This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
169364 September 18, 2009
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. EVANGELINE SITON y SACIL and KRYSTEL KATE SAGARANO y MEFANIA, Respondents. D E C I S I O N YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of Heaven and Earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well. ± Martin Luther King, Jr. Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari is the July 29, 2005 Order1 of Branch 11, Davao City Regional Trial Court in Special Civil Case No. 30-500-2004 granting respondents¶ Petition for Certiorari and declaring paragraph 2 of Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code unconstitutional. Respondents Evangeline Siton and Krystel Kate Sagarano were charged with vagrancy pursuant to Article 202 (2) of the Revised Penal Code in two separate Informations dated November 18, 2003, docketed as Criminal Case Nos. 115,716-C-2003 and 115,717-C-2003 and raffled to Branch 3 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Davao City. The Informations, read: That on or about November 14, 2003, in the City of Davao, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-mentioned accused, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously wandered and loitered around San Pedro and Legaspi Streets, this City, without any visible means to support herself nor lawful and justifiable purpose.2 Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code provides: Art. 202. Vagrants and prostitutes; penalty. ² The following are vagrants: 1. Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling; 2. Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support;
3. Any idle or dissolute person who lodges in houses of ill fame; ruffians or pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes; 4. Any person who, not being included in the provisions of other articles of this Code, shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose; 5. Prostitutes. For the purposes of this article, women who, for money or profit, habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct, are deemed to be prostitutes. Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this articles shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos, and in case of recidivism, by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccional in its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2,000 pesos, or both, in the discretion of the court. Instead of submitting their counter-affidavits as directed, respondents filed separate Motions to Quash3 on the ground that Article 202 (2) is unconstitutional for being vague and overbroad. In an Order4 dated April 28, 2004, the municipal trial court denied the motions and directed respondents anew to file their respective counteraffidavits. The municipal trial court also declared that the law on vagrancy was enacted pursuant to the State¶s police power and justified by the Latin maxim "salus populi est suprem(a) lex," which calls for the subordination of individual benefit to the interest of the greater number, thus: Our law on vagrancy was enacted pursuant to the police power of the State. An authority on police power, Professor Freund describes laconically police power "as the power of promoting public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property." (Citations omitted). In fact the person¶s acts and acquisitions are hemmed in by the police power of the state. The justification found in the Latin maxim, salus populi est supreme (sic) lex" (the god of the people is the Supreme Law). This calls for the subordination of individual benefit to the interests of the greater number.In the case at bar the affidavit of the arresting police officer, SPO1 JAY PLAZA with Annex "A" lucidly shows that there was a prior surveillance conducted in view of the reports that vagrants and prostitutes proliferate in the place where the two accused (among other women) were wandering and in the wee hours of night and soliciting male customer. Thus, on that basis the prosecution should be given a leeway to prove its case. Thus, in the interest of substantial justice, both prosecution and defense must be given their day in Court: the prosecution proof of the crime, and the author thereof; the defense, to show that the acts of the accused in the indictment can¶t be categorized as a crime.5 The municipal trial court also noted that in the affidavit of the arresting police officer, SPO1 Jay Plaza, it was stated that there was a prior surveillance conducted on the two accused in an area reported to be frequented by vagrants and prostitutes who solicited sexual favors. Hence,
to authorize a police officer to arrest a person for being "found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support" offers too wide a latitude for arbitrary determinations as to who should be arrested and who should not. Indeed. thus permitting an arbitrary and unreasonable classification. the instant Petition is hereby GRANTED. the Regional Trial Court issued the assailed Order granting the petition. Citing Papachristou v. the trial court opined that the law is vague and it violated the equal protection clause. denying the petitioners¶ Motion to Quash is set aside and the said court is ordered to dismiss the subject criminal cases against the petitioners pending before it. City of Jacksonville. argued that pursuant to the Court¶s ruling in Estrada v. since the definition of the crime includes in its coverage persons who are otherwise performing ordinary peaceful acts. On July 29. SO ORDERED. It also asserted that Article 202 (2) must be presumed valid and constitutional.8 In declaring Article 202 (2) unconstitutional. since the respondents failed to overcome this presumption.S. the trial court ruled: The U. 2005. PRESCINDING FROM THE FOREGOING. dated April 28. and the defense to rebut the evidence.9 where an anti vagrancy ordinance was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. They likewise claimed that Article 202 (2) violated the equal protection clause under the Constitution because it discriminates against the poor and unemployed. through the Office of the Solicitor General. claiming that the definition of the crime of vagrancy under Article 202 (2).the prosecution should be given the opportunity to prove the crime. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. The State. results as well in an arbitrary identification of violators. 2004. Loitering about and wandering have become national pastimes particularly in these times of recession when there are many who are "without visible means of support" not by reason of choice but by force of circumstance as borne out by the high unemployment rate in the entire country. . apart from being vague.7 the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines apply only to free speech cases and not to penal statutes. Paragraph 2 of Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code is hereby declared unconstitutional and the Order of the court a quo. Sandiganbayan. It held that the "void for vagueness" doctrine is equally applicable in testing the validity of penal statutes.6 directly challenging the constitutionality of the anti-vagrancy law.1avvphi1 Respondents thus filed an original petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. Supreme Court¶s justifications for striking down the Jacksonville Vagrancy Ordinance are equally applicable to paragraph 2 of Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code.
Applying this to the case at bar. They insist that Article 202 (2) on its face violates the constitutionally-guaranteed rights to due process and the equal protection of the laws. failing to prove that it was vague under the standards set out by the Courts. The Court finds for petitioner. to our situation at present runs afoul of the equal protection clause of the constitution as it offers no reasonable classification between those covered by the law and those who are not. the trial court declared: The application of the Anti-Vagrancy Law. and that the State may regulate individual conduct for the promotion of public welfare in the exercise of its police power. The power to define crimes and prescribe their corresponding penalties is legislative in nature and inherent in the sovereign power of the state to maintain social order as an aspect of police power. Class legislation is such legislation which denies rights to one which are accorded to others. Sandiganbayan. citing Romualdez v. that respondents failed to overcome the presumed validity of the statute. is adequate to declare Article 202 (2) unconstitutional and void on its face. this petition for review on certiorari raising the sole issue of: WHETHER THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR IN DECLARING UNCONSTITUTIONAL ARTICLE 202 (2) OF THE REVISED PENAL CODE12 Petitioner argues that every statute is presumed valid and all reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality.13 the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines have special application to free-speech cases only and are not appropriate for testing the validity of penal statutes. On the other hand. since the definition of Vagrancy under Article 202 of the Revised Penal Code offers no guidelines or any other reasonable indicators to differentiate those who have no visible means of support by force of circumstance and those who choose to loiter about and bum around. crafted in the 1930s. or inflicts upon one individual a more severe penalty than is imposed upon another in like case offending. that. respondents argue against the limited application of the overbreadth and vagueness doctrines. and that the presumption of constitutionality was adequately overthrown.11 Hence.14 However. in exercising its power to declare what acts constitute a crime.10 On its pronouncement that Article 202 (2) violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. the legislature must inform .To authorize law enforcement authorities to arrest someone for nearly no other reason than the fact that he cannot find gainful employment would indeed be adding insult to injury. The legislature may even forbid and penalize acts formerly considered innocent and lawful provided that no constitutional rights have been abridged. it cannot pass a judicial scrutiny of its constitutionality. as distinguished from the free speech vagueness doctrine. that the due process vagueness standard. who are the proper subjects of vagrancy legislation.
