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G.R. No.

86963 August 6, 1999

BATONG BUHAY GOLD MINES, INC., petitioner,


vs.
HONORABLE DIONISIO DELA SERNA IN HIS CAPACITY AS THE UNDERSECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND
EMPLOYMENT, ELSIE ROSALINDA TY, ANTONIO MENDELEBAR, MA. CONCEPCION Q. REYES, AND THE OTHER
COMPLAINANTS* IN CASE NO. NCR-LSED-CI-2047-87; MFT CORPORATION AND SALTER HOLDINGS PTY. LTD.,respondents.

PURISIMA, J.:

At bar is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court with a Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and or
Restraining Order brought by Batong Buhay Gold Mines, Inc. (BBGMI for brevity) to annul three orders issued by respondent
Undersecretary Dionisio dela Serna of the Department of Labor and Employment, dated September 16, 1988, December 14,
1988 and February 13, 1989, respectively.

The Order of September 16, 1988 stated the facts as follows:

. . . on 5 February 1987, Elsie Rosalinda B. Ty, Antonia L. Mendelebar, Ma. Concepcion O. Reyes and 1,247 others filed
a complaint against Batong Buhay Gold Mines, Inc. for: (1) Non-payment of their basic pay and allowances for the
period of 6 July 1983 to 5 July 1984, inclusive, under Wage Order No. 2; (2) Non-payment of their basic pay and
allowances for the period 16 June 1984 to 5 October 1986, inclusive under Wage Order No. 5; (3) Non-payment of
their salaries for the period 16 March 1986 to the present; (4) Non-payment of their 13th month pay for 1985, 1986
and 1987; (5) Non-payment of their vacation and sick leave, and the compensatory leaves of mine site employees;
and (6) Non-payment of the salaries of employees who were placed on forced leaves since November, 1985 to the
present, if this is not feasible, the affected employees be awarded corresponding separation pay.

On 9 February 1987, the Regional Director set the case for hearing on 17 February 1987.

On 17 February 1987, the respondent moved for the resetting of the case to 2 March 1987.

On 27 February 1987, the complainants filed a Motion for the issuance of an inspection authority.

On 13 July 1987, the Labor Standards and Welfare Officers submitted their report with the following recommendations:

WHEREFORE, premises considered this case is hereby submitted with the recommendation that an Order of
Compliance be issued directing respondent Batong Buhay Gold Mines Inc. to pay complainants' Elsie
Rosalina Ty, et al. FOUR MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED EIGHTEEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-SIX
PESOS AND FORTY CENTAVOS (P4,818,746.40) by way of unpaid salaries of workers from March 16, 1987 to
present, unpaid and ECOLA differentials under Wage Order Nos. 2 and 5 unpaid 13th months pay for 1985
and 1986, and unpaid (sic) vacation/sick/compensatory leave benefits.

On 31 July 1987, the Regional Director1 adopted the recommendation of the LSWOs and issued an order directing the
respondent to pay the complainants the sum of P4,818,746.40 representing their unpaid 13th month pay for 1985
and 1986, wage and ECOLA differentials under wage order Nos. 2 and 5, unpaid salaries from 16 March 1986 to
present and vacation/sick leave benefits for 1984, 1985 and 1986.

On 19 August 1987, the complainants filed an ex-parte motion for the issuance of a writ of execution and
appointment of special sheriff.

On 21 August 1987, the Regional Director issued an Order directing the respondent to put up a cash or surety bond
otherwise a writ of execution will be issued.

When the respondent failed to post a cash/surety bond, and upon motion for the issuance of a writ of execution by
the complainants, the Regional Director, on 14 September 1987 issued a writ of execution appointing Mr. John
Espiridion C. Ramos as Special Sheriff and directing him to do the following:
You are to collect the above-stated amount from the respondent and deposit the same with Cashier of this
Office for appropriate disposition to herein complainants under the supervision of the office of the Director.
Otherwise, you are to execute this writ by attaching the goods and chattels of the respondent not exempt
from execution or in case of insufficiency thereof against the real or immovable property of the respondent.

The Special Sheriff proceeded to execute the appealed Order on 17 September 1987 and seized three (3) units of
Peterbuilt trucks and then sold the same by public auction. Various materials and motor vehicles were also seized on
different dates and sold at public auction by said sheriff.

On 11 December 1987, the respondent finally posted a supersedeas bond which prompted this Office to issue an
Order dated 26 January 1988, restraining the complainants and sheriff Ramos from enforcing the writ of execution. . .
.2

BBGMI appealed the Order dated July 31, 1987 of Regional Director Luna C. Piezas to respondent Undersecretary Dionisio de la
Serna, contending that the Regional Director had no jurisdiction over the case.

On September 16, 1988, the public respondent issued the first challenged Order upholding the jurisdiction of the Regional
Director and annulling all the auction sales conducted by Special Sheriff John Ramos. The decretal portion of the said Order
ruled:

WHEREFORE, the Order dated 31 July 1987 of the Regional Director, National Capital Region, is hereby AFFIRMED.
Accordingly, the writ of execution dated 14 September 1987 issued in connection thereto is hereby declared VALID.

However, the public auction sales conducted by special sheriff John Ramos pursuant to the writ of execution dated 14
September 1987 on 24 September 2, 20, 23 and 29 October 1987 are all hereby declared NULL AND VOID.
Furthermore, the personal properties sold and the proceeds thereof which have been turned over to the
complainants thru their legal counsel are hereby ordered returned to the custody of the respondent and the buyers
respectively.

SO ORDERED.3

On October 13, 1988, a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforesaid order was presented by the complainants in Case No. NCR-
LSED-CI-2047-87 but the same was denied.

On November 7, 1988, a Motion for Intervention was filed by MFT Corporation, inviting attention to a Deed of Sale executed in
its favor by Fidel Bermudez, the highest bidder in the auction sale conducted on October 29, 1987.

On December 2, 1988, another Motion for Intervention was filed, this time by Salter Holdings Pty., Ltd., claiming that MFT
Corporation assigned its rights over the subject properties in favor of movant as evidenced by a Sales Agreement between MFT
Corp. and Salter Holdings Pty., Ltd.

The two Motions for intervention were granted in the second questioned order dated December 14, 1988, directing the
exclusion from annulment of the properties sold at the October 29, 1987 auction sale and claimed by the intervenors, including
one cluster of junk mining machineries, equipment and supplies, and disposing thus:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the motions for reconsideration filed by intervenors MFT and Salter are hereby
granted. Correspondingly, this Office's Order dated 16 September 1988 is hereby modified to exclude from
annulment "the one lot of junk mining machineries, equipment and supplies as-is-where-is" sold by Sheriff John C.
Ramos in the auction sale of 29 October 1987.1wphi1.nt

Motions for Reconsideration were interposed by Batong Buhay Gold Mining, Inc. and the respondent employees but to no avail.
The same were likewise denied in the third assailed Order dated February 13, 1989.

Hence, the petition under scrutiny, ascribing grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction to the public
respondent in issuing the three Orders under attack.
The questioned Orders aforementioned have given rise to the issues: (1) whether the Regional Director has jurisdiction over the
complaint filed by the employees of BBGMI; and (2) whether or not the auction sales conducted by the said Special Sheriff are
valid.

Anent the first issue, an affirmative ruling is indicated. The Regional Director has jurisdiction over the BBGMI employees who
are the complainants in Case Number NCR-LSED-CI-2047-87.

