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Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC

A.M. No. 93-2-037 SC April 6, 1995
IN RE Emil (Emiliano) P. JURADO Ex Rel.: Philippine Long Distance
Telephone Company (PLDT), per its First Vice-President, Mr. Vicente R.
Samson, appellant,
NARVASA, C.J.:
Liability for published statements demonstrably false or misleading, and
derogatory of the courts and individual judges, is what is involved in the
proceeding at bar — than which, upon its facts, there is perhaps no more
appropriate setting for an inquiry into the limits of press freedom as it relates
to public comment about the courts and their workings within a constitutional
order.
1. Basic Postulates
To resolve the issue raised by those facts, application of fairly elementary
and self-evident postulates is all that is needed, these being:
1) that the utterance or publication by a person of falsehood or half-truths, or
of slanted or distorted versions of facts — or accusations which he made no
bona fide effort previously to verify, and which he does not or disdains to
prove — cannot be justified as a legitimate exercise of the freedom of
speech and of the press guaranteed by the Constitution, and cannot be
deemed an activity shielded from sanction by that constitutional guaranty;

2) that such utterance or publication is also violative of "The Philippine
Journalist's Code of Ethics" which inter alia commands the journalist to
"scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress
essential facts nor to distort the truth by improper omission or emphasis,"
and makes it his duty "to air the other side and to correct substantive errors
promptly;" 1
3) that such an utterance or publication, when it is offensive to the dignity
and reputation of a Court or of the judge presiding over it or degrades or
tends to place the courts in disrepute and disgrace or otherwise to debase
the administration of justice, constitutes contempt of court and is punishable
as such after due proceedings; and
4) that prescinding from the obvious proposition that any aggrieved party
may file a complaint to declare the utterer or writer in contempt, the initiation
of appropriate contempt proceedings against the latter by the court is not
only its prerogative but indeed its duty, imposed by the overmastering need
to preserve and protect its authority and the integrity, independence and
dignity of the nation's judicial system.
2. Antecedents
This proceeding treats of Emiliano P. Jurado, a journalist who writes in a
newspaper of general circulation, the "Manila Standard." He describes
himself as a columnist, who "incidentally happens to be a lawyer," remarking
that while he values his membership in the law profession, "such
membership is neither a critical nor indispensable adjunct in the exercise of
his occupation as a newspaperman." 2 His column in the "Manila Standard"
is entitled "Opinion."
Jurado had been writing about alleged improperties and irregularities in the
judiciary over several months (from about October, 1992 to March, 1993).
Other journalists had also been making reports or comments on the same
subject. At the same time, anonymous communications were being
extensively circulated, by hand and through the mail, about alleged venality

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and corruption in the courts. And all these were being repeatedly and
insistently adverted to by certain sectors of society.

try their darndest to stay away from these judges. The answer, of course, is
obvious."

In light of these abnormal developments, the Chief Justice took an
extraordinary step. He issued Administrative Order No. 11-93 dated January
25, 1993, "Creating an Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Reports of
Corruption in the Judiciary," 3 reading as follows:

2. In his February 3, 1993 column, he adverted to another group, also named
"Magnificent Seven," which, he said, should be distinguished from the first.
He wrote: "When lawyers speak of the "Magnificent Seven" one has to make
sure which group they are referring to. Makati's "Magnificent Seven" are a
bunch of Makati regional trial court judges who fix drug-related cases. The
"Magnificent Seven" in the Supreme Court consists of a group of justices
who vote as one." 4

WHEREAS, the Court's attention has been drawn to the many and persistent
rumors and unverified reports respecting corruption in the judiciary, said
rumors and reports not only having been mentioned by media and in
anonymous communications, but having also been adverted to by certain
government officials and civic leaders.
NOW, THEREFORE, by authority of the Court, an Ad Hoc committee is
hereby constituted composed of Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa, as
Chairman, and former Justices of the Court, Hon. Lorenzo Relova and Hon.
Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera, as Members, which shall seek to ascertain
the truth respecting said reports and statements, and to this end, forthwith
interview at closed-door sessions or otherwise, such persons as may appear
to it to have some knowledge of the matter and who may be appealed to to
share that knowledge with the Court, and otherwise gather such evidence as
may be available. The Committee is hereby authorized to use such facilities
and personnel of the court as may be necessary or convenient in the
fulfillment of its assigned mission, and shall submit its report to the Court
within thirty (30) days.
Material to the present inquiry are Jurado's published statements from late
1992 to the middle of February, 1993.
1. In his column of October 21, 1992, he wrote of "(j)udges in a number of
regional trial courts in Metro Manila (who) have become so notorious in their
dealings with litigants and lawyers that they are now called the "Magnificent
Seven."" He stated that "(i)t has come to a point where lawyers and litigants

3. Aside from the "Magnificent Seven," he also wrote about a group which he
dubbed the "Dirty Dozen." In his column of October 21, 1992 he said that
there are " . . . 12 judges who have acquired such reputation for graft and
corruption that they are collectively known as the "dirty dozen". These
judges, I am told, are not satisfied with accepting bribes; they actually sell
their decisions to the litigants and "solicit" their bids for what is clearly an
auction for the judge's decision."
According to him, the most corrupt judges now are Makati's "Dirty Dozen"
judges, supplanting some of those from Pasay, Pasig and Quezon City;
corruption in lower Courts had been admitted by an Executive Judge in a
Metro Manila Regional Trial Court (column of November 9, 1992); and
because the "Dirty Dozen" had given Makati the reputation of having the
most corrupt RTC in the country, multi-nationals and financing institutions
explicitly stipulate in their agreements that litigation in connection with these
contracts may be held anywhere in Metro Manila except in Makati; and
lawyers confirm that Makati Judges, including some persons in the sheriffs
office, are the most corrupt, where before, Pasay and Quezon City had that
dubious distinction (column of December 1, 1992).
4. In his November 9, 1992 column, he wrote about "a former appellate
justice (who) "holds office" at a restaurant near the Court of Appeals building.
He is known as the contact man of five CA divisions. Lawyers say that this
former jurist really delivers." In his column of January 29, 1993, he adverted

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to the same unnamed former Justice as being "known for fixing cases for five
CA divisions (that is what he tells lawyers and litigants) for a fee. And if the
price is right, the lawyer of the litigant paying can even write his own decision
using a CA justice as ponente. This ex-justice holds court at the mezzanine
of a restaurant owned by the wife of a former Marcos cabinet member and
which has become a meeting place for judges, CA justices, practicing
lawyers, prosecutors and even Supreme Court justices. The former CA
justice also has his own Chinese contact. After I exposed this last year, the
habitues became scarce. But they are back again, and the ex-justice is stilldoing brisk business."
5. In his column of March 24, 1993, he made the claim that one can "get a
temporary restraining order from a regional trial court in Metro-Manila by
paying the judge anywhere between P30,000.00 and P50,000.00."
Other columns of Jurado refer to:
a) a police from the South Capital Command . . . (to the effect) that 8 Makati
judges where paid for decisions favoring drug-traffickers and other big-time
criminals, naming the judges and giving detailed accounts of the bribery
(January 30, 1993);
b) a bank, later identified by him as the Equitable Banking Corporation
(Ermita Branch), which had "hosted a lunch at its penthouse mainly for some
justices, judges, prosecutors and law practitioners" (January 12, 1993); 5
c) the lady secretary of an RTC Judge in Makati who allegedly makes sure,
for a fee of P10,000.00 or more, depending on how much money is at stake,
that a case is raffled off to a Judge who will be "extremely sympathetic," and
can arrange to have the Court issue attachments or injunctions for a service
fee of 1% over and above the regular premium of the attachment or
injunction bond; a Chinese-Filipino businessman who paid this "miracle
worker" P300,000.00 on top of the regular premium on the
attachment/injunction bond (October 27, 1992);

d) Executive Judge de la Rosa, who "has unilaterally decided to discard the
rule that cases seeking provisional remedies should be raffled off to the
judges," thus violating the rule that no case may be assigned in multi-sala
courts without a raffle (January 28, 1993);
e) the Secretary of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), who had supposedly
gotten that body to nominate him to the Court of Appeals; and a son and a
nephew of JBC members, who were also nominated to the Court of Appeals,
contrary to ethics and delicadeza (January l6, 1993; and January 29, 1993);
f) what he denominates "a major determinant of promotion," i.e., having a
relative in the JBC or the Supreme Court, or having a powerful politician as
sponsor, citing specifically, the following nominees to the Court of Appeals —
Conrado Vasquez, Jr., son and namesake of the Ombudsman and brother of
the head of the Presidential Management Staff; Rosalio de la Rosa, "nephew
of Justice Relova and cousin of Chief Justice Narvasa;" and the fact that
nomination of some worthy individuals was blocked because they "incurred
the ire of the powers that be," e.g., Judge Maximiano Asuncion, Quezon City
RTC, and Raul Victorino, closely identified with former Senate President
Salonga (January 25, 1993).
3. Events Directly Giving Rise
to the Proceeding at Bar
What may be called the seed of the proceeding at bar was sown by the
decision promulgated by this Court on August 27, 1992, in the so-called
"controversial case" of "Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v.
Eastern Telephone Philippines, Inc. (ETPI)," G.R. No, 94374. In that decision
the Court was sharply divided; the vote was 9 to 4, in favor of the petitioner
PLDT. Mr. Justice Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., wrote the opinion for the
majority. 6 A motion for reconsideration of the decision was filed in
respondent's behalf on September 16, 1992, which has recently been
resolved.

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In connection with this case, G.R. No. 94374, the "Philippine Daily Inquirer"
and one or two other newspapers published, on January 28, 1993, a report
of the purported affidavit of a Mr. David Miles Yerkes, an alleged expert in
linguistics. This gentleman, it appears, had been commissioned by one of
the parties in the case, Eastern Telephone Philippines, Inc. (ETPI), to
examine and analyze the decision of Justice Gutierrez in relation to a few of
his prior ponencias and the writings of one of the lawyers of PLDT, Mr. Eliseo
Alampay, to ascertain if the decision had been written, in whole or in part, by
the latter. Yerkes proffered the conclusion that the Gutierrez decision "looks,
reads and sounds like the writing of the PLDT's counsel," 7
As might be expected, the Yerkes "revelations" spawned more public
discussion and comment about the judiciary and the Supreme Court itself,
much of it unfavorable. There were calls for impeachment of the justices, for
resignation of judges. There were insistent and more widespread reiterations
of denunciations of incompetence and corruption in the judiciary. Another
derogatory epithet for judges was coined and quickly gained currency:
"Hoodlums in Robes."
It was at about this time and under these circumstances — particularly the
furor caused by the Yerkes opinion that the PLDT decision was authored by
a PLDT lawyer — that Jurado wrote in his column on February 8, 1993, an
item entitled, "Who will judge the Justices?" referring among other things
to" . . .
(a) report that six justices, their spouses, children and grandchildren (a total
of 36 persons) spent a vacation in Hong Kong some time last year — and
that luxurious hotel accommodations and all their other expenses were paid
by a pubic utility firm . . . and that the trip . . . was arranged by the travel
agency patronized by this public utility firm." 8
This was the event that directly gave rise to the proceeding at bar.
a. Letter and Affidavit of PLDT

For shortly afterwards, on February 10, 1993, Mr. Vicente R. Samson, First
Vice President of the PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company),
addressed a letter to the Chief Justice, submitting his sworn statement in
confutation of "the item in the column of Mr. Emil P. Jurado of the Manila
Standard on a vacation trip supposedly taken by six Justices with their
families last year," and requesting that the Court "take such action as may be
appropriate." In his affidavit, Samson made the following averments: 9
xxx xxx xxx
While the name of the public utility which supposedly financed the alleged
vacation of the Justices in Hongkong has not been disclosed in the Jurado
column, the publication thereof, taken in relation to the spate of recent
newspaper reports alleging that the decision of the Supreme Court, penned
by Mr. Justice Hugo E. Gutierrez, Jr., in the pending case involving the PLDT
and Eastern Telecommunications Phils., Inc. was supposedly ghost written
by a lawyer of PLDT, gives rise to the innuendo or unfair inference that Emil
Jurado is alluding to PLDT in the said column; and, this in fact was the
impression or perception of those who talked to me and the other officers of
the PLDT after having read the Jurado column;
4. In as much as the PLDT case against Eastern Telecommunications
Philippines is still sub-judice, since the motions for reconsideration filed by
the losing litigants therein, Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc. and
NTC are still pending before the Court, we have tried to refrain from making
any public comments on these matters, lest any statement we make be
interpreted to be an attempt on our part to unduly influence the final decision
of the Supreme Court in the above described case. However in the interest
of truth and justice, PLDT is compelled to emphatically and categorically
declare that it is not the public utility firm referred to in the Jurado column
and that specifically, it has never paid for any such trip, hotel or other
accommodations for any justice of the Supreme Court or his family during
their vacation, if any, in Hongkong last year. It is not even aware that any of
the justices or their families have made the trip referred to in the Jurado
column;

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5. I further state that neither Atty. Emil P. Jurado nor anyone in his behalf has
ever spoken to me or any other responsible officer of PLDT about the matter
quoted in par. 2 hereof;
6. PLDT further emphatically and categorically denies that it had ever talked
to or made arrangements with any travel agency or any person or entity in
connection with any such alleged trip of the Justices and their families to
Hongkong, much less paid anything therefor to such agencies, fully or in
part, in the year 1992 as referred to in Par. 2 hereinabove;
7. The travel agencies which PLDT patronizes or retains for the trips, hotels
or other accommodations of its officers and employees are:
a. Philway Travel Corporation
M-7 Prince Tower Cond.
Tordesillas St., Salcedo Village
Makati, Metro Manila
b. Citi-World Travel Mart Corp.
Suite 3-4 Ramada Midtown Arcade
M. Adriatico Street
Ermita, Manila.

obtained;" that the "expenses for said party were exclusively from my
personal funds and the food was prepared in my house by my wife and
served by my house help . . . and four (4) waiters . . . hired from the nearby
Barrio Fiesta Restaurant;" that among the invited guests "were members of
the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals who . . . were my friends of forty
years since our days in law school;" and that the party was held in the
lounge of the bank instead of in "my residence" "unlike in former years . . .
because my birthday happened to fall on a working day and my friends from
the Equitable Banking
Corporation . . . suggested that I hold it there (at the lounge) for their
convenience because my residence is far from down town."
However, this birthday luncheon of Atty. Veto was reported in Jurado's
column (in the Manila Standard issues of January 12 and 28, 1993) as
having been "hosted (by the Equitable Bank) at its penthouse mainly for
some justices, judges, prosecutors and law practitioners. . . ." And upon this
premise, Jurado indulged in the following pontification: "When those in the
judiciary fraternize this way, what chances before the courts do other
lawyers, who are not "batang club," have against others who belong to the
fraternity? In the case of prosecutors and fiscals, what chances do opposing
counsels have against those in the fraternity?" (column of January 12, 1993)
c. Information from Ad Hoc Committee

The records of these travel agencies will bear out the fact that no
arrangements were made by them at the instance of PLDT for the trip
referred to in the Jurado column.

At about this time, too, the Court received information from the Ad Hoc
Committee (created by Administrative Order No. 11-93) to the following
effect:

b. Affidavit of Atty. William Veto
The Samson affidavit was followed by another submitted to the Court by Atty.
William Veto, the "in-house counsel of Equitable Banking Corporation since
1958," subscribed and sworn to on February 10, 1993, in relation to another
article of Jurado. 10 Veto deposed that on Tuesday, January 5, 1993 he had
"hosted a lunch party at the Officers' Lounge, 7th Floor of the Equitable
Banking Corporation Building, Ermita Branch . . . upon prior permission . . .

1) that by letter dated February 1, 1993, the Chairman of the Ad Hoc
Committee extended an invitation to Atty. Emiliano Jurado to appear before it
"at 2 o'clock in the afternoon of February 4, 1993 . . . (to) give the committee
information that will assist it in its task," i.e., to definitely and accurately
determine the facts as regards the published rumors and reports of
corruption in the judiciary;

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2) that despite receipt of this letter by a responsible individual at the business
address of Jurado, the latter failed to appear at the time and place indicated;
that instead, in his column in the issue of Manila Standard of February 4,
1993, Jurado stated that he was told he was being summoned by the Ad Hoc
Committee, but "(t)here is really no need to summon me. The committee can
go by the many things I have written in my column about corruption in the
judiciary. Many of these column items have been borne out by subsequent
events."
3) that another letter was sent by the Chairman to Jurado, dated February 5,
1993, reiterating the Committee's invitation, viz.:
It is regretted that you failed to respond to the invitation of the Ad Hoc
Committee to appear at its session of February 4, 1992. All indications are
that you are the person with the most knowledge about corruption in the
judiciary and hence, appear to be best positioned to assist the Ad Hoc
Committee in its function of obtaining evidence, or leads, on the matter. You
have, I believe, expressed more than once the laudable desire that the
judiciary rid itself of the incompetents and the misfits in its ranks, and we
believe you will want to help the Court do precisely that, by furnishing the
Committee with competent evidence, testimonial or otherwise. Clearly, the
purging process cannot be accomplished without proof, testimonial or
otherwise, as you must no doubt realize, being yourself a lawyer.
We would like you to know that the Ad Hoc Committee created by
Administrative Order No. 11-93 is simply a fact-finding body. Its function is
evidence-gathering. Although possessed of the authority to maintain and
enforce order in its proceedings, and to compel obedience to its processes, it
is not an adjudicative body in the sense that it will pronounce persons guilty
or innocent, or impose sanctions, on the basis of such proofs as may be
presented to it. That function is reserved to the Supreme Court itself, in
which it is lodged by the Constitution and the laws. Thus, at the conclusion of
its evidence-gathering mission, the Ad Hoc Committee will submit its report
and recommendations to the Court which will then take such action as it
deems appropriate.

The Ad Hoc Committee has scheduled hearings on the 11th and 12th of
February, 1993. Mr. Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. will preside as Chairman at
these hearings since I will be unable to do so in view of earlier commitments.
We reiterate our invitation that you come before the Committee, and you
may opt to appear either on the 11th or 12th of February, 1993, at 2 o'clock
in the afternoon."
4) that notwithstanding receipt of this second letter by a certain Mr. Gerry Gil
of the Manila Standard, Jurado still failed to appear.
4. Statement of the Case:
Resolutions and Pleadings
a. Resolution of the February 16, 1993
After considering all these circumstances, the Court by Resolution dated
February 16, 1993, ordered:
1) that the matter dealt with in the letter and affidavit of the PLDT herein
mentioned be duly DOCKETED, and hereafter considered and acted upon
as an official Court proceeding for the determination of whether or not the
allegations made by Atty. Emil Jurado herein specified are true;
2) that the Clerk of Court SEND COPIES of the PLDT letter and affidavit, and
of the affidavit of Atty. William Veto to Atty. Emil Jurado, c/o the Manila
Standard, Railroad & 21 Streets, Port Area, Manila; and copies of the same
PLDT letter and affidavit, to Philway Travel Corporation, M-7 Prince Tower
Cond., Tordesillas St., Salcedo Village, Makati, Metro Manila; and Citi-World
Travel Mart Corp., Suite 3-4 Ramada Midtown Arcade, M. Adriatico Street,
Ermita, Manila;
3) that within five (5) days from their receipt of notice of this resolution and of
copies of the PLDT letter and affidavit, the Philway Travel Corporations and
the Citi-World Travel Mart Corporation each FILE A SWORN STATEMENT
affirming or denying the contents of the PLDT affidavit; and

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4) that within fifteen (15) days from his receipt of notice of this resolution and
of copies of said PLDT letter and affidavit and of the affidavit of Atty. Veto,
Atty. Emil Jurado FILE A COMMENT on said affidavits as well as the
allegations made by him in his columns, herein specified, in which he shall
make known to the Court the factual or evidentiary bases of said allegations.

2. Atty. William Veto's affidavit substantially corroborated what he had written
in vital details; hence, further substantiation would be surplusage. In fact, the
Supreme Court had confirmed the story in its press statement quoted by him
(Jurado) in his January 30, 1993 column. His column about the Veto party
constitutes fair comment on the public conduct of public officers.

b. Jurado's Comment dated
March 1, 1993.

3. The column about Executive Judge Rosalio de la Rosa merely
summarized the position of Judge Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores on the actuations
of Judge de la Rosa and called the attention of the Court thereto, Judge
Flores' complaint, a copy of which had been sent to the Court Administrator,
being on meriting its attention.

As directed, Jurado filed his comment, dated March 1, 1993.
He explained that he had not "snubbed" the invitation of the Ad Hoc
Committee, it being in fact his desire to cooperate in any investigation on
corruption in the judiciary as this was what "his columns have always wanted
to provoke." What had happened, according to him, was that the first
invitation of the Ad Hoc Committee was routed to his desk at the Manila
Standard office on the day of the hearing itself, when it was already
impossible to cancel previous professional and business appointments; and
the second invitation, "if it was ever received" by his office, was never routed
to him; and he had yet to see
it." 11 If the impression had been created that he had indeed "snubbed" the
Ad Hoc Committee, he "sincerely apologizes."
He averred that his columns are self-explanatory and reflect his beliefs, and
there was no need to elaborate further on what he had written. He expressed
his firm belief that justice can be administered only by a judicial system that
is itself just and incorruptible, and the hope that this Court would view his
response in this light.
He also made the following specific observations:
1. The affidavit of Antonio Samson of the PLDT dated February 9, 1993 was
an assertion of the affiant's belief and opinion and he (Jurado) would not
comment on it except to say that while Mr. Samson is entitled to his beliefs
and opinions, these "bind only him and the PLDT."

4. The "factual and evidentiary basis" of his column of January 30, 1993 was
the police report on seven (7) Makati judges authored by Chief Inspector
Laciste Jr., of the Narcotics Branch of the RPIU, South CAPCOM, PNP,
addressed to Vice-President Joseph E. Estrada, a copy of which he had
received in the news room of the Manila Standard. The existence of the
report had been affirmed by a reporter of the Manila Standard, Jun Burgos,
when he appeared at the hearing of the Ad Hoc Committee on January 11,
1993.
5. His observations in his columns of January 6 and 29, 1993 regarding the
nominations of relatives in the Judicial and Bar Council echo the public
perception, and constitute fair comment on a matter of great public interest
and concern.
6. His columns with respect to the "RTC's Magnificent Seven" (October 20,
1992); the "RTC-Makati's Dirty Dozen" (October 2, 1992, November 9, 1992,
and December 1, 1992); the "Magnificent Seven" in the Supreme Court
(February 3,1993); 12 the lady secretary of an RTC Judge (October 27,
1992); and the former Court of Appeals Justice "fixing" cases (January 29,
1993) were all based on information given to him in strict confidence by
sources he takes to be highly reliable and credible; and he could not
elaborate on the factual and evidentiary basis of the information without
endangering his sources.

and required to comment in a specific administrative matter before the Court sitting En Banc — so that he might "qualify his comment and/or assert his right and privileges . 1993: that of Mr. dated February 19. clearly and categorically belying the Jurado article. the PLDT. dated March 18. 1993. Jurado's Manifestation dated March 31. 53. 1993 and before the filing of Jurado's comment above mentioned. d. Marissa de la Paz. in an appropriate manifestation or pleading. 1993. Jr. Jr. 1993. 2. . Jurado's Supplemental Comment with Request for Clarification In response. Samson — in relation to the Jurado column of February 8. . exempting the publisher." He also sought clarification on two points — as to the capacity in which he is being cited in these administrative proceedings — whether "as full time journalist or as a member of the bar. dated February 22. let alone their veracity." and granted him fifteen (15) days from notice" to qualify his comment and/or assert his rights and privileges . or (b) indirect contempt as no formal charge for the same has been laid before the court in accordance with Section 3 (Rule 71) of the Rules of Court. if desired.8 By necessity and custom and usage. Jurado filed a pleading entitled "Supplemental Comment with Request for Clarification" dated March 15. as amended by R. . Marissa de la Paz are affirmations of matters of their own personal knowledge. Ermin Garcia. from all his other colleagues in media who had also written about wrongdoings in the judiciary. He cannot compromise these sources. 1993. and that of Mrs. within ten (10) days from receipt thereof. that he (Jurado) had no specific knowledge of "the contents of these. In this pleading he alleged that the sworn statements of Mr. 1993. e. Ermin Garcia.A. . Jurado filed a "Manifestation" under date of March 31. Resolution of March 18. 1477. President of the Citi-World Travel Mart Corporation. 1993 Again in response." and that the affidavits "bind no one except the affiants and possibly Through another Resolution. Resolution of March 2. editor or reporter of any publication from revealing the source of published news or information obtained in confidence. the Court directed that Jurado be given copies of these two (2) affidavits and that he submit comment thereon. He invokes Republic Act No. the Court directed the Clerk of Court to inform Jurado that the Resolutions of February 16 and March 2." f. 1993 had been addressed to him (according to his own depiction) in his capacity as "a full-time journalist" "who coincidentally happens to be a member of the bar at the same time. . and points out that none of the matters subject of his columns has any bearing on the security of the state. By Resolution dated March 2. 1993. he relies as a journalist not only on first-hand knowledge but also on information from sources he has found by experience to be trustworthy. The court has no administrative supervision over him as a member of the press or over his work as a journalist. General Manager of Philway Travel Corporation. and Mrs. the Court received the affidavits of the executive officials of the two travel agencies mentioned in the affidavit of PLDT Executive Vice-President Vicente R.. 1993 Subsequent to the Resolution of February 16. Both denied ever having made any travel arrangements for any of the Justices of the Supreme Court or their families to Hongkong. No. 1993 c. . The present administrative matter is not a citation for (a) direct contempt as there is no pending case or proceeding out of which a direct contempt charge against him may arise. He moved for the termination of the proceeding on the following posited premises: 1." and why he is being singled out.

801 at 807 [1930]). Respondent Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free speech. in other words. Neither has primacy over the other. The Court has heretofore given evidence of its tolerant regard for charges under the Libel Law which come dangerously close to its violation. (Concurring in Pennekamp v. There is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering justice. As Mr. the Court stressed the importance of the public interest in the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. For the protection and maintenance of freedom of expression itself can be secured only within the context of a functioning and orderly system of dispensing justice. is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests. This constitutional right must be protected in its fullest extent. And one of the potent means for assuring judges their independence is a free press. nor an independent judiciary to a free press. if any. The freedom of the press in itself presupposes an independent judiciary through which that freedom may. Norms for Proper Exercise of Press Freedom a. No one seeks to deny him that right. His comments would be more relevant and helpful to the Court if taken together with the other evidence and reports of other journalists gathered before the Ad Hoc Committee. Justice Frankfurter put it: . It is against this background of the material facts and occurrences that the Court will determine Jurado's liability. Justice. There. the Court underscored the importance both of the constitutional guarantee of free speech and the reality that there are fundamental and equally important public interests which need on occasion to be balanced against and accommodated with one and the other. both are indispensable to a free society. . The liberty of the citizens must be preserved in all of its completeness. But license or abuse of liberty of the press and of the citizens should not be confused with liberty in its true sense. as well as "such action as may be appropriate" in the premises. like all constitutional freedoms. of viable independent institutions for delivery of justice which are accepted by the general community. Gonzalez (166 SCRA 316 [1988]). Constitutional Law Norms In Zaldivar v. as the PLDT asks. if necessary. within the context. for the above mentioned statements published by him. . Florida. Respect for the Judiciary cannot be had if persons are privileged to scorn a resolution of the court adopted for good purposes. 331 at 354-356 [1946]). As important as is the maintenance of an unmuzzled press and the free exercise of the rights of the citizens is the maintenance of the independence of the Judiciary. Malcolm of this Court expressed the same thought in the following terms: The Organic Act wisely guarantees freedom of speech and press. (In Re Severino Lozano and Anastacio Quevedo.9 3.S. Mr. He perceives no reason why his comments should be singled out and taken up in a separate administrative proceeding. 5. A free press is not to be preferred to an independent judiciary. . What respondent seems unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression. We shall continue in this chosen path. The Court said: 13 The principal defense of respondent Gonzalez is that he was merely exercising his constitutional right of free speech. 54 Phil. He also invokes the related doctrines of qualified privileged communications and fair criticism in the public interest. 328 U. be vindicated. and if such persons are to be permitted by subterranean means to diffuse inaccurate accounts of confidential proceedings to the embarrassment of the parties and the court. One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice. least of all this Court.

Civil Law Norms The Civil Code. the right of speech and of the press is. viz. there is also involved an acknowledged and important interest of individual persons: the right to private reputation. 1993 of the Manila Standard. Judges. are commonly and rightly regarded as voluntarily subjecting themselves to norms of conduct which embody more stringent standards of honesty. alterum non laedere and jus suum quique tribuere (to live honorably. 16 and its corresponding annotations. verifies it and arrives at an honest interpretation of what happened." The Code was published in the issue of February 11. for which Jurado writes. in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties." "one of the most dominant principles which must be deemed always implied in any system of law. obliged "to act with justice. I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news. 19." The first paragraph of the Code. integrity. to discourage all save those . taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by improper omission or emphasis." it may not be used to insult others. 2. in its Article 19 lays down the norm for the proper exercise of any right. A court proceeding provides for this balance by presenting the prosecution and then the defense. d." The constitutional right of freedom of expression may not be availed of to broadcast lies or half-truths — this would not be "to observe honesty and good faith. not to injure others. act with justice. the International Herald Tribune. Right to Private Honor and Reputation In the present proceeding. 4. 3. and competence than are commonly required from private persons. destroy their name or reputation or bring them into disrepute. read as follows: 1.10 b. Correcting substantive errors is the mark of mature newspapers like the New York Times. to be sure. persons who seek or accept from appointment to the Judiciary cannot reasonably be regarded as having thereby forfeited any right whatsoever to private honor and reputation. give everyone his due. and some of Manila's papers. The duty to air the other side means that the journalist must contact the person or persons against whom accusations are lodged. 15 Freedom of expression." c. 17 Nevertheless. He gathers all the facts. and observe honesty and good faith. But every person exercising it is. give everyone his due. as part of the paper's "Anniversary Supplement. 1. as the Civil Code stresses. I recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly. — this would not be "to act with justice" or "give everyone his due. among the most zealously protected rights in the Constitution." 14 It parallels too "the supreme norms of justice which the law develops" and which are expressed in three familiar Latin maxims: honeste vivere. constitutional or otherwise. For so to rule will be simply. Relying exclusively on the telephone or on what fellow reporters say happened at one's beat is irresponsible. A news story or editorial column that fails to present the other side is like a court that does not hear the side of the defense. and observe honesty and good faith. Scrupulous news gathering and beat coverage is required. Every person must. Philippine Journalist's Code of Ethics Also relevant to the determination of the propriety of Jurado's acts subject of the inquiry at bar are the norms laid down in "The Philippine Journalist's Code of Ethics. The ethical journalist does not bend the facts to suit his biases or to please benefactors. The provision is reflective of the universally accepted precept of "abuse of rights.: Art. in the generality of cases. forms a hypothesis. and to render to every man his due). by becoming such.

and. this in fact was the impression or perception of those who talked to me and the other officers of the PLDT after having read the Jurado column. Re "Public Utility Firm" Now. children and grandchildren (a total of 36 persons) spent a vacation in Hong Kong some time last year — and that luxurious hotel accommodations and all their other expenses were paid by a public utility firm and that the trip reportedly was arranged by the travel agency patronized by this public utility firm. But the norm does prohibit the reckless disregard of private reputation by publishing or circulating defamatory statements without any bona fide effort to ascertain the truth thereof. Vicente Samson. by the PLDT itself. and Marissa de la Paz. supra.. taken in relation to the spate of recent newspaper reports alleging that the decision of the Supreme Court. The norm does not require that a journalist guarantee the truth of what he says or publishes." supra is — in the context of the facts That categorical denial logically and justly placed on Jurado the burden of proving the truth of his grave accusation.. . to offer to atone for the harm caused. 6. Jr. or showing that it had been made through some honest mistake or error committed despite good faith efforts to arrive at the truth. the public interest involved in freedom of speech and the individual interest of judges (and for that matter. Inc. that allegation was condemned as a lie. an outright fabrication. He exerted no effort whatever to contest or qualify in any manner whatever the emphatic declaration of PLDT Vice-President Samson that — While the name of the public utility which supposedly financed the alleged vacation of the Justices in Hongkong has not been disclosed in the Jurado column. all other public officials) in the maintenance of private honor and reputation need to be accommodated one to the other. 1993 — "that six justices. Thus. No. Gutierrez. was supposedly ghost written by a lawyer of PLDT. from becoming judges. 17a As already stated. Eastern Telephone Philippines.. Jr. Mr. hotel accommodations and all other expenses for the trip — but also by having one of its own travel agencies arrange for such a trip. under which it was made — easily and quickly perceived as a transparent accusation that the PLDT had bribed or "rewarded" six (6) justices for their votes in its favor in the case of "Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company v. (ETPI). publish statements which are clearly defamatory to identifiable judges or other public officials to exercise bona fide care in ascertaining the truth of the statements they publish." Ermin Garcia. Clearly. Analysis of Jurado Columns a. their spouses." G. the protection of the right of individual persons to private reputations is also a matter of public interest and must be reckoned with as a factor in identifying and laying down the norms concerning the exercise of press freedom and free speech. as well as by the heads of the two (2) travel agencies "patronized by it. in the pending case involving the PLDT and Eastern Telecommunications Phils. Jurado's allegation in his column of February 8. or if unable to do either of these things. through one of its responsible officers. That this norm represents the generally accepted point of balance or adjustment between the two interests involved is clear from a consideration of both the pertinent civil law norms and the Code of Ethics adopted by the journalism profession in the Philippines. penned by Mr. 94374. Justice Hugo E.R.e. Inc. invoking freedom of speech. 18 by not only paying all their expenses — i. with obviously grievous consequences for the quality of our judges and the quality of the justice that they will dispense. And the point of adjustment or accommodation between these two legitimate interest is precisely found in the norm which requires those who. But the record discloses that Jurado did none of these things. gives rise to the innuendo or unfair inference that Emil Jurado is alluding to PLDT in the said column. the publication thereof.11 who feel no need to maintain their self-respect as a human being in society.

if any. (never) talked to or made arrangements with any travel agency or any person or entity in connection with any such alleged trip of the Justices and their families to Hongkong. Re Equitable Bank Party Jurado is also shown by the record to have so slanted his report of the birthday luncheon given by Atty. . carries the sanctimonious postscript already quoted. that he had invited many persons including friends of long standing. What is made plain is that his accusation is false. in the year 1992 as referred to in Par. these were binding on them only. and possesses not even the saving grace of honest error. or would not deign to. instead of his home. . . as the Journalists' Code states. or otherwise substantiate his accusation. hotel or other accommodations for any justice of the Supreme Court or his family during their vacation. . contradict any of those statements. Emil P. and that his is a mere resort to semantics to justify the unjustifiable. . and served by his house help and waiters privately hired by him. . he was gravely at fault — at the very . .12 The record shows that he made no effort whatsoever to impugn. b. he would quickly have learned that his sources. . modify. as in years past. PLDT . His description of that affair (in the Manila Standard issues of January 12 and 28. among them justices of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. were not to be relied upon. Jurado ever got in touch with Veto or anyone in Equitable Bank. Jurado could not. to suit the convenience of his guests because his birthday fell on a working day.. He merely stated that Veto's affidavit substantially corroborated what he had written in vital details. whoever or whatever they were. supra. irresponsible. 1993) as having been hosted by the Equitable Bank "at its penthouse mainly for some justices. and that he (Jurado) would not comment on them except to say that while they are entitled to their beliefs and opinions. 2 hereinabove. which is obviously far from correct. prosecutors and law practitioners . then indulging in pure speculation or gossip is even more so. When confronted with Veto's affidavit to the effect that the party was given by him at his (Veto's) own expense. William Veto (the "in-house counsel of Equitable Banking Corporation since 1958") as to project a completely false depiction of it. . were just assertions of the affiants' belief and opinion. clarify or explain Samson's positive assertion that: . Ermita Branch. the food having been prepared by his wife in his house. in Hongkong last year. fully or in part. and a failure to "present the other side" is equally reprehensible. . If he did not. If relying on second-hand sources of information is. . as well as the affidavits of the heads of the two travel agencies regularly patronized by it. What appears from the record is that without first having made an effort to talk to any one from the PLDT or the Supreme Court to ascertain the veracity of his serious accusation. judges. and that the party had been held in the Officers' Lounge of Equitable Bank. His explanation for having aired the accusation consists simply of a declaration that Samson's affidavit. Jurado went ahead and published it. . This is upon its face evasion of duty of the most cavalier kind. . . the record does not show that before he published that story. to determine the accuracy of what he would later report. What is made plain is that Jurado is in truth unable to challenge any of the averments in the affidavits of PLDT and its travel agencies. (the PLDT) has never paid for any such trip. Most importantly. Jurado nor any one in his behalf has ever spoken to me or any other responsible officer of PLDT about the matter. It is not even aware that any of the justices or their families have made the trip referred to in the Jurado column. . putting the rhetorical question about how such fraternization affects the chances in court of lawyers outside that charmed circle. being what in law amounts to a denial of due process. neither Atty. much less paid anything therefor to such agencies. sophistry of the most arrant sort. If he did.

19 and more fully quoted as follows: When lawyers speak of the "Magnificent Seven" one has to make sure which group they are referring to. report of the affair is censurable. obviously does not at all explain why a party given by Atty. and in the process vilified the Supreme Court. c. his publication of the slanted. not a shred of proof. and when called upon to justify the same. thus corroborating what he had written in vital details and making further substantiation unnecessary. 53. His proffered explanation that the justices having confirmed their presence at the luncheon. he failed to scrupulously report and interpret the news. prints lies or distorts the truth. unable to advance any plausible reason for the conspicuous divergence between what in fact transpired and what he reported. as in other accusations of Jurado. cavalierly beg off by claiming that to do so would compromise his sources and demanding acceptance of his word for the reliability of those sources. In either case. Paraphrasing the Code of Ethics." About the last (italicized) statement there is. and that his report constituted fair comment on the public conduct of public officers. Jurado's other writings already detailed here are of the same sort. revelation of confidential news sources except when demanded by the security of the state. or that a newsman may escape liability who publishes derogatory or defamatory allegations against a person or entity." nor any group of decisions or resolutions where the recorded votes would even suggest the existence of such a cabal. by invoking unnamed and confidential sources which he claims he considers highly credible and reliable and which would be imperiled by elaborating on the information furnished by them. It outrages all notions of fair play and due process. and his playing up of the Bank's supposed role as such host have resulted in an improper suppression of those facts and a gross distortion of the truth about them. 1993 already adverted to. as also already pointed out. and reduces to uselessness all the injunctions of the Journalists' Code of Ethics to allow a newsman. 1477 from forced. Makati's "Magnificent Seven" are a bunch of Makati regional trial court judges who fix drug related cases. on the contrary. but also to demonstrate that his response to the call for their substantiation has been one of unvarying intransigence: an . He would justify reliance on those sources on grounds of necessity. it is necessary to do so briefly in order not only to stress the gravity he makes. 20 Surely it cannot be postulated that the law protects a journalist who deliberately.13 least for disregarding the Journalist's Code of Ethics — in failing to exert bona fide efforts to verify the accuracy of his information. The "Magnificent Seven" in the Supreme Court consists of a group of justices who vote as one. Re Other Items Jurado disregarded the truth again. This is yet another accusation which Jurado is unable to substantiate otherwise than. While it might be tedious to recount what has already been stated about the nature and content of those writings. The only conclusion that may rationally be drawn from these circumstances is that Jurado. custom and usage and claim the protection of Republic Act No. again resorts to semantics and sophistry to attempt an explanation of the unexplainable. and the volumes of the Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) in which are reported the decisions of the Supreme Court En Banc for the year 1992 (January to December) and for January 1993. therefore misleading and false. as amended by Republic Act No. divulge not a single non-unanimous decision or resolution where seven (7) justices voted "as one. to make shameful and offensive charges destructive of personal or institutional honor and repute. Veto was reported by him as one tendered by Equitable Bank. in the item in his column of February 3. with all the potential of his profession to influence popular belief and shape public opinion. his failure or refusal to verify such essential facts as who really hosted and tendered the luncheon and spent for it. but recognizes no obligation bona fide to establish beforehand the factual basis of such imputations and refuses to submit proof thereof when challenged to do so.

Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court.000 could buy a temporary restraining order from a regional trial court in Manila. which attest to the qualifications of Atty. 1992 and January 29. not the nephew. Daniel Martinez. and Atty. 1993) that the Judicial and Bar Council acted contrary to ethics and delicadeza in nominating to the Court of Appeals a son and a nephew of its members is completely untrue. can also arrange the issuance of attachments and injunctions for a fee of one (1%) percent over and above usual premium for the attachment or injunction bond. Acceptance of the truth of these statements is precluded. and in this connection. The most cursory review of the records of the Council will show that since its (e) Equally false is Jurado's report (column of January 25. but also. (c) His report (columns of January 16 and 29. a fee that in one instance amounted to P300. Raul Victorino (who was closely identified with former Senate President Salonga) had been blocked (a) Jurado's column of January 30. Jr. 1993 concerning an unnamed former justice of the Court of Appeals who had allegedly turned "fixer" for five of the Court's divisions and who. Atty. he mistakenly and carelessly identified RTC Judge Rosalio de la Rosa as the nephew of Justice (and then Member of the Judicial and Bar Council) Lorenzo Relova when the truth. continues: organization in 1987.000 for making sure a case is raffled off to a "sympathetic" judge. or has powerful political sponsor (referring to RTC Judge Conrado Vasquez. could guarantee that a party's lawyer could write his own decision for and in the name of the ponente.. but also to the judiciary in general — of his columns of November 9. and he would also have learned that Judge Rosalio de la Rosa had never been nominated — indeed. the son-in-law. 1993) that nomination to the Court of Appeals of some worthy individuals like Quezon City RTC Judge Maximiano Asuncion.000. The litany of falsehoods. which he subsequently learned and admitted.000 to P50. and charges made without bona fide effort at verification or substantiation. son and namesake of the Ombudsman). for the right price. 1993 to the effect that anywhere from P30. 1993 about eight (8) Makati judges who were "handsomely paid" for decisions favoring drug-traffickers and other bigtime criminals was based on nothing more than raw intelligence contained is confidential police report. . to this date. Had he bothered to make any further verification. for his report of October 27.14 advertance to confidential sources with whose reliability he professes satisfaction and whom fuller disclosure would supposedly compromise. and Judge Conrado Vasquez. Judge Joselito de la Rosa. for membership in the Appellate Tribunal. Jr. or because the nominee happens to be a relative of a member of the Council (e. (d) He has recklessly slandered the Judicial and Bar Council by charging that it has improperly made nominations to the Court of Appeals on considerations other than of merit or fitness. and even more conclusively by the records of the Judicial and Bar Council itself. he would have learned that at all sessions of the Council where the nomination of Judge Joselito de la Rosa was considered. (b) He has refused to offer any substantiation. of Justice Relova. There can be no doubt of the serious and degrading character — not only to the Court of Appeals. besides earning at least P10.. and of his column of March 24. he has not been nominated to the Court of Appeals. 1992 concerning an unnamed lady secretary of a Makati RTC Judge who. there has not been a single instance of any son or nephew of a member of the Council being nominated to the Court of Appeals during said member's incumbency. It does not appear that any part of that report has been reliably confirmed. Daniel Martinez.. was that the person referred to was Judge Joselito de la Rosa. Judge Joselito de la Rosa. but actually left the conference room.g. not only by the familiar and established presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions. either before the Ad Hoc Committee or in this proceeding. initially identified as Judge Rosalio de la Rosa) or of the Supreme Court (he could name none so situated). Justice Relova not only declined to take part in the deliberations. through the manipulations of the Council's Secretary.

6. give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith both in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties." the truth. being that Judge Rosalio de la Rosa had never been thus nominated to the Court of Appeals. Victorino had been sponsored or recommended by then Senate President Salonga himself. l. . etc. (1) having been nominated to the Court of Appeals by the Judicial and Bar Council chiefly. . 944 [1916].). receiverships. which could very easily have been verified.) — these provisions being broad enough. not only to authorize unilateral action by the Executive Judge himself on provisional remedies and interlocutory matters even prior to raffle of the main case. to control in the furtherance of justice the conduct of ministerial officers of the Court including lawyers and all other persons connected in any manner with a case before the Court (In re Kelly. were necessarily correct and the acts of Judge de la Rosa necessarily wrong or improper. as already pointed out. the son-in-law (not nephew) of Justice Relova. Administrator" (Sec. The issue is quickly disposed of by adverting to the familiar principle reiterated inter alia in Zaldivar v. dated June 30. but also to delegate the authority to act thereon to other judges. That invocation is obviously unavailing in light of the basic postulates and the established axioms or norms for the proper exercise of press freedom earlier set forth in this opinion. injunctions. and exercise such other powers and prerogatives as may in his judgment be necessary or incidental to the performance of his functions as a Court 7. the truth. (Sec. id.15 because they had "incurred the ire of the powers that be. and (3) he did not try to get Judge de la Rosa's side at all. and made statements without verifying the accuracy of his information or seeking the views of the subject of his pejorative statements. here again. 35 Phil. Jurado's Proffered Excuses and Defenses The principle of press freedom is invoked by Jurado in justification of these published writings. and the breach of the law's injunction that a person act with justice. Jurado is shown to have written without thinking. (2) he precipitately assumed that the views of Judge Teresita Dy-Liaco Flores. and Common to all these utterances of Jurado is the failure to undertake even the most cursory verification of their objective truth. Administrative Order No. the abdication of the journalist's duty to report and interpret the news with scrupulous fairness. the fact that he was not nominated can hardly be attributed to the hostility or opposition of persons in positions of power or influence. par. 7 dated September 23. Gonzales: 23 . among all the branches of the court. 21 empowers Executive Judges to act on all applications for provisional remedies (attachments. 22 Jurado next puts in issue this Court's power to cite him for contempt. id. in order to "balance the workload among courts and judges. par. being that a pending administrative case against Judge Asuncion had stood in the way of his nomination. by reason of being the nephew of Justice Relova and the cousin of Chief Justice Narvasa. (T)he Supreme Court has inherent power to punish for contempt. 7. (2) having discarded the rule that cases seeking provisional remedies should be raffled off to the judges (column of January 28. 1. IV). or on interlocutory matters before raffle. or temporary restraining orders. and since Mr. whose complaint on the subject he claims he merely summarized. if not only. the nominee having been Judge Joselito de la Rosa. etc.).. Par. In re Severino . 1975 (Sec. 1993) and adopted a system of farming out applications for temporary restraining orders. 15. untruthful and unfoundedly judgmental in his reporting about Executive Judge Rosalio de la Rosa of the Manila Regional Trial Court as: Jurado does not explain why: (1) he made no effort to verify the state of the rules on the matter. (f) Jurado was similarly unfair. the merest inquiry would have revealed to him that while Circular No. 1974 requires that no case may be assigned in multi-sala courts without raffle (for purposes of disposition on the merits). 2.

16 Lozano and Anastacio Quevedo. are of two kinds.) Courts would lose their utility if public confidence in them is destroyed. 630 [1946]). then pending in this Court. 20 SCRA 1241 [1967]. even without regard to the fact that the statements made by him about sojourn in Hongkong of six Justices of the Supreme Court were clearly in relation to a case involving two (2) public utility companies. Commissioner of Immigration v. . Montalban v. constitutes likewise criminal contempt. Cloribel. Director of Prisons. Jurado nor anyone in his behalf has ever spoken to . Contempt is punishable. there is no contempt where there is no action pending. Andres v. there being no pending case or proceeding out of which a charge of direct contempt against him may arise. . to be shielded against the influence of newspaper comments. Philippine jurisprudence parallels a respectable array of English decisions holding contumacious scurrilous attacks against the courts calculated to bring them into disrepute. or with the two travel agencies it patronized or retained. A publication which tends to degrade the courts and to destroy public confidence in them or that which tends to bring them in any way into disrepute. Cabrera. Court of Industrial Relations. . . constitutes criminal contempt which is summarily punishable by courts.: Contempt. (12 Am. 127 SCRA 802 [1984]. pp. and (b) directed also that Jurado be furnished copies of Atty. in its Resolution of February 16. 26 His theory that there is no formal charge against him is specious. even if committed without relation to a pending case. In the second kind of contempt. . and is equally punishable by courts.. 567 [1923]. William Veto's . (b) positively affirm (i) that PLDT was "not even aware that any of the justices or their families . In the second. The foregoing disposes of Jurado's other contention that the present administrative matter is not a citation for direct contempt. even when made after the trial stage or after the end of the proceedings. 76 Phil. ." and (ii) that neither Atty. is the all-important duty of the courts to administer justice in the decision of a pending case. what is sought. As already stated. on account of such alleged trip. and (c) beseech the Court to "take such action (on the matter) as may be appropriate. Canonoy. 25 viz. embarrass or influence the courts in administering justice in a pending suit or proceeding. Samson) or any other responsible officer of PLDT about the matter . 44 Phil. with or without a pending case. Alarcon 24 — that there is no contempt if there is no pending case — has been abandoned in subsequent rulings of this Court which have since adopted the Moran dissent therein. as there is no decision which might in any be influenced by the newspaper publication. 416-417. In re Vicente Pelaez. 38 SCRA 1 [1971]." "(i)t is not dependent upon the complaint of any of the parties litigant" (Halili v. 54 Phil. as what is sought to be protected is the court itself and its dignity. 1993: (a) ordered the subject of Samson's letter and affidavit docketed as an official Court proceeding to determine the truth of Jurado's allegations about it. obstruct. Emil P. (said Mr. in the first kind of contempt. this. the contempt exists. or paid anything. In the language of the majority. The power to punish for contempt is "necessary for its own protection against improper interference with the due administration of justice. This is the rule announced in the cases relied upon by the majority. Herras Teehankee v. Samson of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company which: (a) "emphatically and categorically" deny that PLDT had made any arrangements with any travel agency. 82 Phil. the Court. His published statements about that alleged trip are branded as false in no uncertain terms by the sworn statement and letter of Vice-President Vicente R. by reason of publications relating to court and to court proceedings. A publication which tends to impede. 136 SCRA 112 [1985]. the punitive hand of justice is extended to vindicate the courts from any act or conduct calculated to bring them into disfavor or to destroy public confidence in them. and In re Vicente Sotto. In the first. 595 [1949]). 801 (1930]. Jur. (had) made the trip referred to in the Jurado column. The original doctrine laid down in People vs.

But his actions cannot be put into such neat compartments. It is thus not realistic. as journalist of no little experience and a lawyer to boot. he is open to sanctions as journalist who has misused and abused press freedom to put the judiciary in clear and present to the danger of disrepute and of public obdium and opprobrium.17 affidavit on the luncheon party hosted by him (which Jurado reported as one given by Equitable Bank) and that Jurado file comment on said affidavits as well as allegations in specified columns of his. Even absent this circumstance. What respondent proposes is that in considering his actions. sworn statements branding his reports as lies and thus imposing upon him the alternatives of substantiating those reports or assuming responsibility for their publication. Jurado would have the Court clarify in what capacity — whether a journalist. consciously or unconsciously. nor perhaps even possible. Thereby he resurrects the issue he once raised in a similar earlier proceeding: that he is being called to account as a lawyer for his statements as a journalist. bearing witness to the fact that in pursuing his craft as a journalist he calls upon his knowledge as a lawyer to help inform and influence his readers and enhance his credibility. The distinction is meaningless. he cannot credibly claim an inability to understand the nature and import of the present proceedings. treated differently than his other colleagues in media who were only asked to explain their reports and comments about wrongdoing in the judiciary to the Ad Hoc Committee. or interfere with the disposition of its business or the performance of its functions in an orderly manner. the Court judge them only as those of a member of the press and disregard the fact that he is also a lawyer." That that was in fact how he understood it is evident from his submitted defenses. although it may aggravate liability. a person's acts are determined by. to come to fair. and there is no question of the Court's authority to call him to task either as a newsman or as a lawyer. the Court may hold anyone to answer for utterances offensive to its dignity. In the case of respondent in particular the Court will take judicial notice of the frequent appearance in his regular columns of comments and observations utilizing legal language and argument. The answer is that upon all that has so far been said. what was said about the matter in that earlier case is equally cogent here: Respondent expresses perplexity at being called to account for the publications in question in his capacity as a member of the bar. and that action would be taken thereon against him as "may be appropriate. by being required to submit to a separate administrative proceeding. even supposing. since as the matter stands. which is not the case — that he may thereby be found without accountability in this matter. or as a member of the bar — he has been cited in these proceeding. Jurado has not been singled out. In the natural order of things. denying or negativing liability for contempt. honor or reputation which tend to put it in disrepute. detriment and prejudice of the administration of justice. and asks why he is being singled out. he has failed to justify his actuations in either capacity. and reflect. and. and was required to comment thereon. respondent cannot honestly assert that in exercising his profession as journalist he does not somehow. What has happened is that there have been brought before the Court. Upon the doctrines and principles already inquired into and cited. Indeed. not as a journalist. It was thus made clear to him that he was being called to account for his published statements about the matters referred to. Jurado would also claim that the Court has no administrative supervision over him as a member of the press or over his work as a journalist. Jurado was also furnished copies of the affidavits later submitted by the two travel agencies mentioned in Samson's statement. the sum total of his knowledge. direct indirect. That he is at the same time a member of the bar has nothing to do with the setting in of those sanctions. draw upon his legal knowledge and training. At any rate. obstruct the administration of justice. training and experience. formally and in due course. 27 This is not the case at all. informed and intelligent judgment of respondent's actuations by divorcing from consideration the fact that he is a lawyer as well as a newspaperman. respondent cannot claim absolution even were the Court to lend ear to his plea that his actions be judged solely as those of a newspaperman . To repeat.

Jurado was merely invited to appear before it to give information in aid of its assigned task of ascertaining the truth concerning persistent rumors and reports about corruption in the judiciary. herein specified" — because of explicit claims. "that the Clerk of Court SEND COPIES of the PLDT letter and affidavit. Justices Puno and Melo that would invoke freedom of the press to purge Jurado's conduct of any taint of contempt must now be briefly addressed. in the same Resolution. that subpoenae had in fact been issued to and served on Jurado. that compelled the Court to order the matter to be docketed on February 16. William Veto to Atty. intended or even contemplated. 28 with the former praying that the Court take such action as may be appropriate." and that Jurado should comment thereon "as well as (on) the allegations made by him in his columns. 1993 and to require respondent Jurado to file his Comment. for instance. As is made clear in Sub-Heads 3 and 4 of this opinion. (2) No Blanket Excuse Under RA 53 From Responding to Subpoena Even assuming that the facts were as presented in the separate opinion. appear to have generated an attitude on their part bordering on defiant insolence. i. 8. (1) No Summons or Subpoena Ever Issued to Jurado The fact is that no summons or subpoena was ever issued to Jurado by the Ad Hoc Committee. his unexplained failure to obey the same would prima facie constitute constructive contempt under Section 3. The Dissents The eloquent. . there appears to be some misapprehension not only about the antecedents directly leading to the proceedings at bar but also the basic issues involved. nor was the issuance of any such or similar processes. Apparent Misapprehension of Antecedents and Issue Regrettably. No. and of the affidavit of Atty. and thereby abridges the freedom of the press. supported by affidavits. despite the indifference of some of its invitees and projected witnesses.A. The direct cause was the letters of PLDT and Atty. There thus also appears to be some misapprehension of the basic issues. 1993. and indications of the falsity or.. that it was chiefly Jurado's failure to appear before the Ad Hoc Committee in response to two (2) letters of invitation issued to him. by Resolution dated February 16. a. It .. or "invitations" to appear in administrative investigations. well-crafted dissents of Messrs. the Court also requiring." this. summons. inaccuracy thereof. Emil Jurado . 53. The dissents appear to be of the view. or any punitive measures for disobedience thereto. Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. And it was precisely "the matter dealt with in the letter and affidavit of the PLDT" that this Court ordered to "be duly DOCKETED. the direct cause of these proceedings was not Jurado's refusal to appear and give evidence before the Ad Hoc Committee.e. supra.18 unburdened by the duties and responsibilities peculiar to the law profession of which he is also a member. and the Court itself also took no action. There is thus absolutely no occasion to ascribe to that investigation and the invitation to appear thereat a "chilling effect" on the by and large "hard-boiled" and selfassured members of the media fraternity. Like most witnesses who gave evidence before the Committee. and hereafter considered and acted upon as an official Court proceeding. This is not the case at all. When he declined to accept the invitations." and (2) their right "not to reveal confidential sources of information under R. at least two of which are framed in this wise: (1) the right of newsmen to refuse subpoenas. as amended" — which are not really involved here — in respect of which it is theorized that the majority opinion will have an inhibiting effect on newsmen's confidential sources of information. the patience and forbearance of the Court. William Veto. If at all. . denouncing certain of his stories as false. the Ad Hoc Committee took no action save to inform the Court thereof.

RA 53 Confers No Immunity from Liability for False or Defamatory Publications This opinion neither negates nor seeks to enervate the proposition that a newsman has a right to keep his sources confidential.A. e. and the Ad Hoc Committee having foreborne to take any action at all as regards his failure to accept its invitations. the publication of its character as defamatory.A. It does not declare that the publication of any news report or information which was "related in confidence" to the journalist is not actionable. as set out in the opening sentence of this opinion. The preceding discussions have revealed Jurado's . b. for R. essentially concerns "(l)iability for published statements demonstrably false or misleading. such circumstance (of confidentiality) does not purge.A. and derogatory of the courts and individual judges. unless the security of the State demands such revelation.g. but to exercise honest and reasonable efforts to determine the truth of defamatory statements before publishing them. In the latter event. . he must be ready to accept the consequences of publishing untruthful or misleading stories the truth and accuracy of which he is unwilling or made no bona fide effort to prove. or invoking press freedom. thereby putting an entire institution — like the judiciary in this case — in peril of public contumely and mistrust without serious risk of being sued for defamation.19 should be obvious that a journalist may not refuse to appear at all as required by a subpoena on the bare plea that under R. or (b) to refuse. His duty is clear.A. 53. or others. He must appear at the appointed place. and actionable on that ground. He must obey the subpoena. For until he knows what questions will be put to him as witness — for which his presence has been compelled — the relevance of R. The Actual Issue The issue therefore had nothing to do with any failure of Jurado's to obey a subpoena. He is not being compelled to guarantee the truth of what he publishes. No. 53 thus confers no immunity from prosecution for libel or for other sanction under law. and when called to account for such statements. calling or persuasion." R. The issue. he has refused. All it does is give the journalist the right to refuse (or not to be compelled) to reveal the source of any news report published by him which was revealed to him in confidence. date and hour. or that a certain Judge maintains a mistress. or for refusing to appear and give testimony before the Ad Hoc Committee. after being denounced as lies. d. or is unable. that he cannot be compelled by the courts to disclose them. No 53.A. liability under civil and criminal laws. 53. as amended. 53. A journalist cannot say. 53 cannot be ascertained. and he may invoke the protection of the statute only at the appropriate time." Jurado is not being called to account for declining to identify the sources of his news stories.A. The ruling. in other words. absolve himself by claiming immunity under R. is quite unequivocal that the right of refusal to disclose sources is "without prejudice to . he may not be compelled to disclose the source of his information. . But it does hold that he There is hardly need to belabor the familiar doctrine about group libel and how it has become the familiar resort of unscrupulous newsmen who can malign any number of anonymous members of a common profession. the journalist has the option (a) to demonstrate their truthfulness or accuracy even if in the process he disclose his sources. none ever having been issued to him.: a person of whose veracity I have no doubt told me in confidence that Justices X and Y received a bribe of P1M each for their votes in such and such a case. as provided by R. He is being meted the punishment appropriate to the publication of stories shown to be false and defamatory of the judiciary — stories that he made no effort whatsoever to verify and which. however. A Word about "Group Libel" c. to substantiate. on the ground that to do so would require such disclosure. cannot invoke such right as a shield against liability for printing stories that are untrue and derogatory of the courts. if indeed it be such. ready to answer questions. is that when called to account for publications denounced as inaccurate and misleading.

This resort to generalities and ambiguities is an old and familiar but reprehensible expedient of newsmongers to avoid criminal sanctions since the American doctrine of group libel is of restricted application in this jurisdiction. the journalist's duty is clear: ascertain. if not obtain. the journalist is entitled to no protection or immunity whatsoever. Jurado could not have been unaware of the foregoing realities and consequences. the information furnished is either capable of independent substantiation. his duty to the truth." as unidentified trial judges in Makati and three other cities. but such a craven publication inevitably succeeds in putting all the members of the judiciary thus all together referred to under a cloud of suspicion. A veteran journalist and lawyer of long standing that he is. and six unnamed justices of this Court who reportedly spent a prepaid vacation in Hong Kong with their families. If the information is not verifiable. Advertences to lofty principle. and if thereafter called to account therefor. and that. to the opportunity of obtaining just satisfaction from the traducer. if indeed traduced. if not his normal practice of. the "Dirty Dozen. Need for Guidelines e. This totally overlooks the fact that the object of a derogatory publication has at least an equal right to know the source thereof and. accordingly. too. then it ought not to be published for obvious reasons. the "Magnificent Seven" in the Supreme Court. is whether or not we are prepared to say that a journalist's obligation to protect his sources of information transcends. plainly. when called upon. the evidence by which the information may be verified before publishing the same." by merely referring to undisclosed regional trial court judges in Makati. . and it is derogatory of any third party. and is greater than. If the first. And it would afford an unscrupulous journalist a ready device by which to smear third parties without the obligation to substantiate his imputations by merely claiming that the information had been given to him "in confidence". It would be unfair to the subject of the report.20 predilection for. or exercise bona fide efforts to verify. The question. For want of a definitely identified or satisfactorily identifiable victim. Thus. he has no obligation whatsoever to verify. as some undesignated justices who supposedly vote as one. If the latter. who would be without means of refuting the imputations against him. What clearly is implied is that journalist may not reveal his source without the latter's clearance or consent. If the "source" actually exists. he speaks of the "Magnificent Seven. refusing to specifically identify or render identifiable the persons he maligns. and that it is intended to protect also the source itself. but immediate and very pertinent. to demonstrate their truth on the ground of press freedom or by simply claiming that he need not do so since (or if) it would compel him to disclose the identity of his source or sources. He adverts to an anonymous group of justices and judges for whom a bank allegedly hosted a party. or it is not. Substantiation of News Report Not Inconsistent with RA 53 It is argued that compelling a journalist to substantiate the news report or information confidentially revealed to him would necessarily negate or dilute his right to refuse disclosure of its source. 9. hardly address the mundane. the information he is given or obtain the side of the party adversely affected before he publishes the same. A journalist's "source" either exists or is fictitious. present such evidence and in the process afford the party adversely affected thereby opportunity to dispute the information or show it to be false. there is generally no actionable libel. The argument will not stand scrutiny. It is suggested that there is another face to the privileged character of a journalist's source of information than merely the protection of the journalist. question of whether a journalist may put in print unverified information derogatory of the courts and judges and yet remain immune from liability for contempt for refusing. however eloquent and enlightening.

thereby hampering the operation of the Government with. . . specially the persistent and unmitigated dissemination of patent lies. He had no legal right. selfish and vindictive ends. "The use of calculated falsehood. and the courts are denied the mechanisms by which to make reasonably sure that only the truth reaches print. have commendably refrained from ventilating what ." 31 this Court. No "Chilling Effect" The fear expressed. 29 while asserting that "(u)nder the First Amendment there is no such thing as a false idea. that the principles here affirmed would have a "chilling effect" on media professionals. out of considerations of truth. gossip or rumor. may further the fruitful exercise of the right of free speech.S. accuracy. 30 "would put a different cast on the constitutional question. 86 L Ed 1031. . even if inaccurate. . Although honest utterances. and earlier adverted to. 376 US. to the detriment of public service and public order. Otherwise. should enjoy a like immunity. No Constitutional Protection for Deliberately False or Recklessly Inaccurate Reports It is worth stressing that false reports about a public official or other person are not shielded from sanction by the cardinal right to free speech enshrined in the Constitution." Chaplinsky v. New York Times Co." it was observed in another case.21 True. moral. and are of such slight social value as a step to the truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality. and fair play. 11 L Ed 2d 686. . 62 S Ct 766 (1942)." it said. a. at 270. (T)he knowingly false statement and the false statement made with reckless disregard of the truth. it does not follow that the lie. viz. nevertheless inevitable in free debate. knowingly and deliberately published about a public official. v. would be a convenient excuse to engage in the vituperation of individuals. Defendant's civil duty was to help the Government clean house and weed out dishonest. nonetheless made the firm pronouncement that "there is no constitutional value in false statements of fact. . the pre-eminent role of a free press in keeping freedom alive and democracy in full bloom cannot be overemphasized." "Neither the intentional lie nor the careless error. The value of information to a free society is in direct proportion to the truth it contains. or social duty. new Hampshire.: . . That value reduces to little or nothing when it is no longer possible for the public to distinguish between truth and falsehood in news reports. we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas" (citing a passage from the first Inaugural Address of Thomas Jefferson)." and "the erroneous statement of fact is not worthy of constitutional protection (although) . which is guaranteed with a view to strengthening our democratic institutions and promoting the general welfare. or foster the circulation of rumors. robust." Similarly." and that "(h)owever pernicious an opinion may seem. without reasonable restraints designed to assure the truth and accuracy of what is published. administrative investigations of charges preferred without any color or appearance of truth and with no other probable effect than the harassment of the officer or employee concerned. where there is reasonable ground to believe that they fall under this category. do not enjoy constitutional protection. in a 1969 case concerning a patently false accusation made against a public employee avowedly in fulfillment of a "legal. Sullivan. or jump at conclusions and more so if they are gratuitous or groundless. 95 ALR2d 1412. to gossip. "materially advances society's interest in "unhibited. b. by and large. They belong to that category of utterances which "are no essential part of any exposition of ideas. the freedom of speech. 572. for the attainment of private. much less duty. Supreme Court. and wide-open" debate on public issues. ruled that the guaranty of free speech cannot be considered as according protection to the disclosure of lies. seems largely unfounded and should be inconsequential to the greater number of journalists in this country who. The U. unfit or disloyal officers and employees thereof. through the late Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion. But it is debatable if that role is well and truly filled by a press let loose to print what it will. 315 US 568. Even the most liberal view of free speech has never countenanced the publication of falsehoods.

from time to time. recklessness and crass sensationalism should be eschewed. The people's right to discover the truth is not advanced by unbridled license in reportage that would find favor only with extremist liberalism. on the other hand. this case has made clear the compelling necessity of the guidelines and parameters elsewhere herein laid down. WHEREFORE. 33 It may be said that respect to courts cannot be compelled and that public confidence should be a tribute to judicial worth. be pulled down and disrobed of his judicial authority to face his assailant on equal grounds and prosecute cases in his behalf as a private individual. 32 and are as germane today as when they were first written more than fifty (50) years ago.00). In merely seeking to infuse and perpetuate the same attitude and sense of responsibility in all journalists. 26 Ala. They are eminently reasonable. . by newspaper publications. this decision. By doing them. 10.e. will. But compelling respect to courts is one thing and denying the courts the power to vindicate themselves when outraged is another. 134 N. 54 Ala. however. E. that there is a need to check out the truth and correctness of information before publishing it. with the words of Chief Justice Moran. . and no responsible journalist should have cause to complain of difficulty in their observance. public interests will gravely suffer where the judge. 130. law and order require that he follow the processes provided by the Constitution and the statutes by instituting the corresponding proceedings for impeachment or otherwise. demonstrate gross irresponsibility. Clearly unrepentant. the outrage is not directed to the judge as a private individual but to the judge as such or to the court as an organ of the administration of justice. Jurado's actuations. Parson. Afterword It seems fitting to close this opinion.. no rational basis in principle. the avalanche of his wrath and venom upon courts and judges. This suggestion has. 1993. and leaves no choice save the application of sanctions appropriate to the offense.000. 580. In the second place. ." he wrote in his column of March 21.22 would otherwise be "sensational" or "high-visibility" stories. . force (Hamilton v. or that. Emil (Emiliano) P. xxx xxx xxx It might be suggested that judges who are unjustly attacked have a remedy in an action for libel. whose pronouncements have already been earlier quoted. Jurado guilty of contempt of court and in accordance with Section 6. decent and responsible journalists who live by their Code or the "Golden Rule" and who strive at all times to maintain the prestige and nobility of their calling. and again. i. The same reasons of public policy which exempt a judge from civil liability in the exercise of his judicial functions. the Court declares Atty. They constitute contempt of court." in his column of March 23. In the first place. Busteed v. If he believes that a judge is corrupt and that justice has somewhere been perverted. virtue and intelligence. If it has done nothing else. . 191 Ind. exhibiting no remorse for the acts and conduct detailed here. State. I know of no principle of law that authorizes with impunity a discontended citizen to unleash. Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. if not superior. Such an attitude discourages leniency. he has placed himself beyond the circle of reputable. in the context in which they were done. applies here with equal. "I will not run away from a good fight. 120 Fed. 194). cannot have such "chilling effect. most fundamental of which is the policy to confine his time exclusively to the discharge of his public duties. . Williams. hereby sentences him to pay a fine of one thousand pesos (P1. directly tending as they do to degrade or abase the administration of justice and the judges engaged in that function. as such. Coons v. surely. 403." and no apprehension that it would deter the determination of truth or the public exposure of wrong can reasonably be entertained. "This is a fight I will not run from. and indifference to factual accuracy and the injury that he might cause to the name and reputation of those of whom he wrote. Ex parte McLeod. Jurado has maintained a defiant stance. 1993. . 529.

reference was made to persistent intelligence reports affirm[ing] the plans of subversive/criminal elements to infiltrate and/or disrupt any assembly or congregations where a large number of people is expected to attend. in behalf of the ANTI-BASES COALITION (ABC). 1 against an alleged intrusion by respondent Mayor Ramon Bagatsing. 3 it was stated that after the delivery of two brief speeches. 2 During the course of the oral argument. Reyes. Vitug and Kapunan. took no part. a petition based on the resolution adopted on the last day by the International Conference for General Disbarmament. 1983. RAMON BAGATSING. JJ. No. On October 25. 5 It turned out that on October 19. Quiason.." 7 Respondent Mayor suggested." 6 To be more specific. C. would be presented to a representative of the Embassy or any of its personnel who may be there so that it may be delivered to the United States Ambassador. Tañada Jose W. concur. FERNANDO. a short program would be held.:ñé+. World Peace and the Removal of All Foreign Military Bases held in Manila. is called upon to delineate the boundaries of the protected area of the cognate rights to free speech and peaceable assembly. at least as to some aspects. Yorac for petitioner. vs. 1983 from 2:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon. The reason for refusing a permit was due to police intelligence reports which strongly militate against the advisability of issuing such permit at this time and at the place applied for. starting from the Luneta.. The march would be attended by the local and foreign participants of such conference. in this case of first impression. that "a permit may be issued for the rally if it is to be held at the Rizal Coliseum or any other enclosed area . hardly two blocks away. and in an open space of public property. on behalf of the Anti-Bases Coalition sought a permit from the City of Manila to hold a peaceful march and rally on October 26. Bellosillo. Diokno and Haydee B. There was likewise an assurance in the petition that in the exercise of the constitutional rights to free speech and assembly. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.23 IT IS SO ORDERED.J.L. Mendoza and Francisco. REYES. Romero. Feliciano. as Mayor of the City of Manila. Lorenzo M. Petitioner was unaware of such a fact as the denial was sent by ordinary mail. petitioner. the answer of respondent Mayor was filed on his behalf by Assistant Solicitor General Eduardo G. Regalado Davide. Bidin. such permit was denied. all the necessary steps would be taken by it "to ensure a peaceful march and rally.R. Jr. however. L-65366 November 9. a public park. Once there. Montenegro. to the gates of the United States Embassy. 1983 was due to the fact that as of that date. 1983 JOSE B. respondent.. in accordance with the recommendation of the police authorities. retired Justice JB L.£ªwph!1 This Court." 4 The filing of this suit for mandamus with alternative prayer for writ of preliminary mandatory injunction on October 20. petitioner had not been informed of any action taken on his request on behalf of the organization to hold a rally. JJ. Petitioner. The Solicitor General for respondent.

The Court then deliberated on the matter. a minute resolution was issued by the Court granting the mandatory injunction prayed for on the ground that there was no showing of the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that could justify the denial of a permit. public health." 8 The oral argument was heard on October 25. as 's the case with freedom of expression. while not Identical. well-defined limits. But utterance in a context of violence can lose its significance as an appeal to reason and become part of an instrument of force. the very same day the answer was filed. Collins. of a serious evil to public safety. It means more than just the right to be heard of the person who feels aggrieved or who is dissatisfied with things as they are. The sole justification for a limitation on the exercise of this right. much less denied. 1983. 20 it was not by accident or coincidence that the right to freedom of speech and of the press were toupled in a single guarantee with the and to petition the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. That is to ensure a true ferment of Ideas. the every case. On this point. arising from the denial of a permit. There are. public morals. of course. What is guaranteed is peaceable assembly. the utterance. The Constitution is quite explicit: "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech. however. 18 Even prior to the 1935 Constitution. the Court was unanimous. of a character both grave and imminent. 19 To paraphrase opinion of Justice Rutledge speaking for the majority of the American Supreme Court Thomas v. Back of the guaranty of free speech lay faith in the power of an appeal to reason by all the peaceful means for gaining access to the mind. that the Bill of Rights was the child of the Enlightenment. It is thus clear that the Court is called upon to protect the exercise of the cognate rights to free speech and peaceful assembly." 10 Free speech. or any other legitimate public interest. Its value may lie in the fact that there may be something worth hearing from the dissenter. Justice Maicolm had occasion to stress that it is a necessary consequence of our republican institutions and complements the right of free speech. may be Identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public concern without censorship or punishment. All these rights. except on a showing. 7295 of the City of Manila. so fundamental to the maintenance of democratic institutions. 14 or contempt proceedings 15 unless there be a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that [the State] has a right to prevent. 12 prosecution for sedition. The last sentence of such minute resolution reads: "This resolution is without prejudice to a more extended opinion. 17 It is entitled to be accorded the utmost deference and respect. therefo re there is a limitation placed on the exercise of this right. That same afternoon. Nor is this the sole reason for the expression of dissent. whether verbal or printed. resort to nonpeaceful means may be the only alternative. It was in order to avert force and explosions due to restrictions upon rational modes of communication that the guaranty of free speech was given a generous scope. Nowhere is the rationale that underlies the freedom of expression and peaceable assembly better expressed than in this excerpt from an opinion of Justice Frankfurter: "It must never be forgotten. being in a context of violence. It must always be remembered that this right likewise provides for a safety valve. For if the peaceful means of communication cannot be availed of. 11 There is to be then no previous restraint on the communication of views or subsequent liability whether in libel suits." 9 Hence this detailed exposition of the Court's stand on the matter. One may not . are inseparable. 21 2. 1. the judiciary is called upon to examine the effects of the challenged governmental actuation. allowing parties the opportunity to give vent to their-views.24 where the safety of the participants themselves and the general public may be ensured." 16 Freedom of assembly connotes the right people to meet peaceably for consultation and discussion of matters Of public concern. It is hot to be limited. like free press. is the danger. or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances. even if contrary to the prevailing climate of opinion. Such utterance was not meant to be sheltered by the Constitution. or of the press. of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent." 22 What was rightfully stressed is the abandonment of reason. but there was a dissent by Justice Aquino on the ground that the holding of a rally in front of the US Embassy would be violative of Ordinance No. 13 or action for damages.

there can be no valid reason why a permit should not be granted for the or oposed march and rally starting from a public dark that is the Luneta." 24 It bears repeating that for the constitutional right to be invoked. L. To give free rein to one's destructive urges is to call for condemnation. imply the existence of an organized society maintaining public order without which liberty itself would be lost in the excesses of unrestricted abuses. of Justice Roberts in Hague v. . injury to property. where." 28 a 1915 decision. of 1939 vintage. where this Court categorically affirmed that plazas or parks and streets are outside the commerce of man and thus nullified a contract that leased Plaza Soledad of plaintiff-municipality. The utmost calm though is not required. and liberties of citizens. and acts of vandalism must be avoided. section 2. but it must not. have been used for purposes of assembly. 145. State of New Hampshire. And the Supreme Court of the United States. but relative. and held valid. Apurado: 23 "It is rather to be expected that more or less disorder will mark the public assembly of the people to protest against grievances whether real or imaginary. be abridged or denied. 569.' was construed by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire as not conferring upon the licensing board unfettered discretion to refuse to grant the license. "Civil liberties.S..25 advocate disorder in the name of protest. In holding that the then Mayor Fugoso of the City of Manila should grant a permit for a public meeting at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo. to a consideration of the time. in the guise of regulation. Reference was made to such plaza "being a promenade for public use. Primicias v. hardly two block-away at the Roxas Boulevard. place. in the issuance of licenses. 3. in its decision (1941) penned by Chief Justice Hughes affirming the judgment of the State Supreme Court. In that case. United States v. the statute of New Hampshire P. been a part of the privileges. and the greater the grievance and the more intense the feeling. Such use of the streets and public places has. they have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and. The Constitution frowns on disorder or tumult attending a rally or assembly." 29 which certainly is not the only purpose that it could serve. the licensing authorities are strictly limited. The privilege of a citizen of the United States to use the streets and parks for communication of views on national questions may be regulated in the interest of all. CIO: 25 Whenever the title of streets and parks may rest. To repeat.. riotous conduct. 312 U. resort to force is ruled out and outbreaks of violence to be avoided. shall 'De permitted unless a special license therefor shall first be explained from the selectmen of the town or from licensing committee. As pointed out in an early Philippine case. and discussing public questions. communicating thoughts between citizens. Fugoso. as guaranteed by the Constitution.. and must be exercised in subordination to the general comfort and convenience. It is to make a mockery of the high estate occupied by intellectual liberty in our scheme of values. providing that 'no parade or procession upon any ground abutting thereon. as the statute is construed by the state courts. 4. Rojas. the less perfect. Fugoso has resolved any lurking doubt on the matter. this Court categorically declared: "Our conclusion finds support in the decision in the case of Willis Cox vs. with a view to conserving the public convenience and of affording an opportunity to provide proper policing. There can be no legal objection. The authority of a municipality to impose regulations in order to assure the safety and convenience of the . on the choice of Luneta as the place where the peace rally would start. Neither can there be any valid objection to the use of the streets. from ancient times. 26 The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Primicias v. immunities. and in consonance with peace and good order. penned in 1907 to be precise. as a rule. and manner of the parade or procession. and are not invested with arbitrary discretion to issue or refuse license. chap. will be the disciplinary control of the leaders over their irresponsible followers. The Philippines is committed to the view expressed in the plurality opinion. 27 Primicias made explicit what was implicit in Municipality of Cavite v. rights. because on such occasions feeling is always wrought to a high pitch of excitement. absent the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil. to the gates of the US Embassy. it is not absolute. " 30 Nor should the point made by Chief Justice Hughes in a subsequent portion of the opinion be ignored. held that 'a statute requiring persons using the public streets for a parade or procession to procure a special license therefor from the local authorities is not an unconstitutional abridgment of the rights of assembly or of freedom of speech and press. time out of mind. much less preach rebellion under the cloak of dissent.

