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City of Manila vs Laguio Digest (Equal Protection)

City of Manila vs Laguio Digest (Equal Protection)

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Published by Shiela Basadre

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Published by: Shiela Basadre on Nov 16, 2011
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CITY OF MANILA, HON. ALFREDO S. LIM as the Mayor of the City of Manila, HON. JOSELITO L.

ATIENZA, in his capacity as Vice-Mayor of the City of Manila et al (councilors) vs. HON. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., as Presiding Judge, RTC, Manila and MALATE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. The City Council of Manila encated on 9 March 1993 and approved on 30 March 1993 an ordinance entitled: AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ESTABLISHMENT OR OPERATION OF BUSINESSES PROVIDING CERTAIN FORMS OF AMUSEMENT, ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES AND FACILITIES IN THE ERMITA-MALATE AREA, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. It prohibited establishments such as bars, karaoke bars, motels and hotels from operating in the Malate District which was notoriously viewed as a red light district harboring thrill seekers. This was expressly provided under Section 1 of the ordinance: SECTION 1. Any provision of existing laws and ordinances to the contrary notwithstanding, no person, partnership, corporation or entity shall, in the Ermita-Malate area bounded by Teodoro M. Kalaw Sr. Street in the North, Taft Avenue in the East, Vito Cruz Street in the South and Roxas Boulevard in the West, pursuant to P.D. 499 be allowed or authorized to contract and engage in, any business providing certain forms of amusement, entertainment, services and facilities where women are used as tools in entertainment and which tend to disturb the community, annoy the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community, such as but not limited to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Sauna Parlors Massage Parlors Karaoke Bars Beerhouses Night Clubs Day Clubs 7. Super Clubs 8. Discotheques 9. Cabarets 10. Dance Halls 11. Motels 12. Inns

Private respondent Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTDC) is a corporation engaged in the business of operating hotels, motels, hostels and lodging houses. It built and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a motel although duly accredited with the Department of Tourism as a hotel. MTDC prayed that the Ordinance, insofar as it includes motels and inns as among its prohibited establishments, be declared invalid and unconstitutional. One of the reasons raised by MTDC on why the ordinance was invalid and unconstitutional is that the Ordinance constitutes a denial of equal protection under the law as no reasonable basis exists for prohibiting the operation of motels and inns, but not pension houses, hotels, lodging houses or other similar establishments, and for prohibiting said business in the Ermita-Malate area but not outside of this area.

Petitioners also maintained that the Ordinance is not unconstitutional because it did not infringe the equal protection clause and cannot be denounced as class legislation as there existed substantial and real differences between the Ermita-Malate area and other places in the City of Manila. both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. that none be placed outside the sphere of its coverage. that it is violative of due process and is violative of the equal protection clause. The equal protection clause extends to artificial persons but only insofar as their property is concerned. which is of the very essence of the idea of law. far from being inspired by the attainment of the common weal was prompted by the spirit of hostility. ]The “equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the protection of equal laws. Judge Laguio issued an ex-parte temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the Ordinance. However. respondents reiterate that the questioned Ordinance is not a valid exercise of police power. Those adversely affected may under such circumstances invoke the equal protection clause only if they can show that the governmental act assailed. And on 16 July 1993. or at the very least.” There is recognition. unfair. so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly discriminate against others. Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike. unreasonable and oppressive exercise of police power and that it erred in declaring the Ordinance void and unconstitutional. or otherwise. To assure that the general welfare be promoted. in the opinion that what in fact exists “cannot approximate the ideal. which is the end of law.Petitioners asserted that the Ordinance is valid because it was enacted in order to protect the social and moral welfare of the community in conjunction with its police power. what does in fact exist. Petitioners made an appeal on the grounds that it It erred in concluding that the subject ordinance is ultra vires. Nor is the law susceptible to the reproach that it does not take into account the realities of the situation. The ordinance was declared null and void. discrimination that finds no support in reason. v. Tuason & Co. On 28 June 1993. The constitutional guarantee then is not to be given a meaning that disregards what is. a regulatory measure may cut into the rights to liberty and property. ISSUE: Whether or not Ordinance 7783 is valid on the ground that it is violates the equal protection clause. RULING: The Ordinance violates Equal Protection Clause. Land Tenure Administration: “The ideal situation is for the law’s benefits to be available to all.” Classification is thus not ruled . in other words.M. The guarantee means that no person or class of persons shall be denied the same protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in like circumstances. It limits governmental discrimination. he granted the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by MTDC. Similar subjects. should not be treated differently. Only thus could chance and favor be excluded and the affairs of men governed by that serene and impartial uniformity. To quote from J. however.