The subject labor standards case of the petition arose from the visitorial and enforcement powers by the Regional Director of
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Labor standards refers to the minimum requirements prescribed by existing
laws, rules and regulations relating to wages, hours of work, cost of living allowance and other monetary and welfare benefits,
including occupational, safety and health standards.4 Labor standards cases are governed by Article 128(b) of the Labor Code.

The pivot of inquiry here is whether the Regional Director has jurisdiction over subject labor standards case.

As can be gleaned from the records on hand, subject labor standards case was filed on February 5, 1987 at which time Article
128 (b) read as follows5:

Art. 128 (b) Visitorial and enforcement powers

(b) The Minister of Labor or his duly authorized representative shall have the power to order and
administer, after due notice and hearing, compliance with the labor standards provisions of this Code based
on the findings of labor regulation officers or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection,
and to issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order, except in
cases where the employer contests the findings of the labor regulations officers and raises issues which
cannot be resolved without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the ordinary course of
inspection.

Petitioner theorizes that the Regional Director is without jurisdiction over subject case, placing reliance on the ruling
in Zambales Base Inc. vs. Minister of Labor6 and Oreshoot Mining Company vs.Arellano.7

Respondent Undersecretary Dionisio C. Dela Serna, on the other hand, upheld the jurisdiction of Regional Director Luna C.
Piezas by relying on E.O. 111, to quote:

Considering therefore that there still exists an employer-employee relationship between the parties; that the case
involves violations of the labor standard provisions of the labor code; that the issues therein could be resolved
without considering evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection; and, if only to give
meaning and not render nugatory and meaningless the visitorial and enforcement powers of the Secretary of Labor
and Employment as provided by Article 128(b) of the Labor Code, as amended by Section 2 of Executive Order No.
111 which states:

The provisions of article 217 of this code to the contrary notwithstanding and in cases where the
relationship of employer-employee still exists, the Minister of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized
representative shall have the power to order and administer, after due notice and hearing, compliance with
the labor standards provision of this Code based on the findings of the findings of labor regulation officers
or industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection, and to issue writs of execution to the
appropriate authority for the enforcement of their order, except in cases where the employer contests the
findings of the labor regulations officers and raises issues which cannot be resolved without considering
evidentiary matters that are not verifiable in the ordinary course of inspection.

We agree with the complainants that the regional office a quo has jurisdiction to hear and decide the instant labor
standard case.

The Court agrees with the public respondent. In the case of Maternity Children's Hospital vs.Secretary of Labor (174 SCRA 632),
the Court in upholding the jurisdiction of the Regional Director over the complaint on underpayment of wages and ECOLAs filed
on May 23, 1986, by the employees of Maternity Children's Hospital, held:
This is a labor standards case and is governed by Art. 128(b) of the Labor Code, as amended by E.O. 111.

Prior to the promulgation of E.O. 111 on December 24, 1986, the Regional Director's authority over money claims was
unclear. The complaint in the present case was filed on May 23, 1986 when E.O. 111 was not yet in effect. . . .

We believe, however, that even in the absence of E.O. 111, Regional Directors already had enforcement powers over
money claims, effective under P.D. 850, issued on December 16, 1975, which transferred labor standards cases from
the arbitration system to the enforcement system.

In the aforecited case, the Court in reinforcing its conclusion that Regional Director has jurisdiction over labor standards cases,
treated E.O. 111 as a curative statute, ruling as follows:

E.O. No. 111 was issued on December 24, 1986 or three (3) months after the promulgation of the Secretary of Labor's
decision upholding private respondents' salary differentials and ECOLAs on September 24, 1986. The amendment of
the visitorial and enforcement powers of the Regional Director (Article 128(b)) by said E.O. 111 reflects the intention
enunciated in Policy Instructions Nos. 6 and 37 to empower the Regional Directors to resolve uncontested money
claims in cases where an employer-employee relationship still exists. This intention must be given weight and entitled
to great respect. As held in Progressive Worker's Union, et al. vs. F.P.Aguas, et al. G.R. No. 59711-12, May 29, 1985,
150 SCRA 429:

. . . The interpretation by officers of laws which are entrusted to their administration is entitled to great
respect. We see no reason to detract from this rudimentary rule in administrative law, particularly when
later events have proved said interpretation to be in accord with the legislative intent. . .

The proceedings before the Regional Director must, perforce be upheld on the basis of Article 128(b) as amended by
E.O. No. 111, dated December 24, 1986, this executive order "to be considered in the nature of a curative statute
with retrospective application." (Progressive Workers' Union, et al. vs. Hon. Aguas, et al. (Supra); M. Garcia vs. Judge
A. Martinez, et al. G.R. No. I-47629, may 28, 1979, 90 SCRA 331).

With regard to the petitioner's reliance on the cases of Zambales Base, Inc. vs. Minister of Labor(supra) and Oreshoot Mining
Company vs. Arellano, (supra), this is misplaced. In the case of Zambales Base, Inc., the court has already ruled that:

. . ., in view of the promulgation of Executive Order No. 111, Zambales Base Metals vs. Minister of Labor is no longer
good law. (Emphasis supplied) Executive Order No. 111 is in the character of a curative law, that is to say, it was
intended to remedy a defect that, in the opinion of the Legislature (the incumbent Chief Executive in this case, in the
exercise of her lawmaking powers under the Freedom Constitution) had attached to the provision under the
amendment.

The case of Oreshoot Mining Corporation, on the other hand, involved money claims of illegally dismissed employees. As the
employer-employee relationship has already ceased and reinstatement is sought, jurisdiction necessarily falls under the Labor
Arbiter. Petitioner should not have used this to support its theory as this petition involves labor standards cases and not
monetary claims of illegally dismissed employees.

The Court would have ruled differently had the petitioner shown that subject labor standards case is within the purview of the
exception clause in Article 128 (b) of the Labor Code. Said provision requires the concurrence of the following elements in order
to divest the Regional Director or his representatives of jurisdiction, to wit: (a) that the petitioner (employer) contests the
findings of the labor regulations officer and raises issues thereon; (b) that in order to resolve such issues, there is a need to
examine evidentiary matters; and (c) that such matters are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection.10

Nowhere in the records does it appear that the petitioner alleged any of the aforestated grounds. In fact, in its Motion for
Reconsideration of the Order of the Regional Director dated August 20, 1987, the grounds which petitioner raised were the
following:

1. This Honorable Office has no jurisdiction to hear this case and its Order of 31 October 1987 is therefore null and
void;
2. Batong Buhay Gold Mines, Inc. is erroneously impleaded as the sole party respondent, the complaint should have
been directed also against the Asset Privatization Trust.

In the other pleadings filed by petitioner in NCR-LSED-C1-2047-87, such as the Urgent Omnibus Motion to declare void the Writ
of Execution for lack of jurisdiction and the Oppositions it filed on the Motions for Intervention questioning the legal personality
of the intervenors, questions as to the amounts complained of by the employees or absence of violation of labor standards laws
were never raised. Raising lack of jurisdiction in a Motion to Dismiss is not the contest contemplated by the exception clause
under Article 128(b) of the Labor Code which would take the case out of the jurisdiction of the Regional Director and bring it
before the Labor Arbiter.

The only instance when there was a semblance of raising the aforestated grounds, was when they filed an Appeal
Memorandum dated January 14, 1988, before the respondent undersecretary. In the said Appeal Memorandum, petitioner
comes up with the defense that the Regional Director was without jurisdiction, as employer-employee relationship was absent,
since petitioner had ceased doing business since 1985.