34 That being the case. would have arisen. Hence. or disturbance of the peace of the mission. it should be a part of the law of the land. evil to a legitimate public interest. only the guilty parties should be held accountable. The law declared on past occasions is. As of that date then. whether an individual or a group. it is settled law that as to public places. " 32 The Constitution "adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land. if the march would end at another park. it was binding on the Philippines. The principle under American doctrines was given utterance by Chief Justice Hughes in these words: "The question. So it has been here. a safe guide. especially so as to parks and streets. October 25. no question. Where a restriction of the use of highways in that relation is designed to promote the public convenience in the interest of all. too. To repeat. proceeding through Roxas Boulevard to the gates of the United States Embassy located at the same street. Even then. and was thereafter deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations on November 15. not as to The relations of the speakers." 31 5. if the rights of free speech and peaceable assembly are to be preserved. So. If the rally were confined to Luneta. 7295 of the City of Manila prohibiting the holding or staging of rallies or demonstrations within a radius of five hundred (500) feet from any foreign mission or chancery and for other purposes. composed primarily of those in attendance at the International Conference for General Disbarmament.. That would be followed by the handing over of a petition based on the resolution adopted at the closing session of the Anti-Bases Coalition. there is freedom of access. or impairment of its dignity. The control of travel on the streets of cities is the most familiar illustration of this recognition of social need. then the freedom of access becomes discriminatory access. the judgment must be confined within the limits of previous decisions. there would be a justification for the denial of the permit insofar as the terminal point would be the Embassy. 1965. There was no justification then to deny the exercise of the constitutional rights of tree speech and peaceable assembly.26 people in the use of public highways has never been regarded as inconsistent with civil liberties but rather as one of the means of safeguarding the good order upon which they ultimately depend. as noted. it cannot be disregarded by the attempted exercise of some civil right which in other circumstances would be entitled to protection." 33 To the extent that the Vienna Convention is a restatement of the generally accepted principles of international law. There is a novel aspect to this case. World Peace and the Removal of All Foreign Military Bases would start from the Luneta. There is merit to the observation that except as to the novel aspects of a litigation. on the afternoon of the hearing.. Unless the ordinance is nullified. if there were a clear and present danger of any intrusion or damage. 1983. . That would deprive it of its peaceful character. as noted." 36 There could be danger to public peace and safety if such a gathering were marked by turbulence. is not as to the auspices under which the meeting is held but as to its purpose. or declared ultra vires. giving rise to an equal protection question. that question the confronts this Court. this Court issued the minute resolution granting the mandatory injunction allowing the proposed march and rally scheduled for the next day. The Philippines is a signatory of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations adopted in 1961. Nor is their use dependent on who is the applicant for the permit. there would be a short program upon reaching the public space between the two gates of the United States Embassy at Roxas Boulevard. respondent Mayor relied on Ordinance No. but whether their utterances transcend the bounds of the freedom of speech which the Constitution protects. its invocation as a defense is understandable but not decisive. If it were. Even if shown then to be applicable. Moreover. 35 The participants to such assembly. here . 1965 and the instrument of ratification was signed by the President on October 11. It is true that the licensing official. on the whole. These rights are assured by our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The second paragraph of the Article 22 reads: "2. 6. As previously mentioned though. That conclusion was inevitable ill the absence of a clear and present danger of a substantive. The receiving State is under a special duty to take appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of the mission or impairment of its dignity. in view of the primacy accorded the constitutional rights of free speech and peaceable assembly. It was concurred in by the then Philippine Senate on May 3.

unfettered discretion. So it was made clear in the original resolution of October 25.' " 40 Assistant Solicitor General Montenegro expressed the view that the presence of policemen may in itself be a provocation. Metropolitan Police Force. the assurance of General Narciso Cabrera. he acted on the belief that Navarro v. that the police force is in a position to cope with such emergency should it arise That is to comply with its duty to extend protection to the participants of such peaceable assembly. Respondent Mayor posed the issue of the applicability of Ordinance No. Thus if so minded. 39 called for application. — even more so than on the other departments — rests the grave and delicate responsibility of assuring respect for and deference to such preferred rights. the presumption must be to incline the weight of the scales of justice on the side of such rights. Villegas. 8. "all the necessary steps would be taken by it 'to ensure a peaceful march and rally. this Court was persuaded that the clear and present danger test was satisfied. that case is pro tanto modified.27 respondent Mayor. It was made clear by petitioner. By way of a summary The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly should inform the licensing authority of the date. are highly ranked in our scheme of constitutional values. In fairness to respondent Mayor. must be transmitted to them at the earliest opportunity. No verbal formula. Such application should be filed well ahead in time to enable the public official concerned to appraise whether there may be valid objections to the grant of the permit or to its grant but at another public place. that no act offensive to the dignity of the United States Mission in the Philippines would take place and that. 1983. 9. is not to be "abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place. along with the other intellectual freedoms. Superintendent. whether favorable or adverse. to the extent that there may be inconsistencies between this resolution and that of Navarro v. but ever ready and alert to cope with any contingency. dispense with what has been so felicitiously termed by Justice Holmes "as the sovereign prerogative of judgment. in the language of Justice Roberts. There is no need to repeat what was pointed out by Chief Justice Hughes in Cox that precisely. the applicants must be heard on the matter. While the General rule is that a permit should recognize the right of the applicants to hold their assembly at a public place of their choice. Villegas 38 and Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP. the public place where and the time when it will take place.) v. It is an indispensable condition to such refusal or modification that the clear and present danger test be the standard for the decision reached. It cannot be too strongly stressed that on the judiciary. The mere assertion that subversives may infiltrate the ranks of the demonstrators does not suffice. Also from him came the commendable admission that there were the least five previous demonstrations at the Bayview hotel Area and Plaza Ferguson in front of the United States Embassy where no untoward event occurred. Not that it should be overlooked. as mentioned at the outset of this opinion. then. 7295 of the City of Manila prohibiting the holding or staging of rallies or . Western Police District. only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required. through counsel. speaking for the American Supreme Court. If he is of the view that there is such an imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil. another place may be designated by the licensing authority if it be shown that there is a clear and present danger of a substantive evil if no such change were made. The exercise of such a right. of course. given all the relevant circumstances. however. Thereafter. is not devoid of discretion in determining whether or not a permit would be granted. his decision. Hence the decision reached by the Court." Nonetheless. In the Navarro and the Pagkakaisa decisions." 37 7. The present situation is quite different. still the assumption — especially so where the assembly is scheduled for a specific public — place is that the permit must be for the assembly being held there. Clearly then. While prudence requires that there be a realistic appraisal not of what may possibly occur but of what may probably occur. enjoying as they do precedence and primacy. Bagatsing. If it were a private place. It is not. no sanctifying phrase can. It is a sufficient answer that they should stay at a discreet distance. it is the duty of the city authorities to provide the proper police protection to those exercising their right to peaceable assembly and freedom of expression. Free speech and peaceable assembly. however. There was in this case. can have recourse to the proper judicial authority.

petitioners. Guerrero. There was no showing. 1983. CESAR MIJARES. as there was urgency in this case. TOMAS B. The validity of his denial of the permit sought could still be challenged. It may be noted that the peaceful character of the peace march and rally on October 26 was not marred by any untoward incident. Ordinarily. in his capacity as the President of the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation.R. concur. the mandatory injunction prayed for is granted. . in his capacity as the Director for Academic Affairs of the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation. No costs. MESINA. 10. The high estate accorded the rights to free speech and peaceable assembly demands nothing less. then the qualification and observation of Justices Makasiar and Plana certainly cannot be summarily brushed aside. As in this case there was no proof that the distance is less than 500 feet. in his capacity as Chief Legal Counsel & Security Supervisor of the Gregorio . EVELIO JALOS. is on leave. and JUNE LEE..28 demonstrations within a radius of five hundred (500) feet from any foreign mission or chancery and for other purposes. ATTY.. the proposed march and rally being scheduled for the next day after the hearing. BEN LUTHER LUCAS. the remedy in cases of this character is to set aside the denial or the modification of the permit sought and order the respondent official. So it has been in other assemblies held elsewhere. this Court. in his capacity as the Director of the National Capital Region of the Ministry of Education. vs. No. Culture and Sports. to grant it.. It could be argued that a case of unconstitutional application of such ordinance to the exercise of the right of peaceable assembly presents itself. granted the mandatory injunction in the resolution of October 25. Jr. J. reason and moderation have prevailed. That is as it should be. however.JJ. 1984 CRISPIN MALABANAN. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. GONZALO DEL ROSARIO. SOTERO LEONERO. Concepcion. De Castro. Jr. L-62270 May 21. THE HONORABLE ANASTACIO D. Escolin. Should it come. that the distance between the chancery and the embassy gate is less than 500 feet. WHEREFORE. in the exercise of its conceded authority. LEONARDO PADILLA. THE GREGORIO ARANETA UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION. It is quite reassuring such that both on the part of the national government and the citizens. in his capacity as the Dean of Student Affairs of the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation. Nonetheless. RAMENTO. Melencio-Herrera. Even if it could be shown that such a condition is satisfied. the need to pass on that issue was obviated. Relova and Gutierrez. it does not follow that respondent Mayor could legally act the way he did. It is to be admitted that it finds support In the previously quoted Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

. Culture and Sports and the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation. as a result. thus allowing them to enroll. At 10:30 A. found petitioners guilty of the charge of having violated par. 1 The nullification of the decision of respondent Ramento affirming the action taken by respondent Gregorio Araneta University Foundation finding petitioners guilty of illegal assembly and suspending them is sought in this petition. 146(c) of the Manual for Private Schools more specifically their holding of an illegal assembly which was characterized by the violation of the permit granted resulting in the disturbance of classes and oral defamation. FABLITA AMMAY. 1982. as Director of the National Capital Region. this Court issued the following resolution: "Acting on the urgent ex-parte motion for the immediate issuance of a temporary mandatory order filed by counsel for petitioners. the place indicated in such permit. On October 20. FERNANDO. stopped their work because of the noise created. Then on September 9. Director of the National Capital Region of the Ministry of Education. They continued their demonstration. students of the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation. 1982. on August 27. The principal respondents are Anastacio D. Honesto N. At such gathering they manifested in vehement and vigorous language their opposition to the proposed merger of the Institute of Animal Science with the Institute of Agriculture. ROSENDO GALVANTE and EUGENIA TAYAO. 1982. effective as of this date and continuing until otherwise ordered by this Court. they held a general assembly at the Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science basketball court (VMAS).M. CJ. On November 16. the Court Resolved to ISSUE A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER enjoining all respondents or any person or persons acting in their place or stead from enforcing the order of the Ministry of' Education and Culture dated October 20. dated November 12. giving utterance to language severely critical of the University authorities and using megaphones in the process. The penalty was suspension for one academic year.M. They were asked to explain on the same day why they should not be held liable for holding an illegal assembly.29 Araneta University Foundation. in their capacities as members of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation. They sought and were granted by tile school authorities a permit to hold a meeting from 8:00 A. not in the basketball court as therein stated but at the second floor lobby. and Sports. 1982. The validity thereof was challenged by petitioners both before the Court of First Instance of Rizal in a petition for mandamus with damages against private respondents 2 and before the Ministry of Education. 1982 finding the petitioners guilty of the charges against them and suspending them for one (1) academic year with a stern warning that a commission of the same or another offense will be dealt with utmost severity. The facts are not open to dispute. Padilla & Pablita G. if so minded. ATTY. to 12:00 P. Culture. Private respondents prayed for the dismissal of the petition "for lack of factual and . respondent Ramento. Ammay for respondents. Pursuant to such permit. in this certiorari. There was. 1982. the same day.M. the non-academic employees. Petitioners were officers of the Supreme Student Council of respondent University. within hearing distance.: The failure to accord respect to the constitutional rights of freedom of peaceable assembly and free speech is the grievance alleged by petitioners. 3 Both public and private respondents submitted their comments. Ramento. disturbance of the classes being held. prohibition and mandamus proceeding. they marched toward the Life Science Building and continued their rally. Also. respondents. Salcedo for petitioners. The Solicitor General and Leonardo G. Hence this petition. It was outside the area covered by their permit. along with other students. they were formed through a memorandum that they were under preventive suspension for their failure to explain the holding of an illegal assembly in front of the Life Science Building.

by virtue of a permit granted to them by the school administration. This petition may be considered moot and academic if viewed solely from the fact that by virtue of the temporary restraining order issued by this Court petitioners were allowed to enroll in the ensuing semester. There is in the Reyes opinion as part of the summary this relevant excerpt: "The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly should inform the licensing authority of the date." 9 Petitioners did seek such consent. The petition must be granted and the decision of respondent Ramento nullified. they did disturb the classes and caused the work of the non-academic personnel to be left undone. However. only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required. This Court accordingly rules that respect for the constitutional rights of peaceable assembly and free speech calls for the setting aside of the decision of respondent Ramento." 7 2. for being violative of the constitutional rights of freedom of peaceable assembly and free speech. The assembly was to be held not in a public place but in private premises. on the other hand. Jr.and ordering their suspension for one (1) academic school year. Both are embraced in the concept of freedom of expression which is Identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully. Necessarily then. prayed for the dismissal of the petition based on the following conclusion: "Consequently. It was granted. a permit was sought to hold a peaceful march and rally from the Luneta public park to the gates of the united States Embassy. 5 With the submission of such comments considered as the answers of public and private respondents. a much lesser penalty being appropriate. the case was ready for decision. it is respectfully submitted that respondent Director of the MECS did not commit any error. except on a showing . much less denied. suspending them for one year is out of proportion to their misdeed.. As is quite clear from the opinion in Reyes v. where in an open space of public property. the public place where and the time when it will take place. In the above case. if they so desire. any matter of public interest without censorship or punishment and which "is not to be limited.. 8 3. the question of the use of a public park and of the streets leading to the United States Embassy was before this Court. If it were a private place. this proceeding is now moot and academic. 1982. the penalty imposed being unduly severe. Moreover. through the Office of the Solicitor General. there is need to pass squarely on the question raised. Lucas and Malabanan to finish their courses. Undeniably too. the Supreme . much less abused his discretion. Nonetheless. property of respondent University. The situation here is different.. According to the petition: "On August 27." 4 Public respondent Ramento. when he affirmed the decision of respondent University finding petitioners guilty of violations of the provisions of the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools and the Revised Student's Code of Discipline . Bagatsing. hardly two blocks away. of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent. Nonetheless.30 legal basis and likewise [prayed] for the lifting of the temporary restraining order dated November 16. with its validity having been put in issue. with three of them doing so and with the other two equally entitled to do so. It is true that petitioners held the rally at a place other than that specified in the permit and continued it longer than the time allowed. We held that streets and parks have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and have been used for purposes of assembly to communicate thoughts between citizens and to discuss public issues. thereby enabling petitioners Leonero. and allowing petitioners Lee and Jalos to continue their schooling. Such undesirable consequence could have been avoided by their holding the assembly in the basketball court as indicated in the permit. there is the added circumstance of more than a year having passed since October 20. a short program would be held. 1. 6 the invocation of the right to freedom of peaceable assembly carries with it the implication that the right to free speech has likewise been disregarded. 1982 when respondent Ramento issued the challenged decision suspending them for one year. 1982. since said suspension has not been enforced except only briefly.

They are likely to be assertive and dogmatic. That there would be a vigorous presentation of views opposed to the proposed merger of the Institute of Animal Science with the Institute of Agriculture was to be expected. They do not. it cannot go so far as to be violative of constitutional safeguards. but with the activity taking place in the school premises and during the daytime. At any rate.31 Student Council where your petitioners are among the officers. the propensity of speakers to exaggerate. therefore. to borrow from Tinker. that is quite understandable. an additional headache for their parents ("isa na naman sakit sa ulo ng ating mga magulang. 12 "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. United States v. therefore. 11 The specific question to be resolved then is whether on the facts as disclosed resulting in the disciplinary action and the penalty imposed. Among those activities is personal intercommunication among the students. which for any reason — whether it stems from time. the authority of educational institutions over the conduct of students must be recognized. They would be ineffective if during a rally they speak in the guarded and judicious language of the academe. of course. 6. When he is in the cafeteria. As tested by such a standard. do not embrace merely the classroom hours. in class or out of it. They enjoy like the rest of the citizens the freedom to express their views and communicate their thoughts to those disposed to listen in gatherings such as was held in this case. Student leaders are hardly the timid. were let loose. the exuberance of youth. A student's rights. at times even vitriolic. Objection is made by private respondents to the tenor of the speeches by the student leaders. 4. there was an infringement of the right to peaceable assembly and its cognate right of free speech. but subject to qualification in view of their continuing their demonstration in a place other than that specified in the permit for a longer period and their making use of megaphones therein. Des Moines Community School District. with an enthusiastic audience goading them on. But conduct by the student. Nor is this a novel approach to the issue raised by petitioners that they were denied the right to peaceable assembly."). if he does so without 'materially and substantially interfer[ing] with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school' and without colliding with the rights of others. even on controversial subjects like the conflict in Vietnam. or on the playing field. .") 15 They believed that such a merger would result in the increase in tuition fees. what is the verdict on the complaint of petitioners that there was a disregard of their constitutional rights to peaceable assembly and free speech. to borrow from the opinion of Justice Fortas in Tinker v. They are entitled to do so." 13 While." 14 5." 10 There was an express admission in the Comment of private respondent University as to a permit having been granted for petitioners to hold a student assembly. 17 the facts disclosed that shortly before the municipal council of San Carlos. diffident types. utterances. or type of behavior — materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others is. extremely critical. This is without prejudice to the taking of disciplinary action for conduct. started its session. This is not only an inevitable part of the process of attending school. On a more specific level there is persuasive force to this formulation in the Fortas opinion: "The principal use to which the schools are dedicated is to accommodate students during prescribed hours for the purpose of certain types of activities. They may give the speakers the benefit of their applause. some five . "materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others. In a 1907 decision. not immunized by the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech. It must be in their favor.. held a General Assembly at the VMAS basketball court of the respondent university." 7. They take into account the excitement of the occasion. he may express his opinions. There was no concealment of the fact that they were against such a move as it confronted them with a serious problem (iisang malaking suliranin. even a sympathetic audience is not disposed to accord full credence to their fiery exhortations. or on the campus during the authorized hours. place.. no clear and present danger of public disorder is discernible. Petitioners invoke their rights to peaceable assembly and free speech. resulting in the disruption of classes and the stoppage of work by the non-academic personnel in the vicinity of such assembly. which. Apurado. 16 If in the course of such demonstration. Occidental Negros. it is also an important part of the educational process.

20 Private respondents could thus. that petitioners can be totally absolved for the events that transpired. Private respondents could and did take umbrage at the fact that in view of such infraction considering the places where and the time when the demonstration took place-there was a disruption of the classes and stoppage of work of the non-academic personnel." 18 The principle to be followed is enunciated thus: "If instances of disorderly conduct occur on such occasions. even a censure-certainly not a suspension-could be the appropriate penalty. The objection was raised that petitioners failed to exhaust administrative remedies. 21 for this Court to lay down the principles for the guidance of school authorities and students alike. On those facts. upon the opening of the session. take disciplinary action. a subversive character to the rally held by the students under the leadership of petitioners. correctly pointed out that "if the prosecution be permitted to seize upon every instance of such disorderly conduct by individual members of a crowd as an excuse to characterize the assembly as a seditious and tumultuous rising against the authorities. Admittedly. submitting at the same time the proposed substitutes. That is true. rather than the basketball court. the Supreme Court reversed. Here. as was done in the case of Reyes v. That they have a right to do as citizens entitled to all the protection in the Bill of Rights. To avoid this constitutional objection. They would not be unjustified then if they did take a much more serious view of the matter. What cannot be too sufficiently stressed is that the constitutional rights to peaceable assembly and free speech are invoked by petitioners. Moreover." 19 A careful reading of this decision is in order before private respondents attach. a purely legal question is presented. it is the holding of this Court that a one-week suspension would be punishment enough. however. as they did in their comments. 8. 10. Such individuals were wholly unarmed except that a few carried canes. The municipal council gave its conformity. it was continued longer than the period allowed. Such being the case. The defendant Filomeno Apurado and many other participants were indicted and convicted of sedition in that they allegedly prevented the municipal government from freely exercising its duties. and. 9. and very likely there will continue to be in the future. their exercise to discuss matters affecting their welfare or involving public . and time being of the essence. According to the decision of respondent Ramento. That would give rise to a due process question. Bagatsing. It would be most appropriate then. demanding that the municipal treasurer. Necessarily. then the right to assemble and to petition for redress of grievances would become a delusion and a snare and the attempt to exercise it on the most righteous occasion and in the most peaceable manner would expose all those who took part therein to the severest form of punishment. the guilty individuals should be sought out and punished therefor. One last matter. of the VMAS building of the University.32 hundred residents of the municipality assembled near the municipal building. Justice Carson. but the utmost discretion must be exercised in drawing the line between disorderly and seditious conduct and between an essentially peaceable assembly and a tumultuous uprising. m. the rule of reason. there was a violation of the terms of the permit. an element of arbitrariness intrudes. especially so where a decision on a question of law is imperatively called for. who penned the opinion. It turned out that the movement had its origin in religious differences. Moreover. however. the "concerted activity [referring to such assembly] went on until 5:30 p. there was. The rally was held at a place other than that specified. militancy and assertiveness of students on issues that they consider of great importance. While the discretion of both respondent University and respondent Ramento is recognized. whether concerning their welfare or the general public. the crowd was fairly orderly and well-behaved except in so far as their pressing into the council chamber during a session of that body could be called disorder and misbehavior. a substantial number of such persons barged into the council chamber. the dictate of fairness calls for a much lesser penalty. this Court has invariably viewed the issue as ripe for adjudication. the municipal secretary. It does not follow. On appeal. and the chief of police be dismissed. if the purposes which they sought to attain did not happen to be pleasing to the prosecuting authorities. Even then a one-year period of suspension is much too severe. but hardly decisive. If the concept of proportionality between the offense connoted and the sanction imposed is not followed. The rights to peaceable assembly and free speech are guaranteed students of educational institutions. an admonition. in the second floor lobby.

petitioners had been suspended for more than a week. the one-week penalty had been served. has a right to present. The temporary restraining order issued by this Court in the resolution of November 18. and De Castro. 1982 of respondent Ramento imposing a one-year suspension is nullified and set aside. Guerrero.. Teehankee. Melencio-Herrera. Escolin. Aquino. however. JJ. and De la Fuente. the utmost leeway and scope is accorded the content of the placards displayed or utterances made. took no part.33 interest is not to be subjected to previous restraint or subsequent punishment unless there be a showing of a clear and present danger to a substantive evil that the state. . The decision dated October 20. JJ. Abad Santos. As of that date. by an advocacy of disorder under the name of dissent. concur. Jr. Relova. whatever grievances that may be aired being susceptible to correction through the ways of the law. there may be conditions as to the time and place of the assembly to avoid disruption of classes or stoppage of work of the non-academic personnel. the penalty incurred should not be disproportionate to the offense. permit must be sought from its school authorities. the petition is granted.. In granting such permit. there be violations of its terms. Gutierrez. WHEREFORE. however. Makasiar. In that sense. 1982 is made permanent.. Jr. who are devoid of the power to deny such request arbitrarily or unreasonably. If the assembly is to be held in school premises. No costs. As a corollary. Concepcion. Plana. Even if. The peaceable character of an assembly could be lost..

Michael Torres. J. PNP DIRECTOR GENRAL ARTURO LOMIBAO. Rasti Delizo. Ericson Dizon. Respondents. et al. LOMIBAO. NATIONAL FEDERATION OF LABOR UNIONS-KILUSANG MAYO UNO (NAFLU-KMU). No. Gen. 169838. ANTONIO C. vs. Pedro Pinlac. and PNP MPD CHIEF SUPT. in G. 2006 BAYAN. DECISION AZCUNA. VIDAL QUEROL. KARAPATAN. Manila City Mayor LITO ATIENZA. Precious Balute. PEDRO BULAONG. April 25. vs. Wilson Fortaleza. VIDAL QUEROL. EDUARDO ERMITA. 2006 Jess Del Prado. in his official capacity as Secretary of the Interior and Local Governments. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. THE HONORABLE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY.R. Rendo Sabusap. NCRPO Chief Maj. 169848 Petitioners come in three groups. Nenita Cruzat. in his official capacity as the Chief. Petitioners. Froyel Yaneza. Marie Jo Ocampo. in his capacity as Executive Secretary.. Leonardo De los Reyes. Leody de Guzman. JOSELITO V. Fr. and ROQUE M. 2006 KILUSANG MAYO UNO. in his official capacity as the Chief. FRANCISCO LASTRELLA. EDUARDO ERMITA. National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO). Manny Quiazon. GABRIELA. No. Mary Grace Gonzales. PEDRO BULAONG. USTAREZ..34 Cruz. HONORABLE MAYOR LITO ATIENZA. Philippine National Police. and Fahima Tajar.1 allege that they are citizens and taxpayers of the Philippines and that their rights as . No. Chief of the Philippine National Police. Pedrito Fadrigon. Paul Bangay. Cristeta Ramos. in his official capacity as the Chief. Jose Dizon. Adelaida Ramos. Bayan. ARTURO LOMIBAO.R. Jr. Renato Constantino. Manila Police District (MPD) AND ALL OTHER PUBLIC OFFICERS GARCIA. LABOG and Secretary General JOEL MAGLUNSOD. No.R. Petitioners. Roxanne Magboo. represented by its Chairperson ELMER C. Joseph de Jesus. CARRANZA. KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS (KMP). TAN. ANGELO REYES. Respondents. Margarita Escober. Respondents. Magdalena Sellote. represented by its National President. in his official capacity as The Executive Secretary and in his personal capacity. Carmelita Morante. Djoannalyn Janier. PASCUAL. PEDRO BULAONG. vs. GILDA SUMILANG. Ernie Bautista. and Western Police District Chief Gen. ARTURO M. 169838 April 25. SUPERVISION AND INSTRUCTIONS. x---------------------------------x G. SALVADOR T. and AND PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS ACTING UNDER THEIR CONTROL.: x---------------------------------x G. Gen.R. Lilia dela The first petitioners. 169881 April 25. Petitioners.

and 14(a)." provides: The second group consists of 26 individual petitioners.P. Declaration of policy. No. a multi-sectoral rally which KMU also co-sponsored was scheduled to proceed along España Avenue in front of the University of Santo Tomas and going towards Mendiola bridge.) No. 169848. No. – This Act shall be known as "The Public Assembly Act of 1985. parade. Sec. put the country under an "undeclared" martial rule.R. public meetings and assemblages for religious purposes shall be governed by local ordinances. 6.2 who allege that they were injured.M. 169881. claim that on October 4. some of them in toto and others only Sections 4. They seek to stop violent dispersals of rallies under the "no permit. The processions.3 allege that they conduct peaceful mass actions and that their rights as organizations and those of their individual members as citizens. et al. – The constitutional right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances is essential and vital to the strength and stability of the State. a group they participated in marched to Malacañang to protest issuances of the Palace which. 2005. 2005. no rally" policy and the CPR policy recently announced. or expressing an opinion to the general public on any particular issue. demonstration. 2. march. 2005. CPR. rallies. 880 An Act Ensuring The Free Exercise By The People Of Their Right Peaceably To Assemble And Petition The Government [And] For Other Purposes Be it enacted by the Batasang Pambansa in session assembled: Section 1. or petitioning the government for redress of grievances." Sec. Police officers blocked them along Morayta Street and prevented them from proceeding further. a rally KMU co-sponsored was to be conducted at the Mendiola bridge but police blocked them along C. causing injuries to several of their members. as well as the policy of (a) "Public assembly" means any rally. All petitioners assail Batas Pambansa No. "The Public Assembly Act of 1985. They were then forcibly dispersed. liberty and equal protection of the law. 880 and the policy of "Calibrated Preemptive Response" (CPR) being followed to implement it. procession or any other form of mass or concerted action held in a public place for the purpose of presenting a lawful cause. They further allege that on October 6. Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU). causing injuries on one of them. 880. et al. 880. Title. Batas Pambansa Blg. petitioners in G. demonstrations.. parades. et al. Recto and Lepanto Streets and forcibly dispersed them. They further assert that on October 5. in G.. are affected by Batas Pambansa No. the State shall ensure the free exercise of such right without prejudice to the rights of others to life. economic or social. 2005 was preempted and violently dispersed by the police. The third group. specifically the right to peaceful assembly. 5.35 organizations and individuals were violated when the rally they participated in on October 6. Jess del Prado. 880. they claim.4 Three other rallyists were arrested. or protesting or influencing any state of affairs whether political. 12. 2005 was violently dispersed by policemen implementing Batas Pambansa (B. arrested and detained when a peaceful mass action they held on September 26. Definition of terms. To this end.R. B.P. and the protest was likewise dispersed violently and many among them were arrested and suffered injuries.. 13(a). 3. – For purposes of this Act: KMU. . No.

its implementing rules and regulations. police and other peace keeping authorities shall observe during a public assembly or in the dispersal of the same. bridge or other thoroughfare. street. said application shall be posted by the applicant on the premises of the office of the mayor and shall be deemed to have been filed. (d) "Modification of a permit" shall include the change of the place and time of the public assembly. public safety. the transport and the public address systems to be used. (d) Upon receipt of the application. which must be duly acknowledged in writing. That the declaration of policy as provided in Section 2 of this Act shall be faithfully observed. (c) The application shall be filed with the office of the mayor of the city or municipality in whose jurisdiction the intended activity is to be held. – (a) It shall be the duty of the mayor or any official acting in his behalf to issue or grant a permit unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the public assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order. in which case only the consent of the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required. . at least five (5) working days before the scheduled public assembly. public convenience. the permit shall be deemed granted. the office of the city or municipal mayor shall cause the same to immediately be posted at a conspicuous place in the city or municipal building. failing which. park. Action to be taken on the application. no permit shall be required if the public assembly shall be done or made in a freedom park duly established by law or ordinance or in private property. – All applications for a permit shall comply with the following guidelines: (a) The applications shall be in writing and shall include the names of the leaders or organizers. Application requirements. However. square. boulevard. the date. Should for any reason the mayor or any official acting in his behalf refuse to accept the application for a permit. or in the campus of a government-owned and operated educational institution which shall be subject to the rules and regulations of said educational institution. (b) The mayor or any official acting in his behalf shall act on the application within two (2) working days from the date the application was filed. Sec. plaza. the purpose of such public assembly. Sec. rerouting of the parade or street march. the volume of loud-speakers or sound system and similar changes. 6. Political meetings or rallies held during any election campaign period as provided for by law are not covered by this Act. public morals or public health. The definition herein contained shall not include picketing and other concerted action in strike areas by workers and employees resulting from a labor dispute as defined by the Labor Code. 4. time and duration thereof. (c) "Maximum tolerance" means the highest degree of restraint that the military. and place or streets to be used for the intended activity. Permit when required and when not required. (b) The application shall incorporate the duty and responsibility of the applicant under Section 8 hereof. road. and the probable number of persons participating. and by the Batas Pambansa Bilang 227.36 Provided. – A written permit shall be required for any person or persons to organize and hold a public assembly in a public place. (b) "Public place" shall include any highway. avenue. and/or any open space of public ownership where the people are allowed access. 5. however. Sec.

(g) All cases filed in court under this section shall be decided within twentyfour (24) hours from date of filing. 7. (c) To confer with local government officials concerned and law enforcers to the end that the public assembly may be held peacefully. – Law enforcement agencies shall not interfere with the holding of a public assembly. Sec. he shall immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the matter. 9. a law enforcement contingent under the command of a responsible police officer may be detailed and stationed in a place at least one hundred (100) meters away from the area of activity ready to maintain peace and order at all times. Non-interference by law enforcement authorities. (e) If the mayor or any official acting in his behalf denies the application or modifies the terms thereof in his permit. (d) To see to it that the public assembly undertaken shall not go beyond the time stated in the permit. the mayor or any official acting in his behalf may. avenue. No appeal bond and record on appeal shall be required.| avvphi|. Cases filed hereunder shall be immediately endorsed to the executive judge for disposition or. 8. (d) The action on the permit shall be in writing and served on the applica[nt] within twenty-four hours. the applicant may contest the decision in an appropriate court of law. to the next in rank. to adequately ensure public safety. road or street. the Municipal Trial Court. – It shall be the duty and responsibility of the leaders and organizers of a public assembly to take all reasonable measures and steps to the end that the intended public assembly shall be conducted peacefully in accordance with the terms of the permit. Use of Public throroughfare. (h) In all cases. or the Intermediate Appellate court. Responsibility of applicant. and (e) To take positive steps that demonstrators do not molest any person or do any act unduly interfering with the rights of other persons not participating in the public assembly. These shall include but not be limited to the following: (a) To inform the participants of their responsibility under the permit. the Municipal Circuit Trial Court. – Should the proposed public assembly involve the use. to prevent grave public inconvenience. for an appreciable length of time. . any decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court. of any public highway.37 (c) If the mayor is of the view that there is imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil warranting the denial or modification of the permit. (i) Telegraphic appeals to be followed by formal appeals are hereby allowed. boulevard. Sec. its decisions may be appealed to the appropriate court within forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of the same. A decision granting such permit or modifying it in terms satisfactory to the applicant shall be immediately executory. (f) In case suit is brought before the Metropolitan Trial Court. in his absence. However. the Regional Trial Court. to another direction so that there will be no serious or undue interference with the free flow of commerce and trade.net (b) To police the ranks of the demonstrators in order to prevent nondemonstrators from disrupting the lawful activities of the public assembly. designate the route thereof which is convenient to the participants or reroute the vehicular traffic Sec.

– The following shall constitute violations of the Act: (a) At the first sign of impending violence. 10. – When the public assembly is held without a permit where a permit is required. 12. 11. and after allowing a reasonable period of time to lapse. . water cannons. the ranking officer of the law (a) The holding of any public assembly as defined in this Act by any leader or organizer without having first secured that written permit where a permit is required from the office concerned. the public assembly will be dispersed. when their assistance is requested by the leaders or organizers. or deliberate destruction of property. crash helmets with visor. organizer or participant shall also be made during the public assembly unless he violates during the assembly a law. law enforcement agencies shall observe the following guidelines: (a) Members of the law enforcement contingent who deal with the demonstrators shall be in complete uniform with their nameplates and units to which they belong displayed prominently on the front and dorsal parts of their uniform and must observe the policy of "maximum tolerance" as herein defined. (c) Tear gas. That no person can be punished or held criminally liable for participating in or attending an otherwise peaceful assembly. smoke grenades. shields. Towards this end. However. – No public assembly with a permit shall be dispersed. Dispersal of public assembly without permit. Police assistance when requested. enforcement contingent shall audibly warn the participants that if the disturbance persists. gas masks. 13. – It shall be imperative for law enforcement agencies. Prohibited acts. (b) The members of the law enforcement contingent shall not carry any kind of firearms but may be equipped with baton or riot sticks. shall immediately order it to forthwith disperse. the said public assembly may be peacefully dispersed. boots or ankle high shoes with shin guards. (e) Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or breach of the peace during the public assembly shall not constitute a ground for dispersal. to perform their duties always mindful that their responsibility to provide proper protection to those exercising their right peaceably to assemble and the freedom of expression is primordial. when an assembly becomes violent.38 Sec. or any similar anti-riot device shall not be used unless the public assembly is attended by actual violence or serious threats of violence. Sec. however. ordinance or any provision of this Act. the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall audibly issue a warning to the participants of the public assembly. (b) Arbitrary and unjustified denial or modification of a permit in violation of the provisions of this Act by the mayor or any other official acting in his behalf. or the use of such permit for such purposes in any place other than those set out in said permit: Provided. (d) No arrest of any leader. Sec. the police may disperse such public assembly as follows: Sec. (b) If actual violence starts to a point where rocks or other harmful objects from the participants are thrown at the police or at the non-participants. statute. or at any property causing damage to such property. Such arrest shall be governed by Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code. the ranking officer of the law enforcement contingent shall call the attention of the leaders of the public assembly and ask the latter to prevent any possible disturbance. (c) If the violence or disturbance prevailing as stated in the preceding subparagraph should not stop or abate. as amended. Dispersal of public assembly with permit.

the carrying of a deadly or offensive weapon or device such as firearm. disrupting or otherwise denying the exercise of the right to peaceful assembly. 17. decrees. its horns and loud sound systems. 3. impeding. letters of instructions. ordinances or parts thereof which are inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed. Sec. the validity or constitutionality of the other provisions shall not be affected thereby.39 (c) The unjustified and arbitrary refusal to accept or acknowledge receipt of the application for a permit by the mayor or any official acting in his behalf. Constitutionality. subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of six months and one day to six years. Sec. Penalties. 4. Freedom parks. the malicious burning of any object in the streets or thoroughfares. – All laws. (c). Sec. 16. or modified accordingly. 14. (d) violations of item 2. – This Act shall take effect upon its approval. Sec. (d). the carrying of a bladed weapon and the like. and item 4. and the like. . In the cities and municipalities of Metropolitan Manila. item 3. (d) Obstructing. pillbox. Effectivity. 1866. (f) Acts in violation of Section 10 hereof. the interfering with or intentionally disturbing the holding of a public assembly by the use of a motor vehicle. bomb. – Any person found guilty and convicted of any of the prohibited acts defined in the immediately preceding section shall be punished as follows: (a) violation of subparagraph (a) shall be punished by imprisonment of one month and one day to six months. – Should any provision of this Act be declared invalid or unconstitutional. 5. Sec. amended. (g) Acts described hereunder if committed within one hundred (100) meters from the area of activity of the public assembly or on the occasion thereof: 1. 15. 18. (e) The unnecessary firing of firearms by a member of any law enforcement agency or any person to disperse the public assembly. or item 5 of subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of one day to thirty days. the carrying of firearms by members of the law enforcement unit. subparagraph (g) shall be punished by imprisonment of six months and one day to six years without prejudice to prosecution under Presidential Decree No. resolutions. shall be centrally located within the poblacion where demonstrations and meetings may be held at any time without the need of any prior permit. (c) violation of item 1. Repealing clause. – Every city and municipality in the country shall within six months after the effectivity of this Act establish or designate at least one suitable "freedom park" or mall in their respective jurisdictions which. (f). orders. as far as practicable. the respective mayors shall establish the freedom parks within the period of six months from the effectivity this Act. (b) violations of subparagraphs (b). 2. (e).

R. it is not content-neutral as it does not apply to mass actions in support of the government. et al. thus: Malacañang Official Manila. in lieu of maximum tolerance.40 Approved. 2 September 21. The authorities will not stand aside while those with ill intent are herding a witting or unwitting mass of people and inciting them into actions that are inimical to public order.. on the other hand. the law delegates powers to the Mayor without providing clear standards. The two standards stated in the laws (clear and present danger and imminent and grave danger) are inconsistent. et al. The rule of calibrated preemptive response is now in force. Furthermore.5 Release No. disperse groups that run afoul of this standard and arrest all persons violating the laws of the land as well as ordinances on the proper conduct of mass actions and demonstrations. Thus. is a policy set forth in a press release by Malacañang dated September 21. Unlawful mass actions will be dispersed.P. It also characterizes public assemblies without a permit as illegal and penalizes them and allows their dispersal. shown in Annex "A" to the Petition in G. we have instructed the PNP as well as the local government units to strictly enforce a "no permit. 880 is unconstitutional as it is a curtailment of the right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievances because it puts a condition for the valid exercise of that right. sow disorder and incite people against the duly constituted authorities. contend that Batas Pambansa No. Furthermore." "protesting or influencing" suggest the exposition of some cause not espoused by the government. As a content-based legislation. No. it cannot pass the strict scrutiny test. The words "lawful cause. Petitioners Jess del Prado. 169848. Also. It also curtails the choice of venue and is thus repugnant to the freedom of expression clause as the time and place of a public assembly form part of the message for which the expression is sought. Petitioners Bayan. and the peace of mind of the national community. based on the rule of law.. . its provisions are not mere regulations but are actually prohibitions. 2005. the phrase "maximum tolerance" shows that the law applies to assemblies against the government because they are being tolerated. They argue that B.P. CPR. 2005 STATEMENT OF EXECUTIVE SECRETARY EDUARDO ERMITA On Unlawful Mass Actions In view of intelligence reports pointing to credible plans of anti-government groups to inflame the political situation. The majority of law-abiding citizens have the right to be protected by a vigilant and proactive government. 880 is clearly a violation of the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties of which the Philippines is a signatory. 880 requires a permit before one can stage a public assembly regardless of the presence or absence of a clear and present danger. in turn. no rally" policy. October 22. No. Philippines NEWS We appeal to the detractors of the government to engage in lawful and peaceful conduct befitting of a democratic society. 1985. The President’s call for unity and reconciliation stands." "opinion. argue that B. No.

P. it contravenes the maximum tolerance policy of B. argue that the Constitution sets no limits on the right to assembly and therefore B. (b) B. otherwise interest on the issue would possibly wane. PNP Director General Arturo Lomibao. the limits provided are unreasonable: First. No. Gen. they argue that it is preemptive. Arturo Lomibao. it is void for being an ultra vires act that alters the standard of maximum tolerance set forth in B." 2. Neither B. MPD. petitioners KMU. 5. Comelec. i. as Secretary of the Interior and Local Governments. No. B. Chief. namely. Adiong v. No. except under the constitutional precept of the "clear and present danger test. as Executive Secretary. Respondents in G.P. 880 is narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest. Section 5 requires the statement of the public assembly’s time. Angelo Reyes.e. place and manner of conduct. 880 is content-neutral. 169848 are Eduardo Ermita as Executive Secretary and in his personal capacity." The status of B. Furthermore.R. as Chief. NCRPO. Comelec8 held that B.. No. place and manner of holding public assemblies and the law passes the test for such regulation. Pedro Bulaong.P. and (c) B.R. 169838 are Eduardo Ermita. No. No.e. Petitioners cannot honestly claim that the time. these regulations need only a substantial governmental interest to support them.. 880 as a content-neutral regulation has been recognized in Osmeña v. nothing in B. Intermediate Appellate Court9 held that a local chief executive has the authority to exercise police power to meet "the demands of . Sangalang v. 880. the five-day requirement to apply for a permit is too long as certain events require instant public assembly. that the government takes action even before the rallyists can perform their act. Pedro Bulaong. the interest cannot be equally well served by a means that is less intrusive of free speech interests. Respondents argue that: 1. No. PNP Maj. arrested or detained because of the CPR. 880 is a content-neutral regulation of the time.P. Arturo Lomibao. as Chief. 880 and violates the Constitution as it causes a chilling effect on the exercise by the people of the right to peaceably assemble. Petitioners have no standing because they have not presented evidence that they had been "injured. i. No. et al. And even assuming that the legislature can set limits to this right. it has no reference to content of regulated speech. and that no law. 880 leaves open alternative channels for communication of the information. 169881 are the Honorable Executive Secretary. 880 violates the three-pronged test for such a measure. 880 is content-neutral as seen from the text of the law.P.P.7 4. Respondents in G. No. allowing the Mayor to deny the permit on clear and convincing evidence of a clear and present danger is too comprehensive.] 880 and other offenses. 880 authorizes the denial of a permit on the basis of a rally’s program content or the statements of the speakers therein. ordinance or executive order supports the policy. As to the CPR policy. to wit: (a) B. and PNP MPD Chief Pedro Bulaong. Respondents in G. 880 cannot put the prior requirement of securing a permit.. 880 nor CPR is void on its face. No. and Manila Police District (MPD) Chief Gen. No.P.P. Vidal Querol. It entails traffic re-routing to prevent grave public inconvenience and serious or undue interference in the free flow of commerce and trade. No. as Chief Vidal Querol.P. of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Gen. National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief. place and manner regulation embodied in B. Second. aside from being void for being vague and for lack of publication.6 3.P. Furthermore. and all other public officers and private individuals acting under their control. No. the Honorable Mayor Joselito Atienza." and that "those arrested stand to be charged with violating Batas Pambansa [No.P.41 Regarding the CPR policy. Finally. supervision and instruction. No.R. No. Manila City Mayor Lito Atienza.P.

5 and 6. public morals or public health" and "imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil" both express the meaning of the "clear and present danger test. Reyes v.42 the common good in terms of traffic decongestion and public convenience. 880 and/or CPR is void as applied to the rallies of September 20. 7160 gives the Mayor power to deny a permit independently of B.11 Primicias v. public safety. specifically Sections 4.R. The petitions were ordered consolidated on February 14.P. public convenience. the following developments took place and were approved and/or noted by the Court: 1. that his denials of permits were under the "clear and present danger" rule as there was a clamor to stop rallies that disrupt the economy and to protect the lives of other people. CA. (b). 2006. CPR is simply the responsible and judicious use of means allowed by existing laws and ordinances to protect public interest and restore public order. No.P.12 and Jacinto v. 169838 should be dismissed on the ground that Republic Act No. 880 is not a content-based regulation because it covers all rallies. 2006. 5 and 6. in the interest of a speedy resolution of the petitions. withdrew the portions of their petitions raising factual issues. the Court set the cases for oral arguments on April 4. submitted in his Comment that the petition in G. that the permit is for the use of a public place and not for the exercise of rights.14 stating the principal issues. Fugoso.P. 6. After the submission of all the Comments. 880. for his part. No. 13 and 15 of the law. October 4. 12 13(a) and 14(a) thereof."10 (b) Are they void on grounds of overbreadth or vagueness? (c) Do they constitute prior restraint? (d) Are they undue delegations of powers to Mayors? 7. B. L." Furthermore. and 6 (a). It does not replace the rule of maximum tolerance in B. regulations and ordinances to prevent chaos in the streets. On the constitutionality and legality of the policy of Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR): (a) Is the policy void on its face or due to vagueness? Respondent Mayor Joselito Atienza. (d). No.13 have affirmed the constitutionality of requiring a permit. 2005? During the course of the oral arguments. Bagatsing. 880. (e) Do they violate international human rights treaties and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? 2. 880. On the constitutionality of Batas Pambansa No. The standards set forth in the law are not inconsistent. 2005. 5. 1. and Republic Act No. No. the discretion given to the mayor is narrowly circumscribed by Sections 5 (d). as follows: (b) Is it void for lack of publication? (c) Is the policy of CPR void as applied to the rallies of September 26 and October 4. 7160: (a) Are these content-neutral or content-based regulations? 6. that J. Thus. particularly those raising the issue of whether B. it is not accurate to call it a new rule but rather it is a more proactive and dynamic enforcement of existing laws. . and that B.P. (e). "Clear and convincing evidence that the public assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order. (c). Petitioners. No.

particularly Sections 4 and 8 of the Bill of Rights. have challenged such action as contrary to law and dispersed the public assemblies held without the permit. Jurisprudence abounds with hallowed pronouncements defending and promoting the people’s exercise of these rights. The Court will now proceed to address the principal issues. but the utmost discretion must be exercised in drawing the line between disorderly and seditious conduct and between an essentially peaceable assembly and a tumultuous uprising. As early as the onset of this century. as a rule will be the disciplinary control of the leaders over their irresponsible followers.P. But if the prosecution be permitted to seize upon every instance of such disorderly conduct by individual members of a crowd as an excuse to characterize the assembly as a seditious and tumultuous rising against the authorities. 880 and the maximum tolerance policy embodied in that law. the guilty individuals should be sought out and punished therefor. the grievance and the more intense the feeling.S. Their right as citizens to engage in peaceful assembly and exercise the right of petition.P. If instances of disorderly conduct occur on such occasions. Section 4 of Article III of the Constitution provides: Sec. As stated in Jacinto v. vs. 4.S. is directly affected by B. Respondents. on the other hand. according to respondents. v. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech. together with freedom of speech. taking into account the foregoing developments.15 the Court. as follows: There is no question as to the petitioners’ rights to peaceful assembly to petition the government for a redress of grievances and. For these rights constitute the very basis of a functional democratic polity. as stated in the affidavit executed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and submitted to the Ombudsman." . for that matter. No. or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. it does not replace B. No. as early as the onset of this century. to organize or form associations for purposes not contrary to law. it was merely a "catchword" intended to clarify what was thought to be a misunderstanding of the maximum tolerance policy set forth in B. These rights are guaranteed by no less than the Constitution.43 2. of expression. Apurado. and Section 3 of Article XIII. Petitioners’ standing cannot be seriously challenged. of expression. The first point to mark is that the right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances is. in fact. 880 which requires a permit for all who would publicly assemble in the nation’s streets and parks. purposely engaged in public assemblies without the required permits to press their claim that no such permit can be validly required without violating the Constitutional guarantee. Apurado. Section 2(5) of Article IX. They have. CA. 880 and that. as well as to engage in peaceful concerted activities. because on such occasions feeling is always wrought to a high pitch of excitement. No. already upheld the right to assembly and petition and even went as far as to acknowledge: "It is rather to be expected that more or less disorder will mark the public assembly of the people to protest against grievances whether real or imaginary. the less perfect. then the right to assemble and to petition for redress of grievances would become a delusion and a snare and the attempt to exercise it on the most righteous occasion and in the most peaceable manner would expose all those who took part therein to the severest and most unmerited punishment. and of the press. if the purposes which they sought to attain did not happen to be pleasing to the prosecuting authorities. this Court in U. a right that enjoys primacy in the realm of constitutional protection. The Solicitor General agreed with the observation of the Chief Justice that CPR should no longer be used as a legal term inasmuch as. without which all the other rights would be meaningless and unprotected.P.16 already upheld the right to assembly and petition. in U. and the greater. as guaranteed by the Constitution. or of the press.

arising from the denial of a permit. education. Bagatsing19 further expounded on the right and its limits. public health. All these rights. Such utterance was not meant to be sheltered by the Constitution. therefore. speaking for the majority of the American Supreme Court in Thomas v. To paraphrase the opinion of Justice Rutledge. as follows: 1. of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that the state has a right to prevent. while not identical. or of the press." What was rightfully stressed is the . to promote the health. and to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances." Freedom of assembly connotes the right of the people to meet peaceably for consultation and discussion of matters of public concern. of a serious evil to public safety. or any other legitimate public interest. while sacrosanct.17 the Court likewise sustained the primacy of freedom of speech and to assembly and petition over comfort and convenience in the use of streets and parks. or action for damages. where there is a limitation placed on the exercise of this right. however. and it may be delegated to political subdivisions. that the Bill of Rights was the child of the Enlightenment. like free press. Justice Malcolm had occasion to stress that it is a necessary consequence of our republican institutions and complements the right of free speech. It is entitled to be accorded the utmost deference and respect. in Primicias v. public morals. good order or safety. except on a showing. Fugoso. Collins. morals. Even prior to the 1935 Constitution. But utterance in a context of violence can lose its significance as an appeal to reason and become part of an instrument of force. it was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom of speech and of the press were coupled in a single guarantee with the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. It is thus clear that the Court is called upon to protect the exercise of the cognate rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. It is not to be limited. of a character both grave and imminent." which is the power to prescribe regulations. Back of the guaranty of free speech lay faith in the power of an appeal to reason by all the peaceful means for gaining access to the mind. The Constitution is quite explicit: "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech. In every case. But it is a settled principle growing out of the nature of wellordered civil societies that the exercise of those rights is not absolute for it may be so regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights. is the danger. and general welfare of the people. the judiciary is called upon to examine the effects of the challenged governmental actuation. are inseparable. it must be remembered that the right. peace. so fundamental to the maintenance of democratic institutions. nor injurious to the rights of the community or society. municipalities and cities by authorizing their legislative bodies called municipal and city councils to enact ordinances for the purpose. Next." Free speech. are fundamental personal rights of the people recognized and guaranteed by the constitutions of democratic countries. this Court said: The right to freedom of speech. The sole justification for a limitation on the exercise of this right.44 Again. Nowhere is the rationale that underlies the freedom of expression and peaceable assembly better expressed than in this excerpt from an opinion of Justice Frankfurter: "It must never be forgotten. such as towns. may be identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public concern without censorship or punishment. or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances. however. There is to be then no previous restraint on the communication of views or subsequent liability whether in libel suits. is not absolute. 2.18 Reyes v. or contempt proceedings unless there be a "clear and present danger of a substantive evil that [the State] has a right to prevent. It was in order to avert force and explosions due to restrictions upon rational modes of communication that the guaranty of free speech was given a generous scope. The power to regulate the exercise of such and other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign "police power. much less denied. prosecution for sedition. In Primicias. This sovereign police power is exercised by the government through its legislative branch by the enactment of laws regulating those and other constitutional and civil rights. as is the case with freedom of expression.

Resort to force is ruled out and outbreaks of violence to be avoided. but relative. And the Supreme Court of the United States. What is guaranteed is peaceable assembly. but must not. as a rule. 569. Rojas. The Constitution frowns on disorder or tumult attending a rally or assembly. have been used for purposes of assembly. and must be exercised in subordination to the general comfort and convenience. rights and liberties of citizens." which certainly is not the only purpose that it could serve. The Philippines is committed to the view expressed in the plurality opinion." The above excerpt was quoted with approval in Primicias v. and held valid. in its decision (1941) penned by Chief Justice Hughes affirming the judgment of the State Supreme Court. One may not advocate disorder in the name of protest. the statute of New Hampshire P. will be the disciplinary control of the leaders over their irresponsible followers. To give free rein to one’s destructive urges is to call for condemnation. because on such occasions feeling is always wrought to a high pitch of excitement. injury to property. Apurado: "It is rather to be expected that more or less disorder will mark the public assembly of the people to protest against grievances whether real or imaginary. United States v. it is not absolute. they have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and. as the statute is construed by the state courts. For if the peaceful means of communication cannot be availed of. There are. providing that no parade or procession upon any ground abutting thereon. be abridged or denied. been a part of the privileges. and acts of vandalism must be avoided. and discussing public questions. Nor is this the sole reason for the expression of dissent. The privilege of a citizen of the United States to use the streets and parks for communication of views on national questions may be regulated in the interest of all." It bears repeating that for the constitutional right to be invoked. where this Court categorically affirmed that plazas or parks and streets are outside the commerce of man and thus nullified a contract that leased Plaza Soledad of plaintiff-municipality. there can be no valid reason why a permit should not be granted for the proposed march and rally starting from a public park that is the Luneta.’ was construed by the Supreme Court of New Hampshire as not conferring upon the licensing board unfettered discretion to refuse to grant the license.L. where. the . and the greater the grievance and the more intense the feeling. allowing parties the opportunity to give vent to their views. of 1939 vintage. in the guise of regulation. this Court categorically declared: "Our conclusion finds support in the decision in the case of Willis Cox v. Such use of the streets and public places has. 4. CIO: "Whenever the title of streets and parks may rest. It is to make a mockery of the high estate occupied by intellectual liberty in our scheme of values. section 2. Neither can there be any valid objection to the use of the streets to the gates of the US embassy. resort to nonpeaceful means may be the only alternative. In holding that the then Mayor Fugoso of the City of Manila should grant a permit for a public meeting at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo. chap.. There can be no legal objection. riotous conduct. Fugoso has resolved any lurking doubt on the matter. from ancient times. penned in 1907 to be precise. much less preach rebellion under the cloak of dissent. on the choice of Luneta as the place where the peace rally would start. the less perfect. well-defined limits. a 1915 decision. Its value may lie in the fact that there may be something worth hearing from the dissenter. Reference was made to such plaza "being a promenade for public use.45 abandonment of reason. held that ‘a statute requiring persons using the public streets for a parade or procession to procure a special license therefor from the local authorities is not an unconstitutional abridgment of the rights of assembly or of freedom of speech and press.S. of course. whether verbal or printed. being in a context of violence. Fugoso. and in consonance with peace and good order. hardly two blocks away at the Roxas Boulevard. 312 U. immunities. The utmost calm though is not required. In that case. communicating thoughts between citizens. even if contrary to the prevailing climate of opinion. Primicias v. It means more than just the right to be heard of the person who feels aggrieved or who is dissatisfied with things as they are. time out of mind. the utterance. shall be permitted unless a special license therefor shall first be obtained from the selectmen of the town or from licensing committee. 145. That is to ensure a true ferment of ideas. It must always be remembered that this right likewise provides for a safety valve. To repeat. Primicias made explicit what was implicit in Municipality of Cavite v. State of New Hampshire. As pointed out in an early Philippine case. of Justice Roberts in Hague v. absent the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil.

46
licensing authorities are strictly limited, in the issuance of licenses, to a
consideration of the time, place, and manner of the parade or procession,
with a view to conserving the public convenience and of affording an
opportunity to provide proper policing, and are not invested with arbitrary
discretion to issue or refuse license, * * *. "Nor should the point made by
Chief Justice Hughes in a subsequent portion of the opinion be ignored:
"Civil liberties, as guaranteed by the Constitution, imply the existence of an
organized society maintaining public order without which liberty itself would
be lost in the excesses of unrestricted abuses. The authority of a municipality
to impose regulations in order to assure the safety and convenience of the
people in the use of public highways has never been regarded as
inconsistent with civil liberties but rather as one of the means of safeguarding
the good order upon which they ultimately depend. The control of travel on
the streets of cities is the most familiar illustration of this recognition of social
need. Where a restriction of the use of highways in that relation is designed
to promote the public convenience in the interest of all, it cannot be
disregarded by the attempted exercise of some civil right which in other
circumstances would be entitled to protection."
xxx
6. x x x The principle under American doctrines was given utterance by Chief
Justice Hughes in these words: "The question, if the rights of free speech
and peaceable assembly are to be preserved, is not as to the auspices
under which the meeting is held but as to its purpose; not as to the relations
of the speakers, but whether their utterances transcend the bounds of the
freedom of speech which the Constitution protects." There could be danger
to public peace and safety if such a gathering were marked by turbulence.
That would deprive it of its peaceful character. Even then, only the guilty
parties should be held accountable. It is true that the licensing official, here
respondent Mayor, is not devoid of discretion in determining whether or not a
permit would be granted. It is not, however, unfettered discretion. While
prudence requires that there be a realistic appraisal not of what may possibly
occur but of what may probably occur, given all the relevant circumstances,
still the assumption – especially so where the assembly is scheduled for a

specific public place – is that the permit must be for the assembly being held
there. The exercise of such a right, in the language of Justice Roberts,
speaking for the American Supreme Court, is not to be "abridged on the plea
that it may be exercised in some other place."
xxx
8. By way of a summary. The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly
should inform the licensing authority of the date, the public place where and
the time when it will take place. If it were a private place, only the consent of
the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required. Such
application should be filed well ahead in time to enable the public official
concerned to appraise whether there may be valid objections to the grant of
the permit or to its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable
condition to such refusal or modification that the clear and present danger
test be the standard for the decision reached. If he is of the view that there is
such an imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil, the applicants
must be heard on the matter. Thereafter, his decision, whether favorable or
adverse, must be transmitted to them at the earliest opportunity. Thus if so
minded, they can have recourse to the proper judicial authority. Free speech
and peaceable assembly, along with the other intellectual freedoms, are
highly ranked in our scheme of constitutional values. It cannot be too
strongly stressed that on the judiciary, -- even more so than on the other
departments – rests the grave and delicate responsibility of assuring respect
for and deference to such preferred rights. No verbal formula, no sanctifying
phrase can, of course, dispense with what has been so felicitiously termed
by Justice Holmes "as the sovereign prerogative of judgment." Nonetheless,
the presumption must be to incline the weight of the scales of justice on the
side of such rights, enjoying as they do precedence and primacy. x x x.

B.P. No. 880 was enacted after this Court rendered its decision in Reyes.
The provisions of B.P. No. 880 practically codify the ruling in Reyes:

47
Reyes v. Bagatsing
(G.R. No. L-65366, November 9, 1983,
125 SCRA 553, 569)
8. By way of a summary. The applicants for a permit to hold an assembly
should inform the licensing authority of the date, the public place where and
the time when it will take place. If it were a private place, only the consent of
the owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required. Such
application should be filed well ahead in time to enable the public official
concerned to appraise whether there may be valid objections to the grant of
the permit or to its grant but at another public place. It is an indispensable
condition to such refusal or modification that the clear and present danger
test be the standard for the decision reached. If he is of the view that there is
such an imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil, the applicants
must be heard on the matter. Thereafter, his decision, whether favorable or
adverse, must be transmitted to them at the earliest opportunity. Thus if so
minded, they can have recourse to the proper judicial authority

(a) The applications shall be in writing and shall include the names of the
leaders or organizers; the purpose of such public assembly; the date, time
and duration thereof, and place or streets to be used for the intended activity;
and the probable number of persons participating, the transport and the
public address systems to be used.
(b) The application shall incorporate the duty and responsibility of applicant
under Section 8 hereof.
(c) The application shall be filed with the office of the mayor of the city or
municipality in whose jurisdiction the intended activity is to be held, at least
five (5) working days before the scheduled public assembly.
(d) Upon receipt of the application, which must be duly acknowledged in
writing, the office of the city or municipal mayor shall cause the same to
immediately be posted at a conspicuous place in the city or municipal
building.

B.P. No. 880

Sec. 6. Action to be taken on the application. –

Sec. 4. Permit when required and when not required.-- A written permit shall
be required for any person or persons to organize and hold a public
assembly in a public place. However, no permit shall be required if the public
assembly shall be done or made in a freedom park duly established by law
or ordinance or in private property, in which case only the consent of the
owner or the one entitled to its legal possession is required, or in the campus
of a government-owned and operated educational institution which shall be
subject to the rules and regulations of said educational institution. Political
meetings or rallies held during any election campaign period as provided for
by law are not covered by this Act.

(a) It shall be the duty of the mayor or any official acting in his behalf to issue
or grant a permit unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the
public assembly will create a clear and present danger to public order, public
safety, public convenience, public morals or public health.

Sec. 5. Application requirements.-- All applications for a permit shall comply
with the following guidelines:

(b) The mayor or any official acting in his behalf shall act on the application
within two (2) working days from the date the application was filed, failing
which, the permit shall be deemed granted. Should for any reason the mayor
or any official acting in his behalf refuse to accept the application for a
permit, said application shall be posted by the applicant on the premises of
the office of the mayor and shall be deemed to have been filed.

48
(c) If the mayor is of the view that there is imminent and grave danger of a
substantive evil warranting the denial or modification of the permit, he shall
immediately inform the applicant who must be heard on the matter.
(d) The action on the permit shall be in writing and served on the applica[nt]
within twenty-four hours.

(e) If the mayor or any official acting in his behalf denies the application or
modifies the terms thereof in his permit, the applicant may contest the
decision in an appropriate court of law.
(f) In case suit is brought before the Metropolitan Trial Court, the Municipal
Trial Court, the Municipal Circuit Trial Court, the Regional Trial Court, or the
Intermediate Appellate Court, its decisions may be appealed to the
appropriate court within forty-eight (48) hours after receipt of the same. No
appeal bond and record on appeal shall be required. A decision granting
such permit or modifying it in terms satisfactory to the applicant shall be
immediately executory.
(g) All cases filed in court under this section shall be decided within twentyfour (24) hours from date of filing. Cases filed hereunder shall be
immediately endorsed to the executive judge for disposition or, in his
absence, to the next in rank.

A fair and impartial reading of B.P. No. 880 thus readily shows that it refers to
all kinds of public assemblies22 that would use public places. The reference
to "lawful cause" does not make it content-based because assemblies really
have to be for lawful causes, otherwise they would not be "peaceable" and
entitled to protection. Neither are the words "opinion," "protesting" and
"influencing" in the definition of public assembly content based, since they
can refer to any subject. The words "petitioning the government for redress
of grievances" come from the wording of the Constitution, so its use cannot
be avoided. Finally, maximum tolerance is for the protection and benefit of all
rallyists and is independent of the content of the expressions in the rally.
Furthermore, the permit can only be denied on the ground of clear and
present danger to public order, public safety, public convenience, public
morals or public health. This is a recognized exception to the exercise of the
right even under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, thus:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 20
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
xxx
Article 29

(h) In all cases, any decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court.
(i) Telegraphic appeals to be followed by formal appeals are hereby allowed.

1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full
development of his personality is possible.

It is very clear, therefore, that B.P. No. 880 is not an absolute ban of public
assemblies but a restriction that simply regulates the time, place and manner
of the assemblies. This was adverted to in Osmeña v. Comelec,20 where the
Court referred to it as a "content-neutral" regulation of the time, place, and
manner of holding public assemblies.21

2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only
to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of
securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others
and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general
welfare in a democratic society.

49
3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the
purposes and principles of the United Nations.

concerted action held in a public place." So it does not cover any and all
kinds of gatherings.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Neither is the law overbroad. It regulates the exercise of the right to peaceful
assembly and petition only to the extent needed to avoid a clear and present
danger of the substantive evils Congress has the right to prevent.

Article 19.
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall
include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all
kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of
art, or through any other media of his choice.
3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries
with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to
certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and
are necessary:
(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or
of public health or morals.
Contrary to petitioner’s claim, the law is very clear and is nowhere vague in
its provisions. "Public" does not have to be defined. Its ordinary meaning is
well-known. Webster’s Dictionary defines it, thus:23
public, n, x x x 2a: an organized body of people x x x 3: a group of people
distinguished by common interests or characteristics x x x.
Not every expression of opinion is a public assembly. The law refers to "rally,
demonstration, march, parade, procession or any other form of mass or

There is, likewise, no prior restraint, since the content of the speech is not
relevant to the regulation.
As to the delegation of powers to the mayor, the law provides a precise and
sufficient standard – the clear and present danger test stated in Sec. 6(a).
The reference to "imminent and grave danger of a substantive evil" in Sec.
6(c) substantially means the same thing and is not an inconsistent standard.
As to whether respondent Mayor has the same power independently under
Republic Act No. 716024 is thus not necessary to resolve in these
proceedings, and was not pursued by the parties in their arguments.
Finally, for those who cannot wait, Section 15 of the law provides for an
alternative forum through the creation of freedom parks where no prior
permit is needed for peaceful assembly and petition at any time:
Sec. 15. Freedom parks. – Every city and municipality in the country shall
within six months after the effectivity of this Act establish or designate at
least one suitable "freedom park" or mall in their respective jurisdictions
which, as far as practicable, shall be centrally located within the poblacion
where demonstrations and meetings may be held at any time without the
need of any prior permit.

In the cities and municipalities of Metropolitan Manila, the respective mayors
shall establish the freedom parks within the period of six months from the
effectivity this Act.

50
This brings up the point, however, of compliance with this provision.
The Solicitor General stated during the oral arguments that, to his
knowledge, only Cebu City has declared a freedom park – Fuente Osmeña.
That of Manila, the Sunken Gardens, has since been converted into a golf
course, he added.
If this is so, the degree of observance of B.P. No. 880’s mandate that every
city and municipality set aside a freedom park within six months from its
effectivity in 1985, or 20 years ago, would be pathetic and regrettable. The
matter appears to have been taken for granted amidst the swell of freedom
that rose from the peaceful revolution of 1986.
Considering that the existence of such freedom parks is an essential part of
the law’s system of regulation of the people’s exercise of their right to
peacefully assemble and petition, the Court is constrained to rule that after
thirty (30) days from the finality of this Decision, no prior permit may be
required for the exercise of such right in any public park or plaza of a city or
municipality until that city or municipality shall have complied with Section 15
of the law. For without such alternative forum, to deny the permit would in
effect be to deny the right. Advance notices should, however, be given to the
authorities to ensure proper coordination and orderly proceedings.
The Court now comes to the matter of the CPR. As stated earlier, the
Solicitor General has conceded that the use of the term should now be
discontinued, since it does not mean anything other than the maximum
tolerance policy set forth in B.P. No. 880. This is stated in the Affidavit of
respondent Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, submitted by the Solicitor
General, thus:
14. The truth of the matter is the policy of "calibrated preemptive response"
is in consonance with the legal definition of "maximum tolerance" under
Section 3 (c) of B.P. Blg. 880, which is the "highest degree of restraint that
the military, police and other peacekeeping authorities shall observe during a

public assembly or in the dispersal of the same." Unfortunately, however, the
phrase "maximum tolerance" has acquired a different meaning over the
years. Many have taken it to mean inaction on the part of law enforcers even
in the face of mayhem and serious threats to public order. More so, other felt
that they need not bother secure a permit when holding rallies thinking this
would be "tolerated." Clearly, the popular connotation of "maximum
tolerance" has departed from its real essence under B.P. Blg. 880.
15. It should be emphasized that the policy of maximum tolerance is
provided under the same law which requires all pubic assemblies to have a
permit, which allows the dispersal of rallies without a permit, and which
recognizes certain instances when water cannons may be used. This could
only mean that "maximum tolerance" is not in conflict with a "no permit, no
rally policy" or with the dispersal and use of water cannons under certain
circumstances for indeed, the maximum amount of tolerance required is
dependent on how peaceful or unruly a mass action is. Our law enforcers
should calibrate their response based on the circumstances on the ground
with the view to preempting the outbreak of violence.
16. Thus, when I stated that calibrated preemptive response is being
enforced in lieu of maximum tolerance I clearly was not referring to its legal
definition but to the distorted and much abused definition that it has now
acquired. I only wanted to disabuse the minds of the public from the notion
that law enforcers would shirk their responsibility of keeping the peace even
when confronted with dangerously threatening behavior. I wanted to send a
message that we would no longer be lax in enforcing the law but would
henceforth follow it to the letter. Thus I said, "we have instructed the PNP as
well as the local government units to strictly enforce a no permit, no rally
policy . . . arrest all persons violating the laws of the land . . . unlawful mass
actions will be dispersed." None of these is at loggerheads with the letter and
spirit of Batas Pambansa Blg. 880. It is thus absurd for complainants to even
claim that I ordered my co-respondents to violate any law.25
At any rate, the Court rules that in view of the maximum tolerance mandated
by B.P. No. 880, CPR serves no valid purpose if it means the same thing as

51
maximum tolerance and is illegal if it means something else. Accordingly,
what is to be followed is and should be that mandated by the law itself,
namely, maximum tolerance, which specifically means the following:

(b) The members of the law enforcement contingent shall not carry any kind
of firearms but may be equipped with baton or riot sticks, shields, crash
helmets with visor, gas masks, boots or ankle high shoes with shin guards;

Sec. 3. Definition of terms. – For purposes of this Act:
xxx

(c) Tear gas, smoke grenades, water cannons, or any similar anti-riot device
shall not be used unless the public assembly is attended by actual violence
or serious threats of violence, or deliberate destruction of property.

(c) "Maximum tolerance" means the highest degree of restraint that the
military, police and other peace keeping authorities shall observe during a
public assembly or in the dispersal of the same.

Sec. 11. Dispersal of public assembly with permit. – No public assembly with
a permit shall be dispersed. However, when an assembly becomes violent,
the police may disperse such public assembly as follows:

xxx

(a) At the first sign of impending violence, the ranking officer of the law
enforcement contingent shall call the attention of the leaders of the public
assembly and ask the latter to prevent any possible disturbance;

Sec. 9. Non-interference by law enforcement authorities. – Law enforcement
agencies shall not interfere with the holding of a public assembly. However,
to adequately ensure public safety, a law enforcement contingent under the
command of a responsible police officer may be detailed and stationed in a
place at least one hundred (100) meters away from the area of activity ready
to maintain peace and order at all times.
Sec. 10. Police assistance when requested. – It shall be imperative for law
enforcement agencies, when their assistance is requested by the leaders or
organizers, to perform their duties always mindful that their responsibility to
provide proper protection to those exercising their right peaceably to
assemble and the freedom of expression is primordial.1avvphil.net Towards
this end, law enforcement agencies shall observe the following guidelines:
(a) Members of the law enforcement contingent who deal with the
demonstrators shall be in complete uniform with their nameplates and units
to which they belong displayed prominently on the front and dorsal parts of
their uniform and must observe the policy of "maximum tolerance" as herein
defined;

(b) If actual violence starts to a point where rocks or other harmful objects
from the participants are thrown at the police or at the non-participants, or at
any property causing damage to such property, the ranking officer of the law
enforcement contingent shall audibly warn the participants that if the
disturbance persists, the public assembly will be dispersed;

(c) If the violence or disturbance prevailing as stated in the preceding
subparagraph should not stop or abate, the ranking officer of the law
enforcement contingent shall audibly issue a warning to the participants of
the public assembly, and after allowing a reasonable period of time to lapse,
shall immediately order it to forthwith disperse;
(d) No arrest of any leader, organizer or participant shall also be made during
the public assembly unless he violates during the assembly a law, statute,
ordinance or any provision of this Act. Such arrest shall be governed by
Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended;

52
(d) Isolated acts or incidents of disorder or breach of the peace during the
public assembly shall not constitute a ground for dispersal.
xxx
Sec. 12. Dispersal of public assembly without permit. – When the public
assembly is held without a permit where a permit is required, the said public
assembly may be peacefully dispersed.
Sec. 13. Prohibited acts. – The following shall constitute violations of the Act:
(e) Obstructing, impeding, disrupting or otherwise denying the exercise of the
right to peaceful assembly;
(f) The unnecessary firing of firearms by a member of any law enforcement
agency or any person to disperse the public assembly;
(g) Acts described hereunder if committed within one hundred (100) meters
from the area of activity of the public assembly or on the occasion thereof:
xxx
4. the carrying of firearms by members of the law enforcement unit;
5. the interfering with or intentionally disturbing the holding of a public
assembly by the use of a motor vehicle, its horns and loud sound systems.

Furthermore, there is need to address the situation adverted to by petitioners
where mayors do not act on applications for a permit and when the police
demand a permit and the rallyists could not produce one, the rally is
immediately dispersed. In such a situation, as a necessary consequence and
part of maximum tolerance, rallyists who can show the police an application
duly filed on a given date can, after two days from said date, rally in

accordance with their application without the need to show a permit, the
grant of the permit being then presumed under the law, and it will be the
burden of the authorities to show that there has been a denial of the
application, in which case the rally may be peacefully dispersed following the
procedure of maximum tolerance prescribed by the law.
In sum, this Court reiterates its basic policy of upholding the fundamental
rights of our people, especially freedom of expression and freedom of
assembly. In several policy addresses, Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban
has repeatedly vowed to uphold the liberty of our people and to nurture their
prosperity. He said that "in cases involving liberty, the scales of justice should
weigh heavily against the government and in favor of the poor, the
oppressed, the marginalized, the dispossessed and the weak. Indeed, laws
and actions that restrict fundamental rights come to the courts with a heavy
presumption against their validity. These laws and actions are subjected to
heightened scrutiny."26
For this reason, the so-called calibrated preemptive response policy has no
place in our legal firmament and must be struck down as a darkness that
shrouds freedom. It merely confuses our people and is used by some police
agents to justify abuses. On the other hand, B.P. No. 880 cannot be
condemned as unconstitutional; it does not curtail or unduly restrict
freedoms; it merely regulates the use of public places as to the time, place
and manner of assemblies. Far from being insidious, "maximum tolerance" is
for the benefit of rallyists, not the government. The delegation to the mayors
of the power to issue rally "permits" is valid because it is subject to the
constitutionally-sound "clear and present danger" standard.
In this Decision, the Court goes even one step further in safeguarding liberty
by giving local governments a deadline of 30 days within which to designate
specific freedom parks as provided under B.P. No. 880. If, after that period,
no such parks are so identified in accordance with Section 15 of the law, all
public parks and plazas of the municipality or city concerned shall in effect
be deemed freedom parks; no prior permit of whatever kind shall be required
to hold an assembly therein. The only requirement will be written notices to

53
the police and the mayor’s office to allow proper coordination and orderly
activities.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are GRANTED in part, and respondents, more
particularly the Secretary of the Interior and Local Governments, are
DIRECTED to take all necessary steps for the immediate compliance with
Section 15 of Batas Pambansa No. 880 through the establishment or
designation of at least one suitable freedom park or plaza in every city and
municipality of the country. After thirty (30) days from the finality of this
Decision, subject to the giving of advance notices, no prior permit shall be
required to exercise the right to peaceably assemble and petition in the
public parks or plazas of a city or municipality that has not yet complied with
Section 15 of the law. Furthermore, Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR),
insofar as it would purport to differ from or be in lieu of maximum tolerance,
is NULL and VOID and respondents are ENJOINED to REFRAIN from using
it and to STRICTLY OBSERVE the requirements of maximum tolerance. The
petitions are DISMISSED in all other respects, and the constitutionality of
Batas Pambansa No. 880 is SUSTAINED.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

(Id. Article IV. Section 6) was invoked in order to compel the publication in the Official Gazette of various presidential decrees. Julian Sibonghanoy and Mariano Agas. and papers pertaining to official acts. Access to official records. 7 of the 1987 Constitution with the addition of the phrase. 80 Phil. p. shall be afforded the citizen. 28). Sec. which states: Sec. Legaspi against the Civil Service Commission. 11.136 SCRA 27) wherein the people's right to be informed under the 1973 Constitution (Article IV. and to documents. Tuvera et. J. vs. LEGASPI. as well as to government research data used as basis. of the 1973 Constitution. L-63915. transactions. 1987 VALENTIN L. al. "as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development. (G. respondent.: The fundamental right of the people to information on matters of public concern is invoked in this special civil action for mandamus instituted by petitioner Valentin L. or decisions. petitioner prays for the issuance of the extraordinary writ of mandamus to compel the respondent Commission to disclose said information. and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts. be consistent with the declared State policy of full public disclosure of all transactions involving public interest (Constitution. for policy development. petitioner. al. The same remedy was resorted to in the case of Tanada et. transactions. CORTES. The respondent had earlier denied Legaspi's request for information on the civil service eligibilities of certain persons employed as sanitarians in the Health Department of Cebu City. at. of necessity. The foregoing provision has been retained and the right therein provided amplified in Article III. or decisions. shall be afforded the citizen subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. 6. had allegedly represented themselves as civil service eligibles who passed the civil service examinations for sanitarians.R. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Ozaeta. However." The new provision reads: The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. vs.. Access to official records. Art. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. letters of instructions and other presidential issuances.1985. is guaranteed by the Constitution. it cannot be overemphasized that whatever limitation . subject to such stations as may be provided by law. this time to demand access to the records of the Register of Deeds for the purpose of gathering data on real estate transactions involving aliens (Subido vs. the fundamental right therein recognized may be asserted by the people upon the ratification of the constitution without need for any ancillary act of the Legislature. No.54 EN BANC G. April 24. A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations 167 [1927]) by guaranteeing the right and mandating the duty to afford access to sources of information. 165) What may be provided for by the Legislature are reasonable conditions and limitations upon the access to be afforded which must. Claiming that his right to be informed of the eligibilities of Julian Sibonghanoy and Mariano Agas.R. This is not the first tune that the writ of mandamus is sought to enforce the fundamental right to information. L-72119 May 29. Hence. The constitutional right to information on matters of public concern first gained recognition in the Bill of Rights. Sec. They supply the rules by means of which the right to information may be enjoyed (Cooley. and that he has no other plain. These government employees. No. as amended) was claimed by a newspaper editor in another mandamus proceeding. Act 496. 383 [1948]). Prior to the recognition of the right in said Constitution the statutory right to information provided for in the Land Registration Act (Section 56. speedy and adequate remedy to acquire the information. These constitutional provisions are self-executing.

496. 1012 [1947]). et. it becomes apparent that when a mandamus proceeding involves the assertion of a public right. Only governments operating under fundamental rules defining the limits of their power so as to shield individual rights against its arbitrary exercise can properly claim to be constitutional (Cooley. No. L63915. 7 have become operative and enforceable by virtue of the adoption of the New Charter. (Ant. a Petition for mandamus must have been instituted by a party aggrieved by the alleged inaction of any tribunal. 77 Phil. p. From the foregoing. when it held that even those who have no direct or tangible interest in any real estate transaction are part of the "public" to whom "(a)ll records relating to registered lands in the Office of the Register of Deeds shall be open * * *" (Sec. it embraces every person. That is the very essence of the Bill of Rights in a constitutional regime. 1. the requirement of personal interest is satisfied by the mere fact that the petitioner is a citizen. Therefore. 387). To say that only those who have a present and existing interest of a pecuniary character in the particular information sought are given the right of inspection is to make an unwarranted distinction.55 may be prescribed by the Legislature. supra at p. He further argues that there is no ministerial duty on the part of the Commission to furnish the petitioner with the information he seeks. Tuvera. He challenges the petitioner's standing to sue upon the ground that the latter does not possess any clear legal right to be informed of the civil service eligibilities of the government employees concerned. Properly construed. the right may be properly invoked in a mandamus proceeding such as this one. Ozaeta. and therefore. which. board or person which unlawfully excludes said party from the enjoyment of a legal right. 3). In the case before Us. The Court had opportunity to define the word "public" in the Subido case. 136 SCRA 27. 2. al. supra. 36). The petitioner in every case must therefore be an "aggrieved party" in the sense that he possesses a clear legal right to be enforced and a direct interest in the duty or act to be performed. Act No. it being sufficient to show that he is a citizen and as such interested in the execution of the laws * * * (Tanada et. III Sec. *** (Subido vs. part of the general "public" which possesses the right. al. as such is clothed with personality to seek redress for the alleged obstruction of the exercise of the public right. G. to respect and protect that right. In the words of the Court: * * * "Public" is a comprehensive. The Solicitor General interposes procedural objections to Our giving due course to this Petition. corporation. 5). It is asserted that. vs. To be given due course. by its very nature. the instant Petition is bereft of any allegation of Legaspi's actual interest in the civil service eligibilities of Julian Sibonghanoy and Mariano Agas. there lies a corresponding duty on the part of those who govern. Rollo. all-inclusive term. It has been held that: * * * when the question is one of public right and the object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public duty. the people are regarded as the real party in interest and the relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted need not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result. the respondent takes issue on the personality of the petitioner to bring this suit. April 24. being a citizen who..R. 56. is a public right. The petitioner. at p. Without a government's acceptance of the limitations imposed upon it by the . For every right of the people recognized as fundamental. supra.-Chinese League of the Philippines vs. At most there is a vague reference to an unnamed client in whose behalf he had allegedly acted when he made inquiries on the subject (Petition. 1985. But what is clear upon the face of the Petition is that the petitioner has firmly anchored his case upon the right of the people to information on matters of public concern. Felix. as amended). the right and the duty under Art. He calls attention to the alleged failure of the petitioner to show his actual interest in securing this particular information. We find no cogent reason to deny his standing to bring the present suit.

this time "subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. The law itself makes a list of what should be published in the Official Gazette. In the Subido case. government research data used as basis for policy development. 1976. the regulations which the Register of Deeds may promulgate are confined to: * * * prescribing the manner and hours of examination to the end that damage to or loss of. or sheer.56 Constitution in order to uphold individual liberties. and in the process. 1120-MJ. Dimaano (Adm. the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. Ozaeta. May 5. the constitutional guarantee was bolstered by what this Court declared as an imperative duty of the government officials concerned to publish all important legislative acts and resolutions of a public nature as well as all executive orders and proclamations of general applicability. 387) Applying the Subido ruling by analogy. to our mind. perhaps when it is clear that the purpose of the examination is unlawful. at 39). In recognizing the people's right to be informed. to wit: Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. the records in the Office of the Register of Deeds. We recognized a similar authority in a municipal judge. Ozaeta. *** (Subido v. papers and in addition. may inspect. However. The absence of discretion on the part of government agencia es in allowing the examination of public records. that undue interference with the duties of the custodian of the books and documents and other employees may be prevented. that the right of other persons entitled to make inspection may be insured * * * (Subido vs. both the 1973 Constitution and the New Charter expressly mandate the duty of the State and its agents to afford access to official records. Sec. 11. 71 SCRA 14). idle curiosity. In the Tanada case. and liberty. supra. 383. If it be wrong to publish the contents of the records. The guarantee has been further enhanced in the New Constitution with the adoption of a policy of full public disclosure." in Article 11. Tuvera. Matter No. 80 Phil. Section 28 thereof. Upon a finding by the Investigating . information of public concern. the Bill of Rights becomes a sophistry. (Emphasis supplied). the records may be avoided. specifically. supra. (Tanada v. documents. We granted mandamus in said case. (Emphasis supplied). without an acknowledgment on its part of those duties exacted by the rights pertaining to the citizens. the ultimate illusion. reasons. it is the legislature and not the officials having custody thereof which is called upon to devise a remedy. or access to. subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. It is not their prerogative to see that the information which the records contain is not flaunted before public gaze. This is not to lose sight of the reasonable regulations which may be imposed by said agencies in custody of public records on the manner in which the right to information may be exercised by the public. or that scandal is not made of it. we do not believe it is the duty under the law of registration officers to concern themselves with the motives. examine or copy records relating to registered lands. leaves respondents with no discretion whatsoever as to what must be in included or excluded from such publication. is emphasized in Subido vs. 28). and objects of the person seeking access to the records. to regulate the manner of inspection by the public of criminal docket records in the case of Baldoza vs. We found occasion to expound briefly on the nature of said duty: * * * That duty must be enforced if the Constitutional right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern is to be given substance and reality. supra at 388). We recognized the authority of the Register of Deeds to regulate the manner in which persons desiring to do so. It is clear from the foregoing pronouncements of this Court that government agencies are without discretion in refusing disclosure of. Ozaeta. supra: Except. Said administrative case was filed against the respondent judge for his alleged refusal to allow examination of the criminal docket records in his sala. (Art. Such listing.

