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Primicias vs. Fugoso [G.R. No.

L—1800, January 27, 1948]


An action was instituted by the petitioner for the refusal of the respondent to issue a permit to them to
hold a public meeting in Plaza Miranda for redress of grievances to the government. The reason alleged
by the respondent in his defense for refusing the permit is, "that there is a reasonable ground to believe,
basing upon previous utterances and upon the fact that passions, specially on the part of the losing
groups, remains bitter and high, that similar speeches will be delivered tending to undermine the faith
and confidence of the people in their government, and in the duly constituted authorities, which might
threaten breaches of the peace and a disruption of public order." Giving emphasis as well to the
delegated police power to local government. Stating as well Revised Ordinances of 1927 prohibiting as
an offense against public peace, and penalizes as a misdemeanor, "any act, in any public place, meeting,
or procession, tending to disturb the peace or excite a riot; or collect with other persons in a body or
crowd for any unlawful purpose; or disturb or disquiet any congregation engaged in any lawful
assembly." Included herein is Sec. 1119, Free use of Public Place.
Issue: Whether or Not the freedom of speech was violated.

Held: Yes. Dealing with the ordinance, specifically, Sec. 1119, said section provides for two
constructions: (1) the Mayor of the City of Manila is vested with unregulated discretion to grant or
refuse, to grant permit for the holding of a lawful assembly or meeting, parade, or procession in the
streets and other public places of the City of Manila; (2) The right of the Mayor is subject to reasonable
discretion to determine or specify the streets or public places to be used with the view to prevent
confusion by overlapping, to secure convenient use of the streets and public places by others, and to
provide adequate and proper policing to minimize the risk of disorder. The court favored the second
construction. First construction tantamount to authorizing the Mayor to prohibit the use of the streets.
Under our democratic system of government no such unlimited power may be validly granted to any
officer of the government, except perhaps in cases of national emergency.

The Mayor’s first defense is untenable. Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free
speech and assembly. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. To
justify suppression of free speech there must be reasonable ground to fear that serious evil will result if
free speech is practiced. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the danger apprehended is
imminent. There must be reasonable ground to believe that the evil to be prevented is a serious one.
The fact that speech is likely to result in some violence or in destruction of property is not enough to
justify its suppression. There must be the probability of serious injury to the state.

Malabanan vs. Ramento [G.R. No. 62270, May 21, 1984]


Petitioners, all officers of the Supreme Student Council of the Gregorio Araneta University Foundation,
sought and were granted a permit to hold a meeting. At such gathering they manifested their opposition
to the proposed merger of the Institute of Animal Science with the Institute of Agriculture. They
marched and demonstrated outside the place indicated in the permit, disturbing the classes being held.
They were later suspended for one academic year for holding an illegal assembly.
ISSUE(S):
Whether or not there was an infringement of the right to peaceable assembly and its cognate right of
free speech in the disciplinary action and the penalty imposed.
RULING:
YES. Petitioners are entitled to their rights to peaceable assembly and free speech. They enjoy like the
rest of the citizens the freedom to express their views and communicate their thoughts to those
disposed to listen in gatherings. While the authority of educational institutions over the conduct of
students must be recognized, it cannot go so far as to be violative of constitutional safeguards.
Petition is GRANTED
De la Cruz vs. Court of Appeals [G.R. No. 126183, March 25, 1999]
Petitioners are public school teachers from various schools in Metro Manila who were simultaneously
charged, preventively suspended, and eventually dismissed in October 1990 by the Secretary of the
Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) in connection with the administrative complaints
filed before its office by their respective principals for participating in a mass action/strike and
subsequently defying the return-to-work order by DECS constituting grave misconduct., gross neglect of
duty, gross violation of Civil Service Law, Rules and Regulations and reasonable office regulations,
refusal to perform official duty, gross insubordination conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the
service and absence without official leave (AWOL), in violation of Presidential Decree 807, otherwise
known as the Civil Service Decree of the Philippines. Petitioners contend they are merely participating in
a peaceful assembly to petition the government for redress of their grievances in the exercise of their
constitutional right and insist their assembly does not constitutes as a strike as there is no actual
disruption of classes.
Issue: Whether or not the petitioners’ exercise of their right to freedom to assembly and petition were
valid.
Held: The court held that previous jurisprudence laid down a rule that public teachers in the exercise of
their right to ventilate their grievances by petitioning the government for redress should be done within
reasonable limits so as not to prejudice the public welfare. The conduct of mass protests during school
days while abandoning classes is highly prejudicial to the best interest of public service. The court
stresses that teachers are penalized not because they exercised their right to peaceably assemble but
because of the manner by which such right was exercised, i.e., going on unauthorized and unilateral
absences thus disrupting classes in various schools in Metro Manila which produced adverse effects
upon the students for whose education the teachers were responsible.
PBM Employees Association vs. Philippine Blooming Mills [G.R. No. L-31195, June 5, 1973]
1) The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (PBMEO) is a legitimate labor union
composed of the employees of the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and petitioners
Nicanor Tolentino, Florencio Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio
Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu and Rodulfo Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union. PBMEO
decided to stage a mass demonstration in front of Malacañang to express their grievances against the
alleged abuses of the Pasig Police.
2) Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at Malacañang
on March 4, 1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be participated in by the
workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as those in the regular second and third shifts
(from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M., respectively); and that they informed the respondent
Company of their proposed demonstration.
3) The Philippine Blooming Mills Inc., called for a meeting with the leaders of the PBMEO after learning
about the planned mass demonstration. During the meeting, the planned demonstration was confirmed
by the union. But it was stressed out by the union that the demonstration was not a strike against the
company but was in factual exercise of the laborers inalienable constitutional right to freedom of
expression, freedom of speech and freedom for petition for redress of grievances.
4) The company asked them to cancel the demonstration for it would interrupt the normal course of
their business which may result in the loss of revenue. This was backed up with the threat of the
possibility that the workers would lose their jobs if they pushed through with the rally.
5) A second meeting took place where the company reiterated their appeal that while the workers may
be allowed to participate, those from the 1st and regular shifts should not absent themselves to
participate, otherwise, they would be dismissed. Since it was too late to cancel the plan, the rally took
place and the officers of the PBMEO were eventually dismissed for a violation of the ‘No Strike and No
Lockout’ clause of their Collective Bargaining Agreement.
6) The lower court decided in favour of Philippine Blooming Mills Co., Inc., and the officers of the
PBMEO were found guilty of bargaining in bad faith. The PBMEO’s motion for reconsideration was
subsequently denied by the Court of Industrial Relations for being filed two days late.
Issue:
Whether or not to regard the demonstration against police officers, not against the employer, as a
violation of freedom expression in general and of their right of assembly and petition for redress of
grievances
Whether or not the collective bargaining agreement is an inhibition of the rights of free expression, free
assembly and petition of the employers
Held:
1) Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are imprescriptible. If
human rights are extinguished by the passage of time, then the Bill of Rights is a useless attempt to limit
the power of government and ceases to be an efficacious shield against the tyranny of officials, of
majorities, of the influential and powerful, and of oligarchs — political, economic or otherwise.
The demonstration held petitioners on March 4, 1969 before Malacañang was against alleged abuses of
some Pasig policemen, not against their employer, herein private respondent firm, said demonstrate
was purely and completely an exercise of their 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, again the police officers of the municipality of Pasig. They exercise their civil and
political rights for their mutual aid protection from what they believe were police excesses. As matter of
fact, it was the duty of herein private respondent firm to protect herein petitioner Union and its
members from the harassment of local police officers. It was to the interest herein private respondent
firm to rally to the defense of, and take up the cudgels for, its employees, so that they can report to
work free from harassment, vexation or peril and as consequence perform more efficiently their
respective tasks enhance its productivity as well as profits.
2) 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 “a potent means of inhibiting speech” and therefore inflicts a
moral as well as mortal wound on the constitutional guarantees of free expression, of peaceful assembly
and of petition.
The collective bargaining agreement which fixes the working shifts of the employees, according to the
respondent Court Industrial Relations, in effect imposes on the workers the “duty … to observe regular
working hours.” The strain construction of the Court of Industrial Relations that a stipulated working
shifts deny the workers the right to stage mass demonstration against police abuses during working
hours, constitutes a virtual tyranny over the mind and life the workers and deserves severe
condemnation. Renunciation of the freedom should not be predicated on such a slender ground.
The respondent company is the one guilty of unfair labor practice. Because the refusal on the part of the
respondent firm to permit all its employees and workers to join the mass demonstration against alleged
police abuses and the subsequent separation of the eight (8) petitioners from the service constituted an
unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom petition for
redress of grievances, the respondent firm committed an 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.
The Supreme Court set aside as null and void the orders of Court of Industrial Relations. The Supreme
Court also directed the re-instatement of the herein eight (8) petitioners, with full back pay from the
date of their separation from the service until re-instated, minus one day’s pay and whatever earnings
they might have realized from other sources during their separation from the service.
Bayan vs. Ermita [G.R. No. 169838, April 25, 2006]
The petitioners, Bayan, et al., alleged that they are citizens and taxpayers of the Philippines and that
their right as organizations and individuals were violated when the rally they participated in on October
6, 2005 was violently dispersed by policemen implementing Batas Pambansa No. 880.

