Dizon v Eduardo; G.R. No. L-59118; 03 Mar 1988; 158 SCRA 470

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Petitioners filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus in behalf of their children wo were arrested and detained by the military, and were allegedly released nine days later. However, they have not been seen or heard from since their supposed release.

Whether or not respondents have the burden of proving the release of the two desaparecidos.

YES. The general rule postulates that the release of the detainees is an established fact and not in dispute, and that they do not continue to be missing persons or desaparecidos. Where, however, there are grounds for grave doubts about the alleged release of the detainers, particularly where the standard and prescribed procedure in effecting the release has not been followed, then the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence the alleged release is shifted to the respondents. Release is an affirmative defense and “each party must prove his own affirmative allegations,” just as the burden of proof of self-defense in a killing rests on the accused. Evidence of release lies particularly within respondents’ power.

Case is referred to the Commission on Human Rights for investigation and appropriate action.

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