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Human Rights Law Case Digest: Philippine

Blooming Mills Employment Organization

V. Philippine Blooming Mills Co. (1973)
G.R. No. L-31195 June 5, 1973

Lessons Applicable: Nature and Definition of Human Rights, Human Right is superior to
property rights, Social justice, jurisdiction over violation of constitutional right
Laws Applicable: Bill of Rights on rights of free expression, rights of free assembly and rights
of petition

March 2, 1969: Philippine Blooming Mills discovered that Philippine Blooming Mills
Employees Organization (PBMEO) decided to stage a mass demonstration as a valid
exercise of their constitutional right of freedom expression in general and of their right of
assembly and petition for redress of grievances in particular before appropriate
governmental agency, the Chief Executive, alleged abuses of the police officers of the
municipality of Pasig at Malacaang on March 4, 1969 to be participated in by the workers in
the first, second and third shifts (6am-2pm, 7am-4pm. and 8am-5pm respectively)
March 3, 1969: Philippine Blooming Mills held 2 meetings in the morning and afternoon
where PBMEO confirmed the demonstration which has nothing to do with the Company
because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management. That Management, thru Atty.
C.S. de Leon, Company personnel manager, informed PBMEO that the demonstration is an
inalienable right of the union guaranteed by the Constitution but emphasized, however, that
any demonstration for that matter should not unduly prejudice the normal operation thus
whoever fails to report for work the following morning shall be dismissed for violation of the
existing CBA Article XXIV: NO LOCKOUT NO STRIKE amounting to an illegal strike
March 3, 1969 9:50 am: Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of PBMEO sent a cablegram to the
The Company filed for violation of the CBA. PBMEO answered that there is no violation
since they gave prior notice. Moreover, it was not a mass demonstration for strike against
the company.
Judge Joaquin M. Salvador: PBMEO guilty of bargaining in bad faith and PBMEO officers
directly responsible for ULP losing their status as employees
September 29, 1969: PBMEO motion for reconsideration dismissed since 2 days late
1. W/N to regard the demonstration against police officers, not against the employer, as
evidence of bad faith in collective bargaining and hence a violation of the collective
bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from employment of the demonstrating
employees, stretches unduly the compass of the collective bargaining agreement, is an
inhibition of the rights of free expression, free assembly and petition
HELD: YES. Set aside as null and void the orders of CFI and reinstate the petitioners.
In a democracy, the preservation and enhancement of the dignity and worth of the human
personality is the central core as well as the cardinal article of faith of our civilization. The
inviolable character of man as an individual must be "protected to the largest possible extent
in his thoughts and in his beliefs as the citadel of his person
The Bill of Rights is designed to preserve the ideals of liberty, equality and security
"against the assaults of opportunism, the expediency of the passing hour, the erosion of
small encroachments, and the scorn and derision of those who have no patience with
general principles.
The freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the right to petition are included
among the immunities reserved by the sovereign people
The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but also
political rights essential to man's enjoyment of his life, to his happiness and to his full and
complete fulfillment. Thru these freedoms the citizens can participate not merely in the
periodic establishment of the government through their suffrage but also in the administration
of public affairs as well as in the discipline of abusive public officers. The citizen is accorded
these rights so that he can appeal to the appropriate governmental officers or agencies for
redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful sanctions on erring public
officers and employees.
While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over
property rights is recognized.
o Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are
o a constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent criterion,
namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has
the right to prevent
o Rationale: Material loss can be repaired or adequately compensated. The debasement of
the human being broken in morale and brutalized in spirit-can never be fully evaluated in
monetary terms. The wounds fester and the scars remain to humiliate him to his dying day,
even as he cries in anguish for retribution, denial of which is like rubbing salt on bruised
o injunction would be trenching upon the freedom expression of the workers, even if it
legally appears to be illegal picketing or strike
The pretension of their employer that it would suffer loss or damage by reason of the
absence of its employees from 6 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the afternoon, is a plea
for the preservation merely of their property rights.
o There was a lack of human understanding or compassion on the part of the firm in
rejecting the request of the Union for excuse from work for the day shifts in order to carry out
its mass demonstration. And to regard as a ground for dismissal the mass demonstration
held against the Pasig police, not against the company, is gross vindictiveness on the part of
the employer, which is as unchristian as it is unconstitutional.
o The most that could happen to them was to lose a day's wage by reason of their absence
from work on the day of the demonstration. One day's pay means much to a laborer, more
especially if he has a family to support. Yet, they were willing to forego their one-day salary
hoping that their demonstration would bring about the desired relief from police abuses. But
management was adamant in refusing to recognize the superior legitimacy of their right of
free speech, free assembly and the right to petition for redress.
o the dismissal for proceeding with the demonstration and consequently being absent from
work, constitutes a denial of social justice likewise assured by the fundamental law to these
lowly employees. Section 5 of Article II of the Constitution imposes upon the State "the
promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all of the
people," which guarantee is emphasized by the other directive in Section 6 of Article XIV of
the Constitution that "the State shall afford protection to labor ...". Under the Industrial Peace
Act, the Court of Industrial Relations is enjoined to effect the policy of the law "to eliminate
the causes of industrial unrest by encouraging and protecting the exercise by employees of
their right to self-organization for the purpose of collective bargaining and for the promotion
of their moral, social and economic well-being."
The respondent company is the one guilty of unfair labor practice defined in Section 4(a-
1) in relation to Section 3 of Republic Act No. 875, otherwise known as the Industrial Peace
Act. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8 guarantees to the employees the right "to engage in
concert activities for ... mutual aid or protection"; while Section 4(a-1) regards as an unfair
labor practice for an employer interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise
their rights guaranteed in Section Three."
violation of a constitutional right divests the court of jurisdiction. Relief from a criminal
conviction secured at the sacrifice of constitutional liberties, may be obtained through
habeas corpus proceedings even long after the finality of the judgment. There is no time limit
to the exercise of the freedoms. The right to enjoy them is not exhausted by the delivery of
one speech, the printing of one article or the staging of one demonstration. It is a continuing
immunity to be invoked and exercised when exigent and expedient whenever there are
errors to be rectified, abuses to be denounced, inhumanities to be condemned. Otherwise
these guarantees in the Bill of Rights would be vitiated by rule on procedure prescribing the
period for appeal. The battle then would be reduced to a race for time. And in such a contest
between an employer and its laborer, the latter eventually loses because he cannot employ
the best an dedicated counsel who can defend his interest with the required diligence and
zeal, bereft as he is of the financial resources with which to pay for competent legal services
enforcement of the basic human freedoms sheltered no less by the organic law, is a most
compelling reason to deny application of a Court of Industrial Relations rule which impinges
on such human rights. It is an accepted principle that the Supreme Court has the inherent
power to "suspend its own rules or to except a particular case from its operation, whenever
the purposes of justice require."


