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Writ of Amparo in relation to presumption of innocence

REPUBLIC vs CAYANAN GR No. 181796, November 7, 2017

Doctrine: The proceedings taken under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo
are not akin or similar to those in criminal prosecutions. In the former, the
guilt or innocence of the respondents is not determined, and no penal
sanctions are meted. The proceedings only endeavor to give the
aggrieved parties immediate remedies against imminent or actual threats
to life, liberty or security.

Facts: On July 9, 2007, Pablo Cayanan, a used car dealer, and Ronaldo F.
Perez, a fixer, were forcibly taken by a group of armed men led by SPO2
Rolando Pascua. Perez was later released but Cayanan has not been seen
nor heard from since then.

A petition for habeas corpus was filed in behalf of Cayanan but later
converted to amparo proceedings. Perez executed a sworn affidavit
describing the abduction but later recanted his statement. SPO2 Pascua
submitted a counter-affidavit in which he denied the allegations and
claimed that he was also abducted in the same incident by unknown men.
The RTC issued the writ of amparo, ordering the CIDG Director to conduct
further investigations and for SPO2 Pascua to appear before the proper
forum. The CIDG however appeals the RTC’s judgment, arguing that the
applicant for the writ failed to prove by substantial evidence the
involvement of CIDG in the disappearance of Cayanan because Perez
recanted his affidavit; that the CIDG is only required to exercise ordinary
diligence and that it has already discharged its duty under the Rules when
it submitted its return with certifications that CIDG was not detaining
Cayanan. Lastly, the CIDG contends that the issuance of the writ violated
Pascua’s right to presumption of innocence.

Issues: 1. What is the nature of the writ and was there substantial
evidence to issue the writ?
2. Was there violation of Pascua’s right to be presumed innocent?

Ruling: 1. The petition for a writ of amparo is a remedy available to any


person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened
with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or
employee, or of a private individual or entity.The writ shall cover
extralegal killings and enforced disappearances or threats thereof.
Substantial evidence existed to warrant the issuance of the writ
of amparo. In amparo petitions, the Court allows for flexibility in
considering the evidence presented, including hearsay evidence which
may be admitted as the circumstances of the case may require for the
protection of the precious rights to life, liberty, and security.The
recantation has no evidentiary value for being general and bereft of
details of what really happened if the abduction did not occur. Other
witnesses also identified Pascua as the person leading the abductors.

2. There was no violation of presumption of innocence of the respondent


as the same is not an issue in amparo proceedings.
The proceedings taken under the Rule on the Writ of Amparo are not akin
or similar to those in criminal prosecutions. In the former, the guilt or
innocence of the respondents is not determined, and no penal sanctions
are meted. The proceedings only endeavor to give the aggrieved parties
immediate remedies against imminent or actual threats to life, liberty or
security.