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Hilao vs.



Victims of torture, summary execution and disappearance filed suits for damages,
in the form of a class action as well as individual direct actions, against the Estate
of the former President of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos (MARCOS), for
human rights violations. Specifically, the violations are alleged to have occurred
during the period in which MARCOS, as President of the Philippines, declared
martial law, from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986.

In 1986 MARCOS fled the Philippines and arrived in the State of Hawaii. MARCOS
was a resident of Hawaii at the time he was served with the complaints that are
the subject *1462 of this litigation but he died during the pendency of these
actions. The Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos (the ESTATE) has been substituted in
MARCOS' place; his widow, Imelda Marcos, and his son, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Jr.,
have appeared before this Court as representatives of the ESTATE.

The action was tried in the three phases: (1) liability, (2) exemplary damages, and
(3) compensatory damages, over a nine year period from 1986 to 1995. In the
compensatory damages phase, Phase III, this Court allowed the jury to consider
the damages to a random sample of plaintiffs as representative of the injuries
suffered by those in the three subclasses; i.e. (1) plaintiffs who were tortured; (2)
the families of those individuals who were the subjects of summary execution; and
(3) the families of those who disappeared as the result of the actions of MARCOS.
Pragmatically, the jury could not hear testimony of nearly 10,000 plaintiffs in this
action within any practicable and reasonable time, to do justice to the class
members. The individual plaintiffs who opted out of the certified class action each
presented his or her individual claim for compensatory damages to the jury in a
separate part of the Trial.

This opinion addresses the compensatory damages phase of the trial. The Court
deals here with the propriety of the use of inferential statistics to ascertain the
damages suffered by each of the 9,541[1] class members.

MARCOS was elected President of the Philippines in 1965 and was re-elected in
1969. The Philippine Constitution of 1935, still in effect in 1972, was similar to the
United States Constitution, in that it limited election of the President to two four-
year terms. Thus, MARCOS would have had to leave the office of the Presidency
by the end of 1973, but he did not.

On September 21, 1972 MARCOS imposed martial law on all of the Philippines
through Proclamation 1081, which suspended the Constitution, in order to keep
himself in office. The stated purpose for the imposition of martial law, as
expressed in Proclamation 1081, was:

"to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all
forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to
enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated
by me personally or upon my direction."[2]

At the time martial law was declared, a Constitutional Convention, elected by the
people, had been meeting and was near completion of proposed revisions to the
1935 Constitution. On orders from MARCOS, some delegates to the Convention
were arrested and placed under detention while others went into hiding or left the
country leaving the revisions uncompleted.

Without allowing for ratification of the new Constitution by a plebiscite, on

January 17, 1973, MARCOS ordered ratification of a revised Constitution, tailor-
made for his maintenance of power. With those actions MARCOS planted the seeds
for what grew into a virtual dictatorship in the Philippines.

The new Constitution nullified the term limits for the President and provided that
MARCOS could function as President, using his own judgment, for as long as
necessary. Until he convened a new legislative body, MARCOS also had sole
authority to rule in the Philippines.

Proclamation 1081 not only declared martial law, but also set the stage for what
plaintiffs alleged, and the jury found, to be acts of torture, summary execution,
disappearance, arbitrary detention, and numerous other atrocities for which the
jury found MARCOS personally responsible.
*1463 MARCOS gradually increased his own power to such an extent that there
were no limits to his orders of the human rights violations suffered by plaintiffs in
this action. MARCOS promulgated General Order No. 1 which stated he was the
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The order also stated
that MARCOS was to govern the nation and direct the operation of the entire
Government, including all its agencies and instrumentalities. By General Orders 2
and 2-A, signed by MARCOS immediately after proclaiming martial law, MARCOS
authorized the arrest, by the military, of a long list of dissidents. By General
Order 3, MARCOS maintained, as captive, the executive and judicial branches of
all political entities in the Philippines until otherwise ordered by himself

Immediately after the declaration of martial law the issuance of General Orders 1,
2, 2A, 3 and 3A caused arrests of persons accused of subversion, apparently
because of their real or apparent opposition to the MARCOS government. These
arrests were made pursuant to orders issued by the Secretary of Defense Juan
Ponce Enrile ("ENRILE"), or MARCOS himself.

The arrest orders were means for detention of each of the representatives of the
plaintiff class as well as each of the individual plaintiffs. During those detentions
the plaintiffs experienced human rights violations including, but not limited to the

1. Beatings while blindfolded by punching, kicking and hitting with the butts of

2. The "telephone" where a detainee's ears were clapped simultaneously, producing

a ringing sound in the head;

3. Insertion of bullets between the fingers of a detainee and squeezing the hand;

4. The "wet submarine", where a detainee's head was submerged in a toilet bowl
full of excrement;

5. The "water cure", where a cloth was placed over the detainee's mouth and nose,
and water poured over it producing a drowning sensation;
6. The "dry submarine", where a plastic bag was placed over the detainee's head
producing suffocation;

7. Use of a detainee's hands for putting out lighted cigarettes;

8. Use of flat-irons on the soles of a detainee's feet;

9. Forcing a detainee while wet and naked to sit before an air conditioner often
while sitting on a block of ice;

10. Injection of a clear substance into the body a detainee believed to be truth

11. Stripping, sexually molesting and raping female detainees; one male plaintiff
testified he was threatened with rape;

12. Electric shock where one electrode is attached to the genitals of males or the
breast of females and another electrode to some other part of the body, usually a
finger, and electrical energy produced from a military field telephone is sent
through the body;

13. Russian roulette; and

14. Solitary confinement while handcuffed or tied to a bed.

All of these forms of torture were used during "tactical interrogation"[4],

attempting to elicit information from detainees concerning opposition to the
MARCOS government. The more the detainees resisted, whether purposefully or
out of lack of knowledge, the more serious the torture used.

Eventually, MARCOS, his family and others loyal to him fled to Hawaii in February
of 1986. One month later, a number of lawsuits were filed, including those that are
the subject of this case.


On September 22, 1992, in the liability phase of the trial, the jury found
defendants liable to 10,059 plaintiffs, for the acts of *1464 torture, summary
execution and disappearance. On February 23, 1994 the jury awarded plaintiffs
$1.2 billion in exemplary damages.

In the compensatory damages phase, the class action plaintiffs presented their
case to the jury by using damages sustained by a random sample of plaintiffs as
representative of damages suffered by the entire class. After reviewing the
deposition of 137 claimants and hearing the live testimony of several class
members who could come to Court, the Special Master presented a report to the
jury recommending the damages suffered by the 137 claimants, to give the jury a
statistically valid representation of damages suffered by the entire class. On
January 20, 1995, the jury reconvened and after hearing several representatives
of the class and the testimony of the Special Master found the defendant liable to
the class for over $766 million in compensatory damages, with individual plaintiff's
awards ranging from $150,000 to $700,000.

The Court held that damages of 137 of the claimants, presented to the jury in the
form of a report presented by the Special Master, was representative of damages
sustained by the entire class, and introduction of such report did not offend due
process. Furthermore, the fact that defendants did not have the opportunity to
cross-examine all class plaintiffs, because only the testimony of 137 claimants was
presented in the report, did not violate defendant's right to a jury trial under the
Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution.[5]

This opinion will address judgment as to the class plaintiffs only.


A. Issues Presented

All threshold issues in this case have been previously resolved by the Ninth
Circuit.[6] At this time there are two issues before this Court. The primary question
is whether the use by this Court of a random sample of plaintiffs, as
representative of the injuries suffered by others in the class, violates defendant's
due process rights. The second question is whether use of the random sample
violates the defendant's Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial.

B. Random Sampling

1. Introduction

The ESTATE asserts random sampling is inappropriate for this case, and each
claim should be individually tried. This Court holds otherwise. The use of aggregate
procedures, with the help of an expert in the field of inferential statistics, for the
purpose of determining class compensatory damages is proper.

James Dannemiller, an expert in the field of inferential statistics and survey

sampling for twenty five years, assisted in this case. He has testified as an expert
in those areas in both state and federal courts. Mr. Dannemiller formulated a plan
so that only 137 randomly selected claims, of the 9,541 claims found to be valid,
would have to be examined in order to achieve a 95% statistical *1465 confidence
level that all claims would fall within the ambit of the 137 randomly selected

Mr. Dannemiller testified[8] that inferential statistics is a recognized science which

uses mathematical equations to infer the probability of events occurring or not
occurring. One branch of that science is the sampling theory, which deals with the
selection of sample sizes sufficient to produce results that can be applied to a
larger population from which the sample was selected with a specified probability
of error. The formula Dannemiller used in this case is a well-known statistical tool
that is found in Leslie Kish, Survey Sampling 53 (New York, John Wiley and Sons

Mr. Dannemiller testified under the KISH FORMULA, 137 randomly selected valid
claims examined from a larger population of 9,541 validly submitted claims by class
members would produce a 95% confidence level. The Court then considered the
details of deposing 137 randomly selected claimants.
This Court appointed a Special Master[9], to facilitate the taking of depositions of
137 randomly selected plaintiffs. The Special Master's appointment had a three-
fold purpose: first, he supervised the taking of the 137 depositions in the
Philippines; second, he served as a court-appointed expert on damages, under
Federal Rule of Evidence 706, to review the deposition transcripts along with the
claim forms; finally, he made recommendations on compensatory damages for the
137 claimants as well as the remaining class members[10] to the jury. The Special
Master's 182 page findings and recommendations, and the six page addendum
thereto, are attached hereto as Appendix A and Appendix B, respectively.[*]

The depositions which the Special Master oversaw were noticed and taken in
accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Although having notice of the
depositions of the 137 class member sample and the names of the individual class
members, the ESTATE chose not to participate and did not appear at any of the
depositions, which were taken during October and November of 1994. Nor did the
ESTATE choose to depose any of the 9,541 class members to test the procedure
employed by the Court, or to acquire evidence to refute the fairness to the
defendant of this random selection process using inferential statistical

The Special Master was directed by this Court to review the depositions for the
following three elements: (1) whether the abuse claimed fell within one of the
three definitions, with which the Court charged the jury at the liability phase of
the trial; (2) whether the Philippine military or paramilitary was involved in such
abuse; and (3) whether the abuse occurred during the period of September 1972
through February 1986. The claims of all the class members were filed with the
Court and examined by the Special Master. Each claim was made under oath. After
considering the deposition *1466 of the 137 claimants and the claims filed by each
of the class members, the Special Master prepared the attached report.

