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[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, vs. JAIME
HERNANDEZ, Secretary of Finance, and MARCELINO
SARMIENTO, City Treasurer of Manila, respondents.
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1. 1. CONSTITUTIONAL LAW; POLICE POWER;
NATURE AND SCOPE.Police power is far-
reaching in scope, and it is almost impossible to limit
its sweep. It derives its existence from the very
existence of the State itself, and does not need to be
expressed or defined in its scope. It is said to be co-
extensive with self-protection and survival, and as
such it is the most positive and active of all
governmental processes, the most essential, insistent
and illimitable. Especially is it so under a modern
democratic framework where the demands of society
and of nations have multiplied to almost unimaginable
proportions; the field and scope of police power has
become almost boundless, just as the fields of public
interest and public welfare have become almost all-
embracing and have transcended human foresight.
1. 2. ID.; GUARANTEES IN SECTION I, ARTICLE III
OF THE CONSTITUTION; UNIVERSALITY OF
APPLICATION.The constitutional guarantees in
Section I, Article III, of the Constitution, which
embody the essence of individual liberty and freedom
in democracies, are not limited to citizens alone but
are admittedly universal in their application, without
regard to any differences of race, of color, or of
nationality (Yiek Wo vs. Hopkins, 30 L. ed., 220,
226).
1. 3. ID.; LAW DEPRIVATION OF LIFE, LIBERTY OR
PROPERTY; TEST OR STANDARD.The conflict
between police power and the guarantees of due
process and equal protection of the laws is more
apparent than real. Properly related, the power and the
guarantees are supposed to coexist. The balancing is
the essence, or the indispensable means for the"
attainment of legitimate aspirations of any democratic
society. There can be no absolute power, whoever
exercises it, for that would be tyranny. Yet there can
neither be absolute liberty, for that would mean
license and anarchy. So the State can deprive persons
of life, liberty or property, provided there is due
process of law; and persons may be classified into
classes and groups, provided everyone is given the
equal protection of the law. The test or standard, as
always, is reason. The police power legislation must
be firmly grounded on public interest and welfare, and
a reasonable relation must exist between purposes and
means. And if disctinction or classification has been
made, there must be a reasonable basis for said
distinction.
1. 4. ID.; EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAW
CLAUSE; WHEN NOT DEEMED INFRINGED BY
LEGISLATION.The equal protection of the law
clause is against undue favor and individual or class
privilege, as well as hostile discrimination or the
oppression of inequality.
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1. It is not intended to prohibit legislation, which is limited
either in the object to which it is directed or by
territory within which it is to operate. It does not
demand absolute equality among residents; it merely
requires that all persons shall be treated alike, under
like circumstances and conditions both as to privileges
conferred and liabilities enforced. 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 (2 Cooley, Constitutional
Limitations, 824-825).
1. 5. ID. ; ID. ; LEGISLATIVE POWER TO MAKE
DISTINCTION AND CLASSIFICATION AMONG
PERSONS; CITIZENSHIP AS GROUND FOR
CLASSIFICATION.The power of the legislature to
make distinctions and classifications among persons is
not curtailed or denied by the equal protection of the
laws clause. The legislative power admits of a wide
scope of discretion, and a law can be violative of the
constitutional limitation only when the classification
is without reasonable basis. Citizenship is a legal and
valid ground for classification.
1. 6. ID.; ID.; NATIONALIZATION OF RETAIL TRADE;
CLASSIFICATION IN REPUBLIC ACT No. 1180
ACTUAL, REAL AND REASONABLE.The
classification in the law of retail traders into nationals
and aliens is actual, real and reasonable. All persons
of one class are treated alike, and it cannot be said that
the classification is patently unreasonable and
unfounded. Hence, it is the duty of this Court to
declare that the legislature acted within its legitimate
prerogative and it cannot declare that the act
transcends the limits of equal protection established
by the Constitution.
1. 7. ID. ; ID. ; ID. ; ID. ; TEST OF
REASONABLENESS.The law in question is
deemed absolutely necessary to bring about the
desired legislative objective, i.e., to free the national
economy from alien control and dominance. It is not
necessarily unreasonable because it affects private
rights and privileges (II Am. Jur., pp. 1080-1081). The
test of reasonableness of a law is the appropriateness
or adequacy under all circumstances of the means
adopted to carry out its purpose into effect. Judged by
this test, the disputed legislation, which is not merely
reasonable but actually necessary, must be considered
not to have infringed the constitutional limitation of
reasonableness.
1. 8. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REPUBLIC ACT No. 1180
TOLERANT AND REASONABLE.A cursory
study of the provisions of the law
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1. immediately reveals how tolerant and reasonable the
Legislature has been. The law is made prospective and
recognizes the right and privilege of those already
engaged in the occupation to continue therein during
the rest of their lives; and similar recognition of the
right to continue is accorded associations of aliens.
The right or privilege is denied only to persons upon
conviction of certain offenses.
1. 9. ID.; ID.; ID.; ATTAINMENT OF LEGISLATIVE
ASPIRATIONS OF A PEOPLE NOT BEYOND THE
LIMITS OF LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY.If
political independence is a legitimate aspiration of a
people, then economic independence is none of less
legitimate. Freedom and liberty are not real and
positive, if the people are subject to the economic
control and domination of others, especially if not of
their own race or country. The removal and
eradication of the shackles of foreign economic
control and domination is one of the noblest motives
that a national legislature may pursue. It is impossible
to conceive that legislation that seeks to bring it about
can infringe the constitutional limitation of due
process. The attainment of a legitimate aspiration of a
people can never be beyond the limits of legislative
authority.
1. 10. ID.; ID.; ID.; NATIONALISTIC TENDENCY
MANIFESTED IN THE CONSTITUTION.
Nationalistic tendency is manifested in various
provisions of the Constitution. The nationalization of
the retail trade is only a continuance of the
nationalistic protective policy laid down as a primary
objective of the Constitution, It cannot therefore be
said that a law imbued with the same purpose and
spirit underlying many of the provisions of the
Constitution is unreasonable, invalid or
unconstitutional.
1. 11. ID.; LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT; EXERCISE
OF LEGISLATIVE DISCRETION NOT SUBJECT
TO JUDICIAL REVIEW.The exercise of
legislative discretion is not subject to judicial review.
The Court will not inquire into the motives of the
Legislature, nor pass upon general matters of
legislative judgment. The Legislature is primarily the
judge of the necessity of an enactment or of any of its
provisions, and every presumption is in favor of its
validity, and though the Court may hold views
inconsistent with the wisdom of the law, it may not
annul the legislation if not palpably in excess of the
legislative power.
1. 12. ID.; TITLES OF BILLS; PROHIBITION AGAINST
DUPLICITY; PRESENCE OF DUPLICITY NOT
SHOWN IN TlTLE OR PROVISIONS OF
REPUBLIC ACT No. 1180.What Section 21(1) of
Article VI of the Constitution prohibits is duplicity,
that is, if its title completely fails to apprise the
legislators or the public of the nature.
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1. scope and consequences of the law or its operation (I
Sutherland, Statutory Construction, Sec. 1707, p.
297). A cursory consideration of the title and the
provisions of the bill fails to show the presence of
duplicity. It is true that the term "regulate" does not
and may not readily and at first glance convey the
idea of "nationalization" and "prohibition", which
terms express the two main purposes and objectives of
the law. But "regulate" is a broader term than either
prohibition or nationalization. Both of these have
always been included within the term "regulation".
1. 13. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; USE OF GENERAL TERMS IN
TITLE OF BILL.The general rule is for the use of
general terms in the title of a bill; the title need not be
an index to the entire contents of the law (I
Sutherland, Statutory Construction, Sec. 4803, p.
345). The above rule was followed when the title of
the Act in question adopted the more general term
"regulate" instead of "nationalize" or "prohibit".
1. 14. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PURPOSE OF
CONSTITUTIONAL DIRECTIVE REGARDING
SUBJECT OF A BILL.One purpose of the
constitutional directive that the subject of a bill should
be embraced in its title is to apprise the legislators of
the purposes, the nature and scope of its provisions,
and prevent the enactment into law of matters which
have not received the notice, action and study of the
legislators or of the public. In case at bar it cannot be
claimed that the legislators have not been apprised of
the nature of the law, especially the nationalization
and prohibition provisions. The legislators took active
interest in the discussion of the law, and a great many
of the persons affected by the prohibition in the law
conducted a campaign against its approval. It cannot
be claimed, therefore, that the reasons for declaring
the law invalid ever existed.
1. 15. ID.; INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND
OBLIGATIONS NOT VIOLATED BY REPUBLIC
ACT No. 1180; TREATIES SUBJECT TO
QUALIFICATION OR AMENDMENT BY
SUBSEQUENT LAW.The law does not violate
international treaties and obligations. The United
Nations Charter imposes no strict or legal obligations
regarding the rights and freedom of their subjects
(Jans Kelsen, The Law of the United Nations, 1951
ed., pp. 29-32), and the Declaration of Human Rights
contains nothing more than a mere recommendation,
or a common standard of achievement for all peoples
and all nations. The Treaty of Amity between the
Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of China
of April 18, 1947 guarantees equality of treatment to
the Chinese nationals "upon the same terms as the
nationals of any other
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1. country". But the nationals of China are not discriminated
against because nationals of all other countries, except
those of the United States, who are granted special
rights by the Constitution, are all prohibited from
engaging in the retail trade. But even supposing that
the law infringes upon the said treaty, the treaty is
always subject to qualification or amendment by a
subsequent law (U.S. vs. Thompson, 258, Fed. 257,
260), and the same may never curtail or restrict the
scope of the police power of the State (Palston vs.
Pennsylvania 58 L. ed., 539).
ORIGINAL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Injunction and
Mandamus.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Ozaeta, Lichauco & Picazo and Sycip, Quisumbing,
Salazar & Associates for petitioner.
Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor
Pacifico P. de Castro for respondent Secretary of Finance.
City Fiscal Eugenio Angeles and Assistant City Fiscal
Eulogio S. Serrano for respondent City Treasurer.
Dionisio Reyes as Amicus Curiae.
Marcial G. Mendiola as Amicus Curiae.
Emiliano R. Navarro as Amicus Curiae.
LABRADOR, J.:
I. The case and the issue, in general
This Court has before it the delicate task of passing upon the
validity and constitutionality of a legislative enactment,
fundamental and far-reaching in significance. The enactment
poses questions of due process, police power and equal
protection of the laws. It also poses an important issue of
fact, that is whether the conditions which the disputed law
purports to remedy really or actually exist. Admittedly
springing from a deep, militant, and positive nationalistic
impulse, the law purports to protect citizen and country from
the alien retailer. Through it, and within the field of
economy it regulates, Congress attempts
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to translate national aspirations for economic independence
and national security, rooted in the drive and urge for
national survival and welfare, into a concrete and tangible
measures designed to free the national retailer from the
competing dominance of the alien, so that the country and
the nation may be free from a supposed economic
dependence and bondage. Do the facts and circumstances
justify the enactment?
II. Pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 1180
Republic Act No. 1180 is entitled "An Act to Regulate the
Retail Business." In effect it nationalizes the retail trade
business. The main provisions of the Act are: (1) a
prohibition against persons, not citizens of the Philippines,
and against associations, partnerships, or corporations the
capital of which are not wholly owned by citizens of the
Philippines, from engaging directly or indirectly in the retail
trade; (2) an exception from the above prohibition in favor
of aliens actually engaged in said business on May 15, 1954,
who are allowed to continue to engage therein, unless their
licenses are forfeited in accordance with the law, until their
death or voluntary retirement in case of natural persons, and
for ten years after the approval of the Act or until the
expiration of term in case of juridical persons; (3) an
exception therefrom in favor of citizens and juridical entities
of the United States; (4) a provision for the forfeiture of
licenses (to engage in the retail business) for violation of the
laws on nationalization, economic control weights and
measures and labor and other laws relating to trade,
commerce and industry; (5) a prohibition against the
establishment or opening by aliens actually engaged in the
retail business of additional stores or branches of retail
business, (6) a provision requiring aliens actually engaged in
the retail business to present for registration with the proper
authorities a verified statement concerning their businesses,
giving, among other matters, the nature of the business, their
assets
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and liabilities and their offices and principal offices of
juridical entities; and (7) a provision allowing the heirs of
aliens now engaged in the retail business who die, to
continue such business for a period of six months for
purposes of liquidation.
III. Grounds upon which petition is basedAnswer
thereto
Petitioner, for and in his own behalf and on behalf of other
alien residents, corporations and partnerships adversely
affected by the provisions of Republic Act No. 1180,
brought this action to obtain a judicial declaration that said
Act is unconstitutional, and to enjoin the Secretary of
Finance and all other persons acting under him, particularly
city and municipal treasurers, from enforcing its provisions.
Petitioner attacks the constitutionality of the Act, contending
that: (1) it denies to alien residents the equal protection of
the laws and deprives them of their liberty and property
without due process of law; (2) the subject of the Act is not
expressed or comprehended in the title thereof; (3) the Act
violates international and treaty obligations of the Republic
of the Philippines; (4) the provisions of the Act against the
transmission by aliens of their retail business thru hereditary
succession, and those requiring 100% Filipino capitalization
for a corporation or entity to entitle it to engage in the retail
business, violate the spirit of Sections 1 and 5, Article XIII
and Section 8 of Article XIV of the Constitution.
In answer, the Solicitor-General and the Fiscal of the
City of Manila contend that: (1) the Act was passed in the
valid exercise of the police power of the State, which
exercise is authorized in the Constitution in the interest of
national economic survival; (2) the Act has only one subject
embraced in the title; (3) no treaty or international
obligations are infringed; (4) as regards hereditary
succession, only the form is affected but the value of the
property is not impaired, and the institution of inheritance is
only of statutory origin.
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IV. Preliminary consideration of legal principles involved
a. The police power.
There is no question that the Act was approved in the
exercise of the police power, but petitioner claims that its
exercise in this instance is attended by a violation of the
constitutional requirements of due process and equal
protection of the laws. But before proceeding to the
consideration and resolution of the ultimate issue involved,
it would be well to bear in mind certain basic and f
undamental, albeit preliminary, considerations in the
determination of the ever recurrent conflict between police
power and the guarantees of due process and equal
protection of the laws. What is the .scope of police power,
and how are the due process and equal protection clauses
related to it? What is the province and power of the
legislature, and what is the function and duty of the courts?
These consideration must be clearly and correctly
understood that their application to the f acts of the case may
be brought forth with clarity and the issue accordingly
resolved.
It has been said that police power is so far-reaching in
scope, that it has become almost impossible to limit its
sweep. As it derives its existence from the very existence of
the State itself, it does not need to be expressed or defined in
its scope; it is said to be co-extensive with selfprotection and
survival, and as such it is the most positive and active of all
governmental processes, the most essential, insistent and
illimitable. Especially is it so under a modern democratic
framework where the demands of society and of nations
have multiplied to almost unimaginable proportions; the
field and scope of police power has become almost
boundless, just as the fields of public interest and public
welfare have become almost all-embracing and have
transcended human foresight. Otherwise stated, as we cannot
foresee the needs and demands of public interest and welfare
in this constantly changing and progressive world, so we
cannot delimit beforehand the extent or scope
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of police power by which and through which the State seeks
to attain or achieve public interest or welfare. So it is that
Constitutions do not define the scope or extent of the police
power of the State; what they do is to set f orth the
limitations thereof. The most important of these are the due
process clause and the equal protection clause.
b. Limitations on police power.
The basic limitations of due process and equal protection are
found in the following provisions of our Constitution:
"SECTION 1.(1) No 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." (Article III, Phil.
Constitution)
These constitutional guarantees which embody the essence
of individual liberty and freedom in democracies, are not
limited to citizens alone but are admittedly universal in their
application, without regard to any differences of race, of
color, or of nationality. (Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, 30, L. ed.
220, 226.)
c. The equal protection clause.
The equal protection of the law clause is against undue favor
and individual or class privilege, as well as hostile
discrimination or the oppression of inequality. It is not
intended to prohibit legislation, which is limited either in the
object to which it is directed or by territory within which it is
to operate. It does not demand absolute equality among
residents; it merely requires that all persons shall be treated
alike, under like circumstances and conditions both as to
privileges conferred and liabilities enforced. 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 exists for making a distinction between
those who fall within such class and those who do not. (2
Cooley, Constitutional Limitations, 824-825.)
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d. The due process clause.
The due process clause has to do with the reasonableness of
legislation enacted in pursuance of the police power. Is there
public interest, a public purpose; is public welf are involved?
Is the Act reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of
the legislature's purpose; is it not unreasonable, arbitrary or
oppressive? Is there sufficient foundation or reason in
connection with the matter involved; or has there not been a
capricious use of the legislative power? Can the aims
conceived be achieved by the means used, or is it not merely
an unjustified interference with private interest? These are
the questions that we ask when the due process test is
applied.
The conflict, therefore, between police power and the
guarantees of due process and equal protection of the laws is
more apparent than real. Properly related; the power and the
guarantees are supposed to coexist. The balancing is the
essence or, shall it be said, the indispensable means for the
attainment of legitimate aspirations of any democratic
society. There can be no absolute power, whoever exercise
it, for that would be tyranny. Yet there can neither be
absolute liberty, for that would mean license and anarchy.
So the State can deprive persons of life, liberty and property,
provided there is due process of law; and persons may be
classified into classes and groups, provided everyone is
given the equal protection of the law. The test or standard, as
always, is reason, The police power legislation must be
firmly grounded on public interest and welfare, and a
reasonable relation must exist between purposes and means.
And if distinction and classification has been made, there
must be a reasonable basis for said distinction.
e. Legislative discretion not subject to judicial review.
Now, in this matter of equitable balancing, what is the
proper place and role of the courts ? It must not be
overlooked, in the first place, that the legislature, which is
the
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constitutional repository of police power and exercises the
prerogative of determining the policy of the State, is by
force of circumstances primarily the judge of necessity,
adequacy or reasonableness and wisdom, of any law
promulgated in the exercise of the police power, or of the
measures adopted to implement the public policy or to
achieve public interest. On the other hand, courts, although
zealous guardians of individual liberty and right, have
nevertheless evinced a reluctance to interfere with the
exercise of the legislative prerogative. They have done so
early where there has been a clear, patent or palpable
arbitrary and unreasonable abuse of the legislative
prerogative. Moreover, courts are not supposed to override
legitimate policy, and courts never inquire into the wisdom
of the law.
V. Economic problems sought to be remedied
With the above considerations in mind, we will now proceed
to delve directly into the issue involved. If the disputed
legislation were merely a regulation, as its title indicates,
there would be no question that it falls within the legitimate
scope of legislative power.. But it goes further and prohibits
a group of residents, the aliens, from engaging therein. The
problem becomes more complex because its subject is a
common, trade or occupation, as old as society itself, which
from time immemorial has always been open to residents,
irrespective of race, color or citizenship.
a. Importance of retail trade in the economy of the nation.
In a primitive economy where families produce all that they
consume and consume all that they produce, the dealer, of
course, is unknown. But as group life develops and families
begin to live in communities producing more than what they
consume and needing an infinite number of things they do
not produce, the dealer comes into existence.
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As villages develop into big communities and specialization
in production begins, the dealer's importance is enhanced.
Under modern conditions and standards of living, in which
man's needs have multiplied and diversified to unlimited
extents and proportions, the retailer comes as essential as the
producer, because thru him the infinite variety of articles,
goods and commodities needed for daily life are placed
within the easy reach of consumers. Retail dealers perform
the functions of capillaries in the human body, thru which all
the needed food and supplies are ministered to members of
the communities comprising the nation.
There cannot be any question about the importance of
the retailer in the life of the community. He ministers to the
resident's daily needs, food in all its increasing forms, and
the various little gadgets and things needed for home and
daily life. He provides his customers around his store with
the rice or corn, the fish, the salt, the vinegar, the ,spices
needed for the daily cooking. He has cloths to sell, even the
needle and the thread to sew them or darn the clothes that
wear out. The retailer, therefore, from the lowly peddler, the
owner of a small sari-sari store, to the operator of a
department store or a supermarket is so much a part of day-
to-day existence.
b. The alien retailer's traits.
The alien retailer must have started plying his trade in this
country in the bigger centers of population (Time there was
when he was unknown in provincial towns and villages).
Slowly but gradually he invaded towns and villages; now he
predominates in the cities and big centers of population. He
even pioneers in far away nooks where the beginnings of
community life appear, ministering to the daily needs of the
residents and purchasing their agricultural produce for sale
in the towns. It is an undeniable fact that in many
communities the alien has replaced the native retailer. He
has shown in this trade, industry without limit, and the
patience and forbearance of a slave.
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Derogatory epithets are hurled at him, but he laughs these
off without murmur; insults of ill-bred and insolent
neighbors and customers are made in his face, but he heeds
them not, and he forgets and forgives. The community takes
no note of him, as he appears to be harmless and extremely
useful.
c. Alleged alien control and dominance.
There is a general f eeling on the part of the public, which
appears to be true to f act, about the controlling and
dominant position that the alien retailer holds in the nation's
economy. Food and other essentials, clothing, almost all
articles of daily life reach the residents mostly through him.
In big cities and centers of population he has acquired not
only predominance, but apparent control over distribution of
almost all kinds of goods, such as lumber, hardware, textiles,
groceries, drugs, sugar, flour, garlic, and scores of other
goods and articles. And were it not for some national
corporations like the Naric, the Namarco, the Facomas and
the Accfa, his control over principal foods and products
would easily become full and complete.
Petitioner denies that there is alien predominance and
control in the retail trade. In one breath it is said that the fear
is unfounded and the threat is imagined; in another, it is
charged that the law is merely the result of racialism and
pure and unabashed nationalism. Alienage, it is said, is not
an element of control; also so many unmanageable factors in
the retail business make control virtually impossible. The
first argument which brings up an issue of fact merits serious
consideration. The others are matters of opinion within the
exclusive competence of the legislature and beyond our
prerogative to pass upon and decide.
The best evidence are the statistics on the retail trade,
which put down the figures in black and white. Between the
constitutional convention year (1935), when the fear of alien
domination and control of the retail trade already
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filled the minds of our leaders with fears and misgivings,
and the year of the enactment of the nationalization of the
retail trade act (1954), official statistics unmistakably point
out to the ever-increasing dominance and control by the
alien of the retail trade, as witness the following tables;
Assets Gross Sales
Year and
Retailer's
No.-
Establishments
Pesos Percent
Distribution
Pesos Percent
Distribution
Nationality
1941:
Filipino 106,671 200, 323, 138 55.82 174, 181, 924 5174
Chinese 15,356 118,348,692 32.98 148,813,239 44.21
Others 1,646 40,187,090 11.20 13,630,239 4.05
1947:
Filipino 111,107 208, 658, 946 65.05 279, 583, 333 57.03
Chinese 13,774 106,156,218 33.56 205, 701, 134 41.96
Others 354 8,761,260 .49 4,927,168 1.01
1948:
(Census)