Records indicate that the Labor Standards and Welfare Officers, pursuant to Complaint Inspection Authority No. CI-2-047-87,
were not allowed to look into records, vouchers and other related documents. The officers of the petitioner alleged that the
company is presently under receivership of the Development Bank of the Philippines.11 In lieu of this, the Regional Director had
ordered that a summary investigation be conducted.12 Despite proper notices, the petitioner refused to appear before the
Regional Director. To give it another chance, an order to file its position paper was issued to substantiate its defenses.
Notwithstanding all these opportunities to be heard, petitioner chose not to avail of such.

As held in the case of M. Ramirez Industries vs. Sec. of Labor and Employment, (266 SCRA 111):

. . . Under Art. 128(a) of the Labor Code, the Secretary of Labor of his duly authorized representatives, such as the
Regional Directors, has visitorial powers which authorize him to inspect the records and premises of an employer at
any time of the day or night whenever work is being undertaken therein, to question any employee and investigate
any fact, condition or matter, and to determine violations of labor laws, wage orders or rules and regulations. If the
employer refuses to attend the inspection or conference or to submit any record, such as payrolls and daily time
records, he will be deemed to have waived his right to present evidence. (emphasis supplied)

Petitioner's refusal to allow the Labor Standards and Welfare Officers to conduct inspection in the premises of their head office
in Makati and the failure to file their position paper is equivalent to a waiver of its right to contest the claims of the employees.
This Court had occasion to hold there is no violation of due process where the Regional Director merely required the
submission of position papers and resolved the case summarily thereafter.13 Furthermore, the issuance of the compliance order
was well within the jurisdiction of the Regional Director, as Section 14 of the Rules on the Disposition of Labor Standards Cases
provides:

Sec. 14. Failure to Appear Where the employer or the complainant fails or refuses to appear during the
investigation, despite proper notice, for two (2) consecutive hearings without justifiable reasons, the hearing officer
may recommend to the Regional Director the issuance of a compliance order based on the evidence at hand or an
order of dismissal of the complaint as the case may be. (Emphasis supplied)

It bears stressing that this petition involves a labor standards case and it is in keeping with the law that "the worker need not
litigate to get what legally belongs to him, for the whole enforcement machinery of the Department of Labor exists to insure its
expeditious delivery to him free of charge."14

Thus, their claim of closure for business, among other things, are factual issues which cannot be brought here for the first time.
As petitioner refused to participate in the proceedings below where it could have ventilated the appropriate defenses, to do so
in this petition is unavailing. The reason for this is that factual issues are not proper subjects of a special civil action
for certiorari to the Supreme Court.15

It is therefore abundantly clear that at the time of the filing of the claims of petitioner's employees, the Regional Director was
already exercising visitorial and enforcement powers.
Regional Director's visitorial and enforcement powers under Art. 128 (b) has undergone series of amendments which the Court
feels to be worth mentioning.

Confusion was engendered by the promulgation of the decision in the case of Servando's Inc. vs. Secretary of Labor and
Employment and the Regional Director, Region VI, Department of Labor and Employment.16 In the said case, the Regional
Director took cognizance of the labor standards cases of the employees of Servando's Inc., but this Court held that:

In the case of Briad Agro Development Corporation vs. Dela Cerna and Camus Engineering Corp. vs. Sec. Of
labor applying E.O. 111 the Court recognized the concurrent jurisdiction of the Secretary of labor (or Regional
Directors) and the labor Arbiters to pass on employees money claims, including those cases which the labor Arbiters
had previously exercised jurisdiction. However, in a subsequent modificatory resolution in the Briad Agro Case, dated
9 November 1989, the Court modified its original decision in view of the enactment of RA 6715, and upheld the
power of the Regional Directors to adjudicate money claims subject to the conditions set forth in Section 2 of said law
(RA 6715).

The power then of the Regional Director (under the present state of law) to adjudicate employees money claims is
subject to the concurrence of all the requisites provided under Sec. 2 of RA 6715, to wit:

(a) the claim is represented by an employer or person employed in domestic or household service, or
househelper;

(b) the claim arises from employer-employee relationship;

(c) the claimant does not seek reinstatement; and

(d) the aggregate money claim of each employee or househelper does not exceed P5,000.

xxx xxx x x x17

The Servando ruling, in effect, expanded the jurisdictional limitation provided for by RA 6715 as to include labor standards
cases under Article 128 (b) and no longer limited to ordinary monetary claims under Article 129.

In fact, in the Motion for Reconsideration18 presented by the private respondents in the Servando case, the court applied more
squarely the P5,000 limit to the visitorial and enforcement power of the Regional Director, to wit:

To construe the visitorial power of the Secretary of Labor to order and enforce compliance with labor laws as
including the power to hear and decide cases involving employee's claims for wages, arising from employer-employee
relations, even if the amount of said claims exceed P5,000 for each employee, would, in our considered opinion,
emasculate and render meaningless, if not useless, the provisions of Art. 217 (a) and (6) and Article 129 of the Labor
Code which, as above-pointed out, confer exclusive jurisdiction on the Labor Arbiter to hear and decide such
employees' claims, regardless of amount, can be heard and determined by the Secretary of Labor his visitorial power.
This does not, however, appear to be the legislative intent.

But prevailing law and jurisprudence rendered the Servando ruling inapplicable. In the recent case of Francisco Guico, Jr. versus
The Honorable Secretary of Labor & Employment Leonardo A.Quisumbing, GR # 131750, promulgated on November 16, 1998,
this Court upheld the jurisdiction of the Regional Director notwithstanding the fact that the amounts awarded exceeded
P5,000.

Republic Act 7730, the law governing the visitorial and enforcement powers of the Labor Secretary and his representatives
reads:

Art. 128 (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of Articles 129 and 217 of this Code to the contrary, and in cases where
the relationship of employer-employee still exists, the Secretary of Labor and Employment or his duly authorized
representatives shall have the power to issue compliance orders to give effect to the labor standards provisions of
this Code and other labor legislation based on the findings of labor employment and enforcement officers or
industrial safety engineers made in the course of inspection. The Secretary or his duly authorized representative shall
issue writs of execution to the appropriate authority for the enforcement of their orders, except in cases where the
employer contests the findings of the labor employment and enforcement officer and raises issues supported by
documentary proofs which were not considered in the course of inspection.

xxx xxx x x x(emphasis supplied)

The present law, RA 7730, can be considered a curative statute to reinforce the conclusion that the Regional Director has
jurisdiction over the present labor standards case.

Well-settled is the rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the law in force when the action was
commenced, unless a subsequent statute provides for its retroactive application, as when it is a curative legislation. 19

Curative statutes are intended to supply defects, abridge superfluities in existing laws and curb certain evils. They are intended
to enable persons to carry into effect that which they have designed and intended, but has failed of expected legal
consequence by reason of some statutory disability or irregularity in their own action. They make valid that which, before the
enactment of the statute, was invalid.20

In arriving at this conclusion, the case of Briad Agro Development vs. De La Cerna21 comes to the fore. In the said case, RA 6115
was held to be a curative statute. There, the Court ruled that RA 6715 is deemed a curative statute and should be applied to
pending cases. The rationale of the ruling of the Court was that prior to RA 6715, Article 217 as amended by E.O. 111, created a
scenario where the Labor Arbiter and the Regional Director of DOLE had overlapping jurisdiction over money claims. Such a
situation was viewed as a defect in the law so that when RA 6715 was passed, it was treated or interpreted by the Court as a
rectification of the infirmity of the law, and therefore curative in nature, with retroactive application.

