  Rangers  and  the  Philippine  
Navys   Special   Warfare   Group   (SWAG)   entered   Ayala   Center   and   took   over   Oakwood   Premier   Apartments  
(Oakwood)  in  Makati  City.  They  disarmed  the  security  guards,  planted  explosives  around  the  building  and  in  
its  vicinity.  Snipers  were  posted  at  the  Oakwood  roof  deck.    
•  
• The  Magdalo  group  led  the  soldiers  in  full  battle  gear.    The  leaders  were  identified  as  including  Navy  LtSG.  
Antonio  Trillanes  IV,  Army  Capt.  Gerardo  Gambala,  Army  Capt.  Milo  Maestrecampo,  Navy  LtSG.  James  Layug,  
and  Marine  Capt.  Gary  Alejano.  
• 4:00-­‐5:00  am  The  soldiers  release  a  statement  through  ABS  CBN  claiming  that  their  mutiny    and  withdrawal  
of  support  from  the  chain  of  command  (the  President)  was  due  to  the    following  grievances;
 
o Graft  and  corruption  in  the  military,    
o the  sale  of  arms  and  ammunition  to  the  enemies  of  the  State,    
o Bombings  in  Davao  City  which  were  allegedly  ordered  by  Brig.  Gen.  Victor  Corpus,  Chief  of  the  ISAFP,  
in  order  to  obtain  more  military  assistance  from  the  United  States  government,    
o Micro-­‐management   in   the   AFP   by   then   Department   of   National   Defense   (DND)   Secretary   Angelo  
Reyes.    
• 9:00am   President   GMA   gives   the   deadline   of   5:00   pm   for   the   soldiers   to   surrender   peacefully   but   the  
deadline  is  extended  to  7:00  pm  then  later  indefinitely    
• 1:00  pm  President  GMA  declares  state  of  rebellion  and  issues  an  order  to  use  reasonable  force  to  quell  the  
mutiny  
•  Meantime,  negotiations  between  the  soldiers  and  the  State(via  a  team  led  by  Ambassador  Roy  Cimatu)  is  
ongoing.    Negotiations  are  successful  at  9:30  PM    
• President  GMA  announces  the  end  of  the  mutiny  and  the  soldiers  vacate  oakwood  at  11:00  pm      
• DOJ   charges   321   Oakwood   mutineers   with   violation   of   RPC   Article   134-­‐A   coup   d’état   at   the   Regional   Trial  
Court   of   Makati   City.   The   DOJ   later   issues   a   resolution   finding   probable   cause   for   coup   d’état   for   only   31  
soldiers  and  dismisses  the  charges  against  the  290  remaining  soldiers  for  insufficiency  of  evidence  
• The  accused  filed  an  Omnibus  Motion  praying  that  jurisdiction  be  assumed  by  military  tribunal  instead  of  the  
RTC  and  that  the  charges  be  dismissed  if  the  prosecution  is  unable  to  establish  probable  cause  
• The  RTC  accepted  the  DOJ’s  dismissal  of  charges  for  the  290  remaining  soldiers  and  set  up  arraignment  for  
the   31   soldiers   with   charges   still   standing   for   the   Criminal   Case No.   03-­‐2784,   entitled  People   v.   Ramon  
Cardenas,  
• The   petitioners   of   this   case   were   dropped   from   that   Criminal   Case   but   were   charged   before   the   military  
tribunal  (the  General  Court-­‐Martial)  for  violating  the  Articles  of  War  (AW),  including:  AW  67  (Mutiny),  AW  97  
(Conduct   Prejudicial   to   Good   Order   and   Military   Discipline),   AW   96   (Conduct   Unbecoming   an   Officer   and   a  
Gentleman),   AW   63   (Disrespect   to   the   President,   the   Secretary   of   Defense,   etc.)   and   AW   64   (Disrespect  
Towards  Superior  Officer)  
• On  the  other  hand  those  still  with  criminal  charges  were  not  included  in  the  charge  sheets  for  violations  of  
the  Articles  of  War.  
• HOWEVER,  the  RTC  issues  an  Order  stating  that  1.the  Omnibus  Motion    was  moot  and  academic,  2.  That  the  
RTC  was  subsuming  the  jurisdiction  of  the  charges  the  petitioners  are  facing  in  front  of  the  military  tribunal  
back  to  the  RTC,  as  the  acts  were  not  service  connected  but  under  the  alleged  crime  of  coup  d’état.    
