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BAYLON, RAMON MODESTO, JUANITO MADURA, REUBEN ZAMORA, VIRGILIO DE ALDAY, SERGIO ARANETA, PLACIDO AGUSTIN, VIRGILIO MAGPAYO, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM (SSS), HON. CEZAR C. PERALEJO RTC, BRANCH 98, QUEZON CITY, respondents. Vicente T. Ocampo & Associates for petitioners. SYLLABUS 1. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; CIVIL SERVICE; PROHIBITION TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES FROM STRIKING. — While the Constitution and the Labor Code are silent as to whether or not government employees may strike, they are prohibited from striking, by express provision of Memorandum Circular No. 6 series of 1987 of the Civil Service Commission and as implied in E.O. No. 180. 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; REMEDIES IN LIEU OF RIGHT TO STRIKE. — Government employees may, therefore, through their unions or associations, either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not fixed by law. 3. ID.; CIVIL SERVICE; SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES ARE PART THEREOF AND COVERED BY MEMORANDUM PROHIBITING STRIKES. — SSS employees are part of the civil service and are covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. 4. LABOR AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION; EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 180; ALLOWS GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TO NEGOTIATE WHERE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT ARE NOT AMONG THOSE FIXED BY LAW. — E.O. No. 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees, allows negotiation where the terms and conditions of employment involved are not among those fixed by law. 5. ID.; ID.; TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT IN GOVERNMENT ARE GOVERNED BY LAW; EMPLOYEES SHALL NOT STRIKE TO SECURE CHANGES. — Section 4, Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government Employees to SelfOrganization, which took effect after the instant dispute arose, "[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the government, including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes thereof." 6. ID.; LABOR RELATIONS; STRIKES; NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION HAS NO JURISDICTION TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION TO RESTRAIN AN ILLEGAL STRIKE STAGED BY SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM EMPLOYEES; REASONS. — An injunction may be issued to restrain it. It is
futile for the petitioners to assert that the subject labor dispute falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRC and, hence, the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike. The Labor Code itself provides that terms and conditions of employment of government employees shall be governed by the Civil Service Law, rules and regulations [Art. 276]. More importantly, E.O. No. 180 vests the Public Sector Labor-Management Council with jurisdiction over unresolved labor disputes involving government employees [Sec. 16]. Clearly, the NLRC has no jurisdiction over the dispute. 7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION TO ENJOIN SAID STRIKE; REASON. — The Public Sector LaborManagement Council has not been granted by law authority to issue writs of injunction in labor disputes within its jurisdiction. Thus, since it is the Council, and not the NLRC, that has jurisdiction over the instant labor dispute, resort to the general courts of law for the issuance of a writ of injunction to enjoin the strike is appropriate. 8. REMEDIAL LAW; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; CERTIORARI; NOT PROPER WHERE COURT CANNOT BE ACCUSED OF IMPRUDENCE OR OVERZEALOUSNESS AS IT PROCEEDED WITH CAUTION. — The lower Court cannot be accused of imprudence or zealousness, for after issuing a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike to prevent any further disruption of public service, the respondent judge, in the same order, admonished the parties to refer the unresolved controversies emanating from their employer-employee relationship to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate action. 9. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; EXECUTION; WHEN REMEDY AVAILABLE TO PETITIONER. — Petitioners' remedy is not to petition this Court to issue an injunction, but to cause the execution of the order of the Merit Systems Promotion Board if it has already become final. DECISION CORTES, J p: Primarily, the issue raised in this petition is whether or not the Regional Trial Court can enjoin the Social Security System Employees Association (SSSEA) from striking and order the striking employees to return to work. Collaterally, it is whether or not employees of the Social Security System (SSS) have the right to strike. The antecedents are as follows: On June 11, 1987, the SSS filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a complaint for damages with a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners, alleging that on June 9, 1987, the officers and members of SSSEA staged an illegal strike and barricaded the entrances to the SSS Building, preventing non-striking employees from reporting for work and SSS members from transacting business with the SSS; that the strike was reported to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council, which ordered the strikers to return to work; that the strikers refused to return to work; and that the SSS suffered damages as a result of the strike. The complaint prayed that a writ of preliminary injunction be issued to enjoin the strike and that the strikers be ordered to return to work; that the defendants (petitioners herein) be ordered to pay damages; and that the strike be declared illegal. It appears that the SSSEA went on strike after the SSS failed to act on the
on June 11. 2(1) and (5)]. 94]. 8386]. That is a different matter. petitioners filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction before this Court. night differential pay and holiday pay. The position of the petitioners is that the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to issue the restraining order and the writ of preliminary injunction. Sec. Resort to the intent of the framers of the organic law becomes helpful in understanding the meaning of these provisions. resolved to refer the case to the Court of Appeals. 1989 and to maintain the status quo [Rollo.union's demands. including those employed in the public and private sectors. since the case involves a labor dispute. pp. IX(B). instrumentalities. including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters. the commissioners intended to limit the right to the formation of unions or associations only. to strike. it does not mean that because they have the right to organize. 21-24]. 97577 for being moot and academic. pp. and may be enjoined by the Regional Trial Court. But the Constitution itself fails to expressly confirm this impression. while there is no question that the Constitution recognizes the right of government employees to organize. 1987. By itself. the SSS filed an opposition. On the other hand. I The 1987 Constitution. through the Third Division. provides that the State "shall guarantee the rights of all workers to selforganization. pp. Petitioners moved to recall the Court of Appeals' decision. in answer to the apprehensions expressed by Commissioner Ambrosio B. associations. not the Labor Code. pp. issued a temporary restraining order pending resolution of the application for a writ of preliminary injunction [Rollo. and agencies of the Government. Do the employees of the SSS have the right to strike? 2. but during its pendency the Court of Appeals on March 9. Hence. The Court. the SSS advances the contrary view. reiterating its prayer for the issuance of a writ of injunction [Rollo.] To this motion. the sequential questions to be resolved by the Court in deciding whether or not the Court of Appeals erred is finding that the Regional Trial Court did not act without or in excess of jurisdiction when it took cognizance of the case and enjoined the strike are as follows: 1. A reading of the proceedings of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution would show that in recognizing the right of government employees to organize. p. Does the Regional Trial Court have jurisdiction to hear the case initiated by the SSS and to enjoin the strikers from continuing with the strike and to order them to return to work? These shall be discussed and resolved seriatim. they are not allowed to strike. pp. from continuing with their strike. one of the sponsors of the provision that "[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art. and peaceful concerted activities. No." that "[t]he right to self-organization shall not be denied to government employees" [Art. The court a quo. the Regional Trial Court may enjoin the employees from striking. and noting the reply and supplemental reply filed by petitioners. Upon motion of the SSS on February 6. the Court. XIII. 151-152]. which included: implementation of the provisions of the old SSS-SSSEA collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on check-off of union dues. 1987.R. pp. I think what I will try to say will not take that long. In the meantime. allowances and benefits given to other regular employees of the SSS. III. which had jurisdiction over the SSS' complaint for damages. considered the issues joined and the case submitted for decision. including those in the public sector. therefore they do not have the right to strike. LERUM. payment of accrued overtime pay. petitioners filed a motion to dismiss alleging the trial court's lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter [Rollo. this provision would seem to recognize the right of all workers and employees. without including the right to strike. Thus. subdivisions. after finding that the strike was illegal [Rollo. On July 22. as jurisdiction lay with the Department of Labor and Employment or the National Labor Relations Commission. the Court on June 29. Vice-President of the Commission. 2(5)]. Sec. 1987. 8]. the Court of Appeals held that since the employees of the SSS. Thus. the instant petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals [Rollo. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration thereof. Sec. Commissioner Eulogio R. the Bill of Rights also provides that "[t]he right of the people. 1988 [Rollo. As petitioners' motion for the reconsideration of the aforesaid order was also denied on August 14. and payment of the children's allowance of P30. Thus. 209-222].R. 79577. 3]. in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights. including the right to strike in accordance with law" [Art. are government employees. Lerum. explained: MR. IX(B). 72-82. Their petition was docketed as G. on the ground that the employees of the SSS are covered by civil service laws and rules and regulations. 71.] In the meantime. collective bargaining and negotiations. pp. 12-37]. the Court issued a temporary restraining order enjoining the petitioners from staging another strike or from pursuing the notice of strike they filed with the Department of Labor and Employment on January 25. 141-143]. No. Parenthetically. 1989. to form unions. In a resolution dated October 21. 1988 promulgated its decision on the referred case [Rollo. it is silent as to whether such recognition also includes the right to strike. and after the SSS deducted certain amounts from the salaries of the employees and allegedly committed acts of discrimination and unfair labor practices [Rollo. p. pp. 1988 denied the motion for reconsideration in G. Sec. In dismissing the petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed by petitioners. conversion of temporary or contractual employees with six (6) months or more of service into regular and permanent employees and their entitlement to the same salaries. it provides. When we proposed this amendment providing for self-organization of government employees. Petitioners' motion to recall the decision of the Court of Appeals was also denied in view of this Court's denial of the motion for reconsideration [Rollo. after defining the scope of the civil service as "all branches.00. the court a quo denied the motion to dismiss and converted the restraining order into an injunction upon posting of a bond. taking the comment as answer. in a four-page order. or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not abridged" [Art. Padilla. for in the Sub-Article on the Civil Service Commission. Since neither the DOLE nor the NLRC has jurisdiction over the dispute. We are only talking . 130-137]. they also have the right to strike.