Filipino 113,631 213, 342, 264 67.30 467, 161, 667 60.51
Chinese 12,087 93,155,459 29.38 294, 894, 227 38.20
Others 422 10,514,675 3.32 9,995,402 1.29
1949:
Filipino 113,659 213, 451, 602 60.89 462, 532, 901 53.47
Chinese 16,248 125,223,336 35.72 392, 414, 875 45.36
Others 486 12,056,365 3.39 10,078,364 1.17
1951:
Filipino 119,352 224, 053, 620 61.09 466, 058, 052 53.07
Chinese 17,429 134,325,303 36.60 404, 481, 384 46.06
Others 347 8,614,025 2.31 7,645,327 .87
AVERAGE
ASSETS AND GROSS SALES PER ESTABLISHMENT
Year and
Retailer's
Nationality
(Pesos)
Item Assets
(Pesos)
Gross Sales
1941:
Filipino 1,878 1,633
Chinese 7,707 9,691
Others 24,415 8,281
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1947:
Filipino 1,878 2,516
Chinese 7,707 14,934
Others ....24,749 13,919
1948: (Census)
Filipino 1,878 1,111
Chinese 7,707 24,398
Others 24,916 23,686
1949:
Filipino 1,878 4,069
Chinese 7,707 24,152
Others 24,807 20,737
1951:
Filipino 1,877 3,905
Chinese 7,707 33,207
Others 24,824 22,033
(Estimated Assets and Gross Sales of Retail Establishments,
By Year and Nationality of Owners, Benchmark: 1948
Census, issued by the Bureau of Census and Statistics,
Department of Commerce and Industry; pp. 18-19 of
Answer.)
The above statistics do not include corporations and
partnerships, while the figures on Filipino establishments
already include mere market vendors, whose capital is
necessarily small.
The above figures reveal that in percentage distribution
of assets and of gross sales, alien participation has steadily
increased during the years. It is true, of course, that Filipinos
have the edge in the number of retailers, but aliens more
than make up for the numerical gap through their assets and
gross sales which average between six and seven times those
of the very many Filipino retailers. Numbers in retailers,
here, do not imply superiority; the alien invests more capital,
buys and sells six to seven times more, and gains much
more. The same official report, pointing out to the known
predominance of foreign elements in the retail trade,
remarks that the Filipino retailers were largely engaged in
minor retailer enterprises. As observed by respondents, the
native investment is
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VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1171
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thinly spread, and the Filipino retailer is practically helpless
in matters of capital, credit, price and supply,
d. Alien control and threat, subject of apprehension in
Constitutional Convention.
It is this domination and control, which we believe has been
sufficiently shown to exist, that is the legislature's target in
the enactment of the disputed nationalization law. If they did
not exist as a fact the sweeping remedy of nationalization
would never have been adopted. The framers of our
Constitution also believed in the existence of this alien
dominance and control when they approved a resolution
categorically declaring among other things, that "it is the
sense of the Convention that the public interest requires the
nationalization of the retail trade; * * *." (II Aruego, The
Framing of the Philippine Constitution, 662663, quoted on
page 67 of Petitioner.) That was twentytwo years ago; and
the events since then have not been either pleasant or
comforting. Dean Sinco of the University of the Philippines
College of Law, commenting on the patrimony clause of the
Preamble opines that the fathers of our Constitution were
merely translating the general preoccupation of Filipinos "of
the dangers from alien interests that had already brought
under their control the commercial and other economic
activities of the country" (Sinco, Phil. Political Law, 10th
ed., p, 114); and analyzing the concern of the members of
the constitutional convention for the economic life of the
citizens, in connection with the nationalistic provisions of
the Constitution, he says:
"But there has been a general feeling that alien dominance
over the economic life of the country is not desirable and
that if such a situation should remain, political independence
alone is no guarantee to national stability and strength.
Filipino private capital is not big enough to wrest from alien
hands the control of the national economy. Moreover, it is
but of recent formation and hence, largely inexperienced,
timid and hesitant. Under such conditions, the government
as the instrumentality of the national will, has to step in and
assume the initiative, if not the leadership, in the struggle for
the
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economic freedom of the nation in somewhat the same way
that it did in the crusade for political freedom. Thus * * * it
(the Constitution) envisages an organized movement for the
protection of the nation not only against the possibilities of
armed invasion but also against its economic subjugation by
alien interests in the economic field." (Phil. Political Law by
Sinco, 10th ed., p. 476.)
Belief in the existence of alien control and predominance is
felt in other quarters. Filipino businessmen, manufacturers
and producers believe so; they fear the dangers coming from
alien control, and they express sentiments of economic
independence. Witness thereto is Resolution No. 1, approved
on July 18, 1953, of the Fifth National Convention of
Filipino Businessmen, and a similar resolution, approved on
March 20, 1954, of the Second National Convention of
Manufacturers and Producers. The man in the street also
believes, and fears, alien predominance and control; so our
newspapers, which have editorially pointed out not only to
control but to alien stranglehold. We, therefore, find alien
domination and control to be a fact, a reality proved by
official statistics, and felt by all the sections and groups that
compose the Filipino community.
e. Dangers of alien control and dominance in retail.
But the dangers arising from alien participation in the retail
trade does not seem to lie in the predominance alone; there
is a prevailing feeling that such predominance may truly
endanger the national interest. With ample capital, unity of
purpose and action and thorough organization, alien retailers
and merchants can act in such complete unison and concert
on such vital matters as the fixing of prices, the
determination of the amount of goods or articles to be made
available in the market, and even the choice of the goods or
articles they would or would not patronize or distribute, that
fears of dislocation of the national economy and of the
complete subservience of national retailers and of the
consuming public are not entirely unfounded. Nationals,
producers
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VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1173
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
and consumers alike, can be placed completely at their
mercy. This is easily illustrated. Suppose an article of daily
use is desired to be prescribed by the aliens, because the
producer or importer does not offer them sufficient profits,
or because a new competing article offers bigger profits for
its introduction. All that aliens would do is to agree to refuse
to sell the first article, eliminating it from their stocks,
offering the new one as a substitute. Hence, the producers or
importers of the prescribed article, or its consumers, find the
article suddenly out of circulation. Freedom of trade is thus
curtailed and free enterprise correspondingly suppressed.
We can even go farther than theoretical illustrations to
show the pernicious influences of alien domination. Grave
abuses have characterized the exercise of the retail trade by
aliens. It is a fact within judicial notice, which courts of
justice may not properly overlook or ignore in the interests
of truth and justice, that there exists a general feeling on the
part of the public that alien participation in the retail trade
has been attended by a pernicious and intolerable practices,
the mention of a few of which would suffice for our
purposes; that at some time or other they have cornered the
market of essential commodities, like corn and rice, creating
artificial scarcities to justify and enhance profits to
unreasonable proportions; that they have hoarded essential
foods to the inconvenience and prejudice of the consuming
public, so much so that the Government has had to establish
the National Rice and Corn Corporation to save the public
from their continuous hoarding practices and tendencies;
that they have violated price control laws, especially on
foods and essential commodities, such that the legislature
had to enact a law (Sec. 9, Republic Act No. 1168),
authorizing their immediate and automatic deportation for
price control convictions; that they have secret combinations
among themselves to control prices, cheating the operation
of the law of supply and demand;
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that they have connived to boycott honest merchants and
traders who would not cater or yield to their demands, in
unlawful restraint of freedom of trade and enterprise. They
are believed by the public to have evaded tax laws,
smuggled goods and money into and out of the land,
violated import and export prohibitions, control laws and the
like, in derision and contempt of lawful authority. It is also
believed that they have engaged in corrupting public
officials with fabulous bribes, indirectly causing the
prevalence of graft and corruption in the Government. As a
matter of fact appeals to unscrupulous aliens have been
made both by the Government and by their own lawful
diplomatic representatives, action which impliedly admits a
prevailing feeling about the existence of many of the above
practices.
The circumstances above set forth create well founded
fears that worse things may come in the future. The present
dominance of the alien retailer, especially in the big centers
of population, therefore, becomes a potential source of
danger on occasions of war or other calamity. We do not
have here in this country isolated groups of harmless aliens
retailing goods among nationals; what we have are well
organized and powerful groups that dominate the
distribution of goods and commodities in the communities
and big centers of population. They owe no allegiance or
loyalty to the State, and the State cannot rely upon them in
times of crisis or emergency. While the national holds his
life, his person and his property subject to the needs of his
country, the alien may even become the potential enemy of
the State.
f. Law enacted in interest of national economic survival and
security.
We are fully satisfied upon a consideration of all the facts
and circumstances that the disputed law is not the product of
racial hostility, prejudice or discrimination, but the
expression of the legitimate desire and determina-
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VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1175
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
tion of the people, thru their authorized representatives, to
free the nation from the economic situation that has
unfortunately been saddled upon it rightly or wrongly, to its
disadvantage. The law is clearly in the interest of the public,
nay of the national security itself, and indisputably falls
within the scope of police power, thru which and by which
the State insures its existence and security and the supreme
welfare of its citizens.
VI. The Equal Protection Limitation
a.Objections to alien participation in retail trade.
The next question that now poses solution is, Does the law
deny the equal protection of the laws? As pointed out above,
the mere fact of alienage is the root and cause of the
distinction between the alien and the national as a trader.
The alien resident owes allegiance to the country of his birth
or his adopted country; his stay here is for personal
convenience; he is attracted by the lure of gain and profit.
His aim or purpose of stay, we admit, is neither illegitimate
nor immoral, but he is naturally lacking in that spirit of
loyalty and enthusiasm for this country where he temporarily
stays and makes his living, or of that spirit of regard,
sympathy and consideration for his Filipino customers as
would prevent him from taking advantage of their weakness
and exploiting them. The faster he makes his pile, the earlier
can the alien go back to his beloved country and his beloved
kin and countrymen. The experience of the country is that
the alien retailer has shown such utter disregard for his
customers and the people on whom he makes his profit, that
it has been found necessary to adopt the legislation, radical
as it may seem.
Another objection to the alien retailer in this country is
that he never really makes a genuine contribution to national
income and wealth. He undoubtedly contributes to general
distribution, but the gains and profits he makes are not
invested in industries that would help the
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country's economy and increase national wealth. The alien's
interest in this country being merely transient and
temporary, it would indeed be ill-advised to continue
entrusting the very important function of retail distribution
to his hands.
The practices resorted to by aliens in the control of
distribution, as already pointed out above, their secret
manipulations of stocks of commodities and prices, their
utter disregard of the welfare of their customers and of the
ultimate happiness of the people of the nation of which they
are mere guests, which practices, manipulations and
disregard do not attend the exercise of the trade by the
nationals, show the existence of real and actual, positive and
fundamental differences between an alien and a national
which fully justify the legislative classification adopted in
the retail trade measure. These differences are certainly a
valid reason for the State to prefer the national over the alien
in the retail trade. We would be doing violence to fact and
reality were we to hold that no reason or ground for a
legitimate distinction can be found between one and the
other.
b. Difference in alien aims and purposes sufficient basis for
distinction.
The above objectionable characteristics of the exercise of the
retail trade by the aliens, which are actual and real, furnish
sufficient grounds for legislative classification of retail
traders into nationals and aliens. Some may disagree with
the wisdom of the legislature's classification. To this we
answer, that this is the prerogative of the law-making power.
Since the Court finds that the classification is actual, real
and reasonable, and all persons of one class are treated alike,
and as it cannot be said that the classification is patently
unreasonable and unfounded, it is in duty bound to declare
that the legislature acted within its legitimate prerogative
and it cannot declare that the act transcends the limit of
equal protection established by the Constitution.
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VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1177
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
Broadly speaking, the power of the legislature to make
distinctions and classifications among persons is not
curtailed or denied by the equal protection of the laws
clause. The legislative power admits of a wide scope of
discretion, and a law can be violative of the constitutional
limitation only when the classification is without reasonable
basis. In addition to the authorities we have earlier cited, we
can also refer to the case of Lindsley vs. Natural Carbonic
Gas Co. (1911), 55 L. ed., 369, which clearly and succinctly
defined the application of equal protection clause to a law
sought to be voided as contrary thereto:
"* * *. 1. The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment does not take from the state the power to
classify in the adoption of police laws, but admits of the
exercise of the wide scope of discretion in that regard, and
avoids what is done only when it is without any reasonable
basis, and therefore is purely arbitrary. 2. A classification
having some reasonable basis does not offend against that
clause merely because it is not made with mathematical
nicety, or because in practice it results in some inequality. 3.
When the classification in such a law is called in question, if
any state of facts reasonably can be conceived that would
sustain it, the existence of that state of facts at the time the
law was enacted must be assumed. 4. One who assails the
classification in such a law must carry the burden of
showing that it does not rest upon any reasonable basis, but
is essentially arbitrary.'"
c. Authorities recognizing citizenship as basis for
classification.
The question as to whether or not citizenship is a legal and
valid ground for classification has already been affirmatively
decided in this jurisdiction as well as in various courts in the
United States. In the case of Smith Bell & Co. vs. Natividad,
40 Phil. 136, where the validity of Act No. 2761 of the
Philippine Legislature was in issue, because of a condition
therein limiting the ownership of vessels engaged in
coastwise trade to corporations formed by citizens of the
Philippine Islands or the United States, thus denying the
right to aliens, it was held that the Philippine Legislature did
not violate the equal pro-
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1178 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
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tection clause of the Philippine Bill of Rights. The
Legislature in enacting the law had as ultimate purpose the
encouragement of Philippine shipbuilding and the safety for
these Islands from foreign interlopers. We held that this was
a valid exercise of the police power, and all presumptions
are in favor of its constitutionality. In substance, we held
that the limitation of domestic ownership of vessels engaged
in coastwise trade to citizens of the Philippines does not
violate the equal protection of the law and due process of
law clauses of the Philippine Bill of Rights. In rendering
said decision we quoted with approval the concurring
opinion of Justice Johnson in the case of Gibbons vs. Ogden,
9 Wheat., I, as follows:
" 'Licensing acts, in fact, in legislation, are universally
restraining acts; as, for example, acts licensing gaming
houses, retailers of spirituous liquors, etc. The act, in this
instance, is distinctly of that character, and forms part of an
extensive system, the object of which is to encourage
American shipping, and place them on an equal footing with
the shipping of other nations. Almost every commercial
nation reserves to its own subjects a monopoly of its
coasting trade; and a countervailing privilege in favor of
American shipping is contemplated, in the whole legislation
of the United States on this subject. It is not to give the
vessel an American character, that the license is granted; that
effect has been correctly attributed to the act of her
enrollment. But it is to confer on her American privileges, as
contradistinguished from foreign; and to preserve the
Government from fraud by foreigners; in surreptitiously
intruding themselves into the American commercial marine,
as well as frauds upon the revenue in the trade coastwise,
that this whole system is projected.'"
The rule in general is as follows:
"Aliens are under no special constitutional protection which
forbids a classification otherwise justified simply because
the limitation of the class falls along the lines of nationality.
That would be requiring a higher degree of protection for
aliens as a class than for similar classes of American
citizens. Broadly speaking, the difference in status between
citizens and aliens constitutes a basis for reasonable
classification in the exercise of police power." (2 Am. Jur.
468-469.)
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VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1179
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
In Commonwealth vs. Hana, 81 N. E. 149 (Massachusetts,
1907), a statute on the licensing of hawkers and peddlers,
which provided that no one can obtain a license unless he is,
or has declared his intention, to become a citizen of the
United States, was held valid, for the following reason: It
may seem wise to the legislature to limit the business of
those who are supposed to have regard for the welfare, good
order and happiness of the community, and the court cannot
question this judgment and conclusion. In Bloomfield vs.
State, 99 N.E. 309 (Ohio, 1912), a statute which prevented
certain persons, among them aliens, from engaging in the
traffic of liquors, was found not to be the result of race
hatred, or inhospitality, or a deliberate purpose to
discriminate, but was based on the belief that an alien cannot
be sufficiently acquainted with 'our institutions and our life
as to enable him to appreciate the relation of this particular
business to our entire social f abric", and was not, theref ore,
invalid. In Ohio ex rel. Clarke vs. Deckebach, 274 U.S. 392,
71 L. ed. 1115 (1926), the U. S. Supreme Court had under
consideration an ordinance of the city of Cincinnati
prohibiting the issuance of licenses (pools and billiard
rooms) to aliens. It held that plainly irrational discrimination
against aliens is prohibited, but it does not follow that alien
race and allegiance may not bear in some instances such a
relation to a legitimate object of legislation as to be made the
basis of permitted classification, and that it could not state
that the legislation is clearly wrong; and that latitude must be
allowed for the legislative appraisement of local conditions
and for the legislative choice of methods for controlling an
apprehended evil. The case of State vs. Carrol, 124 N. E. 129
(Ohio, 1919) is a parallel case to the one at bar. In Asakura,
vs. City of Seattle, 210 P. 30 (Washington, 1922), the
business of pawnbroking was considered as having
tendencies injuring public interest, and limiting it to citizens
is within the scope of police power. A similar statute
denying
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aliens the right to engage in auctioneering was also sustained
in Wright vs. May, L. R. A., 1915 P. 151 (Minnesota, 1914).
So also in Anton vs. Van Winkle, 297 F. 340 (Oregon,
1924), the court said that aliens are judicially known to have
different interests, knowledge, attitude, psychology and
loyalty, hence the prohibition of issuance of licenses to them
for the business of pawnbroker, pool, billiard, card room,
dance hall, is not an infringement of constitutional rights. In
Templar vs. Michigan State Board of Examiners, 90 N.W.
1058 (Michigan, 1902), a law prohibiting the licensing of
aliens as barbers was held void, but the reason for the
decision was the court's finding that the exercise of the
business by the aliens does not in any way affect the morals,
the health, or even the convenience of the community. In
Takahashi vs. Fish and Game Commission, 92 L. ed. 1479
(1947), a California statute banning the issuance of
commercial fishing licenses to persons ineligible to
citizenship was held void, because the law conflicts with
Federal power over immigration, and because there is no
public interest in the mere claim of ownership of the waters
and the fish in them, so there was no adequate justification
for the discrimination. It further added that the law was the
outgrowth of antagonism toward persons of Japanese
ancestry. However, two Justices dissented on the theory that
fishing rights have been treated traditionally as natural
resources. In Fraser vs. McConway & Tarley Co., 82 Fed.
257 (Pennsylvania, 1897), a state law which imposed a tax
on every employer of foreign-born unnaturalized male
persons over 21 years of age, was declared void because the
court found that there was no reason for the classification
.and the tax was an arbitrary deduction from the daily wage
of an employee.
d. Authorities contra explained.
It is true that some decisions of the Federal court and of the
State courts in the United States hold that the distinction
between aliens and citizens is not a valid
1181
VOL. 101, MAY 81, 1957 1181
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
ground for classification. But in these decisions the laws
declared invalid were found to be either arbitrary,
unreasonable or capricious, or were the result or product of
racial antagonism and hostility, and there was no question of
public interest involved or pursued. In Yu Cong Eng vs.
Trinidad, 70 L. ed. 1059 (1925), the United States Supreme
Court declared invalid a Philippine law making unlawful the
keeping of books of account in any language other than
English, Spanish or any other local dialect, but the main
reasons for the decisions are: (1) that if Chinese were driven
out of business there would be no other system of
distribution, and (2) that the Chinese would fall prey to all
kinds of fraud, because they would be deprived of their right
to be advised of their business and to direct its conduct. The
real reason for the decision, therefore, is the court's belief
that no public benefit would be derived from the operation
of the law and on the other hand it would deprive Chinese of
something indispensable for carrying on their business. In
Yick Wo vs. Hopkins, 30 L. ed. 220 (1885) an ordinance
conferring power on officials to withhold consent in the
operation of laundries both as to persons and place, was
declared invalid, but the court said that the power granted
was arbitrary, that there was no reason for the discrimination
which attended the administration and implementation of the
law, and that the motive thereof was mere racial hostility. In
State vs. Montgomery, 47 A. 165 (Maine, 1900), a law
prohibiting aliens to engage as hawkers and peddlers was
declared void, because the discrimination bore no reasonable
and just relation to the act in respect to which the
classification was proposed.
The case at bar is radically different, and the facts make
them so. As we already have said, aliens do not naturally
possess the sympathetic consideration and regard for
customers with whom they come in daily contact, nor the
patriotic desire to help bolster the nation's economy, except
in so far as it enhances their profit,
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1182 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
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nor the loyalty and allegiance which the national owes to the
land. These limitations on the qualifications of aliens have
been shown on many occasions and instances, especially in
times of crisis and emergency. We can do no better than
borrow the language of Anton vs. Van Winkle, 297 F. 340,
342, to drive home the reality and significance of the
distinction between the alien and the national, thus:
"* * *. It may be judicially known, however, that aliens
coming into this country are without the intimate knowledge
of our laws, customs, and usages that our own people have.
So it is likewise known that certain classes of aliens are of
different psychology from our fellow countrymen.
Furthermore, it is natural and reasonable to suppose that the
foreign born, whose allegiance is first to their own country,
and whose ideals of governmental environment and control
have been engendered and formed under entirely different
regimes and political systems, have not the same inspiration
for the public weal, nor are they as well disposed toward the
United States, as those who by citizenship, are a part of the
government itself. Further enlargement, is unnecessary. I
have said enough so that obviously it cannot be affirmed
with absolute confidence that the Legislature was without
plausible reason for making the classification, and therefore
appropriate discrimination against aliens as it relates to the
subject of legislation. * * *."
VII The Due Process of Law Limitation
a. Reasonability, the test of the limitation; determination by
legislature decisive.
We now come to due process as a limitation on the exercise
of the police power. It has been stated by the highest
authority in the United States that:
"* * * And the guaranty of due process, as has often been
held, demands only that the law shall not be unreasonable,
arbitrary or capricious, and that the means selected shall
have a real and substantial relation to the subject sought to
be attained. * * *."
* * * * * * *
"So far as the requirement of due process is concerned
and in the absence of other constitutional restriction a state is
free to adopt whatever economic policy may reasonably be
deemed to promote public welfare, and to enforce that policy
by legislation adapted
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VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1183
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
to its purpose. The courts are without authority either to
declare such policy, or, when it is declared by the
legislature, to override it. If the laws passed are seen to have
a reasonable relation to a proper legislative purpose, and are
neither arbitrary nor discriminatory, the requirements of due
process are satisfied, and judicial determination to that effect
renders a court functus officio. * * *." (Nebbia vs. New
York, 78 L. ed. 940, 950, 957.)
Another authority states the principle thus:
"* * *. Too much significance cannot be given to the
word 'reasonable' in considering the scope of the police
power in a constitutional sense, for the test used to
determine the constitutionality of the means employed by
the legislature is to inquire whether the restrictions it
imposes on rights secured to individuals by the Bill of
Rights are unreasonable, and not whether it imposes any
restrictions on such rights. * * *."
* * * * * * *
"* * *. A statute to be within this power must also be
reasonable in its operation upon the persons whom it affects,
must not be for the annoyance of a particular class, and must
not be unduly oppressive." (11 Am. Jur. Sec. 302, pp. 1074-
1075.)
In the case of Lawton vs. Steele, 38 L. ed. 385, 388, it was
also held:
"* * *. To justify the state in thus interposing its authority in
behalf of the public, it must appear, first, that the interests of
the public generally, as distinguished from those of a
particular class, require such interference; and second, that
the means are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment
of the purpose, and -not unduly oppressive upon individuals.
* * *."
Prata Undertaking Co. vs. State Board of Embalming, 104
ALR, 389, 395, fixes this test of constitutionality:
"In determining whether a given act of the Legislature,
passed in the exercise of the police power to regulate the
operation of a business, is or is not constitutional, one of the
first questions to be considered by the court is whether the
power as exercised has a sufficient foundation in reason in
connection with the matter involved, or is an arbitrary,
oppressive, and capricious use of that power, without
substantial relation to the health, safety, morals, comfort,
and general welfare of the public."
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lchong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
b. Petitioner's argument considered.
Petitioner's main argument is that retail is a common,
ordinary occupation, one of those privileges long ago
recognized as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by
free men; that it is a gainful and honest occupation and
therefore beyond the power of the legislature to prohibit and
penalize. This argument overlooks fact and reality and rests
on an incorrect assumption and premise, i.e., that in this
country where the occupation is engaged in by petitioner, it
has been so engaged by him, by the alien, in an honest
creditable and unimpeachable manner, without harm or
injury to the citizens and without ultimate danger to their
economic peace, tranquility and welfare. But the Legislature
has found, as we have also found and indicated, that the
privilege has been so grossly abused by the alien, thru the
illegitimate use of pernicious designs and practices, that he
now enjoys a monopolistic control of the occupation and
threatens a deadly stranglehold on the nation's economy
endangering the national security in times of crisis and
emergency.
The real question at issue, therefore, is not that posed by
petitioner, which overlooks and ignores the facts and
circumstances, but this, Is the exclusion in the future of
aliens from the retail trade unreasonable, arbitrary and
capricious, taking into account the illegitimate and
pernicious form and manner in which the aliens have
heretofore engaged therein? As thus correctly stated the
answer is clear. The law in question is deemed absolutely
necessary to bring about the desired legislative objective,
i.e., to free national economy from alien control and do
minance. It is not necessarily unreasonable because it affects
private rights and privileges (11 Am. Jur. pp. 1080-1081.)
The test of reasonableness of a law is the appropriateness or
adequacy under all circumstances of the means adopted to
carry out its purpose into effect (Id.) Judged by this test,
disputed legislation, which is
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Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
not merely reasonable but actually necessary, must be
considered not to have infringed the constitutional limitation
of reasonableness.
The necessity of the law in question is explained in the
explanatory note that accompanied the bill, which later was
enacted into law:
"This bill proposes to regulate the retail business. Its purpose
is to prevent persons who are not citizens of the Philippines
from having a strangle hold upon our economic life. If the
persons who control this vital artery of our economic life are
the ones who owe no allegiance to this Republic, who have
no profound devotion to our free institutions, and who have
no permanent stake in our people's welfare, we are not really
the masters of our own destiny. All aspects of our life, even
our national security, will be at the mercy of other people.
"In seeking to accomplish the foregoing purpose, we do
not propose to deprive persons who are not citizens of the
Philippines of their means of livelihood. While this bill
seeks to take away from the hands of persons who are not
citizens of the Philippines a power that can be wielded to
paralyze all aspects of our national life and endanger our
national security it respects existing rights.
"The approval of this bill is 'necessary for our national
survival."
If political independence is a legitimate aspiration of a
people, then economic independence is none the less
legitimate. Freedom and liberty are not real and positive if
the people are subject to the economic control and
domination of others, especially if not of their own race or
country. The removal and eradication of the shackles of
foreign economic control and domination, is one of the
noblest motives that a national legislature may pursue. It is
impossible to conceive that legislation that seeks to bring it
about can infringe the constitutional limitation of due
process. The attainment of a legitimate aspiration of a people
can never be beyond the limits of legislative authority.
c. Law expressly held by Constitutional Convention to be
within the sphere of legislative action.
The framers of the Constitution could not have intended to
impose the constitutional restrictions of due
1186
1186 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
process on the attainment of such a noble motive as freedom
from economic control and domination, thru the exercise of
the police power. The fathers of the Constitution must have
given to the legislature full authority and power to enact
legislation that would promote the supreme happiness of the
people, their freedom and liberty. On the precise issue now
before us, they expressly made their voice clear; they
adopted a resolution expressing their belief that the
legislation in question is within the scope of the legislative
power. Thus they declared in their Resolution:
" That it is the sense of the Convention that the public
interest requires the nationalization of retail trade; but it
abstains from approving the amendment introduced by the
Delegate for Manila, Mr. Araneta, and others on this matter
because it is convinced that the National Assembly is
authorized to promulgate a law which limits to Filipino and
American citizens the privilege to engage in the retail
trade.'" (II Aruego, The Framing of the Philippine
Constitution, 662-663, quoted on pages 66 and 67 of the
Memorandum for the Petitioner.)
It would do well to refer to the nationalistic tendency
manifested in various provisions of the Constitution. Thus in
the preamble, a principal objective is the conservation of the
patrimony of the nation and as corollary thereto the
provision limiting to citizens of the Philippines the
exploitation, development and utilization of its natural
resources. And in Section 8 of Article XIV, it is provided
that "no franchise, certificate, or any other form of
authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be
granted except to citizens of the Philippines." The
nationalization of the retail trade is only a continuance of the
nationalistic protective policy laid down as a primary
objective of the Constitution. Can it be said that a law
imbued with the same purpose and spirit underlying many of
the provisions of the Constitution is unreasonable, invalid
and unconstitutional ?
The seriousness of the Legislature's concern for the
plight of the nationals as manifested in the approval
1187
VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1187
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
of the radical measure is, therefore, fully justified. It would
have been recreant to its duties towards the country and its
people would it view the sorry plight of the nationals with
complacency and refuse or neglect to adopt a remedy
commensurate with the demands of public interest and
national survival. As the repository of the sovereign power
of legislation, the Legislature was in duty bound to face the
problem and meet, through adequate measures, the danger
and threat that alien domination of retail trade poses to
national economy.
d. Provisions of law not unreasonable.
A cursory study of the provisions of the law immediately
reveals how tolerant, how reasonable the Legislature has
been. The law is made prospective and recognizes the right
and privilege of those already engaged in the occupation to
continue therein during the rest of their lives; and similar
recognition of the right to continue is accorded associations
of aliens. The right or privilege is denied to those only upon
conviction of certain offenses. In the deliberations of the
Court on this case, attention was called to the fact that the
privilege should not have been denied to children and heirs
of aliens now engaged in the retail trade. Such provision
would defeat the law itself, its aims and purposes. Besides,
the exercise of legislative discretion is not subject to judicial
review. It is well settled that the Court will not inquire into
the motives of the Legislature, nor pass upon general matters
of legislative judgment. The Legislature is primarily the
judge of the necessity of an enactment or of any of its
provisions, and every presumption is in favor of its validity,
and though the Court may hold views inconsistent with the
wisdom of the law, it may not annul the legislation if not
palpably in excess of the legislative power. Furthermore, the
test of the validity of a law attacked as a violation of due
process, is not its reasonableness, but its unreasonableness,
and we find
1188
1188 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
he provisions are not unreasonable. These principles also
answer various other arguments raised against the law, some
of which are: that the law does not promote general welfare;
that thousands of aliens would be thrown out of
employment; that prices will increase because of the
elimination of competition; that there is no need for the
legislation; that adequate replacement is problematical; that
there may be general breakdown; that there would be
repercussions from foreigners; etc. Many of these arguments
are directed against the supposed wisdom of the law which
lies solely within the legislative prerogative; they do not
import invalidity.
VIII. Alleged defect in the title of the law
A subordinate ground or reason for the alleged invalidity of
the law is the claim that the title thereof is misleading or
deceptive, as it conceals the real purpose of the bill, which is
to nationalize the retail business and prohibit aliens from
engaging therein. The constitutional provision which is
claimed to be violated in Section 21 (1) of Article VI, which
reads:
"No bill which may be enacted into law shall embrace more
than one subject which shall be expressed in the title of the
bill."
What the above provision prohibits is duplicity, that is, if its
title completely fails to apprise the legislators or the public
of the nature, scope and consequences of the law or its
operation (I Sutherland, Statutory Construction, Sec. 1707,
p. 297.) A cursory consideration of the title and the
provisions of the bill fails to show the presence of duplicity.
It is true that the term "regulate" does not and may not
readily and at first glance convey the idea of
"nationalization" and "prohibition", which terms express the
two main purposes and objectives of the law. But "regulate"
is a broader term than either prohibition or nationalization.
Both of these have always been included within the term
regulation.
1189
VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1189
lchong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
"Under the title of an act to 'regulate', the sale of intoxicating
liquors, the Legislature may prohibit the sale of intoxicating
liquors." (Sweet vs. City of Wabash, 41 Ind., 7; quoted in
page 41 of Answer.)
"Within the meaning of the Constitution requiring that
the subject of every act of the Legislature shall be stated in
the title, the title To regulate the sale of intoxicating liquors,
etc." sufficiently expresses the subject of an act prohibiting
the sale of such liquors to minors and to persons in the habit
of getting intoxicated; such matters being properly included
within the subject of regulating the sale." (Williams vs.
State, 48 Ind. 306, 308, quoted in p. 42 of Answer.)
"The word 'regulate' is of broad import, and necessarily
implies some degree of restraint and prohibition of acts
usually done in connection with the thing to be regulated.
While word regulate' does not ordinarily convey meaning of
prohibit, there is no absolute reason why it should not have
such meaning when used in delegating police power in
connection with a thing the best or only efficacious
regulation of which involves suppression." (State vs.
Morton, 162 So. 718, 182 La. 887, quoted in p. 42 of
Answer.)
The general rule is for the use of general terms in the title of
a bill; it has also been said that the title need not be an index
to the entire contents of the law (I Sutherland, Statutory
Construction, Sec. 4803, p. 345.) The above rule was
followed when the title of the Act in question adopted the
more general term "regulate" instead of "nationalize" or
"prohibit". Furthermore, the law also contains other rules for
the regulation of the retail trade, which may not be included
in the terms "nationalization" or "prohibition"; so were the
title changed from "regulate" to "nationalize" or "prohibit",
there would have been many provisions not f alling within
the scope of the title which would have made the Act
invalid. The use of the term "regulate", therefore, is in
accord with the principle governing the drafting of statutes,
under which a simple or general term should be adopted in
the title, which would include all other provisions found in
the body of the Act.
One purpose of the constitutional directive that the
subject of a bill should be embraced in its title is to apprise
the legislators of the purposes, the nature and scope of its
provisions, and prevent the enactment into law of matters
1190
1190 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
which have not received the notice, action and study of the
legislators or of the public. In the case at bar it cannot be
claimed that the legislators have not been apprised of the
nature of the law, especially the nationalization and
prohibition provisions. The legislators took active interest in
the discussion of the law, and a great many of the persons
affected by the prohibition in the law conducted a campaign
against its approval. It cannot be claimed, therefore, that the
reasons for declaring the law invalid ever existed. The
objection must therefore, be overruled.
IX. Alleged violation of international treaties and
obligations
Another subordinate argument against the validity of the law
is the supposed violation thereby of the Charter of the
United Nations and of the Declaration of Human Rights
adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. We find
no merit in the above contention. The United Nations
Charter imposes no strict or legal obligations regarding the
rights and freedom of their subjects (Hans Kelsen, The Law
of the United Nations, 1951 ed. pp. 2932), and the
Declaration of Human Rights contains nothing more than a
mere recommendation, or a common standard of
achievement for all peoples and all nations (Id. p. 39.) That
such is the import of the United Nations Charter aid of the
Declaration of Human Rights can be inferred from the fact
that members of the United Nations Organization, such as
Norway and Denmark, prohibit foreigners from engaging in
retail trade, and in most nations of the world laws against
foreigners engaged in domestic trade are adopted.
The Treaty of Amity between the Republic of the
Philippines and the Republic of China of April 18, 1947 is
also claimed to be violated by the law in question. All that
the treaty guarantees is equality of treatment to the Chinese
nationals "upon the same terms as the nationals of any other
country." But the nationals of China are not dis-
1191
VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1191
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
criminated against because nationals of all other countries,
except those of the United States, who are granted special
rights by the Constitution, are all prohibited f rom engaging
in the retail trade. But even supposing that the law infringes
upon the said treaty, the treaty is always subject to
qualification or amendment by a subsequent law (U. S. vs.
Thompson, 258, Fed. 257, 260), and the same may never
curtail or restrict the scope of the police power of the State
(Palston vs. Pennsylvania, 58 L. ed. 539.)
X. Conclusion
Resuming what we have set forth above we hold that the
disputed law was enacted to remedy a real actual threat and
danger to national economy posed by alien dominance and
control of the retail business and free citizens and country
from such dominance and control; that the enactment clearly
falls within the scope of the police power of the State, thru
which and by which it protects its own personality and
insures its security and future; that the law does not violate
the equal protection clause of the Constitution because
sufficient grounds exist for the distinction between alien and
citizen in the exercise of the occupation regulated, nor the
due process of law clause, because the law is prospective in
operation and recognizes the privilege of aliens already
engaged in the occupation and reasonably protects their
privilege; that the wisdom and efficacy of the law to carry
out its objectives appear to us to be plainly evidentas a
matter of f act it seems not only appropriate but actually
necessaryand that in any case such matter falls within the
prerogative of the Legislature, with whose power and
discretion the Judicial department of the Government may
not interfere; that the provisions of the law are clearly
embraced in the title, and this suffers from no duplicity and
has not misled the legislators or the segment of the
population affected; and that it cannot be said to be void for
supposed conflict with treaty obligations because no treaty
has actually been en-
1192
1192 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
tered into on the subject and the police power may not be
curtailed or surrendered by any treaty or any other
conventional agreement.
Some members of the Court are of the opinion that the
radical effects of the law could have been made less harsh in
its impact on the aliens. Thus it is stated that more time
should have been given in the law for the liquidation of
existing businesses when the time comes for them to close.
Our legal duty, however, is merely to determine if the law
falls within the scope of legislative authority and does not
transcend the limitations of due process and equal protection
guaranteed in the Constitution. Remedies against the
harshness of the law should be addressed to the Legislature;
they are beyond our power and jurisdiction.
The petition is hereby denied, with costs against
petitioner.
Pars, C. J., Bengzon, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo,
Concepcin, Reyes, J. B. L., Endencia, and Felix, JJ.,
concur.
PADILLA, J., concurring and dissenting:
I agree to the proposition, principle or rule that courts may
not inquire into the wisdom of an Act passed by the
Congress and duly approved by the President of the
Republic. But the rule does not preclude courts from
inquiring and determining whether the Act offends against a
provision or provisions of the Constitution. I am satisfied
that the Act assailed as violative of the due process of law
and the equal protection of the laws clauses of the
Constitution does not infringe upon them, insofar as it
affects associations, partnerships or corporations, the capital
of which is not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines,
and aliens, who are not and have not been engaged in the
retail business. I am, however, unable to persuade myself
that it does not violate said clauses insofar as the Act applies
to associations and partnerships referred to in the Act and to
aliens, who are and have
1193
VOL. 101, MAY 31, 1957 1193
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
heretofore been engaged in said business. When they did
engage in the retail business there was no prohibition on or
against them to engage in it. They assumed and believed in
good faith they were entitled to engage in the business. The
Act allows aliens to continue in business until their death or
voluntary retirement f rom the business or forfeiture of their
license; and corporations, associations or partnerships, the
capital of which is not wholly owned by citizens of the
Philippines to continue in the business for a period of ten
years from the date of the approval of the Act (19 June
1954) or until the expiry of the term of the existence of the
association or partnership or corporation, whichever event
comes first. The prohibition on corporations, the capital of
which is not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines, to
engage in the retail business for a period of more than ten
years from the date of the approval of the Act or beyond the
term of their corporate existence, whichever event comes
first, is valid and lawful, because the continuance of the
existence of such corporations is subject to whatever the
Congress may impose reasonably upon them by subsequent
legislation.1 But the prohibition to engage in the retail
business by associations and partnerships, the capital of
which is not wholly owned by citizens of the Philippines,
after ten years from the date of the approval of the Act, even
bef ore the end of the term of their existence as agreed upon
by the associates and partners, and by alien heirs to whom
the retail business is transmitted by the death of an alien
engaged in the business, or by his executor or administrator,
amounts to a deprivation of their property without due
process of law. To my mind, the ten-year period from the
date of the approval of the Act or until the expiration of the
term of the existence of the association and partnership,
whichever event comes first, and the sixmonth period
granted to alien heirs of a deceased alien,
________________
1 Section 76, Act No. 1459.
1194
1194 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc,, and Sarmiento
his executor or administrator, to liquidate the business, do
not cure the defect of the law, because the effect of the
prohibition is to compel them to sell or dispose of their
business. The price obtainable at such forced sale of the
business would be inadequate to reimburse and compensate
the associates or partners of the association or partnership,
and the alien heirs of a deceased alien, engaged in the retail
business for the capital invested in it. The stock of
merchandise bought and sold at retail does not alone
constitute the business. The goodwill that the association,
partnership and the alien had built up during a long period of
effort, patience and perseverance forms part of such
business. The constitutional provisions that no person shall
be deprived of his property without due process of law 1 and
that no person shall be denied the equal protection of the
laws 2 would have no meaning as applied to associations or
partnerships and alien heirs of an alien engaged in the retail
business if they were to be compelled to sell or dispose of
their business within ten years from the date of the approval
of the Act and before the end of the term of the existence of
the associations and partnerships as agreed upon by the
associates and partners and within six months after the death
of their predecessorin-interest.
The authors of the Constitution were vigilant, caref ul
and zealous in the safeguard of the ownership of private
agricultural lands which together with the lands of the public
domain constitute the priceless patrimony and mainstay of
the nation; yet, they did not deem it wise and prudent to
deprive aliens and their heirs of such lands,3
For these reasons, I am of the opinion that section 1 of
the Act, insofar as it compels associations and partnerships
referred to therein to wind up their retail business within ten
years from the date of the approval of the Act
________________
1 Section 1(1), Article III, of the Constitution.
2 Ibid.
3 Section 5, Article XIII, of the Constitution.
1195
VOL. 101, MAY 81. 1957 1195
Ichong etc., et al. vs. Hernandez, etc., and Sarmiento
even before the expiry of the term of their existence as
agreed upon by the associates and partners and section 3 of
the Act, insofar as it compels the alien heirs of a deceased
alien engaged in the retail business in his lifetime, his
executor or administrator, to liquidate the business, are
invalid, for they violate the due process of law and the equal
protection of the laws clauses of the Constitution.
Petition denied.

