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People Vs.

Pomar Case Digest


People Vs. Pomar

46 Phil 126 G.R. No. L-22008


Nov. 3, 1924

Facts: Macaria Fajardo was an employee of La Flor de la Isabela, a Tobacco factory. She was granted
a vacation leave, by reason of her pregnancy, which commenced on the 16th of July 1923. According
to Fajardo, during that time, she was not given the salary due her in violation of the provisions of Act
No. 3071. Fajardo filed a criminal complaint based on Section 13 and 15 of said Act against the
manager of the tobacco Factory, Julio Pomar, herein defendant. The latter, on the other hand, claims
that the facts in the complaint did not constitute an offense and further alleges that the aforementioned
provisions of Act No. 3071 was unconstitutional. Section 13, Act No. 3071 provides that, “Every
person, firm or corporation owning or managing a factory, shop or place of labor of any description
shall be obliged to grant to any woman employed by it as laborer who may be pregnant, thirty days
vacation with pay before and another thirty days after confinement: Provided, That the employer shall
not discharge such laborer without just cause, under the penalty of being required to pay to her wages
equivalent to the total of two months counting from the day of her discharge.” Section 15 of the same
Act provides for the penalty of any violation of section 13. The latter was enacted by the legislature in
the exercise of its supposed Police Power with the purpose of safeguarding the health of pregnant
women laborers in "factory, shop or place of labor of any description," and of insuring to them, to a
certain extent, reasonable support for one month before and one month after their delivery. The trial
court rendered a decision in favor of plaintiff, sentencing the defendant to pay the fine of fifty pesos
and in case of insolvency, to suffer subsidiary imprisonment. Hence, the case was raised to the Court
of Appeals which affirmed the former decision.

Issue:

Whether or not Section 13 of Act No. 3071 is unconstitutional.

Whether or not the promulgation of the questioned provision was a valid exercise of Police Power.

Held: The Supreme Court declared Section 13 of Act No. 3071 to be unconstitutional for being
violative or restrictive of the right of the people to freely enter into contracts for their affairs. It has been
decided several times, that the right to contract about one's affairs is a part of the liberty of the
individual, protected by the "due process of law" clause of the constitution. The contracting parties
may establish any agreements, terms, and conditions they may deem advisable, provided they are
not contrary to law, morals or public policy

The police power of the state is a very broad and expanding power. The police power may encompass
every law for the restraint and punishment of crimes, for the preservation of the public peace, health,
and morals. But that power cannot grow faster than the fundamental law of the state, nor transcend or
violate the express inhibition of the constitution. The Police Power is subject to and is controlled by
the paramount authority of the constitution of the state, and will not be permitted to violate rights
secured or guaranteed by the latter.