uniting as a union. s. to implement the constitutional guarantee of the right of government employees to organize. No. Understandably. they are prohibited from striking. p. its employees are part of the civil service [NASECO v. as amended). the administrative heads of government which fix the terms and conditions of employment.about organizing. mass leaves. No. 1161. No. As a matter of fact.P. it is the legislature and. are allowed to organize but they are prohibited from striking. including those from the government-owned and controlled. for such are excluded from its coverage [Ibid].D. or regulating the exercise of the right. [At this juncture.R. all government officers and employees from staging strikes. In government employment. 1988] and are covered by the Civil Service Commission's memorandum prohibiting strikes. 11. 6. 244. as amended and Article 277. Considering that under the 1987 Constitution "[t]he civil service embraces all branches. No. No. This being the case. . With regard to the right to strike. 569]. That is a different matter. 69870 & 70295. including instrumentalities exercising governmental functions.A. by express provision of Memorandum Circular No. workers. 70 in 1980]. everyone will remember that in the Bill of Rights. And that provision is carried in Republic Act 875. I. including governmentowned or controlled corporations with original charters" [Art. No. But are employees of the SSS covered by the prohibition against strikes? The Court is of the considered view that they are. Blg. including employees of government owned and controlled corporations. At present. recognizing their right to do so.R. where properly given delegated power. In Republic Act 875. that could be done because the moment that is prohibited. then the union which will go on strike will be an illegal union. 6 and as implied in E. It will be recalled that the Industrial Peace Act (R. I repeat. 1987 which. 807]. that subject is now being discussed in the Committee on Social Justice because we are trying to find a solution to this problem. We know that this problem exists. G. No similar provision is found in the Labor Code. the fear of our honorable Vice-President is unfounded. 180.O. 276]. including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof.O. Minister of Labor and Employment [G.O. On June 1. — The terms and conditions of employment in the Government. 442) in 1974. 180 where the employees in the civil service are denominated as "government employees"] and that the SSS is one such government-controlled corporation with an original charter. 2(1). No. 1987. It does not mean that because we approve this resolution. Such employees may belong to any labor organization which does not impose the obligation to strike or to join in strike: Provided. it must be stated that the validity of Memorandum Circular No. 1987 of the Civil Service Commission under date April 21. expressly banned strikes by employees in the Government.A. the Industrial Peace Act. although at one time it recognized the right of employees of government corporations established under the Corporation Code to organize and bargain collectively and those in the civil service to "form organizations for purposes not contrary to law" [Art. [Record of the Constitutional Commission. there is a provision that the right to form associations or societies whose purpose is not contrary to law shall not be abridged. Subject to the minimum requirements of wage laws and other labor and welfare legislation. if the purpose of the state is to prohibit the strikes coming from employees exercising government functions. That this section shall apply only to employees employed in governmental functions and not those employed in proprietary functions of the Government including but not limited to governmental corporations. 875). The principle behind labor unionism in private industry is that industrial peace cannot be secured through compulsion by law. rules and regulations" [now Art. Sec. 875. . including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof are governed by law" (Section 11." The air was thus cleared of the confusion. before its amendment by B. and agencies of the Government. The statement of the Court in Alliance of Government Workers v. the Labor Code. R. 60403. demonstrations. in the absence of any legislation allowing government employees to strike. the terms and conditions of employment in the unionized private sector are settled through the process of collective bargaining. 442. it is provided that "[t]he Civil Service law and rules governing concerted activities and strikes in the government service shall be observed. 124 SCRA 1] is relevant as it furnishes the rationale for distinguishing between workers in the private sector and government employees with regard to the right to strike: The general rule in the past and up to the present is that "the terms and conditions of employment in the Government. 6 is not at issue]. however. that the moment we allow anybody in the government to strike. P. No. And this is effected through statutes or . Relations between private employers and their employees rest on an essentially voluntary basis. In Section 14 thereof. it carries with it the right to strike. in the same breath it provided that "[t]he terms and conditions of employment of all government employees." The President was apparently referring to Memorandum Circular No. 180 which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees. "prior to the enactment by Congress of applicable laws concerning strike by government employees . however. August 3. Since the terms and conditions of government employment are fixed by law. then what will happen if the members of the Armed Forces will go on strike? What will happen to those people trying to protect us? So that is a matter of discussion in the Committee on Social Justice. 1 of E. having been created under R. So. Nos. the President issued E.D. No.A. But. the Labor Code is silent as to whether or not government employees may strike. is equally silent on the matter. Now then. IX(B). subdivisions. instrumentalities. Prohibition Against Strikes in the Government. November 24. the right to form an organization does not carry with it the right to strike. see also Sec. enjoins under pain of administrative sanctions. but excluding entities entrusted with proprietary functions: Sec. the strike staged by the employees of the SSS was illegal. vol. subject to any legislation that may be enacted by Congress. shall be governed by the Civil Service Law. But then the Civil Service Decree [P. are governed by law and it is declared to be the policy of this Act that employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes or modification in their terms and conditions of employment.D. government workers cannot use the same weapons employed by workers in the private sector to secure concessions from their employers. which was repealed by the Labor Code (P. 1983. NLRC. walk-outs and other forms of mass action which will result in temporary stoppage or disruption of public service.
therefore. but to cause the execution of the aforesaid order.R. Apropos is the observation of the Acting Commissioner of Civil Service. which provides guidelines for the exercise of the right to organize of government employees. "[t]he terms and conditions of employment in the government. No. walkouts and other temporary work stoppages. grievances and cases involving government employees. such conflicting interests as are present in private labor relations could not exist in the relations between government and those whom they employ. the instant petition for review is hereby DENIED and the decision of the appellate court dated March 9. 276]. like workers in the private sector. shall be followed in the resolution of complaints. p. which took effect after the instant dispute arose. E. Emphasis supplied]. 180. to wit: It is the stand. no reversible error having been committed by the Court of Appeals. protects the interest of all people in the public service. and that accordingly. 1988 is DENIED. however. that has jurisdiction over the instant labor dispute. it must necessarily regard the right to strike given to unions in private industry as not applying to public employees and civil service employees. in contrast to the private employer. also quoted in National Housing Corporation v. through their unions or associations. [At pp. III In their "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction. to pressure the Government to accede to their demands.R. and not the NLRC.O. [At p. the Regional Trial Court had no jurisdiction to issue a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike. it is Our view that petitioners' remedy is not to petition this Court to issue an injunction. In case any dispute remains unresolved after exhausting all the available remedies under existing laws and procedures. Government employees may. The matter being extraneous to the issues elevated to this Court. whenever applicable. More importantly. except those that are fixed by law. WHEREFORE. not through collective bargaining agreements. 134 SCRA 172. Blg. in the exercise of its general jurisdiction under B. The Labor Code itself provides that terms and conditions of employment of government employees shall be governed by the Civil Service Law. the NLRC has no jurisdiction over the dispute.P. after issuing a writ of injunction enjoining the continuance of the strike to prevent any further disruption of public service. The Civil Service and labor laws and procedures. 86]. SP No. 1985. Thus." II The strike staged by the employees of the SSS belonging to petitioner union being prohibited by law. Thus. petitioners allege that the SSS unlawfully withheld bonuses and benefits due the individual petitioners and they pray that the Court issue a writ of preliminary prohibitive and mandatory injunction to restrain the SSS and its agents from withholding payment thereof and to compel the SSS to pay them. Terms and conditions of employment or improvements thereof. hence. Petitioners' "Petition/Application for Preliminary and Mandatory Injunction" dated December 13. the Public Sector Labor-Management Council has not been granted by law authority to issue writs of injunction in labor disputes within its jurisdiction. for in fact it had proceeded with caution. If there be any unresolved grievances. in his position paper submitted to the 1971 Constitutional Convention. has. petitioners annexed an order of the Civil Service Commission. LibLex Neither could the court a quo be accused of imprudence or overzealousness. 13192 is AFFIRMED. including any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof and government-owned and controlled corporations with original charters are governed by law and employees therein shall not strike for the purpose of securing changes thereof.administrative circulars.O. The same executive order has also provided for the general mechanism for the settlement of labor disputes in the public sector. an injunction may be issued to restrain it. 1989." and reiterated in their reply and supplemental reply. 180 vests the Public Sector Labor-Management Council with jurisdiction over unresolved labor disputes involving government employees [Sec. It has been stated that the Government. rules and regulations [Art. the parties may jointly refer the dispute to the [Public Sector Labor-Management] Council for appropriate action. which ruled that the officers of the SSSEA who are not preventively suspended and who are reporting for work pending the resolution of the administrative cases against them are entitled to their salaries. As now provided under Sec. the respondent judge. of this Commission that by reason of the nature of the public employer and the peculiar character of the public service. to wit: SECTION 16. Rule III of the Rules and Regulations to Govern the Exercise of the Right of Government Employees to Self-Organization. In their supplemental reply. and regulations. admonished the parties to refer the unresolved controversies emanating from their employer-employee relationship to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate action [Rollo. year-end bonuses and other fringe benefits and affirmed the previous order of the Merit Systems Promotion Board. therefore. This being the case. resort to the general courts of law for the issuance of a writ of injunction to enjoin the strike is appropriate. if it has already become final. 1988 in CA-G. 4. . SO ORDERED. in the same order. 16]. No. as amended. 64313 January 17. It is futile for the petitioners to assert that the subject labor dispute falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRC and. the dispute may be referred to the Public Sector Labor-Management Council for appropriate action. and quoted with approval by the Court in Alliance. the Regional Trial Court was not precluded. may be the subject of negotiations between duly recognized employees' organizations and appropriate government authorities. since it is the Council. 178-179]. Juco. while clinging to the same philosophy. Thus: SECTION 13. E. Unlike the NLRC. relaxed the rule to allow negotiation where the terms and conditions of employment involved are not among those fixed by law. Clearly. G. 16-17. No. But employees in the civil service may not resort to strikes. 129. dated May 5. from assuming jurisdiction over the SSS's complaint for damages and issuing the injunctive writ prayed for therein. rules. either petition the Congress for the betterment of the terms and conditions of employment which are within the ambit of legislation or negotiate with the appropriate government agencies for the improvement of those which are not fixed by law. 13.