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208 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
No. L-75697. June 18, 1987.*
VALENTIN TIO doing business under the name and style
of OMI ENTERPRISES, petitioner, vs. VIDEOGRAM
REGULATORY BOARD, MINISTER OF FINANCE,
METRO MANILA COMMISSION, CITY MAYOR and
CITY TREASURER OF MANILA, respondents.
Constitutional Law; Constitutional requirement that
every bill shall embrace only one subject which shall be
expressed in the title thereof is sufficiently complied with if
the title be comprehensive enough to include the general
purpose it seeks to achieve and if all the parts of the statute
are related and germane to the subject matter expressed in
the title or as long as they are not inconsistent with or
foreign to the general subject and title.The Constitutional
requirement that every bill shall embrace only one subject
which shall be expressed in the title thereof is sufficiently
complied with if the title be comprehensive enough to
include the general purpose which a statute seeks to achieve.
It is not necessary that the title express each and every end
that the statute wishes to accomplish. The requirement is
satisfied if all the parts of the statute are related, and are
germane to the subject matter expressed in the title, or as
long as they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the
general subject and title. An act having a single general
subject, indicated in the title, may contain any number of
provisions, no matter how diverse they may be, so long as
they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the general
subject, and may be considered in furtherance of such
subject by providing for the method and means of carrying
out the general object. The rule also is that the
constitutional requirement as to the title of a bill should not
be so narrowly construed as to cripple or impede the
_______________
* EN BANC.

209

VOL. 151, JUNE 18, 1987 209
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
power of legislation. It should be given a practical rather
than technical construction.
Same; Same; Section 10 PD 1987 otherwise known as
Videogram Regulatory Board is not a Rider.Section 10.
Tax on Sale, Lease or Disposition of Videograms.
Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the
province shall collect a tax of thirty percent (30%) of the
purchase price or rental rate, as the case may be, for every
sale, lease or disposition of a videogram containing a
reproduction of any motion picture or audiovisual program.
Fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds of the tax collected shall
accrue to the province, and the other fifty percent (50%)
shall accrue to the municipality where the tax is collected;
PROVIDED, That in Metropolitan Manila, the tax shall be
shared equally by the City/Municipality and the
Metropolitan Manila Commission. x x x x The foregoing
provision is allied and germane to, and is reasonably
necessary for the accomplishment of, the general object of
the DECREE, which is the regulation of the video industry
through the Videogram Regulatory Board as expressed in its
title. The tax provision is not inconsistent with, nor foreign
to that general subject and title. As a tool for regulation it is
simply one of the regulatory and control mechanisms
scattered throughout the DECREE. The express purpose of
the DECREE to include taxation of the video industry in
order to regulate and rationalize the heretofore uncontrolled
distribution of videograms is evident from Preambles 2 and
5, supra. Those preambles explain the motives of the
lawmaker in presenting the measure. The title of the
DECREE, which is the creation of the Videogram
Regulatory Board, is comprehensive enough to include the
purposes expressed in its Preamble and reasonably covers all
its provisions. It is unnecessary to express all those
objectives in the title or that the latter be an index to the
body of the DECREE,
Same; Same; Same; Tax imposed under the Decree is
not harsh; oppressive, confiscatory and in restraint of trade
but regulatory and a revenue measure; The levy is for a
public purpose.Petitioner also submits that the thirty
percent (30%) tax imposed is harsh and oppressive,
confiscatory, and in restraint of trade. However, it is beyond
serious question that a tax does not cease to be valid merely
because it regulates, discourages, or even definitely deters
the activities taxed. The power to impose taxes is one so
unlimited in force and so searching in extent, that the courts
scarcely venture to declare that it is subject to any
restrictions whatever, except such as rest in the discretion of
the authority which exercises it. In imposing
210

210 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
a tax, the legislature acts upon its constituents. This is, in
general, a sufficient security against erroneous and
oppressive taxation. The tax imposed by the DECREE is not
only a regulatory but also a revenue measure prompted by
the realization that earnings of videogram establishments of
around P600 million per annum have not been subjected to
tax, thereby depriving the Government of an additional
source of revenue. It is an end-user tax, imposed on retailers
for every videogram they make available for public viewing,
It is similar to the 30% amusement tax imposed or borne by
the movie industry which the theater-owners pay to the
government, but which is passed on to the entire cost of the
admission ticket, thus shifting the tax burden on the buying
or the viewing public. It is a tax that is imposed uniformly
on all videogram operators. The levy of the 30% tax is for a
public purpose. It was imposed primarily to answer the need
for regulating the video industry, particularly because of the
rampant film piracy, the flagrant violation of intellectual
property rights, and the proliferation of pornographic video
tapes. And while it was also an objective of the DECREE to
protect the movie industry, the tax remains a valid
imposition.
Same; Same; Same; Same; PD 1987 not an undue
delegation of legislative power.Neither can it be
successfully argued that the DECREE contains an undue
delegation of legislative power. The grant in Section 11 of
the DECREE of authority to the BOARD to solicit the
direct assistance of other agencies and Units of the
government and deputize, for a fixed and limited period, the
heads or personnel of such agencies and units to perform
enforcement functions for the Board is not a delegation of
the power to legislate but merely a conferment of authority
or discretion as to its execution, enforcement, and
implementation. The true distinction is between the
delegation of power to make the law, which necessarily
involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and conferring
authority or discretion as to its execution to be exercised
under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot be done;
to the latter, no valid objection can be made. Besides, in the
very language of the decree, the authority of the BOARD to
solicit such assistance is for a fixed and limited period
with the deputized agencies concerned being subject to the
direction and control of the BOARD. That the grant of such
authority might be the source of graft and corruption would
not stigmatize the DECREE as unconstitutional. Should the
eventuality occur, the aggrieved parties will not be without
adequate remedy in law.
211
VOL. 151, JUNE 18, 1987 211
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
PETITION to review the decision of the Metro Manila
Commission.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Nelson Y. Ng for petitioner.
The City Legal Officer for respondents City Mayor
and City Treasurer.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
This petition was filed on September 1, 1986 by petitioner
on his own behalf and purportedly on behalf of other
videogram operators adversely affected. It assails the
constitutionality of Presidential Decree No. 1987 entitled
An Act Creating the Videogram Regulatory Board with
broad powers to regulate and supervise the videogram
industry (hereinafter briefly referred to as the BOARD). The
Decree was promulgated on October 5, 1985 and took effect
on April 10, 1986, fifteen (15) days after completion of its
publication in the Official Gazette.
On November 5, 1985, a month after the promulgation
of the abovementioned decree, Presidential Decree No. 1994
amended the National Internal Revenue Code providing,
inter alia:
SEC. 134. Video Tapes.There shall be collected on each
processed video-tape cassette, ready for playback, regardless
of length, an annual tax of five pesos; Provided, That locally
manufactured or imported blank video tapes shall be subject
to sales tax.
On October 23, 1986, the Greater Manila Theaters
Association, Integrated Movie Producers, Importers and
Distributors Association of the Philippines, and Philippine
Motion Pictures Producers Association, hereinafter
collectively referred to as the Intervenors, were permitted by
the Court to intervene in the case, over petitioners
opposition, upon the allegations that intervention was
necessary for the complete protection of their rights and that
their survival and very existence is threatened by the
unregulated proliferation of film piracy. The Intervenors
were thereafter allowed to file their Comment in
Intervention.
212
212 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
The rationale behind the enactment of the DECREE, is set
out in its preambular clauses as follows:
2. 1. WHEREAS, the proliferation and unregulated
circulation of videograms including, among others,
videotapes, discs, cassettes or any technical
improvement or variation thereof, have greatly
prejudiced the operations of movie houses and
theaters, and have caused a sharp decline in theatrical
attendance by at least forty percent (40%) and a
tremendous drop in the collection of sales,
contractors specific, amusement and other taxes,
thereby resulting in substantial losses estimated at
P450 Million annually in government revenues;
3. 2. WHEREAS, videogram(s) establishments
collectively earn around P600 Million per annum
from rentals, sales and disposition of videograms, and
such earnings have not been subjected to tax, thereby
depriving the Government of approximately P180
Million in taxes each year;
4. 3. WHEREAS, the unregulated activities of videogram
establishments have also affected the viability of the
movie industry, particularly the more than 1,200
movie houses and theaters throughout the country,
and occasioned industry-wide displacement and
unemployment due to the shutdown of numerous
movie houses and theaters;
5. 4. WHEREAS, in order to ensure national economic
recovery, it is imperative for the Government to create
an environment conducive to growth and development
of all business industries, including the movie
industry which has an accumulated investment of
about P3 Billion;
6. 5. WHEREAS, proper taxation of the activities of
videogram establishments will not only alleviate the
dire financial condition of the movie industry upon
which more than 75,000 families and 500,000 workers
depend for their livelihood, but also provide an
additional source of revenue for the Government, and
at the same time rationalize the heretofore
uncontrolled distribution of videograms;
7. 6. WHEREAS, the rampant and unregulated showing of
obscene videogram features constitutes a clear and
present danger to the moral and spiritual well-being of
the youth, and impairs the mandate of the Constitution
for the State to support the rearing of the youth for
civic efficiency and the development of moral
character and promote their physical, intellectual, and
social well-being;
8. 7. WHEREAS, civic-minded citizens and groups have
called for remedial measures to curb these blatant
malpractices which have
213
VOL. 151, JUNE 18, 1987 213
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
2. flaunted our censorship and copyright laws;
3. 8. WHEREAS, in the face of these grave emergencies
corroding the moral values of the people and
betraying the national economic recovery program,
bold emergency measures must be adopted with
dispatch; x x x (Numbering of paragraphs supplied).
Petitioners attack on the constitutionality of the DECREE
rests on the following grounds:
2. 1. Section 10 thereof, which imposes a tax of 30% on
the gross receipts payable to the local government is a
RIDER and the same is not germane to the subject
matter thereof;
3. 2. The tax imposed is harsh, confiscatory, oppressive
and/or in unlawful restraint of trade in violation of the
due process clause of the Constitution;
4. 3. There is no factual nor legal basis for the exercise by
the President of the vast powers conferred upon him
by Amendment No. 6;
5. 4. There is undue delegation of power and authority;
6. 5. The Decree is an ex-post facto law; and
7. 6. There is over regulation of the video industry as if it
were a nuisance, which it is not.
We shall consider the foregoing objections in seriatim.
1. The Constitutional requirement that every bill shall
embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the
title thereof1 is sufficiently complied with if the title be
comprehensive enough to include the general purpose which
a statute seeks to achieve. It is not necessary that the title
express each and every end that the statute wishes to
accomplish. The requirement is satisfied if all the parts of
the statute are related, and are germane to the subject matter
expressed in the title, or as long as they are not inconsistent
with or foreign to the general subject and title.2 An act
having a
_______________
1 Section 19[1], Article VIII, 1973 Constitution; Section
26[1], Article VI, 1987 Constitution.
2 Sumulong vs. COMELEC, No. 48609, October 10,
1941, 73 Phil. 288; Cordero vs. Hon. Jose Cabatuando, et
al., L-14542, Oct. 31, 1962, 6 SCRA 418.
214
214 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
single general subject, indicated in the title, may contain any
number of provisions, no matter how diverse they may be,
so long as they are not inconsistent with or foreign to the
general subject, and may be considered in furtherance of
such subject by providing for the method and means of
carrying out the general object.3 The rule also is that the
constitutional requirement as to the title of a bill should not
be so narrowly construed as to cripple or impede the power
of legislation.4 It should be given a practical rather than
technical construction.5
Tested by the foregoing criteria, petitioners contention
that the tax provision of the DECREE is a rider is without
merit. That section reads, inter alia:
Section 10. Tax on Sale, Lease or Disposition of
Videograms.Notwithstanding any provision of law to the
contrary, the province shall collect a tax of thirty percent
(30%) of the purchase price or rental rate, as the case may
be, for every sale, lease or disposition of a videogram
containing a reproduction of any motion picture or
audiovisual program. Fifty percent (50%) of the proceeds of
the tax collected shall accrue to the province, and the other
fifty percent (50%) shall acrrue to the municipality where
the tax is collected; PROVIDED, That in Metropolitan
Manila, the tax shall be shared equally by the
City/Municipality and the Metropolitan Manila Commission.
x x x
The foregoing provision is allied and germane to, and is
reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of, the general
object of the DECREE, which is the regulation of the video
industry through the Videogram Regulatory Board as
expressed in its title. The tax provision is not inconsistent
with, nor foreign to that general subject and title. As a tool
for regulation6 it is simply one of the regulatory and control
mechanisms
_______________
3 Public Service Co., Recktenwald, 290 111. 314, 8
A.L.R 466, 470.
4 Government vs. Hongkong & Shanghai Banking
Corporation, No. 44257, November 22, 1938, 66 Phil. 483;
Cordero vs. Cabatuando, et al., supra.
5 Sumulong vs. Commission on Elections, supra.
6 United States vs. Sanchez, 340 U.S. 42, 44, 1950, cited
in Bernas, Philippines Constitutional Law, p. 594.
215
VOL. 151, JUNE 18, 1987 215
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
scattered throughout the DECREE. The express purpose of
the DECREE to include taxation of the video industry in
order to regulate and rationalize the heretofore uncontrolled
distribution of videograms is evident from Preambles 2 and
5, supra. Those preambles explain the motives of the
lawmaker in presenting the measure. The title of the
DECREE, which is the creation of the Videogram
Regulatory Board, is comprehensive enough to include the
purposes expressed in its Preamble and reasonably covers all
its provisions. It is unnecessary to express all those
objectives in the title or that the latter be an index to the
body of the DECREE.7
2. Petitioner also submits that the thirty percent (30%)
tax imposed is harsh and oppressive, confiscatory, and in
restraint of trade. However, it is beyond serious question that
a tax does not cease to be valid merely because it regulates,
discourages, or even definitely deters the activities taxed.8
The power to impose taxes is one so unlimited in force and
so searching in extent, that the courts scarcely venture to
declare that it is subject to any restrictions whatever, except
such as rest in the discretion of the authority which exercises
it.9 In imposing a tax, the legislature acts upon its
constituents. This is, in general, a sufficient security against
erroneous and oppressive taxation.10
The tax imposed by the DECREE is not only a
regulatory but also a revenue measure prompted by the
realization that earnings of videogram establishments of
around P600 million per annum have not been subjected to
tax, thereby depriving the Government of an additional
source of revenue. It is an end-user tax, imposed on retailers
for every videogram they make available for public viewing.
It is similar to the 30% amusement tax imposed or borne by
the movie industry which the theater-owners pay to the
government, but which is passed on to the entire cost of the
admission ticket, thus shifting the tax burden on the buying
or the viewing public. It is a tax that
_______________
7 People vs. Carlos, L-239, June 30, 1947, 78 Phil. 535.
8 U.S. vs. Sanchez, supra.
9 II Cooley, A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations,
p. 986.
10 ibid., p. 987.
216
216 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
is imposed uniformly on all videogram operators.
The levy of the 30% tax is for a public purpose. It was
imposed primarily to answer the need for regulating the
video industry, particularly because of the rampant film
piracy, the flagrant violation of intellectual property rights,
and the proliferation of pornographic video tapes. And while
it was also an objective of the DECREE to protect the movie
industry, the tax remains a valid imposition.
The public purpose of a tax may legally exist even if the
motive which impelled the legislature to impose the tax was
to favor one industry over another.11
It is inherent in the power to tax that a state be free to
select the subjects of taxation, and it has been repeatedly
held that inequities which result from a singling out of one
particular class for taxation or exemption infringe no
constitutional limitation.12 Taxation has been made the
implement of the states police power.13
At bottom, the rate of tax is a matter better addressed to the
taxing legislature.
3. Petitioner argues that there was no legal nor factual
basis for the promulgation of the DECREE by the former
President under Amendment No. 6 of the 1973 Constitution
providing that whenever in the judgment of the President
xxx, there exists a grave emergency or a threat or imminence
thereof, or whenever the interim Batasang Pambansa or the
regular National Assembly fails or is unable to act
adequately on any matter for any reason that in his judgment
requires immediate action, he may, in order to meet the
exigency, issue the necessary decrees, orders, or letters of
instructions, which shall form part of the law of the land.
In refutation, the Intervenors and the Solicitor Generals
_______________
11 Magnano Co. vs. Hamilton, 292, U.S. 40.
12 Lutz vs. Araneta, L-7859, December 22, 1955, 98
Phil. 148, citing Carmichael vs. Southern Coal and Coke
Co., 301 U.S. 495, 81 L. Ed. 1245.
13 ibid., citing Great Atl. and Pacific Tea Co. vs.
Grosjean, 301 U.S. 412, 81 L. Ed. 1193; U.S. vs. Butler, 297
U.S. 1, 80 L. Ed. 477; MCulloch vs. Maryland, 4 Wheat,
316, 4 L. Ed. 579.
217
VOL. 151, JUNE 18, 1987 217
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
Office aver that the 8th whereas clause sufficiently
summarizes the justification in that grave emergencies
corroding the moral values of the people and betraying the
national economic recovery program necessitated bold
emergency measures to be adopted with dispatch. Whatever
the reasons in the judgment of the then President,
considering that the issue of the validity of the exercise of
legislative power under the said Amendment still pends
resolution in several other cases, we reserve resolution of the
question raised at the proper time.
4. Neither can it be successfully argued that the
DECREE contains an undue delegation of legislative power.
The grant in Section 11 of the DECREE of authority to the
BOARD to solicit the direct assistance of other agencies
and units of the government and deputize, for a fixed and
limited period, the heads or personnel of such agencies and
units to perform enforcement functions for the Board is not
a delegation of the power to legislate but merely a
conferment of authority or discretion as to its execution,
enforcement, and implementation. The true distinction is
between the delegation of power to make the law, which
necessarily involves a discretion as to what it shall be, and
conferring authority or discretion as to its execution to be
exercised under and in pursuance of the law. The first cannot
be done; to the latter, no valid objection can be made."14
Besides, in the very language of the decree, the authority of
the BOARD to solicit such assistance is for a fixed and
limited period with the deputized agencies concerned being
subject to the direction and control of the BOARD. That
the grant of such authority might be the source of graft and
corruption would not stigmatize the DECREE as
unconstitutional. Should the eventuality occur, the aggrieved
parties will not be without adequate remedy in law.
5. The DECREE is not violative of the ex post facto
principle. An ex post facto law is, among other categories,
one which alters the legal rules of evidence. and authorizes
conviction
_______________
14 Cincinnati, W. & Z.R. Co. vs. Clinton County Comrs.
(1852) 1 Ohio St. 88.
218
218 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
upon less or different testimony than the law required at the
time of the commission of the offense. It is petitioners
position that Section 15 of the DECREE in providing that:
AIl videogram establishments in the Philippines are hereby
given a period of forty-five (45) days after the effectivity of
this Decree within which to register with and secure a permit
from the BOARD to engage in the videogram business and
to register with the BOARD all their inventories of
videograms, including videotapes, discs, cassettes or other
technical improvements or variations thereof, before they
could be sold, leased, or otherwise disposed of. Thereafter
any videogram found in the possession of any person
engaged in the videogram business without the required
proof of registration by the BOARD, shall be prima facie
evidence of violation of the Decree, whether the possession
of such videogram be for private showing and/or public
exhibition.
raises immediately a prima facie evidence of violation of the
DECREE when the required proof of registration of any
videogram cannot be presented and thus partakes of the
nature of an ex post facto law.
The argument is untenable. As this Court held in the
recent case of Vallarta vs. Court of Appeals, et al.15
x x x it is now well settled that there is no constitutional
objection to the passage of a law providing that the
presumption of innocence may be overcome by a contrary
presumption founded upon the experience of human
conduct, and enacting what evidence shall be sufficient to
overcome such presumption of innocence (People vs.
Mingoa, 92 Phil. 856 [1953] at 85859, citing 1 COOLEY,
A TREATISE ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL
LIMITATIONS, 639641). And the legislature may enact
that when certain facts have been proved that they shall be
prima facie evidence of the existence of the guilt of the
accused and shift the burden of proof provided there be a
rational connection between the facts proved and the
ultimate facts presumed so that the inference of the one from
proof of the others is not unreasonable and arbitrary because
of lack of connection between the two in common
experience.16
_______________
15 G.R. No. L-40195, May 29, 1987.
16 ibid., citing People vs. Mingoa, supra, See also U.S.
vs. Luling, No. 11162, August 12,1916, 34 Phil. 725.
219
VOL. 151, JUNE 18, 1987 219
Tio vs. Videogram Regulatory Board
Applied to the challenged provision, there is no question that
there is a rational connection between the fact proved, which
is non-registration, and the ultimate fact presumed which is
violation of the DECREE, besides the fact that the prima
facie presumption of violation of the DECREE attaches only
after a forty-five-day period counted from its effectivity and
is, therefore, neither retrospective in character.
6. We do not share petitioners fears that the video
industry is being over-regulated and being eased out of
existence as if it were a nuisance. Being a relatively new
industry, the need for its regulation was apparent. While the
underlying objective of the DECREE is to protect the
moribund movie industry, there is no question that public
welfare is at bottom of its enactment, considering the unfair
competition posed by rampant film piracy; the erosion of the
moral fiber of the viewing public brought about by the
availability of unclassified and unreviewed video tapes
containing pornographic films and films with brutally
violent sequences; and losses in government revenues due to
the drop in theatrical attendance, not to mention the f act that
the activities of video establishments are virtually untaxed
since mere payment of Mayors permit and municipal
license fees are required to engage in business.17
The enactment of the Decree since April 10, 1986 has
not brought about the demise of the video industry. On the
contrary, video establishments are seen to have proliferated
in many places notwithstanding the 30% tax imposed.
In the last analysis. what petitioner basically questions is
the necessity, wisdom and expediency of the DECREE.
These considerations, however, are primarily and
exclusively a matter of legislative concern.
Only congressional power or competence, not the wisdom
of the action taken, may be the basis for declaring a statute
invalid. This is as it ought to be. The principle of separation
of powers has in the main wisely allocated the respective
authority of each department and confined its jurisdiction to
such a sphere. There would then be intrusion not allowable
under the Constitution if on a matter left to the discretion of
a coordinate branch, the judiciary would
_______________
17 Solicitor Generals Comments, p. 102, Rollo.
220
220 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
People vs. Salcedo
substitute its own. If there be adherence to the rule of law, as
there ought to be, the last offender should be courts of
justice, to which rightly litigants submit their controversy
precisely to maintain unimpaired the supremacy of legal
norms and prescriptions. The attack on the validity of the
challenged provision likewise insofar as there may be
objections, even if valid and cogent, on its wisdom cannot be
sustained.18
In fine, petitioner has not overcome the presumption of
validity which attaches to a challenged statute. We find no
clear violation of the Constitution which would justify us in
pronouncing Presidential Decree No. 1987 as
unconstitutional and void.
WHEREFORE, the instant Petition is hereby dismissed.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, (C.J.), Yap, Fernan, Narvasa,
Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla,
Bidin, Sarmiento and Corts, JJ., concur.
Petition dismissed
o0o
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VOL. 117, SEPTEMBER 30, 1982 597
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
No. L-59234. September 30, 1982.*
TAXICAB OPERATORS OF METRO MANILA, INC.,
FELICISIMO CABIGAO and ACE TRANSPORTATION
CORPORATION, petitioners, vs. THE BOARD OF
TRANSPORTATION and THE DIRECTOR OF THE
BUREAU OF LAND TRANSPORTATION, respondents.
Public Utility; Due process; The BOT need not first
summon taxicab operators to a conference on public hearing
before issuing circulars phasing-out more than 6-year old
taxicabs.It is clear from the provision aforequoted,
however, that the leeway accorded the Board gives it a wide
range of choice in gathering necessary information or data in
the formulation of any policy, plan or program. It is not
mandatory that it should first call a conference or require the
submission of position papers or other documents from
operators or persons who may be affected, this being only
one of the options open to the Board, which is given wide
discretionary authority. Petitioners cannot justifiably claim,
therefore, that they were deprived of procedural due process.
Neither can they state with certainty that public respondents
had not availed of other sources of inquiry prior to issu-
________________
* EN BANC

