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ZACARIAS VILLAVICENCIO, ET AL.

, petitioners,
vs.
JUSTO LUKBAN, ET AL., respondents.

March 25, 1919

Facts

Justo Lukban, who was then the Mayor of the City of Manila, ordered the
deportation of 170 prostitutes to Davao. His reason for doing so was to
preserve the morals of the people of Manila. He claimed that the prostitutes
were sent to Davao, purportedly, to work for an haciendero Feliciano Ynigo. The
prostitutes were confined in houses from October 16 to 18 of that year before
being boarded, at the dead of night, in two boats bound for Davao. The women
were under the assumption that they were being transported to another police
station while Ynigo, the haciendero from Davao, had no idea that the women
being sent to work for him were actually prostitutes.

The families of the prostitutes came forward to file charges against Lukban,
Anton Hohmann, the Chief of Police, and Francisco Sales, the Governor of
Davao. They prayed for a writ of habeas corpus to be issued against the
respondents to compel them to bring back the 170 women who were deported
to Mindanao against their will.

During the trial, it came out that, indeed, the women were deported without
their consent. In effect, Lukban forcibly assigned them a new domicile. Most of
all, there was no law or order authorizing Lukban's deportation of the 170
prostitutes.

Issue

Whether we are a government of laws or a government of men.

Held

We are clearly a government of laws. Lukban committed a grave abuse of


discretion by deporting the prostitutes to a new domicile against their will.
There is no law expressly authorizing his action. On the contrary, there is a law
punishing public officials, not expressly authorized by law or regulation, who
compels any person to change his residence.

Furthermore, the prostitutes are still, as citizens of the Philippines, entitled to


the same rights, as stipulated in the Bill of Rights, as every other citizen. Their
choice of profession should not be a cause for discrimination. It may make
some, like Lukban, quite uncomfortable but it does not authorize anyone to
compel said prostitutes to isolate themselves from the rest of the human race.
These women have been deprived of their liberty by being exiled to Davao
without even being given the opportunity to collect their belongings or, worse,
without even consenting to being transported to Mindanao. For this, Lukban et
al must be severely punished.