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Section 5.

No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free
exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be
allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

Non-establishment of religion

G.R. No. L-45459 || March 13, 1937 || LAUREL, J.
(non-establishment of religion: postal stamps incidental benefit to religion)
● This is an original action in the SC, which seeks the issuance from this court of a writ of prohibition to
prevent the issuing and selling of postage stamps commemorative of the 33rd Int’l Eucharistic Congress.
● Parties:
○ Petitioner — Mons. Gregorio Aglipay, Supreme Head of the Philippine Independent Church
○ Respondent — Juan Ruiz, Director of Posts
● May 1936 — the Director of Posts announced in the dailies of Manila that he would order the issues of
postage stamps commemorating the celebration in the City of Manila of the 33rd international
Eucharistic Congress, an event organized by the Roman Catholic Church
● Petitioner then requested Vicente Sotto, member of the PH Bar, to denounce the matter to the President.
● In spite of this, respondent publicly announced having sent to the US the designs of the postage stamps for
printing as follows:
○ “In the center is chalice, with grape vine and stalks of wheat as border design. The stamps are
blue, green, brown, cardinal red, violet and orange, 1 inch by 1,094 inches. The denominations are
for 2, 6, 16, 20, 36 and 50 centavos.”
○ Said stamps were actually issued and sold, though the most of the stamps, at the time of the filing
of the suit, remains unsold.
○ It is the further sale of the stamps that is sought to be prevented by the petitioner.
● Petitioner’s contention:
○ This action of the respondent is violative of the provisions of section 23, subsection 3, Article VI,
of the (1935) Constitution (Article VI, Sec 29 of 1987 Consti):
■ “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, or used, directly or
indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, secretarian,
institution, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest,
preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such, except when such
priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal
institution, orphanage, or leprosarium.”
● Respondent’s contention:
○ The PH Gov’t would suffer losses if the writ prayed for is granted.
■ The estimated revenue to be derived from the sale of the postage stamps is currently at
■ The stamps that are still to be sold are worth P1,402,279.02.
● SolGen’s contention:
○ The writ of prohibition is not the proper legal remedy in the instant case, although he admits that
the writ may properly restrain ministerial functions.

● W/N the writ of prohibition is the proper legal remedy — YES
● W/N the issuance and the selling of the postage stamps are violative of the Constitution — NO

● Petition DENIED.

● RE: Prohibition
○ While, generally, prohibition as an extraordinary legal writ will not issue to restrain or control the
performance of other than judicial or quasi-judicial functions, its issuance and enforcement are
regulated by statute and in this jurisdiction may issue to “inferior tribunals, corporations, boards,
or persons, whether exercising functions judicial or ministerial, which are without or in excess of
the jurisdiction of such tribunal, corporation, board, or person”
○ The writ of prohibition is not confined exclusively to courts or tribunals to keep them within the
limits of their own jurisdiction and to prevent them from encroaching upon the jurisdiction of
other tribunals, but will issue, in appropriate cases, to an officer or person whose acts are without
or in excess of his authority.
● RE: Postage Stamps
○ Article VI, of the (1935) Constitution (Article VI, Sec 29 of 1987 Consti) provides:
■ “No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, or used, directly or
indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, secretarian,
institution, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest,
preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary as such, except when such
priest, preacher, minister, or dignitary is assigned to the armed forces or to any penal
institution, orphanage, or leprosarium.”
○ The prohibition expressed in the foregoing provision is a direct corollary of the principle of
separation of church and state.
○ What is guaranteed by our Constitution is religious liberty, not mere religious toleration.
■ Religious freedom, however, as a constitutional mandate is not inhibition of profound
reverence for religion and is not denial of its influence in human affairs.
■ Religion as a profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his
Creator is recognized.
■ In so far as it instills into the minds the purest principles of morality, its influence is
deeply felt and highly appreciated.
○ In the case at bar, the respondent Director of Posts issued the postage stamps in question under the
provisions of Act No. 4052 of the Philippine Legislature.
■ The Act appropriates the sum of P60,000 for the costs of plates and printing of postage
stamps with new designs and other expenses incident to it.
■ It also authorizes the Director of Posts, with the approval of the Secretary of Public
Works and Communications, to dispose of the amount appropriated in the manner
indicated and “as often as may be deemed advantageous to the Government”.
■ The printing and issuance of the postage stamps in question appears to have been
approved by authority of the President of the Philippines in a letter dated September 1,
○ Act No. 4052 contemplates no religious purpose in view.
■ What it gives the Director of Posts is the discretionary power to determine when the
issuance of special postage stamps would be “advantageous to the Government.”
■ The phrase “advantageous to the Government” does not authorize the
violation of the Constitution. It does not authorize the appropriation, use or
application of public money or property for the use, benefit or support of a
particular sect or church.
■ The stamps were not issue and sold for the benefit of the Roman Catholic
Church. Nor were money derived from the sale of the stamps given to that
■ The only purpose in issuing and selling the stamps was “to advertise the Philippines
and attract more tourist to this country.”
■ The officials concerned merely, took advantage of an event considered of
international importance “to give publicity to the Philippines and its
■ What is emphasized is not the Eucharistic Congress itself but Manila, the
capital of the Philippines, as the seat of that congress.
■ It is obvious that while the issuance and sale of the stamps in question may be said
to be inseparably linked with an event of a religious character, the resulting
propaganda, if any, received by the Roman Catholic Church, was not the aim and
purpose of the Government.
■ The Government should not be embarrassed in its activities simply because
of incidental results, more or less religious in character, if the purpose had
in view is one which could legitimately be undertaken by appropriate