Alabama. public records may be avoided.. We have also held that the rules and conditions imposed by him upon the manner of examining the public records were reasonable.e. a. that the same has been exempted by law from the operation of the guarantee. Certainly. Ozaetal supra). The incorporation in the Constitution of a guarantee of access to information of public concern is a recognition of the essentiality of the free flow of ideas and information in a democracy (Baldoza v. September 23. Under the Constitution. or. Sec. The threshold question is. the government agency has the burden of showing that the information requested is not of public concern.. September 24. (b) not being exempted by law from the operation of the constitutional guarantee. Sec. i. 6. 1987 Constitution). A distinction has to be made between the discretion to refuse outright the disclosure of or access to a particular information and the authority to regulate the manner in which the access is to be afforded. papers. its performance cannot be made contingent upon the discretion of such agencies. while the manner of examining public records may be subject to reasonable regulation by the government agency in custody thereof. However. Dimaano.S. as already discussed. As . or loss of.102 [1939]). 1986 Constitutional Commission). access to official records. this does not give the agency concerned any discretion to grant or deny access. 7. But what is a proper case for Mandamus to issue? In the case before Us. and to afford access to public records cannot be discretionary on the part of said agencies. whether or not the information sought is of public interest or public concern. such as those affecting national security (Journal No. its performance may be compelled by a writ of mandamus in a proper case. in every case. III. The decisive question on the propriety of the issuance of the writ of mandamus in this case is. In case of denial of access. Thus. and. But the constitutional guarantee to information on matters of public concern is not absolute. 10. The constitutional duty. and Journal No. In effect. Otherwise. the duty to disclose the information of public concern. In both the Subido and the Baldoza cases. the enjoyment of the constitutional right may be rendered nugatory by any whimsical exercise of agency discretion. The law may therefore exempt certain types of information from public scrutiny. We were emphatic in Our statement that the authority to regulate the manner of examining public records does not carry with it the power to prohibit. We absolved the respondent. 90. Its authority to regulate access is to be exercised solely to the end that damage to. This question is first addressed to the government agency having custody of the desired information. May 5. III. To hold otherwise will serve to dilute the constitutional right. undue interference with the duties of said agencies may be prevented. whether the information sought by the petitioner is within the ambit of the constitutional guarantee. that the exercise of the same constitutional right by other persons shall be assured (Subido vs. In the same way that free discussion enables members of society to cope with the exigencies of their time (Thornhill vs. 88. 1986. 1986. The first is a limitation upon the availability of access to the information sought. which only the Legislature may impose (Art. the availability of access to a particular public record must be circumscribed by the nature of the information sought. Adm. therefore. are "subject to limitations as may be provided by law" (Art. 3. p. the public right to be enforced and the concomitant duty of the State are unequivocably set forth in the Constitution. etc. It does not open every door to any and all information. It follows that. 91. The second pertains to the government agency charged with the custody of public records. 1120-MJ. Matter No. 1976.57 Judge that the respondent had allowed the complainant to open and view the subject records. if it is of public concern. 310 U. p. and more importantly. (a) being of public concern or one that involves public interest. 17 SCRA 14). access to information of general interest aids the people in democratic decision-making (87 Harvard Law Review 1505 [1974]) by giving them a better perspective of the vital issues confronting the nation. 32. second sentence). not being discretionary.

neither unusual nor unreasonable. if actually possessed. Gancayco. Tuvera. C. For mandamus to lie in a given case. The Constitution expressly declares as a State policy that: at all times accountable to the people even as to their eligibilities for their respective positions.. Cruz. through any citizen. The information sought by the petitioner in this case is the truth of the claim of certain government employees that they are civil service eligibles for the positions to which they were appointed. Gutierrez. the government is in an advantageous position to marshall and interpret arguments against release . the public concern deemed covered by the statutory right was the knowledge of those real estate transactions which some believed to have been registered in violation of the Constitution. as in this case. by competitive examination. as it relates to or affects the public. as requested by the petitioner Valentin L. "Public concern" like "public interest" is a term that eludes exact definition.[2]). supra. Paras. In Subido vs. b. . and to confirm or deny. and except as to positions which are policy determining. access may be compelled by a writ of Mandamus. for said position in the Health Department of Cebu City. B. the duty of the respondent Commission to confirm or deny the civil service eligibility of any person occupying the position becomes imperative. has a right to verify their professed eligibilities from the Civil Service Commission. . was the need for adequate notice to the public of the various laws which are to regulate the actions and conduct of citizens. 1] it is the legitimate concern of citizens to ensure that government positions requiring civil service eligibility are occupied only by persons who are eligibles. concur. [Const. every denial of access by the government agency concerned is subject to review by the courts. the government employees concerned claim to be civil service eligibles. and in the proper case. the civil service eligibility of Julian Sibonghanoy and Mariano Agas. civil service eligibles. Ozaeta. Public office being a public trust. The public concern invoked in the case of Tanada v. Public officers are Teehankee. Legaspi. Narvasa. Bidin and Sarmiento. it is not enough that the information sought is of public interest. Both terms embrace a broad spectrum of subjects which the public may want to know. or simply because such matters naturally arouse the interest of an ordinary citizen. (Art. and in the absence of express limitations under the law upon access to the register of civil service eligibles for said position. WHEREFORE. Sec. Yap.. XI. In determining whether or not a particular information is of public concern there is no rigid test which can be applied. are released to the public. In the final analysis. But then. and who are not. as far as practicable. IX. it is for the courts to determine in a case by case basis whether the matter at issue is of interest or importance. We take judicial notice of the fact that the names of those who pass the civil service examinations. Hence. . either because these directly affect their lives.J. the Civil Service Commission is ordered to open its register of eligibles for the position of sanitarian. there is nothing secret about one's civil service eligibility. To safeguard the constitutional right." (87 Harvard Law Review 1511 [1974]). The civil service eligibility of a sanitarian being of public concern. ". as in bar examinations and licensure examinations for various professions. Art. therefore lies. the information must not be among the species exempted by law from the operation of the constitutional guarantee.. supra. the public. Petitioner's request is. 2. In the instant. Jr. case while refusing to confirm or deny the claims of eligibility. . Padilla. Appointments in the civil service shall be made only according to merit and fitness to be determined. Fernan. the respondent has failed to cite any provision in the Civil Service Law which would limit the petitioner's right to know who are. therefore. JJ. Sec.58 aptly observed. Mandamus. And when. Melencio-Herrera. primarily confidential or highly technical. .

Feliciano Belmonte RICARDO VALMONTE. respondent. As a lawyer.] Very truly yours. Manila Sir: If we could not secure the above documents could we have access to them? We are premising the above request on the following provision of the Freedom Constitution of the present regime. and/or The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Imelda Marcos. CORTES. 1986 G. member of the media and plain citizen of our Republic. J. (Art. and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts. IV. JUN "NINOY" ALBA. ROMMEL CORRO and ROLANDO FADUL. paragraphing supplied. No.: Petitioners in this special civil action for mandamus with preliminary injunction invoke their right to information and pray that respondent be directed: Arroceros. 4-5. (c) to allow petitioners access to the public records for the subject information. The Solicitor General for respondent. Valmonte for and in his own behalf and his co-petitioners. 74930 February 13. OSWALDO CARBONELL. may we be furnished with the certified true copies of the documents evidencing their loan. PERCY LAPID. (a) to furnish petitioners the list of the names of the Batasang Pambansa members belonging to the UNIDO and PDP-Laban who were able to secure clean loans immediately before the February 7 election thru the intercession/marginal note of the then First Lady Imelda Marcos. VALMONTE . I am requesting that I be furnished with the list of names of the opposition members of (the) Batasang Pambansa who were able to secure a clean loan of P2 million each on guarranty (sic) of Mrs.. DOY DEL CASTILLO. 1989 Hon.R. ROLANDO BARTOLOME. (Petition. petitioners. We understand that OIC Mel Lopez of Manila was one of those aforesaid MPs. Ricardo C. Expenses in connection herewith shall be borne by us. pp. (b) to furnish petitioners with certified true copies of the documents evidencing their respective loans. (Sgd. Likewise. FELICIANO BELMONTE. REYNALDO BAGATSING.59 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC The controversy arose when petitioner Valmonte wrote respondent Belmonte the following letter: June 4. GSIS General Manager vs. LEO OBLIGAR. shall be afforded the citizen subject to such limitation as may be provided by law. transactions or decisions. 6).) RICARDO C. Access to official records. and/or We trust that within five (5) days from receipt hereof we will receive your favorable response on the matter. Sec. JR. JUN GUTIERREZ.

joined by the other petitioners. referred to me for study and reply your letter to him of June 4. Very truly yours. Respondent claims that actions of the GSIS General Manager are reviewable by the Board of Trustees of the GSIS. It is therefore asserted that since administrative remedies were not exhausted. p. viz. (Sgd. I regret very much that at this time we cannot respond positively to your request. it is argued that this case falls under one of the exceptions to the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies. Hence. In his comment respondent raises procedural objections to the issuance of a writ of mandamus. p. 1986 requesting a list of the opposition members of Batasang Pambansa who were able to secure a clean loan of P2 million each on guaranty of Mrs. that the GSIS has a duty to its customers to preserve this confidentiality. As a violation of this confidentiality may mar the image of the GSIS as a reputable financial institution. including ten (10) opposition members. TIRO Deputy General Counsel [Rollo.] To the aforesaid letter. did not seek relief from the GSIS Board of Trustees. were granted housing loans by the GSIS [Rollo. 7.] Separate comments were filed by respondent Belmonte and the Solicitor General. Petitioners. 1986. p.." [Rollo. the Deputy General Counsel of the GSIS replied: June 17. whether or not they are entitled to the documents sought. Valmonte. however. . Benin Street Caloocan City Dear Compañero: Possibly because he must have thought that it contained serious legal implications. Ricardo C. by virtue of their constitutional right to information. 1986 On June 20.) MEYNARDO A. 1986. then petitioners have no cause of action. After petitioners filed a consolidated reply. petitioner Valmonte wrote respondent another letter. whoever they may be. To this objection. apparently not having yet received the reply of the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) Deputy General Counsel. the Daily Express carried a news item reporting that 137 former members of the defunct interim and regular Batasang Pambansa. 1986. among which is that petitioners have failed to exhaust administrative remedies. 41. My opinion in this regard is that a confidential relationship exists between the GSIS and all those who borrow from it.] On June 26. saying that for failure to receive a reply. filed the instant suit.] Atty. 8. "(W)e are now considering ourselves free to do whatever action necessary within the premises to pursue our desired objective in pursuance of public interest. On July 19. the petition was given due course and the parties were required to file their memoranda. The parties having complied. President & General Manager Feliciano Belmonte. Jr. the case was deemed submitted for decision. p.60 [Rollo. Imelda Marcos. petitioners claim that they have raised a purely legal issue. Valmonte 108 E. 40. and that it would not be proper for the GSIS to breach this confidentiality unless so ordered by the courts.

G. No. Valencia. comity and convenience will not entertain a case unless the available administrative remedies have been resorted to and the appropriate authorities have been given opportunity to act and correct the errors committed in the administrative forum. April 24. However. Sec.61 Among the settled principles in administrative law is that before a party can be allowed to resort to the courts. Ramento. The courts for reasons of law. G. except under limitations prescribed by implementing legislation adopted pursuant to the Constitution. The postulate of public office as a public trust. 6 of which provided: The right of the people to information on 'matters of public concern shall be recognized. in pursuance of their right to information. Denied access to information on the inner workings of government. is vital to the democratic government envisioned under our Constitution. The right of access to information ensures that these freedoms are not rendered nugatory by the government's monopolizing pertinent information. or decisions. and to documents.1985. G. as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development. The right of access to information was also recognized in the 1973 Constitution. In this system. G. Provincial Board. 466 (1959). No. 1971. No.150 SCRA 530. For an essential element of these freedoms is to keep open a continuing dialogue or process of . This is not the first time that the Court is confronted with a controversy directly involving the constitutional right to information. and the free exchange of ideas and discussion of issues thereon. moral and artistic thought and data relative to them. Sec. We now address ourselves to the issue of whether or not mandamus hes to compel respondent to perform the acts sought by petitioners to be done. XI. the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies is subject to settled exceptions. May 21. 7 which states: The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. governmental agencies and institutions operate within the limits of the authority conferred by the people. IV Sec. We shall deal first with the second and third alternative acts sought to be done. 129 SCRA 359. 72119. The cornerstone of this republican system of government is delegation of power by the people to the State. or decisions.R.R. transactions. L-2270. Aguilar v. As such. the citizenry can become prey to the whims and caprices of those to whom the power had been delegated. both of which involve the issue of whether or not petitioners are entitled to access to the documents evidencing loans granted by the GSIS.R. and papers pertaining to official acts. involving as it does a purely legal question. An informed citizenry with access to the diverse currents in political. transactions. the Court upheld the people's constitutional right to be informed of matters of public interest and ordered the government agencies concerned to act as prayed for by the petitioners. subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. would certainly be were empty words if access to such information of public concern is denied. institutionalized in the Constitution (in Art. 111. is one which can be passed upon by the regular courts more competently than the GSIS or its Board of Trustees. Access to official records. May 29. among which is when only a question of law is involved [Pascual v.R. et al. Petitioners are practitioners in media. In Tañada v. 1987. Malabanan v. which requires the interpretation of the scope of the constitutional right to information.] The issue raised by petitioners. the freedom of the press and of speech is not only critical. 106 Phil. the exception of this case from the application of the general rule on exhaustion of administrative remedies is warranted. No. they have both the right to gather and the obligation to check the accuracy of information the disseminate. 1) to protect the people from abuse of governmental power. Art. but vital to the exercise of their professions. For them. Access to official records. he is expected to have exhausted all means of administrative redress available under the law. 63915.. 1984. Tuvera. and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts. 136 SCRA 27 and in the recent case of Legaspi v. Civil Service Commission. 40 SCRA 210. L-30396. Having disposed of this procedural issue. shall be afforded the citizen subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. The pertinent provision under the 1987 Constitution is Art. Thus. July 30. shall be afforded the citizen.

No. it must be clear that the information sought is of "public interest" or "public concern. Civil Service Commission. the people's right to information is limited to "matters of public concern. Both terms embrace a broad spectrum of subjects which the public may want to know. Only when the participants in the discussion are aware of the issues and have access to information relating thereto can such bear fruit. at p. [Ibid. No. 1986 election through the intercession of th eformer First Lady. More particularly.'" . Thus. 542. supra. As stated in Legaspi. either because these directly affect their lives. provide for annual appropriations to pay the contributions. The GSIS is a trustee of contributions from the government and its employees and the administrator of various insurance programs for the benefit of the latter.] The Court has always grappled with the meanings of the terms "public interest" and "public concern". the GSIS "is not supposed to grant 'clean loans. or simply because such matters naturally arouse the interest of an ordinary citezen. it was the "legitimate concern of citezensof ensure that government positions requiring civil service eligibility are occupied only by persons who are eligibles" [Supra at p. Considering the nature of its funds.D. as amended (the Revised Government Service Insurance Act of 1977).D. "Public concern" like "public interest" is a term that eludes exact definition." and is further "subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. The right to information goes hand-in-hand with the constitutional policies of full public disclosure * and honesty in the public service. at p. P." Similarly. The right to information is an essential premise of a meaningful right to speech and expression. 5(b) and 46 of P. 539. as employer. it is for the courts to determine on a case by case basis whether the matter at issue is of interest or importance. premiums. like all the constitutional guarantees. as it relates to or affects the public. Mrs. as respondent himself admits. 541] In the Tañada case the public concern deemed covered by the constitutional right to information was the need for adequate notice to the public of the various laws which are to regulate the actions and conduct of citezens. 186. Undeniably. before mandamus may issue." Hence. Imelda Marcos. as well as the obligations which the Republic of the Philippines assumes or guarantees to pay. interest and other amounts payable to GSIS by the government. As observed in Legazpi: In determining whether or not a particular information is of public concern there is no rigid test which can be applied. its funds assume a public character.] Consequently. Yet. as amended) was the necessity "to preserve at all times the actuarial solvency of the funds administered by the System" [Second Whereas Clause. Yet. this open dialogue can be effective only to the extent that the citizenry is informed and thus able to formulate its will intelligently. But this is not to say that the right to information is merely an adjunct of and therefore restricted in application by the exercise of the freedoms of speech and of the press. the GSIS is expected to manage its resources with utmost prudence and in strict compliance with the pertinent laws or rules and regulations. In the final analysis. the State's policy of full disclosure is limited to "transactions involving public interest. Far from it. one of the reasons that prompted the revision of the old GSIS law (C. ** It is meant to enhance the widening role of the citizenry in governmental decision-making as well as in checking abuse in government.62 communication between the government and the people. 1146." and is "subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law." and is not exempted by law from the operation of the constitutional guarantee [Legazpi v.] The information sought by petitioners in this case is the truth of reports that certain Members of the Batasang Pambansa belonging to the opposition were able to secure "clean" loans from the GSIS immediately before the February 7. It is in the interest of the State that the channels for free political discussion be maintained to the end that the government may perceive and be responsive to the people's will. Secs.A. the right to information is not absolute. 1146. In Legaspi.

Apparent from the above-quoted statement of the Court in Morfe is that the right to privacy belongs to the individual in his private capacity. Loose Wills Biscuit Co. of the dignity and integrity of the individual — has become increasingly important as modem society has developed. respondent has failed to cite any law granting the GSIS the privilege of confidentiality as regards the documents subject of this petition. in itself. Protection of this private sector — protection.] When the information requested from the government intrudes into the privacy of a citizen. which belongs to the individual. urbanization. 415 (1968). a potential conflict between the rights to information and to privacy may arise. that the information sought must not be among those excluded by law. speaking through then Mr. In contrast.. in other words. the competing interests of these rights need not be resolved in this case." [at pp. Moreover. Moreover. 22 SCRA 424]. Mutuc [130 Phil. In the landmark case of Morfe v. Respondent maintains that a confidential relationship exists between the GSIS and its borrowers. Justice Fernando. Respondent however contends that in view of the right to privacy which is equally protected by the Constitution and by existing laws. 444-445. viz. 8. and not what the law should be. All the forces of technological age — industrialization. Emerson is particularly apt: "The concept of limited government has always included the idea that governmental powers stop short of certain intrusions into the personal life of the citizen. However. The judiciary does not settle policy issues.. is the hallmark of the absolute. and organization — operate to narrow the area of privacy and facilitate intrusion into it. in all aspects of his life.63 [Comment. stated: .] It is therefore the legitimate concern of the public to ensure that these funds are managed properly with the end in view of maximizing the benefits that accrue to the insured government employees. Yet. As held in the case of Vassar College v. which the state can control. a system of limited government safeguards a private sector. a corporation has no right of privacy in its name since the entire basis of the right to privacy is an injury to the feelings and sensibilities of the party and a corporation would have no such ground for relief. A second requisite must be met before the right to information may be enforced through mandamus proceedings. There can be no doubt that right to privacy is constitutionally protected. firmly distinguishing it from the public sector. In sum.. The right to privacy as such is accorded recognition independently of its identification with liberty. In modern terms. state. and of the people themselves as the repository of all State power. 982 (1912)]. the public nature of the loanable funds of the GSIS and the public office held by the alleged borrowers make the information sought clearly a matter of public interest and concern. p. the right cannot be invoked by juridical entities like the GSIS. UItimate and pervasive control of the individual. The Court can only declare what the law is. This is indeed one of the basic distinctions between absolute and limited government. this Court. and not to public and governmental agencies like the GSIS. the capacity to maintain and support this enclave of private life marks the difference between a democratic and a totalitarian society. the supposed borrowers were Members of the defunct Batasang Pambansa who themselves appropriated funds for the GSIS and were therefore expected to be the first to see to it that the GSIS performed its tasks with the greatest degree of fidelity and that an its transactions were above board. Under our system of government. [197 F. . The language of Prof. the documents evidencing loan transactions of the GSIS must be deemed outside the ambit of the right to information. It is argued that a policy of confidentiality restricts the indiscriminate dissemination of information. it is fully deserving of constitutional protection. His position is apparently based merely on considerations of policy. policy issues are within the domain of the political branches of the government.

discharges the same function of service to the people. Capulong. 434. 80 N. Schuyler v. ministries and instrumentalities of the government.] Respondent next asserts that the documents evidencing the loan transactions of the GSIS are private in nature and hence. John Doherty & Co. that the GSIS. are not covered by the Constitutional right to information on matters of public concern which guarantees "(a)ccess to official records. whether carrying out its sovereign attributes or running some business. Ayer Productions Pty.A. Consequently. 219 (1899). the Court said that the government. MR. See also Cohen v. G. 285. or decisions" only. Presiding Officer. The right is purely personal in nature [Cf.RA. the "constituent — ministrant" dichotomy characterizing government function has long been repudiated. Mr. 147 N. however. L-21484 and L-23605. November 29. 30 SCRA 6441.R. 1988. Marx. public figures. 286 (1895)). OPLE.W. SUAREZ. MR. transactions. Commissioner Suarez is recognized. Very gladly.R. It cannot be denied that because of the interest they generate and their newsworthiness. . was exercising a proprietary function would not justify the exclusion of the transactions from the coverage and scope of the right to information.E. are outside the coverage of the people's right of access to official records. Curtis. 2d 321 (1949). MR. the respondent. and to documents. When we declare a "policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions" — referring to the transactions of the State — and when we say the "State" which I suppose would include all of the various agencies. to include government-owned and controlled corporations and transactions entered into by them within the coverage of the State policy of fun public disclosure is manifest from the records of the proceedings: xxx xxx xxx THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Thank you. 46 L. and hence may be invoked only by the person whose privacy is claimed to be violated. v.. Thank you. SUAREZ. and individual public officers. OPLE. invoke the right to privacy of its borrowers. Colayco). departments. SUAREZ. It may be observed. It is argued that the records of the GSIS..R. Ltd. most especially those holding responsible positions in government. First of all. May I ask the Gentleman a few question? MR. considering the public offices they were holding at the time the loans were alleged to have been granted. Yes. a government corporation performing proprietary functions. 1969. 31 L. 22. Confederation of Unions and Government Corporations and Offices (G. 121 Mich 372. 42 N. 211 P. 82380 and 82398. Moreover. Atkinson v. the concerned borrowers themselves may not succeed if they choose to invoke their right to privacy.64 Neither can the GSIS through its General Manager. in granting the loans. MR.Y. and papers pertaining to official acts. Nos. In ACCFA v. their actions being subject to closer public scrutiny [Cf. enjoy a more limited right to privacy as compared to ordinary individuals.. that in the instant case. then its loan transactions are not covered by the constitutional policy of full public disclosure and the right to information which is applicable only to "official" transactions. It is further contended that since the loan function of the GSIS is merely incidental to its insurance function. Nos.. April 29. the intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986. Including government-owned and controlled corporations.

No.) Considering the intent of the framers of the Constitution which. and considering further that government-owned and controlled corporations. clear and certain legal right to the thing demanded and that it is the imperative duty of defendant to perform the act required. i.R. as petitioners may specify. 1976.] The petition. are entitled to "access to official records. OPLE. summaries and the like in their desire to acquire information on matters of public concern. SUAREZ. a governmentcontrolled corporation created by special legislation are within the ambit of the people's right to be informed pursuant to the constitutional policy of transparency in government dealings. quoting Subido v. And when we say "transactions" which should be distinguished from contracts. does the Gentleman refer to the steps leading to the consummation of the contract. 383. "to furnish petitioners the list of the names of the Batasang Pambansa members belonging to the UNIDO and PDP-Laban who were able to secure clean loans immediately before the February 7 election thru the intercession/marginal note of the then First Lady Imelda Marcos.65 MR. 72 SCRA 443. SO ORDERED. pursuant thereto. as to the second and third alternative acts sought to be done by petitioners. Thank you. or does he refer to the contract itself? MR. [V Record of the Constitutional Commission 2425. subject to reasonable regulations that the latter may promulgate relating to the manner and hours of examination. Mr. November 29. and already a consummated contract. That is correct. to the end that damage to or loss of the records may be avoided.] The request of the petitioners fails to meet this standard.. Civil Service Commission. therefore.R. the instant petition is hereby granted and respondent General Manager of the Government Service Insurance System is ORDERED to allow petitioners access to documents and records evidencing loans granted to Members of the former Batasang Pambansa. MR. G.1968. Presiding Officer. In fine. SUAREZ. MR. The corresponding duty of the respondent to perform the required act must be clear and specific [Lemi v. are nevertheless persuasive. It must be stressed that it is essential for a writ of mandamus to issue that the applicant has a well-defined. 538. that undue interference with the duties of the custodian of the records may be prevented and that the right of other persons entitled to inspect the records may be insured [Legaspi v. Subido. Mr. The "transactions" used here I suppose is generic and. the same cannot be said with regard to the first act sought by petitioners. 387. L-20768. G. there being no duty on the part of respondent to prepare the list requested. the Court is convinced that transactions entered into by the GSIS.e. MR. . August 27. OPLE. L-28344. is meritorious. agreements. Ozaeta. 80 Phil. Ocampo v. or treaties or whatever. petitioners are entitled to access to the documents evidencing loans granted by the GSIS. whether performing proprietary or governmental functions are accountable to the people. However. WHEREFORE. MR. not incompatible with this decision. This contemplates inclusion of negotiations leading to the consummation of the transaction. Valencia. subject to reasonable regulations as to the time and manner of inspection. subject only to reasonable safeguards on the national interest. supra at p. as the GSIS may deem necessary. Yes." Although citizens are afforded the right to information and.126 SCRA 203. it can cover both steps leading to a contract.] (Emphasis supplied. OPLE." the Constitution does not accord them a right to compel custodians of official records to prepare lists. though not binding upon the Court. abstracts. No. Presiding Officer. SUAREZ.

C. . JJ. Sarmiento.. Jr. Griño-Aquino. Padilla.66 Fernan. Bidin..J.. Gancayco. Narvasa. Feliciano. concur. Paras. Medialdea and Regalado. Melencio-Herrera. Gutierrez.

JOPSON. though. 1998 FRANCISCO I." alleges that what impelled him to bring this action were several news reports 2 bannered in a number of broadsheets sometime in September 1997. JOPSON. be required to reveal the proposed terms of a compromise agreement with the Marcos heirs as regards their alleged ill-gotten wealth? More specifically. because there is no showing that he has asked the PCGG to disclose the negotiations and the Agreements." since it has a "debilitating effect on the country's economy" that would be greatly prejudicial to the national interest of the Filipino people. Petitioner. and (2) to "[c]ompel respondent[s] to make public all negotiations and agreement. Marcos . and TERESA A. 130716 December 9. and (2) the reported execution of a compromise.67 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION late President Ferdinand E. PANGANIBAN. JOPSON. No. Hence. GLORIA A. do not deny forging a compromise agreement with the Marcos heirs. the people in general have a right to know the transactions or deals being contrived and effected by the government. through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG)." both dated December 28. 4 demands that respondents make public any and all negotiations and agreements pertaining to PCGG's task of recovering the Marcoses' illgotten wealth. respondents. invoking his constitutional right to information 3 and the correlative duty of the state to disclose publicly all its transactions involving the national interest. citizen and former government official who initiated the prosecution of the Marcoses and their cronies who committed unmitigated plunder of the public treasury and the systematic subjugation of the country's economy. relating to and concerning the properties and assets of Ferdinand Marcos located in the Philippines and/or abroad — including the so-called Marcos gold hoard". JOPSON.: Petitioner asks this Court to define the nature and the extent of the people's constitutional right to information on matters of public concern. Respondents. on the other hand.R. and all documents related to or relating to such negotiations and agreement between the PCGG and the Marcos heirs. be they ongoing or perfected. PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG) and MAGTANGGOL GUNIGUNDO (in his capacity as chairman of the PCGG). . PCGG . that petitioner's action is premature. They claim. 1993 and executed between the PCGG and the Marcos heirs. . valid and binding? The Case These are the main questions raised in this original action seeking (1) to prohibit and "[e]njoin respondents [PCGG and its chairman] from privately entering into. petitioners-in-intervention. perfecting and/or executing any greement with the heirs of the Petitioner Francisco I. J. on how to split or share these assets. Chavez. vs. as "taxpayer. Does this right include access to the terms of government negotiations prior to their consummation or conclusion? May the government. And even if he has. are the "General Agreement" and "Supplemental Agreement. CHAVEZ. These news items referred to (1) the alleged discovery of billions of dollars of Marcos assets deposited in various coded accounts in Swiss banks. between the government (through PCGG) and the Marcos heirs." 1 The Facts G. SCARLET A. petitioner. He claims that any compromise on the alleged billions of illgotten wealth involves an issue of "paramount public interest. CELNAN A.

Jr. Marcos. as proven by the past 7 years. the PRIVATE PARTY has been impelled by their sense of nationalism and love of country and of the entire Filipino people. and Irene Marcos Araneta. WHEREAS. by and between — Respondents further aver that the Marcos heirs have submitted the subject Agreements to the Sandiganbayan for its approval in Civil Case No. in his May 4. . and with address at c/o No. 1998 Memorandum 5 to then PCGG Chairman Magtanggol Gunigundo. all of legal age. The Republic of the Philippines. and Imelda Romualdez Marcos. and that the Republic opposed such move on the principal grounds that (1) said Agreements have not been ratified by or even submitted to the President for approval. 0165. then President Fidel V. which I reserve for myself as President of the Republic of the Philippines. categorically stated: — and — Estate of Ferdinand E. Imee Marcos Manotoc. through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). since the proposed terms and conditions of the Agreements have not become effective and binding. 2 and 14. and is counter-productive and ties up assets which the FIRST PARTY could otherwise utilize for its Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Pasig. Jr. Marcos. Marcos. The assailed principal Agreement 6 reads: GENERAL AGREEMENT KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: WHEREAS. Metro Manila. pursuant to Item No.. with offices at the philcomcen Building. is consuming money. hereinafter collectively referred to as the PRIVATE PARTY. entitled Republic v. 1995 Resolution in Civil Case No. a governmental agency vested with authority defined under Executive Orders Nos. Marcos. represented by its Chairman referred to as FIRST PARTY. and other urgent needs. 1994.. The Republic also cited an April 11. the FIRST PARTY has not been able to procure a final judgment of conviction against the PRIVATE PARTY. This Agreement entered into this 28th day of December. the FIRST PARTY has obtained a judgment from the Swiss Federal Tribunal of December 21. and would have disapproved them had they been submitted to me. and (2) the Marcos heirs have failed to comply with their undertakings therein. Furthermore. 1. W I T N E S S E T H: This is to reiterate my previous position embodied in the Palace Press Release of 6 April 1995 that I have not authorized you to approve the Compromise Agreements of December 28. the FIRST PARTY is desirous of avoiding a long-drawn out litigation which. 8 of the General Agreement. and their desire to set up a foundation and finance impact projects like installation of power plants in selected rural areas and initiation of other community projects for the empowerment of the people. that the $356 million belongs in principle to the Republic of the Philippines provided certain conditionalities are met. The Full Powers of Attorney of March 1994 and July 4. represented by Imelda Romualdez Marcos and Ferdinand R. particularly the collation and submission of an inventory of their assets. did not authorize you to approve said Agreements. but even after 7 years. Ramos.. 1993. Metro Manila. in which the Sandiganbayan dismissed a similar petition filed by the Marcoses' attorney-in-fact. Mandaluyong. time and effort. 1990. 1993 or any agreement at all with the Marcoses. 141. 154 Lopez Rizal St.68 may not yet be compelled to make any disclosure. Ferdinand E. Heirs of Ferdinand E. WHEREAS.

(c) paintings and other works of art. nominees.. the parties shall cooperate in taking the appropriate action. the FIRST PARTY shall determine which shall be ceded to the FIRST PARTY. to recover the same for the FIRST PARTY. whether past. custodians. civil. 2. The PRIVATE PARTY withdraws any objection to the withdrawal by and/or release to the FIRST PARTY by the Swiss banks and/or Swiss authorities of the $356 million. etc.69 WHEREAS. any withdrawal or release of any account aforementioned by the FIRST PARTY shall be made in the presence of any authorized representative of the PRIVATE PARTY. and (g) miscellaneous assets or assets which could not appropriately fall under any of the preceding classification. agents. All disclosures of assets made by the PRIVATE PARTY shall not be used as evidence by the FIRST PARTY in any criminal. agents or foundations are hereby waived over by the PRIVATE PARTY in favor of the FIRST PARTY. . The list shall be based on the full disclosure of the PRIVATE PARTY to insure its accuracy. matured or inchoate. depositaries. any form of taxes due the Republic of the Philippines. The parties will collate all assets presumed to be owned by. the actual specification of assets to be retained by the PRIVATE PARTY shall be covered by supplemental agreements which shall form part of this Agreement. (e) funds on deposit. President Fidel V. NOW. this Agreement settles all claims and counterclaims which the parties may have against one another. its accrued interests. The trustees. judicial and/or extrajudicial. and/or any other account. THEREFORE. 3. (f) precious metals. Based on the inventory. 6. lawyers. However. 1 for whatever reason shall automatically belong to the FIRST PARTY. or any other party acting in similar capacity in behalf of the PRIVATE PARTY are hereby informed through this General Agreement to insure that it is fully implemented and this shall serve as absolute authority from both parties for full disclosure to the FIRST PARTY of said assets and for the FIRST PARTY to withdraw said account and/or assets and any other assets which the FIRST PARTY on its own or through the help of the PRIVATE PARTY/their trustees. Foreign assets which the PRIVATE PARTY shall fully disclose but which are held by trustees. has adopted a policy of unity and reconciliation in order to bind the nation's wounds and start the process of rebuilding this nation as it goes on to the twenty-first century. considering the unavailability of all pertinent and relevant documents and information as to balances and ownership. and which shall be assigned to/retained by the PRIVATE PARTY. but shall be valid and binding against said PARTY for use by the FIRST PARTY in withdrawing any account and/or recovering any asset. the parties agree as follows: 1. or future. tax or administrative case. Ramos. 5. administrators. may discover. (d) securities. The assets of the PRIVATE PARTY shall be net of and exempt from. 4 above. Any asset which may be discovered in the future as belonging to the PRIVATE PARTY or is being held by another for the benefit of the PRIVATE PARTY and which is not included in the list per No. WHEREAS. nominees. (b) jewelry. if any. 4. waives any right thereto. interest or participation in favor of the FIRST PARTY. the PRIVATE PARTY for purposes of determining the totality of the assets covered by the settlement. or held by other parties for the benefit of. for and in consideration of the mutual covenants set forth herein. His Excellency. present. safekeepers. and the PRIVATE PARTY in accordance with No. namely: (a) real estate. over which the PRIVATE PARTY waives any right. For this purpose. However. The subject assets shall be classified by the nature thereof.

] IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS [Sgd.] ATTY. MESINA. MA. Jr. In case of violation by the PRIVATE PARTY of any of the conditions herein contained.] IRENE MARCOS-ARANETA Assisted by: [Sgd. 1. The FIRST PARTY shall desist from instituting new suits already subject of this Agreement against the PRIVATE PARTY and cause the dismissal of all other cases pending in the Sandiganbayan and in other courts. For purposes of this Agreement. JR.] MAGTANGGOL C.. FERDINAND R. through the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). Metro Manila. This Agreement shall be binding on and inure to the benefit of. the PARTIES shall be restored automatically to the status quo ante the signing of this Agreement. the parties have signed this instrument this 28th day of December. 1993. MARCOS. Gunigundo.] MA. the PRIVATE PARTY shall be represented by Atty. MARCOS-MANOTOC. IMELDA R. the PRIVATE PARTY shall provide the FIRST PARTY assistance by way of testimony or deposition on any information it may have that could shed light on the cases being pursued by the FIRST PARTY against other parties.70 7. 7 [Sgd. a governmental agency vested with authority defined under Executive Orders Nos. with offices at the Philcomcen Building. the parties and their respective legal representatives.. — and — . hereinafter referred to as the FIRST PARTY. The PARTIES shall submit this and any other implementing Agreements to the President of the Philippines for approval. Simeon M. 8. SIMEON M. represented by its Chairman Magtanggol C. MARCOS. JR. 1993. Pasig. 2 and 14. & IRENE MARCOS- By: [Sgd. IN WITNESS WHEREOF. IMELDA MARCOS. Counsel & Attorney-in-Fact Petitioner also denounces this supplement to the above Agreement: 8 SUPPLEMENTAL AGREEMENT This Agreement entered into this 28th day of December. successors and assigns and shall supersede any other prior agreement. PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT By: [Sgd. Metro Manila. as their only Attorney-in-Fact. In the same manner. ARANETA 9. in Makati. IMELDA MARCOS-MANOTOC FERDINAND R. GUNIGUNDO Chairman ESTATE OF FERDINAND E. JR. by and between — The Republic of the Philippines. Mesina. MARCOS.

Acting on a motion of petitioner. enjoining respondents. JR. W I T N E S S E T H: The parties in this case entered into a General Agreement dated Dec. nominees' service fees. the parties have signed this instrument this 28th day of December. Marcos.. [Sgd. MARCOS. MA. the Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order 10 dated March 23. all of legal age. in Makati. IN WITNESS WHEREOF. IMELDA MARCOS-MANOTOC. and Irene Marcos Araneta. SIMEON M. Imee Marcos Manotoc. hereinafter collectively referred to as the PRIVATE PARTY.] MA. Marcos relating to and concerning their ill-gotten wealth. 28. MARCOS.. MESINA.] ATTY. held on March 16. Ferdinand E.. focused on the following issues: (a) Procedural: . FERDINAND R. IMELDA R. FERDINAND R. Jr. MARCOS. traveling expenses and all other expenses related thereto shall be for the account of the PRIVATE PARTY.] MAGTANGGOL C. & IRENE MARCOSARANETA By: The PRIVATE PARTY expressly reserve their right to pursue their interest and/or sue over local assets located in the Philippines against parties other than the FIRST PARTY. bank charges. 9 In consideration of the foregoing. Metro Manila. and with address at c/o No. Mandaluyong. represented by Imelda Romualdez Marcos and Ferdinand R." PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT By: [Sgd. MARCOS. ESTATE OF FERDINAND E..71 Estate of Ferdinand E. JR. GUNIGUNDO Chairman [Sgd.] IRENE MARCOS-ARANETA Assisted by: Counsel & Attorney-in-Fact Issues The Oral Argument. Metro Manila.] IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS The parties hereby agree that all expenses related to the recovery and/or withdrawal of all assets including lawyers' fees. and Imelda Romualdez Marcos. Marcos. IMELDA MARCOS-MANOTOC [Sgd. Marcos. 154 Lopez Rizal St. 1998. 1993. the parties hereby agree that the PRIVATE PARTY shall be entitled to the equivalent of 25% of the amount that may be eventually withdrawn from said $356 million Swiss deposits. agents' fees. Jr. [Sgd. JR. their agents and/or representatives from "entering into. 1993. or perfecting and/or executing any agreement with the heirs of the late President Ferdinand E.

" and if they "immeasurably affect the social. on behalf of respondents. when the subject of the case involved public interest. since a distribution or disposition of the Marcos properties may adversely affect their legitimate claims. petitioner emphasize. U. contends that petitioner has no standing to institute the present action." Moreover. June 16. Scarlet and Teresa. et al. the Court granted their motion to intervene and required the respondents to comment thereon. part of the public treasury. if the issues raised are "of paramount public interest. In a minute Resolution issued on August 24. 1994 and the Decision of the Swiss Supreme Court of December 10. attaching thereto their Petition in Intervention. and moral well-being of the people. 13 The Court's Ruling The petition id imbued with merit. the Commission has refused to do so. the parties filed their respective memoranda. or that. and (2) Whether or not this Court is the proper court before which this action may be filed. Indeed. 1998.000 claimants whose right to claim from the Marcos Family and/or the Marcos Estate is recognized by the decision in In re Estate of Ferdinand Marcos. recovery of such assets. Human Rights Litigation. On August 19. He submits that since illgotten wealth "belongs to the Filipino people and [is]. which can be enjoined by a taxpayer whose interest is for a full." As such. Celnan. because no expenditure of public funds is involved and said petitioner has no actual interest in the alleged agreement. on the one hand. perfected or not. Gloria. all surnamed Jopson. they claim to have personal and direct interest in the subject matter of the instant case. the matter of recovering the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses is an issue "of transcendental importance the public. economic. Access to . if not substantial. The September 25. explains that as a taxpayer and citizen. in truth hand in fact. filed before the Court a Motion for Intervention. if he has. 92-15526. On the other hand. Besides. and (2) Whether or not there exist any legal restraints against a compromise agreement between the Marcoses and the PCGG relative to the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth. Maximo Hilao." He asserts that ordinary taxpayers have a right to initiate and prosecute actions questioning the validity of acts or orders of government agencies or instrumentalities. he has the legal personality to file the instant petition. 11 After their oral presentations." any compromise in relation to it would constitute a diminution of the public funds. (b) Substantive: (1) Whether or not this Court could require the PCGG to disclose to the public the details of any agreement. Respondents further insist that the instant petition is premature. with the Marcoses.S. 1998. when the proceeding involves the assertion of a public right. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit US App. Lexis 14796. He invokes several decisions 15 of this Court which have set aside the procedural matter of locus standi. the solicitor general. the arguments cited by petitioner constitute the controlling decisional rule as regards his legal standing to institute the instant petition.72 (1) Whether or not the petitioner has the personality or legal standing to file the instant petition. They aver that they are "among the 10. 1998 Comment 12 of the solicitor general on said motion merely reiterated his aforecited arguments against the main petition. 14 such as in this case. the mere fact that he is a citizen satisfies the requirement of personal interest. 1997. First Procedural Issue: Petitioner's Standing Petitioner.. Class Plaintiffs No. since there is no showing that petitioner has requested PCGG to disclose any such negotiations and agreements.

Petitioner. is a Filipino citizen. thus. Tuvera. 22 we said that while expenditure of public funds may not have been involved under the questioned contract for the development. He invokes Section 5. "public interest [was] definitely involved considering the important role [of the subject contract] . 17 the Court asserted that when the issue concerns a public a right and the object of mandamus is to obtain the enforcement of a public duty. Indeed. the Court declared that the right they sought to be enforced "is a public right recognized by no less than the fundamental law of the land. . the management and the operation of the Manila International Container Terminal. Reyes. argues that the petition has been erroneously brought before this Court. Similarly. Because of the satisfaction of the two basic requisites laid down by decisional law to sustain petitioner's legal standing. and because it is sufficient that petitioner is a citizen and as such is interested in the execution of the laws. documents and papers — a right guaranteed under Section 7. In any event. Civil Service Commission. 16 In Tañada v. which has yet to dispose of the issue. the question on the standing of Petitioner Chavez is rendered moot by the intervention of the Jopsons. part of the general 'public' which possesses the right. (1) the enforcement of a public right (2) espoused by a Filipino citizen.e. Such opposition belies petitioner's claim that the government. as a consequence. The solicitor general. Article VIII of the Constitution.73 public documents and records is a public right. 18 In the aforesaid case." We concluded that. who are among the legitimate claimants to the Marcos wealth. on the other hand. for the approval of the subject Agreements. in the economic development of the country and the magnitude of the financial consideration involved. said petitioners-intervenors have a legal interest in the subject matter of the instant case. therefore. the disclosure provision in the Constitution would constitute sufficient authority for upholding the petitioner's standing. . the requirement of personal interest is satisfied by the mere fact that petitioner is a citizen and." Legaspi v. this petition is premature. filed in the graft court. and the real parties in interest are the people themselves. . 0141. a former solicitor general. 19 in connection with the rule that laws in order to be valid and enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette or otherwise effectively promulgated. the instant petition is anchored on the right of the people to information and access to official records. its having been filed before this Court was proper. further declared that "when a mandamus proceeding involves the assertion of a public right. Article III of the 1987 Constitution. since there is neither a justiciable controversy nor a violation of petitioner's rights by the PCGG. i. he need not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result of the action. in Albano v. Article IV of the 1973 Constitution. since a distribution or disposition of the Marcoses' ill-gotten properties may adversely affect the satisfaction of their claims." 21 Further. Second Procedural Issue: The Court's Jurisdiction Petitioner asserts that because this petition is an original action for mandamus and one that is not intended to delay any proceeding in the Sandiganbayan. we rule that the petition at bar should be allowed. which confers upon the Supreme Court original jurisdiction over petitions for prohibition and mandamus. respondents themselves have opposed the Marcos heirs' motion. the people are regarded as the real parties in interest. He alleges that the assailed agreements are already the very lis mota in Sandiganbayan Civil Case No. Furthermore. the petitioners sought to enforce their right to be informed on matters of public concern. The standing of the Jopsons is not seriously contested by the solicitor general. In ruling for the petitioners' legal standing. 20 while reiterating Tañada. a right then recognized in Section 6.

74 through respondents. Section 5. if petitioner is merely seeking to enjoin the enforcement of the compromise and/or to compel the PCGG to disclose to the public the terms contained in said Agreements. However. in which the enforcement of the compromise Agreements is pending resolution. Article VIII of the Constitution. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Respondents add that they are not aware of any ongoing negotiation for another compromise with the Marcoses regarding their alleged ill-gotten assets. subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. the core issue boils down to the precise interpretation. 23 Further. 7 [Article III]. The "information" and the "transactions" referred to in the subject provisions of the Constitution have as yet no defined scope and extent. particularly in Civil Case No. There may seem to be some merit in such argument. and to documents. the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. but likewise to any other ongoing or future undertaking towards any settlement on the alleged Marcos loot. be they ongoing or perfected." This broad and prospective relief sought by the instant petition brings it out of the realm of Civil Case No. and (4) other confidential information. and papers pertaining to official acts. However. Thus. First Substantive Issue: Public Disclosure of Terms of Any Agreement. and the Marcos heirs have failed to fulfill their express undertaking therein. in terms of scope. There are no specific laws prescribing the exact limitations within which the right may be exercised or the correlative state duty may be obliged. has concluded a settlement with the Marcoses as regards their alleged ill-gotten assets. petitioner invokes the following provisions of the Constitution: Sec. 28 [Article II]. this petition is not confined to the Agreements that have already been drawn." In other words. there is yet no right of action that has accrued. Respondents' opposite view is that the above constitutional provisions refer to completed and operative official acts. prohibition. the Agreements have not become effective. (3) criminal matters. 0141. mandamus. Limitations to the Right: (1) National Security Matters . Access to official records. Ineluctably. As regards the assailed Agreements entered into by the PCGG with the Marcoses. quo warranto and habeas corpus. In Tañada and Legaspi. or decisions. not to those still being considered. Perfected or Not In seeking the public disclosure of negotiations and agreements pertaining to a compromise settlement with the Marcoses as regards their alleged illgotten wealth. we upheld therein petitioners' resort to a mandamus proceeding. 0141. expressly confers upon the Supreme Court original jurisdiction over petitions for certiorari. because said Agreements have not been approved by the President. as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development. petitioner is here seeking the public disclose of "all negotiations and agreement. shall be afforded the citizen. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. seeking to enforce a public right as well as to compel performance of a public duty mandated by no less than the fundamental law. Respondents argue that petitioner should have properly sought relief before the Sandiganbayan. the following are some of the recognized restrictions: (1) national security matters and intelligence information. (2) trade secrets and banking transactions. Sec. of the twin constitutional provisions on "public transactions. transactions. and documents related to or relating to such negotiations and agreement between the PCGG and the Marcos heirs.

Both terms embrace a broad spectrum of subjects which the public may want to know. diplomatic and other national security matters.75 At the very least. police information regarding rescue operations. Belmonte Jr. 30 which courts may nor inquire into prior to such arrest. 25 provided that they are examined "in strict confidence" and given "scrupulous protection. Similarly." So was the need to give the general public adequate notification of various laws that regulate and affect the actions and conduct of citizens. 29 (3) Criminal Matters Also excluded are classified law enforcement matters. Civil Service Commission. 35 elucidated: In determining whether or not a particular information is of public concern there is no rigid test which can be applied. the whereabouts of fugitives. such as those relating to the apprehension. 34 the Court emphasized that the information sought must be "matters of public concern. Likewise did the "public nature of the loanable funds of the GSIS . the state policy of full public disclosure extends only to "transactions involving public interest" and may also be "subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. "Public concern" like "public interest" is a term that eludes exact definition. trade or industrial secrets (pursuant to the Intellectual Property Code 27 and other related laws) as well as banking transactions (pursuant to the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Act 28) are also exempted from compulsory disclosure. in Legaspi v. (4) Other Confidential Information The Ethical Standards Act 31 further prohibits public officials and employees from using or divulging "confidential or classified information officially known to them by reason of their office and not made available to the public." 32 Other acknowledged limitations to information access include diplomatic correspondence. 26 (2) Trade Secrets and Banking Transactions The drafters of the Constitution also unequivocally affirmed that. or leads on covert criminal activities.." access to which may be limited by law. it is for the courts to determine on a case by case basis whether the matter at issue is of interest or importance. as held in Tañada. either because these directly affect their lives. Considered a public concern in the above-mentioned case was the "legitimate concern of citizens to ensure that government positions requiring civil service eligibility are occupied only by persons who are eligibles. detention and prosecution. information on inter-government exchanges prior to the conclusion of treaties and executive agreements may be subject to reasonable safeguards for the sake of national interest. this jurisdiction recognizes the common law holding that there is a governmental privilege against public disclosure with respect to state secrets regarding military." Likewise. 24 But where there is no need to protect such state secrets." the Court. closed door Cabinet meetings and executive sessions of either house of Congress. 33 Scope: Matters of Public Concern and Transactions Involving Public Interest In Valmonte v. aside from national security matters and intelligence information. Efforts at effective law enforcement would be seriously jeopardized by free public access to. In the final analysis. as well as the internal deliberations of the Supreme Court. the privilege may not be invoked to withhold documents and other information." As to the meanings of the terms "public interest" and "public concern. as it relates to or affects the public. or simply because such matters naturally arouse the interest of an ordinary citizen. for example. the prosecution and the detention of criminals.

transferring or dissipating them or from otherwise frustrating or obstructing the recovery efforts of the government. whose authority emanates from the people. 38 Undeniably.. On May 7. In Aquino-Sarmiento v. faithfully and competently performing their functions as public servants. all persons and entities who had knowledge or possession of ill-gotten assets and properties were warned and. consistent with the policy of transparency of governmental affairs. 39 but thoughts and ideas must be well-informed so that the public would gain a better perspective of vital issues confronting them and." except when "otherwise provided by law or when required by the public interest. writings coming into the hands of public officers in connection with their official functions must be accessible to the public. required it to achieve expeditiously and effectively its vital task of recovering ill-gotten wealth. promulgated on February 28. directly or . thus. 40 The Nature of the Marcoses' Alleged Ill-Gotten Wealth We now come to the immediate matter under consideration. issued twelve (12) days later. With such pronouncements of our government. Executive Order No. 37 In general. [and] ensure openness of information. another directive (EO No. under pain of penalties prescribed by law. the records pertaining to such official acts and decisions are within the ambit of the constitutional right of access to public records. assumes a public character. 14) was issued giving additional powers to the PCGG which. his immediate family. Upon the departure from the country of the Marcos family and their cronies in February 1986. and the statements of assets. only two (2) days after the Marcoses fled the country. 36 the Court also held that official acts of public officers done in pursuit if their official functions are public in character." by its very nature. at reasonable hours. created the PCGG which was primarily tasked to assist the President in the recovery of vast government resources allegedly amassed by former President Marcos. This principle is aimed at affording the people an opportunity to determine whether those to whom they have entrusted the affairs of the government are honesty. relatives and close associates both here and abroad. it is by ensuring an unfettered and uninhibited exchange of ideas among a well-informed public that a government remains responsive to the changes desired by the people. . public officials and employees are mandated to "provide information on their policies and procedures in clear and understandable language.76 and the public office held by the alleged borrowers (members of the defunct Batasang Pambansa)" qualify the information sought in Valmonte as matters of public interest and concern. the essence of democracy lies in the free flow of thought. the new government headed by President Corazon C." In particular. Certainly. taking into account the overriding considerations of national interest and national survival." 41 Thus. liabilities and financial disclosures of all public officials and employees. . Morato. 2. the law mandates free public access. Under Republic Act No. Aquino was specifically mandated to "[r]ecover ill-gotten properties amassed by the leaders and supporters of the previous regime and [to] protect the interest of the people through orders of sequestration or freezing of assets or accounts. 6713. 1. there is no doubt that the recovery of the Marcoses' alleged ill-gotten wealth is a matter of public concern and imbued with public interest. Based on the aforementioned Executive Orders. be able to criticize as well as participate in the affairs of the government in a responsible. hence. reasonable and effective manner. prohibited from concealing. to the annual performance reports of offices and agencies of government and government-owned or controlled corporations. President Aquino's very first executive orders (which partook of the nature of legislative enactments) dealt with the recovery of these alleged ill-gotten properties. "ill-gotten wealth" refers to assets and properties purportedly acquired. Under Executive Order No. public consultations and hearings whenever appropriate . 1986. 42 We may also add that "ill-gotten wealth. 1986.

therefore. I suppose. and already a consummated contract. or does he refer to the contract itself? MR. intelligence and other classified information." Clearly. is generic and. Such information. agreements. This contemplates inclusion of negotiations leading to the consummation of the transaction? MR. it can cover both steps leading to a contract. as well as an unwarranted permission to commit graft and corruption. We believe the foregoing disquisition settles the question of whether petitioner has a right to respondents' disclosure of any agreement that may be arrived at concerning the Marcoses' purported ill-gotten wealth. we believe that it is incumbent upon the PCGG and its officers. And when we say "transactions" which should be distinguished from contracts. assert that there is no legal restraint on entering into a compromise with the Marcos heirs. "resulting in their unjust enrichment and causing grave damage and prejudice to the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines. OPLE. by former President Marcos. as discussed earlier — such as on matters involving national security. therefore. Considering the intent of the Constitution. or treaties or whatever. SUAREZ.77 indirectly. Respondents. though. Yes. subject to reasonable safeguards on the national interest. the assets and properties referred to supposedly originated from the government itself. Access to Information on Negotiating Terms But does the constitutional provision likewise guarantee access to information regarding ongoing negotiations or proposals prior to the final agreement? This same clarification was sought and clearly addressed by the constitutional commissioners during their deliberations. relatives and close associates through or as a result of their improper or illegal use of government funds or properties. does the Gentleman refer to the steps leading to the consummation of the contract. diplomatic or foreign relations. upon reconveyance they will be returned to the public treasury. MR. his immediate family. for their part. The "transactions" used here. as well as other government representatives. Second Substantive Issue: Legal Restraints on a Marcos-PCGG Compromise Petitioner lastly contends that any compromise agreement between the government and the Marcoses will be a virtual condonation of all the alleged wrongs done by them. Another declared overriding consideration for the expeditious recovery of ill-gotten wealth is that it may be used for national economic recovery. or their use of powers. As such. subject only to the satisfaction of positive claims of certain persons as may be adjudged by competent courts. not necessarily to intra-agency or interagency recommendations or communications 44 during the stage when common assertions are still in the process of being formulated or are in the "exploratory" stage. OPLE. Mr. or their having taken undue advantage of their public office. . to observe the same restrictions on disclosure of information in general. provided the agreement does not violate any law. which we quote hereunder: 43 MR. SUAREZ. must pertain to definite propositions of the government. of course. To all intents and purposes. influences or relationships. There is a need. Presiding Officer. they belong to the people. to disclose sufficient public information on any proposed settlement they have decided to take up with the ostensible owners and holders of ill-gotten wealth.

14. any compromise relating to the civil liability arising from an offense does not automatically terminate the criminal proceeding against or extinguish the criminal liability of the malefactor. The same principle was upheld in Benedicto v. it can be easily deducted that the person referred to is a witness in the proceeding. the power to grant criminal immunity was confered on PCGG by Section 5 of EO No. 50 As an incentive. Immunity from Sec. intimidation or undue influence — or when there is forgery. his voluntary surrender of the properties and assets [—] disclosed and declared by him to belong to . 46 A compromise is binding and has the force of law between the parties. (2) the validity of a marriage or a legal separation. the Court held that in the absence an express prohibition. Campos [with] this Commission. (3) any ground for legal separation. a court may mitigate damages to be paid by a losing party who shows a sincere desire to compromise. the law urges courts to persuade the parties in a civil case to agree to a fair settlement. and (3) such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove guilt or civil liability of such individual. violence. 45 And like any other contract. or if the terms of the settlment are so palpably unconscionable. 14 particularly the just and expeditious recovery of ill-gotten wealth. 51 In Republic & Campos Jr. whci provides: Effect of Compromise on Civil Actions One of the consequences of a compromise. Thus. 55 While a compromise in civil suits is expressly authorized by law. The President Commission on Good Government is authorized to grant immunity from criminal prosecution to any person who provides information or testifies in any investigation conducted by such Commission to establish the unlawful manner in which any respondent. and (6) future legitimate. good customs. From the wording of the law. so that it may be used to hasten economic recovery. 48 However. Benedicto. 49 In fact. there is no similar general sanction as regards criminal liability. Such principle is pursuant to the objectives of EO No. 5. the law encourages compromises in civil cases. fraud. The authority must be specifically conferred. defendant or accused acquired or accumulated ill-gotten property. as amended by EO No.78 Prohibited Compromises Criminal Prosecution In general. morals. not the principal respondent. Sandiganbayan. defendant or accused. the terms and conditions of a compromise must not be contrary to law. (4) future support. Benedicto. except with regard to the following matters: (1) the civil status of persons. 54 which ruled in favor of the validity of the PCGG compromise agreement with Roberto S. The above provision specifies that the PCGG may exercise such authority under these conditions: (1) the person to whom criminal immunity is granted provides information or testifies in an investigation conducted by the Commission. In the present case. is to avoid or to end a litigation. BBC and IBC 53 and Republic v. Campos. defendant or accused has acquired or accumulated the property or properties in question in any case where such information or testimony is necessary to ascertain or prove the latter's guilt or his civil liability. in the case of Jose Y. the agreement may be invalidated by the courts. the rule on compromises in civil actions under the Civil Code is applicable to PCGG cases. public policy or public order. and usually its primary object. The immunity thereby granted shall be continued to protect the witness who repeats such testimony before the Sandiganbayan when required to do so by the latter or by the Commission. Jose Y. v. Campos and the family. (5) the jurisdiction of courts. 52 which affirmed the grant by the PCGG of civil and criminal immunity to Jose Y. 14-A. the grant of both civil and criminal immunity to him and his family was "[i]n consideration of the full cooperation of Mr. In the latter instances. Board of Administrators of Television Stations RPN. (2) the information or testimony pertains to the unlawful manner in which the respondent. 47 unless the consent of a party is vitiated — such as by mistake.

who are the principal defendants in the spate of ill-gotten wealth cases now pending before the Sandiganbayan. 14. the grant of criminal immunity to the Camposes and the Benedictos was limited to acts and omissions prior to February 25. Second." 57 the clause does not fully comply with the law. or (2) the administration and collection costs involved do not justify the collection of the tax due. This power can be exercised only when (1) the tax appears to be unjustly or excessively assessed. complete and truthful disclosures[. a cursory perusal thereof reveals serious legal flaws. As stated earlier. the PCGG commits to exempt from all forms of taxes the properties to be retained by the Marcos heirs. Any special grant of tax exemption in favor only of the Marcos heirs will constitute class legislation. First. neither requisite is present in the case of the Marcoses. 1996. no criminal cases have yet been filed against them before the competent court. It will also violate the constitutional rule that "taxation shall be uniform and equitable.] and his commitment to pay a sum of money as determined by the Philippine Government.79 deposed President Ferdinand E. 60 Definitely. There is no indication whatsoever that any of the Marcos heirs has indeed provided vital information against any respondent or defendant as to the manner in which the latter may have unlawfully acquired public property. for which legal actions have been filed in court or in which fraud is involved. conceived in pro forma compliance with Section 5 of EO No." 59 Neither can the stipulation be construed to fall within the power of the commissioner of internal revenue to compromise taxes. to a certain extent. In any event. even under the cover of its authority to compromise ill-gotten wealth cases. Its inclusion in the Agreement may have been only an afterthought. Such authority may be exercised only when (1) there is reasonable doubt as to the validity of the claim against the taxpayer. under Item No. part of which they will be allowed to retain. the cancellation of tax liability is done even before the determination of the amount due. in the local legislative bodies. Even granting that Congress enacts a law exempting the Marcoses form paying taxes on their properties. defendant or accused in an illgotten wealth case. The power to tax and to grant tax exemptions is vested in the Congress and. We believe that criminal immunity under Section 5 cannot be granted to the Marcoses. as amended. Marcos [—] to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines[. the Agreements do not conform to the above requirements of EO Nos. Nor can the PCGG grant of tax exemption fall within the power of the commissioner to abate or cancel a tax liability." The PCGG has absolutely no power to grant tax exemptions. Validity of the PCGG-Marcos Compromise Agreements Going now to the subject General and Supplemental Agreements between the PCGG and the Marcos heirs. the provision is applicable mainly to witnesses who provide information or testify against a respondent. cannot be compromised. and (2) the taxpayer's financial position demonstrates a clear inability to pay. Article VI of the Constitution. specifically provides: "No law granting any tax exemption shall be passed without the concurrence of a majority of all the Member of the Congress. such law will definitely not pass the test of the equal protection clause under the Bill of Rights. because under the Agreement they are effectively conceding the validity of the claims against their properties. criminal violations of the Tax Code. 58 Section 28 (4). At the time such immunity was granted. 61 In this instance. 62 . 14 and 14-A. 2 of the General Agreement." 56 Moreover.] his full. While the General Agreement states that the Marcoses "shall provide the [government] assistance by way of testimony or deposition on any information [they] may have that could shed light on the cases being pursued by the [government] against other parties. This is a clear violation of the Construction.

Such vague and broad statement may well be interpreted to include all future illegal acts of any of the Marcos heirs. may lie within the sound discretion of the government prosecution. 69 invite their indictment for corruption under the said law. based on the evidence proffered. 65 The prosecution's motion to withdraw or to dismiss is not the least binding upon the court. decisional rules require the trial court to make its own evaluation of the merit of the case. the Agreements would still not be valid. Public officers entering into an arrangement appearing to be manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government. in what manner it will dispose of the case. the PCGG. 68 The stipulation in the Agreement does not specify the exact scope of future claims against the Marcoses that the government thereby relinquishes. Nevertheless. or future. a statement of the basis for the 25-75 percent sharing ratio. the Agreements do not provide for a definite or determinable period within which the parties shall fulfill their respective prestations. including the matter of whom to present as witnesses. The General and Supplemental Agreement dated December 28. both dated December 28. present. the absence of then President Ramos' approval of the principal Agreement. This is a palpable violation of the due process and equal protection guarantees of the Constitution. From the foregoing disquisition. since there is an open option to compromise their liability in exchange for only a portion of their ill-gotten wealth. It effectively ensconces the Marcoses beyond the reach of the law. the Agreements do not state with specificity the standards for determining which assets shall be forfeited by the government and which shall be retained by the Marcoses. Neither is there. Well-settled is the doctrine that once a case has been filed before a court of competent jurisdiction. which PCGG and the Marcos heirs entered into are hereby declared NULL AND VOID for being contrary to law and the Constitution. the manner in which the prosecution is handled. Fifth. such sharing arrangement pertains only to the said deposits. as the government prosecutor of ill-gotten wealth cases. as detailed above. "whether past. It may take a lifetime before the Marcoses submit an inventory of their total assets. the government also waives all claims and counterclaims. the government binds itself to cause the dismissal of all cases against the Marcos heirs. Jurisdiction. which the PCGG entered into with the Marcos heirs. even by the justice secretary." against the Marcoses. an action for future fraud may not be waived. In a criminal case. because granting such motion is equivalent to effecting a disposition of the case itself. It is a virtual warrant for public officials to amass public funds illegally. pending before the Sandiganbayan and other court. 64 but the court decides. Fourth. practically giving them a license to perpetrate fraud against the government without any liability at all. the matter of its dismissal or pursuance lies within the full discretion and control of the judge. this ill-encompassing stipulation is contrary to law. renders the compromise incomplete and unenforceable. are violative of the Constitution and the laws aforementioned. anywhere in the Agreements. it is crystal clear to the Court that the General and Supplemental Agreements. Sixth. Under the Civil Code. Respondent PCGG. an express condition therein. particularly in regard to criminal jurisdiction. WHEREFORE. 67 Again. in violation of the Ati-Graft and Corruption Practice Act. is not lost despite a resolution. to withdraw the information or to dismiss the complaint.80 Third. While the Supplemental Agreement provides that the Marcoses shall be entitled to 25 per cent of the $356 million Swiss deposits (less government recovery expenses). 63 This is a direct encroachment on judicial powers. for said dismissal is not within its sole power and discretion. No similar splitting scheme is defined with respect to the other properties. 1993. It also sets a dangerous precedent for public accountability. Finally. its officers and all government . 66 Thus. cannot guarantee the dismissal of all such criminal cases against the Marcoses pending in the courts. 1993. even if such approval were obtained. matured or inchoate. the petition is GRANTED. On the contrary. once acquired by the trial court.

81 functionaries and officials who are or may be directly ot indirectly involved in the recovery of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their associates are DIRECTED to disclose to the public the terms of any proposed compromise settlment. SO ORDERED. J.. C. concur.. in accordance with the discussions embodied in this Decision. relating to such alleged ill-gotten wealth.. Davide. as well as the final agreement. Vitug. Jr. Please see separate opinion.J. No pronouncement as to cost.. Melo and Quisumbing. . JJ.

but when President Arroyo asked the Government of Malaysia through Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to help convince the MILF to return to the negotiating table. Government GR 183591. 2008. according to a leading MILF member. initially responded with deep reservation. The Solicitor General. on the ground. The MOA-AD was preceded by a long process of negotiation and the concluding of several prior agreements between the two parties beginning in 1996.82 The Province of North Cotabato v. While the facts surrounding this controversy center on the armed conflict in Mindanao between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The following year. 1998. the military offensive against the MILF was suspended and the government sought a resumption of the peace talks. when the GRP-MILF peace negotiations began. The MILF is a rebel group which was established in March 1984 when. decided to meet with the GRP. of what Salamat perceived to be the manipulation of the MNLF away from an Islamic basis towards Marxist-Maoist orientations. through the Chairpersons of their respective peace negotiating panels.: Subject of these consolidated cases is the extent of the powers of the President in pursuing the peace process. The MILF. 2008 DECISION CARPIO MORALES. the commitment of the parties to pursue peace negotiations. then President Joseph Estrada declared and carried out an "all-out-war" against the MILF.2 Early on. eventually. Yet again. the MILF convened its Central Committee to seriously discuss the matter and. for upon motion of petitioners. but it must do so in strict adherence to the Constitution. When President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office. in March 2000. summarizes the MOAAD by stating that the same contained. I. they signed the General Framework of Agreement of Intent on August 27. lest its ruling unduly restricts the freedom of action vested by that same Constitution in the Chief Executive precisely to enable her to pursue the peace process effectively. the MILF attacked a number of municipalities in Central Mindanao and. the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MILF. however. among others. and refrain from the use of threat or force to attain undue advantage while the peace negotiations on the substantive agenda are on-going. Malaysia. the Court is tasked to perform a delicate balancing act. October 14. protect and respect human rights.1 The signing of the MOA-AD between the GRP and the MILF was not to materialize. it was evident that there was not going to be any smooth sailing in the GRP-MILF peace process. this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining the GRP from signing the same. On July 18. negotiate with sincerity in the resolution and pacific settlement of the conflict. among others. the legal issue involved has a bearing on all areas in the country where there has been a long-standing armed conflict. It must uncompromisingly delineate the bounds within which the President may lawfully exercise her discretion. 1997. however.4 . FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS OF THE PETITIONS On August 5. Lanao del Norte.3 In response. under the leadership of the late Salamat Hashim. it splintered from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) then headed by Nur Misuari. who represents respondents. it took control of the town hall of Kauswagan. Towards the end of 1999 up to early 2000. J. the GRP and MILF Peace Panels signed the Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities. specifically those who filed their cases before the scheduled signing of the MOA-AD. were scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 in Kuala Lumpur.

" A second round of peace talks was held in Cyberjaya. Commonly impleaded as respondents are the GRP Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain7 and the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (PAPP) Hermogenes Esperon. who was then the chief peace negotiator of the MILF. 183752. petitioners seek to compel respondents to disclose and furnish them the complete and official copies of the MOA-AD including its attachments. 183893. Erico Basilio Fabian who likewise pray for similar injunctive reliefs. docketed as G. the Province of North Cotabato8 and Vice-Governor Emmanuel Piñol filed a petition. Ma. the parties signing on the same date the Agreement on the General Framework for the Resumption of Peace Talks Between the GRP and the MILF. STATEMENT OF THE PROCEEDINGS Before the Court is what is perhaps the most contentious "consensus" ever embodied in an instrument .15 .R. and Ancestral Domain Aspect.the MOA-AD which is assailed principally by the present petitions bearing docket numbers 183591. 2008. 183951 and 183962.6 In 2005. the outcome of which was the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace (Tripoli Agreement 2001) containing the basic principles and agenda on the following aspects of the negotiation: Security Aspect. which was signed on May 7. Nonetheless.13 The Court also required the Solicitor General to submit to the Court and petitioners the official copy of the final draft of the MOA-AD. in the alternative.5 Formal peace talks between the parties were held in Tripoli. The MILF thereafter suspended all its military actions. Supplementarily. 2002 at Putrajaya. Petitioners herein moreover pray that the City of Zamboanga be excluded from the Bangsamoro Homeland and/or Bangsamoro Juridical Entity and. Libya from June 20-22.14 to which she complied. II. With regard to the Ancestral Domain Aspect. No. also for Mandamus and Prohibition11 filed by the City of Zamboanga. By Resolution of August 4. 2001. for Mandamus and Prohibition with Prayer for the Issuance of Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order. was set to be signed last August 5. eventually leading to the crafting of the draft MOA-AD in its final form. pending the disclosure of the contents of the MOA-AD and the holding of a public consultation thereon.12 Mayor Celso Lobregat.10 This initial petition was followed by another one. 183752. and to prohibit the slated signing of the MOA-AD. Malaysia. 2003 and he was replaced by Al Haj Murad.9 Invoking the right to information on matters of public concern. Murad's position as chief peace negotiator was taken over by Mohagher Iqbal. the Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order commanding and directing public respondents and their agents to cease and desist from formally signing the MOA-AD. Rehabilitation Aspect.R. Isabelle Climaco and Rep. Meanwhile. several exploratory talks were held between the parties in Kuala Lumpur. On July 23. Rep. This was followed by the Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of the Tripoli Agreement 2001. then MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim passed away on July 13. there were many incidence of violence between government forces and the MILF from 2002 to 2003. the parties in Tripoli Agreement 2001 simply agreed "that the same be discussed further by the Parties in their next meeting. 183591. 2001 which ended with the signing of the Implementing Guidelines on the Security Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement 2001 leading to a ceasefire status between the parties. 2001. that the MOA-AD be declared null and void. petitioners pray that the MOA-AD be declared unconstitutional. docketed as G. with the talks being facilitated by the Malaysian government. Malaysia on August 57. No. Jr. which. 2008. 2008.83 The parties met in Kuala Lumpur on March 24. as mentioned.

and that the MOA-AD be declared unconstitutional. Nesario Awat. 7) under a state policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest (1987 . Sec. Suharto Mangudadatu.17 Governor Rolando Yebes. from implementing the same.84 Meanwhile. 2008 a petition for Certiorari.19 docketed as G. Richalex Jagmis. No. Respondents filed Comments on the petitions. and Aquilino Pimentel III filed a petition for Prohibition.20 docketed as G. Sangguniang Panlungsod member Marino Ridao and businessman Kisin Buxani. and lawyers Carlo Gomez. The cases were heard on oral argument on August 15. by Manifestation and Motion of August 19. if it is considered that consultation has become fait accompli with the finalization of the draft. the Province of Sultan Kudarat22 and Gov. and thus moved to dismiss the cases. 183962. praying that respondents be enjoined from signing the MOA-AD or. and the members18 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Zamboanga del Norte filed on August 15. all of Palawan City. Cesar Jalosjos. Adel Tamano. Petitioners herein additionally implead Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as respondent. Jejomar Binay. 183951. Rep. the Municipality of Linamon in Lanao del Norte. Whether there is a violation of the people's right to information on matters of public concern (1987 Constitution. 2008. Rep. that the MOA-AD be declared null and void and without operative effect. the City of Isabela21 and Mayor Cherrylyn Santos-Akbar. 4 and 5. They pray. 2008 that tackled the following principal issues: (i) insofar as the mandamus aspect is concerned.R. Petitioners herein additionally implead as respondent the MILF Peace Negotiating Panel represented by its Chairman Mohagher Iqbal. 183893. if the same had already been signed. the Muslim Multi-Sectoral Movement for Peace and Development (MMMPD) filed their respective Comments-in-Intervention. while some of petitioners submitted their respective Replies. respondents' motion was met with vigorous opposition from petitioners. and (ii) insofar as the prohibition aspect involving the Local Government Units is concerned. Roxas. 2008. 3. Petitioners-in-Intervention include Senator Manuel A. the City of Iligan16 filed a petition for Injunction and/or Declaratory Relief. Ernesto Maceda. The Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation. the Court ordered the consolidation of the petitions. The Province of Zamboanga del Norte. Gerardo Dilig. Respondents. Whether the constitutionality and the legality of the MOA is ripe for adjudication. in view of the disclosure of official copies of the final draft of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). former Senate President Franklin Drilon and Atty. 4. Inc. No. praying for a judgment prohibiting and permanently enjoining respondents from formally signing and executing the MOA-AD and or any other agreement derived therefrom or similar thereto.23 Ruy Elias Lopez of Davao City and of the Bagobo tribe. 22 and 29. Article III. Whether the petitions have become moot and academic Various parties moved to intervene and were granted leave of court to file their petitions-/comments-in-intervention. In the succeeding exchange of pleadings. (Muslaf) and 2. and nullifying the MOA-AD for being unconstitutional and illegal. Whether respondent Government of the Republic of the Philippines Peace Panel committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it negotiated and initiated the MOA vis-à-vis ISSUES Nos.R.R. both of Cotabato City. Cecilia Jalosjos-Carreon. 1. inter alia. and that respondents be enjoined from executing the MOA-AD. No. stated that the Executive Department shall thoroughly review the MOA-AD and pursue further negotiations to address the issues hurled against it. On August 19. Joselito Alisuag. ViceGovernor Francis Olvis. By subsequent Resolutions. docketed as G. Mandamus and Prohibition.

The MOA-AD includes as a final TOR the generic category of "compact rights entrenchment emanating from the regime of dar-ul-mua'hada (or territory under compact) and dar-ul-sulh (or territory under peace agreement) that partakes the nature of a treaty device. 8371 (THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES RIGHTS ACT OF 1997). as well as the two comments-in-intervention in favor of the MOA-AD. b) to revise or amend the Constitution and existing laws to conform to the MOA. while the second denoted those lands where Muslims were persecuted or where Muslim laws were outlawed or ineffective. particularly Section 3(g) & Chapter VII (DELINEATION. Most of the parties submitted their memoranda on time. or a juridical. however. and the Municipality of Linamon. and the Final Peace Agreement on the Implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement. whether prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure is an appropriate remedy. the Government of the Republic of the Philippines would be BINDING itself a) to create and recognize the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) as a separate state. The first referred to those lands where Islamic laws held sway. the Court takes an overview of the MOA. 28) including public consultation under Republic Act No.the ILO Convention No.85 Constitution. 5. but also two agreements between the GRP and the MNLF: the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.27 This way of viewing the world." During the height of the Muslim Empire.the organic act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)25 and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). Whether the inclusion/exclusion of the Province of North Cotabato. 1996 during the administration of President Fidel Ramos. Whether by signing the MOA. the MOA-AD includes not only four earlier agreements between the GRP and MILF. Under the heading "Terms of Reference" (TOR). Sec. Article II. 7160 (LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE OF 1991)[. became more complex through the centuries as the Islamic world became part of the international community of nations. c) to concede to or recognize the claim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front for ancestral domain in violation of Republic Act No. thereafter. territorial or political subdivision not recognized by law. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries in relation to the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. among others. ordered the parties to submit their respective Memoranda.] If it is in the affirmative. 6. early Muslim jurists tended to see the world through a simple dichotomy: there was the dar-ul-Islam (the Abode of Islam) and dar-ul-harb (the Abode of War). The MOA-AD identifies the Parties to it as the GRP and the MILF. Whether desistance from signing the MOA derogates any prior valid commitments of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. . Cities of Zamboanga. and the UN Charter. whether the Executive Branch has the authority to so bind the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.] If in the affirmative.24 The Court. RECOGNITION OF ANCESTRAL DOMAINS)[. signed on September 2. and 7. Lanao del Norte in/from the areas covered by the projected Bangsamoro Homeland is a justiciable question. Iligan and Isabela. The MOA-AD also identifies as TOR two local statutes . III.26 and several international law instruments . OVERVIEW OF THE MOA-AD As a necessary backdrop to the consideration of the objections raised in the subject five petitions and six petitions-in-intervention against the MOA-AD.

the territory defined as the Bangsamoro homeland was ruled by several sultanates and. "treaty" being broadly defined as "any solemn agreement in writing that sets out understandings. New terms were drawn up to describe novel ways of perceiving non-Muslim territories. obligations.'" It defines "Bangsamoro people" as the natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization. the concept of "Bangsamoro. having been bound to each other by treaty or agreement."29 The MOA-AD states that the Parties "HAVE AGREED AND ACKNOWLEDGED AS FOLLOWS. As gathered.34 The MOA-AD thus grounds the right to self-governance of the Bangsamoro people on the past suzerain authority of the sultanates." as defined in this strand of the MOAAD. though under a secular regime. For instance.28 It thus appears that the "compact rights entrenchment" emanating from the regime of dar-ul-mua'hada and dar-ul-sulh simply refers to all other agreements between the MILF and the Philippine government . areas like dar-ul-mua'hada (land of compact) and dar-ul-sulh (land of treaty) referred to countries which.31 but all indigenous peoples of Mindanao and its adjacent islands. and their descendants whether mixed or of full blood.33 The Bangsamoro people are acknowledged as having the right to selfgovernance. The main body of the MOA-AD is divided into four strands. In Canada. .that partake of the nature of a treaty device." and starts with its main body. a confederation of independent principalities (pangampong) each ruled by datus and sultans. Resources. Dar-ulaman (land of order). referred to countries which. maintained freedom of religion for Muslims. though not bound by treaty with Muslim States. and Governance. which right is said to be rooted on ancestral territoriality exercised originally under the suzerain authority of their sultanates and the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw. The sultanates were described as states or "karajaan/kadatuan" resembling a body politic endowed with all the elements of a nation-state in the modern sense. none of whom was supreme over the others. What this freedom of choice consists in has not been specifically defined.the Philippines being the land of compact and peace agreement ." The term "First Nation" is of Canadian origin referring to the indigenous peoples of that territory." the ownership of which is vested exclusively in the Bangsamoro people by virtue of their prior rights of occupation. the classical division of the world into dar-ul-Islam and dar-ul-harb eventually lost its meaning. CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES This strand begins with the statement that it is "the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves and be accepted as ‘Bangsamoros. maintained peaceful and cooperative relations with Muslim States.35 The MOA-AD goes on to describe the Bangsamoro people as "the ‘First Nation' with defined territory and with a system of government having entered into treaties of amity and commerce with foreign nations. on the other hand. particularly those known as Indians.30 Thus. specifically in the case of the Maranao. includes not only "Moros" as traditionally understood even by Muslims. by the Pat a Pangampong ku Ranaw. including their spouses. A. Territory. and benefits for both parties which provides for a framework that elaborates the principles declared in the [MOA-AD]. The MOA-AD proceeds to refer to the "Bangsamoro homeland.32 Both parties to the MOA-AD acknowledge that ancestral domain does not form part of the public domain.86 As Muslim States entered into treaties with their neighbors. namely. Concepts and Principles. The MOA-AD adds that the freedom of choice of indigenous peoples shall be respected. even with distant States and inter-governmental organizations.

Significantly. among which are the exploration and utilization of natural resources. The MOA-AD then mentions for the first time the "Bangsamoro Juridical Entity" (BJE) to which it grants the authority and jurisdiction over the Ancestral Domain and Ancestral Lands of the Bangsamoro. regulation of shipping and fishing activities. through production sharing and economic cooperation agreement. RESOURCES The MOA-AD states that the BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries and shall have the option to establish trade missions in those countries. Each of these areas is to be subjected to a plebiscite to be held on different dates. Such relationships and understandings. also called "Special Intervention Areas.38 More specifically. by identifying the Bangsamoro people as "the First Nation" . in favor of the latter. Thus." on the other hand.40 Category B areas." defined as extending fifteen (15) kilometers from the coastline of the BJE area. the MOA-AD.47 . municipalities and barangays.44 The activities which the Parties are allowed to conduct on the territorial waters are enumerated. years apart from each other. and the enforcement of police and safety measures. the core of the BJE is defined as the present geographic area of the ARMM . cities. and Marawi City. authority and management over all natural resources.42 that the BJE shall also have "territorial waters. are not to include aggression against the GRP.the Comprehensive Compact. The BJE is to be entitled to participate in Philippine official missions and delegations for the negotiation of border agreements or protocols for environmental protection and equitable sharing of incomes and revenues involving the bodies of water adjacent to or between the islands forming part of the ancestral domain. terrestrial. Maguindanao. which are grouped into two categories. fluvial and alluvial domains. and that within these territorial waters. Category A areas are to be subjected to a plebiscite not later than twelve (12) months following the signing of the MOA-AD. embracing the MindanaoSulu-Palawan geographic region." hence. the BJE is to cover other provinces. are to be subjected to a plebiscite twenty-five (25) years from the signing of a separate agreement . Tawi-Tawi. Category A and Category B. however.43 Notably. Sulu.41 The Parties to the MOA-AD stipulate that the BJE shall have jurisdiction over all natural resources within its "internal waters.suggesting its exclusive entitlement to that designation . the BJE and the "Central Government" (used interchangeably with RP) shall exercise joint jurisdiction.thus constituting the following areas: Lanao del Sur." The MOA-AD further provides for the sharing of minerals on the territorial waters between the Central Government and the BJE.46 The external defense of the BJE is to remain the duty and obligation of the Central Government.39 Outside of this core.45 There is no similar provision on the sharing of minerals and allowed activities with respect to the internal waters of the BJE. TERRITORY The territory of the Bangsamoro homeland is described as the land mass as well as the maritime. including the aerial domain and the atmospheric space above it. Basilan. all of them are usually described collectively by the plural "First Nations. The BJE may also enter into environmental cooperation agreements.37 B.87 each of these indigenous peoples is equally entitled to be called "First Nation.departs from the Canadian usage of the term. The Central Government is also bound to "take necessary steps to ensure the BJE's participation in international meetings and events" like those of the ASEAN and the specialized agencies of the UN."36 To that extent. the jurisdiction over the internal waters is not similarly described as "joint. this core also includes certain municipalities of Lanao del Norte that voted for inclusion in the ARMM in the 2001 plebiscite. C." which shall stretch beyond the BJE internal waters up to the baselines of the Republic of the Philippines (RP) south east and south west of mainland Mindanao.

judicial system and correctional institutions." the Central Government may. reparation is to be in such form as mutually determined by the Parties.51 D. Chairpersons of the Peace Negotiating Panels of the GRP and the MILF. assume or direct the operation of such resources. fossil fuel. As stated early on. Rais Bin Yatim. Albert G. the MOA-AD was set to be signed on August 5. and not merely of the negotiating panels. contracts or agreements. and obtaining all potential sources of energy. financial and banking. develop and maintain its own institutions inclusive of civil service. the details of which shall be discussed in the negotiation of the comprehensive compact. Industrial Forest Management Agreements (IFMA). including those issued by the present ARMM. The BJE is granted the power to build. electoral. "ENDORSED BY" Ambassador Sayed Elmasry.50 The BJE may modify or cancel the forest concessions. petroleum. respectively." This right carries the proviso that.49 The MOA-AD provides that its provisions requiring "amendments to the existing legal framework" shall take effect upon signing of the Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the aforesaid amendments. and administrative institutions with defined powers and functions in the Comprehensive Compact. mineral oil and natural gas. legislation. when public interest so requires.52 The "associative" relationship and the BJE The MOA-AD describes the relationship of the Central Government and the BJE as "associative. "in times of national emergency. the jurisdiction and control thereon is to be vested in the BJE "as the party having control within its territorial jurisdiction. with due regard to the non-derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact. Whenever restoration is no longer possible. Adviser to Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General and Special Envoy for Peace Process in Southern Philippines. Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Malaysia. And it states that the structure of governance is to be based on executive. much of the present controversy hangs on the legality of this provision. and other land tenure instruments granted by the Philippine Government. GOVERNANCE The MOA-AD binds the Parties to invite a multinational third-party to observe and monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Compact. As will be discussed later. The MOA-AD provides that legitimate grievances of the Bangsamoro people arising from any unjust dispossession of their territorial and proprietary rights.88 With regard to the right of exploring for. education. The MOA-AD explicitly provides that the participation of the third party shall not in any way affect the status of the relationship between the Central Government and the BJE. customary land tenures. or their marginalization shall be acknowledged. and SIGNED "IN THE PRESENCE OF" Dr. the penultimate paragraph of the MOA-AD identifies the signatories as "the representatives of the Parties. Romulo. producing. police and internal security force. legislative. mining concessions. timber licenses." characterized by shared authority and responsibility. economic.53 In addition. the signature page of the MOA-AD states that it is "WITNESSED BY" Datuk Othman Bin Abd Razak. judicial. This compact is to embody the "details for the effective enforcement" and "the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation" of the MOA-AD. Mineral Production and Sharing Agreements (MPSA). for a fixed period and under reasonable terms as may be agreed upon by both Parties. 2008 by Rodolfo Garcia and Mohagher Iqbal. . legal. Secretary of Foreign Affairs of RP and Dato' Seri Utama Dr.48 between the Central Government The sharing between the Central Government and the BJE of total production pertaining to natural resources is to be 75:25 in favor of the BJE." meaning the GRP and MILF themselves. Notably.

