Case Digest on Secretary of Justice v. Hon. Lantion and Mark Jimenez G.R. No. 139465, October 17, 2000
November 10, 2010
overturning 322 SCRA 160 (Jan. 18, 2000)
By virtue of an extradition treaty between the US and the Philippines, the US requested for the extradition of Mark Jimenez for violations of US tax and election laws. Pending evaluation of the extradition documents by the Philippine government, Jimenez requested for copies of the US’ extradition request. The Secetary of Justice denied that request. ISSUE: During the evaluation stage of the extradition proceedings, is private respondent entitled to the two basic due process rights of notice and hearing?
Private respondent is bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. Extradition is a proceeding sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into operation all the rights of an accused guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The process of extradition does not involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused. His guilt or innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited.
Dissent (original decision): Under the extradition treaty, the prospective extraditee may be provisionally arrested pending the submission of the request. Because of this possible consequence, the evaluation process is akin to an administrative agency conducting an investigative proceeding, and partakes of the nature of a criminal investigation. Thus, the basic due process rights of notice and hearing are indispensable.
Assuming that the extradition treaty does not allow for such rights, the Constitutional right to procedural due process must override treaty obligations. When there is a conflict between international law obligations and the Constitution, the Constitution must prevail.
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