G.R. No. L-53487 || May 25, 1981 || AQUINO, J.
(Non-establishment of religion)
● Petition assailing the judgment of the CFI which dismissed petitioners’ complaint and upheld the validity of
4 barangay council Resolutions.
● Barangay Council of Valencia, Ormoc City adopted Resolution No. 5, declaring April 5 feast day of San
Vicente Ferrer, patron saint of Valencia
○ Such Resolution designated members of the 9 committees, through “selling of tickets,
solicitations, and cash donations” to:
■ Acquire the image of San Vicente Ferrer
■ Construct a waiting shed as the barangay’s projects
● Barangay Council passed Resolution No. 6 which specified that Councilman Cabatingan, Chairman
(Hermano Mayor) of the fiesta, would be the caretaker of the image, and it would remain in his residence
for 1 year until the election of his successor of Chairman of the next feast day
○ Further provided that image would be made available to Catholic parish church during the
celebration of the saint’s feast day
● Resolutions No. 5 and 6 were presented to a plebiscite and were ratified by general assembly and by 272
○ Funds were raised and waiting sheds were constructed and the image of San Vicente Ferrer was
acquired in Cebu City for 400 pesos
● April 5 1976 (Feast Day): The image was temporarily placed in the altar of the church of Barangay
Valencia for devotees to worship the saint during the mass
○ Father Osmena refused to return the image to barangay council stating that it was the property of
the church, because church funds were used to acquire it
○ Several days after the fiesta, he uttered defamatory remarks against Barangay Captain Veloso
during his sermon during a mass in connection with the image
● Barangay Captain Veloso filed against Osmena for grave oral defamation
○ Father Osmena filed administrative complaints against Veloso
○ Meanwhile, the image of San Vicente Ferrer remained in the church
● Barangay Council enacted Resolution No. 10: Authorizing a lawter to file a replevin case against Osmena
for the revovery of the image
○ Also passed Resolution No. 12: Appointing Veloso as its representative in the replevin case
● Replevin case filed; barangay council posted a cash bond of 800 pesos, Osmena turned over the image to
the council
○ Osmena and 3 other pesrons, Andres Garces, a member of the Aglipayan church, and 2 Catholic
laymen, filed against the barangay council
● CFI dismissed the complaint and upheld the validity of the Resolutions

Petitioner’s Contentions (Garces):

● Barangay council was not duly constituted because the Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay was not
allowed to participate in its sessions
● Resolutions contravene the constitutional provisions against non-establishment of religion, and that no
public money shall be appropriated for the benefit or support of any sect, church, denomination, etc.
● W/N the Resolutions violated the non-establishment of religion stated in the Constitution -- NO

● Petition DISMISSED. CFI Decision AFFIRMED.

Re: Barangay Youth Chairman’s Absence
● Manago, the Chairman of Barangay Youth was notified of the sessions but was unable to attend because he
was working with a construction company based at Ipil, Ormoc City
○ His absence from sessions of the barangay council did not render the resolutions void; there
was a quorum when the resolutions were passed

Re: “Non-establishment of religion”

● Resolutions do not establish any religion nor abridge religious liberty, the image was purchased with
private funds, not tax money, and the construction of a waiting shed is entirely secular
● The wooden image was purchased in connection with the celebration of barrio fiesta honoring the
patron saint, and not for the purpose of favoring any religion
○ One of the highlights of the fiesta was the mass, and the image of the patron saint needed to
be placed in the church during the mass
○ Barrio fiesta is a socio-religious affair, its celebration is an ingrained tradition
● Barangay council designated a layman as the custodian of the image to forestall any suspicion that it
favors the Catholic church
○ The image, if placed in a layman’s custody, could easily be made available to any family desiring
to borrow such
● Barangay council, as owner of the image, has the right to determine who should have custody of such
○ If it chooses to change its mind and decides to give the image to the Catholic church, that action
would not violate the Constitution because such was acquired with private funds and is private
● Not every governmental activity which involves the expenditure of public funds and which has some
religious tint is violative of the constitutional provisions regarding separation of church and state

Re: Petitioners’ Contradictory Positions

● Garces: Resolutions favored the Catholic Church
● Dagar, Edullantes (2 Catholic Laymen): Prejudiced Catholics because they could see the image in the
church only once a year or during the fiesta