62 Annexed to the MOA-AD are two documents containing the respective lists cum maps of the provinces. or mere academic questions.54 Courts decline to issue advisory opinions or to resolve hypothetical or feigned problems. it is a prerequisite that something had then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture. if at all. Plainly.56 An actual case or controversy involves a conflict of legal rights.58 Related to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of ripeness. municipalities. the Parties enter into the following stipulations: xxxx . Toward this end. and barangays under Categories A and B earlier mentioned in the discussion on the strand on TERRITORY. 2008. it is respectfully submitted that this Honorable Court has no authority to pass upon issues based on hypothetical or feigned constitutional problems or interests with no concrete bases. immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the act complained of. the MOA-AD remains to be a proposal that does not automatically create legally demandable rights and obligations until the list of operative acts required have been duly complied with.57 The Court can decide the constitutionality of an act or treaty only when a proper case between opposing parties is submitted for judicial determination. PROCEDURAL ISSUES A. petitioners and intervenors' perceived injury.89 Minister of Foreign Affairs. is merely imaginary and illusory apart from being unfounded and based on mere conjectures. reasoning that IV.59 For a case to be considered ripe for adjudication. Malaysia. There must be a contrariety of legal rights that can be interpreted and enforced on the basis of existing law and jurisprudence. A question is ripe for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it. Simply put. RIPENESS The power of judicial review is limited to actual cases or controversies. susceptible of judicial resolution as distinguished from a hypothetical or abstract difference or dispute. all of whom were scheduled to sign the Agreement last August 5. Considering the preliminary character of the MOA-AD.55 The limitation of the power of judicial review to actual cases and controversies defines the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power. an assertion of opposite legal claims. The Solicitor General argues that there is no justiciable controversy that is ripe for judicial review in the present petitions. to assure that the courts will not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government. x x x xxxx In the cases at bar. (Underscoring supplied) The Solicitor General cites63 the following provisions of the MOA-AD: TERRITORY xxxx 2.61 He must show that he has sustained or is The unsigned MOA-AD is simply a list of consensus points subject to further negotiations and legislative enactments as well as constitutional processes aimed at attaining a final peaceful agreement.60 and the petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to itself as a result of the challenged action. there are no concrete acts that could possibly violate petitioners' and intervenors' rights since the acts complained of are mere contemplated steps toward the formulation of a final peace agreement.

In Pimentel. in New York v.65 this Court held: x x x [B]y the mere enactment of the questioned law or the approval of the challenged action. Concrete acts under the MOA-AD are not necessary to render the present controversy ripe. Toward this end.90 d. Jr. or unlawfully excludes another from the use or enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled. v. 3 (E. The Parties agree that mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation of this MOA-AD shall be spelt out in the Comprehensive Compact to mutually take such steps to enable it to occur effectively. corporation.72 Mandamus is a remedy granted by law when any tribunal. because the policy was being challenged as unconstitutional on its face. The Annex constitutes an integral part of this framework agreement.68 That the law or act in question is not yet effective does not negate ripeness.67 the United States Supreme Court held that the challenge to the constitutionality of the school's policy allowing student-led prayers and speeches before games was ripe for adjudication. when an act of the President.71 Prohibition. Aguirre. in the case of certiorari. Without derogating from the requirements of prior agreements. or is proceeding. the United States Supreme Court held that the action by the State of New York challenging the provisions of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act was ripe for adjudication even if the questioned provision was not to take effect until January 1. trust. the dispute is said to have ripened into a judicial controversy even without any other overt act. board. and Mandamus. Indeed. acts of legislative and executive officials. No.73 Certiorari. a plebiscite covering the areas as enumerated in the list and depicted in the map as Category A attached herein (the "Annex"). is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution and the laws x x x settling the dispute becomes the duty and the responsibility of the courts. even a singular violation of the Constitution and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty. Doe. issued on February 28.74 The authority of the GRP Negotiating Panel is defined by Executive Order No.O. xxxx By the same token. using all possible legal measures. the Parties shall endeavor to complete the negotiations and resolve all outstanding issues on the Comprehensive Compact within fifteen (15) months from the signing of the MOA-AD. board or officer has acted. officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office. the Government stipulates to conduct and deliver. when proper. within twelve (12) months following the signing of the MOA-AD. 1996.70 The present petitions pray for Certiorari. Any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon the signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non-derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact. 2001. or station. who in our constitutional scheme is a coequal of Congress.75 The said executive order . without or in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. 3).69 decided in 1992. xxxx GOVERNANCE xxxx 7. United States. even if no public prayer had yet been led under the policy.66 In Santa Fe Independent School District v. For example. in the case of prohibition. because the parties agreed that New York had to take immediate action to avoid the provision's consequences.64 (Underscoring supplied) The Solicitor General's arguments fail to persuade. Mandamus and Prohibition are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify. Certiorari and Prohibition are remedies granted by law when any tribunal.

" implying an amendment of the Constitution to accommodate the MOA-AD. No. by violating their duties under E."78 Because constitutional cases are often public actions in which the relief sought is likely to affect other persons. the person complaining must allege that he has been or is about to be denied some right or privilege to which he is lawfully entitled or that he is about to be subjected to some burdens or penalties by reason of the statute or act complained of.79 When suing as a citizen. Furthermore.82 The Court retains discretion whether or not to allow a taxpayer's suit."76 The present petitions allege that respondents GRP Panel and PAPP Esperon drafted the terms of the MOA-AD without consulting the local government units or communities affected. or that there is a wastage of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional law. such omission. A member of the House of Representatives has standing to maintain inviolate the prerogatives. As the petitions allege acts or omissions on the part of respondent that exceed their authority. including the systematic approach and the administrative structure for carrying out the comprehensive peace process x x x be governed by this Executive Order. 3. powers and privileges vested by the Constitution in his office. and Mandamus. by itself. an act of the Executive that injures the institution of Congress causes a derivative but nonetheless substantial injury that can be questioned by legislators. these points will be discussed in more detail later.80 When the issue concerns a public right. and an actual case or controversy ripe for adjudication exists.O. When an act of a branch of government is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution. and of the other LGUs. guaranteed to the MILF the amendment of the Constitution. it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. it can seek relief in order to protect or vindicate an interest of its own. No. 3 and the provisions of the Constitution and statutes.85 but the mere invocation by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any member of the legal profession of the duty to preserve the rule of law does not suffice to clothe it with standing.84 An organization may be granted standing to assert the rights of its members. Prohibition.77 B. one must allege "such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. one is allowed to sue where there is an assertion that public funds are illegally disbursed or deflected to an illegal purpose. constitutes a departure by respondents from their mandate under E. The MOA-AD provides that "any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon the signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework. a preliminary question frequently arises as to this interest in the constitutional question raised. This stipulation.83 In the case of a legislator or member of Congress.87 . the petitions make a prima facie case for Certiorari. As will be discussed in greater detail later. in effect.86 As regards a local government unit (LGU).91 requires that "[t]he government's policy framework for peace.81 For a taxpayer. LOCUS STANDI For a party to have locus standi. Such act constitutes another violation of its authority. it is sufficient that the petitioner is a citizen and has an interest in the execution of the laws. nor informing them of the proceedings.O. Again. the petitions allege that the provisions of the MOA-AD violate the Constitution.

On that score alone. 183951). and Kisin Buxani.. novelty and weight as precedents. citizens and taxpayers. as well as on a genuine legal interest in the matter in litigation. These petitioners allege that they did not vote for their inclusion in the ARMM which would be expanded to form the BJE territory.R. No. a non-government organization of Muslim lawyers. as a former congressman of the 3rd district of Davao City. 183591) Province of Zamboanga del Norte (G. Macapagal-Arroyo.89 where technicalities of procedure were brushed aside. meanwhile.91 In the petitions at bar.. in keeping with its duty under the Constitution to determine whether the other branches of government have kept themselves within the limits of the Constitution and the laws and have not abused the discretion given them. an advocacy group for justice and the attainment of peace and prosperity in Muslim Mindanao. as LGUs. respectively.88 such as a legal interest in the matter in litigation. the Court grants them standing. they failed to allege any proper legal interest in the present petitions.90 The Court's forbearing stance on locus standi on issues involving constitutional issues has for its purpose the protection of fundamental rights. given the liberal attitude it has exercised. In G. the Court has discretion to relax the procedural technicality on locus standi. however. With respect to Intervenors Ruy Elias Lopez. No.R. 183962. No. resident and member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cotabato City. is of no consequence. Intervening respondents Muslim Multi-Sectoral Movement for Peace and Development. No. City of Isabela and Municipality of Linamon have locus standi in view of the direct and substantial injury that they. The fact that they are a former Senator.R. as members of the IBP Palawan chapter.R. Just the same. would suffer as their territories. 183893) and City of Zamboanga (G. highlighted in the case of David v. City of Iligan (G. Carlo B. the constitutional issues raised being of paramount public interest or of transcendental importance deserving the attention of the Court in view of their seriousness. He thus possesses the requisite standing as an intervenor. Marino Ridao. his standing is premised on his being a member of the Senate and a citizen to enforce compliance by respondents of the public's constitutional right to be informed of the MOA-AD. as taxpayer. they can be given legal standing. a taxpayer and a member of the Bagobo tribe. an incumbent mayor of Makati City. petitioners Ernesto Maceda.92 Intervenors. 183752) and petitioners-in-intervention Province of Sultan Kudarat. are to be included in the intended domain of the BJE. in alleging their standing as taxpayers. and Muslim Legal Assistance Foundation Inc. the Court exercises its discretion to relax the procedural technicality on locus standi given the paramount public interest in the issues at hand.R. In not a few cases. assert that government funds would be expended for the conduct of an illegal and unconstitutional plebiscite to delineate the BJE territory. In any case. With regard to Senator Manuel Roxas. and a resident of Cagayan de Oro. may be given legal standing upon showing of facts that satisfy the requirements of the law authorizing intervention. allege that they . or in the success or failure of either of the parties. No. petitioners Province of North Cotabato (G. whether in whole or in part. Intervenors Franklin Drilon and Adel Tamano. Petitioners' legal standing is thus beyond doubt. Considering their invocation of the transcendental importance of the issues at hand. as taxpayer. Their allegation that the issues involved in these petitions are of "undeniable transcendental importance" clothes them with added basis for their personality to intervene in these petitions. Gomez. or in the success of either of the parties. has brushed aside technical rules of procedure. the Court. Jejomar Binay and Aquilino Pimentel III would have no standing as citizens and taxpayers for their failure to specify that they would be denied some right or privilege or there would be wastage of public funds. et al.

involving a significant part of the country's territory and the wideranging political modifications of affected LGUs. and prays for the denial of the petitions on the grounds therein stated. been rendered moot and academic simply by the public disclosure of the MOA-AD. the present petitions are not confined to the terms and provisions of the MOA-AD. In fact. as what will. and the far-reaching Constitutional implications of these "consensus points.96 (c) the constitutional issue raised requires formulation of controlling principles to guide the bench." especially given its nomenclature. the non-signing of the MOA-AD and the eventual dissolution of the GRP Peace Panel did not moot the present petitions.93 stand to be benefited or prejudiced. Petitions are imbued with paramount public interest There is no gainsaying that the petitions are imbued with paramount public interest. the need to have it signed or initialed by all the parties concerned on August 5.98 Another exclusionary circumstance that may be considered is where there is a voluntary cessation of the activity complained of by the defendant or doer." foremost of which is the creation of the BJE. Macapagal-Arroyo. supervening events that would ordinarily have rendered the same moot notwithstanding.93 In David v. as the case may be. therefore. the Solicitor General points out that the President had already disbanded the GRP Peace Panel. it will decide cases. there is a commitment on the part of respondents to amend and effect necessary changes to the existing legal framework for certain provisions of the MOA-AD to take effect. be discussed. 2008."92 In lending credence to this policy decision. the bar. but to other on-going and future negotiations and agreements necessary for its realization. Romulo100 and Manalo v. The grounds cited above in David are just as applicable in the present cases as they were. it does not automatically deprive the tribunal of power to hear and determine the case and does not render the case moot especially when the plaintiff seeks damages or prays for injunctive relief against the possible recurrence of the violation. and the public. in the resolution of the petitions concerning the MOA-AD. The assertion that the MOAAD is subject to further legal enactments including possible Constitutional amendments more than ever provides impetus for the Court to formulate .94 this Court held that the "moot and academic" principle not being a magical formula that automatically dissuades courts in resolving a case. B. Such legal interest suffices to clothe them with standing. the MOA-AD cannot be considered a mere "list of consensus points. if it finds that (a) there is a grave violation of the Constitution. not only in David. It bears emphasis that the signing of the MOA-AD did not push through due to the Court's issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order.] the government will not sign the MOA. once a suit is filed and the doer voluntarily ceases the challenged conduct. Contrary too to respondents' position. otherwise moot and academic.97 and (d) the case is capable of repetition yet evading review. Petitions not mooted Contrary then to the asseverations of respondents.99 The present petitions fall squarely into these exceptions to thus thrust them into the domain of judicial review.95 (b) the situation is of exceptional character and paramount public interest is involved. The petitions have not.102 the manifestation that it will not be signed as well as the disbanding of the GRP Panel not withstanding. in the main. Calderon101 where the Court similarly decided them on the merits. Consequently. but also in Province of Batangas v. MOOTNESS Respondents insist that the present petitions have been rendered moot with the satisfaction of all the reliefs prayed for by petitioners and the subsequent pronouncement of the Executive Secretary that "[n]o matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides[. Thus.

in another or in any form. even if the Executive Secretary. the government in negotiating with the MILF regarding Ancestral Domain. and the Municipality of Linamon.R. et al. the MOA-AD is a significant part of a series of agreements necessary to carry out the Tripoli Agreement 2001. Primarily. the factual circumstances being peculiar only to the transactions and parties involved in the controversy. most especially." They contend that the Court must have jurisdiction over the subject matter for the doctrine to be invoked. The MOAAD which dwells on the Ancestral Domain Aspect of said Tripoli Agreement is the third such component to be undertaken following the implementation of the Security Aspect in August 2001 and the Humanitarian.] the government will not sign the MOA[AD]. While G. Indeed." The present petitions must be differentiated from Suplico. Iligan and Isabela. 183893 (City of Iligan v. As the issues therein involved specific government procurement policies and standard principles on contracts. GRP) is a petition for Injunction and Declaratory Relief. particularly the Provinces of North Cotabato. the Court will treat it as one for Prohibition as it has far reaching implications and raises questions that need to be resolved. has stated that "no matter what the Supreme Court ultimately decides[. Reyes104 in which he stated that the doctrine of "capable of repetition yet evading review" can override mootness.103 where the Court did not "pontificat[e] on issues which no longer legitimately constitute an actual case or controversy [as this] will do more harm than good to the nation as a whole. the public and. Rehabilitation and Development Aspect in May 2002. Zamboanga del Norte and Sultan Kudarat. In the present controversy. the government and its negotiating entity. Accordingly. in another or any form. 2008 to the Solicitor General. the public and. The MOA-AD is part of a series of agreements Respondents invite the Court's attention to the separate opinion of then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban in Sanlakas v.105 At all events. the majority opinion in Suplico found nothing exceptional therein. While the Court notes the word of the Executive Secretary that the government "is committed to securing an agreement that is both constitutional and equitable because that is the only way that long-lasting peace can be assured. Respondents cite Suplico v. the Court has jurisdiction over most if not the rest of the petitions.94 controlling principles to guide the bench. which could contain similar or significantly drastic provisions. the present MOA-AD can be renegotiated or another one will be drawn up to carry out the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the Tripoli Agreement 2001." mootness will not set in in light of the terms of the Tripoli Agreement 2001.106 There is a reasonable expectation that petitioners. in Suplico. "provided the party raising it in a proper case has been and/or continue to be prejudiced or damaged as a direct result of their issuance. in this case." it is minded to render a decision on the merits in the present petitions to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench. Surely. the Cities of Zamboanga. the bar. No. will again be subjected to the same problem in the future as respondents' actions are capable of repetition. the present petitions afford a proper venue for the Court to again apply the doctrine immediately referred to as what it had done in a number of landmark cases. The present petitions all contain prayers for Prohibition over which this Court exercises original jurisdiction. what was assailed and eventually cancelled was a stand-alone government procurement contract for a national broadband network involving a one-time contractual relation between two parties-the government and a private foreign corporation. the bar. Need to formulate principles-guidelines . in his Memorandum of August 28. NEDA.

108 the Court has recognized the statutory right to examine and inspect public records.110 the Court ruled that access to public records is predicated on the right of the people to acquire information on matters of public concern since. copies of the MOA-AD.115 In previous cases. Too. the other relating to its provisions. and papers pertaining to official acts. Ozaeta. as enshrined in both the 1973 Constitution and the 1987 Constitution. respondents admit that the MOA-AD is indeed of public concern. nor a meaningful democratic decision-making if they are denied access to information of general interest. As has been aptly observed: "Maintaining the flow of such information depends on protection for both its acquisition and its dissemination since. the flow inevitably ceases. shall be afforded the citizen. In fact. as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development. a right which was eventually accorded constitutional status. the Court found that the regularity of real estate transactions entered in the Register of Deeds. and to documents. in Subido v." x x x111 In the same way that free discussion enables members of society to cope with the exigencies of their time. has been recognized as a selfexecutory constitutional right.113 The MOA-AD is a matter of public concern That the subject of the information sought in the present cases is a matter of public concern114 faces no serious challenge. The right of access to public documents. access to information of general interest aids the people in democratic decision-making by giving them a better perspective of the vital issues confronting the nation112 so that they may be able to criticize and participate in the affairs of the government in a responsible.95 It is with respect to the prayers for Mandamus that the petitions have become moot. x x x The incorporation of this right in the Constitution is a recognition of the fundamental role of free exchange of information in a democracy. in a democracy. as provided in Section 7. provided this Court and petitioners with official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD and its annexes. There can be no realistic perception by the public of the nation's problems. if either process is interrupted. Do the contents of the MOA-AD violate the Constitution and the laws? ON THE FIRST SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE Petitioners invoke their constitutional right to information on matters of public concern.107 As early as 1948. Article III on the Bill of Rights: Sec. undoubtedly. Access to official records. or have procured for themselves. 7.116 the need for adequate notice to the public of the . or decisions. SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES As culled from the Petitions and Petitions-in-Intervention. respondents having. the pubic has a legitimate interest in matters of social and political significance. viz: 1. Information is needed to enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of the times. by Compliance of August 7. there are basically two SUBSTANTIVE issues to be resolved. V. reasonable and effective manner. It is by ensuring an unfettered and uninhibited exchange of ideas among a well-informed public that a government remains responsive to the changes desired by the people. Judge Dimaano. The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Hon. transactions.109 In the 1976 case of Baldoza v. Did respondents violate constitutional and statutory provisions on public consultation and the right to information when they negotiated and later initialed the MOA-AD? 2. one relating to the manner in which the MOA-AD was negotiated and finalized. subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. intervenors have been furnished. 2008.

the people can never exercise the right if no contract is consummated. this policy will not be enunciated or will not be in force and effect until after Congress shall have provided it.126 These provisions are vital to the exercise of the freedom of expression and essential to hold public officials at all times accountable to the people. MR. Undoubtedly.127 Whether Section 28 is self-executory. Jr. MR."122 (Emphasis and italics in the original) Intended as a "splendid symmetry"123 to the right to information under the Bill of Rights is the policy of public disclosure under Section 28.125 The policy of public disclosure establishes a concrete ethical principle for the conduct of public affairs in a genuinely open democracy. It is a mandate of the State to be accountable by following such policy. I expect it to influence the climate of public ethics immediately but. SUAREZ. Requiring a consummated contract will keep the public in the dark until the contract.124 The policy of full public disclosure enunciated in above-quoted Section 28 complements the right of access to information on matters of public concern found in the Bill of Rights.96 various laws. a consummated contract is not a requirement for the exercise of the right to information. the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. the implementing law will have to be enacted by Congress.117 the civil service eligibility of a public employee. after Commissioner Hilario Davide. Mr. Otherwise. while Section 28 recognizes the duty of officialdom to give information even if nobody demands. Presiding Officer. The right to information guarantees the right of the people to demand information.120 and the identity of party-list nominees. We can allow neither an emasculation of a constitutional right.121 among others. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law. effectively truncating a basic right enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Matters of public concern covered by the right to information include steps and negotiations leading to the consummation of the contract. a situation which the framers of the Constitution could not have intended. with the people's right to know as the centerpiece. Mr. the MOA-AD subject of the present cases is of public concern. it may be too late for the public to expose its defects. Article II of the Constitution reading: Sec.. Such a requirement will prevent the citizenry from participating in the public discussion of any proposed contract. And since this is not self-executory. 28. the Court has categorically ruled: x x x [T]he right to information "contemplates inclusion of negotiations leading to the consummation of the transaction." Certainly. of course. In not distinguishing as to the executory nature or commercial character of agreements. which directly affects the lives of the public at large. and if one is consummated. OPLE. is enlightening. which may be grossly disadvantageous to the government or even illegal.118 the proper management of GSIS funds allegedly used to grant loans to public officials. This negates the State policy of full transparency on matters of public concern. nor a retreat by the State of its avowed "policy of full disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest. are matters of public concern. I would like to get some clarifications on this. the records of the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission so disclose: MR. becomes fait accompli.128 The following discourse. did I get the Gentleman correctly as having said that this is not a selfexecuting provision? It would require a legislation by Congress to implement? .119 the recovery of the Marcoses' alleged ill-gotten wealth. involving as it does the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the State. Presiding Officer. DAVIDE. sought clarification on the issue.

131 Envisioned to be corollary to the twin rights to information and disclosure is the design for feedback mechanisms.O. of course. 3. DAVIDE. but I accepted an amendment from Commissioner Regalado. Mr. as a species of the right to information. so that the safeguards on national interest are modified by the clause "as may be provided by law" MR. ROSARIO BRAID.129 (Emphasis supplied) Indubitably.97 MR. No. So I do not think we are afraid that there will be another OMA in the making. Since both provisions go hand-in-hand. which is inconsistent with this policy. OPLE. Presiding Officer. is evident in the "marching orders" to respondents. I think through their elected representatives and that is how these courses take place. Yes. but by all Filipinos as one community. xxxx MS. Yes. Congress here may no longer pass a law revoking it.O. revoking this principle.133 The preambulatory clause of E. values and principles important to all Filipinos" and "shall be defined not by the government alone. both ways. It is in the interest of the State that the channels for free political discussion be maintained to the end that the government may perceive and be responsive to the people's will. will the people be able to participate? Will the government provide feedback mechanisms so that the people can participate and can react where the existing media facilities are not able to provide full feedback mechanisms to the government? I suppose this will be part of the government implementing operational mechanisms." The complete and effective exercise of the right to information necessitates that its complementary provision on public disclosure derive the same self-executory nature. I said earlier that it should immediately influence the climate of the conduct of public affairs but. But as worded. MS. The mechanics for the duty to disclose information and to conduct public consultation regarding the peace agenda and process is manifestly provided by E. 3 declares that there is a need to further enhance the contribution of civil society to the comprehensive peace process by institutionalizing the people's participation. And lastly. OPLE. Yes. the effectivity of the policy of public disclosure need not await the passing of a statute. Mr. No. may I just make one last sentence? I think when we talk about the feedback network. nor by the different contending groups only. it is absurd to say that the broader130 right to information on matters of public concern is already enforceable while the correlative duty of the State to disclose its transactions involving public interest is not enforceable until there is an enabling law. we will put more credence or credibility on the private network of volunteers and voluntary community-based organizations. One of the three underlying principles of the comprehensive peace process is that it "should be community-based. or if this is approved. Presiding Officer. does it not mean that this will immediately take effect and Congress may provide for reasonable safeguards on the sole ground national interest? MR. Respondents cannot thus point to the absence of an implementing legislation as an excuse in not effecting such policy. it was going to be self-executing.132 (Emphasis supplied) The imperative of a public consultation. ROSARIO BRAID. Mr. reflecting the sentiments. OPLE. There is a message and a feedback. I think so."134 Included as a component of the comprehensive peace process is consensus-building and empowerment for . As a matter of fact. An essential element of these freedoms is to keep open a continuing dialogue or process of communication between the government and the people. Originally. MR. As Congress cannot revoke this principle. we are not talking about public officials but also network of private business o[r] community-based organizations that will be reacting. Presiding Officer. it is merely directed to provide for "reasonable safeguards. Yes.

The Court may not. and amounts to a whimsical. or without a manifestation that it was complying therewith ex abundante ad cautelam. 3 contemplates not just the conduct of a plebiscite to effectuate "continuing" consultations. and the mobilization and facilitation of people's participation in the peace proces. 3 seeks to elicit relevant advice. By unconditionally complying with the Court's August 4. information. contrary to respondents' retort in justifying the denial of petitioners' right to be consulted. however. No. which includes "continuing consultations on both national and local levels to build consensus for a peace agenda and process."136 Further. The LGC chapter on intergovernmental relations puts flesh into this avowed policy: . as well as for government[-]civil society dialogue and consensus-building on peace agenda and initiatives. No. E. respondents effectively waived the defense of executive privilege in view of their unqualified disclosure of the official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD. 3 on people's participation. As for respondents' invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege. require him to comply with the law and discharge the functions within the authority granted by the President. one of which is to "[c]onduct regular dialogues with the National Peace Forum (NPF) and other peace partners to seek relevant information. it is not tenable under the premises. The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority. nongovernmental and people's organizations. 3's explicit provisions on continuing consultation and dialogue on both national and local levels. E. No. E. No. No. Respondents' stance manifests the manner by which they treat the salient provisions of E.141 It bear emphasis that E. Such disregard of the express mandate of the President is not much different from superficial conduct toward token provisos that border on classic lip service.O."138 In fine. 3 enumerates the functions and responsibilities of the PAPP. of course. AT ALL EVENTS. The argument defies sound reason when contrasted with E.140 It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined. It may.98 peace. recommendations as well as to render appropriate and timely reports on the progress of the comprehensive peace process. on the implementation of the comprehensive peace process. No. The executive order even recognizes the exercise of the public's right even before the GRP makes its official recommendations or before the government proffers its definite propositions. Petitioners' assertion that the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991 declares it a State policy to "require all national agencies and offices to conduct periodic consultations with appropriate local government units. 2008 Resolution. comments. PAPP Esperon committed grave abuse of discretion The PAPP committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation.139 Petitioners are not claiming a seat at the negotiating table. 3 establishes petitioners' right to be consulted on the peace agenda. require the PAPP to conduct the consultation in a particular way or manner. as a corollary to the constitutional right to information and disclosure. peace partners and concerned sectors of society on both national and local levels. arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof.O. oppressive. No.O. capricious.O. contrary to respondents' position that plebiscite is "more than sufficient consultation.O.O. 3 mandates the establishment of the NPF to be "the principal forum for the PAPP to consult with and seek advi[c]e from the peace advocates."137 E. without a prayer for the document's disclosure in camera. and other concerned sectors of the community before any project or program is implemented in their respective jurisdictions"142 is well-taken.O."135 Clearly. comments and recommendations from the people through dialogue.

146 which could pervasively and drastically result to the diaspora or displacement of a great number of inhabitants from their total environment. respondents clearly transcended the boundaries of their authority. and even go beyond those of the present ARMM. which is cited as one of the TOR of the MOA-AD. however. an instrument recognizing ancestral domain. Among the programs and projects covered are those that are critical to the environment and human ecology including those that may call for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in the locality where these will be implemented. with all the acts of the government subject to public scrutiny and available always to public cognizance. without which all other stipulations or "consensus points" necessarily must fail. the ICCs/IPs have. failed to justify its non-compliance with the clear-cut mechanisms ordained in said Act. Respondents. Jr. In Lina. ours is an open society. nonetheless.144 the Court held that the above-stated policy and above-quoted provision of the LGU apply only to national programs or projects which are to be implemented in a particular local community. as will be discussed in the following section. it would be useful to turn first to a general idea that serves as a unifying link to the different provisions of the MOA-AD. The validity of this argument will be considered later. As it seems. In general. Paño. Before assessing some of the specific powers that would have been vested in the BJE. the right to participate fully at all levels of decision-making in matters which may affect their rights. such clause is itself invalid. whose interests are represented herein by petitioner Lopez and are adversely affected by the MOA-AD. and the MOA-AD itself recognizes the need to amend the existing legal framework to render effective at least some of its provisions. This has to be so if the country is to remain democratic.145 The MOA-AD is one peculiar program that unequivocally and unilaterally vests ownership of a vast territory to the Bangsamoro people. the objections against the MOA-AD center on the extent of the powers conceded therein to the BJE. For now. among other things.147 The MOA-AD.99 Prior Consultations Required.No project or program shall be implemented by government authorities unless the consultations mentioned in Sections 2 (c) and 26 hereof are complied with. lives and destinies. in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Notably. even the heart of the MOA-AD is still subject to necessary changes to the legal framework. under the IPRA. Hon. without complying with the IPRA. . That occupants in areas where such projects are to be implemented shall not be evicted unless appropriate relocation sites have been provided. there can be no question that they cannot all be accommodated under the present Constitution and laws. with sovereignty residing in the people and all government authority emanating from them. The recognition of the ancestral domain is the raison d'etre of the MOA-AD. and prior approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained: Provided. Petitioners assert that the powers granted to the BJE exceed those granted to any local government under present laws. While paragraph 7 on Governance suspends the effectivity of all provisions requiring changes to the legal framework. the .149 With respect to the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs).148 which entails. counter that the MOA-AD is free of any legal infirmity because any provisions therein which are inconsistent with the present legal framework will not be effective until the necessary changes to that framework are made. Indeed. v. In proceeding to ON THE SECOND SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE With regard to the provisions of the MOA-AD. the Court shall pass upon how The MOA-AD is inconsistent with the Constitution and laws as presently worded. the observance of the free and prior informed consent of the ICCs/IPs.143 (Italics and underscoring supplied) make a sweeping declaration on ancestral domain. the IPRA does not grant the Executive Department or any government agency the power to delineate and recognize an ancestral domain claim by mere agreement or compromise. Respondents have admitted as much in the oral arguments before this Court. namely.

The relationship between the Central Government and the Bangsamoro juridical entity shall be associative characterized by shared authority and responsibility with a structure of governance based on executive. which is a mark of their statehood. Nonetheless. such capacity extending to matters such as the law of the sea. pursuant to a Compact of Free Association. It has been said that.S. For purposes of illustration. Their international legal status as states was confirmed by the UN Security Council and by their admission to UN membership.S. the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). indicating that the Parties actually framed its provisions with it in mind. The currency in these countries is the U. and cultural relations. and the MOA-AD .-associated states to the UN in 1990. The U. Significantly.152 .S.151 are associated states of the U. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) According to their compacts of free association. Keitner and Reisman state that [a]n association is formed when two states of unequal power voluntarily establish durable links. with the admission of the U. banking. postal. has the option of establishing and using military areas and facilities within these associated states and has the right to bar the military personnel of any third country from having access to these territories for military purposes. The nature of the "associative" relationship may have been intended to be defined more precisely in the still to be forged Comprehensive Compact. delegates certain responsibilities to the other. however.100 international law concept of association. legislative.S. that the MOA-AD most clearly uses it to describe the envisioned relationship between the BJE and the Central Government. formerly part of the U. government) regards as relating to or affecting either government. and paragraph 4 on GOVERNANCE. judicial and administrative institutions with defined powers and functions in the comprehensive compact. moreover. while maintaining its international status as a state. trade. is obligated to consult with the governments of the Marshall Islands or the FSM on matters which it (U. the UN recognized that the American model of free association is actually based on an underlying status of independence. x x x150 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) It bears noting that in U. In the event of attacks or threats against the Marshall Islands or the FSM.S. In the basic model. that concept of association may be brought to bear in understanding the use of the term "associative" in the MOA-AD.S. A period of transition shall be established in a comprehensive peace compact specifying the relationship between the Central Government and the BJE. The Compact of Free Association is a treaty which is subordinate to the associated nation's national constitution. when conducting its foreign affairs.. given that there is a concept of "association" in international law. the principal. yet they issue their own travel documents. the MOA-AD explicitly alludes to this concept. and each party may terminate the association consistent with the right of independence. marine resources. free association is understood as an international association between sovereigns. territory. the Marshall Islands and the FSM generally have the capacity to conduct foreign affairs in their own name and right. government. The U.S.administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.S.by its inclusion of international law instruments in its TOR. 4. the associate. civil aviation.S. dollar. government has the authority and obligation to defend them as if they were part of U. constitutional and international practice. one state.S. Association is referred to in paragraph 3 on TERRITORY. government. indicating their very close ties with the U. paragraph 11 on RESOURCES. the U. Free associations represent a middle ground between integration and independence.placed itself in an international legal context.S. It is in the last mentioned provision.

The Constitution. Vincent and Grenada. a status closely approximating it.runs counter to the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic. These provisions of the MOA indicate. resembles the right of the governments of FSM and the Marshall Islands to be consulted by the U. There shall be autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as hereinafter provided. the commitment of the Central Government to ensure the BJE's participation in meetings and events in the ASEAN and the specialized UN agencies. a permanent population. the spirit animating it . All have since become independent states. The BJE is a far more powerful entity than the autonomous region recognized in the Constitution It is not merely an expanded version of the ARMM. St. economic and social structures. St. The concept of association is not recognized under the present Constitution No province.154 namely. therefore. does not contemplate any state in this jurisdiction other than the Philippine State. Indeed. Even the mere concept animating many of the MOA-AD's provisions. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the provinces. and a capacity to enter into relations with other states. and barangays. specifically the following provisions of Article X: SECTION 1. much less does it provide for a transitory status that aims to prepare any part of Philippine territory for independence. It also implies the recognition of the associated entity as a state. it contains many provisions which are consistent with the international legal concept of association. Examples of states that have passed through the status of associated states as a transitional phase are Antigua. Even assuming arguendo that the MOA-AD would not necessarily sever any portion of Philippine territory. Moreover. cities. SECTION 15. Indeed. Lucia. is recognized under our laws as having an "associative" relationship with the national government. a defined territory. among other things.101 In international practice. . the "associated state" arrangement has usually been used as a transitional device of former colonies on their way to full independence. environmental protection.153 Back to the MOA-AD. that the Parties aimed to vest in the BJE the status of an associated state or. and the continuing responsibility of the Central Government over external defense. and sharing of revenues pertaining to the bodies of water adjacent to or between the islands forming part of the ancestral domain. cities. not even the ARMM. Dominica. St. the BJE's right to participate in Philippine official missions bearing on negotiation of border agreements. or municipality. municipalities. and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. however. government on any foreign affairs matter affecting them. already requires for its validity the amendment of constitutional provisions. and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage. specifically the following: the BJE's capacity to enter into economic and trade relations with foreign countries.which has betrayed itself by its use of the concept of association .S. municipalities. a government. city. Kitts-NevisAnguilla. at any rate. the concept implies powers that go beyond anything ever granted by the Constitution to any local or regional government. the status of its relationship with the national government being fundamentally different from that of the ARMM. There shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces. BJE is a state in all but name as it meets the criteria of a state laid down in the Montevideo Convention.

Under paragraph 2(c) on TERRITORY in relation to 2(d) and 2(e). But even assuming that it is covered by the term "autonomous region" in the constitutional provision just quoted. itself. That the present components of the ARMM and the above-mentioned municipalities voted for inclusion therein in 2001. (Underscoring supplied) Again on the premise that the BJE may be regarded as an autonomous region.102 The defining concept underlying the relationship between the national government and the BJE being itself contrary to the present Constitution." (Emphasis supplied) (2) Creation of sources of revenues. Nunungan. (3) Ancestral domain and natural resources. the BJE is more of a state than an autonomous region. The MOA-AD. Pantar." Under our constitutional system. 9 of said constitutional provision would not suffice. the MOA-AD would require an amendment that would expand the above-quoted provision. Section 18 of the Constitution provides that "[t]he creation of the autonomous region shall be effective when approved by a majority of the votes cast by the constituent units in a plebiscite called for the purpose. cities. since any new law that might vest in the BJE the powers found in the MOA-AD must. however. family. (7) Educational policies. SECTION 20. and (9) Such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region. it is not surprising that many of the specific provisions of the MOA-AD on the formation and powers of the BJE are in conflict with the Constitution and the laws. Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws. (5) Regional urban and rural planning development. not the BJE. would not comply with Article X.Baloi. it is only the President who has that power. in contrast to the areas under Categories A and B mentioned earlier in the overview. does not render another plebiscite unnecessary under the Constitution. the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: Article X. Munai. (4) Personal. It would not do. Section 20 of the Constitution since that provision defines the powers of autonomous regions as follows: (1) Administrative organization. the municipalities of Lanao del Norte which voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite . social. Pimentel v. the MOA-AD would still be in conflict with it. (6) Economic. comply with other provisions of the Constitution. precisely because what these areas voted for then was their inclusion in the ARMM. that such relationships and understandings do not include aggression against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines x x x. for instance. the present geographic area of the ARMM and. (8) Preservation and development of the cultural heritage. and property relations. Tagoloan and Tangkal . Executive Secretary155 instructs: . however.are automatically part of the BJE without need of another plebiscite. in addition. provided that only provinces. The mere passage of new legislation pursuant to sub-paragraph No. and tourism development. As reflected above. and geographic areas voting favorably in such plebiscite shall be included in the autonomous region. moreover. to merely pass legislation vesting the BJE with treaty-making power in order to accommodate paragraph 4 of the strand on RESOURCES which states: "The BJE is free to enter into any economic cooperation and trade relations with foreign countries: provided.

the President has the sole authority to negotiate with other states. Paragraph 1 on Concepts and Principles states: 1. Hence. Section 3 of the Organic Act. extend or withhold recognition. the act of placing a portion of Philippine territory in a status which. The This use of the term Bangsamoro sharply contrasts with that found in the Article X." Chapter VIII of the IPRA. it lays down the prevailing procedure for the delineation and recognition of ancestral domains. lays down a detailed procedure. fluvial and alluvial domains. in international practice. and political institutions. among which are R. The Bangsamoro people refers to those who are natives or original inhabitants of Mindanao and its adjacent islands including Palawan and the Sulu archipelago at the time of conquest or colonization of its descendants whether mixed or of full blood. enter into treaties. clearly distinguishes between Bangsamoro people and Tribal peoples. maintain diplomatic relations. (a) Tribal peoples. the atmospheric space above it. an Besides being irreconcilable with the Constitution. rather than lumping together the identities of the Bangsamoro and other indigenous peoples living in Mindanao. 9054156 or the Organic Act of the ARMM. and the aerial domain. is regarded as the sole organ and authority in external relations and is the country's sole representative with foreign nations. the President. the President acts as the country's mouthpiece with respect to international affairs. "[t]he Bangsamoro homeland and historic territory refer to the land mass as well as the maritime. the MOA-AD is also inconsistent with prevailing statutory law. is certainly not conducive to national unity. It is the birthright of all Moros and all Indigenous peoples of Mindanao to identify themselves and be accepted as "Bangsamoros". (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) freedom of choice of the Indigenous people shall be respected. on the other hand. being the head of state. as illustrated in the following provisions thereof: . As the chief architect of foreign policy. subject to the delimitations in the agreed Schedules. and the IPRA. which. While there may be a semblance of unity because of the associative ties between the BJE and the national government." (Underscoring supplied) An associative arrangement does not uphold national unity. Section 3 of the Organic Act of the ARMM is a bar to the adoption of the definition of "Bangsamoro people" used in the MOA-AD. In the realm of treaty-making. No. The MOA-AD's manner of delineating the ancestral domain of the Bangsamoro people is a clear departure from that procedure.103 In our system of government. Spouses and their descendants are classified as Bangsamoro. Section 22 of the Constitution must also be amended if the scheme envisioned in the MOA-AD is to be effected. the Parties simply agree that. By paragraph 1 of Territory. cultural. economic. has generally been a preparation for independence. the President is vested with the authority to deal with foreign states and governments. These are citizens whose social. and otherwise transact the business of foreign relations.A. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Article II." Respecting the IPRA. the phrase "indigenous cultural community" refers to Filipino citizens residing in the autonomous region who are: (b) Bangsa Moro people. terrestrial. embracing the Mindanao-Sulu-Palawan geographic region. cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sectors of the national community. These are citizens who are believers in Islam and who have retained some or all of their own social.157 Article X. That constitutional provision states: "The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development. as follows: "As used in this Organic Act.

e) Preparation of Maps. 2) Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs political structure and institution. . and of the inspection process. 7) Genealogical surveys. h) Endorsement to NCIP. the Ancestral Domains Office shall prepare a report . . and a description of the natural features and landmarks embraced therein. hills. rivers. Delineation Process. including a translation in the native language of the ICCs/IPs concerned shall be posted in a prominent place therein for at least fifteen (15) days.The identification and delineation of ancestral domains shall be done in accordance with the following procedures: 6) Anthropological data.On the basis of such investigation and the findings of fact based thereon. sacred places and old villages.Within fifteen (15) days from publication. xxxx 8) Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional communal forests and hunting grounds. That in areas where no such newspaper exists. A copy of the document shall also be posted at the local. ridges. f) Report of Investigation and Other Documents. complete with technical descriptions. . the Ancestral Domains Office of the NCIP shall prepare a perimeter map.A copy of each document. shall be immediately undertaken by the Ancestral Domains Office upon filing of the application by the ICCs/IPs concerned. including pacts and agreements concerning boundaries entered into by the ICCs/IPs concerned with other ICCs/IPs. That mere posting shall be deemed sufficient if both newspaper and radio station are not available. shall be prepared by the Ancestral Domains Office of the NCIP.The process of delineating a specific perimeter may be initiated by the NCIP with the consent of the ICC/IP concerned. b) Petition for Delineation. 5) Survey plans and sketch maps. . 10) Write-ups of names and places derived from the native dialect of the community. . . and c) Delineation Proper. and shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks to allow other claimants to file opposition thereto within fifteen (15) days from date of such publication: Provided. broadcasting in a radio station will be a valid substitute: Provided. creeks. or through a Petition for Delineation filed with the NCIP. burial grounds. terraces and the like. g) Notice and Publication.Proof of Ancestral Domain Claims shall include the testimony of elders or community under oath. and other documents directly or indirectly attesting to the possession or occupation of the area since time immemorial by such ICCs/IPs in the concept of owners which shall be any one (1) of the following authentic documents: 1) Written accounts of the ICCs/IPs customs and traditions. further. d) Proof Required. 4) Historical accounts. by a majority of the members of the ICCs/IPs. .104 SECTION 52.A complete copy of the preliminary census and a report of investigation. . Delineation will be done in coordination with the community concerned and shall at all times include genuine involvement and participation by the members of the communities concerned. 3) Pictures showing long term occupation such as those of old improvements. 9) Pictures and descriptive histories of traditional landmarks such as mountains.The official delineation of ancestral domain boundaries including census of all community members therein. provincial and regional offices of the NCIP.

social. if the proof is deemed insufficient. in Mejoff v.158 held that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is part of the law of the land on account of which it ordered the release on bail of a detained alien of Russian descent whose deportation order had not been executed even after two years. copy furnished all concerned. and cultural development. "freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic. The recognized sources of international law establish that the right to self-determination of a people is normally fulfilled through internal selfdetermination . REFERENCE RE SECESSION OF QUEBEC is again instructive: "(ii) Scope of the Right to Self-determination 126. economic. however. x x x External self-determination can be defined as in the following statement from the Declaration on Friendly Relations. in Article 1 of both covenants. the Court. the Canadian Supreme Court in REFERENCE RE SECESSION OF QUEBEC160 had occasion to acknowledge that "the right of a people to self-determination is now so widely recognized in international conventions that the principle has acquired a status beyond ‘convention' and is considered a general principle of international law.a people's pursuit of its political. by virtue of the right of self-determination. further. supra. that all peoples. containing the grounds for denial. furthermore. That the Ancestral Domains Office shall reject any claim that is deemed patently false or fraudulent after inspection and verification: Provided. Director of Prisons." understood not merely as the entire population of a State but also a portion thereof. the Ancestral Domains Office shall cause the contending parties to meet and assist them in coming up with a preliminary resolution of the conflict. Section 2 of the Constitution states that the Philippines "adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land." Applying this provision of the Constitution. That in case of rejection. be understood as extending to a unilateral right of secession. under carefully defined circumstances. A right to external self-determination (which in this case potentially takes the form of the assertion of a right to unilateral secession) arises in only the most extreme of cases and.105 to the NCIP endorsing a favorable action upon a claim that is deemed to have sufficient proof." Among the conventions referred to are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights161 and the International Covenant on Economic." The people's right to self-determination should not. In considering the question of whether the people of Quebec had a right to unilaterally secede from Canada. International law has long recognized the right to self-determination of "peoples. without prejudice to its full adjudication according to the section below. but also of international law is in order. Social and Cultural Rights162 which state. the Ancestral Domains Office shall give the applicant due notice. Edu159 applied the aforesaid constitutional provision to the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals. even then. a discussion of not only the Constitution and domestic statutes. However. Similarly. That in cases where there are conflicting claims among ICCs/IPs on the boundaries of ancestral domain claims. The denial shall be appealable to the NCIP: Provided. as . social and cultural development within the framework of an existing state. the Ancestral Domains Office shall require the submission of additional evidence: Provided. A distinction should be made between the right of internal and external self-determination. for Article II. xxxx To remove all doubts about the irreconcilability of the MOA-AD with the present legal system. the Court in Agustin v.

and civil war. executive and judicial institutions within Canada. Positive International Law does not recognize the right of national groups. citing that Quebec is equitably represented in legislative. appointed an International Committee composed of three jurists to submit an opinion on the preliminary issue of whether the dispute should. namely. Sweden presented to the Council of the League of Nations the question of whether the inhabitants of the Aaland Islands should be authorized to determine by plebiscite if the archipelago should remain under Finnish sovereignty or be incorporated in the kingdom of Sweden. was a very narrow one. and .163 There. x x x x (Emphasis. italics and underscoring supplied) The Canadian Court went on to discuss the exceptional cases in which the right to external self-determination can arise. be entirely left to the domestic jurisdiction of Finland. (Emphasis added) 127. even occupying prominent positions therein. however.less definitely but asserted by a number of commentators . for a considerable time." but would also endanger the interests of the international community. social and cultural development. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The Committee held that the dispute concerning the Aaland Islands did not refer to a question which is left by international law to the domestic jurisdiction of Finland. bears upon a question which International Law leaves entirely to the domestic jurisdiction of one of the States concerned. and it had. thereby applying the exception rather than the rule elucidated above. The internal situation of Finland was.is blocked from the meaningful exercise of its right to internal self-determination. any more than it recognizes the right of other States to claim such a separation. according to the Committee. as such. to separate themselves from the State of which they form part by the simple expression of a wish. the Aaland Islands agitation originated at a time when Finland was undergoing drastic political transformation. nor is it being deprived of the freedom to make political choices and pursue economic. the conditions required for the formation of a sovereign State did not exist. as the same is not under colonial rule or foreign domination. The exceptional nature of the right of secession is further exemplified in the REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF JURISTS ON THE LEGAL ASPECTS OF THE AALAND ISLANDS QUESTION.106 The establishment of a sovereign and independent State. the free association or integration with an independent State or the emergence into any other political status freely determined by a people constitute modes of implementing the right of self-determination by that people. In the midst of revolution. exclusively. is subject to foreign domination or exploitation outside a colonial context. an attribute of the sovereignty of every State which is definitively constituted. anarchy. Any other solution would amount to an infringement of sovereign rights of a State and would involve the risk of creating difficulties and a lack of stability which would not only be contrary to the very idea embodied in term "State. The Court ultimately held that the population of Quebec had no right to secession. If this right is not possessed by a large or small section of a nation. The various international documents that support the existence of a people's right to selfdetermination also contain parallel statements supportive of the conclusion that the exercise of such a right must be sufficiently limited to prevent threats to an existing state's territorial integrity or the stability of relations between sovereign states. before resolving the question. Generally speaking. the legitimacy of the Finnish national government was disputed by a large section of the people. nor by any other State. The international law principle of self-determination has evolved within a framework of respect for the territorial integrity of existing states. the right of disposing of national territory is essentially an attribute of the sovereignty of every State. namely. Its ground for departing from the general rule. the grant or refusal of the right to a portion of its population of determining its own political fate by plebiscite or by some other method. been chased from the capital . where a people is under colonial rule. under normal conditions therefore. is. neither can it be held by the State to which the national group wishes to be attached. The Council. based on international law. in fact. The Committee stated the rule as follows: x x x [I]n the absence of express provisions in international treaties. A dispute between two States concerning such a question. so abnormal that.

social and cultural development. indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. The vote was 143 to 4. the Philippines being included among those in favor. Self-government. 2."166 The extent of self-determination provided for in the UN DRIP is more particularly defined in its subsequent articles. Canada. nations. this term has been used. the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) through General Assembly Resolution 61/295. Article 5 Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political. as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions. legal. if they so choose. The Declaration clearly recognized the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination. As with the broader category of "peoples. economic. and the U.107 and forcibly prevented from carrying out its duties.164 Examples of groups who have been regarded as indigenous peoples are the Maori of New Zealand and the aboriginal peoples of Canada. Otherwise stated. some of which are quoted hereunder: Article 8 1. or communities are culturally distinctive groups that find themselves engulfed by settler societies born of the forces of empire and conquest. 2007. The Committee.a right which sovereign nations generally have with respect to their own populations. . therefore. and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples. Turning now to the more specific category of indigenous peoples. in scholarship as well as international. Finland was not. Article 4 Indigenous peoples. The armed camps and the police were divided into two opposing forces.S. economic. In light of these circumstances." indigenous peoples situated within states do not have a general right to independence or secession from those states under international law. has been understood as equivalent to "internal selfdetermination. regional. have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs. or of their cultural values or ethnic identities. and state practices.165 but they do have rights amounting to what was discussed above as the right to internal self-determination. to refer to groups with distinct cultures. while retaining their right to participate fully. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic. In a historic development last September 13. in exercising their right to self-determination. a "definitively constituted" sovereign state. during the relevant time period. in the political. social and cultural life of the State. New Zealand. and connections to land (spiritual and otherwise) that have been forcibly incorporated into a larger governing society. encompassing the right to autonomy or selfgovernment. histories. and the four voting against being Australia. These groups are regarded as "indigenous" since they are the living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of. to wit: Article 3 Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. social and cultural institutions. as used in international legal discourse pertaining to indigenous peoples. found that Finland did not possess the right to withhold from a portion of its population the option to separate itself .

States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities. health and social security. children and persons with disabilities. housing. territories and resources which they have traditionally owned. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the 1. sanitation. use. vocational training and retraining. unless justified by a relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned. particularly in connection with the development. Article 32 1. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands. employment. utilization or exploitation of mineral. special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned. and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental. Article 21 1. Article 37 1. Article 30 (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration. customs. Indigenous peoples have the right. in the areas of education. 2. through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions. cultural or spiritual impact. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources. without discrimination. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders. Article 26 1. where appropriate. 2. agreements and other constructive arrangements. (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them. develop and control the lands. 2. . economic. territories and resources. women. (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights. territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands. traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources. 3. as well as those which they have otherwise acquired. inter alia. 3. 2.108 (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands. territories or resources. social. agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such treaties. States shall take effective measures and. prior to using their lands or territories for military activities. water or other resources. youth. occupied or otherwise used or acquired. Indigenous peoples have the right to own. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples. to the improvement of their economic and social conditions. observance and enforcement of treaties. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition. including.

clear that the MOA-AD contains numerous provisions that cannot be reconciled with the Constitution and the laws as presently worded. does not obligate States to grant indigenous peoples the near- independent status of an associated state. shall take the appropriate measures. Nor is there in the UN DRIP an acknowledgement of the right of indigenous peoples to the aerial domain and atmospheric space. agreements and other constructive arrangements. then surely the protection of rights less significant to them as such peoples would also be the duty of States. The Parties agree that the mechanisms and modalities for the actual implementation of this MOA-AD shall be spelt out in the Comprehensive Compact to mutually take such steps to enable it to occur effectively. It is. however. including legislative measures. through the instrumentality of the BJE. totally or in part. no requirement in the UN DRIP that States now guarantee indigenous peoples their own police and internal security force. people. If the protection of a right so essential to indigenous people's identity is acknowledged to be the responsibility of the State. Respondents proffer. territories and resources which they have traditionally owned. the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign and independent States. for instance.the obligations enumerated therein do not strictly require the Republic to grant the Bangsamoro people. the UN DRIP. Section 2 of the Constitution. is the right of indigenous peoples to the lands. like the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. the particular rights and powers provided for in the MOA-AD. group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair. All the rights recognized in that document are qualified in Article 46 as follows: 1. Moreover. Any provisions of the MOA-AD requiring amendments to the existing legal framework shall come into force upon signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework with due regard to non derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact. What it upholds. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties. Assuming that the UN DRIP. They cite paragraph 7 of the MOA-AD strand on GOVERNANCE quoted earlier. while upholding the right of indigenous peoples to autonomy. Article 8 presupposes that it is the State which will provide protection for indigenous peoples against acts like the forced dispossession of their lands . to achieve the ends of this Declaration. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State. There is.a question which the Court need not definitively resolve here . precisely because it stipulates that the provisions thereof inconsistent with the laws shall not take effect until these laws are amended. that the signing of the MOA-AD alone would not have entailed any violation of law or grave abuse of discretion on their part. Article 38 States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples. must now be regarded as embodying customary international law . Even the more specific provisions of the UN DRIP are general in scope. in Article 26 thereof. but which is reproduced below for convenience: 7.109 2. Indeed. it would not suffice to uphold the validity of the MOA-AD so as to render its compliance with other laws unnecessary. Even if the UN DRIP were considered as part of the law of the land pursuant to Article II.a function that is normally performed by police officers. occupied or otherwise used or acquired. allowing for flexibility in its application by the different States. . therefore.

Even apart from the above-mentioned Memorandum." These negotiating panels are to report to the President. for the reasons already discussed. the foregoing stipulation keeps many controversial provisions of the MOA-AD from coming into force until the necessary changes to the legal framework are effected. of E. economic. which states that there shall be established Government Peace Negotiating Panels for negotiations with different rebel groups to be "appointed by the President as her official emissaries to conduct negotiations. Section 5(c). ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL REFORMS. or should the reforms be restricted only to those solutions which the present laws allow? The answer to this question requires a discussion of the extent of the President's power to conduct peace negotiations. May the President. and must therefore be pursued simultaneously in a coordinated and integrated fashion. as discussed below.O. 125. No. It bears noting that the GRP Peace Panel. an implicit acknowledgment of an independent status already prevailing. dialogues. the MOA-AD is defective because the suspensive clause is invalid. the root causes of the armed conflict in Mindanao. by their mere act of incorporating in the MOA-AD the provisions thereof regarding the associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government. the term "legal framework" is certainly broad enough to include the Constitution.O. These component processes are interrelated and not mutually exclusive.O. 4(a). or worse." so to speak. however. No." (Emphasis supplied) Establishing an associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government is. 3. 3 collectively refers to as the "Paths to Peace. programs and projects aimed at addressing the root causes of internal armed conflicts and social unrest. The Six Paths to Peace. which E. While the word "Constitution" is not mentioned in the provision now under consideration or anywhere else in the MOA-AD. The inquiry on the legality of the "suspensive clause.O. and political reforms which may require new legislation or even constitutional amendments.167 states: SECTION 4. The President cannot delegate a power that she herself does not possess. No.O. agree to pursue reforms that would require new legislation and constitutional amendments. because it must be asked whether the President herself may exercise the power delegated to the GRP Peace Panel under E. and face-to-face discussions with rebel groups. which states that the "negotiations shall be conducted in accordance with x x x the principles of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines. Sec.The components of the comprehensive peace process comprise the processes known as the "Paths to Peace". One of the components of a comprehensive peace process. This component involves the vigorous implementation of various policies. This may require administrative action. x x x x (Emphasis supplied) The MOA-AD. 3. in the course of peace negotiations. all be accommodated within the present legal framework. cannot stop here." however. was not restricted by E. 3. they negotiated and were set on signing the MOA-AD that included various social. and which thus would require new legislation and constitutional amendments. however. the following: a. which reiterates Section 3(a). Notwithstanding the suspensive clause. . reforms. No. in exploring lasting solutions to the Moro Problem through its negotiations with the MILF. 3.O. They shall include. No. therefore." is the pursuit of social.110 Indeed. may reasonably be perceived as an attempt of respondents to address. PURSUIT OF SOCIAL. No. The E. have already violated the Memorandum of Instructions From The President dated March 1. .O. through the PAPP on the conduct and progress of the negotiations. No. pursuant to this provision of E.O. 3 only to those options available under the laws as they presently stand. authorized them to "think outside the box. respondents. but may not be limited to. The authority of the GRP Peace Negotiating Panel to negotiate with the MILF is founded on E. new legislation or even constitutional amendments. and political reforms which cannot. 4(a) of E. however. a preparation for independence. Sec. Hence. economic. 2001.

The design of a constitution and its constitution-making process can play an important role in the political and governance transition.111 That the authority of the President to conduct peace negotiations with rebel groups is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution does not mean that she has no such authority. As we have observed in Liberia and Haiti over the last ten years. changes as far-reaching as a fundamental reconfiguration of the nation's constitutional structure is required. Manglapus. to wit: x x x [T]he fact remains that a successful political and governance transition must form the core of any post-conflict peace-building mission. at the same time. As Chief Executive. notwithstanding the avowed intent of the members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 to limit the powers of the President as a reaction to the abuses under the regime of Mr. Moreover. In Sanlakas v. There. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Similarly. in her article on the nature and legal status of peace agreements. namely.168 in issue was the authority of the President to declare a state of rebellion . Barbero and then MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari. The Court held thus: "In her ponencia in Marcos v.171 In the Philippine experience. the Tripoli Agreement of 1976 between the GRP and the MNLF. more than 50 percent of states emerging from conflict return to conflict. The powers of the President are not limited to what are expressly enumerated in the article on the Executive Department and in scattered provisions of the Constitution. the Court. the President's power to conduct peace negotiations is implicitly included in her powers as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief. Oftentimes.an authority which is not expressly provided for in the Constitution. by a slim 8-7 margin. draws strength from her Commander-in-Chief powers. . the President's authority to declare a state of rebellion springs in the main from her powers as chief executive and. Professor Christine Bell. The observations of Dr. Justice Cortes put her thesis into jurisprudence. for the result was a limitation of specific powers of the President. however. but not a diminution of the general grant of executive power. signed by then Undersecretary of National Defense Carmelo Z. upheld the President's power to forbid the return of her exiled predecessor. Thus. Constitution-making after conflict is an opportunity to create a common vision of the future of a state and a road map on how to get there. Executive Secretary. the President has the general responsibility to promote public peace. Kirsti Samuels are enlightening. and as Commander-in-Chief. conflict cessation without modification of the political environment. unstated residual powers which are implied from the grant of executive power and which are necessary for her to comply with her duties under the Constitution. Behind the provisions of the Constitution on autonomous regions172 is the framers' intention to implement a particular peace agreement. particularly those relating to the commander-in-chief clause. On average.or capacity-building. even where state-building is undertaken through technical electoral assistance and institution. This is so. she has the more specific duty to prevent and suppress rebellion and lawless violence.170 In the same vein. . The constitution can be partly a peace agreement and partly a framework setting up the rules by which the new democracy will operate. . the link between peace agreements and constitution-making has been recognized by no less than the framers of the Constitution. elections. Marcos. and legal and human rights institutions.169 As the experience of nations which have similarly gone through internal armed conflict will show. observed that the typical way that peace agreements establish or confirm mechanisms for demilitarization and demobilization is by linking them to new constitutional structures addressing governance. a substantial proportion of transitions have resulted in weak or limited democracies. peace is rarely attained by simply pursuing a military solution. The rationale for the majority's ruling rested on the President's . is unlikely to succeed.

Justices Teehankee and Muñoz Palma vigorously dissented.as those powers may be exercised only by Congress. my question is: since that already exists. the Filipino people are still faced with the reality of an on-going conflict between the Government and the MILF. to propose the recommended amendments or revision to the people. never convened the interim National Assembly. in fact. in the course of peace negotiations. In particular. which could then. Thus Justice Teehankee opined: "Since the Constitution provides for the organization of the essential departments of government. The majority upheld the President's act. why do we have to go into something new? MR.174 in issue was the legality of then President Marcos' act of directly submitting proposals for constitutional amendments to a referendum. bypassing the interim National Assembly which was the body vested by the 1973 Constitution with the power to propose such amendments. it has. but she may not be prevented from submitting them as recommendations to Congress. Sections 1 and 3 of the Constitution. call a constitutional convention. I have only two questions. the President is in a singular position to know the precise nature of their grievances which. I will reserve my right to ask them if they are not covered by the other speakers. but on that which was not disputed by either side. While he disagreed that the President may directly submit proposed constitutional amendments to a referendum. or the people through initiative and referendum . The President may not. act upon them pursuant to the legal procedures for constitutional amendment and revision. there being no interim National Assembly to propose constitutional amendments. holding that "the urges of absolute necessity" compelled the President as the agent of the people to act as he did. or submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention. and the constituent power has not been granted to but has been withheld from the President or Prime Minister. is not with regard to the point on which it was then divided in that controversial case. then she must be given the leeway to explore. While the President does not possess constituent powers . if it is minded. unilaterally implement the solutions that she considers viable.112 MR. In Sanidad v. bears noting. This is a good first step. COMELEC. diminished a great deal of the problems. Justice Teehankee's dissent. been partly successful. implicit in his opinion is a recognition that he would have upheld the President's action along with the majority had the President convened the interim National Assembly and coursed his proposals through it. although I have some more questions. There are other speakers. May I answer that on behalf of Chairman Nolledo. President Marcos. solutions that may require changes to the Constitution for their implementation.175 in particular. Congress would have the option. The Court's concern at present. so. Against this ruling.she may submit proposals for constitutional change to Congress in a manner that does not involve the arrogation of constituent powers. defines and delimits the powers of each and prescribes the manner of the exercise of such powers. a Constitutional Convention. to the credit of their drafters. So. it will be recalled. ROMULO. however. If the President is to be expected to find means for bringing this conflict to an end and to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao. and now by state policy. Commissioner Yusup Abubakar is right that certain definite steps have been taken to implement the provisions of the Tripoli Agreement with respect to an autonomous region in Mindanao.173(Emphasis supplied) The constitutional provisions on autonomy and the statutes enacted pursuant to them have. Nonetheless. but there is no question that this is merely a partial response to the Tripoli Agreement itself and to the fuller standard of regional autonomy contemplated in that agreement. it is working very well. may bring an end to hostilities. Being uniquely vested with the power to conduct peace negotiations with rebel groups. it follows that the President's questioned decrees proposing and submitting constitutional amendments directly to the people (without the . of course. OPLE. pursuant to Article XVII. I heard one of the Commissioners say that local autonomy already exists in the Muslim region. if resolved.

but she may not unilaterally implement them without the intervention of Congress. but simply to recommend proposed amendments or revision. Moreover." The only initiative recognized by the Constitution is that which truly proceeds from the people."176 (Emphasis supplied) From the foregoing discussion. the annual general appropriations bill has always been based on the budget prepared by the President." This stipulation does not bear the marks of a suspensive condition . as stated in her oath of office.178 only to preserve and defend the Constitution." It will be observed that the President has authority. the people also have the power to directly propose amendments through initiative and referendum. Since. in the verification of their petition with the COMELEC. the President may also submit her recommendations to the people. COMELEC "The Lambino Group claims that their initiative is the ‘people's voice.113 intervention of the interim National Assembly in whom the power is expressly vested) are devoid of constitutional and legal basis. for any further involvement in the process of initiative by the Chief Executive may vitiate its character as a genuine "people's initiative. It has been an accepted practice for Presidents in this jurisdiction to propose new legislation. It is not a question of whether the necessary changes to the legal framework will be effected. extend to allowing her to change the Constitution. however.' The Lambino Group thus admits that their ‘people's' initiative is an ‘unqualified support to the agenda' of the incumbent President to change the Constitution. This forewarns the Court to be wary of incantations of ‘people's voice' or ‘sovereign will' in the present initiative. or act in any way as if the assent of that body were assumed as a certainty. nor even be submitted to a plebiscite. in whom constituent powers are vested. she cannot guarantee to any third party that the required amendments will eventually be put in place. may amount to nothing more than the President's suggestions to the people.defined in civil law as a future and uncertain event . but when. the Lambino Group unabashedly states in ULAP Resolution No.' However. The most she could do is submit these proposals as recommendations either to Congress or the people. however. the principle may be inferred that the President . that all provisions thereof which cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws "shall come into force upon signing of a Comprehensive Compact and upon effecting the necessary changes to the legal framework. Such presidential power does not. under the present Constitution.179 The "suspensive clause" in the MOA-AD viewed in light of the abovediscussed standards Given the limited nature of the President's authority to propose constitutional amendments.for all intents and purposes . These recommendations. not as a formal proposal to be voted on in a plebiscite similar to what President Marcos did in Sanidad. As long as she limits herself to recommending these changes and submits to the proper procedure for constitutional amendments and revision. but for their independent consideration of whether these recommendations merit being formally proposed through initiative. Paragraph 7 on Governance of the MOA-AD states.may validly consider implementing even those policies that require changes to the Constitution. One of the more prominent instances the practice is usually done is in the yearly State of the Nation Address of the President to Congress. however.in the course of conducting peace negotiations . her mere recommendation need not be construed as an unconstitutional act.but of a term. that ‘ULAP maintains its unqualified support to the agenda of Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for constitutional reforms. 2006-02. which . That there is no uncertainty being contemplated is plain from what . As the Court stated in Lambino v.is a proposal for new legislation coming from the President. The foregoing discussion focused on the President's authority to propose constitutional amendments. since her authority to propose new legislation is not in controversy.

therefore. notably. While the MOAAD virtually guarantees that the "necessary changes to the legal framework" will be put in place.114 follows.A. would have included foreign dignitaries as signatories. A comparison between the "suspensive clause" of the MOA-AD with a similar provision appearing in the 1996 final peace agreement between the MNLF and the GRP is most instructive. however. Hence. on the ground that it may be considered either as a binding agreement under international law. There is. as earlier mentioned in the overview thereof. or a unilateral declaration of the Philippine government to the international community that it would grant to the Bangsamoro people all the concessions therein stated. An examination of the prevailing principles in international law." Concerns have been raised that the MOA-AD would have given rise to a binding international law obligation on the part of the Philippines to change its Constitution in conformity thereto." Pursuant to this stipulation. the Economic Community of West African States. stipulation-paragraph 7 on GOVERNANCE is inconsistent with the limits of the President's authority to propose constitutional amendments. a rebel group with which the Sierra Leone Government had been in armed conflict for around eight years at the time of signing. leads to the contrary conclusion. What remains for discussion in the Comprehensive Compact would merely be the implementing details for these "consensus points" and. and the UN. for the paragraph goes on to state that the contemplated changes shall be "with due regard to non derogation of prior agreements and within the stipulated timeframe to be contained in the Comprehensive Compact. it must be struck down as unconstitutional. they are similar to the provisions of the MOA-AD. There were noncontracting signatories to the agreement. By the time these changes are put in place. it being a virtual guarantee that the Constitution and the laws of the Republic of the Philippines will certainly be adjusted to conform to all the "consensus points" found in the MOA-AD. while Phase II covered the establishment of the new regional autonomous government through amendment or repeal of R. however. the MOA-AD itself would be counted among the "prior agreements" from which there could be no derogation. 1999 between the Government of Sierra Leone and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). No. Phase I covered a three-year transitional period involving the putting up of new administrative structures through Executive Order. The Decision on Challenge to Jurisdiction: Lomé Accord Amnesty180 (the Lomé Accord case) of the Special Court of Sierra Leone is enlightening. the parties to the 1996 Agreement stipulated that it would be implemented in two phases. representatives of other nations were invited to witness its signing in Kuala Lumpur. which was then the Organic Act of the ARMM. As a backdrop. 6734. To that extent.which changes would include constitutional amendments. It bears noting that. it is mandatory for the GRP to effect the changes to the legal framework contemplated in the MOA-AD . . however. The stipulations on Phase II consisted of specific agreements on the structure of the expanded autonomous region envisioned by the parties. Plainly. In addition. The MOA-AD. these provisions [on Phase II] shall be recommended by the GRP to Congress for incorporation in the amendatory or repealing law. Neither ground finds sufficient support in international law. the deadline for effecting the contemplated changes to the legal framework. the GRP-MNLF final peace agreement states thus: "Accordingly. as discussed earlier. among which were the Government of the Togolese Republic. a crucial difference between the two agreements. These circumstances readily lead one to surmise that the MOA-AD would have had the status of a binding international agreement had it been signed. such as the Special Zone of Peace and Development (SZOPAD) and the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD). The Lomé Accord was a peace agreement signed on July 7.

another agreement was entered into by the UN and that Government whereby the Special Court of Sierra Leone was established. ruling that the Lome Accord is not a treaty and that it can only create binding obligations and rights between the parties in municipal law. 1996. "this peace agreement is implemented with integrity and in good faith by both parties". must be between two or more warring States. The Lomé Agreement created neither rights nor obligations capable of being regulated by international law. The Special Court. the Special Court held. law. essentially. It is recalled that the UN by its representative appended. means the agreement of the parties is internationalized so as to create obligations in international law. nor from the obligation imposed by it. The Lomé . citing. In this case. The sole purpose of the Special Court. A peace agreement which settles an internal armed conflict cannot be ascribed the same status as one which settles an international armed conflict which. 42. as Defence counsel for the defendants seem to have done. A breach of the terms of such a peace agreement resulting in resumption of internal armed conflict or creating a threat to peace in the determination of the Security Council may indicate a reversal of the factual situation of peace to be visited with possible legal consequences arising from the new situation of conflict created. that the mere fact that in addition to the parties to the conflict. however. or persons or bodies under whose auspices the settlement took place but who are not at all parties to the conflict. will not convert it to an international agreement which creates an obligation enforceable in international. xxxx 40. presumably for avoidance of doubt. the Defence argued that the Accord created an internationally binding obligation not to prosecute the beneficiaries of the amnesty provided therein. in the terms of Article XXXIV of the Agreement. An international agreement in the nature of a treaty must create rights and obligations regulated by international law so that a breach of its terms will be a breach determined under international law which will also provide principle means of enforcement. 2002. the document formalizing the settlement is signed by foreign heads of state or their representatives and representatives of international organizations. An agreement such as the Lomé Agreement which brings to an end an internal armed conflict no doubt creates a factual situation of restoration of peace that the international community acting through the Security Council may take note of. Among the stipulations of the Lomé Accord was a provision for the full pardon of the members of the RUF with respect to anything done by them in pursuit of their objectives as members of that organization since the conflict began. an international court.115 On January 16. The non-contracting signatories of the Lomé Agreement were moral guarantors of the principle that. "37. That. not in international law. The moral guarantors assumed no legal obligation. an understanding of the extent of the agreement to be implemented as not including certain international crimes. after a successful negotiation between the UN Secretary-General and the Sierra Leone Government. was to try persons who bore the greatest responsibility for serious violations of international humanitarian law and Sierra Leonean law committed in the territory of Sierra Leone since November 30. Such consequences such as action by the Security Council pursuant to Chapter VII arise from the situation and not from the agreement. it is ineffective in depriving an international court like it of jurisdiction. Hence. In regard to the nature of a negotiated settlement of an internal armed conflict it is easy to assume and to argue with some degree of plausibility. are not contracting parties and who do not claim any obligation from the contracting parties or incur any obligation from the settlement. however. 41. the parties to the conflict are the lawful authority of the State and the RUF which has no status of statehood and is to all intents and purposes a faction within the state. rejected this argument. among other things. In the Lomé Accord case. Such action cannot be regarded as a remedy for the breach. Almost every conflict resolution will involve the parties to the conflict and the mediator or facilitator of the settlement. as distinguished from municipal. the participation of foreign dignitaries and international organizations in the finalization of that agreement.

the ICJ held. xxxx . Declarations of this kind may be. In the Nuclear Tests Case. italics and underscoring supplied) Similarly. a restrictive interpretation is called for. but a State may choose to take up a certain position in relation to a particular matter with the intention of being bound-the intention is to be ascertained by interpretation of the act. with the result that it would have to amend its Constitution accordingly regardless of the true will of the people. that the MOA-AD would have been signed by representatives of States and international organizations not parties to the Agreement would not have sufficed to vest in it a binding character under international law. gave an undertaking to the international community to which his words were addressed. x x x (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Essential to the ICJ ruling is its finding that the French government intended to be bound to the international community in issuing its public statements.182 Those statements. and the Court holds that they constitute an undertaking possessing legal effect. France. 44. In these circumstances. x x x" (Emphasis. persuaded the ICJ to dismiss the case. including the Applicant. is binding. The Court considers *270 that the President of the Republic. that its 1974 series of atmospheric tests would be its last. The objects of these statements are clear and they were addressed to the international community as a whole. its intention effectively to terminate these tests. Australia challenged before the ICJ the legality of France's nuclear tests in the South Pacific. that intention confers on the declaration the character of a legal undertaking. if given publicly. that the legal implications of the unilateral act must be deduced. It is from the actual substance of these statements. not all unilateral acts imply obligation. 51. When it is the intention of the State making the declaration that it should become bound according to its terms. which required no acceptance from other States for it to become effective. nothing in the nature of a quid pro quo nor any subsequent acceptance of the declaration. the State being thenceforth legally required to follow a course of conduct consistent with the declaration. and with an intent to be bound. concerning legal or factual situations. Of course. and from the circumstances attending their making. is required for the declaration to take effect. that it would comply with all the stipulations stated therein. amounted to a legal undertaking addressed to the international community. but public statements from its President. An undertaking of this kind. When States make statements by which their freedom of action is to be limited. France refused to appear in the case. viz 43.116 Agreement cannot be characterised as an international instrument. In announcing that the 1974 series of atmospheric tests would be the last. The validity of these statements and their legal consequences must be considered within the general framework of the security of international intercourse. may have the effect of creating legal obligations. In another vein. concern has been raised that the MOA-AD would amount to a unilateral declaration of the Philippine State. Cited as authority for this view is Australia v. binding under international law. and often are.181 also known as the Nuclear Tests Case. in deciding upon the effective cessation of atmospheric tests. even though not made within the context of international negotiations. nor even any reply or reaction from other States. It was bound to assume that other States might take note of these statements and rely on their being effective. the French Government conveyed to the world at large. It is well recognized that declarations made by way of unilateral acts. and the confidence and trust which are so essential in the relations among States. since such a requirement would be inconsistent with the strictly unilateral nature of the juridical act by which the pronouncement by the State was made. very specific. decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). and similar statements from other French officials including its Minister of Defence.

in an interview by a foreign press agency. Here. accept the binding character of the conclusions of the Organization of African Unity Mediation Commission by the normal method: a formal agreement on the basis of reciprocity. to wit: 40. the Chamber finds that there are no grounds to interpret the declaration made by Mali's head of State on 11 April 1975 as a unilateral act with legal implications in regard to the present case. the French Government could not express an intention to be bound otherwise than by unilateral declarations. that Mali would abide by the decision to be issued by a commission of the Organization of African Unity on a frontier dispute then pending between Mali and Burkina Faso.to the trust and confidence essential in the relations among States. para. account must be taken of all the factual circumstances in which the act occurred. in the Nuclear Tests cases. the state intended to be bound to that community by its statements. in the case of Malaysia. to manifest that intention by formal agreement. public statements of a state representative may be construed as a unilateral declaration only when the following conditions are present: the statements were clearly addressed to the international community. Assessing the MOA-AD in light of the above criteria. Unlike in the Nuclear Tests Case. and by an equally clear indication that the signatures of the participating states- . as already discussed. the peace settlement is signed by representatives of states and international organizations does not mean that the agreement is internationalized so as to create obligations in international law. the circumstances surrounding the MOA-AD are closer to that of Burkina Faso wherein. had it really been its intention to be bound to other States. In one important respect. its intention effectively to terminate these tests‘ (I. the Court took the view that since the applicant States were not the only ones concerned at the possible continuance of atmospheric testing by the French Government. Mali. As in that case. 53). that Government's unilateral declarations had ‘conveyed to the world at large. The public declaration subject of that case was a statement made by the President of Mali. but only to the MILF. the ICJ held that the statement of Mali's President was not a unilateral act with legal implications. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The limited applicability of the Nuclear Tests Case ruling was recognized in a later case decided by the ICJ entitled Burkina Faso v. there was also nothing to hinder the Philippine panel.J. unilateral declarations arise only in peculiar circumstances. Here.117 As gathered from the above-quoted ruling of the ICJ. it would not have amounted to a unilateral declaration on the part of the Philippine State to the international community. The circumstances of the present case are radically different. 51. It is difficult to see how it could have accepted the terms of a negotiated solution with each of the applicants without thereby jeopardizing its contention that its conduct was lawful. the Mali President's statement was not held to be a binding unilateral declaration by the ICJ. Reports 1974. Since no agreement of this kind was concluded between the Parties. they participated merely as witnesses or. In order to assess the intentions of the author of a unilateral act. para. As held in the Lomé Accord case. as facilitator. not just the MILF. It clarified that its ruling in the Nuclear Tests case rested on the peculiar circumstances surrounding the French declaration subject thereof. that formal agreement would have come about by the inclusion in the MOA-AD of a clear commitment to be legally bound to the international community. For example. 474. the mere fact that in addition to the parties to the conflict. In the particular circumstances of those cases. Plainly. there was nothing to hinder the Parties from manifesting an intention to Since the commitments in the MOA-AD were not addressed to States. p. and that not to give legal effect to those statements would be detrimental to the security of international intercourse. including the Applicant. in the negotiation and projected signing of the MOA-AD. While there were States and international organizations involved. one way or another. 269.183 also known as the Case Concerning the Frontier Dispute. The Philippine panel did not draft the same with the clear intention of being bound thereby to the international community as a whole or to any State. p.C. not to give legal effect to such commitments would not be detrimental to the security of international intercourse .

Any alleged violation of the Constitution by any branch of government is a proper matter for judicial review. respondents' almost consummated act of guaranteeing amendments to the legal framework is. 28. Contrary to the assertion of respondents that the non-signing of the MOA-AD and the eventual dissolution of the GRP Peace Panel mooted the present petitions. the MOA-AD may not be considered a unilateral declaration under international law. (b) the exceptional character of the situation and paramount public interest. in international law. Hence. the present MOA-AD can be renegotiated or another one drawn up that could contain similar or significantly dissimilar provisions compared to the original. The sovereign people may. and the public.118 representatives would constitute an acceptance of that commitment.184 Respondents. may not preempt it in that decision. if it so desired. As the petitions involve constitutional issues which are of paramount public interest or of transcendental importance. for it can change the Constitution in any it wants. Article II of the Constitution. the creation of a state within a state. MacapagalArroyo. The failure of respondents to consult the local government units or communities affected constitutes a departure by respondents from their mandate under E. The Court. Upholding such an act would amount to authorizing a usurpation of the constituent powers vested only in Congress. a Constitutional Convention. (c) the need to formulate controlling principles to guide the bench. Entering into such a formal agreement would not have resulted in a loss of face for the Philippine government before the international community. finds that the prayers for mandamus have been rendered moot in view of the respondents' action in providing the Court and the petitioners with the official copy of the final draft of the MOA-AD and its annexes. SUMMARY The petitions are ripe for adjudication. however. by itself. Article III of the Constitution is in splendid symmetry with the state policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest under Sec. 7. The MOA-AD is a significant part of a series of agreements necessary to carry out the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace signed by the government and the MILF back in June 2001. for the only way that the Executive can ensure the outcome of the amendment process is through an undue influence or interference with that process. so long as the change is not inconsistent with what. sufficient to constitute grave abuse of discretion. The complete and effective exercise of the right to information necessitates that its . On that ground. the bar. No. go to the extent of giving up a portion of its own territory to the Moros for the sake of peace. and (d) the fact that the case is capable of repetition yet evading review. The people's right to information on matters of public concern under Sec. The right to information guarantees the right of the people to demand information. respondents exceeded their authority by the mere act of guaranteeing amendments to the Constitution. 3. but in their brazen willingness to guarantee that Congress and the sovereign Filipino people would give their imprimatur to their solution. The grave abuse lies not in the fact that they considered. while Section 28 recognizes the duty of officialdom to give information even if nobody demands. which was one of the difficulties that prevented the French Government from entering into a formal agreement with other countries. That the Philippine panel did not enter into such a formal agreement suggests that it had no intention to be bound to the international community.O. Moreover. as a solution to the Moro Problem. however. The MOA-AD not being a document that can bind the Philippines under international law notwithstanding. the Court finds that the present petitions provide an exception to the "moot and academic" principle in view of (a) the grave violation of the Constitution involved. petitioners-in-intervention and intervening respondents the requisite locus standi in keeping with the liberal stance adopted in David v. is known as Jus Cogens. the Court grants the petitioners. or the people themselves through the process of initiative.

itself. No. comments. One. In declaring that the right to information contemplates steps and negotiations leading to the consummation of the contract. the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation process. In sum. subject only to reasonable safeguards or limitations as may be provided by law. it is the duty of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to conduct regular dialogues to seek relevant information. and Republic Act No.119 complementary provision on public disclosure derive the same self-executory nature. and amounts to a whimsical. 7160. for the concept presupposes that the associated entity is a state and implies that the same is on its way to independence. The right to public consultation was envisioned to be a species of these public rights. Notably. At least three pertinent laws animate these constitutional imperatives and justify the exercise of the people's right to be consulted on relevant matters relating to the peace agenda. E. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 provides for clear-cut procedure for the recognition and delineation of ancestral domain. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 requires all national offices to conduct consultations before any project or program critical to the environment and human ecology including those that may call for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in such locality. In fact. No. respondents effectively waived such defense after it unconditionally disclosed the official copies of the final draft of the MOA-AD. 8371. the associative relationship envisioned between the GRP and the BJE. . The various explicit legal provisions fly in the face of executive secrecy. which entails. are unconstitutional. Republic Act No. Three. In any event. which could pervasively and drastically result to the diaspora or displacement of a great number of inhabitants from their total environment. arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof. the statute does not grant the Executive Department or any government agency the power to delineate and recognize an ancestral domain claim by mere agreement or compromise. While there is a clause in the MOA-AD stating that the provisions thereof inconsistent with the present legal framework will not be effective until that framework is amended. 3. An essential element of these twin freedoms is to keep a continuing dialogue or process of communication between the government and the people. The contents of the MOA-AD is a matter of paramount public concern involving public interest in the highest order. jurisprudence finds no distinction as to the executory nature or commercial character of the agreement. capricious. The furtive process by which the MOA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority. The invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege as a defense to the general right to information or the specific right to consultation is untenable. a violation of the Memorandum of Instructions From The President dated March 1. oppressive. Republic Act No. Two. 3 itself is replete with mechanics for continuing consultations on both national and local levels and for a principal forum for consensusbuilding. is implemented therein. and recommendations from peace partners and concerned sectors of society. Republic Act No. as mandated by E. for judicial compliance and public scrutiny. namely. among other things. advice. The inclusion of provisions in the MOA-AD establishing an associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government is. 2001.O. Corollary to these twin rights is the design for feedback mechanisms. the observance of the free and prior informed consent of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples. Not only its specific provisions but the very concept underlying them. The MOA-AD is one peculiar program that unequivocally and unilaterally vests ownership of a vast territory to the Bangsamoro people. The MOA-AD cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws. It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined.O. the same does not cure its defect.

or the people themselves through the process of initiative. Neither the GRP Peace Panel nor the President herself is authorized to make such a guarantee. by itself. Moreover. WHEREFORE. respondents' act of guaranteeing amendments is. The main and intervening petitions are GIVEN DUE COURSE and hereby GRANTED. Upholding such an act would amount to authorizing a usurpation of the constituent powers vested only in Congress. for the only way that the Executive can ensure the outcome of the amendment process is through an undue influence or interference with that process. as the clause is worded. The Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain Aspect of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 is declared contrary to law and the Constitution. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES . it virtually guarantees that the necessary amendments to the Constitution and the laws will eventually be put in place. already a constitutional violation that renders the MOA-AD fatally defective. While the MOA-AD would not amount to an international agreement or unilateral declaration binding on the Philippines under international law.120 addressed to the government peace panel. a Constitutional Convention. SO ORDERED. respondents' motion to dismiss is DENIED.