 
• The  Petitioners  pray  for  the  prohibition  of  the  martial  law  tribunals’  proceedings  and  habeas  corpus  for  the  
detainment  of  junior  officers  and  enlisted  men,  arguing  that;  
o Under   RA   7055,   the   respondents   (   General   Abaya   and   Judge   Advocate   General's   Office)   have   no  
jurisdiction   to   continue   the   proceedings   against   the   petitioners   since   the   RTC’s   Order   determined  
that  the  offenses  are  not  service  related  and  are  within  the  jurisdiction  the  Civillian  Courts  
o The   Respondents   have   no   authority   to   detain   the   officers   and   enlisted   men   since   the   RTC   had  
dismissed  the  charges  of  coup  d’état  for  the  lack  of  evidence  upon  motion  of  the  DOJ  
• The  Respondents,  through  the  Solicitor  General  urges  for  the  dismissal  of  the  petitions  on  the  lack  of  merit  
o The    RTC’s  Order  dated  February  11,  resolveing  the  Omnibus  Motion  and  declared  that  the  charges  
for  both  the  criminally  charged  and  those  charged  in  front  of  the  military  tribunal  were  not  service-­‐
connected,  is  null  and  void.    
o Petitioners   have   no   personality   to   pursue   their   current   petitions   of   prohibition   and   habeas   corpus  
because  they  were  no  longer  parties  in  Criminal  Case  No.  03-­‐2784,  when  their  criminal  charges  were  
dismissed.  They  are  not  real  parties  in  interest  at  the  time  their  Motion  was  resolved  by  the  RTC.  
§ The  RTC’s  order  that  charges  filed  against  the  accused  before  the  court-­‐martial  were  not  
service-­‐connected  cannot  stand,  since  the  petitioners  were  not  being  criminally  charged  
with  coup  detat  ,  the  trial  court  cannot  make  a  filing  against  them  before  the  military  
tribunal  for  the  same  thing.    
o The   respondents   claim   denial   of   due   process   as   they   were   not   given   an   opportunity   to   oppose   or  
comment  on  the  Omnibus  Motion.  They  did  not  receive  a  copy  of  the  Order.  
o There  is  an  ambiguity  in  between  the  charges  being  called  not  service-­‐connected,  but  on  the  other  
hand,   and   the   Omnibus   Motion   being   moot   and   academic.   The   two   pronouncements   were  
contradictory.  
§ “If  the  Omnibus  Motion  was  already  moot  and  academic,  because  the  accused  who  filed  the  
same  were  no  longer  being  charged  with  coup  detat  under  the  Amended  Information,  then  
the   trial   court   did   not   have   any   authority   to   further   resolve   and   grant   the   same   Omnibus  
Motion.”  
o The  RTC  (Branch  148)  acted  without  or  in  excess  of  jurisdiction  
§  Section  1  of  Rep.  Act  No.  7055,  states  that  the  petitioners  are  in  fact,  among  those  declared  
to   be   service-­‐connected   under   the   second   paragraph   of   this   provision.   Which   places   their  
case’  jurisdiction  with  the  Military  Tribunal    
§ Therefore   their   pronouncement   in   the   Order,   which   subsumed   the   acts   of   the   petitioners   as  
not  service-­‐connected  is  null  and  void.  
o The   petitioners   are   forum   shopping,   since   they   filed   a   similar   petition   (petition   for  habeas   corpus,  
prohibition  with  injunction  and  prayer  for  issuance  of  a  temporary  restraining  order  with  the  Court  
of  Appeals  (which  was  resolved  against  them).    
o  
ISSUES  +  RULING:  
1.  WON  whether  or  not  the  petitioners  are  entitled  to  the  writs  of  prohibition  and  habeas  corpus.—  NO  
• The  Order  of  the  RTC  is  null  but  was  made  without  or  in  excess  of  jurisdiction  
o The  order  for  moving  the  jurisdiction  to  the  trial  courts  from  the  military  courts  was  superseded  by  
the  Amended  Information  wherein  only  31  were  charged  of  coup  d’état.  
§ The   Resolution   of   the   Omnibus   Motion   on   February   11   2004   became   final   and   executory  
since  no  Motion  was  filed  against  the  Amended  Information  which  excluded  the  petitioners  
from  criminal  charges  
• Which  means  that  in  respect  to  the  petitioners,  the  standing  Resolution  was  moot,  
since  they  were  no  longer  parties  to  the  case  
• This  also  means  that  the  moving  of  the  jurisdiction  is  considered  moot  and  academic  
by   virtue   of   the   Motion   accepting   the   Amended   Information   dismissing   the   case  
against  TSg.  Leonel  M.  Alnas,  TSg.  Ramon  B.  Norico,  SSg.  Eduardo  G.  Cedeno,  et  al.  
and  finding  probable  cause  in  the  Order  dated  November  18,  2003  against  accused  
Cpt.   Milo   D.   Maestrecampo,   LtSg.   Antonio   F.   Trillanes   IV,  et   al.,   issued   by   Judge  
Barza.  