For the purposes of this article. for money or profit. the law on vagrancy was included by the Philippine legislature as a permanent feature of the Revised Penal Code in Article 202 thereof which. The Penal Code of Spain of 1870 which was in force in this country up to December 31. Any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places. and not conjectural or anticipatory. 2. provides: ART. 202."16 In Spouses Romualdez v. 1931 did not contain a provision on vagrancy. 8189 ± the provisions upon which petitioners are charged. are deemed to be prostitutes. habitually indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct. 3. there must be an existing case or controversy that is appropriate or ripe for determination. Vagrants and prostitutes. not being included in the provisions of other articles of this Code. we declare that under these terms. shall be found loitering in any inhabited or uninhabited place belonging to another without any lawful or justifiable purpose. 5. Prostitutes. to repeat.15 This requirement has come to be known as the voidfor-vagueness doctrine which states that "a statute which either forbids or requires the doing of an act in terms so vague that men of common intelligence must necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. Any person who. penalty. An appropriate "as applied" challenge in the instant Petition should be limited only to Section 45 (j) in relation to Sections 10 (g) and (j) of Republic Act No. ruffians or pimps and those who habitually associate with prostitutes. An expanded examination of the law covering provisions which are alien to petitioners¶ case would be antagonistic to the rudiment that for judicial review to be exercised. Any person having no apparent means of subsistence. violates the first essential of due process of law. 519 ± was modeled after American vagrancy statutes and passed by the Philippine Commission in 1902. The Court therein held: At the outset. or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support.19 While historically an Anglo-American concept of crime prevention. 4.18 The first statute punishing vagrancy ± Act No. Any idle or dissolute person who lodges in houses of ill-fame.the citizen with reasonable precision what acts it intends to prohibit so that he may have a certain understandable rule of conduct and know what acts it is his duty to avoid. women who. 8189 can be deemed as a facial challenge. . the opinions of the dissent which seek to bring to the fore the purported ambiguities of a long list of provisions in Republic Act No. who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling. COMELEC. ± The following are vagrants: 1.17 the Court recognized the application of the void-for-vagueness doctrine to criminal statutes in appropriate cases.
In the instant case. or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support. former Governor of Puerto Rico. General Construction Co. 29. United States v. 453.. The Regional Trial Court. "Nightwalking" is one. supra. United States v. United States v. In the field of regulatory statutes governing business activities. which defines a vagrant as any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places. S. the assailed provision is paragraph (2). the average householder. are normally innocent. Nor are they protected from being caught in the vagrancy net by the necessity of having a specific intent to commit an unlawful act. S. Petrillo. by modern standards." Lanzetta v. United States. in the discretion of the court.S. Lanzetta is one of a well recognized group of cases insisting that the law give fair notice of the offending conduct. S. 445.. v. and that it should be encouraged. This provision was based on the second clause of Section 1 of Act No. 202 So.Any person found guilty of any of the offenses covered by this article shall be punished by arresto menor or a fine not exceeding 200 pesos." The second clause was essentially retained with the modification that the places under which the offense might be committed is now expressed in general terms ± public or semi-public places. or tramping or straying through the country without visible means of support. S. commented once that "loafing" was a national virtue in his Commonwealth. 81. where the acts limited are in a narrow category. are not in business and not alerted to the regulatory schemes of vagrancy laws. New Jersey. National Dairy Products Corp. as the ordinance describes it. 325 U. See Connally v. from experience that sleepless people often walk at night. 1. 451. Boyce Motor Lines.. 91. S. 332 U." We know. however. 269 U. S. 372 U. 306 U. United States.000 pesos. which in essence declares: Living under a rule of law entails various suppositions. the minorities. Inc. S.2d at 855. and we assume they would have no understanding of their meaning and impact if they read them. The poor among us.. by arresto mayor in its medium period to prision correccionalin its minimum period or a fine ranging from 200 to 2. Luis Munoz-Marin. v. 391. Boyce Motor Lines. 306 U. however. perhaps hopeful that sleep-inducing relaxation will result. and in case of recidivism. one of which is that "[all persons] are entitled to be informed as to what the State commands or forbids. Cline v. S. "common night walkers. only the "habitual" wanderer or. in asserting the unconstitutionality of Article 202 (2). 519 which defined "vagrant" as "every person found loitering about saloons or dramshops or gambling houses. It is. S. or both. 255 U. take support mainly from the U. x x x x . greater leeway is allowed. S. Frink Dairy Co. 342 U. 385. See Screws v. City of Jacksonville20 case. Johnson v. Supreme Court¶s opinion in the Papachristou v. a crime in Jacksonville. State. 269 U. 337. The Jacksonville ordinance makes criminal activities which. 274 U. Florida construes the ordinance not to make criminal one night's wandering. Inc. United States. Cohen Grocery Co.
