Sanchez v. Darroca

 Sanchez v. Darroca, 

G.R. No. 242257, 

October 15, 2019


The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was issued by this Court as an exercise of its power

to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional



On August 16, 2018, Sanchez learned that her estranged husband, Eldie

Labinghisa, was among the seven alleged members of the New People's Army who

were gunned down by the Philippine National Police in Barangay Atabay, San Jose,


Upon discovering that the corpses were sent to St. Peter's Funeral Home, Sanchez

went there to verify the news of her husband's death. At the funeral home, however,

the police officers stationed there took photos of her without her permission. Fearing

what the officers had done, she left without being able to see or identify her

husband's body.

A few hours after Sanchez had returned from the funeral home, Police Officer 2

Nerissa A. De la Cruz, a close friend of hers, informed her that her photo was being

circulated at the police station. The officer urged her to tell the investigating officers

her husband's name, otherwise, they would go after her. PO2 De la Cruz also

warned her to voluntarily cooperate with the investigating officers, or they might

suspect her and put her under surveillance.

The following day, Sanchez went back to the funeral home, where she was

confronted by three (3) police officers who threatened to apprehend and charge her

with obstruction of justice if she refused to answer their questions. Again fearing for

her safety, Sanchez hurried home without confirming the identity of her husband's

body. Later that day, two (2) police officers went to Sanchez's house and showed her

a photo of a cadaver. She confirmed the dead body as Labinghisa.

In the following days, Sanchez noticed the frequent drive-bys of a police car in front

of her house and a vehicle that tailed her and her family when they went to Iloilo to

attend her husband's wake. She also noticed someone shadowing her when she

was outside her house, causing her to fear for her and her children's safety.


The Regional Trial Court issued a writ of amparo and a temporary protection order. It

also directed members of the Philippine National Police to file a verified written


On September 4, 2018, a summary hearing was conducted.

In a September 13, 2018 Decision, the Regional Trial Court dismissed the Petition

for a writ of amparo.

The Regional Trial Court held that Sanchez failed to substantiate her assertion that

she became a person of interest to the police after she had identified her husband's

dead body. This was because she was unable to specifically allege the police

officers' acts or the acts they sanctioned which threatened her security and liberty.

Furthermore, there was scarcity of any specific allegations that the public

respondents had participated, authorized or at least sanctioned the perceived threat

to the petitioner's right to life, liberty and security, and the evidence adduced thus far,

does not inspire a sensible and judicious conclusion that a privilege of the Writ of

Amparo is justified. The petition consists merely of the petitioner and her daughter's

bare allegation of monitoring and surveillance made by the police, sans any

corroborative evidence to support that she was purposely singled out with the

intention to inflict harm, injury or damage, which thereby threatened her security or a

possible allusion to or insinuation of extra-legal killing or enforced disappearance.


Whether or not petitioner Vivian A. Sanchez was able to prove with substantial

evidence her entitlement to the privilege of a writ of amparo.


Yes. The Rule on the Writ of Amparo was issued by this Court as an exercise of its

power to promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of

constitutional rights. Section 1 defines a petition for a writ of amparo as "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 of amparo is, thus, an

equitable and extraordinary remedy primarily meant to address concerns such as,

but not limited to, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, or threats


Section 17 of the Rule on the Writ of Amparo specifies substantial evidence as the

degree of proof required of both parties to a petition. Section 18 further reinforces the

requirement of substantial evidence for the petitioner to establish his or her

allegations to warrant the issuance of a writ of amparo. Additionally, hearsay

evidence, which is generally considered inadmissible under the rules of evidence,

may be considered in a writ of amparo proceeding if required by the unique

circumstances of the case.

The totality of petitioner's evidence undoubtedly showed that she became a person

of interest after she had first visited the funeral home, where her photo was taken.

PO2 De la Cruz tried to downplay the situation by claiming that petitioner's photo

was not "posted" in the police station, but she likewise did not deny telling petitioner

that she saw petitioner's photo at the police station. Whether the petitioner's photo

was actually posted and distributed at the police station or was just taken for future

reference, the taking of the photo bolsters petitioner's claims that she was being

monitored by the police.

Respondents try to paint petitioner's claims as the ramblings of a paranoid and

overly suspicious person, but even her daughter confirmed the numerous times the

police drove by their house and were tailed whenever they set foot outside their

house. This shows that the petitioner was not merely imagining the threats against

her and her family. The totality of obtaining circumstances likewise shows that

petitioner and her children were the subject of surveillance because of their

relationship with a suspected member of the New People's Army, creating a real

threat to their life, liberty, or security.

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