Parenthetically, the same rationale applies in treating RA 7730 as a curative statute. Explicit in its title22 is the legislative intent
to rectify the error brought about by this Court's ruling that RA 6715 covers even labor standards cases where the amounts to
be awarded by the Regional Director exceed P5,000 as provided for under RA 6715. Congressional records relative to Republic
Act 7730 reveal that, "this bill seeks to do away with the jurisdictional limitations imposed thru said ruling (referring
to Servando) and to finally settle any lingering doubts on the visitorial and enforcement powers of the Secretary of Labor and
Employment."23

All the foregoing studiedly considered, the ineluctable conclusion is that the application of RA 7730 to the case under
consideration is proper.

Thus, it is decisively clear that the public respondent did not act with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the Order dated
September 16, 1988.

The second issue for resolution is the validity of the auction sales conducted by Special Sheriff Ramos. It bears stressing that the
writ of execution issued by the Regional Director led to the several auction sales conducted on September 24, 1987, October 2,
1987, October 23, 1987, October 29, 1987 and October 30, 1987.

In the first Order of public respondent, the five (5) auction sales were declared null and void. As the public respondent put it,
"the scandalously low price for which the personal properties of the respondent were sold leads us to no other recourse but to
invalidate the auction sales conducted by the special sheriff."24

In the September 16, 1988 Order25 of public respondent, the personal properties and corresponding prices for which they were
sold were as follows:

Personal properties sold on September 24, 1987:

1. One (1) unit peterbuilt truck Model 1978 with Engine No. 6A4102-65, Chassis No. 139155-P not running
condition.
2. One (1) unit 1978 Model peterbuilt truck with Engine No. 6467-8040, Chassis No. 6A410235, truck with
Engine No. (Truck 4) not running condition.

3. One (1) unit 1978 Model peterbuilt truck with Engine No. 6A410319, Chassis No. 139163-P Truck No. 4
not running condition.

Proceeds of Sale P178,000.00

Personal Properties Sold on October 2, 1987

1. One (1) unit peterbuilt truck model 1978, with Engine No. 6A410347, Chassis No. 1391539-P.

2. One (1) unit peterbuilt truck Model 1978 with Engine No. 6A410325, Chassis No. 139149.

3. One (1) unit payloader (caterpillar with Engine No. (not visible) 966.

4. One (1) unit Forklift; one (1) unit crowler crane, Engine No. (not visible); and one (1) Lot of scarp irons
impounded inside the Batong Buhay Compound, Calanan, Kalinga Apayao.

5. One (1) unit panel Isuzu with Engine No. 821 POF200207, Plate No. PBV 386.

Proceeds of Sale P228,750.00

Personal Properties Sold on October 23, 1987:

1. One (1) Unit Toyota Land Cruiser, with Engine No. BO4466340, Chassis No. 81400500227 Plate No. BAT
353, burned, damage not running condition, type of body jeep motor not visible.

2. Two (2) units peterbuilts, damaged, burned motor Nos. (not visible) and Chassis Nos. not visible.

3. One (1) Unit Layland, burned, damaged and Motor No. not visible.

4. Two (units) air compressor, burned, damaged and one (1) generator.

5. One (1) Unit Loader Michigan 50, damaged and burned, and

6. One (1) rock crasher, damaged, burned, scrap iron junk.

Proceeds of Sale P98,000.00

Properties sold on October 29, 1987

1. One (1) lot of scrap construction materials.

2. One (1) lot of scrap mining machineries equipments and supplies.

3. One (1) lot of junk machineries, equipments and supplies.

Proceeds of Sale P1,699,999.99

Personal Properties Sold on October 20, 1987*


1. One (1) lot of scrap construction materials.

2. One (1) lot of scrap mining machineries, equipments and supplies.

Proceeds of Sale P2,185,000.00

Total Proceeds Sale P4,389,749.99

to satisfy the judgment award in the amount of P4,818,746.00.

As a general rule, findings of fact and conclusion of law arrived at by quasi-judicial agencies are not to be disturbed absent any
showing of grave abuse of discretion tainting the same. But in the case under scrutiny, there was grave abuse of discretion
when the public respondent, without any evidentiary support, adjudged such prices as "scandalously low". He merely relied on
the self-serving assertion by the petitioner that the value of the auctioned properties was more than the price bid. Obviously,
this ratiocination did not suffice to set aside the auction sales.

The presumption of regularity in the performance of official function is applicable here. Conformably, any party alleging
irregularity vitiating auction sales must come forward with clear and convincing proof.

Furthermore, it is a well-settled principle that:

Mere inadequacy of price is not, of itself sufficient ground to set aside an execution sale where the sale is regular,
proper and legal in other respects, the parties stand on an equal footing, there are no confidential relation between
them, there is no element of fraud, unfairness, or oppression, and there is no misconduct, accident, mistake or
surprise connected with, and tending to cause, the inadequacy.26

Consequently, in declaring the nullity of the subject auction sales on the ground of inadequacy of price, the public respondent
acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

But, this is not to declare the questioned auction sales as valid. The same are null and void since on the properties of petitioner
involved was constituted a mortgage between petitioner and the Development Bank of the Philippines, as shown by the:

(a) Deed of Mortgage dated December 28, 1973;

(b) Joint Mortgage (Amending Deed of Mortgage) dated August 25, 1975;

(c) Amendment to Joint Mortgage dated October 18, 1976.

(d) Confirmation of Mortgage dated March 27, 1979; and

(e) Additional Joint First Mortgage dated March 31, 1981.27

The aforementioned documents were executed between the petitioner and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) even
prior to the filing of the complaint of petitioner's employees. The properties having been mortgaged to DBP, the applicable law
is Section 14 of Executive Order No. 81, dated 3 December 1986, otherwise known as the "The 1986 Revised Charter of the
Development Bank of the Philippines," which exempts the properties of petitioner mortgaged to DBP from attachment or
execution sales. Section 14 of E.O. 81, reads:

Sec. 14. Exemption from Attachment. The provisions of any law to the contrary notwithstanding, securities on loans
and/or other accommodations granted by the Bank or its predecessor-in-interest shall not be subject to attachment,
execution or any other court process, nor shall they be included in the property of insolvent persons or institutions,
unless all debts and obligations of the Bank or its predecessor-in-interest, penalties, collection of expenses, and other
charges, subject to the provisions of paragraphs (e) of Sec. 9 of this Charter.
In fact, a letter dated January 31, 1990 of Jose C. Sison, Associate Executive Trustee of the Asset Privatization Trust, to the
Office of the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, certified that the petitioner is covered by Proclamation No. 50 issued on
December 8, 1986 by President Corazon C. Aquino.

Quoted hereunder are the pertinent portions of the said letter:28

RE: BBGMI vs. Hon. dela Serna, GR No. 86963

Supreme Court Certiorari

SIR:

xxx xxx xxx

. . . all the assets (real and personal/chattel) of Batong Buhay Gold Mines, Inc. (BBGMI) have been transferred and entrusted to
the Asset Privatization Trust (APT) by virtue of Proclamation No. 50 dated December 8, 1986 of her Excellency, President
Corazon C. Aquino. All the said assets of BBGMI are covered by real and chattel mortgages executed in favor of the Philippine
National Bank ("PNB"), the Development Bank of the Philippines ("DBP") and the National Investment and Development
Corporation ("NIDC").

xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 14, Executive Order No. 81:

xxx xxx xxx

Pursuant to the above-quoted provision of law, you are hereby warned that all the assets (real and personal/chattel) of BBGMI
are exempted from writs of execution, attachment, or any other lien or court processes. The Government, through APT, shall
initiate any administrative measures and remedies against you for any violation of the vested rights of PNB, DBP and APT.

xxx xxx xxx

(sgd).