1265 of July 11. on account of their religious beliefs.000 "baptized publishers" in the Philippines. 1955. to take part in the flag ceremony which includes playing (by a band) or singing the Philippine national anthem. All the petitioners in these two cases were expelled from their classes by the public school authorities in Cebu for refusing to salute the flag. Culture and Sports (DECS) making the flag ceremony compulsory in all educational institutions. In G. Republic Act No. Sec. It shall be raised at sunrise and lowered at sunset. slightly and gently tapering at the end. and Taburan Cebu province. 2. et al. Division Superintendent of Schools G. Failure or refusal to observe the flag ceremony provided by this Act and in accordance with rules and regulations issued by the Secretary of Education. Cebu District Supervisor. after proper notice and hearing.R. Attorney Felino M. 1. for refusing. J. Division Superintendent of Schools of Cebu and Antonio A.: These two special civil actions for certiorari. sing the national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge as required by Republic Act No. 3. 2. shall cause the cancellation of the recognition or permit of the private educational institution responsible for such failure. saluting the Philippine flag and reciting the patriotic pledge. No. Biongcog. Every public and private educational institution shall hold a flagraising ceremony every morning except when it is raining. Sangutan. 95770 March 1. The Secretary of Education is hereby authorized and directed to issue or cause to be issued rules and regulations for the proper conduct of the flag ceremony herein provided. A retreat shall be held in the afternoon of the same day. every school day throughout the year. they are assisted by their parents who belong to the religious group known as Jehovah's Witnesses which claims some 100. whose parents are Jehovah's Witnesses. 95887. Ganal. Cebu. in which event the ceremony may be conducted indoors in the best way possible. and by Department Order No. after proper notice and hearing." the petitioners are 25 high school and grade school students enrolled in public schools in Asturias. All minors. which shall be simple and dignified and shall include the playing or singing of the Philippine National anthem. All educational institutions shall henceforth observe daily flag ceremony. In case of failure to observe for the second time the flag-ceremony provided by this Act. "May Amolo. 1265 provides: Sec. The flag-staff must be straight. vs. et al. Sec. 8 dated July 21. public and private. Carcar. 8 provide: RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR CONDUCTING THE FLAG CEREMONY IN ALL EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. 95770 "Roel Ebralinag. In G.R No. the Secretary of Education. Division Superintendent of Schools of Cebu and Manuel F. 1. 1993 GRIÑO-AQUINO. The flag-raising ceremony in the morning shall be conducted in the following manner: ." the petitioners are 43 high school and elementary school students in the towns of Daan Bantayan. The Filipino Flag shall be displayed by all educational institutions. 1955 of the Department of Education. shall subject the educational institution concerned and its head to public censure as an administrative punishment which shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation.R. No. Pinamungajan. vs. and of such height as would give the Flag a commanding position in front of the building or within the compound. Both petitions were prepared by the same counsel. The implementing rules and regulations in Department Order No. Mandamus and Prohibition were consolidated because they raise essentially the same issue: whether school children who are members or a religious sect known as Jehovah's Witnesses may be expelled from school (both public and private).121 Ebralinag v.

all persons present shall stand at attention and execute a salute. 8. Immediately following the singing of the Anthem.. Saluting the flag does not involve any religious ceremony. It protects me and helps me to be. The salute shall be started as the Flag rises. of national unity and cohesion and of freedom and liberty which it and the Constitution guarantee and protect. which may bring the ceremony to a close. It is the home of my people. . 106 Phil. and recite the patriotic pledge for they believe that those are "acts of worship" or "religious devotion" (p. This is required of all public schools and of private schools which are intended for Filipino students or whose population is predominantly Filipino. They feel bound by the Bible's command to "guard ourselves from idols — 1 John 5:21" (p. . They think the action of the local authorities in compelling the flag salute and pledge transcends constitutional limitations on the State's power and invades the sphere of the intellect and spirit which the Constitution protect against official control (p. law-abiding citizen. books shall be put away or held in the left hand and everybody shall come to attention. Rollo) which they "cannot conscientiously give . Those in military or Boy Scout uniform shall give the salute prescribed by their regulations. et al. They consider the flag as an image or idol representing the State (p. et al. Rollo). The flag salute is no more a religious ceremony than the taking of an oath of office by a public official or by a candidate for admission to the bar. has been raised before this Court. 10. happy and useful. strong. sing the national anthem. This Court in the Gerona case upheld the expulsion of the students. The assembly shall sing the Philippine National Anthem accompanied by the school band or without the accompaniment if it has none. in deed. in word. c. At command. vs. 10. 2 (1959) and Balbuna. 110 Phil. 9. At the first note of the Anthem. I will heed the counsel of my parents. I will be a true.122 a. or the anthem may be played by the school band alone. an emblem of national sovereignty. Those without hat may stand with their arms and hands down and straight at the sides. series of 1955. . Rollo). The same issue was raised in 1959 in Gerona. Filipino in thought. 1265 and Department Order No. I will perform the duties of a patriotic. Under a system of complete separation of church and state in the government. the flag shall be raised briskly. 150 (1960). thus: The flag is not an image but a symbol of the Republic of the Philippines. to anyone or anything except God" (p. Boys and men with hats shall salute by placing the hat over the heart. et al. Secretary of Education. No one shall enter or leave the school grounds during the ceremony. Pupils and teachers or students and faculty members who are in school and its premises shall assemble in formation facing the flag. b. I will serve my country unselfishly and faithfully. Secretary of Education. No. 10.A. While the flag is being raised. It is the land of my birth. This is not the first time that the question. of whether the children of Jehovah's Witnesses may be expelled from school for disobedience of R. xxx xxx xxx Jehovah's Witnesses admittedly teach their children not to salute the flag. I will obey the rules of my school. English Version I love the Philippines. vs. Rollo). 8. In return. and completed upon last note of the anthem. Those with hats shall uncover. Rollo). the flag is utterly devoid of any religious significance. the assembly shall recite in unison the following patriotic pledge (English or vernacular version).

Chapter 9 of the Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. No. to establish and maintain a complete and adequate system of public education. vs. does not violate the constitutional provision on freedom of religion. It is merely enforcing a publication in the Official Gazette. High School Principals and Heads of Private Educational institutions as follows: The freedom of religious belief guaranteed by the Constitution does not and cannot mean exemption from or non-compliance with reasonable and nondiscriminatory laws.. Marcelo M. They have targeted only Republic Act No. dated November 17. Secretary of Education. (Balbuna. Republic Act No. 147-148. and school employees in public schools who refuse to salute the Philippine flag or participate in the daily flag ceremony because of some religious belief. Protestant or Jehovah's Witness. exemption to the requirement will disrupt school discipline and demoralize the rest of the school population which by far constitutes the great majority. et al. 8. rules and regulations promulgated by competent authority. 1265 and the implementing orders of the DECS. issued Division Memorandum No. Vol. students. 110 Phil. the petitioners herein have not raised in issue the constitutionality of the above provision of the new Administrative Code of 1987. Gerona was reiterated in Balbuna. Bacalso. the DECS Regional Office in Cebu received complaints about teachers and pupils belonging to the Jehovah's Witnesses. 1989 (pp. 1987). Cabahug of the Cebu Division of DECS. 150). No. The children of Jehovah's Witnesses cannot be exempted from participation in the flag ceremony. 38 of September 21. Susana B. Reports reaching this Office disclose that there are a number of teachers. who refused to sing the Philippine national anthem. (pp. 1. civic conscience and teach the duties of citizenship. Atty. 1988 (one year after its However.R. Let it be stressed that any belief that considers the flag as an image is not in any manner whatever a justification for not saluting the Philippine . and its provisions requiring the observance of the flag salute. salute the Philippine flag and recite the patriotic pledge. et al. 95770) directing District Supervisors. The State is merely carrying out the duty imposed upon it by the Constitution which charges it with supervision over and regulation of all educational institutions. among other things. and enrolled in various public and private schools. 292) which took effect on September 21. 108. not being a religious ceremony but an act and profession of love and allegiance and pledge of loyalty to the fatherland which the flag stands for. 2-3). Series of 1955 (Implementing Rules and Regulations) but also strikes at the heart of the DECS sustained effort to inculcate patriotism and nationalism. 63. Moreover. as follows: The Secretary of Education was duly authorized by the Legislature thru Republic Act 1265 to promulgate said Department Order. 5. Paragraph 5 of Section 28 gives legislative cachet to the ruling in Gerona. Moslem. and Dr. Rollo of G. 3. Title VI. the State thru the Secretary of Education is not imposing a religion or religious belief or a religious test on said students. 1265 and the DECS Department Order No.123 In requiring school pupils to participate in the flag salute. Such refusal not only undermines Republic Act No. In 1989. 1265 and the ruling in Gerona have been incorporated in Section 28. 2. pupils. thus: non-discriminatory school regulation applicable to all alike whether Christian. They have no valid right to such exemption. Assistant Division Superintendent. Any teacher or student or pupil who refuses to join or participate in the flag ceremony may be dismissed after due investigation. Division Superintendent of Schools. recalling this Court's decision in Gerona. and see to it that all schools aim to develop.

the District Supervisor. (pp. In Tubigmanok Elementary School. which an objectionist may advance.R.) . 47. 95887).) 7. 8 s. Sangutan. 1990. 95770. an emblem of national sovereignty." (p. met with the Jehovah's Witnesses' parents.. the Teacher-In-Charge. Cebu school officials resorted to a number of ways to persuade the children of Jehovah's Witnesses to obey the memorandum.. they could take it or leave it! Having elected not to comply with the regulation about the flag salute they forfeited their right to attend public schools. Rollo of G.) 5. 95770 and p. Rollo of G. Rollo of G. Manuel F. but they refused to sign the "Kasabutan" (p. Sec. (Gerona. 106 Phil. If the exercise of said religious belief clashes with the established institutions of society and with the law. School administrators shall therefore submit to this Office a report on those who choose not to participate in flag ceremony or salute the Philippine flag. Sec. et al. 95770). of Education. No. nothing more. Biongcog. et al. shall be considered removed from the service after due process. 8. 147-148. 6. xxx xxx xxx This order is in compliance with Division Memorandum No.R. Rollo of G. (p. 149. No. Rollo of G. Sec. 106 Phil. ordered the "dropping from the rolls" of students who "opted to follow their religious belief which is against the Flag Salute Law" on the theory that "they forfeited their right to attend public schools.) In the Daan Bantayan District. (Gerona. 1959 against their favor. Rollo of G.. there is quite a stretch of road to travel. et al. Petitioners and Appellants vs. vs. 1265.. 95770. 48.R. then the former must yield and give way to the latter.R. In strong language about pupils and students who do the same the Supreme Court has this to say: If they choose not to obey the flag salute regulation. they merely lost the benefits of public education being maintained at the expense of their fellow Citizens. (Gerona. of national unity and cohesion and freedom and liberty which it and the Constitution guarantee and protect. 15. et al. No.) 4. 106 Phil. of Education. the children were asked to sign an Agreement (Kasabutan) in the Cebuano dialect promising to sing the national anthem. excerpts from which reveal the following: After two (2) fruitless confrontation meetings with the Jehovah's Witnesses' parents on October 2. 1265 and Supreme Court Decision of a case "Genaro Gerona. The Honorable Secretary of Education.124 flag or not participating in flag ceremony. place their right hand on their breast until the end of the song and recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag (Annex D. et al. 1989 dated November 17. 46. vs. of Education. No. Series of 1955. In the Buenavista Elementary School. et al. Antonio A. 20..R. According to a popular expression. 11. 108 s. et al. this Office hereby orders the dropping from the list in the School Register (BPS Form I) of all teachers. No. as mandated by law specifically Republic Act No. as disclosed in his letter of October 17.R. the Supreme Court asserts: But between the freedom of belief and the exercise of said belief. et al. Respondents and Appellees' dated August 12. As regards the claim for freedom of belief. 11. teachers and school employees who choose not to participate in the daily flag ceremony or to obey the flag salute regulation spelled out in Department Order No. 1990 and yesterday due to their firm stand not to salute the flag of the Republic of the Philippines during Flag Ceremony and other occasions. 1955 in accordance with Republic Act No. Accordingly. 95770. No. Emphasis supplied). all Jehovah Witness pupils from Grade I up to Grade VI effective today. Thus. 1989 by virtue of Department Order No. p. the Supreme Court of the Philippine says: The flag is not an image but a symbol of the Republic of the Philippines. 1955 dated July 21. vs.

1990. the Court issued a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction commanding the respondents to immediately re-admit the petitioners to their respective classes until further orders from this Court (p. 1990. Rollo) defending the expulsion orders issued by the public respondents on the grounds that: . Rollo). 95887 was filed by 25 students who were similarly expelled because Dr. 57. San Juan Primary School and Northern Central Elementary School of San Fernando. 1990 of the 43 petitioning students of the Daanbantayan National High School. On November 27. Liboron Elementary School. of Education. Tabuelan Central School. religion and worship (p. 1265) and DECS Order No. Rollo. (Sgd. Calape Barangay National High School. prohibiting and enjoining respondent from further barring the petitioners from their classes or otherwise implementing the expulsion ordered on petitioners. Judgment be rendered: i. 8. July 24. and iii. Tagaytay Primary School. and their right to freedom of speech. et al. prompted some Jehovah's Witnesses in Cebu to appeal to the Secretary of Education Isidro Cariño but the latter did not answer their letter. Certiorari and Prohibition alleging that the public respondents acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction and with grave abuse of discretion — (1) in ordering their expulsion without prior notice and hearing. ii. Diaz.) The petition in G. should they change their mind to respect and follow the Flag Salute Law they may be re-accepted. Sec. Instead. hence. a temporary restraining order be issued enjoining the respondents from enforcing the expulsion of the petitioners and to re-admit them to their respective classes. the Solicitor General filed a consolidated comment to the petitions (p. he verbally caused the expulsion of some more children of Jehovah's Witnesses. Alicia A. 98. 23. 1991. would not recall the expulsion orders of his predecessor. No.) and that pending the determination of the merits of these cases.) MANUEL F. BIONGCOG District Supervisor (p. series of 1955. School In Charge [sic]. having elected not to comply with the regulation about the flag salute they forfeited their right to attend public schools (Gerona. in violation of their right to due process.125 1st Indorsement DAANBANTAYAN DISTRICT II Daanbantayan. (p. On October 31. However. (p. 1990. Grades III and IV pupils respectively from the roll since they opted to follow their religious belief which is against the Flag Salute Law (R.R. The petitioners pray that: c. upon order of then Acting Division Superintendent Marcelo Bacalso. Cebu. On May 13. 47. 41. et al.R.. who succeeded Susana Cabahug as Division Superintendent of Schools. No. Respectfully returned to Mrs. compelling the respondent and all persons acting for him to admit and order the re-admission of petitioners to their respective schools. Pinamungajan Provincial High School. Pablo Antopina. 21. Cebu. the students and their parents filed these special civil actions for Mandamus.) The expulsion as of October 23. Canasojan Elementary School. 106 Philippines 15). Agujo Elementary School. Biongcog to be impleaded as respondents in these cases. Agujo Elementary School with the information that this office is sad to order the dropping of Jeremias Diamos and Jeaneth Diamos. Rollo.A. The Court also ordered the Secretary of Education and Cebu District Supervisor Manuel F. declaring null and void the expulsion or dropping from the rolls of herein petitioners from their respective schools. 95770. their right to free public education. vs. Rollo). Rollo of G.

There are no new and valid grounds to sustain the charges of the Jehovah's Witnesses that the DECS' rules and regulations on the flag salute ceremonies are violative of their freedom of religion and worship. during a flag ceremony on pain of being dismissed from one's job or of being expelled from school. Our task here is extremely difficult. that after the Gerona ruling had received legislative cachet by its in corporation in the Administrative Code of 1987. 95770. that while they do not take part in the compulsory flag ceremony. 4. The first is absolute as long as the belief is confined within the realm of thought. The State's compelling interests being pursued by the DECS' lawful regulations in question do not warrant exemption of the school children of the Jehovah's Witnesses from the flag salute ceremonies on the basis of their own self-perceived religious convictions. 50 and Rollo of G. 1935 Constitution). the present Court believes that the time has come to re-examine it. 1973 Constitution. 1987 Constitution.126 1. 135 SCRA 514. Constitutional Law. The situation that the Court directly predicted in Gerona that: . Religious freedom is a fundamental right which is entitled to the highest priority and the amplest protection among human rights. No. that the State has a right (and duty) to prevent. Bizarre religious practices of the Jehovah's Witnesses produce rebellious and anti-social school children and consequently disloyal and mutant Filipino citizens. vis. 530-531). instead. 5. 5. public morals.R. 3. freedom to believe and freedom to act on one's belief. The flag salute is devoid of any religious significance. The idea that one may be compelled to salute the flag. 1991 Ed. Section 1[7]. Since they do not engage in disruptive behavior. besides having scriptural basis. is alien to the conscience of the present generation of Filipinos who cut their teeth on the Bill of Rights which guarantees their rights to free speech ** and the free exercise of religious profession and worship (Sec. The penalty of expulsion is legal and valid. Fernando's separate opinion in German vs. for it involves the relationship of man to his Creator (Chief Justice Enrique M. p. The second is subject to regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that affect the public welfare (J. Article IV. Rollo of G. and recite the patriotic pledge. for the 30-year old decision of this court in Gerona upholding the flag salute law and approving the expulsion of students who refuse to obey it. The issue is not freedom of speech but enforcement of law and jurisprudence. 7. 176-177). pp. No. 95887. p. more so with the enactment of Executive Order No. it inculcates respect and love of country. is not lightly to be trifled with. Section 8.R. 292 (The Administrative Code of 1987). Barangan. of a serious evil to public safety.. there is no warrant for their expulsion. 48). State's power to regulate repressive and unlawful religious practices justified. however. They quietly stand at attention during the flag ceremony to show their respect for the right of those who choose to participate in the solemn proceedings (Annex F. Cruz. 517) is the existence of a grave and present danger of a character both grave and imminent. 135 SCRA 514. It is somewhat ironic however." Absent such a threat to public safety. Petitioners stress. The sole justification for a prior restraint or limitation on the exercise of religious freedom (according to the late Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee in his dissenting opinion in German vs. Article III. 6. Barangan. sing the national anthem. public health or any other legitimate public interest. 2. for which the flag stands.. The right to religious profession and worship has a two-fold aspect. they do not engage in "external acts" or behavior that would offend their countrymen who believe in expressing their love of country through the observance of the flag ceremony. the expulsion of the petitioners from the schools is not justified. Article III.

374 U. 319 U. . 535. "this should not be taken to mean that school authorities are . As Mr. Nevertheless. Furthermore. (Meyer vs. . we upheld the exemption of members of the Iglesia ni Cristo.127 The flag ceremony will become a thing of the past or perhaps conducted with very few participants. to participate in a ceremony that violates their religious beliefs.S. (Sherbert vs.) Moreover. 970. Sec. Art. even tragic situation. and moral and spiritual values (Sec. . But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. 185 SCRA 523. A desirable end cannot be promoted by prohibited means. (Gerona. sciences. 24. 83 S. what the petitioners seek only is exemption from the flag ceremony. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. Dames II. under the 1987 Constitution. 24). . 1987 Constitution) as part of the curricula. .S. XIV. It is certain that not every conscience can be accommodated by all the laws of the land.S. We are not persuaded that by exempting the Jehovah's Witnesses from saluting the flag. to receive free education. 106 Phil. Paraphrasing the warning cited by this Court in Non vs. Berner. 72-75. of Education. the price is not too great. After all. . and to make such education accessible to all (Sec. . this religious group which admittedly comprises a "small portion of the school population" will shake up our part of the globe and suddenly produce a nation "untaught and uninculcated in and unimbued with reverence for the flag. 1. the democratic way of life and form of government. and all because a small portion of the school population imposed its will. When they [diversity] are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here. Art. for it is the duty of the State to "protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education . Justice Jackson remarked in West Virginia vs. . In Victoriano vs. The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order. 2. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union. through the iron hand of the law. let it be noted that coerced unity and loyalty even to the country. Philippine history and culture but also receive training for a vocation of profession and be taught the virtues of "patriotism. 398.) has not come to pass. admiration for national heroes. Nebraska. ed. singing the national anthem and reciting the patriotic pledge. love of country and admiration for national heroes" (Gerona vs. . from the coverage of a closed shop agreement between their employer and a union because it would violate the teaching of their church not to join any labor group: . 3[2]. p.) We hold that a similar exemption may be accorded to the Jehovah's Witnesses with regard to the observance of the flag ceremony out of respect for their religious beliefs. the expulsion of members of Jehovah's Witnesses from the schools where they are enrolled will violate their right as Philippine citizens. 2d 965. Ed. Forcing a small religious group. — assuming that such unity and loyalty can be attained through coercion — is not a goal that is constitutionally obtainable at the expense of religious liberty. Expelling or banning the petitioners from Philippine schools will bring about the very situation that this Court had feared in Gerona. while the highest regard must be afforded their right to the free exercise of their religion. . 390. . not exclusion from the public schools where they may study the Constitution. 1046. and learn not only the arts. 1790. appreciation for national heroes. but when general laws conflict with scruples of conscience. Barnette. demanded and was granted an exemption. 624 (1943): . exemptions ought to be granted unless some "compelling state interests" intervenes. the rights and duties of citizenship. and patriotism — a pathetic. 262 U. Ct. will hardly be conducive to love of country or respect for dully constituted authorities. . XIV). 59 SCRA 54. 67 L. patriotism. however "bizarre" those beliefs may seem to others. 1042. respect for human rights. 10 L. and the time will come when we would have citizens untaught and uninculcated in and not imbued with reverence for the flag and love of country. their right not to participate in the flag ceremony does not give them a right to disrupt such patriotic exercises.

Romero. or pose "a grave and present danger of a serious evil to public safety. Jr. 135 SCRA 514. Before we close this decision. SO ORDERED. public morals. Quiason. it was a beautiful sight to behold that made our hearts pound with pride and joy over the newly-regained freedom and sovereignty of our nation. Davide. regardless of religious persuasion.. saluted the Japanese flag and bowed before every Japanese soldier. sing the national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge. in fear of the invader. Melo and Campos. nevertheless. J. both religious and patriotic. For when liberation came in 1944 and our own flag was proudly hoisted aloft again. Although the Court upholds in this decision the petitioners' right under our Constitution to refuse to salute the Philippine flag on account of their religious beliefs. that another foreign invasion of our country will not be necessary in order for our countrymen to appreciate and cherish the Philippine flag. Feliciano. WHEREFORE. it is appropriate to recall the Japanese occupation of our country in 1942-1944 when every Filipino. Gutierrez. they would not quibble now about saluting the Philippine flag. concur.. Jr.128 powerless to discipline them" if they should commit breaches of the peace by actions that offend the sensibilities.. Narvasa. of other persons. Barangan. J. 517). Regalado. Bidin. took no part. The temporary restraining order which was issued by this Court is hereby made permanent. C. is on leave. JJ. we do not see how such conduct may possibly disturb the peace. we hope. If they quietly stand at attention during the flag ceremony while their classmates and teachers salute the flag. the petition for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED. Bellosillo... Nocon. if petitioners had lived through that dark period of our history. Jr. public health or any other legitimate public interest that the State has a right (and duty) to prevent (German vs.J. Perhaps.. The expulsion orders issued by the public respondents against the petitioners are hereby ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE. ..

respondents. 2001.. herein represented by HON. Inc. herein represented by its Executive Director. 4-2000-03664. and the OFFICE ON MUSLIM AFFAIRS. 2001 and the prohibition of herein respondents Office of the Executive Secretary and Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) from implementing the subject EO. inspection thereof and issuance of halal certifications. J. ABDULRAFIH H. s. The RISEAP accredited petitioner to issue halal[2] certifications in the Philippines. On May 8. SB-01-085. Petitioner IDCP. respondent OMA has the exclusive authority to issue halal certificates and perform other related regulatory activities. Petitioner contends that the subject EO violates the constitutional provision on the separation of Church and State. OMA warned Muslim consumers to buy only products with its official halal certification since those without said certification had not been subjected to careful analysis and therefore could contain pork or its derivatives. petitioner. a food product becomes halal only after the performance of Islamic religious ritual and prayer. herein represented by PROF. INC. Petitioner even adopted for use on its halal certificates a distinct sign or logo registered in the Philippine Patent Office under Patent No. this petition for prohibition. July 9. petitioner began to issue. Executive Secretary. SAYEDY. Thus. vs. certifications to qualified products and food manufacturers. among the functions petitioner carries out is to conduct seminars. petitioner lost revenues after food manufacturers stopped securing certifications from it. 153888. 2002. Petitioner alleges that.[6] As a result. ALBERTO G. OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY of the Office of the President of the Philippines. for a fee. HABIB MUJAHAB HASHIM.[7] It is unconstitutional for the government to formulate policies and guidelines on the halal certification scheme because said scheme is a function only religious organizations. a news article entitled OMA Warns NGOs Issuing Illegal Halal Certification was published in the Manila Bulletin. Under the EO. respondent Office of the Executive Secretary issued EO 46[5] creating the Philippine Halal Certification Scheme and designating respondent OMA to oversee its implementation. A government agency like herein respondent OMA cannot therefore perform a religious function like certifying qualified food products as halal. especially to Muslim communities. DECISION CORONA. ROMULO. On October 26. Hence. on account of the actual need to certify food products as halal and also due to halal food producers request. entity or scholars can lawfully and validly perform for the Muslims. a corporation that operates under Department of Social Welfare and Development License No. 2003] ISLAMIC DAWAH COUNCIL OF THE PHILIPPINES. only practicing Muslims are qualified to slaughter animals for food. No. a newspaper of general circulation. Respondent OMA also sent letters to food manufacturers asking them to secure the halal certification only from OMA lest they violate EO 46 and RA 4109. (IDCP) praying for the declaration of nullity of Executive Order (EO) 46. In that same year. is a non-governmental organization that extends voluntary services to the Filipino people. Thus. According to petitioner. In said article. It claims to be a federation of national Islamic organizations and an active member of international organizations such as the Regional Islamic Dawah Council of Southeast Asia and the Pacific (RISEAP)[1] and The World Assembly of Muslim Youth.129 EN BANC [G. petitioner formulated in 1995 internal rules and procedures based on the Quran[3] and the Sunnah[4] for the analysis of food. orient manufacturers on halal food and issue halal certifications to qualified products and manufacturers. .R.: Before us is a petition for prohibition filed by petitioner Islamic Dawah Council of the Philippines.

Moreover. Article III of the 1987 Constitution which provides that (n)o law impairing the obligation of contracts. and economic decision-making shall not be abridged. consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good. Sec.130 Petitioner also maintains that the respondents violated Section 10. by arrogating to itself the task of issuing halal certifications. The rights of the people and their organizations to effective and reasonable participation at all levels of social. To justify EO 46s intrusion into the subject religious activity. their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful and lawful means. traditions. to profess his beliefs. Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution. Thus. We grant the petition. and structure. shall be passed. After the subject EO was implemented. In a society with a democratic framework like ours. well aware that it is "designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. [11] If the government fails to show the seriousness and immediacy of the threat. the State must minimize its interference with the affairs of its citizens and instead allow them to exercise reasonable freedom of personal and religious activity. to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs. petitioner argues that the subject EO violates Sections 15 and 16 of Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution which respectively provide: ROLE AND RIGHTS OF PEOPLES ORGANIZATIONS Sec.[10] Without doubt. State intrusion is constitutionally unacceptable. the government allegedly seeks to protect and promote the muslim Filipinos right to health. food manufacturers with existing contracts with petitioner ceased to obtain certifications from the latter. Peoples organizations are bona fide associations of citizens with demonstrated capacity to promote the public interest and with identifiable leadership. 16. 15.[9] Freedom of religion was accorded preferred status by the framers of our fundamental law. Also. classifying a food product as halal is a religious function because the standards used are drawn from the Quran and Islamic beliefs. The State shall. By giving OMA the exclusive power to classify food products as halal. the State has in effect forced Muslims to accept its own interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah on halal food. EO 46 encroached on the religious freedom of Muslim organizations like herein petitioner to interpret for Filipino Muslims what food products are fit for Muslim consumption. political. . We disagree. the Solicitor General argues that the freedom of religion is subservient to the police power of the State. within the democratic framework. and to instill health consciousness in them. customs. bearing in mind the constitutional barrier between the Church and State. OMA was created in 1981 through Executive Order No. facilitate. 697 (EO 697) to ensure the integration of Muslim Filipinos into the mainstream of Filipino society with due regard to their beliefs. Only the prevention of an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community can justify the infringement of religious freedom. by law. legal. the establishment of adequate consultation mechanisms. and institutions. political and economic concerns of the Muslim community as a national cultural community and not as a religious group. The State shall respect the role of independent peoples organizations to enable the people to pursue and protect. [8] OMA deals with the societal. the latter must make sure that OMA does not intrude into purely religious matters lest it violate the non-establishment clause and the free exercise of religion provision found in Article III. membership. According to petitioner. the subject EO was issued with utter haste and without even consulting Muslim peoples organizations like petitioner before it became effective. And this Court has consistently affirmed this preferred status. By delegating to OMA the authority to issue halal certifications. and to live as he believes he ought to live.

the State ably informs the consuming public of the contents of food products released in the market. The halal certifications issued by petitioner and similar organizations come forward as the official religious approval of a food product fit for Muslim consumption. according to their Islamic beliefs. these laws do not encroach on the religious freedom of Muslims. . BFD has the duty to promulgate and enforce rules and regulations fixing and establishing a reasonable definition and standard of identity. therefore. unfair and unconscionable sales acts or practices as defined in Article 50. Through the laws on food safety and quality. quality and quantity of the contents of consumer products and to facilitate his comparison of the value of such products. promote his general welfare and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry. we believe that they are discerning enough to know who the reliable and competent certifying organizations in their community are. even on the premise that the health of Muslim Filipinos can be effectively protected by assigning to OMA the exclusive power to issue halal certifications. will issue certifications for products that are not actually halal. are not fit for human intake. a food product.[14] Furthermore. Muslim consumers are adequately apprised of the products that contain substances or ingredients that. properly labeled and safe. is required to secure the Philippine Standard Certification Mark after the concerned department inspects and certifies its compliance with quality and safety standards. BFD ensures that food products are properly categorized and have passed safety and quality standards. before its distribution to the market. Before purchasing a product. the perceived danger against the health of Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos alike is totally avoided. of their religious right to classify a product as halal. RA 7394.[13] One such government agency designated by RA 7394 is the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFD) of the Department of Health (DOH).[16] With these regulatory bodies given detailed functions on how to screen and check the quality and safety of food products. Another law. we find no compelling justification for the government to deprive Muslim organizations. under Article 48 of RA 7394. through the labeling provisions enforced by the DTI. The NMIC guarantees that the meat sold in the market has been thoroughly inspected and fit for consumption. Under Article 22 of said law. gives to certain government departments the duty to protect the interests of the consumer. Of great help are the provisions on labeling of food products (Articles 74 to 85) [17] of RA 7394. through these labeling provisions. Meanwhile. a standard of quality and a standard of fill of containers for food. otherwise known as The Consumer Act of 1992. We do not share respondents apprehension that the absence of a central administrative body to regulate halal certifications might give rise to schemers who. Section 48(4) of the Administrative Code of 1987 gives to the National Meat Inspection Commission (NMIC) of the Department of Agriculture (DOA) the power to inspect slaughtered animals intended for human consumption to ensure the safety of the meat released in the market. The protection and promotion of the Muslim Filipinos right to health are already provided for in existing laws and ministered to by government agencies charged with ensuring that food products released in the market are fit for human consumption.[15] DTI also enforces compulsory labeling and fair packaging to enable the consumer to obtain accurate information as to the nature. they can easily avert this perceived evil by a diligent inquiry on the reliability of the concerned certifying organization. Unlike EO 46. the State indirectly aids Muslim consumers in differentiating food from non-food products. The BFD also ensures that food products released in the market are not adulterated. These are the non-secular steps put in place by the State to ensure that the Muslim consumers right to health is protected. Then. like herein petitioner. Aside from the fact that Muslim consumers can actually verify through the labels whether a product contains non-food substances. for profit. Stiff sanctions are imposed on violators of said labeling requirements. In fact.131 In the case at bar.[12] To this end. the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is tasked to protect the consumer against deceptive.

AustriaMartinez.. Carpio-Morales. C.132 WHEREFORE.. Bellosillo. is hereby declared NULL AND VOID. 2001. SO ORDERED. Consequently. C . Davide. Ynares-Santiago. Executive Order 46. the petition is GRANTED. Panganiban. Carpio. s. respondents are prohibited from enforcing the same.J. Jr.

respondent. Gregorio Aglipay. which are without or in excess of the jurisdiction of such tribunal." (Dimayuga and Fajardo vs. In May. . green." (Secs. Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for respondent. . violet and orange." The said stamps were actually issued and sold though the greater part thereof. Esq. petitioner. LAUREL. with grape vine and stalks of wheat as border design. requested Vicente Sotto. corporation.. 1937 GREGORIO AGLIPAY. "the writ is granted. No. the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila that he would order the issues of postage stamps commemorating the celebration in the City of Manila of the Thirty-third international Eucharistic Congress. jurisdiction. cardinal red. the respondent publicly announced having sent to the United States the designs of the postage stamps for printing as follows: "In the center is chalice. inferior tribunals. whether excercising functions judicial or ministerial. 6580. which act because alleged to be violative of the Constitution is a fortiorari "without or in excess of . . JUAN RUIZ. 16. . 43 Phil.133 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. . J. prohibition as an extraordinary legal writ will not issue to restrain or control the performance of other than judicial or quasi-judicial functions (50 C. 516 and 226. where it is necessary for the orderly administration of justice. or to prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive or vindictive manner. in appropriate cases. 6. Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church. organized by the Roman Catholic Church. boards. seeks the issuance from this court of a writ of prohibition to prevent the respondent Director of Posts from issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress. but will issue.. or person. In spite of the protest of the petitioner's attorney. therefore. 304. or a multiplicity of actions. generally. The further sale of the stamps is sought to be prevented by the petitioner herein. its issuance and enforcement are regulated by statute and in this jurisdiction may issue to . 307. The stamps are blue. member of the Philippine Bar..) The more important question raised refers to the alleged violation of the Constitution by the respondent in issuing and selling postage stamps commemorative of the Thirty-third International Eucharistic Congress. or persons. to this day. although he admits that the writ may properly restrain ministerial functions. vs. in the jurisdiction is that the writ of prohibition is not confined exclusively to courts or tribunals to keep them within the limits of their own jurisdiction and to prevent them from encroaching upon the jurisdiction of other tribunals.: The petitioner. L-45459 March 13. to an officer or person whose acts are without or in excess of his authority. brown. . It is alleged that this action of the respondent is violative of the provisions of . in the fulfillment of what he considers to be a civic duty. 20. While. Vicente Sotto for petitioner. The Solicitor-General contends that the writ of prohibition is not the proper legal remedy in the instant case. . remains unsold." The statutory rule.R. to denounce the matter to the President of the Philippines.) The terms "judicial" and "ministerial" used with reference to "functions" in the statute are undoubtedly comprehensive and include the challenged act of the respondent Director of Posts in the present case. corporations.094 inches. board. Code of Civil Procedure. Mons. The denominations are for 2. Fernandez [1923]. 1936. The petitioner. J. Not infrequently. 36 and 50 centavos. 1 inch by 1. .

preacher. Assessment Law. 5. and Sundays and made legal holidays (sec. [c]. minister. it was inserted in the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain of December 10. 4052 of the Philippine Legislature. subsec. 1. or system of religion. for ocassions might arise when the estate will use the church. applied. and the church the state. Adm. orphanage or leprosarium 9 sec. Sectarian aid is not prohibited when a priest. implored "the aid of Divine Providence. Our Constitution and laws exempt from taxation properties devoted exclusively to religious purposes (sec. secretarian. and certain crimes against religious worship are considered crimes against the fundamental laws of the state (see arts. 13. Thursday and Friday of Holy Week. or other religious teacher or dignitary as such. benefit. Art. certain general concessions are indiscriminately accorded to religious sects and denominations. subsection 3. reaffirmed in the Philippine Bill of 1902 and in the autonomy Act of August 29. of the Constitution of the Philippines. 4. or support of any sect. The elevating influence of religion in human society is recognized here as elsewhere. conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation. or used. in so far as it instills into the minds the purest principles of morality. VI. reiterated in President McKinley's Instructions of the Philippine Commission. sec. Code) because of the secular idea that their observance is conclusive to beneficial moral results. as a weapon in the furtherance of their recognized this principle of separation of church and state in the early stages of our constitutional development. 1916. It should be stated that what is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious liberty. church. Optional religious instruction in the public schools is by constitutional mandate allowed (sec. minister or other religious teacher or dignitary as such is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution. promote the general welfare. which provides as follows: No public money or property shall ever be appropriated. or for the use. 29. with its inherent limitations and recognized implications. Constitution of the Philippines). for the use. not mere religious toleration. In the case at bar. institution. has taught us that the union of church and state is prejudicial to both. All the officers of the Government. XIII. and secure to themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence under a regime of justice. Religious freedom. minister. Code). Revised Penal Code). preacher. from the highest to the lowest. preacher." they thereby manifested reliance upon Him who guides the destinies of men and nations. Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator is recognized. Constitution of the Philippines and sec. 344. it is sufficient to say that our history. And. 132 and 133. its influence is deeply felt and highly appreciated. par. 3. Art. It is almost trite to say now that in this country we enjoy both religious and civil freedom. Thanksgiving Day. 1898. and finally embodied in the constitution of the Philippines as the supreme expression of the Filipino people. subsec. directly or indirectly. bind themselves to recognize and respect the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. 3. 928. Art. — AN ACT APPROPRIATING THE SUM OF SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS AND MAKING THE SAME AVAILABLE OUT OF ANY FUNDS IN THE INSULAR TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED FOR THE . or leprosarium. as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound reverence for religion and is not denial of its influence in human affairs. in order to establish a government that shall embody their ideals. or support of any priest. liberty and democracy. Christmas Day. orphanage. 14. or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal institution. Adm. Without the necessity of adverting to the historical background of this principle in our country. in relation to sec. 4052. in the preamble of their Constitution. Code). VI. not to speak of the history of mankind. The prohibition herein expressed is a direct corollary of the principle of separation of church and state.134 section 23. denomination. When the Filipino people. Article VI. it appears that the respondent Director of Posts issued the postage stamps in question under the provisions of Act No. however. In fact. This Act is as follows: No. The law allows divorce but punishes polygamy and bigamy. Ordinance appended thereto. in taking their oath to support and defend the constitution. except when such priest. Constitution of the Philippines. subsec. benefit. Adm.

with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. February 21. 1933.02. June 9. and authorizes the Director of Posts. 3. The sum of sixty thousand pesos is hereby appropriated and made immediately available out of any funds in the Insular Treasury not otherwise appropriated. On the contrary. that the only purpose in issuing and selling the stamps was "to advertise the Philippines and attract more tourist to this country. if the purpose had in view is one which could legitimately be undertaken by appropriate legislation. benefit or support of a particular sect or church. petitioner's complaint). was not the aim and purpose of the Government. 2. use or application of public money or property for the use.135 COST OF PLATES AND PRINTING OF POSTAGE STAMPS WITH NEW DESIGNS. more or less religious in character. It is significant to note that the stamps as actually designed and printed (Exhibit 2). SEC. is hereby authorized to dispose of the whole or any portion of the amount herein appropriated in the manner indicated and as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government. It does not authorize the appropriation.10 and states that there still remain to be sold stamps worth P1. We are of the opinion that the Government should not be embarassed in its activities simply because of incidental results. The Director of Posts. it appears from the latter of the Director of Posts of June 5. 1936. Act No. 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view." What is emphasized is not the Eucharistic Congress itself but Manila. Nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to that church. and an inscription as follows: "Seat XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress. What it gives the Director of Posts is the discretionary power to determine when the issuance of special postage stamps would be "advantageous to the Government. The main purpose should not be frustrated by its subordinate to mere incidental results .402. the phrase "advantageous to the Government" does not authorize the violation of the Constitution. The stamps were not issue and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic Church. and other expenses incident thereto. 1936.618. It is obvious that while the issuance and sale of the stamps in question may be said to be inseparably linked with an event of a religious character. for the costs of plates and printing of postage stamps with new designs. 1936. made part of the respondent's memorandum as Exhibit A. the capital of the Philippines. AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. Feb. received by the Roman Catholic Church. 3-7. contains a map of the Philippines and the location of the City of Manila. the resulting propaganda. It will be seen that the Act appropriates the sum of sixty thousand pesos for the costs of plates and printing of postage stamps with new designs and other expenses incident thereto." The officials concerned merely. SEC. The printing and issuance of the postage stamps in question appears to have been approved by authority of the President of the Philippines in a letter dated September 1. This amount or any portion thereof not otherwise expended shall not revert to the Treasury. with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. the issuance of the postage stamps in question by the Director of Posts and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications was not inspired by any sectarian denomination. to dispose of the amount appropriated in the manner indicated and "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government". 3." Of course. however. Approved. SEC. The respondent alleges that the Government of the Philippines would suffer losses if the writ prayed for is granted. incorporated on page 2 of the petitioner's complaint. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Legislature assembled and by the authority of the same: SECTION 1. 4. took advantage of an event considered of international importance "to give publicity to the Philippines and its people" (Letter of the Undersecretary of Public Works and Communications to the President of the Philippines. In the present case.1937.17.279. if any. This act shall take effect on its approval. He estimates the revenue to be derived from the sale of the postage stamps in question at P1. p. instead of showing a Catholic Church chalice as originally planned. as the seat of that congress.

and scrutiny of the attending circumstances. care should be taken that at this stage of our political development nothing is done by the Government or its officials that may lead to the belief that the Government is taking sides or favoring a particular religious sect or institution. C. concur. 168. The petition for a writ of prohibition is hereby denied. ed. .. Act No. without pronouncement as to costs. a gap exists which is yet to be filled to justify the court in setting aside the official act assailed as coming within a constitutional inhibition..) We are much impressed with the vehement appeal of counsel for the petitioner to maintain inviolate the complete separation of church and state and curb any attempt to infringe by indirection a constitutional inhibition. Rep. with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. Indeed. Villa-Real... Ct. Roberts.. Imperial. 175 U. Diaz and Concepcion. we have come to the conclusion that there has been no constitutional infraction in the case at bar.136 not contemplated. JJ. 44 Law. the case of the petitioner would fail to take in weight. once the scene of religious intolerance and prescription. Abad Santos. in the Philippines. 4052 grants the Director of Posts." Even if we were to assume that these officials made use of a poor judgment in issuing and selling the postage stamps in question still. S. 295.J. But. upon very serious reflection. Avanceña. (Vide Bradfield vs. So ordered. Between the exercise of a poor judgment and the unconstitutionality of the step taken. examination of Act No. discretion to misuse postage stamps with new designs "as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government. 4052. 121. 20 Sup.

privately-owned educational institution (Jmbong). beckoning it to wield the sword that strikes down constitutional disobedience. challengers from various sectors of society came knocking on the doors of the Court. James M. Shortly after the President placed his imprimatur on the said law.. From television debates2 to sticker campaigns. Inc.9 filed by the Task Force for Family and Life Visayas. however. oftentimes regarded as an inert governmental body that merely casts its watchful eyes on clashing stakeholders until it is called upon to adjudicate. Inc. and to live as he believes he ought to live.137 Imbong v. lawyers and taxpayers and on behalf of their minor children. Imbong. to profess his beliefs .5 filed by spouses Attys. in their personal capacities as citizens. the Court now faces the iuris controversy. a domestic. endeavors to enact laws and policies that aim to remedy looming societal woes. The government continues to tread on a trying path to the realization of its very purpose."1 To this day.: Freedom of religion was accorded preferred status by the framers of our fundamental law. 10354. and Valeriano S.the supremacy of the Philippine Constitution. 2014 DECISION MENDOZA. Seemingly distant is the judicial branch. the Judiciary then willingly embarks on its solemn duty to interpret legislation visa-vis the most vital and enduring principle that holds Philippine society together . was enacted by Congress on December 21. that is. illiteracy and unemployment. the general welfare of the Filipino people and the development of the country as a whole. to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs. as the main facet of a representative government.. abortion and contraception. consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good. J. The legislative branch. in their capacities as citizens and taxpayers (Task Force Family). Imbong and Lovely Ann C. Passive. yet reflexive when called into action. While governmental policies have been geared towards the revitalization of the economy. And this Court has consistently affirmed this preferred status.6 filed by the Alliance for the Family Foundation Philippines. Inc. while the executive is closed set to fully implement these measures and bring concrete and substantial solutions within the reach of Juan dela Cruz. to wit: (1) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition. through its president. diametrically opposed views on the subjects and their perceived consequences freely circulate in various media. Maria Concepcion S. Ochoa GR 204819. Nothing has polarized the nation more in recent years than the issues of population growth control. Despite calls to withhold support thereto.. Avila.in-intervention. 2012. Atty. leaving our people beleaguered in a state of hunger.A.3 from rallies by socio-political activists to mass gatherings organized by members of the clergy4 . as presented in fourteen (14) petitions and two (2) petitions. Aware of the profound and lasting impact that its decision may produce. (2) Petition for Prohibition. Republic Act (R. the bludgeoning dearth in social services remains to be a problem that concerns not only the poor. and the Magnificat Child Leaming Center.the clash between the seemingly antithetical ideologies of the religious conservatives and progressive liberals has caused a deep division in every level of the society. (3) Petition for Certiorari. but every member of society. poverty is still a major stumbling block to the nation's emergence as a developed country. .) No. otherwise known as the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012 (RH Law). April 8. well aware that it is "designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. Noche7 and several others8 in their personal capacities as citizens and on behalf of the generations unborn (ALFI). As in every democratic society.

21 in their capacities as citizens and taxpayers (Echavez).. in violation of Section 12.14 filed by Expedito A.24 and several others. Cita Borromeo-Garcia. taxpayers and members of the Bar (MSF). Inc. The petitioners posit that the RH Law provides universal access to contraceptives which are hazardous to one's health. Bugarin. Juat and several others.17 filed by the Philippine Alliance of Xseminarians Inc.13 in their capacities as citizens (Serve Life).23 filed by Pro-Life Philippines Foundation Inc. and several others. (10) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.31 in their capacities as citizens (CFC).15 filed by Eduardo Olaguer and the Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines. (7) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition. and Berteni Catalufia Causing. Atty.30 filed by Couples for Christ Foundation. taxpayers and on behalf of those yet unborn. According to the petitioners. Ramon Pedrosa.16 in their capacities as a citizens and taxpayers (Olaguer).22 filed by spouses Francisco and Maria Fenny C. (6) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.36 • The RH Law violates the right to religious freedom. the implementation of the RH Law would authorize the purchase of hormonal contraceptives. (8) Petition. Samson S. the use of public funds for purposes that are believed to be contrary to their beliefs is included in the constitutional mandate ensuring religious freedom. and (16) Petition-In-Intervention. and (15) Petition-In-Intervention.D. Article II of the Constitution which guarantees protection of both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception.27 Attys.18 and several others19 in their capacities as citizens and taxpayers (PAX).12 a domestic. Inc. in his capacity as a citizen (Bugarin). Alcantara in his capacity as a citizen and a taxpayer (Alcantara). The petitioners contend that the RH Law violates the constitutional guarantee respecting religion as it authorizes the use of public funds for the procurement of contraceptives. Paguia is also proceeding in his capacity as a member of the Bar (Tatad). A perusal of the foregoing petitions shows that the petitioners are assailing the constitutionality of RH Law on the following GROUNDS: • The RH Law violates the right to life of the unborn.138 (4) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.29 in their capacities as citizens (Juat) . Inc. Kashim in their capacities as citizens and taxpayers (Tillah).. Stella Acedera.26 filed by Millennium Saint Foundation. (9) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.34 filed by Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (B UHAY) . intra-uterine devices and injectables which are abortives. notwithstanding its declared policy against abortion. Inc. Alan F.28 filed by John Walter B.37 . (13) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition.35 • The RH Law violates the right to health and the right to protection against hazardous products. in their capacities as citizens. (5) Petition.10 filed by Serve Life Cagayan De Oro City. For the petitioners. in their capacities as citizens. Paguia. (11) Petition for Prohibition.. Jr.. privately-owned educational institution. Alan F.25 in their capacities as citizens and taxpayers and on behalf of its associates who are members of the Bar (ProLife). and several others. (14) Petition for Prohibition32 filed by Almarim Centi Tillah and Abdulhussein M. (12) Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition. M. Echavez. an accredited political party.33 filed by Atty. Tatad and Atty.11 Rosevale Foundation. and several others.20 filed by Reynaldo J. as it causes cancer and other health problems.

46 In this connection. hospital staff nurses. medical specialists. To compel a person to explain a full range of family planning methods is plainly to curtail his right to expound only his own preferred way of family planning. they argue that the RH Law fails to satisfy the "clear and present danger test" and the "compelling state interest test" to justify the regulation of the right to free exercise of religion and the right to free speech. The petitioners note that although exemption is granted to institutions owned and operated by religious groups. or rural health midwives. medical officers. • The RH Law violates the right to free speech. rather than promoting reproductive health among the poor.41 While the petit10ners recognize that the guarantee of religious freedom is not absolute. under threat of criminal prosecution. imprisonment and other forms of punishment. Section 5 . It is contended that the RH Law providing for mandatory reproductive health education intrudes upon their constitutional right to raise their children in accordance with their beliefs. they are compelled to provide forty-eight (48) hours of pro bona services for indigent women.43 The petitioners explain that since a majority of patients are covered by PhilHealth. Provincial. they are still forced to refer their patients to another healthcare facility willing to perform the service or procedure." it is vague because it does not define the type of conduct to be treated as "violation" of the RH Law. According to the petitioners. a medical practitioner would effectively be forced to render reproductive health services since the lack of PhilHealth accreditation would mean that the majority of the public would no longer be able to avail of the practitioners services. but not limited to.42 • The RH Law violates the constitutional provision on involuntary servitude."47 It ignores the management prerogative inherent in corporations for employers to conduct their affairs in accordance with their own discretion and judgment. the RH Law subjects medical practitioners to involuntary servitude because.40 It is also argued that the RH Law providing for the formulation of mandatory sex education in schools should not be allowed as it is an affront to their religious beliefs. imprisonment and other forms of punishment.38 In this connection. to be accredited under the PhilHealth program. as it compels medical practitioners 1] to refer patients who seek advice on reproductive health programs to other doctors. In imposing the penalty of imprisonment and/or fine for "any violation.39 provides that skilled health professionals who are public officers such as.23 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the RH Law (RH-IRR). it is claimed that "Section 7 of the RH Law violates the right to due process by removing from them (the people) the right to manage their own affairs and to decide what kind of health facility they shall be and what kind of services they shall offer. who are specifically charged with the duty to implement these Rules. It is claimed that the RH Law discriminates against the poor as it makes them the primary target of the government program that promotes contraceptive use. or Municipal Health Officers. public health nurses.49 . The petitioners argue that.48 • The RH Law intrudes into the zone of privacy of one's family protected by the Constitution. cannot be considered as conscientious objectors. and 2] to provide full and correct information on reproductive health programs and service. the RH Law seeks to introduce contraceptives that would effectively reduce the number of the poor. City. rural health physicians. although it is against their religious beliefs and convictions.44 • The RH Law violates the right to equal protection of the law.139 It is also contended that the RH Law threatens conscientious objectors of criminal prosecution.45 • The RH Law is "void-for-vagueness" in violation of the due process clause of the Constitution.

4729 entitled "An Act to Regu. 1966. On July 9 and 23. Alberto G. the RH Law forsakes any real dialogue between the spouses and impedes the right of spouses to mutually decide on matters pertaining to the overall well-being of their family.61 The respondents. and 27. the RH-IRR for the enforcement of the assailed legislation took effect. the Court directed the parties to submit their respective memoranda within sixty (60) days and." Although contraceptive drugs and devices were allowed.53 • The RH Law violates the principle of Autonomy of Local Government Units (LGUs) and the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao {ARMM). the cases were heard on oral argument.55 Congressman Edcel C. 13. dispensation and distribution of contraceptive drugs and devices.A. enjoining the effects and implementation of the assailed legislation for a period of one hundred and twenty (120) days. Esperanza I. 2013.50 • The RH Law violates the constitutional principle of non-delegation of legislative authority.51 • The RH Law violates the one subject/one bill rule provision under Section 26( 1 ). Senator Pia Juliana S. Meanwhile.56 former officials of the Department of Health Dr. 2013. and 3] the petitions are essentially petitions for declaratory relief over which the Court has no original jurisdiction. It is contended that the RH Law. Joan De Venecia60 also filed their respective Comments-in-Intervention in conjunction with several others. therefore. infringes upon the powers devolved to LGUs and the ARMM under the Local Government Code and R. it is also claimed that the parents of a child who has suffered a miscarriage are deprived of parental authority to determine whether their child should use contraceptives. As far back as June 18. Cabral. at the same time posed several questions for their clarification on some contentions of the parties. 9054. 2013. 2013. Cayetano was also granted leave to intervene. On July 16. and Dr. No.140 It is claimed that. Jamie Galvez-Tan. the Court held a preliminary conference with the counsels of the parties to determine and/or identify the pertinent issues raised by the parties and the sequence by which these issues were to be discussed in the oral arguments. the country has allowed the sale. Lagman.64 The Status Quo Ante (Population. the Court issued the Status Quo Ante Order (SQAO). they . and/or Distribution of Contraceptive Drugs and Devices.A . Romualdez. after considering the issues and arguments raised. In the same breath. and on August 6. 2] some petitioners lack standing to question the RH Law.59 and Atty. 2013. Dispensation. Contraceptive and Reproductive Health Laws Prior to the RH Law Long before the incipience of the RH Law. On March 19. 2013.58 Ana Theresa "Risa" Hontiveros. the issues are not yet ripe for judicial determination.62 On May 30.57 the Filipino Catholic Voices for Reproductive Health (C4RH).. providing for reproductive health measures at the local government level and the ARMM.late the Sale. Aside from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) which commented on the petitions in behalf of the respondents. The petitioners question the delegation by Congress to the FDA of the power to determine whether a product is non-abortifacient and to be included in the Emergency Drugs List (EDL). 2013. the country enacted R. or until July 17. Article VI of the Constitution. 2013. No.63 Thereafter. by giving absolute authority to the person who will undergo reproductive health procedure. On June 4. pray for the dismissal of the petitions for the principal reasons that 1] there is no actual case or controversy and. the SQAO was ordered extended until further orders of the Court. aside from traversing the substantive arguments of the petitioners.54 Various parties also sought and were granted leave to file their respective comments-in-intervention in defense of the constitutionality of the RH Law. on March 15.52 • The RH Law violates Natural Law.

the use of contraceptives and family planning methods evolved from being a component of demographic management. and for schools to provide reproductive health education.A. mandated the State to provide for comprehensive health services and programs for women. Stated differently. 5921. the RH Law was enacted to provide Filipinos. 6365. in conformity with its adherence to the commitments made in the International Conference on Population and Development. the very essence of the RH Law. dispensation and distribution is by a duly licensed drug store or pharmaceutical company and with the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner. Prayer of the Petitioners ." Under Section 37 thereof.67 Among these measures included R." Through the years. R. mortality and morbidity rates will be further reduced. dispensed or distributed "unless such sale. No. thus. Marcos issued Presidential Decree. ALFI prays that "the status quo ante . which recognized that the population problem should be considered as the principal element for long-term economic development. the population of the country kept on galloping at an uncontrollable pace. To make it more effective. No. Petitioner ALFI. then President Ferdinand E . 1969. particularly. on August 14. the RH Law criminalizes certain acts of refusals to carry out its mandates.71 The RH Law Despite the foregoing legislative measures. the country gave priority to one's right to freely choose the method of family planning to be adopted. entitled "An Act Establishing a National Policy on Population. and to ensure that its objective to provide for the peoples' right to reproductive health be achieved." and made "available all acceptable methods of contraception. among others. including family planning and sex education. approved on August 16. violates the right to health of women and the sanctity of life. Thus. To rein in the problem. the Philippines.68 dated December 8. supplies and services. felt that the measures were still not adequate. access and information to the full range of modem family planning methods. Creating the Commission on Population and for Other Purposes. " The law envisioned that "family planning will be made part of a broad educational program. 1967.Maintain the Status Quo The petitioners are one in praying that the entire RH Law be declared unconstitutional. especially the poor and the marginalized. to one centered on the promotion of public health." On December 11. argues that the government sponsored contraception program.A. the population of the country reached over 76 million in the year 2000 and over 92 million in 2010. it was provided that "no drug or chemical product or device capable of provoking abortion or preventing conception as classified by the Food and Drug Administration shall be delivered or sold to any person without a proper prescription by a duly licensed physician. however. in particular.) No. which the State is mandated to protect and promote. 6365. 1972." provided "family planning services as a part of over-all health care. 1971. (P. adhering to the UN Declaration on Population. From a paltry number of just over 27 million Filipinos in 1960. except abortion.A. enacted measures that promoted male vasectomy and tubal ligation to mitigate population growth. " which. women's health and population control. 9710 or "The Magna Carta for Women. contained provisions relative to "dispensing of abortifacients or anti-conceptional substances and devices.72 The executive and the legislative. to all Filipino citizens desirous of spacing. the RH Law made it mandatory for health providers to provide information on the full range of modem family planning methods. To put teeth to it. 79. No."65 In addition. the country enacted R.69 Under that policy. reproductive health.141 could not be sold. limiting or preventing pregnancies.66 approved on June 21.A.D. safe and effective means will be provided to couples desiring to space or limit family size.70 Thus. the RH Law is an enhancement measure to fortify and make effective the current laws on contraception. made "family planning a part of a broad educational program." To further strengthen R. 2009. No. among others. which.

The State then will be the funder and provider of all forms of family planning methods and the implementer of the program by ensuring the widespread dissemination of. What the Petitioners find deplorable and repugnant under the RH Law is the role that the State and its agencies .142 .the entire bureaucracy. a full range of family planning methods. and universal access to.is made to play in the implementation of the contraception program to the fullest extent possible using taxpayers' money."73 It explains: x x x. PROCEDURAL ISSUE: Whether the Court can exercise its power of judicial review over the controversy."76 The OSG posits that the authority of the Court to review social legislation like the RH Law by certiorari is "weak. The instant Petition does not question contraception and contraceptives per se. the OSG asserts that it should submit to the legislative and political wisdom of Congress and respect the compromises made in the crafting of the RH Law. SUBSTANTIVE: Whether the RH law is unconstitutional: 1] Right to Life 2] Right to Health 3] Freedom of Religion and the Right to Free Speech 4] The Family 5] Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom 6] Due Process 7] Equal Protection 8] Involuntary Servitude 9] Delegation of Authority to the FDA 10] Autonomy of Local Govemments/ARMM DISCUSSION Before delving into the constitutionality of the RH Law and its implementing rules. I. it behooves the Court to resolve some procedural impediments. devices and supplies. the Court has synthesized and refined them to the following principal issues: I. the sale and distribution of contraceptives are prohibited unless dispensed by a prescription duly licensed by a physician.the situation prior to the passage of the RH Law . PROCEDURAL: Whether the Court may exercise its power of judicial review over the controversy. it being "a product of a majoritarian democratic process"75 and "characterized by an inordinate amount of transparency. 1] Power of Judicial Review 2] Actual Case or Controversy 3] Facial Challenge 4] Locus Standi 5] Declaratory Relief 6] One Subject/One Title Rule II. The Power of Judicial Review In its attempt to persuade the Court to stay its judicial hand. from the cabinet secretaries down to the barangay officials in the remotest areas of the country .74 ISSUES After a scrutiny of the various arguments and contentions of the parties.must be maintained. 4729. As provided under Republic Act No. 5921 and Republic Act No." since the Constitution vests the discretion to implement the constitutional .

Verily. Section 1 of the Constitution which expressly provides: Section 1. born of the nature of their functions and of their respect for the other branches of government.86 It has also long been observed. If after said review. with Congress. be it in the form of social legislation or otherwise.82 (b) the executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.87 In order to address this.85 In its relationship with its co-equals. the great landmarks of the Constitution are apt to be forgotten or marred.89 The Court must demonstrate its unflinching commitment to protect those cherished rights and principles embodied in the Constitution. Anti-Terrorism Council. It claims that the RH Law cannot be challenged "on its face" as it is not a speech-regulating measure.84 The Constitution has truly blocked out with deft strokes and in bold lines.143 policies and positive norms with the political departments. the allotment of powers among the three branches of government. the separation of powers is a fundamental principle in our system of government. it is often sought that the Court temper its exercise of judicial power and accord due respect to the wisdom of its co-equal branch on the basis of the principle of separation of powers. and that the government has yet to distribute reproductive health devices that are abortive. the Judiciary recognizes the doctrine of separation of powers which imposes upon the courts proper restraint. it may do so where an attendant unconstitutionality or grave abuse of discretion results. it has no more authority of proscribing the actions under review. Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable.88 Thus. Each department of the government has exclusive cognizance of matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme within its own sphere. the 1987 Constitution provides that: (a) the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines.to determine whether the acts of the executive and the legislative branches are null because they were undertaken with grave abuse of discretion. to make sure that they have acted in consonance with their respective authorities and rights as mandated of them by the Constitution. the Constitution impresses upon the Court to respect the acts performed by a co-equal branch done within its sphere of competence and authority. then. the Constitution makes no distinction as to the kind of legislation that may be subject to judicial scrutiny. and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. it bears adding that while the scope of judicial power of review may be limited. in particular. justice or expediency of the RH Law. To be clear. rather.78 the remedies of certiorari and prohibition utilized by the petitioners are improper to assail the validity of the acts of the legislature. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. [Emphases supplied] . The reason is simple and goes back to the earlier point.but only at a very limited and specific point . the Court finds no constitutional violations of any sort. in striking down the acts of the Executive or the Legislature as unconstitutional. the policy is a harmonious blend of courtesy and caution." it cannot prosper considering that the assailed law has yet to be enforced and applied to the petitioners.79 Moreover. allows it to cross the line of separation . however.80 In many cases involving the determination of the constitutionality of the actions of the Executive and the Legislature. but at the same time. In this connection. which obtains not through express provision but by actual division in our Constitution. while the Court may not pass upon questions of wisdom. that in times of social disquietude or political instability.90 This is in line with Article VIII.81 Thus. the OSG submits that as an "as applied challenge.77 It further asserts that in view of the Court's ruling in Southern Hemisphere v.83 and (c) the judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law. The Court may pass upon the constitutionality of acts of the legislative and the executive branches. if not entirely obliterated. since its duty is not to review their collective wisdom but.

not conjectural or anticipatory. (b) the petitioners must possess locus standi. The duty (to adjudicate) remains to assure that the supremacy of the Constitution is upheld. it bears emphasizing that the Court does not have the unbridled authority to rule on just any and every claim of constitutional violation. medium of participation .99 The rule is that courts do not sit to adjudicate mere academic questions to satisfy scholarly interest. it becomes not only the right but in fact the duty of the judiciary to settle the dispute. viz : (a) there must be an actual case or controversy. acts of legislative and executive officials.93 Magallona v. To him. touching on the legal relations of parties having adverse legal interests. [Emphasis supplied] In the scholarly estimation of former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano.94 and countless others.98 In short. and the petitioner must allege the existence of an immediate or threatened injury to himself as a result of the challenged action. In other words. prohibition and mandamus are appropriate remedies to raise constitutional issues and to review and/or prohibit/nullify.or instrument of intervention . The controversy must be justiciable-definite and concrete. and (d) the issue of constitutionality must be the lis mota of the case. Jurisprudence is replete with the rule that the power of judicial review is limited by four exacting requisites. For a case to be considered ripe for adjudication. lest the decision of the court would amount to an advisory opinion. it must concern a real. "The question thus posed is judicial rather than political. on the one hand. He must show that he has sustained or is immediately in danger of sustaining some direct injury as a result of the act complained of102 .92 Aldaba v.91 the Court has unequivocally declared that certiorari. it becomes a legal issue which the Court is bound by constitutional mandate to decide. There ought to be an actual and substantial controversy admitting of specific relief through a decree conclusive in nature.95 Lest it be misunderstood.96 Actual Case or Controversy Proponents of the RH Law submit that the subj ect petitions do not present any actual case or controversy because the RH Law has yet to be implemented. An actual case or controversy means an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination. In Tanada. Ermita. as distinguished from an opinion advising what the law would be upon a hypothetical state of facts. Angara. tangible and not merely a theoretical question or issue.97 They claim that the questions raised by the petitions are not yet concrete and ripe for adjudication since no one has been charged with violating any of its provisions and that there is no showing that any of the petitioners' rights has been adversely affected by its operation. the pleadings must show an active antagonistic assertion of a legal right. the petition no doubt raises a justiciable controversy.100 Corollary to the requirement of an actual case or controversy is the requirement of ripeness. " Once a "controversy as to the application or interpretation of constitutional provision is raised before this Court (as in the instant case).144 As far back as Tanada v. as there is no other plain. COMELEC.101 A question is ripe for adjudication when the act being challenged has had a direct adverse effect on the individual challenging it. that is. when proper. Where an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution. it is contended that judicial review of the RH Law is premature. indeed the only.of the judiciary in that balancing operation. (c) the question of constitutionality must be raised at the earliest opportunity. however intellectually challenging. "judicial review is essential for the maintenance and enforcement of the separation of powers and the balancing of powers among the three great departments of government through the definition and maintenance of the boundaries of authority and control between them. speedy or adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. judicial review is the chief. on the other. and a denial thereof. it is a prerequisite that something has then been accomplished or performed by either branch before a court may come into the picture. COMELEC. This ruling was later on applied in Macalintal v. the Court wrote: In seeking to nullify an act of the Philippine Senate on the ground that it contravenes the Constitution.

the Court ruled that the fact of the law or act in question being not yet effective does not negate ripeness. Even a singular violation of the Constitution and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty. also known as a First Amendment Challenge. a facial challenge. the Court is of the view that an actual case or controversy exists and that the same is ripe for judicial determination.103 where the constitutionality of an unimplemented Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was put in question. acting only when the Fundamental Law has been transgressed. and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. under its expanded jurisdiction. speech and religion and other fundamental rights mentioned above have been violated by the assailed legislation.S. Considering that the RH Law and its implementing rules have already taken effect and that budgetary measures to carry out the law have already been passed. is mandated by the Fundamental Law not only to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable. freedom of the press. particularly public health officers who are threatened to be dismissed from the service with forfeiture of retirement and other benefits. would diminish this Court as a reactive branch of government. it is evident that the subject petitions present a justiciable controversy. As stated earlier. ever vigilant with its duty to maintain the supremacy of the Constitution. is one that is launched to assail the validity of statutes concerning not only protected speech. it was argued that the Court has no authority to pass upon the issues raised as there was yet no concrete act performed that could possibly violate the petitioners' and the intervenors' rights. In this case. In this jurisdiction. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Consequently. at least. While this Court has withheld the application of facial challenges to strictly penal statues. the fundamental right to religious freedom. be heard on the matter NOW. but also those involving religious freedom.110 Verily. but also to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. has been generally maintained. and the right of the people to peaceably assemble. They must. to the detriment of the Filipino people. albeit with some modifications. Facial Challenge The OSG also assails the propriety of the facial challenge lodged by the subject petitions. as they are modes which one's thoughts are externalized. and other fundamental rights. To dismiss these petitions on the simple expedient that there exist no actual case or controversy.S. the Court has authority to take cognizance of these kindred petitions and to determine if the RH Law can indeed pass constitutional scrutiny.106 These include religious freedom. this Court. freedom of the press and peaceful assembly are but component rights of the right to one's freedom of expression. contending that the RH Law cannot be challenged "on its face" as it is not a speech regulating measure. Concrete acts under a law are not necessary to render the controversy ripe. the application of doctrines originating from the U.107 After all. For unlike its counterpart in the U. but also all other rights in the First Amendment.104 Moreover. Citing precedents. considering that the foregoing petitions have seriously alleged that the constitutional human rights to life. but also a duty of the Judiciary to settle the dispute.. the framers of Our Constitution envisioned a proactive Judiciary. it not only becomes a right.108 it has expanded its scope to cover statutes not only regulating free speech. the petitioners have shown that the case is so because medical practitioners or medical providers are in danger of being criminally prosecuted under the RH Law for vague violations thereof. In United States (US) constitutional law.109 The underlying reason for this modification is simple.105 The Court is not persuaded. when an action of the legislative branch is seriously alleged to have infringed the Constitution. .145 In The Province of North Cotabato v.

Inc. the transcendental importance of the issues involved in this case warrants that we set aside the technical defects and take primary jurisdiction over the petition at bar. This is in accordance with the wellentrenched principle that rules of procedure are not inflexible tools designed to hinder or delay. The rule on locus standi is.112 The petitioners. (Emphasis supplied) . It contends that the "as applied challenge" lodged by the petitioners cannot prosper as the assailed law has yet to be enforced and applied against them. invariably invoke the "transcendental importance" doctrine and their status as citizens and taxpayers in establishing the requisite locus standi. and legislators when the public interest so requires.113 It requires a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure the concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. v. hence. waived or relaxed. PAGCOR:119 Granting arguendo that the present action cannot be properly treated as a petition for prohibition. Their strict and rigid application.111 and the government has yet to distribute reproductive health devices that are abortive. taxpayers. Locus standi or legal standing is defined as a personal and substantial interest in a case such that the party has sustained or will sustain direct injury as a result of the challenged governmental act. provided a constitutional issue of transcendental importance is invoked.118 ordinary citizens and taxpayers were allowed to question the constitutionality of several executive orders although they had only an indirect and general interest shared in common with the public. This rule is also known as the prohibition against third-party standing. after all. of overreaching significance to society. not otherwise directly injured or with material interest affected by a Government act. specially the youth. for their part. still. voters or legislators. One cannot deny that the issues raised herein have potentially pervasive influence on the social and moral well being of this nation. taxpayers. can be relaxed for non-traditional plaintiffs like ordinary citizens. their proper and just determination is an imperative need. rather than promote substantial justice. It has accorded certain individuals standing to sue. hence. or of paramount public interest. a procedural technicality which the Court has. to sue in the public interest. but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. on more than one occasion.146 Locus Standi The OSG also attacks the legal personality of the petitioners to file their respective petitions. In the first Emergency Powers Cases. which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate. Torres.114 In relation to locus standi. such as when the matter is of transcendental importance. As held in Jaworski v. the "as applied challenge" embodies the rule that one can challenge the constitutionality of a statute only if he asserts a violation of his own rights. even if the constitutionality of the RH Law may not be assailed through an "as-applied challenge. must always be eschewed. With these said."116 In Coconut Oil Refiners Association. such as concerned citizens. the standing requirement may be relaxed and a suit may be allowed to prosper even where there is no direct injury to the party claiming the right of judicial review. the Court has time and again acted liberally on the locus s tandi requirement.115 Transcendental Importance Notwithstanding.117 the Court held that in cases of paramount importance where serious constitutional questions are involved. The rule prohibits one from challenging the constitutionality of the statute grounded on a violation of the rights of third persons not before the court. thus allowing non-traditional plaintiffs. the Court leans on the doctrine that "the rule on standing is a matter of procedure. albeit they may not have been directly injured by the operation of a law or any other government act.

the central idea of the RH Law. considering that it is the right to life of the mother and the unborn which is primarily at issue. Declaratory Relief For said reason.122 prescribing the one subject-one title rule. It is. the Court sees it as principally a population control measure. After all. According to them. but also to the bench and bar. affordable.147 In view of the seriousness. While it claims to save lives and keep our women and children healthy. As stated earlier. "the other positive provisions such as skilled birth attendance. More importantly. natural or modem. The Court cannot. remove the provisions that refer to contraception or are related to it and the RH Law loses its very foundation. novelty and weight as precedents. the manifest underlying objective of the RH Law is to reduce the number of births in the country.127 As earlier explained.125 Despite efforts to push the RH Law as a reproductive health law. the RH Law emphasizes the need to provide Filipinos. and should not. however. being one for reproductive health with responsible parenthood. not only to the public. and supplies. To belittle the challenge. maternal care including pre-and post-natal services. it also promotes pregnancy-preventing products. The corpus of the RH Law is geared towards the reduction of the country's population. claiming that it violates Section 26(1 ). the Court need not wait for a life to be taken away before taking action. covers the dissemination of information and provisions on access to medically-safe. with access to information on the full range of modem family planning products and methods. devices. the respondents insist that the RH Law is not a birth or population control measure. thus.126 Indeed. however. which are all intended to prevent pregnancy.121 It cannot be denied that the measure also seeks to provide pre-natal and post-natal care as well. the Court may consider them as petitions for prohibition under Rule 65. legal. prevention and management of reproductive tract infections including HIV/AIDS are already provided for in the Magna Carta for Women."128 .120 Suffice it to state that most of the petitions are praying for injunctive reliefs and so the Court would just consider them as petitions for prohibition under Rule 65. agrees with the petitioners' contention that the whole idea of contraception pervades the entire RH Law. exercise judicial restraint at this time when rights enshrined in the Constitution are being imperilled to be violated. methods. Mindful of all these and the fact that the issues of contraception and reproductive health have already caused deep division among a broad spectrum of society. the issues raised must be resolved for the guidance of all.124 and that the concepts of "responsible parenthood" and "reproductive health" are both interrelated as they are inseparable. One Subject-One Title The petitioners also question the constitutionality of the RH Law. when the life of either the mother or her child is at stake. and quality reproductive health care services. non-abortifacient. Where the case has far-reaching implications and prays for injunctive reliefs. over which it has original jurisdiction.123 The Court. in fact. Article VI of the Constitution. the RH Law drastically affects the constitutional provisions on the right to life and health.to act as a population control measure. the assailed legislation violates the constitutional standards of due process by concealing its true intent . effective. especially the poor and the marginalized. the freedom of religion and expression and other constitutional rights. The respondents also assail the petitions because they are essentially petitions for declaratory relief over which the Court has no original jurisdiction. the Court entertains no doubt that the petitions raise issues of transcendental importance warranting immediate court adjudication. would lead to irreparable consequences. To do so. A large portion of the law. These family planning methods. are clearly geared towards the prevention of pregnancy.

as here. either in referring to or indicating one subject where another or different one is really embraced in the act.148 Be that as it may. and where. They argue that even if Section 9 of the RH Law allows only "nonabortifacient" hormonal contraceptives. the right to sustainable human development. or in omitting any expression or indication of the real subject or scope of the act. As expressed in the first paragraph of Section 2 of the RH Law: SEC. The assailed legislation allowing access to abortifacients/abortives effectively sanctions abortion. sanctioning contraceptives that take effect after fertilization and prior to implantation.132 . v. the Court finds no reason to believe that Congress intentionally sought to deceive the public as to the contents of the assailed legislation.131 As it opposes the initiation of life. ethics. . it was written: It is well-settled that the "one title-one subject" rule does not require the Congress to employ in the title of the enactment language of such precision as to mirror. the RH Law does not violate the one subject/one bill rule. Section 4(a) of the RH Law considers contraceptives that prevent the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb as an abortifacient. or which is misleading. the petitioners assert that the State sanction of contraceptive use contravenes natural law and is an affront to the dignity of man. Cawaling. medical research shows that contraceptives use results in abortion as they operate to kill the fertilized ovum which already has life. which is a fundamental human good. the persons interested are informed of the nature. injectables and other safe. II . Declaration of Policy. the right to health which includes reproductive health. Article II of the Constitution. Francis Joseph G Escudero. contrary to the intent of the Framers of the Constitution to afford protection to the fertilized ovum which already has life. The rule is sufficiently complied with if the title is comprehensive enough as to include the general object which the statute seeks to effect. fully index or catalogue all the contents and the minute details therein. the right to education and information. In Benjamin E. legal.SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES: 1-The Right to Life Position of the Petitioners The petitioners assail the RH Law because it violates the right to life and health of the unborn child under Section 12. despite its express terms prohibiting abortion."129 Considering the close intimacy between "reproductive health" and "responsible parenthood" which bears to the attainment of the goal of achieving "sustainable human development" as stated under its terms. The one subject/one title rule expresses the principle that the title of a law must not be "so uncertain that the average person reading it would not be informed of the purpose of the enactment or put on inquiry as to its contents." [Emphases supplied] In this case. and the demands of responsible parenthood. Jr.130 According to the petitioners. this Court has invariably adopted a liberal rather than technical construction of the rule "so as not to cripple or impede legislation. and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions. The Commission on Elections and Rep.The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights. 2. scope and consequences of the proposed law and its operation. Moreover. a textual analysis of the various provisions of the law shows that both "reproductive health" and "responsible parenthood" are interrelated and germane to the overriding objective to control the population growth. cultural beliefs. non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies. thus. intrauterine devices.

therefore.134 According to the OSG. 9710. it is asserted that the Court afford deference and respect to such a determination and pass judgment only when a particular drug or device is later on determined as an abortive. No person shall be deprived of life. particularly. being grounded on natural law. prescribing rules on contraceptive drugs and devices which prevent fertilization. 1966. respondent Lagman argues that the constitutional protection of one's right to life is not violated considering that various studies of the WHO show that life begins from the implantation of the fertilized ovum. As expounded earlier. it is contended that since Section 9 of the RH Law requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to certify that the product or supply is not to be used as an abortifacient. Consequently.139 and the ratification of numerous international agreements. Article III of the Constitution provides: For their part.137 Position of the Respondents In this jurisdiction. nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. Through the years. the use of contraceptives and other family planning methods evolved from being a component of demographic management. the defenders of the RH Law point out that the intent of the Framers of the Constitution was simply the prohibition of abortion. or dependent upon a particular law. the country has long recognized the need to promote population control through the use of contraceptives in order to achieve long-term economic development. not a creation of. Section 1. or property without due process of law. methods. Dispensation. 4729.A.149 Finally. From the enactment of R. Also considering that the FDA is not the agency that will actually supervise or administer the use of these products and supplies to prospective patients. is inherent and. otherwise known as the "The Magna Carta of Women" were legislated. aside from R. to one centered on the promotion of public health. the Philippine national population program has always been grounded two cornerstone principles: "principle of no-abortion" and the "principle of non- . R. 4729. there is no way it can truthfully make a certification that it shall not be used for abortifacient purposes. however. Section 1. Congress has made a legislative determination that contraceptives are not abortifacients by enacting the RH Law. No. or belief. As the RH Law was enacted with due consideration to various studies and consultations with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts in the medical field. liberty.135 For his part. entitled "An Act To Regulate The Sale.138 to the promotion of male vasectomy and tubal ligation. devices products and supplies shall be made accessible to the public. the assailed legislation effectively confirms that abortifacients are not prohibited. No.140 This has resulted in the enactment of various measures promoting women's rights and health and the overall promotion of the family's well-being. Notwithstanding this paradigm shift. he argues that the RH Law is constitutional since the law specifically provides that only contraceptives that do not prevent the implantation of the fertilized ovum are allowed.133 It is a universally accepted principle that every human being enjoys the right to life.A. reproductive health.A.136 The Court's Position Even if not formally established. and/or Distribution of Contraceptive Drugs and Devices "on June 18. 6365 or "The Population Act of the Philippines" and R. custom. the right to life. the right to life is given more than ample protection. They contend that the RH Law does not violate the Constitution since the said law emphasizes that only "non-abortifacient" reproductive health care services. the use of contraceptives and family planning methods in the Philippines is not of recent vintage. Thus. No.A. No. It precedes and transcends any authority or the laws of men.

