Habeas Corpus; Purpose; Contents; Return

What is the extent of habeas corpus?

[1] All cases of illegal confinement of detention
[2] by which any person is deprived of his liberty, or
[3] by which the rightful custody of any person is withheld from the person entitled thereto

The purpose of habeas corpus relieve a person from unlawful restraint. It is essentially a writ of inquiry and is granted to test the right under which a person is detained (Velasco v. CA, 245 SCRA 677). More specifically:

[1] To obtain immediate relief from illegal confinement
[2] To liberate those who may be imprisoned without sufficient cause
[3] To deliver them from unlawful custody
It is a remedy intended to determine whether the person under detention is held under lawful authority. (Sombong v. CA, 21, 1966). It is a summary remedy. (Caballes vs. CA, G.R. No. 163108, February 23, 2005)

When constitutional rights are disregarded, the writ may issue It is an exceptional remedy to release a person whose liberty is illegally restrained such as when the constitutional rights of the accused are disregarded. Such defect results in the absence or loss of jurisdiction and therefore invalidates the trial and consequent conviction of the accused. That void judgment may be challenged by collateral attack which precisely is the function of habeas corpus.

This writ may issue even if another remedy which is less effective may be availed of failure by accused to perfect his appeal before the CA does not preclude recourse to the writ. The writ may be granted upon a judgment already final (Chavez v. CA, 24 SCRA 663 [1968]).
What are the contents of a petition for habeas corpus?

[1] That the person in whose behalf the application is made is imprisoned or restrained of his liberty;
[2] The officer or name of the person by whom he is so imprisoned or restrained;
[3] The place where he is so imprisoned or restrained, if known;
[4] Copy of the commitment or cause of detention of such person. If it can be procured without any legal authority, such fact shall appear.

What are the contents of the return?

[1] Whether he has or has not the party in his custody or power, or under restraint;
[2] If the party is in his custody or power, or under restraint --the authority and the true and whole cause thereof, with a copy of the writ, order, execution, or other processes upon which the party is held
[3] If the party, etc. , and is not produced nature and gravity of sickness or infirmity
[4] If the party was in his custody, etc. and has transferred such custody or restraint to another to whom, at what time, for what cause and by what authority such transfer was made. (Sec. 10)