JOSE C. SISON

The exemption referred to in the aforecited letter is one of the circumstances contemplated by Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of
Court, to wit:

Sec. 13. Property exempt from execution. Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, the following properties,
and no other, shall be exempt from execution:

xxx xxx xxx

(m) Properties specially exempted by law.

xxx xxx xxx

Private respondents contend that even if subject properties were mortgaged to DBP (now under Asset Privatization Trust),
Article 11029 of the Labor Code, as amended by RA 6715, applies just the same. According to them, the said provision of law
grants preference to money claims of workers over and above all credits of the petitioner. This contention is untenable. In the
case of DBP vs.NLRC,30 the Supreme Court held that the workers preference regarding wages and other monetary claims under
Article 110 of the Labor Code, as amended, contemplates bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings of the employer's business.
What is more, it does not disregard the preferential lien of mortgagees considered as preferred credits under the provisions of
the New Civil Code on the classification, concurrence and preference of credits.

We now come to the issue with respect to the second Order, dated December 14, 1988, which declared as valid the auction
sale conducted on October 29, 1987 by Special Sheriff John Ramos. Public respondent had no authority to validate the said
auction sale on the ground that the intervenors, MFT Corporation and Salter Holdings Pty., Ltd., as purchasers for value,
acquired legal title over subject properties.

It is well to remember that the said properties were transferred to the intervenors, when Fidel Bermudez, the highest bidder at
the auction sale, sold the properties to MFT Corporation which, in turn, sold the same properties to Salter Holdings Pty., Ltd.
Public respondent opined that the contract of sale between the intervenors and the highest bidder should be respected as
these sales took place during the interregnum after the auction sale was conducted on October 29, 1987 and before the
issuance of the first disputed Order declaring all the auction sales null and void.

On this issue, the Court rules otherwise.

As regards personal properties, the general rule is that title, like a stream, cannot rise higher than its source. 31 Consequently, a
seller without title cannot transfer a title better than what he holds. MFT Corporation and Salter Holdings Pty., Ltd. trace their
title from Fidel Bermudez, who was the highest bidder of a void auction sale over properties exempt from execution. Such
being the case, the subsequent sale made by him (Fidel Bermudez) is incapable of vesting title or ownership in the vendee.

The Order dated December 14, 1988, declaring the October 29, 1987 auction sale as valid, was issued with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED, insofar as the Order dated December 14, 1988 of Undersecretary Dionisio dela
Serna is concerned, which Order is SET ASIDE. The Order of September 16, 1988, upholding the jurisdiction of the Regional
Director, is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.1wphi1.nt

SO ORDERED.

Melo, Vitug, Panganiban and Gonzaga-Reyes, JJ., concur.

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 120095. August 5, 1996]

JMM PROMOTION AND MANAGEMENT, INC., and KARY INTERNATIONAL, INC., petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS,
HON. MA. NIEVES CONFESSOR, then Secretary of the Department of the Labor and Employment, HON. JOSE
BRILLANTES, in his capacity as acting Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment and HON. FELICISIMO
JOSON, in his capacity as Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, respondents.

DECISION

KAPUNAN, J.:

The limits of government regulation under the State's Police Power are once again at the vortex of the instant
controversy. Assailed is the government's power to control deployment of female entertainers to Japan by requiring an Artist
Record Book (ARB) as a precondition to the processing by the POEA of any contract for overseas employment. By contending
that the right to overseas employment, is a property right within the meaning of the Constitution, petitioners vigorously aver
that deprivation thereof allegedly through the onerous requirement of an ARB violates the due process clause and constitutes
an invalid exercise of the police power.

The factual antecedents are undisputed.

Following the much-publicized death of Maricris Sioson in 1991, former President Corazon C. Aquino ordered a total ban
against the deployment of performing artists to Japan and other foreign destinations. The ban was, however, rescinded after
leaders of the overseas employment industry promised to extend full support for a program aimed at removing kinks in the
system of deployment. In its place, the government, through the Secretary of Labor and Employment, subsequently issued
Department Order No. 28, creating the Entertainment Industry Advisory Council (EIAC), which was tasked with issuing
guidelines on the training, testing certification and deployment of performing artists abroad.

Pursuant to the EIAC's recommendations,[1] the Secretary of Labor, on January 6, 1994, issued Department Order No. 3
establishing various procedures and requirements for screening performing artists under a new system of training, testing,
certification and deployment of the former. Performing artists successfully hurdling the test, training and certification
requirement were to be issued an Artist's Record Book (ARB), a necessary prerequisite to processing of any contract of
employment by the POEA. Upon request of the industry, implementation of the process, originally scheduled for April 1, 1994,
was moved to October 1, 1994.

Thereafter, the Department of Labor, following the EIAC's recommendation, issued a series of orders fine-tuning and
implementing the new system. Prominent among these orders were the following issuances:

1. Department Order No. 3-A, providing for additional guidelines on the training, testing, certification and deployment of
performing artists.

2. Department Order No. 3-B, pertaining to the Artist Record Book (ARB) requirement, which could be processed only after the
artist could show proof of academic and skills training and has passed the required tests.

3. Department Order No. 3-E, providing the minimum salary a performing artist ought to receive (not less than US$600.00 for
those bound for Japan) and the authorized deductions therefrom.

4. Department Order No. 3-F, providing for the guidelines on the issuance and use of the ARB by returning performing artists
who, unlike new artists, shall only undergo a Special Orientation Program (shorter than the basic program) although they must
pass the academic test.

In Civil Case No. 95-72750, the Federation of Entertainment Talent Managers of the Philippines (FETMOP), on January 27,
1995 filed a class suit assailing these department orders, principally contending that said orders 1) violated the constitutional
right to travel; 2) abridged existing contracts for employment; and 3) deprived individual artists of their licenses without due
process of law. FETMOP, likewise, averred that the issuance of the Artist Record Book (ARB) was discriminatory and illegal and
"in gross violation of the constitutional right... to life liberty and property." Said Federation consequently prayed for the
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction against the aforestated orders.

On February 2, 1992, JMM Promotion and Management, Inc. and Kary International, Inc., herein petitioners, filed a
Motion for Intervention in said civil case, which was granted by the trial court in an Order dated 15 February, 1995.

However, on February 21, 1995, the trial court issued an Order denying petitioners' prayer for a writ of preliminary
injunction and dismissed the complaint.

On appeal from the trial court's Order, respondent court, in CA G.R. SP No. 36713 dismissed the same. Tracing the
circumstances which led to the issuance of the ARB requirement and the assailed Department Order, respondent court
concluded that the issuances constituted a valid exercise by the state of the police power.

We agree.

The latin maxim salus populi est suprema lex embodies the character of the entire spectrum of public laws aimed at
promoting the general welfare of the people under the State's police power. As an inherent attribute of sovereignty which
virtually "extends to all public needs,"[2] this "least limitable"[3] of governmental powers grants a wide panoply of instruments
through which the state, as parens patriae gives effect to a host of its regulatory powers.