Hence."141 As will be discussed later. In a nutshell. but rather. these principles are not merely grounded on administrative policy. It is a wellsettled principle of constitutional construction that the language employed in the Constitution must be given their ordinary meaning except where technical terms are employed. Verba legis non est recedendum . those opposing the RH Law contend that conception is synonymous with "fertilization" of the female ovum by the male sperm. there are quarters who have conveniently disregarded the scientific fact that conception is reckoned from fertilization. because it is assumed that the words in which constitutional provisions are couched express the objective sought to be attained. the words of the Constitution should be understood in the sense they have in common use. For said reason. focus should be made on the particular phrase of Section 12 which reads: Section 12. however. it is no surprise that the Constitution is mute as to any proscription prior to conception or when life begins. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. plain. Textually. in whose consciousness it should ever be present as an important condition for the rule of law to prevail. the ponente. without proper hearing and evidence. means that life begins at fertilization. One of the primary and basic rules in statutory construction is that where the words of a statute are clear. In answering the question of when life begins. It is a canon in statutory construction that the words of the Constitution should be interpreted in their plain and ordinary meaning. the issue of when life begins. as described and defined by all reliable and reputable sources. During the deliberation. . because the Constitution is not primarily a lawyer's document but essentially that of the people.142 On the other side of the spectrum are those who assert that conception refers to the "implantation" of the fertilized ovum in the uterus. As held in the recent case of Chavez v. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government. amazingly. at this stage. there is no unborn to speak of.150 coercion. The problem has arisen because. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. What it says according to the text of the provision to be construed compels acceptance and negates the power of the courts to alter it. it was agreed upon that the individual members of the Court could express their own views on this matter. based on the postulate that the framers and the people mean what they say. and free from ambiguity. and second. In conformity with the above principle. As much as possible. the Constitution affords protection to the unborn from conception.143 When Life Begins* Plain and Legal Meaning Majority of the Members of the Court are of the position that the question of when life begins is a scientific and medical issue that should not be decided. They are waving the view that life begins at implantation. originates from the constitutional protection expressly provided to afford protection to life and guarantee religious freedom. This is undisputable because before conception. is of the strong view that life begins at fertilization. The raison d' etre for the rule is essentially two-fold: First. Judicial Bar Council:144 In this regard. the traditional meaning of the word "conception" which.from the words of a statute there should be no departure.

the fertilized ovum is human. qualifies as death. Montano. page 3. Even a child inside the womb already has life. Therefore. then the cessation thereof even prior to the child being delivered. Carhart. there is no question that biologically the fertilized ovum has life. as it takes in these nutrients. only in human cells. A chromosome count of 46 is found only . Accredited Voluntary Arbitrator Allan S.and I repeat. Thirdly. an unborn child has already a legal personality. The first question that needs to be answered is: Is the fertilized ovum alive? Biologically categorically says yes. there is a sentence which reads: Mr. [Emphases in the original] In Gonzales v. the fertilized ovum is alive. it takes in nutrients which it processes by itself. the nuclei of the ovum and the sperm rupture.147 it was written: xxx Life is not synonymous with civil personality." The records reflect the following: Rev. or cited.151 . the beginning of human life. as a baby or a child. as night follows day. No less than the Constitution recognizes the life of the unborn from conception. Hon. the fetus was referred to. like all living organisms. writing for the US Supreme Court. Since these questions have been answered affirmatively. it was explained: Mr. One need not acquire civil personality first before he/she could die. it multiplies itself at a geometric rate in the continuous process of cell division.146 xxx Even in jurisprudence. the fertilization that results in a new entity capable of developing into a being like its parents. said that the State "has respect for human life at all stages in the pregnancy" and "a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life. The second question: Is it human? Genetics gives an equally categorical "yes. All these processes are vital signs of life." At the moment of conception. as such. From their deliberations. in the decision. that the State must protect equally with the life of the mother." Invariably.150 As to why conception is reckoned from fertilization and. Villegas: I propose to review this issue in a biological manner. it clearly refers to the moment of "fertilization. it grows from within. x x x.151 Webster's Third New International Dictionary describes it as the act of becoming pregnant. we must conclude that if the fertilized ovum is both alive and human. It begins doing this upon fertilization. First of all. Secondly.149 Intent of the Framers Records of the Constitutional Convention also shed light on the intention of the Framers regarding the term "conception" used in Section 12. Therefore.148 Justice Anthony Kennedy.145 "The State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from the moment of conception." When is the moment of conception? Black's Law Dictionary gives legal meaning to the term "conception" as the fecundation of the female ovum by the male spermatozoon resulting in human life capable of survival and maturation under normal conditions. As this happens 23 chromosomes from the ovum combine with 23 chromosomes of the sperm to form a total of 46 chromosomes. Article II of the Constitution. it is when the ovum is fertilized by the sperm that there is human life. then. it must be human life. Rigos: In Section 9. formation of a viable zygote. Its nature is human. Villegas: As I explained in the sponsorship speech. If the unborn already has life. In Continental Steel Manufacturing Corporation v.

we want to use the simpler phrase "from the moment of conception. Commissioner Bernardo Villegas. What happens with some contraceptives is that they stop the opportunity for the fertilized ovum to reach the uterus.152 Why the Constitution used the phrase "from the moment of conception" and not "from the moment of fertilization" was not because of doubt when human life begins. The provision. is that the Framers of the Constitution did not intend to ban all contraceptives for being unconstitutional. it is apparent that the Framers of the Constitution emphasized that the State shall provide equal protection to both the mother and the unborn child from the earliest opportunity of life. Mr. Actually. There can be no doubt about it. Villgas: Yes." Mr. then that is what is called abortifacient and. So. they are already considered abortifacient. I would like to ask a question on that point. the ovum is fertilized by the sperm. if that physical fact is established. too. that is. Presiding Officer. if we take the provision as it is proposed. Rigos: Yes. but rather." does this mean when the egg meets the sperm? Mr. Gascon: Yes. in order to ensure that the fertilized ovum is given ample protection under the Constitution. When it speaks of "from the moment of conception. spearheading the need to have a constitutional provision on the right to life. upon fertilization or upon the union of the male sperm and the female ovum. he would leave it to Congress to define when life begins. as proposed right now states: The State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from the moment of conception.155 . without specifying "from the moment of conception. It is now determined by science that life begins from the moment of conception. Therefore. Equally apparent. If fertilization has already occurred. Gascon: Mr. it was discussed: Rev. dangerous.154 From the deliberations above-quoted."152 Thus. these so called contraceptives should be banned. Scientifically and based on the provision as it is now proposed. So we should not give any doubt to Congress. Therefore that does not leave to Congress the right to determine whether certain contraceptives that we know today are abortifacient or not because it is a fact that some of the so-called contraceptives deter the rooting of the ovum in the uterus. it was asked: Mr. the next process is for the fertilized ovum to travel towards the uterus and to take root. we think that the word "unborn" is sufficient for the purpose of writing a Constitution. Mr. It is also apparent is that the Framers of the Constitution intended that to prohibit Congress from enacting measures that would allow it determine when life begins. Congress can define life to begin from six months after fertilization. Davide: I would not subscribe to that particular view because according to the Commissioner's own admission. and that would really be very. Tingson: x x x x the phrase from the moment of conception" was described by us here before with the scientific phrase "fertilized ovum" may be beyond the comprehension of some people. because: Mr. Villegas: Yes. would be unconstitutional and should be banned under this provision. that is one of the questions I was going to raise during the period of interpellations but it has been expressed already. however. recognized that the determination of whether a contraceptive device is an abortifacient is a question of fact which should be left to the courts to decide on based on established evidence. So my point is that I do not think it is up to Congress to state whether or not these certain contraceptives are abortifacient. In fact. therefore.153 Upon further inquiry. very.

Gascon: Yes. Noche: Under Section 12. Article II. As emphasized by the Framers of the Constitution: xxx xxx xxx Mr. Noche: So. There is no unborn yet. Mr. Gascon: xx xx. Atty. I would just like to be assured of the legal and pragmatic implications of the term "protection of the life of the unborn from the moment of conception. As I mentioned in my speech on the US bases." what really occurs is that some of these contraceptives will have to be unconstitutionalized. contraceptives that actually prevent the union of the male sperm and the female ovum. such as the intra-uterine device which actually stops the egg which has already been fertilized from taking route to the uterus. to the extent that it is after the fertilization." not "maybe. Mr. Noche: Before the union of the eggs. there is no life yet. Atty. constitutionally permissible. Presiding Officer. because contraceptives would be preventive. Mr. Justice Bersamin: . vasectomy. Justice Bersamin: There is no life.153 Mr. That is yet unshaped. but I was speaking more about some contraceptives. yes. Azcuna: Yes. to the point that I would like not only to protect the life of the unborn. From the discussions above. Conversely. There it was conceded that tubal ligation. Justice Bersamin: To be protected. Mr." to certain contraceptives which are already being encouraged at this point in time. contraceptives that kill or destroy the fertilized ovum should be deemed an abortive and thus prohibited. but also the lives of the millions of people in the world by fighting for a nuclearfree world. there is no life to be protected. Gascon: Thank you. egg and the sperm. I would like to ask that question again for a categorical answer. and those that similarly take action prior to fertilization should be deemed non-abortive. Justice Bersamin: So you have no objection to condoms? Atty." I raised some of these implications this afternoon when I interjected in the interpellation of Commissioner Regalado. and thus. I am prolife. even condoms are not classified as abortifacients.156 The fact that not all contraceptives are prohibited by the 1987 Constitution is even admitted by petitioners during the oral arguments. Mr. I mentioned that if we institutionalize the term "the life of the unborn from the moment of conception" we are also actually saying "no. Azcuna: No. So if we say "from the moment of conception. Presiding Officer.157 Atty. Presiding Officer. Is that the sense of the committee or does it disagree with me? Mr. Noche: Not under Section 12.

. In terms of biology and human embryology. and thus human life. They wrote: "Although life is a continuous process. yes. known as a zygote. yes. I have to admit it's not an abortifacient. and independent of any .. also concludes that human life (human person) begins at the moment of fertilization with the union of the egg and the sperm resulting in the formation of a new individual. Atty.. This fertilized ovum. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity. Justice Bersamin: Alright." This conclusion is objective. legal.158 Medical Meaning That conception begins at fertilization is not bereft of medical foundation. Your Honor. fertilization is a critical landmark because.161 used by medical schools in the Philippines. Human lives are sacred from the moment of conception. a new. genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed. or political conclusion cannot escape this objective scientific fact. there are scientific findings to that effect. Noche: And it's not. and Allied Health Dictionary defines conception as "the beginning of pregnancy usually taken to be the instant a spermatozoon enters an ovum and forms a viable zygote. Noche: Well. begins. and that destroying those new lives is never licit. Article II. consistent with the factual evidence. Your Honor."160 The Textbook of Obstetrics (Physiological & Pathological Obstetrics). a human being begins immediately at fertilization and after that."162 The authors of Human Embryology & Teratology163 mirror the same position. The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. or primordium. Fertilization is a sequence of events that begins with the contact of a sperm (spermatozoon) with a secondary oocyte (ovum) and ends with the fusion of their pronuclei (the haploid nuclei of the sperm and ovum) and the mingling of their chromosomes to form a new cell.154 Even if there is already information that condoms sometimes have porosity? Atty. but I am discussing here Section 12."159 It describes fertilization as "the union of male and female gametes to form a zygote from which the embryo develops. with a unique genetic composition that dictates all developmental stages that ensue. Mosby s Medical. Your Honor. Your Honor. Nursing. under ordinary circumstances. Similarly. recent medical research on the matter also reveals that: "Human development begins after the union of male and female gametes or germ cells during a process known as fertilization (conception). there is no point along the continuous line of human embryogenesis where only a "potential" human being can be posited. Any philosophical." In support of the RH Bill. is a large diploid cell that is the beginning. The scientific evidence supports the conclusion that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically well defined "moment of conception. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. no matter what the purported good outcome would be. The Philippine Medical Association came out with a "Paper on the Reproductive Health Bill (Responsible Parenthood Bill)" and therein concluded that: CONCLUSION The PMA throws its full weight in supporting the RH Bill at the same time that PMA maintains its strong position that fertilization is sacred because it is at this stage that conception. of a human being.

Thus: Not surprisingly. political. the Court cannot subscribe to the theory advocated by Hon. For the above reasons.170 Moreover.165 According to him.164 It would legally permit what the Constitution proscribes . at this stage. explained: In all. If such theory would be accepted.abortion and abortifacients. This intent of the Framers was captured in the record of the proceedings of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. They are not identical and synonymous. the RH Law is replete with provisions that embody the policy of the law to protect to the fertilized ovum and that it should be afforded safe travel to the uterus for implantation. As pointed out by Justice Carpio. It was so clear that even the Court cannot interpret it otherwise. Conclusion: The Moment of Conception is Reckoned from The RH Law and Abortion Fertilization The clear and unequivocal intent of the Framers of the 1987 Constitution in protecting the life of the unborn from conception was to prevent the Legislature from enacting a measure legalizing abortion. and more importantly. Section 4. which penalizes the destruction or expulsion of the fertilized ovum. upon fertilization. following the intention of the Framers of the Constitution. it would unnervingly legitimize the utilization of any drug or device that would prevent the implantation of the fetus at the uterine wall. moral. the principal proponent of the protection of the unborn from conception.155 specific ethical. The fertilized ovum/zygote is not an inanimate object . Definition of Terms. the undeniable conclusion is that a zygote is a human organism and that the life of a new human being commences at a scientifically welldefined moment of conception.. the RH Law recognizes that abortion is a crime under Article 256 of the Revised Penal Code. he wrote that "medical authorities confirm that the implantation of the fertilized ovum is the commencement of conception and it is only after implantation that pregnancy can be medically detected. whether it be taken from a plain meaning. or religious view of human life or of human embryos. While the Court has opted not to make any determination. It does not pertain to the beginning of life but to the viability of the fetus. . the following terms shall be defined as follows: xxx. To adopt it would constitute textual infidelity not only to the RH Law but also to the Constitution. Commissioner Bernardo Villegas. Lagman that life begins at implantation. The intention .168 Implantation has been conceptualized only for convenience by those who had population control in mind. . that is. or understood under medical parlance. It would be provocative and further aggravate religious-based divisiveness. even the OSG does not support this position."167 This theory of implantation as the beginning of life is devoid of any legal or scientific mooring.it is a living human being complete with DNA and 46 chromosomes.For the purpose of this Act. it finds that the RH Law itself clearly mandates that protection be afforded from the moment of fertilization. 1] xx x.169 A reading of the RH Law would show that it is in line with this intent and actually proscribes abortion."166 Citing a letter of the WHO. when life begins. .is to make sure that there would be no pro-abortion laws ever passed by Congress or any pro-abortion decision passed by the Supreme Court. "fertilization and conception are two distinct and successive stages in the reproductive process.

and to attain the highest standard of sexual health and reproductive health: Provided. By using the word " or. an abortifacient is any drug or device that either: (a) Induces abortion.x x x x (a) Abortifacient refers to any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother's womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb upon determination of the FDA. Definition of Terms . It also does not declare . however. By expressly declaring that any drug or device that prevents the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb is an abortifacient (third kind). modified or amended accordingly. Contrary to the assertions made by the petitioners. As stated above. to decide freely and responsibly whether or not to have children. free of discrimination. rule or regulation contrary to or is inconsistent with the provisions of this Act including Republic Act No. Thus. SEC. 29. the Court finds that the RH Law. or (c) Prevents the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb. the RH Law mandates that protection must be afforded from the moment of fertilization. 3] xx x. prohibits any drug or device that induces abortion (first kind). to make other decisions concerning reproduction. facilities. prohibits any drug or device the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb (third kind). but also those that induce abortion and those that induce the destruction of a fetus inside the mother's womb. . Lagman suggests.Except for prevailing laws against abortion.156 (q) Reproductive health care refers to the access to a full range of methods. the RH Law does not intend to mean at all that life only begins only at implantation. coercion and violence. refers to that which induces the killing or the destruction of the fertilized ovum. Section 4(a) of the RH Law defines an abortifacient as: Section 4. x x x. upon determination of the FDA. presidential decree or issuance. which. That reproductive health rights do not include abortion. services and supplies that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by addressing reproductive health-related problems. Repealing Clause. or (b) Induces the destruction of a fetus inside the mother's womb. (3) Proscription of abortion and management of abortion complications. first. It also includes sexual health. recognizes that the fertilized ovum already has life and that the State has a bounden duty to protect it. second. the RH Law is consistent in prohibiting abortifacients. otherwise known as the Midwifery Act. executive order. as Hon. letter of instruction. to have the information and means to do so. is hereby repealed. administrative order. (s) Reproductive health rights refers to the rights of individuals and couples. as discussed exhaustively above. The conclusion becomes clear because the RH Law. To be clear. and. spacing and timing of their children. the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations. any law. The RH Law and Abortifacients In carrying out its declared policy. consistent with the Constitution. and access to abortifacients. xxx 2] xx x. The elements of reproductive health care include the following: xxx." the RH Law prohibits not only drugs or devices that prevent implantation. the number. Section 4. 7392.

further. Abortifacients under the RH-IRR At this juncture. if life is only recognized and afforded protection from the moment the fertilized ovum implants . device. or health product. The FDA. the Court agrees with ALFI that the authors of the RH-IRR gravely abused their office when they redefined the meaning of abortifacient. that prevents pregnancy but does not primarily destroy a fertilized ovum or prevent a fertilized ovum from being implanted in the mother's . To repeat. postcoital pills. should bend to the legislative intent and mean that "any product or supply included or to be included in the EDL must have a certification from the FDA that said product and supply is made available on the condition that it cannot be used as abortifacient.171 Pursuant to its declared policy of providing access only to safe. however. the Court finds that inasmuch as it affords protection to the fertilized ovum." Such a construction is consistent with the proviso under the second paragraph of the same section that provides: Provided. that is. viz: j) Contraceptive refers to any safe. Definition of Terms. the Court finds that the proviso under Section 9 of the law that "any product or supply included or to be included in the EDL must have a certification from the FDA that said product and supply is made available on the condition that it is not to be used as an abortifacient" as empty as it is absurd. as worded. its viability is sustained but that instance of implantation is not the point of beginning of life. cannot fully attest that a drug or device will not all be used as an abortifacient. whether natural or artificial. since the agency cannot be present in every instance when the contraceptive product or supply will be used.0lG) of the RH-IRR. That the foregoing offices shall not purchase or acquire by any means emergency contraceptive pills. Section 3.there is nothing to prevent any drug or device from killing or destroying the fertilized ovum prior to implantation. and two. effective and scientifically proven modern family planning method.01 For purposes of these Rules. the following terms shall be defined as follows: (a) Abortifacient refers to any drug or device that induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother's womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb upon determination of the FDA.all the way until it reaches and implants in the mother's womb." is redefined. Rather. And as defined by the RH Law. redefines "abortifacient" as: Section 3. with all its expertise. [Emphasis supplied] Again in Section 3. however. the RH Law does not sanction abortion. "contraceptive. which kills or destroys the fertilized ovum or prevents the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb. The RH Law defines "abortifacient" as follows: SEC. is an abortifacient. the fertilized ovum must be protected the moment it becomes existent . After all. abortifacients that will be used for such purpose and their other forms or equivalent. legal. not at implantation. When a fertilized ovum is implanted in the uterine wall . Proviso Under Section 9 of the RH Law This notwithstanding. it recognizes that: one. the Court finds that the proviso of Section 9. any drug or device that induces abortion. It started earlier. .157 either that protection will only be given upon implantation.For the purpose of this Act. the terms shall be defined as follows: a) Abortifacient refers to any drug or device that primarily induces abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother's womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb upon determination of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 4. as the petitioners likewise suggest. it is the Court's position that life begins at fertilization.0l (a) of the IRR. From the foregoing. there is a need to protect the fertilized ovum which already has life. legal and non-abortifacient contraceptives.

the undeniable conclusion is that contraceptives to be included in the PNDFS and the EDL will not only be those contraceptives that do not have the primary action of causing abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother's womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb. Thus. Evidently. With such qualification in the RH-IRR. therefore. the prevention of the implantation of the fertilized ovum. be declared invalid.174 Also. injectables and family products and supplies in the National Drug Formulary and the inclusion of the same in the regular purchase of essential medicines and supplies of all national hospitals. the petitioners assert that the assailed legislation only seeks to ensure that women have pleasurable and satisfying sex lives. the word " primarily" in Section 3.0l(a) and G) of the RH-IRR is indeed ultra vires. consistent with the constitutional policy prohibiting abortion. the observations of Justice Brion and Justice Del Castillo are well taken. a twofold increased risk of ischematic stroke. with the insertion of the word "primarily. Section 12 of the Constitution.158 womb in doses of its approved indication as determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).180 . Section 9 calls for the certification by the FDA that these contraceptives cannot act as abortive. but also those that do not have the secondary action of acting the same way. There is danger that the insertion of the qualifier "primarily" will pave the way for the approval of contraceptives which may harm or destroy the life of the unborn from conception/fertilization in violation of Article II. as discussed earlier. in all cases. as pertinent here. together with the definition of an abortifacient under Section 4 (a) of the RH Law and its declared policy against abortion. it appears to insinuate that a contraceptive will only be considered as an "abortifacient" if its sole known effect is abortion or.172 This cannot be done." Section 3. Section 12 of the Constitution. with the addition of the word "primarily. 2-The Right to Health The petitioners claim that the RH Law violates the right to health because it requires the inclusion of hormonal contraceptives. Further.0l(a) and G) of the RH-IRR should be declared void.0l(a) and G) of the RH-IRR173 must be struck down for being ultra vires. For the same reason."175 To repeat and emphasize. the "principle of no abortion" embodied in the constitutional protection of life must be upheld.0l(a) and G) of the RH-IRR and prohibit only those contraceptives that have the primary effect of being an abortive would effectively "open the floodgates to the approval of contraceptives which may harm or destroy the life of the unborn from conception/fertilization in violation of Article II. It contravenes Section 4(a) of the RH Law and should.176 Citing various studies on the matter. With this. Indeed. this definition of "contraceptive" would permit the approval of contraceptives which are actually abortifacients because of their fail-safe mechanism. To uphold the validity of Section 3. it is contended that the use of combined oral contraceptive pills is associated with a threefold increased risk of venous thromboembolism. The above-mentioned section of the RH-IRR allows "contraceptives" and recognizes as "abortifacient" only those that primarily induce abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside the mother's womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother's womb. the petitioners posit that the risk of developing breast and cervical cancer is greatly increased in women who use oral contraceptives as compared to women who never use them. They point out that the risk is decreased when the use of contraceptives is discontinued. the RH Law and its implementing rules must be consistent with each other in prohibiting abortion. and an indeterminate effect on risk of myocardial infarction. In this regard.177 Given the definition of "reproductive health" and "sexual health" under Sections 4(p)178 and (w)179 of the RH Law." in Section 3. and in line with the principle that laws should be construed in a manner that its constitutionality is sustained. intrauterine devices. As they pointed out.

and their integration into the mainstream of society. No. elderly. the legislature would have the power to ignore and practically nullify the mandate of the fundamental law. particularly ALFI. Article II of the Constitution provides: Section 15. In this regard. that – . There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged. self-development. Article XVI provides: Section 9. That is why the prevailing view is. do not question contraception and contraceptives per se.159 The OSG. it bears mentioning that the petitioners. Even if it were self-executory.184 In fact. ALFI prays that the status quo .under R. A portion of Article XIII also specifically provides for the States' duty to provide for the health of the people.A. manpower development. and self-reliance. as it has always been. and children. Article II of the Constitution is not self-executory. sick. Section 13. Section 15. women. Section 9. The State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products. points out that Section 15. The State shall establish and maintain an effective food and drug regulatory system and undertake appropriate health.. the provisions of the Constitution should be considered self-executory. the sale and distribution of contraceptives are not prohibited when they are dispensed by a prescription of a duly licensed by a physician . .181 The Court's Position A component to the right to life is the constitutional right to health. Section 12. This can be cataclysmic. (Emphases supplied) This notwithstanding. Unless the provisions clearly express the contrary. These provisions would be subordinated to the will of the lawmaking body. however.183 it was stated: x x x Hence. and research. the Constitution should be considered self-executing rather than non-self-executing. GSIS. Finally. or whether. however. it being a mere statement of the administration's principle and policy.185 .. .be maintained. health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them. No. as a contrary rule would give the legislature discretion to determine when. viz: HEALTH Section 11. the OSG posits that medical authorities refute the claim that contraceptive pose a danger to the health of women.182 In Manila Prince Hotel v.A. 5921 and R. they shall be effective. the provisions of the Constitution should be considered self-executing. the presumption now is that all provisions of the constitution are self-executing. Contrary to the respondent's notion. The State shall establish a special agency for disabled person for their rehabilitation. If the constitutional provisions are treated as requiring legislation instead of self-executing. disabled. the Constitution is replete with provisions protecting and promoting the right to health. The State shall endeavor to provide free medical care to paupers. responsive to the country's health needs and problems. . which could make them entirely meaningless by simply refusing to pass the needed implementing statute. these provisions are selfexecuting. unless it is expressly provided that a legislative act is necessary to enforce a constitutional mandate. There is no need for legislation to implement these self-executing provisions. 4729. in case of doubt. Unless the contrary is clearly intended. The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods.

Thus. to sell. 4729 in place. the sale.A. distribution and dispensation of contraceptive drugs and devices are particularly governed by RA No. "This Act shall take effect upon its approval. or otherwise be made available to the consuming public except through a prescription drugstore or hospital pharmacy. No. device. material. dispense or otherwise distribute whether for or without consideration. and/ or Distribution of Contraceptive Drugs and Devices" and Republic Act No. Republic Act No. drug.160 The legislative intent in the enatment of the RH Law in this regard is to leave intact the provisions of R. Section 25 of RA No. No medicine. As aptly explained by respondent Lagman: "Section 1. sold or resold. or corporation. For the purpose of this Act: "(a) "Contraceptive drug" is any medicine. Of the same import. 4729 or "An Act to Regulate the Sale. 2 . "Approved: June 18. violating the provisions of this Act shall be punished with a fine of not more than five hundred pesos or an imprisonment of not less than six months or more than one year or both in the discretion of the Court. 109. or agent introduced into the female reproductive system for the primary purpose of preventing conception. Consequently. any contraceptive drug or device. 4729 which provides in full: "Sec. or drug of whatever nature and kind or device shall be compounded. the same cannot be dispensed and used without prescription. Contraceptives cannot be "(b) "Contraceptive device" is any instrument. As an added protection to voluntary users of contraceptives. dispensed and used without prescription 108. There is no intention at all to do away with it. It shall be unlawful for any person. 4729. partnership. but in a general manner. the Court agrees with the observation of respondent Lagman that the effectivity of the RH Law will not lead to the unmitigated proliferation of contraceptives since the sale. drugs and devices. dispensed. With R. 5921 or "An Act Regulating the Practice of Pharmacy and Setting Standards of Pharmaceutical Education in the Philippines and for Other Purposes" are not repealed by the RH Law and the provisions of said Acts are not inconsistent with the RH Law. pharmaceuticals. dispensation or distribution is by a duly licensed drug store or pharmaceutical company and with the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner. 1966" 111. there exists adequate safeguards to ensure the public that only contraceptives that are safe are made available to the public. 110. or corporation. partnership. No. distribution and dispensation of contraceptive drugs and devices will still require the prescription of a licensed physician. unless such sale. 5921 provides: "Section 25. 3 Any person. Dispensation. or portion which is used exclusively for the purpose of preventing fertilization of the female ovum: and "Sec. duly established in accordance with the provisions of this Act. . chemical. It is still a good law and its requirements are still in to be complied with. pharmaceutical.A. D. Sale of medicine.

as provided for in the RH Law and other relevant statutes. As pointed out by Justice De Castro. whether harmful or not. Thus. Underlining supplied. nonabortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies. legal. There must first be a determination by the FDA that they are in fact safe. is completely unwarranted and baseless. The public health must be protected by all possible means. There can be no predetermination by Congress that the gamut of contraceptives are "safe. The distribution of contraceptive drugs and devices must not be indiscriminately done. (b) Contraceptive prevalence rate. The provision of the third sentence concerning the requirements for the inclusion or removal of a particular family planning supply from the EDL supports this construction. the current levels and projections of the following: (a) Number of women of reproductive age and couples who want to space or limit their children. for it may be held accountable for any injury. legal. injectables. Stated differently.187 At any rate. The first sentence of Section 9 that ordains their inclusion by the National Drug Formulary in the EDL by using the mandatory "shall" is to be construed as operative only after they have been tested.] In Re: Section 10 of the RH Law: The foregoing safeguards should be read in connection with Section 10 of the RH Law which provides: SEC. has the expertise to determine whether a particular hormonal contraceptive or intrauterine device is safe and non-abortifacient. to be determined as the case presents itself. distribution and monitoring program consistent with the overall provisions of this Act and the guidelines of the DOH. evaluated. non-abortifacient and effective" without the proper scientific examination. .A. 4729. among others. the various kinds of contraceptives must first be measured up to the constitutional yardstick as expounded herein. legal. 10. at this point. That LGUs may implement its own procurement. Consequently. the attack on the RH Law on this ground is premature. illness or loss of life resulting from or incidental to their use. which is still in effect. Procurement and Distribution of Family Planning Supplies. distribute to LGUs and monitor the usage of family planning supplies for the whole country.186 [Emphases in the Original. in the distribution by the DOH of contraceptive drugs and devices. The FDA. . non-abortifacient and effective family planning products and supplies by the National Drug Formulary in the EDL is not mandatory. a heavy responsibility and burden are assumed by the government in supplying contraceptive drugs and devices. The DOH shall coordinate with all appropriate local government bodies to plan and implement this procurement and distribution program. the provision in Section 9 covering the inclusion of hormonal contraceptives. and other safe. the Court is of the strong view that Congress cannot legislate that hormonal contraceptives and intra-uterine devices are safe and nonabortifacient. and ensure that the contraceptives that it will procure shall be from a duly licensed drug store or pharmaceutical company and that the actual dispensation of these contraceptive drugs and devices will done following a prescription of a qualified medical practitioner. Indeed. and approved by the FDA.161 112. At this point. the pretension of the petitioners that the RH Law will lead to the unmitigated proliferation of contraceptives. With all of the foregoing safeguards. It behooves the Court to await its determination which drugs or devices are declared by the FDA as safe. not Congress. it being the agency tasked to ensure that food and medicines available to the public are safe for public consumption. and (c) Cost of family planning supplies.The DOH shall procure. The supply and budget allotments shall be based on. No. by type of method used. the Court finds that. Provided. it bears pointing out that not a single contraceptive has yet been submitted to the FDA pursuant to the RH Law. intra-uterine devices. it must consider the provisions of R.

it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life. and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses. 14 and 1 7 of the law are too secular that they tend to disregard the religion of Filipinos.192 Petitioner CFC also argues that the requirement for a conscientious objector to refer the person seeking reproductive health care services to another provider infringes on one's freedom of religion as it forces the objector to become an unwilling participant in the commission of a serious sin under Catholic teachings. and c) teachers in public schools referred to in Section 14 of the RH Law.e. On Religious Accommodation and The Duty to Refer Petitioners Imbong and Luat note that while the RH Law attempts to address religious sentiments by making provisions for a conscientious objector. contend that the requirement to refer the matter to another health care service provider is still considered a compulsion on those objecting healthcare service providers. this amounts to requiring the conscientious objector to cooperate with the very thing he refuses to do without violating his/her religious beliefs. it harms true love and denies the sovereign rule of God in the transmission of Human life. there are those who. the acts prohibited by the RH Law are passive acts which produce neither harm nor injury to the public.no escape is afforded the conscientious objector in Section 23 (a)(l) and (2). Authorizing the use of contraceptives with abortive effects."188 The petitioners question the State-sponsored procurement of contraceptives. the constitutional guarantee is nonetheless violated because the law also imposes upon the conscientious objector the duty to refer the patient seeking reproductive health services to another medical practitioner who would be able to provide for the patient's needs.19 Petitioner Echavez and the other medical practitioners meanwhile. Petitioner PAX explained that "contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity. Some of these are medical practitioners who essentially claim that their beliefs prohibit not only the use of contraceptives but also the willing participation and cooperation in all things dealing with contraceptive use. the recognition is unduly limited. are evil.193 . are also not recognize. While the right to act on one's belief may be regulated by the State.190 They further argue that even if the conscientious objector's duty to refer is recognized. Sections 9. mandatory sex education. because of their religious education and background.162 3 -Freedom of Religion and the Right to Free Speech Position of the Petitioners: 1. They add that compelling them to do the act against their will violates the Doctrine of Benevolent Neutrality. arguing that the expenditure of their taxes on contraceptives violates the guarantee of religious freedom since contraceptives contravene their religious beliefs. whether abortifacient or not. i. They claim that the right of other individuals to conscientiously object. because although it allows a conscientious objector in Section 23 (a)(3) the option to refer a patient seeking reproductive health services and information . On Contraception While contraceptives and procedures like vasectomy and tubal ligation are not covered by the constitutional proscription.189 2. mandatory pro-bono reproductive health services to indigents encroach upon the religious freedom of those upon whom they are required. sincerely believe that contraceptives. b) public officers involved in the implementation of the law referred to in Section 23(b ). For the petitioners. such as: a) those working in public health facilities referred to in Section 7. against a patient seeking reproductive health procedures.

sustainable human development. They are completely free to reject any information they do not agree with and retain the freedom to decide on matters of family life without intervention of the State. They claim that the provision forces individuals to participate in the implementation of the RH Law even if it contravenes their religious beliefs. ethics. It is argued that those who object to any information received on account of their attendance in the required seminars are not compelled to accept information given to them.201 With respect to the duty to refer. it being a carefully balanced compromise between the interests of the religious objector. It neither imposes nor sanctions any religion or belief. by seeking the declaration that the RH Law is unconstitutional. choice and to make decisions according to religious convictions. the petitioners are asking that the Court recognize only the Catholic Church's sanctioned natural family planning methods and impose this on the entire citizenry. For the respondents. the respondents insist that the same does not violate the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom. education. the petitioners are effectively going against the constitutional right to religious freedom. on one hand.197 and that what the law only prohibits are those acts or practices. breastfeeding and infant nutrition.195 As the assailed law dangles the threat of penalty of fine and/or imprisonment in case of noncompliance with its provisions. It does not explain how the rights of the people (to equality. they highlight the changing stand of the Catholic Church on contraception throughout the years . which is an assurance that no one will be compelled to violate his religion against his free will. health. the petitioners also question Section 15 of the RH Law requiring would-be couples to attend family planning and responsible parenthood seminars and to obtain a certificate of compliance. The Respondents' Positions The respondents. information.. respondents De Venecia et al. support and facilitate access and information to contraception against their beliefs must be struck down as it runs afoul to the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.163 Petitioner CFC adds that the RH Law does not show compelling state interest to justify regulation of religious freedom because it mentions no emergency. which deprive others of their right to reproductive health. who is allowed to keep silent but is required to refer -and that of the citizen who needs access to information and who has the right to expect that the health care professional in front of her will act professionally. the petitioners claim that the RH Law forcing them to provide. the respondents claim that it is a reasonable regulation providing an opportunity for would-be couples to have access to information regarding parenthood.196 They point out that the RH Law only seeks to serve the public interest by providing accessible. the same right they invoked to assail the constitutionality of the RH Law.200 In other words.194 Finally. Citing various studies and surveys on the matter. family planning. risk or threat that endangers state interests. effective and quality reproductive health services to ensure maternal and child health. be it natural or artificial. contend that the RH Law does not provide that a specific mode or type of contraceptives be used.199 The respondents add that by asserting that only natural family planning should be allowed. non-discrimination of rights. the concession given by the State under Section 7 and 23(a)(3) is sufficient accommodation to the right to freely exercise one's religion without unnecessarily infringing on the rights of others. cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood) are being threatened or are not being met as to justify the impairment of religious freedom. on the other hand.198 They assert that the assailed law only seeks to guarantee informed choice.204 For their part. location and impact. in line with the State's duty to bring to reality the social justice health guarantees of the Constitution.203 Regarding mandatory family planning seminars under Section 15 . dispute the notion that natural family planning is the only method acceptable to Catholics and the Catholic hierarchy.202 Whatever burden is placed on the petitioner's religious freedom is minimal as the duty to refer is limited in duration.

164 and note the general acceptance of the benefits of contraceptives by its followers in planning their families. As this is embodied in the preamble. it means that the State recognizes with respect the influence of religion in so far as it instills into the mind the purest principles of morality. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. in recognition of the contributions of religion to society. and to whom they call for guidance and enlightenment in crafting our fundamental law. of the 1987 Constitution: Section. do ordain and promulgate this Constitution. however. Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution. shall forever be allowed. and secure to ourselves and our posterity. Thus. felt the need to put up a strong barrier so that the State would not encroach into the affairs of the church. The Framers. and optional religious instructions in public schools. It cannot favor one religion and discriminate against another.205 Moreover. The principle of separation of Church and State was. No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion. Section 29 (2). an iglesia. the preamble of the present Constitution reads: We. in law and in practice. social and racial groups to thrive in a single society together. the Constitution lays down the following mandate in Article III. and peace. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. History has shown us that our government. enshrined in Article II. It has embraced minority groups and is tolerant towards all . The Church and The State At the outset. equality. in order to build a just and humane society. cultural and religious beliefs and backgrounds. whatever they conceived Him to be. Thus. Section 5 and Article VI. thus. even if it sincerely believes that they are good for the country. The Filipino people in "imploring the aid of Almighty God " manifested their spirituality innate in our nature and consciousness as a people. which refers to a temple. the principle of separation of Church and State is based on mutual respect. justice. the church cannot impose its beliefs and convictions on the State and the rest of the citizenry. has allowed these various religious. Section 29. the State cannot meddle in the internal affairs of the church. 1973 and 1987 constitutions contain benevolent and accommodating provisions towards religions such as tax exemption of church property.the religious people of different sects and the non-believers. imploring the aid of Almighty God. or any other house of God which metaphorically symbolizes a religious organization. much less question its faith and dogmas or dictate upon it. Balancing the benefits that religion affords and the need to provide an ample barrier to protect the State from the pursuit of its secular objectives. the Constitution in the above-cited provision utilizes the term "church" in its generic sense. The undisputed fact is that our people generally believe in a deity. and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations. the 1935. the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth. a mosque. It is made up of people of diverse ethnic. it cannot be denied that we all live in a heterogeneous society. Consistent with the principle that not any one religion should ever be preferred over another. or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. cultural. and vice-versa. promote the common good. Verily. love. salary of religious officers in government institutions. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship. shaped by tradition and historical experience. conserve and develop our patrimony. On the other hand. without discrimination or preference. It cannot demand that the nation follow its beliefs.1âwphi1 Generally. freedom. 5. viz: Section 6. the "Church" means the religious congregations collectively. the sovereign Filipino people. .

within its power. or government orphanage or leprosarium. In short.S. or system of religion. It mandates a strict neutrality in affairs among religious groups. Ct. except when such priest. minister. but also assures the free exercise of one's chosen form of religion within limits of utmost amplitude. for the use.S. 599. while the establishment clause prohibits government from inhibiting religious belief with rewards for religious beliefs and practices. Any legislation whose effect or purpose is to impede the observance of one or all religions.S. 322 U. church.S. Elizalde Rope Workers Union209 wrote: The constitutional provisions not only prohibits legislation for the support of any religious tenets or the modes of worship of any sect. applied. denomination. or support of any sect.207 Under this part of religious freedom guarantee. the statute is valid despite its indirect burden on religious observance.212 .210 Corollary to the guarantee of free exercise of one's religion is the principle that the guarantee of religious freedom is comprised of two parts: the freedom to believe."206 Essentially. preacher. 83 S. 6 Led. 563. On the other hand. the basis of the free exercise clause is the respect for the inviolability of the human conscience. minister. limitless and without bounds. 420. including religious belief. 366 U. and to live as he believes he ought to live. the State is prohibited from unduly interfering with the outside manifestations of one's belief and faith. or of any priest. No public money or property shall be appropriated. 1970) But if the state regulates conduct by enacting. In other words. even heretical when weighed in the scales of orthodoxy or doctrinal standards. Maryland. The establishment clause "principally prohibits the State from sponsoring any religion or favoring any religion as against other religions. a general law which has for its purpose and effect to advance the state's secular goals. the free exercise clause prohibits government from inhibiting religious beliefs with penalties for religious beliefs and practice. Ct.2d 965. however strange. 10 L. 78. It has been said that the religion clauses of the Constitution are all designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. or to any penal institution. 398. in Victoriano v. Ballard. and the freedom to act on one's belief. ed.165 xxx. One may believe in most anything. the constitutional assurance of religious freedom provides two guarantees: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. So is the freedom of belief. to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs. or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces. consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good. In simplest terms. or employed. or dignitary as such. the Court. the two religion clauses were intended to deny government the power to use either the carrot or the stick to influence individual religious beliefs and practices. is invalid. McGowan v. directly or indirectly. 144. Secretary of Education:211 The realm of belief and creed is infinite and limitless bounded only by one's imagination and thought.ed. sectarian institution. 2d. other religious teacher. (Braunfeld v. As expounded in Escritor. 88 L. The first part is absolute. even though the burden may be characterized as being only indirect. there is quite a stretch of road to travel. But between the freedom of belief and the exercise of said belief. (Sherbert v. preacher. 366 U. or to discriminate invidiously between the religions. 81 S. Brown. 1153). bizarre and unreasonable the same may appear to others.S. thus forestalling compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship (U. 1148. The establishment and free exercise clauses were not designed to serve contradictory purposes. As explained in Gerona v. to profess his beliefs. They have a single goal-to promote freedom of individual religious beliefs and practices. Verner. benefit. paid. unless the state can accomplish its purpose without imposing such burden.208 Explaining the concept of religious freedom. 374 U. 444-5 and 449). it prohibits the establishment of a state religion and the use of public resources for the support or prohibition of a religion.

"217 In ascertaining the limits of the exercise of religious freedom. the compelling state interest test is proper. it was further explained that" The benevolent neutrality theory believes that with respect to these governmental actions. religious speech as this test is often used in cases on freedom of expression. albeit inappropriately. "The purpose of accommodation is to remove a burden on. but to allow individuals and groups to exercise their religion without hindrance. whether immediate or delayed. Escritor. in one form or another. in case of conflict between the free exercise clause and the State. Nevertheless. it was written: Philippine jurisprudence articulates several tests to determine these limits. is not congruent with the benevolent neutrality approach."the most inalienable and sacred of all . intent and framework underlying the Philippine Constitution. On the other hand. accommodation of religion may be allowed. (Escritor)214 where it was stated "that benevolent neutrality-accommodation. The Victoriano case mentioned the "immediate and grave danger" test as well as the doctrine that a law of general applicability may burden religious exercise provided the law is the least restrictive means to accomplish the goal of the law. Ebralinag then employed the "grave and immediate danger" test and overruled the Gerona test. Victoriano was the only case that employed the "compelling state interest" test. American Bible Society. The case also used. The "compelling state interest" test is proper where conduct is involved for the whole gamut of human conduct has different effects on the state's interests: some effects may be immediate and short-term while others delayed and farreaching. the Court adheres to the doctrine of benevolent neutrality. whether mandatory or permissive. is therefore necessary. A test that would protect the interests of the state in preventing a substantive evil. The Gerona case then pronounced that the test of permissibility of religious freedom is whether it violates the established institutions of society and law. the present case involves purely conduct arising from religious belief. The fairly recent case of Iglesia ni Cristo went back to the " clear and present danger" test in the maiden case of A merican Bible Society. German went back to the Gerona rule. The case at bar does not involve speech as in A merican Bible Society. the "compelling state interest" test. a person's or institution's religion.219 In Escritor. however. which was the authority cited by German has been overruled by Ebralinag which employed the "grave and immediate danger" test ."213 Legislative Acts and the Free Exercise Clause Thus. Similar to Victoriano. is the spirit."215 In the same case. this test continued to be cited in subsequent cases on religious liberty.166 The second part however. all the cases which employed the "clear and present danger" or "grave and immediate danger" test involved. thus not appropriate in this jurisdiction.218 Underlying the compelling state interest test is the notion that free exercise is a fundamental right and that laws burdening it should be subject to strict scrutiny. the use of the test was inappropriate to the facts of the case. This has been clearly decided by the Court in Estrada v. is limited and subject to the awesome power of the State and can be enjoyed only with proper regard to the rights of others. Not surprisingly. but an exemption from its application or its 'burdensome effect. Beginning with the first case on the Free Exercise Clause. However. Gerona. the Gerona and German cases set the rule that religious freedom will not prevail over established institutions of society and law. not any interest of the state would suffice to prevail over the right to religious freedom as this is a fundamental right that enjoys a preferred position in the hierarchy of rights . but as explained previously. After Victoriano . or facilitate the exercise of. The Gerona and German doctrine. not to promote the government's favored form of religion. the Court mentioned the "clear and present danger" test but did not employ it.' whether by the legislature or the courts."216 "What is sought under the theory of accommodation is not a declaration of unconstitutionality of a facially neutral law. Ebralinag and Iglesia ni Cristo where the "clear and present danger" and "grave and immediate danger" tests were appropriate as speech has easily discernible or immediate effects. aside from having been overruled. It is "subject to regulation where the belief is translated into external acts that affect the public welfare.

reasonableness shall be the guide. legal. the State shall defend: The Court's Position (a) The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood. practice. including effective natural and modern methods which have been proven medically safe. The test requires the state to carry a heavy burden. In the end. Whatever pronouncement the Court makes in the case at bench should be understood only in this realm where it has authority. while the Court stands without authority to rule on ecclesiastical 3.. seeks to protect the very state. Instead. Provisions in the RH Law respecting religious freedom are the following: 1. form of worship. A mere balancing of interests which balances a right with just a colorable state interest is therefore not appropriate.167 human rights". ecclesiastical law. Declaration of Policy] . The State shall promote and provide information and access. cultural beliefs. especially the Billings Ovulation Method. only a compelling interest of the state can prevail over the fundamental right to religious liberty. without which. it appears that the RH Law recognizes and respects religion and religious beliefs and convictions..] matters." As held in Sherbert. especially the less powerful ones until they are destroyed. and the right to choose and make decisions for themselves in accordance with their religious convictions. refusal to work on Saturdays. The "compelling state interest" serves the purpose of revering religious liberty while at the same time affording protection to the paramount interests of the state. for to do otherwise would allow the state to batter religion. it is not within the province of the Court to determine whether the use of contraceptives or one's participation in the support of modem reproductive health measures is moral from a religious standpoint or whether the same is right or wrong according to one's dogma or belief. doctrine. i. That the State shall also provide funding support to promote modern natural methods of family planning. consistent with the needs of acceptors and their religious convictions. [Emphases in the original. It is replete with assurances the no one can be compelled to violate the tenets of his religion or defy his religious convictions against his free will. thus the Filipinos implore the "aid of Almighty God in order to build a just and humane society and establish a government. For the Court has declared that matters dealing with "faith. [Section 3(e). The entire constitutional order of limited government is premised upon an acknowledgment of such higher sovereignty. At first blush. the "compelling state interest" test. as vanguard of the Constitution. ethics. Pursuant thereto. a compelling one. it does have authority to determine whether the RH Law contravenes the guarantee of religious freedom. The State recognizes and guarantees the human rights of all persons including their right to equality and nondiscrimination of these rights. and the demands of responsible parenthood. by upholding the paramount interests of the state. This right is sacred for an invocation of the Free Exercise Clause is an appeal to a higher sovereignty. custom and rule of a church . the right to education and information. religious liberty will not be preserved. endangering paramount interests can limit this fundamental right. non-abortifacient. The State recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family which in turn is the foundation of the nation. and effective in accordance with scientific and evidence-based medical research standards such as those registered and approved by the FDA for the poor and marginalized as identified through the NHTS-PR and other government measures of identifying marginalization: Provided. [Section 2. In determining which shall prevail between the state's interest and religious liberty. are unquestionably ecclesiastical matters which are outside the province of the civil courts. Declaration of Policy] In the case at bench. without bias." [Section 2. in the words of Jefferson. Underlining supplied. This was the test used in Sherbert which involved conduct.e. the right to health which includes reproductive health. Declaration of Policy] 2 . only the gravest abuses."220 The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality. to all methods of family planning. the right to sustainable human development. Stated otherwise.

establishing a state religion. In a situation where the free exercise of religion is allegedly burdened by government legislation or practice. it also limits what religious sects can or cannot do with the government. taking into account psychological preparedness. faith-based organizations. and programs will address the priority needs of women. The State shall promote programs that: (1) enable individuals and couples to have the number of children they desire with due consideration to the health. civil society. Consistent with the principle of benevolent neutrality. Necessarily . [Section 3CDJ 5. [Section 4(v)] (Emphases supplied) While the Constitution prohibits abortion. [Section 3(i)] 7. laws were enacted allowing the use of contraceptives. would cause the State to adhere to a particular religion and. their beliefs should be respected. In this case. in espousing state policy to promote reproductive health manifestly respects diverse religious beliefs in line with the NonEstablishment Clause. women's and people's organizations. sociocultural and economic concerns consistent with their religious convictions.168 4. Consequently. The Establishment Clause and Contraceptives In the same breath that the establishment clause restricts what the government can do with religion. the religious sector and communities is crucial to ensure that reproductive health and population and development policies. the conscientious objector's claim to religious freedom would warrant an exemption from obligations under the RH Law. thus. Active participation by nongovernment organizations (NGOs) . nor can they not cause the government to restrict other groups. particularly of women. To do so. and the marginalized. the whole idea of using contraceptives is an anathema. One cannot refuse to pay his taxes simply because it will cloud his conscience. taking into consideration the State's obligations under various human rights instruments. The State shall respect individuals' preferences and choice of family planning methods that are in accordance with their religious convictions and cultural beliefs. plans. unless the government succeeds in demonstrating a more compelling state interest in the accomplishment of an important secular objective. They can neither cause the government to adopt their particular doctrines as policy for everyone. the petitioners are misguided in their supposition that the State cannot enhance its population control program through the RH Law simply because the promotion of contraceptive use is contrary to their religious beliefs. the compelling state interest test in line with the Court's espousal of the Doctrine of Benevolent Neutrality in Escritor. public morals and their religious convictions. in simple terms. the State is not precluded to pursue its legitimate secular objectives without being dictated upon by the policies of any one religion. finds application. spacing and timing of their children according to their own family life aspirations. The demarcation line between Church and State demands that one render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's. To some medical practitioners. the same conclusion cannot be reached with respect to Sections 7. the poor. Indeed. 23 and 24 thereof. The said provisions commonly mandate that a hospital or a medical practitioner to immediately refer a person seeking health care and services under the law to another accessible healthcare provider despite their conscientious objections based on religious or ethical beliefs. It is likewise a shared responsibility between parents to determine and achieve the desired number of children. and the resources available and affordable to them and in accordance with existing laws. Responsible parenthood refers to the will and ability of a parent to respond to the needs and aspirations of the family and children.221 The Free Exercise Clause and the Duty to Refer While the RH Law. however. [Section 3(h)] 6. health status.

on the other. Considering that Section 24 of the RH Law penalizes such institutions should they fail or refuse to comply with their duty to refer under Section 7 and Section 23(a)(3). found in the case of Doogan and Wood v. while the other entices him to a clean conscience yet under the pain of penalty. against his will. The scenario is an illustration of the predicament of medical practitioners whose religious beliefs are incongruent with what the RH Law promotes. 2013. Accordingly. "at the basis of the free exercise clause is the respect for the inviolability of the human conscience. As Commissioner Joaquin A. in conscience. The Bill of Rights guarantees the liberty of the individual to utter what is in his mind and the liberty not to utter what is not in his mind. whether public or private. on April 24. services.226 The Inner House stated "that if 'participation' were defined according to whether the person was taking part 'directly' or ' indirectly' this would actually mean more complexity and uncertainty. number and spacing of the birth of their children.222 Though it has been said that the act of referral is an opt-out clause. Scotland's Inner House of the Court of Session. supervise or support staff on their labor ward who were involved in abortions. a false compromise because it makes pro-life health providers complicit in the performance of an act that they find morally repugnant or offensive. Bernas (Commissioner Bernas) has written. and the interest of the State. procedures and methods. the plea of conscientious objectors for exemption from the RH Law deserves no less than strict scrutiny. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board. his conscience is immediately burdened as he has been compelled to perform an act against his beliefs. the guarantee of religious freedom is necessarily intertwined with the right to free speech."227 While the said case did not cover the act of referral. it would be violative of "the principle of non-coercion" enshrined in the constitutional right to free exercise of religion.223 While the RH Law seeks to provide freedom of choice through informed consent. it is.225 that the midwives claiming to be conscientious objectors under the provisions of Scotland's Abortion Act of 1967. They cannot. a conscientious objector should be exempt from compliance with the mandates of the RH Law. Interestingly.224 In case of conflict between the religious beliefs and moral convictions of individuals. In applying the test. One side coaxes him into obedience to the law and the abandonment of his religious beliefs. Institutional Health Providers The same holds true with respect to non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and operated by a religious group and health care service providers. With the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom follows the protection that should be afforded to individuals in communicating their beliefs to others as well as the protection for simply being silent. refers a patient seeking information on modem reproductive health products. there is no doubt that an intense tug-of-war plagues a conscientious objector. however. Once the medical practitioner. This in turn includes the right to be silent. to provide access and information on reproductive health products. should be accorded primacy. If he would be compelled to act contrary to his religious belief and conviction. on one hand. the Court is of the strong view that the religious freedom of health providers. do indirectly what they cannot do directly. the applicable principle was the same . freedom of choice guarantees the liberty of the religious conscience and prohibits any degree of compulsion or burden. but he is equally guilty if he abets the offensive act by indirect participation. Moreover. As in Escritor. The Court is of the view that the obligation to refer imposed by the RH Law violates the religious belief and conviction of a conscientious objector. procedures and methods to enable the people to determine the timing. in the practice of one's religion.169 so. the first inquiry is whether a conscientious objector's right to religious freedom has been burdened.they could not be forced to assist abortions if it would be against their conscience or will. One may not be the principal. could not be required to delegate. whether direct or indirect. services. it being an externalization of one's thought and conscience. the Court deems that it must be struck down .

seek other candid views in occasions or gatherings or in more permanent aggrupation. of the press. There is no perceptible distinction why they should not be considered exempt from the mandates of the law. The RH law . to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs. The punishment of a healthcare service provider. cannot be considered as conscientious objectors. After all. Office of the Executive Secretary228 it was stressed: Freedom of religion was accorded preferred status by the framers of our fundamental law. The protection accorded to other conscientious objectors should equally apply to all medical practitioners without distinction whether they belong to the public or private sector.170 for being violative of the freedom of religion. head nurses. the law must prevail. and freedom of association. and to live as he believes he ought to live.in-Intervention on page 52. you mentioned RH Law is replete with provisions in upholding the freedom of religion and respecting religious convictions. Quoting respondent Lagman.24 of the RH-IRR reads: Provided. who fails and/or refuses to refer a patient to another. it's a long IRR and I have not thoroughly dissected the nuances of the provisions. considering that in the dissemination of information regarding programs and services and in the performance of reproductive health procedures. The Implementing Rules and Regulation (RH-IRR) The last paragraph of Section 5. In the case of Islamic Da'wah Council of the Philippines. Your Honor.in your Comment. to give expression to its beliefs by oral discourse or through the media and. I have read but I have to admit. supervising midwives. you have read. Nonetheless. city or municipal health officers. v. is a clear inhibition of a constitutional guarantee which the Court cannot allow."10 The Court is not oblivious to the view that penalties provided by law endeavour to ensure compliance. The conscientious objection clause should be equally protective of the religious belief of public health officers. freedom of speech. It should be stressed that intellectual liberty occupies a place inferior to none in the hierarchy of human values. to profess his beliefs. the freedom to believe is intrinsic in every individual and the protective robe that guarantees its free exercise is not taken off even if one acquires employment in the government. Justice Mendoza: I'll go to another point. I presumed you have read the IRR-Implementing Rules and Regulations of the RH Bill? Congressman Lagman: Yes. Now. among others. assembly and petition. Inc.229 The discriminatory provision is void not only because no such exception is stated in the RH Law itself but also because it is violative of the equal protection clause in the Constitution. if there is any conflict between the RH-IRR and the RH Law. Earlier. when what is bartered for an effective implementation of a law is a constitutionally-protected right the Court firmly chooses to stamp its disapproval. you affirmed this with qualifications. who by virtue of their office are specifically charged with the duty to implement the provisions of the RPRH Act and these Rules. And this Court has consistently affirmed this preferred status. whether in the secular or religious sphere. thus. Without set consequences for either an active violation or mere inaction. well aware that it is "designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. or who declines to perform reproductive health procedure on a patient because incompatible religious beliefs. chiefs of hospital.. The mind must be free to think what it wills. the religious freedom of health care service providers should be respected. consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good. a law tends to be toothless and ineffectual. Embraced in such concept then are freedom of religion. That skilled health professional such as provincial. . The same applies to Section 23(a)(l) and (a)(2) in relation to Section 24. This is discriminatory and violative of the equal protection clause. .

The Transcripts of the Stenographic Notes disclose the following: Justice De Castro: Congressman Lagman: Let's go back to the duty of the conscientious objector to refer. which you are discussing awhile ago with Justice Abad. This is a regulation by the State of the relationship between medical doctors and their patients. I will have to go over again the provisions.. The OSG was curiously silent in the establishment of a more compelling state interest that would rationalize the curbing of a conscientious objector's right not to adhere to an action contrary to his religious convictions. were able to: 1] demonstrate a more compelling state interest to restrain conscientious objectors in their choice of services to render. It's Section 5. skilled health professionals cannot be considered conscientious objectors. the law must prevail. this is an ordinary health legislation involving professionals.231 . . Compelling State Interest Justice De Castro: The foregoing discussion then begets the question on whether the respondents. I don't believe that the standard is a compelling State interest. supervising midwives. in defense of the subject provisions.. Your Honor. Do you agree with this? Is this not against the constitutional right to the religious belief? Justice De Castro: Congressman Lagman: . who by virtue of their office are specifically charged with the duty to implement the provisions of the RPRH Act and these Rules. In other words.... public health officers in contrast to the private practitioners who can be conscientious objectors.24. a deep scrutiny of the respondents' submissions proved to be in vain. What is the compelling State interest in imposing this duty to refer to a conscientious objector which refuses to do so because of his religious belief? Senior State Solicitor Hilbay: Your Honor. Senior State Solicitor Hilbay: Justice Mendoza: Yes." Do you agree with this? Unfortunately. This I cannot find in the RH Law. the OSG maintained the same silence and evasion.. During the oral arguments. and 2] discharge the burden of proof that the obligatory character of the law is the least intrusive means to achieve the objectives of the law. Justice. among others.. head nurses. But in the IRR it says: " . cannot be considered as conscientious objectors. city or municipal health officers.230 Ahh. skilled health professionals such as provincial. This is not a free speech matter or a pure free exercise matter. . What is the compelling State interest to impose this burden? Senior State Solicitor Hilbay: In the first place. chief of hospitals. Your Honor. Your Honor. if there is any conflict between the IRR and the law.171 Justice Mendoza: I will read to you one provision.

(a) Comprehensive Health Services. Suffice it to say. product. and the right of women to protection from hazardous drugs. .A. the respondents have failed to demonstrate "the gravest abuses. in fact. a person who is forced to perform an act in utter reluctance deserves the protection of the Court as the last vanguard of constitutional freedoms. Considering other legislations as they stand now. Access to the following services shall be ensured: (1) Maternal care to include pre. interventions. there is no immediate danger to the life or health of an individual in the perceived scenario of the subject provisions. it behooves the respondents to demonstrate that no other means can be undertaken by the State to achieve its objective without violating the rights of the conscientious objector. number and spacing of the birth of their children refers to a future event that is contingent on whether or not the mother decides to adopt or use the information. endangering paramount interests" which could limit or override a person's fundamental right to religious freedom. ethical. R. and gender-responsive health services and programs covering all stages of a woman's life cycle and which addresses the major causes of women's mortality and morbidity: Provided. It also means the freedom to act or not to act according to what one believes.172 Resultantly.234 Other than the assertion that the act of referring would only be momentary. considering that the act of referral by a conscientious objector is the very action being contested as violative of religious freedom.232 Freedom of religion means more than just the freedom to believe. No. That in the provision for comprehensive health services. At any rate. the respondents have not presented any government effort exerted to show that the means it takes to achieve its legitimate state objective is the least intrusive means. reads: Section 17. . and effective methods of family planning. the burden placed upon those who object to contraceptive use is immediate and occurs the moment a patient seeks consultation on reproductive health matters. . The pertinent provision of Magna Carta on comprehensive health services and programs for women.A . in these cases.and post-natal services to address pregnancy and infant health and nutrition.The State shall. culture-sensitive. (2) Promotion of breastfeeding. legal. otherwise known as "The Magna Carta of Women. safe. at all times. R. method or supply given to her or whether she even decides to become pregnant at all. (3) Responsible. No. 4 729 or the Contraceptive Act. and the demands of responsible parenthood.A. 9710. and substances. however few in number." amply cater to the needs of women in relation to health services and programs. Only the prevention of an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community can justify the infringement of religious freedom. On the other hand. the Court finds no compelling state interest which would limit the free exercise clause of the conscientious objectors. granting that a compelling interest exists to justify the infringement of the conscientious objector's religious freedom. there are other secular steps already taken by the Legislature to ensure that the right to health is protected. devices. If the government fails to show the seriousness and immediacy of the threat. And this freedom is violated when one is compelled to act against one's belief or is prevented from acting according to one's belief. 6365 or "The Population Act of the Philippines" and R. due respect shall be accorded to women's religious convictions. After all.233 Apparently. Moreover. provide for a comprehensive. The health concerns of women may still be addressed by other practitioners who may perform reproductive health-related procedures with open willingness and motivation. Women's Right to Health. Also. No. a couple who plans the timing. State intrusion is constitutionally unacceptable. the rights of the spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions.

(5) Prevention and management of reproductive tract infections. is that the World Health Organization reported that the Filipino maternal mortality rate dropped to 48 percent from 1990 to 2008. however. resulting to unnecessarily placing the life of a mother in grave danger. and (11) Management. and legal interventions and assistance towards healing. and effective family planning methods including fertility awareness. (2) The formation of a person's sexuality that affirms human dignity. legal. Despite such revelation. HIV. the proponents still insist that such number of maternal deaths constitute a compelling state interest. and AIDS. Asst. Liban. Granting that there are still deficiencies and flaws in the delivery of social healthcare programs for Filipino women. treatment. safe. and (3) Ethical. during the oral arguments. medical. an exception must be made in lifethreatening cases that require the performance of emergency procedures. they could not be solved by a measure that puts an unwarrantable stranglehold on religious beliefs in exchange for blind conformity. failed to substantiate this point by concrete facts and figures from reputable sources. While generally healthcare service providers cannot be forced to render reproductive health care procedures if doing it would contravene their religious beliefs. Atty. women and children victims and survivors shall be provided with comprehensive health services that include psychosocial. . In addition. including sexually transmitted diseases. (b) Comprehensive Health Information and Education. Exception: Life Threatening Cases All this notwithstanding. the Court properly recognizes a valid exception set forth in the law. healthy lifestyle activities are encouraged and promoted through programs and projects as strategies in the prevention of diseases. recovery. (9) Prevention and management of infertility and sexual dysfunction pursuant to ethical norms and medical standards."235 He. (6) Prevention and management of reproductive tract cancers like breast and cervical cancers. x x x. In these situations. As an afterthought. complete. . and intervention of mental health problems of women and girls.173 (4) Family and State collaboration in youth sexuality education and health services without prejudice to the primary right and duty of parents to educate their children. and other gynecological conditions and disorders. and accurate information and education on all the above-stated aspects of women's health in government education and training programs. The undisputed fact. Thus. Solicitor General Hilbay eventually replied that the compelling state interest was "Fifteen maternal deaths per day. (10) Care of the elderly women beyond their child-bearing years. representing CFC. (8) In cases of violence against women and children. however. lives changed. considering that a referral by a medical practitioner would amount to a denial of service. with due regard to the following: (1) The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth and the development of moral character and the right of children to be brought up in an atmosphere of morality and rectitude for the enrichment and strengthening of character. 236 although there was still no RH Law at that time. hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies. the right to life of the mother should be given preference. timely. and empowerment. therapeutic. (7) Prevention of abortion and management of pregnancy-related complications.The State shall provide women in all sectors with appropriate.

however. it is impossible. Accordingly. as an inviolable social institution. procedures endangering the life of the child may be resorted to even if is against the religious sentiments of the medical practitioner. whatever burden imposed upon a medical practitioner in this case would have been more than justified considering the life he would be able to save. 4-The Family and the Right to Privacy Petitioner CFC assails the RH Law because Section 23(a) (2) (i) thereof violates the provisions of the Constitution by intruding into marital privacy and autonomy. Atty. the doctor is morally obliged always to try to save both lives."237 In a conflict situation between the life of the mother and the life of a child. if it is necessary to save the life of a mother. he can act in favor of one (not necessarily the mother) when it is medically impossible to save both. is devoted entirely to the family. those who receive any information during their attendance in the required seminars are not compelled to accept the information given to them. The State shall defend: The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the demands of responsible parenthood. the loss of the child's life or the mother's life is not intentional and. If. the Court finds the same to be a reasonable exercise of police power by the government. is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State. Marriage. . It argues that it cultivates disunity and fosters animosity in the family rather than promote its solidarity and total development. THE FAMILY Family Planning Seminars Section 2. Article XV. In fact. whether they be natural or artificial. The State recognizes the Filipino family as the foundation of the nation. Hence. As quoted above. the resulting death to one should not be deliberate. The 1987 Constitution is replete with provisions strengthening the family as it is the basic social institution. ARTICLE XV Accordingly. However. provided that no direct harm is intended to the other. Anent the requirement imposed under Section 15239 as a condition for the issuance of a marriage license. it shall strengthen its solidarity and actively promote its total development. and retain the freedom to decide on matters of family life without the intervention of the State. unavoidable. All the law requires is for would-be spouses to attend a seminar on parenthood. As correctly noted by the OSG. Noche explained: Principle of Double-Effect. It does not even mandate the type of family planning methods to be included in the Section 1. In a conflict situation between the life of the child and the life of the mother. family planning breastfeeding and infant nutrition.240 The Court cannot but agree. are completely free to reject the information they find unacceptable.238 seminar.174 manifested: "the forced referral clause that we are objecting on grounds of violation of freedom of religion does not contemplate an emergency. . A cursory reading of the assailed provision bares that the religious freedom of the petitioners is not at all violated. therefore.May we please remind the principal author of the RH Bill in the House of Representatives of the principle of double-effect wherein intentional harm on the life of either the mother of the child is never justified to bring about a "good" effect. the doctor would not be guilty of abortion or murder. If the above principles are observed. The mother is never pitted against the child because both their lives are equally valuable. Section 3. one article. the doctor is morally obliged always to try to save both lives.

It bars the husband and/or the father from participating in the decision making process regarding their common future progeny. is a shared responsibility between parents. whether public or private. In this case. in its not-so-hidden desire to control population growth. 9710. otherwise known as the "Magna Carta for Women. It is a constitutionally guaranteed private right. As highlighted by Justice Leonardo-De Castro. should require mutual consent and decision between the husband and the wife as they affect issues intimately related to the founding of a family. the State should see to it that they chart their destiny together as one family. exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development. and barring the other spouse from participating in the decision would drive a wedge between the husband and wife. and endanger the marriage and the family. cruelty. responsible parenthood. who shall: . and shared by. The right of the family to a family living wage and income. the decision of the one undergoing the procedures shall prevail. their right "to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them " is equally recognized. therefore. including the joint decision on the number and spacing of their children. Any decision they would reach would affect their future as a family because the size of the family or the number of their children significantly matters. shared by both spouses. Art. Section 19( c) of R. by their very nature. This would be a marked departure from the policy of the State to protect marriage as an inviolable social institution. XV of the Constitution espouses that the State shall defend the "right of the spouses to found a family. Section 23(a)(2)(i) of the RH Law should not be allowed to betray the constitutional mandate to protect and strengthen the family by giving to only one spouse the absolute authority to decide whether to undergo reproductive health procedure. including proper care and nutrition. not just one of them.. (2) refuse to perform legal and medically-safe reproductive health procedures on any person of legal age on the ground of lack of consent or authorization of the following persons in the following instances: (i) Spousal consent in case of married persons: provided. Section 3.242 The right to chart their own destiny together falls within the protected zone of marital privacy and such state intervention would encroach into the zones of . The decision whether or not to undergo the procedure belongs exclusively to. as Section 3(v) of the RH Law states. possibly result in bitter animosity." provides that women shall have equal rights in all matters relating to marriage and family relations.. In the same Section 3. The Family and Spousal Consent Section 23(a) (2) (i) of the RH Law states: The following acts are prohibited: (a) Any health care service provider. That in case of disagreement. and special protection from all forms of neglect.175 The right of children to assistance. the RH Law. Indeed. Unless it prejudices the State. and The RH Law cannot be allowed to infringe upon this mutual decision-making.A. abuse. By giving absolute authority to the spouse who would undergo a procedure. The right. [Emphasis supplied] The above provision refers to reproductive health procedures like tubal litigation and vasectomy which. is Decision-making involving a reproductive health procedure is a private matter which belongs to the couple. contains provisions which tend to wreck the family as a solid social institution. both spouses as one cohesive unit as they chart their own destiny. all for the sake of reducing the population.241 The right of families or family assoc1at1ons to participate in the planning and implementation of policies and programs that affect them. which has not shown any compelling interest. No. It likewise deprives the parents of their authority over their minor daughter simply because she is already a parent or had suffered a miscarriage." One person cannot found a family.

and guidance of her own parents. No person shall be denied information and access to family planning services. It would be dismissive of the unique and strongly-held Filipino tradition of maintaining close family ties and violative of the recognition that the State affords couples entering into the special . Connecticut. whether natural or artificial: Provided. Yet it is an association for as noble a purpose as any involved in our prior decisions. Griswold invalidated a Connecticut statute which made the use of contraceptives a criminal offense on the ground of its amounting to an unconstitutional invasion of the right to privacy of married persons. in itself. The State cannot replace her natural mother and father when it comes to providing her needs and comfort."246 At any rate. More alarmingly."244 Marje adopted the ruling of the US Supreme Court in Griswold v.248 [Emphases supplied] To insist on a rule that interferes with the right of parents to exercise parental control over their minor-child or the right of the spouses to mutually decide on matters which very well affect the very purpose of marriage. Marriage is a coming together for better or for worse. Ironically. To say that their consent is no longer relevant is clearly anti-family. the right to privacy was first recognized in Marje v. Mutuc. Commissioner Bernas wrote: The 1987 provision has added the adjective "primary" to modify the right of parents. would result in the violation of one's privacy with respect to his family. older than our school system. in case of conflict between the couple.176 spousal privacy guaranteed by the Constitution. Nevertheless. speaking through Chief Justice Fernando. the courts will decide. the parental authority is already cut off just because there is a need to tame population growth."247 In this regard. not causes. not political faiths. It imports the assertion that the right of parents is superior to that of the State. Access to Family Planning. advice. Douglas wrote: We deal with a right of privacy older than the Bill of Rights -older than our political parties.243 where the Court. it is fully deserving of constitutional protection.245 where Justice William O. it recognized the zone of privacy rightfully enjoyed by couples. hopefully enduring. is already a parent or has had a miscarriage. care. Various guarantees create zones of privacy. It does not promote unity in the family. the parents are excluded from the decision making process of the minor with regard to family planning. a harmony in living. Section 7 of the RH law provides: SEC. not commercial or social projects. held that "the right to privacy as such is accorded recognition independently of its identification with liberty. That minors will not be allowed access to modern methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardian/s except when the minor is already a parent or has had a miscarriage. It is an affront to the constitutional mandate to protect and strengthen the family as an inviolable social institution. it disregards and disobeys the constitutional mandate that "the natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government. formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. In our jurisdiction. the establishment of conjugal and family life. Justice Douglas in Grisworld wrote that "specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras. 7. a bilateral loyalty. It is precisely in such situations when a minor parent needs the comfort. that is. The Family and Parental Consent Equally deplorable is the debarment of parental consent in cases where the minor. who will be undergoing a procedure. – x x x. There can be no other interpretation of this provision except that when a minor is already a parent or has had a miscarriage. Even if she is not yet emancipated. and intimate to the degree of being sacred. It is an association that promotes a way of life.

and promotion of promiscuity among the youth. . In this situation. the aging of society. the fear that parents might be deprived of their parental control is unfounded because they are not prohibited to exercise parental guidance and control over their minor child and assist her in deciding whether to accept or reject the information received. According to the petitioners." Save for the two exceptions discussed above.250 Citing various studies conducted in the United States and statistical data gathered in the country. and access to the reproductive health procedures and modern family planning methods themselves. the life of the minor who has already suffered a miscarriage and that of the spouse should not be put at grave risk simply for lack of consent.177 contract of marriage to as one unit in forming the foundation of the family and society. take over the role of parents in the care and custody of a minor child. manner and medium of instruction that will be used to educate the adolescents and whether they will contradict the religious beliefs of the petitioners and validate their apprehensions.251 At this point. the acceptance of abortion and euthanasia. After all. divorce and breakdown of families. First Exception: Access to Information Whether with respect to the minor referred to under the exception provided in the second paragraph of Section 7 or with respect to the consenting spouse under Section 23(a)(2)(i). without a compelling state interest. access to such information with respect to reproductive health must be allowed. Article II of the Constitution mandates the State to protect both the life of the mother as that of the unborn child. One can only speculate on the content. on one hand. the Court finds no constitutional objection to the acquisition of information by the minor referred to under the exception in the second paragraph of Section 7 that would enable her to take proper care of her own body and that of her unborn child. the "feminization of poverty". an exception must be made in life-threatening cases that require the performance of emergency procedures. the second sentence of Section 23(a)(2)(ii)249 should be struck down. the Court declines to rule on its constitutionality or validity. By effectively limiting the requirement of parental consent to "only in elective surgical procedures. mandating the teaching of Age-and Development-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education under threat of fine and/or imprisonment violates the principle of academic freedom . It should be emphasized that no person should be denied 5 . The State cannot. Thus. Only a compelling state interest can justify a state substitution of their parental authority.Academic Freedom It is asserted that Section 14 of the RH Law. Section 12. In this connection. the petitioners aver that the prevalence of contraceptives has led to an increase of out-of-wedlock births. the parents should not be deprived of their constitutional right of parental authority. that is. Second Exception: Life Threatening Cases As in the case of the conscientious objector. suffice it to state that any attack on the validity of Section 14 of the RH Law is premature because the Department of Education. Culture and Sports has yet to formulate a curriculum on age-appropriate reproductive health education. To deny them of this right would be an affront to the constitutional mandate to protect and strengthen the family. in relation to Section 24 thereof. considering the premature nature of this particular issue. Insofar as access to information is concerned. on the other. the right to life." it denies the parents their right of parental authority in cases where what is involved are "non-surgical procedures. the appropriate medical care urgently needed to preserve the primordial right. these provisions effectively force educational institutions to teach reproductive health education even if they believe that the same is not suitable to be taught to their students. In such cases. whether or not the latter is already a parent or has had a miscarriage. There must be a differentiation between access to information about family planning services. a distinction must be made. Considering that information to enable a person to make informed decisions is essential in the protection and maintenance of ones' health. and in the case of an abused child as provided in the first sentence of Section 23(a)(2)(ii).

178 At any rate.252 It is also the inherent right of the State to act as parens patriae to aid parents in the moral development of the youth. Article II of the 1987 Constitution provides that the natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government. Finally. the rights and duties of the parents in the moral development of their children. Indeed.the Court finds that the legal mandate provided under the assailed provision supplements. women's rights and children's rights. sexual abuse and violence against women and children and other forms of gender based violence and teen pregnancy. It is unclear. A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess its meaning and differ as to its application. gender sensitivity and physical and emotional changes among adolescents . school officials and other interest groups. According to them. Section 11.255 Moreover. especially the parties targeted by it. it becomes apparent that the petitioners' contention that Section 14 violates Article XV. 6 . or from rendering reproductive health procedures under Section 23(a)(2)." The petitioners also point out that Section 7 of the assailed legislation exempts hospitals operated by religious groups from rendering reproductive health service and modern family planning methods.01 of the RH-IRR and Section 4(t) of the RH Law itself provides for the teaching of responsible teenage behavior. By imposing such a condition. Like the 1973 Constitution and the 1935 Constitution." The arguments fail to persuade. and (2) it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle. and responsible parenthood. it is averred that the RH Law punishes the withholding. the Court reserves its judgment should an actual case be filed before it. but also for values formation. and that Rule 10. restricting and providing of incorrect information. the development of knowledge and skills in self-protection against discrimination.253 Considering that Section 14 provides not only for the age-appropriate-reproductive health education. if these institutions are also exempt from giving reproductive health information under Section 23(a)(l). Furthermore." They argue that confusion further results since Section 7 only makes reference to a "private health care institution. Section 12. It is repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due process for failure to accord persons. Section 23 (a)(l) mentions a "private health service provider" among those who may be held punishable but does not define who is a "private health care service provider.Due Process The petitioners contend that the RH Law suffers from vagueness and. rather than supplants. it could very well be said that it will be in line with the religious beliefs of the petitioners. Notably." that is. responsible teenage behavior. social and emotional changes in adolescents. as Section 14 also mandates that the mandatory reproductive health education program shall be developed in conjunction with parentteacher-community associations. the 1987 Constitution affirms the State recognition of the invaluable role of parents in preparing the youth to become productive members of society. in determining whether the words used . Section 3(1) of the Constitution is without merit. the Constitution makes mention of the importance of developing the youth and their important role in nation building. it places more importance on the role of parents in the development of their children by recognizing that said role shall be "primary. that the right of parents in upbringing the youth is superior to that of the State. but at the same time fails to define "incorrect information. thus violates the due process clause of the Constitution. gender and development. however. fair notice of the conduct to avoid. physical.254 While the Court notes the possibility that educators might raise their objection to their participation in the reproductive health education program provided under Section 14 of the RH Law on the ground that the same violates their religious beliefs.

23. or (4) barangay health worker who has undergone training programs under any accredited government and NGO and who voluntarily renders primarily health care services in the community after having been accredited to function as such by the local health board in accordance with the guidelines promulgated by the Department of Health (DOH) . Further. that is. non-abortifacient and effective family planning methods.258 Used together in relation to Section 23(a)(l). For ready reference. they connote a sense of malice and ill motive to mislead or misrepresent the public as to the nature and effect of programs and services on reproductive health.The following acts are prohibited: (a) Any health care service provider. . failing to agree with the requirements of duty. morality or propriety. disability or deformity. (3) public health worker engaged in the delivery of health care services. 257 On the other hand. the right to be exempt from being obligated to render reproductive health service and modem family planning methods. The Court need not belabor the issue of whether the right to be exempt from being obligated to render reproductive health service and modem family planning methods." reference must be made to Section 4(n) of the RH Law which defines a "public health service provider. words must not only be taken in accordance with their plain meaning alone. 7-Egual Protection ." viz: (n) Public health care service provider refers to: (1) public health care institution. medically-safe. treatment and care of individuals suffering from illness. and/ or intentionally provide incorrect information regarding programs and services on reproductive health including the right to informed choice and access to a full range of legal. The same can be said with respect to the contention that the RH Law punishes health care service providers who intentionally withhold. and failing to coincide with the truth. diagnosis. subject to the qualifications and exemptions earlier discussed. the word "incorrect" here denotes failing to agree with a copy or model or with established rules. who is a doctor of medicine. necessarily includes exemption from being obligated to give reproductive health information and to render reproductive health procedures. The public deserves no less. Clearly." should not be a cause of confusion for the obvious reason that they are used synonymously. who shall: (1) Knowingly withhold information or restrict the dissemination thereof. It is a rule that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context. Prohibited Acts. the word "knowingly" means with awareness or deliberateness that is intentional. whether public or private. every part of it must be construed together with the other parts and kept subservient to the general intent of the whole enactment. the use of the term "private health care institution" in Section 7 of the law. From its plain meaning. disease. faulty. which is duly licensed and accredited and devoted primarily to the maintenance and operation of facilities for health promotion. in determining the definition of "private health care service provider. injury.256 As correctly noted by the OSG.179 in a statute are vague. includes exemption from being obligated to give reproductive health information and to render reproductive health procedures. their right must be tempered with the need to provide public health and safety. or in need of obstetrical or other medical and nursing care. disease prevention. inaccurate. the assailed provision is hereby quoted as follows: SEC. (2) public health care professional. but also in relation to other parts of the statute. instead of "private health care service provider. Public health and safety demand that health care service providers give their honest and correct medical information in accordance with what is acceptable in medical practice. While health care service providers are not barred from expressing their own personal opinions regarding the programs and services on reproductive health. restrict and provide incorrect information regarding reproductive health programs and services. The terms "service" and "methods" are broad enough to include the providing of information and the rendering of medical procedures. a nurse or a midvvife.

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The petitioners also claim that the RH Law violates the equal protection
clause under the Constitution as it discriminates against the poor because it
makes them the primary target of the government program that promotes
contraceptive use . They argue that, rather than promoting reproductive
health among the poor, the RH Law introduces contraceptives that would
effectively reduce the number of the poor. Their bases are the various
provisions in the RH Law dealing with the poor, especially those mentioned
in the guiding principles259 and definition of terms260 of the law.

may not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are
irrelevant to a legitimate governmental objective."

They add that the exclusion of private educational institutions from the
mandatory reproductive health education program imposed by the RH Law
renders it unconstitutional.

It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all
persons or things without distinction. What it simply requires is equality
among equals as determined according to a valid classification. Indeed, the
equal protection clause permits classification. Such classification, however,
to be valid must pass the test of reasonableness. The test has four
requisites: (1) The classification rests on substantial distinctions; (2) It is
germane to the purpose of the law; (3) It is not limited to existing conditions
only; and (4) It applies equally to all members of the same class. "Superficial
differences do not make for a valid classification."

In Biraogo v. Philippine Truth Commission,261 the Court had the occasion to
expound on the concept of equal protection. Thus:
One of the basic principles on which this government was founded is that of
the equality of right which is embodied in Section 1, Article III of the 1987
Constitution. The equal protection of the laws is embraced in the concept of
due process, as every unfair discrimination offends the requirements of
justice and fair play. It has been embodied in a separate clause, however, to
provide for a more specific guaranty against any form of undue favoritism or
hostility from the government. Arbitrariness in general may be challenged on
the basis of the due process clause. But if the particular act assailed
partakes of an unwarranted partiality or prejudice, the sharper weapon to cut
it down is the equal protection clause.
"According to a long line of decisions, equal protection simply requires that
all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to
rights conferred and responsibilities imposed." It "requires public bodies and
inst itutions to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner." "The
purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person within a
state's jurisdiction against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether
occasioned by the express terms of a statue or by its improper execution
through the state's duly constituted authorities." "In other words, the concept
of equal justice under the law requires the state to govern impartially, and it

The equal protection clause is aimed at all official state actions, not just
those of the legislature. Its inhibitions cover all the departments of the
government including the political and executive departments, and extend to
all actions of a state denying equal protection of the laws, through whatever
agency or whatever guise is taken.