Of the 137 randomly sampled claims, 67 were torture victims, 52 were execution
victims and 18 were disappearance victims.[11] Based upon the depositions of each of
the 137 randomly selected class member's claims and review of all the claims of
the remaining class members, the Special Master recommended damages under
Philippine, International, and American law, for each of the three categories of
claims. During the Special Master's testimony, the Court advised the jury that
they, in determining damages, could accept, modify or reject the recommendations
of the Special Master.[12] The jury was also instructed that they could,
independently, on the basis of the depositions of the 137 randomly chosen class
members, make their own judgment as to the individual damages of the 137
claimants and the aggregate damages suffered by the class. Copies of the Special
Master's and Court-Appointed Expert's Report and Addendum thereto were
supplied to each member of the jury. After five days of deliberations, the jury
returned a verdict of over $766 million, approximately $1 million less than the
Special Master had recommended.

In his report and testimony, the Special Master made damage determinations for
torture victims by ranking each claim from 1-5, with 5 representing the worst
abuses and suffering. The torture claims were evaluated based upon Judge Real's
decision in Trajano v. Imee Marcos-Manotoc, aff'd, In re: Estate of Ferdinand E.
Marcos Litigation, 978 F.2d 493 (9th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 113 S.
Ct. 2960, 125 L. Ed. 2d 661 (1993), as part of this matter, and the following
considerations: (1) physical torture, including what methods were used and/or
abuses were suffered; (2) mental abuse, including fright and anguish; (3) amount of
time torture lasted; (4) length of detention, if any; (5) physical and/or mental
injuries; (6) victim's age; and (7) actual losses, including medical bills. Although
each claim of torture could have been but were not totally unique, as the Court
Appointed Expert on damages, the Special Master, was able to determine that
there were sufficient similarities within a rating category to recommend a
standard damage amount to each victim within that grouping.

For summary execution and disappearance claims, whether there was any torture
prior to a victim's death or disappearance weighed into the damages recommended
for these two categories. Applying Philippine law, loss of earnings in torture claims
was also factored into each of the Special Master's recommendations. After the
aggregate lost earnings were computed, the result was converted into American
dollars by dividing the figure by twenty-four, which was the approximate exchange
rate, as of December 1994, between U.S. dollars and Philippine pesos.

Because there were discrepancies between some transcripts stating income earned
in gross, some in net, and some giving no amount, serving as the Court Appointed
Expert on damages, the Special Master, recommended that it was necessary to
place a cap upon lost earnings; $120,000 was the maximum a claimant could receive.
When a witness did not state the amount of income earned by a summary execution
or disappearance victim, an average for the victim's occupation was utilized. For
example, when the victim was a farmer, the average earnings for one harvesting
the same crop on the same amount of land was used. If a person stated the
victim's income in terms of perharvest, and if there were three harvests per year,
for example, then that victim's earnings would be multiplied by three. For any
victim who did not work, there was no award given for lost earnings.[13]

For computing the total amount of damages for summary execution and
disappearance victims, depending on the individual facts, there were different
variables which went into the equation: (1) torture prior to death or disappearance;
(2) the actual killing *1467 or disappearance; (3) the victim's family's mental
anguish; and (4) lost earnings, calculated in the above described manner.

2. Precedent

The utilization of random sampling was fully examined in Cimino v. Raymark

Industries, Inc., 751 F. Supp. 649 (E.D.Tex.1990), an asbestos class action. There,
Chief Judge Robert M. Parker of the Eastern District of Texas allowed the use of
inferential statistics in determining the amount of damages to award each class
plaintiff. The 2,298 class members were divided into five categories based on the
plaintiff's individual claims. The Court then selected a random sampling from each
disease category created by the asbestos and the damages attributed to each
sample category was then presented to the jury. Each plaintiff who was a member
of the random sampling was awarded his individual verdict and the average verdict
for each disease category constituted the damage awarded for each non-sampled
class member.

As in Cimino, here class members were divided into three categoriestorture,

summary execution and disappearancebased upon a plaintiff's claims. The court
next selected a random sampling from the population of 9,541 plaintiffs. Each
plaintiff who was in the random sampling category and was found to have a valid
claim was awarded his or her individual verdict. The average verdict for each
category was the amount awarded to the class members who were not in the sample

3. Due Process
In a case such as this one, where there are 9,541 class members, most of whom live
in other areas of the world, a balancing of interests must occur to obtain justice to
the parties. A due process analysis must weigh defendant's claim to the right to
trial in each individual case against judicial economy and manageability by use of a
valid statistical procedure. The Court in Cimino, rejected defendants argument
that they were entitled to a one-on-one trial for each of the 2,298 cases. The
Court held due process is not necessarily limited to the traditional sense as argued
by defendants, "but should also encompass the impact on plaintiffs and even the
obvious societal interests involved." Id. at 666. The Court in that case was
concerned that a one-on-one trial for each case, assuming the Court could close
thirty cases a month, would take six and one-half years.[14]

This Court was moved by the same concerns as Chief Judge Parker in Cimino. Here,
individual trials for each of the 9,541 plaintiffs would take decades. Most of that
time would be wasted since the nature of the injuries would be similar, if not
identical, the testimony would be largely duplicative. Utilizing the procedure
employed by the Court the injuries could be accurately categorized, and the source
of the injuries would be identical.

This Court believes individual testimony from each of the plaintiffs, i.e., testimony
of all 9,541 plaintiffs, could well have been repetitive. Although the facts in this
case are not identical to those in Cimino, the damages here are much more
objective, i.e., the torture, summary execution and disappearance come from the
same source with the same objective. Inferential statistics with random sampling
produces an acceptable due process solution to the troublesome area of mass tort

The issue remains whether this Court's use of inferential statistics in using
aggregate procedures, denied defendant's their constitutional due process right to
a one-on-one trial. This Court believes, "the aggregate trial is, in some vital
respects, superior to the individual trial"[15] and does not violate the substantive or
procedural due process rights of either the plaintiffs or the defendant.

This Court finds persuasive the analysis of Professors Saks and Blanck in their
discussion[16] that aggregate trials do not violate *1468 due process. In Mathews v.
Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 96 S. Ct. 893, 47 L. Ed. 2d 18 (1976) the Supreme Court
identified three factors to be balanced by the judge in determining what kind of
process is due. The three factors to be balanced are: (1) the private interest
affected, (2) the risk of erroneous deprivation of the interest through the
procedures used, and (3) the government's interest, including all fiscal and
administrative burdens that the additional procedure would require.

The use of random samples in aggregate procedures meets every requirement of

the Mathews standard.[17] Under the first prong of Mathews, since liability was
established in Phase I of the trial, the private interest affected is the harm done
to plaintiffs by MARCOS and what damages defendant would be required to pay
plaintiffs for their injuries. It is probable the judgment against the ESTATE, had
this Court allowed one-on-one trials, would be significantly more than the judgment
the jury returned in the aggregate procedure.[18] Nor were amounts awarded nearly
as high as the amounts awarded in other "bipolar" human rights litigation. See,
e.g., Filartiga v. Pena-Irala, 577 F. Supp. 860 (E.D.N.Y.1984) (over $10 million for a
single summary execution); see Estate of Ferdinand E. Marcos Litigation, 978 F.2d
493 (9th Cir.1992) (over $4 million for a single summary execution), aff'g Trajano
v. Imee Marcos-Manotoc. It is therefore evident that one-on-one trials would
produce substantially higher verdicts than those returned in the aggregate.

The second prong of the Mathews test involves the erroneous deprivation of
defendants rights through the procedures used, i.e., aggregated trials. With
aggregate trials, the only issue decided is damages; liability is determined subject
to objections and appeals; and liability is tried before the jury. Thus there is little
risk of erroneous deprivation of defendants interest through the procedures used.
In this case there can be no erroneous deprivation of the ESTATE's interest,
which is to pay as little in damages as possible. There is no proof that the ESTATE
would pay less had damages been determined on a bipolar basis. In fact, as stated
above it appears that had such a procedure been utilized, each claim would have
brought a higher judgment against the ESTATE.

Finally, aggregate trials are consistent with the third prong of the Mathews test.
Clearly it cannot be questioned that a one-on-one trial is more burdensome for the
Court than an aggregate trial. The costs involved in conducting bipolar trials with
9,541 plaintiffs in this case would substantially surpass the costs of an aggregate
trial which lasted only about one and one-half weeks. The judicial and
administrative time and costs of holding bipolar trials would also have been
virtually, if not absolutely, prohibitive. Lastly, because class members are mostly
impecunious, the cost of bringing them to the forum or even taking their
depositions would have prevented their claims from ever being
determined.[19] Moreover the whole jurisprudence of class action treatment of
numerous claims supports the conclusion that the ESTATE has suffered no due
process violation.