that crime is being nipped in the bud -. The implicit presumption in these generalized vagrancy standards -. those convicted may be punished for no more than vindicating affronts to police authority: "The common ground which brings such a motley assortment of human troubles before the magistrates in vagrancy-type proceedings is the procedural laxity which permits 'conviction' for almost any kind of conduct and the existence of the House of Correction as an easy and convenient dumping-ground for problems that appear to have no other immediate solution. Letting one's wife support him is an intra-family matter. These unwritten amenities have been. they are nets making easy the roundup of socalled undesirables. and have honored the right to be nonconformists and the right to defy submissiveness. rather than hushed. Caleb Foote. Vagrancy laws of the Jacksonville type teach that the scales of justice are so tipped that even-handed administration of the law is not . of course. the feeling of creativity.is too extravagant to deserve extended treatment. be the setting for numerous crimes. has called the vagrancy-type law as offering "punishment by analogy. These amenities have dignified the right of dissent. are not compatible with our constitutional system. Walkers and strollers and wanderers may be going to or coming from a burglary. Of course. 631. Loafers or loiterers may be "casing" a place for a holdup. or who are supported by their wives or who look suspicious to the police are to become future criminals is too precarious for a rule of law. though long common in Russia. But the rule of law implies equality and justice in its application. vagrancy statutes are useful to the police.L.Rev. They are not mentioned in the Constitution or in the Bill of Rights. x x x x Where the list of crimes is so all-inclusive and generalized as the one in this ordinance. an early student of this subject. The qualification "without any lawful purpose or object" may be a trap for innocent acts. Persons "neglecting all lawful business and habitually spending their time by frequenting . and normally of no concern to the police. x x x x A presumption that people who might walk or loaf or loiter or stroll or frequent houses where liquor is sold. Of course. The difficulty is that these activities are historically part of the amenities of life as we have known them. Yet it may. suffocating silence. 104 U. in part. They have encouraged lives of high spirits. . but on the effect of the unfettered discretion it places in the hands of the Jacksonville police." Such crimes. responsible for giving our people the feeling of independence and self-confidence.Persons "wandering or strolling" from place to place have been extolled by Walt Whitman and Vachel Lindsay. 603.Pa." Foote. x x x x Another aspect of the ordinance's vagueness appears when we focus not on the lack of notice given a potential offender. VagrancyType Law and Its Administration. places where alcoholic beverages are sold or served" would literally embrace many members of golf clubs and city clubs. .
because such activities or habits as nightwalking. wanton and lascivious persons. or Article 202 (2) in this case. keepers of gambling places. which are otherwise common and normal." But these two acts are still not the same: Article 202 (2) is qualified by "without visible means of support" while the Jacksonville ordinance prohibits wandering or strolling "without any lawful purpose or object. houses. is the great mucilage that holds society together. common railers and brawlers." and 2) it encourages or promotes opportunities for the application of discriminatory law enforcement. Thus. traders in stolen property." which was held by the U. lewd. wandering or strolling around without any lawful purpose or object. finds no application here because under our legal system. fails to give fair notice of what constitutes forbidden conduct. papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose. Supreme Court to constitute a "trap for innocent acts.21 The underlying principles in Papachristou are that: 1) the assailed Jacksonville ordinance "fails to give a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden by the statute.possible. ignorance of the law is merely a traditional rule that admits of exceptions. persons able to work but habitually living upon the earnings of their wives or minor children shall be deemed vagrants and. common drunkards. to the poor as well as the rich. persons neglecting all lawful business and habitually spending their time by frequenting houses of ill fame. persons wandering or strolling around from place to place without any lawful purpose or object. The closest to Article 202 (2) ± "any person found loitering about public or semi-public buildings or places. persons who use juggling or unlawful games or plays. the Jacksonville ordinance was declared unconstitutional on account of specific provisions thereof. pilferers or pickpockets. gaming houses. Supreme Court in Jacksonville declared the ordinance unconstitutional. ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith. habitual loafing. But these are specific acts or activities not found in Article 202 (2). upon conviction in the Municipal Court shall be punished as provided for Class D offenses. would be "persons wandering or strolling around from place to place without any lawful purpose or object. Under American law. or tramping or wandering about the country or the streets without visible means of support" ± from the Jacksonville ordinance." Under the Constitution. and no search warrant or .S. habitual spending of time at places where alcoholic beverages are sold or served. disorderly persons. the people are guaranteed the right to be secure in their persons. The ordinance (Jacksonville Ordinance Code § 257) provided.S. the U. The said underlying principle in Papachristou that the Jacksonville ordinance. or places where alcoholic beverages are sold or served. were declared illegal. or dissolute persons who go about begging. common night walkers. which are not found in Article 202 (2). thieves. and we adopted it to govern and limit legal conduct in this jurisdiction. habitual loafers. as follows: Rogues and vagabonds. evenly applied to minorities as well as majorities.22 This principle is of Spanish origin. and living upon the earnings of wives or minor children. common gamblers.23 Moreover. The rule of law.
for. the suspicion that the person to be arrested is probably guilty of committing the offense. A reasonable suspicion therefore must be founded on probable cause. papers and effects.25 Evidently. fair-looking or pretty women are stalked and harassed. throughout the years. but more than suspicion or possibility. thieves. coupled with good faith of the peace officers making the arrest. frail and helpless men are mauled by thrill-seeking gangs. and individuals performing acts that go beyond decency and morality. which is one less than certainty or proof. swindled. The constitutional provision sheathes the private individual with an impenetrable armor against unreasonable searches and seizures.26 The State cannot in a cavalier fashion intrude into the persons of its citizens as well as into their houses. as with any other act or offense. if not basic humanity. Blue collar workers are robbed straight from withdrawing hard-earned money from the ATMs (automated teller machines). petty thieves and robbers. On the surface. we have witnessed the streets and parks become dangerous and unsafe. robbers. raped and then killed. students are held up for having to use and thus exhibit publicly their mobile phones. harassed or mauled ± if not killed ± by the scourge of the streets. and prevents him from being irreversibly cut off from that domestic security which renders the lives of the most unhappy in some measure agreeable. Instead. Everyday. is based on actual facts. a haven for beggars. the news is rife with reports of innocent and hardworking people being robbed. no challenge has ever been made upon the constitutionality of Article 202 except now. the requirement of probable cause provides an acceptable limit on police or executive authority that may otherwise be abused in relation to the search or arrest of persons found to be violating Article 202 (2). The streets and parks have become the training ground for petty offenders who graduate into hardened and battle-scarred criminals. For this reason. It protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself against unlawful arrests and other forms of restraint. that unfettered discretion is placed in the hands of the police to make an arrest or search. supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to create the probable cause of guilt of the person to be arrested. gangs. swindlers.e. echoing Jacksonville. harassing "watch-your-car" boys. and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. The fear exhibited by the respondents. the authorities are necessarily guilty of abuse. this satisfies the probable cause requirement under our Constitution. we are not moved by respondents¶ trepidation that Article 202 (2) could have been a source of police abuse in their case. Since the Revised Penal Code took effect in 1932. i.warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce.. it appears that the police authorities have been conducting previous surveillance operations on respondents prior to their arrest. pickpockets and snatchers case streets and parks . if not abducted.27 As applied to the instant case.24 Thus. pickpockets. in the absence of actual belief of the arresting officers. prostitutes. innocent passers-by are stabbed to death by rowdy drunken men walking the streets. is therefore assuaged by the constitutional requirement of probable cause. the requirement of probable cause cannot be done away with arbitrarily without pain of punishment. absent this requirement. The grounds of suspicion are reasonable when.
