Isabelita Vinuya, et al. v. Executive Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, et al.,
G.R. No. 162230, August 13, 2014
♦ Concurring Opinion,
Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 162230 August 13, 2014
ISABELITA C. VINUY A, VICTORIA C. DELA PENA, HERMINIHILDA MANIMBO, LEONOR H. SUMA WANG, CANDELARIA L. SOLIMAN, MARIA L. QUILANTANG, MARIA L. MAGISA, NATALIA M. ALONZO, LOURDES M. NAVARO, FRANCISCA M. ATENCIO, ERLINDA MANALASTAS, TARCILA M. SAMPANG, ESTER M. PALACIO, MAXIMA R. DELA CRUZ, BELEN A. SAGUM, FELICIDAD TURLA, FLORENCIA M. DELA PENA, EUGENIA M. LALU, JULIANA G. MAGAT, CECILIA SANGUYO, ANA ALONZO, RUFINA P. MALLARI, ROSARIO M. ALARCON, RUFINA C. GULAPA, ZOILA B. MANALUS, CORAZON C. CALMA, MARTA A. GULAPA, TEODORA M. HERNANDEZ, FERMIN B. DELA PENA, MARIA DELA PAZ B. CULALA,ESPERANZA MANAPOL, JUANITA M. BRIONES, VERGINIA M. GUEVARRA, MAXIMA ANGULO, EMILIA SANGIL, TEOFILA R. PUNZALAN, JANUARIA G. GARCIA, PERLA B. BALINGIT, BELEN A. CULALA, PILAR Q. GALANG, ROSARIO C. BUCO, GAUDENCIA C. DELA PENA, RUFINA Q. CATACUTAN, FRANCIA A. BUCO, PASTORA C. GUEVARRA, VICTORIA M. DELA CRUZ, PETRONILA 0. DELA CRUZ, ZENAIDA P. DELA CRUZ, CORAZON M. SUBA, EMERINCIANA A. VINUYA, LYDIA A. SANCHEZ, ROSALINA M. BUCO, PATRICIA A. BERNARDO, LUCILA H. PAYAWAL, MAGDALENA LIWAG, ESTER C. BALINGIT, JOVITA A. DAVID, EMILIA C. MANGILIT, VERGINIA M. BANGIT, GUILERMA S. BALINGIT, TERECITA PANGILINAN, MAMERTA C. PUNO, CRISENCIANA C. GULAPA, SEFERINA S. TURLA, MAXIMA B. TURLA, LEONICIA G. GUEVARRA, ROSALINA M. CULALA, CATALINA Y. MANIO, MAMERTA T. SAGUM, CARIDAD L. TURLA, et al. in their capacityand as members of the "Malaya Lolas Organizations," Petitioners,
THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ALBERTO G. ROMULO, THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS DELIA DOMINGOALBERT, THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF JUSTICE MERCEDITAS N. GUTIERREZ, and THE HONORABLE SOLICITOR GENERAL ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, Respondents.
R E S O L U T I O N
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration1 and a Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration,2 praying that the Court reverse its decision of April 28, 2010, and grant their petition for certiorari.
In their Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners argue that our constitutional and jurisprudential histories have rejected the Court’s ruling that the foreign policy prerogatives ofthe Executive Branch are unlimited; that under the relevant jurisprudence and constitutional provisions, such prerogatives are proscribed by international human rights and international conventions of which the Philippines is a party; that the Court, in holding that the Chief Executive has the prerogative whether to bring petitioners’ claims against Japan, has read the foreign policy powers of the Office of the President in isolation from the rest of the constitutional protections that expressly textualize international human rights; that the foreign policy prerogatives are subject to obligations to promote international humanitarian law as incorporated intothe laws of the land through the Incorporation Clause; that the Court must re-visit its decisions in Yamashita v. Styer3 and Kuroda v. Jalandoni4 which have been noted for their prescient articulation of the import of laws of humanity; that in said decision, the Court ruled that the State was bound to observe the laws of war and humanity; that in Yamashita, the Court expressly recognized rape as an international crime under international humanitarian law, and in Jalandoni, the Court declared that even if the Philippines had not acceded or signed the Hague Convention on Rules and Regulations covering Land Warfare, the Rules and Regulations formed part of the law of the nation by virtue of the Incorporation Clause; that such commitment to the laws ofwar and humanity has been enshrined in Section 2, Article II of the 1987 Constitution, which provides "that the Philippines…adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations."