598

598 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
ing the challenged Circulars. Operators of public
conveyances are not the only primary sources of the data and
information that may be desired by the BOT.
Same; Same; Same.Dispensing with a public hearing
prior to the issuance of the Circulars is neither violative of
procedural due process.
Same; Same; Constitutional Law; Fixing by BOT of the
lifetime ceiling of six (6) years to taxicab is not
unreasonable or arbitrary.Petitioners further take the
position that fixing the ceiling at six (6) years is arbitrary
and oppressive because the roadwor-thiness of taxicabs
depends upon their kind of maintenance and the use to
which they are subjected, and, therefore, their actual
physical condition should be taken into consideration at the
time of registration. As public respondents contend,
however, it is impractical to subject every taxicab to
constant and recurring evaluation, not to speak of the fact
that it can open the door to the adoption of multiple
standards, possible collusion, and even graft and corruption.
A reasonable standard must be adopted to apply to all
vehicles affected uniformly, fairly, and justly. The span of
six years supplies that reasonable standard. The product of
experience shows that by that time taxis have fully
depreciated, their cost recovered, and a fair return on
investment obtained. They are also generally dilapidated and
no longer fit for safe and comfortable service to the public
specially considering that they are in continuous operation
practically 24 hours everyday in three shifts of eight hours
per shift. With that standard of reasonableness and absence
of arbitrariness, the requirement of due process has been
met.
Same; Same; Same; Fixing lifetime of taxicab to six (6)
years in Metro Manila due to heavier traffic, safety and
comfort of riding public is based on reasonable standards.
The Board's reason for enforcing the Circular initially in
Metro Manila is that taxicabs in this city, compared to those
of other places, are subjected to heavier traffic pressure and
more constant use. This is of common knowledge.
Considering that traffic conditions are not the same in every
city, a substantial distinction exists so that infringement of
the equal protection clause can hardly be successfully
claimed. As enunciated in the preambular clauses of the
challenged BOT Circular, the overriding consideration is the
safety and comfort of the riding public from the dangers
possed by old and dilapidated taxis. The State, in the
exercise of its police power, can prescribe regulations to
promote
599

VOL. 117, SEPTEMBER 30, 1982 599
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
the health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general
welfare of the people. It can prohibit all things hurtful to
comfort, safety and welfare of society. It may also regulate
property rights.
Same; Same; Same; Non-applicability of phase-out rule
on taxis to other vehicles not violative of equal protection
clause.In so far as the non-application of the assailed
Circulars to other transportation services is concerned, it
need only be recalled that the equal protection clause does
not imply that the same treatment be accorded all and
sundry. It applies to things or persons identically or similarly
situated, It permits of classification of the object of subject
of the law provided classification is reasonable or based on
substantial distinction, which make for real differences, and
that it must apply equally to each member of the class. What
is required under the equal protection clause is the uniform
operation by legal means so that all persons under identical
or similar circumstance would be accorded the same
treatment both in privilege conferred and the liabilities
imposed. The challenged Circulars satisfy the foregoing
criteria.
PETITION for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with
preliminary injunction to review the order of the Board of
Transportation.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
This Petition for "Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus
with Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining
Order" filed by the Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc.,
Felicisimo Cabigao and Ace Transportation, seeks to declare
the nullity of Memorandum Circular No. 77-42, dated
October 10, 1977, of the Board of Transportation, and
Memorandum Circular No. 52, dated August 15, 1980, of
the Bureau of Land Transportation.
Petitioner Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc.
(TOMMI) is a domestic corporation composed of taxicab
operators, who are grantees of Certificates of Public
Convenience to operate taxicabs within the City of Manila
and to any other place in Luzon accessible to vehicular
traffic. Petitioners Ace Transportation Corporation and
Felicisimo Cabigao are two of
600
600 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
the members of TOMMI, each being an operator and grantee
of such certificate of public convenience.
On October 10, 1977, respondent Board of
Transportation (BOT) issued Memorandum Circular No. 77-
42 which reads:
SUBJECT: Phasing out and Replacement of Old and
Dilapidated Taxis
"WHEREAS, it is the policy of the government to insure
that only safe and comfortable units are used as public
conveyances;
WHEREAS, the riding public, particularly in Metro-
Manila, has, time and again, complained against, and
condemned, the continued operation of old and dilapidated
taxis;
WHEREAS, in order that the commuting public may be
assured of comfort, convenience, and safety, a program of
phasing out of old and dilapidated taxis should be adopted;
WHEREAS, after studies and inquiries made by the
Board of Transportation, the latter believes that in six years
of operation, a taxi operator has not only covered the cost of
his taxis, but has made reasonable profit for his investments;
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to this policy, the Board
hereby declares that no car beyond six years shall be
operated as taxi, and in implementation of the same hereby
promulgates the following rules and regulations:
9. 1. As of December 31, 1977, all taxis of Model 1971 and
earlier are ordered withdrawn from public service and
thereafter may no longer be registered and operated as
taxis. In the registration of cards for 1978, only taxis
of Model 1972 and later shall be accepted for
registration and allowed for operation;
10. 2. As of December 31, 1978, all taxis of Model 1972
are ordered withdrawn from public service and
thereafter may no longer be registered and operated as
taxis. In the registration of cars for 1979, only taxis of
Model 1973 and later shall be accepted for
registration and allowed for operation; and every year
thereafter, there shall be a six-year lifetime of taxi, to
wit:
1980Model 1974
1981Model 1975, etc.
All taxis of earlier models than those provided above are
hereby ordered withdrawn from public service as of the last
day of registration of each particular year and their
respective plates shall be sur-
601
VOL. 117, SEPTEMBER 30, 1982 601
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
rendered directly to the Board of Transportation for
subsequent turnover to the Land Transportation
Commission.
For an orderly implementation of this Memorandum
Circular, the rules herein shall immediately be effective in
Metro-Manila. Its implementation outside Metro-Manila
shall be carried out only after the project has been
implemented in Metro-Manila and only after the date has
been determined by the Board."1
Pursuant to the above BOT circular, respondent Director of
the Bureau of Land Transportation (BLT) issued
Implementing Circular No. 52, dated August 15, 1980,
instructing the Regional Director, the MV Registrars and
other personnel of BLT, all within the National Capitol
Region, to implement said Circular, and formulating a
schedule of phase-out of vehicles to be allowed and accepted
for registration as public conveyances. To quote said
Circular:
"Pursuant to BOT Memo-Circular No. 77-42, taxi units with
year models over six (6) years old are now banned from
operating as public utilities in Metro Manila. As such the
units involved should be considered as automatically
dropped as public utilities and, therefore, do not require any
further dropping order from the BOT.
"Henceforth, taxi units within the National Capitol
Region having year models over 6 years old shall be refused
registration. The following schedule of phase-out is herewith
prescribed for the guidance of all concerned:
"Year Model Automatic Phase-Out Year
1980
1974 1981
1975 1982
1976 1983
1977
etc. etc.
Strict compliance here is desired."2
In accordance therewith, cabs of model 1971 were phase-out
in registration year 1978; those of model 1972, in 1979;
those
________________
1 Annex "A", pp. 26-27, Rollo.
2 Annex "B", p. 28, ibid.
602
602 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
of model 1973, in 1980; and those of model 1974, in 1981.
On January 27, 1981, petitioners filed a Petition with the
BOT, docketed as Case No. 80-7553, seeking to nullify MC
No. 77-42 or to stop its implementation; to allow the
registration and operation in 1981 and subsequent years of
taxicabs of model 1974, as well as those of earlier models
which were phased-out, provided that, at the time of
registration, they are roadworthy and fit for operation.
On February 16, 1981, petitioners filed before the BOT a
"Manifestation and Urgent Motion", praying for an early
hearing of their petition. The case was heard on February 20,
1981. Petitioners presented testimonial and documentary
evidence, offered the same, and manifested that they would
submit additional documentary proofs. Said proofs were
submitted on March 27, 1981 attached to petitioners'
pleading entitled, "Manifestation, Presentation of Additional
Evidence and Submission of the Case for Resolution."3
On November 28, 1981, petitioners filed before the same
Board a "Manifestation and Urgent Motion to Resolve or
Decide Main Petition" praying that the case be resolved or
decided not later than December 10, 1981 to enable them, in
case of denial, to avail of whatever remedy they may have
under the law for the protection of their interests before their
1975 model cabs are phased-out on January 1, 1982.
Petitioners, through its President, allegedly made
personal follow-ups of the case, but was later informed that
the records of the case could not be located.
On December 29, 1981, the present Petition was
instituted wherein the following queries were posed for
consideration by this Court:
4. "A. Did BOT and BLT promulgate the questioned
memorandum circulars in accord with the manner
required by Presidential Decree No. 101, thereby
safeguarding the petitioners' constitutional right to
procedural due process?
5. B. Granting, arguendo, that respondents did comply with
the
________________
3 Annex "D", pp. 38-53, ibid.
603
VOL. 117, SEPTEMBER 30, 1982 603
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
procedural requirements imposed by Presidential Decree No.
101,would the implementation and enforcement of the
assailed memorandum circulars violate the petitioners'
constitutional rights to.
8. (1) Equal protection of the law;
9. (2) Substantive due process; and
10. (3) Protection against arbitrary and unreasonable
classification and standard?
On Procedural and Substantive Due Process:
Presidential Decree No. 101 grants to the Board of
Transportation the power
"4. To fix just and reasonable standards, classification,
regulations, practices, measurements, or service to be
furnished, imposed, observed, and followed by operators of
public utility motor vehicles."
Section 2 of said Decree provides procedural guidelines for
said agency to follow in the exercise of its powers:
"Sec. 2. Exercise of powers.In the exercise of the powers
granted in the preceding section, the Board shall proceed
promptly along the method of legislative inquiry.
Apart from its own investigation and studies, the Board,
in its discretion, may require the cooperation and assistance
of the Bureau of Transportation, the Philippine
Constabulary, particularly the Highway Patrol Group, the
support agencies within the Department of Public Works,
Transportation and Communications, or any other
government office or agency that may be able to furnish
useful information or data in the formulation of the Board of
any policy, plan or program in the implementation of this
Decree.
The Board may also call conferences, require the
submission of position papers or other documents,
information, or data by operators or other persons that may
be affected by the implementation of this Decree, or employ
any other suitable means of inquiry."
In support of their submission that they were denied
procedural due process, petitioners contend that they were
not called upon to submit their position papers, nor were
they ever
604
604 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
summoned to attend any conference prior to the issuance of
the questioned BOT Circular.
It is clear from the provision aforequoted, however, that
the leeway accorded the Board gives it a wide range of
choice in gathering necessary information or data in the
formulation of any policy, plan or program. It is not
mandatory that it should first call a conference or require the
submission of position papers or other documents from
operators or persons who may be affected, this being only
one of the options open to the Board, which is given wide
discretionary authority. Petitioners cannot justifiably claim,
therefore, that they were deprived of procedural due process.
Neither can they state with certainty that public respondents
had not availed of other sources of inquiry prior to issuing
the challenged Circulars. Operators of public conveyances
are not the only primary sources of the data and information
that may be desired by the BOT.
Dispensing with a public hearing prior to the issuance of
the Circulars is neither violative of procedural due process.
As held in Central Bank vs. Hon. Cloribel and Banco
Filipino, 44 SCRA 307 (1972):
"Previous notice and hearing as elements of due process, are
constitutionally required for the protection of life or vested
property rights, as well as of liberty, when its limitation or
loss takes place in consequence of a judicial or quasi-judicial
proceeding, generally dependent upon a past act or event
which has to be established or ascertained. It is not'essential
to the validity of general rules or regulations promulgated to
govern future conduct of a class or persons or enterprises,
unless the law provides otherwise." (Emphasis supplied)
Petitioners further take the position that fixing the ceiling at
six (6) years is arbitrary and oppressive because the
roadworthiness of taxicabs depends upon their kind of
maintenance and the use to which they are subjected, and,
therefore, their actual physical condition should be taken
into consideration at the time of registration. As public
respondents contend, however, it is impractical to subject
605
VOL. 117, SEPTEMBER 30, 1982 605
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
every taxicab to constant and recurring evaluation, not to
speak of the fact that it can open the door to the adoption of
multiple standards, possible collusion, and even graft and
corruption. A reasonable standard must be adopted to apply
to all vehicles affected uniformly, fairly, and justly. The
span of six years supplies that reasonable standard. The
product of experience shows that by that time taxis have
fully depreciated, their cost recovered, and a fair return on
investment obtained. They are also generally dilapidated and
no longer fit for safe and comfortable service to the public
specially considering that they are in continuous operation
practically 24 hours everyday in three shifts of eight hours
per shift. With that standard of reasonableness and absence
of arbitrariness, the requirement of due process has been
met.
On Equal Protection of the Law:
Petitioners alleged that the Circular in question violates their
right to equal protection of the law because the same is
being enforced in Metro Manila only and is directed solely
towards the taxi industry. At the outset it should be pointed
out that implementation outside Metro Manila is also
envisioned in Memorandum Circular No. 77-42. To repeat
the pertinent portion:
"For an orderly implementation of this Memorandum
Circular, the rules herein shall immediately be effective in
Metro Manila. Its implementation outside Metro Manila
shall be carried out only after the project has been
implemented in Metro Manila and only after the date has
been determined by the Board."4
In fact, it is the understanding of the Court that
implementation of the Circulars in Cebu City is already
being effected, with the BOT in the process of conducting
studies regarding the operation of taxicabs in other cities.
The Board's reason for enforcing the Circular initially in
Metro Manila is that taxicabs in this city, compared to those
of other places, are subjected to heavier traffic pressure and
more constant use. This is of common knowledge.
Considering
________________
4 p. 19, ibid.
606
606 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
that traffic conditions are not the same in every city, a
substantial distinction exists so that infringement of the
equal protection clause can hardly be successfully claimed.
As enunciated in the preambular clauses of the
challenged BOT Circular, the overriding consideration is the
safety and comfort of the riding public from the dangers
posed by old and dilapidated taxis. The State, in the exercise
of its police power, can prescribe regulations to promote the
health, morals, peace, good order, safety and general welfare
of the people. It can prohibit all things hurtful to comfort,
safety and welfare of society.5 It may also regulate property
rights.6 In the language of Chief Justice Enrique M.
Fernando "the necessities imposed by public welfare may
justify the exercise of governmental authority to regulate
even if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert that their
interests are disregarded".7
In so far as the non-application of the assailed Circulars
to other transportation services is concerned, it need only be
recalled that the equal protection clause does not imply that
the same treatment be accorded all and sundry. It applies to
things or persons identically or similarly situated. It permits
of classification of the object or subject of the law provided
classification is reasonable or based on substantial
distinction, which make for real differences, and that it must
apply equally to each member of the class.8 What is
required under the equal protection clause is the uniform
operation by legal means so that all persons under identical
or similar circumstance would be accorded the same
treatment both in privilege conferred
________________
5 Edu vs. Ericta, 35 SCRA 481 (1970).
6 Samson vs. Mayor of Bacolod City, 60 SCRA 267
(1974).
7 The Constitution of the Philippines, Second Edition, p.
548.
8 People vs. Vera, 65 Phil. 56; People vs. Cayat, 68 Phil.
12; Central Bank vs. Cloribel, 44 SCRA 307 (1972);
Anucension vs. National Labor Union, 80 SCRA 350 (1977)
citing Victoriano vs. Elizalde Rope Workers' Union, 59
SCRA 54 (1974) & Basa vs. Federacion Obrera de la
Industria Tabaquera y Otros Trabajadores de Filipinas, 61
SCRA 93 (1974).
607
VOL. 117, SEPTEMBER 30, 1982 607
Taxicab Operators of Metro Manila, Inc. vs. Board of Transportation
and the liabilities imposed.9 The challenged Circulars satisfy
the foregoing criteria.
Evident then is the conclusion that the questioned
Circulars do not suffer from any constitutional infirmity. To
declare a law unconstitutional, the infringement of
constitutional right must be clear, categorical and
undeniable.10
WHEREFORE, the Writs prayed for are denied and this
Petition is hereby dismissed, No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Fernando, C.J., Barredo, Makasiar, Concepcion,
Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro, Plana, Escolin,
Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
Teehankee and Aquino, JJ., in the result.
Writs denied and petition dismissed.
Notes.The police power is a dynamic agency, suitably
vague and far from precisely defined, rooted in the
conception that men in organizing the State and imposing
upon its government limitations to safeguards constitutional
rights did not intend thereby to enable an individual citizens
or a group of citizens to abstract unreasonably the enactment
of such salutory measures calculated to insure communal
peace, safety, good order, and welfare. (Agustin vs. Edu, 88
SCRA 195.)
Municipal corporations allowed with discretion in
determining the rates of improbable license fees including
police power measures. (Procter & Gamble Philippine
Manufacturing Corporation vs. Municipality of Jagna,
Bokol, 94 SCRA 899.)
o0o
________________
9 Gumabon vs. Director of Prisons, 37 SCRA 420 (1971).
10 Morfe vs. Mutuc, 22 SCRA 424 (1868).
608
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VOL. 180, DECEMBER 21, 1989 533
Department of Education, Culture and Sports vs. San Diego
G.R. No. 89572. December 21, 1989.*
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND
SPORTS (DECS) and DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR
EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT, petitioners, vs.
ROBERTO REY C. SAN DIEGO and JUDGE TERESITA
DIZON-CAPULONG, in her capacity as Presiding Judge of
the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila,
Branch 172, respondents.
Constitutional Law; Police Power; Defined; Proper
Exercise of; Case at bar.We see no reason why the
rationale in the Tablarin case cannot apply to the case at bar.
The issue raised in both cases is the academic preparation of
the applicant. This may be gauged at least initially by the
admission test and, indeed with more reliability, by the
three-flunk rule. The latter cannot be regarded any less valid
than the former in the regulation of the medical profession.
There is no need to redefine here the police power of the
State. Suffice it to repeat that the power is validly exercised
if (a) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished
from those of a particular class, require the interference of
the State, and (b) the means employed are reasonably
necessary to the attainment of the object sought to be
accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.
Same; Same; Same; It is the right and responsibility of
the State to insure that the medical profession is not
infiltrated by incompetents to whom patients may unwarily
entrust their lives and health; Three flunk rule, intention
ofIn other words, the proper exercise of the police power
requires the concurrence of a lawful subject and a lawful
method. The subject of the challenged regulation is certainly
within the ambit of the police power. It is the right and
indeed the responsibility of the State to insure that the
medical profession is not infiltrated by incompetents to
whom patients may unwarily entrust their lives and health.
The method employed by the challenged regulation is not
irrelevant to the purpose of the law nor is it arbitrary or
oppressive. The three-flunk rule is intended to insulate the
medical schools and ultimately the
________________
* EN BANC.

