You are on page 1of 3




ARTICLE III Bill of Rights subject is now being discussed in the Committee on Social Justice
SECTION 8 because we are trying to find a solution to this problem. We know that
RIGHT TO FORM ASSOCIATION this problem exist; that the moment we allow anybody in the
government to strike, then what will happen if the members of the
Armed Forces will go on strike? What will happen to those people
trying to protect us? So that is a matter of discussion in the Committee
Article XIII, Section 31
on Social Justice. But, I repeat, the right to form an organization
The 1987 Constitution, in the Article on Social Justice and Human
does not carry with it the right to strike. [Record of the
Rights, provides that the State "shall guarantee the rights of all workers
Constitutional Commission, vol. 1, p. 569].
to self-organization, collective bargaining and negotiations, and
peaceful concerted activities, including the right to strike in accordance
Labor Code repealing R.A. 875 is also silent
with law" [Art. XIII, Sec. 31]
No similar provision is found in the Labor Code, although at one time
it recognized the right of employees of government corporations
Constitution is silent whether right of government employees to
established under the Corporation Code to organize and bargain
organize includes right to strike
collectively and those in the civil service to "form organizations for
By itself, this provision would seem to recognize the right of all
purposes not contrary to law" [Art. 244, before its amendment by B.P.
workers and employees, including those in the public sector, to strike.
Blg. 70 in 1980], in the same breath it provided that "[t]he terms and
conditions of employment of all government employees, including
But the Constitution itself fails to expressly confirm this impression,
employees of government owned and controlled corporations, shall be
for in the Sub-Article on the Civil Service Commission, it provides,
governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations" [now Art.
after defining the scope of the civil service as "all branches,
subdivisions, instrumentalities, and agencies of the Government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations with original
Understandably, the Labor Code is silent as to whether or not
charters," that "[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to
government employees may strike, for such are excluded from its
government employees" [Art. IX(B), Sec. 2(l) and (50)].
coverage [Ibid]. But then the Civil Service Decree [P.D. No. 807], is
equally silent on the matter.
Parenthetically, the Bill of Rights also provides that "[tlhe right of the
people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to
SSS Employees have no right to strike
form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law
SSS is one such government-controlled corporation with an original
shall not abridged" [Art. III, Sec. 8].
charter, having been created under R.A. No. 1161, its employees are

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG © 2017 (09265563619/

part of the civil service and are covered by the Civil Service
Thus, while there is no question that the Constitution recognizes the
Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. This being the case,
right of government employees to organize, it is silent as to whether
the strike staged by the employees of the SSS was illegal.
such recognition also includes the right to strike.
Distinction between Private employees and Government employees
Right to form association does not include right to strike based
The general rule: 'the terms and conditions of employment in the
from the records of the Constitutional Commission
Government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality
Thus, Commissioner Eulogio R. Lerum, one of the sponsors of the
thereof are governed by law" (Section 11, the Industrial Peace Act,
provision that "[tlhe right to self-organization shall not be denied to
R.A. No. 875, as amended and Article 277, the Labor Code, P.D. No.
government employees" explained:
442, as amended).
MR. LERUM. I think what I will try to say will not take that long.
Since the terms and conditions of government employment are fixed by
When we proposed this amendment providing for self-organization of
law, government workers cannot use the same weapons employed by
government employees, it does not mean that because they have the
workers in the private sector to secure concessions from their
right to organize, they also have the right to strike. That is a different
The principle behind labor unionism in private industry is that
We are only talking about organizing, uniting as a union.
industrial peace cannot be secured through compulsion by law.
Relations between private employers and their employees rest on an
With regard to the right to strike, everyone will remember that in the
essentially voluntary basis. Subject to the minimum requirements of
Bill of Rights, there is a provision that the right to form associations or
wage laws and other labor and welfare legislation, the terms and
societies whose purpose is not contrary to law shall not be abridged.
conditions of employment in the unionized private sector are settled
Now then, if the purpose of the state is to prohibit the strikes coming
through the process of collective bargaining. In government
from employees exercising government functions, that could be done
employment, however, it is the legislature and, where properly given
because the moment that is prohibited, then the union which will go
delegated power, the administrative heads of government which fix the
on strike will be an illegal union.
terms and conditions of employment. And this is effected through
statutes or administrative circulars, rules, and regulations, not through
And that provision is carried in Republic Act 875. In Republic Act
collective bargaining agreements.
875, workers, including those from the government-owned and
controlled, are allowed to organize but they are prohibited from
striking. So, the fear of our honorable Vice- President is unfounded. It
does not mean that because we approve this resolution, it carries with
it the right to strike. That is a different matter. As a matter of fact, that

Unions may petition the Congress or negotiate Thus Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act, before its
Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or amendment by Republic Act No. 3350, provides that although it would
associations, either be an unfair labor practice for an employer "to discriminate in regard
(a) petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of
conditions of employment which are within the ambit of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor
legislation or organization" the employer is, however, not precluded "from making
(b) negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of
improvement of those which are not fixed by law. employment membership therein, if such labor organization is the
representative of the employees".
If there be any unresolved grievances, the dispute may be referred to
the Public Sector Labor - Management Council for appropriate Closed Shop Agreement
action. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes, By virtue, therefore, of a closed shop agreement, before the
walk-outs and other temporary work stoppages, like workers in the enactment of Republic Act No. 3350, if any person, regardless of his
private sector, to pressure the Government to accede to their demands. religious beliefs, wishes to be employed or to keep his employment, he
must become a member of the collective bargaining union.
As now provided under Sec. 4, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations
to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government- Employees to Hence, the right of said employee not to join the labor union is curtailed
Self- Organization, which took effect after the instant dispute arose, and withdrawn.
"[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the government,
including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and Exception to the Closed Shop Agreement
government- owned and controlled corporations with original charters To that all-embracing coverage of the closed shop arrangement,
are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the Republic Act No. 3350 introduced an exception, when it added to
purpose of securing changes thereof.” Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act the following proviso:

VICTORIANO vs. ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS’ UNION "but such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects
What the Constitution and Industrial Peace Act recognize which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor
What the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act recognize and organization".
guarantee is the "right" to form or join associations.
Republic Act No. 3350 merely excludes ipso jure from the application
whatever theory of right one subscribes to, a right comprehends at and coverage of the closed shop agreement the employees belonging
least two broad notions, namely: to any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members with
(1) liberty or freedom, i.e., the absence of legal restraint, any labor organization.
whereby an employee may act for himself without being

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG © 2017 (09265563619/

prevented by law; and Members of Religious Sects cannot be compelled
(2) power, whereby an employee may, as he pleases, join or What the exception provides, therefore, is that members of said
refrain from Joining an association. religious sects cannot be compelled or coerced to join labor unions
even when said unions have closed shop agreements with the
Employee shall be the one to decide employers; that in spite of any closed shop agreement, members of said
It is, therefore, the employee who should decide for himself whether religious sects cannot be refused employment or dismissed from their
he should join or not an association; and should he choose to join, he jobs on the sole ground that they are not members of the collective
himself makes up his mind as to which association he would join; and bargaining union.
even after he has joined, he still retains the liberty and the power to
leave and cancel his membership with said organization at any time. Republic Act No. 3350 is not violative of freedom to associate
 It does not prohibit the members of said religious sects from
The right to join includes the Right to Abstain affiliating with labor unions.
It is clear, therefore, that the right to join a union includes the right to  It still leaves to said members the liberty and the power to
abstain from joining any union. affiliate, or not to affiliate, with labor unions.
 If, notwithstanding their religious beliefs, the members of
Inasmuch as what both the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act said religious sects prefer to sign up with the labor union,
have recognized, and guaranteed to the employee, is the "right" to join they can do so.
associations of his choice, it would be absurd to say that the law also  If in deference and fealty to their religious faith, they refuse
imposes, in the same breath, upon the employee the duty to join to sign up, they can do so;
associations. The law does not enjoin an employee to sign up with any  the law does not coerce them to join;
association.  neither does the law prohibit them from joining; and neither
may the employer or labor union compel them to join.
The Right to Refrain is limited
The right to refrain from joining labor organizations recognized by RA No. 3350 does not violate Social Justice
Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act is, however, limited. Social justice also means the adoption by the Government of measures
calculated to insure economic stability of all component elements of
The legal protection granted to such right to refrain from joining is society, through the maintenance of a proper economic and social
withdrawn by operation of law, where a labor union and an employer equilibrium in the inter-relations of the members of the community.
have agreed on a closed shop, by virtue of which the employer may
employ only member of the collective bargaining union, and the Republic Act No. 3350 insures economic stability to the members of
employees must continue to be members of the union for the duration a religious sect, like the Iglesia ni Cristo, who are also component
of the contract in order to keep their jobs. elements of society, for it insures security in their employment,

notwithstanding their failure to join a labor union having a closed shop Power of the Supreme Court
agreement with the employer. Quite apart from the above, let it be stated that even without the
enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), and looking solely to the
The Act also advances the proper economic and social equilibrium language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme
between labor unions and employees who cannot join labor unions, for Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice
it exempts the latter from the compelling necessity of joining labor and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law,"
unions that have closed shop agreements and equalizes, in so far as it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests
opportunity to work is concerned, those whose religion prohibits the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the
membership in labor unions with those whose religion does not admission to and supervision of the practice of law.
prohibit said membership.
Integration of a Lawyer
Social justice does not imply social equality, because social inequality Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which
will always exist as long as social relations depend on personal or he is not already a member. He became a member of the Bar when he
subjective proclivities. Social justice does not require legal equality passed the Bar examinations. All that integration actually does is to
because legal equality, being a relative term, is necessarily premised provide an official national organization for the well-defined but
on differentiations based on personal or natural conditions. Social unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is a ready a
justice guarantees equality of opportunity, and this is precisely what member.
Republic Act No. 3350 proposes to accomplish — it gives laborers,
irrespective of their religious scruples, equal opportunity for work. Bar integration does not compel a lawyer to associate
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone.
IN RE EDILLON He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar
Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The
An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual
must belong, as distinguished from bar associations organized by dues. The Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate
individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary. interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services, may
Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be
of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program —
objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its the lawyers.

Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar is

an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be
members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules prescribed for the

JAMES BRYAN SUAREZ DEANG © 2017 (09265563619/

governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a
reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the
Bar, and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional
responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for
investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a
recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member.

Overriding considerations of public interest and public welfare

The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by
overriding considerations of public interest and public welfare to such
an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies the
restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal interests and
personal convenience of individual lawyers.

Valid Exercise of Police Power

Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation directing
the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally
sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important
profession. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a
privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes
substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the
profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the
most important functions of the State — the administration of justice
— as an officer of the court.

When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397 authorizing

the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of
the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it did so in
the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act's
avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the
administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public
responsibility more effectively."