4. Seventh Amendment

The issue here is whether the use of random samples, in an aggregate trial, violates
the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial. The Seventh Amendment "was
designed to preserve the basic institution of jury trial in only its most fundamental
elements, not the great mass of procedural forms and details, varying even then so
widely among common-law jurisdictions."[20] The Seventh Amendment provides no
formula for the procedures to be used in a trial by jury. Rather, it is the rules of
evidence and procedure that impact jury trials. Pragmatic application of these
rules, consistent with justice, is all that is necessary for the
presentation *1469 of the facts necessary for a jury determination. To claim
otherwise certainly raises form over substance to a new level in today's
jurisprudential world.

Here, the jury did determine the facts of the case, as the substance of the action
was presented to the jury. There would be no benefit to either side in having the
entire class testify given the repetition in the claims. Rule 23 of the Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure does not mandate the presence of each member of the class.
Therefore, by choosing a random sample of 137 claimants in an aggregate trial,
neither side was deprived of even the form of their right to a jury trial.

In recent years, both complexity of cases and the concern of the length of trials
have been the bases upon which several courts have refused jury trial
demands.[21] This Court did not go that far. Defendant was given its day in court
with the jury, by procedures facilitating the presentation of evidence by use of
random sampling in an aggregate damage trial.

C. Federal Common Law

Because plaintiffs in this action are citizens of the Philippines who are complaining
of human rights abuses which occurred in that country, this case arises under two
statutes the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1350, and the newly enacted Tort
Victim Protection Act ("TVPA") of 1991 (codified in the note to 28 U.S.C. § 1350).
The Alien Tort Statute does not address damages; the TVPA only provides that an
individual who abuses others under color of law of a foreign country is subject to
liability for damages. Virtually all of the nations of the world, including the United
States and the Philippines, are in agreement that human rights victims should have
enforceable rights to fair and adequate compensation.[22]Therefore, the issue of
damages is one of federal law.

Because Congress in the TVPA offered no methodology as to how damages should

be determined, federal courts are free to and should create federal common law to
provide justice for any injury contemplated by the Alien Tort Statute and the
TVPA or treaties dealing with the protection of human rights. See Textile
Workers Union of America v. Lincoln Mills of Alabama, 353 U.S. 448, 457, 77 S. Ct.
912, 918, 1 L. Ed. 2d 972 (1957) ("Some [problems] will lack express statutory
sanction but will be solved by looking at the policy of the legislation and fashioning
a remedy that will effectuate that policy."); Banco Nacional de Cuba v.
Sabbatino, 376 U.S. 398, 425, 84 S. Ct. 923, 939, 11 L. Ed. 2d 804 (1964) ("... an
issue concerned with a basic choice regarding the competence and function of the
Judiciary and the National Executive in ordering our relationships with other
members of the international community must be treated exclusively as an aspect
of federal law."); National Audubon Society v. Dept. of Water, 858 F.2d 1409 (9th
Cir.1988); First National City Bank v. Banco Para, 462 U.S. 611, 103 S. Ct. 2591, 77
L. Ed. 2d 46 (1983).

Therefore, the aggregation of compensatory damage claims is appropriate under

federal common law for human rights claims.


The use of an aggregate procedure for determining compensatory damages, under

the procedures followed in this litigation, was neither a violation of the parties'
due process rights nor their right to a jury trial under the Seventh Amendment.
The aggregation of compensatory damage claims vindicates important federal and
international policies, permits justice to be done without unduly clogging the court
system, and was shown to be fair to the defendant.
Judgment shall be entered for plaintiffs.

39 PHIL 778

Justo Lukban, mayor of Manila, ordered the district of ill-repute women closed. One
hundred and seventy women were deported to Davao without their knowledge and consent.
The women were received as laborers in a banana plantation. Some of the women were able
to escape and return to Manila. The attorney for the relatives and friends of a
considerable number of the deportees presented an application for heabes corpus to the
Supreme Court

1) Whether or not the respondents had authority to deport the women to Davao; and
2) Whether or not the City of Manila has jurisdiction to issue a writ of habeas corpus to

The respondents had no authority to deport the women. No official, no matter how high, is
above the law. The courts are the forum which function to safeguard liberty and to punish
official transgressors. The essential object and purpose of writ of habeas corpus is to
inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint, and to relieve a person therefrom if such
restraint is illegal. If the mayor and the chief of police could deport the women, they must
have the means to return them from Davao to Manila. The respondents may not be
permitted to restrain a fellow citizen of her liberty by forcing her to change her domicile
and to avow the act with impunity in the courts. The great writ of liberty may not be easily
evaded. No one of the defense offered constituted a legitimate bar to the granting of the
writ of habeas corpus.
Per Curiam

The SC affirmed the conviction of petitioner Leo Echegaray y Pilo for the crime of rape of the
10 year-old daughter of his common-law spouse and the imposition upon him of the death
penalty for the said crime.
He filed an MFR and a supplemental MFR raising for the first time the issue of the
constitutionality of Republic Act No. 7659 and the death penalty for rape. The Court denied
both motions.
In the meantime, Congress had seen it fit to change the mode of execution of the death
penalty from electrocution to lethal injection, and passed Republic Act No. 8177, AN ACT
The convict filed a Petition for prohibition from carrying out the lethal injection against him
under the grounds that it constituted cruel, degrading, or unusual punishment, being violative
of due process, a violation of the Philippines' obligations under international covenants, an
undue delegation of legislative power by Congress, an unlawful exercise by respondent
Secretary of the power to legislate, and an unlawful delegation of delegated powers by the
Secretary of Justice to respondent Director.
In his motion to amend, the petitioner added equal protection as a ground.
The Office of the Solicitor General stated that this Court has already upheld the
constitutionality of the Death Penalty Law, and has repeatedly declared that the death penalty
is not cruel, unjust, excessive or unusual punishment; execution by lethal injection, as
authorized under R.A. No. 8177 and the questioned rules, is constitutional, lethal injection
being the most modern, more humane, more economical, safer and easier to apply (than
electrocution or the gas chamber); the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights does
not expressly or impliedly prohibit the imposition of the death penalty; R.A. No. 8177 properly
delegated legislative power to respondent Director; and that R.A. No. 8177 confers the power
to promulgate the implementing rules to the Secretary of Justice, Secretary of Health and
the Bureau of Corrections.
The Commission on Human Rights filed a Motion for Leave of Court to Intervene and/or Appear
as Amicus Curiae with the attached Petition to Intervene and/or Appear as Amicus Curiae.
They alleged similarly with Echegaray’s arguments.
The petitioner filed a reply similar to his first arguments. The court gave due course to the
Concisely put, petitioner argues that R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules do not pass
constitutional muster for: (a) violation of the constitutional proscription against cruel,
degrading or inhuman punishment, (b) violation of our international treaty obligations, (c) being
an undue delegation of legislative power, and (d) being discriminatory.
1. Is it a violation of the constitutional proscription against cruel, degrading or inhuman
2. Is it a violation of our international treaty obligations?
3. Is it an undue delegation of legislative power?
4. Is it discriminatory and contrary to law?

No 1st three. Yes to last. Petition denied.

1. Petitioner contends that death by lethal injection constitutes cruel, degrading and inhuman
punishment considering that (1) R.A. No. 8177 fails to provide for the drugs to be used in
carrying out lethal injection, the dosage for each drug to be administered, and the procedure
in administering said drug/s into the accused; (2) R.A. No. 8177 and its implementing rules are
uncertain as to the date of the execution, time of notification, the court which will fix the
date of execution, which uncertainties cause the greatest pain and suffering for the convict;
and (3) the possibility of "botched executions" or mistakes in administering the drugs renders
lethal injection inherently cruel.
Now it is well-settled in jurisprudence that the death penalty per se is not a cruel, degrading
or inhuman punishment.
Harden v. Director of Prisons- "punishments are cruel when they involve torture or a lingering
death; but the punishment of death is not cruel, within the meaning of that word as used in the
constitution. It implies there something inhuman and barbarous, something more than the
mere extinguishment of life." Would the lack in particularity then as to the details involved in
the execution by lethal injection render said law "cruel, degrading or inhuman"? The Court
believes not. For reasons discussed, the implementing details of R.A. No. 8177 are matters
which are properly left to the competence and expertise of administrative officials.
Petitioner contends that Sec. 16 of R.A. No. 8177 is uncertain as to which "court" will fix the
time and date of execution, and the date of execution and time of notification of the death
convict. As petitioner already knows, the "court" which designates the date of execution is
the trial court which convicted the accused. The procedure is that the "judgment is entered
fifteen (15) days after its promulgation, and 10 days thereafter, the records are remanded to
the court below including a certified copy of the judgment for execution. Neither is there any
uncertainty as to the date of execution nor the time of notification. As to the date of
execution, Section 15 of the implementing rules must be read in conjunction with the last
sentence of Section 1 of R.A. No. 8177 which provides that the death sentence shall be carried
out "not earlier than one (1) year nor later then eighteen (18) months from the time the
judgment imposing the death penalty became final and executory, without prejudice to the
exercise by the President of his executive clemency powers at all times." Hence, the death
convict is in effect assured of eighteen (18) months from the time the judgment imposing the
death penalty became final and executor wherein he can seek executive clemency and attend to
all his temporal and spiritual affairs.
Petitioner further contends that the infliction of "wanton pain" in case of possible
complications in the intravenous injection that respondent Director is an untrained and
untested person insofar as the choice and administration of lethal injection is concerned,
renders lethal injection a cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment. This is unsubstantiated.
First. Petitioner has neither alleged nor presented evidence that lethal injection required the
expertise only of phlebotomists and not trained personnel and that the drugs to be
administered are unsafe or ineffective. Petitioner simply cites situations in the United States
wherein execution by lethal injection allegedly resulted in prolonged and agonizing death for
the convict, without any other evidence whatsoever.
Second. Petitioner overlooked Section 1, third paragraph of R.A. No. 8177 which requires that
all personnel involved in the execution proceedings should be trained prior to the performance
of such task. We must presume that the public officials entrusted with the implementation of
the death penalty will carefully avoid inflicting cruel punishment.
Third. Any infliction of pain in lethal injection is merely incidental in carrying out the
execution of death penalty and does not fall within the constitutional proscription against
cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment. "In a limited sense, anything is cruel which is
calculated to give pain or distress, and since punishment imports pain or suffering to the
convict, it may be said that all punishments are cruel. But of course the Constitution does not
mean that crime, for this reason, is to go unpunished." The cruelty against which the
Constitution protects a convicted man is cruelty inherent in the method of punishment, not the
necessary suffering involved in any method employed to extinguish life humanely.
What is cruel and unusual "is not fastened to the obsolete but may acquire meaning as public
opinion becomes enlightened by a humane justice" and "must draw its meaning from the evolving
standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society."
2. International Covenant on Civil And Political Rights states:
2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed
only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the
commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only
be carried out pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court."
The punishment was subject to the limitation that it be imposed for the "most serious crimes".
Included with the declaration was the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty was adopted by the
General Assembly on December 15, 1989. The Philippines neither signed nor ratified said
3. R.A. No. 8177 likewise provides the standards which define the legislative policy, mark its
limits, map out its boundaries, and specify the public agencies which will apply it. It indicates
the circumstances under which the legislative purpose may be carried out. R.A. No. 8177
specifically requires that "the death sentence shall be executed under the authority of the
Director of the Bureau of Corrections, endeavoring so far as possible to mitigate the
sufferings of the person under the sentence during the lethal injection as well as during the
proceedings prior to the execution." Further, "the Director of the Bureau of Corrections shall
take steps to ensure that the lethal injection to be administered is sufficient to cause the
instantaneous death of the convict." The legislature also mandated that "all personnel involved
in the administration of lethal injection shall be trained prior to the performance of such
task." The Court cannot see that any useful purpose would be served by requiring greater
detail. The question raised is not the definition of what constitutes a criminal offense, but the
mode of carrying out the penalty already imposed by the Courts. In this sense, R.A. No. 8177
is sufficiently definite and the exercise of discretion by the administrative officials concerned
is, canalized within banks that keep it from overflowing.
However, the Rules and Regulations to Implement Republic Act No. 8177 suffer serious flaws
that could not be overlooked. To begin with, something basic appears missing in Section 19 of
the implementing rules which provides a manual for the execution procedure. It was supposed
to be confidential.
The Court finds in the first paragraph of Section 19 of the implementing rules a vacuum. The
Secretary of Justice has practically abdicated the power to promulgate the manual on the
execution procedure to the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, by not providing for a mode
of review and approval. Being a mere constituent unit of the Department of Justice, the
Bureau of Corrections could not promulgate a manual that would not bear the imprimatur of the
administrative superior, the Secretary of Justice as the rule-making authority under R.A. No.
8177. Such apparent abdication of departmental responsibility renders the said paragraph
4. Petitioner contends that Section 17 of the Implementing Rules is unconstitutional for being
discriminatory as well as for being an invalid exercise of the power to legislate by respondent
Secretary. Petitioner insists that Section 17 amends the instances when lethal injection may
be suspended, without an express amendment of Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by section 25 of R.A. No. 7659.
lethal injection shall not be inflicted upon a woman within the three years next following the
date of the sentence or while she is pregnant, nor upon any person over seventy (70) years of
age. In this latter case, the death penalty shall be commuted to the penalty of reclusion
perpetua with the accessory penalties provided in Article 40 of the Revised Penal Code."
Petitioner contends that Section 17 is unconstitutional for being discriminatory as well as for
being an invalid exercise of the power to legislate by respondent Secretary. Petitioner insists
that Section 17 amends the instances when lethal injection may be suspended, without an
express amendment of Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by section 25 of R.A.
No. 7659, stating that the death sentence shall not be inflicted upon a woman while she is
pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, nor upon any person over seventy years of age.
While Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 25 of Republic Act No.
7659, suspends the implementation of the death penalty while a woman is pregnant or
within one (1) year after delivery, Section 17 of the implementing rules omits the one (1) year
period following delivery as an instance when the death sentence is suspended, and adds a
ground for suspension of sentence no longer found under Article 83 of the Revised Penal Code
as amended, which is the three-year reprieve after a woman is sentenced. This addition is, in
petitioner's view, tantamount to a gender-based discrimination sans statutory basis, while the
omission is an impermissible contravention of the applicable law.
Being merely an implementing rule, Section 17 aforecited must not override, but instead remain
consistent and in harmony with the law it seeks to apply and implement.
Balacuit v CFI G.R. No. L-38429 June 30, 1988
J. Gancayo


Petitioners, theater owners, assailed the constitutionality of Ordinance No. 640 passed by the
Municipal Board of the City of Butuan on April 21, 1969. This called for a reduction to ½ of the
ticket price given to minors from 7-12 years old. There was a fine from 200-600 pesos or a 2-6
month imprisonment

The complaint was issued in the trial court. A TRO was then issued to prevent the law from
being enforced. The respondent court entered its decision declaring the law valid.

Petitioners attack the validity and constitutionality of Ordinance No. 640 on the grounds that
it is ultra vires and an invalid exercise of police power. Petitioners contend that Ordinance No.
640 is not within the power of' the Municipal Board to enact as provided for in Section 15(n)
of Republic Act No. 523 where it states that the Muncipal board can only fix license fees for
theaters and not admission rates.

The respondent attempts to justify the enactment of the ordinance by invoking the general
welfare clause embodied in Section 15 (nn) of the cited law.


Does this power to regulate include the authority to interfere in the fixing of prices of
admission to these places of exhibition and amusement whether under its general grant of
power or under the general welfare clause as invoked by the City?

Held: The ordinance is under neither and thus unconstitutional. Petition granted.

1. Kwong Sing v. City of Manila- the word "regulate" was interpreted to include the power to
control, to govern and to restrain, it would seem that under its power to regulate places of
exhibitions and amusement, the Municipal Board of the City of Butuan could make proper police
regulations as to the mode in which the business shall be exercised.

In this jurisdiction, it is already settled that the operation of theaters, cinematographs and
other places of public exhibition are subject to regulation by the municipal council in the
exercise of delegated police power by the local government.

People v. Chan- an ordinance of the City of Manila prohibiting first run cinematographs from
selling tickets beyond their seating capacity was upheld as constitutional for being a valid
exercise of police power.

The City of Butuan, apparently realizing that it has no authority to enact the ordinance in
question under its power to regulate embodied in Section 15(n), now invokes the police power as
delegated to it under the general welfare clause to justify the enactment of said ordinance

To invoke the exercise of police power, not only must it appear that the interest of the public
generally requires an interference with private rights, but the means adopted must be
reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive upon

The legislature may not, under the guise of protecting the public interest, arbitrarily interfere
with private business, or impose unusual and unnecessary restrictions upon lawful occupations.
In other words, the determination as to what is a proper exercise of its police power is not
final or conclusive, but is subject to the supervision of the courts.

Petitioners maintain that Ordinance No. 640 violates the due process clause of the
Constitution for being oppressive, unfair, unjust, confiscatory, and an undue restraint of trade,
and violative of the right of persons to enter into contracts, considering that the theater
owners are bound under a contract with the film owners for just admission prices for general
admission, balcony and lodge.

Homeowners Association- the exercise of police power is necessarily subject to a qualification,

limitation or restriction demanded by the regard, the respect and the obedience due to the
prescriptions of the fundamental law

The court agreed with petitioners that the ordinance is not justified by any necessity for the
public interest. The police power legislation must be firmly grounded on public interest and
welfare, and a reasonable relation must exist between purposes and means.
The evident purpose of the ordinance is to help ease the burden of cost on the part of parents
who have to shell out the same amount of money for the admission of their children, as they
would for themselves. A reduction in the price of admission would mean corresponding savings
for the parents; however, the petitioners are the ones made to bear the cost of these savings.
The ordinance does not only make the petitioners suffer the loss of earnings but it likewise
penalizes them for failure to comply with it. Furthermore, as petitioners point out, there will
be difficulty in its implementation because as already experienced by petitioners since the
effectivity of the ordinance, children over 12 years of age tried to pass off their age as below
12 years in order to avail of the benefit of the ordinance. The ordinance does not provide a
safeguard against this undesirable practice and as such, the respondent City of Butuan now
suggests that birth certificates be exhibited by movie house patrons to prove the age of
children. This is, however, not at all practicable. We can see that the ordinance is clearly
unreasonable if not unduly oppressive upon the business of petitioners. Moreover, there is no
discernible relation between the ordinance and the promotion of public health, safety, morals
and the general welfare.

