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VICTORIANO V. ELIZALDE ROPE WORKER'S UNION

VICTORIANO V. ELIZALDE ROPE WORKER'S UNION

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Published by: mylenesibal on Feb 21, 2010
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07/25/2013

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SEC 5 FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION 
VICTORIANO V. ELIZALDE ROPE WORKER'S UNIONFACTS:
Benjamin Victoriano is a member of the religioussect known as the "Iglesia ni Cristo", had been in the employof the Elizalde Rope Factory, Inc.. As such employee, he wasa member of the Elizalde Rope Workers' Union which hadwith the Company a collective bargaining agreementcontaining a closed shop provision which reads as follows:
Membership in the Union shall be required as a condition of employment for all permanent employees workers covered bythis Agreement.
Under Republic Act No. 875, the employer was not precluded"from making an agreement with a labor organization torequire as a condition of employment membership therein, if such labor organization is the representative of theemployees."Then Republic Act No. 3350 was enacted, introducing anamendment to section 4 of Republic Act No. 875, asfollows: ... "but such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their membersin any such labor organization".Being a member of a religious sect that prohibits the affiliationof its members with any labor organization, Victorianopresented his resignation to Union. The Union wrote a formalletter to the Company asking the latter to separate him fromthe service in view of the fact that he was resigning from theUnion as a member. The management of the Company inturn notified Victoriano and his counsel that unless Victorianocould achieve a satisfactory arrangement with the Union, theCompany would be constrained to dismiss him from theservice.I
SSUE:
WON Republic Act No. 3350 discriminatorily favorsthose religious sects which ban their members from joininglabor unions
HELD:
NO. The purpose of Republic Act No. 3350 is secular,worldly, and temporal, not spiritual or religious or holy andeternal. It was intended to serve the secular purpose of advancing the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, by averting that certain persons be refused work, or be dismissed from work, or be dispossessed of their right towork and of being impeded to pursue a modest means of livelihood, by reason of union security agreements.Congress acted merely to relieve the exercise of religion, by certain persons, of a burden that is imposed byunion security agreements. It was Congress itself thatimposed that burden when it enacted the Industrial Peace Act(Republic Act 875), and, certainly, Congress, if it so deemsadvisable, could take away the same burden.The means adopted by the Act to achieve that purposeexempting the members of said religious sects fromcoverage of union security agreements — is reasonable.It may not be amiss to point out here that the freeexercise of religious profession or belief is superior tocontract rights. In case of conflict, the latter must, therefore,yield to the former. The Supreme Court of the United Stateshas also declared on several occasions that the rights in theFirst Amendment, which include freedom of religion, enjoy apreferred position in the constitutional system. Religiousfreedom, although not unlimited, is a fundamental personalright and liberty, and has a preferred position in the hierarchyof values. Contractual rights, therefore, must yield to freedomof religion. It is only where unavoidably necessary to preventan immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoidthe danger.

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