392 US 236 || June 10, 1968 || WHITE, J.
(non-establishment of religion: providing textbooks to schools)
● This is an appeal from the decision of the NY CA (declared the assailed statute constitutional)
● Until 1965 — § 701 of the Education Law of the State of New York authorized public school boards to
designate textbooks for use in the public schools, to purchase such books with public funds, and to rent or
sell the books to public school students.
● 1965 — the legislature amended § 701
○ The amendments were based on findings that the “public welfare and safety require that the state
and local communities give assistance to educational programs which are important to our national
defense and the general welfare of the state.”
○ 1966-1967 school year — local school boards were required to purchase textbooks and lend them
without charge “to all children residing in such district who are enrolled in grades seven to twelve
of a public or private school which complies with the compulsory education law.”
■ The books now loaned are “textbooks which are designated for use in any public,
elementary or secondary schools of the state or are approved by any boards of
■ “a pupil is required to use as a text for a semester or more in a particular class in the
school he legally attends.”
● Appellant Board of Education of Central School District No. 1 in Renesselaer and Columbia Counties,
brought suit in the NY courts against appellee James Allen.
○ The complaint alleged that § 701 violated both the State and Federal Constitutions
○ If appellants, in reliance on their interpretation of the Constitution, failed to lend books to
parochial school students within their counties, appellee Allen would remove appellants from
office, and that, to prevent this, appellants were complying with the law and submitting to their
constituents a school budget including funds for books to be lent to parochial school pupils.
○ Appellants therefore sought a declaration that § 701 was invalid, an order barring appellee Allen
from removing appellants from office for failing to comply with it, and another order restraining
him from apportioning state funds to school districts for the purchase of textbooks to be lent to
parochial students.
● The trial court held the law unconstitutional
● The Appellate Division reversed, ordering the complaint dismissed on the ground that appellant school
boards had no standing to attack the validity of a state statute.
● On appeal, the NY CA concluded by a 4-3 vote that appellants did have standing, but, by a different 4-3
vote, held that § 701 was not in violation of either the State or the Federal Constitution.
○ The law’s purpose was to benefit all school children, regardless of the type of school they
attended, and that only textbooks approved by public school authorities could be loaned.
○ § 701 is therefore considered “completely neutral with respect to religion, merely making
available secular textbooks at the request of the individual student, and asking no question about
what school he attends.”
○ Section 701 is not a law which “establishes a religion or constitutes the use of public funds to aid
religious schools.”
● Hence, this appeal
● Appellant’s contentions:
○ Book are critical to the teaching process, and, in a sectarian school, that process is employed to
teach religion.
○ All teaching in a sectarian school is religious or that the processes of secular and religious training
are so intertwined that secular textbooks furnished to students by the public are, in fact,
instrumental in the teaching of religion.
○ § 701 offends the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

● W/N the statute violates the Establishment or the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment — NO

● CA judgment AFFIRMED.

● The Establishment Clause does not prevent a State from extending the benefits of state laws to all citizens
without regard for their religious affiliation.
● Everson v. Board of Education test for distinguishing between forbidden involvements of the State with
religion and those contacts which the Establishment Clause permits:
○ “The test may be stated as follows: what are the purpose and the primary effect of the enactment?
If either is the advancement or inhibition of religion, then the enactment exceeds the scope of
legislative power as circumscribed by the Constitution. That is to say that, to withstand the
strictures of the Establishment Clause, there must be a secular legislative purpose and a primary
effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion.”
● The express purpose of § 701 was stated by the New York Legislature to be furtherance of the educational
opportunities available to the young.
○ Appellants have shown us nothing about the necessary effects of the statute that is contrary to its
stated purpose.
○ The law merely makes available to all children the benefits of a general program to lend school
books free of charge.
○ Books are furnished at the request of the pupil and ownership remains, at least technically, in the
○ Thus, no funds or books are furnished to parochial schools, and the financial benefit is to parents
and children, not to schools.
● The language of § 701 does not authorize the loan of religious books, and the State claims no right to
distribute religious literature.
○ Although the books loaned are those required by the parochial school for use in specific courses,
each book loaned must be approved by the public school authorities; only secular books may
receive approval.
○ The record contains no suggestion that religious books have been loaned.
○ Books loaned to students are books that are not unsuitable for use in the public schools because of
religious content.
● Religious schools pursue two goals: religious instruction and secular education.
○ The continued willingness to rely on private school systems, including parochial systems, strongly
suggests that a wide segment of informed opinion, legislative and otherwise, has found that those
schools do an acceptable job of providing secular education to their students.
○ This judgment is further evidence that parochial schools are performing, in addition to their
sectarian function, the task of secular education.
○ Nothing in this record supports the proposition that all textbooks, whether they deal with
mathematics, physics, foreign languages, history, or literature, are used by the parochial schools to
teach religion.
● “it is necessary in a free exercise case for one to show the coercive effect of the enactment as it operates
against him in the practice of his religion,”
○ Appellants have not contended that the New York law in any way coerces them as individuals in
the practice of their religion.

G.R. No. L-31195 || June 5, 1973 || MAKASIAR, J.
(Non-establishment of religion; salary subsidy to teachers)
● Appeals regarding Pennsylvania and Rhode Island statutes providing state aid to church-related elementary
and secondary schools; challenged as violative of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of 1st
Amendment and Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment

Rhode Island Statute

● Authorizes state officials to supplement salaries of teachers of secular subjects in non-public
elementary schools by paying directly to a teacher an amount not in excess of 15% of current annual
○ Rested on legislative finding that quality education available in non-public schools jeopardized by
rapidly rising salaries
● To be eligible, the recipient must teach in a non-public school where the average per-pupil
expenditure on secular education is less than the average in State’s public schools
● Requires that teachers eligible for salary supplements must teach only those subjects offered in the
State’s public schools, and must agree in writing “not to teach a course in religion during time he/she
receives any salary supplements”

● District Court of Rhode Island held that it was UNCONSTITUTIONAL for violating the Establishment
Clause; and it fostered “excessive entanglement” between government and religion
○ Impermissible effect of giving “significant aid to a religious enterprise”

Pennsylvania Statute
● Authorizes Superintendent of Public Instruction to purchase secular educational services from
nonpublic schools, under the contract, the State directly reimburses nonpublic schools solely for their
actual expenditures for teachers’ salaries, textbooks, etc.
● A school seeking reimbursement must maintain prescribed accounting procedures that identify the
“separate” cost of “secular educational service”
● Reimbursement is limited to solely to courses following secular subjects, prohibiting reimbursement
for any course that contains “any subject matter expressing religious teaching, morals or forms of
worship for any sect”

● District Court of Pennsylvania held that it was CONSTITUTIONAL, statute violated neither
Establishment/Free Exercise Clause, for failure to state claim for relief.

