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City of Manila v.

Laguio
GR. No. 118127, 12 May 2005
Tinga, J.

Facts

On 30 March 1993, Mayor of the City of Manila, Alfredo S. Lim passed an ordinance prohibiting
the establishment or operation of businesses providing certain forms of amusement,
entertainment, services and facilities in the Ermita-Malate area in order to protect the social and
moral welfare of the city.

The ordinance prohibited any person or entity in establishing businesses like sauna parlors,
massage parlors, karaoke bars, beerhouses, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques,
cabarets, dance halls, motels, and inns. The owners of such existing businesses were then given
three months from the approval of such to wind up their business operations, transfer to any place
outside the Ermita-Manila area, or convert them to other kinds of businesses

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


engaged in business of operating hotels. It filed a petition for Declaratory Relief with a Prayer for
a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order with the RTC assailing the
constitutionality and validity of the ordinance in question. It argued that the ordinance improperly
prohibited establishments such as the Victoria Court, which MTOC owns, even though they do
not “disturb the community” or “adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community”.

Procedural History

The RTC ruled in favor of MTOC and declared the ordinance null and void. Petitioners, in turn,
filed this petition for review on certiorari praying for the reversal of RTC’s decision.

Issue

W/N the ordinance is unconstitutional

Rule(s)

A valid exercise of police power constitutes:


(1) There must be a legitimate state purpose
(2) The means must be reasonably connected and necessary for the accomplishment of the
purpose

Analysis

The SC held that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

It did not meet the test of validity of the exercise of police power. This is because the means were
oppressive and unreasonable. The purpose of the ordinance was to protect the social and moral
welfare of the city. Closing down the businesses that validly obtained permits to conduct their
respective lawful businesses are not offensive to social and moral welfare. Also, such closure will
amount to a violation of Article 3 Section 9 of the Constitution because the owners are essentially
deprived of their property.
Further, the Court held that the ordinance also violates the equal protection clause because it did
not provide for clear distinctions between the prohibited establishments. Also, the Court stated
that the logic of prohibiting such establishments within the Ermita-Malate area, but allowing them
outside of it is untenable since an establishment, if indeed harmful, shall be harmful in and/or
outside the said area.

Conclusion

The petition is denied and the decision of the RTC declaring the ordinance null and void is
affirmed.

White Light Corporation v. City of Manila


GR No. 122486, 20 January 2009
Tinga, J.

Facts

On 3 December 1992, Mayor Alfredo Lim passed Ordinance No. 7774 which prohibits those same
establishments in City of Manila v. Laguio from offering short-time admission, as well as pro-rated
or "wash up" rates for such abbreviated stays. It aims to curb immoral activities by regulating the
operations of such establishments.

The petitioners, White Light Corporation (WLC), Titanium Corporation (TC) and Sta. Mesa Tourist
and Development Corporation (STDC), are different corporations engaged in the business of
operating hotels and other similar establishments. They are components of the Anito Group
of Companies which owns and operates several hotels and motels in Metro Manila.

The petitioners sought for the nullity of the ordinance because they argue that it violates the right
to privacy and the freedom of movement; it is an invalid exercise of police power; and it is an
unreasonable and oppressive interference in their business.

Procedural History

The RTC ruled in favor of the petitioners and declared Ordinance No. 7774 null and void. The
respondent filed a petition for review on certiorari to the Supreme Court, but the latter treated such
as a petition for certiorari and referred it to the Court of Appeals. The CA reversed the decision of
the RTC and asserted that the ordinance was valid. The petitioners filed a petition for review on
certiorari to the Supreme Court

Issue
W/N Ordinance No. 7774 is unconstitutional

Rule(s)
A valid exercise of police power constitutes:
(1) There must be a legitimate state purpose
(2) The means must be reasonably connected and necessary for the accomplishment of the
purpose

Analysis
SC held that the ordinance is unconstitutional. The ordinance is not a valid exercise of police
power because not only does it violate the right to liberty, but it also violates the due process
clause.

The Court stated that not all activities done within these establishments are illegal or illegitimate.
There are those who patronize these places for legitimate purposes, and the ordinance, if
affirmed, will impair these activities. Also, such illegal activities, if any, will not be restrained by
such intrusive means because even though short-time admissions are prohibited, they may just
avail the long-time admission to conduct their illegal activities. By this logic, it does not meet its
objective to curtail such wrongful acts.

Further, it must also be evident that no other alternatives less intrusive of private rights can work
to justify the exercise of police power, which the respondents fail to prove in the case at bar.

Conclusion

Petition is granted. The decision of the CA is reversed, and the decision of RTC of Manila Branch
9 is reinstated. Ordinance No. 7774 is declared unconstitutional.

Republic v. Sereno
GR. No. 237428, 11 May 2018
Tijam, J.

Facts
Sereno served as a member of the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law from
1986 to 2006. On October 2003 to 2006, she also worked as a legal counsel of the Republic in
the PIATCO cases and as Deputy Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights.

The UP HRDO certified that throughout her service in UP, only nine SALNs were on the records
of the office. The Ombudsman also held that it had no record of any SALN filed by Sereno. The
JBC has certified to the existence of one SALN, while Sereno manifested a tenth SALN which
she claims she found in the “drawers of UP”.

Sereno was appointed as Associate Justice on August 2010. On 2012, JBC directed the
applicants for the vacant Chief Justice position to submit documents, among which are “all
previous SALNs up to December 31, 2011” for those in the government and “SALN as of
December 31, 2011” for those from the private sector. The JBC also said that “applicants with
incomplete or out-of-date documentary requirements will not be interviewed or considered for
nomination.”
Sereno contended that since she resigned from UP on 2006, she must be treated as someone
from the private sector. Thus, she is required to submit only three SALNs. She also argued that
her government records are more than 15 years old and it will be difficult to retrieve such files.
She presented a clearance issued by the UP HRDO stating that she is cleared of any
accountability. JBC, then, deem Sereno to have “complete requirements.”
On August 2012, Sereno was appointed Chief Justice.
On August 2017, Atty. Larry Gadon filed an impeachment case against Sereno, alleging that
Sereno failed to make truthful declarations in her SALNs. The House of Representatives
proceeded to hear the case for determination of probable cause, and it was said that Justice
Peralta, the chairman of the JBC then, was not made aware of the incomplete SALNs of Sereno.
Other findings were made: such as pieces of jewelry amounting to P15,000, that were not
declared on her 1990 SALN, but was declared in prior years’ and subsequent years’ SALNs,
failure of her husband to sign one SALN, execution of the 1998 SALN only in 2003.

On February 2018, Atty. Eligio Mallari wrote to the OSG, requesting that the latter, in
representation of the Republic, initiate a quo warranto proceeding against Sereno. The OSG,
invoking the Court’s original jurisdiction under Section 5(1), Article VIII of the Constitution in
relation to the special civil action under Rule 66, the Republic, through the OSG filed the petition
for the issuance of the extraordinary writ of quo warranto to declare as void Sereno’s appointment
as CJ of the SC and to oust and altogether exclude Sereno therefrom.

Capistrano, Sen. De Lima, Sen. Trillianes, et. al., intervened. Sereno then filed a Motion for
Inhibition against AJ Bersamin, Peralta, Jardeleza, Tijam, and Leonardo-De Castro, imputing
actual bias for having testified against her on the impeachment hearing before the House of
Representatives.

Issue
1. Whether the Court can assume jurisdiction and give due course to the instant petition for
quo warranto.
2. Whether Sereno may be the respondent in a quo warranto proceeding notwithstanding
the fact that an impeachment complaint has already been filed with the House of
Representatives.
3. Whether Sereno, who is an impeachable officer, can be the respondent in a quo warranto
proceeding, i.e., whether the only way to remove an impeachable officer is impeachment.
4. Whether the filing of SALN is a constitutional and statutory requirement for the position of
Chief Justice.
5. In case of a finding that Sereno is ineligible to hold the position of Chief Justice, whether
the subsequent nomination by the JBC and the appointment by the President cured such
ineligibility.