29 This provision is. but for conducting themselves under such circumstances as to endanger the public peace or cause alarm and apprehension in the community. day or night. they have also come to be associated with the struggle to improve the citizens¶ quality of life. or doing unnecessary injury. the summary remedy of ejectment is intended to prevent criminal disorder and breaches of the peace and to discourage those who. beggars endlessly pester and panhandle pedestrians and commuters. to the end. and today. intended to embody certain basic principles "that are to be observed for the rightful relationship between human beings and for the stability of the social order. These laws may be traced all the way back to ancient times. public nuisances must be abated because they have the effect of interfering with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by members of a community. for example. without committing a breach of the peace. to disorderly conduct. if not sold. public order laws encompass a whole range of acts ± from public indecencies and immoralities. The streets must be protected."30 In civil law. peace. or else we can never say that we have performed our task to our brothers and sisters. We must rid the streets of the scourge of humanity. posing a health threat and putting law-abiding drivers and citizens at risk of running them over. to public nuisances.28 Civilly. believing themselves entitled to the possession of the property. decency and morality in them.34 Thus. and restore order. or if necessary. the failure to turn over the proceeds of the sale of the goods covered by a trust receipt or to return said goods. These laws were crafted tomaintain minimum standards of decency.32 Criminally. All these happen on the streets and in public places.33As a matter of public policy. is a public nuisance to be abated by the imposition of penal sanctions. morality and civility in human society.for possible victims. they are covered by the "abuse of rights" doctrine embodied in the preliminary articles of the Civil Code concerning Human Relations. civility. the issuance or making of a bouncing check is deemed a public nuisance. the old are swindled of their life savings by conniving streetsmart bilkers and con artists on the prowl. together with the succeeding articles on human relations. in part. as for being poor or unemployed. by destroying the thing which constitutes the same. . good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damage. The acts punished are made illegal by their offensiveness to society¶s basic sensibilities and their adverse effect on the quality of life of the people of society. Offenders of public order laws are punished not for their status.31 Any private person may abate a public nuisance which is specially injurious to him by removing. to which Article 202 (2) belongs. resort to force rather than to some appropriate action in court to assert their claims. For example. This is exactly why we have public order laws. which is guaranteed by our Constitution. Our people should never dread having to ply them each day. Article 202 (2) does not violate the equal protection clause. that any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals. a crime against public order that must be abated. neither does it discriminate against the poor and the unemployed. Being poor or unemployed is not a license or a justification to act indecently or to engage in immoral conduct.
Instead of taking an active position declaring public order laws unconstitutional. The dangerous streets must surrender to orderly society. the king is fair game. gangs work the streets in the wee hours of the morning. . dangerous robbers and thieves ply their trade in the trains stations. Article 202 (2) should be presumed valid and constitutional.35 outside on the streets. 30-500-2004 declaring Article 202. Finally. The power is plenary and its scope is vast and pervasive. Rugby-sniffing individuals crowd our national parks and busy intersections. Dangerous groups wander around. Red light districts abound. It has been defined as the power vested by the Constitution in the legislature to make.38 As an obvious police power measure. casing homes and establishments for their next hit. crafted and determined to be in accordance with the fundamental law before it was finally enacted. not repugnant to the Constitution. paragraph 2 of the Revised Penal Code UNCONSTITUTIONAL is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. ordain. the petition is GRANTED. It is a public order crime which punishes persons for conducting themselves. some even venture in bars and restaurants. public morals. Though a man¶s house is his castle. this presumption is based on the doctrine of separation of powers which enjoins upon each department a becoming respect for the acts of the other departments. public safety. reaching and justifying measures for public health. as they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the commonwealth.37 It must not be forgotten that police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. a law has been carefully studied. The Decision of Branch 11 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City in Special Civil Case No.36 The policy of our courts is to avoid ruling on constitutional questions and to presume that the acts of the political departments are valid in the absence of a clear and unmistakable showing to the contrary. Prostitutes wait for customers by the roadside all around the metropolis. Article 202 (2) must therefore be viewed in a constitutional light.Vagrancy must not be so lightly treated as to be considered constitutionally offensive. The theory is that as the joint act of Congress and the President of the Philippines. the State should train its eye on their effective implementation. drunken men terrorize law-abiding citizens late at night and urinate on otherwise decent corners of our streets. When confronted with a constitutional question. WHEREFORE. because it is in this area that the Court perceives difficulties. either with penalties or without. it is elementary that every court must approach it with grave care and considerable caution bearing in mind that every statute is presumed valid and every reasonable doubt should be resolved in favor of its constitutionality. and the general welfare. and establish all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws. we agree with the position of the State that first and foremost. and for the subjects of the same. under such conditions that are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just. statutes and ordinances. at a certain place and time which orderly society finds unusual. civilized and ordered society. as would engender a justifiable concern for the safety and wellbeing of members of the community. Drug-crazed men loiter around dark avenues waiting to pounce on helpless citizens. To doubt is to sustain. The streets must be made safe once more.
Asperilla. SO ORDERED. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. seriously and earnestly expressed. mistakenly as will hereafter be more fully shown an observation to that effect in a 1951 opinion." As thus clarified. Gal-lang and Special Attorney Gamaliel H. 1969 WILLIAM C. at one time a civilian employee of an American corporation providing technical assistance to the United States Air Force in the Philippines. he would justify by invoking. Such a plea..2 Such an assumption. Office of the Solicitor General Antonio P. Solicitor Lolita O.Let the proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. petitioner. It certainly cannot control the resolution of . is raised by petitioner William C.717-C-2003 thus continue. He would dispute the payment of the income tax assessed on him by respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue on an amount realized by him on a sale of his automobile to a member of the United States Marine Corps. Zafra and Tayag for petitioner.R. to render the truth unmistakable. respondent. that in legal contemplation the sale was made outside Philippine territory and therefore beyond our jurisdictional power to tax.3 coupled with the reminder however. J. ETC. the transaction having taken place at the Clark Field Air Base at Pampanga. Assistant Solicitor General Felicisimo R. on its face betraying no kinship with reality. It is his contention. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE. Rosete. FERNANDO.716-C-2003 and 115. Barredo. Mantolino for respondent. vs. inspired by the commendable aim to render unavailing any attempt at tax evasion on the part of such vendee. REAGAN. No. found expression anew in a 1962 decision. 1 petitioner ignoring that such utterance was made purely as a flourish of rhetoric and by way of emphasizing the decision reached. 115. it is manifest that such a view amounts at most to a legal fiction and is moreover obiter. that "the areas covered by the United States Military Bases are not foreign territories both in the political and geographical sense. far-fetched and implausible. Reagan.: A question novel in character. as the American armed forces being exempt could not be taxed as such under the National Internal Revenue Code. that the trading firm as purchaser of army goods must respond for the sales taxes due from an importer. Quasha. the answer to which has far-reaching implications. No costs. Blanco. L-26379 December 27.