Petitioners contended that Batas Pambansa No. 880 is clearly a violation of the Constitution and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other human rights treaties of which the
Philippines is a signatory. They argue that B.P. No. 880 requires a permit before one can stage a public
assembly regardless of the presence or absence of a clear and present danger. It also curtails the choice
of venue and is thus repugnant to the freedom of expression clause as the time and place of a public
assembly form part of the message which the expression is sought. Furthermore, it is not content-
neutral as it does not apply to mass actions in support of the government. The words “lawful cause,”
“opinion,” “protesting or influencing” suggest the exposition of some cause not espoused by the
government. Also, the phrase “maximum tolerance” shows that the law applies to assemblies against
the government because they are being tolerated. As a content-based legislation, it cannot pass the
strict scrutiny test. This petition and two other petitions were ordered to be consolidated on February
14, 2006. During the course of oral arguments, the petitioners, in the interest of a speedy resolution of
the petitions, withdrew the portions of their petitions raising factual issues, particularly those raising the
issue of whether B.P. No. 880 and/or CPR is void as applied to the rallies of September 20, October 4, 5
and 6, 2005.

Issue: Whether the Calibrated Pre-emptive response and the Batas Pambansa No. 880, specifically
Sections 4, 5, 6, 12, 13(a) and 14(a) violates Art. III Sec. 4 of the Philippine Constitution as it causes a
disturbing effect on the exercise by the people of the right to peaceably assemble.

Held: Section 4 of Article III of the Philippine Constitution provides that no law shall be passed abridging
the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble
and petition the government for redress of grievances. The right to peaceably assemble and petition for
redress of grievances, together with freedom of speech, of expression, and of the press, is a right that
enjoys dominance in the sphere of constitutional protection. For this rights represent the very basis of a
functional democratic polity, without which all the other rights would be meaningless and unprotected.

However, it must be remembered that the right, while sacrosanct, is not absolute. It may be regulated
that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having equal rights, nor injurious to the
rights of the community or society. The power to regulate the exercise of such and other constitutional
rights is termed the sovereign “police power,” which is the power to prescribe regulations, to promote
the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety, and general welfare of the people.

B.P. No 880 is not an absolute ban of public assemblies but a restriction that simply regulates the time,
place and manner of the assemblies. B.P. No. 880 thus readily shows that it refers to all kinds of public
assemblies that would use public places. The reference to “lawful cause” does not make it content-
based because assemblies really have to be for lawful causes, otherwise they would not be “peaceable”
and entitled to protection. Neither the words “opinion,” “protesting,” and “influencing” in of grievances
come from the wording of the Constitution, so its use cannot be avoided. Finally, maximum tolerance is
for the protection and benefit of all rallyist and is independent of the content of the expression in the
rally.

Furthermore, the permit can only be denied on the ground of clear and present danger to public order,
public safety, public convenience, public morals or public health. This is a recognized exception to the
exercise of the rights even under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Wherefore, the petitions are GRANTED in part, and respondents, more particularly the Secretary of the
Interior and Local Governments, are DIRECTED to take all necessary steps for the immediate compliance
with Section 15 of Batas Pambansa No. 880 through the establishment or designation of at least one
suitable freedom park or plaza in every city and municipality of the country. After thirty (30) days from
the finality of this Decision, subject to the giving of advance notices, no prior permit shall be required to
exercise the right to peaceably assemble and petition in the public parks or plaza in every city or
municipality that has not yet complied with section 15 of the law. Furthermore, Calibrated pre-emptive
response (CPR), insofar as it would purport to differ from or be in lieu of maximum tolerance, is NULL
and VOID and respondents are ENJOINED to REFRAIN from using it and to STRICTLY OBSERVE the
requirements of maximum tolerance, The petitions are DISMISSED in all other respects, and the
constitutionality of Batas Pambansa No. 880 is SUSTAINED