Respondent further alleges that by charging the full price, the children are being exploited by
movie house operators. We fail to see how the children are exploited if they pay the full price
of admission. They are treated with the same quality of entertainment as the adults.

Moreover, as a logical consequence of the ordinance, movie house and theater operators will be
discouraged from exhibiting wholesome movies for general patronage, much less children's
pictures if only to avoid compliance with the ordinance and still earn profits for themselves.

A theater ticket has been described to be either a mere license, revocable at the will of the
proprietor of the theater or it may be evidence of a contract whereby, for a valuable
consideration, the purchaser has acquired the right to enter the theater and observe the
performance on condition that he behaves properly. Such ticket, therefore, represents a
right, Positive or conditional, as the case may be, according to the terms of the original
contract of sale. This right is clearly a right of property. The ticket which represents that
right is also, necessarily, a species of property. As such, the owner thereof, in the absence of
any condition to the contrary in the contract by which he obtained it, has the clear right to
dispose of it, to sell it to whom he pleases and at such price as he can obtain.

In no sense could theaters be considered public utilities. The State has not found it
appropriate as a national policy to interfere with the admission prices to these performances.
This does not mean however, that theaters and exhibitions are not affected with public
interest even to a certain degree. Motion pictures have been considered important both as a
medium for the communication of Ideas and expression of the artistic impulse. Their effects
on the perceptions by our people of issues and public officials or public figures as well as the
prevailing cultural traits are considerable.

While it is true that a business may be regulated, it is equally true that such regulation must
be within the bounds of reason, that is, the regulatory ordinance must be reasonable, and its
provisions cannot be oppressive amounting to an arbitrary interference with the business or
calling subject of regulation. A lawful business or calling may not, under the guise of regulation,
be unreasonably interfered with even by the exercise of police power.

A police measure for the regulation of the conduct, control and operation of a business should
not encroach upon the legitimate and lawful exercise by the citizens of their property rights.
34 The right of the owner to fix a price at which his property shall be sold or used is an
inherent attribute of the property itself and, as such, within the protection of the due process

Although the presumption is always in favor of the validity or reasonableness of the

ordinance, such presumption must nevertheless be set aside when the invalidity or
unreasonableness appears on the face of the ordinance itself or is established by proper

City of Manila vs. Judge Laguio (G.R. No. 118127)


The private respondent, Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTOC) is a corporation

engaged in the business of operating hotels, motels, hostels, and lodging houses. It built
and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a motel although duly accredited
with the Department of Tourism as a hotel.

March 30, 1993 - City Mayor Alfredo S. Lim approved an ordinance enacted which
prohibited certain forms of amusement, entertainment, services and facilities where
women are used as tools in entertainment and which tend to disturb the community, annoy
the inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community. The
Ordinance prohibited the establishment of sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke bars,
beerhouses, night clubs, day clubs, cabarets, motels, inns. Owners and operators of the
enumerated establishments are given three months to wind up business operations or
transfer to any place outside Ermita-Malate or convert said businesses to other kinds
allowable within the area. The Ordinance also provided that in case of violation and
conviction, the premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked

June 28, 1993 - MTOC filed a Petition with the lower court, praying that the Ordinance,
insofar as it included motels and inns as among its prohibited establishments, be declared
invalid and unconstitutional for several reasons but mainly because it is not a valid exercise
of police power and it constitutes a denial of equal protection under the law.

Judge Laguio ruled for the petitioners. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court.


WON the Ordinance is constitutional.


SC held that the ordinance is unconstitutional for several reasons.

First, it did not meet the valid exercise of police power. To successfully invoke the
exercise of police power, not only must it appear that (1)the interest of the public
generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require an interference with
private rights, but (2)the means employed must be reasonably necessary for the
accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive. The object of the ordinance was
the promotion and protection of the social and moral values of the community. The closing
down and transfer of businesses or their conversion into businesses allowed under the
ordinance have no reasonable relation to its purpose. Otherwise stated, the prohibition of
the enumerated establishments will not per se protect and promote social and moral
welfare of the community. It will not itself eradicate prostitution, adultery, fornication
nor will it arrest the spread of sexual disease in Manila.
Second. The modality employed constitutes unlawful taking. The ordinance is unreasonable
and oppressive as it substantially divests the respondent of the beneficial use of its
property. The ordinance forbids running of the enumerated businesses in Ermita-Malate
area and instructs owners/operators to wind up their business operations or to transfer
outside the area or convert said business into allowed business. An ordinance which
permanently restricts the use of property that it cannot be used for any reasonable
purpose goes beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property
without just compensation. It is intrusive and violative of the private property rights of
individuals. There are two types of taking: A “possessory” taking and a “regulatory” taking.
The latter occurs when the government’s regulation leaves no reasonable economically
viable use of the property, as in this case.

Third. The ordinance violates the equal protection clause. Equal protection requires that
all persons or things similarly situated should be treated alike, both as to the rights
conferred and responsibilities imposed. Similar subjects, in other words, should not be
treated differently, so as to give undue favor to some. Legislative bodies are allowed to
classify the subjects of legislation provided the classification is reasonable. To be valid, it
must conform to the following requirements: (1)It must be based on substantial
distinction; (2)It must be germane to the purpose of the law; (3)It must not be limited to
existing conditions only; and (4)It must apply equally to all members of the class. In the
Court’s view, there are no substantial distinction between motels, inns, pension houses,
hotels, lodging houses or other similar establishments. By definition, all are commercial
establishments providing lodging and usually meals and other services for the public. No
reason exists for prohibiting motels and inns but not pension houses, hotels, lodging houses
or other similar establishments. The Court likewise cannot see the logic for prohibiting the
business and operation of motels in the Ermita-Malate area but not outside this area. A
noxious establishment does not become any less noxious if located outside the area.

Fourth. The ordinance is repugnant to general laws, thus it is ultra vires. The ordinance is
in contravention of the Revised Administrative Code as the Code merely empowers the
local government units to regulate, and not prohibit, the establishments enumerated. Not
only that, it likewise runs counter to the provisions of P.D. 499. The P.D. Had already
converted the residential Ermita-Malate area into a commercial area. The decree allowed
the establishment and operation of all kinds of commercial establishments.
Wherefore, the petition was DENIED and the decision of the RTC was AFFIRMED.

ALEJANDRO ESTRADA, petitioner v. SOLEDAD S. ESCRITOR, respondent

A.M. No. P-02-1651 August 4, 2003


Escritor is a court interpreter since 1999 in the RTC of Las Pinas City. She has
been living with Quilapio, a man who is not her husband, for more than twenty five
years and had a son with him as well. Respondent’s husband died a year before she
entered into the judiciary while Quilapio is still legally married to another woman.

Complainant Estrada requested the Judge of said RTC to investigate respondent.

According to complainant, respondent should not be allowed to remain employed
therein for it will appear as if the court allows such act.

Respondent claims that their conjugal arrangement is permitted by her religion—

the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watch Tower and the Bible Trace Society. They
allegedly have a ‘Declaration of Pledging Faithfulness’ under the approval of their
congregation. Such a declaration is effective when legal impediments render it
impossible for a couple to legalize their union.


Whether or Not the State could penalize respondent for such conjugal


No. The State could not penalize respondent for she is exercising her right to
freedom of religion. The free exercise of religion is specifically articulated as one
of the fundamental rights in our Constitution. As Jefferson put it, it is the most
inalienable and sacred of human rights. The State’s interest in enforcing its
prohibition cannot be merely abstract or symbolic in order to be sufficiently
compelling to outweigh a free exercise claim. In the case at bar, the State has not
evinced any concrete interest in enforcing the concubinage or bigamy charges
against respondent or her partner. Thus the State’s interest only amounts to the
symbolic preservation of an unenforced prohibition. Furthermore, a distinction
between public and secular morality and religious morality should be kept in mind.
The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality.

The Court further states that our Constitution adheres the benevolent neutrality
approach that gives room for accommodation of religious exercises as required by
the Free Exercise Clause. This benevolent neutrality could allow for accommodation
of morality based on religion, provided it does not offend compelling state
interests. Assuming arguendo that the OSG has proved a compelling state interest,
it has to further demonstrate that the state has used the least intrusive means
possible so that the free exercise is not infringed any more than necessary to
achieve the legitimate goal of the state. Thus the conjugal arrangement cannot be
penalized for it constitutes an exemption to the law based on her right to freedom
of religion.

Estrada vs. Escritor , 492 SCRA 1 ; 22 JUN 2006

FACTS: Escritor is a court interpreter since 1999 in the RTC of Las Pinas City. She has been living
with Quilapio, a man who is not her husband, for more than twenty five yearsand had a son with him
as well. Respondent’s husband died a year before she entered into the judiciary while Quilapio is
still legally married to another woman.

Complainant Estrada requested the Judge of said RTC to investigate respondent. According to
complainant, respondent should not be allowed to remain employed therein for it will appear as if
the court allows such act.

Respondent claims that their conjugal arrangement is permitted by her religion—the Jehovah’s
Witnesses and the Watch Tower and the Bible Trace Society. They allegedly have a ‘Declaration of
Pledging Faithfulness’ under the approval of their congregation. Such a declaration is effective
when legal impediments render it impossible for a couple to legalize their union.

ISSUE: Whether or Not the State could penalize respondent for such conjugal arrangement.

RULING: No. The State could not penalize respondent for she is exercising her right tofreedom of
religion. The free exercise of religion is specifically articulated as one of the fundamental rights in
our Constitution. As Jefferson put it, it is the most inalienable and sacred of human rights. The
State’s interest in enforcing its prohibition cannot be merely abstract or symbolic in order to be
sufficiently compelling to outweigh a free exercise claim. In the case at bar, the State has not
evinced any concrete interest in enforcing the concubinage or bigamy charges against respondent or
her partner. Thus the State’s interest only amounts to the symbolic preservation of an unenforced

Furthermore, a distinction between public and secular morality and religious morality should be kept
in mind. The jurisdiction of the Court extends only to public and secular morality.

The Court further states that our Constitution adheres the benevolent neutrality approach that
gives room for accommodation of religious exercises as required by theFree Exercise Clause. This
benevolent neutrality could allow for accommodation of morality based on religion, provided it does
not offend compelling state interests. Assuming arguendo that the OSG has proved a compelling
state interest, it has to further demonstrate that the state has used the least intrusive means
possible so that the free exercise is not infringed any more than necessary to achieve the
legitimate goal of the state. Thus the conjugal arrangement cannot be penalized for it constitutes
an exemption to the law based on her right to freedom of religion.

Philippine Blooming Mills Employment

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

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

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

ARIEL NON ET.AL., petitioners. vs. HON. SANCHO DAMES II, in his
capacity as the Presiding Judge of the
5th Regional Trail Court, Br. 38, and
MABINI COLLEGES, INC., respondents
G.R. No. 89317. May 20, 1990


Petitioners, students in private respondent Mabini Colleges, Inc. were not allowed
to re-enroll by the school for the academic year 1988-1989 for leading or
participating in student mass actions against the school in the preceding semester.
The subject of the protests is not, however, made clear in the pleadings.
The trial court dismissed the petition referring to the ruling in Alcuaz vs. PSBA
stating, that being a mere privilege and not a legal right for a student to be
enrolled or re-enrolled, respondent Mabini College is free to admit or not admit the
petitioners for re-enrollment in view of the academic freedom enjoyed by the

The respondents, in justifying their action, stated that 8 of the petitioners have
incurred failing grades. In response, the petitioners stated that: (a) three of them
were graduating. (b) Their academic deficiencies do not warrant non-readmission.
(c) The improper conduct attributed to them was during the exercise of the
cognate rights of free speech and peaceable assembly. (d) There was no due
investigation that could serve as basis for disciplinary action. (e) Respondent school
is their choice institution near their places of residence, which they can afford to
pay for tertiary education.


Whether or not the school has the right not to re-admit the petitioners.


The Supreme Court ruled that the trial court cannot anchor the “Termination of
Contract” theory the contract between the school and the student is not an
ordinary contract. It is imbued with public interest, considering the high priority
given by the Constitution to education and the grant to the State of supervisory
and regulatory powers over all educational institutions. It is intended merely to
protect schools wherein tuition fees are collected and paid on installment basis. It
cannot be construed to mean that a student shall be enrolled for only one

The right of an institution of higher learning to set academic standards cannot be

utilized to discriminate against students who exercise their constitutional rights to
speech and assembly, for otherwise there will be a violation of their right to equal
protection. It provides that every student has the right to enroll in any school
college or university upon meeting its specific requirements and reasonable
regulations; . . . and that “the student is presumed to be qualified for enrollment
for the entire period he is expected to complete the course, without prejudice to
his right to transfer.”
U.S. v Bustos G.R. No. L-12592 March 8, 1918
J. Malcolm


In 1915, 34 Pampanga residents signed a petition to the Executive Secretary regarding

charges against Roman Punsalan, the justice of the peace of Macabebe. They wanted to oust
him from his office.

Specific allegations against him included bribery charges, involuntary servitude, and theft.

The justice denied the charges. In the CFI, not all the charges were proved. But, the judge
still found him guilty.

Punsalan filed charges alleging that he was the victim of prosecution and one Jaime, an
auxiliary justice, instigated the charges against him for personal reasons. He was acquitted.

The complainants filed an appeal to the Governor General but it wasn’t acted upon.

Criminal action was instituted aganst the residents by Punsalan.

The CFI found almost all of the 34 defendants guilty and sentenced them to pay 10 pesos or
suffer imprisonment in case of insolvency.

The defendants filed a motion for a retrial to retire the objection made by Punsalan. The trial
court denied the motion. All except 2 of the defendants appealed. Making assignments of

1. The court erred in overruling motion for retrial.

2. Error in not holding that the libelous statement was not privileged

3. Error in not acquitting defendants

4. Evidence failed to show gult of defendants beyond reasonable doubt.

5. Erred in making defendants prove that the libelous statements were true.
6. Error in sustaining the prosecution’s objection to the introduction in evidence by the
accused of the affidavits upon which the petition forming the basis of the libelous charge was

7. Erred in refusing to permit the defendants to retire the objection in advertently interposed
by their counsel to the admission in evidence of the expediente administrativo out of which the
accusation in this case arose.


Whether or not the defendants and appellants are guilty of a libel of Roman Punsalan, justice
of the peace in Pampanga.

Held: Yes. Defendants acquitted.


Freedom of speech was non existent in the country before 1900. There were small efforts at
reform made by the La Solidaridad. The Malolos Constitution, on the other hand, guaranteed
freedom of speech.

During the U.S. period, President McKinley himself laid down the tenet Magna Charta of
Philippine Liberty when he wrote, “that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech
or of the press or of the rights of the people to peaceably assemble and petition the
Government for a redress of grievances." This was in the Philippine Bill.

In the Amrican cases it was held, there were references to “public opinion should be the
constant source of liberty and democracy.” It also said “the guaranties of a free speech and a
free press include the right to criticize judicial conduct. The administration of the law is a
matter of vital public concern. Whether the law is wisely or badly enforced is, therefore, a fit
subject for proper comment. If the people cannot criticize a justice of the peace or a judge
the same as any other public officer, public opinion will be effectively muzzled. Attempted
terrorization of public opinion on the part of the judiciary would be tyranny of the basest

“It is a duty which every one owes to society or to the State to assist in the investigation of
any alleged misconduct. It is further the duty of all who know of any official dereliction on the
part of a magistrate or the wrongful act of any public officer to bring the facts to the notice
of those whose duty it is to inquire into and punish them.”

The right to assemble and petition is the necessary consequence of republican institutions and
the complement of the part of free speech. Assembly means a right on the part of citizens to
meet peaceably for consultation in respect to public affairs. Petition means that any person or
group of persons can apply, without fear of penalty, to the appropriate branch or office of the
government for a redress of grievances. The persons assembling and petitioning must, of
course, assume responsibility for the charges made.

Public policy has demanded protection for public opinion. The doctrine of privilege has been the
result of this. Privilged communications may in some instances afford an immunity to the
slanderer. Public policy is the “unfettered administration of justice.”

Privilege is either absolute or qualified. Qualified privilege is prima facie which may be lost by
proof of malice. This is apparent in complaints made in good faith against a public official’s
conduct having a duty in the matter. Even if the statements were found to be false, the
protection of privilege may cover the individual given that it was in good faith. There must be a
sense of duty and not a self-seeking motive.

A communication made bona fide upon any subject-matter in which the party communicating
has an interest, or in reference to which has a duty, is privileged, if made to a person having a
corresponding interest or duty, although it contained criminatory matter which without this
privilege would be slanderous and actionable.

In the usual case malice can be presumed from defamatory words. Privilege destroys that
presumption. The onus of proving malice then lies on the plaintiff. The plaintiff must bring
home to the defendant the existence of malice as the true motive of his conduct. Falsehood
and the absence of probable cause will amount to proof of malice.

It is true that the particular words set out in the information, if said of a private person,
might well be considered libelous per se. The charges might also under certain conceivable
conditions convict one of a libel of a government official. As a general rule words imputing to a
judge or a justice of the peace dishonesty or corruption or incapacity or misconduct touching
him in his office are actionable. But as suggested in the beginning we do not have present a
simple case of direct and vicious accusations published in the press, but of charges predicated
on affidavits made to the proper official and thus qualifiedly privileged. Express malice has not
been proved by the prosecution. Further, although the charges are probably not true as to the
justice of the peace, they were believed to be true by the petitioners. Good faith surrounded
their action. Probable cause for them to think that malfeasance or misfeasance in office
existed is apparent. The ends and the motives of these citizens— to secure the removal from
office of a person thought to be venal — were justifiable. In no way did they abuse the
privilege. These respectable citizens did not eagerly seize on a frivolous matter but on
instances which not only seemed to them of a grave character, but which were sufficient in an
investigation by a judge of first instance to convince him of their seriousness. No undue
publicity was given to the petition. The manner of commenting on the conduct of the justice of
the peace was proper.

Unido vs. COMELEC

“Equal Protection” – Access to Media

In 1981, the BP proposed amendments to the 1973 Constitution. The
amendments were to be placed to a plebiscite for the people’s approval. The YES vote
was being advanced by KBL – Marcos’ Party. While the NO vote was being advanced by
UNIDO. To ensure parity and equality, COMELEC issued Resolutions 1467-1469 w/c
basically provided that there be equal opportunity, equal time and equal space on media
use for campaigns for both sides. On 12 Mar 1981, Marcos campaigned for the YES
vote via TV and radio from 9:30pm to 11:30pm. The same was broadcasted live by 26
TV stations and 248 radio stations nationwide. UNIDO petitioned before the
COMELEC that they be granted the same opportunity as Marcos has pursuant to
Res’ns 1467-69. COMELEC denied the demand. UNIDO assailed the denial as a denial
of equal protection before the laws.
ISSUE: Whether or not UNIDO was denied equal protection by virtue of COMELEC’s
denial of their request.
HELD: The SC ruled that UNIDO was not denied due process nor were they not
afforded equal protection. It is the considered view of the SC that when Marcos
conducted his ‘pulong-pulong’ or consultation with the people on March 12, 1981, he did
so in his capacity as President/Prime Minister of the Philippines and not as the head of
any political party. Under the Constitution, the ‘Prime Minister and the Cabinet shall be
responsible . . . for the program of government and shall determine the guidelines of
national policy’. In instances where the head of state is at the same time the president
of the political party that is in power, it does not necessarily follow that he speaks
with two voices when he dialogues with the governed. The president is accorded
certain privileges that the opposition may not have. Further, the SC cannot compel TV
stations and radio stations to give UNIDO free air time as they are not party to this
case. UNIDO must sought contract with these TV stations and radio stations at their
own expense.
Miriam College Foundation Inc. vs. Court of Appeals [GR 127930, 15
December 2000]


Following the publication of the September-October 1994 issue (Vol. 41, No.
14) of Miriam College's school paper (Chi-Rho), and magazine (Ang Magasing
Pampanitikan ng Chi-Rho), the members of the editorial board, and Relly Carpio,
author of Libog, all students of Miriam College, received a letter signed by Dr. Aleli
Sevilla, Chair of the Miriam College Discipline Committee. The Letter dated 4
November 1994 informed them that letters of complaint were "filed against you by
members of the Miriam Community and a concerned Ateneo grade five student
have been forwarded to the Discipline Committee for inquiry and investigation.
Please find enclosed complaints. As expressed in their complaints you have violated
regulations in the student handbook specifically Section 2 letters B and R, pages
30 and 32, Section 4 (Major offenses) letter j, page 36 letters m, n, and p, page 37
and no. 2 (minor offenses) letter a, page 37. You are required to submit a written
statement in answer to the charge/s on or before the initial date of hearing to be
held on November 15, 1994, Tuesday, 1:00 in the afternoon at the DSA Conference
Room." None of the students submitted their respective answers. They instead
requested Dr. Sevilla to transfer the case to the Regional Constitutional Law II,
2005 ( 10 ) Narratives (Berne Guerrero) Office of the Department of Education,
Culture and Sports (DECS) which under Rule XII of DECS Order 94, Series of
1992, supposedly had jurisdiction over the case. In a Letter dated 21 November
1994, Dr. Sevilla again required the students to file their written answers. In
response, Atty. Ricardo Valmonte, lawyer for the students, submitted a letter to
the Discipline Committee reiterating his clients' position that said Committee had
no jurisdiction over them. According to Atty. Valmonte, the Committee was "trying
to impose discipline on his clients on account of their having written articles and
poems in their capacity as campus journalists." Hence, he argued that "what applies
is Republic Act No. 7079 The Campus Journalism Act and its implementing rules
and regulations." He also questioned the partiality of the members of said
Committee who allegedly "had already articulated their position" against his clients.
The Discipline Committee proceeded with its investigation ex parte. Thereafter,
the Discipline Board, after a review of the Discipline Committee's report, imposed
disciplinary sanctions upon the students, to wit: (1) Jasper Briones [Editor-in-Chief
of ChiRho, 4th year student]: Expulsion; (2) Daphne Cowper: Suspension up to
(summer) March 1995; (3) Imelda Hilario: suspension for 2 weeks to expire on 2
February 1995; (4) Deborah Ligon [4th year student and could graduate as summa
cum laude]: suspension up to May 1995; (5) Elizabeth Valdezco: suspension up to
(summer) March 1995; (6) Camille Portuga [Octoberian]: graduation privileges
withheld, including diploma; (7) Joel Tan: suspension for 2 weeks to expire on 2
February 1995; (8) Gerald Gary Renacido [2nd year student]: Expelled and given
transfer credentials; (9) Relly Carpio [3rd year student]: Dismissed and given
transfer credentials; (10) Jerome Gomez [3rd year student]: Dismissed and given
transfer credentials; and (11) Jose Mari Ramos [Art editor of Chi-Rho, 2nd year
student]: Expelled and given transfer papers. Said students thus filed a petition
for prohibition and certiorari with preliminary injunction/restraining order before
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City questioning the jurisdiction of the
Discipline Board of Miriam College over them. On 17 January 1995, the Regional
Trial Court, Branch CIII, presided by Judge Jaime N. Salazar, Jr., issued an order
denying the students' prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order. The students
thereafter filed a "Supplemental Petition and Motion for Reconsideration."
Subsequently, the RTC issued an Order dated 10 February 1995 granting the writ
of preliminary injunction. Both parties moved for a reconsideration of the above
order. In an Order dated 22 February 1995, the RTC dismissed the petition. The
students, excluding Deborah Ligon, Imelda Hilario and Daphne Cowper, sought
relief in the Supreme Court through a petition for certiorari and prohibition of
preliminary injunction/restraining order11 questioning the Orders of the RTC
dated 10 and 24 February 1995. On 15 March 1995, the Court resolved to refer
the case to the Court of Appeals (CA) for disposition. In its Decision dated 26
September 1996, the appellate court granted the students' petition. The CA
declared the RTC Order dated 22 February 1995, as well as the students'
suspension and dismissal, void. Miriam College filed the present petition.

Issue: Whether Section 7 of the Campus Journalism Act precludes the school’s
right to discipline its students.
Held: In several cases, the Supreme Court has upheld the right of the students to
free speech in school premises. The right of the students to free speech in school
premises, however, is not absolute. The right to free speech must always be applied
in light of the special characteristics of the school environment. Thus, while the
Court upheld the right of the students to free expression in the cases of
Malabanan vs. Ramento, Villar vs. Technological Institute of the Philippines, Arreza
vs. Gregorio Araneta University Foundation, and Non vs. Dames II, the Court did
not rule out disciplinary action by the school for "conduct by the student, in class
or out of it, which for any reason - whether it stems from time, place, or type of
behavior - which materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or
invasion of the rights of others." Provisions of law (such as Section 7 of the
Campus Journalism Act) should be construed in harmony with those of the
Constitution; acts of the legislature should be construed, wherever possible, in a
manner that would avoid their conflicting with the fundamental law. A statute
should not be given a broad construction if its validity can be saved by a narrower
one. Thus, Section 7 should be read in a manner as not to infringe upon the school's
right to discipline its students. At the same time, however, said provision should
not be construed as to unduly restrict the right of the students to free speech.
Consistent with jurisprudence, Section 7 of the Campus Journalism Act is read to
mean that the school cannot suspend or expel a student solely on the basis of the
articles he or she has written, except when such article materially disrupt class
work or involve Constitutional Law II, 2005 ( 11 ) Narratives (Berne Guerrero)
substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others. Further, the power of the
school to investigate is an adjunct of its power to suspend or expel. It is a
necessary corollary to the enforcement of rules and regulations and the
maintenance of a safe and orderly educational environment conducive to learning.
That power, like the power to suspend or expel, is an inherent part of the academic
freedom of institutions of higher learning guaranteed by the Constitution. the
Court therefore rule that Miriam College has the authority to hear and decide the
cases filed against the students.
Gonzales v Katigbak G.R. No. L-69500 July 22,
CJ Fernando


Antonio Gonzales, president of Malaya Films, claimed that his film Kapit sa Patalim, was rated
for adults only by a subcommittee of the movie review board together with the required cuts
and scene deletions. He justified that these requirements were without basis and were
restrains on artistic expression. He adduced that the film is an integral whole and all its
portions, including those to which the Board now offers belated objection, are essential for
the integrity of the film. Viewed as a whole, there is no basis even for the vague speculations
advanced by the Board as basis for its classification.

He appealed to the movie review board but the same affirmed the decion of the sub

When Gonzales appealed to the supreme court, the board claimed that the deletions were
removed and the requirement to submit the master negative was taken out but the film was
still rated for adults only. The petition was amended to contest the rating only.

Issue: Was the rating made with grave avuse of discretion (Note I put in those regarding
obscenity for future purposes)

Held: No. Petition dismissed. There was no grave abuse of discretion DUE TO LACK OF VOTES


Motion pictures are important both as a medium for the communication of Ideas and the
expression of the artistic impulse
Burstyn-importance of motion pictures as an organ of public opinion lessened by the fact that
they are designed to entertain as well as to inform

(No clear dividing line between what affords knowledge and that of pleasure or else there will
be a diminution to a right to self-expression)

Bagatsing- Press freedom may be identified with the liberty to discuss publicly and truthfully
any matter of public concern without censorship or punishment. This is not to say that such
freedom, as is the freedom of speech, absolute. It can be limited if "there be a 'clear and
present danger of a substantive evil that [the State] has a right to prevent.”

Censorship doesn’t full cover free speech or there might bean emasculation of basic rights.
However, there must be in exceptional circumstances a sine qua non for the meaningful
exercise of such right without denying the freedom from liability.

Freedom from censorship is a settled principle in our jurisdiction. Mutuc- board of review is
limited to classification of films to safeguard other constitutional objections, hence the GP,
PG, or R-18 ratings.