the Court of Tax Appeals found nothing objectionable in the assessment and thereafter the payment of P2. rendering him liable for income tax in the sum of P2."6 After discussing the legal issues raised. 1960. sold the car to Fred Meneses for P32. a citizen of the United States and an employee of Bendix Radio. The sale having taken place on what indisputably is Philippine territory. on or about July 7. To repeat. Hence. petitioner apparently feeling justified in his refusal to defer to basic postulates of constitutional and international law. Division of Bendix Aviation Corporation. executed at Clark Air Base. he sought a refund from respondent claiming that he was exempt.83. started the recital of facts thus: "It appears that petitioner. . as shown by a Bill of Sale . petitioner imported on April 22. more than two (2) months after the 1960 Cadillac car was imported into the Philippines. petitioner sold his car for $6. July 11. Nine (9) months thereafter and before his tour of duty expired. insurance and other charges.. which provides technical assistance to the United States Air Force. we sustain its decision now before us on appeal. respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue.00. On the same date. Clark Air Base. Pfc. one which is likewise far from reflecting the fact as it is. the Court of Tax Appeals. On the same date. if at all is to be derived from such an obiter dictum.00 to a certain Willie Johnson. Petitioner cannot make out a case for reversal.443. . 1959 . As the Court of Tax Appeals reached a similar conclusion. 1. including freight. was assigned at Clark Air Base.the specific question that confronts us. but pending action on his request for refund. petitioner requested the Base Commander. induced no doubt by the weight he would accord to the observation made by this Court in the two opinions earlier referred to. Jr. .912. Willie (William) Johnson. 1960. is a base outside the Philippines" the sale therefore having taken place on "foreign soil".600.979.979.000. this appeal predicated on a legal theory we cannot accept. After paying the sum. (Private first class).00 was legally collected by respondent for petitioner. petitioner's liability for the income tax due as a result thereof was unavoidable..34. United States Marine Corps. 1960 a tax-free 1960 Cadillac car with accessories valued at $6.S. Jr. Resort to fundamentals is unavoidable to place things in their proper perspective. for a permit to sell the car. he filed the case with the Court of Tax Appeals seeking recovery of the sum of P2. after deducting the landed cost of the car as well as the personal exemption to which petitioner was entitled.00 as income tax and denied the refund on the same. primarily the contention that the Clark Air Base "in legal contemplation. Philippines. Sangley Point. As noted in the appealed decision: "The only issue submitted for our resolution is whether or not the said income tax of P2. after stating the nature of the case. . which was granted provided that the sale was made to a member of the United States Armed Forces or a citizen of the United States employed in the U."5 As a result of the transaction thus made. military bases in the Philippines."4 Then came the following: "On July 11.979. fixed as his net taxable income arising from such transaction the amount of P17. In the decision appealed from. We declare our stand in an unequivocal manner.979. scant comfort. Cavite. Philippines.00 plus the legal rate of interest.00 as evidenced by a deed of sale executed in Manila.
and acting directly upon each [individual found therein]. That is the extent of its jurisdiction. It is to be admitted that any state may. M'Faddon. That is the concept of sovereignty as auto-limitation. Any restriction upon it. would imply a diminution of its sovereignty to the extent of the restriction. likewise. Decisions coming from petitioner's native land. We start with the citation from Chief Justice Marshall. If it does so. They are still subject to its authority. its authority may be exercised over its entire domain. penned by jurists of repute. must be traced up to the consent of the nation itself. by its consent. Thus: "It now is settled in the United States and recognized elsewhere that the territory subject to its jurisdiction includes the land areas under its dominion and control the ports. They can flow from no other legitimate source." Chief Justice Taney. and a marginal belt of the sea extending from the coast line outward a marine league.9 affirmed the fundamental principle of everyone within the territorial domain of a state being subject to its commands: "For undoubtedly every person who is found within the limits of a government. Nor does the matter end there. . There is no portion thereof that is beyond its power. deriving validity from an external source. bays. to the full and complete power of a nation within its own territories. therefore. Its laws may as to some persons found within its territory no longer control. . Its jurisdiction may be diminished. both territorial and personal. is bound by its laws. but it does not disappear. It is not precluded from allowing another power to participate in the exercise of jurisdictional right over certain portions of its territory. . and other in closed arms of the sea along its coast. this time from the pen of Justice Van Devanter. There may thus be a curtailment of what otherwise is a power plenary in character. in the succinct language of Jellinek. It is susceptible of no limitation not imposed by itself. and everyone to whom it applies must submit to its terms. and an investment of that sovereignty to the same extent in that power which could impose such restriction. or 3 . announced in the leading case of Schooner Exchange v. harbors. if it chooses to. Necessarily. it by no means follows that such areas become impressed with an alien character."10 Not too long ago. Its laws govern therein. If it were not thus. express or implied. submit to a restriction of its sovereign rights. which. may refrain from the exercise of what otherwise is illimitable competence. whether the temporary purposes or as a resident." It is no exaggeration then for Justice Brewer to stress that the United States government "is one having jurisdiction over every foot of soil within its territory. in an 1857 decision.Nothing is better settled than that the Philippines being independent and sovereign. "is the property of a state-force due to which it has the exclusive capacity of legal self-determination and self-restriction."7 A state then." After which came this paragraph: "All exceptions. there is a diminution of its sovereignty. speak to that effect with impressive unanimity.8 an 1812 decision: "The jurisdiction of the nation within its own territory is necessarily exclusive and absolute. its commands paramount. They retain their status as native soil. its decrees are supreme. Within its limits. So it is with the bases under lease to the American armed forces by virtue of the military bases agreement of 1947. there was a reiteration of such a view. They are not and cannot be foreign territory. it has to be exclusive.