A "Demolition Notice," dated 9 July 1990, signed by Carlos Quimpo (one of the petitioners) in
his capacity as an Executive Officer of the Quezon City Integrated Hawkers Management
Council under the Office of the City Mayor, was sent to, and received by, the private
respondents (being the officers and members of the North EDSA Vendors Association,
Incorporated). In said notice, the respondents were given a grace-period of 3 days within
which to vacate the questioned premises of North EDSA to give way to the construction of
the"People's Park".
On 12 July 1990, private respondents, led by their President Roque Fermo, filed a letter-
complaint with the CHR against the petitioners, asking for a letter to be addressed to
then Mayor Brigido Simon, Jr. of Quezon City to stop the demolition of the private
respondents'stalls, sari-sari stores, and carinderia along North EDSA. CHR issued a
preliminary order directing the petitioners to desist from demolishing the stalls and shanties at
North EDSA pending resolution of the vendors/squatters' complaint before the Commission"
and ordering said petitioners to appear before the CHR.
Petitioners started the demolition despite CHRs order to desist. Respondents consequently
asked that petitioners be cited in contempt.
Meanwhile, petitioners filed a motion to dismiss the complaint filed by respondents. They
alleged that the Commission has no jurisdiction over the complaint as it involved respondents
privilege to engage in business, not their civil and political rights.
In an Order, 11 dated 25 September 1990, the CHR cited the petitioners in contempt for
carrying out the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia despite the "order to
desist", and it imposed a fine of P500.00 on each of them. On 1 March 1991, the CHR issued
an Order, denying petitioners' motion to dismiss. The CHR opined that "it was not the
intention of the (Constitutional) Commission to create only a paper tiger limited only to
investigating civil and political rights, but it (should) be (considered) a quasi-judicial
body with the power to provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human
rights of all persons within the Philippines "
Their Motion for Reconsideration having been denied, petioners Simon Jr. et al filed a petition
for prohibition to enjoin the CHR from hearing private respondents complaint.