Petitioners Contentions:
● Violates the Establishment and Free Exercise clause of the 1st Amendment

● W/N state aid to schools can be squared with dictates of Religion Clauses -- NO
● W/N the statutes in question are violative of provisions of 1st Amendment -- YES

● Appeal DISMISSED. Both statutes declared UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

● The statutes themselves state that they are intended to enhance the quality of the secular education in all
schools covered by the compulsory attendance laws.
● The legislatures have also recognized that church-related elementary/secondary schools have a
significant religious mission, and a substantial portion of their activities is religiously oriented
○ Sought to create statutory restrictions designed to guarantee the separation between secular
and religious educational functions
● All these provisions are precautions taken in recognition that these programs approached, even if they did
not intrude upon, the forbidden area under the Religion Clauses
● Cumulative impact of the entire relationship arising under the statutes in each State involves
excessive entanglement between government and religion
○ To determine w/n gov’t entanglement is excessive, look at the character and purposes of
institutions benefitted, nature of aid that State provides, and resulting relationship between gov’t
and religious authority
○ BOTH statutes foster an impermissible degree of entanglement

Re: Rhode Island Program

● 2/3 of the teachers are nuns, and there are religiously oriented extracurricular activities
● Court found that the parochial schools constituted “an integral part of the religious mission of the Catholic
Church” and the various characteristics of the schools make them a “powerful vehicle for transmitting the
Catholic faith to the next generation”
● Substantial religious character of church-related schools gives rise to entangling church-state
relationships to the kind the Religion Clauses sought to avoid
○ Although religious values did not necessarily intrude in secular subjects, religious activities led the
legislature to provide for such programs
○ Dangers and corresponding entanglements are enhanced by the particular form of aid that
the Rhode Island Act provides
● “A dedicated religious person, teaching in a school affiliated with his/her faith, will inevitably
experience great difficulty in remaining religiously neutral”; even with the best of intentions, such a
teacher would find it hard to make a total separation between secular teaching and religious doctrine
● The state inspection and evaluation of religious content of a religious organization (in the
examination of school records to determine how much of total expenditures is attributable to secular
education) is the kind of entanglement that the Constitution forbids

Re: Pennsylvania Program

● The very restrictions and surveillance necessary to ensure that teachers play a non-ideological role
give rise to the entanglements between church and state
○ Reimbursement excludes “any subject matter expressing religious teaching, or the morals or
forms of worship of any sect”
○ Schools seeking reimbursement must maintain accounting procedures that require the State to
establish the cost of secular from the religious instruction
○ Has the defect of providing state financial aid directly to the church-related school-- a direct
money subsidy would be a relationship full of involvement which the State is prohibited to
enter into (1st Amendment)
● In a community where such a large number of students are served by church-related schools, it can
be assumed that state assistance will entail considerable political activity
○ Partisans of parochial schools will inevitably champion this cause and promote political action to
achieve their goals
○ Unrealistic to ignore that many people confronted with issues of this kind will find their
votes aligned with their faith
● Political division among religious lines was one of the principal evils against which 1st Amendment
was intended to protect
○ Political fragmentation and divisiveness on religious lines are likely to be intensified
● Such pressures for expanding state aid have become so great that a portion of state revenues of cigarette
taxes had been incorporated into the program

MAIN POINT: The gov’t is to be entirely excluded from the area of religious instruction, and churches
excluded from the affairs of the government; the Constitution decrees that religion must be a private matter
and that while some involvement and entanglement are inevitable, some lines must be drawn

Tilton v. Richardson — A

County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union — B

G.R. No. 204819 || April 8, 2014 || MENDOZA, J.
(Non-establishment of religion: RH Law)
● RH Law was enacted by Congress in December 21, 2012, and was met with several challenges regarding
its validity and constitutionality (14 petitions, 2 petitions-in-intervention)

Petitioners’ Contentions:
● Violates the right to life of the unborn
○ Implementation would authorize purchase of hormonal contraceptives, IUDs and injectables
which are violative of Sec. 12, Art. 2 of the Consti (protection of life of mother and life of the
unborn from conception)
● Violates the right to health and right to protection against hazardous products
○ Universal access to contraceptives is hazardous to health as it causes cancer and other
● Violates the right to religious freedom, violating constitutional guarantee respecting religion
○ Authorizes use of public funds to procure contraceptives, which are contrary to their beliefs
○ Compels medical practitioners to:
■ Refer patients who seek advice on RH programs to other doctors
■ Provide full and correct information on RH services although it is against their religious
beliefs and convictions
○ IRR of RH Law provides that skilled health professionals who are public officers cannot be
considered as conscientious objectors
○ RH Law providing for the formulation of mandatory sex education in schools should not be
allowed as it is offensive to their religious beliefs
○ RH Law fails to satisfy the “clear and present danger test” and the “compelling state interest test”
to justify the regulation of the right to free exercise of religion and the right to free speech.
● Violates Consti provision on involuntary servitude
○ Subjects medical practitioners to involuntary servitude because to be accredited under PhilHealth
they are compelled to provide 48 hours of pro-bono services
○ A medical practitioner will be forced to render RH services, since lack of PhilHealth accreditation
= services no longer available public
● Violates right to equal protection
○ Discriminates against the poor as it makes them the primary target of the government program that
promotes contraceptive use
○ RH Law seeks to introduce contraceptives that would effectively reduce the number of the poor
● Violates the due process clause
○ “Void-for-vagueness”: Imposition of penalty of imprisonment and/or fine for “any violation,” —
vague because it does not define the type of conduct to be treated as “violation” of the RH Law
○ Removes from the people the right to manage their own affairs and to decide what kind of health
facility they shall be and what kind of services they shall offer
○ Ignores the management prerogative inherent in corporations for employers to conduct their affairs
in accordance with their own discretion and judgment
● Violates the right to free speech
○ To compel a person to explain a full range of family planning methods is plainly to curtail his
right to expound only his own preferred way of family planning
○ Although exemption is granted to institutions owned and operated by religious groups, they are
still forced to refer their patients to another healthcare facility willing to perform the service or
● Intrudes into the zone of privacy of one’s family
○ Intrudes upon their constitutional right to raise their children in accordance with their beliefs
● Violates the constitutional principle of non-delegation of legislative authority
○ The delegation by Congress to the FDA of the power to determine whether a product is non-
abortifacient and to be included in the Emergency Drugs List (EDL) is an undue delegation of
legislative power
● Violates the one subject/one bill rule
● Violates Natural Law
● Violates the principle of Autonomy of LGUs and the ARMM
○ RH Law, providing for reproductive health measures at the local government level and the
ARMM, infringes upon the powers devolved to LGUs and the ARMM under the LGC and RA