maintenance. The lawfulness or unlawfulness of acts there committed is determined by the territorial sovereign. that an ambassador himself possesses the right to exercise jurisdiction. the eminent commentator Hyde in his three-volume work on International Law. even though its criminal code normally does not contemplate the punishment of one who commits an offense outside of the national domain. v. may subject him to prosecution. even if such a contention were more adequately pressed and insisted upon. this Court affirmed a decision rendered about seven months previously. Meer. made clear that not even the embassy premises of a foreign power are to be considered outside the territorial domain of the host state. Petitioner could not have been unaware that to maintain the contrary would be to defy reality and would be an affront to the law. Thus: "The ground occupied by an embassy is not in fact the territory of the foreign State to which the premises belong through possession or ownership. as interpreted and applied by the United States. even within his embassy with respect to acts there committed. certainly not excluding the power to tax. Moore. the territorial sovereign."12 2. While his first assigned error is thus worded. Westlake. is more apparent than real for as noted at the outset of this opinion. As thus correctly viewed. such eminent treatise-writers as Kent. his immunity from prosecution is not because he has not violated the local law. Hyde. operation or defense of the bases and residing in the Philippines only by reason of such employment" is not to be taxed on his income unless "derived from Philippine source or sources other than the United States sources. petitioner's hope for the reversal of the decision completely fades away. which would be made to yield such an unwarranted interpretation at war with the controlling constitutional and international law principles. It has not become foreign soil or territory. If a person not so exempt."11 He could cite moreover. In Saura Import and Export Co. As a matter of fact. to repeat."13 The reliance.14 the case above referred to. It is not believed. Nor is there apparent at the present time any tendency on the part of States to acquiesce in his exercise of it. At any rate. In the light of the above. contrary to the will of the State of his sojourn.geographic miles. in addition to many American decisions. have been preserved. similarly commits a crime therein. or whose immunity is waived. This country's jurisdictional rights therein. As to certain tax matters. therefore. Wheaton and Oppenheim. If an attache commits an offense within the precincts of an embassy. Wilson. petitioner places more faith not on the language of the provision on exemption but on a sentiment given expression in a 1951 opinion of this Court. the first and crucial error imputed to the Court of Tax Appeals to the effect that it should have held that the Clark Air Force is foreign soil or territory for purposes of income tax legislation is clearly without support in law. within the contemplation of the National Internal .15 holding liable as an importer. it is on its face devoid of merit as the source clearly was Philippine. he would seek to impart plausibility to his claim by the ostensible invocation of the exemption clause in the Agreement by virtue of which a "national of the United States serving in or employed in the Philippines in connection with the construction. an appropriate exemption was provided for. but rather for the reason that the individual is exempt from prosecution. if it secures custody of the offender. There is nothing in the Military Bases Agreement that lends support to such an assertion.
the liability of the petitioner for income tax which. how far divorced from the truth was such statement was emphasized by Justice Barrera."21 Justice Tuason moreover made explicit that rather than corresponding with reality. there being no need to repeat it. ought not to control the judgment in a subsequent presented for decision."17 It could not then be controlling on the question before us now."19 be listened to with profit. it was by way of pure embellishment. Note his stress on "in contemplation of law.16 It was an opinion "uttered by the way. If they go beyond the case. are to be taken in connection with expressions are used. to reach the conclusion that it was the purchaser of army goods. distinguished by its sound appreciation of the issue then before this Court and to preclude any tax evasion. It was clearly obiter not being necessary for the resolution of the issue before this Court. an observation certainly not to be taken literally was thus given utterance. If it were not thus. was beyond the reach of our tax statutes. this time from military bases. as announced at the opening of this opinion. decision as to the liability for sales taxes as an importer by the purchaser. He chose not to do so. tax evasion would have been facilitated. that must respond for the advance sales taxes as importer. adhered to such a rationale.18 On this point. Again. the trading firm that purchased army goods from a United States government agency in the Philippines. he did say: "While in army bases or installations within the Philippines those goods were in contemplation of law on foreign soil. in the case in which those they may be respected. thus: "It is true that the areas covered by the United States Military Bases are not foreign territories both in the political and geographical sense.20 a 1962 decision relied upon by petitioner. who penned the Co Po opinion. not so long after the liberation of the Philippines. Again. The transaction having occurred in 1946." It is thus evident that the first. Justice Tuason. . He could have stopped there. what was said by him was in the way of a legal fiction. not to be disregarded." To lend further support to a conclusion already announced. put a different complexion on the matter. when no longer needed for military purposes. being at that a confirmation of what had been arrived at in the earlier case. quoting extensively from the earlier opinion. It is easily understandable why. and thereafter the controlling. Chief Justice Marshall could again Thus: "It is a maxim. In the course of such a dissertion. The United States forces that brought in such equipment later disposed of as surplus. the purpose that animated the reiteration of such a view was clearly to emphasize that through the employment of such a fiction. general expressions. he proceeded to discuss the role of the American military contingent in the Philippines as a belligerent occupant. is squarely raised for the first time. but suit when the very point is Nor did the fact that such utterance of Justice Tuason was cited in Co Po v. that every opinion. could have been reached without any need for such expression as that given utterance by Justice Tuason. Collector of Internal Revenue. What is more.Revenue Code provision. Its value then as an authoritative doctrine cannot be as much as petitioner would mistakenly attach to it. drawing on his well-known gift for rhetoric and cognizant that he was making an as if statement. who spoke for the Court. tax evasion is precluded.
That was farthest from the thought of Justice Tuason. properly used. The consent was given purely as a matter of comity. not as an obiter but as the rationale of the decision. That it would be fraught with such peril to the enforcement of our tax statutes on the military bases under lease to the American armed forces could not have been within the contemplation of Justice Tuason.23 Petitioner then would be well-advised to take to heart such counsel of care and circumspection before invoking not a legal fiction that would avoid a mockery of the law by avoiding tax evasion but what clearly is a misinterpretation thereof. If anything. or expediency over the bases as part of the Philippine territory or divested itself completely of jurisdiction over offenses committed therein. as here. it should be noted. this observation of Justice Tuason could be misused or misconstrued in a clumsy manner to reach an offensive result. Thus: "This provision is not and can not on principle or authority be construed as a limitation upon the rights of the Philippine Government."25 . to be guilty of succumbing to the vice of literalness. in the pursuit of legitimate ends." Nor did he stop there. while far from objectionable as thus enunciated.22 Certainly. a legal fiction. What is more. to paraphrase Frankfurter. it is an emphatic recognition and reaffirmation of Philippine sovereignty over the bases and of the truth that all jurisdictional rights granted to the United States and not exercised by the latter are reserved by the Philippines for itself. the Philippine Government merely consents that the United States exercise jurisdiction in certain cases.This is not to say that it should have been ignored altogether afterwards. in People v. namely to stigmatize as without support in law any attempt on the part of a taxpayer to escape an obligation incumbent upon him. To so attribute such a bizarre consequence is to be guilty of a grave disservice to the memory of a great jurist. So we have said earlier. especially so for the purpose intended. To so conclude is. He did stress further the full extent of our territorial jurisdiction in words that do not admit of doubt. the only one that calls for discussion to the effect that for income tax purposes the Clark Air Force Base is outside Philippine territory. For his real and genuine sentiment on the matter in consonance with the imperative mandate of controlling constitutional and international law concepts was categorically set forth by him. It certainly does not justify any effort to render futile the collection of a tax legally due. To impute then to the statement of Justice Tuason the meaning that petitioner would fasten on it is. then. So it was quoted with that end in view in the Co Po case. to repeat. The conclusion is thus irresistible that the crucial error assigned. leading to results that would have shocked its originator. Acierto24 thus: "By the [Military Bases] Agreement. courtesy. the statement on its face is. To repeat. 3. It certainly is not susceptible of the mischievous consequences now sought to be fastened on it by petitioner. a legal fiction could be relied upon by the law. to misread it. It could be utilized again. whether by design or inadvertence. is utterly without merit. as Frankfurter noted. This is not to discount the uses of a fictio jurisin the science of the law. as it undoubtedly was. It was Cardozo who pointed out its value as a device "to advance the ends of justice" although at times it could be "clumsy" and even "offensive".
