648 Phil. 149
The Court rules to Grant accused's [Guisande's] motion subject to the condition that only the accused's counsel and the accused' physician on her hypothyroid condition are allowed to visit the accused in coordination with the respective psychiatrist/doctor of the NCMH taking charge of the psychiatric examination upon accused.
G.R. No. 190108 (David E. So, in Behalf of his Daughter Maria Elena So Guisande vs. Hon. Esteban A. Tacla, Jr., Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong, Branch 208, Dr. Bernardo A. Vicente, National Center for Mental Health). - Acting on the Petition for Writs of Habeas Corpus and Amparo, the Court Resolved to
(a) ISSUE a JOINT WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS AND AMPARO;
(b) REFER the petition to the Court of Appeals, Manila, for (i) IMMEDIATE RAFFLE among the Members of the said Court; (ii) HEARING on December 3, 2009, Thursday, at 10:00 a.m.; and (iii) DECISION within ten (10) days after its submission for decision; and
(c) ORDER the respondents to make a verified RETURN of the Joint Writ of Habeas Corpus and Amparo before the Court of Appeals, Manila, on December 1, 2009, and to COMMENT on the petition before said date.
ASSESSMENT AND REMARKS:
Review of the history and clinical reports from Makati Medical Center revealed that Ma. Elena So-Guisande was diagnosed and managed as Bipolar I Disorder. On the other hand, based on a series of mental status examinations and observations at our center, she is found not manifesting signs and symptoms of psychosis at the present time. Neither a manic episode nor a severe depressive episode was manifested during her confinement at our center, despite voluntarily not taking her medication is. Although she is complaining of mood symptoms, these are not severe enough to impair her fitness to stand trial.
Ms. Guisande does have sufficient understanding of the nature and objective of the court proceedings and the possible consequences of her cases. She is likewise capable of communicating with her counsels.
She is therefore deemed COMPETENT to stand the rigors of court trial. (Emphasis supplied.)
JUSTICE PIZARRO:The essence of the deliberation this morning is on the proceedings that obtained pursuant to the September 22, 2009 Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 208, Mandaluyong City. The parties heard the arguments of the Petitioner on the right of the subject patient, Ma. Elena, to avail of extended medical treatment citing the Constitution and the Geneva Convention on Human Rights.
In the course of the proceedings this morning, Judge Tacla, Jr., informed this Court that the NCMH submitted to him a report consisting of eight (8) pages at about 8:46 this morning. The parties, specifically the petitioner, were shown the said report. Afterwards, Judge Tacla's opinion on the matter was heard and he did not interpose any objection thereto. The Accused, subject of this case, Ma. Elena So-Guisande, may now be discharged from the custody of the NCMH and is considered fit for the rigors of trial. The parties were heard on the matter and all of them were in accord with the dispositive portion of the aforesaid report.
After a prolonged discussion on the matter, and without objection on the part of the parties, as the Accused should now proceed to trial in accordance with law, and at the same time recognizing the right of the Accused to avail of further medication, this Court decrees the following set up that should cover this proceedings: The trial of this case shall resume and the arraignment at the Court a quo shall push through as originally scheduled on February 2, 2010. To balance the situation, the right to seek medical treatment of the subject is hereby recognized by all and the patient shall be confined at the St. Clare's Medical Center, 1838 Dian St., Palanan, Makati City, her hospital of choice, under the headship of Dr. Yat, subject to the twenty-four (24) hour custodial control of the NBI.
x x x x
JUSTICE PIZARRO:Dr. Yat is directed to submit, again by agreement of the parties, a periodic report every fifteen days to the RTC, Branch 208, for its evaluation. The first report shall be submitted on or before December 18, 2009.
In this regard, the Director Nestor M. Mantaring of NBI is politely DIRECTED to cause the transfer from NCMH to the St. Clare's Medical Center of the subject Accused, Ma. Elena So-Guisande, and to provide two (2) or three (3) security personnel to the Accused after making the proper coordination with the RTC, Branch 208. Director Mantaring is to submit a one (1) page compliance on the matter within three (3) days from receipt of this Resolution - furnishing Judge Tacla, Jr. a copy thereof.x x x x
It is understood that the case pending before RTC, Branch 208, involves a non-bailable offense where normally the Accused should have been confined in jail. But considering the peculiarities of this case, the parties have all agreed to the set up as provided in this Order. It is also understood by the parties that henceforth the control of the trial proceedings as well as the control over the custody of the accused/patient shall be in the hands of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 208, Mandaluyong City.
STATE SOL. DE VERA:Your honor, the Hospital fees to be settled before the transfer, Your Honor.
JUSTICE PIZARRO:As committed in open-Court, Atty. Carpio shall insure the settlement of the fees for the confinement of Accused/patient at the NCMH, as a pre-condition for her release therefrom.WHEREFORE, the foregoing considering considered, this petition for Habeas Corpus and Amparo is considered CLOSE and TERMINATED. All parties are notified in open court of this Order.
x x x x
JUSTICE PIZARRO:Let copies of this Order be furnished the RTC, Br. 208, Mandaluyong City, the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation as well as the Supreme Court, and all the parties.SO ORDERED.
1. On February 4, 2010, acting on the City Prosecutor's January 25, 2010 Motion to Withdraw Information, public respondent Judge ordered the dismissal of Criminal Case No. MC019-12281. Hence, their Urgent Prayer for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) before this Honorable Court has been rendered moot and academic. A copy of the February 4, 2010 Order dismissing Criminal Case No. MC019-12281 is attached herewith as Annex "A."
