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51 SCRA 189

PBM EMPLOYEES v. PBM Co., Inc.


MAKASIAR, J.

June 5,1973

FACTS:
- Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization, a legitimate labor union of PBM Co, Inc. employees,
decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacanang on March 4, 1969 in protest against alleged abuses of
the Pasig Police, to be participated by the 1st shift (6:00-14:00), regular 2nd (07:00- 16:00) and 3rd shifts
(08:00-19:00) workers. They informed PBM of proposed demonstration, and that it was not directed towards
the Company but towards said police.
- The Management of PBM informed them that the demonstration is an inalienable right guaranteed by the
Constitution, but that any demonstration should not unduly prejudice the normal operation of the Company. It
forewarned the PBMEO representatives that workers in the 1st and regular shifts, primarily the officers of
PBMEO, who fail to report for work on March 4th shall be dismissed for violating the existing CBA provision of
No Lockout-No Strike. It proposed to utilize the 2nd and 3rd shifts (non- regular), instead of the 1st and
regular shifts in order to not violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
- Despite the pleas, petitioners proceeded with the demonstration. PBM charged the petitioners and other
employees in the 1st shift with a violation of Secs 4(a)-6, 13, 14, 15 of RA 875 and of the CBA providing for
No Strike and No Lockout. The order found PBMEO guilty of bargaining in bad faith and for perpetrating an
unfair labor practice, thus, considered petitioners to have lost their status as employees of PBM.
ISSUE(s):
Whether or not PBMs property rights can thwart the Unions rights to free expression and assembly NO.
HELD:
- Orders of Court of Industrial Relations NULL AND VOID. Eight petitioners reinstated with full back pay
from date of dismissal until reinstated.
- The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but also political rights
essential to mans enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and complete fulfillment. While
the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over property rights is
recognized. The rights of free expressions and of assembly occupy a preferred position as they are
essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and political institutions.
- Property rights: can be lost thru prescription; minimum test: rational relation between means and
purpose of law not arbitrary, discriminatory or oppressive. Human rights: imprescriptible; stringent
criterion an existence of a grave and imminent danger of a substantive evil that the State has a right
to prevent.
- Demonstration was purely and completely an exercise of their freedom of expression in general and of
their right of assembly and of petition for redress of grievances harassment of local officers. The
pretension of PBM that it would suffer loss by reason of the absence of its employees from 6 to 2 is a
plea for the preservation of merely their property rights. Material loss can be adequately compensated,
while the debasement of a human being can never be fully evaluated in monetary terms.
- To regard the demonstration against police officers as evidence of bad faith in the CBA and a cause for
dismissal, stretches unduly the compass of the CBA and is a potent means of inhibiting speech;
therefore, it infringes on the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and
petition.
- PBMs claim that it only suggested that the 1st and regular shifts should report for work fails to
appreciate the sine qua non of an effective demonstration the complete unity of the Union members
and their total presence. Circulation is one of the aspects of freedom of expression, if the

demonstrators are to be reduced by 1/3, then by that much the circulation of the issues raised by the
demonstration is diminished.
At any rate, the PBMEO notified PBM 2 days in advance of the projected demonstration. PBM could
have made arrangements to counteract or prevent whatever losses it might sustain by reason of
absence of its workers for a day.
PBMEO, despite being forewarned by PBM, proceeded with its demonstration against Pasig Police,
resulting in the PBMEO officers dismissal. PBM contends that the demonstration prejudices the
operation of the company. PBMEO argues that it is an exercise of their right to freedom of expression.
SC ruled in favor of PBMEO.
Human rights, like the freedom of expression and assembly, have a primacy over property rights.