as an indispensable requisite. the discrimination is invalid. If law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges. all are commercial establishments providing lodging and usually meals and other services for the public. lodging houses or other similar establishments. inns. it must conform to the following requirements: 1) It must be based on substantial distinctions. the conditions not being different. it being sufficient to quote from the Tuason decision anew “that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons under similar circumstances or that all persons must be treated in the same manner. both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed. 4) It must apply equally to all members of the class. lodging houses or other similar establishments. not be arbitrary. . Thus. To be valid. This discrimination based on gender violates equal protection as it is not substantially related to important government objectives. It is arbitrary as it does not rest on substantial distinctions bearing a just and fair relation to the purpose of the Ordinance. hotels. 3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only. 2) It must be germane to the purposes of the law. are analogous. a reasonable relation must exist between the purposes of the police measure and the means employed for its accomplishment. the law may operate only on some and not all of the people without violating the equal protection clause. In the exercise of police power. If the classification is reasonable. whatever restrictions cast on some in the group equally binding on the rest. hotels.] In the Court’s view. there are no substantial distinctions between motels. A noxious establishment does not become any less noxious if located outside the area.Requisites for the valid exercise of Police Power are not met. No reason exists for prohibiting motels and inns but not pension houses. The Court likewise cannot see the logic for prohibiting the business and operation of motels in the Ermita-Malate area but not outside of this area. The standard “where women are used as tools for entertainment” is also discriminatory as prostitution one of the hinted ills the Ordinance aims to banish is not a profession exclusive to women.[102] Legislative bodies are allowed to classify the subjects of legislation. Both men and women have an equal propensity to engage in prostitution. The classification in the instant case is invalid as similar subjects are not similarly treated. if not identical. those that fall within a class should be treated in the same fashion. both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed. By definition.[103] The classification must. pension houses. For the principle is that equal protection and security shall be given to every person under circumstances which. Favoritism and undue preference cannot be allowed.out. Note: Other reason why the ordinance is invalid and unconstitutional (not related to the current topic).

dance halls. motels and inns. discotheques. there is a clear invasion of personal or property rights. which provide a necessary atmosphere for clandestine entry. presence and exit and thus become the ideal haven for prostitutes and thrill-seekers. hotels and motels. The Ordinance was enacted to address and arrest the social ills purportedly spawned by the establishments in the Ermita-Malate area which are allegedly operated under the deceptive veneer of legitimate. In the instant case. licensed and tax-paying nightclubs. day clubs. the means employed for the accomplishment thereof were unreasonable and unduly oppressive. The City Council instead should regulate human conduct that occurs inside the establishments. Petitioners insist that even the Court in the case of Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association. accordingly. The closing down and transfer of businesses or their conversion into businesses “allowed” under the Ordinance have no reasonable relation to the accomplishment of its purposes.”[64] The object of the Ordinance was. it will not in itself eradicate the alluded social ills of prostitution. Granting for the sake of argument that the objectives of theOrdinance are within the scope of the City Council’s police powers. This is not warranted under the accepted definitions of these terms. personal in the case of those individuals desirous of owning. personal rights and those pertaining to private property will not be permitted to be arbitrarily invaded. super clubs. but not to the detriment of liberty and privacy which are covenants. massage parlors. Otherwise stated. City Mayor of Manila[63] had already taken judicial notice of the “alarming increase in the rate of prostitution. karaoke bars. adultery. bars. Inc.for even under the guise of protecting the public interest. [65] it is baseless and insupportable to bring within that classification sauna parlors. The enumerated establishments are lawful pursuits which are not per se offensive to the moral welfare of the community. girlie houses. night clubs. cocktail lounges. premiums and blessings of democracy. the promotion and protection of the social and moral values of the community. v. fornication nor will it arrest the spread of sexual disease in Manila Conceding for the nonce that the Ermita-Malate area teems with houses of illrepute and establishments of the like which the City Council may lawfully prohibit. operating and patronizing those motels and property in terms of the investments made and the salaries to be paid to those therein employed . karaoke bars. cabarets. the prohibition of the enumerated establishments will not per se protect and promote the social and moral welfare of the community. adultery and fornication in Manila traceable in great part to existence of motels.

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