Respondent’s Contentions:
● There is no actual case or controversy — the issues are not yet ripe for judicial determination
● Some petitioners lack standing to question the RH Law
● The petitions are essentially petitions for declaratory relief over which the Court has no original jurisdiction

● Procedural
○ W/N there is an actual case/controversy — YES
○ W/N petitioners have legal standing — YES
● Substantive
○ W/N the RH Law violates the ff Constitutional guarantees/provisions:
■ Right to Life — NO
■ Right to Health — NO
■ Freedom of Religion and the Right to Free Speech — YES and NO (see RATIO)
■ The Family — YES
■ Freedom of Expression and Academic Freedom — NO
■ Due Process — NO
■ Equal Protection — NO
■ Involuntary Servitude — NO
■ Delegation of Authority to the FDA — NO (it is a valid delegation)
■ One Subject/One Title Rule — NO
■ Autonomy of Local Governments/ARMM — NO
○ W/N RH Law violates Natural Law — Court does not consider Natural Law as basis for
upholding/invalidating a law

● Petition PARTIALLY GRANTED. RH Law CONSTITUTIONAL. With the ff. provisions deemed
○ Section 7 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they
■ Require private health facilities and non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals
owned and operated by a religious group to refer patients, not in an emergency or life-
threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to another health facility
which is conveniently accessible
■ Allow minor-parents or minors who have suffered a miscarriage access to modem
methods of family planning without written consent from their parents or guardian/s
○ Section 23(a)(l) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly Section 5.24 thereof,
insofar as they punish any healthcare service provider who fails and or refuses to disseminate
information regarding programs and services on reproductive health regardless of his or her
religious beliefs.
○ Section 23(a)(2)(i) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they allow a married
individual, not in an emergency or life-threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344,
to undergo reproductive health procedures without the consent of the spouse
○ Section 23(a)(2)(ii) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR insofar as they limit the
requirement of parental consent only to elective surgical procedures.
○ Section 23(a)(3) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly Section 5.24 thereof,
insofar as they punish any healthcare service provider who fails and/or refuses to refer a patient
not in an emergency or life-threatening case, as defined under Republic Act No. 8344, to another
health care service provider within the same facility or one which is conveniently accessible
regardless of his or her religious beliefs
○ Section 23(b) and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR, particularly Section 5.24 thereof,
insofar as they punish any public officer who refuses to support reproductive health programs or
shall do any act that hinders the full implementation of a reproductive health program, regardless
of his or her religious beliefs
○ Section 17 and the corresponding provision in the RH-IRR regarding the rendering of pro bono
reproductive health service in so far as they affect the conscientious objector in securing
PhilHealth accreditation
○ Section 3.0l(a) and Section 3.01 G) of the RH-IRR, which added the qualifier “primarily” in
defining abortifacients and contraceptives, as they are ultra vires and, therefore, null and void for
contravening Section 4(a) of the RH Law and violating Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.

● Judicial Review; Actual Case or Controversy
o The fact the law or act in question is not yet effective does not negate the ripeness of the case.
Even a singular violation of the Constitution and/or the law is enough to awaken judicial duty.
● Locus Standi
o The rule on standing is a matter of procedure can be relaxed for non-traditional plaintiffs like
ordinary citizens, taxpayers, and legislators when the public interest s requires, such as when the
matter is of a transcendental importance of overreaching significance to the society, or of
paramount public interest.

Right to life
● Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution:
o “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a
basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of
the unborn from conception.”
● In its plain and ordinary meaning (a canon in statutory construction), the traditional meaning of
“conception” according to reputable dictionaries cited by the ponente is that life begins at fertilization.
● The framers of the Constitution also intended for
o “conception” to refer to the moment of “fertilization
o The protection of the unborn child upon fertilization
● In addition, they did not intend to ban all contraceptives for being unconstitutional; only those that kill or
destroy the fertilized ovum would be prohibited.
o Contraceptives that actually prevent the union of the male sperm and female ovum, and those that
similarly take action before fertilization should be deemed non-abortive, and thus constitutionally
● The clear and unequivocal intent of the framers of the 1987 Constitution in protecting the life of the unborn
from conception was to prevent the Legislature from enacting a measure legalizing abortion.
o The RH Law is in line with this intent and actually prohibits abortion.
o The Court finds that the RH Law itself clearly mandates that protection be afforded from the
moment of fertilization.
o The RH Law recognizes that abortion is a crime under Art. 256 of the Revised Penal Code.
● In carrying out its declared policy, the RH Law is consistent in prohibiting abortifacients.
o By using the word “or” in defining abortifacient, the RH Law prohibits not only drugs or devices
that prevent implantation but also those that induce abortion and induce the destruction of a fetus
inside the mother’s womb.

RE: IRR – IRR was issued in GAD

● The authors of the IRR gravely abused their office when they redefined the meaning of abortifacient by
using the term “primarily”.
● Recognizing as abortifacients only those that “primarily induce abortion or the destruction of a fetus inside
the mother’s womb or the prevention of the fertilized ovum to reach and be implanted in the mother’s
womb” would pave the way for the approval of contraceptives that may harm or destroy the life of the
unborn from conception/fertilization.
● This violates Section 12, Article II of the Constitution.
● For the same reason, the definition of contraceptives under the IRR which also uses the term “primarily”,
must be struck down.

Right to health
● Section 15, Article II of the Constitution:
o “The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health
consciousness among them.”
● Contrary to the respondent’s notion, the provisions in the Constitution providing for the State’s duty to
provide for the health of the people are self-executing. There is no need for legislation to implement these
self-executing provisions.
● Some petitioners do not question contraception and contraceptives per se. Rather, they pray that the status
quo under RA 4729 and 5921 be maintained. These laws prohibit the sale and distribution of contraceptives
without the prescription of a duly-licensed physician.
● The RH Law does not intend to do away with RA 4729 (1966).
o With RA 4729 in place, the Court believes adequate safeguards exist to ensure that only safe
contraceptives are made available to the public.
o In fulfilling its mandate under Sec. 10 of the RH Law, the DOH must keep in mind the provisions
of RA 4729: the contraceptives it will procure shall be from a duly licensed drug store or
pharmaceutical company and that the actual distribution of these contraceptive drugs and devices
will be done following a prescription of a qualified medical practitioner.
● At any rate, it bears pointing out that not a single contraceptive has yet been submitted to the FDA pursuant
to the RH Law. Consequently, the Court finds that, at this point, the attack on the RH Law on this ground is
premature. It must determined on a case to case basis.
● Meanwhile, the requirement of Section 9 of the RH Law is to be considered “mandatory” only after these
devices and materials have been tested, evaluated and approved by the FDA. Congress cannot determine
that contraceptives are “safe, legal, non-abortifacient and effective” without the proper scientific
Freedom of religion and the free exercise clause
● The Court cannot determine whether or not the use of contraceptives or participation in support of modern
RH measures (a) is moral from a religious standpoint; or, (b) right or wrong according to one’s dogma or
● However, the Court has the authority to determine whether or not the RH Law contravenes the
Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.

1. RH Law does NOT violate the guarantee of religious freedom when it mandates the state-sponsored
procurement of contraceptives, which contravene the religious beliefs of the people including the petitioners
● The State may pursue its legitimate secular objectives without being dictated upon the policies of any one
● To allow religious sects to dictate policy or restrict other groups would violate Article III, Section 5 of the
Constitution or the Establishment Clause. This would cause the State to adhere to a particular religion, and
thus, establishes a state religion.
2. The principle of separation of Church and State was, thus, enshrined in Article II, Section 6 of the 1987
● “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.”
3. The basis of the free exercise clause is the respect for the inviolability of the human conscience.
● Under this part of religious freedom guarantee, the State is prohibited from unduly interfering with the
outside manifestations of one’s belief and faith.
● In case of conflict between the free exercise clause and the State, the Court adheres to the doctrine of
benevolent neutrality.
● In ascertaining the limits of the exercise of religious freedom, the compelling state interest test is proper.
o Underlying the compelling state interest test is the notion that free exercise is a fundamental right and
that laws burdening it should be subject to strict scrutiny.
o The “compelling state interest” test is proper where conduct is involved for the whole gamut of human
conduct has different effects on the state’s interests: some effects may be immediate and short- term
while others delayed and far-reaching.
o Only a compelling interest of the state can prevail over the fundamental right to religious liberty.
o The test requires the state to carry a heavy burden, a compelling one, for to do otherwise would allow
the state to batter religion, especially the less powerful ones until they are destroyed.
o In determining which shall prevail between the state’s interest and religious liberty, reasonableness
shall be the guide.
● Application the test to this case:
o At first glance, it appears that the RH Law recognizes and respects religion and religious beliefs and
o It is replete with assurances the no one can be compelled to violate the tenets of his religion or defy his
religious convictions against his free will.
o While the Constitution prohibits abortion, laws were enacted allowing the use of contraceptives.
o Consistent with the principle of benevolent neutrality, their beliefs should be respected.
4. RH Law violates the guarantee of religious freedom by compelling medical health practitioners, hospitals, and
health care providers, under pain of penalty, to refer patients to other institutions despite their conscientious
objections based on religious or ethical beliefs.
● Sections 7, 23, and 24 of the RH Law violate the religious belief and conviction of a conscientious objector.
o They are contrary to Section 29(2), Article VI of the Constitution or the Free Exercise Clause, whose
basis is the respect for the inviolability of the human conscience.
● The provisions in the RH Law compelling non-maternity specialty hospitals and hospitals owned and
operated by a religious group and health care service providers to refer patients to other providers and
penalizing them if they fail to do so as well as compelling them to disseminate information and perform RH
procedures under pain of penalty also violate (and inhibit) the freedom of religion.
o While penalties may be imposed by law to ensure compliance to it, a constitutionally-protected right
must prevail over the effective implementation of the law.
● Excluding public health officers from being conscientious objectors also violates the equal protection
o There is no perceptible distinction between public health officers and their private counterparts.
o The freedom to believe is intrinsic in every individual and the protection of this freedom remains even
if he/she is employed in the government.
● Using the compelling state interest test, there is no compelling state interest to limit the free exercise of
conscientious objectors.
o There is no immediate danger to the life or health of an individual in the perceived scenario of the
above-quoted provisions. In addition, the limits do not pertain to life-threatening cases.
● The respondents also failed to show that these provisions are least intrusive means to achieve a legitimate
state objective.
o The Legislature has already taken other secular steps to ensure that the right to health is protected, such
as RA 4729, RA 6365 (The Population Act of the Philippines) and RA 9710 (The Magna Carta of
5. RH Law does NOT violate the guarantee of religious freedom by requiring would-be spouses, as a condition for
the issuance of a marriage license, to attend a seminar on parenthood, family planning, breastfeeding and infant
● Section 15 of the RH Law requiring it is a reasonable exercise of police power by the government.
● The law does not even mandate the type of family planning methods to be included in the seminar. Those
who attend the seminar are free to accept or reject information they receive and they retain the freedom to
decide on matters of family life without the intervention of the State.

Right to privacy of the Family (marital privacy & autonomy)

● Section 23(a)(2)(i) of the RH Law, which permits RH procedures even with only the consent of the spouse
undergoing the provision (disregarding spousal content), intrudes into martial privacy and autonomy and
goes against the constitutional safeguards for the family as the basic social institution.
● Particularly, Section 3, Article XV of the Constitution mandates the State to defend:
o The right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their religious convictions and the
demands of responsible parenthood
o The right of families or family associations to participate in the planning and implementation of
policies and programs that affect them.
▪ The RH Law cannot infringe upon this mutual decision-making, and endanger the
institutions of marriage and the family.
● Section 7 of RH Law disregards and disobeys the constitutional mandate that “the natural and primary
right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral
character shall receive the support of the Government.” The right of the parent in upbringing their youth is
superior to that of the State.
● To insist on a rule that interferes with the right of parents to exercise parental control over their minor-child
or the right of the spouses to mutually decide on matters which very well affect the very purpose of
marriage, that is, the establishment of conjugal and family life, would result in the violation of one’s
privacy with respect to his family.
o It is violative of the recognition that the State affords couples entering into the special contract of
marriage to as one unit in forming the foundation of the family and society.
● The State cannot, without a compelling state interest, take over the role of parents in the care and custody
of a minor child, whether or not the latter is already a parent or has had a miscarriage.
o Only a compelling state interest can justify a state substitution of their parental authority.
● The exclusion of parental consent in cases where a minor undergoing a procedure is already a parent or has
had a miscarriage is also anti-family and violates Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution:
o “The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency
and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.”
● However, a minor may access information (as opposed to procedures) about family planning services. In
addition, an exception may be made in life- threatening procedures.

Freedom of expression and academic freedom

● The Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of Section 14 of the RH Law, which mandates the State
to provide Age-and Development-Appropriate Reproductive Health Education.
● Although educators might raise their objection to their participation in the RH education program, the
Court reserves its judgment should an actual case be filed before it.
● Any attack on its constitutionality and validity of Section 14 of RH Law is premature because the
Department of Education has not yet formulated a curriculum on age-appropriate reproductive health
● Section 12, Article II of the Constitution places more importance on the role of parents in the development
of their children with the use of the term “primary”.
● While the right of parents in upbringing their youth is superior to that of the State, it is also the inherent
right of the State to act as parens patriae to aid parents in the moral development of the youth. The
Constitution makes mention of the importance of developing the youth and their important role in nation
● The legal mandate of the provisions of Section 14 of the RH Law and pertinent provisions of its IRR,
providing not only for the age-appropriate reproductive health education but also values formation,
development of knowledge in self- protection against discrimination, sexual abuse and violence, etc.,
supplement, rather than supplant, the right and duties of the parents in the moral development of their
● By incorporating parent-teacher-community associations, school officials, and other interest groups in
developing the mandatory RH program, it could very well be said that the program will be in line with the
religious beliefs of the petitioners.

Due process (void for vagueness)