docketed as Civil Case No. 1 In its answer. 1974. however. and thus becomes obnoxious to . the Union appealed directly to this Court on purely questions of law. assigning the following errors: "I. 875. 1974. Feliciano and Bidin. the Union invoked the "union security clause" of the collective bargaining agreement. firstly. . JJ. the Company would be constrained to dismiss him from the service. he reiterated his resignation on September 3.J. of Republic Act No." 3 From this decision. 1964. he was a member of the Elizalde Rope Workers' Union (hereinafter referred to as Union) which had with the Company a collective bargaining agreement containing a closed shop provision which reads as follows: "Membership in the Union shall be required as a condition of employment for all permanent employees workers covered by this Agreement. 875. J p: Appeal to this Court on purely questions of law from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Manila in its Civil Case No. "but such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor organization". September 12. Inc. judgment is rendered enjoining the defendant Elizalde Rope Factory. March 4. that membership in a labor organization is banned to all those belonging to such religious sect prohibiting affiliation with any labor organization". 3350. pursuant to Republic Act No. That the lower court erred when it sentenced appellant herein to pay plaintiff the sum of P500 as attorney's fees and the cost thereof. a member of the religious sect known as the "Iglesia ni Cristo".R. Gutierrez. As such employee.. 1961. Yap. 3350 is unconstitutional. plaintiff-appellee. This prompted Appellee to file an action for injunction. Salonga. That the lower court erred when it did not rule that Republic Act No. the dispositive portion of which reads: "IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING." On June 18. deprives said members of their constitutional right to form or join lawful associations or organizations guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. 3350 was enacted. defendantappellant. Sections 24 and 9 (d) and (e)." The collective bargaining agreement expired on March 3. C. Inc.] BENJAMIN VICTORIANO. Jr. had been in the employ of the Elizalde Rope Factory. Being a member of a religious sect that prohibits the affiliation of its members with any labor organization. the Court a quo rendered its decision on August 26. L-25246. and contended that the Court had no jurisdiction over the case. 58894 in the Court of First Instance of Manila to enjoin the Company and the Union from dismissing Appellee. paragraph 4. assailed the constitutionality of Republic Act No. vs. "II. Thereupon. Republic Act No. EN BANC [G. 1965. ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS' UNION and ELIZALDE ROPE FACTORY.. prior to its amendment by Republic Act No. the employer was not precluded "from making an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of employment membership therein. that "the very phraseology of said Republic Act 3350. introducing an amendment to paragraph (4) subsection (a) of section 4 of Republic Act No. Under Section 4(a)...Fernan. No. Sicat & Associates for plaintiff-appellee. 875. 5 and. INC. DECISION ZALDIVAR. 4 "prohibits all the members of a given religious sect from joining any labor union if such sect prohibits affiliations of their members thereto". and when no action was taken thereon. the Union wrote a formal letter to the Company asking the latter to separate Appellee from the service in view of the fact that he was resigning from the Union as a member. as follows: . Ordoñez. consequently. ELIZALDE ROPE WORKERS' UNION. 58894. the Union contented. ." In support of the alleged unconstitutionality of Republic Act No. The undisputed facts that spawned the instant case follow: Benjamin Victoriano (hereinafter referred to as Appellee). 3350. The management of the Company in turn notified Appellee and his counsel that unless the Appellee could achieve a satisfactory arrangement with the Union. concur. defendants. 2 Upon the facts agreed upon by the parties during the pre-trial conference. Cipriano Cid & Associates for defendant-appellant. from dismissing the plaintiff from his present employment and sentencing the defendant Elizalde Rope Workers' Union to pay the plaintiff P500 for attorney's fees and the costs of this action. 3350. Appellee presented his resignation to appellant Union in 1962. that the Act infringes on the fundamental right to form lawful associations. if such labor organization is the representative of the employees. 1964 but was renewed the following day. (hereinafter referred to as Company) since 1958.
and balanced the collective rights of organized labor with the constitutional right of an individual to freely exercise his chosen religion. that appellant. it can be safely said that whatever theory one subscribes to. the terms of the closed shop agreement. 3350. 3350. said Act would violate religious freedom. does not violate the social justice policy of the Constitution. 19 1. he himself makes up his mind as to which association he would join.. neither can the same be deduced by necessary implication therefrom. it will be upheld. furthermore. for the classification of workers under the Act depending on their religious tenets is based on substantial distinction. power. policy. 12 and that unless Republic Act No. and that said Act. 6 Secondly. 14 that said Act does not impair the obligation of contracts for said law formed part of. and the challenger must negate all possible bases. 3350. 16 that said Act does not violate the constitutional provision of equal protection. alleging unconstitutionality must prove its invalidity beyond a reasonable doubt. it nevertheless entitles them at the same time to the enjoyment of all concessions. 875 recognize freedom of association. as he pleases. join or refrain from joining an association. therefore. are relieved from the obligation to continue as such members. and while said Act unduly protects certain religious sects. having thus misread the Act. 3350 is unconstitutional for impairing the obligation of contracts in that. whereby an employee may. it is necessary to premise that there are some thoroughly established principles which must be followed in all cases where questions of constitutionality as obtains in the instant case are involved. namely: first. while the Union is obliged to comply with its collective bargaining agreement containing a "closed shop provision. Both the Constitution and Republic Act No. and was incorporated into. Section 1 (6) of Article III of the Constitution of 1935. and . it leaves no rights or protection to labor organizations. 875 provides that employees shall have the right to self-organization and to form. Before We proceed to the discussion of the first assigned error. for the right to join associations includes the right not to join or to resign from a labor organization. Section 1 (6) of the 1935 Constitution. trade unionism in this country would be wiped out as employers would prefer to hire or employ members of the Iglesia ni Cristo in order to do away with labor organizations. that conversely. committed the error of contending that said Act is obnoxious to the constitutional provision on freedom of association. under the Act. and applies to all the members of a given class. that if any reasonable basis may be conceived which supports the statute. the Union contended that Republic Act No.Article III. whereby an employee may act for himself without being prevented by law. in enacting said law. 15 that the Act does not violate the establishment of religion clause or separation of Church and State. benefits and other emoluments that the union might secure from the employer. 8 Fourthly." the Act relieves the employer from its reciprocal obligation of cooperating in the maintenance of union membership as a condition of employment. finally. in violation of Article III. the Union contended that Republic Act No. 9 Fifthly. Republic Act No. one who attacks a statute. 13 Appellee. Appellant Union's contention that Republic Act No. justice. if one's conscience does not allow his membership therein. and the Act has given substance to such right by prohibiting the compulsion of workers to join labor organizations. impairs the Union's rights as it deprives the union of dues from members who. All presumptions are indulged in favor of constitutionality. It is not surprising. if a worker has to sever his religious connection with a sect that prohibits membership in a labor organization in order to be able to join a labor organization. 18 I. the employee who should decide for himself whether he should join or not an association. merely accommodated the religious needs of those workers whose religion prohibits its members from joining labor unions. for Congress. liberty or freedom. 3350 discriminatorily favors those religious sects which ban their members from joining labor unions. 3350 prohibits and bans the members of such religious sects that forbid affiliation of their members with labor unions from joining labor unions appears nowhere in the wording of Republic Act No. provide that the right to form associations or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged. it has granted said members undue advantages over their fellow workers. that the courts are not concerned with the wisdom. 7 Thirdly. 3350. 3350 is declared unconstitutional. Section 3 of Republic Act No. i e. inasmuch as by exempting from the operation of closed shop agreement the members of the "Iglesia ni Cristo". asserted the Union. 10 Sixthly. What the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act recognize and guarantee is the "right" to form or join associations. the absence of legal restraint. asserted that a "closed shop provision" in a collective bargaining agreement cannot be considered violative of religious freedom. therefore. 3350 violates the constitutional provision regarding the promotion of social justice. as well as Section 7 of Article n of the Constitution of 1973. contended that Republic Act No. for while the Act exempts them from union obligation and liability. or expediency of a statute. 3350 does not violate the right to form lawful associations. a right comprehends at least two broad notions. 17 that said Act. join or assist labor organizations of their own choosing for the purpose of collective bargaining and to engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining and other mutual aid or protection. is germane to the purpose of the law. as to call for the amendment introduced by Republic Act No. it being a discriminatory legislation. and that a liberal interpretation of the constitution in favor of the constitutionality of legislation should be adopted. furthermore. assailing appellant's arguments. the Union contended that Republic Act No. violates the constitutional provision that "no religious test shall be required for the exercise of a civil right. Notwithstanding the different theories propounded by the different schools of jurisprudence regarding the nature and contents of a "right". that the constitutional right to the free exercise of one's religion has primacy and preference over union security measures which are merely contractual. for said Act was enacted precisely to equalize employment opportunities for all citizens in the midst of the diversities of their religious beliefs. Section 1 (7) of the 1935 Constitution. 11 Appellant Union. that a law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional. violates the "equal protection of laws" clause of the Constitution." in that the laborer's exercise of his civil right to join associations for purposes not contrary to law has to be determined under the Act by his affiliation with a religious sect. the Union contended that Republic Act No. It is. and second. and should he choose to join.