The petitioners added that the statusand applicability of the generally accepted principles of international law within the Philippine jurisdiction would be uncertain without the Incorporation Clause, and that the clause implied that the general international law forms part of Philippine law only insofar as they are expressly adopted; that in its rulings in The Holy See, v. Rosario, Jr.5 and U.S. v. Guinto6 the Court has said that international law is deemed part of the Philippine law as a consequence of Statehood; that in Agustin v. Edu,7 the Court has declared that a treaty, though not yet ratified by the Philippines, was part of the law of the land through the Incorporation Clause; that by virtue of the Incorporation Clause, the Philippines is bound to abide by the erga omnesobligations arising from the jus cogensnorms embodied in the laws of war and humanity that include the principle of the imprescriptibility of war crimes; that the crimes committed against petitioners are proscribed under international human rights law as there were undeniable violations of jus cogensnorms; that the need to punish crimes against the laws of humanity has long become jus cogensnorms, and that international legal obligations prevail over national legal norms; that the Court’s invocation of the political doctrine in the instant case is misplaced; and that the Chief Executive has the constitutional duty to afford redress and to give justice to the victims ofthe comfort women system in the Philippines.8
Petitioners further argue that the Court has confused diplomatic protection with the broader responsibility of states to protect the human rights of their citizens, especially where the rights asserted are subject of erga omnesobligations and pertain to jus cogensnorms; that the claims raised by petitioners are not simple private claims that are the usual subject of diplomatic protection; that the crimes committed against petitioners are shocking to the conscience of humanity; and that the atrocities committed by the Japanese soldiers against petitionersare not subject to the statute of limitations under international law.9
Petitioners pray that the Court reconsider its April 28, 2010 decision, and declare: (1) that the rapes, sexual slavery, torture and other forms of sexual violence committed against the Filipina comfort women are crimes against humanity and war crimes under customary international law; (2) that the Philippines is not bound by the Treaty of Peace with Japan, insofar as the waiver of the claims of the Filipina comfort women against Japan is concerned; (3) that the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women; and (4) that petitioners are entitled to the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the respondents.
Petitioners also pray that the Court order the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the Executive Secretary to espouse the claims of Filipina comfort women for an official apology,legal compensation and other forms of reparation from Japan.10
In their Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners stress that it was highly improper for the April 28, 2010 decision to lift commentaries from at least three sources without proper attribution – an article published in 2009 in the Yale Law Journal of International Law; a book published by the Cambridge University Press in 2005; and an article published in 2006 in the Western ReserveJournal of International Law – and make it appear that such commentaries supported its arguments for dismissing the petition, when in truth the plagiarized sources even made a strong case in favour of petitioners’ claims.11
In their Comment,12 respondents disagree withpetitioners, maintaining that aside from the statements on plagiarism, the arguments raised by petitioners merely rehashed those made in their June 7, 2005 Memorandum; that they already refuted such arguments in their Memorandumof June 6, 2005 that the Court resolved through itsApril 28, 2010 decision, specifically as follows:
1. The contentions pertaining tothe alleged plagiarism were then already lodged withthe Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards of the Court; hence, the matter of alleged plagiarism should not be discussed or resolved herein.13
2. A writ of certioraridid not lie in the absence of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Hence, in view of the failureof petitioners to show any arbitrary or despotic act on the part of respondents,the relief of the writ of certiorariwas not warranted.14
3. Respondents hold that the Waiver Clause in the Treaty of Peace with Japan, being valid, bound the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to the international law principle of pacta sunt servanda.The validity of the Treaty of Peace was the result of the ratification by two mutually consenting parties. Consequently, the obligations embodied in the Treaty of Peace must be carried out in accordance with the common and real intention of the parties at the time the treaty was concluded.15
4. Respondents assert that individuals did not have direct international remedies against any State that violated their human rights except where such remedies are provided by an international agreement. Herein, neither of the Treaty of Peace and the Reparations Agreement,the relevant agreements affecting herein petitioners, provided for the reparation of petitioners’ claims. Respondents aver that the formal apology by the Government of Japan and the reparation the Government of Japan has provided through the Asian Women’s Fund (AWF) are sufficient to recompense petitioners on their claims, specifically:
a. About 700 million yen would be paid from the national treasury over the next 10 years as welfare and medical services;
b. Instead of paying the money directly to the former comfort women, the services would be provided through organizations delegated by governmental bodies in the recipient countries (i.e., the Philippines, the Republic of Korea,and Taiwan); and
c. Compensation would consist of assistance for nursing services (like home helpers), housing, environmental development, medical expenses, and medical goods.16
The Court DENIESthe Motion for Reconsiderationand Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration for being devoid of merit.
