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CASE DIGEST: ABERCA V. VER


Published by arce on July 30, 2013 | Leave a response

ABERCA v. VER

FACTS

Task Force Makabansa (TFM) was ordered by General Fabian Ver to conduct pre-
emptive strikes against Communist- Terrorist underground houses. TFM raided
several houses, employing in most cases defectively judicial search warrants,
arrested people without warrant of arrest, denied visitation rights, and interrogated
them with the use of threats and tortures. A motion to dismiss was filed by
defendants, stating that 1) plaintiffs may not cause a judicial inquiry about their
detention because the writ of habeas corpus was suspended; 2) defendants are
immune from liability for acts done in their official duties; 3) there was no cause of
action. On Nov 8, 1983, Judge Fortun granted the motion to dismiss, which prompted
plaintiffs to file a MR on Nov 18, 1983. He later inhibited himself and was replaced
Judge Lising, who denied the MR for being filed out of time. Another MR was filed,
and was only modified to include Maj. Aguinaldo and MSgt. Balaba for officers
accountable in the said complaint.

ISSUES

1. Whether or not immunity from suit may be invoked?

2. Whether petitioners have the right to question the alleged violation of their
rights in the constitution?

3. Whether the superior officers who gave the orders are liable?

HELD

1. NO, Article 32 of the Civil Code provides a sanction to rights and freedom
enshrined in the constitution. These rights cannot be violated just because of an
order given by a superior. The rule of law must prevail, or else liberty will perish.
Even though they just followed the orders of their superior, these do not
authorize them to disregard the rights of the petitioners, and therefore cannot be
considered “acts done in their official duties”. Article 32 speaks of any public
officer or private individual, and violation of these constitutional rights does not
exempt them from responsibility.
2. YES, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus does not prevent petitioners
from claiming damages for the illegal arrest and detention in violation of their
constitutional rights by seeking judicial authority. What the writ suspends is
merely the right of an individual to seek release from detention as a speedy
means of obtaining liberty. It cannot suspend their rights and cause of action for
injuries suffered due to violation of their rights.
3. YES, Article 32 speaks of the liabilities of people who are in direct violation of
the rights stated, as well as people who are indirectly responsible for such acts. In
the case at hand, the superior officers are the ones who gave the order, and can
be considered indirectly responsible. It was also stated in the complaint who
were the ones who directly and indirectly participated in those acts. By filing a
motion to dismiss, they admitted all the facts stated in the complaint.

Motion Gamess