Marcos v Manglapus

GR No: 88211, Oct 27, 1989


Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non - violent “people power” revolution and was forced into exile. Marcos, in his deathbed, has signified his wish to return to the Philippines to die. But President Corazon Aquino, considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is threatened from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward, has stood firmly on the decision to bar the return of Marcos and his family.

Aquino barred Marcos from returning due to possible threats & following supervening events:

1. failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by Marcos leaders

2. channel 7 taken over by rebels & loyalists

3. plan of Marcoses to return w/ mercenaries aboard a chartered plane of a Lebanese arms dealer. This is to prove that they can stir trouble from afar

4. Honasan’s failed coup

5. Communist insurgency movements

6. secessionist movements in Mindanao

7. devastated economy because of

a. accumulated foreign debt

b. plunder of nation by Marcos & cronies

Marcos filed for a petition of mandamus and prohibition to order the respondents to issue them their travel documents and prevent the implementation of President Aquino’s decision to bar Marcos from returning to the Philippines. Petitioner questions Aquino’s power to bar his return to the country. He also questioned the claim of the President that the decision was made in the interest of national security, public safety and health. Petitioner also claimed that the President acted outside her jurisdiction.

According to the Marcoses, such act deprives them of their right to life, liberty, property without due process and equal protection of the laws. They also said that it deprives them of their right to travel which according to Section 6, Article 3 of the constitution, may only be impaired by a court order.


1. In the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution, may the President prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines?

2. Did the President act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she determined that the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines posed a serious threat to national interest and welfare and decided to bar their return?



Separation of power dictates that each department has exclusive powers. According to Section 1, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, “the executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.” However, it does not define what is meant by “executive power” although in the same article it touches on exercise of certain powers by the President, i.e., the power of control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices, the power to execute the laws, the appointing power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons... (art VII secfs. 14- 23). Although the constitution outlines tasks of the president, this list is not defined and exclusive. She has residual & discretionary powers not stated in the Constitution which include the power to protect the general welfare of the people. She is obliged to protect the people, promote their welfare and advance national interest. (Art. II, Sec. 4-5 of the Constitution). Residual powers, according to Theodore Roosevelt, dictate that the President can do anything which is not forbidden in the Constitution (Corwin, supra at 153), inevitable to vest discretionary powers on the President (Hyman, American President) and that the president has to maintain peace during times of emergency but also on the day-to-day operation of the  State.

The rights Marcoses are invoking are not absolute. They’re flexible depending on the circumstances. The request of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines cannot be considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions gua ranteeing liberty of abode and the right to travel, subject to certain exceptions, or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations even remotely similar to the present one. It must be treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and protect general welfare. In that context, such request or demand should submit to the exercise of a broader discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied.

For issue number 2, the question for the court to determine is whether or not there exist factual basis for the President to conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses in the Philippines. It is proven that there are factual bases in her decision. The supervening events that happened before her decision are factual. The President must take preemptive measures for the self- preservation of the country and protection of the people. She has to uphold the Constitution.

Cruz, Dissenting

1. As a citizen of this country, it is Marcos’ right to return, live & die in his own country. It is a right guaranteed by the Consti to all individuals, whether patriot, homesick, prodigal, tyrant, etc.

2. Military representatives failed to show that Marcos’ return would pose a threat to national security. Fears were mere conjectures.

3. Residual powers– but the executive’s powers were outlined to limit her powers & not expand.

Paras, Dissenting

1. AFP has failed to prove danger which would allow the State to impair Marcos’ right to return to the Philippines. .

2. Family can be put under house arrest & in the event that one dies, he/she should be buried w/in 10 days.

3. Untenable that without legislation, the right to travel is absolute & the state is powerless to restrict it. It’s w/in police power of the state to restrict this right if national security, public safety/health demands that such be restricted. It can’t be absolute & unlimited all the time. It can’t be arbitrary & irrational.

4. No proof that Marcos’ return would endanger national security or public safety. Fears are speculative & the military admits that it’s under control. Filipinos would know how to handle Marcos’ return/

Padilla, Dissenting

Sarmiento, Dissenting

1. President’s determination that Marcos’ return would threaten national security should be agreed upon by the court. Such threat must be clear & present.