1. Petitioners did not show that their resort was timely under the Rules of Court.
Petitioners did not show that their bringing ofthe special civil action for certiorariwas timely, i.e., within the 60-day period provided in Section 4, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, to wit:
Section 4. When and where position filed. – The petition shall be filed not later than sixty (60) daysfrom notice of judgment, order or resolution. In case a motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion is required or not, the sixty (60) day period shall be counted from notice of the denial of said motion.
As the rule indicates, the 60-day period starts to run from the date petitioner receives the assailed judgment, final order or resolution, or the denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial timely filed, whether such motion is required or not. To establish the timeliness of the petition for certiorari, the date of receipt of the assailed judgment, final order or resolution or the denial of the motion for reconsideration or new trial must be stated in the petition;otherwise, the petition for certiorarimust be dismissed. The importance of the dates cannot be understated, for such dates determine the timeliness of the filing of the petition for certiorari. As the Court has emphasized in Tambong v. R. Jorge Development Corporation:17
There are three essential dates that must be stated in a petition for certiorari brought under Rule 65. First, the date when notice of the judgment or final order or resolution was received; second, when a motion for new trial or reconsideration was filed; and third, when notice of the denial thereof was received. Failure of petitioner to comply with this requirement shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition. Substantial compliance will not suffice in a matter involving strict observance with the Rules. (Emphasis supplied)
The Court has further said in Santos v. Court of Appeals:18
The requirement of setting forth the three (3) dates in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is for the purpose of determining its timeliness. Such a petition is required to be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or Resolution sought to be assailed. Therefore, that the petition for certiorariwas filed forty-one (41) days from receipt of the denial of the motion for reconsideration is hardly relevant. The Court of Appeals was notin any position to determine when this period commenced to run and whether the motion for reconsideration itself was filed on time since the material dates were not stated. It should not be assumed that in no event would the motion be filed later than fifteen (15) days. Technical rules of procedure are not designed to frustrate the ends of justice. These are provided to effect the proper and orderly disposition of cases and thus effectively prevent the clogging of court dockets. Utter disregard of the Rules cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the policy ofliberal construction.19
The petition for certioraricontains the following averments, viz:
82. Since 1998, petitioners and other victims of the "comfort women system," approached the Executive Department through the Department of Justice in order to request for assistance to file a claim against the Japanese officials and military officers who ordered the establishment of the "comfort women" stations in the Philippines;
83. Officials of the Executive Department ignored their request and refused to file a claim against the said Japanese officials and military officers;
84. Undaunted, the Petitioners in turnapproached the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice and Office of the of the Solicitor General to file their claim against the responsible Japanese officials and military officers, but their efforts were similarly and carelessly disregarded;20
The petition thus mentions the year 1998 only as the time when petitioners approached the Department ofJustice for assistance, but does not specifically state when they received the denial of their request for assistance by the Executive Department of the Government. This alone warranted the outright dismissal of the petition.
Even assuming that petitioners received the notice of the denial of their request for assistance in 1998, their filing of the petition only on March 8, 2004 was still way beyond the 60-day period. Only the most compelling reasons could justify the Court’s acts of disregarding and lifting the strictures of the rule on the period. As we pointed out inMTM Garment Mfg. Inc. v. Court of Appeals:21
All these do not mean, however, that procedural rules are to be ignored or disdained at will to suit the convenience of a party. Procedural law has its own rationale in the orderly administration of justice, namely: to ensure the effective enforcement of substantive rights by providing for a system that obviates arbitrariness, caprice, despotism, or whimsicality in the settlement of disputes. Hence, it is a mistake to suppose that substantive law and procedural law are contradictory to each other, or as often suggested, that enforcement of procedural rules should never be permitted if it would result in prejudice to the substantive rights of the litigants.
As we have repeatedly stressed, the right to file a special civil action of certiorariis neither a natural right noran essential element of due process; a writ of certiorariis a prerogative writ, never demandable as a matter of right, and never issued except in the exercise of judicial discretion. Hence, he who seeks a writ of certiorarimust apply for it only in the manner and strictly in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Rules.
Herein petitioners have not shown any compelling reason for us to relax the rule and the requirements under current jurisprudence. x x x. (Emphasis supplied)
2. Petitioners did not show that the assailed act was either judicial or quasi-judicial on the part of respondents.
Petitioners were required to show in their petition for certiorarithat the assailed act was either judicial or quasi-judicial in character. Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Courtrequires such showing, to wit:
Section 1. Petition for certiorari.—When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as law and justice may require.
