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Estrada vs Escritor (August 4, 2003)

Estrada vs. Escritor

AM P-02-1651, August 4, 2003
Soledad Escritor is a court interpreter since 1999 in the RTC of Las Pinas City. Alejandro Estrada,
the complainant, wrote to Judge Jose F. Caoibes, presiding judge of Branch 253, RTC of Las Pinas
City, requesting for an investigation of rumors that Escritor has been living with Luciano Quilapio
Jr., a man not her husband, and had eventually begotten a son. Escritors husband, who had lived
with another woman, died a year before she entered into the judiciary. On the other hand,
Quilapio is still legally married to another woman. Estrada is not related to either Escritor or
Quilapio and is not a resident of Las Pinas but of Bacoor, Cavite. According to the complainant,
respondent should not be allowed to remain employed in the judiciary for it will appear as if the
court allows such act.
Escritor is a member of the religious sect known as the Jehovahs Witnesses and the Watch Tower
and Bible Tract Society where her conjugal arrangement with Quilapio is in conformity with their
religious beliefs. After ten years of living together, she executed on July 28, 1991 a Declaration
of Pledging Faithfulness which was approved by the congregation. Such declaration is effective
when legal impediments render it impossible for a couple to legalize their union. Gregorio,
Salazar, a member of the Jehovahs Witnesses since 1985 and has been a presiding minister since
1991, testified and explained the import of and procedures for executing the declaration which
was completely executed by Escritor and Quilapios in Atimonan, Quezon and was signed by three
witnesses and recorded in Watch Tower Central Office.
Whether or not respondent should be found guilty of the administrative charge of gross and
immoral conduct and be penalized by the State for such conjugal arrangement.
A distinction between public and secular morality and religious morality should be kept in mind.
The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality.
The Court states that our Constitution adheres the benevolent neutrality approach that gives room
for accommodation of religious exercises as required by the Free Exercise Clause. This benevolent
neutrality could allow for accommodation of morality based on religion, provided it does not
offend compelling state interests.
The states interest is the preservation of the integrity of the judiciary by maintaining among its
ranks a high standard of morality and decency. There is nothing in the OCAs (Office of the Court
Administrator) memorandum to the Court that demonstrates how this interest is so compelling
that it should override respondents plea of religious freedom. Indeed, it is inappropriate for the
complainant, a private person, to present evidence on the compelling interest of the state. The
burden of evidence should be discharged by the proper agency of the government which is the
Office of the Solicitor General.
In order to properly settle the case at bar, it is essential that the government be given an
opportunity to demonstrate the compelling state interest it seeks to uphold in opposing the
respondents position that her conjugal arrangement is not immoral and punishable as it is within
the scope of free exercise protection. The Court could not prohibit and punish her conduct where
the Free Exercise Clause protects it, since this would be an unconstitutional encroachment of her

right to religious freedom. Furthermore, the court cannot simply take a passing look at
respondents claim of religious freedom but must also apply the compelling state interest test.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the case is REMANDED to the Office of the Court Administrator. The Solicitor
General is ordered to intervene in the case where it will be given the opportunity (a) to examine
the sincerity and centrality of respondent's claimed religious belief and practice; (b) to present
evidence on the state's "compelling interest" to override respondent's religious belief and
practice; and (c) to show that the means the state adopts in pursuing its interest is the least
restrictive to respondent's religious freedom. The rehearing should be concluded thirty (30) days
from the Office of the Court Administrator's receipt of this Decision.
Epperson vs
Facts of the Case
The Arkansas legislature passed a law prohibiting teachers in public or state- supported schools
from teaching, or using textbooks that teach, human evolution. Epperson, a public school teacher,
sued, claiming the law violated her First Amendment right to free speech as well as the
Establishment Clause. The State Chancery Court ruled that it violated his free speech rights; the
State Supreme Court reversed.
Does a law forbidding the teaching of evolution violate either the free speech rights of teachers or
the Establishment clause of the First Amendment?
Epperson v. Arkansas - Oral Argument
Decision: 9 votes for Epperson, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Establishment of Religion
Yes. Seven members of the Court held that the statute violated the Establishment clause. Writing
for the Court, Justice Abe Fortas stated that the law had been based solely on the beliefs of
fundamentalist Christians, who felt that evolutionary theories directly contradicted the biblical
account of Creation. This use of state power to prohibit the teaching of material objectionable to a
particular sect ammounted to an unconstitutional Establishment of religion. Justice Fortas wrote,
"The State's undoubted right to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with
it the right to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine
where that prohibition is based upon reasons that violate the First Amendment." The two other
members of the Court concurred in the result, writing that it violated either the Due Process
clause of the 14th Amendment (because it was unconstitutionally vague) or the Free Speech
clause of the First Amendment
Facts of the Case
The Arkansas legislature passed a law prohibiting teachers in public or state- supported schools
from teaching, or using textbooks that teach, human evolution. Epperson, a public school teacher,
sued, claiming the law violated her First Amendment right to free speech as well as the
Establishment Clause. The State Chancery Court ruled that it violated his free speech rights; the
State Supreme Court reversed.
Does a law forbidding the teaching of evolution violate either the free speech rights of teachers or
the Establishment clause of the First Amendment?
Epperson v. Arkansas - Oral Argument
Decision: 9 votes for Epperson, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Establishment of Religion

Yes. Seven members of the Court held that the statute violated the Establishment clause. Writing
for the Court, Justice Abe Fortas stated that the law had been based solely on the beliefs of
fundamentalist Christians, who felt that evolutionary theories directly contradicted the biblical
account of Creation. This use of state power to prohibit the teaching of material objectionable to a
particular sect ammounted to an unconstitutional Establishment of religion. Justice Fortas wrote,
"The State's undoubted right to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with
it the right to prohibit, on pain of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine
where that prohibition is based upon reasons that violate the First Amendment." The two other
members of the Court concurred in the result, writing that it violated either the Due Process
clause of the 14th Amendment (because it was unconstitutionally vague) or the Free Speech
clause of the First Amendment
Appellant Epperson, an Arkansas public school teacher, brought this action for declaratory and
injunctive relief challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas' "anti-evolution" statute. That statute
makes it unlawful for a teacher in any state supported school or university to teach or to use a
textbook that teaches "that mankind ascended or descended from a lower order of animals." The
State Chancery Court held the statute an abridgment of free speech violating the First and
Fourteenth Amendments. The State Supreme Court, expressing no opinion as to whether the
statute prohibits "explanation" of the theory or only teaching that the theory is true, reversed the
Chancery Court. In a two-sentence opinion, it sustained the statute as within the State's power to
specify the public school curriculum.
Held: The statute violates the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces the First Amendment's
prohibition of state laws respecting an establishment of religion. Pp. 393 U. S. 102-109.
(a) The Court does not decide whether the statute is unconstitutionally vague, since, whether it is
construed to prohibit explaining the Darwinian theory or teaching that it is true, the law conflicts
with the Establishment Clause. Pp. 393 U. S. 102-103.
(b) The sole reason for the Arkansas law is that a particular religious group considers the evolution
theory to conflict with the account of the origin of man set forth in the Book of Genesis. Pp. 393 U.
S. 103, 393 U. S. 107-109.
(c) The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and
between religion and nonreligion. Pp.393 U. S. 103-107.
(d) A State's right to prescribe the public school curriculum does not include the right to prohibit
teaching a scientific theory or doctrine for reasons that run counter to the principles of the First
Amendment. P. 393 U. S. 107.
(e) The Arkansas law is not a manifestation of religious neutrality. P. 393 U. S. 109.
242 Ark. 922, 416 S.W.2d 322, reversed.
Page 393 U. S. 98
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Court's equivocation, Arkansas would interpret the statute 'to mean that to make a student aware
of the theory * * * just to teach that there was such a theory' would be grounds for dismissal and
for prosecution under the statute; and he said 'that the Supreme Court of Arkansas' opinion should
be interpreted in that manner.' He said: 'If Mrs. Epperson would tell her students that 'Here is
Darwin's theory, that man ascended or descended from a lower form of being,' then I think she
would be under this statute liable for prosecution.'
In any event, we do not rest our decision upon the asserted vagueness of the statute. On either
interpretation of its language, Arkansas' statute cannot stand. It is of no moment whether the law
is deemed to prohibit mention of Darwin's theory, or to forbid any or all of the infinite varieties of

communication embraced within the term 'teaching.' Under either interpretation, the law must be
stricken because of its conflict with the constitutional prohibition of state laws respecting an
establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The overriding fact is that
Arkansas' law selects from the body of knowledge a particular segment which it proscribes for the
sole reason that it is deemed to conflict with a particular religious doctrine; that is, with a
particular interpretation of the Book of Genesis by a particular religious group.
The antecedents of today's decision are many and unmistakable. They are rooted in the
foundation soil of our Nation. They are fundamental to freedom.
Government in our democracy, state and national, must be neutral in matters of religious theory,
doctrine, and practice. It may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of noreligion; and it
may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another or even against
the militant opposite. The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion
and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.
Judicial interposition in the operation of the public school system of the Nation raises problems
requiring care and restraint. Our courts, however, have not failed to apply the First Amendment's
mandate in our educational system where essential to safeguard the fundamental values of
freedom of speech and inquiry and of belief. By and large, public education in our Nation is
committed to the control of state and local authorities. Courts do not and cannot intervene in the
resolution of conflicts which arise in the daily operation of school systems and which do not
directly and sharply implicate basic constitutional values. On the other hand, '(t)he vigilant
protection of constitutional freedoms is nowhere more vital than in the community of American
schools. As this Court said in Keyishian v. Board of Regents, the First Amendment 'does not
tolerate laws that cast a pall of orthodoxy over the classroom.'
The earliest cases in this Court on the subject of the impact of constitutional guarantees upon the
classroom were decided before the Court expressly applied the specific prohibitions of the First
Amendment to the States. But as early as 1923, the Court did not hesitate to condemn under the
Due Process Clause 'arbitrary' restrictions upon the freedom of teachers to teach and of students
to learn. In that year, the Court, in an opinion by Justice McReynolds, held unconstitutional an Act
of the State of Nebraska making it a crime to teach any subject in any language other than
English to pupils who had not passed the eighth grade. The State's purpose in enacting the law
was to promote civic cohesiveness by encouraging the learning of English and to combat the
'baneful effect' of permitting foreigners to near and educate their children in the language of the
parents' native land. The Court recognized these purposes, and it acknowledged the State's power
to prescribe the school curriculum, but it held that these were not adequate to support the
restriction upon the liberty of teacher and pupil. The challenged statute it held, unconstitutionally
interfered with the right of the individual, guaranteed by the Due Process Clause, to engage in any
of the common occupations of life and to acquire useful knowledge. Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S.
390, 43 S.Ct. 625, 67 L.Ed. 1042 (1923).
For purposes of the present case, we need not re-enter the difficult terrain which the Court, in
1923, traversed without apparent misgivings. We need not take advantage of the broad premise
which the Court's decision in Meyer furnishes, nor need we explore the implications of that
decision in terms of the justiciability of the multitude of controversies that beset our campuses
today. Today's problem is capable of resolution in the narrower terms of the First Amendment's
prohibition of laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
There is and can be no doubt that the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that
teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or
dogma. In Everson v. Board of Education, this Court, in upholding a state law to provide free bus
service to school children, including those attending parochial schools, said: 'Neither (a State nor
the Federal Government) can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one
religion over another....'

These precedents inevitably determine the result in the present case. The State's undoubted right
to prescribe the curriculum for its public schools does not carry with it the right to prohibit, on pain
of criminal penalty, the teaching of a scientific theory or doctrine where that prohibition is based
upon reasons that violate the First Amendment. It is much too late to argue that the State may
impose upon the teachers in its schools any conditions that it chooses, however restrictive they
may be of constitutional guarantees.
In the present case, there can be no doubt that Arkansas has sought to prevent its teachers from
discussing the theory of evolution because it is contrary to the belief of some that the Book of
Genesis must be the exclusive source of doctrine as to the origin of man. No suggestion has been
made that Arkansas' law may be justified by considerations of state policy other than the religious
views of some of its citizens. It is clear that fundamentalist sectarian conviction was and is the
law's reason for existence. Its antecedent, Tennessee's 'monkey law,' candidly stated its purpose:
to make it unlawful 'to teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as
taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.'
Perhaps the sensational publicity attendant upon the Scopes trial induced Arkansas to adopt less
explicit language. It eliminated Tennessee's reference to 'the story of the Divine Creation of man'
as taught in the Bible, but there is no doubt that the motivation for the law was the same: to
suppress the teaching of a theory which, it was thought, 'denied' the divine creation of man.
Arkansas' law cannot be defended as an act of religious neutrality. Arkansas did not seek to excise
from the curricula of its schools and universities all discussion of the origin of man. The law's effort
was confined to an attempt to blot out a particular theory because of its supposed conflict with
the Biblical account, literally read. Plainly, the law is contrary to the mandate of the First, and in
violation of the Fourteenth, Amendment to the Constitution.
The judgment of the Supreme Court of Arkansas is reversed.
Mr. Justice BLACK, concurring.
I am by no means sure that this case presents a genuinely justiciable case or controversy....
Although Arkansas Initiated Act No. 1, the statute alleged to be unconstitutional, was passed by
the voters of Arkansas in 1928, we are informed that there has never been even a single attempt
by the State to enforce it. And the pallid, unenthusiastic, even apologetic defense of the Act
presented by the State in this Court indicates that the State would make no attempt to enforce
the law should it remain on the books for the next century. Now, nearly 40 years after the law has
slumbered on the books as though dead, a teacher alleging fear that the State might arouse from
its lethargy and try to punish her has asked for a declaratory judgment holding the law
unconstitutional. She was subsequently joined by a parent who alleged his interest in seeing that
his two then schoolage sons 'be informed of all scientific theories and hypotheses * * *.' But
whether this Arkansas teacher is still a teacher, fearful of punishment under the Act, we do not
know. It may be, as has been published in the daily press, that she has long since given up her job
as a teacher and moved to a distant city, thereby escaping the dangers she had imagined might
befall her under this lifeless Arkansas Act. And there is not one iota of concrete evidence to show
that the parent-intervenor's sons have not been or will not be taught about evolution. The
textbook adopted for use in biology classes in Little Rock includes an entire chapter dealing with
evolution. There is no evidence that this chapter is not being freely taught in the schools that use
the textbook and no evidence that the intervenor's sons, who were 15 and 17 years old when this
suit was brought three years ago, are still in high school or yet to take biology. Unfortunately,
however, the State's languid interest in the case has not prompted it to keep this Court informed
concerning facts that might easily justify dismissal of this alleged lawsuit as moot or as lacking the
qualities of a genuine case or controversy.
Notwithstanding my own doubts as to whether the case presents a justiciable controversy, the
Court brushes aside these doubts and leaps headlong into the middle of the very broad problems
involved in federal intrusion into state powers to decide what subjects and schoolbooks it may
wish to use in teaching state pupils. While I hesitate to enter into the consideration and decision
of such sensitive state-federal relationships, I reluctantly acquiesce. But, agreeing to consider this

as a genuine case or controversy, I cannot agree to thrust the Federal Government's long arm the
least bit further into state school curriculums than decision of this particular case requires.
It is plain that a state law prohibiting all teaching of human development or biology is
constitutionally quite different from a law that compels a teacher to teach as true only one theory
of a given doctrine. It would be difficult to make a First Amendment case out of a state law
eliminating the subject of higher mathematics, or astronomy, or biology from its curriculum....
It seems to me that in this situation the statute is too vague for us to strike it down on any ground
but that: vagueness. Under this statute as construed by the Arkansas Supreme Court, a teacher
cannot know whether he is forbidden to mention Darwin's theory, at all or only free to discuss it as
long as he refrains from contending that it is true. It is an established rule that a statute which
leaves an ordinary man so doubtful about its meaning that he cannot know when he has violated
it denies him the first essential of due process. Holding the statute too vague to enforce would
not only follow long-standing constitutional precedents but it would avoid having this Court take
unto itself the duty of a State's highest court to interpret and mark the boundaries of the State's
laws. And, more important, it would not place this Court in the unenviable position of violating the
principle of leaving the States absolutely free to choose their own curriculums for their own
schools so long as their action does not palpably conflict with a clear constitutional command.
The Court, not content to strike down this Arkansas Act on the unchallengeable ground of its plain
vagueness, chooses rather to invalidate it as a violation of the Establishment of Religion Clause of
the First Amendment. I would not decide this case on such a sweeping ground for the following
reasons, among others.
1. In the first place I find it difficult to agree with the Court's statement that 'there can be no
doubt that Arkansas has sought to prevent its teachers from discussing the theory of evolution
because it is contrary to the belief of some that the Book of Genesis must be the exclusive source
of doctrine as to the origin of man.' It may be instead that the people's motive was merely that it
would be best to remove this controversial subject from its schools; there is no reason I can
imagine why a State is without power to withdraw from its curriculum any subject deemed too
emotional and controversial for its public schools.
2. A second question that arises for me is whether this Court's decision forbidding a State to
exclude the subject of evolution from its schools infringes the religious freedom of those who
consider evolution an anti- religious doctrine. If the theory is considered anti-religious, as the
Court indicates, how can the State be bound by the Federal Constitution to permit its teachers to
advocate such an 'anti-religious' doctrine to schoolchildren? The very cases cited by the Court as
supporting its conclusion that the State must be neutral, not favoring one religious or antireligious view over another. The Darwinian theory is said to challenge the Bible's story of creation;
so too have some of those who believe in the Bible, along with many others, challenged the
Darwinian theory. Since there is no indication that the literal Biblical doctrine of the origin of man
is included in the curriculum of Arkansas schools, does not the removal of the subject of evolution
leave the State in a neutral position toward these supposedly competing religious and antireligious doctrines? Unless this Court is prepared simply to write off as pure nonsense the views of
those who consider evolution an anti-religious doctrine, then this issue presents problems under
the Establishment Clause far more troublesome than are discussed in the Court's opinion.
3. I am also not ready to hold that a person hired to teach school children takes with him into
the classroom a constitutional right to teach sociological, economic, political, or religious subjects
that the school's managers do not want discussed. This Court has said that the rights of free
speech 'while fundamental in our democratic society, still do not mean that everyone with
opinions or beliefs to express may address a group at any public place and at any time.' I question
whether it is absolutely certain, as the Court's opinion indicates, that 'academic freedom' permits
a teacher to breach his contractual agreement to teach only the subjects designated by the school
authorities who hired him.
Certainly the Darwinian theory, precisely like the Genesis story of the creation of man, is not

above challenge. In fact the Darwinian theory has not merely been criticized by religionists but by
scientists, and perhaps no scientist would be willing to take an oath and swear that everything
announced in the Darwinian theory is unquestionably true. The Court, it seems to me, makes a
serious mistake in bypassing the plain, unconstitutional vagueness of this statute in order to reach
out and decide this troublesome, to me, First Amendment question. However wise this Court may
be or may become hereafter, it is doubtful that, sitting in Washington, it can successfully
supervise and censor the curriculum of every public school in every hamlet and city in the United
States. I doubt that our wisdom is so nearly infallible.
I would either strike down the Arkansas Act as too vague to enforce, or remand to the State
Supreme Court for clarification of its holding and opinion.
Mr. Justice HARLAN, concurring.
I think it deplorable that this case should have come to us with such an opaque opinion by the
State's highest court. With all respect, that court's handling of the case savors of a studied effort
to avoid coming to grips with this anachronistic statute and to 'pass the buck' to this Court. This
sort of temporizing does not make for healthy operations between the state and federal
judiciaries. Despite these observations, I am in agreement with this Court's opinion that, the
constitutional claims having been properly raised and necessarily decided below, resolution of the
matter by us cannot properly be avoided.
I concur in so much of the Court's opinion as holds that the Arkansas statute constitutes an
'establishment of religion' forbidden to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. I do not
understand, however, why the Court finds it necessary to explore at length appellants'
contentions that the statute is unconstitutionally vague and that it interferes with free speech,
only to conclude that these issues need not be decided in this case. In the process of not deciding
them, the Court obscures its otherwise straightforward holding, and opens its opinion to possible
implications from which I am constrained to disassociate myself.
Mr. Justice STEWART, concurring in the result.
The States are most assuredly free 'to choose their own curriculums for their own schools.' A State
is entirely free, for example, to decide that the only foreign language to be taught in its public
school system shall be Spanish. But would a State be constitutionally free to punish a teacher for
letting his students know that other languages are also spoken in the world? I think not.
It is one thing for a State to determine that 'the subject of higher mathematics, or astronomy, or
biology' shall or shall not be included in its public school curriculum. It is quite another thing for a
State to make it a criminal offense for a public school teacher so much as to mention the very
existence of an entire system of respected human thought. That kind of criminal law, I think,
would clearly impinge upon the guarantees of free communication contained in the First
Amendment, and made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has said that the statute before us may or may not be just such a
law. The result, as Mr. Justice BLACK points out, is that 'a teacher cannot know whether he is
forbidden to mention Darwin's theory at all.' Since I believe that no State could constitutionally
forbid a teacher 'to mention Darwin's theory at all,' and since Arkansas may, or may not, have
done just that, I conclude that the statute before us is so vague as to be invalid under the
Fourteenth Amendment.

Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)


The parents of ten pupils in New York schools challenged the constitutionality of a New York state
law requiring public schools to begin each day with a state authorized prayer drafted by the State
Board of Regents. These parents argued that state-sponsored prayers in public schools violate the
Establishment Clause.
Whether state legislation can require principals, teachers and students to begin the day with
prayers that are sponsored and written by the state.
In a 6-1 decision (two justices did not participate), the Court held that school officials may not
require devotional religious exercises during the school day, as this practice unconstitutionally
entangles the state in religious activities and establishes religion.
Appealing to history, the Court explained that the First Amendment protects religious liberty by
keeping government from determining when and how people should pray or worship. Early
Americans knew, "some of them from bitter personal experience, that one of the greatest dangers
to the freedom of the individual to worship in his own way lay in the Governments placing its
official stamp of approval upon one particular kind of prayer or one particular form of religious
services." The Court found that the Establishment Clause prohibits the government from involving
itself in devotional religious exercises. It further explained that such separation of church and
state protects both government from religious domination, and religion from government tyranny
and abuse.
"[W]e think that the constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion
must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to compose
official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program
carried on by government." (Justice Hugo Black)
"With all respect, I think the Court has misapplied a great constitutional principle. I cannot see
how an 'official religion' is established by letting those who want to say a prayer say it. On the
contrary, I think that to deny the wish of these school children to join in reciting this prayer is to
deny them the opportunity of sharing in the spiritual heritage of our Nation." (Justice Potter

Ebralinag, et al vs. Div. Supt. of Schools of Cebu G.R. No. 95770, March 1, 1993
Ebralinag, et al vs. Div. Supt. of Schools of Cebu
G.R. No. 95770, March 1, 1993
In 1989, DECS Regional Office in Cebu received complaints about teachers and pupils belonging to
the Jehovahs Witness, and enrolled in various public and private schools, which refused to sing
the Phil. National Anthem, salute the flag and recite the patriotic pledge.
Division Superintendent of schools, Susana B. Cabahug of the Cebu Division of DECS and her
Assistant issued Division Memorandum No. 108, dated Nov. 17, 1989, directing District
Supervisors, High School Principals and Heads of Private Educational institutions to remove from
service, after due process, teachers and school employees, and to deprive the students and pupils
from the benefit of public education, if they do not participate in daily flag ceremony and doesnt
obey flag salute rule.
Members of the Jehovahs Witness sect find such memorandum to be contrary to their religious
belief and choose not to obey. Despite a number of appropriate persuasions made by the Cebu

officials to let them obey the directives, still they opted to follow their conviction to their belief. As
a result, an order was issued by the district supervisor of Daan Bantayan District of Cebu, dated
July 24, 1990, ordering the dropping from the list in the school register of all Jehovahs Witness
teachers and pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 6 who opted to follow their belief which is against the
Flag Salute Law, however, given a chance to be re-accepted if they change their mind.
Some Jehovahs Witness members appealed to the Secretary of Education but the latter did not
answer to their letter.
On Oct. 31, 1990, students and their parents filed special civil actions for Mandamus, Certiorari
and prohibition, alleging that the respondents acted without or in excess of their jurisdiction and
with grave abuse of discretion in ordering their expulsion without prior notice and hearing, hence,
in violation of their right to due process, their right to free public education and their right to
freedom of speech, religion and worship. Petitioners prayed for the voiding of the order of
expulsion or dropping from the rolls issued by the District Supervisor; prohibiting and enjoining
respondent from barring them from classes; and compelling the respondent and all persons acting
for him to admit and order their(Petitioners) re-admission I their respective schools.
On November 27, 1990, Court issued a TRO and writ of preliminary mandatory injunction,
commanding the respondents to immediately re-admit the petitioners to their respective classes
until further orders.
On May 31, the Solicitor General filed a consolidated comment to the petitions defending the
expulsion orders issued by the respondents.
Petitioners stressed that while they do not take part in the compulsory flag ceremony, they do not
engage in external acts or behavior that would offend their countrymen who believe in
expressing their love of country through observance of the flag ceremony. 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. Since they do not engage in disruptive behavior, there is
no warrant for their expulsion.
Whether or not the expulsion of the members of Jehovahs Witness from the schools violates right
receive free education.
The expulsion of the members of Jehovahs Witness from the schools where they are enrolled will
violate their right as Philippine citizens, under the 1987 Constitution, to receive free education, for
it is the duty of the state to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education, and
to make such education accessible to all (Sec. I, Art XIV). Nevertheless, their right not to
participate in the Flag Ceremony does not give them a right to disrupt such patriotic exercises. If
they quietly stand at attention during flag ceremony while their classmates and teachers salute
the flag, sing the national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge, we do not see how such conduct
may possibly disturb the peace, or pose a grave and present danger of a serious evil to public
safety, public morals, public health or any legitimate public interest that the state has a right and
duty to prevent.
It is appropriate to recall the Japanese occupation of our country in 1942-1944 when every Filipino,
regardless of religious persuasion, in fear of the invader, saluted the Japanese flag and bowed
before every Japanese soldier, perhaps if petitioners had lived through that dark period of our
history, they would not quibble now about saluting the Phil. Flag.

The petitions for certiorari and prohibition are granted and expulsion orders are hereby annulled
and set aside.
ROPE FACTORY, INC., defendants, ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS UNION, defendant-appellant.
GRN L-25246 September 12, 1974
Benjamin Victoriano (Appellee), a member of the religious sect known as the Iglesia ni Cristo,
had been in the employ of the Elizalde Rope Factory, Inc. (Company) since 1958. He was a
member of the Elizalde Rope Workers Union (Union) which had with the Company a CBA
containing a closed shop provision which reads as follows: Membership in the Union shall be
required as a condition of employment for all permanent employees workers covered by this
Under Sec 4(a), par 4, of RA 975, prior to its amendment by RA 3350, the employer was not
precluded from making an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of
employment membership therein, if such labor organization is the representative of the
employees. On June 18, 1961, however, RA 3350 was enacted, introducing an amendment to par
4 subsection (a) of sec 4 of RA 875, as follows: xxx but such agreement shall not cover members
of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor organization.
Being a member of a religious sect that prohibits the affiliation of its members with any labor
organization, Appellee presented his resignation to appellant Union. The Union wrote a formal
letter to the Company asking the latter to separate Appellee from the service because he was
resigning from the Union as a member. The Company in turn notified Appellee and his counsel
that unless the Appellee could achieve a satisfactory arrangement with the Union, the Company
would be constrained to dismiss him from the service.
Appellee filed an action for injunction to enjoin the Company and the Union from dismissing
Appellee. The Union invoked the union security clause of the CBA and assailed the
constitutionality of RA 3350 and contends it discriminatorily favors those religious sects which ban
their members from joining labor unions.
Whether Appellee has the freedom of choice in joining the union or not.
YES. The Constitution and RA 875 recognize freedom of association. Sec 1 (6) of Art III of the
Constitution of 1935, as well as Sec 7 of Art IV of the Constitution of 1973, provide that the right
to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Section 3
of RA 875 provides that employees shall have the right to self-organization and to form, join of
assist labor organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of collective bargaining and to
engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining and other mutual aid or
protection. What the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act recognize and guarantee is the
right to form or join associations. A right comprehends at least two broad notions, namely: first,
liberty or freedom, i.e., the absence of legal restraint, whereby an employee may act for himself
without being prevented by law; and second, power, whereby an employee may, as he pleases,
join or refrain from joining an association. It is, therefore, the employee who should decide for
himself whether he should join or not an association; and should he choose to join, he himself
makes up his mind as to which association he would join; and even after he has joined, he still
retains the liberty and the power to leave and cancel his membership with said organization at
any time. The right to join a union includes the right to abstain from joining any union. The law
does not enjoin an employee to sign up with any association.
The right to refrain from joining labor organizations recognized by Section 3 of the Industrial Peace
Act is, however, limited. The legal protection granted to such right to refrain from joining is
withdrawn by operation of law, where a labor union and an employer have agreed on a closed

shop, by virtue of which the employer may employ only members of the collective bargaining
union, and the employees must continue to be members of the union for the duration of the
contract in order to keep their jobs. By virtue of a closed shop agreement, before the enactment
of RA 3350, if any person, regardless of his religious beliefs, wishes to be employed or to keep his
employment he must become a member of the collective bargaining union. Hence, the right of
said employee not to join the labor union is curtailed and withdrawn.
To that all-embracing coverage of the closed shop arrangement, RA No.3350introduced an
exception, when it added to Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act the following proviso: but
such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their
members in any such labor organization. Republic Act No. 3350 merely excludes ipso jure from
the application and coverage of the closed shop agreement the employees belonging to any
religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members with any labor organization. What the
exception provides is that members of said religious sects cannot be compelled or coerced to join
labor unions even when said unions have closed shop agreements with the employers; that in
spite of any closed shop agreement, members of said religious sects cannot be refused
employment or dismissed from their jobs on the sole ground that they are not members of the
collective bargaining union. It does not prohibit the members of said religious sects from affiliating
with labor unions. It still leaves to said members the liberty and the power to affiliate, or not to
affiliate, with labor unions. If, notwithstanding their religious beliefs, the members of said religious
wets prefer to sign up with the labor union, they can do so. If in deference and fealty to their
religious faith, they refuse to sign up, they can do so; the law does not coerce them to join;
neither does the law prohibit them from joining, and neither may the employer or labor union
compel them to join.
The Company was partly absolved by law from the contractual obligation it had with the Union of
employing only Union members in permanent positions. It cannot be denied, therefore, that there
was indeed an impairment of said union security clause.
The prohibition to impair the obligation of contracts is not absolute and unqualified. The
prohibition is general. The prohibition is not to be read with literal exactness, for it prohibits
unreasonable impairment only. In spite of the constitutional prohibition, the State continues to
possess authority to safeguard the vital interests of its people. Legislation appropriate to
safeguarding said interests may modify or abrogate contracts already in effect. For not only are
existing laws read into contracts in order to fix the obligations as between the parties, but the
reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power is also read into contracts as a postulate of
the legal order. The contract clause of the Constitution. must be not only in harmony with, but also
in subordination to, in appropriate instances, the reserved power of the state to safeguard the
vital interests of the people. This has special application to contracts regulating relations between
capital and labor which are not merely contractual, and said labor contracts, for being impressed
with public interest, must yield to the common good.
The purpose to be achieved by RA 3350 is to insure freedom of belief and religion, and to promote
the general welfare by preventing discrimination against those members of religious sects which
prohibit their members from joining labor unions, confirming thereby their natural, statutory and
constitutional right to work, the fruits of which work are usually the only means whereby they can
maintain their own life and the life of their dependents.
The individual employee, at various times in his working life, is confronted by two aggregates of
power collective labor, directed by a union, and collective capital, directed by management. The
union, an institution developed to organize labor into a collective force and thus protect the
individual employee from the power of collective capital, is, paradoxically, both the champion of
employee rights, and a new source of their frustration. Moreover, when the Union interacts with
management, it produces yet a third aggregate of group strength from which the individual also
needs protection the collective bargaining relationship.
The free exercise of religious profession or belief is superior to contract rights. In case of conflict,
the latter must yield to the former.
The purpose of RA 3350 is to serve the secular purpose of advancing the constitutional right to
the free exercise of religion, by averting that certain persons be refused work, or be dismissed
from work, or be dispossessed of their right to work and of being impeded to pursue a modest

means of livelihood, by reason of union security agreements. To help its citizens to find gainful
employment whereby they can make a living to support themselves and their families is a valid
objective of the state. The Constitution even mandated that the State shall afford protection to
labor, promote full employment and equality in employment, ensure equal work opportunities
regardless of sex, race or creed and regulate the relation between workers and employers.
The primary effects of the exemption from closed shop agreements in favor of members of
religious sects that prohibit their members from affiliating with a labor organization, is the
protection of said employees against the aggregate force of the collective bargaining agreement,
and relieving certain citizens of a burden on their religious beliefs; and by eliminating to a certain
extent economic insecurity due to unemployment, which is a serious menace to the health,
morals, and welfare of the people of the State, the Act also promotes the well-being of society. It is
our view that the exemption from the effects of closed shop agreement does not directly advance,
or diminish, the interests of any particular religion. Although the exemption may benefit those
who are members of religious sects that prohibit their members from joining labor unions, the
benefit upon the religious sects is merely incidental and indirect.
The purpose of RA 3350 was not to grant rights to labor unions. The rights of labor unions are
amply provided for in Republic Act No. 875 and the new Labor Code.
The Act does not require as a qualification, or condition, for joining any lawful association
membership in any particular religion or in any religious sect; neither does the Act require
affiliation with a religious sect that prohibits its members from joining a labor union as a condition
or qualification for withdrawing from a labor union. Joining or withdrawing from a labor union
requires a positive act Republic Act No. 3350 only exempts members with such religious affiliation
from the coverage of closed shop agreements. So, under this Act, a religious objector is not
required to do a positive act-to exercise the right to join or to resign from the union. He is
exempted ipso jure without need of any positive act on his part.
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is dismissed

American Bible Society v. City of Manila

Full Text:
In the course of its ministry, ABS has been distributing and selling bibles and/or gospels throughout Philippines and
translating the same into several Philippine dialects. On May 1953, the acting City Treasurer of Manila informed ABS that
it was conducting the business of general merchandise since November 1945 without providing the city with Mayor's
permit and municipal license in violation of Ordinance No. 3000, as amended and Ordinances Nos. 2529, 3028, 3364 and
required plaintiff to secure within three days the permit and license fees, together with compromise covering the period
from fourth quarter of 1945 to second quarter of 1952 in P5, 281.45. ABS protested about the requirement but paid to the
defendant the said permit and license fees in the said amount.
Whether or no the Ordinances of Manila Nos. 3000 as amended, and 2529, 3028 and 3364 are applicable to the case at bar.
Yes, the city ordinances mentioned are still in force and effect.
When the old statute is repealed in its entirety and by the same enactment re-enacts all or certain portions of the preexisting law, the majority view holds that the rights and liabilities whihc have accrued under the original statute are
preserved and may be enforced, since the reenactment neutralizeds the repeal, therefore continueing the law in force
without interruption.
In the case at bar, Ordinances Nos. 2529 and 3000 of the city of Manila were enacted by the Municipal Board of the City of
Manila by virtue of the power granted to it by section 2444, subsection (m-2) of the Revised Administrative Code,
superseded on June 18, 1949, by section 18, subsection (1) of Republic Act No. 409, known as the Revised Charter of the

City of Manila. The only essential difference between these two provisions is that while subsection (m-2) prescribes that
the combined total tax of any dealer or manufacturer, or both, enumerated under subsections (m-1) and (m-2), whether
dealing in one or all of the articles mentioned therein,shall not be in excess of P500 per annum, the corresponding section
18, subsection (o) of Republic Act No. 409, does not contain any limitation as to the amount of tax or license fee that the
retail dealer has to pay per annum. Hence, and in accordance with the weight of the authorities above referred to that
maintain that "all rights and liabilities which have accrued under the original statute are preserved and may be enforced,
since the reenactment neutralizes the repeal, therefore continuing the law in force without interruption", We hold that the
questioned ordinances of the City of Manila are still in force and effect.
American Bible Society vs. City of Manila
GR No. L-9637 | April 30, 1957

American Bible Society is a foreign, non-stock, non-profit, religious, missionary corporation duly registered and
doing business in the Philippines through its Philippine agency established in Manila in November, 1898

City of Manila is a municipal corporation with powers that are to be exercised in conformity with the provisions of
Republic Act No. 409, known as the Revised Charter of the City of Manila

American Bible Society has been distributing and selling bibles and/or gospel portions throughout the Philippines
and translating the same into several Philippine dialect

City Treasurer of Manila informed American Bible Society that it was violating several Ordinances for operating
without the necessary permit and license, thereby requiring the corporation to secure the permit and license fees
covering the period from 4Q 1945-2Q 1953

To avoid closing of its business, American Bible Society paid the City of Manila its permit and license fees under

American Bible filed a complaint, questioning the constitutionality and legality of the Ordinances 2529 and 3000,
and prayed for a refund of the payment made to the City of Manila. They contended:
They had been in the Philippines since 1899 and were not required to pay any license fee or sales tax
it never made any profit from the sale of its bibles

City of Manila prayed that the complaint be dismissed, reiterating the constitutionality of the Ordinances in question

Trial Court dismissed the complaint

American Bible Society appealed to the Court of Appeals

Issue: WON American Bible Society liable to pay sales tax for the distribution and sale of bibles
Ruling: NO

Under Sec. 1 of Ordinance 3000, one of the ordinance in question, person or entity engaged in any of the business,
trades or occupation enumerated under Sec. 3 must obtain a Mayors permit and license from the City Treasurer.
American Bible Societys business is not among those enumerated

However, item 79 of Sec. 3 of the Ordinance provides that all other businesses, trade or occupation not mentioned,
except those upon which the City is not empowered to license or to tax P5.00

Therefore, the necessity of the permit is made to depend upon the power of the City to license or tax said business,
trade or occupation.

2 provisions of law that may have bearing on this case:

Chapter 60 of the Revised Administrative Code, the Municipal Board of the City of Manila is empowered to
tax and fix the license fees on retail dealers engaged in the sale of books
Sec. 18(o) of RA 409: to tax and fix the license fee on dealers in general merchandise, including importers and
indentors, except those dealers who may be expressly subject to the payment of some other municipal tax. Further,
Dealers in general merchandise shall be classified as (a) wholesale dealers and (b) retail dealers. For purposes of the
tax on retail dealers, general merchandise shall be classified into four main classes: namely (1) luxury articles, (2)
semi-luxury articles, (3) essential commodities, and (4) miscellaneous articles. A separate license shall be prescribed
for each class but where commodities of different classes are sold in the same establishment, it shall not be
compulsory for the owner to secure more than one license if he pays the higher or highest rate of tax prescribed by
ordinance. Wholesale dealers shall pay the license tax as such, as may be provided by ordinance

The only difference between the 2 provisions is the limitation as to the amount of tax or license fee that a retail dealer
has to pay per annum

As held in Murdock vs. Pennsylvania, The power to impose a license tax on the exercise of these freedoms provided
for in the Bill of Rights, is indeed as potent as the power of censorship which this Court has repeatedly struck down. It
is not a nominal fee imposed as a regulatory measure to defray the expenses of policing the activities in question. It is in
no way apportioned. It is flat license tax levied and collected as a condition to the pursuit of activities whose enjoyment
is guaranteed by the constitutional liberties of press and religion and inevitably tends to suppress their exercise. That is
almost uniformly recognized as the inherent vice and evil of this flat license tax.
Further, the case also mentioned that the power to tax the exercise of a privilege is the power to control or suppress
its enjoyment. Those who can tax the exercise of this religious practice can make its exercise so costly as to deprive it
of the resources necessary for its maintenance. Those who can tax the privilege of engaging in this form of missionary
evangelism can close all its doors to all those who do not have a full purse
Under Sec. 27(e) of Commonwealth Act No. 466 or the National Internal Revenue Code,Corporations or
associations organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, . . . or educational purposes, . . .: Provided,
however, That the income of whatever kind and character from any of its properties, real or personal, or from any
activity conducted for profit, regardless of the disposition made of such income, shall be liable to the tax imposed under
this Code shall not be taxed
The price asked for the bibles and other religious pamphlets was in some instances a little bit higher than the actual
cost of the same but this cannot mean that American Bible Society was engaged in the business or occupation of selling
said "merchandise" for profit
Therefore, the Ordinance cannot be applied for in doing so it would impair American Bible Societys free exercise
and enjoyment of its religious profession and worship as well as its rights of dissemination of religious beliefs.

Wherefore, and on the strength of the foregoing considerations, We hereby reverse the decision appealed from,
sentencing defendant return to plaintiff the sum of P5,891.45 unduly collected from it



Discussed: Freedom



B. Legal Question Presented:

Are state enacted laws requiring that public schools provide time for Bible reading, at the opening of each school day, in
violation of the establishment and free exercises clauses of the First Amendment?



A. Background:
In both cases the states of Pennsylvania and Maryland enacted laws that required in effect that "the Holy Bible shall be
read, without comment, at the opening of each public school on each school day" and that children could be excused
from reading and/or attending the Bible reading exercises upon written request of the parents.
In Abington, (Case no. 142), the Schempp family of Unitarian faith, filed a law suit "to enjoin enforcement of the statute,
contending that their rights... are, have been and will continue to be violated unless this statute be declared
unconstitutional as violative of the First Amendment." The father testified that he believed that excusing his children
"from attendance at the exercises" would adversely affect his "children's relationships with their teachers and
classmates." The District Court held that the statute was in violation of the First Amendment. The US Supreme Court
reviewed the case on appeal.
In Murray, (Case No. 119), the petitioners, professed atheists, sought to compel the rescission and cancellation of the city
rule requiring Bible reading, stating that "the rule, as practiced, violated their rights." The Court of Appeals upheld the
law "holding the exercise not in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the City rule. The US Supreme

Court reviewed the case on writ of certiorari.

The Supreme Court held that the schools' Bible reading laws were unconstitutional and affirmed the judgment of the
District Court in Abington and reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals in Murray.
B. Counsel of Record:

Opposing Side

C. The Arguments:

Opposing Side



Opposing Side

Briefs of amici curiae urging affirmance in No. 142 and

reversal in No. 119, were filed by Morris B. Abram, Edwin
J. Lukas, Burnett Roth, Arnold Forster, Paul Hartman,
Theodore Leskes and Sol Rabkin for the American Jewish
Committee et al.; by Leo Pfeffer, Lewis H. Weinstein,
Albert Wald, Shad Polier, Samuel Lawrence Brennglass
and Theodore R. Mann for the Synagogue Council of
America et al.; and by Herbert A. Wolff, Leo Rosen,
Morris L. Ernst and Nancy F. Wechsler for the American
Ethical Union.

Thomas B. Finan, Attorney General of Maryland, argued

the cause for the State of Maryland, as amicus curiae,
urging affirmance in No. 119. With him on the brief were
James P. Garland and Robert F. Sweeney, Assistant
Attorneys General of Maryland. Richmond M. Flowers,
Attorney General of Alabama, Robert Pickrell, Attorney
General of Arizona, Bruce Bennett, Attorney General of
Arkansas, Richard W. Ervin, Attorney General of Florida,
Eugene Cook, Attorney General of Georgia, Allan G.
Shepard, Attorney General of Idaho, William M. Ferguson,
Attorney General of Kansas, Jack P. F. Gremillion,
Attorney General of Louisiana, Frank E. Hancock,
Attorney General of Maine, Joe T. Patterson, Attorney
General of Mississippi, William Maynard, Attorney
General of New Hampshire, Arthur J. Sills, Attorney
General of New Jersey, Earl E. Hartley, Attorney General
of New Mexico, Thomas Wade Bruton, Attorney General
of North Carolina, J. Joseph Nugent, Attorney General of
Rhode Island, Daniel R. McLeod, Attorney General of
South Carolina, Frank R. Farrar, Attorney General of South
Dakota, and George F. McCanless, Attorney General of
Tennessee, joined in the brief on behalf of their respective

Henry W. Sawyer III argued the cause for appellees in No.

142. With him on the brief was Wayland H. Elsbree.
Leonard J. Kerpelman argued the cause and filed a brief
for petitioners in No. 119.

John D. Killian III, Deputy Attorney General of

Pennsylvania, and Philip H. Ward III argued the cause for
appellants in No. 142. With them on the brief were David
Stahl, Attorney General of Pennsylvania, Percival R.

Rieder and C. Brewster Rhoads. Francis B. Burch and

George W. Baker, Jr. argued the cause for respondents in
No. 119. With them on the brief were Nelson B. Seidman
and Philip Z. Altfeld.
The US Supreme Court reviewed the two cases together because they both presented "the issues in the context of
state action requiring that schools begin each day with readings from the Bible."
"In the relationship between man and religion, the State is firmly committed to a position of neutrality."
"The wholesome 'neutrality' of which this Court's cases speak stems from a recognition of the teachings of history
that powerful sects or groups might bring about a fusion of governmental and religious functions or a concert or
dependency of one upon the other to the end that official support of the State or Federal Government would be
placed behind the tenets of one or of all orthodoxies. This the Establishment Clause prohibits. And a further
reason for neutrality is found in the Free Exercise Clause, which recognizes the value of religious training,
teaching and observance and, more particularly, the right of every person to freely choose his own course with
reference thereto, free of any compulsion from the state. This the Free Exercise Clause guarantees.
[T]o withstand the strictures of the Establishment Clause there must be a secular legislative purpose and a
primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion. The Free Exercise Clause... withdraws from legislative
power, state and federal, the exertion of any restraint on the free exercise of religion. Its purpose is to secure
religious liberty in the individual by prohibiting any invasions thereof by civil authority... The distinction between
the two clauses is apparent - a violation of the Free Exercise Clause is predicated on coercion while the
Establishment Clause violation need not be so attended...
The conclusion follows that in both cases the laws require religious exercises and such exercises are being
conducted in direct violation of the rights of the appellees and petitioners. Nor are these required exercises
mitigated by the fact that individual students may absent themselves upon parental request, for that fact furnishes
no defense to a claim of unconstitutionality under the Establishment Clause.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the District Court in Abington and reversed the judgment of the
Court of Appeals in Murray.

Facts: Petitioners in these cases consist of representatives of the mass media which are prevented from selling or donating
space and time for political advertisements; two (2) individuals who are candidates for office (one for national and the other
for provincial office) in the coming May 1992 elections; and taxpayers and voters who claim that their right to be informed
of election Issue and of credentials of the candidates is being curtailed. It is principally argued by petitioners that Section 11
(b) of Republic Act No. 66461 invades and violates the constitutional guarantees comprising freedom of expression.
Petitioners maintain that the prohibition imposed by Section 11 (b) amounts to censorship, because it selects and singles out
for suppression and repression with criminal sanctions, onlypublications of a particular content, namely, media-based
election or political propaganda during the election period of 1992. It is asserted that the prohibition is in derogation of
media's role, function and duty to provide adequate channels of public information and public opinion relevant to election
Issue. Further, petitioners contend that Section 11 (b) abridges the freedom of speech of candidates, and that the
suppression of media-based campaign or political propaganda except those appearing in the Comelec space of the
newspapers and on Comelec time of radio and television broadcasts, would bring about a substantial reduction in the
quantity or volume of information concerning candidates and Issue in the election thereby curtailing and limiting the right

of voters to information and opinion.

Issue: Whether or Not Section 11 (b) of Republic Act No. 6646 constitutional.
Held: Yes. It seems a modest proposition that the provision of the Bill of Rights which enshrines freedom of speech,
freedom of expression andfreedom of the press has to be taken in conjunction with Article IX (C) (4) which may be seen to
be a special provision applicable during a specific limited period i.e., "during the election period." In our own society,
equality of opportunity to proffer oneself for public office, without regard to the level of financial resources that one may
have at one's disposal, is clearly an important value. One of the basic state policies given constitutional rank by Article II,
Section 26 of the Constitution is the egalitarian demand that "the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for
public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law." The essential question is whether or not the
assailed legislative or administrative provisions constitute a permissible exercise of the power of supervision or regulation
of the operations of communication and information enterprises during an election period, or whether such act has gone
beyond permissible supervision or regulation of media operations so as to constitute unconstitutional repression of freedom
of speech andfreedom of the press. The Court considers that Section 11 (b) has not gone outside the permissible bounds of
supervision or regulation of media operations during election periods.
Section 11 (b) is limited in the duration of its applicability and enforceability. By virtue of the operation of Article IX (C)
(4) of the Constitution, Section 11 (b) is limited in its applicability in time to election periods. Section 11 (b) does not
purport in any way to restrict the reporting by newspapers or radio or television stations of news or news-worthy events
relating to candidates, their qualifications, political parties and programs of government. Moreover, Section 11 (b) does not
reach commentaries and expressions of belief or opinion by reporters or broadcasters or editors or commentators or
columnists in respect of candidates, their qualifications, and programs and so forth, so long at least as such comments,
opinions and beliefs are not in fact advertisements for particular candidates covertly paid for. In sum, Section 11 (b) is not
to be read as reaching any report orcommentary other coverage that, in responsible media, is not paid for by candidates for
political office. Section 11 (b) as designed to cover only paid political advertisements of particular candidates.
The limiting impact of Section 11 (b) upon the right to free speech of the candidates themselves is not unduly repressive or


- On January 13, 1992, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 2347 pursuant to its powersgranted by the
Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, Republic Acts Nos. 6646 and 7166 andother election laws.-Section 15(a) of the
resolution provides:
Sec. 15. Lawful Election Propaganda. The following are lawful election propaganda:(a) Pamphlets, leaflets, cards,
decals, stickers, handwritten or printed letters, or other written or printed materials not more than eight and one-half (8-1/2)
inches in width and fourteen (14) inches in length.Provided, That decals and stickers may be posted only in any of the
authorized posting areas provided in paragraph (f) of Section 21 hereof.Section 21 (f) of the same resolution provides:Sec.
21(f). Prohibited forms of election propaganda. It is unlawful: xxx xxx xxx (f) To draw, paint, inscribe, post, display or
publicly exhibit any election propaganda in any place, whether public or private, mobile or stationary, except in the
COMELEC common posted areas and/or billboards, at the campaign headquarters of the candidate or political party,
organization or coalition, or at thecandidate's own residential house or one of his residential houses, if he has more than
one: Provided, that such posters or election propaganda shall not exceed two (2) feet by three (3) feet in size.
-Petitioner Blo Umpar Adiong, a senatorial candidate in the May 11, 1992 elections now assailsthe COMELEC's Resolution
insofar as it prohibits the posting of decals and stickers in "mobile"places like cars and other moving vehicles. According to
him such prohibition is violative of Section 82 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 11(a) of Republic Act No. 6646.
In addition,the petitioner believes that with the ban on radio, television and print political advertisements,he, being a

neophyte in the field of politics stands to suffer grave and irreparable injury with thisprohibition. The posting of decals and
stickers on cars and other moving vehicles would be hislast medium to inform the electorate that he is a senatorial candidate
in the May 11, 1992elections. Finally, the petitioner states that as of February 22, 1992 (the date of the petition) hehas not
received any notice from any of the Election Registrars in the entire country as to thelocation of the supposed "Comelec
Poster Areas."
WON the COMELEC may prohibit the posting of decals and stickers on "mobile" places,public or private, and limit their
location or publication to the authorized posting areas that itfixes.
-The prohibition on posting of decals and stickers on mobile places whether public or privateexcept in authorized areas
designated by the COMELEC becomes censorship which cannot be justified by the Constitution.-The posting of decals and
stickers on cars, calesas, tricycles, pedicabs and other movingvehicles needs the consent of the owner of the vehicle. Hence,
the preference of the citizenbecomes crucial in this kind of election propaganda not the financial resources of the
candidate.Whether the candidate is rich and, therefore, can afford to doleout more decals and stickers orpoor and without
the means to spread out the same number of decals and stickers is not asimportant as the right of the owner to freely express
his choice and exercise his right of freespeech. The owner can even prepare his own decals or stickers for posting on his
personalproperty. To strike down this right and enjoin it is impermissible encroachment of his liberties.
Petitioner has a television program entitled "Ang Iglesia ni Cristo" aired on Channel 2 everySaturday and on Channel 13
every Sunday. The program presents and propagates petitioner'sreligious beliefs, doctrines and practices often times in
comparative studies with other religions.Petitioner submitted to the respondent Board of Review for Moving Pictures and
Television theVTR tapes of its TV program Series Nos. 116, 119, 121 and 128. The Board classified the seriesas "X" or not
for public viewing on the ground that they "offend and constitute an attack againstotherreligions which is expressly
prohibited by law." On November 28, 1992, it appealed to theOffice of the President the classification of its TV Series No.
128 which allowed it through a letterof former Executive Secretary Edelmiro A. Amante, Sr., addressed for Henrietta S.
Mendezreversing the decision of the respondent Board. According to the letter the episode in isprotected by the
constitutional guarantee of free speech and expression and no indication thatthe episode poses any clear and present danger.
Petitioner also filed Civil Case. Petitioneralleged that the respondent Board acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse
of discretion inrequiring petitioner to submit the VTR tapes of itsTV program and in x-rating them. It cited its TVProgram
Series Nos. 115, 119, 121 and 128. In their Answer, respondent Board invoked its powerunder PD No. 19861 in relation to
Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code. The Iglesia ni Cristoinsists on the literal translation of the bible and says that our
(Catholic) veneration of the VirginMary is not to be condoned because nowhere it is found in the bible. The board
contended that itoutrages Catholic and Protestant's beliefs. RTC ruled in favor of petitioners. CA however reversedit hence
this petition.
WON the "ang iglesia ni cristo" program is not constitutionally protected as a form of religiousexercise and expression.
Yes. Any act that restrains speech is accompanied with presumption of invalidity. It is theburden of the respondent Board to
overthrow this presumption. If it fails to discharge thisburden, its act of censorship will be struck down. This is true in this
case. So-called "attacks" aremere criticisms of some of the deeply held dogmas and tenets of otherreligions . RTCs
rulingclearly suppresses petitioner's freedom of speech and interferes with its right to free exercise of religion. attack is
different from offend any race or religion. The respondent Board maydisagree with the criticisms of otherreligions by
petitioner but that gives it no excuse to interdictsuch criticisms, however, unclean they may be. Under our constitutional
scheme, it is not thetask of the State to favor any religion by protecting it against an attack by anotherreligion.Religious
dogmas and beliefs are often at war and to preserve peace among theirfollowers, especially the fanatics, the establishment
clause of freedom of religion prohibits theState from leaning towards any religion. Respondent board cannot censor the
speech of petitioner Iglesia ni Cristo simply because it attacks otherreligions, even if said religion happensto be the most
numerous church in our country. The basis of freedom of religion is freedom of thought and it is best served by encouraging
the marketplace of dueling ideas. It is only where itis unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to
the security and welfareof the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified, and only to the
smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. There is no showing whatsoever of the type of harm the tapes will bring
about especially the gravity and imminence of the threatened harm.Prior restraint on speech, includingreligious speech,
cannot be justified by hypothetical fears butonly by the showing of a substantive and imminent evil. It is inappropriate to
apply the clear andpresent danger test to the case at bar because the issue involves the content of speech and notthe time,

place or manner of speech. Allegedly, unless the speech is first allowed, its impactcannot be measured, and the causal
connection between the speech and the evil apprehendedcannot be established. The determination of the question as to
whether or not such vilification,exaggeration or fabrication falls within or lies outside the boundaries of protected speech
orexpression is a judicial function which cannot be arrogated by an administrative body such as aBoard of Censors." A
system of prior restraint may only be validly administered by judges andnot left to administrative agencies.

U.S. v Bustos G.R. No. L-12592 March 8, 1918

J. Malcolm
In 1915, 34 Pampanga residents signed a petition to the Executive Secretary regarding charges against Roman Punsalan, the
justice of the peace of Macabebe. They wanted to oust him from his office.
Specific allegations against him included bribery charges, involuntary servitude, and theft.
The justice denied the charges. In the CFI, not all the charges were proved. But, the judge still found him guilty.
Punsalan filed charges alleging that he was the victim of prosecution and one Jaime, an auxiliary justice, instigated the
charges against him for personal reasons. He was acquitted.
The complainants filed an appeal to the Governor General but it wasnt acted upon.
Criminal action was instituted aganst the residents by Punsalan.
The CFI found almost all of the 34 defendants guilty and sentenced them to pay 10 pesos or suffer imprisonment in case of
The defendants filed a motion for a retrial to retire the objection made by Punsalan. The trial court denied the motion. All
except 2 of the defendants appealed. Making assignments of error.
1. The court erred in overruling motion for retrial.
2. Error in not holding that the libelous statement was not privileged
3. Error in not acquitting defendants
4. Evidence failed to show gult of defendants beyond reasonable doubt.
5. Erred in making defendants prove that the libelous statements were true.
6. Error in sustaining the prosecutions objection to the introduction in evidence by the accused of the affidavits upon which
the petition forming the basis of the libelous charge was based.
7. Erred in refusing to permit the defendants to retire the objection in advertently interposed by their counsel to
the admission in evidence of the expediente administrativo out of which the accusation in this case arose.
Whether or not the defendants and appellants are guilty of a libel of Roman Punsalan, justice ofthe peace in Pampanga.
Held: Yes. Defendants acquitted.
Freedom of speech was non existent in the country before 1900. There were small efforts at reform made by the La
Solidaridad. The Malolos Constitution, on the other hand, guaranteed freedom of speech.
During the U.S. period, President McKinley himself laid down the tenet Magna Charta of Philippine Liberty when he
wrote, that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or of the rights of the people to
peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This was in the Philippine Bill.
In the Amrican cases it was held, there were references to public opinion should be the constant source of liberty and
democracy. It also said the guaranties of a free speech and a free press include the right to criticize judicial conduct. The
administration of the law is a matter of vital public concern. Whether the law is wisely or badly enforced is, therefore, a fit
subject for proper comment. If the people cannot criticize a justice of the peace or a judge the same as any other public
officer, public opinion will be effectively muzzled. Attempted terrorization of public opinion on the part of the judiciary
would be tyranny of the basest sort.
It is a duty which every one owes to society or to the State to assist in the investigation of any alleged misconduct. It is
further the duty of all who know of any official dereliction on the part of a magistrate or the wrongful act of any public
officer to bring the facts to the notice of those whose duty it is to inquire into and punish them.

The right to assemble and petition is the necessary consequence of republican institutions and the complement of the part of
free speech. Assembly means a right on the part of citizens to meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public
affairs. Petition means that any person or group of persons can apply, without fear of penalty, to the appropriate branch or
office of the government for a redress of grievances. The persons assembling and petitioning must, of course, assume
responsibility for the charges made.
Public policy has demanded protection for public opinion. The doctrine of privilege has been the result of this. Privilged
communications may in some instances afford an immunity to the slanderer. Public policy is the unfettered administration
of justice.
Privilege is either absolute or qualified. Qualified privilege is prima facie which may be lost by proof of malice. This is
apparent in complaints made in good faith against a public officials conduct having a duty in the matter. Even if the
statements were found to be false, the protection of privilege may cover the individual given that it was in good faith. There
must be a sense of duty and not a self-seeking motive.
A communication made bona fide upon any subject-matter in which the party communicating has an interest, or in
reference to which has a duty, is privileged, if made to a person having a corresponding interest or duty, although it
contained criminatory matter which without this privilege would be slanderous and actionable.
In the usual case malice can be presumed from defamatory words. Privilege destroys that presumption. The onus of proving
malice then lies on the plaintiff. The plaintiff must bring home to the defendant the existence of malice as the true motive of
his conduct. Falsehood and the absence of probable cause will amount to proof of malice.
It is true that the particular words set out in the information, if said of a private person, might well be considered libelous
per se. The charges might also under certain conceivable conditions convict one of a libel of a government official. As a
general rule words imputing to a judge or a justice of the peace dishonesty or corruption or incapacity or misconduct
touching him in his office are actionable. But as suggested in the beginning we do not have present a simple case of direct
and vicious accusations published in the press, but of charges predicated on affidavits made to the proper official and thus
qualifiedly privileged. Express malice has not been proved by the prosecution. Further, although the charges are probably
not true as to the justice of the peace, they were believed to be true by the petitioners. Good faith surrounded their action.
Probable cause for them to think that malfeasance or misfeasance in office existed is apparent. The ends and the motives of
these citizens to secure the removal from office of a person thought to be venal were justifiable. In no way did they
abuse the privilege. These respectable citizens did not eagerly seize on a frivolous matter but on instances which not only
seemed to them of a grave character, but which were sufficient in an investigation by a judge of first instance to convince
him of their seriousness. No undue publicity was given to the petition. The manner of commenting on the conduct of the
justice of the peace was proper.
Ayer Vs Capulong
Petitioner McElroy an Australian film maker, and his movie production company, Ayer Productions, envisioned, sometime
in 1987, for commercial viewing and for Philippine and international release, the historic peaceful struggle of the Filipinos
at EDSA. The proposed motion picture entitled "The Four Day Revolution" was endorsed by the MTRCB as and other
government agencies consulted. Ramos also signified his approval of the intended film production. It is designed to be
viewed in a six-hour mini-series television play, presented in a "docu-drama" style, creating four fictional characters
interwoven with real events, and utilizing actual documentary footage as background. David Williamson is Australia's
leading playwright and Professor McCoy (University of New South Wales) is an American historian have developed a
script. Enrile declared that he will not approve the use, appropriation, reproduction and/or exhibition of his name, or
picture, or that of any member of his family in any cinema or television production, film or other medium for advertising or
commercial exploitation. petitioners acceded to this demand and the name of Enrile was deleted from the movie script, and
petitioners proceeded to film the projected motion picture. However, a complaint was filed by Enrile invoking his right to
privacy. RTC ordered for the desistance of the movie production and making of any reference to plaintiff or his family and
from creating any fictitious character in lieu of plaintiff which nevertheless is based on, or bears substantial or marked
resemblance to Enrile. Hence the appeal.
Issue: Whether or Not freedom of expression was violated
HELD : The Court would once more stress that this freedom includes the freedom to film and produce motion pictures and
to exhibit such motion pictures in theaters or to diffuse them through television The respondent Judge should have stayed

his hand, instead of issuing an ex-parte Temporary Restraining Order one day after filing of a complaint by the private
respondent and issuing a Preliminary Injunction twenty (20) days later; for the projected motion picture was as yet
uncompleted and hence not exhibited to any audience. Neither private respondent nor the respondent trial Judge knew what
the completed film would precisely look like. There was, in other words, no "clear and present danger" of any violation of
any right to privacy that private respondent could lawfully assert. The subject matter, as set out in the synopsis provided by
the petitioners and quoted above, does not relate to the individual life and certainly not to the private life of private
respondent Ponce Enrile The extent of that intrusion, as this Court understands the synopsis of the proposed film, may be
generally described as such intrusion as is reasonably necessary to keep that film a truthful historical account. Private
respondent does not claim that petitioners threatened to depict in "The Four Day Revolution" any part of the private life of
private respondent or that of any member of his family. His participation therein was major in character, a film reenactment
of the peaceful revolution that fails to make reference to the role played by private respondent would be grossly
unhistorical. The right of privacy of a "public figure" is necessarily narrower than that of an ordinary citizen. Private
respondent has not retired into the seclusion of simple private citizenship. he continues to be a "public figure." After a
successful political campaign during which his participation in the EDSA Revolution was directly or indirectly referred to
in the press, radio and television, he sits in a very public place, the Senate of the Philippines. The line of equilibrium in the
specific context of the instant case between the constitutional freedom of speech and of expression and the right of privacy,
may be marked out in terms of a requirement that the proposed motion picture must be fairly truthful and historical in its
presentation of events


Petitioner was the producer of the movie Kapit sa Patalim which the Board of Review for Motion Pictures
and Televisions allowed on condition that certain deletions were made and that it was shown on adults only. The petitioner
brought an action, claiming violation of their freedom of expression.
HELD: Motion pictures are important both as a method for the communication of ideas and the expression of the artistic
impulse. The power of the Board is limited to the classification of films. For freedom of expression is the rule and
restrictions the exception. The power to impose prior restraint is not to be presumed, rather the presumption is against its
validity. Censorship is allowable only under the clearest proof of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil to public
safety, public morals, public health or any other legitimate public interest. The Board committed an abuse of discretion in
subjecting petitioner to difficulty and travail before the movie was classified as "For adults only" without deletion.
However there is not enough votes to consider the abuse of discretion grave as it explained that there were reasons for its
action because of the scenes showing women erotically dancing naked and kissing and caressing each other like lesbians.
Notes: The movie involved in this case was "Kapit sa Patalim" which the censors wanted to cut in some part and to label
"For Adults". The SC rules that movies are within the constitutional protection of freedom of expression, so that censorship
is presumed to be valid as constituting prior restraint. The only case whe the Board of Censors can order a deletion is when
there is a clear and present danger of a substantive evil against national security or public morals or other public interest. In
all other cases, the Board can only classify.
But a different standard must be followed in television because of the pervasive and intrusive influence of the medium on
people who watch its programs without having to pay anything.
On the issue of obscenity, the SC held that sex along is not necessarily obscenity, the test being whether, using
contemporary community standards, the dominant appeal us to the prurient interest. (Miller v. California). Thus on this
score, it found abuse of discretion of the part of the Board for subjecting the producer to difficulty and for entertaining a
narrow view of obscenity, but it lacked the votes to rules that the abuse was grave.

Francisco Chavez vs. Raul M. Gonzales and NTC | G.R. No. 168338 | February 15, 2008

Facts: As a consequence of the public release of copies of the Hello Garci compact disc audiotapes involving a
wiretapped mobile phone conversation between then-President Gloria Arroyo and Comelec Commissioner Virgilio
Garcillano, respondent DOJ Secretary Gonzales warned reporters that those who had copies of the CD and those
broadcasting or publishing its contents could be held liable under the Anti-Wiretapping Act. He also stated that persons
possessing or airing said tapes were committing a continuing offense, subject to arrest by anybody. Finally, he stated that he
had ordered the NBI to go after media organizations found to have caused the spread, the playing and the printing of the
contents of a tape. Meanwhile, respondent NTC warned TV and radio stations that their broadcast/airing of such false
information and/or willful misrepresentation shall be a just cause for the suspension, revocation and/or cancellation of the
licenses or authorizations issued to the said media establishments. Petitioner Chavez filed a petition under Rule 65 against
respondents Secretary Gonzales and the NTC directly with the Supreme Court.
Issues: (1) Will a purported violation of law such as the Anti-Wiretapping Law justify straitjacketing the exercise of
freedom of speech and of the press? (2) Did the mere press statements of respondents DOJ Secretary and the NTC
constitute a form of content-based prior restraint that has transgressed the Constitution?
Held: (1) No, a purported violation of law such as the Anti-Wiretapping Law will not justify straitjacketing the exercise of
freedom of speech and of the press. A governmental action that restricts freedom of speech or of the press based on content
is given the strictest scrutiny, with the government having the burden of overcoming the presumed unconstitutionality by
the clear and present danger rule. This rule applies equally to all kinds of media, including broadcast media. Respondents,
who have the burden to show that these acts do not abridge freedom of speech and of the press, failed to hurdle the clear
and present danger test. For this failure of the respondents alone to offer proof to satisfy the clear and present danger test,
the Court has no option but to uphold the exercise of free speech and free press. There is no showing that the feared
violation of the anti-wiretapping law clearly endangers the national security of the State.
(2) Yes, the mere press statements of respondents DOJ Secretary and the NTC constituted a form of content-based prior
restraint that has transgressed the Constitution. It is not decisive that the press statements made by respondents were not
reduced in or followed up with formal orders or circulars. It is sufficient that the press statements were made by
respondents while in the exercise of their official functions. Any act done, such as a speech uttered, for and on behalf of the
government in an official capacity is covered by the rule on prior restraint. The concept of an act does not limit itself to
acts already converted to a formal order or official circular. Otherwise, the non formalization of an act into an official order
or circular will result in the easy circumvention of the prohibition on prior restraint.

Primicias v Fugoso 80 PHIL 71 (1948)

Facts: An action was instituted by the petitioner for the refusal of the respondent to issue a permit to them to hold a public
meeting in Plaza Miranda for redress of grievances to the government. The reason alleged by the respondent in his defense
for refusing the permit is, "that there is a reasonable ground to believe, basing upon previous utterances and upon the fact
that passions, specially on the part of the losing groups, remains bitter and high, that similar speeches will be delivered
tending to undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their government, and in the duly constituted authorities,
which might threaten breaches of the peace and a disruption of public order." Giving emphasis as well to the delegated
police power to local government. Stating as well Revised Ordinances of 1927 prohibiting as an offense against public
peace, and penalizes as a misdemeanor, "any act, in any public place, meeting, or procession, tending to disturb the peace or
excite a riot; or collect with other persons in a body or crowd for any unlawful purpose; or disturb or disquiet
any congregation engaged in any lawful assembly." Included herein is Sec. 1119, Free use of Public Place.

Issue: Whether or Not the freedom of speech was violated.

Held: Yes. Dealing with the ordinance, specifically, Sec. 1119, said section provides for two constructions: (1) the Mayor of
the City of Manila is vested with unregulated discretion to grant or refuse, to grant permit for the holding of a lawful
assembly or meeting, parade, or procession in the streets and other public places of the City of Manila; (2) The right of the
Mayor is subject to reasonable discretion to determine or specify the streets or public places to be used with the view to

prevent confusion by overlapping, to secure convenient use of the streets and public places by others, and to provide
adequate and proper policing to minimize the risk of disorder. The court favored the second construction. First construction
tantamount to authorizing the Mayor to prohibit the use of the streets. Under our democratic system of government no such
unlimited power may be validly granted to any officer of the government, except perhaps in cases of national emergency.

The Mayors first defense is untenable. Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly.
It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To justify suppression of free speech there must
be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if free speech is practiced. There must be reasonable ground to
believe that the dangerapprehended is imminent. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the evil to be prevented is
a serious one. The fact that speech is likely to result in some violence or in destruction of property is not enough to justify
its suppression. There must be the probability of serious injury to the state.


125 SCRA 553
Justice JBL Reyes filed a petition on behalf of the Anti-Bases Coalition to compel the issuance of a permit for a rally to be
held at the Luneta and a subsequent march to the U.S. Embassy on Roxas Boulevard. The petition was filed the day before
the scheduled assembly as no action had apparently been taken on the application, although it turned out later that it had
been rejected in a letter sent earlier by ordinary mail. The reasons for the denial was the mayors fear that the assemblage
might be infiltrated by subversive elements to the prejudice of the public order, and thus the intended rally would violate a
city ordinance implementing the provisions of the Diplomatic Convention requiring the receiving state to afford adequate
protection to foreign embassies; hence his suggestion that the rally be held at an enclosed place like Rizal Coliseum for
Issue: Whether the denial of the issuance and modification of the permit is meritorious and is guaranteed under Article II,
The court set aside the denial or the modification of the permit sought and order the respondent official to grant it. The
choice of Luneta and U.S. Embassy for a public rally cannot legally objected to in the absence of clear and present danger
to life or property of the embassy. The Philippines, being a signatory of Vienna Conventions which calls for the protection
of the premises of a diplomatic mission, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of
the land as cited in Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution.

MAlabanan vs ramento
Facts: Petitioners were officers of the Supreme Student Council of Respondent University. They sought and were granted
by the school authorities a permit to hold a meeting from 8am to 12am. Pursuant to such permit, along with other students,
they held a general assembly at the Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (VMAS) Basketball Court. The place
indicated in such permit, not in the basketball court as therein stated, but at the second floor lobby. At such gathering, they
manifested in vehement and vigorous language their opposition to the proposed merger of the Institute of Animal Science.
They continued their language severely critical of the university authorities and using megaphones in the process. There
was, as a result, disturbance of classes being held. Also, non academic employees within hearing distance, stopped their
work because of noise created. They were asked to explain why they should not be held liable for holding an assembly.

Issue: Whether or not the suspension of students for one academic year was violative of the constitutional rights of freedom
of assembly and free speech?
Decision: Yes, necessarily their exercise to discuss matters affecting their welfare or involving public interest is not
subjected to previous restraint or subsequent punishment unless there be a showing of clear and present danger to a
substantive evil that the State has a right to prevent. The peaceable character of an assembly could be lost, however, by an
advocacy or disorder. If assembly is to be held in school premises, permit must be sought from its school authorities who
are devoid to deny such request. In granting such permit, there may be conditions as to the time and place of an assembly to
avoid disruption of classes or stoppage of work of non-academic personnel. However, in violation of terms, penalty
incurred should not be disproportionate to the offense.

Luzviminda dela Cruz v CA, et. al. 305 SCRA 303

Facts: Petitioners are public school teachers from various schools in Metro Manila who were simultaneously charged,
preventively suspended, and eventually dismissed in October 1990 by the Secretary of the Department of Education,
Culture and Sports (DECS) in connection with the administrative complaints filed before its office by their respective
principals for participating in a mass action/strike and subsequently defying the return-to-work order by DECS constituting
grave misconduct., gross neglect of duty, gross violation of Civil Service Law, Rules and Regulations and reasonable office
regulations, refusal to perform official duty, gross insubordination conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and
absence without official leave (AWOL), in violation of Presidential Decree 807, otherwise known as the Civil Service
Decree of the Philippines. Petitioners contend they are merely participating in a peaceful assembly to petition the
government for redress of their grievances in the exercise of their constitutional right and insist their assembly does not

Held: Whether or not the petitioners exercise of their right to freedom to assembly and petition were valid.
Held: The court held that previous jurisprudence laid down a rule that public teachers in the exercise of their right to
ventilate their grievances by petitioning the government for redress should be done within reasonable limits so as not to
prejudice the public welfare. The conduct of mass protests during school days while abandoning classes is highly
prejudicial to the best interest of public service. The court stresses that teachers are penalized not because they exercised
their right to peaceably assemble but because of the manner by which such right was exercised, i.e., going
on unauthorized and unilateral absences thus disrupting classes in various schools in Metro Manila which produced adverse
effects upon the students for whose education the teachers were responsible
Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization vs. PBM, 51 SCRA 189
Post under case digests, labor law at Tuesday, February 21, 2012 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind
Facts: Philippine Blooming Employees Organization (PBMEO) decided to stage a mass demonstration in front of
Malacaang to express their grievances against the alleged abuses of the Pasig Police.
After learning about the planned mass demonstration, Philippine Blooming Mills Inc., called for a meeting
with the leaders of the PBMEO. During the meeting, the planned demonstration was confirmed by the union. But
it was stressed out that thedemonstration was not a strike against the company but was in factan exercise of
the laborers inalienable constitutional right to freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom
for petition for redress of grievances.
The company asked them to cancel the demonstration for it would interrupt the normal course of their business
which may result in the loss of revenue. This was backed up with the threat of the possibility that the workers
would lose their jobs if they pushed through with the rally.

A second meeting took place where the company reiterated their appeal that while the workers may be allowed
to participate, those from the 1st and regular shifts should not absent themselves to participate , otherwise,
they would be dismissed. Since it was too late to cancel the plan, the rally took place and the officers of the
PBMEO were eventually dismissed for a violation of the No Strike and No Lockout clause of their Collective
Bargaining Agreement.
The lower court decided in favor of the company and the officers of the PBMEO were found guilty of bargaining
in bad faith. Their motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied by the Court of Industrial Relations for
being filed two days late.
Issue: Whether or not the workers who joined the strike violated the CBA.
Held: No. While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over property rights
is recognized. Because these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable, as well as supremely precious in our
society" and the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise almost as potently as the actual application of
sanctions," they "need breathing space to survive," permitting government regulation only "with narrow
specificity." Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible. In
the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they
are essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions; and such priority "gives these
liberties the sanctity and the sanction not permitting dubious intrusions."
The freedoms of speech and of the press as well as of peaceful assembly and of petition for redress of
grievances are absolute when directed against public officials or "when exercised in relation to our right to
choose the men and women by whom we shall be governed.

Bayan, et al., Vs. Eduardo Ermita, et al.,

G.R. No. 169838
April 25, 2006
Facts: The petitioners, Bayan, et al., alleged that they are citizens and taxpayers of the Philippines and that their right as
organizations and individuals were violated when the rally they participated in on October 6, 2005 was violently dispersed
by policemen implementing Batas Pambansa No. 880.
Petitioners contended that Batas Pambansa No. 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. They argue that B.P.
No. 880 requires a permit before one can stage a public assembly regardless of the presence or absence of a clear and
present danger. 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 which the expression is sought. Furthermore, it is not content-neutral
as it does not apply to mass actions in support of the government. The words lawful cause, opinion, protesting or
influencing suggest the exposition of some cause not espoused by the government. Also, the phrase maximum tolerance
shows that the law applies to assemblies against the government because they are being tolerated. As a content-based
legislation, it cannot pass the strict scrutiny test. This petition and two other petitions were ordered to be consolidated on
February 14, 2006. During the course of oral arguments, the petitioners, in the interest of a speedy resolution of the
petitions, withdrew the portions of their petitions raising factual issues, particularly those raising the issue of whether B.P.
No. 880 and/or CPR is void as applied to the rallies of September 20, October 4, 5 and 6, 2005.
Issue: Whether the Calibrated Pre-emptive response and the Batas Pambansa No. 880, specifically Sections 4, 5, 6, 12,
13(a) and 14(a) violates Art. III Sec. 4 of the Philippine Constitution as it causes a disturbing effect on the exercise by the
people of the right to peaceably assemble.
Held: Section 4 of Article III of the Philippine Constitution provides that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of
speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for
redress of grievances. The right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of grievances, together with freedom of
speech, of expression, and of the press, is a right that enjoys dominance in the sphere of constitutional protection. For this

rights represent the very basis of a functional democratic polity, without which all the other rights would be meaningless
and unprotected.
However, it must be remembered that the right, while sacrosanct, is not absolute. It may be regulated that it shall not be
injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the rights of the community or society. The
power to regulate the exercise of such and other constitutional rights is termed the sovereign police power, which is the
power to prescribe regulations, to promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of
the people.
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. B.P. No. 880 thus readily shows that it refers to all kinds of public assemblies 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 the words opinion, protesting, and
influencing in 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 rallyist and is independent of the content of the expression 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 rights even under the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
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
plaza in every 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