Concepcion. 4. vs. petitioner himself being fully aware that if the Clark Air Force Base is to be considered.B. With costs against petitioner. Castro and Teehankee. WHEREFORE. the accused. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. 1939 THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.L.00 as the income tax paid by petitioner is affirmed. Sinai Hamada y Cariño for appellant.: Prosecuted for violation of Act No. there is nothing that stands in the way of an affirmance of the Court of Tax Appeals decision. Mountain Province.R. Petitioner cannot do so. J. There is further satisfaction in finding ourselves unable to indulge petitioner in his plea for reversal. With the mist thus lifted from the situation as it truly presents itself. J.979. JJ. Makalintal. the following information was filed against him: . the decision of the Court of Tax Appeals of May 12.. Dizon. CAYAT. concurs in the result. We hold. Reyes.26 Petitioner had not done so. Sanchez. Zaldivar. was sentenced by the justice of the peace court of Baguio to pay a fine of five pesos (P5) or suffer subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. We thus manifest fealty to a pronouncement made time and time again that the law does not look with favor on tax exemptions and that he who would seek to be thus privileged must justify it by words too plain to be mistaken and too categorical to be misinterpreted. L-45987 May 5. 2 and 3). C.J. Office of the Solicitor-General Tuason for appellee. concur.. On appeal of the Court of First Instance. his claim for exemption from the income tax due was distinguished only by its futility.. that petitioner was liable for the income tax arising from a sale of his automobile in the Clark Field Air Base. No useful purpose would be served by discussing the other assigned errors. within our territorial jurisdiction to tax. J. as it ought to be and as it is. MORAN. which clearly is and cannot otherwise be other than. Barredo.. No. as announced at the outset. took no part. Philippine soil or territory. 1966 denying the refund of P2.. defendant-appellant. 1639 (secs. Cayat.It is in the same spirit that we approach the specific question confronting us in this litigation. plaintiff-appellee. a native of Baguio. J. Benguet.
(2) That it is violative of the due process clause of the Constitution: and. At the trial. Commonwealth of the Philippines. Cayat. Sections 2 and 3 of Act No. other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act. . Accused interposed a demurrer which was overruled. 1937. in the City of Baguio. be punishable for each offense by a fine of not exceeding two hundred pesos or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months." any attempt to treat them with discrimination or "mark them as inferior or less capable rate or less entitled" will meet with their instant challenge. or drink any ardent spirits. ale. other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of Act No. 1639 read: SEC. receive. It shall be unlawful for any native of the Philippine Islands who is a member of a non-Christian tribe within the meaning of the Act Numbered Thirteen hundred and ninety-seven. beer. and within the jurisdiction of this court. 1639. in the discretion of the court. acquire. The case is now before this court on appeal. upon conviction thereof. being a member of the nonChristian tribes. to buy. The accused challenges the constitutionality of the Act on the following grounds: (1) That it is discriminatory and denies the equal protection of the laws. and illegally receive. the above-named accused. and have in his possession and under his control or custody. Counsel for the appellant holds out his brief as the "brief for the nonChristian tribes. SEC. 2. except as provided in section one hereof.That on or about the 25th day of January. 3. The trial court found him guilty of the crime charged and sentenced him to pay a fine of fifty pesos (P50) or supper subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency." It is said that as these less civilized elements of the Filipino population are "jealous of their rights in a democracy. or intoxicating liquors of any kind. wine. Any person violating the provisions of section one or section two of this Act shall. an intoxicating liquor. municipal or township government to seize and forthwith destroy any such liquors found unlawfully in the possession of any member of a nonChristian tribe. but pleaded not guilty to the charge for the reasons adduced in his demurrer and submitted the case on the pleadings. it becomes imperative to examine and resolve the issues raised in the light of the policy of the government towards the non-Christian tribes adopted and consistently followed from the Spanish times to the present. he admitted all the facts alleged in the information. more often with sacrifice and tribulation but always with conscience and humanity. have in his possession. unlawfully. and it shall be the duty of any police officer or other duly authorized agent of the Insular or any provincial. (3) That it is improper exercise of the police power of the state. did then and there willfully. one bottle of A-1-1 gin. As the constitutionality of the Act here involved is questioned for purposes thus mentioned.
to facilitate. in this light that the Act must be understood and applied. be subjected to wise and firm regulation. to be reasonable. Such tribal government should. said: In dealing with the uncivilized tribes of the Islands.. 187. the government has been constantly vexed with the problem of determining "those practicable means of bringing about their advancement in civilization and material prosperity. Throughout the Spanish regime. and.Falk Co. Natural Carbonic Gas Co. 714.. the Legislature has passed Act No. their rapid and steady march to civilization and culture. constant and active effort should be exercised to prevent barbarous practices and introduce civilized customs. Provincial Board of Mindoro. surrounded by civilization to which they are unable or unwilling to conform. however. 39 Phil..) To this end. therefore. 209. Gaz . Lindsley vs. 1900. and (4) must apply equally to all members of the same class. It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification.S. (Borgnis vs. (2) must be germane to the purposes of the law. And the classification.W. 220 U. distinctions. the benefits of public education have to them been extended. 61.. And to complement this policy of attraction and assimilation." (Memorandum of Secretary of the Interior. it had been regarded by the Spanish Government as a sacred "duty to conscience and humanity" to civilize these less fortunate people living "in the obscurity of ignorance" and to accord them the "the moral and material advantages" of community life and the "protection and vigilance afforded them by the same laws. The classification rests on real and substantial." (Decree of the Governor-General of the Philippines. 1887. Jan. their homes and firesides have been brought in contact with civilized communities through a network of highways and communications.. 1639 undoubtedly to secure for them the blessings of peace and harmony." (See. the Spanish Government had assumed an unvarying solicitous attitude toward these inhabitants.. ed. It is. 660. (1) must rest on substantial distinctions. the Commission should adopt the same course followed by Congress in permitting the tribes of our North American Indians to maintain their tribal organization and government.) This policy had not been deflected from during the American period." as counsel to the appellant . and not to mar. without undue or petty interference. (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only. their concentration in so-called "reducciones" (communities) have been persistently attempted with the end in view of according them the "spiritual and temporal benefits" of civilized life.As early as 1551. and under which many of those tribes are now living in peace and contentment.) "Placed in an alternative of either letting them alone or guiding them in the path of civilization. Since then and up to the present. and in the different laws of the Indies. 39 Phil. and more lately.. Rubi vs. 37 Off. even the right of suffrage.) Act No. Provincial Board of Mindoro. 1639 satisfies these requirements. not merely imaginary or whimsical. 14. It is not based upon "accident of birth or parentage. 253. Vera and Cu Unjieng. President McKinley in his instructions to the Philippine Commission of April 7. quoted in Rubi vs. 55 Law. 660." the present government "has chosen to adopt the latter measure as one more in accord with humanity and with the national conscience. Act No. 133 N. People and Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation vs.
