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Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro G.R. No.


Facts of the Case:

This is an application for habeas corpus in favor of Rubi and other Manguianes of the
Province of Mindoro. It is alleged that the Maguianes are being illegally deprived of their
liberty by the provincial officials of that province. Rubi and his companions are said to be
held on the reservation established at Tigbao, Mindoro, against their will, and one Dabalos
is said to be held under the custody of the provincial sheriff in the prison at Calapan for
having run away form the reservation.


It thus appears that the provincial governor of Mindoro and the provincial board thereof
directed the Manguianes in question to take up their habitation in Tigbao, a site on the
shore of Lake Naujan, selected by the provincial governor and approved by the provincial
board. The action was taken in accordance with section 2145 of the Administrative Code
of 1917, and was duly approved by the Secretary of the Interior as required by said
action. Petitioners, however, challenge the validity of this section of the Administrative
Code. This, therefore, becomes the paramount question which the court is called upon
to decide.

Section 2145 of the Administrative Code of 1917 reads as follows:

SEC. 2145. Establishment of non-Christian upon sites selected by provincial governor.

— With the prior approval of the Department Head, the provincial governor of any
province in which non-Christian inhabitants are found is authorized, when such a course
is deemed necessary in the interest of law and order, to direct such inhabitants to take
up their habitation on sites on unoccupied public lands to be selected by him an approved
by the provincial board.

In connection with the above-quoted provisions, there should be noted section 2759 of
the same Code, which read as follows:

SEC. 2759. Refusal of a non-Christian to take up appointed habitation. — Any non-

Christian who shall refuse to comply with the directions lawfully given by a provincial
governor, pursuant to section two thousand one hundred and forty-five of this Code, to
take up habitation upon a site designated by said governor shall upon conviction be
imprisonment for a period not exceeding sixty days.


Whether or not there has been an illegal restrain on the liberty of Rubi and the


Not attempting to phrase a definition of police power, all that it is necessary to note at
this moment is the farreaching scope of the power, that it has become almost possible to
limit its weep, and that among its purposes is the power to prescribe regulations to
promote the health, peace, morals, education, and good order of the people, and to
legislate so as to increase the industries of the State, develop its resources and add to is
wealth and prosperity. (See Barbier vs. Connolly [1884], 113 U.S., 27.) What we are not
interested in is the right of the government to restrain liberty by the exercise of the police

"The police power of the State," one court has said, . . . "is a power coextensive with
self-protection, and is not inaptly termed the 'law of overruling necessity.' It may be said
to be that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all things
hurtful to the comfort, safety and welfare of society." (Lake View vs. Rose Hill Cemetery
Co. [1873], 70 Ill., 191.) Carried onward by the current of legislation, the judiciary rarely
attempt to dam the on rushing power of legislative discretion, provided the purposes of
the law do not go beyond the great principles that mean security for the public welfare
or do not arbitrarily interfere with the right of the individual.

The Government of the Philippine Islands has both on reason and authority the right to
exercise the sovereign police power in the promotion of the general welfare and the public
interest. "There can be not doubt that the exercise of the police power of the Philippine
Government belongs to the Legislature and that this power is limited only by the Acts of
Congress and those fundamental principles which lie at the foundation of all republican
forms of government." (Churchill and Tait vs. Rafferty [1915], 32 Phil., 580;
U.S. vs. Pompeya [1915], 31 Phil., 245.)

With the foregoing approximation of the applicable basic principles before us, before
finally deciding whether any constitutional provision has indeed been violated by section
2145 of the Administrative Code, we should endeavor to ascertain the intention of the
Legislature in enacting this section. If legally possible, such legislative intention should
be effectuated.