534

534 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Department of Education, Culture and Sports us. San Diego
medical profession from the intrusion of those not qualified
to be doctors.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; While every person is
entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he does not have a
constitutional right to be a doctor.While every person is
entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he does not have a
constitutional right to be a doctor. This is true of any other
calling in which the public interest is involved; and the
closer the link, the longer the bridge to ones ambition. The
State has the responsibility to harness its human resources
and to see to it that they are not dissipated or, no less worse,
not used at all. These resources must be applied in a manner
that will best promote the common good while also giving
the individual a sense of satisfaction.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Same; The contention that
the challenged rule violates the equal protection clause is
not well-taken; Reasons.The contention that the
challenged rule violates the equal protection clause is not
well-taken. A law does not have to operate with equal force
on all persons or things to be conformable to Article III,
Section 1 of the Constitution. There can be no question that
a substantial distinction exists between medical students and
other students who are not subjected to the NMAT and the
three-flunk rule. The medical profession directly affects the
very lives of the people, unlike other careers which, for this
reason, do not require more vigilant regulation. The
accountant, for example, while belonging to an equally
respectable profession, does not hold the same delicate
responsibility as that of the physician and so need not be
similarly treated. There would be unequal protection if some
applicants who have passed the tests are admitted and others
who have also qualified are denied entrance. In other words,
what the equal protection requires is equality among equals.
PETITION to review the decision of the Regional Trial
Court of Valenzuela, M.M., Br. 172. Dizon-Capulong, J.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
Ramon M. Guevara for private respondent.
CRUZ, J.:
The issue before us is mediocrity. The question is whether a
person who has thrice failed the National Medical
Admission Test (NMAT) is entitled to take it again.
535
VOL. 180, DECEMBER 21, 1989 535
Department of Education, Culture and Sports vs. San Diego
The petitioner contends he may not, under its rule that
h) A student shall be allowed only three (3) chances to take
the NMAT. After three (3) successive failures, a student
shall not be allowed to take the NMAT for the fourth time.
The private respondent insists he can, on constitutional
grounds.
But first the facts.
The private respondent is a graduate of the University of
the East with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Zoology.
The petitioner claims that he took the NMAT three times
and flunked it as many times.1 When he applied to take it
again, the petitioner rejected his application on the basis of
the aforesaid rule. He then went to the Regional Trial Court
of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, to compel his admission to the
test.
In his original petition for mandamus, he first invoked
his constitutional rights to academic freedom and quality
education. By agreement of the parties, the private
respondent was allowed to take the NMAT scheduled on
April 16, 1989, subject to the outcome of his petition.2 In an
amended petition filed with leave of court, he squarely
challenged the constitutionality of MECS Order No. 12,
Series of 1972, containing the above-cited rule. The
additional grounds raised were due process and equal
protection.
After hearing, the respondent judge rendered a decision
on July 4, 1989, declaring the challenged order invalid and
granting the petition. Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong held
that the petitioner had been deprived of his right to pursue a
medical education through an arbitrary exercise of the police
power.3
We cannot sustain the respondent judge. Her decision
must be reversed.
In Tablarin v. Gutierrez.4 this Court upheld the
constitution-
_______________
1 A check with the Department of Education showed that
the private respondent had actually taken and flunked four
tests already and was applying to take a fifth examination.
2 He also failed this fifth test.
3 Rollo, pp. 26-34.
4 152 SCRA 730.
536
53
6
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Department of Education, Culture and Sports vs. San Diego
ality of the NMAT as a measure intended to limit the
admission to medical schools only to those who have
initially proved their competence and preparation for a
medical education. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano declared
for a unanimous Court:
Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is
whether there is some reasonable relation between the
prescribing of passing the NMAT as a condition for
admission to medical school on the one hand, and the
securing of the health and safety of the general community,
on the other hand. This question is perhaps most usefully
approached by recalling that the regulation ofthepratice of
medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a
reasonable method of protecting the health and safety of the
public. That the power to regulate and control the practice of
medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the
ranks of those authorized to practice medicine, is also well
recognized. Thus, legislation and administrative regulations
requiring those who wish to practice medicine first to take
and pass medical board examinations have long ago been
recognized as valid exercises of governmental power.
Similarly, the establishment of minimum medical
educational requirementsi.e, the completion of prescribed
courses in a recognized medical schoolfor admission to
the medical profession, has also been sustained as a
legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state.
What we have before us in the instant case is closely related:
the regulation of access to medical schools. MECS Order
No. 52, s. 1985, as noted earlier, articulates the rationale of
regulation of this type: the improvement of the professional
and technical quality of the graduates of medical schools, by
upgrading the quality of those admitted to the student body
of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by
selectivity in the process of admission, selectivity consisting,
among other things, of limiting admission to those who
exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for medical
studies and eventually for medical practice. The need to
maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high standards
in our professional schools in general, and medical schools
in particular, in the current state of our social and economic
development, are widely known.
We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an
admission test like the NMAT as a means of achieving its
stated objective of upgrading the selection of applicants
into [our] medical schools and of improving] the quality
of medical education in the country. Given the widespread
use today of such admission tests in, for instance, medical
schools in the United States of America (the Medical
College Admission Test [MCAT]) and quite probably, in
other countries with far more developed educational
resources than our own, and taking into
537
VOL. 180, DECEMBER 21, 1989 537
Department of Education, Culture and Sports vs. San Diego
account the failure or inability of the petitioners to even
attempt to prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the
NMAT is reasonably related to the securing of the ultimate
end of legislation and regulation in this area. That end, it is
useful to recall, is the protection of the public from the
potentially deadly effects of incompetence and ignorance in
those who would undertake to treat our bodies and minds for
disease or trauma.
However, the respondent judge agreed with the petitioner
that the said case was not applicable. Her reason was that it
upheld only the requirement for the admission test and said
nothing about the so-called three-flunk rule.
We see no reason why the rationale in the Tablarin case
cannot apply to the case at bar. The issue raised in both
cases is the academic preparation of the applicant. This may
be gauged at least initially by the admission test and, indeed
with more reliability, by the three-flunk rule. The latter
cannot be regarded any less valid than the former in the
regulation of the medical profession.
There is no need to redefine here the police power of the
State. Suffice it to repeat that the power is validly exercised
if (a) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished
from those of a particular class, require the interference of
the State, and (b) the means employed are reasonably
necessary to the attainment of the object sought to be
accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.5
In other words, the proper exercise of the police power
requires the concurrence of a lawful subject and a lawful
method.
The subject of the challenged regulation is certainly
within the ambit of the police power. It is the right and
indeed the responsibility of the State to insure that the
medical profession is not infiltrated by incompetents to
whom patients may unwarily entrust their lives and health.
The method employed by the challenged regulation is
not irrelevant to the purpose of the law nor is it arbitrary or
oppressive. The three-flunk rule is intended to insulate the
medical schools and ultimately the medical profession from
the intrusion of those not qualified to be doctors.
_______________
5 US vs. Toribio, 15 Phil. 85; Fabie v. City of Manila, 21
Phil. 486; Ynot v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 148 SCRA
659.
538
53
8
SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Department of Education, Culture and Sports vs. San Diego
While every person is entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he
does not have a constitutional right to be a doctor. This is
true of any other calling in which the public interest is
involved; and the closer the link, the longer the bridge to
ones ambition. The State has the responsibility to harness
its human resources and to see to it that they are not
dissipated or, no less worse, not used at all. These resources
must be applied in a manner that will best promote the
common good while also giving the individual a sense of
satisfaction.
A person cannot insist on being a physician if he will be
a menace to his patients. If one who wants to be a lawyer
may prove better as a plumber, he should be so advised and
adviced. Of course, he may not be forced to be a plumber,
but on the other hand he may not force his entry into the bar.
By the same token, a student who has demonstrated promise
as a pianist cannot be shunted aside to take a course in
nursing, however appropriate this career may be for others.
The right to quality education invoked by the private
respondent is not absolute. The Constitution also provides
that every citizen has the right to choose a profession or
course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and equitable
admission and academic requirements.6
The private respondent must yield to the challenged rule
and give way to those better prepared. Where even those
who have qualified may still not be accommodated in our
already crowded medical schools, there is all the more
reason to bar those who, like him, have been tested and
found wanting.
The contention that the challenged rule violates the equal
protection clause is not well-taken. A law does not have to
operate with equal force on all persons or things to be
conformable to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.
There can be no question that a substantial distinction
exists between medical students and other students who are
not subjected to the NMAT and the three-flunk rule. The
medical profession directly affects the very lives of the
people, unlike other careers which, for this reason, do not
require more vigilant regulation. The accountant, for
example, while belonging to an equally respectable
profession, does not hold the same delicate
________________
6 Article XIV, Section 5(3).
539
VOL. 180, DECEMBER 21, 1989 539
Department of Education, Culture and Sports vs. San Diego
responsibility as that of the physician and so need not be
similarly treated.
There would be unequal protection if some applicants
who have passed the tests are admitted and others who have
also qualified are denied entrance. In other words, what the
equal protection requires is equality among equals.
The Court feels that it is not enough to simply invoke the
right to quality education as a guarantee of the Constitution:
one must show that he is entitled to it because of his
preparation and promise. The private respondent has failed
the NMAT five times.7 While his persistence is noteworthy,
to say the least, it is certainly misplaced, like a hopeless
love.
No depreciation is intended or made against the private
respondent. It is stressed that a person who does not qualify
in the NMAT is not an absolute incompetent unfit for any
work or occupation. The only inference is that he is a
probably better, not for the medical profession, but for
another calling that has not excited his interest.
In the former, he may be a bungler or at least lackluster;
in the latter, he is more likely to succeed and may even be
outstanding. It is for the appropriate calling that he is
entitled to quality education for the full harnessing of his
potentials and the sharpening of his latent talents toward
what may even be a brilliant future.
We cannot have a society of square pegs in round holes,
of dentists who should never have left the farm and
engineers who should have studied banking and teachers
who could be better as merchants.
It is time indeed that the State took decisive steps to
regulate and enrich our system of education by directing the
student to the course for which he is best suited as
determined by initial tests and evaluations. Otherwise, we
may be swamped with mediocrity, in the words of Justice
Holmes, not because we are lacking in intelligence but
because we are a nation of misfits.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision
of the respondent court dated January 13, 1989, is
REVERSED, with costs against the private respondent. It is
so ordered.
________________
7 Footnote Nos. 1 & 2.
540
540 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Katigbak vs. Solicitor General
Fernan (C.J.), Narvasa, Melencio-Herrera,
Gutierrez, Jr., Paras, Feliciano, Gancayco, Padilla, Bidin,
Sarmiento, Corts, Grio-Aquino, Medialdea and Regalado,
JJ., concur.
Petition granted. Decision reversed.
Notes.No disciplinary action may be imposed on
students without abiding by the requirements of due process.
(Guzman vs. National University, 142 SCRA 699.)
A school cannot refuse to re-enroll a student it believes
guilty of acts inimical to the school, without first conducting
an investigation. (Guzman vs. National University, 142
SCRA 699.)
o0o
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[No. 5060. January 26, 1910.]
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff and appellee, vs. Luis
TORIBIO, defendant and appellant.
11. 1. STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION;
SLAUGHTER OF LARGE CATTLE.Sections 30
and 33 of Act No. 1147 construed.
6. 2. ID.; ID.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.
11. 3. ID.; ID.; POLICE POWER OF THE STATE.
The provisions of Act No.
86
86 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
2. 1147 prohibiting and penalizing the slaughter of carabaos
for human consumption which are fit for "agricultural
work and draft purposes," held to be a reasonable and
justifiable exercise of the sovereign police power of
the State, under the conditions existing in these
Islands.
2. 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; APPROPRIATION OF PRIVATE
PROPERTY TO PUBLIC USE.These provisions
held not to constitute an appropriation of private
property interests to a "public use" so as to bring them
within the principles of the exercise by the State of the
right of eminent domain and to entitle the owners to
compensation, being no more than a just restraint of
an injurious private use of property.
2. 5. ID.; ID.; CIRCUMSTANCES JUSTIFYING USE OF
THE POLICE POWER."To justify the State" in the
exercise of its sovereign police power "it must appear,
first, that the interests of the public generally, as
distinguished from those of a particular class, require
such interference; and, second, that the means are
reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the
purpose, and not unduly oppressive upon individuals."
(Lawton vs. Steele, 152 U. S., 133, 136.)
APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of
Bohol. Wislizenus, J.
The f acts are stated in the opinion of the court.
Rodriguez & Del Rosario, for appellant.
Attorney-General Villamor, for appellee.
CARSON, J.:
The evidence of record fully sustains the findings of the trial
court that the appellant slaughtered or caused to be
slaughtered for human consumption, the carabao described
in the information, without a permit from the municipal
treasurer of the municipality wherein it was slaughtered, in
violation of the provisions of sections 30 and 33 of Act No.
1147, an Act regulating the registration, branding, and
slaughter 01 large cattle.
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 treasurer.
87
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 87
United States vs. Toribio.
Sections 30, 31, 32, and 33 of the Act are as follows:
"SEC. 30. No large cattle shall be slaughtered or killed for
food at the municipal slaughterhouse except upon permit
secured from the municipal treasurer. Before issuing the
permit for the slaughter of large cattle for human
consumption, the municipal treasurer shall require for
branded cattle the production of the original certificate of
ownership and certificates of transfer showing title in the
person applying for the permit, and for unbranded cattle
such evidence as may satisfy said treasurer as to the
ownership of the animals for which permit to slaughter has
been requested.
"SEC. 31. No permit to slaughter carabaos shall be
granted by the municipal treasurer unless such animals are
unfit for agricultural work or for draft purposes, and in no
event shall a permit be given to slaughter for food any
animal of any kind which is not fit for human consumption.
"SEC. 32. The municipal treasurer shall keep a record of
all permits for slaughter issued by him, and such record shall
show the name and residence of the owner, and the class,
sex, age, brands, knots of radiated hair commonly known as
remolinos or cowlicks, and other marks of identification of
the animal for the slaughter of which permit is issued and
the date on which such permit is issued. Names of owners
shall be alphabetically arranged in the record, together with
date of permit.
"A copy of the record of permits granted for slaughter
shall be forwarded monthly to the provincial treasurer, who
shall file and properly index the same under the name of the
owner, together with date of permit.
"SEC. 33. Any person slaughtering or causing to be
slaughtered for human consumption or killing for food at the
municipal slaughterhouse any large cattle except upon
permit duly secured from the municipal treasurer, shall be
punished by a fine of not less than ten nor more than five
hundred pesos, Philippine currency, or by imprisonment for
not less than one month nor more than six months, or by
both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the
court."
88
88 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
It is contended that the proper construction of the language
of these provisions limits the prohibition contained in
section 30 and the penalty imposed in section 33 to cases (1)
of slaughter of large cattle f or human consumption in a
municipal slaughterhouse without a permit duly secured
from the municipal treasurer, and (2) cases of killing of large
cattle for food in a municipal slaughterhouse without a
permit duly secured from the municipal treasurer; and it is
urged that the municipality of Carmen not being provided
with a municipal slaughterhouse, neither the prohibition nor
the penalty is applicable to cases of slaughter of large cattle
without a permit in that municipality.
We are of opinion, however, that the prohibition
contained in section 30 refers (1) to the slaughter of large
cattle for human consumption, anywhere, without a permit
duly secured from the municipal treasurer, and (2) expressly
and specifically to the killing for food of large cattle at a
municipal slaughterhouse without such permit; and that the
penalty provided in section 33 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.
It may be admitted at once, that the pertinent language of
these sections taken by itself and examined apart from the
context fairly admits of two constructions: one whereby the
phrase "at the municipal slaughterhouse" may be taken as
limiting and restricting both the word "slaughtered" and the
words "killed for food" in section 30, and the words
"slaughtering or causing to be slaughtered for human
consumption" and the words "killing for food" in section 33;
and the other whereby the phrase "at the municipal
slaughterhouse" may be taken as limiting and restricting
merely the words "killed for food" and "killing for food" as
used in those sections. But upon a reading of the whole Act,
and keeping in mind the manifest and expressed pur-
89
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 89
United States vs. Toribio.
pose and object of its enactment, it is very clear that the
latter construction is that which should be adopted.
The Act primarily seeks to protect the "large cattle" of
the Philippine Islands against theft and to make easy the
recovery and return of such cattle to their proper owners,
when lost, strayed, or stolen. To this end it provides an
elaborate and compulsory system for the separate branding
and registry of ownership of all such cattle throughout the
Islands, whereby owners are enabled readily and easily to
establish their title; it prohibits and invalidates all transfers
of large cattle unaccompanied by certificates of transfer
issued by the proper officer in the municipality where the
contract of sale is made; and it provides also for the
disposition of estrays and animals recovered from the
possession of thieves or persons unlawf ully in possession,
so as to protect the rights of the true owners. All this,
manifestly, in order to make it difficult for any one but the
rightful owner of such cattle to retain them in his possession
or to dispose of them to others. But the usefulness of this
elaborate and compulsory system of identification, resting as
it does on the official registry of the brands and marks on
each separate animal throughout the Islands, would be
largely impaired, if not totally destroyed, if such animals
were permitted to be slaughtered for human consumption
without requiring proof of ownership and the production of
certificates of registry by the person slaughtering or causing
them to be slaughtered, and this especially if the animals
were slaughtered privately or in a clandestine manner,
outside of a municipal slaughterhouse. Hence, as it would
appear, sections 30 and 33 prohibit and penalize the
slaughter f or human consumption or killing f or f ood at a
municipal slaughterhouse of such animals without a permit
issued by the municipal treasurer, and section 32 provides
for the keeping of detailed records of all such permits in the
office of the municipal and also of the provincial treasurer.
If, however, the construction be placed on these sections
which is contended for by the appellant, it will readily be
90
90 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
seen that all these carefully worked out provisions for the
registry and record of the brands and marks of identification
of all large cattle in the Islands would prove in large part
abortive, since thieves and persons unlawfully in possession
of such cattle could, and naturally would, evade the
provisions of the law by slaughtering them outside of
municipal slaughterhouses, and thus enjoy the fruits of their
wrongdoing without exposing themselves to the danger of
detection incident to the bringing of the animals to the public
slaughterhouse, where the brands and other identification
marks might be scrutinized and proof of ownership required.
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. We are of opinion, therefore, that
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.
It is not essential that an explanation be found for the
express prohibition in these sections of the "killing for food
at a municipal slaughterhouse" of such animals, despite the
fact that this prohibition is clearly included in the general
prohibition of the slaughter of such animals for human
consumption anywhere; but it is not improbable that the
requirement for the issue of a permit in such cases was
expressly and specifically mentioned out of superabundance
of precaution, and to avoid all possibility of
misunderstanding in the event that some of the
municipalities should be disposed to modify or vary the
general provisions of the law by the passage of local
ordinances or regulations for the control of municipal
slaughterhouses.
Similar reasoning applied to the specific provisions of
91
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 91
United States vs. Toribio.
section 31 of the Act leads to the same conclusion. One of
the secondary purposes of the law, as set out in that section,
is to prevent the slaughter for food of carabaos fit for
agricultural and draft purposes, and of all animals unfit for
human consumption. A construction which would limit the
prohibitions and penalties prescribed in the statute to the
killing of such animals in municipal slaughterhouses,
leaving unprohibited and unpenalized their slaughter outside
of such establishments, so manifestly tends to defeat the
purpose and.object of the legislator, that unless imperatively
demanded by the language of the statute it should be
rejected; and, as we have already indicated, the language of
the statute is clearly susceptible of the construction which
we have placed upon it, which tends to make effective the
provisions of this as well as all the other sections of the Act.
It appears that the defendant did in fact apply for a
permit to slaughter his carabao, and that it was denied him
on the ground that the animal was not unfit "for agricultural
work or for draft purposes." Counsel for appellant contends
that the statute, in so far as it undertakes to penalize the
slaughter of carabaos for human consumption as food,
without first obtaining a permit which can not be procured in
the event that the animal is not unfit "for agricultural work
or for draft purposes," is unconstitutional and in violation of
the terms of section 5 of the Philippine Bill (Act of
Congress, July 1, 1902), which provides that "no law shall
be enacted which shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or
property without due process of law."
It is not quite clear f rom the argument of counsel
whether his contention is that this provision of the statute
constitutes a taking of property for public use in the exercise
of the right of eminent domain without providing for the
compensation of the owners, or that it is an undue and
unauthorized exercise of the police power of the State. But
whatever may be the basis of his contention, we are of
opinion, appropriating, with necessary modifications
understood, the language of that great jurist, Chief Justice
Shaw
92
92 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
(in the case of Com. vs. Tewksbury, 11 Met., 55, where the
question involved was the constitutionality of a statute
prohibiting and penalizing the taking or carrying away by
any person, including the owner, of any stones, gravel, or
sand, from any of the beaches in the town of Chelsea), that
the law in question "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 or injurious to the rights of the public. 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."
It may be conceded that the beneficial use and exclusive
enjoyment of the property of all carabao owners in these
Islands is to a greater or less degree interfered with by the
provisions of the statute; and that, without inquiring what
quantum of interest thus passes from the owners of such
cattle, it is an interest the deprivation of which detracts from
their right and authority, and in some degree interferes with
their exclusive possession and control of their property, so
that if the regulations in question were enacted for purely
private purposes, the statute, in so far as these regulations
are concerned, would be a violation of the provisions of the
Philippine Bill relied on by appellant; but we are satisfied
that it is not such a taking, such an interference with the
right and title of the owners, as is involved in the exercise by
the State of the right of eminent domain, so as to entitle
these owners to compensation, and that it is no more than "a
just restraint of an injurious private use of the property,
which the legislature had authority to impose."
In the case of Com. vs. Alger (7 Cush., 53, 84), wherein
the doctrine laid down in Com. vs. Tewksbury (supra) was
reviewed and affirmed, the same eminent jurist who wrote
the former opinion, in distinguishing the exercise of the
93
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 93
United States vs. Toribio.
right of eminent domain from the exercise of the sovereign
police powers of the State, said:
"We think it is a settled principle, growing out of the nature
of well-ordered civil society, that every holder of property,
however absolute and unqualified may be his title, holds it
under the implied liability that his use of it may be so
regulated that it shall not be injurious to the equal enjoyment
of others having an equal right to the enjoyment of their
property, nor injurious to the rights of the community. * * *
Rights of property, like all other social and conventional
rights, are subject to such reasonable limitations in their
enjoyment as shall prevent them from being injurious, and to
such reasonable restraints and regulations established by
law, as the legislature, under the governing and controlling
power vested in them by the constitution, may think
necessary and expedient.
"This is very different from the right of eminent domain,
the right of a government to take and appropriate private
property to public use, whenever the public exigency
requires it; which can be done only on condition of
providing a reasonable compensation therefor. The power
we allude to is rather the police power, the 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.
""It is much easier to perceive and realize the existence
and sources of this power than to mark its boundaries or
prescribe limits to its exercise."
Applying these principles, we are of opinion that the
restraint placed by the law on the slaughter for human
consumption of carabaos fit for agricultural work and draft
purposes is not an appropriation of property interests to a
"public use," and is not, therefore, within the principles of
the exercise by the State of the right of eminent domain.
94
94 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
It is in fact a mere restriction or limitation upon a private
use, which the legislature deemed to be detrimental to the
public welfare. And we think that an examination of the
general provisions of the statute in relation to the public
interests which it seeks to safeguard and the public
necessities for which it provides, leaves no room for doubt
that the limitations and restraints imposed upon the exercise
of rights of ownership by the particular provisions of the
statute under consideration were imposed not for private
purposes but, strictly, in the promotion of the "general
welfare" and "the public interest" in the exercise of the
sovereign police power which every State possesses for the
general public welfare and which "reaches to every species
of property within the commonwealth."
For several years prior to the enactment of the statute a
virulent contagious or infectious disease had threatened the
total extinction of carabaos in these Islands, in many
sections sweeping away seventy, eighty, and in some cases
as much as ninety and even one hundred per cent of these
animals. Agriculture being the principal occupation of the
people, and the carabao being the work animal almost
exclusively in use in the fields as well as for draft purposes,
the ravages of the disease with which they were infected
struck an almost vital blow at the material welfare of the
country. Large areas of productive land lay waste for years,
and -the production of rice, the staple food of the inhabitants
of the Islands, fell off to such an extent that the
impoverished people were compelled to spend many
millions of pesos in its importation, notwithstanding the fact
that with sufficient work animals to cultivate the fields the
arable rice lands of the country could easily be made to
produce a supply more than sufficient for its own needs. The
drain upon the resources of the Islands was such that famine
soon began to make itself felt, hope sank in the breasts of
.the people, and in many provinces the energies of the
breadwinners seemed to be paralyzed by the apparently
hopeless struggle for existence with which they were
confronted.
95
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 95
United States vs. Toribio.
To meet these conditions, large sums of money were
expended by the Government in relieving the immediate
needs of the starving people, three millions of dollars were
voted by the Congress of the United States as a relief or
famine fund, public works were undertaken to furnish
employment in the provinces where the need was most
pressing, and every effort made to alleviate the suffering
incident to the widespread failure of the crops throughout
the Islands, due in large measure to the lack of animals fit
for agricultural work and draft purposes.
Such measures, however, could only temporarily relieve
the situation, because in an agricultural community material
progress and permanent prosperity could hardly be hoped for
in the absence of the work animals upon which such a
community must necessarily rely for the cultivation of the
fields and the transportation of the products of the fields to
market. Accordingly efforts were made by the Government
to increase the supply of these animals by importation, but,
as appears from the official reports on this subject, hope for
the future depended largely on the conservation of those
animals which had been spared from the ravages of the
disease, and their redistribution throughout the Islands where
the need for them was greatest.
At large expense, the services of experts -were
employed, with a view to the discovery and application of
preventive and curative remedies, and it is hoped that these
measures have proved in some degree successful in
protecting the present inadequate supply of large cattle, and
that the gradual increase and redistribution of these animals
throughout the Archipelago, in response to the operation of
the laws of supply and demand, will ultimately result in
practically relieving those sections which suffered most by
the loss of their work animals.
As was to be expected under such conditions, the price
of carabaos rapidly increased from three to five fold or
more, and it may fairly be presumed that even if the
conservative measures now adopted prove entirely successf
ul, the scant supply will keep the price of these animals
96
96 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
at a high figure until the natural increase shall have more
nearly equalized the supply to the demand.
Coincident with and probably intimately connected with
this sudden rise in the price of cattle, the crime of cattle
stealing became extremely prevalent throughout the Islands,
necessitating the enactment of a special law penalizing with
the severest penalties the theft of carabaos and other
personal property by roving bands; and it must be assumed
from the enactment of the statute under consideration that
the legislative authority found that the general welfare of the
Islands necessitated the enactment of special and somewhat
burdensome provisions for the branding and registration of
large cattle, and the supervision and restriction of their
slaughter for food. It will hardly be questioned that the
provisions of the statute touching the branding and
registration of such cattle, and prohibiting and penalizing the
slaughter of diseased cattle for food were enacted in the due
and proper exercise of the police power of the State; and we
are of opinion that, under all the circumstances, the
provisions of the statute prohibiting and penalizing the
slaughter f or human consumption of carabaos fit for work
were in like manner enacted in the due and proper exercise
of that power, justified by the exigent necessities of existing
conditions, and the right of the State to protect itself against
the overwhelming disasters incident to the further reduction
of the supply of animals fit for agricultural work or draft
purposes.
It is, we think, a fact of common knowledge in these
Islands, and disclosed by the official reports and records of
the administrative and legislative departments of the
Government, that not merely the material welfare and future
prosperity of this agricultural community were threatened by
the ravages of the disease which swept away the work
animals during the years prior to the enactment of the law
under consideration, but that the very life and existence of
the inhabitants of these Islands as a civilized people would
be more or less imperiled by the continued destruction of
97
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 97
United States vs. Toribio.
large cattle by disease or otherwise. Confronted by such
conditions, there can be no doubt of the right of the
Legislature to adopt reasonable measures for the
preservation of work animals, even to the extent of
prohibiting and penalizing what would, under ordinary
conditions, be a perfectly legitimate and proper exercise of
rights of ownership and control of the private property of the
citizen. The police power rests upon necessity and the right
of self-protection, and if ever the invasion of private
property by police regulation can be justified, we think that
the reasonable restriction placed upon the use of carabaos by
the provision of the law under discussion must be held to be
authorized as a reasonable and proper exercise of that power.
As stated by Mr. Justice Brown in his opinion in the case
of Lawton vs. Steele (152 U. S., 133, 136) :
"The extent and limits of what is known as the police
power have been a fruitful subject of discussion in the
appellate courts of nearly every State in the Union. It is
universally conceded to include everything essential to the
public safety, health, and morals, and to justify the
destruction or abatement, by summary proceedings, of
whatever may be regarded as a public nuisance. Under this
power it has been held that the State may order the
destruction of a house falling to decay or otherwise
endangering the lives of passers-by; the demolition of such
as are in the path of a conflagration; the slaughter of
diseased cattle; the destruction of decayed or unwholesome
food; the prohibition of wooden buildings in cities; the
regulation of railways and other means of public
conveyance, and of interments in burial grounds; the
restriction of objectionable trades to certain localities; the
compulsory vaccination of children; the confinement of the
insane or those afflicted with contagious diseases; the
restraint of vagrants, beggars, and habitual drunkards; the
suppression of obscene publications and houses of ill fame;
and the prohibition of gambling houses and places where
intoxicating liquors are sold.
98
98 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
Beyond this, however, the State may. interfere wherever the
public interests demand it, and in this particular a large
discretion is necessarily vested in the legislature to
determine, not only what the interests of the public require,
but what measures are necessary for the protection of such
interests. (Barbier vs. Connolly, 113 U. S., 27; Kidd vs.
Pearson, 128 U. S., 1.) To justify the State in thus
interposing its authority in behalf of the public, it must
appear, first, that the interests of the public. generally, as
distinguished f rom those of a particular class, require such
interference; and, second, that the means are reasonably
necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose, and not
unduly oppressive upon individuals. The legislature may
not, under the guise of protecting the public interests,
arbitrarily interfere with private business, or impose unusual
and unnecessary restrictions upon lawful occupations. In
other words, its determination as to what is a proper exercise
of its police powers is not final or conclusive, but is subject
to the supervision of the courts."
From what has been said, we think it is clear that the
enactment of the provisions of the statute under
consideration was required by "the interests of the public
generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class;"
and that the prohibition of the slaughter of carabaos for
human consumption, so long as these animals are fit for
agricultural work or draft purposes was a "reasonably
necessary" limitation on private ownership, to protect the
community from the loss of the services of such animals by
their slaughter by improvident owners, tempted either by
greed of momentary gain, or by a desire to enjoy the luxury
of animal food, even when by so doing the productive power
of the community may be measurably and dangerously
affected.
Chief Justice Redfield, in Thorpe vs. Rutland &
Burlington R. R. Co. (27 Vt, 140), said (p. 149) that by this
"general police power of the State, persons and property are
subjected to all kinds of restraints and burdens, in order
99
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 99
United States vs. Toribio.
to secure the general comfort, health, and prosperity of the
State; of the perfect right in the legislature to do which, no
question ever was, or, upon acknowledged and general
principles, ever can be made, so far as natural persons are
concerned."
And Cooley in his "Constitutional Limitations" (6th ed.,
p. 738) says:
"It would be quite impossible to enumerate all the
instances in which the police power is or may be exercised,
because the various cases in which the exercise by one
individual of his rights may conflict with a similar exercise
by others, or may be detrimental to the public order or
safety, are infinite in number and in variety. And there are
other cases where it becomes necessary for the public
authorities to interfere with the control by individuals of
their property, and even to destroy it, where the owners
themselves have fully observed all their duties to their f
ellows and to the State, but where, nevertheless, some
controlling public necessity demands the interference or
destruction. A strong instance of this description is where it
becomes necessary to take, use, or destroy the private
property of individuals to prevent the spreading of a fire, the
ravages of a pestilence, the advance of a hostile army, or any
other great public calamity. Here the individual is in no
degree in fault, but his interest must yield to that 'necessity'
which 'knows no law/ The establishment of limits within the
denser portions of cities and villages within which buildings
constructed of inflammable materials shall not be erected or
repaired may also, in some cases, be equivalent to a
destruction of private property; but regulations for this
purpose have been sustained notwithstanding this result.
Wharf lines may also be established for the general good,
even though they prevent the owners of water-fronts from
building out on soil which constitutes private property. And,
whenever the legislature deem it necessary to the protection
of a harbor to f orbid the removal
100
100 PHILIPPINE REPORTS ANNOTATED
United States vs. Toribio.
of stones, gravel, or sand from the beach, they may establish
regulations to that effect under penalties, and make them
applicable to the owners of the soil equally with other
persons. Such regulations are only 'a just restraint of an
injurious use of property, which the legislature have
authority' to impose.
"So a particular use of property may sometimes be
forbidden, where, by a change of circumstances, and without
the fault of the owner, that which was once lawful, proper,
and unobjectionable has now become a public nuisance,
endangering the public health or the public safety. Milldams
are sometimes destroyed upon this ground; and churchyards
which prove, in the advance of urban population, to be
detrimental to the public health, or in danger of becoming
so, are liable to be closed against further use for cemetery
purposes."
These citations from some of the highest judicial and
text-book authorities in the United States clearly indicate the
wide scope and extent which has there been given to the
doctrine of the sovereign police power of the State, and
confirm us in our opinion that the provision of the statute in
question being a proper exercise of that power is not in
violation of the terms of section 5 of the Philippine Bill,
which provide that "no law shall be enacted which shall
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due
process of law," a provision which itself is adopted from the
Constitution of the United States, and is f ound in substance
in the constitution of most if not all of the States of the
Union.
The judgment of conviction and the sentence imposed by
the trial court should be affirmed with the costs of this
instance against the appellant. So ordered.
Arellano, C. J., Torres, Johnson, Moreland, and
Elliott, JJ., concur.
Judgment affirmed.
101
VOL. 15, JANUARY 26, 1910 101
Chanco vs. Municipality of Romblon.
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836 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
G.R. No. 135962
. March 27, 2000.*
METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. BEL-AIR VILLAGE
ASSOCIATION, INC., respondent.
Constitutional Law; Political Subdivision; Police
Power; Definition of Police Power.Police power is an
inherent attribute of sovereignty. It has been defined as the
power vested by the Constitution in the legislature to make,
ordain, and establish all manner of wholesome and
reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances, either with
penalties or without, not repugnant to the Constitution, as
they shall judge to be for the good and welfare of the
commongarin
wealth, and for the subjects of the same. The power is
plenary and its scope is vast and pervasive, reaching and
justifying measures for public health, public safety, public
morals, and the general welfare.
Same; Same; Same; Police power is lodged primarily
in the National Legislature which may delegate the power to
the President and administrative boards as well as the
lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local
government units.It bears stressing that police power is
lodged primarily in the National Legislature. It
________________
* FIRST DIVISION.