• The   Court   cannot   undo   nor   reverse   the   current   Order   of   November   14,   2003,   and  
the   petitioners   as   strangers   to   the   criminal   proceedings,   with   their   actions   not  
constituting   coup   d’état,   cannot   find   solace   in   declaration   of   the   RTC’   placing   the  
jurisdiction  of  all  the  charges  in  their  jurisdiction  was  superfluous  
o **basically   the   RTC   contradicted   itself   when   it   declared   all   the   charges   as  
under   their   jurisdiction   when   they   had   already   excluded   the   petitioners’  
charges  in  an  earlier  decision  
• The  declaration  of  the  RTC  was  in  violation  of  Section  1  RA  No.755  
o Section  1  of  Rep.  Act  No.  7055  reads  in  full:  
Members  of  the  Armed  Forces  of  the  Philippines  and  other  persons  subject  to  military  law,  including  
members   of   the   Citizens   Armed   Forces   Geographical   Units,   who   commit   crimes   or   offenses  
penalized  under  the  Revised  Penal  Code,  other  special  penal  laws,  or  local  government  ordinances,  
regardless   of   whether   or   not   civilians   are   co-­‐accused,   victims,   or   offended   parties   which   may   be  
natural   or   juridical   persons,   shall   be   tried   by   the   proper   civil   court,  except   when   the   offense,   as  
determined   before   arraignment   by   the   civil   court,   is   service-­‐connected,   in   which   case   the   offense  
shall   be   tried   by   court-­‐martial:  Provided,   That   the   President   of   the   Philippines   may,   in   the   interest   of  
justice,  order  or  direct  at  any  time  before  arraignment  that  any  such  crimes  or  offenses  be  tried  by  
the  proper  civil  courts.  
o As   used   in   this   Section,   service-­‐connected   crimes   or   offenses   shall   be   limited   to   those   defined   in  
Articles  54  to  70,  Articles  72  to  92,  and  Articles  95  to  97  of  Commonwealth  Act  No.  408,  as  amended.  
o The   Court   is   showing   here   that   service-­‐connected   crimes   are   explicitly   expressed   as   to   be   in   the  
Martial  Tribunal’s  jurisdiction  
§ To   further   impress   the   point   the   deliberations   for   the   RA   no.755   when   it   was   a   Senate   Bill   is  
cited      Senator  Shahani:   SERVICE-­‐CONNECTED   OFFENSES  SHALL  MEAN  THOSE  COMMITTED  
BY  MILITARY  PERSONNEL  PURSUANT  TO  THE  LAWFUL  ORDER  OF  THEIR  SUPERIOR  OFFICER  
OR   WITHIN   THE   CONTEXT   OF   A   VALID   MILITARY   EXERCISE   OR   MISSION.-­‐-­‐>   Senator   Taada  
refines  the  language  in  an  amendment  but  keeps  the  same  thought  intact  
o As  such  the  RTC’s  declaration  is  null  and  void  since  it  was  made  without  or  in  excess  of  jurisdiction  
o The  Court  takes  time  to  explain  the  context  of  RA7955  
§ President   Marcos   had   earlier   promulgated   presidential   decrees  1822   and   1856  which   placed  
the  jurisdiction  of  all  offenses  done  by  the  persons  of  authority  (military  police  firemen  and  
jail  guards)  under  military  tribunals’  jurisdiction  when  these  offenses  clearly  belonged  in  civil  
courts  
• That   allowed   Marcos   and   his   cronies   to   control   outcomes   in   these   cases   in   their  
favor  
o However  the  RA  does  not  divest  the  military  courts  from  deciding  on  cases  clearly  mandated  by  the  
Articles  of  War  
DISPOSITION:   Petition  of  Prohibition  against  the  General  Court  Martial    and  Habeas  Corpus  are  Dismissed  for  Lack  of  
Merit.  The  General  Court-­‐Martial  has  jurisdiction  over  the  charges  filed  against  petitioners  1Lt.  Navales,  et  al.  under  
Rep.  Act  No.  7055.  A  writ  of  prohibition  cannot  be  issued  to  prevent  it  from  exercising  its  jurisdiction.