Consti 2 (3)

January 26, 1910
G.R. No. L-5060
Toribio was found by the trial court of Bohol violating Sections 30
and 33 of Act No. 1147, an Act regulating the registration, branding,
and slaughter of Large Cattle. The act prohibits the slaughter of
large cattle fit for agricultural work or other draft purposes for
human consumption.
Appellant Toribio slaughtered or caused to be slaughtered his
carabao without a permit from the municipal treasurer of the
It appears that in the town of Carmen, in the Province of Bohol,
wherein the animal was slaughtered there is no municipal
slaughterhouse, and counsel for appellant contends that under such
circumstances the provisions of Act No. 1147 do not prohibit nor
penalize the slaughter of large cattle without a permit of the
municipal treasure.
Appellant contends that he applied for a permit to slaughter the
animal but was not given one because the carabao was not found to
be “unfit for agricultural work” which resulted to appellant to
slaughter said carabao in a place other than the municipal
Appellant then assails the validity of a provision under Act No. 1147
which states that only carabaos unfit for agricultural work can be
Appellant also contended that the act constitutes a taking of
property for public use in the exercise of the right of eminent
domain without providing for the compensation of owners, and it is
an undue and unauthorized exercise of police power of the state for
it deprives them of the enjoyment of their private property.
WON the prohibition and the penalty imposed in Act No. 1147 is
limited only to the slaughter of large cattle at the municipal
WON Act. No. 1147, regulating the registration, branding and
slaughter of large cattle, is an undue and unauthorized exercise of
police power.
1. NO. The prohibition and penalty imposed in Act No. 1147 applies
generally to the slaughter of large cattle for human consumption,
anywhere, without a permit duly secured from the municipal
treasurer, and specifically to the killing for food of large cattle at a
municipal slaughterhouse without such permit.
Where the language of a statute is fairly susceptible of two or more
constructions, that construction should be adopted which will most
tend to give effect to the manifest intent of the lawmaker and
promote the object for which the statute was enacted, and a
construction should be rejected which would tend to render
abortive other provisions of the statute and to defeat the object
which the legislator sought to attain by its enactment.
Therefore, sections 30 and 33 of the Act prohibit and penalize the
slaughtering or causing to be slaughtered for human consumption
of large cattle at any place without the permit provided for in
section 30.
2. NO. Act no. 1147 is not a taking of the property for public use,
within the meaning of the constitution, but is a just and legitimate
exercise of the power of the legislature to regulate and restrain
such particular use of the property as would be inconsistent with
the rights of the publics. All property is acquired and held under the
tacit condition that it shall not be so used as to injure the equal
rights of others or greatly impair the public rights and interests of
the community.
The Supreme Court cited events that happen in the Philippines like
an epidemic that wiped 70-100% of the population of carabaos..
The Supreme Court also said that these animals are vested with
public interest for they are fundamental use for the production of
crops. These reasons satisfy the requisites of a valid exercise of
police power
Finally, SC said that article 1147 is not an exercise of the inherent
power of eminent domain. The said law does not constitute the
taking of caraboes for public purpose; it just serve as a mere
regulation for the consumption of these private properties for the
protection of general welfare and public interest.
G.R. NO. 74457March 20,
Iloilo, for violation of the above measure. The petitioner sued for
recovery, and the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City issued a writ of
replevin upon his filing of a supersedeas bond of P12,000.00. After
considering the merits of the case, the court sustained the
confiscation of the carabaos and, since they could no longer be
produced, ordered the confiscation of the bond. The court also
declined to rule on the constitutionality of the executive order, as
raised by the petitioner, for lack of authority and also for its
presumed validity.
The petitioner appealed the decision to the Intermediate Appellate
Court, which upheld the trial court, and now Ynot comes before the
SC through a petition for review on certiorari.
The case challenges the constitutionality of Executive Order 626-A
which amends EO 626 and states that:
SECTION 1. Executive Order No. 626 is hereby amended such that
henceforth, no carabao regardless of age, sex, physical condition or
purpose and no carabeef shall be transported from one province to
another. The carabao or carabeef transported in violation of this
Executive Order as amended shall be subject to confiscation and
forfeiture by the government, to be distributed to charitable
institutions and other similar institutions as the Chairman of the
National Meat Inspection Commission may ay see fit, in the case of
carabeef, and to deserving farmers through dispersal as the Director
of Animal Industry may see fit, in the case of carabaos.
On January 13, 1984, petitioner Restituto Ynot had transported six
carabaos in a pump boat from Masbate to Iloilo when they were
confiscated by the police station commander of Barotac Nuevo,
Ynot’s petition assails that the questioned EO is unconstitutional
insofar as it authorizes outright confiscation of the carabao or
carabeef being transported across provincial boundaries. Petitioner
claims that the penalty is invalid because it is imposed without
according the owner a right to be heard before a competent and
impartial court as guaranteed by due process. He complains that the
measure should not have been presumed, and so sustained, as
WON EO 626-A constitutional.
NO. In the instant case, the carabaos were arbitrarily confiscated by
the police station commander, were returned to the petitioner only
after he had filed a complaint for recovery and given a supersedeas
bond of P12,000.00, which was ordered confiscated upon his failure
to produce the carabaos when ordered by the trial court. The
executive order defined the prohibition, convicted the petitioner
and immediately imposed punishment, which was carried out
forthright. The measure struck at once and pounced upon the
petitioner without giving him a chance to be heard, thus denying
him the centuries-old guaranty of elementary fair play.
It has already been remarked that there are occasions when notice
and hearing may be validly dispensed with notwithstanding the
usual requirement for these minimum guarantees of due process. It
is also conceded that summary action may be validly taken in
administrative proceedings as procedural due process is not
necessarily judicial only. In the exceptional cases accepted, however
there is a justification for the omission of the right to a previous
hearing, to wit, the immediacy of the problem sought to be
corrected and the urgency of the need to correct it.
In the case at bar, there was no such pressure of time or action
calling for the petitioner's peremptory treatment. The properties
involved were not even inimical per se as to require their instant
destruction. There certainly was no reason why the offense
prohibited by the executive order should not have been proved first
in a court of justice, with the accused being accorded all the rights
safeguarded to him under the Constitution. Considering that, as the
Court held in Pesigan v. Angeles, Executive Order No. 626-A is penal
in nature, the violation thereof should have been pronounced not
by the police only but by a court of justice, which alone would have
had the authority to impose the prescribed penalty, and only after
trial and conviction of the accused.
To sum up, then, the SC finds that the challenged measure is an
invalid exercise of the police power because the method employed
to conserve the carabaos is not reasonably necessary to the
purpose of the law and, worse, is unduly oppressive. Due process is
violated because the owner of the property confiscated is denied
the right to be heard in his defense and is immediately condemned
and punished. The conferment on the administrative authorities of
the power to adjudge the guilt of the supposed offender is a clear
encroachment on judicial functions and militates against the
doctrine of separation of powers. There is, finally, also an invalid
delegation of legislative powers to the officers mentioned therein
who are granted unlimited discretion in the distribution of the
properties arbitrarily taken. For these reasons, we hereby declare
Executive Order No. 626-A unconstitutional.
December 21, 1915
G.R. NO. L-10572,
Plaintiffs put up a billboard on a private land located in Rizal
Province “quite distance from the road and strongly built, not
dangerous to the safety of the people, and contained no advertising
matter which is filthy, indecent, or deleterious to the morals of the
community.” However, defendant Rafferty, Collector of Internal
Revenue, decided to remove the billboards after due investigation
made upon the complaints of the British and German Consuls.
Act No. 2339 authorized the then Collector of Internal Revenue to
remove after due investigation, any billboard exposed to the public
view if it decides that it is offensive to the sight or is otherwise a
In the agreed statement of facts submitted by the parties, the
plaintiffs "admit that the billboards mentioned were and still are
offensive to the sight."
The Court of First Instance perpetually restrains and prohibits the
defendant and his deputies from collecting and enforcing against
the plaintiffs and their property the annual tax mentioned and
described in subsection (b) of section 100 of Act No. 2339, effective
July 1, 1914, and from destroying or removing any sign, signboard,
or billboard, the property of the plaintiffs and decrees the
cancellation of the bond given by the plaintiffs.
Hence, this petition.
WON Act No. 2339 was a legitimate exercise of the police power of
the Government?
YES. Things offensive to the senses, such as sight, smell or hearing,
may be suppressed by the State especially those situated in thickly
populated districts. Aesthetics may be regulated by the police
power of the state, as long as it is justified by public interest and
Moreover, if the police power may be exercised to encourage a
healthy social and economic condition in the country, and if the
comfort and convenience of the people are included within those
subjects, everything which encroaches upon such territory is
amenable to the police power of the State.
Hence, the judgment of the CFI is reversed.
G.R. No. L-12172; August 29, 1958
Fajardo and Babilonia (son-in law) are charged with violation of
Ordinance 7 Series of 1950 of the Municipality of Baao, Camarines
Sur which penalizes a person who constructs a building without
permit from the mayor.
After his incumbency, Fajardo applied for a permit to build a
building beside the gasoline station near the town plaza. His request
was repeatedly denied due to the reason that it “hinders the view of
travelers from the National Highway to the public plaza”.
Appellants proceeded with the construction of the building without
a permit, because they needed a place of residence very badly, their
former house having been destroyed by a typhoon and hitherto
they had been living on leased property.
Appellants were charged and convicted by peace court of Baoo for
violating such ordinance.
WON Ordinance No. 7 is a valid exercise police power in its
regulation of property.
NO. The ordinance doesn’t state any standard that limits the grant
of power to the mayor. It is an arbitrary and unlimited conferment.
The subject ordinance fails to state any policy, or to set up any
standard to guide or limit the mayor’s action. The standards of the
ordinance are entirely lacking making it unreasonable and
oppressive, hence, not a valid ordinance. While property may be
regulated to the interest of the general welfare, and the state may
eliminate structures offensive to the sight, the state may not
permanently divest owners of the beneficial use of their property
and practically confiscate them solely to preserve or assure the
aesthetic appearance of the community.
Fajardo would be constrained to let the land be fallow and not be
used for urban purposes. To do this legally, there must be just
compensation and they must be given an opportunity to be heard.
An ordinance which permanently so restricts the use of property
that it can not be used for any reasonable purpose goes, it is plain,
beyond regulation and must be recognized as a taking of the
Hence, the conviction of herein appellants is reversed, and said
accused are acquitted, with costs de oficio.
Ermita Malate v City of Manila 20 SCRA 849 (1967)
J. Fernando
It was also unlawful for the owner to lease any room or portion
thereof more than twice every 24 hours.
There was also a prohibition for persons below 18 in the hotel.
Ermita-Malate Hotel and Motel Operators Association, and one of
its members Hotel del Mar Inc. petitioned for the prohibition of
Ordinance 4670 on June 14, 1963 to be applicable in the city of
They claimed that the ordinance was beyond the powers of the
Manila City Board to regulate due to the fact that hotels were not
part of its regulatory powers. They also asserted that Section 1 of
the challenged ordinance was unconstitutional and void for being
unreasonable and violative of due process insofar because it would
impose P6,000.00 license fee per annum for first class motels and
P4,500.00 for second class motels; there was also the requirement
that the guests would fill up a form specifying their personal
There was also a provision that the premises and facilities of such
hotels, motels and lodging houses would be open for inspection
from city authorites. They claimed this to be violative of due process
for being vague.
The law also classified motels into two classes and required the
maintenance of certain minimum facilities in first class motels such
as a telephone in each room, a dining room or, restaurant and
laundry. The petitioners also invoked the lack of due process on this
for being arbitrary.
The challenged ordinance also caused the automatic cancellation of
the license of the hotels that violated the ordinance.
The lower court declared the ordinance unconstitutional.
Hence, this appeal by the city of Manila.
Whether Ordinance No. 4760 of the City of Manila is violative of the
due process clause?
Held: No. Judgment reversed.
"The presumption is towards the validity of a law.” However, the
Judiciary should not lightly set aside legislative action when there is
not a clear invasion of personal or property rights under the guise of
police regulation.
O'Gorman & Young v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co- Case was in the
scope of police power. As underlying questions of fact may
condition the constitutionality of legislation of this character, the
resumption of constitutionality must prevail in the absence of some
factual foundation of record for overthrowing the statute." No such
factual foundation being laid in the present case, the lower court
deciding the matter on the pleadings and the stipulation of facts,
the presumption of validity must prevail and the judgment against
the ordinance set aside.”
There is no question but that the challenged ordinance was
precisely enacted to minimize certain practices hurtful to public
morals, particularly fornication and prostitution. Moreover, the
increase in the licensed fees was intended to discourage
"establishments of the kind from operating for purpose other than
legal" and at the same time, to increase "the income of the city
Police power is the power to prescribe regulations to promote the
health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general welfare of the
people. In view of the requirements of due process, equal
protection and other applicable constitutional guaranties, however,
the power must not be unreasonable or violative of due process.
There is no controlling and precise definition of due process. It has a
standard to which the governmental action should conform in order
that deprivation of life, liberty or property, in each appropriate case,
be valid. What then is the standard of due process which must exist
both as a procedural and a substantive requisite to free the
challenged ordinance from legal infirmity? It is responsiveness to
the supremacy of reason, obedience to the dictates of justice.
Negatively put, arbitrariness is ruled out and unfairness avoided.
Due process is not a narrow or "technical conception with fixed
content unrelated to time, place and circumstances," decisions
based on such a clause requiring a "close and perceptive inquiry into
fundamental principles of our society." Questions of due process
are not to be treated narrowly or pedantically in slavery to form or
Nothing in the petition is sufficient to prove the ordinance’s nullity
for an alleged failure to meet the due process requirement.
Cu Unjieng case: Licenses for non-useful occupations are also
incidental to the police power and the right to exact a fee may be
implied from the power to license and regulate, but in fixing amount
of the license fees the municipal corporations are allowed a much
wider discretion in this class of cases than in the former, and aside
from applying the well-known legal principle that municipal
ordinances must not be unreasonable, oppressive, or tyrannical,
courts have, as a general rule, declined to interfere with such
discretion. Eg. Sale of liquors.
Lutz v. Araneta- Taxation may be made to supplement the state’s
police power.