837

VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 837
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
cannot be exercised by any group or body of individuals not
possessing legislative power. The National Legislature,
however, may delegate this power to the President and
administrative boards as well as the lawmaking bodies of
municipal corporations or local government units. Once
delegated, the agents can exercise only such legislative
powers as are conferred on them by the national lawmaking
body.
Same; Same; Same; Definition of Local Government.
A local government is a political subdivision of a nation or
state which is constituted by law and has substantial control
of local affairs. The Local Government Code of 1991
defines a local government unit as a body politic and
corporateone endowed with powers as a political
subdivision of the National Government and as a corporate
entity representing the inhabitants of its territory. Local
government units are the provinces, cities, municipalities
and barangays. They are also the territorial and political
subdivisions of the state.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Police power delegated to
the local government units in the Local Government Code of
1991.Our Congress delegated police power to the local
government units in the Local Government Code of 1991.
This delegation is found in Section 16 of the same Code,
known as the general welfare clause.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Local government units
exercise police power through their respective legislative
bodies.Local government units exercise police power
through their respective legislative bodies. The legislative
body of the provincial government is the sangguniang
panlalawigan, that of the city government is the
sangguniang panlungsod, that of the municipal government
is the sangguniang bayan, and that of the barangay is the
sangguniang barangay. The Local Government Code of
1991 empowers the sangguniang panlalawigan,
sangguniang panlungsod and sangguniang bayan to enact
ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for
the general welfare of the [province, city or municipality, as
the case may be], and its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16
of the Code and in the proper exercise of the corporate
powers of the [province, city municipality] provided under
the Code x x x. The same Code gives the sangguniang
barangay the power to enact ordinances as may be
necessary to discharge the responsibilities conferred upon it
by law or ordinance and to promote the general welfare of
the inhabitants thereon.
838
838 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
Same; Same; Same; There is no syllable in Republic
Act No. 7924 that grants the Metro Manila Development
Authority police power, let alone legislative power.It will
be noted that the powers of the MMDA are limited to the
following acts: formulation, coordination, regulation,
implementation, preparation, management, monitoring,
setting of policies, installation of a system and
administration. There is no syllable in R.A. No. 7924 that
grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power.
Even the Metro Manila Council has not been delegated any
legislative power. Unlike the legislative bodies of the local
government units, there is no provision in R.A. No. 7924
that empowers the MMDA or its Council to enact
ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for
the general welfare of the inhabitants of Metro Manila. The
MMDA is, as termed in the charter itself, a development
authority.
Same; Same; Same; Metro Manila Development
Authority is not a political unit of government.Clearly, the
MMDA is not a political unit of government. The power
delegated to the MMDA is that given to the Metro Manila
Council to promulgate administrative rules and regulations
in the implementation of the MMDAs functions. There is
no grant of authority to enact ordinances and regulations for
the general welfare of the inhabitants of the metropolis.
Same; Same; Same; Metro Manila Development
Authority is not a local government unit or a public
corporation endowed with legislative power.It is thus
beyond doubt that the MMDA is not a local government unit
or a public corporation endowed with legislative power. It is
not even a special metropolitan political subdivision as
contemplated in Section 11, Article X of the Constitution.
The creation of a special metropolitan political
subdivision requires the approval by a majority of the votes
cast in a plebiscite in the political units directly affected.
R.A. No. 7924 was not submitted to the inhabitants of Metro
Manila in a plebiscite. The Chairman of the MMDA is not
an official elected by the people, but appointed by the
President with the rank and privileges of a cabinet member.
In fact, part of his function is to perform such other duties as
may be assigned to him by the President, whereas in local
government units, the President merely exercises
supervisory authority. This emphasizes the administrative
character of the MMDA.
839
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 839
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
Same; Same; Same; Unlike the Metro Manila
Commission, the Metro Manila Development Authority has
no power to enact ordinances for the welfare of the
community.Clearly then, the MMC under P.D. No. 824 is
not the same entity as the MMDA under R.A. No. 7924.
Unlike the MMC, the MMDA has no power to enact
ordinances for the welfare of the community. It is the local
government units, acting through their respective legislative
councils, that possess legislative power and police power. In
the case at bar, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City
did not pass any ordinance or resolution ordering the
opening of Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by
petitioner MMDA is illegal and the respondent Court of
Appeals did not err in so ruling.
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Court of Appeals.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
The Solicitor General for petitioner.
R.A.V. Saguisag and J. Vicente G. Sison for
respondent.
PUNO, J.:
Not infrequently, the government is tempted to take legal
shortcuts to solve urgent problems of the people. But even
when government is armed with the best of intention, we
cannot allow it to run roughshod over the rule of law. Again,
we let the hammer fall and fall hard on the illegal attempt of
the MMDA to open for public use a private road in a private
subdivision. While we hold that the general welfare should
be promoted, we stress that it should not be achieved at the
expense of the rule of law.
Petitioner MMDA is a government agency tasked with
the delivery of basic services in Metro Manila. Respondent
Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. (BAVA) is a non-stock,
non-profit corporation whose members are homeowners in
Bel-Air Village, a private subdivision in Makati City.
Respondent BAVA is the registered owner of Neptune
Street, a road inside BelAir Village.
840
840 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
On December 30, 1995, respondent received from petitioner,
through its Chairman, a notice dated December 22, 1995
requesting respondent to open Neptune Street to public
vehicular traffic starting January 2, 1996. The notice reads:
SUBJECT: NOTICE of the Opening of Neptune Street
to Traffic
Dear President Lindo,
Please be informed that pursuant to the mandate of the
MMDA law or Republic Act No. 7924 which requires the
Authority to rationalize the use of roads and/or
thoroughfares for the safe and convenient movement of
persons, Neptune Street shall be opened to vehicular traffic
effective January 2, 1996.
In view whereof, the undersigned requests you to
voluntarily open the points of entry and exit on said street.
Thank you for your cooperation and whatever assistance
that may be extended by your association to the MMDA
personnel who will be directing traffic in the area.
Finally, we are furnishing you with a copy of the
handwritten instruction of the President on the matter.
Very truly yours, PROSPERO I. ORETA
Chairman1
On the same day, respondent was apprised that the perimeter
wall separating the subdivision from the adjacent Kalayaan
Avenue would be demolished.
On January 2, 1996, respondent instituted against
petitioner before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 136,
Makati City, Civil Case No. 96-001 for injunction.
Respondent prayed for the issuance of a temporary
restraining order and preliminary injunction enjoining the
opening of Neptune Street and prohibiting the demolition of
the perimeter wall. The trial court issued a temporary
restraining order the following day.
________________
1 Annex D to the CA petition, Court of Appeals (CA)
Rollo, p. 27.
841
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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
On January 23, 1996, after due hearing, the trial court denied
issuance of a preliminary injunction.2 Respondent
questioned the denial before the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. SP No. 39549. The appellate court conducted an ocular
inspection of Neptune Street3 and on February 13, 1996, it
issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the
implementation of the MMDAs proposed action.4
On January 28, 1997, the appellate court rendered a
Decision on the merits of the case finding that the MMDA
has no authority to order the opening of Neptune Street, a
private subdivision road and cause the demolition of its
perimeter walls. It held that the authority is lodged in the
City Council of Makati by ordinance. The decision disposed
of as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED; the challenged
Order dated January 23, 1995, in Civil Case No. 96-001, is
SET ASIDE and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued
on February 13, 1996 is hereby made permanent.
For want of sustainable substantiation, the Motion to
Cite Roberto L. del Rosario in contempt is denied.5
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.6
The Motion for Reconsideration of the decision was denied
on September 28, 1998. Hence, this recourse.
Petitioner MMDA raises the following questions:
__________________
2 Annex J to Petition, Rollo, pp. 76-78.
3 Minutes of the Ocular Inspection, Court of Appeals
Rollo, pp. 193-194.
4 CA Rollo, p. 332.
5 Roberto L. del Rosario is a resident of Neptune Street
who allegedly spearheaded a campaign to open Neptune
Street to the publicMotion to Cite in Contempt, CA Rollo,
pp. 412-415.
6 CA decision, p. 10, Rollo, p. 61.
842
842 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
I
HAS THE METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY (MMDA) THE MANDATE TO OPEN
NEPTUNE STREET TO PUBLIC TRAFFIC PURSUANT
TO ITS REGULATORY AND POLICE POWERS?
II
IS THE PASSAGE OF AN ORDINANCE A
CONDITION PRECEDENT BEFORE THE MMDA MAY
ORDER THE OPENING OF SUBDIVISION ROADS TO
PUBLIC TRAFFIC?
III
IS RESPONDENT BEL-AIR VILLAGE
ASSOCIATION, INC. ESTOPPED FROM DENYING OR
ASSAILING THE AUTHORITY OF THE MMDA TO
OPEN THE SUBJECT STREET?
IV
WAS RESPONDENT DEPRIVED OF DUE PROCESS
DESPITE THE SEVERAL MEETINGS HELD BETWEEN
MMDA AND THE AFFECTED BEL-AIR RESIDENTS
AND BAVA OFFICERS?
V
HAS RESPONDENT COME TO COURT WITH
UNCLEAN HANDS?7
Neptune Street is owned by respondent BAVA. It is a
private road inside Bel-Air Village, a private residential
subdivision in the heart of the financial and commercial
district of Makati City. It runs parallel to Kalayaan Avenue,
a national road open to the general public. Dividing the two
(2) streets is a concrete perimeter wall approximately fifteen
(15) feet high. The western end of Neptune Street intersects
Nicanor Garcia, formerly Reposo Street, a subdivision road
open to public vehicular traffic, while its eastern end
intersects Makati Avenue, a national road. Both ends of
Neptune Street are guarded by iron gates.
Petitioner MMDA claims that it has the authority to open
Neptune Street to public traffic because it is an agent of the
_________________
7 Petition, p. 15, Rollo, p. 24.
843
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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
state endowed with police power in the delivery of basic
services in Metro Manila. One of these basic services is
traffic management which involves the regulation of the use
of thoroughfares to insure the safety, convenience and
welfare of the general public. It is alleged that the police
power of MMDA was affirmed by this Court in the
consolidated cases of Sangalang v. Intermediate Appellate
Court.8 From the premise that it has police power, it is now
urged that there is no need for the City of Makati to enact an
ordinance opening Neptune street to the public.9
Police power is an inherent attribute of sovereignty. It
has been defined as the power vested by the Constitution in
the legislature to make, ordain, and establish all manner of
wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances,
either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the
Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and
welfare of the commonwealth, and for the subjects of the
same.10 The power is plenary and its scope is vast and
pervasive, reaching and justifying measures for public
health, public safety, public morals, and the general
welfare.11
It bears stressing that police power is lodged primarily in
the National Legislature.12 It cannot be exercised by any
group or body of individuals not possessing legislative
power.13 The National Legislature, however, may delegate
this power to the President and administrative boards as well
as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local
govern-
___________________
8 168 SCRA 634 (1988).
9 Petition, p. 24, Rollo, p. 33.
10 United States v. Pompeya, 31 Phil. 245, 253-254
[1915]; Churchill v. Rafferty, 32 Phil. 580, 603 [1915];
People v. Pomar, 46 Phil. 440, 447 [1924].
11 Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, A
Commentary, pp. 95-98 [1996].
12 Cruz, Constitutional Law, p. 44 [1995].
13 Id., see also 16 C.J.S., Constitutional Law, Sec. 177
[1956 ed.].
844
844 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
ment units.14 Once delegated, the agents can exercise only
such legislative powers as are conferred on them by the
national lawmaking body.15
A local government is a political subdivision of a nation
or state which is constituted by law and has substantial
control of local affairs.16 The Local Government Code of
1991 defines a local government unit as a body politic and
corporate17one endowed with powers as a political
subdivision of the National Government and as a corporate
entity representing the inhabitants of its territory.18 Local
government units are the provinces, cities, municipalities
and barangays.19 They are also the territorial and political
subdivisions of the state.20
Our Congress delegated police power to the local
government units in the Local Government Code of 1991.
This delegation is found in Section 16 of the same Code,
known as the general welfare clause, viz..
Sec. 16. General Welfare.Every local government unit
shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those
necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary,
appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective
governance, and those which are essential to the promotion
of the general welfare. Within their respective territorial
jurisdictions, local government units shall ensure and
support, among other things, the preservation and
enrichment of culture, promote health and safety, enhance
the right of the people to a balanced ecology, encourage and
support the development of appropriate and self-reliant
scientific and technological capabilities, improve public
morals, enhance economic prosperity and social
____________________
14 Cruz, supra, at 44; Binay v. Domingo, 201 SCRA 508,
513-514 [1991].
15 Magtajas v. Pryce Properties, 234 SCRA 255, 272
[1994].
16 Bernas, supra, at 959, citing UP Law Center Revision
Project, Part II, 712 [1970] citing Sady, Improvement of
Local Government Administration for Development
Purpose, Journal of Local Administration Overseas 135
[July 1962].
17 Section 15, Book I, Local Government Code of 1991.
18 Id.
19 Titles I, II, III, IV, Book III, Local Government Code
of 1991.
20 Section 1, Article X, 1987 Constitution.
845
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 845
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
justice, promote full employment among their residents,
maintain peace and order, and preserve the comfort and
convenience of their inhabitants.21
Local government units exercise police power through their
respective legislative bodies. The legislative body of the
provincial government is the sangguniang panlalawigan,
that of the city government is the sangguniang panlungsod,
that of the municipal government is the sangguniang bayan,
and that of the barangay is the sangguniang barangay. The
Local Government Code of 1991 empowers the
sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod and
sangguniang bayan to enact ordinances, approve
resolutions and appropriate funds for the general welfare of
the [province, city or municipality, as the case may be], and
its inhabitants pursuant to Section 16 of the Code and in the
proper exercise of the corporate powers of the [province,
city municipality] provided under the Code x x x.22 The
same Code gives the sangguniang barangay the power to
enact ordinances as may be necessary to discharge the
responsibilities conferred upon it by law or ordinance and to
promote the general welfare of the inhabitants thereon.23
Metropolitan or Metro Manila is a body composed of
several local government unitsi.e., twelve (12) cities and
five (5) municipalities, namely, the cities of Caloocan,
Manila, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon,
Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Marikina, Paraaque and
Valenzuela, and the municipalities of Malabon, Navotas,
Pateros, San Juan and Taguig. With the passage of Republic
Act (R.A.) No. 792424 in 1995, Metropolitan Manila was
declared as a special development
___________________
21 Section 16, Book I, Local Government Code of 1991;
also cited in Magtajas v. Pryce Properties Corp., Inc. supra,
at 264-265.
22 Sections 468 (a), 458 (a), and 447 (a), Book III, Local
Government Code of 1991.
23 Section 391 (a), Book III, Local Government Code of
1991.
24 Entitled An Act Creating the Metropolitan Manila
Development Authority, Defining its Powers and Functions,
Providing Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes.
846
846 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
and administrative region and the Administration of
metrowide basic services affecting the region placed
under a development authority referred to as the
MMDA.25
Metro-wide services are those services which have
metrowide impact and transcend local political boundaries
or entail huge expenditures such that it would not be viable
for said services to be provided by the individual local
government units comprising Metro Manila.26 There are
seven (7) basic metro-wide services and the scope of these
services cover the following: (1) development planning; (2)
transport and traffic management; (3) solid waste disposal
and management; (4) flood control and sewerage
management; (5) urban renewal, zoning and land use
planning, and shelter services; (6) health and sanitation,
urban protection and pollution control; and (7) public safety.
The basic service of transport and traffic management
includes the following:
(b) Transport and traffic management which include the
formulation, coordination, and monitoring of policies,
standards, programs and projects to rationalize the existing
transport operations, infrastructure requirements, the use of
thoroughfares, and promotion of safe and convenient
movement of persons and goods; provision for the mass
transport system and the institution of a system to regulate
road users; administration and implementation of all traffic
enforcement operations, traffic engineering services and
traffic education programs, including the institution of a
single ticketing system in Metropolitan Manila;27
In the delivery of the seven (7) basic services, the MMDA
has the following powers and functions:
Sec. 5. Functions and powers of the Metro Manila
Development Authority.The MMDA shall:
12. (a) Formulate, coordinate and regulate the
implementation of medium and long-term plans and
programs for the delivery of metrowide services, land
use and physical development within Metropoli-
__________________
25 Section 1, R.A. 7924.
26 Section 3, par. 1, R.A. 7924.
27 Section 3 (b), supra; emphasis supplied.
847
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 847
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
7. tan Manila, consistent with national development
objectives and priorities;
8. (b) Prepare, coordinate and regulate the implementation
of medium-term investment programs for metro-wide
services which shall indicate sources and uses of
funds for priority programs and projects, and which
shall include the packaging of projects and
presentation to funding institutions;
9. (c) Undertake and manage on its own metro-wide
programs and projects for the delivery of specific
services under its jurisdiction, subject to the approval
of the Council. For this purpose, MMDA can create
appropriate project management offices;
10. (d) Coordinate and monitor the implementation of
such plans, programs and projects in Metro Manila;
identify bottlenecks and adopt solutions to problems
of implementation;
11. (e) The MMDA shall set the policies concerning
traffic in Metro Manila, and shall coordinate and
regulate the implementation of all programs and
projects concerning traffic management, specifically
pertaining to enforcement, engineering and education.
Upon request, it shall be extended assistance and
cooperation, including but not limited to, assignment
of personnel, by all other government agencies and
offices concerned;
12. (f) Install and administer a single ticketing system,
fix, impose and collect fines and penalties for all kinds
of violations of traffic rules and regulations, whether
moving or non-moving in nature, and confiscate and
suspend or revoke drivers licenses in the enforcement
of such traffic laws and regulations, the provisions of
RA 4136 and PD 1605 to the contrary
notwithstanding. For this purpose, the Authority shall
impose all traffic laws and regulations in Metro
Manila, through its traffic operation center, and may
deputize members of the PNP, traffic enforcers of
local government units, duly licensed security guards,
or members of non-governmental organizations to
whom may be delegated certain authority, subject to
such conditions and requirements as the Authority
may impose; and
13. (g) Perform other related functions required to
achieve the objectives of the MMDA, including the
undertaking of delivery of basic services to the local
government units, when deemed necessary subject to
prior coordination with and consent of the local
government unit concerned.
The implementation of the MMDAs plans, programs and
projects is undertaken by the local government units,
national
848
848 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
government agencies, accredited peoples organizations,
nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector as
well as by the MMDA itself. For this purpose, the MMDA
has the power to enter into contracts, memoranda of
agreement and other cooperative arrangements with these
bodies for the delivery of the required services within Metro
Manila.28
The governing board of the MMDA is the Metro Manila
Council. The Council is composed of the mayors of the
component 12 cities and 5 municipalities, the president of
the Metro Manila Vice-Mayors League and the president of
the Metro Manila Councilors League.29 The Council is
headed by a Chairman who is appointed by the President and
vested with the rank of cabinet member. As the policy-
making body of the MMDA, the Metro Manila Council
approves metro-wide plans, programs and projects, and
issues the necessary rules and regulations for the
implementation of said plans; it approves the annual budget
of the MMDA and promulgates the rules and regulations for
the delivery of basic services, collection of service and
regulatory fees, fines and penalties. These functions are
particularly enumerated as follows:
Sec. 6. Functions of the Metro Manila Council.
12. (a) The Council shall be the policy-making body of
the MMDA;
13. (b) It shall approve metro-wide plans, programs and
projects and issue rules and regulations deemed
necessary by the MMDA to carry out the purposes of
this Act;
14. (c) It may increase the rate of allowances and per
diems of the members of the Council to be effective
during the term of the succeeding Council. It shall fix
the compensation of the officers and
__________________
28 Section 9, paragraph 5, supra.
29 Section 4, supra. Non-voting members of the Council
are the heads of the Department of Transportation and
Communications (DOTC), Department of Public Works and
Highways (DPWH), Department of Tourism (DOT),
Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Housing
and Urban Development Coordinating Committee
(HUDCC), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) or their
duly authorized representatives.
849
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 849
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
3. personnel of the MMDA, and approve the annual budget
thereof for submission to the Department of Budget
and Management (DBM);
4. (d) It shall promulgate rules and regulations and set
policies and standards for metro-wide application
governing the delivery of basic services, prescribe and
collect service and regulatory fees, and impose and
collect fines and penalties.
Clearly, the scope of the MMDAs function is limited to the
delivery of the seven (7) basic services. One of these is
transport and traffic management which includes the
formulation and monitoring of policies, standards and
projects to rationalize the existing transport operations,
infrastructure requirements, the use of thoroughfares and
promotion of the safe movement of persons and goods. It
also covers the mass transport system and the institution of a
system of road regulation, the administration of all traffic
enforcement operations, traffic engineering services and
traffic education programs, including the institution of a
single ticketing system in Metro Manila for traffic
violations. Under this service, the MMDA is expressly
authorized to set the policies concerning traffic and
coordinate and regulate the implementation of all traffic
management programs. In addition, the MMDA may
install and administer a single ticketing system, fix,
impose and collect fines and penalties for all traffic
violations.
It will be noted that the powers of the MMDA are
limited to the following acts: formulation, coordination,
regulation, implementation, preparation, management,
monitoring, setting of policies, installation of a system and
administration. There is no syllable in R.A. No. 7924 that
grants the MMDA police power, let alone legislative power.
Even the Metro Manila Council has not been delegated any
legislative power. Unlike the legislative bodies of the local
government units, there is no provision in R.A. No. 7924
that empowers the MMDA or its Council to enact
ordinances, approve resolutions and appropriate funds for
the general welfare of the inhabitants of Metro Manila. The
MMDA is, as termed in the charter itself, a
850
850 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
development authority.30 It is an agency created for the
purpose of laying down policies and coordinating with the
various national government agencies, peoples
organizations, non-governmental organizations and the
private sector for the efficient and expeditious delivery of
basic services in the vast metropolitan area. All its functions
are administrative in nature and these are actually summed
up in the charter itself, viz.:
Sec. 2. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila Development
Authority.x x x.
The MMDA shall perform planning, monitoring and
coordinative functions, and in the process exercise
regulatory and supervisory authority over the delivery of
metro-wide services within Metro Manila, without
diminution of the autonomy of the local government units
concerning purely local matters.31
Petitioner cannot seek refuge in the cases of Sangalang v.
Intermediate Appellate Court32 where we upheld a zoning
ordinance issued by the Metro Manila Commission (MMC),
the predecessor of the MMDA, as an exercise of police
power. The first Sangalang decision was on the merits of the
petition,33 while the second decision denied reconsideration
of the first case and in addition discussed the case of Yabut
v. Court of Appeals.34
Sangalang v. IAC involved five (5) consolidated
petitions filed by respondent BAVA and three residents of
Bel-Air Village against other residents of the Village and the
Ayala Corporation, formerly the Makati Development
Corporation, as the developer of the subdivision. The
petitioners sought to enforce certain restrictive easements in
the deeds of sale over their respective lots in the subdivision.
These were the prohibition on the setting up of commercial
and advertising signs
__________________
30 Section 1, R.A. 7924.
31 Section 2, supra.
32 Op cit.
33 168 SCRA 634 [1988].
34 176 SCRA 719 [1989].
851
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 851
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
on the lots, and the condition that the lots be used only for
residential purposes. Petitioners alleged that respondents,
who were residents along Jupiter Street of the subdivision,
converted their residences into commercial establishments in
violation of the deed restrictions, and that respondent