that there was indeed an impairment of said union security clause. Hence. when it added to Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act the following proviso: "but such agreement shall not cover members of any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members in any such labor organization". he must become a member of the collective bargaining union. Republic Act No. 21 Inasmuch as what both the Constitution and the Industrial Peace Act have recognized. 24 In spite of the constitutional prohibition. the State continues to possess authority to safeguard the vital interests of its people. and guaranteed to the employee. 1961. therefore. Republic Act No. members of said religious sects cannot be refused employment or dismissed from their jobs on the sole ground that they are not members of the collective bargaining union. important and valuable reforms may be precluded by the simple device of entering into contracts for the purpose of doing that which otherwise may be prohibited. What the exception provides. it would be absurd to say that the law also imposes. and it cannot. they can do so. therefore. The right to refrain from joining labor organizations recognized by Section 3 of the Industrial Peace Act is. therefore. but the reservation of essential attributes of sovereign power is also read into contracts as a postulate of the legal order. neither does the law prohibit them from joining. affording a broad outline and requiring construction to fill in the details. before its amendment by Republic Act No. There is an impairment of the contract if either party is absolved by law from its performance. 3350. therefore. It still leaves to said members the liberty and the power to affiliate. 3350 was enacted of June 18. regardless of his religious beliefs. be not only in harmony with. To that all embracing coverage of the closed shop arrangement. but of encroaching in any respect on its obligation or dispensing with any part of its force. The law does not enjoin an employee to sign up with any association. that the prohibition to impair the obligation of contracts is not absolute and unqualified. with labor unions. that the right to join a union includes the right to abstain from joining any union. be deemed to have been incorporated into the agreement. or not to affiliate. the law does not coerce them to join. that in spite of any closed shop agreement. any statute which introduces a change into the express terms of the contract. notwithstanding their religious beliefs. therefore. therefore. Appellee. the members of said religious sects prefer to sign up with the labor union. 23 It should not be overlooked. not precluded "from making an agreement with a labor organization to require as a condition of employment membership therein. however. the "union security clause" embodied in its Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Company. 3350. If in deference and fealty to their religious faith. however. or disaffiliate from the Union. All contracts made with reference to any matter that is subject to regulation under the police power must be understood as made in reference to the possible exercise of that power. where a labor union and an employer have agreed on a closed shop. therefore. upon the employee the duty to join associations. he still retains the liberty and the power to leave and cancel his membership with said organization at any time. introduced a change into the express terms of the union security clause. or the remedy for its enforcement. The Act. But by reason of this amendment. for it prohibits unreasonable impairment only. therefore. The legal protection granted to such right to refrain from joining is withdrawn by operation of law. as well as others similarly situated. the Company was partly absolved by law from the contractual obligation it had with the Union of employing only Union members in permanent positions. could no longer be dismissed from his job even if he should cease to be a member. and neither may the employer or labor union compel them to join. derogate from substantial contractual rights. 3350 introduced an exception. It is not a question of degree or manner or cause. Thus Section 4 (a) (4) of the Industrial Peace Act. before the enactment of Republic Act No. Republic Act No. 3350 merely excludes ipso jure from the application and coverage of the closed shop agreement the employees belonging to any religious sects which prohibit affiliation of their members with any labor organization. The prohibition is not to be read with literal exactness like a mathematical formula. Appellant Union also contends that the Act is unconstitutional for impairing the obligation of its contract. but also in subordination to. if such labor organization is the representative of the employees". the right of said employee not to join the labor union is curtailed and withdrawn. by virtue of which "membership in the union was required as a condition for employment for all permanent employees workers". if any person. wishes to be employed or to keep his employment. impairs the contract. The contract clause of the Constitution must. If. that the assailed Act. and the Company could continue employing him notwithstanding his disaffiliation from the Union. 26 Otherwise. far from infringing the constitutional provision on freedom of association. they refuse to sign up. It is clear. 3350. in the same breath. The prohibition is general. the reserved power . of a closed shop agreement.even after he has joined. they can do so. 20 It is clear. According to Black. provides that although it would be an unfair labor practice for an employer "to discriminate in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization" the employer is. or its discharge. The policy of protecting contracts against impairment presupposes the maintenance of a government by virtue of which contractual relations are worthwhile — a government which retains adequate authority to secure the peace and good order of society. and the employees must continue to be members of the union for the duration of the contract in order to keep their jobs. or its validity. 22 Impairment has also been predicated on laws which. It does not prohibit the members of said religious sects from affiliating with labor unions. This agreement was already in existence at the time Republic Act No. by virtue of which the employer may employ only members of the collective bargaining union. or its legal construction. without destroying contracts. specifically. however. is that members of said religious sects cannot be compelled or coerced to join labor unions even when said unions have closed shop agreements with the employers. limited. Legislation appropriate to safeguarding said interests may modify or abrogate contracts already in effect. 2. upholds and reinforces it. therefore. By virtue. in appropriate instances. 25 For not only are existing laws read into contracts in order to fix the obligations as between the parties. The extent of the change is not material. It cannot be denied. is the "right" to join associations of his choice. does not violate the constitutional provision on freedom of association.
This is tantamount to punishing such person for believing in a doctrine he has a right under the law to believe in. Legislation impairing the obligation of contracts can be sustained when it is enacted for the promotion of the general good of the people. 34 and has a preferred position in the hierarchy of values. is invalid. It follows that not all legislations. therefore. 29 In order to determine whether legislation unconstitutionally impairs contract obligations. It cannot be gainsaid that said purpose is legitimate. when the Union interacts with management. or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Supreme Court of the United States has also declared on several occasions that the rights in the First Amendment. In further support of its contention that Republic Act No. cannot accept membership in a labor organization although he possesses all the qualifications for the job. which have the effect of impairing a contract. The law would not allow discrimination to flourish to the detriment of those whose religion discards membership in any labor organization. 3. and the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship. within its power. shall forever be allowed. 3350 is unconstitutional. but every case must be determined upon its own circumstances. 35 but also assures the free exercise of one's chosen form of religion within limits of utmost amplitude. must be upheld by the courts. to profess his beliefs. statutory and constitutional right to work. without. is a fundamental personal right and liberty. and only to the smallest extent necessary to avoid the danger. applicable at all times and under all circumstances. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. must yield to the common good. Moreover. 30 What then was the purpose sought to be achieved by Republic Act No. Both the end sought and the means adopted must be legitimate. although not unlimited. although it incidentally destroys existing contract rights. appellant Union averred that said Act discriminates in favor of members of said religious sects in violation of Section 1(7) of Article III of the 1935 Constitution. the statute is valid despite its indirect burden . 31 The aforementioned purpose of the amendatory law is clearly seen in the Explanatory Note to House Bill No. directed by management. a legitimate exercise of the police power. It is only where unavoidably necessary to prevent an immediate and grave danger to the security and welfare of the community that infringement of religious freedom may be justified. consistent with the liberty of others and with the common good. confirming thereby their natural.of the state to safeguard the vital interests of the people. is confronted by two aggregates of power — collective labor. discrimination and preference. the fruits of which work are usually the only means whereby they can maintain their own life and the life of their dependents. or to discriminate invidiously between the religions. that the means adopted by the Act to achieve that purpose — exempting the members of said religious sects from coverage of union security agreements — is reasonable. 37 But if the stage regulates conduct by enacting. and said labor contracts. This has special application to contracts regulating relations between capital and labor which are not merely contractual. 3350." 32 It cannot be denied. Likewise. i. no unchanging yardstick. therefore. a general law which has for its purpose and effect to advance the state's secular goals. to allow each man to believe as his conscience directs. furthermore. even though the burden may be characterized as being only indirect. and being.e. directed by a union. 3350? Its purpose was to insure freedom of belief and religion. is. by which the validity of each statute may be measured or determined. for being impressed with public interest. as follows: "It would be unthinkable indeed to refuse employing a person who. it produces yet a third aggregate of group strength from which the individual also needs protection — the collective bargaining relationship.. yield to the former. this Court also held that the Blue Sunday Law was not an infringement of the obligation of a contract that required the employer to furnish work on Sundays to his employees. which include freedom of religion. an institution developed to organize labor into a collective force and thus protect the individual employee from the power of collective capital. 27 In several occasions this Court declared that the prohibition against impairing the obligations of contracts has no application to statutes relating to public subjects within the domain of the general legislative powers of the state involving public welfare. and a new source of their frustration. It has been said that the religion clauses of the Constitution are all designed to protect the broadest possible liberty of conscience. Contractual rights. 33 Religious freedom. at various times in his working life. and when the means adopted to secure that end are reasonable. 36 Any legislation whose effect or purpose is to impede the observance of one or all religions." The constitutional provision not only prohibits legislation for the support of any religious tenets or the modes of worship of any sect. 5859. The questioned Act also provides protection to members of said religious sects against two aggregates of group strength from which the individual needs protection. which later became Republic Act No. and collective capital. both the champion of employee rights. enjoy a preferred position in the constitutional system. has been fashioned. paradoxically. It may not be amiss to point out here that the free exercise of religious profession or belief is superior to contract rights. furthermore. and which is now Section 8 of Article 8 of the 1973 Constitution. must yield to freedom of religion. are obnoxious to the constitutional prohibition as to impairment. 28 Thus. The union. thus forestalling compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship. the latter must. and a statute passed in the legitimate exercise of police power. In case of conflict. the law having been enacted to secure the well-being and happiness of the laboring class. which provides: "No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion. and to live as he believes he ought to live. the law would not commend the deprivation of their right to work and pursue a modest means of livelihood. within the scope of the reserved power of the state construed in harmony with the constitutional limitation of that power. without in any manner violating their religious faith and/or belief. and to promote the general welfare by preventing discrimination against those members of religious sects which prohibit their members from joining labor unions. The individual employee. on account of his religious beliefs and convictions.