That is to abide by the principle that freedom of expression is the rule and restrictions the
exemption. The power to exercise prior restraint is not to be presumed, rather the
presumption is against its validity

The test, to repeat, to determine whether freedom of expression may be limited is the clear
and present danger of an evil of a substantive character that the State has a right to prevent.
Such danger must not only be clear but also present. There should be no doubt that what is
feared may be traced to the expression complained of. The causal connection must be evident.
Also, there must be reasonable apprehension about its imminence. The time element cannot be
ignored. Nor does it suffice if such danger be only probable.

Where movies are concerned, censorship, especially so if an entire production is banned, is

allowable only under the clearest proof of a clear and present danger of a substantive evil to
public public morals, public health or any other legitimate public interest.

Roth- "All Ideas having even the slightest redeeming social importance — unorthodox Ideas,
controversial Ideas, even Ideas hateful to the prevailing climate of opinion — have the full
protection of the guaranties, unless excludable because they encroach upon the limited area of
the First Amendment is the rejection of obscenity as utterly without redeeming social

Given obscenity as the nemesis of censorship, there is difficulty in determining what is

Roth- The early leading standard of obscenity allowed material to be judged merely by the
effect of an isolated excerpt upon particularly susceptible persons

The test was whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the
dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to prurient interest. Some material
can legitimately deal with sex and its effects on susceptible persons. Such a censorship can be
considered violative of the constitution. On the other hand, the substituted standard provides
safeguards adequate to withstand the charge of constitutional infirmity.

Roth- Sex and obscenity are not synonymous. Obscene material is material which deals with
sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest. The portrayal of sex, e.g., in art, literature and
scientific works, is not itself sufficient reason to deny material the constitutional protection
of freedom of speech and press. Sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life has
indisputably been a subject of absorbing interest to mankind through the ages; it is one of the
vital problems of human interest and public concern.

In the Philippine context, E.O. 876 applied contemporary Filipino cultural values as a standard.

Moreover, as far as the question of sex and obscenity are concerned, it cannot be stressed
strongly that the arts and letters "shall be under the patronage of the State.

Given this constitutional mandate, It will be less than true to its function if any government
office or agency would invade the sphere of autonomy that an artist enjoys. There is no
orthodoxy in what passes for beauty or for reality. It is for the artist to determine what for
him is a true representation. It is not to be forgotten that art and belleslettres deal primarily
with imagination, not so much with ideas in a strict sense. What is seen or perceived by an
artist is entitled to respect, unless there is a showing that the product of his talent rightfully
may be considered obscene.

On the question of obscenity, therefore, such standard set forth in Executive Order No. 878
is to be construed in such a fashion to avoid any taint of unconstitutionality. To repeat, what
was stated in a recent decision in Trinidad- an elementary, a fundamental, and a universal role
of construction, applied when considering constitutional questions, that when a law is
susceptible of two constructions' one of which will maintain and the other destroy it, the
courts will always adopt the former.

There can be no valid objection to the controlling standard.

There was really a grave abuse of discretion when the Board and its perception of what
obscenity is is very restrictive.
ABUSE OF DISCRETION. The supporting evidence was in the fact that some scenes were not
for young people. They might misunderstand the scenes. The respondents offered to make it
GP if the petitioners would remove the lesbian and sex scenes. But they refused.

The ruling is to be limited to the concept of obscenity applicable to motion pictures. It is the
consensus of this Court that where television is concerned: a less liberal approach calls for
observance. This is so because unlike motion pictures where the patrons have to pay their way,
television reaches every home where there is a set.

It is hardly the concern of the law to deal with the sexual fantasies of the adult population. It
cannot be denied though that the State as parens patriae is called upon to manifest an
attitude of caring for the welfare of the young.

Burgos vs. Chief of Staff (G.R. No. L-64261)


On 7 December 1982, Judge Ernani Cruz-Paño, Executive Judge of the then CFI Rizal
[Quezon City], issued 2 search warrants where the premises at 19, Road 3, Project 6,
Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business
addresses of the “Metropolitan Mail” and “We Forum” newspapers, respectively, were
searched, and office and printing machines, equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and
other articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the said newspapers, as
well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged to be in
the possession and control of Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher-editor of the “We Forum”
newspaper, were seized. A petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with
preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction was filed after 6 months following the
raid to question the validity of said search warrants, and to enjoin the Judge Advocate
General of the AFP, the city fiscal of Quezon City, from using the articles seized as
evidence in Criminal Case Q-022782 of the RTC Quezon City (People v. Burgos).


Whether allegations of possession and printing of subversive materials may be the basis of
the issuance of search warrants.

Section 3 provides that no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon
probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be
authorized by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the
witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
persons or things to be seized. Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and
circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an
offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense
are in the place sought to be searched. In mandating that “no warrant shall issue except
upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, after examination under oath or
affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce”; the Constitution
requires no less than personal knowledge by the complainant or his witnesses of the facts
upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified. Herein, a statement in the
effect that Burgos “is in possession or has in his control printing equipment and other
paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used and are all
continuously being used as a means of committing the offense of subversion punishable
under PD 885, as amended” is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the
requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a finding of
the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a
search warrant. Further, when the search warrant applied for is directed against a
newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the publication of subversive materials,
the application and/or its supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with
particularity the alleged subversive material he has published or is intending to publish.
Mere generalization will not suffice.


NO.62270; 21 MAY 1984]
Sunday, February 08, 2009 Posted by Coffeeholic Writes
Labels: Case Digests, Political Law

Facts: Petitioners were officers of the Supreme Student Council of respondent

University. They sought and were granted by the school authorities a permit to hold a
meeting from 8:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M, on August 27, 1982. Pursuant to such permit,
along with other students, they held a general assembly at the Veterinary Medicine
and Animal Science basketball court (VMAS), the place indicated in such permit, not in
the basketball court as therein stated but at the second floor lobby. At such
gathering they manifested in vehement and vigorous language their opposition to the
proposed merger of the Institute of Animal Science with the Institute of Agriculture.
The same day, they marched toward the Life Science Building and continued their
rally. It was outside the area covered by their permit. Even they rallied beyond the
period allowed. They were asked to explain on the same day why they should not be
held liable for holding an illegal assembly. Then on September 9, 1982, they were
informed that they were under preventive suspension for their failure to explain the
holding of an illegal assembly. The validity thereof was challenged by petitioners both
before the Court of First Instance of Rizal against private respondents and before
the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports. Respondent Ramento found petitioners
guilty of the charge of illegal assembly which was characterized by the violation of the
permit granted resulting in the disturbance of classes and oral defamation. The
penalty was suspension for one academic year. Hence this petition.

Issue: Whether on the facts as disclosed resulting in the disciplinary action and
the penalty imposed, there was an infringement of the right to peaceable assembly and
its cognate right of free speech.

Held: Yes. Student leaders are likely to be assertive and dogmatic. They would be
ineffective if during a rally they speak in the guarded and judicious language of the
academe. But with the activity taking place in the school premises and during the
daytime, no clear and present danger of public disorder is discernible. This is without
prejudice to the taking of disciplinary action for conduct, "materially disrupts
classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others."

The rights to peaceable assembly and free speech are guaranteed students of
educational institutions. Necessarily, their exercise to discuss matters affecting their
welfare or involving public interest is not to be subjected to previous restraint or
subsequent punishment unless there be a showing of a clear and present danger to a
substantive evil that the state, has a right to present. As a corollary, the utmost
leeway and scope is accorded the content of the placards displayed or utterances
made. The peaceable character of an assembly could be lost, however, by an advocacy
of disorder under the name of dissent, whatever grievances that may be aired being
susceptible to correction through the ways of the law. If the assembly is to be held in
school premises, permit must be sought from its school authorities, who are devoid of
the power to deny such request arbitrarily or unreasonably. In granting such permit,
there may be conditions as to the time and place of the assembly to avoid disruption of
classes or stoppage of work of the non-academic personnel. Even if, however, there be
violations of its terms, the penalty incurred should not be disproportionate to the

Central Bank Employees vs. BSP

Facts: The New Central Bank Act abolished the old Central Bank and created the new BSP on 1993
through RA No 7653. Central Bank Employees Association assailed the provision of RA No 7653,
Art II Sec 15(c). They contend that it makes an unconstitutional cut between two classes of
employees in the BSP, viz: (1) the BSP officers as exempt class of Salary Standardization Law (RA
6758) and (2) the rank-and-file non-exempt class. BSP contends that the exemption of officers (SG
20 and above) from the SSL was intended to address the BSP’s lack of competitiveness in terms of
attracting competent officers and executives. It was not intended to discriminate against the rank-
Issue: Whether or not Section 15(c) violates equal protection right of the BSP r&f employees?
Decision: Sec 15(c) unconstitutional. Judicial notice that other Govt Financial Institution undertook
amendment of their charters from 1995 to 2004 – a blanket provision for all employees to be
covered by SSL. The said subsequent enactments constitute significant changes in circumstance
that considerably alter the reasonability of the continued operation of the last proviso of Section
15(c). Legal history shows that GFIs have long been recognized as comprising one distinct class,
separate from other governmental entities. There is no substantial distinctions so as to
differentiate, the BSP rank-and-file from the other rank-and-file of the seven GFIs. The equal
protection clause does not demand absolute equality but it requires that all persons shall be treated
alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges conferred and liabilities
enforced. Those that fall within a class should be treated in the same fashion; whatever
restrictions cast on some in the group is equally binding on the rest. It is clear that the enactment
of the seven subsequent charters has rendered the continued application of the challenged proviso
anathema to the equal protection of the law, and the same should be declared as an outlaw.