Ayala Corporation ushered in the full commercialization
of Jupiter Street by tearing down the perimeter wall that
separated the commercial from the residential section of the
village.35
The petitions were dismissed based on Ordinance No. 81
of the Municipal Council of Makati and Ordinance No. 81-
01 of the Metro Manila Commission (MMC). Municipal
Ordinance No. 81 classified Bel-Air Village as a Class A
Residential Zone, with its boundary in the south extending to
the center line of Jupiter Street. The Municipal Ordinance
was adopted by the MMC under the Comprehensive Zoning
Ordinance for the National Capital Region and promulgated
as MMC Ordinance No. 81-01. Bel-Air Village was
indicated therein as bounded by Jupiter Street and the block
adjacent thereto was classified as a High Intensity
Commercial Zone.36
We ruled that since both Ordinances recognized Jupiter
Street as the boundary between Bel-Air Village and the
commercial district, Jupiter Street was not for the exclusive
benefit of Bel-Air residents. We also held that the perimeter
wall on said street was constructed not to separate the
residential from the commercial blocks but simply for
security reasons, hence, in tearing down said wall, Ayala
Corporation did not violate the deed restrictions in the
deeds of sale.
We upheld the ordinances, specifically MMC Ordinance
No. 81-01, as a legitimate exercise of police power.37 The
power of the MMC and the Makati Municipal Council to
enact zoning ordinances for the general welfare prevailed
over the deed restrictions.
In the second Sangalang/Yabut decision, we held that the
opening of Jupiter Street was warranted by the demands of
________________
35 168 SCRA 634, 654-655.
36 Id. at 643.
37 Id, at 730.
852
852 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
the common good in terms of traffic decongestion and
public convenience. Jupiter was opened by the Municipal
Mayor to alleviate traffic congestion along the public streets
adjacent to the Village.38 The same reason was given for the
opening to public vehicular traffic of Orbit Street, a road
inside the same village. The destruction of the gate in Orbit
Street was also made under the police power of the
municipal government. The gate, like the perimeter wall
along Jupiter, was a public nuisance because it hindered and
impaired the use of property, hence, its summary abatement
by the mayor was proper and legal.39
Contrary to petitioners claim, the two Sangalang cases
do not apply to the case at bar. Firstly, both involved zoning
ordinances passed by the municipal council of Makati and
the MMC. In the instant case, the basis for the proposed
opening of Neptune Street is contained in the notice of
December 22, 1995 sent by petitioner to respondent BAVA,
through its president. The notice does not cite any ordinance
or law, either by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati
City or by the MMDA, as the legal basis for the proposed
opening of Neptune Street. Petitioner MMDA simply relied
on its authority under its charter to rationalize the use of
roads and/or thoroughfares for the safe and convenient
movement of persons. Rationalizing the use of roads and
thoroughfares is one of the acts that fall within the scope of
transport and traffic management. By no stretch of the
imagination, however, can this be interpreted as an express
or implied grant of ordinancemaking power, much less
police power.
Secondly, the MMDA is not the same entity as the MMC
in Sangalang. Although the MMC is the forerunner of the
present MMDA, an examination of Presidential Decree
(P.D.) No. 824, the charter of the MMC, shows that the
latter possessed greater powers which were not bestowed on
the present MMDA.
Metropolitan Manila was first created in 1975 by
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 824. It comprised the Greater
Manila
______________
38 Id. at 723.
39 Like the perimeter wall along Jupiter StreetId. at
734.
853
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 853
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
Area composed of the contiguous four (4) cities of Manila,
Quezon, Pasay and Caloocan, and the thirteen (13)
municipalities of Makati, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Las
Pias, Malabon, Navotas, Pasig, Pateros, Paraaque,
Marikina, Muntinlupa and Taguig in the province of Rizal,
and Valenzuela in the province of Bulacan.40 Metropolitan
Manila was created as a response to the finding that the
rapid growth of population and the increase of social and
economic requirements in these areas demand a call for
simultaneous and unified development; that the public
services rendered by the respective local governments could
be administered more efficiently and economically if
integrated under a system of central planning; and this
coordination, especially in the maintenance of peace and
order and the eradication of social and economic ills that
fanned the flames of rebellion and discontent [were] part of
reform measures under Martial Law essential to the safety
and security of the State.41 Metropolitan Manila was
established as a public corporation with the following
powers:
Section 1. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila.There is
hereby created a public corporation, to be known as the
Metropolitan Manila, vested with powers and attributes of a
corporation including the power to make contracts, sue and
be sued, acquire, purchase, expropriate, hold, transfer and
dispose of property and such other powers as are necessary
to carry out its purposes. The Corporation shall be
administered by a Commission created under this
Decree.42
The administration of Metropolitan Manila was placed
under the Metro Manila Commission (MMC) vested with the
following powers:
Sec. 4. Powers and Functions of the Commission.The
Commission shall have the following powers and functions:
3. 1. To act as a central government to establish and
administer programs and provide services common to
the area;
_______________
40 Section 2, P.D. 824.
41 Whereas Clauses, P.D. 824.
42 Section 1, P.D. 824; emphasis supplied.
854
854 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
3. 2. To levy and collect taxes and special assessments,
borrow and expend money and issue bonds, revenue
certificates, and other obligations of indebtedness.
Existing tax measures should, however, continue to be
operative until otherwise modified or repealed by the
Commission;
4. 3. To charge and collect fees for the use of public service
facilities;
5. 4. To appropriate money for the operation of the
metropolitan government and review appropriations
for the city and municipal units within its jurisdiction
with authority to disapprove the same if found to be
not in accordance with the established policies of the
Commission, without prejudice to any contractual
obligation of the local government units involved
existing at the time of approval of this Decree;
6. 5. To review, amend, revise or repeal all ordinances,
resolutions and acts of cities and municipalities within
Metropolitan Ma-nila;
7. 6. To enact or approve ordinances, resolutions and to fix
penalties for any violation thereof which shall not
exceed a fine of P10,000.00 or imprisonment of six
years or both such fine and imprisonment for a single
offense;
8. 7. To perform general administrative, executive and
policymaking functions;
9. 8. To establish a fire control operation center, which shall
direct the fire services of the city and municipal
governments in the metropolitan area;
10. 9. To establish a garbage disposal operation center,
which shall direct garbage collection and disposal in
the metropolitan area;
11. 10. To establish and operate a transport and traffic
center, which shall direct traffic activities;
12. 11. To coordinate and monitor governmental and
private activities pertaining to essential services such
as transportation, flood control and drainage, water
supply and sewerage, social, health and environmental
services, housing, park development, and others;
13. 12. To insure and monitor the undertaking of a
comprehensive social, economic and physical
planning and development of the area;
14. 13. To study the feasibility of increasing barangay
participation in the affairs of their respective local
governments and to pro-
855
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 855
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
2. pose to the President of the Philippines definite programs
and policies for implementation;
3. 14. To submit within thirty (30) days after the close of
each fiscal year an annual report to the President of
the Philippines and to submit a periodic report
whenever deemed necessary; and
4. 15. To perform such other tasks as may be assigned or
directed by the President of the Philippines.
The MMC was the central government of Metro Manila
for the purpose of establishing and administering programs
providing services common to the area. As a central
government it had the power to levy and collect taxes and
special assessments, the power to charge and collect fees;
the power to appropriate money for its operation, and at the
same time, review appropriations for the city and municipal
units within its jurisdiction. It was bestowed the power to
enact or approve ordinances, resolutions and fix penalties for
violation of such ordinances and resolutions. It also had the
power to review, amend, revise or repeal all ordinances,
resolutions and acts of any of the four (4) cities and thirteen
(13) municipalities comprising Metro Manila.
P.D. No. 824 further provided:
Sec. 9. Until otherwise provided, the governments of the
four cities and thirteen municipalities in the Metropolitan
Manila shall continue to exist in their present form except as
may be inconsistent with this Decree. The members of the
existing city and municipal councils in Metropolitan Manila
shall, upon promulgation of this Decree, and until December
31, 1975, become members of the Sangguniang Bayan which
is hereby created for every city and municipality of
Metropolitan Manila.
In addition, the Sangguniang Bayan shall be composed of
as many barangay captains as may be determined and
chosen by the Commission, and such number of
representatives from other sectors of the society as may be
appointed by the President upon recommendation of the
Commission.
x x x.
The Sangguniang Bayan may recommend to the
Commission ordinances, resolutions or such measures as it
may adopt; Provided,
856
856 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
that no such ordinance, resolution or measure shall become
effective, until after its approval by the Commission; and
Provided further, that the power to impose taxes and other
levies, the power to appropriate money and the power to
pass ordinances or resolutions with penal sanctions shall be
vested exclusively in the Commission.
The creation of the MMC also carried with it the creation of
the Sangguniang Bayan. This was composed of the members
of the component city and municipal councils, barangay
captains chosen by the MMC and sectoral representatives
appointed by the President. The Sangguniang Bayan had the
power to recommend to the MMC the adoption of
ordinances, resolutions or measures. It was the MMC itself,
however, that possessed legislative powers. All ordinances,
resolutions and measures recommended by the Sangguniang
Bayan were subject to the MMCs approval. Moreover, the
power to impose taxes and other levies, the power to
appropriate money, and the power to pass ordinances or
resolutions with penal sanctions were vested exclusively in
the MMC.
Thus, Metropolitan Manila had a central government,
i.e., the MMC which fully possessed legislative and police
powers. Whatever legislative powers the component cities
and municipalities had were all subject to review and
approval by the MMC.
After President Corazon Aquino assumed power, there
was a clamor to restore the autonomy of the local
government units in Metro Manila. Hence, Sections 1 and 2
of Article X of the 1987 Constitution provided:
Section 1. The territorial and political subdivisions of the
Republic of the Philippines are the provinces, cities,
municipalities and barangays. There shall be autonomous
regions in Muslim Mindanao and the Cordilleras as herein
provided.
Section 2. The territorial and political subdivisions shall
enjoy local autonomy.
The Constitution, however, recognized the necessity of
creating metropolitan regions not only in the existing
National Capital Region but also in potential equivalents in
the
857
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 857
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
Visayas and Mindanao.43 Section 11 of the same Article X
thus provided:
Section 11. The Congress may, by law, create special
metropolitan political subdivisions, subject to a plebiscite as
set forth in Section 10 hereof. The component cities and
municipalities shall retain their basic autonomy and shall be
entitled to their own local executives and legislative
assemblies. The jurisdiction of the metropolitan authority
that will thereby be created shall be limited to basic services
requiring coordination.
The Constitution itself expressly provides that Congress
may, by law, create special metropolitan political
subdivisions which shall be subject to approval by a
majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units
directly affected; the jurisdiction of this subdivision shall be
limited to basic services requiring coordination; and the
cities and municipalities comprising this subdivision shall
retain their basic autonomy and their own local executive
and legislative assemblies.44 Pending enactment of this law,
the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution gave the
President of the Philippines the power to constitute the
Metropolitan Authority, viz.:
Section 8. Until otherwise provided by Congress, the
President may constitute the Metropolitan Authority to be
composed of the heads of all local government units
comprising the Metropolitan Manila area.45
In 1990, President Aquino issued Executive Order (E.O.)
No. 392 and constituted the Metropolitan Manila Authority
(MMA). The powers and functions of the MMC were
devolved to the MMA.46 It ought to be stressed, however,
that not all powers and functions of the MMC were passed
to the MMA.
__________________
43 Speech of then Constitutional Commissioner Bias
Ople, see Bernas, The Intent of the 1986 Constitution
Writers, pp. 706-707 [1995].
44 Section 11, Article X, 1987 Constitution.
45 Section 8, Article XVIII, 1987 Constitution.
46 Section 3, E.O. 392.
858
858 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
The MMAs power was limited to the delivery of basic
urban services requiring coordination in Metropolitan
Manila.47 The MMAs governing body, the Metropolitan
Manila Council, although composed of the mayors of the
component cities and municipalities, was merely given the
power of: (1) formulation of policies on the delivery of basic
services requiring coordination and consolidation; and (2)
promulgation of resolutions and other issuances, approval of
a code of basic services and the exercise of its rule-making
power.48
Under the 1987 Constitution, the local government units
became primarily responsible for the governance of their
respective political subdivisions. The MMAs jurisdiction
was limited to addressing common problems involving basic
services that transcended local boundaries. It did not have
legislative power. Its power was merely to provide the local
government units technical assistance in the preparation of
local development plans. Any semblance of legislative
power it had was confined to a review [of] legislation
proposed by the local legislative assemblies to ensure
consistency among local governments and with the
comprehensive development plan of Metro Manila, and to
advise the local governments accordingly.49
When R.A. No. 7924 took effect, Metropolitan Manila
became a special development and administrative region
and the MMDA a special development authority whose
functions were without prejudice to the autonomy of the
affected local government units. The character of the
MMDA was clearly defined in the legislative debates
enacting its charter.
R.A. No. 7924 originated as House Bill No.
14170/11116 and was introduced by several legislators led
by Dante Tinga, Roilo Golez and Feliciano Belmonte. It was
presented to the House of Representatives by the Committee
on Local Governments chaired by Congressman Ciriaco R.
Alfelor. The bill was a product of Committee consultations
with the local gov-
________________
47 Section 1, supra.
48 Section 2, supra.
49 Section 6, supra.
859
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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
ernment units in the National Capital Region (NCR), with
former Chairmen of the MMC and MMA,50 and career
officials of said agencies. When the bill was first taken up by
the Committee on Local Governments, the following debate
took place:
THE CHAIRMAN [Hon. Ciriaco Alfelor]: Okay, Let me
explain. This has been debated a long time ago, you know.
Its a special... we can create a special metropolitan political
subdivision.
Actually, there are only six (6) political subdivisions
provided for in the Constitution: barangay, municipality,
city, province, and we have the Autonomous Region of
Mindanao and we have the Cordillera. So we have 6. Now . .
. .
HON. [Elias] LOPEZ: May I interrupt, Mr. Chairman. In
the case of the Autonomous Region, that is also specifically
mandated by the Constitution.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thats correct. But it is considered to
be a political subdivision. What is the meaning of a political
subdivision? Meaning to say, that it has its own government,
it has its own political personality, it has the power to tax,
and all governmental powers: police power and everything.
All right. Authority is different; because it does not have its
own government. It is only a council, it is an organization of
political subdivision, powers,no, which is not imbued with
any political power.
If you go over Section 6, where the powers and functions
of the Metro Manila Development Authority, it is purely
coordinative. And it provides here that the council is policy-
making. All right.
Under the Constitution is a Metropolitan Authority with
coordinative power. Meaning to say, it coordinates all of the
different basic services which have to be delivered to the
constituency. All right.
There is now a problem. Each local government unit is
given its respective . . . as a political subdivision. Kalookan
has its powers, as provided for and protected and guaranteed
by the Constitution. All right, the exercise. However, in the
exercise of that power, it might be deleterious and
disadvantageous to other local government units. So, we are
forming an authority where all of these will be
________________
50 Chairmen Ismael Mathay, Jr. and Ignacio Bunye.
860
860 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
members and then set up a policy in order that the basic
services can be effectively coordinated. All right.
Of course, we cannot deny that the MMDA has to
survive. We have to provide some funds, resources. But it
does not possess any political power. We do not elect the
Governor. We do not have the power to tax. As a matter of
fact, I was trying to intimate to the author that it must have
the power to sue and be sued because it coordinates. All
right. It coordinates practically all these basic services so
that the flow and the distribution of the basic services will be
continuous. Like traffic, we cannot deny that. Its before our
eyes. Sewerage, flood control, water system, peace and
order, we cannot deny these. Its right on our face. We have
to look for a solution. What would be the right solution? All
right, we envision that there should be a coordinating agency
and it is called an authority. All right, if you do not want to
call it an authority, its alright. We may call it a council or
maybe a management agency.
x x x.51
Clearly, the MMDA is not a political unit of government.
The power delegated to the MMDA is that given to the
Metro Manila Council to promulgate administrative rules
and regulations in the implementation of the MMDAs
functions. There is no grant of authority to enact ordinances
and regulations for the general welfare of the inhabitants of
the metropolis. This was explicitly stated in the last
Committee deliberations prior to the bills presentation to
Congress. Thus:
THE CHAIRMAN: Yeah, but we have to go over the
suggested revision. I think this was already approved
before, but it was reconsidered in view of the proposals,
set-up, to make the MMDA stronger. Okay, so if there is
no objection to paragraph f. . . And then next is
paragraph b, under Section 6. It shall approve
metrowide plans, programs and projects and issue
ordinances or resolutions deemed necessary by the
MMDA to carry out the purposes of this Act. Do you
have the powers? Does the MMDA . . . because that
takes the form of a local government unit, a political
subdivision.
____________________
51 Deliberations of the Committee on Local Government,
House of Representatives, Congress of the Philippines,
November 10, 1993, pp. 46-48.
861
VOL. 328, MARCH 27, 2000 861
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
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HON. [Feliciano] BELMONTE: Yes, I believe so, your
Honor. When we say that it has the policies, its very
clear that those policies must be followed. Otherwise,
whats the use of empowering it to come out with
policies. Now, the policies may be in the form of a
resolution or it may be in the form of a ordinance. The
term ordinance in this case really gives it more teeth,
your honor. Otherwise, we are going to see a situation
where you have the power to adopt the policy but you
cannot really make it stick as in the case now, and I think
here is Chairman Bunye. I think he will agree that that is
the case now. Youve got the power to set a policy, the
body wants to follow your policy, then we say lets call
it an ordinance and see if they will not follow it.
THE CHAIRMAN: Thats very nice. I like that. However,
there is a constitutional impediment. You are making this
MMDA a political subdivision. The creation of the
MMDA would be subject to a plebiscite. That is what Im
trying to avoid. Ive been trying to avoid this kind of
predicament. Under the Constitution it states: if it is a
political subdivision, once it is created it has to be
subject to a plebiscite. Im trying to make this as
administrative. Thats why we place the Chairman as a
cabinet rank.
HON. BELMONTE: All right, Mr. Chairman, okay, what
you are saying there is . . . .
THE CHAIRMAN: In setting up ordinances, it is a political
exercise. Believe me.
HON. [Elias] LOPEZ: Mr. Chairman, it can be changed into
issuances of rules and regulations. That would be . . . it
shall also be enforced.
HON. BELMONTE: Okay, I will . . . .
HON. LOPEZ: And you can also say that violation of such
rule, you impose a sanction. But you know, ordinance
has a different legal connotation.
HON. BELMONTE: All right. I defer to that opinion, your
Honor.
THE CHAIRMAN: So instead of ordinances, say rules and
regulations.
HON. BELMONTE: Or resolutions. Actually, they are
actually considering resolutions now.
THE CHAIRMAN: Rules and resolutions.
862
862 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
HON. BELMONTE: Rules, regulations and resolutions.52
The draft of H.B. No. 14170/11116 was presented by the
Committee to the House of Representatives. The explanatory
note to the bill stated that the proposed MMDA is a
development authority which is a national agency, not a
political government unit.53 The explanatory note was
adopted as the sponsorship speech of the Committee on
Local Governments. No interpellations or debates were
made on the floor and no amendments introduced. The bill
was approved on second reading on the same day it was
presented.54
When the bill was forwarded to the Senate, several
amendments were made. These amendments, however, did
not affect the nature of the MMDA as originally conceived
in the House of Representatives.55
It is thus beyond doubt that the MMDA is not a local
government unit or a public corporation endowed with
legislative power. It is not even a special metropolitan
political subdivision as contemplated in Section 11, Article
X of the Constitution. The creation of a special
metropolitan political subdivision requires the approval by
a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political
units directly affected.56 R.A. No. 7924 was not submitted
to the inhabitants of Metro Manila in
________________
52 Deliberations of the Committee on Local
Governments, House of Representatives, Congress of the
Philippines, November 9, 1994, pp. 68-70.
53 Explanatory Note to H.B. 11116, p. 3.
54 H.B. 14170/11116, Sponsorship and Debates,
December 20, 1994.
55 Compare H.B. 14170/11116 with R.A. 7924; see
Senate Amendments, February 21, 1995.
56 Section 10, Article X of the 1987 Constitution reads:
Sec. 10. No province, city, municipality, or barangay may
be created, divided, merged, abolished, or its boundary
substantially altered except in accordance with the criteria
established in the local government code and subject to
approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the
political units directly affected.
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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.
a plebiscite. The Chairman of the MMDA is not an official
elected by the people, but appointed by the President with
the rank and privileges of a cabinet member. In fact, part of
his function is to perform such other duties as may be
assigned to him by the President,57 whereas in local
government units, the President merely exercises
supervisory authority. This emphasizes the administrative
character of the MMDA.
Clearly then, the MMC under P.D. No. 824 is not the
same entity as the MMDA under R.A. No. 7924. Unlike the
MMC, the MMDA has no power to enact ordinances for the
welfare of the community. It is the local government units,
acting through their respective legislative councils, that
possess legislative power and police power. In the case at
bar, the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Makati City did not
pass any ordinance or resolution ordering the opening of
Neptune Street, hence, its proposed opening by petitioner
MMDA is illegal and the respondent Court of Appeals did
not err in so ruling. We desist from ruling on the other issues
as they are unnecessary.
We stress that this decision does not make light of the
MMDAs noble efforts to solve the chaotic traffic condition
in Metro Manila. Everyday, traffic jams and traffic
bottlenecks plague the metropolis. Even our once sprawling
boulevards and avenues are now crammed with cars while
city streets are clogged with motorists and pedestrians.
Traffic has become a social malaise affecting our peoples
productivity and the efficient delivery of goods and services
in the country. The MMDA was created to put some order in
the metropolitan transportation system but unfortunately the
powers granted by its charter are limited. Its good intentions
cannot justify the opening for public use of a private street in
a private subdivision without any legal warrant. The
promotion of the general welfare is not antithetical to the
preservation of the rule of law.
_________________
57 Section 7 (g), R.A. 7924.
864
864 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Reyes, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is denied. The Decision
and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
39549 are affirmed.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr. (C.J., Chairman), Kapunan, Pardo and
Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Petition denied, judgment and resolution affirmed.
Note.In order that a local government may exercise
police power, there must be a legislative grant which
necessarily sets the limits for the exercise of the power.
(Tano vs. Socrates, 278 SCRA 154 [1997])
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176 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
G.R. No. 130230. April 15, 2005.*
METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT
AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. DANTE O. GARIN,
respondent.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; Drivers
Licenses; Actions; Moot and Academic Questions; Since the
MMDA is not precluded from re-implementing
Memorandum Circular No. TT-95-001, or any other scheme,
for that matter, that would entail confiscating drivers
licenses, the Supreme Court deems it appropriate to make
certain observations for the proper implementation of
MMDAs future programs.On 12 August 2004, the
MMDA, through its Chairman Bayani Fernando,
implemented Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of 2004,
outlining the procedures for the use of the Metropolitan
Traffic Ticket (MTT) scheme. Under the circular, erring
motorists are issued an MTT, which can be paid at any
Metrobank branch. Traffic enforcers may no longer
confiscate drivers licenses as a matter of course in cases of
traffic violations. All motorists with unredeemed TVRs were
given seven days from the date of implementation of the
new system to pay their fines and redeem their license or
vehicle plates. It would seem, therefore, that insofar as the
absence of a prima facie case to enjoin the petitioner from
confiscating drivers licenses is concerned, recent events
have overtaken the Courts need to decide this case, which
has been rendered moot and academic by the
implementation of Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of
2004. The petitioner, however, is not precluded from re-
implementing Memorandum Circular No. TT-95-001, or any
other scheme, for that matter, that would entail confiscating
drivers licenses. For the proper implementation, therefore,
of the petitioners
_______________
* SECOND DIVISION.