and a fortiori to a labor union . in the 1935 Constitution. to afford protection to labor. is the protection of said employees against the aggregate force of the collective bargaining agreement. for religious objections have contagious potentialities more than political and philosophic objections. in order to withstand the strictures of constitutional prohibition. Congress acted consistently with the spirit of the constitutional provision. but when general laws conflict with scruples of conscience. for joining any lawful association membership in any particular religion or in any religious sect. Ruiz. not spiritual or religious or holy and eternal. regarding this matter. which is lawful in itself. and temporal. that the validity of a statute is determined by its provisions. 3350 is secular. The purpose of Republic Act No. 40 Assessed by these criteria. In fact. To help its citizens to find gainful employment whereby they can make a living to support themselves and their families is a valid objective of the state. 45 In the instant case. the Act also promotes the well-being of society. suffice it to say. 48 A desirable end cannot be promoted by prohibited means. exemptions ought to be granted unless some "compelling state interest" intervenes. The rights of labor unions are amply provided for in Republic Act No. thus violating Section 1 of . It was intended to serve the secular purpose of advancing the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. labor organizations. a religious objector is not required to do a positive act — to exercise the right to join or to resign from the union. ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex.assuming that such unity and loyalty can be attained through coercion — is not a goal that is constitutionally obtainable at the expense of religious liberty. if it so deems advisable. Congress has seen it fit to exempt religious objectors lest their resistance spread to other workers. 46 and. 3350 is a discriminatory legislation. not by its silence. Appellants' fourth contention. 49 5. the benefit upon the religious sects is merely incidental and indirect. worldly. The purpose of Republic Act No. must have a secular legislative purpose and a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion. by certain persons. Republic Act No. 3350 violates the constitutional prohibition against requiring a religious test for the exercise of a civil right or a political right. 41 More so now in the 1973 Constitution where it is mandated that "the State shall afford protection to labor. promote full employment and equality in employment. by averting that certain persons be refused work. How then can there be a religious test required for the exercise of a right when no right need be exercised? We have said that it was within the police power of the State to enact Republic Act No. morals. Appellant bewails that while Republic Act No. Republic Act No. 3350 was not to grant rights to labor unions. first. or diminish. It acted merely to relieve the exercise of religion. 3350 protects members of certain religious sects. 3350. 875 and the new Labor Code. and that its purpose was legal and in consonance with the Constitution. It is our view that the exemption from the effects of closed shop agreement does not directly advance. would hurt. labor unions. It was Congress itself that imposed that burden when it enacted the Industrial Peace Act (Republic Act 875). rather than help. inasmuch as it grants to the members of certain religious sects undue advantages over other workers. and by eliminating to a certain extent economic insecurity due to unemployment. which is a serious menace to the health.on religious observance. 3350. 38 In Aglipay v. or be dismissed from work. 4. or be dispossessed of their right to work and of being impeded to pursue a modest means of livelihood. the fact that the law may work hardship does not render it unconstitutional. Joining or withdrawing from a labor union requires a positive act. 39 this Court had occasion to state that the government should not be precluded from pursuing valid objectives secular ID character even if the incidental result would be favorable to a religion or sect. The Act does not require as a qualification. let it be noted that coerced unity and loyalty even to the country. of a burden that is imposed by union security agreements. could take away the same burden. and welfare of the people of the State. unless the state can accomplish its purpose without imposing such burden. We see no such compelling state interest to withhold exemption. race or creed and regulate the relation between workers and employers." 42 The primary effects of the exemption from closed shop agreements in favor of members of religious sects that prohibit their members from affiliating with a labor organization. 47 It would not be amiss to state. 43 The free exercise clause of the Constitution has been interpreted to require that religious exercise be preferentially aided. 3350 cannot be said to violate the constitutional inhibition of the "noestablishment" (of religion) clause of the Constitution. it leaves no right to. The "establishment clause" (of religion) does not ban regulation on conduct whose reason or effect merely happens to coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions. He is exempted ipso jure without need of any positive act on his part. certainly. Congress. or condition. is not well taken. and is silent as to the protection of. the state is enjoined. 3350 only exempts members with such religious affiliation from the coverage of closed shop agreements. Furthermore. So. and regulate the relations between labor and capital and industry. under this Act. neither does the Act require affiliation with a religious sect that prohibits Its members from joining a labor union as a condition or qualification for withdrawing from a labor union. and. that to compel persons to join and remain members of a union to keep their jobs in violation of their religious scruples. second. It has likewise been held that the statute. by reason of union security agreements. As to the lamented silence of the Act regarding the rights and protection of labor unions. and relieving certain citizens of a burden on their religious beliefs. the interests of any particular religion. It is certain that not every conscience can be accommodated by all the laws of the land. that Republic Act No. Appellant avers as its fifth ground that Republic Act No. by discovering or following a legal way to do it. It is never an illegal evasion of a constitutional provision or prohibition to accomplish a desired result. 44 We believe that in enacting Republic Act No. Although the exemption may benefit those who are members of religious sects that prohibit their members from joining labor unions. A conscientious religious objector need not perform a positive act or exercise the right of resigning from the labor union — he is exempted from the coverage of any closed shop agreement that a labor union may have entered into.