In one case- “much discretion is given to municipal corporations in
determining the amount," here the license fee of the operator of a
massage clinic, even if it were viewed purely as a police power
On the impairment of freedom to contract by limiting duration of
use to twice every 24 hours- It was not violative of due process.
'Liberty' as understood in democracies, is not license; it is 'liberty
regulated by law.' Implied in the term is restraint by law for the
good of the individual and for the greater good of the peace and
order of society and the general well-being.
Laurel- The citizen should achieve the required balance of liberty
and authority in his mind through education and personal discipline,
so that there may be established the resultant equilibrium, which
means peace and order and happiness for all.
The freedom to contract no longer "retains its virtuality as a living
principle, unlike in the sole case of People v Pomar. The policy of
laissez faire has to some extent given way to the assumption by the
government of the right of intervention even in contractual
relations affected with public interest.
What may be stressed sufficiently is that if the liberty involved were
freedom of the mind or the person, the standard for the validity of
governmental acts is much more rigorous and exacting, but where
the liberty curtailed affects at the most rights of property, the
permissible scope of regulatory measure is wider.
On the law being vague on the issue of personal information, the
maintenance of establishments, and the “full rate of payment”Holmes- “We agree to all the generalities about not supplying
criminal laws with what they omit but there is no canon against
using common sense in construing laws as saying what they
obviously mean."
G.R.No.122846 January 20, 2009
WON the ordinance is constitutional.
In 1992, Mayor Alfredo S. Lim signed into law the Ordinance No.
7744 that prohibits hotels, motels, inns, lodging houses, pension
houses and similar establishments from offering short-time
admission, as well as pro-rated or “wash up” rates or other similarly
concocted terms, in the City of Manila.
The apparent goal of the Ordinance is to minimize if not eliminate
the use of the covered establishments for illicit sex, prostitution,
drug use and alike.
Petitioners White Light Corporation (WLC) et. al. filed a petition on
the ground that the Ordinance directly affects their business
interests as operators of drive-in-hotels and motels in Manila.
RTC ruled in favor of the petitioner.
CA reversed the decision and asserted that the Ordinance is a valid
exercise of police power.
NO.The ordinance is null and void as it indeed infringes upon
individual liberty. It also violates the due process clause which
serves as a guaranty for protection against arbitrary regulation or
seizure. The said ordinance invades private rights. Note that not all
who goes into motels and hotels for wash up rate are really there
for obscene purposes only. Some are tourists who needed rest or to
“wash up” or to freshen up. Hence, the infidelity sought to be
avoided by the said ordinance is more or less subjected only to a
limited group of people. The SC reiterates that individual rights may
be adversely affected only to the extent that may fairly be required
by the legitimate demands of public interest or public welfare.
Hence, Petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is
G.R. No. L-38429 June 30, 1988
the Municipal Board of the City of Butuan pass an ordinance
penalizing any person, group of persons, entity, or corporation
engaged in the business of selling admission tickets to any movie or
other public exhibitions, games, contests, or other performances to
require children between seven (7) and twelve (12) years of age to
pay full payment for admission tickets intended for adults but
should charge only one-half of the value of the said tickets.
The Petitioners, theater owners, aggrieved by said ordinance, they
file a complaint before the Court of First Instance of Agusan del
Norte and Butuan City assailing the constitutionalit of Ordinance
No. 640.
The Court rendered judgment declaring Ordinance No. 640 of the
City of Butuan constitutional and valid.
WON Ordinance No. 640 is a valid exercise of police power
YES. Ordinance No. 640 infringes theater owners’ right to property.
While it is true that a business may be regulated, it is equally true
that such regulation must be within the bounds of reason, that is,
the regulatory ordinance must be reasonable, and its provisions
cannot be oppressive amounting to an arbitrary interference with
the business or calling subject of regulation. A lawful business or
calling may not, under the guise of regulation, be unreasonably
interfered with even by the exercise of police power.33 A police
measure for the regulation of the conduct, control and operation of
a business should not encroach upon the legitimate and lawful
exercise by the citizens of their property rights.34 The right of the
owner to fix a price at which his property shall be sold or used is an
inherent attribute of the property itself and, as such, within the
protection of the due process clause."" Hence, the proprietors of a
theater have a right to manage their property in their own way, to
fix what prices of admission they think most for their own
advantage, and that any person who did not approve could stay
Ordinance No. 640 clearly invades the personal and property rights
of petitioners for even if We could assume that, on its face, the
interference was reasonable, from the foregoing considerations, it
has been fully shown that it is an unwarranted and unlawful
curtailment of the property and personal rights of citizens. For being
unreasonable and an undue restraint of trade, it cannot, under the
guise of exercising police power, be upheld as valid.
Wherefore, the decision of the trial court in Special Civil Case No.
237 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and a new judgment is hereby
rendered declaring Ordinance No. 640 unconstitutional and,
therefore, null and void.
medicines, and the law failed to provide a scheme whereby
drugstores will be justly compensated for the discount.
June 29, 2007
G.R. No. 166494
Petitioners are domestic corporations and proprietors operating
drugstores in the Philippines.
Public respondents, on the other hand, include the DSWD, DOH,
DOF, DOJ, and the DILG, specifically tasked to monitor the
drugstores’ compliance with the law; promulgate the implementing
rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the law;
and prosecute and revoke the licenses of erring drugstore
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed into law R.A. No. 9257
otherwise known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003.”
Sec. 4(a) of the Act states that The senior citizens shall be entitled to
the following: (a) the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount from
all establishments relative to the utilization of services in hotels and
similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers,
and purchase of medicines in all establishments for the exclusive
use or enjoyment of senior citizens, including funeral and burial
services for the death of senior citizens;
Petitioners assert that Section 4(a) of the law is unconstitutional
because it constitutes deprivation of private property. Compelling
drugstore owners and establishments to grant the discount will
result in a loss of profit and capital because according to them
drugstores impose a mark-up of only 5% to 10% on branded
WON RA 9257 is constitutional.
YES. The law is a legitimate exercise of police power which, similar
to the power of eminent domain, has general welfare for its object.
Police power is not capable of an exact definition, but has been
purposely veiled in general terms to underscore its
comprehensiveness to meet all exigencies and provide enough
room for an efficient and flexible response to conditions and
circumstances, thus assuring the greatest benefits. Accordingly, it
has been described as the most essential, insistent and the least
limitable of powers, extending as it does to all the great public
needs. It is [t]he power vested in the legislature by the constitution
to make, ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and
reasonable laws, statutes, and ordinances, either with penalties or
without, not repugnant to the constitution, as they shall judge to be
for the good and welfare of the commonwealth, and of the subjects
of the same.
For this reason, when the conditions so demand as determined by
the legislature, property rights must bow to the primacy of police
power because property rights, though sheltered by due process,
must yield to general welfare.
Police power as an attribute to promote the common good would
be diluted considerably if on the mere plea of petitioners that they
will suffer loss of earnings and capital, the questioned provision is
invalidated. Moreover, in the absence of evidence demonstrating
the alleged confiscatory effect of the provision in question, there is
no basis for its nullification in view of the presumption of validity
which every law has in its favor.
Given these, it is incorrect for petitioners to insist that the grant of
the senior citizen discount is unduly oppressive to their business,
because petitioners have not taken time to calculate correctly and
come up with a financial report, so that they have not been able to
show properly whether or not the tax deduction scheme really
works greatly to their disadvantage.
In treating the discount as a tax deduction, petitioners insist that
they will incur losses. However,petitioner’s computation is clearly
For purposes of reimbursement, the law states that the cost of the
discount shall be deducted from gross income, the amount of
income derived from all sources before deducting allowable
expenses, which will result in net income. Here, petitioners tried to
show a loss on a per transaction basis, which should not be the
case. An income statement, showing an accounting of petitioners
sales, expenses, and net profit (or loss) for a given period could have
accurately reflected the effect of the discount on their income.
Absent any financial statement, petitioners cannot substantiate
their claim that they will be operating at a loss should they give the
discount. In addition, the computation was erroneously based on
the assumption that their customers consisted wholly of senior
citizens. Lastly, the 32% tax rate is to be imposed on income, not on
the amount of the discount.
While the Constitution protects property rights, petitioners must
accept the realities of business and the State, in the exercise of
police power, can intervene in the operations of a business which
may result in an impairment of property rights in the process.
GR No. 84132-
a petition with the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna, for the
cancellation of the mortgage lien in favor of the private respondent.
For its part, the private respondent took steps to extrajudicially
foreclose the mortgage, prompting the petitioners to file a second
case with the same court to stop the foreclosure. The two cases
were consolidated
The particular enactment in question is Presidential Decree No.
1717, which ordered the rehabilitation of the Agrix Group of
Companies to be administered mainly by the National Development
After the submission by the parties of their respective pleadings, the
trial court rendered the impugned decision. Judge Francisco Ma.
Guerrero annulled not only the challenged provision, viz., Sec. 4 (1),
but the entire Pres. Decree No. 1717 on the grounds that:
The law outlined the procedure for filling claims against the Agrix
Companies and created a claims committee to process these claims.
(1) the presidential exercise of legislative power was a violation of
the principle of separation of powers;
Especially relevant to this case, and noted at the outset, is section
4(1) thereof providing that “all mortgages and other liens presently
attaching to any of the assets of the dissolved corporations are
hereby extinguished.”
(2) The law impaired the obligation of contracts; and
33 December 10, 1990
Earlier, the Agrix Marketing Inc. had executed in favor of private
respondent Philippine Veterans Bank a real estate mortgage dated
July 7, 1978 over three parcels of land situated in Los Baños,
During the existence of the mortgage, Agrix went bankrupt. It was
the expressed purpose of salvaging this and the other Agrix
companies that the aforementioned decree was issued by President
Pursuant thereto, the private respondent filed a claim with the
AGRIX Claims Committee for the payment of its loan credit. In the
meantime, the New Agrix, Inc. and the National Development
Company, petitioners herein, invoking Sec. 4 (1) of the decree, filed
(3) the decree violated the equal protection clause. The motion for
reconsideration of this decision having been denied, the present
petition was filed.
The Court granted the petitioner's prayer for a temporary
restraining order and instructed the respondents to cease and
desist from conducting a public auction sale of the lands in
The petitioners contend that the private respondent is now
estopped from contesting the validity of the decree.
The Court, after noting that the petitioners had already filed their
claims with the AGRIX Claims Committee created by the decree, had
simply dismissed the petition on the ground of estoppel.
The petitioners stress that in the case at bar the private respondent
also invoked the provisions of Pres. Decree No. 1717 by filing a
claim with the AGRIX Claims Committee. Failing to get results, it
sought to foreclose the real estate mortgage executed by AGRIX in
its favor, which had been extinguished by the decree. It was only
when the petitioners challenged the foreclosure on the basis of Sec.
4 (1) of the decree, that the private respondent attacked the validity
of the provision. At that stage, however, consistent with Mendoza,
the private respondent was already estopped from questioning the
constitutionality of the decree.
WON Philippine Veterans Bank as creditor of Agrix is still entitled for
payment without prejudice to PD 1717.
YES. A mortgage lien is a property right derived from contract and
so comes under the protection of Bill of rights so do interests on
loans, as well as penalties and charges, which are also vested rights
once they accrue. Private property cannot simply be taken by law
from one person and given to another without just compensation
and any known public purpose. This is plain arbitrariness and is not
permitted under the constitution.
The court also feels that the decree impairs the obligation of the
contract between Agrix and the private respondent without
justification. While it is true that the police power is superior to the
impairment clause, the principle will apply only where the contract
is so related to the public welfare that it will be considered
congenitally susceptible to change by the legislature in the interest
of greater number.
Our finding in sum, is that PD 1717 is an invalid exercise of the
police power, not being in conformity with the traditional
requirements of a lawful subject and a lawful method. The
extinction of the mortgage and other liens and of the interest and
other charges pertaining to the legitimate creditors of Agrix
constitutes taking without due process of law, and this is
compounded by the reduction of the secured creditors to the
category of unsecured creditors in violation of the equal protection
clause. Moreover, the new corporation being neither owned nor
controlled by the government, should have been created only by
general and not special law. And in so far as the decree also
interferes with purely private agreements without any
demonstrated connection with the public interest, there is likewise
an impairment of the obligation of the contract.
G.R. No. L-49112 February 2, 1979
Petitioner, Agustin assails the validity of the Letter of Instruction No.
229 which requires an early warning device to be carried by users of
motor vehicles as being violative of the constitutional guarantee of
due process and transgresses the fundamental principle of nondelegation of legislative power.
Herein respondent Romeo Edu in his capacity as Land
Transportation Commisioner set forth the implementing rules and
regulations of the said instruction.
Petitioner make known that he "is the owner of a Volkswagen
Beetle Car, Model 13035, already properly equipped when it came
out from the assembly lines with blinking lights fore and aft, which
could very well serve as an early warning device in case of the
emergencies mentioned in Letter of Instructions No. 229, as
amended, as well as the implementing rules and regulations in
Administrative Order No. 1 issued by the land transportation
Furthermore, he contends that the law is "one-sided, onerous and
patently illegal and immoral because [they] will make
manufacturers and dealers instant millionaires at the expense of car
owners who are compelled to buy a set of the so-called early
warning device at the rate of P 56.00 to P72.00 per set." are
unlawful and unconstitutional and contrary to the precepts of a
compassionate New Society [as being] compulsory and confiscatory
on the part of the motorists who could very well provide a practical
alternative road safety device, or a better substitute to the specified
set of Early Warning Device (EWD)."
This instruction, signed by President Marcos, aims to prevent
accidents on streets and highways, including expressways or limited
access roads caused by the presence of disabled, stalled or parked
motor vehicles without appropriate early warning devices. The
hazards posed by these disabled vehicles are recognized by
international bodies concerned with traffic safety. The Philippines is
a signatory of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Signs and
Signals and the United Nations Organizations and the said Vienna
Convention was ratified by the Philippine Government under PD
WON the LOI 229 is invalid and violated constitutional guarantees of
due process.
NO. The assailed Letter of Instruction was a valid exercise of police
power and there was no unlawful delegation of legislative power on
the part of the respondent. As identified, police power is a state
authority to enact legislation that may interfere personal liberty or
property in order to promote the general welfare. In this case, the
particular exercise of police power was clearly intended to promote
public safety.
It cannot be disputed that the Declaration of Principle found in the
Constitution possesses relevance: “The Philippines adopts the
generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law
of the nation.”
Thus, as impressed in the 1968 Vienna Convention it is not for this
country to repudiate a commitment to which it had pledged its
word. Our country’s word was resembled in our own act of
legislative ratification of the said Hague and Vienna Conventions
thru P.D. No. 207 .
The concept of Pacta sunt servanda stands in the way of such an
attitude which is, moreoever, at war with the principle of
international morality.
Petition dismissed.
20, 1994
G.R. No. 111097 July
Pryce assailed the ordinances before the Court of Appeals, where it
was joined by PAGCOR as intervenor and supplemental petitioner.
Court of Appeals declared the ordinances invalid and issued the writ
prayed for to prohibit their enforcement. 1 Reconsideration of this
decision was denied against petitioners.
PAGCOR is a corporation created directly by P.D. 1869 to help
centralize and regulate all games of chance, including casinos on
land and sea within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines.
Hence, this petition for review under Rule 45.
PAGCOR decided to expand its operations to Cagayan de Oro City. It
leased a portion of a building belonging to Pryce Properties
Corporations, Inc., renovated & equipped the same, and prepared
to inaugurate its casino during the Christmas season.
Then Mayor Magtajas together with the city legislators and civil
organizations of the City of Cagayan de Oro denounced such
In reaction to this project, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Cagayan
de Oro City enacted two (2) ordinances prohibiting the issuance of a
business permit and canceling existing business permit to
establishment for the operation of casino (ORDINANCE NO. 3353)
and an ordinance prohibiting the operation of casino and providing
penalty for its violation. (ORDINANCE NO. 3375-93).
WON Ordinance No. 3353 and Ordinance No. 3375-93 are a valid
exercise of police power.
NO. The ordinances enacted are invalid. Ordinances should not
contravene a statute. Municipal governments are merely agents of
the National Government. Local Councils exercise only delegated
powers conferred by Congress. The delegate cannot be superior to
the principal powers higher than those of the latter. PD 1869
authorized casino gambling. As a statute, it cannot be
amended/nullified by a mere ordinance.
As to petitioners attack on gambling as harmful and immoral, the
Court stressed that the morality of gambling is not a justiciable
issue. Gambling is not illegal per se. While it is generally considered
inimical to the interests of the people, there is nothing in the
Constitution categorically proscribing or penalizing gambling or, for
that matter, even mentioning it at all. It is left to Congress to deal
with the activity as it sees fit. In the exercise of its own discretion,
the legislature may prohibit gambling altogether or allow it without
limitation or it may prohibit some forms of gambling and allow
others for whatever reasons it may consider sufficient. Thus, it has
prohibited jueteng and monte but permits lotteries, cockfighting,
and horse-racing. In making such choices, Congress has consulted its
own wisdom, which this Court has no authority to review, much less
reverse. Well has it been said that courts do not sit to resolve the
merits of conflicting theories. That is the prerogative of the political
departments. It is settled that questions regarding the wisdom,
morality, or practicability of statutes are not addressed to the
judiciary but may be resolved only by the legislative and executive
departments, to which the function belongs in our scheme of
government. That function is exclusive. Whichever way these
branches decide, they are answerable only to their own conscience
and the constituents who will ultimately judge their acts, and not to
the courts of justice.
349 Phil. 434
[ GR No. 127073, Jan 29, 1998 ]
allegedly[4] subleased to Joy Mart Consolidated Corporation (Joy
Mart)[5] for P199,710.00 per month.
Sometime in 1984, then Minister of Human Settlements Imelda R.
Marcos and then Transportation and Communications Minister Jose
P. Dans, Jr., petitioners herein, entered into several contracts
involving the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and the Philippine
General Hospital Foundation, Inc. (PGHFI). Concurrently and
respectively, Marcos and Dans served as ex-oficio Chairman and exoficio Vice-Chairman of the LRTA, and as Chairman and Director of
the Board of Trustees of the PGHFI. By virtue of these agreements,
which were authorized and in fact ratified by the LRTA Board of
Directors, two vacant LRTA lots consisting of a 7,340-square meter
parcel of land located in Pasay City (the Pasay lot), and a 1,141.20square meter lot in Carriedo, Sta. Cruz, Manila (the Sta. Cruz lot),
were leased out to the PGHFI. Specifically, the LRTA and the PGHFI,
represented by Dans and Marcos, respectively, approved three
deeds, namely, an "Agreement for the Development of the Areas
Adjacent to the Light Rail Transit System Stations and the
Management and Operation of the Concession Areas Therein,"[1]
and two lease agreements[2] dated June 8 and June 18, 1984,
covering the Pasay and the Sta. Cruz lots. The terms of the lease
agreements were identical except as to the price: the lease would
be good for 25 years subject to an annual escalation of 7.5%; PGHFI
had the right to sublease the lots; and the monthly lease was
P102,760.00 for the Pasay lot and P92,437.20 for the Sta. Cruz lot.
Within the same month, the Pasay lot was subleased by PGHFI,
through Marcos, to Transnational Construction Corporation
(TNCC)[3] for P734,000.00 a month, while the Sta. Cruz lot was
Because of these deeds, petitioners were charged on January 14,
1992, with a violation of Republic Act No. 3019 (the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Act).
In short, Marcos and Dans were separately charged under Criminal
Case Nos. 17451 and 17452 for accepting employment in and/or
acting as Chairman and Director, respectively, of the PGHFI while
the latter had pending business (the lease agreements) with the
LRTA, which they both also headed. With regard to the other cases,
Criminal Case Nos. 17449, 17450 and 17453, the accusations against
both of them stemmed from the contracts they signed in
representation of the LRTA and of the PGHFI which were allegedly
entered into "under terms and conditions manifestly and grossly
disadvantageous to the government."
When arraigned, petitioners pleaded "not guilty" to all of the
charges. Before trial could commence, Dans moved for the advance
examination of defense witness Ramon F. Cuervo, Jr., a real estate
broker, appraiser and friend of Dans who, as an expert witness, was
in a position to inform the court that the agreed lease prices stated
in the subject agreements were fair based on standard industry
valuation standards. The court a quo granted said motion, and
Cuervo was allowed to testify on August 12, 13, and 19, 1992.
During this time, Marcos never questioned Cuervo and later
expressed that she had no desire to further examine him.[6] Five
days after the final hearing of Cuervo's testimony, the trial of the
five cases opened with the formal offer of the prosecution's
documentary evidence, which included, inter alia, the five
agreements mentioned earlier. On November 23, 1992, the court
issued an order admitting all the exhibits except Exhibits "D" and "E"
as to Dans, who challenged the two sublease agreements, and
Exhibit "E-1" as to Marcos, who, while accepting the validity of said
sublease agreement, nevertheless questioned the authenticity of
her signature thereon.
In Criminal Case No. 17543, Dans filed a Motion to Dismiss
(demurrer to evidence) dated December 7, 1992, but the court
denied the same, as well as his motion for reconsideration thereof.
By the time the case was submitted for decision, Marcos had
neither submitted a formal offer of evidence, despite notice of the
court's orders[7] to do so, nor the required memorandum. She did
file a motion for inhibition of the justices of the Sandiganbayan's
First Division on the ground of pre-judgment of her case based on
the court's denial of Dans' demurrer to evidence, but this was
denied in the court's resolution of May 20, 1993.
On September 24, 1993, the court a quo rendered judgment,[8]
acquitting petitioners in Criminal Case Nos. 17449, 17451, and
17452, but convicting them in Criminal Case Nos. 17450 and 17453.
Petitioners filed their respective motions for reconsideration of the
court's decision on October 8, 1993. The Office of the Solicitor
General also filed a motion for partial reconsideration on the same
date, seeking civil indemnity for the People of the Philippines. On
November 13, 1996, respondent court promulgated two
resolutions, one denying the motion of Dans,[9] and another
denying that of Marcos and modifying the assailed September 24,
1993, decision with the addition of a sixth paragraph in the
dispositive portion which dealt with the civil liability of petitioners.
Aggrieved, petitioners separately elevated their case to this Court
for a review on the following grounds:
G.R. No. 127073
Respondent Court erred in denying petitioner's demurrer to
evidence in Criminal Case No. 17453 on the basis of
baseless assumptions and conjectures not established by
evidence. Worse, in violation of mandatory rules of
evidence, the denial of the demurrer was made to rest on
the advance, conditional testimony of defense witness
Ramon Cuervo which had not yet been offered in evidence.
Respondent Court erred in concluding that the two lease
contracts in question were manifestly and grossly
disadvantageous to the government despite unrebutted
evidence that their terms and conditions were fair and
reasonable and did not prejudice the Government.
Respondent Court erred when it assumed without
evidentiary basis that LRTA had put up or would put up
buildings on the leased land.
Respondent Court erred in holding that the lease contracts
were also grossly disadvantageous to the Government
because "non-payment of rentals . . . was not actionable
unless the rentals were in arrears for one year", citing the
stipulation: "Should there be a delay in any payment of the
rental consideration equivalent to one year, the lessor shall
have the right to take possession of the premises, the
property and improvements thereon, the ownership of all
improvements thereby accruing to the lessor." (Stip. II, par.
Assuming without admitting that LRTA would receive less
than fair rental under the disputed lease contracts,
respondent Court erred when it considered injury to LRTA
as necessarily an injury to the Government, notwithstanding
that such supposed injury to LRTA was offset by the
corresponding benefit enuring to the Philippine General
Hospital (a government hospital funded by government
funds), which is inconsistent with the theory that the
disputed lease contracts were disadvantageous to "the
Government." Under Sec. 3(g) of R.A. No. 3019 which seeks
to protect public interest in general by condemning
contracts disadvantageous to the Government, the term
"government" is used in its widest sense so as to include
"the national government, the government-owned and
government-controlled corporations, and all other
instrumentalities or agencies of the Republic of the
Philippines and their branches." [Sec. 2(a)].
While respondent Court was duty-bound to be just and
impartial, it failed to give petitioner a fair trial, who was
thereby denied due process of law. Respondent Court was
plainly biased against, if not downright hostile to,
petitioner; it unfairly allied itself with the prosecution,
which made it prosecutor and judge at the same time.
Aside from the foregoing, the appealed decision is flawed
by fatal infirmities which have effectively denied petitioner
due process of law."
The questioned Decision is a nullity because Section 3 (g) of
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019, as
amended) is unconstitutional for being, on its face, void for
The questioned Decision is a nullity because Section 3 (g) of
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (RA 3019, as
amended) is unconstitutional for being a "rider."
The questioned Decision is a nullity because the
Informations in SB Criminal Cases Nos. 17450 and 17453 did
not state all the essential facts constituting the offense but
instead stated conclusions of law, thereby denying the
Petitioner her constitutional right to be informed of "the
nature and the cause of the accusation" against her (Sec. 14
(2), Bill of Rights).
The questioned Decision is a nullity because the Information
in said SB Criminal Cases Nos. 17450 and 17453 charged
only two of the total number of members in the Board of
Directors of the LRTA and the Board of Directors of the PGH
Foundation, who had participated in the collective acts,
thereby singling Petitioner and her companion for
discriminatory prosecution, in violation of her right to Equal
Protection of the Laws, which violation existed from the
filing of the information and cannot be cured by post hoc
The questioned Decision is a nullity, because of the
participation therein of Mr. Justice Garchitorena, whose
long-standing bias and hostility towards President Marcos
and Petitioner Imelda R. Marcos prevented him from having
the requisite "cold neutrality of an impartial judge," in
violation of her right as an accused person to Procedural
Due Process of Law.
The questioned Decision is a nullity because Petitioner was
denied of her Constitutional Right to counsel.
Facts of record showing that Petitioner was deprived of and
denied her Right to Counsel. Under the circumstances of
record, the absence of counsel resulting from imposition of
suspension from the practice of law upon her retained
counsel, constituted deprivation of or denial of the Right to
Counsel. Facts of record showing legal representation of
Petitioner Imelda Marcos was not adequate.
The questioned Decision is premature and had disregarded
the constitutional right of the Petitioner to present
evidence in her behalf. Her right to testify in her own behalf
is a guaranteed right, the exercise of which is her personal
choice alone, and which counsel had no authority to waive
in her behalf. Besides, counsel being suspended, he could
not have made a waiver. This constitutional right "to be
heard by himself and counsel" she is invoking now, as part
of her right to due process (Sec. 14 (1) and (2), Bill of
The questioned Decision is a nullity for it was rendered in
derogation of Petitioner's subsisting right to be heard and
to submit evidence in her defense. The finding of waiver is a
prejudicial error. The evidence thereof on the record is
tenuous. A waiver by an accused person of the right to be
heard in her defense, including her right to testify in her
own behalf must be indubitable, and is valid only if
personally exercised through her own manifestation in open
The questioned Decision is a nullity because the crime
charged was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and
the presumption of innocence was not overcome, which is
required by Due Process.
There was no disadvantage to the Government.
PGH Foundation is part of the "Government".
There was no disadvantage to the "Government" because the
PGH, which is part of the Government benefitted.
iii. Facts of record, especially the questioned leases, show no
Conviction was based on weakness of defense evidence and not
(on) strength of prosecution's evidence.
Conviction was based on pure speculation.
Respondent Sandiganbayan (First Division) erred in holding
the leases disadvantageous as to rental in absence of evidence
existing at the time that higher rentals should have been paid.
The questioned Decision and Resolution are null and void
because the Respondent Sandiganbayan (First Division)
acted without jurisdiction in issuing the questioned Decision
and Resolution since the records clearly show that the Court
with jurisdiction over these cases is the Special Division of
Five Justices created by Admin. Order 288-93 pursuant to
Sec. 5 of PD 1606 as amended and not Respondent
Sandiganbayan (First Division)."
Respondent Sandiganbayan erred in holding that rentals for
sub-leases were evidence of disadvantage when such sub-leases
were made later and negotiated by a charitable foundation
deserving of support through higher rentals.
Assuming arguendo alleged disadvantage, the same was not
manifest nor gross.
Petitioner Marcos did not enter into the questioned lease contracts
on behalf of the Government.
The charge of conspiracy was not proved hence no basis for liability.