The petition shall be accompanied by a certified true copy of the judgment, order, or resolution subject thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents relevant and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of nonforum shopping as provided in the third paragraph of Section 3, Rule 46. However, petitioners did notmake such a showing.
3. Petitioners were not entitled to the injunction.
The Court cannot grant petitioners’ prayer for the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction. Preliminary injunction is merely a provisional remedy that is adjunct to the main case, and is subject to the latter’s outcome. It is not a cause of action itself.22 It is provisional because it constitutes a temporary measure availed of during the pendency of the action; and it is ancillary because it is a mere incident in and is dependent upon the result of the main action.23 Following the dismissal of the petition for certiorari, there is no more legal basis to issue the writ of injunction sought. As an auxiliary remedy, the writ of preliminary mandatory injunction cannot be issued independently of the principal action.24
In any event, a mandatory injunction requires the performance of a particular act.1âwphi1 Hence, it is an extreme remedy,25 to be granted only if the following requisites are attendant, namely:
(a) The applicant has a clear and unmistakable right, that is, a right in esse;
(b) There is a material and substantial invasion of such right; and
(c) There is an urgent need for the writ to prevent irreparable injury to the applicant; and no other ordinary, speedy, and adequate remedy exists to prevent the infliction of irreparable injury.26
In Marquez v. The Presiding Judge (Hon. Ismael B. Sanchez), RTC Br. 58, Lucena City,27 we expounded as follows:
It is basic that the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court, conditioned on the existence of a clear and positive right of the applicant which should be protected. It is an extraordinary, peremptory remedy available only on the grounds expressly provided by law, specifically Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, extreme caution must be observed in the exercise of such discretion. It should be granted only when the court is fully satisfied that the law permits it and the emergency demands it. The very foundation of the jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction rests in the existence of a cause of action and in the probability of irreparable injury, inadequacy of pecuniary compensation, and the prevention of multiplicity of suits. Where facts are not shown to bring the case within these conditions, the relief of injunction should be refused.28
Here, the Constitution has entrusted to the Executive Department the conduct of foreign relations for the Philippines. Whether or not to espouse petitioners' claim against the Government of Japan is left to the exclusive determination and judgment of the Executive Department. The Court cannot interfere with or question the wisdom of the conduct of foreign relations by the Executive Department. Accordingly, we cannot direct the Executive Department, either by writ of certiorari or injunction, to conduct our foreign relations with Japan in a certain manner.
WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the Motion for Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration for their lack of merit.
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
|ANTONIO T. CARPIO
|PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
|TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO
|ARTURO D. BRION
|DIOSDADO M. PERALTA
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
|MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
|JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
|JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
|BIENVENIDO L. REYES
|ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. LEONEN
C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in the above Resolution had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
1 Rollo, pp. 419-429.
2 Id. at 435-529.
3 75 Phil. 563 (1945).
4 83 Phil. 171 (1949).
5 G.R. No. 101949, December 1, 1994, 238SCRA 524.
6 G.R. No. 76607, February 26, 1990, 182 SCRA 644.
7 No. L-49112, February 2, 1979, 88 SCRA 195.
8 Supra note 1.
9 Id. at 426-427.
10 Id. at 427-428.
11 Id. at 436.
12 Id. at 665-709.
13 Id. at 684-685.
14 Id. at 686-690.
15 Id. at 690-702.
16 Id. at 703-706.
17 G.R. No. 146068, August 31, 2006, 500 SCRA 399, 403-404.
18 G.R. No. 141947, July 5, 2001, 360 SCRA 521, 527-528.
19 Id. at 527-528.
20 Rollo, p. 18.
21 G.R. No. 152336, June 9, 2005, 460 SCRA 55, 66.
22 Buyco v. Baraquia, G.R. No. 177486, December 21, 2009, 608 SCRA 699, 703-704.
23 Id. at 704.
24 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Monetary Board v. Antonio-Valenzuela, G.R. No. 184778, October 2, 2009, 602 SCRA 698, 715, citing Lim v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 134617, February 13, 2006, 482 SCRA 326, 331.
25 I Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Seventh Revised Edition, p. 638.
26 Philippine Leisure and Retirement Authority v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 156303, December 19, 2007, 541 SCRA 85,99-100.
27 G.R. No. 141849, February 13, 2007, 515 SCRA 577.
28 At 589.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation