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EN BANC The questioned order dated September 15, 1969, of Associate Judge Joaquin M.

Salvador
of the respondent Court reproduced the following stipulation of facts of the parties —
G.R. No. L-31195 June 5, 1973 parties —

PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS EMPLOYMENT ORGANIZATION, NICANOR 3. That on March 2, 1969 complainant company learned of the projected mass
TOLENTINO, FLORENCIO, PADRIGANO RUFINO, ROXAS MARIANO DE LEON, demonstration at Malacañang in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig Police
ASENCION PACIENTE, BONIFACIO VACUNA, BENJAMIN PAGCU and RODULFO Department to be participated by the first shift (6:00 AM-2:00 PM) workers as well as those
MUNSOD, petitioners, working in the regular shifts (7:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM) in the morning
vs. of March 4, 1969;
PHILIPPINE BLOOMING MILLS CO., INC. and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS, respondents. 4. That a meeting was called by the Company on March 3, 1969 at about 11:00 A.M. at the
Company's canteen, and those present were: for the Company: (1) Mr. Arthur L. Ang (2)
L.S. Osorio & P.B. Castillo and J.C. Espinas & Associates for petitioners. Atty. S. de Leon, Jr., (3) and all department and section heads. For the PBMEO (1)
Florencio Padrigano, (2) Rufino Roxas, (3) Mariano de Leon, (4) Asencion Paciente, (5)
Demetrio B. Salem & Associates for private respondent. Bonifacio Vacuna and (6) Benjamin Pagcu.

5. That the Company asked the union panel to confirm or deny said projected mass
demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969. PBMEO thru Benjamin Pagcu who acted
MAKASIAR, J.: as spokesman of the union panel, confirmed the planned demonstration and stated that
the demonstration or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already been agreed upon in
the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the demonstration has nothing to do with the
The petitioner Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization (hereinafter referred to as
Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management;
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 6. That Management, thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, Company personnel manager, informed
and Rodulfo Munsod are officers and members of the petitioner Union. 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 of the Company. For which reason, the Company,
Petitioners claim that on March 1, 1969, they decided to stage a mass demonstration at
thru Atty. C.S. de Leon warned the PBMEO representatives that workers who belong to the
Malacañang on March 4, 1969, in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig police, to be
first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of absence approved by the Company,
participated in by the workers in the first shift (from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M.) as well as those in the
particularly , the officers present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall
regular second and third shifts (from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M. and from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.,
fail to report for work the following morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because
respectively); and that they informed the respondent Company of their proposed
such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be amounting to an
demonstration.
illegal strike;

7. That at about 5:00 P.M. on March 3, 1969, another meeting was convoked Company
represented by Atty. C.S. de Leon, Jr. The Union panel was composed of: Nicanor Tolentino,

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Rodolfo Munsod, Benjamin Pagcu and Florencio Padrigano. In this afternoon meeting of and that their mass demonstration was not a declaration of strike because it was not
March 3, 1969, Company reiterated and appealed to the PBMEO representatives that while directed against the respondent firm (Annex "D", pp. 31-34, rec.)
all workers may join the Malacañang demonstration, the workers for the first and regular
shift of March 4, 1969 should be excused from joining the demonstration and should After considering the aforementioned stipulation of facts submitted by the parties, Judge
report for work; and thus utilize the workers in the 2nd and 3rd shifts in order not to Joaquin M. Salvador, in an order dated September 15, 1969, found herein petitioner
violate the provisions of the CBA, particularly Article XXIV: NO LOCKOUT — NO STRIKE'. PBMEO guilty of bargaining in bad faith and herein petitioners Florencio Padrigano, Rufino
All those who will not follow this warning of the Company shall be dismiss; De Leon Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna, Benjamin Pagcu, Nicanor
reiterated the Company's warning that the officers shall be primarily liable being the Tolentino and Rodulfo Munsod as directly responsible for perpetrating the said unfair labor
organizers of the mass demonstration. The union panel countered that it was rather too practice and were, as a consequence, considered to have lost their status as employees of
late to change their plans inasmuch as the Malacañang demonstration will be held the the respondent Company (Annex "F", pp. 42-56, rec.)
following morning; and
Herein petitioners claim that they received on September 23, 1969, the aforesaid order (p.
8. That a certain Mr. Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of PBMEO sent a cablegram to the Company 11, rec.); and that they filed on September 29, 1969, because September 28, 1969 fell on
which was received 9:50 A.M., March 4, 1969, the contents of which are as follows: Sunday (p. 59, rec.), a motion for reconsideration of said order dated September 15, 1969,
'REITERATING REQUEST EXCUSE DAY SHIFT EMPLOYEES JOINING DEMONSTRATION on the ground that it is contrary to law and the evidence, as well as asked for ten (10) days
MARCH 4, 1969.' (Pars. 3-8, Annex "F", pp. 42-43, rec.) within which to file their arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Rules of the
CIR, as amended (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec. )
Because the petitioners and their members numbering about 400 proceeded with the
demonstration despite the pleas of the respondent Company that the first shift workers In its opposition dated October 7, 1969, filed on October 11, 1969 (p. 63, rec.), respondent
should not be required to participate in the demonstration and that the workers in the Company averred that herein petitioners received on September 22, 1969, the order dated
second and third shifts should be utilized for the demonstration from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. on September 17 (should be September 15), 1969; that under Section 15 of the amended
March 4, 1969, respondent Company prior notice of the mass demonstration on March 4, Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations, herein petitioners had five (5) days from
1969, with the respondent Court, a charge against petitioners and other employees who September 22, 1969 or until September 27, 1969, within which to file their motion for
composed the first shift, charging them with a "violation of Section 4(a)-6 in relation to reconsideration; and that because their motion for reconsideration was two (2) days late, it
Sections 13 and 14, as well as Section 15, all of Republic Act No. 875, and of the CBA should be accordingly dismissed, invoking Bien vs. Castillo,1 which held among others,
providing for 'No Strike and No Lockout.' " (Annex "A", pp. 19-20, rec.). The charge was that a motion for extension of the five-day period for the filing of a motion for
accompanied by the joint affidavit of Arthur L. Ang and Cesareo de Leon, Jr. (Annex "B", pp. reconsideration should be filed before the said five-day period elapses (Annex "M", pp.
21-24, rec.). Thereafter, a corresponding complaint was filed, dated April 18, 1969, by 61-64, rec.).
Acting Chief Prosecutor Antonio T. Tirona and Acting Prosecutor Linda P. Ilagan (Annex "C",
pp. 25-30, rec.) Subsequently, herein petitioners filed on October 14, 1969 their written arguments dated
October 11, 1969, in support of their motion for reconsideration (Annex "I", pp. 65-73,
In their answer, dated May 9, 1969, herein petitioners claim that they did not violate the rec.).
existing CBA because they gave the respondent Company prior notice of the mass
demonstration on March 4, 1969; that the said mass demonstration was a valid exercise of In a resolution dated October 9, 1969, the respondent en banc dismissed the motion for
their constitutional freedom of speech against the alleged abuses of some Pasig policemen; reconsideration of herein petitioners for being pro forma as it was filed beyond the

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reglementary period prescribed by its Rules (Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.), which herein In the pithy language of Mr. Justice Robert Jackson, the purpose of the Bill of Rights is to
petitioners received on October 28, 196 (pp. 12 & 76, rec.). withdraw "certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them
beyond the reach of majorities and officials, and to establish them as legal principles to be
At the bottom of the notice of the order dated October 9, 1969, which was released on applied by the courts. One's rights to life, liberty and property, to free speech, or free press,
October 24, 1969 and addressed to the counsels of the parties (pp. 75-76, rec.), appear the freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to a
requirements of Sections 15, 16 and 17, as amended, of the Rules of the Court of Industrial vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections."4 Laski proclaimed that "the happiness of
Relations, that a motion for reconsideration shall be filed within five (5) days from receipt of the individual, not the well-being of the State, was the criterion by which its behaviour was
its decision or order and that an appeal from the decision, resolution or order of the C.I.R., to be judged. His interests, not its power, set the limits to the authority it was entitled to
sitting en banc, shall be perfected within ten (10) days from receipt thereof (p. 76, rec.). exercise."5

On October 31, 1969, herein petitioners filed with the respondent court a petition for relief (3) The freedoms of expression and of assembly as well as the right to petition are included
from the order dated October 9, 1969, on the ground that their failure to file their motion among the immunities reserved by the sovereign people, in the rhetorical aphorism of
for reconsideration on time was due to excusable negligence and honest mistake Justice Holmes, to protect the ideas that we abhor or hate more than the ideas we cherish;
committed by the president of the petitioner Union and of the office clerk of their counsel, or as Socrates insinuated, not only to protect the minority who want to talk, but also to
attaching thereto the affidavits of the said president and clerk (Annexes "K", "K-1" and benefit the majority who refuse to listen.6 And as Justice Douglas cogently stresses it, the
"K-2", rec.). liberties of one are the liberties of all; and the liberties of one are not safe unless the
liberties of all are protected.7
Without waiting for any resolution on their petition for relief from the order dated October
9, 1969, herein petitioners filed on November 3, 1969, with the Supreme Court, a notice of (4) The rights of free expression, free assembly and petition, are not only civil rights but
appeal (Annex "L", pp. 88-89, rec.). 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
I 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
There is need of briefly restating basic concepts and principles which underlie the issues citizen is accorded these rights so that he can appeal to the appropriate governmental
posed by the case at bar. officers or agencies for redress and protection as well as for the imposition of the lawful
sanctions on erring public officers and employees.
(1) 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 (5) While the Bill of Rights also protects property rights, the primacy of human rights over
civilization. The inviolable character of man as an individual must be "protected to the property rights is recognized.8 Because these freedoms are "delicate and vulnerable, as well
largest possible extent in his thoughts and in his beliefs as the citadel of his person." 2 as supremely precious in our society" and the "threat of sanctions may deter their exercise
almost as potently as the actual application of sanctions," they "need breathing space to
survive," permitting government regulation only "with narrow specificity."9
(2) 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 Property and property rights can be lost thru prescription; but human rights are
general principles."3 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

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shield against the tyranny of officials, of majorities, of the influential and powerful, and of was purely and completely an exercise of their freedom expression in general and of their
oligarchs — political, economic or otherwise. 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
In the hierarchy of civil liberties, the rights of free expression and of assembly occupy a Pasig. They exercise their civil and political rights for their mutual aid protection from what
preferred position as they are essential to the preservation and vitality of our civil and they believe were police excesses. As matter of fact, it was the duty of herein private
political institutions; 10 and such priority "gives these liberties the sanctity and the respondent firm to protect herein petitioner Union and its members fro the harassment of
sanction not permitting dubious intrusions." 11 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
The superiority of these freedoms over property rights is underscored by the fact that a from harassment, vexation or peril and as consequence perform more efficiently their
mere reasonable or rational relation between the means employed by the law and its object respective tasks enhance its productivity as well as profits. Herein respondent employer
or purpose — that the law is neither arbitrary nor discriminatory nor oppressive — would did not even offer to intercede for its employees with the local police. Was it securing peace
suffice to validate a law which restricts or impairs property rights. 12 On the other hand, a for itself at the expenses of its workers? Was it also intimidated by the local police or did it
constitutional or valid infringement of human rights requires a more stringent criterion, encourage the local police to terrorize or vex its workers? Its failure to defend its own
namely existence of a grave and immediate danger of a substantive evil which the State has employees all the more weakened the position of its laborers the alleged oppressive police
the right to prevent. So it has been stressed in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernando who might have been all the more emboldened thereby subject its lowly employees to
in Gonzales vs. Comelec and reiterated by the writer of the opinion in Imbong vs. further indignities.
Ferrer. 13 It should be added that Mr. Justice Barredo in Gonzales vs. Comelec, supra, like
Justices Douglas, Black and Goldberg in N.Y. Times Co. vs. Sullivan, 14 believes that the In seeking sanctuary behind their freedom of expression well as their right of assembly and
freedoms of speech and of the press as well as of peaceful assembly and of petition for of petition against alleged persecution of local officialdom, the employees and laborers of
redress of grievances are absolute when directed against public officials or "when exercised herein private respondent firm were fighting for their very survival, utilizing only the
in relation to our right to choose the men and women by whom we shall be weapons afforded them by the Constitution — the untrammelled enjoyment of their basic
governed," 15 even as Mr. Justice Castro relies on the balancing-of-interests test. 16 Chief human rights. The pretension of their employer that it would suffer loss or damage by
Justice Vinson is partial to the improbable danger rule formulated by Chief Judge Learned reason of the absence of its employees from 6 o'clock in the morning to 2 o'clock in the
Hand, viz. — whether the gravity of the evil, discounted by its improbability, justifies such afternoon, is a plea for the preservation merely of their property rights. Such apprehended
invasion of free expression as is necessary to avoid the danger. 17 loss or damage would not spell the difference between the life and death of the firm or its
owners or its management. The employees' pathetic situation was a stark reality — abused,
II harassment and persecuted as they believed they were by the peace officers of the
municipality. As above intimated, the condition in which the employees found
The respondent Court of Industrial Relations, after opining that the mass demonstration themselves vis-a-vis the local police of Pasig, was a matter that vitally affected their right
was not a declaration of strike, concluded that by their "concerted act and the occurrence to individual existence as well as that of their families. Material loss can be repaired or
temporary stoppage of work," herein petitioners are guilty bargaining in bad faith and adequately compensated. The debasement of the human being broken in morale and
hence violated the collective bargaining agreement with private respondent Philippine brutalized in spirit-can never be fully evaluated in monetary terms. The wounds fester and
Blooming Mills Co., inc.. Set against and tested by foregoing principles governing a the scars remain to humiliate him to his dying day, even as he cries in anguish for
democratic society, such conclusion cannot be sustained. The demonstration held retribution, denial of which is like rubbing salt on bruised tissues.
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

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As heretofore stated, the primacy of human rights — freedom of expression, of peaceful for the validity of their cause but also immediately action on the part of the corresponding
assembly and of petition for redress of grievances — over property rights has been government agencies with jurisdiction over the issues they raised against the local police.
sustained. 18 Emphatic reiteration of this basic tenet as a coveted boon — at once the Circulation is one of the aspects of freedom of expression. 21 If demonstrators are reduced
shield and armor of the dignity and worth of the human personality, the all-consuming by one-third, then by that much the circulation of the issues raised by the demonstration
ideal of our enlightened civilization — becomes Our duty, if freedom and social justice have is diminished. The more the participants, the more persons can be apprised of the purpose
any meaning at all for him who toils so that capital can produce economic goods that can of the rally. Moreover, the absence of one-third of their members will be regarded as a
generate happiness for all. To regard the demonstration against police officers, not against substantial indication of disunity in their ranks which will enervate their position and abet
the employer, as evidence of bad faith in collective bargaining and hence a violation of the continued alleged police persecution. At any rate, the Union notified the company two days
collective bargaining agreement and a cause for the dismissal from employment of the in advance of their projected demonstration and the company could have made
demonstrating employees, stretches unduly the compass of the collective bargaining arrangements to counteract or prevent whatever losses it might sustain by reason of the
agreement, is "a potent means of inhibiting speech" and therefore inflicts a moral as well as absence of its workers for one day, especially in this case when the Union requested it to
mortal wound on the constitutional guarantees of free expression, of peaceful assembly excuse only the day-shift employees who will join the demonstration on March 4, 1969
and of petition. 19 which request the Union reiterated in their telegram received by the company at 9:50 in the
morning of March 4, 1969, the day of the mass demonstration (pp. 42-43, rec.). There was
The collective bargaining agreement which fixes the working shifts of the employees, a lack of human understanding or compassion on the part of the firm in rejecting the
according to the respondent Court Industrial Relations, in effect imposes on the workers request of the Union for excuse from work for the day shifts in order to carry out its mass
the "duty ... to observe regular working hours." The strain construction of the Court of demonstration. And to regard as a ground for dismissal the mass demonstration held
Industrial Relations that a stipulated working shifts deny the workers the right to stage against the Pasig police, not against the company, is gross vindictiveness on the part of the
mass demonstration against police abuses during working hours, constitutes a virtual employer, which is as unchristian as it is unconstitutional.
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. III

The mass demonstration staged by the employees on March 4, 1969 could not have been The respondent company is the one guilty of unfair labor practice. Because the refusal on
legally enjoined by any court, such an injunction would be trenching upon the freedom the part of the respondent firm to permit all its employees and workers to join the mass
expression of the workers, even if it legally appears to be illegal picketing or strike. 20 The demonstration against alleged police abuses and the subsequent separation of the eight (8)
respondent Court of Industrial Relations in the case at bar concedes that the mass petitioners from the service constituted an unconstitutional restraint on the freedom of
demonstration was not a declaration of a strike "as the same not rooted in any industrial expression, freedom of assembly and freedom petition for redress of grievances, the
dispute although there is concerted act and the occurrence of a temporary stoppage work." respondent firm committed an unfair labor practice defined in Section 4(a-1) in relation to
(Annex "F", p. 45, rec.). 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
The respondent firm claims that there was no need for all its employees to participate in the for ... mutual aid or protection"; while Section 4(a-1) regards as an unfair labor practice for
demonstration and that they suggested to the Union that only the first and regular shift an employer interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise their rights
from 6 A.M. to 2 P.M. should report for work in order that loss or damage to the firm will be guaranteed in Section Three."
averted. This stand failed appreciate the sine qua non of an effective demonstration
especially by a labor union, namely the complete unity of the Union members as well as We repeat that the obvious purpose of the mass demonstration staged by the workers of
their total presence at the demonstration site in order to generate the maximum sympathy the respondent firm on March 4, 1969, was for their mutual aid and protection against

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alleged police abuses, denial of which was interference with or restraint on the right of the Because the respondent company ostensibly did not find it necessary to demand from the
employees to engage in such common action to better shield themselves against such workers proof of the truth of the alleged abuses inflicted on them by the local police, it
alleged police indignities. The insistence on the part of the respondent firm that the thereby concedes that the evidence of such abuses should properly be submitted to the
workers for the morning and regular shift should not participate in the mass corresponding authorities having jurisdiction over their complaint and to whom such
demonstration, under pain of dismissal, was as heretofore stated, "a potent means of complaint may be referred by the President of the Philippines for proper investigation and
inhibiting speech." 22 action with a view to disciplining the local police officers involved.

Such a concerted action for their mutual help and protection deserves at least equal On the other hand, while the respondent Court of Industrial Relations found that the
protection as the concerted action of employees in giving publicity to a letter complaint demonstration "paralyzed to a large extent the operations of the complainant company,"
charging bank president with immorality, nepotism, favoritism an discrimination in the the respondent Court of Industrial Relations did not make any finding as to the fact of loss
appointment and promotion of ban employees. 23 We further ruled in the Republic Savings actually sustained by the firm. This significant circumstance can only mean that the firm
Bank case, supra, that for the employees to come within the protective mantle of Section 3 did not sustain any loss or damage. It did not present evidence as to whether it lost
in relation to Section 4(a-1) on Republic Act No. 875, "it is not necessary that union activity expected profits for failure to comply with purchase orders on that day; or that penalties
be involved or that collective bargaining be contemplated," as long as the concerted activity were exacted from it by customers whose orders could not be filled that day of the
is for the furtherance of their interests. 24 demonstration; or that purchase orders were cancelled by the customers by reason of its
failure to deliver the materials ordered; or that its own equipment or materials or products
As stated clearly in the stipulation of facts embodied in the questioned order of respondent were damaged due to absence of its workers on March 4, 1969. On the contrary, the
Court dated September 15, 1969, the company, "while expressly acknowledging, that the company saved a sizable amount in the form of wages for its hundreds of workers, cost of
demonstration is an inalienable right of the Union guaranteed by the Constitution," fuel, water and electric consumption that day. Such savings could have amply
nonetheless emphasized that "any demonstration for that matter should not unduly compensated for unrealized profits or damages it might have sustained by reason of the
prejudice the normal operation of the company" and "warned the PBMEO representatives absence of its workers for only one day.
that workers who belong to the first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of
absence approved by the Company, particularly the officers present who are the organizers IV
of the demonstration, who shall fail to report for work the following morning (March 4,
1969) shall be dismissed, because such failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, Apart from violating the constitutional guarantees of free speech and assembly as well as
therefore, would be amounting to an illegal strike (;)" (p. III, petitioner's brief). Such threat the right to petition for redress of grievances of the employees, the dismissal of the eight (8)
of dismissal tended to coerce the employees from joining the mass demonstration. However, leaders of the workers for proceeding with the demonstration and consequently being
the issues that the employees raised against the local police, were more important to them absent from work, constitutes a denial of social justice likewise assured by the
because they had the courage to proceed with the demonstration, despite such threat of fundamental law to these lowly employees. Section 5 of Article II of the Constitution
dismissal. The most that could happen to them was to lose a day's wage by reason of their imposes upon the State "the promotion of social justice to insure the well-being and
absence from work on the day of the demonstration. One day's pay means much to a economic security of all of the people," which guarantee is emphasized by the other
laborer, more especially if he has a family to support. Yet, they were willing to forego their directive in Section 6 of Article XIV of the Constitution that "the State shall afford
one-day salary hoping that their demonstration would bring about the desired relief from protection to labor ...". Respondent Court of Industrial Relations as an agency of the State
police abuses. But management was adamant in refusing to recognize the superior is under obligation at all times to give meaning and substance to these constitutional
legitimacy of their right of free speech, free assembly and the right to petition for redress. guarantees in favor of the working man; for otherwise these constitutional safeguards
would be merely a lot of "meaningless constitutional patter." Under the Industrial Peace

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Act, the Court of Industrial Relations is enjoined to effect the policy of the law "to eliminate then would be reduced to a race for time. And in such a contest between an employer and
the causes of industrial unrest by encouraging and protecting the exercise by employees of its laborer, the latter eventually loses because he cannot employ the best an dedicated
their right to self-organization for the purpose of collective bargaining and for the promotion counsel who can defend his interest with the required diligence and zeal, bereft as he is of
of their moral, social and economic well-being." It is most unfortunate in the case at bar that the financial resources with which to pay for competent legal services. 28-a
respondent Court of Industrial Relations, the very governmental agency designed therefor,
failed to implement this policy and failed to keep faith with its avowed mission — its raison VI
d'etre — as ordained and directed by the Constitution.
The Court of Industrial Relations rule prescribes that motion for reconsideration of its
V order or writ should filed within five (5) days from notice thereof and that the arguments in
support of said motion shall be filed within ten (10) days from the date of filing of such
It has been likewise established that a violation of a constitutional right divests the court of motion for reconsideration (Sec. 16). As above intimated, these rules of procedure were
jurisdiction; and as a consequence its judgment is null and void and confers no rights. promulgated by the Court of Industrial Relations pursuant to a legislative delegation. 29
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. The motion for reconsideration was filed on September 29, 1969, or seven (7) days from
Thus, habeas corpus is the remedy to obtain the release of an individual, who is convicted notice on September 22, 1969 of the order dated September 15, 1969 or two (2) days late.
by final judgment through a forced confession, which violated his constitutional right Petitioners claim that they could have filed it on September 28, 1969, but it was a Sunday.
against self-incrimination; 25 or who is denied the right to present evidence in his defense
as a deprivation of his liberty without due process of law, 26 even after the accused has Does the mere fact that the motion for reconsideration was filed two (2) days late defeat the
already served sentence for twenty-two years. 27 rights of the petitioning employees? Or more directly and concretely, does the inadvertent
omission to comply with a mere Court of Industrial Relations procedural rule governing the
Both the respondents Court of Industrial Relations and private firm trenched upon these period for filing a motion for reconsideration or appeal in labor cases, promulgated
constitutional immunities of petitioners. Both failed to accord preference to such rights pursuant to a legislative delegation, prevail over constitutional rights? The answer should
and aggravated the inhumanity to which the aggrieved workers claimed they had been be obvious in the light of the aforecited cases. To accord supremacy to the foregoing rules of
subjected by the municipal police. Having violated these basic human rights of the laborers, the Court of Industrial Relations over basic human rights sheltered by the Constitution, is
the Court of Industrial Relations ousted itself of jurisdiction and the questioned orders it not only incompatible with the basic tenet of constitutional government that the
issued in the instant case are a nullity. Recognition and protection of such freedoms are Constitution is superior to any statute or subordinate rules and regulations, but also does
imperative on all public offices including the courts 28 as well as private citizens and violence to natural reason and logic. The dominance and superiority of the constitutional
corporations, the exercise and enjoyment of which must not be nullified by mere right over the aforesaid Court of Industrial Relations procedural rule of necessity should be
procedural rule promulgated by the Court Industrial Relations exercising a purely delegate affirmed. Such a Court of Industrial Relations rule as applied in this case does not
legislative power, when even a law enacted by Congress must yield to the untrammelled implement or reinforce or strengthen the constitutional rights affected,' but instead
enjoyment of these human rights. There is no time limit to the exercise of the freedoms. The constrict the same to the point of nullifying the enjoyment thereof by the petitioning
right to enjoy them is not exhausted by the delivery of one speech, the printing of one employees. Said Court of Industrial Relations rule, promulgated as it was pursuant to a
article or the staging of one demonstration. It is a continuing immunity to be invoked and mere legislative delegation, is unreasonable and therefore is beyond the authority granted
exercised when exigent and expedient whenever there are errors to be rectified, abuses to by the Constitution and the law. A period of five (5) days within which to file a motion for
be denounced, inhumanities to be condemned. Otherwise these guarantees in the Bill of reconsideration is too short, especially for the aggrieved workers, who usually do not have
Rights would be vitiated by rule on procedure prescribing the period for appeal. The battle the ready funds to meet the necessary expenses therefor. In case of the Court of Appeals

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and the Supreme Court, a period of fifteen (15) days has been fixed for the filing of the In the case at bar, enforcement of the basic human freedoms sheltered no less by the
motion for re hearing or reconsideration (See. 10, Rule 51; Sec. 1, Rule 52; Sec. 1, Rule 56, organic law, is a most compelling reason to deny application of a Court of Industrial
Revised Rules of Court). The delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration could have Relations rule which impinges on such human rights. 30-a
been only one day if September 28, 1969 was not a Sunday. This fact accentuates the
unreasonableness of the Court of Industrial are concerned. 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
It should be stressed here that the motion for reconsideration dated September 27, 1969, justice require." 30-b Mr. Justice Barredo in his concurring opinion in Estrada vs. Sto.
is based on the ground that the order sought to be reconsidered "is not in accordance with Domingo. 30-c reiterated this principle and added that
law, evidence and facts adduced during the hearing," and likewise prays for an extension of
ten (10) days within which to file arguments pursuant to Sections 15, 16 and 17 of the Under this authority, this Court is enabled to cove with all situations without concerning
Rules of the Court of Industrial Relations (Annex "G", pp. 57-60, rec.); although the itself about procedural niceties that do not square with the need to do justice, in any case,
arguments were actually filed by the herein petitioners on October 14, 1969 (Annex "I", pp. without further loss of time, provided that the right of the parties to a full day in court is not
70-73, rec.), long after the 10-day period required for the filing of such supporting substantially impaired. Thus, this Court may treat an appeal as a certiorari and vice-versa.
arguments counted from the filing of the motion for reconsideration. Herein petitioners In other words, when all the material facts are spread in the records before Us, and all the
received only on October 28, 1969 the resolution dated October 9, 1969 dismissing the parties have been duly heard, it matters little that the error of the court a quo is of judgment
motion for reconsideration for being pro forma since it was filed beyond the reglementary or of jurisdiction. We can then and there render the appropriate judgment. Is within the
period (Annex "J", pp. 74-75, rec.) contemplation of this doctrine that as it is perfectly legal and within the power of this Court
to strike down in an appeal acts without or in excess of jurisdiction or committed with
It is true that We ruled in several cases that where a motion to reconsider is filed out of time, grave abuse of discretion, it cannot be beyond the admit of its authority, in appropriate
or where the arguments in suppf such motion are filed beyond the 10 day reglementary cases, to reverse in a certain proceed in any error of judgment of a court a quo which cannot
period provided for by the Court of Industrial Relations rules, the order or decision subject be exactly categorized as a flaw of jurisdiction. If there can be any doubt, which I do not
of29-a reconsideration becomes final and unappealable. But in all these cases, the entertain, on whether or not the errors this Court has found in the decision of the Court of
constitutional rights of free expression, free assembly and petition were not involved. Appeals are short of being jurisdiction nullities or excesses, this Court would still be on
firm legal grounds should it choose to reverse said decision here and now even if such
It is a procedural rule that generally all causes of action and defenses presently available errors can be considered as mere mistakes of judgment or only as faults in the exercise of
must be specifically raised in the complaint or answer; so that any cause of action or jurisdiction, so as to avoid the unnecessary return of this case to the lower court for the
defense not raised in such pleadings, is deemed waived. However, a constitutional issue sole purpose of pursuing the ordinary course of an appeal. (Emphasis supplied). 30-d
can be raised any time, even for the first time on appeal, if it appears that the
determination of the constitutional issue is necessary to a decision of the case, the very lis Insistence on the application of the questioned Court industrial Relations rule in this
mota of the case without the resolution of which no final and complete determination of particular case at bar would an unreasoning adherence to "Procedural niceties" which
the dispute can be made. 30 It is thus seen that a procedural rule of Congress or of the denies justice to the herein laborers, whose basic human freedoms, including the right to
Supreme Court gives way to a constitutional right. In the instant case, the procedural rule survive, must be according supremacy over the property rights of their employer firm
of the Court of Industrial Relations, a creature of Congress, must likewise yield to the which has been given a full hearing on this case, especially when, as in the case at bar, no
constitutional rights invoked by herein petitioners even before the institution of the unfair actual material damage has be demonstrated as having been inflicted on its property
labor practice charged against them and in their defense to the said charge. rights.

8
If We can disregard our own rules when justice requires it, obedience to the Constitution whether or not its previous ruling that petitioners constitute a minority was founded on
renders more imperative the suspension of a Court of Industrial Relations rule that clash fact, without regard to the technical meaning of newly discovered evidence. ... (Alonso v.
with the human rights sanctioned and shielded with resolution concern by the specific Villamor, 16 Phil. 315; Chua Kiong v. Whitaker, 46 Phil. 578). (emphasis supplied.)
guarantees outlined in the organic law. It should be stressed that the application in the
instant case Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules relied upon by herein To apply Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules with "pedantic rigor" in the
respondent firm is unreasonable and therefore such application becomes unconstitutional instant case is to rule in effect that the poor workers, who can ill-afford an alert competent
as it subverts the human rights of petitioning labor union and workers in the light of the lawyer, can no longer seek the sanctuary of human freedoms secured to them by the
peculiar facts and circumstances revealed by the record. fundamental law, simply because their counsel — erroneously believing that he received a
copy of the decision on September 23, 1969, instead of September 22, 1969 - filed his
The suspension of the application of Section 15 of the Court of Industrial Relations rules motion for reconsideration September 29, 1969, which practically is only one day late
with reference to the case at is also authorized by Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, considering that September 28, 1969 was a Sunday.
the C.I.R. charter, which enjoins the Court of Industrial Relations to "act according to
justice and equity and substantial merits of the case, without regard to technicalities or Many a time, this Court deviated from procedure technicalities when they ceased to be
legal forms ..." instruments of justice, for the attainment of which such rules have been devised.
Summarizing the jurisprudence on this score, Mr. Justice Fernando, speaking for a
On several occasions, We emphasized this doctrine which was re-stated by Mr. Justice unanimous Court in Palma vs. Oreta, 30-f Stated:
Barredo, speaking for the Court, in the 1970 case of Kapisanan, etc. vs. Hamilton, etc., et.
al., 30-e thus: As was so aptly expressed by Justice Moreland in Alonso v. Villamor (16 Phil. 315 [1910].
The Villamor decision was cited with approval in Register of Deeds v. Phil. Nat. Bank, 84
As to the point that the evidence being offered by the petitioners in the motion for new trial Phil. 600 [1949]; Potenciano v. Court of Appeals, 104 Phil. 156 [1958] and Uy v. Uy, 14243,
is not "newly discovered," as such term is understood in the rules of procedure for the June 30, 1961, 2 SCRA 675.), decided as far back as 1910, "technicality. when it deserts its
ordinary courts, We hold that such criterion is not binding upon the Court of Industrial proper-office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief enemy,
Relations. Under Section 20 of Commonwealth Act No. 103, 'The Court of Industrial deserves scant consideration from courts." (Ibid., p, 322.) To that norm, this Court has
Relations shall adopt its, rules or procedure and shall have such other powers as generally remained committed. The late Justice Recto in Blanco v. Bernabe, (63 Phil. 124 [1936]) was
pertain to a court of justice: Provided, however, That in the hearing, investigation and of a similar mind. For him the interpretation of procedural rule should never "sacrifice the
determination of any question or controversy and in exercising any duties and power under ends justice." While "procedural laws are no other than technicalities" view them in their
this Act, the Court shall act according to justice and equity and substantial merits of the entirety, 'they were adopted not as ends themselves for the compliance with which courts
case, without regard to technicalities or legal forms and shall not be bound by any have organized and function, but as means conducive to the realization the administration
technical rules of legal evidence but may inform its mind in such manner as it may deem of the law and of justice (Ibid., p.,128). We have remained steadfastly opposed, in the highly
just and equitable.' By this provision the industrial court is disengaged from the rigidity of rhetorical language Justice Felix, to "a sacrifice of substantial rights of a litigant in altar of
the technicalities applicable to ordinary courts. Said court is not even restricted to the sophisticated technicalities with impairment of the sacred principles of justice."
specific relief demanded by the parties but may issue such orders as may be deemed (Potenciano v. Court of Appeals, 104 Phil. 156, 161 [1958]). As succinctly put by Justice
necessary or expedient for the purpose of settling the dispute or dispelling any doubts that Makalintal, they "should give way to the realities of the situation." (Urbayan v. Caltex,
may give rise to future disputes. (Ang Tibay v. C.I.R., G.R. No. 46496, Feb. 17, 1940; L-15379, Aug. 31, 1962, 5 SCRA 1016, 1019). In the latest decision in point promulgated
Manila Trading & Supply Co. v. Phil. Labor, 71 Phil. 124.) For these reasons, We believe in 1968, (Udan v. Amon, (1968, 23 SCRA citing McEntee v. Manotok, L-14968, Oct. 27,
that this provision is ample enough to have enabled the respondent court to consider 1961, 3 SCRA 272.) Justice Zaldivar was partial to an earlier formulation of Justice

9
Labrador that rules of procedure "are not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense"; but misguided zeal is a constant alertness of the infractions of the guarantees of
are intended "to help secure substantial justice." (Ibid., p. 843) ... 30-g liberty contained in our Constitution. Each surrender of liberty to the demands of the
moment makes easier another, larger surrender. The battle over the Bill of Rights is a never
Even if the questioned Court of Industrial Relations orders and rule were to be given effect, ending one.
the dismissal or termination of the employment of the petitioning eight (8) leaders of the
Union is harsh for a one-day absence from work. The respondent Court itself recognized ... The liberties of any person are the liberties of all of us.
the severity of such a sanction when it did not include the dismissal of the other 393
employees who are members of the same Union and who participated in the demonstration ... In short, the Liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.
against the Pasig police. As a matter of fact, upon the intercession of the Secretary of Labor,
the Union members who are not officers, were not dismissed and only the Union itself and ... But even if we should sense no danger to our own liberties, even if we feel secure because
its thirteen (13) officers were specifically named as respondents in the unfair labor practice we belong to a group that is important and respected, we must recognize that our Bill of
charge filed against them by the firm (pp. 16-20, respondent's Brief; Annexes "A", "B" and Rights is a code of fair play for the less fortunate that we in all honor and good conscience
"C", pp. 20-30, rec.). Counsel for respondent firm insinuates that not all the 400 or so must be observe. 31
employee participated in the demonstration, for which reason only the Union and its
thirteen (13) officers were specifically named in the unfair labor practice charge (p. 20, The case at bar is worse.
respondent's brief). If that were so, then many, if not all, of the morning and regular shifts
reported for work on March 4, 1969 and that, as a consequence, the firm continued in
Management has shown not only lack of good-will or good intention, but a complete lack of
operation that day and did not sustain any damage.
sympathetic understanding of the plight of its laborers who claim that they are being
subjected to indignities by the local police, It was more expedient for the firm to conserve
The appropriate penalty — if it deserves any penalty at all — should have been simply to its income or profits than to assist its employees in their fight for their freedoms and
charge said one-day absence against their vacation or sick leave. But to dismiss the eight security against alleged petty tyrannies of local police officers. This is sheer opportunism.
(8) leaders of the petitioner Union is a most cruel penalty, since as aforestated the Union Such opportunism and expediency resorted to by the respondent company assaulted the
leaders depend on their wages for their daily sustenance as well as that of their respective immunities and welfare of its employees. It was pure and implement selfishness, if not
families aside from the fact that it is a lethal blow to unionism, while at the same time greed.
strengthening the oppressive hand of the petty tyrants in the localities.
Of happy relevance is the 1967 case of Republic Savings Bank vs. C.I.R., 32 where the
Mr. Justice Douglas articulated this pointed reminder: petitioner Bank dismissed eight (8) employees for having written and published "a patently
libelous letter ... to the Bank president demanding his resignation on the grounds of
The challenge to our liberties comes frequently not from those who consciously seek to immorality, nepotism in the appointment and favoritism as well as discrimination in the
destroy our system of Government, but from men of goodwill — good men who allow their promotion of bank employees." Therein, thru Mr. Justice Castro, We ruled:
proper concerns to blind them to the fact that what they propose to accomplish involves an
impairment of liberty. It will avail the Bank none to gloat over this admission of the respondents. Assuming that
the latter acted in their individual capacities when they wrote the letter-charge they were
... The Motives of these men are often commendable. What we must remember, however, is nonetheless protected for they were engaged in concerted activity, in the exercise of their
thatpreservation of liberties does not depend on motives. A suppression of liberty has the right of self organization that includes concerted activity for mutual aid and protection,
same effect whether the suppress or be a reformer or an outlaw. The only protection against (Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act ...) This is the view of some members of this Court.

10
For, as has been aptly stated, the joining in protests or demands, even by a small group of WHEREFORE, judgement is hereby rendered:
employees, if in furtherance of their interests as such, is a concerted activity protected by the
Industrial Peace Act. It is not necessary that union activity be involved or that collective (1) setting aside as null and void the orders of the respondent Court of Industrial Relations
bargaining be contemplated. (Annot., 6 A.L.R. 2d 416 [1949]). dated September 15 and October 9, 1969; and

xxx xxx xxx (2) directing 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
Instead of stifling criticism, the Bank should have allowed the respondents to air their whatever earnings they might have realized from other sources during their separation
grievances. from the service.

xxx xxx xxx With costs against private respondent Philippine Blooming Company, Inc.

The Bank defends its action by invoking its right to discipline for what it calls the Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando and Esguerra, JJ., concur.
respondents' libel in giving undue publicity to their letter-charge. To be sure, the right of
self-organization of employees is not unlimited (Republic Aviation Corp. vs. NLRB 324 U.S. Makalintal, C.J, took no part.
793 [1945]), as the right of the employer to discharge for cause (Philippine Education Co. v.
Union of Phil. Educ. Employees, L-13773, April 29, 1960) is undenied. The Industrial Separate Opinions
Peace Act does not touch the normal exercise of the right of the employer to select his
employees or to discharge them. It is directed solely against the abuse of that right by BARREDO, J., dissenting:
interfering with the countervailing right of self organization (Phelps Dodge Corp. v. NLRB
313 U.S. 177 [1941])...
I bow in respectful and sincere admiration, but my sense of duty compels me to dissent.

xxx xxx xxx


The background of this case may be found principally in the stipulation of facts upon
which the decision under review is based. It is as follows:
In the final sum and substance, this Court is in unanimity that the Bank's conduct,
identified as an interference with the employees' right of self-organization or as a retaliatory
1. That complainant Philippine Blooming Mills, Company, Inc., is a corporation existing
action, and/or as a refusal to bargain collectively, constituted an unfair labor practice
and operating under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines with corporate address at
within the meaning and intendment of section 4(a) of the Industrial Peace Act. (Emphasis
666 Muelle de Binondo, Manila, which is the employer of respondent;
supplied.) 33
2. That Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization PBMEO for short, is a legitimate
If free expression was accorded recognition and protection to fortify labor unionism in the
labor organization, and the respondents herein are either officers of respondent PBMEO or
Republic Savings case, supra, where the complaint assailed the morality and integrity of
members thereof;
the bank president no less, such recognition and protection for free speech, free assembly
and right to petition are rendered all the more justifiable and more imperative in the case at
3. That on March 2, 1969 complainant company learned of the projected mass
bar, where the mass demonstration was not against the company nor any of its officers.
demonstration at Malacañang in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig Police

11
Department to be participated by the first shift (6:00 AM — 2:00 PM workers as well as All those who will not follow this warning of the Company shall be dismissed; De Leon
those working in the regular shifts (7:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the reiterated the Company's warning that the officers shall be primarily liable being the
morning of March 4, 1969; organizers of the mass demonstration. The union panel countered that it was rather too
late to change their plans inasmuch as the Malacañang demonstration will be held the
4. That a meeting was called by the Company on March 3, 1969 at about 11:00 A.M. at the following morning; and
Company's canteen, and those present were: for the Company: (1) Mr. Arthur L. Ang, (2)
Atty. Cesareo S. de Leon, Jr. (3) and all department and section heads. For the PBMEO (1) 8. That a certain Mr. Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of PBMEO sent a cablegram to the Company
Florencio Padrigano, (2) Rufino Roxas, (3) Mariano de Leon, (4) Asencion Paciente, (5) which was received 9:50 A.M., March 4, 1969, the contents of which are as follows:
Bonifacio Vacuna and (6) Benjamin Pagcu. 'REITERATING REQUEST EXCUSE DAY SHIFT EMPLOYEES JOINING DEMONSTRATION
MARCH 4, 1969.
5. That the Company asked the union panel to confirm or deny said projected mass
demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969. PBMEO thru Benjamin Pagcu who acted Additionally, the trial court found that "the projected demonstration did in fact occur and
as the spokesman of the union panel, confirmed the planned demonstration and stated in the process paralyzed to a large extent the operations of the complainant company". (p.
that the demonstration or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already been agreed 5, Annex F).
upon in the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the demonstration has nothing to do
with the Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management; Upon these facts the Prosecution Division of the Court of Industrial Relations filed with
said court a complaint for Unfair Labor Practice against petitioners charging that: .
6. 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 3. That on March 4, 1969, respondents (petitioners herein) particularly those in the first
Constitution but emphasized, however, that any demonstration for that matter should not shift, in violation of the existing collective bargaining agreement and without filing the
unduly prejudice the normal operation of the Company. For which reason, the Company, necessary notice as provided for by law, failed to report for work, amounting to a
thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, warned the PBMEO representatives that workers who belong to the declaration of strike;
first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of absence approved by the Company,
particularly the officers present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail 4. That the above acts are in violation of Section 4(a) subparagraph 6, in relation to
to report for work the following morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because such Sections 13, 14 and 15 of Republic Act No. 875, and of the collective bargaining agreement.
failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be amounting to an illegal (Pars. 3 and 4, Annex C.)
strike;
After due hearing, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive part of which read's:
7. That at about 5:00 P.M. on March 3, 1969, another meeting was convoked. Company
represented by Atty. C.S. de Leon, Jr. The Union panel was composed of: Nicanor Tolentino, IN VIEW HEREOF, the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization is
Rodulfo Munsod, Benjamin Pagcu and Florencio Padrigano. In this afternoon meeting of found guilty of bargaining in bad faith and is hereby ordered to cease and desist from
March 3, 1969, Company reiterated and appealed to the PBMEO representatives that while further committing the same and its representatives namely: respondent Florencio
all workers may join the Malacañang demonstration, the workers for the first and regular Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna,
shift of March 4, 1969 should be excused from joining the demonstration and should Benjamin Pagcu, Nicanor Tolentino and Rodulfo Monsod who are directly responsible for
report for work; and thus utilize the workers in the 2nd and 3rd shifts in order not to perpetrating this unfair labor practice act, are hereby considered to have lost their status
violate the provisions of the CBA, particularly Article XXIV "NO LOCKOUT — NO STRIKE". as employees of the Philippine Blooming Mills, Inc. (p. 8, Annex F.)

12
Although it is alleged in the petition herein that petitioners were notified of this decision on August 27, 1963. Petitioner filed its arguments in support of its aforesaid motion seeking
September 23, 1969, there seems to be no serious question that they were actually served reconsideration.
therewith on September 22, 1969. In fact, petitioners admitted this date of notice in
paragraph 2 of their Petition for Relief dated October 30, 1969 and filed with the industrial September 16, 1963. CIR en banc resolved to dismiss the motion for reconsideration.
court on the following day. (See Annex K.) Ground therefor was that the arguments were filed out of time.

It is not controverted that it was only on September 29, 1969, or seven (7) days after they October 3, 1963. Petitioner filed its notice of appeal and at the same time lodged the
were notified of the court's decision, that petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration present petition with this Court.
with the industrial court; as it is also not disputed that they filed their "Arguments in
Support of the Respondents' Motion for Reconsideration" only on October 14, 1969. (See Upon respondent Perlado's return and petitioner's brief (respondents did not file their brief),
Annex I.) In other words, petitioners' motion for reconsideration was filed two (2) days after the case is now before us for resolution.
the lapse of the five (5) day period provided for the filing thereof in the rules of the Court of
Industrial Relations, whereas the "Arguments" were filed five (5) days after the expiration of 1. That the judgment appealed from is a final judgment — not merely an interlocutory
the period therefor also specified in the same rules. order — there is no doubt. The fact that there is need for computation of respondent
Perlado's overtime pay would not render the decision incomplete. This in effect is the
Accordingly, the first issue that confronts the Court is the one raised by respondent private holding of the Court in Pan American World Airways System (Philippines) vs. Pan American
firm, namely, that in view of the failure of petitioners to file not only their motion for Employees Association, which runs thus: 'It is next contended that in ordering the Chief of
reconsideration but also their arguments in support thereof within the periods respectively the Examining Division or his representative to compute the compensation due, the
fixed in the rules therefor, the Court of Industrial Relations acted correctly and within the Industrial Court unduly delegated its judicial functions and thereby rendered an
law in rendering and issuing its impugned order of October 9, 1969 dismissing petitioners' incomplete decision. We do not believe so. Computation of the overtime pay involves a
motion for reconsideration. mechanical function, at most. And the report would still have to be submitted to the
Industrial Court for its approval, by the very terms of the order itself. That there was no
Respondent's contention presents no problem. Squarely applicable to the facts hereof is specification of the amount of overtime pay in the decision did not make it incomplete,
the decision of this Court in Elizalde & Co. Inc. vs. Court of Industrial Relations 1 wherein it since this matter should necessarily be made clear enough in the implementation of the
was ruled that: decision (see Malate Taxicab & Garage, Inc. vs. CIR, et al.,
L-8718, May 11, 1956).
August 6, 1963. Petitioner received a copy of the decision of the then Associate Judge
Arsenio I. Martinez, the dispositive part of which was set forth earlier in this opinion. 2. But has that judgment reached the stage of finality in the sense that it can no longer, be
disturbed?
August 12, 1963. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. No arguments were
advanced in support thereof. CIR Rules of Procedure, as amended, and the jurisprudence of this Court both answer the
question in the affirmative.
August 21, 1963. Petitioner moved for additional time to file its arguments in support of its
motion to reconsider. Section 15 of the CIR Rules requires that one who seeks to reconsider the judgment of the
trial judge must do so within five (5) days from the date on which he received notice of the
decision, subject of the motion. Next follows Section 16 which says that the motion must be

13
submitted with arguments supporting the same. But if said arguments could not be ten-day reglementary period. The arguments were only filed on August 27 — five (5) days
submitted simultaneously with the motion, the same section commands the 'the movant late, as aforesaid.
shall file the same within ten (10) days from the date of the filing of his motion for
reconsideration.' Section 17 of the same rules admonishes a movant that "(f)ailure to The foregoing circumstances will not avail petitioner any. It is to be noted that the motion
observe the above-specified periods shall be sufficient cause for dismissal of the motion for for expansion of time was filed only on August 21, that is, one day before the due date
reconsideration or striking out of the answer and/or the supporting arguments, as the which is August 22. It was petitioner's duty to see to it that the court act on this motion
case may be". forthwith or at least inquire as to the fate thereof not later than the 22nd of August. It did
not. It merely filed its arguments on the 27th.
Not that the foregoing rules stand alone. Jurisprudence has since stabilized the
enforceability thereof. Thus, in Bien vs. Castillo, (97 Phil. 956) we ruled that where a pro To be underscored at this point is that "obviously to speed up the disposition of cases", CIR
forma motion for reconsideration was filed out of time its denial is in order pursuant to CIR "has a standing rule against the extension of the ten-day period for filing supporting
rules, regardless of whether the arguments in support of said motion were or were not filed arguments". That no-extension policy should have placed petitioner on guard. It should
on time. Pangasinan Employees Laborers & Tenants Association (PELTA) vs. Martinez, not have simply folded its arms, sit by supinely and relied on the court's generosity. To
(L-13846, May 20, 1960) pronounced that where a motion to reconsider is filed out of time, compound petitioner's neglect, it filed the arguments only on August 27, 1953, knowing
the order or decision subject of reconsideration comes final. And so also, where the full well that by that time the reglementary period had expired.
arguments in support of the motion for reconsideration are filed beyond the ten-day
reglementary period, the pre forma motion for reconsideration although seasonably filed Petitioner cannot complain against CIR's ruling of September 16, 1963 dismissing the
must nevertheless be denied. This in essence is our ruling in Local 7, Press & Printing Free motion for reconsideration on the ground that the supporting arguments were filed out of
Workers (FFW) vs. Tabigne. The teaching in Luzon Stevedoring Co., Inc. vs. Court of time. That ruling in effect denied the motion for extension.
Industrial Relations, is that where the motion for reconsideration is denied upon the
ground that the arguments in support thereof were filed out of time, the order or decision We rule that CIR's judgment has become final and unappealable. We may not review the
subject of the motion becomes "final and unappealable". same.

We find no difficulty in applying the foregoing rules and pronouncements of this Court in Notwithstanding this unequivocal and unmistakable precedent, which has not been in any
the case before us. On August 6, petitioner received a copy of the judgment of Judge way modified, much less revoked or reversed by this Court, the main opinion has chosen
Arsenio I. Martinez aforesaid. Petitioner's motion to reconsider — without arguments in not only to go into the merits of petitioners' pose that the respondent court erred in holding
support thereof — of August 12 was filed on time. For, August 11, the end of the five-day them guilty of bargaining in bad faith but also to ultimately uphold petitioners' claim for
reglementary period to file a motion for reconsideration, was a Sunday. But, actually, the reinstatement on constitutional grounds.
written arguments in support of the said motion were submitted to the court on August 27.
The period from August 12 to August 27, is a space of fifteen (15) days. Surely enough, said
Precisely because the conclusions of the main opinion are predicated on an exposition of
arguments were filed out of time — five (5) days late. And the judgment had become final.
the constitutional guarantees of freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly for redress of
grievances, so scholarly and masterful that it is bound to overwhelm Us unless We note
3. There is, of course, petitioner's motion of August 21, 1963 seeking extension of time carefully the real issues in this case, I am constrained, over and above my sincere
within which to present its arguments in support of its motion. Counsel in his petition admiration for the eloquence and zeal of Mr. Justice Makasiar's brilliant dissertation, to
before this Court pleads that the foregoing motion was grounded on the 'extremely busy dutifully state that as presented by petitioners themselves and in the light of its attendant
and difficult schedule of counsel which would not enable him to do so within the stated circumstances, this case does not call for the resolution of any constitutional issue.

14
Admittedly, the invocation of any constitutional guarantee, particularly when it directly or indirect assertion be found assailing the impugned decision of the respondent court as
affects individual freedoms enshrined in the bill of rights, deserves the closest attention of being null and void because it sanctioned a denial of a valued constitutional liberty.
this Court. It is my understanding of constitutional law and judicial practices related
thereto, however, that even the most valuable of our constitutional rights may be protected In their petition, petitioners state the issue for Our resolution as follows:
by the courts only when their jurisdiction over the subject matter is unquestionably
established and the applicable rules of procedure consistent with substantive and Petitioners herein humbly submit that the issue to be resolved is whether or not the
procedural due process are observed. No doubt no constitutional right can be sacrificed in respondent Court en banc under the facts and circumstances, should consider the Motion
the altar of procedural technicalities, very often fittingly downgraded as niceties but as far for Reconsideration filed by your petitioners.
as I know, this principle is applied to annul or set aside final judgments only in cases
wherein there is a possible denial of due process. I have not come across any instance, and Petitioners, therefore, in filing this petition for a writ of certiorari, humbly beg this
none is mentioned or cited in the well-documented main opinion, wherein a final and Honorable Court to treat this petition under Rule 43 and 65 of the Rules of Court.
executory judgment has been invalidated and set aside upon the ground that the same has
the effect of sanctioning the violation of a constitutional right, unless such violation
xxx xxx xxx
amounts to a denial of due process.
The basic issue therefore is the application by the Court en banc of the strict and narrow
Without support from any provision of the constitution or any law or from any judicial
technical rules of procedure without taking into account justice, equity and substantial
precedent or reason of principle, the main opinion nudely and unqualifiedly asserts, as if it
merits of the case.
were universally established and accepted as an absolute rule, that the violation of a
constitutional right divests the court of jurisdiction; and as a consequence its judgment is
On the other hand, the complete argument submitted by petitioners on this point in their
null and void and confers no rights". Chavez vs. Court of Appeals, 24 SCRA 663, which is
brief runs thus:
mentioned almost in passing, does uphold the proposition that "relief from a criminal
conviction secured at the sacrifice of constitutional liberties, may be obtained through
habeas corpus proceedings even after the finality of the judgment". And, of III
course, Chavez is correct; as is also Abriol vs. Homeres2 which, in principle, served as its
precedent, for the very simple reason that in both of those cases, the accused were denied ISSUES
due process. In Chavez, the accused was compelled to testify against himself as a witness
for the prosecution; in Abriol, the accused was denied his request to be allowed to present 1. Does the refusal to heed a warning in the exercise of a fundamental right to peaceably
evidence to establish his defense after his demurrer to the People's evidence was denied. assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances constitute bargaining in
bad faith? and,
As may be seen, however, the constitutional issues involved in those cases are a far cry
from the one now before Us. Here, petitioners do not claim they were denied due process. Do the facts found by the court below justify the declaration and conclusion that the union
Nor do they pretend that in denying their motion for reconsideration, "the respondent was guilty of bargaining in bad faith meriting the dismissal of the persons allegedly
Court of Industrial Relations and private firm trenched upon any of their constitutional responsible therefore?
immunities ...," contrary to the statement to such effect in the main opinion. Indeed,
neither in the petition herein nor in any of the other pleading of petitioners can any direct 2. Was there grave abuse of discretion when the respondent court refused to act one way or
another on the petition for relief from the resolution of October 9, 1969?

15
IV instead of granting the request or even settling the matter so that the hours of work will not
be disrupted, immediately threatened the employees of mass dismissal;
ARGUMENT
Third, the refusal of the petitioner union to grant the request of the company that the first
The respondent Court erred in finding the petition union guilty of bargaining in bad faith and shift shall be excluded in the demonstration is not tantamount to bargaining in bad faith
consequently dismissing the persons allegedly responsible therefor, because such because the company knew that the officers of the union belonged to the first shift, and
conclusion is country to the evidence on record; that the dismissal of leaders was that the union cannot go and lead the demonstration without their officers. It must be
discriminatory. stated that the company intends to prohibit its officers to lead and join the demonstration
because most of them belonged to the first shift; and
As a result of exercising the constitutional rights of freedom to assemble and petition the
duly constituted authorities for redress of their grievances, the petitioners were charged Fourth, the findings of the respondent court that the demonstration if allowed will
and then condemned of bargaining in bad faith. practically give the union the right to change the working conditions agreed in the CBA is a
conclusion of facts, opinionated and not borne by any evidence on record. The
The findings that petitioners were guilty of bargaining in bad faith were not borne out by demonstration did not practically change the terms or conditions of employment because it
the records. It was not even alleged nor proven by evidence. What has been alleged and was only for one (1) day and the company knew about it before it went through. We can
which the respondent company tried to prove was that the demonstration amounted to a even say that it was the company who bargained in bad faith, when upon representation of
strike and hence, a violation of the provisions of the "no-lockout — no strike" clause of the the Bureau of Labor not to dismiss the employees demonstrating, the company tacitly
collective bargaining agreement. However, this allegation and proof submitted by the approved the same and yet while the demonstration was in progress, the company filed a
respondent company were practically resolved when the respondent court in the same ULP Charge and consequently dismissed those who participated.
decision stated categorically:
Records of the case show that more or less 400 members of the union participated in the
'The company alleges that the walkout because of the demonstration is tantamount to a demonstration and yet, the respondent court selected the eight officers to be dismissed
declaration of a strike. We do not think so, as the same is not rooted in any industrial from the union thus losing their status as employees of the respondent company. The
dispute although there is a concerted act and the occurrence of a temporary stoppage of respondent court should have taken into account that the company's action in allowing the
work.' (Emphasis supplied, p. 4, 5th paragraph, Decision.) return of more or less three hundred ninety two (392) employees/members of the union is
an act of condonation and the dismissal of the eight (8) officers is an act of discrimination
The respondent court's findings that the petitioner union bargained in bad faith is not (Phil. Air Lines Inc., vs. Phil. Air Lines Employees Association, G.R. No. L-8197, Oct. 31,
tenable because: 1958). Seemingly, from the opinion stated in the decision by the court, while there is a
collective bargaining agreement, the union cannot go on demonstration or go on strike
because it will change the terms and conditions of employment agreed in the CBA. It
First, it has not been alleged nor proven by the respondent company; .
follows that the CBA is over and above the constitutional rights of a man to demonstrate
and the statutory rights of a union to strike as provided for in Republic Act 875. This
Second, before the demonstration, the petitioner union and the respondent company
creates a bad precedent because it will appear that the rights of the union is solely
convened twice in a meeting to thresh out the matter of demonstration. Petitioners
dependent upon the CBA.
requested that the employees and workers be excused but the respondent company

16
One of the cardinal primary rights which must be respected in proceedings before the petitioners were not taken into consideration in the deliberation of the case by the
Court of Industrial Relations is that "the decision must be rendered on the evidence respondent court;
presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties
affected." (Interstate Commerce Commission vs. L & N R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 33 S. Ct. 185, Thus, it is clear from the foregoing contentions that petitioners are not raising any issue of
57 Law ed. 431.) Only by confining the administrative tribunal to the evidence disclosed to due process. They do not posit that the decision of the industrial court is null and void on
the parties, can the latter be protected in their rights to know and meet the case against that constitutional ground. True it is that they fault the respondent court for having priced
them. (Ang Tibay vs. CIR, G.R. No. L-45496, February 27, 1940.) the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement herein involved over and above their
constitutional right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of their grievances
The petitioners respectfully and humbly submit that there is no scintilla of evidence to against the abuses of the Pasig police, but in no sense at all do they allege or contend that
support the findings of the respondent court that the petitioner union bargained in bad such action affects its jurisdiction in a manner that renders the proceedings a nullity. In
faith. Corollary therefore, the dismissal of the individual petitioners is without basis either other words, petitioners themselves consider the alleged flaw in the court's action as a
in fact or in law. mere error of judgment rather than that of jurisdiction which the main opinion projects.
For this Court to roundly and indignantly condemn private respondent now for the
Additionally, in their reply they also argued that: grievous violation of the fundamental law the main opinion sees in its refusal to allow all its
workers to join the demonstration in question, when that specific issue has not been duly
1) That respondent court's finding that petitioners have been guilty of bargaining in bad presented to Us and properly argued, is to my mind unfair and unjust, for the simple
faith and consequently lost their status as employees of the respondent company did not reason that the manner this case was brought to Us does not afford it the opportunity to be
meet the meaning and comprehension of "substantial merits of the case." Bargaining in heard in regard to such supposed constitutional transgression.
bad faith has not been alleged in the complaint (Annex "C", Petition) nor proven during the
hearing of the can. The important and substantial merit of the case is whether under the To be sure, petitioners do maintain, that respondent court committed an error of
facts and circumstances alleged in respondent company's pleadings, the demonstration jurisdiction by finding petitioners guilty of bargaining in bad faith when the charge against
done by the petitioners amounted to on "illegal strike" and therefore in violation of the "no them alleged in the complaint was for having conducted a mass demonstration, which
strike — no lock out" clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Petitioners "amounted to a strike", in violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but definitely,
respectfully reiterate and humbly submit, that the respondent court had altogether opined this jurisdictional question has no constitutional color. Indeed, We can even assume for
and decided that such demonstration does not amount to a strike. Hence, with that the sake of argument, that the trial judge did err in not giving preferential importance to
findings, petitioners should have been absolved of the charges against them. Nevertheless, the fundamental freedoms invoked by the petitioners over the management and
the same respondent court disregarding, its own findings, went out of bounds by declaring proprietary attributes claimed by the respondent private firm — still, We cannot rightly
the petitioners as having "bargained in faith." The stand of the respondent court is hold that such disregard of petitioners' priceless liberties divested His Honor of jurisdiction
fallacious, as it follows the principle in logic as "non-siquitor"; in the premises. The unbending doctrine of this Court is that "decisions, erroneous or not,
become final after the period fixed by law; litigations would be endless, no questions would
2) That again respondents wanted to impress that the freedom to assemble peaceably to air be finally settled; and titles to property would become precarious if the losing party were
grievances against the duly constituted authorities as guaranteed in our Constitution is allowed to reopen them at any time in the future". 3
subject to the limitation of the agreement in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The
fundamental rights of the petitioners to free speech and assembly is paramount to the I only have to add to this that the fact that the error is in the interpretation, construction or
provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and such attempt to override the application of a constitutional precept not constituting a denial of due process, should not
constitutional provision would be null and void. These fundamental rights of the make any difference. Juridically, a party cannot be less injured by an overlooked or

17
erroneously sanctioned violation of an ordinary statute than by a misconstrued or by law or rule, a judgment of the industrial court is already final and executory, this Court
constitutional injunction affecting his individual, freedoms. In both instances, there is would be devoid of power and authority to review, much less alter or modify the same,
injustice which should be intolerable were it not for the more paramount considerations absent any denial of due process or fatal defect of jurisdiction. It must be borne in mind
that inform the principle of immutability of final judgments. I dare say this must be the that the situation confronting Us now is not merely whether or not We should pass upon a
reason why, as I have already noted, the main opinion does not cite any constitutional question or issue not specifically raised by the party concerned, which, to be sure, could be
provision, law or rule or any judicial doctrine or principle supporting its basic holding that enough reason to dissuade Us from taking pains in resolving the same; rather, the real
infringement of constitutional guarantees, other than denial of due process, divests courts problem here is whether or not We have jurisdiction to entertain it. And, in this regard, as
of jurisdiction to render valid judgments. already stated earlier, no less than Justice Conrado Sanchez, the writer of Chavez, supra.,
which is being relied upon by the main opinion, already laid down the precedent in Elizalde
In this connection, it must be recalled that the teaching of Philippine Association of vs. Court, supra, which for its four-square applicability to the facts of this case, We have no
Colleges and Universities vs. Secretary of Education,4 following Santiago vs. Far Eastern choice but to follow, that is, that in view of reconsideration but even their argument
Broadcasting,5 is that "it is one of our (the Supreme Court's) decisional practices that supporting the same within the prescribed period, "the judgment (against them)has
unless a constitutional point is specifically raised, insisted upon and adequately argued, become final, beyond recall".
the court will not consider it". In the case at bar, the petitioners have not raised, they are
not insisting upon, much less have they adequately argued the constitutional issues so Indeed, when I consider that courts would be useless if the finality and enforceability of
extendedly and ably discussed in the main opinion. their judgments are made contingent on the correctness thereof from the constitutional
standpoint, and that in truth, whether or not they are correct is something that is always
Indeed, it does not seem wise and sound for the Supreme Court to hold that the erroneous dependent upon combined opinion of the members of the Supreme Court, which in turn is
resolution by a court of a constitutional issue not amounting to a denial of due process naturally as changeable as the members themselves are changed, I cannot conceive of
renders its judgment or decision null and void, and, therefore, subject to attack even after anything more pernicious and destructive to a trustful administration of justice than the
said judgment or decision has become final and executory. I have actually tried to bring idea that, even without any showing of denial of due process or want of jurisdiction of the
myself into agreement with the views of the distinguished and learned writer of the main court, a final and executory judgment of such court may still be set aside or reopened in
opinion, if only to avoid dissenting from his well prepared thesis, but its obvious instances other than those expressly allowed by Rule 38 and that of extrinsic fraud under
incongruity with settled jurisprudence always comes to the fore to stifle my effort. Article 1146(1) of the Civil Code.7 And just to emphasize the policy of the law of respecting
judgments once they have become final, even as this Court has ruled that final decisions
As a matter of fact, for a moment, it appeared to me as if I could go along with petitioners are mute in the presence of fraud which the law abhors,8 it is only when the fraud is
under the authority of our constitutionally irreducible appellate jurisdiction under Section extrinsic and not intrinsic that final and executory judgments may be set aside, 9and this
2(5) of Article VII of the Philippines6 (reenacted practically ipssisimis verbis in Section 5(2) only when the remedy is sought within the prescriptive period. 10
of the 1973 Constitution), only to realize upon further reflection that the very power
granted to us to review decisions of lower courts involving questions of law(and these Apropos here is the following passage in Li Kim Those vs. Go Sin Kaw, 82 Phil. 776:
include constitutional issues not affecting the validity of statutes, treaty, executive
agreement, etc.) is not unqualified but has to be exercised only in the manner provided in Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an
the law of the Rules of Court. In other words, before We can exercise appellate jurisdiction effective and efficient administration of justice that once a judgment has become final, the
over constitutional issues, no matter how important they may be, there must first be a winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict.
showing of compliance with the applicable procedural law or rules, among them, those Courts must therefore guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result.
governing appeals from the Court of Industrial Relations involved herein. Consequently, if

18
Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any The main opinion calls attention to many instant precisely involving cases in the industrial
attempt to prolong them. court, wherein the Court refused to be constrained by technical rules of procedure in its
determination to accord substantial justice to the parties I still believe in those decisions,
Likewise the stern admonition of Justice George Malcolm in Dy Cay v. Crossfield, 38 Phil. some of which were penned by me. I am certain, however, that in none of those precedents
521, thus: did this Court disturb a judgment already final and executory. It too obvious to require
extended elucidation or even reference any precedent or authority that the principle of
... Public policy and sound practice demand that, at the risk of occasional errors, immutability of final judgments is not a mere technicality, and if it may considered to be in
judgments of courts should become final at some definite date fixed by law. The very object a sense a procedural rule, it is one that is founded on public policy and cannot, therefore,
for which courts were instituted was to put an end to controversies. To fulfill this purpose yield to the ordinary plea that it must give priority to substantial justice.
and to do so speedily, certain time limits, more or less arbitrary, have to be set up to spur
on the slothful. 'If a vacillating, irresolute judge were allowed to thus keep causes ever Apparently vent on looking for a constitutional point of due process to hold on, the main
within his power, to determine and redetermine them term after term, to bandy his opinion goes far as to maintain that the long existing and constantly applied rule governing
judgments about from one party to the other, and to change his conclusions as freely and the filing of motions for reconsideration in the Court of Industrial Relations, "as applied in
as capriciously as a chamelon may change its hues, then litigation might become more this case does not implement on reinforce or strengthen the constitutional rights affected,
intolerable than the wrongs it is intended to redress.' (See Arnedo vs. Llorente and but instead constricts the same to the point of nullifying the enjoyment thereof by the
Liongson (1911), 18 Phil., 257.). petitioning employees. Said Court on Industrial Relations Rule, promulgated as it was
pursuant to mere legislative delegation, is unreasonable and therefore is beyond the
My disagreement with the dissenters in Republic vs. Judge de los Angeles, authority granted by the Constitution and the law. A period of five (5) days within which to
L-26112, October 4, 1971, 41 SCRA 422, was not as to the unalterability and file a motion for reconsideration is too short, especially for the aggrieve workers, who
invulnerability of final judgments but rather on the correct interpretation of the contents of usually do not have the ready funds to meet the necessary expenses therefor. In case of the
the judgment in question therein. Relevantly to this case at bar, I said then: Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, a period of fifteen (15) days has been fixed for the
filing of the motion for re-hearing or reconsideration (Sec. 10, Rule 51; Sec. 1, Rule 52; Sec.
The point of res adjudicata discussed in the dissents has not escaped my attention. 1, Rule 56, Revised Rules of Court). The delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration
Neither am I overlooking the point of the Chief Justice regarding the dangerous and could have been only one day if September 28, 1969 was not a Sunday. This fact
inimical implications of a ruling that would authorize the revision, amendment or accentuates the unreasonableness of the Court of Industrial Relations Rule insofar as
alteration of a final and executory judgment. I want to emphasize that my position in this circumstances of the instant case are concerned."
opinion does not detract a whit from the soundness, authority and binding force of existing
doctrines enjoining any such modifications. The public policy of maintaining faith and I am afraid the zeal and passion of these arguments do not justify the conclusion suggested.
respect in judicial decisions, which inform said doctrines, is admittedly of the highest order. Viewed objectively, it can readily be seen that there can hardly be any factual or logical
I am not advocating any departure from them. Nor am I trying to put forth for execution a basis for such a critical view of the rule in question. Said rule provides:
decision that I believe should have been rather than what it is. All I am doing is to view not
the judgment of Judge Tengco but the decision of this Court in G.R. No. L-20950, as it is MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION
and not as I believe it should have been, and, by opinion, I would like to guide the court a
quo as to what, in my own view, is the true and correct meaning and implications of Sec. 15. The movant shall file the motion, in six copies, within five (5) days from the date on
decision of this Court, not that of Judge Tengco's. which he receives notice of the order or decision, object of the motion for reconsideration,
the same to be verified under oath with respect to the correctness of the allegations of fact,

19
and serving a copy thereof, personally or by registered mail, on the adverse party. The There can be no reason at all to complain that the time fixed by the rule is short or
latter may file an answer, in six (6) copies, duly verified under oath. inadequate. In fact, the motion filed petitioners was no more than the following:

Sec. 16. Both the motion and the answer shall be submitted with arguments supporting MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
the same. If the arguments can not be submitted simultaneously with said motions, upon
notice Court, the movant shall file same within ten (10) days from the date of the filing of COME NOW movant respondents, through counsel, to this Honorable Court most
his motion for reconsideration. The adverse party shall also file his answer within ten (10) respectfully moves for the RECONSIDERATION of the Order of this Honorable Court dated
days from the receipt by him of a copy of the arguments submitted by the movant. September 17, 1969 on the ground that the same is not in accordance with law, evidence
and facts adduced during the hearing of the above entitled case.
Sec. 17. After an answer to the motion is registered, or after ten (10) days from the receipt
of the arguments in support of said motion having been filed, the motion shall be deemed Movant-respondents most respectfully move for leave to file their respective arguments
submitted for resolution of the Court in banc, unless it is considered necessary to bear oral within ten (10) days pursuant to Section 15, 16 & 17 as amended of the Rules of Court.
arguments, in which case the Court shall issue the corresponding order or notice to that
effect. WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that this Motion for Reconsideration be admitted.

Failure to observe the above-specified periods shall be sufficient cause for dismissal of the Manila, September 27, 1969.
motion for reconsideration or striking out of the answer and/or the supporting arguments,
as the case may be. (As amended April 20, 1951, Court of Industrial Relations.). To say that five (5) days is an unreasonable period for the filing of such a motion is to me
simply incomprehensible. What worse in this case is that petitioners have not even taken
As implemented and enforced in actual practice, this rule, as everyone acquainted with the trouble of giving an explanation of their inability to comply with the rule. Not only that,
proceedings in the industrial court well knows, precisely permits the party aggrieved by a petitioners were also late five (5) days in filing their written arguments in support of their
judgment to file no more than a pro-forma motion for reconsideration without any motion, and, the only excuse offered for such delay is that both the President of the Union
argument or lengthy discussion and with barely a brief statement of the fundamental and the office clerk who took charge of the matter forgot to do what they were instructed to
ground or grounds therefor, without prejudice to supplementing the same by making the do by counsel, which, according to this Court, as I shall explain anon "is the most
necessary exposition, with citations laws and authorities, in the written arguments the be hackneyed and habitual subterfuge employed by litigants who fail to observe the
filed (10) days later. In truth, such a pro-forma motion has to effect of just advising the procedural requirements prescribed by the Rules of Court". (Philippine Airlines, Inc. vs.
court and the other party that the movant does not agree with the judgment due to Arca, infra). And yet, very indignantly, the main opinion would want the Court to overlook
fundamental defects stated in brief and general terms. Evidently, the purpose of this such nonchalance and indifference.
requirement is to apprise everyone concerned within the shortest possible time that a
reconsideration is to sought, and thereby enable the parties concerned to make whatever In this connection, I might add that in my considered opinion, the rules fixing periods for
adjustments may be warranted by the situation, in the meanwhile that the litigation is the finality of judgments are in a sense more substantive than procedural in their real
prolonged. It must borne in mind that cases in the industrial court may involve affect the nature, for in their operation they have the effect of either creating or terminating rights
operation of vital industries in which labor-management problems might require pursuant to the terms of the particular judgment concerned. And the fact that the court
day-to-day solutions and it is to the best interests of justice and concerned that the that rendered such final judgment is deprived of jurisdiction or authority to alter or modify
attitude of each party at every imports juncture of the case be known to the other so that the same enhances such substantive character. Moreover, because they have the effect of
both avenues for earlier settlement may, if possible, be explored. terminating rights and the enforcement thereof, it may be said that said rules partake of

20
the nature also of rules of prescription, which again are substantive. Now, the twin the face of the Supreme Court's repeated rulings that they are neither credible nor
predicates of prescription are inaction or abandonment and the passage of time or a constitutive of excusable negligence (Gaerlan vs. Bernal, L-4039, 29 January 1952;
prescribed period. On the other hand, procrastination or failure to act on time is Mercado vs. Judge Domingo, L-19457, December 1966) is certainly such whimsical
unquestionably a form of abandonment, particularly when it is not or cannot be exercise of judgment to be a grave abuse of discretion. (Philippine Air Lines, Inc. Arca, 19
sufficiently explained. The most valuable right of a party may be lost by prescription, and SCRA 300.)
be has no reason to complain because public policy demands that rights must be asserted
in time, as otherwise they can be deemed waived. For the reason, therefore, that the judgment of the industrial court sought to be reviewed in
the present case has already become final and executory, nay, not without the fault of the
I see no justification whatsoever for not applying these self-evident principles to the case of petitioners, hence, no matter how erroneous from the constitutional viewpoint it may be, it
petitioners. Hence, I feel disinclined to adopt the suggestion that the Court suspend, for is already beyond recall, I vote to dismiss this case, without pronouncement as to costs.
the purposes of this case the rules aforequoted of the Court of Industrial Relations. Besides,
I have grave doubts as to whether we can suspend rules of other courts, particularly that is TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
not under our supervisory jurisdiction, being administrative agency under the Executive
Department Withal, if, in order to hasten the administration of substance justice, this For having carried out a mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969 in protest
Court did exercise in some instances its re power to amend its rules, I am positively certain, against alleged abuses of the Pasig police department, upon two days' prior notice to
it has done it for the purpose of reviving a case in which the judo has already become final respondent employer company, as against the latter's insistence that the first shift 1should
and executory. not participate but instead report for work, under pain of dismissal, the industrial court
ordered the dismissal from employment of the eight individual petitioners as union officers
Before closing, it may be mentioned here, that as averred their petition, in a belated effort and organizers of the mass demonstration.
to salvage their Petitioners filed in the industrial court on October 31, 1969 a Petition for
relief alleging that their failure to file "Arguments in Support of their Motion for Respondent court's order finding petitioner union guilty on respondent's complaint of
Reconsideration within the reglementary period or five (5), if not seven (7), days late "was bargaining in bad faith and unfair labor practice for having so carried out the mass
due to excusable negligence and honest mistake committed by the President of the demonstration, notwithstanding that it concededly was not a declaration of strike nor
respondent Union and on office clerk of the counsel for respondents as shown attested in directed in any manner against respondent employer, and ordering the dismissal of the
their respective affidavits", (See Annexes K, and K-2) which in brief, consisted allegedly of union office manifestly constituted grave abuse of discretion in fact and in law.
the President's having forgotten his appointment with his lawyer "despite previous
instructions and of the said office employee having also coincidentally forgotten "to do the There could not be, in fact, bargaining in bad faith nor unfair labor practice since
work instructed (sic) to (him) by Atty. Osorio" because he "was busy with clerical jobs". No respondent firm conceded that "the demonstration is an inalienable right of the union
sympathy at all can be evoked these allegations, for, under probably more justification guaranteed' by the Constitution" and the union up to the day of the demonstration pleaded
circumstances, this Court ruled out a similar explanation previous case this wise: by cablegram to the company to excuse the first shift and allow it to join the demonstration
in accordance with their previous requests.
We find merit in PAL's petition. The excuse offered respondent Santos as reason for his
failure to perfect in due time appeal from the judgment of the Municipal Court, that Neither could there be, in law, a willful violation of the collective bargaining agreement's
counsel's clerk forgot to hand him the court notice, is the most hackneyed and habitual "no-strike" clause as would warrant the union leaders' dismissal, since as found by
subterfuge employed by litigants who fail to observe procedural requirements prescribed respondent court itself the mass demonstration was not a declaration of a strike, there
by the Rules of Court. The uncritical acceptance of this kind of common place excuses, in being no industrial dispute between the protagonists, but merely the occurrence of a

21
temporary stoppage of work" to enable the workers to exercise their constitutional rights of I bow in respectful and sincere admiration, but my sense of duty compels me to dissent.
free expression, peaceable assembly and petition for redress of grievance against alleged
police excesses. The background of this case may be found principally in the stipulation of facts upon
which the decision under review is based. It is as follows:
Respondent court's en banc resolution dismissing petitioners' motion for reconsideration
for having been filed two days late, after expiration of the reglementary five-day period fixed 1. That complainant Philippine Blooming Mills, Company, Inc., is a corporation existing
by its rules, due to the negligence of petitioners' counsel and/or the union president and operating under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines with corporate address at
should likewise be set aside as a manifest act of grave abuse of discretion. Petitioners' 666 Muelle de Binondo, Manila, which is the employer of respondent;
petition for relief from the normal adverse consequences of the late filing of their motion for
reconsideration due to such negligence — which was not acted upon by respondent court 2. That Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization PBMEO for short, is a legitimate
— should have been granted, considering the monstrous injustice that would otherwise be labor organization, and the respondents herein are either officers of respondent PBMEO or
caused the petitioners through their summary dismissal from employment, simply members thereof;
because they sought in good faith to exercise basic human rights guaranteed them by the
Constitution. It should be noted further that no proof of actual loss from the one-day 3. That on March 2, 1969 complainant company learned of the projected mass
stoppage of work was shown by respondent company, providing basis to the main opinion's demonstration at Malacañang in protest against alleged abuses of the Pasig Police
premise that its insistence on dismissal of the union leaders for having included the first Department to be participated by the first shift (6:00 AM — 2:00 PM workers as well as
shift workers in the mass demonstration against its wishes was but an act of arbitrary those working in the regular shifts (7:00 A.M. to 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM in the
vindictiveness. morning of March 4, 1969;

Only thus could the basic constitutional rights of the individual petitioners and the 4. That a meeting was called by the Company on March 3, 1969 at about 11:00 A.M. at the
constitutional injunction to afford protection to labor be given true substance and meaning. Company's canteen, and those present were: for the Company: (1) Mr. Arthur L. Ang, (2)
No person may be deprived of such basic rights without due process — which is but Atty. Cesareo S. de Leon, Jr. (3) and all department and section heads. For the PBMEO (1)
"responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively Florencio Padrigano, (2) Rufino Roxas, (3) Mariano de Leon, (4) Asencion Paciente, (5)
put, arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided ... Due process is thus hostile to any Bonifacio Vacuna and (6) Benjamin Pagcu.
official action marred by lack of reasonableness. Correctly it has been identified as freedom
from arbitrariness."2
5. That the Company asked the union panel to confirm or deny said projected mass
demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969. PBMEO thru Benjamin Pagcu who acted
Accordingly, I vote for the setting aside of the appealed orders of the respondent court and as the spokesman of the union panel, confirmed the planned demonstration and stated
concur in the judgment for petitioners as set forth in the main opinion. that the demonstration or rally cannot be cancelled because it has already been agreed
upon in the meeting. Pagcu explained further that the demonstration has nothing to do
with the Company because the union has no quarrel or dispute with Management;

Separate Opinions 6. 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
BARREDO, J., dissenting: Constitution but emphasized, however, that any demonstration for that matter should not
unduly prejudice the normal operation of the Company. For which reason, the Company,

22
thru Atty. C.S. de Leon, warned the PBMEO representatives that workers who belong to the necessary notice as provided for by law, failed to report for work, amounting to a
first and regular shifts, who without previous leave of absence approved by the Company, declaration of strike;
particularly the officers present who are the organizers of the demonstration, who shall fail
to report for work the following morning (March 4, 1969) shall be dismissed, because such 4. That the above acts are in violation of Section 4(a) subparagraph 6, in relation to
failure is a violation of the existing CBA and, therefore, would be amounting to an illegal Sections 13, 14 and 15 of Republic Act No. 875, and of the collective bargaining agreement.
strike; (Pars. 3 and 4, Annex C.)

7. That at about 5:00 P.M. on March 3, 1969, another meeting was convoked. Company After due hearing, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive part of which read's:
represented by Atty. C.S. de Leon, Jr. The Union panel was composed of: Nicanor Tolentino,
Rodulfo Munsod, Benjamin Pagcu and Florencio Padrigano. In this afternoon meeting of IN VIEW HEREOF, the respondent Philippine Blooming Mills Employees Organization is
March 3, 1969, Company reiterated and appealed to the PBMEO representatives that while found guilty of bargaining in bad faith and is hereby ordered to cease and desist from
all workers may join the Malacañang demonstration, the workers for the first and regular further committing the same and its representatives namely: respondent Florencio
shift of March 4, 1969 should be excused from joining the demonstration and should Padrigano, Rufino Roxas, Mariano de Leon, Asencion Paciente, Bonifacio Vacuna,
report for work; and thus utilize the workers in the 2nd and 3rd shifts in order not to Benjamin Pagcu, Nicanor Tolentino and Rodulfo Monsod who are directly responsible for
violate the provisions of the CBA, particularly Article XXIV "NO LOCKOUT — NO STRIKE". perpetrating this unfair labor practice act, are hereby considered to have lost their status
All those who will not follow this warning of the Company shall be dismissed; De Leon as employees of the Philippine Blooming Mills, Inc. (p. 8, Annex F.)
reiterated the Company's warning that the officers shall be primarily liable being the
organizers of the mass demonstration. The union panel countered that it was rather too Although it is alleged in the petition herein that petitioners were notified of this decision on
late to change their plans inasmuch as the Malacañang demonstration will be held the September 23, 1969, there seems to be no serious question that they were actually served
following morning; and therewith on September 22, 1969. In fact, petitioners admitted this date of notice in
paragraph 2 of their Petition for Relief dated October 30, 1969 and filed with the industrial
8. That a certain Mr. Wilfredo Ariston, adviser of PBMEO sent a cablegram to the Company court on the following day. (See Annex K.)
which was received 9:50 A.M., March 4, 1969, the contents of which are as follows:
'REITERATING REQUEST EXCUSE DAY SHIFT EMPLOYEES JOINING DEMONSTRATION It is not controverted that it was only on September 29, 1969, or seven (7) days after they
MARCH 4, 1969. were notified of the court's decision, that petitioners filed their motion for reconsideration
with the industrial court; as it is also not disputed that they filed their "Arguments in
Additionally, the trial court found that "the projected demonstration did in fact occur and Support of the Respondents' Motion for Reconsideration" only on October 14, 1969. (See
in the process paralyzed to a large extent the operations of the complainant company". (p. Annex I.) In other words, petitioners' motion for reconsideration was filed two (2) days after
5, Annex F). the lapse of the five (5) day period provided for the filing thereof in the rules of the Court of
Industrial Relations, whereas the "Arguments" were filed five (5) days after the expiration of
Upon these facts the Prosecution Division of the Court of Industrial Relations filed with the period therefor also specified in the same rules.
said court a complaint for Unfair Labor Practice against petitioners charging that: .
Accordingly, the first issue that confronts the Court is the one raised by respondent private
3. That on March 4, 1969, respondents (petitioners herein) particularly those in the first firm, namely, that in view of the failure of petitioners to file not only their motion for
shift, in violation of the existing collective bargaining agreement and without filing the reconsideration but also their arguments in support thereof within the periods respectively
fixed in the rules therefor, the Court of Industrial Relations acted correctly and within the

23
law in rendering and issuing its impugned order of October 9, 1969 dismissing petitioners' incomplete decision. We do not believe so. Computation of the overtime pay involves a
motion for reconsideration. mechanical function, at most. And the report would still have to be submitted to the
Industrial Court for its approval, by the very terms of the order itself. That there was no
Respondent's contention presents no problem. Squarely applicable to the facts hereof is specification of the amount of overtime pay in the decision did not make it incomplete,
the decision of this Court in Elizalde & Co. Inc. vs. Court of Industrial Relations 1 wherein it since this matter should necessarily be made clear enough in the implementation of the
was ruled that: decision (see Malate Taxicab & Garage, Inc. vs. CIR, et al.,
L-8718, May 11, 1956).
August 6, 1963. Petitioner received a copy of the decision of the then Associate Judge
Arsenio I. Martinez, the dispositive part of which was set forth earlier in this opinion. 2. But has that judgment reached the stage of finality in the sense that it can no longer, be
disturbed?
August 12, 1963. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. No arguments were
advanced in support thereof. CIR Rules of Procedure, as amended, and the jurisprudence of this Court both answer the
question in the affirmative.
August 21, 1963. Petitioner moved for additional time to file its arguments in support of its
motion to reconsider. Section 15 of the CIR Rules requires that one who seeks to reconsider the judgment of the
trial judge must do so within five (5) days from the date on which he received notice of the
August 27, 1963. Petitioner filed its arguments in support of its aforesaid motion seeking decision, subject of the motion. Next follows Section 16 which says that the motion must be
reconsideration. submitted with arguments supporting the same. But if said arguments could not be
submitted simultaneously with the motion, the same section commands the 'the movant
September 16, 1963. CIR en banc resolved to dismiss the motion for reconsideration. shall file the same within ten (10) days from the date of the filing of his motion for
Ground therefor was that the arguments were filed out of time. reconsideration.' Section 17 of the same rules admonishes a movant that "(f)ailure to
observe the above-specified periods shall be sufficient cause for dismissal of the motion for
reconsideration or striking out of the answer and/or the supporting arguments, as the
October 3, 1963. Petitioner filed its notice of appeal and at the same time lodged the
case may be".
present petition with this Court.

Not that the foregoing rules stand alone. Jurisprudence has since stabilized the
Upon respondent Perlado's return and petitioner's brief (respondents did not file their brief),
enforceability thereof. Thus, in Bien vs. Castillo, (97 Phil. 956) we ruled that where a pro
the case is now before us for resolution.
forma motion for reconsideration was filed out of time its denial is in order pursuant to CIR
rules, regardless of whether the arguments in support of said motion were or were not filed
1. That the judgment appealed from is a final judgment — not merely an interlocutory
on time. Pangasinan Employees Laborers & Tenants Association (PELTA) vs. Martinez,
order — there is no doubt. The fact that there is need for computation of respondent
(L-13846, May 20, 1960) pronounced that where a motion to reconsider is filed out of time,
Perlado's overtime pay would not render the decision incomplete. This in effect is the
the order or decision subject of reconsideration comes final. And so also, where the
holding of the Court in Pan American World Airways System (Philippines) vs. Pan American
arguments in support of the motion for reconsideration are filed beyond the ten-day
Employees Association, which runs thus: 'It is next contended that in ordering the Chief of
reglementary period, the pre forma motion for reconsideration although seasonably filed
the Examining Division or his representative to compute the compensation due, the
must nevertheless be denied. This in essence is our ruling in Local 7, Press & Printing Free
Industrial Court unduly delegated its judicial functions and thereby rendered an
Workers (FFW) vs. Tabigne. The teaching in Luzon Stevedoring Co., Inc. vs. Court of

24
Industrial Relations, is that where the motion for reconsideration is denied upon the We rule that CIR's judgment has become final and unappealable. We may not review the
ground that the arguments in support thereof were filed out of time, the order or decision same.
subject of the motion becomes "final and unappealable".
Notwithstanding this unequivocal and unmistakable precedent, which has not been in any
We find no difficulty in applying the foregoing rules and pronouncements of this Court in way modified, much less revoked or reversed by this Court, the main opinion has chosen
the case before us. On August 6, petitioner received a copy of the judgment of Judge not only to go into the merits of petitioners' pose that the respondent court erred in holding
Arsenio I. Martinez aforesaid. Petitioner's motion to reconsider — without arguments in them guilty of bargaining in bad faith but also to ultimately uphold petitioners' claim for
support thereof — of August 12 was filed on time. For, August 11, the end of the five-day reinstatement on constitutional grounds.
reglementary period to file a motion for reconsideration, was a Sunday. But, actually, the
written arguments in support of the said motion were submitted to the court on August 27. Precisely because the conclusions of the main opinion are predicated on an exposition of
The period from August 12 to August 27, is a space of fifteen (15) days. Surely enough, said the constitutional guarantees of freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly for redress of
arguments were filed out of time — five (5) days late. And the judgment had become final. grievances, so scholarly and masterful that it is bound to overwhelm Us unless We note
carefully the real issues in this case, I am constrained, over and above my sincere
3. There is, of course, petitioner's motion of August 21, 1963 seeking extension of time admiration for the eloquence and zeal of Mr. Justice Makasiar's brilliant dissertation, to
within which to present its arguments in support of its motion. Counsel in his petition dutifully state that as presented by petitioners themselves and in the light of its attendant
before this Court pleads that the foregoing motion was grounded on the 'extremely busy circumstances, this case does not call for the resolution of any constitutional issue.
and difficult schedule of counsel which would not enable him to do so within the stated Admittedly, the invocation of any constitutional guarantee, particularly when it directly
ten-day reglementary period. The arguments were only filed on August 27 — five (5) days affects individual freedoms enshrined in the bill of rights, deserves the closest attention of
late, as aforesaid. this Court. It is my understanding of constitutional law and judicial practices related
thereto, however, that even the most valuable of our constitutional rights may be protected
The foregoing circumstances will not avail petitioner any. It is to be noted that the motion by the courts only when their jurisdiction over the subject matter is unquestionably
for expansion of time was filed only on August 21, that is, one day before the due date established and the applicable rules of procedure consistent with substantive and
which is August 22. It was petitioner's duty to see to it that the court act on this motion procedural due process are observed. No doubt no constitutional right can be sacrificed in
forthwith or at least inquire as to the fate thereof not later than the 22nd of August. It did the altar of procedural technicalities, very often fittingly downgraded as niceties but as far
not. It merely filed its arguments on the 27th. as I know, this principle is applied to annul or set aside final judgments only in cases
wherein there is a possible denial of due process. I have not come across any instance, and
To be underscored at this point is that "obviously to speed up the disposition of cases", CIR none is mentioned or cited in the well-documented main opinion, wherein a final and
"has a standing rule against the extension of the ten-day period for filing supporting executory judgment has been invalidated and set aside upon the ground that the same has
arguments". That no-extension policy should have placed petitioner on guard. It should the effect of sanctioning the violation of a constitutional right, unless such violation
not have simply folded its arms, sit by supinely and relied on the court's generosity. To amounts to a denial of due process.
compound petitioner's neglect, it filed the arguments only on August 27, 1953, knowing
full well that by that time the reglementary period had expired. Without support from any provision of the constitution or any law or from any judicial
precedent or reason of principle, the main opinion nudely and unqualifiedly asserts, as if it
Petitioner cannot complain against CIR's ruling of September 16, 1963 dismissing the were universally established and accepted as an absolute rule, that the violation of a
motion for reconsideration on the ground that the supporting arguments were filed out of constitutional right divests the court of jurisdiction; and as a consequence its judgment is
time. That ruling in effect denied the motion for extension. null and void and confers no rights". Chavez vs. Court of Appeals, 24 SCRA 663, which is

25
mentioned almost in passing, does uphold the proposition that "relief from a criminal III
conviction secured at the sacrifice of constitutional liberties, may be obtained through
habeas corpus proceedings even after the finality of the judgment". And, of ISSUES
course, Chavez is correct; as is also Abriol vs. Homeres2 which, in principle, served as its
precedent, for the very simple reason that in both of those cases, the accused were denied 1. Does the refusal to heed a warning in the exercise of a fundamental right to peaceably
due process. In Chavez, the accused was compelled to testify against himself as a witness assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances constitute bargaining in
for the prosecution; in Abriol, the accused was denied his request to be allowed to present bad faith? and,
evidence to establish his defense after his demurrer to the People's evidence was denied.
Do the facts found by the court below justify the declaration and conclusion that the union
As may be seen, however, the constitutional issues involved in those cases are a far cry was guilty of bargaining in bad faith meriting the dismissal of the persons allegedly
from the one now before Us. Here, petitioners do not claim they were denied due process. responsible therefore?
Nor do they pretend that in denying their motion for reconsideration, "the respondent
Court of Industrial Relations and private firm trenched upon any of their constitutional 2. Was there grave abuse of discretion when the respondent court refused to act one way or
immunities ...," contrary to the statement to such effect in the main opinion. Indeed, another on the petition for relief from the resolution of October 9, 1969?
neither in the petition herein nor in any of the other pleading of petitioners can any direct
or indirect assertion be found assailing the impugned decision of the respondent court as
IV
being null and void because it sanctioned a denial of a valued constitutional liberty.
ARGUMENT
In their petition, petitioners state the issue for Our resolution as follows:
The respondent Court erred in finding the petition union guilty of bargaining in bad faith and
Petitioners herein humbly submit that the issue to be resolved is whether or not the
consequently dismissing the persons allegedly responsible therefor, because such
respondent Court en banc under the facts and circumstances, should consider the Motion
conclusion is country to the evidence on record; that the dismissal of leaders was
for Reconsideration filed by your petitioners.
discriminatory.

Petitioners, therefore, in filing this petition for a writ of certiorari, humbly beg this
As a result of exercising the constitutional rights of freedom to assemble and petition the
Honorable Court to treat this petition under Rule 43 and 65 of the Rules of Court.
duly constituted authorities for redress of their grievances, the petitioners were charged
and then condemned of bargaining in bad faith.
xxx xxx xxx
The findings that petitioners were guilty of bargaining in bad faith were not borne out by
The basic issue therefore is the application by the Court en banc of the strict and narrow the records. It was not even alleged nor proven by evidence. What has been alleged and
technical rules of procedure without taking into account justice, equity and substantial which the respondent company tried to prove was that the demonstration amounted to a
merits of the case. strike and hence, a violation of the provisions of the "no-lockout — no strike" clause of the
collective bargaining agreement. However, this allegation and proof submitted by the
On the other hand, the complete argument submitted by petitioners on this point in their respondent company were practically resolved when the respondent court in the same
brief runs thus: decision stated categorically:

26
'The company alleges that the walkout because of the demonstration is tantamount to a respondent court should have taken into account that the company's action in allowing the
declaration of a strike. We do not think so, as the same is not rooted in any industrial return of more or less three hundred ninety two (392) employees/members of the union is
dispute although there is a concerted act and the occurrence of a temporary stoppage of an act of condonation and the dismissal of the eight (8) officers is an act of discrimination
work.' (Emphasis supplied, p. 4, 5th paragraph, Decision.) (Phil. Air Lines Inc., vs. Phil. Air Lines Employees Association, G.R. No. L-8197, Oct. 31,
1958). Seemingly, from the opinion stated in the decision by the court, while there is a
The respondent court's findings that the petitioner union bargained in bad faith is not collective bargaining agreement, the union cannot go on demonstration or go on strike
tenable because: because it will change the terms and conditions of employment agreed in the CBA. It
follows that the CBA is over and above the constitutional rights of a man to demonstrate
First, it has not been alleged nor proven by the respondent company; . and the statutory rights of a union to strike as provided for in Republic Act 875. This
creates a bad precedent because it will appear that the rights of the union is solely
Second, before the demonstration, the petitioner union and the respondent company dependent upon the CBA.
convened twice in a meeting to thresh out the matter of demonstration. Petitioners
requested that the employees and workers be excused but the respondent company One of the cardinal primary rights which must be respected in proceedings before the
instead of granting the request or even settling the matter so that the hours of work will not Court of Industrial Relations is that "the decision must be rendered on the evidence
be disrupted, immediately threatened the employees of mass dismissal; presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties
affected." (Interstate Commerce Commission vs. L & N R. Co., 227 U.S. 88, 33 S. Ct. 185,
Third, the refusal of the petitioner union to grant the request of the company that the first 57 Law ed. 431.) Only by confining the administrative tribunal to the evidence disclosed to
shift shall be excluded in the demonstration is not tantamount to bargaining in bad faith the parties, can the latter be protected in their rights to know and meet the case against
because the company knew that the officers of the union belonged to the first shift, and them. (Ang Tibay vs. CIR, G.R. No. L-45496, February 27, 1940.)
that the union cannot go and lead the demonstration without their officers. It must be
stated that the company intends to prohibit its officers to lead and join the demonstration The petitioners respectfully and humbly submit that there is no scintilla of evidence to
because most of them belonged to the first shift; and support the findings of the respondent court that the petitioner union bargained in bad
faith. Corollary therefore, the dismissal of the individual petitioners is without basis either
Fourth, the findings of the respondent court that the demonstration if allowed will in fact or in law.
practically give the union the right to change the working conditions agreed in the CBA is a
conclusion of facts, opinionated and not borne by any evidence on record. The Additionally, in their reply they also argued that:
demonstration did not practically change the terms or conditions of employment because it
was only for one (1) day and the company knew about it before it went through. We can 1) That respondent court's finding that petitioners have been guilty of bargaining in bad
even say that it was the company who bargained in bad faith, when upon representation of faith and consequently lost their status as employees of the respondent company did not
the Bureau of Labor not to dismiss the employees demonstrating, the company tacitly meet the meaning and comprehension of "substantial merits of the case." Bargaining in
approved the same and yet while the demonstration was in progress, the company filed a bad faith has not been alleged in the complaint (Annex "C", Petition) nor proven during the
ULP Charge and consequently dismissed those who participated. hearing of the can. The important and substantial merit of the case is whether under the
facts and circumstances alleged in respondent company's pleadings, the demonstration
Records of the case show that more or less 400 members of the union participated in the done by the petitioners amounted to on "illegal strike" and therefore in violation of the "no
demonstration and yet, the respondent court selected the eight officers to be dismissed strike — no lock out" clause of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Petitioners
from the union thus losing their status as employees of the respondent company. The respectfully reiterate and humbly submit, that the respondent court had altogether opined

27
and decided that such demonstration does not amount to a strike. Hence, with that the sake of argument, that the trial judge did err in not giving preferential importance to
findings, petitioners should have been absolved of the charges against them. Nevertheless, the fundamental freedoms invoked by the petitioners over the management and
the same respondent court disregarding, its own findings, went out of bounds by declaring proprietary attributes claimed by the respondent private firm — still, We cannot rightly
the petitioners as having "bargained in faith." The stand of the respondent court is hold that such disregard of petitioners' priceless liberties divested His Honor of jurisdiction
fallacious, as it follows the principle in logic as "non-siquitor"; in the premises. The unbending doctrine of this Court is that "decisions, erroneous or not,
become final after the period fixed by law; litigations would be endless, no questions would
2) That again respondents wanted to impress that the freedom to assemble peaceably to air be finally settled; and titles to property would become precarious if the losing party were
grievances against the duly constituted authorities as guaranteed in our Constitution is allowed to reopen them at any time in the future". 3
subject to the limitation of the agreement in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The
fundamental rights of the petitioners to free speech and assembly is paramount to the I only have to add to this that the fact that the error is in the interpretation, construction or
provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and such attempt to override the application of a constitutional precept not constituting a denial of due process, should not
constitutional provision would be null and void. These fundamental rights of the make any difference. Juridically, a party cannot be less injured by an overlooked or
petitioners were not taken into consideration in the deliberation of the case by the erroneously sanctioned violation of an ordinary statute than by a misconstrued or
respondent court; constitutional injunction affecting his individual, freedoms. In both instances, there is
injustice which should be intolerable were it not for the more paramount considerations
Thus, it is clear from the foregoing contentions that petitioners are not raising any issue of that inform the principle of immutability of final judgments. I dare say this must be the
due process. They do not posit that the decision of the industrial court is null and void on reason why, as I have already noted, the main opinion does not cite any constitutional
that constitutional ground. True it is that they fault the respondent court for having priced provision, law or rule or any judicial doctrine or principle supporting its basic holding that
the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement herein involved over and above their infringement of constitutional guarantees, other than denial of due process, divests courts
constitutional right to peaceably assemble and petition for redress of their grievances of jurisdiction to render valid judgments.
against the abuses of the Pasig police, but in no sense at all do they allege or contend that
such action affects its jurisdiction in a manner that renders the proceedings a nullity. In In this connection, it must be recalled that the teaching of Philippine Association of
other words, petitioners themselves consider the alleged flaw in the court's action as a Colleges and Universities vs. Secretary of Education,4 following Santiago vs. Far Eastern
mere error of judgment rather than that of jurisdiction which the main opinion projects. Broadcasting,5 is that "it is one of our (the Supreme Court's) decisional practices that
For this Court to roundly and indignantly condemn private respondent now for the unless a constitutional point is specifically raised, insisted upon and adequately argued,
grievous violation of the fundamental law the main opinion sees in its refusal to allow all its the court will not consider it". In the case at bar, the petitioners have not raised, they are
workers to join the demonstration in question, when that specific issue has not been duly not insisting upon, much less have they adequately argued the constitutional issues so
presented to Us and properly argued, is to my mind unfair and unjust, for the simple extendedly and ably discussed in the main opinion.
reason that the manner this case was brought to Us does not afford it the opportunity to be
heard in regard to such supposed constitutional transgression. Indeed, it does not seem wise and sound for the Supreme Court to hold that the erroneous
resolution by a court of a constitutional issue not amounting to a denial of due process
To be sure, petitioners do maintain, that respondent court committed an error of renders its judgment or decision null and void, and, therefore, subject to attack even after
jurisdiction by finding petitioners guilty of bargaining in bad faith when the charge against said judgment or decision has become final and executory. I have actually tried to bring
them alleged in the complaint was for having conducted a mass demonstration, which myself into agreement with the views of the distinguished and learned writer of the main
"amounted to a strike", in violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but definitely, opinion, if only to avoid dissenting from his well prepared thesis, but its obvious
this jurisdictional question has no constitutional color. Indeed, We can even assume for incongruity with settled jurisprudence always comes to the fore to stifle my effort.

28
As a matter of fact, for a moment, it appeared to me as if I could go along with petitioners are mute in the presence of fraud which the law abhors, 8 it is only when the fraud is
under the authority of our constitutionally irreducible appellate jurisdiction under Section extrinsic and not intrinsic that final and executory judgments may be set aside, 9and this
2(5) of Article VII of the Philippines6 (reenacted practically ipssisimis verbis in Section 5(2) only when the remedy is sought within the prescriptive period. 10
of the 1973 Constitution), only to realize upon further reflection that the very power
granted to us to review decisions of lower courts involving questions of law(and these Apropos here is the following passage in Li Kim Those vs. Go Sin Kaw, 82 Phil. 776:
include constitutional issues not affecting the validity of statutes, treaty, executive
agreement, etc.) is not unqualified but has to be exercised only in the manner provided in Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an
the law of the Rules of Court. In other words, before We can exercise appellate jurisdiction effective and efficient administration of justice that once a judgment has become final, the
over constitutional issues, no matter how important they may be, there must first be a winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict.
showing of compliance with the applicable procedural law or rules, among them, those Courts must therefore guard against any scheme calculated to bring about that result.
governing appeals from the Court of Industrial Relations involved herein. Consequently, if Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any
by law or rule, a judgment of the industrial court is already final and executory, this Court attempt to prolong them.
would be devoid of power and authority to review, much less alter or modify the same,
absent any denial of due process or fatal defect of jurisdiction. It must be borne in mind Likewise the stern admonition of Justice George Malcolm in Dy Cay v. Crossfield, 38 Phil.
that the situation confronting Us now is not merely whether or not We should pass upon a 521, thus:
question or issue not specifically raised by the party concerned, which, to be sure, could be
enough reason to dissuade Us from taking pains in resolving the same; rather, the real
... Public policy and sound practice demand that, at the risk of occasional errors,
problem here is whether or not We have jurisdiction to entertain it. And, in this regard, as
judgments of courts should become final at some definite date fixed by law. The very object
already stated earlier, no less than Justice Conrado Sanchez, the writer of Chavez, supra.,
for which courts were instituted was to put an end to controversies. To fulfill this purpose
which is being relied upon by the main opinion, already laid down the precedent in Elizalde
and to do so speedily, certain time limits, more or less arbitrary, have to be set up to spur
vs. Court, supra, which for its four-square applicability to the facts of this case, We have no
on the slothful. 'If a vacillating, irresolute judge were allowed to thus keep causes ever
choice but to follow, that is, that in view of reconsideration but even their argument
within his power, to determine and redetermine them term after term, to bandy his
supporting the same within the prescribed period, "the judgment (against them)has
judgments about from one party to the other, and to change his conclusions as freely and
become final, beyond recall".
as capriciously as a chamelon may change its hues, then litigation might become more
intolerable than the wrongs it is intended to redress.' (See Arnedo vs. Llorente and
Indeed, when I consider that courts would be useless if the finality and enforceability of Liongson (1911), 18 Phil., 257.).
their judgments are made contingent on the correctness thereof from the constitutional
standpoint, and that in truth, whether or not they are correct is something that is always
My disagreement with the dissenters in Republic vs. Judge de los Angeles,
dependent upon combined opinion of the members of the Supreme Court, which in turn is
L-26112, October 4, 1971, 41 SCRA 422, was not as to the unalterability and
naturally as changeable as the members themselves are changed, I cannot conceive of
invulnerability of final judgments but rather on the correct interpretation of the contents of
anything more pernicious and destructive to a trustful administration of justice than the
the judgment in question therein. Relevantly to this case at bar, I said then:
idea that, even without any showing of denial of due process or want of jurisdiction of the
court, a final and executory judgment of such court may still be set aside or reopened in
The point of res adjudicata discussed in the dissents has not escaped my attention.
instances other than those expressly allowed by Rule 38 and that of extrinsic fraud under
Neither am I overlooking the point of the Chief Justice regarding the dangerous and
Article 1146(1) of the Civil Code.7 And just to emphasize the policy of the law of respecting
inimical implications of a ruling that would authorize the revision, amendment or
judgments once they have become final, even as this Court has ruled that final decisions
alteration of a final and executory judgment. I want to emphasize that my position in this

29
opinion does not detract a whit from the soundness, authority and binding force of existing I am afraid the zeal and passion of these arguments do not justify the conclusion suggested.
doctrines enjoining any such modifications. The public policy of maintaining faith and Viewed objectively, it can readily be seen that there can hardly be any factual or logical
respect in judicial decisions, which inform said doctrines, is admittedly of the highest order. basis for such a critical view of the rule in question. Said rule provides:
I am not advocating any departure from them. Nor am I trying to put forth for execution a
decision that I believe should have been rather than what it is. All I am doing is to view not MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION
the judgment of Judge Tengco but the decision of this Court in G.R. No. L-20950, as it is
and not as I believe it should have been, and, by opinion, I would like to guide the court a Sec. 15. The movant shall file the motion, in six copies, within five (5) days from the date on
quo as to what, in my own view, is the true and correct meaning and implications of which he receives notice of the order or decision, object of the motion for reconsideration,
decision of this Court, not that of Judge Tengco's. the same to be verified under oath with respect to the correctness of the allegations of fact,
and serving a copy thereof, personally or by registered mail, on the adverse party. The
The main opinion calls attention to many instant precisely involving cases in the industrial latter may file an answer, in six (6) copies, duly verified under oath.
court, wherein the Court refused to be constrained by technical rules of procedure in its
determination to accord substantial justice to the parties I still believe in those decisions, Sec. 16. Both the motion and the answer shall be submitted with arguments supporting
some of which were penned by me. I am certain, however, that in none of those precedents the same. If the arguments can not be submitted simultaneously with said motions, upon
did this Court disturb a judgment already final and executory. It too obvious to require notice Court, the movant shall file same within ten (10) days from the date of the filing of
extended elucidation or even reference any precedent or authority that the principle of his motion for reconsideration. The adverse party shall also file his answer within ten (10)
immutability of final judgments is not a mere technicality, and if it may considered to be in days from the receipt by him of a copy of the arguments submitted by the movant.
a sense a procedural rule, it is one that is founded on public policy and cannot, therefore,
yield to the ordinary plea that it must give priority to substantial justice. Sec. 17. After an answer to the motion is registered, or after ten (10) days from the receipt
of the arguments in support of said motion having been filed, the motion shall be deemed
Apparently vent on looking for a constitutional point of due process to hold on, the main submitted for resolution of the Court in banc, unless it is considered necessary to bear oral
opinion goes far as to maintain that the long existing and constantly applied rule governing arguments, in which case the Court shall issue the corresponding order or notice to that
the filing of motions for reconsideration in the Court of Industrial Relations, "as applied in effect.
this case does not implement on reinforce or strengthen the constitutional rights affected,
but instead constricts the same to the point of nullifying the enjoyment thereof by the Failure to observe the above-specified periods shall be sufficient cause for dismissal of the
petitioning employees. Said Court on Industrial Relations Rule, promulgated as it was motion for reconsideration or striking out of the answer and/or the supporting arguments,
pursuant to mere legislative delegation, is unreasonable and therefore is beyond the as the case may be. (As amended April 20, 1951, Court of Industrial Relations.).
authority granted by the Constitution and the law. A period of five (5) days within which to
file a motion for reconsideration is too short, especially for the aggrieve workers, who
As implemented and enforced in actual practice, this rule, as everyone acquainted with
usually do not have the ready funds to meet the necessary expenses therefor. In case of the
proceedings in the industrial court well knows, precisely permits the party aggrieved by a
Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, a period of fifteen (15) days has been fixed for the
judgment to file no more than a pro-forma motion for reconsideration without any
filing of the motion for re-hearing or reconsideration (Sec. 10, Rule 51; Sec. 1, Rule 52; Sec.
argument or lengthy discussion and with barely a brief statement of the fundamental
1, Rule 56, Revised Rules of Court). The delay in the filing of the motion for reconsideration
ground or grounds therefor, without prejudice to supplementing the same by making the
could have been only one day if September 28, 1969 was not a Sunday. This fact
necessary exposition, with citations laws and authorities, in the written arguments the be
accentuates the unreasonableness of the Court of Industrial Relations Rule insofar as
filed (10) days later. In truth, such a pro-forma motion has to effect of just advising the
circumstances of the instant case are concerned."
court and the other party that the movant does not agree with the judgment due to

30
fundamental defects stated in brief and general terms. Evidently, the purpose of this Arca, infra). And yet, very indignantly, the main opinion would want the Court to overlook
requirement is to apprise everyone concerned within the shortest possible time that a such nonchalance and indifference.
reconsideration is to sought, and thereby enable the parties concerned to make whatever
adjustments may be warranted by the situation, in the meanwhile that the litigation is In this connection, I might add that in my considered opinion, the rules fixing periods for
prolonged. It must borne in mind that cases in the industrial court may involve affect the the finality of judgments are in a sense more substantive than procedural in their real
operation of vital industries in which labor-management problems might require nature, for in their operation they have the effect of either creating or terminating rights
day-to-day solutions and it is to the best interests of justice and concerned that the pursuant to the terms of the particular judgment concerned. And the fact that the court
attitude of each party at every imports juncture of the case be known to the other so that that rendered such final judgment is deprived of jurisdiction or authority to alter or modify
both avenues for earlier settlement may, if possible, be explored. the same enhances such substantive character. Moreover, because they have the effect of
terminating rights and the enforcement thereof, it may be said that said rules partake of
There can be no reason at all to complain that the time fixed by the rule is short or the nature also of rules of prescription, which again are substantive. Now, the twin
inadequate. In fact, the motion filed petitioners was no more than the following: predicates of prescription are inaction or abandonment and the passage of time or a
prescribed period. On the other hand, procrastination or failure to act on time is
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION unquestionably a form of abandonment, particularly when it is not or cannot be
sufficiently explained. The most valuable right of a party may be lost by prescription, and
COME NOW movant respondents, through counsel, to this Honorable Court most be has no reason to complain because public policy demands that rights must be asserted
respectfully moves for the RECONSIDERATION of the Order of this Honorable Court dated in time, as otherwise they can be deemed waived.
September 17, 1969 on the ground that the same is not in accordance with law, evidence
and facts adduced during the hearing of the above entitled case. I see no justification whatsoever for not applying these self-evident principles to the case of
petitioners. Hence, I feel disinclined to adopt the suggestion that the Court suspend, for
Movant-respondents most respectfully move for leave to file their respective arguments the purposes of this case the rules aforequoted of the Court of Industrial Relations. Besides,
within ten (10) days pursuant to Section 15, 16 & 17 as amended of the Rules of Court. I have grave doubts as to whether we can suspend rules of other courts, particularly that is
not under our supervisory jurisdiction, being administrative agency under the Executive
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that this Motion for Reconsideration be admitted. Department Withal, if, in order to hasten the administration of substance justice, this
Court did exercise in some instances its re power to amend its rules, I am positively certain,
it has done it for the purpose of reviving a case in which the judo has already become final
Manila, September 27, 1969.
and executory.
To say that five (5) days is an unreasonable period for the filing of such a motion is to me
Before closing, it may be mentioned here, that as averred their petition, in a belated effort
simply incomprehensible. What worse in this case is that petitioners have not even taken
to salvage their Petitioners filed in the industrial court on October 31, 1969 a Petition for
the trouble of giving an explanation of their inability to comply with the rule. Not only that,
relief alleging that their failure to file "Arguments in Support of their Motion for
petitioners were also late five (5) days in filing their written arguments in support of their
Reconsideration within the reglementary period or five (5), if not seven (7), days late "was
motion, and, the only excuse offered for such delay is that both the President of the Union
due to excusable negligence and honest mistake committed by the President of the
and the office clerk who took charge of the matter forgot to do what they were instructed to
respondent Union and on office clerk of the counsel for respondents as shown attested in
do by counsel, which, according to this Court, as I shall explain anon "is the most
their respective affidavits", (See Annexes K, and K-2) which in brief, consisted allegedly of
hackneyed and habitual subterfuge employed by litigants who fail to observe the
the President's having forgotten his appointment with his lawyer "despite previous
procedural requirements prescribed by the Rules of Court". (Philippine Airlines, Inc. vs.

31
instructions and of the said office employee having also coincidentally forgotten "to do the There could not be, in fact, bargaining in bad faith nor unfair labor practice since
work instructed (sic) to (him) by Atty. Osorio" because he "was busy with clerical jobs". No respondent firm conceded that "the demonstration is an inalienable right of the union
sympathy at all can be evoked these allegations, for, under probably more justification guaranteed' by the Constitution" and the union up to the day of the demonstration pleaded
circumstances, this Court ruled out a similar explanation previous case this wise: by cablegram to the company to excuse the first shift and allow it to join the demonstration
in accordance with their previous requests.
We find merit in PAL's petition. The excuse offered respondent Santos as reason for his
failure to perfect in due time appeal from the judgment of the Municipal Court, that Neither could there be, in law, a willful violation of the collective bargaining agreement's
counsel's clerk forgot to hand him the court notice, is the most hackneyed and habitual "no-strike" clause as would warrant the union leaders' dismissal, since as found by
subterfuge employed by litigants who fail to observe procedural requirements prescribed respondent court itself the mass demonstration was not a declaration of a strike, there
by the Rules of Court. The uncritical acceptance of this kind of common place excuses, in being no industrial dispute between the protagonists, but merely the occurrence of a
the face of the Supreme Court's repeated rulings that they are neither credible nor temporary stoppage of work" to enable the workers to exercise their constitutional rights of
constitutive of excusable negligence (Gaerlan vs. Bernal, L-4039, 29 January 1952; free expression, peaceable assembly and petition for redress of grievance against alleged
Mercado vs. Judge Domingo, L-19457, December 1966) is certainly such whimsical police excesses.
exercise of judgment to be a grave abuse of discretion. (Philippine Air Lines, Inc. Arca, 19
SCRA 300.) Respondent court's en banc resolution dismissing petitioners' motion for reconsideration
for having been filed two days late, after expiration of the reglementary five-day period fixed
For the reason, therefore, that the judgment of the industrial court sought to be reviewed in by its rules, due to the negligence of petitioners' counsel and/or the union president
the present case has already become final and executory, nay, not without the fault of the should likewise be set aside as a manifest act of grave abuse of discretion. Petitioners'
petitioners, hence, no matter how erroneous from the constitutional viewpoint it may be, it petition for relief from the normal adverse consequences of the late filing of their motion for
is already beyond recall, I vote to dismiss this case, without pronouncement as to costs. reconsideration due to such negligence — which was not acted upon by respondent court
— should have been granted, considering the monstrous injustice that would otherwise be
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring: caused the petitioners through their summary dismissal from employment, simply
because they sought in good faith to exercise basic human rights guaranteed them by the
For having carried out a mass demonstration at Malacañang on March 4, 1969 in protest Constitution. It should be noted further that no proof of actual loss from the one-day
against alleged abuses of the Pasig police department, upon two days' prior notice to stoppage of work was shown by respondent company, providing basis to the main opinion's
respondent employer company, as against the latter's insistence that the first shift 1should premise that its insistence on dismissal of the union leaders for having included the first
not participate but instead report for work, under pain of dismissal, the industrial court shift workers in the mass demonstration against its wishes was but an act of arbitrary
ordered the dismissal from employment of the eight individual petitioners as union officers vindictiveness.
and organizers of the mass demonstration.
Only thus could the basic constitutional rights of the individual petitioners and the
Respondent court's order finding petitioner union guilty on respondent's complaint of constitutional injunction to afford protection to labor be given true substance and meaning.
bargaining in bad faith and unfair labor practice for having so carried out the mass No person may be deprived of such basic rights without due process — which is but
demonstration, notwithstanding that it concededly was not a declaration of strike nor "responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively
directed in any manner against respondent employer, and ordering the dismissal of the put, arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided ... Due process is thus hostile to any
union office manifestly constituted grave abuse of discretion in fact and in law. official action marred by lack of reasonableness. Correctly it has been identified as freedom
from arbitrariness."2

32
Accordingly, I vote for the setting aside of the appealed orders of the respondent court and
concur in the judgment for petitioners as set forth in the main opinion.

33
vs.
HON. JUDGE VICENTE G. ERICTA as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Rizal,
Quezon City, Branch XVIII; HIMLAYANG PILIPINO, INC., respondents.

City Fiscal for petitioners.

Manuel Villaruel, Jr. and Feliciano Tumale for respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

This is a petition for review which seeks the reversal of the decision of the Court of First
Instance of Rizal, Branch XVIII declaring Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64, of the
Quezon City Council null and void.

Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64, entitled "ORDINANCE REGULATING THE


ESTABLISHMENT, MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PRIVATE MEMORIAL TYPE
CEMETERY OR BURIAL GROUND WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF QUEZON CITY AND
PROVIDING PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION THEREOF" provides:

Sec. 9. At least six (6) percent of the total area of the memorial park cemetery shall be set
aside for charity burial of deceased persons who are paupers and have been residents of
Quezon City for at least 5 years prior to their death, to be determined by competent City
Authorities. The area so designated shall immediately be developed and should be open for
operation not later than six months from the date of approval of the application.

For several years, the aforequoted section of the Ordinance was not enforced by city
authorities but seven years after the enactment of the ordinance, the Quezon City Council
FIRST DIVISION passed the following resolution:

G.R. No. L-34915 June 24, 1983 RESOLVED by the council of Quezon assembled, to request, as it does hereby request the
City Engineer, Quezon City, to stop any further selling and/or transaction of memorial
CITY GOVERNMENT OF QUEZON CITY and CITY COUNCIL OF QUEZON park lots in Quezon City where the owners thereof have failed to donate the required 6%
CITY, petitioners, space intended for paupers burial.

34
Pursuant to this petition, the Quezon City Engineer notified respondent Himlayang Pilipino, respondent points out that if an owner is deprived of his property outright under the
Inc. in writing that Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64 would be enforced State's police power, the property is generally not taken for public use but is urgently and
summarily destroyed in order to promote the general welfare. The respondent cites the case
Respondent Himlayang Pilipino reacted by filing with the Court of First Instance of Rizal of a nuisance per se or the destruction of a house to prevent the spread of a conflagration.
Branch XVIII at Quezon City, a petition for declaratory relief, prohibition and mandamus
with preliminary injunction (Sp. Proc. No. Q-16002) seeking to annul Section 9 of the We find the stand of the private respondent as well as the decision of the respondent Judge
Ordinance in question The respondent alleged that the same is contrary to the to be well-founded. We quote with approval the lower court's ruling which declared null
Constitution, the Quezon City Charter, the Local Autonomy Act, and the Revised and void Section 9 of the questioned city ordinance:
Administrative Code.
The issue is: Is Section 9 of the ordinance in question a valid exercise of the police power?
There being no issue of fact and the questions raised being purely legal both petitioners
and respondent agreed to the rendition of a judgment on the pleadings. The respondent An examination of the Charter of Quezon City (Rep. Act No. 537), does not reveal any
court, therefore, rendered the decision declaring Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, S-64 provision that would justify the ordinance in question except the provision granting police
null and void. power to the City. Section 9 cannot be justified under the power granted to Quezon City to
tax, fix the license fee, and regulate such other business, trades, and occupation as may be
A motion for reconsideration having been denied, the City Government and City Council established or practised in the City.' (Subsections 'C', Sec. 12, R.A. 537).
filed the instant petition.
The power to regulate does not include the power to prohibit (People vs. Esguerra, 81 PhiL
Petitioners argue that the taking of the respondent's property is a valid and reasonable 33, Vega vs. Municipal Board of Iloilo, L-6765, May 12, 1954; 39 N.J. Law, 70, Mich. 396).
exercise of police power and that the land is taken for a public use as it is intended for the A fortiori, the power to regulate does not include the power to confiscate. The ordinance in
burial ground of paupers. They further argue that the Quezon City Council is authorized question not only confiscates but also prohibits the operation of a memorial park cemetery,
under its charter, in the exercise of local police power, " to make such further ordinances because under Section 13 of said ordinance, 'Violation of the provision thereof is
and resolutions not repugnant to law as may be necessary to carry into effect and punishable with a fine and/or imprisonment and that upon conviction thereof the permit
discharge the powers and duties conferred by this Act and such as it shall deem necessary to operate and maintain a private cemetery shall be revoked or cancelled.' The confiscatory
and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote the prosperity, improve the morals, clause and the penal provision in effect deter one from operating a memorial park cemetery.
peace, good order, comfort and convenience of the city and the inhabitants thereof, and for Neither can the ordinance in question be justified under sub- section "t", Section 12 of
the protection of property therein." Republic Act 537 which authorizes the City Council to-

On the other hand, respondent Himlayang Pilipino, Inc. contends that the taking or 'prohibit the burial of the dead within the center of population of the city and provide for
confiscation of property is obvious because the questioned ordinance permanently their burial in such proper place and in such manner as the council may determine,
restricts the use of the property such that it cannot be used for any reasonable purpose subject to the provisions of the general law regulating burial grounds and cemeteries and
and deprives the owner of all beneficial use of his property. governing funerals and disposal of the dead.' (Sub-sec. (t), Sec. 12, Rep. Act No. 537).

The respondent also stresses that the general welfare clause is not available as a source of There is nothing in the above provision which authorizes confiscation or as euphemistically
power for the taking of the property in this case because it refers to "the power of promoting termed by the respondents, 'donation'
the public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property." The

35
We now come to the question whether or not Section 9 of the ordinance in question is a most positive and active of all governmental processes, the most essential insistent and
valid exercise of police power. The police power of Quezon City is defined in sub-section 00, illimitable Especially it is so under the modern democratic framework where the demands
Sec. 12, Rep. Act 537 which reads as follows: of society and nations have multiplied to almost unimaginable proportions. The field and
scope of police power have become almost boundless, just as the fields of public interest
(00) To make such further ordinance and regulations not repugnant to law as may be and public welfare have become almost all embracing and have transcended human
necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this act foresight. Since the Courts cannot foresee the needs and demands of public interest and
and such as it shall deem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, welfare, they cannot delimit beforehand the extent or scope of the police power by which
promote, the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort and convenience and through which the state seeks to attain or achieve public interest and welfare. (Ichong
of the city and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein; and vs. Hernandez, L-7995, May 31, 1957).
enforce obedience thereto with such lawful fines or penalties as the City Council may
prescribe under the provisions of subsection (jj) of this section. The police power being the most active power of the government and the due process
clause being the broadest station on governmental power, the conflict between this power
We start the discussion with a restatement of certain basic principles. Occupying the of government and the due process clause of the Constitution is oftentimes inevitable.
forefront in the bill of rights is the provision which states that 'no person shall be deprived
of life, liberty or property without due process of law' (Art. Ill, Section 1 subparagraph 1, It will be seen from the foregoing authorities that police power is usually exercised in the
Constitution). form of mere regulation or restriction in the use of liberty or property for the promotion of
the general welfare. It does not involve the taking or confiscation of property with the
On the other hand, there are three inherent powers of government by which the state exception of a few cases where there is a necessity to confiscate private property in order to
interferes with the property rights, namely-. (1) police power, (2) eminent domain, (3) destroy it for the purpose of protecting the peace and order and of promoting the general
taxation. These are said to exist independently of the Constitution as necessary attributes welfare as for instance, the confiscation of an illegally possessed article, such as opium and
of sovereignty. firearms.

Police power is defined by Freund as 'the power of promoting the public welfare by It seems to the court that Section 9 of Ordinance No. 6118, Series of 1964 of Quezon City is
restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property' (Quoted in Political Law by not a mere police regulation but an outright confiscation. It deprives a person of his private
Tanada and Carreon, V-11, p. 50). It is usually exerted in order to merely regulate the use property without due process of law, nay, even without compensation.
and enjoyment of property of the owner. If he is deprived of his property outright, it is not
taken for public use but rather to destroy in order to promote the general welfare. In police In sustaining the decision of the respondent court, we are not unmindful of the heavy
power, the owner does not recover from the government for injury sustained in burden shouldered by whoever challenges the validity of duly enacted legislation whether
consequence thereof (12 C.J. 623). It has been said that police power is the most essential national or local As early as 1913, this Court ruled in Case v. Board of Health (24 PhiL 250)
of government powers, at times the most insistent, and always one of the least limitable of that the courts resolve every presumption in favor of validity and, more so, where the ma
the powers of government (Ruby vs. Provincial Board, 39 PhiL 660; Ichong vs. Hernandez, corporation asserts that the ordinance was enacted to promote the common good and
1,7995, May 31, 1957). This power embraces the whole system of public regulation (U.S. vs. general welfare.
Linsuya Fan, 10 PhiL 104). The Supreme Court has said that police power is so
far-reaching in scope that it has almost become impossible to limit its sweep. As it derives In the leading case of Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association Inc. v. City
its existence from the very existence of the state itself, it does not need to be expressed or Mayor of Manila (20 SCRA 849) the Court speaking through the then Associate Justice and
defined in its scope. Being coextensive with self-preservation and survival itself, it is the now Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando stated

36
Primarily what calls for a reversal of such a decision is the a of any evidence to offset the There is no reasonable relation between the setting aside of at least six (6) percent of the
presumption of validity that attaches to a statute or ordinance. As was expressed total area of an private cemeteries for charity burial grounds of deceased paupers and the
categorically by Justice Malcolm 'The presumption is all in favor of validity. ... The action of promotion of health, morals, good order, safety, or the general welfare of the people. The
the elected representatives of the people cannot be lightly set aside. The councilors must, ordinance is actually a taking without compensation of a certain area from a private
in the very nature of things, be familiar with the necessities of their particular ... cemetery to benefit paupers who are charges of the municipal corporation. Instead of
municipality and with all the facts and lances which surround the subject and necessitate building or maintaining a public cemetery for this purpose, the city passes the burden to
action. The local legislative body, by enacting the ordinance, has in effect given notice that private cemeteries.
the regulations are essential to the well-being of the people. ... The Judiciary should not
lightly set aside legislative action when there is not a clear invasion of personal or property The expropriation without compensation of a portion of private cemeteries is not covered by
rights under the guise of police regulation. (U.S. v. Salaveria (1918], 39 Phil. 102, at p. 111. Section 12(t) of Republic Act 537, the Revised Charter of Quezon City which empowers the
There was an affirmation of the presumption of validity of municipal ordinance as city council to prohibit the burial of the dead within the center of population of the city and
announced in the leading Salaveria decision in Ebona v. Daet, [1950]85 Phil. 369.) to provide for their burial in a proper place subject to the provisions of general law
regulating burial grounds and cemeteries. When the Local Government Code, Batas
We have likewise considered the principles earlier stated in Case v. Board of Health supra : Pambansa Blg. 337 provides in Section 177 (q) that a Sangguniang panlungsod may
"provide for the burial of the dead in such place and in such manner as prescribed by law
... Under the provisions of municipal charters which are known as the general welfare or ordinance" it simply authorizes the city to provide its own city owned land or to buy or
clauses, a city, by virtue of its police power, may adopt ordinances to the peace, safety, expropriate private properties to construct public cemeteries. This has been the law and
health, morals and the best and highest interests of the municipality. It is a well-settled practise in the past. It continues to the present. Expropriation, however, requires payment
principle, growing out of the nature of well-ordered and society, that every holder of of just compensation. The questioned ordinance is different from laws and regulations
property, however absolute and may be his title, holds it under the implied liability that his requiring owners of subdivisions to set aside certain areas for streets, parks, playgrounds,
use of it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment of others having an equal right to the and other public facilities from the land they sell to buyers of subdivision lots. The
enjoyment of their property, nor injurious to the rights of the community. An property in necessities of public safety, health, and convenience are very clear from said requirements
the state is held subject to its general regulations, which are necessary to the common which are intended to insure the development of communities with salubrious and
good and general welfare. Rights of property, like all other social and conventional rights, wholesome environments. The beneficiaries of the regulation, in turn, are made to pay by
are subject to such reasonable limitations in their enjoyment as shall prevent them from the subdivision developer when individual lots are sold to home-owners.
being injurious, and to such reasonable restraints and regulations, established by law, as
the legislature, under the governing and controlling power vested in them by the As a matter of fact, the petitioners rely solely on the general welfare clause or on implied
constitution, may think necessary and expedient. The state, under the police power, is powers of the municipal corporation, not on any express provision of law as statutory basis
possessed with plenary power to deal with all matters relating to the general health, morals, of their exercise of power. The clause has always received broad and liberal interpretation
and safety of the people, so long as it does not contravene any positive inhibition of the but we cannot stretch it to cover this particular taking. Moreover, the questioned ordinance
organic law and providing that such power is not exercised in such a manner as to justify was passed after Himlayang Pilipino, Inc. had incorporated. received necessary licenses
the interference of the courts to prevent positive wrong and oppression. and permits and commenced operating. The sequestration of six percent of the cemetery
cannot even be considered as having been impliedly acknowledged by the private
but find them not applicable to the facts of this case. respondent when it accepted the permits to commence operations.

37
WHEREFORE, the petition for review is hereby DISMISSED. The decision of the
respondent court is affirmed.

SO ORDERED.

Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Vasquez and Relova, JJ., concur.

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-119694 May 22, 1995

PHILIPPINE PRESS INSTITUTE, INC., for and in behalf of 139 members, represented
by its President, Amado P. Macasaet and its Executive Director Ermin F. Garcia,
Jr., petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, respondent.

RESOLUTION

FELICIANO, J.:

The Philippine Press Institute, Inc. ("PPI") is before this Court assailing the constitutional
validity of Resolution No. 2772 issued by respondent Commission on Elections ("Comelec")
and its corresponding Comelec directive dated 22 March 1995, through a Petition
for Certiorari and Prohibition. Petitioner PPI is a non-stock, non-profit organization of
newspaper and magazine publishers.

On 2 March 1995, Comelec promulgated Resolution No. 2772, which reads in part:

xxx xxx xxx

38
Sec. 2. Comelec Space. — The Commission shall procure free print space of not less than (d) The candidates concerned shall be notified by the Committee on Mass Media or the
one half (1/2) page in at least one newspaper of general circulation in every province or city Provincial Election Supervisor, as the case maybe, sufficiently in advance and in writing of
for use as "Comelec Space" from March 6, 1995 in the case of candidates for senator and the date of issue and the newspaper or publication allocated to him, and the time within
from March 21, 1995 until May 12, 1995. In the absence of said newspaper, "Comelec which he must submit the written material for publication in the "Comelec Space".
Space" shall be obtained from any magazine or periodical of said province or city.
xxx xxx xxx
Sec. 3. Uses of Comelec Space. — "Comelec Space" shall be allocated by the
Commission, free of charge, among all candidates within the area in which the newspaper, Sec. 8. Undue Reference to Candidates/Political Parties in Newspapers. — No newspaper or
magazine or periodical is circulated to enable the candidates to make known their publication shall allow to be printed or published in the news, opinion, features, or other
qualifications, their stand on public issues and their platforms and programs of sections of the newspaper or publication accounts or comments which manifestly favor or
government. oppose any candidate or political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including
therein said candidate or political party. However, unless the facts and circumstances
"Comelec Space" shall also be used by the Commission for dissemination of vital election clearly indicate otherwise, the Commission will respect the determination by the publisher
information. and/or editors of the newspapers or publications that the accounts or views published are
significant, newsworthy and of public interest. (Emphasis supplied)
Sec. 4. Allocation of Comelec Space. — (a) "Comelec Space" shall also be available to
all candidates during the periods stated in Section 2 hereof. Its allocation shall be equal Apparently in implementation of this Resolution, Comelec through Commissioner
and impartial among all candidates for the same office. All candidates concerned shall be Regalado E. Maambong sent identical letters, dated 22 March 1995, to various publishers
furnished a copy of the allocation of "Comelec Space" for their information, guidance and of newspapers like the Business World, the Philippine Star, the Malaya and the Philippine
compliance. Times Journal, all members of PPI. These letters read as follows:

(b) Any candidate desiring to avail himself of "Comelec Space" from newspapers or This is to advise you that pursuant to Resolution No. 2772 of the Commission on Elections,
publications based in the Metropolitan Manila Area shall submit an application therefor, in you are directed to provide free print space of not less than one half (1/2) page for use as
writing, to the Committee on Mass Media of the Commission. Any candidate desiring to "Comelec Space" or similar to the print support which you have extended during the May
avail himself of "Comelec Space" in newspapers or publications based in the provinces 11, 1992 synchronized elections which was 2 full pages for each political party fielding
shall submit his application therefor, in writing, to the Provincial Election Supervisor senatorial candidates, from March 6, 1995 to May 6, 1995, to make known their
concerned. Applications for availment of "Comelec Space" maybe filed at any time from the qualifications, their stand on public issues and their platforms and programs of
date of effectivity of this Resolution. government.

(c) The Committee on Mass Media and the Provincial Election Supervisors shall allocate We shall be informing the political parties and candidates to submit directly to
available "Comelec Space" among the candidates concerned by lottery of which said you their pictures, biographical data, stand on key public issues and platforms of
candidates shall be notified in advance, in writing, to be present personally or by government either as raw data or in the form of positives or camera-ready materials.
representative to witness the lottery at the date, time and place specified in the notice. Any
party objecting to the result of the lottery may appeal to the Commission. Please be reminded that the political parties/candidates may be accommodated in your
publication any day upon receipt of their materials until May 6, 1995 which is the last day
for campaigning.

39
We trust you to extend your full support and cooperation in this regard. (Emphasis At the oral hearing of this case held on 28 April 1995, respondent Comelec through its
supplied) Chairman, Hon. Bernardo Pardo, in response to inquiries from the Chief Justice and other
Members of the Court, stated that Resolution No. 2772, particularly Section 2 thereof and
In this Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with prayer for the issuance of a Temporary the 22 March 1995 letters dispatched to various members of petitioner PPI,
Restraining Order, PPI asks us to declare Comelec Resolution No. 2772 unconstitutional were not intended to compel those members to supply Comelec with free print space.
and void on the ground that it violates the prohibition imposed by the Constitution upon Chairman Pardo represented to the Court that Resolution and the related letter-directives
the government, and any of its agencies, against the taking of private property for public were merely designed to solicit from the publishers the same free print space which many
use without just compensation. Petitioner also contends that the 22 March 1995 letter publishers had voluntarily given to Comelec during the election period relating to the 11
directives of Comelec requiring publishers to give free "Comelec Space" and at the same May 1992 elections. Indeed, the Chairman stated that the Comelec would, that very
time process raw data to make it camera-ready, constitute impositions of involuntary afternoon, meet and adopt an appropriate amending or clarifying resolution, a certified
servitude, contrary to the provisions of Section 18 (2), Article III of the 1987 Constitution. true copy of which would forthwith be filed with the Court.
Finally, PPI argues that Section 8 of Comelec Resolution No. 2772 is violative of the
constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press and of expression. 1 On 5 May 1995, the Court received from the Office of the Solicitor General a manifestation
which attached a copy of Comelec Resolution No. 2772-A dated 4 May 1995. The operative
On 20 April 1995, this Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining Comelec portion of this Resolution follows:
from enforcing and implementing Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772, as well as the Comelec
directives addressed to various print media enterprises all dated 22 March 1995. The Court NOW THEREFORE, pursuant to the powers vested in it by the Constitution, the Omnibus
also required the respondent to file a Comment on the Petition. Election Code, Republic Acts No. 6646 and 7166 and other election laws, the Commission
on Elections RESOLVED to clarify Sections 2 and 8 of Res. No. 2772 as follows:
The Office of the Solicitor General filed its Comment on behalf of respondent Comelec
alleging that Comelec Resolution No. 2772 does not impose upon the publishers any 1. Section 2 of Res. No. 2772 shall not be construed to mean as requiring publishers of the
obligation to provide free print space in the newspapers as it does not provide any criminal different mass media print publications to provide print space under pain of prosecution,
or administrative sanction for non-compliance with that Resolution. According to the whether administrative, civil or criminal, there being no sanction or penalty for violation of
Solicitor General, the questioned Resolution merely established guidelines to be followed in said Section provided for either in said Resolution or in Section 90 of Batas Pambansa Blg.
connection with the procurement of "Comelec space," the procedure for and mode of 881, otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code, on the grant of "Comelec space."
allocation of such space to candidates and the conditions or requirements for the
candidate's utilization of the "Comelec space" procured. At the same time, however, the 2. Section 8 of Res. No. 2772 shall not be construed to mean as constituting prior restraint
Solicitor General argues that even if the questioned Resolution and its implementing letter on the part of publishers with respect to the printing or publication of materials in the
directives are viewed as mandatory, the same would nevertheless be valid as an exercise of news, opinion, features or other sections of their respective publications or other accounts
the police power of the State. The Solicitor General also maintains that Section 8 of or comments, it being clear from the last sentence of said Section 8 that the Commission
Resolution No. 2772 is a permissible exercise of the power of supervision or regulation of shall, "unless the facts and circumstances clearly indicate otherwise . . . respect the
the Comelec over the communication and information operations of print media determination by the publisher and/or editors of the newspapers or publications that the
enterprises during the election period to safeguard and ensure a fair, impartial and accounts or views published are significant, newsworthy and of public interest."
credible election.2
This Resolution shall take effect upon approval. (Emphasis in the original)

40
While, at this point, the Court could perhaps simply dismiss the Petition for Certiorari and lawful taking of private property for public use need to be examined here: one is
Prohibition as having become moot and academic, we consider it not inappropriate to pass the necessity for the taking; another is the legal authority to effect the taking. The element
upon the first constitutional issue raised in this case. Our hope is to put this issue to rest of necessity for the taking has not been shown by respondent Comelec. It has not been
and prevent its resurrection. suggested that the members of PPI are unwilling to sell print space at their normal rates to
Comelec for election purposes. Indeed, the unwillingness or reluctance of Comelec to
Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 is not a model of clarity in expression. Section 1 of buy print space lies at the heart of the problem. 3 Similarly, it has not been suggested, let
Resolution No. 2772-A did not try to redraft Section 2; accordingly, Section 2 of Resolution alone demonstrated, that Comelec has been granted the power of eminent domain either by
No. 2772 persists in its original form. Thus, we must point out that, as presently worded, the Constitution or by the legislative authority. A reasonable relationship between that
and in particular as interpreted and applied by the Comelec itself in its 22 March 1995 power and the enforcement and administration of election laws by Comelec must be shown;
letter-directives to newspaper publishers, Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 is clearly it is not casually to be assumed.
susceptible of the reading that petitioner PPI has given it. That Resolution No. 2772 does
not, in express terms, threaten publishers who would disregard it or its implementing That the taking is designed to subserve "public use" is not contested by petitioner PPI. We
letters with some criminal or other sanction, does not by itself demonstrate that the note only that, under Section 3 of Resolution No. 2772, the free "Comelec space" sought by
Comelec's original intention was simply to solicit or request voluntary donations of print the respondent Commission would be used not only for informing the public about the
space from publishers. A written communication officially directing a print media company identities, qualifications and programs of government of candidates for elective office but
to supply free print space, dispatched by a government (here a constitutional) agency and also for "dissemination of vital election information" (including, presumably, circulars,
signed by a member of the Commission presumably legally authorized to do so, is bound to regulations, notices, directives, etc. issued by Comelec). It seems to the Court a matter of
produce a coercive effect upon the company so addressed. That the agency may not be judicial notice that government offices and agencies (including the Supreme Court) simply
legally authorized to impose, or cause the imposition of, criminal or other sanctions for purchase print space, in the ordinary course of events, when their rules and regulations,
disregard of such directions, only aggravates the constitutional difficulties inhearing in the circulars, notices and so forth need officially to be brought to the attention of the general
present situation. The enactment or addition of such sanctions by the legislative authority public.
itself would be open to serious constitutional objection.
The taking of private property for public use is, of course, authorized by the Constitution,
To compel print media companies to donate "Comelec-space" of the dimensions specified but not without payment of "just compensation" (Article III, Section 9). And apparently the
in Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 (not less than one-half page), amounts to "taking" of necessity of paying compensation for "Comelec space" is precisely what is sought to be
private personal property for public use or purposes. Section 2 failed to specify the avoided by respondent Commission, whether Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 is read as
intended frequency of such compulsory "donation:" only once during the period from 6 petitioner PPI reads it, as an assertion of authority to require newspaper publishers to
March 1995 (or 21 March 1995) until 12 May 1995? or everyday or once a week? or as often "donate" free print space for Comelec purposes, or as an exhortation, or perhaps an appeal,
as Comelec may direct during the same period? The extent of the taking or deprivation is to publishers to donate free print space, as Section 1 of Resolution No. 2772-A attempts to
not insubstantial; this is not a case of a de minimistemporary limitation or restraint upon suggest. There is nothing at all to prevent newspaper and magazine publishers from
the use of private property. The monetary value of the compulsory "donation," measured by voluntarily giving free print space to Comelec for the purposes contemplated in Resolution
the advertising rates ordinarily charged by newspaper publishers whether in cities or in No. 2772. Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 does not, however, provide a constitutional
non-urban areas, may be very substantial indeed. basis for compelling publishers, against their will, in the kind of factual context here
present, to provide free print space for Comelec purposes. Section 2 does not constitute a
The taking of print space here sought to be effected may first be appraised under the rubric valid exercise of the power of eminent domain.
of expropriation of private personal property for public use. The threshold requisites for a

41
We would note that the ruling here laid down by the Court is entirely in line with the theory therein said candidate or political party. However, unless the facts and circumstances
of democratic representative government. The economic costs of informing the general clearly indicate otherwise, the Commission will respect the determination by the publisher
public about the qualifications and programs of those seeking elective office are most and/or editors of the newspapers or publications that the accounts or views published are
appropriately distributed as widely as possible throughout our society by the utilization of significant, newsworthy and of public interest.
public funds, especially funds raised by taxation, rather than cast solely on one small
sector of society, i.e., print media enterprises. The benefits which flow from a heightened It is not easy to understand why Section 8 was included at all in Resolution No. 2772. In
level of information on and the awareness of the electoral process are commonly thought to any case, Section 8 should be viewed in the context of our decision in National Press Club v.
be community-wide; the burdens should be allocated on the same basis. Commission on Elections. 6 There the Court sustained the constitutionality of Section 11 (b)
of R.A. No. 6646, known as the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987, which prohibits the sale or
As earlier noted, the Solicitor General also contended that Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772, donation of print space and airtime for campaign or other political purposes, except to the
even if read as compelling publishers to "donate" "Comelec space, " may be sustained as a Comelec. In doing so, the Court carefully distinguished (a) paid political
valid exercise of the police power of the state. This argument was, however, made too advertisements which are reached by the prohibition of Section 11 (b), from (b) the
casually to require prolonged consideration on our part. Firstly, there was no effort (and reporting of news, commentaries and expressions of belief or opinion by reporters,
apparently no inclination on the part of Comelec) to show that the police power — broadcasters, editors, commentators or columnists which fall outside the scope of Section
essentially a power of legislation — has been constitutionally delegated to respondent 11 (b) and which are protected by the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and of
Commission.4 Secondly, while private property may indeed be validly taken in the the press:
legitimate exercise of the police power of the state, there was no attempt to show
compliance in the instant case with the requisites of a lawful taking under the police Secondly, and more importantly, Section 11 (b) is limited in its scope of application.
power. 5 Analysis of Section 11 (b) shows that it purports to apply only to the purchase and
sale, including purchase and sale disguised as a donation, of print space and air time for
Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 is a blunt and heavy instrument that purports, without a campaign or other political purposes. Section 11 (b) does not purport in any way to
showing of existence of a national emergency or other imperious public necessity, restrict the reporting by newspapers or radio or television stations of news or
indiscriminately and without regard to the individual business condition of particular news-worthy events relating to candidates, their qualifications, political parties and
newspapers or magazines located in differing parts of the country, to take private property programs of government. Moreover, Section 11 (b) does not reach commentaries and
of newspaper or magazine publishers. No attempt was made to demonstrate that a real and expressions of belief or opinion by reporters or broadcaster or editors or commentators or
palpable or urgent necessity for the taking of print space confronted the Comelec and that columnists in respect of candidates, their qualifications, and programs and so forth, so long
Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 was itself the only reasonable and calibrated response to at least as such comments, opinions and beliefs are not in fact advertisements for
such necessity available to the Comelec. Section 2 does not constitute a valid exercise of particular candidates covertly paid for. In sum, Section 11 (b) is not to be read as reaching
the police power of the State. any report or commentary or other coverage that, in responsible media, is not paid for by
candidates for political office. We read Section 11 (b) as designed to cover only paid political
We turn to Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772, which needs to be quoted in full again: advertisements of particular candidates.

Sec. 8. Undue Reference to Candidates/Political Parties in Newspapers. — No newspaper The above limitation in scope of application of Section 11 (b) — that it does not restrict
or publication shall allow to be printed or published in the news, opinion, features, or other either the reporting of or the expression of belief or opinion or comment upon the
sections of the newspaper or publication accounts or comments which manifestly favor or qualifications and programs and activities of any and all candidates for office — constitutes
oppose any candidate or political party by unduly or repeatedly referring to or including

42
the critical distinction which must be made between the instant case and that of Sanidad v. 2. To the extent it pertains to Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772, the Petition
Commission on Elections. . . . 7 (Citations omitted; emphasis supplied) for Certiorari and Prohibition must be dismissed for lack of an actual, justiciable case or
controversy.
Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772 appears to represent the effort of the Comelec to establish
a guideline for implementation of the above-quoted distinction and doctrine in National WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, the Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition is GRANTED
Press Club an effort not blessed with evident success. Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772-A in part and Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772 in its present form and the related
while possibly helpful, does not add substantially to the utility of Section 8 of Resolution letter-directives dated 22 March 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE as null and void, and the
No. 2772. The distinction between paid political advertisements on the one hand and news Temporary Restraining Order is hereby MADE PERMANENT. The Petition is DISMISSED in
reports, commentaries and expressions of belief or opinion by reporters, broadcasters, part, to the extent it relates to Section 8 of Resolution No. 2772. No pronouncement as to
editors, etc. on the other hand, can realistically be given operative meaning only in actual costs.
cases or controversies, on a case-to-case basis, in terms of very specific sets of facts.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan,
At all events, the Court is bound to note that PPI has failed to allege any specific affirmative Mendoza and Francisco, JJ., concur.
action on the part of Comelec designed to enforce or implement Section 8. PPI has not
claimed that it or any of its members has sustained actual or imminent injury by reason of Quiason, J., is on leave.
Comelec action under Section 8. Put a little differently, the Court considers that the precise
constitutional issue here sought to be raised — whether or not Section 8 of Resolution No.
2772 constitutes a permissible exercise of the Comelec's power under Article IX, Section 4
of the Constitution to

supervise or regulate the enjoyment or utilization of all franchise or permits for the
operation of — media of communication or information — [for the purpose of ensuring]
equal opportunity, time and space, and the right of reply, including reasonable, equal rates
therefore, for public information campaigns and forums among candidates in connection
with the objective of holding free, orderly honest, peaceful and credible elections —

is not ripe for judicial review for lack of an actual case or controversy involving, as the
very lis mota thereof, the constitutionality of Section 8.

Summarizing our conclusions:

1. Section 2 of Resolution No. 2772, in its present form and as interpreted by Comelec in its
22 March 1995 letter directives, purports to require print media enterprises to "donate"
free print space to Comelec. As such, Section 2 suffers from a fatal constitutional vice and
must be set aside and nullified.

43
THIRD DIVISION and building specifically used as parking spaces, which were constructed for the lessor's
account.
[G.R. NO. 177056 : September 18, 2009]
Respondents expend for the maintenance and administration of their respective parking
THE OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL, Petitioner, v. AYALA LAND facilities. They provide security personnel to protect the vehicles parked in their parking
INCORPORATED, ROBINSON'S LAND CORPORATION, SHANGRI-LA PLAZA facilities and maintain order within the area. In turn, they collect the following parking fees
CORPORATION and SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC., Respondents. from the persons making use of their parking facilities, regardless of whether said persons
are mall patrons or not:
DECISION
Respondent Parking Fees
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
On weekdays, P25.00 for the first four hours
Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari,1 under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules Ayala Land and P10.00 for every succeeding hour; on weekends,
of Court, filed by petitioner Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), seeking the reversal and flat rate of P25.00 per day
setting aside of the Decision2dated 25 January 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV
No. 76298, which affirmed in toto the Joint Decision 3 dated 29 May 2002 of the Regional Robinsons P20.00 for the first three hours and P10.00 for every
Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 138, in Civil Cases No. 00-1208 and No. 00-1210; succeeding hour
and (2) the Resolution4 dated 14 March 2007 of the appellate court in the same case which Shangri-la
denied the Motion for Reconsideration of the OSG. The RTC adjudged that respondents Flat rate of P30.00 per day
Ayala Land Incorporated (Ayala Land), Robinsons Land Corporation (Robinsons),
Shangri-la Plaza Corporation (Shangri-la), and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) could P10.00 to P20.00 (depending on whether the parking
not be obliged to provide free parking spaces in their malls to their patrons and the general SM Prime space is outdoors or indoors) for the first three hours
public. and 59 minutes, and P10.00 for every succeeding
hour or fraction thereof
Respondents Ayala Land, Robinsons, and Shangri-la maintain and operate shopping malls
in various locations in Metro Manila. Respondent SM Prime constructs, operates, and The parking tickets or cards issued by respondents to vehicle owners contain the
leases out commercial buildings and other structures, among which, are SM City, Manila; stipulation that respondents shall not be responsible for any loss or damage to the vehicles
SM Centerpoint, Sta. Mesa, Manila; SM City, North Avenue, Quezon City; and SM parked in respondents' parking facilities.
Southmall, Las Piñas.
In 1999, the Senate Committees on Trade and Commerce and on Justice and Human
The shopping malls operated or leased out by respondents have parking facilities for all Rights conducted a joint investigation for the following purposes: (1) to inquire into the
kinds of motor vehicles, either by way of parking spaces inside the mall buildings or in legality of the prevalent practice of shopping malls of charging parking fees; (2) assuming
separate buildings and/or adjacent lots that are solely devoted for use as parking spaces. arguendo that the collection of parking fees was legally authorized, to find out the basis
Respondents Ayala Land, Robinsons, and SM Prime spent for the construction of their own and reasonableness of the parking rates charged by shopping malls; and (3) to determine
parking facilities. Respondent Shangri-la is renting its parking facilities, consisting of land the legality of the policy of shopping malls of denying liability in cases of theft, robbery, or
carnapping, by invoking the waiver clause at the back of the parking tickets. Said Senate

44
Committees invited the top executives of respondents, who operate the major malls in the After the enactment of the Local Government Code of 1991, the local government units
country; the officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of (LGU's) were tasked to discharge the regulatory powers of the DPWH. Hence, in the local
Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and level, the Building Officials enforce all rules/ regulations formulated by the DPWH relative
other local government officials; and the Philippine Motorists Association (PMA) as to all building plans, specifications and designs including parking space requirements.
representative of the consumers' group. There is, however, no single national department or agency directly tasked to supervise the
enforcement of the provisions of the Code on parking, notwithstanding the national
After three public hearings held on 30 September, 3 November, and 1 December 1999, the character of the law.6
afore-mentioned Senate Committees jointly issued Senate Committee Report No. 225 5 on 2
May 2000, in which they concluded: Senate Committee Report No. 225, thus, contained the following recommendations:

In view of the foregoing, the Committees find that the collection of parking fees by shopping In light of the foregoing, the Committees on Trade and Commerce and Justice and Human
malls is contrary to the National Building Code and is therefor [sic] illegal. While it is true Rights hereby recommend the following:
that the Code merely requires malls to provide parking spaces, without specifying whether
it is free or not, both Committees believe that the reasonable and logical interpretation of 1. The Office of the Solicitor General should institute the necessary action to
the Code is that the parking spaces are for free. This interpretation is not only reasonable enjoin the collection of parking fees as well as to enforce the penal sanction
and logical but finds support in the actual practice in other countries like the United States provisions of the National Building Code. The Office of the Solicitor General
of America where parking spaces owned and operated by mall owners are free of charge. should likewise study how refund can be exacted from mall owners who
continue to collect parking fees.
Figuratively speaking, the Code has "expropriated" the land for parking - something similar
to the subdivision law which require developers to devote so much of the land area for 2. The Department of Trade and Industry pursuant to the provisions of R.A.
parks. No. 7394, otherwise known as the Consumer Act of the Philippines should
enforce the provisions of the Code relative to parking. Towards this end, the
Moreover, Article II of R.A. No. 9734 (Consumer Act of the Philippines) provides that "it is DTI should formulate the necessary implementing rules and regulations on
the policy of the State to protect the interest of the consumers, promote the general welfare parking in shopping malls, with prior consultations with the local
and establish standards of conduct for business and industry." Obviously, a contrary government units where these are located. Furthermore, the DTI, in
interpretation (i.e., justifying the collection of parking fees) would be going against the coordination with the DPWH, should be empowered to regulate and
declared policy of R.A. 7394. supervise the construction and maintenance of parking establishments.

Section 201 of the National Building Code gives the responsibility for the administration 3. Finally, Congress should amend and update the National Building Code
and enforcement of the provisions of the Code, including the imposition of penalties for to expressly prohibit shopping malls from collecting parking fees by at the
administrative violations thereof to the Secretary of Public Works. This set up, however, is same time, prohibit them from invoking the waiver of liability.7
not being carried out in reality.
Respondent SM Prime thereafter received information that, pursuant to Senate Committee
In the position paper submitted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Report No. 225, the DPWH Secretary and the local building officials of Manila, Quezon City,
(MMDA), its chairman, Jejomar C. Binay, accurately pointed out that the Secretary of the and Las Piñas intended to institute, through the OSG, an action to enjoin respondent SM
DPWH is responsible for the implementation/enforcement of the National Building Code. Prime and similar establishments from collecting parking fees, and to impose upon said

45
establishments penal sanctions under Presidential Decree No. 1096, otherwise known as Code and its Implementing Rules and Regulations and is therefore invalid,
the National Building Code of the Philippines (National Building Code), and its and making permanent any injunctive writ issued in this case.
Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). With the threatened action against it,
respondent SM Prime filed, on 3 October 2000, a Petition for Declaratory Relief8 under Rule Other reliefs just and equitable under the premises are likewise prayed for. 11
63 of the Revised Rules of Court, against the DPWH Secretary and local building officials of
Manila, Quezon City, and Las Piñas. Said Petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 00-1208 On 23 October 2000, Judge Ibay of the RTC of Makati City, Branch 135, issued an Order
and assigned to the RTC of Makati City, Branch 138, presided over by Judge Sixto Marella, consolidating Civil Case No. 00-1210 with Civil Case No. 00-1208 pending before Judge
Jr. (Judge Marella). In its Petition, respondent SM Prime prayed for judgment: Marella of RTC of Makati, Branch 138.

a) Declaring Rule XIX of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the As a result of the pre-trial conference held on the morning of 8 August 2001, the RTC
National Building Code as ultra vires, hence, unconstitutional and void; issued a Pre-Trial Order12 of even date which limited the issues to be resolved in Civil Cases
No. 00-1208 and No. 00-1210 to the following:
b) Declaring [herein respondent SM Prime]'s clear legal right to lease
parking spaces appurtenant to its department stores, malls, shopping 1. Capacity of the plaintiff [OSG] in Civil Case No. 00-1210 to institute the
centers and other commercial establishments; andcralawlibrary present proceedings and relative thereto whether the controversy in the
collection of parking fees by mall owners is a matter of public welfare.
c) Declaring the National Building Code of the Philippines Implementing
Rules and Regulations as ineffective, not having been published once a 2. Whether declaratory relief is proper.
week for three (3) consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation,
as prescribed by Section 211 of Presidential Decree No. 1096. 3. Whether respondent Ayala Land, Robinsons, Shangri-La and SM Prime
are obligated to provide parking spaces in their malls for the use of their
[Respondent SM Prime] further prays for such other reliefs as may be deemed just and patrons or the public in general, free of charge.
equitable under the premises.9
4. Entitlement of the parties of [sic] award of damages. 13
The very next day, 4 October 2000, the OSG filed a Petition for Declaratory Relief and
Injunction (with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary On 29 May 2002, the RTC rendered its Joint Decision in Civil Cases No. 00-1208 and No.
Injunction)10 against respondents. This Petition was docketed as Civil Case No. 00-1210 00-1210.
and raffled to the RTC of Makati, Branch 135, presided over by Judge Francisco B. Ibay
(Judge Ibay). Petitioner prayed that the RTC:
The RTC resolved the first two issues affirmatively. It ruled that the OSG can initiate Civil
Case No. 00-1210 under Presidential Decree No. 478 and the Administrative Code of
1. After summary hearing, a temporary restraining order and a writ of 1987.14 It also found that all the requisites for an action for declaratory relief were present,
preliminary injunction be issued restraining respondents from collecting to wit:
parking fees from their customers; andcralawlibrary
The requisites for an action for declaratory relief are: (a) there is a justiciable controversy;
2. After hearing, judgment be rendered declaring that the practice of (b) the controversy is between persons whose interests are adverse; (c) the party seeking
respondents in charging parking fees is violative of the National Building

46
the relief has a legal interest in the controversy; and (d) the issue involved is ripe for judicial Parking spaces in shopping malls are privately owned and for their use, the mall operators
determination. collect fees. The legal relationship could be either lease or deposit. In either case[,] the mall
owners have the right to collect money which translates into income. Should parking
SM, the petitioner in Civil Case No. 001-1208 [sic] is a mall operator who stands to be spaces be made free, this right of mall owners shall be gone. This, without just
affected directly by the position taken by the government officials sued namely the compensation. Further, loss of effective control over their property will ensue which is
Secretary of Public Highways and the Building Officials of the local government units frowned upon by law.
where it operates shopping malls. The OSG on the other hand acts on a matter of public
interest and has taken a position adverse to that of the mall owners whom it sued. The The presence of parking spaces can be viewed in another light. They can be looked at as
construction of new and bigger malls has been announced, a matter which the Court can necessary facilities to entice the public to increase patronage of their malls because
take judicial notice and the unsettled issue of whether mall operators should provide without parking spaces, going to their malls will be inconvenient. These are[,] however[,]
parking facilities, free of charge needs to be resolved. 15 business considerations which mall operators will have to decide for themselves. They are
not sufficient to justify a legal conclusion, as the OSG would like the Court to adopt that it
As to the third and most contentious issue, the RTC pronounced that: is the obligation of the mall owners to provide parking spaces for free. 16

The Building Code, which is the enabling law and the Implementing Rules and Regulations The RTC then held that there was no sufficient evidence to justify any award for damages.
do not impose that parking spaces shall be provided by the mall owners free of charge.
Absent such directive[,] Ayala Land, Robinsons, Shangri-la and SM [Prime] are under no The RTC finally decreed in its 29 May 2002 Joint Decision in Civil Cases No. 00-1208 and
obligation to provide them for free. Article 1158 of the Civil Code is clear: No. 00-1210 that:

"Obligations derived from law are not presumed. Only those expressly determined in this FOR THE REASONS GIVEN, the Court declares that Ayala Land[,] Inc., Robinsons Land
Code or in special laws are demandable and shall be regulated by the precepts of the law Corporation, Shangri-la Plaza Corporation and SM Prime Holdings[,] Inc. are not obligated
which establishes them; and as to what has not been foreseen, by the provisions of this to provide parking spaces in their malls for the use of their patrons or public in general,
Book (1090).["] free of charge.

xxx All counterclaims in Civil Case No. 00-1210 are dismissed.

The provision on ratios of parking slots to several variables, like shopping floor area or No pronouncement as to costs.17
customer area found in Rule XIX of the Implementing Rules and Regulations cannot be
construed as a directive to provide free parking spaces, because the enabling law, the CA-G.R. CV No. 76298 involved the separate appeals of the OSG18 and respondent SM
Building Code does not so provide. x x x. Prime19 filed with the Court of Appeals. The sole assignment of error of the OSG in its
Appellant's Brief was:
To compel Ayala Land, Robinsons, Shangri-La and SM [Prime] to provide parking spaces
for free can be considered as an unlawful taking of property right without just THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE NATIONAL BUILDING
compensation. CODE DID NOT INTEND MALL PARKING SPACES TO BE FREE OF
CHARGE[;]20

47
while the four errors assigned by respondent SM Prime in its Appellant's Brief were: No. 76298 also included the appeal of respondent SM Prime, which raised issues worthy of
consideration, and in order to satisfy the demands of substantial justice, the Court of
I Appeals proceeded to rule on the merits of the case.

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO DECLARE RULE XIX OF THE In its Decision, the Court of Appeals affirmed the capacity of the OSG to initiate Civil Case
IMPLEMENTING RULES AS HAVING BEEN ENACTED ULTRA VIRES, No. 00-1210 before the RTC as the legal representative of the government,22 and as the one
HENCE, UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND VOID. deputized by the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines through Senate Committee
Report No. 225.
II
The Court of Appeals rejected the contention of respondent SM Prime that the OSG failed to
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO DECLARE THE IMPLEMENTING exhaust administrative remedies. The appellate court explained that an administrative
RULES INEFFECTIVE FOR NOT HAVING BEEN PUBLISHED AS review is not a condition precedent to judicial relief where the question in dispute is purely
REQUIRED BY LAW. a legal one, and nothing of an administrative nature is to be or can be done.

III The Court of Appeals likewise refused to rule on the validity of the IRR of the National
Building Code, as such issue was not among those the parties had agreed to be resolved by
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO DISMISS THE OSG'S PETITION the RTC during the pre-trial conference for Civil Cases No. 00-1208 and No. 00-1210.
FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF AND INJUNCTION FOR FAILURE TO Issues cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. Furthermore, the appellate court found
EXHAUST ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES. that the controversy could be settled on other grounds, without touching on the issue of
the validity of the IRR. It referred to the settled rule that courts should refrain from passing
upon the constitutionality of a law or implementing rules, because of the principle that
IV
bars judicial inquiry into a constitutional question, unless the resolution thereof is
indispensable to the determination of the case.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FAILING TO DECLARE THAT THE OSG HAS
NO LEGAL CAPACITY TO SUE AND/OR THAT IT IS NOT A REAL
Lastly, the Court of Appeals declared that Section 803 of the National Building Code and
PARTY-IN-INTEREST IN THE INSTANT CASE.21
Rule XIX of the IRR were clear and needed no further construction. Said provisions were
only intended to control the occupancy or congestion of areas and structures. In the
Respondent Robinsons filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal of the OSG on the ground that the
absence of any express and clear provision of law, respondents could not be obliged and
lone issue raised therein involved a pure question of law, not reviewable by the Court of
expected to provide parking slots free of charge.
Appeals.

The fallo of the 25 January 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals reads:
The Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 76298 on 25 January
2007. The appellate court agreed with respondent Robinsons that the appeal of the OSG
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeals are DENIED. Accordingly,
should suffer the fate of dismissal, since "the issue on whether or not the National Building
appealed Decision is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.23
Code and its implementing rules require shopping mall operators to provide parking
facilities to the public for free" was evidently a question of law. Even so, since CA-G.R. CV

48
In its Resolution issued on 14 March 2007, the Court of Appeals denied the Motion for 1. The parking space ratings listed below are minimum off-street
Reconsideration of the OSG, finding that the grounds relied upon by the latter had already requirements for specific uses/occupancies for buildings/structures:
been carefully considered, evaluated, and passed upon by the appellate court, and there
was no strong and cogent reason to modify much less reverse the assailed judgment. 1.1 The size of an average automobile parking slot shall be computed as 2.4
meters by 5.00 meters for perpendicular or diagonal parking, 2.00 meters
The OSG now comes before this Court, via the instant Petition for Review, with a single by 6.00 meters for parallel parking. A truck or bus parking/loading slot
assignment of error: shall be computed at a minimum of 3.60 meters by 12.00 meters. The
parking slot shall be drawn to scale and the total number of which shall be
THE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE indicated on the plans and specified whether or not parking
RULING OF THE LOWER COURT THAT RESPONDENTS ARE NOT accommodations, are attendant-managed. (See Section 2 for computation of
OBLIGED TO PROVIDE FREE PARKING SPACES TO THEIR CUSTOMERS parking requirements).
OR THE PUBLIC.24
xxx
The OSG argues that respondents are mandated to provide free parking by Section 803 of
the National Building Code and Rule XIX of the IRR. 1.7 Neighborhood shopping center - 1 slot/100 sq. m. of shopping floor area

According to Section 803 of the National Building Code: The OSG avers that the aforequoted provisions should be read together with Section 102 of
the National Building Code, which declares:
SECTION 803. Percentage of Site Occupancy
SECTION 102. Declaration of Policy
(a) Maximum site occupancy shall be governed by the use, type of
construction, and height of the building and the use, area, nature, and It is hereby declared to be the policy of the State to safeguard life, health, property, and
location of the site; and subject to the provisions of the local zoning public welfare, consistent with the principles of sound environmental management and
requirements and in accordance with the rules and regulations control; and to this end, make it the purpose of this Code to provide for all buildings and
promulgated by the Secretary. structures, a framework of minimum standards and requirements to regulate and control
their location, site, design, quality of materials, construction, use, occupancy, and
In connection therewith, Rule XIX of the old IRR,25 provides: maintenance.

RULE XIX - PARKING AND LOADING SPACE REQUIREMENTS The requirement of free-of-charge parking, the OSG argues, greatly contributes to the aim
of safeguarding "life, health, property, and public welfare, consistent with the principles of
Pursuant to Section 803 of the National Building Code (PD 1096) providing sound environmental management and control." Adequate parking spaces would
for maximum site occupancy, the following provisions on parking and contribute greatly to alleviating traffic congestion when complemented by quick and easy
loading space requirements shall be observed: access thereto because of free-charge parking. Moreover, the power to regulate and control
the use, occupancy, and maintenance of buildings and structures carries with it the power
to impose fees and, conversely, to control - - partially or, as in this case, absolutely - - the
imposition of such fees.

49
The Court finds no merit in the present Petition. the National Building Code is not an all-encompassing grant of regulatory power to the
DPWH Secretary and local building officials in the name of life, health, property, and public
The explicit directive of the afore-quoted statutory and regulatory provisions, garnered welfare. On the contrary, it limits the regulatory power of said officials to ensuring that the
from a plain reading thereof, is that respondents, as operators/lessors of neighborhood minimum standards and requirements for all buildings and structures, as set forth in the
shopping centers, should provide parking and loading spaces, in accordance with the National Building Code, are complied with.
minimum ratio of one slot per 100 square meters of shopping floor area. There is nothing
therein pertaining to the collection (or non-collection) of parking fees by respondents. In Consequently, the OSG cannot claim that in addition to fixing the minimum requirements
fact, the term "parking fees" cannot even be found at all in the entire National Building for parking spaces for buildings, Rule XIX of the IRR also mandates that such parking
Code and its IRR. spaces be provided by building owners free of charge. If Rule XIX is not covered by the
enabling law, then it cannot be added to or included in the implementing rules. The
Statutory construction has it that if a statute is clear and unequivocal, it must be given its rule-making power of administrative agencies must be confined to details for regulating the
literal meaning and applied without any attempt at interpretation. 26 Since Section 803 of mode or proceedings to carry into effect the law as it has been enacted, and it cannot be
the National Building Code and Rule XIX of its IRR do not mention parking fees, then extended to amend or expand the statutory requirements or to embrace matters not
simply, said provisions do not regulate the collection of the same. The RTC and the Court of covered by the statute. Administrative regulations must always be in harmony with the
Appeals correctly applied Article 1158 of the New Civil Code, which states: provisions of the law because any resulting discrepancy between the two will always be
resolved in favor of the basic law.27
Art. 1158. Obligations derived from law are not presumed. Only those expressly
determined in this Code or in special laws are demandable, and shall be regulated by the From the RTC all the way to this Court, the OSG repeatedly referred to Republic v.
precepts of the law which establishes them; and as to what has not been foreseen, by the Gonzales28 and City of Ozamis v. Lumapas29 to support its position that the State has the
provisions of this Book. (Emphasis ours.) power to regulate parking spaces to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the public;
and it is by virtue of said power that respondents may be required to provide free parking
Hence, in order to bring the matter of parking fees within the ambit of the National Building facilities. The OSG, though, failed to consider the substantial differences in the factual and
Code and its IRR, the OSG had to resort to specious and feeble argumentation, in which legal backgrounds of these two cases from those of the Petition at bar.
the Court cannot concur.
In Republic, the Municipality of Malabon sought to eject the occupants of two parcels of
The OSG cannot rely on Section 102 of the National Building Code to expand the coverage land of the public domain to give way to a road-widening project. It was in this context that
of Section 803 of the same Code and Rule XIX of the IRR, so as to include the regulation of the Court pronounced:
parking fees. The OSG limits its citation to the first part of Section 102 of the National
Building Code declaring the policy of the State "to safeguard life, health, property, and Indiscriminate parking along F. Sevilla Boulevard and other main thoroughfares was
public welfare, consistent with the principles of sound environmental management and prevalent; this, of course, caused the build up of traffic in the surrounding area to the great
control"; but totally ignores the second part of said provision, which reads, "and to this end, discomfort and inconvenience of the public who use the streets. Traffic congestion
make it the purpose of this Code to provide for all buildings and structures, a framework of constitutes a threat to the health, welfare, safety and convenience of the people and it can
minimum standards and requirements to regulate and control their location, site, design, only be substantially relieved by widening streets and providing adequate parking areas.
quality of materials, construction, use, occupancy, and maintenance." While the first part
of Section 102 of the National Building Code lays down the State policy, it is the second The Court, in City of Ozamis, declared that the City had been clothed with full power to
part thereof that explains how said policy shall be carried out in the Code. Section 102 of control and regulate its streets for the purpose of promoting public health, safety and

50
welfare. The City can regulate the time, place, and manner of parking in the streets and Undoubtedly, respondents also incur expenses in the maintenance and operation of the
public places; and charge minimal fees for the street parking to cover the expenses for mall parking facilities, such as electric consumption, compensation for parking attendants
supervision, inspection and control, to ensure the smooth flow of traffic in the environs of and security, and upkeep of the physical structures.
the public market, and for the safety and convenience of the public.
It is not sufficient for the OSG to claim that "the power to regulate and control the use,
Republic and City of Ozamis involved parking in the local streets; in contrast, the present occupancy, and maintenance of buildings and structures carries with it the power to
case deals with privately owned parking facilities available for use by the general public. In impose fees and, conversely, to control, partially or, as in this case, absolutely, the
Republic and City of Ozamis, the concerned local governments regulated parking pursuant imposition of such fees." Firstly, the fees within the power of regulatory agencies to impose
to their power to control and regulate their streets; in the instant case, the DPWH Secretary are regulatory fees. It has been settled law in this jurisdiction that this broad and
and local building officials regulate parking pursuant to their authority to ensure all-compassing governmental competence to restrict rights of liberty and property carries
compliance with the minimum standards and requirements under the National Building with it the undeniable power to collect a regulatory fee. It looks to the enactment of specific
Code and its IRR. With the difference in subject matters and the bases for the regulatory measures that govern the relations not only as between individuals but also as between
powers being invoked, Republic and City of Ozamis do not constitute precedents for this private parties and the political society.31 True, if the regulatory agencies have the power to
case. impose regulatory fees, then conversely, they also have the power to remove the same.
Even so, it is worthy to note that the present case does not involve the imposition by the
Indeed, Republic and City of Ozamis both contain pronouncements that weaken the DPWH Secretary and local building officials of regulatory fees upon respondents; but the
position of the OSG in the case at bar. In Republic, the Court, instead of placing the burden collection by respondents of parking fees from persons who use the mall parking facilities.
on private persons to provide parking facilities to the general public, mentioned the trend Secondly, assuming arguendo that the DPWH Secretary and local building officials do have
in other jurisdictions wherein the municipal governments themselves took the initiative to regulatory powers over the collection of parking fees for the use of privately owned parking
make more parking spaces available so as to alleviate the traffic problems, thus: facilities, they cannot allow or prohibit such collection arbitrarily or whimsically. Whether
allowing or prohibiting the collection of such parking fees, the action of the DPWH
Under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, parking in designated areas along public Secretary and local building officials must pass the test of classic reasonableness and
streets or highways is allowed which clearly indicates that provision for parking spaces propriety of the measures or means in the promotion of the ends sought to be
serves a useful purpose. In other jurisdictions where traffic is at least as voluminous as accomplished.32
here, the provision by municipal governments of parking space is not limited to parking
along public streets or highways. There has been a marked trend to build off-street parking Keeping in mind the aforementioned test of reasonableness and propriety of measures or
facilities with the view to removing parked cars from the streets. While the provision of means, the Court notes that Section 803 of the National Building Code falls under Chapter
off-street parking facilities or carparks has been commonly undertaken by private 8 on Light and Ventilation. Evidently, the Code deems it necessary to regulate site
enterprise, municipal governments have been constrained to put up carparks in response occupancy to ensure that there is proper lighting and ventilation in every building.
to public necessity where private enterprise had failed to keep up with the growing public Pursuant thereto, Rule XIX of the IRR requires that a building, depending on its specific
demand. American courts have upheld the right of municipal governments to construct use and/or floor area, should provide a minimum number of parking spaces. The Court,
off-street parking facilities as clearly redounding to the public benefit. 30 however, fails to see the connection between regulating site occupancy to ensure proper
light and ventilation in every building vis - Ã -vis regulating the collection by building
In City of Ozamis, the Court authorized the collection by the City of minimal fees for the owners of fees for the use of their parking spaces. Contrary to the averment of the OSG, the
parking of vehicles along the streets: so why then should the Court now preclude former does not necessarily include or imply the latter. It totally escapes this Court how
respondents from collecting from the public a fee for the use of the mall parking facilities?

51
lighting and ventilation conditions at the malls could be affected by the fact that parking in totally prohibiting respondents from collecting parking fees from the public for the use of
facilities thereat are free or paid for. the mall parking facilities, the State would be acting beyond the bounds of police power.

The OSG attempts to provide the missing link by arguing that: Police power is the power of promoting the public welfare by restraining and regulating the
use of liberty and property. It is usually exerted in order to merely regulate the use and
Under Section 803 of the National Building Code, complimentary parking spaces are enjoyment of the property of the owner. The power to regulate, however, does not include
required to enhance light and ventilation, that is, to avoid traffic congestion in areas the power to prohibit. A fortiori, the power to regulate does not include the power to
surrounding the building, which certainly affects the ventilation within the building itself, confiscate. Police power does not involve the taking or confiscation of property, with the
which otherwise, the annexed parking spaces would have served. Free-of-charge parking exception of a few cases where there is a necessity to confiscate private property in order to
avoids traffic congestion by ensuring quick and easy access of legitimate shoppers to destroy it for the purpose of protecting peace and order and of promoting the general
off-street parking spaces annexed to the malls, and thereby removing the vehicles of these welfare; for instance, the confiscation of an illegally possessed article, such as opium and
legitimate shoppers off the busy streets near the commercial establishments.33 firearms.34

The Court is unconvinced. The National Building Code regulates buildings, by setting the When there is a taking or confiscation of private property for public use, the State is no
minimum specifications and requirements for the same. It does not concern itself with longer exercising police power, but another of its inherent powers, namely, eminent
traffic congestion in areas surrounding the building. It is already a stretch to say that the domain. Eminent domain enables the State to forcibly acquire private lands intended for
National Building Code and its IRR also intend to solve the problem of traffic congestion public use upon payment of just compensation to the owner. 35
around the buildings so as to ensure that the said buildings shall have adequate lighting
and ventilation. Moreover, the Court cannot simply assume, as the OSG has apparently Normally, of course, the power of eminent domain results in the taking or appropriation of
done, that the traffic congestion in areas around the malls is due to the fact that title to, and possession of, the expropriated property; but no cogent reason appears why
respondents charge for their parking facilities, thus, forcing vehicle owners to just park in the said power may not be availed of only to impose a burden upon the owner of
the streets. The Court notes that despite the fees charged by respondents, vehicle owners condemned property, without loss of title and possession. 36 It is a settled rule that neither
still use the mall parking facilities, which are even fully occupied on some days. Vehicle acquisition of title nor total destruction of value is essential to taking. It is usually in cases
owners may be parking in the streets only because there are not enough parking spaces in where title remains with the private owner that inquiry should be made to determine
the malls, and not because they are deterred by the parking fees charged by respondents. whether the impairment of a property is merely regulated or amounts to a compensable
Free parking spaces at the malls may even have the opposite effect from what the OSG taking. A regulation that deprives any person of the profitable use of his property
envisioned: more people may be encouraged by the free parking to bring their own vehicles, constitutes a taking and entitles him to compensation, unless the invasion of rights is so
instead of taking public transport, to the malls; as a result, the parking facilities would slight as to permit the regulation to be justified under the police power. Similarly, a police
become full sooner, leaving more vehicles without parking spaces in the malls and parked regulation that unreasonably restricts the right to use business property for business
in the streets instead, causing even more traffic congestion. purposes amounts to a taking of private property, and the owner may recover
therefor.37 ςηαñrοblεš νιr†υαl lαω lιbrαrÿ
Without using the term outright, the OSG is actually invoking police power to justify the
regulation by the State, through the DPWH Secretary and local building officials, of Although in the present case, title to and/or possession of the parking facilities remain/s
privately owned parking facilities, including the collection by the owners/operators of such with respondents, the prohibition against their collection of parking fees from the public,
facilities of parking fees from the public for the use thereof. The Court finds, however, that for the use of said facilities, is already tantamount to a taking or confiscation of their
properties. The State is not only requiring that respondents devote a portion of the latter's

52
properties for use as parking spaces, but is also mandating that they give the public access which are intended to insure the development of communities with salubrious and
to said parking spaces for free. Such is already an excessive intrusion into the property wholesome environments. The beneficiaries of the regulation, in turn, are made to pay by
rights of respondents. Not only are they being deprived of the right to use a portion of their the subdivision developer when individual lots are sold to homeowners.
properties as they wish, they are further prohibited from profiting from its use or even just
recovering therefrom the expenses for the maintenance and operation of the required In conclusion, the total prohibition against the collection by respondents of parking fees
parking facilities. from persons who use the mall parking facilities has no basis in the National Building Code
or its IRR. The State also cannot impose the same prohibition by generally invoking police
The ruling of this Court in City Government of Quezon City v. Judge Ericta38 is edifying. power, since said prohibition amounts to a taking of respondents' property without
Therein, the City Government of Quezon City passed an ordinance obliging private payment of just compensation.
cemeteries within its jurisdiction to set aside at least six percent of their total area for
charity, that is, for burial grounds of deceased paupers. According to the Court, the Given the foregoing, the Court finds no more need to address the issue persistently raised
ordinance in question was null and void, for it authorized the taking of private property by respondent SM Prime concerning the unconstitutionality of Rule XIX of the IRR. In
without just compensation: addition, the said issue was not among those that the parties, during the pre-trial
conference for Civil Cases No. 12-08 and No. 00-1210, agreed to submit for resolution of
There is no reasonable relation between the setting aside of at least six (6) percent of the the RTC. It is likewise axiomatic that the constitutionality of a law, a regulation, an
total area of all private cemeteries for charity burial grounds of deceased paupers and the ordinance or an act will not be resolved by courts if the controversy can be, as in this case
promotion of' health, morals, good order, safety, or the general welfare of the people. The it has been, settled on other grounds.39WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Review
ordinance is actually a taking without compensation of a certain area from a private on Certiorari is hereby DENIED. The Decision dated 25 January 2007 and Resolution
cemetery to benefit paupers who are charges of the municipal corporation. Instead of' dated 14 March 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 76298, affirming in toto
building or maintaining a public cemetery for this purpose, the city passes the burden to the Joint Decision dated 29 May 2002 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch
private cemeteries. 138, in Civil Cases No. 00-1208 and No. 00-1210 are hereby AFFIRMED. No costs.

'The expropriation without compensation of a portion of private cemeteries is not covered SO ORDERED.
by Section 12(t) of Republic Act 537, the Revised Charter of Quezon City which empowers
the city council to prohibit the burial of the dead within the center of population of the city
and to provide for their burial in a proper place subject to the provisions of general law
regulating burial grounds and cemeteries. When the Local Government Code, Batas
Pambansa Blg. 337 provides in Section 177(q) that a sangguniang panlungsod may
"provide for the burial of the dead in such place and in such manner as prescribed by law
or ordinance" it simply authorizes the city to provide its own city owned land or to buy or
expropriate private properties to construct public cemeteries. This has been the law, and
practise in the past. It continues to the present. Expropriation, however, requires payment
of just compensation. The questioned ordinance is different from laws and regulations
requiring owners of subdivisions to set aside certain areas for streets, parks, playgrounds,
and other public facilities from the land they sell to buyers of subdivision lots. The
necessities of public safety, health, and convenience are very clear from said requirements

53
54
ASSISTANCE OF FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (P500.00) TO A BEREAVED FAMILY, FUNDS TO
BE TAKEN OUT OF UNAPPROPRIATED AVAILABLE FUNDS EXISTING IN THE MUNICIPAL
TREASURY. (Rollo, Annnex "A" p. 39)

Qualified beneficiaries, under the Burial Assistance Program, are bereaved families of
Makati whose gross family income does not exceed two thousand pesos (P2,000.00) a
month. The beneficiaries, upon fulfillment of other requirements, would receive the
amount of five hundred pesos (P500.00) cash relief from the Municipality of Makati. (Reno,
Annex "13", p. 41)
EN BANC

Metro Manila Commission approved Resolution No. 60. Thereafter, the municipal secretary
G.R. No. 92389 September 11, 1991
certified a disbursement fired of four hundred thousand pesos (P400,000.00) for the
implementation of the Burial Assistance Program. (Rollo, Annex "C", p. 43).
HON. JEJOMAR C. BINAY and the MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, petitioners,
vs.
Resolution No. 60 was referred to respondent Commission on Audit (COA) for its expected
HON. EUFEMIO DOMINGO and the COMMISSION ON AUDIT, respondents.
allowance in audit. Based on its preliminary findings, respondent COA disapproved
Resolution No. 60 and disallowed in audit the disbursement of finds for the
Jejomar C. Binay for himself and for his co-petitioner. implementation thereof. (Rollo, Annex "D", P. 44)

Manuel D. Tamase and Rafael C. Marquez for respondents. Two letters for reconsideration (Annexes "E" and "F", Rollo, pp. 45 and 48, respectively)
filed by petitioners Mayor Jejomar Binay, were denied by respondent in its Decision No.
1159, in the following manner:

PARAS, J.: Your request for reconsideration is predicated on the following grounds, to wit:

The only pivotal issue before Us is whether or not Resolution No. 60, re-enacted under 1. Subject Resolution No. 60, s. 1988, of the Municipal Council of Makati and the intended
Resolution No. 243, of the Municipality of Makati is a valid exercise of police power under disbursements fall within the twin principles of 'police power and parens patriae and
the general welfare clause.
2. The Metropolitan Manila Commission (MMC), under a Certification, dated June 5, 1989,
The pertinent facts are: has already appropriated the amount of P400,000.00 to implement the Id resolution, and
the only function of COA on the matter is to allow the financial assistance in question.
On September 27, 1988, petitioner Municipality, through its Council, approved Resolution
No. 60 which reads: The first contention is believed untenable. Suffice it to state that:

A RESOLUTION TO CONFIRM AND/OR RATIFY THE ONGOING BURIAL ASSISTANCE


PROGRAM INITIATED BY THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, OF EXTENDING FINANCIAL

55
a statute or ordinance must have a real substantial, or rational relation to the public safety, Police power is inherent in the state but not in municipal corporations (Balacuit v. CFI of
health, morals, or general welfare to be sustained as a legitimate exercise of the police Agusan del Norte, 163 SCRA 182). Before a municipal corporation may exercise such
power. The mere assertion by the legislature that a statute relates to the public health, power, there must be a valid delegation of such power by the legislature which is the
safety, or welfare does not in itself bring the statute within the police power of a state for repository of the inherent powers of the State. A valid delegation of police power may arise
there must always be an obvious and real connection between the actual provisions of a from express delegation, or be inferred from the mere fact of the creation of the municipal
police regulations and its avowed purpose, and the regulation adopted must be reasonably corporation; and as a general rule, municipal corporations may exercise police powers
adapted to accomplish the end sought to be attained. 16 Am. Jur 2d, pp. 542-543; within the fair intent and purpose of their creation which are reasonably proper to give
emphasis supplied). effect to the powers expressly granted, and statutes conferring powers on public
corporations have been construed as empowering them to do the things essential to the
Here, we see no perceptible connection or relation between the objective sought to be enjoyment of life and desirable for the safety of the people. (62 C.J.S., p. 277). The so-called
attained under Resolution No. 60, s. 1988, supra, and the alleged public safety, general inferred police powers of such corporations are as much delegated powers as are those
welfare, etc. of the inhabitants of Makati. conferred in express terms, the inference of their delegation growing out of the fact of the
creation of the municipal corporation and the additional fact that the corporation can only
Anent the second contention, let it be stressed that Resolution No. 60 is still subject to the fully accomplish the objects of its creation by exercising such powers. (Crawfordsville vs.
limitation that the expenditure covered thereby should be for a public purpose, i.e., that Braden, 28 N.E. 849). Furthermore, municipal corporations, as governmental agencies,
the disbursement of the amount of P500.00 as burial assistance to a bereaved family of the must have such measures of the power as are necessary to enable them to perform their
Municipality of Makati, or a total of P400,000.00 appropriated under the Resolution, governmental functions. The power is a continuing one, founded on public necessity. (62
should be for the benefit of the whole, if not the majority, of the inhabitants of the C.J.S. p. 273) Thus, not only does the State effectuate its purposes through the exercise of
Municipality and not for the benefit of only a few individuals as in the present case. On this the police power but the municipality does also. (U.S. v. Salaveria, 39 Phil. 102).
point government funds or property shall be spent or used solely for public purposes. (Cf.
Section 4[2], P.D. 1445). (pp. 50-51, Rollo) Municipal governments exercise this power under the general welfare clause: pursuant
thereto they are clothed with authority to "enact such ordinances and issue such
Bent on pursuing the Burial Assistance Program the Municipality of Makati, through its regulations as may be necessary to carry out and discharge the responsibilities conferred
Council, passed Resolution No. 243, re-affirming Resolution No. 60 (Rollo, Annex "H", p. upon it by law, and such as shall be necessary and proper to provide for the health, safety,
52). comfort and convenience, maintain peace and order, improve public morals, promote the
prosperity and general welfare of the municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and insure
However, the Burial Assistance Program has been stayed by COA Decision No. 1159. the protection of property therein." (Sections 91, 149, 177 and 208, BP 337). And under
Petitioner, through its Mayor, was constrained to file this special civil action of certiorari Section 7 of BP 337, "every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly
praying that COA Decision No. 1159 be set aside as null and void. granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary and proper for
governance such as to promote health and safety, enhance prosperity, improve morals,
and maintain peace and order in the local government unit, and preserve the comfort and
The police power is a governmental function, an inherent attribute of sovereignty, which
convenience of the inhabitants therein."
was born with civilized government. It is founded largely on the maxims, "Sic utere tuo et
ahenum non laedas and "Salus populi est suprema lex Its fundamental purpose is
securing the general welfare, comfort and convenience of the people. Police power is the power to prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace,
education, good order or safety and general welfare of the people. It is the most essential,
insistent, and illimitable of powers. In a sense it is the greatest and most powerful attribute

56
of the government. It is elastic and must be responsive to various social conditions. COA's additional objection is based on its contention that "Resolution No. 60 is still subject
(Sangalang, et al. vs. IAC, 176 SCRA 719). On it depends the security of social order, the to the limitation that the expenditure covered thereby should be for a public purpose, ...
life and health of the citizen, the comfort of an existence in a thickly populated community, should be for the benefit of the whole, if not the majority, of the inhabitants of the
the enjoyment of private and social life, and the beneficial use of property, and it has been Municipality and not for the benefit of only a few individuals as in the present case." (Rollo,
said to be the very foundation on which our social system rests. (16 C.J.S., P. 896) However, Annex "G", p. 51).
it is not confined within narrow circumstances of precedents resting on past conditions; it
must follow the legal progress of a democratic way of life. (Sangalang, et al. vs. IAC, supra). COA is not attuned to the changing of the times. Public purpose is not unconstitutional
merely because it incidentally benefits a limited number of persons. As correctly pointed
In the case at bar, COA is of the position that there is "no perceptible connection or relation out by the Office of the Solicitor General, "the drift is towards social welfare legislation
between the objective sought to be attained under Resolution No. 60, s. 1988, supra, and geared towards state policies to provide adequate social services (Section 9, Art. II,
the alleged public safety, general welfare. etc. of the inhabitants of Makati." (Rollo, Annex Constitution), the promotion of the general welfare (Section 5, Ibid) social justice (Section
"G", p. 51). 10, Ibid) as well as human dignity and respect for human rights. (Section 11, Ibid."
(Comment, p. 12)
Apparently, COA tries to re-define the scope of police power by circumscribing its exercise
to "public safety, general welfare, etc. of the inhabitants of Makati." The care for the poor is generally recognized as a public duty. The support for the poor has
long been an accepted exercise of police power in the promotion of the common good.
In the case of Sangalang vs. IAC, supra, We ruled that police power is not capable of an
exact definition but has been, purposely, veiled in general terms to underscore its all There is no violation of the equal protection clause in classifying paupers as subject of
comprehensiveness. Its scope, over-expanding to meet the exigencies of the times, even to legislation. Paupers may be reasonably classified. Different groups may receive varying
anticipate the future where it could be done, provides enough room for an efficient and treatment. Precious to the hearts of our legislators, down to our local councilors, is the
flexible response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest benefits. welfare of the paupers. Thus, statutes have been passed giving rights and benefits to the
disabled, emancipating the tenant-farmer from the bondage of the soil, housing the urban
The police power of a municipal corporation is broad, and has been said to be poor, etc.
commensurate with, but not to exceed, the duty to provide for the real needs of the people
in their health, safety, comfort, and convenience as consistently as may be with private Resolution No. 60, re-enacted under Resolution No. 243, of the Municipality of Makati is a
rights. It extends to all the great public needs, and, in a broad sense includes all legislation paragon of the continuing program of our government towards social justice. The Burial
and almost every function of the municipal government. It covers a wide scope of subjects, Assistance Program is a relief of pauperism, though not complete. The loss of a member of
and, while it is especially occupied with whatever affects the peace, security, health, morals, a family is a painful experience, and it is more painful for the poor to be financially
and general welfare of the community, it is not limited thereto, but is broadened to deal burdened by such death. Resolution No. 60 vivifies the very words of the late President
with conditions which exists so as to bring out of them the greatest welfare of the people by Ramon Magsaysay 'those who have less in life, should have more in law." This decision,
promoting public convenience or general prosperity, and to everything worthwhile for the however must not be taken as a precedent, or as an official go-signal for municipal
preservation of comfort of the inhabitants of the corporation (62 C.J.S. Sec. 128). Thus, it is governments to embark on a philanthropic orgy of inordinate dole-outs for motives political
deemed inadvisable to attempt to frame any definition which shall absolutely indicate the or otherwise.
limits of police power.
PREMISES CONSIDERED, and with the afore-mentioned caveat, this petition is hereby
GRANTED and the Commission on Audit's Decision No. 1159 is hereby SET ASIDE.

57
SO ORDERED. Pharmacy," MELVIN S. DELA SERNA, doing business under the name and style
"Botica dela Serna," and LEYTE SERV-WELL CORP., doing business under the name
and style "Leyte Serv-Well Drugstore," petitioners,
vs.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE and DEVELOPMENT (DSWD), DEPARTMENT OF
HEALTH (DOH), DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE (DOF), DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ),
and DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR and LOCAL GOVERNMENT (DILG), respondents.

DECISION

AZCUNA, J.:

This is a petition1 for Prohibition with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction assailing the
constitutionality of Section 4(a) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9257, 2 otherwise known as the
"Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003."

Petitioners are domestic corporations and proprietors operating drugstores in the


Philippines.

Public respondents, on the other hand, include the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of Finance (DOF),
the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Interior and Local Government
(DILG) which have been specifically tasked to monitor the drugstores’ compliance with the
law; promulgate the implementing rules and regulations for the effective implementation of
the law; and prosecute and revoke the licenses of erring drugstore establishments.

The antecedents are as follows:

EN BANC On February 26, 2004, R.A. No. 9257, amending R.A. No. 7432, 3 was signed into law by
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and it became effective on March 21, 2004. Section 4(a)
G.R. No. 166494 June 29, 2007 of the Act states:

CARLOS SUPERDRUG CORP., doing business under the name and style "Carlos SEC. 4. Privileges for the Senior Citizens. – The senior citizens shall be entitled to the
Superdrug," ELSIE M. CANO, doing business under the name and style "Advance following:
Drug," Dr. SIMPLICIO L. YAP, JR., doing business under the name and style "City

58
(a) the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount from all establishments relative to the 1) The difference between the Tax Credit (under the Old Senior Citizens Act) and Tax
utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and Deduction (under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act).
recreation centers, and purchase of medicines in all establishments for the exclusive use or
enjoyment of senior citizens, including funeral and burial services for the death of senior 1.1. The provision of Section 4 of R.A. No. 7432 (the old Senior Citizens Act) grants twenty
citizens; percent (20%) discount from all establishments relative to the utilization of transportation
services, hotels and similar lodging establishment, restaurants and recreation centers and
... purchase of medicines anywhere in the country, the costs of which may be claimed by the
private establishments concerned as tax credit.
The establishment may claim the discounts granted under (a), (f), (g) and (h) as tax
deduction based on the net cost of the goods sold or services rendered: Provided, That the Effectively, a tax credit is a peso-for-peso deduction from a taxpayer’s tax liability due to
cost of the discount shall be allowed as deduction from gross income for the same taxable the government of the amount of discounts such establishment has granted to a senior
year that the discount is granted. Provided, further, That the total amount of the claimed citizen. The establishment recovers the full amount of discount given to a senior citizen
tax deduction net of value added tax if applicable, shall be included in their gross sales and hence, the government shoulders 100% of the discounts granted.
receipts for tax purposes and shall be subject to proper documentation and to the
provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended. 4 It must be noted, however, that conceptually, a tax credit scheme under the Philippine tax
system, necessitates that prior payments of taxes have been made and the taxpayer is
On May 28, 2004, the DSWD approved and adopted the Implementing Rules and attempting to recover this tax payment from his/her income tax due. The tax credit scheme
Regulations of R.A. No. 9257, Rule VI, Article 8 of which states: under R.A. No. 7432 is, therefore, inapplicable since no tax payments have previously
occurred.
Article 8. Tax Deduction of Establishments. – The establishment may claim the discounts
granted under Rule V, Section 4 – Discounts for Establishments;5 Section 9, Medical and 1.2. The provision under R.A. No. 9257, on the other hand, provides that the establishment
Dental Services in Private Facilities[,]6 and Sections 107 and 118 – Air, Sea and Land concerned may claim the discounts under Section 4(a), (f), (g) and (h) as tax
Transportation as tax deduction based on the net cost of the goods sold or services deduction from gross income, based on the net cost of goods sold or services rendered.
rendered. Provided, That the cost of the discount shall be allowed as deduction from gross
income for the same taxable year that the discount is granted; Provided, further, That the Under this scheme, the establishment concerned is allowed to deduct from gross income,
total amount of the claimed tax deduction net of value added tax if applicable, shall be in computing for its tax liability, the amount of discounts granted to senior citizens.
included in their gross sales receipts for tax purposes and shall be subject to proper Effectively, the government loses in terms of foregone revenues an amount equivalent to
documentation and to the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code, as amended; the marginal tax rate the said establishment is liable to pay the government. This will be an
Provided, finally, that the implementation of the tax deduction shall be subject to the amount equivalent to 32% of the twenty percent (20%) discounts so granted. The
Revenue Regulations to be issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and approved by establishment shoulders the remaining portion of the granted discounts.
the Department of Finance (DOF).9
It may be necessary to note that while the burden on [the] government is slightly
On July 10, 2004, in reference to the query of the Drug Stores Association of the diminished in terms of its percentage share on the discounts granted to senior citizens, the
Philippines (DSAP) concerning the meaning of a tax deduction under the Expanded Senior number of potential establishments that may claim tax deductions, have however, been
Citizens Act, the DOF, through Director IV Ma. Lourdes B. Recente, clarified as follows: broadened. Aside from the establishments that may claim tax credits under the old law,
more establishments were added under the new law such as: establishments providing

59
medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory services, including professional fees Meanwhile, on October 1, 2004, Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 171 or the Policies and
of attending doctors in all private hospitals and medical facilities, operators of domestic air Guidelines to Implement the Relevant Provisions of Republic Act 9257, otherwise known as
and sea transport services, public railways and skyways and bus transport services. the "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003"11was issued by the DOH, providing the grant of
twenty percent (20%) discount in the purchase of unbranded generic medicines from all
A simple illustration might help amplify the points discussed above, as follows: establishments dispensing medicines for the exclusive use of the senior citizens.

Tax Deduction Tax Credit On November 12, 2004, the DOH issued Administrative Order No 17712 amending A.O. No.
171. Under A.O. No. 177, the twenty percent discount shall not be limited to the purchase
Gross Sales x x x x x x x x x x x x of unbranded generic medicines only, but shall extend to both prescription and
non-prescription medicines whether branded or generic. Thus, it stated that "[t]he grant of
Less : Cost of goods sold x x x x x x x x x x twenty percent (20%) discount shall be provided in the purchase of medicines from all
establishments dispensing medicines for the exclusive use of the senior citizens."
Net Sales x x x x x x x x x x x x
Petitioners assail the constitutionality of Section 4(a) of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act
based on the following grounds:13
Less: Operating Expenses:

1) The law is confiscatory because it infringes Art. III, Sec. 9 of the Constitution which
Tax Deduction on Discounts x x x x --
provides that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation;
Other deductions: x x x x x x x x
2) It violates the equal protection clause (Art. III, Sec. 1) enshrined in our Constitution
which states that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due
Net Taxable Income x x x x x x x x x x
process of law, nor shall any person be denied of the equal protection of the laws;" and

Tax Due x x x x x x
3) The 20% discount on medicines violates the constitutional guarantee in Article XIII,
Section 11 that makes "essential goods, health and other social services available to all
Less: Tax Credit -- ______x x people at affordable cost."14

Net Tax Due -- x x Petitioners assert that Section 4(a) of the law is unconstitutional because it constitutes
deprivation of private property. Compelling drugstore owners and establishments to grant
As shown above, under a tax deduction scheme, the tax deduction on discounts was the discount will result in a loss of profit
subtracted from Net Sales together with other deductions which are considered as
operating expenses before the Tax Due was computed based on the Net Taxable Income. and capital because 1) drugstores impose a mark-up of only 5% to 10% on branded
On the other hand, under a tax credit scheme, the amount of discounts which is the tax medicines; and 2) the law failed to provide a scheme whereby drugstores will be justly
credit item, was deducted directly from the tax due amount. 10 compensated for the discount.

60
Examining petitioners’ arguments, it is apparent that what petitioners are ultimately The Senior Citizens Act was enacted primarily to maximize the contribution of senior
questioning is the validity of the tax deduction scheme as a reimbursement mechanism for citizens to nation-building, and to grant benefits and privileges to them for their
the twenty percent (20%) discount that they extend to senior citizens. improvement and well-being as the State considers them an integral part of our society. 20

Based on the afore-stated DOF Opinion, the tax deduction scheme does not fully reimburse The priority given to senior citizens finds its basis in the Constitution as set forth in the law
petitioners for the discount privilege accorded to senior citizens. This is because the itself. Thus, the Act provides:
discount is treated as a deduction, a tax-deductible expense that is subtracted from the
gross income and results in a lower taxable income. Stated otherwise, it is an amount that SEC. 2. Republic Act No. 7432 is hereby amended to read as follows:
is allowed by law15 to reduce the income prior to the application of the tax rate to compute
the amount of tax which is due.16 Being a tax deduction, the discount does not reduce SECTION 1. Declaration of Policies and Objectives. – Pursuant to Article XV, Section 4 of
taxes owed on a peso for peso basis but merely offers a fractional reduction in taxes owed. the Constitution, it is the duty of the family to take care of its elderly members while the
State may design programs of social security for them. In addition to this, Section 10 in the
Theoretically, the treatment of the discount as a deduction reduces the net income of the Declaration of Principles and State Policies provides: "The State shall provide social justice
private establishments concerned. The discounts given would have entered the coffers and in all phases of national development." Further, Article XIII, Section 11, provides: "The
formed part of the gross sales of the private establishments, were it not for R.A. No. 9257. State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which
shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the
The permanent reduction in their total revenues is a forced subsidy corresponding to the people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged sick,
taking of private property for public use or benefit. 17 This constitutes compensable taking elderly, disabled, women and children." Consonant with these constitutional principles the
for which petitioners would ordinarily become entitled to a just compensation. following are the declared policies of this Act:

Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property taken from its (f) To recognize the important role of the private sector in the improvement of the
owner by the expropriator. The measure is not the taker’s gain but the owner’s loss. The welfare of senior citizens and to actively seek their partnership.21
word just is used to intensify the meaning of the word compensation, and to convey the
idea that the equivalent to be rendered for the property to be taken shall be real, To implement the above policy, the law grants a twenty percent discount to senior citizens
substantial, full and ample.18 for medical and dental services, and diagnostic and laboratory fees; admission fees
charged by theaters, concert halls, circuses, carnivals, and other similar places of culture,
A tax deduction does not offer full reimbursement of the senior citizen discount. As such, it leisure and amusement; fares for domestic land, air and sea travel; utilization of services in
would not meet the definition of just compensation. 19 hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers; and
purchases of medicines for the exclusive use or enjoyment of senior citizens. As a form of
Having said that, this raises the question of whether the State, in promoting the health and reimbursement, the law provides that business establishments extending the twenty
welfare of a special group of citizens, can impose upon private establishments the burden percent discount to senior citizens may claim the discount as a tax deduction.
of partly subsidizing a government program.
The law is a legitimate exercise of police power which, similar to the power of eminent
The Court believes so. domain, has general welfare for its object. Police power is not capable of an exact definition,
but has been purposely veiled in general terms to underscore its comprehensiveness to
meet all exigencies and provide enough room for an efficient and flexible response to

61
conditions and circumstances, thus assuring the greatest benefits. 22 Accordingly, it has will be refunded and not the full amount of the discount which is ₱7.92. In short, only 32%
been described as "the most essential, insistent and the least limitable of powers, of the 20% discount will be reimbursed to the drugstores. 28
extending as it does to all the great public needs." 23 It is "[t]he power vested in the
legislature by the constitution to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and Petitioners’ computation is flawed. For purposes of reimbursement, the law states that the
reasonable laws, statutes, and ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant cost of the discount shall be deducted from gross income, 29 the amount of income derived
to the constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, from all sources before deducting allowable expenses, which will result in net income. Here,
and of the subjects of the same."24 petitioners tried to show a loss on a per transaction basis, which should not be the case. An
income statement, showing an accounting of petitioners’ sales, expenses, and net profit (or
For this reason, when the conditions so demand as determined by the legislature, property loss) for a given period could have accurately reflected the effect of the discount on their
rights must bow to the primacy of police power because property rights, though sheltered income. Absent any financial statement, petitioners cannot substantiate their claim that
by due process, must yield to general welfare.25 they will be operating at a loss should they give the discount. In addition, the computation
was erroneously based on the assumption that their customers consisted wholly of senior
Police power as an attribute to promote the common good would be diluted considerably if citizens. Lastly, the 32% tax rate is to be imposed on income, not on the amount of the
on the mere plea of petitioners that they will suffer loss of earnings and capital, the discount.
questioned provision is invalidated. Moreover, in the absence of evidence demonstrating
the alleged confiscatory effect of the provision in question, there is no basis for its Furthermore, it is unfair for petitioners to criticize the law because they cannot raise the
nullification in view of the presumption of validity which every law has in its favor. 26 prices of their medicines given the cutthroat nature of the players in the industry. It is a
business decision on the part of petitioners to peg the mark-up at 5%. Selling the
Given these, it is incorrect for petitioners to insist that the grant of the senior citizen medicines below acquisition cost, as alleged by petitioners, is merely a result of this
discount is unduly oppressive to their business, because petitioners have not taken time to decision. Inasmuch as pricing is a property right, petitioners cannot reproach the law for
calculate correctly and come up with a financial report, so that they have not been able to being oppressive, simply because they cannot afford to raise their prices for fear of losing
show properly whether or not the tax deduction scheme really works greatly to their their customers to competition.
disadvantage.27
The Court is not oblivious of the retail side of the pharmaceutical industry and the
In treating the discount as a tax deduction, petitioners insist that they will incur losses competitive pricing component of the business. While the Constitution protects property
because, referring to the DOF Opinion, for every ₱1.00 senior citizen discount that rights, petitioners must accept the realities of business and the State, in the exercise of
petitioners would give, ₱0.68 will be shouldered by them as only ₱0.32 will be refunded by police power, can intervene in the operations of a business which may result in an
the government by way of a tax deduction. impairment of property rights in the process.

To illustrate this point, petitioner Carlos Super Drug cited the anti-hypertensive Moreover, the right to property has a social dimension. While Article XIII of the
maintenance drug Norvasc as an example. According to the latter, it Constitution provides the precept for the protection of property, various laws and
acquires Norvasc from the distributors at ₱37.57 per tablet, and retails it at ₱39.60 (or at jurisprudence, particularly on agrarian reform and the regulation of contracts and public
a margin of 5%). If it grants a 20% discount to senior citizens or an amount equivalent to utilities, continuously serve as a reminder that the right to property can be relinquished
₱7.92, then it would have to sell Norvasc at ₱31.68 which translates to a loss from capital upon the command of the State for the promotion of public good.30
of ₱5.89 per tablet. Even if the government will allow a tax deduction, only ₱2.53 per tablet

62
Undeniably, the success of the senior citizens program rests largely on the support Associate Justice Associate Justice
imparted by petitioners and the other private establishments concerned. This being the
case, the means employed in invoking the active participation of the private sector, in order PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR. ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
to achieve the purpose or objective of the law, is reasonably and directly related. Without Associate Justice Associate Justice
sufficient proof that Section 4(a) of R.A. No. 9257 is arbitrary, and that the continued
implementation of the same would be unconscionably detrimental to petitioners, the Court
will refrain from quashing a legislative act.31
CERTIFICATION
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the
conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was
No costs.
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court.

SO ORDERED.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
ADOLFO S. AZCUNA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

(On Official Leave) (On Leave)


*LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING **CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO

Associate Justice Associate Justice SECOND DIVISION


ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ ANTONIO T. CARPIO
[G.R. No. 126102. December 4, 2000.]
Associate Justice Associate Justice

MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ RENATO C. CORONA ORTIGAS & CO. LTD., Petitioner, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS and ISMAEL G. MATHAY
Associate Justice Associate Justice III, Respondents.

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES DANTE O. TINGA DECISION


Associate Justice Associate Justice

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO CANCIO C. GARCIA


QUISUMBING, J.:

63
December 31, 2025 when they shall cease and terminate . . . 1

This petition seeks to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals, dated March 25, 1996, These and the other conditions were duly annotated on the certificate of title issued to
in CA-G.R. SP No. 39193, which nullified the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Emilia.
Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 261, in Civil Case No. 64931. It also assails the
resolution of the appellate court, dated August 13, 1996, denying petitioner’s motion for In 1981, the Metropolitan Manila Commission (now Metropolitan Manila Development
reconsideration.chanrobles.com.ph : red Authority) enacted MMC Ordinance No. 81-01, also known as the Comprehensive Zoning
Area for the National Capital Region. The ordinance reclassified as a commercial area a
The facts of this case, as culled from the records, are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw portion of Ortigas Avenue from Madison to Roosevelt Streets of Greenhills Subdivision
library where the lot is located.

On August 25, 1976, petitioner Ortigas & Company sold to Emilia Hermoso, a parcel of On June 8, 1984, private respondent Ismael Mathay III leased the lot from Emilia Hermoso
land known as Lot 1, Block 21, Psd-66759, with an area of 1,508 square meters, located in and J.P. Hermoso Realty Corp.. The lease contract did not specify the purposes of the lease.
Greenhills Subdivision IV, San Juan, Metro Manila, and covered by Transfer Certificate of Thereupon, private respondent constructed a single story commercial building for
Title No. 0737. The contract of sale provided that the lot:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library Greenhills Autohaus, Inc., a car sales company.

1. . . . (1) be used exclusively . . . for residential purposes only, and not more than one On January 18, 1995, petitioner filed a complaint against Emilia Hermoso with the
single-family residential building will be constructed thereon, . . . Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 261. Docketed as Civil Case No. 64931, the
complaint sought the demolition of the said commercial structure for having violated the
x x x
terms and conditions of the Deed of Sale. Complainant prayed for the issuance of a
temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction to prohibit petitioner from
constructing the commercial building and/or engaging in commercial activity on the lot.
6. The BUYER shall not erect . . . any sign or billboard on the roof . . . for advertising The complaint was later amended to implead Ismael G. Mathay III and J.P. Hermoso Realty
purposes . . . Corp., which has a ten percent (10%) interest in the lot.

x x x In his answer, Mathay III denied any knowledge of the restrictions on the use of the lot and
filed a cross-claim against the Hermosos.

On June 16, 1995, the trial court issued the writ of preliminary injunction. On June 29,
11. No single-family residential building shall be erected . . . until the building plans, 1995, Mathay III moved to set aside the injunctive order, but the trial court denied the
specification . . . have been approved by the SELLER . . . motion.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

x x x Mathay III then filed with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari, docketed
as CA-G.R. SP No. 39193, ascribing to the trial court grave abuse of discretion in issuing
the writ of preliminary injunction. He claimed that MMC Ordinance No. 81-01 classified
14. . . . restrictions shall run with the land and shall be construed as real covenants until the area where the lot was located as commercial area and said ordinance must be read

64
into the August 25, 1976 Deed of Sale as a concrete exercise of police power. But first, we must address petitioner’s allegation that the Court of Appeals "unaccountably
failed to address" questions of fact. For basic is the rule that factual issues may not be
Ortigas and Company averred that inasmuch as the restrictions on the use of the lot were raised before this Court in a petition for review and this Court is not duty-bound to
duly annotated on the title it issued to Emilia Hermoso, said restrictions must prevail over consider said questions. 5 CA G.R. SP No. 39193 was a special civil action for certiorari,
the ordinance, specially since these restrictions were agreed upon before the passage of and the appellate court only had to determine if the trial court committed grave abuse of
MMC Ordinance No. 81-01. discretion amounting to want or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the writ of preliminary
injunction. Thus, unless vital to our determination of the issue at hand, we shall refrain
On March 25, 1996, the appellate court disposed of the case as follows:chanrob1es virtual from further consideration of factual questions.
1aw library
Petitioner contends that the appellate court erred in limiting its decision to the cited zoning
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed ordinance. It avers that a contractual right is not automatically discarded once a claim is
orders are hereby nullified and set aside. made that it conflicts with police power. Petitioner submits that the restrictive clauses in
the questioned contract is not in conflict with the zoning ordinance. For one, according to
SO ORDERED. 2 petitioner, the MMC Ordinance No. 81-01 did not prohibit the construction of residential
buildings. Petitioner argues that even with the zoning ordinance, the seller and buyer of
In finding for Mathay III, the Court of Appeals held that the MMC Ordinance No. 81-01 the re-classified lot can voluntarily agree to an exclusive residential use thereof. Hence,
effectively nullified the restrictions allowing only residential use of the property in question. petitioner concludes that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the condition imposing
exclusive residential use was effectively nullified by the zoning ordinance.chanrob1es
Ortigas seasonably moved for reconsideration, but the appellate court denied it on August virtua1 1aw 1ibrary
13, 1996.
In its turn, private respondent argues that the appellate court correctly ruled that the trial
Hence, the instant petition. court had acted with grave abuse of discretion in refusing to subject the contract to the
MMC Ordinance No. 81-01. He avers that the appellate court properly held the police
In its Memorandum, petitioner now submits that the "principal issue in this case is power superior to the non-impairment of contract clause in the Constitution. He concludes
whether respondent Court of Appeals correctly set aside the Order dated June 16, 1995 of that the appellate court did not err in dissolving the writ of preliminary injunction issued
the trial court which issued the writ of preliminary injunction on the sole ground that MMC by the trial court in excess of its jurisdiction.
Ordinance No. 81-01 nullified the building restriction imposing exclusive residential use
on the property in question." 3 It also asserts that "Mathay III lacks legal capacity to We note that in issuing the disputed writ of preliminary injunction, the trial court observed
question the validity of conditions of the deed of sale; and he is barred by estoppel or waiver that the contract of sale was entered into in August 1976, while the zoning ordinance was
to raise the same question like his principals, the owners." 4 Lastly, it avers that the enacted only in March 1981. The trial court reasoned that since private respondent had
appellate court "unaccountably failed to address" several questions of fact. failed to show that MMC Ordinance No. 81-01 had retroactive effect, said ordinance should
be given prospective application only, 6 citing Co v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 162
Principally, we must resolve the issue of whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that SCRA 390 (1988).
the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it refused to apply MMC
Ordinance No. 81-01 to Civil Case No. 64931. In general, we agree that laws are to be construed as having only prospective operation. Lex
prospicit, non respicit. Equally settled, only laws existing at the time of the execution of a

65
contract are applicable thereto and not later statutes, unless the latter are specifically Otherwise such stipulations would be deemed null and void. Respondent court correctly
intended to have retroactive effect. 7 A later law which enlarges, abridges, or in any manner found that the trial court committed in this case a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
changes the intent of the parties to the contract necessarily impairs the contract itself 8 want of or excess of jurisdiction in refusing to treat Ordinance No. 81-01 as applicable to
and cannot be given retroactive effect without violating the constitutional prohibition Civil Case No. 64931. In resolving matters in litigation, judges are not only duty-bound to
against impairment of contracts. 9 ascertain the facts and the applicable laws, 19 they are also bound by their oath of office to
apply the applicable law. 20
But, the foregoing principles do admit of certain exceptions. One involves police power. A
law enacted in the exercise of police power to regulate or govern certain activities or As a secondary issue, petitioner contends that respondent Mathay III, as a mere lessee of
transactions could be given retroactive effect and may reasonably impair vested rights or the lot in question, is a total stranger to the deed of sale and is thus barred from
contracts. Police power legislation is applicable not only to future contracts, but equally to questioning the conditions of said deed. Petitioner points out that the owners of the lot
those already in existence. 10 Non-impairment of contracts or vested rights clauses will voluntarily agreed to the restrictions on the use of the lot and do not question the validity of
have to yield to the superior and legitimate exercise by the State of police power to promote these restrictions. Petitioner argues that Mathay III as a lessee is merely an agent of the
the health, morals, peace, education, good order, safety, and general welfare of the people. owners, and could not override and rise above the status of his principals.
11 Moreover, statutes in exercise of valid police power must be read into every contract. 12
Noteworthy, in Sangalang v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 13 we already upheld MMC Petitioner submits that he could not have a higher interest than those of the owners, the
Ordinance No. 81-01 as a legitimate police power measure. Hermosos, and thus had no locus standi to file CA-G.R. SP No. 39193 to dissolve the
injunctive writ issued by the RTC of Pasig City.
The trial court’s reliance on the Co v. IAC, 14 is misplaced. In Co, the disputed area was
agricultural and Ordinance No. 81-01 did not specifically provide that "it shall have For his part, private respondent argues that as the lessee who built the commercial
retroactive effect so as to discontinue all rights previously acquired over lands located structure, it is he and he alone who stands to be either benefited or injured by the results
within the zone which are neither residential nor light industrial in nature," 15 and stated of the judgment in Civil Case No. 64931. He avers he is the party with real interest in the
with respect to agricultural areas covered that "the zoning ordinance should be given subject matter of the action, as it would be his business, not the Hermosos’, which would
prospective operation only." 16 The area in this case involves not agricultural but urban suffer had not the respondent court dissolved the writ of preliminary
residential land. Ordinance No. 81-01 retroactively affected the operation of the zoning injunction.chanrob1es virtua1 law library
ordinance in Greenhills by reclassifying certain locations therein as commercial.
A real party in interest is defined as "the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the
Following our ruling in Ortigas & Co., Ltd. v. Feati Bank & Trust Co., 94 SCRA 533 (1979), judgment or the party entitled to the avails of the suit." "Interest" within the meaning of the
the contractual stipulations annotated on the Torrens Title, on which Ortigas relies, must rule means material interest, an interest in issue and to be affected by the decree, as
yield to the ordinance. When that stretch of Ortigas Avenue from Roosevelt Street to distinguished from mere interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest. 21
Madison Street was reclassified as a commercial zone by the Metropolitan Manila By real interest is meant a present substantial interest, as distinguished from a mere
Commission in March 1981, the restrictions in the contract of sale between Ortigas and expectancy or a future, contingent, subordinate, or consequential interest. 22
Hermoso, limiting all construction on the disputed lot to single-family residential buildings,
were deemed extinguished by the retroactive operation of the zoning ordinance and could Tested by the foregoing definition, private respondent in this case is clearly a real party in
no longer be enforced. While our legal system upholds the sanctity of contract so that a interest. It is not disputed that he is in possession of the lot pursuant to a valid lease. He is
contract is deemed law between the contracting parties, 17 nonetheless, stipulations in a a possessor in the concept of a "holder of the thing" under Article 525 of the Civil Code. 23
contract cannot contravene "law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy." 18 He was impleaded as a defendant in the amended complaint in Civil Case No. 64931.

66
Further, what petitioner seeks to enjoin is the building by respondent of a commercial
structure on the lot. Clearly, it is private respondent’s acts which are in issue, and his
interest in said issue cannot be a mere incidental interest. In its amended complaint,
petitioner prayed for, among others, judgment "ordering the demolition of all improvements
illegally built on the lot in question." 24 These show that it is petitioner Mathay III, doing
business as "Greenhills Autohaus, Inc.," and not only the Hermosos, who will be adversely
affected by the court’s decree.

Petitioner also cites the rule that a stranger to a contract has no rights or obligations under
it, 25 and thus has no standing to challenge its validity. 26 But in seeking to enforce the
stipulations in the deed of sale, petitioner impleaded private respondent as a defendant.
Thus petitioner must recognize that where a plaintiff has impleaded a party as a defendant,
he cannot subsequently question the latter’s standing in court. 27

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The challenged decision of the Court of
Appeals dated March 25, 1996, as well as the assailed resolution of August 13, 1996, in
CA-G.R. SP No. 39193 is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, Mendoza, Buena and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.

67
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 135962 March 27, 2000

METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, petitioner,


vs.
BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC., respondent.

PUNO, J.:

Not infrequently, the government is tempted to take legal shortcuts solve urgent problems
of the people. But even when government is armed with the best of intention, we cannot
allow it to run roughshod over the rule of law. Again, we let the hammer fall and fall hard
on the illegal attempt of the MMDA to open for public use a private road in a private
subdivision. While we hold that the general welfare should be promoted, we stress that it
should not be achieved at the expense of the rule of law.

Petitioner MMDA is a government agency tasked with the delivery of basic services in Metro
Manila. Respondent Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. (BAVA) is a non-stock, non-profit

68
corporation whose members are homeowners in Bel-Air Village, a private subdivision in On January 2, 1996, respondent instituted against petitioner before the Regional Trial
Makati City. Respondent BAVA is the registered owner of Neptune Street, a road inside Court, Branch 136, Makati City, Civil Case No. 96-001 for injunction. Respondent prayed
Bel-Air Village. for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction enjoining the
opening of Neptune Street and prohibiting the demolition of the perimeter wall. The trial
On December 30, 1995, respondent received from petitioner, through its Chairman, a court issued a temporary restraining order the following day.
notice dated December 22, 1995 requesting respondent to open Neptune Street to public
vehicular traffic starting January 2, 1996. The notice reads: On January 23, 1996, after due hearing, the trial court denied issuance of a preliminary
injunction. 2 Respondent questioned the denial before the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP
SUBJECT: NOTICE of the Opening of Neptune Street to Traffic. No. 39549. The appellate court conducted an ocular inspection of Neptune Street 3 and on
February 13, 1996, it issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the implementation
Dear President Lindo, of the MMDA's proposed action. 4

Please be informed that pursuant to the mandate of the MMDA law or Republic Act No. On January 28, 1997, the appellate court rendered a Decision on the merits of the case
7924 which requires the Authority to rationalize the use of roads and/or thoroughfares for finding that the MMDA has no authority to order the opening of Neptune Street, a private
the safe and convenient movement of persons, Neptune Street shall be opened to vehicular subdivision road and cause the demolition of its perimeter walls. It held that the authority
traffic effective January 2, 1996. is lodged in the City Council of Makati by ordinance. The decision disposed of as follows:

In view whereof, the undersigned requests you to voluntarily open the points of entry and WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED; the challenged Order dated January 23, 1995, in
exit on said street. Civil Case No. 96-001, is SET ASIDE and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued on
February 13, 1996 is hereby made permanent.
Thank you for your cooperation and whatever assistance that may be extended by your
association to the MMDA personnel who will be directing traffic in the area. For want of sustainable substantiation, the Motion to Cite Roberto L. del Rosario in
contempt is denied. 5
Finally, we are furnishing you with a copy of the handwritten instruction of the President
on the matter. No pronouncement as to costs.

Very truly yours, SO ORDERED. 6

PROSPERO I. ORETA The Motion for Reconsideration of the decision was denied on September 28, 1998. Hence,
this recourse.
Chairman 1
Petitioner MMDA raises the following questions:
On the same day, respondent was apprised that the perimeter wall separating the
subdivision from the adjacent Kalayaan Avenue would be demolished. I

69
HAS THE METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (MMDA) THE MANDATE the regulation of the use of thoroughfares to insure the safety, convenience and welfare of
TO OPEN NEPTUNE STREET TO PUBLIC TRAFFIC PURSUANT TO ITS REGULATORY AND the general public. It is alleged that the police power of MMDA was affirmed by this Court in
POLICE POWERS? the consolidated cases of Sangalang v. Intermediate Appellate Court. 8 From the premise
that it has police power, it is now urged that there is no need for the City of Makati to enact
II an ordinance opening Neptune street to the public. 9

IS THE PASSAGE OF AN ORDINANCE A CONDITION PRECEDENT BEFORE THE MMDA Police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. It has been defined as the power vested
MAY ORDER THE OPENING OF SUBDIVISION ROADS TO PUBLIC TRAFFIC? by the Constitution in the legislature to make, ordain, and establish all manner of
wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, either with penalties or without,
III not repugnant to the Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the
commonwealth, and for the subjects of the same. 10 The power is plenary and its scope is
IS RESPONDENT BEL-AIR VILLAGE ASSOCIATION, INC. ESTOPPED FROM DENYING OR vast and pervasive, reaching and justifying measures for public health, public safety,
ASSAILING THE AUTHORITY OF THE MMDA TO OPEN THE SUBJECT STREET? public morals, and the general welfare. 11

IV It bears stressing that police power is lodged primarily in the National Legislature. 12 It
cannot be exercised by any group or body of individuals not possessing legislative power. 13
The National Legislature, however, may delegate this power to the President and
WAS RESPONDENT DEPRIVED OF DUE PROCESS DESPITE THE SEVERAL MEETINGS
administrative boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local
HELD BETWEEN MMDA AND THE AFFECTED EEL-AIR RESIDENTS AND BAVA
government units. 14 Once delegated, the agents can exercise only such legislative powers
OFFICERS?
as are conferred on them by the national lawmaking body. 15
V
A local government is a "political subdivision of a nation or state which is constituted by
law and has substantial control of local affairs." 16 The Local Government Code of 1991
HAS RESPONDENT COME TO COURT WITH UNCLEAN HANDS? 7
defines a local government unit as a "body politic and corporate." 17 — one endowed with
powers as a political subdivision of the National Government and as a corporate entity
Neptune Street is owned by respondent BAVA. It is a private road inside Bel-Air Village, a representing the inhabitants of its territory. 18 Local government units are the provinces,
private residential subdivision in the heart of the financial and commercial district of cities, municipalities and barangays. 19 They are also the territorial and political
Makati City. It runs parallel to Kalayaan Avenue, a national road open to the general public. subdivisions of the state. 20
Dividing the two (2) streets is a concrete perimeter wall approximately fifteen (15) feet high.
The western end of Neptune Street intersects Nicanor Garcia, formerly Reposo Street, a
Our Congress delegated police power to the local government units in the Local Government
subdivision road open to public vehicular traffic, while its eastern end intersects Makati
Code of 1991. This delegation is found in Section 16 of the same Code, known as the
Avenue, a national road. Both ends of Neptune Street are guarded by iron gates.
general welfare clause, viz:

Petitioner MMDA claims that it has the authority to open Neptune Street to public traffic
Sec. 16. General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers
because it is an agent of the state endowed with police power in the delivery of basic
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary,
services in Metro Manila. One of these basic services is traffic management which involves
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are

70
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial solid waste disposal and management; (4) flood control and sewerage management; (5)
jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the urban renewal, zoning and land use planning, and shelter services; (6) health and
preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of sanitation, urban protection and pollution control; and (7) public safety. The basic service
the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate of transport and traffic management includes the following:
and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, (b) Transport and traffic management which include the formulation, coordination, and
maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their monitoring of policies, standards, programs and projects to rationalize the existing
inhabitants. 21 transport operations, infrastructure requirements,the use of thoroughfares, and promotion
of safe and convenient movement of persons and goods; provision for the mass transport
Local government units exercise police power through their respective legislative bodies. The system and the institution of a system to regulate road users; administration and
legislative body of the provincial government is the sangguniang panlalawigan, that of the implementation of all traffic enforcement operations, traffic engineering services and traffic
city government is the sangguniang panlungsod, that of the municipal government is education programs, including the institution of a single ticketing system in Metropolitan
the sangguniang bayan, and that of the barangay is the sangguniang barangay. The Local Manila;" 27
Government Code of 1991 empowers the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang
panlungsod and sangguniang bayan to "enact ordinances, approve resolutions and In the delivery of the seven (7) basic services, the MMDA has the following powers and
appropriate funds for the general welfare of the [province, city or municipality, as the case functions:
may be], and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of the Code and in the proper exercise
of the corporate powers of the [province, city municipality] provided under the Code . . . " 22 Sec. 5. Functions and powers of the Metro Manila Development Authority. — The MMDA
The same Code gives the sangguniang barangay the power to "enact ordinances as may be shall:
necessary to discharge the responsibilities conferred upon it by law or ordinance and to
promote the general welfare of the inhabitants thereon." 23 (a) Formulate, coordinate and regulate the implementation of medium and long-term plans
and programs for the delivery of metro-wide services, land use and physical development
Metropolitan or Metro Manila is a body composed of several local government units — i.e., within Metropolitan Manila, consistent with national development objectives and priorities;
twelve (12) cities and five (5) municipalities, namely, the cities of Caloocan, Manila,
Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Marikina, Paranaque (b) Prepare, coordinate and regulate the implementation of medium-term investment
and Valenzuela, and the municipalities of Malabon, Navotas, Pateros, San Juan and programs for metro-wide services which shall indicate sources and uses of funds for
Taguig. With the passage of Republic Act (R. A.) No. 7924 24 in 1995, Metropolitan Manila priority programs and projects, and which shall include the packaging of projects and
was declared as a "special development and administrative region" and the Administration presentation to funding institutions;
of "metro-wide" basic services affecting the region placed under "a development
authority" referred to as the MMDA. 25
(c) Undertake and manage on its own metro-wide programs and projects for the delivery of
specific services under its jurisdiction, subject to the approval of the Council. For this
"Metro-wide services" are those "services which have metro-wide impact and transcend purpose, MMDA can create appropriate project management offices;
local political boundaries or entail huge expenditures such that it would not be viable for
said services to be provided by the individual local government units comprising Metro
(d) Coordinate and monitor the implementation of such plans, programs and projects in
Manila." 26 There are seven (7) basic metro-wide services and the scope of these services
Metro Manila; identify bottlenecks and adopt solutions to problems of implementation;
cover the following: (1) development planning; (2) transport and traffic management; (3)

71
(e) The MMDA shall set the policies concerning traffic in Metro Manila, and shall coordinate collection of service and regulatory fees, fines and penalties. These functions are
and regulate the implementation of all programs and projects concerning traffic particularly enumerated as follows:
management, specifically pertaining to enforcement, engineering and education. Upon
request, it shall be extended assistance and cooperation, including but not limited Sec. 6. Functions of the Metro Manila Council. —
to, assignment of personnel, by all other government agencies and offices concerned;
(a) The Council shall be the policy-making body of the MMDA;
(f) Install and administer a single ticketing system, fix, impose and collect fines and
penalties for all kinds of violations of traffic rules and regulations, whether moving or (b) It shall approve metro-wide plans, programs and projects and issue rules and
non-moving in nature, and confiscate and suspend or revoke drivers' licenses in the regulations deemed necessary by the MMDA to carry out the purposes of this Act;
enforcement of such traffic laws and regulations, the provisions of RA 4136 and PD 1605 to
the contrary notwithstanding. For this purpose, the Authority shall impose all traffic laws (c) It may increase the rate of allowances and per diems of the members of the Council to
and regulations in Metro Manila, through its traffic operation center, and may deputize be effective during the term of the succeeding Council. It shall fix the compensation of the
members of the PNP, traffic enforcers of local government units, duly licensed security officers and personnel of the MMDA, and approve the annual budget thereof for
guards, or members of non-governmental organizations to whom may be delegated certain submission to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM);
authority, subject to such conditions and requirements as the Authority may impose; and
(d) It shall promulgate rules and regulations and set policies and standards for metro-wide
(g) Perform other related functions required to achieve the objectives of the MMDA, application governing the delivery of basic services, prescribe and collect service and
including the undertaking of delivery of basic services to the local government units, when regulatory fees, and impose and collect fines and penalties.
deemed necessary subject to prior coordination with and consent of the local government
unit concerned.
Clearly, the scope of the MMDA's function is limited to the delivery of the seven (7) basic
services. One of these is transport and traffic management which includes the formulation
The implementation of the MMDA's plans, programs and projects is undertaken by the and monitoring of policies, standards and projects to rationalize the existing transport
local government units, national government agencies, accredited people's organizations, operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares and promotion of the
non-governmental organizations, and the private sector as well as by the MMDA itself. For safe movement of persons and goods. It also covers the mass transport system and the
this purpose, the MMDA has the power to enter into contracts, memoranda of agreement institution of a system of road regulation, the administration of all traffic enforcement
and other arrangements with these bodies for the delivery of the required services Metro operations, traffic engineering services and traffic education programs, including the
Manila. 28 institution of a single ticketing system in Metro Manila for traffic violations. Under the
service, the MMDA is expressly authorized "to set the policies concerning traffic" and
The governing board of the MMDA is the Metro Manila Council. The Council is composed of "coordinate and regulate the implementation of all traffic management programs." In
the mayors of the component 12 cities and 5 municipalities, the president of the Metro addition, the MMDA may "install and administer a single ticketing system," fix, impose and
Manila Vice-Mayors' League and the president of the Metro Manila Councilors' League. 29 collect fines and penalties for all traffic violations.
The Council is headed by Chairman who is appointed by the President and vested with the
rank of cabinet member. As the policy-making body of the MMDA, the Metro Manila It will be noted that the powers of the MMDA are limited to the following acts: formulation,
Council approves metro-wide plans, programs and projects, and issues the necessary rules coordination, regulation, implementation, preparation, management, monitoring, setting
and regulations for the implementation of said plans; it approves the annual budget of the of policies, installation of a system and administration. There is no syllable in
MMDA and promulgate the rules and regulations for the delivery of basic services, R.A. No. 7924 that grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power. Even the

72
Metro Manila Council has not been delegated any legislative power. Unlike the legislative The petitions were dismissed based on Ordinance No. 81 of the Municipal Council of
bodies of the local government units, there is no provision in R.A. No. 7924 that empowers Makati and Ordinance No. 81-01 of the Metro Manila Commission (MMC). Municipal
the MMDA or its Council to "enact ordinances, approve resolutions appropriate funds for Ordinance No. 81 classified Bel-Air Village as a Class A Residential Zone, with its boundary
the general welfare" of the inhabitants of Metro Manila. The MMDA is, as termed in the in the south extending to the center line of Jupiter Street. The Municipal Ordinance was
charter itself, "development authority." 30 It is an agency created for the purpose of laying adopted by the MMC under the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance for the National Capital
down policies and coordinating with the various national government agencies, people's Region and promulgated as MMC Ordinance No. 81-01. Bel-Air Village was indicated
organizations, non-governmental organizations and the private sector for the efficient and therein as bounded by Jupiter Street and the block adjacent thereto was classified as a
expeditious delivery of basic services in the vast metropolitan area. All its functions are High Intensity Commercial Zone. 36
administrative in nature and these are actually summed up in the charter itself, viz:
We ruled that since both Ordinances recognized Jupiter Street as the boundary between
Sec. 2. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority. — . . . . Bel-Air Village and the commercial district, Jupiter Street was not for the exclusive benefit
of Bel-Air residents. We also held that the perimeter wall on said street was constructed not
The MMDA shall perform planning, monitoring and coordinative functions, and in the to separate the residential from the commercial blocks but simply for security reasons,
process exercise regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of metro-wide hence, in tearing down said wall, Ayala Corporation did not violate the "deed restrictions"
services within Metro Manila, without diminution of the autonomy of the local government in the deeds of sale.
units concerning purely local matters. 31
We upheld the ordinances, specifically MMC Ordinance No. 81-01, as a legitimate exercise
Petitioner cannot seek refuge in the cases of Sangalang v. Intermediate Appellate Court 32 of police power. 37 The power of the MMC and the Makati Municipal Council to enact
where we upheld a zoning ordinance issued by the Metro Manila Commission (MMC), the zoning ordinances for the general welfare prevailed over the "deed restrictions".
predecessor of the MMDA, as an exercise of police power. The first Sangalang decision was
on the merits of the petition, 33 while the second decision denied reconsideration of the first In the second Sangalang/Yabut decision, we held that the opening of Jupiter Street was
case and in addition discussed the case of Yabut v. Court of Appeals. 34 warranted by the demands of the common good in terms of "traffic decongestion and public
convenience." Jupiter was opened by the Municipal Mayor to alleviate traffic congestion
Sangalang v. IAC involved five (5) consolidated petitions filed by respondent BAVA and along the public streets adjacent to the Village. 38 The same reason was given for the
three residents of Bel-Air Village against other residents of the Village and the Ayala opening to public vehicular traffic of Orbit Street, a road inside the same village. The
Corporation, formerly the Makati Development Corporation, as the developer of the destruction of the gate in Orbit Street was also made under the police power of the
subdivision. The petitioners sought to enforce certain restrictive easements in the deeds of municipal government. The gate, like the perimeter wall along Jupiter, was a public
sale over their respective lots in the subdivision. These were the prohibition on the setting nuisance because it hindered and impaired the use of property, hence, its summary
up of commercial and advertising signs on the lots, and the condition that the lots be used abatement by the mayor was proper and legal. 39
only for residential purposes. Petitioners alleged that respondents, who were residents
along Jupiter Street of the subdivision, converted their residences into commercial Contrary to petitioner's claim, the two Sangalang cases do not apply to the case at
establishments in violation of the "deed restrictions," and that respondent Ayala bar. Firstly, both involved zoning ordinances passed by the municipal council of Makati
Corporation ushered in the full commercialization" of Jupiter Street by tearing down the and the MMC. In the instant case, the basis for the proposed opening of Neptune Street is
perimeter wall that separated the commercial from the residential section of the village. 35 contained in the notice of December 22, 1995 sent by petitioner to respondent BAVA,
through its president. The notice does not cite any ordinance or law, either by the
Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City or by the MMDA, as the legal basis for the

73
proposed opening of Neptune Street. Petitioner MMDA simply relied on its authority under The administration of Metropolitan Manila was placed under the Metro Manila
its charter "to rationalize the use of roads and/or thoroughfares for the safe and convenient Commission (MMC) vested with the following powers:
movement of persons." Rationalizing the use of roads and thoroughfares is one of the acts
that fall within the scope of transport and traffic management. By no stretch of the Sec. 4. Powers and Functions of the Commission. — The Commission shall have the
imagination, however, can this be interpreted as an express or implied grant of following powers and functions:
ordinance-making power, much less police power.
1. To act as a central government to establish and administer programs and provide
Secondly, the MMDA is not the same entity as the MMC in Sangalang. Although the MMC services common to the area;
is the forerunner of the present MMDA, an examination of Presidential Decree (P. D.) No.
824, the charter of the MMC, shows that the latter possessed greater powers which were 2. To levy and collect taxes and special assessments, borrow and expend money and issue
not bestowed on the present MMDA. bonds, revenue certificates, and other obligations of indebtedness. Existing tax measures
should, however, continue to be operative until otherwise modified or repealed by the
Metropolitan Manila was first created in 1975 by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 824. It Commission;
comprised the Greater Manila Area composed of the contiguous four (4) cities of Manila,
Quezon, Pasay and Caloocan, and the thirteen (13) municipalities of Makati, Mandaluyong, 3. To charge and collect fees for the use of public service facilities;
San Juan, Las Pinas, Malabon, Navotas, Pasig, Pateros, Paranaque, Marikina, Muntinlupa
and Taguig in the province of Rizal, and Valenzuela in the province of Bulacan. 40 4. To appropriate money for the operation of the metropolitan government and review
Metropolitan Manila was created as a response to the finding that the rapid growth of appropriations for the city and municipal units within its jurisdiction with authority to
population and the increase of social and economic requirements in these areas demand a disapprove the same if found to be not in accordance with the established policies of the
call for simultaneous and unified development; that the public services rendered by the Commission, without prejudice to any contractual obligation of the local government units
respective local governments could be administered more efficiently and economically if involved existing at the time of approval of this Decree;
integrated under a system of central planning; and this coordination, "especially in the
maintenance of peace and order and the eradication of social and economic ills that fanned
5. To review, amend, revise or repeal all ordinances, resolutions and acts of cities and
the flames of rebellion and discontent [were] part of reform measures under Martial Law
municipalities within Metropolitan Manila;
essential to the safety and security of the State." 41
6. To enact or approve ordinances, resolutions and to fix penalties for any violation thereof
Metropolitan Manila was established as a "public corporation" with the following powers:
which shall not exceed a fine of P10,000.00 or imprisonment of six years or both such fine
and imprisonment for a single offense;
Sec. 1. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila. — There is hereby created a public corporation,
to be known as the Metropolitan Manila, vested with powers and attributes of a corporation
7. To perform general administrative, executive and policy-making functions;
including the power to make contracts, sue and be
sued, acquire, purchase, expropriate, hold, transfer and dispose of property and such
8. To establish a fire control operation center, which shall direct the fire services of the city
other powers as are necessary to carry out its purposes. The Corporation shall be
and municipal governments in the metropolitan area;
administered by a Commission created under this Decree. 42

74
9. To establish a garbage disposal operation center, which shall direct garbage collection Sec. 9. Until otherwise provided, the governments of the four cities and thirteen
and disposal in the metropolitan area; municipalities in the Metropolitan Manila shall continue to exist in their present form
except as may be inconsistent with this Decree. The members of the existing city and
10. To establish and operate a transport and traffic center, which shall direct traffic municipal councils in Metropolitan Manila shall, upon promulgation of this Decree, and until
activities; December 31, 1975, become members of the Sangguniang Bayan which is hereby created
for every city and municipality of Metropolitan Manila.
11. To coordinate and monitor governmental and private activities pertaining to essential
services such as transportation, flood control and drainage, water supply and sewerage, In addition, the Sangguniang Bayan shall be composed of as many barangay captains as
social, health and environmental services, housing, park development, and others; may be determined and chosen by the Commission, and such number of representatives
from other sectors of the society as may be appointed by the President upon
12. To insure and monitor the undertaking of a comprehensive social, economic and recommendation of the Commission.
physical planning and development of the area;
xxx xxx xxx
13. To study the feasibility of increasing barangay participation in the affairs of their
respective local governments and to propose to the President of the Philippines definite The Sangguniang Bayan may recommend to the Commission ordinances, resolutions or
programs and policies for implementation; such measures as it may adopt; Provided, that no such ordinance, resolution or measure
shall become effective, until after its approval by the Commission; and Provided further,
14. To submit within thirty (30) days after the close of each fiscal year an annual report to that the power to impose taxes and other levies, the power to appropriate money and the
the President of the Philippines and to submit a periodic report whenever deemed power to pass ordinances or resolutions with penal sanctions shall be vested exclusively in
necessary; and the Commission.

15. To perform such other tasks as may be assigned or directed by the President of the The creation of the MMC also carried with it the creation of the Sangguniang Bayan. This
Philippines. was composed of the members of the component city and municipal councils, barangay
captains chosen by the MMC and sectoral representatives appointed by the President.
The MMC was the "central government" of Metro Manila for the purpose of establishing The Sangguniang Bayan had the power to recommend to the MMC the adoption of
and administering programs providing services common to the area. As a "central ordinances, resolutions or measures. It was the MMC itself, however, that possessed
government" it had the power to levy and collect taxes and special assessments, the power legislative powers. All ordinances, resolutions and measures recommended by
to charge and collect fees; the power to appropriate money for its operation, and at the the Sangguniang Bayan were subject to the MMC's approval. Moreover, the power to
same time, review appropriations for the city and municipal units within its jurisdiction. It impose taxes and other levies, the power to appropriate money, and the power to pass
was bestowed the power to enact or approve ordinances, resolutions and fix penalties for ordinances or resolutions with penal sanctions were vested exclusively in the MMC.
violation of such ordinances and resolutions. It also had the power to review, amend, revise
or repeal all ordinances, resolutions and acts of any of the four (4) cities and thirteen (13) Thus, Metropolitan Manila had a "central government," i.e., the MMC which fully
municipalities comprising Metro Manila. possessed legislative police powers. Whatever legislative powers the component cities and
municipalities had were all subject to review and approval by the MMC.
P.D. No. 824 further provided:

75
After President Corazon Aquino assumed power, there was a clamor to restore the to the MMA. 46 It ought to be stressed, however, that not all powers and functions of the
autonomy of the local government units in Metro Manila. Hence, Sections 1 and 2 of Article MMC were passed to the MMA. The MMA's power was limited to the "delivery of basic urban
X of the 1987 Constitution provided: services requiring coordination in Metropolitan Manila." 47 The MMA's governing body, the
Metropolitan Manila Council, although composed of the mayors of the component cities
Sec. 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the Republic of the Philippines are the and municipalities, was merely given power of: (1) formulation of policies on the delivery of
provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays. There shall be autonomous regions in basic services requiring coordination and consolidation; and (2) promulgation resolutions
Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as herein provided. and other issuances, approval of a code of basic services and the exercise of its
rule-making power. 48
Sec. 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall enjoy local autonomy.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the local government units became primarily responsible for
The Constitution, however, recognized the necessity of creating metropolitan regions not the governance of their respective political subdivisions. The MMA's jurisdiction was
only in the existing National Capital Region but also in potential equivalents in the Visayas limited to addressing common problems involving basic services that transcended local
and Mindanao. 43 Section 11 of the same Article X thus provided: boundaries. It did not have legislative power. Its power was merely to provide the local
government units technical assistance in the preparation of local development plans. Any
Sec. 11. The Congress may, by law, create special metropolitan political subdivisions, semblance of legislative power it had was confined to a "review [of] legislation proposed by
subject to a plebiscite as set forth in Section 10 hereof. The component cities and the local legislative assemblies to ensure consistency among local governments and with
municipalities shall retain their basic autonomy and shall be entitled to their own local the comprehensive development plan of Metro Manila," and to "advise the local
executives and legislative assemblies. The jurisdiction of the metropolitan authority that governments accordingly." 49
will thereby be created shall be limited to basic services requiring coordination.
When R.A. No. 7924 took effect, Metropolitan Manila became a "special development and
Constitution itself expressly provides that Congress may, by law, create "special administrative region" and the MMDA a "special development authority" whose functions
metropolitan political subdivisions" which shall be subject to approval by a majority of the were "without prejudice to the autonomy of the affected local government units." The
votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected; the jurisdiction of this character of the MMDA was clearly defined in the legislative debates enacting its charter.
subdivision shall be limited to basic services requiring coordination; and the cities and
municipalities comprising this subdivision shall retain their basic services requiring R.A. No. 7924 originated as House Bill No. 14170/11116 and was introduced by several
coordination; and the cities and municipalities comprising this subdivision shall retain legislators led by Dante Tinga, Roilo Golez and Feliciano Belmonte. It was presented to the
their basic autonomy and their own local executive and legislative assemblies. 44 Pending House of Representatives by the Committee on Local Governments chaired by
enactment of this law, the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution gave the President of Congressman Ciriaco R. Alfelor. The bill was a product of Committee consultations with
the Philippines the power to constitute the Metropolitan Authority, viz: the local government units in the National Capital Region (NCR), with former Chairmen of
the MMC and MMA, 50 and career officials of said agencies. When the bill was first taken up
Sec. 8. Until otherwise provided by Congress, the President may constitute the by the Committee on Local Governments, the following debate took place:
Metropolitan Authority to be composed of the heads of all local government units
comprising the Metropolitan Manila area. 45 THE CHAIRMAN [Hon. Ciriaco Alfelor]: Okay, Let me explain. This has been debated a long
time ago, you know. It's a special . . . we can create a special metropolitan political
In 1990, President Aquino issued Executive Order (E. O.) No. 392 and constituted the subdivision.
Metropolitan Manila Authority (MMA). The powers and functions of the MMC were devolved

76
Actually, there are only six (6) political subdivisions provided for in the Constitution: have to look for a solution. What would be the right solution? All right, we envision that
barangay, municipality, city, province, and we have the Autonomous Region of Mindanao there should be a coordinating agency and it is called an authority. All right, if you do not
and we have the Cordillera. So we have 6. Now. . . . . want to call it an authority, it's alright. We may call it a council or maybe a management
agency.
HON. [Elias] LOPEZ: May I interrupt, Mr. Chairman. In the case of the Autonomous Region,
that is also specifically mandated by the Constitution. xxx xxx xxx 51

THE CHAIRMAN: That's correct. But it is considered to be a political subdivision. What is Clearly, the MMDA is not a political unit of government. The power delegated to the MMDA
the meaning of a political subdivision? Meaning to say, that it has its own government, it is that given to the Metro Manila Council to promulgate administrative rules and
has its own political personality, it has the power to tax, and all governmental powers: regulations in the implementation of the MMDA's functions. There is no grant of authority
police power and everything. All right. Authority is different; because it does not have its to enact ordinances and regulations for the general welfare of the inhabitants of the
own government. It is only a council, it is an organization of political subdivision, powers, metropolis. This was explicitly stated in the last Committee deliberations prior to the bill's
"no, which is not imbued with any political power. presentation to Congress. Thus:

If you go over Section 6, where the powers and functions of the Metro Manila Development THE CHAIRMAN: Yeah, but we have to go over the suggested revision. I think this was
Authority, it is purely coordinative. And it provides here that the council is policy-making. already approved before, but it was reconsidered in view of the proposals, set-up, to make
All right. the MMDA stronger. Okay, so if there is no objection to paragraph "f". . . And then next is
paragraph "b," under Section 6. "It shall approve metro-wide plans, programs and projects
Under the Constitution is a Metropolitan Authority with coordinative power. Meaning to and issue ordinances or resolutions deemed necessary by the MMDA to carry out the
say, it coordinates all of the different basic services which have to be delivered to the purposes of this Act." Do you have the powers? Does the MMDA... because that takes the
constituency. All right. form of a local government unit, a political subdivision.

There is now a problem. Each local government unit is given its respective . . . as a political HON. [Feliciano] BELMONTE: Yes, I believe so, your Honor. When we say that it has the
subdivision. Kalookan has its powers, as provided for and protected and guaranteed by the policies, it's very clear that those policies must be followed. Otherwise, what's the use of
Constitution. All right, the exercise. However, in the exercise of that power, it might be empowering it to come out with policies. Now, the policies may be in the form of a
deleterious and disadvantageous to other local government units. So, we are forming an resolution or it may be in the form of a ordinance. The term "ordinance" in this case really
authority where all of these will be members and then set up a policy in order that the basic gives it more teeth, your honor. Otherwise, we are going to see a situation where you have
services can be effectively coordinated. All right. the power to adopt the policy but you cannot really make it stick as in the case now, and I
think here is Chairman Bunye. I think he will agree that that is the case now. You've got
Of course, we cannot deny that the MMDA has to survive. We have to provide some funds, the power to set a policy, the body wants to follow your policy, then we say let's call it an
resources. But it does not possess any political power. We do not elect the Governor. We do ordinance and see if they will not follow it.
not have the power to tax. As a matter of fact, I was trying to intimate to the author that it
must have the power to sue and be sued because it coordinates. All right. It coordinates THE CHAIRMAN: That's very nice. I like that. However, there is a constitutional
practically all these basic services so that the flow and the distribution of the basic services impediment.1âwphi1 You are making this MMDA a political subdivision. The creation of
will be continuous. Like traffic, we cannot deny that. It's before our eyes. Sewerage, flood the MMDA would be subject to a plebiscite. That is what I'm trying to avoid. I've been trying
control, water system, peace and order, we cannot deny these. It's right on our face. We to avoid this kind of predicament. Under the Constitution it states: if it is a political

77
subdivision, once it is created it has to be subject to a plebiscite. I'm trying to make this as It is thus beyond doubt that the MMDA is not a local government unit or a public
administrative. That's why we place the Chairman as a cabinet rank. corporation endowed with legislative power. It is not even a "special metropolitan political
subdivision" as contemplated in Section 11, Article X of the Constitution. The creation of a
HON. BELMONTE: All right, Mr. Chairman, okay, what you are saying there is . . . . . "special metropolitan political subdivision" requires the approval by a majority of the votes
cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected." 56 R. A. No. 7924 was not
THE CHAIRMAN: In setting up ordinances, it is a political exercise, Believe me. submitted to the inhabitants of Metro Manila in a plebiscite. The Chairman of the MMDA is
not an official elected by the people, but appointed by the President with the rank and
HON. [Elias] LOPEZ: Mr. Chairman, it can be changed into issuances of rules and privileges of a cabinet member. In fact, part of his function is to perform such other duties
regulations. That would be . . . it shall also be enforced. as may be assigned to him by the President, 57 whereas in local government units, the
President merely exercises supervisory authority. This emphasizes the administrative
character of the MMDA.
HON. BELMONTE: Okay, I will . . . .

Clearly then, the MMC under P.D. No. 824 is not the same entity as the MMDA under R.A.
HON. LOPEZ: And you can also say that violation of such rule, you impose a sanction. But
No. 7924. Unlike the MMC, the MMDA has no power to enact ordinances for the welfare of
you know, ordinance has a different legal connotation.
the community. It is the local government units, acting through their respective legislative
councils, that possess legislative power and police power. In the case at bar, the
HON. BELMONTE: All right, I defer to that opinion, your Honor.
Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City did not pass any ordinance or resolution ordering
the opening of Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by petitioner MMDA is illegal
THE CHAIRMAN: So instead of ordinances, say rules and regulations. and the respondent Court of Appeals did not err in so ruling. We desist from ruling on the
other issues as they are unnecessary.
HON. BELMONTE: Or resolutions. Actually, they are actually considering resolutions now.
We stress that this decision does not make light of the MMDA's noble efforts to solve the
THE CHAIRMAN: Rules and resolutions. chaotic traffic condition in Metro Manila. Everyday, traffic jams and traffic bottlenecks
plague the metropolis. Even our once sprawling boulevards and avenues are now crammed
HON. BELMONTE: Rules, regulations and resolutions. 52
with cars while city streets are clogged with motorists and pedestrians. Traffic has become
a social malaise affecting our people's productivity and the efficient delivery of goods and
The draft of H. B. No. 14170/11116 was presented by the Committee to the House of services in the country. The MMDA was created to put some order in the metropolitan
Representatives. The explanatory note to the bill stated that the proposed MMDA is a transportation system but unfortunately the powers granted by its charter are limited. Its
"development authority" which is a "national agency, not a political government unit." 53 good intentions cannot justify the opening for public use of a private street in a private
The explanatory note was adopted as the sponsorship speech of the Committee on Local subdivision without any legal warrant. The promotion of the general welfare is not
Governments. No interpellations or debates were made on the floor and no amendments antithetical to the preservation of the rule of law.1âwphi1.nêt
introduced. The bill was approved on second reading on the same day it was presented. 54
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is denied. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of
When the bill was forwarded to the Senate, several amendments were Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 39549 are affirmed.
made.1âwphi1 These amendments, however, did not affect the nature of the MMDA as
originally conceived in the House of Representatives. 55 SO ORDERED.

78
Davide, Jr., C.J., Kapunan, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur. GONZALO P. GONZALES, HON. AVELINO S. CAILIAN, HON. ROBERTO C. OCAMPO,
HON. ALBERTO DOMINGO, HON. HONORIO U. LOPEZ, HON. FRANCISCO G. VARONA,
JR., HON. ROMUALDO S. MARANAN, HON. NESTOR C. PONCE, JR., HON. HUMBERTO
B. BASCO, HON. FLAVIANO F. CONCEPCION, JR., HON. ROMEO G. RIVERA, HON.
MANUEL M. ZARCAL, HON. PEDRO S. DE JESUS, HON. BERNARDITO C. ANG, HON.
MANUEL L. QUIN, HON. JHOSEP Y. LOPEZ, HON. CHIKA G. GO, HON. VICTORIANO A.
MELENDEZ, HON. ERNESTO V.P. MACEDA, JR., HON. ROLANDO P. NIETO, HON.
DANILO V. ROLEDA, HON. GERINO A. TOLENTINO, JR., HON. MA. PAZ E. HERRERA,
HON. JOEY D. HIZON, HON. FELIXBERTO D. ESPIRITU, HON. KARLO Q. BUTIONG,
HON. ROGELIO P. DELA PAZ, HON. BERNARDO D. RAGAZA, HON. MA. CORAZON R.
CABALLES, HON. CASIMIRO C. SISON, HON. BIENVINIDO M. ABANTE, JR., HON. MA.
LOURDES M. ISIP, HON. ALEXANDER S. RICAFORT, HON. ERNESTO F. RIVERA, HON.
LEONARDO L. ANGAT, and HON. JOCELYN B. DAWIS, in their capacity as councilors
of the City of Manila,Petitioner,
vs.
HON. PERFECTO A.S. LAGUIO, JR., as Presiding Judge, RTC, Manila and MALATE
TOURIST DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, Respondents.

DECISION

TINGA, J.:

I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you
feel bad after.

Ernest Hermingway
Death in the Afternoon, Ch. 1

EN BANC It is a moral and political axiom that any dishonorable act, if performed by oneself, is less
immoral than if performed by someone else, who would be well-intentioned in his
G.R. No. 118127 April 12, 2005 dishonesty.

CITY OF MANILA, HON. ALFREDO S. LIM as the Mayor of the City of Manila, HON. J. Christopher Gerald
JOSELITO L. ATIENZA, in his capacity as Vice-Mayor of the City of Manila and Bonaparte in Egypt, Ch. I
Presiding Officer of the City Council of Manila, HON. ERNESTO A. NIEVA, HON.

79
The Court's commitment to the protection of morals is secondary to its fealty to the SECTION 1. Any provision of existing laws and ordinances to the contrary
fundamental law of the land. It is foremost a guardian of the Constitution but not the notwithstanding, no person, partnership, corporation or entity shall, in the
conscience of individuals. And if it need be, the Court will not hesitate to "make the Ermita-Malate area bounded by Teodoro M. Kalaw Sr. Street in the North, Taft Avenue in
hammer fall, and heavily" in the words of Justice Laurel, and uphold the constitutional the East, Vito Cruz Street in the South and Roxas Boulevard in the West, pursuant to P.D.
guarantees when faced with laws that, though not lacking in zeal to promote morality, 499 be allowed or authorized to contract and engage in, any business providing
nevertheless fail to pass the test of constitutionality. 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
The pivotal issue in this Petition1 under Rule 45 (then Rule 42) of the Revised Rules on Civil inhabitants, and adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the
Procedure seeking the reversal of the Decision2 in Civil Case No. 93-66511 of the Regional community, such as but not limited to:
Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 18 (lower court),3 is the validity of Ordinance No. 7783
(the Ordinance) of the City of Manila.4 1. Sauna Parlors

The antecedents are as follows: 2. Massage Parlors

Private respondent Malate Tourist Development Corporation (MTDC) is a corporation 3. Karaoke Bars
engaged in the business of operating hotels, motels, hostels and lodging houses.5 It built
and opened Victoria Court in Malate which was licensed as a motel although duly 4. Beerhouses
accredited with the Department of Tourism as a hotel.6 On 28 June 1993, MTDC filed
a Petition for Declaratory Relief with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and/or 5. Night Clubs
Temporary Restraining Order7 (RTC Petition) with the lower court impleading as defendants,
herein petitioners City of Manila, Hon. Alfredo S. Lim (Lim), Hon. Joselito L. Atienza, and 6. Day Clubs
the members of the City Council of Manila (City Council). MTDC prayed that
the Ordinance, insofar as it includes motels and inns as among its prohibited
7. Super Clubs
establishments, be declared invalid and unconstitutional. 8
8. Discotheques
Enacted by the City Council9 on 9 March 1993 and approved by petitioner City Mayor on
30 March 1993, the said Ordinance is entitled–
9. Cabarets

AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ESTABLISHMENT OR OPERATION OF BUSINESSES


10. Dance Halls
PROVIDING CERTAIN FORMS OF AMUSEMENT, ENTERTAINMENT, SERVICES AND
FACILITIES IN THE ERMITA-MALATE AREA, PRESCRIBING PENALTIES FOR VIOLATION
THEREOF, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. 10 11. Motels

The Ordinance is reproduced in full, hereunder: 12. Inns

80
SEC. 2 The City Mayor, the City Treasurer or any person acting in behalf of the said depot, dock or yard, motor repair shop, gasoline service station, light industry with any
officials are prohibited from issuing permits, temporary or otherwise, or from machinery, or funeral establishments.
granting licenses and accepting payments for the operation of business enumerated
in the preceding section. SEC. 4. Any person violating any provisions of this ordinance, shall upon conviction,
be punished by imprisonment of one (1) year or fine of FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00)
SEC. 3. Owners and/or operator of establishments engaged in, or devoted to, the PESOS, or both, at the discretion of the Court, PROVIDED, that in case of juridical person,
businesses enumerated in Section 1 hereof are hereby given three (3) months from the the President, the General Manager, or person-in-charge of operation shall be liable thereof;
date of approval of this ordinance within which to wind up business operations or to PROVIDED FURTHER, that in case of subsequent violation and conviction, the
transfer to any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to premises of the erring establishment shall be closed and padlocked permanently.
other kinds of business allowable within the area, such as but not limited to:
SEC. 5. This ordinance shall take effect upon approval.
1. Curio or antique shop
Enacted by the City Council of Manila at its regular session today, March 9, 1993.
2. Souvenir Shops
Approved by His Honor, the Mayor on March 30, 1993. (Emphasis supplied)
3. Handicrafts display centers
In the RTC Petition, MTDC argued that the Ordinance erroneously and improperly included
4. Art galleries in its enumeration of prohibited establishments, motels and inns such as MTDC's Victoria
Court considering that these were not establishments for "amusement" or "entertainment"
5. Records and music shops and they were not "services or facilities for entertainment," nor did they use women as
"tools for entertainment," and neither did they "disturb the community," "annoy the
6. Restaurants inhabitants" or "adversely affect the social and moral welfare of the community." 11

7. Coffee shops MTDC further advanced that the Ordinance was invalid and unconstitutional for the
following reasons: (1) The City Council has no power to prohibit the operation of motels as
8. Flower shops Section 458 (a) 4 (iv)12 of the Local Government Code of 1991 (the Code) grants to the City
Council only the power to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of hotels,
motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses and other similar establishments; (2) The
9. Music lounge and sing-along restaurants, with well-defined activities for wholesome
Ordinance is void as it is violative of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 49913 which specifically
family entertainment that cater to both local and foreign clientele.
declared portions of the Ermita-Malate area as a commercial zone with certain restrictions;
(3) The Ordinance does not constitute a proper exercise of police power as the compulsory
10. Theaters engaged in the exhibition, not only of motion pictures but also of cultural
closure of the motel business has no reasonable relation to the legitimate municipal
shows, stage and theatrical plays, art exhibitions, concerts and the like.
interests sought to be protected; (4) The Ordinance constitutes an ex post facto law by
punishing the operation of Victoria Court which was a legitimate business prior to its
11. Businesses allowable within the law and medium intensity districts as provided for in enactment; (5) The Ordinance violates MTDC's constitutional rights in that: (a) it is
the zoning ordinances for Metropolitan Manila, except new warehouse or open-storage confiscatory and constitutes an invasion of plaintiff's property rights; (b) the City Council

81
has no power to find as a fact that a particular thing is a nuisance per se nor does it have Citing Kwong Sing v. City of Manila,17 petitioners insisted that the power of regulation
the power to extrajudicially destroy it; and (6) The Ordinance constitutes a denial of equal spoken of in the above-quoted provision included the power to control, to govern and to
protection under the law as no reasonable basis exists for prohibiting the operation of restrain places of exhibition and amusement.18
motels and inns, but not pension houses, hotels, lodging houses or other similar
establishments, and for prohibiting said business in the Ermita-Malate area but not Petitioners likewise asserted that the Ordinance was enacted by the City Council of Manila
outside of this area.14 to protect the social and moral welfare of the community in conjunction with its police
power as found in Article III, Section 18(kk) of Republic Act No. 409,19 otherwise known as
In their Answer15 dated 23 July 1993, petitioners City of Manila and Lim maintained that the Revised Charter of the City of Manila (Revised Charter of Manila) 20 which reads, thus:
the City Council had the power to "prohibit certain forms of entertainment in order to
protect the social and moral welfare of the community" as provided for in Section 458 (a) 4 ARTICLE III
(vii) of the Local Government Code, 16 which reads, thus:
THE MUNICIPAL BOARD
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions . . .
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as Section 18. Legislative powers. – The Municipal Board shall have the following legislative
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall: powers:

.... . . .

(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city in (kk) To enact all ordinances it may deem necessary and proper for the sanitation and safety,
order to promote the general welfare and for said purpose shall: the furtherance of the prosperity, and the promotion of the morality, peace, good order,
comfort, convenience, and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants, and such others
.... as may be necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by
this chapter; and to fix penalties for the violation of ordinances which shall not exceed two
(vii) Regulate the establishment, operation, and maintenance of any entertainment or hundred pesos fine or six months' imprisonment, or both such fine and imprisonment, for
amusement facilities, including theatrical performances, circuses, billiard pools, public a single offense.
dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places for
entertainment or amusement; regulate such other events or activities for amusement or Further, the petitioners noted, the Ordinance had the presumption of validity; hence,
entertainment, particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the private respondent had the burden to prove its illegality or unconstitutionality. 21
inhabitants, or require the suspension or suppression of the same; or, prohibit certain
forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of Petitioners also maintained that there was no inconsistency between P.D. 499 and
the community. the Ordinance as the latter simply disauthorized certain forms of businesses and allowed
the Ermita-Malate area to remain a commercial zone.22 The Ordinance, the petitioners
likewise claimed, cannot be assailed as ex post facto as it was prospective in operation.23

82
The Ordinance also did not infringe the equal protection clause and cannot be denounced the Ordinance is a valid exercise of police power; it does not contravene P.D. 499; and that
as class legislation as there existed substantial and real differences between the it enjoys the presumption of validity.35
Ermita-Malate area and other places in the City of Manila.24
In its Memorandum36 dated 27 May 1996, private respondent maintains that
On 28 June 1993, respondent Judge Perfecto A.S. Laguio, Jr. (Judge Laguio) issued an the Ordinance is ultra vires and that it is void for being repugnant to the general law. It
ex-parte temporary restraining order against the enforcement of the Ordinance.25 And on reiterates that the questioned Ordinance is not a valid exercise of police power; that it is
16 July 1993, again in an intrepid gesture, he granted the writ of preliminary injunction violative of due process, confiscatory and amounts to an arbitrary interference with its
prayed for by MTDC.26 lawful business; that it is violative of the equal protection clause; and that it confers on
petitioner City Mayor or any officer unregulated discretion in the execution of
After trial, on 25 November 1994, Judge Laguio rendered the assailed Decision, enjoining the Ordinance absent rules to guide and control his actions.
the petitioners from implementing the Ordinance. The dispositive portion of
said Decision reads:27 This is an opportune time to express the Court's deep sentiment and tenderness for the
Ermita-Malate area being its home for several decades. A long-time resident, the Court
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered declaring Ordinance No. 778[3], Series of witnessed the area's many turn of events. It relished its glory days and endured its days of
1993, of the City of Manila null and void, and making permanent the writ of preliminary infamy. Much as the Court harks back to the resplendent era of the Old Manila and yearns
injunction that had been issued by this Court against the defendant. No costs. to restore its lost grandeur, it believes that the Ordinance is not the fitting means to that
end. The Court is of the opinion, and so holds, that the lower court did not err in declaring
SO ORDERED.28 the Ordinance, as it did, ultra vires and therefore null and void.

Petitioners filed with the lower court a Notice of Appeal29 on 12 December 1994, The Ordinance is so replete with constitutional infirmities that almost every sentence
manifesting that they are elevating the case to this Court under then Rule 42 on pure thereof violates a constitutional provision. The prohibitions and sanctions therein
questions of law.30 transgress the cardinal rights of persons enshrined by the Constitution. The Court is called
upon to shelter these rights from attempts at rendering them worthless.
On 11 January 1995, petitioners filed the present Petition, alleging that the following errors
were committed by the lower court in its ruling: (1) It erred in concluding that the subject The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions has held that for
ordinance is ultra vires, or otherwise, unfair, unreasonable and oppressive exercise of an ordinance to be valid, it must not only be within the corporate powers of the local
police power; (2) It erred in holding that the questioned Ordinancecontravenes P.D. 49931 government unit to enact and must be passed according to the procedure prescribed by
which allows operators of all kinds of commercial establishments, except those specified law, it must also conform to the following substantive requirements: (1) must not
therein; and (3) It erred in declaring the Ordinance void and unconstitutional.32 contravene the Constitution or any statute; (2) must not be unfair or oppressive; (3) must
not be partial or discriminatory; (4) must not prohibit but may regulate trade; (5) must be
In the Petition and in its Memorandum,33 petitioners in essence repeat the assertions they general and consistent with public policy; and (6) must not be unreasonable. 37
made before the lower court. They contend that the assailed Ordinance was enacted in the
exercise of the inherent and plenary power of the State and the general welfare clause Anent the first criterion, ordinances shall only be valid when they are not contrary to the
exercised by local government units provided for in Art. 3, Sec. 18 (kk) of the Revised Constitution and to the laws.38 The Ordinance must satisfy two requirements: it must pass
Charter of Manila and conjunctively, Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code. 34 They allege that muster under the test of constitutionality and the test of consistency with the prevailing
laws. That ordinances should be constitutional uphold the principle of the supremacy of

83
the Constitution. The requirement that the enactment must not violate existing law gives The Ordinance contravenes
stress to the precept that local government units are able to legislate only by virtue of their the Constitution
derivative legislative power, a delegation of legislative power from the national
legislature. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise powers higher The police power of the City Council, however broad and far-reaching, is subordinate to the
than those of the latter.39 constitutional limitations thereon; and is subject to the limitation that its exercise must be
reasonable and for the public good.43 In the case at bar, the enactment of
This relationship between the national legislature and the local government units has not the Ordinance was an invalid exercise of delegated power as it is unconstitutional and
been enfeebled by the new provisions in the Constitution strengthening the policy of local repugnant to general laws.
autonomy. The national legislature is still the principal of the local government units,
which cannot defy its will or modify or violate it. 40 The relevant constitutional provisions are the following:

The Ordinance was passed by the City Council in the exercise of its police power, an SEC. 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property,
enactment of the City Council acting as agent of Congress. Local government units, as and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of
agencies of the State, are endowed with police power in order to effectively accomplish and the blessings of democracy.44
carry out the declared objects of their creation.41 This delegated police power is found in
Section 16 of the Code, known as the general welfare clause, viz: SEC. 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the
fundamental equality before the law of women and men. 45
SECTION 16. General Welfare. Every local government unit shall exercise the powers
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, SEC. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law,
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of laws. 46
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial
jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the Sec. 9. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. 47
preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of
the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate
A. The Ordinance infringes
and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
the Due Process Clause
economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents,
maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
The constitutional safeguard of due process is embodied in the fiat "(N)o person shall be
deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. . . ." 48
Local government units exercise police power through their respective legislative bodies; in
this case, the sangguniang panlungsod or the city council. The Code empowers the
There is no controlling and precise definition of due process. It furnishes though a
legislative bodies to "enact ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for the
standard to which governmental action should conform in order that deprivation of life,
general welfare of the province/city/municipality and its inhabitants pursuant to Section
liberty or property, in each appropriate case, be valid. This standard is aptly described as
16 of the Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the province/city/
a responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice, 49and as
municipality provided under the Code.42 The inquiry in this Petition is concerned with the
such it is a limitation upon the exercise of the police power. 50
validity of the exercise of such delegated power.

84
The purpose of the guaranty is to prevent governmental encroachment against the life, Rights. Individual rights, it bears emphasis, may be adversely affected only to the extent
liberty and property of individuals; to secure the individual from the arbitrary exercise of that may fairly be required by the legitimate demands of public interest or public welfare. 58
the powers of the government, unrestrained by the established principles of private rights Due process requires the intrinsic validity of the law in interfering with the rights of the
and distributive justice; to protect property from confiscation by legislative enactments, person to his life, liberty and property.59
from seizure, forfeiture, and destruction without a trial and conviction by the ordinary
mode of judicial procedure; and to secure to all persons equal and impartial justice and the Requisites for the valid exercise
benefit of the general law.51 of Police Power are not met

The guaranty serves as a protection against arbitrary regulation, and private corporations To successfully invoke the exercise of police power as the rationale for the enactment of
and partnerships are "persons" within the scope of the guaranty insofar as their property is the Ordinance, and to free it from the imputation of constitutional infirmity, not only must
concerned.52 it appear that the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a
particular class, require an interference with private rights, but the means adopted must
This clause has been interpreted as imposing two separate limits on government, usually be reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and not unduly oppressive
called "procedural due process" and "substantive due process." upon individuals.60It must be evident that no other alternative for the accomplishment of
the purpose less intrusive of private rights can work. A reasonable relation must exist
Procedural due process, as the phrase implies, refers to the procedures that the between the purposes of the police measure and the means employed for its
government must follow before it deprives a person of life, liberty, or property. Classic accomplishment, for even under the guise of protecting the public interest, personal rights
procedural due process issues are concerned with what kind of notice and what form of and those pertaining to private property will not be permitted to be arbitrarily invaded. 61
hearing the government must provide when it takes a particular action. 53
Lacking a concurrence of these two requisites, the police measure shall be struck down as
Substantive due process, as that phrase connotes, asks whether the government has an an arbitrary intrusion into private rights62 a violation of the due process clause.
adequate reason for taking away a person's life, liberty, or property. In other words,
substantive due process looks to whether there is a sufficient justification for the The Ordinance was enacted to address and arrest the social ills purportedly spawned by
government's action.54 Case law in the United States (U.S.) tells us that whether there is the establishments in the Ermita-Malate area which are allegedly operated under the
such a justification depends very much on the level of scrutiny used.55 For example, if a deceptive veneer of legitimate, licensed and tax-paying nightclubs, bars, karaoke bars,
law is in an area where only rational basis review is applied, substantive due process is met girlie houses, cocktail lounges, hotels and motels. Petitioners insist that even the Court in
so long as the law is rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. But if it is an the case of Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of
area where strict scrutiny is used, such as for protecting fundamental rights, then the Manila63 had already taken judicial notice of the "alarming increase in the rate of
government will meet substantive due process only if it can prove that the law is necessary prostitution, adultery and fornication in Manila traceable in great part to existence of
to achieve a compelling government purpose.56 motels, which provide a necessary atmosphere for clandestine entry, presence and exit and
thus become the ideal haven for prostitutes and thrill-seekers."64
The police power granted to local government units must always be exercised with utmost
observance of the rights of the people to due process and equal protection of the law. Such The object of the Ordinance was, accordingly, the promotion and protection of the social
power cannot be exercised whimsically, arbitrarily or despotically 57 as its exercise is and moral values of the community. Granting for the sake of argument that the objectives
subject to a qualification, limitation or restriction demanded by the respect and regard due of the Ordinance are within the scope of the City Council's police powers, the means
to the prescription of the fundamental law, particularly those forming part of the Bill of employed for the accomplishment thereof were unreasonable and unduly oppressive.

85
It is undoubtedly one of the fundamental duties of the City of Manila to make all punished. It cannot be classified as a house of ill-repute or as a nuisance per se on a mere
reasonable regulations looking to the promotion of the moral and social values of the likelihood or a naked assumption. If that were so and if that were allowed, then the
community. However, the worthy aim of fostering public morals and the eradication of the Ermita-Malate area would not only be purged of its supposed social ills, it would be
community's social ills can be achieved through means less restrictive of private rights; it extinguished of its soul as well as every human activity, reprehensible or not, in its every
can be attained by reasonable restrictions rather than by an absolute prohibition. The nook and cranny would be laid bare to the estimation of the authorities.
closing down and transfer of businesses or their conversion into businesses "allowed"
under the Ordinance have no reasonable relation to the accomplishment of its purposes. The Ordinance seeks to legislate morality but fails to address the core issues of morality.
Otherwise stated, the prohibition of the enumerated establishments will not per seprotect Try as the Ordinance may to shape morality, it should not foster the illusion that it can
and promote the social and moral welfare of the community; it will not in itself eradicate make a moral man out of it because immorality is not a thing, a building or establishment;
the alluded social ills of prostitution, adultery, fornication nor will it arrest the spread of it is in the hearts of men. The City Council instead should regulate human conduct that
sexual disease in Manila. occurs inside the establishments, but not to the detriment of liberty and privacy which are
covenants, premiums and blessings of democracy.
Conceding for the nonce that the Ermita-Malate area teems with houses of ill-repute and
establishments of the like which the City Council may lawfully prohibit,65 it is baseless and While petitioners' earnestness at curbing clearly objectionable social ills is commendable,
insupportable to bring within that classification sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke they unwittingly punish even the proprietors and operators of "wholesome," "innocent"
bars, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls, motels and establishments. In the instant case, there is a clear invasion of personal or property rights,
inns. This is not warranted under the accepted definitions of these terms. The enumerated personal in the case of those individuals desirous of owning, operating and patronizing
establishments are lawful pursuits which are not per se offensive to the moral welfare of those motels and property in terms of the investments made and the salaries to be paid to
the community. those therein employed. If the City of Manila so desires to put an end to prostitution,
fornication and other social ills, it can instead impose reasonable regulations such as daily
That these are used as arenas to consummate illicit sexual affairs and as venues to further inspections of the establishments for any violation of the conditions of their licenses or
the illegal prostitution is of no moment. We lay stress on the acrid truth that sexual permits; it may exercise its authority to suspend or revoke their licenses for these
immorality, being a human frailty, may take place in the most innocent of places that it violations;67 and it may even impose increased license fees. In other words, there are other
may even take place in the substitute establishments enumerated under Section 3 of means to reasonably accomplish the desired end.
the Ordinance. If the flawed logic of the Ordinance were to be followed, in the remote
instance that an immoral sexual act transpires in a church cloister or a court chamber, we Means employed are
would behold the spectacle of the City of Manila ordering the closure of the church or court constitutionally infirm
concerned. Every house, building, park, curb, street or even vehicles for that matter will
not be exempt from the prohibition. Simply because there are no "pure" places where there The Ordinance disallows the operation of sauna parlors, massage parlors, karaoke bars,
are impure men. Indeed, even the Scripture and the Tradition of Christians churches beerhouses, night clubs, day clubs, super clubs, discotheques, cabarets, dance halls,
continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history. 66 motels and inns in the Ermita-Malate area. In Section 3 thereof, owners and/or operators
of the enumerated establishments are given three (3) months from the date of approval of
The problem, it needs to be pointed out, is not the establishment, which by its nature the Ordinance within which "to wind up business operations or to transfer to any place
cannot be said to be injurious to the health or comfort of the community and which in itself outside the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds of business
is amoral, but the deplorable human activity that may occur within its premises. While a allowable within the area." Further, it states in Section 4 that in cases of subsequent
motel may be used as a venue for immoral sexual activity, it cannot for that reason alone be

86
violations of the provisions of the Ordinance, the "premises of the erring establishment own concept of existence, of meaning, of universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs
shall be closed and padlocked permanently." about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood where they formed
under compulsion of the State.71
It is readily apparent that the means employed by the Ordinance for the achievement of its
purposes, the governmental interference itself, infringes on the constitutional guarantees Persons desirous to own, operate and patronize the enumerated establishments under
of a person's fundamental right to liberty and property. Section 1 of the Ordinancemay seek autonomy for these purposes.

Liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution was defined by Justice Malcolm to include "the Motel patrons who are single and unmarried may invoke this right to autonomy to
right to exist and the right to be free from arbitrary restraint or servitude. The term cannot consummate their bonds in intimate sexual conduct within the motel's premises be it
be dwarfed into mere freedom from physical restraint of the person of the citizen, but is stressed that their consensual sexual behavior does not contravene any fundamental state
deemed to embrace the right of man to enjoy the facilities with which he has been endowed policy as contained in the Constitution.72 Adults have a right to choose to forge such
by his Creator, subject only to such restraint as are necessary for the common welfare." 68 relationships with others in the confines of their own private lives and still retain their
In accordance with this case, the rights of the citizen to be free to use his faculties in all dignity as free persons. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows persons the right
lawful ways; to live and work where he will; to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling; and to make this choice.73 Their right to liberty under the due process clause gives them the full
to pursue any avocation are all deemed embraced in the concept of liberty. 69 right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government, as long as they do
not run afoul of the law. Liberty should be the rule and restraint the exception.
The U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Roth v. Board of Regents,70 sought to clarify the
meaning of "liberty." It said: Liberty in the constitutional sense not only means freedom from unlawful government
restraint; it must include privacy as well, if it is to be a repository of freedom. The right to
While the Court has not attempted to define with exactness the liberty. . . guaranteed [by be let alone is the beginning of all freedom it is the most comprehensive of rights and the
the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments], the term denotes not merely freedom from bodily right most valued by civilized men.74
restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, to engage in any of the common
occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up The concept of liberty compels respect for the individual whose claim to privacy and
children, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and generally to interference demands respect. As the case of Morfe v. Mutuc,75 borrowing the words of
enjoy those privileges long recognized…as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by Laski, so very aptly stated:
free men. In a Constitution for a free people, there can be no doubt that the meaning of
"liberty" must be broad indeed. Man is one among many, obstinately refusing reduction to unity. His separateness, his
isolation, are indefeasible; indeed, they are so fundamental that they are the basis on
In another case, it also confirmed that liberty protected by the due process clause includes which his civic obligations are built. He cannot abandon the consequences of his isolation,
personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, which are, broadly speaking, that his experience is private, and the will built out of that
child rearing, and education. In explaining the respect the Constitution demands for the experience personal to himself. If he surrenders his will to others, he surrenders himself. If
autonomy of the person in making these choices, the U.S. Supreme Court explained: his will is set by the will of others, he ceases to be a master of himself. I cannot believe that
a man no longer a master of himself is in any real sense free.
These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a
lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty Indeed, the right to privacy as a constitutional right was recognized in Morfe, the invasion
protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's of which should be justified by a compelling state interest. Morfe accorded recognition to

87
the right to privacy independently of its identification with liberty; in itself it is fully There are two different types of taking that can be identified. A "possessory" taking occurs
deserving of constitutional protection. Governmental powers should stop short of certain when the government confiscates or physically occupies property. A "regulatory" taking
intrusions into the personal life of the citizen.76 occurs when the government's regulation leaves no reasonable economically viable use of
the property.80
There is a great temptation to have an extended discussion on these civil liberties but the
Court chooses to exercise restraint and restrict itself to the issues presented when it In the landmark case of Pennsylvania Coal v. Mahon,81 it was held that a taking also could
should. The previous pronouncements of the Court are not to be interpreted as a license for be found if government regulation of the use of property went "too far." When regulation
adults to engage in criminal conduct. The reprehensibility of such conduct is not reaches a certain magnitude, in most if not in all cases there must be an exercise of
diminished. The Court only reaffirms and guarantees their right to make this choice. eminent domain and compensation to support the act. While property may be regulated to
Should they be prosecuted for their illegal conduct, they should suffer the consequences of a certain extent, if regulation goes too far it will be recognized as a taking. 82
the choice they have made. That, ultimately, is their choice.
No formula or rule can be devised to answer the questions of what is too far and when
Modality employed is regulation becomes a taking. In Mahon, Justice Holmes recognized that it was "a question
unlawful taking of degree and therefore cannot be disposed of by general propositions." On many other
occasions as well, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the issue of when regulation
In addition, the Ordinance is unreasonable and oppressive as it substantially divests the constitutes a taking is a matter of considering the facts in each case. The Court asks
respondent of the beneficial use of its property.77 The Ordinance in Section 1 thereof whether justice and fairness require that the economic loss caused by public action must
forbids the running of the enumerated businesses in the Ermita-Malate area and in be compensated by the government and thus borne by the public as a whole, or whether
Section 3 instructs its owners/operators to wind up business operations or to transfer the loss should remain concentrated on those few persons subject to the public action.83
outside the area or convert said businesses into allowed businesses. An ordinance which
permanently restricts the use of property that it can not be used for any reasonable What is crucial in judicial consideration of regulatory takings is that government
purpose goes beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the property without regulation is a taking if it leaves no reasonable economically viable use of property in a
just compensation.78 It is intrusive and violative of the private property rights of manner that interferes with reasonable expectations for use. 84 A regulation that
individuals. permanently denies all economically beneficial or productive use of land is, from the
owner's point of view, equivalent to a "taking" unless principles of nuisance or property law
The Constitution expressly provides in Article III, Section 9, that "private property shall not that existed when the owner acquired the land make the use prohibitable. 85 When the
be taken for public use without just compensation." The provision is the most important owner of real property has been called upon to sacrifice all economically beneficial uses in
protection of property rights in the Constitution. This is a restriction on the general power the name of the common good, that is, to leave his property economically idle, he has
of the government to take property. The constitutional provision is about ensuring that the suffered a taking.86
government does not confiscate the property of some to give it to others. In part too, it is
about loss spreading. If the government takes away a person's property to benefit society, A regulation which denies all economically beneficial or productive use of land will require
then society should pay. The principal purpose of the guarantee is "to bar the Government compensation under the takings clause. Where a regulation places limitations on land that
from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, fall short of eliminating all economically beneficial use, a taking nonetheless may have
should be borne by the public as a whole.79 occurred, depending on a complex of factors including the regulation's economic effect on
the landowner, the extent to which the regulation interferes with reasonable
investment-backed expectations and the character of government action. These inquiries

88
are informed by the purpose of the takings clause which is to prevent the government from The penalty of closure likewise constitutes unlawful taking that should be compensated by
forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should the government. The burden on the owner to convert or transfer his business, otherwise it
be borne by the public as a whole.87 will be closed permanently after a subsequent violation should be borne by the public as
this end benefits them as a whole.
A restriction on use of property may also constitute a "taking" if not reasonably necessary
to the effectuation of a substantial public purpose or if it has an unduly harsh impact on Petitioners cannot take refuge in classifying the measure as a zoning ordinance. A zoning
the distinct investment-backed expectations of the owner.88 ordinance, although a valid exercise of police power, which limits a "wholesome" property
to a use which can not reasonably be made of it constitutes the taking of such property
The Ordinance gives the owners and operators of the "prohibited" establishments three (3) without just compensation. Private property which is not noxious nor intended for
months from its approval within which to "wind up business operations or to transfer to noxious purposes may not, by zoning, be destroyed without compensation. Such principle
any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or convert said businesses to other kinds of finds no support in the principles of justice as we know them. The police powers of local
business allowable within the area." The directive to "wind up business operations" government units which have always received broad and liberal interpretation cannot be
amounts to a closure of the establishment, a permanent deprivation of property, and is stretched to cover this particular taking.
practically confiscatory. Unless the owner converts his establishment to accommodate an
"allowed" business, the structure which housed the previous business will be left empty Distinction should be made between destruction from necessity and eminent domain. It
and gathering dust. Suppose he transfers it to another area, he will likewise leave the needs restating that the property taken in the exercise of police power is destroyed because
entire establishment idle. Consideration must be given to the substantial amount of money it is noxious or intended for a noxious purpose while the property taken under the power of
invested to build the edifices which the owner reasonably expects to be returned within a eminent domain is intended for a public use or purpose and is therefore "wholesome." 89 If it
period of time. It is apparent that the Ordinance leaves no reasonable economically viable be of public benefit that a "wholesome" property remain unused or relegated to a particular
use of property in a manner that interferes with reasonable expectations for use. purpose, then certainly the public should bear the cost of reasonable compensation for the
condemnation of private property for public use. 90
The second and third options to transfer to any place outside of the Ermita-Malate area or
to convert into allowed businesses are confiscatory as well. The penalty of permanent Further, the Ordinance fails to set up any standard to guide or limit the petitioners' actions.
closure in cases of subsequent violations found in Section 4 of the Ordinance is also It in no way controls or guides the discretion vested in them. It provides no definition of the
equivalent to a "taking" of private property. establishments covered by it and it fails to set forth the conditions when the
establishments come within its ambit of prohibition. The Ordinance confers upon the
The second option instructs the owners to abandon their property and build another one mayor arbitrary and unrestricted power to close down establishments. Ordinances such as
outside the Ermita-Malate area. In every sense, it qualifies as a taking without just this, which make possible abuses in its execution, depending upon no conditions or
compensation with an additional burden imposed on the owner to build another qualifications whatsoever other than the unregulated arbitrary will of the city authorities
establishment solely from his coffers. The proffered solution does not put an end to the as the touchstone by which its validity is to be tested, are unreasonable and invalid.
"problem," it merely relocates it. Not only is this impractical, it is unreasonable, onerous The Ordinance should have established a rule by which its impartial enforcement could be
and oppressive. The conversion into allowed enterprises is just as ridiculous. How may the secured.91
respondent convert a motel into a restaurant or a coffee shop, art gallery or music lounge
without essentially destroying its property? This is a taking of private property without due Ordinances placing restrictions upon the lawful use of property must, in order to be valid
process of law, nay, even without compensation. and constitutional, specify the rules and conditions to be observed and conduct to avoid;

89
and must not admit of the exercise, or of an opportunity for the exercise, of unbridled association. Anent the first contention, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the
discretion by the law enforcers in carrying out its provisions.92 reasonableness of the legislative judgment combined with a study which the city
considered, was adequate to support the city's determination that motels permitting room
Thus, in Coates v. City of Cincinnati,93 as cited in People v. Nazario,94 the U.S. Supreme rentals for fewer than ten (10 ) hours should be included within the licensing scheme. As
Court struck down an ordinance that had made it illegal for "three or more persons to regards the second point, the Court held that limiting motel room rentals to ten (10) hours
assemble on any sidewalk and there conduct themselves in a manner annoying to persons will have no discernible effect on personal bonds as those bonds that are formed from the
passing by." The ordinance was nullified as it imposed no standard at all "because one may use of a motel room for fewer than ten (10) hours are not those that have played a critical
never know in advance what 'annoys some people but does not annoy others.' " role in the culture and traditions of the nation by cultivating and transmitting shared
ideals and beliefs.
Similarly, the Ordinance does not specify the standards to ascertain which establishments
"tend to disturb the community," "annoy the inhabitants," and "adversely affect the social The ordinance challenged in the above-cited case merely regulated the targeted businesses.
and moral welfare of the community." The cited case supports the nullification of It imposed reasonable restrictions; hence, its validity was upheld.
the Ordinance for lack of comprehensible standards to guide the law enforcers in carrying
out its provisions. The case of Ermita Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. v. City Mayor of
Manila,96 it needs pointing out, is also different from this case in that what was involved
Petitioners cannot therefore order the closure of the enumerated establishments without therein was a measure which regulated the mode in which motels may conduct business in
infringing the due process clause. These lawful establishments may be regulated, but not order to put an end to practices which could encourage vice and immorality. Necessarily,
prevented from carrying on their business. This is a sweeping exercise of police power that there was no valid objection on due process or equal protection grounds as the ordinance
is a result of a lack of imagination on the part of the City Council and which amounts to an did not prohibit motels. The Ordinance in this case however is not a regulatory measure
interference into personal and private rights which the Court will not countenance. In this but is an exercise of an assumed power to prohibit. 97
regard, we take a resolute stand to uphold the constitutional guarantee of the right to
liberty and property. The foregoing premises show that the Ordinance is an unwarranted and unlawful
curtailment of property and personal rights of citizens. For being unreasonable and an
Worthy of note is an example derived from the U.S. of a reasonable regulation which is a far undue restraint of trade, it cannot, even under the guise of exercising police power, be
cry from the ill-considered Ordinance enacted by the City Council. upheld as valid.

In FW/PBS, INC. v. Dallas,95 the city of Dallas adopted a comprehensive ordinance B. The Ordinance violates Equal
regulating "sexually oriented businesses," which are defined to include adult arcades, Protection Clause
bookstores, video stores, cabarets, motels, and theaters as well as escort agencies, nude
model studio and sexual encounter centers. Among other things, the ordinance required Equal protection requires that all persons or things similarly situated should be treated
that such businesses be licensed. A group of motel owners were among the three groups of alike, both as to rights conferred and responsibilities imposed. Similar subjects, in other
businesses that filed separate suits challenging the ordinance. The motel owners asserted words, should not be treated differently, so as to give undue favor to some and unjustly
that the city violated the due process clause by failing to produce adequate support for its discriminate against others.98 The guarantee means that no person or class of persons
supposition that renting room for fewer than ten (10) hours resulted in increased crime shall be denied the same protection of laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other
and other secondary effects. They likewise argued than the ten (10)-hour limitation on the classes in like circumstances.99 The "equal protection of the laws is a pledge of the
rental of motel rooms placed an unconstitutional burden on the right to freedom of

90
protection of equal laws."100 It limits governmental discrimination. The equal protection 3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only.
clause extends to artificial persons but only insofar as their property is concerned. 101
4) It must apply equally to all members of the class. 104
The Court has explained the scope of the equal protection clause in this wise:
In the Court's view, there are no substantial distinctions between motels, inns, pension
… What does it signify? To quote from J.M. Tuason & Co. v. Land Tenure Administration: houses, hotels, lodging houses or other similar establishments. By definition, all are
"The ideal situation is for the law's benefits to be available to all, that none be placed commercial establishments providing lodging and usually meals and other services for the
outside the sphere of its coverage. Only thus could chance and favor be excluded and the public. No reason exists for prohibiting motels and inns but not pension houses, hotels,
affairs of men governed by that serene and impartial uniformity, which is of the very lodging houses or other similar establishments. The classification in the instant case is
essence of the idea of law." There is recognition, however, in the opinion that what in fact invalid as similar subjects are not similarly treated, both as to rights conferred and
exists "cannot approximate the ideal. Nor is the law susceptible to the reproach that it does obligations imposed. It is arbitrary as it does not rest on substantial distinctions bearing a
not take into account the realities of the situation. The constitutional guarantee then is not just and fair relation to the purpose of the Ordinance.
to be given a meaning that disregards what is, what does in fact exist. To assure that the
general welfare be promoted, which is the end of law, a regulatory measure may cut into The Court likewise cannot see the logic for prohibiting the business and operation of motels
the rights to liberty and property. Those adversely affected may under such circumstances in the Ermita-Malate area but not outside of this area. A noxious establishment does not
invoke the equal protection clause only if they can show that the governmental act assailed, become any less noxious if located outside the area.
far from being inspired by the attainment of the common weal was prompted by the spirit
of hostility, or at the very least, discrimination that finds no support in reason." The standard "where women are used as tools for entertainment" is also discriminatory as
Classification is thus not ruled out, it being sufficient to quote from the Tuason decision prostitution one of the hinted ills the Ordinance aims to banish is not a profession
anew "that the laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons under similar exclusive to women. Both men and women have an equal propensity to engage in
circumstances or that all persons must be treated in the same manner, the conditions not prostitution. It is not any less grave a sin when men engage in it. And why would the
being different, both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed. Favoritism and assumption that there is an ongoing immoral activity apply only when women are
undue preference cannot be allowed. For the principle is that equal protection and security employed and be inapposite when men are in harness? This discrimination based on
shall be given to every person under circumstances which, if not identical, are analogous. If gender violates equal protection as it is not substantially related to important government
law be looked upon in terms of burden or charges, those that fall within a class should be objectives.105 Thus, the discrimination is invalid.
treated in the same fashion, whatever restrictions cast on some in the group equally
binding on the rest.102 Failing the test of constitutionality, the Ordinance likewise failed to pass the test of
consistency with prevailing laws.
Legislative bodies are allowed to classify the subjects of legislation. If the classification is
reasonable, the law may operate only on some and not all of the people without violating C. The Ordinance is repugnant
the equal protection clause.103 The classification must, as an indispensable requisite, not to general laws; it is ultra vires
be arbitrary. To be valid, it must conform to the following requirements:
The Ordinance is in contravention of the Code as the latter merely empowers local
1) It must be based on substantial distinctions. government units to regulate, and not prohibit, the establishments enumerated in Section
1 thereof.
2) It must be germane to the purposes of the law.

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The power of the City Council to regulate by ordinances the establishment, operation, and . . .
maintenance of motels, hotels and other similar establishments is found in Section 458 (a)
4 (iv), which provides that: (vii) Regulate the establishment, operation, and maintenance of any entertainment or
amusement facilities, including theatrical performances, circuses, billiard pools, public
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places for
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions entertainment or amusement; regulate such other events or activities for amusement or
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to entertainment, particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as inhabitants, or require the suspension or suppression of the same; or, prohibit certain
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall: forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and moral welfare of
the community.
. . .
Clearly, with respect to cafes, restaurants, beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension
(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city in houses, lodging houses, and other similar establishments, the only power of the City
order to promote the general welfare and for said purpose shall: Council to legislate relative thereto is to regulate them to promote the general welfare. The
Code still withholds from cities the power to suppress and prohibit altogether the
. . . establishment, operation and maintenance of such establishments. It is well to recall the
rulings of the Court in Kwong Sing v. City of Manila106 that:
(iv) Regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of cafes, restaurants,
beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, pension houses, lodging houses, and other similar The word "regulate," as used in subsection (l), section 2444 of the Administrative Code,
establishments, including tourist guides and transports . . . . means and includes the power to control, to govern, and to restrain; but "regulate" should
not be construed as synonymous with "suppress" or "prohibit." Consequently, under the
While its power to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of any power to regulate laundries, the municipal authorities could make proper police
entertainment or amusement facilities, and to prohibit certain forms of amusement or regulations as to the mode in which the employment or business shall be exercised.107
entertainment is provided under Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code, which reads as follows:
And in People v. Esguerra,108 wherein the Court nullified an ordinance of the Municipality
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang of Tacloban which prohibited the selling, giving and dispensing of liquor ratiocinating that
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions the municipality is empowered only to regulate the same and not prohibit. The Court
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to therein declared that:
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall: (A)s a general rule when a municipal corporation is specifically given authority or power to
regulate or to license and regulate the liquor traffic, power to prohibit is impliedly
. . . withheld.109

(4) Regulate activities relative to the use of land, buildings and structures within the city in These doctrines still hold contrary to petitioners' assertion 110 that they were modified by
order to promote the general welfare and for said purpose shall: the Code vesting upon City Councils prohibitory powers.

92
Similarly, the City Council exercises regulatory powers over public dancing schools, public The argument that the City Council is empowered to enact the Ordinance by virtue of the
dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other places for entertainment or general welfare clause of the Code and of Art. 3, Sec. 18 (kk) of the Revised Charter of
amusement as found in the first clause of Section 458 (a) 4 (vii). Its powers to regulate, Manila is likewise without merit. On the first point, the ruling of the Court in People v.
suppress and suspend "such other events or activities for amusement or entertainment, Esguerra,115 is instructive. It held that:
particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants" and to
"prohibit certain forms of amusement or entertainment in order to protect the social and The powers conferred upon a municipal council in the general welfare clause, or section
moral welfare of the community" are stated in the second and third clauses, respectively of 2238 of the Revised Administrative Code, refers to matters not covered by the other
the same Section. The several powers of the City Council as provided in Section 458 (a) 4 provisions of the same Code, and therefore it can not be applied to intoxicating liquors, for
(vii) of the Code, it is pertinent to emphasize, are separated by semi-colons (;), the use of the power to regulate the selling, giving away and dispensing thereof is granted specifically
which indicates that the clauses in which these powers are set forth are independent of by section 2242 (g) to municipal councils. To hold that, under the general power granted by
each other albeit closely related to justify being put together in a single enumeration or section 2238, a municipal council may enact the ordinance in question, notwithstanding
paragraph.111 These powers, therefore, should not be confused, commingled or the provision of section 2242 (g), would be to make the latter superfluous and nugatory,
consolidated as to create a conglomerated and unified power of regulation, suppression because the power to prohibit, includes the power to regulate, the selling, giving away and
and prohibition.112 dispensing of intoxicating liquors.

The Congress unequivocably specified the establishments and forms of amusement or On the second point, it suffices to say that the Code being a later expression of the
entertainment subject to regulation among which are beerhouses, hotels, motels, inns, legislative will must necessarily prevail and override the earlier law, the Revised Charter of
pension houses, lodging houses, and other similar establishments (Section 458 (a) 4 (iv)), Manila. Legis posteriores priores contrarias abrogant, or later statute repeals prior ones
public dancing schools, public dance halls, sauna baths, massage parlors, and other which are repugnant thereto. As between two laws on the same subject matter, which are
places for entertainment or amusement (Section 458 (a) 4 (vii)). This enumeration therefore irreconcilably inconsistent, that which is passed later prevails, since it is the latest
cannot be included as among "other events or activities for amusement or entertainment, expression of legislative will.116 If there is an inconsistency or repugnance between two
particularly those which tend to disturb the community or annoy the inhabitants" or statutes, both relating to the same subject matter, which cannot be removed by any fair
"certain forms of amusement or entertainment" which the City Council may suspend, and reasonable method of interpretation, it is the latest expression of the legislative will
suppress or prohibit. which must prevail and override the earlier.117

The rule is that the City Council has only such powers as are expressly granted to it and Implied repeals are those which take place when a subsequently enacted law contains
those which are necessarily implied or incidental to the exercise thereof. By reason of its provisions contrary to those of an existing law but no provisions expressly repealing them.
limited powers and the nature thereof, said powers are to be construed strictissimi Such repeals have been divided into two general classes: those which occur where an act is
juris and any doubt or ambiguity arising out of the terms used in granting said powers so inconsistent or irreconcilable with an existing prior act that only one of the two can
must be construed against the City Council.113 Moreover, it is a general rule in statutory remain in force and those which occur when an act covers the whole subject of an earlier
construction that the express mention of one person, thing, or consequence is tantamount act and is intended to be a substitute therefor. The validity of such a repeal is sustained on
to an express exclusion of all others. Expressio unius est exclusio alterium. This maxim is the ground that the latest expression of the legislative will should prevail.118
based upon the rules of logic and the natural workings of human mind. It is particularly
applicable in the construction of such statutes as create new rights or remedies, impose In addition, Section 534(f) of the Code states that "All general and special laws, acts, city
penalties or punishments, or otherwise come under the rule of strict construction.114 charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations and administrative regulations, or part
or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Code are hereby

93
repealed or modified accordingly." Thus, submitting to petitioners' interpretation that the . . .
Revised Charter of Manila empowers the City Council to prohibit motels, that portion of the
Charter stating such must be considered repealed by the Code as it is at variance with the If it were the intention of Congress to confer upon the City Council the power to prohibit the
latter's provisions granting the City Council mere regulatory powers. establishments enumerated in Section 1 of the Ordinance, it would have so declared in
uncertain terms by adding them to the list of the matters it may prohibit under the
It is well to point out that petitioners also cannot seek cover under the general welfare above-quoted Section. The Ordinance now vainly attempts to lump these establishments
clause authorizing the abatement of nuisances without judicial proceedings. That tenet with houses of ill-repute and expand the City Council's powers in the second and third
applies to a nuisance per se, or one which affects the immediate safety of persons and clauses of Section 458 (a) 4 (vii) of the Code in an effort to overreach its prohibitory powers.
property and may be summarily abated under the undefined law of necessity. It can not be It is evident that these establishments may only be regulated in their establishment,
said that motels are injurious to the rights of property, health or comfort of the community. operation and maintenance.
It is a legitimate business. If it be a nuisance per accidens it may be so proven in a hearing
conducted for that purpose. A motel is not per se a nuisance warranting its summary It is important to distinguish the punishable activities from the establishments themselves.
abatement without judicial intervention.119 That these establishments are recognized legitimate enterprises can be gleaned from
another Section of the Code. Section 131 under the Title on Local Government Taxation
Notably, the City Council was conferred powers to prevent and prohibit certain activities expressly mentioned proprietors or operators of massage clinics, sauna, Turkish and
and establishments in another section of the Code which is reproduced as follows: Swedish baths, hotels, motels and lodging houses as among the "contractors" defined in
paragraph (h) thereof. The same Section also defined "amusement" as a "pleasurable
Section 458. Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. (a) The sangguniang diversion and entertainment," "synonymous to relaxation, avocation, pastime or fun;" and
panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions "amusement places" to include "theaters, cinemas, concert halls, circuses and other places
and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to of amusement where one seeks admission to entertain oneself by seeing or viewing the
Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as show or performances." Thus, it can be inferred that the Code considers these
provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall: establishments as legitimate enterprises and activities. It is well to recall the maxim
reddendo singula singulis which means that words in different parts of a statute must be
(1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city referred to their appropriate connection, giving to each in its place, its proper force and
government, and in this connection, shall: effect, and, if possible, rendering none of them useless or superfluous, even if strict
grammatical construction demands otherwise. Likewise, where words under consideration
. . . appear in different sections or are widely dispersed throughout an act the same principle
applies.120
(v) Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate penalties for
habitual drunkenness in public places, vagrancy, mendicancy, prostitution, Not only does the Ordinance contravene the Code, it likewise runs counter to the
establishment and maintenance of houses of ill repute, gambling and other prohibited provisions of P.D. 499. As correctly argued by MTDC, the statute had already converted the
games of chance, fraudulent devices and ways to obtain money or property, drug residential Ermita-Malate area into a commercial area. The decree allowed the
addiction, maintenance of drug dens, drug pushing, juvenile delinquency, the printing, establishment and operation of all kinds of commercial establishments except warehouse
distribution or exhibition of obscene or pornographic materials or publications, and such or open storage depot, dump or yard, motor repair shop, gasoline service station, light
other activities inimical to the welfare and morals of the inhabitants of the city; industry with any machinery or funeral establishment. The rule is that for an ordinance to
be valid and to have force and effect, it must not only be within the powers of the council to

94
enact but the same must not be in conflict with or repugnant to the general law. 121As establishments under Section 1 thereof or order their transfer or conversion without
succinctly illustrated in Solicitor General v. Metropolitan Manila Authority:122 infringing the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection of laws not
even under the guise of police power.
The requirement that the enactment must not violate existing law explains itself. Local
political subdivisions are able to legislate only by virtue of a valid delegation of legislative WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DENIED and the decision of the Regional Trial Court
power from the national legislature (except only that the power to create their own sources declaring the Ordinancevoid is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
of revenue and to levy taxes is conferred by the Constitution itself). They are mere agents
vested with what is called the power of subordinate legislation. As delegates of the SO ORDERED.
Congress, the local government units cannot contravene but must obey at all times the will
of their principal. In the case before us, the enactment in question, which are merely local Davide, Jr., C.J., Puno, Quisumbing, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona,
in origin cannot prevail against the decree, which has the force and effect of a statute. 123 Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, Chico-Nazario and Garcia, JJ., concur
Panganiban, J., in the result.
Petitioners contend that the Ordinance enjoys the presumption of validity. While this may Ynares- Santiago, J., concur in the result only.
be the rule, it has already been held that 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 evidence. The exercise of police power by the local government is
valid unless it contravenes the fundamental law of the land, or an act of the legislature, or
unless it is against public policy or is unreasonable, oppressive, partial, discriminating or
in derogation of a common right.124

Conclusion

All considered, the Ordinance invades fundamental personal and property rights and
impairs personal privileges. It is constitutionally infirm. The Ordinance contravenes
statutes; it is discriminatory and unreasonable in its operation; it is not sufficiently
detailed and explicit that abuses may attend the enforcement of its sanctions. And not to
be forgotten, the City Council under the Code had no power to enact the Ordinance and is
therefore ultra vires, null and void.

Concededly, the challenged Ordinance was enacted with the best of motives and shares the
concern of the public for the cleansing of the Ermita-Malate area of its social sins. Police
power legislation of such character deserves the full endorsement of the judiciary we
reiterate our support for it. But inspite of its virtuous aims, the enactment of
the Ordinance has no statutory or constitutional authority to stand on. Local legislative
bodies, in this case, the City Council, cannot prohibit the operation of the enumerated

95
EN BANC

G.R. No. 100152 March 31, 2000

ACEBEDO OPTICAL COMPANY, INC., petitioner,


vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, Hon. MAMINDIARA MANGOTARA, in his
capacity as Presiding Judge of the RTC, 12th Judicial Region, Br. 1, Iligan City;
SAMAHANG OPTOMETRIST Sa PILIPINAS — Iligan City Chapter, LEO T. CAHANAP,
City Legal Officer, and Hon. CAMILO P. CABILI, City Mayor of Iligan,respondents.

PURISIMA, J.:

At bar is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to nullify the
dismissal by the Court of Appeals of the original petition for certiorari, prohibition
and mandamus filed by the herein petitioner against the City Mayor and City Legal Officer
of Iligan and the Samahang Optometrist sa Pilipinas — Iligan Chapter (SOPI, for brevity).

The antecedent facts leading to the filing of the instant petition are as follows:

96
Petitioner applied with the Office of the City Mayor of Iligan for a business permit. After On July 19, 1989, the City Mayor sent petitioner a Notice of Resolution and Cancellation of
consideration of petitioner's application and the opposition interposed thereto by local Business Permit effective as of said date and giving petitioner three (3) months to wind up
optometrists, respondent City Mayor issued Business Permit No. 5342 subject to the its affairs.
following conditions:
On October 17, 1989, petitioner brought a petition for certiorari, prohibition
1. Since it is a corporation, Acebedo cannot put up an optical clinic but only a commercial and mandamus with prayer for restraining order/preliminary injunction against the
store; respondents, City Mayor, City Legal Officer and Samahan ng Optometrists sa
Pilipinas-Iligan City Chapter (SOPI), docketed as Civil Case No. 1497 before the Regional
2. Acebedo cannot examine and/or prescribe reading and similar optical glasses for Trial Court of Iligan City, Branch I. Petitioner alleged that (1) it was denied due process
patients, because these are functions of optical clinics; because it was not given an opportunity to present its evidence during the investigation
conducted by the City Legal Officer; (2) it was denied equal protection of the laws as the
3. Acebedo cannot sell reading and similar eyeglasses without a prescription having first limitations imposed on its business permit were not imposed on similar businesses in
been made by an independent optometrist (not its employee) or independent optical clinic. Iligan City; (3) the City Mayor had no authority to impose the special conditions on its
Acebedo can only sell directly to the public, without need of a prescription, Ray-Ban and business permit; and (4) the City Legal Officer had no authority to conduct the
similar eyeglasses; investigation as the matter falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Professional
Regulation Commission and the Board of Optometry.
4. Acebedo cannot advertise optical lenses and eyeglasses, but can advertise Ray-Ban and
similar glasses and frames; Respondent SOPI interposed a Motion to Dismiss the Petition on the ground of
non-exhaustion of administrative remedies but on November 24, 1989, Presiding Judge
5. Acebedo is allowed to grind lenses but only upon the prescription of an independent Mamindiara P. Mangotara deferred resolution of such Motion to Dismiss until after trial of
optometrist. 1 the case on the merits. However, the prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction was granted.
Thereafter, respondent SOPI filed its answer.1âwphi1.nêt
On December 5, 1988, private respondent Samahan ng Optometrist Sa Pilipinas (SOPI),
Iligan Chapter, through its Acting President, Dr. Frances B. Apostol, lodged a complaint On May 30, 1990, the trial court dismissed the petition for failure to exhaust
against the petitioner before the Office of the City Mayor, alleging that Acebedo had violated administrative remedies, and dissolved the writ of preliminary injunction it earlier issued.
the conditions set forth in its business permit and requesting the cancellation and/or Petitioner's motion for reconsideration met the same fate. It was denied by an Order dated
revocation of such permit. June 28, 1990.

Acting on such complaint, then City Mayor Camilo P. Cabili designated City Legal Officer On October 3, 1990, instead of taking an appeal, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari,
Leo T. Cahanap to conduct an investigation on the matter. On July 12, 1989, respondent prohibition and mandamus with the Court of Appeals seeking to set aside the questioned
City Legal Officer submitted a report to the City Mayor finding the herein petitioner guilty of Order of Dismissal, branding the same as tainted with grave abuse of discretion on the part
violating all the conditions of its business permit and recommending the disqualification of of the trial court.
petitioner from operating its business in Iligan City. The report further advised that no new
permit shall be granted to petitioner for the year 1989 and should only be given time to On January 24, 1991, the Ninth Division 2 of the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition
wind up its affairs. for lack of merit. Petitioner's motion reconsideration was also denied in the Resolution
dated May 15, 1991.

97
Undaunted, petitioner has come before this court via the present petition, theorizing that: to local government units, as agencies of the State, in order to effectively accomplish and
carry out the declared objects of their creation. 4 This delegation of police power is
A. embodied in the general welfare clause of the Local Government Code which provides:

THE RESPONDENT COURT, WHILE CORRECTLY HOLDING THAT THE RESPONDENT Sec. 6. General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly
CITY MAYOR ACTED BEYOND HIS AUTHORITY IN IMPOSING THE SPECIAL CONDITIONS granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or
IN THE PERMIT AS THEY HAD NO BASIS IN ANY LAW OR ORDINANCE, ERRED IN incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the
HOLDING THAT THE SAID SPECIAL CONDITIONS NEVERTHELESS BECAME BINDING promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local
ON PETITIONER UPON ITS ACCEPTANCE THEREOF AS A PRIVATE AGREEMENT OR government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the preservation and
CONTRACT. enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a
balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate and self-reliant
B. scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic
prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents, maintain
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE CONTRACT peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
BETWEEN PETITIONER AND THE CITY OF ILIGAN WAS ENTERED INTO BY THE LATTER
IN THE PERFORMANCE OF ITS PROPRIETARY FUNCTIONS. The scope of police power has been held to be so comprehensive as to encompass almost all
matters affecting the health, safety, peace, order, morals, comfort and convenience of the
The petition is impressed with merit. community. Police power is essentially regulatory in nature and the power to issue licenses
or grant business permits, if exercised for a regulatory and not revenue-raising purpose, is
within the ambit of this power. 5
Although petitioner agrees with the finding of the Court of Appeals that respondent City
Mayor acted beyond the scope of his authority in imposing the assailed conditions in
subject business permit, it has excepted to the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the said The authority of city mayors to issue or grant licenses and business permits is beyond cavil.
conditions nonetheless became binding on petitioner, once accepted, as a private It is provided for by law. Section 171, paragraph 2 (n) of Batas Pambansa Bilang 337
agreement or contract. Petitioner maintains that the said special conditions are null and otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1983, reads:
void for being ultra vires and cannot be given effect; and therefore, the principle of estoppel
cannot apply against it. Sec. 171. The City Mayor shall:

On the other hand, the public respondents, City Mayor and City Legal Officer, private xxx xxx xxx
respondent SOPI and the Office of the Solicitor General contend that as a valid exercise of
police power, respondent City Mayor has the authority to impose, as he did, special n) Grant or refuse to grant, pursuant to law, city licenses or permits, and revoke the same
conditions in the grant of business permits. for violation of law or ordinance or the conditions upon which they are granted.

Police power as an inherent attribute of sovereignty is the power to prescribe regulations to However, the power to grant or issue licenses or business permits must always be
promote the health, morals, peace, education, good order or safety and general welfare of exercised in accordance with law, with utmost observance of the rights of all concerned to
the people. 9 The State, through the legislature, has delegated the exercise of police power due process and equal protection of the law.

98
Succinct and in point is the ruling of this Court, that: prerogative by the City Mayor, nor is there any particular official or body vested with such
authority. 8
. . . While a business may be regulated, such regulation must, however, be within the
bounds of reason, i.e., the regulatory ordinance must be reasonable, and its provision However, the present inquiry does not stop there, as the Solicitor General believes. The
cannot be oppressive amounting to an arbitrary interference with the business or calling power or authority of the City Mayor to impose conditions or restrictions in the business
subject of regulation. A lawful business or calling may not, under the guise of regulation, permit is indisputable. What petitioner assails are the conditions imposed in its particular
be unreasonably interfered with even by the exercise of police power. . . . case which, it complains, amount to a confiscation of the business in which petitioner is
engaged.
xxx xxx xxx
Distinction must be made between the grant of a license or permit to do business and the
. . . The exercise of police power by the local government is valid unless it contravenes the issuance of a license to engage in the practice of a particular profession. The first is usually
fundamental law of the land or an act of the legislature, or unless it is against public policy granted by the local authorities and the second is issued by the Board or Commission
or is unreasonable, oppressive, partial, discriminating or in derogation of a common tasked to regulate the particular profession. A business permit authorizes the person,
right. 6 natural or otherwise, to engage in business or some form of commercial activity. A
professional license, on the other hand, is the grant of authority to a natural person to
In the case under consideration, the business permit granted by respondent City Mayor to engage in the practice or exercise of his or her profession.
petitioner was burdened with several conditions. Petitioner agrees with the holding by the
Court of Appeals that respondent City Mayor acted beyond his authority in imposing such In the case at bar, what is sought by petitioner from respondent City Mayor is a permit to
special conditions in its permit as the same have no basis in the law or ordinance. Public engage in the business of running an optical shop. It does not purport to seek a license to
respondents and private respondent SOPI, on the other hand, are one in saying that the engage in the practice of optometry as a corporate body or entity, although it does have in
imposition of said special conditions on petitioner's business permit is well within the its employ, persons who are duly licensed to practice optometry by the Board of Examiners
authority of the City Mayor as a valid exercise of police power. in Optometry.

As aptly discussed by the Solicitor General in his Comment, the power to issue licenses The case of Samahan ng Optometrists sa Pilipinas vs. Acebedo International Corporation,
and permits necessarily includes the corollary power to revoke, withdraw or cancel the G.R. No. 117097, 9promulgated by this Court on March 21, 1997, is in point. The factual
same. And the power to revoke or cancel, likewise includes the power to restrict through antecedents of that case are similar to those of the case under consideration and the issue
the imposition of certain conditions. In the case of Austin-Hardware, Inc. vs. Court of ultimately resolved therein is exactly the same issue posed for resolution by this Court en
Appeals, 7 it was held that the power to license carries with it the authority to provide banc.
reasonable terms and conditions under which the licensed business shall be conducted. As
the Solicitor General puts it: In the said case, the Acebedo International Corporation filed with the Office of the
Municipal Mayor an application for a business permit for the operation of a branch of
If the City Mayor is empowered to grant or refuse to grant a license, which is a broader Acebedo Optical in Candon, Ilocos Sur. The application was opposed by the Samahan ng
power, it stands to reason that he can also exercise a lesser power that is reasonably Optometrists sa Pilipinas-Ilocos Sur Chapter, theorizing that Acebedo is a juridical entity
incidental to his express power, i.e. to restrict a license through the imposition of certain not qualified to practice optometry. A committee was created by the Office of the Mayor to
conditions, especially so that there is no positive prohibition to the exercise of such study private respondent's application. Upon recommendation of the said committee,
Acebedo's application for a business permit was denied. Acebedo filed a petition with the

99
Regional Trial Court but the same was dismissed. On appeal, however, the Court of The focus of contention remains to be the proposal of prohibiting the indirect practice of
Appeals reversed the trial court's disposition, prompting the Samahan ng Optometrists to optometry by corporations.1âwphi1 We took a second look and even a third look at the
elevate the matter to this Court. issue in the bicameral conference, but a compromise remained elusive. 11

The First Division of this Court, then composed of Honorable Justice Teodoro Padilla, Former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani likewise voted her reservation in casting her vote:
Josue Bellosillo, Jose Vitug and Santiago Kapunan, with Honorable Justice Regino
Hermosisima, Jr. as ponente, denied the petition and ruled in favor of respondent Acebedo Senator Shahani: Mr. President.
International Corporation, holding that "the fact that private respondent hires optometrists
who practice their profession in the course of their employment in private respondent's The optometry bills have evoked controversial views from the members of the panel. While
optical shops, does not translate into a practice of optometry by private respondent we realize the need to uplift the standards of optometry as a profession, the consesnsus of
itself," 10 The Court further elucidated that in both the old and new Optometry Law, R.A. both Houses was to avoid touching sensitive issues which properly belong to judicial
No. 1998, superseded by R.A. No. 8050, it is significant to note that there is no prohibition determination. Thus, the bicameral conference committee decided to leave the issue of
against the hiring by corporations of optometrists. The Court concluded thus: indirect practice of optometry and the use of trade names open to the wisdom of the Courts
which are vested with the prerogative of interpreting the laws. 12
All told, there is no law that prohibits the hiring by corporations of optometrists or
considers the hiring by corporations of optometrists as a practice by the corporation itself From the foregoing, it is thus evident that Congress has not adopted a unanimous position
of the profession of optometry. on the matter of prohibition of indirect practice of optometry by corporations, specifically
on the hiring and employment of licensed optometrists by optical corporations. It is clear
In the present case, the objective of the imposition of subject conditions on petitioner's that Congress left the resolution of such issue for judicial determination, and it is therefore
business permit could be attained by requiring the optometrists in petitioner's employ to proper for this Court to resolve the issue.
produce a valid certificate of registration as optometrist, from the Board of Examiners in
Optometry. A business permit is issued primarily to regulate the conduct of business and Even in the United States, jurisprudence varies and there is a conflict of opinions among
the City Mayor cannot, through the issuance of such permit, regulate the practice of a the federal courts as to the right of a corporation or individual not himself licensed, to hire
profession, like that of optometry. Such a function is within the exclusive domain of the and employ licensed optometrists. 13
administrative agency specifically empowered by law to supervise the profession, in this
case the Professional Regulations Commission and the Board of Examiners in Optometry. Courts have distinguished between optometry as a learned profession in the category of
law and medicine, and optometry as a mechanical art. And, insofar as the courts regard
It is significant to note that during the deliberations of the bicameral conference committee optometry as merely a mechanical art, they have tended to find nothing objectionable in
of the Senate and the House of Representatives on R.A. 8050 (Senate Bill No. 1998 and the making and selling of eyeglasses, spectacles and lenses by corporations so long as the
House Bill No. 14100), the committee failed to reach a consensus as to the prohibition on patient is actually examined and prescribed for by a qualified practitioner. 14
indirect practice of optometry by corporations. The proponent of the bill, former Senator
Freddie Webb, admitted thus: The primary purpose of the statute regulating the practice of optometry is to insure that
optometrical services are to be rendered by competent and licensed persons in order to
Senator Webb: xxx xxx xxx protect the health and physical welfare of the people from the dangers engendered by
unlicensed practice. Such purpose may be fully accomplished although the person
rendering the service is employed by a corporation. 15

100
Furthermore, it was ruled that the employment of a qualified optometrist by a corporation questioned special conditions on petitioner's business permit is ultra vires cannot be put
is not against public policy. 16 Unless prohibited by statutes, a corporation has all the into issue here by the respondents. It is well-settled that:
contractual rights that an individual has 17 and it does not become the practice of medicine
or optometry because of the presence of a physician or optometrist. 18 The manufacturing, A party who has not appealed from the decision may not obtain any affirmative relief from
selling, trading and bartering of eyeglasses and spectacles as articles of merchandise do the appellate court other than what he had obtain from the lower court, if any, whose
not constitute the practice of optometry. 19 decision is brought up on appeal. 23

In the case of Dvorine vs. Castelberg Jewelry Corporation, 20 defendant corporation . . . an appellee who is not an appellant may assign errors in his brief where his purpose is
conducted as part of its business, a department for the sale of eyeglasses and the to maintain the judgment on other grounds, but he cannot seek modification or reversal of
furnishing of optometrical services to its clients. It employed a registered optometrist who the judgment or affirmative relief unless he has also appealed. 24
was compensated at a regular salary and commission and who was furnished instruments
and appliances needed for the work, as well as an office. In holding that corporation was Thus, respondents' submission that the imposition of subject special conditions on
not engaged in the practice of optometry, the court ruled that there is no public policy petitioner's business permit is not ultra vires cannot prevail over the finding and ruling by
forbidding the commercialization of optometry, as in law and medicine, and recognized the the Court of Appeals from which they (respondents) did not appeal.
general practice of making it a commercial business by advertising and selling eyeglasses.
Anent the second assigned error, petitioner maintains that its business permit issued by
To accomplish the objective of the regulation, a state may provide by statute that the City Mayor is not a contract entered into by Iligan City in the exercise of its proprietary
corporations cannot sell eyeglasses, spectacles, and lenses unless a duly licensed functions, such that although petitioner agreed to such conditions, it cannot be held in
physician or a duly qualified optometrist is in charge of, and in personal attendance at the estoppel since ultra vires acts cannot be given effect.
place where such articles are sold. 21 In such a case, the patient's primary and essential
safeguard lies in the optometrist's control of the "treatment" by means of prescription and Respondents, on the other hand, agree with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that the
preliminary and final examination. 22 business permit in question is in the nature of a contract between Iligan City and the
herein petitioner, the terms and conditions of which are binding upon agreement, and that
In analogy, it is noteworthy that private hospitals are maintained by corporations petitioner is estopped from questioning the same. Moreover, in the Resolution denying
incorporated for the purpose of furnishing medical and surgical treatment. In the course of petitioner's motion for reconsideration, the Court of Appeals held that the contract between
providing such treatments, these corporations employ physicians, surgeons and medical the petitioner and the City of Iligan was entered into by the latter in the performance of its
practitioners, in the same way that in the course of manufacturing and selling eyeglasses, proprietary functions.
eye frames and optical lenses, optical shops hire licensed optometrists to examine,
prescribe and dispense ophthalmic lenses. No one has ever charged that these This Court holds otherwise. It had occasion to rule that a license or permit is not in the
corporations are engaged in the practice of medicine. There is indeed no valid basis for nature of a contract but a special privilege.
treating corporations engaged in the business of running optical shops differently.
. . . a license or a permit is not a contract between the sovereignty and the licensee or
It also bears stressing, as petitioner has pointed out, that the public and private permitee, and is not a property in the constitutional sense, as to which the constitutional
respondents did not appeal from the ruling of the Court of Appeals. Consequently, the proscription against impairment of the obligation of contracts may extend. A license is
holding by the Court of Appeals that the act of respondent City Mayor in imposing the rather in the nature of a special privilege, of a permission or authority to do what is within
its terms. It is not in any way vested, permanent or absolute. 25

101
It is therefore decisively clear that estoppel cannot apply in this case. The fact that Separate Opinions
petitioner acquiesced in the special conditions imposed by the City Mayor in subject
business permit does not preclude it from challenging the said imposition, which is ultra KAPUNAN, J., separate and concurring opinion;
vires or beyond the ambit of authority of respondent City Mayor. Ultra vires acts or acts
which are clearly beyond the scope of one's authority are null and void and cannot be given I concur with the opinion of Mr. Justice Purisima. In addition, I would like to state the
any effect. The doctrine of estoppel cannot operate to give effect to an act which is following: The issues that present themselves in the case at bar are the following: First, can
otherwise null and void or ultra vires. a corporation which is not a natural person, engage in the practice of optometry? Second,
can a corporation, by employing optometrists as an incident to and in the ordinary course
The Court of Appeals erred in adjudging subject business permit as having been issued by of its business of selling optical wares, supplies, substances and instruments, be said to be
responded City Mayor in the performance of proprietary functions of Iligan City. As indirectly practicing optometry? Third, are the commercial restrictions in the business
hereinabove elaborated upon, the issuance of business licenses and permits by a license a proper exercise of police power under the specific circumstances of this case?
municipality or city is essentially regulatory in nature. The authority, which devolved upon
local government units to issue or grant such licenses or permits, is essentially in the I
exercise of the police power of the State within the contemplation of the general welfare
clause of the Local Government Code. The rule is that the corporate practice of any profession, including optometry, must never
be sanctioned. The public policy behind such rulings is universal, and is based on the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED; the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR SP nation that the ethics of any profession is based upon individual responsibility, personal
No. 22995 REVERSED: and the respondent City Mayor is hereby ordered to reissue accountability and independence, which are all lost where one verily acts as a mere agent,
petitioner's business permit in accordance with law and with this disposition. No or alter ego, of unlicensed persons or corporations.
pronouncement as to costs.
II
SO ORDERED.
The second question provides no easy answer and actually depends on the facts and
Bellosillo, Puno, Mendoza, Quisumbing, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes, Ynares-Santiago and De circumstance surrounding a particular case. What is well-settled, however, is that in the
Leon, Jr., JJ., concur. absence of a statute specifically prohibiting a corporation from hiring duly licensed
Kapunan, J., see concurring opinion. optometrists, the employment by such corporation of said professionals is not tantamount
Vitug, J., please see dissent. to practice of optometry by the corporation itself. Thus, in Samahan ng Optometrists sa
Davide, Jr., C.J., I join Justice Vitug in his dissent. Pilipinas, et al. vs. Acebedo International Corporation, 1 we held that:
Melo, J., I join the dissent of Justice Vitug.
Panganiban, J., I join Justice Vitug's Dissent. . . . The fact that private respondent hires optometrists who practice their profession in the
Pardo, J., I join dissent of Justice Vitug. course of their employment in private respondent's optical shops, does not translate into a
practice of optometry by private respondent itself. Private respondent is a corporation
created and organized for the purpose of conducting the business of selling optical lenses
or eyeglasses, among others. The clientele of private respondent understandably, would
largely be composed of persons with defective vision and thus need the proper lenses to
correct the same and enable them to gain normal vision. The determination of the proper

102
lenses to sell to private respondent's clientele entails the employment of optometrists who determination. Thus, the bicameral conference committee decided to leave the issue of
have been precisely trained for that purpose. Private respondent's business is not the indirect practice of optometry and the use of trade names open to the wisdom of the Courts
determination itself of the proper lenses needed by persons with defective vision. Private which are vested with the prerogative of interpreting the laws. 3
respondent's business, rather, is the buying and importing of eyeglasses and lenses and
other similar or allied instruments from suppliers thereof and selling the same to While the hiring by corporations of optometrists does not necessarily translate into
consumers. the corporate practice of profession, which is, without question, prohibited and against
public policy, factual relationships between the corporation and the employee-optometrist
For petitioners argument to hold water, there need be clear showing that R.A. No. 1998 have been inquired into by some courts in the United States to determine whether or not
prohibits a corporation from hiring optometrists, for only then would it be undeniably there is an unauthorized corporate practice of the profession, that is, whether or not it is
evident that the intention of the legislature is to preclude the formation of the so-called the corporation, and not its licensed employees, which is unduly engaged in the practice of
optometry corporations because such is tantamount to the practice of the profession of optometry.
optometry which is legally exercisable only by natural persons and professional
partnerships. We have carefully reviewed R.A. No. 1998 however, and we find nothing In many cases, the measure of control is particularly determinative. 4 Where it appears
therein that supports petitioner's insistent claims. that the optical company has the power of regulation or control of the professional
activities of the licensed optometrists, including corporation's power to dismiss, and
It is interesting to note that during the Senate deliberations on the enactment of R.A. 8050, including any influence over the mode and manner of eye examinations and resulting
a widely-debated and highly controversial provision directly prohibiting the indirect professional judgments, the reciprocal arrangement is held to constitute the unlicensed
practice of optometry, was eventually deleted from the original bill and was, therefore, not practice of optometry. 5 In another case, advertisement of the corporation is a factor.
included in the final version of the law.2 That original provision states: Where a statute provides that a person licensed to practice optometry is forbidden to
advertise, practice, or attempt to practice "under a name other than his
Prohibition against the Indirect Practice of Optometry — No person, natural or juridical, own," 6advertisement of the corporation is held to lead the public to believe that it (the
other than an optometrist in good standing or a partnership composed solely of corporation) is practicing optometry. This provision, according to the court, is certainly
optometrists, shall hire, employ, join with or otherwise use the services of an optometrist antagonistic to the view that a corporation might practice optometry through a licensed
for the purpose of practicing optometry: Provided however, That this prohibition shall not optometrist.
apply to the government of the Philippines or any of its agencies or instrumentalities and to
persons who are exempted under the immediate preceding section. The manner of compensation has also been held to be an important factor in determining
whether or not a corporation is unlawfully engaged in the practice of optometry. Where the
By deleting the aforequoted controversial provision and by deliberately failing to provide corporation exercises in any manner, control over the payment of fees to be charged by the
one directly addressing the matter of whether or not duly-licensed optometrists may optometrist, 7 where an optometrist receives a monthly salary from the corporation
practice their profession as employees of corporations, it is evident that it was the purporting to be a percentage of payments made by certain customers, 8 and where the
legislative intent to leave to the judiciary the resolution of whatever issues that may arise in prescription does not carry the name of the licensed optometrist, but rather that of the
the application of the law. Senator Shahani explained: corporate defendant, such has been held as sufficient indications that there is unlawful
corporate practice of the profession. 9
The optometry bills have evoked controversial views from the Members of the panel. While
we realize the need to uplift the standards of optometry as a profession, the consensus of In this case, the imposition of conditions by the respondent mayor in the business permit
both Houses was to avoid touching sensitive issues which properly belong to judicial was premature, there being no factual basis for him to conclude whether or not there was

103
a danger that corporate practice of optometry was to take place should the business permit between physician and patient does not exist in the practice of optometry, since such
to operate an optical shop be granted to the petitioner. The conditions on the business practice involves no relationship of trust and confidence as exists between a physician and
permit were imposed even before petitioner began operating its optical shop in Iligan city, a patient, or as between an attorney and client. The argument is that, considering the
the alleged breach of which was the basis for the permit's cancellation and the institution nature and scope of the optometrist's functions, no such trust relationship exists and,
of this case in court. It was not within respondent mayor's functions to determine the consequently, there is no public policy to be subserved by prohibiting optometrists to
proper scope and application of the Optometry Law by imposing the conditions in the practice their profession as employees of corporations. In the case of Silver v. Lansburgh, a
business permit. U.S. Court held:

III . . . Both in the case of the physician and the lawyer, the person seeking his services must
break down the barriers of reserve which otherwise serve to protect him and deliberately
In this connection, I do not fully share with the view that the exercise of the optometrists' reveal to his professional adviser secrets of physical or mental disability or secrets of
specialization is no different from the practice of other regulated professions which can be business of the most intimate nature. These necessary disclosures create the personal
done individually or in association with duly-licensed colleagues only. relationship which cannot exist between patient or client and a profit-seeking corporation.
The universal recognition of this immediate, unbroken, and confidential association
Sec. 3 of R.A. 8050 defines optometry as: between doctor and lawyer and those who engage their services early created and still
justifies the rule that their allegiance must be wholeheartedly to the patient or the client,
The science and art of examining the human eye, analyzing the ocular function, not to another. Nothing of this nature applies to the practice of optometry. 12
prescribing and dispensing ophthalmic lenses, prisms, contact lenses and their
accessories and solutions, low vision aids, and similar appliances and devices, conducting Optometrists must also exercise the amount of care, skill and diligence which is exercised
ocular exercises, vision training, orthoptics, installing prosthetics, using authorized generally in the community by other practitioners in the same field, and as is mandated by
diagnostic pharmaceutical agents (DPA), and other preventive or corrective measures or the rules regulating their profession, wherever and however they practice their profession.
procedures for the aid, correction, rehabilitation or relief of the human eye, or to attain Optometry has also been distinguished from other professions in that the selling of services
maximum vision and comfort. in the former, is intertwined with the selling of goods. It has been held that "the optometrist
and optician are also engaged in the sale of a product, corrective lenses, and accordingly
The words "ophthalmologist", "optometrist" and "optician", though closely related, should the activities of an optometrist lie between those associated with the practice of a
be distinguished. An ophthalmologist is a duly licensed physician who specializes in the profession and those characteristic of a merchandising concern." 13
care of eyes. Optometrists merely examine the eyes for refractive error, recognize (but does
not treat) diseases of the eye, and fill prescriptions for eyeglasses. 10Optometrists also Anent the question of whether optometrists may practice their profession as employees of
adapt frames and lenses to overcome errors of refraction and restores, as nearly as possible corporations, many courts in the United States have based their decisions on the
with these mechanical appliances, normal human vision. The optician is engaged in the distinctions and differences in the required degree of learning and training required.
business of furnishing lenses to customers on the prescriptions of licensed optometrists or Generally, such decisions depend on whether the courts classify optometry as a mere
qualified physicians, putting the lenses into frames selected by the customer, and fitting "mechanical art" or as a "learned profession" such as law or medicine. Where courts
the frames to the face. 11 consider optometry as a mere mechanical art, optometrists are not prevented from being
employed in corporations, the courts holding that where the statute itself does not
Optometry is distinguished from other professions by the nature of relationships created specifically control, the reasons for preventing the practice of law and medicine to
between the optometrist and the client. It has been held that the traditional relationship

104
corporations do not apply, to optometry. In the case of Silver v. Lansburgh & Co., the court business, which right receive protection and recognition as a portion of the individual
found: freedoms secured by the due process clause of the Constitution.

. . . Optometry is a mechanical art which requires skill and a knowledge of the use of A justification for a licensing requirement and other forms of restrictions generally requires
certain mechanical instruments and appliances designed to measure and record the errors a showing that the measures at least tend to promote public health, morals, safety or
and deviations from the normal found in the human eye, but is not a learned profession welfare. Whenever a business is affected with public interest it may be subject to regulation
comparable to law, medicine, and theology and that, though certain standards of to protect at the public against danger and injustice. However, the scope of regulations of
education are prescribed by the statute and by rules of the board created under it, trades and occupation is determined by the principle that an exercise of the police power
optometry is not a part of medicine. 14 must confer public benefit commensurate with the burden imposed upon private rights
and property, and the means adapted must be suitable to the end in view, impartial in
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to which the aforementioned case operation, and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. 20The burden imposed must not
was appealed, did concede that in their view, optometry is a profession, as the term is interfere with rights of private property and freedom of contract beyond the necessity of the
colloquially used, nonetheless, the court also said that there is no reason why a situation. 21 The test, thus, is the classic reasonableness and propriety of the measures
corporation cannot employ licensed optometrist. Thus: or means in the promotion of the ends sought to be accomplished.

. . . but that fact is not enough to bring the rule into effect. There is no more reason to Under the rubric of general welfare, what is the specific public policy involved in the
prohibit a corporation, organized for the purpose, from employing licensed optometrists, exercise of police power in this case? Or in constitutional language, what is the end sought
than there is to prohibit similar employment of accountants, architects or engineers. We to be achieved?
know of no instance in which the right in any of these cases has ever been challenged,
though universally all are deemed professions. 15 The City Mayor in its comment to the petition cites the "safety and well-being of the people
of Iligan — especially the poor and naive among them." 22 The Solicitor General, on the
IV other hand, cites protection of "public morals, health, safety or welfare" 23 and "to promote
the prosperity and general welfare of the local government unit and its
The assailed conditions imposed in the subject business permit are ultra vires because inhabitants." 24 With the lack of discussion in the pleadings on how these general concerns
they are unreasonable. Police power is often characterized as the most essential, insistent will be served by the specific means adapted, we can only speculate.
and the least limitable of powers, extending as it does to all the great public needs. 16 It is
the inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to prohibit all that is hurtful In terms of promoting safety, public health or welfare, it may be argued that allowing
to the comfort, safety, and welfare of society. 17 corporations to employ licensed optometrists may compromise professional accountability.
Because corporations are generally seen as more concerned at bottom with profits, the
In the area of local governments, the police power of a municipality exists solely by virtue of motivation to sell might prevail over professional ethics. Again this is mere speculation.
legislative or constitutional grant. 18 In view, however, of the constitutional grant of local Just being "big" is not a sin. Under the general scheme of the equal protection clause of our
autonomy, the argument on presumption of reasonableness in the exercise of the police Constitution, "bigness" should not be a disadvantage in terms of benefits conferred and
power by local government may be persuasive. But this awesome character of police power liabilities imposed.
is not without limits because the determination of what is proper exercise of such power is
subject to the supervision of the courts. 19 This is specially true in this case where police Jurisprudence in the United States is replete with cases on the issue of validity of
power is used to justify restriction on the right to engage in a legitimate employment or governmental regulation relating to optometry. 25 In a case upholding the validity of a

105
statute prohibiting a corporation from practicing optometry, directly or indirectly, and from Closer to home, the Senate proceedings discussing Senate Bill No. 1998, the precursor of
employing registered optometrist to examine the eyes of its customers, a US court cited the RA 8050, is enlightening as to the rationale behind the original proposal to specifically
public policy that one who practices a profession is apt to have less regard for professional prohibit employment by corporations of optometrists. 33
ethics and to be less amenable to regulation for their enforcement when he has no
contractual obligations to the client. 26 The exchange between Senator Webb, Chairman of the Committee on Health and
Demography, and Senator Macapagal is instructive:
There are generally four types of commercial restrictions in the practice of
optometry. 27 These are: Senator Macapagal: Mr. President, what I will ask comes from the concern of corporations
that hire optometrists. What they would like to know from the Gentleman is what is the
1) Employment Restrictions which usually provide that it is unprofessional conduct or an rationale behind prohibiting corporations from engaging the services of optometrists.
illegal practice for an optometrist to accept employment from unlicensed person or
non-professional Corporations; 28 Senator Webb: Mr. President, a corporation is not the same as an individual human being
for one thing. A corporation cannot be a doctor or a lawyer. Only a human being may be
2) Restrictions on Location prohibit optometrist to work in an office not devoted exclusively permitted to practice medicine or law.
to the practice of optometry or in which materials are displayed pertaining to a commercial
undertaking not related to the practice of optometry; xxx xxx xxx

3) Branch Office Restrictions usually set a maximum number of branch Offices an The optometrist for one thing has a peculiar relationship with a patient and this is
optometrist may operate or require the optometrist to be on personal attendance a certain primarily based not on profit, though people will say that one enters a profession primarily
proportion of time the office is open to the public; to make money. But under their Code of Ethics, it is clearly stated that one goes there as a
doctor primarily to cure people.
4) Trade Name Restrictions declare illegal or unethical for an optometrist to practice under
a name other than his or her name or under a false or assumed name. This last type of A corporation, Mr. President, is a different entity. Primarily it is there to make money. In
restriction has a distinct discriminatory impact on non-professional corporations. 29 fact, if a corporation were to hire an optometrist then he is divided between his loyalty to
the corporation and his love and affection for his patient because a corporation may have a
The public policy cited to justify these different types of restrictions is generally consumer specific product that it wants to push. And as such, an optometrist is told to push a
protection by elimination of low-quality services. 30 Lay-employed optometrists, 31 may particular product for whatever it is worth. "Kailangang itulak natin ito sapagkat ito ang
employ various cost-cutting techniques like brief and inadequate eye examinations, in ating produkto."
order to increase profits. Those who practice under a trade name lack personal
accountability and the motivation to maintain a personal reputation for high-quality Sa optometrist po ay hindi ganoon sapagkat wala kayong makikitang abogado o duktor na
service. The management of non-professional optical firms may, likewise, interfere with the nag-a-advertise na ang ginagamit ay trade name or corporate name. In fact, in
"doctor-patient" relationship and professional judgments concerning patient welfare. Thus, advertisement, though not very clear kung pinapayagan itoy, ay hindi kayo puwedeng
the argument is offered that commercial practice restrictions are necessary to prevent gumamit ng korporasyon kundi iyong mga pangalan. At iyan po ang ipinagbabawal.
lay-employed optometrist from increasing their market share by selling services at lower
prices and substituting low for high quality case without consumer recognition of the
change in quality. 32

106
Hindi po ipinagbabawal ang pagpapatuloy ng negosyo ng mga optometrist. Ang his legitimate authority. The purported ends sought to be achieved go no deeper than a
ipinagbabawal lamang ay iyong korporasyon dahil alam naman nating pag mayroong recital of the General Welfare clause: i.e., "the safety and well-being of the people",
sakunang nangyari ay napakahirap idimanda ang korporasyon. Hindi katulad ng isang tao "safeguarding the general public, especially the poor. . .," without establishing how those
na personal and pagdadala ng serbisyo kaya mas madaling matunton ang kaniyang goals could be reasonably achieved by imposing such conditions in the permit.
pagkakamali hindi kapareho ng isang korporasyon. Furthermore, the means employed effectively deprive optometrists of basic property right:
that is, the right to seek legitimate employment of their choice, which cannot be arbitrarily
Senator Macapagal: Subalit kung ihahambing po natin sa isang hospital, mayroong duktor infringed upon regulations that are contrary to law.
iyong hospital at nagkaroon ng sakuna, nadi-demanda rin naman iyong hospital. Hindi po
ba pareho na rin iyon kung idi-demanda iyong korporasyon na mayroong optometrist na The primary purpose of the Optometry Law is to ensure that the service would be rendered
nagtatrabaho doon? by competent and licensed persons and thereby protect the public from inexpertness.
Despite the public respondent's assertions that the conditions in the business permit were
Senator Webb: Tama po iyan ngunit ang hospital ay regulated by the Department of Health. made for the purpose of "safeguarding the general public and especially the poor who are
Ang korporasyon po ay hindi man lamang regulated by Professional Regulation easily gulled by misleading advertisements," hence, falling within the ambit of police
Commission hindi kapareho ng mga optometrist, they are regulated. Wala pong powers granted to local officials under the Local Government Code, this Court sees no
nag-reregulate sa korporasyon. Kung mayroon kayong optical shop ngayon, wala pong cogent reason why such purpose cannot be attained even if the persons rendering the
nagre-regulate diyan kaya ang maaaring mabigyan ng kasalanan ay iyong optometrist na service are employed by a corporation. Optometrists, like any other professionals are,
nagtatrabaho sa kanila. Ngunit sila po ay libre sa kasong pagkakamali. Nabanggit din ng nonetheless, bound by the same standards of professional conduct, care, skill and
isang korporasyon na napakarami nilang trabahador na madi-displace. Iyan po ay aking diligence, whether they practice as independent optometrists or as employees of
sasagutin mamaya. 34 unlicensed persons or corporations.

After intense interpellation by Senator Gonzales, Senator Webb conceded that the proposal
was also meant to "equalize the playing field" between a corporation and one personally
practicing optometry. 35

While the above-mentioned objectives are legitimate, the means employed may be unduly
oppressive upon individuals. For example, one distinct feature of the regulation involved is
that on its face, it purports to regulate business and commerce. In its application and effect,
however, the business license practically prohibits individuals from seeking legitimate
employment from corporations. The nullity of the regulation, therefore, arises from its
operation.

That the exercise of police powers is subject to judicial review is without question. Police
powers being the most pervasive and most demanding of the three inherent powers of State,
its exercise is not unbrindled and must in all cases meet the test of legitimacy, both in the
ends it seeks to achieve as well as in the means employed to achieve them. Applying such
test to the present case therefore, it is clear that the respondent mayor acted in excess of

107
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-59234 September 30, 1982

TAXICAB OPERATORS OF METRO MANILA, INC., FELICISIMO CABIGAO and ACE


TRANSPORTATION CORPORATION, petitioners,
vs.
THE BOARD OF TRANSPORTATION and THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF LAND
TRANSPORTATION, respondents.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:

This Petition for "Certiorari, Prohibition and mandamus with Preliminary Injunction and
Temporary Restraining Order" filed by the Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc.,
Felicisimo Cabigao and Ace Transportation, seeks to declare the nullity of Memorandum
Circular No. 77-42, dated October 10, 1977, of the Board of Transportation, and
Memorandum Circular No. 52, dated August 15, 1980, of the Bureau of Land
Transportation.

108
Petitioner Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. (TOMMI) is a domestic corporation 2. As of December 31, 1978, all taxis of Model 1972 are ordered withdrawn from public
composed of taxicab operators, who are grantees of Certificates of Public Convenience to service and thereafter may no longer be registered and operated as taxis. In the registration
operate taxicabs within the City of Manila and to any other place in Luzon accessible to of cars for 1979, only taxis of Model 1973 and later shall be accepted for registration and
vehicular traffic. Petitioners Ace Transportation Corporation and Felicisimo Cabigao are allowed for operation; and every year thereafter, there shall be a six-year lifetime of taxi, to
two of the members of TOMMI, each being an operator and grantee of such certificate of wit:
public convenience.
1980 — Model 1974
On October 10, 1977, respondent Board of Transportation (BOT) issued Memorandum
Circular No. 77-42 which reads: 1981 — Model 1975, etc.

SUBJECT: Phasing out and Replacement of All taxis of earlier models than those provided above are hereby ordered withdrawn from
public service as of the last day of registration of each particular year and their respective
Old and Dilapidated Taxis plates shall be surrendered directly to the Board of Transportation for subsequent turnover
to the Land Transportation Commission.
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the government to insure that only safe and comfortable units
are used as public conveyances; For an orderly implementation of this Memorandum Circular, the rules herein shall
immediately be effective in Metro-Manila. Its implementation outside Metro- Manila shall
WHEREAS, the riding public, particularly in Metro-Manila, has, time and again, be carried out only after the project has been implemented in Metro-Manila and only after
complained against, and condemned, the continued operation of old and dilapidated taxis; the date has been determined by the Board. 1

WHEREAS, in order that the commuting public may be assured of comfort, convenience, Pursuant to the above BOT circular, respondent Director of the Bureau of Land
and safety, a program of phasing out of old and dilapidated taxis should be adopted; Transportation (BLT) issued Implementing Circular No. 52, dated August 15, 1980,
instructing the Regional Director, the MV Registrars and other personnel of BLT, all within
WHEREAS, after studies and inquiries made by the Board of Transportation, the latter the National Capitol Region, to implement said Circular, and formulating a schedule of
believes that in six years of operation, a taxi operator has not only covered the cost of his phase-out of vehicles to be allowed and accepted for registration as public conveyances. To
taxis, but has made reasonable profit for his investments; quote said Circular:

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to this policy, the Board hereby declares that no car beyond Pursuant to BOT Memo-Circular No. 77-42, taxi units with year models over six (6) years
six years shall be operated as taxi, and in implementation of the same hereby promulgates old are now banned from operating as public utilities in Metro Manila. As such the units
the following rules and regulations: involved should be considered as automatically dropped as public utilities and, therefore,
do not require any further dropping order from the BOT.
1. As of December 31, 1977, all taxis of Model 1971 and earlier are ordered withdrawn from
public service and thereafter may no longer be registered and operated as taxis. In the Henceforth, taxi units within the National Capitol Region having year models over 6 years
registration of cards for 1978, only taxis of Model 1972 and later shall be accepted for old shall be refused registration. The following schedule of phase-out is herewith
registration and allowed for operation; prescribed for the guidance of all concerned:

109
whatever remedy they may have under the law for the protection of their interests before
Year Model Automatic Phase-Out Year
their 1975 model cabs are phased-out on January 1, 1982.
1980
Petitioners, through its President, allegedly made personal follow-ups of the case, but was
1974 1981 later informed that the records of the case could not be located.

1975 1982 On December 29, 1981, the present Petition was instituted wherein the following queries
were posed for consideration by this Court:
1976 1983

1977 A. Did BOT and BLT promulgate the questioned memorandum circulars in accord with the
manner required by Presidential Decree No. 101, thereby safeguarding the petitioners'
etc. etc. constitutional right to procedural due process?

B. Granting, arguendo, that respondents did comply with the procedural requirements
Strict compliance here is desired. 2
imposed by Presidential Decree No. 101, would the implementation and enforcement of the
assailed memorandum circulars violate the petitioners' constitutional rights to.
In accordance therewith, cabs of model 1971 were phase-out in registration year 1978;
those of model 1972, in 1979; those of model 1973, in 1980; and those of model 1974, in
(1) Equal protection of the law;
1981.

(2) Substantive due process; and


On January 27, 1981, petitioners filed a Petition with the BOT, docketed as Case No.
80-7553, seeking to nullify MC No. 77-42 or to stop its implementation; to allow the
registration and operation in 1981 and subsequent years of taxicabs of model 1974, as well (3) Protection against arbitrary and unreasonable classification and standard?
as those of earlier models which were phased-out, provided that, at the time of registration,
they are roadworthy and fit for operation. On Procedural and Substantive Due Process:

On February 16, 1981, petitioners filed before the BOT a "Manifestation and Urgent Presidential Decree No. 101 grants to the Board of Transportation the power
Motion", praying for an early hearing of their petition. The case was heard on February 20,
1981. Petitioners presented testimonial and documentary evidence, offered the same, and 4. To fix just and reasonable standards, classification, regulations, practices,
manifested that they would submit additional documentary proofs. Said proofs were measurements, or service to be furnished, imposed, observed, and followed by operators of
submitted on March 27, 1981 attached to petitioners' pleading entitled, "Manifestation, public utility motor vehicles.
Presentation of Additional Evidence and Submission of the Case for Resolution." 3
Section 2 of said Decree provides procedural guidelines for said agency to follow in the
On November 28, 1981, petitioners filed before the same Board a "Manifestation and exercise of its powers:
Urgent Motion to Resolve or Decide Main Petition" praying that the case be resolved or
decided not later than December 10, 1981 to enable them, in case of denial, to avail of

110
Sec. 2. Exercise of powers. — In the exercise of the powers granted in the preceding section, upon a past act or event which has to be established or ascertained. It is not essential to
the Board shag proceed promptly along the method of legislative inquiry. the validity of general rules or regulations promulgated to govern future conduct of a class
or persons or enterprises, unless the law provides otherwise. (Emphasis supplied)
Apart from its own investigation and studies, the Board, in its discretion, may require the
cooperation and assistance of the Bureau of Transportation, the Philippine Constabulary, Petitioners further take the position that fixing the ceiling at six (6) years is arbitrary and
particularly the Highway Patrol Group, the support agencies within the Department of oppressive because the roadworthiness of taxicabs depends upon their kind of
Public Works, Transportation and Communications, or any other government office or maintenance and the use to which they are subjected, and, therefore, their actual physical
agency that may be able to furnish useful information or data in the formulation of the condition should be taken into consideration at the time of registration. As public contend,
Board of any policy, plan or program in the implementation of this Decree. however, it is impractical to subject every taxicab to constant and recurring evaluation, not
to speak of the fact that it can open the door to the adoption of multiple standards, possible
The Board may also can conferences, require the submission of position papers or other collusion, and even graft and corruption. A reasonable standard must be adopted to apply
documents, information, or data by operators or other persons that may be affected by the to an vehicles affected uniformly, fairly, and justly. The span of six years supplies that
implementation of this Decree, or employ any other suitable means of inquiry. reasonable standard. The product of experience shows that by that time taxis have fully
depreciated, their cost recovered, and a fair return on investment obtained. They are also
In support of their submission that they were denied procedural due process, petitioners generally dilapidated and no longer fit for safe and comfortable service to the public
contend that they were not caged upon to submit their position papers, nor were they ever specially considering that they are in continuous operation practically 24 hours everyday
summoned to attend any conference prior to the issuance of the questioned BOT Circular. in three shifts of eight hours per shift. With that standard of reasonableness and absence
of arbitrariness, the requirement of due process has been met.
It is clear from the provision aforequoted, however, that the leeway accorded the Board
gives it a wide range of choice in gathering necessary information or data in the formulation On Equal Protection of the Law:
of any policy, plan or program. It is not mandatory that it should first call a conference or
require the submission of position papers or other documents from operators or persons Petitioners alleged that the Circular in question violates their right to equal protection of
who may be affected, this being only one of the options open to the Board, which is given the law because the same is being enforced in Metro Manila only and is directed solely
wide discretionary authority. Petitioners cannot justifiably claim, therefore, that they were towards the taxi industry. At the outset it should be pointed out that implementation
deprived of procedural due process. Neither can they state with certainty that public outside Metro Manila is also envisioned in Memorandum Circular No. 77-42. To repeat the
respondents had not availed of other sources of inquiry prior to issuing the challenged pertinent portion:
Circulars. operators of public conveyances are not the only primary sources of the data and
information that may be desired by the BOT. For an orderly implementation of this Memorandum Circular, the rules herein shall
immediately be effective in Metro Manila. Its implementation outside Metro Manila shall be
Dispensing with a public hearing prior to the issuance of the Circulars is neither violative carried out only after the project has been implemented in Metro Manila and only after the
of procedural due process. As held in Central Bank vs. Hon. Cloribel and Banco Filipino, date has been determined by the Board. 4
44 SCRA 307 (1972):
In fact, it is the understanding of the Court that implementation of the Circulars in Cebu
Pevious notice and hearing as elements of due process, are constitutionally required for the City is already being effected, with the BOT in the process of conducting studies regarding
protection of life or vested property rights, as well as of liberty, when its limitation or loss the operation of taxicabs in other cities.
takes place in consequence of a judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, generally dependent

111
The Board's reason for enforcing the Circular initially in Metro Manila is that taxicabs in Fernando, CJ., Barredo, Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro,
this city, compared to those of other places, are subjected to heavier traffic pressure and Plana, Escolin, Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
more constant use. This is of common knowledge. Considering that traffic conditions are
not the same in every city, a substantial distinction exists so that infringement of the equal Teehankee and Aquino, JJ., concur in the result.
protection clause can hardly be successfully claimed.

As enunciated in the preambular clauses of the challenged BOT Circular, the overriding
consideration is the safety and comfort of the riding public from the dangers posed by old
and dilapidated taxis. The State, in the exercise, of its police power, can prescribe
regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general welfare of
the people. It can prohibit all things hurtful to comfort, safety and welfare of society. 5 It
may also regulate property rights. 6 In the language of Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando
"the necessities imposed by public welfare may justify the exercise of governmental
authority to regulate even if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert that their
interests are disregarded". 7

In so far as the non-application of the assailed Circulars to other transportation services is


concerned, it need only be recalled that the equal protection clause does not imply that the
same treatment be accorded all and sundry. It applies to things or persons Identically or
similarly situated. It permits of classification of the object or subject of the law provided
classification is reasonable or based on substantial distinction, which make for real
differences, and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. 8 What is required
under the equal protection clause is the uniform operation by legal means so that all
persons under Identical or similar circumstance would be accorded the same treatment
both in privilege conferred and the liabilities imposed. 9 The challenged Circulars satisfy
the foregoing criteria.

Evident then is the conclusion that the questioned Circulars do not suffer from any
constitutional infirmity. To declare a law unconstitutional, the infringement of
constitutional right must be clear, categorical and undeniable. 10

WHEREFORE, the Writs prayed for are denied and this Petition is hereby dismissed. No
costs.

SO ORDERED.

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in statutory form the police power to a municipality. This clause has been given wide
application by municipal authorities and has in its relation to the particular circumstances
of the case been liberally construed by the courts. Such, it is well to recall, is the
progressive view of the Philippine Jurisprudence." As it was then, so it has continued to be.
There is no showing, therefore, of the unconstitutionality of such ordinance.

EN BANC DECISION

[G.R. No. L-24153. February 14, 1983.] FERNANDO, J.:

TOMAS VELASCO, LOURDES RAMIREZ, SY PIN, EDMUNDO UNSON, APOLONIA


RAMIREZ and LOURDES LOMIBAO, as component members of the STA. CRUZ This is an appeal from an order of the lower court dismissing a suit for declaratory relief
BARBERSHOP ASSOCIATION, in their own behalf and in representation of the other challenging the constitutionality based on Ordinance No. 4964 of the City of Manila, the
owners of barbershops in the City of Manila, Petitioners-Appellants, v. HON. ANTONIO contention being that it amounts to a deprivation of property of petitioners-appellants of
J. VILLEGAS, City Mayor of Manila, HON. HERMINIO A. ASTORGA, Vice-Mayor and their means of livelihood without due process of law. The assailed ordinance is worded
Presiding Officer of the Municipal Board in relation to Republic Act 4065, THE thus: "It shall be prohibited for any operator of any barber shop to conduct the business of
MUNICIPAL BOARD OF THE CITY OF MANILA and EDUARDO QUINTOS SR., Chief of massaging customers or other persons in any adjacent room or rooms of said barber shop,
Police of the City of Manila, Respondents-Appellees. or in any room or rooms within the same building where the barber shop is located as long
as the operator of the barber shop and the rooms where massaging is conducted is the
Joaquin P. Yuseco, Jr. for Petitioners-Appellants. same person." 1 As noted in the appealed order, petitioners-appellants admitted that
criminal cases for the violation of this ordinance had been previously filed and decided. The
Leonardo L. Arguelles for Respondent-Appellant. lower court, therefore, held that a petition for declaratory relief did not lie, its availability
SYLLABUS being dependent on there being as yet no case involving such issue having been filed. 2

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: POLICE POWER OF THE STATE; CONSTITUTIONALITY OF Even if such were not the case, the attack against the validity cannot succeed. As pointed
ORDINANCES BASED ON THE GENERAL WELFARE CLAUSE SUSTAINED BY THE out in the brief of respondents-appellees, it is a police power measure. The objectives
COURTS; ATTACK AGAINST THE VALIDITY OF ORDINANCE 4964 CANNOT SUCCEED. — behind its enactment are:" (1) To be able to impose payment of the license fee for engaging
The objectives behind the enactment of Ordinance 4964 are:" (1) To be able to impose in the business of massage clinic under Ordinance No. 3659 as amended by Ordinance
payment of the license fee for engaging in the business of massage clinic under Ordinance 4767, an entirely different measure than the ordinance regulating the business of
No. 3659 as amended by Ordinance 4767, an entirely different measure than the ordinance barbershops and, (2) in order to forestall possible immorality which might grow out of the
regulating the business of barbershops and, (2) in order to forestall possible immorality construction of separate rooms for massage of customers." 3 This Court has been most
which might grow out of the construction of separate rooms for massage of customers." liberal in sustaining ordinances based on the general welfare clause. As far back as U.S. v.
This Court has been most liberal in sustaining ordinances based on the general welfare Salaveria, 4 a 1918 decision, this Court through Justice Malcolm made clear the
clause. As far back as U.S. v. Salaveria, 39 Phil. 102, a 1918 decision, this Court through significance and scope of such a clause, which "delegates in statutory form the police
Justice Malcolm made clear the significance and scope of such a clause, which "delegates power to a municipality. As above stated, this clause has been given wide application by

113
municipal authorities and has in its relation to the particular circumstances of the case There was instant opposition when PAGCOR announced the opening of a casino in
been liberally construed by the courts. Such, it is well to recall, is the progressive view of Cagayan de Oro City. Civic organizations angrily denounced the project. The religious
Philippine jurisprudence." 5 As it was then, so it has continued to be. 6 There is no showing, elements echoed the objection and so did the women's groups and the youth.
therefore, of the unconstitutionality of such ordinance.cralawnad Demonstrations were led by the mayor and the city legislators. The media trumpeted the
protest, describing the casino as an affront to the welfare of the city.
WHEREFORE, the appealed order of the lower court is affirmed. No costs.
The trouble arose when in 1992, flush with its tremendous success in several cities,
Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, PAGCOR decided to expand its operations to Cagayan de Oro City. To this end, it leased a
Escolin, Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur. portion of a building belonging to Pryce Properties Corporation, Inc., one of the herein
private respondents, renovated and equipped the same, and prepared to inaugurate its
Teehankee, J., reserves his vote. casino there during the Christmas season.

Aquino, J., did not take part. The reaction of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City was swift and hostile.
On December 7, 1992, it enacted Ordinance No. 3353 reading as follows:

ORDINANCE NO. 3353

EN BANC AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE ISSUANCE OF BUSINESS PERMIT AND


CANCELLING EXISTING BUSINESS PERMIT TO ANY ESTABLISHMENT FOR THE USING
G.R. No. 111097 July 20, 1994 AND ALLOWING TO BE USED ITS PREMISES OR PORTION THEREOF FOR THE
OPERATION OF CASINO.
MAYOR PABLO P. MAGTAJAS & THE CITY OF CAGAYAN DE ORO, petitioners,
vs. BE IT ORDAINED by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro, in
PRYCE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, INC. & PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING session assembled that:
CORPORATION, respondents.
Sec. 1. — That pursuant to the policy of the city banning the operation of casino within its
Aquilino G. Pimentel, Jr. and Associates for petitioners. territorial jurisdiction, no business permit shall be issued to any person, partnership or
corporation for the operation of casino within the city limits.
R.R. Torralba & Associates for private respondent.
Sec. 2. — That it shall be a violation of existing business permit by any persons,
partnership or corporation to use its business establishment or portion thereof, or allow
the use thereof by others for casino operation and other gambling activities.
CRUZ, J.:
Sec. 3. — PENALTIES. — Any violation of such existing business permit as defined in the
preceding section shall suffer the following penalties, to wit:

114
a) Suspension of the business permit for sixty (60) days for the first offense and a fine of people and/or regulate or prohibit such activity pertaining to amusement or entertainment
P1,000.00/day in order to protect social and moral welfare of the community;

b) Suspension of the business permit for Six (6) months for the second offense, and a fine of NOW THEREFORE,
P3,000.00/day
BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council in session duly assembled that:
c) Permanent revocation of the business permit and imprisonment of One (1) year, for the
third and subsequent offenses. Sec. 1. — The operation of gambling CASINO in the City of Cagayan de Oro is hereby
prohibited.
Sec. 4. — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days from publication thereof.
Sec. 2. — Any violation of this Ordinance shall be subject to the following penalties:
Nor was this all. On January 4, 1993, it adopted a sterner Ordinance No. 3375-93 reading
as follows: a) Administrative fine of P5,000.00 shall be imposed against the proprietor, partnership or
corporation undertaking the operation, conduct, maintenance of gambling CASINO in the
ORDINANCE NO. 3375-93 City and closure thereof;

AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING THE OPERATION OF CASINO AND PROVIDING PENALTY b) Imprisonment of not less than six (6) months nor more than one (1) year or a fine in the
FOR VIOLATION THEREFOR. amount of P5,000.00 or both at the discretion of the court against the manager, supervisor,
and/or any person responsible in the establishment, conduct and maintenance of
WHEREAS, the City Council established a policy as early as 1990 against CASINO under gambling CASINO.
its Resolution No. 2295;
Sec. 3. — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days after its publication in a local
WHEREAS, on October 14, 1992, the City Council passed another Resolution No. 2673, newspaper of general circulation.
reiterating its policy against the establishment of CASINO;
Pryce assailed the ordinances before the Court of Appeals, where it was joined by PAGCOR
WHEREAS, subsequently, thereafter, it likewise passed Ordinance No. 3353, prohibiting as intervenor and supplemental petitioner. Their challenge succeeded. On March 31, 1993,
the issuance of Business Permit and to cancel existing Business Permit to any the Court of Appeals declared the ordinances invalid and issued the writ prayed for to
establishment for the using and allowing to be used its premises or portion thereof for the prohibit their enforcement. 1 Reconsideration of this decision was denied on July 13,
operation of CASINO; 1993. 2

WHEREAS, under Art. 3, section 458, No. (4), sub paragraph VI of the Local Government Cagayan de Oro City and its mayor are now before us in this petition for review under Rule
Code of 1991 (Rep. Act 7160) and under Art. 99, No. (4), Paragraph VI of the implementing 45 of the Rules of Court. 3 They aver that the respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding
rules of the Local Government Code, the City Council as the Legislative Body shall enact that:
measure to suppress any activity inimical to public morals and general welfare of the

115
1. Under existing laws, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro does appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are
not have the power and authority to prohibit the establishment and operation of a PAGCOR essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial
gambling casino within the City's territorial limits. jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the
preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of
2. The phrase "gambling and other prohibited games of chance" found in Sec. 458, par. (a), the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate
sub-par. (1) — (v) of R.A. 7160 could only mean "illegal gambling." and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents,
3. The questioned Ordinances in effect annul P.D. 1869 and are therefore invalid on that maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
point.
In addition, Section 458 of the said Code specifically declares that:
4. The questioned Ordinances are discriminatory to casino and partial to cockfighting and
are therefore invalid on that point. Sec. 458. — Powers, Duties, Functions and Compensation. — (a) The Sangguniang
Panlungsod, as the legislative body of the city, shall enact ordinances, approve resolutions
5. The questioned Ordinances are not reasonable, not consonant with the general powers and appropriate funds for the general welfare of the city and its inhabitants pursuant to
and purposes of the instrumentality concerned and inconsistent with the laws or policy of Section 16 of this Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate powers of the city as
the State. provided for under Section 22 of this Code, and shall:

6. It had no option but to follow the ruling in the case of Basco, et al. v. PAGCOR, G.R. No. (1) Approve ordinances and pass resolutions necessary for an efficient and effective city
91649, May 14, 1991, 197 SCRA 53 in disposing of the issues presented in this present government, and in this connection, shall:
case.
xxx xxx xxx
PAGCOR is a corporation created directly by P.D. 1869 to help centralize and regulate all
games of chance, including casinos on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the (v) Enact ordinances intended to prevent, suppress and impose appropriate penalties for
Philippines. In Basco v. Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation, 4 this Court habitual drunkenness in public places, vagrancy, mendicancy, prostitution, establishment
sustained the constitutionality of the decree and even cited the benefits of the entity to the and maintenance of houses of ill repute, gamblingand other prohibited games of chance,
national economy as the third highest revenue-earner in the government, next only to the fraudulent devices and ways to obtain money or property, drug addiction, maintenance of
BIR and the Bureau of Customs. drug dens, drug pushing, juvenile delinquency, the printing, distribution or exhibition of
obscene or pornographic materials or publications, and such other activities inimical to
Cagayan de Oro City, like other local political subdivisions, is empowered to enact the welfare and morals of the inhabitants of the city;
ordinances for the purposes indicated in the Local Government Code. It is expressly vested
with the police power under what is known as the General Welfare Clause now embodied in This section also authorizes the local government units to regulate properties and
Section 16 as follows: businesses within their territorial limits in the interest of the general welfare. 5

Sec. 16. — General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers The petitioners argue that by virtue of these provisions, the Sangguniang Panlungsod may
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, prohibit the operation of casinos because they involve games of chance, which are
detrimental to the people. Gambling is not allowed by general law and even by the

116
Constitution itself. The legislative power conferred upon local government units may be accordance with the direction in the Code calling for its liberal interpretation in favor of the
exercised over all kinds of gambling and not only over "illegal gambling" as the respondents local government units. Section 5 of the Code specifically provides:
erroneously argue. Even if the operation of casinos may have been permitted under P.D.
1869, the government of Cagayan de Oro City has the authority to prohibit them within its Sec. 5. Rules of Interpretation. — In the interpretation of the provisions of this Code, the
territory pursuant to the authority entrusted to it by the Local Government Code. following rules shall apply:

It is submitted that this interpretation is consonant with the policy of local autonomy as (a) Any provision on a power of a local government unit shall be liberally interpreted in its
mandated in Article II, Section 25, and Article X of the Constitution, as well as various favor, and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be resolved in favor of devolution of
other provisions therein seeking to strengthen the character of the nation. In giving the powers and of the lower local government unit. Any fair and reasonable doubt as to the
local government units the power to prevent or suppress gambling and other social existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the local government unit concerned;
problems, the Local Government Code has recognized the competence of such
communities to determine and adopt the measures best expected to promote the general xxx xxx xxx
welfare of their inhabitants in line with the policies of the State.
(c) The general welfare provisions in this Code shall be liberally interpreted to give more
The petitioners also stress that when the Code expressly authorized the local government powers to local government units in accelerating economic development and upgrading the
units to prevent and suppress gambling and other prohibited games of chance, like craps, quality of life for the people in the community; . . . (Emphasis supplied.)
baccarat, blackjack and roulette, it meant allforms of gambling without distinction. Ubi lex
non distinguit, nec nos distinguere debemos. 6 Otherwise, it would have expressly excluded Finally, the petitioners also attack gambling as intrinsically harmful and cite various
from the scope of their power casinos and other forms of gambling authorized by special provisions of the Constitution and several decisions of this Court expressive of the general
law, as it could have easily done. The fact that it did not do so simply means that the local and official disapprobation of the vice. They invoke the State policies on the family and the
government units are permitted to prohibit all kinds of gambling within their territories, proper upbringing of the youth and, as might be expected, call attention to the old case
including the operation of casinos. of U.S. v. Salaveria,7 which sustained a municipal ordinance prohibiting the playing
of panguingue. The petitioners decry the immorality of gambling. They also impugn the
The adoption of the Local Government Code, it is pointed out, had the effect of modifying wisdom of P.D. 1869 (which they describe as "a martial law instrument") in creating
the charter of the PAGCOR. The Code is not only a later enactment than P.D. 1869 and so PAGCOR and authorizing it to operate casinos "on land and sea within the territorial
is deemed to prevail in case of inconsistencies between them. More than this, the powers of jurisdiction of the Philippines."
the PAGCOR under the decree are expressly discontinued by the Code insofar as they do
not conform to its philosophy and provisions, pursuant to Par. (f) of its repealing clause This is the opportune time to stress an important point.
reading as follows:
The morality of gambling is not a justiciable issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. While it
(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations is generally considered inimical to the interests of the people, there is nothing in the
and administrative regulations, or part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of Constitution categorically proscribing or penalizing gambling or, for that matter, even
the provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. mentioning it at all. It is left to Congress to deal with the activity as it sees fit. In the
exercise of its own discretion, the legislature may prohibit gambling altogether or allow it
It is also maintained that assuming there is doubt regarding the effect of the Local without limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling and allow others for whatever
Government Code on P.D. 1869, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the petitioners, in reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus, it has prohibited jueteng and monte but permits

117
lotteries, cockfighting and horse-racing. In making such choices, Congress has consulted In fact it does. The language of the section is clear and unmistakable. Under the rule
its own wisdom, which this Court has no authority to review, much less reverse. Well has it of noscitur a sociis, a word or phrase should be interpreted in relation to, or given the same
been said that courts do not sit to resolve the merits of conflicting theories. 8 That is the meaning of, words with which it is associated. Accordingly, we conclude that since the
prerogative of the political departments. It is settled that questions regarding the wisdom, word "gambling" is associated with "and other prohibited games of chance," the word
morality, or practicibility of statutes are not addressed to the judiciary but may be resolved should be read as referring to only illegal gambling which, like the other prohibited games
only by the legislative and executive departments, to which the function belongs in our of chance, must be prevented or suppressed.
scheme of government. That function is exclusive. Whichever way these branches decide,
they are answerable only to their own conscience and the constituents who will ultimately We could stop here as this interpretation should settle the problem quite conclusively. But
judge their acts, and not to the courts of justice. we will not. The vigorous efforts of the petitioners on behalf of the inhabitants of Cagayan
de Oro City, and the earnestness of their advocacy, deserve more than short shrift from
The only question we can and shall resolve in this petition is the validity of Ordinance No. this Court.
3355 and Ordinance No. 3375-93 as enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan
de Oro City. And we shall do so only by the criteria laid down by law and not by our own The apparent flaw in the ordinances in question is that they contravene P.D. 1869 and the
convictions on the propriety of gambling. public policy embodied therein insofar as they prevent PAGCOR from exercising the power
conferred on it to operate a casino in Cagayan de Oro City. The petitioners have an
The tests of a valid ordinance are well established. A long line of decisions 9 has held that ingenious answer to this misgiving. They deny that it is the ordinances that have changed
to be valid, an ordinance must conform to the following substantive requirements: P.D. 1869 for an ordinance admittedly cannot prevail against a statute. Their theory is that
the change has been made by the Local Government Code itself, which was also enacted by
1) It must not contravene the constitution or any statute. the national lawmaking authority. In their view, the decree has been, not really repealed by
the Code, but merely "modified pro tanto" in the sense that PAGCOR cannot now operate a
2) It must not be unfair or oppressive. casino over the objection of the local government unit concerned. This modification of P.D.
1869 by the Local Government Code is permissible because one law can change or repeal
3) It must not be partial or discriminatory. another law.

4) It must not prohibit but may regulate trade. It seems to us that the petitioners are playing with words. While insisting that the decree
has only been "modifiedpro tanto," they are actually arguing that it is already dead,
repealed and useless for all intents and purposes because the Code has shorn PAGCOR of
5) It must be general and consistent with public policy.
all power to centralize and regulate casinos. Strictly speaking, its operations may now be
not only prohibited by the local government unit; in fact, the prohibition is not only
6) It must not be unreasonable.
discretionary but mandated by Section 458 of the Code if the word "shall" as used therein
is to be given its accepted meaning. Local government units have now no choice but to
We begin by observing that under Sec. 458 of the Local Government Code, local prevent and suppress gambling, which in the petitioners' view includes both legal and
government units are authorized to prevent or suppress, among others, "gambling illegal gambling. Under this construction, PAGCOR will have no more games of chance to
and other prohibited games of chance." Obviously, this provision excludes games of chance regulate or centralize as they must all be prohibited by the local government units
which are not prohibited but are in fact permitted by law. The petitioners are less than pursuant to the mandatory duty imposed upon them by the Code. In this situation,
accurate in claiming that the Code could have excluded such games of chance but did not. PAGCOR cannot continue to exist except only as a toothless tiger or a white elephant and

118
will no longer be able to exercise its powers as a prime source of government revenue Furthermore, it is a familiar rule that implied repeals are not lightly presumed in the
through the operation of casinos. absence of a clear and unmistakable showing of such intention. In Lichauco & Co. v.
Apostol, 10 this Court explained:
It is noteworthy that the petitioners have cited only Par. (f) of the repealing clause,
conveniently discarding the rest of the provision which painstakingly mentions the specific The cases relating to the subject of repeal by implication all proceed on the assumption
laws or the parts thereof which are repealed (or modified) by the Code. Significantly, P.D. that if the act of later date clearly reveals an intention on the part of the lawmaking power
1869 is not one of them. A reading of the entire repealing clause, which is reproduced to abrogate the prior law, this intention must be given effect; but there must always be a
below, will disclose the omission: sufficient revelation of this intention, and it has become an unbending rule of statutory
construction that the intention to repeal a former law will not be imputed to the Legislature
Sec. 534. Repealing Clause. — (a) Batas Pambansa Blg. 337, otherwise known as the "Local when it appears that the two statutes, or provisions, with reference to which the question
Government Code," Executive Order No. 112 (1987), and Executive Order No. 319 (1988) arises bear to each other the relation of general to special.
are hereby repealed.
There is no sufficient indication of an implied repeal of P.D. 1869. On the contrary, as the
(b) Presidential Decree Nos. 684, 1191, 1508 and such other decrees, orders, instructions, private respondent points out, PAGCOR is mentioned as the source of funding in two later
memoranda and issuances related to or concerning the barangay are hereby repealed. enactments of Congress, to wit, R.A. 7309, creating a Board of Claims under the
Department of Justice for the benefit of victims of unjust punishment or detention or of
(c) The provisions of Sections 2, 3, and 4 of Republic Act No. 1939 regarding hospital fund; violent crimes, and R.A. 7648, providing for measures for the solution of the power crisis.
Section 3, a (3) and b (2) of Republic Act. No. 5447 regarding the Special Education Fund; PAGCOR revenues are tapped by these two statutes. This would show that the PAGCOR
Presidential Decree No. 144 as amended by Presidential Decree Nos. 559 and 1741; charter has not been repealed by the Local Government Code but has in fact been improved
Presidential Decree No. 231 as amended; Presidential Decree No. 436 as amended by as it were to make the entity more responsive to the fiscal problems of the government.
Presidential Decree No. 558; and Presidential Decree Nos. 381, 436, 464, 477, 526, 632,
752, and 1136 are hereby repealed and rendered of no force and effect. It is a canon of legal hermeneutics that instead of pitting one statute against another in an
inevitably destructive confrontation, courts must exert every effort to reconcile them,
(d) Presidential Decree No. 1594 is hereby repealed insofar as it governs locally-funded remembering that both laws deserve a becoming respect as the handiwork of a coordinate
projects. branch of the government. On the assumption of a conflict between P.D. 1869 and the
Code, the proper action is not to uphold one and annul the other but to give effect to both
(e) The following provisions are hereby repealed or amended insofar as they are by harmonizing them if possible. This is possible in the case before us. The proper
inconsistent with the provisions of this Code: Sections 2, 16, and 29 of Presidential Decree resolution of the problem at hand is to hold that under the Local Government Code, local
No. 704; Sections 12 of Presidential Decree No. 87, as amended; Sections 52, 53, 66, 67, 68, government units may (and indeed must) prevent and suppress all kinds of gambling
69, 70, 71, 72, 73, and 74 of Presidential Decree No. 463, as amended; and Section 16 of within their territories except only those allowed by statutes like P.D. 1869. The exception
Presidential Decree No. 972, as amended, and reserved in such laws must be read into the Code, to make both the Code and such laws
equally effective and mutually complementary.
(f) All general and special laws, acts, city charters, decrees, executive orders, proclamations
and administrative regulations, or part or parts thereof which are inconsistent with any of This approach would also affirm that there are indeed two kinds of gambling, to wit, the
the provisions of this Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly. illegal and those authorized by law. Legalized gambling is not a modern concept; it is
probably as old as illegal gambling, if not indeed more so. The petitioners' suggestion that

119
the Code authorizes them to prohibit all kinds of gambling would erase the distinction there are certain notable innovations in the Constitution, like the direct conferment on the
between these two forms of gambling without a clear indication that this is the will of the local government units of the power to tax, 12 which cannot now be withdrawn by mere
legislature. Plausibly, following this theory, the City of Manila could, by mere ordinance, statute. By and large, however, the national legislature is still the principal of the local
prohibit the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office from conducting a lottery as authorized government units, which cannot defy its will or modify or violate it.
by R.A. 1169 and B.P. 42 or stop the races at the San Lazaro Hippodrome as authorized by
R.A. 309 and R.A. 983. The Court understands and admires the concern of the petitioners for the welfare of their
constituents and their apprehensions that the welfare of Cagayan de Oro City will be
In light of all the above considerations, we see no way of arriving at the conclusion urged on endangered by the opening of the casino. We share the view that "the hope of large or easy
us by the petitioners that the ordinances in question are valid. On the contrary, we find gain, obtained without special effort, turns the head of the workman" 13 and that "habitual
that the ordinances violate P.D. 1869, which has the character and force of a statute, as gambling is a cause of laziness and ruin." 14 In People v. Gorostiza, 15 we declared: "The
well as the public policy expressed in the decree allowing the playing of certain games of social scourge of gambling must be stamped out. The laws against gambling must be
chance despite the prohibition of gambling in general. enforced to the limit." George Washington called gambling "the child of avarice, the brother
of iniquity and the father of mischief." Nevertheless, we must recognize the power of the
The rationale of the requirement that the ordinances should not contravene a statute is legislature to decide, in its own wisdom, to legalize certain forms of gambling, as was done
obvious. Municipal governments are only agents of the national government. Local in P.D. 1869 and impliedly affirmed in the Local Government Code. That decision can be
councils exercise only delegated legislative powers conferred on them by Congress as the revoked by this Court only if it contravenes the Constitution as the touchstone of all official
national lawmaking body. The delegate cannot be superior to the principal or exercise acts. We do not find such contravention here.
powers higher than those of the latter. It is a heresy to suggest that the local government
units can undo the acts of Congress, from which they have derived their power in the first We hold that the power of PAGCOR to centralize and regulate all games of chance,
place, and negate by mere ordinance the mandate of the statute. including casinos on land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines,
remains unimpaired. P.D. 1869 has not been modified by the Local Government Code,
Municipal corporations owe their origin to, and derive their powers and rights wholly from which empowers the local government units to prevent or suppress only those forms of
the legislature. It breathes into them the breath of life, without which they cannot exist. As gambling prohibited by law.
it creates, so it may destroy. As it may destroy, it may abridge and control. Unless there is
some constitutional limitation on the right, the legislature might, by a single act, and if we Casino gambling is authorized by P.D. 1869. This decree has the status of a statute that
can suppose it capable of so great a folly and so great a wrong, sweep from existence all of cannot be amended or nullified by a mere ordinance. Hence, it was not competent for the
the municipal corporations in the State, and the corporation could not prevent it. We know Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan de Oro City to enact Ordinance No. 3353 prohibiting
of no limitation on the right so far as to the corporation themselves are concerned. They are, the use of buildings for the operation of a casino and Ordinance No. 3375-93 prohibiting
so to phrase it, the mere tenants at will of the legislature. 11 the operation of casinos. For all their praiseworthy motives, these ordinances are contrary
to P.D. 1869 and the public policy announced therein and are therefore ultra vires and
This basic relationship between the national legislature and the local government units void.
has not been enfeebled by the new provisions in the Constitution strengthening the policy
of local autonomy. Without meaning to detract from that policy, we here confirm that WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the challenged decision of the respondent Court
Congress retains control of the local government units although in significantly reduced of Appeals is AFFIRMED, with costs against the petitioners. It is so ordered.
degree now than under our previous Constitutions. The power to create still includes the
power to destroy. The power to grant still includes the power to withhold or recall. True,

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Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Bidin, Regalado, Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug, That the PAGCOR contributes greatly to the coffers of the government is not enough reason
Kapunan and Mendoza, JJ., concur. for setting up more gambling casinos because, undoubtedly, this will not help improve, but
will cause a further deterioration in the Filipino moral character.

It is worth remembering in this regard that, 1) what is legal is not always moral and 2) the
ends do not always justify the means.

As in Basco, I can easily visualize prostitution at par with gambling. And yet, legalization
of the former will not render it any less reprehensible even if substantial revenue for the
Separate Opinions government can be realized from it. The same is true of gambling.

In the present case, it is my considered view that the national government (through
PAGCOR) should re-examine and re-evaluate its decision of imposing the gambling casino
PADILLA, J., concurring: on the residents of Cagayan de Oro City; for it is abundantly clear that public opinion in the
city is very much against it, and again the question must be seriously deliberated: will the
prospects of revenue to be realized from the casino outweigh the further destruction of the
I concur with the majority holding that the city ordinances in question cannot modify
Filipino sense of values?
much less repeal PAGCOR's general authority to establish and maintain gambling casinos
anywhere in the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 1869.

In Basco v. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), 197 SCRA 52, I
stated in a separate opinion that: DAVIDE, JR., J., concurring:

. . . I agree with the decision insofar as it holds that the prohibition, control, and regulation While I concur in part with the majority, I wish, however, to express my views on certain
of the entire activity known as gambling properly pertain to "state policy". It is, therefore, aspects of this case.
the political departments of government, namely, the legislative and the executive that
should decide on what government should do in the entire area of gambling, and I.
assume full responsibility to the people for such policy." (Emphasis supplied)
It must at once be noted that private respondent Pryce Properties Corporation (PRYCE)
However, despite the legality of the opening and operation of a casino in Cagayan de Oro directly filed with the Court of Appeals its so-called petition for prohibition, thereby
City by respondent PAGCOR, I wish to reiterate my view that gambling in any form runs invoking the said court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of prohibition under Section
counter to the government's own efforts to re-establish and resurrect the Filipino moral 9(1) of B.P. Blg. 129. As I see it, however, the principal cause of action therein is one for
character which is generally perceived to be in a state of continuing erosion. declaratory relief: to declare null and unconstitutional — for, inter alia, having been
enacted without or in excess of jurisdiction, for impairing the obligation of contracts, and
It is in the light of this alarming perspective that I call upon government to carefully weigh for being inconsistent with public policy — the challenged ordinances enacted by
the advantages and disadvantages of setting up more gambling facilities in the country. the Sangguniang Panglungsod of the City of Cagayan de Oro. The intervention therein of

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public respondent Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) further jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals in this regard, supra — resulting from the deletion of
underscores the "declaratory relief" nature of the action. PAGCOR assails the ordinances the qualifying phrase, "in aid of its appellate jurisdiction" — was evidently intended
for being contrary to the non-impairment and equal protection clauses of the Constitution, precisely to relieve this Court pro tanto of the burden of dealing with applications for
violative of the Local Government Code, and against the State's national policy declared in extraordinary writs which, but for the expansion of the Appellate Court's corresponding
P.D. No. 1869. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals does not have jurisdiction over the nature jurisdiction, would have had to be filed with it. (citations omitted)
of the action. Even assuming arguendo that the case is one for prohibition, then, under
this Court's established policy relative to the hierarchy of courts, the petition should have And in Vasquez, this Court said:
been filed with the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City. I find no special or
compelling reason why it was not filed with the said court. I do not wish to entertain the One final observation. We discern in the proceedings in this case a propensity on the part
thought that PRYCE doubted a favorable verdict therefrom, in which case the filing of the of petitioner, and, for that matter, the same may be said of a number of litigants who
petition with the Court of Appeals may have been impelled by tactical considerations. A initiate recourses before us, to disregard the hierarchy of courts in our judicial system by
dismissal of the petition by the Court of Appeals would have been in order pursuant to our seeking relief directly from this Court despite the fact that the same is available in the lower
decisions in People vs. Cuaresma (172 SCRA 415, [1989]) and Defensor-Santiago vs. courts in the exercise of their original or concurrent jurisdiction, or is even mandated by
Vasquez (217 SCRA 633 [1993]). In Cuaresma, this Court stated: law to be sought therein. This practice must be stopped, not only because of the imposition
upon the previous time of this Court but also because of the inevitable and resultant delay,
A last word. This court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari (as well as intended or otherwise, in the adjudication of the case which often has to be remanded or
prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction) is not exclusive. It referred to the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better
is shared by this Court with Regional Trial Courts (formerly Courts of First Instance), equipped to resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We, therefore, reiterate
which may issue the writ, enforceable in any part of their respective regions. It is also the judicial policy that this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress
shared by this court, and by the Regional Trial Court, with the Court of Appeals (formerly, desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling
Intermediate Appellate Court), although prior to the effectivity of Batas Pambansa Bilang circumstances justify availment of a remedy within and calling for the exercise of our
129 on August 14, 1981, the latter's competence to issue the extraordinary writs was primary jurisdiction.
restricted by those "in aid of its appellate jurisdiction." This concurrence of jurisdiction is
not, however, to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute, II.
unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed.
There is after all a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the revenue of The challenged ordinances are (a) Ordinance No. 3353 entitled, "An Ordinance Prohibiting
appeals, and should also serve as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for the Issuance of Business Permit and Canceling Existing Business Permit To Any
petitions for the extraordinary writs. A becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most Establishment for the Using and Allowing to be Used Its Premises or Portion Thereof for the
certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level Operation of Casino," and (b) Ordinance No. 3375-93 entitled, "An Ordinance Prohibiting the
("inferior") courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, Operation of Casino and Providing Penalty for Violation Therefor." They were enacted to
with the Court of Appeals. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction implement Resolution No. 2295 entitled, "Resolution Declaring As a Matter of Policy to
to issue these writs should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons Prohibit and/or Not to Allow the Establishment of the Gambling Casino in the City of
therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition. This is established policy. It is a Cagayan de Oro," which was promulgated on 19 November 1990 — nearly two years before
policy that is necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Court's time and attention PRYCE and PAGCOR entered into a contract of lease under which the latter leased a
which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent portion of the former's Pryce Plaza Hotel for the operation of a gambling casino — which
further over-crowding of the Court's docket. Indeed, the removal of the restriction of the resolution was vigorously reiterated in Resolution No. 2673 of 19 October 1992.

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The challenged ordinances were enacted pursuant to the Sangguniang Panglungsod's city. Gambling, even if legalized, would be inimical to the general welfare of the inhabitants
express powers conferred by Section 458, paragraph (a), subparagraphs (1)-(v), (3)-(ii), and of the City, or of any place for that matter. The PAGCOR, as a government-owned
(4)-(i), (iv), and (vii), Local Government Code, and pursuant to its implied power under corporation, must consider the valid concerns of the people of the City of Cagayan de Oro
Section 16 thereof (the general welfare clause) which reads: and should not impose its will upon them in an arbitrary, if not despotic, manner.

Sec. 16. General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary,
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial
jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the
preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of
the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate
and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents,
maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.

The issue that necessarily arises is whether in granting local governments (such as the City
of Cagayan de Oro) the above powers and functions, the Local Government Code has, pro
tanto, repealed P.D. No. 1869 insofar as PAGCOR's general authority to establish and
maintain gambling casinos anywhere in the Philippines is concerned.

I join the majority in holding that the ordinances cannot repeal P.D. No. 1869.

III.

The nullification by the Court of Appeals of the challenged ordinances


as unconstitutional primarily because it is in contravention to P.D. No. 1869 is
unwarranted. A contravention of a law is not necessarily a contravention of the
constitution. In any case, the ordinances can still stand even if they be conceded as EN BANC
offending P.D. No. 1869. They can be reconciled, which is not impossible to do. So
reconciled, the ordinances should be construed as not applying to PAGCOR. G.R. No. 110249 August 21, 1997

IV. ALFREDO TANO, BALDOMERO TANO, DANILO TANO, ROMUALDO TANO, TEOCENES
MIDELLO, ANGEL DE MESA, EULOGIO TREMOCHA, FELIPE ONGONION, JR.,
From the pleadings, it is obvious that the government and the people of Cagayan de Oro ANDRES LINIJAN, ROBERT LIM, VIRGINIA LIM, FELIMON DE MESA, GENEROSO
City are, for obvious reasons, strongly against the opening of the gambling casino in their ARAGON, TEODORICO ANDRE, ROMULO DEL ROSARIO, CHOLITO ANDRE, ERICK

123
MONTANO, ANDRES OLIVA, VITTORIO SALVADOR, LEOPOLDO ARAGON, RAFAEL Petitioners caption their petition as one for "Certiorari, Injunction With Preliminary and
RIBA, ALEJANDRO LEONILA, JOSE DAMACINTO, RAMIRO MANAEG, RUBEN Mandatory Injunction, with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order" and pray that this
MARGATE, ROBERTO REYES, DANILO PANGARUTAN, NOE GOLPAN, ESTANISLAO Court: (1) declare as unconstitutional: (a) Ordinance No. 15-92, dated 15 December 1992,
ROMERO, NICANOR DOMINGO, ROLDAN TABANG, ADRIANO TABANG, FREDDIE of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Puerto Princesa; (b) Office Order No. 23, Series of 1993,
SACAMAY, MIGUEL TRIMOCHA, PACENCIO LABABIT, PABLO H. OMPAD, CELESTINO dated 22 January 1993, issued by Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero of Puerto Princesa
A. ABANO, ALLAN ALMODAI, BILLY D. BARTOLAY, ALBINO D. LIQUE, MECHOR J. City; and (c) Resolution No. 33, Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993, dated 19 February 1993,
LAYSON, MELANIE AMANTE, CLARO E. YATOC, MERGELDO B. BALDEO, EDGAR M. of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan; (2) enjoin the enforcement thereof; and (3)
ALMASETA, JOSELITO MANAEG, LIBERATO ANDRADA, JR., ROBERTO BERRY, restrain respondents Provincial and City Prosecutors of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City
RONALD VILLANUEVA, EDUARDO VALMORIA, WILFREDO MENDOZA, NAPOLEON and Judges of the Regional Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts 1 and Municipal Circuit
BABANGGA, ROBERTO TADEPA, RUBEN ASINGUA, SILVERIO GABO, JERRY Trial Courts in Palawan from assuming jurisdiction over and hearing cases concerning the
ROMERO, DAVID PANGGARUTAN, DANIEL PANGGARUTAN, ROMEO AGAWIN, violation of the Ordinances and of the Office Order.
FERNANDO EQUIZ, DITO LEQUIZ, RONILO MODERABLE, BENEDICTO TORRES,
ROSITO A. VALDEZ, CRESENCIO A. SAYANG, NICOMEDES S. ACOSTA, ERENEO A. More appropriately, the petition is, and shall be treated as, a special civil action
SEGARINO, JR., WILFREDO A. RAUTO, DIOSDADO A. ACOSTA, BONIFACIO G. SISMO, for certiorari and prohibition.
TACIO ALUBA, DANIEL B. BATERZAL, ELISEO YBAÑEZ, DIOSDADO E. HANCHIC,
EDDIE ESCALICAS, ELEAZAR B. BATERZAL, DOMINADOR HALICHIC, ROOSEVELT The following is petitioners' summary of the factual antecedents giving rise to the petition:
RISMO-AN, ROBERT C. MERCADER, TIRSO ARESGADO, DANIEL CHAVEZ, DANILO
CHAVEZ, VICTOR VILLAROEL, ERNESTO C. YBAÑEZ, ARMANDO T. SANTILLAN, 1. On December 15, 1992, the Sangguniang Panlungsod ng Puerto Princesa City enacted
RUDY S. SANTILLAN, JODJEN ILUSTRISIMO, NESTOR SALANGRON, ALBERTO Ordinance No. 15-92 which took effect on January 1, 1993 entitled: "AN ORDINANCE
SALANGRON, ROGER L. ROXAS, FRANCISCO T. ANTICANO, PASTOR SALANGRON, BANNING THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO
BIENVENIDO SANTILLAN, GILBUENA LADDY, FIDEL BENJAMIN, JOVELITO PRINCESA CITY FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998 AND PROVIDING
BELGANO, HONEY PARIOL, ANTONIO SALANGRON, NICASIO SALANGRON, & EXEMPTIONS, PENALTIES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES THEREOF", the full text of which
AIRLINE SHIPPERS ASSOCIATION OF PALAWAN, petitioners, reads as follows:
vs.
HON. GOV. SALVADOR P. SOCRATES, MEMBERS OF SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN
Sec. 1. Title of the Ordinance. — This Ordinance is entitled: AN ORDINANCE BANNING THE
OF PALAWAN, namely, VICE-GOVERNOR JOEL T. REYES, JOSE D. ZABALA,
SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM
ROSALINO R. ACOSTA, JOSELITO A. CADLAON, ANDRES R. BAACO, NELSON P.
JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1, 1998 AND PROVIDING EXEMPTIONS, PENALTIES
PENEYRA, CIPRIANO C. BARROMA, CLARO E. ORDINARIO, ERNESTO A. LLACUNA,
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES THEREOF.
RODOLFO C. FLORDELIZA, GILBERT S. BAACO, WINSTON G. ARZAGA, NAPOLEON F.
ORDONEZ and GIL P. ACOSTA, CITY MAYOR EDWARD HAGEDORN, MEMBERS OF
Sec. 2. Purpose, Scope and Coverage. — To effectively free our City Sea Waters from
SANGGUNIANG PANLUNGSOD NG PUERTO PRINCESA, ALL MEMBERS OF BANTAY
Cyanide and other Obnoxious substance[s], and shall cover all persons and/or entities
DAGAT, MEMBERS OF PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE OF PALAWAN, PROVINCIAL
operating within and outside the City of Puerto Princesa who is are (sic) directly or
AND CITY PROSECUTORS OF PALAWAN and PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, and ALL
indirectly in the business or shipment of live fish and lobster outside the City.
JUDGES OF PALAWAN, REGIONAL, MUNICIPAL AND METROPOLITAN, respondents.

Sec. 3. Definition of terms. — For purpose of this Ordinance the following are hereby
DAVIDE, JR., J.:
defined:

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A. SEA BASS — A kind of fish under the family of Centropomidae, better known as 2. To implement said city ordinance, then Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero issued Office
APAHAP; Order No. 23, Series of 1993 dated January 22, 1993 which reads as follows:

B. CATFISH — A kind of fish under the family of Plotosidae, better known as HITO-HITO; In the interest of public service and for purposes of City Ordinance No. PD 426-14-74,
otherwise known as "AN ORDINANCE REQUIRING ANY PERSON ENGAGED OR
C. MUDFISH — A kind of fish under the family of Orphicaphalisae better known as DALAG; INTENDING TO ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS, TRADE, OCCUPATION, CALLING OR
PROFESSION OR HAVING IN HIS POSSESSION ANY OF THE ARTICLES FOR WHICH A
D. ALL LIVE FISH — All alive, breathing not necessarily moving of all specie[s] use[d] for PERMIT IS REQUIRED TO BE HAD, TO OBTAIN FIRST A MAYOR'S PERMIT" and "City
food and for aquarium purposes. Ordinance No. 15-92, AN ORDINANCE BANNING THE SHIPMENT OF ALL LIVE FISH AND
LOBSTER OUTSIDE PUERTO PRINCESA CITY FROM JANUARY 1, 1993 TO JANUARY 1,
E. LIVE LOBSTER — Several relatively, large marine crusteceans [sic] of the genus 1998, you are hereby authorized and directed to check or conduct necessary inspections
Homarus that are alive and breathing not necessarily moving. on cargoes containing live fish and lobster being shipped out from the Puerto Princesa
Airport, Puerto Princesa Wharf or at any port within the jurisdiction of the City to any point
of destinations [sic] either via aircraft or seacraft.
Sec. 4. It shall be unlawful [for] any person or any business enterprise or company to ship
out from Puerto Princesa City to any point of destination either via aircraft or seacraft of
any live fish and lobster except SEA BASS, CATFISH, MUDFISH, AND MILKFISH FRIES. The purpose of the inspection is to ascertain whether the shipper possessed the required
Mayor's Permit issued by this Office and the shipment is covered by invoice or clearance
issued by the local office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and as to
Sec. 5. Penalty Clause. — Any person/s and or business entity violating this Ordinance
compliance with all other existing rules and regulations on the matter.
shall be penalized with a fine of not more than P5,000.00 or imprisonment of not more
than twelve (12) months, cancellation of their permit to do business in the City of Puerto
Princesa or all of the herein stated penalties, upon the discretion of the court. Any cargo containing live fish and lobster without the required documents as stated herein
must be held for proper disposition.
Sec. 6. If the owner and/or operator of the establishment found violating the provisions of
this ordinance is a corporation or a partnership, the penalty prescribed in Section 5 hereof In the pursuit of this Order, you are hereby authorized to coordinate with the PAL Manager,
shall be imposed upon its president and/or General Manager or Managing Partner and/or the PPA Manager, the local PNP Station and other offices concerned for the needed support
Manager, as the case maybe [sic]. and cooperation. Further, that the usual courtesy and diplomacy must be observed at all
times in the conduct of the inspection.
Sec. 7. Any existing ordinance or any provision of any ordinance inconsistent to [sic] this
ordinance is deemed repealed. Please be guided accordingly.

Sec. 8. This Ordinance shall take effect on January 1, 1993. xxx xxx xxx

SO ORDAINED. 3. On February 19, 1993, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Provincial Government of


Palawan enacted Resolution No. 33 entitled: "A RESOLUTION PROHIBITING THE
CATCHING, GATHERING, POSSESSING, BUYING, SELLING AND SHIPMENT OF LIVE
xxx xxx xxx
MARINE CORAL DWELLING AQUATIC ORGANISMS, TO WIT:

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FAMILY: SCARIDAE (MAMENG), EPINE PHELUS FASCIATUS (SUNO). CROMILEPTES BE IT ORDAINED BY THE SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN IN SESSION ASSEMBLED:
ALTIVELIS(PANTHER OR SENORITA), LOBSTER BELOW 200 GRAMS AND
SPAWNING, TRIDACNA GIGAS(TAKLOBO), PINCTADA MARGARITEFERA (MOTHER Sec. 1. TITLE — This Ordinance shall be known as an "Ordinance Prohibiting the catching,
PEARL, OYSTERS, GIANT CLAMS AND OTHER SPECIES), PENAEUS MONODON (TIGER gathering, possessing, buying, selling and shipment of live marine coral dwelling aquatic
PRAWN-BREEDER SIZE OR MOTHER), EPINEPHELUS SUILLUS (LOBA OR GREEN organisms, to wit: 1. Family: Scaridae (Mameng), 2. Epinephelus Fasciatus (Suno) 3.
GROUPER) AND FAMILY: BALISTIDAE (TROPICAL AQUARIUM FISHES) FOR A PERIOD Cromileptes altivelis (Panther or Senorita), lobster below 200 grams and spawning), 4.
FIVE (5) YEARS IN AND COMING FROM PALAWAN WATERS", the full text of which reads Tridacna Gigas (Taklobo), 5. Pinctada Margaretefera (Mother Pearl, Oysters, Giant Clams
as follows: and other species), 6. Penaeus Monodon (Tiger Prawn-breeder size or mother), 7.
Epinephelus Suillus (Loba or Green Grouper) and 8. Family: Balistidae (T[r]opical
WHEREAS, scientific and factual researches [sic] and studies disclose that only five (5) Aquarium Fishes) for a period of five (5) years in and coming from Palawan Waters.
percent of the corals of our province remain to be in excellent condition as [a] habitat of
marine coral dwelling aquatic organisms; Sec. II. PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS

WHEREAS, it cannot be gainsaid that the destruction and devastation of the corals of our 1. Sec. 2-A (Rep. Act 7160). It is hereby declared, the policy of the state that the territorial
province were principally due to illegal fishing activities like dynamite fishing, sodium and political subdivisions of the State shall enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy
cyanide fishing, use of other obnoxious substances and other related activities; to enable them to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make
them more effective partners in the attainment of national goals. Toward this end, the State
WHEREAS, there is an imperative and urgent need to protect and preserve the existence of shall provide for [a] more responsive and accountable local government structure
the remaining excellent corals and allow the devastated ones to reinvigorate and regenerate instituted through a system of decentralization whereby local government units shall be
themselves into vitality within the span of five (5) years; given more powers, authority, responsibilities and resources.

WHEREAS, Sec. 468, Par. 1, Sub-Par. VI of the [sic] R.A. 7160 otherwise known as the 2. Sec. 5-A (R.A. 7160). Any provision on a power of [a] local Government Unit shall be
Local Government Code of 1991 empowers the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to protect the liberally interpreted in its favor, and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be
environment and impose appropriate penalties [upon] acts which endanger the resolved in favor of devolution of powers and of the lower government units. "Any fair and
environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing, among reasonable doubts as to the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the Local
others. Government Unit concerned."

NOW, THEREFORE, on motion by Kagawad Nelson P. Peneyra and upon unanimous 3. Sec. 5-C (R.A. 7160). The general welfare provisions in this Code shall be liberally
decision of all the members present; interpreted to give more powers to local government units in accelerating economic
development and upgrading the quality of life for the people in the community.
Be it resolved as it is hereby resolved, to approve Resolution No. 33, Series of 1993 of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan and to enact Ordinance No. 2 for the purpose, to wit: 4. Sec. 16 (R.A. 7160). General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the
powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers
ORDINANCE NO. 2 necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance; and those
Series of 1993 which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.

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Sec. III. DECLARATION OF POLICY. — It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Province 5. Petitioners Alfredo Tano, Baldomero Tano, Teocenes Midello, Angel de Mesa, Eulogio
of Palawan to protect and conserve the marine resources of Palawan not only for the Tremocha, and Felipe Ongonion, Jr. were even charged criminally under criminal case no.
greatest good of the majority of the present generation but with [the] proper perspective 93-05-C in the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Cuyo-Agutaya-Magsaysay, an original
and consideration of [sic] their prosperity, and to attain this end, the Sangguniang carbon copy of the criminal complaint dated April 12, 1993 is hereto attached as Annex "D";
Panlalawigan henceforth declares that is (sic) shall be unlawful for any person or any while xerox copies are attached as Annex "D" to the copies of the petition;
business entity to engage in catching, gathering, possessing, buying, selling and shipment
of live marine coral dwelling aquatic organisms as enumerated in Section 1 hereof in and 6. Petitioners Robert Lim and Virginia Lim, on the other hand, were charged by the
coming out of Palawan Waters for a period of five (5) years; respondent PNP with the respondent City Prosecutor of Puerto Princess City, a xerox copy
of the complaint is hereto attached as Annex "E";
Sec. IV. PENALTY CLAUSE. — Any person and/or business entity violating this Ordinance
shall be penalized with a fine of not more than Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00), Philippine Without seeking redress from the concerned local government units, prosecutor's office
Currency, and/or imprisonment of six (6) months to twelve (12) months and confiscation and courts, petitioners directly invoked our original jurisdiction by filing this petition on 4
and forfeiture of paraphernalias [sic] and equipment in favor of the government at the June 1993. In sum, petitioners contend that:
discretion of the Court;
First, the Ordinances deprived them of due process of law, their livelihood, and unduly
Sec. V. SEPARABILITY CLAUSE. — If for any reason, a Section or provision of this restricted them from the practice of their trade, in violation of Section 2, Article XII and
Ordinance shall be held as unconditional [sic] or invalid, it shall not affect the other Sections 2 and 7 of Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution.
provisions hereof.
Second, Office Order No. 23 contained no regulation nor condition under which the
Sec. VI. REPEALING CLAUSE. — Any existing Ordinance or a provision of any ordinance Mayor's permit could be granted or denied; in other words, the Mayor had the absolute
inconsistent herewith is deemed modified, amended or repealed. authority to determine whether or not to issue the permit.

Sec. VII. EFFECTIVITY — This Ordinance shall take effect ten (10) days after its Third, as Ordinance No. 2 of the Province of Palawan "altogether prohibited the catching,
publication. gathering, possession, buying, selling and shipping of live marine coral dwelling organisms,
without any distinction whether it was caught or gathered through lawful fishing method,"
SO ORDAINED. the Ordinance took away the right of petitioners-fishermen to earn their livelihood in lawful
ways; and insofar as petitioners-members of Airline Shippers Association are concerned,
xxx xxx xxx they were unduly prevented from pursuing their vocation and entering "into contracts
which are proper, necessary, and essential to carry out their business endeavors to a
4. The respondents implemented the said ordinances, Annexes "A" and "C" hereof thereby successful conclusion."
depriving all the fishermen of the whole province of Palawan and the City of Puerto
Princesa of their only means of livelihood and the petitioners Airline Shippers Association Finally, as Ordinance No. 2 of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is null and void, the criminal
of Palawan and other marine merchants from performing their lawful occupation and cases based thereon against petitioners Tano and the others have to be dismissed.
trade;
In the Resolution of 15 June 1993 we required respondents to comment on the petition,
and furnished the Office of the Solicitor General with a copy thereof.

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In their comment filed on 13 August 1993, public respondents Governor Socrates and The rest of the respondents did not file any comment on the petition.
Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan defended the validity of Ordinance
No. 2, Series of 1993, as a valid exercise of the Provincial Government's power under the In the resolution of 15 September 1994, we resolved to consider the comment on the
general welfare clause (Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991 [hereafter, LGC]), petition as the Answer, gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit
and its specific power to protect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts their respective memoranda. 2
which endanger the environment, such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive
fishing under Section 447 (a) (1) (vi), Section 458 (a) (1) (vi), and Section 468 (a) (1) (vi), of On 22 April 1997 we ordered impleaded as party respondents the Department of
the LGC. They claimed that in the exercise of such powers, the Province of Palawan had Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and required the Office of
"the right and responsibility . . . to insure that the remaining coral reefs, where fish dwells the Solicitor General to comment on their behalf. But in light of the latter's motion of 9 July
[sic], within its territory remain healthy for the future generation." The Ordinance, they 1997 for an extension of time to file the comment which would only result in further delay,
further asserted, covered only live marine coral dwelling aquatic organisms which were we dispensed with said comment.
enumerated in the ordinance and excluded other kinds of live marine aquatic organisms
not dwelling in coral reefs; besides the prohibition was for only five (5) years to protect and After due deliberation on the pleadings filed, we resolved to dismiss this petition for want of
preserve the pristine coral and allow those damaged to regenerate. merit, and on 22 July 1997, assigned it to the ponente to write the opinion of the Court.

Aforementioned respondents likewise maintained that there was no violation of the due I
process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. As to the former, public hearings
were conducted before the enactment of the Ordinance which, undoubtedly, had a lawful
There are actually two sets of petitioners in this case. The first is composed of Alfredo Tano,
purpose and employed reasonable means; while as to the latter, a substantial distinction
Baldomero Tano, Danilo Tano, Romualdo Tano, Teocenes Midello, Angel de Mesa, Eulogio
existed "between a fisherman who catches live fish with the intention of selling it live, and
Tremocha, Felipe Ongonion, Jr., Andres Linijan, and Felimon de Mesa, who were
a fisherman who catches live fish with no intention at all of selling it live," i.e., "the former
criminally charged with violating Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 33 and
uses sodium cyanide while the latter does not." Further, the Ordinance applied equally to
Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993, of the Province of Palawan, in Criminal Case No. 93-05-C
all those belonging to one class.
of the 1st Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Palawan; 3 and Robert Lim and Virginia
Lim who were charged with violating City Ordinance No. 15-92 of Puerto Princesa City and
On 25 October 1993 petitioners filed an Urgent Plea for the Immediate Issuance of a Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993, of the Province of Palawan before the Office of the City
Temporary Restraining Order, claiming that despite the pendency of this case, Branch 50 Prosecutor of Puerto Princesa. 4 All of them, with the exception of Teocenes Midello, Felipe
of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan was bent on proceeding with Criminal Case No. Ongonion, Jr., Felimon de Mesa, Robert Lim and Virginia Lim, are likewise the accused in
11223 against petitioners Danilo Tano, Alfredo Tano, Eulogio Tremocha, Romualdo Tano, Criminal Case No. 11223 for the violation of Ordinance No. 2 of the Sangguniang
Baldomero Tano, Andres Linijan and Angel de Mesa for violation of Ordinance No. 2 of the Panlalawigan of Palawan, pending before Branch 50 of the Regional Trial Court of
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan. Acting on said plea, we issued on 11 November Palawan. 5
1993 a temporary restraining order directing Judge Angel Miclat of said court to cease and
desist from proceeding with the arraignment and pre-trial of Criminal Case No. 11223.
The second set of petitioners is composed of the rest of the petitioners numbering
seventy-seven (77), all of whom, except the Airline Shippers Association of Palawan — an
On 12 July 1994, we excused the Office of the Solicitor General from filing a comment, alleged private association of several marine merchants — are natural persons who claim
considering that as claimed by said office in its Manifestation of 28 June 1994, to be fishermen.
respondents were already represented by counsel.

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The primary interest of the first set of petitioners is, of course, to prevent the prosecution, Even granting arguendo that the first set of petitioners have a cause of action ripe for the
trial and determination of the criminal cases until the constitutionality or legality of the extraordinary writ of certiorari, there is here a clear disregard of the hierarchy of courts,
Ordinances they allegedly violated shall have been resolved. The second set of petitioners and no special and important reason or exceptional and compelling circumstance has been
merely claim that being fishermen or marine merchants, they would be adversely affected adduced why direct recourse to us should be allowed. While we have concurrent
by the ordinance's. jurisdiction with Regional Trial courts and with the Court of Appeals to issue writs
of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such
As to the first set of petitioners, this special civil for certiorari must fail on the ground of concurrence gives petitioners no unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum, so we held
prematurity amounting to a lack of cause of action. There is no showing that said in People v. Cuaresma.13
petitioners, as the accused in the criminal cases, have filed motions to quash the
informations therein and that the same were denied. The ground available for such This concurrence of jurisdiction is not . . . to be taken as according to parties seeking any
motions is that the facts charged therein do not constitute an offense because the of the writs an absolute unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application
ordinances in question are unconstitutional. 6It cannot then be said that the lower courts therefor will be directed. There is after all hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is
acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion to justify determinative of the venue of appeals, and should also serve as a general determinant of
recourse to the extraordinary remedy of certiorari or prohibition. It must further be the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. A becoming regard for that
stressed that even if petitioners did file motions to quash, the denial thereof would not judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary
forthwith give rise to a cause of action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The general rule writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court, and
is that where a motion to quash is denied, the remedy therefrom is not certiorari, but for those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals. A direct invocation of the Supreme
the party aggrieved thereby to go to trial without prejudice to reiterating special defenses Court's original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when there are
involved in said motion, and if, after trial on the merits an adverse decision is rendered, to special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition. This
appeal therefrom in the manner authorized by law. 7 And, even where in an exceptional is established policy. It is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the
circumstance such denial may be the subject of a special civil action for certiorari, a motion Court's time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive
for reconsideration must have to be filed to allow the court concerned an opportunity to jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-crowding of the Court's docket. . . .
correct its errors, unless such motion may be dispensed with because of existing
exceptional circumstances. 8 Finally, even if a motion for reconsideration has been filed The Court feels the need to reaffirm that policy at this time, and to enjoin strict adherence
and denied, the remedy under Rule 65 is still unavailable absent any showing of the thereto in the light of what it perceives to be a growing tendency on the part of litigants and
grounds provided for in Section 1 thereof. 9 For obvious reasons, the petition at bar does lawyers to have their applications for the so-called extraordinary writs, and sometimes
not, and could not have, alleged any of such grounds. even their appeals, passed upon and adjudicated directly and immediately by the highest
tribunal of the land. . . .
As to the second set of petitioners, the instant petition is obviously one for DECLARATORY
RELIEF, i.e., for a declaration that the Ordinances in question are a "nullity . . . for being In Santiago v. Vasquez,14 this Court forcefully expressed that the propensity of litigants
unconstitutional."10 As such, their petition must likewise fail, as this Court is not and lawyers to disregard the hierarchy of courts must be put to a halt, not only because of
possessed of original jurisdiction over petitions for declaratory relief even if only questions the imposition upon the precious time of this Court, but also because of the inevitable and
of law are involved,11 it being settled that the Court merely exercises appellate jurisdiction resultant delay, intended or otherwise, in the adjudication of the case which often has to be
over such petitions.12 remanded or referred to the lower court, the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or
as better equipped to resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We reiterated
II "the judicial policy that this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress

129
desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts or where exceptional and compelling The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea,
circumstances justify availment of a remedy within and calling for the exercise of [its] and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino
primary jurisdiction." citizens.

III The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino
citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and
Notwithstanding the foregoing procedural obstacles against the first set of petitioners, we fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons.
opt to resolve this case on its merits considering that the lifetime of the challenged
Ordinances is about to end. Ordinance No. 15-92 of the City of Puerto Princesa is effective Sections 2 and 7 of Article XIII provide:
only up to 1 January 1998, while Ordinance No. 2 of the Province of Palawan, enacted on
19 February 1993, is effective for only five (5) years. Besides, these Ordinances were Sec. 2. The promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create economic
undoubtedly enacted in the exercise of powers under the new LGC relative to the protection opportunities based on freedom of initiative and self-reliance.
and preservation of the environment and are thus novel and of paramount importance. No
further delay then may be allowed in the resolution of the issues raised. xxx xxx xxx

It is of course settled that laws (including ordinances enacted by local government units) Sec. 7. The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local
enjoy the presumption of constitutionality. 15 To overthrow this presumption, there must communities, to the preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both
be a clear and unequivocal breach of the Constitution, not merely a doubtful or inland and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate
argumentative contradiction. In short, the conflict with the Constitution must be shown technology and research, adequate financial, production, and marketing assistance, and
beyond reasonable doubt.16 Where doubt exists, even if well-founded, there can be no other services. The State shall also protect, develop, and conserve such resources. The
finding of unconstitutionality. To doubt is to sustain. 17 protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against
foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization
After a scrutiny of the challenged Ordinances and the provisions of the Constitution of marine and fishing resources.
petitioners claim to have been violated, we find petitioners' contentions baseless and so
hold that the former do not suffer from any infirmity, both under the Constitution and There is absolutely no showing that any of the petitioners qualifies as a subsistence or
applicable laws. marginal fisherman. In their petition, petitioner Airline Shippers Association of Palawan is
self-described as "a private association composed of Marine Merchants;" petitioners Robert
Petitioners specifically point to Section 2, Article XII and Sections 2 and 7, Article XIII of the Lim and Virginia Lim, as "merchants;" while the rest of the petitioners claim to be
Constitution as having been transgressed by the Ordinances. "fishermen," without any qualification, however, as to their status.

The pertinent portion of Section 2 of Article XII reads: Since the Constitution does not specifically provide a definition of the terms "subsistence"
or "marginal" fishermen,18 they should be construed in their general and ordinary sense.
Sec. 2. . . . A marginal fisherman is an individual engaged in fishing whose margin of return or reward
in his harvest of fish as measured by existing price levels is barely sufficient to yield a profit
or cover the cost of gathering the fish,19 while a subsistence fisherman is one whose catch
yields but the irreducible minimum for his livelihood. 20 Section 131(p) of the LGC (R.A. No.

130
7160) defines a marginal farmer or fisherman as "an individual engaged in subsistence resources belong to the State, and, pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 2, Article XII
farming or fishing which shall be limited to the sale, barter or exchange of agricultural or of the Constitution, their "exploration, development and utilization . . . shall be under the
marine products produced by himself and his immediate family." It bears repeating that full control and supervision of the State." Moreover, their mandated protection,
nothing in the record supports a finding that any petitioner falls within these definitions. development and conservation as necessarily recognized by the framers of the Constitution,
imply certain restrictions on whatever right of enjoyment there may be in favor of anyone.
Besides, Section 2 of Article XII aims primarily not to bestow any right to subsistence Thus, as to the curtailment of the preferential treatment of marginal fishermen, the
fishermen, but to lay stress on the duty of the State to protect the nation's marine wealth. following exchange between Commissioner Francisco Rodrigo and Commissioner Jose F.S.
What the provision merely recognizes is that the State may allow, by law, cooperative fish Bengzon, Jr., took place at the plenary session of the Constitutional Commission:
farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays and
lagoons. Our survey of the statute books reveals that the only provision of law which MR. RODRIGO:
speaks of a preferential right of marginal fishermen is Section 149 of the LGC, which
pertinently provides: Let us discuss the implementation of this because I would not raise the hopes of our people,
and afterwards fail in the implementation. How will this be implemented? Will there be a
Sec. 149. Fishery Rentals, Fees and Charges. — . . . licensing or giving of permits so that government officials will know that one is really a
marginal fisherman? Or if policeman say that a person is not a marginal fisherman, he can
(b) The sangguniang bayan may: show his permit, to prove that indeed he is one.

(1) Grant fishery privileges to erect fish corrals, oyster, mussels or other aquatic beds or MR. BENGZON:
bangus fry areas, within a definite zone of the municipal waters, as determined by
it: Provided, however, That duly registered organizations and cooperatives of marginal Certainly, there will be some mode of licensing insofar as this is concerned and this
fishermen shall have the preferential right to such fishery privileges . . . . particular question could be tackled when we discuss the Article on Local Governments —
whether we will leave to the local governments or to Congress on how these things will be
In a Joint Administrative Order No. 3 dated 25 April 1996, the Secretary of the Department implemented. But certainly, I think our congressmen and our local officials will not be
of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government bereft of ideas on how to implement this mandate.
prescribed guidelines concerning the preferential treatment of small fisherfolk relative to
the fishery right mentioned in Section 149. This case, however, does not involve such xxx xxx xxx
fishery right.
MR. RODRIGO:
Anent Section 7 of Article XIII, it speaks not only of the use of communal marine and
fishing resources, but of their protection, development and conservation. As hereafter So, once one is licensed as a marginal fisherman, he can go anywhere in the Philippines
shown, the ordinances in question are meant precisely to protect and conserve our marine and fish in any fishing grounds.
resources to the end that their enjoyment may be guaranteed not only for the present
generation, but also for the generations to come. MR. BENGZON:

The so-called "preferential right" of subsistence or marginal fishermen to the use of marine
resources is not at all absolute. In accordance with the Regalian Doctrine, marine

131
Subject to whatever rules and regulations and local laws that may be passed, may be preservation and enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance the right of
existing or will be passed.21 (emphasis supplied) the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and support the development of appropriate
and self-reliant scientific and technological capabilities, improve public morals, enhance
What must likewise be borne in mind is the state policy enshrined in the Constitution economic prosperity and social justice, promote full employment among their residents,
regarding the duty of the State to protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature. 22 On this score, (emphasis supplied).
in Oposa v. Factoran, 23 this Court declared:
Moreover, Section 5(c) of the LGC explicitly mandates that the general welfare provisions of
While the right to a balanced and healthful ecology is to be found under the Declaration of the LGC "shall be liberally interpreted to give more powers to the local government units in
Principles the State Policies and not under the Bill of Rights, it does not follow that it is less accelerating economic development and upgrading the quality of life for the people of the
important than any of the civil and political rights enumerated in the latter. Such a right community."
belongs to a different category of rights altogether for it concerns nothing less than
self-preservation and self-perpetuation — aptly and fittingly stressed by the petitioners — The LGC vests municipalities with the power to grant fishery privileges in municipal waters
the advancement of which may even be said to predate all governments and constitutions. and impose rentals, fees or charges therefor; to penalize, by appropriate ordinances, the
As a matter of fact, these basic rights need not even be written in the Constitution for they use of explosives, noxious or poisonous substances, electricity, muro-ami, and other
are assumed to exist from the inception of humankind. If they are now explicitly mentioned deleterious methods of fishing; and to prosecute any violation of the provisions of
in the fundamental charter, it is because of the well-founded fear of its framers that unless applicable fishery laws.24 Further, the sangguniang bayan, the sangguniang panlungsod
the rights to a balanced and healthful ecology and to health are mandated as state policies and the sangguniang panlalawigan are directed to enact ordinances for the general welfare
by the Constitution itself, thereby highlighting their continuing importance and imposing of the municipality and its inhabitants, which shall include, inter alia, ordinances that
upon the state a solemn obligation to preserve the first and protect and advance the second, "[p]rotect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the
the day would not be too far when all else would be lost not only for the present generation, environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing . . . and such
but also for those to come — generations which stand to inherit nothing but parched earth other activities which result in pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes,
incapable of sustaining life. or of ecological
imbalance."25
The right to a balanced and healthful ecology carries with it a correlative duty to refrain
from impairing the environment. . . . Finally, the centerpiece of LGC is the system of decentralization 26 as expressly mandated
by the Constitution.27 Indispensable to decentralization is devolution and the LGC
The LGC provisions invoked by private respondents merely seek to give flesh and blood to expressly provides that "[a]ny provision on a power of a local government unit shall be
the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology. In fact, the General Welfare liberally interpreted in its favor, and in case of doubt, any question thereon shall be
Clause, expressly mentions this right: resolved in favor of devolution of powers and of the lower local government unit. Any fair
and reasonable doubt as to the existence of the power shall be interpreted in favor of the
Sec. 16. General Welfare. — Every local government unit shall exercise the powers local government unit concerned."28 Devolution refers to the act by which the National
expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, Government confers power and authority upon the various local government units to
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are perform specific functions and responsibilities.29
essential to the promotion of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial
jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and support, among other things, the

132
One of the devolved powers enumerated in the section of the LGC on devolution is the 5. Issuance of licenses to establish seaweed farms within municipal waters;
enforcement of fishery laws in municipal waters including the conservation of
mangroves.30 This necessarily includes the enactment of ordinances to effectively carry out 6. Issuance of licenses to establish culture pearls within municipal waters;
such fishery laws within the municipal waters.
7. Issuance of auxiliary invoice to transport fish and fishery products; and
The term "municipal waters," in turn, includes not only streams, lakes, and tidal waters
within the municipality, not being the subject of private ownership and not comprised 8. Establishment of "closed season" in municipal waters.
within the national parks, public forest, timber lands, forest reserves, or fishery reserves,
but also marine waters included between two lines drawn perpendicularly to the general These functions are covered in the Memorandum of Agreement of 5 April 1994 between the
coastline from points where the boundary lines of the municipality or city touch the sea at Department of Agriculture and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
low tide and a third line parallel with the general coastline and fifteen kilometers from
it.31 Under P.D. No. 704, the marine waters included in municipal waters is limited to three
In light then of the principles of decentralization and devolution enshrined in the LGC and
nautical miles from the general coastline using the above perpendicular lines and a third
the powers granted therein to local government units under Section 16 (the General
parallel line.
Welfare Clause), and under Sections 149, 447(a) (1) (vi), 458 (a) (1) (vi) and 468 (a) (1) (vi),
which unquestionably involve the exercise of police power, the validity of the questioned
These "fishery laws" which local government units may enforce under Section 17(b)(2)(i) in Ordinances cannot be doubted.
municipal waters include: (1) P.D. No. 704; (2) P.D. No. 1015 which, inter alia, authorizes
the establishment of a "closed season" in any Philippine water if necessary for conservation
Parenthetically, we wish to add that these Ordinances find full support under R.A. No.
or ecological purposes; (3) P.D. No. 1219 which provides for the exploration, exploitation,
7611, otherwise known as the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act,
utilization and conservation of coral resources; (4) R.A. No. 5474, as amended by B.P. Blg.
approved on 19 June 1992. This statute adopts a "comprehensive framework for the
58, which makes it unlawful for any person, association or corporation to catch or cause to
sustainable development of Palawan compatible with protecting and enhancing the natural
be caught, sell, offer to sell, purchase, or have in possession any of the fish specie
resources and endangered environment of the province," which "shall serve to guide the
called gobiidae or "ipon" during closed season; and (5) R.A. No. 6451 which prohibits and
local government of Palawan and the government agencies concerned in the formulation
punishes electrofishing, as well as various issuances of the BFAR.
and implementation of plans, programs and projects affecting said province." 32

To those specifically devolved insofar as the control and regulation of fishing in municipal
At this time then, it would be appropriate to determine the relation between the assailed
waters and the protection of its marine environment are concerned, must be added the
Ordinances and the aforesaid powers of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Puerto
following:
Princesa and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Palawan to protect the
environment. To begin, we ascertain the purpose of the Ordinances as set forth in the
1. Issuance of permits to construct fish cages within municipal waters; statement of purposes or declaration of policies quoted earlier.

2. Issuance of permits to gather aquarium fishes within municipal waters; It is clear to the Court that both Ordinances have two principal objectives or purposes: (1)
to establish a "closed season" for the species of fish or aquatic animals covered therein for
3. Issuance of permits to gather kapis shells within municipal waters; a period of five years; and (2) to protect the coral in the marine waters of the City of Puerto

4. Issuance of permits to gather/culture shelled mollusks within municipal waters;

133
Princesa and the Province of Palawan from further destruction due to illegal fishing invertebrates that cling to the coral. The reef becomes an underwater graveyard, its
activities. skeletal remains brittle, bleached of all color and vulnerable to erosion from the pounding
of the waves."40 It has been found that cyanide fishing kills most hard and soft corals
The accomplishment of the first objective is well within the devolved power to enforce within three months of repeated application.41
fishery laws in municipal waters, such as P.D. No. 1015, which allows the establishment of
"closed seasons." The devolution of such power has been expressly confirmed in the The nexus then between the activities barred by Ordinance No. 15-92 of the City of Puerto
Memorandum of Agreement of 5 April 1994 between the Department of Agriculture and the Princesa and the prohibited acts provided in Ordinance No. 2, Series of 1993 of the
Department of Interior and Local Government. Province of Palawan, on one hand, and the use of sodium cyanide, on the other, is painfully
obvious. In sum, the public purpose and reasonableness of the Ordinances may not then
The realization of the second objective clearly falls within both the general welfare clause of be controverted.
the LGC and the express mandate thereunder to cities and provinces to protect the
environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment. 33 As to Office Order No. 23, Series of 1993, issued by Acting City Mayor Amado L. Lucero of
the City of Puerto Princesa, we find nothing therein violative of any constitutional or
The destruction of coral reefs results in serious, if not irreparable, ecological imbalance, for statutory provision. The Order refers to the implementation of the challenged ordinance
coral reefs are among nature's life-support systems.34 They collect, retain and recycle and is not the Mayor's Permit.
nutrients for adjacent nearshore areas such as mangroves, seagrass beds, and reef flats;
provide food for marine plants and animals; and serve as a protective shelter for aquatic The dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Josue N. Bellosillo relies upon the lack of authority
organisms.35 It is said that "[e]cologically, the reefs are to the oceans what forests are to on the part of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Puerto Princesa to enact Ordinance No. 15,
continents: they are shelter and breeding grounds for fish and plant species that will Series of 1992, on the theory that the subject thereof is within the jurisdiction and
disappear without them."36 responsibility of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) under P.D. No. 704,
otherwise known as the Fisheries Decree of 1975; and that, in any event, the Ordinance is
The prohibition against catching live fish stems, in part, from the modern phenomenon of unenforceable for lack of approval by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources
live-fish trade which entails the catching of so-called exotic species of tropical fish, not only (DNR), likewise in accordance with P.D. No. 704.
for aquarium use in the West, but also for "the market for live banquet fish [which] is
virtually insatiable in ever more affluent Asia.37 These exotic species are coral-dwellers, The majority is unable to accommodate this view. The jurisdiction and responsibility of the
and fishermen catch them by "diving in shallow water with corraline habitats and squirting BFAR under P.D. No. 704, over the management, conservation, development, protection,
sodium cyanide poison at passing fish directly or onto coral crevices; once affected the fish utilization and disposition of all fishery and aquatic resources of the country is not
are immobilized [merely stunned] and then scooped by hand." 38 The diver then surfaces all-encompassing. First, Section 4 thereof excludes from such jurisdiction and
and dumps his catch into a submerged net attached to the skiff. Twenty minutes later, the responsibility municipal waters, which shall be under the municipal or city government
fish can swim normally. Back on shore, they are placed in holding pens, and within a few concerned, except insofar as fishpens and seaweed culture in municipal centers are
weeks, they expel the cyanide from their system and are ready to be hauled. They are then concerned. This section provides, however, that all municipal or city ordinances and
placed in saltwater tanks or packaged in plastic bags filled with seawater for shipment by resolutions affecting fishing and fisheries and any disposition thereunder shall be
air freight to major markets for live food fish. 39 While the fish are meant to survive, the submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources for appropriate action
opposite holds true for their former home as "[a]fter the fisherman squirts the cyanide, the and shall have full force and effect only upon his approval. 42
first thing to perish is the reef algae, on which fish feed. Days later, the living coral starts to
expire. Soon the reef loses its function as habitat for the fish, which eat both the algae and

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Second, it must at once be pointed out that the BFAR is no longer under the Department of will to enact urgently needed legislation to protect and enhance the marine environment,
Natural Resources (now Department of Environment and Natural Resources). Executive thereby sharing in the herculean task of arresting the tide of ecological destruction. We
Order No. 967 of 30 June 1984 transferred the BFAR from the control and supervision of hope that other local government units shall now be roused from their lethargy and adopt
the Minister (formerly Secretary) Of Natural Resources to the Ministry of Agriculture and a more vigilant stand in the battle against the decimation of our legacy to future
Food (MAF) and converted it into a mere staff agency thereof, integrating its functions with generations. At this time, the repercussions of any further delay in their response may
the regional offices of the MAF. prove disastrous, if not, irreversible.

In Executive Order No. 116 of 30 January 1987, which reorganized the MAF, the BFAR was WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit and the temporary
retained as an attached agency of the MAF. And under the Administrative Code of restraining order issued on 11 November 1993 is LIFTED.
1987,43 the BFAR is placed under the Title concerning the Department of Agriculture. 44
No pronouncement as to costs.
Therefore, it is incorrect to say that the challenged Ordinance of the City of Puerto Princesa
is invalid or unenforceable because it was not approved by the Secretary of the DENR. If at SO ORDERED.
all, the approval that should be sought would be that of the Secretary of the Department of
Agriculture. However, the requirement of approval by the Secretary of the Department of Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Romero, Melo, Vitug, Francisco Panganiban and Torres, Jr., JJ.,
Agriculture (not DENR) of municipal ordinances affecting fishing and fisheries in municipal concur.
waters has been dispensed with in view of the following reasons:
Regalado, J., is on leave.
(1) Section 534 (Repealing Clause) of the LGC expressly repeals or amends Sections 16 and
29 of P.D. No. 70445 insofar as they are inconsistent with the provisions of the LGC.

(2) As discussed earlier, under the general welfare clause of the LGC, local government
units have the power, inter alia, to enact ordinances to enhance the right of the people to a Separate Opinions
balanced ecology. It likewise specifically vests municipalities with the power to grant
fishery privileges in municipal waters, and impose rentals, fees or charges therefor; to
penalize, by appropriate ordinances, the use of explosives, noxious or poisonous
substances, electricity, muro-ami, and other deleterious methods of fishing; and to
MENDOZA, J., concurring:
prosecute any violation of the provisions of applicable fishery laws. 46 Finally, it imposes
upon the sangguniang bayan, the sangguniang panlungsod, and the sangguniang
panlalawigan the duty to enact ordinances to "[p]rotect the environment and impose I fully concur in the opinion of the Court written by Justice Davide. I write separately to
appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing emphasize two points which I believe are important. The first is the need to uphold the
and other forms of destructive fishing . . . and such other activities which result in presumption of validity of the ordinances in this case in view of the total absence of
pollution, acceleration of eutrophication of rivers and lakes or of ecological imbalance." 47 evidence to undermine their factual basis. The second is the need not to allow a
shortcircuiting of the normal process of adjudication on the mere plea that unless we take
cognizance of petitions like this, by-passing the trial courts, alleged violations of
In closing, we commend the Sangguniang Panlungsod of the City of Puerto Princesa and
Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of Palawan for exercising the requisite political

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constitutional rights will be left unprotected, when the matter can very well be looked into Magazine 4 reported that the illicit trade in live animals is the third biggest contraband
by trial courts and in fact should be brought there. business in the world, after drugs and arms, and identified the Philippines as a major
source of tropical fishes for the global traffic in live fishes.
The ordinances in question in this case are conservation measures which the local
governments of Palawan have adopted in view of the widespread destruction caused by The use of cyanide enables fishermen to catch fish alive and in commercial quantity in a
cyanide fishing of corals within their territorial waters. At the very least, these ordinances way not possible with the use of such traditional methods as hook and line, fish traps,
must be presumed valid in the absence of evidence to show that the necessary factual baklad and the like, which allows only limited catch and often results in injuries to fishes
foundation for their enactment does not exist. Their invalidation at this point can result in and the loss of their scales, thereby reducing their survival for transportation
the untimely exoneration of otherwise guilty parties on the basis of doubtful constitutional abroad. 5 Cyanide does not kill fish but only stuns them. The stunned creatures are then
claims. scooped up and placed in containers ready for shipment across borders, national and
transnational. What cyanide does, however, is poison the fragile reefs and cause them to
Ordinance No. 2-93, which the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan adopted in 1993, die and cease as fish habitats. 6
prohibits, for a period of five years, the "catching, gathering, possessing, buying, selling
and shipment" of five fish and lobsters. As originally enacted, the prohibition applied to Concern over the use of cyanide in fishing and its ill effect on the marine environment also
eight species of fish and lobsters caught in the waters of Palawan, namely, "1. Family: prompted the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa to pass Ordinance No. 15-92,
Scaridae (Mameng), 2. Epinephelus Fasciatus (Suno), 3. Cromileptes altivelis (Panther or which makes it unlawful for any person or business enterprise or company "to ship out
Señorita), lobster (below 200 grams and spawning), 4. Tridacna Gigas (Giant Clams or from Puerto Princesa City to any point of destinations either via aircraft or seacraft of any
Taklobo and other species), 5. Pinctada Margaritifera (Mother Pearl Oysters), 6. Penaeus live fish and lobster except SEA BASS, CATFISH, MUDFISH and MILKFISH FRIES." 7 The
Monodon (Tiger Prawn — breeder size or mother), 7. Epinephelus Suillus (Loba or Green ban is for five years, from January 1, 1993 to January 1, 1998. The penalty for violation of
Grouper) and 8. Family: Balistidae (Tropical Aquarium Fishes)." 1 Later, however, the the ordinance is a fine of not more than P5,000.00 or imprisonment of not more than 12
ordinance was amended to limit the ban to three species only, namely: mameng (scaridae), months. 8
panther or señorita (cromileptes altivelis) and ornamental or aquarium fishes (balistidae).
Violation of the ordinance is punishable by a fine of P5,000.00 and/or imprisonment of not To enforce the ordinance, the mayor of Puerto Princesa ordered the inspection of cargoes of
less than 6 nor more than 12 months and confiscation of the paraphernalia and equipment live fish and lobsters leaving the city by air or sea. Inspectors are to ascertain if the shipper
used in the commission of the offense. 2 has a permit issued by the office of the city mayor. Any cargo of live fish and lobster without
a permit from the mayor's office will be "held for proper disposition." 9
Ordinance No. 2-93 was adopted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on the basis of a 1992
study submitted by the Department of Agriculture, 3 showing that, as a result of the use of The ordinances in question are police power measures, enacted by the Province of Palawan
cyanide and other noxious substances for fishing, only 5% of the coral reefs in the Province and the City of Puerto Princesa, pursuant to the Local Government Code of 1991 which
of Palawan remained in excellent condition as fish sanctuaries and habitats, while 75% makes it in fact their duty to enact measures to "protect the environment and impose
was heavily damaged. appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment, such as dynamite fishing
and other forms of destructive fishing. . . ." 10 There is no basis for the claim in the
The rampant use of cyanide has been encouraged by the lucrative trade in live fishes which dissenting opinion that the subject of these ordinances lies within the competence of the
are shipped not only to Manila but also abroad, principally to Hongkong, Taiwan and national government. For the matter concerns a local problem, namely, the destruction of
Malaysia. The fishes are sold to gourmet restaurants because of the great demand for aquatic resources in the Province of Palawan. For this reason the Solicitor General asked
exotic food, to aquariums and to pet shops. In its issue of July 19, 1993. Time for leave to withdraw from this case. On the other hand, the Department of Agriculture

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submitted its report on the extent of the devastation of coral reefs caused by illegal fishing I cannot see how these provisions can, in any way, lend support to petitioners' contention
to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan and thereby left the solution of the problem to that the ordinances violate the Constitution. These provisions refer to the duty of the State
be worked out by the local authorities. It would therefore set back the policy of to protect the nation's marine resources for the exclusive use and enjoyment of Filipino
decentralization were this Court to sustain such a claim. citizens, to the preferential right of subsistence fishermen in the use of such communal
marine resources, and to their right to be protected, even in offshore fishing grounds,
Indeed, petitioners' challenge to the validity of the ordinances does not rest on the claim against foreign intrusion. There is no question here of Filipino preference over aliens in the
that the ordinances are beyond the power of local governments to enact but on the ground use of marine resources. What is in issue is the protection of marine resources in the
that they deprive petitioners of their means of livelihood and occupation and for that Province of Palawan. It was precisely to implement Art. XII, §2 that the ordinances in
reason violate the Constitution of the Philippines. For support, petitioners invoke the question were enacted. For, without these marine resources, it would be idle to talk of the
following constitutional provisions: rights of subsistence fishermen to be preferred in the use of these resources.