WON CHR has jurisdiction to hear the complaint and grant the relief prayed for by respondents.
WON the CHR can investigate the subject matter of respondents complaint.


No. Under the constitution, the CHR has no power to adjudicate.

No. Complaint does not involve civil and political rights.

Art XIII, Section 18 of the Constitution provides that the CHR has the power to investigate,
on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil
and political rights.
In Cario v. Commission on Human Rights, the Court through Justice Andres Narvasa
observed that:

(T)he Commission on Human Rights . . . was not meant by the fundamental law to be another court
or quasi-judicial agency in this country, or duplicate much less take over the functions of the latter.

The most that may be conceded to the Commission in the way of adjudicative power is that it may
investigate, i.e., receive evidence and make findings of fact as regards claimed human rights
violations involving civil and political rights. But fact finding is not adjudication, and cannot be
likened to the judicial function of a court of justice, or even a quasi-judicial agency or official. The
function of receiving evidence and ascertaining therefrom the facts of a controversy is not a judicial
function, properly speaking. To be considered such, the faculty of receiving evidence and making
factual conclusions in a controversy must be accompanied by the authority of applying the law to
those factual conclusions to the end that the controversy may be decided or determined
authoritatively, finally and definitively, subject to such appeals or modes of review as may be
provided by law. This function, to repeat, the Commission does not have

CHRs investigative power encompasses all forms of human rights violations involving civil and
political rights.

The term civil rights has been defined as referring to those rights that belong to every citizen
of the state or country, or, in wider sense, to all its inhabitants, and are not connected with the
organization or administration of the government. They include the rights of property,
marriage, equal protection of the laws, freedom of contract, etc. Political rights, on the other
hand, are said to refer to the right to participate, directly or indirectly, in the establishment or
administration of government, the right of suffrage, the right to hold public office, the right of
petition and, in general, the rights appurtenant to citizenship vis-a-vis the management of
Recalling the deliberations of the Constitutional Commission, it is readily apparent that the
delegates envisioned a Commission on Human Rights that would focus its attention to the
more severe cases of human rights violations. Delegate Garcia, for instance, mentioned such
areas as the "(1) protection of rights of political detainees, (2) treatment of prisoners and the
prevention of tortures, (3) fair and public trials, (4) cases of disappearances, (5) salvagings
and hamletting, and (6) other crimes committed against the religious."
In the particular case at hand, there is no cavil that what are sought to be demolished are the
stalls, sari-sari stores and carinderia, as well as temporary shanties, erected by private
respondents on a land which is planned to be developed into a "People's Park." Looking at
the standards hereinabove discoursed vis-a-vis the circumstances obtaining in this instance,
we are not prepared to conclude that the order for the demolition of the stalls, sari-sari stores
and carinderia of the private respondents can fall within the compartment of "human rights
violations involving civil and political rights" intended by the Constitution.