Tano v. Socrates-Digest | Local Ordinance | Due Process Clause


SOCRATES Facts: The petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition assailing the constitutionality of: (1) Ordinance No. 15-92 entitled: "AN ORDINANCE BANNING THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998 AND PROVIDING EXEMPTIONS, PENALTIES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES THEREOF" (2) Office Order No. 23, requiring any person engaged or intending to engage in any business, trade, occupation, calling or profession or having in his possession any of the articles for which a permit is required to be had, to obtain first a Mayor’s and authorizing and directing to check or conduct necessary inspections on cargoes containing live fish and lobster being shipped out from Puerto Princesa and, (3) Resolution No. 33, Ordinance No. 2 entitled: "A RESOLUTION PROHIBITING THE CATCHING, GATHERING, POSSESSING, BUYING, SELLING AND SHIPMENT OF LIVE MARINE CORAL DWELLING AQUATIC ORGANISMS” The petitioners contend that the said Ordinances deprived them of due process of law, their livelihood, and unduly restricted them from the practice of their trade, in violation of Section 2, Article XII and Sections 2 and 7 of Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution and that the Mayor had the absolute authority to determine whether or not to issue the permit. They also claim that it took away their right to earn their livelihood in lawful ways; and insofar as the Airline Shippers Association are concerned, they were unduly prevented from pursuing their vocation and entering "into contracts which are proper, necessary, and essential to carry out their business endeavors to a successful conclusion Public respondents Governor Socrates and Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan defended the validity of Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993, as a valid exercise of the Provincial Government's power under the general welfare clause; they likewise maintained that there was no violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. Issue: Whether or not the Ordinances in question are unconstitutional Held: NO Ratio: In light then of the principles of decentralization and devolution enshrined in the LGC and the powers granted therein to local government units under Section 16 (the General Welfare Clause), and under Sections 149, 447(a) (1) (vi), 458 (a) (1) (vi) and 468 (a) (1) (vi), which unquestionably involve the exercise of police power, the validity of the questioned Ordinances cannot be doubted. ***Sec. 16. General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants. (emphasis supplied). It is clear to the Court that both Ordinances have two principal objectives or purposes: (1) to establish a "closed season" for the species of fish or aquatic animals covered therein for a period of five years; and (2) to protect the coral in the marine waters of the City of Puerto Princesa and the Province of Palawan from further destruction due to illegal fishing activities.

It imposes upon the sangguniang bayan, the sangguniang panlungsod, and the sangguniang panlalawigan the duty to enact ordinances to "[p]rotect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing . . . and such other activities which result in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes or of ecological imbalance." The petition is dismissed.
Sections 2 and 7 of Article XIII provide: Sec. 2. The promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create economic opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance. xxx xxx xxx Sec. 7. The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local communities, to the preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both inland and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate technology and research, adequate financial, production, and marketing assistance, and other services. The State shall also protect, develop, and conserve such resources. The protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization of marine and fishing resources.

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