2. Furthermore, in view of the dismissal of Criminal Case No. MC019-12281 from which the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Writ of Amparo (docketed before the Supreme Court as G.R. No. 190108 and Court of Appeals as CA-G.R. SP No. 00039) and the Petition for Review (docketed as G.R. No. 190473) stemmed from, these cases and pending incidents thereon should be dismissed for having been rendered moot and academic.
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus and Writ of Amparo (docketed before the Supreme Court as G.R. No. 190108 and Court of Appeals as CA-G.R. SP No. 00039) and the Petition for Review (docketed as G.R. No. 190473) and all other pending incidents thereon be DISMISSED for having been rendered moot and academic.
Sec. 1. To what habeas corpus extends. - Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the writ of habeas corpus shall extend to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto.
Section 1. Petition. - 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.
The privilege of the writ of amparo is envisioned basically to protect and guarantee the rights to life, liberty, and security of persons, free from fears and threats that vitiate the quality of this life. It is an extraordinary writ conceptualized and adopted in light of and in response to the prevalence of extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances. Accordingly, the remedy ought to be resorted to and granted judiciously, lest the ideal sought by the Amparo Rule be diluted and undermined by the indiscriminate filing of amparo petitions for purposes less than the desire to secure amparo reliefs and protection and/or on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations.
The most basic criterion for the issuance of the writ, therefore, is that the individual seeking such relief is illegally deprived of his freedom of movement or place under some form of illegal restraint. If an individual's liberty is restrainted via some legal process, the writ of habeas corpus is unavailing. Fundamentally, in order to justify the grant of the writ of habeas corpus, the restraint of liberty must be in the nature of an illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom of action.
In general, the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to determine whether or not a particular person is legally held. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus, in fact, is an actual and effective, and not merely nominal or moral, illegal restraint of liberty. The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint, and as the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. xxx The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary, and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient.
In passing upon a petition for habeas corpus, a court or judge must first inquire into whether the petitioner is being restrained of his liberty. If he is not, the writ will be refused. Inquiry into the cause of detention will proceed only where such restraint exists. If the alleged cause is thereafter found to be unlawful, then the writ should be granted and the petitioner discharged. Needless to state, if otherwise, again the writ will be refused.
While habeas corpus is a writ of right, it will not issue as a matter of course or as a mere perfunctory operation on the filing of the petition. Judicial discretion is called for in its issuance and it must be clear to the judge to whom the petition is presented that, prima facie, the petitioner is entitled to the writ. It is only if the court is satisfied that a person is being unlawfully restrained of his liberty will the petition for habeas corpus be granted. If the respondents are not detaining or restraining the applicant of the person in whose behalf the petition is filed, the petition should be dismissed.
We are also not swayed by [David So's] argument that [petitioners] advanced lies to this Court when they stated in their petition that Elena was facing two (2) non-bailable offenses. During the hearing on the petition for habeas corpus/writ of amparo, the counsel for [David So] stated that Elena was facing only one (1) non-bailable offense to which [petitioners] did not anymore object. Besides, the number of non-bailable offenses is not even material in the instant case for habeas corpus/writ of amparo as the only issue to be determined here was whether or not Elena's confinement at NCMH was lawful.
Finally, the issue in the verified petition, of whether [petitioners] were in contempt of court, is rendered moot and academic considering that this Court had already rendered its open court Order on December 8, 2009, which was favorable to [David So], and it was only later that the latter raised the issue of contempt.
Finding no merit in [David So's] verified petition for contempt against [Judge Tacla, Dr. Vicente and the NCMH], and there being no other objections made by the parties against Our March 17, 2010 Resolution, the instant petition for habeas corpus/writ of amparo is declared CLOSED and TERMINATED.
x x x [T]he undersigned finds no probable cause that respondents committed the charges filed against them.
Examination of the Contract of Confinement which was claimed to have been falsified reveals that it was merely a photocopy. The supposed full photocopy of the original copy of the subject contract did not contain any alteration (change) or intercalation (insertion) that could have changed its meaning or that could have made it speak of something false. The contents of the contract depicting that [Guisande's] yaya (Ms. Galleto) was indeed confined at the NCMH as claimed by respondents to accompany [Guisande], [So's] daughter who was confined thereat remained the same. Respondents explained that they were unaware of the inadvertent partial reproduction of the document and supported the same with an affidavit of good faith executed by an NCMH clerk explaining why it was only partially reproduced.
Likewise, respondents' statement that [Guisande] is "facing non-bailable offenses" is not absolutely false. Respondents satisfactorily explained that at the time of the filing of their pleading, they believed in good faith that she was facing more than one non-bailable offenses (sic) as she was charged with Qualified Theft before the Mandaluyong City RTC, Branch 208 and Syndicated Estafa before the San Juan Prosecutor's office. While it may be true that [Guisande] has only one (1) non-bailable offense pending in court, respondents proved with their evidence that she had o.thers pending at the time in other forum.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that the charges for Falsification under Articles 171 and 172 of the Revised Penal Code filed against all respondents namely: (1) Judge Esteban A. Tacla, Jr., (2) Dr. Bernardino A. Vicente, (3) ASG General Magtanggol M. Castro, SSS Diana H. Castañeda-de Vera, SS Charina A. Soria and AS Jefferson C. Secillano, be DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence.