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EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-24693. July 31, 1967.]


ERMITA-MALATE HOTEL AND MOTEL OPERATORS ASSOCIATION, INC., HOTEL DEL MAR,
INC. and GO CHIU, Petitioners-Appellees, v. THE HONORABLE CITY MAYOR OF MANILA,
respondent-appellant, VICTOR ALABANZA, Intervenor-Appellee.
Panganiban, Abad & Associates and Asst. City Fiscal L.L. Arguelles for Appellant.
Jose M . Aruego, Arsenio Tenchavez and Luis Go for Appellees.
Alfreo Concepcion for intervenor.

SYLLABUS

1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES; VALIDITY, PRESUMPTION OF. An ordinance,


having been enacted by councilors who must, in the very nature of things, be familiar with the
necessities of their particular municipality or city and with all the facts and circumstances which
surround the subject and necessitate action, must be presumed to be valid and should not be set
aside unless there is a clear invasion of personal property rights under the guise of police regulation.
Unless, therefore, the ordinance is void on its face, the necessity for evidence to rebut its validity is
unavoidable. In the case at bar, there being no factual foundation laid for overthrowing Ord. No. 4760
of Manila as void on its face, the presumption of constitutionality must prevail.
2. ID.; POLICE POWER; MANIFESTATION OF. Ordinance No. 4760 of the City of Manila is a
manifestation of a police power measure specifically aimed to safeguard public morals. As such it is
immune from any imputation of nullity resting purely on conjecture and unsupported by anything of
substance. To hold otherwise would be to unduly restrict and narrow the scope of police power which
has been properly characterized as the most essential, insistent and the least limitable of powers
extending as it does "to all the great public needs."
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3. ID.; ID.; JUDICIAL INQUIRY. On the legislative organs of the government, whether national or
local, primarily rests the exercise of the police power, which is the power to prescribe regulations to
promote the health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general welfare of the people. In view of
the requirements of certain constitutional guaranties, the exercise of such police power, however,
insofar as it may affect the life, liberty or property of any person, is subject to judicial inquiry. Where
such exercise of police power may be considered as either capricious, whimsical, unjust or
unreasonable, a denial of due process or a violation of any other applicable constitutional guaranty
may call for correction by the courts.
4. ID.; ID.; LICENSES INCIDENTAL TO. Municipal license fees can be classified into those imposed
for regulating occupations or regular enterprises, for the regulation or restriction of non-useful
occupations or enterprises and for revenue purposes only. Licenses for non-useful occupations are
incidental to the police power, and the right to exact a fee may be implied from the power to license
and regulate, but in taking the amount of license fees the municipal corporations are allowed a wide
discretion in this class of cases. Aside from applying the well known legal principle that municipal
ordinances must not be unreasonable, oppressive, or tyrannical, courts have, as a general rule,
declined to interfere with such discretion. The desirability of imposing restraint upon the number of
persons who might otherwise engage in non-useful enterprises is, of course, generally an important
factor in the determination of the amount of this kind of license fee. (Cu Unjieng v. Patstone [1922],
42 Phil,, 818, 828).
5. ID.; ID.; EXERCISE OF. Much discretion is given to municipal corporations in determining the
amount of license fees to be imposed for revenue. The mere fact that some individuals in the
community may be deprived of their present business or a particular mode of earning a living cannot
prevent the exercise of the police power. Persons licensed to pursue occupations which may in the
public need and interest be affected by the exercise of the police power embark in those occupations
subject to the disadvantages which may result from the exercise of that power.
6. ID.; DUE PROCESS; STANDARDS OF LEGAL INFIRMITY. There is no controlling and precise
definition of due process. It furnishes though a standard to which governmental action should conform
in order that deprivation of life, liberty or property, in each appropriate case, be valid. The standard of

due process which must exist both as a procedural and as substantive requisite to free the challenged
ordinance, or any governmental action for that matter, from imputation of legal infirmity, is
responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. It would be an affront
to reason to stigmatize an ordinance enacted precisely to meet what a municipal lawmaking body
considers an evil of rather serious proportion an arbitrary and capricious exercise of authority. What
should be deemed unreasonable and what would amount to be an abdication of the power to govern is
inaction in the face of an admitted deterioration of the state of public morals.
7. ID.; ID.; MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES; PROHIBITIONS IN. The provision in Ordinance No. 4760 of
the City of Manila making it unlawful for the owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized representative
of any hotel, motel, lodging house, tavern, common inn or the like, to lease or rent any room or
portion thereof more than twice every 24 hours, with a proviso that in all cases full payment shall be
charged, cannot be viewed as transgression against the command of due process. The prohibition is
neither unreasonable nor arbitrary, because there appears a correspondence between the undeniable
existence of an undesirable situation and the legislative attempt at correction. Moreover, every
regulation of conduct amounts to curtailment of liberty, which cannot be absolute.
8. ID.; ID.; PUBLIC INTEREST; GOVERNMENT INTERFERENCE. The policy of laissez faire has to
some extent given way to the assumption by the government of the right of intervention even in
contractual relations affected with public interest.
9. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; SCOPE. If the liberty invoked were freedom of the mind or the person, the
standard for the validity of governmental acts is much more rigorous and exacting, but where the
liberty curtailed affects at the most rights of property, the permissible scope of regulatory measures is
wider.
10. ID.; DUE PROCESS REQUIREMENT; AMBIGUITY OF STATUTES AS DENIAL OF DUE PROCESS.
What makes a statute susceptible to a charge that it is void on its face for alleged vagueness or
uncertainty is an enactment either for bidding or requiring the doing of an act that men of common
intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application.

DECISION

FERNANDO, J.:

The principal question in this appeal from a judgment of the lower court in an action for prohibition is
whether Ordinance No. 4760 of the City of Manila is violative of the due process clause. The lower
court held that it is and adjudged it "unconstitutional, and, therefore, null and void." For reasons to be
more specifically set forth, such judgment must be reversed, there being a failure of the requisite
showing to sustain an attack against its validity.
The petition for prohibition against Ordinance No. 4760 was filed on July 5, 1963 by the petitioners,
Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, one of its members, Hotel del Mar, Inc., and a
certain Go Chiu, who is "the president and general manager of the second petitioner" against the
respondent Mayor of the City of Manila who was sued in his capacity as such "charged with the general
power and duty to enforce ordinances of the City of Manila and to give the necessary orders for the
faithful execution and enforcement of such ordinances." (par. 1). It was alleged that the petitioner
non-stock corporation is dedicated to the promotion and protection of the interest of its eighteen (18)
members "operating hotels and motels, characterized as legitimate businesses duly licensed by both
national and city authorities regularly paying taxes, employing and giving livelihood to not less than
2,500 persons and representing an investment of more than P3 million." 1 (par. 2). It was then
alleged that on June 13, 1963, the Municipal Board of the City of Manila enacted Ordinance No. 4760,
approved on June 14, 1963 by the then Vice-Mayor Herminio Astorga, who was at the time acting
Mayor of the City of Manila. (par. 3).
After which the alleged grievances against the ordinance were set forth in detail. There was the
assertion of its being beyond the powers of the Municipal Board of the City of Manila to enact insofar
as it would regulate motels, on the ground that in the revised charter of the City of Manila or in any
other law, no reference is made to motels; that Section 1 of the challenged ordinance is
unconstitutional and void for being unreasonable and violative of due process insofar as it would
impose P6,000.00 fee per annum for first class motels and P4,500.00 for second c]ass motels; that
the provision in the same section which would require the owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized
representative of a hotel, motel, or lodging house to refrain from entertaining or accepting any guest
or customer or letting any room or other quarter to any person or persons without his filling up the
prescribed form in a lobby open to public view at all times and in his presence, wherein the surname,
given name and middle name, the date of birth, the address, the occupation, the sex, the nationality,
the length of stay and the number of companions in the room, if any, with the name, relationship, age
and sex would be specified, with data furnished as to his residence certificate as well as his passport

number, if any, coupled with a certification that a person signing such form has personally filled it up
and affixed his signature in the presence of such owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized
representative, with such registration forms and records kept and bound together, it also being
provided that the premises and facilities of such hotels, motels and lodging houses would be open for
inspection either by the City Mayor, or the Chief of Police, or their duly authorized representatives is
unconstitutional and void again on due process grounds, not only for being arbitrary, unreasonable or
oppressive but also for being vague, indefinite and uncertain, and likewise for the alleged invasion of
the right to privacy and the guaranty against self-incrimination; that Section 2 of the challenged
ordinance classifying motels into two classes and requiring the maintenance of certain minimum
facilities in first class motels such as a telephone in each room, a dining room or restaurant and
laundry similarly offends against the due process clause for being arbitrary, unreasonable and
oppressive, a conclusion which applies to the portion of the ordinance requiring second class motels to
have a dining room; that the provision of Section 2 of the challenged ordinance prohibiting a person
less than 18 years old from being accepted in such hotels, motels, lodging houses, tavern or common
inn unless accompanied by parents or a lawful guardian and making it unlawful for the owner,
manager, keeper or duly authorized representative of such establishments to lease any room or
portion thereof more than twice every 24 hours, runs counter to the due process guaranty for lack of
certainty and for its unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive character; and that insofar as the penalty
provided for in Section 4 of the challenged ordinance for a subsequent conviction would cause the
automatic cancellation of the license of the offended party, in effect causing the destruction of the
business and loss of its investments, there is once again a transgression of the due process clause.
There was a plea for the issuance of preliminary injunction and for a final judgment declaring the
above ordinance null and void and unenforceable. The lower court on July 6, 1963 issued a writ of
preliminary injunction ordering respondent Mayor to refrain from enforcing said Ordinance No. 4760
from and after July 8, 1963.
In the answer filed on August 3, 1963, there was an admission of the personal circumstances
regarding the respondent Mayor and of the fact that petitioners are licensed to engage in the hotel or
motel business in the City of Manila, of the provisions of the cited Ordinance but a denial of its alleged
nullity, whether on statutory or constitutional grounds. After setting forth that the petition did fail to
state a cause of action and that the challenged ordinance bears a reasonable relation to a proper
purpose, which is to curb immorality, a valid and proper exercise of the police power and that only the
guests or customers not before the court could complain of the alleged invasion of the right to privacy
and the guaranty against self- incrimination, with the assertion that the issuance of the preliminary
injunction ex parte was contrary to law, respondent Mayor prayed for its dissolution and the dismissal
of the petition.
Instead of evidence being offered by both parties, there was submitted a stipulation of facts dated
September 28, 1964, which reads:
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"1. That the petitioners Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. and Hotel del Mar,
Inc. are duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines, both with offices in the City of
Manila, while the petitioner Go Chiu is the president and general manager of Hotel del Mar, Inc., and
the intervenor Victor Alabanza is a resident of Baguio City, all having the capacity to sue and be sued;
"2. That the respondent Mayor is the duly elected and incumbent City Mayor and chief executive of the
City of Manila charged with the general power and duty to enforce ordinances of the City of Manila and
to give the necessary orders for the faithful execution and enforcement of such ordinances;
"3. That the petitioners are duly licensed to engage in the business of operating hotels and motels in
Malate and Ermita districts in Manila;
"4. That on June 13, 1963, the Municipal Board of the City of Manila enacted Ordinance No. 4760,
which was approved on June 14, 1963, by Vice-Mayor Herminio Astorga, then the acting City Mayor of
Manila, in the absence of the respondent regular City Mayor, amending sections 661, 662, 668-a, 668b and 669 of the compilation of ordinances of the City of Manila besides inserting therein three new
sections. This ordinance is similar to the one vetoed by the respondent Mayor (Annex A) for the
reasons stated in his 4th Indorsement dated February 15, 1963 (Annex B);
"5. That the explanatory noted signed by then Councilor Herminio Astorga was submitted with the
proposed ordinance (now Ordinance 4760) to the Municipal Board, copy of which is attached hereto as
Annex C;
"6. That the City of Manila derived in 1963 an annual income of P101,904.05 from license fees paid by
the 105 hotels and motels (including herein petitioners) operating in the City of Manila."
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Thereafter came a memorandum for respondent on January 22, 1965, wherein stress was laid on the
presumption of the validity of the challenged ordinance, the burden of showing its lack of conformity
to the Constitution resting on the party who assails it, citing not only U.S. v. Salaveria, but likewise
applicable American authorities. Such a memorandum likewise refuted point by point the arguments
advanced by petitioners against its validity. Then barely two weeks later, on February 4, 1965, the

memorandum for petitioners was filed reiterating in detail what was set forth in the petition, with
citations of what they considered to be applicable American authorities and praying for a judgment
declaring the challenged ordinance "null and void and unenforceable" and making permanent the writ
of preliminary injunction issued.
After referring to the motels and hotels, which are members of the petitioners association, and
referring to the alleged constitutional questions raised by the party the lower court observed: "The
only remaining issue here being purely a question of law, the parties, with the nod of the Court,
agreed to file memoranda and thereafter, to submit the case for decision of the Court." It does appear
obvious then that without any evidence submitted by the parties, the decision passed upon the alleged
infirmity on constitutional grounds of the challenged ordinance, dismissing as is undoubtedly right and
proper the untenable objection on the alleged lack of authority of the City of Manila to regulate
motels, and came to the conclusion that "the challenged Ordinance No. 4760 of the City of Manila,
would be unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void." It made permanent the preliminary injunction
issued against respondent Mayor and his agents "to restrain him from enforcing the ordinance in
question." Hence this appeal.
As noted at the outset, the judgment must be reversed. A decent regard for constitutional doctrines of
a fundamental character ought to have admonished the lower court against such a sweeping
condemnation of the challenged ordinance. Its decision cannot be allowed to stand, consistently with
what has hitherto been the accepted standards of constitutional adjudication, in both procedural and
substantive aspects.
Primarily what calls for a reversal of such a decision is the absence of any evidence to offset the
presumption of validity that attaches to a challenged statute or ordinance. As was expressed
categorically by Justice Malcolm: "The presumption is all in favor of validity . . . The action of the
elected representatives of the people cannot be lightly set aside. The councilors must, in the very
nature of things, be familiar with the necessities of their particular municipality and with all the facts
and circumstances which surround the subject and necessitate action. The local legislative body, by
enacting the ordinance, has in effect given notice that the regulations are essential to the well being of
the people . . . The Judiciary should not lightly set aside legislative action when there is not a clear
invasion of personal or property rights under the guise of police regulation." 2
It admits of no doubt therefore that there being a presumption of validity, the necessity for evidence
to rebut it is unavoidable, unless the statute or ordinance is void on its face, which is not the case
here. The principle has been nowhere better expressed than in the leading case of OGorman & Young
v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co., 3 where the American Supreme Court through Justice Brandeis tersely
and succinctly summed up the matter thus: "The statute here questioned deals with a subject clearly
within the scope of the police power. We are asked to declare it void on the ground that the specific
method of regulation prescribed is unreasonable and hence deprives the plaintiff of due process of law.
As underlying questions of fact may condition the constitutionality of legislation of this character, the
presumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some factual foundation of record for
overthrowing the statute." No such factual foundation being laid in the present case, the lower court
deciding the matter on the pleadings and the stipulation of facts, the presumption of validity must
prevail and the judgment against the ordinance set aside.
Nor may petitioners assert with plausibility that on its face the ordinance is fatally defective as being
repugnant to the due process clause of the Constitution. The mantle of protection associated with the
due process guaranty does not cover petitioners. This particular manifestation of a police power
measure being specifically aimed to safeguard public morals is immune from such imputation of nullity
resting purely on conjecture and unsupported by anything of substance. To hold otherwise would be to
unduly restrict and narrow the scope of police power which has been properly characterized as the
most essential, insistent and the least limitable of powers, 4 extending as it does "to all the great
public needs." 5 It would be, to paraphrase another leading decision, to destroy the very purpose of
the state if it could be deprived or allowed itself to be deprived of its competence to promote public
health, public morals, public safety and the general welfare. 6 Negatively put, police power is "that
inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all that is hurtful to the comfort,
safety, and welfare of society." 7
There is no question but that the challenged ordinance was precisely enacted to minimize certain
practices hurtful to public morals. The explanatory note of the then Councilor Herminio Astorga
included as annex to the stipulation of facts speaks of the alarming increase in the rate of prostitution,
adultery and fornication in Manila traceable in great part to the existence of motels, which "provide a
necessary atmosphere for clandestine entry, presence and exit" and thus become the "ideal haven for
prostitutes and thrill seekers." The challenged ordinance then "proposes to check the clandestine
harboring of transients and guests of these establishments by requiring these transients and guests to
fill up a registration form, prepared for the purpose, in a lobby open to public view at all times, and by
introducing several other amendatory provisions calculated to shatter the privacy that characterizes
the registration of transients and guests." Moreover, the increase in the license fees was intended to
discourage "establishments of the kind from operating for purpose other than legal" and at the same
time, to increase "the income of the city government." It would appear therefore that the stipulation
of facts, far from sustaining any attack against the validity of the ordinance, argues eloquently for it.

It is a fact worth noting that this Court has invariably stamped with the seal of its approval, ordinances
punishing vagrancy and classifying a pimp or procurer as a vagrant; 8 providing a license tax for and
regulating the maintenance or operation of public dance hall; 9 prohibiting gambling; 10 prohibiting
jueteng; 11 and monte; 12 prohibiting playing of panguingui on days other than Sundays or legal
holidays; 13 prohibiting the operation of pinball machines; 14 and prohibiting any person from
keeping, conducting or maintaining an opium joint or visiting a place where opium is smoked or
otherwise used, 15 all of which are intended to protect public morals.
On the legislative organs of the government, whether national of local, primarily rest the exercise of
the police power, which, it cannot be too often emphasized, is the power to prescribe regulations to
promote the health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general welfare of the people. In view of
the requirements of due process, equal protection and other applicable constitutional guaranties,
however, the exercise of such police power insofar as it may affect the life, liberty or property of any
person is subject to judicial inquiry. Where such exercise of police power may be considered as either
capricious, whimsical, unjust or unreasonable, a denial of due process or a violation of any other
applicable constitutional guaranty may call for correction by the courts.
We are thus led considering the insistent, almost shrill tone, in which the objection is raised to the
question of due process. 16 There is no controlling and precise definition of due process. It furnishes
though a standard to which governmental action should conform in order that deprivation of life,
liberty or property, in each appropriate case, be valid. What then is the standard of due process which
must exist both as a procedural and as substantive requisite to free the challenged ordinance, or any
government action for that matter, from the imputation of legal infirmity; sufficient to spell its doom?
It is responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively put,
arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided. To satisfy the due process requirement, official
action, to paraphrase Cardozo, must not outrun the bounds of reasons and result in sheer oppression.
Due process is thus hostile to any official action marred by lack of reasonableness. Correctly has it
been identified as freedom from arbitrariness. It is the embodiment of the sporting idea of fair play. 17
It exacts fealty "to those strivings for justice" and judges the act of officialdom of whatever branch" in
the light of reason drawn from considerations of fairness that reflect [democratic] traditions of legal
and political thought." 18 It is not a narrow or "technical conception with fixed content unrelated to
time, place and circumstances," 19 decisions based on such a clause requiring a "close and perceptive
inquiry into fundamental principles of our society." 20 Questions of due process are not to be treated
narrowly or pedantically in slavery to form or phrases. 21
It would thus be an affront to reason to stigmatize an ordinance enacted precisely to meet what a
municipal lawmaking body considers an evil of rather serious proportion an arbitrary and capricious
exercise of authority. It would seem that what should be deemed unreasonable and what would
amount to an abdication of the power to govern is inaction in the face of an admitted deterioration of
the state of public morals. To be more specific, the Municipal Board of the City of Manila felt the need
for a remedial measure. It provided it with the enactment of the challenged ordinance. A strong case
must be found in the records, and as has been set forth, none is even attempted here, to attach to an
ordinance of such character the taint of nullity for an alleged failure to meet the due process
requirement. Nor does it lend any semblance even of deceptive plausibility to petitioners indictment of
Ordinance No. 4760 on due process grounds to single out such features as the increased fees for
motels and hotels, the curtailment of the area of freedom to contract, and, in certain particulars, its
alleged vagueness.
Admittedly there was a decided increase of the annual license fees provided for by the challenged
ordinance for both hotels and motels, 150% for the former and over 200% for the latter, first-class
motels being required to pay a P6,000 annual fee and second-class motels, P4,500 yearly. It has been
the settled law however, as far back as 1922 that municipal license fees could be classified into those
imposed for regulating occupations or regular enterprises, for the regulation or restriction of nonuseful occupations or enterprise and for revenue purposes only. 22 As was explained more in detail in
the above Cu-Unjieng case:" (2) Licenses for non-useful occupations are also incidental to the police
power and the right to exact a fee may be implied from the power to license and regulate, but in fixing
amount of the license fees the municipal corporations are allowed a much wider discretion in this class
of cases than in the former, and aside from applying the well-known legal principle that municipal
ordinances must not be unreasonable, oppressive, or tyrannical, courts have, as a general rule,
declined to interfere with such discretion. The desirability of imposing restraint upon the number of
persons who might otherwise engage in non-useful enterprises is, of course, generally an important
factor in the determination of the amount of this kind of license fee. Hence license fees clearly in the
nature of privilege taxes for revenue have frequently been upheld, especially in cases of licenses for
the sale of liquors. In fact, in the latter cases the fees have rarely been declared unreasonable." 23
Moreover, in the equally leading case of Lutz V. Araneta 24 this Court affirmed the doctrine earlier
announced by the American Supreme Court that taxation may be made to implement the states police
power. Only the other day, this Court had occasion to affirm that the broad taxing authority conferred
by the Local Autonomy Act of 1959 to cities and municipalities is sufficiently plenary to cover a wide
range of subjects with the only limitation that the tax so levied is for public purpose, just and
uniform.25
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As a matter of fact, even without reference to the wide latitude enjoyed by the City of Manila in
imposing licenses for revenue, it has been explicitly held in one case that "much discretion is given to
municipal corporations in determining the amount," here the license fee of the operator of a massage
clinic, even if it were viewed purely as a police power measure. 26 The discussion of this particular
matter may fitly close with this pertinent citation from another decision of significance: "It is urged on
behalf of the plaintiffs-appellees that the enforcement of the ordinance would deprive them of their
lawful occupation and means of livehood because they can not rent stalls in the public markets. But it
appears that plaintiffs are also dealers in refrigerated or cold storage meat, the sale of which outside
the city markets under certain conditions is permitted . . . And surely, the mere fact, that some
individuals in the community may be deprived of their present business or a particular mode of
earning a living cannot prevent the exercise of the police power. As was said in a case, persons
licensed to pursue occupations which may in the public need and interest be affected by the exercise
of the police power embark in those occupations subject to the disadvantages which may result from
the legal exercise of that power." 27
Nor does the restriction on the freedom to contract, insofar as the challenged ordinance makes it
unlawful for the owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized representative of any hotel, motel, lodging
house, tavern, common inn or the like, to lease or rent any room or portion thereof more than twice
every 24 hours, with a proviso that in all cases full payment shall be charged, call for a different
conclusion. Again, such a limitation cannot be viewed as a transgression against the command of due
process. It is neither unreasonable nor arbitrary. Precisely it was intended to curb the opportunity for
the immoral or illegitimate use to which such premises could be, and, according to the explanatory
note, are being devoted. How could it then be arbitrary or oppressive when there appears a
correspondence between the undeniable existence of an undesirable situation and the legislative
attempt at correction. Moreover, petitioners cannot be unaware that every regulation of conduct
amounts to curtailment of liberty, which as pointed out by Justice Malcolm cannot be absolute. Thus:
"One thought which runs through all these different conceptions of liberty is plainly apparent. It is
this: Liberty as understood in democracies, is not license; it is liberty regulated by law. Implied in
the term is restraint by law for the good of the individual and for the greater good of the peace and
order of society and the general well-being. No man can do exactly as he pleases. Every man must
renounce unbridled license. The right of the individual is necessarily subject to reasonable restraint by
general law for the common good . . . The liberty of the citizen may be restrained in the interest of the
public health, or of the public order and safety, or otherwise within the proper scope of the police
power." 28
A similar observation was made by Justice Laurel: "Public welfare, then, lies at the bottom of the
enactment of said law, and the state in order to promote the general welfare may interfere with
personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations. Persons and property may be
subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the general comfort, health, and
prosperity of the state . . . To this fundamental aim of our Government the rights of the individual are
subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to
prevail over authority because then society will fall into anarchy. Neither should authority be made to
prevail over liberty because then the individual will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the
required balance of liberty and authority in his mind through education and personal discipline, so that
there may be established the resultant equilibrium, which means peace and order and happiness for
all." 29
It is noteworthy that the only decision of this Court nullifying legislation because of undue deprivation
of freedom to contract, People v. Pomar, 30 no longer "retains its virtuality as a living principle. The
policy of laissez faire has to some extent given way to the assumption by the government of the right
of intervention even in contractual relations affected with public interest." 31 What cannot be stressed
sufficiently is that if the liberty involved were freedom of the mind or the person, the standard for the
validity of governmental acts is much more rigorous and exacting, but where the liberty curtailed
affects at the most rights of property, the permissible scope of regulatory measures is wider. 32 How
justify then the allegation of a denial of due process?
Lastly, there is the attempt to impugn the ordinance on another due process ground by invoking the
principle of vagueness or uncertainty. It would appear from a recital in the petition itself that what
seems to be the gravamen of the alleged grievance is that the provisions are too detailed and specific
rather than vague or uncertain. Petitioners, however, point to the requirement that a guest should give
the name, relationship, age and sex of the companion or companions as indefinite and uncertain in
view of the necessity for determining whether the companion or companions referred to are those
arriving with the customer or guest at the time of the registry or entering the room with him at about
the same time or coming at any indefinite time later to join him; a proviso in one of its sections which
cast doubt as to whether the maintenance of a restaurant in a motel is dependent upon the discretion
of its owners or operators; another proviso which from their standpoint would require a guess as to
whether the "full rate of payment" to be charged for every such lease thereof means a full days or
merely a half-days rate. It may be asked, do these allegations suffice to render the ordinance void on
its face for alleged vagueness or uncertainty? To ask the question is to answer it. From Connally v.
General Construction Co. 33 to Adderley v. Florida, 34 the principle has been consistently upheld that
what makes a statute susceptible to such a charge is an enactment either forbidding or requiring the

doing of an act that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as
to its application. Is this the situation before us? A citation from Justice Holmes would prove
illuminating: "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws with what they omit,
but there is no canon against using common sense in constructing laws as saying what they obviously
mean." 35
That is all then that this case presents. As it stands, with all due allowance for the arguments pressed
with such vigor and determination, the attack against the validity of the challenged ordinance cannot
be considered a success. Far from it. Respect for constitutional law principles so uniformly held and so
uninterruptedly adhered to by this Court compels a reversal of the appealed decision.
Wherefore, the judgment of the lower court is reversed and the injunction issued lifted forthwith. With
costs.
Reyes, J .B.L., Makalintal, Bengzon, J .P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, C.J. and Dizon, J., are on official leave.
Endnotes:

1. The eighteen members are Waldorf Hotel, Hotel Monte Carlo, Golden Gate Motel, Miami Hotel, Palm Spring Hotel,
Flamingco Motel, Holiday Motel, Rainbow Motel, Palo Alto Hotel, Paradise Hotel, Mayfair Hotel, Siesta Court, Sun Valley
Hotel, Springfield Hotel, New Palace Hotel, Hotel del Mar, Longbeach Hotel and Ritz Motel.
2. U.S. v. Salaveria (1918) 39 Phil. 102, at p. 111. There was an affirmation of the presumption of validity of municipal
ordinance as announced in the leading Salaveria decision in Eboa v. Daet, (1950) 85 Phil. 369.
3. 282 U.S. 251, 328, January 5, 1931.
4. Cf. Ichong v. Hernandez (1957) 101 Phil. 1155, at p. 1163. Also: "To Frankfurter the police power, true to its etymology,
is the power to shape policy. It defies legal definition; as a response to the dynamic aspects of society, it cannot be
reduced to a constitutional formula. The law must be sensitive to life; in resolving cases, it must not fall back upon sterile
cliches; its judgments are not to derive from an abstract dialectic between liberty and the police power. Instead, in a world
of trust and unions and large-scale industry, it must meet the challenge of drastic social change. For him as for Holmes,
society is more than bargain and business and the jurists art rises to no higher peak than in vindicating interests not
represented by the items in a balance-sheet. In a progressive society, new interests emerge, new attitudes appear, social
consciousness quickens. In the face of the unknown one cannot choose with certainty. Nor as yet, has the whole truth been
brought up from its bottomless well: and how fragile in scientific proof is the ultimate validity of any particular economic
adjustment. Social development is a process of trial and error; in the making of policy the fullest possible opportunity must
be given for the play of human mind. If Congress or legislature does not regulate, laissez faire not the individual must
be the regulator. (Hamilton, Preview of a Justice (1939) 48 Yale Law Journal, 819).
5. Noble State Bank v. Haskell, 219 US 412.
6. U.S. v. Gomez-Jesus (1915) 31 Phil. 218.
7. Rubi v. Provincial Board (1918) 39 Phil. 660.
8. U.S. v. Giner Cruz (1918) 38 Phil. 677.
9. U.S. v. Rodriguez (1918) 38 Phil. 759. See also Sarmiento v. Belderol, 60 Off. Gaz. (2) 196; Lapera v. Vicente, L-18102,
June 30, 1962.
10. U.S. v. Pacis (1915) 31 Phil. 524.
11. U.S. v. Espiritu-Santo (1912) 23 Phil. 610; U.S. v. Joson (1913) 26 Phil. 1; People v. Chan Hong (1938) 65 Phil. 625.
12. U.S. v. Tamparong (1915) 31 Phil. 321.
13. U.S. v. Salaveria (1918) 39 Phil. 102.
14. Uy Ha v. The City Mayor, 108 Phil. 400; Miranda v. City of Manila L-17252, May 31, 1961.
15. U.S. v. Ten Yu (1912) 24 Phil. 1.
16. There is no occasion to consider even cursorily the alleged invasion of the right of privacy or the prohibition against
self- incrimination. Petitioners obviously are not the proper parties to do so. Nor may such an incurable defect be remedied
by an accommodating intervenor "who has always taken advantage of, as he exclusively relies on, the facilities, services
and accommodations" offered by petitioner-motels. A general merchant, doing business not only in Baguio City but in the
City of Manila, has no legitimate cause for complaint. At least, not according to the case as it has been developed.
17. Frankfurter, Mr. Justice Holmes and the Supreme Court (1938) pp. 32-33.
18. Frankfurter, Hannah v. Larche (1960) 363 US 420, at 487.
19. Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy (1961) 367 US 1230.
20. Bartkus v. Illinois (1959) 359 US 121.

21. Pearson v. McGraw (1939) 308 US 313.


22. Cu Unjieng v. Patstone, (1922) 42 Phil. 818, 828.
23. Citing Swarth v. People, 109 Ill. 621; Dennehy v. City of Chicago, 120 Ill. 627; 12 N.E., 227; United States Distilling
Co. v. City of Chicago, 112 Ill., 19; Drew County v. Bennet, 43 Ark., 364; Merced County v. Fleming, 111 Cal., 46; 43 Pac.,
392; Williams v. City Council of West Point, 68 Ga., 816; Cheny v. Shellbyville, 19 Ind., 84; Wiley v. Owens, 39 Ind., 429;
Sweet v. City of Wabash, 41 Ind., 7; Jones v. Grady, 25 La. Ann., 586; Goldsmith v. City of New Orlean, 31 La. Ann., 646;
People exrel., Cramer v. Medberry, 39 N.Y.S., 207; 17 Misc. Rep., 8; McGuigan v. Town of Belmont, 89 Wis. 637; 62 N.W.,
421; Ex parte Burnett, 30 Ala., 461; Craig v. Burnett, 32 Ala., 728, and Muhlenbinck v. Long Branch Commissioners, 42
N.J.L., 364; 36 Am. Rep. 518. At pp. 829-830.
24. 98 Phil. 148 (1955) citing Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co. v. Grosjean, 301 U.S. 412, 81 L. Ed. 1193; U.S. v. Butler, 297 U.S.
1, 80 L. Ed. 477; MCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat, 316, 4 L. Ed. 579. The Lutz decision was followed in Republic v. BacolodMurcia Milling, L-19824, July 9, 1966.
25. Ormoc Sugar Co. v. Municipal Board of Ormoc City, 65 Off. Gaz. (12) 2861.
26. Physical Therapy Organization v. Municipal Board (1957) 101 Phil. 1142.
27. Co Kian & Lee Ban v. City of Manila (1955) 96 Phil. 649, 654, citing City of New Orleans v. Stafford, 27 L. Ann. 417.
28. Rubi v. Provincial Board (1919) 39 Phil. 660, at 706, citing Hall v. Geiger-Jones (1916), 242 U.S., 539; Hardie-Tynes
Manufacturing Co. v. Cruz (1914), 189 Al., 66.
29. Calalang v. Williams (1940) 70 Phil. 726, at 733-734.
30. 46 Phil. 440 (1924). The Philippines was then under American sovereignty, American Supreme Court decisions having
thus an obligatory effect. No alternative was left to this Court except to follow the then controlling decision in Adkins v.
Childrens Hospital (1924) 261 US 525, which subsequently was overruled in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (1937) 300 US
379.
31. Antamok Goldfields Mining Co. v. Court (1940) 70 Phil. 340, at 360, quoting a concurring opinion of Justice Laurel in
Ang Tibay v. Court, G.R. No. 46496.
32. Cf. "In weighing arguments of the parties it is important to distinguish between the due process clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment as an instrument for transmitting the principles of the First Amendment and those cases in which it
is applied for its own sake. The test of legislation which collides with the Fourteenth Amendment, because it also collides
with the principles of the First, is much more definite than the test when only the fourteenth is involved. Much of the
vagueness of the due process clause disappears when the specific prohibitions of the First become its standard. The right
of a State to regulate, for example, a public utility may well include, so far as the due process test is concerned, power to
impose all of the restrictions which a legislature may have a rational basis for adopting. But freedoms of speech and of
press, of assembly, and of worship may not be infringed on such slender grounds. They are susceptible of restriction only
to prevent grave and immediate danger to interests which the state may lawfully protect." (West Virginia State Bd. of Edu
v. Barnette, (1942) 319 US 624, at 639).
33. 269 US 385 (1926).
34. 17 L. Ed. 2d 149, Nov. 14, 1966.
35. Roschen v. Ward (1929) 279 US 337, 339.