● RE: The term “private health care service provider”
o The definition of “private health care service provider” must be seen in relation to Section 4(n) of
the RH Law which defines a “public health service provider”.
▪ Further, the use of the term “private health care institution” in Section 7 of the law,
instead of “private health care service provider,” should not be a cause of confusion for
the obvious reason that they are used synonymously
o A statute or act suffers from the defect of vagueness when it lacks comprehensible standards that
men of common intelligence must necessarily guess its meaning and differ as to its application.
o In determining whether the words used in a statute are vague, words must not only be taken in
accordance with their plain meaning alone, but also in relation to other parts of the statute.
o It is a rule that every part of the statute must be interpreted with reference to the context, that is,
every part of it must be construed together with the other parts and kept subservient to the general
intent of the whole enactment.
● RE: “service” and “methods”
o The terms “service” and “methods” are also broad enough to include providing of information and
rendering of medical procedures.
o Thus, hospitals operated by religious groups are exempted from rendering RH service and modern
family planning methods (as provided for by Section 7 of the RH Law) as well as from giving RH
information and procedures.
● RE: “incorrect information”
o The RH Law also defines “incorrect information”.
o From its plain meaning, the word “incorrect” here denotes failing to agree with a copy or model or
with established rules; inaccurate, faulty; failing to agree with the requirements of duty, morality
or propriety; and failing to coincide with the truth. On the other hand, the word “knowingly”
means with awareness or deliberateness that is intentional. Used together in relation to Section 23
(a)(1), the terms “incorrect” and “knowingly” connote a sense of malice and ill motive to mislead
or misrepresent the public as to the nature and effect of programs and services on reproductive
o Public health and safety demand that health care service providers give their honest and correct
medical information in accordance with what is acceptable in medical practice.
o While health care service providers are not barred from expressing their own personal opinions
regarding the programs and services on reproductive health, their right must be tempered with the
need to provide public health and safety. The public deserves no less.

Equal protection
● To provide that the poor are to be given priority in the government’s reproductive health care program is
not a violation of the equal protection clause.
o In fact, it is pursuant to Section 11, Article XIII of the Constitution which recognizes the distinct
necessity to address the needs of the underprivileged by providing that they be given priority in
addressing the health development of the people.
● The RH Law does NOT only seek to target the poor to reduce their number, since Section 7 of the RH Law
prioritizes poor and marginalized couples who are suffering from fertility issues and desire to have
o In addition, the RH Law does not prescribe the number of children a couple may have and does
not impose conditions upon couples who intend to have children. The RH Law only seeks to
provide priority to the poor.
● According to a long line of SC decisions, equal protection simply requires that all persons or things
similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed.
o The purpose of the equal protection clause is to secure every person within a state’s jurisdiction
against intentional and arbitrary discrimination, whether occasioned by the express terms of a
statue or by its improper execution through the state’s duly constituted authorities.”
o “In other words, the concept of equal justice under the law requires the state to govern impartially,
and it may not draw distinctions between individuals solely on differences that are irrelevant to a
legitimate governmental objective.”
● It, however, does not require the universal application of the laws to all persons or things without
● Furthermore, the exclusion of private educational institutions from the mandatory RH education program
under Section 14 is valid and constitutional.
o There is a need to recognize the academic freedom of private educational institutions especially
with respect to religious instruction and to consider their sensitivity towards the teaching of
reproductive health education.

Prohibition against involuntary servitude

● The practice of medicine is undeniably imbued with public interest that it is both the power and a duty of
the State to control and regulate it in order to protect and promote the public welfare.
o Practice of medicine is not a right but a privilege burdened with conditions as it directly involves
the very lives of the people.
o Congress can prescribe qualifications and conditions for the practice of profession or trades which
affect the public welfare.
● Section 17 only encourages private and non-government RH service providers to render pro bono service.
o Besides the PhilHealth accreditation, no penalty is imposed should they do otherwise.
● Private and non-government reproductive healthcare service providers also enjoy the liberty to choose
which kind of health service they wish to provide, when, where and how to provide it or whether to provide
it all.
o Clearly, therefore, no compulsion, force or threat is made upon them to render pro bono service
against their will.
● However, conscientious objectors are exempt from Sec. 17 as long as their religious beliefs do not allow
them to render RH service, pro bono or otherwise.

Delegation of authority to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

● The Court finds it valid delegation as the FDA not only has the power but also the competency to evaluate,
register and cover health services and methods under RA 3720 as amended by RA 9711 or the FDA Act of
● Being the country’s premiere and sole agency that ensures the safety of food and medicines available to the
public, the FDA was equipped with the necessary powers and functions to make it effective.
● From the declared policy of the RH Law, it is clear that Congress intended that the public be given only
those medicines that are proven medically safe, legal, non-abortifacient, and effective in accordance with
scientific and evidence-based medical research standards.

Autonomy of Local Governments / ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)

● RH Law does NOT infringe upon the autonomy of local governments.
● Paragraph (c) of Section 17 of LGC provides a categorical exception of cases involving nationally-funded
projects, facilities, programs and services.
o Unless a local government unit (LGU) is particularly designated as the implementing agency, it
has no power over a program for which funding has been provided by the national government
under the annual general appropriations act, even if the program involves the delivery of basic
services within the jurisdiction of the LGU.
● In addition, LGUs are merely encouraged to provide RH services.
o Provision of these services are not mandatory.
o Therefore, the RH Law does not amount to an undue encroachment by the national government
upon the autonomy enjoyed by LGUs.
● Article III, Sections 6, 10, and 11 of RA 9054 or the Organic Act of the ARMM merely delineates the
powers that may be exercised by the regional government.
o These provisions cannot be seen as an abdication by the State of its power to enact legislation that
would benefit the general welfare.

Natural Law
● With respect to the argument that the RH Law violates natural law, suffice it to say that the Court does not
duly recognize it as a legal basis for upholding or invalidating a law.
● Our only guidepost is the Constitution.
● While every law enacted by man emanated from what is perceived as natural law, the Court is not obliged
to see if a statute, executive issuance or ordinance is in conformity to it.
● To begin with, it is not enacted by an acceptable legitimate body. Moreover, natural laws are mere thoughts
and notions on inherent rights espoused by theorists, philosophers and theologists. The jurists of the
philosophical school are interested in the law as an abstraction, rather than in the actual law of the past or
● Unless, a natural right has been transformed into a written law, it cannot serve as a basis to strike down a