Was respondent court correct in denying the demurrer to
evidence of petitioner Dans in Criminal Case No. 17453?
Dans questioned the denial on the ground that the demurrer should
have been resolved solely on the basis of the prosecution's
evidence; and even assuming that it could be resolved using the
evidence for the defense, the latter must have been previously
formally offered.[13]
These arguments are specious and must, therefore, be rejected.
Although a demurrer to evidence must be resolved based on the
evidence of the prosecution, there is nothing in the rules which
would bar the court from taking cognizance of any matter taken up
during the trial or which has become part of the records of the case,
especially in this instance where the disputed evidence was taken in
advance at the request of the defendant himself. Additionally, it is
erroneous to suppose that Cuervo's testimony was not formally
offered at the time because "(t)estimonial evidence is formally
offered by the calling of the witness to the stand."[14] Thus, we find
merit in the manner by which the trial court justified the denial of
Dans' demurrer to evidence.
As in judicial notice of a fact, 'admissions made in the course of the
judicial proceedings are substitutes for, and dispense with, the
actual proof of facts.'[18] The party benefited by the admission is
relieved of the duty of presenting evidence of the admitted fact and
'(t)he court, for the proper decision of the case, may and should
consider, without the introduction of evidence, the fact admitted by
the parties.'[19]
Third, since the advance testimony of Mr. Cuervo was given in open
court and duly recorded, the Court could not just ignore the solemn
declarations therein on the technicality that the testimony had not
been formally offered in evidence. x x x."
In any event, even if the testimony of Cuervo were to be excluded,
there was enough evidence proffered by the prosecution,
particularly Exhibits "B" (the lease agreement in favor of the PGHFI)
and "D" (the sublease agreement in favor of TNCC) which would
have more than justified the denial of the demurrer. In other words,
notwithstanding Cuervo's testimony, these exhibits constitute solid
documentary proof of petitioners' liability under Section 3(g) of R.A.
No. 3019, as amended.
Were the informations filed in Criminal Case Nos. 17450
and 17453 sufficient in form?
There appears to be no doubt that the questioned informations are
reasonably adequate as to apprise Marcos on the nature and cause
of the accusations against her. In the case of Luciano v. Estrella,[20]
the Court had occasion to enumerate the elements of the crime
under Section 3(g), R.A. No. 3019, namely, (1) that the accused is a
public officer; (2) that he entered into a contract or transaction on
behalf of the government; and (3) that such contract or transaction
is grossly and manifestly disadvantageous to the government.
As can be readily observed, the informations meet the minimum
requirements for them to be upheld in court.
It is also alleged that "for a criminal complaint or information to
sufficiently inform the accused of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him, all the essential facts constituting the
offense must be stated therein, and not mere conclusions of
Assuming that the matters which Marcos wanted to see alleged in
the informations are not evidentiary in character, and that they are
really vague and ambiguous, other courses of action could have
been taken, such as filing a motion for a bill of particulars. This is
what the Court precisely suggested in People v. Arlegui.
The more appropriate procedure under the circumstances would
have been an order from the court directing the Fiscal to amend the
information because the defect, if there ever was one, was curable
by the simplest of amendments or clarifications." (Underscoring
In fact, the records reveal that Marcos did file such a motion.[25]
After the prosecution had filed its answer thereto, she was given an
opportunity to file a reply, but she did not, thereby indicating that
she was satisfied with what was already stated in the answer.
Is Section 3(g), R.A. No. 3019, as amended, constitutional?
The validity of this provision is being assailed by petitioner Marcos
on grounds of vagueness and superfluity. She claims that the phrase
"manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government" is
vague for it does not set a definite standard by which the court will
be guided, thus, leaving it open to human subjectivity.
There is, however, nothing "vague" about the statute. The assailed
provision answers the basic query "What is the violation?" Anything
beyond this, the "how's" and the "why's," are evidentiary matters
which the law itself cannot possibly disclose in view of the
uniqueness of every case. The "disadvantage" in this instance is
something that still has to be addressed by the State's evidence as
the trial progresses. It may be said that the law is intended to be
flexible in order to allow the judge a certain latitude in determining
if the disadvantage to the government occasioned by the act of a
public officer in entering into a particular contract is, indeed, gross
and manifest.
The personal circumstances of an accused are, in this regard, also
immaterial, because of the nature of the statute. We, therefore,
affirm the constitutionality of Section 3(g) of R.A No. 3019, as
4) Was petitioner Marcos deprived of her constitutional right to
be heard by herself or counsel?
Marcos claims that she was not adequately represented by counsel
at the trial due to the suspension from the practice of law of her
counsel of record, Atty. Antonio Coronel. It appears from the
records, however, that during the absence of Atty. Coronel and
sometime thereafter, she was still represented by other lawyers,
including Renato Dilag, Luis Sillano, Perfecto V. Fernandez, Jose and
Cristobal Fernandez, Vicente D. Millora, Juan T. David, Balbino
Diego, and the law firm of Manuel M. Lazaro and Associates. The
representation of Atty. Millora and the Fernandezes subsisted even
in this Court, where they were later substituted by Atty. Estelito
Mendoza. In any event, at the time Atty. Coronel and his
replacements withdrew their respective appearances, all evidence
had already been presented. It is just that Marcos opted not to
present any evidence for her defense, relying, perhaps, on what she
perceived to be glaringly weak prosecution evidence. Or it is not
impossible or far-fetched that her refusal may have been due to her
indifference to or open defiance of the justice system.
Was the evidence properly appreciated by respondent court?
In proclaiming his innocence, Dans relied only on his and Cuervo's
testimony. Marcos, on the other hand, presented no evidence at all,
claiming that she had been prejudged by respondent court. The
prosecution submitted documentary evidence and nothing else. The
question that must first be answered, therefore, is: Was the State's
evidence sufficient to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the
accused, petitioners herein, committed the crimes for which they
were held accountable?
Petitioners were charged with and found guilty of violating Section
3(g) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended. It states thus:
"SEC. 3.
Corrupt practices of public officers. -- In addition to acts
or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the
following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and
are hereby declared to be unlawful:
(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or
transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same,
whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby."
It is clear that for liability to attach under the aforequoted provision,
the public officer concerned must have entered into a contract
which is "manifestly and grossly disadvantageous" to the
Government. The court a quo phrased the focal issue in these
petitions in this wise: "(A)re exhibits 'A,' 'B' and 'C', the Lease
Agreements executed by the LRTA with the PGH Foundation over
the LRT property at the stations in Pasay City and Sta. Cruz (Manila)
'manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the government'?"
A perusal of the prosecution's documentary evidence would readily
reveal, even from a layman's perspective, that the Government was
seriously prejudiced in the transactions under review.
We concur with the observation of the court a quo that, by itself,
Exhibit "A," the "mother contract" which initially granted the PGHFI
a virtual exclusive license or franchise over the subject properties,
"would neither be prejudicial (n)or beneficial to anybody," because
it did not refer to any specific property or consideration. Hence,
petitioners were correctly acquitted in Criminal Case No. 17449,
which was based on this agreement.
With regard to Criminal Case Nos. 17450 and 17453, the Court is
likewise constrained to agree with the trial court that the
Government suffered a manifest and gross disadvantage with the
execution of the two lease agreements, Exhibits "B" and "C." The
facts in this regard are undisputed.
The monthly rental price agreed upon between the LRTA and the
PGHFI for the lease of the Pasay lot was P102,760.00, and for the
Sta. Cruz lot, it was P92,437.20. Barely ten days later, the very same
properties were subleased by PGHFI to private entities for
P734,000.00 (for the Pasay lot) and P199,710.00 (for the Sta. Cruz
lot). The difference in the lease price is too enormous to ignore, for
no market force could possibly have raised the rental cost in the
same site by that margin in just over a week. Even by conservative
estimates, the properties could have originally been leased out for
at least P500,000.00[27] more. The Government was thereby
deprived of at least an additional half a million pesos per month.
Indubitably, there was some kind of conflict of interest in the
premises. Marcos and Dans, who were then Cabinet members,
occupied the highest positions in the Boards of the LRTA and the
PGHFI in a concurrent capacity at the time the questioned deals
were made. They were, as it were, playing both ends; but on paper,
one was acting for the lessor and the other for the lessee. The fact
that petitioners were cleared of the charge that they acted
improperly in accepting seats in the PGHFI Board of Trustees at the
time when it had pending business transactions with the LRTA, of
which they were also officers is of no moment. First, their acquittal
in Criminal Case No. 17451 and No. 17452 was simply due to the
insufficiency of the informations. Second, the accusation in said
informations have no bearing whatsoever on the subject matter of
the other cases filed against them as signatories to the assailed
lease agreements.
The prosecution never attempted to establish a connection
between the two defendants in committing the acts for which they
were charged. It is a fundamental rule, however, that a charge of
conspiracy must be proven just like any other criminal accusation,
that is, "independently and beyond reasonable doubt."[35] In this
regard, therefore, this Court's opinion that the alleged conspiracy
between the petitioners was not sufficiently established by the
State's evidence.
6) Were the members of the Sandiganbayan's First Division
biased against petitioners? Consequently, is the assailed decision
dated September 24, 1993, valid?
Petitioners consider erroneous the active participation of the
members of the Sandiganbayan's First Division during the hearing of
Cuervo's testimony. The records reveal that, indeed, the court a quo
may have participated more actively than usual in the examination
of Cuervo in order to elicit from him the information that would nail
down the prosecution's basic theory, thus rendering unassailable
the conclusions which are now being impugned by petitioners who
argue that the extensive questioning of Cuervo[36] made the
Sandiganbayan, particularly Justice Garchitorena, not only a judge,
but a prosecutor as well.
To be sure, instead of being satisfied with Cuervo's testimonial
affirmation of what it had all along considered to be the fair rental
value of the properties, the court a quo relied on his responses to
numerous postulated queries thereby concluding there was a "gross
disparity" in the lease price, as agreed upon by the parties, and the
projected rental price, as estimated by Cuervo. Indeed, if the trial
court's conclusions were to be followed, the Pasay lot should fetch a
monthly rental of P210,000.00 and the Sta. Cruz lot, P400,000.00.
These figures are extrapolated from the potential rental price of the
lots, considering its location.
Petitioners point out that the limitations on the right of judges to
ask questions during the trial were not observed by the
Sandiganbayan. They accuse Justice Garchitorena of acting more of
a prosecutor than the impartial judge he is supposed to be,
particularly during the examination of Cuervo. Lest we be distracted
by this allegation of bias on the part of respondent court, it must be
remembered that petitioners were never prejudiced by such
questioning,[37] which is about the only thing that would make a
string of queries by a judge objectionable. As the following
discussion will reveal, the trial court's interpretation of Cuervo's
testimony is immaterial because of the sufficiency of the
documentary evidence of the prosecution to prove the charges
against herein petitioners.
and gross disadvantage to the government occasioned by Exhibit
"B," was admitted by the court and by the parties themselves, the
validity of Exhibit "E" cannot, even up to this point, be determined
with certainty because it is a mere uncertified photocopy of the
original. Thus, the "gross and manifest" disadvantage to the
government, which Exhibit "E" was supposed to engender, remains
an allegation which cannot be proved by other direct evidence. The
fact that only Dans objected to its admissibility does not mean that
it is valid as to Marcos. As a result, both petitioners should be, as
they are hereby, acquitted in Criminal Case No. 17453 on ground of
reasonable doubt.
In Criminal Case No. 17450, we must further qualify our judgment.
In view of the circumstances obtaining here, we find that the trial
court's active role in this regard was necessary to clarify the mostly
technical aspect of Cuervo's testimony.
In Criminal Case No. 17453, we do not concur with the conclusions
reached by the court a quo. The culpability of petitioners in this case
stems from their entering into the lease agreement (Exhibit "C")
over the Sta. Cruz lot under terms and conditions manifestly and
grossly disadvantageous to the government, which, in this instance,
is the LRTA. To prove this assertion, the prosecution presented in
evidence the sublease agreement (Exhibit "E") over the same
property showing the disparity in the rental price. While the
authenticity of Exhibit "D," which was used to prove the manifest
As regards petitioner Dans, the Court is of the opinion that the
prosecution failed to prove his guilt in committing the offenses
charged beyond a reasonable doubt. We believe that his liability, if
any, could only stem from a knowledge of the terms of the sublease
agreements, Exhibits "D" and "E," which formed the core of the
Court's appraisal of the manifest and gross disadvantage to the
government. Exhibit "E," as already discussed, was correctly
disregarded by the court a quo for being unauthenticated. Even
though he was a Board Director of the PGHFI, Dans denied any
knowledge of the execution of Exhibits "D" and "E," and his denial
was never disproved by the prosecution. In fact, his signature does
not appear in either sublease agreements. Neither was the alleged
conspiracy between him and Marcos established by the
It is this Court's opinion, however, that the guilt of petitioner
Marcos was proved by the State beyond reasonable doubt. She was
charged with violation of Section 3(g) of R.A. No. 3019, as amended,
for executing a lease agreement (Exhibit "B") in behalf of the PGHFI,
a private enterprise of which she was the Chairman, over a lot
located in Pasay City owned by the LRTA, a government corporation
of which she was undeniably also the Chairman. The consideration
therefor was shown to be unfair and unreasonable upon
comparison with the rental price stipulated in the sublease
agreement (Exhibit "D") which she subsequently signed for the
PGHFI in favor of TNCC. That she should be held responsible is
shown by the presence of her signature in Exhibits "A" to "E," where
she acts in different capacities. She cannot, under these
circumstances, claim ignorance of the great disparity between the
rental price stipulated in the lease and the sublease agreements.
Consequently, in Criminal Case No. 17450, the conviction of
petitioner Marcos should be, as it is hereby, upheld.
Finally, the Court observes that the Sandiganbayan awarded
damages to the People in the amount of P32,172,000.00 in Criminal
Case No. 17450 and P92,268,840.00 in Criminal Case No. 17453.
This must be accordingly corrected.
Considering that petitioners were acquitted in Criminal Case No.
17453 due to lack of evidence, the Court deems them likewise free
from any civil liability since the fact from which such liability might
arise no longer exists.[41]
On the other hand, in Criminal Case No. 17450, the Court observes
that an error has been committed in the computation of the
damages to be awarded to the People. The trial court based its
figures on the amount it perceived to be the fair rental value of the
Pasay lot, as estimated by Cuervo, less the rental price stated in
Exhibit "B." Thus, it deducted P102,760.00 (the stipulated monthly
rental for the Pasay lot) from P210,000.00 (Cuervo's estimate, as
interpreted by the court a quo) to arrive at a difference of
P107,240.00, which was multiplied by 12 months to reach an
"annual loss" of P1,286,880.00.[42] This amount was then
multiplied by the life span of the lease contract, which is 25 years,
to come up with the final award of P32,172,000.00.[43]
Since the estimates of Cuervo were found to be mere "estimates," it
is difficult to imagine why the trial court used them as basis for its
calculation of damages. As we have already demonstrated, the
gross and manifest disadvantage to the government in Criminal
Case No. 17450 was determined by comparing Exhibits "B" and "D."
The conviction of Marcos was predicated on the nexus between
these two documents, as well as on her obvious conflict of interest
in entering into them. By the same token, her civil liability must also
be made to depend on these two pieces of evidence. The correct
figures should be those stated in Exhibits "B" and "D," to wit:
P734,000.00 (the stipulated monthly sublease rental for the Pasay
lot) less P102,760.00 (the agreed monthly lease price for said
property) times 12 months times 25 years. Thus, P734,000.00 P102,760.00 = P631,240.00 x 12 months = P7,574,880.00 x 25 years
= P189,372,000.00.
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
AFFIRMING the CONVICTION of petitioner Imelda R. Marcos in
Criminal Case No. 17450, with the modification that said petitioner
is hereby ordered to pay the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) the
SEVENTY-TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P189,372,000.00), as and by way
of reimbursement for the prejudice caused thereto resulting from
the execution of the lease contract dated June 8, 1984; and
REVERSING the CONVICTION of petitioner Imelda R. Marcos in
Criminal Case No. 17453 and of petitioner Jose P. Dans, Jr. in
Criminal Case No. 17450 and No. 17453, on ground of reasonable
Corona vs. UHPAP
The Philippine Ports Authority [PPA] was created through PD 505, as
amended by PD857 to “control, regulate, supervise pilots and the
pilot age profession”.
After hearing from relevant government agencies, pursuant to said
charter, PPA General Manager Rogelio A. Dayan issued
Administrative Order 04-92 [PPA-AO 04-92] and corresponding
Memorandum Order in 1992, stating that all existing regular
appointments which have been previously issued shall remain valid
up to 31 December 1992 only and that all appointments to harbor
pilot positions in all pilot age districts shall, henceforth, be only for a
term of one year from date of effectivity subject to yearly renewal
or cancellation by the Authority after conduct of a rigid evaluation
of performance” to regulate and improve pilot services by instilling
discipline and give better protection to port users. PPA-AO 04-92
replaces PPA-AO 03-85 which succinctly provides that, aspiring
pilots must have a license and train as probationary pilots, and only
upon satisfactory performance, are given permanent and regular
appointments by the PPA itself and to exercise harbor pilot age until
they reach the age of 70.Upon learning of PPA-AO 04-92 only after
publication in the newspaper, the United Harbor Pilots Association
of the Philippines: (a) questioned said PPA-AO twice before the
DOTC, which Secretary Garcia said twice that only the PPA Board of
Directors [as governing body] has exclusive jurisdiction to review,
recall or annul PPA-AOs, (b) appealed to the Office of the President,
which first issued a restraining order to the PPA on the
implementation of the PPA-AO, and after PPA’s answer, then
dismissed the appeal/petition and lifted said order, stating, through
Assistant Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Renato C. Corona,
that the PPA-AO (i) merely implements PPA Charter, (ii) issuance is
an act of PPA, not of its General Manager, (iii) merely regulates, not
forbids practice of the profession, recognizing that such exercise is
property right, and (iv) sufficiently complied with the requirement
in the PD to consult only with relevant Government Agencies and
(d) finally finding affirmative relief with Manila RTC Br. 6. Court,
which ruled that (i) said PPA-AO is null and void (ii) PPA acted in
excess of jurisdiction with grave abuse of discretion and (iii)
imposed a permanent restraining order on PPA on its
implementation.Assistant Executive Secretary Corona thus filed
petition for review [of the Manila RTC Decision] to the Supreme
1.) Whether or not the respondents have acted in excess of
2.) Whether or not the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) violate
respondents’ right to exercise their profession and their right to due
process of law.
WHEREFORE, for all the foregoing, this Court hereby rules that:
Respondents (herein petitioners) have acted in excess of jurisdiction
and with grave abuse of discretion and in a capricious, whimsical
and arbitrary manner in promulgating PPA Administrative Order 0492 including all its implementing Memoranda, Circulars and Orders;
PPA Administrative Order 04-92 and its implementing Circulars and
Orders are declared null and void;
The respondents are permanently enjoined from implementing PPA
Administrative Order 04-92 and its implementing Memoranda,
Circulars and Orders.
No costs. SO ORDERED
G.R. No. 121777. January 24,
Accused-appellant Carol M. dela Piedra was charged of illegal
recruitment in large scale by promising an employment abroad
Maria Lourdes Modesto y Gadrino, Nancy Araneta y Aliwanag and
Jennelyn Baez y Timbol, a job to Singapore without having
previously obtained from the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration, a license or authority to engage in recruitment and
overseas placement of workers. In fact said Maria Lourdes Modesto
had already advanced the amount of P2,000.00 to the accused for
and in consideration of the promised employment which did not
materialize. Thus causing damage and prejudice to the latter in the
said sum.
Erlie Ramos, Attorney II of the Philippine Overseas Employment
Agency (POEA), received a telephone call from an unidentified
woman inquiring about the legitimacy of the recruitment conducted
by a certain Mrs. Carol Figueroa. Ramos. An entrapment was then
planned by the Criminal Investigation Service (CIS) headed by Capt.
Mendoza and successfully arrested the accused-appellant.
Later on, in the course of their investigation, the CIS discovered that
Carol Figueroa had many aliases, among them, Carol Llena and Carol
dela Piedra.
At the trial, the prosecution presented five (5) witnesses, namely,
Erlie Ramos, SPO2 Erwin Manalopilar, Eileen Fermindoza, Nancy
Araneta and Lourdes Modesto and all of them positively testified
that the accused offer them a job to Singapore.
The trial found the accused-appellant guilty of beyond reasonable
doubt of Illegal Recruitment committed in a large scale.
WON Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code defining recruitment and
placement is void for vagueness and, thus, violates the due process
NO. Article 13 (b) of the Labor Code is not a vague provision.
As a rule, a statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks
comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence must
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ as to its application. It is
repugnant to the Constitution in two respects: (1) it violates due
process for failure to accord persons, especially the parties targeted
by it, fair notice of the conduct to avoid; and (2) it leaves law
enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying out its provisions and
become an arbitrary flexing of the Government muscle.
The court cannot sustain the Appellant argument that the acts that
constitute recruitment and placement suffer from overbreadth
since by merely referring a person for employment, a person may
be convicted of illegal recruitment.
Evidently,appellant has taken the penultimate paragraph in the
excerpt quoted above out of context. The Court, in Panis case,
merely bemoaned the lack of records that would help shed light on
the meaning of the proviso. The absence of such records
notwithstanding, the Court was able to arrive at a reasonable
interpretation of the proviso by applying principles in criminal law
and drawing from the language and intent of the law itself. Section
13 (b), therefore, is not a perfectly vague act whose obscurity is
evident on its face. If at all, the proviso therein is merely couched in
imprecise language that was salvaged by proper construction. It is
not void for vagueness.
that it fails to give adequate warning of the boundary between the
constitutionally permissible and the constitutionally impermissible
applications of the statute
An act will be declared void and inoperative on the ground of
vagueness and uncertainty, only upon a showing that the defect is
such that the courts are unable to determine, with any reasonable
degree of certainty, what the legislature intended. x x x. In this
connection we cannot permit reference to the rule that legislation
should not be held invalid on the ground of uncertainty if
susceptible of any reasonable construction that will support and
give it effect. An Act will not be declared inoperative and ineffectual
on the ground that it furnishes no adequate means to secure the
purpose for which it is passed, if men of common sense and reason
can devise and provide the means, and all the instrumentalities
necessary for its execution are within the reach of those entrusted
In Blo Umpar Adiong vs. Commission on Elections,for instance, we
struck down as void for overbreadth provisions prohibiting the
posting of election propaganda in any place including private
vehicles other than in the common poster areas sanctioned by the
COMELEC. We held that the challenged provisions not only deprived
the owner of the vehicle the use of his property but also deprived
the citizen of his right to free speech and information. The
prohibition in Adiong, therefore, was so broad that it covered even
constitutionally guaranteed rights and, hence, void for over
That Section 13 (b) encompasses what appellant apparently
considers as customary and harmless acts such as labor or
employment referral (referring an applicant, according to appellant,
for employment to a prospective employer) does not render the law
over broad. Evidently, appellant misapprehends concept of over
A statute may be said to be over broad where it operates to inhibit
the exercise of individual freedoms affirmatively guaranteed by the
Constitution, such as the freedom of speech or religion. A generally
worded statute, when construed to punish conduct which cannot be
constitutionally punished is unconstitutionally vague to the extent
In the present case, however, appellant did not even specify what
constitutionally protected freedoms are embraced by the definition
of recruitment and placement that would render the same
constitutionally over broad.
November 19, 2001
G.R. No. 148560.
Former President Estrada and co-accused were charged for Plunder
under RA 7080 (An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of
Plunder), as amended by RA 7659.
On the information, it was alleged that Estrada have received
billions of pesos through any or a combination or a series of overt or
criminal acts, or similar schemes or means thereby unjustly
enriching himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage
of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.
Estrada questions the constitutionality of the Plunder Law since for
1. it suffers from the vice of vagueness
2. it dispenses with the "reasonable doubt" standard in criminal
Later on, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution in Crim. Case No.
26558 finding that a probable cause for the offense of plunder
exists to justify the issuance of warrants for the arrest of the
Estrada moved to quash the Information in Criminal Case No. 26558
on the ground that the facts alleged therein did NOT constitute an
indictable offense since the law on which it was based was
unconstitutional for vagueness and that the Amended Information
for Plunder charged more than one offense. Same was denied.
The questioned provisions of the petitioners are Secs. 1, par. (d), 2
and 4 of the Plunder Law which states that:
Section 1. x x x x (d) "Ill-gotten wealth" means any asset, property,
business, enterprise or material possession of any person within the
purview of Section Two (2) hereof, acquired by him directly or
indirectly through dummies, nominees, agents, subordinates and/or
business associates by any combination or series of the following
means or similar schemes:
(1) Through misappropriation, conversion, misuse, or malversation
of public funds or raids on the public treasury;
Office of the Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan 8
separate Informations against petitioner.
(2) By receiving, directly or indirectly, any commission, gift, share,
percentage, kickbacks or any other form of pecuniary benefit from
any person and/or entity in connection with any government
contract or project or by reason of the office or position of the
public office concerned;
Estrada filed an Omnibus Motion on the grounds of lack of
preliminary investigation, reconsideration/reinvestigation of
offenses and opportunity to prove lack of probable cause but was
(3) By the illegal or fraudulent conveyance or disposition of assets
belonging to the National Government or any of its subdivisions,
agencies or instrumentalities, or government owned or controlled
corporations and their subsidiaries;
3. it abolishes the element of mens rea in crimes already punishable
under The Revised Penal Code.
(4) By obtaining, receiving or accepting directly or indirectly any
shares of stock, equity or any other form of interest or participation
including the promise of future employment in any business
enterprise or undertaking;
(5) By establishing agricultural, industrial or commercial monopolies
or other combinations and/or implementation of decrees and
orders intended to benefit particular persons or special interests; or
(6) By taking advantage of official position, authority, relationship,
connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at
the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people
and the Republic of the Philippines.
Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder, Penalties. - Any public
officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family,
relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates,
subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires illgotten wealth through a combination or series of overt or criminal
acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof, in the aggregate amount or
total value of at least fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be
guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion
perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public
officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of
plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the
imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the
attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances as provided
by the Revised Penal Code shall be considered by the court. The
court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests
and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of
stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in
favor of the State (underscoring supplied).
Section 4. Rule of Evidence. - For purposes of establishing the crime
of plunder, it shall not be necessary to prove each and every
criminal act done by the accused in furtherance of the scheme or
conspiracy to amass, accumulate or acquire ill-gotten wealth, it
being sufficient to establish beyond reasonable doubt a pattern of
overt or criminal acts indicative of the overall unlawful scheme or
conspiracy (underscoring supplied).
WON the crime of plunder is unconstitutional for being vague?
NO. As long as the law affords some comprehensible guide or rule
that would inform those who are subject to it what conduct would
render them liable to its penalties, its validity will be sustained. The
amended information itself closely tracks the language of the law,
indicating w/ reasonable certainty the various elements of the
offense w/c the petitioner is alleged to have committed.
We discern nothing in the foregoing that is vague or ambiguous that
will confuse petitioner in his defense.
Petitioner, however, bewails the failure of the law to provide for the
statutory definition of the terms “combination” and “series” in the
key phrase “a combination or series of overt or criminal acts. These
omissions, according to the petitioner, render the Plunder Law
unconstitutional for being impermissibly vague and overbroad and
deny him the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation against him, hence violative of his fundamental right to
due process.
A statute is not rendered uncertain and void merely because
general terms are used herein, or because of the employment of
terms without defining them.
A statute or act may be said to be vague when it lacks
comprehensible standards that men of common intelligence most
necessarily guess at its meaning and differ in its application. In such
instance, the statute is repugnant to the Constitution in two (2)
respects – it violates due process for failure to accord persons,
especially the parties targeted by it, fair notice of what conduct to
avoid; and, it leaves law enforcers unbridled discretion in carrying
out its provisions and becomes an arbitrary flexing of the
Government muscle.
A facial challenge is allowed to be made to vague statute and to one
which is overbroad because of possible “chilling effect” upon
protected speech. The possible harm to society in permitting some
unprotected speech to go unpunished is outweighed by the
possibility that the protected speech of others may be deterred and
perceived grievances left to fester because of possible inhibitory
effects of overly broad statutes. But in criminal law, the law cannot
take chances as in the area of free speech.
They question the constitutionality of Sections 4, 5 and 6 of
R.A. No. 9337, amending Sections 106, 107 and 108, respectively, of
the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC).
Section 4 imposes a 10% VAT on sale of goods and
Section 5 imposes a 10% VAT on importation of goods
Section 6 imposes a 10% VAT on sale of services and use or
lease of properties
These questioned provisions contain a uniform proviso
authorizing the President, upon recommendation of the Secretary
of Finance, to raise the VAT rate to 12%, effective January 1, 2006:
Value-added tax collection as a percentage of Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) of the previous year exceeds two and fourfifth percent (2 4/5%); or
Article VI, Section 28(2): The Congress may, by law, authorize the
President to fix within specified limits, and subject to such
limitations and restrictions as it may impose, tariff rates, import and
export quotas, tonnage and wharfage dues and other duties or
imposts within the framework of the national development
program of the Government.
One of the substantive issues is whether Sections 4, 5 and 6 of R.A.
No. 9337, amending Sections 106, 107 and 108 of the NIRC, violate
the following provisions of the Constitution specifically Article VI,
Section 28(2) for ABAKADA Guro vs Ermita.
Petitioners contend:
Delegating to the President the legislative power to tax is
contrary to republicanism.
The law also effectively nullified the Presidents power of
control, which includes the authority to set aside and nullify the acts
of her subordinates like the Secretary of Finance, by mandating the
fixing of the tax rate by the President upon the recommendation of
the Secretary of Finance.
National government deficit as a percentage of GDP of the
previous year exceeds one and one-half percent (1 %)
Petitioners argue that the law is unconstitutional, as it
constitutes abandonment by Congress of its exclusive authority to
fix the rate of taxes under Article VI, Section 28(2) of the 1987
Philippine Constitution.
The principle of non-delegation of powers is instructive for the
following contentions. The principle of separation of powers ordains
that each of the three great branches of government has exclusive
cognizance of and is supreme in matters falling within its own
constitutionally allocated sphere.
A logical corollary to the doctrine of separation of powers is the
principle of non-delegation of powers, as expressed in the Latin
maxim: potestas delegata non delegari potest which means what
has been delegated, cannot be delegated. This doctrine is based on
the ethical principle that such as delegated power constitutes not
only a right but a duty to be performed by the delegate through the
instrumentality of his own judgment and not through the
intervening mind of another.
With respect to the Legislature, Section 1 of Article VI of the
Constitution provides that the Legislative power shall be vested in
the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a
House of Representatives. The powers which Congress is prohibited
from delegating are those which are strictly, or inherently and
exclusively, legislative. Purely legislative power, which can never be
delegated, has been described as the authority to make a complete
law complete as to the time when it shall take effect and as to
whom it shall be applicable and to determine the expediency of its
Delegation is only permissible on the following premises: If the law
(a) is complete in itself, setting forth therein the policy to be
executed, carried out, or implemented by the delegate;
(b) fixes a standard the limits of which are sufficiently determinate
and determinable to which the delegate must conform in the
performance of his functions. A sufficient standard is one which
defines legislative policy, marks its limits, maps out its boundaries
and specifies the public agency to apply it. It indicates the
circumstances under which the legislative command is to be
In Wayman vs. Southard, the Supreme Court of the United States
ruled that the legislature may delegate a power not legislative
which it may itself rightfully exercise. The power to ascertain facts is
such a power which may be delegated. There is nothing essentially
legislative in ascertaining the existence of facts or conditions as the
basis of the taking into effect of a law.
Clearly, the legislature may delegate to executive officers or bodies
the power to determine certain facts or conditions, or the
happening of contingencies, on which the operation of a statute is,
by its terms, made to depend, but the legislature must prescribe
sufficient standards, policies or limitations on their authority. While
the power to tax cannot be delegated to executive agencies, details
as to the enforcement and administration of an exercise of such
power may be left to them, including the power to determine the
existence of facts on which its operation depends.
The rationale for this is that the preliminary ascertainment of facts
as basis for the enactment of legislation is not of itself a legislative
function, but is simply ancillary to legislation. Thus, the duty of
correlating information and making recommendations is the kind of
subsidiary activity which the legislature may perform through its
members, or which it may delegate to others to perform.
The case before the Court is not a delegation of legislative power. It
is simply a delegation of ascertainment of facts upon which
enforcement and administration of the increase rate under the law
is contingent. The legislature has made the operation of the 12%
rate effective January 1, 2006, contingent upon a specified fact or
condition. It leaves the entire operation or non-operation of the
12% rate upon factual matters outside of the control of the
The Court finds no merit to the contention of petitioners ABAKADA
GURO Party List, et al. that the law effectively nullified the
Presidents power of control over the Secretary of Finance by
mandating the fixing of the tax rate by the President upon the
recommendation of the Secretary of Finance.
WHEREFORE, Republic Act No. 9337 not being unconstitutional, the
petitions in G.R. Nos. 168056, 168207, 168461, 168463, and
168730, are hereby DISMISSED.
G.R. No. 146494. July 14, 2004
Nicolas Montesclaros, a 72-year-old widower married Milagros
Orbiso, who was then 43 years old, on 10 July 1983. Nicolas filed
with the GSIS an application for retirement benefits under the
Revised Government Insurance Act of 1977.
In his retirement application, he designated his wife as his sole
beneficiary. GSIS approved Nicolas’ application for retirement
effective 17 February 1984, granting a lump sum payment of
annuity for the first five years and a monthly annuity after.
Nicolas died on 22 April 1992. Milagros filed with the GSIS a claim
for survivorship pension under PD 1146 but was denied the claim
because, under section 18 of PD 1146, the surviving spouse has no
right to survivorship pension if the surviving spouse contracted the
marriage with the pensioner within three years before the
pensioner qualified for the pension.
Nicolas wed Milagros on 10 July 1983, less than one year from his
date of retirement on 17 February 1984. Milagros filed with the trial
court a special civil action for declaratory relief questioning the
validity of Sec. 18 of PD 1146.
The trial court rendered judgment declaring Milagros eligible for
survivorship pension and ordered GSIS to pay Milagros the benefits
including interest. Citing Articles 115and 117 of the Family Code, the
trial court held that retirement benefits, which the pensioner has
earned for services rendered and for which the pensioner has
contributed through monthly salary deductions, are onerous
acquisitions. Since retirement benefits are property the pensioner
acquired through labor, such benefits are conjugal property. The
trial court held that the prohibition in Section 18 of PD 1146 is
deemed repealed for being inconsistent with the Family Code, a
later law. The Family Code has retroactive effect if it does not
prejudice or impair vested rights.
The trial court held that Section 18 of PD 1146 was repealed by the
Family Code, a later law. GSIS appealed to the Court of Appeals,
which affirmed the trial court’s decision. Hence, this appeal.
In a letter dated 10 January 2003, Milagros informed the Court that
she has accepted GSIS’ decision disqualifying her from receiving
survivorship pension and that she is no longer interested in pursuing
the case. However, the Court will still resolve the issue despite the
manifestation of Milagros because social justice and public interest
demand the resolution of the constitutionality of the proviso.
Whether the proviso in Section 18 of PD 1146 is constitutional.
NO. The sole proviso Sec. 18 of PD 1146 is unconstitutional. Under
Section 18 of PD 1146, it prohibits the dependent spouse from
receiving survivorship pension if such dependent spouse married
the pensioner within three years before the pensioner qualified for
the pension. The Court holds that such proviso is discriminatory and
denies equal protection of the law.
The proviso is contrary to Section 1, Article III of the Constitution,
which provides that [n]o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied
the equal protection of the laws.
The proviso is unduly oppressive in outrightly denying a dependent
spouses claim for survivorship pension if the dependent spouse
contracted marriage to the pensioner within the three-year
prohibited period.
There is outright confiscation of benefits due the surviving spouse
without giving the surviving spouse an opportunity to be heard.
The proviso undermines the purpose of PD 1146, which is to assure
comprehensive and integrated social security and insurance
benefits to government employees and their dependents in the
event of sickness, disability, death, and retirement of the
government employees.
A statute based on reasonable classification does not violate the
constitutional guaranty of the equal protection of the law. The
requirements for a valid and reasonable classification are:
(1) it must rest on substantial distinctions;
(2) it must be germane to the purpose of the law;
(3) it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) it must apply equally to all members of the same class. Thus, the
law may treat and regulate one class differently from another class
provided there are real and substantial differences to distinguish
one class from another.
The proviso in question does not satisfy these requirements. The
proviso discriminates against the dependent spouse who contracts
marriage to the pensioner within three years before the pensioner
qualified for the pension. Under the proviso, even if the dependent
spouse married the pensioner more than three years before the
pensioners death, the dependent spouse would still not receive
survivorship pension if the marriage took place within three years
before the pensioner qualified for pension. The object of the
prohibition is vague. There is no reasonable connection between
the means employed and the purpose intended. The law itself does
not provide any reason or purpose for such a prohibition. If the
purpose of the proviso is to prevent deathbed marriages, then we
do not see why the proviso reckons the three-year prohibition from
the date the pensioner qualified for pension and not from the date
the pensioner died. The classification does not rest on substantial
distinctions. Worse, the classification lumps all those marriages
contracted within three years before the pensioner qualified for
pension as having been contracted primarily for financial
convenience to avail of pension benefits.
Indeed, the classification is discriminatory and arbitrary. This is
probably the reason Congress deleted the proviso in Republic Act
No. 8291 (RA 8291), otherwise known as the Government Service
Insurance Act of 1997, the law revising the old charter of GSIS (PD
1146). Under the implementing rules of RA 8291, the surviving
spouse who married the member immediately before the members
death is still qualified to receive survivorship pension unless the
GSIS proves that the surviving spouse contracted the marriage
solely to receive the benefit.
Thus, the present GSIS law does not presume that marriages
contracted within three years before retirement or death of a
member are sham marriages contracted to avail of survivorship
benefits. The present GSIS law does not automatically forfeit the
survivorship pension of the surviving spouse who contracted
marriage to a GSIS member within three years before the members
retirement or death. The law acknowledges that whether the
surviving spouse contracted the marriage mainly to receive
survivorship benefits is a matter of evidence. The law no longer
prescribes a sweeping classification that unduly prejudices the
legitimate surviving spouse and defeats the purpose for which
Congress enacted the social legislation.
Wherefore, the proviso in Section 18 of Presidential Decree No.
1146 is void for being violative of the constitutional guarantees of
due process and equal protection of the law.
G.R. No. 158793 June 8, 2006
Petitioners filed before the court a petition for declaratory
judgment with application for temporary restraining order and
injunction. It seeks the declaration of nullification of administrative
issuances for being inconsistent with the provisions of Republic Act
2000 (Limited Access Highway Act) which was enacted in 1957.
Previously, pursuant to its mandate under RA 2000, DPWH issued
on June 25, 1998 Dept. Order no. 215 declaring the Manila Cavite
(Coastal Road) Toll Expressway as limited access facilities.
DPWH issued an order (DO 123) allowing motorcycles with engine
displacement of 400 cubic centimeters inside limited access
facilities (toll ways).
Upon assumption of Hon. Presiding Judge Cornejo, both the
petitioners and respondents were required to file their Memoranda.
The court issued an order dismissing the petition but declaring
invalid DO 123.
The petitioners moved for reconsideration but it was denied.
Petitioners filed an Amended Petition on February 8, 2001 wherein
petitioners sought the declaration of nullity of the aforesaid
administrative issuances.
The petitioners prayed for the issuance of a temporary restraining
order to prevent the enforcement of the total ban on motorcycles
along NLEX, SLEX, Manila-Cavite (Coastal Road) toll Expressway
under DO 215.
RTC ruled that DO 74 is valid but DO 123 is invalid being violative of
the equal protection clause of the Constitution
Whether RTC’s decision is barred by res judicata?
RTC, after due hearing, granted the petitioner’s application for
preliminary injunction conditioned upon petitioner’s filing of cash
bond in the amount of P100, 000 which petitioners complied.
Whether DO 74, DO 215 and the TRB regulation contravene RA
Whether AO 1 is unconstitutional.
They claim that DPWH is only allowed to redesign the physical
structure of toll ways and not to determine “who or what can be
qualifies as toll ways user”.
1. NO. The petitioners are mistaken because they rely on the RTC’s
Order granting their prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction.
Since petitioners did not appeal from that order, the petitioners
presumed that the order became a final judgment on the issues.
The court ruled that DO 74 and DO 215 are void because the DPWH
has no authority to declare certain expressways as limited access
The order granting the prayer is not an adjudication on the merits of
the case that would trigger res judicata.
Under the law, it is the DOTC which is authorized to administer and
enforce all laws, rules and regulations in the field of transportation
and to regulate related activities.
A preliminary injunction does not serve as a final determination of
the issues, it being a provisional remedy.
2. YES. The petitioners claimed that DO 74, DO 215 and TRB’s rules
and regulation issued under them unduly expanded the power of
the DPWH in sec. 4 of RA 2000 to regulate toll ways.
They contend that DPWH’s regulatory authority is limited to acts
like redesigning curbings or central dividing sections.
Since the DPWH has no authority to regulate activities relative to
transportation, the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) cannot derive its
power from the DPWH to issue regulations governing limited access
The DPWH cannot delegate a power or function which it does not
possess in the first place.
3. NO. The Court emphasized that the secretary of the then
Department of Public Works and Communications had issued AO 1
in February 1968, as authorized under Section 3 of Republic Act
2000, prior to the splitting of the department and the eventual
devolution of its powers to the DOTC.
Because administrative issuances had the force and effect of law,
AO 1 enjoyed the presumption of validity and constitutionality. The
burden to prove its unconstitutionality rested on the party assailing
it, more so when police power was at issue and passed the test of
reasonableness. The Administrative Order was not oppressive, as it
did not impose unreasonable restrictions or deprive petitioners of
their right to use the facilities. It merely set rules to ensure public
safety and the uninhibited flow of traffic within those limited-access
The right to travel did not mean the right to choose any vehicle in
traversing a tollway. Petitioners were free to access the tollway as
much as the rest of the public. However, the mode in which they
wished to travel, pertaining to their manner of using the tollway,
was a subject that could validly be limited by regulation. There was
no absolute right to drive; on the contrary, this privilege was heavily
legislation based on reasonable classification. (1) must rest on
substantial distinctions; (2) must be germane to the purposes of the
law; (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only; and (4) must
apply equally to all members of the same class.
68 Phil. 12 (1939)
Facts/Issue: Accused Cayat, a native of Baguio, Benguet, Mountain
Province, and a member of the non-Christian tribes, was found
guilty of violating sections 2 and 3 of Act No. 1639 for having
acquired and possessed one bottle of A-1-1 gin, an intoxicating
liquor, which is not a native wine. The law made it unlawful for any
native of the Philippines who is a member of a non-Christian tribe
within the meaning of Act 1397 to buy, receive, have in his
possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine or
intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native
wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been
accustomed to prior to the passage of the law. Cayat challenges the
constitutionality of Act 1639 on the grounds that it is discriminatory
and denies the equal protection of the laws, violates due process
clause, and is an improper exercise of police power.
Held: It is an established principle of constitutional law that the
guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not violated by a
Act No. 1639 satisfies these requirements. The classification rests on
real or substantial, not merely imaginary or whimsical distinctions. It
is not based upon “accident of birth or parentage,” as counsel for
the appellant asserts, but upon the degree of civilization and
culture. “The term ‘non-Christian tribes’ refers, not to religious
belief but in a way, to the geographical area and more directly, to
natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of civilization, usually
living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities.” (Rubi
vs. Provincial Board of Mindora, supra.) This distinction is
unquestionably reasonable, for the Act was intended to meet the
peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian tribes.
The prohibition enshrined in Act 1397 is designed to insure peace
and order in and among non-Christian tribes. It applies equally to all
members of the class evident from perusal thereof. That it may be
unfair in its operation against a certain number of non-Christians by
reason of their degree of culture, is not an argument against the
equality of its application.
Ichong vs Hernandez
Conflict with fundamental law; Police power
G.R. No. L-7995
May 31, 1957
LAO H. ICHONG, in his own behalf and in behalf of other alien
residents, corporations and partnerships adversely affected. by
Republic Act No. 1180, petitioner,
Driven by aspirations for economic independence and national
security, the Congress enacted Act No. 1180 entitled “An Act to
Regulate the Retail Business.” The main provisions of the Act,
among others, are:
(1) Prohibition against persons, not citizens of the Philippines, and
against associations, among others, from engaging directly or
indirectly in the retail trade; and
(2) Prohibition against the establishment or opening by aliens
actually engaged in the retail business of additional stores or
branches of retail business.
JAIME HERNANDEZ, Secretary of Finance, and MARCELINO
SARMIENTO, City Treasurer of Manila, respondents.
Lao H. Ichong, in his own behalf and on behalf of other alien
residents, corporations and partnerships adversely affected by the
said Act, brought an action to obtain a judicial declaration, and to
enjoin the Secretary of Finance, Jaime Hernandez, and all other
persons acting under him, particularly city and municipal treasurers,
from enforcing its provisions. Petitioner attacked the
constitutionality of the Act, contending that:
exercise of the police power which, being inherent could not be
bargained away or surrendered through the medium of a treaty.
It denies to alien residents the equal protection of the laws and
deprives of their liberty and property without due process of law.
The subject of the Act is not expressed or comprehended in the title
The Act violates international and treaty obligations of the Republic
of the Philippines.
Whether or not a law may invalidate or supersede treaties or
generally accepted principles.
Yes, a law may supersede a treaty or a generally accepted principle.
In this case, the Supreme Court saw no conflict between the raised
generally accepted principle and with RA 1180. The equal protection
of the law clause “does not demand absolute equality amongst
residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated alike,
under like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges
conferred and liabilities enforced”; and, that the equal protection
clause “is not infringed by legislation which applies only to those
persons falling within a specified class, if it applies alike to all
persons within such class, and reasonable grounds exist for making
a distinction between those who fall within such class and those
who do not.”
A generally accepted principle of international law, should be
observed by us in good faith. If a treaty would be in conflict with a
statute then the statute must be upheld because it represented an
Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. vs Secretary
of Agrarian Reform
enactments, nevertheless gives them suppletory effect insofar as
they are not inconsistent with its provisions.
[Two of the consolidated cases are discussed below]
175 SCRA 343 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Bill of Rights –
Equal Protection – Valid Classification
Eminent Domain – Just Compensation
These are four consolidated cases questioning the constitutionality
of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Act (R.A. No. 6657 and
related laws i.e., Agrarian Land Reform Code or R.A. No. 3844).
Brief background: Article XIII of the Constitution on Social Justice
and Human Rights includes a call for the adoption by the State of an
agrarian reform program. The State shall, by law, undertake an
agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and
regular farmworkers, who are landless, to own directly or
collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers,
to receive a just share of the fruits thereof. RA 3844 was enacted in
1963. P.D. No. 27 was promulgated in 1972 to provide for the
compulsory acquisition of private lands for distribution among
tenant-farmers and to specify maximum retention limits for
landowners. In 1987, President Corazon Aquino issued E.O. No. 228,
declaring full land ownership in favor of the beneficiaries of PD 27
and providing for the valuation of still unvalued lands covered by
the decree as well as the manner of their payment. In 1987, P.P. No.
131, instituting a comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP)
was enacted; later, E.O. No. 229, providing the mechanics for its
(PP131’s) implementation, was also enacted. Afterwhich is the
enactment of R.A. No. 6657, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in
1988. This law, while considerably changing the earlier mentioned
G.R. No. 78742: (Association of Small Landowners vs Secretary)
The Association of Small Landowners in the Philippines, Inc. sought
exception from the land distribution scheme provided for in R.A.
6657. The Association is comprised of landowners of ricelands and
cornlands whose landholdings do not exceed 7 hectares. They
invoke that since their landholdings are less than 7 hectares, they
should not be forced to distribute their land to their tenants under
R.A. 6657 for they themselves have shown willingness to till their
own land. In short, they want to be exempted from agrarian reform
program because they claim to belong to a different class.
G.R. No. 79777: (Manaay vs Juico)
Nicolas Manaay questioned the validity of the agrarian reform laws
(PD 27, EO 228, and 229) on the ground that these laws already
valuated their lands for the agrarian reform program and that the
specific amount must be determined by the Department of Agrarian
Reform (DAR). Manaay averred that this violated the principle in
eminent domain which provides that only courts can determine just
compensation. This, for Manaay, also violated due process for under
the constitution, no property shall be taken for public use without
just compensation.
Manaay also questioned the provision which states that landowners
may be paid for their land in bonds and not necessarily in cash.
Manaay averred that just compensation has always been in the
form of money and not in bonds.
1. Whether or not there was a violation of the equal protection
2. Whether or not there is a violation of due process.
3. Whether or not just compensation, under the agrarian reform
program, must be in terms of cash.
1. No. The Association had not shown any proof that they belong to
a different class exempt from the agrarian reform program. Under
the law, classification has been defined as the grouping of persons
or things similar to each other in certain particulars and different
from each other in these same particulars. To be valid, it must
conform to the following requirements:
(1) it must be based on substantial distinctions;
(2) it must be germane to the purposes of the law;
(3) it must not be limited to existing conditions only; and
(4) it must apply equally to all the members of the class.
Equal protection simply means that all persons or things similarly
situated must be treated alike both as to the rights conferred and
the liabilities imposed. The Association have not shown that they
belong to a different class and entitled to a different treatment. The
argument that not only landowners but also owners of other
properties must be made to share the burden of implementing land
reform must be rejected. There is a substantial distinction between
these two classes of owners that is clearly visible except to those
who will not see. There is no need to elaborate on this matter. In
any event, the Congress is allowed a wide leeway in providing for a
valid classification. Its decision is accorded recognition and respect
by the courts of justice except only where its discretion is abused to
the detriment of the Bill of Rights. In the contrary, it appears that
Congress is right in classifying small landowners as part of the
agrarian reform program.
2. No. It is true that the determination of just compensation is a
power lodged in the courts. However, there is no law which
prohibits administrative bodies like the DAR from determining just
compensation. In fact, just compensation can be that amount
agreed upon by the landowner and the government – even without
judicial intervention so long as both parties agree. The DAR can
determine just compensation through appraisers and if the
landowner agrees, then judicial intervention is not needed. What is
contemplated by law however is that, the just compensation
determined by an administrative body is merely
preliminary. If the landowner does not agree with the finding of just
compensation by an administrative body, then it can go to court and
the determination of the latter shall be the final determination. This
is even so provided by RA 6657:
Section 16 (f): Any party who disagrees with the decision may bring
the matter to the court of proper jurisdiction for final determination
of just compensation.
3. No. Money as [sole] payment for just compensation is merely a
concept in traditional exercise of eminent domain. The agrarian
reform program is a revolutionary exercise of eminent domain. The
program will require billions of pesos in funds if all compensation
have to be made in cash – if everything is in cash, then the
government will not have sufficient money hence, bonds, and other
securities, i.e., shares of stocks, may be used for just compensation.
Villegas vs Hiu Chiong Tsai Pao Ho (1978)
Facts: The Municipal Board of Manila enacted Ordinance 6537
requiring aliens (except those employed in the diplomatic and
consular missions of foreign countries, in technical assistance
programs of the government and another country, and members of
religious orders or congregations) to procure the requisite mayor’s
permit so as to be employed or engage in trade in the City of
Manila. The permit fee is P50, and the penalty for the violation of
the ordinance is 3 to 6 months imprisonment or a fine of P100 to
P200, or both.
Issue: Whether the ordinance imposes a regulatory fee or a tax.
Held: The ordinance’s purpose is clearly to raise money under the
guise of regulation by exacting P50 from aliens who have been
cleared for employment. The amount is unreasonable and excessive
because it fails to consider difference in situation among aliens
required to pay it, i.e. being casual, permanent, part-time, rank-andfile or executive.
[ The Ordinance was declared invalid as it is arbitrary, oppressive
and unreasonable, being applied only to aliens who are thus
deprived of their rights to life, liberty and property and therefore
violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the
Constitution. Further, the ordinance does not lay down any criterion
or standard to guide the Mayor in the exercise of his discretion, thus
conferring upon the mayor arbitrary and unrestricted powers. ]
DUMLAO vs. COMELEC Case Digest
95 SCRA 392
January 22, 1980
Facts: Petitioner Patricio Dumlao, is a former Governor of Nueva
Vizcaya, who has filed his certificate of candidacy for said position of
Governor in the forthcoming elections of January 30, 1980.
Petitioner Dumlao specifically questions the constitutionality of
section 4 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 52 as discriminatory and contrary
to the equal protection and due process guarantees of the
Constitution which provides that “….Any retired elective provincial
city or municipal official who has received payment of the
retirement benefits to which he is entitled under the law and who
shall have been 65 years of age at the commencement of the term
of office to which he seeks to be elected shall not be qualified to run
for the same elective local office from which he has retired.” He
likewise alleges that the provision is directed insidiously against
him, and is based on “purely arbitrary grounds, therefore, class
Issue: Whether or not 1st paragraph of section 4 of BP 22 is valid.
Held: In the case of a 65-year old elective local official, who has
retired from a provincial, city or municipal office, there is reason to
disqualify him from running for the same office from which he had
retired, as provided for in the challenged provision. The need for
new blood assumes relevance. The tiredness of the retiree for
government work is present, and what is emphatically significant is
that the retired employee has already declared himself tired and
unavailable for the same government work, but, which, by virtue of
a change of mind, he would like to assume again. It is for this very
reason that inequality will neither result from the application of the
challenged provision. Just as that provision does not deny equal
protection, neither does it permit of such denial.
The equal protection clause does not forbid all legal classification.
What is proscribes is a classification which is arbitrary and
unreasonable. That constitutional guarantee is not violated by a
reasonable classification based upon substantial distinctions, where
the classification is germane to the purpose of the low and applies
to all those belonging to the same class.
WHEREFORE, the first paragraph of section 4 of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 52 is hereby declared valid.
Ormoc Sugar vs Treasurer of Ormoc City (1968)
In 1964, the Municipal Board of Ormoc City passed Ordinance 4,
imposing on any and all productions of centrifuga sugar milled at
the Ormoc Sugar Co. Inc. in Ormoc City a municpal tax equivalent to
1% per export sale to the United States and other foreign countries.
The company paid the said tax under protest. It subsequently filed a
case seeking to invalidate the ordinance for being unconstitutional.
Issue: Whether the ordinance violates the equal protection clause.
The Ordinance taxes only centrifugal sugar produced and exported
by the Ormoc Sugar Co. Inc. and none other. At the time of the
taxing ordinance’s enacted, the company was the only sugar central
in Ormoc City. The classification, to be reasonable, should be in
terms applicable to future conditions as well. The taxing ordinance
should not be singular and exclusive as to exclude any subsequently
established sugar central, of the same class as the present company,
from the coverage of the tax. As it is now, even if later a similar
company is set up, it cannot be subject to the tax because the
ordinance expressly points only to the company as the entity to be
levied upon.
Basco vs. PAGCOR (G.R. No. 91649) - Digest
Petitioner is seeking to annul the Philippine Amusement and
Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) Charter -- PD 1869, because it is
allegedly contrary to morals, public policy and order, and because it
constitutes a waiver of a right prejudicial to a third person with a
right recognized by law. It waived the Manila Cit government’s right
to impose taxes and license fees, which is recognized by law. For the
same reason, the law has intruded into the local government’s right
to impose local taxes and license fees. This is in contravention of the
constitutionally enshrined principle of local autonomy.
Whether or not Presidential Decree No. 1869 is valid.
1. The City of Manila, being a mere Municipal corporation has no
inherent right to impose taxes. Their charter or statute must plainly
show an intent to confer that power, otherwise the municipality
cannot assume it. Its power to tax therefore must always yield to a
legislative act which is superior having been passed upon by the
state itself which has the “inherent power to tax.”
corporations” due to its “general legislative powers”. Congress,
therefore, has the power of control over the Local governments.
And if Congress can grant the City of Manila the power to tax
certain matters, it can also provide for exemptions or even take
back the power.