Rule(s)

Quo warranto as a remedy to oust an ineligible public official may be availed of when the subject
act or omission was committed prior to or at the time of appointment or election relating to an
official’s qualifications to hold office as to render such appointment or election invalid.

Analysis

1. The SC has concurrent jurisdiction with the CA and RTC to issue a quo warranto.
However, given the circumstances, the SC can have original jurisdiction over the case
since it involves the sitting Chief Justice. The Court held that impeachment is different
from quo warranto. It cannot be argued that the possibility of Sereno being tried in an
impeachment case will not warrant to propriety of a quo warrant proceeding since the two
are distinct from each other. To refuse the quo warranto is to ignore the duty of the Court
to settle actual controversies.
2. As stated, quo warranto and impeachment are different from each other. Thus, they may
proceed independently. Quo warranto is removal on the ground that the officer is ineligible
to hold such position, while an impeachment is removal on the ground of an impeachable
offense. In the legal sense, it is not possible to remove an official from a position that is
not hers to hold to begin with.
3. The language of the Constitution is permissive. Article XI, Section 2 provides that a Chief
Justice “may be removed from office on impeachment.” This does not preclude that the
officer may be removed by other means. In this case, Sereno is argued to be unlawfully
holding the position that she is ineligible to hold. It would, thus, be absurd to remove
someone who does not have the entitlement to hold such position in the first place, through
impeachment.
4. Art XI Section 17 provides that the filing of the SALN is a constitutional requirement. Non-
compliance to such will cause the people to question the integrity of the official. Further, a
sitting Chief Justice must have unquestionable integrity. Given the foregoing facts, it is
concluded that Sereno did fail to file her SALNs. Records, documents, and a statement
by the Ombudsman show that Sereno did not file her SALNs for years 1999 to 2009,
except SALN ending December 1998. Thus, she failed to qualify for nomination based on
the rules of the JBC.
5. Sereno’s ineligibility cannot be cured by her nomination and appointment as Chief Justice
because it has been long held that the qualifications for public office is continuing. Thus,
her ineligibility even after her appointment still stands.

Conclusion
The petition for quo warranto is granted. Respondent Sereno is found disqualified and adjudged
guilty of unlawfully holding and exercising the office of the Chief Justice.

Dissenting Opinions:

J. Carpio
Justice Carpio held that submission of SALN is a constitutional duty. However, he dissents in light
of the propositions that the quo warranto proceedings threaten and undermine judicial
independence and stability. Article XI Section 2 of the Constitution provides that the members of
the Supreme Court may be removed from office through impeachment proceedings; and liability
of justices of the Court can only be imposed after such proceedings.

J. Leonen
Justice Leonen dissented stating that the quo warranto as a means of removing a sitting Chief
Justice is a legal abomination. He held that it gravely diminished the judicial independence of the
Court and threatens its ability to assert the fundamental rights of the people.

J. Caguioa
Justice Caguioa dissented. He held that the quo warranto did not test the integrity of the Chief
Justice, but of the Court. Under the Constitution, the Chief Justice may only be removed through
impeachment. The purportedly failure of Sereno to file her SALNs is not a ground for removal
because it is not a constitutional requirement for the position of Chief Justice.

Concurring Opinions:

J. del Castillo

Del Castillo dissented and stated that quo warranto cannot lie against an impeachable officer
when the ground for her removal constitutes and impeachable offense. The Constitution,
according to the Justice, is clear that the Chief Justice may only be removed through
impeachment.

J. Leonardo-de Castro

De Castro concurred with the ponencia. She likewise denied the motion for her inhibition. She
held that the truth about Sereno’s filing of her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth
(SALN) was not answered as she refused to appear in the hearings before the House of
Representatives Committee on Justice. She said that she only testified before the committee as
resource person who must tell the truth, which she did so based on authentic and official court
records.

Separate Opinion:

J. Martires

Martires voted to concur in the result of the ponencia. Martires held that they did not removed a
Chief Justice because Sereno is not the legitimate Chief Justice since she didn’t have a valid
appointment.