Describing the nature and scope of the police power, Justice Malcolm, in the early case of Rubi v. Provincial Board of
Mindoro[4] wrote:
"The police power of the State," one court has said...'is a power coextensive with self-protection, and is not inaptly termed 'the
law of overruling necessity.' It may be said to be that inherent and plenary power in the state which enables it to prohibit all
things hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society.' Carried onward by the current of legislature, the judiciary rarely
attempts to dam the onrushing power of legislative discretion, provided the purposes of the law do not go beyond the great
principles that mean security for the public welfare or do not arbitrarily interfere with the right of the individual."[5]

Thus, police power concerns government enactments which precisely interfere with personal liberty or property in order
to promote the general welfare or the common good. As the assailed Department Order enjoys a presumed validity, it follows
that the burden rests upon petitioners to demonstrate that the said order, particularly, its ARB requirement, does not enhance
the public welfare or was exercised arbitrarily or unreasonably.

A thorough review of the facts and circumstances leading to the issuance of the assailed orders compels us to rule that
the Artist Record Book requirement and the questioned Department Order related to its issuance were issued by the Secretary
of Labor pursuant to a valid exercise of the police power.

In 1984, the Philippines emerged as the largest labor sending country in Asia dwarfing the labor export of countries with
mammoth populations such as India and China. According to the National Statistics Office, this diaspora was augmented
annually by over 450,000 documented and clandestine or illegal (undocumented) workers who left the country for various
destinations abroad, lured by higher salaries, better work opportunities and sometimes better living conditions.

Of the hundreds of thousands of workers who left the country for greener pastures in the last few years, women
composed slightly close to half of those deployed, constituting 47% between 1987-1991, exceeding this proportion (58%) by the
end of 1991,[6] the year former President Aquino instituted the ban on deployment of performing artists to Japan and other
countries as a result of the gruesome death of Filipino entertainer Maricris Sioson.

It was during the same period that this Court took judicial notice not only of the trend, but also of the fact that most of
our women, a large number employed as domestic helpers and entertainers, worked under exploitative conditions "marked by
physical and personal abuse."[7] Even then, we noted that "[t]he sordid tales of maltreatment suffered by migrant Filipina
workers, even rape and various forms of torture, confirmed by testimonies of returning workers" compelled "urgent
government action."[8]

Pursuant to the alarming number of reports that a significant number of Filipina performing artists ended up as
prostitutes abroad (many of whom were beaten, drugged and forced into prostitution), and following the deaths of a number
of these women, the government began instituting measures aimed at deploying only those individuals who met set standards
which would qualify them as legitimate performing artists. In spite of these measures, however, a number of our countrymen
have nonetheless fallen victim to unscrupulous recruiters, ending up as virtual slaves controlled by foreign crime syndicates and
forced into jobs other than those indicated in their employment contracts. Worse, some of our women have been forced into
prostitution.

Thus, after a number of inadequate and failed accreditation schemes, the Secretary of Labor issued on August 16, 1993,
D.O. No. 28, establishing the Entertainment Industry Advisory Council (EIAC), the policy advisory body of DOLE on
entertainment industry matters.[9] Acting on the recommendations of the said body, the Secretary of Labor, on January 6, 1994,
issued the assailed orders. These orders embodied EIAC's Resolution No. 1, which called for guidelines on screening, testing and
accrediting performing overseas Filipino artists. Significantly, as the respondent court noted, petitioners were duly represented
in the EIAC,[10] which gave the recommendations on which the ARB and other requirements were based.

Clearly, the welfare of Filipino performing artists, particularly the women was paramount in the issuance of Department
Order No. 3. Short of a total and absolute ban against the deployment of performing artists to "high risk" destinations, a
measure which would only drive recruitment further underground, the new scheme at the very least rationalizes the method of
screening performing artists by requiring reasonable educational and artistic skills from them and limits deployment to only
those individuals adequately prepared for the unpredictable demands of employment as artists abroad. It cannot be gainsaid
that this scheme at least lessens the room for exploitation by unscrupulous individuals and agencies.

Moreover, here or abroad, selection of performing artists is usually accomplished by auditions, where those deemed unfit
are usually weeded out through a process which is inherently subjective and vulnerable to bias and differences in taste. The
ARB requirement goes one step further, however, attempting to minimize the subjectivity of the process by defining the
minimum skills required from entertainers and performing artists. As the Solicitor General observed, this should be easily met
by experienced artists possessing merely basic skills. The tests are aimed at segregating real artists or performers from those
passing themselves off as such, eager to accept any available job and therefore exposing themselves to possible exploitation.
As to the other provisions of Department Order No. 3 questioned by petitioners, we see nothing wrong with the
requirement for document and booking confirmation (D.O. 3-C), a minimum salary scale (D.O. 3-E), or the requirement for
registration of returning performers. The requirement for a venue certificate or other documents evidencing the place and
nature of work allows the government closer monitoring of foreign employers and helps keep our entertainers away from
prostitution fronts and other worksites associated with unsavory, immoral, illegal or exploitative practices. Parenthetically,
none of these issuances appear to us, by any stretch of the imagination, even remotely unreasonable or arbitrary. They address
a felt need of according greater protection for an oft-exploited segment of our OCW's. They respond to the industry's demand
for clearer and more practicable rules and guidelines. Many of these provisions were fleshed out following recommendations
by, and after consultations with, the affected sectors and non-government organizations. On the whole, they are aimed at
enhancing the safety and security of entertainers and artists bound for Japan and other destinations, without stifling the
industry's concerns for expansion and growth.

In any event, apart from the State's police power, the Constitution itself mandates government to extend the fullest
protection to our overseas workers. The basic constitutional statement on labor, embodied in Section 18 of Article II of the
Constitution provides:

Sec. 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their
welfare.

More emphatically, the social justice provision on labor of the 1987 Constitution in its first paragraph states:

The State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized and promote full
employment and equality of employment opportunities for all.

Obviously, protection to labor does not indicate promotion of employment alone. Under the welfare and social justice
provisions of the Constitution, the promotion of full employment, while desirable, cannot take a backseat to the government's
constitutional duty to provide mechanisms for the protection of our workforce, local or overseas. As this Court explained
in Philippine Association of Service Exporters (PASEI) v. Drilon,[11] in reference to the recurring problems faced by our overseas
workers:

What concerns the Constitution more paramountly is that such an employment be above all, decent, just, and humane. It is bad
enough that the country has to send its sons and daughters to strange lands because it cannot satisfy their employment needs
at home. Under these circumstances, the Government is duty-bound to insure that our toiling expatriates have adequate
protection, personally and economically, while away from home.

We now go to petitioners' assertion that the police power cannot, nevertheless, abridge the right of our performing
workers to return to work abroad after having earlier qualified under the old process, because, having previously been
accredited, their accreditation became a property right," protected by the due process clause. We find this contention
untenable.