2. The City of Manila’s power to impose license fees on gambling,
has long been revoked by P.D. No. 771 and vested exclusively on the
National Government. Therefore, only the National Government has
the power to issue “license or permits” for the operation of
3. Local governments have no power to tax instrumentalities of the
National Government. PAGCOR is government owned or controlled
corporation with an original charter, P.D. No. 1869. All of its shares
of stocks are owned by the National Government. PAGCOR has a
dual role, to operate and to regulate gambling casinos. The latter
role is governmental, which places it in the category of an agency or
instrumentality of the Government. Being an instrumentality of the
Government, PAGCOR should be and actually is exempt from local
taxes. Otherwise, its operation might be burdened, impeded or
subjected to control by a mere Local Government.
4. Petitioners also argue that the Local Autonomy Clause of the
Constitution will be violated by P.D. No. 1869.
The Charter of Manila is subject to control by Congress. It should be
stressed that “municipal corporations are mere creatures of
Congress”, which has the power to “create and abolish municipal
Article 10, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution:
“Each local government unit shall have the power to create its own
source of revenue and to levy taxes, fees, and other charges subject
to such guidelines and limitation as the congress may provide,
consistent with the basic policy on local autonomy. Such taxes, fees
and charges shall accrue exclusively to the local government.”
SC said this is a pointless argument. The power of the local
government to “impose taxes and fees” is always subject to
“limitations” which Congress may provide by law. Besides, the
principle of local autonomy under the 1987 Constitution simply
means “decentralization.” It does not make local governments
sovereign within the state.
Wherefore, the petition is DISMISSED.
Binay vs Domingo Case Digest
2. Whether the questioned resolution is for a public purpose
Equal Protection Clause, General Welfare Clause, Police Power,
Powers of Municipal Corporations
3. Whether the resolution violates the equal protection clause
Petitioner Municipality of Makati, through its Council, approved
Resolution No. 60 which extends P500 burial assistance to bereaved
families whose gross family income does not exceed P2,000.00 a
month. The funds are to be taken out of the unappropriated
available funds in the municipal treasury. The Metro Manila
Commission approved the resolution. Thereafter, the municipal
secretary certified a disbursement of P400,000.00 for the
implementation of the program. However, the Commission on Audit
disapproved said resolution and the disbursement of funds for the
implementation thereof for the following reasons: (1) the resolution
has no connection to alleged public safety, general welfare, safety,
etc. of the inhabitants of Makati; (2) government funds must be
disbursed for public purposes only; and, (3) it violates the equal
protection clause since it will only benefit a few individuals.
1. Whether Resolution No. 60 is a valid exercise of the police power
under the general welfare clause
1. The police power is a governmental function, an inherent
attribute of sovereignty, which was born with civilized government.
It is founded largely on the maxims, "Sic utere tuo et ahenum non
laedas and "Salus populi est suprema lex. Its fundamental purpose is
securing the general welfare, comfort and convenience of the
Police power is inherent in the state but not in municipal
corporations. Before a municipal corporation may exercise such
power, there must be a valid delegation of such power by the
legislature which is the repository of the inherent powers of the
Municipal governments exercise this power under the general
welfare clause. Pursuant thereto they are clothed with authority to
"enact such ordinances and issue such regulations as may be
necessary to carry out and discharge the responsibilities conferred
upon it by law, and such as shall be necessary and proper to provide
for the health, safety, comfort and convenience, maintain peace
and order, improve public morals, promote the prosperity and
general welfare of the municipality and the inhabitants thereof, and
insure the protection of property therein.
2. Police power is not capable of an exact definition but has been,
purposely, veiled in general terms to underscore its all
comprehensiveness. Its scope, over-expanding to meet the
exigencies of the times, even to anticipate the future where it could
be done, provides enough room for an efficient and flexible
response to conditions and circumstances thus assuring the greatest
The police power of a municipal corporation is broad, and has been
said to be commensurate with, but not to exceed, the duty to
provide for the real needs of the people in their health, safety,
comfort, and convenience as consistently as may be with private
rights. It extends to all the great public needs, and, in a broad sense
includes all legislation and almost every function of the municipal
government. It covers a wide scope of subjects, and, while it is
especially occupied with whatever affects the peace, security,
health, morals, and general welfare of the community, it is not
limited thereto, but is broadened to deal with conditions which
exists so as to bring out of them the greatest welfare of the people
by promoting public convenience or general prosperity, and to
everything worthwhile for the preservation of comfort of the
inhabitants of the corporation. Thus, it is deemed inadvisable to
attempt to frame any definition which shall absolutely indicate the
limits of police power.
Public purpose is not unconstitutional merely because it incidentally
benefits a limited number of persons. As correctly pointed out by
the Office of the Solicitor General, "the drift is towards social
welfare legislation geared towards state policies to provide
adequate social services, the promotion of the general welfare,
social justice as well as human dignity and respect for human
rights." The care for the poor is generally recognized as a public
duty. The support for the poor has long been an accepted exercise
of police power in the promotion of the common good.
3. There is no violation of the equal protection clause. Paupers may
be reasonably classified. Different groups may receive varying
treatment. Precious to the hearts of our legislators, down to our
local councilors, is the welfare of the paupers. Thus, statutes have
been passed giving rights and benefits to the disabled, emancipating
the tenant-farmer from the bondage of the soil, housing the urban
poor, etc. Resolution No. 60, re-enacted under Resolution No. 243,
of the Municipality of Makati is a paragon of the continuing
program of our government towards social justice. The Burial
Assistance Program is a relief of pauperism, though not complete.
The loss of a member of a family is a painful experience, and it is
more painful for the poor to be financially burdened by such death.
Resolution No. 60 vivifies the very words of the late President
Ramon Magsaysay 'those who have less in life, should have more in
law." This decision, however must not be taken as a precedent, or
as an official go-signal for municipal governments to embark on a
philanthropic orgy of inordinate dole-outs for motives political or
otherwise. (Binay vs Domingo, G.R. No. 92389, September 11, 1991)
RA 6975, otherwise known as "An Act Establishing the Philippine
National Police Under a
Reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government",
took effect on January 2, 1991.
RA 6975 provides for a uniform retirement system for PNP
members. Section 39 reads:
"SEC. 39.Compulsory Retirement. — Compulsory retirement, for
officer and
non-officer, shall be upon the attainment of age fifty-six (56);
Provided, That, in
case of any officer with the rank of chief superintendent, director or
Private respondents filed a complaint for declaratory relief with
prayer for the issuance of an ex
parte restraining order and/or injunction before the RTC of Makati.
They aver that the age of
retirement set at fifty-six (56) by Section 39 of RA 6975 cannot be
applied to them since they are
also covered by Sec. 89 thereof which provides:
"Any provision hereof to the contrary notwithstanding, and within
the transition
period of four (4) years following the effectively of this Act, the
members of the INP shall be considered compulsorily retired:
"a)Those who shall attain the age of sixty (60) on the first year of
the effectivity
of this Act.
director general, the Commission may allow his retention in the
service for an
"b)Those who shall attain the age of fifty-nine (59) on the second
year of the
unextendible period of one (1) year.
effectivity of this Act.
Based on the above provision, petitioners sent notices of retirement
to private
"c)Those who shall attain the age of fifty-eight (58) on the third year
of the
respondents who are all members of the defunct Philippine
Constabulary and have
effectivity of this Act.
reached the age of fifty-six.
"d)Those who shall attain the age of fifty-seven (57) on the fourth
year of the
effectivity of this Act."
Respondents added that the term "INP" includes both the former
members of the Philippine
been the intention of Congress to refer to the local police forces as
the "INP" but the PNP Law
Constabulary and the local police force who were earlier constituted
as the Integrated
failed to define who or what constituted the INP. The natural
recourse of the court is to trace the
National Police (INP) by virtue of PD 765 in 1975.
source of the "INP" as courts are permitted to look to prior laws on
the same subject and to
On the other hand, it is the belief of petitioners that the 4-year
transition period provided in
investigate the antecedents involved.
Section 89 applies only to the local police forces who previously
retire, compulsorily, at age
ISSUE: Whether or not Section 89 of the PNP Law includes all
members of the present
sixty (60) for those in the ranks of Police/Fire Lieutenant or higher,
while the retirement age for
Philippine National police, irrespective of the original status of its
present members and that
the PC had already been set at fifty-six (56) under the AFP law.
Section 39 of RA 6975 shall become applicable to petitioners only
after the lapse of the four-year
Respondent judge De Guzman issued a restraining order followed
by a writ of injunction. He
declared that the term "INP" in Section 89 of the PNP Law includes
all members of the present
Philippine National police, irrespective of the original status of the
present members of the
Philippine National police before its creation and establishment, and
that Section 39 thereof shall
become operative after the lapse of the four-year transition period.
Thus, the preliminary
injunction issued is made permanent. Moreover, he observed,
among others, that it may have
transition period.
From a careful review of Sections 23 and 85 of RA 6975, it appears
that the use of the term INP
is not synonymous with the PC. Had it been otherwise, the statute
could have just made a
uniform reference to the members of the whole Philippine National
police (PNP) for retirement
purposes and not just the INP. The law itself distinguishes INP from
the PC and it cannot be
construed that "INP" as used in Sec. 89 includes the members of the
Contrary to the pronouncement of respondent judge that “the law
failed to define who constitutes
local police forces for it would be a mere superfluity as the PC
component of the INP was
the INP”, Sec. 90 of RA 6975 has in fact defined the same. Thus,
already retirable at age fifty-six (56).
"SEC. 90. Status of Present NAPOLCOM, PC-INP. — Upon the
effectivity of this Act,
Having defined the meaning of INP, the trial court need not have
belabored on the supposed
the present National police Commisdion and the Philippine
dubious meaning of the term. Nonetheless, if confronted with such
a situation, courts are not
National police shall cease to exist. The Philippine Constabulary,
which is the nucleus of the
without recourse in determining the construction of the statute
with doubtful meaning for they
Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National police shall cease to be
a major service of the
may avail themselves of the actual proceedings of the legislative
body. In case of doubt as to
Armed Forces of the Philippines. The Integrated National police,
which is the civilian
what a provision of a statute means, the meaning put to the
provision during the legislative
component of the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National
police, shall cease to be the
deliberations may be adopted. Courts should not give a literal
interpretation to the letter of the
national police force and lieu thereof, a new police force shall be
establish and constituted
law if it runs counter to the legislative intent.
pursuant to this Act."
The legislative intent to classify the INP in such manner that Section
89 of R.A. 6975 is
It is not altogether correct to state, therefore, that the legislature
failed to define who the
applicable only to the local police force is clear. The question now is
whether the classification is
members of the INP are. In this regard, it is of no moment that the
legislature failed to
valid. The test for this is reasonableness such that it must conform
to the following requirements:
categorically restrict the application of the transition period in Sec.
89 specifically in favor of the
(1) It must be based upon substantial distinctions;
(2) It must be germane to the purpose of the law;
(3) It must not be limited to existing conditions only;
(4) It must apply equally to all members of the same class (People
vs. Cayat, 68 Phil. 12
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The writ of injunction issued
on January 8, 1992 is
hereby LIFTED and the assailed decision of respondent judge is
Ishmael Himagan vs People of the Philippines
237 SCRA 538 – Political Law – Constitutional Law – Bill of Rights –
Equal Protection – Suspension of PNP Members Charged with Grave
Ishmael Himagan was a policeman assigned in Davao City. He was
charged for the murder of Benjamin Machitar, Jr. and for the
attempted murder of Benjamin’s younger brother, Barnabe.
Pursuant to Section 47 of Republic Act No. 6975, Himagan was
placed into suspension pending the murder case. The law provides
Upon the filing of a complaint or information sufficient in form and
substance against a member of the PNP for grave felonies where
the penalty imposed by law is six (6) years and one (1) day or more,
the court shall immediately suspend the accused from office until
the case is terminated. Such case shall be subject to continuous trial
and shall be terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment of
the accused.
Himagan assailed the suspension averring that Section 42 of P.D.
807 of the Civil Service Decree provides that his suspension should
be limited to ninety (90) days only. He claims that an imposition of
preventive suspension of over 90 days is contrary to the Civil Service
Law and would be a violation of his constitutional right to equal
protection of laws
ISSUE: Whether or not Sec 47, RA 6975 violates equal protection
guaranteed by the Constitution.
HELD: No. The language of the first sentence of Sec 47 of RA 6975 is
clear, plain and free from ambiguity. It gives no other meaning than
that the suspension from office of the member of the PNP charged
with grave offense where the penalty is six years and one day or
more shall last until the termination of the case. The suspension
cannot be lifted before the termination of the case. The second
sentence of the same Section providing that the trial must be
terminated within ninety (90) days from arraignment does not
qualify or limit the first sentence. The two can stand independently
of each other. The first refers to the period of suspension. The
second deals with the time from within which the trial should be
The reason why members of the PNP are treated differently from
the other classes of persons charged criminally or administratively
insofar as the application of the rule on preventive suspension is
concerned is that policemen carry weapons and the badge of the
law which can be used to harass or intimidate witnesses against
them, as succinctly brought out in the legislative discussions.
If a suspended policeman criminally charged with a serious offense
is reinstated to his post while his case is pending, his victim and the
witnesses against him are obviously exposed to constant threat and
thus easily cowed to silence by the mere fact that the accused is in
uniform and armed. the imposition of preventive suspension for
over 90 days under Sec 47 of RA 6975 does not violate the
suspended policeman’s constitutional right to equal protection of
the laws.
Suppose the trial is not terminated within ninety days from
arraignment, should the suspension of accused be lifted?
The answer is certainly no. While the law uses the mandatory word
“shall” before the phrase “be terminated within ninety (90) days”,
there is nothing in RA 6975 that suggests that the preventive
suspension of the accused will be lifted if the trial is not terminated
within that period. Nonetheless, the Judge who fails to decide the
case within the period without justifiable reason may be subject to
administrative sanctions and, in appropriate cases where the facts
so warrant, to criminal or civil liability. If the trial is unreasonably
delayed without fault of the accused such that he is deprived of his
right to a speedy trial, he is not without a remedy. He may ask for
the dismissal of the case. Should the court refuse to dismiss the
case, the accused can compel its dismissal by certiorari,prohibition
or mandamus, or secure his liberty by habeas corpus.
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