Ordonez v Director of Prisons; G.R. No. 115576; 04 Aug 1994; 235 SCRA 152

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Two civilians were tried by the military commissions during the martial law period. They were originally condemned to die by musketry, but their sentence was commuted to reclusion perpetua. Despite the Supreme Court having nullified their conviction on the ground that military tribunals do not have jurisdiction to try civilians when the courts of justice are functioning, they remained in detention.

Whether or not the petitioners were entitled to a writ of habeas corpus.

YES. Civilians who were convicted by military courts and who have been serving (but not completed) their sentences of imprisonment for the past years may be given the option either to complete the service of their sentence, or be tried anew by the civil courts. Upon conviction, they should be credited in the service of their sentence for the full period of their previous imprisonment. Upon acquittal, they should be set free.

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