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Mar 27, 2009

G.R. No. 164007, Aug. 10, 2006

  • The nature of the military justice system
  • Coup d'etat vis-a-vis violation of the Articles of War


On July 27, 2003 at around 1:00 a.m., more than 300 heavily armed junior officers and enlisted men of the AFP entered the premises of the Oakwood Premier Luxury Apartments on Ayala Avenue, Makati City, where they disarmed the security guards and planted explosive devices around the building. They then declared their withdrawal of support from their Commander-in-Chief and demanded that she resign as President of the Republic.

After much negotiation, the group finally laid down their arms. Subsequently, an Information for coup d’etat was filed against them with the RTC, at the same time that they were tried at court martial for conduct unbecoming an officer. They question the jurisdiction of the court martial, contending that the RTC ordered that their act was not service-connected and that their violation of Art. 96 of the Articles of War (RA 7055) was absorbed by the crime of coup d’etat.

  • Whether the act complained of was service-connected and therefore cognizable by court martial or absorbed by the crime of coup d'etat cognizable by regular courts


The military justice system is disciplinary in nature, aimed at achieving the highest form of discipline in order to ensure the highest degree of military efficiency. Military law is established not merely to enforce discipline in times of war, but also to preserve the tranquility and security of the State in times of war, but also to preserve the tranquility and security of the State in time of peace; for there is nothing more dangerous to the public peace and safety than a licentious and undisciplined military body. The administration of military justice has been universally practiced. Since time immemorial, all the armies in almost all countries of the world look upon the power of military law and its administration as the most effective means of enforcing discipline. For this reason, the court martial has become invariably an indispensable part of any organized armed forces, it being the most potent agency in enforcing discipline both in peace and in war.

The Court held that the offense is service-connected. xxx It bears stressing that the charge against the petitioners concerns the alleged violation of their solemn oath as officers to defend the Constitution and the duly-constituted authorities. Such violation allegedly caused dishonor and disrespect to the military profession. In short, the charge has a bearing on their professional conduct or behavior as military officers. Equally indicative of the “service-connected” nature of the offense is the penalty prescribed for the same – dismissal from the service – imposable only by the military court. Such penalty is purely disciplinary in character, evidently intended to cleanse the military profession of misfits and to preserve the stringent standard of military discipline.


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