for the Act was intended to meet the peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian tribes. vs. supra. wine. Finally. That it may be unfair in its operation against a certain number non-Christians by reason of their degree of culture. other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act. or drink any ardent spirits. that the Act applies equally to all members of the class is evident from a perusal thereof. It is intended to apply for all times as long as those conditions exist. Due Process of Law p. Provincial Board of Mindoro..) Thus. The Act was not predicated.asserts. as the observations of the lower court disclose. have in his possession. ed.S.. (McGehee. . Surla. beer. supra. 167).S. notice and hearing are not always necessary. 10 Phil. cited with approval in Rubivs. or intoxicating liquors of any kind. affirmed on appeal by the United States Supreme Court. 302: 54 Law." (Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro. usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities. thereby hampering the efforts of the government to raise their standard of life and civilization.. The prohibition "to buy. 218 U. (U. 1049. or property used in violation of law may be confiscated (U. (3) that it shall be enforced according to the regular methods of procedure prescribed. the Legislature understood that the civilization of a people is a slow process and that hand in hand with it must go measures of protection and security. 104.. upon the assumption that the non-Christians are "impermeable to any civilizing influence. not to religious belief. a person's property may be seized by the government in payment of taxes without judicial hearing. in a way. vs. is not an argument against the equality of its application. (2) that it shall be reasonable in its operation. 163. and. to the geographical area. to constitute due process of law. It has been the sad experience of the past." On the contrary.. more directly. receive.) Due process of law means simply: (1) that there shall be a law prescribed in harmony with the general powers of the legislative department of the government. to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of civilization. but. but upon the degree of civilization and culture.S. cannot affect the reasonableness of the classification thus established. Ling Su Fan. "The term 'nonChristian tribes' refers. 371. The law is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. ale. This rule is especially true where much must be left to the discretion of the administrative officials in applying a law to particular cases. and (4) that it shall be applicable alike to all citizens of the state or to all of the class." is unquestionably designed to insure peace and order in and among the nonChristian tribes. That it is germane to the purposes of law cannot be doubted. Besides. as counsel for appellant asserts. that the free use of highly intoxicating liquors by the non-Christian tribes have often resulted in lawlessness and crimes. 20 Phil. Appellants contends that that provision of the law empowering any police officer or other duly authorized agent of the government to seize and forthwith destroy any prohibited liquors found unlawfully in the possession of any member of the non-Christian tribes is violative of the due process of law provided in the Constitution. The exceptional cases of certain members thereof who at present have reached a position of cultural equality with their Christian brothers.) This distinction is unquestionably reasonable. But this provision is not involved in the case at bar.
. education and good order of the people or to increase the industries of the state. When the public safety or the public morals require the discontinuance of a certain practice by certain class of persons.or when the property constitutes corpus delicti. eventually. Neither is the Act an improper exercise of the police power of the state. to hasten their equalization and unification with the rest of their Christian brothers. this court can go no farther than to inquire whether the Legislature had the power to enact the law. If the power exists. as above stated. But whether conditions have so changed as to warrant a partial or complete abrogation of the law. It is indeed gratifying that the non-Christian tribes "far from retrograding. if in the application of the law. . But as there can be no true equality before the law. and we hold it does exist.. 1639. The private interests of such members must yield to the paramount interests of the nation (Cf. in fact. is designed to promote peace and order in the non-Christian tribes so as to remove all obstacles to their moral and intellectual growth and. 12 Phil. by appropriate measures. 27). develop its resources and add to its wealth and prosperity (Barbier vs. 113 U. 24 law. And." On the contrary. as in the instant case (Moreno vs. the government has endeavored.. 25. The law. morals. 989). doctors and other professionals educated in the best institutions here and in America. the hand of the Legislature cannot be stayed from providing for its discontinuance by any incidental inconvenience which some members of the class may suffer. are definitely asserting themselves in a competitive world. It has been said that the police power is the most insistent and least limitable of all powers of the government. the wisdom of the policy adopted. is a legitimate exercise of the police power. is a matter which rests exclusively within the prerogative of the National Assembly to determine. 442). then." As a matter of fact." as appellant's attorney impressively avers. no equality in education. Their active participation in the multifarious welfare activities of community life or in the delicate duties of government is certainly a source of pride and gratification to people of the Philippines. Its ultimate purpose can be no other than to unify the Filipino people with a view to a greater Philippines.. Mass. does not seek to mark the non-Christian tribes as "an inferior or less capable race. Boston Beer Co. unless shown to be whimsical or capricious as to unduly interfere with the rights of an individual. Any measure intended to promote the health. Ago Chi.. 97 U. the same must be upheld. vs. the justification still exists in the all-comprehending principle of salus populi suprema est lex. all measures thus far adopted in the promotion of the public policy towards them rest upon a recognition of their inherent right to equality in tht enjoyment of those privileges now enjoyed by their Christian brothers.S. 439. peace. and that they are "a virile. up-and -coming people eager to take their place in the world's social scheme. Connolly. Act No. there are now lawyers. are matters which this court has no authority to pass upon.S. to raise their culture and civilization and secure for them the benefits of their progress. with the ultimate end in view of placing them with their Christian brothers on the basis of true equality. It has been aptly described as a power coextensive with self-protection and constitutes the law of overruling necessity. the educated nonChristians shall incidentally suffer. In the constitutional scheme of our government. if there is. and the adequacy under existing conditions of the measures enacted to forward it. ed.
with costs against appellant .Judgment is affirmed.