because of their religious belief. in order to avoid the constitutional prohibition against inequality. 50 The guaranty of equal protection of the laws is not a guaranty of equality in the application of the laws upon all citizens of the state. for they carry with them practical consequences and are the motives of certain rules of human conduct and the justification of certain acts. the state is recognized as enjoying a wide range of discretion. It gives to human life its distinctive-character. hatred. As long as there are closed shop agreements between an employer and a labor union.Article III of the 1935 Constitution which forbids the denial to any person of the equal protection of the laws. We believe that Republic Act No. is the grouping of things in speculation or practice because they agree with one another in certain particulars. that it must be germane to the purpose of the law. Even from the psychological point of view. It is not. its enjoyment or irksomeness. may be articulated. the world has witnessed turmoil. Usually. persecution. feelings and sentiments of employees. 3350. this is evident from its provision. 3350. because they are differently situated. that every man. The purpose of the law is precisely to avoid those who cannot. a very poor person may consider himself better than the rich. Equality of operation of statutes does not mean indiscriminate operation on persons merely as such. Religious beliefs are not mere beliefs. 54 This Court has held that the standard is satisfied if the classification or distinction is based on a reasonable foundation or rational basis and is not palpably arbitrary. It guarantees equality. its happiness. Classification in law. does not render the law unconstitutional. 58 Hence legislative classification may in many cases properly rest on narrow distinctions. manifestations and practices. To certain persons. or their not having any religion. and legislation is addressed to evils as they may appear. and that it must apply equally to each member of the class. their exemption from the coverage of said agreements continues. 56 It is not necessary that the classification be based on scientific or marked differences of things or in their relation. not identity of rights. into those who by reason of their religious beliefs and convictions cannot sign up with a labor union. and in all times. therefore. and these differences are important and should not be ignored. The classification. that it must not be limited to existing conditions only. from being deprived of their right to work and from being dismissed from their work because of union shop security agreements. woman and child should be affected alike by a statute. 60 Religious sentiment makes a man view things and events in their relation to his God. not merely imaginary or whimsical. The fact that the law grants a privilege to members of said religious sects cannot by itself render the Act unconstitutional. the Act only restores to them their freedom of association which closed shop agreements have taken away. are not granted the same privilege. but on persons according to the circumstances surrounding them. or unhappiness. generated to a large extent by members of sects who were intolerant of other religious beliefs. The circumstance. 51 It does not prohibit legislation which is limited either in the object to which it is directed or by the territory within which it is to operate. The equal protection clause does not forbid discrimination as to things that are different. a strong and passionate desire is involved in a religious belief. furthermore. no single factor of their experience is more important to them than their religion. The Act classifies employees and workers. join labor unions. its tone. differences in religion do exist. 52 The very idea of classification is that of inequality. Because of differences in religious belief and sentiments. for as We have adverted to. introduced by Republic Act No. The classification rests on real or substantial. A law is not invalid because of simple inequality. the classification is based on real and important differences. though they are found in all places. so that it goes without saying that the mere fact of inequality in no manner determines the matter of constitutionality. Because of differences in religious beliefs. civil strife. Due to their religious beliefs people. There are diverse manners in which beliefs. therefore. as to the effect and coverage of union shop security agreements. rests on substantial distinctions. 53 All that is required of a valid classification is that it be reasonable. is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. The Constitution does not require that things which are different in fact be treated in law as though they were the same. a requirement. The classification introduced by said Act is also germane to its purpose. and the man who even lacks the necessities of life may be more cheerful than the one who has all possible luxuries. There is such real distinction in the beliefs. distinctions. and puts them in the same plane as the other workers who are not prohibited by their religion from joining labor unions. but the law . 57 Neither is it necessary that the classification be made with mathematical nicety. take so many varied forms as to be almost beyond imagination. 59 for the equal protection guaranty does not preclude the legislature from recognizing degrees of evil or harm. and there are employees who are prohibited by their religion from affiliating with labor unions. Finally. became resigned to the inevitable and accepted cheerfully even the most painful and excruciating pains. equally paramount in the lives of their possessors. like the martyrs. Republic Act No. 55 In the exercise of its power to make classifications for the purpose of enacting laws over matters within its jurisdiction. There are many views that comprise the broad spectrum of religious beliefs among the people. for every classification of persons or things for regulation by law produces inequality in some degree. that the other employees. The mere fact that the legislative classification may result in actual inequality is not violative of the right to equal protection. which means that the classification should be based on substantial distinctions which make for real differences. It is intended to apply for all times as long as the conditions to which the law is applicable exist. as in the other departments of knowledge or practice. mere ideas existing only in the mind. The equal protection of the laws clause of the Constitution allows classification. the Act applies equally to all members of said religious sects. bloodshed and war. The law does not provide that it is to be effective for a certain period of time only. Today the country is far more heterogenous in religion than before. 3350 satisfies the aforementioned requirements. Employees do not believe in the same religious faith and different religions differ in their dogmas and cannons. and those whose religion does not prohibit membership in labor unions. for every classification allowed by the Constitution by its nature involves inequality. Religious beliefs.
and that the Union. and it may change the laws accordingly. Appellant's further contention that Republic Act No. it is not necessary that the entire state be directly benefited — it is sufficient that a portion of the state be benefited thereby. Social justice does not require legal equality because legal equality. and not a mere incidental result arising from its exertion. notwithstanding their failure to join a labor union having a closed shop agreement with the employer. because social inequality will always exist as long as social relations depend on personal or subjective proclivities. for it insures security in their employment. in so far as opportunity to work is concerned. 68 Moreover. serve as its shield. inflicted intentional harm on Appellee. Social justice is intended to promote the welfare of all the people. We now pass on the second assignment of error. action or other proceedings shall be maintainable in any court against a labor organization or any officer or member thereof for any act done by or on behalf of such organization in furtherance of an industrial dispute to which it is a party. business or employment of some other person or with the right of some other person to dispose of his capital or labor. cannot invoke in its favor Section 24 of Republic Act No. In determining whether any particular measure is for public advantage. 3350 promotes that welfare insofar as it looks after the welfare of those who.in other words. legislatures. the Act is not proper. 3350 insures economic stability to the members of a religious sect. that said order also contravenes Article 2208 of the Civil Code. appellant could legally be ordered to pay attorney's fees under Articles 1704 and 2208 of the Civil Code. the law will be upheld even though incidental advantage may occur to individuals beyond those enjoyed by the general public. As its last ground. who are also component elements of society. appellant contends that the amendment introduced by Republic Act No. . 3350 violates the constitutional provision on social justice is also baseless. cannot join labor unions. is the criterion by which the validity of a statute is to be measured. it has been said that whenever it is apparent from the scope of the law that its object is for the benefit of the public and the means by which the benefit is to be obtained are of public character. being chosen by the people. 3350 is not called for . for that reason. 62 6. 75 Appellant Union. equal opportunity for work. But there is really no occasion now to go further and anticipate problems We cannot judge with the material now before Us. 61 Anent this matter. necessary or desirable. 69 The fear is entertained by appellant that unless the Act is declared unconstitutional. not from its effects on a particular case. in furtherance of an industrial dispute". is necessarily premised on differentiations based on personal or natural conditions. 7. that. The threat to unionism will depend on the number of employees who are members of the religious sects that control the demands of the labor market. through the maintenance of a proper economic and social equilibrium in the inter-relations of the members of the community. 875 which is relied upon by appellant provides that: "No suit. furthermore.is not thereby rendered invalid. that very same act of the Union in asking the employer to dismiss Appellee cannot be "an act done . for the instant action involves an industrial dispute wherein the Union was a party. employers will prefer employing members of religious sects that prohibit their members from joining labor unions. because of their religious belief." (Emphasis supplied) That there was a labor dispute in the instant case cannot be 'disputed for appellant sought the discharge of respondent by virtue of the closed shop agreement and under Section 2 (j) of Republic Act No. are presumed to understand and correctly appreciate the needs of the people. it has been held that a statute which is not necessary is not. therefore. and said Union merely acted in the exercise of its rights under the union shop provision of its existing collective bargaining contract with the Company. and equalizes. that in determining the constitutional validity of legislation. 64 Republic Act No. in support of which the Union argued that the decision of the trial court ordering the Union to pay P500 for attorney's fees directly contravenes Section 24 of Republic Act No. This case is not intertwined with any unfair labor practice case existing at the time when Appellee filed his complaint before the lower court. We do not agree. those whose religion prohibits membership in labor unions with those whose religion does not prohibit said membership. At any rate. for it exempts the latter from the compelling necessity of joining labor unions that have closed shop agreements. Social justice also means the adoption by the Government of measures calculated to insure economic stability of all component elements of society. . A classification otherwise reasonable does not offend the constitution simply because in practice it results in some inequality. like the Iglesia ni Cristo. The Act also advances the proper economic and social equilibrium between labor unions and employees who cannot join labor unions. on the ground only that such act induces some other person to break a contract of employment or that it is in restraint of trade or interferes with the trade. The article provides that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation may . the Act prevents their being deprived of work and of the means of livelihood. Neither does Article 2208 of the Civil Code. 63 Republic Act No. 875. being a relative term. 74 The discharge or the act of seeking it is the labor dispute itself. 875 a question involving tenure of employment is included in the term "labor dispute". 875. 66 and this is precisely what Republic Act No. irrespective of their religious scruples. The mere fact that appellant is a labor union does not necessarily mean that all its acts are in furtherance of an industrial dispute. the validity of a statute is to be determined from its general purpose and its efficacy to accomplish the end desired. Appellee claimed that in the instant case there was really no industrial dispute involved in the attempt to compel Appellee to maintain its membership in the union under pain of dismissal. 70 The essential basis for the exercise of power. 72 In refuting appellant Union's arguments. that since Appellee was compelled to institute an action to protect his right to work. 3350 proposes to accomplish — it gives laborers. Social justice does not imply social equality. Appellee was never actually dismissed by the defendant Company and did not therefore suffer any damage at all. 73 The second paragraph of Section 24 of Republic Act No. the courts are unconcerned with issues as to the necessity for the enactment of the legislation in question. 71 II. It being the labor dispute itself. unconstitutional. 65 Social justice guarantees equality of opportunity. invoked by the Union. by its act. Anent this matter. 67 Courts do inquire into the wisdom of laws. and thus be a fatal blow to unionism.