Art. XII, §2 . . . . . It has been held that "as underlying questions of fact may condition the constitutionality of
legislation of this character, the presumption of constitutionality must prevail in the
The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea absence of some factual foundation of record for overthrowing the statute."11 No evidence
and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino has been presented by petitioners to overthrow the factual basis of the ordinances — that,
citizens. as a result of the use of cyanide and other noxious substances for fishing, only 5% of the
coral reefs in Palawan was in excellent condition, that 75% had been heavily destroyed,
The Congress may, by law, allow small-scale utilization of natural resources by Filipino and that because of the thriving market for live fish and lobster here and abroad there was
citizens, as well as cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and rampant illicit trade in live fish.
fishworkers in rivers, lakes, bays and lagoons.
Nor has it been shown by petitioners that the local legislation here involved is arbitrary or
Art. XIII, §1: The Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that unreasonable. It has been held: "If the laws passed are seen to have a reasonable relation
protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, to a proper legislative purpose, and are neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the
and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and requirements of due process are satisfied, and judicial determination to that effect renders
political power for the common good. a court functus officio. . . . With the wisdom of the policy adopted, with the adequacy or
practicability of the law enacted to forward it, the courts are both incompetent and
unauthorized to deal. . . ."12
Id., §7: The State shall protect the rights of subsistence fishermen, especially of local
communities, to the preferential use of the communal marine and fishing resources, both
inland and offshore. It shall provide support to such fishermen through appropriate It is contended that neither Provincial Ordinance No. 2-93 nor City Ordinance No. 15-92
technology and research, adequate financial, production, and marketing assistance, and prohibits cyanide fishing and therefore the prohibition against catching certain species of
other services. The State shall also protect, develop, and conserve such resources. The fish and their transportation is "excessive and irrational." It is further argued that the ban
protection shall extend to offshore fishing grounds of subsistence fishermen against is unreasonable because it is not limited to cyanide fishing but includes even legitimate
foreign intrusion. Fishworkers shall receive a just share from their labor in the utilization fishing.
of marine and fishing resources.
The ban on the use of cyanide and other noxious substances is already provided for in
other legislation. P.D. No. 534, §2 punishes fishing by means of "explosives, obnoxious or

137
poisonous substances or by the use of electricity." Consequently, the ordinances in needed for the growth and regeneration of the corals. Were the purpose of the ordinance
question can be seen as a necessary corollary of the prohibition against illegal fishing the prohibition of the use of cyanide for fishing, the ban would not be for a limited period
contained in this Decree. By prohibiting the catching of certain fishes and lobsters, only but for all time.
Ordinance No. 2-93 in effect discourages cyanide fishing because, as already stated,
cyanide is preferred in catching fishes because it does not kill but only stuns them and I am not much moved by the plea that the ordinances deprive small fishermen of their
thus preserves them for export to the world market. means of livelihood and occupation. The ban imposed by Ordinance No. 2-93, as amended,
covers only three species, i.e., mameng (scaridae), panther or señorita (cromilepres altivelis)
On the other hand, the claim that the ordinance sweeps overbroadly by "absolutely and ornamental aquarium fishes (balistiedae), which are prized in the black market. With
prohibit[ing] the catching, gathering, buying and shipment of live fishes and marine coral respect to other species, it is open season for legitimate fishermen. On the other hand, the
resources by any and all means including those lawfully executed or done in the pursuit of ban imposed by Ordinance No. 15-92 allows the transportation and shipment of sea bass,
legitimate occupation" misconceives the principal purpose of the ordinance, which is not so catfish, mudfish and milkfish fries. The ban imposed by the two ordinances is limited to
much to prohibit the use of cyanide for fishing as to rebuild corals because of their five years. It is thus limited both as to scope and as to period of effectivity. There is, on the
destruction by cyanide fishing. This is clear from the "whereas" clauses of Resolution No. other hand, the imperative necessity for measures to prevent the extinction of certain
33, accompanying Ordinance No. 2-93: species of fish.

WHEREAS, scientific and factual researches and studies disclose that only five (5) percent Indeed, the burden of showing that there is no reasonable relation between the end and the
of the corals of our province remain to be in excellent condition as habitat of marine coral means adopted in this case is not on the local governments but on petitioners because of
dwelling aquatic organisms; the presumption that a regulatory statute is valid in the absence of factual evidence to the
contrary. As held in United States v. Salaveria.13 "The presumption is all in favor of
WHEREAS, it cannot be gainsaid that the destruction and devastation of the corals of our validity. . . The councilors must, in the very nature of things, be familiar with the
province were principally due to illegal fishing activities like dynamite fishing, sodium necessities of their particular municipality and with all the facts and circumstances which
cyanide fishing, use of other obnoxious substances and other related activities; surround the subject, and necessitate action. The local legislative body, by enacting the
ordinance, has in effect given notice that the regulations are essential to the well being of
WHEREAS, there is an imperative and urgent need to protect and preserve the existence of the people. . . . The Judiciary should not lightly set aside legislative action when there is
the remaining excellent corals and allow the devastated ones to reinvigorate and regenerate not a clear invasion of personal or property rights under the guise of police regulation."
themselves into vitality within the span of five (5) years;
Finally, petitioners question Office Order No. 23, s. of 1993, of the city mayor of Puerto
WHEREAS, Sec. 468, Par. 1, Sub-Par. VI of R.A. 7160 otherwise known as the Local Princesa, for being allegedly vague. This order prohibits the transportation of fish outside
Government Code of 1991 empowers the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to protect the the city without permit from the mayor's office. Petitioners contend that the order does not
environment and impose appropriate penalties [for] acts which endanger the environment state under what condition a permit may be granted and, consequently, leaves it to the
such as dynamite fishing and other forms of destructive fishing, among others; absolute discretion of the mayor when to grant and when to deny a permit. The questioned
paragraph of the order states:
The principal aim of the ordinance is thus the preservation and rehabilitation of the corals.
Only indirectly is it also concerned with prohibiting the use of cyanide. That this is the aim The purpose of the inspection is to ascertain whether the shipper possessed the required
of the ordinance can also be inferred from the fact that the ban imposed by it on the Mayor's Permit issued by this Office and the shipment is covered by invoice or clearance
catching and gathering of fishes is for a limited period (5 years) calculated to be the time

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issued by the local office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and as to limited to cases and controversies. Who are petitioners? What is the impact of the
compliance with all other existing rules and regulations on the matter. ordinance on their economic situation? Are the factual bases of the two ordinances
supported by evidence? These questions must be raised in the criminal trial or in a suit
This contention is untenable. As the office order is intended to implement City Ordinance brought in the trial court so that facts necessary to adjudicate the constitutional questions
No. 15-92, resort must be made to the ordinance in order to determine the scope of such can be presented. Nothing can take the place of the flesh and blood of litigation to assess
office order. As already noted, the ordinance prohibits the shipment out of Puerto Princesa the actual operation of a statute and thus ground the judicial power more firmly.
of live fish and lobsters, with the exception of catfish, mudfish and milkfish fries.
Consequently, a permit may be denied if it is for the transportation of fishes which are Petitioners justify the filing of the present action in this Court on the ground that
covered by the ban, but not for those not covered by it. This is the common sense meaning constitutional questions must be raised at the earliest time. That is true, but it does not
of the office order in question. Criminal laws must be precisely drawn, but, as Justice mean that the questions should be presented to the Supreme Court first hand. Moreover,
Holmes once said, "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal laws with the rule is not absolute. Constitutional questions like those invoked by petitioners can be
what they omit, but there is no canon against using common sense in construing laws as raised anytime, even in a motion for reconsideration, if their resolution is necessary to the
saying what they obviously mean."14 decision of an actual case or controversy, as our recent resolution 15 of the constitutionality
of R.A. No. 7659, reimposing the death penalty, amply demonstrates.
One final point. This case was brought to this Court on the bare bones of the ordinances,
on the mere claim of petitioner Alfredo Tano and his 83 copetitioners that they are Romero, Melo, Puno and Francisco, JJ., concur.
subsistence fishermen. The constitutional protection refers to small fishermen who depend
on the sea for their existence. Ten of the petitioners, led by Alfredo Tano, are accused in the
Municipal Circuit Trial Court of possession of the species covered by Provincial Ordinance
No. 2-93, while two, Roberto Lim and Virginia Lim, are charged with violation of the two
ordinances in the City Prosecutor's Office. There is no telling from the records of this case
whether petitioners are subsistence fishermen or simply impecunious individuals selling BELLOSILLO, J., dissenting:
their catch to the big businessmen. The other petitioners are admittedly fish traders,
members of an association of airline shippers, to whom the constitutional provisions It is settled rule that where the provisions of the law are clear and unambiguous there is no
obviously do not apply. room for interpretation. The duty of the court is only to apply the law. The exception to
such rule cannot be justified on the sole basis of good motives or noble objectives. For it is
The judicial invalidation of the ordinances in this case could undermine the on-going trial also basic that the end does not justify the means.
of some of petitioners. Instead of leaving the determination of the validity of the ordinances
to the trial court, where some of petitioners are facing charges, this Court will be The petition raises significant constitutional questions. While petitioners apparently
shortcircuiting the criminal process by prematurely passing upon the constitutional instituted the action to enjoin their criminal prosecution, the issue boils down to whether
questions and indirectly on the criminal liability of some of the petitioners. This is a task the subject ordinances of Palawan and Puerto Princesa are valid and enforceable as to
which should await the development of evidence of record. authorize the criminal prosecution of those charged with violation thereof.

Indeed because of the unsatisfactory abstractness of the record, this case should not have Notwithstanding the procedural limitations strictly applied in the majority opinion to
been brought here. The mere fact that some of petitioners are facing prosecution for render the petition dismissible on grounds of prematurity and lack of real interest in the
violation of the ordinances is no reason for entertaining their suit. Our jurisdiction is controversy, the case clearly falls under the exceptions allowed by law. The petition, I

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submit, can be properly treated as a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition under consonance with the general welfare clause and principle of devolution well-rooted in the
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to correct errors of jurisdiction committed by the lower court Local Government Code of 1991.
arising from the implementation of a void ordinance. Even if the purpose of the petition is
for declaratory relief, if the petition has far-reaching implications and raises questions that While I agree with the majority that the local leaders of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City
should be resolved as they involve national interest, it may be treated as a special civil be commended for their efforts to uplift and protect the environment and natural resources
action under Rule 65. 1 The mere absence of a prior motion to quash the Information in within their areas, the general welfare clause is not the sole criterion to determine the
the trial court should not prevent the accused, petitioners herein, from seeking to render validity or constitutionality of the ordinances. In Magtajas v. Pryce Properties
null and void the criminal proceedings below. Corporation, 3 we reiterated that the well-established tests of a valid ordinance are: (a) It
must not contravene the Constitution or any statute; (b) It must not be unfair or oppressive;
In criminal cases, when the constitutionality or validity of a law or ordinance is essentially (c) It must not be partial or discriminatory; (d) It must not prohibit but may regulatetrade; (e)
involved, the same may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. It can also be considered It must be general and consistent with public policy; and, (f) It must not be unreasonable.
by the appellate court at any time if it involves the jurisdiction of the lower
Court. 2 Further, under Sec. 8, Rule 117, of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, the failure of As admitted by the majority, among our existing statutes on fishing and fishery or aquatic
the accused to assert any ground of a motion to quash before he pleads to the Complaint or resources are P.D. Nos. 704, 1015 and 1219. P.D. No. 704 is titled "Revising and
Information either because he did not file a motion to quash or failed to allege the same in Consolidating All Laws and Decrees Affecting Fishing and Fisheries." With the enactment of
the motion shall be deemed a waiver of the grounds of a motion to quash, except the the Local Government Code of 1991, only Secs. 16 and 29 of P.D. No. 704 were expressly
grounds of no offense charged, lack of jurisdiction over the offense charged, extinction of repealed. All the rest of the provisions of P.D. No. 704 remain valid and effective, Sec. 4 of
the offense or penalty, and jeopardy. which is enlightening —

Petitioners are proper parties to set aside the proceedings in the trial court. A proper party Sec. 4. Jurisdiction of the Bureau (of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources). — The Bureau shall
is one who has sustained or is in immediate danger of sustaining an injury as a result of have jurisdiction and responsibility in the management, conservation, development,
the act complained of. Petitioners have been criminally charged and arrested for alleged protection, utilization and disposition of all fishery and aquatic resources of the country
violation of the ordinances in question. Consequently, unless the trial court is enjoined except municipal waters which shall be under the municipal or city government
from continuing with the proceedings, petitioners are in danger of being convicted and concerned: Provided, That fishpens and seaweed culture in municipal centers shall be
punished under ordinances which they allege to be invalid and ineffective. In fact this under the jurisdiction of the Bureau: Provided, further, That all municipal or city
Court initially recognized the real interest of petitioners in instituting the action when it ordinances and resolutions affecting fishing and fisheries and any disposition thereunder
issued a restraining order directing Judge Angel R. Miclat to cease and desist until further shall be submitted to the Secretary for appropriate action and shall have full force and effect
orders from proceeding with the arraignment and pre-trial of People v. Alfredo Tano, et al., only upon his approval. The Bureau shall also have authority to regulate and supervise the
Crim. Case No. 11223, for violation of Resolution No. 2-93 of the Sangguniang production, capture and gathering of fish and fishery/aquatic products.
Panlalawigan of Palawan, and Ordinance No. 15-92 of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of
Puerto Princesa City. There is no doubt that under P.D. No. 704 fishing, fishery and aquatic resources in
municipal waters are under the jurisdiction of the municipal or city government concerned.
The question to be resolved is whether Resolution No. 2-93, Office Order No. 23 and However, the same decree imposes a mandatory requirement directing municipal or city
Ordinance No. 15-92 are constitutional, valid and enforceable. By considering the purpose governments to submit ordinances enacted pertinent to fishing and fishery resources to
and objective of the ordinances as laudable, the majority adopts the affirmative view in the Secretary of Agriculture who now has control and supervision over the Bureau of

140
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The ordinances will attain full force and effect There is also P.D. No. 1015 which vests upon the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to
only upon the approval of the Secretary of Agriculture. establish closed seasons. Another existing law on fisheries which has not been repealed by
the Local Government Code is P.D. No. 1219, which provides for the exploration,
Ordinance 15-92 of Puerto Princesa City, admittedly, was not submitted to the Secretary of exploitation, utilization and conservation of coral resources. Section 4 thereof provides that
Agriculture through the BFAR for approval. Such failure of compliance with the law the decree shall be implemented by the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources
prevented it from becoming valid and effective. Consequently, Office Order No. 23 of the who shall have jurisdiction and responsibility in the exploration, exploitation, utilization
Mayor of Puerto Princesa City which seeks to implement and enforce Ordinance No. 15-92 and conservation of coral resources. Section 6 authorizes the Secretary to issue special
is also ineffective as there is nothing to implement. permit to any person or institution to gather in limited quantities any coral for scientific or
educational purposes. Section 10 empowers the Secretary to promulgate rules and
To say that Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 704 was impliedly repealed by the Local Government Code is regulations for the implementation of this law.
gratuitous. For, if it was the intention of the legislature to dispense with the requirement of
prior approval by the Secretary of Agriculture of ordinances pertinent to fishery resources, It is true that police power can be exercised through the general welfare clause. But, while
it would. have expressly repealed Sec. 4 when, in fact, it did so with Secs. 16 and 29 of P.D. police power is inherent in a state, it is not so in municipal corporations or local
No. 704. Cases abound holding that a repeal by implication is not presumed or favored governments. In order that a local government may exercise police power, there must be a
considering that the legislature is presumed to be aware of existing laws; ordinarily, if it legislative grant which necessarily sets the limits for the exercise of the power. 5 In this
intends to revoke a statute it would manifest such intention in express terms. 4 Before case, Congress has enacted the Local Government Code which provides the standards as
such a repeal is deemed to exist it should be shown that the statutes or statutory well as the limitations in the exercise of the police power by the local government unit.
provisions deal with the same subject matter and that the latter be inconsistent with the
former. There must be a showing of repugnancy clear and convincing in character. The Section 2 of the Local Government Code provides for a system of decentralization whereby
language used in the latter statute must be such as to render it irreconcilable with what local government units are given more powers, authority, responsibilities and resources,
has been formerly enacted. An inconsistency that falls short of that standard does not and the process shall proceed from the national government to the local government units.
suffice. In fact, there is no inconsistency between the Local Government Code and P.D. No. However, under Sec 3, par. (i), of the Local Government Code, the operative principles of
704 as amended. While the Local Government Code vests power upon the local government decentralization upon the environment and natural resources are not absolute when it is
to enact ordinances for the general welfare of its inhabitants, such power is subject to provided therein that "local government units shall share with the national government the
certain limitations imposed by the Code itself and by other statutes. When the legislature responsibility in the management and maintenance of ecological balance within their
failed to repeal Sec. 4 of P.D. No. 704 it accepted and recognized a limitation on the power territorial jurisdiction, subject to the provisions of this Code and national policies." The
of the local government to enact ordinances relative to matters affecting fishery and aquatic national policies mentioned here refer to existing policies which the DENR and other
resources. A reading of particular provisions of the Local Government Code itself will reveal government agencies concerned with the environment may implement at any given
that devolution on the powers of the local government pertaining to the protection of moment. The national policies are embodied in existing laws, rules and regulations
environment is limited and not all-encompassing, as will be discussed in the succeeding pertaining to environment and natural resources, such as P.D. Nos. 704 and 1219 relating
paragraphs. to fishery resources. The above provision was crafted to make sure that local government
enactments do not supplant or negate national government policies on
Further, while the Local Government Code is a general law on the powers, responsibilities environment. 6 This is precisely the reason why the Local Government Code did not repeal
and composition of different local government units, P.D. No. 704 is a special law dealing Sec. 4 of P.D. NO. 704 requiring prior submission to and approval by the Secretary of
with the protection and conservation of fishing and aquatic resources including those in Agriculture of ordinances relative to fishery and aquatic resources. Needless to stress, the
the municipal waters. Hence, the special law should prevail over the general law. approval of the Secretary is necessary in order to ensure that these ordinances are in

141
accordance with the laws on fisheries and national policies. Likewise, the jurisdiction of the Government Code to the local government units. For the authority to establish a closed
Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources over coral resources under P.D. No. 1219 season for fisheries is vested upon the Secretary of Agriculture by virtue of P.D. Nos. 704
remains. and 1015 and in the Secretary of Environment and Natural resources pursuant to P.D. No.
1219 in relation to coral resources. The power of the local governments is confined and
The core of the devolution adopted by the Local Government Code is found in Sec. 17 limited to ensuring that these national fishery laws are implemented and enforced within
thereof which reiterates the basic services and facilities to be rendered by the local their territorial jurisdictions. Hence, any memorandum of agreement which might have
governments. With respect to the protection and conservation of fisheries, Sec. 17, par. 2 (i), been executed by the Department of Agriculture or Department of Environment and
specifically provides that the municipality shall conduct "extension and on-site research Natural Resources granting additional powers and functions to the local governments
services and facilities related to agriculture and fishery activities which include dispersal of which are not vested upon the latter by the Local Government Code because such powers
livestock and poultry, fingerlings and other seeding materials for aquaculture are covered by existing statutes, is an undue delegation of power and, consequently, null
. . . . and enforcement of fishery laws in municipal waters including the conservation of and void.
mangroves . . . ." The power devolved upon the municipality under the Local Government
Code is the enforcement of existing fishery laws of the State and not the enactment thereof. The majority also cites R.A. No. 7611, otherwise known as the Strategic Environmental
While a local government unit may adopt ordinances upon subjects covered by law or Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act, as proof of the power of the local governments of Palawan and
statute, such ordinances should be in accordance with and not repugnant to the law. 7 In Puerto Princesa City to issue the assailed ordinances. Although the objectives of R.A. No.
view thereof, ordinances which may be enacted by the municipality or city should be 7611 and of the ordinances are one and the same, i.e., the protection, conservation and
pursuant to the provisions of P.D. Nos. 704, 1015 and 1219. Thus, under the provisions of development of natural resources, the former does not grant additional powers to the local
Secs. 447, par. 1 (vi), 458, par. 1 (vi) and 468, par. 1 (vi), the municipality, city and province governments pertaining to the environment. In fact, the law adopts a comprehensive
respectively may approve ordinances protecting the environment by specifically penalizing framework which shall serve to direct and guide local governments and national
only those acts which endanger the environment such as dynamite fishing and other forms government agencies in the implementation of programs and projects affecting Palawan.
of destructive fishing which are already prohibited under P.D. Nos. 704 and 1219, and With the enactment of this Act, the local governments are mandated to coordinate and
other laws on illegal fishing. 8 align their developmental plans, projects and budgets in accord with the framework of the
SEP. It can be said that this is another limitation on the exercise of police power by the
The questioned ordinances may also be struck down for being not only a prohibitory local governments of Palawan and Puerto Princesa City because the governance,
legislation but also an unauthorized exercise of delegation of powers. An objective, however implementation and policy direction of the SEP shall be exercised by the Palawan Council
worthy or desirable it may be, such as the protection and conservation of our fisheries in for Sustainable Development (PCSD) which is under the Office of the President.
this case, can be attained by a measure that does not encompass too wide a field. The
purpose can be achieved by reasonable restrictions rather than by absolute prohibition. Finally, I find unreasonable Resolution No. 2-93 of Palawan and Ordinance No. 15-92 of
Local governments are not possessed with prohibitory powers but only regulatory powers Puerto Princesa City. The prohibitions set forth are not germane to the accomplishment of
under the general welfare clause. 9 They cannot therefore exceed the powers granted to their goals. Ordinance No. 15-92 is aimed to free effectively the marine resources of Puerto
them by the Code by altogether prohibiting fishing and selling for five (5) years all live fishes Princesa from cyanide and other obnoxious substances. But the means to achieve this
through Ordinance No. 15-92 and coral organisms through Ordinance No. 2-93 involving objective borders on the excessive and irrational, for the edict would absolutely ban the
even lawful methods of fishing. shipment of live fishes and lobsters out of the city for a period of five (5) years without
prohibiting cyanide fishing itself which is the professed goal of the ordinance. The purpose
These prohibitions are tantamount to the establishment of a closed season for fish and of Resolution No. 2-93, on the other hand, is to protect and preserve all marine
aquatic resources which authority is not among those powers vested by the Local coral-dwelling organisms from devastation and destruction by illegal fishing activities, e.g.,

142
dynamite fishing, sodium cyanide fishing, and the use of other obnoxious substances. But
in absolutely prohibiting the catching, gathering, buying and shipment of live fishes and
marine coral resources by any means including those lawfully executed or done in the
pursuit of legitimate occupation, the ordinance overstepped the reasonable limits and
boundaries of its raison d'etre. This I cannot help viewing as plain arbitrariness
masquerading as police power. For the consequent deprivation of the main source of
livelihood of the people of Palawan can only be regarded as utter depravation of this
awesome power of the State.

For all the foregoing, I vote to grant the petition.

Kapunan and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.

143
EN BANC

G.R. No. L-24693 July 31, 1967

ERMITA-MALATE HOTEL AND MOTEL OPERATORS ASSOCIATION, INC., HOTEL DEL


MAR INC. and GO CHIU, petitioners-appellees,
vs.
THE HONORABLE CITY MAYOR OF MANILA, respondent-appellant.
VICTOR ALABANZA, intervenor-appellee.

Panganiban, Abad and Associates Law Office for respondent-appellant.


J. M. Aruego, Tenchavez and Associates for intervenor-appellee.

FERNANDO, J.:

The principal question in this appeal from a judgment of the lower court in an action for
prohibition is whether Ordinance No. 4760 of the City of Manila is violative of the due
process clause. The lower court held that it is and adjudged it "unconstitutional, and,
therefore, null and void." For reasons to be more specifically set forth, such judgment must
be reversed, there being a failure of the requisite showing to sustain an attack against its
validity.

The petition for prohibition against Ordinance No. 4760 was filed on July 5, 1963 by the
petitioners, Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, one of its members,

144
Hotel del Mar Inc., and a certain Go Chiu, who is "the president and general manager of the that Section 2 of the challenged ordinance classifying motels into two classes and requiring
second petitioner" against the respondent Mayor of the City of Manila who was sued in his the maintenance of certain minimum facilities in first class motels such as a telephone in
capacity as such "charged with the general power and duty to enforce ordinances of the each room, a dining room or, restaurant and laundry similarly offends against the due
City of Manila and to give the necessary orders for the faithful execution and enforcement process clause for being arbitrary, unreasonable and oppressive, a conclusion which
of such ordinances." (par. 1). It was alleged that the petitioner non-stock corporation is applies to the portion of the ordinance requiring second class motels to have a dining room;
dedicated to the promotion and protection of the interest of its eighteen (18) members that the provision of Section 2 of the challenged ordinance prohibiting a person less than
"operating hotels and motels, characterized as legitimate businesses duly licensed by both 18 years old from being accepted in such hotels, motels, lodging houses, tavern or common
national and city authorities, regularly paying taxes, employing and giving livelihood to not inn unless accompanied by parents or a lawful guardian and making it unlawful for the
less than 2,500 person and representing an investment of more than P3 million."1 (par. 2). owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized representative of such establishments to lease
It was then alleged that on June 13, 1963, the Municipal Board of the City of Manila any room or portion thereof more than twice every 24 hours, runs counter to the due
enacted Ordinance No. 4760, approved on June 14, 1963 by the then Vice-Mayor Herminio process guaranty for lack of certainty and for its unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive
Astorga, who was at the time acting as Mayor of the City of Manila. (par. 3). character; and that insofar as the penalty provided for in Section 4 of the challenged
ordinance for a subsequent conviction would, cause the automatic cancellation of the
After which the alleged grievances against the ordinance were set forth in detail. There was license of the offended party, in effect causing the destruction of the business and loss of
the assertion of its being beyond the powers of the Municipal Board of the City of Manila to its investments, there is once again a transgression of the due process clause.
enact insofar as it would regulate motels, on the ground that in the revised charter of the
City of Manila or in any other law, no reference is made to motels; that Section 1 of the There was a plea for the issuance of preliminary injunction and for a final judgment
challenged ordinance is unconstitutional and void for being unreasonable and violative of declaring the above ordinance null and void and unenforceable. The lower court on July 6,
due process insofar as it would impose P6,000.00 fee per annum for first class motels and 1963 issued a writ of preliminary injunction ordering respondent Mayor to refrain from
P4,500.00 for second class motels; that the provision in the same section which would enforcing said Ordinance No. 4760 from and after July 8, 1963.
require the owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized representative of a hotel, motel, or
lodging house to refrain from entertaining or accepting any guest or customer or letting any In the a answer filed on August 3, 1963, there was an admission of the personal
room or other quarter to any person or persons without his filling up the prescribed form in circumstances regarding the respondent Mayor and of the fact that petitioners are licensed
a lobby open to public view at all times and in his presence, wherein the surname, given to engage in the hotel or motel business in the City of Manila, of the provisions of the cited
name and middle name, the date of birth, the address, the occupation, the sex, the Ordinance but a denial of its alleged nullity, whether on statutory or constitutional
nationality, the length of stay and the number of companions in the room, if any, with the grounds. After setting forth that the petition did fail to state a cause of action and that the
name, relationship, age and sex would be specified, with data furnished as to his residence challenged ordinance bears a reasonable relation, to a proper purpose, which is to curb
certificate as well as his passport number, if any, coupled with a certification that a person immorality, a valid and proper exercise of the police power and that only the guests or
signing such form has personally filled it up and affixed his signature in the presence of customers not before the court could complain of the alleged invasion of the right to privacy
such owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized representative, with such registration and the guaranty against self incrimination, with the assertion that the issuance of the
forms and records kept and bound together, it also being provided that the premises and preliminary injunction ex parte was contrary to law, respondent Mayor prayed for, its
facilities of such hotels, motels and lodging houses would be open for inspection either by dissolution and the dismissal of the petition.
the City Mayor, or the Chief of Police, or their duly authorized representatives is
unconstitutional and void again on due process grounds, not only for being arbitrary, Instead of evidence being offered by both parties, there was submitted a stipulation of facts
unreasonable or oppressive but also for being vague, indefinite and uncertain, and likewise dated September 28, 1964, which reads:
for the alleged invasion of the right to privacy and the guaranty against self-incrimination;

145
filed reiterating in detail what was set forth in the petition, with citations of what they
considered to be applicable American authorities and praying for a judgment declaring the
1. That the petitioners Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, Inc. and challenged ordinance "null and void and unenforceable" and making permanent the writ of
Hotel del Mar Inc. are duly organized and existing under the laws of the Philippines, both preliminary injunction issued.
with offices in the City of Manila, while the petitioner Go Chin is the president and general
manager of Hotel del Mar Inc., and the intervenor Victor Alabanza is a resident of Baguio
After referring to the motels and hotels, which are members of the petitioners association,
City, all having the capacity to sue and be sued;
and referring to the alleged constitutional questions raised by the party, the lower court
2. That the respondent Mayor is the duly elected and incumbent City Mayor and chief observed: "The only remaining issue here being purely a question of law, the parties, with
executive of the City of Manila charged with the general power and duty to enforce the nod of the Court, agreed to file memoranda and thereafter, to submit the case for
ordinances of the City of Manila and to give the necessary orders for the faithful execution decision of the Court." It does appear obvious then that without any evidence submitted by
and enforcement of such ordinances; the parties, the decision passed upon the alleged infirmity on constitutional grounds of the
challenged ordinance, dismissing as is undoubtedly right and proper the untenable
3. That the petitioners are duly licensed to engage in the business of operating hotels and objection on the alleged lack of authority of the City of Manila to regulate motels, and came
motels in Malate and Ermita districts in Manila; to the conclusion that "the challenged Ordinance No. 4760 of the City of Manila, would be
unconstitutional and, therefore, null and void." It made permanent the preliminary
4. That on June 13, 1963, the Municipal Board of the City of Manila enacted Ordinance No.
injunction issued against respondent Mayor and his agents "to restrain him from enforcing
4760, which was approved on June 14, 1963, by Vice-Mayor Herminio Astorga, then the
the ordinance in question." Hence this appeal.
acting City Mayor of Manila, in the absence of the respondent regular City Mayor,
amending sections 661, 662, 668-a, 668-b and 669 of the compilation of the ordinances of
the City of Manila besides inserting therein three new sections. This ordinance is similar to As noted at the outset, the judgment must be reversed. A decent regard for constitutional
the one vetoed by the respondent Mayor (Annex A) for the reasons stated in its 4th doctrines of a fundamental character ought to have admonished the lower court against
Indorsement dated February 15, 1963 (Annex B); such a sweeping condemnation of the challenged ordinance. Its decision cannot be allowed
to stand, consistently with what has hitherto been the accepted standards of constitutional
5. That the explanatory note signed by then Councilor Herminio Astorga was submitted adjudication, in both procedural and substantive aspects.
with the proposed ordinance (now Ordinance 4760) to the Municipal Board, copy of which
is attached hereto as Annex C; Primarily what calls for a reversal of such a decision is the absence of any evidence to offset
the presumption of validity that attaches to a challenged statute or ordinance. As was
6. That the City of Manila derived in 1963 an annual income of P101,904.05 from license
expressed categorically by Justice Malcolm: "The presumption is all in favor of validity x x
fees paid by the 105 hotels and motels (including herein petitioners) operating in the City of
x . The action of the elected representatives of the people cannot be lightly set aside. The
Manila.
councilors must, in the very nature of things, be familiar with the necessities of their
particular municipality and with all the facts and circumstances which surround the
Thereafter came a memorandum for respondent on January 22, 1965, wherein stress was
subject and necessitate action. The local legislative body, by enacting the ordinance, has in
laid on the presumption of the validity of the challenged ordinance, the burden of showing
effect given notice that the regulations are essential to the well being of the people x x x .
its lack of conformity to the Constitution resting on the party who assails it, citing not
The Judiciary should not lightly set aside legislative action when there is not a clear
only U.S. v. Salaveria, but likewise applicable American authorities. Such a memorandum
invasion of personal or property rights under the guise of police regulation. 2
likewise refuted point by point the arguments advanced by petitioners against its validity.
Then barely two weeks later, on February 4, 1965, the memorandum for petitioners was

146
It admits of no doubt therefore that there being a presumption of validity, the necessity for guests of these establishments by requiring these transients and guests to fill up a
evidence to rebut it is unavoidable, unless the statute or ordinance is void on its face which registration form, prepared for the purpose, in a lobby open to public view at all times, and
is not the case here. The principle has been nowhere better expressed than in the leading by introducing several other amendatory provisions calculated to shatter the privacy that
case of O'Gorman & Young v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co.,3 where the American Supreme characterizes the registration of transients and guests." Moreover, the increase in the
Court through Justice Brandeis tersely and succinctly summed up the matter thus: The licensed fees was intended to discourage "establishments of the kind from operating for
statute here questioned deals with a subject clearly within the scope of the police power. purpose other than legal" and at the same time, to increase "the income of the city
We are asked to declare it void on the ground that the specific method of regulation government." It would appear therefore that the stipulation of facts, far from sustaining
prescribed is unreasonable and hence deprives the plaintiff of due process of law. As any attack against the validity of the ordinance, argues eloquently for it.
underlying questions of fact may condition the constitutionality of legislation of this
character, the resumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some factual It is a fact worth noting that this Court has invariably stamped with the seal of its approval,
foundation of record for overthrowing the statute." No such factual foundation being laid in ordinances punishing vagrancy and classifying a pimp or procurer as a vagrant; 8 provide a
the present case, the lower court deciding the matter on the pleadings and the stipulation license tax for and regulating the maintenance or operation of public dance
of facts, the presumption of validity must prevail and the judgment against the ordinance halls;9 prohibiting gambling;10 prohibiting jueteng;11 and monte;12 prohibiting playing of
set aside. panguingui on days other than Sundays or legal holidays;13 prohibiting the operation of
pinball machines;14 and prohibiting any person from keeping, conducting or maintaining
Nor may petitioners assert with plausibility that on its face the ordinance is fatally defective an opium joint or visiting a place where opium is smoked or otherwise used,15 all of which
as being repugnant to the due process clause of the Constitution. The mantle of protection are intended to protect public morals.
associated with the due process guaranty does not cover petitioners. This particular
manifestation of a police power measure being specifically aimed to safeguard public On the legislative organs of the government, whether national or local, primarily rest the
morals is immune from such imputation of nullity resting purely on conjecture and exercise of the police power, which, it cannot be too often emphasized, is the power to
unsupported by anything of substance. To hold otherwise would be to unduly restrict and prescribe regulations to promote the health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general
narrow the scope of police power which has been properly characterized as the most welfare of the people. In view of the requirements of due process, equal protection and
essential, insistent and the least limitable of powers,4 extending as it does "to all the great other applicable constitutional guaranties however, the exercise of such police power
public needs."5 It would be, to paraphrase another leading decision, to destroy the very insofar as it may affect the life, liberty or property of any person is subject to judicial
purpose of the state if it could be deprived or allowed itself to be deprived of its competence inquiry. Where such exercise of police power may be considered as either capricious,
to promote public health, public morals, public safety and the genera welfare. 6 Negatively whimsical, unjust or unreasonable, a denial of due process or a violation of any other
put, police power is "that inherent and plenary power in the State which enables it to applicable constitutional guaranty may call for correction by the courts.
prohibit all that is hurt full to the comfort, safety, and welfare of society. 7
We are thus led to considering the insistent, almost shrill tone, in which the objection is
There is no question but that the challenged ordinance was precisely enacted to minimize raised to the question of due process.16 There is no controlling and precise definition of due
certain practices hurtful to public morals. The explanatory note of the Councilor Herminio process. It furnishes though a standard to which the governmental action should conform
Astorga included as annex to the stipulation of facts, speaks of the alarming increase in the in order that deprivation of life, liberty or property, in each appropriate case, be valid. What
rate of prostitution, adultery and fornication in Manila traceable in great part to the then is the standard of due process which must exist both as a procedural and a
existence of motels, which "provide a necessary atmosphere for clandestine entry, presence substantive requisite to free the challenged ordinance, or any governmental action for that
and exit" and thus become the "ideal haven for prostitutes and thrill-seekers." The matter, from the imputation of legal infirmity sufficient to spell its doom? It is
challenged ordinance then proposes to check the clandestine harboring of transients and responsiveness to the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice. Negatively

147
put, arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided. To satisfy the due process class of cases than in the former, and aside from applying the well-known legal principle
requirement, official action, to paraphrase Cardozo, must not outrun the bounds of reason that municipal ordinances must not be unreasonable, oppressive, or tyrannical, courts
and result in sheer oppression. Due process is thus hostile to any official action marred by have, as a general rule, declined to interfere with such discretion. The desirability of
lack of reasonableness. Correctly it has been identified as freedom from arbitrariness. It is imposing restraint upon the number of persons who might otherwise engage in non-useful
the embodiment of the sporting idea of fair play. 17 It exacts fealty "to those strivings for enterprises is, of course, generally an important factor in the determination of the amount
justice" and judges the act of officialdom of whatever branch "in the light of reason drawn of this kind of license fee. Hence license fees clearly in the nature of privilege taxes for
from considerations of fairness that reflect [democratic] traditions of legal and political revenue have frequently been upheld, especially in of licenses for the sale of liquors. In fact,
thought."18 It is not a narrow or "technical conception with fixed content unrelated to time, in the latter cases the fees have rarely been declared unreasonable. 23
place and circumstances,"19 decisions based on such a clause requiring a "close and
perceptive inquiry into fundamental principles of our society." 20 Questions of due process Moreover in the equally leading case of Lutz v. Araneta24 this Court affirmed the doctrine
are not to be treated narrowly or pedantically in slavery to form or phrases. 21 earlier announced by the American Supreme Court that taxation may be made to
implement the state's police power. Only the other day, this Court had occasion to affirm
It would thus be an affront to reason to stigmatize an ordinance enacted precisely to meet that the broad taxing authority conferred by the Local Autonomy Act of 1959 to cities and
what a municipal lawmaking body considers an evil of rather serious proportion an municipalities is sufficiently plenary to cover a wide range of subjects with the only
arbitrary and capricious exercise of authority. It would seem that what should be deemed limitation that the tax so levied is for public purposes, just and uniform. 25
unreasonable and what would amount to an abdication of the power to govern is inaction
in the face of an admitted deterioration of the state of public morals. To be more specific, As a matter of fact, even without reference to the wide latitude enjoyed by the City of Manila
the Municipal Board of the City of Manila felt the need for a remedial measure. It provided in imposing licenses for revenue, it has been explicitly held in one case that "much
it with the enactment of the challenged ordinance. A strong case must be found in the discretion is given to municipal corporations in determining the amount," here the license
records, and, as has been set forth, none is even attempted here to attach to an ordinance fee of the operator of a massage clinic, even if it were viewed purely as a police power
of such character the taint of nullity for an alleged failure to meet the due process measure.26 The discussion of this particular matter may fitly close with this pertinent
requirement. Nor does it lend any semblance even of deceptive plausibility to petitioners' citation from another decision of significance: "It is urged on behalf of the
indictment of Ordinance No. 4760 on due process grounds to single out such features as plaintiffs-appellees that the enforcement of the ordinance could deprive them of their
the increased fees for motels and hotels, the curtailment of the area of freedom to contract, lawful occupation and means of livelihood because they can not rent stalls in the public
and, in certain particulars, its alleged vagueness. markets. But it appears that plaintiffs are also dealers in refrigerated or cold storage meat,
the sale of which outside the city markets under certain conditions is permitted x x x . And
Admittedly there was a decided increase of the annual license fees provided for by the surely, the mere fact, that some individuals in the community may be deprived of their
challenged ordinance for hotels and motels, 150% for the former and over 200% for the present business or a particular mode of earning a living cannot prevent the exercise of the
latter, first-class motels being required to pay a P6,000 annual fee and second-class motels, police power. As was said in a case, persons licensed to pursue occupations which may in
P4,500 yearly. It has been the settled law however, as far back as 1922 that municipal the public need and interest be affected by the exercise of the police power embark in these
license fees could be classified into those imposed for regulating occupations or regular occupations subject to the disadvantages which may result from the legal exercise of that
enterprises, for the regulation or restriction of non-useful occupations or enterprises and power."27
for revenue purposes only.22 As was explained more in detail in the above Cu Unjieng case:
(2) Licenses for non-useful occupations are also incidental to the police power and the right Nor does the restriction on the freedom to contract, insofar as the challenged ordinance
to exact a fee may be implied from the power to license and regulate, but in fixing amount makes it unlawful for the owner, manager, keeper or duly authorized representative of any
of the license fees the municipal corporations are allowed a much wider discretion in this hotel, motel, lodging house, tavern, common inn or the like, to lease or rent room or portion

148
thereof more than twice every 24 hours, with a proviso that in all cases full payment shall public interest.31 What may be stressed sufficiently is that if the liberty involved were
be charged, call for a different conclusion. Again, such a limitation cannot be viewed as a freedom of the mind or the person, the standard for the validity of governmental acts is
transgression against the command of due process. It is neither unreasonable nor much more rigorous and exacting, but where the liberty curtailed affects at the most rights
arbitrary. Precisely it was intended to curb the opportunity for the immoral or illegitimate of property, the permissible scope of regulatory measure is wider. 32 How justify then the
use to which such premises could be, and, according to the explanatory note, are being allegation of a denial of due process?
devoted. How could it then be arbitrary or oppressive when there appears a
correspondence between the undeniable existence of an undesirable situation and the Lastly, there is the attempt to impugn the ordinance on another due process ground by
legislative attempt at correction. Moreover, petitioners cannot be unaware that every invoking the principles of vagueness or uncertainty. It would appear from a recital in the
regulation of conduct amounts to curtailment of liberty which as pointed out by Justice petition itself that what seems to be the gravamen of the alleged grievance is that the
Malcolm cannot be absolute. Thus: "One thought which runs through all these different provisions are too detailed and specific rather than vague or uncertain. Petitioners,
conceptions of liberty is plainly apparent. It is this: 'Liberty' as understood in democracies, however, point to the requirement that a guest should give the name, relationship, age and
is not license; it is 'liberty regulated by law.' Implied in the term is restraint by law for the sex of the companion or companions as indefinite and uncertain in view of the necessity for
good of the individual and for the greater good of the peace and order of society and the determining whether the companion or companions referred to are those arriving with the
general well-being. No man can do exactly as he pleases. Every man must renounce customer or guest at the time of the registry or entering the room With him at about the
unbridled license. The right of the individual is necessarily subject to reasonable restraint same time or coming at any indefinite time later to join him; a proviso in one of its sections
by general law for the common good x x x The liberty of the citizen may be restrained in the which cast doubt as to whether the maintenance of a restaurant in a motel is dependent
interest of the public health, or of the public order and safety, or otherwise within the upon the discretion of its owners or operators; another proviso which from their standpoint
proper scope of the police power."28 would require a guess as to whether the "full rate of payment" to be charged for every such
lease thereof means a full day's or merely a half-day's rate. It may be asked, do these
A similar observation was made by Justice Laurel: "Public welfare, then, lies at the bottom allegations suffice to render the ordinance void on its face for alleged vagueness or
of the enactment of said law, and the state in order to promote the general welfare may uncertainty? To ask the question is to answer it. From Connally v. General Construction
interfere with personal liberty, with property, and with business and occupations. Persons Co.33 to Adderley v. Florida,34 the principle has been consistently upheld that what makes
and property may be subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order to secure the a statute susceptible to such a charge is an enactment either forbidding or requiring the
general comfort, health, and prosperity of the state x x x To this fundamental aim of our doing of an act that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and
Government the rights of the individual are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing without differ as to its application. Is this the situation before us? A citation from Justice Holmes
which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then would prove illuminating: "We agree to all the generalities about not supplying criminal
society will fall into anarchy. Neither should authority be made to prevail over liberty laws with what they omit but there is no canon against using common sense in construing
because then the individual will fall into slavery. The citizen should achieve the required laws as saying what they obviously mean."35
balance of liberty and authority in his mind through education and personal discipline, so
that there may be established the resultant equilibrium, which means peace and order and That is all then that this case presents. As it stands, with all due allowance for the
happiness for all.29 arguments pressed with such vigor and determination, the attack against the validity of
the challenged ordinance cannot be considered a success. Far from it. Respect for
It is noteworthy that the only decision of this Court nullifying legislation because of undue constitutional law principles so uniformly held and so uninterruptedly adhered to by this
deprivation of freedom to contract, People v. Pomar,30 no longer "retains its virtuality as a Court compels a reversal of the appealed decision.
living principle. The policy of laissez faire has to some extent given way to the assumption
by the government of the right of intervention even in contractual relations affected with

149
Wherefore, the judgment of the lower court is reversed and the injunction issued lifted expropriated for the purpose of constructing a public improvement. The petitioner, in the
forthwith. With costs. second paragraph of the petition, alleged:

Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur. That for the purpose of constructing a public improvement, namely, the extension of Rizal
Concepcion, C.J. and Dizon, J., are on leave. Avenue, Manila, it is necessary for the plaintiff to acquire ownership in fee simple of certain
parcels of land situated in the district of Binondo of said city within Block 83 of said district,
and within the jurisdiction of this court.

The defendant, the Comunidad de Chinos de Manila [Chinese Community of Manila],


answering the petition of the plaintiff, alleged that it was a corporation organized and
existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippine Islands, having for its purpose the
EN BANC benefit and general welfare of the Chinese Community of the City of Manila; that it was the
owner of parcels one and two of the land described in paragraph 2 of the complaint; that
it denied that it was either necessary or expedient that the said parcels be expropriated
G.R. No. L-14355 October 31, 1919
for street purposes; that existing street and roads furnished ample means of
communication for the public in the district covered by such proposed expropriation; that
THE CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellant,
if the construction of the street or road should be considered a public necessity, other
vs.
routes were available, which would fully satisfy the plaintiff's purposes, at much less
CHINESE COMMUNITY OF MANILA, ET AL., defendants-appellees.
expense and without disturbing the resting places of the dead; that it had a Torrens title for
the lands in question; that the lands in question had been used by the defendant for
City Fiscal Diaz for appellant. cemetery purposes; that a great number of Chinese were buried in said cemetery; that if
Crossfield and O'Brien, Williams, Ferrier and Sycip, Delgado and Delgado, Filemon Sotto, said expropriation be carried into effect, it would disturb the resting places of the dead,
and Ramon Salinas for appellees. would require the expenditure of a large sum of money in the transfer or removal of the
bodies to some other place or site and in the purchase of such new sites, would involve the
destruction of existing monuments and the erection of new monuments in their stead, and
would create irreparable loss and injury to the defendant and to all those persons owning
JOHNSON, J.: and interested in the graves and monuments which would have to be destroyed; that the
plaintiff was without right or authority to expropriate said cemetery or any part or portion
The important question presented by this appeal is: In expropriation proceedings by the thereof for street purposes; and that the expropriation, in fact, was not necessary as a
city of Manila, may the courts inquire into, and hear proof upon, the necessity of the public improvement.
expropriation?
The defendant Ildefonso Tambunting, answering the petition, denied each and every
That question arose in the following manner: allegation of the complaint, and alleged that said expropriation was not a public
improvement; that it was not necessary for the plaintiff to acquire the parcels of land in
On the 11th day of December, 1916, the city of Manila presented a petition in the Court of question; that a portion of the lands in question was used as a cemetery in which were the
First Instance of said city, praying that certain lands, therein particularly described, be graves of his ancestors; that monuments and tombstones of great value were found

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thereon; that the land had becomequasi-public property of a benevolent association, when the value of the land is fixed by the method adopted by the law, to render a judgment
dedicated and used for the burial of the dead and that many dead were buried there; that if in favor of the defendant for its value.
the plaintiff deemed it necessary to extend Rizal Avenue, he had offered and still offers to
grant a right of way for the said extension over other land, without cost to the plaintiff, in That the city of Manila has authority to expropriate private lands for public purposes, is
order that the sepulchers, chapels and graves of his ancestors may not be disturbed; that not denied. Section 2429 of Act No. 2711 (Charter of the city of Manila) provides that "the
the land so offered, free of charge, would answer every public necessity on the part of the city (Manila) . . . may condemn private property forpublic use."
plaintiff.
The Charter of the city of Manila contains no procedure by which the said authority may be
The defendant Feliza Concepcion de Delgado, with her husband, Jose Maria Delgado, and carried into effect. We are driven, therefore, to the procedure marked out by Act No. 190 to
each of the other defendants, answering separately, presented substantially the same ascertain how the said authority may be exercised. From an examination of Act No. 190, in
defense as that presented by the Comunidad de Chinos de Manila and Ildefonso its section 241, we find how the right of eminent domain may be exercised. Said section
Tambunting above referred to. 241 provides that, "The Government of the Philippine Islands, or of any province or
department thereof, or of any municipality, and any person, or public or private
The foregoing parts of the defense presented by the defendants have been inserted in order corporation having, by law, the right to condemn private property for public use, shall
to show the general character of the defenses presented by each of the defendants. The exercise that right in the manner hereinafter prescribed."
plaintiff alleged that the expropriation was necessary. The defendants each alleged (a) that
no necessity existed for said expropriation and (b) that the land in question was a cemetery, Section 242 provides that a complaint in expropriation proceeding shall be presented; that
which had been used as such for many years, and was covered with sepulchres and the complaint shall state with certainty the right of condemnation, with a description of
monuments, and that the same should not be converted into a street for public purposes. the property sought to be condemned together with the interest of each defendant
separately.
Upon the issue thus presented by the petition and the various answers, the Honorable
Simplicio del Rosario, judge, in a very elucidated opinion, with very clear and explicit Section 243 provides that if the court shall find upon trial that the right to expropriate
reasons, supported by ambulance of authorities, decided that there was no necessity for the land in question exists, it shall then appoint commissioners.
the expropriation of the particular strip of land in question, and absolved each and all of
the defendants from all liability under the complaint, without any finding as to costs. Sections 244, 245 and 246 provide the method of procedure and duty of the commissioners.
Section 248 provides for an appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance to the
From that judgment the plaintiff appealed and presented the above question as its Supreme Court. Said section 248 gives the Supreme Court authority to inquire into
principal ground of appeal. the right of expropriation on the part of the plaintiff. If the Supreme Court on appeal shall
determine that no right of expropriation existed, it shall remand the cause to the Court of
The theory of the plaintiff is, that once it has established the fact, under the law, that it First Instance with a mandate that the defendant be replaced in the possession of the
has authority to expropriate land, it may expropriate any land it may desire; that the only property and that he recover whatever damages he may have sustained by reason of the
function of the court in such proceedings is to ascertain the value of the land in question; possession of the plaintiff.
that neither the court nor the owners of the land can inquire into the advisible purpose of
purpose of the expropriation or ask any questions concerning the necessities therefor; that It is contended on the part of the plaintiff that the phrase in said section, "and if the court
the courts are mere appraisers of the land involved in expropriation proceedings, and, shall find the right to expropriate exists," means simply that, if the court finds that there
is some law authorizing the plaintiff to expropriate, then the courts have no other

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function than to authorize the expropriation and to proceed to ascertain the value of the means that the Supreme Court shall also examine the enactments of the legislature for the
land involved; that the necessity for the expropriation is a legislative and not a judicial purpose of determining whether or not a law exists permitting the plaintiff to expropriate?
question.
We are of the opinion that the power of the court is not limited to that question. The right of
Upon the question whether expropriation is a legislative function exclusively, and that the expropriation is not an inherent power in a municipal corporation, and before it can
courts cannot intervene except for the purpose of determining the value of the land in exercise the right some law must exist conferring the power upon it. When the courts come
question, there is much legal legislature. Much has been written upon both sides of that to determine the question, they must only find (a) that a law or authority exists for the
question. A careful examination of the discussions pro and con will disclose the fact that exercise of the right of eminent domain, but (b) also that the right or authority is being
the decisions depend largely upon particular constitutional or statutory provisions. It exercised in accordance with the law. In the present case there are two conditions imposed
cannot be denied, if the legislature under proper authority should grant the expropriation upon the authority conceded to the City of Manila: First, the land must be private;
of a certain or particular parcel of land for some specified public purpose, that the courts and, second, the purpose must be public. If the court, upon trial, finds that neither of
would be without jurisdiction to inquire into the purpose of that legislation. these conditions exists or that either one of them fails, certainly it cannot be contended
that the right is being exercised in accordance with law.
If, upon the other hand, however, the Legislature should grant general authority to a
municipal corporation to expropriate private land for public purposes, we think the Whether the purpose for the exercise of the right of eminent domain is public, is a question
courts have ample authority in this jurisdiction, under the provisions above quoted, to of fact. Whether the land is public, is a question of fact; and, in our opinion, when the
make inquiry and to hear proof, upon an issue properly presented, concerning whether or legislature conferred upon the courts of the Philippine Islands the right to ascertain
not the lands were private and whether the purpose was, in fact, public. In other words, upon trial whether the right exists for the exercise of eminent domain, it intended that
have no the courts in this jurisdiction the right, inasmuch as the questions relating to the courts should inquire into, and hear proof upon, those questions. Is it possible that the
expropriation must be referred to them (sec. 241, Act No. 190) for final decision, to ask owner of valuable land in this jurisdiction is compelled to stand mute while his land is
whether or not the law has been complied with? Suppose in a particular case, it should be being expropriated for a use not public, with the right simply to beg the city of Manila to pay
denied that the property is not private property but public, may not the courts hear proof him the value of his land? Does the law in this jurisdiction permit municipalities to
upon that question? Or, suppose the defense is, that the purpose of the expropriation is expropriate lands, without question, simply for the purpose of satisfying the aesthetic
not public but private, or that there exists no public purpose at all, may not the courts sense of those who happen for the time being to be in authority? Expropriation of lands
make inquiry and hear proof upon that question? usually calls for public expense. The taxpayers are called upon to pay the costs. Cannot the
owners of land question the public use or the public necessity?
The city of Manila is given authority to expropriate private lands for public purposes.
Can it be possible that said authority confers the right to determine for itself that the land As was said above, there is a wide divergence of opinion upon the authority of the court to
is private and that the purpose is public, and that the people of the city of Manila who pay question the necessity or advisability of the exercise of the right of eminent domain. The
the taxes for its support, especially those who are directly affected, may not question one or divergence is usually found to depend upon particular statutory or constitutional
the other, or both, of these questions? Can it be successfully contended that the phrase provisions.
used in Act No. 190, "and if the court upon trial shall find that such right exists," means
simply that the court shall examine thestatutes simply for the purpose of ascertaining It has been contended — and many cases are cited in support of that contention, and
whether a law exists authorizing the petitioner to exercise the right of eminent domain? Or, section 158 of volume 10 of Ruling Case Law is cited as conclusive — that the necessity for
when the case arrives in the Supreme Court, can it be possible that the phrase, "if the taking property under the right of eminent domain is not a judicial question. But those who
Supreme Court shall determine that no right of expropriation exists," that that simply cited said section evidently overlooked the section immediately following (sec. 159), which

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adds: "But it is obvious that if the property is taken in the ostensible behalf of a public But when the statute does not designate the property to be taken nor how may be taken,
improvementwhich it can never by any possibility serve, it is being taken for a use not then the necessity of taking particular property is a question for the courts. Where the
public, and the owner's constitutional rights call for protection by the courts. While many application to condemn or appropriate is made directly to the court, the question (of
courts have used sweeping expression in the decisions in which they have disclaimed the necessity) should be raised and decided in limene.
power of supervising the power of supervising the selection of the sites of public
improvements, it may be safely said that the courts of the various states would feel bound The legislative department of the government was rarely undertakes to designate the
to interfere to prevent an abuse of the discretion delegated by the legislature, by an precise property which should be taken for public use. It has generally, like in the present
attempted appropriation of land in utter disregard of the possible necessity of its use, or case, merely conferred general authority to take land for public use when a necessity exists
when the alleged purpose was a cloak to some sinister scheme." (Norwich City vs. Johnson, therefor. We believe that it can be confidently asserted that, under such statute, the
86 Conn., 151; Bell vs. Mattoon Waterworks, etc. Co., 245 Ill., 544; Wheeling, etc. R. R. allegation of the necessity for the appropriation is an issuable allegation which it is
Co. vs. Toledo Ry. etc. Co., 72 Ohio St., 368; State vs. Stewart, 74 Wis., 620.) competent for the courts to decide. (Lynch vs. Forbes, 161 Mass., 302 [42 Am. St. Rep.,
402, 407].)
Said section 158 (10 R. C. L., 183) which is cited as conclusive authority in support of the
contention of the appellant, says: There is a wide distinction between a legislative declaration that a municipality is given
authority to exercise the right of eminent domain, and a decision by the municipality that
The legislature, in providing for the exercise of the power of eminent domain, may directly there exist a necessity for the exercise of that right in a particular case. The first is a
determine the necessity for appropriating private property for a particular improvement for declaration simply that there exist reasons why the right should be conferred upon
public use, and it may select the exact location of the improvement. In such a case, it is municipal corporation, while the second is the application of the right to a particular case.
well settled that the utility of the proposed improvement, the extent of the public necessity Certainly, the legislative declaration relating to the advisability of granting the power
for its construction, the expediency of constructing it, the suitableness of the location cannot be converted into a declaration that a necessity exists for its exercise in a particular
selected and the consequent necessity of taking the land selected for its site, are all case, and especially so when, perhaps, the land in question was not within the territorial
questions exclusively for the legislature to determine, and the courts have no power to authority was granted.
interfere, or to substitute their own views for those of the representatives of the people.
Whether it was wise, advisable, or necessary to confer upon a municipality the power to
Practically every case cited in support of the above doctrine has been examined, and we are exercise the right of eminent domain, is a question with which the courts are not concerned.
justified in making the statement that in each case the legislature directly determined the But when that right or authority is exercised for the purpose of depriving citizens of their
necessity for the exercise of the right of eminent domain in the particular case. It is not property, the courts are authorized, in this jurisdiction, to make inquiry and to hear proof
denied that if the necessity for the exercise of the right of eminent domain is presented to upon the necessity in the particular case, and not the general authority.
the legislative department of the government and that department decides that there exists
a necessity for the exercise of the right in a particular case, that then and in that case, the Volume 15 of the Cyclopedia of Law and Procedure (Cyc.), page 629, is cited as a further
courts will not go behind the action of the legislature and make inquiry concerning the conclusive authority upon the question that the necessity for the exercise of the right of
necessity. But, in the case of Wheeling, etc. R. R. Co. vs. Toledo, Ry, etc., Co. (72 Ohio St., eminent domain is a legislative and not a judicial question. Cyclopedia, at the page stated,
368 [106 Am. St. rep., 622, 628]), which was cited in support of the doctrine laid down in says:
section 158 above quoted, the court said:
In the absence of some constitutional or statutory provision to the contrary,
the necessity and expediency of exercising the right of eminent domain are questions

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essentially political and not judicial in their character. The determination of those the use for which it is proposed to authorize the taking of private property is in reality not
questions (the necessity and the expediency) belongs to the sovereign power; the legislative public but private." Many cases are cited in support of that doctrine.
department is final and conclusive, and the courts have no power to review it (the necessity
and the expediency) . . . . It (the legislature) may designate the particular property to be Later, in the same decision, we find the Supreme Court of Porto Rico says: "At any rate, the
condemned, and its determination in this respect cannot be reviewed by the courts. rule is quite well settled that in the cases under consideration the determination of the
necessity of taking a particular piece or a certain amount of land rests ultimately with the
The volume of Cyclopedia, above referred to, cites many cases in support of the doctrine courts." (Spring Valley etc. Co. vs. San Mateo, etc. Co., 64 Cal., 123.) .
quoted. While time has not permitted an examination of all of said citations, many of them
have been examined, and it can be confidently asserted that said cases which are cited in In the case of Board of Water Com'rs., etc. vs. Johnson (86 Conn., 571 [41 L. R. A., N. S.,
support of the assertion that, "the necessity and expediency of exercising the right of 1024]), the Supreme Court of Connecticut approvingly quoted the following doctrine from
eminent domain are questions essentially political and not judicial," show clearly and Lewis on Eminent Domain (3d ed.), section 599: "In all such cases the necessity of public
invariably that in each case the legislature itself usually, by a special law, designated utility of the proposed work or improvement is a judicial question. In all such cases, where
the particular case in which the right of eminent domain might be exercised by the the authority is to take property necessary for the purpose, the necessity of
particular municipal corporation or entity within the state. (Eastern R. Co. vs.Boston, etc., taking particular property for a particular purpose is a judicial one, upon which the owner
R. Co., 11 Mass., 125 [15 Am. Rep., 13]; Brooklyn Park Com'rs vs. Armstrong, 45 N.Y., 234 is entitled to be heard." (Riley vs.Charleston, etc. Co., 71 S. C., 457, 489 [110 Am. St. Rep.,
[6 Am. Rep., 70]; Hairston vs. Danville, etc. Ry. Co., 208 U. S. 598; 579]; Henderson vs. Lexington 132 Ky., 390, 403.)
Cincinnati vs. Louisville, etc. Ry. Co., 223 U. S., 390; U.S. vs. Chandler-Dunbar Water
Power Co., 229 U. S., 53; U.S. vs. Gettysburg, etc. Co., 160 U. S., 668; Traction The taking of private property for any use which is not required by the necessities or
Co. vs. Mining Co., 196 U.S., 239; Sears vs. City of Akron, 246 U.S., 351 [erroneously cited convenience of the inhabitants of the state, is an unreasonable exercise of the right of
as 242 U.S.].) eminent domain, and beyond the power of the legislature to delegate. (Bennett vs. Marion,
106 Iowa, 628, 633; Wilson vs. Pittsburg, etc. Co., 222 Pa. St., 541, 545; Greasy, etc.
In the case of Traction Co. vs. Mining Co. (196 U.S., 239), the Supreme Court of the United Co. vs. Ely, etc. Co., 132 Ky., 692, 697.)
States said: "It is erroneous to suppose that the legislature is beyond the control of the
courts in exercising the power of eminent domain, either as to the nature of the use or the In the case of New Central Coal Co. vs. George's etc. Co. (37 Md., 537, 564), the Supreme
necessity to the use of any particular property. For if the use be not public or no necessity Court of the State of Maryland, discussing the question before us, said: "To justify the
for the taking exists, the legislature cannot authorize the taking of private property against exercise of this extreme power (eminent domain) where the legislature has left it to depend
the will of the owner, notwithstanding compensation may be required." upon the necessity that may be found to exist, in order to accomplish the purpose of the
incorporation, as in this case, the party claiming the right to the exercise of the power
In the case of School Board of Carolina vs. Saldaña (14 Porto Rico, 339, 356), we find the should be required to show at least a reasonable degree of necessity for its exercise. Any
Supreme Court of Porto Rico, speaking through Justice MacLeary, quoting approvingly the rule less strict than this, with the large and almost indiscriminate delegation of the right to
following, upon the question which we are discussing: "It is well settled that although the corporations, would likely lead to oppression and the sacrifice of private right to corporate
legislature must necessarily determine in the first instance whether the use for which they power."
(municipalities, etc.) attempt to exercise the power is a public one or not, their
(municipalities, etc.) determination is not final, but is subject to correction by the courts, In the case of Dewey vs. Chicago, etc. Co. (184 Ill., 426, 433), the court said: "Its right to
who may undoubtedly declare the statute unconstitutional, if it shall clearly appear that condemn property is not a general power of condemnation, but is limited to cases where a
necessity for resort to private property is shown to exist. Such necessity must appear upon