Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence

Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1901 > November 1901 Decisions > G.R. No. 507 November 5, 1901 - IN RE: A. O. BROOKS

001 Phil 55:



[G.R. No. 507. November 5, 1901. ]

In the matter of the petition of A. O. BROOKS for a writ of habeas corpus.

Charles C . Cohn, for Petitioner.

Col. S. W . Groesbeck, for Respondent.


1. JURISDICTION; DISCHARGE FROM ARMY. — A soldier who is unconditionally discharged from the Army and who then enters its employ as a clerk under contract as a civilian is not subject to military regulations.

2. CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT; ENFORCEMENT BY PENALTIES. — A breach of a contract of employment entered into between a civilian and the Army can not be punished by imprisonment and deportation.

The petitioner had been an enlisted man in the United States Army. Some time prior to the filing of his petition he had been granted an absolute discharge from the Army as a soldier and had entered the employ of one of the military departments under a contract. Upon his failure to comply with the terms of this contract for personal services the petitioner was arrested by order of the commanding general and was imprisoned under an order of deportation to the United States. Thereupon the petitioner applied to the Supreme Court of the Philippines for a writ of habeas corpus, and the decision of the court upon this application follows.



It is an established fact that A.O.Brooks had obtained his absolute discharge as a soldier. It is likewise a fact explicitly stated by the counsel for the Government that the absolute discharge granted contained no condition that the said Brooks should render services in a civil capacity to the Army as an employee in its offices, and if the latter had entered into a contract for the rendition of services he did so just as any private person not previously in the military service might have done.

By the absolute discharge there was dissolved every legal bond that bound him to the Army and thenceforth, since he no longer enjoyed the privileges of the military, neither could he be held subject to the obligations imposed upon the military nor subject to anything more than the terms of the contract of employment which he had entered into with the Army. And inasmuch as a private person who contracts obligations of this sort toward the Army can not, by any law that we know of, either civil or military, be compelled to fulfill them by imprisonment and deportation from his place of residence, we deem it wholly improper to sustain such means of compulsion which are not justified either by the law or by the contract.

We decide, therefore, that A.O. Brooks should be placed at liberty, and it is so ordered.

Torres, Willard, Mapa and Ladd, JJ., concur.

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