" to borrow the felicitous phrase of Justice Jackson. Like the rest of my brethren. I deem it proper to submit this brief expression of my views on the transcendent character of religious freedom 1 and its primacy even as against the claims of protection to labor. Secretary of Education 4 speaks similarly. I concur fully. scholarly. Nonetheless. what he wills reigns supreme.. where intrusion is not allowed. To believe that patriotism will not flourish if patriotic ceremonies are voluntary and spontaneous instead of a compulsory routine is to make an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds. But freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much.be awarded "when the defendant's act or omission has compelled the plaintiff . Muñoz Palma and Aquino. did not take part because he was co-author. appealed from is affirmed. for government may enforce obedience to laws regardless of scruples.. We can have intellectual individualism and the rich cultural diversities that we owe to exceptional minds only at the price of occasional eccentricity and abnormal attitudes. Considering moreover. C . the detailed attention paid to each and every objection raised as to its validity and the clarity and persuasiveness with which it was shown to be devoid of support in authoritative doctrines. That for him is one of the ways of self-realization. to incur expenses to protect his interest". There is no requirement as to its conformity to what has found acceptance. . . WHEREFORE. 3350. In that sphere. The reservation of that supreme obligation. With such a cardinal postulate as the . shall be allowed as a matter of course to the prevailing party.. Antonio. including religious belief." 5 There was this qualification though: "But between the freedom of belief and the exercise of said belief. JJ . in the forum of conscience. Makalintal. the latter is supreme within its sphere and submission or punishment follows. 1. 58894. has it in his power to prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters of conscience — or to mundane affairs. of the Rules of Court. 2. when he was a Senator. That would be a mere shadow of freedom. Rule 142. That is a domain left untouched. but with him in agreement were three of the foremost jurists who ever sat in that Tribunal. Gerona v. it cannot be gainsaid that appellant Union's act in demanding Appellee's dismissal caused Appellee to incur expenses to prevent his being dismissed from his job. J . as a matter of principle. When one's belief collides with the power of the state. even though it conflicts with convictions of duty to God. dated August 26. 3350 is free from the constitutional infirmities imputed to it was demonstrated in a manner well-nigh conclusive in the learned. 1965. It would be to disregard the dignity that attaches to every human being to deprive him of such an attribute. bizarre and unreasonable the same may appear to others. Nevertheless. a citadel to which the law is denied entry. That is a recognition of man's freedom. Thus: "The case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own." 6 It was on that basis that the daily compulsory flag ceremony in accordance with a statute 7 was found free from the constitutional objection on the part of a religious sect. Castro. West Virginia State Board of Education v. So is the freedom of belief. in its Civil Case No. 8 the American Supreme Court reached a contrary conclusion. it is true. whose members alleged that their participation would be offensive to their religious beliefs. and comprehensive opinion so typical of the efforts of the ponente." 10 The American Chief Justice spoke in dissent. whatever be his thoughts or hopes. If the exercise of said religious belief clashes with the established institutions of society and with the law. Separate Opinions FERNANDO. It is so ordered. Barredo. even heretical when weighed in the scales of orthodoxy or doctrinal standards. Teehankee. Undoubtedly that duty to the state exists within the domain of power. for that matter. One may believe in most anything. J . the price is not too great. Costs according to Section 1. Thus is constitutionally safeguarded. The "fixed star on our constitutional constellation.J . is wholehearted and entire." 3 The choice of what a man wishes to believe in is his and his alone. Justices Holmes. of the Court of First Instance of Manila. a duty to be recognized. Justice Montemayor: "The realm of belief and creed is infinite and limitless bounded only by one's imagination and thought. Brandeis. as set forth earlier. When they are so harmless to others or to the State as those we deal with here. In the language of its ponente. highly persuasive. Esguerra. But. with costs against appellant Union." 9 There is moreover this ringing affirmation by Chief Justice Hughes of the primacy of religious freedom in the forum of conscience even as against the command of the State itself: "Much has been said of the paramount duty to the state. As I view Justice Zaldivar's opinion in that light. and if a devotee of any sect. would unquestionably be made by many of our conscientious and lawabiding citizens. there is quite a stretch of road to travel. Makasiar. my concurrence. the instant appeal is dismissed. Justice Zaldivar. . The test of its substance is the right to differ as to things that touch the heart of the existing order. devoid of rational foundation. Barnette. however strange. according to Justice Laurel. to act in accordance with its creed. Religious freedom is identified with the liberty every individual possesses to worship or not a Supreme Being. that "profession of faith to an active power that binds and elevates man to his Creator .. and the decision. The essence of religion is belief in a relation to God involving duties superior to those arising from any human relation. is that no official. In the instant case. duty to a moral power higher than the state has always been maintained. we apply the limitations of the Constitution with no fear that freedom to be intellectually and spiritually diverse or even contrary will disintegrate the social organization. The Government steps in and either restrains said exercise or even prosecutes the one exercising it. then the former must yield and give way to the latter. concur. limitless and without bounds. The doctrine to which he pays fealty may for some be unsupported by evidence. it would appear that the last word has been written on this particular subject. concurring: The decision arrived at unanimously by this Court that Republic Act No. and Stone. Act No. In a case not dissimilar. Justice Jackson's eloquent opinion is. 2 also one of the fundamental principles of the Constitution. and "in any other case where the court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered". for this writer. the Jehovah's Witnesses. Fernandez. of Rep. No matter. it is urged. not excluding the highest. It suffices that for him such a concept holds undisputed sway. .
on the other hand. likewise an aspect of intellectual liberty. That. Court of Industrial Relations. an institutional device for promoting the welfare of the working man. The labored effort to cast doubt on the validity of the statutory provision in question is far from persuasive. Thus is intoned with a reverberating clang.C. may not be lacking in plausibility. but upon closer analysis. however. constitutionally ordained. it has a message that cannot be misread. That is why. 11 Such a right implies at the very least that one can determine for himself whether or not he should join or refrain from joining a labor organization. on the surface. the question of whether such an exception possesses an implication that lessens the effectiveness of state efforts to protect labor. It is not for this Court. a fundamental principle that drowns all weaker sounds. 3. A closed shop. it even partakes of the political theory of pluralistic sovereignty. to restrict the scope of a preferred freedom. as noted. 1928. No. August 3.basis of our polity. 1978. a constitutionalist and in his lifetime the biographer of the great Holmes. likewise. as I conceive of the judicial function. . to paraphrase Cardozo. for me. is precisely to follow the dictates of sound public policy. The exhaustive and well-researched opinion of Justice Zaldivar thus is in the mainstream of constitutional tradition. it cannot stand scrutiny.] In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Such a view. is inherently coercive. For the late Professor Howe. as is unmistakably reflected in our decisions. It is attended by futility. For a statutory provision then to further curtail its operation. is the channel to follow. EN BANC [A. So great is the respect for the autonomy accorded voluntary societies. the latest of which is Guijarno v. There is. Thought must be given to the freedom of association. 12 it is far from being a favorite of the law.
ID. property and occupations. that the requirement to pay membership fees is imposed as a regulatory measure designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. 2. ID. MDD . although conceding the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines. "Salus populi est supreme lex. in order to promote the general welfare. ID. The practice of law being clothed with public interest. improve the administration of justice. Williams. ID. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery. 6397. to the courts. 4. but also to his brethren in the profession. Respondent likewise questions the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys. 5. They are.. and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic. a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client. practice and procedure in all courts. and all individuals from some freedom.. that the penalty provisions for non-payment are not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading. Respondent disbarred and his name ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys. ID.. and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and.. 1973. EDILLON (IBP Administrative Case No. and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively. A VALID EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER. including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar. were prompted by fundamental considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of pressing public necessity. 6397). as a precondition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing. IMPOSITION OF RESTRAINTS JUSTIFIED. 218). Organized by or under the direction of the State. as distinguished from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves. Sec. BAR INTEGRATION. authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit. Gomez Jesus. ID. LEGISLATION TO EFFECT THE INTEGRATION OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR. . X. as the Latin maxim goes. but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then society will fall into anarchy (Calalang vs.. The Supreme Court unanimously held that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar are valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar.. Art. he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. PRACTICE OF LAW NOT A VESTED RIGHT BUT A PRIVILEGE. membership in which is voluntary. and the admission to the practice of law. therefore.. pursuant to Par. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U. ID. to which every lawyer must belong. approved on September 17. The Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession. INTEGRATION OF THE BAR." it did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. Respondent. and to the nation.MARCIAL A.. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege. "(Sec. ID. to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues. an integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members.. upon proper cause appearing. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of individuals are subordinated. and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree No. 5. for. SYNOPSIS For respondent's stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since the latter's constitution. It is an undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from all freedom. questions the all-encompassing. 181 dated May 4.. the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good.1). — Even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. CONSTITUTION VESTS SUPREME COURT WITH PLENARY POWER IN ALL CASES REGARDING ADMISSION TO AND SUPERVISION OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW. 70 Phil. the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines unanimously adopted and submitted to the Supreme Court a resolution recommending the removal of respondent's name from its Roll of Attorneys. — The State. ID. vs. 1973. 24. The expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power" 3. that to compel a lawyer to be a member of the IBP is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. ID. to the extent of the interest he has created. NATURE AND PURPOSE. Section 5(5) of the Constitution and held as an inherent judicial function by a host of decided cases. ATTORNEYS. — The Congress in enacting Republic Act No. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State — the administration of justice — as an officer of the Court.S. notwithstanding due notice. and that the provisions of Rules of Court 139-A ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines and the IBP By-Laws complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. III of the By-Laws of the IBP." The public welfare is the supreme law." the Supreme Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January 9. 1971. SYLLABUS 1. — An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar. all-inclusive scope of membership therein and the obligation to pay membership dues arguing that the provisions therein (Section 1 and 9 of the Court Rule 139-A) constitute an invasion of his constitutional right in the sense that he is being compelled. — All legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. 2. contending that this matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is of an administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body. 31 Phil. 726). a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. that the Supreme Court's jurisdiction and power to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys is expressly provided by Art. may interfere with and regulate personal liberty.