For a classification to meet the requirements of constitutionality, it must
include or embrace all persons who naturally belong to the class. "The
classification will be regarded as invalid if all the members of the class are
not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and obligations imposed. It is
not necessary that the classification be made with absolute symmetry, in the
sense that the members of the class should possess the same
characteristics in equal degree. Substantial similarity will suffice; and as long
as this is achieved, all those covered by the classification are to be treated
equally. The mere fact that an individual belonging to a class differs from the
other members, as long as that class is substantially distinguishable from all
others, does not justify the non-application of the law to him."

The classification must not be based on existing circumstances only, or so
constituted as to preclude addition to the number included in the class. It
must be of such a nature as to embrace all those who may thereafter be in

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similar circumstances and conditions. It must not leave out or "underinclude"
those that should otherwise fall into a certain classification. [Emphases
supplied; citations excluded]
To provide that the poor are to be given priority in the government's
reproductive health care program is not a violation of the equal protection
clause. In fact, it is pursuant to Section 11, Article XIII of the Constitution
which recognizes the distinct necessity to address the needs of the
underprivileged by providing that they be given priority in addressing the
health development of the people. Thus:
Section 11. The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive
approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential
goods, health and other social services available to all the people at
affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged,
sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children. The State shall endeavor to
provide free medical care to paupers.
It should be noted that Section 7 of the RH Law prioritizes poor and
marginalized couples who are suffering from fertility issues and desire to
have children. There is, therefore, no merit to the contention that the RH Law
only seeks to target the poor to reduce their number. While the RH Law
admits the use of contraceptives, it does not, as elucidated above, sanction
abortion. As Section 3(1) explains, the "promotion and/or stabilization of the
population growth rate is incidental to the advancement of reproductive
health."
Moreover, the RH Law does not prescribe the number of children a couple
may have and does not impose conditions upon couples who intend to have
children. While the petitioners surmise that the assailed law seeks to charge
couples with the duty to have children only if they would raise them in a truly
humane way, a deeper look into its provisions shows that what the law seeks
to do is to simply provide priority to the poor in the implementation of
government programs to promote basic reproductive health care.

With respect to the exclusion of private educational institutions from the
mandatory reproductive health education program under Section 14, suffice
it to state that the mere fact that the children of those who are less fortunate
attend public educational institutions does not amount to substantial
distinction sufficient to annul the assailed provision. On the other hand,
substantial distinction rests between public educational institutions and
private educational institutions, particularly because there is a need to
recognize the academic freedom of private educational institutions especially
with respect to religious instruction and to consider their sensitivity towards
the teaching of reproductive health education.
8-Involuntary Servitude
The petitioners also aver that the RH Law is constitutionally infirm as it
violates the constitutional prohibition against involuntary servitude. They
posit that Section 17 of the assailed legislation requiring private and nongovernment health care service providers to render forty-eight (48) hours of
pro bono reproductive health services, actually amounts to involuntary
servitude because it requires medical practitioners to perform acts against
their will.262
The OSG counters that the rendition of pro bono services envisioned in
Section 17 can hardly be considered as forced labor analogous to slavery, as
reproductive health care service providers have the discretion as to the
manner and time of giving pro bono services. Moreover, the OSG points out
that the imposition is within the powers of the government, the accreditation
of medical practitioners with PhilHealth being a privilege and not a right.
The point of the OSG is well-taken.

It should first be mentioned that the practice of medicine is undeniably
imbued with public interest that it is both a power and a duty of the State to
control and regulate it in order to protect and promote the public welfare. Like
the legal profession, the practice of medicine is not a right but a privileged

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burdened with conditions as it directly involves the very lives of the people. A
fortiori, this power includes the power of Congress263 to prescribe the
qualifications for the practice of professions or trades which affect the public
welfare, the public health, the public morals, and the public safety; and to
regulate or control such professions or trades, even to the point of revoking
such right altogether.264

The Court finds nothing wrong with the delegation. The FDA does not only
have the power but also the competency to evaluate, register and cover
health services and methods. It is the only government entity empowered to
render such services and highly proficient to do so. It should be understood
that health services and methods fall under the gamut of terms that are
associated with what is ordinarily understood as "health products."

Moreover, as some petitioners put it, the notion of involuntary servitude
connotes the presence of force, threats, intimidation or other similar means
of coercion and compulsion.265 A reading of the assailed provision,
however, reveals that it only encourages private and non- government
reproductive healthcare service providers to render pro bono service. Other
than non-accreditation with PhilHealth, no penalty is imposed should they
choose to do otherwise. Private and non-government reproductive
healthcare service providers also enjoy the liberty to choose which kind of
health service they wish to provide, when, where and how to provide it or
whether to provide it all. Clearly, therefore, no compulsion, force or threat is
made upon them to render pro bono service against their will. While the
rendering of such service was made a prerequisite to accreditation with
PhilHealth, the Court does not consider the same to be an unreasonable
burden, but rather, a necessary incentive imposed by Congress in the
furtherance of a perceived legitimate state interest.

In this connection, Section 4 of R.A. No. 3 720, as amended by R.A. No.
9711 reads:

Consistent with what the Court had earlier discussed, however, it should be
emphasized that conscientious objectors are exempt from this provision as
long as their religious beliefs and convictions do not allow them to render
reproductive health service, pro bona or otherwise.

"(d) To establish analytical data to serve as basis for the preparation of
health products standards, and to recommend standards of identity, purity,
safety, efficacy, quality and fill of container;

9-Delegation of Authority to the FDA

The petitioners likewise question the delegation by Congress to the FDA of
the power to determine whether or not a supply or product is to be included
in the Essential Drugs List (EDL).266

SEC. 4. To carry out the provisions of this Act, there is hereby created an
office to be called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the
Department of Health (DOH). Said Administration shall be under the Office of
the Secretary and shall have the following functions, powers and duties:
"(a) To administer the effective implementation of this Act and of the rules
and regulations issued pursuant to the same;
"(b) To assume primary jurisdiction in the collection of samples of health
products;
"(c) To analyze and inspect health products in connection with the
implementation of this Act;

"(e) To issue certificates of compliance with technical requirements to serve
as basis for the issuance of appropriate authorization and spot-check for
compliance with regulations regarding operation of manufacturers, importers,
exporters, distributors, wholesalers, drug outlets, and other establishments
and facilities of health products, as determined by the FDA;

"x x x

183
"(h) To conduct appropriate tests on all applicable health products prior to the
issuance of appropriate authorizations to ensure safety, efficacy, purity, and
quality;
"(i) To require all manufacturers, traders, distributors, importers, exporters,
wholesalers, retailers, consumers, and non-consumer users of health
products to report to the FDA any incident that reasonably indicates that said
product has caused or contributed to the death, serious illness or serious
injury to a consumer, a patient, or any person;
"(j) To issue cease and desist orders motu propio or upon verified complaint
for health products, whether or not registered with the FDA Provided, That
for registered health products, the cease and desist order is valid for thirty
(30) days and may be extended for sixty ( 60) days only after due process
has been observed;

standards. The philosophy behind the permitted delegation was explained in
Echagaray v. Secretary of Justice,267 as follows:
The reason is the increasing complexity of the task of the government and
the growing inability of the legislature to cope directly with the many
problems demanding its attention. The growth of society has ramified its
activities and created peculiar and sophisticated problems that the legislature
cannot be expected reasonably to comprehend. Specialization even in
legislation has become necessary. To many of the problems attendant upon
present day undertakings, the legislature may not have the competence, let
alone the interest and the time, to provide the required direct and efficacious,
not to say specific solutions.
10- Autonomy of Local Governments and the Autonomous Region
of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

"(k) After due process, to order the ban, recall, and/or withdrawal of any
health product found to have caused death, serious illness or serious injury
to a consumer or patient, or is found to be imminently injurious, unsafe,
dangerous, or grossly deceptive, and to require all concerned to implement
the risk management plan which is a requirement for the issuance of the
appropriate authorization;

As for the autonomy of local governments, the petitioners claim that the RH
Law infringes upon the powers devolved to local government units (LGUs)
under Section 17 of the Local Government Code. Said Section 17 vested
upon the LGUs the duties and functions pertaining to the delivery of basic
services and facilities, as follows:

x x x.

SECTION 17. Basic Services and Facilities. –

As can be gleaned from the above, the functions, powers and duties of the
FDA are specific to enable the agency to carry out the mandates of the law.
Being the country's premiere and sole agency that ensures the safety of food
and medicines available to the public, the FDA was equipped with the
necessary powers and functions to make it effective. Pursuant to the
principle of necessary implication, the mandate by Congress to the FDA to
ensure public health and safety by permitting only food and medicines that
are safe includes "service" and "methods." From the declared policy of the
RH Law, it is clear that Congress intended that the public be given only those
medicines that are proven medically safe, legal, non-abortifacient, and
effective in accordance with scientific and evidence-based medical research

(a) Local government units shall endeavor to be self-reliant and shall
continue exercising the powers and discharging the duties and functions
currently vested upon them. They shall also discharge the functions and
responsibilities of national agencies and offices devolved to them pursuant to
this Code. Local government units shall likewise exercise such other powers
and discharge such other functions and responsibilities as are necessary,
appropriate, or incidental to efficient and effective provision of the basic
services and facilities enumerated herein.
(b) Such basic services and facilities include, but are not limited to, x x x.

184
While the aforementioned provision charges the LGUs to take on the
functions and responsibilities that have already been devolved upon them
from the national agencies on the aspect of providing for basic services and
facilities in their respective jurisdictions, paragraph (c) of the same provision
provides a categorical exception of cases involving nationally-funded
projects, facilities, programs and services.268 Thus:

Moreover, from the use of the word "endeavor," the LG Us are merely
encouraged to provide these services. There is nothing in the wording of the
law which can be construed as making the availability of these services
mandatory for the LGUs. For said reason, it cannot be said that the RH Law
amounts to an undue encroachment by the national government upon the
autonomy enjoyed by the local governments.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) hereof, public works and
infrastructure projects and other facilities, programs and services funded by
the National Government under the annual General Appropriations Act, other
special laws, pertinent executive orders, and those wholly or partially funded
from foreign sources, are not covered under this Section, except in those
cases where the local government unit concerned is duly designated as the
implementing agency for such projects, facilities, programs and services.
[Emphases supplied]

The ARMM

The essence of this express reservation of power by the national
government is that, unless an LGU is particularly designated as the
implementing agency, it has no power over a program for which funding has
been provided by the national government under the annual general
appropriations act, even if the program involves the delivery of basic services
within the jurisdiction of the LGU.269 A complete relinquishment of central
government powers on the matter of providing basic facilities and services
cannot be implied as the Local Government Code itself weighs against it.270
In this case, a reading of the RH Law clearly shows that whether it pertains
to the establishment of health care facilities,271 the hiring of skilled health
professionals,272 or the training of barangay health workers,273 it will be the
national government that will provide for the funding of its implementation.
Local autonomy is not absolute. The national government still has the say
when it comes to national priority programs which the local government is
called upon to implement like the RH Law.

The fact that the RH Law does not intrude in the autonomy of local
governments can be equally applied to the ARMM. The RH Law does not
infringe upon its autonomy. Moreover, Article III, Sections 6, 10 and 11 of
R.A. No. 9054, or the organic act of the ARMM, alluded to by petitioner Tillah
to justify the exemption of the operation of the RH Law in the autonomous
region, refer to the policy statements for the guidance of the regional
government. These provisions relied upon by the petitioners simply delineate
the powers that may be exercised by the regional government, which can, in
no manner, be characterized as an abdication by the State of its power to
enact legislation that would benefit the general welfare. After all, despite the
veritable autonomy granted the ARMM, the Constitution and the supporting
jurisprudence, as they now stand, reject the notion of imperium et imperio in
the relationship between the national and the regional governments.274
Except for the express and implied limitations imposed on it by the
Constitution, Congress cannot be restricted to exercise its inherent and
plenary power to legislate on all subjects which extends to all matters of
general concern or common interest.275
11 - Natural Law
With respect to the argument that the RH Law violates natural law,276
suffice it to say that the Court does not duly recognize it as a legal basis for
upholding or invalidating a law. Our only guidepost is the Constitution. While
every law enacted by man emanated from what is perceived as natural law,
the Court is not obliged to see if a statute, executive issuance or ordinance is
in conformity to it. To begin with, it is not enacted by an acceptable legitimate
body. Moreover, natural laws are mere thoughts and notions on inherent

185
rights espoused by theorists, philosophers and theologists. The jurists of the
philosophical school are interested in the law as an abstraction, rather than
in the actual law of the past or present.277 Unless, a natural right has been
transformed into a written law, it cannot serve as a basis to strike down a
law. In Republic v. Sandiganbayan,278 the very case cited by the petitioners,
it was explained that the Court is not duty-bound to examine every law or
action and whether it conforms with both the Constitution and natural law.
Rather, natural law is to be used sparingly only in the most peculiar of
circumstances involving rights inherent to man where no law is
applicable.279
At any rate, as earlier expounded, the RH Law does not sanction the taking
away of life. It does not allow abortion in any shape or form. It only seeks to
enhance the population control program of the government by providing
information and making non-abortifacient contraceptives more readily
available to the public, especially to the poor.
Facts and Fallacies
and the Wisdom of the Law
In general, the Court does not find the RH Law as unconstitutional insofar as
it seeks to provide access to medically-safe, non-abortifacient, effective,
legal, affordable, and quality reproductive healthcare services, methods,
devices, and supplies. As earlier pointed out, however, the religious freedom
of some sectors of society cannot be trampled upon in pursuit of what the
law hopes to achieve. After all, the Constitutional safeguard to religious
freedom is a recognition that man stands accountable to an authority higher
than the State.
In conformity with the principle of separation of Church and State, one
religious group cannot be allowed to impose its beliefs on the rest of the
society. Philippine modem society leaves enough room for diversity and
pluralism. As such, everyone should be tolerant and open-minded so that
peace and harmony may continue to reign as we exist alongside each other.

As healthful as the intention of the RH Law may be, the idea does not
escape the Court that what it seeks to address is the problem of rising
poverty and unemployment in the country. Let it be said that the cause of
these perennial issues is not the large population but the unequal distribution
of wealth. Even if population growth is controlled, poverty will remain as long
as the country's wealth remains in the hands of the very few.
At any rate, population control may not be beneficial for the country in the
long run. The European and Asian countries, which embarked on such a
program generations ago , are now burdened with ageing populations. The
number of their young workers is dwindling with adverse effects on their
economy. These young workers represent a significant human capital which
could have helped them invigorate, innovate and fuel their economy. These
countries are now trying to reverse their programs, but they are still
struggling. For one, Singapore, even with incentives, is failing.
And in this country, the economy is being propped up by remittances from
our Overseas Filipino Workers. This is because we have an ample supply of
young able-bodied workers. What would happen if the country would be
weighed down by an ageing population and the fewer younger generation
would not be able to support them? This would be the situation when our
total fertility rate would go down below the replacement level of two (2)
children per woman.280
Indeed, at the present, the country has a population problem, but the State
should not use coercive measures (like the penal provisions of the RH Law
against conscientious objectors) to solve it. Nonetheless, the policy of the
Court is non-interference in the wisdom of a law.
x x x. But this Court cannot go beyond what the legislature has laid down. Its
duty is to say what the law is as enacted by the lawmaking body. That is not
the same as saying what the law should be or what is the correct rule in a
given set of circumstances. It is not the province of the judiciary to look into
the wisdom of the law nor to question the policies adopted by the legislative
branch. Nor is it the business of this Tribunal to remedy every unjust situation
that may arise from the application of a particular law. It is for the legislature

186
to enact remedial legislation if that would be necessary in the premises. But
as always, with apt judicial caution and cold neutrality, the Court must carry
out the delicate function of interpreting the law, guided by the Constitution
and existing legislation and mindful of settled jurisprudence. The Court's
function is therefore limited, and accordingly, must confine itself to the
judicial task of saying what the law is, as enacted by the lawmaking body.281
Be that as it may, it bears reiterating that the RH Law is a mere compilation
and enhancement of the prior existing contraceptive and reproductive health
laws, but with coercive measures. Even if the Court decrees the RH Law as
entirely unconstitutional, there will still be the Population Act (R.A. No. 6365),
the Contraceptive Act (R.A. No. 4729) and the reproductive health for women
or The Magna Carta of Women (R.A. No. 9710), sans the coercive
provisions of the assailed legislation. All the same, the principle of "noabortion" and "non-coercion" in the adoption of any family planning method
should be maintained.
WHEREFORE, the petitions are PARTIALLY GRANTED. Accordingly, the
Court declares R.A. No. 10354 as NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL except with
respect to the following provisions which are declared
UNCONSTITUTIONAL:
1) Section 7 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they:
a) require private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and
hospitals owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an
emergency or life-threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344,
to another health facility which is conveniently accessible; and b) allow
minor-parents or minors who have suffered a miscarriage access to modem
methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or
guardian/s;
2) Section 23(a)(l) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR,
particularly Section 5 .24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare
service provider who fails and or refuses to disseminate information
regarding programs and services on reproductive health regardless of his or
her religious beliefs

3) Section 23(a)(2)(i) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar
as they allow a married individual, not in an emergency or life-threatening
case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to undergo reproductive
health procedures without the consent of the spouse;
4) Section 23(a)(2)(ii) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar
as they limit the requirement of parental consent only to elective surgical
procedures.
5) Section 23(a)(3) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR,
particularly Section 5.24 thereof, insofar as they punish any healthcare
service provider who fails and/or refuses to refer a patient not in an
emergency or life-threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344,
to another health care service provider within the same facility or one which
is conveniently accessible regardless of his or her religious beliefs;
6) Section 23(b) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly
Section 5 .24 thereof, insofar as they punish any public officer who refuses to
support reproductive health programs or shall do any act that hinders the full
implementation of a reproductive health program, regardless of his or her
religious beliefs;
7) Section 17 and the corresponding prov1s10n in the RH-IRR regarding the
rendering of pro bona reproductive health service in so far as they affect the
conscientious objector in securing PhilHealth accreditation; and
8) Section 3.0l(a) and Section 3.01 G) of the RH-IRR, which added the
qualifier "primarily" in defining abortifacients and contraceptives, as they are
ultra vires and, therefore, null and void for contravening Section 4(a) of the
RH Law and violating Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.

The Status Quo Ante Order issued by the Court on March 19, 2013 as
extended by its Order, dated July 16, 2013 , is hereby LIFTED, insofar as the
provisions of R.A. No. 10354 which have been herein declared as
constitutional.

187 SO ORDERED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila .

City Fiscal Diaz for respondents. No. petitioners.: . which need not be repeated. Anton Hohmann. The annals of juridical history fail to reveal a case quite as remarkable as the one which this application forhabeas corpus submits for decision. about midnight of October 25. the cause presents no great difficulty if there is kept in the forefront of our minds the basic principles of popular government. L-14639 March 25. after all. to exterminate vice. and alleged that the women were illegally restrained of their liberty by Justo Lukban. J. The governor and the hacendero Yñigo. JUSTO LUKBAN. At any rate.188 EN BANC G. The further happenings to these women and the serious charges growing out of alleged ill-treatment are of public interest. but which might prove profitable reading for other departments of the government. and with the Constabulary for a guard of soldiers. Justo Lukban. vs. provincial governor of Davao. The application set forth the salient facts. which had been permitted for a number of years in the city of Manila. as the same questions concerned them all. but are not essential to the disposition of this case. others went to work in different capacities. the police. Mayor of the city of Manila. ET AL. and by Feliciano Yñigo and Rafael Castillo. The primary question is — Shall the judiciary permit a government of the men instead of a government of laws to be set up in the Philippine Islands? The vessels reached their destination at Davao on October 29. through stipulation of the parties. no opportunity to collect their belongings. and by certain unknown parties. the attorney for the relatives and friends of a considerable number of the deportees presented an application forhabeas corpus to a member of the Supreme Court. ordered the segregated district for women of ill repute. descended upon the houses. The two steamers with their unwilling passengers sailed for Davao during the night of October 25. and apparently were under the impression that they were being taken to a police station for an investigation. Omitting much extraneous matter. for the best of all reasons. 1918. just about the time the Corregidor and the Negros were putting in to Davao. Presumably. Department of Mindanao and MALCOLM. and prayed that the writ should not be granted because the petitioners were not proper parties. the women were kept confined to their houses in the district by the police. and a goodly portion found means to return to Manila. hustled some 170 inmates into patrol wagons.. 1919 ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO. as laborers. They had no knowledge that they were destined for a life in Mindanao. during this period. admitted certain facts relative to sequestration and deportation. The women were given To turn back in our narrative. Lukban and Hohmann. because the action should have been begun in the Court of First Instance for Davao. closed. with some government office for the use of the coastguard cutters Corregidor and Negros. Between October 16 and October 25. others assumed a life unknown and disappeared. others assumed more or less clandestine relations with men. were constituted. was made to include all of the women who were sent away from Manila to Davao and. acting pursuant to orders from the chief of police. While hardly to be expected to be met with in this modern epoch of triumphant democracy. and if we give expression to the paramount purpose for which the courts. as an independent power of such a government. and placed them aboard the steamers that awaited their arrival. Suffice it to say. ET AL. The writ was made returnable before the full court. They had not been asked if they wished to depart from that region and had neither directly nor indirectly given their consent to the deportation. respondents. that some of the women married. The women were landed and receipted for as laborers by Francisco Sales. yet. Justo Lukban. The city fiscal appeared for the respondents. The involuntary guests were received on board the steamers by a representative of the Bureau of Labor and a detachment of Constabulary soldiers. the application. the facts are these: The Mayor of the city of Manila. Mindanao. of no moment to these proceedings. generally. Anton Hohmann and the Mayor of the city of Manila.. the application will be considered as including them. Alfonso Mendoza for petitioners.R. had no previous notification that the women were prostitutes who had been expelled from the city of Manila. chief of police of the city of Manila. Subsequently. the city authorities quietly perfected arrangements with the Bureau of Labor for sending the women to Davao. who appear as parties in the case.

none of the persons in whose behalf the writ was issued were produced in court by the respondents. without their consent and without any opportunity to consult with friends or to defend their . to bring before the court the persons therein named. Mayor of the city of Manila. chief of police of the city of Manila. that eighty-one women were found in Davao who. that fifty-nine had already returned to Manila by other means. Anton Hohmann. One fact. on December 10. that these women had been sent out of Manila without their consent. through their representatives and agents. and therefore directed that those of the women not in Manila be brought before the court by respondents Lukban. On motion of counsel for petitioners. members of the police force of the city of Manila. Before January 13. Feliciano Yñigo. their testimony was taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioners. (reply to respondents' memorandum) dated January 25. an hacendero of Davao. need be recalled — these one hundred and seventy women were isolated from society. The court. the attorney for the Bureau of Labor. in written statements voluntarily made before the judge of first instance of Davao or the clerk of that court. It was further stated that the question of whether the respondents were in contempt of court would later be decided and the reasons for the order announced in the final decision. According to an exhibit attached to the answer of the fiscal. The court awarded the writ. further testimony including that of a number of the women. In substance. It has been shown that three of those who had been able to come back to Manila through their own efforts. the fiscal admitted. Attorneys for the respondents. on December 2. Respondents Sales answered alleging that it was not possible to fulfill the order of the Supreme Court because the women had never been under his control. unless the women should. and of the provincial governor of Davao. on notice that if they desired they could return to Manila. after due deliberation. 1919. because they were at liberty in the Province of Davao. Jose Rodriguez and Fernando Ordax. Mayor of the city of Manila. repeated the facts more comprehensively. renounced the right through sworn statements. The fiscal appeared.189 Sulu. the 170 women were destined to be laborers. renounce the right. because the respondents did not have any of the women under their custody or control. and offered certain affidavits showing that the women were contained with their life in Mindanao and did not wish to return to Manila. were notified by the police and the secret service to appear before the court. Sales. Francisco Sales. an hacendero of Davao. 1919. promulgated a second order. We will now proceed to do so. and one fact only. at good salaries. Respondent Yñigo answered alleging that he did not have any of the women under his control and that therefore it was impossible for him to obey the mandate. and Anacleto Diaz. alleged to be deprived of their liberty. of certain detectives and policemen. which related that the respondents had not complied with the original order to the satisfaction of the court nor explained their failure to do so. the court promised to give the reasons for granting the writ of habeas corpus in the final decision. and because their jurisdiction did not extend beyond the boundaries of the city of Manila. In the second order. On the day named in the order. December 2nd. once again recounted the facts and further endeavored to account for all of the persons involved in the habeas corpus. that directed Justo Lukban. 1918. 1918. fiscal of the city of Manila. in contempt of court. on the haciendas of Yñigo and Governor Sales. the respondents technically presented before the Court the women who had returned to the city through their own efforts and eight others who had been brought to Manila by the respondents. seven of the women had returned to Manila at their own expense. Hohmann. transportation fee. On January 13. or unless the respondents should demonstrate some other legal motives that made compliance impossible. and because they had married or signed contracts as laborers. The city fiscal requested that the replica al memorandum de los recurridos. in an order of November 4. In open court. Anton Hohmann. and Feliciano Yñigo. had succeeded in bringing from Davao with their consent eight women. by their returns. it was stated that the respondents. Both counsel for petitioners and the city fiscal were permitted to submit memoranda. The first formally asked the court to find Justo Lukban. 1919. in answer to question of a member of the court. and that despite all efforts to find them twenty-six could not be located. and then at night. 1918. 1919. governor of the province of Davao. Modesto Joaquin. be struck from the record. reiterated the stand taken by him when pleading to the original petition copied a telegram from the Mayor of the city of Manila to the provincial governor of Davao and the answer thereto. was taken before the clerk of the Supreme Court sitting as commissioner and the clerk of the Court of First Instance of Davao acting in the same capacity. and Yñigo on January 13. Before the date mentioned. and telegrams that had passed between the Director of Labor and the attorney for that Bureau then in Davao. chief of police of the city of Manila.

which even hints at the right of the Mayor of the city of Manila or the chief of police of that city to force citizens of the Philippine Islands — and these women despite their being in a sense lepers of society are nevertheless not chattels but Philippine citizens protected by the same constitutional guaranties as are other citizens — to change their domicile from Manila to another locality. render the liberty of the citizen so insecure. On the contrary. 370. and to observe the limitations which it imposes upon the exercise of the authority which it gives. to the homeland. who acts within a sphere of delegated powers. as in Spain and Japan. then any other official can do the same. And if any official can exercise the power. as being the essence of slavery itself. compels any person to change his residence. liberty of abode is a principle so deeply imbedded in jurisprudence and considered so elementary in nature as not even to require a constitutional sanction. 7. either inherent or express. then the presidents and chiefs of police of one thousand other municipalities of the Philippines have the same privilege. a court would next expect to resolve the question — By authority of what law did the Mayor and the Chief of Police presume to act in deporting by duress these persons from Manila to another distant locality within the Philippine Islands? We turn to the statutes and we find — Alien prostitutes can be expelled from the Philippine Islands in conformity with an Act of congress. but by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. 196. Act No. Lee [1882]. We will sell to no man. Law defines power. that such was not the case is shown by the mere fact that the presence of the police and the constabulary was deemed necessary and that these officers of the law chose the shades of night to cloak their secret and stealthy acts. the privilege of domicile is deemed so important as to be found in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution." (U. and makes clear why we said in the very beginning that the primary question was whether the courts should permit a government of men or a government of laws to be established in the Philippine Islands.S. Despite the feeble attempt to prove that the women left voluntarily and gladly. or any material right essential to the enjoyment of life. this is a fact impossible to refute and practically admitted by the respondents. stat." (Magna Charta. who may have been convicted of vagrancy.) No official. were forcibly hustled on board steamers for transportation to regions unknown. 29. or any other wise destroyed. nor will we pass upon him nor condemn him. at their mere behest or even for the most praiseworthy of motives. 899 authorizes the return of any citizen of the United States. therefore. it is done pursuant to some law or order. even the President of the United States. .) All this explains the motive in issuing the writ of habeas corpus. then all persons would have just as much right to do so. Act No. 118 U. no matter how high. But one can search in vain for any law. or place a leprous person in the Culion leper colony. New York and other States have statutes providing for the commitment to the House of Refuge of women convicted of being common prostitutes. "The law. Always a law! Even when the health authorities compel vaccination. or be disseized of his freehold. or imprisoned. or free customs. In other countries. Cap.S. Even the Governor-General of the Philippine Islands. 1 eng. 111. or exiled. at Large. is above the law. has no such arbitrary prerogative. 106 U. has the executive of a municipality. The courts are the forum which functionate to safeguard individual liberty and to punish official transgressors. or regulation. 356. then officialdom can hold the same club over the head of any citizen.190 rights. With this situation. If the mayor and the chief of police could. If these officials can take to themselves such power. Philippine penal law specifically punishes any public officer who.. not being expressly authorized by law or regulation.. or liberties. 519 of the Philippine Commission and section 733 of the Revised Ordinances of the city of Manila provide for the conviction and punishment by a court of justice of any person who is a common prostitute. "is the only supreme power in our system of government. we will not deny or defer to any man either justice or right.. "that one man may be compelled to hold his life.S. delivering the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States. and every man who by accepting office participates in its functions is only the more strongly bound to submit to that supremacy. And if a prostitute could be sent against her wishes and under no law from one locality to another within the country. Under the American constitutional system. Hopkins [1886]. at the mere will of another.) "The very idea. Indeed. Centuries ago Magna Charta decreed that — "No freeman shall be taken." said Justice Miller. or be outlawed. 1225. 9 Hen. seems to be intolerable in any country where freedom prevails. or establish a quarantine." (Yick Wo vs. who has often been said to exercise more power than any king or potentate." said Justice Matthews of the same high tribunal in another case. or the means of living. Much less. The Governor-General can order the eviction of undesirable aliens after a hearing from the Islands. 220. order. vs.

It may still rest with the parties in interest to pursue such an action. and (3) habeas corpus.191 What are the remedies of the unhappy victims of official oppression? The remedies of the citizen are three: (1) Civil action. The writ of habeas corpus may be granted by the Supreme Court or any judge thereof enforcible anywhere in the Philippine Islands. if. To quote the words of Judge Cooley in a case which will later be referred to — "It would be a monstrous anomaly in the law if to an application by one unlawfully confined. shall be punished by a fine of not less than three hundred and twenty-five and not more than three thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. sec. is no bar to the instant proceedings. 15 Mich. The first is an optional but rather slow process by which the aggrieved party may recoup money damages. it could be a sufficient answer that the confinement was a crime. Nevertheless. Granted that habeas corpus is the proper remedy. 93. that the act may be a crime and that the persons guilty thereof can be proceeded against. these prosecutors will institute and press a criminal prosecution just as vigorously as they have defended the same official in this action. It was finally suggested that the jurisdiction of the Mayor and the chief of police of the city of Manila only extends to the city limits and that perforce they could not bring the women from Davao." (In the matter of Jackson [1867].) The first defense was not presented with any vigor by counsel. respondents have raised three specific objections to its issuance in this instance. sec. the proper prosecuting officers find that any public officer has violated this provision of law.) Whether the writ shall be made returnable before the Supreme Court or before an inferior court rests in the discretion of the Supreme Court and is dependent on the particular circumstances.) The writ of habeas corpus was devised and exists as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. It is a general rule of good practice that. On the other hand. But this is not a hard and fast rule.. (Code of Criminal Procedure. 416. (2) criminal action. (Code of Criminal Procedure. and (3) that the person in question are not restrained of their liberty by respondents. 527.) Petitioners had standing in court. it is true that the Penal Code in force in these Islands provides: Any public officer not thereunto authorized by law or by regulations of a general character in force in the Philippines who shall banish any person to a place more than two hundred kilometers distant from his domicile. The petitioners were relatives and friends of the deportees. 434. Code of Civil Procedure. (Art. or that the women had any means by which to advance their plea before that court. Code of Civil Procedure. sec. except it be by virtue of the judgment of a court. (Code of Criminal Procedure. and therefore might be continued indefinitely until the guilty party was tried and punished therefor by the slow process of criminal procedure. sec. ta be restored to his liberty. 526. 78. sec. The way the expulsion was conducted by the city officials made it impossible for the women to sign a petition for habeas corpus. to avoid unnecessary expense and inconvenience. petitions for habeas corpus should be presented to the nearest judge of the court of first instance. (2) that the Supreme Court should not a assume jurisdiction. It was consequently proper for the writ to be submitted by persons in their behalf. We entertain no doubt but that. whose principal purpose is to set the individual at liberty. In this instance it was not shown that the Court of First Instance of Davao was in session. As to criminal responsibility. after due investigation. even makes it the duty of a court or judge to grant a writ of habeas corpus if there is evidence that within the court's jurisdiction a person is unjustly imprisoned or restrained of his liberty. The fiscal has argued (l) that there is a defect in parties petitioners. in its zealous regard for personal liberty. Any public officer not thereunto expressly authorized by law or by regulation of a general character in force in the Philippines who shall compel any person to change his domicile or residence shall suffer the penalty of destierro and a fine of not less than six hundred and twenty-five and not more than six thousand two hundred and fifty pesetas. Any further rights of the parties are left untouched by decision on the writ. but it was never intended effectively and promptly to meet any such situation as that now before us. 211.) The law. sufficient defense of personal freedom. and as the best and only The fiscal next contended that the writ should have been asked for in the Court of First Instance of Davao or should have been made returnable before that court. it was shown that the petitioners with . though no application be made therefor. 79.

J. The chief executive of any municipality in the Philippines could forcibly and illegally take a private citizen and place him beyond the boundaries of the municipality. Since the opinion of Justice Campbell was predicated to a large extent on his conception of the English decisions. The great writ of liberty may not thus be easily evaded. a close examination of the authorities fails to reveal any analogous case. were in Manila. Consider for a moment what an agreement with such a defense would mean. Any restraint which will preclude freedom of action is sufficient. one of the most distinguished American judges and law-writers. chief justice. and since. he should be compelled to do so. and Cooley. Campbell. . The failure of the superior court to consider the application and then to grant the writ would have amounted to a denial of the benefits of the writ. C.. It would be strange indeed if. The last argument of the fiscal is more plausible and more difficult to meet. who has been and continues to be detained in another State. and then. and the jurisdiction of the mayor and the chief of police did not extend beyond the city limits. The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint as distinguished from voluntary. held that the writ should be quashed. could calmly fold his hands and claim that the person was under no restraint and that he. had no jurisdiction over this other municipality. and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. with whom concurred Christiancy. while the person who has lost her birthright of liberty has no effective recourse. At first blush. the same officials must necessarily have the same means to return them from Davao to Manila. and it was shown that if the writ was to accomplish its purpose. could deport these women from the city of Manila to Davao. the official. . Certain decisions of respectable courts are however very persuasive in nature. may not be permitted to restrain a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile and to avow the act with impunity in the courts. after the eulogiums of six centuries and a half have been expended upon the Magna Charta. who deposited them in a distant region. J. When the writ was prayed for. Cooley. deprived these women of freedom of locomotion just as effectively as if they had been imprisoned. On closer examination. A prime specification of an application for a writ of habeas corpus is restraint of liberty. and rivers of blood shed for its establishment. acceptance of such dictum is found to be perversive of the first principles of the writ of habeas corpus. held that the writ should issue. if the respondent is within the jurisdiction of the court and has it in his power to obey the order of the court and thus to undo the wrong that he has inflicted. it must be taken cognizance of and decided immediately by the appellate court. The membership of the Michigan Supreme Court at this time was notable. It was composed of Martin. it was shown that the case involved parties situated in different parts of the Islands. at this late day. strange as it may seem.192 their attorneys. only the following eloquent passages from the opinion of Justice Cooley are quoted: I have not yet seen sufficient reason to doubt the power of this court to issue the present writ on the petition which was laid before us. Campbell. We believe the true principle should be that. J. as will hereafter appear. and Christiancy. acting under no authority of law. when called upon to defend his official action. .. A question came before the Supreme Court of the State of Michigan at an early date as to whether or not a writ ofhabeas corpus would issue from the Supreme Court to a person within the jurisdiction of the State to bring into the State a minor child under guardianship in the State. Even if the party to whom the writ is addressed has illegally parted with the custody of a person before the application for the writ is no reason why the writ should not issue. The forcible taking of these women from Manila by officials of that city. who handed them over to other parties. the English courts have taken a contrary view.. The respondents. it was shown that the women might still be imprisoned or restrained of their liberty. Nevertheless. If the mayor and the chief of police. within the reach of process. the parties in whose behalf it was asked were under no restraint. Placed in Davao without either money or personal belongings. after its many . justices. The restraint of liberty which began in Manila continued until the aggrieved parties were returned to Manila and released or until they freely and truly waived his right. with whom concurred Martin. the women. says counsel. J. On the question presented the court was equally divided. it is claimed. this is a tenable position. they were prevented from exercising the liberty of going when and where they pleased. were free in Davao. and the two original respondents with their attorney.. It must be that some such question has heretofore been presented to the courts for decision.

That is a command to bring the child before the judge and must be obeyed. See also to the same effect the Irish case of In re Matthews. If it could be shown that by reason of his having lawfully parted with the possession of the child before the issuing of the writ. Rep. The question is whether there has been a contempt in disobeying the writ it was issued by not producing the child in obedience to its commands. Statutes were not passed to give the right. and was issued on January 22. . . (The Queen vs. Law Rep. It does not reach the former except through the latter.) The English courts have given careful consideration to the subject. if he does not. . and if he fails to obey it.) The opinion of Judge Cooley has since been accepted as authoritative by other courts. 12 Ir. 50 Fed.]. B. but his jailor. The Queen vs. Many efforts have been made in argument to shift the question of contempt to some anterior period for the purpose of showing that what was done at some time prior to the writ cannot be a contempt. The important fact to be observed in regard to the mode of procedure upon this writ is. 57 Iowa. D.. (Rivers vs." and after the extension of its benefits and securities by the petition of right. 15 Mich. A writ of habeas corpus was issued by the Queen's Bench Division upon the application of the mother and her husband directing the defendant to produce the child. He was found in contempt of court. together with the cause of her being taken and detained. through Lord Esher. If it is so. But the question is not as to what was done before the issue of the writ. Ex parte Young [1892]. bill of rights and habeas corpus acts. a child had been taken out of English by the respondent. until Coke could declare in his speech on the petition of right that "Magna Charta was such a fellow that he will have no sovereign.. S. Gossage's Case [1890]. the court. where the power of control exercised? And I am aware of no other remedy.. Com. but in the absence of any lawful reason he is bound to produce the child. . but he did not do so. said: A writ of habeas corpus was ordered to issue. R.. 23 Q. The second proposition — that the statutory provisions are confined to the case of imprisonment within the state — seems to me to be based upon a misconception as to the source of our jurisdiction. that the legislature may apply the proper remedy.) A decision coming from the Federal Courts is also of interest. on the subject being brought to their notice.. he is in contempt of the Court for not obeying the writ without lawful excuse. . 193. This is the ordinary mode of affording relief. B. A habeas corpus was directed to the defendant to have before the circuit court of the District of Columbia three colored persons. and. it is important that it be determined without delay. but the court relieves him by compelling the oppressor to release his constraint. so that by the power of the court he can be compelled to release his grasp. The judge at chambers gave defendant until a certain date to produce the child. not important to the relief. but to compel the observance of rights which existed. Thus. The place of confinement is.. People [1911]. it should now be discovered that evasion of that great clause for the protection of personal liberty. that it is directed to and served upon. Bernardo [1889]. It was never the case in England that the court of king's bench derived its jurisdiction to issue and enforce this writ from the statute. The whole force of the writ is spent upon the respondent. 24 Q. and set the prisoner free. 1000. not the person confined. is so easy as is claimed here.. That writ commanded the defendant to have the body of the child before a judge in chambers at the Royal Courts of Justice immediately after the receipt of the writ. The officer or person who serves it does not unbar the prison doors. that it was no longer in his custody or control.193 confirmations. 305. 283. D. the means to be resorted to for the purposes of compulsion are fine and imprisonment. Breene vs. which is the life and soul of the whole instrument. with the cause of their detention. Barnardo. . the defendant had no longer power to produce the child. as I can not doubt they would. and if any other means are resorted to. unless some lawful reason can be shown to excuse the nonproduction of the child. M. 233. 117 Pac. Mitchell [1881]. that might be an answer. . On appeal. His return stated that the child before the issuance of the writ had been handed over by him to another. Colo. except as greater distance may affect it. 416. The important question is. The difficulty of affording redress is not increased by the confinement being beyond the limits of the state. 526. they are only auxiliary to those which are usual. (In the matter of Jackson [1867]. and that it was impossible for him to obey the writ. [N. if the guilty party is within reach of process. therefore.

For example. in Gossage's case. or be otherwise discharged in due course of law. and that about this number either returned at their own expense or were produced at the second hearing by the respondents.) They did not produce the bodies of the persons in whose behalf the writ was granted. 2nd ed. The. and that the court would only accept clear proof of an absolute impossibility by way of excuse. three optional courses were open: (1) They could have produced the bodies of the persons according to the command of the writ. ordered that he be committed to the custody of the marshall until he should produce the negroes. Anton Hohmann. The evidence tended to show that Davis had removed the negroes because he suspected they would apply for a writ of habeas corpus. could have been brought back to Manila is demonstrated to be found in the municipality of Davao.S. but who should not be permitted to do so because of having contracted debts. and refusing to produce them. 87. The court afterwards ordered that Davis be released upon the production of two of the negroes. Cas. or (3) they could have presented affidavits to show that the parties in question or their attorney waived the right to be present. stated on oath that he had purchased the negroes as slaves in the city of Washington. sec. and that they were then beyond his control and out of his custody. at the time the return to its first order was made. Fed. Francisco Sales. 624. and we said that he was bound to use every effort to get the child back.C. 170. The half-hearted effort naturally resulted in none of the parties in question being brought before the court on the day named.) We find. the Mayor of the city of Manila waited until the 21st of November before sending a telegram to the provincial governor of Davao. would have been warranted summarily in finding the respondents guilty of contempt of court. (United States vs. The court. Church on Habeas. The respondents were thus given ample time. and do everything that mortal man could do in the matter. The order was dated November 4. and because it desired to give the respondents another chance to demonstrate their good faith and to mitigate their wrong. 5 Cranch C.194 Davis. Instead a few stereotyped affidavits purporting to show that the women were contended with their life in Davao.. and that Davis was bound to produce the negroes. were appended to the return.. there were then in Davao women who desired to return to Manila. directed Justo Lukban." In other words. p. in his return to the writ. that he must advertise in America. at least sixty. and Davis being present in court. they did not show impossibility of performance. that he must do much more than write letters for the purpose. 14926. 1918. . said: "We thought that. or (2) they could have shown by affidavit that on account of sickness or infirmity those persons could not safely be brought before the court. As far as the record discloses. for one of the negroes had run away and been lodged in jail in Maryland. Davis [1839]. authorities cited herein pertaining to somewhat similar facts all tend to indicate with what exactitude a habeas corpus writ must be fulfilled. the Magistrate in referring to an earlier decision of the Court. The first order. That the court forebore at this time to take drastic action was because it did not wish to see presented to the public gaze the spectacle of a clash between executive officials and the judiciary. it will be recalled. and even if necessary himself go after the child. to comply with the writ. supra. and Feliciano Yñigo to present the persons named in the writ before the court on December 2. Davis produced the two negroes on the last day of the term. 1918. some of which have since been repudiated by the signers.. they were removed beyond the District of Columbia before the service of the writ of habeas corpus. that no one of the defense offered by the respondents constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the writ of habeas corpus. 622. (Code of Criminal Procedure. According to the response of the attorney for the Bureau of Labor to the telegram of his chief. Their excuses for the non-production of the persons were far from sufficient. and they did not present writings that waived the right to be present by those interested. therefore. See also Robb vs. as he believed. Connolly [1883]. practically one month. he must take the consequences. There remains to be considered whether the respondent complied with the two orders of the Supreme Court awarding the writ of habeas corpus. The court held the return to be evasive and insufficient. and if it be found that they did not. That through ordinary diligence a considerable number of the women. 111 U. and in sending them to jail until they obeyed the order. both on reason and authority. For the respondents to have fulfilled the court's order. the return did not show that every possible effort to produce the women was made by the respondents. having brought about that state of things by his own illegal act. that. whether the contempt should be punished or be taken as purged. No.

and who later.. The city fiscal. and with judicial regard for human imperfections. who conducted the negotiations with the Bureau of Labor. and in pursuance thereof to require respondent Lukban to forfeit to the parties aggrieved as much as P400 each. If any wrong is now being perpetrated in Davao. A nominal fine will at once command such respect without being unduly oppressive — such an amount is P100. the respondents appear to have become more zealous and to have shown a better spirit. placards were posted. who ordered the police to accomplish the same. which relates to the penalty for disobeying the writ. 99 N. Ordax. The hacendero Yñigo appears to have been drawn into the case through a misconstruction by counsel of telegraphic communications. If any particular individual is still restrained of her liberty. . Rodriguez. was Justo Lukban.. His regard for the writ of habeas corpus issued by the court was only tardily and reluctantly acknowledged. Modesto Joaquin. The attorney for the petitioners asks that we find in contempt of court Justo Lukban. and Joaquin only followed the orders of their chiefs. is a contempt committed in the face of the court. Feliciano Yñigo. it can be made the object of separate habeas corpus proceedings. his counter-motion to strike from the record the memorandum of attorney for the petitioners. members of the police force of the city of Manila. we come to conclude that there is a substantial compliance with it. we cannot say that any of the respondents. with the possible exception of the first named. Between the two extremes appears to lie the correct finding. no further action on the writ of habeas corpus is necessary. Finding him innocent of any disrespect to the court. which would reach to many thousands of pesos. C. While charges and counter-charges in such a bitterly contested case are to be expected. the attorney for the Bureau of Labor. he has purged his contempt of the first order. who made arrangements for the steamers and the constabulary. and a steamer with free transportation to Manila was provided. Respondents Hohmann. His methods were unlawful. and Anacleto Diaz. His intention to suppress the social evil was commendable. nothing further in this connection remains to be done. adjudge the respondent to be guilty of contempt. 77 Cal. the Mayor of the city of Manila. it is nevertheless a powerful mitigating circumstance. The failure of respondent Lukban to obey the first mandate of the court tended to belittle and embarrass the administration of justice to such an extent that his later activity may be considered only as extenuating his conduct.195 In response to the second order of the court. and while. would seem to have done no more than to fulfill his duty as the legal representative of the city government. which brings him into this undesirable position. Agents were dispatched to Mindanao. as the head of the city government. must be granted. 407. Fiscal of the city of Manila. Since the writ has already been granted. it should receive an executive investigation. The power to punish for contempt of court should be exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle. Anacleto Diaz. and while a critical reading of the record might reveal a failure of literal fulfillment with our mandate. It would be possible to turn to the provisions of section 546 of the Code of Civil Procedure. When all is said and done. this does not exonerate them entirely. Jose Rodriguez.) With all the facts and circumstances in mind. In resume — as before stated. the official who was primarily responsible for the unlawful deportation. Our finding to this effect may be influenced somewhat by our sincere desire to see this unhappy incident finally closed. and Fernando Ordax. It would also be possible to find that since respondent Lukban did comply substantially with the second order of the court. to vindicate its authority. Nevertheless when one is commanded to produce a certain person and does not do so. The respondents Hohmann. In re Patterson [1888]. chief of police of the city of Manila. and does not offer a valid excuse. Some members of the court are inclined to this merciful view. Anton Hohmann. 156. as far as this record discloses. and since we find a substantial compliance with it. Rodriguez. Only occasionally should the court invoke its inherent power in order to retain that respect without which the administration of justice must falter or fail. the constabulary and the municipal police joined in rounding up the women. had it within his power to facilitate the return of the unfortunate women to Manila. An officer's failure to produce the body of a person in obedience to a writ of habeas corpus when he has power to do so. and in addition to deal with him as for a contempt. Some members of the court are inclined to this stern view. has flatly disobeyed the court by acting in opposition to its authority. a court must. anhacendero of Davao. (Ex parte Sterns [1888]. under the law of public officers. Ordax. Mayor of the city of Manila. and must order him either imprisoned or fined.

So ordered. Arellano. concur. C. is granted. and Diaz are found not to be in contempt of court..J. and Street.. Respondent Lukban is found in contempt of court and shall pay into the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court within five days the sum of one hundred pesos (P100). Costs shall be taxed against respondents. concur in the result. The motion of the fiscal of the city of Manila to strike from the record the Replica al Memorandum de los Recurridos of January 25. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION . may we not be permitted to express the hope that this decision may serve to bulwark the fortifications of an orderly government of laws and to protect individual liberty from illegal encroachment. Yñigo. Johnson. JJ. Avanceña and Moir. 1919. In concluding this tedious and disagreeable task.. JJ.196 Joaquin.

Silverio vs. Since the information was filed. even on grounds other than the "interest of national security. Several scheduled arraignments were cancelled and reset. dated 4 April and 28 July 1988. 94284 April 8. The records will show that the information was filed on October 14. BENIGNO G. claiming that the scheduled arraignments could not be held because there was a pending Motion to Quash the Information. In due time. Petitioner was charged with violation of Section 20 (4) of the Revised Securities Act in Criminal Case No. and the Commission on Immigration to prevent Petitioner from leaving the country. Convincingly shown by the Trial Court and conformed to by respondent Appellate Court is the concurrence of the following circumstances: 1. GAVIOLA. Overruling opposition. he posted bail for his provisional liberty. et al. issued an Order directing the Department of Foreign Affairs to cancel Petitioner's passport or to deny his application therefor. the Regional Trial Court. 1) Although the date of the filing of the Motion to Quash has been omitted by Petitioner. Gaviola. After the respective pleadings required by the Court were filed. said Motion to Quash was set for hearing only on 19 February 1988.. Quisumbing. .. Silverio. petitioner. 15827. SILVERIO. entitled "Ricardo C. mostly due to the failure of accused Silverio to appear. Benigno C. as Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City. 1985.R. Sr. it is apparent that it was filed long after the filing of the Information in 1985 and only after several arraignments had already been scheduled and cancelled due to Petitioner's non-appearance. accused Silverio had never appeared in person before the Court. 45). Branch IX. Until this date (28 July 1988). be set aside. (1) on the basis of facts allegedly patently erroneous. On 26 January 1988. Petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was denied on 28 July 1988.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court praying that the Decision of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G. until this date. vs. SP No.197 G. permission of this Court" (Rollo. Petitioner's Certiorari Petition before the Court of Appeals met a similar fate on 31 January 1990. The reason for accused Silverio's failure to appear had invariably been because he is abroad in the United States of America." dated 31 January 1990. public safety or public health. etc. Torres & Evangelista for petitioner. 2.R." We perceive no reversible error. we resolved to give due course and to decide the case. On 14 October 1985. This order was based primarily on the Trial Court's finding that since the filing of the Information on 14 October 1985. In fact. CBU-6304 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. Hence. THE COURT OF APPEALS. No. "the accused has not yet been arraigned because he has never appeared in Court on the dates scheduled for his arraignment and there is evidence to show that accused Ricardo C. MELENCIO-HERRERA. HON. J. 1991 RICARDO C. p. this Petition for Review filed on 30 July 1990. has left the country and has gone abroad without the knowledge and Petitioner contends that respondent Court of Appeals erred in not finding that the Trial Court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in issuing its Orders. the case had yet to be arraigned. on 4 April 1988. or more than two (2) years after the filing of the Information. and (2) finding that the right to travel can be impaired upon lawful order of the Court. Hon. and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. respondents. respondent People of the Philippines filed an Urgent ex parte Motion to cancel the passport of and to issue a hold-departure Order against accused-petitioner on the ground that he had gone abroad several times without the necessary Court approval resulting in postponements of the arraignment and scheduled hearings. as well as the Resolution of 29 June 1990 denying reconsideration.

public safety or public health.. ]). or public health. Sec. Cebu." To start with. thus: The liberty of abode and of travel shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court or when necessary in the interest of national security. 20 [2nd par. p.198 3. et al. "Bail is the security given for the release of a person in custody of the law. p. The 1987 Constitution has split the two freedoms into two distinct sentences and treats them differently. and this has not been controverted by Petitioner. public safety or public health. the liberty of abode and of travel were treated under one provision. The foregoing condition imposed upon an accused to make himself available at all times whenever the Court requires his presence operates as a valid restriction of his right to travel (Manotoc. public safety. compelled to return (Constitutional Law. 1 and 2). 6. The limit had long been reached (Order. Section 5). furnished by him or a bondsman. Rollo. 138). even on grounds other than the "interest of national security. as compared to the provisions on freedom of movement in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions. he should be taken into custody. 2) Petitioner's further submission is that respondent Appellate Court "glaringly erred" in finding that the right to travel can be impaired upon lawful order of the Court. The bond posted by accused Silverio had been cancelled twice and warrants of arrest had been issued against him all for the same reason –– failure to appear at scheduled arraignments. to wit: Sec. 28 July 1988.1âwphi1 Article III. as may be provided by law. 30 May 1986. Patently. Warrants of Arrest having been issued against him for violation of the conditions of his bail bond. Jr. Crim. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Court of Appeals. it restricts the allowable impairment of the right to travel only on grounds of interest of national security. however. the bail bond he had posted had been cancelled and Warrants of Arrest had been issued against him by reason. A person facing criminal charges may be restrained by the Court from leaving the country or. No. CBU-6304. 142 SCRA 149). of his failure to appear at scheduled arraignments. RTC. p. public safety. Under the 1935 Constitution. therefore. Cruz. the questioned RTC Orders. conditioned upon his appearance before any court when so required by the Court or the Rules (1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure.. as Petitioner would want this Court to believe. Petitioner takes the posture. the Court makes the observation that it has given accused Silverio more than enough consideration. 62100. or public health (Article IV. . 1987 Edition. dated 4 April 1988 and 28 July 1988. So it is also that "An accused released on bail may be re-arrested without the necessity of a warrant if he attempts to depart from the Philippines without prior permission of the Court where the case is pending (ibid. if abroad. Isagani A. The 1973 Constitution altered the 1935 text by explicitly including the liberty of travel. in both instances. To all appearances. were not based on erroneous facts. the pendency of a Motion to Quash came about only after several settings for arraignment had been scheduled and cancelled by reason of Petitioner's non-appearance. Case No. Secs. as amended. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security. 5. that while the 1987 Constitution recognizes the power of the Courts to curtail the liberty of abode within the limits prescribed by law. 73). In all candidness. Rule 114. vs. Section 1(4) thereof reads: The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired.

or public health" and "as may be provided by law. Jr. 53622. Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should be interpreted to mean that while the liberty of travel may be impaired even without Court Order. public safety. 404 (1935). process and other means necessary to carry it into effect may be employed by such Court or officer (Rule 135..S. It is to their best interest that criminal prosecutions should run their course and proceed to finality without undue delay. Silverio. No. Warrants for his arrest have been issued. SO ORDERED. When by law jurisdiction is conferred on a Court or judicial officer. et al. Courts can impair the right to travel only on the grounds of "national security. Padilla. Sarmiento and Regalado. at his pleasure. Article III. Ricardo C. Vol." The submission is not well taken. Petitioner is facing a criminal charge. 61 Phil. Costs against petitioner. public safety. Hermoso & Travel Processing Center. Apparently. Besides.. p. to the effect that the condition imposed upon an accused admitted to bail to make himself available at all times whenever the Court requires his presence operates as a valid restriction on the right to travel no longer holds under the 1987 Constitution. Holding an accused in a criminal case within the reach of the Courts by preventing his departure from the Philippines must be considered as a valid restriction on his right to travel so that he may be dealt with in accordance with law. Section 6. which issued certificates of eligibility to travel upon application of an interested party (See Salonga vs. the appropriate executive officers or administrative authorities are not armed with arbitrary discretion to impose limitations. is far from tenable.. outside the territorial confines of the country. the 1973. with an accused holding himself amenable at all times to Court Orders and processes. (supra). They can impose limits only on the basis of "national security. 263). Joaquin G. 97 SCRA 121). First Edition. 1987. concur. He has posted bail but has violated the conditions thereof by failing to appear before the Court when required. 25 April 1980. the phraseology in the 1987 Constitution was a reaction to the ban on international travel imposed under the previous regime when there was a Travel Processing Center. Court of Appeals.J. Petitioner's argument that the ruling in Manotoc. all auxillary writs. the Manotoc ruling on that point was but a re-affirmation of that laid down long before in People v. v. Paras. Uy Tuising. WHEREFORE. The nature and function of a bail bond has remained unchanged whether under the 1935. the judgment under review is hereby AFFIRMED. . or the 1987 Constitution. Those orders and processes would be rendered nugatory if an accused were to be allowed to leave or to remain. The offended party in any criminal proceeding is the People of the Philippines.. JJ. Bernas.199 Petitioner thus theorizes that under the 1987 Constitution." a limitive phrase which did not appear in the 1973 text (The Constitution. Article III. I. Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution should by no means be construed as delimiting the inherent power of the Courts to use all means necessary to carry their orders into effect in criminal cases pending before them. or public health. Rules of Court).

Her ascension to and consilidation of power have not been unchallenged. dead. January 30. stop bloody challenges to the government. Marcos. NICANOR YÑIGUEZ and PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION ASSOCIATION (PHILCONSA). Gregorio Honasan. But Mrs. Executive Secretary. HONORABLE RAUL MANGLAPUS. Corazon C. Secretary of Justice.200 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. There were several other armed sorties of lesser significance. in his deathbed. CORTES. IMELDA R. while the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses has remained elusive. ARANETA. considering the dire consequences to the nation of his return at a time when the stability of government is threatened from various directions and the economy is just beginning to rise and move forward. PACIFICO E. has signified his wish to return to the Philipppines to die. both combatants and civilians. Aquino was declared President of the Republic under a revolutionary government. Marcos. the Court's decision in this case would undeniably have a profound effect on the political. The failed Manila Hotel coup in 1986 led by political leaders of Mr. three years after Mrs. respondents. CONRADO F. Canlas with the support of "Marcos loyalists" and the unseccessful plot of the Marcos spouses to surreptitiously return from Hawii with mercenaries aboard an aircraft chartered by a Lebanese arms dealer [Manila Bulletin. MARCOS. however. Mr. Marcos and his family. Aquino. Marcos. economic and other aspects of national life. Ferdinand E. have yet to show concrete results in alleviating the poverty of the masses. MIRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO. Marcos was deposed from the presidency via the non-violent "people power" revolution and forced into exile.: Before the Court is a contreversy of grave national importance. 1987] awakened the nation to the capacity of the Marcoses to stir trouble even from afar and to the fanaticism and blind loyalty of their followers in the country. J. MARCOS. In his stead. Marcos. RENATO DE VILLA. No. 1989 FERDINAND E. 1987. Aquino assumed office. While ostensibly only legal issues are involved. Nor are the woes of the Republic purely political. one of the major players in the February Revolution. Immigration Commissioner. On August 28. led a failed coup that left scores of people. to the extent that the communists have set up a parallel government of their own on the areas they effectively control while the separatist are virtually free to move about in armed bands. in their capacity as Secretary of Foreign Affairs. SEDFREY ORDOÑEZ. FIDEL RAMOS.. has stood firmly on the decision to bar the return of Mr. FERDINAND R. MARCOS. There are also the communist insurgency and the seccessionist movement in Mindanao which gained ground during the rule of Mr. This did not. TOMAS MANOTOC. But the armed threats to the Government were not only found in misguided elements and among rabid followers of Mr. GREGORIO ARANETA. ESTRELLA. CATALINO MACARAIG. Col. respectively. We recall that in February 1986. IMEE MANOTOC. but the message they conveyed was the same — a split in the ranks of the military establishment that thraetened civilian supremacy over military and brought to the fore the realization that civilian government could be at the mercy of a fractious military. Marcos and his cronies left the economy devastated. Secretary of National Defense and Chief of Staff.R. vs. MARCOS. represented by its President. The efforts at economic recovery. JR. The Petition . There has been no let up on this groups' determination to wrest power from the govermnent. The ratification of the 1987 Constitution enshrined the victory of "people power" and also clearly reinforced the constitutional moorings of Mrs. Not only through resort to arms but also to through the use of propaganda have they been successful in dreating chaos and destabilizing the country. The accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation attributed to Mr. Now. petitioners. IRENE M. 88211 September 15. Aquino's presidency. the takeover of television station Channel 7 by rebel troops led by Col.

or in excess of jurisdiction. or property without due process of law. This petition for mandamus and prohibition asks the Courts to order the respondents to issue travel documents to Mr. public safety. the President may prohibit the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. or public health. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court.1 The case for petitioners is founded on the assertion that the right of the Marcoses to return to the Philippines is guaranteed under the following provisions of the Bill of Rights.201 This case is unique. public safety or public health? b. 5-7. The Issue Th issue is basically one of power: whether or not. or with grave abuse of discretion. to wit: Section 1. The petitioners contend that the President is without power to impair the liberty of abode of the Marcoses because only a court may do so "within the . is in a class by itself. Rollo. or public health a political question? d. Assuming that the Court may inquire as to whether the return of former President Marcos and his family is a clear and present danger to national security. According to the petitioners. Has the President made a finding that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security. Assuming that the President has the power to bar former President Marcos and his family from returning to the Philippines. been made known to petitioners so that they may controvert the same? c. has the President's decision. 234-236. in performing any act which would effectively bar the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines? [Memorandum for Petitioners. have respondents established such fact? 3. in the exercise of the powers granted by the Constitution. public safety. pp. pp. Is this a political question? 2. public safety. liberty. It should not create a precedent. economic and social havoc in the country and who within the short space of three years seeks to return. the resolution of the case would depend on the resolution of the following issues: 1. therefore. xxx xxx xxx Section 6. Is the President's determination that the return of former President Marcos and his family to the Philippines is a clear and present danger to national security. Assuming that she has made that finding (1) Have the requirements of due process been complied with in making such finding? (2) Has there been prior notice to petitioners? (3) Has there been a hearing? (4) Assuming that notice and hearing may be dispensed with. for the case of a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political. Does the President have the power to bar the return of former President Marcos and family to the Philippines? a. including the grounds upon which it was based. as may be provided by law. No person shall be deprived of life. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security. Marcos and the immediate members of his family and to enjoin the implementation of the President's decision to bar their return to the Philippines. in implementing the President's decision to bar the return of former President Marcos and his family. or public health. public safety or public health a. acted and would be acting without jurisdiction. in the interest of "national security. Have the respondents. nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.

pp. including his own.202 limits prescribed by law. They advance the view that before the right to travel may be impaired by any authority or agency of the government. Marcos and family. Do petitioners Ferdinand E. there must be legislation to that effect. to wit: Do petitioners Ferdinand E. But when the question is whether the two rights claimed by petitioners Ferdinand E. the question is not a political question as it involves merely a determination of what the law provides on the matter and application thereof to petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here? This is clearly a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide. Marcos and family have their right to return to the Philippines and reestablish their residence here even if their return and residence here will endanger national security and public safety? this is still a justiciable question which this Honorable Court can decide. Likewise. the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. the question becomes political and this Honorable Court can not consider it. have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. [Memorandum for Respondents. 2) Everyone shall be free to leave any country. the question involved is simply whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. Marcos and his family to return to the Philippines is guaranteed. Respondents submit that in its proper formulation. The petitioners further assert that under international law. pp. the issue is whether or not petitioners Ferdinand E. There are thus gradations to the question. public order (order public). and to return to his country. Marcos and family have the right to return to the Philippines and reside here at this time in the face of the determination by the President that such return and residence will endanger national security and public safety. 9-11. According to the Solicitor General: It may be conceded that as formulated by petitioners. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides: Article 13. Marcos and family impinge on or collide with the more primordial and transcendental right of the State to security and safety of its nationals. On the other hand. 297-299. and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant. including his own. the right of Mr. As petitioners couch it. provides: Article 12 1) Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall. which had been ratified by the Philippines. Marcos and his family have the right to travel and liberty of abode. Rollo. public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others. the respondents' principal argument is that the issue in this case involves a political question which is non-justiciable. Is there danger to national security and public safety if petitioners Ferdinand E. 3) The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Marcos and family shall return to the Philippines and establish their residence here? This is now a political question which this Honorable Court can not decide for it falls within the exclusive authority and competence of the President of the Philippines. within that territory. Petitioners invoke these constitutional rights in vacuo without reference to attendant circumstances. are necessary to protect national security.] ." Nor may the President impair their right to travel because no law has authorized her to do so. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country. 4) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and. We. respectively. Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic.S. Jorge Ubico of Guatemala.] The parties are in agreement that the underlying issue is one of the scope of presidential power and its limits. under conditions provided by law. but it is our well-considered view that the right to return may be considered." [Art.e.] However. Agee [453 U. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. i. At the outset. in the fulfillment thereof. Supreme Court in the leading cases of Kent v. 280. and even in American jurisprudence. Essentially. pp. and the right to enter one's country as separate and distinct rights. 2 of the Constitution. 2d 1204] and Haig v. 2d 640) which affirmed the right to travel and recognized exceptions to the exercise thereof. Section 5. and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy. liberty. 116. King Farouk of Egypt. The maintenance of peace and order.. [See Statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Raul S. a totally distinct right under international law. we are not bound by its narrow confines in arriving at a solution to the controversy. view this issue in a different light. we must state that it would not do to view the case within the confines of the right to travel and the import of the decisions of the U. 69 L Ed.] On the other hand. to render personal. Fulgencio batista of Cuba. 13(l)] separately from the "right to leave any country. 12(4). pp. 12 (4). 314-319. Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador.203 Respondents argue for the primacy of the right of the State to national security over individual rights. the rulings in the cases Kent and Haig which refer to the issuance of passports for the purpose of effectively exercising the right to travel are not determinative of this case and are only tangentially material insofar as they relate to a conflict between executive action and the exercise of a protected right. and property. including his own. Sec. It must be emphasized that the individual right involved is not the right to travel from the Philippines to other countries or within the Philippines. the right involved is the right to return to one's country." [Art. however. which treats only of the liberty of abode and the right to travel. Although we give due weight to the parties' formulation of the issues. public order. Anastacio Somoza Jr. The issue before the Court is novel and without precedent in Philippine. The right to return to one's country is not among the rights specifically guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. the Universal Declaration of Humans Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treat the right to freedom of movement and abode within the territory of a state. Rollo. public health or morals or enter qqqs own country" of which one cannot be "arbitrarily deprived. the Covenant guarantees the "right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence" [Art. they cite Article II of the Constitution. II. An appropriate case for its resolution will have to be awaited. 12(l)] and the right to "be free to leave any country. military. the protection of life. Thus. and to return to his country. independent from although related to the right to travel. resolution by the Court of the well-debated issue of whether or not there can be limitations on the right to travel in the absence of legislation to that effect is rendered unnecessary. against being "arbitrarily deprived" thereof [Art. Dulles [357 U. quoted in Memorandum for Respondents.S. Marcos and family from returning to the Philippines for reasons of national security and public safety has international precedents." [Art. it is distinct and separate from the right to travel and enjoys a different protection under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. 2 L Ed. Consequently. The Declaration speaks of the "right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state" [Art. of Nicaragua. 26-32. 13(2). and Marcos Perez Jimenez of Venezuela were among the deposed dictators whose return to their homelands was prevented by their governments. including his own. 12(2)] which rights may be restricted by such laws as "are necessary to protect national security. Respondents also point out that the decision to ban Mr.] It would therefore be inappropriate to construe the limitations to the right to return to one's country in the same context as those pertaining to the liberty of abode and the right to travel. These are what the right to travel would normally connote. 101 SCt 2766. is part of the law of the land [Art. 78 SCt 1113.S. as a generally accepted principle of international law and. under our Constitution. In support thereof. Manglapus. the right to leave a country. . all citizens may be required. to wit: Section 4. or civil service.] Thus.

11." .. 1]. it does not define what is meant by executive power" although in the same article it touches on the exercise of certain powers by the President. President were exercised by the different persons who held the office from Washington to the early 1900's. VII. Our resolution of the issue will involve a two-tiered approach. pp. the power to enter into treaties or international agreements. the powers under the commander-in-chief clause.1 If this can be said of the legislative power which is exercised by two chambers with a combined membership of more than two hundred members and of the judicial power which is vested in a hierarchy of courts. Then.. and a grant of the judicial power means a grant of all the judicial power which may be exercised under the government. the power to execute the laws. whether or not the President acted arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she determined that the return of the Marcose's to the Philippines poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and decided to bar their return. VIII. Sec. pursuant to the express power of the Court under the Constitution in Article VIII. and "[te judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law" [Art.] . the power to contract or guarantee foreign loans. allotment of power to the executive. we shall determine. Section 1. VII.204 Having clarified the substance of the legal issue. the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress. He said: Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. Cabangis [15 Phil." [Art.1 Thus. Sec. 14-23]. the power to submit the budget to Congress. the Constitution provides that "[t]he executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines. . the power to grant reprieves. and the power to address Congress [Art. the power of control over all executive departments. the legislative and the judicial departments of the government. 233. 139 (1936)]." [At 157.S. it should be a vision realized. in his monumental volume on the President of the United States grappled with the same problem. 626 (1910)] pointed out "a grant of the legislative power means a grant of all legislative power. "[t]he executive power shall bevested in the President of the Philippines" [Art. We encounter this characteristic of Article 11 in its opening words: "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. 11. Sec. Thus. To recall the words of Justice Laurel in Angara v. by the same token. The inevitable question then arises: by enumerating certain powers of the President did the framers of the Constitution intend that the President shall exercise those specific powers and no other? Are these se enumerated powers the breadth and scope of "executive power"? Petitioners advance the view that the President's powers are limited to those specifically enumerated in the 1987 Constitution. VII. Presidency after which ours is legally patterned.S.1 This argument brings to mind the institution of the U. "the Constitution has blocked but with deft strokes and in bold lines. We shall first resolve whether or not the President has the power under the Constitution.] These provisions not only establish a separation of powers by actual division [Angara v. Sec. To those who think that a constitution ought to settle everything beforehand it should be a nightmare. As stated above. executive and judicial powers subject only to limitations provided in the Constitution. Electoral Commission [63 Phil. However. supra] but also confer plenary legislative. 1. 17871957.] Reviewing how the powers of the U. Inclusion unius est exclusio alterius[Memorandum for Petitioners.e. he concluded that "what the presidency is at any particular moment depends in important measure on who is President. For as the Supreme Court in Ocampo v. we find now a need to explain the methodology for its resolution. . i. commutations and pardons. the 1987 Constitution explicitly provides that "[the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines" Art VI. Sec. 3-4. to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. [The President: Office and Powers.Rollo p. the appointing power. 4. Electoral Commission. they assert: "The President has enumerated powers. p." [At 631-632. bureaus and offices.** Corwin. and what is not enumerated is impliedly denied to her. and the swing from the presidency by commission to Lincoln's dictatorship. to those who think that constitution makers ought to leave considerable leeway for the future play of political forces. it can equally be said of the executive power which is vested in one official the President. Executive Power The 1987 Constitution has fully restored the separation of powers of the three great branches of government." [At 30.

an agency of government subject to unvarying demands and duties no remained. the Constitution itself provides that the execution of the laws is only one of the powers of the President. Emphasis supplied. It would not be accurate. expectations. but through numerous amendments. 189 (1928). his habits. his values. Aquino says it is or what she does but. Government of the Philippine Islands. on the issue of who between the Governor-General of the Philippines and the Legislature may vote the shares of stock held by the Government to elect directors in the National Coal Company and the Philippine National Bank. we hold the view that although the 1987 Constitution imposes limitations on the exercise ofspecific powers of the President. In other words. style.205 This view is shared by Schlesinger who wrote in The Imperial Presidency: For the American Presidency was a peculiarly personal institution." Corollarily. said Clark Clifford.] We are not unmindful of Justice Holmes' strong dissent. compulsions. it is clear that they are not legislative in character.S. in upholding the power of the GovernorGeneral to do so. it remained of course.. Above all. his power over the country's foreign relations. [At 212. to the point that he was also the de facto Legislature. it maintains intact what is traditionally considered as within the scope of "executive power.213. was a chameleon. are not charged with the performance of any legislative functions or with the doing of anything which is in aid of performance of any such functions by the legislature. with the President as a mere figurehead. e. executive power is more than the sum of specific powers so enumerated. The 1987 Constitution. its impact on the constitutional order. The 1935 Constitution created a strong President with explicitly broader powers than the U. It has been advanced that whatever power inherent in the government that is neither legislative nor judicial has to be executive. in the landmark decision of Springer v. the way each President understood it as his personal obligation to inform and involve the Congress..[At 202-203. phobias recast the WhiteHouse and pervaded the entire government. therefore altered from President to President. for the President is head of state as well as head of government and whatever powers inhere in such positions pertain to the office unless the Constitution itself withholds it. On these premises. the U. the President became even more powerful... But in his enduring words of dissent we find reinforcement for the view that it would indeed be a folly to construe the powers of a branch of government to embrace only what are specifically mentioned in the Constitution: . executive and judicial powers by their actual distribution among three distinct branches of government with provision for checks and balances. Idiosyncrasies. The thrust of the office.S.g.S. standards. Thus. But. The executive branch. The 1973 Constitution attempted to modify the system of government into the parliamentary type. more than most agencies of government. taking its color from the character and personality of the President. Supreme Court.] We do not say that the presidency is what Mrs. it changed shape. President. however. The fact that they do not fall within the authority of either of these two constitutes logical ground for concluding that they do fall within that of the remaining one among which the powers of government are divided . intensity and ethos according to the man in charge. said: . and still more clear that they are not judicial. 277 U. Each President's distinctive temperament and character.. to earn and hold the confidence of the electorate and to render an accounting to the nation and posterity determined whether he strengthened or weakened the constitutional order. of cas President.Here the members of the legislature who constitute a majority of the "board" and "committee" respectively. to state that "executive power" is the power to enforce the laws. brought back the presidential system of government and restored the separation of legislative. however.. rather. It also grants the President other powers that do not involve the execution of any provision of law. Putting aside for the moment the question whether the duties devolved upon these members are vested by the Organic Act in the Governor-General. Furthermore. the powers of the President cannot be said to be limited only to the specific powers enumerated in the Constitution. that the consideration of tradition and the development of presidential power under the different constitutions are essential for a complete understanding of the extent of and limitations to the President's powers under the 1987 Constitution.

in fulfilling presidential duties in times of peace is not in any way diminished by the . although couched in absolute terms. Wide discretion. in the exercise of presidential functions. the President has the obligation under the Constitution to protect the people. 1981. the President has to consider these principles... supra. or from another point of view. The constitutional guarantees they invoke are neither absolute nor inflexible." [Art. admits of limits and must be adjusted to the requirements of equally important public interests [Zaldivar v. 1. and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy. II.. and adhere to them.206 The great ordinances of the Constitution do not establish and divide fields of black and white. It is founded on the duty of the President. of the Government exercising the powers delegated by the people forget and the servants of the people become rulers. and in directing implementing action for these plans. as steward of the people. but is also tasked with attending to the day-to-day problems of maintaining peace and order and ensuring domestic tranquility in times when no foreign foe appears on the horizon. service and protection of the people.] Admittedly. For the exercise of even the preferred freedoms of speech and ofexpression. promote their welfare and advance the national interest. But such does not mean that they are empty words. were it ever so desirable to do so.] To the President. It is a power borne by the President's duty to preserve and defend the Constitution. October 7.The power of the President to keep the peace is not limited merely to exercising the commander-in-chief powers in times of emergency or to leading the State against external and internal threats to its existence. 4 and 5. 79690-707. it is not only the power of the President but also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand [See Corwin. The power involved is the President's residual power to protect the general welfare of the people. and the promotion of the general welfare are essentially ideals to guide governmental action. Sandiganbayan. which I am far from believing that it is. the maintenance of peace and order. the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise of rights of certain individuals. The President is not only clothed with extraordinary powers in times of emergency. Even the more specific of them are found to terminate in a penumbra shading gradually from one extreme to the other.] The Power Involved The Constitution declares among the guiding principles that "[t]he prime duty of theGovernment is to serve and protect the people" and that "[t]he maintenance of peace and order. . within the bounds of law. It must be borne in mind that the Constitution. the Constitution reminds everyone that "[s]overeignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. Secs. Faced with the problem of whether or not the time is right to allow the Marcoses to return to the Philippines. the protection of life. under the Constitution. in drawing a plan of government.the protection of life. Nos. II. constrained to consider these basic principles in arriving at a decision. and property. The American President. having sworn to defend and uphold the Constitution. where the author advances the view that an allowance of discretionary power is unavoidable in any government and is best lodged in the President].R. To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt." [Art. liberty. among other things. liberty and property.] xxx xxx xxx It does not seem to need argument to show that however we may disguise it by veiling words we do not and cannot carry out the distinction between legislative and executive action with mathematical precision and divide the branches into watertight compartments. Sec. at 153]. More than that. Rossiter The American Presidency].211. Thus. [At 210. or that the Constitution requires. lest the officers The resolution of the problem is made difficult because the persons who seek to return to the country are the deposed dictator and his family at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from whom billions of dollars believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President's duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed [see Hyman. in making any decision as President of the Republic. this case calls for the exercise of the President's powers as protector of the peace. G. aside from being an allocation of power is also a social contract whereby the people have surrendered their sovereign powers to the State for the common good. the President is. More particularly. Hence.

For in making the President commander-in-chief the enumeration of powers that follow cannot be said to exclude the President's exercising as Commander-in.1 The Resolution does not question the President's power to bar the Marcoses from returning to the Philippines. What is more. the separation of powers. defining "judicial power. subject to certain exceptions.R. But nonetheless there remain issues beyond the Court's jurisdiction the determination of which is exclusively for the President. it would appear clear that the second paragraph of Article VIII. L-33964. Section 1 of the Constitution. or of case law which clearly never contemplated situations even remotely similar to the present one." [House Resolution No. The Extent of Review Under the Constitution. and maintain public order and security. but only if and when he acts within the sphere alloted to him by the . we cannot agree with the Solicitor General that the issue constitutes a political question which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Court to decide. 1] Given this wording. judicial power includes the duty to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government. The present Constitution limits resort to the political question doctrine and broadens the scope of judicial inquiry into areas which the Court. What we are saying in effect is that the request or demand of the Marcoses to be allowed to return to the Philippines cannot be considered in the light solely of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing liberty of abode and the right to travel.Chief powers short of the calling of the armed forces.207 relative want of an emergency specified in the commander-in-chief provision. the Court will not substitute its judgment for that of the official concerned and decide a matter which by its nature or by law is for the latter alone to decide. We cannot set aside a presidential pardon though it may appear to us that the beneficiary is totally undeserving of the grant. Nor can we amend the Constitution under the guise of resolving a dispute brought before us because the power is reserved to the people. December 11. under which the Executive is supreme. no matter how premature or improvident such action may appear." which specifically empowers the courts to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the government. Sec. in order to keep the peace. It must be treated as a matter that is appropriately addressed to those residual unstated powers of the President which are implicit in and correlative to the paramount duty residing in that office to safeguard and protect general welfare. 1342. When political questions are involved. the Constitution limits the determination to whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the official whose action is being questioned. rather. In that context. and is manifested by the Resolution proposed in the House of Representatives and signed by 103 of its members urging the President to allow Mr. VIII." [Art. However. No. under the Constitution. There is nothing in the case before us that precludes our determination thereof on the political question doctrine. as regards the suspension of the privilege. In this light. incorporates in the fundamental law the ruling inLansang v. question the President's recognition of a foreign government. Garcia [G. the Executive is supreme within his own sphere. 1971. it appeals to the President's sense of compassion to allow a man to come home to die in his country. The deliberations of the Constitutional Commission cited by petitioners show that the framers intended to widen the scope of judicial review but they did not intend courts of justice to settle all actual controversies before them. or suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or declaring martial law. 42 SCRA 4481 that:] Article VII of the [1935] Constitution vests in the Executive the power to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under specified conditions. Pursuant to the principle of separation of powers underlying our system of government. it goes hand in hand with the system of checks and balances. under previous constitutions. We cannot. If grave abuse is not established. p. would have normally left to the political departments to decide. Marcos to return to the Philippines "as a genuine unselfish gesture for true national reconciliation and as irrevocable proof of our collective adherence to uncompromising respect for human rights under the Constitution and our laws. for Congress or for the people themselves through a plebiscite or referendum. such request or demand should submit to the exercise of a broader discretion on the part of the President to determine whether it must be granted or denied. 321. is not absolute. That the President has the power under the Constitution to bar the Marcose's from returning has been recognized by memembers of the Legislature. Rollo. for example.

Protection of the people is the essence of the duty of government. If such postulates do exist. The military establishment has given assurances that it could handle the threats posed by particular groups. We cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime. in turn. As divergent and discordant forces. cannot shirk from that responsibility. and the authority to determine whether or not he has so acted is vested in the Judicial Department. from their oral arguments. SO ORDERED.208 Basic Law. The Court cannot close its eyes to present realities and pretend that the country is not besieged from within by a well-organized communist insurgency. The documented history of the efforts of the Marcose's and their followers to destabilize the country. the President cannot be said to have acted arbitrarily and capriciously and whimsically in determining that the return of the Marcoses poses a serious threat to the national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return. the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. The President. constitutionally supreme. The resulting precarious state of our economy is of common knowledge and is easily within the ambit of judicial notice. we cannot argue with that determination. as earlier narrated in this ponencia bolsters the conclusion that the return of the Marcoses at this time would only exacerbate and intensify the violence directed against the State and instigate more chaos. in its efforts to recover the enormous wealth stashed away by the Marcoses in foreign jurisdictions. With these before her. many of whom are still here in the Philippines in a position to destabilize the country. or acts.. there exist factual bases for the President's decision. and it being our well-considered opinion that the President did not act arbitrarily or with grave abuse of discretion in determining that the return of former President Marcos and his family at the present time and under present circumstances poses a serious threat to national interest and welfare and in prohibiting their return to the Philippines. which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills. urban terrorism. . which. is. the enemies of the State may be contained. But it is the catalytic effect of the return of the Marcoses that may prove to be the proverbial final straw that would break the camel's back. is not precluded from taking preemptive action against threats to its existence if. and the facts revealed during the briefing in chambers by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Adviser. The President has determined that the destabilization caused by the return of the Marcoses would wipe away the gains achieved during the past few years and lead to total economic collapse. The State. acting through the Government. We find that from the pleadings filed by the parties. to mention only a few. it cannot be said that she has acted. so to speak. though still nascent they are perceived as apt to become serious and direct. wherein petitioners and respondents were represented. arbitrarily or that she has gravely abused her discretion in deciding to bar their return. the function of the Court is merely to check — not to supplant the Executive. in this respect. The preservation of the State the fruition of the people's sovereignty is an obligation in the highest order. a separatist movement in Mindanao. police officers and civilian officials. the murder with impunity of military men. sworn to preserve and defend the Constitution and to see the faithful execution the laws. WHEREFORE. that would be the time for the President to step in and exercise the commander-in-chief powers granted her by the Constitution to suppress or stamp out such violence. In the exercise of such authority. the question for the Court to determine is whether or not there exist factual bases for the President to conclude that it was in the national interest to bar the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines. Given what is within our individual and common knowledge of the state of the economy. rightist conspiracies to grab power. while the Government has barely scratched the surface. It will not do to argue that if the return of the Marcoses to the Philippines will cause the escalation of violence against the State. or to ascertain merely whether he has gone beyond the constitutional limits of his jurisdiction.] Accordingly. not to exercise the power vested in him or to determine the wisdom of his act [At 479-480. Then. We cannot also lose sight of the fact that the country is only now beginning to recover from the hardships brought about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives.