A profession, trade or calling is a property right within the meaning of our constitutional guarantees. One cannot be
deprived of the right to work and the right to make a living because these rights are property rights, the arbitrary and
unwarranted deprivation of which normally constitutes an actionable wrong.[12]

Nevertheless, no right is absolute, and the proper regulation of a profession, calling, business or trade has always been
upheld as a legitimate subject of a valid exercise of the police power by the state particularly when their conduct affects either
the execution of legitimate governmental functions, the preservation of the State, the public health and welfare and public
morals. According to the maxim, sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas, it must of course be within the legitimate range of
legislative action to define the mode and manner in which every one may so use his own property so as not to pose injury to
himself or others.[13]

In any case, where the liberty curtailed affects at most the rights of property, the permissible scope of regulatory
measures is certainly much wider.[14] To pretend that licensing or accreditation requirements violates the due process clause is
to ignore the settled practice, under the mantle of the police power, of regulating entry to the practice of various trades or
professions. Professionals leaving for abroad are required to pass rigid written and practical exams before they are deemed fit
to practice their trade. Seamen are required to take tests determining their seamanship. Locally, the Professional Regulation
Commission has began to require previously licensed doctors and other professionals to furnish documentary proof that they
had either re-trained or had undertaken continuing education courses as a requirement for renewal of their licenses. It is not
claimed that these requirements pose an unwarranted deprivation of a property right under the due process clause. So long as
Professionals and other workers meet reasonable regulatory standards no such deprivation exists.

Finally, it is a futile gesture on the part of petitioners to invoke the non-impairment clause of the Constitution to support
their argument that the government cannot enact the assailed regulatory measures because they abridge the freedom to
contract. In Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. vs. Drilon, we held that "[t]he non-impairment clause of the
Constitution... must yield to the loftier purposes targeted by the government."[15] Equally important, into every contract is read
provisions of existing law, and always, a reservation of the police power for so long as the agreement deals with a subject
impressed with the public welfare.

A last point. Petitioners suggest that the singling out of entertainers and performing artists under the assailed department
orders constitutes class legislation which violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. We do not agree.

The equal protection clause is directed principally against undue favor and individual or class privilege. It is not intended
to prohibit legislation which is limited to the object to which it is directed or by the territory in which it is to operate. It does not
require absolute equality, but merely that all persons be treated alike under like conditions both as to privileges conferred and
liabilities imposed.[16] We have held, time and again, that the equal protection clause of the Constitution does not forbid
classification for so long as such classification is based on real and substantial differences having a reasonable relation to the
subject of the particular legislation.[17] If classification is germane to the purpose of the law, concerns all members of the class,
and applies equally to present and future conditions, the classification does not violate the equal protection guarantee.

In the case at bar, the challenged Department Order clearly applies to all performing artists and entertainers destined for
jobs abroad. These orders, we stressed hereinbefore, further the Constitutional mandate requiring Government to protect our
workforce, particularly those who may be prone to abuse and exploitation as they are beyond the physical reach of government
regulatory agencies. The tragic incidents must somehow stop, but short of absolutely curtailing the right of these performers
and entertainers to work abroad, the assailed measures enable our government to assume a measure of control.

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision sought to be reviewed, petition is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.
[G.R. No. 47800. December 2, 1940.]

MAXIMO CALALANG, Petitioner, v. A. D. WILLIAMS, ET AL., Respondents.

1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; CONSTITUTIONALITY OF COMMONWEALTH ACT No. 648; DELEGATION OF LEGISLATIVE POWER;
AUTHORITY OF DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS AND SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WORKS AND COMMUNICATIONS TO PROMULGATE
RULES AND REGULATIONS. The provisions of section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 648 do not confer legislative power upon
the Director of Public Works and the Secretary of Public Works and Communications. The authority therein conferred upon
them and under which they promulgated the rules and regulations now complained of is not to determine what public policy
demands but merely to carry out the legislative policy laid down by the National Assembly in said Act, to wit, "to promote safe
transit upon, and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets designated as national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by
executive orders of the President of the Philippines" and to close them temporarily to any or all classes of traffic "whenever the
condition of the road or the traffic thereon makes such action necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest."
The delegated power, if at all, therefore, is not the determination of what the law shall be, but merely the ascertainment of the
facts and circumstances upon which the application of said law is to be predicated. To promulgate rules and regulations on the
use of national roads and to determine when and how long a national road should be closed to traffic, in view of the condition
of the road or the traffic thereon and the requirements of public convenience and interest, is an administrative function which
cannot be directly discharged by the National Assembly. It must depend on the discretion of some other government official to
whom is confided the duty of determining whether the proper occasion exists for executing the law. But it cannot be said that
the exercise of such discretion is the making of the law.

2. ID.; ID.; POLICE POWER; PERSONAL LIBERTY; GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY. Commonwealth Act No. 548 was passed by the
National Assembly in the exercise of the paramount police power of the state. Said Act, by virtue of which the rules and
regulations complained of were promulgated, aims to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on national roads, in
the interest and convenience of the public. In enacting said law, therefore, the National Assembly was prompted by
considerations of public convenience and welfare. It was inspired by a desire to relieve congestion of traffic, which is, to say the
least, a menace to public safety. 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 (U.S. v. Gomer Jesus, 31 Phil., 218). 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. The moment greater authority is conferred upon the government, logically so much is withdrawn from
the residuum of liberty which resides in the people. The paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment of liberty is
precisely the very means of insuring its preservation.

3. ID.; ID.; SOCIAL JUSTICE. Social justice is "neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the
humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by the State so that justice in its rational and
objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the promotion of the welfare of all the
people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all the competent elements of
society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the interrelations of the members of the
community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-constitutionally, through the exercise
of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of salus populi est suprema lex. Social
justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among divers and diverse units of a
society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our social and
economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting the health, comfort, and
quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest number."

DECISION

LAUREL, J.:

Maximo Calalang, in his capacity as a private citizen and as a taxpayer of Manila, brought before this court this petition for a
writ of prohibition against the respondents, A. D. Williams, as Chairman of the National Traffic Commission; Vicente Fragante,
as Director of Public Works; Sergio Bayan, as Acting Secretary of Public Works and Communications; Eulogio Rodriguez, as
Mayor of the City of Manila; and Juan Dominguez, as Acting Chief of Police of Manila.

It is alleged in the petition that the National Traffic Commission, in its resolution of July 17, 1940, resolved to recommend to the
Director of Public Works and to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications that animal-drawn vehicles be prohibited
from passing along Rosario Street extending from Plaza Calderon de la Barca to Dasmarias Street, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
and from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and along Rizal Avenue extending from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to Echague
Street, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., from a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the
Chairman of the National Traffic Commission, on July 18, 1940 recommended to the Director of Public Works the adoption of
the measure proposed in the resolution aforementioned, in pursuance of the provisions of Commonwealth Act No. 548 which
authorizes said Director of Public Works, with the approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, to
promulgate rules and regulations to regulate and control the use of and traffic on national roads; that on August 2, 1940, the
Director of Public Works, in his first indorsement to the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, recommended to the
latter the approval of the recommendation made by the Chairman of the National Traffic Commission as aforesaid, with the
modification that the closing of Rizal Avenue to traffic to animal-drawn vehicles be limited to the portion thereof extending
from the railroad crossing at Antipolo Street to Azcarraga Street; that on August 10, 1940, the Secretary of Public Works and
Communications, in his second indorsement addressed to the Director of Public Works, approved the recommendation of the
latter that Rosario Street and Rizal Avenue be closed to traffic of animal-drawn vehicles, between the points and during the
hours as above indicated, for a period of one year from the date of the opening of the Colgante Bridge to traffic; that the Mayor
of Manila and the Acting Chief of Police of Manila have enforced and caused to be enforced the rules and regulations thus
adopted; that as a consequence of such enforcement, all animal-drawn vehicles are not allowed to pass and pick up passengers
in the places above-mentioned to the detriment not only of their owners but of the riding public as well.