— There is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Supreme Court. Section 24. The power of the Supreme Court to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. The respondent." On January 27. is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary.. He becomes a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. reiterating his refusal to pay the membership fees due from him. which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment. After the hearing. The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. Article III of the By-Laws of the IBP. under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X. RESOLUTION CASTRO. 1975. The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys is found in par. may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers. ID. default in the payment of annual dues for six months . — The provisions of Rule 139-A of the Rules of Court ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines and the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is neither unconstitutional nor illegal. 2. ID... 1976. ID. he submitted his comment on February 23. — Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule. — The matters of admission. ID. Effect of non-payment of dues. On March 2. the IBP. NOT VOID. C.. PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEE.. the Court required the IBP President and the IBP Board of Governors to reply to Edillon's comment: on March 24. ID. 1973 Costitution) it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law. a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent's pleadings would show that the propriety and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded. Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. Article III of the IBP By-Laws (supra). 8.. PENALTY PROVISIONS. Neri. designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. which reads: ". On November 29. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. is a ground for disbarment and striking out of his name from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. . 1976. the case was set for hearing on June 3. ID.. in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services. . the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors unanimously adopted Resolution No. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues" to the IBP since the latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice. the Court required the respondent to comment on the resolution and letter adverted to above. Section 24. The Supreme Court. ID. — If the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize. and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer s public responsibilities. 1976. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines. 2 Section 24. such as lawyers are. the parties were required to submit memoranda in amplification of their oral arguments. At the threshold. It has limitations no less real because they are inherent. suspension. however. 7. All that integration actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member. ID. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities. 10. .. they submitted a joint reply.J p: The respondent Marcial A. COMPULSORY MEMBERSHIP THEREIN NOT VIOLATIVE OF A LAWYER'S CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM TO ASSOCIATE. ID. 6. 1976. The practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege. notwithstanding due notice. including a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal of the delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. POWER TO PASS UPON FITNESS TO REMAIN A MEMBER OF THE BAR VESTED IN THE SUPREME COURT. A REGULATORY MEASURE NOT PROHIBITED BY LAW. 1976. ID. 10. and a lawyer's stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Thereafter. Marcial A. 1976. Article III of the IBP By-Laws (hereinabove cited). through its then President Liliano B. pursuant to paragraph 2. in violation of said Rule and By-Laws.. Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) from requiring members of a privileged class. The matter was thenceforth submitted for resolution. whereas the authority of the Court to issue the order applied for is found in Section 10 of the Court Rule. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the Chapter concerned. the Board shall promptly inquire into the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and take whatever action it shall deem appropriate. — To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. then a penalty designed to enforce its payment. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure. which reads: "SEC.. submitted the said resolution to the Court for consideration and approval. Should the delinquency further continue until the following June 29. X. CASE AT BAR. 9. On January 21. objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A (hereinafter referred to as the Court Rule) 1 — in accordance with which the Bar of the Philippines was integrated — and to the provisions of par.Art.
It is an undoubted power of the State to restrain some individuals from all freedom. to the courts. property and occupations. — Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. we now restate briefly the posture of the Court. 1973. the above provisions of the Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect." The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following words of the Court Rule: "SEC. . 9. and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectivity. and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys. 4 The practice of law being clothed with public interest. therefore. 3 Apropos to the above.shall warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar. the expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to the exercise of the police power" (Nebbia vs. for. to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues. . that the integration of the Philippine Bar is 'perfectly constitutional and legally unobjectionable' ." The Court exhaustively considered all these matters in that case in its Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines. membership in which is voluntary. to the extent of the interest he has created. Organization. the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the common good. it must be stressed that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar have been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important profession. "Salus populi est supreme lex. in order to promote the general welfare. the Congress in enacting such Act. were prompted by fundamental considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of pressing public necessity. as a pre-condition to maintaining his status as a lawyer in good standing. subject to all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar. and all individuals from . 526. . New York. The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised in a previous case before the Court. Congress enacted Republic Act No. vs. and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body corporate through Presidential Decree No. the respondent concludes. Supreme Court through Mr." The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court relating to constitutional issues that inevitably and inextricably come up to the surface whenever attempts are made to regulate the practice of law. To this fundamental principle of government the rights of individuals are subordinated. — There is hereby organized an official national body to be known as the 'Integrated Bar of the Philippines.S. . 218). Organized by or under the direction of the State. Hence. . 726). and to the nation. but also to his brethren in the profession. Justice Roberts explained. ". Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U." Hence. . 1973. including the requirement of payment of a reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar. and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is admittedly personally antagonistic. 502). all-inclusive scope of membership in the IBP is stated in these words of the Court Rule: LLphil "SECTION 1. improve the administration of justice. a recommendation for discipline or disbarment of the offending member. The Court there made the unanimous pronouncement that it was. a privilege moreover clothed with public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client. 70 Phil. may interfere with and regulate personal liberty. In the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of the Bar of the Philippines. 6397 5 authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit. an integrated Bar is an official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members. Williams. As the U. fully convinced. 31 Phil.' composed of all persons whose names now appear or may hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. 181 dated May 4. Liberty is a blessing without which life is a misery. he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property guaranteed to him by the Constitution. 2 The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding considerations of public interest and public welfare to such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies the restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal convenience of individual lawyers. Membership dues. promulgated on January 9. The State. and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State — the administration of justice — as an officer of the Court. An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar. the Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January 9. . upon proper cause appearing. . S. The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name from the Roll of Attorneys. contending that the said matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is rather of an "administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body." it did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. When. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration. The Act's avowal is to "raise the standards of the legal profession. 291 U. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities." The public welfare is the supreme law. 1973. as the Latin maxim goes. to which every lawyer must belong. but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then society will fall into anarchy (Calalang vs. define the conditions of such practice." The all-encompassing. and adherence to a code of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for investigation by the Bar and. They are. . or revoke the license granted for the exercise of the legal profession. Roman Ozaeta. et al.S." The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled." Be that as it may. Gomez Jesus. Case No. therefore.. entitled "Administrative Case No. after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced in Adm. as distinguished from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves. Petitioners.
It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure. in which the report of the Board of Bar Commissioners in a disbarment proceeding was confirmed and disbarment ordered. 6 Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities. 6397). such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the state. then a penalty designed to enforce its payment. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would amount to a deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights. Thus. 5. may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers. sustaining the Bar Integration Act of Kentucky. It has limitations no less real because they are inherent. we now concisely deal with them seriatim. even to the extent of interfering with some of his liberties. Whether the practice of law is a property right. he should not have clothed the public with an interest in his concerns.some freedom. . And. Within two years from the approval of this Act. improve the administration of justice. were (and are) subject to the power of the body politic to require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the proper authorities for the common good. however. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the name of a lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys. hence.". and procedure in all courts. (2d) 194). The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a brother member . let it be stated that even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. and the admission to the practice of law. the respondent's right to practice law before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry. 14 In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without power to compel him to become a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. The Supreme Court. which reads: "SECTION 1. in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession. The issues being of constitutional dimension. the case for the respondent must already fall. We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court. is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. He is free to attend or not attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: xxx xxx xxx "(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading. and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively. 6397. prLL 1. If he did not wish to submit himself to such reasonable interference and regulation. indeed necessary. " it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision of the practice of law. 10 2. . which affect the society at large. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the Court Rule requiring payment of a membership fee is void. under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X. which reads: "Sec. to the proper administration of justice . we do not here pause to consider at length." Quite apart from the above. 8 Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession. and the authorities holding such are legion. which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment. if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognize. 93. the court. 101 S. and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading. to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to which they belong. and the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . Section 1 of the Court Rule is unconstitutional for it impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to associate). It is a power which is inherent in this court as a court — appropriate. 7 All that integration actually does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member. his practice of law and his exercise of the said profession. .W. 11 3. and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence. 9 Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar. practice. it is sufficient to state that the matters of admission. such as lawyers are. suspension. the Supreme Court may adopt rules of Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to raise the standards of the legal profession. 13 and as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer s public responsibilities. Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) — which power the respondent acknowledges — from requiring members of a privileged class. said: The power to regulate the conduct and qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. 4. Our answer is: To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to associate. On this score alone. . as it clear that under the police power of the State. But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and validity of Bar integration in the Philippines is the explicit unequivocal grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by Section 5 (5) of Article X of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines. practice and procedure in all courts. the argument that this is an arbitrary power which the court is arrogating to itself or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives the nature of the duty. and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 12 But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege.
" The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973 Constitution when it explicitly granted to the Court the power to "promulgate rules concerning pleading. We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. Aquino. .. Concepcion Jr. and his name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. Santos." (Article X. to be assumed only with a determination to uphold the ideals and traditions of an honorable profession and to protect the public from overreaching and fraud. . . Muñoz Palma. 5(5) the power to pass upon the fitness of the respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed undoubtedly vested in the Court. It is a grave responsibility. . JJ. premises considered. Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred. as here. Makasiar. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty that the power will not be misused or prostituted. practice .. Barredo. particularly where. Fernandez and Guerrero. cdll WHEREFORE. . . it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent Marcial A. concur. Sec. Fernando.of the Bar. . and the admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar . the facts are disputed. Antonio. Teehankee.