209 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. Specifically. It is held likewise to be an invalid exercise of the lawmaking power. DRILON as Secretary of Labor and Employment. Series of 1988. and TOMAS D. provides enough room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits. Italy. It is a fundamental attribute of government that has enabled it to perform the most vital functions of governance. to whom the expression has been credited. (2) in order to foster the common good. In its supplement to the petition.. SARMIENTO. Along with the taxing power and eminent domain. "Its scope.protection.: The petitioner. as Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. and it is not inaptly termed the "law of overwhelming necessity. the respondent Labor Secretary lifted the deployment ban in the states of Iraq. (PASEI. in character." in this petition for certiorari and prohibition. Philippine Association of Service Exporters. 1988. Hongkong. Norway. for overseas placement. is a power coextensive with self. United States. 7 refers to it succinctly as the plenary power of the State "to govern its citizens. it is contended." 5 As defined." 9 . 1. respondents. a firm "engaged principally in the recruitment of Filipino workers. 1988 PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE EXPORTERS. Marshall. for short). in the character of "GUIDELINES GOVERNING THE TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF DEPLOYMENT OF FILIPINO DOMESTIC AND HOUSEHOLD WORKERS. providing for worker participation "in policy and decisionmaking processes affecting their rights and benefits as may be provided by law. 81958 June 30..R. and not executive. The concept of police power is well-established in this jurisdiction. Gutierrez & Alo Law Offices for petitioner. The only question is whether or not it is valid under the Constitution. 1." 2 that it "does not apply to all Filipino workers but only to domestic helpers and females with similar skills. It is claimed. in addition to the "great and irreparable injury" that PASEI members face should the Order be further enforced. police power being legislative. Inc. It has been defined as the "state authority to enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty or property in order to promote the general welfare. of the Constitution.. veiled in general terms to underscore its all-comprehensive embrace." 3 and that it is violative of the right to travel. Qatar. HON. and Switzerland. of the Department of Labor and Employment. Canada. PASEI invokes Section 3. J." 6 It finds no specific Constitutional grant for the plain reason that it does not owe its origin to the Charter. It is not capable of an exact definition but has been." 4 Department Order No. INC. * In submitting the validity of the challenged "guidelines." the Solicitor General invokes the police power of the Philippine State." It may be said to be that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things hurtful to the comfort. safety. male and female. ever-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times. No. Austria. on behalf of the respondents Secretary of Labor and Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration." 1 challenges the Constitutional validity of Department Order No. the measure is assailed for "discrimination against males or females. of Article XIII. even to anticipate the future where it could be done. On May 25. was passed in the absence of prior consultations. to be in violation of the Charter's non-impairment clause. FRANKLIN M. purposely. 1 is in the nature of a police power measure. and welfare of society. it consists of (1) an imposition of restraint upon liberty or property." 8 "The police power of the State . 1988. the Solicitor General. It is admitted that Department Order No. ACHACOSO. filed a Comment informing the Court that on March 8. finally. it is inborn in the very fact of statehood and sovereignty. petitioner. vs. Jordan.

" 10 Significantly. As we have furthermore indicated. it may not be exercised arbitrarily or unreasonably. As a general rule. the Court is well aware of the unhappy plight that has befallen our female labor force abroad. and the Court will deal with this at greater length shortly. this Court is content that distinctions are borne by the evidence. it is "rooted in the conception that men in organizing the state and imposing upon its government limitations to safeguard constitutional rights did not intend thereby to enable an individual citizen or a group of citizens to obstruct unreasonably the enactment of such salutary measures calculated to ensure communal peace. the Bill of Rights itself does not purport to be an absolute guaranty of individual rights and liberties "Even liberty itself. provided that (1) such classifications rest on substantial distinctions. however. The sordid tales of maltreatment suffered by migrant Filipina workers. The petitioner has shown no satisfactory reason why the contested measure should be nullified. According to Fernando. safety. it is the executive branch that enforces policy. and welfare." 14 but it does not thereby make an undue discrimination between the sexes. Discrimination in this case is justified. especially when the legislature itself has specifically given them enough room on how the law should be effectively enforced. Thus. The petitioner has proffered no argument that the Government should act similarly with respect to male workers." 11 It is subject to the far more overriding demands and requirements of the greater number. 1 applies only to "female contract workers. It admits of classifications. agrees with the Constitution or the laws. is not impressing some male chauvinistic notion that men are superior to women. the Court is on its own persuaded that prevailing conditions indeed call for a deployment ban. say the same thing as far as men are concerned. is not unrestricted license to act according to one's will. whether that policy. or the manner by which it is implemented. For all its awesome consequences. 1 implements the rule-making powers granted by the Labor Code. there is no evidence that. it defeats the purpose for which it is exercised. There is simply no evidence to justify such an inference. As a co-equal body. then. the petition must be dismissed. even rape and various forms of torture. 16 The Court is satisfied that the classification made-the preference for female workers — rests on substantial distinctions. the presumption logically stands. however. there is a clear misuse of the power. Notwithstanding its extensive sweep. cannot be said of our male workers. especially domestic servants. Under a republican regime. the Court is called upon to protect victims of exploitation. Suffice it to state. there is no gainsaying the fact. confirmed by testimonies of returning workers. are compelling motives for urgent Government action. It is well-settled that "equality before the law" under the Constitution 15 does not import a perfect Identity of rights among all men and women. except perhaps for isolated instances. In fulfilling that duty. police power is not without its own limitations. that Department Order No.210 It constitutes an implied limitation on the Bill of Rights. in not a few cases. and in that event. and (4) they apply equally to all members of the same class. 12 In the light of the foregoing. As precisely the caretaker of Constitutional rights. amid exploitative working conditions marked by. the greatest of all rights. official acts enjoy a presumed vahdity. It is evidence capable indeed of unquestionable demonstration and evidence this Court accepts. (3) they are not confined to existing conditions. executive determinations are generally final on the Court. For their part. but it is not for them to question its wisdom. There is no question that Department Order No. the judiciary has great respect for determinations of the Chief Executive or his subalterns. In the first place. . the Court sustains the Government's efforts. In the case at bar. the courts decide. What the Court is saying is that it was largely a matter of evidence (that women domestic workers are being ill-treated abroad in massive instances) and not upon some fanciful or arbitrary yardstick that the Government acted in this case. Otherwise. The Court cannot. The same. that insofar as classifications are concerned. when the power is used to further private interests at the expense of the citizenry. good order. to advance the public good. that is. (2) they are germane to the purposes of the law. in the proper cases. The Court. our men abroad have been afflicted with an Identical predicament. of course. physical and personal abuse. As a matter of judicial notice. 13 In the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. But what should be noted is the fact that in spite of such a fiction of finality.

It would be a classic case of what Chase refers to as a law that "takes property from A and gives it to B. it is the avowed objective of Department Order No. and stage of civilization of minority groups. Deputy Minister and the other senior government officials. and/or. the better rule. xxx xxx xxx 7. That it does not apply to "all Filipina workers" 20 is not an argument for unconstitutionality. The Order does not narrowly apply to existing conditions. the assailed Order clearly accords protection to certain women workers. it is evident that such a total ban has hot been contemplated. .1 Hirings by immediate members of the family of Heads of State and Government. To apply the ban. it would be difficult to refute the assertion of denial of equal protection. Existing mechanisms providing for sufficient safeguards to ensure the welfare and protection of Filipino workers. is to recognize its validity only if the young. AUTHORIZED DEPLOYMENT-The deployment of domestic helpers and workers of similar skills defined herein to the following [sic] are authorized under these guidelines and are exempted from the suspension. Those workers returning to worksite to serve a new employer shall be covered by the suspension and the provision of these guidelines. it is intended to apply indefinitely so long as those conditions exist. meaning to say that should the authorities arrive at a means impressed with a greater degree of permanency. Rather. Unquestionably." 21 It would be an unlawful invasion of property rights and freedom of contract and needless to state. the women." 23 In the case at bar. If such be the case. lift the suspension in countries where there are: distinctions that make a real difference as infancy. 5. . and the cultural minorities are singled out for favorable treatment. finally. say exclusively to workers deployed by A. would obviously clash with the equal protection clause of the Charter. it would seem. and not the contrary. then it would have been unreasonable and arbitrary.4 Hirings by employers in countries with whom the Philippines have [sic] bilateral labor agreements or understanding. VACATIONING DOMESTIC HELPERS AND WORKERS OF SIMILAR SKILLS--Vacationing domestic helpers and/or workers of similar skills shall be allowed to process with the POEA and leave for worksite only if they are returning to the same employer to finish an existing or partially served employment contract. We quote: 5. — The Secretary of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may. the ban shall be lifted. What the Constitution prohibits is the singling out of a select person or group of persons within an existing class. This is clear from the Order itself ("Pending review of the administrative and legal measures.2 Hirings by Minister. 5. From scattered provisions of the Order. LIFTING OF SUSPENSION. 1." 18).3 Hirings by senior officials of the diplomatic corps and duly accredited international organizations. upon recommendation of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). sex. the impugned guidelines to be applicable to all female domestic overseas workers. 2. an invalid act. . to the prejudice of such a person or group or resulting in an unfair advantage to another person or group of persons. 1 to "enhance the protection for Filipino female overseas workers" 17 this Court has no quarrel that in the midst of the terrible mistreatment Filipina workers have suffered abroad.) It is incorrect to say that Department Order No. it provides: 9. but not to those recruited by B. and 5. it is possessed of a necessary malleability. depending on the circumstances of each case. For obvious reasons. 22 (Fernando says: "Where the classification is based on such 5.211 There is likewise no doubt that such a classification is germane to the purpose behind the measure. Bilateral agreements or understanding with the Philippines. a ban on deployment will be for their own good and welfare. not all of them are similarly circumstanced. 1 prescribes a total ban on overseas deployment. in the Philippines and in the host countries . Had the ban been given universal applicability. There would be an element of unreasonableness if on the contrary their status that calls for the law ministering to their needs is made the basis of discriminatory legislation against them. 19 The Court finds. Accordingly. As a stop-gap measure.

is not necessarily to maintain profits of business firms. of the lack or inadequacy of such protection. JJ." 26pursuant to the respondent Department of Labor's rule-making authority vested in it by the Labor Code. it is profits that suffer as a result of Government regulation. personally and economically. 1 is a valid implementation of the Labor Code.212 9. Bilateral agreements or understanding with the Philippines. The disputed Order is a valid qualification thereto. The interest of the State is to provide a decent living to its citizens. 1 constitutes an invalid exercise of legislative power. its basic policy to "afford protection to labor. Neither is there merit in the contention that Department Order No. The Government has convinced the Court in this case that this is its intent. Under these circumstances. 24 The consequence the deployment ban has on the right to travel does not impair the right. where laissez faire has never been fully accepted as a controlling economic way of life.. Gancayco.. more so in this jurisdiction. decent. among other things. and as part of its duty. however. Melencio-Herrera. No costs. SO ORDERED. JJ. like all other freedoms.. LIFTING OF SUSPENSION-The Secretary of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may. WHEREFORE. The right to travel is subject. Paras. The Constitution declares that: Sec. and Medialdea. 28 The petitioners's reliance on the Constitutional guaranty of worker participation "in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits" 29 is not well-taken. concur. in particular. the Labor Code itself vests the Department of Labor and Employment with rulemaking powers in the enforcement whereof. to the requirements of "public safety. local and overseas. The non-impairment clause of the Constitution. Cruz. lift the suspension in countries where there are: 1. 31 Freedom of contract and enterprise. and humane. Gutierrez. but it does not mean that such an authority may not be lawfully delegated. must submit to the demands and necessities of the State's power of regulation. C. As we have mentioned. Padilla. Fernan. The concern of the Government. upon recommendation of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). It is true that police power is the domain of the legislature. 27 The petitioner assumes that it is unreasonable simply because of its impact on the right to travel. Feliciano. the Government is duty-bound to insure that our toiling expatriates have adequate protection. Jr. It is bad enough that the country has to send its sons and daughters to strange lands because it cannot satisfy their employment needs at home. are on leave. again. In this case. but as we have stated. is not free from restrictions. while away from home. Narvasa. invoked by the petitioner." 25 Department Order No. it has precisely ordered an indefinite ban on deployment. 2. Existing mechanisms providing for sufficient safeguards to ensure the welfare and protection of Filipino workers. and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all. This Court understands the grave implications the questioned Order has on the business of recruitment. just. Yap. and/or. What concerns the Constitution more paramountly is that such an employment be above all. Bidin. The Court finds furthermore that the Government has not indiscriminately made use of its authority. The State shall afford full protection to labor. an evidence the petitioner cannot seriously dispute. organized and unorganized. The right granted by this provision. the Government has evidence. the petition is DISMISSED. 3. In the ordinary sequence of events." "as may be provided by law. must yield to the loftier purposes targetted by the Government. 30 "Protection to labor" does not signify the promotion of employment alone. . It is not contested that it has in fact removed the prohibition with respect to certain countries as manifested by the Solicitor General. We do not find the impugned Order to be tainted with a grave abuse of discretion to warrant the extraordinary relief prayed for.J. Cortes and Griño-Aquino. the right itself is not absolute.

4880 "refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office regarded of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of candidacy or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate. petitioners. prohibiting the too early nomination of candidates 2 and limiting the period of election campaign or partisan political activity. R. which they entitled Declaratory Relief with Preliminary Injunction. but it is unavoidable.213 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. CABIGAO." "Election campaign" or "partisan political activity" refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office. The other is the safeguarding of the equally vital right of suffrage by a prohibition of the early nomination of candidates and the limitation of the period of election campaign or partisan political activity. a proceeding that should have been started in the of Court of First Instance but treated by this Court as one of prohibition in view of the seriousness and the urgency of the constitutional issue raised. There is a proviso that simple expression of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign. COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS. could be devoted to more fruitful endeavors. The task is not easy. under Republic Act No. Sen. That is of the very essence of judicial duty. FERNANDO. 4880. respondent. ARSENIO GONZALES and FELICISIMO R. To paraphrase a landmark opinion. vs. with the hope that the time-consuming efforts. which was approved and took effect on June 17. The former according to Act No. There is the further proviso that nothing stated in the Act "shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues. at the time of the filing 6f the petition. to paraphrase the explanatory note of the challenged legislation. F. F. or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports. is challenged on constitutional grounds. J. 1967. One is the freedom of belief and of expression availed of by an individual whether by himself alone or in association with others of similar persuasion. the basic liberties of free speech and free press. freedom of assembly and freedom of association are invoked to nullify the act. L-27833 April 18. an incumbent councilor in the 4th District of Manila and the Nacionalista Party official .: A statute designed to maintain the purity and integrity of the electoral process by Congress calling a halt to the undesirable practice of prolonged political campaign bringing in their wake serious evils not the least of which is the ever increasing cost of seeking public office. 1969 IN THE MATTER OF PETITION FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF RE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF REPUBLIC ACT 4880. 1967. More precisely. 3 The terms "candidate" and "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" are likewise defined. Cabigao in his own behalf as petitioner. entailing huge expenditures of funds and involving the risk of bitter rivalries that may end in violence. Lorenzo Tañada as amicus curiae. Ramon Barrios for respondent Commission on Elections. Thus the question confronting this Court is one of transcendental significance. but by virtue of the responsibility we cannot escape under the Constitution. to pass upon every assertion of an alleged infringement of liberty." 4 Petitioner Cabigao was. when our competence is appropriately invoked. Petitioners challenged the validity of two new sections now included in the Revised Election Code. It is faced with the reconciliation of two values esteemed highly and cherished dearly in a constitutional democracy. 1 when we act in these matters we do so not on the assumption that to us is granted the requisite knowledge to set matters right. one that history authenticates." Then the acts were specified. This then is the crucial question: Is there an infringement of liberty? Petitioners so alleged in his action. Advincula for petitioner Arsenio Gonzales. B. a goal that occupies a place and to none in the legal hierarchy. filed on July 22.

4880 be declared unconstitutional. 4880." and that therefore said act is unconstitutional. and that therefore the enactment of Republic Act [No. Ramon Barrios.] 4880 under. the guise of regulation is but a clear and simple abridgment of the constitutional rights of freedom of speech. F." There was the further allegation that the nomination of a candidate and the fixing of period of election campaign are matters of political expediency and convenience which only political parties can regulate or curtail by and among themselves through self-restraint or mutual understanding or agreement and that the regulation and limitation of these political matters invoking the police power.." On August 9. Commission on Elections). null and void. Atty. one of the copetitioners. guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution." The case was then reset for oral argument. . Republic Act No. After invoking anew the fundamental rights to free speech. Thus: "In ease G." and setting forth special affirmative defenses. It is their claim that "the enforcement of said Republic Act No. freedom of assembly and the right to form associations and societies for purposes not contrary to law. To the plea of petitioners that after hearing. and a divergence of views having developed among the Justices as to the constitutionality of section 50-B. 5 they asserted that "there is nothing in the spirit or intention of the law that would legally justify its passage and [enforcement] whether for reasons of public policy.214 candidate for Vice-Mayor of Manila to which he was subsequently elected on November 11. excess of partisanship and undue . 1967. procedural and substantive character. their freedom of assembly and their right to form associations or societies for purpose not contrary to law. such as their freedom of speech. Tañada was asked to appear as amicus curiae. came from this Court. Senator Lorenzo M. in its answer filed on August 1. a registered voter in the City of Manila and a political leader of his co-petitioner. of assemble and of association. L-27833 (Arsenio Gonzales. 1967. 4880 in question [would] prejudice [their] basic rights. vs. He did justify its enactment however under the clear and present danger doctrine... Commission on Elections). being debased and degraded by unrestricted campaigning. assailed the validity of the challenged legislation relying primarily on American Supreme Court opinion that warn against curtailment in whatever guise or form of the cherished freedoms of expression.. That he did. Ramon Barrios appeared for the respondent and they were given a period of four days from today within which to submit. 1967. (d) and (e) of the Revised Election Code: considering the Constitutional provision that "no treaty or law may be declared unconstitutional without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members of the (Supreme) Court' (sec. 1967. their respective memorandum in lieu of oral argument. all embraced in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.R. pars. freedom of association and freedom of assembly with a citation of two American Supreme Court decisions. simultaneously. another resolution. 10. on the other hand. et al. Reyes Cabigao appeared for the petitioners and Atty. in the absence of clear and present danger to the state. At such hearing. having deliberated on the issue of the constitutionality of Republic Act No. vs. Art. the Court. erroneous at that. of assembly and of association.. would have this Court dismiss the petition. public order or morality. with eight (8) Justice present. Thereafter the case was set for hearing on August 3. Respondent Commission on Elections was duly represented by Atty. would render the constitutional rights of petitioners meaningless and without effect. self-explanatory in character. 4880 could indeed be looked upon as a limitation on the preferred rights of speech and press. (c). now Vice-Mayor Felicisimo Cabigao of the City of Manila acting as counsel.. whether for national or local officials. after denying the allegations as to the validity of the act "for being mere conclusions of law. No. the Court [resolved] to defer final voting on the issue until after the return of the Justices now on official leave. is a private individual. petitioner Gonzales. there being the substantive evil of elections. VII). arguing most impressively with a persuasive exposition of the existence of undeniable conditions that imperatively called for regulation of the electoral process and with full recognition that Act No. respondent Commission on Elections. et al. free press. On the same date a resolution was passed by us to the following effect: "At the hearing of case L-27833 (Arsenio Gonzales.

the rule has been sufficiently relaxed to allow a taxpayer to bring an action to restrain the expenditure of public funds through the enforcement of an invalid or unconstitutional legislative measure. The language of Justice Laurel fits the case "All await the decision of this Court on the constitutional question. The matter was then discussed in conference. considering that one of the petitioners was a candidate for an elective position. The Philippine Bar Association. There is another procedural obstacle raised by respondent to be hurdled. It would appear undeniable. not of the limitation. That priority gives these liberties a sanctity and a sanction not permitting dubious intrusions. results in the corruption of the electorate. Gen. We are left with no choice then. among them. Choice on that border. Gen. stress was laid on Republic Act No. therefore.. the paramount public interest. Such a view. freedom ends the State's power begins. Laws. 1. which determines what standard governs the choice. 4880 as an exercise of the police power of the state.. "The case confronts us again with the duty our system places on this Court to say where the individual's.. Considering. barely six months away. Rev. In this jurisdiction. therefore. a party who impugns the validity of a statute or ordinance must have a substantial interest in the case such that he has sustained. It is true that ordinarily. St. presumption supporting legislation is balanced by the preferred place given in our scheme to the great. It is not insuperable. and inflicts direful consequences upon public interest as the vital affairs of the country are sacrificed to purely partisan pursuits. 1968. section 5925. or will sustain. 6 It is their view that respondent Commission on Elections not being sought to be restrained from performing any specific act. In the course of the deliberations. orderly and honest election by regulating "conduct which Congress has determined harmful if unstrained and carried for a long period before elections it necessarily entails huge expenditures of funds on the part of the candidates. the national elections being. The divergence of views with reference to the paragraphs above mentioned having continued. Women Lawyers' Circle were included. 10. 9 2. the indispensable democratic freedoms secured by the First Amendment. precipitates violence and even deaths. this Court." Even a leading American State court decision on a regulatory measure dealing with elections.. the original stand that under the circumstances it could still rightfully be treated as a petition for prohibition. In the answer of the respondent as well as its memorandum. it has not been made to appear that section 8189. Law Center and the U. by resolution. this suit cannot be characterized as other than a mere request for an advisory opinion. militates against a stand minimizing the importance and significance of the alleged violation of individual rights: "As so construed by us. that before us is an appropriate invocation of our jurisdiction to prevent the enforcement of an alleged unconstitutional statute.. a majority would affirm. the Civil Liberties Union. They did file their respective memoranda with this Court and aided it in the consideration of the constitutional issues involved. strong reasons of public policy demand that [its] constitutionality . Comp. the importance which the instant case has assumed and to prevent multiplicity of suits.A. is on its face violative of any provision of either the state or Federal Constitution on the subject of free speech or liberty of the press. 4880.P. on Oct. Would it were as simple as that? An eloquent excerpt from a leading American decision 10 admonishes though against such a cavalier approach. reinforce our stand." Evidently for respondent that would suffice to meet the constitutional questions raised as to the alleged infringement of free speech. the U. designed to insure a free. Act No.215 concentration in politics with the loss not only of efficiency in government but of lives as well. nor that its operation is in any . however. and the undeniable necessity for a ruling. the objection is not necessarily fatal. now as always delicate. direct injury as a result of its enforcement. cited in the answer of respondent. 8 Respondent cannot see such interest as being possessed by petitioners. And it is the character of the right. be now resolved. freedom of assembly and 'freedom' of association. but no final action was taken... Nonetheless. invited certain entities to submit memoranda as amici curiae on the question of the validity of R." 7 It may likewise be added that the exceptional character of the situation that confronts us. we must act on the matter. free press. It may indicate the clarity of vision being dimmed. a serious procedural objection was raised by five members of the Court. is perhaps more so where the usual.P. from the remedial law standpoint. Even if such were the case. has much to recommend it..

of assuring participation by the people in social including political decision-making. Thus: "These are the 'clear and present danger' rule and the 'dangerous tendency' rule. "It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest." 11 Another leading State decision is much more emphatic: "Broad as the power of the legislature is with respect to regulation of elections. robust. according to another American decision. The right belongs as well. who differ. The danger to be guarded against is the 'substantive evil' sought to be prevented." It has the advantage of establishing according to the above decision "a definite rule in constitutional law. will allow man to realize his full potentialities. It contemplates a mode of life that. 13 What does it embrace? At the very least. that power is not wholly without limitation. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press . Freedom of expression is not an absolute. It would be too much to insist that at all times and under all circumstances it should remain unfettered and unrestrained. 17 or contempt proceedings 18 unless there be a clear and present danger of substantive evil that Congress has a right to prevent. and of maintaining the balance between stability and change. a faith and a whole way of life. it is to that extent void. of attaining the truth. So atrophied.nêt 3.. The realities of life in a complex society preclude however a literal interpretation. or even stirs people to anger. 24 of two tests that may supply an acceptable criterion for permissible restriction. it is freedom for the thought that we hate. There are other societal values that press for recognition. 19 The trend as reflected in Philippine and American decisions is to recognize the broadcast scope and assure the widest latitude to this constitutional guaranty. No law may be passed abridging the freedom of speech and of the press. as interpreted in a number of cases. no less than for the thought that agrees with us. to view the function of free speech as inviting dispute. The first. the high estate accorded freedom of expression is of course a fundamental postulate of our constitutional system. who do not conform. his fate determined by his own powers of reason. Fernandez. Now as to the merits. The vital need in a constitutional democracy for freedom of expression is undeniable whether as a means of assuring individual self-fulfillment. It represents a profound commitment to the principle that debate of public issue should be uninhibited. 16 or action for damages. If it destroys the right of free speech. means that the evil consequence of the comment or utterance must be extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high' before the utterance can be punished. through encouraging toleration. The primacy. conformist. Under the guise of regulating elections. A brief resume of the basic rights on which petitioners premise their stand that the act is unconstitutional may prove illuminating." 12 The question then of the alleged violation of Constitutional rights must be squarely met.lawphi1. to lend support to official measures. A person charged with its violation may not be compelled to give evidence against himself. reason and initiative. in Cabansag v." 23 From the language of the specified constitutional provision. and wide-open. the right becomes meaningless. it would appear that the right is not susceptible of any limitation. To paraphrase Justice Holmes. 20 It is not going too far. to take refuge in the existing climate of opinion on any matter of public consequence. progressive. It spurns the alternative of a society that is tyrannical. for those who question.216 wise subversive of any one's constitutional liberty. 22 So with Emerson one may conclude that "the theory of freedom of expression involves more than a technique for arriving at better social judgments through democratic procedures. the legislature may not deprive a citizen of the right of trial by jury. How is it to be limited then? This Court spoke." 21 Freedom of speech and of the press thus means something more than the right to approve existing political beliefs or economic arrangements. if not more. It is put forward as a prescription for attaining a creative. 14 There is to be then no previous restraint on the communication of views or subsequent liability whether in libel suits." .. exciting and intellectually robust community. free speech and free press may be identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully any matter of public interest without censorship or punishment.. skepticism. 15prosecution for sedition. It provides the criterion as to what words may be public established. creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are. It comprehends a vision of society. The theory grew out of an age that was awakened and invigorated by the idea of new society in which man's mind was free. and his prospects of creating a rational and enlightened civilization virtually unlimited. irrational and stagnant.

republican in form. Unlike the dangerous tendency doctrine. As was pointed out by Justice Malcolm in the case of United States v.. 32 "the very idea of a government. or unlawfulness." 29 This test then as a limitation on freedom of expression is justified by the danger or evil a substantive character that the state has a right to prevent. the danger must not only be clear but also present. Fugoso. It adopted the clear and present danger test. this right is not to be limited. It used to be identified with imminent and immediate danger. Primicias v. It likewise extends the same protection to the right of the people peaceably to assemble.31 it was not by accident or coincidence that the rights to freedom of speech and of the press were coupled in a single guaranty with the rights of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. It is sufficient that such acts be advocated in general terms. It is a question of proximity and degree. As emphatically put in the leading case of United States v. violence. 4. much less denied. The term clear seems to point to a causal connection with the danger of the substantially evil arising from the utterance questioned. He would require that the substantive evil be "extremely serious. the welfare of society and orderly administration of government have demanded protection for public opinion. 33 With or without a constitutional provision of this character. the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. How about freedom of assembly? The Bill of Rights as thus noted prohibits abridgment by law of freedom of speech or of the press." 26 For him the apprehended evil must be "relatively serious. except at those extreme borders where thought merges into action. Present refers to the time element. It is sufficient if the natural tendency and probable effect of the utterance be to bring about the substantive evil which the legislative body seeks to prevent. It is not necessary that some definite or immediate acts of force. The danger must not only be probable but very likely inevitable." Justice Black would go further. Bustos. Unlike the cases of other . or unlawfulness be advocated. whatever doubts there may be on the matter are dispelled." To paraphrase the opinion of Justice Rutledge speaking for the majority in Thomas v. except on a showing of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil that Congress has a right to prevent. 25 there was likewise an implicit acceptance of the clear and present danger doctrine." As in the case of freedom of expression. implies a right on the part of its citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs and to petition for redress of grievances." For "[prohibition] of free speech and assembly is a measure so stringent that it would be inappropriate as the means for averting a relatively trivial harm to society. Thus: "The question in every case is whether the words used in such circumstances and of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. then such words are punishable. 30 this right is a necessary consequence of our republican institution and complements the right of free speech. not enforced silence. With this explicit provision. As a matter of fact. Assembly means a right on the part of citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies. Collins." 27 Only thus may there be a realization of the ideal envisioned by Cardozo: "There shall be no compromise of the freedom to think one's thoughts and speak them. They are cognate rights and the assurance afforded by the clause of this section of the Bill of Rights wherein they are contained. All these rights while not identical are inseparable. Nor is it necessary that the language used be reasonably calculated to incite persons to acts of force. applies to all. Our Constitution likewise recognizes the freedom to form association for purposes not contrary to law. to avert the evil by the processes of education. it may be assumed that the freedom to organize or to be a member of any group or society exists." 28 It received its original formulation from Holmes. We posed the issue thus: "Has the letter of Cabansag created a sufficient danger to a fair administration of justice? Did its remittance to the PCAC create a danger sufficiently imminent to come under the two rules mentioned above?" The choice of this Court was manifest and indisputable. Why repression is permissible only when the danger of substantive evil is present is explained by Justice Branders thus: . the remedy to be applied is more speech. Cruikshank. the "dangerous tendency" rule and explained it thus: "If the words uttered create a dangerous tendency which the state has a right to prevent. violence..217 The Cabansag case likewise referred to the other test. 5. From the same Bustos opinion: "Public policy. in an earlier decision.

for almost everybody. Thus: "The most natural privilege of man. in teaching. we now consider the validity of the prohibition in Republic Act No. It can trace its origin to the Malolos Constitution. Political opposition will simply cease to exist." 34 He adopted the view of De Tocqueville on the importance and the significance of the freedom to associate.37 As was so aptly stated: "There is no other course consistent with the Free Society envisioned by the First Amendment. the stress on this freedom of association should be on its political significance. Authoritarianism may become unavoidable. which safeguards freedom of speech and of the press. 4880 of the too early nomination of candidates and the limitation found therein on the period of election campaign or partisan political activity alleged by petitioners to offend against the rights of free speech. To quote from Douglas anew: "Justice Frankfurter thought that political and academic affiliations have a preferred position under the due process version of the First Amendment. social or religious. that exist in this country." 38 With the above principles in mind. But the associational rights protected by the First Amendment are in my view much broader and cover the entire spectrum in political ideology as well as in art. the Constitution limits this particular freedom in the sense that there could be an abridgment of the right to form associations or societies when their purposes are "contrary to law". assume the role alternately of being in the majority or in the minority as the will of the electorate dictates. in journalism. constitutional democracy as intended by the Constitution may well become a thing of the past. In my view. as is originally the case. save for those exceptional few who glory in aloofness and isolation life is enriched and becomes more meaningful." 35 There can be no dispute as to the soundness of the above observation of De Tocqueville. If such a right were non-existent then the likelihood of a one-party government is more than a possibility. As a matter of fact. spiritual. There is respectable authority for the court having the power to so act. Political parties which. freedom of assembly and freedom of association. next to the right of acting for himself. in the absence of an explicit provision of such character.218 guarantee which are mostly American in origin. or intellectual relationships in the myriad of lawful societies and groups. we cannot ignore of course the legislative declaration that its enactment was in . whether popular or unpopular. the utterances he makes. minority groups may be outlawed. and in religion. the more common form of associations may be likely to be fraternal. No legislator can attack it without impairing the foundation of society. it is the view of Justice Douglas that it is primarily the first amendment of her Constitution. It is undeniable therefore. that the utmost scope should be afforded this freedom of association. free press. cultural. Since man lives in social it would be a barren existence if he could not freely associate with others of kindred persuasion or of congenial frame of mind. government can neither legislate with respect to nor probe the intimacies of political. this particular freedom has an indigenous cast. will lose their constitutional protection. of assembly and of petition "that provides [associations] with the protection they need if they are to remain viable and continue to contribute to our Free Society." 36 Nonetheless. It is indispensable not only for its enhancing the respect that should be accorded a human personality but equally so for its assurance that the wishes of any group to oppose whatever for the moment is the party in power and with the help of the electorate to set up its own program of government would not be nullified or frustrated. The right of association therefore appears to me almost inalienable in its nature as the right of personal liberty. the ideology he embraces. Such fundamental liberties are accorded so high a place in our constitutional scheme that any alleged infringement manifest in the wording of statute cannot be allowed to pass unnoticed. however. That article of faith marks indeed the main difference between the Free Society which we espouse and the dictatorships both on the Left and on the Right. the beliefs he harbors. there is no justification for abridging the right to form association societies. is that of combining his exertions with those of his fellow creatures and of acting in common with them. In effect what are asked to do is to declare the act void on its face evidence having been introduced as to its actual operation. In the United States. How should the limitation "for purposes not contrary to law" be interpreted? It is submitted that it is another way of expressing the clear and present danger rule for unless an association or society could be shown to create an imminent danger to public safety. and the people he associates with are no concern to government — until and unless he moves into action. In a sense. 39 In considering whether it is violative of any of the above rights. For the views a citizen entertains. Thereby.

much less arbitrary. On the other. The constitutional objections are thus formidable. however. not merely in danger of happening. but not for such a purpose. becomes prohibited? That cannot be done. We sustain in validity. It cannot be denied that the limitations thus imposed on the constitutional rights of free speech and press. 4880: "It is unlawful for any person whether or not a voter or candidate. this Court cannot allow to pass. but actually in existence. There can be under the circumstances then no outright condemnation of the statute. Political parties have less freedom as to the time during which they may nominate candidates. To assert otherwise would be to close one's eyes to the realities of the situation. or for any group or association of persons whether or not a political party or political committee. It is a well-settled principle that stricter standard of permissible statutory vagueness may be applied to a statute having inhibiting effect on speech. or political group to nominate candidates for any elective public officio voted for at large earlier than one hundred and fifty days immediately preceding an election.. save this one. The term 'election campaign' or 'partisan political activity' refers to acts designed to have a candidate elected or not or promote the candidacy of a person or persons to a public office . We do so unanimously. This on the one hand. comes to mind: "Words which are vague and fluid . and of association cut deeply." 40 The right of association is affected." 43Nor is the reason difficult to discern: ." Such limitations qualify the entire provision restricting the period of an election campaign or partisan political activity. and for any other elective public. may be as much of a trap for the innocent as the ancient laws of Caligula. What other conclusion can there be extending as it does to so wide and all-encompassing a front that what is valid. the imputation of vagueness sufficient to invalidate the statute is inescapable. According to the act: "It shall be unlawful for any political party political committee. regardless of whether or not said person has already filed his certificate of candidacy or has been nominated by any political party as its candidate. as to render meaningless such a basic right. it cannot be denied either that evils substantial in character taint the purity of the electoral process. into their substance. of assembly. such an undesirable eventuality.41 Where the statutory provision then operates to inhibit the exercise of individual freedom affirmatively protected by the Constitution. a man may the less be required to act at his peril here." If that is all there is to that provision. because the free dissemination of ideas may be the loser. as well as supremely precious in our society. office earlier than ninety days immediately preceding an election. both appropriate and vigorous. It could not be said to be unwarranted.."These freedoms are delicate and vulnerable.. or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports. the curtailment is not such. According to Republic Act No. to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during the period of one hundred twenty days immediately preceding an election involving a public office voted for at large and ninety days immediately preceding an election for any other elective public office." 44 7." and in the other proviso "that nothing herein stated shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues. The limitation on the period of "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" calls for a more intensive scrutiny. The prohibition of too early nomination of candidates presents a question that is not too formidable in character. Their scope of legitimate activities. They can do so.219 response to a serious substantive evil affecting the electoral process. Nor can we ignore the express legislative purpose apparent in the proviso "that simple expressions of opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign. it suffers from the fatal constitutional infirmity of vagueness and may be stricken down. is not unduly narrowed. and likely to continue unless curbed or remedied. There is need for refraining from the outright assumption that the constitutional infirmity is apparent from a mere reading thereof. For under circumstances that manifest abuses of the gravest character. 42 The language of Justice Douglas.. being a legitimate exercise of press freedom as well as freedom of assembly. remedies much more drastic than what ordinarily would suffice would indeed . The threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions. The term 'candidate' refers to any person aspiring for or seeking an elective public office. Neither is there infringement of their freedom to assemble.

" They are: "(a) Forming organizations. by an individual. For him. (b) holding political conventions." 45 As thus limited the objection that may be raised as to vagueness has been minimized. 49 leaving untouched all other legitimate exercise of such poses a more difficult question. (e) directly or indirectly soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against any party. parades or other similar assemblies for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda or both for or against a candidate or party. or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes or undertaking any campaign or propaganda or both for or against a candidate or party is restricted 47 and that the prohibition against giving. (c) making speeches. freedom of assembly. or other similar assemblies. likewise deemed included in "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" tax to the utmost the judicial predisposition to view with sympathy legislative efforts to regulate election practices deemed inimical. such statutory prescription could very well be within the outermost limits of validity. The justification alleged by the proponents of the measures weighs heavily with the members of the Court. It lacks however one more affirmative vote to call for a declaration of unconstitutionality. meetings. 51 the making of speeches. associations. announcements or commentaries or holding interview for or against the election for any party or candidate for public office. 53 suffer from the corrosion of invalidity. The majority of the Court is thus of the belief that the solicitation or undertaking of any campaign or propaganda whether directly or indirectly. meetings. caucuses. any more. clubs. with the aforementioned five Justices unable to agree. Nevertheless. or receiving contributions for election campaign purposes. parades. rallies. The clear and present danger doctrine rightly viewed requires that not only should there be an occasion for the imposition of such restrictions but also that they be limited in scope. beyond which lies the abyss of unconstitutionality. the debasement of the electoral process. What removes the sting from constitutional objection of vagueness is the enumeration of the acts deemed included in the terms "election campaign" or "partisan political activity. This Court. and with the same Justices entertaining the opposite conviction. conferences. The other acts. (f) giving. in the appraisal of the aforesaid restrictions to which such precious freedoms are subjected. 46 8. for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a candidate or party. is of the view that no unconstitutional infringement exists insofar as the formation of organization. There are still constitutional questions of a serious character then to be faced. that once such a situation is found to exist there is no limit to the allowable limitations on such constitutional rights. after a thorough consideration. announcements or commentaries or holding interviews for or against the election or any party or candidate for public office. though in varying degrees. if not totally set at rest. because of their collision with the preferred right of freedom of expression. or receiving contribution for election purposes.220 be called for. They are not unaware of the clear and present danger that calls for measures that may bear heavily on the exercise of the cherished rights of expression. soliciting. . clubs. we reject the contention that it should be annulled. and freedom of association. conferences. soliciting. of assembly. rallies. The practices which the act identifies with "election campaign" or "partisan political activity" must be such that they are free from the taint of being violative of free speech. committees. is equally free from constitutional infirmity. Originally only a minority was for their being adjudged as invalid. 52 or the publication or distribution of campaign literature or materials. From the outset. free press. associations. 50 This is merely to emphasize that the scope of the curtailment to which freedom of expression may be subjected is not foreclosed by the recognition of the existence of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil. either directly or indirectly. caucuses. and of association. 48 The restriction on freedom of assembly as confined to holding political conventions. such provisions did occasion divergence of views among the members of the Court. (d) publishing or distributing campaign literature or materials. Candor compels the admission that the writer of this opinion suffers from the gravest doubts. This is not to say. It is not so. committees or other groups of persons for the purpose of soliciting votes and/or undertaking any campaign or propaganda for or against a party or candidate. either directly or indirectly.

It cannot accept the conclusion that the limitations thus imposed on freedom of expression vitiated by their latitudinarian scope. More specifically. political campaigns. Tañada. no judgment of nullity insofar as the challenged sections are concerned is called for. against the solicitation of votes whether directly or indirectly. the legislative body must have felt impelled to impose the foregoing restrictions. they cannot be pursued by means that broadly stifle fundamental personal liberties when the end can be more narrowly achieved. the majority of the Court could discern "an over breadth that makes possible oppressive or capricious application" 55 of the statutory provisions. therefore. It is understandable for Congress to believe that without the limitations thus set forth in the challenged legislation. was further magnified. The direful consequences and the harmful effects on the public interest with the vital affairs of the country sacrificed many a time to purely partisan pursuits were known to all. in terms of the permissible scope of legislation that otherwise could be justified under the clear and present danger doctrine. that the challenged statute could have been more narrowly drawn and the practices prohibited more precisely delineated to satisfy the constitutional requirements as to a valid limitation under the clear and present danger doctrine. In a 1968 opinion. it is the consideration opinion of the majority. the laudable purpose of Republic Act No. dishonesty and corruption as well as violence that of late has invariably marred election campaigns and partisan political activities in this country. Senator Lorenzo M. Then. announcements or commentaries. 57 For precision of regulation is the touchstone in an area so closely related to our most precious freedoms. with the right to suffrage being bartered. He did invite our attention likewise to the well-settled doctrine that in the choice Under the circumstances then. the prohibition of any speeches. To that extent. 54 Where. It is undeniable. the challenged statute prohibits what under the Constitution cannot by any law be abridged. with its concern for the general welfare and with the commendable aim of safe-guarding the right of suffrage. 4880 would be frustrated and nullified.221 This is not to deny that Congress was indeed called upon to seek remedial measures for the far-from-satisfactory condition arising from the too-early nomination of candidates and the necessarily prolonged. appearing before us as amicus curiae. Such provisions offend the constitutional principle that "a governmental purpose constitutionally subject to control or prevent activities state regulation may not be achieved by means which sweep unnecessarily broadly and thereby invade the area of protected freedoms. For this minority group. though lacking the necessary vote for an adjudication of invalidity. 58 It only indicates that for the majority. too. the line dividing the valid from the constitutionally infirm has been crossed. Whatever persuasive force such approach may command failed to elicit the assent of a majority of the Court. the opportunity for dishonesty and corruption. the American Supreme Court made clear that the absence of such reasonable and definite standards in a legislation of its character is fatal. He did clearly explain that such provisions were deemed by the legislative body to be part and parcel of the necessary and appropriate response not merely to a clear and present danger but to the actual existence of a grave and substantive evil of excessive partisanship. for Congress was not at all insensible to the problem that an all-encompassing coverage of the practices sought to be restrained would seriously pose. or the holding of interviews for or against the election of any party or candidate for public office and the prohibition of the publication or distribution of campaign literature or materials. 56 Under the police power then. it is no exaggeration to state that violence and even death did frequently occur because of the heat engendered by such political activities. a majority of the Court feels compelled to view the statutory provisions in question as unconstitutional on their face inasmuch as they appear to range too widely and indiscriminately across the fundamental liberties associated with freedom of the mind. 59 . that even though the governmental purposes be legitimate and substantial. Such an approach finds support in the exposition made by the author of the measure. Such a conclusion does not find favor with the other members of the Court. Moreover. or the undertaking of any campaign literature or propaganda for or against any candidate or party is repugnant to a constitutional command. as in the case of the above paragraphs. This is not to say that the conclusion reached by the minority that the above poisons of the statute now assailed has passed the constitutional test is devoid of merit.

on the legislature primarily rests the responsibility. to apply the necessary. render spotless. freedom of speech and of the press. . with the majority. the electoral process. There may be times. We cannot. and of association.. all of the above arguments possess sufficient persuasive force to blunt whatever cutting edge may be ascribed to the fears entertained that Congress failed to abide by what the Constitution commands as far as freedom of the mind and of association are concerned. and. of assembly. he would stress the two provisos already mentioned. For the minority of the Court. however.. that the legislative judgment arrived at. concrete case that requires an exercise of judicial power. in the same way that it cannot renounce the life breathed into it by the Constitution. if possible.L. we give due recognition to the legislative concern to cleanse. In the language of Justice Laurel: "This Court is perhaps the last bulwark of constitutional government. Considering the responsibility incumbent on the judiciary. or from mentioning the names of the candidates for public office whom he supports. expression becomes minimal and far from unwarranted. WHEREFORE. It is thus provided: "That simple expressions or opinion and thoughts concerning the election shall not be considered as part of an election campaign [and that nothing in the Act] shall be understood to prevent any person from expressing his views on current political problems or issues.B. It shall not obstruct the popular will as manifested through proper organs. there is no occasion for the power to annul statutes to come into play. the barrier to free. More than that. C. unable to extend their approval to the aforesaid specific provisions of one of the sections of the challenged statute.222 of remedies for an admitted malady requiring governmental action. so may it not forego its obligation. JJ.J.. in proper cases. Makalintal and Teehankee. 9. Without costs. It is time enough to consider it when there is in fact an actual. under narrowly drawn legislation to impose the necessary restrictions to what otherwise would be liberties traditionally accorded the widest scope and the utmost deference. however. The necessary two-third vote. precisely placed in the state as a manifestation of the undeniable legislative determination not to transgress the preferred freedom of speech.. of press. Reyes. the petition is dismissed and the writ of prayed for denied. under this approach. not being obtained. be ignored or disregarded. with all due reject to a coordinate branch. There is full acceptance by the Court of the power of Congress. concur in the result." 61 We recognize the wide discretion accorded Congress to protect vital interests. we are called upon to safeguard individual rights. and this is one of them. unless clearly repugnant to fundamental rights. be recreant to the trust reposed on us. there is in fact an unconstitutional application of its provisions. it is not always possible. Concepcion.. But.. it is the judgment of this Court that Republic Act No. with its possible curtailment of the preferred freedoms. 4880 cannot be declared unconstitutional. 60 If properly implemented then. 4880. as it ought to. for a judgment of nullity of any provision found in Republic Act No.. even with the utmost sympathy shown for the legislative choice of means to cure an admitted evil. J. Nor are we called upon. Nor should the cure prescribed by it. of assembly and of association. It is its opinion that it would be premature to say the least.. be accepted uncritically. The need for adjudication arises only if in the implementation of the Act. Such being the case. to anticipate each and every problem that may arise. To recapitulate.

reiterating his refusal to pay the membership fees due from him. On November 29.. they submitted a joint reply. objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A (hereinafter referred to as the Court Rule) 1 — in accordance with which the Bar of the Philippines was integrated — and to the provisions of par. through its then President Liliano B. which reads: . Article III of the By-Laws of the IBP. MARCIAL A. On March 2.M. 1978 In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. 1976. the Court required the IBP President and the IBP Board of Governors to reply to Edillon's comment: on March 24. the parties were required to submit memoranda in amplification of their oral arguments. whereas the authority of the Court to issue the order applied for is found in Section 10 of the Court Rule. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the Chapter concerned. the Board shall promptly inquire into the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and take whatever action it shall deem appropriate. C. including a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal of the delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. however. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors unanimously adopted Resolution No. 1976. the Court required the respondent to comment on the resolution and letter adverted to above. Article Ill of the IBP By-Laws (supra). MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines.J.. Marcial A. MDD-1) RESOLUTION CASTRO. of the IBP By-Laws (hereinabove cited). the case was set for hearing on June 3.223 pursuant to paragraph 2. 1975. 1976. Section 24. 1976. Should the delinquency further continue until the following June 29.. The respondent. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues" to the IBP since the latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice. which reads: Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A. Section 24. he submitted his comment on February 23. On January 21. The matter was thenceforth submitted for resolution. Neri. the IBP.: The respondent Marcial A. 2 Section 24. The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys is found in par. After the hearing. 1976. Article III. Thereafter. EDILION (IBP Administrative Case No. 2. submitted the said resolution to the Court for consideration and approval. On January 27. No. a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent's pleadings would show that the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded. 1928 August 3. At the threshold. . 1976.

to which every lawyer must belong.. he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced in Adm. Roman Ozaeta. including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar. . and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys. therefore. 10. and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and. an integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members. promulgated on January 9. The all-encompassing. fully convinced. They are. The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys. In the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of the Bar of the Philippines. Be that as it may.. Effect of non-payment of dues.224 SEC. The Court there made the unanimous pronouncement that it was . — Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule. An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar. 1973. entitled "Administrative Case No. define the conditions of such practice. et al. the respondent concludes. Hence. The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled. as distinguished from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration." The Court exhaustively considered all these matters in that case in its Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines.' composed of all persons whose names now appear or may hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. all-inclusive scope of membership in the IBP is stated in these words of the Court Rule: SECTION 1. we now restate briefly the posture of the Court. membership in which is voluntary. Petitioners. and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic. Case No. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect. 526. subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar.." The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court relating to constitutional issues that inevitably and inextricably come up to the surface whenever attempts are made to regulate the practice of law. upon proper cause appearing.. — There is hereby organized an official national body to be known as the 'Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Membership dues. default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar. . a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. that the integration of the Philippine Bar is 'perfectly constitutional and legally unobjectionable'.. contending that the said matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is rather of an "administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body. 9. or revoke the license granted for the exercise of the legal profession. as a pre-condition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing.. Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues. The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised in a previous case before the Court. Organized by or under the direction of the State. The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following words of the Court Rule: SEC.. 2 . Organization.

Williams. improve the administration of justice. Supreme Court through Mr. to the extent of the interest he has created. 502).. and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege. Apropos to the above. 5. the Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January 9. procedure in all courts. but also to his brethren in the profession. and the admission to the practice of law. 181 dated May 4. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery. were prompted by fundamental considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of pressing public necessity. may interfere with and regulate personal liberty. to the courts. 6397 5 authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit. it must be stressed that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. and pro. vs. S. It is an undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from all freedom.S. a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client. were (and are) subject to the power of the body politic to .S. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of Sec.. therefore. "Salus populi est supreme lex. practice and procedure in all courts. the Supreme Court may adopt rules of Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to raise the standards of the legal profession. Within two years from the approval of this Act. 291 U. when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession. and to the nation. in order to promote the general welfare." it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law. property and occupations." it did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. the Congress in enacting such Act. The Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession. 4 The practice of law being clothed with public interest. practice. 1973. for. Quite apart from the above. But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and validity of Bar integration in the Philippines is the explicit unequivocal grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by Section 5 (5) of Article X of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines." Hence. and Section 1 of Republic Act No. The State. and the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397). and all individuals from some freedom. improve the administration of justice. and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree No. the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good. which affect the society at large. 726). 6397. his practice of law and his exercise of the said profession. Justice Roberts explained. and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively. and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading. 1973." The public welfare is the supreme law. let it be stated that even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. the expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power" (Nebbia vs. 31 Phil 218). and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State — the administration of justice — as an officer of the court.. 70 Phil. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U. which reads: When. 3 individuals are subordinated. but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then society win fall into anarchy (Calalang vs. As the U.225 The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding considerations of public interest and public welfare to such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies the restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal convenience of individual lawyers. Thus. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxx xxx xxx (5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading. which reads: SECTION 1. Gomez Jesus. as the Latin maxim goes. New York.

if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize. 101 S. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would amount to a deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights. 1. 12 But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege. 9 Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar. and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence. 4. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure. Whether the practice of law is a property right. The issues being of constitutional dimension. in which the report of the Board of Bar Commissioners in a disbarment proceeding was confirmed and disbarment ordered. If he did not wish to submit himself to such reasonable interference and regulation.8 Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession. And. 11 3. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without power to compel him to become a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. it is sufficient to state that the matters of admission. 10 2. is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State. Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) — which power the respondent acknowledges — from requiring members of a privileged class. disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities.W. to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. we now concisely deal with them seriatim. sustaining the Bar Integration Act of Kentucky. may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. such as lawyers are. suspension. (2d) 194). as it clear that under the police power of the State. in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services. Section 1 of the Court Rule is unconstitutional for it impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to associate). he should not have clothed the public with an interest in his concerns. then a penalty designed to enforce its payment. 7 All that integration actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is a ready a member. Our answer is: To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. On this score alone. said: "The power to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers . and the authorities holding such are legion. 6 Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. the case for the respondent must already fall. which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment. 14 In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. 93. even to the extent of interfering with some of his liberties. the court. we do not here pause to consider at length.226 require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for the common good. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the Court Rule requiring payment of a membership fee is void. under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X. We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court. 13 and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer's public responsibilities. however. hence. He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. the respondent's right to practise law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. The Supreme Court. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys.

. the facts are disputed. JJ. and the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . premises considered. particularly where. Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred. as here. the argument that this is an arbitrary power which the court is arrogating to itself or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives the nature of the duty. Fernandez and Guerrero. Aquino. It is a power which is inherent in this court as a court — appropriate. Concepcion. 5(5) the power to pass upon the fitness of the respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed undoubtedly vested in the Court. It has limitations no less real because they are inherent. It is a grave responsibility.. We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal.. WHEREFORE. Santos. concur. Teehankee. indeed necessary. practice .. Makasiar. and his name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. Barredo." The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973 Constitution when it explicitly granted to the Court the power to "Promulgate rules concerning pleading.. Jr. . Fernando. it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent Marcial A.227 does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. . The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted.. Muñoz Palma. to be assumed only with a determination to uphold the Ideals and traditions of an honorable profession and to protect the public from overreaching and fraud. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a brother member of the Bar. Antonio. Sec. to the proper administration of justice .... (Article X..

1987. It appears that the SSSEA went on strike after the SSS failed to act on the union's demands. the Court on June 29. 1989 SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (SSSEA).R. As petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of the aforesaid order was also denied on August 14. 79577. VIRGILIO MAGPAYO. 1988 [Rollo. 1987. In a resolution dated October 21. that the strikers refused to return to work. preventing non-striking employees from reporting for work and SSS members from transacting business with the SSS. and that the strike be declared illegal. Petitioners moved to recall the Court of Appeals' decision. 85279 July 28. 1987. but during its pendency the Court of Appeals on March 9. 97577 for being moot and academic. Ocampo & Associates for petitioners. pp. allowances and benefits given to other regular employees of the SSS.1988 denied the motion for reconsideration in G. p. No. Vicente T.R. VIRGILIO DE ALDAY. 209-222]. after finding that the strike was illegal [Rollo. JUANITO MADURA. conversion of temporary or contractual employees with six (6) months or more of service into regular and permanent employees and their entitlement to the same salaries. and payment of the children's allowance of P30. alleging that on June 9. On July 22. 83.R.Management Council.228 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Collaterally. DIONISION T. 72-82. and after the SSS deducted certain amounts from the salaries of the employees and allegedly committed acts of discrimination and unfair labor practices [Rollo. CEZAR C. 130-137]. 71. on June 11. 94]. in a four-page order. the SSS filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners.1988 promulgated its decision on the referred case [Rollo. petitioner. it is whether or not employees of the Social Security System (SSS) have the right to strike. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration thereof. The complaint prayed that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the strike and that the strikers be ordered to return to work. petitioners filed a motion to dismiss alleging the trial court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter [Rollo. BAYLON. the issue raised in this petition is whether or not the Regional Trial Court can enjoin the Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA) from striking and order the striking employees to return to work. No. CORTES. through the Third Division. the officers and members of SSSEA staged an illegal strike and baricaded the entrances to the SSS Building.00. Their petition was docketed as G. 1987. respondents. 21-241]. pp. HON. night differential pay and holiday pay. which ordered the strikers to return to work. that the strike was reported to the Public Sector Labor . the Court. that the defendants (petitioners herein) be ordered to pay damages. THE COURT OF APPEALS. pp. The antecedents are as follows: On June 11. SERGIO ARANETA. QUEZON CITY. the SSS filed an opposition. the court a quo denied the motion to dismiss and converted the restraining order into an injunction upon posting of a bond.] To this motion. PLACIDO AGUSTIN.] In the meantime. REUBEN ZAMORA. issued a temporary restraining order pending resolution of the application for a writ of preliminary injunction [Rollo. BRANCH 98. No. In the meantime. reiterating its prayer for the issuance of a writ of injunction [Rollo. RAMON MODESTO. pp. pp. and that the SSS suffered damages as a result of the strike. petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before this Court. 1987. Petitioners' . payment of accrued overtime pay.86]. RTC. PERALEJO. J: Primarily. resolved to refer the case to the Court of Appeals. vs. which included: implementation of the provisions of the old SSS-SSSEA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on check-off of union dues. The court a quo. SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM (SSS). p.

A reading of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution would show that in recognizing the right of government employees to organize. for in the Sub-Article on the Civil Service Commission.143]. pp. The position of the petitioners is that the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to issue the restraining order and the writ of preliminary injunction. the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the petitioners from staging another strike or from pursuing the notice of strike they filed with the Department of Labor and Employment on January 25. from continuing with their strike. the commissioners intended to limit the right to the formation of unions or associations only. provides that the State "shall guarantee the rights of all workers to selforganization. while there is no question that the Constitution recognizes the right of government employees to organize. Resort to the intent of the framers of the organic law becomes helpful in understanding the meaning of these provisions. In dismissing the petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed by petitioners. including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters. on the ground that the employees of the SSS are covered by civil service laws and rules and regulations. The Court. the sequential questions to be resolved by the Court in deciding whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in finding that the Regional Trial Court did not act without or in excess of jurisdiction when it took cognizance of the case and enjoined the strike are as follows: 1. and noting the reply and supplemental reply filed by petitioners. Sec. as jurisdiction lay with the Department of Labor and Employment or the National Labor Relations Commission. Thus. Hence. 31]. Do the employees of the SSS have the right to strike? 2. 12-37]." that "[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art. By itself. Thus. Upon motion of the SSS on February 6. Since neither the DOLE nor the NLRC has jurisdiction over the dispute. Sec. they are not allowed to strike. which had jurisdiction over the SSS' complaint for damages. to strike. 141. Sec. subdivisions. . the Regional Trial Court may enjoin the employees from striking. associations. or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not abridged" [Art. Parenthetically. XIII. the Bill of Rights also provides that "[tlhe right of the people. But the Constitution itself fails to expressly confirm this impression. and peaceful concerted activities. 2(l) and (50)]. to form unions. pp. 8]. III. it is silent as to whether such recognition also includes the right to strike. the SSS advances the contrary view. IX(B). taking the comment as answer. considered the issues joined and the case submitted for decision. including those employed in the public and private sectors. and agencies of the Government. including the right to strike in accordance with law" [Art. since the case involves a labor dispute. On the other hand. including those in the public sector. 1989 and to maintain the status quo [Rollo. and may be enjoined by the Regional Trial Court. in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights.1989. this provision would seem to recognize the right of all workers and employees. the Court of Appeals held that since the employees of the SSS.229 motion to recall the decision of the Court of Appeals was also denied in view of this Court's denial of the motion for reconsideration [Rollo. the instant petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals [Rollo. not the Labor Code. collective bargaining and negotiations. 151-152]. Does the Regional Trial Court have jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to enjoin the strikers from continuing with the strike and to order them to return to work? These shall be discussed and resolved seriatim I The 1987 Constitution. instrumentalities. therefore they do not have the right to strike. are government employees. pp. it provides. without including the right to strike. after defining the scope of the civil service as "all branches.

including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof. 1. At present. No. Prohibition Against Strikes in the Government. When we proposed this amendment providing for self-organization of government employees. including instrumentalities exercising governmental functions." The air was thus cleared of the confusion. We know that this problem exist. they are prohibited from striking. is equally silent on the matter. one of the sponsors of the provision that "[tlhe right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art." The President was apparently referring to Memorandum Circular No.Sec. That is a different matter. before its amendment by B.A. mass leaves. which was repealed by the Labor Code (P. s. That this section shall apply only to employees employed in governmental functions and not those employed in proprietary functions of the Government including but not limited to governmental corporations. So. although at one time it recognized the right of employees of government corporations established under the Corporation Code to organize and bargain collectively and those in the civil service to "form organizations for purposes not contrary to law" [Art. But. expressly banned strikes by employees in the Government. Understandably. enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions. Sec. Lerum. p.O. or regulating the exercise of the right. including those from the governmentowned and controlled. that the moment we allow anybody in the government to strike. that could be done because the moment that is prohibited. they also have the right to strike.D. in the same breath it provided that "[t]he terms and conditions of employment of all government employees.D. I think what I will try to say will not take that long. IX(B). LERUM. the President issued E. everyone will remember that in the Bill of Rights. Now then. explained: MR. 70 in 1980]. 1987 of the Civil Service Commission under date April 21. And that provision is carried in Republic Act 875. the right to form an organization does not carry with it the right to strike.President is unfounded. uniting as a union.230 Thus. We are only talking about organizing. subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress. are governed by law and it is declared to be the policy of this Act that employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes or modification in their terms and conditions of employment. vol. then the union which will go on strike will be an illegal union. if the purpose of the state is to prohibit the strikes coming from employees exercising government functions. demonstrations. I repeat. to implement the constitutional guarantee of the right of government employees to organize. but excluding entities entrusted with proprietary functions: . all government officers and employees from staging strikes. Padilla. In Section 14 thereof. shall be governed by the Civil Service Law. 875). 2(5)]. 807]. With regard to the right to strike. 244. As a matter of fact. 1987 which.P. 1987. there is a provision that the right to form associations or societies whose purpose is not contrary to law shall not be abridged. It does not mean that because we approve this resolution. then what will happen if the members of the Armed Forces will go on strike? What will happen to those people trying to protect us? So that is a matter of discussion in the Committee on Social Justice. for such are excluded from its coverage [Ibid].. 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees. [Record of the Constitutional Commission. the fear of our honorable Vice. 442) in 1974. Blg. by express provision of Memorandum Circular . — The terms and conditions of employment in the Government. it is provided that "[t]he Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed. are allowed to organize but they are prohibited from striking. Commissioner Eulogio R. No. in answer to the apprehensions expressed by Commissioner Ambrosio B. No. 6. It will be recalled that the Industrial Peace Act (R. workers. that subject is now being discussed in the Committee on Social Justice because we are trying to find a solution to this problem.. it carries with it the right to strike. No similar provision is found in the Labor Code. That is a different matter. walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service. it does not mean that because they have the right to organize. however. recognizing their right to do so. rules and regulations" [now Art. including employees of government owned and controlled corporations. Vice-President of the Commission. But then the Civil Service Decree [P. Such employees may belong to any labor organization which does not impose the obligation to strike or to join in strike:Provided. the Labor Code is silent as to whether or not government employees may strike. in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees to strike. 11. 569]. In Republic Act 875. 276]. On June 1. "prior to the enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government employees .

R. and that accordingly. E. it is the legislature and. while clinging to the same philosophy.O. 60403. may be the subject of negotiations between duly recognized employees' organizations and appropriate government authorities.R. R. Terms and conditions of employment or improvements thereof.R. grievances and cases involving government employees. its employees are part of the civil service [NASECO v. The Civil Service and labor laws andprocedures. whenever applicable. the Industrial Peace Act. The principle behind labor unionism in private industry is that industrial peace cannot be secured through compulsion by law.2(l) see also Sec. No. Considering that under the 1987 Constitution "[t]he civil service embraces all branches. shall be followed in the resolution of complaints. No. . G. as amended).O. No. 1:983. NLRC. has. [At pp. January 17. [At p. It has been stated that the Government. The same executive order has also provided for the general mechanism for the settlement of labor disputes in the public sector to wit: . except those that are fixed by law.SECTION 13. the parties may jointly refer the dispute to the [Public Sector Labor.Management] Council for appropriate action. Since the terms and conditions of government employment are fixed by law. 13. of this Commission that by reason of the nature of the public employer and the peculiar character of the public service. 16-17. 64313. No. in his position paper submitted to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. protects the interest of all people in the public service.A. .O. November 24. the Labor Code. 69870 & 70295. and regulations. No. however. and quoted with approval by the Court in Alliance. the administrative heads of government which fix the terms and conditions of employment. where properly given delegated power. and agencies of the Government. Subject to the minimum requirements of wage laws and other labor and welfare legislation.1988] and are covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. 442.SECTION 16. in contrast to the private employer. however. Nos.1985. including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof are governed by law" (Section 11.D. including governmentowned or controlled corporations with original charters" [Art. No. also quoted in National Housing Corporation v. 6 is not at issue]. In government employment. which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees.178-179]. government workers cannot use the same weapons employed by workers in the private sector to secure concessions from their employers. Emphasis supplied]. the terms and conditions of employment in the unionized private sector are settled through the process of collective bargaining. 1 of E.134 SCRA 172. G. relaxed the rule to allow negotiation where the terms and conditions of employment involved are not among those fixed by law. therefore. 875.A. Apropos is the observation of the Acting Commissioner of Civil Service. subdivisions. instrumentalities. to wit: It is the stand. August 3. 180 where the employees in the civil service are denominated as "government employees"] and that the SSS is one such government-controlled corporation with an original charter. IX(B). And this is effected through statutes or administrative circulars. not through collective bargaining agreements. No. the strike staged by the employees of the SSS was illegal. Relations between private employers and their employees rest on an essentially voluntary basis. [At this juncture. 124 SCRA 11 is relevant as it furnishes the rationale for distinguishing between workers in the private sector and government employees with regard to the right to strike: The general rule in the past and up to the present is that 'the terms and conditions of employment in the Government. Sec. 6 and as implied in E. 1161. In case any dispute remains unresolved after exhausting all the available remedies under existing laws and procedures. it must necessarily regard the right to strike given to unions in private industry as not applying to public employees and civil service employees. The statement of the Court in Alliance of Government Workers v.231 No. Thus: . Minister of Labor and Employment [G. 180. 180. such conflicting interests as are present in private labor relations could not exist in the relations between government and those whom they employ. rules. P. No. This being the case. But are employees of the SSS covered by the prohibition against strikes? The Court is of the considered view that they are. it must be stated that the validity of Memorandum Circular No. Juco. having been created under R. as amended and Article 277.

the instant petition for review is hereby DENIED and the decision of the appellate court dated March 9.Management Council for appropriate action.employee relationship to the Public Sector Labor Management Council for appropriate action [Rollo. Neither could the court a quo be accused of imprudence or overzealousness. Thus. but to cause the execution of the aforesaid order. in the same order. .O. E. More importantly. Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government. the respondent judge.J. 4.1988 is DENIED. JJ.. the Public Sector Labor Management Council has not been granted by law authority to issue writs of injunction in labor disputes within its jurisdiction. since it is the Council. if it has already become final. No. like workers in the private sector. petitioners annexed an order of the Civil Service Commission. year-end bonuses and other fringe benefits and affirmed the previous order of the Merit Systems Promotion Board. which ruled that the officers of the SSSEA who are not preventively suspended and who are reporting for work pending the resolution of the administrative cases against them are entitled to their salaries..Fernan." and reiterated in their reply and supplemental reply. As now provided under Sec. the Regional Trial Court was not precluded.Management Council with jurisdiction over unresolved labor disputes involving government employees [Sec. If there be any unresolved grievances. Jr. which took effect after the instant dispute arose. resort to the general courts of law for the issuance of a writ of injunction to enjoin the strike is appropriate. C. as amended.R. from assuming jurisdiction over the SSS's complaint for damages and issuing the injunctive writ prayed for therein. 1988 in CA-G. In their supplemental reply. The Labor Code itself provides that terms and conditions of employment of government employees shall be governed by the Civil Service Law. the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike.Organization. the dispute may be referred to the Public Sector Labor . for in fact it had proceeded with caution. Clearly. petitioners allege that the SSS unlawfully withheld bonuses and benefits due the individual petitioners and they pray that the Court issue a writ of preliminary prohibitive and mandatory injunction to restrain the SSS and its agents from withholding payment thereof and to compel the SSS to pay them. 129. "[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the government. 276].232 Government employees may. SO ORDERED. Unlike the NLRC. 1989. hence.. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes. 13192 is AFFIRMED.Employees to Self." II The strike staged by the employees of the SSS belonging to petitioner union being prohibited by law. Thus. therefore. that has jurisdiction over the instant labor dispute. it is Our view that petitioners' remedy is not to petition this Court to issue an injunction. Blg. It is futile for the petitioners to assert that the subject labor dispute falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRC and. III In their "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction. concur. Feliciano and Bidin. in the exercise of its general jurisdiction under B. rules and regulations [Art.owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes thereof. through their unions or associations. WHEREFORE. including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government. no reversible error having been committed by the Court of Appeals. after issuing a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike to prevent any further disruption of public service. p. 86]. This being the case. Petitioners' "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction" dated December 13. an injunction may be issued to restrain it.P. SP No. the NLRC has no jurisdiction over the dispute. 180 vests the Public Sector Labor . dated May 5. The matter being extraneous to the issues elevated to this Court. either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not fixed by law. 16]. and not the NLRC. admonished the parties to refer the unresolved controversies emanating from their employer. walk-outs and other temporary work stoppages. to pressure the Govemment to accede to their demands. Gutierrez.

Inc. DALE 530 US 640 CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY No. alleging. 468 U. not-for-profit internal affairs by forcing it to accept a member it does not organization engaged in instilling its system of values in young people. See id. 487 U. 609. on the ground that Dale's reinstatement did not compel the Boy Scouts to express any message.468 U. determined that New Jersey has a compelling interest in eliminating the destructive consequences of discrimination from society. IrishAmerican Gay. the court held that application of that law did not violate the Boy Scouts' First Amendment right of expressive association because Dale's inclusion would not significantly affect members' ability to carry out their purposes. The Boy Scouts is a private. at 623. that the Boy Scouts had violated the state overridden by regulations adopted to serve compelling statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in places of public accommodation. unrelated to the suppression of ideas. the freedom of expressive association is not absolute. 2000-Decided June 28. S. 2000 distinguished Hurley v. He filed suit in the New Jersey 13. and BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA ET AL. it can be Superior Court. to a limited extent. inter alia. Roberts v.233 necessary to accomplish its purpose. the Court must determine whether the forced inclusion of Dale would significantly affect the Boy Scouts' ability to advocate public or private viewpoints. Held: Applying New Jersey's public accommodations law to require the Boy Scouts to readmit Dale violates the Boy Scouts' First Amendment right of expressive association. S.. Boy Scouts). The Court first must inquire. That court's Chancery Division granted summary judgment for the Boy Scouts. Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston. and that its public accommodations law abridges no more speech than is 641 state interests.. 99-699. at 636." The record clearly reveals that the Boy Scouts does so when its adult leaders inculcate its youth members with its value system. v.. membership is unconstitutional if the person's presence affects in a Respondent Dale is an adult whose position as assistant scoutmaster of a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private New Jersey troop was revoked when the Boy Scouts learned that he is an viewpoints. United States Jaycees. but its Appellate Division reversed in pertinent part and remanded. holding. one of which is intrusion into a group's (collectively. 1. S. Argued April 26. 515 U. City of New York. that the Boy Scouts violated the State's public accommodations law by revoking Dale's membership based on his avowed homosexuality. It desire. Such forced asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with those values. avowed homosexual and gay rights activist. New York State Club Assn.. Inc. Among other rulings. 557. 623. However. Roberts. S. The State Supreme Court affirmed. Thus. . inter alia. Government actions that unconstitutionally burden Petitioners are the Boy Scouts of America and its Monmouth Council that right may take many forms. v. that cannot be achieved through means significantly less restrictive of associational freedoms. this Court must determine whether the group engages in "expressive association. To determine whether a group is protected.

Pp. id. Hurley. an association need not associate for the purpose of disseminating a certain message in order to be protected. 160 N. The Court rejects Dale's contention that the Oath and Law. public or judicial disapproval of an organization's expression does not justify the State's effort to compel the organization to accept members in derogation of the organization's expressive message. however enlightened either purpose may seem. O'Brien. See Hurley. The Court gives deference to the Boy Scouts' assertions regarding the nature of its expression. but must merely engage in expressive activity that could be impaired. the Court is not guided by its view of whether the Boy Scouts' teachings with respect to homosexual conduct are right or wrong. 647-661. and concludes that it does. e. Third. 123-124.. Wisconsin ex rel. J. The Court then inquires whether Dale's presence as an assistant scoutmaster would significantly burden the expression of those viewpoints.. g. at 576-577. His presence as an assistant scoutmaster would interfere with the Scouts' choice not to propound a point of view contrary to its beliefs. La Follette. the Court must inquire whether the application of New Jersey's public accommodations law here runs afoul of the Scouts' freedom of expressive association." and that the organization does not want to promote homosexual U. 450 U. While the law may promote all sorts of conduct in place of harmful behavior.234 into the nature of the Boy Scouts' viewpoints. its method of expression is protected. even if the Boy Scouts discourages Scout leaders from disseminating views on sexual issues. The state interests embodied in New Jersey's public accommodations law do not justify such a severe intrusion on the freedom of expressive association. Rather. First. 2d 1196. at 572. 367.. Second. the First Amendment does not require that every member of a group agree on every issue in order for the group's policy to be "expressive association. This Court disagrees with the New Jersey Supreme Court's determination that the Boy Scouts' ability to disseminate its message would not be significantly affected by the forced inclusion of Dale. S. homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values embodied in the Scout See. by his own admission. contrary to the state court's view. S. S. 562. the Court applies an analysis similar to the traditional First Amendment analysis it applied in Hurley. should be applied here to evaluate the conduct as a legitimate form of behavior." Given that the Boy Scouts' expression would be burdened. at 579. it may not interfere with speech for no better reason than promoting an approved message or discouraging a disfavored one. 734 A. . see Democratic Party of United States v. A state requirement that the Boy Scouts retain Dale would significantly burden the organization's right to oppose or disfavor homosexual conduct. 391 and "clean. supra. The Boy Scouts asserts that discrimination and the law does not violate the First Amendment. particularly those represented by the terms "morally straight" intermediate standard of review enunciated in United States v. 107. 515 U. In so ruling. Such a law is within a State's power to enact when the legislature has reason to believe that a given group is the target of 642 Syllabus competing interests of the Boy Scouts and the State. is one of a group of gay Scouts who have become community leaders and are open and honest about their sexual orientation. reversed and remanded. Dale.

Bansal. for the National Catholic Committee on Scouting et al. Jeffrey Burstein. Hoffman andPatrick J. for the Eagle Forum Education & Legal Defense Fund et al. Jr. joined. Hurley et al. GINSBURG. Joseph Curran. KENNEDY. David K. p. Harlow... for the Center for the Original Intent of the Constitution by Michael P. and Laura B. Reilly of Massachusetts. Farris. for the United States Catholic Conference et al. J. Bullock. Michael Williams. With him on the brief were Ruth E. for the Family Defense Council et al. Beatrice Dohrn. and for John J. and Sanford D. Kerr. for the American Civil Rights Union byPeter J. Petitioners are the Boy Scouts of America and the Monmouth Council. Fay III. for the American Center for Law and Justice et al. J. Edlund. Patricia M.235 REHNQUIST. by Von G. post. Mellor. Park. Hasson and Eric W Treene. for the Family Research Council With him on the briefs were Carla A. Miles.. Solicitor General. Findley. by Eliot Spitzer. for the Individual Rights Evan Wolfson argued the cause for respondent. for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty by Kevin J. JJ. Michael W by Janet M. Manshardt. Attorney General. by William E. for Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty by William McConnell. 663. CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST delivered the opinion of the Court. Farmer. Ferrara. and Adam L. Clint Bolick. Olson and John S. in which GINSBURG and BREYER. Duncan. David Buckel. by William I. Deputy Attorney General. Aronson. JJ. Jaffe. by William J. Logue. and Charles S. J. Thomas J. Attorney General of New York. JJ. Hodge. Chopko and Jeffrey Hunter Moon. McLaughlin of . Vincent McCarthy. George A.. Jr.. of Maryland. SCALIA. LaRue.Diament. SOUTER. C. Moloney.. in which SOUTER. in which O'CONNOR. by Chester Darling. Philip T. for the Pacific Legal Foundation by John H. by Mark E. by Kimberlee Wood Colby and Carl H. Preeta D. and Dwight G. for the Institute for Public Mfairs of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America by Nathan J. Allyson W Haynes.* *Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for Agudath Israel of America by David Zwiebel.. Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance were filed for the State of New Jersey by John J. Cohen. for the State of New York et al. for the Claremont Institute Center Foundation by Paul A. 700. Keetch. and Lewis H. a division of the Boy Scouts of America (colfor Constitutional Jurisprudence by Edwin Meese III. and Scott G. filed a dissenting opinion. for the Christian Legal Society et al. Robertson. J. Anzai of Hawaii. Earl I. by Erik S. Flint. for Public Advocate of the United States et al. Assistant Solicitor General. joined.. and BREYER. filed a dissenting opinion. John P. for the California State Club Association et al. Brown. H. STEVENS. Esbeck. and THOMAS. Senior Deputy Attorney General. and by the Attorneys General for their respective States as 643 follows: Bill Lockyer of California. post. Tuskey. joined. for the Liberty Legal Institute by Kelly Shackelford and George B. p. for the National Legal Foundation by Barry C. Thomas F. Davidson argued the cause for petitioners. Hernandez. delivered the opinion of the Court. Jon W Davidson. by Jay Alan Sekulow.

for the Society of American Law Teachers by Nan membership in the Boy Scouts was revoked when the Boy Scouts learned D. and for Roland Pool et al. Frankel. Jeffrey S. by Marvin E. Sara M. Mandelbaum. Thomas J. and Carol J. Scouts approved his application for the position of assistant scoutmaster of Smith. et al. Koerner. In 1988. Sara L. Silverman filed a brief for the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church et al. by David M. that he is an avowed homosexual and gay rights activist. Dale first acknowledged to himself and foyle. Dale left home to attend Rutgers University. Trachtman. The New Jersey Gische andMerril Hirsh. Stern. Families. Lapidus. P. instill. Gil- Troop 73. and asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Michael D. a former Eagle Scout whose adult Squire. Daniel H. After arriving at Rutgers.Banta. James L. Goldberg. for the American Bar Association by William G. The Boy by Marc D. for the American Association of School Administrators et al.. for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. by Mitchell A. for the lectively. and Christine O. and Nathalie F. Boy Scouts). for the city of Atlanta et al. Shapiro. and Kerri Ann Law. Paul and Robert H. Florence A. Around the same time. Brantner. Wessel. Barbur. This case presents the question whether applying New Jersey's public accommodations law in this way violates the Michael D. by John H. Benna Ruth Solomon. James K. Coles. Gregoire of does. Leonard J. for Deans of Divinity Schools and Rabbinical Institutions by David A. McHugh. by Edward W Swanson and Paula A. Steven R. Drew Edmondson of Oklahoma. Hunter and David Cole. The Boy Scouts by Dennis C. Hahn.236 New Hampshire. Madelyn F. Jeffrey L. Schulman. W A. . William H. Washington. Hutner. Rogers. Dale became a Boy Scout in 1981 and remained a Scout until he turned 18. Nory Miller. By all accounts. and Louise Renne. I Darehshori. Rosenthal. for Bay Area Lawyers for Individual 644 Freedom et al. David I. Supreme Court held that New Jersey's public accommodations law requires that the Boy Scouts readmit Dale. The Boy Scouts is a private. Murphy. for the American Psychological Association by Paul M. Berning. Sorrell of Vermont. by Matthew A. not-forprofit organization National Association for the Advancement of Colored People engaged in instilling its system of values in young people. Respondent is James Dale. for the American Jewish Congress Dale applied for adult membership in the Boy Scouts in 1989. he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Hardy Myers of Boy Scouts' First Amendment right of expressive association. Schulz. James Dale entered Scouting in 1978 at the age of eight by joining Monmouth Council's Cub Scout Pack 142. for the American Public Health Association et al. Karlan. Hayes and David T. Pickering. for Parents. We hold that it Oregon. one of Scouting's highest honors. and Lenora M. by Peter T. Inc. Lawrence E. Hess. Dale was an exemplary Scout.

discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in places of public accommodation. In 1992. Dale wrote to Kay requesting the reason for Monmouth Council's decision. infra. Stat. the Boy Scouts is a distinctly private group exempted from coverage under New Jersey's law. holding that New Jersey's policy is embodied in the public accommodations law.237 The New Jersey Superior Court's Chancery Division granted summary judgment in favor of the Boy Scouts." App. 2d 270 (1998). Kay responded by letter that the Boy Scouts "specifically forbid membership to homosexuals. Super. The court held that New Jersey's public 645 others that he is gay. A newspaper covering the event interviewed Dale about his advocacy of homosexual teenagers' need for gay accommodations law was inapplicable because the Boy Scouts was not a place of public accommodation. the newspaper published the interview and Dale's photograph over a caption identifying him as the copresident of the Lesbian/ Gay Alliance. 137. §§ 10:5-4 and 10:5-5 (West Supp. 308 N. see Appendix. In 1990. It held that the Boy Scouts was a place of public accommodation subject to the public accommodations law. but otherwise reversed and remanded for further proceedings. 706 A. 2000). Later that month. and that. Dale attended a seminar addressing the psychological and health needs of lesbian and gay teenagers. Dale received a letter from Monmouth Council Executive James Kay revoking his adult membership. It held that New Jersey's public accommodations law applied to the Boy Scouts and that the Boy Scouts violated it. 516. The New Jersey Superior Court's Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of Dale's common-law claim. among other things. at 661-663. The Appellate Division rejected the Boy Scouts' federal constitutional claims. Ann. The court also concluded that the Boy Scouts' position in respect of active homosexuality was clear role models. The court rejected Dale's common-law claim. that the organization was not . alternatively. N. The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Appellate Division. J. In early July 1990. and eventually became the copresident of. J. Dale filed a complaint against the Boy Scouts in the New Jersey Superior Court. He quickly became involved with. The complaint alleged that the Boy Scouts had violated New Jersey's public accommodations statute and its common law by revoking Dale's membership based solely on his sexual orientation. New Jersey's public accommodations statute prohibits. the Rutgers University Lesbian/Gay Alliance. 646 and held that the First Amendment freedom of expressive association prevented the government from forcing the Boy Scouts to accept Dale as an adult leader.

2d. J. 537. But the court concluded that it was "not persuaded . supra. intimate or private relationships . educational. at 1223-1224 (internal quotation marks omitted)." Ibid. Finally. nonselectivity. discrimination from our society. 734 A. at 608-609.. 481 U. the court addressed the right to intimate association. United States Jaycees. J." This right is crucial in preventing the majority from imposing its views on groups that would .. S.. The court determined that Hurley did not organization is not 'sufficiently personal or private to warrant constitutional require deciding the case in favor of the Boy Scouts because "the protection' under the freedom of intimate association. 1109 (2000). economic. 2d 1196. Rotary Club of Duarte. at 1229.. 2d. 622 (1984). 2d. S. 734 A. at 1223. 515 U. 1219 (1999) (quoting Board of Directors of Rotary abridges no more speech than is necessary to accomplish its purpose. social. Inc." 160 N. and cultural en