It is contended by the petitioner that Commonwealth Act No. 548 by which the Director of Public Works, with the approval of
the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, is authorized to promulgate rules and regulations for the regulation and
control of the use of and traffic on national roads and streets is unconstitutional because it constitutes an undue delegation of
legislative power. This contention is untenable. As was observed by this court in Rubi v. Provincial Board of Mindoro (39 Phil,
660, 700), "The rule has nowhere been better stated than in the early Ohio case decided by Judge Ranney, and since followed in
a multitude of cases, namely: The true distinction therefore is between the delegation of power to make the law, which
necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring an authority or discretion as to its execution, to be
exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done; to the latter no valid objection can be made.
(Cincinnati, W. & Z. R. Co. v. Commrs. Clinton County, 1 Ohio St., 88.) Discretion, as held by Chief Justice Marshall in Wayman v.
Southard (10 Wheat., 1) may be committed by the Legislature to an executive department or official. The Legislature may make
decisions of executive departments or subordinate officials thereof, to whom it has committed the execution of certain acts,
final on questions of fact. (U.S. v. Kinkead, 248 Fed., 141.) The growing tendency in the decisions is to give prominence to the
necessity of the case."cralaw virtua1aw library

Section 1 of Commonwealth Act No. 548 reads as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"SECTION 1. To promote safe transit upon, and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets designated as national roads by acts of
the National Assembly or by executive orders of the President of the Philippines, the Director of Public Works, with the
approval of the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to
regulate and control the use of and traffic on such roads and streets. Such rules and regulations, with the approval of the
President, may contain provisions controlling or regulating the construction of buildings or other structures within a reasonable
distance from along the national roads. Such roads may be temporarily closed to any or all classes of traffic by the Director of
Public Works and his duly authorized representatives whenever the condition of the road or the traffic thereon makes such
action necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest, or for a specified period, with the approval of the
Secretary of Public Works and Communications."cralaw virtua1aw library

The above provisions of law do not confer legislative power upon the Director of Public Works and the Secretary of Public
Works and Communications. The authority therein conferred upon them and under which they promulgated the rules and
regulations now complained of is not to determine what public policy demands but merely to carry out the legislative policy laid
down by the National Assembly in said Act, to wit, "to promote safe transit upon and avoid obstructions on, roads and streets
designated as national roads by acts of the National Assembly or by executive orders of the President of the Philippines" and to
close them temporarily to any or all classes of traffic "whenever the condition of the road or the traffic makes such action
necessary or advisable in the public convenience and interest." The delegated power, if at all, therefore, is not the
determination of what the law shall be, but merely the ascertainment of the facts and circumstances upon which the
application of said law is to be predicated. To promulgate rules and regulations on the use of national roads and to determine
when and how long a national road should be closed to traffic, in view of the condition of the road or the traffic thereon and
the requirements of public convenience and interest, is an administrative function which cannot be directly discharged by the
National Assembly. It must depend on the discretion of some other government official to whom is confided the duty of
determining whether the proper occasion exists for executing the law. But it cannot be said that the exercise of such discretion
is the making of the law. As was said in Lockes Appeal (72 Pa. 491): "To assert that a law is less than a law, because it is made
to depend on a future event or act, is to rob the Legislature of the power to act wisely for the public welfare whenever a law is
passed relating to a state of affairs not yet developed, or to things future and impossible to fully know." The proper distinction
the court said was this: "The Legislature cannot delegate its power to make the law; but it can make a law to delegate a power
to determine some fact or state of things upon which the law makes, or intends to make, its own action depend. To deny this
would be to stop the wheels of government. There are many things upon which wise and useful legislation must depend which
cannot be known to the law-making power, and, must, therefore, be a subject of inquiry and determination outside of the halls
of legislation." (Field v. Clark, 143 U. S. 649, 694; 36 L. Ed. 294.)

In the case of People v. Rosenthal and Osmea, G.R. Nos. 46076 and 46077, promulgated June 12, 1939, and in Pangasinan
Transportation v. The Public Service Commission, G.R. No. 47065, promulgated June 26, 1940, this Court had occasion to
observe that the principle of separation of powers has been made to adapt itself to the complexities of modern governments,
giving rise to the adoption, within certain limits, of the principle of "subordinate legislation," not only in the United States and
England but in practically all modern governments. Accordingly, with the growing complexity of modern life, the multiplication
of the subjects of governmental regulations, and the increased difficulty of administering the laws, the rigidity of the theory of
separation of governmental powers has, to a large extent, been relaxed by permitting the delegation of greater powers by the
legislative and vesting a larger amount of discretion in administrative and executive officials, not only in the execution of the
laws, but also in the promulgation of certain rules and regulations calculated to promote public interest.

The petitioner further contends that the rules and regulations promulgated by the respondents pursuant to the provisions of
Commonwealth Act No. 548 constitute an unlawful interference with legitimate business or trade and abridge the right to
personal liberty and freedom of locomotion. Commonwealth Act No. 548 was passed by the National Assembly in the exercise
of the paramount police power of the state.

Said Act, by virtue of which the rules and regulations complained of were promulgated, aims to promote safe transit upon and
avoid obstructions on national roads, in the interest and convenience of the public. In enacting said law, therefore, the National
Assembly was prompted by considerations of public convenience and welfare. It was inspired by a desire to relieve congestion
of traffic. which is, to say the least, a menace to public safety. 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 (U.S. v. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil., 218). 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. The moment greater authority is conferred upon the government, logically so much is
withdrawn from the residuum of liberty which resides in the people. The paradox lies in the fact that the apparent curtailment
of liberty is precisely the very means of insuring its preservation.

The scope of police power keeps expanding as civilization advances. As was said in the case of Dobbins v. Los Angeles (195 U.S.
223, 238; 49 L. ed. 169), "the right to exercise the police power is a continuing one, and a business lawful today may in the
future, because of the changed situation, the growth of population or other causes, become a menace to the public health and
welfare, and be required to yield to the public good." And in People v. Pomar (46 Phil., 440), it was observed that "advancing
civilization is bringing within the police power of the state today things which were not thought of as being within such power
yesterday. The development of civilization, the rapidly increasing population, the growth of public opinion, with an increasing
desire on the part of the masses and of the government to look after and care for the interests of the individuals of the state,
have brought within the police power many questions for regulation which formerly were not so considered."cralaw virtua1aw
library

The petitioner finally avers that the rules and regulations complained of infringe upon the constitutional precept regarding the
promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and economic security of all the people. The promotion of social justice,
however, is to be achieved not through a mistaken sympathy towards any given group. Social justice is "neither communism,
nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy," but the humanization of laws and the equalization of social and economic forces by
the State so that justice in its rational and objectively secular conception may at least be approximated. Social justice means the
promotion of the welfare of all the people, the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic
stability of all the competent elements of society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the
interrelations of the members of the community, constitutionally, through the adoption of measures legally justifiable, or extra-
constitutionally, through the exercise of powers underlying the existence of all governments on the time-honored principle of
salus populi est suprema lex.

Social justice, therefore, must be founded on the recognition of the necessity of interdependence among divers and diverse
units of a society and of the protection that should be equally and evenly extended to all groups as a combined force in our
social and economic life, consistent with the fundamental and paramount objective of the state of promoting the health,
comfort, and quiet of all persons, and of bringing about "the greatest good to the greatest number."cralaw virtua1aw library

In view of the foregoing, the writ of prohibition prayed for is hereby denied, with costs against the petitioner. So ordered.

Avancea, C.J., Imperial, Diaz. and Horrilleno. JJ. concur.