177

VOL. 456, APRIL 15, 2005 177
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
future programs, this Court deems it appropriate to make the
following observations: 1. A license to operate a motor
vehicle is a privilege that the state may withhold in the
exercise of its police power.
Same; Same; A license to operate a motor vehicle is not
a property right, but a privilege granted by the state, which
may be suspended or revoked by the state in the exercise of
its police power.The petitioner correctly points out that a
license to operate a motor vehicle is not a property right, but
a privilege granted by the state, which may be suspended or
revoked by the state in the exercise of its police power, in
the interest of the public safety and welfare, subject to the
procedural due process requirements. This is consistent with
our rulings in Pedro v. Provincial Board of Rizal on the
license to operate a cockpit, Tan v. Director of Forestry and
Oposa v. Factoran on timber licensing agreements, and
Surigao Electric Co., Inc. v. Municipality of Surigao on a
legislative franchise to operate an electric plant.
Same; R.A. No. 7924 does not grant the MMDA with
police power, let alone legislative power, and that all its
functions are administrative in nature.In Metro Manila
Development Authority v. Bel-Air Village Association, Inc.,
we categorically stated that Rep. Act No. 7924 does not
grant the MMDA with police power, let alone legislative
power, and that all its functions are administrative in nature.
Same; Police Power; Municipal Corporations; Local
Government Units; Police power is lodged primarily in the
National Legislature and cannot be exercised by any group
or body of individuals not possessing legislative power
through the National Legislature may delegate it to the
President and administrative boards as well as the
lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local
government units.We restate here the doctrine in the said
decision as it applies to the case at bar: police power, as an
inherent attribute of sovereignty, is the power vested by the
Constitution in the legislature to make, ordain, and establish
all manner of wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and
ordinances, either with penalties or without, not repugnant to
the Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and
welfare of the commonwealth, and for the subjects of the
same. Having been lodged primarily in the National
Legislature, it cannot be exercised by any group or body of
individuals not possessing legislative power. The National
Legislature, however, may delegate
178

178 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
this power to the president and administrative boards as well
as the lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local
government units (LGUs). Once delegated, the agents can
exercise only such legislative powers as are conferred on
them by the national lawmaking body.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Words and Phrases; A local
government is a political subdivision of a nation or state
which is constituted by law and has substantial control of
local affairs.Our Congress delegated police power to the
LGUs in the Local Government Code of 1991. A local
government is a political subdivision of a nation or state
which is constituted by law and has substantial control of
local affairs. Local government units are the provinces,
cities, municipalities and barangays, which exercise police
power through their respective legislative bodies.
Metropolitan or Metro Manila is a body composed of several
local government units. With the passage of Rep. Act No.
7924 in 1995, Metropolitan Manila was declared as a
special development and administrative region and the
administration of metro-wide basic services affecting the
region placed under a development authority referred to as
the MMDA.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Drivers Licenses; Only
where there is a traffic law or regulation validly enacted by
the legislature or those agencies to whom legislative powers
have been delegated that the MMDA may confiscate and
suspend or revoke drivers licenses in the exercise of its
mandate of transport and traffic management, as well as the
administration and implementation of all traffic enforcement
operations, traffic engineering services and traffic education
programs.Where there is a traffic law or regulation
validly enacted by the legislature or those agencies to whom
legislative powers have been delegated (the City of Manila
in this case), the petitioner is not precludedand in fact is
duty-boundto confiscate and suspend or revoke drivers
licenses in the exercise of its mandate of transport and traffic
management, as well as the administration and
implementation of all traffic enforcement operations, traffic
engineering services and traffic education programs. This is
consistent with our ruling in Bel-Air that the MMDA is a
development authority created for the purpose of laying
down policies and coordinating with the various national
government agencies, peoples organizations,
nongovernmental organizations and the private sector, which
may enforce, but not enact, ordinances.
179
VOL. 456, APRIL 15, 2005 179
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
Same; The laudable intentions regarding the creation
of the MMDA are limited by its enabling law which the
Court can but interpretMMDAs efforts must be
authorized by a valid law, or ordinance, or regulation
arising from a legitimate source.The MMDA was
intended to coordinate services with metro-wide impact that
transcend local political boundaries or would entail huge
expenditures if provided by the individual LGUs, especially
with regard to transport and traffic management, and we are
aware of the valiant efforts of the petitioner to untangle the
increasingly traffic-snarled roads of Metro Manila. But these
laudable intentions are limited by the MMDAs enabling
law, which we can but interpret, and petitioner must be
reminded that its efforts in this respect must be authorized by
a valid law, or ordinance, or regulation arising from a
legitimate source.
PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the
Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City, Br. 260.
The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
The Solicitor General for MMDA.
Dante O. Garin for and in his own behalf.
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
At issue in this case is the validity of Section 5(f) of
Republic Act No. 7924 creating the Metropolitan Manila
Development Authority (MMDA), which authorizes it to
confiscate and suspend or revoke drivers licenses in the
enforcement of traffic laws and regulations.
The issue arose from an incident involving the
respondent Dante O. Garin, a lawyer, who was issued a
traffic violation receipt (TVR) and his drivers license
confiscated for parking illegally along Gandara Street,
Binondo, Manila, on 05 August 1995. The following
statements were printed on the TVR:
YOU ARE HEREBY DIRECTED TO REPORT TO THE
MMDA TRAFFIC OPERATIONS CENTER PORT AREA
MANILA AFTER 48 HOURS FROM DATE OF
APPREHENSION FOR DISPOSITION/APPROPRIATE
ACTION THEREON. CRIMI-
180
180 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
NAL CASE SHALL BE FILED FOR FAILURE TO
REDEEM LICENSE AFTER 30 DAYS.
VALID AS TEMPORARY DRIVERS LICENSE FOR
SEVEN DAYS FROM DATE OF APPREHENSION.1
Shortly before the expiration of the TVRs validity, the
respondent addressed a letter2 to then MMDA Chairman
Prospero Oreta requesting the return of his drivers license,
and expressing his preference for his case to be filed in
court.
Receiving no immediate reply, Garin filed the original
complaint3 with application for preliminary injunction in
Branch 260 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Paraaque,
on 12 September 1995, contending that, in the absence of
any implementing rules and regulations, Sec. 5(f) of Rep.
Act No. 7924 grants the MMDA unbridled discretion to
deprive erring motorists of their licenses, pre-empting a
judicial determination of the validity of the deprivation,
thereby violating the due process clause of the Constitution.
The respondent further contended that the provision violates
the constitutional prohibition against undue delegation of
legislative authority, allowing as it does the MMDA to fix
and impose unspecifiedand therefore unlimited - fines and
other penalties on erring motorists.
In support of his application for a writ of preliminary
injunction, Garin alleged that he suffered and continues to
suffer great and irreparable damage because of the
deprivation of his license and that, absent any implementing
rules from the Metro Manila Council, the TVR and the
confiscation of his license have no legal basis.
For its part, the MMDA, represented by the Office of the
Solicitor General, pointed out that the powers granted to it
by Sec. 5(f) of Rep. Act No. 7924 are limited to the fixing,
collection and imposition of fines and penalties for traffic
viola-
_______________
1 Records, p. 10.
2 Id., p. 11.
3 Id., p. 1.
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VOL. 456, APRIL 15, 2005 181
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
tions, which powers are legislative and executive in nature;
the judiciary retains the right to determine the validity of the
penalty imposed. It further argued that the doctrine of
separation of powers does not preclude admixture of the
three powers of government in administrative agencies.4
The MMDA also refuted Garins allegation that the
Metro Manila Council, the governing board and policy
making body of the petitioner, has as yet to formulate the
implementing rules for Sec. 5(f) of Rep. Act No. 7924 and
directed the courts attention to MMDA Memorandum
Circular No. TT-95-001 dated 15 April 1995. Respondent
Garin, however, questioned the validity of MMDA
Memorandum Circular No. TT-95-001, as he claims that it
was passed by the Metro Manila Council in the absence of a
quorum.
Judge Helen Bautista-Ricafort issued a temporary
restraining order on 26 September 1995, extending the
validity of the TVR as a temporary drivers license for
twenty more days. A preliminary mandatory injunction was
granted on 23 October 1995, and the MMDA was directed to
return the respondents drivers license.
On 14 August 1997, the trial court rendered the assailed
decision5 in favor of the herein respondent and held that:
13. a. There was indeed no quorum in that First Regular
Meeting of the MMDA Council held on March 23,
1995, hence MMDA Memorandum Circular No. TT-
95-001, authorizing confiscation of drivers licenses
upon issuance of a TVR, is void ab initio.
14. b. The summary confiscation of a drivers license
without first giving the driver an opportunity to be
heard; depriving him of a property right (drivers
license) without DUE PROCESS; not filling (sic) in
Court the complaint of supposed traffic infraction,
cannot be justified by any legislation (and is) hence
unconstitutional.
WHEREFORE, the temporary writ of preliminary injunction
is hereby made permanent; th(e) MMDA is directed to
return to plain-
_______________
4 Memorandum for Defendants, Records, pp. 178-185.
5 Id., pp. 187-190, penned by Hon. Helen Bautista-
Ricafort.
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182 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
tiff his drivers license; th(e) MMDA is likewise ordered to
desist from confiscating drivers license without first giving
the driver the opportunity to be heard in an appropriate
proceeding.
In filing this petition,6 the MMDA reiterates and reinforces
its argument in the court below and contends that a license
to operate a motor vehicle is neither a contract nor a
property right, but is a privilege subject to reasonable
regulation under the police power in the interest of the
public safety and welfare. The petitioner further argues that
revocation or suspension of this privilege does not constitute
a taking without due process as long as the licensee is given
the right to appeal the revocation.
To buttress its argument that a licensee may indeed
appeal the taking and the judiciary retains the power to
determine the validity of the confiscation, suspension or
revocation of the license, the petitioner points out that under
the terms of the confiscation, the licensee has three options:
14. 1. To voluntarily pay the imposable fine,
15. 2. To protest the apprehension by filing a protest
with the MMDA Adjudication Committee, or
16. 3. To request the referral of the TVR to the Public
Prosecutors Office.
The MMDA likewise argues that Memorandum Circular No.
TT-95-001 was validly passed in the presence of a quorum,
and that the lower courts finding that it had not was based
on a misapprehension of facts, which the petitioner would
have us review. Moreover, it asserts that though the circular
is the basis for the issuance of TVRs, the basis for the
summary confiscation of licenses is Sec. 5(f) of Rep. Act
No. 7924 itself, and that such power is self-executory and
does not require the issuance of any implementing regulation
or circular.
_______________
6 Records, pp. 197-225.
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Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
Meanwhile, on 12 August 2004, the MMDA, through its
Chairman Bayani Fernando, implemented Memorandum
Circular No. 04, Series of 2004, outlining the procedures for
the use of the Metropolitan Traffic Ticket (MTT) scheme.
Under the circular, erring motorists are issued an MTT,
which can be paid at any Metrobank branch. Traffic
enforcers may no longer confiscate drivers licenses as a
matter of course in cases of traffic violations. All motorists
with unredeemed TVRs were given seven days from the date
of implementation of the new system to pay their fines and
redeem their license or vehicle plates.7
It would seem, therefore, that insofar as the absence of a
prima facie case to enjoin the petitioner from confiscating
drivers licenses is concerned, recent events have overtaken
the Courts need to decide this case, which has been
rendered moot and academic by the implementation of
Memorandum Circular No. 04, Series of 2004.
The petitioner, however, is not precluded from re-
implementing Memorandum Circular No. TT-95-001, or any
other scheme, for that matter, that would entail confiscating
drivers licenses. For the proper implementation, therefore,
of the petitioners future programs, this Court deems it
appropriate to make the following observations:
15. 1. A license to operate a motor vehicle is a privilege
that the state may withhold in the exercise of its police
power.
The petitioner correctly points out that a license to operate a
motor vehicle is not a property right, but a privilege granted
by the state, which may be suspended or revoked by the state
in the exercise of its police power, in the interest of the
public safety and welfare, subject to the procedural due
process requirements. This is consistent with our rulings in
Pedro v. Provincial Board of Rizal8 on the license to operate
a cockpit,
_______________
7 Sec. 7, Mem. Circ. No. 04, Series of 2004.
8 56 Phil. 123 (1931).
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184 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
Tan v. Director of Forestry9 and Oposa v. Factoran10 on
timber licensing agreements, and Surigao Electric Co., Inc.
v. Municipality of Surigao11 on a legislative franchise to
operate an electric plant.
Petitioner cites a long list of American cases to prove
this point, such as State ex. Rel. Sullivan,12 which states in
part that, the legislative power to regulate travel over the
highways and thoroughfares of the state for the general
welfare is extensive. It may be exercised in any reasonable
manner to conserve the safety of travelers and pedestrians.
Since motor vehicles are instruments of potential danger,
their registration and the licensing of their operators have
been required almost from their first appearance. The right
to operate them in public places is not a natural and
unrestrained right, but a privilege subject to reasonable
regulation, under the police power, in the interest of the
public safety and welfare. The power to license imports
further power to withhold or to revoke such license upon
noncompliance with prescribed conditions.
Likewise, the petitioner quotes the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Funk,13 to the effect
that: Automobiles are vehicles of great speed and power.
The use of them constitutes an element of danger to persons
and property upon the highways. Carefully operated, an
automobile is still a dangerous instrumentality, but, when
operated by careless or incompetent persons, it becomes an
engine of destruction. The Legislature, in the exercise of the
police power of the commonwealth, not only may, but must,
prescribe how and by whom motor vehicles shall be
operated on the highways. One of the primary purposes of a
system of general regulation of the subject matter, as here by
the Vehicle Code,
_______________
9 G.R. No. L-24548, 27 October 1983, 125 SCRA 302.
10 G.R. No. 101083, 30 July 1993, 224 SCRA 792.
11 G.R. No. L-22766, 30 August 1968, 24 SCRA 898.
12 63 P. 2d 653, 108 ALR 1156, 1159.
13 323 Pa. 390, 186 A. 65 (108 ALR 1161).
185
VOL. 456, APRIL 15, 2005 185
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
is to insure the competency of the operator of motor
vehicles. Such a general law is manifestly directed to the
promotion of public safety and is well within the police
power.
The common thread running through the cited cases is
that it is the legislature, in the exercise of police power,
which has the power and responsibility to regulate how and
by whom motor vehicles may be operated on the state
highways.
5. 2. The MMDA is not vested with police power.
In Metro Manila Development Authority v. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.,14 we categorically stated that Rep. Act
No. 7924 does not grant the MMDA with police power, let
alone legislative power, and that all its functions are
administrative in nature.
The said case also involved the herein petitioner MMDA
which claimed that it had the authority to open a subdivision
street owned by the Bel-Air Village Association, Inc. to
public traffic because it is an agent of the state endowed
with police power in the delivery of basic services in Metro
Manila. From this premise, the MMDA argued that there
was no need for the City of Makati to enact an ordinance
opening Neptune Street to the public.
Tracing the legislative history of Rep. Act No. 7924
creating the MMDA, we concluded that the MMDA is not a
local government unit or a public corporation endowed with
legislative power, and, unlike its predecessor, the Metro
Manila Commission, it has no power to enact ordinances for
the welfare of the community. Thus, in the absence of an
ordinance from the City of Makati, its own order to open the
street was invalid.
We restate here the doctrine in the said decision as it
applies to the case at bar: police power, as an inherent
attribute
_______________
14 G.R. No. 135962, 27 March 2000, 328 SCRA 836,
penned by Justice Reynato S. Puno.
186
186 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
of sovereignty, is the power vested by the Constitution in the
legislature to make, ordain, and establish all manner of
wholesome and reasonable laws, statutes and ordinances,
either with penalties or without, not repugnant to the
Constitution, as they shall judge to be for the good and
welfare of the commonwealth, and for the subjects of the
same.
Having been lodged primarily in the National
Legislature, it cannot be exercised by any group or body of
individuals not possessing legislative power. The National
Legislature, however, may delegate this power to the
president and administrative boards as well as the
lawmaking bodies of municipal corporations or local
government units (LGUs). Once delegated, the agents can
exercise only such legislative powers as are conferred on
them by the national lawmaking body.
Our Congress delegated police power to the LGUs in the
Local Government Code of 1991.15 A local government is a
political subdivision of a nation or state which is
constituted by law and has substantial control of local
affairs.16 Local
_______________
15 Sec. 16 of Book I of the Local Government Code of
1991 states:
General Welfare.Every local government unit shall
exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily
implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate,
or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and
those which are essential to the promotion of the general
welfare. Within their respective territorial jurisdictions, local
government units shall ensure and support, among other
things, the preservation and enrichment of culture, promote
health and safety, enhance the right of the people to a
balanced ecology, encourage and support the development
of appropriate and self-reliant scientific and technological
capabilities, improve public morals, enhance economic
prosperity and social justice, promote full employment
among their residents, maintain peace and order, and
preserve the comfort and convenience of their inhabitants.
16 Supra, Note 18, p. 844, citing Bernas, The 1987
Constitution of the Philippines, A Commentary, pp. 95-98
[1996], citing UP Law
187
VOL. 456, APRIL 15, 2005 187
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
government units are the provinces, cities, municipalities
and barangays, which exercise police power through their
respective legislative bodies.
Metropolitan or Metro Manila is a body composed of
several local government units. With the passage of Rep.
Act No. 7924 in 1995, Metropolitan Manila was declared as
a special development and administrative region and the
administration of metro-wide basic services affecting the
region placed under a development authority referred to as
the MMDA. Thus:
. . . [T]he powers of the MMDA are limited to the following
acts: formulation, coordination, regulation, implementation,
preparation, management, monitoring, setting of policies,
installation of a system and administration. There is no
syllable in R.A. No. 7924 that grants the MMDA police
power, let alone legislative power. Even the Metro Manila
Council has not been delegated any legislative power.
Unlike the legislative bodies of the local government units,
there is no provision in R.A. No. 7924 that empowers the
MMDA or its Council to enact ordinances, approve
resolutions and appropriate funds for the general
welfare of the inhabitants of Metro Manila. The MMDA
is, as termed in the charter itself, a development authority.
It is an agency created for the purpose of laying down
policies and coordinating with the various national
government agencies, peoples organizations, non-
governmental organizations and the private sector for
the efficient and expeditious delivery of basic services in
the vast metropolitan area. All its functions are
administrative in nature and these are actually summed up
in the charter itself, viz.:
Sec. 2. Creation of the Metropolitan Manila Development
Authority.x x x.
The MMDA shall perform planning, monitoring and
coordinative functions, and in the process exercise
regulatory and su-
_______________
Center Revision Project, Part II, 712 [1970] citing Sady,
Improvement of Local Government Administration for
Development Purpose, Journal of Local Administration
Overseas 135 [July 1962].
188
188 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
pervisory authority over the delivery of metro-wide services
within Metro Manila, without diminution of the autonomy of
the local government units concerning purely local matters.
. . . .
Clearly, the MMDA is not a political unit of government.
The power delegated to the MMDA is that given to the
Metro Manila Council to promulgate administrative rules
and regulations in the implementation of the MMDAs
functions. There is no grant of authority to enact
ordinances and regulations for the general welfare of the
inhabitants of the metropolis.17 (footnotes omitted,
emphasis supplied)
Therefore, insofar as Sec. 5(f) of Rep. Act No. 7924 is
understood by the lower court and by the petitioner to grant
the MMDA the power to confiscate and suspend or revoke
drivers licenses without need of any other legislative
enactment, such is an unauthorized exercise of police power.
4. 3. Sec. 5(f) grants the MMDA with the duty to enforce
existing traffic rules and regulations.
Section 5 of Rep. Act No. 7924 enumerates the Functions
and Powers of the Metro Manila Development Authority.
The contested clause in Sec. 5(f) states that the petitioner
shall install and administer a single ticketing system, fix,
impose and collect fines and penalties for all kinds of
violations of traffic rules and regulations, whether moving or
nonmoving in nature, and confiscate and suspend or revoke
drivers licenses in the enforcement of such traffic laws and
regulations, the provisions of Rep. Act No. 413618 and P.D.
No. 160519 to
_______________
17 Ibid., pp. 849-860.
18 Entitled An Act to Compile the Laws Relative to
Land Transportation and Traffic Rules, to Create a Land
Transportation Commission and for Other Purposes,
approved on 20 June 1964. Sec. 29 thereof states:
Confiscation of drivers license.Law enforcement and
peace officers duly designated by the Commissioner shall, in
19 Entitled Granting the Metropolitan Manila
Commission Certain Powers Related to Traffic Management
and Control in Metropolitan Manila, Providing Penalties,
and for Other Purposes, dated 21 November 1978.
SEC. 5.In case of traffic violations, the drivers license
shall not be confiscated but the erring driver shall be
immediately issued a traffic citation ticket prescribed by the
Metropolitan Manila Commission which shall state the
violation committed, the amount of fine imposed for the
violation and an advice that he can make payment to the city
or municipal treasurer where the violation was committed or
to the Philippine National Bank or Philippine Veterans
Bank or their branches within seven days from the date of
issuance of the citation ticket. (emphasis supplied)
189
VOL. 456, APRIL 15, 2005 189
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
the contrary notwithstanding, and that (f)or this purpose,
the Authority shall enforce all traffic laws and regulations in
Metro Manila, through its traffic operation center, and may
deputize members of the PNP, traffic enforcers of local
government units, duly licensed security guards, or members
of non-governmental organizations to whom may be
delegated certain authority, subject to such conditions and
requirements as the Authority may impose.
Thus, where there is a traffic law or regulation validly
enacted by the legislature or those agencies to whom
legislative powers have been delegated (the City of Manila
in this case), the petitioner is not precludedand in fact is
duty-boundto confiscate and suspend or revoke drivers
licenses in the exer-
_______________
apprehending any driver for violations of this Act or of
any regulations issued pursuant thereto, or of local traffic
rules and regulations, confiscate the license of the driver
concerned and issue a receipt prescribed and issued by the
Commission therefore which shall authorize the driver to
operate a motor vehicle for a period not exceeding seventy-
two hours from the time and date of issue of said receipt.
The period so fixed in the receipt shall not be extended, and
shall become invalid thereafter. Failure of the driver to settle
his case within fifteen days from the date of apprehension
will cause suspension and revocation of his license.
(emphasis supplied)
190
190 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
cise of its mandate of transport and traffic management, as
well as the administration and implementation of all traffic
enforcement operations, traffic engineering services and
traffic education programs.20
This is consistent with our ruling in Bel-Air that the
MMDA is a development authority created for the purpose
of laying down policies and coordinating with the various
national government agencies, peoples organizations,
nongovernmental organizations and the private sector, which
may enforce, but not enact, ordinances.
This is also consistent with the fundamental rule of
statutory construction that a statute is to be read in a manner
that would breathe life into it, rather than defeat it,21 and is
supported by the criteria in cases of this nature that all
reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the
constitutionality of a statute.22
_______________
20 Section 3(b), Rep. Act No. 7924.
21 Thus, in Briad Agro Development Corporation v. Dela
Serna, (G.R. No. 82805, 29 June 1989, 174 SCRA 524) we
upheld the grant of concurrent jurisdiction between the
Secretary of Labor or its Regional Directors and the Labor
Arbiters to pass upon money claims, among other cases, the
provisions of Article 217 of this Code to the contrary
notwithstanding, as enunciated in Executive Order No. 111.
Holding that E.O. 111 was a curative law intended to widen
workers access to the Government for redress of
grievances, we held, . . . the Executive Order vests in
Regional Directors jurisdiction, [t]he provisions of Article
217 of this Code to the contrary notwithstanding, it would
have rendered such a provisoand the amendment itself
useless to say that they (Regional Directors) retained the
self-same restricted powers, despite such an amendment. It
is fundamental that a statute is to be read in a manner that
would breathe life into it, rather than defeat it. (See also
Philtread Workers Union v. Confessor, G.R. No. 117169, 12
March 1997, 269 SCRA 393.)
22 In Heirs of Ardona v. Reyes, (G.R. No. 60549, 26
October 1983, 125 SCRA 221) we upheld the
constitutionality of Presidential Decree No. 564, the Revised
Charter of the Philippine Tourism Au-
191
VOL. 456, APRIL 15, 2005 191
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
A last word. The MMDA was intended to coordinate
services with metro-wide impact that transcend local
political
_______________
thority, and Proclamation No. 2052 declaring certain
municipalities in the province of Cebu as tourist zones. The
law granted the Philippine Tourism authority the right to
expropriate 282 hectares of land to establish a resort
complex notwithstanding the claim that certificates of land
transfer and emancipation patents had already been issued to
them thereby making the lands expropriated within the
coverage of the land reform area under Presidential Decree
No. 2, and that the agrarian reform program occupies a
higher level in the order of priorities than other State policies
like those relating to the health and physical well-being of
the people, and that property already taken for public use
may not be taken for another public use. We held that, (t)he
petitioners have failed to overcome the burden of anyone
trying to strike down a statute or decree whose avowed
purpose is the legislative perception of the public good. A
statute has in its favor the presumption of validity. All
reasonable doubts should be resolved in favor of the
constitutionality of a law. The courts will not set aside a law
as violative of the Constitution except in a clear case (People
v. Vera, 65 Phil. 56). And in the absence of factual findings
or evidence to rebut the presumption of validity, the
presumption prevails (Ermita-Malate Hotel, etc. v. Mayor of
Manila, 20 SCRA 849 [1967]; Morfe v. Mutuc, 22 SCRA
424 [1968]).
In the same manner, we upheld in Dumlao v. Commission
on Elections (G.R. No. L-52245, 22 January 1980, 95 SCRA
392) the first paragraph of Section 4 of Batas Pambansa
Bilang 52 providing that any retired elective provincial, city
or municipal official, who has received payment of the
retirement benefits and who shall have been 65 years of age
at the commencement of the term of office to which he seeks
to be elected is disqualified to run for the same elective local
office from which he has retired. Invoking the need for the
emergence of younger blood in local politics, we affirmed
that the constitutional guarantee is not violated by a
reasonable classification based upon substantial distinctions,
where the classification is germane to the purpose of the law
and applies to all those belonging to the same class. (See
also Tropical Homes, Inc. v. National Housing Authority,
G.R. No. L-48672, 31 July 1987, 152 SCRA 540; Peralta v.
Commission on Elections, G.R. No. L-47791, 11 March
1978, 82 SCRA 55; People v. Vera, G.R. No. 45685, 65
Phil. 56 [1937].)
192
192 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority vs. Garin
boundaries or would entail huge expenditures if provided by
the individual LGUs, especially with regard to transport and
traffic management,23 and we are aware of the valiant
efforts of the petitioner to untangle the increasingly traffic-
snarled roads of Metro Manila. But these laudable intentions
are limited by the MMDAs enabling law, which we can but
interpret, and petitioner must be reminded that its efforts in
this respect must be authorized by a valid law, or ordinance,
or regulation arising from a legitimate source.
WHEREFORE, the petition is dismissed.
SO ORDERED.
Puno (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr.
and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Petition dismissed.
Notes.Driving exacts a more than usual toll on the
senses. (Sanitary Steam Laundry, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals,
300 SCRA 20 [1998])
The newly delegated powers to the Local Government
Units (LGUs) pertain to the franchising and regulatory
powers theretofore exercised by the LTFRB and not to the
functions of the LTO relative to the registration of motor
vehicles and issuance of licenses for the driving thereof.
(Land Transportation Office vs. City of Butuan, 322 SCRA
805 [2000])
o0o
_______________
23 Section 3(b), Republic Act No. 7924.
193
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